Stand UP

No, I don’t care if you are counted or not. This is not about voting, or the more open forms of citizenship – it’s just about not shutting up.

My parents, of course, would have it that it’s not that difficult for me to not shut up. It’s sort of what comes naturally. I used to go on continuously, about something or another, even if another was something I read. I’m better now.

But the truth is that for over ten years, I wasn’t talking. Or at least I wasn’t saying anything about anything that was important to me.

We’ve talked about it before, and to long time readers of the blog, it’s certainly no news that for years I kept my mouth shut for fear that if my political opinions leaked to the ears of my New York publishers, my career would be most sincerely dead.

It would be fatuous to assume I was wrong, too. In multiple conversations with various editors, I both heard libertarians referred to as evil people (not just wrong, but evil) and got told about authors who were not bought because “I think his politics were more suited to Baen. Just a feeling.” (Yes, that is a direct quote from an editor I worked with.)

At the same time, I was several times encouraged to amp up the social message. That I couldn’t do. In at least three cases I balked it, and yep, I paid for it with my career every time. But to do it, I’d need to actively support evil. And that I could not do.

It took me longer to realize I was passively supporting evil. That by staying quiet, by not making waves, I not only allowed people to presume things about me that weren’t true (I don’t know how many of them did. Clearly not enough to make me a protected darling.) But the public in general would assume it. And that was bad enough because it enforced a totalitarian presumption of uniformity of opinion. The famous “All good people think this way.”

This article is about the Eich affair.  Or at least the Eich affair was the precipitating incident for the article from the Federalist site. For those of you not acquainted with it, (You so very lucky bastages) this is where the CEO of Mozilla got hounded from his job not because he publically expressed opinions about gay unions but because he privately gave money to prop 8 years ago. (That it was leaked at all, is something else and one that sickens me.)

The article quotes extensively from Vaclav Havel on the “post totalitarian” state — the state we live in.

To explain how dissent works, Havel introduced the manager of a hypothetical fruit-and-vegetable shop who places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” He’s not actually enthusiastic about the sign’s message. It’s just one of the things that people in a post-totalitarian system do even if they “never think about” what it means. He does it because everyone does it. It’s what you do to get along in life and live “in harmony with society.” (For our purposes, you can imagine that slogan is a red equal sign that you put up on your Facebook page.)

The subtext of the grocer’s sign is “I do what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me.” It protects him from supervisors above and informants below.

Havel is skeptical of ideology. He says that dictatorships can just use raw power, but “the more complex the mechanisms of power become, the larger and more stratified the society they embrace, and the longer they have operated historically … the greater the importance attached to the ideological excuse.”  We don’t have a dictatorship, obviously, but we do have complex mechanisms of power and larger and more stratified society.

In any case, individuals need not believe the lies of an ideology so much as behave as though they do, or at least tolerate them in silence or get along with those who work with them. “For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system,” Havel says.

As most of you know, I’m a supporter of gay marriage. The reasons for it are complex, but mostly it boils down to the idea that if they can marry we won. We co-opt them into the bourgeoisie.

This doesn’t mean I’m at all divided in l’affaire Eich. What happened was repugnant and sickening. It was a discovery of someone’s private opinion and a hounding him for thought crime. (I will add that my gay friends are just as sickened. Of course, they are libertarians. And some of them are anti-gay-marriage for the same reason people here have mentioned: fear of having the ceremonies forced on the churches.)

I’ve heard a lot of stuff about how this means that gays should go back in the closet or other nonsense – but that will solve nothing.
You see, the issue is not gays. The issue is also not income inequality. The issue is not “War on women.” All of these are wedges the militant Marxists use to divide society and make causes both ubiquitous and repulsive to the rest of us. They both engage minorities to their side with “see, we protect you” and disgust the rest of us with the endless hounding of anyone opposed AND THEN they take the backlash and use it to tell minorities “you need us. They hate you.”

That this is bullshit doesn’t stop it from being remarkably effective. If it weren’t, the crazy gambit of “binders full of women” would not have worked, particularly as no one can precisely say what in hell that was supposed to mean or why it was supposed to be offensive.

And btw, as a fifty one year old woman, whose hormonal treatment is a form of the birth control pill (and it will tell you something about my system that I’m probably more likely to conceive while on it – though fortunately at my age that’s also not likely. Fortunately not because I wouldn’t welcome another child, but because I shudder at what my system would do to a pregnancy) I’m getting SO tired of everyone acting like, you know, if the pharmacy mentions what they’re giving me, the mobs of anti-birth control people will kill me, right there in the grocery store.

This b*llsh*t never happened before the stupid election campaign gambit about how Republicans wanted to ban contraceptives (a complete and bald faced lie.) BUT now my doctor and my pharmacist both whisper about that prescription and play idiotic games with my husband, who is signed in for ALL my privacy stuff. (As is older son, in case husband isn’t home and I crash into a semi.) We get the “Do you know what she’s taking? Can you tell us the name?” (No, he can’t. It’s a strange name, because it’s a form of pill only used for this type of issues.) So he has to call me at home and ask the name, and I have to find the old package, all so he can pick it up. He’s in all my disclosure forms. We’ve been married for thirty years. But the Marxists have this myth that hey, someone is going to pound me if they know I’m taking the pill.

In the same way the Marxist myths about gayness make me want to hit something. Or someone. For instance, there is the ubiquitous “gay bashing” which mostly happens in movies and tv shows. Oh, sure, gay guys can get beaten. If they go to a highly ethnic area in big cities. BUT that is never how shows, movies, books, or TV portrays it. Because that’s not part of the Marxist narrative.

And for the record I get pretty d*mn tired of the stupid equal sign, because it’s used INSTEAD of thought. If you’re going to support gay marriage, you should do it with open eyes, aware of the difficulties, aware of the issues it’s going to cause, including the fact some people will be shocked that legalization doesn’t mean mommy and dad now have to APPROVE. (Which a friend of mine says is why most gays want gay marriage.)

I LOATHE the equal sign, the same way I loathe stupid pat sayings like “Female shouldn’t be a pre-existing condition.” I loathe them because they mean nothing, really once you dig into them. They’re just a quack noise that says “I’m going with the opinion I perceive the cool kids to have.”

It’s the same reason I despise the intrusion of feminist issues into historical fiction. Hang it all, not everyone in the Victorian era was a suffragette or discontented with her lot. If they were, it would have changed much earlier. (In fact in women oppressing regimes, as in most of the third world, women are usually the enforcers of status quo.)

Making your main character a feminist is just a “look at me, look at me, look how enlightened I am.”

You can always tell in which direction the herd thinks it is moving, because people say things like “Grandma was a housewife with five kids, but now I can be a lesbian.” You never hear “Grandma was a lesbian, who had this one kid before joining a commune, but now I’m a housewife with five kids and perfectly happy.” I bet you there are as many of one as of the other (yes, there were communes in the early twentieth. And some of them were really odd sexually.) BUT you don’t hear it worn as a badge. People with that history might joke about it with friends, but they don’t blazon it forth as a “look at me, I fit. I’m moving in the right direction.”

All of this is herd behavior. Naturally humans want to fit in. (Well, some of us have given it up, right?) Outliers are punished, as they are in any social species. This is instinctive.

Except that Marxists or, as in the article quoted above, the “post totalitarian state” exploits that instinct. They want you to at the very least pretend to belong. Because every time you pretend, you lend credence to their lies. When you shut up, it allows them to say that all good/smart/bright/minority/purple/dinosaur people agree with them. And those in the crowd who disagree look and see what seems to be a united front and assume they MUST be wrong. After all, all these people agree…

That more than the threat of force makes cowards of strong and opinionated people. And that – that must not be allowed to continue.

It must not be allowed to continue because we know from history that even a majority of the good/smart/minority/cool people can be disastrously wrong. In fact, the history of manking is a stumbling from idea to idea, forever approximating truth, but never actually getting it.

There was a time when it was believed – to quote Pratchett – that a good stink was the only protection against illness. (Yes, I know not everywhere and not absolutely, but this is a metaphor for a type of wrong headed thinking, and I can’t think of another one just now. Don’t kill me.) This was, of course, wrong since sanitation, soap and regular baths have resulted in amazing decreases in mortality.

However, if people had said “everyone agrees, the debate is closed” and hounded out of debate anyone who disagreed, those weirdos who were into washing and soap and stuff, would never have got a chance.

It takes unmitigated hubris to believe that after centuries and centuries our time NOW has it absolutely right – that the best way to run a society is the way our progressives believe it should be run, and that therefore anyone who disagrees can not be motivated by pure reasoning or logic, or even a desire to protect someone.

The reason for that unmitigated hubris is mass media, and the uniform leftist grip on it. Insensibly, over the decades of the twentieth century, mass media and mass entertainment, and even books, moved more and more left – because the left captured gate keeper positions and they DO discriminate according to opinion. In their book you can only disagree if you’re evil, and would you hire/publish/produce an evil person – and no one dared speak, so everyone thought that was the way to be.

Now they see their goal – which is seizing society and making the herd obey them, NOT in case you were wondering women’s rights or gay rights, or purple unicorn rights, those are just the excuse they use – within reach, and they intend to seize it. Which is why they’re expanding their mau-mauing, scolding and general fit throwing. Hence Eich, the madness in SF, the madness in the gaming community and the general unpleasantness in society.

Which brings us back to “Stand up and be heard.” The counted doesn’t matter. One of us is enough to let a hundred people in the shadows know “yes, I’m not alone.” Imagine how much it would be if all of us came out of the shadows.

Yes, they’ll attack you. This is how I earned my world’s worst person trophy (half shares with Kate.) BUT that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because even as they attack you, they’re calling attention to the fact you exist.

Stand up. I’m here to tell you it feels better than lying down and being assumed to be part of the herd.

I know many of you have jobs and obligations that don’t allow you to stand up. I was there. But I commented on line under a thinly veiled identity. I was still speaking up. Not as powerfully as I am now, but speaking.

Don’t let them assume they’re dealing with a herd. We’re a pack. Don’t let them corral you. Talk back. Don’t apologize.

This is why I said yesterday that I think people should talk even if I disagree with them. People should talk, in particular, if they’re going against consensus. PUSH BACK.

In a way you’re saving them from themselves. They’re pushing for various idiotic things, because they think they’ve won.

But more importantly, you’re saving yourself and your children from living in a society where you have to go along to get along, and where you’re not allowed your own thoughts. Where even someone like me, who supports gay marriage, can be pilloried for saying “The equal sign is a stupid thing because gay marriage would never be “equal” as such. Also, it was promoted – true – by a communist front group.” And “If we gave the Marxists everything they want tomorrow, they’d just come back with more outrageous demands, because the end goal is to have the herd obey. In unison. And without back talk.”

Don’t give it to them. Listen to me.

If you can at all, in the measure you can, in small ways and big, stand up, talk back, argue. There is no consensus that is perfectly resolved in anything. Our society is not the end all and be all of history. There is no end of History, no perfect society. Marx was a weird man who smelled, a little hairy inkstained wretch who lived on the kindness of others. His perfect vision was more German mysticism than any science known to man.

We’re not standing athwart history saying “Stop.” History doesn’t run in any one direction. We’re standing in front the sniveling Marxists saying “Very funny. Now stop whining and listen to what I think. I have a rolled up newspaper, and it’s time you grew up.”

Stand up. Time to lie down and enough, once you’re in the grave.

 

401 responses to “Stand UP

  1. Stephen Michael Kellat

    Thank you for great morning inspiration today.

  2. One of the biases i always though was odd was the tendency in many mid-to-late 90s sci-fi RPGs (remember, this is the writing I was doing) for a fundamental part of their basic ‘future history’ to be a weakening and crippling of the US. to wit:

    Cyberpunk 2020: US Economy collapses in 1994 after a stock market crash. US collapses in 1996, martial law declared (i do not think this word means, what they think it means) and the Constiution is suspended. The US gets uppity and the EU drops rocks from their moonbase to end a burgeoning war in 2009.

    Shadowrun: The US collapses and splits into several nations.

    Trinity: The US turns into a military dictatorship

    etc… and somehow, Europe is always better off, or escapes most of the damage.

    • Well, they just wanted to get rid of what they saw as the largest impediment. Sort of like how I’d like to drop a rock on DC to improve the US. Except, I’m right and they were wrong. ;)

      • Then there’s that crater where Cheyenne Mountain used to be….

        Oh, wrong book.

        • THAT book is a joy to read as my entire neighborhood gets obliterated :-P

          • Which one would that be? I can think of half a dozen off the top of my head that have that scenario.

          • Rob Crawford

            “Footfall” takes out Peoria, IL, which at times amuses me to no end.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Unfortunately Chicago is rarely taken out. [Frown]

              • Chi-town has the bizarre combination of being third (or so) and still an enormous hellmouth. Though that last seems to be getting better. There’s some interesting correlation with the recent increase in concealed carry. Chicago is a fun town with a fascinating history, but it’s also in the middle of the country, and it’s neither New Yawk nor Lost Angles. I think MadMike killed it hard in the Weapon, though, if that helps.

