So You Say You Want A Revolution

This is not a post devoted to examining whether a revolution is a good idea, or even if it is a better idea than not having one (which it sometimes is, even when it’s not a good idea.)

Instead it is devoted to examining the illusions about revolution that reign in our society in large part because the Marxists believe them.  And part of the reason they believe them is that it is part of their ur-myth, the idea that at the end of history you find communism, kind of like at the end of the rainbow you find a pot of gold, or more like at the end of times you find the worldwide caliphate.

Anyone doubting that Marxism is a religion need only take a close look at its myths about history and its eschatology.  I grant you some of these are extra-Marx and grown by some of the stranger branches of Marxism (Feminism As She Is Practiced, for instance) but they still tend to feed back and influence the whole.  Part of this, of course, is due to the fact that Marxism in its stranger branches dominates entertainment and that stories you read/watch as fiction if even mildly convincing ones over time get lodged in a place of your brain that says “I lived through this, so it has to be true.)  The other part is that Marxism as practiced in this 21st century of our Lord is a “No Crazy Shall Go Unheard” (as long as they are against Western Civilization) type of ideology. And the reason for that is to be found in their myths.

This mythology pervades everything, and many people who think they’re staunch anti-communists have swallowed all or parts of it, hook, line, sinker and sometimes line and rod too.  (Look at the precious poppet who came over to quote Marxists at us, while under the impression he was anti-Soviet.  If he ever grows a brain, that will be one he’ll look back at ruefully.)

It is very important for us to realize where the myth comes in, what it is, and where it’s influencing our own thought, so that we can fix it.  Or more likely, the way things are going, so we don’t make stupid assumptions about the crash and know what to do when it comes.

Right now the myths of Marxism/Feminism/Anti-Capitalism, most of them unexamined and not explicitly believed in the awake mind, except in college students/professors, go something like this:

In the beginning there was communism.  Society was without form or shape (unless you believe it was a matriarchy, which worshipped the great goddess) except that everyone was equal (which clearly is a violation of all we know in nature and about our closest cousins.  Which is why this is religion) and there was no king, no nobleman, no hierarchy.

What property there was got shared by all alike, so everyone got what they needed.  There was no famine and no need.  (This also does violate everything we know from pre-historic burials.  Again, what is your point?  It’s religion.)

This dovetails very well with the expectations in our mind, because it’s an echo of the Garden of Eden which, in some form, has been a myth in most religions and most civilizations.  Perhaps the need to believe in this “we were once perfect then fell” is inherent in the construction of the human brain.

Perhaps it is a racial memory of acquiring sentience with all its complications or perhaps, more simply, it is “logical” because it reproduces our personal experience.  We were once infants, who got our needs met without work or strife, and then life got complex.

For whatever reason this is one of those myths which while – at least in the Marxist version – patently false, yet occupies a niche called “sounds reasonable” in our brain.

So, in the beginning there was the perfect state, but some people weren’t happy with paradise.  Now, Marxism differs from other religions in that it changes the time when the fall took place from as far back as pre-history to as recently as the Industrial Revolution.  (This amuses me greatly since in any Marxist society, it’s the past that keeps changing.  That was, btw, how I got my first doubts about Marxism – no, I wasn’t born knowing – by realizing that even in the same book, their views of events kept changing.)

The feminists have perhaps the most coherent description of the fall – poisonous, in that it makes them hate half the human race – but coherent.  Men weren’t happy with paradise – their fable goes – because they weren’t on top.  So they displaced the paradise women had wrought with their highly hierarchical and violent society, and that’s why there won’t be paradise again till we can have a world that’s all women.  (In the back of my mind, I always see the women who feel a need to believe this as the very well dressed, shrinking violets of my elementary school years, who shrank in a corner, looking in horror at the little boys chasing each other and fighting.  They never grew up, not fully, and men are violent and mean and have COOOTIES.  – My reaction to the boys’ violent games usually meant I came home with torn dresses and my hair in a mess and mom had a hissy fit, until she gave up and started cutting down my brother’s clothes for me, including the leather knee and elbow patches.)

Then comes the description of the fall that goes that before settling and agriculture we were all healthy wealthy and wise – pardon me, I mean, of course we were all happy communitarians – but then we became sedentary and—

Do I need to tell you it’s poppycock?  I probably do, since right now even serious anthropological journals buy into this.  However, for the record, if that’s true it’s the first time a model that made humans more unhealthy and short lived supplanted a better model.  It is, that is, highly unlikely.  And besides, I’m sort of used to this myth because it’s a projection backwards of the Marxist’s favorite poppycock.

This is where in the middle ages, in an agriculture society, in the communitarian VILLAGE – this is believed by EVERYONE who hasn’t lived in a village – everyone was happy and shared and stuff.  Then came the …. Cue scary music – machines and capitalism, and the disposed farmers (who, in EVERY COUNTRY, not just England, where this did happen to an extent – but only an extent.  I wonder if unbiased research would see this as a reaction to flight to the city, rather than the cause of it – were dispossessed by their evil landlords ENCLOSING the common) who had to go to the city and work in inhumane conditions, upteen hours a day, till they all died, which is why the industrial revolution spread across the world, and…

I got nothing.  I particularly got nothing because for the love of babies, the industrial revolution is still spreading.  I saw part of it in my own childhood, and let me tell you, the only people who think life in the villages was better than in the cities, and that peasants were happier working the fields are people who have never done any agricultural work or lived in a traditional village.

Yes, the conditions in the early factories were horrible.  They were just good enough – and the pay was just good enough – to attract peasants from the fields.  And that’s where it is – they offered what they needed to, to be better than an existence as a peasant – and yes, peasant children worked too, sometimes from toddlerhood.

The reason Marxism embedded this idea of the industrial revolution as being forced on an otherwise ideal system is that he was an ideological descendant of the romantics, that sickly eighteenth century poetic/artistic sect who believed that the past was always better than the future.  You know, they liked tombs and ancient graveyards, adored cottages, and had a highly poetic idea of the Middle Ages.  The best thing they did was collect folk tales.  The worst was, like most intellectuals, drinking their own ink.

Anyway, we can’t even blame him too much, unlike his followers he hadn’t seen the same industrial revolution sweep other countries like India and China.

So… That is the general myth of Marxism’s paradise and fall.  Their myth of redemption centers on the concept of revolution, as crucial to them as the Flight From Egypt is to Judaism, or the Resurrection to Christianity.

The redemption myth of communism goes something like this: one day the oppressed peasants are oppressed beyond endurance, and they rise, and kill all their masters, and then – then, you get back the paradise before the (depending on the branch of the church) men took over/greedy agriculturalists settled/evil capitalists forced workers to move to the city en mass and work in their revolting machines.

Come the revolution – and make no mistake, even in Portugal, when Marxists said “Come the Revolution” they weren’t talking about that thing that happened once a month, but this Ur-revolution that brought back paradise – we shall all share and share alike, and the girls will sing songs as they weave wreaths for mayday… or something.

(It’s hard to evade the suspicions that at the back of all this were Odds gone seriously wrong and dreaming a society where they would be, if not on top, at least accepted.  Since most of us have absolutely no taste for business [some of us had to learn] or unremitting labor, this sort of “like the lilly of the valley” existence sounds appealing.  Few realize it’s also impossible and if it were – Thank G-d I grew up in a village and KNOW – it would be a dreadful existence.)

Because of this, in movie and novel and even in supposedly serious historical work, Marxist myths about revolutions have permeated society and made us believe a bunch of things that just ain’t so.

1-      When society collapses, revolution happens and communism results.  This has never happened.  Not once.  Even in Russia, what happened was the take over of power by people who had placed themselves to take it.  Russia was in chaos and had a weak leader (which I think is what gave them this bright idea) but the takeover happened because the communists were placed to take it.  They were in no way the peasants or the wretched of the Earth, but educated men with the backing of foreign powers.

2-      Revolution happens when conditions become unbearable.  (Or as someone said in comments, when people miss three meals in a row.)  Poppycock.  If this were true, North Korea would have revolted long ago, Zimbabwe would have been up in arms, and …  It’s not true.  As far as we can tell, revolution happens when the middle class gets tired.  Which means there must be a middle class of course.  In France, in England (several times) in the US, in…  Every time someone rises it’s the middle class, who are missing no meals, but who are seeing their lifestyle slip and their kids’ futures diminished.  You do get something – sometimes – when the main populace has missed one meal or so every other day, but what you get is the sporadic, leaderless spasms of Greece right now.

3-       When revolution happens communism results.  This is also not true in almost any case – not even Russia, since the “no true Scotsman” fallacy informs us that wasn’t real communism.  What tends to result is strong man “he rode in on a white horse” government.  In an instance – here (and perhaps in the revolt of the Barons against John Lackland, but I don’t know enough of that time) – it results in a relatively more representative system that sort of works (this excludes France which while relatively – I think – better than the Ancien Regime, has never QUITE worked.)  (Yeah, I know, it’s an awful way to bet.)  What NEVER happens is a return to the communitarian paradise they were sure was once there.  (Probably because as Phil Dick said of sanity [paraphrasing, since I remember only the Portuguese] “It is thinner than the edge on a knife, sharper than a guard dog’s tooth, more elusive than a ghost.  Perhaps it doesn’t exist.  Perhaps it is a ghost.”  In this case, for sure it is a ghost, a mirage, something that only devout people could believe, in defiance of all evidence.)

It’s important to know that these myths about revolutions are wrong, because right now the Marxists are trying to collapse worldwide society in the firm belief that revolution will happen and their paradise will result.

And the rest of us need to stay awake and aware, so we can counter what inevitably results from collapse.

We might not be able to stop the collapse.  It might (MIGHT) even be in our best interests to speed it up.  BUT we must stand ready to take the reigns when it all crashes, and we MUST not let them pick the man 0n the white horse, and shove his “enlightened” rule down our throats.  You know what always results from it (Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao) and we can’t allow it to happen.

Liberty to the extent it has existed (rarely) in history has always rested on the shoulders of a very slim minority.  We’re not any worse placed than our ancestors.  And we must at least try to avert the tide of death and poverty heading for us.

Do it for the children.

UPDATE: I have blogged Human Wave over at Mad Genius Club.

352 responses to “So You Say You Want A Revolution

  1. “I particularly got nothing because for the love of babies, the industrial revolution is still spreading.”

    With this, you’ve nailed precisely why humanity embraces changes to the way we live. I was once asked “what led humanity to start farming”, and answered “so more of their children would survive to adulthood”.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Uh, I believe it was just a saying, such as, “For the love of Mike”, or “For the love of all that’s holy”.

    • There is some evidence that it led to fewer of their babies surviving.

