Neoreaction a Basilisk: Excerpt Five
This will be the last excerpt I post here, unsurprisingly from fairly late in the book. The epigraph early on marks the closest thing the book has to chapter breaks. (So this is the end of the fifth and start of the sixth of seven quasi-chapters.) This may be my favorite excerpt, just by dint of how much it highlight’s the book’s ability to move among and synthesize a wide variety of topics. Anyway, Neoreaction a Basilisk is available on Kickstarter, and I’ve linked a PDF of it in a backers-only update, so if you want to read it, you can do so right now.
And this is, in a nutshell, what’s scary about white nationalists – a fear eloquently articulated by Land’s heroic racist John Derbyshire, whom he quotes in the epigraph to Part 4a, the start of his “multi-part sub-digression into racial terror” as saying, “my own sense of the thing is that underneath the happy talk, underneath the dogged adherence to failed ideas and dead theories, underneath the shrieking and anathematizing at people like me, there is a deep and cold despair. In our innermost hearts, we don’t believe racial harmony can be attained.” And it’s true – the possibility that racism is an intractable and permanent problem is a scary one that has to be considered regardless of one’s certainty that there is no moral or rational basis for discrimination based on race. It’s just that the reason racism might be insoluble is less, as Derbyshire suggests, a fundamental “trend to separation” and more that there are still white people like John Derbyshire who are inclined to wax poetic about the precise reasons they hate black people, and that they exist in dangerously high numbers. This is not to deny the existence of racism even on the progressive left, nor to say that progressive racism is not just as much of a long-term danger. Rather, it’s to point out the practical scariness of white nationalists: their presence ensures that an intelligent or productive discussion of race is always going to be poisoned by a bunch of dipshits chiming in to rant about human biodiversity.
Underpinning all of this is the fact that the white nationalist horror is a mythology. This is what underlies the “Zimmerman is white in every way that matters” issue that underpinned the Trayvon Martin shooting – that his whiteness is almost wholly negative, coming from the ability to avoid being viewed as black or Hispanic or anything else. But there’s an inherent paranoia at the heart of this: the white nationalist monster, historically significant as it is and will be, has a glaring weak point in the form of its own monstrous terror of being invaded or violated. And moreover, that monster carries a power of its own, and one that is based in the same mythology as white nationalism.
Because, of course, the other way to describe whiteness instead of being not-seen-as-nonwhite is simply as being seen as “normal.” And the idea that appearing at first glance like someone who probably has European ancestry is “normal” is a concept that emerges out of historical systems of power that emerged from Europe – systems of power, notably, that include both Moldbug’s beloved monarchy and hated dissenters. Simply put, it was Europe that finished the task of mapping the world. European culture became the first global and near-universally known culture; it was the first memetic global pandemic.
In practical terms, of course, this pandemic was accomplished at weapon-point, a fact encompassed neatly in the factoid that there are exactly twenty-two countries in the world that have never been invaded by the British. One rather strongly suspects, though I’ve not done the research, that you can knock those last twenty-two out with at most three other white-dominated countries. And this is where the right to be invaded draws its almost primal power from: the one thing European culture is unique in never having experienced is being taken over by another culture.
“Out from the kitchen to the bedroom to the hallway, your friend apologizes; he could see it my way. He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking. Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding. This is where the party ends.” – They Might Be Giants, “Your Racist Friend”
It would probably help to have some idea of non-white culture, then. But Trayvon Martin was the first person of color to come up in the book, and he’s not really a philosopher. There are, of course, any number of thinkers on the subject of race and identity worth introducing. The point of this exercise is not to come up with some universal theory of non-whiteness. Rather it is to come up with any theory of non-whiteness whatsoever – a vague starting point from which to start imagining our new post-invasion identities. For arcane reasons related mainly to my endgame (yes, I have one), I propose Frantz Fanon.
Fanon was born on Martinique, a French colony, to a middle-class family, but the defining incident in his life came in 1940 after France fell to Germany, resulting in the French troops on Martinique, who were blockaded, simply taking over the island and creating a collaborationist regime. Fanon fled the island three years later, fighting in the Free French army until the liberation of France, at which point he and other non-white soldiers were quietly dropped from the army due to the presence of photojournalists. But he returned to France after finishing school in Martinique, studying medicine, psychiatry, literature, and philosophy before writing his first book, Black Skin, White Masks.
