Sam Aurelius Milam III
I used to think of myself as an American, but I'm not so sure what that means anymore. After all, America isn't the name of a nation or even of a society. It's the name of a continent. The nation is the United States of America. That is, the nation is located on a continent called America. So, Mexicans and Canadians, while not citizens of the nation, can still call themselves Americans. Eskimos, Paiutes, and all of the different kinds of people on this continent can call themselves Americans.
That still isn't quite right. To the southeast of the Isthmus of Panama, there's another entire continent that has just as much claim to the name as this one does. South America. North America. Two continents. Two Americas. Some people might even add Central America, although it isn't a separate continent. Whatever the case, people in Colombia, Peru, even Argentina, all have as much right to call themselves Americans as do the people in Washington, D.C. The nation shouldn't have been called the United States of America, USA. It should have been called the United States of North America, USNA, or maybe even the United States of the Middle Part of North America, USMPNA. Not even that. Consider all of the Indian nations that are scattered around the middle part of the continent. Maybe the nation should have been called the United States of Most of the Middle Part of North America, USMMPNA. I'm an American? So is everybody from Ellesmere Island to Tierra del Fuego. Given enough diversity, a term can lose its meaning.
Forget about me, what about black people? They have as much right as I do, or as anybody else from Ellesmere Island to Tierra del Fuego does, to call themselves Americans, but they don't. They call themselves African Americans. An African American, as I understand the term, is a person who lives in the USA (or whatever) but whose recent ancestors came from Africa. Mine came from Europe so, if I used the same rules of nomenclature, I could call myself a European American, but I don't. It would be a silly thing to do, because the genealogy of Europeans is diverse. Nobody knows for sure where all of an Englishman's ancestors came from, or an Italian's, or a German's. Besides that, a lot of our information about our ancestry depends on the testimony of the mothers. That testimony can be unreliable. Sometimes, even the mothers don't know for sure who the fathers were. Tsk-tsk!
So, African Americans are people who live in the USA, or the USMPNA, or whatEVER, and whose ancestors came from Africa. Looking at my little globe, I can see that Africa's a big place. Does it matter which part of Africa their ancestors came from? Zimbabwe, Botswana, Egypt? What? Egypt? Well, damned if Egypt isn't in Africa. So far as I'm aware, people on this continent who have Egyptian ancestry don't refer to themselves as African Americans. I don't think that they even refer to themselves as Egyptian Americans. Or, maybe they do. Please forgive my ignorance.
I might be wrong about this and, if so, then I apologize for my ignorance, but my perception is that the ancestors of black people came from Sub-Saharan Africa, and not from the northern part of the continent. If I'm correct, then just for the sake of avoiding confusion, maybe the actual African Americans ought to start making a distinction between themselves and the Egyptian Americans. They could call themselves Sub-Saharan African Americans. Then, instead of the NAACP (for example), they could have the National Association for the Advancement of Sub-Saharan African Americans, NAASSAA. Sorta sounds like a space agency, doesn't it? What about Sub-Saharan African Americans whose ancestors came from South Africa, not the southern part of the continent but from the actual nation. They'd have to call themselves Sub-Saharan South African African Americans. They could have the NAASSSAAA, a bigger space agency. Speaking of South Africa, the nation, what's the deal with the name Afrikaners? They're people who live in South Africa, the nation, but whose ancestors came from Europe. Why don't they call themselves European Africans? Beats me. Given the usage Afrikaners, maybe the Indians (the ones here, not the ones in India) should call all of us white people Amerikaners. We live in America but our ancestors came from Europe, sort of
|like the Afrikaners in South Africa, the nation.
Speaking of American Indians, if we use the same rules of nomenclature that the Sub-Saharan South if we use the same rules that the black people are using, then people called American Indians would be people who live in India and whose ancestors came from America. The Indians, the ones that I'm talking about now, don't live in India but, if they did, then I suppose that their ancestors would, indeed, have come from this part of the world, although it wasn't called America back then. I don't know what name the Indians, the ones that were here before us Amerikaners arrived, used for the place before we arrived. Maybe instead of American Indians, we should call them Indian Americans, but that would mean that they live here and their ancestors came from India, so that won't work, either. What a mess.
Okay, I'll admit that I can't figure this out. Maybe it doesn't matter anyway. It's remotely possible that we might be taking this ancestry thing a little too seriously. We're evaluating our identity and our self-worth in terms of our ancestry instead of in terms of ourselves, like the lizard who claimed a dinosaur for an ancestor. What difference does it make if somebody's ancestors came from one place or another? Even as recently as a few hundred years ago, we might all have many of the same ancestors. If a person traces his ancestry back to the year 1200, not really so very long ago, then the theoretically possible number of his ancestors is larger than the entire population of the world at that time. See Genealogical Overkill, on pages 2 and 3 of the February 2011 issue. So, not very long ago, we could all have the same ancestors.
We can't change what our ancestors were or what they did, and we're not responsible for it anyway. I suggest that, instead of dwelling on them, we should be doing the best that we can, now, to become good ancestors ourselves. Consider that our present will be our descendants' past and, just like we did with our ancestors, our descendants are going to name themselves after us. We should give them good names to use.
Letter to the Editor
1) Thank you for continuing so loyally to send me Frontiersman. I have been regularly receiving them & it's one of the few things I get in the mail that I read immediately. Even some of my important incoming letters get buried, even for many weeks, before I can even open them I'm embarrassed to say.