              • I can fix that! I can make it pulverized! Would you like me to?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Yeaahhh!!!!! [Very Very Very Big Grin]

                • Please? How about some nice very near future catastrophe story, where the plucky survivors in the end are in the process of building something better. I love them and I’d love to see your take on that scenario. :) Yellowstone, terrorists, aliens, zombies, huge meteorite… means matters less than the process of surviving, and if necessary, defeating if we are talking about aliens or war, but seen by some of the more ordinary folks and their more immediate concerns. I like the ‘small’ stories, well, as long as I do get occasional news of what happens in the big picture. As I have said I do like those happy endings, and it’s much nicer to leave the protagonists when the story does make it clear that it’s fairly sure they have a good chance they can keep on building and will not be stomped flat right after ‘The End’.

                  • Yes!! Take out Yellowstone! :)

                    • Been done – how about some idiots activates the New Madrid fault, which triggers previously unrecognized faulting on the Ohio Valley and starts draining the Great Lakes? And restarts the mountain building in KS and OK? (Um, yeah, geology is a hobby. Why?)

                    • Set off the Yellowstone Caldera and you’ll take out most of the Western U.S. I remember reading the park newsletter one year and some tourist had actually asked the park service what they were doing to prevent future eruptions.

                    • Well at the moment, we’re designing a rreeaalllyy big cork.

                    • Bad idea. Don’t you know bottling up the pressure makes the resulting explosion bigger? :)

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Chicago was on my list of cities to take out for one of my nanowrimo projects last year.

                I’ll try to flatten it really well if and when my skills get to that level.

              • lonejanitor

                The Rifts game had EVERY country collapse, and Chicago become the capital of a fascist state, IIRC.

            • Alas, no one has posted a video for “Falling Down on New Jersey.”

    • because the built in bias is that socialist systems are more stable. They’ve been expecting America to collapse since we elected Reagan. They just forgot WHY and are now trying to bring it about because it’s what the future is supposed to be like!

      • OK, now I’ve got to start sketching out that quasi-steampunk story where the hard greens and the nationalists drag “Europe” back into the 19th century and try to lock the borders to all but tourists and approved, culturally-appropriate goods.

      • marycatelli

        Gore Vidal spoke for them all when he ridiculed Reagan for saying that Communism was on its last legs.

      • I think it is also because they think they are (morally) Right, and therefore must overcome any opposition because Evil Always Loses in the end. I’ve heard and read too many in sci-fi (in the mid-late 90s, and after…) saying “the Socialists/Communists/Stalinsits had the morally superior position, and all the historians agree” about some such bit of recent history, sometimes in places where it doesn’t fit with anything else in the story. Or those damn dirty capitalists brought back de facto slavery, just so they could have total control. And so on.

        The thing that gets me is that they really don’t understand the implications of what they are talking about. Attempts at total control more often come from the left, and more often *lead* to the kinds of situations they try to blame on the right.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Remember all those nuclear wars Reagan started? Good times.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Dead is stable.

      • The funny thing about that bias is that Socialist systems have proven to be very unstable. They don’t have the feedback and failsafes that a more free society has and can’t handle minor issues. They also tend to collapse under tiny pressures.

        • One of the things I remember about living in East Germany as a kid was that my father and the family were constantly invited out to visit people – which was expected for a diplomat, but these weren’t diplomatic shindigs, but invitations for kaffeeklatch and ‘tasting real German food’ and ‘come see my garden, it’s blooming.’ Turns out, being ein Auslander they could easily access (we didn’t live in the ‘diplomatic block’ because there were no open houses there, so we got assigned to an apartment that was designated for the families of the Stasi, where we could be kept an eye on…) meant they could ask us what it was like outside of the Iron Curtain. Most of these visits were people who wanted to know what was going on out there – newsy things like how were the Americans really doing, because they didn’t believe that people were in endless squalor and suffering because of Capitalist Evil, or else they wouldn’t be considered a threat. Nor were the people asking even remotely dissatisfied with Socialist living; they were simply sick and tired of being lied to, and told they couldn’t visit kin in the West because of the fear that they would defect. They found the whole idea of being protected from mere news and different ideas silly because they firmly believed that they were in a better society/government/country, why would they ever want to leave that? The people wanting news and inviting us over to their homes felt that their Socialist ideals would stand up to the test of Capitalist contradiction. The fact, it seems that they were constantly being protected from the outside world called into question whether those Socialist ideals could stand up to criticisms from Capitalism, and if so, why did they need protecting then? Why shouldn’t they know what’s going on outside, if nothing else, to reaffirm that they’d made the right decisions?

          They felt that the thought police wasn’t necessary. But thought-policing was the only way they could actually have their society even work, because they had complete and total control over what the youth were learning (World War II never happened in East German education, the only war that did was the First, and Only Great War, at the turn of the century!) The first people to set foot on the Moon weren’t Americans, foolish deluded people, but Russians, and the ship designs better. And so on. Anything claiming the contrary is a lie and everything about those contrary ideas invalid.

          Every time I try to make sense of that, my head hurts from the mental acrobatics and twisting necessary to try follow those ‘reasonings.’

      • I think that somebody’s been expecting the US to collapse since Washington was elected.

    • R. Talsorian’s Cyberpunk RPG (2020 was the second edition of that game, btw) and Shadowrun are both set in the cyberpunk genre (albeit an urban fantasy version in the case of the latter), which requires corporations as the major world powers as a basic part of the setting. Crippling the US is pretty much the only way to bring something like that about in a near future setting. Also keep in mind that both games were created in the late ’80s. Predictions at the time were that Japan would eclipse the US as an economic superpower, and that the EU would become the United States of Europe – a united Europe that was capable of rivaling the US in reach and prestige.

      Of course, we all know how both of those predictions turned out. But hindsight is 20/20.

      • Fun games, though. Still are, in current incarnations. Shadowrun also had the “magic rocks fall, everybody dies” vibe, with humanity splintering into several pseudo-species via unlocked genes, native uprisings, dragons reappearing, divers alarum and general hilarity ensuing. Still fun, but what a mess of disbelief to suspend.

      • ReallyBored

        Europe in Shadowrun isn’t exactly “better off” either. It’s more unified than the the UCAS/CAS/NAN/CFS/Aztlan mess…but that’s just because it’s the private fief a dragon who has shown that he’s willing to eat dissenters if that’s what’s necessary.

    • Draven, I played both Cyberpunk2020 and Shadowrun; Europe didn’t come off any better once they got around to writing the sourcebooks. You want an exmple, look up Shadowrun: Germany. Think Grimm meets Cthulhu…

    • I’m not familiar with Trinity, but the other two were written by Americans for American audiences. Therefore, the US is the place they focus on because bad things happening to other people is pretty much what makes a good story. It’s like the ancient Chinese curse says: “May you live in interesting times.” Interesting= crazy.

      Also, with Shadowrun there needed to be a somewhat homogeneous group that had retained a magical tradition. Where were they going to come up with that if it was the American Indian population? Europe just doesn’t have a group that would work

      • This, precisely. I don’t think it’s so much an “America is evil and needs to go down” attitude, even if the authors actually hold that attitude, as it as an “America is where the majority of our customer base lives, and it’s more interesting to read about your own country being turned into something new than about some other country you haven’t visited” attitude.

        Another example: Crimson Skies. The map of America in the Crimson Skies universe contains such interesting locations as French Louisiana, the Republic of Texas, the Nation of Hollywood, Free Colorado, and the Industrial States of America (capital, Chicago). Why? Because it’s more interesting that way.

  3. They make EVERYTHING political. I finally have Firefox configured the way I like. I’m not going to change browsers because for a moment the company was somehow tainted by teh anti-gay, not because it caved into those mob totalitarians who accused them of that taint so they toppled over the OTHER way. The browser I use is the one I use because it works for me, not because I’m making some god-damned political statement about an ideological fight I have no stake in, and I’m not going to change it because one group or another has their pink frillies in a bunch.

    As for the rest of this “non-discrimination” as they call it in IngSoc, it strikes me more as yet another club to use against he leftist-sanctioned Christians. As in “Your principles are meaningless, because I have money, now dance for me Christian, Dance!” I’ll believe it’s truly about blanket non-discrimination when a Christian can sue a Gay and Lesbian bookstore for not ordering a Bible for them. (Or just to be particularly evil, did Fred Phelps ever publish something?).

    • The witch hunts will only get worse as the results of progressive social policies and economics (BIRM) become plain to everyone. The social issues club is the only weapon they have left to keep the masses in line, so they’ll wield it with indignant shrieks again and again and again ….

    • Or when someone sues the local I$lamic Cultural Center for refusing to host bas mitzvas or a gay wedding reception (with catered pork BBQ supper).

    • I kept using Firefox as long as they kept Eich. I voted against Prop 8 (but fully understood the outrage that triggered it – the judge who handed down the verdict should have recused himself). I thought Prop 8 was a bad idea. But I did not, and do not, think that the majority of those who supported it did it out of “homophobia” or “hate” or any of the other buzzwords. Especially since the oh-so-righteous are giving any “progressive” politicians who held the same views at the same time a pass. And giving in to bullying, from anyone, just encourages more of the same.

      Once Mozilla caved, I started looking for alternatives. Right now I’m giving Pale Moon a try (based on an earlier version of the open-source Mozilla code – and significantly faster than Firefox). I can’t stand IE. I’m less than thrilled with Chrome, though I use it for some things

      • Anybody able to recommend good Firefox alternatives for Mac OS? I’m used to Firefox, and not sure if I will stop using it, but I’d still like to find some good alternatives just in case. Pale Moon only works with Windows, right?

        • Opera
          Chrome (Google)
          Safari (Apple)

        • I’ve been using Pale Moon. It’s based off the Mozilla open source engine, which means it’s very similar to Firefox. Since it is based on open source code, Mozilla doesn’t get any credit when you use it. Firefox add-ons even work with it: http://www.palemoon.org/

        • Oops. Realized you meant Mac :) Pale Moon won’t work with Mac. I’ve used Opera before on a Mac (when I had one). Worked really well for me.

        • I’ve switched to SeaMonkey. It’s seems to respond better than Firefox and so far isn’t sucking down memory or cpu.

        • I’m using Iceweasel. Firefox stripped of bloatware and Mozilla branding, vetted, as far as I am aware, by the team that works on Debian.

          I avoid Chrome.

          If you’re using a Windows box though, oddly enough, if you’re using Microsoft Security Essentials, IE is the better choice for browsing, I’m told, due to it working with the security stack. Of course, for security suites, there’s nothing better, I’ve found, than the newest version of Norton 360. Yeah, I know, the old versions used to be horrible, but I used Norton while I was on Windows, and it was very secure.

          • Chrome needs taken out back and beat…. repeatedly…. until it can’t sit down.

            • What’s wrong with Chrome? And does Iron address the concerns?

              • I like Chrome, but I know a lot of people don’t like the risks involved in clouding your information.

              • Chrome is like a virus. It loaded something onto my computer, that wouldn’t allow me to view many websites with IE or Firefox. I had to download Chrome, because I didn’t even have Chrome on my computer, so I could turn that function off (I don’t remember exactly what it was now, but give all thanks to Sabrina for diagnosing it and walking me through fixing it) then even though I deleted Chrome back off my computer it is insidious and reminds me every so often that I don’t have Chrome, and I really should be using it.

                And I don’t know enough about it to accurately assess the risks of it clouding my information, so I’ll err on the safe side.

                • What’s worse is that some companies like Adobe have the bad habit of packaging a Chrome install with their updates and installing it when you accept the update without asking if you want Chrome….

                • Holy cow, if it did stuff like that to me I’d ditch it too– I’ve never seen anything at all like that, and I HAVE to use explorer for some things. Where on earth did you download it, and when?

                  Trying to figure out if it was a special brew or before I started using it or something.

                  Those kind of tricks are why I refuse to have iTunes on my computer.

          • I use avast.

            • We both use Avast! at our house. It’s free to individual users; I like it enough that I bought a site license for the whole home network. I’m a cheap bastard from the Kim du Toit school. ;-) If I pay for it, it has to work.

              Incidentally, my employer uses McAfee; I’ve actually seen Avast! stop an attack site that McAfee let through.

              • I use Avast, and have seen it stop lots of ‘attacks’ that were just pieces of software, especially recently… like my KVM monitoring software, the drivers for my Spaceball 4000, etc… if you have lots of ‘not in common use’ software, you need to watch avast’s detections or it will break stuff.

  4. Well, for me the filter is a natural one, developed after a lifetime of having a pre-speech internal checklist:

    did you really understand what they were saying? Is what you want to say responsive? Does it make sense? Good, now remember to vary the tone of your voice, make eye contact occasionally, and smile … hey, where is everybody?

    I’ve sworn to be as honest about my beliefs in my writing as I can, to never add some off-hand statement to prove that I’m one of the group, and to never flinch from words that trigger mindless, instinctive political reactions–if they’re what the story requires.

