History, Philosophy, Top Stories

‘Oikophobia’: Our Western Self-Hatred

It was an Italian evening in late summer at the end of the previous decade, and I was having dinner outside in the shade of the Roman Colosseum—the emblem of a decadent Empire whose ruins were everywhere to be seen. One of my fellow diners, a young graduate student of Ancient History, suddenly made the disquieting observation that she could never speak ill of another culture. Not only was she unable to do so, but in fact she emphasized that she did not even have the right to do so. When I asked her, alluding to her own Austrian roots, what she might say of a culture that produced, say, Adolf Hitler, she replied that she as an Austrian European may criticize European and Austrian culture, and consequently that brutal dictator.

My follow-up question, whether then by her logic a non-Austrian or non-European should not be allowed to criticize Nazism, did not receive a clear reply. But my fellow diner continued to insist that we should only criticize our own cultures, never others. I thus had one of my frequent meetings with the intellectually bankrupt posture of oikophobia, the hatred or dislike of one’s own cultural home. Significantly, my interlocutor was a part, or at least a future part, of our social elite: a Ph.D. in the making, generally quick-witted, and with a mastery of several languages, both modern and ancient. I looked up at the Colosseum, whose dark and gaping ruin reminds us that all things will perish: our own civilization is heading your way.

This exchange was similar to many that I have had in countries all around the Western world. They reveal a civilization that has stopped believing in itself, that hates itself, and that is therefore unwilling to defend the values of individual freedom, democracy, and scientific and scholarly skepticism that have been handed down to us since antiquity. We are all familiar with this phenomenon, and every single day brings news stories in which oikophobia is involved. To mention just a couple among literally thousands of clearly oikophobic incidents of recent times: this past July the San Francisco School Board voted to remove a mural of George Washington from one of its public schools because of its purported racism; the group leader of American volunteer teachers in Africa some years ago informed the volunteers that residing in a foreign culture had taught her that the United States deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks because of U.S. foreign policy (I know this because I was one of the volunteers). Actions and statements of this kind have become perfectly commonplace by now, and we all know about them, but most people cannot explain why things are this way. How can it have come to such cultural self-hatred? The answer lies in an oft-repeated historical process that takes a society from naïve and self-promoting beginnings to self-contempt and decline.

The simplest way of defining oikophobia is as the opposite extreme of xenophobia. As xenophobia means the fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners, so oikophobia means the fear or hatred of home or one’s own society or civilization, oikos being the ancient Greek word for home, house, household. The term was coined in this sense by British philosopher Roger Scruton in 2004, in his book England and the Need for Nations. He calls oikophobia “the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.’” As the title of his book suggests, Scruton is mainly concerned with England, and so within this framework he places the rise of oikophobia after World War II. There is much truth to this, but it is also true, to go beyond Scruton, that the oikophobe occurs and recurs throughout history. The oikophobia that developed after World War II is therefore only the latest manifestation of the phenomenon, and nothing truly new. The reason why we are experiencing oikophobia in the United States today is that we are in about the same phase of historical development now as England was after World War II, or a little earlier: a great power, but on the decline.

So oikophobia is a natural outgrowth of the way cultures, and certainly Western cultures, develop. It occurred in ancient Greece, in Rome, in the French and British empires, and now in the United States. To give a very brief overview of this development, we may say that in the beginning, a people relatively uncivilized and uncultured, but possessed of great mobility and untested strength, awakens and, as it were, goes to war in service of its deities. Initial successes against surrounding peoples lead to greater wealth and prestige, and a national identity is forged, accompanied by literary epics and other accoutrements of culture. Eventually, the people reaches its pinnacle of success, with so much wealth that a broad and permanent leisure class can be established, and this era of greatest political power will generally coincide, more or less, with the pinnacle of the nation’s cultural and scientific achievements. There is finally enough wealth and power for the leisure class, and in many cases for people lower on the social ladder as well, to become more occupied with achieving higher states of wealth and prestige vis-à-vis their countrymen than they are with the health of the community itself.

