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The Fighting Scots-Irish
Reason ^ | July 2005 | Charles Oliver

Posted on 07/22/2005 11:34:38 AM PDT by neverdem

They shaped America, but did they make it more free?

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, by James Webb, New York: Broadway Books, 369 pages, $14.95

Long dismissed as rednecks, crackers, and hillbillies, the Scots-Irish—also known as Scotch-Irish, Ulster Scots, or Borderers, because they hailed from Northern Ireland and the border counties of Scotland and England—have provided a disproportionate share of America’s political leaders, military brass, writers, and musicians. As an ethnic group, James Webb argues in Born Fighting, they “did not merely come to America, they became America, particularly in the south and the Ohio Valley, where their culture overwhelmed the English and German ethnic groups and defined the mores of those regions.”

For Webb, a descendant of Scots-Irish immigrants who has written novels, fought with highly decorated distinction in Vietnam, and served as secretary of the navy and assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, the political culture of the Scots-Irish is defined by hyperpatriotism, a devotion to strong leaders, and individualist self-reliance. “It has shaped the emotional fabric of the nation, defined America’s unique form of populist democracy, created a distinctly American musical style, and through the power of its insistence on personal honor and adamant individualism has become the definition of ‘American’ that others gravitate toward when they wish to drop their hyphens and join the cultural mainstream,” he writes.

But the Scots-Irish impact on American politics is more problematic than Webb would have us believe. The populist politics they pioneered doesn’t necessarily produce the sort of values that sustain liberty. Indeed, the democratic impulse toward comfort and safety often undercuts self-reliance and individualism. Webb’s book, though well-written and often insightful, is more an exercise in ethnic self-mythologizing than an evenhanded attempt to judge the impact of the Scots-Irish and their culture on America.

How did this culture evolve? Webb tries to place the Scots-Irish within a larger framework of the Celtic tradition. But there’s quite a bit of dispute among historians about just how Celtic the Scots-Irish actually were. David Hackett Fischer, for instance, insists in Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America that the term Celtic is “very much mistaken as a rounded description of their ethnic origins.” Fischer notes the Scottish border area saw a mixing of Celtic tribes with Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, a fact reflected in some of the common surnames carried by the Scots-Irish, such as Hall, Ridley, Potts, Jackson, Forster, Calhoun, Young, and Oliver.

They also generally referred to themselves as a mixed people, Fischer says. “By the eighteenth century, the culture of this region bore little resemblance to the customs of the ancient Celts,” he writes. “The dominant language was English.”

The “Celticness” of the Scots-Irish is a matter of dispute. But one thing all historians agree on is that their culture is one shaped by war. Webb notes that by the time of the great emigration to America—starting around the turn of the 18th century--—the Scots-Irish had seen more than 700 years of almost continuous warfare along the border between Scotland and England.

The Scots-Irish came to prize aggressiveness and cunning, and they insisted on choosing their own leaders based on those traits. They developed a distrust of government, which seemed to exist only to burn their homes, seize their property, and kill their kin. And they reserved to themselves the right to judge the laws they lived under and determine whether they would obey them or not. They lived in rough, simple, ill-kept shacks. They saw no reason to build better homes when they were only going to get burned down eventually. They were at once fervently religious and intensely sensual.

Webb notes that some of the Scots-Irish made their way to Massachusetts in the early 1700s, thinking the Puritans would welcome them as fellow Calvinists. Instead, the Puritans thought their women flirted too much, their men gambled too much, and all of them drank and fought too much.

The Quakers in Pennsylvania and the Cavaliers in Virginia shared that assessment but at the same time thought these feisty people would form a perfect buffer between them and hostile Indians, so they invited the new immigrants to settle their frontiers. It was an invitation they would soon regret—before long the colonial governors were complaining that the Scots-Irish caused more trouble than the Indians, and that their presence inflamed the Indians even more.

But it was too late. They kept coming, spilling down the Appalachian Mountains into the Carolinas, Georgia, and westward, into what would become Kentucky and Tennessee. By the time the great migration had ended, almost half a million of them had poured into the colonies.

While New England merchants and Virginia aristocrats provided the philosophical and political leadership for the American Revolution, the Scots-Irish supplied the muscle and fighting spirit. Webb says between a third and a half of the rebel army was Scots-Irish.

“The famed Pennsylvania line, perhaps the best unit in the regular Army, was mainly Scots-Irish,” he adds. “True to form, it is also remembered for angrily (and drunkenly) marching on the Continental Congress on New Year’s Day, 1781, after not having been paid for more than a year.”

