Building Under

So, we’ve established that revolutions don’t do much except make things worse, unless revolutions are the blessing of an order already in place and already functioning, in which case, the overpower vanishes and there it is.

This works best, of course, in Colonial situations, though for the record, most of the anti-colonial revolutions ended disastrously.  Even when the colonial power was as unorganized, hapless and… well, devil-may-care as Portugal, the result… oh, just read the recent history of Mozambique and Angola, or, better, talk to someone who was there.  As for Zimbabwe, its fall from the breadbasket of Africa is… well…

Of course there are other factors for that, including but not limited to the fact that the colonial powers had infected – via their intellectuals – these poor people with Marxism, and also that the Soviet Union used them as cat’s paws to keep the US occupied, to keep its people in goods (it’s curious that while capitalism is accused of this, the communist powers are always the ones who work like ancient empires.  They have to keep invading and stealing, because they simply can’t produce, having long since killed or scared away their producers.) and to kill off a lot of the young males who might otherwise cause trouble.

Leaving all that aside and since space colonies don’t seem to be forthcoming in the next 20 years or so – though I wouldn’t count them out.  Like with ebooks which were talked about forever and finally dismissed as “never gonna happen” I suspect if it does happen it will be suddenly, over about five years, and probably involving some new technology or a will to use the old ones. – what do we do, those of us who don’t wish to live under the boot of a progressively (eh!) more authoritarian regime?

We dig under.

I’d like to point out the regime we are currently living out is the result of just that strategy.  They occupied all the positions of power that lead to government control over about three to four generations.  (It’s what “the long march” is all about.)  Those of us who grew up in unstable countries know what the nexus of power a new regime absolutely must conquer to maintain its grip on the population: radio, TV, Newspapers, as much of the bureaucracy as possible, from your local DMV to whatever passes for a deliberative body – and then you can take the president, and then you’re home free.

The genius of the current take over is that they knew they couldn’t do it South American style and come in with tanks and machine guns, take over all these places by force and get away with it.  That can’t be managed in the country with the best military in the world.

Instead, they went exactly for the same centers, but one by one, and with replacement strategies.  In this they were helped by two of their characteristics and the characteristics of those they view as domestic enemies (No?  Listen to them sometime.) and who are anyone who isn’t to the left of Lenin.  For our purposes we’ll call them “conservatives” though a lot of us aren’t EXACTLY that and though at this point in time “conservative” is a misnomer for people who want to change the current form of governance.

They took over by stealthing it – that is by pretending to be “establishment” until they were secure.  I actually tried to stealth it for years in publishing, and I have friends who are still trying to do it now (All the best boys and girls, you’re better than I.)  I couldn’t do it for reasons that lots of other conservatives can’t do it.  First, I couldn’t STEALTH well enough.  We, liberty lovers tend to prize truth and it bothered me greatly to fake it, so I was never vocal about supporting stuff I, in fact, abhorred.  Second, (vile) progs once in control which was well before I broke in, started demanding VOCAL adherence to their nonsense.  So if you weren’t screaming about the patriarchal, capitalist regime every other line, you simply wouldn’t get the push and the promo.  Or, as a friend of mine said “they watch what you laugh at, and they watch for how you respond in conversation”  and since even professional meetings turn into extended political rants with quite unimaginably offensive things said about everyone not extreme left, keeping an impassive face is difficult enough, let alone faking enthusiasm.

The reverse of this is that liberty lovers have this habit of fairness (which is why it’s so hard for me to wield the troll hammer) so even if we took over, the take over would never be absolute, and it would never, ever, ever be permanent.  We tend to go “Yes, he’s a communist, but that’s a stupid quirk.  He’s a good worker.  Look at what he did with this or that – give him the promotion.  It is by this process that most conservative institutions become far left.  The reverse doesn’t happen.  It’s not that the left is much better at stealthing (though they are) it’s that the right is much worse at excluding ideological opponents and/or viewing them as “the enemy.”  At least quase-ante, before the last few years, we tended to view them more as poor fools.

And this is how they took over all the media, all entertainment and most corporations and boards and anything that was a group of people, that needed “leadership” and that could be manipulated.  It also helps they’re the side who want power over others, while we mostly want to be left alone.

So to propose that we start our own crawl through the institutions is misguided – it’s not something we can do, something we’re good at or something even particularly productive in the current state of affairs.

However, the power-lovers, no matter what the regime have one fatal flaw.  They love to seize power.  They’re very good at wielding it – as in pounding down all opposition – what they suck at, because their temperament makes them not empathetic at all, is figuring out how people work.  And trying to rule (which is what they do) or worse, govern, without understanding people leads to disaster.  It is worse if they are communists, because communism is a religion at odds with reality.  They continue believing it, even as it fails, like those poor cult members whose end of the world is forever postponed one more month, and they continue doing more of what fails, which is why their utopias turn rapidly to hell on earth.

This leaves the rest of us stuck in a situation where EVEN if we could do the reverse of their strategy, even if we decided to crawl through the institutions for seventy years, we don’t have that kind of time.  The people who were so hot on getting into the cockpit, are flying the plane right into the ground because their little (red) religious book tells that that’s the way to gain altitude.

We don’t have seventy years before gravity asserts itself explosively.  We don’t have seventy months.  Sometimes I think we’ll be lucky if we have seventy weeks, and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if we crashed in seventy days.  Sometimes I feel as if I’m locked in the painting “the scream” shrieking soundless and I can’t do anything.

Wait.  Before you head out to the bathroom to slit your wrists in a warm bath – listen.  I didn’t say there’s nothing we can do.

Like the left we have our own strengths and our own abilities.  And they are things they not only don’t have, but they can’t fully understand.

To wit, the reason we tend to be really bad at politics is that there are things that are more important to us.  A lot of people have complained that people aren’t focusing on the politics because they’re busy making a living, raising a family, figuring out how to survive.

But, listen, that’s a strength, too.

See, the reason that they’re self-devouring is that they see politics before merit.  It’s never “we’ll promote him even though he’s a political idiot because OMG, he can write.”  It’s always “She can write all right, but she’s not “one of the good people” so we’ll not only do nothing but thwart her if we can.”

Over time this allows them to take over ideologically.  And it makes them REALLY dumb about anything else.