This is where oikophobia sets in. Diverse interests are created that view each other as greater enemies than they do foreign threats. Since the common civilizational enemy has been successfully repulsed, it can no longer serve as an effective target for and outlet of people’s sense of superiority, and human psychology generally requires an adversary for the purpose of self-identification, and so a new adversary is crafted: other people in the same civilization. Since this condition of leisure and empowerment, as well as a perception of external threats as non-existential, are the results of a society’s success, success is, ironically, a prerequisite for a society’s self-hatred. What Freud has called the “narcissism of small differences” (in Civilization and Its Discontents)—the urge to compete against others even through minor distinctions like a virtuous action or the newest gadget—becomes one motivation through which a particular interest expresses its superiority over others.

This “domestic” competition means that by rejecting one’s culture as backward, one automatically sets oneself above all the other interests that are parts of that culture. Earlier in the civilizational development, the cooperation of a larger proportion of the people is essential for survival at a time when the state is poorer and individuals more reliant on one another for basic security. But once the society has taken off and become affluent, there is greater opportunity to excel and more room, therefore, for people to start criticizing their own culture in an effort to get ahead personally. People are always self-interested, of course, but the gulf between immediate self-interest and the interest of the state is smaller when the state itself is smaller and weaker.

As has been the case in other civilizations, insofar as the political terms of “left” and “right” may have been applicable to them (“progressive” and “conservative” are often more appropriate for ancient civilizations), the oikophobes dominate in left-wing areas, while non-oikophobes and, in some cases, xenophobes and anti-oikophobic reactionaries dominate in right-wing areas. The increased hostility between these two sides in the United States comes at the expected time, since the country has already slipped from its peak and is slowly descending on the other side. The historical development of oikophobia has had a debilitating effect on many aspects of our society, on its culture, politics, and military. It is a nation so fixated by internal squabbles that it is no longer capable of effectively projecting outward, unified force.

That this would happen was predicted hundreds of years ago through the trajectories of previous civilizations—in fact, it was predicted thousands of years ago, before Europeans even knew of the American hemisphere. In Book 8 of his Republic, Plato explains that the more freedom and equality is to be found in a society, the more its members will hold themselves above the state. We do not need to agree with Plato’s grumpy old fascism and proto-communism to understand, nonetheless, the wisdom of his description of societies’ decline. Conservatism and progressivism are both needed, but in different doses at different times. A more progressive outlook is important for an early society that needs to adopt new ideas and absorb the strength of outsiders in an effort to get ahead, while a more conservative outlook is needed in late society in order for it not to lose its grounding and its ability to stand up for itself. The perennial doom of Western societies is that early on, many people tend to be more conservative, and later on, many people tend to be more progressive, the exact opposite of what is needed.

It is a shame that we are in the grip of oikophobia, and it is indicative of how we have let other cultures crowd out our own; it’s a pity because it should be possible to express interest in and to learn from other traditions while at the same time remaining appreciative of one’s own heritage. But many people are incapable of handling that balance, and the more oikophobic we become and the more we embrace the idea of cultural diversity, the farther we are removed from the sources and thereby the understanding of our own culture. Since we do not understand this culture, one often hears oikophobic Westerners refer with disdain to “Western values” or to those who say they treasure “Western values”—but in fact those disdainful people themselves adore Western values; they just don’t know it. That is to say, they do not know that they are Western.

It is because pride in our civilization is entirely justified—which does not negate an awareness of its shortcomings and of past crimes—that we must understand the phenomenon of oikophobia, since by understanding it we can finally hope to combat it. Once we realize that oikophobia is a sort of pathology that develops under distinct socio-historical circumstances and does not involve any particularly interesting independent thought, but rather is more of a knee-jerk reaction, we are better equipped to face it in our everyday lives.

 

Dr. Benedict Beckeld is a US-based writer who holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Classical Philology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. His book Oikophobia: Hatred of Home in the Decline of Civilizations is forthcoming. His website is benedictbeckeld.com and you can find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @BenedictBeckeld

Featured Image: The Landing of Columbus (wikicommons)

Comments

  1. White progressives recently became the only demographic group in America to display a pro-outgroup bias, which means that amongst all the different groups surveyed, white progressives were the only one that expressed a preference for other racial and ethnic communities above their own. After 2016’s Brexit and Trump’s election, many oikophobic and chauvinistic tirades by white progressives held that lower-class whites were not merely losers who failed despite their “white privilege” but evil menaces who ought to be disenfranchised as well. If not, well then CalExit.

