Category Archives: Uncategorized

And Lo, the Free Range Oyster Did Bring Forth A Promo Post

*blows dust off of computer* Oh look, it’s still here! I was afraid I’d left it in the Diner and Rex had gotten ahold of it! Let’s see, where do I… Aha! Welcome, welcome, O Huns, to the Pre-Christmas Promo Post! We’ve had a bit of a drought of submissions the last few weeks, and I ended up saving the trickle I had (with one colossal exception) for this post. I hope you’ve all just been too busy reading, writing, and feasting to send things in! I do want to publicly apologize: our own Mary Catelli has finally put some of her stories up for sale, and sent me over half a dozen last weekend. Since I was in a rush, I didn’t look closely at what she’d sent, and so skipped posting last weekend for lack of material. *ducks head in shame* Lesson learned! In order to avoid swamping this weeks post, I’m only including the first half of the list; there are more out there! So please, go enjoy your weekend with a new book, get some entertainment, and help our resident authors become filthy rich take a Caribbean vacation pay their bills buy dinner feel a little better about their lives. As always, future entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading, and a deeply joyful Christmastime to you all!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Code-slinger, Healbot, and a chouse quarrons in the Rome pad

Alma Boykin

A Cat for Christmas

A Cat Among Dragons Short Story

A meter-long catnip mouse?

Major Rahoul Khan is back from Afghanistan, rejoining the 58th Regiment of Foot in time for Christmas. But Afghanistan doesn’t want to let him go. His old friend Rachel Na Gael may hold the cure for what ails him. Or she may take him farther than he ever imagined possible.

Sometimes, the little gifts mean the most.

Wesley Morrison

Broken Eden

Films That Never Were Book 2

After seeing his entire unit die in a failed black op, Brahm Tanner retreats from the military and even his family. Now running a freelance hostage retrieval unit, life – and business – are good. At least until the President of the United States insists on hiring him.

A covert, underground facility has gone dark, apparently taken over by its own commander. Why the military of the most powerful nation on Earth is now standing down, however, and who the partners in this “shared” facility truly are, the President refuses to say.

Every instinct tells Brahm to walk. And every experience says that he and his current team are being set up as scapegoats.

Then the President names the commander of the base: General Benjamin Tanner.

Brahm’s father.

Joseph Francis Collins

The Black Hand: Sniper

Modern Day Assassins

The Black Hand – a shadowy organization that recruits, trains and supports assassins specializing in very specific murder techniques.

A Father’s legacy

Max Jennings was trying to put his traumatic childhood behind him when he discovered that he had not only inherited his father’s shooting talent but by default, his father’s job as a professional killer. Both changed the path of his life.

The Final mission

Max knows what he has to do to escape the trap set by his destiny… but will he live long enough to carry out his dangerous plan? With the help of an unlikely ally he might just survive his time in…

The Black Hand: Sniper

The Black Hand: Poisoner

A Talent for Murder

When Jill Ringler learned that her uncle was abusing his young granddaughter, she put an end to it knowing that her family would close ranks around him and never suspect a precocious teen of murder by poison.

A New Career

After college, Jill should be looking forward to mastering her own life but, instead is blackmailed by someone from her past and forced into killing for The Black Hand. But she finds that she enjoys the work, the thrills, the money and making her own way in the world.

The Future

She learns the truth behind the accident that killed her parents and formed her future. Now her life rests on the action she takes. With luck, skill and determination, she might just survive her time as…

The Black Hand: Poisoner

Mary Catelli

Witch-Prince Ways

Widowed, caught between two feuds, Katie was desperate enough that the Witch Prince witched her wits away, so that she let him steal her baby.

Then there was no reason for him to not let the bewitchment fail. What, after all, could she do against him? Even the witching woman would tell her that defying the Witch Prince was beyond her power.

And tell her again, when she will not listen.

Also available from these fine booksellers:

Mermaids’ Song

Whoever hears the mermaids, singing, will die.

So Nicolas has heard — before, and after, he hears the song.

Also available from these fine booksellers:

The Book of Bone

A novelette of curses and journeys.

Avice’s dreams of settling at Clearwater are dashed. The lawsuit had ended, and the lands were made over to her, but a bone wizard lays a curse on the land, and blight begins to spread. All will die before the curse as it spreads.

Neither her family nor her king are willing to help. She is left alone with only the knowledge that the mysterious Book of Bone may have the lore that she needs — if only she can find it.

Also available from these fine booksellers:

Big Prizes for Good Little Girls!

The other day, someone got me mad on Facebook. I know. How shocked are you?

Except that the person didn’t intend to make me mad, and what made me mad was a slow burn before I realized what was upsetting me, and also what the person thought he was doing was sharing a nice and encouraging meme on “yay, women.”

This was one of those “Ten women influential in technology” things. There were apparently the usual collation issues. Some people were given extra attention who didn’t deserve it, and others were shafted who were much more important. That sort of thing.

But I didn’t know enough of the history of tech for it to really upset me. (Except for not having Ada Lovelace in. If I had a daughter and Dan had won the arm wrestling match for the naming, she’d probably be Ada Lovelace.)

So, why was I all bent out of shape.

Let’s start by establishing that I want what every sane person wants – thereby excluding sex-supremacists of both types and gender/orientation supremacists of all stripes – I want a society in which individuals can do what they want to do for a living and attain the maximum results possible, regardless of what’s between their legs and whom they choose to sleep with. (The minimum standard on that being of consenting age and ability. After that I really couldn’t care less.)

I realize too that my dream will never be possible. Maybe what would make me really happy would be becoming starship captain, and that’s simply not an option in the present year of our Lord. And maybe some little girl in Portugal right now would like to write for a living, which is not possible, in Portugal giving the structures in place. Even if everyone in Portugal bought your book you’d still starve. And there is not much penetration to other Portuguese-speaking countries. Maybe indie will change that. So she’ll end up as a teacher or a diplomat or a translator. Could have happened to me.

What I mean is that you’re circumscribed by circumstances other than what’s between your legs and what you find a really cuddly bundle. That’s fine. That’s all right. It’s what it is. Life is only fair if you’re a child or a prisoner, and your life is controlled by others and their idea of fairness.

But I don’t want people to be held back by anything that doesn’t relate to execution of the job. Got it?

I don’t think we should lower physical standards, for professions with a physical side, just to have women in. In the same way, I don’t think we should lower multitasking or pain endurance standards for professions requiring such, for men to be able to do them. (I don’t know about the later, though it might be important in the future, but son is now in a job where he’s having to run three times as hard as the women who multitask as easily as they breathe. And for a man he IS a multitasker.)

Of course no one tries to push men into women’s jobs. That’s because the woman jobs have low status traditionally. Now the question is why.

Most of the “feminists” (truly advocates of turning females into ersatz discount store males) we’re afflicted with think it’s “because penis.” They think the penis has special powers that confer status. (Oh, heck “By the power of the penis I thee command” now wants to appear in a story. Save me.) Hence their grand plan is to have women imitate people who have penises. Hence the push to have women not look after kids, not have kids, and push into al male professions. This just might be crazier than a rabid dog wearing a pink tutu, but it seems to be their program.

Because I think that female professions have lower prestige because females traditionally didn’t give them even a fraction of their attention – which in pre-contraceptive days was taken up with minding the kids for most of a woman’s adult life – and thus the professions weren’t in general developed to a high degree of specialization, I don’t care.

I figure we haven’t adapted to contraceptives and their effect yet (such things process very slowly in society) and my great grandkids MIGHT see men trying to break into female professions. (Don’t tell me there were contraceptives just as good before the fifties. The first one of you to blurt about herbs gets the back of my hand. Yes, there were ABORTIFACIENTS, perilous to both mother and her intended aborted fetus. Yes, I know the fantasy novels all taught you otherwise. Do nah care. Contraceptives before the mid twentieth century were of the “Swallow three tadpoles every morning; if that doesn’t turn you off sex, nothing will.”)

Anyway, so people being able to perform the tasks, they should be able to enter any profession they want. There are some women capable of carrying a grown man over their shoulders. They have the advantage of – be it in combat or firefighting situation – most men wouldn’t look at them with lustful eyes unless they’d been lost at sea for years. (Seriously, guys. Hormones have consequences.)

I’m cool with that.

So what problem do I have with “giving women a self esteem boost.”

I’ve had this problem since the eighties when some education major, desperate for a project, decided girls lifted their hands less and therefore had to be given more attention in school.

A lot of you who are my age or maybe ten years younger will say something about how all the boys are good at math, but the girls get told they can’t be good, and blah.

Maybe. I have no idea what in heck you were told in elementary. I know what I was told and that was that girls had no business in school past nineth grade. Their job was at home learning to be good housewives. And it wasn’t just some anonymous teacher telling me this. Oh, no. Mom told me this. In fact, she wanted to pull me out after fourth grade, and probably would have if dad hadn’t put his foot down. See, I didn’t have a face to catch a man, so I was supposed to learn housekeeping and needle arts. (Turned out I captured him with storytelling and science fiction and mastery of English. Who knew?)

So… did that discourage me? Of course not. I simply couldn’t see myself marrying anyone and I certainly couldn’t see anyone I might marry in Portugal putting up with me for more than a few days. Maybe less. And besides, I fell asleep over sewing (true fact, stuck a needle in my eye that way. Fortunately the white part. The drops for it still hurt like heck.) I was not very good at cleaning (until the advent of ebooks, which keep me from rushing through to find something more interesting) and I WANTED to write for a living. (Well, I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, but mom had already pronounced on that to the extent that she’d trust me with a room full of female-deprived males when h*ll froze over. I still have no idea what her idea of engineers was.)

So I kept on. I kept on even though through seventh grade (after that, I was in an almost all-girl school through 11th) every teacher treated girls like they were mildly mentally retarded. Until they saw the first tests. And then they treated me like a competitor for top honors. Which I was.

This is not bragging, just part of my illustration that “if you really want to do something, you’ll do it.” I don’t need a hand up or a hand out, and these memes on “the best women” just make me feel like I’ve been patted on the head and told “you’re pretty good for a girl.” I don’t take well to that.

And that’s the main problem. Making these lists of “top women” sends the subconscious message that women can only compete against other women.

And having half of these be non-entities (have to be because pre-contraceptives few women made it to the top in any scientific field. Few men too, but relatively fewer women, so it was hard to find truly exceptional ones. Intelligence distribution must hurt here too. Look, most women cluster in the center. Men have relatively fewer representatives of average intelligence (though of course still most.) They have a lot more geniuses. They also have a lot more morons. Which means by average distro only, you’re going to find a lot more male geniuses. They pay for it in morons.) helps no one’s cause.

