Posts Tagged ‘marvin harris’

Without Religion, You Can’t Hire Enough Cops!

January 2, 2015

Without Religion, You Can’t Hire Enough Cops!

I can assure you that the statement above is true.

America’s founding principles are based upon Judeo/Christian Precepts. It appears that “Modernity”, as manifested in the main features of what is now called the “Post-Modern Era” is in many ways incompatible with these religious rules-for-living within a democracy (more accurately, in our case, a Constitutional Republic).

Some may think that the main challenge to America, now, is find a way to make its Religions compatible with Modernity. But the religious principles and laws central to Judeo/Christian  beliefs, as illustrated by all history are not infinitely malleable.

The belief in God and His Commandments are inviolate for the attainment of a fair measure sociocultural success on earth.

However, I must argue that this is a necessary, though not a sufficient condition for sociocultural success on earth…a superior military and civil police force, etc. are also necessary.

The so-called Post-Modern Era will have to find a way accommodate all of this or it will lead to “hell on earth”.

See the video below and tell me what you think.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/2/15

P.S. Thanks to Lee Horack for sending this video to me.

Traditional American Family Fading Away

December 30, 2014

 Traditional American Family Fading Away

I am down with the flu today, so I’ll make this short.

The following article is no surprise. The author celebrates the new diversity in America’s families.

There are a great number of variables that impact families which, in turn, impact all other aspects of our socioculture.

I will bet that the secularization (actually the political and media war against Christianity) is at the root of Americas’ ongoing decline. Cultures that lose their religions generally do not fare well.

The loss of a culture’s religion can be caused by many things, but it is commonly a huge “domino to topple”, setting off a chain reaction of hundreds of others leading to a cultures’ decline.

It appears that, in America’s case, a large number of the “many things” leading to the loss of its Judeo/Christian foundation is organized by the large concept of  “Modernity”. The Cultural Anthropologist, Marvin Harris, would have called it “Infrastructural Determinism”.

Early in this chain reaction is damage to family structure.

The author of the following article thinks damage as simple diversity and that this is wonderful.

I think it is more accurately described as chaos, and chaos a the most basic “people-making-level” of the family inevitably leads to what we see in America today: stunning levels of chaos in virtually every measure of social, economic and political well-being.

Please read this short article and decide for yourself.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 12/30/14

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When Girls and Women Were Special in America

June 25, 2011

When Girls and Women Were Special in America

Some of us will remember the day when we boys and men were taught that girls and women were special. They were to be respected and protected and treated with great care and kindness.  Though boys and men were to treat other boys and men respectfully and fairly, the treatment was definitely not to be equal between the sexes.

We were supposed to open doors for women, stand up when they entered a room, take our hats off when in their presence, treat them with great gentleness, and avoid harsh language and gestures when we were in their presence. We were to defend their honor and keep them safe

You may remember that if the ship was sinking, it was to be: ” women and children first”.

As a child, I was often instructed by my father that a boy should never hit or treat a girl roughly. I remember when a couple of older girls beat me up when I was a young boy. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I was to stay away from them and that if I fought back, I would be in very serious trouble with him. Later he told me that “A real man” would never strike or “man-handle” a woman.

That is the way the majority of my cohorts and I were raised and acculturated during the 1940’s and 50’s. I am proud of those old cultural rules and they are a  value system that I will take to my grave.

It is now increasingly difficult to hold onto these old ways, but I am hanging on.

I now have women screaming and cussing at me, and giving me the finger, when they do not like my driving. Why is it that women are fist-fighting with other women so often now days? As a professor, I commonly heard women using the “F” word and immodestly flaunting  their sexual equipment at the university. The pornification of all media has been accomplished, though it is still becoming more graphic. Female teachers are molesting their male students children (with relative impunity) and Mothers killing their children with what appears to be increasing regularity. The female prison population is increasing. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of females display their formerly private, (now called XXX) nooks and crannies on the internet and wherever else they can.

Finally, where did America’s new cultural practice of  purposefully exposing our female citizens to great danger and lethal harm come from? America is now assigning women to fighting ships, to submarine crews, and also to combat teams. We are now preparing to assign females to our elite, most risky, but highly savage and lethal (thank God for them), Navy SEALs and other similar special operations combat units.

Many folks view these gender role changes as a positive cultural evolution. Those opposed to these changes angrily grumble about what they think are the causes: Liberal politics, the Woman’s Liberation Movement, the Pill, increasing employment opportunities, the decline of the family, a reduced respect for mothers and child rearing, and more.

Marvin Harris, the late cultural anthropologist, maintained that many of the recent sex role changes have  had to do with “infrastructural determinism”. By this he meant the ways in which the members of cultures made their livings (hunters, farmers, merchants, technical/information processing, etc.) and the effects that various changes have on families, sex roles, leisure activities, traditions, and religion.  His line of reasoning (which I admittedly over-simplify, abbreviate, and supplement here) was that women were once dependent upon men to do the things that they could not do well (physically protect themselves, lift very heavy weights, fight in hand to hand combat, and impregnate themselves, etc.).

Surrounding all of this was a young America that needed children, lots of them, and someone to stay with the children and look after their physical, emotional, and acculturation needs. Traditionally fathers could help with this, but earning a living normally required upper body strength, endurance, and a special proclivity for risk-taking and aggression that the women (due to both genetics and traditional American acculturation practices) generally were less effective at.