The central idea of this book is as he puts it, that “the black man has two dimensions,” one defined internally, within the black community, and the other defined by the white community, and specifically by the way in which he must “act white” for their sake. In many ways this idea is an adaptation of W.E.B. DuBois’s “double consciousness” (Fanon prefers “dual consciousness”), which he describes as a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” But where DuBois frames it in terms of being looked at by the white world, Fanon frames it in terms of the performance put on – the second role and identity that is put on. But the end result is similar – as DuBois describes it, “one ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
It is of course difficult to adapt an idea like this straightforwardly. So much of it is built out of the real and lived experience of DuBois and Fanon – in the real phenomenon of anger and pain that eventually found its expression in these ideas. But this is not a new problem – we did not, after all, let ourselves get unduly bothered about how Land’s breakdown or Ligotti’s illnesses rendered their work singular. The suffering that underpins these ideas is part of their power, but it is not the whole of it. Dual consciousness, within Fanon, is in no way a pleasurable situation. Rather it’s a constant oppression – a gravity weighing on every moment of black life. But its misery is by and large a product of the historical circumstances in which this dual consciousness arose – the genuinely awful reality of life in Martinique. Might better circumstances produce a better dual consciousness?
To some extent, no. The underlying problem with dual consciousness – that its subject will want to reconcile the two in a way that is ultimately impossible – is intractable. It’s also nothing we haven’t already seen in Milton or Ligotti, though. And while we might not be able to engineer a dual consciousness free of existential angst, it certainly seems possible to create one without brutal structures of colonial oppression and the attendant sense of humiliation and degradation. But that still doesn’t quite answer the real question underlying this, which is whether it’s possible to produce a dual consciousness that is in some sense desirable.
The answer is yes, obviously, or we wouldn’t be doing this. But more surprising is that the best example of it that we’ve seen so far is Eliezer Yudkowsky. Dual consciousness is exactly what Yudkowsky creates in coming up with ways to talk to the future AI-god that will make him immortal. Let’s look at how the whole “acausal trade” thing actually gets established. Yudkowsky created it to solve something called Newcomb’s Problem, which is a thought experiment where a being that can perfectly predict a human’s actions presents them with two boxes, one transparent and the other opaque. Inside the transparent box is $1000. Inside the other one, however, is either $1,000,000 or nothing. The subject is allowed to take just the opaque box or both boxes. However the being has chosen whether the opaque box is empty or not based on their prediction of what the human will do – if it predicts they will take both boxes it is empty, but if it predicts they will just take the opaque one it has $1,000,000 in it. What should the subject do?
The reason this is tricky is that the subject’s choice is not actually affecting the contents of the boxes, and so taking both boxes is necessarily going to have either the same payout as taking one or a larger payout. And yet the predictions are defined as effectively perfect – to take two boxes is to guarantee that the second box is empty. The obvious solution is to declare that magical beings that can perfectly predict human behavior are inherently silly ideas, but since Yudkowksy wants to be reincarnated as a perfect simulation by a futuristic artificial intelligence he doesn’t think that. Instead he sees Newcomb’s Problem as a very important issue and creates an entire new model for decision theory whose only real virtue compared to any other is that it only has one correct answer to Newcomb’s Problem.
The result of this is Timeless Decision Theory, which suggests that the prediction and the problem of picking a box are actually just two iterations of the same problem – an abstract computation roughly of the form “is this person going to pick one box or two.” Accordingly, instead of thinking about one’s actions in terms of “what am I going to do” one should think about it in terms of “what is the output of the abstract computation of what I’m going to do going to be.”
But what’s key about it is that it involves turning free will into a sort of self-prediction. To engage in Timeless Decision Theory is to create a dual consciousness, simultaneously looking at one’s self as the person making a decision and as a person who evaluates your decision-making process externally. Indeed, to truly embrace Timeless Decision Theory as a form of rationality – a way to interact with the world – is to live in a self-imposed panopticon, making every decision as though one is deciding the predictions of an imaginary being that can perfectly predict you. One can imagine the dual consciousness that weighs on a Timeless Decision Theorist, wondering what their Predictor thinks of every little decision they make; their shoes, their job, their sexual tastes.