Here we have to go back to the publishing industry.  Because ideology was more important than anything else (though they promoted some books with no overt ideological tinge, because the author – they were satisfied – was one of them.  They tolerated these books more anywhere else rather than sf, which is why sf crashed harder and faster, except obviously at Baen.  Because SF is the projection of the present into the future, no “incorrect” politics would be allowed.) they needed to control not just what got published, but what got distributed and what got push.  This meant not only taking over the bookstores, (ideologically, not the publishers) but setting up a system which was determined by pull, not push.  By the end of their reign and just before ebooks hit, they could “publish” a book and make sure it sold nothing (it was never on shelves.  EVEN if people asked for it) and thereby end the career of anyone whom they’d found out was ideologically different – or suspect.  At the same time, of course, someone on the “right” (left) side got push, even if the work was otherwise undistinguished.

This worked to an extent – the reading public simply assumed ALL authors were leftist, and read the least offensive ones.  However, as the houses lost feedback (because this was all push, no pull) they lost track of “what the market will bear.”  Printruns were shrinking every year (the excuse being “people don’t read anymore.”) and they were starting to feel the pinch.  The bookstores, in particular (their fault for buying into “to the net” and the publishers’ push model) were caught in the middle and imploding.

All it took was the emergence of a free market in electronic books to send the whole thing into a tail spin.  (Most of the houses are dead, just still – somehow – walking.)

The houses reaction to ebooks was classic too – they reacted just like cultists whose UFO/prophet failed to bring about the end of the world on the appointed date: cover up, ignore, and hope the whole thing goes away.

Well – this is basically what we’re seeing in government, in finance, and anywhere that the left has got its big foot in, including “big science.”

They have been promoting people on the basis of faith, not intelligence for years.  And that’s no way to run a civilization (the problem goes beyond the USA, though I suppose, as usual, it will be left for us to solve.)

So – you want your second American revolution and your second American republic?  Fine.  Start building a structure that works, behind, beside and beneath the official one.

In some cases this will be very very difficult.  For us writers, for instance, it’s almost impossible to work for anything but US dollars.  (Though, who knows, that might change.  Will for sure if the crash comes.  I will of course work for gold, if anyone wants to cover me in a pile of it!)

On the other hand, we’re going around the publishing establishment, more and more so, yay us.  I’d advise every liberty-minded writer, even the traditionally published ones, to look into indie.  At best you can use it to support and promote your published work (I have brought a lot of people to the Darkship Thieves universe through the short stories.)  At worst, if something happens to your publisher (No, I don’t expect anything to happen to Baen, but a lot of it rests on ONE WOMAN’s shoulders, and while she’s younger than I and I hope she outlives me, sh*t happens.  To everyone.) you have a fallback and something to build from.

At the same time, I urge artists to find other ways to market their art.  Both of these will take stepping outside your “validation” comfort zone, but a lot of us had to do that with politics anyway, and it’s not that different.

If you’re not there – I urge you, urge you – to use your skills to advance the building of a parallel structure.  If you’re a computer maven, build a game engine that will allow indie game writers to compete with the big houses.  If you’re a computer maven, again, think about animation tools and others that allow indie movies to do what the big guys do for one percent of the price.  If you’re a teacher or interested in teaching, study how to do it on line.

We have it worse than they did.  We can’t just take over a few strategic points and hope the whole thing keeps running but now under us.  They’re destroying everything because of their anti-reality beliefs.  We have to take over everything just to prevent a terminal collapse.

Fortunately, most of us are “people who do things.”  I urge you to do things.  I have a friend who is studying brewing and welding, in case that’s all he can contribute.  In fact, I’d urge all of us to do that if we can.  Even if you’re a writer an artist or a scientist, if you have a hobby that can be turned into a part time job – growing vegetables, refinishing furniture, cooking, cleaning, sewing, brewing, etc – and bring in some money, do so.

I knew a family in Portugal who were educated and well to do, but when everything went upside down, they arranged with a textile firm to get the scraps of material that would (otherwise) have been burned at the end of the day.  The wife and daughters then fired up the sewing machines and started making pot holders, placemats and aprons (fewer aprons, most pieces were tiny.)  They sold these at the fairs which are at best gray market (the stalls require a license, so you have to declare some income.  But most of the business is done in cash.  You do the math.)  By the time things stabilized, they were living better than ever.

I don’t think that in most places the system will collapse that completely.  I DO think that things like making a living on line – provided you’re either selling something useful or something people find entertaining – will work for most of us.  But if your area goes bad, that second skill will help.

And meanwhile – hat tip to Dave Freer – network.  Network with those in your area, and network with those out of it who can help you on line.  Build connections with like minded people.

Yes, this means we will ALL have to work our tails off for the next – if we’re lucky – seventy weeks.  But work is what we do.  Building is what we do.

You see the current society is like a beautiful building that has termites in the support beams.  We’re working very fast to put up new support beams along side them and to encase the current support beams in strong concrete.

The goal is that when they give out and turn to powder, there is a shhh sound and then, nothing, because our support structures step in place and keep things going.

And THEN we can argue whether the bit on the roof should be round or square and – hopefully – termite-proof the new structure.

But first, it has to be in place.  So go forth and build.

 

203 responses to “Building Under

  1. I’m working on a big sprawling libertarian space opera, and I’ve hooked up with other libertarians who are writing their own science fiction novels. Some of us have even kicked around the idea of publishing them under one publishing banner, which would make it easier to get on brick-and-mortar store shelves. Even if we don’t go that route, critical mass is good for many things: authors who know each other can blurb each other’s books, etc.

    Yes, it’s a culture war. Yes, we should fight it by building our own institutions. Yes, those institutions that channel and shape ideas (media, publishing, etc.) are the most important targets.

    Onward!

    • actually the nightmare of a group house is keeping track of royalties. If you decide to go that way, ping me because my husband has built a program to do that.

      OTOH dbas do as well in most cases.

      And I’m so glad you didn’t say “Forward.”

      • > If you decide to go that way, ping me because my husband has built a program to do that.

        The known unknowns don’t seem too formidable…but I’m sure that there are more unknown unknowns than I realize.

        So, yes, if you could drop me a line, that’d be great. Email address left in the next comment down.