If I were a young woman about to go into science, those memes would disquiet me as outright discrimination wouldn’t. Discrimination would just make me want to fight. Those memes though would say “this is the best you can aspire to. Being the best of not very good people.”

I’m of the “go all in or go home” type, and that would discourage me more than (overt, this is covert) sexism.

For those of you who are saying “but women need help. There are fewer women in STEM.”

Yes, there are, and what I think needs to happen is that people need to stop “helping” them.

Let’s establish first that studies have proven the best way to teach adollescents is in gender-segregated schools. Now, I’m the first to say that has social issues. I attended one of those schools and after three years men were mysterious beings I wrote sonnets to. But that can be solved as my elementary school (1 through 4) was: two schools side by side, sharing a play ground and recess, as well as excursions and social activities.

OTOH on academics, there is no doubt that gender segregation through high school gives the best results. And at this time with most teachers being women and of the “feminist” (read female supremacist) type, I don’t think we can say men would be better taught. (Well, actually we could. Most of those teachers are as rational about everything else as they are about sex. But so are male teachers. Teacher education delenda est.)

But they don’t do that. Because discrimination or something. Instead, they try to make the learning style better for women, and to encourage women and to… And to completely drive men insane. Which is why women are now a majority in colleges.

You say “But Sarah, women are still a minority in STEM.” NOT precisely. Older son majored in biochem and there the majority is very much female.

Younger son OTOH is in Engineering (Dual – or perhaps triple, since Aerospace engineering is his minor – degree, with minors in math and physics.) He says THAT is a “sausage fest.”

It’s not how it started, though. It started out three quarters female. It also started out with amphitheater classes in the hundreds.

Now for Electrical, at least, he says his class is 45 people and maybe a dozen are female. The others, male and female alike, ran screaming from the “designed to fail” freshman classes in calc and physics and thermo. Mostly they ran to business and journalism.

Relatively, of course, disproportionate numbers of girls ran. Why did they run.

Please, please, please, don’t tell me “lack of encouragement.” You’d be out of the water. The top students who get prizes, everywhere before college are women. Even when they’re DEMONSTRABLY inferior. (Uh? What? Well, wayyyyyy back in this blog you’ll find comments from when my blog was invaded by my son’s eleventh grade class for English. One of those commenters was the valedictorian. She had As in English in 11th grade. My son wrote better than that in 3rd grade. He was also a published (professionally published) author by then. He had a C+ I think, which was the first time he had less than an A for English, but required so that the top students could be female. This teacher achieved it by downgrading him on using words she didn’t like. Like “show” “I don’t like show because it reminds me of flashers” was actually written on the side of his essay. No, seriously. I suppose nowadays she’d have demanded trigger warnings.)

More than that, on the encouragement phase, when I volunteered in the kids’ classes, if the teachers had said once more “girls can do anything” or “girls are GREAT at math” they wouldn’t have time for anything else.

Younger son was in robotics. Most of his friends are still the kids he met then. (I enthusiastically recommend First Robotics to any parent of any kid who won’t hate it.)

That said, his classroom for the robot assembly was strewn with magazines: Women in Engineering, Women in Stem, Women in Physics, Women of Wrench (okay, that’s made up.)

I often arrived early to pick him up and found NOTHING on “Men in Engineering” or even just neutral “Engineering Careers.”

So, given all this encouragement, why did they run?

Well, if you want to do something badly give it to a quasi governmental institution. The school has to show they’re encouraging girls. There are goals. What that means is that these girls got the same as that meme. They’d get A for being “Good for a girl.” (I’d have hated it like poison and probably spent the entire school year trying to make the teachers look like fools. Okay, fine. I did that anyway. I have a leetle problem with authority. But I’d have done it MORE.)

Then they went into college. And in college in the first year, results count. They don’t want to invest time and instruction in you (and run up your bills) if you’re never going to cut it. So they squeeze and run of everyone who is not absolutely determined.

Most of these women had been acclimated to a regime of praise for very little. They wanted to be engineers sure, but they didn’t want to work THAT hard. The boys, otoh, who’d been kicked in the teeth since middle school, stuck it out. (In greater proportion than girls. A majority of boys and girls were run out, mind.)

Some of these girls might have done fine if they’d been made to perform like everyone else from elementary on. Some were just there because GRRRL power and should never have been there if idiots hadn’t convinced them there’s a virtue in invading traditionally male areas. The REALLY good ones stuck it out, anyway, but I suspect another half of them could have made it, if they hadn’t been mollycoddled, lied to about their abilities, learned that they could get As with no effort because vagina, and been told they were always better than men at everything because Vagina!

Now, I’m a hard woman and without mercy and I say “if the best ones are in there, good.” But in a society that needs every even decent tech brain we’re ruining women for science with all this cotton wool. (And again, if you’re my age or older, or up to ten years younger, foggeht about it. You don’t know about the “affirmative girl power” going on since the eighties at least in our schools.)

Were girls discouraged before? Probably. They were in Portugal. But the solution is not to ENCOURAGE them. It’s just to stop discouraging them. To let it be known that we don’t care what’s between your legs. We care how much you want to make machines that fly to Mars.

Another further intervention might be needed, but that’s more difficult. A lot of younger women report a culture of the “crab bucket” among young females. I dimly remember this, but not very clearly because I was competitive as heck and most of my friends were (and are) male. But I seem to remember if you were “too good” you were a show off, and that the goal was to fit in with the general mediocrity. There are evolutionary reasons for this culture among females. Group cohesion is more important than excellence, because gathering was done in groups and child watching was done in groups.

So it will be hard as heck to break up and the only way I can think to do it is to stop schooling kids in groups, and stop socializing them by age group. We’re going that way, but not soon.

Or not soon enough.

Until then stop with the “self esteem” building exercises and memes for girls. They already have enough unearned self esteem. Which, as studies show, is paralyzing. If you don’t know why people are telling you you’re so great, you’ll be afraid of failing without knowing why you failed. This has been proven.

Stop treating our girls like morons and special snowflakes. Teach them to earn their accolades.

Will this make their numbers in STEM the same as men? Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Humans are so different from each other, on every facet from sex to upbringing, instincts, inclinations, that equality of results on any axis you choose is not proof of anything except that someone is tampering with the selection mechanism. Let girls be girls. Let boys be boys.

And let us have good, competitive and competent scientists.

We’re going to need them.

And anyone patting me on the head for being a “pretty good writer for a woman” will withdraw a bloody stump.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Call It Friendship

They say people in the arctic have a hundred words for snow. Maybe they do. I’ve also heard that debunked, which is the times we live in.

What is probably not immediately obvious to non-linguists is that word drives perception. For instance, while learning Swedish I learned there was no word for (I think – it’s been over thirty years) “orange.”

If that’s true and I haven’t remembered wrong, then Swedes won’t SEE orange, not as an individual color. They’ll see it as a funny reddish yellow.

Of course in the realm of colors, that’s not a big difference. Orange will continue existing, whether humans call it that or “funny yellow.”

In the realm of emotions and other things that exist only in a human’s head, things are a little different.

This is prompted by the fact that I’m writing a very strong, somewhat protective (in both directions) male friendship in Through Fire, and working VERY hard to make sure people get it’s not sexual. Yes, part of it is my characters and the fact I do write gay characters. But that’s not all. Even if I wrote nothing but straight guys, I’d have to work extra hard at this bit because in our society we assume the sort of close, almost romantic friendship that has existed between men through the ages (women too, but not as often, and usually women who had strong male influences in their lives) is at the very least “sexual love manqué.”

Now, I’m the first to admit some pairings are slashable, but honestly, it would never occurred to me to slash the original one of those, Kirk/Spock.

I came from a culture in which male non-sexual friendship with attachment and values close to romantic love (note how many words I need to use for that) was common, and I recognized the Kirk-Spock bond as one of those.

It exists in literature throughout the ages, take the three musketeers. They’d die for each other, but there’s nothing going on under the covers.

Of course, sometimes there was something going on under the covers. Take Robin Hood, in so far as he might have existed, (it’s messy research.) With him and King Richard, well, there was something going on, so who knows what was up with the Merry Men.

And that was the bit that the sexual revolution seized on. Let the love speak its name and all that. Fine and dandy, except that the sexual revolution seems to have robbed us friendship across the board: friendship among people of the same sex; friendship between men and women. All of it was reduced to one type of love, what the Greeks call “eros.”

This is mostly because of the idea of sex not only as a good but as an imperative. If you’re not sleeping with everyone you could be sleeping with then you’re “repressed.”

Friendship has lost dimensions. It is now a bastard child of acquaintance and it seems to mean “someone I run into a lot, but for whom I have no deep feelings.” Because all deep feelings are confused with eros. Or it’s eros-manque. You really have a man-crush or girl-crush on your same sex friend, and you don’t act on it because you have hangups, or because you’re in a relationship, or whatever. It’s not that you deeply love someone and feel loyalty and duty to someone that you’re not in the slightest bit attracted to physically.

If you think I’m blowing smoke, go read the musketeers, take any of the speeches in which they declared their bond, and bring it to present day and see how it strikes you. (There are other friendships of the sort in history and literature, it’s just early and I’ve only had one cup of coffee, and my mind is in the fiction, so this is the obvious one.) Well, except the speeches of Athos to D’Artagnan which transposed to the present day are frankly creepy.

But the fault is not theirs. It’s ours. Post the sixties we’ve lost that dimension.

Part of me wants to say we lost it particularly because it’s a male thing.

Oh, sure, women have that type of friendship – I do – but it tends to be more women who were raised with men (my brother’s circle) and therefore socialized as males.

Female friendships, as far as I can tell from outside, and as far as I’ve got caught in a couple that weren’t what I thought they were are not … romantic. Romantic in the sense of mutual loyalty affirmed, romantic in the sense of – like an old marriage – taking the friend’s flaws and rolling with them. Romantic in the sense of lasting forever.

I could be wrong here. I don’t fully understand women, having been raised in a rather male environment, except for grandma and in many ways she wasn’t particularly feminine either. I’m talking from books and movies and observed stuff. Women have more “friends” but the relationship is either shallow or familiar. In fact, I’ve adopted my best female friends, now, to get the idea right. Women can have sisters as friends, and friends as sisters, but “friends” tends to be a far looser association which doesn’t entail the same level of loyalty. It is at once more intense and shallower than male friendships. Your female bff will come over and bring you Kleenex when you’re sick, and will listen to cry through the night about your unhappy love affair, but she’ll break with you when someone said that you said that she said that you were a poopy head. Your male bff will make fun of you if you get all sentimental over your lost love affair, but he’ll still be there, teasing you and telling you you’re not as unhappy as you think you are when you’re eighty.

