Ladies, Gentlemen and Dragons

Right now, Where Horse And Hero Fell is free on Amazon. 

Also, I’ve put up two collections of five short stories each for 4.99 a piece, which makes them 99c a story again.

They are Five Future Tales and Five From Magic.

And, in your strange news of the week, I inexplicably, find myself in the running for conservative blogress diva over at Gay Patriot.  (Diva me?  Well, okay, maybe.)  So weird for someone who only came out of the “conservative” — libertarian is conservative right? — closet about two years ago!


102 responses to “Ladies, Gentlemen and Dragons

  1. Done. Now don’t you be tellin’ people I haven’t not never bought nothing by y’all.

  2. I voted Sarah for Grand Diva. I bet she can get more votes on this than Plan B that burned in the House last night 🙂

  3. And, coming around the inside corner Sarah Hoyt takes the lead by half a length!

  4. Sara in the lead at 38% as of my vote for her!

  5. I certainly never considered libertarianism to be a form of conservatism. There’s an accidental association between the two in the United States, partly because the national identity that our conservatives want to “conserve” started out as an idea, and indeed a largely libertarian idea, and not as the blood & soil sort of identity that most other nations have. But as someone who advocates constitutional government, balanced budgets, fiscal conservatism, and free markets, and is pro-choice, in favor of same-sex marriage, and totally secularist, I don’t have much in common with conservatives other than shared enemies.

    • Yes, I know, but it is what the word means now… It’s part of the other side’s “if you’re not with us you’re against us” view. They lump everyone else together.

      • Partly it is Conservative has a different meaning like Liberal does outside our system. The Lib Dems in Oz are closer to the Republican version of “Conservative” and it is also that outside of a few states there are no longer any Conservative Democrats (JFK might be considered one) and like Trotsky vs Stalin those not fully agreeing with your side must be driven out (a la Joe Lieberman), with an addition of the Dems really really wanting folks to forget They at one time were the hardcore conservatives who wanted to preserve the current system so much they split from the union and after losing did their best to split the society with more rights and privileges for one segment of society and oppression of another. I’ve had brits boggle at the differences as they get no clear idea of what we actually stand for outside of the highly biased BBC view they get. I also try to make a point of not using Liberal when describing the opposition. I stick with either “leftist” or “Leftoid”. Then the folks over yonder have a better approximation of what I’m talking about.

    • I’ve never really understood how being pro-choice can be considered a libertarian position, as it denies the most fundamental right (the right to life — you can’t exercise any of your other rights if you’re denied this one) to human beings as long as they’re in another person’s womb. The only way it can be a libertarian position is if you hold that a fetus isn’t a human being and thus doesn’t have human rights, and that position doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny. (Is the fetus part of his/her mother’s body? No, he/she has his/her own DNA that is not the same as his/her mother’s. Is he/she not a human being? Well, he/she has human DNA — that’s good enough for me, since I don’t want to ever allow politicians to decide who is or is not human. Down that road lie the most horrible parts of history. Is the fact that he/she cannot survive outside the womb relevant? If so, then what about the human rights of people hooked up to life-support machines? Do they also forfeit their human rights on the basis of not being able to function independently? Again, not a direction I want to go down: down that road lie almost as many horrors as down the “let’s decide who is and is not human” road.)

      I do understand, and agree with, the idea that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body. But her right to choose what to do with her own body applies precisely to that: her own body. Not the body of the person currently nestled in her womb. That is not her body, it is another person’s body, and that person is the only one who should get to choose what happens to his/her body and his/her life. Whether or not he/she is in the fetal stage makes no difference to his/her right to life.

      • The specifics of anyone here’s positions aside; it struck me the other day that whether or not you’re pro-choice or pro-life, it really doesn’t make sense (qua principles involved) for people to support abortion in *some* cases. At least, I don’t see any principled way to do so.
        If a fetus has rights, then no reason could ever justify aborting one. Just because the mother would be medically better off doesn’t really matter; we don’t allow sick mothers to kill their infants if they can no longer care for them, either, do we?
        If a fetus doesn’t have rights, then abortion should be legal in every instance, because it would simply be a personal decision on behalf of the mother that no one else has the right to interfere with.
        It’s a slightly different question if you believe a fetus get rights at viability, for example, as that provides a clear cutoff where before abortion would be okay, and after it wouldn’t be. But I can’t for the life of me think of how anyone could arrive at, and be comfortable with, a compromise position on this? The common exceptions people talk about seem much more political than principled, although I could certainly be wrong about that.

