September 29, 2022

"Weird" aesthetics over the decades: From unifying youth rebellion against authority, to anti-social warring against peers, as imperial collapse sets in

Although I like the '90s the least among decades I'm familiar with, they were still formative for me, and they're currently undergoing a revival (along with y2k), so I might as well chime in on some of the key features of that decade, and how they're different or similar to today's.

This recent reflection was sparked by Mumei singing "Basket Case" during her recent karaoke stream, instead of the 2000s emo era Green Day songs that are more popular nowadays. (Unless Zoomers get back into the '90s for real, and not just in clothing styles?)

Green Day has had one of the saddest trajectories of any musical group, regarding their role in the overall zeitgeist -- from purely (counter-)cultural actors back in the apathetic '90s, to the stirrings of the red state / blue state culture wars of the W. Bush 2000s, to full blown politicized witch-hunting of the woke 2010s and 2020.

Punk proved itself to be the most authoritarian-loving genre, with not only Green Day but the Offspring, the Dead Milkmen, Rage Against (now, For) the Machine, and worst of all the Dead Kennedys outright fangirling on Twitter with the CIA's anti-Trump electoral pointman McMullin. The common theme was that the half-or-more of the country that doesn't support your political program -- bailing out Wall Street, waging war against Cold War boogeymen, and mandating worthless vaccines for a bad flu -- are literal Nazis who must be concentration-camped in order to preserve freedom.

The only punk to pass this test with flying colors is Avril Lavigne, who never once posted anything political during the crucible of 2020 and after -- BLM, Antifa, boo Trump, vaccines, masks, etc. The princess of much-derided "mall punk" aced the test of anti-authoritarianism, while the critical darlings all failed pathetically. Score another W for all things mall-related.

As punk and "alt" culture in general became more authoritarian, its symbols went fully mainstream, to the point where you can walk into any drugstore and pick up hair dye in rainbow colors, Millennials are obligated to have tattoos, and marijuana is sold openly in every strip center around the country.

* * *

But enough about the recent past, which is all still fairly fresh in everyone's minds. The point here is to contrast how different the non-polarized '90s were. Hardly anyone had weird hair colors, tattoos and piercings other than in the ears were hard to find, and there were "3 strikes and you're out" laws about drugs and related crimes.

Now, someone who wasn't there might think that the relative normie-ness of the '90s meant that the alt culture was ignored, shunned, or suppressed by the majority of young people. But in fact they were fully accepted, even elevated at times. Just because you were a preppie or jock didn't mean you didn't have alt friends, didn't listen to gangsta rap or grunge, and never smoked a joint. Youth culture had its diverse sub-cultures, but they were all aware of each other and more or less friendly toward each other -- in their common struggle against The Man, The Powers That Be, The System, etc.

And far from that anti-authority sentiment being a vague vibe, it was explicit. White suburban alterna kids used to openly shout, "What smells like bacon?!" when the police were nearby. Preps didn't want to get hassled by The Man for smoking pot, joyriding, or whatever other mischief they were getting into. And being anti-police goes back even further among African-Americans. All this came together in the scene from Airheads -- where a metal band hijacks a radio station in order to play their demo tape for exposure -- in which the metalheads begin chanting, ROD-NEY KING! ROD-NEY KING! in order to get the crowd to swarm the bumbling cops.

This anti-authority attitude was not limited to local police, while praising the feds as witch-hunters against political enemies, as has become the norm over the past 5 years. Black leaders openly began talking about the role of the FBI in the MLK assassination, and the CIA for introducing crack into the ghettos. It was also the heyday for what the Deep State would brand as "conspiracy theories" among white people, too -- blaming the CIA for the JFK assassination (famously in the blockbuster Oliver Stone movie), the X-Files, the origins of Alex Jones, and so on and so forth.

* * *

To outwardly express these shared interests against authority, they adopted core elements of each other's aesthetics and style. Alterna kids flirted with dreadlocks (Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes, Dexter Holland of the Offspring), wore baggy jeans (including from Afrocentric brands like Cross Colors), and even if they were anti-sports, still sought out Charlotte Hornets gear by Starter. The preppy girls wore Doc Martens shoes. All white people adopted some degree of black slang.

The gangsta rap kids had as many drawers of plaid flannel as the grunge kids, and were bigger consumers of Tommy Hilfiger and Polo than even the preps. The '90s were the heyday of both the wigger and the... bleppy? Blunge? They weren't "Oreos" -- those were black kids trying to act WASP-y and yuppie in general, not just adopt the plaid flannels or Polo logo shirts from white kids.

The two counter-cultural camps -- alternative and gansta rap -- shared the pot leaf as a symbol (on hats, shirts, scrawled onto their textbook covers, etc., even if they never smoked a joint in their lives). In fact, they bought their counter-cultural clothing from the same store in the mall -- Spencer's.

Although I've never done any drugs, that didn't stop me from buying and occasionally wearing a black hat with a white skull in front, which had a vivid green pot leaf on its forehead. You couldn't buy that stuff at Abercrombie, Marshall's, or Walmart -- you had to go to Spencer's. That was before white counter-culture split off from black counter-culture and re-camped in the Hot Topic store, during the 2000s.

But back in the '90s, multiculturalism was the rule -- not only across races, but within white sub-cultures, like alterna and preppy, or alterna and country. The lineup for Woodstock '99 was heavy on the alterna sub-cultures within whites, but it also had George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars, James Brown, DMX, and Ice Cube. Not to mention multiple bands in the popular black-white fusion genre of rap-metal. Along with Willie Nelson, Creed, Sheryl Crow, and the Dave Matthews Band for normie / conservative-coded white audiences.

The shared interests against authority, and their cultural expression, came together in the censorship of music -- mainly by putting the sales-killing "Parental Advisory" label on the album cover. That effort was spearheaded by the non-partisan PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) back in the '80s, but continued into the '90s. And whereas the leader of the crusade, Democrat Tipper Gore, had earlier been the wife of a Senator, she was now the Second Lady.

There were also local measures across the nation to suppress counter-cultural symbols in public schools -- the pot leaf, the Charles Manson t-shirt popularized by Guns N' Roses frontman Axel Rose, piercings other than in the ear, and wild hair colors. But I'll cover those in a separate post, looking back on my own experience as a purple-haired 8th-grader in '95.

For now, suffice it to say that the role of those symbols was to unify the youth culture against the grown-up authorities. They were unifiers because they were already shared across a broad range of youth sub-cultures, and because the authorities were targeting their expression no matter who was displaying them. So it really was youth rebellion vs. power-tripping authorities.

This anti-censorship attitude meant to unify all of youth culture against the overbearing authorities, while still being non-partisan and indeed remarking on the political apathy of young people, was best expressed in the grunge anthem "Pretend We're Dead" by L7 from '92. (In the woke era, you'd have to add "all-female band", but that wasn't a rare thing before wokeness killed off the spirit of cooperation, including among women themselves.)

I didn't hear it at the time, but the jangly tambourine adds a nice Sixties counter-cultural touch, without being hamfisted or "boo Nixon" about it. Probably absorbed through the non-political Paisley Underground scene of the '80s, in their native SoCal area, which bore fuller fruit with fellow '90s icons Mazzy Star.

* * *

After over 200 years of rising, our empire's social cohesion (asabiya) had already hit a state of plateau by the 1980s and '90s, although it had not yet started its shallow decline, as it did during the blue state / red state culture wars of the 2000s, let alone the complete and total meltdown by the woke nadir of 2014-'20.

