Sullivanian mendacity

As if we should have ever doubted it, Andrew Sullivan let his racist freak flag fly again in his column in New York magazine, which seems to be his venue of choice for exposing the tendencies he typically denied before.

Last weekend, a rather seismic op-ed appeared in the New York Times, and it was for a while one of the most popular pieces in the newspaper. It’s by David Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard, who carefully advanced the case that there are genetic variations between subpopulations of humans, that these are caused, as in every other species, by natural selection, and that some of these variations are not entirely superficial and do indeed overlap with our idea of race. This argument should not be so controversial — every species is subject to these variations — and yet it is. For many on the academic and journalistic left, genetics are deemed largely irrelevant when it comes to humans. Our large brains and the societies we have constructed with them, many argue, swamp almost all genetic influences.

Humans, in this view, are the only species on Earth largely unaffected by recent (or ancient) evolution, the only species where, for example, the natural division of labor between male and female has no salience at all, the only species, in fact, where natural variations are almost entirely social constructions, subject to reinvention. We are, in this worldview, alone on the planet, born as blank slates, to be written on solely by culture. All differences between men and women are a function of this social effect; as are all differences between the races. If, in the aggregate, any differences in outcome between groups emerge, it is entirely because of oppression, patriarchy, white supremacy, etc. And it is a matter of great urgency that we use whatever power we have to combat these inequalities.

That last paragraph is jaw-dropping — apparently, he thinks he has accurately described the views of the academic left, of people like me. He has not. This is a collection of willful lies and distortions.

the only species on Earth largely unaffected by recent (or ancient) evolution: I’ve only ever heard this absurd claim from the kind of racist who accuses opponents of “cultural marxism”. It is stupidly false. No one thinks humans have somehow ‘escaped’ evolution.

the natural division of labor between male and female: He gives himself away with that magic word, “natural”. What is that natural division of labor? I’m going to guess it’s whatever the current status quo says it is.

natural variations are almost entirely social constructions: There’s that word, “natural”, again. We know there are genetic variations. They’ve been mapped and catalogued. No one denies them. How they are translated into behavior and culture are largely unknown.

We are, in this worldview, alone on the planet, born as blank slates: Oh, fuck you, Andrew Sullivan. “Blank slate” is another magic phrase from the conservative playbook. Let’s pretend that leftists deny all human nature, when what scientists actually say is that human behavior is complex and plastic and can’t be wedged into the rigid categories that conservatives would like to claim are the only “natural” behaviors.

Whenever someone tells me that anyone who disagrees with their narrow views must be a “blank slater”, all I see is a great big blinking neon sign appearing above their heads that says “WRONG”. If you rely so grossly on mischaracterizing your opponents position, you can be disregarded.

Sullivan provided further evidence for that a little farther down.

I felt a genuine relief reading the op-ed because it was so nuanced and so low-temperature; it reflects precisely my own thoughts on the subject; and it’s hard to smear a Harvard geneticist for being a white supremacist (the usual gambit).

Oh god.

  1. On a matter that is life or death for some people, on a belief that has led to centuries of oppression, that allows the police to get away with murdering people because of their race, Andrew Sullivan thinks that being cool and nuanced is a virtue. There are times when a righteous anger is the only appropriate human response, and this continued casual approval of racism and sexism is one of them.

  2. Yeah, we know, you like the op-ed because it reflects your own fucking racist/sexist views. That is not an endorsement.

  3. Holy shit, seriously? You know that Harvard is an elitist organization that for years was at the forefront of the eugenics movement, right? Just a taste, from a Harvard zoologist:

    In Genetics and Eugenics, Castle explained that race mixing, whether in animals or humans, produced inferior offspring. He believed there were superior and inferior races, and that “racial crossing” benefited neither. “From the viewpoint of a superior race there is nothing to be gained by crossing with an inferior race,” he wrote. “From the viewpoint of the inferior race also the cross is undesirable if the two races live side by side, because each race will despise individuals of mixed race and this will lead to endless friction.”

    It’s damned easy to rightfully accuse a Harvard geneticist of white supremacy (not that I’m saying that of Reich). Since when did being a Harvard professor give you immunity to holding bad ideas?

