Tagged: Ibsen

LI The Future of Media Illiteracy

Does the idea of too high a price to pay for achieving one’s biological goals make any sense? In Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, the main character Nora has achieved reproductive success, she has three kids and her husband has just become head of the bank so together they will bring up their kids in the best possible conditions. She nevertheless leaves house, husband, and children to work on her own because she does not want to fail her “duty to herself” any longer. Can a “duty to oneself” be jeopardized by the pursuit of biological goals?

According to biosociologist Brant Wenegrat, “motherhood in societies like ours does predict an increased risk of depressive disorders” (Illness and Power, 1995). Some scholarly confirmation of the playwright’s insight, then, as motherhood and parenting, i.e. biological success itself would lead to increased biological risk, in the shape of dysfunctional conditions for the children raised by a depressive mother. Or is it nonsense? This prediction is not confirmed in the book Darwinian Psychiatry (1998), by McGuire and Troisi, which states that male celibates are the most at risk of depression, precisely because of their biological failure (failed reproductive machines). Two opposite conclusions, then, from scholars of the same school of thought. For McGuire and Troisi women’s mental health is not as dependent on the success of biological reproduction as men’s, whereas for Wenegrat successful biological reproduction tends to affect negatively women’s mental health and not men’s.

Modern work, now, is not an evolved biological media for male competition (contrary to what evolutionary psychologists Tiger and Fox, 1971, claim), as for millenaries slavery was the rule and dominant males did not work (savanna-activity, i.e. hunter-gatherer environment of evolutionary adaptedness EEA-like hunting was aristocrats’ hobby throughout the world in the past of civilization). In this way, and, again, contrary to the views of some EP scholars, modern work goes against biological tendencies. If a duty to oneself exists and, if we take Nora’s example, opposes the mere pursuit of biological goals, then modern work may be the way to fulfill one’s duty to oneself instead of biological goals. Yet in evolutionary terms I see nothing that warrants nor could even possibly warrant this ‘literary’ conclusion.


Gustave Le Bon, in his Psychologie des foules, talks about women who throw acid at their lovers’ face as something frequent in his days. Today, the media talks about this, pointing the finger to men, mostly in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, throwing acid in order to oppress women because those men are Muslims. In fact, EP scholar David Buss also talks of Jamaican women doing the same with their female rivals nowadays. Yet talk about acid attacks these days, and you will find that people associate it with Muslim men. There is a Sherlock Holmes story by Conan Doyle about a woman throwing acid at her lover’s face too, to confirm Le Bon (The Adventure of the Illustrious Client).


Outline for a dystopian sci-fi novel. As a foreign body inside the societies where their communities live, the Lormocks have a perception of their own, the basic idea of which being that their community’s interest only partially overlaps with that of the host societies, which they seek to exploit. They are parasites. Neuroparasites. For a long time our knowledge of parasites was perfunctory; we knew lice and other pest that suction blood and weaken the body, and that’s about all. It took us decades to find out that rabies is a parasite that compels the dog host to bite in order to carry the parasite over to more hosts. Now we have a much broader picture of what parasites are doing: They control their host, sometimes they castrate it, sometimes they do not allow him to take food, they do as they please with their host. As the Lormocks achieve middleman-minority status due to their ingroup solidarity inside societies that they help make atomistic, they endeavor to control the channels of public expression, and of course they use these according to their community’s interest. Sycophancy toward the Lormocks, serving this foreign and parasitic body’s purposes, becomes a sine qua non of individual success –and fitness– in society.


Subliminal advertising: the elephant penis in the living room.


Since the July 2016 failed coup in Turkey, Erdogan has been conducting massive repression in the country. Thousands of civil servants are being sacked and their names published so they will never find jobs again in the country. Intellectuals are also targeted.

272 writers from all over the world have signed a petition against the judicial trials that will open against journalist Ahmet Altan and his brother, economist Mehmet Altan.

Both are accused by the government of having sent subliminal messages on TV about the impending coup. As far as I know, a world premiere! (Le Monde, Sep 21, 2016)

Turkey’s President Erdogan is thus giving support to my research. I am available as an expert at the trial.


Taco Subliminals

There where similar charges [of the use of subliminal techniques, (like the “rats” in “democrats” in U.S. 2000 campaign trail, if you remember] by Andrés Manuel López Obrador against the right-wing candidate Felipe Calderón in the Mexican presidential elections of 2006, in which the color scheme for a popular soft drink and its publicity mirrored those of Calderón’s party. Opponent saw the similarity as a sneaky way to circumvent campaign spending limits by a corporate supporter of Calderón.” (Charles R. Acland, Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence, 2011).

Acland’s aim is to debunk subliminals as just another “urban legend.” Faced with such incredulity, it is really heartening to find support from intellectuals like Eric McLuhan [see Index for Professor Eric McLuhan’s contributions]. The example above shows that the use of non-verbal persuasion techniques is part of the public debate now, as it should be in media-literate constituencies. Information society must not amount to mass manipulation by mass media but to media literacy of the public.


The Age of Empathy (2009) by primatologist Frans de Waal talks of an experiment by Swedish professor Ulf Dimberg : When people are shown visuals of angry faces they tend to frown and of happy faces they tend to smile, and this is true also when the faces are subliminal! De Waal says Dimberg’s results have been met with resistance…

Dimberg, Thunberg, & Elmehed (2000), Unconscious facial reactions to emotional facial expressions. Psychological Science 11: 86-89.


Jacques Castonguay’s book La Psychologie au service du consommateur (1978), said by prefacer Nicolle Forget, the then chair of Canada consumers association, to put the limelight on subliminal advertising (« Il aura eu le mérite aussi de ramener dans l’actualité la question de la publicité subliminale »), is terribly disappointing. Albeit not in denial, Castonguay says Marshall McLuhan and Wilson Bryan Key’s views are “exaggerated,” so the topic is expedited in a couple of pages and he can devote the rest of his book to conveying the nauseating platitudes that business insiders wrote for the public.


Take Buddhism. Basically a personality cult (in the person of the Buddha).


The three following statements cannot be true taken together and studies show that 3/ is consistently true.

1/ The activity and development of the brain’s right hemisphere is not taken into account in IQ tests. (Marshall and Eric McLuhan, Laws of Media: The New Science, 1988)

2/ Asians are right-hemisphere people. (Ibid.)

3/ Asians (Northern Asians) have the highest scores in IQ tests.

Well, they may be true taken together but only if Asians are superior to Westerners even in the skills that are not Asians’ best (left-hemisphere skills), that is, if Asians are superior in everything.


Laws of Media’s ascribing several contemporary art forms to the brain’s right hemisphere, such as atonal music, finds some resistance in me. These forms appear much too much intellectual (left hemisphere) to me – professors’ experiments rather than art proper. If atonality is an expression of acoustic space (p.52), yet our ears (as evolved) want no part in the business of atonality. “As evolved”: According to evolutionary biology, that is, not since the phonetic alphabet, but in the African savanna. Atonal music is an intellectual, abstract, left-hemisphere business: Left-hemisphere radicalism.

Same with relativity theory. Not that I know to which hemisphere it belongs; but I find it inconsistent with Kant’s transcendental idealism, that is, if time and space are a priori forms of our perception I don’t think it makes sense to say time-space can be distorted by massive objects.

Same with psychoanalysis. It has been exploded. Randy Thornhill, for instance, has concisely demonstrated that an Oedipus complex makes no evolutionary sense at all. “The Oedipus complex proposed by Freud would never have been given any credence if anyone had considered the evolutionary fate of a trait that produced such incestuous desires (Thornhill and Thornhill 1987). Because of the reduced viability of offspring produced by mating of close relatives, close inbreeding is selected against. Thus, Freud postulated as fundamental to human nature a trait that simply cannot exist as an evolved human psychological adaptation.” (Thornhill and Palmer, A Natural History of Rape, 2000)

Same with Copenhagen consensus. If the idea is that we should get rid of determinism in science, then it makes no sense, by definition. The uncertainty principle only tells us that our perceptual endowment allows us not to perceive all causes and determinations in nature – not that these causes and determinations do not exist in nature.


Electric telephone man

Electric man is discarnate (McLuhan). What about the man who is used to telling his friends: “I don’t use the phone anymore except for emails”?

He is both discarnate and dyslexic.

Email is discarnate nudism because electric man cannot conceal his dyslexia.

Yet we can. Electric man has by now invented the simplified writing system that Eric McLuhan envisioned for our dyslexic times. He has made it almost completely phonetic:

4 => for

2 => to

8 => -ate ex. contempl8

Same process in French: “c’est” becomes just “c” etc.


Some exploration of the fringe: Reverse Speech


First thing first, one interesting thing about Australian David Oates’s reverse speech theory is that it is debunked on Wkpd by the same sort of arguments that are used against subliminal perception, namely “pareidolia, the tendency of the human brain to perceive meaningful patterns in random noise.

According to this theory, the unconscious mind expresses itself backward in our utterances.

When reading about this, I was reminded of a video I saw a few months ago (now withdrawn). In that speech by Obama, the President at some point says: “Let me express, let me express my faith &c.” Playing the passage backward, the author of the video hears, and convincingly so, for “Let me express, let me express”: “Serve Satan, serve Satan.” A creepy commentary about the President’s faith.