      • I do believe the idea that cream goes on top with time even on its own, but some sort of reference system would still be good in order to help readers, and other customers, to find the indies which might appeal to them easier. At least as a reader I would love more of things like ‘if you liked that you might like these’ lists, finding what might be what I want at a given moment can be a bit of a problem, especially since what I want depends quite a lot on things like what time of the year it is, what I may be currently trying to write myself, what kind of week I just had. And lists which cross reference different genres too, something like ‘if you like Nero Wolfe in mysteries you might consider looking at these writers in fantasy’.

    • As I mentioned on yesterday’s thread, I’m working on a cyberpunk work with a totalitarian government of a million and one regulations.

      Rather than onward, I prefer the cry of Flight 93: “Let’s Roll!”

    • M’Dad has written a number of self-published local history books, and was reduced to peddling them personally, generally as commission sales, to the local bookstores. Which he hates, but that is how he gets them out. He has used a number of local printers who will run him up a lot of trades for a cost, and there are a number of places that can do that, so the bottleneck is be sales and distribution. For Dad, that was going to stores and saying, hey, this is local history, can you put this out, it’s a good read, are you interested in more?
      I had a proposal to him that he find some young relation and promise him a copy per so many books placed, but he wasn’t interested.
      That might be a solution for your distribution, there are a lot of people that might be interesting in spending an hour or two in bookstores trying to place books in return for free advance copy.
      I’m not sure how to get them to your market cities so they can be placed, and printing 5 copies at a time is generally too expensive. I wonder if Amazon could be your bulk distributor to the people doing the placements? (I know nothing so be nice when you tell me I am full of it)

      • That was the traditional “independent” or vanity press publishing model. But Amazon does provide a pretty good sales front for even those vanity press printed book titles, a friend of mine self-published a detective story in printed form via Amazon – shipping himself – and sold his book in around 1500 total copies if I recall correctly. So he certainly didn’t clear enough to be considered making an appreciable profit on it but he was satisfied.

      • If your dad is not electronic, he’s missing sales, and if he’s not up to putting them up, offer to do it. Dean Wesley Smith’s, New World of Publishing — read it.

        And don’t tell me, “but it’s local.” I buy all sorts of local histories when I want to set a story somewhere.

        • Well, he’s 80 and is now published by Caxton so a lot of the pressure is off. He does get ISBNs so he can track where his books show up in libraries in WorldCat. He’s had stuff show up in liraries in the UK, which is pretty good for Oregon history.
          I will get that book and see what we can do. Thank you for the advice.
          I was goint to ask other questions, but I’ll get the book first.

        • I know the county where I live has a very active “official historian” who has written some books, but they don’t appear to be available electronically. I’d have everything he’s ever written if it were available, and I’d be looking for the same type of material for the surrounding counties, too.

          Seems to me that the place where ebooks really shine is with niche markets. MAYBE “Local Legends of Franklin Township, Clermont County, OH” would never sell but two or three copies to libraries in hard copy, but I’d drop a few bucks on it, and I bet half my family would, too. We can’t be THAT much of an outlier…

          • I’d drop money on it in kindle. Not in paper, because my house can’t take much more paper — but I’d buy it and keep it on the reference folder. Totally.

          • I love-love-love local historian enthusiasts, when I am doing research for background; they have gone through every scrap with a fine net, and turned up all sorts of gossipy material, which is just the stuff that I am looking for! I think my gold standard for this kind of thing was a gentleman named Guido Ransleben, who wrote a local history of Comfort, Texas – he had all the good ‘gen, including how the first wife of his ggg-how-ever-many times grandfather ran off with a soldier attached to Fort Martin Scott, and how the first teacher in the local school was a fat Yankee who was too lazy to thrash the bad schoolboys – instead, he threw pebbles at them, and the bad boys would finish the school-day covered with little red welts. I would so love to have his book as an e-book, but he died a few years ago, and the published editions of his book go for … gulp … $135 and up.

            • Celia, have you looked at WorldCat.org? It is a catalog for all (participating) libraries. You could probably find if there is a library near you with Ransleben’s book in it, or at least get it through inter-library loan.

              • Oh, yes – I found it through my local library, but I wanted a copy for my own reference. Alas … the available copies remaining in print are rare and costly. I wish I had made a copy of every page, though!

            • I second Celia’s praise of local histories. It was a local historian/newspaper reporter/ good-ole’-gal who wrote the volume that provided key links to some things that completely changed my dissertation for the better. Local historians record the small, critical information that academic historians (should) take seriously because the events were so important to that community at the time. I would never have known that a certain town ran out of water twenty years before the official reports stated that it did, if I had not been reading a local history compilation.

        • I wish whoever had the rights to the book on the Bloody Snow massacre would e-publish already. My family moved out of the area ages ago, but my godfather’s dad was killed in that six months before he was born. Mom got a copy for about fifty bucks back in the 90s, when the net was new, but these days there’s too much info on what it’s about.

    • We’re probably on the way to creating a bubble in sprawling libertarian space operas.

  2. There seems to be a shortage of examples of successful transformation from colony to Independence — India might be the single instance of successful colonization in the last two Centuries, before that we have Australia, Canada and the United States — and those all seem to have one thing in common.

    I expect Col. K would cite Panama, but that would be a second order case, nicht wahr?

    • > those all seem to have one thing in common.

      Anglosphere values are better than other cultures?

      Racist!

      (Joking, of course. We’re in agreement.)

      • Ah ah ah – I never said Anglosphere values are better than other cultures. They are merely better if your goal is for colonies to become functioning independent states. If your goal is creation of a kleptocracy there are several alternatives to the Anglosphere model that would probably yield more satisfactory results.

  3. Interesting ideas. But your audience isn’t big enough to have an impact. How can you get the word out in the, er, next 70 weeks?

    As I’ve mentioned before, my approach is just to avoid hiring and buying from liberals whenever possible. If every conservative/libertarian business person/employer did this (and the vast majority of business owners are conservative), it would badly damage the liberal cause in short order.

    • That is also a good thing. My audience seems to ripple across the blogsphere, though.

    • “But if we did that we would be guilty of the same bad behaviour as them!”

      “Then they would have no basis for complaint.”

      Except, of course, that they are never troubled by their hypocrisy, only by our hypocrisy.

    • I agree, this is good, too – I’m lucky, I live in Texas, so not hard to do.

      Now if we can just get the cable companies to allow us to pick and choose the channels we want to watch and pay for … (Yeah, I know, go off-the-grid, but that doesn’t work for me, for several reasons.)

