Friday, 19 December 2008

Argumentum Insapiens

“Given that Homo sapiens originated in Africa it would be true to say that 100% of Britons have immigrant ancestors.” [1]

Not only would it not be true to say so, but it would be dumb to say so. It is impossible to have immigration into states and nations that do not exist. And I am quite sure that Britain as a state did not exist at the dawn of humanity; that England as an ethno-geographic territory did not exist when the Anglo-Saxons invaded these islands; and that Britain still did not exist when the Normans invaded England. The socio-political-territorial concept of immigration implies by its prefix migration into something, rather than just movement from one point in space to another, and that that something is not a mere stretch of matter, which has by itself no objectively-existing territorial borders. The stretch of matter that we name “Britain” attains no status as anything but matter except by a socio-political concept; and its division into national territories depended on the very nations that made them. The Anglo-Saxons were not immigrants to an England which somehow magically existed apart from them; they were its creators. Nor were they immigrants to a Britain that would not exist until long after they had arrived. Similarly, Scotland did not exist before the Scots invaded from Ireland, and China did not exist before there were people calling themselves Chinese, and so on. It is utter nonsense to speak of the English being immigrants to England, the Scots being immigrants to Scotland, the Welsh being immigrants to Wales, the Irish being immigrants to Ireland, the Indians being immigrants to India, and so on — all of which are not mere stretches of earth, but ethnic, social, or political territories. Mr Worstall, however, comes from the So-Long-As-It-Makes-Us-Richer School of Thought, which is to say that he’d gladly sell his ancestral homeland for a few pennies more a year, and, as it seems, wouldn’t baulk at using spurious arguments to do so. Or perhaps, as regards the latter point, he is just a twit.
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[1] Tim Worstall, “Twits”, Tim Worstall (weblog), 18th December 2008. (“Homo sapiens” changed from “Homo Sapiens”.)

20 comments:

dearieme said...

All right, who's arrived in Scotland and England since 1603 (if you think that a reasonable time from which to start the clock)? Some Huguenots, a few Dutch, lots of paddies and the late 19th century Jews. The paddies were of course citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, since most of them arrived in 1801 - 1921, but on the other hand they largely held themselves separate and chose to live in a desolately awful slum culture. (One of my grandfathers grew up in it and hated it to the bottom of his soul.) And so the conclusion for the pre-1950s is - eh, I'm not sure, save that no honest account of post-WWII immigration could say that we've always been a nation of immigrants and preserve any connection to honesty.

Underground Dude said...

We have the same problem with some Brazilian leftards arguing that the pardo leeches from the north and the northeast who immigrate to the south (the whitest and most developed area) to make money are the same as the European immigrants who came here when it was nothing but a sea of jungle and made a civilisation out of it.

Also, someone should tell him that the Out of Africa theory is just that: a theory. It's not an absolute certainty and it's just as questionable as any other theory.

Well said, sir.

Tim Worstall said...

Read what I wrote again. I said Britons, not Britain.

"immigrate - migrate to a new environment; "only few plants can immigrate to the island""

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:immigration&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

100% of Britons have ancestors who migrated to a new environment.

Deogolwulf said...

Dearieme, yes, the dishonesty and misinformation is quite breath-taking.

Mr Dude, thank you. The argument is a global one, it seems, amongst "leftards". (I like that word.)

Mr Worstall: “100% of Britons have ancestors who migrated to a new environment.”

Oh, why didn’t you say so! There was I thinking you were making a point about immigration — indeed immigration to this country in particular — relevant in the socio-political sense, but it turns out you were just using a geographical term all along, and thereby making a point so banal that it would benumb even the mind of a liberal. How foolish of me! Yes, indeed, 100% of Britons have ancestors who migrated to a new environment. So what? (We could come up with all sorts of irrelevant facts about the ancestors of Britons, or about any other group, for that matter. Why not also point out that, given an evolutionary account of the origins of life on earth, 100% of Britons have ancestors who were unicellular?)

Funnily enough, when editing this post for publication, I cut out a sentence stating the usefulness of an equivocation between the socio-political and geographical senses in making a specious point about immigration, an equivocation which could also help dishonest evasion. I thought it was unnecessary. I was wrong.

David Duff said...

"it would be dumb to say so."

Heh, heh, heh! You academics have such a way with words. That's nearly as good as one of 'Dearieme's' best - than which, of course, one can speak no higher!

Laban said...

Surely if we're all Africans we need to re-establish the Imperial posessions in our ancestral homeland ?

Laban said...

Sorry about the missing 's'.

A while back some people got very excited about the North African and Syrian soldiers serving on Hadrians wall 1800 years back, implying that there should consequently be no worries about African or Middle Eastern immigration now.