The Scots-Irish have provided many of America’s political leaders, including at least a dozen presidents from Chester Arthur to Woodrow Wilson. But Webb singles out Andrew Jackson as the pre-eminent Scots-Irish leader. “Andrew Jackson was an original, an unusual and fearless leader who dominated the American political process more fully than any president before or since,” he writes.

Webb argues that the wave of “Jacksonian populism” remains one of the most powerful forces in American politics. Indeed, he identifies it as no less than the basic governing philosophy not only of the South and the Ohio River Valley but of working-class America as a whole. That populism, he argues, is based on an ingrained distrust of elites and an emphasis on individual rights and responsibilities.

Jackson surely was a fearless soldier and capable politician, and in many ways he did represent a sort of rugged individualism. But Webb’s portrait of Old Hickory whitewashes him and his impact on American politics, largely because he doesn’t acknowledge the tensions in the Scots-Irish culture and its approach to politics. A fuller account of Jackson’s military career and his presidency would show that he rarely allowed legal restrictions or constitutional requirements to get in the way of his use of power. And it would reveal that Jackson’s “populism” did not extend much to outsiders, especially Indians or blacks.

“This Jackson,” historian Amy H. Sturgis has written in Reason (see “Not The Same Old Hickory,” May 2004), “was a man who exemplified characteristics later associated with other national leaders: Before Abraham Lincoln, he represented selective adherence to the Constitution; before William McKinley, energetic imperialism; before Teddy Roosevelt, the cult of personality; before Bill Clinton, the personal made political.” Perhaps it is no accident that three of the four presidents in that rogues’ gallery were of Scots-Irish descent.

Jacksonian populism requires that political leaders be responsive to the demands of the masses. Jacksonian politicians quickly learn that voters may say they want liberty, but what really gets their votes are new and expanded benefits and services.

Take former Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.). He’s best known to most Americans for his strident denunciation of his own Democratic Party for not being sufficiently willing to use military force overseas. Many observers point to Miller as an advocate of Jacksonian foreign policy. But Miller also represents Jacksonian domestic policy, or at least what it has devolved into.

In his home state, Miller long ago earned the nickname Zig Zag Zell for his ability to change his position on an issue if it proved politically damaging. And his signal achievement in his more than 40 years in Georgia politics was the creation of the HOPE scholarship, a middle-class entitlement funded by a lottery. The scholarship, which pays for local students to attend Georgia’s colleges and universities, is now one of the most popular programs in the state, and those hardy individualistic Scots-Irish voters scream if anyone suggests cutting the program and forcing them to pay a larger share of their children’s college costs.

The tensions inherent in Scots-Irish political culture are also reflected in Southern attitudes toward Franklin Roosevelt. Webb admits FDR centralized power in Washington and saddled the United States with a “quasi-socialistic state.” And Roosevelt was surely a member of the patrician elite those populist Scots-Irish typically loathe. Yet FDR is still revered among liberty-loving Scots-Irish of a certain age, as Webb is forced to concede.

In part that’s because Roosevelt was a strong leader in a time of war, but Webb implies that his domestic programs are at least as responsible for the affection. “At last,” he writes, “they had found a president who, when it came to their dilemma, was not afraid to lead and who was willing to address key issues rather than simply paper them over with rhetoric.”

Leaving aside their histories of Jim Crow, Sunday blue laws, and restrictions on alcohol, the regions where Webb says Scots-Irish culture remains strongest are arguably freer and more individualistic than other parts of the country in several respects. For instance, the parts of America Webb identifies as having the largest Scots-Irish populations —New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, northern Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana—tended to be ranked highly in the U.S. Economic Freedom Index put together last year by the Pacific Research Institute and Forbes magazine.

But they surely aren’t bastions of small, limited government. For generations, Southern politicians have been less noted for their devotion to liberty than for their skill at bringing home pork. That’s what their voters demand.

Do they also demand liberty? Southern voters, or at least a good chunk of them, may still get outraged if politicians try to take away their guns. But in so many other areas—from smoking bans to zoning laws to the licensing of carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, and other blue-collar professionals—Southern legislatures, city councils, and county commissioners nibble away each day at the liberties of their citizens. Maybe not as swiftly as those “elites” in New York and California, but just as consistently. At the very least, those individualist Scots-Irish meekly acquiesce as their liberties get snatched. In many cases they lead the charge for even more government regulation and oversight.