      Oh, and the schools – which is, perhaps, the biggest part of the problem. I would love to be able to take the gawdawful amount of money I’m forced to pay for school taxes, and divert it to alternative schools.

    • It may not be enough to just not buy. Look at the papers, people stop buying them and they just retrench or go away, but they don’t change their politics.
      Now, If your goal is to affect the acivities of a legislator who is doing something you object to, You know, proposing magazine capacity bans, warrantless searches, or that sort of thing, you do know these legislators are required to show who their big election donors are. A lot of them are retail and manufacturers. When they get a couple-hundred or greater calls from people in a couple of day saying I don’t like who you contribute to and what that legislator is doing to restrict my rights, I think I will buy from another company from now on, have a really nice day, the companies might call their boughten politician and tell them to stop driving their customers away.

    • The problem, Bret, is that far too many liberals can and do claim membership in Official Government Victim Groups; refusing to hire or do business with them leads to lawsuits, visits from EEOC, etc.

  4. On the matter of golden showering, would Bezos be an acceptable alternative for writers? You can pretty much buy all household products via Amazon; actual cash would only be needed for mortgage/rent, insurance payments, produce and gasoline purchases … (although I wonder how long it would be before Amazon comes out with its own debit card, allowing you to convert a portion of your Bezos balance to dollars at point of sale?)

  5. this is basically what we’re seeing in government, in finance, and anywhere that the left has got its big foot in, including “big science.

    Always be wary of any industry whose practitioners are distanced from reality and spend most time in their own heads – especially if they work largely in words. The media, liberal arts academia, and government are obvious ones, but yes, high finance – the ones who deal in huge abstract-like numbers with only very wealthy clients. Writers – too often. Computer people – too many get their reality from a computer screen (I’ve been a programmer, I’ve seen too much of this). Many lawyers – their work is all words, and only some have contact with the reality those words affect. Even the clergy tend this way, depending on the amount of bureaucracy. These fields are not only dominated by left-wingers, but many – the media and academia especially – are known for being the most ugly, shallow, back-stabbing “evil” cultures out there.

    • Ouch, I’m doubly damned then.

      • Join your tears with mine. Double outliers.

        • Careers I have had– typesetter, electronics tech, writer– damn, damn, and damned ;-)

          • teacher, translator, instructor, writer — yeah

            Thank G-d grandad(s) taught me carpentry…

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Screen Printer, Computer Helpdesk, Programmer, Data Analyst…

            OTOH – Plastic blow molding, injection molding, vacuum forming, aluminum foundry, warehouse, all positions in a restaurant, janitor, gofer, and more, so maybe better balanced than average (on paper).

            • I have done computer helpdesk too for other techs when they were out in the field. I have done cashier at a restaurant before 16. Plus retail once in awhile. I hated retail the most.

              • Yes, retail is the worst. I think everyone should be required to spend some time working a retail or customer service job, just so they’ll learn to not be like their customers.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Amen to that!

                • I agree – Retail IS the worst – but I’d also add a requirement that everyone work the back side of a supermarket, especially one that includes a deli, in the position that around here is generically known as “cleanup”.
                  <>
                  Retail surpassed that experience in worstness. Barely.

                • My first job was working the parts counter of a Pep Boys auto store. In Oxnard Calif. Of course, it wasn’t difficult. You only had to know two things in addition to how to read a parts catalog: what years the Chevy Chevelle and Nova were essentially the same platform and where in the warehouse section the kits for lowering Impalas was located. I think I lasted two months before finding a better job – doing mechanical inspection of machined parts in a small electronics manufacturer.

            • Let me see, … imagery analyst for the Air Force, computer test technician (you build it, we’ll break it), technical training, writer, janitor in high school, some part-time jobs as general gofer, bowling alley mechanic (that was actually fun!), growing up on a farm/helping out on a farm… I’ll leave it up to the commentariat.

    • the ugly culture is a consequence of left domination, not a cause. There were days when it was different, at least in MY field.

    • I particularly like James Hogan’s “Kicking the Sacred Cow” (available in Webscriptions). Even just the introduction, available without buying the book, is worth reading. He makes a very good argument that almost all science, certainly government-sponsored science, is corrupted by interest and group-think. He argues to trust engineers but don’t trust scientists.

      • Yes. I saw that corruption first-hand as a physics undergrad: Professors shamelessly teaching physicists-in-the-making that they should lie, lie, lie to get grant money for whatever they wanted to do.

        • Anent that, from National Review Online’s superb Human Exceptionalism blog:

          Scientism is rampant in supposedly scientific circles. As my Discovery Institute colleague John West has noted in the very worthwhile book he edited, The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society:
          [Scientism is] the wrongheaded belief that modern science supplies the only reliable method of knowledge about the world, and the corollary that scientists have the right to dictate a society’s morals, religious beliefs, and even government policies merely because of their scientific expertise.

          I just read a classic example of how scientism seeps into so much that portrays itself as purely scientific in an article by Keith Kloor, published at the Discover site, which touts itself as “The magazine of science, technology, and the future. And it’s the very first paragraph!
          [SNIP]
          … the current Science Establishment–as opposed to bench scientists–come at most issues from a pronounced ideological viewpoint, tending toward the politically liberal and philosophically utilitarian. It is just pretense to argue otherwise.
          http://www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/341331/science-not-be-all-and-end-all

          • BOTHER! Miss one little / instruction!
            Human Exceptionalism blog:

            Scientism is rampant in supposedly scientific circles. As my Discovery Institute colleague John West has noted in the very worthwhile book he edited, The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society:
            [Scientism is] the wrongheaded belief that modern science supplies the only reliable method of knowledge about the world, and the corollary that scientists have the right to dictate a society’s morals, religious beliefs, and even government policies merely because of their scientific expertise.

            I just read a classic example of how scientism seeps into so much that portrays itself as purely scientific in an article by Keith Kloor, published at the Discover site, which touts itself as “The magazine of science, technology, and the future. And it’s the very first paragraph!
            [SNIP]
            … the current Science Establishment–as opposed to bench scientists–come at most issues from a pronounced ideological viewpoint, tending toward the politically liberal and philosophically utilitarian. It is just pretense to argue otherwise.

