Showing posts from April, 2018

American Story: Virginian Origins


Virginian Origins

The next few posts attempt to make sense of the political earthquake in the United States, by following some historical traces of 'irrational citizenship' from a single male line of American voters.

The idea is that what might seem to be inconsistencies in generational behaviour to an outside observer, are viewed as 'natural' consistencies by family members. Rather than aberrations, the attitudes and actions that society later condemns are received as a continuum of custom and character by those who 'inherit' them. 

A democracy of people with personal 'complicated histories' has the potential, in aggregate, to produce national 'accidents of history'.

This story begins in 1675 in the Colony of Virginia, with Edward Boykin (1650-1725) marrying Ann Gwaltney (1652-1726). It continues with their son Edward Boykin (1676-1745) marrying Judith Hill (1674-1745).

The importance of the two Edwards, father and son, lies in their …

The Condamine Theory

For an outsider looking in, the current state of affairs in American politics is disturbing. "America First" is like meeting the United States for the first time. Another America.
Where did these massive groundswells of populist feeling come from? And why does it seem to have taken the rest of us in the Western world by surprise?
Perhaps an Australian analogy can help. In 2016 the Condamine River in southwest Queensland caught fire. And, yes, you're right. Rivers are not supposed to do that.
To quote a news report by Fairfax Press dated 25 April in that year:

Large bubbles of methane gas gurgle along the surface of the river before Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham waves a kitchen lighter over the side of a tinny boat. Without warning the river explodes in flames, forcing Buckingham to retreat to the other side of the boat. The flames continued to burn throughout several minutes of footage to the MP's Facebook page...
Mr Buckingham tr…