    Er, please imagine me smiling and speaking in a pleasant tone of voice while you read this ;)

    • “never add some off-hand statement to prove that I’m one of the group” may not be helpful, for loose definitions of “one of the group”. In the Eich case, for instance, if you can honestly say that you disagree with Eich’s politics then it’s probably worth bringing that up, just to keep the pro-blacklist vs anti-blacklist debate from being disingenuously reframed as pro-gay-marriage vs anti-gay-marriage.

      Using Scott Alexander’s “Object-level vs meta-level thinker” terminology ( http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/03/08/the-slate-star-codex-political-spectrum-quiz/ ) I currently get the feeling that many object-level thinkers think that all meta-level thinkers are either liars or rubes. If you’re a counterexample to that, make sure you’re known as a counterexample.

  5. Probably the most blood pressure raising moment was when I read the gay couple from Rarebit (I don’t recall their names right now, but they have been quoted and linked to articles quoting them in several posts the last two days, here) said they didn’t want Eich to lose his job, they just wanted him to apologize and then go on to be a good little CEO. a) I don’t believe they would have been satisfied with an apology, I can’t think of a single instance in the past when the left has accepted an apology and let bygones be bygones b)ALL they wanted was him to say they were right and he was wrong?

    By the way, I find it interesting that NOBODY is reporting how it came out that he donated $1000 to Prop 8, six years ago. It is very possible that he told people he did, but I haven’t heard that anywhere, and such donations were, I thought, supposed to be anonymous.

    • The CA Secretary of State released the donor lists after an FOIA request, is my understanding, and the LA Times made a searchable database.

      • And this is chilling of speech. How many secret conservatives in Hollywood are afraid to donate to anything? I know I was because my state HAS a searchable database.

      • My understanding is that someone at the IRS leaked the data. iirc, there were early attempts to get the donor info immediately after Prop 8 passed, and they were blocked due to local California state laws (one of the few things that my state does right…).

      • Actually, CA law requires that info be gathered; the state posts it online. The LA Times set up the easily searchable version. The IRS was not involved with THIS one.

  6. Note that there’s been some confusion: The Prop 8 donor lists were not leaked from the IRS (that was a different donor list); donations above a certain amount are public record in CA, ostensibly to inform the public who any given campaign is beholden to. (Though the lone dissent when this topic came before the Supreme Court was explicitly concerned about bullying such as this.)

    Here, by the way, is Eric Raymond’s idea of an appropriate response, from his essay Pushing back against the bullies:

    When I heard that Brendan Eich had been forced to resign his new job as CEO at Mozilla, my first thought was “Congratulations, gay activists. You have become the bullies you hate.”

    On reflection, I think the appalling display of political thuggery we’ve just witnessed demands a more muscular response. Eich was forced out for donating $1000 to an anti-gay-marriage initiative? Then I think it is now the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that they have done so as a protest against bullying.

    Eric Raymond is no friend to religious or traditional sexual mores but is a staunch supporter of free speech and civil society. In the comments to this essay he adds, “Even some prominent homosexuals are now worried about this. [They] understand that homosexuals and other out-groups have the most to lose if the broad covenant of political tolerance is broken.”

  7. The part about California’s Prop. 8, is that California already has a “Civil Union” law, so the fight is only over the word marriage. And to be honest the word ‘Marriage’ should be scrapped due to the fact that government has taken so much control of the subject that it doesn’t mean matrimony (Mother-family) but a civil union with deductions, community property, etc. I think we should do the same as you stated Portugal does, have a civil union for everyone, marriage for church and ancestry. Which I think is what the Socialists want to destroy, all linage of the masses, leaving only the aristocracy (the great families in history) Maybe I’m giving them too much credit; but the way to conquer is to take away a person’s identity .
    The propaganda machine in this country is amazing in scope and being the lone Libertarian, I’ve found that speaking up is that lone salmon swimming against the current and lots of hungry bears waiting upstream. It’s a good thing I like privacy.

    • Ironically, the California Supreme Court used the fact that the public was in favor of Civil Unions as justification for their decision that not allowing Same Sex Marriage was a violation of the state’s constitution.

  8. Does there seem to be many more witch hunts than usual? Is it because they see the end of the tunnel or is it because they see it crumbling around them? I’m not sure. I do know that people who used to be “tolerant” are now squawking conservative.

  9. Remember that this is not a struggle about ideas, it is a struggle about power. The “memes” are used as a pretext to control or destroy people, to invert power so you don’t have to create a business or convince people you are best suited to run it, you just have to blackmail or extort the people who are in charge and you have all the power.

    • Exactly! I say that these people would rather have total control over a tiny economy than 1% of a huge economy. They know that they are right and their way is only way.

      • Funny… “big frog in little puddle” has always been representative of people who don’t dream big. Yet these people think THEY are the dreamers!

    • With this mindset things will crumble because this isn’t a successful way to run things. Having a PC idiot in charge who doesn’t know anything about business will run the company into the ground.

  10. Testify, Little Sister! This is why I call myself a smash-mouth constitutionalist. Somebody reaches for my liberty will draw back a bloody stump.

    I teach it this way. Back in the ’50s, Disney put out a cartoon short teaching (ostensibly) how to be a good citizen behind the wheel. And one of the lessons was not to “drive with your horn.” Don’t be a jerk; don’t point out the faults of those around you — drawing an == equivalence between the two. But the lesson that seems to be drawn from it is: don’t point out those around you who engage in (and get away with) anti-social behavior.

    But the lesson to be drawn from the aftermath is: when good men are silent, bad men “get away with it.”

    So, my rule is: blow your horn.

    M

  11. Sarah, you make me want to stand up and slap the world in the face with my personal opinion of so much of the rampant stupidity I see each day in the media. Not that I’ve been accused of being a shrinking violet anyway, usually its oh my God, shut up!

  12. “Do you know what she’s taking? Can you tell us the name?”

    I’m the repository of all my wife’s medicatons’ names. And dosages. And refills. And doctor’s visits. And… well, you get the idea. Since she can no longer drive more than a couple of miles, and only certain times of day, for the couple of hours right before she takes another dose, it’s all on me.

    But, fortunately, my pharmacy is nothing like that (Heh – when, during the first part of the year, before we used up the insurance deductible, her prescription for a synthetic THC drug was being refilled, the pharmacist looked at the price, nearly fainted, and told me we could fly to Colorado and buy the real thing for how much it cost [$1000]. I just replied that I was concerned about getting it back home without being arrested.). They would just fill the scrips and ask if I had any questions.

  13. Alright, I can’t resist anymore:

    • I was being a responsible adult and manfully resisting posting that. Thank you for preventing me giving in to temptation. :)

  14. The chilling of speech is one of the most dangerous trends cruising society these days. That it’s driven by vile-progs does not lessen the danger when it’s being adopted by all sides.

    We should stand up, most assuredly. But, I think, we also have to listen. Not to the vile-progs, it doesn’t take long to recognize their patter, but to the other members of our society. There are people who fall all across the political spectrum who are friends of liberty. Too often I’ve heard denunciation of anyone left of the speaker as equivalent to the progs, and I think it’s hurting us.

    Anyroad, minor diversion. Maybe a little bit of me poking my head up. Carry on.

    • since left is usually “more marxism” no, we don’t need to listen to that. That well is poisoned. If you mean people who have opinions they arrived at by deep thinking, some of which will be judged “left” — say a preference for marriage across the board — yeah. At least listen to my explanation…
      Just as though I hate taxes I’m willing to entertain the idea that we can’t do away with government relief altogether for cultural reasons (because people won’t let us) and so I’m willing to listen to how to structure it.

      • since left is usually “more marxism”

        Not what I’m talking about, and I agree. Vile-progs and such.

        The problem with a left-right political axis is it tends to skew associations, and that’s what I mean by “left of the speaker.” There’s an awful lot of people to the ‘left’ of Limbaugh, but it doesn’t make ‘em leftists. Anymore, however, I’ve seen people dismissed (been dismissed myself) as ‘leftist’ because they’re not rigidly conservative as defined by — whomever. It’s the same game the progs are playing.

        If you mean people who have opinions they arrived at by deep thinking, some of which will be judged “left” — say a preference for marriage across the board — yeah. At least listen to my explanation…

        Is what I’m talking about. I’ve seen and been involved in numerous discussions that devolved because the opposing speaker pronounces “that’s what ‘those guys*'” say. Rational discussion ended.

        I think there are an awful lot of intelligent, well-reasoned people who are falling victim to the progressive agenda to polarize politics. There are many people who belong to the “just want to be left alone” camp who have been driven across the line to the democrats because they’ve been ostracized by ‘conservatism.’ I want those people back.

        The more rigidly society enforces a political division on issues that don’t have to do with the formation and function of a governing system the more polarized our society will become and the more success the progs will accrue.

        I don’t think we have a disagreement, here, but I’ve got the makings of a sinus infection and the pain spike to accompany it so I may be terribly unclear.

        *Insert whatever group you’d like in place of ‘those guys,’ I’ve probably heard it referenced before.

        • There seems to be something of a language barrier between people brought up in different camps.

          One example: a question which can bring big problems seems to be trying to talk about how to get from here to there – lets say, so yes, too many government subsidies, but if we manage to get where we really start to dismantle these systems, well, my opinion is that you should not start that by cutting the welfare money off first, not in any radical ways. Cut the red tape for companies, especially small ones, first, make it easier to make a living other ways, just go after the obvious abuses of the social security benefits but don’t start by trying to dismantle the whole system right away. Too many people depend on that money right now, and have grown up depending on that money, and if you just cut that money off cold many of them would not know what to do. And yes, some are there just because they are lazy bums. But the current systems are also a trap that can be between very hard and impossible to get out of, especially if you were born in it, and many of the people in that trap have become like zoo animals who would not be able to adjust easily to living free again.

          And the thought of being kicked out of their cage scares the hell out of many of them. Would work better if you at least let them think they are getting out on their own terms, not being kicked out.

          But conservatives (American version… damn, sometimes it’s difficult for me to talk about these things since the words do mean something a bit different where I live) often talk as if they wanted to just cut that money off, cold. Great way to drive those people into the liberal camp, guys, and voting against you, you are making them think that they will end begging in the streets if you get your way.

          But when I sometimes try to talk about that I often seem to get attacked. True, I’m not very good making clear what exactly I mean, but often it seems many of the conservative types don’t try to understand either, they just jump. And most often I’m not talking about exactly how to _do_ something, either (because I have no bloody idea what would work best), but more about what talking the way you do _sounds_ like to somebody like me who has grown up in a more thoroughly leftist society than most of you have, which, I think, may make it easier for me to understand what things sound like to people who have been taught to think in leftists terms.

          Far too many of you are right now only preaching to the choir. Since many in that choir are in hiding, thinking they are alone, that is admittedly important too. But if you want to win you also at some point have to start reaching for those people who have not yet realized they basically think almost exactly the way you do, but have been brought up to think of you as the cavemen and keep hearing that due to the way you talk. Because you do use language a bit differently than they do.

          • “. Because you do use language a bit differently than they do.”

            Yeah, they’re like those dang Brits, they speak a language that sounds remarkably like English, but it’s a different language than the English I speak.

          • But conservatives (American version… damn, sometimes it’s difficult for me to talk about these things since the words do mean something a bit different where I live) often talk as if they wanted to just cut that money off, cold. Great way to drive those people into the liberal camp, guys, and voting against you, you are making them think that they will end begging in the streets if you get your way.

            Oh, my goodness, yes. I actually have heard some of my friends say, “Just cut it off. Cold Turkey.” Or words to that effect, and I just groan and try to explain why that won’t work, and most of them just won’t listen.

            There are plenty of ways to get the majority of people who are currently on long-term government support to be motivated to get jobs and support themselves, without doing something that drastic, but government doesn’t want to lose them from its rolls, because then they won’t vote for the current tax & spend hogs.

            • I often believe cold turkey would be the way to go. But it will never happen until a total collapse, I would prefer to fix the problem before we have such a collapse.

            • Wayne;

              You can say, “It won’t work.” But if the profligacy continues, that’s what’s going to happen. And it’s gonna hurt.

              M

              • When I say, “It won’t work”, I mean that if you did it that way, the results would be the same as if it happened due to collapse, which will be ugly.

                • The problem, Wayne, is that we’ve argued and argued and the only result is to prove how smart Poor Richard was:
                  “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn at no other.”

                  “Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
                  And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
                  That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
                  And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

                  * * * * *

                  As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
                  There are only four things certain since Social Progress began —
                  That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
                  And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire —
                  And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
                  When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
                  As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
                  The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

                  • And that is why you should scare people with that as the ultimate end if thing won’t change but not scare them that you would do that if you got in power when the collapse hasn’t yet happened. Talk about creating more jobs, and giving more opportunities, and giving alternatives, and maybe cutting the abuses of that government money, but not of cutting off all the money. If you talk about cutting all of the money at all talk about doing it once it’s no longer needed by the people who have been trapped into the system right now, or how that would happen naturally once most of them find jobs. Or don’t talk about it at all, just concentrate on how they would be able to find jobs or start working for themselves under a different system. Concentrate on what would be positive for them. Don’t make them think you don’t care about them and whether they survive. Don’t make them think that you think all of them are just those lazy bums when many really aren’t. Don’t make them your enemies.