I’m explaining very badly, because we don’t have a word for it. The Greeks don’t have a word for it, either, weirdly. Male friendship as I’ve observed it in real life is somewhere between Agape and Phillia. Perhaps Agape with a Phillia public face.

Where I grew up, perhaps because I was raised among men and because in Portugal the sexes are still more segregated, this was still very obvious. Being friends, for men meant something. For women less so, as a woman’s primary loyalty is to the family. You were “whispering mates” (comadres, literally means “co-mother” and it means you’re the godmothers of each other’s children, but the proverb “zango-se as comadres, sabe-se as verdades” (When comadres fight, we discover the truth) give it more the meaning of whispering mates or perhaps co-conspirators.

And perhaps it goes back to the evolution of humanity. Women were co-conspirators and manipulators of the social order, all in search of greater status among the berry-pickers/foragers. Those with higher status got their children better watched. Social manipulation is a female game.

The hunting parts were hierarchical. I assume there was someone calling the shots. BUT they were hierarchical in a male “Something accomplished, something done” way. Meaning that the hunter who got best results got to call the shots. And there was a hierarchy. But it also meant there was less… politics. Had to be, because when hunting is not a good time tof find your bff is stabbing you in the back, right?

Mind you, this is all imho. I don’t even know if the form of male friendship I observed in Portugal REQUIRES a more segregated (by sex) society. But I do know the ah… “texture” of friendship is different within the sexes. And between sexes too.

And I know we’re losing that dimension. We’re losing the subtle tints, and reducing everything to the bright red of sexual passion, even if sexual passion denied. “Friendship” is becoming denatured into “acquaintance” and “passing alliance” and “sexual frustration.”

All of which make it a ghost word, and it’s a pity, because friendship, in and of itself – particularly male friendship – was a great part of what built civilization.

All of which still leaves me writing this friendship that is more Agape than Eros, with a good dose of Storge thrown in, because one of the friends is much older than the other and the other, frankly, needs a minder.

If I do it well, there won’t be a bunch of slash stories on the net.

If I do it badly… the book will probably sell better – hey, a woman got to eat – but I’ll have failed somehow.

For the rest of us, I think one of the things Human Wave needs to make sure is depicted and exists, is the love between friends who would not dream of jumping into bed together.

Because if we lose the concept it won’t exist anywhere.

And we and society will be the poorer.

Straining the Quality of Mercy – a Blast From The Past Post December 2012

We live in very odd times.  A conversation with a friend who has a Pit bull dog, yesterday, led to his saying casually of course he couldn’t have a pit bull in Denver.  I was aware of this, but had never given it any thought.  Mostly I come across it on Craigslist as people who MUST move to Denver are getting rid of their dogs so they can move.

And here we come to my experience with the dogs.  Like everyone else – though this happens mostly on TV it leaks to real life as well – I’ve seen pit bulls tied in front of houses I wouldn’t approach anyway – though the last time that happened was seven years ago when I got lost walking the kids back from middle school, so it might be a trend that’s passing away.

Yes, those pit bulls look like terrible dangers and generally scary.  But then the houses the dogs were tied in front of looked scary too, an indicative of the people who lived there.

Then there are the Pit bulls I still meet.  The office I rented at the end had only one other office rented, which means I didn’t feel very safe.  Perhaps the people in the front office didn’t either, because the owner brought in his Pit bull, who was a sweet, slobbery dog, very well behaved.  Other Pits I meet while walking or at stores, are exceptionally well behaved.

This is, of course, because they’re high dominance dogs, naturally.  And if you are a responsible owner who has a high dominance dog, you TRAIN that dog until it’s one of the best mannered creatures around and far safer in public than most humans.

Yes, of course if you are stupid and you get a Pit and raise it the way most people seem to raise their kids – by indulging their every whim and never setting limits or consequences, you’ll end up with a feral beast.  People who raise their kids that way do too – and yes, I know a lot of the left thinks the solution for this is to outlaw kids.  But people who raise their animals – or kids – that way would only be safe with stuffed dolls.

(Yes, I know Pits were bred to fight.  So were your ancestors.  Take a powder.)

This connected in my brain with the whole outrage over the Connecticut shootings and how we absolutely, imperatively must outlaw private ownership of guns because… shuddup, do it for the children.

As though criminals care whether something they do is illegal or not, and as though crazy people can’t come up with other ways to cause massive damage: less survivable ways.  Need one remind everyone that the first World Trade Center bombing was achieved by fertilizer?

Perhaps they intend to outlaw manure?  (Maybe that’s the aim of the Carbon Laws.)

Yes, guns are horribly dangerous.  They’re not the only thing that’s horribly dangerous, though.  I know several gun owners who could arm entire small countries, and when I visit them I feel SAFER there because I know if SOMEONE unsafe were to attack for whatever reason or none at all, they have the armament to protect us.

Forbidding the owning of guns doesn’t ban the danger because the danger is always in the human mind.  We’re a curious monkey, and some of the things we’re curious about are very, very dangerous.  As Terry Pratchett put it, if you put a button in the most distant cave in the world and painted a sign to put next to it saying “Pressing this button will end the world” the paint wouldn’t have time to dry before someone pushed it.  Worse, they’d push it not to destroy the world, but to see what it would do.

And yes, I know of the several bans to keep people from eating/playing with/drinking whatever they want, but the one that totally makes my jaw drop is forbidding all peanut products in schools and planes because of people’s allergies.  Yes, I’ve heard that just being in a room with peanuts can start the allergy.  Can I say bullhockey?  People with that violent an allergy wouldn’t be able to be on a plane, period – people like us travel with nuts.  We have to, because it’s the only portable thing we can eat on a plane.  Sometimes they’re peanuts.  We have yet to kill anyone.  And since the airlines do not search everyone for peanuts, I’m going to assume this is bullhockey.  Because if peanuts ANYWHERE on the plane were that dangerous, they would search people.

Yes, I can see where rubbing peanuts on someone might be an issue.  I’ve known people that allergic.  BUT most people are allergic to EATING peanuts.  So… we’re banning peanuts in public because… some people might not be able to help themselves and might gobble down stuff that could kill them?  Um…  As someone who can’t eat carbs, in the few flights that have lunch (usually bread-stuff) or snacks (pretzels) this affects me adversely.  Note, however, that I don’t fall, helpless-victim like on the pretzels or bread, because they’re in the same space with me.

And no, banning peanut butter from schools isn’t justified because these are kids.  These kids are in school.  That means by definition they are house-broken and capable of following instructions.  “Don’t eat that because it will kill you” should be a hard and fast one.  I mean, when I was a kid we were turned out to play outdoors at three or four, and there were a list of things we couldn’t do because they WOULD kill us (like run out in front of cars.  Drink bleach, etc.)  Weirdly all of us failed to DO those things just because we could.  (Yes, there are mentally handicapped children in the schools, but those have assigned teacher-aides, so the point is moot.)

What these three cases have in common is a curious mental confusion about what is what and where responsibility lays.

And some of this was part of the great liberal project (real liberals, the kind I identify with) started in the seventeenth century.  In a time of swift and sudden penalties, that took no extenuating circumstances into account, and which were unimaginably harsher than we can think of (torture being a normal method for extracting confessions for such crimes as pickpocketing) real liberals brought in a more nuanced justice and a weighing in of causes and consequences.  If someone steals a loaf of bread for his starving children, it’s not in any way the same crime as stealing a horse to resell in the next village.  (Okay, some judges took that into account, in England at least, but it was a big on the discretion and didn’t always happen.)

The problem is that what real liberals started, insane liberals finished.  The end game of this project in law can be seen all over Europe where murderers are condemned to some time in jail (in Portugal it was less than ten years at one point.  We used to joke about dragging the people I wanted to off to Portugal, because I was willing to pay that penalty) because there’s always “extenuating circumstances” and where even in safe neighborhoods like my parents’ people live in fear of criminals breaking in.

Here the end run of that system by and large was the seventies – at least in criminal law – and we’ve been walking it back to some extent ever since.

On the other hand, the same thinking has gone from the law to everyday life.  No one is responsible for anything, because there’s always explanations and reasons and “I couldn’t help myself.”

In many cases this is even true – probably.  I am forever in shock by how many of my kids’ classmates seem to be well… feral.  No one ever bothered to teach them to control their impulses or to think rationally about what they have and what they need and how to get there.

The end result is minds that confuse feelings with thoughts (the corollary of “if it feels good, do it” turns out to be “if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it” even if the momentary discomfort is needed for future happiness.) wants with needs and who can see nothing further than instant gratification.

I submit to you NOTHING can make society – or the world – safe for those people.  In the end they either learn otherwise (painfully) or they die.  On the way they cause untold misery.  BUT the more you try to protect them from the induced stupidity of their own upbringing, the more misery you cause to people how had nothing to do with it.

Worse, you place the blame on the wrong THINGS – or animals – and not where it belongs: in the people who choose to use the things or animals to create harm  (or choose to do nothing and let animals cause harm.)

We want to excuse everyone and think everyone good at heart… and maybe this is true to an extent.  Everyone certainly has good potential.  But those that choose to do good can also do harm.  And yes, sometimes they can do harm without meaning to – but it’s still their choice.

When you remove that, you’re putting the blame on things and creatures who can’t choose.  And you’re restricting the choices of everyone.

To absolve the guilty you must ALWAYS blame the innocent, even if it’s innocent THINGS.  And that mis-placing of blame will always result not just in curtailed liberty, but in greater pain for everyone in the long run and in a society that rolls over and begs for tyrants to save it from itself.

The monkey mind that chooses to press the button that says “end the world” can also choose NOT to do it.  But for that, it must be able to think through causes and consequences.  And to be taught that, we must start by putting the blame where it belongs.  And we must understand that mercy, like all other admirable qualities, has dark twins called indulgence and misplaced blame.  Even virtues aren’t free and we must always be aware of their costs.  TANSTAAFL.

I Feel The Sky Tumbling Down

As a few of you know one of my favorite Heinlein books is Puppet Masters and part of the reason for that is the idea of a hidden world under the world we all know. This has been an attraction of mine since at least 12, when I began living in a secret world. I.e. the things I read in the paper, the person I had to pretend to be at school to get good grades, the things they “taught” me that I had to pretend to believe were the daylight world and what could be shared with everyone else.

