If This Goes On

I’ve been listening to If This Goes On in audiobook while I clean the house.  I still think that Heinlein was right about the coming theocracy – that is he was right about the theocratic impulse that he saw in the American people.  I see it too.  It’s what I’ve referred to in the past as Americans being, in the community of nations, the Aspergers kid who takes things seriously, things that no one else accepts as written/said.  This has a good side, such as a lot of us taking things like the Constitution very seriously, and a bad side, such as people taking the whole multiculti thing seriously.  (The rest of the world might parrot it, but no, they don’t take it seriously.)

The problem was that Heinlein was a man of his time – as we are all men and women of our time, and it would be good for certain people on the extreme left to remember that – and his place, and when he thought of “theocracy” he thought in terms of traditional religion.

I think it’s funny, since even as he wrote If This Goes On that “traditional religion” he spoke of was vanishing from the world.  It was largely gone from Europe, and the seeds of its vanishing were already planted in the states.  Religious faith in a supernatural power was in fact being replaced with a faith in the state as the arbitrary of morals and the end of all psychic life — a faith that would penetrate even the Catholic church and most of the protestant churches in the US (no? Ask any mainline minister/priest about government help to the poor/immigration laws/socialized health.)

Now, when I say Heinlein didn’t see it, I should say he didn’t consciously see it.  True artists see thing with other than their conscious mind.

Though Nehemiah Scudder is not Christian as such, he is “Christianish” and the religion is definitely supposed to ark to the Christian fundamentalism of Heinlein’s youth.  He mentions in fact the first prophet teaching at Mississipi  Valley tent revivals and all the names of places/mapping of the character’s mind is Bible-related.

This to me is the most alien part of Heinlein’s world building, and the reason I never got Job, A Comedy of Justice.  I was not raised in a religion that in any way resembled that strain of American religion.  My own spiritual formation was far more haphazard, but also more mystical and less rigid.  And, again, by the time I became aware of it, in the early seventies, in Europe, religion in all its forms was sneered at by all “right thinking people.”  (Yes, I’m religious.  I’m contrary.  Deal.)

Of course, the fact that this supposed “monolithic” religious consensus was already dissolving is what allowed Heinlein to publish works like If This Goes On and Job and even Stranger, I guess.  The intellectual life of this country had broken free from traditional religion shortly after WWI, as it did all over the world.  Part of it was the recoil at the war.  A lot of it might have been the fruits of the French revolution.  (Things work themselves very slowly through the collective mind.)  And of course the blossoming of the state, and the edging out of religion in favor of the state had been going on for a long time — since at least Henry VIII.

To me this was obvious as was what might or might not have been obvious to Heinlein (I think to a certain extent he saw it, but perhaps not consciously) because I was born almost sixty years later, and in a place where the transfer of moral arbitration from the divinity to the national state was almost completed. (And not because I am more of a clear thinking than Heinlein, thank you so much.  I don’t intend to be haunted.)

Now, before you think this is a Heinlein bashing post and before the Heinlein bashing brigade sashays over, let me repeat what I said before: Heinlein was a man of his time.  Science fiction pretends to have a crystal ball, and convincingly written science fiction is good enough to pass as the future to contemporaries.

It is not, however, an act of prophecy, and that science fiction which is convinced it is is the worst of all (No?  Read some of “the ice age is coming” sf from the seventies, or the “we’re all burning up” from the late eighties/early nineties.  It wasn’t even believable THEN such its righteous air of jumping on the bandwagon.)

However, Heinlein was a good artist and like all good artists (Pratchett, anyone?) saw things he might not even have been aware he was seeing.

Nehemiah Scudder might have been intended for a fundamentalist preacher, with only a vague whitewashing so it could be published, but forget that part.  That part was sort of a reflex from Heinlein’s own upbringing.

Instead, let’s analyze what Nehemiah was.  He was someone infused with a set of beliefs that denied the American constitution and the right of free people to rule themselves.  He rode to power on a set of beliefs that were supposed to be “good” for people.  The “moral” thing to do that would get us to paradise.  His policies more or less crashed the economy, at least in relation to the rest of the world, and were completely devoid of contact with reality.  His moral precepts were all pervasive and impinged on everything – and he rewrote the past and made people think he had come to power over a terrible, heathen land – and that there had been no free citizens before him.

I was going to say “let us not make invidious comparisons” but you’re free men and women and I’m not going to dictate what you can and cannot think.  Instead, I’m going to point out that the worship of the state and that beast which goes under the name of Progressivism is in fact a religion.

Someone said it’s not a religion but a cult, because religions are more internally consistent, but that’s not true.  They’re comparing the religion of Progressivism to Judaism and Christianity.  Those tend to be internally consistent, or at least its followers try to make it so – in the present era.

This was not always so, and it certainly doesn’t apply to every religion, particularly not to folk religions.  I know.  I grew up in an area where every invader and every ruler left behind a piece of folk religion and a bit of superstition.  People believed in them all and in the official religion, regardless of the contradictions.

This is more what Progressivism resembles.  It’s made of the myths of many groups, all of which are sure they’re THE group and willing to tolerate fellow travelers.  Thus progressive women have their myths, starting with the Earthly paradise of the matriarchy and ending, eventually with the restoration of the same matriarchy.  Black supremacists… we won’t go into their myths.  We’ll just say they deny other races full humanity.  If you poke around, you’ll find it.  And the myths of the class warriors start in a distant paradise of Rosseau-like nonsense, where men neither spun nor labored and yet had everything they needed, through the current vale of tears of Capitalism, which is weirdly responsible for every human vice (that is for vices that existed before it existed) and which will end in the wonderful classless society of the future, where, to quote Star Trek, “we don’t have money, we just work because we want to.”  (Thus throwing all the credits system away.  Never mind.)

And the impulse that drives this type of worship of the government is the same impulse that drove the Prophet’s sacred armies in If This Goes On.

The excuse is not divine, it’s more suited to our times.

For over a century people – who really don’t know a scientific principle from a hole in the ground – have been preached to about science as the ultimate arbiter of all things.  And of course, the state is run according to ‘science’ and enforces ‘science.’

It’s truly amazing how much we resemble medieval peasants, who believed in the divine right of kings.

Look – science and capitalism (the real science, i.e. things that are provably so, not the nebulous foggy computer model predictions which can only be considered to be coming through if you squint and shake the magic eight ball) have lifted humans above our normal condition of poverty.  They also made the “ruling elites” and the would be ruling elites very uncomfortable.

There is a subset of human for whom it is not sufficient to be happy or rich.  His neighbors must be miserable and poor.  This is manifest usually by trying to distance oneself from those one considers one’s social inferiors.  As someone who shops in thrift stores and loves diners, I’ve been known to shock other college-educated women with my “plebian” tastes.  They might not be any better off than I, but by gum, they keep a proper distance.  (I always sucked at this, and it was even worse in Portugal than here.  The classes are more distinct.)

This I suppose is normal monkey behavior.  At least Dave Freer tells me simian bands signal “class and status” all the time.  I don’t know.  By those lights, I’m a rather crazy monkey, since I do what I like to do and damn the torpedoes.

That subset of the “elites” has been dying to bring back the proper state of things, where they get to enjoy all this improved stuff, but the peasants are kept in their right place.

If you look at most of the dictates of our state and its “green” obsession, you’ll see just that.  We won’t go into the hubris of imagining that humans have that much effect upon the Earth or the “read me” files, or…  We’ll just go into the fact that if the Earth were in fact cooling disastrously or burning up disastrously, there would be scientific solutions to the problem (and actually a warmer temperature wouldn’t be a problem for a long, long time.  Humans thrive in warm periods.)  Gregory Benford ran a series of articles in reason suggesting hacks to cool the Earth if indeed it were burning up.

More importantly, if the Earth were burning up/freezing over, the solution wouldn’t be exactly the same, and wouldn’t so much resemble an excoriation of sins that the peasants committed when they tried to live in the same way as the elites.

Al Gore, whose carbon footprint is larger than Estonia’s and Moldavia’s put together, flies around the world telling people that they’re not supposed to drive cars, live in artificially cooled/warmed houses, have enough electricity to entertain themselves, etc. etc. etc.

The gist is “you’re sinful.  You’ve overstepped your bounds.  Go back, or cataclysm will follow.”

This is, like in all imperial religions, created and centered on the state (this is not new, btw.  Rome had one.) a religion that applies to the masses, not the rulers.  The rulers are special by virtue of being rulers.

And this part is what is right about If This Goes On.  Heinlein foresaw the theocracy quite well, and the impulse that drove it quite well.  His lens was just a little deformed by his perspective.

The book is still worth it and there are points that will make you stop with sudden realization.  For instance, when he says that the worst thing the Prophet did was steal history from the American people, so they had no idea their ancestors had been free.

Our children have no idea, either.  If you have kids, make sure you find them some stories from oh, the beginning of the last century.  And some movies, like 1766 1776  (this is why I’m not an engineer.  Digits do weird things between mind and fingers) and The Patriot, though flawed are worth it.  So is Independence Day by showing, in the end, American ingenuity coming through.

But all our kids have been taught are the sins of America and none of its glories.  And Heinlein was right about that part – if you don’t know your own history, if you don’t know the truth, your mind is already a prisoner of those who taught you the flawed history.

One of the mistakes Heinlein’s generation made was thinking the religious impulse went away when organized religion did.  It doesn’t of course.  As religion loses force, the state-as-religion moves in.  Of the two the second is probably the most harmful, as it wants to bring about a reality that simply doesn’t fit into the physical world.  No matter how much we squash capitalism, we’re not going to have an Earthly paradise.  (On the contrary.)  The paradise hereafter is each person’s concern and ultimately neither testable nor enforceable (not to say that some places and times haven’t tried it.)

The reason the book is still applicable, is that theocracy can exist outside conventional religion, and he nailed exactly how it works.

We keep wondering how things like journolist can exist, how people who are supposed to be writing the truth can justify lying in unison.  We keep wondering how people in the IRS can live with themselves when they’re persecuting the enemies of the party in power.

The answer is that they’ve been taught a distorted history.  In the light of that history what they’re doing is just and necessary.

Their minds were captured by the enemy – which is a toxic mix of statism and Marxism– and therefore they are no longer free.

The only way to return freedom to the people is to break the mental chains holding them.  This involves breaking the back of the media-entertainment complex.

We’re not there yet.  We might not be there for the rest of our lives.  The process takes time. (Another thing for which “If This Goes On” is useful.  You see the slow “de-indoctrination” of the main character, and how long it takes.)

However, it has begun.  And even in its beginning, its scaring the living daylights out of the statists, the state-worshippers, the enemies of freedom.

It is our duty as free men and women, to continue scaring them.  It is our duty to scare them as much as possible, and to free as many people as possible from their rotten doublethink.