Andrew Sullivan’s opinions on this matter are pure garbage, badly supported, and full of dishonest misrepresentations. There are qualified responses to Reich’s op-ed — they are made with respect for his actual scientific contributions while pointing out that he has bungled the interpretations of actual scientists who study the genetics of human populations. This statement, signed by a number of scientists, is a good example.

Reich frames his argument by positing a straw man in the form of a purported orthodoxy that claims that “the average genetic differences among people grouped according to today’s racial terms are so trivial when it comes to any meaningful biological traits that those differences can be ignored.” That orthodoxy, he says, “denies the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations” and is “anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations.”

This misrepresents the many scientists and scholars who have demonstrated the scientific flaws of considering “race” a biological category. Their robust body of scholarship recognizes the existence of geographically based genetic variation in our species, but shows that such variation is not consistent with biological definitions of race. Nor does that variation map precisely onto ever changing socially defined racial groups.

Reich critically misunderstands and misrepresents concerns that are central to recent critiques of how biomedical researchers — including Reich — use categories of “race” and “population.”

No wonder Sullivan liked it. Like him, it builds an argument around straw men.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    …there are genetic variations between subpopulations of humans…
    There’s something wrong with this phrase…

  2. leerudolph says

    No one thinks humans have somehow ‘escaped’ evolution.

    In fact, strawmen evolve incredibly rapidly!

  3. doubtthat says

    I know I have no self control, but this is one of those topics that sets me off. I think it’s that a bunch of condescending, ignorant assholes using long-debunked pseudoscience to claim all black people are stupid while complaining about being victimized by people describing them as racist. It’s an even more malicious version of the depressingly common dynamic in this new “skeptic” community where people claim to be deep and thoughtful, just bravely pursuing scientific truth, while vomiting up god-awful horseshit.
    I will say that the post PZ made a while back comparing test scores of Mass. white people with Alabama white people REALLY confuses these goofballs. If you are like me and can’t help arguing with some of these assholes, that article really ties them in knots.

  4. says

    Sullivan was laying low with this stuff, even kind of pretending to have become a closet liberal, while he had his own popular blog. But now he has reverted to form.

  5. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “But now he has reverted to form”

    As predicted, after Sully’s turn away from Iraq war boosterism.

    As a dog returns to his vomit, so will Sully pivot back to his vile RWNJ behavior. Over and over.

  6. whywhywhy says

    I am rather interested in differences between populations of humans whether cultural, environmental, or genetic. However, I do expect the author to explicitly stated how the different populations are defined. Similar to discussions of the existence of God. I want them to begin with a rigorous definition of God (generally, the believer can not or will not provide one). Without these starting points conversations are generally useless and often destructive.

  7. says

    somewhat related I blame Sullivan for the dominance of the set of arguments that make gay dependent on gay people being biologically primed to be gay. Those arguments while effective talking points are profoundly stupid dialectically.

    I really profoundly wish all research into the causes of homosexuality would stop for 300 years at least. It’s so dangerous for gay people.

  8. lotharloo says

    Does Andrew Sullivan have a patreon account? If not, someone should tell him that racism is hot these days and people can make fuckloads of money peddling strawman bullshit arguments that appeal to the white racists, I’m sorry I meant “race realists”.

  9. says

    Our large brains and the societies we have constructed with them, many argue, swamp almost all genetic influences.

    It’s weird that he can say that yet appear not to understand it. It’s like a christian saying “atheists say that the bible appears to be a pile of stories for the credulous” and then resuming “… but obviously it’s all true.”

  10. says

    He should read The Kallikak Family – it’s a eugenics text that was very popular back in the 1900s, showing how a bunch of poor Appalachian whites were genetically doomed to being layabouts, drunks and coal-miners and promiscuous and all kinds of bad things. It had nothing to do with the lack of education, horrible work options, prevalance of alcohol as a means of escaping, lack of medical care*, and the fact that there’s not much chance to “better oneself” when one is a coal miner: it’s just a job you survive, or you don’t. But – by all means – it was because there’s something wrong with eastern European immigrants; they’re not nice white anglo/saxon assholes.

  11. raven says

    Since when did being a Harvard professor give you immunity to holding bad ideas?

    A lot of our recent disastrous wars were planned and carried out from Ivy League universities, including Harvard.

