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California has surrendered its streets to assholes Too much tolerance is destroying the peace

Low riders cruise in California (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Low riders cruise in California (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


June 24, 2024   9 mins

I have always felt a white-hot hatred for those Harley clowns, in their clown costumes, who gratuitously rev their stone-age V-twin engines as you sit outdoors trying to have a conversation. The only proper response, I believe, would be for some good Samaritan with a baseball bat to walk up and test the efficacy of those little Nazi hats they call helmets.

The new thing is modern V8 muscle cars (Chargers, Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros) with exhaust cut-outs. They are deafening, and they are everywhere where I live in San Jose (which is not one of the genteel areas). They are also illegal, of course, but we no longer enforce laws in California. Nor, apparently, in New York. For those not satisfied with inflicting low-level hearing loss, a special Platinum Asshole feature is available on the aftermarket. It alters the engine’s spark and fuel map to deliberately induce explosive backfires that sound like a 12-gauge shotgun at close range.

Julie Aitken Schermer, a professor of psychology at Western University in Ontario, Canada, conducted a study of people who modify their cars to make them louder, using a standard inventory of psychological traits. She was expecting to find narcissism, but instead she found “links between folks with a penchant for loud exhausts and folks with psychopathic and sadistic tendencies”. “The personality profile I found with our loud mufflers are also the same personality profiles of people who illegally commit arson,” she told a reporter. These are people who have a hard time with “higher-order moral reasoning with a focus on basic rights for people”.

The New York Times has taken notice of this trend. It seems one Miles Hudson, a 20-year-old man-child, has been terrorising downtown Seattle in the wee hours, making it his special mission to disturb sleep with his Dodge Hellcat. “Entire neighbourhoods are angry and sleep deprived,” a resident wrote to their local council member. One woman claimed that she lived with PTSD and woke up in fear because the backfiring vehicle sounded like gunshots outside her building. “This is the first time in 13 years that I’ve started seriously considering moving out of downtown,” she wrote. Another wrote in after 6am, saying the tiger-striped Hellcat had been revving up and down streets for two hours. “What will it take for this to end?” the man wrote.

Mr Hudson told a reporter at The Seattle Times in March that the city needed to focus its attention on other problems. “There are way bigger issues than a black man with a nice car who makes noise occasionally,” he said. His car is indeed nice, if by nice you mean expensive. It lists from $97,000-111,000. “No disrespect, but I feel like I’m doing my thing,” he told the officer who stopped him and recorded the interaction on his body cam.

The city has been super understanding of Mr Hudson’s need to do his thing. To watch the bodycam footage of the cop who pulled him over is to get a window onto Blue America, 2024. It is like watching a Hindu farmer trying to coax a sacred cow out of a rice paddy, without laying hands on it, speaking harshly to it, or otherwise running afoul of the Brahmins who insist on the cow’s protected status. The cop is real chummy. “Remember the last time I pulled you over?” He tries to ingratiate himself with the entitled twat by informing him that he is an ASE certified master mechanic, as well as a policeman. It appears to be an attempt to establish common ground: I can appreciate your car. Essentially he offers a change of jurisdiction, from that of the public authority to that of a shared subculture.

“To watch the bodycam footage of the cop who pulled him over is to get a window onto Blue America, 2024.”

But this gesture is lost on our sacred cow, who can only repeat that he has 700,000 Instagram followers for his exploits. The cop tries to cajole him into perhaps taking his car to a race track. “I’m just saying… Just consider it, bro,” the policeman says. The cop’s deference is nauseating. At no point does he rise to the occasion and speak with authority on behalf of the common good. It turns out you don’t need to defund the police, you just need to delegitimise the idea of law itself, if by “law” you mean rules of civilised behaviour that apply to all.

The French writer Renaud Camus, known for his controversial “Great Replacement” theory, also coined the term nocence to capture what is going on here. Removing the negative “in-” from “innocence”, he left a word that meant nuisance or harm. He went so far as to form an “anti-nuisance” political party called In-nocence, making explicit what we all know: that the fabric of the world is torn by the small acts of cruelty and unconcern that make everyone else retreat from public space. This can have an unfortunate resemblance to conquest.

Camus’s concept of nocence responds to the French experience of mass immigration, crime and intimidation. He draws attention to the emotional labour required of the French in urban life: essentially that of not-noticing. In the cosmopolitan cities of the West, the field of petty harms is allowed to expand due to a code of propriety that requires suppressing one’s awareness of patterned behaviour, as well as a good-natured readiness to surrender one’s own claim to public space. Such readiness is a point of moral virtue for liberals, but it creates a vacuum into which more aggressive energies rush. This process of displacement is ultimately a spatial phenomenon, so it is perhaps not surprising that a geographer should be the one to spell it out.

Christophe Guilluy, whose analysis based on his understanding of how housing markets interact with larger social and economic developments enabled him to predict the rise of the Gilets Jaunes has been brought to the attention of English-language readers by Christopher Caldwell. Caldwell informs us that the vast stock of public housing, around five million units, built after the war, “is now used primarily for billeting…  immigrants and their descendants, millions of whom arrived from North Africa starting in the 1960s. In the rough northern suburb of Aubervilliers, for instance, three-quarters of the young people are of immigrant background.” As a new bourgeoisie has taken over the private housing stock, poor foreigners have taken over the public, serving the metropolitan rich as a kind of taxpayer-subsidised servants’ quarters. Public-housing inhabitants are almost never ethnically French; the prevailing culture there nowadays is often heavily Muslim.

Guilluy, who has spent years in and out of buildings in northern Paris (his sisters live in public housing), is sensitive to the way this works in France.  Public housing is an economic resource that, more and more, is getting fought over tribally. Guilluy speaks of a “battle of the eyes” fought in the lobbies of apartment buildings across France — who will drop his gaze to the floor first?

But what could such face-to-face moments of ethnic tension have to do with ambient nuisance, such as noise, that is not directed at anyone in particular? Camus writes that “Nocence, of course, is pollution in the ecological sense of the term”.

One might suppose that the coincidence of such ecological harms with demographic upheaval is a function of transience and diversity. Where there is no common culture, there is little sense of a common good. On this view, the same people who act anti-socially while living in a place they do not regard as their own would likely not do so in the communities they came from. English tourists are notorious for public drunkenness, for example.

But also, norms of behaviour differ across cultures, and one can transgress without meaning to. When the “ugly American” goes abroad and shows that he is culturally obtuse, we rightly censure him. To apply this same censure, however, to foreigners on our own shores — indeed merely to use the word “foreigner” — is to risk scandalising liberals. To be a good liberal requires interrupting the natural symmetries of hospitality.

The problem is that such unilateral hospitality tends to inspire contempt in peoples that don’t share the West’s preference for out-groups. And this introduces something new. Quite apart from being obtuse or not caring about local norms, making a nuisance of oneself may feel good as an expression of both personal and cultural aggression.

San Jose, 60 years ago, was 96.7% white. In the 2023 census, 23.9% are designated “White alone”. What follows is likely to be controversial, so I feel it necessary to engage in some pre-emptive throat-clearing on the topic of immigration.

My neighbourhood is mixed and largely Hispanic. I am on good terms with my neighbours. I let the little dog who lives next door shit on my Astroturf lawn because there is nowhere else for it to go (their yard is paved). I live across the street from a tire and suspension shop. The owner, Javier, speaks just enough English that, combined with my paltry Spanish, we can conduct basic transactions. But the guys working for him don’t speak a word of English. This has not been an impediment to good relations. Several of them have done me small favours and expressed their regard for my own automotive projects, which tend to spill out onto the street. I have been known to do the occasional mini-burnout in front of their shop in my hotrod VW. It is probably amusing to them, compared to 30-yard patches of rubber they lay down with their deafening V8s.

The challenges of immigration in the US are quite different from those in France, where a thousand-year-old clash of civilisations has been revived. It is often said that immigrants from Catholic Latin America are culturally on the same page as the West  — not long ago you would hear people on the Right express hope that Latin American immigrants would be a force for cultural conservatism. There is something to this. Most immigrant parents seem morally healthy, relative to the decadent “luxury beliefs” of white progressives in the Bay Area.

But also (and don’t blame me for noticing), extremely loud muscle cars are popular here primarily with Hispanics. It is clearly a macho thing, out of step with the retiring character of progressive white masculinity.

There is certainly an Anglo (or rather, Scots-Irish) version of vehicular nocence, as exemplified by diesel pickup trucks “rolling coal” (that is, deliberately belching clouds of black soot) such as you encounter in the South, where I lived for many years. This is a political gesture. I take such trucks to express a simmering hatred, perhaps tied to fantasies of a Confederate reconquista against the “rich men north of Richmond” and their Prius-driving janissaries. That is, against those viewed as colonisers who prevailed in the War of Northern Aggression (as the American Civil War is sometimes referred to in the South). Like Mr Hudson with his Hellcat, they are applauded by their followers on social media.