In the cultural domain of society, this breakdown manifested in the creative crowd -- whether the actual creators, their funders, their distributors / platformers, or the diehard consumers, or the commentators -- severing bonds with everyone who was not 100% identical to themselves. Obviously that unglued the whites from all non-white groups, since the creative crowd is overwhelmingly white. But it's not a racial thing, and pointing to 2000s emo and Hot Topic as a "whites-only" space is retardedly missing the bigger picture -- the creative crowd was severing itself from all other white cultures, like the preppies and normies and country fans.

Indeed, this dissolving of social bonds is so intense that even the alternative sub-cultures keep fragmenting into smaller groups, even though 100% of them are on the Democrat / liberal side of the political divide. They can't help but corrode the cohesion that would otherwise hold them together into a semi-big tent.

And as the creative crowd have abandoned their fight against overbearing authority, and turned on their fellow citizens instead, the overt and Deep State at the highest levels have come out in favor of them, and they in favor of it. Neither the FBI nor the local school principal will suppress a woketard student from sporting green hair, a lip piercing, pot leaf on their hat, etc.

Both the woketards and the authorities have discovered a common interest -- suppressing the unruly rabble during a crisis of legitimacy for the central authorities and elites in general, especially after the 2008 depression from which we have never recovered. The woketards because they feel they're superior to normies, who must be humiliated for their heretical culture. And the Deep State as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy against a would-be organized populace.

The central theme of anarchy has been re-branded for this new alliance, exemplified by the Black Bloc of the early 2000s anti-globalization movement being re-worked into a woketard paramilitary of the Deep State, now branded as Antifa. Whereas before it meant anti-authoritarian, now it means dissolving all social-cultural bonds for the woketards (to purify the culture of heresy), and preventing higher-level organization among the rabble in the eyes of the central state's security apparatus. Chaos, confusion, every man for himself, pure and total social breakdown -- not the put-upon banding together against The Powers That Be. In the new configuration, organization and teamwork = fascism, hence if you're anti-fascist, you're committed to dissolving every social unit in society.

And yes, that includes their own political team's units -- not the bizarre notion from right-wingers that the Dems or libtards or the Deep State have a well-oiled machine dominating a fractured GOP / conservatard enemy. The Democrats could not even produce enough cohesion to nominate Biden and Harris legitimately in 2020 -- the party leaders shut down the primary when it was clear nobody wanted Biden and would stay mired in a Bernie vs. not-Bernie civil war through the convention, like their 2016 convention on steroids (when Bernie representatives were boo-ing their "fellow" Dems from the convention floor!).

Every institution in the American Empire is coming apart at the seams, even the libtard ones. Hollywood can't make new movies, TV series, or music anymore. The video game industry can't do anything more than what they did 10 years ago, as Minecraft and GTA V are the most popular "new" games. The premier streaming platform, Twitch, is currently melting down from within. The general public does not believe the media, nor "peer-reviewed research" from the universities. The finance sector is collapsing again, with double-digit inflation on top of the problems of 2008.

Sure, there's an oasis here or there in every institution, but the overall trend is one of anti-social greed rotting them out from the inside, until they ultimately collapse. This is the opposite world of the Mid-20th Century, when people trusted the news & "studies," when the military could still win a world war, the FBI could coup a sitting president from the shadows with no one the wiser, when cultural production was still flourishing, when our manufacturing was first in the world, and when we didn't have rolling finance collapses with double-digit inflation and 0% interest rates and infinite money-printing.

*That* was the world of well-oiled machines -- here and now, we are in unrestrained breakdown and chaos, on all sides at once.

* * *

Contrary to clueless right-wingers who say that the creative crowd were always this bad, or always had this goal in mind, or are only now taking the mask off, this is in fact a 180-degree corruption of who they were in the '90s. And they themselves are openly embarrassed and ashamed of who they were back then, confessing their sins, promising to atone and "do better", and in all other ways disowning their previous selves. That's the opposite of celebrating their '90s selves as the tip of the spear, Trojan Horse, initial seed, Patient Zero, cuckoo's egg, long march through the institutions, or whatever other dum-dum metaphors the right-wing cultural commentators use to describe it.

Nor can we lazily say that they're the same as who they were back then because "the '90s led to the 2010s" -- sure, and so did the '50s, and the 1770s. We've gone through various phases of having little cohesion, rising, plateau-ing, then declining, yet to reach a new minimum. As far as cultural cohesion goes, the '90s were in a qualitatively different phase of this multi-century cycle. It was the multicultural consolidation of all our empire's earlier conquests, as well as unifying the sub-cultures within the imperial natives. The End of History -- no further left to go, unless history turns out to be non-linear...

Anyone likening the multicultural Nineties to the woke 2010s is from outer space -- they're totally out-of-touch with America, at least, and might as well be foreigners.

Next up: my 8th-grade battle for purple hair -- waged not against my normie peers (or even my parents), but against the literal authorities of the school. And other episodes involving my friends wearing the Charles Manson shirt, etc. I'll also elaborate on some other themes that I didn't get to chance to here, like individual vs. collective identity.

Millennials and Zoomers won't believe it, but that's because only Gen X and Boomers remember the reality of the '90s. Millennials and Zoomers retroactively insert way too much of the their own formative years in the 2000s and 2010s, back into the '90s or '80s, when it was not only absent, but often the polar opposite of the environment they imprinted on.

September 16, 2022

The gen that wasn't cided: Gypsies of the Spanish Empire (Inquisition, Santa Hermandad)

As an epilogue to the series on the rise and fall of the Spanish Empire's Deep State (see here for previous entries), let's take a look at the dog that *didn't* bark. That will illuminate the role of the Deep State even more clearly than looking at who it *did* persecute.

To review, the Spanish Inquisition first focused on the foreign group that had conquered them and formed part of their empire within Iberia -- the Moors, whether they were Muslims or became Christian converts (Moriscos). They also focused on the foreign professionals and administrators who the Moors brought along with them, namely the Jews. The Jews were expelled in 1492, and the remaining Moriscos were ordered to leave in 1609.

However, the Inquisition also targeted local Iberian nobility within the regions that had historically been weakly integrated into the Spanish central state, primarily in the northeast. That was due to their antagonistic role against Castile, the eventual unifier of the nation and the empire, during the Civil Wars of the Reconquista (1350 to 1479). If they smelled foreign political influence coming in through foreign religious doctrines, such as the proto-Protestants like Erasmus or Enlightenment thinkers later on, they focused on them as well. They even hounded the sitting #1 leader of the Catholic Church in Spain (Archbishop of Toledo, Carranza), for decades until his death.

The Inquisition and the Santa Hermandad also shook down those with some degree of wealth, power, and influence -- not only to remind the middle and upper tiers of the societal pyramid that there was a powerful central state above them, but to get some actual material benefit from persecution.

However, it didn't occur to me immediately that there is a very glaring omission in this long list of targets of the Spanish imperial Deep State -- the Gypsies! After Spain became absorbed into the American Empire, by joining NATO and the EU in the 1980s, they have adapted by trying to re-interpret their distinct history and culture through the lens of their imperial overlords, which centers on colonizing indigenous peoples, slavery of foreign groups, Civil Rights, wokeness, and so on and so forth.

And although Spain did practice what the British and French empires did in the New World, there is nothing like slavery or racially coded oppression back in the Iberian peninsula. Most of the groups who were targeted collectively were white-skinned people from the northeast of Spain.