With the opening of  educational opportunities, suffrage, modern commerce, technological advancements, information processing, and professional fields opening to women, their physical and financial dependence upon  men decreased.

In America, World War II began a movement of women out of the home and into the work place. Also, the economics of marriage and child rearing changed dramatically. In the 1970’s double-digit inflation greatly decreased the cost-effectiveness of early marriage, pregnancy, and rearing children to independence. Marriages began to occur later in the lives of young adults and the reproductive rates of average families decreased. As women increasingly joined the work-force, the quality of America’s acculturation of its youth diminished and children’s mental health declined. Marriage and children became materially less advantageous to women and the rate of divorce increased.

At the National, State, and local level, it became more expensive to educate and acculturate our own home-born and home-grown children. It was more cost-effective for all concerned to allow immigrants, already educated and socialized at the expense of other citizens in other nations,  to enter America and supply our human capital needs. The unrestricted flood of  under-educated illegal aliens across our purposefully unguarded borders provided for America’s unskilled labor needs.

This chain of events is descriptively incomplete due to space considerations, and also to the limits to my own knowledge–even after much study. However one (and only one) of the many net results of this causal swirl of events has been the devaluing of women. Women have less cultural value in modern America than they did in the significantly more family, child, and  procreative-centered America of 50 to 60 years ago.

Women are now as expendable as men have historically been.  Historically, it would take relatively few men to populate America, but it would take a great number of women, dedicated to remaining home to rear their children. Now that home-grown children are a major expense and an encumbrance to social and economic success for individuals, families and the government, women can be used as cannon fodder and trained killers. They are expendable.

The children they leave behind to go to work, or  go to war, are also less valued by America than they once were. The dysfunctional, even barbaric, behaviors of increasing proportions of our youth provide glaring and incontrovertible evidence of America’s corrupted values and negligent ways.

It is an astonishing irony that, as our brighter middle class females reproductive rates have decreased, they have increasingly gone to war, or  work, in order to defend and improve their economic condition. As a consequence, they pay their taxes which sustain the least able amongst our female population to remain home in poor environments and have children. These often fragmented and female headed families have increasing rates of birth to children who will be raised in poverty, violence, social chaos and dependence upon America’s welfare system.

This is a disastrous, self-destructive procreational black-hole that will rapidly suck the viability from any post-industrial socioculture.

The forces that drive such massive cultural evolutions are huge, complex and highly interactive.  America, as we have known it, is being swept away by these and other changes not mentioned in this writing.

When did ever-advancing levels of  individual freedom in America devolve into social chaos? Can you  see that social chaos is now leading  to tyrannical levels of governmental control in the face of this chaos, just as world history would suggest that it will?.

An intelligent and ethically sophisticated electorate might help. But its existence, in a sufficient proportion of the population, is uncertain.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.  6/23/11

Don’s Drive-In

May 17, 2010

Don’s Drive-In

We sought respite at Grand Traverse bay during the spring break of 1994.  The majesty and splendor of this wonderland was only partially hidden beneath a sheath of snow and ice.

The lower end of the bay is comprised of densely packed shops and motels/hotels.  Tourism during, the temperate months, both strains and binds the fabric of this community.

But where was the best hamburger?  The man at the gas station quickly and confidently said “Don’s Drive-In”.  The lady waiting in line at the cash register said: “don’t miss their old fashioned malted milk”!

It was a freshly painted building and when we walked through the door it smelled like the 1950’s. Numerous photos of cars, and old hubcaps on the walls were from that era.  The “Greasy Spoon Burger Basket” was exquisite—french fries four inches long and as big around as my little finger, done to perfection.  “Boy, those are special fries”, I said to the brash and loudmouthed waitress.  She looked me hard in the eyes and said “everything here is special”.  She was correct.

A fading hand-painted mural on the wall showed Don’s location on a narrow two- lane road. Now it is a very busy four-lane road. The view showed a much smaller Don’s Drive-In, nestled among a grove of white birch trees. Now there are businesses and asphalt parking lots crowding on both sides of the road for as far as the eye can see. In the mural, the narrow road and Don’s restaurant was dwarfed by a narrow band of woods across the street and, just beyond, the majestic blue expanse of Grand Traverse Bay. As I looked out the front window of Don’s all I could see is the blur of traffic and a wall of densely packed motels, hotels and parking lots. From Don’s current perspective, without the use of my “minds eye”, Grand Traverse Bay no longer existed.

The mural was faded and a little crude. But the thoughts and feelings it brought to me were as powerful as those of any great work of art— and they were mixed. 

The advantages of incremental increases in greater general mobility and affluence, along with entrepreneurial initiative, has yielded equal units of loss to the pristine and awe-inspiring sanctuary that once was the south end of Grand Traverse Bay.

Marvin Harris’ theory of Infrastructural Determinism is alive and well.

Don is gone now, but his business (owned by another) has survived profound environmental and demographic changes for 36 years. This because their food is simply exquisite and timeless in its appeal. The past has survived the future.

VTM,  3/5/94

The Science of Culture

July 30, 2009

The Science of Culture

Harris, Marvin (1979). Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

This book is a complicated and academic read with profound implications for the understanding of what drives the constant changes in cultures: The changes that we call evolution. Harris has written numerous books that are essential to our understanding of what has happened, what is now happening, and what may be happening to America in the near future.

I will discuss Harris’ pertinent concepts and observations as they become relevant to my own writings in my Boiling the American Frog material.

V.T.M., 7/30/09

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