      The thing is, under agriculture, you can have more babies and so have a net population increase, and so resist the hunters and gatherers better.

      • If you want a steadier food supply, then take up farming. If you want fewer contagious diseases, stick with hunting and gathering. You get to deal with parasites and infections no matter what you choose.

      • I’ve read THAT too, Mary, but I’m not sure I believe it. “It is the past that keeps changing.”

        • With agriculture, the human population started growing, fast. If the death rate of children rose, the birth rate must have risen faster.

          • Yep. And people lived longer. One of the things we find in the skeletons of hunter gatherers is the MIND BOGGLING amount of injuries and pain they lived with.

            BTW, it really should be called Hunting Gathering and Raiding. So much for “peaceful” and “communitarian.”

        • I might suggest that humans have a tendency to move into improvements but takes a while to face the all consequences that come with it.

          For example, we have a lovely history with regards to, um, muck, and how we have handled it. The more static our living situation the more of it builds up… The more concentrated our living situation the more of it builds up… So while one group of things improves, like availability of food and clothing, etc., other issues such as sanitation get worse — kind of a three steps forward, two to the back and side.

          • Paging TXRED — CAN you write an history of urban muck? Because I’d love to read it.

            • Well, Martin Melosi had done two magnificent books on the subject – “Sanitary Cities” is the big one (there is an abridged version for those with back or hernia problems), and then “Garbage in the Cities.” Both of them look at the US. I could probably do a short summary on waste, recycling, and rats through the ages, though.

            • Hmm, come to think of it, on Monday I was wishing that someone had written a nice summary history of water pollution or one about garbage and waste disposal. *Looks up at ceiling* I wonder if this is a hint?

              • Probably :) He is NOT subtle.

              • Well I for one might find a well written book on the history waste management interesting.

                Find a way to eliminate sickle cell anemia? Well recent research shows that those who carry this trait are far less likely to become victim of the disease carried by the tsetse fly. We just don’t know enough to be sure we aren’t upsetting an apple cart.

                I guess it would be correct to say that was raised on the religion of ‘man can’ and the vision that someday the best and the brightest will set up that perfect government. I have since concluded that any governmental system man can envision can never be the solution. Or we develop high fructose corn syrup and it makes nice tasting candy, soda and lovely clear pie fillings. I can neither bow at the altar of advancement or of bucolic images of the past. Man is not omniscient.

                So, does this mean I think we should stop trying to make things better? No, I don’t think that, but I do think that we need to understand that there are trade-offs and along with the foreseeable, unexpected things, not all good, will happen after any change.

                I like the vision of the founders. They seemed to understand that, while some government is necessary, it needed to be limited. Unfortunately this requires that sometimes we accept that bad things will happen, instead of pretending that somehow we should be able to prevent it from ever happening. More importantly, we need to understand that not everything is best addressed by or fixed through governmental action.

      • I doubt there was ever a conscious decision to give up hunter/gathering in favor of agriculture. More likely you got settled bands near particularly rich areas of wildlife/fish/oyster beds and they “jest growed”. Several pre-agricultural communities have been identified in the American North-West and Central America. Over time, such communities would figure out horticulture which would develop into agriculture all on its lonesome as gardeners grew bigger plots of barley (so they could make more beer:-).

      • There is also a difference between short and long term effects. Agriculture can support a much denser population, so in the first few generations probably a lot more kids survived. Eventually a new equilibrium was reached, and it got back to the two kids survive to breeding age per woman on average. But by then going back to hunting and gathering would require genocide.

        • Actually, Ori, the survival rate in the Fertile Crescent, where agriculture supposedly began and during the time when it began to take hold, was around 35%. If you had fourteen children, five of them would survive to have children. A LOT of women had fourteen children — or more.

  2. There’s an equal-and-opposite myth from the right that a second civil war would result in the restoration of the Constitution As It Was Intended. The odds of that are extremely unlikely, and THAT is why I’m not particularly on the “let it burn” side.

    • The only way I could see this happening *quickly* is if the government does something so venial that the *military* removes most of them and sets a special election to replace the lot of them.

      Any violence between *citizens* and Homeland Security with their billions of bullets, will be very messy for a very long time.

      • And then what you have to think of is Starship Troopers, better, worse or different?

        • Earning the right to vote with public service? Umm, if being a law abiding, employed citizen isn’t enough, the military is going to have a problem getting food and ammunition.

          Heh. Just requiring ID to vote will be the first step in the right direction.

          • I was thinking military rule…

            • Or the system of Timothy Zahn’s Cobra books, where the Cobra soldiers are given two votes to other citizens’ one vote on their colony worlds?

            • I liked that everyone who voted had to have served. I don’t think it will work though– (military rule). It is too easy to go to strong man or good man– my personal opinion.

              • Cyn, it’s NOT military rule. No serving soldier or sailor is allowed to vote or hold public office. Or do you think it was military rule when Washington was president, since, after all, he’d been a soldier?

                • No, Washington and Eisenhower (both Generals) were out of the military. But, Sarah said military rule and I just said why I don’t agree with military rule. Now former military civilians in government– a big YES.

                  • You forgot Grant.

                    No surprise, Grant as a President was (and is) eminently forgettable.

                    • I stand (well, sit) corrected.

                      Have we missed any other Generals that have served as President?

                      I also find it interesting that they were all Army Generals… no Marine Generals or Navy Admirals. Wonder why.

                    • I’m utterly uninformed on the relative sizes of the branches of the military, so I might be wrong on this, but aren’t there just plain old *more* army generals than marine generals or navy admirals? particularly once you go back a century or three?

                    • The Marines are a very small branch, but there’s not that much difference between the Army and Navy… Army currently has a little over 500,000 people in uniform, whereas the Navy has about 300,000.

                      I couldn’t find numbers specifically on Generals and Admirals, maybe someone else can have better luck?

                      All told, however, 4 Generals out of 44 Presidents is really not a big sample size to work with.

                    • Harrison and Truman come to mind.
                      JFK does not count IMO. Nor Nixon as neither were career or equiv in earlier US history.
                      I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of others.

                    • Carter was also in the Navy (to the Navy’s eternal shame) but didn’t make it to flag rank. He left the service as a Lieutenant (equivalent to a Captain in the Army).

                    • Taylor, Tyler, Polk, even Kennedy and Johnson, plus George H. W. Bush. All served in the military. BTW, Tom, active duty military have the right to vote, and are encouraged to do so. The fact that several states put every roadblock in front of that vote is part of the problem.

                    • I think it should be shameful that the military have a hard time voting. It should be made easier for them than for anyone else. I know that getting an absentee ballot was extremely hard when I was in the military and when we were contracting for the military. If the envelope isn’t stamped and cancelled properly, your vote isn’t counted. It is disgraceful–

                    • State legislatures — especially Republican legislatures, especially in states with Democrat governors — might pass laws guaranteeing that failure to make every reasonable effort to collect and count military votes, with harsh penalties on state officials who fail to comply. Officials ought be required to positively demonstrate ballots are sent to their serving troops in timely manner and special rules for their recognition and counting ought apply.

                      During the 2000 Florida recount they were blocking military ballots for lack of postage cancellation — but military mails do not use regular USPS stamps or delivery ssytems, so no ballot sent through military mails qualifies.

                    • More than one State were blocking ballots for lack of postage cancellation– which as you point out because of the non-stamps in military systems– very few military votes counted. Plus they never told the military members to use other postal systems. It was a deliberate act to not count their votes. I see red when I think about it.

                    • Grant was a pretty good president, although his administration got a bad rap … by pretty much the same people who declare Coolidge, Eisenhower and Reagan failures and JFK one of our greatest presidents.

                      Read up on what US Grant did about Reconstruction; it will increase your level of respect.

                    • See Wikki: List of Presidents by military service. There are too many to copy, and besides it is interesting to see some of it…
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_military_service

                    • To be clear, Tom’s comment was in regard to the society Heinlein laid out in Starship Troopers. Only those who had honorably served were allowed to vote or hold public office, but only after service, not during. Set up that way I’m fairly sure to avoid any taint of military rule. IIRC there was also a provision for public service outside the military: police, fireman, etc.
                      Current efforts to diminish or negate military voting in our society, while reprehensible to the point of obscenity, don’t factor into the discussion.

                  • Yes. What I meant is that I’m fairly sure it would start as military rule. Sorry — it’s snowing and I’m worried about the kid out there till eight thirty, and the brain is skipping.

                    • Hope they are okay–

                    • He came in early — they let them go because we’re getting a royal pounding. but we’re all in and safe. (He’s a good driver, but he’s 18, so…)

                    • Glad to hear. I have been on the road in a blizzard and scared the bejesus out of me. ;-)

                    • Yay! Offspring back in the nest safely! :)

                      I remember learning to drive in a full-size Ford pickup in rural Idaho (the county I was in only had one city, and we were living in it) when I was 14, because Idaho let 14-year-olds drive during daylight hours. Not sure if they still do, tho.

                      I wonder how many heart attacks me and my siblings gave our parents when we were late or driving in the snow…

                    • Idaho County? I believe they only let 14 year olds drive now if their parents file out a ‘hardship’ form (meaning it is a hardship for parents and teen to not allow the teen to drive), not positive on that, the age to get a drivers license here is still 15 however.

                  • If you don’t care what rank, about 3/4ths had military service. Of flag officers, in addition to those mentioned, Harrsion B., Harrison W. H., Arthur, Garfield, Hayes, A. Johnson, Pierce, and Taylor.

                • No — what I meant is that I’m afraid the military will take over. OTOH if there’s one military in the world who would take power and give it back, it’s the US military.

                  But you’re right– Starship troopers was the vets. “And then the vets had had enough. Coming home from a war they weren’t allowed to win–”

                  Paying for citizenship in danger and blood, being willing to lay down your life for the community you wish to have a say in, seems right to me.

                  • Our army had some very good role models. I’m given to understand they still hold Washington is very high regard. Many great generals become king. Washington is great because he *didn’t*.

                  • So you disenfranchise anyone who can’t pass the physical? Yes, I know Heinlein had a “Human Guinea Pig” out, and very, very good prothestics. But we don’t. With my eyesight? Nope. Not a chance. A bad accident, or something that might cost the government too much down the road? Nope. You’ll live and die a second class citizen.

                    This gets so far away from “The government is the administrators we hire to run our country” ideal that I am totally boggled. Just the relative size of the armed forces (Just over 3 million, including civilian employees) vs the number of people in each age cohort (4 million born a year in the US) guarantees that (assuming average 4yrs in service) 80% won’t be _allowed_ to serve.

