It’s a Fair Cop

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It’s a fair cop, but society is to blame.

How often have we heard that? How much was it dinned into our brains in childhood?

Did you know it was a point in a Soviet dizinformazia campaign, one of several memes with which they willfully infected western civilization in hopes of bringing it down?

From Neocon:

—Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.

Yes, there are a lot of poisonous memes in that list.  But it was a bit of overkill. For unmaking civilization, this would suffice and is enough.

Why? Because it both removes all individual responsibility and makes it impossible to fix crime, predation and injustice without making society perfect.

Of course, to make society perfect, you have to eliminate all humans who are imperfect, until the perfect man emerges. Which in turn brings us to the 100 million graves filled by communism.

Because humans aren’t — can’t be — perfect. And therefore society will never be perfect.

Like all the most effective and poisonous lies, it has a bit of truth. The type of truth all of us will realize who are human and have from up as humans.

The true part of the idea is that of course criminals act the way they do partly because of how they are, and partly because of how they were raised, and the things that influenced their childhood.  Look, none of us thinks otherwise. We know. We know from our own childhood.  The things we feel we did wrong, surely wouldn’t have happened that way if we’d been told how they would affect others.  (Or would they?)

We know how our order of birth, or who loved us and who didn’t in our childhood affected out own development.  And if we have a modicum of imagination, we can see that if we’d grown up in a different environment, we’d have been criminals, right?

That’s the truth and the lie of that meme.

First of all, sure, the circumstances in which you grew up affect you.  The thing is, we don’t know how much, or even how.  And part of the reason we don’t know it is that it might be different for each person.  Nurture or nature? Yes. And to each person perhaps different.

But the lie…  We do know incentives work. They work on puppies, they work on kittens and they work on humans. Yes, they work on each human differently. But if you believe something you do is good and will lead to good, you can overcome a lot of your nature.

One of my funniest and most continuous discussions with my two sons is when they tell me they’re incredibly lazy.

They’re not wrong.  And I’ve seen them be horribly, self-destructively lazy. I remember the summer when they were in their teens when I swear neither of them saw the sun before noon, and neither of them did anything worth mentioning, except argue and watch illegal car races (Outside our window when we lived in downtown Colorado Springs.  At least outside our window that year.) Any request they do anything worth doing was met with sullen complaining.

But then each of them turned to what they must do to achieve the profession (vocation?) they wanted.  And they changed.

Which is why I argue with them. They are busy, scrambling-to-make-money-while-training-for-arduous-professions young men, and no one who sees them would say “lazy.” Because of what they want to do in life, and what it requires.

I understand them, because I am also horribly lazy. And my motivation often fails. It’s been more or less broken since I realized that traditional publishing would not allow me to succeed (by which I don’t mean that the format would not allow it, but that I’d not be allowed. That everything would be brought to bear to make me fail. Partly because my first series failed, and thus according to their broken model, it must be my fault, and if I look like I’m doing well, I’m really not, and their model must be proven right by refusing even a modicum of support to my work.)  I’m overcoming it. By main force of will power.  And yeah, sometimes will power breaks.

Anyway, the problem with that entire “society is to blame” meme is that it precludes that scrambling, that will power, that strength that is required to survive. It corrupts the idea that we’re all born with defects, and yet it is our honor and duty to overcome them, and that the greater the handicaps we’re born with, the greater our honor when overcoming them.

The problem with forgiving the criminal with “it’s society’s fault” is that it condemns the many people who were born with the same disadvantages and never committed crimes, and often did well.

It taints all success with evil.  You want to know where the poisonous leftist idea that if you’re wealthy you must be a criminal comes from? It’s in there.  Yes, it’s complemented by the stupid idea that all wealth is a fixed pie and no one should take more than “enough” but it comes from the envy and evil of that “society is to blame” meme first of all.

Because if you must excuse criminals because “society is to blame” (i.e. they were born poor or “disadvantaged” — and that word is poisonous enough in itself –) then what happens when people born in horrible poverty “make it”, sometimes to the highest ranks of wealth and power?

Well, if poverty makes you a criminal, then these too must be criminals, only they’re better at hiding it, and therefore extra evil.  And I just gave you the key to 90% of the mysteries written by leftists, in which the rich or powerful man is to blame.

And if people who “make it” are demonstrably not criminals?  Well, then they must have had “advantages” and “privileges” we know nothing of.  And there you have the ridiculous idea that if your parents read to you in childhood, or encouraged you to learn, or did anything good towards your future development, you were “privileged” no matter how stone cold broke you grew up and how many things went against you.

Both the words “disadvantaged” and “privileged” are broken in this use.  They don’t mean what they’re made to mean.  Poverty gives you disadvantages, but if you’re a grown up human being, you know there are many other advantages and disadvantages, that have nothing to do with monetary wealth. There just are, because society is imperfect, because it’s made of imperfect humans.  As for privileges, as Pratchett pointed out they refer to the power of those are in charge, those who can command a “private law.”

Reading books is not a private law, nor does it give you a private law. It’s a familial culture that, yes, helps in success, but doesn’t guarantee it.  I don’t know about you, but I know people brought up by book-reading parents who have never cracked a book open and live in the ever-shifting world of TV blabbing.  (And some of them still do well.)

It’s not difficult either for you — or me, or anyone with half a brain — to come up with the same history, one leading to power and money, and one to crime, and see the person described as “disadvantaged” or “privileged” depending on how you look at it and weather the person is in the boardroom or jail.

Yeah, there are really bad cases, where someone would need to be a hero to survive and succeed.  And yet some people make it, even from there. (Apropos that, there is this post from bookworm room this weekend.)

People will never all be born the same in the same circumstances, because society is made of humans: that is jumped up monkeys who can’t see the future and are prey to their impulses.

Even the best of us could never, ever ever be perfect all the time. It’s not possible. And it’s not possible to keep yourself from doing harm.  Just like every child who grew up knows he was a victim of injustice several times, every parent alive, ever, has a sackful of guilt for all the times we did the wrong thing knowing it was wrong, but at the time we just couldn’t do anything else. Our health, our emotions, our fallible nature made it impossible for us to do the right thing, or even avoid doing the wrong thing.

When you remove the responsibility for criminality from the criminal and put it on “society”, you’re demanding that society be perfect.

You’re also taking someone who has chosen to commit a crime KNOWING it was a crime (yes, lefties, most people know it’s wrong to rape, to murder, etc. Those who don’t already fall under “diminished capacity” and there are ways to keep them from harming themselves or others) and telling them it’s not their fault. That is, giving them leeway to fail/be criminals over and over again. Which means you’re entrapping them in envy, in evil, in refusal to change their ways. Because how can they if society is to blame.

Yes, I DO know we know now that people can be born psychopaths.  What we don’t know is what that means.  We do know that it doesn’t mean you must become a mass murderer or a career criminal.

But if society is to blame, there is no escape. Because society isn’t perfect, we can’t refrain from killing or robbing or whatever. We’re all damned from the moment we first draw breath.

I do believe how we’ve come to the point where much of the left must believe in invisible demons like “white privilege”, because you know, some people obviously come from somewhere profoundly broken and still make it. Something must explain it, in the heads of the left.  So, white privilege, and book reading privilege, and words and math being patriarchal, and…

We’ve also, sadly come to how socialism (which also accepts this tenet) kills, either directly (by say, denial of socialized health care) or by preventing reproduction.  If individual humans have no agency, what point is there in reproducing? We’re all part of a vast, collective meat-engine, groaning from evil to evil with no ability to self determine.

It also explains why they hate the more or less apolitical Jordan Peterson that much. He says “Sure, you’re made of snakes. We’re all made of snakes. It’s still your responsibility to clean up your room and live a decent life.”  This is anathema to “society is to blame, and therefore the greatest criminals are just victims.”  As it should be.  And it makes him an existential threat to the gospel of the left.

It’s evil. It’s an evil, destructive lie. Unfortunately I’m not even 100% sure the Soviet Union knew how destructive it was.  You see, it’s part of the Marxist creed that humans were at some point perfect, until property and “greed” came into the world, inaugurating the “capitalist” (the rest of us call it humans being humans. So that’s a lie, too) system, which then “distorts” humans, so society isn’t perfect and there’s crime.  For Marx this would all be cured when communism automagically descended upon the world with the withering of the state.

Apparently it never occurred to the angry inkblot that if humans were still humans, this would never happen.  Or that if it happened there would be no point to humanity, because all of us would just be perfect automatons living perfect lives.

Of course you were born in an unfair society. Duh. It’s human, created by fallible humans.  And of course, the way you were raised, hell, the way you were born is going to make you susceptible to errors that in turn hurt others.  OF COURSE it is.

Does this mean nothing is your fault?  Oh, please. Be real. You know very well when you choose to do wrong things.  And all it takes is ANY contact with the criminal population to know they choose.

Real crimes, not you know, the procedural crimes that infect our penal code, you know what you’re doing. You choose what you’re doing.  When you rob, when you kill, it’s not society doing it, it’s you. And telling you that you’re a victim, just enables you to do it over and over again, which in turn, of course, makes society more broken and allows the snakeoil salesmen of communism to come along and promise peace and prosperity.  Which, somehow, always turn out to be more power and wealth to those in charge, while the people below them, despite all curtailment of freedom (they must after all be made to be perfect) become more and more corrupt (because humans can’t be perfect. They can only life about it.)

It’s time to fight back. And the first place to fight back is inside your own mind.  No, society is not to blame.  No, you’re not entirely a free agent either.

Be merciful. Be as merciful as you can be, without turning the evil-doer into the victim and thereby being cruel to the actual victims.

And above all, be merciful to yourself. And demanding of yourself, too. The two are not incompatible.

Yes, you will fail. You will fail many times.  Anyone who has achieved anything knows it starts with failing many many times.  And sometimes it won’t be your fault (like I wouldn’t know that. Though part of it is, too, my fault.) And sometimes it will be.

The attraction of Marxism is utterly exonerating you and allowing you to five in to your worst impulses.

Like all such doctrines, it brings only evil.

Yeah, you’re made of snakes. That dinosaur brain, that monkey brain will betray you over and over again.

But you also know you have at least some control over your fate.  Start small. Aim high and start small. Do what you can to make yourself and the world better today.

Humans are born to strive. We’re not cattle or pets to live in perfect happiness.

Society isn’t perfect. It’s most of the time not even good. And isn’t that a great opportunity?

Do what you can today.  Establish your goals. Aim for them. Work towards them, even if they seem unattainable from where you are.

One step, two, and sometime in the future you’ll see you’ve come miles towards the goal.

Forgive yourself when you fail and keep at it.

There is no such thing as privilege, except the privilege of all humans: to strive towards what we want.  That is your very own “private law”. The law you make your own, with your own will power.  “I’ll forgive others and myself for failing, but I won’t hold myself excused from TRYING.”

There are disadvantages. All of us have them. Yes, many of them are invisible.

Disadvantages are there to be overcome. That’s what we are. That’s what we do.

And now I’m going to do at least a little bit of work towards my goal of making an impact on the culture with my writing.

And you go too and take at least a few steps. Today. Just start. Who knows where it will end?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

FROM MARGARET BALL: The Language of the Dragon (Dragon Speech Book 1.

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When linguist Sienna Brown comes across a battered notebook containing transcriptions of a totally new and unfamiliar language all she wants is a chance to study it. But even while she discovers the reality-warping power of the language and the high price of using that power, she’s targeted by other people who want the notebook for themselves and don’t care who gets hurt by their pursuit. Can she save herself without compromising her own sanity?

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER:  Friends in the Stars (Family Law Book 5.

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It’s hard living next to a giant, even a friendly one, much less a clumsy hostile giant. Earth’s unfriendly billions were an unpredictably restive presence. The Kingdom of Central was on the Moon, and the three allied habitats of Home were already forced to move from Low Earth Orbit to beyond the Moon, dancing around a common center in a halo orbit. That bought them some time, but wasn’t nearly far enough away. The Spacers knew it would come to a bad end. The only question was how, when, and would they survive it? The only refuge was in the stars where they had friends.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: More Courage Than Sense: A Scene from The Garia Cycle.

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The sun-baked Alcazar is a place of wonder, where people from all over the world come to trade for the riches of southern Garia- and beyond. But danger lurks in the shadows, and when Zara ventures outside the safety of the castle and into the wilds of the city, she must use all of her cunning to escape safely, with a little aid from the most unlikely of strangers.

FROM MIGUEL FLIGUER:  Cooking With Lovecraft: Supernatural Horror In The Kitchen.

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Cooking With Lovecraft is a collection of short gastronomical weird tales, that will also give you directions to make real, tested, delicious dishes. Sometimes the recipe will be just an excuse for the story, sometimes the other way around, and occasionally there won’t be no recipe at all. Most of the stories are tongue-in-cheek, even outright silly, as an affectionate tribute to Lovecraft and the Mythos; but a couple of tales are a bit different.

And this is not your typical “Lovecraftian cookbook” full of inedible witches’ potions. All recipes here are real food, tested and tasted by friends and family, and fairly easy to make.

You will find treats like “Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut” (diary of the cook at the U-29 from “The Temple“); “Anziques Kebab“; “Gulab Jamun“; extra-crispy “Fried Honey-Garlic Chicken of Tindalos“; the Jermyn family recipe for “Banana Bread“; and Theodorus Philetas’ Necronomicon “Spanakopita.”

There is also a spine-chilling take on Robert Bloch (“How I Fed Your Mother“); an alternate-history riff (“The Horror From The Ice-Cream“); straight-out retellings of Lovecraft classics (“The Feastival“, “Commonplace Cookbook“, “The Flavor Out Of Space” and “The Uneatable“); a Kafka/Zappa pastiche (“The Dangerous Kitchen“); and much, much more for your literary and culinary pleasures.

FROM FRANK J. FLEMING (YES, OF IMAO.US FAME):  Hellbender.

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Doug wasn’t sure whether he should trust Satan.

The red flag was that he said he was Satan. But the deal was good: Listen to Satan’s story in exchange for some donuts. And Doug only half-fulfilled his part of the bargain.

But maybe he should have listened better, because during his friend Bryce’s next scheme (theft with light to moderate treason—the usual), Doug and the rest of his friends—Lulu (the fun one) and Charlene (the not fun one)—end up with a powerful artifact, a small metal cube with world-ending power that Lulu decorated with bunnies. And now everyone wants the bunny cube, which means Doug, Bryce, Lulu, and Charlene are being pursued by an insane supermodel general, an army of sadists, a vast criminal organization, a smaller, more-in-startup-mode criminal organization, and an unstoppable killing machine—the worst kind of killing machine.

