Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hunchback of the Isle of Lesbos

A thrown shoe exposes her true, perverted, evil self.

The Highland Clearances, Cliven Bundy, and an Armed Populace

On the Scottish side of my family we are descended from Borderers, also known as Reivers. I also know about the Highland Clearances, which is when the government stole the land and evicted the people, killing quite a quite a few.

History always repeats itself, and what happened in the Clearances is now happening in the U.S. Think Cliven Bundy, who is apparently the last rancher in Nevada. The government is trying to steal his land...apparently to give its use to the Chinese (thanks Harry Reid).

This article in from Wikipedia.


"The Highland Clearances (Scottish Gaelic: Fuadach nan GĂ idheal, the 'expulsion of the Gael') was the forced displacement of a significant number of people in the Scottish Highlands during the 18th and 19th centuries, as a result of an agricultural revolution that resulted in enclosures, largely carried out by hereditary aristocratic landowners. A Highland Clearance has been defined as “an enforced simultaneous eviction of all families living in a given area such as an entire glen”.

"The clearances are particularly notorious as a result of the brutality of many evictions at short notice (year-by-year tenants had almost no protection under Scots law), and the abruptness of the change from the traditional clan system in which reciprocal obligations between the population and their leaders were well-recognized. The cumulative effect of the Clearances devastated the cultural landscape of Scotland in a way that did not happen in other areas of Britain; the effect of the Clearances was to destroy much of the Gaelic culture.

"The Clearances resulted in significant emigration of Highlanders to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands and further afield to North America and Australasia, where today are found considerably more descendants of Highlanders than in Scotland itself.

The Clearances were a complex series of events occurring over a period of more than a hundred years.

"The enclosures in rural England in the British Agricultural Revolution started much earlier, during the Tudor period, and similar developments in Scotland have lately been called the Lowland Clearances by historians such as Tom Devine. But in the Highlands the impact on a Goidelic (Scottish Gaelic)-speaking semi-feudal culture that included the fulfilment of obligations of a chief to his clan, led to vocal campaigning and a lingering bitterness among the descendants of those forced to emigrate or to remain in crofting townships on very small areas of poor farming land.

Changes in clan leadership

"From the late 16th century, laws required clan leaders to appear in Edinburgh regularly to provide bonds for the conduct of anyone in their territory. This created a tendency among chiefs to see themselves as landlords, rather than leaders of men. The lesser clan-gentry increasingly took up droving, taking cattle along the old unpaved drove roads to sell in the Lowlands. This brought wealth and land ownership within the clan, though the Highlands continued to be overpopulated and poor. Crofters became a source of virtually free labour to their landlords, being forced to work long hours in activities such as harvesting and processing of kelp, an activity that reached its peak in the West Highlands between 1750 and 1815.

"The Jacobite Risings brought repeated British government efforts to curb the clans, culminating after the 1746 Battle of Culloden with brutal repression. The Act of Proscription of 1746 incorporating the Dress Act required all swords to be surrendered to the government and prohibited the wearing of tartans and kilts. The Tenures Abolition Act 1660 ended the feudal bond of military service, and the Heritable Jurisdictions Act removed the virtually sovereign power the chiefs held over their clan. The extent of enforcement of the prohibitions varied and related to a clan's support of the government during the rebellion, but overall led to the destruction of the traditional clan system and of the supportive social structures of small agricultural townships.

"From about 1725, in the aftermath of the first Jacobite Rising, Highlanders had begun immigrating to the Americas in increasing numbers. The Disarming Act of 1746 and the Clan Act made ineffectual attempts to subdue the Scottish Highlands, and eventually troops were sent in. Government garrisons were built or extended in the Great Glen at Fort William, Kiliwhimin (later renamed Fort Augustus) and Fort George, Inverness, as well as barracks at Ruthven, Bernera and Inversnaid, linked to the south by the 'Wade roads' (constructed for Major-General George Wade). These had the effect of limiting organisational travel[clarification needed] and choking off news[citation needed]; and further isolated the clans. Nevertheless, conditions remained unsettled for the whole decade.