Before them, the Moors and Jews were targeted not on a genetic or even cultural basis, but based on a historical contingency -- i.e., having been the recent colonizers (and their administrator class) during Moorish rule. That's why the Moorish converts to Christianity were still eventually driven out -- although they made heavy efforts to culturally assimilate, they were still the recent colonizers of Spain, so they would always be suspicious as potential internal subverters in the eyes of the central security apparatus, no matter what culture they adopted.

Hundreds of years after the Jews and Moors were expelled, the only remaining genetic and cultural out-group within Iberia is the Gypsies. So that's where the focus goes in trying to interpret Spain in American terms, both by outsiders in the American Empire as well as aspiring woketards within Spain. They are a largely endogamous genetic out-group (hailing from Northwestern India), they had somewhat darker skin, they originally spoke a non-Romance language (although Indo-European), and they were nomadic rather than sedentary.

Although there is no widespread persecution of Gypsies by everyday Spaniards, they still don't accept them as being as fully Spanish as native Spaniards. They get harassed by the police due to their greater inclination toward petty crime, and some businesses try to ward them off from entering their buildings. But painting them as victims of would-be genociders is not only insane, it's a pathetic cry for attention -- and funding -- from the American Empire's woketard ruling class. "Hey guys, we can cry wolf over genocide, too! Why should only those other groups get to do it?!"

Even a milder charge like them being second-class citizens is incorrect. They are full citizens, with all the rights that citizenship brings, and they were on that path long before African slaves in America were headed toward emancipation and civil rights. Neither the state nor the general public is persecuting the Gypsies, and that has been true for centuries, not merely in imitation of the American Civil War and Civil Rights movement.

First, a whirlwind tour through the history of Gypsies in Spain, and then a look into what their lack of persecution tells us about the role of the Deep State. You can read a translation of the Spanish Wikipedia entry on them here. (English material in 2022 is heavily geared toward wokeness, the American Deep State's narratives, etc.)

A few thousand Gyspies first arrived in Iberia during the 1400s, right as the Castilian central state was finalizing its hold on political and cultural authority. They did not present as coming from a hostile religion, and they claimed to be Christians. And some of them even fought on the Christian side in the last battles against the Moors.

But as we saw with the Moriscos, just because you culturally assimilate doesn't mean the Deep State takes its eyes off you. What made the Inquisition and Santa Hermandad not worry about the Gypsies is that they had little wealth, so there was no point in shaking them down. And more importantly, they were not vying for political influence, where they might threaten the central state if they became new members of the regional rural nobility or the urban mercantile class. They simply wanted to be left alone to follow their nomadic way of life. That does not in itself lead to them forming a new power base, so the Deep State paid them no mind.

Local police might pay attention to them, if they wandered into settled cities and committed petty crimes like pickpocketing. But local petty crime is of no concern to the central security apparatus. Notice how absent the FBI and DOJ are in harassing local criminal hot-spots in American cities. Well, of course -- streetcorner drug dealers, pimps, 7-11 robbers, rapists, and opportunistic murderers are not contesting the authority of the central state. So while none of that is desirable for the Deep State, it's not a major threat either, so best to not waste resources on it. They will focus their resources instead on elites or aspiring elites who are vying for high-level influence in society.

Still, nomads pose a minor threat to the central state because they move so easily all around the territory of the realm, making them harder to surveil than sedentary people. So beginning in the 1500s, the government -- but not the Deep State -- enacted laws to sedentarize the Gypsies. As always with such a process, this found partial rather than total success. And it was not done on the basis of genetic differences, and did not impede their genetic continuation, so it was not a racial matter.

It was somewhat a cultural matter, in the sense that the nomadic subsistence mode had been central to their cultural identity, and that was now being replaced by a sedentary lifestyle. However, that would've been true for any group of nomads -- not only those who had come speaking non-Romance languages and following other non-Iberian customs.

The Spanish state was not trying to wipe out the Gypsy culture in toto, only those aspects of it that threatened the central state, like nomadism. They were welcome to keep following their distinctive taboos, kinship and marriage traditions, folk stories, music, clothing, crafts, food, and language. Most wound up learning Spanish in order to interact with their host population, and likewise started to assimilate more in other cultural areas (like dress), to willingly fit in better.

And so, the Gypsies were not targeted for elimination on either the genetic or cultural level. Indeed, unlike the Jews who were expelled in 1492, the Gypsies have remained very much present genetically and culturally right up through the present, numbering 3/4 of a million by now, and retaining much of their distinctive sub-culture. In fact, their contributions to Spanish culture have only been amplified and adopted as symbols of Spain in the meantime, particularly the Flamenco genre of music and dance.

The only episode in their entire history that approached persecution was the Gran Redada, or Great Round-up, of 1749. Notably, it was not planned or executed by the Deep State, which would normally handle such an operation against internal enemies. It was done through a faction within the military, led by a member of the Overt State, the Marquis of Ensenada. The idea was to round-up all the Gypsies, wait for an unspecified miracle to occur, and then they would be rid of the Gypsy population.

Woketards of the American Empire would love to interpret this as an attempted Holocaust, but it was nothing like it. A majority of the prisoners were set free after only a few months, most of the remainder were set free de facto by lower-level military members who didn't want the burden of looking after their charges, and a royal pardon freed the remaining few by 1765. There was no order or practice of murdering them in general (only if they fled and became fugitives, but that was not enforced de facto). They had -- and utilized -- the right of filing appeal lawsuits, and were defended by their fellow non-Gypsy neighbors and employers. Hardly a society hell-bent on annihilating them.

Mainly it was the bureaucratic nightmare that brought it to a halt. There was no standard definition of whom to target -- anyone with Gypsy ancestry? Only those following certain cultural customs? In implementation, it targeted the sedentary members living in cities, not the difficult-to-surveil nomads, and therefore rounded up the more integrated ones, not the potentially unruly nomadic ones. This discredited the plan, by punishing the very program of cultural assimilation -- and even genetic, if they had intermarried with non-Gypsies -- that the central state had itself been demanding for the past couple centuries.

Returning to the importance of the wealth of a group, the Gypsies were still poor, and so even after confiscating their property, the operation could not be financed without the state spending its own money. Poor people are not worth shaking down, unlike Jews who were largely professionals in the lead-up to the Holocaust. And Gypsies were still not politically organized or influential, unlike professional-class Jews in 20th C. Europe, who held leadership roles in political parties, wrote for and distributed political media, etc.

The desperate attempt by woketards to interpret the Great Round-up as a genetically oriented genocide is to say that, since they were separated by sex, that would've prevented genetic reproduction and ended their bloodline. Ha! Yes, just like the Catholic Church's private schools separating reproductive-age teenagers into boys' and girls' schools is a secret attempt to wipe out their own bloodline! Diabolical.

There are simpler ways to end the bloodline of your prisoners -- just kill them. You've already rounded them up, it's not exactly a silent secret program. Why wait decades for them to gradually fade out of the genepool, for want of reproduction with each other?

And actual genociders would not want the targets' genes remaining in the local genepool, even partially. So the Gypsies would have to be separated from everyone, lest interbreeding take place and pass on Gypsy genes into the future. For that matter, why not just castrate the men and set them free? -- no threat of their genes passing on. And take whatever means to sterilize their women. It's not rocket science, if the Spanish state had actually been on such a trajectory.

In reality, they were separated for reasons of labor, with the males over age 7 doing harder labor, and females of all ages plus males under 7 doing fine-motor textile labor.

In the wake of this political disaster, the central state did not double down or go about the plan in more furtive ways -- it actively began granting Gypsies greater political rights, starting in 1783 -- nearly a century before the formal integration of African slaves into the American nation. The Gypsies were granted citizenship, freedom to live wherever they wanted, take up any trade they wanted, and send their children to Spanish schools, to enculturate them and prepare them for integration. The laws penalized those Spaniards who tried to thwart the program or discriminate against Gypsies.

