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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Public order and disorder

Forget the silly copycat virtue signalling on the streets of London - I think this was merely our exuberant minority having a post-lockdown knees-up - but the riots in the US really do point to an endogenous problem in American policing. A comment to the post below reminded us that the opposite to love is not hate but indifference. It was indifference that gave us Bergen-Belsen and the casual murderous brutality of the Nazis; they simply didn't care enough even to feed or keep alive their victims. The worst crime in the eyes of these beasts was not to be Jewish or Communist but to be inconvenient. This I think is also the problem at the heart of US police violence - indifference.

Many aspects of the US are counter-intuitive. I love this map -

It shows the predominant ethnic origin of each county and the most common is ... German. Apart from Utah and the old states of the NE coast, the English are nowhere. So prevalent was German culture in the US that on the eve of the Great War, the country was ambivalent as to which side to support. This has nothing to do with the seats of the riots, the major conflagrations in LA, NY, Chicago, Atlanta and of course Minneapolis, but I throw it out as an explainer of a cultural difference between the UK and US that we sometimes cannot quite understand.

We have of course no equivalent of the National Guard either. The ease with which the US has used these armed citizens in the past decades, including for those who recall it the shooting dead of 13 students at Kent State University in 1970, is also utterly alien to British culture.

Our own most recent riots in 2011 proved the efficacy of the country's mass surveillance systems. Some 1,292 persons were jailed for a total of 1,800 years. This at least must prove some sort of disincentive to the anarchic inciters, even if it also poses civil liberties concerns for the rest of us.

David Lammy may be happy to be seen trying to start this disorder in the UK, but we really are very different nations. 


JuliaM said...

Why shouldn't they be indifferent to the sort of people who will never improve their lives and the lives of their neighbours?

The Creator said...

13 students weren't killed at Kent State, four were. Shocking enough of course.

Raedwald said...

Tx - now corrected

DJK said...

I loved this map when I first saw it too. Discussing it with a colleague we agreed that the fact that most Americans were really German explained a lot. And I can vouch for its accuracy, knowing several Italian Americans who happen to come from the Italian dot in upstate New York.

America really is a different country. I used to visit McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, MO, back in the 90s. The engineers and managers were just about all white men, mostly with German names. The very efficient secretaries were mostly black women. The people serving in the canteen were all older white women. The janitors, of course, were all black men. I don't recall seeing any people of asian or hispanic origin, but perhaps things have changed since.

Of course in reality, America is several countries. There is the generica of the strip malls that appear everywhere, but then there are huge differences between NYC, DC, the west coast, the flyover states, etc.

Anonymous said...

Trump doesn't care enough to bother to keep alive 100,000 Americans.

He plays golf.

What an unintentionally ironic piece.

Spain recorded zero deaths yesterday though.

Span Ows said...

Anon, and Italian scientists say the virus is now gone, over.

That map is fantastic, I was surprised only 3 states had a majority English ancestry. I knew many were German as my family there are all German/English.

What is "American" i.e. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia?

Doonhamer said...

The Scots, there were only a few dozen of them, just kept moving about founding and naming businesses and places before drifting into Canada.
What was believed to be the last Scot in USA, the janitor in the Simpsons, turned out to be a fictional character.
Group's mother was actually Norwegian, left behind after a Horse hen party raid.

DeeDee99 said...

The domination of German heritage citizens across the west and mid-west probably explains the attempted genocide of the native Indian population.

Raedwald said...

Span Ows - self identified as 'American' when asked about ethnic origin in the census, I believe

Span Ows said...

Raedwald, thanks...and correct, I looked:

"Seven percent of the U.S. population reported their ancestry as American. The number who reported American and no other ancestry increased from 12.4 million in 1990 to 20.2 million in 2000, the largest numerical growth of any group during the 1990s."

Raedwald said...

And probably has something to do with the Confederacy being roughly co-terminous

Thud said...

Utahns because of their religion are happy to profess English ancestry, other Americans for cultural reasons not so but you will find them declaring themselves as German American when they are perhaps 60% English...its just how they roll..haha!

Mark said...

Z man has an interesting and rather jaundiced view of this whole US race thing if you go over and have a look.

US race relation seem to be pure poison and it really is difficult to see how it can be resolved.

The utter contempt I have for the cynical hustlers who are trying to poison this country in the same way. Well I just don't have the words.

Anonymous said...