The truth shall set you free.

UPDATE: If you feel a terrible need to listen to the accent that ate the world, here’s an interview with me.

266 thoughts on “If This Goes On

  1. My favorite is how they can firmly declare there’s no such thing as good and evil, it’s all cultural relativism; and then the next day declare that the people who disagree with them are evil.

        1. See my comment about the compartmentalization of the liberal mind in the previous thread… It’s a defense mechanism so they don’t die from Hiroshima-level cognitive dissonance.

    1. The thing I find difficult to understand is how so many people assume that their own Constitutional liberties are unassailable while they watch with equanimity the Constitutional liberties of others being violated. To take the example of the IRS scandals, do they not get that if one President can successfully use the IRS to persecute conservatives and suffer no harm from it, another might use it to persecute liberals, or Christians, or Muslims, or really whatever group he wants? Do they really imagine that they are somehow immune?

          1. He wasn’t shot. He was killed by ice axe — or was it pick?

            Perhaps because he was writing a biography of Lenin.

            1. It was with an alpenstock brought by a soviet agent who befriended him in his exile in Mexico City. Prior to his assassination he had lived with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
              I’m not making this up even though it sounds like Clue: Trotsky in Coyacán with an Alpenstock.

              1. LOL. There was a horrible movie called “The Assassination of Trotsky” with poor Richard Burton screaming his head off with a fake alpenstock glued to his head.

                  1. haven’t see that. But the Trotsky death scene is on You Tube. Not quite the way I remembered it, but it still comes out sort of like a 3 Stooges version.

                    1. Or you can look up “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” on YouTube.
                      “Why did you smash this ice-axe into my head, Ramon?”
                      “I was planning to use an ice-pick but there doesn’t seem to be any in the house, Señor.”

          2. Yep, it would be better to say that they don’t worry about abuses because they think they’ll rule their side.

        1. It won’t.

          It may not have majorities in both houses, it’s even possible for a short time that it will not have majorites in both houses AND have a non-party member as President, but it will *always* hold the bureaucracy and the press.

          And those are the real power bases.

            1. Want to start defanging the bureaucracy, farm it out to the states– if the states pay for their reps and their staff, then there’s a lot more control.

              Once that’s normal, start farming out the federal outlets to the states they’re in…. I wish the federal land management guys here had to worry about pissing off the state, and since I’m in Washington that’s saying a lot!

              1. IMO D.C. needs to be turned off. Move the NSA to California. DHS to Minnesota. DoD goes to Nebraska etc.

                Congress gets virtualized–the Representatives meet one week a quarter for social purposes, but the rest of the time they spend in virtual conferences from their district offices, working, eating and living with their constituents.

      1. The IRS didn’t need this president to tell it to use it’s power against the Tea Party. The hive was being attacked, the soldiers responded. They knew the queen would be pleased.

        A Republican Prez could not tell the IRS to go against leftist opponents. All hell would break loose and impeachment would result.

        So, no. The left is not in the slightest worried about government being used against them.

        1. This sounds remarkably like Hitler’s mode of charismatic rule. His underlings did things they (correctly) believed HItler would approve of, on their own initiative, thereby giving Hitler plausible deniability.

          Thus, one of the most common things heard in Germany from folks bebothered by the local block Nazi was “Hitler would put this right if he only knew.”

          1. Eh, that’s what they said about Stalin, too. Victims of the show trials who had known him personally would appeal to him — when he had arranged the whole shebang.

            1. And the Czar and the Hapsburg Emperors, in many areas. (Maybe imperial China as well?) The distant “father” would stop this if only he knew. That’s one reason why, after WWI, not everyone besides the “liberals” and Czechs were thrilled to be informed that they now had their own countries “free of Hapsburg tyranny.”

              1. It’s a pattern that’s repeated itself so often in history that I keep seeing the shorthand version, “If Only The Tsar Knew.”

              2. Sometimes it’s true, after all. The lucky duckies who manage to get their case before the high muckety-muck get to be the example of his clemency and justice.

                Or the time in the American Civil War when Grant ordered all the Jews out of an area and they rushed to telegraph the White House, which did get the order revoked.

                1. Now, that’s something I wasn’t aware of. And, I thought I’d had a pretty good background in the Civil War era, and Grant’s life. I don’t remember that incident from any of the biographies written about him that I’ve read, and I wonder if I just missed it, or it was conveniently ignored?

          1. The left didn’t steal history. They picked it up where the rest of us left it abandoned on the side of the road.

            They’ve never bothered to teach real history in any effective way, in this country. Not that anyone else has, either, but the problem is that where other nations have taught history as propaganda, we’ve never bothered with really teaching it at all. And, the left took full advantage of that situation, inserting their minions and beliefs deeply into the “system”.

            1. BS. At least until a generation or two ago, being called a “Benedict Arnold” stung. You don’t get that effect on kids as young as 5 or so without the history being deeply ingrained in the culture.

              We didn’t “teach” our history; we entertained ourselves with it. At least, until the CPUSA got its claws deep enough into Hollywood that it was necessary for all our heroes to become villains.

              1. I’m not really sure how your point even begins to disagree with mine. Who allowed Hollywood the ability to distort history? Who the hell bought the tickets to their deviant little “entertainments”?

                Short answer? We did. It’s a collective responsibility here, not just some fantasy cabal of conspiracists. We left the teaching of history to Hollywood, and freaks like Howard Zinn. Nobody opposed them, nobody cared enough.

                So, you’ve refuted my position that we left History abandoned on the roadside, for her to be taken up and corrupted? Precisely how have you done that, here? All you’re saying supports what I have written here. The fact that you want to deny it speaks to a desire to ignore the realities.

                1. Personally, I was taught history, in public schools no less. One high school history teacher of mine had gone across Utah beach in Normandy in the second wave, and as such was teaching history observed first hand.

                  And, in spite of their efforts, Hollywood != Teaching History, for far further back than my lifetime – see “Birth of a Nation” for Hollywood not presenting anything close to actual historical fact. Propaganda is a separate and distinct form from ‘teaching history’.

                  1. If you had a high school teacher that went across the beach at Utah, you’re either of my generation or damn close to it. My history teacher was an armorer for the Army Air Force in India, and went on to get a commission in the Air Force. Amazing man, and still running a bed and breakfast not too far from here, at age 90+.

                    We were probably the last to get that sort of teacher. The ones coming up now are working off of a dumbed-down curriculum that teaches all kinds of silly crap, and they’re brainwashed, to boot. I watched one of my former bosses retire from the Army as a relatively conservative Sergeant Major, and go back to school for a degree so he could teach history at the high school level.

                    Last time I saw him, he was so thoroughly captured by the system, it wasn’t even funny. I heard things come out of his mouth that six or seven years earlier would have been cause for his own derisive laughter, and he sincerely believed them. No sense of irony, and when you confronted him about it, he just got a confused look to his eyes, and went on to other things.

                    Pod people, I’m telling you. That’s who we have, as teachers. The process of getting a teaching certificate is guaranteed to leave them fully indoctrinated, and utterly blind to the fact that they have been indoctrinated. A sad, yet amazing process to watch.

                    1. My history teachers managed to make a very interesting subject mind-numbingly dull. As a matter of fact I can’t even recall who I had for history most of high school. On the other hand my photography teacher, an English teacher, and my metal shop teacher all served in Vietnam. In fact the photography teacher was missing several fingers from it. But most public teachers are amazingly liberal, and amazingly un-informed. (that wasn’t a misprint, I meant un-informed, not ill-informed, although many of them are that also. But it amazes me that a teacher wouldn’t have the interest to learn about the subject they are teaching, even if they learn wrong.

                    2. But it amazes me that a teacher wouldn’t have the interest to learn about the subject they are teaching, even if they learn wrong.

                      Replying to bearcat: I… had the misfortune of having a high school teacher refuse to teach English Class… in English. She made the mistake of trying to send me to remedial class because she had the most incomprehensible instructions ever (e.g. giving a list of five words, and telling you to use those five words in five sentences, making five sentences only out of those five words. And that you’re not to repeat any of them if you have used them in a previous sentence.) The… dressing down she got from the principal we heard across the school. She let a few months pass before trying to get me expelled for ‘swearing at a fellow student.’ She even had my parents dragged to school so she could try to shame them for it.

                      The swearword? “Stupid.”

                      My father proceeded to enlighten her regards the definition of the adjective, closing with her as a prime example, in the ringing oratory tones he usually reserved for delivering speeches. He then proceeded to scold her for wasting his time. The rest of the faculty were clustered outside the door just to listen. Then she ran to the principal to further complain that my parents were insufferable know-it-alls.

                      When that didn’t work, she quit her job, because of ‘unfair favoritism of a student.’

                      We later found out she falsified her teacher’s certificate.

                    3. Bearcat makes the point, although less sharply than I would have it said. Americans, as a culture, love History. Look at the popularity of books on the Founders, look at re-enactors, look at the fact a hit Broadway musical was based on the writing ot the Declaration! It isn’t so long ago that any given night a dramatization of an American historical figure could be found on network TV, from Davy Crockett to Mary Ingalls.

                      What contemporary History teaches is non-History. It presents the topic in so tendentious and tedious a way as to inoculate students against any actual interest in the topic. The same as they do with religion, the goal is to present an illusion of knowledge of the subject matter alongside a deep antithesis about delving into the topic yourself and revealing their falsehoods.

                2. Bull shit.

                  I am not responsible for Hollywood deciding to put out movies that lost money before my parents even met, nor for any other stories they told.

                  Collective guilt is for the birds; those who actually sinned are guilty, not I.

                  You want to say that you are guilty, go ahead– for me, I am going on teaching, and for mine, the biggest accusation you can make is that they didn’t succeed in beating those against them on a broad scale.

                  1. How else do you propose to discuss the failings and ongoing failures of a culture in which we are both members of and participate in, other than by using the collective “we”?

                    Neither you nor I made these decisions or choices, yet they were made, and we all suffer the consequences. If we cannot, or will not use that collective “we”, then are you and I really members of the cultural enterprise we’re discussing? To say “them” is to lay responsibility for this incipient disaster onto some anonymous third party. But, unless you’ve managed to go the last few decades without seeing a movie, or watching TV, you’ve done just as I have, and put money into their pockets indirectly, even if you don’t view the dreck they produce.

                    In order for the word “we” not to apply, I’m afraid that you and I would have had to be living abroad in a cave for the last few generations.

                    I haven’t gotten far along enough to where I feel I need to repudiate my citizenship, and I don’t know if I ever will. But, for the first time in my life, I’m feeling the chilling fear that I may need to, lest I become a default participant in something I can’t support or excuse.

                    1. How about trying to just accurate describe what happened, rather than trying to lay a collective blame and damnation because of it?