Underneath it was what I knew wasn’t so. (Though the full extent of some lies, like the kindly, idealistic Soviet Union only became evident when I read The Gullag Archipelago at 14.)

If this sounds like a recipe for insanity, it is. It is also, I think, where a lot of people broke. If schools, and media and even entertainment and even entertainment translated from places like America which we all knew were bastions of the right wing, all reinforced certain memes — the kindly altruistic communist; the greedy industrialist; the oppressed worker; the saintly victim of society, etc – then how could I dare believe that what I saw with my own eyes was true?

I dared because I saw it, and because I have a good dose of stubborn as heck baked into me. I come from a long line of stubborn as heck people.

However note that my generation in Portugal by and large turned out not leftist (even if they are sometimes reflexively right in the European sense.) There is a reason for that.

If you were raised in a cocoon of artificial narrative, when you find one thing about it was a lie, you assume it was all lies. Being raised in that sort of environment where “everyone agrees” and there is “one truth” and everyone else are fringe or “wing nuts” is a danger, because once the cocoon breaks, the tendency is to assume everything you’ve ever known is a lie.

Keep that in mind. There will be a quiz later. (Actually it’s important for a later point.)

So, Heinlein’s Puppet Masters (and I don’t care if Patterson calls it piece work or what have you) hit a point with me, from the moment that he goes in through a secret entrance, but really all of the book. There are at least three other novels to write there, and the one I can’t write, the one that scares the heck out of me, the one that would turn out to be probably dark and dreary, is the one of the person living in the masquerade, as it falls apart around them.

(Toni W. once told me I have a tendency to start with my characters knowing nothing, and that it would be better for the plot if they started out knowing exactly what they’re facing. She’s right of course. And I hate to start with characters who know nothing or are so strange to the environment that nothing makes sense. That’s been part of the issue with Through Fire. I HAD to start there. It was the character I had. I tried Simon’s head but Oh, my, no. But someone or other said that everything we write is biography. Hence my books tend to be about people who think they KNOW reality and they know what’s true. And then it shifts under their feet. They find everything they’ve ever known is a lie, and they have to choose to charge on or go back into the cocoon of illusion. This is why the sf trilogy that’s planned (OMG, yes, I DO have a lot to write) will probably be indie. It’s so much that, I think it would drive Toni nuts.)

The part that scares me most about puppet masters is exactly The Masquerade. The non-possessed people living there thought all life was normal. The news, all organs of information went on as normal. And meanwhile, more than half of their neighbors – maybe their family members – were aliens.

You can imagine it going on. Sometimes I wonder if we’re living in something like that. (Okay, show me proof that they’re not controlled by mounds of tapioca between their shoulders! How would anything our government does be different?)

I will say right up front that I see why we needed a public education system with a semblance of unity. At least we needed a “things every American knows.” Yesterday night, I read The League” the True Story of Average Americans on The Hunt for WWI Spies by Bill Mills. I read it because it’s on KULL and because there are spies in the Dragon books, and technically, it has a WWI “feel” to it.

However, let me say it’s partly a lie. I mean, the title. A lot of it was the American Protective League hunting for other people: draft dodgers, people who talked down the war effort, etc. I’ll talk about it a day this week, because if you think that we’re in perilous authoritarian government times, you mustn’t know much about Woodrow Wilson. Never mind.

The point is that reading the book makes it clear how fragmented people were, and how many unassimilated and with no intention of assimilating immigrant communities there were. And how that could be a danger in a world where countries were fighting for their nation, not necessarily for any principle. (WWI.)

I think the book has a slant and I think they didn’t realize how they made me want to kill the Wobblies with fire, (because they sounded just like what we’re fighting) but that’s something else (of course, back then they couldn’t know everything they thought was wrong. Which brings us around to our premise again.

To make the United States competitive in a world of race/breed/history based nation states, our leaders (ah!) though they had to forge unity. By the seventies this was unity under the narrative, hence the Department of Education. Because there was one right set of beliefs…

The problem is between that and the press which had fallen for the seduction of “rule by the smart people” and flattered themselves they were smart, and an entertainment industry that had been taken over by progressives after WWI and was monolithically progressive after WWII, we got the narrative. Good, undiluted propaganda from the top, not that much different from USSR propaganda, where most of the memes originated.

Most of the organs supposed to educate, inform, amuse us were wearing a mass of tapioca between their shoulders.

They still are, only now it’s coming apart because we can talk among ourselves and reach crowds, and that makes it harder for the “narrative” to stick.

We’re seeing that with the UVA rape hoax, with Lena Dunham, the author of a poorly watched show who, nonetheless got given the gold ticket of promotion to the top of the bestselling world on her tawdry “autobiography” and who was crowned the “voice of her generation” and who, it turns out, is the voice of the neurotic liars of her generation, only.

Then there is this: New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up.

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “’high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

It’s a lie. Of course it is a lie. But it serves the narrative of the genius, who can make it to the very wealthy in a manner that’s approved (the stock market) and who is of interesting ethnic origin and… Too good to check.  Because the narrative has been with us so long that we echo it without realizing, that we “feel” it’s right even when we know it’s wrong.

Now, for me, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The rape hoaxes? Sure, I know they’d do that, because the president wants more power over campus and because the left is afraid of males. BUT this? Qui Bono?

It’s only a series of impulses, of undefined “fits the narrative.”

Which – jornolist apart is what unifies the narrative of the left. They all have this same vague idea of what’s in and what’s out, and each independently carries his dram of water for it. Hard to prove, and it makes people who believe their lying eyes feel like crazy, when all the “best people” coordinate like this.

Heinlein once said there was no event Time reported that he had been at that Time reported even close to the truth.

I’m starting to believe he was right and it’s not just Time: it’s all of the MSM, all the learned monographs, all the education system.

The problem is this: what do you do when the masquerade falls down. It’s falling down and it will continue. It has to, because you know, the only way a masquerade can be kept is with full control over everything the masses see and hear. That might be why the left thinks 1984 is a how-to manual. But you see, they might have been better off letting us go to space. Yeah, they’d have lost control over some of us. OTOH the computer revolution where the techies went to play instead, will cost them control of all of us except the willingly enslaved.

So as the narrative breaks, as the earth shifts under our feet and the sky comes tumbling down, what are we left with?

The problem with leaving the cocoon is that you don’t know the boundaries outside it. You start questioning everything. Everything you’ve ever known proves to be a lie, that means you known nothing, like a babe unborn.

I’m trying to read a lot of older primary sources, to identify where we went wrong, but my fear is that we’ll hurtle back to “our loved Egyptian night.” That is, I’m afraid that once the progressive narrative is proven wrong we’ll try to hurtle back to the less liberal factions of the eighteen hundreds – or before. There are already people online going that way.

The problem with that is that way of life is dead. The same technology that made it unviable then has continued, and it has spawned other tech. That would not work now. Small things, like personal communication devices, like the pill, like modern medicine, like robotics – all make that way of life unviable, save for a very short, very painful time.

Note I’m not saying all of those developments are good or bad – but they have changed our environment and us. And society could not be as it was before the coordinated lies of the “progressives.”

So, where do we go from here?

Where we always went. The future is never assured, and the more I read the more I think the beginnings of the progressive era about 100 years ago were worse.

We can survive this. We can forge the future we want for our kids. Take what we can from the past and believe our lying eyes. Some things, like human nature, are immutable. Some precepts such as “envy is corrosive for individuals and society” are immutable.

Take what you can and build. Expose lies when we can. The overcoat must be pulled off and the shoulder-rider shown to the world. Resist the temptation to hurtle into some old philosophy that “explains everything.” We should always have suspected progressivism BECAUSE the parts fit too well and all the lies supported each other. Real life is not that coherent.

Start from the fact that a cocoon is a lie, and it lies shattered at your feet. It’s time to try out your new wings. Yes, your world is in ruins, but the world you can build is so much bigger and better and brighter, because there’s some things we can now do.

I see the sky tumbling down.

Be not afraid. The future is wide open and it’s ours to build.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All Over Bar the Shouting – Kate Paulk

*Note by Sarah — oh, h*ll, so I published this early. It’s okay. It’s a good post and it deserves it. BTW, I disagree with Kate. We should consider legalizing prostitution. After all, politicians go free in the light of day. One of these professions deserves to be in jail, and it ain’t the hos.*

It’s All Over Bar the Shouting – Kate Paulk

But not for us. For the SJW crowd. Yes, there will be a lot of really ugly shouting, and some of the people who are incorrectly labeled vertebrates will probably buy into the screaming and hand the SJWs whatever equipment they possess.

How do I know this? It’s called MetalGate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oZCZicsuHc). Yeah. Having discovered that hard-core gamers aren’t going to rollover for them, the SJWs have decided to go after metal music. I mean, seriously? This show is going to need several truckloads of jiffy-pop and a huge-ass volcano and that’s just the prelude.

Then of course there’s the level of delusion that can claim heavy metal is a “hotbed of deeply rooted conservatism”. Apparently conservatism has been redefined again, because the last time I looked mosh pits were emphatically not in the definition. Although I will admit to a certain amount of amusement at the prospect of anti-SJW coalition meetings where every stereotype of every group the SJWs have gone after try to communicate (and try not to look at each other with horror).

This reads to me as the desperate ploy of a group that’s losing its marbles and trying desperately to pretend that reality is with it.

They’re losing the plot everywhere. In Europe, nationalist groups are gaining strength, voice, and power. Thanks to the fears of the European governments, it’s difficult to tell if those movements are sensible or not – the laws against “hate speech” also prevent open discussion of the problems that come with long-term non-citizen residents who refuse to integrate into the society (and worse, refuse to allow their children to do so), the policies creating a permanent guest worker underclass, and the problems that arise when a sufficiently large percentage of said underclass follows an ideology that includes unreasoning hatred of anything civilized.

That mess was created by the SJW and their ilk refusing to acknowledge that some cultures are flat out barbaric. They may be barbaric because they’re stuck in the kind of environment where nothing else survives, or they may just be captured by the kind of megalomaniac that enjoys that (or a mix of both – my personal vote), but that doesn’t change what they are. Any person raised in those cultures is going to grow up a barbarian regardless of skin color.

Then of course, there’s the Intertubes, where, deeply concealed in the pictures of cute cats, the lolspeak messages point to such gems as Linux Journal’s thoughtful piece (http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/girls-and-software) about the influence of parents and family on what people choose to do with their lives, from the perspective of a woman who happens to be one of the top coders. I rather suspect her story matches up with a lot of us Odds, particularly the part where we get recognized not as “a woman [insert profession]” but a “damn good [insert profession]”. Which is the way it should be. The last time I looked there were very few professions that required the use of a vagina or a penis, and most of those are illegal in a lot of places (which is a separate argument I refuse to start here). Note that the comments overwhelmingly support the author and every SJW argument attempted got shut down by commenters very quickly. This tends to happen a lot in communities where people don’t care if you’ve got an innie or an outie as long as the quality of your work is up to scratch.

