Lenin’s The State and Revolution – An Introduction – by Amanda S. Green

lenin-1724576

Lenin’s The State and Revolution – An Introduction – by Amanda S. Green

Last night, I talked with Sarah about today’s post. Unlike last week’s post, or even the series on Clinton’s What Happened, this post simply wasn’t coming together. I finally had to put it aside and tell her I’d get her the post this morning. I needed to sleep on it and, hopefully, inspiration would strike. In the light of day, I’m not sure inspiration struck, but I realized what the problem was. Simply put, the 1933 edition I was reading was, while my preferred edition, like wading through molasses on a day when the temperatures were below freezing. It wasn’t the subject but the translation. It flowed like the original Russian text. The problem is English isn’t meant to flow that way, not any longer. Or maybe my brain just doesn’t flow that way, not for quick reading, any longer.

So, I went trolling the internet for a different version. As I did, I kept my 1933 edition at hand as well as my Russian text of the pamphlet (which I finally found this morning). Using the preview function on Amazon and even checking out some free PDFs of the text, I finally found one I like.

The State and Revolution (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) will be the version I mainly use for the purposes of this new series of posts. Yes, the text is slightly different from the translation I prefer. But, checking it against the 1933 edition and the original Russian, it is (at least so far) accurate. The language has been updated slightly for easier readability but the meaning is still the same. Better yet, the introductory notes give not only information about the book (or pamphlet as it was originally called) but also the history of Russia and of Lenin’s life.

Many Westerners know little about Lenin the man. We think of him as the founder of the Soviet Union. We remember the images of him addressing the masses or on propaganda posters. We even remember the pictures of what was supposed to be his body lying in state inside Lenin’s Tomb in Moscow not just years but decades after his death. When I visited the tomb, more than one person did a riff on the old Memorex commercial’s tag line, changing it to, “Is he real or is he wax?”

But we know little about the man himself, much less about this particular work.

Lenin’s history as someone working against the Romanovs started when he was a young man. He joined anti-Romanov groups and by mid-1890’s “was a leading Marxist ‘underground’ revolutionary in Petrograd.” (TSAR, p vii) In 1896, he was arrested. 1897 saw him being exiled to Siberia. After serving his sentence there, he immigrated to the West in 1900. In 1903, he came to prominence during the Second Party Congress by becoming the leader of the Bolsheviks after their split with the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks, also known as the Reds, would not only defeat the Mensheviks and others in the Russian Civil War (1917 -1922), they would also become the Communist Party of the USSR. Lenin led them throughout this time, both as their spiritual leader and as their figurative.

But, back in the summer of 1917, Russia was still in turmoil. World War I continued, draining Russia’s already strained resources. With Nicholas II overthrown in February of that year, Lenin and other “revolutionary figures” began returning to Russia. Lenin, who has been in Switzerland during the war, found himself facing a number of hurdles in his attempt to return to Russia, however. Russia’s allies, knowing of Lenin’s opposition to the Tsar, blacklisted him, preventing him from traveling to Petrograd via France and the North Sea. Because of that, Lenin had to travel through Germany, with approval from Berlin. That route, along with Berlin’s approval, led to the accusation of him being a German agent.

The Provisional Government leveled the charges against him, charges he denied. Very quickly, he became a leading figure in the opposition against the new government. He proclaimed “that the emergencies of war and economic disruption were resolvable only through the installation of a government of soviets.” (TSAR pg xiii). To do this, the Bolsheviks began their “campaign” to “convince the working class, the soldiers and the peasants that the party’s representatives should replace the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries in the soviets.” (TSAR pg xiv)

Long story short, Russia was a mess at this point. In May, a newer coalition government was formed. The Bolsheviks still didn’t hold the power they wanted and they used the upheaval to foment more dissent.  After the government banned a protest in late June 1917, the demonstration was met with force from the government. The government held Lenin responsible, even though he hadn’t been in contact with Petrograd at the time, and ordered his arrest on the charge of being a German agent.

For Lenin, this meant once again going on the run. During this time, he began writing The State and Revolution. What is interesting is realizing that it wasn’t written for those in Russia he was supposedly fighting for. It wasn’t even written for most of those in the Bolshevik Party. It was written for the well-educated, for those who could go out and debate and spread the intellectual aspect of Lenin’s beliefs.

Many don’t realize he never finished the pamphlet even though he lived 7 more years. It was supposed to have had one more chapter. Also, as noted in the preface to the second edition, written in 1918, Lenin added a new section to chapter 2.

Lenin believed The State and Revolution was his most important contribution to the political debate. He worried it wouldn’t be finished before his death and, while on the run from the government, asked a friend to make sure it was published should anything happen to him. Yet, do you know why he didn’t finish it? In a postscript to TSAR, he wrote, “It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of revolution’ than to write about it.”

Preface to the First Edition

The opening paragraphs make clear Lenin understood the turmoil of World War I, following upon the problems Russia faced after the 1905 Revolution and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) made a fertile ground for a new revolution. In language similar to what we heard from certain parties during the 2016 presidential race, he did his best to stir the pot of inequality.

The imperialist war has brought about an extraordinary acceleration and intensification of the process of transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism. The monstrous oppression of the laboring masses by the state, which is fusing itself more and more closely with the omnipotent associations of the capitalists, is becoming ever more monstrous. . . The unprecedented horrors and miseries of this protracted war are making the conditions of the masses intolerable and increasing their indignation.  (pg 3)

Translate that into Bernie-speak or even Hillary-speak and doesn’t that sound familiar. Capitalism bad. Money and power are in the wrong hands. The oppressed are tired of being second-class citizens. We must rise up and take control.

And the imperialist war is nothing other than a war for the division and redivision of this kind of booty [enslaving small and weak peoples, holding power for the state, etc –asg]. The struggle for the liberation of the laboring masses from the influence of the bourgeoisie in general and the imperialist bourgeoisie in particular is impossible without a struggle against opportunistic prejudices on the theme of the ‘the state’. (pg 3)

The “state” is all about the “state” and to hell with the individual. Sound familiar? As for the “laboring masses”, I can just picture Bernie making that speech. Even though this is only the preface to the work, I have to wonder what sort of world Lenin really imagined. Sure, he will write that, in a true socialist existence, the state will eventually cease to exist. But I have to wonder if he really believed that or if it was all a con. After all, he’d seen the best and the worst humanity had to offer. Was this all a big con? The irony of what he professed compared to what he wrote and what the great Soviet state turned into shouldn’t be lost on any of us.

TSAR is split into three sections. I’ll deal with each section in a single post (at least that’s the plan). Lenin’s description of the sections shows his disdain and contempt for those who didn’t view Marxism as he did. (pg 3)

  • First . . . we examine the doctrine of Marx and Engels on the state, pausing to give specially detailed attention to aspects of this doctrine that have been forgotten or have been subjected to opportunist distortion. (And I will try to point out how Lenin himself fell victim to this “opportunist distortion.”)
  • Then we deal with the main representative of these distortions, Karl Kautsky, the leader of the Second International which has suffered such a wretched bankruptcy in the present war. (A charge that most definitely could be leveled against the USSR, especially after Lenin’s death.)
  • Finally, we sum up the main results of the experience of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and particularly of 1917. (The latter of which is an interesting comment, especially considering the “revolution” was ongoing at the time Lenin wrote this. Yes, the Romanovs had been deposed and later murdered by the “revolutionaries”, but the Provisional Government maintained power until the October Revolution. The preface was written in August 1917. So the revolution had yet to see the end of its first phase.)

He closes the preface with the following:

Thus the question of the relation of the proletarian socialist revolution to the state acquires not only a practical political importance but also the importance of a most urgent current problem: how to explain to the masses what they will have to do in the very near future to liberate themselves from the yoke of capitalism. (pg 4)

As we go forward with this series, I’d like each of us to keep this last quote in mind. TSAR was written as a road map for the leaders of the Bolsheviks, to help them manipulate the masses to their side. Remember it when you listen to any politician, but especially those who talk about redistribution of wealth, of taking from one group or class in order to give to another. Look for the similarities and, when you see them, be prepared to counter with factual evidence of not only how this plan worked in the Soviet Union but also how it would impact our country.

Marx started us down this road during the “modern age” with his “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” bullshit. Lenin took that and ran with it. The reality, ignored by all too many, is that the producers of the world would become the slaves to the takers. We aren’t talking about reasonable welfare programs here. We are talking about a state of existence where the State tells you what to do, takes the results of your work and distributes it to everyone. Most humans don’t work well in that sort of existence. After a while, resistance and resentment build. If revolution doesn’t occur then resignation does. The desire to work hard and to innovate slowly atrophies and dies. Is that the kind of life you want for your children or grandchildren?

I don’t.