But in the South Bay where I live, the cacophony of unmuffled V8s has its own context and meaning. Around Cinco de Mayo (but not only then), you see big Mexican flags flown from vehicles, reminding me of the Confederate flags I would sometimes see flown from trucks in Virginia. You also see a lot of billboards for Modelo beer, which have a consistent theme — they are for the “fighting spirit”. The role model for Anheuser-Busch, on the other hand, is the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney . Unsurprisingly, Modelo has replaced the American brands as the number one selling beer.

In La Dépossession, Camus writes about “testosterone” encompassing traits that are both biological and spiritual. These traits are unevenly distributed — there are “differences of virility” — and introduce inequalities that “very frequently belie or attenuate, when they do not simply overturn, social and political inequalities”. Camus proceeds: in France “there is a pronounced and very obvious testosterone inequality between the groups in question.” Likewise, the non-Hispanic whites, upper-caste Indians and wealthy Chinese, who populate the upper tier of the South Bay’s feudal tech economy, have largely washed their hands of any involvement in the maintenance and repair of their own homes or the shared infrastructure, handing it over to Hispanics. The material “challenges of existence” that Camus refers to — the challenges that make men hard — are almost exclusively the preserve of guest workers of uncertain legal status. In keeping with his point about rival inequalities, these poor men do not seem to view the wealthy and soft-handed as superior. Quite the opposite. Their earned hardness is admirable, but it also introduces certain asymmetries, and with these come opportunities for a kind of conquest.

In July 2020, the French establishment was in a fuss after interior minister Gérald Darmanin used the term ensauvagement to describe how public space in France was becoming less civilised. Louis Betty, an American scholar of contemporary French thought, explains that the term was coined by writer Laurent Obertone some years earlier. The cause of ensavagement, according to Obertone, is “the domestication of the French public, especially of its elite”, writes Betty. To be domesticated is to be over-socialised. And, conversely, agressive nuisance is, “in Obertone’s telling… a phenomenon of under-socialisation” wherein the “under-socialised”, who are “incapable of controlling their aggressive impulses”, are “abetted by an over-socialised overclass” for whom violence is just “an abstraction”. In fact, the over-socialised class “compete with each other to show who can be the most lenient toward the under-socialised”. This “moral competition”, responsible for the judicial system’s unwillingness to punish criminals, is “a cause of further ensavagement”.

This dynamic seems to describe Seattle’s halting ambivalence about holding Mr Hudson to account for keeping dozens or hundreds of people awake at night. Obertone’s use of the term “under-socialised” also jibes well with Camus’s idea that the default condition of human beings is one of mutual nocence. Civilisation rests on a social compact of non-nocence whereby “[e]veryone commits to being a little less himself”, in Camus’s words, in exchange for the benefits of ordered liberty. We might say that the over-socialised have committed to a competitive ethic of being as little oneself as possible, a sort of ethical potlatch in which one suppresses those natural responses to insult that are typical of a healthy animal with a defined territory it intends to keep.

The correlation of loud exhausts with sadistic tendencies can take on a collective meaning, if competition in sonic harm becomes a status game within a group. But aren’t the members of this same group annoyed by the assholes among them, just as I am? I like to think so. There may, however, be a cultural difference in sensitivity to noise. It is said that Mexico is a very noisy place. And conversely, as someone engaged in intellectual exertions, I am perhaps especially sensitive to disturbance. But I don’t think I am alone in this. Indeed, if we view such exertions collectively as well, we can note that art and science have been developed to a high level only in societies that have achieved reciprocity in non-nocence. This is an achievement it is possible to lose.

On a Saturday night I lay awake in the wee hours, unable to escape the noise. In such a state, one’s mind turns in various directions, including towards guerrilla actions on the propaganda front. I believe I have hit upon one that would be effective. Picture a billboard with two attractive Latinas. In the background is a guy with a Dodge Challenger. One girl whispers in the other’s ear. They are laughing. The speech bubble reads, in Spanish, “The louder the car, the smaller the dick.”

I believe this would put a stop to the noise overnight. How much would it cost to rent a dozen billboards?

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on the Substack Archedelia.


Matthew B Crawford writes the substack Archedelia


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Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs
28 days ago

Public drunkeness is not now nor has it ever been a social problem in the UK.
In fact it’s practically obligatory.

Paul T
Paul T
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Gibbs

It’s a poor example. It is very limited to the area around bars and pubs and on certain nights of the week and usually in town or city centres. The drunk people go home or pass out and that is that. And there are no guns to enforce a right to be selfish every minute of the day; or else.

Alan B
Alan B
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Gibbs

Just as, in South Louisiana, it’s sober driving that causes problems

John Murray
John Murray
28 days ago

I feel like there is some sort of subtext to this article, rather as if it is dancing around what it really wants to say, or who it really wants to talk about. I dunno, may just be my imagination.
I do like the billboard idea at the end though.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
28 days ago
Reply to  John Murray

All those “assholes” backfiring and barely a mention of the rising Californian methane count.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
28 days ago

Be careful what you hope for. Your vw muscle car could win the small horse race.

J S
J S
28 days ago

Wonderful!!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago

IDK. There are some interesting threads here, but the author struggled to put it all together. I think he would have benefited from some experienced editing. I don’t want to crap on the author because there are some interesting arguments here.

Totally agree about the rupture of the social contract. When someone can impose their will on others without consequence, the state has failed in its obligations. Not a good development at all.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Matthew Crawford’s books are that way too: Shop Class as Soulcraft, The World Beyond Your Head, and Why We Drive. All really good in parts but the ideas do not really tie together well. I’m not sure if that’s a bug or a feature.
Still, I read anything he writes, and enjoy it. A lot of his ideas have made it into my book on cars and carmaking. And I found UnHerd because I saw a link to a Matthew Crawford article years ago and clicked on it. It brought me here, and I’ve stayed.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
28 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Yeah, it’s funny. I enjoyed the way it rambled. It sort flowed. Almost like a monologue in a bar!

Matt Woodsmith
Matt Woodsmith
28 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Yes, a bit rambling, but very enjoyable. Great to read from someone involved in car culture instead of someone who just hates it. His criticisms of straight pipe V8 and rolling coal are entirely valid!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
28 days ago
Reply to  Matt Woodsmith

When it comes to engines I have no idea what he was talking about. I’m not even sure whether he was referring to cars or motorbikes. What on earth is a V8? What is a straight pipe V8?

Christopher Hunter
Christopher Hunter
28 days ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

A V8 is an eight cylinder engine comprised of two banks of four cylinders connected to a common crankshaft. A straight pipe V8 is a V8 engine which doesn’t have any mufflers or silencers in its exhaust system: ostensibly, a straight, unobstructed tube with nothing to absorb the noise of the engine.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
28 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Better said than myself. Great comment

TM
TM
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Personally I think the problem has been that in the last 30 years a multitude of factors, from changes to the law to scare stories in the media, society has lost the will, ability, courage to govern itself in these types of low level arsehollery situations.

Just one example, bullying in schools. There was a time that one dad would sort it out with the other dad, and there was a good chance that the other dad would believe the other adult and not just blindly defend their shit of a child. that type of interaction would create a total shit storm at my kids school if that happened today. Another example, arseholes on public transport that have sound blaring from phones or iPads. Nobody does anything due to a) fear of getting stabbed or b) fear that no one will stand up and support them.

The police can’t police every aspects of our lives, society has to have the courage to manage itself

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The piece WAS an edited version according to the note at the end!

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
28 days ago

I was going to make a joke here about Modelo’s ad campaign claiming that hot-dog vendors were somehow “fighters”, but then I found out they actually did that exact commercial, and now I am sad. Life has gone beyond parody.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago

Even the UK has a heritage involving that sort of thing. Remember when the Hacker Government took on the EU over the “euro-sausage”?

Alan B
Alan B
28 days ago

Ignatius J. Reilly?

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
28 days ago

To summarise, multiculturalism is the death of society.

Culture is a thing. Culture is inherited from our parents and closest peers. There are different cultures with different norms.

Social development is a thing. Humans have a range of social development. Social development is inherited partly by genetics and partly through culture. Some of us are less socially developed.

Force is a thing. We can use force to control the observance by others of cultural norms. Force can only be applied to a large group of us if a large majority of us in that group already accept the cultural norms being enforced. Force is not something most of us are comfortable or able to use so we outsource it to others in our group.

Geographic space is a thing. Geographic space is finite. We are induced by our numbers to share geographic space. The way we share geographic space is governed by culture and social development and the use of force.