But crucially, that’s the point. That’s why this leads to Roko’s Basilisk. The whole reason Yudkowsky is doing this is so that he can be in constant communion with the AI-god he aspires to live forever as a process running on. And indeed, given that, the usual relationship between someone and a Miltonian God looks a lot like dual consciousness as well. And the underlying implication – that religion creates dual consciousness – makes a certain intuitive sense, in that religion, like race, is based on metaphysics and mythology.
None of this is news to Nick Land, whose horror fiction is largely about invasion and contact with the outside. His most recent, Chasm, even has as an ostentatious Lovecraft-style racist savage muttering cryptically about dark things and at a key moment unexpectedly speaking perfect English to boot. But that’s not surprising; Land’s always had a clear regard for Yudkowsky, even if only to the extent of wanting to tease him about Roko’s Basilisk. And we should expect to see an almost fractal quality to the concept when we get this close to the heart of it.
Anyway, there’s a larger implication in Yudkowsky’s line of thought. The central perversity of Timeless Decision Theory is that it replaces the illusion of free will with the illusion of the Predictor’s constant companionship. But the way that Yudkowsky can make this surprise conflation of individual consciousness and the alien brain parasite that will be riding within it for all time is through the idea of predicting someone else’s actions. Indeed, the act of prediction would seem to be central to the whole idea of dual consciousness. To be dually conscious is to endlessly predict the response of an outside observer and moderate one’s own actions to influence them. These are also the tools the AI uses to make Yudkowsky an immortal simulation, and for that matter the tools it uses to get out of the box.
But all of this goes back to Alan Turing, whose near universally misunderstood paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” sets out this idea. Under the standard interpretation, this is the paper in which he invents what is generally called the Turing Test, a proposed standard for determining whether a machine can think based on whether it can fool a human into thinking they’re carrying on a typed conversation with a person instead of a machine. This, however, is a complete misreading of Turing’s paper, albeit one that’s easy to make because the paper, being written in 1950, is almost as completely disconnected from any notion of contemporary AI research as Eliezer Yudkowsky and spends most of its length pondering questions like “but what about ESP?”
May 17, 2016 @ 6:13 pm
Ah, yes, much better than the old draft of this bit.
As I noted in my comments on that (and, like then, this isn’t a suggestion for a change but rather simply something you made me think of), “simultaneously looking at one’s self as the person making a decision and as a person who evaluates your decision-making process externally” is a pretty good first-order description of Avoidant Personality Disorder, or at least my subjective personal experience therof, and I can assure you, it fucking sucks.
May 17, 2016 @ 6:18 pm
Shit, hit the button too soon. Wanted to say, symptoms include halting speech, becoming easily overwhelmed in interpersonal interactions, especially when dealing with multiple people at once, persistent feelings of low worth and unlikability, hypervigilance/hypersensitivity to how others respond to you, high comorbidity with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s really not at all a fun way to approach life, and the idea that someone would deliberately cultivate it is viscerally horrifying to me.
May 17, 2016 @ 7:02 pm
“symptoms include halting speech, becoming easily overwhelmed in interpersonal interactions, especially when dealing with multiple people at once, persistent feelings of low worth and unlikability, hypervigilance/hypersensitivity to how others respond to you, high comorbidity with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s really not at all a fun way to approach life”
As somebody who recognizes himself in all of that (though I’m willing to admit that the first two might just be my own subjective experience), no, it isn’t.
May 17, 2016 @ 7:12 pm
“It’s just that the reason racism might be insoluble is less, as Derbyshire suggests, a fundamental “trend to separation” and more that there are still white people like John Derbyshire who are inclined to wax poetic about the precise reasons they hate black people, and that they exist in dangerously high numbers. This is not to deny the existence of racism even on the progressive left, nor to say that progressive racism is not just as much of a long-term danger. Rather, it’s to point out the practical scariness of white nationalists: their presence ensures that an intelligent or productive discussion of race is always going to be poisoned by a bunch of dipshits chiming in to rant about human biodiversity.”