A rather nice little rant on the real diversity of the SF community and the SJW idea of the same can be found over at Prose Before Ho Hos (http://prosebeforehohos.com/2014/12/10/on-diversity/). Take note of the SJW Holy Trinity (because yes, it is a religion): the Race; the Gender; the Holy Sexual Orientation. If it doesn’t fit the SJWly Trinity it ain’t diverse according to them. From this perspective, I can easily see why the SJWs have such a low opinion of traditional Christianity. Obviously they’re projecting from their own religion and can’t understand that other religions just might manage to behave differently (especially since adherents of their apparent favorite official religion have this strange tendency to be as irrational and hostile as they are, only with more blood (since it’s a little difficult to cut off some poor bastard’s head without lots of blood)). Small wonder the SJWs seem to think Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 were instruction manuals. Bradbury is not amused (http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/451/451.html).

All this madness is different only in degree from the spew of propaganda emitted by the Soviet Union with increasingly strident tones up until 1991, and the Third Reich from about 1943 until the end. The SJWs don’t have extermination camps; they have doxxing and SWATting. But they, like the socialists and communists before them, are dying.

They can still do a hell of a lot of damage in their death throes, and potentially even take out a few of our allies. But they will fall. The only thing in question is who will fall with them, and how much bloodshed will be needed.

Ruled by the SMART people — Smash the narrative I

Yesterday someone on facebook linked an article that illuminated something for me. And it’s stupid that I hadn’t seen it before.

Yesterday here someone asked about the narrative, how liberals feel a need to control “the narrative” and how everything that runs counter the narrative must get pounded.

I thought I’d posted here, before, about the narrative but it turns out it was in a private facebook site, and one of the members took off from that post and started a podcast series called “Shatter the narrative.” I must look for a link, but for various reasons I’m using my remote computer, so will probably only do that at home.

I can’t dispose of the narrative in a single post, because the narrative has more tentacles than super Cthulhu and infiltrates every portion of our lives. The best way to put it is to say that when Reagan said liberals knew so many things that just weren’t so, he either didn’t realize or didn’t mention so do conservatives. Thanks to full control of the schools for at least sixty and probably more years, the “progressives” have fed us a myriad little lies. Not only the big narrative, the idea that history comes with an arrow and moves in their direction (though that’s part of it) but also a million little ones, things like people who live in the suburbs are unenlightened, smart people don’t get married or have kids, smart people aren’t religious, etc. etc. etc.

Even those of us who came to figure out that the big central narrative that top down government is the answer was wrong will find ourselves taking for granted one or more little tentacles of narrative that have wormed their way into our brain as an “of course”. And even when we know it’s not right, we have no clue why it’s there and why it’s become a piece of the narrative.

See, if it were only the schools they controlled, it would be easy enough to get rid of. Most of us get rid of the vast bulk of blatant indoctrination we get in school as we grow up. BUT the narrative is supported by the news, and more importantly by entertainment. The narrative is supported by movies and books, and by stuff built and embedded into those in such a way that we never examine it.

Take for instance the time a fellow conservative waxed poetic about Splendor in the Grass. Yeah. She IS a little older than I.

I’d never seen it and it is free on prime, so I watched it. And my jaw dropped. Perhaps because I was then the mother of teens and knew their female friends, the whole message hit me in the face like a wet fish.

Wait, what? The girl has a nervous breakdown because – those annoying chastity rules! – the boy is having sex with someone else because she won’t put out. This is not viewed as the boy being a jerkoyd who can’t control himself, but her overrestrictive upbringing making her neurotic.

WHAT? I’m sorry. When is the last time you heard of a teen having a breakdown because he or she DIDN’T have sex? I mean, sure, when we’re teens we’re all sure we’re going to. But most adults know that sex is not just sort of glorified jumping jacks and it’s not about freeing energies that will hurt you otherwise and what not. I’m here to tell you that the worst that will happen to a teen girl who would really like to have sex and doesn’t is that she’ll write so many sonnets she’ll acquire an amazing vocabulary of rhyming words.

Yeah, I was neurotic [Were? – Ed. Shud UP-SAH] but then most teens are, being neither fowl nor fish nor yet good red meat. But because I was neurotic, I imagine what a sexual relationship at that age would have done both to me and the poor dolt saddled with me.

So, why does no one who talks about how this book is a classic and all that mention that its premise is out there, the looniest kind of disproven Freudianism ever?

Because we’ve bought into the narrative.

I’m not knocking sex, mind you, but if you have problems, having sex particularly in a relationship that due to age/requirements of growing up can’t be stable seems like a good way to add to them. (A friend of mind gives this rule as “Don’t stick it in crazy, or crazy will stick to you.”)

Now think on how many movies and books have that premise of “teens must have sex, or they’ll go crazy, crazy I tell you!” as one of the unexamined secondary story lines. Um… most of them? Or for that matter how many books and movies have that premise about adults and sex. I mean, sure, I’m married and well I enjoy the benefits of marriage, but I’ve seen enough of the world to tell you both that it’s easier to be a celibate than in a bad relationship and also that some people SHOULD be celibate, not being emotionally capable of the involvement that comes with an intimate relationship.

However in every book, in every movie, anyone who is celibate by choice is suspect. This has infected things so far that the new Miss Marple series is all about sex and repression.

And that’s just a small part of the narrative – a bit of undigested Freud, crossed with Marx’s aim of ending bourgeois marriage – but it’s EVERYWHERE.

There are other bits that are everywhere, that we know are wrong, but that I at least never understood why. Take for instance the assumption that progressives are smarter.

This always seemed like an odd narrative. I don’t know about ya’ll but the last time I met a progressive who was smarter than I was… was… um… can’t remember. (I know several people smarter and more knowledgeable than I, but they’re all either very conservative or out there libertarian.) There is one among my friends who MIGHT be both progressive and smarter than I (she WAS progressive. I’m not so sure now.) but she never had a chance being born with a red diaper. The others? Pah. Better at repeating the narrative, sure, but heck, I know even that better than they do. And I saw the contradictions, and fought free.

So why does the myth persist? Why is it so important to them?

I’m never surprised when I post something that gets under their noses and they call me evil, or impugn my morals, or cast aspersions on my manners, my ideals or my life. That’s par for the course. It’s stupid, of course, but it’s par for the course. I mean, I remember when I was declared worse than Hitler for telling them that wishing death on those who disagreed with them was evil. Good times. The irony, too, was extra ironical and had more sauce.

BUT why the “you’re stupid.” This is particularly hilarious when applied to someone like me who has all the credentials they adore. Now I’m the first person to say this has absolutely nothing with to do with real-world intelligence, because that’s a complicated, messy thing and as I’ve proven here many, many times, I have both unfathomable heights of knowledge and competence and bizarre depths and black holes of ignorance. (Some of that through growing up in another culture where the cultural referents are different.) And I’ll grant you my typos are often the stuff of legend.

But I do have a graduate degree in Languages and Literature from a well regarded foreign university; I have read most of their “literature” and even like some of it (mostly Borges, okay?); I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that my tastes in movies and TV run to Masterpiece Theater and BBC (sorry) and I can hold a polite conversation in the salons of the glitterati. I also happen to have a piece of paper certifying my IQ as being in the … well… very far up, and that I have a membership in a society for people suffering the like affliction. (Only I haven’t renewed in years because it is not a marker of congeniality or even rationality or much of anything. Let’s put it this way: Dilbert had it right. Most members of Mensa work menial positions and have issues navigating life. Of course so do most people.)

Again, real intelligence is a messy and complicated thing. One of my sons is a real, bonafide genius, and drives me insane, both with his obsessions with a subject or a puzzle and with his total disinterest in things he (and everyone else) should be learning. My complaints about this to my cousin-sister (we were raised together, so she’s more like a sister) who is a specialist in teaching the super-gifted brought out laughter, “But that’s typical. At that level they only learn what they’re REALLY obsessed with, so there’ s these holes. Oh, also, once they master what fascinates them, to the level they want to, they drop it and never pick it up again.” (which fits younger son and drawing.)

So, why is it the left both awards themselves the “so smart” label and praises anyone who parrots their line as “so smart” and reviles anyone who questions them as “dumb?”

We know they do it, but why?

It took this article from Sultan of Knish to make it click in place for me.

You see, they have to believe they’re smart and that anyone who agrees with them is smart. That’s because their entire belief system about government and society hinge on “government from the top down” which can only work if “the right people” are in charge. I.e. it can only work if the people at the top are “really smart.”

Hence too, their tendency to cult of personality and their cult-like belief that an ivy league school is the same as an IQ test. (Hint, an IQ test is the same as an IQ test, and even that has nothing to say to your ability to function, survive and thrive in the real world.)

So though I normally don’t talk about my IQ test or my membership in that high IQ society, because I think it says absolutely nothing about me as a person or even about my competence in my chosen field, I now understand why the two times I lost my cool and threatened to scan in my membership card it caused the troll to run away in one case forever and in another case (on Facebook) for a month which with that one is a record.

And ya’ll will forgive me if I do it more often and maybe even scan it in, right? I DON’T think it makes me superior to anyone. The ability to take IQ tests well is not in fact something that’s well paid in the real world. (Which is why I don’t talk about it.) OTOH it smashes the left narrative that all the smart people are on their side, or that intelligence can be proven by parroting progressive slogans.

And that in turn smashes their idea that they can rule by virtue of being “so smart.”

Of course, most of the progressives have the stigmata of not-so-smart kids who have been pushed beyond their depth. Oh, you know them as well as I do. You went to school with some of them. Daddy’s daughter or mommy’s son, usually from money, who had tutors from second grade on, and who were told they were SO smart, even though their grades were mostly bolstered by penmanship and manners. Remember those kids? The haunted look?

They were keeping up the smart façade, but they knew in their hearts they weren’t all that smart and so they struggled.

In the same way, our “elites” have that haunted look of always looking over their shoulder and being afraid of being unmasked. Which is why they’re so loud in parroting what “teacher” – in this case “scientists” and in particular “social scientists” say – says. Because then they can continue being praised for being “so smart.”

And why they must scream so loud anyone who doesn’t parrot received messages is “dumb” and “stupid.”