A society is a thing. A society is a group of unrelated humans sharing the same geographic space submitting to a common culture in return for the norms of that culture being universally observed. The universality of culture in a society causes that society to collectively enforce its cultural norms with only minimal need for force. Since culture and social development are inherited, society is also inherited.

When different cultures try to share the same geographic area, the different cultural norms sometimes conflict. The different cultural norms are often not reciprocated. Conflict and lack of reciprocation also extend into each of the cultures because there is no longer a universality to enforce collective observation within and across those with different levels of social development. Force cannot be used to resolve conflict and lack of reciprocity for these are no longer commonly agreed. Force can only be applied to the cross-cultural norms, but with no universality we come to see force framed in opposition to our culture and us individually. Control of force becomes an escalating, culturally defined power struggle even as the scope of control of that force shrinks.

History everywhere shows that culturally defined power struggles always descend into civil war until one culture dominates or a self-appointed external imperial-like force seizes control. History shows these cultural denouments can last millenia and destroy both states and empires. And yet here we are willingly stoking this catastrophe.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
28 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Top comment as usual Nell.

There have been several notable multicultural societies in the past, but all have, over time reverted to a far more homogenous and stable monoculture.

We may find this boring today, due to our modern obsession with change and novelty, but I think our own culture will collapse in due course under the strain of opposing forces.

It could only work for a time if the different cultures shared a common, higher controlling superculture (a religion) for instance, but the EU alternative of a rules-based, Liberal , ‘progressive ‘, pansexual smorgasbord definitely can’t contain the elements now sharing the space within it.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
21 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Wasn’t the Roman Empire multi-ethnic?

TM
TM
28 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

However I think directly linking low level antisocial behaviour to immigration perhaps isn’t a good look

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
28 days ago
Reply to  TM

It may not be a “good look”, but what if it’s correct?

TM
TM
27 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

This article starts off with an anecdotal story of an arsehole with a suped up car keeping people awake at night, talks about how shit the police were, and then pivots to talking about French immigration and housing policy. I don’t think there’s anything to be ‘correct’ about, it’s just poorly written and not justified, and due to that lacking just comes off as ‘dem bloody immigrants’

Arthur King
Arthur King
28 days ago
Reply to  TM

Open jew hate by Muslim immigrants is not a good look either. First they came for the Jews then .,.

TM
TM
27 days ago
Reply to  Arthur King

What has issues of antisemitism in the Muslim community got to do with late night noise pollution?

This is my point about the article. I know plenty of antisocial arseholes in our area that aren’t immigrants or from migrant families. The article reads like standard Farage dog whistling dressed up with a bit of Masters Degree language

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
21 days ago
Reply to  TM

Oh dear. Ah, yet again the phrase “dog whistle” – which is itself becoming a leftist dog whistle often deployed against anyone who thinks that are major (rather obvious) aspects of our modern society that are heading in The wrong direction which includes a large number of ordinary people, who do not share the bien pensant views on these issues. They want people doing bad stuff to be punished

Ed West, an extremely perceptive commentator, thinks there is a crisis of authority in Britain and much of the West. I agree with him. We don’t ever want to say anybody can’t do something, whether they are little kids or adults, especially, but not only, when the people come from some minority cultures.

I see this many times in my life in Southeast London. A couple of years ago I was held up in a train for well over an hour as the British transport police gently tried to coax someone who was trespassing on the railway lines. Why a
on Earth should he have a choice about whether to leave the tracks or not? Thousands of people have there they disrupted significantly because of the kid glove treatment of this one individual. That is simply not the correct balance

In some ways the police are quite marvellous, acting as social workers and counsellors to that mentally ill person raving hysterically (and indeed I can think of one who raves at people including making racist comments if you want to get annoyed by him). But they are no longer symbols of authority that one would be best being slightly scared of – at least not to those overwhelmingly cause nuisance and they are often a small minority of nuisance. These people make the lives of the majority’s and absolutely misery. Of course middle-class leftists and liberals often buy themselves out of this by living in nice areas.

Dr E C
Dr E C
27 days ago
Reply to  TM

It’s not about looks, it’s about stats: immigrants to Europe & America commit more crime than natives. Not just low level antisocial behaviours, but serious crimes like gang rape.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
27 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Great comment. The 800 pound gorilla in the room is, as you say, the more multicultural a society is, the more force is generally required to keep civil order. During the colonial period, the European powers divided much of Africa and Asia amongst themselves, doing so with little regard for local cultural differences or traditional boundaries. When those countries gained independence, they used those same borders, which often left multiple ethnic groups with a history of conflict in the same countries, a situation that has resulted in constant low level civic conflict that persists to this day in many areas.
Further, we can look at the past and present state of the original multicultural society and the global hegemon whose victory in the World Wars seemingly justified multiculturalism and allowed it to be exported. Multiculturalism is a beast that began in the USA, a nation which never has had a dominant culture, having to invent non-existent categories just to define their own, categories like ‘western’, ‘white’, ‘European’. None of these things are cultures, defined as a set of shared beliefs, values, and norms. What they are is an attempt to put a cultural label on the USA’s mostly nonexistent culture. The USA has a peculiar history that doesn’t map very well with the development of other nations and cultures. The USA has, from the beginning, been characterized by high levels of violence and a certain acceptance of the use of force, both at the individual and collective levels. We have a lot of guns and a history of using them, and we have large and heavily armed police forces to match the people. The result is a low trust society and a crime rate basically unmatched anywhere else in the world. Exporting multiculturalism will, at best, just recreate the same conditions, complete with self-segregation, ethnic communities, turf guarding, fence building, political friction, and even gang warfare.
Modern humanity is defined by nothing so much as an arrogance towards their own past, an ignorance of and disdain for history. Modern thinkers are steeped in the notion of progress and apt to dismiss the wisdom of the past on the grounds that those people were, by and large, culturally based and vehemently racist in the modern sense of the word. There is some merit in wondering what relevance history has when one is attempting something never before accomplished, namely a peaceful stable global society and overarching culture of humanity. There is far greater merit in wondering whether such grandiose goals can be reached and whether the benefit is worth the cost. I’m not much of a gambler. I’ll bet on humanity of the present and the future looking and acting like humanity of the past. I agree with you. We’re creating problems for future generations to solve, and in the end, I suspect those solutions will look a lot like the solutions of the past. They’ll either find an excuse to accept that a certain level of racial and cultural bias is necessary or they’ll come up with some new mental gymnastics to justify whatever they come up with.

M To the Tea
M To the Tea
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I often wonder why European colonists left Africa and Asia after independence. Why did those born there never claim to stay? This is a part of history that I haven’t seen anyone truly dissect. Ironically, after returning to Europe, they invited those they had colonized to come to their countries and have the same rights. If Europeans in the colonies were not given rights—assuming some were not cruel or brutal—what made Europeans think that having these people in Europe would be acceptable? This blind spot is becoming apparent, but will it work? To add salt to the wound, Europeans also made themselves dependent on the countries they once colonized. I am truly confused about the motivations of Europeans then and now.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
27 days ago
Reply to  M To the Tea

I am often confused by the motivations of human beings in general, but yes, Europeans are among the most confusing in their self-flagellating tendencies. History will resolve this conflict eventually, one way or the other, but I’m not optimistic for Europe’s medium to long term future. The USA with its many many problems both novel and traditional is still in a far better position to survive and continue to thrive in the changing multipolar world order. Every bit of my own common sense and the direction of history and the arrangement of current economic factors tells me the future of Europe is likely to be bleak. While military dependence on the US is obvious at present, that could theoretically be remedied. Energy dependence is, on the other hand, harder to obtain, and energy resources are quite likely to be the most important factor defining geopolitical power going forward.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I tend to read these posts as concern trolling. Much of Europe has nothing to do with any of this multiculturalism imported from the US, none of the east for instance. It’s hardly exists in southern Europe either – likely in countries with rising right wing movements there will be some synthesis of over liberalism and the „far right“ leading to a compromise. In the US there’s no hope of liberalism being defeated.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I’d say those amounts are very uncertain. Some of that bias is inevitable, sure, but not a clear necessity any more than lying or theft are, let alone a positive force..
Now if we can separate out the hostility and tribe-mindedness in the interest of shared, inward-and-outward-looking culture and values, then I’m probably more on board. Crosscurrents can’t be kept out forever though, except at a disastrous human cost. Exhibit A could be North Korea.
Americans didn’t invent the terms “Western” or “European”, which have been around since early-Medieval times. We sure seem fond of ’em though.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
26 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

We can’t separate it though. That’s my whole point. Trying to keep the good and discard the bad elements of human tribalism is how we got to where we are now. Humans have tribal instincts. They identify and separate into groups and show preferential treatment towards members of the in-group and discriminate against the out-group. Asking humans not to do this is like asking fish not to swim or birds not to sing. It goes against nature.