                      I may have to clean up the mess, but be damned if I’ll accept that it’s my fault and I somehow deserve the aftereffects of someone else’s bad behavior.

        2. Don’t make this about the great leader. This is about the hive, it’s about the state. There’s always a great leader who springs up to push the state forward.

        3. “A Republican Prez could not tell the IRS to go against leftist opponents. All hell would break loose and impeachment would result.”

          Ask Richard Nixon about that.

        4. It is well to keep in mind that one of the impeachment charges against Richard Nixon, as the Powerline bloggers repeatedly point out, was “[unsuccessfully] attempting to use the IRS against his political enemies.” Other of his crimes were so much SOP for Democrat predecessors (who do you think installed the Oval Office recording system?) that a cynical person (not that there are any such among the Hundom) might conclude Nixon’s true impeachable offense was “acting like a Democrat.”

    2. There is no such thing as evil.

      Violence never settled anything.

      Use of force for any reason is EVIL!!!

      If you don’t agree that use of force is EVIL, then you must be killed.


  2. Job was a demonstration of the difficulty of satire: namely, you must be just enough to the target so he has to admit the accuracy of the jabs. Heinlein wasn’t really even trying here.

  3. “For over a century people – who really don’t know a scientific principle from a hole in the ground – have been preached to about science as the ultimate arbiter of all things. And of course, the state is run according to ‘science’ and enforces ‘science.’”

    Or “Reason.” that one’s fun. There are people who think Reason is sacred, and there’s those who just, like, use.

    1. One individual seemed to believe that prior to the “Age Of Reason” people didn’t “reason” they just listen to the Priests and obeyed. Never mind that you can find plenty of examples of Christian writings where people used reason to support new thoughts and defeat older thoughts.

      1. Oh, good lord. What about Luther, then – or Abelard, or Erasmus or … oh, heck, I could make a long list of medieval and late-medieval and early Ren theologians who did much the same. Look, it gets cold at night and in the winters of Northern Europe! What other entertainment did they have but for theological and philosophical discussions? (among the higher classes, of course. The lower went for bear-baiting, rat and terrier fights, and sundry other bloody amusements.)

        Just as an aside, my daughter once shocked the heck out of one of her USMC buddies (of color, naturally) by telling him that Martin Luther King was named after an old German white guy…Hilarity ensued. Apparently he was a graduate of one of our finer inner-city public school systems.

        1. Been there, lived that conversation of your daughter’s… She also should have gone on to point out that Lincoln was a Republican, the South was mostly Democratic, and that the KKK was founded by a Democrat.

          And, scarily enough, it’s not just the graduates of our “finer inner-city public school systems” that have these issues. I had a very illuminating and vociferous conversation with a young Captain who’d graduated with honors (Phi Beta Kappa, how ye have sunk…) from a prestigious “formerly all-Negro institution”, with a degree in History, no less, who was similarly enlightened after I got done with him. Even a few days later, after he’d gone to independently verify what I was saying, he still looked shell-shocked.

          “Nobody ever told me this stuff… Ever…”.

          1. A century ago, nearly all southern whites voted for one party, and nearly all black for the other. The southern whites voted Democratic; the blacks voted Republican. I doubt this is news to anyone here, but I see occasional comments in the news media about one or another southern state having always been Republican.

              1. Given the skepticism with which that bit of history is regarded, do you have suggestions for primary sources I could point to for proof? As in, “Don’t believe me? Here, check out what Mark Twain said about it in this article. Or take this book published in 1906, and notice what he says on page 227.”

                Because I’m going to need proof ready to hand if I’m going to convince anyone. And yes, I know many people won’t be convinced by any proof — but I know some intelligent people who just need to be deprogrammed.

                1. Ah, sorry; more on this:

                  I doubt this is news to anyone here, but I see occasional comments in the news media about one or another southern state having always been Republican.

                  I’m actually not sure about the part about the slaves. I’d been encountering a rather annoying meme since college that Southern Whites of Lincoln era = Republicans thus Republicans were pro-slavery and thus evil forever.

                  /insert Picard doublefacepalm here

                  It got kinda bad when one very Leftist teacher implied that Lincoln was a Democrat (and much like the modern day Democrat) and … yeah. Granted, throwing them the same shortcut assumption-abusing statement of “Lincoln was a Republican!” is still on the same level of thoughtless meme, but it would make people look it up to try prove that statement wrong. (Though, one would hope they also learned along the way the political parties of then weren’t the same as the ones now…)

                  I mean, if we’re going to go with faked history, ‘because vampires’ is lots more fun.

                  You do have me curious though and I’ll have to look up a few sources when I have a bit more time / RL isn’t deciding to run me over.

            1. Ah, but according to one of my Facebook interlocutors, the Republican and Democrat parties switches orientations in 1854.

              That one I did not refrain from calling an idiot.

          2. that Lincoln was a Republican

            That is not taught well outside of the US as well; I remember in College that they would state that Lincoln was someone who truly honored equality and the Democratic process or some such flowery bull. Stating that he was a Republican neatly derails history classes and sends it crashing off into the gorge of reality.

        2. Bahahahahaha~ I remember when I was in America for the first time and the class talking about MLK, and I only heard the ‘Martin Luther’ part, and I looked puzzled, and wondered / asked the teacher what Protestantism had to do with the Civil Rights Movement. I rather effectively derailed a history class because most of the kids had only heard about Martin Luther King Jr, not the guy he was named for. The teacher was a good one and didn’t mind the derailment because the kids learned something new that day.

        3. “The lower went for bear-baiting, rat and terrier fights, and sundry other bloody amusements.”

          Where they had their vociferous theological and philosophical discussions between “matches” and over a beer, afterwards.

        4. Modern meme-ish version:
          “Santa was a priest and punched another priest because they disagreed about Jesus’ divinity. And you think everybody just did a great big “Obey!” or something?”
          (theology may be off, internet is slow and I’m tired)

      2. One of the reasons that Christianity is what it is today is that the early theologians had to (try to) convince those trained in Greek philosophy.

    2. I read sites like Daily Grail and Michael Prescott’s blog (it’s called that, ‘Michael Prescott’s blog’ 🙂 ), and one thing I ran into just a few days ago (the result of some link wandering, it may have been on some Skeptiko’s comment thread) was the thought that it seems the more the skeptical movement, that part which really is a movement, pushes their preferred idea of a universe which is made of matter only – no God, no existence after death, no ‘paranormal’ phenomena whatsoever, it’s all illusions, and that defended with a vehemence which allows for entertaining no hints of doubt, no matter how well founded those might seem, and so turns the whole thing into a religion in itself – the more common people turn to exactly those things they hate. Interest in near death experiences seems to be growing, I think I have seen some estimations that Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in USA, all those ghost hunter shows and so on.

      If true, that might be one example of how squeezing harder just makes the sand harder to hold and a cause for some optimism. Provided of course that it will lead to something positive, not that ‘Fallen Angels’ scenario when you have Greenies who believe in crystal power in power and opposing anything which might stop or start melting the advancing glaciers. The rabid materialists and that group may hate each other with a passion, but both mostly seem to agree on one thing, which is that statism is good as long as they have friends in power, and can use it to push their ideas.

      Could go any way. One sure thing seems to be that most of us need the spiritual too. You can maybe wean many of us from the older, established religions, but most will then just turn to something else.

      (BTW, if Michael Prescott’s blog is not familiar, he is a novelist interested in paranormal research, mostly writes about things like that research on his blog, and seems to be somebody who believes there is something while remaining critical enough. And what he occasionally has let slip of his political views, most here would probably like those.)

    3. The thing is, until very recently, “science” was very good at delivering what it promised. So a LOT of credit was built up behind that word.

      Then the grifters noticed that people put more stock in “science” than they did just about anything else, and the con games started. At first it was just fringe BS — 100mpg carburetors, garage perpetual motion machines — but eventually some of the wholesale con men in politics joined in and we’ve gotten tragedies like the anti-vaccination movement and CAGW and the deep Green cults.

      1. The fact that it says “Science” on the label does not mean there is any actual science on the product, nor that what science is included has not been wholly adulterated. In this it is the equivalent of “organic” and “natural” on food packaging. If you are eating significant amounts of inorganic food …

  4. If you want to understand Heinlein’s intentions in “If This Goes On—” better, I recommend reading Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry.

    I do have to say that it’s not obvious to me that Heinlein was necessarily wrong. I’m not a social conservative, and it looks to me as if George W. Bush, who was, did a huge amount of damage to American liberty. That Barack Obama then got in and did even more doesn’t negate this; it just shows that there are competing authoritarianisms of left and right. I don’t have a “no enemies to the right” model of politics.

    1. No. It’s just that religious dictatorship is impossible with a coherent religion NOW — not saying this won’t change — because we have too many sects who hate each other more than any other. this is why Heinlein had a new sect that unified all.
      The left’s ersatz religion, though, is a real danger because it coalesces AGAINST common enemies.
      In the present state of American religion, he was wrong. It is the state that has invaded the churches, not the other way around.
      Americans who grew up in a religiously stultifying environment fail to see this, but I’m looking at it from outside, and I tell you, in the present state of religion in America, there’s nothing to fear. Yes, you can have a religious conservative in power now and then, yes, he might be a statist, but he’s not going to legislate that you have to attend church and he’s not going to imprison you for blasphemy.
      What did harm to America was GWB’s SOCIALIST beliefs, not the Christian half.

      1. “It is the state that has invaded the churches, not the other way around.”


        IMO, the First Amendment was all about protecting religion from the state, not the state from religion. My knowledge of history is full of gaps, but it seems to me true theocracies are rare–but states using the power of religion to help them control the population weren’t. In fact, they seem to be the norm.

        1. Spot on, Kali. And it was a limit on the federal government, not the state governments. Established churches existed in some states (CT, MA) into the 1810s, but the feds could not levy a church tax or favor one denomination over another. If your state taxed you to support the Episcopalians or Congregationalists, well, then you could lobby for a change or move.

            1. Established state churches had withered by 1820, so the Fourteenth Amendment just capped it (assuming anyone ever raised the issue). As for the rest, yeah, let’s just say I’ve come to strongly disagree with my constitutional history prof about just how eeEEEEvil the Gilded Age Supreme Court was. Not saying that they were saints, but . . .

              1. Yeah, I consider the late 19th century Supreme Court to be fairly good, though I’m not happy with their restrictive reading of the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The progressive justices who replaced them were about as close to out and out villains as you get in real world politics.

                1. The progressive justices who replaced them were about as close to out and out villains as you get in real world politics.

                  Agreed. Was it somebody on PJ Media who recently argued that the progressive movement was the South rising again and winning a war of ideas on citizens versus subjects – with Woodrow Wilson, and also a world of others, prime examples of the identity of the progressive movement with sympathy for slaveholders?

                  1. The democrat party has had a long history of looking for candidates that were (well originally) Northerners or Westerners that held Southern sympathies. As this approached the Civil War era this meant more and more pro-slavery stances. After reconstruction and on to our new progressive era it has meant radicals and segregationists that don’t look it. Liars.

                  2. I’ve wondered about that bit of history. There was a fellow named George Fitzhugh who wrote two volumes before the Civil War, Cannibals All! and Sociology for the South, in which he argued that black people were not capable of living in freedom and enduring the rigors of the market economy, but needed masters to care for them—and that the same was true of most white people (he was an unusually egalitarian defender of slavery!). Could he have been an influence on, say, Woodrow Wilson, or progressive thought more generally?

                    1. It’s possible, but he could also just have been tapping a spirit that the Progs already liked. The idea that certain groups are naturally in need of superior leaders goes back to Rousseau and Herder/Hegel/Fichte. The French Revolution called them “passive citizens.” The American thinkers just added the racial idea and created Henry James Hammond’s “mud-sill people:” groups that were naturally meant to be an important, but socially and economically inferior, part of society.

                  3. They ain’t winning no war of ideas, they are shouting down their opponents in an attempt to fix the fight. For there to be a war both sides must show-up in force; what is happening now is just an intellectual massacre.

        2. “It is the state that has invaded the churches, not the other way around.”

          Let’s look at two contemporary movements in American politics:

          The gay marriage movement: you state that it’s against your religious beliefs to take part, they run to the state to compel you to take part.

          The Obamacare suit against the Little Sisters of Mercy — a group of women who have announced their intention to live precisely according to the dictates of their faith, and the state seeks to compel them to pay for what they consider murder.

          What kind of person, on hearing you consider some act to be against your beliefs, searches for force to compel you into that act?

          And what do you think will ever restrain a person with that mindset?

    2. Keep in mind that while the Tea Party began on Bush’s watch, the egregious abuses against Conservatives was later, during Obama’s Reign of Terror. And yes, I am aware the IRS was targeting Conservatives during Bush. Government bureaucracies tend to socialism/progressivism.

      1. Tea Party began on Bush’s watch

        Huh. I didn’t know Bush was president in 2009.

        That man was a GENIUS.

        1. The Tea Party has roots in the Bush-era Porkbusters movement, started by one Glenn Reynolds, otherwise known as the Instapundit.

          If Professor Reynolds goes the way of Andrew Brietbart, you’ll know it’s time to flip the caps off of your PMags…

        2. Pork wasn’t the focus of the Tea Party,

          People have, in one form or another, criticized Pork the *entire* time I’ve been following politics (call it Reagan’s election in 1980 when I was 13). Pork is and always will be a part of democratic politics (and spare me the “we’re a republic” speech. Democracy is a huge part of it).

          The catalyzing national event that spawned the Tea Party was Rick Santelli’s rant from the floor of the CME where he suggested having a Tea Party with the traders on the floor. This was February 2009, and that notion–that we were “Taxed Enough Already” was the kernel. It’s not the pork that the Tea Party was against (although they generally do oppose pork) as much as the bank bailouts and other sorts of transfer payments.

          Porkbusters was primarily a reaction against the crap inserted into the Katrina relief bill, though it grew from there. If you want to blame Bush–already under fire because FEMA acted in Katrina just like it was designed to, and like it had in every other hurricane–certainly he COULD have refused to sign the bill until every bit of non-Katrina pork had been removed. He was complicit in a huge deficits and spending increases, and in the bailout was certainly as much his fault as Obama’s, however the Tea Party did not grow out of the Porkbusters movement and was certainly not started on Bush’s watch.

          1. To the contrary, many of the voices of the Porkbusters movement continued into the TEA Party movement. And the TEA Party was triggered by Obama’s pork laden faux stimulus bill.

            The line of descent is there. Its the media that has worked hard to lie about what the TEA Party is about, who is leadership and core grassroots are, etc.

            1. The antecedents of the Porkbusters extend at least as far back as the Sixties, with William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece” awards. The problem is that one man’s pork is another man’s bacon. A little lard is useful to grease the skids of necessary government projects (why do you think NASA was based in LBJ’s home state? Because it was convenient to the launching sites?) but typically the cart ends up in front of the horse.

              It is the essential nature of government spending that there will be some pork doled out, there will be some wastefully spent money. Insert link to The Right Stuff “pussy/monkey” speech.

          2. *Grin* I can say with all honesty that I saw Santelli’s rant as it happened. And it struck a nerve at Schloss Red. And people were already talking about it the next day at Ye Burnt-Coffee Cafe and News Depot.

            1. I think it struck a nerve with many people, not just you, because the times were ready. At one point in the previous year, I wrote a blog post that I titled “That’s it; time for a tea party”. I don’t remember what it was about (some government overreach, clearly, but which one?), and nobody but me and a few friends ever read it — but I imagine I wasn’t the only one to be thinking about the Boston Tea Party around that time. So just as with the first Tea Party, the inciting incident was just the match: the powder keg was already primed and ready.

    3. The worst thing Bush did was respond badly to the continued bouts of economic warfare we’ve been subjected to.

      Obama… has _been_ the continuation of the economic warfare.

      We’re all being turned into sharecroppers. And what a surprise, it’s the same party as last time around.

      1. The California Democrats are trying to get the state law against racial discrimination repealed.

        No, that’s not a joke.

      2. I wouldn’t want to start a list of the “worst things Bush did” but I suspect that pretty much every item on it would have Democrat roots. The TSA, the “rebates” that did little or nothing to stimulate the recovery, the Katrina fail and pork problems were all the result of trusting Democrats to work with him for the national good, rather than recognizing that, for Democrats, the national good consists almost solely of the Democrats being in charge. When candidate Obama denounced Bush’s (actually, Pelosi & Reid’s) deficits as unpatriotic, the main problem seems to be that they didn’t give enough money to unions and other Democrat interest groups.

        Criticize “No Child Left Behind” as much as you like, but keep in mind that it was an effort to limit the damage being done by Teachers’ Unions and Educrats (Dem interest groups both) and largely written in concert with Teddy Chappaquiddick.

  5. The worst damage I can think of that Bush did was TSA, and I’m having a hard time seeing any particular religious angle to that. Or any of the other erosions following 9/11.

    1. Yes. Well, there were things like “no child left behind.” which were part of the Christian-socialist ethos, but you don’t need the Christian part to explain.
      Oh, yeah, he also stopped us paying for sterelizations/abortions in Africa. or I should say, stopped us giving them more or less by force as condition to aid. BUT that might have been ANTI-Imperialism. I think forcing the poor to abort/not have kids is evil. Africa has been f*cked up enough. Let’s stop “helping it”

      1. Given his popularity in Africa, I’d say whatever GWB’s motives, he did what the people there favored. Especially when you have other outsiders *coughGreenpeacecough* telling people not to have kids and that starvation is better than eating GMO grain. And for how much of Africa is a large family still the social safety net?

        1. Given his popularity in Africa, I’d say whatever GWB’s motives, he did what the people there favored.

          From memory, that had to do a lot with his anti-human-trafficking policies.

          You enslave people, his folks dropped the hammer on you. It may not be death, but it meant no money at the very least.

      2. Foreign aid means that the country can export foreign aid requests as its main source of income as long as it keeps the population poor — easily attained by graft and embezzlement.

      3. There is no doubt Bush had Christian ethos, but I can think of no time when he forced (or attempted to force) his Christian ethics on others. As you pointed out with the Africa sterilization example, NOT FORCING someone to do something is NOT using force to make others follow your belief system.

        Forcing the Sisters of Mercy to pay for birth control/abortion is pretty much the polar opposite of not forcing people to have abortions/sterilization as a condition of aid. Yes I’m sure Bush’s beliefs are anti-abortion, but saying, “we will not pay for you to have that,” is much different than saying, “you MUST do that.”

  6. ” This is manifest usually by trying to distance oneself from those one considers one’s social inferiors.”

    What amazes me is how naive I was about this reality when I was younger. Part of it was growing up in Los Alamos, an insular, wealthy, homogeneous community, and part was growing up in a faith tradition that worked fairly hard to erase social distinctions. Still.

    You’ll either laugh at me, or sneer at me, for this: There was a time when I was a wee lad when I thought “custodian” was the name of an ethnic group. No joke. Because the janitors at my elementary school were all swarthy men who wore distinctive clothing and spoke in a strange tongue amongst themselves, and the teachers called them “custodians”, which was an unfamiliar word to me. No one else in my neighborhood was like that.

    Yeah, that naive.

    I think my first real encounter with snobbishness was when a few of my teachers tried very, very hard to get me to go to a respectable university, instead of Brigham Young University. It seems they were afraid I was going to get a narrow, parochial religious education instead of the proper secular education someone with my talents was entitled to. Or, to be more precise, the kind of proper secular education Progressive Society was entitled to demand that someone with my talents must accept. They had me just about persuaded, but not my parents. Fortunately — no, really, this was highly fortunate — this was the era of financial aid for elite schools based strictly on need, and Caltech and MIT calculated my need differently from what my parents actually thought they could afford. For some reason, taking out a second mortgate to fund my education was something they simply weren’t going to do.

    Going to BYU was the best decision of my life. I know, Your Mileage May Vary ™. Not the right college even for every Mormon kid. But it was right for me. Did the Caltech thing later. Had a pretty good experience there. It was the right thing at that stage, when I was a little more grown up.

    Now that I’m reflecting on it, it occurs to me that another early encounter with snobbishness was in the way my father was sometimes treated. He had a mere M.E. in a town full of Ph.D.s, and some of the Ph.D.s were stupid enough to look down on him. My father was one of the most intelligent, decent, good-humored men I’ve ever known; I have memories of him coming home from work, settling in to the easy chair, and smacking down a diet soda (he was diabetic) while working through his stack of Analog Magazine. This was back when Ben Bova was the editor and Analog was a pretty good magazine. Do not underestimate a farm kid who, when drafted by the Army, gets picked for radar school, who goes to college on the GI Bill and gets the Outstanding Chemistry Freshman award of a CRC manual (there’s a great story there I’ll share some other time), and who didn’t go on to a Ph.D. mainly because he loved his younger brother too much to upstage him (and also because he didn’t feel he needed it to support his young family.) I have no doubt he was smarter and more capable than most of the Ph.D.s looking down on him.

    In my experience, the surest sign that a Ph.D. is a pompous ass is if he actually insists on being called “Doctor.” The only time I’m going to insist on being called “Doctor” is if I’m ever called to testify in court or in Congress, where the need is great and such titles have a powerful effect on the weak-minded.

    1. ” … the surest sign that a Ph.D. is a pompous ass is if he actually insists on being called “Doctor.”

      My late father-in-law, who was a medical doctor, would have agreed with you. He never referred to himself as Dr. nor minded being called Mr.

        1. Hehehe… The half-Amerind Anthropology professor I had in college was one who asked people NOT to call him “Doctor”. This drew the outrage of the local Radical Feminist (There were only a select few outside the Fine Arts programs there) in the class with me. “But you deserve the title, why don’t you use it?” IIRC, he told her that most “Doctors” who insist on the title aren’t worthy of it, so he didn’t want to use it.

          1. Eh, I use it when someone mistakes me for 1) a visiting student or 2) a college undergrad. Or 3) to mess up telemarketers when the extended family gets together. “Is Dr. Red home?” “The MD, the other MD, the PhD, the DVM, or the DMA?” “Uhm uh,” click.

          2. Heh. “As you mature you will learn to appreciate that you do not get everything you deserve.”

  7. Some – even on the Bar – argue that frex Trotskyite Deviationism say and I suppose many such a belief is not properly a religion but takes the place of religion for those who believe it. Maybe falls into the God-shaped hole square peg in a round hole style?

    Now that each of us has access to ample computing power in an ethos of “information wants to be free” I deeply lament the actual cost of great gobs of social mostly economic data in machine readable form – much of the price is transaction costs but much of the cost is pecuniary. The typical home based PC has terabytes of circus say in blue ray movies or porn or Gutenberg but nothing of facts. The Club of Rome Limits to Growth discussion published their model including 20 and 30 year updates.

    There is very black humor in Glenn Reynolds’ frequent highlight of unexpectedly in the economic forecasting and facts fed to us by the Administration and the liberal (for some of today’s values of liberal) media following the Administration and supporters. The people should be able to see all the data and make their own forecasts even if they don’t. But they can’t. What happens to freedom when you don’t know the truth?

    We could all look at the raw economic data if we had it and some would The economic data exists in machine readable form – consider the economic data routinely processed by economists and other so called quants in the financial services industry. But the industry maintains strong barriers in the form of pricing the bulk raw data very high – the information may want to be free but somebody doesn’t want that. This may be special pleading – I never could afford NBER data and had to key in observations from the back pages of The Economist – I wasn’t alone.

    The hockey stick data is a good example where as noted Al Gore says trust me on this – the pseudo-priesthood assures us their belief is not related to their rewards. If it’s making Al Gore et. al. rich that’s a byproduct of being right not of being true believer frauds. Anybody reading this is likely familiar with Dr. Pournelle’s constant reiteration that global warming data (what underlies reported temperatures? how measured and calculated and averaged?) and models are hidden. We see proof by assertion when the proof should be left as an exercise for the reader.

    Like a mystery religion such data as we have is dispensed (in dribs and drabs and selected form by a pseudo-priesthood with the mass media as a missionaries

    1. Frankly, I think the people, supposedly sheltered from all the information, have been connecting the dots just fine.

      Rather like Heinlein’s analysis of the Soviet economy from just looking at the infrastructure around Moscow, people can analyze the street level data quite well. Hiring, raises, new construction, new equipment… not happening. Packages in the stores are shrinking while prices stay the same. Heating and fuel costs keep going up.

    2. The real data is out there. For example, the unemployment figures are calculated using the old methods (currently 11% under the old method of calculation, and 17% under the very old method). I believe the outfit doing these calculations is called Shadow Stats. Inflation is manipulated, too (6% per year for a while now). The problem is that the (presumably) true set of figures creates an alternative universe, given that the “official” figures are so comprehensively massaged. But then, socially and politically, I also live in a parallel universe. I work in the financial world, and I find that this understanding and respect for the parallel universe is widespread amongst my client book. There are many, many people out there who have quietly not drunk the kool-aid.

  8. Villagers Unite! Pick up your pitchforks! Grab a torch! Let’s go slay a monster!

    I say it facetiously, but If This Goes On the way it’s going, that may be our recourse.

  9. Just as the main character in “If This Goes On,” took awhile to catch on to the fact he was being played for a fool, people today are waking up to the fact the government is a palace of professional liars. They sit every night watching the priesthood of news anchors tell them how unemployment is down and the economy in recovery. Yet most of them are making less than a decade ago, and it buys less. They switch their rules for calculating everything every couple months when the numbers start to slide. But it only stretches so far before even the dullest of their congregation notices it doesn’t comport with reality. The last 30 years have been the biggest looting the world has ever seen. The majority of the public has no ‘feel’ for mathematics. They don’t understand what a geometric progression does, even looking at a graph with the right side climbing straight up. But it doesn’t matter if they understand it. Math IS, and the math of our economy right now says that if this goes on it CRASHES. Soon.

    1. It’s been fascinating over the past six months to watch the financial news shows. More and more viewers are e-mailing and writing in to say “what recovery? My wages are stagnant, prices for everything have gone up, and now I can’t get insurance/find a doctor.” A few, which I suspect means a lot that don’t make it on air, are saying “QE this!” with both middle fingers raised in a vaguely NYC-DC direction. Out here in the sticks people are cutting back on spending and salting away funds and other things, even though we have a very low unemployment rate (energy exploration area).

      1. Same here in my little mountains. Employment’s back up owing to a couple of industries moving in next door (thank you lower taxes on businesses). But You wouldn’t know it to look at folks in my neck of the woods.

        On the upside, people are fixing things instead of just buying new when it breaks down. More business for me, some, but there’s competition now. And I find I rather like that. *grin* Even if the side business is the only raise I’ve gotten in the last seven years. Or look to see in the next ten.

        Hard luck on the car lots and such. Folks just aren’t making any big purchases right now. Digging in to weather the storm most of us see brewing on the economic horizon.

          1. *chuckles* Mine’s an ’85, suck gas, but easy to work on. Finding a good used truck can be harrowing. Before I found dad his ’94, I went through about five states trying to find one that was worth at least fixing. Then all of a sudden there’s this idiot who can’t afford what he had done to his truck, got mechanic’s lien on it with his approval and basically bought it for next to nothing.

            Never happen again in this lifetime (to me), but you can get lucky sometimes! Hope all goes well with yours, Miss Emily.

              1. They don’t make a new truck that I like, very likely I will never buy new. Not only for cost, but also because none of the current production is built to suit me.

            1. My “new” truck that I bought this fall is older than all of my others by several years. But it has 200K less miles on it, and had never been off the blacktop when I bought it. It had been rearended and was totaled, so I got it cheap. Built a flatbed to put on it, and except for a couple of minor dents in the back of the cab (where the corner of the original bed hit it) that are hidden from casual view by the new flatbed, it is as good as new.

              Oh, yeah it is 25 years old, actually only a year newer than the first truck I bought when I was sixteen, and other than color identical to the truck I got when I was eighteen.

            1. Our “new one” is a 2004. My truck was made when Reagan was in his first term.

                1. With luck and decent upkeep, it happens– my uncle is still driving the pickup he bought in high school, and all the ranch vehicles where my folks work save one are older than I am. (I’m in my early 30s.) All the trucks are from the 70s.

                    1. I have a 95 and a 2000 Toyota sitting here, both with close to 350K on them. The 95 will be for sale as soon as I clean it up. It is a little rough, but runs and drives good. It has had some problems, but then it has been used and abused, and more than half of those miles are offroad miles, while many of the others are while pulling a trailer. The 2000 however I didn’t get until it had 240K on it, and they were mostly highway miles by a guy who took care of his vehicles. No problems with it whatsoever, except the suspension being wore out, and that didn’t affect driveability, just handling in rough terrain or hauling a load. Replaced the suspension (springs are a major weak point in Toyotas, have replaced them in practically every Toyota I have owned) and expect to get 500K out of it with just routine maintenance.

                      Changing the oil regularly is the single Cheapest thing you can do to improve the life and reliability of your vehicle. …well… and don’t drive like a teenage idiot.

          2. We bought a new minivan a few years ago, and moved to a one car family because the difference in upkeep and mileage were worth it; first person on either side of the family to ever buy new, but we also got an insane deal on it. (Only true because Husband’s family is dumb well off and thus anybody who could afford a new car only leased it. I think that’s dumb, but I’m working on an utterly different level so ugh.)

            A major reason we bought new is that we noticed it was in some cases CHEAPER than buying used……

            1. “A major reason we bought new is that we noticed it was in some cases CHEAPER than buying used……”

              Yep, the new “Certified Used” vehicles are a real ripoff. In fact I recommend never buying used from a car dealer.

              1. Having been the guy that reconditions some of those “certified used” cars before, I can support this plan. I’ve seen too many things that darned well should have been fixed roll off the lot as if they were in good condition. A private seller may attempt to snow you, too, but I’d much prefer dealing with that guy than the “professionals.”

                But I’m something of a perfectionist when it comes to selling or buying cars. I can’t lie well enough (conscience won’t let me) to pass off a turd no matter how polished to an unsuspecting buyer.

      2. Late last year, I finally sold some California real-estate that had much of my economic worth tied up in it. I realized that I would never be able to go back to California and build on it – and that I actually preferred Texas. I don’t know if I’ll be ever be able to spend on a bit of Hill Country acreage and build a Tiny Little Cottage on it – but the money from the sale went into paying off a couple of debts and revamping the HVAC system of the house that I do live in currently — and let me put away something in savings.

        Even in Texas, people are tightening their belts and shopping strategically. They just opened a brand-new Super-Walmart a short distance away – and I was mildly surprised to see BMWs and Lexuses parked in the lot, right next to the ratty pickup trucks. I believe a lot of people are looking around at their real lives, and looking at the financial news shows and thinking – ‘Who do I believe – you, or the evidence if my lying eyes?’

        1. You can buy a 10 year old Mercedes or BMW for only slightly more than you pay for a 10 year old Toyota.

              1. Would you suggest a Nissan pickup? Is their mileage OK?

                We’re saving up to get a second vehicle, eventually, and he wants a puddle jumper– I want something we can at least put a cheap camper on for either buggout or oh crud situations. I could live in a car back camper for a month or two while we find a new place, but not in a hotel….

                1. Yes the mileage is good. Hubby recommends them. For what you want I’d recommend the long bed version. As long as you maintain them on a regular basis and don’t abuse them, they’ll treat you right. I don’t know about later models, but our 2001 Nissan Frontier is comfortable to ride in, and has lots of cargo space. I don’t drive so I can’t speak about its handling.

                  1. I liked the 99’s better (thinking of the 4-door version, due to Foxfier’s kids) because they had more metal and a lot less plastic, but the running gear and important stuff is the same. I don’t know about the real new ones (last five years) but the older ones clear back to the mid/early eighties were good trucks. Although the pre-EFI carbureted models were gas guzzlers. I like Toyotas better, but Nissans are a good pickup for a lot less money, used. As a mainly commuter vehicle with little off-blacktop time the newer Nissans are probably more comfortable, also.

                2. Also, think about them for your next sedan. And yes, as Emily says they have excellent mileage. They have 4×4 sedans. No kidding. My cousin has one, and has nothing but rave reviews, and he’s a rural practical type. Now they’ve got tripple digits of snow, and he is driving around when SUVs have problems. With his sedan he dragged us out of the snow over Christmas.

                  1. ” Now they’ve got tripple digits of snow, and he is driving around when SUVs have problems.”

                    I’m assuming on plowed roads. Yes I have aired my tires down and drove on top of over 100 inches of snow when it was fairly hard before, but most people aren’t as stupid as me. If you spin a tire in such a situation it involves A LOT of shovel work. Anymore I am not as energetic and will generally opt for a snowmachine in such situations.

                    1. *chuckles* I remember once driving northbound on the highway on packed snow, passing dark, dead cars on the shoulder. We don’t get snow down in my little mountains like y’all do but once in a great blue moon, but when it does, the storm likes to sit and stay a while.

                      I’ve aired down the tires in my pickup, loaded the back up with bricks and sandbags, chained up the tires and drove a 2wd Ranger on a 280mi round trip in that just to see my then ladyfriend. Definitely a “do not try this at home” sort of thing for sheltered Southern folk who flinch at more than a foot of snow at a time. *grin*

                      Funnier thing, I used to know a guy who made beer money pulling stuck cars out with his old AMC Eagle. Once towed free a brand new (at the time) 4WD, stuck in the slush after a big snow. *shakes head* Now, if I can find me a 3000GT VR4 for a decent price, I’ll have an AWD car again (with those 4 axle maintenance hassles, but I digress). I miss that, nowadays.

        2. I don’t know if I’ll be ever be able to spend on a bit of Hill Country acreage and build a Tiny Little Cottage on it

          landsoftexas.com has lots of acreage listed, some of it for fairly reasonable prices. I looked at a lot last year (that’s still for sale) in Bertram, TX. The asking price at the time was $4K/acre, and it still appears to be going for that. Completely un-developed, and lots of cacti, but it’s an option. The only reason I didn’t give it more consideration was that it was about three hours from where I currently live:-(.

  10. I suspect this is a good part of why there is so much anti-home-school feeling out there, though people generally can’t pin it down to more than home schooled kids are ‘weird’ or ‘what about socialization!!!’ or ‘abuse!!!!!’
    Home school kids may actually learn our history. Some of us–not all, but those with fewer resources–get our history books from library book sales, yard sales, grandpa’s bookshelf, wherever. And it’s not properly sanitized and rewritten to suit the current fads. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the other great American leaders are, ya know, heroes. My own exposure to the reality of how much history changes depending on who writes the books came in high school, when my mother got three American History books from the library: one published in 1902, one published in the 60’s, and one published in the 80’s.
    I can’t speak to the packaged curricula. I suspect they’re a mixed bag, depending on who does the packaging, ranging from fully rewritten to not altered at all.

    1. In Germany, now, a citizen can have his children taken from the family and parental rights terminated because of home schooling.

      1. That’s been true since the days of the Third Reich, and the Nazis were the ones who wrote the law. Anyone thinking that the Nazis lost the war is mistaken–At best, they withdrew from public life, and went underground. The German culture and government is still devoutly Nazi-like in all too many ways. All that’s really changed is the realization that trying to conquer the world isn’t going to work. Internally, something nine-tenths of the laws promulgated by the Nazis are still on the books, and that ten percent that aren’t mostly represent the anti-Jewish stuff that’s so politically incorrect.

        The Nazi mentality didn’t die in 1945. All it did was morph into a more acceptable version of itself.

        1. Witness that the German government still enforces the Nazi law on home schooling and does everything short of use the actual term when explaining it interferes with the Volksgemeinschaft.

        2. I’d argue that it dates back to Bismarck and the Kulturkampf of the 1880s against the Catholic Church (and Slavs), as far as official government policy, and farther in terms of the idea of official education to encourage a proper sense of German-ness (German-ness being defined as Prussian/Wilhelmine). The French used mandatory secular public education after 1870 as a way to inculcate French-ness into all the people from outside the cultural sphere of the Il-de-France and Paris. The schools and the army, as Weber’s “Peasants into Frenchmen” explains (it reads a lot faster than it looks.)

          1. I’d counter argue that it’s poe-tay-to, poe-tah-to on whose fault it is, since Nazism was an outgrowth of the culture rather than imposed from outside.

            Note, I only realized this when trying to untangle some our OUR screwed up stuff.. a lot of 60s stuff is just the bloom of screwu 40s and 20s stuff.

        3. I’ve often argued the Nazis lost the military war and won the philosophical war. The allies adapted all their methods and moral immediately after the war. The imported thousands of war criminals in operation paper-clip. They should have hung every German carrying a Nazi party card.

          1. I have to agree with you. We here in the West adopted some of the worst features of the totalitarian states we fought in WWI and WWII in order to win those fights, and we still haven’t seen fit to abandon them. Witness the UK, for example, with regards to the Official Secrets Act, and their attitudes towards personal self-defense.

            What the solution should have been? I don’t know, but I do think it would have been a lot healthier for the world if we’d taken the hard road and left Stalin to his fate, instead of subsidizing his fight against Hitler. Better for the rest of us if we’d let that fever burn itself out, and then stepped in to crush the remains after both parties were exhausted and worn out. I sometimes think that allying with Stalin was just as evil as anything else we could have done in that war, to include supporting Hitler openly.

            Aid to Stalin should have been predicated upon him giving up leverage to keep him from attaining the vast power that victory brought him over Eastern Europe, and we never should have acquiesced to the long night that the formerly free states of that region suffered. That we did shall forever be held against us, in the courts of historical judgment.

            1. No, I don’t think so. We made hard choices because there were no easy choices.

              We couldn’t leave Stalin to Hitler’s tender mercies because Hitler really was a greater threat. And we couldn’t bargain very effectively with Stalin because Stalin had made a bargain with Hitler once before and there was real reason to fear he might do it again.

              It is the tragedy of the human condition that sometimes all the choices are unpleasant. We still have to pick one. We picked the right, or at least the least wrong, one.

                1. No, you didn’t.

                  You don’t have to vote, and you don’t have to vote for someone who has a chance of winning.

                  1. Not voting or voting for someone who cannot win is still a choice, and still a bad choice. It may not even be the least bad choice.

                    I submit that, if you didn’t vote for Romney last time around, you didn’t make the least bad choice.

                    1. From my signature file:

                      Morality needs a concept of awfulness as well as awesomeness. In the depths of hell, good things are not an option and therefore not a consideration, but there are still choices to be made.
                      -Mitchell Porter

                      The point is you don’t *have* to vote, and if you feel morally compelled to vote (which I understand) you do not have to vote for a major party. Or even a minor party. You can always write in. It may not count for much, but it’s still there.

                      We are in a place where there are no good options, and no safe paths.

            2. Witness the UK, for example, with regards to the Official Secrets Act, and their attitudes towards personal self-defense.

              I’m not nor ever have been a resident of The Place Where England Used To Be, but from my distant vantage point I’d argue that the Official Secrets Act (first passed as the Official Secrets Act of 1889) and the constraints on personal firearms (Pistols Act of 1903) both trace more directly back to the pan-European upper crust fears of the rising tide of unwashed masses embracing Socialism. All the previous public freedoms were treated as fair game in the fight to preserve the aristocracy.

              The same thing happened in US law as to gun rights here, though the uprising feared buy the various upper crusts was to be by those of poor immigrant or African heritage. Here in CA, some of the first firearms restrictions in state law were on Chinese and Mexican descent residents. Note at that time Californios of Mexican descent were more likely here prior to statehood, and the haoles were more the immigrants, but the lower-crust/upper-crust fears were the same as back East or in the South.

              The reduction of self defense rights in the UK came later, as self defense only exited the traditional English Common Law definitions in 1967 and thus started to be defined by Parliament. Since then, of course, things have been progressively (there’s that word again) constrained, to the point where there does not any longer seem to be any practical right of self defense in English law at all.

              1. I see a continuous thread from the anarchist uprisings and revolutionary insanities of the time surrounding the 1848 time of troubles, right through to modern-day progressivism. They have some of the same intellectual forebears, and the reactions to that turmoil and activism stem from some of the same sources. The rise of Irish nationalism that led to the initial firearms control laws in the UK stem from some of the same sources that later fed into Nazism.

                From the viewpoint I have, the whole sorry mess starts to look a lot alike, whether you’re talking the radical anarchists of the late Nineteenth, or the radical Islamists of the present day: They’re all afraid of change, and feel threatened by their inability to adapt to those changes. The reactionaries on the other side are just as bad.

                I see there being two different perspectives: One of control, trying to keep people in line, and one of liberty, where you let people go to their own devices and desires. The astonishing thing to me is how many intellectually dissimilar movements boil down to wanting the same damn thing: Control over others. Whether it is the revanchist aristocrats who wanted to retain control over the “lower classes” of England, or the current lot of Democrat politicians who want to do away with the right for free men to bear arms in their own defense, there’s a common thread of distrust of the common man, and a desire to control him–Oftentimes, “for his own good…”, on the theory that such proletarians can’t manage their own lives. That’s a constant factor with these assholes, whether they call themselves Communists or “the upper classes”: They don’t trust the rest of us, and they think they have a right to control us, as though we were some kind of semi-sapient domesticated animal.

                It’s amazing to realize that these sorts have colonized our own culture and government, but they have. At some point, we’re going to have to either acquiesce, or rid ourselves of them, yet again.

                1. I see a continuous thread from the anarchist uprisings and revolutionary insanities of the time surrounding the 1848 time of troubles, right through to modern-day progressivism.

                  And to tie into Our Lovely Yet Fearsomely Carp-Bearing Hostess’s thoughts up top, the addition of this long term suppression-of-the-masses ideology with the Greenie religion presents a very dangerous development. I can argue that before this watermelon era, communist efforts as per the USSR eventually fell apart specifically because they had no irrefutable higher authority to counter any observed failures – if the five year plan failed over and over again, no honest ‘rational scientific analysis’ could prevent the eventual disillusionment of the masses. But now, if something (everything) doesn’t happen as predicted by the scientists models, that’s just because Mother Gaia is so immensely complex and wonderful, but we still need to close this local power plant and cut your electric service. It’s for the planet, and the children.

                  Oh, and pay no attention to Al Gore’s mansion up there on the hill, all lit up. He’s a prophet, don’t you know.

                  Now they finally have the inarguable religious foundation to launch their great crusade.

                  That’s a constant factor with these assholes, whether they call themselves Communists or “the upper classes”

                  I concur – Not a new thought, but I’ve observed before that any and all of these ‘isms’ is really just an Aristocracy Under Camouflage. The difference is simply that different sets of people end up living in the high house on the hill.

                  Given that’s the case, much observed political action becomes really very predictable.

                  1. Read your Livy ~ this foundational argument between the patricians and the plebeians can be found in the early centuries of Rome’s republic and was the origin for such institutions as the Tribunate.

  11. A most perceptive post.

    I’ve got this little theory, see: Every human being in the world has an imperative need for irrational belief in their lives. Every one of us, whether Christian, Muslim, or secular humanist, must believe in something completely irrational, or their mental equilibrium will be off to such a degree that they won’t be able to function. I base this on observation, and despite the fact that there are variations in our requirement for this need, I believe it to be universal.

    Every man or woman I know who’s had a clear, unblinking grasp on the “real” has wound up depressed and suicidal. If they manage to pull out of it, it’s because they surrendered to the need for the irrational. And, that’s why it’s an imperative: Without a belief in the fundamentally irrational, much of life simply seems both pointless and not worth living. Despair stalks those who are unable to dwell in a world without self-imposed shadows, and despair inevitably kills.

    This is why those who have abandoned purely religious faith are so adamant about the belief systems that they adopt in its place. The anthropogenic global warming enthusiasts? They’ve substituted their theories for the Holy Trinity, and hold to their beliefs as though they were divinely inspired. Why is that? It’s simple: APG is occupying and has taken over that space which was once occupied by religion.

    Now, this would be a relatively amusing thing to observe, but the fact is that this shift is enormously damaging to civil society. This is why the Democrats are so damn vicious and mindlessly conformist to their beliefs: Most Republicans, at least in my observation, still have a religion to more-or-less occupy their need for the irrational. Democrats, by and large, don’t. So, they’ve substituted their party and its policies as proxies for that need. Which is why the Republicans are at such a disadvantage; they’re fighting an opponent which sees the conflict as a religious war. This has historically been a situation where the more fanatic side will win, eventually.

    So, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the Republicans to ever overcome their opponents. They just don’t care enough; for the Republicans, they’re basically just not invested enough in the conflict to do the vicious things they need to, and don’t see their opponents the same way their opponents see them: As the enemy in what is fundamentally becoming a religious war, with all that entails.

    In short? We’re screwed, being here in the middle. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, per se. If I had to be classified, I suspect I’d probably come out on the political spectrum rather far to the right of Ghengis Khan, as a fanatical pragmatist. I don’t care what they do, or who does it, so long as it works and doesn’t screw over me or mine.

    I really think that we’re in for some dark times, because I see all too many of the Democrats as being fanatical believers in the bullshit they’ve been sold. They don’t care if it works: Their policies are unreasoning, just as religious faith is. And, as has been observed, you can’t reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into, in the first place.

    1. Yes, and no. Republicans by and large don’t care about a lot of what goes on. They’re more focused on the day to day practicalities. But they tend to have little trip wires that You Do Not Cross.

      And then all Hell breaks loose.

      I get the impression that there’s something dangerously close to bubbling up on the Left that will involve families, and that will inadvertently trigger a very backlash by the public.

      1. You’re never going to get a level of fanaticism out of a Republican that you routinely see demonstrated by the Democrats. Which is why the Republicans are doomed–They reserve their irrational belief and fanaticism for things like their traditional religious beliefs. When translated to the political sphere, this leaves them at a decided disadvantage.

        The Democrats, in my view, have been taken over by a bunch of people who’ve essentially sublimated their imperative need for an object of worship and religious fervor into the Party and its precepts. Similar features can be found with regards to the Communists in Russia. These people are fervent, virulent converts to the cause, and they renew their population of converted fanatics with every graduating class coming from the institutions of indoctrination which they deliberately took over as a first step. The madness isn’t going to cease until the cycle is broken. And, when faced with dealing with people like this, the Republicans cannot win, because they utterly fail to comprehend that they’re even in a religious war, nor do they have the necessary belief in their programs and causes. This is why the left has been so damn successful with capturing institutions and individuals who work there, no matter what beliefs they had going in. Look at the men put on the Supreme Court–They go in with carefully vetted conservative records, and within a few years, they’re captured by the system, which is manned by true believers in the programs of secular socialism and progressivism. They’re surrounded by a milieu of that BS, and are inevitably captured by it, becoming part of the problem while still espousing the principles they claim they had before going there, and piously mouthing the platitudes of the left.

        The situation will come to an end, but I fear that the infection is going to kill the beast we call our nation.

        1. “They reserve their irrational belief and fanaticism for things like their traditional religious beliefs.”

          And when the Democrats threaten those?

          1. You’re not getting the point I’m making: The Republicans will never do the things they need to do to counter the fanatics on the Democrat side. And, that’s because the engagement is framed in their heads as a purely secular issue, that of political decision-making. The Republicans will keep right on going to church, and won’t engage with the Democrats until and unless the fight intrudes into something that interferes with that. The Democrats will keep picking, picking, picking away at things until the very norms they are undermining aren’t there, anymore. How else do you think we got to the point where gay marriage was even a thing?

            On the one side, you have fanatics. On the other side, people who really don’t give a rat’s ass about the things the first side thinks are essential, and who will keep on conceding things bit by bit, piece by piece, up until the whole thing comes crashing down. Look at what’s happened to all the various foundations that are so crucial to putting the progressive causes into effect? Did the Rockefellers or Fords mean for any of this to happen? Some did, but most had no idea how their legacies would wind up hijacked.

              1. Sarah, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you on your assessment that this situation is akin to a cult. We’re way, way past the point where you could call this situation a mere cult.

                I think it would be more realistic to liken it to the same sort of situation that was present around the time of Constantine: What was once the mere cult of Christianity was then big enough to threaten the nature of the polytheistic world of Roman culture, and instead of merely taking its place as one of many other cults and religious faiths, it took the whole thing over.

                That’s the point we’re at today: The substitute “faith” of the left, espoused by the Democratic Party, is now in the position of being able to take over, and choke out any and all of its competing belief systems. In a real sense, Obama is their Constantine.

                Our failure to recognize this is part of our failure to counter this. We are not being honest in not acknowledging that these people are fanatical “true believers”, in most respects. It boggles the mind, talking to some of them.

                There’s a couple I’m acquainted with, who are nice people, but they’re left-wing true believers, dating back to FDR when they were children. They’re getting screwed over by the current regime, but even though they’re being beggared (lack of interest on their heretofore “safe” investments, for one thing), they flatly refuse to acknowledge that the policies of this current regime have anything to do with their problems. Even after they lost close to a hundred thousand dollars in their investment in GM stock, they still won’t admit to themselves that any of this is due to the lawless nature of our current administration or its policies. They’ll go right up to the edge, and say that there are problems, but instead of blaming the administration that actually did these things, they’ll blame an outside party like the bankers, or their investment adviser that put them into the stock back in the 1970s to begin with.

                It’s a religion, a faith, an irrational fixation on the “rightness” of their belief system. Either that, or the whole lot of them are f**king nuts. Right now, I’m operating on the assumption that both theories are correct. It’s simply a matter of percentages, at this point.

                1. The evidence is that the truly radical Left is a small minority AND that they invariably overplay their hand. In part because they are incapable of running a business/society for any length of time they typically destroy that which they have co-opted. Notice how their ham-fistedness is destroying the institutions they’ve occupied, from the MSM to Publishing to Hollywood to the Public Schools. The Internet has prospered because it enables alternate routes and institutions, unraveling their iron curtain of misinformation.

                  Yet a small, dedicated minority can take over a great nation. The question is whether the sprinting Progs will have the stamina to head off the marathoners of the Center/Right. It looks bad at the moment, but then it almost always does.

                  If they push their agenda too hard the reaction will be far more dire than you recognize. Read Victor Davis Hanson on the Western Way of war.

              2. I think the Second Amendment is starting to show up as a flash point for Republicans. I don’t think the Democrats realize that this is an issue they ought to avoid. Or perhaps they do, but don’t realize that this is not going to have the same reaction as usual.

                1. Disarming the serfs is too important to the ultimate progressive victory. They can’t let it go when all these rednecks keep buying guns and ammo. Fortunately for us. I hope they keep pushing. I see the 2nd Amendment as one of the few things that can bring together much of the citizenry.

                2. I suspect you’re right.

                  Things that set off Samwise Republicans are those that attack their ability to function directly.

                  “Defend yourself”– which, unlike bans on machine guns, more recent second amendment attacks are– is a basic thing. I can say “well, I don’t need a full automatic.” But when you try to ban simiautomatics, and your wording includes my 38 special revolver, AKA the big “easy write” pencil of the gun world– your’e going to hit resistance.

                  More than you expect.

            1. I *am* getting the point you’re making, and I disagree. The only reason why conservatives aren’t responding as strongly is because they don’t put the same weight on the things that the liberals are focusing on. I *get* that. But there *are* things that the conservatives value strongly. And the liberals *will* attempt to go after those things – sooner rather than later, by my estimate. And when that happens, the conservatives will respond strongly. *Everyone* has something that they’re fanatical about. Sometimes it just isn’t quite as obvious what that thing is.

              1. Junior, I understand what you’re saying. I really do. But, and it’s a huge “but”, you’re wrong. You’re guilty of wishful thinking.

                Disagree with me? Take a look at all the attacks that have been made on those things that you think “really count” with the Republican base. Where’s the pushback by the Catholics on things like the Act Up desecrations of Catholic worship services? Where’s the massive pushback and revolt that should be taking place right now, against Obamacare’s mandate to pay for abortion services? There are a token few Catholics that are upset, and protesting, but there aren’t anywhere near enough to indicate that the majority even care, let alone care enough to man the barricades. And, that’s precisely what it’s going to take to counter the Democrats: Enough fervent believers to man the barricades. They aren’t there, I’m afraid. And, when they are, the left manages to neatly finesse the whole thing by bringing up something like the pedophilia scandals.

                This is fundamentally a religious war that we’re in. The fact that we in the middle of all this refuse to recognize that fact doesn’t help the situation. What we need to figure out is how to deprogram the people who’ve fallen prey to the wiles of the power-hungry. Because, if we don’t, we’re going to wind up in the situation that most Germans found themselves in during the Hundred Years War, playing host to the rampaging idiocies of the fanatics and their hangers-on.

                Thinking that these people are merely political opponents is a fundamentally mistaken place to start from, just like thinking that the Republicans are magically going to rise to the occasion. They won’t be doing that–This process is so insidious and so long-term that it’s not visible to anyone who doesn’t closely follow history, or even remember the events of their own lives. I’ve been watching this crap take place before me for over 50 years, and it is amazing to me just how much things have changed. I don’t have a particular position against gay marriage myself, but look at what has happened since the 1970s in this regard: We’ve gone from a situation where gay sexual behavior was anathema in the public sphere to one where it’s practically mandatory in some circles, if you want to be successful. Track how that happened, and pay close and particular attention to the half-hearted attempts by those parties you’re saying are going to stop this culture/religious war in its tracks didn’t do much beyond some ineffectual hand-wringing over the offense to their beliefs. Which, I would point out, they obviously don’t really believe in.

