THE CRAZY: Here Comes the Sun, David Brooks suggests!


Some parts of The Crazy don't leave: At some point, the fever fueling the Tulip Craze finally broke.

Today, it's sometimes called the Tulip Mania. The leading authority on the craze thumbnails it as shown:

Tulip mania was a period during the Dutch Golden Age when contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels. The major acceleration started in 1634 and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637...

...At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled artisan. Research is difficult because of the limited economic data from the 1630s, much of which come from biased and speculative sources. Some modern economists have proposed rational explanations, rather than a speculative mania, for the rise and fall in prices.

The 1637 event gained popular attention in 1841 with the publication of the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, who wrote that at one point 12 acres of land were offered for a Semper Augustus bulb...Although Mackay's book is a classic, his account is contested. Many modern scholars believe that the mania was not as destructive as he described, but was limited to cliques of urban artisans.

It was just those cliques of urban artisans! The craze was limited to them!

According to the leading authority, the following may explain the way the mania began to subside: 

The collapse began in Haarlem, when, for the first time, buyers apparently refused to show up at a routine bulb auction. This may have been because Haarlem was then suffering from an outbreak of bubonic plague. The existence of the plague may have helped to create a culture of fatalistic risk-taking that allowed the speculation to skyrocket in the first place; this outbreak might also have helped to burst the bubble.

There was no bossa nova back then. For that reason, the authority blames the rise and fall of the mania on the bubonic plague!

The tulip craze has long existed as a narrative metaphor—as a symbol of the way large populations can (at times) go wild. In recent years, our own country has suffered from an episode of The Crazy—an episode featuring widespread unsupported beliefs driven by such figures as Jerry Falwell and, of course, Donald J. Trump.

The mainstream press corps played a leading role in various parts of this era, especially those involving wild claims about both Clintons and Candidate Gore. This morning, though, David Brooks suggests the possibility that this decades-long fever may have started to break.

Here comes the sun, Brooks has said or suggested—and he could even be right! For the record, here's the way his new column starts, headline included:

The Fever Is Breaking

A convulsion has shaken America and many other Western democracies over the past few years. People became disgusted with established power, trust in many institutions neared rock bottom, populist fury rose from right and left.

On the right, in America, this manifested as Donald Trump. To his great credit, Trump reinvented the G.O.P. He destroyed the corporate husk of Reaganism and set the party on the path to being a multiracial working-class party. To his great discredit, he enshrouded this transition in bigotry, buffoonery and corruption. He ushered in an age of performance politics—an age in which leaders put more emphasis on attention-grabbing postures than on practical change.

Brooks is focused on the manifestations of this fever "over the past few years." In our view, he goes a million miles out of his way to be fair and balanced concerning Trump, but he's expressing a hopeful view, one which has been widely voiced since this Wednesday morning.

For our money, the fever which Trump took to a new level got started decades ago. We'd include the passing mania which had missing children on the nation's milk cartons, along with the mania which sent owners of preschools off to die in jail.

As a people, we've been displaying a vast ability to buy into the unfounded ans The Crazy. As Brooks considers the past few years, he says the fever has broken:

BROOKS: Performative populism has begun to ebb. Twitter doesn’t have the hold on the media class it had two years ago. Peak wokeness has passed. There seem to be fewer cancellations recently, and less intellectual intimidation. I was a skeptic of the Jan. 6 committee at first, but I now recognize it’s played an important cultural role. That committee forced America to look into the abyss, to see the nihilistic violence that lay at the heart of Trumpian populism.

The election of 2022 marked the moment when America began to put performative populism behind us. Though the results are partial, and Trump acolytes could still help Republicans control Congress, this election we saw the emergence of an anti-Trump majority.

Have the elections which (mostly) ended this week really "marked the moment when America began to put performative populism behind us?" Has the price of our tulips begun to come down? On balance, have we as a very large, flailing nation started to walk away from The Crazy this week?

At this site, we can't be sure. That said, some manifestations of The Crazy are very deeply entrenched. Over the course of centuries, these manifestations have produced vicious behaviors around the world. 

A few weeks back, NBA star Kyrie Irving linked himself to one of these endless episodes. At the start of this report for RollingStone, Jon Blistein describes some of the poisonous claims to which Irving linked: 

BLISTEIN (10/29/22): Hours before another Brooklyn Nets loss on Thursday, noted “free-thinker” and basketball player Kyrie Irving took to Twitter to boost a movie and book, Hebrews to Negroes, stuffed with antisemitic tropes.