That isn’t to say Scots-Irish individualism, with its screw-you attitude toward foolish authority, is dead. But it resides in people Webb neglects to mention. The spirit of the people who tarred and feathered tax collectors during the Whiskey Rebellion lives on in the man cooking meth in his kitchen, the family that violates local clean-yard ordinances by leaving cars jacked up on concrete blocks in front of their house, and the mechanic who breaks licensing and zoning rules by working in his backyard, while not declaring his cash income on tax forms.

Otherwise, the “unbridled raw, rebellious spirit” of the Scots-Irish grows tamer each day, domesticated by the government programs their democratic impulse demanded. Gradually, the Scots-Irish are becoming more and more like other Americans. Or maybe other Americans are becoming more like them. 

Contributing Editor Charles Oliver is a Georgia-based reporter.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Alabama; US: Arkansas; US: California; US: Colorado; US: District of Columbia; US: Florida; US: Georgia; US: Illinois; US: Indiana; US: Kansas; US: Kentucky; US: Massachusetts; US: Mississippi; US: Missouri; US: New Hampshire; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: Ohio; US: Oklahoma; US: Pennsylvania; US: South Carolina; US: Tennessee; US: Texas; US: Virginia; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: bookreview; bornfighting; irish; jameswebb; scots; scotsirish
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1 posted on 07/22/2005 11:34:41 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
The spirit of the people who tarred and feathered tax collectors during the Whiskey Rebellion lives on in the man cooking meth in his kitchen, the family that violates local clean-yard ordinances by leaving cars jacked up on concrete blocks in front of their house, and the mechanic who breaks licensing and zoning rules by working in his backyard, while not declaring his cash income on tax forms.

Gotta love this kind of slime. Gee, I never knew that the Scots-Irish were behind the meth craze. Guess I need to pay more attention.

And we NEVER see cars jacked up on blocks anywhere but in front of Scots-Irish homes.

And no one eve cheats on his taxes, other than Scots-Irish.

2 posted on 07/22/2005 11:39:04 AM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: WKB; MagnoliaMS; MississippiMan; vetvetdoug; NerdDad; Rebel Coach; afuturegovernor; mwyounce; ...

(((MS PING)))


3 posted on 07/22/2005 11:40:36 AM PDT by bourbon (It's the target that decides whether terror wins.)
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To: neverdem

It was General George Washington, who said: "If defeated everywhere else, I will make my stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish in my native Virginia".

President William McKinley, said: "The Scots-Irish were the first to proclaim for freedom in these United States; even before Lexington Scots-Irish blood had been shed for American freedom. In the forefront of every battle was seen their burnished mail and in the retreat was heard their voice of constancy".

Confederacy leader General Robert E. Lee was once asked: "What race of people do you believe makes the best soldiers?" He replied: "The Scots who came to this country by way of Ireland".

http://www.battlehill395.freeserve.co.uk/how%20the%20scots%20irish%20were%20viewed.htm


4 posted on 07/22/2005 11:42:52 AM PDT by protest1
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To: neverdem

Burp! Oh, pardon me -- BUMP!


5 posted on 07/22/2005 11:47:13 AM PDT by Albion Wilde (Spade = spade.)
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To: neverdem
before William McKinley, energetic imperialism; before Teddy Roosevelt, the cult of personality; before Bill Clinton, the personal made political.” Perhaps it is no accident that three of the four presidents in that rogues’ gallery were of Scots-Irish descent.

I thought Teddy Roosevelt was of dutch descent?

6 posted on 07/22/2005 11:53:13 AM PDT by what's up
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To: neverdem

Scots-Irish through my mom's side. She was a Clark, from the same family that gave us Revolutionary War Gen. George Rogers Clark and his brother, explorer William Clark, of "Lewis and" fame. This accounts for the reddish hair and height in our family.


7 posted on 07/22/2005 11:59:32 AM PDT by Charles Henrickson (6'3", with some orangeish hairs in my beard.)
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To: Thud

ping


8 posted on 07/22/2005 11:59:51 AM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the link. This is one for me to bookmark. Always looking for more info on my Ulster Scot ancestors.
My Grandfather move from Arkansas to the West Coast during the great depression, a real Grapes of Wrath story. He claimed to be, what he called Black Irish because of his darker complexion and dark hair that my Dad carried also. After doing research it seems in all likelihood our ancestors were Ulster Scots, which would make seem to make sense because the darker Irish generally were found in Northern Ireland, the location of Ulster.


9 posted on 07/22/2005 12:00:43 PM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: what's up

He was. But had a lot of Scots-Irish blood.