Which is okay. We bad kids in the back, making jokes and blowing spitballs, are still beating them on grades, and we know what is wrong with the pap we’re taught too.

Because in the end, reality doesn’t care if you’re saying the “approved truth” or if you’ve been “certified” smart. Reality only cares about what works. And top down government never works, not even with really smart people. (Arguably it would be worse – if that’s possible – with really smart people, because of those blind spots and areas they’re not interested in.)

Which is why the narrative that we would be fine with the “really smart” people in charge is a fable suitable for incurious, ignorant children.

And it’s why in the end, we win, they lose.

Smash the narrative. It’s about time.

 

Egalite!

*Wrote this very late last night after a day of writing.  Equalite looked wrong but I couldn’t figure out why.  That’s because it’s egalite, of course.  Apparently my half-asleep “wrote a lot” brain is illiterate.*

People aren’t angels. No matter how oppressed they are. Not even considering if they’ve been victims or not.

I’m trying to finish Through Fire and on limited time. Oh, yeah, and the two main leads in Through Fire – I re-wrote an emotional pivot and now I have to rewrite other stuff – are trying to hose down the seacity with testosterone. It’s… uh… interesting? For a definition of interesting that starts with “if I were near you guys in real life I’d have beaned both of you with a frying pan. Or a burner. Whichever came first.” Not that the other males and females around are being particularly nice.

Like the other books in the Darkship/Earth Revolution twin series (look, ma, twins!) this book is divided in sections. The amount to which these are self contained varies. I don’t think any of the sequels have as much self-contained parts as Darkship Thieves, which is ALMOST four novellas mashed together. Anyway, the sections signal at least a shift in speed and tone of events. Kind of like a sing saying “ramp ahead” or “watch for the dip.” In this case the four sections are Liberte Fraternite Egalite and Ca Ira.

However, as far as the book is concerned, the problem of the novel is to aim for equality. Not equality of standing, not equality under the law but equality of results. Whenever you do that, the results are always streets running red with blood.

I find it interesting that it is more or less explicitly the aim of the ones who call themselves “Social justice” warriors. Not enough writers of a particular skin shade? Then there should be, even if for a variety of cultural reasons, fewer people in certain subgroups read science fiction. (And don’t sing to me of oppression. In Portugal it’s considered really odd for a girl to write ANYTHING but Romance and for anyone to write anything but historical. Or read. – or it was thirty years ago, at least. Not oppression, culture.)

If your idea of justice is to have the same results regardless of where everyone starts, the result is of course not justice but the most profound of injustices.

Take for instance the difference between male and female. If you try to change that by fiat of law you’re going to get in serious trouble. And we are. Let’s forget that the hormones do change the brain in certain ways and that, regardless of culture, women are going to have different reactions to babies than men will. (These are women in the general and collective. Individual women will be stubbornly individual. The fact remains, in the aggregate and statistically.) Let’s talk about physical differences. Physical differences are such that not only are women more likely to be raped (in the sense of forcibly penetrated) but also more likely to suffer bad consequences from such an episode. (As in, women can conceive.)

The social justice warriors solution to this is to make men and women EQUAL by fiat. This includes countering the weakness of women’s physique with the ability of any woman at any time to cry rape on any man without the man being able to defend himself. That makes him more legally vulnerable than she is physically vulnerable, and voila, equality.

This is not actually true, of course. Two wrongs actually don’t make a right. What you end up with is a number of women who are raped and for whatever reason don’t talk about it (like, fear of the rapist) and a number of women who pretend to have been raped to get back at innocent men and thereby destroy their lives.

Even giving women absolute ability to be believed without proof and regardless of contradictions in the story (what some “feminists” are suggesting in the case of UVA and Lena Dunham) you’re not going to get every woman who was raped to come forward. And you can’t say that the majority of the reports in those circumstances would be truthful. Why would they be?

I keep reading women pronouncing on how people won’t report rapes that didn’t happen, because no woman wants to humiliate herself or make herself unfit for political society by claiming to have been raped when she wasn’t.

Uh. Really? I didn’t realize we were living in the Victorian age. Nowadays, what with slut walks and no slut shaming and all that, saying you were raped has zero shame for the victim, and all the opprobrium on the accused, even when completely innocent. (As Barry One has found out.)

These women – though they are, at least allegedly, women – seem never to have met any woman of flesh and blood.

Here is a hint. Real people are human and they respond to incentives. Also, real people, male and female go through really stupid phases (we call it adolescence.) Under the influence of hormones and unrequited love, young women become the most appalling shrews and young men become almost painfully stupid. This means giving either of them power over the other is not social justice but the ultimate injustice.

Men and women are different: in their mind and in their body. For my money the best way to keep women from suffering the disadvantages of being the (physically) weaker sex is to teach them to defend themselves. Karate, other martial arts, self-defense classes and of course guns.

The social justice warriors hate that though. You see, it makes the responsibility for keeping themselves safe and equalizing (eh) their circumstances dependent upon individuals. There’s way less opportunity not just for graft and corruption, but a lot less opportunity for the “social justice” “warriors” to exert power over others and work out the unfathomable personal grudges corroding what passes for their souls.

And so they prefer to pretend that while men are evil, bestial beings, women are akin to angels and devoid of a baser nature. Even if teenage girls could take revenge on boys who ignored them with a single word, they won’t because they’re superior beings. Also, of course, the wings might get in the way of the pointing finger. It must be the way I tell them. I can’t laugh for crying.

Speaking of – I just read the most bizarre (and I mean that) – Pride and Prejudice fanfic. Having written all day a couple of days ago, I defaulted to reading something mindless, hence fanfic (though got from amazon under the KULL program.)   This book had 4.5 stars, and though it seemed to be a minor variant, it turned out to be jaw-droppingly twisted. It was sort of like watching a train wreck.

First of all let me say I have nothing against Christian fiction. I think a lot of it drops the affirmations of faith that seem necessary in the genre at the oddest places, but I skip over them as I skip over sex in normal romances. But this one… this one…

England has its own brand and movements of evangelical Christianity. I haven’t made a study of it, but just through reading autobiographies and such, I know what some of them are, and also what expressions they would use in the Regency.

The most offensive thing about this novel is the way that everyone in Pride and Prejudice is suddenly a Southern Baptist. Worse, they are Southern Baptists in the modern age. No, this is not how they are identified, but it is how they process Christianity, express themselves and talk to each other about religion and life.

Some of the other minor violations: Mr. Bennet was a preacher before inheriting Longborn (What?), Mrs. Bennet appears to be bipolar and far more despicable than Austen would ever write her, people react and act in ways no one in real life acts, unless it’s in a small, trusted faith community. For instance, if a total stranger thinks I’m depressed and comes talking to me about how they love me because Jesus told them to, they’re going to get stared blankly at. If they try to hug me forcibly they’re going to get hurt.

It reminds me of when I was a store clerk in North Carolina, and a lady asked me the time, and I told her where the clock was in the store and told her I couldn’t read it that far. (I have bad astigmatism, but at the time I didn’t have bad nearsightedness. Still, it was hard to read at THAT distance.) Instead of saying “thank you” she loudly prayed for my sight to be healed. RIGHT in the middle of the store. I didn’t know where to put my face. And it’s kind of like I’d react to a stranger saying “Jesus is telling me to come and ask you to tell me why you’re depressed.” Instead of which, the person in the novel just goes along with it and is sooo happy and responsive. It reads like a tin ear for human relations.

Leaving all that aside, I call this “the novel where everyone got raped.” Honestly, I think it’s only Lizzy and Georgiana (though I wouldn’t bet Anne and maybe even Lady Catherine weren’t. They just don’t appear in this novel.)

The point though is that these two rapes are central to the book. They are there purely for plot reasons. Both of them are fairly unlikely in the circumstances. And both of them are resolved in very odd ways.

However, relating to the post, these rapes are not considered, in any way to reflect badly on the characters: on the contrary they are what make the characters worthy of sympathy and interest.

Now, I’m not going to say the rapes should be held against the characters. Rape is always the rapist’s fault. However, more and more I’m seeing rape played for a cheap sympathy trick. Which I suspect is reflection of how it’s viewed when the “consequences” of claiming to have been raped (note, not reporting to the police, but claiming it to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances) are sympathy and unconditional belief as well as consequences heaped on whomever you choose to accuse.

Given that view, why would women be angels? Why would they not surrender to an impulse of revenge? Would you believe women are superhuman? Why?

Surely a well formed conscience wouldn’t make false accusations. But how well formed is the conscience of someone who was raised on the idea men are inherently oppressors and that the world inherently owes women compensation for the horrors of being born with a vagina?

As someone said, rape crisis centers should believe every woman unconditionally. College authorities, reporters and frankly everyone else should examine the story for holes. And the accused should have the right to defend themselves.

Everything else; everything purporting to generate perfect equality for two completely different biological forms, will end up in a gigantic game of tit for tat, in which there’s no winner.

Egalite makes for a great revolutionary cry. But when the revolution winds down, equality of results ends only in equality of death and blood.

A list for homeschoolers, by Foxfier

Foxfier, here.

I homeschool our three kids—in as much as you can school, rather than just
be a mom to a one and three year old– but the five year old is doing fairly
well. From logging into the computer (with a password for her account) to
reading random short signs when we’re walking around and struggling with
reading a traditional clock, she’s learning. A lot of why we’re
trying to homeschool is safety related (we believe it’s a bad idea to teach
children that laws against assault don’t apply to protecting them, they only
apply to prosecuting if there’s a defense attempted) but a sizable chunk is
simply that it’s fun to feed her information as fast as she can chew
it down. Any mercy we’re taking on the poor teachers saddled with a child
that has that much pig headedness on both sides of the family is incidental.

So here’s a bunch of the resources I’d recommend, along with some that were
suggested at Ricochet.com; I hope others will add their favored resources,
since not everyone is doing elementary and pre-K education. All the
internet ones have good things that are free, although some sell additional
material. Mine are pretty heavy on print-outs. I’m thinking of making it a
“page” on my blog for easy sharing/updating, so please suggest new
additions. Title them something like EDUCATION RESOURCE and a short
description, perhaps?

Especially I’d like those who have a religious view to give the exact flavor
of their current observance, and what they consider a high quality source
for it. (I am an observant Roman Catholic, and would point to Catholic.com,
for example.) Likewise, if your job is one where there’s a lot of
misinformation, what the job is and a good resource; all those things where
you read something in the newspaper and growl about how incredibly
wrong what “everyone knows” is; please don’t argue with folks about a
source unless you share the belief/job it’s explaining, please, please!