                    • just concentrate on how they would be able to find jobs or start working for themselves under a different system.

                      What makes you think they’d *want* to find jobs or start working? Welfare has become a free-ride for too many people, and they’ve come to think that work is for suckers. Telling them you’ll help them get a job is like telling someone living in a nice apartment that you’ll help them get into prison.

                    • But not everyone on assistance is like that. However, the way it’s structured now, most would have to take a drastic cut to their lifestyle if they got a job. That’s not something everyone has the fortitude to do voluntarily, even if they want to be off government support.

                      But, if your solution is to yank it all away immediately, then they will fight you tooth and nail. If a solution is proposed that will allow people to ease off the system, without dropping the support after they reach a threshold which is far lower than the equivalent they have been living on, then a lot of them will do so. It would take a while, but it would be far easier to gain support for something like that, than for just shutting it off all at once.

                    • I think the problem is that you want the “let” them ease themselves off the system. Making it a choice means many/most will choose not to bother. Better to make it mandatory, if gradual.

                      One idea I’ve seen for getting rid of Social Security was to raise the age of eligibility by one year for every two years that pass. Eventually the age of eligibility becomes higher than anyone realistically lives and the whole Ponzi Scheme can be ditched (not that that would happen…let all those proles *keep* their money! They’d just *waste* it!)

                    • I think the problem is that you’re misinterpreting what I’m trying to say. I’m ONLY trying to say that there are other ways, less drastic than a cold turkey cutoff, that won’t alienate people who WOULD support reforms, if they weren’t so drastic that they are guaranteed to throw unbelievable numbers of people into total chaos. Ways that would shrink the rolls, much further than you apparently believe they would.

                      I haven’t begun to describe all the points to what *I* would consider a proper reform. I just pointed out that the current system is designed to keep even people who WANT to get off the system from effectively doing so without it hurting more than they are willing to bear, simply in the name of being off the system, and that proposing reform that equates to dumping them unceremoniously into the street is not going to win any support even from the people who would like to get back to actually working for a living.

                      Many of the things I would support aren’t involved in “letting” anyone ease off the rolls, they’re about making people not WANT to be there, like saying that anyone who receives more than 75% of their support from the government has to live in special apartment housing, and their food stamp allowance would be modified to reflect eating two meals a day in the cafeteria. (The cafeteria would be inspected by restaurant owners, not the health department, and the apartment building would be inspected by apartment managers who do NOT receive any rent subsidy money). And when someone gets a job, you only remove half as much money as they are making from their support: they make $100, you take $50 off support.

                      I know those plans won’t make any headway, either, in the current political climate, but they are less likely to drive potential supporters away.

                    • But not all. Don’t generalize. There are always people who either want to work, or who wouldn’t mind working, in it too. As I said, it can work as a trap, I have friends here who have been on it most their lives in spite of continued efforts to get employed, and I have been teetering on the brink for years myself, I’m considered unskilled labor since I don’t have a degree in anything, most of the jobs for people like me require good health which I no longer have, and there are plenty of younger, healthy people willing to take anything that opens. It really can be between hard and impossible to find jobs now. And at least in my country one of the problems is the transition between ‘on welfare’ and ‘permanently working full time’, the way things are you can very easily fall between the cracks and find yourself without enough money to live on for weeks if you keep working part time and non-permanent jobs instead going of full welfare, which makes it more sensible to not take those, especially since in that situation the paper work to get any assistance can be brutal. But if you then have been on full welfare for months or year or two getting a full time job can become nearly impossible – as I said, at least the way the system works in my country makes it into a trap, and once you are in it fully it becomes a lot harder to get out of it, since they can afford to choose employers much prefer to hire people who have good work histories.

                      And once you fall in and it seems there is no real chance to get back up it’s easy to give up, get angry and go all passive aggressive and basically just say the hell with it, if they don’t want me let them pay for my living then, but that doesn’t mean many would not take the opportunity to work again if it was made easier for them. Feeling important and wanted can be a big ego boost, so if you managed to get into a state where workers are sought after I’d bet many of the less lazy bums would start considering it even if there was no threat of a stick. And some would jump at it.

                      And I didn’t say there shouldn’t be a stick. Just don’t forget the carrot.

                    • Wayne and pohjalainen,
                      What you say about it being a trap is true, and should be fixed. But you guys are WAY too optimistic about how many would voluntarily get off of it and go back to work. From all of those I know on it (a fair amount who are friends) maybe ten percent (and that is probably optimistic) would willingly go back to work when they can live comfortably on SSI/welfare.

                    • Yes, but as I said, you’d need both the carrot and the stick, and the main part is that right now, when many people are ending on welfare against their will because they just can’t find jobs, and it’s the only way for them to get the money they need to live on – Do not scare them by making them think you’d yank that support away from them when they don’t have any alternatives. Tell them that you will give them the alternatives first so they can choose. Right now they DO have something you need, their votes. Do not alienate them NOW.

                      If you get into power and can start changing the system to something better before the collapse happens, then once there are some real alternatives available, like jobs, THEN you can go for the drastic measures as needed.

                      I am not talking about long term. I’m talking two things: message, and transition. And right now the message is the most important part if you really do want to change things, you need the votes.

                    • Her point about message and votes is also what I was trying to get at.

                      Besides, even 10% reduction would give breathing room to work out other things.

                    • Yes.

                      And there are ways and ways to talk about things. Right now too many of you talk about all welfare recipients only in negative terms. Don’t. Talk about the welfare system in negative terms, but give at least the benefit of doubt to the people who receive that money. Talk about how it is a trap. Talk about how beneficial it is to the other party because the more people they have on in the more votes they get as they have made those people depending on their good will and continued support, and maybe they aren’t working all that hard to really get people off it. Talk about how welfare infantilizes people, makes them fully dependent on the government, takes away their choices and forces them to keep on voting the people who give them that money. Even talk about those people who abuse the system, but never indicate that this includes all welfare recipients – hardly anybody ever is willing to acknowledge that he is the leech or the stupid one, it’s always somebody else. So talk in terms how good, honest people who really do not have any other choices and are on welfare because they have to be, how the money which should be going to them is instead going to those lazy leeches, and because of them the whole system may collapse when the money runs out.

                      Always leave the choice of letting each individual think they are one of the good guys in this scenario, and you are not talking about him when you are talking about the lazy bums. Let them keep face. Talk about how your way would give them more choices, and how there would be more money for them if they truly need that money if you eliminate the abuses and get more people off welfare, not about kicking them out on the street because they are lazy. Do not alienate them, and you have a much better chance of getting at least some of the votes you need from them.

                    • And yes, the stick – do keep harping that the money WILL run out sooner or later, and how really, really bad that is going to be for those who are on welfare when that happens. Especially if they have been on it for a long time. Scare the hell out of them, but in a way which make your solution seem like the salvation. Right now you are making your solution seem only like a threat.

                    • Until the next Democrat administration decides to unilaterally un-do all the reform that got people off the welfare rolls in the first place. Like waiving the work requirements from the Clinton/Gingrich welfare reform legislation of the 90’s.

                    • Well, then, since there will never be enough support for a cold turkey approach, resign yourselves to permanent expansion until the system collapses. I’d rather try to do something positive than simply allow it to spiral down into disaster.

                    • I’m not saying I wouldn’t support your reforms Wayne, I just don’t see any serious chance of them ever being implemented. Any politician (usually Republican) who proposes *any* reform will be eviscerated by the Dems and the Media (but I repeat myself) and the proposal will go nowhere.

                      I don’t think there’s a workable solution short of a real, bloody crisis.

                    • Part of the problem is the conflation of terms, welfare has came to be used as a generic term for practically any type of government assistance (some even include veterans benefits in that) by many. While others include only those programs paid under TANF, excluding any government retirement benefits (social security), disability payments, unemployment benefits, etc. Also confusing the discussion is that some control was given back to the states, so each individual state has different requirements, even though the bulk of the money still comes from the feds, so attempts to either cut or enlarge the money are done on the federal level, while decisions on distributing the money are made on the state level. (this actually makes better sense than it sounds like)

                      Frankly I’ve never known anyone on the long term TANF style welfare that I didn’t view extremely negatively. This is what most who speak derogatorily about welfare recipients are speaking of, while those who want to maintain or expand benefits claim that they “want to throw grandma off the cliff.”

                    • Then make sure you make the distinction when you are talking about benefits. As long as the others can convince both grandma and people who worry about grandma that you are talking about them they keep winning.

                    • My grandmother is dead (the one I know about). My mom doesn’t need Social Security. *I*, on the other hand, could certainly use the money and my employer’s “matching contribution” that go to J. Random Boomer every month rather than into my checking account. I expect young, married couples with children could use the money that’s going to their elders even more.

                    • and I’m doing double contributions. Think on that.

                    • Not sure what you mean by “double contribution”…your own plus what would be the employer’s “contribution”?

                      In which case you, too, would be better off without the millstone of Social Security eating your earnings for the benefit of people who didn’t plan for their retirements and refuse to keep working.

                    • Yep. Mine plus the employee’s. That’s what self employed does. And YES. G-d yes. I write a book a year for the govarmint.

                    • I suspect that the only thing that would really work would be long-term and extremely harsh: women who have children they can’t support and whose fathers can’t support them either are unfit parents, and would lose the kids as babies, before they manage to make them unadoptable. Painful. A lot of false positives and false negatives. But workable.

                    • “Not sure what you mean by “double contribution”…your own plus what would be the employer’s “contribution”?”

                      Exactly, and I’m young enough I KNOW I’ll never see a dime of it.

                      Then just to give everybody an incentive to work hard and pay their “fair share” they send out a form every few years showing how much you will get if you continue to pay in at the same rate as you currently are and work until you are 65 (which I know is a lie, any idiot with a second grade comprehension of math knows there won’t be any money to pay SS with in thirty years), and if went on SSI disability tomorrow how much you would get each month for the rest of your life. Note that the check you would get each month if you got hurt (or convinced the right people you were hurt and couldn’t work) is always lots (orders of magnitude for most people) more than if you continue to pay in for thirty or forty more years, and you would be drawing it for an extra thirty or forty years. There’s some incentive to keep your nose to the grindstone.

      • because people won’t let us

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been vilified by the “ideological purity” branch of Libertarianism for taking that exact approach–dealing with the reality of what people will accept rather than all I would like to have.

      • I have to wonder how the only philosophy that seems to be acceptable is German romanticism, which based on historical evidence is consistently a disastrous failure at both creating a viable society and understanding the human condition. Why is it that the all the other philosophies from classic times and the Nineteenth Century have gone by the wayside even when they created successful powerful and prosperous states in favor of an ideology that has consistently created failed states.

  15. I might have to change my commenting name again. Not too long ago, we received a “Social Media Guidelines” paper, telling us that we need to be careful what we say, because we don’t want to hurt the public image of the company.

    May have to make a separate Facebook profile, too.

  16. It’s good to see that people are waking up, if only to the nightmare of modern Leftist eugenics, perfect human utopia slave plantations, and various other evils.

    The Left is an alliance. As an alliance, they are full of thousands of various groups like the Nation of Islam, Islamic jihadist sympathizers, blacks who hate homos, homos who hate blacks, homos and blacks that hate women, so on and so forth. Mutual interest and mutual enemies tie them together, as Yeeland is tied to Islamic Jihad, and Islamic Jihad is allied with the Left, while Hussein O sells weapons to Libya’s AQ, coincidentally producing Fallujah III where better armed AQ took the city back.

    It’s all tied together, whether people know it or not. The dots can be connected.

    Ideas like communal property have been around even since the Mayflower days. Thanksgiving, food and knowledge from the natives, saved the colony. The Leftist alliance is merely a new thing born out of an old evil, one that can sustain itself with other people’s money. The Pilgrims couldn’t sustain themselves, except with the food from other people and had to change or starve because their community farming system didn’t work. The modern Leftist alliance will make everyone starve, everyone who doesn’t obey the Regime, and enslave the rest of humanity in the bargain. Then and only then do they have to worry about starving, after humanity has been picked to the bone.

  17. Christopher M. Chupik

    And there was that twit on Twitter who compared Baen Books to Nazis because . . . well, they didn’t really give a reason. Because they say so, I guess.

    • Rob Crawford

      In the future, everyone will be a Nazi, at least for a moment.

    • Because scary black guns. And chicks in armor. And all Baen authors are male. Even the ones who use female pen names. Really. :P

    • Craig Allen

      Christopher, one of the things I’ve noticed the left loves to do is poison the waters where non-progs frolic. One way to do this is to mindlessly call people names, even if it doesn’t make sense. Anyone who truly thinks Baen == Nazis is ignorant of both politics and history, but I’m sure that wasn’t the tweeter’s point. The goal is not to say anything meaningful, but merely to disrupt the conversation so no one can speak against the progs.

      It’s one of the ways the left shuts people up.

  18. You can always tell in which direction the herd thinks it is moving, because people say things like “Grandma was a housewife with five kids, but now I can be a lesbian.” You never hear “Grandma was a lesbian, who had this one kid before joining a commune, but now I’m a housewife with five kids and perfectly happy.” I bet you there are as many of one as of the other (yes, there were communes in the early twentieth. And some of them were really odd sexually.)