        • This is what I mean. Five libertarians, twelve opinions. And you are right on pretty much all of what you said.

        • The only position I could justify, is where the fetus itself is causing, or contributing to a condition, that can only be ended by removing the fetus–and if the fetus isn’t yet old enough to live outside the womb, the removal will result in its death. This can happen with preclampsia, and perhaps a few other disorders, so this isn’t a complete hypothetical.

          But this is really just a self-defense proposition. The woman has the right, in this case, to save herself–otherwise both she and her fetus will die.

          Having said that, while I understand why people want to make exceptions for rape and incest, I find it difficult to want to, myself: the child is completely innocent of what was done to bring him or herself into existence!

          • Yes, it’s hard to make that exception. It doesn’t make the evil un- happen, and let’s face it we’re ALL of us descended from rape and incest. (Yes, yes, in the long run, if you keep sleeping with your sisters and daughters you get… pharaohs. But… one or two per century? The genetics don’t punish that. And yeah, it happened.)

            Also, on the pre-eclampsia… I was told older son would be mentally retarded and was likely to kill me before being born (spent a lot of the pregnancy in hospital.) Well, he didn’t kill me. In fact, he was three days late in being born. And if he’s mentally retarded, I’d hate to see the non-mentally retarded version. He does have some metabolic issues which they’re just finding are endemic in people whose mothers had pre-eclampsia, but you know… overall? Not worth mentioning.

            HOWEVER several of my “feminist” friends were mad at Dan for not “letting me” have an abortion. When in fact I was the one who always said “not only no, but h*ll no.” (Not heroism. We’d worked for this for six years, and besides, I was willing to risk it.) BUT their black-and-white blinders told them any woman not embracing abortion must be controlled by her husband. This is idiocy and blindness.

          • I have shared, without being able to precisely express, that discomfort with punishing the child for its father’s sin. Finally it struck me that the people arguing for amnesty for the children of those who entered and took up occupancy in the United States were making the argument for me.

            Oddly, they don’t seem to be willing to extend that same generosity for children produced by rape.

      • That requires the assumption that a fetus is a human being with a human right to life. And I don’t make that assumption, and in fact reject it. It has never been part of Anglo-American law; back when abortion was illegal, a doctor who performed one was punished with loss of medical license, not sent to the gas chamber, as he would have been for killing an infant. For that matter, it was not part of Old Testament law: A man who struck a woman and caused her to miscarry had to pay a fine to her husband, but was not punished as a murderer. And there are good reasons for that. Defining separate rights requires the ability to define separate domains whose interaction with each other is limited in some way—it wouldn’t make sense, for example, to say that person A owned the water under one square mile of the Pacific Ocean and person B owned the water under an adjacent square mile, when water is constantly flowing back and forth and other substances are diffusing across the boundary—and a pregnant woman and a fetus are in constant physiological interaction that affects both of them profoundly. They are, in effect, a collective entity; talking about their having separate individual rights makes no sense to me.

        Or, to be more metaphysical about it: A fetus is potentially an individual human being. But a potential entity cannot have actual rights. Human life and human rights begin with birth.

        I don’t expect that you will agree with me. But I’m attempting to establish that there is a coherent position that is both libertarian and pro-choice; not to convince you that it’s the right one, which would but a much longer discussion.

        • I understand your position, and it does hold up to mild scrutiny. (As I said earlier, I don’t think it holds up to serious scrutiny, b. And I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the years. I’m familiar with the unconscious violinist argument, for example: I encountered it in my Bioethics class back in college. I don’t think it’s a good analogy in this case, but I’ll get to that after addressing a couple of other points.