Doug and his friends may be a bunch of losers who aren’t particularly smart or good at anything, but they have one thing going for them: a really cool name for their mercenary group. And now it’s up to Hellbender to save the world—well, what’s left of it. It’s pretty ruined and war-torn already. But, you know, they live there, so they kind of need it.

It’s a mess, but that’s what you get for listening to Satan. Or half-listening.

FROM E.M. FONER:  Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador Book 1)

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“Good SciFi comedy is as rare as hen’s teeth. This was a fun read.”

Kelly Frank is EarthCent’s top diplomat on Union Station, but her job description has always been a bit vague. The pay is horrible and she’s in hock up to her ears for her furniture, which is likely to end up in a corridor because she’s behind on rent for her room. Sometimes she has to wonder if the career she has put ahead of her personal life for fifteen years is worth it.

When Kelly receives a gift subscription to the dating service that’s rumored to be powered by the same benevolent artificial intelligence that runs the huge station, she decides to swallow her pride and give it a shot. But as her dates go from bad to worse, she can only hope that the supposedly omniscient AI is planning a happy ending.

Vignettes 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: field

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The Howling Season

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I think I was 12 or 13 when I first became acquainted with the concept of “the silly season” i.e. the idea that as the weather grows hot and people are on vacation, there are no real news happening, and both the things that tend to happen and what gets published in the paper gets weirder and weird, which in turn feeds the stranger things happening, which in turn–

Recently, when one of us, in a group of friends, complained about the strangeness of the left — if you don’t think them strange, consider that a congresswoman under suspicion of being anti-America and anti-Semitic chose to make a big display of being both. Or let’s consider the left bringing in a real anti-Semite and real white supremacist to condemn Trump and say he stood with aforementioned dim bulb congresswoman. Or consider the democrat candidates: all of them. A multiplication of dwarves, a concatenation of mental midgets, each trying to fun to the left of the other as though he were convinced, as a leftist journalist trying to call them to sense said “that he was running in a country slightly to the left of Sweden.” — a journalist friend said “it’s just the silly season.”

But it is not. If it were just the silly season, the long hot summer of political silliness, it wouldn’t be sending people who used to be leftist but reasonable off their rocker, stomping all over public spaces demanding that you admit you’re racist if you support Trump — even though (and I didn’t know this when I ran Tom’s post about the bruhaha) Trump never named anyone of any color and simply said that if certain congresswomen (there was even no certainty he meant more than one. It could be a rethorical flourish, like when I tell my husband that if certain husbands expect me to cook dinner they might want to help me medicate the cat/move furniture/setup a website) prefer the shitholes they came from to the country they now live in, they can go back and show us what to do.

And as for the complete idiot who came to my facebook echo of that post to say that the “woman of color” only wanted America to live up to her promise, and if I didn’t like it it was because I was racist: bullshit, with bells on.  The woman of color (which I don’t give a fuck about except for her being tinged deep red) on her website enjoins us to abolish private property, in public says that Al Qaeda is not bad or evil, but the US army is, and says the Jews are all “about the benjamins.”  What about that sounds like the promise of America? Unless she took the wrong turn and really had meant to immigrate to the former USSR (someone get her a time machine, stat.)

This is not nor has it ever been — any of it — the promise of America. And no matter how much she says she loves what America “could be” she is exactly as Trump said: someone who loves the country from which she fled and holds on to its values. She should go there, abolish private property (is she going to fight the warlords single handed? let’s put it on payperview) and see how long it lasts.

What this has to do with her race, I don’t know.

Technically I probably have a lot ethnicity wise in common with another of the idiots who identified with that tweet — as though Trump had entered into a crowded bar and said “hey stupid” and these four had taken offense, even though no one had been  named — than I do with most of my readers.  I suspect I have a lot in common gene-wise with Alexandria of the very Occasional Cortex.  As an aristocratic Latin she’s probably mostly Spanish and because of the timing of the colonization of the Americas has a good bit of Northern Portuguese blood (because it was easier to get rid of the hotheads in the occupied country that way.) Does this mean I’m self-hating when I hate and despise her half-witted Marxism?

No. While I think Portuguese culture for various reasons is not suited to wide spread prosperity and doesn’t suit me particularly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my Portuguese blood or even (groan, I hate you 23 and me) my Spanish blood. In moments of amusement, amid friends of the same ancestry I’ve been known to shout “Mediterranean peoples uber alas.”  (Note that’s a joke. I don’t believe in any racial supremacy nor inherent racial inferiority. Unlike the racialists of the left I know the difference between race and culture.)

I do think there is something completely wrong and despicable about Marxist beliefs.

I’m willing to be friends with Marxists who are the sort of idealist Marxist who know it will never work in real life, but oh, they wish it could. I presume they are Odds, were raised in books, and couldn’t figure out how real humans are with two hands and a seeing eye dog. So I’ll argue them to them, but not despise them. Or we’ll ignore politics, if they’re willing and talk of the things we have in common: writing, or sewing, or painting, or– A dozen things that make me me besides my hatred of Marxist ideology and a dozen things that make them them despite their misguided love of it.

BUT I could never be friends with Alexandria Misfiring Cortex because she’s one of those who is trying to put those words into practice and is either too stupid to realize what results every time — 100 million dead int he 20th century — too blinkered not to realize the stupidity of “Capitalism is even worse” (because, look, yes, free market is not perfect because humans aren’t perfect, and surely there are injustices. OTOH one on one and man on man or woman on woman your chances in a free country are 99% better than in any controlled economy from the suffocating elitist socialism of Europe to the deadly authoritarianism of North Korea or Cuba.) The alternative is that she’s so venal she doesn’t care. She knows those at the top of such a system get wealthy (see, the Castro brothers) and she thinks she can sell the high fallutin’ ideals to maleducated youth, and she couldn’t care less how the mass graves are filled, provided she has the aristocratic lifestyle and the money.

In any case, I see nothing to like or even forgive in any of those options. I don’t hate her because of her skin color (more or less like mine, depending on the amount of sun) but because of the deep red hue of her beliefs. The red of the 100 million eggs broken in the name of Marxism without a single omelet in sight.

So, why can’t sane people on the left see that? And these are or were sane people. But now all they can do is yell about racism and threaten to block those who try to explain why they make the choices they do, and why it’s not racist.

And it’s happening everywhere, even in crochet and sewing groups. Even in miniature groups even in painting and drawing groups (why I haven’t taken a class in years.)

This is not the silly season.  Foxfier pinned it when she said this is the monkey dance. The left is doing the dance primates do to work themselves up to a physical attack or to make the opponent back down before the fight.

That means they’re both scared and threatened. But we know that. They’ve been getting more and more scared since this internet thing allowed us to talk back. You see, they thought their view was universal. This wasn’t just self-delusion or drinking their own ink. Those of their type in control of every means of mass communication, from education to newspapers were all agreed, and they’d steadily portrayed anyone who disagreed as crazy.

Their control first started to slip with Reagan’s election. I know the rest of you don’t see that, or not as clearly, but in the seventies, in Europe, we thought high inflation/high unemployment/steadily decreasing conditions of living were NORMAL and the result of “too many people” and it would get steadily worse.  Then Reagan was elected and for a brief time, things turned around in the US, and things were otherwise. And even though the mass media tried to vilify/obfuscate what happened, enough people remembered that even Clinton had to pretend to be fiscally responsible, and it took a long slide to get us to Obama, who — still stuck in the seventies like all Carter Groupies — kept telling us we should get used to things getting worse.

And you know, despite the internet, they did everything they could, including an amazing amount of fraud, to put Hillary in power. They thought they had us back under control and with her in power they could bring the state in to stomp us out. Or wait for us to die. As in the mess in SF/F these people always imagine they’re the youth, though most of them are older than us.

Then Trump won, and they’ve lost their minds. They’ve dismissed us, they’ve laughed at us, yet we refused to go away. The Monkey-Brain is in control. And the monkey brain is not very smart.  From this article:

So you have to hit this guy five or six or seven times and often that won’t work to get him to stop. That makes it look like you weren’t defending yourself; it makes it look like you were attacking.

The other problem when you’re talking about knives and self defense is the limbic system, or what I call the monkey brain.

eJournal: Meaning?

MacYoung: Rory Miller (www.chirontraining.com) writes about the monkey dance. His brilliant insight into the adrenal system, is that you don’t control the monkey dance, it controls you.

Your monkey brain will look at somebody and if he is in front of you, will see a threat. Doesn’t matter which way he’s facing, the monkey brain sees proximity and says “Threat!” So, if you’re hitting somebody with a knife and he’s not going away like you expected him to, you’re getting more scared. When he turns to run, your monkey brain doesn’t see that; it still sees him in front of you.

I just did a court case where this huge guy attacked a smaller guy and the smaller guy started slashing him. Most of the wounds were on the big guy’s back because he turned to run way. When you’re talking about self defense, and you’re slashing, you’re going to start putting defensive wounds on the guy who’s trying to run away.

eJournal: Due to a distortion of reality?

MacYoung: No. Primate behavior, because a monkey wants to chase the threat away.

eJournal: In this state, we’re not capable of distinguishing retreat or surrender?

MacYoung: You can, but you have to be trained. What I’m teaching is to break away. The reason I’m telling you to break contact and get back into the rational brain is that when you’re in your monkey brain, into the limbic system, you are operating emotionally, but you believe you’re being rational.

The thing is, of course, we’re not retreating. We can’t retreat because what they want from us it to go back to things how they were before the internet.  They want each of us who disagrees with them to think OURSELVES alone and probably crazy.

They want us to think that for reasons (including never proven reasons, like over population or scarcity) socialism is the only way for civilized humans to live, and therefore we must lump its severe flaws.

They want to go back to the time when the media was the only megaphone, and none of us knew there were others who held our opinions (or thought we were a small and dwindling minority.)

We can’t do that. If they kicked all of us off social media tomorrow, and silenced all of us, it would still not accomplish that. We’d KNOW we’re not alone, and next thing you know someone would be building a catapult to fling flaming Smart Cars at the statehouse and the rest of us would find him and help him. (Catapult probably a him. I’d be the crazy person painting over street names or writing scathing political verses in public toilets.)

They would know that, if they disengaged long enough to think it over. They would also know that — since you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube — perhaps engaging in rational dialogue would be better. They’d also — at some point — realize they’re not the majority that their possession of the megaphone led them to believe they were. In fact, they might be a much smaller minority than they thought.

The problem is they CAN’T do that.  All they know is they want us to retreat. They want the threat to go away. And they’re going to continue escalating the — for now verbal, with outbreaks of antifa — violence until we do.

Only we can’t do that, because we’re fighting for our lives and the lives of our descendants and the fate of the last great nation on Earth.

So–

This is not the silly season. This is the howling-insane season.

And it will keep ramping up and up.

Where it stops nobody knows.

Pray, pray very constantly. Pray for America. Pray for the world. Even if you don’t believe, pray. There is a chance that there is someone on the other end of that phone.  And we need a miracle.

And fight. Fight in every way you can to rebuild the culture, to talk back, to snatch from the fire of stupidity as-yet uncommitted brands or maleducated brands.

We should have spoken up long before this.

But it is the nature of the left to seek to control communication and to destroy those that disagree, so even 30 or 40 years ago, the price of talking back was very high.

It’s going to get higher.

There is no way out of this.  The only way out is through.

In the end we win, they lose, but it’s going to get horrible in the meantime.

 

Common Sense & Thomas Sowell – by Amanda S. Green

Common Sense & Thomas Sowell – by Amanda S. Green

 

Say the name Thomas Sowell to many liberals and you will quickly see them searching for ways to condemn him. He’s a well-respected, extremely well-educated person of color (to use the term du jour) who refuses to be a victim. Worse, he refuses to parrot the party line. Instead, he looks at history. He studies the facts. Then—gasp—he applies common sense. How dare he do anything but fall into whatever pre-ordained category they want to shuffle him off into.

Another reason the Left would dearly love to silence him is because his writing is easily readable by just about anyone. Don’t get me wrong. He can write an academic paper or book to rival anyone. But he can also take a serious topic and write about it in such a way the average person can not only understand the facts—and the implications—but enjoy reading about it. That is dangerous, at least to the other side. They don’t want the Average Joe reading facts and the considering the implications of what the Left’s policies might bring.

Sowell’s Controversial Essays is an excellent example of this. As I noted in an earlier post, this book is a collection of some of Professor Sowell’s newspaper essays and comments. Some may be years old, but the message still stands. And, unlike some of his other books, these are quick reads and organized in a way you can pick and choose what you want to read at the time.

But back to common sense.

One of Professor Sowell’s essays in the book is “Racial Profiling of Authors”. The title itself is enough to make you stop and do a double-take. After all, as Sowell points out in the first paragraph, police departments aren’t supposed to racially profile people. So why in the world are authors being racially profiled? And by whom?

The answer to the second question is easy and the professor answers it in the first paragraph. This profiling is being made by publishers and bookstores. At the time Sowell wrote the essay, they were a bit more subtle about it than they are now. But more on that later.

In this case, Sowell became aware of it when he discovered his book, Migrations and Cultures, filed away in the black studies section. To say it brought the professor up short is probably putting it mildly. After all, the book is about migrations “from Europe and Asia”. So why in the world was it in the black studies section?

The only answer that makes sense—because Professor Sowell is black.

Some people may actually think that they are doing black writers a favor by setting up a black authors’ section of a bookstore. But, with friends like these, who needs enemies? Black writers, like white writers, want their books to reach the readers—and anything that interferes with that is bad news. (CE, p. 281)

Put books where the readers don’t expect to find them. Kill sales. Blame everything but the stupidity behind the shelving.

The mindset behind this sort of product placement is baffling. Most readers don’t know what the author looks like, much less what race or ethnic background the author might come from. So to place a book that isn’t obviously about “black studies” or whatever in that section is to throttle the sales pipeline down to the trickle.