    This recurred after Australia’s recent general election where white progressives blamed poor and working-class whites (traditional Labour voters), especially those from mining- and agriculture-dependent Queensland (a Labour stronghold), as responsible for Labour’s stunning loss in an election that had been labeled as “unlosable” for the Party by the pundits. Presumably these working-class people were to sacrifice their economic well being and communities for the sake of urban elites in Sydney and Melbourne. Calls by the woke for regressive and redneck Queensland, home of the world’s first Labour government, be excised from Australia were voiced.


    Woke Australia

    Yet, a closer look finds that barring the state of Victoria, where Labour picked up some seats, it lost everywhere to everyone: not only to the Liberals, but also to smaller parties and independents.

    Will progressive themes such as climate change, equality codeword for equity, redistributive (in)justice, borderless globalism, and deference to visible minorities including illegal aliens deliver a popular and legislative majority as well as capturing the executive office? Appears to me the oikophobic agitprop will have to go into overdrive for it to happen, and all evidence I’ve seen is this campaign is being waged presently. Of course, the risk of this is it may turn off even more who deem it extremist, even hateful, and the progressives again pay the electoral price for misjudging the electorate.

    How did we get to this point? Many point fingers at journalism, tertiary education institutions, and Hollywood, but Heterdox Academy’s Musa Al-Gharbi’s recent examination “Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production” puts it on education schools who created evangelists who took over primary and secondary education.

    They also developed curricula and entrenched themselves in ed schools – allowing them to shape primary, middle and high school teaching instead of merely higher ed — thereby molding future generations of college students and scholars before they even set foot on a university (see Lyell Asher’s “How Ed Schools Became a Menace” [published here at Quillette] for more on this point).

    Perhaps the most genius aspect this approach (targeting ed schools) is the indirectness. This strategy was implemented in a very deliberate, systematic, forward-thinking way by a constellation of activists, scholars and practitioners (who were very explicit about the political goals of their pedagogical approach!). Nonetheless, when their efforts began to come to fruition, it appeared as though it was a spontaneous, organic, student-driven movement. Young people reached (elite) universities, and increasingly the workplace (in particular industries), attempting to mold these institutions in accordance with the logics that have been inculcated into them since primary school — by teachers executing the curricula designed by these activists, practitioners and scholars. Yet rather than taking up their disagreement with the people who had designed said curricula, who had laid out these modes of thought and engagement, critics were instead forced to contend with the students themselves — by then, true believers. The optics of this were not great (for the critics, that is, who came off as reactionary, out of touch, overly-judgmental, etc. for their apparent denigration of the students and their views).

    Fortunately, often school boards are elected positions. If you want to do more than vote in the general election, stand for your local school board election and find allies to do likewise.

  2. One of the features of the Great Levelling, the process by which global access to finance and labour markets is allowing people in developing countries to escape absolute poverty, is a corresponding increase in income inequality in Western Developed Nations. It is onto this fertile ground, that the seeds of anti-capitalist sentiment are sown, especially amongst the young. Douglas Murray has recently questioned why young people should necessarily intellectually invest in the project of capitalism, in societies in which they are unable to accumulate capital. He makes a decent point, and this is perhaps the primary reason why movements like ‘System change, not climate change’ are sprouting up like weeds in the intellectual landscape, rather than the far more rational approach of climate capitalism.

    But there are deeper issues. Education is the West has been Left leaning for at least the last 50 years, but in recent years it has become almost an indoctrination. Whilst recently researching soil sequestration for an upcoming novel, I came across a number of pieces of course material uploaded to YouTube, aimed at late primary and secondary education. The emphasis was clear, even though the material was obviously used as a primer for children to go off and ‘discover’ knowledge for themselves online and then discuss solutions to climate change working in groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if their out of school investigations lead them to documentaries like Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Sustainable and Food, Inc.

    Of course, it’s utter nonsense. Whilst organic or niche small-scale farming might be a potentially viable venture for Western value farming, allowing farmers to extract more wealth from land by selling it at premium prices to wealthy liberals ensconced in their sanctity bubble of all natural food, it’s not going to feed the world, or even the poor in urban neighbourhoods, whose only viable nutritional alternative is the cheapest burger from McDonald’s that they can buy. No, the proven method for mitigating climate change is more intensive farming, with the higher yields that allows more land to be put back to the natural woodlands, that could, in total, mitigate 20 years of climate emissions. Another solution could be Israelis-style drip-fed agriculture, farming in usually barren areas. And the type of small-scale agriculture that the educationalists are really advocating for? It’s called subsistence farming, and it’s little wonder that wherever possible young people in the developing world are fleeing this poor rural existence in their droves, to work in the types of infinitely preferable low-cost labour industries like clothing, that the Leftists also abhor.