The author says he could not reproduce the same effect when recording himself saying these words, which is confirmed by Oates. Our utterances, when played backward, do not pronounce the same even when we pronounce the same speech. That leads to the question of the origin of pronunciation differences (accents &c). Why do some people never lose their local accent even after living many years in the capital city when others lose it very fast in the same transplant conditions?

The theory is fascinating at any rate. For one thing, it could never be designed nor tested before the invention of audio recording.

But above all, if the unconscious can understand reverse speech (words pronounced backward, as stressed by Bill Key: cf W.B. Key at the 1995 Judas Priest trial), why could it not express itself backward as well? Key’s research helps buttress Oates’s contentions.


Oates wanted to check the truth of evangelists’ assertions that rock music contains reverse satanic messages. He found some intentional reverse messages but also was led to the discovery that reverse speech can carry meaningful messages.

Using Jungian notions, he then says the word “Satan” occurs rather often in reverse speech because it’s embedded in the collective unconscious, and it serves to express negative feelings.


There is a school of thought that sees elaborate clothing as a way to conceal bodily imperfections and thus distort the choice of a mate. A few German racialists (Heinrich Pudor, Richard Ungewitter…) adopted such views, and nudism was considered sound and healthy in some Nazi circles (German Nazi nude photograph magazines are collector’s items today). Scanty clothing, in that view, such as that of contemporary American youth, boys and girls alike, would be close to that philosophy. In the absence of matrimonial intermediaries, who take a careful look at and check the physical condition of the future partners in arranged-marriage societies, people need to check by themselves. In free (as opposed to arranged)-marriage societies, nudism, or close substitutes, is in order.


Global Village’s Pizza Gate

(Posted as comment to a since then withdrawn YouTube video, Nov 2016)

The case is rather strong as here presented, however I don’t see ‘proof’ in the technical sense. Yet it definitely should be sufficient ground for the police to further investigate in that direction.

What is new about the so-called Pizza Gate is that it is a criminal investigation carried out by internauts. Being public, it can’t help being a smear campaign at the same time, and I guess this is the reason why several people involved in this new kind of investigation have been banned or shadowbanned on Twitter after the pizza parlor concerned asked Twitter to do something about it or be held accountable for the smear campaign.

Yet, as good ol’ Marshall McLuhan said, we have entered the ‘global village,’ meaning we really are back to village life. For one thing it means privacy will shrink to nothingness or almost nothing, like in a traditional village. It also means, from what I gather from public Pizza Gate investigation, that ‘villagers’ will take charge of law and order themselves. Remember these ‘investigators’ mainly work on the evidence brought to them – brought to everybody in the village – by WikiLeaks. Advancing a technicality according to which all evidence available in this way is void because the source is a ‘spy,’ a ‘traitor,’ a ‘renegade,’ whatever, as is common and perhaps sound practice in the traditional views of law courts, would seem extremely disconnected with the real world under the circumstances of the global village. And remember, these circumstances are here to stay.


The level of tax imposed on bachelors is indecent. I can’t even keep a mistress. One has to be a married man for that.


The beautiful people of adverts

Facial symmetry is more attractive than asymmetry and high-status people are more symmetric than poor people in general. Advertisers just pick attractive people (and usually airbrush the model according to systematic, technical rules): Turns out we associate these models with wealthy people.

Asymmetry can be due to adverse environmental conditions during development (deprivation) and betrays a less healthy phenotype –”wealth is health”– but the answer is not to torture our natural biases by trying to impose other, silly tastes on us, that would have us prefer crippled, perhaps sterile (in the case of obesity) persons.

Beauty is largely objective and a marker of health. Make all people healthier rather than trying, out of a misconceived sense of justice, to force unnatural tastes on people.

The beauty world of advertising systematically creates “supernormal stimuli” to which the real world can only be unequal. This is the true definition of the problem.


One result of behavioral science is that masturbation conditioning is particularly efficient. It even works with high psychotics – the least conditionable of all.


French journalists had once agreed they would make no news with politicians’ private lives. It shows they wanted no place for morality concerns in the public debate, which is an unjustified prerogative the journalists bestowed on themselves. This will not last, however. There have already been news on President Hollande’s affair with a B-rated actress a few years ago. They made news of it and the president’s popularity plummeted at once. Morality concerns ought not to be ignored.


McLuhanesque strolls

What’s the point of writing and publishing books, as literacy has ended? This thought brings me solace.

Also, in the literacy age, there was a public: It was made up by publishing houses and the press. Now the public has disappeared and thought is free.

Counter-culture is an ego trip now. Bad form. We’re the village.

The global village is already something real. Internet social networks are the village. The whole world on a “timeline” (Twitter jargon)! (English as single medium, all other languages due to be discarded?)

Thought becomes aphoristic: Think about the aphoristic-minded world of Twitter users whose every tweet cannot exceed 140 signs (280 now)! Literary heroes disappear. Academic scholars look awkward; the littlest rascal in the world can make fun of them and their ponderous knowledge in retweets as public as the original tweets. Journalists are corrected and insulted in front of their devoted readers. Comedians prove less funny than their followers. Actresses are less beautiful than their fans. Politicians receive sound advice from the administered herd.

We’ve all become sayers of sayings, each of us expresses the village wisdom. It’s tribal, deindividualized, exactly as predicted by McLuhan Marshall and Eric.

With the decline of the Gutenberg Galaxy, the written word is sheer lip service. It says whatever anybody wants to hear, upholds consensus. If the medium is the message, then the message is not even between the lines. It’s in quite another galaxy where literacy has no relevant use as such, only as distraction.


Libertarians defend personal liberty against the law but they seem to have nothing to say about personal liberty against mind control by big business, which has become a huge (muted) issue with the advent of scientific marketing. Against this control I see no other shield than the law, like Prohibition was a shield against the liquor industry’s endeavor to “break down sales resistance” by advertising and PR. The fake-news media opposed the Prohibition and contributed mightily to its inadequate enforcement (cf Upton Sinclair, The Wet Parade).


Mensa and GMAT

My correspondence from when I wanted to be a Mensa member without taking their tests.

Dear Sir or Madam, (to info@americanmensa.org)

On Mensa Website, qualifying score for the GMAT is “95% or above.”

At a second and last attempt after a crash course in 2004, I got 710 / 94%. My mother tongue is French and before taking my first GMAT test I only practiced English at school. Then, I took a second test after a few months in U.S.

Do you think that people having English as mother tongue are advantaged in the GMAT, or not at all? In case of a yes, shouldn’t the qualifying score for nonnative English speakers be adapted?

Given the time, and thus reflex, factor involved in the test, it seems English fluency (the test language) is important, which puts nonnative speakers at a disadvantage, although per se this fluency does not appear to be relevant to what Mensa membership is about. (July 5, 2017)



Thank you for the email. Unfortunately, the only way we have to evaluate evidence that is sent in is based on the test publisher’s normative data. To be honest, I am not certain how the GMAC calculates the scores on the exam so I cannot speak to whether or not they make those kinds of allowances. We accept the 95th percentile on the exam based on the fact that their norms are somewhat skewed by the population that takes the exam. The population that attends graduate school is not necessarily a representation of the general population so we allow for more than just the typical top 2 percent.

(Timothy Brookes, Mensa manager for membership and admissions, July 7, 2017)


Thank you very much for your reply.

Do you estimate that top 5% of graduate students population is an inclusive or rather restrictive approximation of top 2% of general population?

According to one source,

Factors such as native vs non-native English speakers, US vs non-US, white vs non-white, etc – generally don’t affect one’s score too much. In terms of covariance analysis, the variation between these subgroups was always less than 1/4 standard deviation.

I think we know the variation goes against nonnative speakers. In case you’d estimate the 95th percentile is not large already, would you be willing to take this variation into account too?

Now, according to Lawrence Rudner, GMAC’s chief psychometrician,

Yes, the GMAT test is administered in English and is designed for programs that teach in English. But the required English skill level is much less than what students will need in the classroom. The exam requires just enough English to allow us to adequately and comprehensively assess Verbal reasoning, Quantitative reasoning and Integrated Reasoning skills.” (link)

That the test only requires “just enough English” doesn’t preclude a variation factor between native and nonnative speakers, due to mental reflexes ingrained in native vs nonnative speakers and more consequential in time-constrained tests than in classroom attendance. Such a variation may justify Mensa to accept a tolerance margin for its admissions based on GMAT scores in the case of nonnative speakers.

If the variation is not “too much,” “less than 1/4 standard deviation,” as I understand the phrasing it is not altogether negligible inside the scope considered (the above tolerance margin). (July 11, 2017)



At this time, we do not take anything additional in to consideration for the GMAT. The 95th percentile score is the minimum we will accept. (Timothy Brookes, July 12)


Thank you, Timothy. I guess I’ll have to take the tests at Mensa France, then.

Yet I am curious how you get from “the population is somewhat skewed” to “2% translates into 5%”. Does the data support this? What does GMAC say about it? (July 12)

No more from Timothy. Let’s ask GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council):

Dear Sir or Madam, (to customercare@gmac.com)

Mensa International is an “organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test.

