Fwd: [permaculture] MHC and PC

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Tue Mar 18 17:35:12 EST 2003

Dear Bob--

Glad I was able to stir up a hornet's nest here. We are of two minds, and I 
do not expect to sway you, but would like to offer this response to your 
comments, in reverse order......

1) I am "stuck in a patriarchal world that characterises nature as an 

Sometimes nature is benign, and we can sniff the jasmine as we wander through 
it. But if we want to make a living from it-- or even if we just want to live 
in a landscaped yard instead of an undeveloped field-- we have to pull some 
stuff up in order to install something else. Otherwise we would starve. I 
meant what I said about kudzu being a "noble adversary", and enjoy coming to 
grips with it. But one day it's got to go or I will have no place to put my 
pole beans. (I have not, by the way, used RoundUp on it since the first year 
I moved here, and do not plan to ever use it again on anything. I saw it was 
a mistake.)

2) Measles and influenza are good examples of weeds because they do readily 
transplant and thrive like crazy in fresh fields of humanity where they have 
previously been absent. This would seem hard to refute. It is the definition 
of the word invasive. And it is the fact that they have co-adapted with 
humanity that makes them so successful. These bugs know all the tricks. New 
populations not previously exposed to them do not. 

This is the same way those Asian eelfish (I forget the name) are now taking 
over. They have adapted to a competitive life among adversarial fish 
populations in Southern China, with whom they've co-evolved. Then, when 
introduced to a new area like Eastern Maryland, they can easily outcompete 
among populations previously unfamiliar with them.

3) and 4) I don't think you can make the case for my being sexist and racist 
simply because of my use of words you may consider non-PC. In my world, 
mankind used to be a perfectly respectable designation. For our purposes 
here, I defer to you and use the more acceptable "humanity". 

The use of stereotypes is a deeper subject, and I will concede the obvious, 
that the misuse of stereotyping can give rise to some ugly beliefs and 
behaviors. However, it is the case that they have some utility when you are 
describing populations. 

You may think this despicable, but it is the fact that in the American inner 
cities, an overwhelming number of the stores are run by Koreans. Before the 
Koreans, it was the Jews. These guys on average like to run stores, do a good 
job of it, and do this for a living all over the world. When they are run out 
of a neighborhood, such as after a riot, they are not replaced by black store 
owners--there are just no more stores. This is because it is extremely rare, 
although not totally unheard of, for Afro-Americans to become entrepreneurs. 
It does not form a part of their cultural tradition.  I would suggest that 
this trait, cultural tradition, is precisely what I was referring to in my 
original post. It lies demonstrably outside the skin. 

Indians, Syrian-Lebanese, Greeks and the Overseas Chinese are other examples 
of mercantile peoples. They spread  worldwide in a manner analogous to other 
weeds. Excuse me, but it's true. When was the last time you spent the night 
at a mom and pop motel and didn't find a South Indian behind the desk? Is 
this just coincidence, or is it something cultural?

I've belabored these points overly long. Describe the behavior of any 
grouping of people, plants or animals and you'll find characteristics that 
are widespread and statistically predictable, although far from universal. 
That's what gives our world its savor. A certain number of arc welders are 
women. A low number, but there are a few. Should we blind ourselves to such 

Mike Elvin
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From: Bob Howard <rmhoward at omninet.net.au>
Subject: Re: Fwd: [permaculture] RE: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 23:56:51 +0800
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