My contention is that the nation state as it existed in the twentieth century is the absolute zenith of how far these tribal instincts can be bent into something more civilized, peaceful, and economically efficient. North Korea has become an extremely isolated society but then this is a nation traditionally called the ‘hermit kingdom’. Isolation is arguably a part of their culture, and one that imposes some pretty steep limitations, but we need not go to such extremes. Nation states can trade and interact with one another relatively peacefully as evidenced by the previous two centuries in which warfare, while severe, was largely confined to formal conflicts between the organized military forces of nation states, not the internal ethnic violence we can observe in America’s inner cities or in the cookie cutter countries created by departing colonial powers who drew borders without regard to culture and tribe, because they had already transitioned those tribal instincts into nationalism and the modern nation state. The nation state is the result of harnessing those tribal instincts into a national culture and national identity that reduces conflict within the state and achieves a greater level of efficiency within the state, but this is the end of that road, the pinnacle of that process of reorienting and stretching human tribalism. It simply can’t be stretched any further than it is without breaking it entirely and ending up in a constant state of civil conflict.

My argument is that the end result of neoliberal globalism is the ultimate low trust society where traditional cultures are suppressed officially but are still kept and enforced informally, and these informal societies are constantly in conflict with an all powerful unifying government vested with totalitarian power, and also in conflict with each other for power and influence within said government. It would share many characteristics of the two largest and most diverse nations of today, the politically divided and constantly bickering USA and the totalitarian, micromanaged, constantly monitored society of Communist China. In the synthesis of these two answers to questions of modernity we’ll end up with something worse than either. If we keep trying to take the best aspects of humanity, we’ll instead end up with the worst. It is my contention that there can be no other logical result of continuing to globalize and universalize human society. Of course you’re free to disagree, but I have thousands of years of history, conflict, and warfare to point at and cite as evidence of my assertions. What do you have besides some sentimental wish for a perfect global society? Where is your evidence? You think humanity can be better? Prove it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

My reply is being withheld for now (the new normal here).
*Briefly posted after about 20 hours then re-quarantined 4 hours later. Why? This hair-trigger suppression is way too frequent and lengthy now.
A general appeal to the editors and subscribers: Please do not flag comments unless they are genuinely abusive or incendiary!
**Final follow-up: I don’t think my reply will ever post, though I don’t see any reason to for suppressing it except the fact that I over-contributed and “got into it” with multiple people on this board. (From that standpoint, I do understand, and will reign it in and tone it down). If it’s mutually agreeable, we can pick up the substance of this exchange another time, maybe in a less combative spirit. Talk to you next time.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
25 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

This is an excellent summary of Western Civ’s predicament. And I salute you for naming the core of the issue: TRIBALISM. High technological society dominated by tribalism is what we’re devolving into.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
25 days ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

Indeed, without channeling tribal instincts into something that has proven through history to be mostly constructive and conducive to group unity and social harmony, something like organized religion, nationalism, or local cultures, people simply create their own tribes out of whole cloth and then fight each other in a similar manner as traditional religions and cultures did. It’s just basic psychological transference. I don’t see any particular sense in any of it, the old or the new, but that’s because I’m not normal. It’s because I’m not normal that I recognize how important positive social environments are for people and how things like local communities, church congregations, civic pride, and national pride can serve the cause of social cohesion and internal peace and harmony. There’s currently a push from an internationalized aristocrat class to subvert these traditional sentiments, and it’s reflected in nonsense like anti-racism, DEI, and open borders. This WILL result in increased levels of crime and violence within societies. There is no other possible outcome. I am as certain of this as I am certain of gravity, or the laws of motion, or any other logical, predictable phenomenon in nature. Tribalism is a part of us. We can’t simply abolish it anymore than we can eliminate any other human behavior.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

In case anyone cares: Another reply pending here, more in agreement this time, but not only so.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
22 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

**Also suppressed. I must have exceeded the secret total-character limit for one article. Fair enough then.

Chipoko
Chipoko
27 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

“… multiculturalism is the death of society.”
Bullseye!

Connecticut Yankee
Connecticut Yankee
27 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

America has never ever been a monoculture in all the places that make it prosperous. Unlike “White Australia” or “White Canada”, it’s always taken in the people across the world and made them American. Americans are still massively pro immmigration by the majority of polls if you’d look.
What has changed however, is that standards are no longer imposed. Counterintuively, the fact that America is a multicultural diverse place means that standards as imposed by the state is even more important since it has to ensure a stable community for people to live together. The lack of standards is the largest reason for the decline in urban governance.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
25 days ago

The fact it made them American explicitly means there is, or was, an American culture. Culture isn’t necessarily something rarified, it is in fact just an agreed set of behavioural rules that extend beyond written laws. The standards you identify as no longer being applied are culture.

Take bribery. It still remains taboo for everyday exchanges in the USA and Western Europe, perceived as not just wrong but morally reprehensible. Yet in North Africa and the Middle East (two regions I know well) bribery isn’t considered bribery, it is facilitation, it is payment in advance for help. This is culture.

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago

Executive Summary: San Jose is a bit of a dump, but some of the people who live there drive cool cars. (There was also something about French people, but I didn’t understand any of that).

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
28 days ago

With reference to the picture accompanying the article. Is it just me, or do the teensy, tiny, wheels on these big cars just look a bit ……erm……un-masculine ?
Maybe it’s just a cultural thing ?

Martin M
Martin M
28 days ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

That is a “Low Rider”, so it bounces up and down on hydraulic rams. They all look like that. For more information, listen to the Cypress Hill song of the same name. It explains everything.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
28 days ago

A tolerant liberal society relies on one thing. Put simply. Not being an arsehole.

Unfortunately that basic fact would appear to have been lost to most of what we now refer to as liberals. I would have described myself as a liberal once. But in the end look where it has got us.

To all the liberals and the leftists out there I ask you this. Look at the society we have created. Really look at it. Is it the very thing you dreamed of?

James A
James A
28 days ago

You know they’d say we’re in a world created by ‘the right’.
Each side in the culture war likes to claim the other is hegemonic.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
27 days ago
Reply to  James A

And each side in the Cold War claimed the other was predatory. Only one side was right. Watch the news any night. Read any legacy media outlet. Watch any movie or TV show, or for that matter, any commercial. Audit any class at any level of schooling. (If they’ll let you and they probably won’t.) You’ll see who really controls the country.

Andrew F
Andrew F
28 days ago

Many leftist want the destruction of the West.
That is why they support mass immigration of low IQ savages from Muslim countries and Africa into the West.
For Liberals it is probably some guilt trip about West colonial and slavery past?
Till their daughters wear chador and are married at 12 to some Muslim pervert, they will not see a problem.
When they do, it might be too late.

B Emery
B Emery
27 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
27 days ago
Reply to  B Emery

I’m sorry. But I have to ask.
What contribution to the UK’s culture have African & Muslim communities provided?
I’d be really interested to know.

B Emery
B Emery
27 days ago

‘I’d be really interested to know.’

I detect an untertone of sarcasm.
I’m surprised you have to ask really, most people on here have at least two brain cells to rub together.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
26 days ago
Reply to  B Emery

Genuinely sorry if it comes across that way, it’s not my intention.
There was a time when I would have said the same.
But now I wonder. Genuinely wonder, what are these contributions?
Some communities have definitely contributed to the nation. While others not so much and we need to ask why?

John Riordan
John Riordan
28 days ago

A welcome and timely article. I too am infuriated by unnecessarily loud exhausts, including but not restricted to Harley Davidsons with unbaffled pipes – even worse are the small engine learner bikes whose L-plate riders, being male and 17 years old, have no idea whatsoever how to understand other human beings. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that they actually think everyone else is impressed, when they’re sitting at the traffic lights revving the engine for no good reason at all. Every time I find myself in a conversation that has to be interrupted to wait for one of these cretinous sociopaths to f*** off into the distance, I have idle fantasies about filling their exhaust pipes with wet cement in the middle of the night.

And I say this as a dedicated petrolhead myself: I have a remapped BMW that has 400hp, and a 1000cc sportsbike that turns country lanes into something more akin to a rollercoaster, so thrilling is the speed it will do. But neither of these is a noise nuisance, because I haven’t been silly and changed the exhausts.

Andrew F
Andrew F
28 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

So to get it right:
You have a problem with noise but use country lanes as a race track?
You can kill somebody, which loud exhaust will not do.
Maybe someone should stuff wet cement into your exhaust pipes?