    But the problem with Education runs even deeper- because it attempts to raise every child to the level where they can compete in highly cognitive roles. Everywhere it asks for their opinion, with gushy teachers enthusing that they learn so much more from their pupils, than their pupils ever learn from them. Quite apart from just how alarming this sounds, and the impression it gives that superficial internet-fed knowledge is somehow inherently valuable, it paints a picture for kids of them sitting around in offices, working in teams, using their skills-based, rather than knowledge-based education to discuss and decide the important issues of the day. Little wonder that they become so disillusioned when they encounter the real world for the first time- it’s pathological, this Leftist obsession with inherent equality, the tabula rasa, or bank slate- as though every child can become a scientist by skimming the internet and putting on a lab coat.

    Germany places around 60% of it’s children into vocational education programs of one form or another. It’s highly successful, and addresses much needed skills gaps in the process. In America or Britain those levels might be a little bit overly optimistic, given that Germany is still an export surplus economy- but the least we could do in the meantime would be to deregulate skilled professions, so that it isn’t necessary for a trainee chef in the UK to have passed GCSE Maths, or a trainee farrier in the US to face a written exam. We shouldn’t make failure in academic education a prerequisite for these jobs, but neither should we bar people who the education system has failed from entry into these careers. Unemployment figures in the US and the UK may appear systemically low, but this doesn’t account for the economically inactive and for a better picture we should look at labour participation rates- they paint a significantly less rosy picture, especially in some male age demos.

    And, of course, the real problem is that a lot of these young people, despite being bright and degree-qualified, find themselves working in low-paid service sector employment, or similarly uninspiring office jobs. Is it any wonder that they are ready to pick up a placard and protest? Or look down their nose and sneer at working people for their highly-skilled trade professions, and beliefs that don’t tie in with the worldview that they’ve been indoctrinated into. Often its not so much a case of having the wrong views, but more simply not knowing the latest mind-boggling terminology. Not everyone spends their life on Twitter or WhatsApp, after all. Most of us never got the memo.

    Brexit and Trump are ‘the rise of populism’, in the ‘woke’ liberal vernacular, but what’s really going on is that the adults have finally had enough, and have decided to reassert themselves. It’s estimated that Brexit tapped into 3 million additional disaffected voters, some of whom who had fallen away from the political process over the years and many of whom had never exercised their democratic mandate before. On Trump, a recent Spiked short film was quite telling- it featured a man who had voted for Obama before he voted for Trump, and contrary to stereotypes had four biracial grandchildren- hardly the deplorables depicted by Hillary.

    In recent interviews, Douglas Murray makes the point from his new book The Madness of Crowds, that the Marxists felt as though the working classes in the West had really let them down. His research suggests that the departure from the common humanity version of social justice espoused by MLK to the more adversarial, common enemy approach of modern identity politics and intersectional feminism was quite deliberate. The Marxists were in search of a new constituency to overthrow capitalism and institute their failed utopias. The fact that some women, minorities and individuals amongst the LGBT community might not subscribe to their new worldview never crossed their minds, although apparently the dislike of outsiders amongst the working classes did. Presumably, the demographic temptation of this Manichean form of electoral maths was simply too tempting, especially given the almost exclusively white and often more affluent ‘woke’ liberal demographic could be indoctrinated over to their side, with the sympathy-stripping concept of white privilege, to replace empathy for less fortunate poor whites, with scorn and derision for their outmoded thinking.

    The problem with attempting to formulate a plan to de-escalate political polarisation, is that there are very active forces that stand in opposition to a common humanity approach that brings people together. They want social and political friction, in the hopes of the long-awaited revolution that they want it to bring. The fact that it can only bring stagnation, economic ruin, bloodshed and starvation again, as it has so many times before, simply hasn’t been considered. Because this time will be different, despite all evidence to the contrary.