    One of the most amusing things about slowing learning history is finding out that the ‘neopagan’ movement– to avoid argument, I’m focusing on the “oh I worship Odin ‘cus he was cool in the Thor movie!”/ “Easter is named for the goddess that gave us the word estrogen!” type folks– would be in-character for a steampunk campaign. (Marlon the Magicain series got me looking–I really should’ve figured it out from Crowley, but I’m not that good at extrapolating.) Kids who are comfortable trying to signal that they’re different. And now we’ve got folks who find some of the WAG/rump-pulls from then and use it as proof that everything is true.
    See also, century-spanning conspiracy theories. It’s funny how many of them dead-end in someone going “Wow, that’s strange!” and spinning a theory, then nobody ever doing the research. I really pissed off some “demons control world leaders” type folks by pointing out that the Vatican has a giant pineapple because it was a gift, not because its symbolizes something or other.

    • But that pineapple is really just a disguised mind-control Pod.

    • I tried to figure out what the difference between thoughtful conspiracies and paranoid conspiracies were. I eventually ended up with the issue of competence sealing the deal. If people don’t know how to carry out a conspiracy, such as detonating the twin towers and collapsing them, generally they won’t know how to detect such a conspiracy in progress because they lack the ability to connect the dots. They just make stuff up on the fly because of ignorance.

      So if a person believes demons control the world, I wouldn’t discount that. If they could prove they could use demonic powers to control anything, maybe a dog. If they could prove that, then well the sky is the limit on the other stuff.

  19. This is why I said yesterday that I think people should talk even if I disagree with them. People should talk, in particular, if they’re going against consensus. PUSH BACK.

    I can almost see it… various trolls popping up to accuse you of silencing those you disagree with, managing to ignore that there’s at least four folks who vocally but politely disagree with you on homosexual vs natural marriage…difference being that it’s done POLITELY.

    When things are A Big Deal, disagreement is going to need to be polite than, oh, Robin and I arguing on if Jedi are really just Lawful Neutral as opposed to the Sith’s Chaotic. (Thinking on it a bit more, I’d say that the organization is actually Lawful Evil because of dehumanizing aspects, with some individuals deviating to Lawful Neutral.)

  20. You know me. I am . . . not sanguine about where things are going to head. I have, perhaps, less faith in the American electorate than most.

    But, I fight. Part of the reason that Asatru* is a good fit for me is that I fight. I took to heart at an early age these words (which should be familiar to most here) “Contrary to some opinions, it’s better to be a dead hero than a live louse. Dying is messy and inconvenient but even a louse dies someday no matter what he will do to stay alive and he is forever having to explain his choice.”

    Horatio at the bridge _sang_ to me. And, of course, I grew up on John Wayne.

    So I fight. I may go down, but I’ll go down swinging.

    *Understand that I’m not a believer, per se. I describe as an “Asatru Leaning Agnostic.” But the great thing about Asatru is that the Gods, if they exist as described, really don’t care what you believe. It’s what you _do_ that matters and there are worse, far worse, philosophies of life than the Nine Noble Virtues.

    • … the Gods, if they exist as described, really don’t care what you believe. It’s what you _do_ that matters …

      Wouldn’t that make everybody Asatru, at least functionally? Which explains why they have some of the best parties, at least.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’m a Bad Person. Every time some body talks about the Asatru I want to shout “Give A Man To Odin”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

      • Wouldn’t that make everybody Asatru, at least functionally?

        Pretty much. Which is why heathen religions aren’t proselytizing religions. I’ve been upfront in Asatru groups that I’m not a believer but like the religion and find a good philosophy of life in the Nine Noble Virtues and, when I feel a personal need for symbolism or ritual, those of modern Asatru suit me well. Nobody’s ever given me static for it at all. (Although you should see the heat between the “Loki is supreme evil” an “Loki is misunderstood and as worth of worship as any god” camps. Personally, I like the take from Flint & Freer’s “Pyramid Power”–and I really want to see more books in that series.)

        • As would I. I’ve greatly enjoyed the way Dave turns the mythologies upside down. Mostly because I tend to dislike supreme (for a given value thereof) beings who act like me, but with superpowers. (I’d prefer not to get into discussions of the Bible and G_d. I have opinions, I understand the theology, and ultimately, I don’t think it matters. At least not that much.) And I’ve always had a soft spot for underdogs. Loki may be something of a jerk, but he’s at least charming about it. Thor doesn’t tend to have even that much. And let us not speak of the Greek pantheon.

          • The Greek Pantheon is best kept behind the pink veil of decency. But it’s a good window into what our ancestors thought was “god-like” Ewwwwwwwwwwww.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              About the only thing “good” I’ll say about the Greek/Roman gods was that they weren’t into human sacrifices. It’s “amazing” how the neo-pagans ignore those features of their “Old Time Religion”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

              • According to my Wiccan friends, any stories of human sacrifice in pagan times was a Roman slander.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Snort!

                  Well the Wiccans also believe that they are the True Old Religion without any facts to back them up.

                  Do they also claim that the Aztecs never sacrificed people?

                  • http://www.archaeology.org/news/1759-140123-carthage-tophet-sacrifice

                    Even when faced by burned babies that were buried in jars with other sacrificial animals that were treated in the same way, with inscriptions saying things like “for answering my plea”, in some cases in the same jar as other animals, some folks insist that there were no human sacrifices.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yep, idiots.

                    • I figure it this way. Plenty of atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity throughout history. That, according to Christians (and I’m willing to accept that as a proposition) is from people misapplying Christianity. i.e. it was what “men” wanted rather than what God wanted.

                      That argument works just as well for Pagan/Heathen religions.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yet, Christians can point to the Bible to say that something was “misapplying Christianity”.

                      What basis does neo-pagans have to say that their religion was “misapplied” in the past beside the fact that they personally dislike what was done by their religion in the past?

                    • Yet, Christians can point to the Bible to say that something was “misapplying Christianity”.

                      Several assumptions in the post of which I quote a bit above that one might do well to examine.

                      First, is the assumption that “written in a book” automatically trumps “personal gnosis from ones relationship with the deity(ies) on professes”. The latter is actually considered more important for many (most?) neo-pagan religions. And, in my experience, often comes with a recognition that the people of the past were not perfect and just because they wrote something down does not mean it was literal, absolute, truth.

                      Related to that is what people did before the books of the Bible were written down? Did they, perhaps, have to rely on the same “personal gnosis”–either theirs or someone else’s? (Say that of the various prophets along the way who simply wrote down their gnosis and which, when collected, became the Bible?)

                      And, so, “I can point to the Bible” is not a compelling argument unless one already accepts the Bible as “truth”, which makes it a circular argument.

                      And, well, I could go on further but that’s the gist.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nope, you’re arguing about the Truth of Christianity vs other religions.

                      I’m questioning the idea that the “old pagans” got it wrong and the “neo pagans” got it right.

                      The neo pagans claim a connection with the old pagans but claim that the old pagans got it wrong.

                      In other words, why should I believe that the “personal gnosis” of the neo-pagans is correct while the “personal gnosis” of the old pagans was wrong?

                      What the Bible is IMO a “standard” to test a Christian’s “personal gnosis”.

                      I may believe something via “personal gnosis” but should I expect other Christians to accept it if it contradicts what the Bible says?

                    • Nope, you’re arguing about the Truth of Christianity vs other religions.

                      No. I’m not. If I were going to argue that, I’d go in completely different directions. For the most part I don’t (unless pushed) because it tends to generate more heat than light and, frankly, I don’t care what you believe. I’m more interested in what you do.

                      What I’m arguing is why neo-pagans can divorce their current beliefs from historic practices.

                      As for the Bible being a touchstone of belief: that’s your standard and not compelling to people who don’t automatically accept said Bible as literal-truth-word-of-God. Besides, what is the Bible but a collection of a bunch of other people’s personal gnoses? The big example is Genesis. Since Moses wasn’t there, then it can be nothing more than his Gnosis, presumably given to him by God.

                      The main difference is that they believe that the “given by ” is to them, rather than to some other guys thousands of years ago.

                      What, of these various beliefs might, or might not, be true in an objective sense is no part of any of my comments on the topic in this thread.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Sigh. In other words, the neo-pagans are not really associated with old pagans. They are “making up” a religion and claiming it is the True Old Religion.

                    • They are “making up” a religion and claiming it is the True Old Religion.

                      Most of the neo-pagans are quite up front about that.

                      But “making up” is a question begging term. They believe they are “re-creating” what the “old Gods” actually wanted by a combination of study and seeking to “commune” with the deity(ies) and obtain that deity’s.

                      Now, there are some, particularly among the witchy-poo crowd (a subset of Wiccans in my experience), who claim a long, unbroken chain of tradition with the past. Ask for a tracing back of that chain and you might get one, maybe two generations (“My grandmother was a witch…) but that’s about it.

                      But even there, consider this comparison: for thousands of years, the beliefs that would become Christianity was a growing body of work. We can start with Moses and the Pentateuch, but additional prophets came along adding to Moses writings, bringing new bits and pieces of “God’s word” to the world. Then came Christ and the changes and updates that came there. And there was still more in the various epistles written by early church leaders producing the rest of the New Testament. And then it was “Okay, we’re done. This is it, the final version forever and ever.” You wouldn’t call the long period before that point (longer than the time since then to now) “making it up” would you?

                      These other religions simply haven’t reached the “This is it,” point yet. And by the nature of their beliefs probably never will (short of fundamental change in the belief itself).

                    • Yes, the witchy pooh crowd drive me nuts.

                    • There’s a discussion on Baen’s Bar’s “Truth vs. Pravda” forum that touches on your point. What’s relevant here is that Judaism does not see the prophets after Moses as having added anything to the Rules, merely reminding people to stick to those Rules, or else.

                      And if it’s the writing of authoritative texts, that hasn’t quite stopped either; the Shulchan Aruch was written only 450 years ago.

                    • Not some of them Phonenician religion was EXPLICITLY all about the sacrifice. Bleah. I had to tell a Pagan friend not to call on Astoreth in the confines of my house. Because.

                    • In Christianity, actual atrocities are in direct violation of the binding teachings.

                      Doesn’t apply for bribing the gods by burning your child alive.

                    • “The rudiments have always been misinterpreted during history, despite the good intentions of many disciples, whose faithful belief was strong and unswayed. Most leaders interpret the old words to their advantage, in the attempt of gaining leadership and power over those unfortunate enough to fall under their maliciousness and manipulative ways. This misuse of trust will forever stain the pages of history, echoing the frailty of decent men, carried away by nurtured rancor.”

                    • A response to TWIB, because WP won’t let me reply to him–

                      Some atrocities attributed to Christianity are the atrocities of secular government–I’m willing to grant Wiccans the same excuse :)

                    • oh yes. there is that.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, there is the aspect that besides Christianity and Judaism, the gap between the Religious and the Secular was narrow in the ancient world. Christians got in trouble with Rome because they didn’t honor the “gods of the State” which was seen as not honoring the secular authorities. Many (if not most) pagan Kings had religious duties that defined their kingship. Some like the Pharaohs were actually considered gods on Earth. IMO it could be hard to separate what a pagan King did in his secular persona and what he did in his religious persona.

                    • If you find yourself trying to defend the morality of those groups who institutionalize child sacrifice, you may wish to re-evaluate your alliances.

                    • If you find yourself trying to defend the morality of those groups who institutionalize child sacrifice, you may wish to re-evaluate your alliances.

                      If you think that’s what I’m doing, you may wish to go back and read again. I’m simply pointing out that people can see a difference between “what men did in the name of the Gods” and “what the Gods actually want” and attribute atrocities to the former rather than the latter.

                    • Actually, you claimed that what the religions did could be equally well defended by the misapplication argument, ignoring the actual teaching/tenents of the faiths involved.

                      Desires attributed to the gods is a third angle.

                    • Actually, you claimed that what the religions did could be equally well defended by the misapplication argument,

                      A little deeper than that, actually. I said a misapplication of what the Gods wanted. It’s not that the teachings were misunderstood, but that the God’s will, as reflected in those teachings, were misunderstood, along the lines of “They taught X but were wrong in teaching that because the Gods actually want Y.”

                      In Asatru, at least in some of the versions I have studied, the surviving myths are considered stories to either explain things they didn’t understand or to teach some concept or principle and are not necessarily “literal truth” and they were written and compiled by humans, quite fallible and having only the most incomplete understanding of whatever truths might lie behind them. Add in the idea from that Epica song I linked and you’ve got all the justification anyone needs to distance their personal belief from any attrocities in the past.

                      “The old words have always been misinterpreted throughout history…”

                      And then they write new words that codify that “misinterpretation” (and can it really be “mis” when it’s deliberate? Is there a word for that?) which becomes a new generation’s “old words.”

                      And note that I’m not saying that I believe any of this. I’m simply pointing out the reasons why one can believe one thing while still not justifying the atrocities of the past.