The best way to fight the Bernie-bots of the world or the more subtle Clintons and Obamas of the world are to recognize and understand not only what their goals are but the basis for them. Am I an expert on this topic? Hell no. But I continue to work hard to become one because it is only by understanding the historical implications and applications of their beliefs that I can help fight the current day attempts to send us down the path to socialism or worse.

[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to  send the woman a drink–  And her Amazon author page is here -SAH]

 

On Shaking The Dust From One’s Sandals

porto-1972450_1920

Portugal is not a shithole.  I think I can say that impartially, since I’ve acculturated long ago, and wouldn’t go back there to live if you sent wild horses to drag me that way.

It feels profoundly uncomfortable to most Americans.  I can say that too, because I am an American, because it was built not with the dictates of the free market — I’ll sell you anything so long as you buy it — in mind, but with other dictates, including pride, appearance and a lot of other stuff.

This is why the faucets run like diuretic gerbils, the electrical boards in houses suck (and no the excuse of global warming wouldn’t wash for a minute in the US) gas and energy in general are prohibitive, and service… isn’t what you’d call wonderful.  All of which add up to profoundly uncomfortable for Americans — and yes, I know my Portuguese readers are going to say we’re spoiled, and darn tooting we are.  You ain’t whistling Dixie. And we mean to continue being spoiled — but still not a shit hole.

Not that I’m going to punch out anyone who calls it such.  I’m just going to assume they have no experience of real shitholes.

You see, you can judge a country’s status as an … ah…. excrement sinkhole by figuring out “Migration out or in?”

In Portugal this picture is complicated.  They are suffering “brain drain” as their youngest, brightest and most educated decamp for Germany, England, or even Brazil (where the picture is also complicated) but at the same time they receive immigrants from Africa, Brazil, South America, China and, weirdly, Russia (I’ve never figured out if these are descendants from people who took their crappy cars when the wall came down, and drove until they hit the ocean (or drove/walked till they hit the ocean) or whether they’re a fresh migration.  I know the first existed, but I haven’t sussed out the other particulars.)

So, Portugal is not a shithole.  What it is is a country so tied down by regulations, rules, and the ever present weight of tradition (Portugal, like many Baltic countries produces way more history than it can consume locally) that it works at cross purposes to itself.

Looking at what Portuguese (at least some) can do abroad, in terms of insane amounts of work and sometimes success, one assumes that if Portugal could eschew its perennial fascination with socialism, it would … well…. I don’t know, but it would be scary for good or ill.

I mean for a country tied up with socialism (first national, then international) for the best part of a century, it’s not doing badly at all.  Look at it this way: it hasn’t gone Venezuela.  And the gentleman in the back who just said that’s because they can’t do anything efficiently, not even socialism, is just being mean.  Yes, the Portuguese have been locked in a tragic fight throughout history with their traditional enemies, the Portuguese, but that’s no reason to look down on them.

On the serious side, and what this is leading to, what would I do if Trump said “We don’t need more immigrants from that shithole, Portugal?”

Gulp. Then get on the phone and calm dad down, because he’s 86 — and even if he’s freezing through one of the coldest winters in their history, because their electrical boards suck, being now designed to prevent global warming, and therefore unable to accommodate say a hair dryer and a washing machine running at once, much less a heater in every room — he’s very proud of his country and very patriotic and we wouldn’t want him to do himself harm by being so mad.

And then I’d shrug.  Portugal is not a shithole, true.  But there is also no reason to seek out immigrants from Portugal IN PARTICULAR.

Mind you, the US doesn’t.  The “diversity visa lottery” LOOKS FOR immigrants from failed states.  For those purposes, Portugal is lumped in with Europe, and therefore it’s almost impossible to immigrate from there, which is why the Portuguese brain drain is going to places like Germany and Great Britain.

In fact, one of my teachers who spoke five languages, and whose husband was a fully trained electrical engineer, had been on the waiting list for 10 years when I was 18, and I bet you they haven’t made it here, yet.

But you know, that’s the whole point.  I don’t think Visas should be handed out to Portuguese particularly because Portuguese are cute and colorful and produce great wine, or whatever the reasoning.

I think, if we’re going to take in immigrants, we should take them in according to their usefulness to the US.

I happen to know we have a massive shortage of engineers, for instance. So, say, if it’s determined that Portuguese engineering schools/engineers pass muster and the US decides to import a few?  That’s fair.  Same with engineers from all other countries.  Of course, it will depress younger son’s future wages, but you know, fair is fair and engineering graduates are too few by far to replace retiring engineers.