                    At best a farmer’s strike, and a tax revolt. At worst? Those worthless, second class citzens who make your weapons are going to keep them and show you that you aren’t they only one who know how they work. Oh, and all those misfires you’ve been screaming about? Not an _error_. We calculate you might have enough working ammunition left to recapture a small village.

                    • I suspect this is a typical American response. Despite knowing rule by might was the way things have been done elsewhere just about forever, I can guarantee it won’t last long_here_.

                    • His thing was anyone volunteering for dangerous and or unpleasant jobs could earn the chance to vote… I won’t say it’s the best system, mind you — but it might be better than what we have.

                    • Personally, I think anyone that is paid by the government should not be able to vote.

                      It’s a clear conflict of interest… with a few exceptions (my friend that works for the state of Wyoming being one), they’re going to vote for more government in order to protect their jobs and/or their welfare checks.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I agree to some extent, but I would probably put in an exception for the military, otherwise the fact that they had no say in determining who was going to have the power to give them orders could come back to bite us.

                      A policy like that does, however, solve the “Bread and Circuses” problem, because it also prevents those who are receiving the largesse of the government from voting themselves more. Again, another caveat: anyone receiving unemployment should also be exempted from the rule, as long as they are not receiving it from government work.

                    • I will agree on the military exemption, but not the unemployment. In far too many cases, they have the same conflict of interest that welfare recipients have — they want the benefits to continue.

                      Not to mention that regaining the right to vote would be — for the truly invested citizens, at least — another incentive to get back to work and off the government dole.

                    • And then social workers would get a pass when they argue that dealing with the underclass is unpleasant. Etc. “danger and/or unpleasant” is such a flexible standard.

                    • I think unpleasant in Heinlein’s world was closer to “cruel and unusual” — counting caterpillars by touch was one of those. Or mind numbingly boring tasks like peeling millions of potatoes.

                  • I think the US Military would _only_ step in, in defense of the Constitution. And because of that, they would stay in control an absolute minimum of time.

                    I’m trying to think of a situation that might trigger that. A President and/or Congress that used Homeland Security forces to not step down when defeated in an election? At the request of the Supreme Court because the Congress refused to impeach a President found unqualified for office, by, say, not being a US citizen? When ordered to fire upon a peaceful protest? When handed a list of radio and TV stations to shut down, and who to arrest?

                    And yes, I do realize that I’m clinging desperately to my belief in the trustworthiness of the military. Because, why else would a US President need a home based force as strong as the military?

                  • I once again flash on a more recent novel that addresses the military as an engine of change, or more correctly stability and continuity, John Ringo’s most excellent “The Last Centurion.” For those who have forgotten or never read (and you really should!) a progressive liberal whackjob had somehow gotten herself elected president and was taking the country down the slippery chute to death and destruction. Faced with an election she would not win she declared martial law and called the election off. US soldiers under direction of the JCS kept the polling places open and “escorted” the sitting president to a “place of safety” for her own protection while the newly elected president took office. As I recall from the story all flag officers involved immediately thereafter took retirement and left all public exposure to negate any claims of military coup.

  3. I do not want a revolution. I know it would be a disaster wiping out what freedom is left. I would love it if a group of “right wing lunatics” Started doing selective assassinations,not of political leaders so much despite the good some of those could do. Rather of the shapers of culture Editors, entertainers, “educators”, party movers and shakers. This is unlikely to happen and might be a disaster even if it did. the backlash, and the wrong people being targeted. Besides, there is no group I woud trust to have that kind of power, no more than i trust the power our government is amassing

    • No, an assassination just creates sympathy! (And never let them make you lose your ethics!)

      These people don’t reflect the majority of humanity, and are only in power because they’ve created a system of no other choice. Create more alternative choices, they’ll be abandoned (this is already happening).

      • Create choices? As if they will allow that! I did not say I wanted the above to happen, as I said I would no more trust a group that would do that than any other governmental group. I simply stated that it is the only route I see that might not end in bloody disaster. I expect bloody disaster

        • That’s where the internet comes in. All sorts of ways to get around the /b/i/g/ old entrenched big companies. As with Indie publishing.

          Yeah, the President wants an “Off Switch.” I could even justify that, because of the possiblity of cyber sabotage of power plants, etc.

          But if he ever uses it, there’d better be clear evidence of an attempt. Because this wired in younger generation that supports him? I can’t think of anything more likely to turn them all into rebles than cutting off their electronic umbiblicus.

          • Actually, I ought not say “companies.” You can find the entertainers you want, get educated at a school or college of your choice. And it’s not just on line. You can hire a security company, instead of relying on the police, or DIY. Install better locks, get a couple of big dogs, carry a gun, organize a neighborhood watch, or incorporate and hire your own police force. Those local taxes are federal deductions . . . Movers and Shakers? You won’t believe how people are going to get around them, once they really start trying.

            • Yes. I agree with you, and I think that’s our best chance of survival. We organize better working systems. Again, yeah, the current system will collapse, but if we hurry and work our fingers (and other parts) off we can have parallel systems that just pick up. The RIGHT kind of revolution.

    • I think what most of us would like is a restoration of limited government, as defined by the Constitution. That would require eliminating about 2/3 of the Washington bureaucracy, and 99% of the “leadership”. You’d also have to have a system to keep the thugocracy from returning.

  4. Yes, for the children, because there is no other motivation for us to step out of our comfort zones.

    • This would explain how our current civilization engages in so many practices that are inimical to children* — in the name of “doing it for the children.”

      *provide you own list. I’m exhausted. Warehousing them in industrial creches for indoctrination, just to start.

  5. That is why I began to write HF, long about 2006. I began to have this conviction that bad times were coming, although I didn’t see the exact direction that the s**t-storm was blowing in from, or what it would involve. But I began to believe that we had to know our real history, to know that the democratic ideal under the Constitution was an amazing experiment, and that our American ancestors (real or metaphorical) were decent, striving people, who did the best that they could for their families and their communities. People had to know our real history, not the rancid leavings taught by the politically-correct, which has managed to warp every aspect of our history into something nasty that we had to apologize for, over and over. No – we need our history, and to honor those people who made it. So the best way to teach people that history is to make a ripping good yarn out of it, and try to wean people away from the rancid leavings taught by the Marxists and neo-marxists.

    I don’t want to see it all burn, either – but it might be that we have no choice. From 1 Kings, 19:18, what is becoming one of my talisman verses: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

    • Personally, I’ve started (slowly) a cyberpunk book set not in the typical cyberpunk “corporations control everything” setting, but rather in a “totalitarian government” setting.

      As I said, it’s going slowly, but I have hopes…

      • Corporations control everything, but government controls the corporations. [SEARCHENGINE] “Crony Capitalism” and/or “Gangster Government”

        See also: National Socialism, Fascism, Liberal Fascism

        Timothy P. Carney at The Washington Examiner has been on this beat for quite some time: http://washingtonexaminer.com/author/timothy-p.-carney

        • Perhaps I’ll incorporate that, but in most cyberpunk novels — at least those I’ve read, if anyone has had a different experience I’d like the titles of the books — the corporations are the government. The governments of the world have been reduced to essentially yapping dogs nipping at the heels of the all-powerful corporations.

          • Corporations and Government exist in a symbiotic relationship in the crony capitalism plan. Established corporations supply middle-management personnel to government, government uses its power to protect corporations against upstart technologies and unlicensed competitors.

            It is a club sandwich and pointless to try to separate the meat and the bread.

            • There have been — and are — totalitarian governments without corporations.

              See, for example, North Korea.

              • Yes. RES was talking of crony capitalism which, yes, is where we are.

                • But I am speaking of the fictional worlds of my novel and of the other cyberpunk novels I’ve read.

                  Pick up the average cyberpunk novel, and it’s all “corporations control everything, there’s no government to speak of,” at least in my remembrances (which, I freely admit, could be mistaken… I read so much that sometimes things get muddled).

                  I am using NoKo as an example that a world of totalitarian government without corporations doesn’t require much suspension of disbelief, because there are such nations in the world today, and such have existed for pretty much all of human history… government does predate the corporation, after all.

                  In any event, it seems we’re talking past each other here. I am, I repeat, speaking primarily of fictional worlds in this sub-section of the thread. You’re not. End of story.

                  • Apologies – I was proposing a mechanism for inverting the “corporations uber alles” meme of cyberpunk in order to alert them to the real threat by suggesting the approach taken under the Third Reich, where they got to wear wonderfully kinky clothes.

                    As I do not read cyberpunk and do not anticipate doing so (for largely the reasons you’ve indicated, the form holds no interest for me) my opinions and suggestions are merely those of a (mildly) interested observer.

                    • And it’s possible I’ll take it in that direction, but I do wanna keep the totalitarian government meme intact.

                      I’ve barely got the first chapter started, and I’ve re-written the opening at least twice… so who knows where it’ll go from there.

                      As Sarah can probably testify, it all depends on what my characters do. ;)

                    • There would be a line between a totalitarian state supporting all-powerful corporations (an oligarchic state with limited, corporate representation and central bureaucracy enforcing dictates), and non-interlocking corporations fencing for extended power and control — which is warlordism.
                      An oligarchic corporate state could arise by the various corporations, in all effects owned by the state as in a fascism or owned directly as in a socialist state, becoming so powerful in their own rights to start “wagging the dog”. I personally think this would have happened if, for example, Imperial Japan won or fought to a draw in WWII: but Japan has a long history of the emporer being a puppet to the nobles.
                      Warlordisms tend to be aggregates, and act like cultural, regional, or military interest groups. They pop up where central government is weak or non-existant like in China in the inter-war years, and Lebanon during the civil war, to supply security and conditions to promote prosperity…at least for the ones at the top. Interestingly enough in history, warlords eventually have to stop shelling each other and start making treaties to normalize relationships. I think in Lebanon there was a general agreement in areas not to shell the militia that was running the waterworks. In short they tend to have to gather together as oligarchic-type arrangement to survive in the long-run. And in the longer run they all have to fight against the growth of a central entity that would be strong enough to overpower each individual group: This is one of the reasons for the barons forced the Magna Carta on King John.

                      I think I showed my work.

            • No. It’s like a CRAP sandwich.

        • Barbara (French last name)

          Thanks for the hat tip. Here’s what I just wrote to Mr. Carney:

          Mr. Carney, i usually agree 100%. You do excellent reporting, which ,unfortunately ,the Wapo and other major outlets – either slant progressive or ignore completely. .