10 posted on 07/22/2005 12:02:37 PM PDT by Alexander Rubin
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To: dirtboy
Gee, I never knew that the Scots-Irish were behind the meth craze.

Do you remember hearing about moonshine and Prohibition? Don't sweat the small stuff. Mood altering substances have been used for at least a few millenia by all ethnic groups.

11 posted on 07/22/2005 12:04:26 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Good article, by the by. Pretty fairminded, if it is intended as a literary critique. You take the good with the bad (and there's plenty of both, though I think the good outweights the bad considerably). Although, I don't think the Scots-Irish had much to do with meth labs. lol


12 posted on 07/22/2005 12:04:53 PM PDT by Alexander Rubin
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To: what's up

It looks like he's counting Jackson as one of the four. The funny thing is that TR was actually 3/4 Georgian and presumably Scots-Irish by ancestry. If you believe Webb, when TR "got his Dutch" up and became angry or aggressive, it may have been the Scots-Irish in him coming out. Fischer says about as much. FDR, by contrast was at least half New England Yankee.


13 posted on 07/22/2005 12:06:34 PM PDT by x
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To: neverdem

Scots-Irish BUMP.


14 posted on 07/22/2005 12:07:44 PM PDT by reelfoot
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To: neverdem
Do you remember hearing about moonshine and Prohibition?

Yeah, my Scots-Irish ancestors made a fair amount themselves.

But that pales in comparison to friggin' meth.

15 posted on 07/22/2005 12:08:08 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: neverdem

later


16 posted on 07/22/2005 12:11:40 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: neverdem
The truth is probably somewhere in between Oliver and Webb. There is a connection between the Scots-Irish and an important American conception of liberty but it's not as though one can argue that they were wholly devoted to all that we mean by freedom and that others weren't.

Oliver doesn't know what to do about Webb's association of states with large Scots-Irish populations and liberty. He more or less accepts it, then disputes it but doesn't offer anything more than anecdotal evidence.

The problem may be that Webb is writing ideal history -- giving people something idealized in the past to live up to -- and Oliver is pointing out the inevitable holes in any such conception of history.

Claims people sometimes make about the Scots-Irish can be exaggerated and deserve some criticism, but there's not much excuse for Oliver's snideness about meth, cars on cinder blocks and the rest -- especially coming from a libertarian publication. There's nothing like slamming those who agree with you to court those who never will.

Reason has problems that way. It tends to represent the "metrosexual" urban wing of libertarianism, and doesn't know what to do about the country cousins.

17 posted on 07/22/2005 12:17:37 PM PDT by x
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To: neverdem
Puritans thought their women flirted too much, their men gambled too much, and all of them drank and fought too much.

Pretty much describes my college days at the University of Arkansas

18 posted on 07/22/2005 12:20:52 PM PDT by centurion316 (Ulster Scot by way of PA, NC, TN, AR)
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To: dirtboy
But that pales in comparison to friggin' meth.

From the current criminal perspective, yes, but from a medical perspective, I can't grant you that point. Both are highly addictive and cause enormous pathology. I don't think you want to discuss medicine, do you?

19 posted on 07/22/2005 12:22:08 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: what's up

Teddy was a heinz 57. There was Dutch on his father side that went back to the New Amsterdam days. But this is a very good article. I am of Ulster Irish (Catholic, though) decent on my father's side. Actually in Ireland at the time, the Presbyterians were not held in any high esteem and had to pay a tithe to the Anglican Church just as Catholics did. In the mid 1700's especially, the Sots-Irish came here in droves. The Celticness of these folks was probably greater than many of the Lowland Scots. There were Presbyterian congregations in County Antrim and County Down who spoke Gaelic. There was a lot of back and forth migration from Scotland and Ulster from before the Plantation of James the First---and the Reformation. Being second class citizens at home, America was the perfect place for the Scots-Irish. If it weren't for them I don't think the American Revolution would have gained momentum. For all the brillant philosophical ideas that came out of the Enlightenment and found their way to our shores, one needs anger and a sense of having been wronged to keep a war going. The Scots-Irish came over here p*ssed off to begin with, that's why they fought so gallantly against the Red Coats. Unfortunately on the other side of the Atlantic, at the time of the French Revolution and the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the British used religion to divide the people of Ireland. As in our revolution, the thinkers and theorists were from the upper middle class. In Ireland's case it was the Anglo-Irish who were the leaders (Wolfe Tone) and the Ulster Scots Presbyterians for the most part who did the fighting---the Catholics took up arms in the south around Wexford but for the most part stayed out of this rebellion because of the Roman Catholic Church's disdain of most ideas coming out of the enlightenment....ie; the idea of a republican form of government.