          The Old Testament law you mention is the often-misquoted “eye for an eye” one from Exodus 21, I believe. (Often-misquoted because people fail to understand that it was setting limits on punishment, not prescribing a certain punishment.) I’d always understood the “if there is injury” part of that law to apply to the infant, not to the mother (which if I’m right, would cut a lot of ground out from under your argument), but I could be wrong about that. But I will readily concede that even in cultures where abortion is (or was) illegal, abortion is (or was) punished less harshly than murder of an adult — and as a whole, I would actually agree with that position myself, as would (I think) most pro-lifers. Most women seeking an abortion are doing so because they feel vulnerable in some way: financially, socially, emotionally… If I were put in charge of writing legislation criminalizing abortion, I would make it penalize the abortionist much more harshly than the mother, if she was even penalized at all. (One appropriate penalty for the abortionist would be loss of medical license for violating the “first, do no harm” principle of the Hippocratic Oath — which, interestingly, explicitly contains a “no abortions” clause. I did not know that before looking it up on Wikipedia just now.) So yes, my position isn’t 100% consistent either… but almost no pro-lifers are willing to take the 100% consistent “abortion is murder” position to its ultimate logical ends, because that would justify, say, the killing of abortionists. (Which I condemn unequivocally, by the way: let me be clear on that.)

          As for the argument that the mother’s and child’s bodies are so physiologically interconnected that it’s almost impossible to define separate domains and separate rights, again I don’t think that position holds up to serious scrutiny. They certainly influence each other massively (look, for example, at how many drugs should be avoided by pregnant women because they will harm the infant — not to mention the huge number of drugs whose labels say the equivalent of “Pregnant women should probably avoid taking this drug if possible, because we don’t know what it might do to your baby”), but from a physiological standpoint, it’s pretty easy to define where the woman’s body stops and the infant’s body begins: at the placenta.

          Okay, now for Thompson’s “unconscious violinist” argument. I don’t think it’s a good analogy for pregnancy in most cases, because it stipulates that the person being hooked up as a life-support system for the violinist had no say in the matter. It’s a good analogy to argue about abortion in the case of rape, but that’s a small minority of all abortion cases in the U.S. (about 1% of all abortions are due to rape every year, according to every abortion-statistics site I’ve found), and it’s usually a bad idea to legislate the exceptions. Legislate the most common scenario, then argue about the exceptions. And by far the most common scenario for abortion is when the woman is pregnant as a result of an act of consensual sex. She may not have intended to get pregnant — she probably didn’t, in fact (very few women who intended to get pregnant ever change their minds and have abortions) — but there’s a great line in one of Bujold’s books, I think spoken by Cordelia Vorkosigan: “When you choose an action, you choose all the consequences of that action.” (Subtext: even the consequences you didn’t foresee, so think about your actions carefully.) And, contra Sandra Fluke et al, I do not hold that there is any kind of right to consequence-free sexual activity. Our bodies are designed (by a creator or by evolution, take your pick) in such a way that sex will naturally lead to pregnancy if the woman is fertile. It’s possible to try to bypass this, and people do so all the time with very high levels of success, but it’s not possible to guarantee success. No contraception method is perfect except for one: abstaining from sex has never resulted in pregnancy. (Okay, except in one case if you believe the Bible, but that took direct divine intervention.) So if you choose to have sex, you’re choosing to accept a chance of a new human being being created as a result of your actions. And there is where the unconscious violinist argument fails entirely, because in 99% of the cases we’re talking about, the person hooked up to another person as a life-support system got there as a result of a voluntary choice that person made, and was not imposed on her by force. And while I’m willing to consider allowing abortions in the case of rape, and I do think they are justified in the case of medical necessity (if the pregnancy is putting the mother’s life in danger, it essentially boils down to a case of self-defence against someone who is unwittingly endangering your life — which always sucks, but is justifiable homicide), one abortion scenario I am not willing to allow is the all-too-common case of abortion for convenience. As a rational adult, if you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. It’s not right to kill another human being just because you don’t like the consequences of your freely-chosen action.

          Thankfully, the majority (I think they’re the majority, at least) of women considering abortion don’t view it as casually as the classmate Sarah Hoyt mentions further down in the discussion thread. But even if she is taking it as a serious decision that she won’t take lightly, the fact remains that abortion is the killing of a human fetus, and I’m not willing to accept the position that a human fetus is anything other than a human being with human rights. (Some rights like liberty are not yet possible for him/her, granted; but he/she already possesses the right to life). Nor, for that matter, am I willing to accept that someone else’s rights can trump his/her right to life, unless the other person’s right under consideration is ALSO the right to life. (I.e., the self-defense argument for medical-necessity abortions.)

          But that’s PLENTY long enough for one comment. I should probably try to refrain from arguing this position much more, lest I tie up this comment thread too much. If I do post more on the subject, I’ll try to be less wordy next time. 🙂

          • Whoops — cut out a bit too much of that first paragraph while editing my comment. That parenthetical should have been “(As I said earlier, I don’t think it holds up to serious scrutiny, but getting into those philosophical weeds may take too long).” And then I proceeded to get into those philosophical weeds anyway. The perils of doing a minor in philosophy in college, I guess. (My major was Computer Science, and I was originally planning to only minor in math. But after taking Philosophy 101 with Dr. Benson, I learned just how much I enjoy philosophical argument. Does it show?)

          • Actually, there is medical evidence now that the exchange of DNA goes both ways — from the mother to the child, and from the child to the mother. There is also evidence that this transfer from the child to the mother is significantly beneficial to the mother.

            I’m an arch-conservative but not a libertarian, and this is one of the major reasons why. Too many abortions today are nothing more than post-coital birth control. In my eyes, that IS murder. If you don’t want to have a baby, do something about it BEFORE you conceive, or don’t have sex. PERIOD, end of statement.

            Most of the nations of Europe (and possibly the United States) are dying, but many still sanction abortion on demand. Neither men nor women wish to take ANY responsibility, and thus remain children their entire lives, letting Daddy Government and Mommy Social Services take care of them from cradle to grave.

            You want to talk Human Wave? Human wave is taking responsibility, doing the hard things that MUST be done if civilization is to survive, and gambling on the future by having children to carry on after you. In fact, without accepting the NECESSITY of having “replacement + 1” as the MINIMUM number of children each of us should have (one way or another – I know some can’t, but adopting one of those children that is held in the Social Services prison, or accepting one of those that would otherwise have been aborted also counts), we will still slip into oblivion — not even history will remember us.

            • That would be very nice, but contraception has a failure rate. There are people who conscientiously use one or more methods of preventing pregnancy . . . and then the woman becomes pregnant anyway. Even surgical sterilization doesn’t always work. Human activities are not risk-free. A nonzero number of people die in the bathtub (341 in 2000); but it’s not reasonable to say, “If you don’t want to drown, just don’t ever take a bath or shower again.”

              • “That would be very nice, but contraception has a failure rate. There are people who conscientiously use one or more methods of preventing pregnancy . . . and then the woman becomes pregnant anyway. ”

                I believe every commenter has agreed with that statement, Robin and Mike are argueing that they should take responsibility for the results of there decision to have sex. Abstinence is the only surefire birth control (if we don’t consider abortion birth control) and no matter how much they try and teach our kids in school these days that abstinence isn’t feasable, it is.

      • As for the life support machine, I refer you to Judith Jarvis Thompson’s philosophy paper “A Defense of Abortion” and its “unconscious violinist” argument. There is a difference between a person whose survival requires external support, and a person whose survival requires external support at the expense of a specific other person. The purely mechanical life support machine has no rights of its own to be considered.

        I don’t actually endorse Thompson’s position; it starts out by granting that the fetus is a separate person with separate rights, which I think is wrong.
        But I think it merits consideration by someone who does hold that view.

      • I’m not going to get in this argument here, now, when I have to write — remember I posited a world where murder is legal. In that sense, in that world, well, if you’re willing to risk getting sued for the blood geld.

        In the real world not all libertarians are pro-choice exactly for the reasons stated. It’s one of the grey areas, and you know you get five libertarians in an elevator and you’ll have twelve opinions. I find it odd that mine and Roger L. Simon’s have been converging.

        HOWEVER I went through six years of infertility. Considering kids the product of happenstance is difficult for me. (But then I’m a believer, which is fairly unusual for libertarians, I think. I just don’t want to legislate from faith. Okay, fine, I don’t want to legislate at all.) OTOH I can tell you first hand just how ineffective anti-abortion laws are, having grown up with classmates whose main means of contraception it was. (And I can tell the other side that no, they weren’t any unsafer than they are here now. ABOVE ALL the doctor didn’t want to get caught and that meant doing it right. I have sometimes toyed with the idea that the best way to make abortions safe is to ban them. But that’s like me toying with the idea of laws forbidding women from driving because some idiot cut me off while applying makeup. It’s not serious.)