Economic "improvements"

"What became known as the Clearances were regarded by the landlords as necessary improvements. They are thought to have been begun by Admiral John Ross of Balnagowan Castle in 1762. MacLeod of MacLeod (the chief of MacLeod) began experimental work on Skye in 1732. Chiefs engaged Lowland, or sometimes English, factors with expertise in more profitable sheep farming, and they 'encouraged', sometimes forcibly, the population to move off suitable land.

"To landlords, 'improvement' and 'clearance' did not necessarily mean depopulation. At least until the 1820s, when there were steep falls in the price of kelp, landlords wanted to create pools of cheap or virtually free labour, supplied by families subsisting in new crofting townships. Kelp collection and processing was a very profitable way of using this labour, and landlords petitioned successfully for legislation designed to stop emigration, leading to the Passenger Vessels Act 1803. Attitudes changed during the 1820s and, for many landlords, the potato famine which began in 1846 became another reason for encouraging or forcing emigration and depopulation.

"Yet a century earlier, before the beginning of the Clearances, there were examples of clan chiefs responding to these emerging problems before Culloden. Michael Lynch notes that:

"'If there was a clash within the [ Jacobites and Hanoverians who fought at Culloden ] between a supposedly backward-looking Highland society and a 'progressive', capitalist Lowland economy, it was not a clear-cut one. Cameron of Lochiel, who fought for Charles, was as much a representative of a new capitalist attitude to Highland estate management as was the house of Argyll, ever the mainstay of support for the Hanoverian regime.'

"Clan land had become the private property of individual landlords. Nevertheless, many of those landlords also struggled against harsh economic realities. 'Much of the drama and tragedy of the Highlands is told in the negotiations between financially racked landlords and their creditors, agents and trustees...The best of intentions were never enough amid the more populous and improvement-driven world of the mid-century Highlands.'

"The government gave financial aid for roads and bridges to assist the new sheep-based agriculture and trade.

Year of the Sheep

"Another wave of mass emigration came in 1792, known to Gaelic speaking Highlanders as the Bliadhna nan Caorach ('Year of the Sheep'). In 1792 tenant farmers from Strathrusdale led a protest by driving over 6,000 sheep off the land surrounding Ardross. This action, commonly referred to as the 'Ross-shire Sheep Riot', was dealt with at the highest levels in government; the Home Secretary Henry Dundas became involved. The Black Watch was mobilised; it halted the drive and brought the ringleaders to trial. They were found guilty, but later escaped custody and disappeared.

"The people were accommodated in poor crofts or small farms in coastal areas where farming could not sustain the population, and they were expected to take up fishing. In the village of Badbea in Caithness the conditions were so harsh that, while the women worked, they had to tether their livestock and even their children to rocks or posts to prevent them being blown over the cliffs. Others were put directly onto emigration ships.

Dawson and Farber note that 'although the landlords did not target people for ethnic or religious reasons, the effect of the Clearances was to destroy much of the Gaelic culture, which was dispersed along with the people that fled.' and Protestants were the majority both of the Highland population generally and of those Cleared. Nevertheless, anti-Catholic sentiment (along with famine, poverty and rising rents) was a contributory factor in some Clearances.)

Second phase of the Clearances

"It was only in the early 19th century that the second, more brutal phase of the Clearances began; this was well before the visit by George IV in 1822, when Lowlanders set aside their previous distrust and hatred of the Highlanders and identified with them as national symbols.

"Most notorious are the examples of landlords trying to exploit changing economic circumstances to their financial advantage by clearing uneconomical tenants from their land, making room for more profitable uses such as sheep, deer forests or tourism. Two of the best documented such clearances are those from the land of the Duchess of Sutherland carried out by her factor Patrick Sellar, and the Glencalvie clearances which were witnessed and documented by a London Times reporter.