What had me rolling my eyes so hard they damned near fell out of my head was this:

The ridiculous lengths to which publishers can carry racial profiling was demonstrated to me when copies of my recently published book Basic Economics were sent out to Jet magazine, the Amsterdam News and other black publications. After I complained, copies were then sent to the Wall Street Journal and other publications dealing with economics. (CE, pg. 282)

Think about that for a minute. A book about economics by one of this country’s most famous voices on the topic at the time was NOT sent to the WSJ. But the publishers damn sure made certain the media outlets that catered to audiences with the same skin color as the author got copies. Of course, it didn’t matter if those outlets actually dealt with serious economic topics or not.

And publishing wonders why readers aren’t buying books in the numbers they want.

Since Professor Sowell wrote his essay, we’ve seen things go even further in publishing. Not only do bookstores continue their attempts to segregate books according to the sex or race or even religion in some instances of the author, without taking into account the content of the books, publishers and writers have really gotten into the movement as well. We’ve seen writers trying to start movements where they will only read things written by writers of a certain flavor for a whole year. Why? Because that flavor has been “marginalized” and we shouldn’t be reading anything by white, cis-male authors.

Forget about content, forget about reader desires. It is all about appearances any more.

Publishers have thrown in with this as well. Anthologies are proudly being promoted where you need only submit if you fall into a small segment of writers. You might need to be female and POC. You might need to be a non-normative sexually identified person. As long as you identify as a “marginalized” person for whatever, you might fit—if you are marginalized in the right way.

And, again, it is all about who and what the author is and not about the quality of the work or—gasp—about what the readers who will be buying the book want.

Professor Sowell nails it here:

You have reached the holy grail of “diversity” when you have black leftists, white leftists, female leftists and Hispanic leftists as professors. Major corporations across the country have their affirmative action officials and many also have “diversity consultants” who come in and harangue the employees with the politically correct party line on race. Not since the days when the Nazis spoke of “Jewish science” has the idea been so widespread that race is destiny as far as ideas are concerned. (CE, pg. 283)

And yet we are the Nazis.

Sowell’s economic common sense about this topic is such that it drives the “enlightened” up a wall. They refuse to admit that this attempt to shine a light on the marginalized in publishing (gag me) actually is holding them back. It limits the visibility of their books in bookstores by placing titles in areas where readers don’t know to look for them. It limits visibility online because publishers first list the book according to agenda and not topic.

But if we dare speak out about this or question it, we are condemned. We’ve seen it over and over, especially in recent years. We are the ones called names and told we are the problem. They accuse us of having blinders on when their own blinders are so firmly affixed that they can’t see the problems inherent in their attempts to even the playing field.

As Sowell points out in many of his essays, the attempt to help often leads to more problems than it solves. Once again, he’s right. Not that publishers or those so busy screeching about the evils of white males in publishing, politics or anything else will hear.

What they don’t get is they have started a conflict without knowing the rules. They’ve entered a war without considering what will happen when the other side finally has said “enough is enough”. The fact they are now starting to turn on their own shows how desperate they are to remain relevant—not that they ever really were—and to maintain power in a failing industry.

So what do we do?

We persevere.

We speak out.

We know what they are saying and we counter in the same way Professor Sowell and others like him do—calmly, with history and facts and common sense.

Why?

We will never convince the most rabid of the other side that they are anything but right. However, as we saw in the 2016 election, there are so many who aren’t happy with where the Left has been taking our country. Some sit on the fence, enticed by the promises but knowing, deep inside that something isn’t right. The promises sound too good. It is our job to tell them why and to give them a reason to trust us. That reason is, well, reason.

It is time for preparation.

It is time for education.

It is time for the silent majority to drown out the screeching voices of the few who would turn our country into something that would make our founding fathers weep over.

And how long will it be before someone from the other side twists this call for a protection of liberty into a cry to return to a male patriarchal society where women are kept barefoot, pregnant in and the kitchen with slaves in the field? After all, they are so good at telling us what we mean even when it is the furthest thing from the truth.

It is time to take the narrative back from them. The media, at least the legacy media, is dying. Their subscription numbers prove it. The falling viewership numbers do as well. People are turning to blogs and alternative media sites and, believe it or not, conversations with others to become informed. So let’s inform.

Let’s do our best imitation of Professor Sowell and others like him.

*Here’s a link to Amanda’s Paypal, should you wish to tip her. Also, as a note, for those who wish to support this blog there is a pay-pal-me link on the upper right for casual donations to me. And there is a paypal link for those wishing to subscribe because like me, if it’s a “hit the button whenever” they’ll never remember. For those divesting themselves from paypal (I’m not going to argue with you. I know you have cause. It’s just that right now I fail to see a better alternative that isn’t tainted in a similar way) this blog also accepts cash and check support. See the address for Goldport Press inside any of my indie books and mail there, or email me for an address.  Thank you. Any contribution greatly appreciated. Yes, I can support myself, but this year is a transition year in many ways and also for some reason one where we’ve experienced several expensive contretemps (Disasters really, even if problems that can be solved with money aren’t real disasters.) – SAH*

City Walls and Freedom by Alma Boykin

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[Sarah note – I know a couple of you have sent me other posts. May I ask for repeat-send? My email is being unusually refractory.- SAH]

City Walls and Freedom  by Alma Boykin

[Alma note: this is a very broad generalization, and I’m leaving out a great deal of detail for the sake of space.]

 

From the Bronze Age until the 1800s, city walls meant freedom. Without walls, the city wasn’t a real city. Walls defined where city law began and ended, and the right to stay within those walls in times of danger or scarcity (or both) came with limits and duties. By the Middle Ages in Europe, citizenship in a city meant shelter, duty, and enhanced civil rights.

The first fight over “city right” in Europe comes from the tale of Romulus and Remus. Depending on which version one reads, Romulus and Remus disagreed over where to build the walls of what would become the city of Rome. Romulus designated a border, and in some versions, built a knee-high wall of turfs (chunks of sod). In other versions, he just plowed a furrow. In either case, he designated where the walls would be. Remus jumped over the wall/furrow to show his disdain for the “wall.” Either Romulus killed him or one of Romulus’ followers did the deed in a bit of a mob fight after the event. The point of the story (aside from “Don’t tick off the founder of Rome or his successors”) was often interpreted as “Don’t disrespect the walls.”

Walls meant control and safety. Only Sparta, of all the free cities in Classical Greece, lacked walls. Instead she had an army of citizens. Athens boasted of her walls, and at one point extended them all the way to the Piraeus, the main port (the famous Long Walls.) Tearing down someone’s walls meant that you had conquered them, removing their freedom and leaving them defenseless. No wonder then that Rome, Constantinople, Regensburg, Cologne, Trier, and the great Roman cities in Gaul all sported serious walls and gates. Rome even built walls across country (Hadrian’s Wall being the most famous.) On the outside roamed barbarians. Civilization stayed inside, as did the rights of Roman Citizens.

After the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, some cities developed into city states that blended Germanic traditions and Roman law. These became the Imperial Free Cities of Central and northern Europe. They included Lübeck, Magdeburg, Hamburg, Rostock, Danzig, Bruges, Münster (for a while), Krakow, Freiberg im Breisgau (eventually), and others. One of the major requirements for keeping the status of a free city was having walls and being able to defend yourself. All citizens had the duty of defense, male and female.

Yes, women could be full citizens of the Imperial Free Cities. Often the widows of merchants or guild masters, they took on the rights and duties of their late husbands in order to maintain the business for the family until an heir came of age. These women could sit on juries, trade in their own names, sign contracts in their own rights, had the freedom of the cities, and served in the militia. They did not, according to most records, handle firearms or things like crossbows and swords, but they boiled oil and water and could use pole arms. They trained with the militia. That was part of being a citizen.

The child of citizens was a citizen, unless he lost that privilege. Gaining the privilege took a lot of work. First, you had to find a way to support yourself within the city. You had to do this for a defined period, and not break the laws of the city and (if applicable) follow the laws of the guilds in the city. It might take five to seven years, or longer, before someone was granted citizenship by the city council. Or he might never get it, but be permitted to live as a resident alien. So long as he paid taxes, stayed out of debt, and attended worship on a regular basis, he could stay. However, if he did not have citizenship, when hard times came, such as war, out he went no matter how long he’d lived inside the walls.

City air also brought freedom, if you were a bound serf or peasant. First, you had to get into the city and stay there. While you stayed, you had to support yourself and not get kicked out. Easier said than done, when everyone knows everyone else, and you don’t have an unusual skill or talent that you brought with you. After one year, your owner/lord’s possession ended, and you were a free man. But not a citizen. And if you’d broken the law or been forced out of the city, well, tough. You’d need to start all over.

The laws of the city of Magdeburg formed the charters and codes for a number of those cities established after 1200, or that gained free-city status after 1200. In other places, Lübeck formed the model. A municipality could gain Free City status by buying itself from its lord (Swäbisch Hall), starting from scratch as a new city (Lübeck), running out the local lord and applying for free city status (Freiburg im Breisgau, which started free, lost its rights, then ran the bishop out and bought freedom), or be granted a new charter by the local lord (Krakow) or the Holy Roman Emperor.

Cities also lost the right of self-government and independence. When that happened, the conqueror tore down at least the gates, sometimes the entire wall. The armies of Louis XIV were known for this, and Napoleon terminated a lot of free cities and their walls. Without a way to keep riff-raff, non-citizens, and armies out, the city’s residents had to depend on someone else for their protection. Dependence meant the people had to abide by the lord’s rules, pay his taxes, and put up with his additional requests and rights. Medieval and Early Modern people would hear or read the stories of Joshua and Jericho, or Jesus entry into Jerusalem and nod. And of course the city in the Revelation of John had walls and gates—that’s what made a city a city!

Once artillery and air-power rendered walls pointless, most places tore them down. The rise of the powerful centralized state also terminated most free cities. But not all. When you see HH on a German license plate, you know it belongs to a resident of the Frei- und Hansestadt Hamburg, which is still a city-state. Hamburg kept its independence until the late 1800s and still harbors uncharitable thoughts toward Germany’s central government on occasion.

In conclusion, walls brought freedom in Central and Western Europe. Free, self-governing, independent cities guarded their rights as closely as they guarded their gates and walls. No place could claim that right for itself until and unless it could close out others and depend itself. Citizenship meant the right to stay within the walls in times of danger, and brought the duty of defense, support of the city through taxes and fees, and serving on government boards and committees, as well as donating to municipal charities.

But city air brought freedom to those inside the walls.

Charity That Kills

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It never fails. If I write something about immigration or charity or anything related to helping someone else and dissent from the general leftists chorus of “We must have more government help”and “government must distribute the wealth” I’m held to be mean, evil, selfish, and just about the worst person in the world.

Part of this is because the same as calling anything that dissents from leftist belief “racist” (even if they have to believe they can read minds to justify it) they’ve been taught to think there’s only one way to care for your fellow man, and that’s to equalize everyone’s wealth, to divest those who have more and give to those who have less, preferably with the power of law behind it.

The problem is that this is not how the world works.  You know the old saw, give a man a fish and he’ll have a meal, teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for the rest of his life.

It ignores the fact that if you give a man a fish everyday, not only will he never learn to fish, he’ll come to resent you for giving him a fish. He might even come to believe he’s incapable of learning to fish, and that you can only fish because of some invisible “privilege” that allows you to learn that stuff.  At the same time you will believe that he’s inferior to you, unable to make his own decisions, and that you must decide and set everything for him or he’ll die. You might not admit it, ever, but you’ll come to believe that he’s a burden. Subconsciously you’ll hate being beholden to him. You’ll come up with all sorts of schemes, from aborting his children to enabling his drug addiction to facilitating his euthanasia just to be rid of the intolerable burden.  And it’s no surprise because your “charity” is increasingly met with resentment, envy and outright anger.

Why? Well, because that’s the way humans work. The human being was born to strive. Being handed things just makes them both dependent and resentful of that dependence. This paradise that the very well fed and clothed imagine, where the government just magically dispenses everything everyone might want is no such thing. If it were possible to implement it without stealing this stuff from others (it’s not. The government produces nothing.) it would make humanity extinct in two generations. It would also create the crime wave to end all crime waves.

We clever monkeys don’t like stuff handed to us. We like to improve it, to work at it, to make it better. When it becomes impossible, we’re reduced to the level of pets, and humans don’t do well with being pets. No, it’s not even like the perfect childhood, in which you’re handed all you need. First of all no one had that perfect a childhood, and even the best parents don’t always know what you need (let alone want.) Second, childhood is a time of growing and learning, sometimes quite painful learning, as growing up is a painful process of leaving behind habits and cherished modes of life.  Third, even children in happy families chomp at the bit to leave and be adults.  It’s just the way we’re built.

Removing someone’s reason to strive is not a charity.

No, I don’t believe we should let people in occasional and terrible binds go unhelped. About 1/3 of our income has always gone out, often not to recognized charities, but just to a friend who was temporarily ill, going through a nasty divorce (in that case you need to be a very close friend indeed, as I try not to get in the middle of those) or has had some disaster befall them that would mean destruction should they have no help.

But note the “temporary help for unforeseen circumstances.”  I’ve learned, and dearly too, that just helping every time and letting the person know the help will be there, not so much a safety net but a hammock, will ruin not just your friendship, but the person as well.

I don’t know and cannot speak to our welfare system, but recently a close friend explained to me how difficult the system is to leave once you’re in it, and that once you leave and are tentatively standing on your own they will bill you. I’m not sure what they bill you for as I had no time to ask, but what she had to go through to STOP receiving assistance was mind boggling. And while receiving assistance there’s all sorts of things you can’t do. Like work over a certain time, because they’ll cut your benefits by more than you’re making, etc.  That’s not even a hammock. That’s a spider web that catches the unwary and will never let them fly free.

Which brings us to immigration.  Do let’s talk about immigration.

First of all this is not a matter of “I got mine” as some idiot tried to say.  I don’t precisely know what he thinks I got except the privilege to strive to be the best American I can, but that’s fine. Let’s discuss this.

I’m sick and tired of hearing the left whine that we can’t close our doors to the needy of the world.

Now, America has a well deserved reputation for extreme generosity, but does that generosity involve opening our doors to all the needy in the world?

Let’s imagine it does. Let’s imagine we put out a call that if you’re in any sort of distress or need you should come to America.

You could say we did that at various times, the latest one being under president Obama, when leaflets detailing the welfare benefits to be received in the US (for the asking) were distributed in Mexico and probably countries South of that.

Whenever we did that, our follow through was — at best — spotty.

Someone on Facebook was nattering on about how 12 million came through Ellis Island and were Americans the next day.

