Friday, April 05, 2013

Nativism and Multiculturalism Are Twin, and Unsuccessful, Attempts to Resist the Melting Pot

Nativism is a rear-guard reaction by declining sectors of the old elite.  It does not work.

Multiculturalism is a rear-guard action by declining sectors of assimilating minorities. It does not work, either.

The great American melting pot works relentlessly to turn the middle of American society into Americans.  Our culture is changed somewhat by each group it assimilates, but is more continuous than changed.

And this is a good thing.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Rough Analogy Between Peacocks and Pickups

A pickup truck is a very impractical vehicle for a family.  And if you aren't hauling bales of hay or the like regularly, it is kind of impractical for any other purpose.  Yet pickup trucks are hugely popular, especially with young men. 

I think the main appeal of pickup trucks to most of their owners is as a symbolic display of masculinity.

Displays of masculinity should, I would think, need to appeal to women to be useful in mate selection.  So why would women find a man with a pickup truck attractive?

The sociobiological study of mate selection has wrestled with a signature puzzle: the peacock's tail.  The giant, bright tail on the peacock would seem a huge hazard to peacocks - attracting predators and slowing down the peacock's escape from predators. The ingenious answer to this puzzle that sociobiologists have come up with is the "handicap theory." The peahen, who tends to select the peacock with the biggest and brightest tail, may be thinking that if this peacock can survive despite the gigantic handicap on its butt, it must have tremendous genes.

I think the pickup truck bed is something like the peacock's tail.  The pickup driver's mate may reason (subconsciously) that if this guy can succeed in having enough resources to afford a vehicle, despite the huge handicap it imposes on having friends or family, then he must really have something on the ball.