"In 1807 Elizabeth Gordon, 19th Countess of Sutherland, touring her inheritance with her husband Lord Stafford (later Duke of Sutherland), wrote that 'he is seized as much as I am with the rage of improvements, and we both turn our attention with the greatest of energy to turnips'. As well as turning land over to sheep farming, Stafford planned to invest in creating a coal-pit, salt pans, brick and tile works and herring fisheries. That year his agents began the evictions, and 90 families were forced to leave their crops in the ground and move their cattle, furniture and timbers to the land they were offered 20 miles (32 km) away on the coast, living in the open until they had built themselves new houses. This plan has been described as a 'typical example... of social engineering which met neither the hopes of the benefactors nor the needs of the beneficiaries, but produced social disaster.'

"The Sutherlands' first Commissioner, William Young, arrived in 1809, and soon engaged Patrick Sellar as his factor, who pressed ahead with the process while acquiring sheep farming estates for himself. The Sutherlands were responsible for brutal clearances between 1811 and 1820. Sellar threw people out in person if they showed any reluctance to go, and burned down their crofts to make sure they never came back. Evictions of 2,000 families in one day were not uncommon. Many starved and froze to death where their homes had once been. The Duchess of Sutherland, on seeing the starving tenants on her husband's estate, remarked in a letter to a friend in England, 'Scotch people are of happier constitution and do not fatten like the larger breed of animals.'

"Donald McLeod, a Sutherland crofter, wrote about the events he witnessed: 'The consternation and confusion were extreme. Little or no time was given for the removal of persons or property; the people striving to remove the sick and the helpless before the fire should reach them; next, struggling to save the most valuable of their effects. The cries of the women and children, the roaring of the affrighted cattle, hunted at the same time by the yelling dogs of the shepherds amid the smoke and fire, altogether presented a scene that completely baffles description — it required to be seen to be believed.

"'A dense cloud of smoke enveloped the whole country by day, and even extended far out to sea. At night an awfully grand but terrific scene presented itself — all the houses in an extensive district in flames at once. I myself ascended a height about eleven o'clock in the evening, and counted two hundred and fifty blazing houses, many of the owners of which I personally knew, but whose present condition — whether in or out of the flames — I could not tell. The conflagration lasted six days, till the whole of the dwellings were reduced to ashes or smoking ruins. During one of these days a boat actually lost her way in the dense smoke as she approached the shore, but at night was enabled to reach a landing-place by the lurid light of the flames.'

"Accounts like those of McLeod and General David Stewart of Garth brought widespread condemnation. Two old people evicted at Sellar's orders were too ill to go far. He left them exposed to the chill northern air and they died. He was acquitted on a charge of manslaughter, but the Duchess wrote: 'The more I hear and see of Sellar the more I am convinced that he is not to be trusted more than he is at present. He is so exceedingly greedy and harsh with the people, there are very heavy complaints against him from Strathnaver.' In due course Sellar was dismissed from his post.

"Elsewhere, the flamboyant Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry portrayed himself as the last genuine specimen of the true Highland chief while his tenants (almost all Catholic) were subjected to a relentless process of eviction. He abandoned his disbanded regiment; its Catholic chaplain, (later Bishop) Alexander Macdonell led the men and their families to settle in Glengarry County, eastern Ontario, Canada. The area was a major destination for Highland emigrants in the 18th century and early 19th century, and Gaelic was the native tongue of the settlement. In respect for their ancestors' Scottish culture, the county hosts the annual Glengarry Highland Games, one of the biggest Highland Games gatherings of its kind outside Scotland."

Monday, April 14, 2014

"The American Dream Died in February 1973"

I have known for years that wages stopped going up in January 1973. Let's put it this way: when I was a little kid blue-collar workers had a home and a fishing cabin in the mountains. Try that today.

I owned a taxi for five years. When I first started an older man told me he worked 11 months, then took a month off, put his wife in the sidecar of his motorcycle - and toured the U.S. for a month.

This article is from the site Reality Base and was written by Roger Chittum.


"Since Bob Herbert wrote about Reviving the Dream today, this is a good time to put up the problem-defining graphs from a longer analysis I haven't finished.