                    • I have seen similar arguments made to explain some of the horrifying (to modern sensibilities) things in the Old Testament and some of the Apostle Paul’s… odder pronouncements. I’ve not given them a great deal of thought, but since I personally consider the prophets to be fallible humans doing their best with the revelations given them, I find it superficially plausible, at least.

                    • and worse, they were fallible humans who were really not like us. Humans are a self-taming species. They were CONSIDERABLY more feral than we are. Even five hundred years ago, much less five thousand. So once you filter through their minds…

                    • She’s joking! Geesh.

                    • Was responding to the drawing of equivalency between atrocities attributed to Christianity in direct response to an article on institutional child sacrifice.

                    • Didn’t think I was defending institutionalized infanticide, just my woolier friends who prefer to dance after the druids. [unserious tag] Who were, like, slandered by the Romans. [close unserious tag]

                      Besides, I said “some”. I’m sure that covers my butt.

                    • marycatelli

                      As for the Bible being a touchstone of belief: that’s your standard and not compelling to people who don’t automatically accept said Bible as literal-truth-word-of-God.

                      If you don’t accept the Bible as a touchstone of belief when the belief in question is What Should Christians Do and Are These Christians Violating Their Faith — you are just being silly.

                    • If you don’t accept the Bible as a touchstone of belief when the belief in question is What Should Christians Do and Are These Christians Violating Their Faith — you are just being silly.

                      But that’s not what I was arguing. I was arguing that “we have the Bible and you don’t so we get to say whether other people are violating their faith and you don’t.”

                      “We have the Bible so we can say these people were violating their faith. You don’t so you can’t.” That’s to what I was speaking.

                    • “We have the Bible so we can say these people were violating their faith. You don’t so you can’t.” That’s to what I was speaking.

                      Actually, no, you weren’t.

                      And for that matter, that wasn’t what anyone said, so you shouldn’t have been. What was said was that when one religion has an external standard by which its members can be judged (calling it the Bible is a bit simplified by my taste), you can judge them by it and find them bad by it; but when another has no such standards, only its members’ personal judgment, you can’t judge them because they automatically fulfill its standards.

                      It’s like the difference between Justice and Freedom. One can judge whether an act was just, however much it may be disputed. Despite leftists who screech that only the unfree would have acted like that, you really are stuck saying it was free, because the person did choose that.

                  • If you poke? Probably.

                • Yes, they’ve told me the same thing. Bullshit. Sorry, but there are corpses of babies wherever phoenicians went.
                  ALSO the Romans/Greeks might not have entirely eschewed human sacrifice. There have been some… atypical finds in places in dire trouble.

                • Tell that to the bog people, they might need some reassurance.

                  • There are actual peer-reviewed articles by anthropologists claiming that claims of “habitual/ritual cannibalism”* are fictitious and did not happen. I did a paper in anthropology class (had to take two social sciences classes for my degree otherwise I would have stayed far away from it) where I pointed out that the arguments against same were utterly ridiculous. The fact that there is actually a disease whose spread depends on cannibalism pretty much puts paid to that “theory” but that doesn’t stop social scientists** from continuing to present it in all seriousness.

                    So you can’t really blame the “witchy-poo” crowd too much. They were just parroting the same kind of arguments they were getting from people they were supposed to be able to trust.

                    *habitual/ritual as opposed to cases where people were forced into it “in extremis”–things like the Donner party.
                    **I saw somebody say that “social” used as an adjective can almost always be replaced by “not” with no loss of meaning: social science, social justice, social security.

                    • It’s the (insert swear words) Noble Savage and Happy Primitive again.

                      I swear to Bob I want to drop them head first into an Amazonian tribe (not the t-shirt people. T he ones far enough in never have to have seen a stranger) and let them experience the love.

                    • Kuru isn’t seen outside of PNG… so what makes them think it was all over the place?

                    • These are the people that believe Clan of the Cave Bear is based on a true story.

                    • Are you kidding? One of my art teachers thought ANNE RICE was “impeccably researched” as to pre-history.

                    • “social” used as an adjective can almost always be replaced by “not” with no loss of meaning: social science, social justice, social security.

                      I just found my new .sig line! Would you like to be cited as the source?

                    • I took it from a comment elsewhere–I think maybe someone over on Larry’s blog.

                    • I have actually read with my own eyes people advising aspiring writers to read historical fiction to research. sigh

                      (NO! DON’T! Read HISTORY! Above all else, read PRIMARY SOURCE! I can do a pretty rant on this on request.)

                    • Good heavens. I’ve decided I can’t write in Rome UNTIL I have time to work on my Latin, because I kept running into three interpretations and not being sure what was right.
                      Regency fiction, especially, is copies of errors. I still relish (and by relish, I mean I think I threw it in the trash can) the regency where to restore the girl’s reputation she had to dance with the prince regent. WHAT?

                    • That… that… literally made my eyes cross.

                    • If you’re wanting to write historical fiction it’s valid to read historical fiction to learn the “conventions of the genre”* but other than that, I agree, research needs to be history and, as much as possible, primary sources.

                      *reason I spent a time reading a lot of paranormal romance–I had a story idea kicking around. That story didn’t go anywhere, but it’s still in the back of my mind. Maybe it just needs to simmer a bit more.

                    • Oh, yes. That. I read a bunch of Jean Plaidy before writing the dead queens, for that reason. BUT even those have mistakes.

                    • I had a roommate back in the Air Force who was writing a science fiction novel. When asked, he admitted that he’d never read SF. He said he didn’t think he needed to since he was writing “basically comic book in novel form.” Guess what else he’d never read. I’ll give you a hint. The initials are “comic” and “books.”

                    • (NO! DON’T! Read HISTORY! Above all else, read PRIMARY SOURCE! I can do a pretty rant on this on request.)
                      Yes! Please rant!

                    • So y’all are saying those Anne Rice books won’t help me make my pre-history (how do you research that impeccably, anyways?) novelization factually accurate?

                    • Yes! Please rant!

                      hmm. Well, I could dig up the posts I’ve done in my own LJ, but it would be rather long for a comment — a post would probably be needed.

                    • but it would be rather long for a comment — a post would probably be needed.

                      Our hostess is always on the look out for good posts. (hint hint)

                    • Well, then. I will probably get it all written this weekend, as soon as I get my taxes out.

              • Been too many years since I read the plays, but I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about that. Wasn’t it Agamemnon who sacrificed Iphigenia to win a war?

                Ah, wikipedia claims it was to Artemis to get out of port to go fight at Troy. Close enough. That was high school, I’m amazed I remembered anything. (Yeah, I was home schooled: if I wanted to read science fiction I had to read a classic of my mother’s choice first. I read a lot.)

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  IIRC there are several version of that story including one where Artemis saved Iphigenia’s life.

                  Of course, Agamemnon faced the anger of his wife later on with the implication that she was justly angry at the sacrifice of her daughter.

                  • Of course, Agamemnon faced the anger of his wife later on with the implication that she was justly angry at the sacrifice of her daughter.

                    And then the wife, in her turn, faced the anger of another daughter, Elektra (thus “Elektra Complex”, the sex-reversed version of “Oedipus Complex”).

                    • Actually the whole d*mn “extended version” Greek Myth is just like our soaps. People die, come back to life, are found to never “really” have died… uh… it’s a mess.

              • marycatelli

                Neopagans would be fed to the lions faster than the Christians were. Not only are they atheists, as the Christians were, they are also witches and therefore impious.

              • Not all of us. If you play with the old ones, it’s much safer if you acknowledge what they really were. There is no clear good and evil, they are all dangerous.

                • One theory: Earth is something like a school, only we are not always told what is right or wrong, we are supposed to also figure at least some of it out ourselves. And most of the the old gods are harsh teachers who will happily let you hang yourself (doing evil – you just failed the test) if you figure wrong. But they can be very good teachers too. You just have to be very careful with them.

            • Now, that depends on when. Homeric times, sure. In classical times, you have Plato starting off with the observation that of course you will censor all the disgusting behavior attributed to the gods, and others asserting that those are all man-made tales and not to be imputed to the gods, and more.

          • Horniness is next to godliness is pretty much the motto of old civilizations. :-P

            • The saying, “If you’re a god you can do whatever you want,” takes on a whole new meaning when you start to study many of the old pantheons.

        • This was informative, writerinblack. Always thought neo-paganism had only two purposes: excusing one’s own bad behavior and irritating Christians. But the Nine Noble Virtues – seems like something to shoot for.

          Still, what happens if you fall down on one or two? Like if you’re in a bad mood one day and snap at a guest? Or you quit persevering on a bad project and start another? Or you cheat on your spouse? Is there Hellfire? Is redemption possible?

          Or are they more like guidelines – things to shoot for?

          Not making fun. It’s good to have an outline of what good behavior is. All morality does come of religion.

          But this religion lacks uplift, I think. Praying to God, to Mother Mary, to Buddha – it lifts the soul in contemplation of omniscience and infinite mercy. Can’t see praying to Odin as doing the same.

          Look to The Anchoress for the comfort faith can bring:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2014/04/04/christ-crucified-explains-it-all/

          And you should listen to Dennis Prager’s Torah CDs. The Genesis one dispels any notion that this is just one creation myth among many. Here’s a Prager article on how reading Genesis can help with family problems:

          http://www.jewishjournal.com/dennis_prager/article/family_problems_turn_to_genesis

          I’m a Buddhist myself, but I’m a big admirer of Judaism and Christianity.

          You say you’re an agnostic, but when you have a need for symbolism and ritual you turn to neo-paganism. Hmm. My advice is that, since you’re not committed, keep shopping.

          Good luck to you, and thanks again for the information.

          • Still, what happens if you fall down on one or two? Like if you’re in a bad mood one day and snap at a guest? Or you quit persevering on a bad project and start another? Or you cheat on your spouse? Is there Hellfire? Is redemption possible?

            First off, remember that I am not a believer myself. I use Asatru for ritual and symbolism when I feel the need for those in my life.

            That said, there are two concepts: orlogg and wyrd. “wyrd” is “fate”, but it isn’t the complete predestination that some think but rather comes from the accumulated “weight” of ones actions before–orlogg. Everything you do adds to your orlogg and the accumulated weight of all those actions determines your wyrd.

            It’s not just individual, but goes back through your history as well. You carry orlogg from your parents and their parents and theirs and on back. Your children, if you have any, will carry orlogg from you. You can change your wyrd, but the more “bad orlogg” (terrible oversimplification, but it will do for now) you’ve accumulated the harder it will be both to accumulate “good orlogg” (after all, humans are very much creatures of habit–what you’ve done in the past you’re likely to do in the future and it takes real effort to change that) and to overset the weight of the accumulated bad orlogg.

            My interpretation (and this is a personal one) is that the Norns don’t determine fate (Wyrd, the name, by the way, of one of the Norns, although usually Anglicized as Urd) as reveal it. They can see the accumulated Orlogg and tell from that what the fate should be.

            When it comes to any afterlife, that’s a bit more up in the air. The common view of Germanic/Norse myth was that those who died in combat went to Valhalla, those who didn’t went to Niffleheim. However those tales were collected from older oral traditions and “interpreted” well after the conversion of Iceland and Scandinavia to Christianity and the veracity of the accounts has some question to it. As a blatant case, Snorri (the compiler of the Younger, or Prose, Edda) in his forward explained the whole mythology as a corrupted retelling of the fall of Troy. That never made any sense to me and I usually skip that when reading the Edda. There are some hints that things were more complicated. For instance, the bridge across the Gjaller (the river at the border of Niffleheim) was crossed by a bridge, the Gjallerbru, which was described as thatched in gold. Hardly consistent with the gloomy view which the Edda compilers gave to Niffleheim. There is also a region, separate from Niffleheim, called Niffelhel, a place of ice and serpents where the truly evil dead reside. Also, some of the sagas have people whose manner of death would suggest one location or the other actually ending up elsewhere. This is an area where most Asatruar rely on “Unverified Personal Gnosis” (UPG–that’s a term of art among heathens from what I’ve seen).

            And, it should also be noted that both Niffleheim and Valhalla (and Freya’s hall, which gets half of the warriors–half go to Valhalla, the other half to Freya’s hall) are only temporary residing places. After Ragnarok the world is to be rebuilt and the new hall, Gold Thatched Gimle, is to be built.

            This, at least, is my understanding of the belief of at least some modern Asatruar. Understand that there isn’t a core “orthodoxy”. There is the lore, mostly considered stories about the Gods either to explain something the authors didn’t understand or to illustrate concepts. They are not necessarily literally true. Then you have various peoples personal gnoses and people talking together, discussing them, and some of these gnoses becoming common. Add in that what you believe is not important, what you do is–orlogg is based on your actions, not your beliefs; your thoughts only to the extent that they lead to actions–and you have a recipe for lots of heterodoxy.

            Anyway, I hope this helps.

            • I find the concepts of orlogg and wyrd as you’ve described them roughly compatible with my own beliefs. I’m sure there are details that clash, but the general shape of things seems to mesh nicely. The way you explain them, it even helps describe some of G-d’s curses mentioned in the Jewish record, of cursing a people or a family for generations. It’s not that the children bear responsibility for their ancestors’ actions, but that the people carry out the curse themselves in the habits they pass down, and He will not intervene. One could apply it also to the Christian Messiah: his sacrifice allows one to cast off one’s past, break the negative orlogg (would that phrasing be correct?), creating a new wyrd by His grace. That’s some interesting food for thought you’ve given me. Thank you.