Part of this is something I’m used to. Most Americans who never dealt with immigration have clue zero how this works. I suspect most leftists agitating for voting rights for non-citizens don’t understand they’re NOT citizens or that there is a difference.

Except for those who walked into the country and got recruited into the Union armies during the civil war, or perhaps other irregular/brief periods, no one has ever walked onto American soil and become American.

What you become instead is a permanent resident, entitled to live here and PERHAPS to work. In my day I got permission to live here a year before I had permission to work, (my case being different, since I married a citizen. I had to apply separately for permission to work.)

And I no longer remember how long I had to wait to even apply for citizenship. I think it was three years, but I waited five, because I wanted to be sure.

You see, citizenship, belonging in a country is not merely a matter of being in the country. Every country has arrangements for “foreigners living among us.” And some which are very blood-based can give you only second-class citizenship the equivalent of “guy who wants to be of us and is the closest he can be.”

In the US citizenship is becoming an American. It is subscribing to the founding principles and taking on the project of living ever closer to them. It is a matter of “Your people shall be my people. Wherever thou goest, I shall go.” So I took as long as I needed to be sure. I took as long as I needed to acculturate.

Acculturation isn’t an easy process. I’ve mentioned to you guys that it hurts and feels like going insane. It unmoors the pinnings of your personality, some of which you weren’t aware of, before you had to pull them off by the roots.  No one who has not transitioned between cultures knows how powerful and ingrained culture is.  Race means nothing. Culture means everything. And changing cultures is really difficult, even for an isolated individual.  We know it’s possible — ish — for a family, but it takes longer. If you immigrate as a family, it’s like traveling as a group. You’re insulated from what’s really going on around you. You interpret everything through the filter of your culture of origin. Even if you’re trying to fit-in, it’s hard and you’ll pass weird things on to your kids and grandkids.  The grandkids, usually, are integrated in the receiving culture. Bigger groups than that? Forget about it. Escaping that insular culture will be as hard as immigrating all over again.

Two other things: I found this out when I was an exchange student: HUMANS ARE TRIBAL. Humans are tribal to an extent we like to disguise and forget. But you can see it if you take a group of high school students and drop them into a NYC university campus with hundreds of people from all over the world.

First, people cling together with the group they came in with. That’s a given. But even if you have two groups from the same country, that never met/are from different areas of the country, they’ll cling together. And if forced to extend they’ll go — bizarrely and fascinatingly — by “historical relationship” or “cultural connection” sometimes going back centuries.  So Portuguese will agglutinate to Brazilians first, and people from the former colonies in Africa next. After that, Spaniards or Spanish speakers. Failing those, Italians and Greeks. In desperation, Arabs.  And each of these groups, as it forms, creates a “barrier” to the outside. I found to my shock that among exchange students who had undergone a strenuous process to get here at all, there was a sudden group imperative to look down on Americans and refuse to do things “the American way.” (BTW this disgusted me so much my best friends were English and Japanese.)

Now, let’s go to that imaginary world where we not only invite the dispossessed of the world in, but actually open our doors to them (more on that later.)  Let’s forget the “overpopulation” idiocy. There’s plenty of room. Anyone who’s driven through Wyoming, as we have recently, will tell you that.  Let them all in. As in the early twentieth century when entire Italian villages immigrated, what do you think will happen?
Well… mostly they’ll cling together. And maybe deal with close-ish cultures. Certainly not with Americans, against whom a barrier must be formed, because a) they’re strangers. b) we’re in their land and they might resent it. (Even if they don’t.)

So, it would be the colonization of America by some of the most dysfunctional elements of the most dysfunctional cultures in the world. We’ve done that experiment before. To do it now en masse and indiscriminately would achieve nothing, except the dissolution of America into a bunch of tiny, warring enclaves, incapable of self government and no better off than they were in their own countries.

But Sarah, you’ll say, we did that before. In the beginning of the 20th century, we took in masses of people — as you said — entire villages from Italy and Ireland. And those people are now Americans.

Yes, those people are now Americans. MOST of them. But please note, even that was not mass immigration from ALL THE WORLD by all the dispossessed.

First travel was more expensive, more arduous and tended to be one way.  Second, there was a selection at the border, and many were turned back. Third… It was the beginning of the 20th century and our tech was different. There was work — a lot of it — for people who knew neither the language nor any particular trade. The push on the mass-production phase of the industrial revolution required a lot of warm bodies and willingness to work. That was it.

So all those multitudes that came in could find work. And though they initially formed profoundly segregated enclaves that adhered to the rules of the “home country” and despised or suspected everything American, eventually the ranks broke. They were right here, in the middle of the US, at a time when the place was hopping with opportunities for the unschooled. It was almost impossible to prevent the young ones from moving away to find a job elsewhere. And when they did well it filtered back home. Even then it took probably three to four generations. And to find out how bad it was initially read police reports of the time. It wasn’t all prejudice. (Though a lot of it was.) People really brought in their most dysfunctional habits. And had to acculturate before they became Americans. Which was difficult at that rate of immigration.

Imagine how much more difficult it would be if we now brought in double our population, and form the most wretched places of the Earth.

On top of which, consider two things:

First, we live in a high tech age. The left, who worries obsessively that some Americans might be too stupid to integrate in the new age (they’re wrong. We’re all clever monkeys. let them have a chance) and therefore foresees welfare and make work for them, at the same time wants to import people from cultures barely above the stone age, on the basis that “they need it.”

Look, yes, we have a lot of illiterate third world illegal immigrants working construction and other trades. But most of them work under the table, and only because they’re very cheap. I’m sure there’s skilled workers coming here, but let’s face it, skilled workers do pretty well in their own countries. There is a reason we joke about “Manuel labor.”  It adds up to “You get what you pay for.”

I’m not saying they’re not willing. I’m not saying a lot of them aren’t hard workers.  I do happen to know, because of where my friends work, that we’re getting any number of entitled “racist America despoiled my people and owes me” instant welfare cases. However, yes, we’re also getting people who want to work.

The question is: can they work? Most of the trades they might be trained for are unionized, and probably won’t recognize foreign credentials. Stuff like making and selling food is regulated till your head hurts. Anything else?

Well, I was trained in languages, but the US has a lot less call for translation. I had a teaching certificate, but the teacher’s union doesn’t want competition from foreigners, so I wasn’t even allowed to take the certification test, unless I went back to college (and no, I didn’t want it that badly.)  I did some scientific translation, but there wasn’t enough of it.  S I was  standing outside the parking lot of a home depot, and editors drove by saying “I need someone to write novels”.  I jumped in the back of the truck, and…

Seriously. Can we be serious for a moment? Yes, we import skilled workers. Whether we should it’s something else again, and some companies are singularly evil in the management of such work-visa workers.

That’s a separate argument from giving asylum to everyone who is poor and dispossessed and struggling. Most of those people, like 99% of them are not trained for anything. A vast majority of them knows no English and might be illiterate even in their native language.

Do you see big public works, big factories requiring line work, any other type of work that requires only willingness and a pair of hands? No? Neither do I.  So we’re letting them in, for what? To become instant charity cases in our own land?

Go up to that metaphor of the man and the fish. We import vast numbers of foreigners, which, being humans are tribal and will cling together, reflexively protect the culture of origin, and run us down. On top of that we make them recipients of our charity, unable to fend for themselves.  Yeah, I don’t see HOW they could be anything but resentful.

But, you’ll say, their kids could integrate.

Sure. Theoretically. Just like a girl from Portugal could come over in her twenties and so thoroughly immerse herself in English she could write fiction for Native speakers.

Do you think — as the idiot who periodically tries to break into comments thinks — that’s so common as to be a “stereotype”? Or do you think one needs to be fairly broken to begin with to undergo that cultural change?  Because from the inside here, I can tell you it’s not normal.

So let’s talk generational integration: the bigger the enclave, and the more resentful, the more the children will be raised to HYPER identify with the country of origin.  Look, any linguist can back me up on this: you find three cities from an unknown culture. How do you know which is the mother and which the colonies? The colonies are MORE conservative as to language and tradition than the mother land. It’s that defensive “clinging to” that tribal humans do.  And large migration groups are FUNCTIONALLY colonies, whether their aim is to get citizenship in the new land or not.

So each successive generation, raised in the enclave, will have a harder time leaving to join the main culture.

And then there is the main culture. Americans aren’t prejudiced. That’s great. It’s also recent. Americans were always prejudiced in various degrees of anyone who stuck out. Even relatively recent immigrants, once they acculturated would look with suspicion on immigrants and people who “talked funny.” That’s human.

However, we’ve had that beat out of us. The left has extended racism to anything that sticks out. And because the US culture, truly, disapproves of racism, it has gone by degrees to hyper approving of the strange and the foreign.

Me, with my accent I’m 99% more likely — even in semi-rural environments — to be told that the place I came from must be wonderful, and what can we teach the US than to be told to go back where I came from.  And that’s a problem.

Why is it a problem?

Oh, not for me personally. But it’s a problem for integration.

One of the great mechanisms of cultural integration and the reason those little Italys eventually opened to the world is public schooling. People were told they would speak English, they were taught American history unapologetically, ad they were left with the decided impression that if they didn’t fit in they should fuck off.

As the mother of half-Portuguese kids going through public schooling, here’s what I got: My kids were told that they should learn more about THEIR culture, i.e. Latin culture. Even though, btw, their father is Anglo-Irish-German-whatever fell into the pot, from Connecticut. The strange and exotic must rule, and they should be brought up to think of PORTUGAL as the “homeland.” (In which they have been maybe a commulative total of 3 months in their lifetime.) I was guilted and shamed for not teaching them Portuguese FIRST.  They were repeatedly put in SPANISH classes to “learn about their culture.” They were also repeatedly put in ESL classes, until I went in and visited righteous fury on the schools. The youngest son’s PHYSICAL speech issues went untreated because they assumed it was an accent. (In fact, they refused to treat them, so we had to pay (and it was tough at the time) for speech pathologist and other treatment out of our own pockets.)

Now imagine this done to the children of the enclave where they are banding together to preserve their culture. Integrate? Oh, hell no.

I’m not surprised we have Jihadists going to Middle East to fight against America who were born and raised in America. I’m surprised not all second or third generations go.

Now, do I advocate for draconian prejudice against the newly arrived? For official English as our language, for making people give up ancestral foods and clothing, and naming conventions?

As always, the choice is NOT cake or death. Of the two, unyielding prejudice against the newly arrived MIGHT be the more merciful choice.  Yes, I can explain that, but first, that’s not what ANYONE is talking about for acculturation.  Acculturation is being “American first.”  If you want to wear your native outfit on your days off, I don’t think anyone cares.  People at the office might look at you funny, though, so in deference to not distracting others, you probably should not wear a Viking helmet (yes, I know they’re not authentic. It’s a joke) to Casual Friday. And certainly not outside Casual Friday. If you want to name your kid Ballallu or whatever, I don’t think anyone cares. They’ll probably think it’s a “creative”name. The things hippies and maleducated hipsters name their kids is weirder than any foreign culture.  Food? Americans will eat anything once. You’re more likely to be asked for the recipe for the dish you brought to the potluck than to be required to give it up. And provided it doesn’t contain either insects or offal (and even then, depends) you’ll find your co-workers enthusiastically working up variations of it. Trust me, I KNOW. Also, food is the hardest and the last thing immigrants give up. And the most likely to permeate the larger culture. Which is good, because the English cuisine the US started out with is a byword for boring.

No. The acculturation needed and the more difficult one is to adapt to BEING an American. To thinking of America — not the other country — as home. To learn to adapt and conform to American laws and American ways of being in the world, particularly that thing of “equal before the law” and “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”  The devil of those in the details, but they deny a lot of the most cherished home traditions of dysfunctional cultures. (Oh, women as chattel, to name one.)

So, being incredibly kind and refusing to enforce this, in fact, making people feel their home country MUST be honored, must be better, and their culture must be clung to, leads to what?

Well, it leads to the generations of dispossessed that the left wants to bring in REMAINING dispossessed charity cases. People who must be cared for, who cannot strive outward and upward like true Americans. Who cannot integrate.  And who, generationally, start resenting us and hating us for our “privilege” which amounts to our ability to move in the society and improve ourselves and our children’s chances.

The crazy idiocy of providing services in whatever native language, including and up to Citizenship tests is not a CHARITABLE or well intentioned thing. It’s a shackles, burdening generations of incomers with second class status.

Oh and “open borders” particularly “open borders if you bring a child” is NOT charitable or kind, either. It encourages people to steal, buy or otherwise acquire children to drag on a horrible trek and risk death. And don’t tell me “they must be very desperate…”

Sure, maybe. Doesn’t mean they’re under clear and present danger. Humans are a striving animal. If they’re promised cake everyday for no effort in another land, they’ll go there.  Only suffer and get trapped there because the cake is always a lie.

Those children who die and/or are mistreated on the trek are the fault of the open-borders crowd who enticed people to drag them here. These people should look up the concept of “attractive nuisance.”

Anyway, if all you’re dragging them here for is to live in enclaves that are more cohesive than the culture in the homeland, refuse to integrate, can’t do anything useful in the main culture, and are here SIMPLY to be recipients of charity, it’s cheaper and kinder to keep them in their homeland and support them there.

Economic hardship is no reason to immigrate, if you have NO skills that are looked for in the land you’re coming into, and do not wish to/will be prevented from acquiring those skills. We are no longer a land with unending demand for manual labor. All most incomers can do is get stuck and resent us.

Mind you there are problems with helping them in their own countries too, and charity should be carefully done. I prefer charities that educate children or give women money to start small businesses. They probably cause distortions, but not as bad as the charity of handouts.

And anyone who wants to molly coddle and cater to the most wretched of the most wretched cultures on Earth is an evil, despotic bastard who refuses to admit to himself/herself/xyr/xer/mouseself.  They are people who think they’re better than the rest of humanity and that some number of humanity NEEDS them to survive. Forever.

Down that path lies the kind of upheaval in which the dispossessed kill everyone else.  Unlike the Marxist fairytale our friends think they’re living, this doesn’t mean perfect communism, or even that leftist intellectuals end up on top.

Usually it means it provides the cataclysm that jolts the dysfunctional culture into another shape.  Sometimes, rarely, a more functional one.  And in which people have to learn to survive again.

I just don’t want this to happen here and now, not to me or my immediate descendants, or my friends. Honestly, no one sane would.