"The American middle class and working class are essentially the more than 90 million non-supervisory 'production workers' who constitute 84% of non-government, non-farm employment. For 26 years, from 1947 to January 1973, their average hourly pre-tax earnings, adjusted for inflation using current methods, grew robustly and steadily at an average annual 'real' rate of about 2.2%. At that rate, average purchasing power would double in 33 years. Parents expected their children to have more prosperous lives than their own, and it was happening. It was the Golden Age of the Middle Class. Then, suddenly and permanently, it ended in February 1973."

The rest is HERE, with many graphs.

Open Borders Means Tribal Warfare

"My fellow Americans, we must never, ever believe that our diversity is a weakness -- it is our greatest strength. Americans speak every language, know every county. People on every continent can look to us and see the reflection of their own great potential -- and they always will, as long as we strive to give all of our citizens, whatever their background, an opportunity to achieve their own greatness." - Bill Clinton, SOTU speech, Feb. 4, 1997


It's hard to describe myself politically. I always liked the way Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn described himself - a "right-wing anarchist." Let's just say I am the opposite of what a leftist is. That means I believe mankind is limited and imperfect. The best of religion has always known this; politics, unfortunately, almost never.

The Left doesn't really believe humans are limited. That's the worst kind of ignorance there is. As Plato pointed out, you can be ignorant and know it. Then there is what he called "double ignorance": you're ignorant but don't know it.

Leftists refuse to believe mankind has an animal nature that most people cannot truly overcome, and they also believe people have complete free will, which they do not.

I make the distinction between "will" and "behavior." "Will" is what is inside you. If people had complete free will, then they could make themselves into anything they want, and be happy with it. Serial killer, rapist, murderer, mugger -- if we had complete free will, we could be any of them (or all) and be perfectly happy. But we can't.

If we had complete free will, then any socio-political-economic system would work, because people could make themselves into whatever they please. But we can't, because we don't have that kind of power over ourselves. We never will.

People, although they are lot more than animals, do share certain traits with them. We are social beings who group ourselves into family and tribes, just the way all social animals forms packs. Those libertarians who think we are merely individual atoms disconnected from everyone else are showing a profound lack of understanding of human nature. Perhaps, they are showing a complete lack of understanding of it, which is probably the main characteristic of the Left.

These days, most tribes have grouped themselves into huge units known as nations. There is no way around it. If people weren't like that, then they wouldn't do it.

Since we form ourselves into tribes (nations), any one nation is going to view with great suspicion when large amounts of the members of another nation moves onto the first nation's land. This is something that anyone of the Right understands.

The Left, including left-libertarians, do not understand this, because they unconsciously believe everyone has complete free will. They believe that all tribes can share the same land and get along, because they naively think everyone can change themselves on the inside (in the snap of a finger!) and get along with everyone else.

Toss into a huge salad every religion and ethnic group, and the open-borders crowd truly believes hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of people will respect everyone else as an individual and not judge them as members of their tribe. The open-borders crowd, including left-libertarians, believes in multi-culturalism.

Unfortunately, multi-culturalism is the wrong name for what it really is -- multi-tribalism. And tribes, when they are large enough and trying to share the same land, fight in an attempt expel other tribes. Anyone who does not believe this, just look around the world. Every war there is, is one tribe against another, one religion against another, one ethnic group against another.

If we were truly individuals, and nothing else, we would not need families, fathers, mothers, and friends. We would have no desire to gather together at theaters, stadiums, clubs. We would be as independent as cats.

It is the Left that has always believed human nature either doesn't exist or is infinitely plastic. It is for that reason they have consistently tried to social-engineer people into being what they cannot be. The open-borders crowd, including left-libertarians, are trying to social-engineer people being what they want them to be. Under the veneer of their "libertarianism," do they do not a lot in common with leftist totalitarians? Don't they in fact hate their society, and wish to see it destroyed, thinking that somehow, magically, all the inherent "goodness" of human nature will shine through?

Let's do a thought experiment. Imagine there were no borders whatsoever in the world? What would happen?

In the fantasies inhabiting the leftist mind, people would freely move around to where the jobs are, and everyone would get along almost perfectly, united by their love of SUVS and DVD players that the free market produces. Abracadabra, people would give up ages-old tribal, religious and racial hatreds. In the real world, however, one tribe would attempt to impose its will on another, and murder and expel the members of it. That's why open borders equals tribal warfare.