So what is my justification?  What do I do for the nation?

Ah.  I came in a different way (though at the same time I had an offer for teaching at an East Coast college while finishing my doctorate, and if I hadn’t fallen in love with Dan, I’d have come in that way for a while at least.)

But I am very conscious of gratitude to you for taking me in and letting me be one of you.  Portugal is not a shithole.  It just never fit me right, like a prickly garment that does its job, but is not quite comfortable.

I feel much better in America.  And I’m very grateful.  And I try to do what I can to justify taking me in.

So far?  I’m probably still at a deficit.  Sure, we pay taxes, and we haven’t taken public assistance, but that’s the bare minimum.  And I raised two boys who will probably be productive citizens.  And of course I write books which make at least some money/create some wealth.  And I try to fight the good fight in the culture war.

Are these remarkable achievements?  No.  They’re the bare minimum to pay my way.  I want to do more, and now that we’re dealing with some long-standing physical issues, I just might manage it.

The point of it though, is that I’m conscious of which way this relationship runs.  I owe the nation a debt, and I’ll do my best to pay it back.

It might never happen, but I will try my damnedest.

For I was a stranger, and you took me in.  And I owe you.

 

Telling the Hard Truth – by Dave Freer

migration-2698946

Telling the Hard Truth – by Dave Freer

Hello. My name is Dave and I came from a shit-hole.

My friend Sarah Hoyt pointed me to a self-righteous fury spewing from the South African ANC (the political party which has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid) about the idea of South Africa being a shit-hole and bad America was. I was born there, and eventually migrated to Australia, of which I am now a proud citizen, and which I love, and try my best to pay back for its enormous generosity in taking us in.  Now, South Africa is a beautiful country, with some fine people… but the ANC have presided over it now having one of the highest murder and rape stats of any country in the world not at war.  Corruption is endemic, and racial hatred – both white on black and black on white – if anything is worse than at the end of apartheid. Public Health is in a sad state, and education isn’t much to write home to mother about, principally because ‘writing’ might be challenge, and mother (adult education is a neglected disgrace) still can’t read. There are squatter camps, squalor, mud huts without toilets in the bush. Electrical grids are failing, potable water is a major problem. There are good patches of course. There are things which have improved. But it’s only not a shit-hole when compared to places like Zimbabwe. Any criticism from it is like a serial child rapist and murderer complaining about you saying ‘shut up’ to your kid.

Whether President Trump really said ‘Why are we having these people from a shit-hole come here’ or not… I would like say that I think it the most valuable statement about migration made in the last fifty years, and one that cried out to be said. What’s more I think saying it is not only refreshingly honest (because it is a common thought, but one no-one dared say it, and people need to hear it), but actually exceptionally good for both migrants and shit-hole countries. It’s a coarse, blunt statement, but it’s probably the only possible way to make the point effectively.

As I said, I am a migrant myself, and no, I don’t hate migrants.

But I do realize there is a problem that needs dealing with, if this is not to all end in tears. It is in fact VERY like alcoholism (which is why I used the opening line I did): you’re never going to solve the problem while you pretend it isn’t there.  Getting it out in the open, acknowledging the realities, both of how the people in the country migrants are wanting to go to feel about it, and of WHY the migrants move, is vital to the longer term happiness and well-being of migrants and the countries they move to.  It also is the only real chance that shit-hole countries will improve. It’s like ignoring a toddler’s tantrum in the toy aisle.  It’s not easy for a loving parent: but you’re no loving parent if you let the child have what they want. You’re just avoiding embarrassment and lots of noise – and possibly for that screwing your kid over for life.

Let us stop worrying about upsetting tender liccle feewings – which allow the situation to fester under a covering of ‘sensitivity’. Fifty years of trying that… have made matters a lot worse.

Reality: Almost no one migrates from a place to an unknown country if the place they’re in is not comparatively (at least in their minds) a shit-hole compared to the country they’re moving to. Anything else is like people pretending the alcoholic with the shakes and horrors doesn’t drink.  That doesn’t help the alcoholic or them.

The other vital point of ‘Why are we having these people from a shit-hole come here?’ that so many people getting affronted by the accurate ‘shit-hole’ part miss… is that this is first and foremost a question. WHY are we having them come here?