  6. There are some problems for me if I start gaining any sort of traction as a writer, and maybe selling my art, since my most likely clientele probably are mostly Americans and dollar seems to be plunging a lot faster right now that euro. Cheaper for me to buy things from there – although the clearance charges for anything that has to go through customs are getting a bit unpleasant – but selling there, not so good.

  7. Branding is best………businesses and groups and authors, etc. should let people know that they are “libertarian friendly” unless of course it would destroy them financially although for most it would be a business gain as they would gladly get customers. A lot of small businesspeople fear the local government because it can make life hard and it is often taken for granted that the big cities are where the party machine types live and breathe and will wield their axes if the wrong people are supported and the wrong words uttered.. Showing that you can be “out and proud” and survive (even maybe thrive) would go a long ways towards pushing back. Don’t be loud about it. Maybe a small icon on a website or a small sign in the window or a bumper sticker on a car or truck.

    Again don’t cut your own throat life is hard enough but usually the fear is worse than the actuality. Hopefully a preference cascade can happen and the businesspeople which identify themselves as being aligned against the party hacks can come into ascendancy.

  8. How do people stealth it without going crazy?

    When I was in graduate school, I had to stealth it to certain degree, I called it “keeping my head down.” But being forced to repeat that which I know to be false and even my silence was assumed to be agreement drove me to anger and depression.

    Luckily, in my current job no one cares as long as I meet the production goals. How do people manage it?

    • I don’t know. I exploded after twelve years. Don’t ask me. As is some of the older books will have to be edited when I get them back — but…

    • Granted it was more than twelve years, given a masters in Modern languages and literature.

    • I didn’t even try to stealth when I earned my BA in English Lit. I think that is why my fav. professor tried to steer me towards an MFA. No, I didn’t go farther– my disease got in the way.

    • You find outlets. I read and dreamed mil-sci-fi and flew airplanes. That way I could nod and make the proper noises when the Fonts of All Wisdom pontificated. And I said the right things to the right people (some of which was true. Their books did make me rethink some hypothese, just not the way they took it).

  9. It does seem that the speed of the descent has greatly increased in the last few years. Doesn’t seem like it can go on much longer. On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that if I had known in 1970 what I know now, I’d have said in 1970 that it can’t go on more than a few more years. And yet…it did. Sure would be nice to KNOW when the collapse was coming, but if we did, there wouldn’t be a collapse.

    >For us writers, for instance, it’s almost impossible to work for anything but US dollars.

    Just as I pay cash instead of credit card with everyone that is not a big corporation in the hope that they’ll slide it into the other pocket, I now look for people online accepting Bitcoin. Untaxed, untaxable.

    I have a hard time understanding people who care anything about paper books, anymore, since I haven’t bought one in years. And yet I read as much as I ever did, which is a lot. Seems like being a writer is one of the best professions for working outside the US dollar, so long as you are willing to do your own promotion.

    • “Bitcoin. Untaxed, untaxable.”

      Not true. At some point, you have to have the income to match the outgo. That’s how the IRS gets the major gangsters: the supposedly legit business couldn’t possibly earn enough to support having 4 cars and 2 houses…. and one of the things about “Big Data” is that it reveals such things even quicker.

  10. As I wrote yesterday, I see education as one of the next bubbles to burst. This is also an area where we “odds” could make a HUGE difference. We know stuff. We know stuff from doing research in that area, and we can put what we know into words. There’s also good, old-fashioned networking where we can share what we know, help each other out, and PRODUCE. I’m seriously thinking about building a series of American History courses and putting them up on Amazon for $1.99 each. That’s enough Amazon won’t try to kick me off, and also low enough that people will buy them. Also, it WON’T be squish.

    Sarah, you have about 700 daily readers. They cover just about every subject a modern university could teach, except perhaps some of the “Gender” and “Area” studies. Write stuff at five different levels: lower elementary, upper elementary, Junior high, senior high, and college. Depending on your willingness, write stuff at two or three different levels for college. Write well enough, provide hyperlinks, and market it, and maybe some of the online universities will pick it up. If not, we still will have a recourse for failing, collapsing schools. We’ll be able to “pick up” after the collapse.

    • I’d be a customer for something like that. I went through public schools and I find my education lacking in comparison to many of the commenters here.

    • I really like this idea. Sign me up!

    • May I suggest 2.99 instead? I know that 1.99 sounds helpful, but there is a perception thingie when it comes to low prices. You’ll get more people finding it. Plus you will be out of the .99-1.99 indie noise level. Just a thought.

    • http://www.libertyclassroom.com, for a complete American history course from the standpoint of the Austrian school (of Economics, which is the only really free-market school).

      However, there’s no question that more entrants into that market would be welcome, Mike.

    • If they are by different writers, it might be a good idea to find/create some sort of logo for the covers and tags so that people looking for the same quality of information in different subjects/areas know where to go looking.

      • I have a logo. Thank you for reminding me. I shall beat it out of older boy.

        OTOH if it’s a logo on the covers — as opposed to, say, your website — people will think it’s the publisher. No, REALLY.

        The next thing of importance is getting to together to organize a Human Wave award, to be given with all due pomp and circumstance at Liberty Con. I’d like to nominate Dog and Dragon by Dave Freer. Who else wants to be in the Human Wave Group — for the award, you can write Human Wave without being in, natch — I propose a $5 fee, so we can get the winner a really nice engraved plaque.

        Since it’s the first year, anything published in the last five years is illegible and — d*nm it. I’m going to have to do a post on this, right?

        While Dave isn’t full Indie, Indie is not a requirement and frankly, a Human Wave AWARD will give us things to put on our cover that will count towards sales. And we could all use them.

        • A great idea– So it has to be written and published in 2013? I have a few short stories, but no novels yet this year. ;-)

        • I’ll chip in for the award plaque(s).

        • I’m in. It also provides more incentive for getting to LibertyCon. Not that I exactly needed more. Yes, a post on this please, though I’d rather avoid giving awards to illegible works, saving our accolades for those both legible and eligible. *ducks* As to Dave’s nomination, I’m for it as a fellow Dave, but I need to read the rest of the book to second. I’m also thinking Larry’s series qualify: Grimnoir and MHI, both. Serious themes of humanity and liberty struggling to triumph over statists, collectivists, dark theurgists, BEMs, extra-planar entities and Cthulhoid malevolences. And oppressive government stooges. In bad suits. Oh, John’s Live Free or Die series, and his Last Centurion, also. Our Dread Mis- ah, dear hostess’ works have to qualify.