There is another aspect to human nature to which I have given a great deal of thought for the last few years: hubris. All tribes have, almost without exception, considered themselves to the Chosen of God; almost all have called themselves "The People" or "The Humans." This means anyone outside the tribe is non-people and non-human.

Hubris is part of our limited and imperfect nature. It's why humility -- which is founded on a self-awareness of our imperfections -- has always been considered a virtue.

But, only individuals can be humble, not tribes. How many nations in the world have admitted the horrible slaughter they have visited on others? Or if they admit it, justify it? Almost all of them.

What answer does the open-borders crowd have to the problem of fighting tribes, with each considering themselves the Chosen? They have no answer, other than that the free market will make everyone get along. They wish to destroy the nations of the world, even if they don't know it.

The ultimate problem of the open-borders crowd is the hubris of which I just wrote. Anyone who thinks they can destroy nation, state, and neighborhood, and replace it with their vague understanding of the free market, is showing the arrogance and ignorance that has almost exclusively been the province of the Left.

Because the leftist open-borders crowd doesn't believe in human nature, and believes people have complete free will, they also believe in Utopia, or Heaven on earth, which all religions have considered blasphemy, and for good reason. You need look no farther that the 20th century, in which perhaps up to 200 million people lost their lives in the attempt to bring this Heaven to earth.

There is no surer way to guarantee a Hell on Earth than to to shovel people around like lumps of concrete.

In the case of the open-borders crowd they believe the free market -- which they misunderstand -- will bring this Utopia. We only need to destroy all the nations of the world. And exactly how will this destruction bring peace?

But the open-borders crowd doesn't know any of this, and won't believe it, being, of course, afflicted with that double ignorance of which Plato so wisely wrote.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paul Raeburn: "Do Fathers Matter?"

Of course they do, and the evidence is that after a certain very young age, they matter much more than mothers.

This article was written by Paul Raeburn (his site HERE)


"Paul Raeburn is the author of the forthcoming book Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, to be published for Father’s Day, 2014. It’s a fascinating story of scientific discovery that will change the way we think about fathers. Raeburn writes the About Fathers blog for Psychology Today and is the chief media critic for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker at MIT. He contributes to The New York Times, Discover, Scientific American and The Huffington Post.

"Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked"

"In recent years, researchers have begun to wonder what fathers contribute to their children. Fathers were clearly important for something, or they would disappear from their children’s lives, as is the case with most of our animal relatives. A new science of fatherhood was soon born, as psychologists, and then geneticists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists all began to investigate the role of fathers in their children’s and families’ lives.

"The new science of fatherhood has now generated solid scientific data on why fathers behave the way they do—and why and how that matters to children. Along the way, have discarded any number of stereotypes about what fathers do. Gone are the father as moral guardian, symbol of masculinity for his sons, or harsh disciplinarian (all father images that were widely accepted and promoted in generations past).

"Researchers are now showing that fathers play many roles in their families, including those of companions, care providers, spouses, protectors, models, moral guides, teachers and, of course, breadwinners, according to one recent study.

"They’ve learned that fathers contribute more than their genes to their children—they also pass along a special set of genetic signals that are crucial to their children’s survival. Fathers’ brains shape their children—and are shaped by them. Fathers’ obesity or depression can sadly have serious consequences for their children. Raeburn looked at research on hunter-gatherer fathers, our surest clues to the family life of our remote ancestors. He asks what we might learn from one group that has what might be called the best fathers in the world.

"Many of the findings of this new science of fatherhood have appeared in scholarly journals unfamiliar to the public. As a result, much of this research has escaped wide attention. Even the scientists themselves lack a big picture. The anthropologists don’t know what the neuroscientists are doing, and the sociologists are unfamiliar with animal experiments. Do Fathers Matter? is the first book to pull together all of this research and to explain what it means for fathers, families, and children. Raeburn has spent the past eight years investigating the new science of fatherhood.