          However, perhaps your analysis didn’t go far enough, on your Feb 19 article:

          “A modest pro-family tax policy: Index marginal rate thresholds to family size” @
          http://washingtonexaminer.com/a-modest-pro-family-tax-policy-index-marginal-rate-thresholds-to-family-size/article/2521923

          What you didn’t report is that the USA incentivizes poverty, and the $1,000 tax refund you wrote about is one of incentives for illegal immigration. People think it is a “credit” against what is withheld, but that isn’t true. Families with little W-2 income ALSO get the $1,000 in cash every year for every child. iF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, check with a CPA , or well-trained tax preparer. Also see links below about how some nervy Indiana illegals invent children and collect the cash.

          I lived in Brooklyn for several years in a neighborhood of green card immigrants from 3rd world countries. They had a lot of welfare programs I saw the women use at the grocery store or pharmacy – (EBT cards for free grocieries, Medicaidcard for free medical at hospital/clinic/pharmacy).

          But, if their W-2 wages are low enough, they also could file for the $1,000 per child CASH refund from the IRS every year. Given that a lot of the men sat most of the day in one of the coffee houses, I always wondered how they “supported” their families. I did some research and learned the answer: : they didn’t support their families! You and I are undewriting many of their living expenses outside the official welfare system. How? IRS cash!

          The women used food stamp cards to buy groceries, and Medicaid cards to get free medicine. I SAW THIS DONE ANYTIME I STOOD BEHIND AN IMMIGRANT AT THE CHECK-OUT. There was a Meditteranean bodega around 70th or 71st street. can’t remember exactly – with imported items, too!

          Besides free food, no co-pay medical care, apt subsidies, most families kept the women home with large numbers of children, and unless the men had very good skills and English ability they earned little. So the $1,000 PER CHILD IRS refund was handy to pay for wishes not free in the welfare system, i.e. for a Time-Warner satellite tv service so they could watch the Arabic channels, the language spoken in their homeland and the first language of their children. I know because I lived in a building of Arabic speakers and heard the tv Arabic speakers walking by in the stairwell.

          What the child tax credit does is incentivize fathers to WORK VERY LITTLE. In reality, getting $1,000 in cash from the IRS is used to pay for other items they can’t get free from the welfare system, like satellite tv from a foreign source – (there ARE satellite dishes all over the roofs of my former neighborhood). Go to Brooklyn, Bay Ridge, 5th avenue,the Arabic section above 70th street. Ask a building owner to let you go up on the roof and look for yourself – NEARLY ALL the green-card foreigners have SATELLITE DISHES and drop connecting wire down the side of the building and into their apartments. Al Jazeera, anyone? During Israel’s 2008 60th anniversary the merchants put posters in Arabic in their windows deploring “the disaster”. I asked a shopkeeper and he provided the translation.

          Also, consider the coming “immigration reform”. However it works, if a “legal path” is accomplished and these individuals get a tax-ID or social security number, they can legally start filing to get the IRS to give them $1,000 per child under 18 every year even if they barely earn W-2 wages.

          So cash comes from US taxpayers or borrowing. Don’t forget the EITC cash source. Plus any other extra-legal cash source – ie. bootlegging cigarettes.

          ALSO, check out the news story of Indiana whistle blower. Immigration reform will likely make these same people legal so they get to sponsor their foreign children to come live with them in the USA. US Catholic bishops plus Dem party are pushing for “family reunification after amnesty. If the illegals get bona fide tax-ids after the immigration reform, so they will be legally eligile for $1,000 cash per child, plus most or all of their withholding refunded. Plus cost the Americans to educate the children they sponsor or give birth to – plus affirmative action scholarships in college, etc.

          How long until the amount borrrowed for the deficit is so huge – it’s been $1 trillion plus since obama got elected – the USA is officially “insolvent”.?

          Barbara B.

          http://www.wthr.com/story/17798210/tax-loophole-costs-billions

          http://www.examiner.com/article/nbc-obama-irs-refunds-illegals-4-2-billion-for-kids-mexico

      • I look forward to reading your story, if only because I’m working on a cyberpunk story of my own that dodges the trope of giant, evil corporation badguy. Or at least, I’m trying to dodge it. Unfortunately, one of my recurring story devices is that the big bad makes bad things, which implies a business of some sort (a government-sanctioned monopoly of one, but business nonetheless). Since when has a government actually produced a product themselves anyway? Hitler’s volkswagen? I’m coming up short on how to not make this “Big Bad Corporation and his Government Toady” and I’m coming up short.

        • Yeah, it may be impossible to do it without some sort of corporations, but if they’re hemmed in by a gazillion and one regulations (which is the way we’re quickly going), they’ll be in essence arms of the government…

          • Think about your main character, the level they operate at, and what their _personal_ problem is. A boss, a significant other or total lack thereof, whatever. Give them a problem they _care_ about. Then make the problem deeper, larger and nastier than they’d realized.

            About the only way to not have “Bad Government/Corporation” novel is to keep them in the background. The government, the corporations, are simply the environment, and neither the cause nor the remedy for the main story problem.

            • You mistake me. I want “bad government” but wanna do it — if I can — without “bad corporations.”

              • That is hard to do because in technologically advances societies bad government is generally the hand and bad corporations are the sock. That way government can posture as Tribune Of The People while skinning ans serving mankind via the corporations. Look at the number of Left-wing politicos whose public careers consist of deploring corporations but private occupations reap surprisingly significant riches from corporations. (cough*Elizabeth Warren*cough)

              • Government, and even more so Corporations, are not monoliths. If you display _every_ company as venial, _every_ upper level manager as evil, it will all ring false. I’d recommend a few Big, Bad ones, where you can’t tell if the government is in the companies’ pockets or the other way around. The others, have a hodgepodge, with some CEOs working to get in government’s pocket, or leverage their position and money into a high level appointment. Other CEOs trying to work around rediculous regulations and paperwork and get some work done . . .

                Make it as complex or as sketchy as your story requires, but don’t make it _simple_.

                • I am still thinking of keeping corporations in the background. Not every government official will be corrupt, just like they’re not in our current Obamerica, but enough will be that the overall sense will be of totalitarianism, which is what I want.

        • Since when has a government actually produced a product themselves anyway?

          Very common in the Middle East.

          Example: Egypt’s military is so powerful because they’re the ones who make stuff. Like refrigerators, cars and such “stuff.” Dark Secret Place on KFI has more– check the podcast page, for anything that mentions Egypt, he’ll go off about it.

  6. All that you need to know about revolutions is that nice guys finish last. This is why people didn’t like sitting next to me when I saw Pan’s Labyrinth. I kept screaming at the Captain to shoot Mercedes.

  7. What a depressing post! I do hope you’re wrong, Sarah! (Meanwhile I prepare for the other actuality)
    I think things are getting closer to a massive breakdown. But like with earthquakes, the same conclusion can be achieved by several smaller slippages than with an 8.5 Richter event. Let’s just hope that there are sufficient pressure releases to prevent the massive one. Too many people would die; not always the ones most deserving.

    • The problem with that scenario is that the Leftist Ruling Class has been pushing back with all their might against the smaller slippages. We can’t even get the smallest reduction in the rate of growth through their obstructionism.

      The only thing left is the mega-quake.

      • Perhaps Zelazny pointed the way out in Lord of Light? Create an alternate interpretation of reality that allows a shift away from the path to destruction?

        • That’s one Zelazny I’ve never read… which is unusual because soon after discovering Amber, I went on a major Zelazny kick.

          One more book for the reading list…

          • Oh, my – it is one of the books (along with Creatures of Light and Darkness) which established him as a major novelist. It is probably helped by a familiarity with the Hindu mythology, but lack of such familiarity is no bar to its enjoyment. It is the tale of two revolutions, plus much more. Look it up on Wiki. It would not be far wrong to describe the MC as a variant on the Prometheus and Coyote memes.

            I was rather surprised to stumble upon the first Amber tale as an audiobook, read by author, and learn that the MC voice used was that of a classic hard-boiled detective.

            • Yep, Lord of Light is his best IMO.

              • I did just see Argo.
                Speaking of revolutions.

                • As I said, it’s on the list.

                  My next reading adventure, after I finish the book I am working on, will be to reread what I think is one of the best fantasy series of the last few years… Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera.

                  If you’re not familiar with it, let me give you two facts to whet your appetite…

                  1) The society is based on ancient Rome, not the English/European feudal model.

                  2) Magic, at least in Alera, is ubiquitous — everyone can do at least a little — and is performed via familiar spirits called “furies,” of which there are six types: fire, air, water, earth, metal, and wood. Ordinary people can call one, maybe two types… the aristocracy can call multiple types, some people, like the Emperor and the Imperial line, can call all types.

                  • Butcher wrote that as an exploration of what Pokemon would look like if real. Still a damn good series

                    • I’ve also got the first book of Butcher’s Dresden Files series, but haven’t read it yet… friend and writing mentor Patrick Richardson browbeat me into getting it, but he hasn’t succeeded in browbeating me into reading it yet… (evil laugh)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      IMO the Harry Dresden books are just OK at first but get much better around Book 4.

                      Oh, if you need a wizard, look up Harry Dresden not that Potter kid. [Very Big Grin]

                    • The Dresden books were much, much more to my taste. I will say that the battle scenes in Codex Alera are very well written, however, even if I stopped caring about the MC pretty soon into the series.

                    • I liked the Dresden files better too–

                    • Oh, if you need a wizard, look up Harry Dresden not that Potter kid. [Very Big Grin]

                      Paul, if I need a wizard, I’m looking up Gandalf… and if he’s busy, I’ll find Pug (aka Milamber). ;)

                    • The problem with the Codex Alera series was what I call the “Skylark of Space” problem (there’s an obscure ref). Each book in the series had the main character end up twice as powerful as the one before, so by the end it was getting ridiculous. (In the end of the Skylark series, Doc Smith has the main character “fix” an interstellar war by swapping stars between galaxies …

                    • Skylark obscure??!!!!!!

                      You really know how to make a body feel their age. Young whippersnappers got no respect for tradition, forgetting those who crossed the plains of the galaxy ahed of ‘em, blazing the trail so these punks can go camping in the lesser Magellanic …

                    • You want obscure SF references?

                      E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman.

                      Same thing… but I don’t see our main character in Codex Alera doubling in power every book… his power increases, certainly, but that’s fairly common in series, and I don’t think it’s doubling.

                      And the way that he broke into the nation’s most secure prison — TWICE — was well worth the price of admission. ;)

                    • I can believe Jack Williamson’s Legion books are obscure, I can even believe A. E. van Vogt’s books are these days obscure (although the times seem right to revisit Isher’s shops) but how can Doc Smith’s two great series have been lost?? Just how ignorant are kids these days?

                      Good G-d, I’m almost ready to join Harlan in his rant back when the SyFy channel was SciFi.

                      Geeze, guys, you’re breakin’ mah heart.