The 2018 film was directed by Ronald Dalton, Jr., and based upon his 2015 book of the same name. A description for the film states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel,” while a similar one for the book reads, “Since the European and Arab slave traders stepped foot into Africa, blacks have been told lies about their heritage.” Both suggest Hebrews to Negroes espouses ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially antisemitism.

The Black Hebrew Israelite movement is fairly broad, comprising organizations that (per the Anti-Defamation League) “operate semi-independently.” The movement generally coalesces around the notion that Black people are the real descendants of the ancient Israelites, with more extreme factions claiming that Black people have been “robbed of their identity as being ‘God’s chosen people'” (via the Southern Poverty Law Center).

It’s those extremist sects that have often parroted “classic” antisemitic tropes, like claiming European Jews (often referred to as the “synagogue of Satan”) wield outsized control over society, especially in industries like banking and the media. They’ve also pushed antisemitic claims that Jews are responsible for slavery and the “effeminizing of Black men.”

At one point in the purported documentary Irving shared, Dalton (who also narrates the film) brings up the “real truth about the slave trades.” He claims that, when teaching slavery, schools don’t mention the involvement of the Catholic Church, Arab, East African, or Islamic slave traders, or “the Jewish slave ships that brought our West African negro or Bantu ancestors to slave ports owned by [Jews].”

Immediately after, Dalton pivots to the mass media, calling it “the biggest tool of indoctrination, brainwashing, and propaganda that the world has seen” and adding that it’s been “helping Satan deceive the world” for centuries. To back up his claim, Dalton utilizes a fabricated quote that’s been a staple of antisemitic literature for decades. The quote—which details the supposed control Jews have over every facet of society—is attributed to Harold Rosenthal, an aide to former New York Senator Jacob Javits who was killed in a terrorist attack in Istanbul in 1976. The “quote” first appeared two years later, published in a pamphlet called The Hidden Tyranny by a man named Walter White, Jr., who appeared to make up an entire interview with Rosenthal to push this antisemitic theory.

In introducing the phony quote, Dalton pointedly describes Rosenthal as an “Ashkenazi Jew.”

According to Dalton's film, the mass media has been “helping Satan deceive the world” for centuries. To support this claim, Dalton utilizes a fabricated quote, which first appeared in an entirely fabricated interview.

Blistein doesn't repeat the fabricated quote. Eventually, he describes parts of the Dalton book upon which the film is based:

BLISTEIN: Hebrews to Negroes, the book, contains even more instances of antisemitism...

[One] section wonders if there is “any connection” between Lucifer, Satan, Freemasonry, and Judaism and includes the claim, “Interesting enough, in earlier years, many Jews and European Scottish/York Freemasons have claimed that they worship Satan or Lucifer. Many famous high-ranking Jews and Freemasons have written books admitting to this.” 

The book also quotes the infamous antisemitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion...

Interestingly, many famous high-ranking Jews have written books admitting to their worship of Satan! Assuming that Blistein can be believed, so Dalton says in his book.

This is the species of disordered belief to which Irving decided to link. His decision is derived from the brutal history of our deeply flawed species—a brutal history involving murderous behavior toward people who identify as Jews and towards people of African descent.

Breaking! Borrowing from sacred Wittgenstein in a totally different context, the ability to believe ugly, unfounded claims is "as much a part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing." 

The tendency to invent such murderous claims is also part of our natural history. Our species' powers of discernment are sometimes extremely limited when it comes to the adoption of such unfounded beliefs.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but we humans are strongly inclined to place our faith in false and unfounded belief. (As we'll note next week, we routinely do this in our blue tribe too.)  When Irving linked to the film in question, he seemed to be inclined to assert the worst about one historically brutalized group because of the depth of his feelings concerning the horrific way another historically brutalized group has been treated.

This morning, a news report in the New York Times appears beneath this headline:

Kyrie Irving Is Not Antisemitic, N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver Says

As far as we know, that assessment is some version of accurate. Sopan Deb's report begins as shown:

DEB (11/11/22): N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that he didn’t believe Nets guard Kyrie Irving was antisemitic after meeting with him in person this week at the league’s headquarters in Manhattan. Irving has been facing backlash for promoting an antisemitic film on Twitter last month.

“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver, who is Jewish, said in an interview with The New York Times, adding, “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group.”

In a follow-up phone conversation, Silver added, “Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

Silver declined to elaborate on his meeting with Irving, citing an agreement with him to keep the details of their conversation private. 

In Silver's assessment, Irving isn't antisemitic, but his link to the crackpot film and its hateful content did create plenty of damage.