My mom did the best she could to teach us outside of school, just like our
Hostess did for her sons, but my mom was greatly hobbled by the problem of
finding a source of information that was accurate and intelligible to those
who didn’t already know what was true. School really didn’t help,
between skipping subjects or leaving out very important bits. I have a
basic biology education that would make my science teacher sit down and cry
because it couldn’t be duplicated (in part because it was tied in with
emergency medical work on animals… you simply aren’t going to get 35 kids
in to help with a pig giving birth, or pulling calves, or even butchering a
bull that was hit by a car in the middle of the night) but there are a lot
of chunks of history where I simply don’t know a source I could trust.

 

ABC

http://www.starfall.com/n/level-k/index/play.htm?f”>Starfall’s
ABCs
– used their free part to start the kids on computers, ended up
subscribing to the entire site. (not expensive, once a year, multiple
computers) Good to just put the kids in front of with a mouse and
occasionally help with website navigation.

http://www.kidslearningstation.com/preschool/alphabet-worksheets.asp”>Kid’s
Learning Station
letter printouts – Tracers, printing, matching, word
association, fill in the letter worksheets, some letter based games,
coloring sheets. Biggest complaint is that each sheet is one at a time, so
it takes a lot of clicking to make an A-Z book.

Kid Zone Tracer
Pages
– Choose what they trace in block, script or cursive, has several
automatic options at a click, and can copy a line through the rest of the
page. Great for teaching “this is my name” type things.

TLSBooks.com
Handwriting Worksheets
– has reading and printing practice, with block
printing, Zaner-Bloser® Traditional Style script, D’Nealian® Style script,
cursive. Tons of cute pages.

All Kids Network
worksheets
– letters, shapes, matching, spelling, reading, fill in the
blank, sorted by topic instead of what it teaches you. (ie, “summer” not pre
writing through word-search) Has pre-writing exercises that my three year
old can manage. Mostly.

Scholastic
Success With: Kindergarten
workbook from Scholastic. I bought a bunch
of these from Costco several years ago and finally started on it– my
daughter mostly loves it, and if you add a basic 25c notebook they can copy
the letters more. Reading the directions can be reading practice, as well.

Bargain Bin dry erase boards from the Back To School supply bin, markers,
and permanent markers (I suggest something colorful for easier tracing).
Make your own “tracer board.” It’s fairly easy with a ruler, and rubbing
alcohol does nicely to erase the permanent marker if you’re quick.

Mead flash cards, or any other set that looks good to you; I spend a lot of
time at the bargain bin, and with a little ingenuity a lot of the basic
cards can be used for two kids at once. (Example: ‘younger, what is this
color? Correct. Elder, how do you spell red? Elder, what is this number?
Correct. Younger, count to sixteen, please.”) Use some sort of treat,
anything from sunflower seeds or goldfish crackers to jelly beans or mini
chocolate chips as a proportionate reward.

Have them tell you what random letters are, or what sound a letter makes, or
what letter makes a sound. “What is the first sound?” and
following questions are also helpful.

 

Numbers, Math

Starfall again, although
their free
samples are very
limited.
Heavy on songs. A bit quick to “help” kids find the right answer, although
it seems to have actually helped my eldest figure out the right answer.

Kid Zone “math” sheets–
everything from associating the numbers with their written symbol to basic
word problems. Go to the bottom for more suggested sources. Again, lots of
clicking.

TLSBooks
numbers/math sheets.

More
Coloring Books
- actually, lots of worksheets. Numbers, letters, math…
maybe I should make a section for “worksheets.”

Donald in Mathmagic Land- less for direct learning than for getting the idea
that math is useful, and as a mental health break for parents. (I suggest
Saturday morning.)

School
House Rock
- you can get a collection of all of the videos for about
thirteen bucks.

Uno deck. For little kids, play in “teams” with mom and dad; when they’ve
got the idea, they can play against you on their own. (Thus far, a kids
only game isn’t happening.)

Flash cards. Both actual numbers or math related ones, and the treats from
them. It is amazing how high a two year old can count when there
are jelly beans on the line.

Randomly ask them how many of something there are; we’re working on
memorizing multiplication tables verbally, too, any time I think they might
be bored. Sorting things by size is also useful.

Khan- Need to be able to read, so
they haven’t tried it, but I tried some bits and liked it well enough.

 

Reading

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_sb_27?tag=accordingtohoyt_20&link_code=wsw&_encoding=UTF-8&search-alias=aps&field-keywords=McGuffey%27s+Eclectic+Primer&Submit.x=17&Submit.y=12&Submit=Go”>McGuffey’s
Eclectic Primer
. Check Amazon, we got the 1909 “revised” set up to
sixth grade for something like ten dollars.

Classic Dr. Seuss, both you reading and them reading.

Some good poetry, like Kipling.

Disney or folk songs- the rhyming and rhythm seems to help get the idea of
the parts of words, although I’m not phrasing that very well. I believe
it’s called “sound awareness” or something like that.

Drop the Tranny‘s
Dolche sight words. Found it as a Chrome extension, but the site works fine
on its own, too. Some of the words can be sounded out, some have to be
memorized, but they’re words that a kid needs to learn– click on the card,
it says the word.

 

Science!

Zoo membership. Our local flashy one is about twenty bucks a month, depends
totally on what you’re near; learning depends very heavily on the parent,
since every one I’ve been is so soaked in kool-aid it’s scary.

Obsessively stopping to look at the leaves on the flowers, trees, grass and
anything else that will hold still.

Find out if your local library has any online resources; it is
incredibly helpful to be able to “order” your books and pick them up
quickly when the kids want to go look at their books.

Randomly asking them to classify animals. Try not to laugh too hard when
informed a duck is a mammal.

Reach
Out Michigan
- basically just a collection of links; some are very
useful.

Learning
Science.org
– collection of links.

Periodic Table Song

Eureka Physics videos -
educational videos, fairly basic. Not sure how well it sticks, yet.

Online Labs – have not actually
used it, but another collection of lots of free, online labs for various
science topics. Looks kind of advanced. (actual link is to chemistry)

Principles
of General Chemistry
– free online book.

 

Logic, Rhetoric, Speech

Stoa USA Speech and Debate

National Christian Forensics and
Communication Association

Introduction
to Logic, Fallacies
– explains what fallacies are, a bit of history,
informal fallacies and false fallacies (reasoning that seems fallacious but
is, on consideration, not)

Memoria Press -
Saving western civilization one student at a time. Link to the
“articles” page; haven’t actually tried any of their stuff, but a
lot of different classically minded friends have suggested it.

Essential
Latin

http://adamhoward.net/latin/latin.html”>Talkin’ like the Ancient
Romans

Word
Work Interactive Notebook for Greek & Latin Roots

 

Library

Project Gutenberg

The Internet Archive‘s
Digital Book collection

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/kip_fra.htm”>Kipling’s poetry
via the Kipling Society

 

The
Founding Documents

Making of America primary
source digital documents collection (UofM)

Making of America
primary source digital documents collection (Cornell)

 

History

What
Did People Do in a Medieval City
?

Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

 

General or Other

Web Exhibits – “an interactive
museum of science, humanities and culture.” Has some very pretty stuff.

Education.com 10 sheets a month for
free.

The
Homeschool Mom
massive collection of resources and articles,
sorted by subject. (the tags at the top of the lesson plan page are how you
find, say, general math)

My
Big FAT Homeschooling List
– same thing that I’m doing here, but at
another site.

The Rules of
Chivalry

Roy
Rodger’s Riders Rules

Typing Club -
learn to type, very basic

Learn States
and Capitals
– drag and drop names to places. Sticks surprisingly well,
although I don’t know if my daughter identifying Rhode Island as “the orange
one” will help in real life.

PBSKids.org – mostly helpful for learning
to use the computer, but has some relative size/amount games that seem to be
getting the idea across, several reading games, and my kids know an amazing
number of dinosaurs by species.

The Judgement of the Safe

So… that torture report.

One of the advantages of being interested in history is that it gives you perspective. Sometimes – often – the perspective it gives you is “Thank heavens I was born in the mid twentieth century and not the mid sixteenth.”

One of the reasons for this is their treatment of prisoners. Normal Judicial Procedure in Shakespeare’s England was to sweep up all suspects and witnesses, dump them in jail and at the magistrate’s leisure interrogate them to determine if they were in fact guilty of anything.

So, suppose you’re on the street, and the guy next to you gets stabbed. You’re going to jail. While in jail, you’ll have to pay for your own food and you’d best have some bribes available for creature comforts.

But Sarah, you’ll say, we’re not in the sixteenth century. We’re more civilized now. Yes, and thank heavens, though in many ways we’re also softer, and I want you to remember that, as we go on.

Torture was extensively used in the sixteenth century. We’re not talking “won’t let you sleep” or “you must stand up” or even “no water.” No, we’re talking really honest to Bob torture, where they tore you apart bit by bit until you were permanently damaged. It was the only way they knew to get people to talk. Hold on to this, too, there is a reason.

I know in Marlowe’s time – so just before Shakespeare got big – there was a playwright who was arrested on suspicion of nothing much, and when he came out he couldn’t write again, because he couldn’t hold a quill. (And he couldn’t walk, and other stuff.) It’s been very long since I worked in that time period, so I don’t remember his name.

One of the reasons most of us, sane human beings, think that Anne Boleyn was innocent was that the confessions were not only tortured out of her supposed lovers, they were REALLY tortured. We’re talking the stuff of nightmares. Think of the worst possible way to torture someone. Yep, that’s it.

Torture of that kind is used almost nowhere in the world these days. Correction, it’s used nowhere in the western world. You and I and even the anonymous people reading this blog to go scream on twitter what a horrible person I am, know this still goes on, at this level or close enough in the Arab world and in some of the more benighted parts of so called “developing countries.”

When I posted Cedar’s article on police corruption, an Indian FB friend posted that at least police don’t routinely flog the soles of your feet, just because they can, etc.

Yes. So, this goes on in a great part of the world, up to and including the unimaginable Elizabethan tortures if you’re talking Iran or Syria or any of those charming places.

Even next door, I have heard you REALLY don’t want to be arrested in Mexico.

But Sarah, say you, what does this have to do with us? We’re the United States. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in individual rights. Our criminals aren’t tortured, why should our enemies be?

Okay.

First, let me say I disapprove of torture – by which I mean REAL physical torture. Do I need to say this? Oh, yes, I do, there are idiots and SJWs (but I repeat myself) reading this.

I disapprove of pulled fingernails. I disapprove of cut this and that. I disapprove, even, of cane flogging the soles of someone’s feet. Other things I disapprove of – not a complete list – include but are not by any means limited to: beating someone with rubber hoses, burning someone with cigarettes, etc, etc, etc.