The war of independence ends in 1783 at which point 85% of the population is of British origin (similar to Britain today). Immigration post the war is about 60K per decade of which Germans make up the low hundreds per year. In 1820 the foreign born population of the US is 1.2%. German immigration jumps to 10K just after 1830 marking the start of the largely forgotten unrest in Germany culminating in the 1848 German revolutions. Total immigration to the US in the coming decades begins to double, triple, then quadruple. In 1850 the foreign born population is now 10%. Between 1845 and 1855 over a million Germans moved to the US with further 4 million to arrive before 1930.

There were long standing concerns that this immigration would change the fundamentally British character of the US, Ben Franklin wrote “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”. Part of the development of the US public school was aimed at eradicating monolingual German speaking or 'Pennsylvania Dutch' as it was called.

All in all the US is a sobering lesson on functionality of multiculturalism and the effects mass immigration. I wonder if in a hundred years Muslim England will be pointing to Mexican America and saying 'Ah well its because they're Hispanic you see, explains a lot...'

YDG said...

"It shows the predominant ethnic origin of each county and the most common is ... German"

I'm dubious about this. Many years ago I found myself talking to an American whose parents were Korean. We were discussing the notion of "hyphenated" Americans - Korean-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans etc, etc. Eventually I asked the right question. "Where are the English-Americans?" He laughed - because of course that's what "American" without any qualification actually means. Bill Clinton publicly identified as "Irish" even though he has no Irish ancestry whatsoever - because it was politically expedient to do so.

Unless that map is backed up with DNA testing - and is "German" DNA even recognisably distinct from "English" - then it's just what people choose to claim - like Elizabeth Warren being Cherokee.

DiscoveredJoys said...

For an alternative view of the various heritages of the Americans living in the Eastern states you could read 'Albion's Seed' by David Fischer or a much shorter review and commentary at

The even shorter summary is that settlers from (what is now) the UK fall into 4 groups:
The Puritans
The Cavaliers
The Quakers
The Borderers

From this heritage you can (it is argued) explain political differences between the North and South of the USA. I guess this also interacts with later waves of settlements and (ahem) forced immigration.

Perhaps people in England are not only separated from people in the USA by a common language, but also by a divergent social history? I really think it is more difficult to understand the Americans than the shared elements of our culture would suggest.

Anonymous said...


That's a fine book, though lengthy.

I also recommend: American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward

and if you can manage it: An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles Beard

Anonymous said...

This assumes our cultural leanings are innate rather than moulded by our surroundings. I agree that Americans are different from Brits, whereas in Australia I immediately felt 'at home'. But surely people who migrate to a country with a similar cultural background, over time, absorb the surrounding culture and fully integrate. Even people from a very different culture can over time take on the culture of their adopted country.

RD said...

Does anyone know of an analysis the demographic effect on the United States of losing 600,000 (mostly) young men in the American Civil War in the subsequent decades of increased European immigration to the USA?

Anonymous said...

An elderly white couple (85 and 86) were at the grave of their son in the Delaware Veterans Cemetery a few weeks ago when a young black man approached from behind and shot them both in the back of the head. A few days later, in Houston, a 80 year-old white lady was stabbed to death in a supermarket car park by a young black man. The killers were unknown to the victims. The MSM are silent, just like they were when last week a young black man macheted a white couple in front of their two young children in a hardware store in Virginia, ditto a young a black man repeatedly punching elderly white care home residents - and recording it on his phone.

I could go on because the number of white people being beaten and murdered by blacks is simply staggering. As for blacks killing blacks the FBI records all homicides and the figure averages 93 per cent. Of the other 7 per cent 6 per cent are Hispanics. On average just one per cent of blacks are killed by white people.


Anonymous said...

If it’s such a great matter of civil rights that black people suffer disproportionately at the hands of the cops,

Why isnt it a great matter of civil rights that white people suffer disproportionately at the hands of black people?

Eric from Chilwell said...

Having worked for an American founded, albeit Saudi owned, company with a strong American work culture after living for several years in the fatherland I am of the opinion that Americans are simply Germans who happen to speak English

Anonymous said...

The data are pretty meaningless as the original census question was vague: "What is this person’s ancestry or ethnic origin?". Almost 25 million reported "African American" while just over 1 million reported "African". Of the 42 million who reported "German" how many had a German sounding name and how many can trace their ancestry to a place in the German Empire? Also 22% reported multiple ancestry - were the former residents of Danzig classified as German rather than Polish?