Ian B on the Nature and Progress of the Pastoral Races


The facts will be inevitably loose in this kind of discussion, partly because of limited data and partly because we are looking at trends rather than absolutes. Just as the assertion that Swedes tend to taller than Chinamen is valid in a world where some Chinamen are quite tall and some Swedes rather short

To say that one culture differs from another culture in some way does not mean the complete separation of traits. If we say that Prussia was a more militarist society than England, that does not mean that England was pacifist, or that the Prussians were permanently at war. Nonetheless we can see how 19th century Prussian militarism shaped the whole society; its social interactions, industry, education, politics, etc. Here, I’m trying to look at something deeper and more fundamental; family structure, and I suggest a gradient from North to South on the map from us down to the Levant. The general model we find, indeed in the Bible, is pastoralist. Here up North, we find agrarians tilling the heavy soil. The latter leads to “the couple in a farmhouse with their children”. The former leads to the “herdsman tribe”. And when each society advances, it will develop different civilisation types, with quite different understandings of the nature of the individual and the collective.

This does not mean that there is uniformity within each region discussed; again, they are trends. Not every Jew was a shepherd. Some grew crops. Some were scribes, and artisans. But the basic family model is pastoralist (which is why the Old Testament is full of people boasting about their camels; indeed the story of Abraham’s split from Lott is an argument between their herdsman-tribes over grazing rights).

As we head into Europe and peoples who had developed out of the Ice Age, we find an environment ill suited to bedouin pastoralism (or indeed the horse pastoralism of the Steppe tribes to the East who were different again, but, lacking the grazing, did not penetrate all the way across Europe; the Golden Horde ran out of steam when they ran out of grass, fortunately for us, though they did deposit some nice oriental genes into the Slavic girls, which is why they are currently swamping the modelling market, and at which point I am completely off the point. Anyway, that’s another model but it doesn’t much concern us because it’s too far East and the only two models that concern Western Europe for most of our history are the putative native one, and the Levantine one via Christianity, up from the Mediterranean).

So, there are trends, and the facts are inevitably loose though. It is interesting to note perhaps however that in some parts of Northern Europe, we <i>do</i> see pastoral tribal structures. Head north from the gently waving, depressingly flat, grain fields of England and you find a primitive and ugly people called the Scotch. Derived from a pastoralist culture as they are, it took the civilised English many hundreds of years to pacify their relentless tribalism and native urge to murder members of other “clans”, whilst wearing skirts. I admit at this point, I am myself one quarter Scotch, and though I am able to control it, the result is that merely passing a MacDonalds fills me with the bloodlust to murder everyone in their sleep, and declare it a very great clan victory. Indeed, their current leader, a man called Alec Mac Salmon, is furiously attempting to reignite some kind of clan war with his blood enemies, the “Sassenachs”, for reasons that nobody can fathom, as he thunders his bloodcurdling battle cry, “Kill the English but keep the poond!”.

Anyway, that’s the basic idea; that liberalism arose from a relatively atomised European tribal model, in which case the much-despised-currently idea that “we got our liberties from the Saxons” may be, if overstated, basically the truth. It is not about hostility to Christianity; merely the observation that that religion is not a precursor or prerequisite for the values of Western Civilisation, which is a belief in my experience that many, at least on the “right”, seem to believe.

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8 responses to “Ian B on the Nature and Progress of the Pastoral Races

  1. It might just be me, but the formatting on this piece is wonky. Apologies if everyone else can see it fine.

  2. Not up to the standard of “The Crapness Of Ants”, I think.

  3. I like to think I’m part Scottish, from way back, so I love this sort of thing. I’ve gone so far as to reblog and quibcag it here:

    http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-celts-and-rootin-teutons.html

    • I was slightly aghast and had a mild heart-attack at Ian’s opinion of the Scots (in my limited experience mostly charming and fun people) in that piece I think, since Sean Gabb and I might even have got dome for “racism” as this is “our” blog. But then I left it, to see what would happen.

      No British Armed Police have beaten down my front door yet, so I guess nobody minds very much.

  4. The Saxons in England were rather different from the Saxons in Saxony.

    In both villages tended to be governed by12 man councils (so much for the idea of a 12 man jury being entirely a Norman idea) and the property rights of women were much better than those of late Roman law.

    However, in Germany the Saxons were a tribal people – and had dependent ethic groups (semi slaves). This was far less marked in what became England – as the various immigrant groups (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) mixed with each other an with others – although they regarded as alien (the native Romano British) were treated in an often terrible fashion (contrary to fashionable ethnic-group-is-cultural-group doctrine there is little Celtic DNA in rural areas of South and East England). Although there does seem to have been more mixing in Mercia and Wessex (at least on a genetic level – culturally the natives still had to give up their language and so on, or be treated as enemy aliens……).

    The Normans were content to be a ruling class (although from Henry the First intermarriage was the norm) hence the survival of the English language (although it was much changed), but the Anglo Saxons viewed themselves as the people (the folk) and one could merge into them (less hard in some places than in others) or be systematically disadvantaged – so much so that one was unlikely to have surviving descendants over the generations.

    But it should be remembered that the enemies of the Anglo Saxons could be just as “racist” (if that is the right word). Even as late as King Athelstan (CENTURIES after the coming of the Anglo Saxons to Britain) the grand alliance that was formed (of Vikings, Scots, Welsh and Irish) boasted that they would drive “the English” into the sea – wipe them out (“as if they had never been”).

    Living on this island for centuries seemingly (in the eyes of their enemies) gave the English no right to even exist.

    Nor was the fact that the English were (and had been for more than a century) fellow Christians seen as enough to spare them from boasts of impending genocide.

    The attempted genocide of the Danes came about half a century later – a failed attempt at genocide, but some Norse women and children were murdered (by order of the “Ill Advised” King) only a few miles from were I am typing this.

    It was a savage age – and rulers, such as Alfred the Great. who tried to treat people of all ethnic groups (Welsh, English, Norse….) by standards of universal justice were rare. As were rulers who treated defeated enemies with mercy (rather than just slaughter them). Although such rulers were admired – indeed it was the highest praise one could give a ruler to say that even their enemies went into mourning on hearing of their deaths.