Philosophistry: The Love of Rhetoric
Cultural Determinism

When social scientists reflexively retort, "It's not genetic! It's cultural!", they create a straw man in the form of cold-hearted genetic-determinists. It's as if they're still waging war against the eugenicists who measured skull sizes in the early-1900s. This war may still be a fair one, but by shooting down genetic determinism, it leaves us what, cultural free will? Cultural determinants of behavior may be as binding, if not more, than genetic ones.

People are Webs, not Buildings

After a major natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake, or after a major attack, such as a bombing, our natural impression is that of unrecoverable catastrophe. We imagine those cities as the buildings themselves, and so the destruction of a building is like the destruction of the individual bricks of a building. Once you remove the foundation, the whole thing collapses. But history reveals otherwise. Consider New Orleans after Katrina, New York after 9/11, and Hiroshima after the first atom bomb; Those cities are thriving.

Albion's Seed

Albion's Seed is fascinating because of how resilient the four founding cultures of the United States are. The four include the Quakers and Puritans of the North and Borderers and Cavaliers of the South. The Quakers are the intelligentsia expats from London. The Puritans are the pilgrims escaping religious persecution. The Borderers come from the warring Scots-Irish borders. The Cavaliers are the aristocrats of England. The traits of each of those subcultures are starkly present today, in Red vs. Blue states, in Appalachian vs. Pacific Northwest, in Democrat vs. Republican.

See also