Is my view harsh? Perhaps. But it’s neither as harsh or as genocidal as that of the “would be do gooders” who create unending misery for everyone who comes under their purview.  And who would destroy the last, best hope of mankind given a chance.

Is “Fit in or f*ck off” a nasty thing to tell immigrants? Sure it is. But it’s not as deceitful as “You can keep all your dysfunctional culture and America will magically transform you.” And it’s not as EVIL as that.  Because THAT will keep you trapped in forever.

Life is pain, princess. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something.  In this case the something is eternal dependence and impotence.

I wouldn’t buy that at any price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between Lizards

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I think it was during my exchange student year that I first heard the American joke about how you had to vote for one of the lizards, because otherwise the other lizard would win.

I believe the joke originates in either a book or a science fiction story, in which a human finds himself in a country where all the humans are governed by lizards. Every so often there’s an election, and humans will vote for a faction of lizards, even though the lizards are horrible (and eat them or something.) When asked why they vote for a faction the answer is “otherwise the other faction will win!”

This joke both charmed me and horrified me, and in a way encompassed everything I then — remember for all my love of America and Americans I was still mostly European — loved and dreaded about America.

What charmed me was the irreverence towards politicians. To understand why, you’d have to understand Europe as I’d guess few of you do. I mean, really understand it, bone deep.

In Europe the revolutions against the aristocracy ended up being skin deep. Yes, I know what happened in France, but what they really wanted was the ability for the bourgeois to more easily penetrate the noble ranks. I’m not sure it was even that deep in Portugal. My father informs me that one of my ancestresses was a devout constitutional-monarchist, which honestly I think — sorry guys from Portugal who read this — is where the Portuguese soul still is. Being mostly a country of oppositional defiant loons (I actually say this with love) Portuguese mostly ignore authority unless there is reason to believe these people deserve some kind of respect.  And the truth is, none of them is ever fully convinced birth isn’t as good a reason as any to to respect people. Possibly a better reason, as all other achievements can be cut down to size with sarcasm, irony and sheer defiance.

The convulsion of the Republican revolution, while violent was brief. And the crazy idealists (probably Marxists, or at least proto-Marxists.  I have no idea. Portuguese history is notoriously hard to study INSIDE Portugal. When I lived there, works of history were rare and mostly one collected what one could from the memories of living people, inference from contemporary sources and that was about it. In the US I’ve found actual works of Portuguese history, but most of it is notoriously unreliable and full of errors even I can spot) who took over rapidly proved themselves worse than the nobility.

What they have now is well… “rule by good families” which aren’t so different than noble families. Oh, and the bluer the blood the redder the politics.

Conversations with friends all over Europe have led me to believe the same. All the sons and daughters of “good families” are very very leftist, intuiting in their heart of hearts this is the only way they’ll have their feudal rule back. It is definitely, due to the positional good that leftism has become (partly due to the propaganda efforts of the erstwhile Soviet Union and perhaps the present Russians) the way to power and wealth, both of which those with long blood lines of power want and desperately need, really. It is their family culture.

Anyway, the point is you don’t make jokes about the elite, those who know the corridors of power and how to get their way.  That Americans do is one of my greatest inducements for having fallen in love with America.

What horrified me, and to an extent still does, was that Americans born and bred — you’ll forgive me, my friends? — have absolutely not a blathering clue about world politics, or how much power governments not fettered by the constitution have, or the havoc they can wreak on a peaceable nation.

Recall when I first heard this it was during the cold war.  Having heard Jimmy Carter talk and pontificate I was very well aware of how the Soviet Union viewed him, and how he’d roll before them.  What was at stake was in fact whether the world at large would become a farm for the Soviets to harvest to disguise the fact their vaunted empire couldn’t even support itself, and a future reminiscent of 1984.

Also, whatever else one said, and honestly he was a man, like others — and we shall not see his like again — Ronald Reagan LOVED America.  Meanwhile Jimmy Carter could barely tolerate our stench on him, as he toured European capitals.  (Yes, he didn’t despise us as openly as Obama, but it was there.)

It seemed to me only a fool would continue putting himself in the power of one who hated him, when one who loved him was available.

Lizards, yes, surely, but not equivalent. One lizard is more likely to kill you than the other.

Well, we know how that went.

We know how I went too. And as one of you I must say, I don’t like politicians. I don’t trust them. I know even the best of them are not only human, but likely to make the sort of compromise I wouldn’t make, or to have quaint notions that the other side can be negotiated with. And even those notions I agree with are likely to founder on a morass of dealing and deal-breaking.

Bah. They’re all lizards.

I was struck yesterday by the fact that some of you are so attached to this that — more on Facebook than here — you must protest one should not under any circumstances defend Trump. That he was whateverist or merely — who knows? — crazy or stupid, and that Tom spoke with forked tongue when he defended him.

I’ll be honest with you and say that I don’t even know who Tom voted for. He’s never volunteered the information. We were both very skeptical of both lizards, and honestly, I don’t know if he ever chose.

I eventually chose the lizard who didn’t hate America and who, for all his many many faults was the least likely to shoot me in the back of the head given the totality of who I am and what I believe.

Was he defending Trump? I don’t know. What I got from both his post and his rambling phone call was “I don’t like that lizard. But he’s saying something that needs to be said.”

Which honestly is what I believe too.

Did he say it in the best way possible? I don’t know. Maybe his calling everyone immigrants was his way of directing the discussion to the horrors of mass immigrants who form enclaves.

I’ll be honest: Trump is not Reagan. Trump is honestly a democrat. (In fact in one of my last conversations with Tom before the election in 2016 his comment on Trump was “I can’t vote for him. I don’t vote for democrats.”) But he’s a democrat his party has left behind.

Which brings us to the lizards again. See above, where I said in Europe the choice is between socialists? Given that I often voted for the socialists who at least seemed to love their country. Because they were less likely to deliver me and mine bound and gagged to our foes.

And it brings us to a choice of lizards.

Trump is… odd at best. For all his oddness, he’s not served us badly. He’s failed to stanch the invasion down south (Immigration without assimilation is an invasion- Jerry Pournelle) and he’s failed to clean up our voter roles, through which our representative government is bleeding.  But honestly, given where we are and what we are, I don’t know if anyone could have done THAT.

There are other problems, yes, but I’ll tell you the honest truth, as opposed to tariffs as I am, I’m not doctrinaire, and we are at a unique techno-historical moment. If we don’t have some sort of cushion to bolster us while the rest of the world comes up to us in standards and cost of living (or close enough) we’ll go the way of Portugal shortly after the discoveries, where nothing is made in country, and the people sink into a culture of indolence and pride. Which you could say is already happening and already destroying us. And I don’t know the answer to bringing back manufacturing, jobs and preserving the American spirit. And neither do you.  I’d like the answer to be my ideologically favored one, of course. I just don’t know if it is.

And I’m starting to suspect the internationalism of the 20th century was not just a very bad idea, but poison too, at least to any culture worth its name. Open the borders, or send out a casting call for the most afflicted in the world and what you’ll get in is the most dysfunctional cultural elements. All of them. Which in turn will undermine and destroy your culture.

We don’t need to make this experiment. The Scandinavian countries, Germany and France stand as awful examples.

But beyond that, international leaders don’t give a flying fig for how the population in their countries live. Go ask the Yellow Jackets.

It seems to me if you’re electing lizards, it’s a good idea to elect the ones who don’t hate you. It’s not enough but it’s a good start.

Which brings me to both what Trump said — and we all know exactly what he meant, which was that if people came here to complain about the country, they should go back (Californians taking over Colorado, I’m looking at you too) and show us how it was done. Note that he said they could come back afterwards — however badly expressed, and what the other side says.

We won’t even go into the sad spectacle of the Queen Bee Squad being unable to say that Al Qaeda are bad actors. I mean Ilhan Omar seemed to think that a request to separate herself from the enemies of America was a trick question.

And we’ll leave aside Lizard Occasional Cortex’s grasping ambition which is inversely proportional to her IQ.

Let’s look at the clown car of Democrat candidates:

All of whom embrace open borders, seemingly incapable of realizing that the land will eventually belong to those who defend them, and that those people might not be willing to be ruled by THEM.

All of whom view Emma Lazarus’ blather on the statue of Liberty as the writ of law and completely ignoring “Yearning to breathe free” think America is a sort of charity, which SHOULD by rights turn all its wealth and generational capital over to the wretched of the Earth. (Most of them think America stole it from the wretched of the Earth, because never having run anything not even a lemonade stand, they think wealth is closed pie.)

All of whom want to control the economy, and beyond that the thoughts, feelings and everyday interactions of normal Americans in their lawful pursuits. And I mean, control. These are all totalitarian larvae.

And then look at those who follow them. Yesterday I was treated to a farrago of nonsense on my Facebook page. This included being called a “monster” whose words (yes, that post here yesterday) made one’s “blood run cold.” I was also called racist and accused of white privilege. Oh, and a host of other equally daft attacks that boiled down to “if you hate socialism you must be a white supremacist.”

The last is the truly depressing thing, because you can’t fail to realize that these poor indoctrinated bunnies, while possibly incapable of expressing it (because they’re incapable of expressing most things) have been indoctrinated to believe that all races but whites are naturally socialist, and therefore to oppose socialism is to be racist.

They’ve also been indoctrinated to believe America OWES the world. Which means that you get blather about “children in cages.” And yeah, they refuse to believe those photos are from under Obama, but let’s leave that aside for a moment: NEVER in my entire life have I seen so much malignant altruism deployed on behalf of people coming into a country with neither invitation nor a desire to belong.

These people, who have no clue how other countries operate, have been made ashamed that America HAS borders, and feel vaguely embarrassed by those of us who approve of borders, in the same way a nobleman feels embarrassed by commoners farting in the king’s court.

We are at a very perilous moment. I’ll tell you right now — I’ve told you before — that I don’t think it will pass without serious civil unrest.

If we’re lucky, we’ll escape without the sort of serious civil unrest that persists for generations and destroys the land and the people.  I believe there is just a chance we’ll get lucky.

But the thing is unless these misguided notions of the followers of the lunatic open-borders socialist lizards are countered, and hit hard on the face with rebar (the notions, not the followers or the lizards) repeatedly, while they can’t win, we’ll also lose.

To the generation raised on racial nonsense and accused at every turn of being “white supremacist” white supremacy will become the norm. They are as innocent of cultural differences as a cow is of a palace. All they’ll see is the superficial difference. And what they’ll do is turn the idiocy they’ve been taught on its head.

The result will be much what the European right wing is. It will also be, if not impossible, very uncomfortable for myself and my descendants.

And it will not be America.

Which is why I put Tom’s post up. And why I think we need to stop quibbling over “If only Trump were perfect.”

Great idea. Let’s arrange for a perfect politician who never misspeaks as soon as possible. Hell, I’d settle for human and not a lizard.

However, since the other lizards are for destroying us through a combination of open borders and complete control economy… How about we, for now, stop declaring the sky is falling because the lizard we have misspoke, maybe? Or maybe created a cunning trap for the other lizards?

Yeah, sure. They’re all lizards. But if one set of lizards wants to annihilate you no less absolutely than during the years of the soviet union, and the other lizard is MERELY an embarrassment to those of us who love words, and frankly not to be trusted further than I can throw him, I know which side I’m on.

Let me add I don’t think the left CAN create Venezuelization here. I think none of them even understands how diverse, varied and resourceful Americans are, much less the vastness of the land.

But I do know if they get hold of the levers of power, even once, in the next ten years, or until their love affair with communism and internationalism is purged, and a new generation raised, they will so far corrupt the voting that they will never be dislodged.  And when the worm does turn — and it will — another totalitarian regime will take the place of theirs.

So. It is important to change the culture. It is important to debate things like “immigration to what end?” and “If the purpose is welfare why not assist them in their own lands?” and “Shouldn’t Americans love their own country?” (Note this is not the same as not wishing to change anything about it. But if you want to change EVERYTHING about it, including the principles on which it was founded, why not leave? There are bound to be countries you like better, no?) and “what do we actually owe the wretched of the world?” and “What does culture contribute to prosperity and/or wretchedness?” And also “How does one change culture?” (Because en masse we don’t actually know how. Yes, Japan, kind of but what actually has resulted is the disease of conquered people, who fail to reproduce.)

We must debate these questions, or they will be “decided” by the indoctrinated who have been taught not to think at all.

Lizards? Sure. They’re lizards.  But one set of lizards hates America, the west, and in fact all humans.

Do you want to deliver yourselves into their power?

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Points Out The Obvious. Everybody Apparently Loses Their Damned Minds by Thomas Kendall

*I had the first night of decent sleep in several days (Yes, Dan is home.) And woke up to my friend whose middle name might or might not be Jefferson (he claims it’s not) burning up the phone line.
I had NO EARTHLY what he was talking about, since the last days have been rather busy with household/family stuff. Hence forgetting to blog yesterday.  He had a post for me.  When I realized what it was about I said “Yes, please.”
I know. AOC was born “American” so, yeah, Trump misspoke. Is this worse than 57 states? He’s right in the main. That woman loves the country as she wants it to be, with HER in charge. The country as it is? Not so much.
Can’t she just go to one of those countries she identifies with? (They probably wouldn’t let her in, but–)  As for the others? Two also have birthright citizenship. But they are not even remotely American. Which is the problem with taking “refugees” who don’t want to be American, but to get stuff from America.
As for me — first generation immigrant, thank you so much — and my house, we’ll be American.
People who are here and want to talk about how terrible America is? LEAVE. Vamoose. Go. We’re not a socialist state that restricts your ability to leave. That’s the whole point.
Fit in or F*ck off.  I’ll help you pack your bags. – SAH*

 

Trump Points Out The Obvious. Everybody Apparently Loses Their Damned Minds by Thomas Kendall

 

Blah, blah, blah, unforced error, whatever.

  1. A) Take an antidepressant
  2. B) Look, honestly I’m glad he said it, already.

Let’s start with some basic sh*t. Yes, the only person of AOC’s infamous “squad” to personally come here from another country is Ilhan Omar. Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu and she came here around 9 or 10 years old. She is the only first-generation immigrant. It’s kind of an academic point. Honestly, like she booked the travel herself. She’s from an immigrant family, that’s the point.

And Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican [Sure, it’s a “territory” so she was technically born American. Have you ever been there? Looked at how people live there? Look at what she IDENTIFIES with? Yeah.] She is, in fact, a second-generation immigrant [Very Latin. Much minority. What she never identifies as is… one of us]. This is a common term. So is Rashida Tlaib. Her parents were “Palestinian” immigrants (I myself like to indentify as Prussian and Zairian). She is also a second-generation immigrant. Let’s be real here, people trying to attack Trump on this are really working a technicality for all it’s worth. It is entirely reasonable to refer to all three of them as immigrants. It was a key part of their formative experiences. Every single one was raised by, at minimum, one person who did not come from the US originally. We can probably infer something about what that upbringing emphasized from their actions. In particular, the rather key lack of things we would very much like people coming here to have. If you want to be pedantic then fine, they’re from immigrant families. If the distinction makes you happy, whatever. And hey speaking of which

Since the Democratic party is suddenly the party of open borders, I feel like it’s maybe important to the discussion that three of their battiest socialist yahoos are, in fact, from immigrant families. For those who are behind on the issue, the Democrats want unchecked illegal immigration because… supposedly… it’s fair and just that we let literally anybody who shows up at the border become an American. All they need to do is come from, oh, what’s a good term for it…  a shithole. Their home country has to suck. That’s the only qualification. Which really means, given our neighbors, that if they have a pulse and can cross the border, then they’re just as American as the next person. Probably that border will be the Southern border that you might recall we’d asked for a wall across, mostly for this exact reason (Because somehow I doubt the impoverished masses of Canadians are straining to come down here? Not until they need timely medical treatment, anyway.). If you question the wisdom of letting all comers in, you’re wrong because… ah, I just got the argument back from the professional logicians… ahem…  “shut up racist”. I hope that clears things up.

Now hang on! Just look at all the societal benefits to be reaped from this policy. After all, the proof is in the pudding, right? Why, look at these three American success stories, every one of them from, I think we agreed, an immigrant family. And every one of them is a vitriolic, America-hating, openly socialist, race-baiting pain-in-the-ever-loving-ass. Just imagine how many more families just like theirs we could bring in with an open-borders policy that had an even lower bar for… say, where are you going? Come back, damn it! Diversity is our strength, I tell you!

So, genuine question… why shouldn’t we call them on their bullshit? Somalia and Puerto Rico are shitholes. So are the pieces of land around Israel still occupied by “Palestinians”. Two of those are occasionally explosive shitholes, arguably the worst kind. Their families came from places that are objectively worse, compared to the United States. But, uh, boy, you’d never know it listening to them. They sure have a lot of problems with us, considering. Why the Hell should we suffer in silence while these wanna-be commies back-seat drive our government?

Look, you saw what AOC’s chief of staff said about the Green New Deal? “It wasn’t originally a climate thing at all … we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing”. Jesus, that’s a headline, isn’t it? Okay, genius. I completely believe that your central-planned nightmare concocted by tinting the communist manifesto green is a better economic system than the one that has made us the pre-eminent world economy and byword for societal stability for the last century and change. But on the distant off-chance that there might possibly be a flaw somewhere in there, how about this? How about you and your dumb-ass boss pack your hipster glasses, and both of her brain-cells, in an eco-friendly hemp-woven case, buy plane tickets South of the Border, and show us how it’s done? You now have official presidential sanction to do so. Oh, wait. That’s right. Silly me. I just checked. It looks like they already have a crippling debt crisis. Hmm. Now I’m afraid AOC’s ideas might not be so fresh after all. Looks like they already tried one of the big ones.

Well, maybe Ilhan Omar can step up. Mr. Trump has offered, ma’am, now’s your big chance. Here’s a plane ticket to Mogadishu, let’s see your world-class concepts for solving Balkanization. If it’ll work there it’ll work anywhere, since as best as I can tell Somalia is a whole bag of permanent clan warfare wrapped up in borders. Needless to say, it’ll be a glorious thing to see it solved, and I can hardly… um, say, lady, you seem to have the wrong idea. I said fix the Balkanization, not demonstrate it. What’s with the race baiting? Oh, sure, and the socialism too. How could I forget? Why not? Your experiences with Somalia consist of running from it as a failed state, so in practical terms, the government was largely imaginary anyway. You, uh, didn’t actually happen to learn anything from the negative example set by the country your parents ran from, did you? Yeah, I didn’t think so, I just had hopes.

Okay, well, maybe Rashida Tlaib can salvage this. Being “Palestinian”, her family likely bears grievances against Jews. Absent an actual land-mass, it’s basically all the term means anymore. But the duty of an immigrant is to re-forge themselves into the image of their new people, and that means letting the old-world grievances go. Doubtlessly, mindful of this burden, she’s careful to leave the old racial animosity behind her and focus only on loftier things by… er… criticizing Israel endlessly and supporting the BDS movement. Oh, and she too is a socialist? But hey, just so we’re clear, though, she is a socialist who hates Jews, but she is not a Nazi. She is emphatic that Trump is the Nazi. Not her. Or Ilhan Omar, who helps her out when hating jews is too big a job for just one congresswoman. You see, she’s not a nationalist. She’s not even particularly fond of the country, frankly. None of them are. Just ask them. And that makes it… better? She should try it as a campaign sign. “I hate America but my family came from elsewhere, so I’m magically entitled to your vote”.

Hell, they could all use that slogan.

Which is sort of the point, really. I want legal immigration. I really do. Sarah is a good friend and a legal immigrant. We need a thousand more like her. A million. What I…  and most other people who don’t possess the kind of insane mentality that plays with matches on a power keg…  do not want, is more Ocasio-Cortezes, Tlaibs, and Omars. They aren’t doing us any favors. In fact, despite their young age, they have already perfected the single most obnoxious quality of the worst kind of mother-in-law. They invade your home, start asinine political arguments that make you suspect they maybe come from another planet, and criticize every little thing you do, while counting, basically, on you being too polite to tell them to go bite… something besides the Christmas turkey, put it that way.

So you know what? Good on Trump for bloody well saying it already. And what better time, since the “squad” generally is probably at a relative peak in their visibility. These three in particular have some real nerve. Given how they act, I can only imagine what their parents taught them, but a basic love of America doesn’t seem to have been part of it. That’s a touch disturbing considering that should be one of the first requirements of people coming here. Put it this way, how would you feel if this was what every immigration story looked like? We’ll just ignore generation one for a moment and focus completely on their kids. Imagine that from now on, the attitude towards the country of the average immigrant’s kid will peak somewhere between AOC and Ilhan Omar. On a scale of 1-10, how good an idea is any immigration in those terms? Don’t you think we’ve already got enough problems?

Thankfully, things aren’t really as bad as that. These three are merely a reminder that some prominent minority of immigrants, of unknown size and scale, are actively malignant. The Left isn’t even keen on us actually counting how many immigrants we currently have, so they’re certainly not about to let us quantify it. Still, the activities of these three are a key reminder that everybody we take in gets a say, and their idiot kids could even end up running the country if we aren’t careful, so taking in people with zero filtration is probably not a very great idea. I’m reminded of the article on the migrant caravan I read on this very blog where the migrants marched under the flags of other countries and stopped by a river to sing another country’s national anthem.

 

 

So, yeah, I’m happy I’m not the only one who’s had it with them. Maybe if the Democrats want to sell the country on unlimited immigration, they should think about not having three of the most prominent immigrants in their party be people who make immigrants look like ungrateful pricks. Because, you know, I don’t especially care if it’s politically correct to ask…  If they dislike America so much why do they stay? It’s like if you join a club and your friend joins a while later and all he talks about is how much it sucks.

Dude. Fucking… leave. What’s the problem, here?

By all means, languish not in this intolerable Hellhole, ladies. The rolling sands of Mogadishu await. Well, await one of you at any rate. But AOC and Tlaib can take the long way round, assuming they survive landing in Mogadishu. Call it girl’s night out (of the country). If you aren’t just here to try to crawl to the top, institute radical redistributionist schemes, and then mysteriously have a lot of the wealth redistributed to you in the process of it being passed around “fairly”, the places your families ran from are available. Send us a post-card. You may need to institute a functioning postal system first, but damn it, I believe in you. If those countries won’t do, there are also dozens of countries where people have already crawled to the top, instituted radical redistributionist schemes, and mysteriously had a lot of that wealth redistributed to themselves, and… I can’t help noticing… they are also mainly shitholes. There would be a lesson there for you three, but I’m not sure I can break it down into the requisite monosyllabic words. I’d have to maybe find a way to express half a syllable in AOC’s case, which explains a lot about her, really.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What will we do without you? Well, don’t worry. Brace for life-changing news as I reveal this— we don’t need you three. And we don’t particularly need any more like you three. We can find probably about a billion people just as stupid and un-American right outside [or inside] the border. In fact that’s kind of the problem (Or…  as the traitorous elements of the Democratic party that see non-functioning borders as their own personal ticket to dissolve the people, elect another, and crawl to the top to yadda, yadda, yadda, would call it…  the opportunity). Frankly I’m not sure any nation needs vacuous anti-nationalist Marxism-gargling moppets clogging its political houses, but we especially don’t. Yes we know you hate the wallpaper and the stuffing is too dry for your tastes. Enough. Pick another country to annoy already, would you? I hear France is… used to be nice this time of year.

Not that the “squad” has nothing useful to tell us about immigration, mind you. Just one day reading the news tells you, the immigration system that let their families in? Too. Lax. By all means, let’s finally start talking about how to let in people who actually like America, not just people who want to loot America. We deserve patriots, not pirates.

Sorry and So Little And So Light, A Blast from the past from July 2017

*Sorry to leave you hanging this long.  Woke up and did a lot of work in the garden, before it got really hot, and then realized I’d been postponing a few household repairs that needed doing and… time got away from me.  Which is why this short story appeals to me as a blast from the past.  Yes, there will be something new soon, as well as a new novel, which I need to work on on.  Hence fobbing you guys off this way.  I hope you don’t mind – SAH*

So Little and So Light

Sarah A. Hoyt

©Sarah A. Hoyt 2015

I landed with a stumble at the foot of Calbeck Hill in England in 1066, during the Battle of Hastings when the English routed the Normans for good and all out of England.

The landing was rough, as it sometimes is. I half fell and my feet squelched as I instinctively spread them apart seeking for purchase in the marshy ground. No one saw me appear. The human mind is very good at censoring out the impossible.

I was dressed as a man. Not difficult for a woman of the 23 century transported back to the eleventh. More likely to pass as a man than as a woman. Wearing the uniform of a housecarl—a professional soldier—in woolen tunic, and trousers, with a straw padded surcoat under the chain mail hauberk, my breasts, never all that noticeable, were wholly invisible. The conical hat with face shield hid my features and my lack of beard. And the kite-shaped shield, the battle ax in my hand made sure no one got very close to me.

The man next to me made a sound at my stumble, something like, “Hey there, watch it,” but then turned forward.

Forward, as all the history books had taught, the forces of William the Bastard fled our side, their mounted cavalry decamping in ground that had never been suited for cavalry. As a trainee time-Hunter, in history of war, I’d heard all about the mistakes William had made. Still, wasn’t prepared to see them enacted before my eyes.

Few Breachers make it for battles and confrontations. The romantic mind that thinks the past a better place always goes for parades, for grand events, for triumph and celebration. But this was not a common Breacher. He’d been, before his transgression, a Satrap, a member of a good family, of an hierarchy unbroken for ten generations. And a director of the Time Corps.

Ahead of me, Harold’s forces were moving and presently we too started running, chasing the Normans as they fled. Before I’d arrived, already half the forces had abandoned the safety of Caldebeck Hill for the plain where the Normans were fleeing. I joined in the pursuit, excited to finally be in an event we’d studied so often.

For a while it was all a blur as I met the enemy, and had to counter their sword thrusts with my ax blows.

It used to be, back in the beginning, that people were afraid of time travel. They thought any misstep, any foot laid wrong, any butterfly trampled, made us all Breachers and changed history forever.

We’ve found of course that history is more elastic than that. It takes willful intent and major changes to make history take a different course.

So I lay about with my ax and a clear conscience. It’s hard to explain without believing in predestination, but I couldn’t kill anyone who hadn’t died. Not in a chaotic event like battle.

And to me they weren’t quite real, these men I fought.

What was real was the tracker and the time-tagger. The arrows and flashes, in lights, atop my shield, could pass by mere play of light, but I knew what they told me.

The Breacher was here. Very close.

And then the man facing me spoke, in Panlanguage, in a soft throaty voice that barely rose above a whisper, “Ah, Hunter. You’ve found me.” A chuckle. “But too late.”

I looked up and for a moment caught a glimpse of the Norman whose heavy sword knocked my ax blow aside. An impression of red hair, of soft red beard, of laughing blue eyes shining from either side of his helmet’s nose-piece.

I was so stunned at Panlanguage and at the smile on his eyes that I lowered my ax. He could have killed me then, but he didn’t. He only laughed, and then vanished, the bone scales of his armor making a sound as a soft rain while the time-current grabbed him and pulled.

I came to myself as another Norman rushed towards me, and I pushed at the pendant at my neck, the aten that disguised my retrieval mechanism, and which would have become inactive in the absence of the nanites in my living blood, so if I died or lost it, no one could use it.

There was the time current grabbing me like invisible claws, and pulling me, with force that made my teeth rattle.

And then I was in the mission room.

#

“You failed,” Alvin Windham said, even as I dropped my helm and weapon, and started tearing out of the sweat soaked, uncomfortable clothes.

I undressed completely, and went into the delousing room, saying to the room in general, knowing the pickups would relay the words to Time Command Center, “It was a bloody battle. And he faced me directly, instead of running. And he spoke to me in Panlanguage.”

I got out of the delousing room, my body stinging from the short shower of the disinfecting/cleansing solution. The Hunters called it delousing, but I knew it was something else, including inoculating against any virus, any bacteria, anything of the time that might hitch a ride back to the real, present world.

It used to be believed that nothing could attach in the short times a Hunter spent in the past, and then someone who had spent a day in ancient Egypt had brought back the first epidemic flu and killed half of the Hunters. Now we deloused.

The room I entered as I left the delousing was a dressing room, circular, with pegs on the wall. On one of the pegs hung my everyday clothes: short tunic and leggings in a fabric that neither scratched nor clung to your body with sweat. I wanted them so badly. I wanted nothing better than to put them on, to walk out the door into the world where I didn’t have to find a dangerous maniac bent on destroying history.