20 posted on 07/22/2005 12:22:37 PM PDT by brooklyn dave (I got rejected from "Mullah Omar's Eye for the Infidel Guy")
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To: neverdem; Mrs. Don-o

State of Franklin / Watauga Territory bump


21 posted on 07/22/2005 12:22:57 PM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the right thing and become a Monthly Donor!)
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To: neverdem

"Otherwise, the “unbridled raw, rebellious spirit” of the Scots-Irish grows tamer each day, domesticated by the government programs their democratic impulse demanded. Gradually, the Scots-Irish are becoming more and more like other Americans. Or maybe other Americans are becoming more like them."

Wonder what this is suppose to mean?


22 posted on 07/22/2005 12:23:10 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: x
and doesn't know what to do about the country cousins.

Good point. I wonder if their libertarian sensibilities would extend to a neighbor with a collection of junk cars in his backyard. Or who has a smelly dairy farm, and who was there before the metrosexuals moved into the new development next door so they could experience the country life.

23 posted on 07/22/2005 12:23:53 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: BnBlFlag

PING for the Scots-Irish!


24 posted on 07/22/2005 12:24:14 PM PDT by American72 (Sick of Democrats)
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To: neverdem
David Hackett Fischer... Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America

This is a must read if you wish to understand the cultural and moral underpinning of America. It explains quite well the red state/blue state map of today, even with all of the subsequent migrations from Europe, Asia, Africa, et. al.

25 posted on 07/22/2005 12:24:21 PM PDT by centurion316 (Ulster Scot by way of PA, NC, TN, AR)
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To: neverdem
From the current criminal perspective, yes, but from a medical perspective, I can't grant you that point. Both are highly addictive and cause enormous pathology. I don't think you want to discuss medicine, do you?

Sorry, but meth is a much faster ride to hell than booze. And it's much more dangerous to make than bathtub gin.

26 posted on 07/22/2005 12:26:25 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: NavyCanDo
I am a quarter Scots Irish. I was at my Grand daughters birthday party a week ago, her mother is Irish and Scots- Irish, my son is English, Irish, Scots Irish, Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian, God help the lesser nations if she is elected to office.
27 posted on 07/22/2005 12:27:00 PM PDT by Little Bill (A 37%'r, a Red Spot on a Blue State, rats are evil.)
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To: x
Reason has problems that way. It tends to represent the "metrosexual" urban wing of libertarianism, and doesn't know what to do about the country cousins.

I think that's why their commentary is often reclassified to blogs or chat from editorials.

28 posted on 07/22/2005 12:29:34 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

The Scots-Irish were the shock troops of the American frontier, and I'm damn proud to be descended thereof.


29 posted on 07/22/2005 12:31:24 PM PDT by MadJack
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To: neverdem

Thanks for that post. Having an Ulster Scot background, I just ordered that book the other day. Can't wait for it to arrive.


30 posted on 07/22/2005 12:34:46 PM PDT by elc
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To: dirtboy
Sorry, but meth is a much faster ride to hell than booze.

Tell that to the parents of a kid who died from acute alcohol intoxication or a motor vehicle accident while intoxicated.

And it's much more dangerous to make than bathtub gin.

It's a matter of volatility. Idiots using ethyl ether or ethyl alcohol are dangerous, regardless.

31 posted on 07/22/2005 12:39:47 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
George Bush owes it to the other America

GEORGE KEREVAN

WHY did Bush win? My first experience of the American hinterland was more than 30 years ago, on a long, lazy car drive: down from Germanic Cincinnati in Ohio; across the Blue Ridge Mountains in West Virginia, where the radio stations play wall-to-wall country music; southwards through the Carolinas, where the red earth sticks to the magnolia blossoms; then northwards again along the bleak Atlantic coast where the Wright Brothers first took to the air.

It was a revelation: no New York skyscrapers, no urban sophistication, and my then American girlfriend had to slip a ring on her left hand lest the prim North Carolinan landlady in the gorgeous colonial B&B take Presbyterian offence at our unwed status. This is the America that has given George Walker Bush his huge popular majority in the teeth of world opinion and despite the ire of America’s coastal elites.