  12. jazzlet says

    If we are looking a nature versus nurture one does have to point out that one significant difference between humans and other animals is how long it takes us to rear our young. Even if we knew nothing about our genetics that lengthy rearing process implies that nurture is hugely important for humans. It’s also of note that as societies have become more complex the age at which we consider our children to be adult has increased. That doesn’t mean we are a bank slate at birth, but it does strongly suggest that for humans nurture plays a huge role and shows that the idea that it could be nature or nurture for us is naive, to put it politely. However these folk who are so fixated on what is ‘natural’ don’t look at that or at the huge variation in nature from ready-to-go from birth (or it’s equivilent) to our extended training of our young, they just pick an organism that helps them forward their agenda and ignore all of the many counter-examples. Talk about cherry picking..

  13. weylguy says

    Interesting usage of “Sullivanian.” I always thought it was a geologic period between the Carbonaceous and Devonian epochs.

  14. blf says

    [“Sullivanian”] was a geologic period between the Carbonaceous and Devonian epochs

    His views might belong to such a long-ago period, perhaps more so when one realises the Devonian period immediately preceded the Carbonaceous; i.e., the “Sullivanian” is imaginary. As is his babblings. For that matter, Doctor Who‘s “Silurians”, supposedly from the Silurian period (and immediately preceding the Devonian) are far more plausible than whichever “Sullivanian” one chooses to mock.

  15. says

    The only undeniable “natural division of labor” I can see is that people who have ovaries and uteruses bear children, and that people who do not don’t. I wonder what others Sullivan claims exist.

  16. says

    You might find David Wootton’s history of Western medicine interesting

    Ooh! Queued!
    Medicine seems to be nothing but a whole lot of experimenting on human subjects for a rather a long time. Still ongoing.

    But it’s still better than Goop!

  17. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Tim Gueguen: “The only undeniable “natural division of labor” I can see is that people who have ovaries and uteruses bear children, and that people who do not don’t.”

    Don’t you oppress me!

  18. thirdmill301 says

    This was thirdmill; I changed computers and can’t get my old password to work for some reason, so I ended up opening a new account.

    I agree that claims that blacks are genetically inferior to whites are both unscientific and stupid. By the same token, it would strike me as extremely unlikely if there were *zero* genetic differences between the races. The fact that an anthropologist can look at a long-dead skull and tell from the bone structure the race of the person it belonged to says there are some genetic variations.

    But the problem is in claiming that any such variations make one race preferable to another. That one race has slightly different bone structure tells us no more about the moral value of individuals than does the fact that men are generally taller than women. OK, there’s a variation. So what?

  19. lotharloo says

    Andrew Sullivan is blatantly in the “black people are stupid” camp.

    To this end, [Ezra Klein] cites the “Flynn effect,” which does indeed show that IQ levels have increased over the years, and are environmentally malleable up to a point. In other words, culture, politics, and economics do matter. But Klein does not address the crucial point that even with increases in IQ across all races over time, the racial gap is still frustratingly persistent, that, past a certain level, IQ measurements have actually begun to fall in many developed nations, and that Flynn himself acknowledges that the effect does not account for other genetic influences on intelligence. Which is to say Klein doesn’t refute Reich’s argument at all. In an email exchange with me, in which I sought clarification, Klein stopped short of denying genetic influences altogether, but argued that, given rising levels of IQ, and given how brutal the history of racism against African-Americans has been, we should nonetheless assume “right now” that genes are irrelevant.

    I guess that’s where I differ.

    At the same time, if we assume genetics play no role, and base our policy prescriptions on something untrue, we are likely to overshoot and over-promise in social policy, and see our rhetoric on race become ever more extreme and divisive.

    It cannot be more clear: He think black people are stupid and we should all accept this and stop with the actions that discriminate against white people.

  20. Zeppelin says

    @thirdmill: As PZ points out, no-one* believes that there is no genetic variation among humans, or that this genetic variation isn’t distributed geographically/by ancestry in some way.

    The problem is that 1. the concept of “race” is pre-scientific and doesn’t actually correlate very well with human genetic diversity (the people Americans lump together as “black” have more genetic diversity among them than the rest of humanity put together, for a start) and 2. separating the effects of genetics from the effects of nurture is practically impossible, because ethnicity/”race” correlates strongly with lifestyle, cultural background, nutrition, and so on. And we can’t systematically experiment with the effects of nurture on human behaviour because, well, ethics, so our data are limited and messy.