          A procedural aside: are we to consider individual books to be eligible? Entire series? Novellae? Will we need to set up a formal procedure for this shindig? Robert’s Rules? Only paying members vote?

          • Oh, look at that: some of my questions already answered. I blame post con crud making my head fuzzy. -er, really.

          • yeah. Let me noodle on it and I’ll post tomorrow proposing an organization. Also trying to figure out the cheapest/lowest level to organize (I know non-profit with deductability takes time and effort, so that might be for a future generation. Officers to be elected and their works not eligible (and it’s not nice to make fun of uncaffeinated dyslexics) for the term of their service. Term of service to be determined. Possibly members PLUS those paying to attend LC (to throw a bit of wildcardism in.) Anyway, we might need some form of official existence because whoever is elected treasurer won’t want to pay taxes on the dues. I won’t for sure, if it falls to my lot.

          • I’m in, and I’ve read it, so I can happily second the Dog and Dragon nom.

        • Since it’s the first year, anything published in the last five years is illegible

          Then anything I write by hand should win.

        • Leaving aside the matter of legibility (some typos are definitely more fun than others) I’m all for joining with other HW supporters. Let me know where and when to chip in my fiver and my vote.

  11. Okay, now I’m even more motivated to write my near-future thriller, where real science has to go underground. Besides the profit motive, thriller readers read a LOT of thrillers, so the message could get out fast.

    It would be neat if we had a kind of “favor exchange” to create our own economy. A secure members-only site that kept track of points, each being mysteriously similar in value to a dollar. No actual money goes through the site. Vendors that accept favor-points have a discreet little icon, kinda like paypal. You’d have to have either an online product or a meatspace service to make real use of this, but a real barter system works the same way (and is less flexible). You could pay someone in favor-points to help you dig a ditch, points you earned by selling ebooks from your own store.

    • I’ve thought of things like this in the past, too. The problem is, as soon as it starts being even a little bit effective, the goverment will come in and shut you down. Cross-reference Bernard von Nothaus and the Liberty Dollar. At one time it was the #1 alternative currency in the land, but they convicted him of counterfeiting even though the Liberty Dollar looked nothing like the US Federal Reserve Note.

      No system with any kind of central repository or list is going to work. It’s either gold and silver coins in your pocket or a peer-to-peer currency like Bitcoin.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I don’t know, if it’s all electronic, with a table of equivalence values, and possibly a bidding system, it would be like barter, but with standard reference values. If you’re not printing currency, I don’t see how it could come under any counterfeiting laws.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Hmm… I’ll have to think about this more…

        • exactly. It’s more like a… cooperative board. I mean, craigslist has barter…

        • Oh, perhaps I misunderstood the meaning. If nothing is centralized, then it could work fine. But if anyone is hold a list saying “such and such owes this much of this value”, then it can be attacked, either legally or illegally, and taken down. As more people try to flee the FRN, the goons are going to get more and more serious about taking out competitors. And they don’t have to have a legal theory that makes sense to the common man in order to come after you.

          • Centralized, yes, but not currency, heavens no! More like points in a game system (as far as the Nosey Parkers are concerned.) And it has no value except what the members agree to, and it would only be used between members. There are lots of systems that have points (including Baen’s world game) and it doesn’t trigger the Feds. I am not nor have I ever been a lawyer, but I think we could get it to work. I throw the idea out for discussion ;-)

            • It has been established in court cases that even if you buy game points, they’re not currency and can’t be taxed.

              • IIRC, the “game currency” case only got by because there are no actual goods or services traded. If it’s used for bartering ebooks, you’d fall under the other cases. I can’r remember if the “buy new games with our game currency” system has been through the court system yet or not.

            • I like the idea, and it seems like the system would be easy enough to establish. The devil’s in the details, of course. Some that come to mind:
              1. Would it be a pool of points distributed among the users, or would it be an ad-hoc system of transferable ‘debts’? (ie are the points positive or negative)
              2. If there is a pool of points, how would that pool enter circulation?
              3. Would this be a private arrangement, or open to the public?
              I’m sure there are more, but that’s what I’ve got at the moment.

    • We need an alternate global currency. Really need one. The problem is that there are pesky laws about such things and the revenooers get all worked up about people dodging the taxation racket. So the currency needs some kind of plausible deniability.

      But if we can come up with a good way to do it and a good way to convert it into local debased currency (and probably out of same) when required then it will be a winner. Its a hard problem though. And it needs to be done right. I don’t – for a shed load of reasons – trust bitcoin to hold their value but I have ideas – in fact I even have a SFnal story waiting to be written about this.

      • We already have such a currency. It is called gold. Unhappily, the price has gone up something like 800% this century, making it impractical for everyday use.

        Similar problems occur with silver and platinum.

        • Actualy the buying power of gold is realitively flat.

          It’s the buying power of our dollar that’s going into the crapper.

          Things that would cost you a $1 in 2006 now cost you a $1.20. That’s the the conservitive average.

          • Review what has been said. “[T]he price [of gold] has gone up something like 800% this century” clearly indicates the dollar cost of gold since 2000. It does not refer to the buying power of gold — except as a response to the prior comment regarding the need for a alternative global currency that is not subject to manipulation by government.

            I did err in regard to the 800% figure; as the linked chart indicates, the increase is only about 600% — although if you look at Jan. 01to Jul 12 the drop in dollar purchasing price of gold is about 700%..
            http://www.kitco.com/scripts/hist_charts/yearly_graphs.plx

            • You are correct in the numbers.

              ….making it impractical for everyday use.

              http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_illusion

              I was referring to this not that you erred in the math, and hell, I was ballparking my numbers too. (But of course I didn’t just say this.)

              We are talking about a collapse of are dollar, the building of grey markets. A grey market is one that is not regulated, but still tolerated. A black market is one where everything that has been outlawed will be.

              I feel given the current Administrations pushes to control banking and the internet a lot of what is discused won’t be possible.

              Three points, a lot of the plans put forth on here revolve having access to online banking & internet, and I wouldn’t count on have access to them.

              1. Online banking will be and is monitored.

              2. Obama the left already tried to put in an Internet kill switch.

              3. Espionage Act of 1917. Is very relevent, yes parts of it got overturned on 1st Amendment grounds, but with the broad launge of current Patriot Act and NDAA should scare the crape out of S/F writers.