                    • Sweetie, these days a lot of kids have never heard of Heinlein, and when I find a fellow Simak lover, I feel like I found a brother…

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Sorry, RES, ol’ Doc died the year after I was born, and I’m pushing 50 in a couple of years (Don’t tell Sarah – he’s my favorite author, even before Heinlein), so it’s not too surprising, since he didn’t seem to inspire the generational following that the other greats did.

                      Boy, did he know how to think big, though.

                    • Never heard of Heinlein?

                      Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor…

                      I can understand not knowing Doc Smith, or even that C. S. Lewis wrote sci-fi and fantasy, but not knowing Heinlein or Asimov, whose books have been made into big-budget movies in recent memory, just boggles what little mind I have left.

                    • Wait, they have? Do you mean real ones, or the in-name-only stuff like the 2004 I, Robot?

                    • I didn’t say they were GOOD movies… ;)

                    • I was amazed when a quick Wiki-check on the Weapon Shops of Isher revealed that the shops are referenced in the Repairman Jack novels.

                  • I liked CodexAlera but I wouldn’t call it one of the best fantasy series myself.

                    • Of course NOT. Other than Pratchett, you MUST read Repairman Jack by F. Paul Wilson. MUST. I should start it all from the beginning again, while I’m thinking about it…

                    • I would. I did. I stand by it.

                      Different strokes…

                    • SARAH! Quit adding books to mu reading pile! :p

                    • Grrr… I gotta find more books to add to YOUR pile, then.

                    • I am CONVICTED in the belief that nobody dies until they get caught up on their reading. I am living until 3000 unless apoplexy over politicians cause brain aneurysm and resets my reading pile to 0.

                    • Well, I’ve got a long list too. There was this one about this diner in Colorado …

                      But also other authors’ books as good or better than Codex Alera(if I’m allowed – if not delete with no regrets): Benedict Jacka, Kate Griffin, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams (Memory Sorrow Thorn series and his latest Dirty Streets of Heaven especially), Elizabeth Moon’s Paksenarrion stuff (which I’ve used to get several young girls interested in fantasy – hey, don’t look at me like that!) … I could go on for quite awhile.

                    • Oh, and if it sounds like I’m slagging Butcher, I’m not. I’ve read every word he’s written.

                    • The problem with Repairman Jack is that he started with the last books in the story, then went back to the beginning, and now he’s writing stories for AFTER the end of the series!

                    • Argh! Patrick Rothfuss! I wish he’d get busy and finish that trilogy, I’ve read the first two and can’t wait to see how it ends!

                    • If you can find it, and it is rarer than rare, F. Paul Wilson wrote a science fiction called _Enemy of the State_, Same universe as _Dydeetown World_, but earlier. Generally the libertarian outer worlds against the central bureacracy of Earth.

                    • Bob, I bet you’d like Mike Resnick’s Santiago.

                      The story is of the search through the galaxy for the Robin Hood-esque character of Santiago… and… well… I won’t say what they find when they find him.

                    • And for obscure (any more), a lot of Randall Garrett’s short stories are available for free at Gutenberg.org.
                      He wrote more than the Lord Darcy stories, and wrote it well.
                      I’m currently working my way through everything in the Science Fiction bookshelf.

  8. Read enough history and you realize that the only “armed and fighting” revolution that did not end up worse, for the majority of the population, was the US Revolution. Assuming you were not in the Carolinas or Georgia, or an American Indian, or a Tory, or in NJ or parts of NY, or holding Continental currency, or . . . OK, maybe the “Glorious Revolution” in England, but that’s not exactly the same.

    • True, however, I think — and fear — that we’re at the point described in my favorite Babylon 5 quote:

      “The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

    • Although the American Revolution isn’t an actual revolution. It was a national war of liberation.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      The American “Revolution” can be said to *not* be a “True” Revolution. The Colonies had basically ruled themselves prior to the Revolution and saw the British Parliament deciding that it could start telling the Colonies what to do (which they hadn’t really done before).

      So after we won (or the British just gave up), we didn’t have to build new political structures within each of the Colonies. The only political structure we had to build was a structure that would allow the newly independent states to work together as a nation. The real bloodiness of most revolutions is “after the victory” when the revolutionaries try to build new political structures.

      As I understand the “Glorious Revolution” in England, it wasn’t a true revolution. Basically Parliament “fired” the King (who didn’t have troops loyal to him) and “hired” a new King.

      • The American Revolution is often referred to as the only revolution of the bourgeoisie in defense of the status quo.

      • The real revolution occurred in the decades before its ratification on the battle field.

        Still, there were definite changes:

        We thought, Sir, that the utmost which the discontented Colonies could do was to disturb authority; we never dreamt they could of themselves supply it—knowing in general what an operose business it is to establish a government absolutely new. But having, for our purposes in this contention, resolved that none but an obedient Assembly should sit, the humors of the people there, finding all passage through the legal channel stopped, with great violence broke out another way. Some provinces have tried their experiment, as we have tried ours; and theirs has succeeded. They have formed a government sufficient for its purposes, without the bustle of a revolution or the formality of an election. Evident necessity and tacit consent have done the business in an instant. So well they have done it, that Lord Dunmore—the account is among the fragments on your table—tells you that the new institution is infinitely better obeyed than the ancient government ever was in its most fortunate periods. Obedience is what makes government, and not the names by which it is called; not the name of Governor, as formerly, or Committee, as at present. This new government has originated directly from the people, and was not transmitted through any of the ordinary artificial media of a positive constitution. It was not a manufacture ready formed, and transmitted to them in that condition from England.

    • Yup. I remember, when I was young, wanting to write a fantasy/SF type story about cool revolutions overthrowing the evil regime – I thought I ought to read about some real ones first, to figure out how they worked. Boy, what a slap in the face that was (though it made me appreciate the U S Constitution a whole lot more) – every “revolution” wound up with a new regime that was as bad as the old one, for the most part.

      • I still remember the panel at an SF convention where one panelist complained that SF writers base their revolutions on the American model, not the French. As if a Reign of Terror was a desideratum.

        Then, this same man has the habit of eulogizing American Communists who supported Stalin through thick and thin and getting on a high horse when anyone describes him as a Stalinist. IIRC, he’s also prone to complaining that people write books about individual heroes, not collectives. (Note: there are definitely leftists who complain about that. I just don’t remember for certain that he’s one, though it’s much in his vein.)

        • Well, then he’ll be happy with Through Fire, which turns the spotlight on the French model…

          Or not.

          • Oh, he was talking through his hat, even then. There have been plenty of French Revolutions, with the characters scurrying about trying to preserve their lives. It just wasn’t what he wanted.

            • Of course it wasn’t. And if I haven’t met him, I’ve met his twin brother… metaphorically speaking.

            • Well, David Weber does even scratch out the serial number on his version of Jacobins in Space … “Rob S. Pierre”

              • Very true… and those of us who have read those remember how that particular coup turned out…

                • Ahhh, yes, but *that’s* not the kind of “French Revolution story” the kind of complainer mentioned above wants. He wants the kind of “French Revolution” that, er, well, didn’t actually happen except in the leftist imagination.

                  • I know.

                    It’s a fairly true-to-reality account of the French Revolution, given that it happens in space instead of on Old Earth.

                    That’s the part he doesn’t like. He wants one where the leftists get everything they ever wanted.

                    The problem is, when that happens, you get something like North Korea.

          • When will we see Through Fire?

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Not soon enough. [Wink]

              • Throws hands up in the air. I AM in the process of editing two novels for you insatiable printophages! Are you happy? Nooooo.

                The due date for Through Fire is August. I’m going to try to deliver in June/July, if the health holds. This will then allow you to start bugging Toni for an earc, right?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  But of course. Us “crazy” bibliophiles want books from our favorite authors long before it’s humanly possible for those authors to deliver the books. [Smile]

                  The only solution is for us to create clones of our favorite authors. Of course, with my luck all of the clones would want to work on the same book. [Wink]

            • Young lady — I’m still in the research phase!

              • Hey, I’ll be satisfied with having 250 authors that write three or four excellent books a year that I can get for under $5. That’s all I want…

                • Get yourself a Kindle and haunt the cheap and free listings.

                  Admittedly, a lot of it, well, let’s say there’s a reason that these people haven’t been published before, but there are definitely some diamonds in the rough in there.

                  The link below has listings — updated daily — of Kindle books available free and for 99 cents, and you can browse by genre.

                  http://kindlenationdaily.com/kindle-nation-daily-free-and-bargain-book-listings/

                • Yes, but I’m five authors…

                  • Waitaminnit… hold the phone…

                    There’s more than one of you? O.o

                    • no. There’s only me of but I’m five authors.

                      Let me see, the daylight ones are Sarah A. Hoyt, Sarah D’Almeida, Elise Hyatt, Sarah Marques and (soon to make a fantasssssstic debut in Romance Elise Silver.

                      Now, think — three to four books each a year, might kill EVEN me.
                      However it worries me, because I now have six series going, and people DO get impatient.

                    • Reminds me of the protagonist in Dayworld with seven different identities, one for each day of the week.

                      Yes, if you can find it (it’s getting really hard to find), pick up a copy. Philip Jose Farmer created a world where people only live one day a week and spend the other six days in suspended animation… except for our protagonist, who is a “daybreaker,” living with a different name, different job, and different family every day of the week.

                • Well, all of my books except the Trilogy-all-in-one are on Kindle and Nook for less than $5, but they are not science fiction. Western, maybe – if you bend down and squint at them sideways. (Frontier adventure, wagon trains, Texas Rangers, war and cows … lots of cows!)

            • I started reading Through Fire today. I’d be reading it right now, but had the chance to get on a computer and catch up on the comments here.

              • Ooops! I meant to say I’m reading A Few Good Men.
                *sigh* My brain slipped a gear, there.

              • Wait, what? You can’t be reading it. I haven’t written it. OTOH if you’ve managed a copy, kindly give it to me. It will save me NO END of trouble. (runs.)

                • It’s slips like this that keep the Time Police busy. Now a field operative will have to make an actual visit, check things out, file a report, and so on, not to mention all the folks back at main office that will need to review the file. It’s no wonder they can’t keep up.

      • I’d guess that’s why empires and kingdoms and such, with a head who has actual near unlimited power are so popular among that type of stories – versions with any other types of governments are very messy and complicated to accomplish, and in real life rarely end well, but if the main aim is to took out a bad king and replace him with a good one, well, just one linchpin, lots simpler, and might actually work pretty well in real life too for a limited time anyway. With lots of luck you might even get a few generations worth of good rule if we presume the family would keep on producing relatively bright heirs who get raised well. Never seems to have, in real life, but one can always pretend.