People who score at the 95th percentile or higher on GMAT are, however, entitled to join in, and the reason is:

We accept the 95th percentile on the exam based on the fact that their norms are somewhat skewed by the population that takes the exam. The population that attends graduate school is not necessarily a representation of the general population so we allow for more than just the typical top 2 percent.” (Email from Timothy Brooks, manager of membership and admissions, Mensa USA)

According to your knowledge, does the data support this translation “98th=>95th”?

I took a GMAT test in 2004 and scored 710 / 94%. I asked Mensa if they took into consideration a tolerance margin for nonnative English speakers and they said they did not, so I have been asking them the exact same question as I am asking here, currently waiting for their answer. It is, however, my understanding that Mr Brooks’s phrasing above rather hints at a “guesstimate” on their part, a rule of thumb that should justify them to show some flexibility.

No answer. Between those who refuse considering a pinch of pliancy with their rule-of-thumb regulations and those who coldly disregard emails, talk of psychorigids!


Aristotle’s “prime mover” (as God) has been given the coup de grâce by Kant, with the latter’s antinomies, according to which it is beyond human reason to determine whether the world is finite or infinite, has begun or has been eternal. Each of both opposite conclusions on these two antinomies (there are four in the Critique of Pure Reason) is a contradiction in itself+. This being because our mental apparatus does not describe the thing-in-itself (which, presumably, could not have contradictions in itself without ceasing to exist). I find it a sound position to hold, with Kant, that no rational proof of God’s existence is to be expected in such conditions. The one proof would be the moral law, if it could be ascertained that it’s something true and not derived from the laws of nature (which, for Kant, is the case indeed, so in no way Kant can be called an atheist).

+Monotheisms answer one of these antinomies with a created world, and a prime mover, whereas Hinduism and Buddhism answer with an uncreated world, and both are convinced their position is rational.


There’s a passage in Uncle Tom’s Cabin where a ruthless slaveholder defends his practice and monstrous unconcern for the well-being of his slaves (his practice being to exploit them to the utmost, calculating that it would lead the slaves to death, and to new expense from buying slaves, after a few years and inscribing this computation as a mere data in his books) with the words: “This is a free country.

You may find the same kind of situation elsewhere. I once scorned the Jesuits of Paraguay because they made their wooden statues ‘speak’ to the Indians through clever contrivances, but it makes no doubt in my mind that their Socialist form of government with Indians was much more humanitarian than the lay encomiendas of the time. Yet the encomenderos defended their prerogatives as the heritage of communal liberties, while the Jesuits were, before the king turned against them, the arm of central monarchy. For a long time, in the Middle Ages, government authority and coercion were grounded by theologians on the original sin and the resulting wicked nature of man.


Contra EP (Evolutionary Psychology)


Several studies seeking to verify Devendra Singh’s result on a universal preference for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of .7 could not confirm it. One was carried out in Peru and another in Tanzania among hunter-gatherers, whom EP claim are behavioral copies of our Pleistocene ancestors (although behavior of different groups of contemporary hunter-gatherers can vary greatly on many essential counts).


In Adapting Minds (2006), David Buller shows convincingly that most of the main EP studies are based on sloppy reading of the data. For instance, Daly and Wilson (The Truth about Cinderella, 1998) amalgamate physical and sexual abuse (!), yet obviously sexual abuse by a stepfather is no confirmation whatever of their view that stepparents tend to be hostile to stepchildren because the latter are only an evolutionary cost to them. Reading the data attentively in fact disproves their view. Buller presents the alternative hypothesis that marriage offers mating opportunities rather than paternity certainty; in such a case evolution would not have selected an averse feeling toward stepchildren, which Daly & Wilson’s data do not even show. Buller also says social workers have a bias against stepparents when they fill child death certificates. So the data D&W examined, mostly from social services, in fact is biased against stepparents, and even then these data do not show the overrepresentation of abusive stepparents D&W claim to have found. Most likely, now, their work has reinforced, if possible, the social workers’ bias, and I have done the same here on my blog, as I followed on D&W’s steps, taking their conclusions with no grain of salt.

I might as well let Buller talk.

On anecdotal evidence from infanticide among mammals:

the discussion of infanticide-as-adaptation turns to be nothing but a red herring in the end.Daly and Wilson state the record straight‘Human beings are not like langurs or lions,’ they inform us. ‘We know that sexually selected infanticide is not a human adaptation because men, unlike male langurs and lions, do not routinely, efficiently dispose of their predecessors’ young. … Child abuse must therefore be considered a non-adaptive or maladaptive byproduct of the evolved psyche’s functional organization, rather than an adaptation in its own right. … All told, we see little reason to imagine that the average reproductive benefits of killing stepchildren would ever have outweighed the average costs enough to select for specifically infanticidal inclinations.’” (p.411)

On mating as paternity opportunity:

if a male can secure paternity opportunities from a female by providing care to her children, even if those children are the offspring of another male, the male enhances his chances of having children of his own and thereby transmitting his genes to future generations. So, another male’s child can make a contribution to a male’s fitness via the opportunities for paternity provided by that child’s mother in exchange for parental care provided to the child. The possibility of such fitness payoffs, however, means that we should not expect male psychology to be so unconditionally averse to investing in unrelated children.” (p.390) (Paternal care is primarily a mating effort and second a parenting effort: p.393)


One of Satoshi Kanazawa’s main claims, and all the other EPs (hippies?) with him, is that high-status men have more sex partners than low-status men. Yet Kinsey has shown the exact opposite in his famous, pioneering surveys. Something happened in the mean time?

In fact, all this BS about high-status males being like gorillas males in gorilla harems is an atrocious regression of Western scholarship. A few decades ago, Darwinians used to talk of the “fertility of the unfit” (that’s the title of a book). There’s a Darwinian contradiction in terms in such a phrase (fertility, of course, means high fertility here), wich a Darwinian could not fail to see and yet they (eugenicists) fully endorsed the paradox. They saw something to which EP boys, with their gorilla model, are blind. What they saw, and what solves the contradiction, is homogamy. Call it unfitness homogamy, if you like.

The EP view of “powerful and famous” males is based on primatology and misleading.

1/ From the longitudinal Stanford Marshmallow experiment, we know that children high on self-restraint have high status later in life. How does it square with having more sex partners than people low on self-restraint?

2/ Polygamy tends to be in the form of serial marriage (powerful and famous men tend to have as a matter of fact several spouses serially, but the number of their affairs is gossip and, as a matter of fact again, unknown). (A view held, among others, by Robert Wright.)

3/ Traditional types of philanderers now make the news as rapists, à la Harvey Weinstein.

4/ Even the highest rates of cuckoldry known (30% in some working-class compounds –number of children whose biological father is another man unbeknownst to the man at home) do not support the view that high-status males have greater access to females. In fact, all these 30% “bastards” may have been sired by working-class neighbors for all we know. Also, Buller relevantly points that in countries where dowry exists the fact that wealthy men have more wives hardly supports the idea that this is a female preference.


The Fertility of the Unfit, 1903, by Dr. William Chapple (New Zealand)

First thing to take into account is the unprecedented fact of demographic transition. Unknown in nature, human populations have started declining as goods became more widely available (whereas in nature populations decline due to adverse environmental factors). This is seen as a confirmation of the moral restraint check on fertility posited by Malthus beside the two “natural” checks, vice and misery. Quotes:

A rapid and continuous decline in the birth-rate of Northern and Western Europe, in contravention of all known biological and economic laws, has filled demographists with amazement.

Whereas: “The tendency in the races of history has been to over-population, or to population beyond the food supply

The very qualities, therefore, that make the social unit a law-abiding and useful citizen, who could and should raise the best progeny for the State, also enable him to limit his family, or escape the responsibility of family life altogether; while, on the other hand, the very qualities which make a man a social burden, a criminal, a pauper, or a drunkard –improvidence and defective inhibition– ensure that his fertility will be unrestrained, except by the checks of biological law.

If moral restraint with the consequent limitations of families is the peculiar characteristic of the best people in the state, and the absence of this characteristic expressing itself in normal fertility is peculiar to the worst people of the state, the future of the race may be divined

Vice and misery are more active checks amongst the very poor, and abortion is practised to a very considerable extent, but the appalling fact remains, that the birth-rate of the unfit goes on undisturbed, while the introduction of higher checks amongst the normal classes has led to a marked decline.

&, as another way of phrasing the above: “The defectives are more fertile than any other classes because of the very defect that makes them a danger to society. The defective restraint that allows them to commit offences against person and property, also allows their provocative impulse unrestrained activity.

Please note that the phenomenon, also described as “rise of the Criminal,” predates mass immigration.

Chapple also alludes to homogamy among the unfit “which their circumstances necessitate.

Last but not least, Chapple discusses mechanical contraceptives and considers that the least invasive technique is tubo-ligature, far preferable than vasectomy, as the latter “unsexes” males, leading to atrophy of the testes and impotence after some years. Ironically, today it is vasectomy that is more widespread (1 Englishman out of 5 is vasectomized, mark you). I have no doubt these vasectomies are practised on law-abiding citizens, according to their own will, as a moral restraint check on their fertility.