By now, they're covered by the same public programs for education, healthcare, etc., that all other Spaniards enjoy. Any attempt to portray their history as one of persecution, genocide, etc., is simply retarded. Not because the Spanish Empire had no history of such things -- but because the Gypsies flew under the radar, as poor or working-class people who had no political ambitions in the past, present, or future, and who would assimilate if required to.

They have no analogue whatsoever in the American Empire, nor in most other empires. The descendants of African slaves in America pursued political ambitions, which suddenly brought them under the watch of the Deep State, during the Civil Rights era (where the FBI probably played a role in assassinating Martin Luther King). Immigrant groups also join political organizations and aspire to higher status than menial labor, often along explicitly ethnic patronage lines, all the way back to the Ellis Islanders.

No group that was foreign to the founding population of the American Empire has remained at the bottom of the status pyramid, while never pursuing political organization and action, including any threat they may have posed in the past. Native American tribes were at war with the American founders, even though they remain poor and do not aspire to political power within the American state (only tribal / reservation governance). Those are the two distinctive aspects of the Gypsies which left them fairly unmolested by the Overt and the Deep State in Spain, from its imperial heyday up through its post-collapse present.

Contrary to the minor tendency of wannabe woketards to re-interpret Gypsy history as a copy-paste version of African slaves, illegal Central American immigrants, etc., the major tendency has been to celebrate the Gypsy contribution to Spanish culture. That applies not only within Spain itself, but in the broader American Empire that they were absorbed into, including the culture-makers of Japan, who we have occupied since WWII.

There is no greater example of this swirling fusion of influences than from the heyday of American imperial multiculturalism, during the end-of-history 1990s. That is, the culture of the Gerudos in the iconic video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, from 1998 (produced in Japan, by Nintendo).

The women are meant to evoke Muslim desert tribes, most likely the Moors of the Maghreb. What's their connection to Iberia? Their soundtrack theme is Flamenco -- which may not have come from the Moors, but rather the Gypsies, however it ties everything into an exotic Spanish focus.

Spain was all the rage during the Macarena '90s and y2k -- I began college wanting to major in comparative literature, planning to study the Al-Andalus era in Spain. Well, I didn't stick with comp lit (thank God), but I did perfect my Spanish, and picked up two years worth of Arabic (along with Italian and later Catalan, when I lived in Barcelona).

As much as I might like to think I arrived at my tastes through some transcendental spirit whispering into my mind, it was probably just growing up in the '90s and getting infected by the Spain bug like everyone else did in that environment. But I appreciate that influence. During this series on imperial Deep States, I've gone into far greater depth about Spain, because I've always been more passionate about them than Austria, Russia, China, or wherever else. That passion applies to the Moors and their empire as well.

In fact, I will take a break from the Deep State series to focus one last time on Spanish ethnogenesis, by returning to the series on the standardization of languages and dialects during imperial ethnogenesis. I'll look at the evolution of Castilian from late Medieval Romance languages in Iberia, caused by their unification of the peninsula against the Moors during the Reconquista, at the expense of other languages (Romance or otherwise) among the other Christian kingdoms.

Castilian is so distinctive among Iberian languages, that even a good share of *foreigners* who speak no Spanish, know what one of its defining sounds is. There's a related other quirk that they do not appreciate, but we'll cover that one too. As a preview, though, they both appear in the word for "intelligence," which sounds unlike all other Romance languages in these two ways.

September 12, 2022

Rise and fall of the Spanish Inquisition's political power (imperial Deep State)

Previous entries here, here, and here.

Now we'll conclude our look at the Spanish imperial Deep State with a survey of the initial rise, the stagnation / decline, and the collapse of its power over purely political affairs.

At the outset, Iberia was not yet fully liberated from the Moorish conquerors, as the Emirate of Granada remained in the deep south. So the main internal threats to the centralizing state, which was coalescing around the Catholic Monarchs, were the foreigners who had originally invaded, or who had come along with the invaders to help administer their empire. That was mainly the Muslims and Jews.

Under its first Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, the Inquisition was instrumental in expelling the Jews in 1492. Muslims were treated less severely, since they were the still somewhat powerful invaders, whereas Jews were easier to drive out, as they were mere professionals and administrators of their Muslim rulers. At first Muslims were forced to convert to Christianity or leave Spain, during the early 1500s.

One century later, in 1609, even the converts (Moriscos) were ordered to leave as well. However, some of them returned, and in 1628 the local inquisitors in Seville were ordered not to hound them as before. This shows how the empire was nearing its peak / plateau stage in the middle of the 17th C., as it would have been inconceivable that Torquemada would have given them such a light touch over 100 years earlier.

Before getting to that stagnation phase, though, let's look at the power of the Inquisition in another way -- the period when the Grand Inquisitor was also the regent of the Castilian kingdom (i.e., the acting ruler). Cisneros was appointed to lead the Inquisition in 1507, and by 1516-'17 he was also the regent of the kingdom. This was not like when George H.W. Bush headed the CIA for a brief moment, and then became president over a decade later -- this was at the same time, and having headed the Deep State for nearly a decade.

And to drive home his role as the controller of internal enemies of the centralizing state, as regent he oversaw the conquest of Navarre by Castile. The Navarrese were not Jews or Muslims -- but they were weakly integrated into the state, belonging to the northeastern region formally controlled by the kingdom of Aragon. And they were still occasionally rebelling against Castilian dominance, so Castile subdued them by force, overseen by not only the political leader but the leader of the religiously based Deep State. If they belong to the same religion as the central state, then just slander them as not-good-enough members of the religion, as heretics, as blasphemers, as apostates, and so on and so forth.

After Cisneros died, Adrian of Utrecht -- a Dutchman -- took his place as Grand Inquisitor in 1518. Soon after, from 1520-'22, Adrian was also the regent of the empire, during which time he oversaw the continuation of the conquest of Navarre.

Even closer to home in Castile, he oversaw the suppression of the Revolt of the Comuneros, which did not involve Jews or Muslims, nor even the weakly integrated northeasterners. It was a local revolt against foreign rule: the new King was also a Dutchman and the Holy Roman Emperor (soon-to-be Charles I of Spain). On top of that, it was a succession crisis, as the rebels wanted Charles' mother, Queen Joanna, to rule on her own (she had been confined for madness, and de facto did not rule). Joanna had a much more direct and local bloodline to the founding of the empire, as she was the daughter of Isabella I.

But as empires expand and begin to administer international polities, they often absorb the elites of other realms, including at this point when the non-Iberian House of Habsburg was about to control the Spanish Empire during its Golden Age. Already a Dutchman was regent, as well as the Grand Inquisitor -- why not also let a Dutchman be their king?

In the Comunero Revolt, the enemies of the centralizing state were nationalists or nativists, who were against the increasingly international character of their growing empire. There are all sorts of enemies to the centralizing state of a growing empire -- literal foreign invaders, domestic separatists, nativists -- it gives the security apparatus plenty of work to do, and it means they have to rationalize their mission in increasingly twisted ways. It's no longer as simple as, "Christians safe, Muslims and Jews threatening". Whoever poses a risk to the central authority of the Catholic imperial leadership, is a heretic.

After leaving Spain, Adrian became Pope in 1522, the only Dutchman to fill that office. Regent of the preeminent empire in Europe, head honcho of its Deep State, and then leader of the Catholic Church, as well as the political leader of the Papal States in Italy -- all within a few years. This is what central legitimacy and authority looks like.