Irving is or isn't antisemitic, but he's plainly human. Also, he seems to have an extremely jumbled mind, a fact which became clear a few years ago when he attempted to discuss his claim that the earth may in fact be flat.

Tomorrow, we'll show you excerpts from that astoundingly muddled interview with Deb. For the record, Wittgenstein said this remarkably muddled behavior extends all the way up the line to the highest levels of the academy, a point we'll visit, once again, in tomorrow's report.

Tomorrow: The rational animal's words

No day not improved: Any day can be improved by listening to George Harrison's spectacularly elegant Here Comes the Sun. To see him sing it with Paul Simon, you can just click here.

Also, Simon's Under African Skies. Linda Ronstadt adds her life story to say we're (secretly) the same beings the whole world over. 

To see the same song performed with Miriam Makeba's life story replacing Ronstadt's, you can just click here. "This is the way we begin to remember," or so Simon's lyrics have claimed.


  1. The idea that something David Brooks wrote might be correct, is the dumbest take you'll read on the internet today.

    1. What? That thru bigotry and
      corruption, Trump was leading
      the Republicans to become a
      multi racial working class party?
      You gotta problem with that?

    2. Besides it being untrue?

    3. Well, many ridiculous things are.

    4. Somerby needs to stop pretending to be liberal and admit that he is a centrist like Brooks.

    5. Brooks is a right winger (hardcore) and so is Somerby.

    6. But Brooks is a less neurotic one.

  2. “According to Dalton's film, the mass media has been “helping Satan deceive the world” for centuries.”

    Well. That proves that every conspiracy theory does possess a kernel of truth.

    However…I don’t think this theory was the reason Ferguson, Mo was burnt. It’s not responsible for the Summer of Love.

    They won’t try to turn it into educational curricula either.

  3. To a serious person interested in our
    political media, the obvious question
    of the day is how did they get it all
    so wrong? Obliviously, for Bob, this
    would require a healthy dollop of
    humility, since his right leaning
    prejudices left him a juicy mark.
    Alas, Harvard legacies don’t do
    humility, so, with an absurd panache
    unseen since Tiny Tim, he tiptoes
    through the tulips.
    Bob seems to second Brook’s
    contention that their is a good side
    to Trump ( would we have ever
    guessed Brooks viewed Reagan
    as a problematic corporatist?),
    easy enough when you think
    “corruption”) covers a murderous
    riot on the Capitol with the intent
    of nullifying the Presidential
    election to remain in power.

  4. "The tulip craze has long existed as a narrative metaphor—as a symbol of the way large populations can (at times) go wild. In recent years, our own country has suffered from an episode of The Crazy—an episode featuring widespread unsupported beliefs driven by such figures as Jerry Falwell and, of course, Donald J. Trump."

    Comparing a speculative mania confined to the tulip market to the widespread disinformation campaigns and violent rhetoric of the right wing strikes me as a very forced analogy in which two situations have very little in common.

    It might be argued that the plague era and today's pandemic are similar but Somerby has not made that argument as causal of either sets of beliefs, and our latter conservative outrages did not begin with the pandemic, but far earlier. The tulip mania might better be compared with rampant real estate speculation in cities where house prices have risen dramatically, or to speculation in bitcoin, or the lead up to 2008 in which new investment in tranches of subprime mortgages led to a bust, but there are important differences there too, that make that nothing like today's political crisis and threats to democracy embodied by Trump and his MAGA extremists.

    Somerby likes to grab these metaphors because of superficial similarities (e.g., they both involved manias) without thinking about whether the metaphor is satisfactory on multiple points or at a deeper, more meaningful level (e.g., in terms of causes or historical context). The parallel just doesn't work well in this case. For one thing, no one is speculating in any commodity in today's MAGA crisis. It is about voting and politics and use of disinformation to manipulate the public -- none of that was present in the tulip mania, which involved trading in a scarce commodity that was newly introduced into Dutch society due to global exploration. No similarity at all with today's problems.

    Why does Somerby do this? Who knows, but when he says this stuff he strikes me as both trying to confuse the situation but also wanting to show off that he has heard of the tulip craze, even though it is irrelevant to today's problems. Or maybe he just needs to fill some space today and borrowing from a discussion he raised years ago is an easy way to do that. In any case, it is annoying and unhelpful.

    1. It allows him to skate past the actual
      Media analysis he is supposedly doing.

    2. There was a hula hoop craze in the 1950s. That was just like MAGA extremism too!

    3. Here's how a real media analyst rolls:

    4. yo, are you sure that the media was wrong?