Let’s start with a basic premise. Your country and government’s first duty is to its own people. They, and their ancestors, for their descendants, paid – as the saying goes – in blood and treasure, for the shape the country is in now. It’s due to the people who live and lived there. I’ve heard various ridiculous arguments about wealth, security and comfort being due to almost anything else (from geography to mineral wealth to the legacy of colonial exploitation, etc.) None hold water, because there is a counter example for every one of them.  It comes down to the people and the culture of those people, which shapes that state. Sometimes it is put into form by a constitution, but that too derives from its people. The first duty any government owes – is to its own people.

So that ‘WHY’ is exactly what any country, what any citizen ought to ask.  And a good reason is not ‘because the migrant needs or wants it.’  If you’re going to include that reason at all, it has to come a long way down the list, well after ‘it will have no negative effects on my people’.

I’m going to stick my neck out here (for good reason, as I will explain) there are very few migrants from anywhere (particularly shit-holes, and remember I am speaking of myself) that are just a straight good bargain for any first world country to take, as is.  There are no jobs that Americans/Australians/Japanese just won’t do. They might not do them for the price you’re willing to pay, but that is a different matter. Working out if suppressing labor costs (and earnings) is a net good for a country as whole after the costs (in welfare, health, education and social cohesion just to name obvious ones, leaving out less obvious like ‘exporting money from the country to be spent elsewhere’) is a huge task, which depends mostly on the caliber of the migrants you let in. Here’s a clue: taking them from shit-holes has some big costs.

Taking skilled migrants… has some short term advantages. Your country gets years of training and experience for free. Whether it is really good for the doctors and nurses and the training of doctors and nurses born and bred there, is another argument, entirely.  Every country gets caught in short squeezes: but giving an easy out may be bad long term for its people.

That leaves a handful of those special, truly rare talents. Great sportsmen, mathematical geniuses… yep. They’re a win, no matter where they come from. But these are one in a million migrants. If they were all of the migrants… nobody would care or not welcome them.

Which brings me back to my statement that few migrants are just welcome, and why it is so vitally important for the migrants to hear the hard question: ‘Why are we having these people from a shit-hole come here?’ Because that does what we should always do: puts responsibility on the party who benefits. Being a migrant never can be ‘as is’ – because ‘as is’ migrants suck.

If – like me – you’re a migrant, then: ‘Why are we having these people from a shit-hole come here?’ asserts the most valuable lesson any migrant could possibly get to make that migration a happy, successful experience both for them and the country they move to. Migrants are migrating because their birth-country is, for some reason, a shit-hole to them.  They need the new country to accept them.  And that needs a two pronged approach that everyone has been too ‘sensitive’ and ‘kind’ to bluntly tell them. It’s like the alcoholic again. You’re not actually doing them any favors pretending they don’t stink and they haven’t fallen asleep in their own vomit. You can certainly help them by telling them if they give up the booze they can be a decent bloke. BUT they have to leave the booze behind and accept it was a problem.  The alcoholic that can’t do that, and the migrant that can’t do that… are never going to get any better. And just as not even the best effort in the world can do anything for an alcoholic who hasn’t decided themselves to give it up and change, not all the ‘kindness’ in the world will help a migrant who brings the shit-hole with themselves, telling themselves it is not a problem. All they’re doing is making a new shit-hole.

I still hold that migrants can add value and be welcome, no matter where they come from. But it’s a huge hill for them (not others, not their host country) to climb, a lot of blood and treasure to catch up on – and a shit-hole, and all that goes with it, to leave behind.  Anything else will end in tears.  Working hard on it, leaving your past –culture, country, language – behind, and embracing the new, will have the citizens meet you half way, help you along, and welcome you. Migrants need to know this, accept this.

Not saying this openly is not doing anyone a favor.

Dave Freer’s Amazon page is here.

Wrong Battle, Insane Tactics

quixote

So I was reading Margaret Atwood’s article.  Yes, I know. What can I say.  It’s a very specialized form of masochism.

I wrote a post about it for PJMedia, which hopefully will go live today.  It’s about one of the things that truly annoyed me about the article.  Just one.  Mostly the fact that she doesn’t see the link between her actions and present insanity.  It’s like Robespierre stopping at the top of the steps to the guillotine and going “how did things get like this?”