What about other levels of torture, i.e. “enhanced interrogation techniques” – sleep deprivation, loud music, etc – how do I feel about them.

Oh, I don’t like them. Depending on the severity of them they can extract false confessions, and I don’t think they should be used on citizens, protected by the constitution of the United States.

Besides, to be fair, the resistance of someone raised in modern America is not that of a man in the sixteenth century. Sure, if you read student doc, a blog on the er… interesting things that show up in emergency rooms in urban America, you probably suspect as I do that such resistance to pain and discomfort is much higher of someone raised in the underclass. Thus the observation that someone who has a low ratio or teeth to tattoos can show up shot through the heart and survive something that a normal suburbanite would never have endured two seconds. But I guarantee they’re still pampered princesses compared to people in the third world who, themselves, might be more sensitive than ANYONE including the upper class in Elizabethan England (who lived in conditions we can’t even fully imagine.)

And that, you see, is the rub. The rub is that first that life, liberty, pursuit of happiness thing? Those are rights given to us by the constitution. By us, I mean Americans by birth or adoption. We are not in fact mandated to give that protection to anyone else. And in many cases it might be ill advised.

Oh, boy, I can hardly write for the screams of the SJWs at that last one.

Chill. Listen. I know reading comprehension is not your forte, and also that you know a lot of things that just ain’t so, however do try to comprehend that this is not a civil war, in any sense. The people on the other side aren’t Americans. They don’t think like Americans, they don’t believe like Americans and they haven’t grown up like Americans.

They’re not also the little brown peoples of your pampered (and racist) imaginations where, because people can tan (to about my level, but never mind) they are inoffensive, clueless, a bit stupid, and will only do bad things in reaction to American evil. Do try to understand these people, though very different from you and htough, perhaps, raised in conditions of privation and material want, are fully realized human beings with their own agenda.

Their beliefs are not the same as yours, but they are – to them – just as important and as real as your beliefs are to you.

Oh, sure, some of their beliefs match yours. They’ve been told by their teachers, just as you were, that America is the source of all evil, and that if they wipe America from the map everyone will be happy or at least that they get to rule. (In this last one they’re at least more realistic than you are, not that they would, get to rule, I mean.)

They and you are wrong. In their case they were told this by their corrupt leaders who are afraid that America will prove so attractive it undermines their tyranny. In your case, you were told this by your corrupt leaders, who want to cater to your vanity and lead you to destroy the constitution and rules that keep them from becoming full tyrants.

But that is a side spur to this. What matters, right here, right now, is that these people are fully actuated human beings, possessed of self determination. And they hate us.

No, please, don’t say “not me”. Be you ever so “progressive” and ready to throw your co-citizens under the bus, they still hate you. In fact, they might hate you more. Their values aren’t ours but tribal honor and loyalty is something the Arab world understands at a gut level.

What this means is that they will try to harm us. 9/11 served as a wake up call for some of us. I suspect it did for you too, and that’s why you’re already siding with the enemy because you think they’ll win. That’s because you view every American through the lens of your circle. Trust me, some of us are neither cowards nor wilting flowers.

And that’s the rub. The other part of the rub. Neither are our enemies.

The people who want to hurt us grew up in conditions that make our normal treatment of prisoners a summer vacation.

Worse, they come from a part of the world where internal restraint of possible violence is not a thing. If you don’t torture them, they don’t assume it’s because you are holding back due to your impeccable morals. No, they assume that you’re not torturing them because you can’t – either because you fear their retaliation or because you’re soft. That means that they will be more sure than ever of their side’s win, and they’re not going to talk. Because, hell, if they talk, their side will do unspeakable things to them. Things that would make Elizabethans blench.

But Sarah, you say (well, those of you who aren’t SJW’s. Those are already shrieking and I don’t understand banshee), that doesn’t make it right for us to torture them or even to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on them.

Right according to whom? Right how? By whose moral law?

Yeah, sure, it’s against most of the religions dominant in the west (though not where these people come from.) It is also morally repulsive – to us, by Western codes – to hurt someone who can’t defend himself.

Is it realistic, though? Meaning, is it something that can work outside of a movie?

I don’t know. And neither do you. It is not your job to do this, and you can’t know. They’re dealing with a completely different culture, with people raised in much higher hardship levels than even poor people in Detroit, okay? More, they’re dealing with people raised in a culture where might makes right, and who turn that around and assume if there’s no might, there’s no right. Worse, they’re dealing with males in a culture that is a true and extreme patriarchy, a culture where most of these guys think of themselves as invulnerable and untouchable by virtue of being male and by virtue of their religion. If you don’t pierce that cultural bubble, they’re not going to talk.

But surely, Sarah, you say, we’re civilized and there’s stuff we can do to get the truth without torturing people.

Um…. M’kay then. I like science fiction too!

The truth is that the whole psychological science thing never came along as sf writers thirty or fifty or even seventy years ago predicted. The human animal is too unpredictable for an exact science.

Which leaves with the old, icky methods.

Now, perhaps – perhaps – you can work on them with mercy and lovingkindness. Perhaps it works just like in the movies. I don’t know. I’ve never done this work. I knew someone who used to interrogate would-be communist terrorists (a different beast, from a different culture) who said if you have to slap a prisoner you are incompetent. For most prisoners you could get them to crack with the “good cop” routine. But he said in a pinch, and if you had an urgent need, you had to resort to sleep deprivation or making them break potty-training. (Apparently Heinlein was right about this having a devastating effect.) Which are I presume “enhanced interrogation techniques.” (Though not to the water boarding level.)

Here’s the thing: this is not my job, and it is not yours, and it certainly, thank heavens, is not the job of the Sandra Flukes of this world.

So – I don’t know under what time-pressure people were working, and I don’t know what they had to do. And I’m not going to judge them.

It is important to have supervision. People with power over others will get out of control. But it’s also important to know the person coordinating the compilation of this report was Harry Reid and what he’s trying to do. (Mostly make us look away from Gruber’s deposition and from the slo mo disaster this administration has brought to America.) And it’s important to remember two things: you’re not the men doing this and you don’t know their circumstances.

It’s also important to remember that most of the people being interrogated are NOT the peaceful camel herders that the movies portray. These people have histories that, to quote from Grosse Pointe Blanke, read like a demon’s resume. And that’s important, both for what they could do and what you have to get through to make them crack.

Put it this way: Imagine we had a president who really cared when innocent village girls are kidnapped by the Boko Haram. I mean, cared about it more than to have his wife tweet a pouty-face picture saying “Bring back our back our girls.” And kindly, don’t tell me that it’s a foreign country and none of our business. Note that “our girls.” Let’s say we’d captured one of the rat finks who kidnapped these kids. We have to find the rest before they are raped/killed/sold into perpetual sexual slavery to strangers.

What would you do to get that one guy to talk quickly? Think carefully and don’t flatter yourself. You’d do whatever you had to do.

To do anything else would be to go into a street fight and try to fight by Marquess de Queensbury rules. Those work fine in the boxing ring, if everyone is following them. In an alley fight, they’ll get you massacred.

So – do I think we owe it to our higher selves to be better than the parts of the world where prisoners are routinely tortured? Sure. If for no other reason, because it hurts those of our men having to torture. They’re not built or educated for this.

But I also think there’s times and circumstances, and I have neither the training nor the experience nor the knowledge of the circumstances to say “and you must never do this.”

The chokepear and the iron maiden should be out of bounds, but waterboarding? I don’t know. It depends.

To release a report of this kind, with this kind of sensationalism, devoid of context is to invite the ignorant public (and I’m part of this) to pass judgment on things they can’t even imagine.

We can demand that our agents work with as much decency as possible, but we can’t, from where we sit, decide where that line is. We simply don’t have the equipment to do it.

Yes, I believe in individual life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for as many people as possible. But make no mistake, I’m an American first and last. And if you need to violate the rights of those who aren’t Geneva signatories, who don’t recognize any rights and who would blow up men and women and children in a normal morning, in the middle of NYC, to preserve the life and liberty of Americans, it’s not even a contest. Do it.

It goes along with the right of self defense. We have the right to find out what they’re plotting so that we can use to stop attacks on us.

What about innocent camel herders? What about them? Most of these assets we interrogate aren’t so easy to capture that we’re sweeping up crowds, en masse, from the Arab street. Whatever movies tell you, trust me, if we were doing that, you’d have heard about it. In detail. These are people who have committed acts of terrorism in the past – proven, often watched and self-confessed – and will commit them again in the future.

Unless we can figure out what they’re up to.

So, do I like torture? No. I’m as capable of getting on my moral high horse as anyone else. A nd I think the Elizabethan system made for lousy policing, and if we start going that way, even internationally, that’s a BAD thing.

But I also think we’re nowhere near it and our agents, thank heavens, don’t have an unfettered hand in decisions. They are watched and overseen.

The rest of us, here on the street? Sure, they ultimately work for us, and to be fair, we should keep an eye on them. But unless you take the time to read all the reports and have a clearance that allows to you to get what the rest of us don’t, be aware what you’re reading is only half the truth.

And you can’t judge men doing difficult and morally perilous work on the front lines. You just can’t. You can say “I’d prefer we didn’t do this” – so can I. But screaming about the eebils of America? Oh, please. Try being picked up for a traffic violation anywhere in the third world.

Grow up. Understand you don’t know everything and that your moral rules and scolding are not and will never be the last word.

You can hold onto them only because rough men are willing to do rough things on your behalf.

You are not now, and if you’re very lucky you’ll never be, in the sort of morally perilous position where you have to choose between your moral beliefs and someone else’s life.  You’re not in a position where you have to choose whether to be rough to a prisoner or risk territories being taken in which women and children will be raped, treated like chattel, and suffer unimaginable torture.  (For illustration look at the areas taken by Isis.)

Your job is to understand this and to stop demanding that people choose between the black and white that exist only in your imagination and in the movies produced by people for whom a hangnail is unimaginable torture and going without their favorite bottled water an emergency.

Your job is also to wonder why this report was released now, on practices that started being discontinued in Bush’s second term, and to wonder what exactly the people in power now are doing that they’d rather hide behind whipped up outrage at actions since stopped than to examine the actions of the powerful right now.

Stop emoting and start thinking.  Yes, your friends will think badly of you, and the SJWs will shriek some more.  (We should harness that.  Could power entire cities, I tell you.)

But you might prevent you and yours having to suffer far worse than is detailed in those reports.

Maybe.  If you are very lucky.