One of the last displays of the growing power of the Inquisition was in the 1560s and '70s, when the Grand Inquisitor, Valdes, launched a heresy trial against the sitting Archbishop of Toledo -- the #1 ranking leader of the Catholic Church in Spain -- Carranza. Surprise, surprise -- Carranza was from a noble Navarrese family, who grew up during the Spanish conquest of his land. Maybe the Grand Inquisitor thought that made him still a threat, if he were nursing a grudge. At the least, he was more sympathetic to foreign thinkers like Erasmus, which brought charges of supporting Lutheranism. Remember: ideas don't matter, they were afraid that he would allow in unwanted foreign political influence, not airy-fairy crap about the nature of Christian worship or whatever.

* * *

The Deep State of any empire is not an all-powerful entity, and its leaders are political appointees. It's not uncommon for the leadership of the Deep State to change when the political leadership changes. This was no less true for the Spanish Empire.

It's hard to imagine Torquemada or J. Edgar Hoover getting kicked to the curb by the political leaders, but they were heads of the Deep State at the powerful outset. FBI Director Comey was unceremoniously fired by Trump, and beginning in the early 1600s several Grand Inquisitors were forced out of the office when political leadership turned over or they lost favor (NiƱo de Guevara, Aliaga, and Sotomayor).

The first sign of the Inquisition's stagnating political power came in the 1660s, when Nithard was the Grand Inquisitor, as well as the de facto prime minister (the royal favorite of the Queen and Regent). His reign came just after Portugal won its independence from Spain in 1640, after having been conquered in 1580. That is a strong signal that the Spanish Empire is past its glory days. But then Nithard signed the Treaty of Lisbon (1668), whereby Spain got basically nothing from Portugal, in return for Spain giving up a major Iberian possession and officially recognizing the new Portuguese royal house. For such weak foreign policy, Nithard was kicked out in a bloodless military palace-coup.

The next inflection point in the decline of the empire was the War of Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. The last Habsburg monarch named his French Bourbon son as his successor, but an Austrian faction wanted Habsburg rule to continue in Spain. This war ultimately brought about the end of the Habsburg era, and the start of the Bourbon era. During the war, the Austrian faction was most popular in the weakly integrated northeast of Spain.

Even the Grand Inquisitor himself, Mendoza, favored the Austrian side -- however, he was accused of treason for that, fled to exile for 7 years, and was only allowed to serve as a bishop on his return. Not even an archbishop, let alone head of the Inquisition. But that's what the Deep State gets when it tries to interfere in a political succession crisis, on the illegitimate side at that, and well past the peak of imperial power. This marks an irrevocable loss of the legitimacy and authority of the Inquisition.

As a wonderful natural experiment, the regency board during the early stages of the war included both the G.I. Mendoza and the Archbishop of Toledo, Portocarrero. Both big religious figures, the former who sided with the Austrian faction, and the latter who not only supported the Bourbons but was instrumental in persuading the last Habsburg to name his Bourbon son as successor. Mendoza was only on the board for a few months, while Portocarrero was regent for several years until the Bourbon successor arrived in Spain. So while the Catholic Church may have maintained some degree of power over political affairs, the Deep State was losing it.

By the late 1700s, the Grand Inquisitor was reduced to adding Enlightenment thinkers onto its list of prohibited books, which was not successful anyway. That included G.I. Beltran's 1775 heresy trial against Olavide, an Enlightenment reformer (of Basque ancestry).

* * *

All empires collapse, and so do their Deep States along with them. Ours will be no different.

The Spanish Empire collapsed during the early 1800s, as Spain itself was occupied by Napoleonic France, all of its New World colonies fought and won wars of independence, and it ceded further New World territory to the American Empire (Florida). America picked up the leftovers later in the century (Spanish-American War, getting the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico).

The Inquisition was first abolished during France's occupation of the peninsula (1808 - 1814), and far from bouncing back strongly with the expulsion of the French and Napoleon's downfall, it oscillated between bouts of abolition and tepid re-establishment, being abolished for good in 1834.

The Grand Inquisitor when Napoleon invaded, Arce, gave pro-French sermons while his country was under foreign occupation. Not only did he not resume leadership of the Inquisition, which was more or less defunct anyway, he had to resign his offices within the Catholic Church as well (Archbishop of Zaragoza, and Patriarch of the West Indies). He was forced into exile for the rest of his life. So much for the all-powerful nature of the Deep State.

Wikipedia says the Inquisition condemned the guerrilla warfare by civilian Spaniards against the invading French army, which was the only reliable defense that Spain had against France, who easily defeated them in conventional battlefield warfare. There's no citation, and the Inquisition was formerly abolished at the time, so maybe this means the former leaders of the Inquisition (like Arce) still met and issued opinions to the public, including this one. If that's true, the reason is easy to surmise: guerrilla leaders were acting outside of the central state, and were therefore a threat to its authority and legitimacy, especially since they were so successful, while the central regular military was failing.

Getting on the wrong side of a war of national liberation in your own territory, just because the winners are not part of the central state? That's an easy way to shred what little remains of your credibility, legitimacy, and authority. It's not really treason, since the Inquisition did not side with France over Spain, they were opposed to those outside the central state playing the main role in defending the integrity of the state's territory. Nevertheless, it shows how useless the Deep State had become by that point, so there was no hope of its preservation as the empire only continued to disintegrate.

As during the War of Spanish Succession, there were several influential figures of the Catholic Church who were regents during the French invasion, but they were not also on the Inquisition. This included a lowly bishop Quevedo in 1810, and the Archbishop of Toledo, Luis Maria de Borbon, from 1813-'14. The latter went on to abolish the Inquisition in 1820.

* * *

Without going too much into the history of the lesser arm of the Spanish imperial Deep State -- the Santa Hermandad -- I'll simply note that it parallels that of the Inquisition. It was formed in 1476, as a result of the Civil Wars of the Reconquista (1350 - 1479), when the new leaders of the increasingly central state wanted a national police force that was under their control alone, not regional police forces that could be controlled by lesser royalty or regional nobles. It was used to harass political rivals, shake down wealthy people, and build their own power base.

It waned in power by the early 19th C., and crucially played no role in the liberation of Iberia from the Napoleonic invasion. As with the impotence of the Inquisition during this crisis, the absence of the Santa Hermandad shredded what was left of its credibility and authority. Technically, its purpose was internal policing, but when Napoleon occupies your country, you should re-focus your efforts to drive out the invaders.

Worse still, the forces that did drive out the French were guerrillas -- the very type of unit that a strong national police force would have persecuted and locked up, for practicing vigilantism. That is, for horning in on the business of the Hermandad. By 1844, they were replaced by the Guardia Civil -- a national gendarmerie, without the holy rationalization of the earlier imperial Deep State.

No more empire, no more obsession with controlling internal enemies of the central state, which only gets less and less centralized during imperial collapse.

Importantly, neither the Santa Hermandad nor the Inquisition was re-established during the Franco era in the 20th C. Although Franco had the support of the military, was a law-and-order leader, and was still based in Castile and facing rebels from the historically weakly integrated northeast, he was still ruling a full century after the collapse of the Spanish Empire. And so, none of its organs stood any chance at being reincarnated, as though being a right-wing leader gave someone magical powers.

September 10, 2022

In a socially fragmented world, guys would LOVE to get friend-zoned (and streamers as friend simulators)

Just wrote an entire post's worth of content in the comments section, as usual. I'll copy & paste it below.