        • Ah yea– the problem with heirs– they never seem to be as good as the original especially around the third to fourth generation. Plus for some reason certain lines degenerate– for instance the Dane line showed mental and physical disease after hundreds of years. (As you know that this line is related sideways to the old Dane king line). Also the English line did as well. I haven’t studied other lines– but I am sure we could find problems with the European king lines.

          • I meant the new line today is related sideways to the old Dane line– i.e. they went back to a queen who had an affair with the king’s doctor. It is not known for sure, but is suspected that the second child was not a child of the king–

            • There might be a story in that: the best way to save the country and the crown is for the queen to be unfaithful and find a worthy father for the next heir, and then of course conduct the affair in enough secrecy that no rumors mar the succession. :D Has anybody written that yet?

              • :grin: I don’t know

              • We look forward to yours. 0:)

              • POSSIBLY Anne of Austria…

                • But if so did she do it for the good of the country, or was her own pleasure her main motive? The interesting part might be if we had a very patriotic queen who figures the king just isn’t up to it, literally or figuratively, and if she wants to produce a heir who can perhaps actually rule well she should find another father – or she gets into that conspiracy because some worried statesmen talk her into it. :)

                  • I do not think it is the genes that make the man; at least as important is good role modelling by the “father” — who would, in such a case, be the King.

                    Part of the problem is that any princeling would be surrounded by courtiers pursuing their personal interest and not that of the Prince. Finding reliable mentors for princes is critical and very very difficult. See Weber & Ringo’s “Prince Roger” series.

                    • Yep, it would require that the prince is mostly raised by one or some of the conspirators or somebody chosen by them (kings don’t often seem have had that big a part in raising their children, especially when the children are small, so a good and well liked role model from the beginning might very well trump the distant supposed father later). Hahaa, more intrigues… (and when it comes to genes, I’m assuming a king who does have some sort of actual genetic weaknesses, like he can’t sire a child at all or there are some scary examples had by mistresses to scare the patriots).

                    • Weirdly I have that — though it’s also the throw away plot in Friday with the ova Friday is carrying — in The Brave And The Free. Modified. You know “your father was a knife, your mother was a test tube.”

                    • ERB’s The Outlaw of Torn, is the antithesis of this (just to throw another obscure reference in this thread*), a prince sired by a good king, he is kidnapped and raised as an outlaw and brigand. With the plan being to reveal him as the prince (he doesn’t know he is) when or after he is hanged, the plan of course falls apart when the good breeding shows through.

                      *IMHO the best book ERB ever wrote.

                  • We might well, then, be talking Anne of Austria. It is believed by many that she wasn’t exactly Louis’ type.

              • Personally I might write a story in which the fairy godmothers are keeping the kingdoms alive by turning all the brutal conquerors and degenerate princelings into charming folks, and one decides that since it’s getting harder — they keep marrying other royalty, concentrating the problem — she’s going to start taking commoners as godchildren in order to present more candidates.

          • Yes. The first king, the one who seized power (or was given it), is presumably keenly aware of his position and that he needs to stay on his toes in order to keep it, but down the line they get raised within the cocoon of royal privileges, and quite likely with the belief that their position is god given or something along those lines, so much more easy to fall out of touch with reality and either end up coasting on the accomplishments of your ancestors or go for showy stunts instead of actual governing in an effort to prove your worth, or both. And also, if the pool from one which you can choose mates is limited, well… I have never paid that much attention to European royals, but didn’t the families end up all more or less related to each other down the line? All kinds of jokes about marrying your cousins…

            • Wayne Blackburn

              I liked the dodge Doc Smith and Stephen Goldin built into the Empire in the Family D’Alembert series: The Emperor/Empress had to marry a commoner. This kept genetic diversity in the bloodline, and helped the Emperors/Empresses keep themselves grounded.

              • Who knows, that might even work. Although I can imagine all kinds of problems when the time comes he/she starts looking for that spouse, and a good part of the populace starts the mad rush to get noticed and then chosen by any means necessary. Reality TV on steroids, probably.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Well, that was actually written into one of the books – different chose candidates (I don’t remember how) to send to be candidates, and they would have a series of events where all the candidates would get together for the heir to meet them. It was kind of like The Bachelorette (the Emperor’s daughter was reaching the right age), but much less sexy than anything you would see there. And no reality TV aspect, as no media were allowed. No way it would be considered worth publishing today. :-)

              • Requiring the leader to marry a commoner was actually practiced by the Mound Builder (aka Mississippian or Plains Woodlands Complex) peoples of Cahokia and farther south, as best as historians and archaeologists can tell. How well it worked remains unknown.

                • That was an incest taboo: you could not marry into your own clan, and only that clan was noble. You would really need to restrict choices to cause that in other societies. (It was also matrilineal, with the leaders’ heirs being their sisters’ children.)

            • Yes– It has been a problem with my family line because we have had to breed out many problems (hemophilia, mental, and others). I have cousins who have hemophilia– thankfully it missed my line. But we have the genetic trigger for a lot of autoimmune diseases. Plus Queen Victoria married off her daughters to every royal line she could find, which was why there was a sick prince in the Russian Tsar line and the unfortunate case of Rasputin.

    • *considers ancestors*
      A considerable number of American Indians did have a vast improvement on their lifestyle.

      The ones that wanted to stick with the “hunter, gatherer, raider” style were SOL, but I can’t bring myself to consider that a bad thing, since even inside of that culture it’s just turn-around. We’re a really, really big tribe, bad idea to attack, and makes for lots of splash-over.

  9. one day the oppressed peasants are oppressed beyond endurance, and they rise, and kill all their masters, and then – then, you get back the paradise before the (depending on the branch of the church) men took over/greedy agriculturalists settled/evil capitalists forced workers to move to the city en mass and work in their revolting machines.

    Let me see if I see how this works. Come the revolution the oppressed women will rise and kill all the men and boys. Then, within a single generation, all of humanity’s problems will be solved – correct?

    BTW, it is interesting that in modern Marxism industrialization is the fall from grace. In the USSR, it was supposed to be the instrument of grace.

    OTOH, I can see the advantages of a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Almost everybody would be very healthy. They’re the only ones that can survive it ;-) .

    • YES on that last point. YES! And the idiots never think of that.

      As for women, they’ll have artificial insemination, of course. it’s a god thing the only way they’d kill my guys is going THROUGH me, because I don’t like their idea of paradise.

      Also they’d never do it, of course. Somewhere along the line they’d realize that blood is icky and stains. Thus ends the revolution.

      • Their goal is not to not eliminate Man, but to domesticate Him.

        Insert extended Gaspode monologue on the differences between Dog and Wolf with appropriate commentary on something or other.

        • “The Gate to Women’s Country” had that as the explicit goal. The author at least had a nod to the fact that you would have to “domesticate” the women as well.

        • The reason the monument in this article was built was because the men in the classroom had been trained not to be aggressive, even to save classmates’ lives. Which may explain the wyminists’ displeasure with the proposed addition to the park.

          From the “Too Crazy for Fiction” file: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/19/irish-monument-too-phallic-to-share-park-with-montreal-massacre-memorial-opponents-say/

          H/T Blazing Cat Fur’s blog.

          • … the women’s monument, which has vulva shapes engraved in the top of each of the 14 sarcophagi forms,

            Mind boggling. They must be heck to keep clean; perhaps they have somebody poised with a shotgun to prevent pigeons and/or gulls from passing over.

            I recently heard a delightful reference to the DC Washington Monument as a giant middle finger, upraised toward George III.

            Note: prior comment evidenced an edit failure; please amend “Their goal is not to not eliminate Man” to read “Their goal is not to eliminate Man” instead. While I am sure everybody already sussed that was the intended phrasing, I wish to take no chances.

            • Trying to commerate any dead woman in my family with vulvas would be taking your life into your hands. Isn’t being dead enough? Do you have to smear obsencity over them to?

              • Exactly– once again I do not wish to be remembered for having a vulva–GEEZ don’t I have other achievements besides being a support system for genitals.

              • But, but, but… “vagina” is the highest argument you can make. (They actually do yell this at people, in the belief we’ll shrink and die. Sorry, but I’m not a finger, or an arm, and I’m not my vulva. I’m not even — just — my brain. And they are idiots.)

      • There’s a book entitled “Against the Grain” that claims that the domestication of small grains (wheat, barley) was the Fall from Grace. It’s a quite readable history of agriculture, if you can get past the bolognium of the author’s hypothesis. Even the Ag History and Environmental History journals thought it was, well, “a good effort” I believe is the kind phrase. The author never does quite get around to explaining how we can support the current global population without farming.

    • Ori, depending on which branch of environmentalism you look at, agriculture was the Fall, or western civilization and the scientific revolutions were to blame, or capitalism did it. And the goal is either to get back to late 19th Century ways of farming, or Medieval, or hunter-gatherer living. Which will make us one with Nature (probably because we will all have died of disease and/or starvation, but anyway.)

      And Nature, nature, and the environment are not the same. Which might perhaps be worth a little guest post, if any other Odds and mine gracious hostess are interested.

  10. Your comment on the Feminist paradise myth reminded me of this story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1168182/Catfights-handbags-tears-toilets-When-producer-launched-women-TV-company-thought-shed-kissed-goodbye-conflict-.html#axzz2JnJc2ehm
    I don’t remember where I first encountered it (possibly here), but it’s worth bookmarking IMO.

  11. I’m not sure Communists really believe a classless society is an equal society or a pacifist society. What they seem to hate is class (you are a businessman and I’m not. You are a doctor and I’m not.). Position held by violence within a more primitive, homogenous group seems to be fine with them. They love organized violence but hate the military for instance.

    It seems to be more about envy than paradise.

  12. Yes to all of this ^_^

    It’s hard to evade the suspicions that at the back of all this were Odds gone seriously wrong and dreaming a society where they would be, if not on top, at least accepted

    What suspicion? This is absolutely correct, and they want to be on top, all right. They’re the elite, in their minds, they KNOW better than the rest of humanity, and they’re going to do all this for our own good – even if it means, say, the death of millions, as Bill Ayres said.

  13. Don’t know if you’ve read it and rather doubt you have, but I had this to say on revolution in that well known high school text, Historia y Filosofia Moral by Dr. and Mrs. Mendoza:

    Political revolutions fail. It is in their nature. That is to say, a revolution, any revolution, will tend to fail unless it isn’t really a revolution at all, but a recognition of a pre-existing fact. To actually change anything profoundly, quickly, and lastingly is simply too hard.

    This does not mean, of course, that the revolutionaries will fail. They may, indeed, take power. They very often manage to do quite well for themselves. Very often, indeed, they manage to do pretty well by their great-great-grandchildren. And yet still the revolution itself will have failed.