I almost reblogged this when I got to it last night, just because of that disgrace to the noble name of Derbyshire, famous for the 2001 National Review column in which he wrote about Chelsea Clinton’s “vile genetic inheritance” and the inherent criminality thereof*:
Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past — I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble — recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat.
He cited Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany and Imperial China approvingly. He should’ve been fired then, rather than 11 years later when he wrote “The Talk, White Version,” which was so appallingly racist that even the heirs of Hector Godfrey, I mean William B. Fuckley, couldn’t pretend it was anything other than objectionable in parts for all. So fuck John Derbyshire and the high-horse he rode in on.
Anthony D Herrera
May 17, 2016 @ 7:32 pm
My dad is Mexican and my mom is white and one time when my little brother was 4 he was asked by a family member what race he was and my little brother said, “I’m half Mexican and……half human.” and it made everybody laugh and it still makes me laugh today but holy shit.
May 17, 2016 @ 7:58 pm
I would be interested to see what exactly you mean by “European culture is unique in never having experienced is being taken over by another culture”. Taken as a historical statement it seems false unless you are highly selective in your definition of European culture (which is a not very coherent concept by itself). You could perhaps make an argument for Anglo-American culture (if that makes any sense as a concept) if you define the dates at which events start to count fairly arbitrarily.
May 18, 2016 @ 6:33 am
Yes, a lot depends on the cutoff date, and what Phil defines as ‘European Culture’; just from the end of the First World War, perhaps? When the first stirrings of a modern unified Europe seemed to begin. Or maybe after WWII and the Americanisation of Europe.
Otherwise my first thoughts were also of the Mongols (Russia and northern Europe), then the Moors (Spain and Portugal), and that’s just to begin with off the top of my head.
And the fact that there are still very strong reactions from various identifiable cultures within the land mass designated as ‘Europe’, that reject being identified as European and want their own original and diverse cultures back.
May 18, 2016 @ 8:23 am
The lazy version of this I remember hearing in a London pub once was an east end chap loudly declaring the UK ‘had a 1000 year unbeaten record at home’, which is crude but I think essentially accurate.
May 18, 2016 @ 4:07 pm
That would be England, surely?
And there’s a protesting-too-much evasion about the old “unconquered since 1066” line, deflecting attention from “yes, but what about 1066?”. The Norman conquest was, after all, not just an intensely traumatic political event but a process of (incomplete but very far-reaching) cultural replacement that continued for over three centuries. Even after conquerors and conquered became ethnically indistinguishable, resonances of the conquest experience continued to bob up, as in the central role of the “Norman Yoke” in 17th-century political dissent. And it has never been undone, even symbolically – to stick with the sporting metaphor, the bragging rights remain with the conquerors.
It’s a psychic wound that still seems to retain surprising vestiges of tenderness, as I think can be seen in the persistence of odd historical categorisations. The invented category of “Anglo-Saxon” remains the standard designation for pre-1066 English history and culture, while the category the people in question applied to themselves – “English” – is usually studiously avoided, sometimes on the comical grounds that it is anachronistic. Significantly, while the still more distancing “Saxon” has largely fallen out of use as a blanket term for the pre-conquest English in general, it still crops up when discussing the Norman conquest itself. Conversely, post-conquest England’s ethnic-French aristocracy are routinely referred to as “English”. A sense persists that “proper” English history begins in 1066, preceded by a hazy, fragmented and barbaric “Dark Ages”. The English have in effect othered their past, constructing the implied equation “English = Saxon + Norman” to ward off the shame of identification with the subjugated and submissive.
All of which is a somewhat off-topic ramble, but anyway. If I have a point, it’s that even at a great distance in time, even when submerged and unacknowledged, and even in a society usually framed as archetypal doers-to rather than done-to, historical experiences of being politically and culturally taken over can still hang over a culture in peculiar ways.
May 18, 2016 @ 10:36 pm
One of those peculiar ways being The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s work had its roots in his desire to recreate the lost culture and literature of pre-Norman England, much as Loennrot did for Finnish culture in the Kalevala.