    As long as your racial categories are based on superficial traits it is of course easy to figure out someone’s “race” by the shape of their skull. You’re deducing what someone looks like…by looking at them.
    The question is whether those superficial features are particularly salient. We picked those features because they’re conspicuous and readily available — humans are very interested in faces, and the skull is a nice big complicated bone whose precise proportions aren’t under all that much selection pressure, so they vary — not because they’re proven to be the best indicators of genetic makeup.

    Point 2 is why any claim that the variability of behavioural trait X between groups of people is definitely genetic should be viewed with great skepticism. We just don’t know enough yet about either nature or nurture. The null hypothesis should be that the difference is due to nurture, because we do know for a fact that nurture can have huge effects, while the influence of genetics is still unclear.

    *well, probably someone, somewhere, but no-one relevant.

  21. chris61 says

    There are qualified responses to Reich’s op-ed — they are made with respect for his actual scientific contributions while pointing out that he has bungled the interpretations of actual scientists who study the genetics of human populations. This statement, signed by a number of scientists, is a good example.

    If Reich (who is himself an actual scientist who studies the genetics of human populations) has ‘bungled the interpretations of [other] actual scientists who study the genetics of human populations’, the individuals who signed that statement have also bungled their interpretation of what Reich said.

    Sullivan on the other hand may have bungled what everyone said.

  22. says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @21

    Don’t you oppress me!
    <insert transphobic comedy sketch here>

    Can we not? I’d like at least one website I can read where I’m not a punchline.

  23. tacitus says

    What is that natural division of labor? I’m going to guess it’s whatever the current status quo says it is.

    Not quite. You have to remember that Sullivan is a devout Catholic. His view of gender roles is that of the Catholic Church:

    What is the Catholic view of women?
    The Catholic view is that men and women are equal in the sight of God. In marriage, each is to sacrifice himself or herself for the other. They are to build a family together through cooperation with each other and mutual respect.

    There are differences in the roles they naturally play. Women are more natural caregivers for children, and men more naturally work outside the home. Yet women can and do work outside the home and men do act as caregivers for children (changing diapers, feeding babies their bottles, burping them, walking with them when they are crying at night-men do all these things, just as women do). Their roles tend to be focused in one area (caregiving for women and working outside the home for men), but one can fill in for the other whenever needed.

    Where there is an absolute difference in the roles the two sexes can play is in the giving of life. By natural law, only women can give physical life by serving as mothers. By supernatural law, only men can give spiritual life to the faithful by serving as priests. Women have the privilege of being intimately associated in the giving of life through birth, and men have the privilege of being intimately associated in the giving of life through the priesthood.

    And, of course, the Catholic concept of “Natural Law” has very little natural about it.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    Hmm. ..I live in north Sweden, a place populated by super-duper-aryans, but I still find evidence of stupidity on a daily basis.
    I suspect this Sullivan feller is not quite as clever as he thinks he is.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    Giving of life through the priesthood. …of Cthulhu, injecting Shoggoth eggs into peoples’ brains.

  26. thirdmill301 says

    Zeppelin, No. 24, I think we’re basically in agreement, although we approached it from different angles. I would only add two things.

    First, there has been so much inter-breeding among the races over the centuries that I suspect there aren’t that many racial “purebreds” anyway so any discussion of racial differences is probably more theoretical than practically relevant. Between the Mongol hordes sweeping across Europe 800 years ago, the mass migrations that have taken place all over the world, and the slave trade, the mere fact that somebody’s skin is a particular color probably doesn’t provide nearly as much information about one’s pedigree as the “kinists” would have us believe. I’m not aware of any non-Caucasian blood in my veins, but I only know who my ancestors were for the past 100 years or so, so who knows what I might find if I went digging.

    Second, you are right that race is not an exact classification, but it has some limited usefulness for describing physical characteristics. And so long as it’s treated as nothing more than that, there’s no problem; it’s only a problem when people try to turn racial differences into more than they actually are.

  27. screechymonkey says

    According to one of his former interns, Andrew Sullivan has some really deep thoughts on this matter:

    If Andrew Sullivan wants to keep writing his race science shit, it’s worth noting (as an intern of his in 2013): At a private meeting, his entire staff challenged him on it until he asked, exasperated, “well, why didn’t Africa conquer Europe, then?”


