Fwd: [permaculture] MHC and PC

Bob Howard rmhoward at omninet.net.au
Wed Mar 19 10:29:54 EST 2003

Marimike6 at cs.com wrote:

> 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
> adversary".
> 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.

Well that's just not true brother. Measles flourishes in conditions of
extreme poverty like refugee camps or following wars. It is one of the
diseases that people are expecting to crop up in the expected refigees
in Iraq.

In 1891 the small newly established town of Broomehill in Western
Australia had it's first show Agricultural Show - a great success for
the otherwise remote commuinty on the eastern edge of the high rainfall
area of the south west. An unfortunate consequence was the ferocity f
the inffluenza epidemic that killed several people in the white
community (none of whom had been in the area for more than thirty
years). The effect of influenza on the black community was not noticed.

Whooping cough spreads explosively through communities being very
infectious when the herd immunity from the previous epidemic is reduced.
These affects have nothing to do with race, ethnicity or any other
distinguishing feature of the people involved. They are function of the
environmental factors such as population density, health, nutrition and
hygeine and the dynamics of herd resistance (that is the percentage of
teh population immune at a particular time. Genetic variability is

> 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?

Its crap - that's what it is - don't have south indians 'behind the
desk' here. we often have waves of immigrants taking on self
exploitative jobs like shop keeping. these jobs require strong family
bonds and a degree of optimism that only a non-dominat language speaking
person can bring. It's not cultural tradition it's the economics of
migrant populations everywhere.

> 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 data?

There's lies, damned lies and statistics...

I regard accusations being PC (politically correct) as being in a
similar vein as accusations of me being a commie pinko left wing raving
loony greeny etc. etc. The comments you get when people haven't got an
argument but only an insult.

Bob Howard
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