There was a wonderful anecdote I read about one of Tolkien’s academic colleagues talking to him in about 1940 about how terrible the war was, and Tolkien profoundly agreeing, only for his colleague to eventually realise that Tolkien was talking about the Norman Conquest.
May 19, 2016 @ 10:40 am
Yeah, it’s one of the main sources or focuses of the sense of loss and ruination that pervades his work, along with the Fall of Man, the Industrial Revolution, experiences of his childhood, a significant portion of Old English poetry and, er, the destruction of Atlantis…
May 18, 2016 @ 10:18 am
Not to mention the Ottomans.
I think, as you say, that Phil is referring to Europe as a single cultural bloc, perhaps with the Catholic and post-Catholic Latin zone chiefly in mind, and so meaning that since its early-medieval coalescence as a cultural entity, “Europe” has never been wholly or preponderantly taken over by another culture.
However, the meaningfulness of that unit here seems to depend heavily on “Europe” being the instinctive focus of cultural identity. Which is very questionable where actual Europeans are concerned, and the more so the further to the cultural-political Right you go. Even to the extent that it does have force, “Europe” as a significant focus for identity is a rather recent phenomenon, which means that the historical experience of Europe-as-a-unit has had a fairly limited role in forming the kind of deep cultural psychology Phil is discussing here. Ethnic self-identifications tend to focus on the national, not the continental level. On that scale European history contains quite a bit of experience of undergoing conquest, subjugation and forcible cultural penetration (though less so in the Franco-German “core”), both by other European cultures and non-European ones. Hence, the idea that that kind of experience has not played its part in European cultural formation seems pretty dubious.
May 18, 2016 @ 1:51 am
Do you guys in the UK and USA have to deal with “reverse racism” as we do here in Brazil? I mean, there are some people (and even some African-American who support them) who REALLY believe that the system is somewhat trying to take their rights and giving it to the black people.
May 18, 2016 @ 2:12 am
I can’t speak for Blighty, but we have more than our share here in Unistat. We have so many, in fact, that on learning they’re a thing you have in Brazil as well, my first reaction was “oh shit, we’ve started exporting our surplus yahoos.”
May 18, 2016 @ 10:04 am
In the UK it’s more xenophobia, i.e. the eastern Europeans and/or refugees get a long list of imaginary privileges and subsidy (and depress house prices and cause cancer). Raging xenophobia is acceptable in the public discourse here in a way that non-dogwhistle racism isn’t.
May 19, 2016 @ 11:13 am
This extract seems overly dismissive in two places.
First, “The obvious solution [to Newcomb’s problem] is to declare that magical beings that can perfectly predict human behavior are inherently silly ideas”.
This is a common objection to Newcomb’s problem, but it’s an attempt to dodge the problem rather than to answer it. A thought experiment aims to illustrate the consequences of a principle in an artificial setting where the issue is clear-cut. You can always respond that the setting is artificial and so you don’t have to consider the issue, but then you might be missing something important. For example, if you say that Schrödinger’s cat is inherently silly because macroscopic objects can’t be put in superposition, then you’ll miss the idea of quantum computing. If you say that Maxwell’s demon is impossible because you can’t make machinery that small, then you’ll miss the role that information erasure plays in entropy.
Newcomb’s problem is a thought experiment that aims to show a flaw in causal decision theory. Causal decision theory is an account of rational decision-making that works by adding up the future consequences caused by each option. Newcomb’s problem shows that this theory doesn’t work in cases where the consequences are suitably entangled with the decision. The artificiality of Newcomb’s setting (with the impossibly perfect predictor) is there to make the issue clear. The issue still applies if the predictor is less than perfect: as the Stanford Encyclopedia says, “if Newcomb’s problem seems untroubling because [it’s] unrealistic, realistic versions of the problem are plentiful.”
Second, “This, however, is a complete misreading of Turing’s paper”. Since you don’t present your preferred reading of Turing’s paper, it’s hard to respond to this. But the first paragraph has always seemed straightforward to me:
“I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’ This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms ‘machine’ and ‘think.’ The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words ‘machine’ and ‘think’ are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, ‘Can machines think?’ is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.”