      I’m certain there was Russian tampering. Lots and lots.

    5. Shorter Cecelia: the goalposts are over there -->

  5. "especially those involving wild claims about both Clintons and Candidate Gore. "

    1. Gore was accused of having Naomi Wolf help him pick his suits.
    2. Clintons were accused of murdering people who got in the way of their political ambitions, and Hillary hung dildos on the White House Xmas tree.

    Do these two situations strike anyone here as similar in extremity of the accusations? In Gore's case, Wolf did help him as a political consultant, trying to help him connect with female voters. In the Clinton's case, there is no truth whatsoever to what was said, and it was both illegal and highly offensive. Equal? On what planet?

    Gore experienced minor distortions in quotes of things he actually said, by a press that didn't like him much. Hillary experienced an extensive republication of lies printed by the right wing press in the fucking NY Times, that went on for pages without fact-checking, including lies about influence peddling via the Clinton Foundation. And repetition by the NY Times of every lie told by the right wing about unsubstantiated assault accusations against Bill Clinton and rumors of a black love child -- during Hillary's campaign. And then there were the emails and the publication of hacked info from Podesta's computer via Wikileaks, repeated by the NY Times despite being stolen.

    Yes, the attacks against Al Gore were just like what happened to Bill and Hillary. About as alike as the tulip craze and MAGA extremism -- in other words, not at all alike.


  6. tl;dr.

    ...y'know, dear Bob, when you think you're a liberal, and David Brooks becomes your favorite dembot, you might want to reevaluate your political leanings.

    Just sayin'...

  7. "...the first thing to realize is that most people go through life with a whole world of beliefs that have no sort of rational justification, and that one man’s world of beliefs is apt to be incompatible with another man’s, so that they cannot both be right. People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.” ― Bertrand Russell

    1. Bertrand Russell -- that noted psychologist, no wait, he was a philosopher and mathematician with no training in psychology or any of the social sciences whatsoever (excepting an intro class at college perhaps). So, why then is he being quoted as some sort of authority on human thought and behavior?

      The guy has an opinion on a subject outside his training and area of expertise, which you Mike are quoting because you agree with it, but as Russell says, that doesn't make it true.

      A better source on this subject is Gordon Allport, who wrote a seminal book in the 1950s called The Nature of Prejudice. Then go read the various other psychologists who have been studying racism and other forms of bigotry for 70 years since then.

      Since then, psychologists have found that prejudice arises from a certain way of thinking, based on discomfort with ambiguity that encourages stereotyping. This is not part of all people's thinking, but arises among people with a certain personality type. While the need may be inherent in a person's makeup, the way of satisfying it is not fixed. Approaches to combatting the influence of such thinking are a social issue, not individual, so we need not tolerate prejudiced behavior simply because it appeals to some people to engage in that kind of thinking.

    2. And then there are the dozens of posts where Somerby ridicules Russell, particularly his “paradox” and his long proof that 2+2=4, in other words, part of his contributions to mathematics.

    3. Hi Church Lady. It must be you. Only you could be so insufferably condescending. "...that noted psychologist, no wait, he was a philosopher and mathematician with no training in psychology or any of the social sciences whatsoever." And? Has no logical relevance to the truth or falsity of Russell's claim.

      Btw, how would the psychologists and social scientists explain your endless false readings of Somerby's writing?

    4. Russell was jailed for his opposition to the First World War.

    5. Bonus question: how would the psychologists and social scientists explain your stubborn refusal to ever acknowledge you got something wrong -- like claiming Haidt is a Republican?

    6. I know Haidt, do you?

      Calling someone a name, such as Church Lady (I am not religious by the way) is not much of an argument.

    7. I don't know Hillary Clinton either, but I know she's not a Republican. You're absurd. You're just going to keep digging that hole instead of just admitting what you said is inaccurate.

  8. "Borrowing from sacred Wittgenstein in a totally different context, the ability to believe ugly, unfounded claims is "as much a part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing."

    After describing the antisemitic garbage linked by Irving, Somerby tries to excuse not Irving but the perpetrators of that antisemitic disinformation by saying that this species of bigotry is just normal human behavior, like eating and drinking. That is a very dark picture of humanity, but more importantly, it is wrong. Hatred and bigotry and prejudice are not normal behavior -- they are aberrent. It is the animus toward others that makes this so, not the misinformation used to justify misuse of other people.