A consequence of demographic transition may be that marriage as paternity opportunity is now weak and that abuse of stepchildren has increased as a result (not as evolutionary adaptation)! Stepparent violence, if it’d be the result of demographic transition (stepparenting two kids from another bed entails a significant probability that the stepfather will have no kid of his own in a society characterized by the demographic transition, whereas it would have been no obstacle to siring a lot of children in the past), would be neither the result of evolutionary ADAPTATION nor, as in Daly & Wilson, a BYPRODUCT of evolution, a so-called “spandrel.”

Documents: Scandinavian America

A Chronology of Some Facts about Scandinavian Presence in America


Leif Erikson Statue at Minnesota State Capitol

986-1003 Two Norwegians, Biarni Herjolfsson and Leif Erikson, reach America, on separate voyages. Colonization of “Vinland” fails, but new research indicates that the Viking explorers may have penetrated the Americas as far west as Minnesota (see entry 1898). (For less-well known facts, see my essay “Ingeborg, A Viking Girl on the Blue Lagoonhere)

1013 Snoiri, son of Gudrid (wife of the Icelander Thorfinn Karlsefni), is the first white child born in North America.

1630 Scandinavian settlers come with Dutch settlers, in the bay of New Amsterdam.

1638 Fort Christina, first Swedish colony (New Sweden/Nya Sverige).

1638 The first log cabin in America is erected by Swedes.

1639 Jonas Bronck, a Scandinavian immigrant of disputed origin (Faroe Islands, or Denmark, or Sweden), married with a Dutch woman and settled in New Netherland, is the first to colonize the area that now bears his name, the Bronx in NYC, as does the Bronx river (Bronck’s river).

1655 After a battle, New Sweden becomes part of New Netherland. Later, in 1664, the Dutch New Amsterdam is conquered by an English fleet.

1681 William Penn buys the land for his colony of Pennsylvania from Swedish settlers.

1705 Thormodus Torfæus, royal historian of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, writes Historia Vinlandiæ Antiquæ (History of Ancient Vinland)

1769 Foundation in Philadelphia of a Society of Scandinavians, as a socio-cultural organization.

1776 John Morton, of Delaware, descendant of Swedish settlers, casts the deciding vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence.

1781-82 John Hanson, descendant of the earliest Swedish settlers, serves as the first ‘President of the U.S. in Congress Assembled’, before George Washington is elected President of a new U.S. government. Thus, he was chief executive of the nation during its first year.

1826-1910 Norway gave to America a larger proportion of her people than any other nation, except Ireland, during the great Atlantic migrations.

1840 Swedish’s Immigration Law of 1768 restricting the right of emigration is repealed by the Parliament as an answer to the problem of pauperism.

1844 Danes create the first Scandinavian society in America.

1846 Eric Janson, leader of the Swedish pietistic sect known as the Jansonites, builds Bishop Hill Colony in Illinois, a communal society that was to last until 1870.

1847 The first Scandinavian newspaper in the US, Skandinavia, is published in New York City.

1848 Creation of the first Bygdelag or “District League,” Norwegian-American organization with social and cultural purposes.

1848 Danish pioneer Peter Lassen leads a party through the Sierra Nevada to northen California, blazing a new route past the mountain that now bears his name: Lassen Peak.

1850 Beginning of Danish Mormons’ emigration to Utah. (Danes are the major European component of the Mormons. See William Muller’s Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia)

1851 First Scandinavian political organization: the Swedish-American Republican Club of Illinois.

1854 Scandinavians, as a group, begin to transfer their political allegiance from the Democratic to the Republican Party. The process is complete by 1860.

1856 Scandinavians largely oppose the American (Know-Nothing) Party in favor of immigration restriction and longer residence requirements for citizenship. (See entry 1886(i) for a shift in opinion)

1864-1867 The Great Famine in Sweden leads to an exodus to America.

1872 Jon Olafsson leads a party for the exploration of Alaska as a settlement site for Icelanders. The resulting bill is not passed. Icelanders create a ‘New Iceland’ colony near Lake Winnipeg, on land granted by the government of Canada; the colony is named Gimli after the paradise of Norse legends.

1877 Foundation of the Norwegian-American Historical Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Decorah is nicknamed the “Norwegian capital” of the state.

1883 The first prima donna of the New York Metropolitan Opera is a Swedish woman, Christina Nilsson.

1886 Many Scandinavians join nativist associations in opposition to the emigration of new people from Southern and Eastern Europe.

1886 Due to agrarian distress in the Mid-West, thousands of Scandivavians leave the Republican Party and join the Farmers’ Alliance, which will later become part of the Populist Party.

1888 Norwegian-American newspaper Normanden is started; headed by writer H. A. Foss, it expresses the Populist sympathies of the Scandinavian farmers (1888-1993). (More on H. A. Foss below: Prohibitions-Mystik)

1890 Jacob A. Riis, the best-known Danish-American, publishes How the Other Half Lives, an influential appeal to social conscience. (He later published, among other things, his memoirs under the title The Making of an American, 1901.)

1890 Scandinavians in the Mid-West are instrumental in getting Farmers’ Alliance’s candidates elected to the House of Representatives.

1891 In reply to a questionnaire sent to governors of states by the Immigration Restriction League, 12 state governments express a desire for immigrants of Scandinavian bakground (for these are perceived as “hard working, god fearing, and non-radical”).

1894 “Give me Swedes, snuff and whiskey, and I’ll build a railroad through hell.” (James J. Hill, of the Great Northern Railroad)

1894 Many Scandinavian-Americans join the American Protective Association, a nativist anti-catholic organization.

1894 Numerous victories of the Populist party, especially in Scandinavian populated states: North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin.

1895 Creation of the Sons of Norway, the largest Norwegian secular organization in America.

1898 Finding of the Kensington Stone, a slab of Runic inscriptions, dated 1362, in Minnesota.

1899 Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class.

1900 Minneapolis is the Scandinavian capital of America, the center of Swedish and Norwegian papers, churches and seminaries.

1902 Chicago-based Ottilie Liljencrantz writes her first Viking romance, The Thrall of Leif the Lucky, based on the journeys of Leif Erikson to Greenland and America.

1910 Even as late as 1910, Scandinavian immigrants are less inclined to settle in cities than other immigrant arrivals.

1914-1915 Icelander-American Vilhjalmur Stefansson became a world-famous explorer of the Arctic; he showed how, by using local ressources, explorers could spend years north of the Arctic circle.

1915 Scandinavian-Americans form the backbone of the Farmers Nonpartisan League. (On the Populists and the League, see next section.)

1917 US purchases the Danish West Indies (Virgin Islands), where live 3,200 Danes, who acquire American citizenship in 1927.

1917 Norwegian-American Henry Oyen writes novel Gaston Olaf, made into a film the same year by director Francis Ford as The Avenging Trail with actor Harold Lockwood.

1919 Andrew Volstead, a Norwegian-American Congressman from Minnesota, writes the Prohibition Law. (see Prohibitions-Mystik below)

1921 The Swedish-Lutheran Church in America resolves to conduct all services in English (at that time, 85 % of the preachings were still in Swedish).

1921 At the Second International Conference on Eugenics (New York), Dr Jon Alfred Mjøen from Norway introduces the resolution creating the committee which ultimately organized the American Eugenics Society. Mjøen was editor of journal Den Nordiske Race (The Nordic Race).

1922 Howard Hanson, born in Nebraska to Swedish immigrant parents, composes his Nordic Symphony (No 1).

1923 The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man by Nels Anderson (Chicago School of Sociology).

1925 Ole Edvart Rølvaag’s Giants in the Earth (Verdens Grøde).

1925 It is estimated that by 1925 the Swedish immigrant farmers had cleared or farmed over 12,000,000 acres of land in the US.

1926 Swedish film director Victor Sjöström, working in Hollywood from 1924 to 1937, makes The Scarlet Letter, from Hawthorne’s novel, with Lilian Gish and Swedish actor Lars Hanson.

1927 Charles Lindbergh, a son of Swedish immigrants, makes his famous pioneer flight, New York-Paris non-stop.

1929 The Leif Erikson Memorial Association is organized to promote the establishment of a Leif Erikson Day.

1932 Einar Lund’s novel Solveig Murphy (the title says it all).

1936 Take All To Nebraska, Danish-American novelist Sophus Keith Winther’s first part of his Grimsen Trilogy, about Danish immigrants who never attain freedom from landlord or mortgage-holder.

1940 The Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn (NY), sometimes called a suburb of Oslo, in 1940 has the largest concentration of Norwegians ouside of Norway (almost 55,000 persons).

1941 The carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial is officially ended. It was achieved by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, born in Idaho to Danish Mormon polygamist parents, and his son Lincoln.

1942 Danish immigrant William Knudsen, president of General Motors, is appointed by President F.D. Roosevelt to mobilize American industry for war production in WWII. “Míster Knudsen, director eminente de la General Motors y asociado principal de la Opel en Alemania, fue designado Director General de la Defensa: en los Estados Unidos, no en Alemania” (Juan José Arévalo, Fábula del tiburón y las sardinas)

1947 Finn Ronne, a Norwegian-American, definitely establishes that Antarctica is one continent.

1948 The Kensington Stone is placed in the Smithsonian Institution.

1970 Swedish film director Bo Widerberg’s film Joe Hill, about Swedish-American song writer and labor activist (IWW, Industrial Workers of the World) Joseph Hillström (1879-1915) (the film makes use of the song Joe Hill, which Joan Baez had sung at Woodstock festival in 1969).