Here in Scotland, where the mainstream view is anti-Bush, the instant reaction will be to dismiss this other America as redneck, racist, bigoted, gun-loving and ignorant. But hold a mirror to thyself: the part of America that doggedly voted Republican on Tuesday is its ethnic Scottish-Ulster heartland. These are the descendants of the lowland yeoman folk who colonised Virginia in the 17th century, then crossed the Appalachian Mountains to open up the frontier in the 18th, joined by the refugees from the Govan slums in the 19th.

They brought with them a Celtic tribalism, a small-farmer self-reliance and a rationalist Presbyterian morality based on the Good Book. They also brought their own home-spun music, with its sentimental narratives and view of this world as a trial to be endured. From the bluegrass fiddle music of the Appalachian crofts to the Burns-like honky-tonk ballads of the itinerant oil workers in the Texas dustbowl, country music has evolved to dominate contemporary musical tastes. But beyond the saccharin-sweet commercialism of country rock, it is music that still defines the mental and moral landscape of a community that was prepared to defy the world last Tuesday. Never in a million years were America’s Scots-Irish going to vote for John Kerry, whatever the eastern pollsters thought.

That is not to say that many Americans were not legitimately critical of George Bush - for failing to capture Osama bin Laden, for overestimating Saddam Hussein, for letting Iraq slide into anarchy and for having a dangerously ad-hoc approach to economic policy. Mr Bush is a man for the grand gesture - much needed in the aftermath of 9/11 and the dot-com crash - but his interest in the subsequent follow-up has frequently proved a tad inadequate.

Yet when the political chips are really down, the American Scots-Irish prefer two things when choosing a leader: moral certainty in taking decisions (which is different from sexual morals) and a populist ability to speak in something approaching the vernacular. That’s why they ditched George Bush, senior, for folksy Bill Clinton, until they saw through Clinton’s synthetic political outrage. And that’s why they stuck with Bush, junior, reformed drunkard and someone literally not afraid to overthrow tyrants.

I mention all this not to justify George Bush but to suggest a way for Europe to understand a resurgent American nationalism that conforms pretty much to what the Scots-Irish made it. Contrary to European myth, it is not an especially imperialist nationalism, but when provoked it sees things with a terrible, biblical simplicity.

The Scots settlers who first colonised America, and then illegally slipped across the Appalachians to live among the Indian tribes, were not out to found a new empire. Having been chased out of Scotland and Ulster for economic and religious reasons, then having clashed with the conservative English merchant elites who ran the eastern colonies, the Scots just wanted to be left to their own devices. To this day, their predilection for owning guns is less to do with the desire to blast away at dumb animals, as pique at the idea that someone should tell them what to do. That’s why it is not a good idea to try to frighten them by crashing airliners into tall buildings: it just makes them mad.

When roused, usually by a wholly correct moral indignation, Scots-Irish America believes it is the agency for Divine retribution. Don’t snigger: you are here because of this gut reaction. Back in 1940, the United States was split down the middle - nothing new there - over the war in Europe. The large German immigrant communities of the industrial Mid-West (think Ohio) were fervently isolationist. They had just re-elected Franklin Roosevelt on a platform of non-intervention. The Americans in favour of dealing with the fascists were the Scots-Irish, who had a long tradition of military service, especially during the Civil War (on both sides). Otherwise, the capital of the EU would be called Germania.

OF COURSE, there are downsides to the Scots-Irish psyche in America. Historically, it has been prone to racism. It was socially conservative long before the rise of Christian fundamentalism (and I worry about a Bush administration packing the Supreme Court with reactionaries for the next generation). Mind you, I suspect that if we put gay marriage to the vote in Scotland, it would be rejected. And I think it is too easy to put the Bush victory down to an evangelical plot: the Catholic German strongholds of the Democratic Party in the industrial Mid-West are stridently anti-abortion.

Here is the saving grace of the Scots-Irish version of American nationalism: it would really rather finish the job quickly in Iraq, and go home and listen to Roy Acuff or Hank Williams. It does not like being drawn into the role of imperialist policeman. But anti-Americans should beware of getting what they wish for - living without the Americans may prove worse than living with them.

As a culture based on self-reliance and Mosaic rules of social conduct, Scots-Irish American nationalism cannot comprehend societies based on clientelism and endemic personal corruption.

That’s why it does not like the way the United Nations has developed into a talking shop, and why it gets exasperated by the Middle East. The Scots-Irish have given George Bush a mandate: but it says: "Finish the job quickly, or we will let the world stew in its own juice."

The world has woken up to four more years of George Bush with something of a headache. Personally, I’m glad the incipient trade war that the Democrats were planning against Europe - to make good their promise of protecting jobs in Ohio - has receded into the distance.