It started with a reaction to Gura's stream tonight, but then got carried away on a number of related tangents. But the basic theme is what the title of this post says. If you're not much of a stream-watcher, give that link a try. It's short by streaming standards (under 3 hours), pretty conversational (not just video gameplay), covering a range of topics, and a spicy meme moment from the chat. You can treat it as a podcast, to play in the background while you do other things, if the game itself doesn't interest you.

Only thing I'll add is that, based on her saying that she likes the clothing styles of cottagecore and dark academia, she is clearly a former or current Tumblr girl (maybe as it migrated to TikTok as well). Like most, or maybe all, of the other Hololive girls, in fact. During the woketard purges of the mid-late 2010s, these girls gradually went into hiding. Now that the woke culture war is dying out in the broader society, and there's a whole new entertainment format that woketards don't control -- livestreaming, especially when they're hired by Japanese companies -- these Tumblr refugees can come out of hiding and bless the world with their cursed-yet-cute personas.

A few years ago, "Tumblr" had only negative connotations, because Tumblr demons had taken over the platform. But now that the Tumblr angels have a safe space, as it were, maybe the brand can be rehabilitated.

* * *

Awww, Goobi hosted an unhinged hang-out party for us, even though she's been in a "head hurty" mood this week. We'll always be there as an audience when you need someone to unload your emotionally drained brain on. I'm pretty sure it was her monthly debuff (as Wolfabelle phrased it), not anything threatening, thank God.

I really like this aspect of girly-girl streamers -- they let you into their lives by going through the things that have been bugging them lately, and whether you actively respond or just provide them with an all-ears audience, it lets them work the frustration out of their system.

Just like being actual friends with them. :)

One of the things I really despise about the girl-hating culture is complaining about when girls complain to guys about the mundane goings-on of their life. "Oh great, what's it about now?" And complaining about not being sure what to say, or whether to say anything at all. Just be an audience, then, they're just looking for some support, so they can get better and be the supportive girly-girl in your life once her head is back on straight.

I really don't understand the girl-hater ignorance toward this behavior -- she's *chosen you* to be her audience, not just any old schmo. That means she values your relationship, otherwise she'd either be talking to someone else, or would just clam up altogether out of paranoia and distrust.

It's really the twin phenomenon to the whiny man-haters (who are also girl-haters, or "female misogynists") who complain about having to do "emotional labor" to support a guy in their social circle. As though it's unpaid therapy, and she gets nothing else out of it from him.

But the reward to the listener is that the person working out their problems is not going to just leave afterward, like the patient of a therapist, who don't see each other outside of their sessions. Rather, they're both involved in each other's lives, so by helping out someone with a problem (even just feeling cruddy during shark week), you're helping to get back a source of support for yourself.

You both depend on each other, so helping the other is also helping yourself. It doesn't require further compensation. But the girl-haters and man-haters (again, the same type of people -- people-haters, misanthropes, etc.) act like it's a burden, and they would need something further.

That's because misanthropes don't actually value social bonds with other people, so helping another person is *not* helping the misanthrope -- who doesn't feel like they ever get anything out of the other person, even when that other person is in a good mood and full of confidence.

All of which is to thank Gura for providing a good role model for the other side, our side. She's a girl-liker and guy-appreciator, not a depressed misanthrope.

Thank you for trusting us and relying on us when you need it -- we'll always be there for you, Goob. :)

* * *

"Emotional tampon" -- that's the phrase the functionally-gay manosphere girl-haters used. Exactly the same as "emotional labor" used by the feminazi whiners. Two sides of the same misanthropic coin.

Imagine thinking you'll ever get a girl to trust you enough to feel comfortable being physical with you, without seeing you be supportive in low-stakes everyday situations like "listening to me go over what's been bugging me lately".

They thought there was a video game cheat code that would allow them to circumvent actually developing a social-emotional bond with a vagina-haver, before getting her into bed. That's what they spent all that time in the manosphere doing -- studying tips, memorizing lists, doing homework. They treated it like it was GorlFAQs.

"Emotional tampon" referred to the suckers who were doing things the hard way, the old way. The ones who didn't have the secret knowledge of what cheat codes to enter into the computer program of the female brain. That knowledge belonged to the geniuses.

Turns out, no, there's no cheat code, and you'll never get laid or have a steady gf or wife (unless you're really hot, which they are not). That's when the real bitterness and girl-hating took off. Back in the 2000s or early 2010s, they were fine to just gripe about women on the internet, if they could enter the cheat code for casual sex each weekend. When the cheat codes didn't work, all that was left was their own bitterness and misanthropy.

The whole "mens rights activists," etc., just the flipside of being a man-hating feminazi. Trying to out-woke or reverse-woke the feminists. Sadge.

* * *

I'll go out on a further limb and say that most guys under 30 or 40 today would be *ecstatic* to be "friend-zoned" by a girl, or several girls at once (ooh la la).

The pejorative sense of getting put in the friend zone is that you stood a decent chance at getting into a bf / gf relationship, or maybe just a fuck-buddy relationship. But like Chris Rock said, you took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up in the Friend Zone -- NOOOOOO!!! Now you're just her Platonic friend.

Back when people actually did have sex with each other, especially in a casual hook-up way, then yes, that would've been a huge failure, and it would've stung bad for awhile. You might never stop regretting that one time you got friend-zoned by your crush, speculating forever in your own mind what you could've done differently to have gotten into the other f-zone with her.

But now that young people have stopped having sex, especially on a frequent basis (not just a one-night stand or two to last all year), the alternative to getting friend-zoned is not becoming fuck buddies. It's not a missed opportunity at casual sex. If you're not in her friend-zone, you're not in her any-zone.

Fewer young people have enduring friendships than ever, some literally don't have a single close friend who they confide in, and who confides back in them. In this new dystopian reality, yesterday's nightmare is today's paradise -- "Wow! A girl actually wants to be close friends with me?!?!?!!!!"

I think the girl streamers sense this shift in what guys are looking for when they interact with girls online. Aside from a minority of coomers (close to zero with the Hololive girls), they're not there in a girl's chat to hit on them, ask for nudes, or otherwise act like the platform is a fuck-buddy finder. The chat and the streamer both know that Tinder etc. already exist for that. And those platforms are already done for, among the majority of guys, since by now it's an open secret that only the really hot guys will get anywhere using them.

Instead, they're there actively seeking out a friend zone! Because the alternative is not the fuck-buddy zone, it's the no-friends-zone, the worst of all.

And as the girl streamers occasionally confess, during a momentary lapse in their self-monitoring (hehe), they appreciate the chat acting as a collective friend group to them as well. The friendship simulator feeling all-too-real goes both ways. :)

September 7, 2022

Moroccan Arabic's distinctiveness: language revolution and imperial ethnogenesis

[Dedicated to the first one to get me hooked on the streamer phenomenon, Pokimane, the retired anti-woke left podcasteress, Leila Mechoui, and my stunning study buddy from discrete math class back in college, Aicha.]

All this investigation of the Spanish Empire has led me to investigate its historical background, namely the Moorish Empire that controlled most of Iberia.

During this, I noticed two very unique things about Moroccan history, which solve a major mystery about Moroccan culture -- namely, the distinctiveness of its dialect of Arabic, which is so different that no other dialect speakers in North Africa or the Arabian Peninsula can understand it, even remotely. See this video where speakers of different dialects try to understand each other, and how much they all get flabbergasted by Moroccan.