    Between Old Earth and New, we have seen dozens of failed revolutions: France, 1789 AD, got rid of its king and nobility well enough…and had an emperor and a new nobility within fifteen years. No Marxist revolution, whether Leninist or Tsarist, has managed to last more than about seventy-five Old Earth years. How many peoples of once-colonized states have awakened a few years after their revolutions wishing the colonialists were back? Even here in Balboa, Belisario Carrera’s revolution, in the early days, got rid of the Old Earthers, but morphed into a corrupt oligarchy of our own within a couple of generations.

    And the successes? One can count them on the fingers of one hand. And in each case, be it the plebes seceding from the patricians in ancient Rome, the Athenian demes demanding power in return for their service in the fleet, or the American colonists, two factors stand clear: Those revolutions were limited in what they sought to achieve, and they recognized an already established state of facts. Thus, even these examples beg the question of whether they were revolutions at all in anything but name.

    best,

    Tom

    • Well said, Tom.

    • Thanks, Tom. You’ve endorsed my own belief that most revolutions fail because Culture is highly resistant to change, and unless the Culture is changed all you’ve changed is who is driving the barge.

      One reason the Revolutionary successors are often worse than the governing class ante is that the predecessors typically had some form of moderating principle, such as noblesse oblige which, however ignored in paractice, limited their abuses if only by requiring a veneer (hypocrisy is yet the tribute paid to virtue by vice.) The successors not only lack that moderating ethos, they feel justified in exercising in vengeance the powers which their predecessors were embarrassed to employ. They commonly act in the ways they imagined the previous rulers behaved.

  14. I think we’re all whistling past the graveyard. Revolutions begin with ideas. The biggest idea in five hundred years was expressed in our Declaration of Independence, and codified in the Constitution. There has been a battle since at LEAST George Washington’s second inauguration to destroy the Constitution by the “landed gentry”. Marxism/socialism/anyism is just a way to organize the troops and gull the gullible. As Thomas Jefferson said(paraphrased), liberty requires eternal vigilance. The current group thought they had the chance with Barrack Obama’s election to take over. Several things derailed that attempt, ranging from the arousal of the “silent majority” in the TEA Party, the potential of fracking to free the US from its dependence on foreign oil, and advances in both communication technology and other areas that break the grip of the former gatekeepers. Right now, the left is desperate. They know that if they don’t seize power now, it may be ten generations before they have another chance. If they don’t have absolute power by 2016, they will be out of power, period. It doesn’t matter who takes over from them, the power of Washington itself will be broken. Here are three reasons why:
    1) This government will be broke. There’s a very good possibility that it will be broke long before 2016. The biggest consequence has already happened — it can’t borrow any more money. Bernanke has to buy 90% of the government debt in the form of T-bills, because no one else will. Other government entities buy the rest. Real inflation is close to 10% per year, with no end in sight. Unless things change, the dollar will be worth about 25 cents in less than five years. 2) “What can’t go on forever, won’t.” The housing bubble has already burst. The next two bubbles will be the higher education bubble and the retirement bubble. Both will probably totally collapse, leaving the government holding 75+ TRILLION in additional debt it can’t repay. The interest on the national debt is approaching a trillion dollars a year. 3) The economy is growing at less than 2% per year. Real unemployment is about 15%. Yet the government is DOUBLING the amount of regulation (and the cost for compliance) every other year. Pretty soon, the only thing corporations will be able to do is to satisfy the government’s demand for “reports” — business production will virtually cease. There will arise a black/”gray” market for everything, and because of technology, just about anything will be available for the right price. What that price is will depend on what the purchaser can afford to offer.

    There are about a dozen other things that I could add to this list, but I don’t want to take up ALL of Sarah’s bandwidth. Let’s just say that it would be a good idea to stockpile barter goods. The biggest problem will be choosing the RIGHT barter goods, so we’re not stuck with a ton of stuff no one wants.

  15. Land, if you can keep it, may be a good way to preserve savings. For barter? Coffee, chocolate, tobacco, and the most common ammo types.

    • Ammo is especially good for barter, one way or another.

      The wherewithal for manufacturing ammo, OTOH, is something you probably want to hold on to.

    • Today, ammo is in very short supply. As are the more common primers for reloading. Even something as ubiquitous as .22 rimfire is difficult to find on the shelves.

    • Knowing how to brew and distill alcohol, make cheese, sew and knit clothing. Fix mechanical things – medical knowlege will be a plus in a pinch. Medical supplies, especially antibiotics. I told one of the managers of the local brewing supply place that in the event of a breakdown in social order, that place was the first that I’d come to loot. He told me he’d leave the door open for me …

      • I can rehabilitate furniture and, in a pinch, make clothing.

        • I have some furniture that just sits in front of the TV all day, and some sitting at the computer; both could use rehabilitation.

          But I don’t like my clothing to pinch, and never did, even when I was as slim as Obama’s chances of reviving the nation’s economy.

            • Throw pottery–make it, not break it, you louts! Have electric _and_ kick wheel, big kiln and have done some bonfire work. Breed, raise and train horses–although I’m getting a bit old and fat to do the riding part of training, myself. However, fancy horse feed may disappear, if grain harvests fall, or the price just gets unsupportable. So hardy, smaller, livestock might be more sensible.

              • I tried to throw pottery and it was misshapen and ugly. ;-) Would have made a great ashtray though.

                • same here. My triumph was *barely* managing to make something halfway resembling a cup – the rest of it was very shallow bowls and a plate or two. *Loved* the glazes though. You slap this weird, bland looking stuff on there, and it comes out royal blue. or green. or a goldy-caramel. Struck awe in me, that did. Here, slap some wet mud around around and drizzle this strange paint-stuff on it. And out comes something completely different.

                  • I like the glazes too… I am impressed with people who can do those types of crafts.

                  • I made a stem cup with a serpent wrapped around the stem. I was 12 and going through a greco-roman phase.

                    • I think we have one of the better craft libraries in the state, along with quite a few other subjects. We also have three sets of out-of-date encyclopedias (so some of them have real information, instead of gray goop), and a set of Readers’ Digest books that’s 92% complete. Jean and I both knit and crochet, although I’m a bit rusty, Jean is a lacemaker as well as being quite good on a sewing machine (we also have a treadle, in case of a major power outage), I can do some woodworking (mostly lathe work), and I know a TON of crap. What I need now is a rifle, a pistol (preferably a .38 or .45), and a house on 40+ acres with a wood-burning stove. A mule would be nice, so I can be reminded why I hate the government so much…

                    • With 40 acres you also need a backhoe in case the government comes calling

                    • Name the mule “Democrat.” :D

                • *laughs* I never even got to try with pottery– but I’m very good at figuring out how to make reusable forms for pouring stuff.

        • Do you also walk dogs?

          • um… yeah. I can’t shoot for sh*t but I’m lethal with everything else, including but not limited to high heels and German dictionaries.

            And I have this fund of unreasonable anger JUST waiting to be released.

            • I can fix that. The shooting part. Not the anger.

            • Actually, I would believe everyone who reads this blog has some artistic or crafty talents. Certainly many of us have technical skills. The one thing the left has failed to realize. Those of us who have great technical ability are almost universally realists. As far as deadly goes? Few of us are all that deadly, and those who are seldom brag about it. Being a really good killer has never been something t make you welcome at the table unless a killer is needed. Once that time is past they tend to be avoided, they make people nervous

              • LOL. Never killed anyone. (Thank G-d. At least, probably not.) But I’m okay at defense…

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Those of us who have great technical ability are almost universally realists.

                Except in the damn computer science area. A TON of my coworkers are dyed-in-the-wool Lefties. I think maybe it’s because computers are not subject to irrational thinking, they think people aren’t either, so they make the mistake of thinking of people as being similar to machines. No matter how many times they are proved wrong.

              • I suspect odds have a disproportionate number of Carrot (and Dark Carrot) type killers. As Terry Pratchett pointed out– if you’re staring down a weapon, pray it’s held by a bad man. He’ll enjoy the power. A good man will just kill you, or he wouldn’t have pulled it in the first place.
                (“Dark Carrot”2 does the same, but decided you needed to die for the wrong sort of reasons.)

                I’m quite sure I could kill if I had to, it’s simply the logical extreme of being willing to hurt folks. I hate causing pain– even on the level of giving calves a shot, for heaven’s sake– but I will if I must.

                • Still leaves it a small number. Until you have to you don’t know, many people think they are hard, til they come face toface with it

                  • Yes. I’m not sure I could kill. Depending on how furious I am, I know I could HURT and badly because I’ve HAD to do it.

                    OTOH as with the berserker, where I might attack or freeze and don’t seem to know which I’m going to do till it hits, so with how I’d react in that situation. There is a curtain on the way, and on the other side I’m someone else.

                    • Yep– I have done things when that other was in control that scare even me. It is usually when I perceive a threat before the brain gives the signal. During those times I have perfect aim, hitting, strength, etc. If you knew me in person, I have astigmatism, and don’t have very good balance. The other side of me doesn’t and has quick reflexes. I have wondered sometimes if there are two people in a berserker– just a thought. Might make a good story though. ;-)

                    • That means you are a normal human, too many people confuse the ability to cause some hurt with the ability to kill, most of us don’t have that normally. Most military training is really geared toward overcoming that reluctance. It usually isn’t really successful

                  • It takes some training to actually kill imho. We grow up with the “thou shalt not kill” from church. I guess, that is not the case anymore, but it was when I was a girl. I have never killed a person. I can’t say the same for chickens — or vermin. When my body thinks it is in danger, it reacts before my brain goes in gear. I think if I had to kill someone, it would be then. I really hope not though.

                  • ….if you think about it, the cliche about “you don’t know if you can until you do” is about as useful as saying “the sun rises at dawn.” It’s just a rephrasing of “things don’t happen until they happen.”

                    Having previously killed someone is also no assurance that you will be able to do it again, in the same situation– let alone different ones.

                    You don’t know anything is possible until it is done, but you can look at other situations for indication; if you tend to freeze when in a merely maiming situation, you’re likely to do so for deadly situations. If you react decisively when faced by larger, more dangerous opponents, it is likely to scale up.

                    The illusion that most people “can’t” kill is based on the unusual situation we live in where most folks haven’t been tested. You never hear about the folks who didn’t respond like a victim to the test-runs, only the folks who were mis-read as a good victim and turned out not to be. (Often, not even that if they’ve got something unapproved, like a concealed carry.)

              • What it takes is the correct attitude and a fully thought out understanding of the world, what evil people are capable of, and the willingness to do what it takes to survive.