But then I read the words emblazoned around the room, “Time Hunter Corps. Saving the past for the future,” and I stayed naked, ready to put on whatever clothes I needed for wherever the Breacher had gone now.

Alvin stood in front of me, in his dark brown uniform, the clipboard in his hands. “We’re not faulting you, understand! This is not a common Breacher and this is why we chose you to catch him. We knew it wouldn’t be easy.” He frowned slightly. “The problem is that he could be anywhere. This is not a home-made time jumper. He stole our best.”

I grunted understanding and pulled back at my shoulder-length dark hair and glowered at Alvin. “How did I fail?” I’m nothing special to look at and he’d seen me – and every other Hunter – naked too often for it to occasion any surprise or any appreciation. Not that there was much to appreciate, as I was no fashion plate. Few Hunters are. Too memorable can kill you when you’re back in the past, and we can only take so many legends of the beautiful fairy up the hill.

But he noticed my frown.

He shook his head a little. “We are not quite sure how, but we think he got the ear of William the Bastard. He must have been in the time and place for years, without us seeing it. He must have confounded our tracers. And he … he advised William on the use of Archers, on the use of ambush. The retreat was a deception. Your momentary comrades were ambushed and massacred.”

“The Normans won England?” I said. “But that—”

“For now,” Alvin said. “For now. Inside the command we don’t change, of course, so we know the truth, and once history settles we will change it again. Ten years. Twenty. But first we need to catch him. We think he’s trying to create so many break points, so much instability that we can’t repair it; that even within Time Time Command Center the memories change.”

“Can that happen?” I asked.

He shrugged. “We’d think not. But Seth is a Cowden. Not only was he an expert in time and time-disruptions, but his family have been time-experts forever. He might know something we don’t.” Alvin consulted something on his clipboard. “Ah, there. We found him again.”

#

We were sliding down the Nile on a boat filled with dancers and servers. I was in the boat of Queen Nefertiti, principal wife of the great innovating pharaoh Akhenaten. Above us the stars shone on a velvet sky. I wore a linen dress with precise pleats, and a wig, having taken the part of a serving lady in the throng of the followers of the queen. Not a real server, but one of the daughters of provincial nobles sent to the court with the pretext of attending the queen and the real aim of perhaps finding an advantageous alliance.

All night my jewelry – the heavy lapis-lazuli looking necklace around my neck – had been communicating through slight shakes that the Breacher was near. But how near?

We were headed for the Heb-Sed of Akhenaten. He had many, having started in the third year of his reign with the Heb-Sed normally reserved by other pharaohs to celebrate thirty years in power.

It was generally acknowledged among historians that it had been such a bold move in celebrating the Heb-Sed, the festival of the tail, that had helped Akhenaten establish a monotheistic religion. And it had been that monotheistic religion that helped consolidate the Egyptian Empire under his son, Tutankhaten, and his sons’ sons.

Such a strong empire had Egypt funded that neither Greece nor Rome could dislodge it and little by little their confusing polytheism had been subsumed into the worship of Aten, which in turn had propelled the world into the new era.

Twice during the night, someone had touched me where my back was bare and I’d felt the necklace vibrate. But every time I turned around, I saw only Egyptians. Not the Breacher. And I doubted the tall, redheaded man I’d seen at Hastings could have disappeared in this dark crowd, even if he’d worn a wig.

Presently the boat docked where the preparations had been made for the Pharaoh to run the ritual course and do the dance that would prove both his ability to still rule the country and to have the approval of the gods to do so.

His boat had already docked and his retinue had disappeared past a series of refreshment tents set up to receive him. I had to wait until the Queen and her close attendants left the boat. From where I stood I could see her exquisite profile as she stood.

Near me a voice said, “You, girl,” and thrust a linen cushion fringed in gold at me. “Carry this.”

I took it. I hadn’t had time to establish an identity. Even my command of Egyptian was limited. My goal was not to intrigue, nor to carry on a careful subversion, but to find the Breacher, to neutralize him, to take him back with him or kill him, if I could not take him back for judgment.

Judgment of Breachers was always preferable, but in this case it might not be possible. The Breacher was far too clever and at any rate, if he died before being dragged to the twenty third century, it would spare his powerful family embarrassment.

On my turn I processed off the boat, holding the cushion to my chest, as though it were precious, which it was, since I’d be severely punished, I was sure, if I lost one of the Queen’s possessions. Worse than displeasing one of the Satraps.

We processed past the refreshment tables, and to stand under an awning while the priests pinned a tail to the king, since Heb-Sed or the festival of the tail related to an obscure wolf god. Akhenaten had said the wolf god didn’t exist, that all power belonged to Aten. But he still wore the tail.

Just before the run, he stumbled, as though he’d lost balance, and I thought that the sun must be exceptionally hot. After all, Akhenaten was supposed to reign another fifteen years.

A finger caressed my dress at the top. A voice said, speaking throatily in Panlanguage, so that anyone hearing him would think he was making mere, random noises. “He will be dead within the year.”

I jumped and tried to turn around, but couldn’t. Somehow the cushion – and I couldn’t imagine how – was holding me in position, holding me turned forward.

“That is right,” he said. “That cushion is a neutralizing device for your necklace and it has… other effects. You will neither be able to let go of it nor to turn, till I let you.”

I cleared my throat. I wanted to shout, but instead, I spoke in a whisper too, the whisper that prevented us from disturbing those around us. It was no part of the mission of a Time Hunter to create time disturbances. And I would not. “You are mad, Seth Cowden.”

He took a deep breath. His finger continued to trace the width of my shoulders, the dip between my shoulder blades. “Perhaps I am, Lady… what is your name? Your real name, not the assume Egyptian one?”

“Iset,” I said. “Iset Creuly. But I am not a lady. Not from a Satrap family.”

“Ah,” he said. “No. You wouldn’t be. They don’t risk their daughters in these runs.”

“I was sent because I’ve dealt with difficult Breachers before. If you return and turn yourself in,” I said, “we’ll make accommodations.”

This time it was a soft laugh that answered me, “Don’t lie to me, Lady Creuly. There are no accommodations for a Breacher who has succeeded. Oh…” He paused and seemed to think. “I suppose my family will make sure my death is painless.”

I should have told him that he could escape death, that he would be considered mentally disturbed and not fully in control. Surely he was mentally disturbed. Had to be. Why else would someone of a Satrap family run into the past to change it?

But I knew he had been in command, and probably knew the truth better than I did. He was right. Crimes such as his couldn’t be forgiven, not even in the Satrap families. And at any rate Akhenaten had stumbled again and I made an involuntary exclamation, lost in the sounds of those around me.

“I wonder,” he said, in the tone of a man who dreamed, “What your name was originally. And also why they made such a beautiful woman a Hunter. I thought they chose for lack of memorability?”

I opened my mouth to protest that I was unmemorable, but he only said, “Goodbye Iset. I wonder what that will be when I next see you. Iset is such a perfect name upon the tongue. Little Isis, a perfect miniature goddess.” He laughed softly. “No matter. Akhenaten is done. I have been in his court for years, slowly poisoning all his family in a way undetectable. Even Tutankhaten, soon to become Tutankhamun will die young and without descendants. If my calculations are right, Greece and Rome will supplant them and some other religion will give the world names that we can only imagine. And perhaps—”

I couldn’t breathe. I wished to believe he was bluffing, but something told me he wasn’t. I wished to believe his finger on my skin was an imposition and a boorish trespass, but I felt it was both the taunt of a man who knows in the end he’s doomed and the indulgence of a man who found me beautiful. Which was strange and miraculous both.

“Perhaps?” I said, curtly, trying to make him stop tracing arabesques on my skin with his fingertip.

“Perhaps we’ll meet again, Iset Creuly. In a freer world.”

#

I stood in the hall of Greenwich Palace, outside the queen’s bedroom. This time I had been there for three months, and managed to establish myself as Mary Wingfield, a relation to the Wingfield’s of Kimbolton Castle.

Alvin, after dressing me down, asking me, “What could you have been thinking, Mary Creuly? You should never have taken that cushion. Did it not occur to you it might contain a nefarious device?” had talked to me about how the Breacher had been traced to the time of Henry VIII, to be precise to 1535, when the king shared the crown with the beautiful and impetuous Anne Boleyn, his second and final wife, the ancestress of the Tudor dynasty which would retain the English throne until the twenty second century.

She’d given him a daughter, but no son, and in October 1535 she’d miscarried a son. Mid 1636 she’d have her second son, Henry, who would reign as Henry IX. Before he ascended the throne, England would reconcile with the Catholic church. Swayed by the health and vigor of the English heir, and by more material concerns, if the historians were to be believed, Pope Paul III would come to believe Henry VIII’s crisis of conscience over his too near relation to Queen Catherine was correct and had been based in divine inspiration.

Everything forgiven, by the time Henry IX climbed the throne on his father’s death, he’d be a most Catholic subject. Carefully juggling alliances with Spain and France, the ninth Henry had created the basis of a stable empire.

Queen Anne had given the king two more sons and another daughter, all of whom had been used as marriage fodder around the world. She was sometimes called the mother of kings, and it was true that everyone of royal blood, even all the Satraps in our time, had her blood.

For months I’d watched over her health. I’d managed to get assigned as a lady’s maid, and endured endless games of cards to make sure nothing was eaten by the queen, nothing came near her that wasn’t carefully monitored by my various disguised apparatus.

If the queen were poisoned, if she died, that would destabilize the future enough that the pieces would be hard enough to put together again. But not on my watch.

As for the Breacher, all my various tracers told me, time and again that he was nearby, but never close enough to the queen to make a difference. Never close enough to hurt her.

The only times I left her alone at all were while she was sleeping, usually watched over by her women, or when she ordered me away. And even then I kept my tracers on her to make sure the Breacher didn’t come near.

It was during one of those times, while I walked in the courtyard at Greenwich palace, my tracer telling me the Breacher was nowhere near the queen, and was in fact quite near me, that I realized he was walking towards me.

As at the Battle of Hastings, he was tall and redheaded, with grey-blue eyes and the shadow of a smile on his lips.

That he recognized me was obvious. I reached under my kirtle for the burner that I kept handy if I came across him. I’d shot men before. No. I’d shot simulations of men before, in exercises. I’d brought in all my captured Breachers alive. I didn’t want to shoot him. I wanted to capture him. But he was a difficult one.

“Seth Cowden,” I said. “You are under arrest for stealing a time device, for violating the ban on unauthorized time travel, for trying to change the past in order to—”

He grinned at me. He made no effort at all to go for his burner. “Am I, Iset? Is that your name?”

“I am Mary,” I said. “Mary Deven.”

He smiled a little. “Ah, Mary,” he said, testing out my name as though it were an exotic confection upon his tongue. “I must have forgotten.”

His smile, his lack of concern with my trying to arrest him disturbed me. “Seth Cowden,” I repeated. “You are under arrest. You can let me hold your wrist for transport, or else I will terminate—”

“Yes, yes,” he said. He made a gesture with his hand as though dismissing the burner I was pointing at him from under the folds of my kirtle. He had to know it was there, and also that I could shoot through fabric and burn him through the heart. But his eyes were unconcerned. And though I was tall for an Elizabethan woman, he was a giant, as he was tall even for the twenty third century. He was in fact every bit a Satrap, tall and broad shouldered, with perfect teeth and a look of complete self-possession. “But first let’s walk in this garden. Let me tell you why I did it.”

I hesitated. “Tell me—” I said, and then, decidedly. “I don’t need to know!”

He shrugged. “Oh, perhaps not. But don’t you want to know? You know who I am. The Cowdens have been in charge of the government of Earth and the twenty worlds for centuries. Why would I throw it all away?

“You are disturbed. Your mind—”

“Do I look like a madman to you? Give me your arm, Mary, and I shall walk with you in the garden.”

“It is raining!”

“So, you are not a real Elizabethan, whose clothes will be ruined by a little rain, and who can be killed by a cold. Walk with me, Mary. I will tell you why I did what I did, and if you still think I deserve arrest, you can take me back. Or shoot me for all I care. If I still exist when we’re done talking.”

“If you still exist?”

“Ah, in the multi universe each individual’s life is such a small thing, isn’t it? So little and so light. It counts for very little even under the empire, does it not? And the slightest shift can make it vanish.”

#

It was madness of course. What can I tell you, but that Hunters are human too? Aye, and in my case a woman. A woman who had never been rich or connected or, for that matter, beautiful.

I’d been born to a clerk in the Imperial administration, and my rank in life was restricted. That a Satrap wished to speak to me was a little intoxicating. That he’d called me beautiful had to be a ruse, or a trap. But there are traps so seductive we would fall into them willingly. I followed him to the garden, under the fine rain, and he put my arm in his. I could have held his wrist. I could have activated the transport. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t.

The garden was sad under the rain, but you could tell where things had been planted that when green would make the place delightful. We walked down paths I didn’t very well mark, and he talked. “Have you never thought, Mary, that the Empire perhaps cares a little too little about people? About each person?”

“The empire preserves people,” I said. “Lines, families, groups of people. Surely individuals are preserved too as part of it.”

“But only as part,” he said. “And only in their proper ranks.”

“The empire is stable,” I said. “Over the generations, the families have perfected their peculiar specialties. Each of them is good at what it was born to do, clerks and Satraps, commanders and planners.”

He gave me a look, sly, out of the corner of the soft grey eyes. “So, Mary, how many Hunters in your family?”

I shrugged and blushed. “Does it matter then?” I said. “The Hunters are not a clan nor a family specialty. They come from every family and every class, provided a taste for adventure, an interest in history, a quick mind.”

He grinned. “Aye, then, Mary, from every class. And have you thought, perhaps, that in every class, in every specialized family, there are individuals born whose talents differ from that of their family, that if they were allowed to use their talents, to create their own path, the world might be unimaginably richer?”

“No,” I said. “That is madness. Anarchy.”

“When I was younger,” he said. “I was a Hunter. And on a field mission after a Breacher, I pursued a man who created so much instability that for a few… moments? Days? Years? However you measure inexistent time, a society was allowed to exist where the empire had never come about. In it, men were free. Individuals. It was a beautiful— Oh, it was scary,” he said, probably having seen my expression, “and maddening and fast and chaotic, but that world, as it was, was also beautiful. No ordered ranks, no classes, no exams for advancement.” He sighed. “Their interactions were mad things, with no rhyme or reason. Then the repairers and tracers from headquarters got to cleaning up the time line, and reestablishing it, and I was brought back, and I became one of the planners, and I never saw—” He paused suddenly, both in speech and as though his feet had brought him to an unexpected place. “We,” he said. Then stopped again, as though that beginning had no end. He sighed. “When I saw you, the first time you came into the center, a Hunter, newly minted, I realized—” He paused again. “But no, I could never explain it to you, could I?”