John Riordan
John Riordan
27 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Get over yourself, you po-faced arse.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
28 days ago

Good article overall. Thought provoking and honest. Immigration is such a complex topic and touches on so many issues and we need emotionally honest pieced like this that respect nouance… couple of quibles/points
He begins the article referring to a black man interracting with a police officer before going on to talk largely about hispanic immigration to his neighbourhood. This muddies the waters a bit. As noted in the article, immigranrs succeed in all sorts of ways in America and generally assimilate over time by becoming more American than the locals ( industrius and entrepreneurial). African Americans are actually the ones who probably suffer mosr from labour displacement the most as well as dealing with out and out racism and stigmatisation to this day.
Secondly, the author talks about working immigrants being a bit noisy basically. This isnt really that big a deal. I think tje big problen is migrants who end up in socisl housing and on benefits. Currently states are subsidising this in sll sorts of ways. The fights over socisl housing in France really is the pits. If housing is allocated based on politics oppose to a free market good, that really is the path to civil strife, if not civil war. I think that socialising housing supply generally and then politicising housing provision is the real slippy slope here towards civil disaster. We can have a nice multicultural society if we actuslly insist that those coming here have something to contribute ..otherwise we are just incentiving conflict

Andrew F
Andrew F
28 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Any examples of successful multicultural societies?
What we have in the West is invasion of our countries by ungrateful low IQ savages who try to impose their disgusting non cultures on us.
All those who want to have Calcutta, Nairobi or Bangladesh in the West should move to those places.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I suspect that your default emotion is disgust. If you’d temper your diatribes and open up the airtight chambers of your mind to let in a little nuance, I could find more agreement with you.
Yes, some arriving populations act as bullies, but they also tend to be disrespected and get pushed around by the dominant culture and their authorities (like schools and law enforcement). Not always, granted–because nothing fits into a single story, let alone an angry and contemptuous one.
Rome was quite a successful multicultural society for a few fleeting centuries. The Norman French, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes combined with smaller sub-populations to form the traditional English society you are so jealous of (or nostalgic for, since you seem to think it’s destroyed). But perhaps since they mostly shared a similar paleness there were no “low IQ savages” among them, nor among the Vikings, who left their genetic imprint on Britain too.
Are you using multicultural as a smokescreen for multiracial?
The cultural imposition from 1500 AD to the present is still decidedly on the side of Westerners forcing or attempting to force their ways on other cultures, whom they often despise(d) in the way you do most non-white foreigners. Your vitriol sounds like a throwback to the Britain of 1850–and not in a good way. You can’t colonize the globe and then fully retain your own precious ways and bloodlines; not without some intermingling. Though there’s a wide range from insularity to porousness and I admit it can be taken too far (or not far enough), the fact of intermingling is ancient, global, and ongoing.

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
27 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Perhaps you are being ironic in some of your remarks? The ‘traditional English society’ was born from hundreds of years worth of battles and blood. And, mutual paleness or not, there was a lot of savagery, though I doubt IQ was specifically raised at that point. Check, for example, Alfred the Great – king of Wessex at the age of 21, (reigned 871-99) and a ‘highly strung battle veteran at the head of remaining resistance to the Vikings in southern England’. Then came the Normans. The Normans, a.k.a. the Northern Vikings, were brutal and their “harrowing of the North” was an act of genocide (https://www.historyextra.com/period/anglo-saxon/william-conqueror-war-criminal-story-harrying-north)

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

Thanks for your reply. Intermittently ironic? Yes, I am. Perhaps heavyhandedly so here, in part because of the commenter I chose to respond to. There was underlying sincerity, but with some intended rhetorical edge (again, maybe pretty blunt).
I absolutely think there was white-man savagery (and stupidity) in centuries past–including the 18th, 19th, and 20th–in Britain and America, often toward other whites, especially of low status, including serfs and indentured servants. In general, there was far more “white-on-white” ethnic animus and violence in the Golden Old Days before either of us were born (plenty of data, documentation, and first-hand accounts). My ancestral majority, the Irish–in a outgroup cluster that included Italians, Spaniards Poles, and Jews–were not-quite-white to many here in the U.S. until around 1920.
I’m unable to read most of your linked article without paying, but I never thought William of Normandy was a conquering hero. As an avid general reader and recovering Anglophile, I’m not wholly ignorant of the details (could have given you Alfred’s dates, or close to them, for example). But if I’m bluntly honest with myself: my contextual understanding of English History is probably below all but that of quite dumb or indifferent Brits over age 16 (and I moved that up from 14, feeling brave), let alone an astute an well-informed one like yourself. But as we both know–in my case from much painful first-hand experience– knowledge doesn’t lead straight to wisdom or deep understanding, not with any reliability.

Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones
28 days ago

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When the majority stop following this golden rule, the makeup of society starts to shift in to something that is not just rude, but brutally cruel. For us that might look like the Roman empire, but with AI.

Right now the moral depravities being committed throughout the west are far greater than antisocial driving. As a society we have already achieved sins against God that the ancient caananites could only dream of. Burn the baby immediately after birth? We can rip them apart before they are even born. Have ritual sex with children? We are on the way to completely normalising paedophilia in our every day lives.

What the ruling classes in the west perhaps miss is that in a world where the golden rule has been forgotten, it is the soft-handed who are the first to be dominated.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
28 days ago
Reply to  Matthew Jones

That all makes perfect sense, except the “God” reference is entirely unnecessary. What you’re describing are sins against humanity, which can be derived from your first sentence.

A J
A J
28 days ago
Reply to  Matthew Jones

Another example: Ireland is passing a law to allow convicted paedophíles to buy babies from impoverished foreign surrogate mothers. What could possible go wrong?

Su Mac
Su Mac
28 days ago

I start Matthew’s articles sniggering with “haha, this is what you voted for” but always admire his learning too which often cleverley illuminates what we all instictively know.

Muscular, foreign hostility is filling the space left in western society by the “virtual” class of emasculated men and a liberal virtue competition to tolerate anything.

Will MAGA and the right in Europe harness the testosterone pushback? National service?

It looks just like the eternal cycle and I fear for the next swing of the pendulum.

My husband quotes the well known “hard times make strong men, strong men make good times, good times makes soft men, soft men make hard times”.

We can be grateful to Cslifornia for providing a vivid example of advanced nocence and it’s effects!

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
28 days ago

Note to self: buy a pick-up truck.

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
28 days ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Did it. For a golden wedding present to ourselves, we settled on a red Chevy pick up with a V8 engine – imported to England from a ‘dry state,’ the dealer assured my husband.  And I’m intrigued to discover that, though it hasn’t got the exhaust modifications, it could still put us in the ranks of those who have a hard time with “higher-order moral reasoning with a focus on basic rights for people”. But then, speaking just for myself, originally a Geordie with a hefty genetic legacy from a family of border reivers actually named in the Steel Bonnets (George MacDonald Fraser) what can you expect other than ‘an Anglo (or rather, Scots-Irish) version of vehicular nocence’? 
    In fact, the truck is a fond nod to time and place – a great three years in Texas (military exchange to Health Services Command, Fort Sam Houston) The looks it receives when we pull into the car park at Daylesford in the Cotswolds amongst massed electric vehicles and the English equivalent of ‘rich men north of Richmond’ is just an additional mischievous pleasure. We use it sparingly, otherwise. 
    You can call it a p***s extension or a type of ‘muscle car’, Mr Crawford, and talk rather scathingly (and not without a certain level of paranoia, I feel) about ‘fantasies of a Confederate reconquista’. But only when you’ve done twenty odd years in the army and know how to face and accept the fact that all the blood on the carpet that can go along with acquiring those ‘basic rights for people’ that men like my husband with their predilections for noisy red Chevy trucks apparently have such a hard time even recognising, stands a good chance of being yours.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
26 days ago
Reply to  Glynis Roache

If your husband is willing to sacrifice his blood to defend others’… why isn’t he willing to sacrifice his noice preferences for the sake of others’?
In my experience people committed to public service in the military are more thoughtful of others, not less.

James A
James A
28 days ago

A related phenomenon is the person/ people on a train playing music from personal devices loudly enough that everyone in the carriage can hear it.
I’ve experienced this in many places, but in my city, there’s no cultural angle. These are white male teenagers being typical adolescent dickheads.
If i were to list the irresponsible, gross and offensive things i did between the ages of 16 and 24 i’d be here a long time.
I wonder whether this is less about multiculturalism and racial politics as it is about an adolescent being a tool (no doubt with social media exacerbate things).
I’d like to think he looks back (as i do) on his antics as a 20yo with cringing embarrassment.

David Harris
David Harris
28 days ago

“Too much tolerance is destroying the peace”
Not just California…

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
28 days ago

Can the author explain how one can legally commit arson?