  28. says

    @screechymonkey apparently Sullivan forgot that Muslims came pretty close to conquering Europe, and a lot of them came from Africa. To be fair in North America we tend to treat the countries of the north as being Middle Eastern and not African. But if you’re going to write about such things you should really know better.

  29. chrislawson says


    Just to reiterate Zeppelin’s argument: the problem with your initial formulation is the acceptance of “race” as a meaningful genetic term. “Race” in humans is nothing more than genetic pareidolia.

    There *are* identifiable genetic differences between geographical populations, which is why we can use DNA samples to work out people’s ancestry (although most of the commercial services vastly overestimate the accuracy of their results). But all this tells us is that reproductively distant populations tend to accumulate genetic differences over time, a completely mundane prediction of evolutionary theory.

    Racism is the belief that these genetic differences are meaningful and that they cluster in easily identifiable subpopulations of humans.

    So let’s pick this apart…

    (1) Most of these genetic differences are meaningless. Many of the genes that ancestry services use are neutral variations, most commonly SNPs — that is, they often have no impact on phenotype at all. Whatever variation of SNPs a person is carrying, there’s a high probability that the protein synthesised is identical to many other people’s in many different populations.

    (2) There are some meaningful genetic traits found in specific subpopulations, but these don’t match up well with the traditional concept of races.

    Sickle cell trait is most common in sub-Saharan populations and the best explanation is that it confers malaria resistance. (Unfortunately, about a third of people with sickle cell trait will be homozygous and have sickle cell anaemia, which is definitely NOT a good thing.) If you pick up a map that compares distribution of sickle cell trait and malaria (, you can see a very strong correlation in the Western Hemisphere…and you can also see that the clustering of this important gene has nothing to do with traditional racial taxonomies. The trait is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, but it also has strong representation in the Arabian peninsula, the Indian subcontinent, and a small offshoot in Turkey and Greece.

    You’ll see similar distribution effects for other traits like, say, frizzy hair, which is common both in sub-Saharan African populations, and Melanesian populations — on opposite sides of the globe.

    (3) The traditional racial taxonomies don’t even match up with each other. Racism as a biological concept did not exist until the 16th century — and the racial anthropologists could not agree on their structures. We’re not talking about minor disagreements that were later resolved by better evidence, we’re talking wildly incompatible groupings that betray the arbitrariness of their thinking. At one time, being Irish or Polish meant you were a different race to the English, now they’re all “Caucasian” despite being nowhere near the Caucasus. Some example racial taxonomies:

    Bernier, C17: (1) European, North African, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Native American race, (2) East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Central Asian race, (3) Sub-Saharan African race, (4) Lapp race

    Linnaeus, C18: (1) Africanus negreus, (2) Americanus rubenscens, (3) Asiaticus fucus, (4) Europeus albescens, (5) Feral, (6) Monstrosous, (7) Anthropomorpha. These last three aren’t even geographically based, they were just baskets he could use to throw in people who didn’t fit his other categories.

    Blumenbach, C19: (1) Caucasian race, (2) Mongolian race, (3) Ethiopian race, (4) American race, (5) Malay race.

    Agassiz, C19: (1) Arctic race, (2) Western American Temperate race, (3) Eastern American Temperate race, (4) American Tropical race, (5) South American Temperate race, (6) Cape of Good Hope race, (7) Tropical Asiatic race, (8) Temperate Asiatic race, (9) European Temperate race, (10) African zoological race, (11) New Holland race, (12) Pacific race. Note #10 “African zoological race” — ick!

    Huxley, C19: (1) Esquimaux race, (2) American race, (3) Amphinesian race, (4) Negrito race, (4) Australian race, (5) Mongolian race, (6) Negro race, (7) Bushmen race, (8) Mincopies race, (9) Xanthochroi race, (10) Melanochroi race.

    de Gobineau, C19: (1) White race, (2) Black race, (3) Yellow race, (4) Degenerative race

    Summing up, most critics of racism concentrate on rejecting the belief that racial differences cause innate genetic differences in intelligence or behaviour. This is a terrible belief and should be opposed at every opportunity. But it is also true that “race” as a biological concept is an abject scientific failure. It is the product of taking a handful of observable physical traits like skin colour to construct a false categorisation of humans. And now that we can use genetic techniques to really drill down into the evolutionary history of humanity, we can see that there are numerous traits like SNPs that are NOT immediately observable just from looking at someone, and these far more accurate methods show that traditional racial categories have no scientific reliability.