On the Populists and the Nonpartisan League, Upton Sinclair, the famous writer and a Socialist, wrote the following appreciative remarks in his book The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism (1919) – remarks that illustrate the writer’s indictment of ‘American Journalism.’

Also there were the Populists. The little boy had never seen a Populist, he had never been given an opportunity to read a Populist platform, but he knew all about the Populists from the funny editorials of Charles A. Dana. The Populists were long-haired and wild-eyed animals whose habitat was the corn-fields of Kansas. The boy knew the names of a lot of them, or rather the nick-names which Dana gave them; he had a whole portrait-gallery of them in his mind. Once upon a time the ‘Sun’ gave some statistics from Kansas, suggesting that the Populists were going insane; so the little boy took his pen in hand and wrote a letter to the editor of the ‘Sun,’ gravely rebunking him. He had never expected to read in the columns of the ‘Sun’ a suggestion that the Populists might go insane. And the ‘Sun’ published this feeble product of its own ‘smartness.’ …

The Nonpartisan League is an issue, not only in Minnesota and North Dakota, but all over the country where the interests are in terror of a farmers’ revolt. And so the whole power of the kept press is enlisted to malign it. The League is doing business through the Scandinavian-American Bank of Fargo, and the enemies of the League raid this institution, with the help of subservient public officials, and throw it into the hands of a receiver. From one end of the country to the other goes the story of crooked banking by the farmers’ party, and is featured by the capitalist press. The ‘New York Times’ has several detailed dispatches, also solemn editorials. A week or two later the Supreme Court of the State denounces the proceedings as a conspiracy, declares the bank sound, and orders its return to the owners. The ‘Times’ gives this–not one line! Or take the ‘Kansas City Star,’ a most completely respectable organ, which features the smash-up of a bank, and reports the restoration in a tiny item, giving the name of the bank, but not mentioning it as the League bank–understanding perfectly well that ninety-nine out of a hundred readers will not make the connection, and will not know that the League has been vindicated! …

Or take the Nonpartisan League of North Dakota. All through the war the newspapers strove to make this appear a disloyal organization. The League held a convention at St. paul, at which hundreds of speeches were made; and the Associated Press found it possible to make one of the speakers, La Follette, appear disloyal by misquoting him. So it featured La Follette and reported the other speakers hardly at all. …

Fortunately there are parts of America in which the people have kept at least a part of their economic independence, and have gone ahead to solve the problem of the ‘kept’ press in true American fashion–that is, by organizing and starting honest newspapers for themselves. The editor of the ‘Non-partisan Leader,’ Oliver S. Morris, has kindly written for me an account of the experiences of the Nonpartisan League, which I summarizes as follows:

The League commenced organization work early in 1915 in North Dakota. By the summer of the next year it had forty thousand members, yet no newspaper in the state had given, even as news, a fair account of the League’s purposes. Every daily paper in the state was filled with ‘gross misinformation and absurd lies.’ So the League started a little weekly. With this single weekly, against the entire  daily press of the state, it swept the primaries in June, 1916.

Then the League decided to have a daily paper. The ‘Courier-News’ of Fargo had been for sale, but the owners would not sell to the League. The League went ahead to start a new paper, actually buying machinery and taking subscriptions; then the ‘Courier-News’ decided to sell, and its circulation under League ownership now exceeds the total population of Fargo.

The League at present has weekly papers in seven states, with a total circulation of two hundred thousand, and another weekly, the ‘Non-partisan Leader,’ published in St. Paul, with a circulation of two hundred and fifty thousand. It is starting co-operative country weekly papers, supervising their editorial policy and furnishing them news and editorial service; over one hundred of these weekly papers are already going. There is another League daily in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and one at Tampa, Idaho. Finally, the League is going ahead on its biggest venture, the establishment of a daily in Minneapolis. This paper is to be capitalized at a million dollars, and the stock is being sold to farmer and labor organizations throughout the state. Says Mr. Morris : ‘Many professional and business men, disgusted with the controlled press, have purchased stock, and are warm boosters for the League publications.’

As I am going to talk about Prohibition (Volstead Act) in the next section, let me add that Upton Sinclair also wrote a novel in defense of Prohibition, The Wet Parade (1931) (quoted at length in the Comments section below).



The noble experiment’ (Herbert Hoover)

The Prohibition Law of 1919 was written by Norwegian-American Congressman Andrew Volstead (Rep.). The Law is known as the Volstead Act. This is perhaps not fortuitous. The only other Western nations in modern times that passed prohibition laws were Scandinavian. In Iceland, Prohibition was adopted in 1909 and lasted up to the 1970s for some beverages like beer. Prohibition in Norway lasted from 1919 to 1926, in Finland from 1919 to 1932, and in U.S. from 1920 to 1933.

I take the opportunity to salute the memory of Eliot Ness (himself a Norwegian-American!) who fought a rather lonely struggle against corruption and the mob. The brilliant homage paid to him and his men by film director Brian De Palma (Untouchables, 1987) is all the more striking since De Palma is of Italian-American background and the mobsters in his film are Italian-Americans, true lazzaroni, the kind of folks whom the Scandinavians active in nativist associations (see entry 1886i) had rather barred from entering America.

H.A. Foss, Den amerikanske saloon

Foss (1851-1929) was a Norwegian immigrant who settled in the Dakotas, where he edited the Normanden. He wrote several books dealing with life on the Great Plains and the social and political problems of his days. His novel Den amerikanske saloon (1889), dealing with the temperance movement, may have had some influence as North Dakota entered statehood in 1889 as a ‘dry state.’

In his 1892 novel Hvide slaver (White Slaves), written with the aim of furthering the Populist cause in the election of that year, Foss describes the economic enslavement gradually imposed on the agricultural West by eastern capitalists.

Den Amerikanske Saloon is Foss’s only work that was translated in English, under the title Tobias: A Story of the Northwest, in 1899. ‘Very rare title, not listed in OCLC or the Library of Congress’ (according to the American librarian who sold me the original copy I own: picture).

The following excerpts (in the original Norwegian of his days) present two opposite views on the policy, as expressed by characters of the novel. These characters express their views from the religious standpoint.

Totalafhold saasom ‘Fritaenkeri’ (Teetotaling as Free-Thinking):

“Jeg ved vel, De har gjennemgaaet meget, men ikke maa De lade slige Griller faa Overhand med Dem. – De, som har været en saa fostandig og gudfrygtig Kvinde, burde huske, at Gud, som lagde Sodoma og Gomorrha øde ved sin Kraftens Haand, han kan ogsaa, om han finder det tjenligt for os, læegge hele Sletten øde, eller omstyrte hvereneste Saloon saa fort, som vi kan blinke med Øiet. Men vi skrøbelige Mennesker! – hvad kan vi i vor Afmagt gjøre mer end at bede og haabe og vente? – Nei, lad ikke Djævlen indbilde os, at vi har Kræfter til at omskabe eller rengjøre Verden.” (sid.170)

“Vi lever i en Vantroens Tid. Vranglærere og Fritænkere dukker op hist og her, og de har ogsaa bragt sit Værk saavidt, at de har rykket to Familier ud af vor kjære Menighed, og det ligger nær at tænke, de ogsaa har rykket dem bort fra Gud. De driver sit Spil under Paaskud af Reform, søger at lære Folket, at de ved egen Kraft kan bli’ lykkelige for Tid og Evighed, bare de vil skrive under paa deres Love og Regler. De vil sætte verdslige Reformer i Stedet for Religionen, Egenretfærdighed i Stedet for Bofærdighed, og de søger at forvrænge Guds hellige Ord og tildels bruge det til Støtte for sin Sag. Medens Bibelen lærer, at Jesus gjorde Vand til Vin, og at Paulus endog udtrykkelig sagde til Timotheus, at lidt Vin vilde gjøre godt for hans Mave, saa siger disse moderne, selvkloge, fantastiske Reformatorer, at Bibelen lærer os at fornegte os al berusende Drik – denne Guds Gave – totalt! – Vildfarelserne er saa store, at man ligesom kan føle paa dem, og jeg tror, det er enhver Kristens Pligt at raabe et Varsko mod dem.” (sid. 180-181)

Tredieparti-Prohibitionister (Third-Party Prohibitionists)