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
27 days ago

I can think of several things in my vicinity that need burning down. Unfortunately, meeting that need is still illegal.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago

The author quotes someone else.

Dov Kaiser
Dov Kaiser
28 days ago

On noise, Schopenhauer had it right:
“But noise is the most impertinent of all interruptions, since it breaks up and indeed breaks down even our own thoughts. But where there is nothing to interrupt, noise is of course not particularly sensed.”

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
27 days ago
Reply to  Dov Kaiser

Do not do unto others as you would be done unto; their tastes may not be the same. (But then there are plenty of people for whom a distinction between structure-of-reality and stream-of-consciousness never occurs in the first place.)

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
28 days ago

Mr Crawford makes a good argument for his cause. In his anger, however, he seems to have overlooked the intrusion of undesireable ‘noise’, in the form of extremely vulgar language, contributed to UnHerd by himself. I hope he won’t blame his new neighbours for this. I hope also that UnHerd’s editors will clamp down against this possible trend, and help to preserve what is essentially a ‘good neighbourhood.’

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
26 days ago

Great comment! The point being: everyone has something they object to, and the more ‘diverse’ a group is, the more likely you’ll find things objectionable along one axis or another. And of course, you might also find things unexpectedly interesting or stimulating. It’s a tough question, striking the balance between homo- and heterogeneity.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
28 days ago

Tolerance? Looks like sheer cowardice to me.

David Jory
David Jory
28 days ago

Lord Justice Moulton in 1922 gave a speech ‘On law and Manners’ which was printed in the Atlantic.
In summary: societies are governed by law and manners. In a high trust society manners are enough for most human interactions. When trust falls then we need more control by laws.
It rings a few painful bells for me these days, especially as Labour governments love exporting Parliamentary responsibility to the legal system.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
27 days ago
Reply to  David Jory

Why are there no laws against cannibalism? Because mores can be stronger than laws. (If there ever develops a movement strongly in favor of outlawing cannibalism, why might this transpire?)

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
27 days ago

There was the case of Alfred (some say Alferd) Packer, the Colorado Cannibal, who went into the Colorado mountains in the winter of 1874 and came out alone. His companions were later found dead and clumsily butchered.
He was to be tried for cannibalism until it was pointed out that cannibalism wasn’t illegal in Colorado. So they tried him for murder. He was found guilty. Supposedly the judge sentenced him thusly:

“Stand up yah voracious man-eatin’ sonofabitch and receive yir sintince. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven Dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of ’em, goddam yah. I sintince yah t’ be hanged by th’ neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin’ ag’in reducin’ th’ Dimmycratic populayshun of this county. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it.”

Richard Jackson
Richard Jackson
28 days ago

Progressives rarely suffer the consequences of their policies or ideals.

Andrew F
Andrew F
28 days ago

I would say: not yet…

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
28 days ago

A good article which reminds me why I have time for Unherd.

Andrew Stuart
Andrew Stuart
28 days ago

On noise. I’ve lived in a lower-middle class ‘delegacion’ in Mexico City on and off and here’s what you can expect every day: Garbage trucks come daily ringing bells from way up the street to warn people to take out their trash. In the evening hot banana sellers with their steam whistle – sounding wistful a mile off but less so just outside. Dirt poor trumpet players with a toddler hooting awfully and knocking on doors. Rag-and-bone pickup trucks with a permanently looping loudspeaker listing the types of junk they’ll take away. Other vendors with loudspeakers looping around the streets at walking pace. Fitness classes with loudpeakers in the adjacent park. These are just the additional items to expect on top of a city soundscape. You can’t explain water to a fish.
(BTW I’m in awe of a garbage collection and on-street recycling 7 days a week when we only get once per two weeks in the UK) so this part isn’t a complaint.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
26 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Stuart

Once per three weeks in parts of SE Wales (Newport!)

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
28 days ago

Is this a parody? Dude lives in California and loud cars are his bridge too far? Perhaps he can afford such luxury beliefs and can afford to complain about vehicles because his street has not been taken over by the homeless, the addicts, and the illegals that festoon virtually every city in the not-so-Golden State.
On a Saturday night I lay awake in the wee hours, unable to escape the noise. —–> Of course, he can escape the noise. Move to quieter area. But that would mean no longer being able to virtue signal about living among the Mexicans. That would mean having to forego the cliche that equates vehicles to penises. It’s possible that the author cannot afford a more suitable location, thanks to years of voting for people who have made his current condition possible.
Maybe he should have stayed in the South, where our biggest problem is refugees from places like California who cannot escape from there fast enough but then whine about how the new place is different. Of course, it’s different. That’s why those people moved in the first place. Anyway, congrats on taking tolerance to its absurd conclusion. The author got what he asked for and in typical form, is mad about it.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Matthew Crawford was born in California and grew up here. I think you misinterpret the guy. He’s not who you think he is.

Matt
Matt
28 days ago

We have a couple of kids who live in the apartments down the street who have unreasonably loud cars. Straight pipes, so they are not only loud but they sound like shit. This is in a state that has annual vehicle inspections, so apparently the government doesn’t care about this issue.
Several of my neighbors have spoken of shooting one of these kids. Especially the one with the $70K BMW (this isn’t some poor Joe who can’t afford to get his exhaust fixed). One thing that makes this a reasonable plan is police aren’t limiting themselves to ignoring clear violations of our noise ordinances – the best way to guarantee that the cops will never come when you call in this town is to report “shots fired”.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
28 days ago

There is nothing you can do. Miles Hudson has been given permission to act irresponsibly. He has been confronted by the law several times and he informed the officer that he is doing his thing, after all, he has 700,000 Instagram followers. What more validation does one need?
I would ask, what is the end goal for the Leftist politicians creating such an environment? My guess is that There is Soros money being spent there to create a region of lawlessness. A region of lawlessness which is a first step to something else. What might that be?

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
27 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

…oh wait here comes the WEF to restore order in our societies, hallelujah!

James S.
James S.
26 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Perhaps the “something else” you hint at is citizens taking matters into their own hands. What if Miles woke up one morning to find his Hellcat on blocks, with the catalytic converter sawn out? Happens all the time in some parts of Seattle.

If the powers that be and their hamstrung police departments can’t or won’t enforce the law, or enforce it unequally, one shouldn’t be surprised if some rough justice takes its place.

F J
F J
28 days ago

Author seems like a violent coward – “The only proper response, I believe, would be for some good Samaritan with a baseball bat to walk up and test the efficacy of those little Nazi hats they call helmets.”

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  F J

I’d guess he has better character and self-control than his freewheeling style suggests. Still, I did picture a b-movie plot: a sort of modern day Walking Tall with a bespectacled blanco going after every noise-polluting Latino he can find. Losing sleep and belonging to a middle-aged Anglo (English-first) minority, I don’t think the author’s dark fantasies are too pathological, nor rare. But they don’t help his scattershot hypothesis about manlier invaders or whatnot.
Also, many Latino families have been in California for generations, sometimes since before the Anglos came in numbers (which was just before the Gold Rush, during the Mexican-American War, but especially from 1849 onward). California was part of Mexico from 1821-1848 (after Mexico’s independence from Spain). So while there mightn’t be many such multi-generational Mexican-Americans in Crawford’s rough-sounding neighborhood, as a San Jose resident myself I’ve learned not to wish even those who annoy me a lot would “go back home”–they’ve probably been here longer than me (U.S. 1978; San Jose 2020).

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago
Reply to  F J

Matthew Crawford did say that about the helmets and a baseball bat, He wasn’t serious. As I’ve said in other comments here, I’ve followed Matthew Crawford for many years. I read his book Shop Class for Soulcraft when it first came out. I read his other two books when they came out. I’ve read many articles written by him and listened to interviews, some here on Unherd.
I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Matthew Crawford. I don’t agree with some of his ideas, his writing is far from perfect, and I’m sure he does have his faults. But I think a lot of the criticisms of him based on this article are off base, including yours. He’s no violent coward. Not even close.

mike otter
mike otter
21 days ago
Reply to  F J

Not sure if its cowardice – his talk about ‘bikes looks like a slight on 1%ers in general and the red and white in particular? He must have balls like space hoppers.

Paula Dufort
Paula Dufort
28 days ago

As a Southerner I find the terms “Confederate reconquista” and “Prius-driving Janissaries” amusing and pertaining to a small sub-group of my fellow Southerners. Not all of us are still fighting the Civil War, and most of us call that conflict “The Civil War” and not “The War of Northern Aggression.”

Most of us are concerned about the economy and other more important present concerns. Living in the past doesn’t pay for the present.

We do have our street rodders as well. They tend to be shut down here rather than pampered if they’re in most populated areas. They’re dangerous and also generate revenue from fines so they aren’t tolerated. They can go to the country or one of the local racetracks to race.