        • Abortion is one of those things that I doubt any woman does happily, or without any second guesses. And considering that banning it really doesn’t change the incidence much, I think it would make a whole lot more sense to make as many alternatives available to people to prevent unwanted pregnancies, or if they do get pregnant make sure there are always alternatives to abortion. It’s one of those issues that can largely be mitigated at the personal/family/cultural level, rather than in the political realm by legislating against it.

          Education really does go a long way. At the end of the day, laws are derived from the culture, not the other way around. Especially so in the US, where most people are still quite apprehensive of government initiatives.

        • I understand that abortion is a hard choice. I know a woman who had an abortion under pressure from her family, and has regretted it for decades. But at the same time—if I regard a fetus as a human being with its own right to life, that entails regarding her as a murderer (just as the godfather who pays a hit man is as guilty of murder as the hit man is). And I cannot see her that way. I am certainly not willing to have the state send every woman who has an abortion—including the rape victims, the desperately poor, and the ones whose lives are at risk—to prison. But isn’t that where the logic of calling a fetus a human being necessarily leads, in our society?

          • Yes. But the logic that leads the other way goes “infants can’t live without massive care from others, so infanticide is legal.” At the other end of the same path of thought lie “useless lives.” Nothing is served by following logic to its ultimate end in either case.

            Look, if the state can decide what is and isn’t human — where does it stop. And don’t tell me the state won’t go the full horror — it will. There are white papers about “post birth abortion” written by people to whom this administration lends an ear.

            Also, being “wanted” is a damn poor way of deciding who gets to live. TRUST me on this, okay, I have reason to know.

            I don’t mean it’s a difficult decision for a woman — DUH, though I’ll point out not always. I had a classmate who had abortions every six months because she didn’t like condoms or the pill. She gave it about as much thought as a cat would to eating its newborn cub. Less maybe — it’s a difficult decision for a SOCIETY and a STATE and it might lay outside its scope. It’s not something that’s going to be solved by logic. If we still had a functioning federalist system, I’d say leave it to the states and we’ll see which works best.

            • There is a difference in that infants, while needing massive amounts of care by another person, can receive that care from anyone, and they are clearly separate beings at that point in their life. I don’t know if that’s enough of a difference, but there’s precedent I think for regarding birth as the dividing line.

              Of course, I am just as leery to have the government decide which human beings are persons, or who we can kill and who we can’t. The types of horrors that are committed in places like China are orders of magnitude worse than anything banning/allowing private abortions could accomplish.

              At the end of the day, though, I always come to the conclusion that I simply can’t know enough to decide for other people whether *they* should be allowed to have abortions, or not. And that extends to a great many social issues all the same. I wonder if that’s one of the grand principles of Libertarianism? 🙂

              • Ultimately, whether you believe in a greater judge or not, you ARE NOT someone else, so you can’t decide for them.

                Of course, in my case, I’m just too lazy to want to rule over anyone else.. I have books to write and characters to torture.

                • I agree. And the realization that you can’t rule over others because you’re not them is probably the only consideration we should require of anyone wanting political power.

                  • the biggest problem with our leadership is this: those most able to do so want no part of the job. This is especially true for the real libertarian and Fiscal reality crowd.

            • The thing is that the law (whether the law is determined by the state or in some other way) has to draw the line between who is a human being and who is not. Does a newborn have the right to life? A fetus? A chimpanzee? A cat? A self-aware AI? A tree? If you kill one of those (whatever “kill” means with the AI), a court or adjudicator can undertake a trial to determine whether you actually did it, and whether your action was justifiable, excusable, or wrongful—or it can refuse to hear the case, because the being you killed has no right to life. The state making the decision follows from the state providing the legal system, just as the state making traffic rules follows from the state owning the roads; if you suppose some nonstate entity is still involved, you’re going to transfer the decision making elsewhere, but the decisions will still have to be made.

              Unless you prefer a society without legality of any kind. I think that would be less desirable than what we have; law has to be pretty damned imperfect to be worse than lawlessness.

    • Libertarian and political conservative are very similar, if not synonomous. The left for years did a successful job of linking social conservatism to political conservatism, helped no doubt by the fact that many political conservatives were also socially conservative.

  6. All right, I’m baffled. If libertarian is conservative, what’s the other side? I mean, don’t liberal and libertarian share some roots? I would have thought libertarian was on the far side of the liberals from the conservatives, but… I’ll admit, I’ve been outside the US for 10 years now, and don’t understand most of the shifting, but… libertarian is conservative? Really?

    • It is the consequence of applying a 2-dimensional scheme to a poly-dimensional space. Liberal in the US now means Progressive which means Socialist for all practical purposes. Similarly, many Americans now labeled “conservative” are advocating policy positions which would be more accurately designated as “classic liberalism.”

      Pretty much any nation’s political labeling is so idiosyncratic that it is foolish to go by the names applied, as those are selected primarily to hide from that nation’s voters what the politicians will actually do to them if given power.

      • As I was sitting here nodding my head I was struck with a thought (ouch) – I wonder if a perspective note might be in order, perhaps for overseas attendees here at Sarah’s Splendid Soiree and Debating Society, or maybe for US younguns born post ~1990: The term “Socialist” still retains a very negative connotation in the US which I gather it does not have in various over-there places. I believe this stems mainly from the fact that for half a century after WWII our primary enemy, who could kill us with roughly 20 minutes warning, was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

        While those of us who remember participating in elementary school duck-and-cover drills persist, I predict that US politicians will continue to vehemently argue with being labelled a Socialist, and I cannot see any mainstream US political movement including the word “Socialist” in their self-adopted name.

        Obviously a US “Christian Socialist Party,” which scans fine elsewhere, would be doubly doubleplusungood and go nowhere.

        • Yes, but the content of the parties is to the left of what you’d expect from their names. Also, for the record, socialist and communist scan “pious and good” for my kids’ generation. You don’t want my opinion of that. No, truly you don’t.

          • Yeah, it’s very common for other people my age to buy into the (unimaginably wrong and stupid) notion of “BUT IT WORKS AWESOME IN THEORY”. How I despise that phrase; only the most detached-from-reality individuals could think that the 80-100 million bodies piled up sky-high in the 20th century on account of these philosophies are an accident. Makes you wonder why it’s so common in academic circles, hm?

            It’s even worse, though, in that basically nobody can honestly be mistaken about this. If they were, they’d hear your argument, read up on it and conclude it’s pure evil. Anybody who apologizes for these systems is an accomplice, basically.

            Erm, sorry for ranting, Sarah. I do think I remember you saying not to get *you* started on this particular issue. It’s just infuriating to see history repeat itself over and over, especially here…

            Finally, I do agree with you that these days the American left seems to be worse than even the outright socialists in Europe. Considering that over there most countries run by social democrats are working their butts off (comparatively) to balance the budget; compare that to our Democrats… Part of that I think is because of the nature of how the taxation is set up; European socialists are forced to pay for what they do by regressive taxes that hit everyone, and therefore they’re limited. With our current addiction to enormous deficits and manufactured emergencies, there’s essentially no check on how much of our (future) money they can spend.

            • With our current addiction to enormous deficits and manufactured emergencies, there’s essentially no check on how much of our (future) money they can spend.

              It recently struck me — quite painfully, too — that the party which is running up huge debts on our grandkids credit card is also the party which advocates abortion, population control and birth control. It is as if they don’t expect it will be their descendants having to pay the tab.

              Try checking out Walter Russell Mead’s blog, Via Media, for some interesting discussion of this generational theft. Given tha Meade is not a conservative, the exploration can get quite enlightening.

          • Refer to my comment about the names of the parties and their agendas rarely having much in common. I recall some factoid* during the recent unpleasantness (aka, the unpresidential campaign) to the effect that 40% of the US populace thinking our becoming a socialist state would be good, or thinking we are on the path to becoming a socialist state … some combination of 40% and socialism, at any rate.

            I venture to guess that about 90% of Americans would not be able to identify either major party according to its principles, nor explain the differences between socialism and free market capitalism, nor why the regulatory regime in place in the US makes a “free market” impossible.

            Oddly, it seems that the more “public education” this country provides, the more ignorant is the public. No doubt the solution is to provide more public education … in the same way that an effective treatment for the bruising that has resulted from my bumping into doorways and tripping over my feet would be to consume more painkiller in the form of distilled spirits.

            • I’ve said before here that I have faith in the kids. Given the variance between the themes of indoctrination by the educational and media establishments as I grew up and how my cohort actually turned out, I look forward to today’s young manifesting a similar variance from The Plan – and given The Plan is so far anti-freedom, there’s only one direction they can really go.

              When today’s kids apply the tropes they’ve been taught and actually question authority and speak truth to power, the hard left power and authority will get the shock of their lives.

              I look forward to my amusement at their angst.

    • Libertarians want an extremely limited government, with a persons right to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t harm someone else protected. Conservatives want to retain the constitution (and actually follow it), the constitution limits government and its writers fought a war to obtain their right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ I would say libertarian is actually on the far side of conservative from liberals (of course if you view it as a pendulum, if you swing hard enough you go full circle.
      By definition libertarians end up all over the map on social issues, which causes some confusion as to where on the spectrum they are, but politically that shouldn’t matter, since their professed libertarian beliefs are that such social issues shouldn’t be any part of law.

    • yep, Libertarian is conservative. The other side is Marxist. You know the truism about how liberals in America would be moderates anywhere else? Not anymore. Liberals in America should further left than leftists in Portugal. And I mean communists in Portugal.

      Things have shifted. I can do business with socons provided they don’t want to make morality the absolute law (I mean Elizabethan times, okay, jail time for adultery. That sort of thing. There are edges we can talk about restrictions on. For me there always are. I mean, people insist on making murder illegal) and most of the ones who want to do that are on the OTHER side anyway… But I can’t do business with Marxists. Therefore, they’re the other side.

    • Always has been Mike (libertarian is conservative) until the liberals got their hands on it. Limited government by those who confess libertarian and conservative (shared root). Constitutional principles. Liberals want more government, while libertarians (real ones anyway) want to be left alone.

    • in definition Classic Liberals and Libertarians share much, but the left took the label Liberal to hide its true meaning and intent (and why Progressive and Liberal come and go in popularity to describe the left movement, as one comes to mean what they really stand for they move to the other in a shell game of hiding intent). While what Conservative is being called in the media is in part done to imply the old line Civil war and post CW era conservatives who were the Democrats are now somehow associated with the Republicans (see the Dems claims to have always been the spearhead of civil rights for an example of their outright lying).

  7. Reading the book description on Amazon reminded me very strongly of Wizard’s Bane, by Rick Cook. Intentional, or not?

  8. I’m almost done with Darkship Thieves. Five Future Tales looks interesting. Will download it and Celia’s To Truckee’s Trail to read over the holidays.


  9. I don’ know . . . Diva means someone with an overly large ego, who is perpetually late for rehearsal, and who throws things inside her dressing room when she has a temper fit. I don’t think Sarah has an overly large ego. 🙂 *runs*

  10. RE, the Diva contest, I noticed that through today, several people are way BEHIND, and Sarah is in a virtual tie for the lead. Who in their right mind considers Ann Althouse a conservative? She’s quite up front with being liberal, just not far-left Obama socialist liberal (although she did say she voted for him the first time). I don’t understand, also, why Joy McCann is on there. She’s not a “liberal”, but she’s also not a conservative — not as I define it. I’ve read most of the others, and some of them are quite conservative. After Sarah’s “coming out party”, however, Sarah deserves the recognition!

    • Mike,

      Except I’m not sure I qualify QUITE as “conservative” except in the sense I don’t like government.

      • You hate Marxists/Socialists, you believe in smaller government, and you’d like to shake up the school system — a lot! That’s conservative enough in my book!

        • I’d also like to shake up the adoption system. And I think we NEED more kids. And that private companies should take us to space (and regulations should be drastically cut back.) Um… I always thought I was “don’t tread on me” libertarian with an odd side of shameless warmonger when I think anyone is looking at us crosseyed because the world is a dangerous place. Um….

          • Those are the best kinds of libertarian, though! If the government doesn’t stand up to threats to our freedoms it’s failing at one of the most basic functions it really should be doing.

    • I mean, I’m not saying I don’t belong with you lot. I think “hates Marxism” makes me demonstrably “conservative” in the other side’s eyes. What I’m trying to say is I’m young and untried at this, and people could also say “Who is this Sarah Hoyt who came out of nowhere?”