“Temperance mener maadeholdent Brug af alle gode Ting i Verden og totalt Afhold fra alle de onde. Siden Drukkenskaben er en Last, taaler ikke Gud nogen Del af den eller noget Maadehold med den, men venter, at vi skal bede ham om Hjælp til at afstaa fra Lasten og handle, som vi heder. Han har aldrig fat Grændse for Synden eller sagt, vi kan synde saa og saa meget, men straffer den midste Synd som den største. Vi blir aldrig fuldkomne paa Jorden; men, hvis vi med Forsæt tillader og understøtter Laster og Synder og ikke modarbeider dem med de Midler, Gud har ladet os faa raade over, da vil han heller ikke kjendes ved os eller forlade os efter Døden, selv om vi tror, vi har syndet maadeligt. Derfor er det vor Pligt at afholde os fra Nydelsen af Rusdrik, saa vi ikke fordærver Sjæl og Legeme eller forfører Nogen ved vort Exempel, og, da vi har saa store Rettigheder her i dette vort herlige Fædreland, at vi egentlig er dem, som styrer of raader, saa er det os, som kan bestemme, hvorvidt Saloonerne og Fristelserne skal faa existere. Med disse Rettigheder kommer Ansvaret – ja, et stort Ansvar, fordi 200,000 Salooner staar aabne her i Landet idag til at modtage og demoralisere vore unge Søner og Døtre. Det er vor Stemmeseddel, som kan lukke disse Salooner, næst Guds Hjælp, fordi de har Lovens Beskyttelse. Derfor gjælder det for hver stemmeberettiget Borger at kaste sin Stemme mod Saloonen, saa han ikke maa bære Synd eller Skyld i, at 60,000 Sjæle hvert Aar gaar i en fortidlig Grav – fortabt for Tid og Evighed – for Trafikens Skyld. Denne lille Kommune – dette County raader ikke over hele Landet, vet vi; men vi er ansvarlige for vor egen Kreds od udgjør en Sten i Muren af Samfundsbygninger. Sten for Sten maa renses, afslibes of lægges ind igjen sund og solid, om Bygningen skal staa ved Lag. Det er saaledes med Glæde, jeg nedbeder Guds Velsignelse over Eders noble og nødvendige Fortagende, haabende, ret Mange vil slutte sig op til og oparbeide Stemningen, saa I til næste Høst maa kunne staa mandstærke ved Valgurnen of sige: Saloonen maa gaa.” (sid. 250-252)

More on Prohibition in Comments (below).


Hans Jaeger’s Fra Kristiania-Bohêmen

Hans Jaeger’s book Fra Kristiania-Bohêmen was seized by the authorities immediatly after its release in 1886 and a new edition was not allowed in Norway before 1950. Jaeger was condemned by a court of justice and sacked from his position as stenographer at the Norwegian Parliament (Storting), the same institution that had gawarded a life-long annual grant to Ibsen in 1866 (until, I suppose, the latter’s death in 1906). Jaeger spent many years exiled in France, where he authored the Anarkiets Bibel (Bible of Anarchy), published in 1906 in Copenhagen.

While his novel was banned in Norway, Norwegian-Americans could read it lawfully in U.S., where it was published in Minneapolis in 1894 by Waldemar Kriedt, who also published the then widely-read books of proletarian Norwegian-American writer Lars Stenholt.

Chicago Anarkisterne (The Chicago Anarchists), 1888, by Lars A. Stenholt


Johannes Hoving and American Swedendom

Among Swedish-American personalities who devoted time and energy to promote a specific Swedish-American culture among Swedish immigrants in the New World was Dr Johannes Hoving.

Hoving called his autobiography I svenskhetens tjänst. Ur mitt livs dagbok, 1944-1953 (At the Service of Swedendom: Excerpts from my Diaries). Promotion of ‘Swedendom’ among emigrants was the goal of his life, being a leading member in many Scandinavian-American societies of the East Coast.

Other books by Hoving include: Erfarenheter och upplevelser under de senaste tio åren i New York, 1924; & Den svenska kolonisationen i Amerika, 1940

(As I have dealt with Prohibition above, I shall add here that Hoving was opposed to it, and that he names the issue as one of the major reasons he voted in 1933 for F.D. Roosevelt, whose platform included the repeal of the Law. Hoving, a physician, stressed that lobbying was exerted by the sugar and soft drink industry in favor of protracting the ban on spirituals, and that the effects on health of their own products should be put in the balance. Indeed, since then the consumption of sodas has become a major health issue.)

He is the father of Walter Hoving, chairman of Tiffany & Company from 1955 to 1980.

The following are excerpts from his memoirs, to serve as documents on the Swedish-American presence in America.

Svenskarna i Amerika

Johannes Hoving, I Svenskhetens Tjänst II, Skandinaviska Släkt Studie Samfundet 1944, bl. 15-16

Den 2 november [1918] höll jag ett tal på Svenska Ingeniörsföreningen [i New York] om svenskhetens bevarande av följande lydelse:

“Det svåraste problemet vi svenskar ha att lösa i Amerika är bibehållandet av det svenska språket. Lättheten att inhämta andra språk länder i detta fall oss till nackdel, ty genom umgänge med andra folkslag tillägna vi oss lätt deras seder och bruk och deras tungamål. Detta sker ändå lättare med barn, som i skolan höra landets språk och därför snart börja tala endast skolans språk, d. v. s. engelska, om vi ej äro på vår vakt.

Om vi slappna i våra hem och börja svara våra barn på engelska, då de fråga oss på detta språk, så är svenska inom kort förlorad för dem. Om vi däremot ej giva tapt, utan ihärdigt redan från början tvinga barnen att, liksom förr, tilltala oss på svenska och svara dem på svenska, så tappa de ej bort sig, utan kunna fås att jämsides lära sig båda språken och detta naturligtvis till deras egen fördel. Ibland är det t. o. m. lämpligt att giva dem någon belöning för varje dag, då de endast tala svenska till oss. Varje far och mor, som försökt detta vet huru lätt det går och att det endast gäller att vara på sin vakt under några månader – under de första månaderna av barnens skolgång. Senare går det av sig självt. Och då barnen bliva äldre, äro de oss tacksamma för sin större kunskap, då de ha tillfälle att läsa våra stora författare, skalder och vetenskapsmän på originalspråket.

Genom att hålla sig till svenskan som umgängesspråk med barnen, få föräldrarna dessutom alltid ett visst övertag över dem, ty barnen få först senare, om de vinnlägga sig därom, lika stora eller större kunskaper i svenskan, än föräldrarna ha. Om vi däremot tala engelska med dem, få de oftast ett visst övertag över oss och känna sig överlägsna, om vi t. ex. ej tala den korrekta amerikanska engelska, som de få lära sig i skolan. Och därmed kan första steget oförmärkt vara taget i orätt riktning och barnen inbilla sig att föräldrarna även i andra avseenden ej äro så framstående som lärarna i skolan! Genom falsk slutledning kunna de sedan få den förvrängda tron att Sverige och allt svenskt står efter Amerika och allt amerikanskt också i andra hänseenden! Det är beundransvärt att svenskarna i Amerika kunnat bibehålla sin svenskhet så väl som de gjort utan den minsta hjälp hemifrån. Detta gäller kanske i något mindre grad finlands-svenskarna, som är segare i sin språkkamp i Amerika, liksom hemma i Finland.

Ännu under slutet av förra århundradet voro kyrkorna det svenska språkets fastaste stod, men detta förhållande har under de senaste decennierna märkbart förändrade till det sämre. I minst 50 % av de forna svenska kyrkorna predikas nu på engelska och söndagsskoleundervisningen är endast engelsk med ytterst få undantag. Däremot har Vasaordens stora utbredning räddat det svenska språket för stora lager av vårt svenska folk. Ty i alla dess 400 loger talas där endast svenska och, då medlemmarnas barn bli fullvuxna, följa de ofta föräldrarna till logemötena och veta, att där finns en stor organisation, som man kan lita på och där det talas fars och mors vackra språk.

Allt som kan göras för att stärka denna stora svenska organisation, måste göras, ty den är svenskhetens fastaste borg i Amerika. Medan i andra organisationer, som stått direkt eller indirekt under amerikanskt överherrskap, alla andra språk än engelska blevo förbjudna under världskriget – detta påbud utfärdades naturligtvis för att komma åt tyskarna – så bibehöll Vasaorden sin ritual ren och oförfalskad och kommer att så göra i framtiden. Alla som tillhöra Vasaorden känna till detta. Många, som ej tillhöra densamma, ha uraklåtit att sluta sig till densamma på grund av likgiltighet eller med svenskens inneboende oppositionslusta som grund. Han vill helt enkelt ej binda sig, utan önskar att vara fri och oberoende, gud bevara! Om han visste hur mycket mera fri och oberoende han bleve genom att sluta sig till Vasaorden, gjorde han det genast. Och särskilt bör den, som haft lyckan att genom uppfrostan vinna lärdom, sluta sig till Vasaorden, ty han har ett stort ansvar sig pålagt och begår en stor uraktlåtenhetssynd, om han ej försöker vad på honom ankommer att göra sin lärdom fruktbringande för sina medmänniskor, synnerligast inom den nationalitet han tillhör. På detta sätt kan denna nationalitet höjas och vinna i den fredliga kampen med andra nationaliteter till det helas framgång och upplyftelse och till hans egen tillfredsställelse.“

Svenskhetens bevarande

Johannes Hoving, I Svenskhetens Tjänst II, Skandinaviska Släkt Studie Samfundet 1944, bl. 157-159

(Den 23 juli 1922, Worcester, Mass.)