              I think I’m going to find it impractical carring my money around in wheelbarrows, to buy a paper back that I don’t want my government to know I have.
              ;-)

              • Wayne Blackburn

                I seriously doubt they will be able to completely cut off determined people from each other. Technology has reached a point that there are at least 5 distinct methods to get around any communications problems.

                Let’s see:
                1) I posted a link the other day regarding long-range wifi.
                2) I’m sure some enterprising souls could turn many different kinds of cell phones into direct communication devices. Might have to build high-gain antennas to pick up the signals.
                3) Public Radio frequencies. With sub-$100 walkie-talkies with ranges of 10 miles or more, those frequencies can be used to transmit computer information.
                4) Might be blocked from communicating through the central system of a phone company or a cable company, but people would tap into them between homes.
                5) If all else fails, a communications system could be built using laser pointers.

                Incidentally, that “Internet Kill Switch” would be the WORST thing they could possibly do. The backlash would be horrendous.

                As far as currency is concerned, a tentative method has already been proposed here, and if that’s too much like money and will get shut down, then I trust people to come up with ways to make a nearly invisible barter system.

                • My point wasn’t that we wouldn’t be able to comunicate, but that what we do come up with to fasilitate barter and trade will probably the oldschool tried an true methods.

                  Hoyt! I have a six pack of premium wool socks. Want to trade for a paper back book?

                  An nother thought when O kills the coal industery it’s going to get very expensive to read your e-books not by them just to read them, well I have a solar charger but that cuts into reading time.

                  Yes, RES I know my thoughts are all over the place.

              • Continue:

                http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/images/charts/Gold/Gold_inflation_chart.htm

                A lot of the price of gold is driven buy demand. And we havent even hit the historic high; adjusted for inflation.

                I should of been clearer gold is historicly flat buying power & demnd is driving the price up for fear of the dollars collapse. Dollar is very very weak against the dollar. Most of the US’s wealth tied up in consumer goods.

                Will we reach here:

                http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8f/GermanyHyperChart.jpg

                Possible. Gold is where you store wealth to ride out inflation. Used to be gold and land. Land is no long an option with property tax.

                Just some rambling thoughts.

      • “Why should I not have the right to coin, if the Queen has it? Am I not as good as she?” is a reported utterance of Kit Marlowe who was also reportedly mad as a hatter at least for his time, but BOY do I sympathize.

  12. Zombie Vampires from Space!

    It’s just a game.

    Really.

    Even though we drag in a bunch of stuff from the Real World. That’s the fun of it. You have to use real news articles and real local, state and federal legislation. You have to use the actual quotes from politicians.

    And sort through them and find the ones that have _obviously_ been Brain Jacked by the Zombie Vampires from Space.

    _Then_ from your group, a player who actually lives in that jurisdiction/precinct/country/congressional district or state—in other words, someone who in real life could run against that Brain Jacked Zombie Vampire—must organize his/her/its campaign. The game-pretend-candidate must develop a solid platform, must make speeches (UTube or at SF Cons!), argue cogently against the targeted politician or proposed law, and propose alternate legislation. Properly written up in all details. _Exactly_ what he’d present to the legislative body he is running for, if he was going to suddenly jump into a real life try for that seat. And if more than one person wants to run, we could have Game Primaries.

    Because with the internet, it is possible to recruit a lot of people into a game—not a political party, a _game_. Honest!—that could come out of the closet, organized and ready to go, at some point.

    • You know, I’ve been thinking for a long time — if the Puppet Masters from Heinlein’s novel had landed and taken over our government — what would be different?

      • The Vice President wouldn’t urge people to violate the law by fireing a warning shot into the air?

      • Less underage Dominican prostitutes and no Weiner photos on Facebook?

        • um… except the saturation wouldn’t be 100%.

          • *cough, cough* Umm, the point is to organize and have prepared candidates, with staff, knowlegable about bills under consideration etc, aware of how to get onto ballots, volunteers to circulate with those petitions lined up . . . ready to jump in and replace the worst offenders . . . without looking like a political party until the last minute. It’s only a game, until enough people are “playing” and until we decide it isn’t.

          • Actually it would be great to have puppet masters at this point. Creating a political class which openly works against the voters and instead tries to astroturf a constituency would be counter-intuitive to aliens trying to hide their presence. By pretending we don’t notice we are being taken over we can enjoy the better government comfortable in knowing a true parasite is better than a politician. It doesn’t desire to see its host killed off while a politician needs to know how far it can go.

    • ARG.

      Not an exclamation, that’s what you’re talking about– Altered Reality Game.

      The Secret World did a great job with several– if you search for “Secret World ARG” you can get details.

      I get a bit squicked by the in-detail serial killer vibe, so maybe rate it PG for the Alien Vampire Zombie ARG?

      • I’ve never heard the term ARG; I always called them full immersion games. My favorite is the classic Killer. I got to be paranoid for fun! Somewhere I still have copies of the contracts from the first few games I played or ran. I’d love to play again, but in this day and age it’s nearly impossible to do without ending up on a watch list or in handcuffs. :(

  13. I’m considering labeling my forthcoming novel as Human Wave (in addition to urban fantasy, myth, action-adventure, and erotica). Any thoughts on whether that’s a good idea? (Or should we HW-ers go stealthily amid the noise and waste.)

    M

  14. Regardlesss of whether we are close to collapse or not, this “build under” strategy is very similar to what startups do. You find where the dominant players do something wrong, typically at the low end of the market, and supplant them.

    May I recommend the writing of Paul Graham (http://paulgraham.com/marginal.html , for example)?

    • Well-summarized. I always think about clipper ships. Possibly the peak of sail technology, they happened right when steam was really taking over. Or how Microsoft ate IBM’s lunch in small systems — almost unintentionally.

      M

  15. Sarah, I first learned of your existence when you were guest-blogging at Instapundit, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

    At the moment I’m engaging in some shameless self-promotion. Just went through the CreateSpace/Kindle process with my first novel, “The First Impression.” Like any first novel, it will of course suck the eyeballs right out of your head. There’s an Amazon link on my website, but I’ll include one here as well:

    I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the paperback. I expected print-on-demand to have a sort of second-class citizen look about it. But no. Glossy laminated cover, faithful reproduction of the cover art (my own design in Photoshop), tight binding, and text as sharp as anything I’ve seen from an offset press.