2) I don't think I ever wrote you to thank you for publishing one of my letters to you a few months ago [September 2018, pages 2 - 3]. I always appreciate that & hope my humble sentiments are worthy to some readers, of taking up very limited Frontiersman space....
... I have great faith in you, Sam, & always cringe at your genius going largely to waste with the tiny audience you reach. I think you should, & could (can) start your own AM talk radio show. Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Matt Drudge, & many others are as PI (politically incorrect) as you are & they've all managed to get radio &/or TV shows (except Drudge I'm only assuming so). It could change your life not only reaching millions of people (as Jones, Komando, Hannity et al do), w/your rare or unique & vital insights & views, but could generate the $ you deserve to do so much more w/your life than you're able to do now. Komando is no doubt a millionaire, as are some of those others. While that may not be your goal, it sure wouldn't hurt. So, I encourage you, with immense emphasis to consider these & look into it.
F.L., a prisoner
Regarding your idea that my "genius", as you called it, is going to waste, the most complete reply to that, albeit the most tedious one, is Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. If you haven't read the book, then I suggest that you do so. Here's my short reply, in lieu of the book.
One day, many years ago, while I was shoveling manure from a goat stall in rural Idaho, thinking about my bachelor's degree in Nuclear Engineering, and pondering Atlas Shrugged, I had one of those "moments". In that moment, I realized that I'd done the same kind of thing that the people in the story had done, and for the same reasons. My talents and abilities are not being wasted. Rather, I'm trying to deprive the police state of any benefit of my talents and abilities. I've refused to voluntarily do anything that would tend to support the police state, or to legitimize it. Instead, I'm trying to use my talents and abilities for my own purposes, and not for the purposes of the police state.
As for getting my own radio show, I don't think that's a good idea. Back in the 1990s, I occasionally called in and spoke briefly on Free and Clear, a libertarian call-in radio talk show that was run by Donald Cormier. I usually managed to make my points but I believed then and I still believe now that I'm a writer, not a speaker.
Regarding your suggested goal of reaching "millions", the Nazarene already did that and look at the results. For centuries, his so-called followers have been indistinguishable from all of the other bloodthirsty zealots, all of them
|shunning, ostracizing, oppressing, torturing,
maiming, or killing one another in the name of one alleged god or another.
Reaching the millions has been accomplished many times and, the more that
I learn, the more it seems to me to be a bad idea. The larger the
number of people who are involved in something, the lower the lowest common
denominator seems to get. I've lately come to entertain the possibility
that, if I can reach a few people who have sense enough to avoid turning
my ideas into another body of oppressive dogma, then I'll have done the
best that I can do.
Regarding people such as the ones that you mentioned in your letter, not a single one of them is undocumented, and outside of the jurisdiction of the police state. Each one of them has voluntarily, maybe even enthusiastically, submitted to the authority of the police state. Each one of them uses licensed media, is fully documented, deals with the banks, and so forth. No matter how pure or appealing their messages might seem to be, their behavior, their voluntary participation in the jurisdiction of the police state, serves to support the police state, and to legitimize it.
Finally, your suggestion about me acquiring lots of money is relevant but probably for different reasons than you intended. The older I get, and the more indications of my old age that I notice, the more I worry about my lack of access to any kind of medical care. Also, I don't have any way at all to help my family dispose of me, after I'm dead. The government has absolute control of all such things, and completely prohibits my access to them. There doesn't seem to be anything that I can do to help myself, or my family, in such matters. The older I get, the more worrisome it becomes. A large and untraceable influx of undocumented funds might help.
editorA Dying Breed
Sam Aurelius Milam III
On page 2 of the July 2019 issue, I published Rethinking Replacement, in which I mentioned my efforts to oppose forced obsolescence by extending the useful life of my air conditioner. I fiddled with the air conditioner for most of the summer but I couldn't prevent it from slowly losing its refrigerant. I couldn't replace the refrigerant, and the commercial services won't work on window air conditioners. They work only on larger units, such as central units that serve entire houses. So, in spite of my best efforts, my air conditioner was slowly dying.
I looked at new air conditioners, at Home Depot. What I found was about what I had expected but, even so, it was still annoying. What I discovered is that, predictably, it's now nearly impossible to buy an air conditioner that isn't also a surveillance device. That is, all of the available models, except for one, were capable of wireless communications with remote devices, such as telephones, and were voice controlled. Such capabilities are touted as wonderful new features. Are people really that stupid? Apparently so. People don't seem to realize that any wireless data transfer can be intercepted by the government, and that any machine that's voice controlled is listening to nearby conversations. Any such machine is a surveillance device.
I scrounged another old air conditioner, to help my dying one keep the place cool, for a little longer. Meanwhile, I was offered a new air conditioner that was available via the internet. The new machine is more complex than is really necessary but, at least, it doesn't communicate with remote devices and it isn't voice operated. It seemed like a good idea to accept the offer before the marketing persuaders could declare the machine to be obsolete, discontinue it, and leave me with no choice but to get an air conditioner that's also a surveillance device.
The new air conditioner is now installed and working. The old one is gone. It's possible that both of them could be part of a dying breed, machines that don't spy on us.
My thanks to the following: El Dorado Bob; Betty; Eric, of Ione, California; and Robert, of Stockton, California.
Signs of Getting Older
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor