A Reason To Believe

I don’t normally put up posts that get partisan, but this one comes d*mn close, because it has to.

I’ve been watching the scandals unfolding in this administration with slack-jawed shock.  I keep feeling like Jill (?) in Stranger in A Strange Land (despite the quotes I’m sure I’m paraphrasing.  Stranger is not one of my favorites and not in heavy re-read rotation.  It must be… ten years since I read it) “there are things you don’t do.  You don’t do them.  You don’t have to tell children not to eat their little friends.”

It’s not even the scandals but the “tip of the iceberg” feel to them, because, well, people who don’t know it’s not okay to spy on journalists – JOURNALISTS – might also be missing other basic social graces.  People who think it’s okay to invent an “it’s all about a video” and talk about putting a filmmaker in jail (and yes, I know it’s technically for “parole violation” but that was not why Hillary promised to put him in jail FOR THE MOVIE) might not have the best grasp of the first amendment.  (Throw them out, lawyers all!)  People who think it’s okay to strong arm medical companies for squeeze to promote a government scam (let’s call a thing used to dig in the Earth a thing used to dig in the Earth, shall we?) that will destroy them (and all medical advances) probably are uncertain on the boundaries of government according to the constitution.  People who think it’s fine and dandy to bug the cloak room in the house of representatives might have other moral flaws.  People who think it’s okay to use the IRS against their political opponents might be using the levers of power in wrong ways in other areas too.  (And btw, I’d be a lot more inclined to believe they knew nothing, if the anti-terrorism guidelines hadn’t been redesigned to TARGET the same groups the IRS targeted.)

And that’s not getting to the instructions given to our anti-terrorist groups rendering them unable to find and stop the very people likely to commit terrorism.  Stopping a crime before it happens is always difficult for the official authorities, anyway.  They’re best at punishing.  But removing the identifiers of those most likely to do it from the list of things to watch for borders on clinical insanity.

And yet the press as a whole isn’t baying for blood.  There are outbreaks here and there, but most of them aren’t even reporting ANY of this.

Part of it of course is the Progressive code of honor, which could be written (on a stamp) as “We watch out for our peeps” – this is philosophically tied to the idea that a Marxist society is inevitable and such hoary chestnuts which MUST at all costs be kicked to the ash heap of history – and also, of course with the fact that for the last thirty years “progressivism” has been a club identifier for “high class” and that a lot of people (in leftist controlled professions like mine) got (sometimes undeserved) wealth and respect based on their adherence to both parroting the “truths” of Marxism, and to this deranged form of Omerta.

But it’s more than that, and it goes deeper.

It goes all the way to the monkey brain, where loyalty to a bad hominid band leader, and being able to stay with the band increased your survival (and particularly your kids’ survival) chances over going off into the wilds on your own, in search of a better band.  (All of us immigrants are immediately weird.)

During a particular dark time in my life (yes, pre-Dan.  Also, I was a teenager and brain damaged in the peculiar way teens are.) Rod Stewart’s “A Reason To Believe” became my favorite song.  Particularly the lines:

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

And last night, while catching up on the news, after a day spent in workshop classes and – in the one and two hour intervals between, when I got to come home – because our freezer died, cooking the world, (okay, only that part of the world that constituted 1/3 of our frozen food.  It was defrosted but not warm, so it got cooked.  The stuff that was defrosted and room temperature got thrown out.  The stuff that was frozen solid got transferred to the loaner freezer.  Our freezer is waiting on a part that should arrive sometime next week.) that song started going through my head for the first time in years.

Suddenly, it occurred to me the backbrain had it.  It’s not just progressive Omerta.  It’s not just progressive faith they’ll win in the end.  It’s actually not progressivism at all.  It’s human.  (But is it art?)

People want to believe figures of authority are right.  Constitutional monarchies give the people a figure head to believe in, while they can jump on and kick the actual government five ways from Monday.  We don’t have that.  (And no, I don’t want that.  Yes, I was a monarchist before after I was an anarchist, but that was Portugal and in Portugal you can’t wring the idea some people are better than others by virtue of their birth out of the culture.  It’s something I don’t want to install itself in minds here.)  The president was SORTA supposed to be like that.  But it was long ago (and besides, the wench is as dead as the Portuguese monarchist I once was.)

But still, we want to believe people in power, people at the head of any field, any company, any institution can be trusted.  It’s the monkey brain.  Of course in the US it’s very important for our ideas of ourselves to think that government respects the constitution even though that train left the track visibly and madly mid-20th century, and since then it’s been driving in the weeds, to the point this administration tells us the Constitution is “old” and “outdated” and “Only protects negative liberties” and are trying to replace it WITHOUT a new constitutional convention.  (Which since we’re a nation created by that paper, damn skippy would be needed.)

There is a tendency even in America to believe the successful did “something right.”

For the most successful (I’m not sure he’s the most powerful any longer, and no I don’t mean the scandals, I mean by his own hand.  Foreign leaders have taken the measure of the man, even if the press hasn’t) man in the world, the ultimate check is the press.  The ONLY check is the press.

Only there the Progressive Omerta comes in.

If there were no other reason to (usually) vote Republican, the fact that the press crawls up THEIR butts like ants on a lump of sugar would be enough.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  People who ignore the constitution and lie with a straight face and whom the press doesn’t check are, ultimately, in absolute power.  Even if they were angels before (and, children, in this case, Chicago politics) they won’t be after.

I have the advantage of hating most authority and only submitting to a limited amount of it when absolutely needed (but I resent it.)  This means, yes, that I DID look crosseyed at George Bush – though usually not for the reasons the progressives did.  (Younger son, when enjoined to write a letter to the president in fourth grade (with strong suggestions it should be about stopping the war) wrote about tariffs and general impediment to international commerce because that was what frosted his cookies (no, I hadn’t put him up to it, though I’m sure that’s what the teacher thought.  This is my kid whom I’d always thought wasn’t political.  He doesn’t talk much, and when he does it’s usually about ancient Greek history; Space flight; something a classmate did.  But I started discovering when he was around 10 he reads a lot of the same blogs I do, he has a thing for economics and he might in fact be my male clone.)  Sometimes he made me mad as fire, and the only reason I ever defended him was the “crazy charges” and BDS.  If they’d been going after him for ineffective and intrusive anti-terrorism measures, I’d have been on the street with all the old hippies on oxygen.

But here is where the right – my type of right.  Yes, there’s another – and the left are different.  People like me start from the principles and pick the person least likely to HURT them.  (We unfortunately never expect them to support them.)  The left, at least since the fall of the USSR and the revelation that stuff just don’t work, are looking for the perfect individual to carry the flag on and MAGICALLY make this stuff work.  They are by nature communitarian and because their system (in reality if not in theory) always depends on strong leaders, they want to believe their leaders are special.

It’s really hard to doubt the person on whose existence you’ve reposed all the hopes of a better society AND your social standing, too.  They have to be perfect or magical, else everything you believe in is a sham.

Everything they believe in is a sham.  And if they don’t wake up right quick, what my grandmother said about bad situations “The one who comes after will make me seem good” applies. (“Miss me, yet?”)

If I gave you time to change my mind I’d find a way just to leave the past behind Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried Still I look to find a reason to believe.

And that’s how we’ve come to this labyrinthine knot of tied-together snafus that only CAN’T be a conspiracy theory because a) it’s proven fact and b) conspiracy theories, even those about Loch Ness, are less insane.

Yes, I think that the tech will eventually and of itself limit the power of government over the individual.  What we’re fighting about is how rough the transition will be and how long it will take.

For it to be as short as possible (I’m afraid there isn’t a “painless” option) and for the future to be as good as possible we must give up on wanting to believe that just because someone is powerful he is somehow anointed with goodness.

We must not look for a reason to believe.

Welcome Instapundit Readers and thank you Glenn Reynolds for the link!

For those unfamiliar with According To Hoyt, I’m a working novelist who started this blog at her agent’s instigation, as a “platform” — this was in the days when I was trying to hide my politics so as to make it in the traditional publishing world.  But it’s impossible to write everyday and not reveal yourself a little, and then more.  This seeped into my novels which resulted in the space opera series whose covers you find linked on the side of the blog.  Darkship Thieves won the 2011 award from the Libertarian Futurist Society and the second book, Darkship Renegades is a finalist for the award this year.  I’m very pleased since it’s the only award I ever aspired to receiving.  That said, this is a working writer’s blog and a considerable investment in time and effort, which detracts somewhat from my fiction writing.  If you enjoy my work here, consider donating, subscribing or even if you enjoy science fiction, buying one of the books on the side bar.  (I also write mystery, historical mystery and fantasy, but having forced the houses to disgorge the copyrights I’m going to bring them back later.)

299 responses to “A Reason To Believe

  1. Welcome to life inside the Beltway. This stuff has been a more or less open secret among those in and around DC for ages. There’s no baying for blood because the press already knows this, largely approves, and considers this the way things should be. This isn’t about progressive or not-progressive. It’s just about power. If the winds shifted the other way ideologically, they’d go there, too.

    In DC, when they call you a “rube,” it’s because you look at politics as anything that involves ethics, morality, or conscience, as opposed to simply the daily soulless political game. And yeah, it *does* suck. And yes, they really *are* that cynical.

    • Inside the Beltway each Party KNOWS its true opposition, and it ain’t t’other Party. In the House its opponents are the Senate and Executive branches, and as Powerline blogger Steven Hayward notes,

      This S— Just Got Real

      I’ve been skeptical if not dismissive of all the loose talk that the multiple scandals piling up around Obama would be sufficient to bring about his impeachment–until this afternoon. Let’s remember that impeachment didn’t work out too well with Clinton, and the evidence of his bad behavior was a lot more direct than it is (so far) with Obama. In the case of Nixon, it will be recalled, it required a tape recording of his collaborating in the obstruction of justice to bring about the tipping point that doomed his presidency. But for that tape, he might have been able to tough it out as Clinton did.

      But there’s always been an important contrast between the Nixon and Clinton cases–and the unfolding Obama mess–that tends to get lost in the Standard Heroic Narrative that liberals and journalists tell themselves at Watergate revival campfires. Nixon had deeply angered members of both parties in Congress with his attempts to gain control of pork barrel spending, such that his support among Republicans was already somewhat diminished when the storms of Watergate broke.

      Hence the news this afternoon that the Obama administration may have even secretly obtained phone records for members of Congress is going to be a bombshell if true. See what Rep. Devin Nunes told Hugh Hewitt this afternoon:

      [SNIP]Nunes: So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I’m sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know…

      Hewitt: Wow.

      Nunes: …members of Congress talk to the press all the time.

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/05/this-s-just-got-real.php

      • Don’t forget all the alphabet agencies, whose agencies are beholden to some parties here and there, but whose opponents are generally each other in their turf wars.

      • My gut feeling is that the Democrats in Congress will take it like the good little lapdogs that they are. One thing has changed dramatically since Nixon’s time: the Democratic Party, and its Congressional caucus, were not then, as they are now, a solid bloc defined by ideology. First the conservative Democrats were drummed out of the party; then the moderates — the ‘Blue Dogs’ and Joe Lieberman types. The party (at the federal level) is now led exclusively by its extremists, who consider it their sacred task to frog-march ‘the base’ and the elected officials on the correct road to the Promised Land.

        What I am seeing happen in the U.S. today reminds me much more of what happened here in Canada in the 1970s, when a nakedly Leftist Prime Minister systematically destroyed the independence of Parliament and turned his own party’s caucus into a matched set of utterly obedient voting machines. A few MPs protested and lost their party affiliation, and thereafter, their seats. The rest decided that they liked the pay and the perks too much to complain about losing the power.

        • Senate Democrats have a large number of vulnerable seats up for grabs this coming election. If they are insufficiently avid in going against IRS abuses that becomes a campaign issue against them. A serious campaign issue, one which is easily grasped even by low information voters.

          The Republican Party already had a better than 50-50 chance of taking a Senate majority. If this investigation carries into the campaign season for the 2012 election they become odds on favourites to win control, gaining committee chairs and the levers of power. They will be able to use that to build a case of Democrat incompetence and abuse of power in the Executive in the period leading to the 2016 elections.

          Expect Democrats to a) raise funds on GOP scandal-mongering and playing politics over low-level IRS employees overstepping their bounds b) express shock, shock that low level employees abused power and promise to establish blue-ribbon committees to investigate the abuses and propose new regulations for the LLEs to ignore c) denounce the whole principle of tax-exemptions for political advocacy organizations (a category which will be found to not include ACORN and its clones) and d) claim that Republicans have done as much themselves, or would if they could or something.

          Watch the special election in Massachusetts for the remainder of John Kerry’s term as an indication of how potent this scandal is. It is already surprisingly close between Markey and Gomez; if Gomez wins expect the wholesale abandonment of the good ship Obama, complete with denunciations of how Obama betrayed, betrayed I tell you, the principles* of the Democrat Party.

          *To wit, the principles enunciated at the beginning of every episode of Mission Impossible just before the tape starts fizzing.

          • BTW, courtesy of NRO’s Jim Geraghty, this handy guide to the upcoming scandal playbook:

            [SNIP] Tuesday afternoon, Ace of Spades came up with the idea of a scandal excuse prediction game in the form of an NFL-style draft, and Twitchy collected some of the best.

            Ace began with, “low level employees”, took “Obama gives a historic speech” in the second round (overrated, I would argue, that player peaked a few years ago and has really seen less playing time in recent years) and concluded the third round with a very versatile selection who gets a lot of playing time, “Some procedures may need review/Procedures have let us down again.” My first round selection was the offspring of the Hall of Famer that everyone remembers from the breakout 1998 season, “The real story here is the shadowy network behind our critics making these baseless accusations.” In the second round I went with a player who has been on the field almost constantly since the start of the 2009 season, “If you look back to the Bush administration…”

            It’s easy to predict these because anyone who has followed the news during more than one scandal has seen them before. There is a playbook in these sorts of matters: It wasn’t me, it was that other figure/local office over there. I was out of the loop. I was in the loop, but the concerns were never adequately communicated, in violation of established procedures. I knew about it, but I didn’t approve of it. There’s an ongoing review, I can’t comment. All of this happened a long time ago, you’re obsessed with ancient history. This is a distraction from the real business of the country. Finally, don’t you understand that my political enemies are behind this?

            All of the above lines are meant to get you to focus on something besides what happened, who’s responsible, and who should be held accountable. All of this is mean to persuade us that their decisions and actions aren’t the problem; the problem is with us, for asking questions about it.

            To hell with that.
            http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/348341/gibbs-matthews-who-will-criticize-obama-next-joe-biden

  2. We’ve been talking recently about fighting the culture war through fiction.

    Let me make an argument that we also have to fight it through NON fiction. Blogs are great for that, and your blog, Sarah, is a treasure.

    But there are other tools to use to get the truth out.

    I’m getting more and more convinced that Wikipedia is the biggest arena where we have to document and preserve the truth.

    Wikipedia tends to be dominated by lefties, and it have cabals that organize behind the scenes – like the JournoList that we all know of.

    I’ve been working hard to document the IRS scandal and keep the article purely factual (because we don’t need SPIN to win, we just need the TRUTH. The truth is so good that it sells itself.)

    Please:
    * check out the wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_Tea_Party_investigation
    * feel free to edit it
    * look up pages for the other scandals and contribute good clean information
    * resist the urge to put in partisan hackery – it will just get reverted (rightfully so) and discredit our side. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      • Btw, the edit war is heating up. Leftists are trying to vandalize a well-written, well-sourced page. Instead of citing other data, they’re just deleting big chunks.

        If you’re interested in the IRS Tea Party Scandal, please drop by, read the talk page, and help improve the article.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=IRS_Tea_Party_investigation

        • Rob Crawford

          Why? The left will win the “edit war” regardless. Wikipedia is a failed experiment, and should be left to moulder while new ideas are built.

            • We can vote. Look what that’s given us.

              We can fight for minds.

              Or we can start shooting.

              I’m still at the “fight for minds” stage.

              • And, in my case, because I’m a believer, praying it doesn’t come to shooting.

              • snelson134

                These are not mutually exclusive options.

                There’s a reason why, even as the Founders were remonstrating, speechifying, etc., they put Sam Adams in charge of founding a direct action arm called the Sons of Liberty.

                Because, to quote Marcus on Babylon 5, “Sometimes you get more with a kick in the head and a kind word than a kind word alone.”

          • Jeff Gauch

            I’ll take “How we got in this mess” for $1000, Alex.

            Yes, Wikipedia should be left to moulder. But it isn’t. It’s still one of the first places search engines bring up, and people think of it as non-ideological because they say so (see our hostess re: wanting to believe). News flash: People are dumb. If we leave Wikipedia the vile progs get to claim non-ideological “center” while we’re left building parallel institutions that are explicitly conservative, and thus suspect.

          • Two? There’s also Bengzai, and the EPA one.

            • has anyone done Fast and Furious?

            • Don’t forget Secretary Sebelius using her office to fundraise for Obama care (from Reuters) and is probably an illegal act.

            • Here’s the complete list of Wikipedia Obama scandal articles

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Obama_administration_controversies

              No EPA article yet!

              …or Sebelius either.

              I don’t want to “pollute” my reputation with all politics, but I STRONGLY think that anyone who wants to stick a toe into Wikipedia should do so. I’ll stick to Associated Press records and IRS Tea Party…and, of course, blacksmithing, Prometheus Awards, Anarchopapitalist literature and other articles that strike my nerd fancy.

              • I gave up on Wikipedia several years ago when I found that the information about my disease there was mostly wrong and had information that was about thirty years old. When I tried to get it changed, it was deleted. When I tried to talk to the person who was doing most of the changes, he refused to talk to me— then a notice went up on the page that only doctors could change the info—

                About that point I made sure that people who had the disease and those who were getting dx’d NOT to read wiki for any information about the disease– (thirty years ago most people died from this disease and it scared people looking for info. It is hard enough to deal with the disease even with the truth.) So wiki is on my sh-t list.

                • Rob Crawford

                  I gave up on Wikipedia after reading an article from a history professor about his attempt to correct a Wikipedia article by citing primary sources — a court transcript. NO! NOT ALLOWED! Only secondary sources!!!

                  So he wrote a paper citing the transcript, then cited his paper in Wikipedia. Then it got reduced to a “some say” style diminution.

                  • Yep 😉 I was trying to give the man primary sources by the way (research grants from the Vasculitis Foundation & John Hopkins Vasculitis center)…. Nope– didn’t fly either–

                  • I once tried to argue with a fool who thought putting “some say” on the statement that Madame d’Aulnoy had invented the term “fairy tale” could be defended as “context”

              • Anarchopapitalist literature

                That has to be some fascinating theology!

            • There are two EPA scandals — FOIA favoritism & Using “false” email accounts — although they can probably be boiled down to the same fundamental crime: co-opting government resources to benefit ideological allies. The EPA has long used “friendlies” to place lawsuits to force the EPA to adopt policies that the EPA cannot get legitimately authorized.

              There are several DOJ abuse of power issues, F&F, AP & House of Representatives phone communications, and the old stand-bye of favoritism towards allied groups as exhibited in the New Black Panthers case and various suits to block voter legitimacy acts.

              HHS involves not only the private funding beyond that authorized by Congress shakedown, there is also the granting of Obamacare waivers to allies, and providing the glove for the Big Pharma hand in the Obamacare proselytization.

              There are plenty more — such as the invalid 2008 ballot access petitions in Indiana (that we know of) — such that you cannot really tell the scandals without a program.

              Then there is the scandalous incompetence (look into what is going on in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy — it makes Katrina look trivial*) and the prosecution of foreign policy (the Russian overcharge) that the MSM can’t be bothered to cover.

              *Those “NY is open for business” commercials? Paid for with Federal storm relief dollars while people whose homes were destroyed by FEMA’s slow and inadequate response are hung out to dry.

              • Heh. I have an associate who was NYC conservative, mostly because the rest of the family are yellow-dog Dems. His house got clobbered by Sandy and he’s now a steaming libertarian. If all goes well *knock, knock* the repairs will be done by late June.

              • You left out the third EPA scandal, RES: the use of unacceptable (as in not acceptable by law) information and just plain party fanaticism to try to destroy the US coal industry. While it’s not a “scandal” per se, the EPA’s use of the IPCC as the primary source of information used to “regulate” carbon dioxide is also an ongoing fraud. We could go on for weeks (and probably will, but hopefully not here).

                • Oh heck, Mike — if we’re going to get into abuses of authority, regulatory over-reach and manky interpretations of law by this (mal)administration we’ll be at it until the dish runs away with the spoon.

                  “Just makin’ scheiss up” is pretty much the raison d’être of the Vile Progs, enit? They do that the way I make puns: frequently and [the Fifth Amendment allows me to decline to conclude the analogy].

          • Come to think of it, there’s also the IRS telling a group its status was conditional on agreeing to not protest at Planned Parenthood. That’s a second IRS offense.

    • In Wikipedia, it’s vital to build up a track record of edits on multiple subjects so that the regulars don’t discount what you say because you are just dropping in with an axe to grind. I’ve edited articles on industrial cheese, religious articles, astronomy and other science articles as well as politics and I’ve done it both on en.wikipedia.org and its cousin ro.wikipedia.org. So I’m a regular and not dismissed out of hand.

      So go pick some non-controversial topics and do some simple edits. Improve grammar, spelling, punctuation, things that are boring and non-controversial so when you get inevitable push back (as I did when I fought out the Alger Hiss article years ago) the other side does not have an easy way to dismiss your edits

      • > In Wikipedia, it’s vital to build up a track record of edits on multiple subjects so that the regulars don’t discount what you say because you are just dropping in with an axe to grind.

        EXCELLENT point.

        I work on articles about woodworking, metalworking, blacksmithing organizations…and politics.

    • Wheeeee!

      For more fun — the woman in charge of the discriminating department left it. To oversee Obamacare.

      Don’t you feel confident in her competence?

  3. Martin L. Shoemaker

    Mr. Axelrod said yesterday (sorry, I don’t have a link) that Washington and the country were just too big for President Obama to govern.

    I know he saw this as a defense of the President and an indictment of the country; but I wanted to shout “BINGO!” Yes, it’s too big for central control — SO STOP TRYING TO CENTRALLY CONTROL IT!!!!! IT WON’T WORK!!!!!

    Realizing this nearly 20 years ago was what cured me of being a Democrat. NO ONE is smart enough to run a country of any size. The most efficient government is small, local control with a hierarchy to mediate between different locales.

    But I’m sure Mr. Axelrod will never realize that he just made the case for limited government.

      • leftoids do so love them idiot savants. During GWB’s Presidency, he was the worlds stupidest human while simultaneously being the genius behind numerous conspiracies and plots of the evil sort so well crafted there was no proof easily available (others just claimed it was Cheney et al leading him along blindly). Now we got 0bama, who is soooo very smart (so smart in fact we can’t handle the brilliance of his thesis, or grades in college so those must be hid from us) yet he is just too stupid to know what anyone is doing under him in gov’t. Yes folks, One of their digs on GWB (so stupid his underlings had everything hid so he never knew what was going on) is now the excuse for 0bama (So unable to know what is going on that his underlings are able to do so many wrong things and keep them hidden from him … guess they just don’t go on vacations or golfing with him)

    • Birthday girl

      Like

    • During the Dinkins administration, they used to say the same thing about New York. They stopped saying that during Giuliani but are starting to say it again under Bloomberg. Basically, such talk is an indirect marker of incompetence.

      • They said the same thing about the country being ungovernable, the presidency too complex, during the last days of the Carter Administration, then that dummy Reagan got elected and turned things around.

        Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

        Or to put it in a more contemporary literary context, we should never have elected Cersei Lannister president.

      • William O. B'Livion

        It just means they don’t know the difference between governance and ruling.

  4. Rob Crawford

    Haven’t read the entire piece, but over at JustOneMinute yesterday we were collecting the various government departments which appear to have been involved in targeting the president’s “enemies”

    IRS
    EPA
    DOJ
    Labor
    Education
    SEC

    This wasn’t a matter of “ineffective management” or a handful of “low-level rogues” in Cincinnati. This was a government-wide effort.

    And at Belmont Club, Wretchard made a great point — this wasn’t done “formally” in declared meetings. The executives handed off to no-names who back-roomed this. There was no possibility of the public knowing what was going on; these “policies” were unstated, but clearly approved by the upper ranks.

    • Martin L. Shoemaker

      I forget which Watergate conspirator it was… When asked who came up with the idea of a cover-up, he answered, “No one ever suggested there would NOT be a cover-up.” When the forces are all marshaled in a single direction, you don’t have to give them explicit marching orders. Just fail to stop them, and they’ll do what you want.

    • There was the whole Pigford mess for the other side of the coin, too.

    • Rob Crawford

      How to get your conservative group approved in record time: disguise it as an eco group.

    • Exactly – over and over again lately, I keep reading bloggers quoting Henry II’s words: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” It wasn’t an order to kill Becket … only a veiled hint which four of minions were pleased to act upon, assuming the king would be pleased.

      • I’ve been thinking the same thing myself. I doubt there is a signed memo by the president ordering these things. Would not surprise me if there was some meeting of senior staff where Pres. Obama muttered “Wish we could do something to stop those tea-baggers!”.

        PS Just started reading the Adelsverein trilogy. So far I like it. I had a great grandfather(died before I was born) named Steinmetz.

        • Enjoy – the surname Steinmetz just popped into my head (but I did check the Adelsverein ship-lists to ensure that it there were Steinmetzes among them – could have been one of your ancestors!) The Becker name came from a WWII comrade of my uncles’, Richter from a military broadcaster that I worked with in Korea.

        • Not even that much is needed, merely an indication of what the Boss won’t notice. If 85% of the civil service is making campaign donations to the Democrats, they know who is trying to derail their gravy train.

          Think of it in terms of the president big-footing New York (to pick one example) by taking the missus to a Broadway show. He is indifferent to, unaware of the inconveniences inflicted on ordinary citizens by his regal visits (Queen Elizabeth I used royal “visits” to punish her opponents, bequeathing them the “honour” of providing extended hospitality to the Court) — and this lack of awareness of the disruptions, the choppy waters of his wake extends to the petit bureaucracy abuses as well.

          One thing for which I valued George W Bush was his restraint, his foregoing of many perqs of living in America from knowing the cost imposed on bystanders. For him, for example, to attend a baseball game, tens of thousands of people would be undergo security measures that at a minimum raised the cost (in time, and time is money) of rooting for their team, and many more would suffer the traffic bogged down by his motorcade.

          • Gnardo Polo

            One of the best indicators (for me) of the change in the attitude of the press is how much Obama’s vacations and golf games are justified. Bussh took his personal time too, but mention of it a lwaysmadea dig at how oftren it happened. Now only the alternate media keeps up with the frequency and cost of the presidential outings.

            • Personally I have decided I no longer begrudge Obama his vacations and golf games (or not nearly so much anyways). Yes they are a huge waste of taxpayers money, and a dereliction of duty (only the excess, he is entitled to a certain amount of time off, but like the rest of us it should be taken when the job is done). However, the more time he spends playing golf, the less time he spends destroying everything he can about this country.

              • It’s not the stupid and lazy leftists that worry me, it’s the smart and industrious ones.

                However much it costs for Obama to spend a day on the golf course, let’s just multiply that by 978, and take up a collection. 🙂

            • Gnardo Polo

              Man that post was mangled. I’m glad you understood it, bearcat. And now I’m going to go practice typing on the Kindle in a less public forum.

      • snelson134

        I’m reminded of Kipling’s “Cleared”:

        They never told the ramping crowd to card a woman’s hide,
        They never marked a man for death — what fault of theirs he died? —
        They only said “intimidate,” and talked and went away —
        By God, the boys that did the work were braver men than they!

        Their sin it was that fed the fire — small blame to them that heard —
        The boys get drunk on rhetoric, and madden at a word —
        They knew whom they were talking at, if they were Irish too,
        The gentlemen that lied in Court, they knew, and well they knew!

        “Less black than we were painted”? — Faith, no word of black was said;
        The lightest touch was human blood, and that, you know, runs red.
        It’s sticking to your fist to-day for all your sneer and scoff,
        And by the Judge’s well-weighed word you cannot wipe it off.

        Hold up those hands of innocence — go, scare your sheep together,
        The blundering, tripping tups that bleat behind the old bell-wether;
        And if they snuff the taint and break to find another pen,
        Tell them it’s tar that glistens so, and daub them yours again!

        “The charge is old”? — As old as Cain — as fresh as yesterday;
        Old as the Ten Commandments — have ye talked those laws away?
        If words are words, or death is death, or powder sends the ball,
        You spoke the words that sped the shot — the curse be on you all!

  5. Rob Crawford

    “they want to believe their leaders are special”

    Notice how every Democrat candidate for president is instantly the most brilliant, most handsome, most athletic, and most moral person EVAH?

    The right elects people, flaws and all.

    The left elects their god.

    • “Put no trust in princes, in children of men powerless to save.”

      But being heavily irreligious, and disliking that where religious, they ignore it.

      Niebuhr had some interesting things to say on that, though I read him when an adolescent and may have missed things in him.

    • Arwen Riddle

      I’ve heard it phrased as “the left falls in love, the right falls in line.”

  6. I think tech can be a great tool in the hands of people committed to self-rule and the dispersal of authority. But it can’t make them committed to those goals, or willing to take risks to reach them.

    GET UP OFF THE FLOOR. In everything you do. A small way to begin is to be sure your household and your immediate neighborhood run so smoothly that no one ever has an excuse to intervene. Don’t accept subsidies or anything else they can withhold to discipline you. Take care of each other instead.

  7. We have evolved to deal with others in hunter gatherer bands of less than 100 individuals. We intuitively know how to suss out relationships and understand things like power, fairness, competence in groups of that number. And in that group, socialism – for lack of a better word – was the natural order of things. If one member of the group had many more resources than the rest, the other individuals were eventually affected.

    At that level, it was a zero sum game.

    So many of the problems we have today stem from the fact that this system simply does not scale well. I think the Founders understood this, albeit from a different angle.

    We are very stubborn monkeys. We KNOW what we KNOW. One would think that the 100+ million dead at the hands socialism would have been an effective lesson but, apparently not.

    Back to school. Class, please open your Anthology to Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”.

    • Nomadic bands. So too many goods meant too much to carry when you traveled.

    • Obligatory link since it’s been at least two weeks since someone linked the poem on this blog.

      • Idea for a Human Wave anthology: all the stories have to exemplify some proverb. You can use the literal meaning of the figurative ones (let sleeping dogs lie; don’t look a gift horse in the mouth) only if it also reflected the figurative meaning. And it can’t be a cynical one.

        • We title it The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

          • Who is going to pitch it to Baen? Want it? I don’t want to edit more than absolutely needed. (HATE it.)

            • I want to be IN it and I do not trust my judgment on my own work, so no, not me.

            • When you ladies say edit, which kind are you talking about in this context? Selecting, improving, and approving the pieces included, or cleaning and prepping the final collection for publication? I know someone who could do the prepping, but I think you would want someone with a significant reputation selecting the stories.

              • The second. If we sold it to a publisher, we could get an in-house copy-editors, but someone has to choose. Preferably someone known for it. Second best, someone with a name that looks nice on the cover.

                • … why would you sell it to a publisher? Does an anthology like that need a traditional publisher more than a collection by a single author would?

                  • Yes. It either needs a traditional publisher or a small press publisher because you need to split off the income as royalties. Of course, a kickstarter can give money upfront, but there’s still the royalties. At Goldport I only have to worry about MY income. You add more authors, it gets hairy.

                    • *Looks at screen through too-long-between-cuts hair* No argument here.

                    • That… really should have been obvious to me. My partner and I created an LLC for our tech company for that reason, I just hadn’t applied the principle. “You see, Watson, but you do not *observe*.” Thank you for the education. 🙂

                    • Sarah, are there more issues to putting out an anthology and determining royalties beyond assigning shares above and beyond paying for the printing costs and the retainer for the bookeeper who divvies up the take?

                    • yes. Amazon and smashwords pay you lump sums at odd times and … Dan can explain this better than I can, because he’s CFO for Naked Reader Press. Anthologies are time consuming.
                      As for printing costs. Go read the Business Rusch. It would be idiotic to incur them, when you can just pay $40 and have nationwide distribution. I haven’t figured out typesetting yet, but I will…

              • Both. At least someone who is published, certainly.

        • Martin L. Shoemaker

          Heh. I think you’re onto something. We worry that kids aren’t taught the Constitution, but it’s deeper than that. I’m amazed how many of my nieces and nephews were never exposed to Aesop’s fables, even more famous ones like the boy who cried wolf. Aesop taught moral truths. I guess that’s not allowed any more.

          • Over a decade ago, my father got a birthday card, where a fox sat at a table with grapes before him. Inside, “May you get all you desire.”

            I had small cousins who did not get it.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I don’t get it.

              • A “The Fox and the Grapes” with illos. Text from The Harvard Classics, fittingly enough.

                • Finns have a saying ‘sour, said the fox of the rowan berries’, (no grapes in these latitudes so the story got adjusted, and then it got distilled to that saying) but I doubt many now know where it comes from. And since there is the added problem that rowan berries actually are sour even when ripe the original intent does not translate all that well. However most times I have heard or seen it used it actually has been in the right context.

        • I’m in. What length are you looking for? I was planning on working late tonight anyway, I’ll add a short story to the list. Who else is up for it?

      • I WAS going to try to find one. You saved me trouble. Thank you.

      • William O. B'Livion

        No it hasn’t. Some linked to Bill Whittle reading to a day or three ago.

    • Even in nomadic bands, I’m pretty sure that if you weren’t a kid or an oldster, didn’t find the food, didn’t protect the people and food, didn’t cook the food, and provide support for didn’t provide support work for any of the other groups, you didn’t eat unless you were a really big mean lazy guy, or a very quick elusive thief. And somebody might “take care” of those latter two.

      Even in nomadic bands, there was a difference between people who were mentally awake and hardworking, and people who weren’t really trying. Even practically naked people can be stylish or frumpy, tidy or messy, etc. Personality traits and personal achievement were really, really important.

      And a lot of tribes may have been nomadic, but they had some nice arts and crafts. Most of the art may have been practical mobile things, like horse tack, tents, rugs, and clothing, but they had it.

      • Hunters and gatherers had enormous rates of violence. It’s hidden from the casual observer because our murder rates are reckoned per 100 thousand, and it does not occur to us that in a band of 200 or so, one murder every five years gets you a rate of 2500 per 100 thousand.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          LeBlanc says a fourth to a third of the males dying to violence, in a society breaking even. Though that does include war killings in addition to internal murders.

          • Oh, I totally believe it. When you’re stuck with the same annoying people all the time, even if people are relatively law-abiding, there’s a tendency to snap. This is probably why a lot of nomadic bands would tend to have reunions with the related bands, at which not only could girls or boys be married off, but also unattached men could be spun off to another band without asking too many questions. If all went well, it was just a vacation or a move. If it didn’t go well… maybe they could be spun off to another band before folks got too edgy.

            As for people who really did have criminal tendencies… well, the unsuccessful ones got dead or outlawed, and the successful ones ran bands their own ‘delightful’ way.

            • And there was general wanderlust/interest in new things and teachers/interest in girls you didn’t know all that well, of course. So yeah, plenty of respectable reasons to be spun off.