    The fact that so many people, including many self-identified skeptics, still cling to traditional views of race in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence shows just how powerful the concept is for political and self-superiority gains.

    I’ll end with a quote from that Gizmodo story I linked to above. When a DNA test told a geneticist he had American Indian ancestry, which coincided with an old family legend, his response was: “It’s just statistical noise that happens to coincide with this cool story.”

    Sadly, most of the stories based on race are not cool at all.

  30. says

    There has been a tremendous amount of gene-swapping, and – since DNA tests are relatively recent – nobody really knows for sure if their ancestors are who they think they are. Any region that was conquered in a war is almost certain to have the winners’ gene-prints as well as whoever conquered the winners, before, etc. For example, about 8% of Chinese men have descent from Ghengis Khan. Every imperial power, ever, eliminated the “pure blood-lines” of the conquered. By the way, after a few more generations, there will be no more “pure german blood” for the nazis to worship – the Red Army took care of that during the drive to Berlin (if the Romans weren’t good enough).

    People’s construct of “race” is just “appearance” – if you understand population genetics, there is no pure blood. Even closed religious tribes like the Jews are fooling themselves – all it took was a Roman in the woodpile and after a few generations you have a surprising number of mixed offspring.

  31. says

    There are Irish people who are descended from Barbary pirates. After mixing with their neighbors for generations they look just like them. But a racist has a problem identifying anything more than surface appearance – they’d say “that is an Irishman!” Because maybe skin-tone and hair and freckles. Do a DNA analysis and, whups, maybe not.

    My mom went back to the family origin village (her side) in Ireland, to meet up with some relatives. She stopped at a pub to ask directions and the pub-owner referred to mom’s clan as “oh, those Danes.” Well, sure enough the extended family were a bunch of big burly blonds that looked like they had a Viking in the longboat back during the day. But it’s just appearance. We’ve done the population DNA assessment and it tells us that we’re Irish and Scandinavian. So what? I’ve already got that from my dad’s Norwegian ancestors. The point of all of this is that we’re all a mix. Even the “blood and soil” nazis probably have Roman, Hun, and maybe Russian in them. The idea that there is a distinction beyond hair color, skin color, whatever – race is a pre-scientific concept.

  32. militantagnostic says

    But Klein does not address the crucial point that even with increases in IQ across all races over time, the racial gap is still frustratingly persistent,

    Actually it isn’t – that gap has been closing.

    I think one of the best examples if how race is a social construct is the classification of people of mixed race. Being half black like Barack Obama makes someone black not white. Most people would consider Metis to be Indians, but in the high school I went to they were on the “white” side of the dividing line.

  33. says

    “The natural division of labor” is as follows. When a female is about to give birth, she undergoes labor. As for the male, he films.

    (Why, of course, movie-recording-capable smartphones are a product of nature !)

  34. lemurcatta says

    @ #1 chigau

    There is nothing wrong with the idea that there is genetic variation between human subpopulations. That is completely correct (and the whole basis for something like 23 and Me). What Sullivan got wrong was assuming that all this variation is due to selection, or that is meaningfully maps onto social categories like race. Sullivan has obviously never heard of genetic drift, which is super embarrassing when you write an article where you pretend to know something about the validity of scientific claims pertaining to population differences.

  35. chrislawson says


    On top of the errors you’ve noted, Sullivan also mistakenly believes that the traits evolution has selected variably in different races include intelligence and personality.

  36. Pierce R. Butler says

    Sullivan stands as Exhibit A for the case that the Irish shillelaghed their own best brains to mush for countless (by them) centuries.

  37. anbheal says

    @31 screechymonkey — there’s a whole school of classic historian thought that believes if Cleopatra and Marc Antony hadn’t been so busy fucking, and had gotten their ships out of Actium Harbor on time, they’d have easily defeated Octavian (who later became Augustus Caesar), conquered Rome, and dominated the culture of the entire Middle East and southern Europe for centuries.

    If not for their horniness, we’d all be writing in hieroglyphs.

    And of course we Irish believe that if not for whiskey we’d rule the world. Sayyyyy…..Sullivan sounds like an Irish name.