But that’s only a portion of it.  There is more.  I realized reading her article, as she brings up the obligatory reference to Salem and in general the plight of witches (why are feminists obsessed with witches?  I want to take each of these new age twits who think that witches were some kind of feminist heroes, and make them read about Athenais de Montespan and the affair of the poisons.  Of course they might approve.  Most of the sacrifices were babies) and other things that are as ritualistic to feminists as the rosary to Catholics, it occurred to me (not for the first time.  There is an article about it here somewhere) that the problem with current feminism is that these women have gone to battle against the wrong enemy and therefore their tactics and their justifications keep spinning out more and more insane each time: because there is no way to win the battle they set themselves, since it was won before they started off and by means they don’t understand; and because they don’t understand how the battle was won, they keep fearing to lose again.

You see, Margaret brings up again the whine about how women couldn’t own property/weren’t considered fully adults, etc.  She also, of course, says that American courts discount accusations of sexual abuse/rape, and that American corporations ignore female complaints of misbehavior by males.

I’m not sure where she’s getting the thing about how courts and corporations behave, but then a person who could think of New England in current day as a theocratic state needs her head examined, because most of her ideas are coming from a highly improbable parallel world, and she doesn’t even realize it.

Sure, of course, Hollywood and publishing might ignore female complaints (and male too, look you) but that’s because they’re oligopolies, with those in power being able to do pretty much anything to their subordinates.  They resemble nothing so much as Ancient Rome.  Most sane businesses who do you know, real stuff, and aren’t bottlenecks dealing with artists and other obsessives aren’t like that.

But yeah, sure, there was a time (a very long time) when women were treated as something not quite as human as males.  I know why too, because unlike the feminists I know more of history than the cant about “couldn’t own property.  Were property.  Ahhhh, so scary.”

It’s a good idea when looking at historical oppressed groups, particularly those like women, to realize that a) well, the oppression might not have been oppression in the opinion of anyone living at that time b) there must have been a reason for such treatment that was deeper than “all men are villains and want to enslave all women” since patently most men aren’t villains, and most women are their mothers/sisters/daughters, and only a very few men hate all of those.

The reason… is survival.

Life for most men and women, even upper class ones, up to about a hundred years ago sucked rotten goat tit.

Everyone died young.  Okay, fine, if you were very wealthy and had damn good genes, you might live to your sixties or seventies, or, improbably, eighties.  (I saw my first eighty year old at 14, and he was what we’d now associate with 100.  And he was wealthy and from a long lived family.  My parents are now older than he was, but they look more like seventies then.)  Let’s not forget, ladies and germs that Shakespeare was “very old” at fifty eight which is staring me in the face, and which I have hopes (perhaps foolish) of exceeding and working past for twenty years at least.

But the child mortality was the most shockingly different thing from our own society.  It wasn’t even unusual to birth ten children and rear one or or two.  High class women in the regency (think the character in Pride and Prejudice) made two infant shrouds as part of their trousseau, because that was the minimum of children they could expect to bury early on, before they had the time to make more. Children or shrouds, now I think about it.

The risks were different for women and men, of course.  For men most of the risk was working outside or in dangerous jobs (then as now, statistically, most females did indoor, safe, boring work (though often backbreaking) and most men did outside, strength intensive, dangerous work.  For the upper classes this often involved going to war.)  For women it was pregnancy and child birth.  Even in our days there are so many ways either of those can go seriously wrong and hurt a woman.  And in those days, they couldn’t cope with or even diagnose “seriously wrong.”

So…. Think through the implications of this, okay?  Most women spent most of their lives pregnant and died young.

The myth of women not working or not being able to work outside the home is just that.  I have no idea why the feminists concentrate on a small sliver of the population during a narrow band of time (the Victorian age) except that they’re starting to imitate so many of the Victorian women (fictional) quirks (I need a safe room.  That man leered at me.  I am scared for life.  Give me my smelling salts!) that I think like women reading regency romances, they always imagine themselves as upper class ladies. (Go figure.)

Most women, even middle class women, worked.  For the middle class managing a house was at least as important as going out and earning money for such house.  Men looked for skilled housekeepers, because otherwise their wealth would be squandered.  And often — in my own family’s case — women helped with the business and the business management.

Lower class women often took work they could do in the house, and piecemeal.  You know, low paid, repetitive, but safe.

This was not because men didn’t want competition from women stevedores or stone masons.  (There were always some, though often they pretended to be men to avoid trouble.  Also they were the very extreme of body types for females, obviously.)  It was because they were PROTECTING and LOOKING AFTER women, trying to keep them SAFE.  Not because they looked down on women, or thought women were “lesser” but because women could do a very important thing that men STILL can’t do (and won’t be able to barring some truly strange science advances): give birth.