And I realized we were standing in the middle of the kitchen garden, where vegetables, stunted by the cold of winter still remained enough to see what they had been. “I didn’t know there was a kitchen garden here,” I said

Which was when the screams echoed, loud, from the main part of the palace, and suddenly, as suddenly as my startled wheeling around to look at him, Seth wasn’t there, and there was just me, standing, under the fine rain, my French hood plastered to my hair, my gown sodden, my heart thudding, thudding, thudding.

He’d done something. He’d evaded my careful surveillance. He’d—

I ran. I ran in the direction of the screams, to stand outside the Queen’s bedroom. From inside came the screams, the sound of a woman sobbing.

Suddenly the crowd parted, and the king, King Henry VIII in all his majesty came thundering down the corridors of Greenwich, and into the door of the Queen’s room before we had so much as time to curtsey. From inside the crying of a woman stopped, and now came the voice of a man – the king – raised in scolding.

Minutes only, and he came out, saying at the door, “You’ll get no more boys from me.”

The crying resumed then, quieter. And then minutes later a woman came, carrying something in a folded towel. She looked at us, and she looked at the floor, and she said, “Queen Anne has had a miscarriage of her savior.”

I blinked, realizing in shock this was Henry IX, the Great Harry of English history, the ancestor of most of our Satraps. And he’d died. He’d died unborn.

History was tilting on its axis, and I knew the Breacher had done it, but I didn’t know how, and I reached for my bracelet and pressed to return to control center.

#

I was in a room. A broad room, wide round, that looked a little like Time Time Command Center, and yet wasn’t. I looked up, and there was no inscription around the door.

And then Seth Cowden appeared, from an internal door, and smiled at me, “Back so soon, my darling,” he said. He extended both hands to me, and took me in his arms. “How was the expedition? Did you find what you wished?”

I was mute for a moment because my first thought was to tell him I knew how he’d done it. Henry IX had died in utero due to something added to his mother’s food. I’d monitored the food itself, from the kitchens on, but not what had grown in the kitchen garden. Some fruit, some herb, some winter vegetable had grown with the nanites already upon them that would stop that life, before it was born, that would send history into a different path.

The other part of my brain told me it was all no sense. There was no Time Time Command Center. There was no Henry IX. England had remained the excommunicated child of Europe, separate. Because of its less rigid adherence to religion, it had spawned a much different culture, one that tolerated different kinds of thought.

The empire that united all the lands of Europe had never coalesced. There was some thought too that a certain rigidity of Egyptian religion, encased in millennia of tradition had never occurred, and the thought that the England itself was very different from the land of Saxons. It all flitted through my mind, like a whirlwind, like scraps of a dream half-remembered. And then it crashed into the thought that I’d been sent to retrieve Seth, that Seth—

But there was no Time Time Command Center. Time travel was regulated, in a way, in the sense that it was overseen by several scientific bodies, and that people had to be trained before going back. But the time stream was free to archeologists and sociologists, to investigators and historians.

I was an historian. I’d just gone back to study the Tudor period and to copy some documents relating to Anne Boleyn’s trial for witchcraft.

Looking up at Seth, my world solidified. He was my husband of three years, and a chair of history in the University of New America, a planet in Alpha Centauri. It was a new colony, funded after the old Earth country, a free colony that took all those wishing to join it from the heart, and willing to contribute to its mad whirlwind of invention and innovation.

“I found the documents,” I said. “And copied them.” I removed the French hood and the dress. This was our very own antechamber. Seth was quite wealthy, being older than I and famous in his field, and he had built a time-travel-chamber onto our house.

Naked, I allowed Seth to envelope me into his arms, feeling his red beard tickle my face. “I’m so glad we live in a world where I can’t have arbitrary charges brought against me, and everyone will go along with a despotic king. I’m so glad that the rights of the individual count for more.” I frowned, as a feeling of uneasiness persisted. “It could so easily have been different,” I said.

“Very easily,” he said, and gently kissed my forehead.

“And in a different world, I might never have met you, even,” I said. “Our families being from so different a level of wealth.”

“Oh, what does wealth matter, or class,” he said, and kissed me again, this time intently, as though kissing me were the only thing of importance in the universe.

Then he took me within, by the hand, into our chamber.

Hours later, we were lying together on our bed, dozing. “I had a dream,” I told him. “I think it was a dream. But it is so strange. And the world was quite different. I was hunting you down because you were bent on…”

“On?”

“Disrupting the time stream.”

He laughed. “Foolishness. Disruptions tend to heal.”

“Yes, but not for a while, and I remember it was odd that you… I have an idea you killed your own ancestor, in that dream.”

“That is madness,” he said. Amusement made him narrow his eyes, an expression I knew well. “And quite impossible. Given that women are women, which man can be sure who his ancestor was?”

Just then the communicator played a sharp note, calling our attention. Seth groaned. “Alvin,” he said.

Alvin was his assistant, the man who kept all the paperwork in order, the man who made sure that all the events of the day happened on time. Not brilliant, not innovative, but faithful and exact. I had a feeling he bored Seth a little.

Seth pressed a button and a hologram of Alvin appeared in the middle of the room. He was dressed very oddly, in a golden tunic, and strange molding pants, not at all like the loose, informal clothes favored in New America.

He glared at Seth, too, for what I’m sure must be the first time. “You thought you’d been so clever,” he said.

Seth sat up straighter, and said, in a tone of deep loathing, “Oh, it is you!” and I got a feeling he wasn’t talking about Alvin or not the Alvin I knew at all. “Very clever sending her after me. You knew I would not hurt her.”

“And very poor planning, very unworthy of a Satrap,” Alvin said. “To change the whole world for a woman. And a common, low born woman at that.”

I opened my mouth to protest, and I might have said something about Alvin needing counseling. But neither of the men paid attention to me.

Alvin said, “Fortunately I found your real ancestor, the Lute player. Did you think I didn’t know? Your ancestor looked just like him.” He spoke in a low, vicious tone, and I remembered a lute player accused of consorting with Queen Anne, but Queen Anne had been executed and—

Seth grabbed at my wrist. “Whatever happens,” he said. “Remember that I love you.” He put something in my hand. It felt solid and small. And he closed my fist over it.

Alvin didn’t notice the small gesture, he was ranting, “Fortunately I retain my memory. It will take centuries for us to clean up the time stream, but until we do, you will be punished for your actions. Even now, the assassins are destroying your true ancestor, before he can—”

#

There had been as though a sick twist in my guts, a momentary dizziness. I lay in bed in my small apartment, which overlooked Kansas, the capital city of New America. Outside my window the bustle of the largest city in the system went on. A reflection of light from a passing flyer sent lights chasing into my room.

And I opened my hand and found I was clutching a ring. It was so wide, it would only fit my thumb. I slid it on, hesitantly.

Suddenly I remembered. Hastings and Egypt and Tudor England. But with it came a feeling of Seth, too. And I realized he’d worn this ring that created a bubble of stability in the time stream, a mental barrier against the changes to the past, and allowed you to remember all the adjustments.

An expensive bauble, but then, in the original world we both came from, Seth had been a Satrap. Wealthy beyond the dreams of common people.

And he’d had this bubble, and he’d become a Breacher . . . for love of me.

The memory came with the ring, of the world accidentally created in which we were lovers, and of his despair, until he’d seen me again, in the real? Original world.

I got up from bed and went to the window, and looked out at the tumultuous world outside that would never have happened but for Seth’s meddling.

In that first world, it had been ordered, with palaces and slums in very different areas, with castes, with rituals, with rigid control of every individual action.

Individuals. So little and so light in the stream of time, in the pageant of history, in the swirl of the worlds.

But he had roiled time and history for me.

And I remembered too, this world, and our three years together, and the way he laughed, and his teasing look, and the sudden, unexpectedly vulnerable glances he gave me, that spoke of love.

So little and so light.

I clutched my hand in a fist around the ring on my thumb. Alvin had missed something when he’d not destroyed me, when he’d not seen this ring being given to me.

I remembered.

How hard could it be to go back in time and save a man from death? Oh, sure, I knew that scanners and fixers, planners and reweavers of time would all be at work even as I spoke.

But there was a good chance Alvin himself was gone, and any number of his helpers. Satraps had all been descended from Henry IX and who knew how many times Henry IX’s wife, Queen Catherine, had been unfaithful.

And yet, even if they all still existed and arrayed themselves against me, they couldn’t stop me. Sure, there were many of them, but that just meant I must fight them all.

I remembered our love and our marriage that had only existed in that world created by Breaching the past. Our love for which he had sacrificed all.

I must plunge into the time stream and from it rescue and bring back the one life that mattered and to me.

So little and so light. It outweighed all the possible worlds.

Fear – by Amanda S. Green – a Blast From The Past from September 2017

*Amanda had a bad week after a bad week, so she’s not able to write a post today. She promises one next week. Yes, I probably should write one, but I DO have a book to write. – SAH*

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Fear – by Amanda S. Green – a Blast From The Past from September 2017

Fear.

It is alive and well and living in the United States. No, I’m not talking about fear of walking down the street at night because something bad might happen. I’m not even talking about a parent’s fear of letting her child play outside or walk home from school by himself because someone might report the child as being neglected. There is another type of fear rearing its ugly head right now. It’s not new but, thanks to the media and social media, it is more pervasive.

The fear I’m talking about is the fear of speaking your mind. No, I’m not talking about those on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. Yes, both sides have their extremists, whether they want to admit it or not. Those folks don’t seem to have any fear of letting their voices be heard long and hard. The ones I’m talking about are those who tend to fall in the middle of the political spectrum. It doesn’t matter if they identify themselves as liberal or conservative, libertarian or something else. These are the folks who don’t buy into either side lock and smoking barrel.

These are the people who would, in many cases, be the voices of reason. We might not agree with them, but we could discuss our differences without the conversation turning into a shouting match. Unfortunately, they are being silenced. No, not by the government but by those zealots on either side of the argument – and it doesn’t matter which argument.

At first, it was simply easier to walk away from the so-called discussions because it quickly became clear that those who said they wanted to discuss an issue didn’t. What they wanted was an echo chamber. There comes a point when you have to realize that no matter how well thought out your points might be, no matter how many facts you have to back your stance, there are people who aren’t interested.

But there are some issues where we can’t just step back. We remember Martin Niemöller and his words about the Nazis:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Right now, if you take to social media, you will most often see the above verse cited in response to what happened in Charlottesville. Those condemning the Neo-Nazis who marched that day, especially the ass who drove his car into the crowd, recite it in support of their cries to take away the right of those same Nazis to march or wear the swastika or, in some instances, to even speak their beliefs.

These same people have taken to social media to crow about how they have identified and “outed” those they identify as being “Nazis” in the march. In some instances, they have cost people their jobs. In another, Professor Kyle Quinn of the University of Arkansas was wrongly identified as one of the “torch bearers” in Charlottesville. He was attacked in social media, especially Twitter. His life was threatened. Fortunately for Quinn, not only was he NOT at the protest, those he worked with knew it. Even when it was shown he wasn’t there, the accusations that he is a racist continued, as did calls for him to be fired from his post with the university. Facts, you see, didn’t matter to those attacking him. Someone on their side said he was guilty so, by God, he was guilty and he needed to pay.

But it gets worse. We are told over and over again not to judge someone by their appearance. How many times have we heard this? So where is the condemnation from the Left for what to happened Joshua Witt from Colorado? Mr. Witt was stabbed because of his haircut. [This seems to have been a smolleting, but the idea there’s a “White supremacist haircut” is out there, and it’s bizarre. – SAH 2019] Yes, you read that right. His haircut. Witt had the misfortune of styling his hair in a way some of the Neo-Nazis do. His crime, other than having the offending hair cut? None. He was, according to his version of events, getting out of his car when someone came up, asked if he was a Nazi. Then the guy stabbed him.

Witt isn’t the only one to be called out – or worse – for that particular hairstyle since Charlottesville. Singer Macklemore found himself being called out on social media for the same hairstyle. The kicker here? He’d changed his style months ago. But those attacking him couldn’t be bothered to check before striking out.

Am I saying I support the Neo-Nazis or any other white supremacy group? Not on your life. However, much as I hate it, they do have the right to assemble – as long as they follow the law. They have the right to say what they want, within some very limited legal definitions. We have the right to point and laugh.

Where myself, and so many others, get uncomfortable is when we see people advocating taking those rights away. It is a very slippery slope they are proposing we get on. If the government decides today to silence the Nazis, they have started on the road to silencing others. That is not what this country is about. If we silence the Nazis, the skinheads, the KKK or similar groups, who next?

This is where the fear comes in. It is much more than the fear of the slippery slope should the government decide it needs to start shutting down free speech, no matter how heinous the group might be. It is the fear of what our neighbors might do, be it through ignorance or misunderstanding or something much worse. We have a group of people who seem to think it is their duty – their right, if you will – to “out” those they don’t agree with. They don’t consider the consequences of their actions. All that matters to them is that they are on the “right” side.

They don’t consider what happens when they publicly proclaim someone is a Nazi and then that person loses their job. What if that person has a family and is the only one employed? What if that person, or someone in their family, has a serious illness and the insurance he had through that employer was what was helping keep them alive until they could receive the surgery or other treatment necessary to cure them?

Or, as in the case of Professor Quinn, what if they were innocent?

In so many ways, the actions of these anti-white supremacists remind me of what happened in Nazi Germany – and in the Soviet Union. Neighbors reported their neighbors for not being good little Nazis or Communists. An air of suspicion and paranoia ruled both Germany and the Soviet Union because you had to watch what you said and did, no matter where you were.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have free speech and allow those I don’t agree with the right to spout their hate and stupidity than to face the possibility of the government going the way of Germany and Italy in the 1930’s and 1940’s or the Soviet Union. For those who have so gleefully been pointing fingers and calling names – and I don’t care what side of the argument you’re on – consider this. What are you going to do when those fingers are pointed at you? Because, the time will come if you keep this up. Just as that snowball grows as it rolls down the side of the mountain and shit flows downhill, as one group is silenced, fingers will point to another and then another and then another until you find yourself the target.