Man har i ledande amerikanska kretsar börjat inse att något måste göras för att hålla samman alla de olika raselementen, som bilda den amerikanska nationen. Man har låtit alltför många underlåtenhetssynder mot dem komma sig till last, delvis av okunnighet eller tanklöshet, delvis av andra orsaker. Man försöker minska eller helt och hållet borttaga de skrankor, som skilja dem åt. Huru detta skall göras, håller man på att försöka finna ut.

Rasfrågan står på dagordningen och är icke lätt att lösa. På densamma byggde man upp den s. k. fred, som slöts i Versailles och annorstädes. Man drog upp nya gränser mellan länderna för att förena samma raselement i Europa med varandra till ett rike. Att den segrande diplomatin därvidlag begick en massa fel, med eller mot sin vilja och avsikt, förhindrar ej att avsikten var den angivna. Man har skäl att frukta den gula rasen och dess framtida övertag på grund av dess överlägsenhet i antal, och man har här i Staterna klart för sig att frågan om den svarta rasen måste lösas på ett eller annat sätt i tid, för att ej framdeles bringa ofärd för nationen.

Den svenska rasens betydelse i världen har blivit föremål för ingående studier där hemma. Man har grundat det första rasbiologiska institut i världen i Uppsala, och fått en av samtidens främsta rasbiologer till chef för detsamma. Det gäller att ingående studera villkoren för den svenska rasens bibehållande ren och oblandad och medlen att förhindra densammas degeneration. Ty denna ras är enligt nutidens främsta rasbiologers och arkeologers forskningar den starkaste bland alla raser och den, som givit världen des största män på andens och framåtskridandets områden, icke allenast i dess urhem Sverige, utan även bland de folk, som sedan årtusenden haft svenskt blandblod. Han anser att de blonda och blåögda överallt i världen härstamma från denna kraftiga ras.

Den finlandsvenska skalden Bertil Gripenberg har i en härtig dikt givit uttryck åt raskänslans styrka, och jag tror att ett citat ur diktan ej vore ur vägen:

Ja, blott en höstgult löv, som virvlar för vinande vinden
är jag – och dock ett löv av den tusenåriga linden,
linden, som sträcker sin rot djupt ner i dunkel och natt,
ner i en jord, som gömmer en helig och hemlig skatt.

Fäder i tallösa led, I stolta skyhöga stammar,
världshav, vars vågor gå med våldsamt dånande kammar,
väldiga träd med rötter, som ingen i världen mätt,
hav med omätligt djup, vars botten ingen har sett.

Sen, jag är dock av er, fastän snart själv skall försvinna,
låten för er ock min snart brunna gnista förbrinna!
Stolthet och lycka det är att vara av ädel stamm,
härligt att driva som skum på de egna vågornas kam.

Er är min vilja och varje tanke föddes i eder
långt före mig i förgätna och hänsvunna tider och leder,
er är den makt, som mig styr över skummande, skymmande hav,
er är den mannagärning, som ödet i livet mig gav. /

Kort är min tid, blott en ensam droppe i världshavet är jag,
redan förvissnad, förgängelsens höstliga guldskrud här jag.
Livet är evigt och mäktigt och grymt och isande kallt,
intet är jag, men min ras och min rot och min stam är allt!

Den som kan skriva så om sin ras, den kan ej visas bort som en paria eller främling av egna stamförvanter!

Vad svenskarna i Amerika beträffar, så voro de lämnade åt sitt öde redan från allra första början. De svenska kolonisterna från 1600-talet voro ju helt uppgivna ganska snart och hade senare, då kolonin gick förlorad, ingen gemenskap med moderlandet. Och dock var rasen så stark, att den givit upphov åt ett släkte, som är uppblandat med de gamla amerikanska familjerna i Pennsylvanien, och vi finna att ett stort antal av dessa trakters främsta släkter med stolthet pekar på sin svenska börd.

De under det senaste århundradet hitkomna immigranterna ha varit här lämnade vind för våg. Men trots detta ha de i stort sett bibehållit sig rasrena i flera trakter av vårt land. De ordnade sig i samhällen, dels av religiös, dels av social art, och samhällskänslan har varit så stark, att ytterst sällan någon svensk fallit det allmänna till last, utan ha landsmän i allmänhet tagit hand om honom, när så behövts. Utom stora kyrkliga samfund grundlades hjälpföreningar, och den som intresserar oss mest är grundandet av Vasaorden, som ju ägde rum för 26 år sedan. Huru detta skedde veta vi alla. Varför Vasaorden fått den spridning den har i dag över hela den amerikanska kontinenten, förstå vi, som tillhöra densamma, men för utomstående kan det vara gott att veta att Vasaordens mål att bibehålla svenskt språk, svenska seder och bruk utgjort ordens verkliga, inneboende styrka samt att medlemmarna sträva att i alla sina åtgöranden handla i sanning och enighet med Vasaordens bästa för ögonen.

Vi böra aldrig glömma att svenska språket är vår härligaste arvedel och att det tillhör alla lika mycket, fattiga och rika, lärda och olärda, svenskar hemma och svenskar utom Sverige. Det är det stora gemensamma, som inga hav och inga gränser splittra eller förinta, om vi blott själva vårda och taga vara på detsamma. Att vi dessutom skola lära oss att tala en god engelska faller av sig självt. Men detta kan göras endast genom att läsa goda böcker och genom självstudium, och alltid finnes där någon ledig stund på dagen, då detta kan ske, om vi blott besluta oss för det.

Vi böra också förändra vår uppfattning om vår egen ras, så att vi ej anse oss stå närmare t. ex. amerikanare av annan ras, än till våra egna stamförvanter. Men denna liknöjdhet och tanklöshet är tyvärr en svensk skötesynd, som dock börjat på att ändras till det bättre där hemma. En organisation, som klarar begreppen om dessa förhållanden, är « Riksföreningen för svenskhetens bevarande i utlandet ». Denna förening har redan uträttat storverk genom att understöda bildningssträvanden i svenskhetens intresse i skilda delar av Europa. Den har skänkt ett bibliotek på 20.000 band till den för 3 år sedan nystiftade Åbo Akademi och har understött och instiftat professuren i svenska språket i de gamla svenska universiteten i Reval i Estland och i Greifswald i Tyskland. Den strävar naturligtvis icke att få dessa länder eller dess befolkning tillbaka till Sverige. För ingen del! Men den strävar att bibehålla svenskhetskänslan hos svenska ättlingar, som leva och bo i dessa trakter, och att utbreda kännedomen om den svenska kulturens praktblommor bland de folk, som med dessa komma i beröring, så att utlänningarna ej av okunnighet må se svenskarna över axeln, som ofta är fallet.

Vi böra här i Amerika tillse, att vid den framtida amerikanska kulturutvecklingen hänsyn tages till vad våra immigranter fört med sig till detta land. Och genom att själva stå i intim kontakt med dem där hemma, med det nya, som där kommer fram på olika områden, bli vi mera i stånd att inverka på utvecklingen här till detta lands egen fördel, liksom till vår.

Nu kunde man ju säga att det är lönlöst för oss att med vårt ringa antal och vår brist på medel försöka inverka på detta stora lands utveckling. Men så illa är det ej ställt. Kriget har öppnat ögonen på många amerikanare, som förut ej intresserat sig för europeiska förhållanden och problem. Många har börjat förstå att detta land dock icke uteslutande är anglo-sachsiskt, utan att här lever en befolkning, som består av olika raser och nationaliteter och som fört med sig en gammal kultur, från vilken Amerika kan med fördel taga upp en del och införliva den med sin egen.

Tiden är mogen för samarbete på alla områden. Genom samarbete kan åstadkommas saker och ting, som man ej på egen hand är stark nog att utföra. Tiden är också mogen för ett samarbete med våra landsmän där hemma i rent Vasasyfte, och jag tror att nästa års utställning i Göteborg, då utlandssvenskarna i stora skaror komma att infinna sig vid utställningen, kommer att bli särskilt lämplig för ett dylikt samarbetes påbörjande. Det gäller endast att börja på rätt sätt, och en Vasaordensloge i Sverige, uppbyggd enligt samma principer, som vi bekänna oss till, skulle verka ofantligt gott för all framtid. Jag tror också att tidpunkten är väl vald för ett dylikt närmande mellan de övriga svenska organisationerna i Amerika och oss. Vasaorden är den största bland dem alla, men alla äro de av samma slag, med samma mål och med samma medel att uppnå målet. Dessutom äro alla dessa organisationers medlemmar av samma ras, ättlingar av samma stam, ha samma karaktäregenskaper och samma historiska bakgrund att bygga på. Då ett intimare samarbete kommit till stånd mellan oss alla av samma ras, så äga vi mera styrka till goda och ädla handlingars utförande till inbördes bistånd och hjälp, än vi nu äga. Då skall den orden, som lånat sitt namn och sin strålande glans från det i hävderna så lysande Vasanamnet, utvecklas och fullkomnas och till slut nå ett mål, större och ärofullare än det redan uppnådda. Då skall i sanning solen ständigt lysa över Vasamedlemmar världen runt!