    • What? you don’t consider someone who voted 0bama and defends that vote as someone who is “conservative”? I’ve never found Ann “conservative” or “liberal” just stupid. What else would one call someone who votes the leftoid, then is shocked by the leftoid acting lefitist.

  11. Not on topic, but I’ll be gone a few days; my daughter should be born tomorrow. She’ll be our first, so I’m sure the next weeks will be a bit hectic. Awesome holidays to you all!

    • Good luck and have a happy birth–

    • Oh, wow. Congratulations. You’ll have to post link to pictures when you have them.

      May everything go well.

      • Thanks! I’ll definitely do that. Now off to get some sleep. Might be the last full night’s sleep I get for a bit 🙂

        • Nah, only three years or so (runs.)

          Actually both of mine slept through the night at four weeks — but the younger had heart issues, so I used to stand by his crib all night, until he was about three. That first full night of sleep I got was a revelation.

          • Wren Marie was born at 10:55 am on the 24th at 8lb 3oz 🙂 She’s been doing awesome and transitioned really well to being outside (baby’s a pro at nursing, yay). She makes the most adorable sounds, and so far has been extremely mellow. I’ll put up some pictures once I have a few moments to sit down and sort through the hundreds we took.

            • Congratulations– great about the nursing– sometimes it isn’t that easy 😉 Wren sounds lovely–

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Congratulations! A nice healthy size. Wife wishes mine had been that small.

              • Yeah, ultrasounds later on were estimating her at 88th percentile for weight, which would be closer to 9.5/10 lbs.. .but it seems they were off by a lot. Strong baby, though, she’s got a really firm grip and almost pulled herself upright when the pediatrician checked her earlier 🙂

            • Mazel Tov, Maartje! Wonderful news!

            • Hurray! Happy birth to Wren Marie!

              • Good timing. According to a movie I once saw (or was it perhaps the Guy Endor novel? Time fades memories) any child born on Christmas Day is destined to become a werewolf for presuming on the Saviour’s birthday.

                I am confident you will be able to keep Wren’s birthday and Christmas day separate gift-giving celebrations. Mind, it isn’t too late to convert to Judaism to avoid the problem.

                It has been my observation that no male (not an obstetrician, at any rate) ever quite manages to provide sufficient information about births. You give time of arrival and weight, you will be asked for body length. Remember that and you will have the time in labor demanded, and after that the APGAR score, and after that something more. It is all a plot to keep men in their place.

                Congratulations to all three of you. May your adventures be many and grand.

                • My cousin Natalia/sister (Yes, her parents had a sense of humor. Deal. As for cousin/sister, she was raised with us after her parents and her younger siblings left for Venezuela. No, you don’t want the full story.) was born on Xmas. I don’t THINK she’s a werewolf. Um….

    • Congratulations! I wish you much joy and all the patience that you need. 🙂

  12. I’ve always associated Conservatism with small-government leave-me-alonism, with certain limitations; thus, I have always considered Eric S. Raymond to be ultra-conservative, because he is anarcho-capitalist Libertarian. I remember being very surprised when he expressed disdain for both liberals and conservatives! This was before I came around to becoming anarcho-capitalist myself.

    Having said that, I *still* consider ESR to be conservative, because I *still* associate conservatism (at least, most flavors) to be liberty-based, while liberalism, or at least leftism, is control-freak based. For conservatives and libertarians alike, the debate is on just how much freedom we should have. Too many people like to be called conservative, but are more than willing to help the State along in interfering with our lives.

    To the degree that I don’t like the terms “liberal” and “conservative”, though, I have come to conclude that “collectivist” and “individualist” are better terms to describe American politics, and politics in general. You have those who believe that we need All-Powerful Government to pull us together, and to protect us from ourselves, and if it means squishing individuals along the way, that’s ok, because it’s for the Greater Good, vs. Individuals have basic rights, and you had better respect them, because otherwise we’ll have a civil war on our hands.

    And as far as I can see, the most prosperous governments are the ones that have the most respect for individual rights!

    (And for the record, I also agree that murder should be “legal”, at least, as legal as it can be without worrying about a victim’s family killing you in revenge, or at least agreeing to NOT kill you on condition that you pay for the person you killed. Indeed, the only way I can see murder to be “legal” in such a way that you can get away with it, is for you to have a government, and then have that government sanction the killing of a given individual.)