Brits in the Roman army also served on the Syrian frontiers, but yet those same people got quite upset about the presence of our soldiers just across the border in Iraq. Surely 'there have always been British soldiers there' ?

James Higham said...

It is utter nonsense to speak of the English being immigrants to England, the Scots being immigrants to Scotland, the Welsh being immigrants to Wales, the Irish being immigrants to Ireland, the Indians being immigrants to India, and so on ...

True and an interesting exchange in comments as well.

Susan said...

@Underground Dude

You don't appear to know what a "theory" is. You're thinking of a hypothesis or a supposition. The Theory of General Relativity is "just a theory." A "theory" in science is a well-grounded explanation of the facts that is capable of being contradicted, but hasn't been. It is only subject to being questioned if you can produce evidence that it can't account for, or if you can come up with a simpler explanation of the existing evidence. "Just a theory" tends to be the argument of someone who would deny a scientific consensus in service to some agenda. But the facts come first.

If you want "proof," become a logician or a mathematician. Because those are the only realms where proof, strictly speaking, is even possible.

As to the content of the post, I largely agree, though I must say that the Normals were certainly invading a well-defined, ethnically distinct area. The Normans were conquerors, invaders, and immigrants.

Anonymous said...

"As to the content of the post,... though I say that the Normals were certainly invading a well-defined, ethnically distinct area. The Normans were conquerors, invaders, and immigrants."

Forgive my intrusion here but I've noticed Mr Duff amongst the comments. Would he, or would not he sit within the ranks of the former or the latter?

JK

Underground Dude said...

Susan,

Yes, I deny your so-called scientific consensus. What of it? Is it blasphemy? Scientism grows more dogmatic each day.

Moreover, the Out of Africa theory is indeed merely a hypothesis. Paleoanthropologists in general refer to it as a hypothesis, opposed to another hypothesis, the multiregional hypothesis. A simple Google or Wikipedia research should suffice to inform you before you go on rubbing your factoids on my face and making your ignorance even more conspicuous.

dearieme said...

"the Normals were certainly invading a well-defined, ethnically distinct area": not quite. Even if you take Cornwall and Cumbria off the menu, what is now England was then part Anglo-Saxon, part Danish.

Blode032222 said...

The Normans were conquerors, invaders, and immigrants.

I'm not trying to nitpick, but I didn't think the same person could be both a conqueror/invader and an immigrant. Invading a country means shrinking the area subject to its authority, and increasing the area subject to your own. Conquering means deleting the authority of the previous country.

Immigrating means moving into the area subject to the host country's authority. So, immigration is like walking across a carpet, invasion is like rolling up a carpet partway, and conquering is like throwing the carpet onto a bonfire. Surely the Normans didn't do all three (at least not at the same time).

Alice C. Linsley said...

Science can serve the Truth. In fact, true Science serves only the Truth. The "Leftards" don't like that kind of science. They want science that supports their views; science written like a law brief to build a case againt their Rightard opponents.

As to the Out of Africa Theory... I assume this refer to the mega-evoutionary view that humanity originated in Africa and evolved into different peoples over a long period of adaptation to new geographical environments. The theory encounters problems once you leave the Afro-Asiatic peoples who did indeed migrate out of Africa. It encounters more problems when it comes to linguistics since there are 17 distinct languages groups and these do not share a proto-Afro language. There is also the problem of mitochondria samples which suggest that there were multiple human origins.

James Higham said...

Merry Christmas to you, Deogolwulf, in whichever way you plan to spend the time.

Underground Dude said...

Thank you, Alice.

DARWEN REPORTER said...

What does it really matter! All countries are a mixture of races!

Anonymous said...

It seems quite likely that we did all emerge out of Africa at some point but that is not the reason this theory gets so much airtime.

The unspoken thinking behind it is this; that we, being from some ancestor population of Africans, are descended from people much like the current population of Africa. Therefore anyone who mutters discontent about immigration is a vile racist, after all we are all Africans really.

However we are not descended from the current population of Africa. We are descended from a group that is also an ancestor of modern Africans. Europeans migrated away and evolved along somewhat different lines.

Anonymous said...

What does it really matter! All countries are a mixture of races!

Define race then. Is Japan a mixture of races, Korea, Somalia...?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Actually there is no evidence that all the peoples of the Earth evolved from a common ancestral stock in Africa. This theory gains credibility because the oldest human fossils have been found in Africa. Still, macro-evolution hasn't proven the hypothesis. On the other hand, there is a significant body of evidence indicating that humans descend from 3 or 4 original sets of Adams and Eves. This evidence is found in genetics, linguistics and cultural anthropology. What is clear, however, is that all Afro-Asiatic peoples and many Austra-Asiatics came out of Africa.