    This is where Somerby and most liberals disagree. Most liberals believe that hatred can be combatted and prevented from hurting other people. Somerby thinks it is part of human nature to behave badly and hurt others, justified by bigotry. Liberals support civil rights measures and work to eliminate injustice based on differences in race, sex, religion, national origin and similar traits that are often the justification for unequal treatment of others. Conservatives and now Republicans do not do this. Somerby, specifically, says there is no need to combat sexism and racism and other bigotries (except dislike of Southerners) because these are no longer happening in our society. But today, he argues that the most malignant forms of such bigotry are OK because they are as natural as breathing. An anti-semite might argue that the info in that film is true. Somerby instead argues that it is natural and part of being human to write such things -- which form the basis of violent acts against Jews and other stigmatized people (including women, who have been targets of mass shootings and terroristic attacks).

    Somerby speculates that Irving was promoting that film because of his strong feelings about how black people have been treated (note that Somerby adds the word "historically"). Somerby cannot know why Irving did what he plainly did. He is mind-reading, and attempting to excuse Irving's antisemitism by referring to prejudice against blacks. Do black people get a pass on anti-semitism because they are stigmatized themselves? I don't think so. Jews do not get a pass on racial prejudice because of their history. Liberals hold all people to the same standard. Somerby apparently doesn't. But then should Trump get a pass on his bigotry (against blacks, Jews, women, immigrants) because why? His father was mean to him? And Tucker gets a pass because his father divorced, then remarried soon after, when Tucker was 8? And ultimately, we all get a pass because we are all human and bigotry is as natural as eating and drinking, even extreme bigotry like the blood libel and accusations of Satanism, which can get the people so labeled killed by people who take this stuff very seriously (unlike Somerby, who refuses to consider where this propaganda against Jews leads, despite the example of the Holocaust).

    Somerby has again placed himself beyond the pale. But Cecelia and others here will no doubt defend today's indefensible essay. And that is both sad, but also an example of why liberals need to keep pursuing our goals of eliminating the bigotry Somerby wishes to excuse.

    1. Bottom line, do we each have the right to believe whatever feels good or do we have a social responsibility to seek truth in what we believe? I think more Democrats seek truth. Republicans knowingly use lies to motivate followers who are susceptible because they don’t seek truth (or can’t identify what is true). Somerby doesn’t seem to care about truth — anything is possible to him b/c he has given up (maybe back in the 60s).

    2. rUSsIA CoLLuSIon aNd huNTEr's lApToP iS RuSsiAN disINforMatION!

    3. Well said. It seems to come down to Robert Klein’s joke about the Swiss: well mr. Churchill, you have a point, but Mr. Hitler has a point too…” sometimes
      you wonder if Bob even does that well…

    4. Anonymouse10:36am, what do you want to happen to Irving?

      The NBA commissioner doesn’t think he’s anti-Semitic. That may be the commissioner’s self-interest talking due to Irving’s ability to draw crowds.

      I don’t know how much influence an NBA commissioner has. I suppose the team owner and his teammates have some say. The fans could boycott.

      No one has said that Irving has difficulties getting along with people.

      I don’t how you police thoughts. I wish he didn’t hold these views and if he keeps expounding on them, he would have to go.

      Outside of that, let it be.

    5. There is no objective pale.

    6. It doesn't matter whether Irving himself is anti-semitic or not, what he linked to and said are anti-semitic. It is important for the NBA to disavow that content and make it clear that Irving's statements do not represent the league or its values.

      You seem to suggest that the business of those who want to end bigotry is to punish people. It is not. The goal is to create a society that is livable for all people, including Jews and ignorant people like Irving.

    7. The NBA suspended Irving. Irving apologized. You’re still lecturing everyone on it.

      The only response is to ask you what the heck more do you want from him.

    8. Irving made a non-apology apology.

    9. Anonymouse 11:26pm, in Irving’s apology, when he wrote “… I know who I Am”- he used that capitalized formulation because that’s the reply God gave Moses from the burning bush, after Moses asked God to tell him his name. I Am.

      Irving hasn’t backed off thinking that’s he’s the “True Jew” or “L.L. Cool Jew” as my husband also calls Black Israel adherents.

      Must we make him?

  9. Somerby uses Linda Ronstadt to claim we are the same the world over. That depends on the level of abstraction or generality one wishes to focus upon. We all have two arms, two legs and eat, drink and play. Yes, but those are very basic and superficial similarities. We also have differences that are important to us. Somerby wishes to only focus on the similarities and ignore the differences, but across cultures, people are the same in that they notice and care about differences too. Some are valued and some are not. Somerby might profitably look at what happened when China put everyone in Mao jackets (to erase wealth display), eliminated all culture (because it was part of the old regime in which there were many cultural differences across such a large country) via the Red Guard which smashed violins and burned books, and made all people equal by making them all as much the same as possible. Did that work out well? Even the Chinese don't think so.