            • Thanks. “Wyrd byl ful ared,” is how Bernard Cornwell puts it in his Saxon novels. Those are good, in spite of his Christianity bashing.

              I roll my eyes at the secular dogma that the Old Testament is cruel.

              Cornwell makes up this one scene where Alfred the Great’s daughter is put to the dirty water test by the Bishop of London. She was suspected of adultery, so if she drank water with dirt from the floor thrown in, her legs and belly would immediately swell if she were guilty. (Bet that test saved lots of women beatings and worse.) But it’s presented with a sneer. Totally improbable for a bishop to treat his master’s daughter that way, too.

              The Old Testament ameliorated cruelty in a cruel world – and the rules about slaves are a prime example. To quote snippets to “prove” that the Old Testament advocated slavery is obnoxious and wrong.

              Still see no uplift, no comfort in suffering, no wisdom bestowed by the religion you describe. I repeat, if it’s symbols and ritual you want, keep shopping. (Again, I feel free to say this because you emphasize your agnosticism – not trying to insult.) Attend a Catholic High Mass. Read Cranmer’s book – he burned for it. Drop by the local meditation center. (The central tenet of Buddhism is kinda scary, though.)

              Vaya con Dios!

          • For me, I can’t believe in any one religion and only that religion since I sincerely believe all of them got at least parts wrong – and parts right. And Christianity is among those religions which says it’s the only right one. Which makes it impossible for me to be a Christian since I do _not_ believe that. Neopagans are often a very kooky group but they are one of the few ones who believe in the many paths to God idea, and yes, that how you live and act matters way more than what exactly you believe or what doctrines you acknowledge as true. That if the sum of your life, how your existence affected others around you, or the world around you, is what matters when it comes to judging you, not what you thought or believed.

        • I like Loki. Wouldn’t trust him, though. Not evil, but capricious. Probably doesn’t know himself what he really wants, or is going to do next. :)

          But the same goes for most of the old gods, if you take a closer look at them. You should be careful with all of them.

  21. Christopher M. Chupik

    On a related note, “progressives” against progress:

    http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/04/08/california-luddite-left/

    The difference between them and the Mafia? The Mafia has no delusions that what they’re doing is anything but criminal.

    • Rob Crawford

      The Mafia has members with honor.

      The Mafia doesn’t target kids.

      The Mafia has better food.

      The Mafia has no objections to the success of others.

      The Mafia will leave you alone if you don’t bother them.

      The Mafia is less violent.

    • “With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible.”

      I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  22. Funny you should mention signs in windows:

    Been There, Done That. We should always remember history or we will be doomed to repeat it. Some people will not change

  23. Earlier this week there was a chapel-assembly at the school that focused on the Shoah. (Some of the English classes have been reading “Night.”) What struck me at the end of the assembly is how much more I lean toward Simon Wiesenthal’s approach to things: don’t forget, find the bastages, and bring them to justice. Don’t just “speak out” or “never forget,” but survive and hunt down the s-o-bs. No, I did not mention this.

    (And don’t get me started about people who use the Shoah to guilt-trip kids about “what have you done to stop bullying/prejudice/unkind words.” I can’t afford to replace my computer if I pound it to bits.)

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Don’t get me started on the idiots who equate Christians witnessing to Jews and the Shoah. [Frown]

    • “(And don’t get me started about people who use the Shoah to guilt-trip kids about “what have you done to stop bullying/prejudice/unkind words.”

      For some reason such people never seem to think, “kill it with fire,” is an acceptable response to that question.

  24. Chadd Newman

    Thank you for this.

  25. Discovered today that CA has some fairly strict laws against an employer attempting to influence an employee’s politics.
    This may be actionable even if he “stepped down” voluntarily.
    Just the company representative discussing his contribution might violate the law.

  26. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I really shouldn’t “poke” but some neo-pagans have a “Holier Than Thou” attitude toward Christianity but I’ll try to be good here. [Smile]

  27. Sarah’s right. (Don’t tell her I said that though. I don’t want her to suffer from Swelled Head Syndrome.) Yes, we need to communicate our cause to the undecided. Yes, we need to encourage those on our side in their fight. Yes, sometimes we need to do it just to keep from exploding. None of those are the main reason we need to speak up though. The main reason is this: They’re convinced that they’ve won. We don’t actually exist. They’ve lived their lives in the liberal echo chamber for so long that they’re incapable of conceiving opposition to their goals, or they’re so far gone in their own propaganda that they can’t really believe that we believe what we say we do. For example:

    I was sitting one day in my grad school class that you’re all probably tired of hearing about. The class was advertised as a seminar in writing Recent (post 1877) American History. It turned out to be a class led by a leftist professor with a theme of “Justice”. Ugh. I don’t know how any of what they talked about was “just” but they sure were sold on the concept that it was.

    In particular, we had a conversation on gun control. They were convinced that the only reason anyone could be against banning private ownership of firearms was because they supported the evil, capitalist gun companies. The NRA was a “monied interest” that supported them because evil. As for pro-gun people like me..well… no one used the term “useful idiot” in scholarly discourse, but that was the way we were portrayed, for the most part. Other supporters were “violent people” with “reckless disregard for the lives of others” who were willing to “kill the rest of us, whether on purpose or not.” That was when I saw my chance.

    “I’m a gun owner. How many people have _I_ killed?”

    Professor: “But don’t we all agree that taking guns out of the hands of private citizens will make the country safer?”

    “No. We don’t.”

    The silence was deafening. I had them, for at least a few seconds. I explained that the only defense against a man with a gun was to have a gun. When someone ASKED (you have NO FREAKING IDEA how rare this is unless you’ve been in this environment. Leftists don’t ASK anything unless it’s too make a rightist look stupid. They usually just tell you what you and everyone like you believe.) about the police protecting them I pointed out that.

    1.) Police response time is usually anywhere between two and thirty minutes.
    2.) A man with a gun could stand in the doorway of the classroom and gun us all down in less than the time it took to talk about it if he knew what he was doing. and that
    3.) Yeah, the police would try to catch the guy afterward, but then we’d still be dead.

    It had never occurred to most of the people in the room that using firearms in self-defense was actually possible. They considered the argument to be propaganda. Put in real-life terms it had some traction at least. I then mentioned that George Washington himself had stated that “Firearms are second in importance only to the Constitution. They are the peoples liberty’s teeth.” and promptly lost them again. The “rebels” weren’t ready to rebel. That’s to be expected though, since they’re the party in charge.

    *SIGH*

    At some point though, we all need to do similar and show them that the opposition to what they’re doing is real. It’s not going to stop if we don’t.

    • When mentioning George Washington, it tends to trigger pre conditioned brainwashing in the subjects at hand. Especially those in lecture mode at universities. The Left has spent decades programming their zombie tools to resist things like white man’s burden or traditional American values. So if you bring up the subject, their mind immediately brings down the armor, whereas if you hit them where they weren’t expecting it, they would start thinking about it.

      For a primer on mind control techniques, there was something interesting Leftist psychologists did in the 80s or 70s. They began to use regressive hypnosis, or deep hypnosis, to implant false memories of child molestation in the minds of women patients. This led the women to accuse their fathers of child molestation, with predictable results. Later, they realized the memories were false but the damage was done. I dare say a lot of those psychologists and therapists are still practicing lately.

      B Hussein O was noted for his “hypnotic” speechifying, but to people who are easily hypnotized, the triggers can be implanted merely in a conversation or speech. The research and practical applications for that were mostly done by pick up artists for getting girls. Another version of the con, or confidence game.

      Most of the sources on this can be found on the net via search engines. It’s very fun to see the kind of stuff the Leftist alliance has done for decades, that often nobody will believe or can believe, because it’s never been exposed.

    • marycatelli

      And policemen would have guns.

      One notes that the police are more likely to shoot the innocent than the armed citizen — though, to be just, armed citizens aren’t usually sent into hot spots with nothing more than the information, possibly biased, coming from a 911 call.

      • Also less likely to be involved in gun fights at all– fewer bullets fired means fewer chances for one go through a wall or something.

        The percent of citizens who would carry but are legally not allowed to be probably lowers the numbers too, simply because of the non-zero chance of ANY fired bullet missing its target, and the higher pool of disarmed citizens means that cops will end up having to fire more.

      • Yes, but would they use them. I’m not sure what responses have been like to school shootings recently. I haven’t researched it. I do know that when the police showed up during the shooting at Columbine they surrounded the building and stood there listening to Harris and Klebold shooting people while doing nothing to stop it. If responses haven’t improved since then, I’m not sure they would be helpful even if they did show up.

    • That is one of the reasons I never could fully buy the ‘guns = evil’ propaganda. I loved to read old adventure stories, and due to the way my mind works I couldn’t help also daydreaming up stories of my own.

      And that situation, bad guy with a gun, what do the good guys do – there just is no way to get over the fact that if you want to play by realistic rules the best way for the good guys to survive is that if at least one of them does have a gun. The odds for a police to be close enough to get there in time = low. The odds for beating the bad guy without a gun = well, yes, if you turn the hero into some sort of super efficient martial arts type, or some kind of superhero, but not if you want them to be pretty normal people unless you go for something unlikely. Sure, could think up some plot twist which ensures that the bad guy with a gun never manages to corner the good guys.

      But if you take that scenario and he has them cornered…

      Excepting some sort of Deus ex Machina There Just Is No Damn Way To REALISTICALLY Save The Good Guys UNLESS AT LEAST ONE OF THEM IS ARMED.

      No matter how many times you twist that scenario around and upside down and downside up that always is the best way to solve it.

      So yep, and then you look at what happens and has happened in the real world. Same scenarios.

      Same solution.

      • “The odds for a police to be close enough to get there in time = low. ”

        Also, deus ex machina.

        • Add to that the fact that no law has ever stopped people getting what they want. Not alcohol, not drugs, not coffee during the years it once was an illegal substance in Sweden a couple of hundred years ago. There is no way any society could be completely stripped of guns in either, those ones who really want them will get them. So when they are illegal it’s likely specifically those people who don’t mind killing others, or who _want_ to kill, are the ones who will have one.

          • My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.

            Besides logic is a tool of the white, heterosexual, anti-environmental patriarchy; we don’t use such discriminatory tools.

          • Not guns in occupied Europe. Heck, not guns in the Warsaw ghetto.

    • Hey, at least you had them for a little bit, forced them to realize for a few minutes, you had a point.

      Never tired of hearing stories. Not me, at least.

    • One might note that the “liberty teeth” quote appears nowhere in Washington’s writings or speeches.Too bad, but there are any number of problems with the extended passage, including but not limited to things like “prairie wagons”. Nobody appears to know where it came from, but it seems likely to be a fairly recent invention.

  28. Moved down because I’m tired of the return.

    thewriterinblack | April 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm |

    . I said a misapplication of what the Gods wanted. It’s not that the teachings were misunderstood, but that the God’s will, as reflected in those teachings, were misunderstood, along the lines of “They taught X but were wrong in teaching that because the Gods actually want Y.”

    Previously, in response to an article on the physical evidence of systematic child sacrifice and the arguments about how what had obviously happened really hadn’t:
    thewriterinblack | April 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    I figure it this way. Plenty of atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity throughout history. That, according to Christians (and I’m willing to accept that as a proposition) is from people misapplying Christianity. i.e. it was what “men” wanted rather than what God wanted.

    That argument works just as well for Pagan/Heathen religions.

    These only work if you accept that someone can validly claim to be an observant, practicing Catholic while denying each and every thing in the Nicean creed– which you may believe, but is not even widely accepted. To try to argue as if it is would be equivocation.

    • These only work if you accept that someone can validly claim to be an observant, practicing Catholic while denying each and every thing in the Nicean creed

      That only works if you believe a written creed defines the belief.

      The most common “neo pagan” belief that I have come across is more like “there exists a deity x (repeat for each deity in the pantheon) known by some as y, by others as z, still others as w, and so on. Many beliefs got attributed to deity x only some of which actually reflect deity x’s will. We think deity x actually wants this….”

      This is also a fairly historical interpretation. Consider how the Romans would attribute the different deities of other religions with those of the Roman myth. Some took and virtually supplanted whatever original beliefs were present (Jupiter taking on the stories of Greek Zeus, for example). In others it was more: “oh, yeah, that Germanic Thunnor? He’s actually Jupiter.” and “Shamash is the name by which those folk know Apollo” and so on.

      The upshot is that in. their. belief. system. it’s “we have a god whom we name xxx. If these old people immolated children in the name of this god then they were wrong.”

      This is pretty explicit in Asatru. The Norse performed various sacrifices, usually of folk taken in war and raids. It was a harsh time. There was little one could do with prisoners but enslave them or execute them. And well, Odin hanged himself for nine days to learn the Runes. If we’re going to execute someone, why not hang them in honor of Odin? And there you go, a “sacrifice”, historically practiced, that is nowhere justified in the actual lore. I don’t recall anywhere in the Eddas suggest that Odin has a need for sacrifice, but all it would take is someone back then appending/inserting something about sacrifice to a traditional poem and bam, there you have it, a textual “tradition” for human sacrifice.