  3. It’s good to see someone put the spotlight on oikophobia. However, I’m not inclined to agree that it’s characteristic of any culture other than that of the West in the last generation or so. I agree that as societies become prosperous they often turn to internal quarrels, but that seems to me different from oikophobia. I can’t think of any evidence of disdain for Athens itself or its culture on the part of Athenians or for Rome / Roman culture on the part of Romans, for example. Certainly there were many who put their own private interests above that of their home state, but I can’t think of anyone actually expressing any dislike of their native culture, and this article provides no such examples (also, I think the left / right categorisation is downstream from the French Revolution - see Scruton’s Fools, Frauds and Firebrands). Oikophobia seems to me a new phenomenon, making it all the more difficult to know how to deal with it or just what it might lead to.

    Still, I will check out the book; perhaps it will deal my objections of the sort I raise.

  4. I can’t think of any evidence of disdain for Athens itself or its culture on the part of Athenians or for Rome / Roman culture on the part of Romans

    History is full of stories of early Christians smashing statues, burning books, persecuting pagans, and wrecking beautiful buildings (e.g., the Temple of Serapis). The more you read about the early Christians, the more they resemble our own radical left. Both groups espouse cosmic egalitarianism of material possessions and adherence to strict and prudish codes of conduct. Both devalue and destroy great art and literature. Both attack scholarly critics with censorship and violence. And both groups present the past as a long period to sinful darkness and themselves as the only path to redemption and light.

    These early Christians weren’t foreigners. They were ordinary people raised in the ancient-even-then pagan tradition who one day snapped and chose to join a group that hated the society that raised them. The parallels are uncanny.

    I think Beckeld is essentially correct when he identifies this Oikophobia as a disease of prosperity to which western societies are particularly susceptible.

  5. Ironically, your hateful attack on early Christians is a text book example of Oikophobia. Christianity is the main foundation of our Western Civilisation, whether Neo-Pagans like it or not.

  6. Oikophobia is annoying. There’s a simple reason for it: You understand your own culture to a great degree, and understand other cultures to a far lower degree. Thus, you can find the parts of your culture which are bad or unacceptable but are unable to understand the bad parts of other cultures. This was the reason why so many USA progressives were so enthused about Communism during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. They simply did not have the slightest ideas of the massive problems inherent in the Communist system, while at the same time knowing all too well the modest downside of the Western USA system. This led more than a few into leaving the USA for the USSR, to their eventual sorrow.

  7. As someone who has recently sent two kids through primary and secondary public schools, I can tell you that this rings true. I was shocked at how consistently the books and the historical message was anti-Western. The books assigned were miserable, depressing, and pessimistic towards our society. We joked about how depressing the material was, but the message got through. My daughters have been indoctrinated, and I think it is the girls who are most susceptible to this—because they also get the message about feminism and the Patriarchy.

    We have had many discussions, and I have been able to at least present another side. My girls know, for example, that communism was among the most evil political philosophies in history. But I don’t pretend that my point of view has sunk in very far.

  8. I was not overly familiar with the term, but I definitely see it in practice.

    The principle at a Portland school sent this email to parents, schilling for enrollment in her “countering white dominance” program about a year ago. I just dug up the email and am posting it…with school name deleted.

    On a hilarious and hypocritical note, she slams capitalism at the same time she “suggests” 500-800 dollars as enrollment costs.

    Also noteworthy, she assumes that white people too poor to afford the program are still somehow receiving the unfair and unearned benefits of being white and should attend and unlearn their clearly dominant white position in society and the school system in particular.

    Enjoy. And a reminder, this is the principle of a Portland K-8 public school.

    This Series One Targeted Cohort is for those who identify as “white” and who are part of the school community or are connected to the community in a broader sense. This cohort supports racial equity efforts by building a foundation of cultural identity, raising consciousness and learning to identify the role and presence of white dominance in the school setting. From there, focused attention is spent to develop skills to apply this learning in the raising and educating of children. This uniquely collaborative method of engagement over a period of six months serves counter to the dehumanizing programming of white dominance. Participants at all stages of their journey have found this method to be impactful.