I also think that by legitimising George Bush with a serious popular majority, the Scots-Irish have cut the diplomatic feet from under those who dismiss him as a usurper; as well as seeing off tiresome posers, such as the documentary-maker Michael Moore, who trivialise and personalise debate.

The world can now get down to some serious politics, starting at the G8 summit at Gleneagles Hotel in July. Remember that Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder will retire long before Bush. There is a space for a new generation of European politicians to rebuild the transatlantic alliance.

Like it or lump it, a Bush White House is now a fact of life. But if Scotland calms down a minute, we might discover that his America is a far less alien place than we imagine.

George Bush owes it to the other America

32 posted on 07/22/2005 12:40:05 PM PDT by shield (The Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God!!!! by Dr. H. Ross, Astrophysicist)
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To: neverdem
Tell that to the parents of a kid who died from acute alcohol intoxication or a motor vehicle accident while intoxicated.

And it's illegal for kids to have alcohol, isn't it?

I've known a couple of former meth users. They say it is the worst drug going. Period. Far worse than booze, cocaine or heroin.

33 posted on 07/22/2005 12:41:16 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: All
Please include me on any Scotch-Irish ping list.


34 posted on 07/22/2005 12:58:12 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (I am the Keymaster. Are you the Gatekeeper?)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; King Prout; ..
Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq

Please notice that this is an OpEd Contributor, i.e. a guest writer, as opposed to a regular OpEd Columnist on their payroll.

That being said, I can't imagine such a wrong take on this forum as on this thread, Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq (it's-the-US'-and-Israel's-fault barf up a lung alert).

From time to time, I’ll ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

35 posted on 07/22/2005 12:59:13 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: x

"Reason has problems that way. It tends to represent the "metrosexual" urban wing of libertarianism, and doesn't know what to do about the country cousins."

Reason aspires to highbrow respectability, and tends to affect a sneering pose toward those kindred spirits who might happen to be, shall we say, a little on the embarrassing side, blowing right past the notion of their being natural allies. They'll grow up one of these days; they're like first-generation college attendees, ashamed of their own families.


36 posted on 07/22/2005 1:00:47 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: shield
They brought with them a Celtic tribalism

Tribalism is much more universal than that. There's no one more tribal than the elite of New York or Washington.

37 posted on 07/22/2005 1:00:57 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: neverdem

Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali,Malcolm X... hmmmm very interesting!


38 posted on 07/22/2005 1:01:00 PM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: neverdem

This spew underhandedly tries to further promote the "wild men from the mountains, rednecks and outlaws" stereotype. What a bunch of crap.


39 posted on 07/22/2005 1:01:48 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the"and Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: brooklyn dave

"the Sots-Irish"

Uhhhh....


40 posted on 07/22/2005 1:02:25 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: neverdem


Scots-Irish - Wants a beer, as long as someone else is paying.......HA


41 posted on 07/22/2005 1:04:21 PM PDT by WhiteGuy (Vote for gridlock - Make the elected personally liable for their wasteful spending)
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To: x

Urban Libertarians of the Justin Raimondo strain....They can't deal with guns and God.


42 posted on 07/22/2005 1:05:52 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the"and Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: dirtboy
The spirit of the people who tarred and feathered tax collectors during the Whiskey Rebellion lives on

My Irish grandfather proudly carried on the tradition during Prohibition by mixing juniper with homemade grain alcohol to make gin. He wasn't Scots Irish that we know of, but his wife was...

43 posted on 07/22/2005 1:06:05 PM PDT by Born Conservative ("If not us, who? And if not now, when? - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Born Conservative

"The spirit of the people who tarred and feathered tax collectors during the Whiskey Rebellion lives on"

You should delve further into the life of Herman Husband, whose hand was in more than one tax revolt.


44 posted on 07/22/2005 1:13:59 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
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To: shield

The fagademics of Edinburgh are less Scotish than we Americans. The POV in that screed demonstrates it.


45 posted on 07/22/2005 1:14:23 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the"and Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: dirtboy
I've known a couple of former meth users. They say it is the worst drug going. Period. Far worse than booze, cocaine or heroin.

You familiar with a synthetic ecstasy substitute known as 2C-T-7 [aka *blue mystic,* *T-7,* *7-up* and *Tripstacy?*

Being dead two hours after ingestion is worse than most methhead cases of which I'm aware. But they're no picnic, either.