The idea was to advance the debate about machine intelligence by replacing a woolly question (can machines think?) with a concrete question that can be operationalized (can machines pass the imitation game?). The bulk of the paper is an argument that the concrete question is a good proxy for the woolly question. Turing considers ESP because if it existed (and Turing is clear that he thought it does not), then it would be a way in which the imitation game would fail to be a good proxy. 1950 was very early in the history of ESP research (J. B. Rhine started to publish in the 1930s), so the inclusion of this argument is not as silly as it might seem now.
May 19, 2016 @ 5:37 pm
If you read the book the Turing stuff continues on. You’re familiar with the concept of a teaser, yeah?
May 19, 2016 @ 5:59 pm
Phil presented his interpretation of the Turing Test in his “Ex Machina” review: http://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog/women-in-ai-boxes-ex-machina-and-the-other-turing-test/
May 20, 2016 @ 7:19 am
Only two? Huh. Hadn’t realized it was such a tame passage. Ah well.
May 19, 2016 @ 8:17 pm
So the “complete misreading” line is a joke based on an ambiguity in Turing’s description of the imitation game?
May 20, 2016 @ 7:12 am
No, it’s a straightforward statement that, in Phil’s view, the notion most people have of “the Turing Test” fails to represent what Turing was actually getting at. Did you read the piece linked by mr_mond?
May 20, 2016 @ 7:28 am
I’ll make it super-easy for Gareth and paste in the relevant paragraph:
It is notable that this latter question is, in several regards, closer to Turing’s other interests. Turing was not a linguist, and for the paper to draw conclusions about the basic use of language would be at least slightly odd. Turing was, however, heavily involved in espionage and cryptography, and was a closeted gay man to boot. The suggestion that he might have thought about things in terms of impersonating and passing is, in other words, credible. But even if one wants to restrict the discussion to his intellectual work, look at the idea of the Universal Turing Machine and the halting problem, which is clearly a study of imitation. It’s also a question with clear roots in the history of philosophy, the word “imitation” evoking Aristotle’s observation in the Poetics that man is an “imitative” creature.
May 20, 2016 @ 1:00 pm
Perhaps “joke” was the wrong way to describe this kind of reading — would “jeu d’esprit” be better? (But you do describe it as a “sly joke” in the opening paragraph.)
I mean, I do like the linked post, but I think that its approach doesn’t work so well in the context of setting out to show where your targets have gone badly wrong. In this context you need to accurately locate the point that they went off the rails. That fact you have another reading of Turing does not make the conventional reading a “near universal misunderstanding”.
Similarly, in the case of Roko’s basilisk, the point where Yudkowsky goes badly wrong can’t be the point at which he fails to immediately dismiss Newcomb’s problem as unrealistic. Otherwise, we’d have to say that all the philosophers who have considered the problem, from Robert Nozick onwards, have also gone badly wrong.
May 22, 2016 @ 4:01 am
Eh. shrugs I’ll throw Nozick under the bus for the sake of a few laughs.
May 19, 2016 @ 9:08 pm
I just finished the pre-release for backers, and am still mulling it over. Based on what else I’d read, in terms of reviews, reactions and excerpts… it was not really what I expected. The sense that Yudkowski and Moldbug, at least, are the (probably doomed) protagonists in horror stories does come through, and I thought the book seemed to convey some genuine if obviously conflicted affection for them.
Less so with Land; there’s more respect for his ideas, but he seems to be treated much more coldly.
It could definitely use some real chapter breaks.
I remember coming across Derbyshire via his pretty decent popular book about the Riemann zeta function, and being rather dismayed when I encountered his political writing a short time afterwards.
May 20, 2016 @ 7:28 am
Perhaps it could use some real chapter breaks, but structurally it really doesn’t have them.
May 22, 2016 @ 7:53 am
“the one thing European culture is unique in never having experienced is being taken over by another culture.”
Well, unless you’re Irish (England), Polish (Russia), Finnish (Sweden then Russia), Serbian (Turks), Greek (Turks), Russian (Mongols) or Ukrainian (Mongols then Crim Tatars then Russians).