Most of the people driving trucks are everyday working stiffs. Some speed, some don’t. We all try to avoid the speed traps.

I drive a Toyota Camry, by the way. And all of my family has lived in the South since 1795 so I’m not a recent transplant.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
28 days ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

The oh-so-tolerant Matthew is part of the club that considers it fashionable to view the South threw a bygone lens rather than its current incarnation. It’s an irritating form of intellectual laziness that is used to mask a bigotry that is acceptable among his ilk.

Paula Dufort
Paula Dufort
28 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

There are bigots everywhere, in every form. We have ours in different ethnicities, but the majority of people are offended by them. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the bigots get noticed.

Most of the people in the South don’t view it through “Gone with the Wind” filters. We’re more concerned about the economy and having a peaceful society. Most people living here, White, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian and other ethnic groups, are interested in having a decent standard of living and a safe and peaceful environment.

You’re welcome to visit if you don’t live here. If you do, please travel and meet a wider variety of people and places here. You may be surprised at our diversity. We welcome all tourists.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

I don’t see any bigotry in what Matthew Crawford wrote. He lived in Virginia for many years (as he says in this piece). He has traveled extensively throughout the region and the rest of the country, meeting with a variety of common people. He is a careful observer. I’ve read his three books and many of his articles and haven’t seen a trace of bigotry against Southerners. One paragraph in this article appears to be the basis for your claims of bigotry but I think the implications you draw from that paragraph are wrong.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Bigotry? Intellectual laziness? I see that in your response, but I don’t see it in Matthew Crawford’s writings.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
26 days ago
Reply to  Paula Dufort

I think Matthew Crawford understands that those he was referring to are a minority. He lived in Virginia for many years.

Davy Humerme
Davy Humerme
28 days ago

Great piece Matthew. Hope you don’t take the advice of all these published posters who want to improve your writing. Pedantry is an unfortunate by product of reading dissident blogs because some people must performatively disapprove of everything. The loud car exhausts is equalled in London (which I lived in till about 2015, by screamingly loud, unruffled scooters, many with tin can lids attached for extra annoyance. I long had a fantasy of stringing razor wire across the road and causing the unnecessary thinking part of these idiots to be detached. In Scotland where I have returned to live lawless automotive bragging is a thing in the immigrant colonised areas of the major cities , along with an absolute refusal to be insured or roadworthy. Our welcoming globalist politicians and police of course do nothing. I agree with Nell that there will have to be a reckoning. Even the legacy immigrant communities want it to stop.

Alan B
Alan B
28 days ago

“Why can’t we be strangers?”

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
28 days ago

In a multicultural space, a newer arrival group is interested in one thing: Driving out other ethnic groups. So the loud cars, the rude behaviors, the impolite stuff – it is aimed at “self-deportation” from that space by other groups. If you regard the “impolite actions” as aggressive attempts at getting you and your group to leave, the whole situation becomes a lot clearer.

Stewart McCure
Stewart McCure
28 days ago

WRT the final suggestion in the piece; this from an Australian campaign many years back…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hWxU_ICoHM

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
28 days ago

I was speaking to a friend in Switzerland who, when dragging her mower out, was reminded by a neighbour that it is illegal to mow your lawn on a Sunday there. And the police would come round if called.
Switzerland has a high fraction of immigrants with 26% of the population foreign born.

Dr E C
Dr E C
27 days ago
Reply to  Michael Lipkin

If only we had the same law here. And a ban on petrol leafblowers every day of the year. I’m with Schopenhauer: loud unwanted noise is an invasion of the brain.

JP Shaw
JP Shaw
27 days ago

As I read this article, I am wearing headphones with white noise playing. White noise to cancel out the generator noise (without muffler) in a nearby construction project, ongoing for over a week now. After 3 long years of construction on our own building, I just discovered white noise recently. I also wear these when the regular leaf blowing crowd (who wear earphones) come bi weekly, along with the lawn mowers to ensure all of us apartment dwellers don’t have a quiet day. Few complain as the rents elsewhere are out of reach. Very few of those responsible for the noise are immigrants. In fact, they are wealthy construction owners who took advantage of the pandemic to loosen noise and construction restrictions. Immigrants here were brought in as cheap labor and advised to take drugs to withstand the noise themselves. (https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/About/News/2022/Construction-workers-opioid-related-deaths). The author though has identified cultural problems with multiculturalism, but those problems seemed less prevalent in the past when there was enclaves like Little Italy, Chinatown etc; where immigrants could live and practice their culture differences without being harassed by complaints. In the rush for cheap labor our governments fell prey to the Corporate Elite lobbies who just cannot tolerate labour making a decent living. Its kind of like in-sourcing cheap labor when the outsourcing countries wanted higher wages and more health and safety regulations.

David Butler
David Butler
27 days ago

I was struck by this comment from the woman in Seattle:

“This is the first time in 13 years that I’ve started seriously considering moving out of downtown,” she wrote.

She didn’t seriously consider moving out during the lawless, violent, “autonomous zone” period?!

James S.
James S.
26 days ago
Reply to  David Butler

And I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that she’s been voting for the folks in the Seattle City Clowncil that have brought that city to its current state over the past 13 years.

mike otter
mike otter
27 days ago

Hahaha – those dreadful working class ppl eh – and you know whats worse – most of em didn’t go to college! – What we really need is a politician to dream up a three stikes rule then we can get these povs & pocs locked up forever! Where’s Joe Biden when you need him! In UK there’s the same sub-culture – usually Urdu lads with diesel mercs, audis and B-Ms. They re-map so their engines fire with exhaust vales open and do a lot of damage to the unit, there are even nutters with petrol power who put spark plugs in the flame traps and overfuel their injectors, allowing ignition of unburnt fuel, or they turn their turbos up to 3 bar and the unburnt fuel simply diesels under the pressure. At least with the Hellcat etc they are still petrol/pushrod setups -def to 2020 with the Apache 6.4 unit because we had one for a bit. It’s a pity the preppy bourgeoise whingers didn’t think about noise pollution before they started their 24 hr tourist flights and harrassment of non white neighbourhoods with their gimmicky police helicopters

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
27 days ago
Reply to  mike otter

Valid points and effective sarcasm mixed with the snark and hostility. Upvoted.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
26 days ago
Reply to  mike otter

I always find it strangely illuminating when people try to make being thoughtful of other people a class issue. Doesn’t reflect well on class distinction, IMHO. It’s a terrible thought to think, but just what does account for class distinctions?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
25 days ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

A few notions: 1 ) ancestral excellence, cunning, ruthlessness, or luck that creates wealth and status that are passed down 2) ancestral non-achievement, misfortune, stupidity, or criminality that doesn’t pass down much but disadvantage or disrepute 3) belonging to a demographic which bends your perceived class higher or lower 4) sheer individual character as in: “he/she really does/doesn’t have class”
What do you think?

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
24 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Hmm… I’m reminded that decades ago we created standardized tests and the like in order to recognize people’s inherent talents, free from the arbitrary and contingent shackles of their origins. Then we uncomfortably discovered that after a generation or two of sorting, those standardized tests began to align with those origins a little too close for comfort. Perhaps ‘talent’ (but not virtue, key distinction) is not randomly distributed in a population.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
21 days ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Yeah the Asian-Americans–almost irrespective of wealth–whose parents insisted on studying to and cramming for the test that is supposed to measure raw aptitude, not preparation, did best. Next best: whites and plenty of nonwhites from book-lined homes with two educated parents.
Use the standardized test; don’t get used by it.
You also pivot from class to native intelligence as if they were interchangeable. Quite the switcheroo.

mike otter
mike otter
21 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think class has both its socio-economic meaning as ascribed by todays’ academic bourgeoise (C2DE etc), also the more nuanced version AJ mac speaks about. AJ Mac’s definition fits well with the 1% ers on their reliable Harleys who want to show class regardless of helmet choice (or none if goggles are all thats required by local law) It’s opposite fits well with the very middle class who want a police chopper overhead at all times but also to dictate other’s decibels. The wise philosophers Kilmister, Clarke and Taylor explained this in their classic, and self deprecatory tale, “No Class”, set to an old ZZ Top riff, around 1978.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
20 days ago
Reply to  mike otter

Good hard-rock tune. I admit I hadn’t heard it until just now…they sure did rip off that riff!
Kirk Susong’s follow-up comment makes his initial question seem like a trojan horse trick, when he insinuates a direct, racialized correspondence between intelligence and class.
If I’m misreading him–and I hope I am–I’d like to be set straight.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
18 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I am just grateful that a stranger on the internet is worried about the condition of my character. Thank you!