Because giving birth was such a high-risk enterprise, and because so many of the products of that enterprise died before pay back of the ah labor involved in bringing them to the world, it was THE most important work of society.  Those members able to do it had to be kept in such a situation that it allowed them to maximize that one thing they could do.

As for “the property of their husbands, etc, etc, blah blah blah” work was so brutal and hard, and providing for a family so difficult, that yes, a man wanted to make sure the children he supported were his own.

Also, because of very early (many women married before even 18) death in childbirth, etc, most women skewed younger than men as a population, which would encourage a certain degree of paternalism.  On top of that, hate to tell you, but women while hormonal are often not fully rational.  We can sort of compensate for it, but one of the pregnancy hormones is SUPPOSED to make you fat, dumb and happy.

I don’t know if most women need a minder while pregnant, but from both personal experience and watching friends go through it, I imagine many women do.

It is therefore only natural that in a society where most women are pregnant most of the time, men would view it was their duty to look after the puir confused things.

When feminists assume that back in a time with no contraceptive, high child mortality and an horrendous death toll of pregnancy, women should have been recognized as the equals of men, and that men were being evil villains for not doing that, they are demonstrating an astonishingly blind and ideological view of history.

In fact, even back in the middle ages and before SOME women were considered the intellectual equals of men.  (And sometimes the military equals.)  There are very few of them, again, not because The Man was keeping them down, but because the women attracted to intellectual or military pursuits are (like men) a minority and on top of that they tended to be either unmarried, childless, or the percentage of women not much affected by pregnancy.  I.e. a minority of minorities.

Women started making advances in what was considered, traditionally, male realms, like science or scholarship, (the others…. well…. there is a problem with upper body strength.  Sure.  Some women.  Again a minority of a minority) or being able to vote when two twin advances occurred: the first was the curbing of infant mortality.  When it became obvious (after a generation or so) that most of your babies would survive, it was possible for women to spend only a tiny minority of their lives pregnant.

The second was contraception that was cheap, easily available, and safe.  Yeah, okay, I have certain issues with the pill, because the medical issues of using it long term are only now showing up in the population at large.  That’s fine.

It remains that even the early “horse-dose” pill was safer than anything else anyone else had ever come up with for women to avoid getting pregnant all the time.

I allow and am amused by the handwavium of “some herbs” in fantasy novels, but most herbs were not contraceptives, but abortificients with the associated risks.  There was a berry that worked much like the pill, but it went extinct in Roman times.  (eh.)

Not having to spend the majority of their lives pregnant and not dying in disproportionate numbers in child birth gave women “equality” to the extent it can be had in this fallen world.

Because many reflexes remain from the aeons when women were so important they must be protected, in many ways it gave women the upper hand, particularly in social situations.

Which brings us to where we are now.

The “feminists” blind certainty that men oppressed women historically for no reason and “just evil I guess” is partly derived from idiot Marx who thought various parts of society were at odds for “no reason, except evil.”  But part of it is caused by both pig blindness and pride.  The pig blindness comes from ignoring historical fact.  The pride is in imagining themselves as virtuous victims, because their ancestresses were oppressed, and also in being sure that their present equality (to the extent they recognize they have it) comes from their virtuous “struggle” and shoulder to shoulder clamoring.

Because virtue feels so good, they refuse to admit the battle is largely won.  And because they think men oppressed women because “evil I guess” they are ever vigilant against a vast conspiracy of men turning around and dragging them back to the bad old times.  (Stupid I gu– No, wait, willfully stupid, for sure.)  Which leads them into misandry and revenge games.

That this more than anything might bring about a reversal (not likely since physical conditions have changed) as women are judged too petty and infantile to trust with serious business, never occurs to them.

They continue attacking the windmill, unaware of how it looks to sane people, or how society at large might need those windmills to survive.

And, as with most crazy of the left, those of us who are rational and female, are being dragged down along with them.

All because of blindness and pride.  If it weren’t likely to involve me and my female descendants, it would be funny.  As is, it’s more of a tragedy.

 

 

Sunday Vignettes Now With More Despondence by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: helpless

Thanks For Sharing Auspicious Paintings

Today I went into the bowels of the blog comments, to find a comment a friend said she had left, but which did not show as a comment.

Apparently WordPress has decided, randomly, to just start protecting me from comments by some of you by trashing them directly, putting you in the same bin as the troll that shall not be named.

Some old denizens of hundom like Mary Catteli, or TXR get put there randomly for a few comments, some which are something like “yeah, exactly.”