                For the ladies:
                http://www.corneredcat.com/

                • Bingo.

                  If you’ve dealt with Actual Bad Situation Sub 1, you have an idea what you’d do in Actual Bad Situation Sub 2.

                  Mentally preparing yourself is a good step– ironically, the Catholic theology point of not trying to kill them but rather doing whatever it takes to stop them was a big help. Removes the magical dividing line in your head that maiming someone is totally different from killing them. (People can always be their own worst enemy, though.)

                  It’s always nice when you think there’s a Situation, and you have a weapon and are up a flight and a half of stairs before your brain puts everything together. Hopeful sign.
                  (Possible home invader was actually the neighbor going in her upstairs window next apartment over.)

      • I can knit, crochet, quilt, cook over a fire (although that has been a long time ago), minor first aid including butterfly bandages (my brothers were always getting hurt), make clothing (although that was a long time ago), embroider, wash clothes by hand, and so forth. I would rather not though ;-).

      • Liquor and cigarettes store longer than chocolate and coffe, and you can use liquor to sterilize drinking water.
        Those that don’t have better things to do with it, that is.

        • Green coffee beans, and the knowledge how to roast them. Green beans store longer.

          • I was told once to use a pop-corn maker. The hand held one, I think. I’m not sure you could judge done-ness (crack) with an air popper, though.

            And canning is a very useful skill. Acid fruits and jams are fun and easy as making stew.

            • http://www.rantsila.fi/zenphoto/cache/Keitti%C3%B6n%20esineist%C3%B6%C3%A4/0808_595.jpg

              I own one similar to that picture. Unfortunately mine is equally badly rusted so I have never tried roasting beans in it. They were in common use here once, back when people used wood stoves. I suppose judging when the beans are ready depends on things like what kind of noise you hear and what you smell. Considering what those old ones Iook like I suppose something like a cooking pot with lid made of cast iron should work (cast iron lid would be probably be heavy enough to stay in place), and then you just have to learn the roasting part by trial and error.

              • I’ve seen those, but they are rare antiques around here ( we went all electric in the 20s-30s so all that sort of stuff was turned in for the scrap metal drives).
                I’ve never roasted beans. What I know comes from reading posts on a cooking forum. I’m sure some of it was right….had to be.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                There was a long thread on roasting coffee beans a few years ago on a blog I used to read, and the consensus seemed to be that roasting beans in a cast iron skillet would result in a more complex flavor profile, due to the roasting not being uniform. A couple people there swore by that method.

                • I have read similar opinions. Anyway, if things start to look unpleasant enough that hoarding some luxury items seems like a good idea those green coffee beans might not be a bad alternative, if you live someplace where you can get them easily now. Only it might be best to learn that roasting part while they are still easy to get, my guess is that may take a while and if coffee becomes valuable you would not want to waste any in the learning process. Might be fun too, at least I like playing with culinary experiments. :) Although this might be one which will require that I take the battery out of the fire alarm. I think you should keep on shaking the beans pretty much the whole time if you use something like a skillet (at least that’s the way it was done with those old roasters) and since I have a tendency to burn popcorn…

    • I can tend children, cook and clean. I don’t know how useful those will be though.

    • I’m a software guy by trade, but I figure that’s no good if the end of the world as we know it actually blows us into the stone age. Hence I’ve been training myself on the hardware as well. (software’s no good if you’ve got nothing to run it on)

      I know it’s likely not as popular as most of the survival trades out there, but I could probably be a hit with whomever the new Aristos are, digging up and peddling them their e-Opiates. Other than that, I’m sure someone on this board could use a body for menial labor. I’m no stranger to long hours and early rising.

      • It will never be the stone age. Or the middle ages. Or even the 19th century. Oh, some isolated regions sure. In others what you’ll get is high annoyance and a tendency to buy a wanted item just off the shelves every time it shows up.

        • In others what you’ll get is high annoyance and a tendency to buy a wanted item just off the shelves every time it shows up.

          And you can see your local firearms or ammunition selling establishment for a peek into that future.

      • To heck with the Aristos– think of all the knowledge that’s currently in E-form. Being able to access that would be priceless.

  16. A band that was dear to my youth and whom I can almost forgive for sending their portion of my payment for their recordings to fund IRA terrorism.

    Thanks to your link I was able to find one of my favourite songs of theirs, William Bloat, although I swear that in the version originally recorded the razor blade was German made.

  17. Then comes the description of the fall that goes that before settling and agriculture we were all healthy wealthy and wise – pardon me, I mean, of course we were all happy communitarians – but then we became sedentary and—

    Do I need to tell you it’s poppycock? I probably do, since right now even serious anthropological journals buy into this. However, for the record, if that’s true it’s the first time a model that made humans more unhealthy and short lived supplanted a better model. It is, that is, highly unlikely.

    I can actually kind of justify this. KIND OF.

    Who gets burred if you don’t stay in one place and most of the folks who die do so by predator? The leaders, or the folks who were back at camp.
    Who gets a grave when you don’t have to work like a dog just to get some shelter and catch dinner? Everybody– from the accident-prone and the never-that-healthy to the healthiest elder of the group.

    Outside of it: sure sounds like the fluffy-survivalists that picture The World Ending and they come out on top. One of the advantages of farming is that you can do it with a small family group, and once the broad strokes are down each person can do their own thing or very small groups can do it.

    With hunting-gathering, everybody has to be on the same page, all the time. Sure, you can go out rabbit hunting, but you don’t want to be at cross purposes with the other guys who are also after small game, and the gals who are gathering need to not spook any of the game at all. I’ve picked with folks who don’t pay attention to what’s already been gone over in planted berry bushes– wild, it’d be far worse.

    And, when you’re going solo, in an area that’s good for hunting/gathering… the predators have no dang good reason to fear you. Farmers can “train” the large predators that all humans are dangerous by hunting them down when they’re not doing ag; hunters have to keep going to new areas so the animal supply stays up, which means the predator supply is fresh, too.

  18. “Anyone doubting that Marxism is a religion need only take a close look at its myths about history and its eschatology. ”

    What I notice was the mid-twentieth century was the turn to “early Marx” — that is his earlier writings — to patch up the problems. No, you don’t do scientific materialism and go on to elaborate on the basis of new research, you return to the sacred texts and strain your exegesis. . . .

  19. A revolution is just a change from something to something else.

    When we apply this to society we mean one of two things; either a gradual change/shift in our understanding or way of doing something, or a sudden often forceful change of political systems of how we govern ourselves.

    Addressing political systems, they are systems and function as such. There a really good book on Systemic Thinking methodology and how to apply it to organizations, of which governments falls under, it is “The Fifth Disipline” by Peter Senge.

    The 11 laws of Fifth Discipline

    1. Today’s problems come from yesterday’s “solutions.”
    2. The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.
    3. Behavior grows better before it grows worse.
    4. The easy way out usually leads back in.
    5. The cure can be worse than the disease.
    6. Faster is slower.
    7. Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space.
    8. Small changes can produce big results…but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious.
    9. You can have your cake and eat it too —but not all at once.
    10. Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants.
    11. There is no blame.

    And what you call Myths are to me just justifications people come up with to do what they want to do.

    This is my frame of reference.

    Then comes the description of the fall that goes that before settling and agriculture we were all healthy wealthy and wise – pardon me, I mean, of course we were all happy communitarians – but then we became sedentary and—

    Do I need to tell you it’s poppycock?  I probably do, since right now even serious anthropological journals buy into this.  However, for the record, if that’s true it’s the first time a model that made humans more unhealthy and short lived supplanted a better model.  It is, that is, highly unlikely.  And besides, I’m sort of used to this myth because it’s a projection backwards of the Marxist’s favorite poppycock.

    This confused me for a bit.

    I think it is caused by conflating the two understandings of revolution. We in a sense are talking about the agricultural revolution. The gradual moving from a hunter gather to an agricultural base for how we organize are groups. 

    This is the part that confused me, “However, for the record, if that’s true it’s the first time a model that made humans more unhealthy and short lived supplanted a better model.”

    Why it confused me is that there are lots of examples of inferior systems suplanting arguable superior ones. It confused fused me because of my own bias. If I think capitalism is beter than socialism and socialism takes over wouldn’t that be an example of an inferior system supplanting a supirior one.

    I need to take bias out of the equation:

    First off, there are three types of systems.

    1. Self-renforcing. These are systems that grow to the point of collapse. Often referred to as feed back loops.
    2. Degrading. Those that don’t have enough energy, or what ever, to keep them going.
    3.Self-sustaning. These are balanced systems that regulate growth and deterioration.

    (Note: To me any system that is not self-sustaning is not working. This got me into trouble in a previos post.)

    Second, taking Law # 7 into account we might not notice or associate the negative withe the cause.

    Third, the two systems, hunter-gather & Agriculural, are just different, and both have there advantages and drawbacks. Depending on ones point of view or perception determines if one feels one is better than the other.

    Hunter-gathers groups have to stay small and on the move. You don’t want to deplete the resource in an area, and if you do, you are forced to move to move on anyway. No real specialization, just those who hunt, gather and take care of/teach the young.
    Agriculture has it’s strengths. A few can grow and feed the many. This allows for specialization. Farmers solders, artisans, scientist, politicians….. Weakness, with out getting political, is we are not geniticly designed to eat grain. This weakness would of been hard for early man to recognize. The agraculural revolution happend over about 30,000 years.

    Even today I ask what causes most of our health problems? (Oops got onto a soap box.)

    So, by taking bias out and asking is a system self-sustaning we have metric to start from. Then we can add are the people happy, are they prospering to get a feel for if it is just.

    “All changes to a system leads to improvements” is in and of itself a myth.

    The myths you adentified:

    1-      When society collapses, revolution happens and communism results.

    2-      Revolution happens when conditions become unbearable.

    3-       When revolution happens communism results.

    Myth one and three seem to be the same myth. Just adding a cause to why the ‘political’ revolution happens in the first one.

    Myth two, I feel is right on the money,  though I would use intolerable. For why have North Koreans and the others not rebelled (Rebel this is the word the right likes to use.), they tolerate what is happening.  Why?Maybe they don’t know there is a better way. This is just the way life is so we endure. Maybe their fear of the future is greater than their fear of the present. If we do anything,  it might be worse then now. (Why do abused spouses stay with their abusers?) So, like you I feel revolutions/change happens when the majority of people, happens to coincide with the middle class in most societies, want change.

    And the rest of us need to stay awake and aware, so we can counter what inevitably results from collapse.

    I would add we also need to have a plan. This is what I most argue with on ourside over, the myth that:

    1. When society collapse and we rebel against this represive government, liberty will be the result.

    Still working my way up the blog posts.

    Josh