JP Shaw
JP Shaw
27 days ago

As I read this article, I am wearing headphones with white noise playing. White noise to cancel out the generator noise (without muffler) in a nearby construction project, ongoing for over a week now. After 3 long years of construction on our own building, I just discovered white noise recently. I also wear these when the regular leaf blowing crowd (who wear earphones) come bi weekly, along with the lawn mowers to ensure all of us apartment dwellers don’t have a quiet day. Few complain as the rents elsewhere are out of reach. Very few of those responsible for the noise are immigrants. In fact, they are wealthy construction owners who took advantage of the pandemic to loosen noise and construction restrictions. Immigrants here were brought in as cheap labor and advised to take drugs to withstand the noise themselves.. The author though has identified cultural problems with multiculturalism, but those problems seemed less prevalent in the past when there was enclaves like Little Italy, Chinatown etc; where immigrants could live and practice their culture differences without being harassed by complaints. In the rush for cheap labor our governments fell prey to the Corporate Elite lobbies who just cannot tolerate labor making a decent living. Its kind of like in-sourcing cheap labor when the outsourcing countries wanted higher wages and more health and safety regulations.

William Knorpp
William Knorpp
27 days ago

The kid with the Hellcat seems to have been fined $93k, and his mommy seems to have taken his car back.
Also, he seems to have been stalking and posting revenge pr0n of his former gf, and to be facing another fine and up to a year in the hoosgow.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
27 days ago
Reply to  William Knorpp

My grandpa in Kansas used to refer to the “hoosgow.” I moved to Spain and saw a municipal building with the word “Juzgado” over the door in big steel letters. Of course the “J” is pronounced lie and “H”. Language is interesting.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
27 days ago

You forgot to mention trash! I’m noticing the return of constant littering. I don’t know if this is a result of immigration or the Environmental Movement’s sole obsession with greenhouse emissions. Whatever happened to PSA’s like “Give a hoot, don’t pollute. Hoot! Hoot!”?

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
27 days ago

“Civilisation rests on a social compact of non-nocence whereby ‘[e]veryone commits to being a little less himself’ . . .” Reminds me of Robin Diangelo’s advice to the oppressor class: diminish racial problems instantly by trying to be less white.

Martin M
Martin M
27 days ago

I listen to dub and hip hop, so I’m doing my bit.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
27 days ago

Your white-hot hatred causing you to imagine swinging baseball hats and smashing skulls is misdirected. I suggest a different target.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, duly qualified for the November ballot, must be removed from the ballot. This was “to prevent voters from passing it,” according to John Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who explains: The seven justices of the Supreme Court yielded to the wishes of the political branches, handing them the victory they sought over the will and the rights of 1.4 million California voters who signed petitions to qualify the TPA initiative for the ballot, as well as the tens of millions of Californians who would have benefited from its protections.

Do you still have such a big mouth?

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
27 days ago

I wonder if migrants know the horrible financial shape the United States is in and that we are all living on borrowed financial time.

Bird
Bird
27 days ago

Picture a billboard with two attractive Latinas. In the background is a guy with a Dodge Challenger. One girl whispers in the other’s ear. They are laughing. The speech bubble reads, in Spanish, “The louder the car, the smaller the d**k.”
Absolutely priceless.
Great article. I hope you get some sleep soon……
The collective being sacrificed for the ‘man-child individual’. There is definitely the equivalent female – version too.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
27 days ago

Miles Hudson has three sets of criminal charges against him. Easily found out by anyone with Google.
This puts a major crimp in the writer’s theory and makes him an ass.
‘Belltown Hellcat’ faces third criminal case in Seattle (fox13seattle.com)

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
24 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Huh? Did you read your own linked article? I think it fully supports the point of the author – the ‘Belltown Hellcat’ is a delinquent who takes pride in flouting the law and sees himself as above the rules that constrain that tedious majority culture. One of the criminal charges against him relates to reckless driving, but the other two are ‘domestic’ in nature… a charge for assaulting his mother for not making him toast (!), and a stalking/harassment charge from an ex-girlfriend.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
26 days ago

I do not recognise the cop as like the one who, 25 years ago, trailed my rental car while I was trying to find my way around Los Angeles during a study trip from the UK. It increased my paranoia, bringing to mind verses from David Crosby’s ‘Almost cut my hair’. Back home today, Britain’s south coast has its share of loud bikers and hotrodders. Making explosive noise is just as illegal as in CA and just as unenforced.
Then there’s urban dogs, or creatures that some people for reasons of their own call dogs. Not quite reduced to astroturf, we have lawns that they use as toilets because like your neighbour they live in apartments and don’t have anywhere else. These are the same lawns that others use for lounging or playing games. Most of the dog-owners bag their waste, as anyone who approaches a public trash bin too closely will know, but you only have to watch the dogs sniffing around to know that traces remain.
Masculinity has evolved much as you describe. At a classical concert recently, I noticed that none of the male musicians, bar one ‘OT prophet’, wore a beard, and not many in the audience. Yet in the streets, every 30-ish-or-something male looks like he stepped out of an ad for whatever it is they now use instead of aftershave.
If California has continental drift, what we have here is baseline drift.
Immigrants crossing in ever increasing numbers from France are a concern nationally and at the points where they arrive, but not where I live actually, where all manner of people seem to live happily together and there is space for everyone. It will be an ‘issue’ in our forthcoming election, timed to coincide with your celebration of expelling the Redcoats, but as the long-term concern is Muslim immigration it tends to be focused on particular cities where they form cultural communities.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
26 days ago

The mistake the left Wing Middle classes made was to think those people from different cultures such as West Indian Tribal Chiefs, Buttos, Nehrus( Harrow and Trinity Cambridge , wealthy Lebanese, and Egyptian( Omar Sharif ) Sunnis whom they met at public school and university were like the 99% of people from their home countries. They were not. The rise in Political Islam since 1973 has meant the Islamic World has become less like the Western World. A Ghanian who was educated at an English prep School, won a top scholarship to to a major public school and then one to Oxford is African but so is a barely literate un-employed violent Somalian.
There is massive difference between a highly westernised wealthy Lebanese sunni who is fluent in Arabic, French and English, attended French schools and universities( educated at top Lycees and Grande Ecoles) and a poor barely literate Algerian.
In general, the highly westernised wealthy have lost power to largely the lower middle class who reject much of Western Culture.
Much of the problems for the West when dealing with people from outside of this area is the complete lack of experience of working in these countries. Travel is not the same. Try running a fcatory, construction site or office, then one starts to understand a country.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
25 days ago

In Australia acoustic violence is used to mark the dominance of government/military insider bikers openly aiding organised crime.
The prey, us, are powerless dummies to be laughed at, as we squirm in horror experiencing unpunished crimes – over & over & over again.
The preys’ taxes are paying for the bikers’ daytime salaries, paying for government/military-grade technology used to terrorise us in our own homes for boredom relief, or simply crimes being committed for crimes’ sake: acts void of value or function. Bizarre crimes have the benefit of discrediting/isolating the prey, because logic is expected behind crimes.
Living in a suburb of million $ homes with crippling council rates & land taxes makes no difference, neither does having made no poor life choices or costly mistakes: I never even dated any MARCUCCI or MEEHAN.
Finding used syringes on our nature strips, having our homes/vehicles broken into leaving sick psycho signs of break-ins are part & parcel of living with Australia’s fake facade of opulent harmony.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
25 days ago

Manners maketh man. One can take a man out of the slum but not the slum out of the man. I am poor but honest. Cleanliness is next to godliness. The days, even in the poorest home, the front step and pavement was cleaned daily, has long gone.
Where Methodism was strong, men undertook hard manual work, boxed and played rugby, high standards were maintained even when poor. Look at Britain during the Depression in the coal mining areas.
Wigan Warriors – Wikipedia
The slum mentality is that, a state of the mind. One can be poor, live in a poor area, but it does not have to be a slum.
The left Wing Middle class have deliberately promoted bad manners, especially undermining gentility, since the French Revolution. The Methodist founders of the Labour Party believed in self help and ridding Britain of slums and slum mentality. The Left Wing Middle Class who largely lack any experience of hard work in dirty and dangerous conditions are often effete and associate coarseness and crudeness with toughness. My experience of working with extremely tough men in construction, often with experience of rugby, boxing and combat, is they respect technical competence, good manners, hard work and honesty. These are the qualities which construct civilisation, not create slums.
The popularity of Bridgerton, especially amongst ladies, shows their preference for good manners and gentility. The various houses shown are largely classical in design, not the concrete brutalism of post WW1 construction.

Will K
Will K
24 days ago

I suggest our problems are mostly because we have too many people.

David Pogge
David Pogge
23 days ago

This article makes a good point, but it is way too long and too self-consciously intellectual.