"The aim of this research is not only to show what fathers do—but to help fathers—and their families—understand how fathers can be better at what they do."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Why 'Feminism' Poisons Everything"

I'll bet a dollar this ditzy, goofy-brained girl only dates white guys.

And she's clearly in her bedroom in her parent's house.

Love the stuffed animal on her bed.

"The Flowers of Scotland"

Some years ago I read in one of Thomas Sowell's books that almost all the judges in America after the Revolutionary War (what I call the First War of Independence) were Scottish.

That struck me, because this was a great deal of freedom then. Our judges today are overwhelmingly anti-American morons, who wouldn't know freedom if it bit them on the butt.

By the way, my last name is Scottish, although I am of Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots)/German ancestry, and I come from hill people from Tennessee/Kentucky/Missouri Ozarks.

I find it interesting that all my male relatives have always worked for themselves, being unable to tolerate working for others. I'm the same way. I work for myself. We are all contrary, and I think it is genetic.

Then there was the Scottish Enlightenment, which mostly came out of Edinburgh, which at the time had about 20,000 people. I mean, what the hell? How did that happen?

This article was written by Irvine Welsh and is from the Guardian.


"The flowers of Scotland

"What did the Cinderella nation do for the modern world? Everything, discovers Irvine Welsh after reading Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World by Arthur Herman

"It seems a grandiose contention that a small country like Scotland could come from the most adverse of circumstances to forge modern western democracy. Indeed, only the most patriotic Caledonians would proffer it without some reticence or qualification. Yet Arthur Herman, who is neither Scots nor of Scottish descent, provides a convincing and compelling argument as to its veracity. Professor Herman demonstrates an infectious and uplifting passion for his subject. Unlike many academics, he is a natural writer, weaving philosophical concerns seamlessly through a historical narrative that romps along at a cracking pace, producing a text that is highly accessible without compromising the rational quality of his argument.

"The Knoxian revolution of the 16th century had resulted in 100 years of almost uninterrupted violence and bloodshed. Three consecutive failed harvests at the end of the 17th century, against the backdrop of England's imperial growth, set the circumstances for Scotland's ruling classes to sell out its sovereignty - literally. The Earl of Roseberry was paid £12,000 from a slush fund operated by the London government to enable this merger to take place. But rather than suffer the expected dilution into insignificance, Scotland became proportionately the most significant player in the union's empire. And through innovations in philosophy, education, commerce, engineering, industry, architecture, town planning, soldiering, administration, medicine and even tourism, the Scots invented the modern world of capitalist democracy. The springboard for this was the most powerful legacy of the Presbyterian revolution: a universal (or near-universal) education system.

"The Presbyterians popularised the notion that political power, though ordained by God, was vested not in the monarch or even in the clergy, but in the people. Yes, Scottish Presbyterians could behave like ayatollahs and the Kirk could, as in the infamous Aikenhead case of 1696, regularly incite public executions for spurious blasphemy or witchcraft charges. Paradoxically, though, in the very same year as Aikenhead's execution, the Scottish parliament passed the Setting for Schools Act, establishing a school and salaried teacher in every parish.

"The effect of this was that by 1750, with an estimated 75% level of literacy, the Scots were probably the most well-read nation on earth. The dichotomy between authoritarian repression and liberal inquiry in Scottish society was embodied in Robert Burns. At 16, the poverty-stricken Ayrshire ploughman was versed in Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Locke, the Scottish poets and the French Enlightenment philosophers. The knock-on effects of the education act were felt in universities and the book trade. By 1790 Edinburgh boasted 16 publishing houses.

"Living on the periphery of the UK had its advantages. Scots ended up with peace and order from a strong British state, but as England took little interest in affairs north of the border, retained the freedom to develop and innovate. The upper echelons of Scottish society refused to be intimidated by English cultural and linguistic dominance. David Hume speculated: 'Why is it when we have lost parliament and monarchy and independent government, speak uneasily in a foreign tongue but yet are the People most distinguished for literature in Europe?' Voltaire agreed, contending, 'It is to Scotland that we must look for our idea of civilisation.'