    Before registering, please note:

    • The ** Cohort will meet the following dates: January 9th (2nd Wednesday due to holiday), February 6th, March 6th, April 3rd, May 1st, and June 5th. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all 6 of the in-person sessions and engage in homework assignments in between sessions. Sessions are set for 3 hour blocks of time and meet once per month.
    • Childcare provided by Dinner served via participant potluck.
    • The Cohort is categorized as a Series One Learning Cohort and pre-requisite for attending a Series Two Learning Cohort.
    • A deposit of $100 is required to participate. Payment plans and scholarships available – please ask. As we lean into our values, we have chosen to operate our business in a way that practices an active rejection of capitalism. We trust participants of the cohorts to make the decision of how much to pay for the learning received. In our industry, the typical cost to participate in a learning cohort of this length and depth would be around $500-$800. We ask participants to balance the value of the learning personally received along with financial ability and support for our ongoing work. Participants are welcome to break up additional contribution over several payments, if desired. As a white facilitator, I’m conscious of concerns about me benefiting financially from this work. I am the only person in my immediate family that identifies as white and the income I make doing this work supports my family’s well-being. Additionally, I am a strong supporter of reparations and donate a minimum of 20% of all revenue to people of color outside of my family.
    • Registration deadline for the Cohort is December 19th, 2018 . Within a few days after the deadline, participants will be sent the prerequisite homework assignment and an invitation to the online discussion group.
  9. Ray, see “The Mikado”:
    “Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
    All centuries but this, and every country but his own”

    From 1885.

    eg ref: https://www.gsarchive.net/mikado/webopera/mk105a.html

  10. Capitalism produces enough food to feed the world. It has brought forth a treasure trove of technologies It has brought forth improvements in health, longevity and medical science. It supports freedom and property rights. People of the world migrate towards it rather than from it. Capitalistic countries are some of the cleanest in the world.
    The leading charities of the world all emanate from capitalistic countries. Are these by products of capitalism something you are willing to discard? And if so why?

  11. Mr Farris, they are not willing to discard all the good things you mention that Western civilization offers, nor are they willing to discard the free speech and prosperity of the West. Their problem is that they do not even notice them…they simply assume all these benefits are part the natural order of things, it has always been this way, and always will be this way. They risk a large surprise if they succeed…many of those good things will disappear.

    The early Christians who helped destroy classical civilization didn’t think they were helping usher in the Dark Ages, but they were. While Christianity eventually created the Western world, there were several centuries of abject poverty and violence before it got on track.

    By the way, the earliest Christians in the 1st and 2nd centuries were slaves and peasants. But when the Christians started their orgy of destruction in the 4th and 5th centuries, Christianity was the official faith of the empire.

  12. “When men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing,
    they believe in anything.” attributed to G K Chesterton

  13. Maybe christianity is not the foundation of art, science, technology, but certainly of the western policy of equality, the “all men are created equal and endowed (by their Creator) with unalienable rights on, among others, the pursuit of happiness”. Any other culture or civilisation that came up with such a statement and principle? The Aztecs, Brahmans, Chinese?

  14. When asked to reconcile his extravagant lifestyle and other excesses with his Christianity, the author Evelyn Waugh famously replied “Imagine what I would be like if I WASN’T a Christian.”

    Imagining what the Western World might have been like without Christianity would be a useful exercise for the anti-Christian commenters here. In any case, we may ALL find out all too soon what a non-Christian Western World could be like.

  15. That was a lovely pile of fluff.
    You avoided my point while delving off into multiple extraneous topics.

    One can find lots to criticise about the Catholic Church.
    Fighting evolution in the classroom and promoting creationism, isn’t one of them. Tennessee (Scopes trial) and the American south and midwest, don’t tend to be hotbeds of Catholicism. Catholicism is a good part of what the settlers of America left Europe to get away from.
    That stuff tends to be coming from fundamentalists.

    The climate scientists need to be straightforward about what is showable science and what isn’t. We don’t have clear signals. We have some model predictions, and an exponentially increasing degree of hyperbole and hypocrisy from political opportunists, leftist grifters and environmentist scare-mongers, the vast majority of whom don’t have a clue about science.

    Repeating my words to use them against me in an attempt to make an implication unwarranted from my comment is just cheap.

    You complain (complete with swearing) about having to explain email to some older folks. Where did you get email and your knowledge thereof from, DS? Older folks. Such as myself. I was developing email software and a global email network in the early 80s - back when it was all R&D, and (roughly presuming your age from other comments by you) you were yet to be born.

    Elsewhere you said you wanted to talk with people, not at them. Live up to your claims.

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