The ways of the wordpress are so inscrutable that I BET you we could make it into a devination instrument.  You know, like tea leaves.  “If the comment spammed by wordpress are about kittens, there is a chance a tall stranger from over the sea will arrive bringing money.”  Eh.  WordPressmancy.  It’s an idea.

But in the bowels of the blog there are in fact a bunch of comments by what appear to be robots.  This is the type of comment that’s left so that they can leave a link to something.  Perhaps they’re only fascinating as an example of mechanical translation, but they are certainly an endorsement of the idea that mechanical translation alone will never work.  I imagine the reason people in Star Trek got in so much trouble is that they went around saying things like “Thank you for auspicious posting of information sharing.”

Take this post, for example:

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my site =). We can have a link exchange contract among us!

As all of you know it is a goal with me to share my posts with people who KNOW I’m speaking APPROXIMATELY.  I’m not sure how one speaks approximately, but I approximate like nobody’s business. 😀

Or this one, left, on, of all possible posts, the one that is entitled “I Am Alive” and which explains why there was no blog post earlier:

There are undoubtedly a good deal of particulars like that to take into consideration. That is a fantastic point to bring up. I provide the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most vital thing will likely be working in honest great faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged about things like that, but I’m positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

the only question I brought up was whether I was still alive.  I’m obviously working in honest grate faith.  As for finest practices and my job being identified as a fair game, it’s full of idiocy.  As the master (RAH) said “Surely the game is rigged, but don’t let that discourage you.  If you don’t bet, you can’t win.”

On the fill in post by Havelock:

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact
was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
However, how could we communicate?

I don’t know, buster.  Can you meow?  I warn you, this cat aspirates his meows.  He’s high class.  (And not I’m not joking, he aspirates his meows.  Which should NOT be possible.

This on the post announcing I can’t write because I have the flu:

whoah this blog is magnificent i love studying your posts. Keep up the good paintings! You understand, many individuals are hunting around for this information, you can help them greatly.

So…. individuals are hunting for information that I convey through paintings to help them greatly?  Dude, there’s an entire story in that.

Anyway, I’ve now rescued my friend’s comment, and as you can tell got completely derailed for the day.  Also, wordpress is as silly as ever.  If you notice a comment disappearing, please tell me, as it’s clearly more unaccountable than normal

Meanwhile wordpressmancy predicts a day of heavy coffee and decongestants, with a high probability of three non fic articles and hopefully an incidence of fiction.

The Man With The Golden Hat

November 7, 2016, in the wee hours of the morning with apologies to the late Terry Pratchett:

“The first interesting thing about angels, [Mr. Trump], is that sometimes, very rarely, at a point in a man’s career where he has made such a foul and tangled mess of his life that death appears to be the only sensible option, an angel appears to him, or, 1 should say, unto him, and offers him a chance to go back to the moment when it all went wrong, and this time do it right. Mr. Lipwig, I should like you to think of me as … an angel.”- all Terry Pratchett in Going Postal, save for the insertion.

Come on, tell me you haven’t thought of it.  The conman who gets one last chance.  The man who takes a dying institution and tries to turn it around (I think in this analogy Paul Ryan is Stanley.  I wonder who puts sulfur in his socks?)  The man who gets told it’s impossible and takes it one step higher. And the golden…. erm…. hat.

We were right to distrust him.  Everything in his past would lead us to distrust him.  Hell, I still distrust him, and every time he pulls his grand show man routine, I hold my breath, and I think “Is this the time he reverts to his roots?”

So, far… so far he hasn’t. But you know that’s the danger, right, that he’ll go back to his ways.  And it’s hair-raising never to be sure what part of this is Trump, and what part is showmanship.

And every time he’s told something is impossible he compulsively raises the stakes.  “I will ride to Genoa before a clacks gets there.”

EVERY time.

Are we to the “post office gets burned to the ground” o’clock, yet?  At what point does he get his temptation?  Is it now?  Will he succumb?

Did he get an angel just before the election?  And in this case I can’t even imagine who the angel would be.  (No, Putin doesn’t actually want the US to be more prosperous or stronger, guys.  Get a grip. That’s a lie so stupid only intellectuals would believe it.)  Perhaps his own inner self, someone he’d almost forgotten.  Did it say “I have a job for you.”

And will he remember that job?

It is only because I know the secret service aren’t likely to be Pratchett fans that I’m not sending him a gift basket of pineapples.