    If we want to emphasize our similarities, is the way to do so by condoning horrible anti-semitism that has historically inspired pogroms and ultimately the Holocaust? Does forgetting how this material inspired violence really discourage the new rise of violence against Jews currently happening in our society? Irving sets an importan example for black people who admire him. Is Somerby aware that attacks on Asians and Jews are being done these days by black people and not just by white supremacists? He should take another look at our national statistics on hate crimes. Or perhaps Somerby doesn't care about hate crimes. Perhaps he thinks those are as natural and eating and drinking too?

  10. If there was only some way to find out what Bob owes, and make him pay.

  11. "Tomorrow: Kyrie Irving's link—but also, the shape of the earth"

    Somerby actually did talk about Irving's link, but so far not the shape of the earth. Maybe tomorrow he will actually talk about "the rational animal's words" but that includes a lot of ground so is perhaps an easy target to hit.

    It is not woke to complain when someone famous links to major anti-semitic propaganda, as Irving did. Kevin Drum yesterday quoted an Atrios paragraph in which he complained about too much progressive wokeness and said he didn't like being chided about racism. That may be true, because who doesn't dislike having a fault pointed out, but he also acknowledged that some Democrats are racist. Why doesn't Drum or Atrios suspect that the Democrats who are complaining about too much wokeness may be those Democrats who are still racist? This complaint about wokeness, when made by Democrats, strikes me as defensiveness, and is therefore not a reason to stop urging people toward better treatment of minorities of all kinds. When Republicans complain about wokeness it is pretty obvious why they are doing it -- they are the ones who made being woke a bad thing, after all. This is their manufactured culture war issue. That's why it is so odd when a Democrat raises that criticism.

  12. The earth is a ball, bright blue with white swirls.

  13. Lovely music, Bob. Beautiful harmonizing.

    1. This has always been my favorite Paul Simon song ( no, it’s not THAT one) for the general way of handling a lot of things.

  14. Everyone should read "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds"! it is still in print. It's also available from used book companies and libraries.

    In addition to the chapter about the tulip craze, there are other terrific chapters covering witch mania, which lasted for centuries in Europe. The chapter on Fiat Money in France my be relevant to today's inflation problem. The chapter on the Crusades is fascinating.

    1. The Crusades were a response to centuries of Muslim aggression.

  15. A new American, origin India, I am really fed up. Of constant drumbeat on the issue of slavery.

    Forgive me, but it was what it was. The various peoples of Balkans are known as Slavs because they were traded as slaves by the Vikings and other Norse forces. For 100s of years. The Ottomans continued the tradition. Way into 1910s.
    The Khanaits of Central Asia routinely enslaved White Russians and Ukrainians, well into 1900s. Land of my birth, India, various peoples were enslaved in various ways by characters of all colors, well into 1940s. So it was with Japan/Korea, or Myanmar with China. Malay plantations had dark skinned slaves from subcontinent well into 1940s.

    And in Africa, in Saudi Arabia, African slaves were brought and sold well into 1960s. And even today. Pardon me, forgive me, but, to enslave 'the other', been the way of humankind. My point, talk about American slavery with such deep emotion is simply a ruse. 1600s, 1700s, 1800s....or today, we as human beings still need to step on another human-being to reach our goal.

    1. People are interested in race because black people do poorly on every current measure, despite the demise of slavery, suggesting ongoing discrimination and injustice. It is not a “ruse” to want to fix that problem.

    2. Suggesting fathers in prison and Democrats brainwashing them into thinking they are hated in their society, targeted by police with no chance of success.

    3. Racism is real not “brainwashing.”

    4. To the Indian American commenter, welcome to America! How in the world did you stumble upon this blog? I'm amazed anyone new ever finds their way here. Regarding your argument, I think most of us realize slavery has been a common aspect of human history in general, not just American history. But what conclusion should be drawn from this fact? This fact doesn't make American slavery any less horrible.
      We also realize American slavery was officially outlawed long ago. But some of the negative consequences of slavery and the extreme racism that followed it still exist in America (for example, "ghettos" and poor academic performance). That said, it's entirely possible we dwell on slavery too much, instead of discussing what should be done to address its legacy.

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