      But the Asatruar I know, and I’ve listened in on a few discussions of this, say that the Gods don’t want blood sacrifice, human or other (there is the ritual of spilling a little food and drink on the ground to feed the dead, but I don’t consider that in the same category) and these were appended to the religion for human purposes.

      I simply point out that it’s not a stretch consider that carried to the extreme. That the “human purposes” have so taken over that nothing of the “Gods will” is left is purely a matter of degree.

      There are those who deny that the atrocities happen despite nearly conclusive evidence otherwise, so stipulated. But we also have people who try to deny Charlemagne’s slaughter of the Saxons, that instead of “beheaded” the word actually meant “relocated”. (And, note, from Charlemagne’s perspective his conquest and slaughter of a group considered “evil” is not without Biblical precedent.)

      There are fruit-loops in any belief system. I believe Niven’s Law was referenced on that elsewhere. But that does not necessarily mean that the belief is indefensible.

      • That only works if you believe a written creed defines the belief.

        So yes, you’re arguing on the assumption that anybody who wants to call themselves Catholic, though they categorically deny absolutely everything involved in that faith, is instantly just as much a Catholic as the Pope.

        That ends the possibility of communication, because nobody else is using the terms that way.

        • So yes, you’re arguing on the assumption that anybody who wants to call themselves Catholic,

          No, I’m not. We’re not just talking about Catholics. In fact, we’re talking very little about Catholics. The folk we’re talking about are pretty far away from being Catholic at all.

          Catholics believe that their written creed defines their belief. That’s great for Catholics. It does not, however, apply to folk who are not Catholic. And, last time I looked, the neo-pagans of whom we are discussing are not Catholic.

          • No, I’m not.

            Yes, you are.

            You choose to believe that a religion is nothing more than what an individual self-identifies it to be– taking to a logical extreme with my example– which means that there are no points in common for you to join in a conversation with those who are discussing religions.

            • Yes, you are.

              Repeating an incorrect statement doesn’t make it true.

              You choose to believe that a religion is nothing more than what an individual self-identifies it to be

              That depends on the religion. Some people have their own beliefs without subscribing to some larger organization to define it for them.

              A more accurate statement is that an individuals religion can include whatever that individual self-identifies it to be. It can also be defined by a written creed. Through most of history most religions had no written creed. They were accumulations of people’s individual beliefs that more or less “self assembled” and tended to be remarkably flexible even within a religion. Consider Greek. Perseus, as one of his activities, used the Hydra’s head to turn Atlas to stone, thus creating the Atlas mountains. Herakles, some generations later, got Atlas (supposedly turned to stone by Perseus) to get the golden apples for him and then tricked him into taking back the vault of the sky. This contradiction didn’t bother the Greeks.

              You’re apparently using a very narrow definition of religion as only applying to organizations with a written, spelled-out body of belief. I’m using a broader definition that includes such beliefs but also includes the beliefs of those who have no such written creed. Yours would exclude a great many of the religions throughout the history of the world.

              Far from having “no points in common”, mine includes all the points of yours as a subset. I merely suggest you consider that there might be something outside the bounds you place on them.

              • ” Plenty of atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity throughout history. That, according to Christians (and I’m willing to accept that as a proposition) is from people misapplying Christianity. i.e. it was what “men” wanted rather than what God wanted.”

                “And, so, “I can point to the Bible” is not a compelling argument unless one already accepts the Bible as “truth”, which makes it a circular argument.”

                Last I checked the common definition of Christianity was: follows the teachings of the bible. So yes Christians DO accept the Bible as “truth”, if they don’t they aren’t Christians, regardless of what they call themselves. Thus pointing to the fact that the True Book states that committing such atrocities as the holocaust is NOT what God wanted is NOT a circular argument.

                • Last I checked the common definition of Christianity was: follows the teachings of the bible. So yes Christians DO accept the Bible as “truth”, if they don’t they aren’t Christians, regardless of what they call themselves.

                  Again, context please. I was not objecting to Christians using the bible as a touchstone. I was objecting to using that Christian belief to invalidate that other people have different touchstones.

                  Your touchstone does not necessarily apply to me (agnostic) or to my Wiccan or Asatru friends, or to the neo-Classical friend I had (we’ve sort of drifted apart and I have no idea where he is or what he’s doing now).

                  Using “we have a bible” does not invalidate their touchstones.

                  I have, in the past, written a bit about my own touchstone here: http://coldservings.livejournal.com/48388.html
                  (Need to move that over to The Writer in Black, something I’ve been doing with a number of my personal/political/philosophical posts of late.)

                  • Not saying it applies to non-Christians, it very much does apply to Christians however, whom you said make-up and change their beliefs to “claim” that atrocities committed in the past in the name of God were people misapplying Christianity, not what God wanted.

                    Christians can point to the Bible and say, “see this is God’s word, it is the same Word that Christians had during the holocaust/crusades/whichever atrocity you choose, those committing the atrocity WERE NOT FOLLOWING IT.”

                    We aren’t “claiming” they weren’t following God’s word, we HAVE the SAME Word of God they did, so we can PROVE they weren’t following it.

                    • We aren’t “claiming” they weren’t following God’s word, we HAVE the SAME Word of God they did, so we can PROVE they weren’t following it.

                      While I could point to Biblical precedent for a lot of things that would be considered atrocities today, that remains not the point.

                      You have a Bible. Great. How does that mean that other people who don’t have a Bible can’t say “those folk back then were wrong”? Because that was where “we have a Bible” came into the discussion.

                      I never said that you couldn’t use the Bible as your touchstone. I’ve never actually argued for or against any belief here, merely described how someone can believe something and can justify that belief.

                      And regarding the Bible, and written creeds in general, I point out that saying “we have them” is non-responsive when talking about other people’s beliefs where they don’t have or use such things.

                    • Guys. Nothing in this. “A Man’s Religion is Another Man’s Belly Laugh” RAH.

                      Stop it.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        IIRC John Ringo (a very lapsed Catholic) said that neo-pagans have more in common with various forms of Protestantism than they do with ancient pagans.

        I think he has a point.

        Plus too many neo-pagans sneer at Christians because of the “Christian Sins of the Past” but appear to say that Pagans of the past have nothing to do with them.

        Oh those Saxons that Charlemagne slaughtered?

        I suspect they would have slaughtered the Asutra as not being “their kind of people”.

        Those old pagans weren’t nicer than the Christians they fought.

        • Oh those Saxons that Charlemagne slaughtered?

          I suspect they would have slaughtered the Asutra as not being “their kind of people”.

          Probably. Your point?

          As for the “more in common with” they are, as much as anybody else, a product of the culture around them and interpret things, including the beliefs they build. This is a surprise?

          And as for the “sneering”, considering the typical response I’ve seen from Christians when confronted with beliefs like those of neo-Pagans, well, there’s a bit in the Bible about motes and beams that come to mind.

      • *goes and reads Princess of Wands again*

  29. In the 80’s I read a book by John Dalmas, who it just so happens is a Baen Author, called “The General’s President”
    The book is alright, more than a little polemical and by now, a little dated. But its prolog impressed me with a simple explination of how and why a people can go from being free to giving up their freedom. Basically a people create what he called reality, but could be interpreted as society or culture. In doing so that society reflects their collective unconscious hopes and fears of a people. When a people are hopeful, or feel secure, they generally create a culture with more freedom where more changes can be made. When they are fearful and insecure they generally create a culture with less freedom and fewer opportunities for change.
    The prolog can be found here.

    http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/9781618240446/9781618240446.htm?blurb

    The part about Americans I think reflect what we are going through today. (Sorry for the length)

    From: Introduction to A History of this Planet, by Mentor Hsu Mei Chun, Ministry of Textbooks, 2034.
    This textbook, which begins with the Shang Dynasty, shows you how the people of the world have created our present reality. For people create reality, create it constantly and mostly unknowingly. This is indisputable.
    A ruler creates a broad reality, within which his subjects create their own realities. He creates to whom he will listen, whose advice he will heed, to whom he will give an order, who to praise and who to punish. He even helps to create what other rulers he will challenge, and who will replace him on the seat of government.
    Now I just wrote that a ruler creates a broad reality, within which his subjects create their own realities. And it is true. But the subjects also create the ruler, and thus they create their entire political reality.
    The Russian people had repeatedly been invaded and preyed upon by outsiders until they dreaded foreigners. And in their xenophobia, they created czars who created a strong empire, large and costly to invade. And because the Russian people were disorganized and unruly, it was necessary that they create czars who were domineering and often brutal.
    In time, however, the czars were no longer effective enough or ruthless enough. In a word, the people’s creations were no longer adequate to their need. Thus the people created an intelligentsia, which they then resented and had borrowed a socio-economic theory from a German named Karl Marx.
    Now in another part of the world dwelt another people, the Americans. And they created themselves as a people from elements of many nations.
    The Americans too were unruly. And because they had created a very different environment for themselves, one not unduly threatened by invasions, they undertook to create a governing system that allowed them unusual freedom to create their own individual realities. Which they did, in greater diversity than any other people. And they created a series of chiefs of government who did not rule but presided. For the American people did not wish a ruler.
    But in conjunction with the other nations, the Americans, who were very powerful creators, gradually created a world which was dangerous to them. And being unruly, and lacking a ruler, they began to feel threatened.

    We do not need a ruler. Do not be ruled.

  30. Totally off topic, but I just read something I wanted to pass on, and see how many would recognize the quote. :)

    “I don’t covet money more than that dog o’ mine covets fleas. He likes to scratch’em when he has’em.

  31. Wow. I threw a link to this post up at Facebook, and here’s the response I got.

    “In the same way the Marxist myths about gayness make me want to hit something. Or someone. For instance, there is the ubiquitous ‘gay bashing’ which mostly happens in movies and tv shows. Oh, sure, gay guys can get beaten. If they go to a highly ethnic area in big cities. BUT that is never how shows, movies, books, or TV portrays it. Because that’s not part of the Marxist narrative.”

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…oh man, I love reading the nonsense this woman types, there’s always some great bit of casual racism thrown in (like it wasn’t a bunch of white hillbillies in a small town that beat Matthew Shepard to death) or some equivalent gem that shows that she is utterly and completely out of touch with reality.

    Now, I’m trying to figure out how many points on the Internet Arguing Checklist this guy hit. Definitely 1 and 2, probably 3, and 8. Possibly 4, though I think that’s through sheer ignorance.

    Of course, if anyone wants to help me point out where the poor lad has gone wrong, please feel free.

    • Could you set the privacy levels of that particular post to “Public”? :-)

      On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 6:12 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > Zachary Ricks commented: “Wow. I threw a link to this post up at > Facebook, and here’s the response I got. “In the same way the Marxist myths > about gayness make me want to hit something. Or someone. For instance, > there is the ubiquitous ‘gay bashing’ which mostly happens in mov” >

    • Actually, no — Mathew Shepherd was beaten in a drug deal gone wrong as is now widely known. He’s an idiot.

    • It’s not even hard to find the links to that revelation. In fact, he’d had casual trysts with both of his assailants. It was NEVER homophobia. Of course he SHOULDN’T have been killed, but it wasn’t homophobia.

    • Notice how utterly confident he is in the Marxist Narrative, even thought its been repeatedly proven false.

    • When I click on the link it shows your latest post as March 19?

  32. It occurred to me the other day, when ever the science really is settled, people test it constantly. No one expects the theory of gravity to be disproven any time soon, yet highschool students across the world test it every day in their physics labs.

    • That’s because the teacher knows the answer, and knows if the kids got it right. Could you imagine how much more work it would be for the teacher if the kids were testing unproven theories?

  33. Rob Ramcharan

    One of the bloggers at our town’s newspaper writes about a co-worker who was upset over some of the things he was saying online. He got it sorted out, but had to spend several hours talking things over with the HR people and if he had had a different employment agreement, it might just as easily have gone the other way. More to the point, whatever it was that he said to get the guy riled up was something that both his employer and cjonline.com (the newspaper site where his blog lives) felt comfortable blowing off. He didn’t have five cops show up on his front lawn at 4:30 in the morning on some bogus pretext after he’d written a letter to the editor criticizing law enforcement. He hasn’t been banned from the cjonline.com comment pages over expressing inappropriate opinions. I don’t say much outside of private emails, but that’s because I spend most of my time looking after my wife, who is 80 years old and largely confined to a wheelchair. I don’t have time to deal with being hauled in front of our town’s Human Rights Commission or some idiot in a plaid onesie, upending my car. (Okay, my car is a Saturn and I don’t live in San Francisco, but I’m making a point here.)

    We all admire Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and, those of us who have heard of him admire John Peter Zenger. But not everybody has it in them to go to stop keeping the place running so they can go out and get beaten up and thrown in jail. That behavior is what formed the character of the people now running the show. If that makes me a bad person, I point the example of King Canute.