    Sarah, I want to THANK YOU for recommending (while guest-blogging with Glenn Reynolds) an oldie but a goodie, “Techniques of the Selling Writer,” by Dwight V. Swain. I found it quite helpful while working through successive drafts. Here’s a link on Amazon:

  16. Here’s my contribution, at least conceptually, to the “Build Under” initiative. I don’t have the coding skills to do this, but I can identify the specifications for somebodies who do.

    The challenge: a workaround to the Internet for liberty-lovers should it fall further under the thumb of government or NGOs and become unavailable or unsafe to use with a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Amateur Radio is one solution, but data transfer rates are maddeningly slow and you can’t use encryption without breaking the law, and Hams are death on people who break those laws.

    Let’s dust off the old pre-internet networks like RIME and FidoNet. These use the plain old telephone network, passing messages from node to node. It might take a day or so for your email to get across country, but it got there. Let’s make the software for this system open source and distribute it freely. The difference in our new system is that the connection from the client to the host would be secured with SSL or something very like it, and messaging would feature transparent end-to-end encryption.

    Such a network would not offer the speed of the Internet, but it would use a robust infrastructure, would operate “under the radar” of the people monitoring internet activity, and would be very, very hard to killswitch.

    Anybody interested in the challenge, or have other features to suggest?

    • hm. There’s stuff like LifeNet , if that’s what you’re talking about. I tried to play with it once, but I’m afraid I either didn’t have the skills or didn’t have the hardware to get it working correctly – I’ve figured out a fair bit about Linux, but there’s still *mountains* of stuff I don’t know. And, of course, it doesn’t look like they’ve updated in quite a while, so the whole project may be dead, for all I know. Be a shame, if it is – that kind of ad-hoc network sounds exceedingly useful for communication in all kinds of disasters.

      • This wasn’t Linux, the clients and host nodes ran on DOS machines (and for all I know, CP/M). This may simply be a matter of adding features to existing code, I don’t know the copyright status of the original RIME or Fido codebase. I think it would be very useful, but people would have to reacquaint themselves with alien hardware, like Modems.

        • Oh, yeah, it was the LifeNet that was on Linux. Afraid I’m too young to know much about DOS, but it does sound like an interesting project.

    • Interesting that you bring this challenge up, as I’ve gotten into amateur radio for precisely this possibility. I know the transmission rates aren’t nearly what you’re used to, but my problem is that the government is likely to squeeze the telcos and ISPs for control, as they’ve made overtures in that direction before. Doesn’t matter if your communication is over FidoNet or TCPIP then, wire’s wire, those who own the transmission medium can cut your signal off all the same. Hence my turn to the airwaves, as it’s an uncontrolled, unregulated medium. (Ok, not entirely, but they can’t regulate what they can’t catch, thus my research into pirate radio as well.)
      Also, 1200 baud may not be fast enough for LOLcats, but it’ll get your samizdat through easily enough.

      • All perfectly true, but if we’re at that point then Amateur Radio just paints a big “Hey drones! Target me!” sign at your transmitter site.

        In the interim, when they’re just being snoopy and secret-squirrelish, the old networks are the equivalent of driving the back roads to avoid the troopers on the interstate.

    • Look at the how resisters in authoritarian countries use the net and you’ll find practical techniques. Try the TOR project to get anonymity and freenet to build out your infrastructure. Use torrents to pass data in ways that make it difficult to censor. You *will* be rubbing shoulders with people using this for noble and ignoble purposes. You won’t be able to police that.

  17. As a farmer, I find these IT and composer comments quite interesting. Yet, they seem to gloss over the naked reality of a true collapse. Sarah, your stories of the “bad” days in Portugal are illuminating and thought provoking, but did that society really collapse or just take a deep nose dive before recovering to some sense of normalcy? As I told my wife, my fears don’t derive from premonitions of apocalypse, but from a year of macro economic courses (Economics of War and others) coupled with running a business for 35 years. This time around, most every country in the Western world is in on the ponzi game, and unfortunately, history shows time and time again that the final diversion by governments is war.
    I have no answers. I just read others and judge accordingly.

    • I don’t think civilization CAN really collapse, in the mad max sense.

      Portugal just got very unstable, and the money was worth very little — it never went full Weimar and we MIGHT do that, but even in Weimar it never COLLAPSED as you’re envisioning it.

      This is something that SF writers dream up — the collapse where you go back to the 19th century or the middle ages. It can’t happen. Not absent something like a meteor hitting the Earth and killing everyone with knowledge and the accumulated wealth of the population. Look, we’re in a society where our poor don’t starve and where you can find new clothes at the thrift store. Wealth like that takes a LONG time to burn through.

  18. Pingback: Upending Neurological Apartheid | Happycrow's Eyeball Factory

  19. I save this one for last.
    But I’m going to bed.

  20. Saved this one for last, But going to bed now.

    Take care. All caught up.
    ;-)

  21. Pingback: Classical Values » We Are Ruled

  22. Space Colonization Technology: Polywell Fusion. If it works. The issue is still not resolved.

  23. There is a dearth of good technical writers. Just a huge void. My magazine is always looking for talent. I like talent scouting for them.

    You can contact me through my e-mail on the sidebar at
    http://spacetimepro.blogspot.com/

    And you can check out my technical writing at:
    http://www.ecnmag.com/tags/Blogs/M-Simon/

    They are very libertarian friendly although we/they avoid directly partisan stuff.

    What I will do for you: I will edit your first piece if you like and introduce you to the gang. Or you can contact them directly at:
    http://www.ecnmag.com/articles/2012/05/call-freelancers

  24. Sarah,

    My last comment went into moderation. The first line:

    There is a dearth of good technical writers. Just a huge void. My magazine is always looking for talent. I like talent scouting for them.

    • My issue is not being particularly technical… Though Dan is…

      • If you had a short story that you wanted some exposure for – say 200 to 400 words I’m sure I could get my editors to publish. They are pretty tight with copyright though. But if you want to give it a shot I’ll do what I can to help. They are VERY libertarian friendly. And I have done the very occasional cultural piece.

  25. Pingback: IMAO » Blog Archive » Liberals Are In Charge of Everything. Now What?