46 posted on 07/22/2005 1:14:28 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: protest1
Confederacy leader General Robert E. Lee was once asked: "What race of people do you believe makes the best soldiers?" He replied: "The Scots who came to this country by way of Ireland".

Presumably including General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne:

The most popular Confederate division commander was the "Stonewall of the West"-Patrick R. Cleburne. Appropriately, the native of County Cork was born on St. Patrick's Day and became the only product of the Emerald Isle to become a Confederate major general. Failing the language requirements for a druggist's degree, he served with the British 4lst Regiment of Foot as an officer for a number of years before purchasing his way out.

Emigrating to America, he became a druggist and then a highly successful property attorney. He joined the Confederacy, and his military assignments included: captain, Company F, lst Arkansas State Troops (early 1861); colonel, lst Arkansas State Troops (early 1861); colonel, 15th Arkansas (designation change July 23, 1861); commanding 2nd Brigade, lst (Hardee's) Division, Army of Central Kentucky, Department #2 (fall 1861 - March 29, 1862); commanding 2nd Brigade, Hardee's Division, Army of the Mississippi July 2 - August 15, 1862); commanding 2nd Brigade, Buckner's Division, Left Wing, Army of the Mississippi (August 15-30, October - October 8, and October - November 20, 1862); commanding 2nd Brigade, Buckner's Division, Hardee's-Breckinridge's Corps, Army of Tennessee (November 20 - December 1862); major general, CSA (December 20, 1862 to rank from the 13th); commanding the division (December 1862 - November 30, 1863); commanding division, Hardee's (Polk's old)- Cheatham's Corps, Army of Tennessee (November 30, 1863 - January 1864, January-August 3 1, and September 2 - November 30, 1864); and commanding the corps (August 31 - September 2, 1864).

At the head of the Yell Rifles, he served in Arkansas before being named as commander of the state unit. Transferred with William J. Hardee to central Kentucky, he was promoted to brigadier general and fought at Shiloh and during the siege of Corinth. Taking part in the Kentucky Campaign, he was wounded at both Richmond and Perryville. Promoted to major general, he commanded a division at Murfreesboro, during the Tullahoma Campaign, and at Chickamauga. A favorite of Jefferson Davis, he is credited with covering the retreat from Chattanooga after his splendid defense of Tunnel Hill.

That winter he proposed that in order to reinforce the Confederate armies slavery would have to be abolished in a "reasonable time" and blacks be recruited for military service on the promise of their freedom. The proposal was rejected by the Richmond authorities and would not be passed by the Confederate Congress until a couple of months after Cleburne's death. Cleburne went on to command his division, and briefly the corps, through the Atlanta Campaign and then with Hood into middle Tennessee.

At the battle of Franklin on November 20, 1864 he became the senior of six Confederate generals to die in this fight, which did little more than commit mass suicide against the Union works. His death was a calamity to the Confederate cause perhaps only exceeded by the death of Stonewall Jackson. First buried near Franklin, Cleburne's remains were later removed to Helena, Arkansas.(Purdue, Howell and Elizabeth, Pat Cleburne, Confederate General)


47 posted on 07/22/2005 1:21:47 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: dirtboy
I've known a couple of former meth users. They say it is the worst drug going. Period. Far worse than booze, cocaine or heroin.

I knew a couple in Vietnam. Others used it, but didn't go crazy. It's can be bad news, but you also hear the same stuff about crack cocaine. Do you recall the friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in which our aviators bombed Canadians by accident? Their defense, which was insufficient, was they had taken dexamphetamine which was issued to them because of their extremely long range missions.

Both of those chemicals and their variants engage the pathways of the nervous system that use the same neurotransmitter, dopamine, just like morphine, marijuana, ethyl alcohol and nicotine.

48 posted on 07/22/2005 1:32:02 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

""“This Jackson,” historian Amy H. Sturgis has written in Reason (see “Not The Same Old Hickory,” May 2004), “was a man who exemplified characteristics later associated with other national leaders: Before Abraham Lincoln, he represented selective adherence to the Constitution;""


Not! The "Trail of tears!". Madison had written a clause to protect the lands of native Americans. Jackson basically disregarded the constitution and kicked them off their land.


49 posted on 07/22/2005 1:32:47 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell (I will never again read another thing by Christopher Hitchens !)
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To: neverdem

Also know as "Orangemen" to my Paddy-whacker freinds (no offense Neverdem). ;-)


50 posted on 07/22/2005 1:41:19 PM PDT by Clemenza (JJesus CChrist MMade SSeattle UUnder PProtest)
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