        • Hunter gatherer culture offers plenty of opportunity for “indirect” murder, as well. Examples of such might consist of slow reaction when danger threatens a hunting party, perhaps allowing a boar to gore a fellow tribesman, or tripping a bloke while at the edge of a cliff.

        • That’s what the evidence seems to say. But Rousseau’s world is so pretty and shiny.

        • Rob Crawford

          ISTR the highest murder rate ever recorded was from a band of Inuit which never exceeded 20 in number.

        • Not just no jails, but no psychiatrists, disabled care or old folks’ homes; not everyone that can’t be supported would be so kind as to die of natural causes. *looks ill*

      • Micha Elyi

        The tale of the Little Red Hen.

        Those nomadic tribes have a higher murder rate than Chicago, by the way.

        • Depends on your definition of murder, by the nomadic tribes definition, perhaps not. Many of them considered killing someone in a fight perfectly respectable, and in no way related to murder. It wasn’t so long ago in our own history when dueling was not only legal, but semi-respectable, and most definitely was not considered murder.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Also, if you’ve read Vathara’s Embers adaption of polar tribal culture, Not Named and ice floes. I suspect that detail is well researched and based on reality.

  8. Wow – thanks Sarah for a great article. Somewhere, Cathy Seipp has a smile a mile wide – are you channeling her!?!?

  9. These scandals mean nothing to the run-of-the-mill college graduate.

    Right now… the reaction is… “oh well, these political groups should not be non-profits anyway, and the Republican’s calling people to lose their jobs over the IRS thing…? Hrumph. Who lost a job over Bush’s bogus wars?! Tell me that! And by the way, can someone please help me with my fallout shelter? I’m stocking up because the carbon levels in the atmosphere are accelerating. And Bengazi…? That’s totally a made-up issue of the tinfoil hat crowd.”

    If these people blink, all of this will have blown over by the time they come close to becoming aware of it.

  10. So which comes first: The follow-the-leader, jump-on-the-bandwagon, I-will-be-safe-in-the-group mentality that makes us want to believe the person at the top is as good as (s)he claims to be? Or the belief in general meritocracy, affirmed by believing the best person got to the top, and gives us hope for upward mobility in line with our self-assessment?

    • since it’s obvious meritocracy is broken in a bunch of places, we have to assume it’s the first. Particularly since people will metaphorically sell out their souls for it. (Which turned out to be my sticking point. And I didn’t even know if my soul was worth ANYTHING. Curse you moral scruples.)

  11. Again, preach it, Sister! You’ve put into words what I have thought so often. Today’s “right” would castigate me – but the right that you represent is the only one that will survive and get us where we need to go!

  12. “Reason To Believe” was written and first recorded by Tim Hardin. (Rod Stewart covered it on Every Picture Tells A Story.) Otherwise, nicely said.

  13. For going on fifty years now (before then I just wasn’t paying attention) I have observed a common and consistent fallacy particularly endemic to small time politicians: the firm, practically unshakeable belief that winning an election somehow imbues one with competence. Which tends to explain why so many such types eventually find themselves facing a judge for malfeasance in office, or at a minimum voted out when their house of poorly stacked cards comes crashing down.

    • Don’t blame it on politicians. To be sure, Socrates first observed it in politicians, but as the Apology goes on, he found it in everyone else — no one realized the extent of their ignorance except him, leading him to the conclusion that he must be the wisest after all.

      • We are what we are. What’s important is to know this… including the limits of our ability to know it.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Dunning-kruger effect.

      • Not casting blame, merely pointing out a human foible. It is however unfortunate that when it occurs in politicians their failures and screwups are uniquely positioned to have a maximum impact on the rest of us.
        If the head of a company messes up, you can always choose to deal with his competitor, often as simple as slightly modifying your buying habits. When a politician displays a regrettable lack of competence often your only option is to pull up stakes and move. Either than or go through the long and painful process to have him removed from his office either through recall or at the next election.

    • What I find distressing is the much to common tendency for winning an election to change the focus from “I can make a difference.” to “I know what you need better than you do.”.

  14. “we must give up on wanting to believe that just because someone is powerful he is somehow anointed with goodness”

    I have difficulty imagining that anyone would actually believe this. Even the enemy seems to mostly believe in things the other way ’round…that is, “this guy is anointed with goodness [believes precisely as we do], therefore we mustn’t scruple at any method by which we might advance him to greater power”. And of course on our side it’s quite well-known that even in the best of circumstances, people with power are only good by radically improbable accident. (Which is the best possible argument for monarchism…when the top guy is whatever random dude happens to be the oldest surviving descendent of the last top guy, the probability of getting a good one is almost as good as it would be if you picked him by choosing his name out of a hat, whereas in a democracy, the top guy is _inevitably_ going to be the sort of guy who wants the job far too badly to be trustworthy.)

    • Ahh, but if you choose the name randomly out of a hat, and do it often enough, the poor schmuck chosen for “President’s duty” doesn’t have the time needed (or the inclination) to build up some political empire and secure the fortunes of his family through abusing the power of the government. With monarchism, it’s pretty much guaranteed.

      Election by lottery has some interesting merits to it.

  15. I’ve read enough of your material now to know that when *you* say you hate authority, you actually mean it, and I respect that tremendously; my own long experience with the phrase has been that it’s kind of a reverse code-whistle — the people who most proudly claim to “hate authority” almost *always* include the tacit appendix of “except when it’s held by me and mine”.

    But I suspect this is a line we will always have to walk, because the organization of disparate individuals always sooner or later requires *somebody* with the power to make decisions the rest of us abide by. One can look for reasons *not* to believe when one wants to just as easily as the reverse, after all.

    • best representation of your experience is OWS … demanding more gov’t while decrying the force exerted on them by gov’t. One which most of them voted for. And they are so “educated” they cannot see the irony involved nor the disconnect. Hey, those masters degrees in puppeteering should have given them some clue, ya think?

    • The temptation is THERE — but fortunately I was born lazy. I do not want to tell people what to do. Also, at 50, I’ve done enough stupid things in my life that when I give advice, even to my kids, it’s always “well, if it were me, I’d do this, but your path has these advantages.”

      • I have two sons – 25 and 21. I pretty much preface advice with: “Well… some guys would…”.

      • I do want to tell people what to do as in “leave me and mine the hell alone!!!!” And this the current powers that be seem fundamentally incapable of understanding let alone honoring.

        • Yes! With you all the way on that.

          • Just remember the lesson the South learned. It isn’t enough to just want to be left alone. The Confederacy mainly fought with a defensive mindset (Leave us alone) even when they instigated an attack.
            And they lost.
            I’m not making a value judgement on the Southern cause, just pointing out that the Southern strategy was doomed from the start.

            • Jeff Gauch

              It was closer than you might think. If Lincoln hadn’t kept England out of it, or if Lee and Meade hadn’t run into each other in Pennsylvania the Copperheads might have won in ’64 and negotiated an end to the war.

              • Only because the Northern media stubbornly refused to report anything except Army of the Potomac battles — which were mostly defeats (does *that* sound familiar?). Read up on the Army of the Cumberland, and other Western campaigns, and you’ll wonder how anyone could ever have thought the South was going to win.

                • Jeff Gauch

                  That was my first impression reading Foote’s Civil War narrative. Prior to that my knowledge, mostly imparted by school, was pretty much “Lee ran roughshod over the North until Grant, who had had some success in the west, took over and ground Lee down.”

                  The media bias of the time makes some sense. Both sides used a state-based regiment system, and the Army of the Potomac consisted of regiments from the states that had high population, and thus readership. It also explains the preference history has for the AoP, the primary sources are mostly concerned with it, and it has a great dramatic arc. Grant’s career it simply the demonstration of the rewards of determination, skill, adaptability, and not a little stubbornness. Much better to teach our kids that success comes when a savior arrives.

                  Regardless, if the South had managed to convince England to recognize them and the Royal Navy had taken to blockade running the cost of victory would have been far higher than the North was willing to pay.

                  • If Prince Alfred had died a few days earlier, and so not been able to exert influence in the Trent affair, who knows? England might have entered to the war.

                    • Jeff Gauch

                      There are near-misses like that all through our history. What if George III had been more reasonable toward the colonists? What if Washington had attacked Boston before the guns from Ticonderoga arrived? What if there hadn’t been fog the night Washington evacuated Brooklyn? What if Arnold hadn’t been discovered? And that’s just a portion of the list from just the Revolution.

                      That’s why I’m not a fan of the “Let it burn” crowd. If it all comes crashing down, does anybody really think we’ll be that lucky again?

        • Stephen J.

          The sentiment is understood and shared — but even the most radical devotee of Leave-Me-And-Mine-Alone tends to include their own tacit appendix, which is “Except When My House Is Burning Down For the Love of God HELP ME!”

          One of the hardest lines to walk is the line between, “You want us to guard your back for you? Then we get some say over what you do with your front,” and, “You don’t want us to interfere with you? Fine, we won’t, but don’t ask us for or expect any help either.”

          • asking for help is not the same thing as wishing to be coerced. Helping other people is not the same as wishing to lay down the law.
            Just because you’re anti-government, it doesn’t mean you’re anti-others. We help people whenever we can and have a network we can count on when we need it, something we tested when I spent 11 days in ICU with pneumonia while the kids were small.

            • EXACTLY. There’s a disconnect in the current culture where we think that working together must mean government action, as opposed to individuals working together of their own accord without government involvement or sanction.
              As I recall, we used to call such a thing “civil society”. And given the lack of civility in the society at large (I’ve been on a freeway in the last 24 hours, I know whereof I speak), I’m not surprised that “civil society” has broken down somewhat.

              • Part of that impression is because there are radicals whose “leave me alone” boils down to forbidding civil society– their ideology gets a veto on what agreements others get to make.

              • Jeff Gauch

                It’s not a disconnect, it’s a deliberate false dichotomy promulgated by those who want power over others.

              • It’s totalitarism. As defined by the totalarians: Everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

          • I don’t think you actually understand even “radical devotee” at all. “Leave me alone” means that they do not wish to be coerced, not that they are incapable of forming voluntary associations.

            • YES. Exactly. I think that wanting the government to make others help you is for people who DON’T want to help anyone. A belief that btw is endorsed by studies about relative giving vs. belief in government.

              • Yep, study after study has shown that the American people are the most compassionate and generous in the world when it comes to charitable giving. Lib/Progs on the other hand tend to be cheap bastards.
                For ex: your typical Democratic politician at the national level where tax returns are available generally has charitable deductions in the one percent or less range. As I recall, Mitt Romney tithed twice on his public returns, once to the LDS church and once to charitable causes.
                Similar situation with Obama, precious little charitable giving until he entered national notice, then it ramped up a bit. And, he is a millionaire several times over what with book deals and insider trading and all.

            • Rob Crawford

              Yes — and the most “leave me the heck alone” people I know wouldn’t hesitate to help someone who needed it, while many of the “we’re all in this together” types wouldn’t lift urinate on you if you were on fire.

        • Well, but that’s just mean: “leave me alone” is just like saying to everyone else “you’re on your own”, and that’s what Obama says mean people say, and I think Obama “cares about people like me”, and, well, you know the rest.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          I want to campaign for President (no chance of even getting nominated, of course), just so I can play a clip of Obama saying, “McCain wants to take a hatchet to the budget, while I want to use a scalpel.”, followed by me pulling a chainsaw out from behind the podium and yelling, “A HATCHET ISN’T BIG ENOUGH!” as I rev the chainsaw.

          • You’d get my donations, at least….

          • Jeff Gauch

            I see your chainsaw and raise you.

          • Blackburn/Hoyt 2016. He doesn’t expect to win and she’s not eligible, but boy can they swing the zingers.

            • Hogwash, all you have to do is refuse to show your birth certificate until after election. Obviously numerous published accounts of being born in a different country, or your spouse publicly claiming another country as your ‘home country’ do not disqualify you, after all everybody knows politicians are habitual liars; but this time you are telling the truth, just believe it, asking for proof that you were lying previously is insulting and racist.

            • Tom Kratman – Sec Def. John Ringo – D.H.S. (until he finished dismantling everything but the border patrol). Free Range Oyster – Treasury. Celia Hays – Sec. State SPQR – Attorney General.

              • Or maybe RES would like treasury and F.R.O. can have Health, Education, adn Welfare?

                • Gimme EEOC.

                  I would give them all a test consisting of “This committee has pursued discrimination based on a statistical disparity. Explain why this is wrong.” and fire them all for incompetence when they flunk.

                • Ooh, I would love the chance to reform and/or demolish the Education Department. Let the great Combat Accountant take Treasury; I can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth he could cause, and it is a sweet, sweet sound.

                  • (Dryly) Thanks. Am I Littlefinger, to run a brothel? Not even an honest brothel, at that. I can guaran-damn-tee no more such crap as this IRS discriminatory approval process, be assured of that. By the time I was done “cruel and unusual” would have to be wholly redefined.

                    • I was actually referring to Larry Correia as the Combat Accountant. You, I would suggest sending as ambassador to the UN, with instructions to puncture the egos of as many dictators and petty bureaucrats as possible on a daily basis.

                      Ooh, I just realized that having Our Beloved Hostess as VP would make her president of the Senate. That could be *very* entertaining!

                    • Got a job for me? I would enjoy dismantling the affordable healthcare act– but I am a good soldier, er sailor. Cleaning teeth, guns, and checking my three day bag (making sure I have enough medicine) 😉

                    • Thank-you. I feel so much cleaner. Taking a closer look at how our UN contributions are disbursed would have its entertainment values, although I am not sure I could resist the desire to demand supplicants be accompanied by Street Organ and Grinder.

                      First reform, I think, would be cutting their meal allowance to the bone. Any meat on that bone would come from their regular pay. Housing allowance? The dormitory is an under-appreciated institution.

                    • Oh my heavens, yes. Let’s try RES at the UN. The puns would give my former would be colleagues (this was more or less the career path I was on before I jumped sideways and across the ocean) kitten fits.

                    • Oops – I note the adjective “great” and realize that you could not possibly have meant moi. Grate, maybe.

                      Anyone think we could entice Bill Whittle to take on the White House Press Secretary role? Put the briefings on Pay-per-View, require all “journalists” to wear shock collars with the WHPS permitted to activate them for stupid questions?

                    • I made the same wrong assumption as RES, but on deliberation, FRO, I suggest you reverse your appointments, RES would do quite well with the Treasury (however much he might dislike it), while I believe Larry would be even more effective (and definitely entertaining, views of televised UN conferences would skyrocket) as a UN ambassador, than he would as head of Treasury.

                    • I would watch that– 😉

                    • I’ll volunteer myself as head of the BATFE.

                    • Eh, shouldn’t that be, Organ and Street Grinder? (ever seen those machines that they use to grind up asphalt?)

                    • Cyn, how about Interior or Ag. You could bring a reasonable firearms policy to both outfits, and Interior also deals with energy leases.

                    • Could I open up that pipeline from Canada? And then start to look at the money– I’d need an accountant. 😉 I am pretty sure that allowing cattle grazing again would be beneficial. Also reduce the federal lands in the West (there was a big land grab around Nevada and Utah– possibly other Western States– and keep a certain Senator away from getting first pick of the land). ummm… yea I could work with that– plus I prefer to be in a less flashy job. lol

                    • Just a note– 86 percent of the land in Nevada is owned by the Federal government.

                    • Cyn,
                      How about simply reversing the wilderness designations and allowing the USFS and BLM manage their land properly. Ie manage timberland for timber and public use (since it is owned by the public after all, denying the public reasonable access to public lands is a huge sore spot for me), grazing lands for grazing and public use, etc. The USFS used to be not only self-supporting, but also an income generator for the government, as did the BLM. Now not only do they not generate income, they actually require funding from tax dollars, instead of funding other federal entities.

                    • I would agree except it is so easy for them to get to this point again. I would say give them less land to govern. It is a sore spot for me that several States are almost entirely public land. And then, make the changes back– Or at the very least let the States manage their lands except for a few parks.

                    • I have thought about this a lot– and if the States had control of timber and other land, the fees would go to the State and wouldn’t be such a long distance to the people of that State. The Federal government has proven to me in the last twenty years that the policies of those departments do not help those people who live or work in the US including the people who provide the jobs. I do remember when they did a better job, which lulled us into believing that putting those concerns into the higher government was a good thing. It is not–

                    • The big problem I see now is that many of the States are adopting the California model of government– You know what I am referring to– (yep it is dangling–)

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      My interests include FDA, Energy, DEA (my views here not a good match for Sarah’s), OSHA, EPA, and shutting off that awful racket…

                    • Cyn,
                      I wouldn’t have a problem with the federal land going to the states (actually there is a movement in Idaho to do so, but I don’t expect the Fed to allow it to come to pass). My problem is that so many want to privatize it all. Usually those people either don’t use the public lands now, or expect to be able to continue using them after it is privatized. Those public lands are owned by the public (that includes me), and I for one am unwilling to sell them to some Ted Turner wantabe (or a foreign government) that won’t allow access.

                    • I see what you are saying– even so the problem should be addressed in the respective States imho. 😉

                    • Plus the States should be the ones getting the fees for the timber and grazing (and touristy stuff) and not the Feds.

                  • If you gave me Education, I would be back in the private life as soon as I sold off all the buildings.

              • No. Tom Kratman, secretary of WAR.

                • You want to explain that to the Navy?

                  Once upon a time, we had a Department of the War and a Department of the Navy. They were merged. We needed a new name to keep it from looking like one subsumed the other.

                  • Department of Killing the Bastards (DKtB)? Now that the Navy is working on drone deployment and we are gaining the ability to … personalize mayhem?

  16. Curious, I was having similar thoughts regarding the Left’s commitment to the notion that Obama is so darn smart. And Kerry, and Gore, etc…

    Basically, I boiled it down to this: If you think you’re pretty smart (which the Progressive elite invariably believe), you’re not going to line up behind anybody dumber than you as your leader. So, to protect your own self image, you have to maintain the concept (or delusion) that your chosen leader is far smarter than the average bear. The corollary is that the opposition MUST be dumb, otherwise either they would be on your side, or you on theirs, because all the smart people will come to the same conclusion. Progressives know this to be true, because all the “smart” people they know think the same as they do….

    • which is why I explode heads. Not that I’m claiming “smart” — both my kids start on math or science and I huddle in the corner and whimper (or take notes for a book.) — but I have the marker they IDENTIFY as “smart” — I have an advanced liberal arts degree, I’ve read the same things they have (and a lot besides), I speak (or spoke, but the ghosts remain) six languages. Add to that I’m Latina and female and I dare march to the sound of MY OWN drum, and heads just burst like ripe melons under the tropical sun.

      • One of the drawbacks of actually being “smart” is an understanding of the limits of being smart. Given an infinite universe, being smart means being able to appreciate how much more knowledge there is than you can comprehend.

        We should not seek “smartness” in our leaders. We should look for wisdom in them, but that is a quality a) generally unrecognizable by our elites and MSM lip-flappers and b) one which generally precludes its possessor from seeking elected office.

        • Wisdom, or what I’d go so far as to call simple competence, and a desire to hold public office appear to me to be so at odds with each other as to be functionally mutually exclusive.

        • Micha Elyi

          “…the limits of being smart.”-RES

          And that’s the rub, ain’t it?

          Q. What the difference between stupidity and intelligence?
          A. There’s a limit to intelligence.

    • Well, occasionally you get the opposite — “He’s some kind of nerdy wonk who doesn’t know anything about the real world, because he knows math and statistics and insists on paying his bills!”

  17. The Milgram And Stanford Prisoner Experiments support your “monkey brain” position on authority.

  18. Everyone “wants to believe” but we should believe in things like the Constitution not in any particular person or political figure. What we have is a group of people that worship Barrack Obama.

    It’s much like church goers who just found out the preacher they worshiped is having an affair with the church secretary and stealing money from the collection plate. They want to believe and they are angry.

    My suggestion is believe in the Constitution or in the church doctrine but not the person.

    • Comes down to checks and balances again. Any system that abrogates checks and balances is ripe for deceit. And that should be the first clue.
      I’m a church treasurer, and my books are always open to any member any time. (Not the donor lists – that’s between me and them and God.)

  19. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Paraphrase from the Bible, “Don’t trust Princes”.

    And that applies to Presidents.

  20. It’s all a matter of accountability. Our forefathers set up our system of government with checks and balances for accountability. Our government (both sides) tries to ditch the negative feedback we require for it to function properly.
    Anyone familiar with machinery knows that negative feedback is as necessary to proper operation as any other part of the system.
    But we have elected leaders who are too dumb to realize that islands DO NOT FLOAT (Guam, anyone?) and that the books eventually will balance.
    In some cases, catastrophically.
    Yeah, we need to stockpile. Especially ammunition.

    Pat: We need to get ready for a disaster! We need to stockpile supplies!
    Mike: Yes, we do.
    Pat: I’ve got cases of canned goods, barrels of drinking water, and boxes of medical supplies. How about you?
    Mike: I’ve got a .45 and 500 rounds ….

    Would that it were only a joke.

    • That reminds me, I need to find some more Large Pistol primers …

      • Still in good shape for LP, it’s SP and SR that are running short. Of course that’s because I bought 10k of LP back when you could relatively cheap. These days my local gun shops are still getting a bare thin trickle of primers and powder, so I visit regularly and much as it pains me, buy more on availability rather than price.
        The drought must pass eventually, but I’m predicting not until at least the end of summer or more likely well on into the fall. And that only if something else doesn’t occur to set the folks off yet again. Did read that much of the shortage especially in .22LR is due to so many who typically would buy the occasional brick now buying rimfire by the case.

      • Luckygunner.com

        • The hazmat fees eat me up.

          • Why I always try to buy in bulk. Hazmat on 20k of primers is the same as a thousand, so in normal times you spread the cost as greatly as possible.
            Just for grins I did go look at Luckygunner.com and the only .22LR they had was Eley target at $22.75 per box of 50. That for those who don’t follow the trade, is what I’d normally expect to pay for a brick of 500 of a name, but lesser brand. Not that Eley isn’t right good, but not fifty cents a shot worth, certainly not for casual plinking and target shooting.

            • Yes, Eley is available from several sources right now, but such prices are only acceptable to a serious competition shooter (or someone desperate).

        • gunbot.net The local gunstore had small pistol primers in stock a week ago, but I am fairly well set on everything but small rifle. At least one guy was buying small pistol primers and planning on reloading .223 with them. Not sure how that will work out, I have load .218 Bee with them (some reloading manuals call for them) but am unsure of the differences between small pistol and small rifle, and am personally unwilling to experiment.

          • Oh HELL no!
            Pistol primers are in general weaker, 0,001 inch shorter, and of thinner construction. Use pistol primers in .223 and you risk misstrikes, poor ignition, and potentially punctured primers with gas blowback into the shooter’s face.
            I won’t say you can’t get away with it, but sooner or later it will not end well.

            • My assumption was that there was a difference, I was just unsure what it was. Thank you

              I don’t recall if it was you or someone else who suggested to me to use a reamer on crimped primer pockets, when I asked on the Bar the other day, but all swaggers were backordered, so I tried the little hand neck chamfer tool I had. A couple of twists with it and I reprimed 360 cases without a problem.

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  23. Remember all that nonsense about “factions” in Federalist 10. Silly dead white guys.

  24. Sarah-
    Wowie and Tudo Bein, I think I spelled that right.
    Loved your ref to If I Had a Reason, but Rod’s version was a shadow
    compared to the Tim Hardin, who wrote the piece. Check Tim out. He does something to the words that is “Whoa Hah” deep.

    New, but, dedicated fan. Mentioned you on Twitter and in my most recent column on Brenner Brief. Hope you approve.

    • Tudo Bem. ie is a Spanish thing 😉
      I’ll have to try it. I think I was too young for it…
      Mention me wherever you wish, provided it’s good or at least decent 😉

  25. Pingback: Hoyt: A Reason To Believe | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  26. The thing with your son in school made me smile. In the 4th grade they had us write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I hated that school and was really bored that day, so I wrote how I wanted to be like Huggy Bear when I grew up. You know, a successful pimp who lived in a down town bar and occasionally sold information to the cops. Took up at least 2 pages front and back.

    It was an interesting parent/teacher meeting. Both my mom and teacher were not amused and didn’t get it, though I think I caught my dad quietly laughing a time or two. I think it was the only time I enjoyed being in that dam place.

    • Much older but tired of having people talk to me about my bright bright future and how it was my duty as a woman to become a scientist or an “activist” I wrote an essay on how I wanted to grow up to be a stripper. My parents didn’t even blink. The school, otoh…

      • Birthday girl

        My mother kept pushing neurosurgeon as my womanly duty. I just wanted the h*ll out of school … sigh …

      • Considering the contrasting costs/benefits to society, stripper was by far the more morally defensible, albeit briefer*, career.

        *Another social benefit.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I worked in a strip joint for about 2 weeks once (odd story), and no, some of those careers aren’t as brief as one might like.

          • Insert joke about Union Bosses deciding to patronize a brothel and insisting that they go to a union shop.

      • My dad tried to get me into engineering (calculus kicked me so hard, it still hurts to do anything beyond business math, I can kick much ass at chemistry, though) and my mom was convinced I should marry well and be a full time room mom for the children I really shouldn’t have because I’m too rough around the edges and no man would ever want to marry me if I was smarter than him. (Thanks, mom)

        My 4th grade teacher told me I should be the next Carolyn Keene after I was removed from a school wide writing contest for my story being too mature. My response of “Aren’t those books a little juvenile?” was brought up at the parent teacher conference that was called after I protested being banned from the contest for the rest of my time at that school.

    • Huggy Bear got all the good lines even if he didn’t have the cool Gran Torino.

  27. ” But removing the identifiers of those most likely to do it from the list of things to watch for borders on clinical insanity.”

    No. It reveals their values.

  28. Have the crazies come out of the woodwork? Or am I reading it wrong? And when did deliberate murder by a drive-by shooter became the same as a firing squad of a criminal who has lived in our system almost 20 years because of appeals before the said criminal is executed? Am I missing something? head/desk

    • yes. You’re missing the person posting that is completely and thoroughly insane. Or takes interesting meds. Could be either, frankly.

      • I vote both– of course, anyone who goes through the school system today (k-college level) can make a case for being insane from the school curriculum. Drugs–??? Many of the boys/men who are now college age were drugged as children. It is probably the reason many of the younger mens’ brains are still immature.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I went to YOUR schoold
          I went to YOUR churches
          I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities
          So how can you say *I* crazy?