Briefly, the Moroccan dialect has eliminated many vowels, so it sounds like an almost endless string of consonants. This process even targeted vowels in stressed syllables -- usually a no-no for vowel reduction -- so that it also caused a major shift in stress. For example, the original Arabic word "BA-lad" (country) saw its stressed vowel disappear, with stress shifted to the formerly 2nd, now only vowel -- "BLED". With so many consonants in a row, they have also syllabified, meaning they're given the same "weight" as a stressed vowel. (This happens somewhat in English, as in "waddle", which is pronounced like "WAD-l", with no vowel in the second syllable, only the "l".)

But don't worry about the specific changes -- the key thing is that, whatever it's due to, Moroccan sounds totally incomprehensible to the speakers of all other Arabic dialects.

The second fact is that Morocco is the only region among Arabic speakers, outside of the Arabian Desert where Arabic and Islam originated, to have spawned a native empire. That is, a large and expanding state, not just a unified state, and not one that was controlled by foreigners. More than that, it was never conquered and absorbed into any other empires of the region, after the initial adoption of the Arabic language and religion of Islam.

Crucially, these processes happened during the same time period, roughly the 7th to 12th centuries. That saw the emergence of the Pre-Hilalian Arabic dialects in the Maghreb, as well as the unification and eventual expansion of a Moroccan state and empire. This is only one case study of a far more general pattern, which I haven't seen covered in historical linguistics, whereby the growth of an empire accompanies a revolutionary rather than merely evolutionary change in the expanding group's language.

The expansion of an empire is powered forward by intense asabiya (large-scale social cohesion, or potential for collective action, borrowing a term from Ibn Khaldun and popularized by Peter Turchin). This follows a period of ethnogenesis -- the creation of a new ethnic identity -- along a meta-ethnic frontier with a very foreign and threatening Other.

The intensity of Moroccan ethnogenesis -- compared to the identities of other Arabic-speaking peoples -- is reflected both in its imperial expansion and in its unique and radical changes to Arabic that render it sui generis among the descendants of Classical Arabic. Both of these processes happened at the same time, in tandem, around the close of the 1st millennium and the early part of the 2nd millennium.

And although its imperial heyday is long gone, and despite not introducing another wave of radical changes to its dialect of Arabic since then, that period of ethnogenesis was strong enough to leave lasting effects right up through the present, such that Moroccans have set themselves apart from every other group of Arabic speakers.

* * *

First, the historical background of the external pressures that forced the people living in what is now Morocco, into developing such an intense sense of Us vs. Them.

Muslims first invaded North Africa, going all the way into Iberia, during the original wave of Arabs out of the Arabian Desert in the 7th and 8th centuries, bringing with them the religion of Islam and the Arabic language. When they invaded Iberia, they may have relied on local Berber soldiers from the Maghreb -- since the far west of the Mediterranean is quite a distance from the Arabian Desert to bring your own people as an army -- but these Berbers were not organized into a highly ethnically conscious collective.

What forces people to cohere into an intense Us is lying on a meta-ethnic frontier with a very foreign and threatening Them. In the case of pre-Muslim Berbers in what is now Morocco, the invaders were Muslim Arabian-based empires from the east, who came along the Mediterranean coastline. Since the coastline is fertile and lowland, this also pit them against the upland Berbers in and around the Atlas Mountain chain.

Why did only the Berbers near the Atlas Mountains cohere into an intense Us, unlike their cousins in the rest of the Maghreb, which is today part of Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and parts of Egypt? First, the former had a lot of mountain people, not only lowland coastal people (both regions have desert people as well). So that makes coastal invaders stand out as more foreign in Morocco.

But perhaps more importantly, the Atlas Berbers faced an additional axis in their meta-ethnic frontier -- the Arab Muslim empire in Iberia to their north, right across the Strait of Gibraltar. That became a mighty center of power during the Caliphate of Cordoba -- it was not some wimpy outpost, nor was it fragmented. The Berbers of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and further east were "only" pressured from the east, and they could escape somewhat to the west, ending up in Morocco. The Atlas Berbers were pressured from the east, but also from the north, and they had nowhere to escape to westward (the Atlantic Ocean). Fleeing into the Sahara Desert to the south is not a long-term viable solution either for any of the Berbers who did not already live there -- too different for either the mountain people or the coastal plains people.

For the Berbers east of the Atlas to feel a secondary front of pressure from the Arab Muslim empires, the Umayyads would have had to control southern France, southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, etc., and bear down on Tunisia and Algeria. Or perhaps Umayyad control over the Balkans, bearing down on Libya and Egypt. But none of that happened, so those Berbers felt only a fraction of the pressure felt by the Berbers right below Iberia. As a result, they developed a looser and weaker sense of being in an Us vs. Them war with the Arab invaders.

* * *

The cohesion of the Atlas Berbers did not happen overnight. They did have enough asabiya to break away from the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, during the Berber Revolt (circa 740), but that did not result in a single strong expanding state of their own. Rather, they fragmented into several smaller states, after their united front against the invading Arabs had achieved its goal of local independence in northwestern Africa.

The Idrisid Dynasty (roughly, the 9th and 10th centuries) managed to unify a decent amount of what is now Morocco, although it was not expanding outside the Atlas Berber region just yet. Its founder was an Arab, but he married the daughter of a Berber ruler, and his descendants who continued the dynasty were therefore heavily Berber as well. Not to mention the bulk of the army was still Berber. At the same time, this began the gradual process of Arabization -- it's just that, unlike other Berber regions, it would take on a unique and distinctly new Moroccan character, rather than simply becoming Arabized.

During the late stage of the Idrisid era, the hypothetical threat of being pinched between both Iberian and further-east African invaders became very real. Both the Caliphate of Cordoba and the Fatimid Caliphate (based in Egypt, although founded by Berbers) were waging a proxy war in Morocco. And the local Berber rulers (from the Zenata tribes) were not a strong entity unto themselves, but switched sides between the two would-be imperial overlords from Iberia and Egypt.

However, the intensity of these external pressures eventually led to the formation of a native Moroccan empire by the middle of the 11th C., which not only unified all of present-day Morocco but extended further south into the western Sahara, spread eastward to the other Maghrebi groups of the Mediterranean coastline, and seized control of the Muslim part of Iberia. The first dynasty to do so was the Almoravids, who were then taken over by the Almohads.

This expansionary phase of the empire lasted a good 200 years, into the middle of the 13th C., after which it entered a declining and collapsing phase, during the Marinid era. They still controlled Morocco, but lost control of Algeria and Tunisia, and their territory in Iberia not only shrunk in size during the Christian Reconquista, but broke off into a separate polity altogether (the Emirate of Granada). During the following Wattasid era (late 15th to mid-16th centuries), the core territory in Morocco contracted even further, with much of their southwestern lands becoming semi-autonomous vassal states, and the key Atlantic ports and area around Gibraltar coming under Iberian control (during their Age of Exploration).

By this point, Moroccan ethnogenesis was complete. The Saadi and Alaouite eras that followed did not launch new expansions, nor did they fundamentally change the language and culture again. They managed to unify Morocco, expel the Iberians (mostly), beat back the Ottoman Empire, and resist colonization by other European empires. Coming under a protectorate of empires on their death-bed, during the early 20th C., is not colonization or being on the losing side of imperialism. Other than there being a vogue for the French language, the French empire did not influence Morocco. (And even that influence may have been indirect, through the use of French among the educated of the nearby Ottoman lands after the Tanzimat reforms of the 19th C. to modernize the empire.)