Some Swedish-Americans

J. Hoving, I svenskhetens tjänst IV, 1948, bl. 192

Såsom uppfinare kunna svenskarna räknas bland Amerikas främsta och det vore omjöligt att uppräkna ens de främsta bland dem. Den första skyskrapararkitekten var svensken Andrew Lanquist i Chicago. Han kallades också „de amerikanska skyskrapornas anfader“. Victor Bendix är känd i hela Amerika för sina bil- och flygmaskinsfabriker, George Jeppson i Worcester för sin tillverkning av slipskivor, Berkander för sina miljonartiklar i celloloid [celluloid], Ernst Alexanderson som expert och uppfinnare på radioteknikens och televisionens område, och chefen för världens största bussbolag, som omspinner hela den amerikanska kontinenten med ett nät av busslinjer, är Erik Wickman, verkställande direktören för och initiativtagaren till „Greyhoundbolaget“. På alla mekaniska avdelningar i alla fabriker av betydenhet finna vi svenskar som chefer och föreståndare, och det har sagts i Amerika, att om de skulle avgå på samma gång, skulle det amerikanska maskineriet avstanna. Deras patenter kunna räknas i tiotusental.

Jamestown: Svenskarnas stad

Johannes Hoving, I svenskhetens tjänst III, sid. 84-86.

Några dagar senare [augusti 1931] skrev jag om svenskarnas stad i Amerika, Jamestown, följande uppsats, som inflöt i N.D.A. [Nya Dagligt Allehanda] och senare i tidningen Skandia i Jamestown:

Svenskarnas stad i New York stat – Jamestown och dess borgmästare

Längst västerut i staten New York, tolv timmars järnvägsresa från den stora Metropolen New York, ligger en jämförelsevis liten stad nära Erie sjöns mäktiga, men idylliska vatten, och omgiven av skogar och berg. Denna stad är Jamestown, som fick sina första bebyggare i mitten av förra århundradet, och genom en märkvärdig ödets skickelse anlände dit också den ena laddningen smålänningar och andra svenskar efter den andra. I dag har staden ett invånareantal av 46 000 och av dem äro något flera än hälften svenskar. Där ha de byggt upp vackra kyrkor – den största svensk-amerikanska kyrkan i Amerika finnes här – skolhus, föreningshus, såsom Nordic Temple, banker, klubbar – Norden Club är den förnämsta i samhället, barnhem, hotell m.m. I Jamestown finnas stora möbelfabriker, där ärligen utställningar hållas, till vilka uppköpare från hela landet komma för att göra sina uppköp, ty Jamestowns fabriker åtnjuta stort och berättigat anseende.

En direkt följd av det svenska inslaget har blivit att denna stad styrs av svenskarna och det göra de på ett sådant sätt, att Jamestown betraktas som en mönsterstad för hela världen, åtminstone för Amerika. Där existerar inga mutskandaler, där äger staden sin vattenledning, för vilken utgifterna betalas genom en låg vattenskatt. Där äger staden numera också sitt elektricitetsverk och förser alla sina inbyggare med elektricitet till ett pris, som är mindre än i någon annan stad i hela landet. Endast 3 ½ cent per kilowatt, medan endast några mil därifrån alla andra städer få betala minst det dubbla. Under de förflutna åren, minst 20, som detta elektricitetsverk varit i bruk, ha staden Jamestowns invånare blivit besparade en utgift av minst 5 miljoner dollar – en ingen liten summa, i sanning!

Stadens skattebetalare ha också mycket mindre utskylder än någon annan stads invånare, ty alla stadens affärer skötas fullkomligt ärligt, utan mutor, och mycket små utgifter har staden att betala tjänstemännen, som sköta det hela. Man måste rent av förvåna sig över att detta kan gå för sig i ett land, där det eljes slösas med allmänna medel och där alla allmänna verk, såsom gasverk, elektricitetsverk, vattenledningar, kommunikationsmedel, renhållningsväsendet etc. alltid ligga i händerna på privata företag, då dessa utskylder eljes bleve alldeles för kostsamma för städerna själva att sköta om. Där finner man också orsaken till att alla järnvägslinjer, telefon-, telegraf- och spårvagnslinjer etc. äro privata företag i Amerika.

Det enda ämbetsverk, som Förenta staternas själv sköter, är postverket, vars generaldirektör är medlem av presidentens kabinett. Detta ämbetsverk går med stor förlust – omkring 15 till 20 miljoner dollar per år – ett säkerligen enastående förhållande, då ju alla andra länder postverkets nettovinst ingår som en säker inkomstkälla i staternas budgeter. Och trots att posten är regeringens ämbetsverk tog det tid innan postverket fick av kongressen rätt att befordra paket – denna politisk strid, som den allmänna opinionen lyckades tvinga senatens in expressbolagens styrelser sittande medlemmar till eftergifter och överlämna paketförsändelserna till postverket.

Men – för att återgå till den av svenskar skötta staden Jamestown – så tror jag att det numera är blott en mening om att den främstaorsaken till att den staden skötts på ett så enastående förträffligt vis är en enda mans förtjänst, nämligen den i Jamestown födde, men till börden småländske borgmästaren Samuel A. Carlsons. Denne man har blivit omvald till denna syssla minst tio gånger – han har alltså suttit i borgmästarestolen i 20 år – detta var 1931 – och har blivit återvald med undantag av en gång, då han för fyra år sedan besegrades av en annan svensk, som delvis på rent okynne uppsattes som hans motkandidat. Det slog emellertid ej väl ut och vid nästa val blev Carlsons majoritet ändå större än förrut.

“Mayor Sam Carlson” har ägnat hela sitt liv alltsedan sin ungdom, då han var medlem av stadens styrelse, närmast motsvarande stadsfullmäktige i Sverige, åt skötseln av stadens affärer. Han har framkommit med det ena utmärkta förslaget efter det andra för att minska utgifterna för de skattebetalande invånarna, men på samma gång lämna dem allt, som är behövligt för livets nödtorft så billigt som möjligt. Staden har i dagarna avslutat ett köp av ett elektricitetsverk, värt 1 miljon dollar, för endast 750 000 dollar, vilken summa betalas dels med ett för detta ändamål sammansparat kapital på 300 000 dollar, medan resten betalas en cent i ökade skatter för hela affären. De stora tidningarna i hela Amerika hålla just på att ventilera denna affär samt en del andra förslag till stadsstyrelsens förbättrande, som borgmästare Carlson just har gjort. Då hans ställning inom borgmästarekåren i staten New York är mycket framstående – han är hedersordförande för detta av samtliga borgmästare i staten bestående borgmästarerådet – så väger hans ord synnerligen mycket, och folket ser upp till denne Jamestowns borgmästare, som innehaft sin syssla längre än någon annan borgmästare i Amerika någonsin haft.

Bland nya administrativa förslag, som i dagarna gjorts av borgmästare Carlson, äro följande mycket intressanta: han föreslår att medlemmarna i stadens styrelse skola väljas på valdagen så, att alla som fått minst 20 % av samtliga röster skola anses valda. På det sättet bli alla minoritetspartier också representerade i stadens styrelse och någon bitterhet väljarna emellan skulle då ej behöva förekomma. En av de tre, som varje väljare vill ha i styrelsen, förser han med ett särskilt märke å valsedeln, och den som sålunda får det högsta röstetalet, blir förklarad vald till borgmästare. Det förefaller som om en hel del sunt förnuft vore till finnandes vid ett på detta sätt företaget val, medan de nu existerande valsätten giva även ringa majoriteter absolut bestämmanderätt över samtliga val. Borgmästare Carlson vill också införa en i endast några städer hittills känd syssla, nämligen en s.k. stadens verkställande direktör (manager), som jämte en till hans disposition ställd nämnd äger att taga hand om stadens samtliga behov, men på samma gång på ett effektivt sätt kontrolleras av stadsstyrelsen och borgmästaren. Mycken tidsbesparing kan på detta vis göras i en stads utgifter, alldeles på samma sätt, som vilket affärsföretag som helst, även de större och största ha en chef, som verkställer styrelsens beslut och är ansvarsskyldig inför styrelsen och aktieägarna – i detta fall väljarekåren.

Det vore att gå alltför långt, om jag skulle ändå mera i detalj ingå på de planer, enligt vilka staden Jamestown skötes eller kommer att skötas av sin borgmästare, men jag kan dock inte underlåta att ytterligare framhålla en hygienisk förordning, som borgmästaren lyckats införa – en förordning, som i början ansågs vara mycket betungande för stadens samtliga husmödrar, men vilka ej mera godvilligt ville återgå till det gamla systemet, om något skulle sättas i fråga av liknande art. Denna förordning utfärdades nämligen för ett tiotal år sedan och består däri, att allt avfall, som samlades i köken i staden, måste paketeras in i papper och snöras om ordentligt, innan de läggas ned i avfallstunnorna för att från dem bortföras utom staden och där förbrännas. En allmän renlighet i hela staden, i alla dess kök och avfallstunnor blev naturligtvis följden av denna i sanning sanitära åtgärd, och flugor finnas numera knappast i den staden!

Vi svenskar kunna vara stolta över denna svenskättling och över hela denna av vårt eget folk styrda stad. Även om där i Amerika finnas flera andra av svenskar styrda städer och samhällen: Rockford i Illinois, Worcester i Massachussets och några till i Minnesota och andra stater, så är där ingen, som kan jämföras med Jamestown i New York i detaljerad och framstående stadsstyrelse.