          • Yep — crazy. And they were not my schools, churches, or institutional learning facilities. Sometime we will need to talk about how I got into the Navy w/o going to high school. (I did go to a couple years of college w/o graduating high school either) And how I went through advanced electronics schooling by picking up math from the E-6s. Plus what I can tell (I didn’t get my degree until I was 40) there is more propagandizing in schools and less real learning.

  29. I keep hearing Teh Won soundbitten in anger, demanding accountability and avowing and averring that the abuse of power in the IRS scandal is unacceptable. And in all the commentary, I never hear anybody adduce that the abuse is inevitable and the prudent choice is to get rid of the power. Delete the machinery.

    But, of course, the fact is that the machinery — the Internal Revenue Code — is precisely designed TO BE abused. That’s what it’s for. Until the electorate awakens to that fact, the status quo will continue to obtain.

    And even then…

    This is the other side of the coin that gave us the campaign finance reform. And I assert, as I did in that case, the only way to get the money out of politics (or, in this case, the corruption out of the taxing agency) is to get the power out of Washington.

    Good luck with that.

    M

    • I was trying to find a suitable quote from Bastiat’s The Law with which to reply to that, but I couldn’t. It doesn’t lend itself well to excerpting. So, I’m just going to nonchalantly drop this link here and stage whisper “Take a look a look at this if you haven’t already” to the house at large. 🙂

    • Gnardo Polo

      Fair Tax, perhaps?

      • Micha Elyi

        It’s a tax. And as Pres. Gerald Ford once said, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

        Shrink the power of government and it’s hunger for taxes will necessarily diminish. No one worries about being bitten to death by a flea.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Well, not since we solved the bubonic plague issue anyway.

        • At one time a man could brag about paying taxes – only the upper crust did so. And the budget was balanced. And America was growing to become a world power second to none.
          Now?
          meh

        • ritchietheriveter

          Government has a defined, legitimate mission, as written back in July 1776:

          “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ”

          It is when government extends itself outside that mission, that the problems start … for the requirements of that mission limit the perceptual ability and flexibility-of-response of its operatives to, basically, one-size-fits-all responses.

          Finances, career, health care, education … those are individual-specific areas that do not lend themselves to one-size-fits-all solutions … where effective intervention would require those operatives – holders of the monopoly on coercive force under the law – to “get in your head” so deeply that freedom-of-conscience and civil liberties would be inevitably compromised.

          And let’s face it … solving the individual-specific problems of millions of individuals FOR them, from the top down, makes going to the moon look like playing with LEGOs (TM) with respect to comparative complexity. To think that an elite few have the OMNISCIENCE to do that takes more BLIND faith in flawed beings, than I have in my God.

          And this is all true – REGARDLESS of the virtue, or lack thereof, of our operatives in government.

          That blind faith is the belief that some started to spread, a century ago … encouraging us to forsake respect for wisdom from any source, and embrace the blind worship of its mere appearances – credentials, position, success, popularity – that has elevated poster children for Romans 1:22 to be our 21st-century lords and ladies of the Ruling Class.

          As a result, we forsake the exercise of our own initiative, waiting instead to the “experts” and “powerful” to secure our future FOR us (in part because it is too easy for them to turn our efforts into a waste of time, should we diverge from The Chosen Path)… rendering unto Caesar so that Caesar can cut welfare checks instead of taking the initiative to help our neighbors in ways government cannot … thinking that we, as mere “workers”, have the right to do the same job in the same place in the same way for a lifetime – and that our government and unions should coerce businesses into keeping us employed with raise after raise … believing that managing our own health care is so far beyond our capabilities, we are willing to hand over the “keys” of our bodies to the Powers That Be in irrevocable ways.

          Our blind faith in “expertise” and intellect as a function of those mere appearances, has led us right into a crisis of confidence that has watered down the secret sauce of American prosperity and American compassion – the exercise of personal initiative – that made this nation like no other in terms of improving the human condition.

          Meet the enemy – he is us – the blind, led by the blind.

      • The Fair Tax will never be allowed to happen. As defined it removes far too much control and ability to manipulate society from Congress.
        Its bastard cousins, the VAT or national sales tax, on the other hand I fully expect to be forced on us in addition to the current tax structure. Government runs on money and it is an insatiable beast with no comprehension of the term “enough”.

  30. A traditional publisher would offer benefits in terms of getting the book into stores, libraries and schools. If the goal of the anthology is to get its messages back into the cultural digestive tract, that would be critical.

    Baen would probably be interested in discussing the project and has several “big name” authors (for certain values of big name) who are known Kiplers. Whether they would be interested or suitable — given the reflexive hostility to anything with Baen on the spine held by many in the field (many of whom lack a spine themselves) this might be in appropriate — is another matter.

    • Interestingly, its possible for Indie published works to get into more traditional distributions channels now. This is something that literally changed in the last couple of months.

      • That’s the point of Kris Rusch’s latest project isn’t it? To provide meatspace distribution for indie presses and self-pubs?

        • Ah, dear mollusc, the business changes too fast for us to keep up with. In fact, they shut down their distribution business just days ago because other distributors are picking up indie works – possibly in response. Go check out today’s blog post on her blog.

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  33. Mrs. Hoyt, just what country do you think you’re living in, anyway? An all-white United States of America?

    Here’s a tip. It’s not. It’s a nearly-majority-nonwhite multicultural empire. That’s where taking “all men are created equal” seriously and applying it literally leads to. These “scandals” are par for the course for most of the people in the world, and culture and politics are emergent properties of inherent nature. This is what politics is FOR, in the tribal world, which is most of it. The Northwest European idea of politics-as-fair-play is a violent aberration, and now that “all men are equal and interchangeable” is the official religion of the world-imperial state, that aberration MUST disappear.

    I don’t see why you’re upset or surprised about this. After all, you’re an immigrant too. You’re part of the phenomenon.

    • Oh great. ‘Race is culture and culture is unchangable.’

      Range is hot. Fire at will.

      • Enough to make you feel sorry for Will, isn’t it?

        On Fri, May 17, 2013 at 8:50 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > ** > TXRed commented: “Oh great. ‘Race is culture and culture is > unchangable.’ Range is hot. Fire at will.” >

      • PLease do. You saw my post today. I need coffee before I stomp.

        He is of course right, that’s why we’re living like the Babylonians.

        SUCH twaddle.

        • I don’t think any regular participants in this forum are carrying sufficiently lightweight intellectual loads to deploy against a pisant such as that one. His self-destruction doesn’t need much assistance, does it?

      • Why Will? why not Rollery?

    • WHAT IN FRICKING HELL DOES THE COLOR OF PEOPLE’S SKIN HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?
      It’s the culture. And the problem with the culture is not respecting the constitution.

      As for your last line, smile if you say that where I can punch you.

      You are a certifiable idiot.

    • Mrs. Hoyt, just what country do you think you’re living in, anyway? An all-white United States of America?

      Here’s a tip. It’s not. It’s a nearly-majority-nonwhite multicultural empire. That’s where taking “all men are created equal” seriously and applying it literally leads to.

      So, troll or just unable to tell the difference between being non-white, being born foreignly, and having a culture that doesn’t follow rules?

      • Troll. Or possibly stupid. He’s been here before. He runs a white-supremacist site.

      • Troll hammer has been deployed. Sorry to deprive you guys of a chew toy, but today I’m not feeling well enough for this, and besides Search Engines might find its scat and attribute its thoughts to us.

        • I seem to recall it being used on him before, does the hammer have a time limit, or does he periodically change IP’s?

          He is of course an idiot, but even an idiot occasionally gets something right. The fact that most of world hates the politics-as-fair-play meme, and views it as a dangerous aberration is true, his reasoning for this is idiotic, as well as proving that he himself is a part of that ‘most of the world.’

          • Using a different IP. As for being right — he’s “right” about the culture. We need to enforce acculturation. Software in the head, not skin color. Look, the rest of the world doesn’t have the US constitution and so is what it is. So if the US abandons its constitution… connect the lines yourself.

            • He ought try reading Thomas Sowell — he would learn that the cultural traits he attributes to “non-white” peoples actually originate in the culture commonly known as “White Trash.”

              From his CSPAN appearance discussing the book:

    • Damn, I hate racist scum.

      • Agreed. I tried to fisk that nonsense when it first showed up, but my response kept turning into vivid ad hominems that would make a longshoreman squeamish. I finally decided his crap was self-evidently crap, and I didn’t need the blood pressure issues.

  34. Hiya Ma,

    Thought you and Russ might get a kick out of this one.

  35. You give Progressives too much credit for honesty, truth and honor merely by calling them by the name they chose after “Liberal” became dirtied by truth.. Progressives are not Progressives in the same sense that Teddy Roosevelt was one, they are Communists by their actions and beliefs, socialists by their own admission in private but never progressives. A little truth in advertising can never hurt the cause of Liberty.
    A rose is a rose and a turd is but a turd.

    Yank lll