* * *

Without going through the whole rest of the Arabic-speaking world, I'll simply note that none of it managed to stay outside of foreign control after the initial Arabian Muslim conquests, aside from the Arabian Desert nomads themselves. And none of them launched a native empire of their own, again except for the Arabian Desert nomads (who began expanding in the late 1700s, to eventually become modern Saudi Arabia).

Most recently and extensively, the non-Moroccan Arabic-speakers (except the Arabian nomads) were all invaded and occupied by the Ottomans -- who spoke Turkic languages, and before that, Indo-European languages in the Greek branch. Anatolia was never Saharo-Arabian in language.

Looking just at the other countries of North Africa, before the Ottomans they were absorbed into foreign empires under the Mamluk Sultanate (whose ruling military castes were Turkic and Northwest Caucasian by ethnicity), the Ayyubid Dynasty (relying on those same Mamluk generals, but also headed by leaders of Kurdish or Turkic ethnicity), and the Fatimid Caliphate (ruled by Berbers, who were foreign invaders within Egypt, although not so much outsiders in the rest of North Africa).

All of these empires were centered in Egypt, which makes an excellent strategic base for an empire -- it is fed by crops grown in the fertile Nile area, has trading ports in the Mediterranean, and is protected by deserts on several sides (crucially the Sinai, against invasion from Eurasia). However, a native Egyptian empire has not existed since the end of the 2nd millennium BC, during the New Kingdom of Egypt.

Since then, their history with empire is being ruled over by various foreign ethnic groups. Before the Arabs, it was the Byzantines, before them it was the Romans, before them it was the Greeks, before them it was the Persians, before them it was the Neo-Assyrians, before them it was the Kushites, and before them the Sea Peoples brought about the Bronze Age Collapse of the New Kingdom...

Fittingly, Egypt is the most cosmopolitan region within the Arabic-speaking world today. The works of its culture industry are consumed widely throughout the Arabic-speaking world, and as a result the Egyptian dialect is understood by many speakers of other dialects. This is even easier since the Egyptian dialect does not sound like a totally foreign language to those other dialects' speakers -- in stark contrast to the Moroccan "dialect", which sounds like it comes from Mars.

Overall, Egyptians accepted Arabization far more than other places distant from the Arab homeland of the Arabian Desert. After all, it was just another foreign culture to adapt to after they were conquered by foreigners, a pattern they had been familiar with going back to the 1st millennium BC. Egyptians identify much more strongly as Arabs than do their North African neighbors, especially the Moroccans.

Crucially, this is not because the Egyptian culture that preceded Arabization was already highly similar to Arab culture, as though the changes were minimal and no big deal. Egypt was heavily Christianized when the Arabs invaded -- just like the rest of North Africa, where Christianity was spread during the late Roman and especially the Byzantine eras. So the religion of Islam was quite a radical break. Their subsistence mode was large-scale sedentary agriculture, not nomadic pastoralism, so this was another aspect of the invaders' foreign-ness.

And their language, Coptic, did not belong to the Semitic branch of the Saharo-Arabian family -- it belonged to the Egyptian branch, which was just as independent from Semitic as the Berber branch was. Just because all of them are Saharo-Arabian means little -- imagine telling Romans that the invading Gauls are just friendly "fellow Indo-European speakers", despite speaking a language from the Celtic rather than Italic branch of the family.

This shows that the highly distinctive nature of Moroccan Arabic cannot be explained by a local substrate (Berber) that is notably different from the new language (Semitic), albeit from the same big language family (Saharo-Arabian). If that were true, then Egyptian Arabic should also sound like a totally foreign language to other Arabic speakers, since its original population did not speak a Semitic language but an Egyptian language.

For example, consider the aspirated consonants that were spoken in the Demotic and Coptic stages of Egyptian (in the Nile Delta region, from 650 BC up through the Arab conquest). They could have persisted into Egyptian Arabic, making it sound strange to speakers of other Semitic languages or Arabic dialects, which never had aspirated consonants. But they did not, and it does not sound strange to outsiders.

Why did Egyptians not develop such intense asabiya as the Atlas Berbers did? Because although they were quite different from the Arab Muslim invaders, they did not lie along a meta-ethnic frontier for very long, and only in one dimension (from the east). They were rapidly incorporated into the Arab empires, and then the Berber Fatimid empire, and then the Eurasian Mamluk and Ottoman empires. The differences between Us and Them have to fester for decades, even a century or so, before they bring the Us side together so intensely that we both re-define our ethnic identity as a new people, different from who we used to be, and expand militarily at the expense of our neighbors.

Moroccans *did* have sufficient time for these differences to fester, since they were much farther away from the Arab origin in Arabia, and they had the nearby Atlas Mountains and foothills to hide in, while the Arabs were ruling from the lowland coastline. They also felt the secondary front of pressure from the north in Iberia. All the Egyptians had to protect themselves was the Sinai Desert, which is nothing compared to the Arabian Desert, and so was no problem for the Arabs to cruise right through. And they were sitting ducks, depending on the sedentary agricultural farmland around the Nile River. Nowhere to run to.

This explains why the Egyptians have been more able and eager to adapt to foreigners, and appeal to them internationally (within the Arabic-speaking world, at least), whereas the Moroccans have remained more fiercely independent, both militarily and culturally. Not that Moroccans feel the need to sneer down their noses at other off-shoots of Arabic -- they simply feel no need to make themselves intelligible to speakers of other dialects, and are content to only be understood by their own (comparatively) cohesive in-group.

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On a final note, what about the other Maghrebi dialects -- at least, those other Pre-Hilalian dialects that emerged around the same time as the Moroccan dialects? Without going into it too much, they are between the case of Moroccan and Egyptian, but closer to Moroccan. They are not very intelligible to other Arabic speakers, albeit less severely.

And the reason is clear: they were intermediate between Morocco and Egypt regarding imperial history. They spawned no native empires of their own, but they were occupied by foreigners for less time than Egypt was. Not all of those Egyptian-based empires spanned all the way over to Algeria, let alone for their entire history. And sometimes the foreigners had a difficult time conquering them, and were content to let them administer themselves with only indirect input from the foreigners -- such as Algeria, which was conquered late in the Ottomans' history, and was largely under local control after conquest, compared to places closer to the imperial core, like the Balkans or the Levant.

As a result, other Maghrebi people have a fairly non-Arab identity, emphasizing their Berber roots, and not conforming to other dialects of Arabic in order to be broadly understood. They are just not quite as extreme as the Moroccan case. Tunisians and Algerians may desire somewhat to be understood by the rest of the Arabic-speaking world, but accept their not-so-intelligible status -- whereas Moroccans are blissfully unmoved by the appeal of being understood halfway across the world, and relish in their linguistic independence and isolation.

Proud and secure ethnicities feel like there is no other people who they need to be accepted by -- love us or leave us, we don't mind either way, because we have one another, the greatest group by far in the whole world. Insecure groups have a chip on their shoulder about not fitting in with out-groups, and may become eager to get rid of that feeling by endearing themselves to those others.

See this related post on the evolution of regional dialects within the growth of an empire, where the standard dialect reflects whoever was on the meta-ethnic frontier, whereas non-standard dialects reflect who was further removed from the front lines of the meta-ethnic conflict. E.g., Western dialects being standard in the American Empire, reflecting the frontier with the Indians and Mexicans and the Japanese, while East Coast dialects -- whether Northern or Southern -- are highly non-standard.

The same applies within the Maghreb -- since the Atlas Berbers were on the meta-ethnic frontier the longest and strongest, their variety of Maghrebi Arabic defines the standard for the entire region, whereas Tunisian, Algerian, and Libyan dialects are treated as peripheral members of the region.