"The book traces the main players in the Scottish Enlightenment, focusing on their foibles and fanaticism as well as their virtues. Hutcheson and Kames are given their rightful roles as antecedents of those giants of modern western thought, Hume and Adam Smith. Smith is restored as a philosopher of depth. His concerns about the socially debilitating nature of the modern capitalism he describes, and his advocacy of a universal education system, free him from the right-wing shackles with which he is often unfairly encumbered.

"The nature of such a work inevitably means that the historical perspective has as its focus the prominence of charismatic individuals rather than, say, the struggle of the masses or responses to natural calamity. There are obvious flaws in this approach. The diaspora may have enriched western cultural society by enabling Scotland to export its institutions, beliefs and character. However, this came at the cost of great suffering which, in keeping with this perspective and Scottish Enlightenment philosophy, is justified in the name of progress.

"This is where I emphatically depart from Arthur Herman. The Highland clearances are a shameful element of Scotland's history, and can't be glossed over in this manner. That such atrocities took place at the same time as a sanitised tartan-kitsch modern tourist industry was being created by Walter Scott for the patronage of the bloated, foppish, alcoholic English king only renders them all the more obscene. The problem with this notion of 'a price of progress' is that it becomes self-serving by failing to take into account the non-enfranchisement and marginalisation of the people at the receiving end. By extension, it's like suggesting that the Holocaust was a necessary evil in order to teach western civilisation about the dangers inherent in racism. Also, in his enthusiasm for all things Scottish, the author ignores the more overtly malign elements of the exported culture. At times Herman almost seems to claim that the 'good' things in the empire - education, social reform and engineering - were solely the Scots' doing. The bad bits - racism, slavery, religious indoctrination - were down to others (the English).

"For example, it seems remiss to refer to Hutcheson, whose A System of Moral Philosophy inspired anti-slavery abolitionists in both Britain and America, while ignoring the compelling evidence of the Scots' darker role in the slave trade. This lies in the surnames of many West Indians and black Americans (it's now widely accepted that many slaves took their names not from their masters but from the Scottish overseers who enforced the brutal conditions under which they often lived). There is, however, no mention of the Scottish role in slavery and racism, particularly in the formation and development of the Ku Klux Klan, which was formed by defeated Scots Confederate officers in the south. The 'order of the horse' oath ceremony recited by Klan members came straight from Highland custom, as did that ancient Scottish symbol, the burning cross.

"While it's refreshing to hear such an enthusiastic account of the Scottish ideas and practices that shaped the modern world, we need to offset them with harsher realities. Given the traditional role of Highlanders as mercenaries and soldiers, some cultures' first contact with Scottishness is more likely to have been on the receiving end of a broadsword, bullet, whip, stick, knife, boot or fist. Scotsmen Matheson and Jardine are described as 'the only two men who saw the potential of the opium market in China and had the skill and enthusiasm to do anything about it'. If we substitute 'heroin', 'cocaine' or 'crack' for 'opium', and 'Afghanistan', 'Colombia' or even 'the UK' for 'China', then this vaunted duo are either nefarious drug barons or our current drug laws are still in the early 19th century.

"It would be wrong, though, to give the impression that such a compassionate book, written with great generosity of spirit, is generally soft on injustices. Ulster Scots, a tribe dealt a rough hand by history, are accorded just status in the making of modern America and are solely credited with the creation of the frontier mentality. The legendary contrariness of Scots raises its head here; in this conflict the Ulster Scots, a group embedded in our consciousness as arch-unionists, were the rebels, while British loyalists included in their ranks many Highlanders who had fought with Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobites against the Hanoverian crown.

"Professor Herman has written a 400-page love letter to a Cinderella nation. It's one that will ensure that the undoubtedly momentous achievements of that small country will not be passed over, and every Scot should read it with a grateful heart and a critical eye. While it's a wet dream for the positive-image merchants of old and new Scottish establishments, the sceptics in our ranks will find much in it by which to be challenged and galvanised. Moreover, those of us used to wading through texts as turgid as stale porridge will be delighted that Scotland now has the lively, provocative and positive history it deserves. I suspect that a Scotsman could never have written it, but I also think that the likes of Smith and Hume would have heartily approved."