                Get back to me when the various religious groups in this country actually start taking matters into their own hands, and taking heads at Democratic functions. They won’t ever do that, because they fundamentally do not believe in their own faith any more. They’ve lost the confidence of their beliefs, and are acting accordingly, merely going through the motions to appease their consciences.

                Believe me on this–If they really had the courage of their convictions, we’d have seen concrete actions taken long before this point. We haven’t. Ipso facto, they don’t care enough to defend themselves against the attacks that are being made. That goes for all these groups that you’re hoping will “rise up to defend the right”. They don’t give enough of a f**k to get out and counter the fanatics of the left, I’m afraid.

                Face it, folks: There will be no rising tide of outrage that will save us. We’re going to have to do the work ourselves, and get out there, somehow, to convert the fallen. Anything else just won’t answer the fanatics running the left, these days.

                1. I disagree, Kirk.

                  You’ve confused reluctance to “take heads” with the inability to do so.

                  1. Reluctance = Inability

                    If they won’t act, it doesn’t matter if they could. Capability does not equal effect.

                    And, in the final analysis, I really don’t think they’re going to act. They’ll talk about it, and wring their hands, but the current lot of “believers” isn’t going to go so far as to do a damn thing about the attacks on their faith. If they were, they’d have acted long before now. And, that goes across the entire spectrum, from “devout” Catholic to friggin’ Zoroastrian. The only ones with the balls to actually act on resisting this whole thing? The Moslems, and you’ll note how the left has made an alliance of convenience with them, I hope.

                    More than likely, the real religious war is going to be between the left and the Islamic belief systems. The rest are just going to concede the field. Where that leaves the rest of us non-delusional non-idiots, I don’t know, but living around the side effects ain’t going to be any fun.

                    1. My reluctance to buy a Cadillac does not indicate that I am unable to do so, just that the cost to me and other things I would have to sacrifice to do so outweigh the joy of owning a Caddy. Likewise, a person’s reluctance to make a major life choice does not mean that in the clutch it cannot be chosen. If you want to taunt people for caring deeply about their families and their communities and focusing on them first feel free. Most people want a chance of success before they commit, or at least a chance of success greater than the consequences of not acting. You may feel differently.

                    2. Bob, I’m not “taunting” anyone. If it hurts your feelings to have the situation analyzed rationally, too bad. Wishful thinking isn’t going to solve this problem, or even begin to cope with it. And, that’s what we need, is realistic recognition of where we’re at, and how to deal with it.

                      This is the situation we’re in with regards to dealing with the left. Whether or not we want to recognize the fact, we’re faced with what are essentially religious fanatics who will do damn near anything to further their beliefs. And, that’s precisely what they’ve been doing, over the course of my lifetime. Do you think it accidental that virtually every detail of the legislation behind the Obamacare debacle is precisely targeted at gaining political power, or that the side effects of attacking religious faith are at all accidental? Or that much of it has been on the wish list of every statist prick in government for generations, Democrat or Republican?

                      Had you suggested that the features of this legislation be passed even just fifty years ago, you’d have been laughed out of the offices of the people you approached about it. That it was able to be effectively passed in 2009 was no accident: This was a mere milepost on the journey these people want to take the rest of us on, and it’s one they’ve been working towards since the 1930s. There’s a reason they want god-like control over health care, and it’s not so that they can “do good” with it.

                      It’s just like the friggin’ Patriot Act. That monstrosity was chock-full of crap they couldn’t pass for decades, and tried desperately to enact. Same-same with the package of legislation that passed in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombings. Every opportunity they can get, or manufacture, they put another brick in the wall. There’s nobody on the other side with that kind of dedication or will. Hell, they even help out with getting this crap through Congress, step-by-miniscule-step, taking our liberties and gaining power for the anointed ones.

                      We have to recognize these facts, in order to deal with them effectively. There will be no cavalry riding to the rescue from the so-called “religious right”–They’ve been effectively co-opted in this fight, and neutered. Why else would the Catholic Church have fallen for the initial promises of the Obamacare package of legislation, in the name of “helping the poor”?

                      The majority of American Catholics truly believed what they say they do, every biship, every figure in the Church that supported the ACA would have been cast aside in the rage that should have come from them even mouthing pious platitudes in support of this abomination. They weren’t, were they? Hell, even as we speak, the only real opposition is coming from a relatively tiny order of nuns, and I’m not even really certain they have the official support of the Church, either.

                      The underpinnings are being pulled out from under these institutions, and they’re cooperating. They have been, for decades, and I don’t see any sudden awakening coming along to change things, either.

                      Ever wonder how the Nazis managed to hijack Germany? Look around you: It’s happening here, and it’s happening right now, albeit on a slower scale. We reference the fact that now-secular Germany is still enforcing Nazi policies and edicts, generations after the war. Care to compare ourselves, to them? We’re passing under the same yoke, and nobody even recognizes that fact. Denial isn’t going to help.

                    3. So you want me to panic they way you think is right instead of the way “they” think is right?

                    4. No, Bob, I don’t want you to give up, or abandon the cause. What I want you to do is understand that you’re dealing with fundamentally irrational people who’ve taken this whole thing to heart with a fervor that doesn’t just “border on religious”, but is actually the secular equivalent to a full-scale religion.

                      You can’t reason with these people. They are beyond reason, because they “believe” in the fairy tales they’ve been indoctrinated with just as fervently as any good Catholic believes in the Trinity.

                      Failure to understand that fact at a gut level is what makes countering these pernicious jackasses so hard. They’re working at undermining the pillars of our civilization just as hard, and just as fervently as the most insidious Islamic Mullah working “within the system” in London is, only they’re doing so invisibly. Why are they invisible? Because people like you and I refuse to recognize that these people are this insanely dedicated to their cause.

                      You and I discuss a political program or legislative action in terms of “Will it work? Is it effective?”, and when it doesn’t prove to be either, we’re fine with abandoning it. These people on the Democrat, left-wing side are not capable of rationally analyzing such issues; everything is framed as though their positions were articles of faith, immune to question. And that’s the problem with trying to deal with them as though they were rational actors; they are most manifestly not.

                      You cannot discuss, you cannot negotiate, and you cannot compromise with these people. George H.W. Bush tried it, back during his administration, over his pledge of “no new taxes”. Look where it got him, just like every other ‘effiing ineffectual Republican. These assholes on the Democratic side of the equation are fundamentally religiously fanatic believers in their cause, and are essentially impossible to deal with because of that fact.

                      Failure to recognize this is why we of good faith are having our asses handed to us.

                    5. Kirk, how do I put this? You yell and thrash about. This drives off the uncommitted. You instruct people as to what they must do. This drives off the people who might be inclined to listen to you. You put down intricately written treaties that wind around with subclauses and extra frills and subsidiary points and go on and on and on. This puts off the people who are looking for fart puns. You use loaded language and shibboleths. This makes paranoids like me worry about false flags.
                      I am sure you are committed and that you care, but did you realize that you may be creating the very reaction that an actual false flag operative strives to do in discrediting basic concepts of personal freedom and natural rights, and by running the straights and the marks off? And that your original post was that people don’t and can’t think straight, which makes your attempt to force them into good thought kinda…pointless?

                    6. While he is guilty of pessimism, his philosophy as stated in the past has been consistent and cohesive. He has not acted to undermine and destroy previously. That I do not always agree with his conclusions does not indicate that he is operating with ill intent.

                      In the absence of some indication of malicious intent, why accuse him of false flag operations?

                    7. I don’t care. I suspect the cats on prime numbered days of the month for practice. I do refuse to argue minutiae

                    8. Kirk,
                      How many here have bought their new healthcare plans? How many have gone through the exchanges? Don’t say we are doing nothing. We are just about to the point we were 1773 (remember when they ridiculed Sarah Palin for telling Tea Partiers it was time to party like it was 1773?). We are refusing to pay the taxes the king has levied on us. If they continue to push like the king did back then, the Tree of Liberty will be watered. Yes the leaves are withering and drying up, but too much, too fast, and for too long will drown it. I’m worried same as you are, but I don’t think it is time to cut the tree up into firewood just yet, there is a good chance the rains will come in time to revive it, and if they don’t I expect to be tied to it when the flames start to lick at it.

                    9. Reluctance = Inability

                      Only in the Liberal playbook.

                      Those are the same morons who think that because I do not currently kick your ass for insulting me, I can’t. And then go bigger. Until they do get their asses kicked, at which point they throw a fit because I misled them by not attacking right away.

                      Don’t mistake manners for weakness.

                      It will turn out badly.

                    10. Reluctance = Inability

                      The thing that really fires me up about this is that it is what needlessly got a lot of my guys killed since 9/11.

                      That is the mindset dominant in the middle east. That is the mindset of the anti-(Jew)Christian.

                      The idea that if you could do something against those who are a threat, you would.

                      It is flatly evil bull shit.

                      Restraint is not weakness.

                      Sadly, if you’re so insane that you think that restraint is weakness, I can’t persuade you– your view of reality is simply too warped for me to fix it.

                    11. For example:

                      In the last week, I had the ability to kill at least a dozen unarmed people at any public point– assuming a one in three death rate, and a really horrible reload speed– because I am usually armed.

                      I am unwilling to do so, because it’s wrong. Guns are for defending people, to invoke the Kenshin.

                    12. Fox, you’re taking offense where there is none intended.

                      My position is this: If you won’t defend yourself or your positions, you’ve essentially made the fact that you could defend yourself and your positions utterly irrelevant. Capability without will is meaningless.

                      Examples abound throughout history. The Communists in the Soviet Union could have exerted themselves to crack down and stay in power. They willfully chose not to, so they are no longer in power. The fact that they most certainly still had the ability to stay in power is utterly meaningless. And, if you disagree that they could have, consider the point that they still had control of the Strategic Rocket Forces, and the nuclear arsenal through the KGB. If they had had the same fervor and level of commitment that their Lenin-era forebears had possessed, they’d have used that capability to level Moscow after they evacuated themselves from it. Hell, with the shelter system they had, they likely could have weathered the nukes without leaving town…

                      Likewise, the French and British most certainly had the capability to stop Hitler when he re-militarized the Rhineland. They lacked the will to use that, and we have the final results of that for us to peruse in the history books.

                      Will without capability is meaningless. And, likewise, capability without the will to use it is also utterly meaningless.

                      And, whether or not you like the fact (and, please note, I don’t like it much, either…) most of our institutions lack the will to even make the most minor argument against the assaults they’re under from the left. What happened as they took over academia, back in the 1960s? Or, the schools? Where were the valiant fighters from the other side, throughout that whole nasty debacle, as the entire educational structure was taken over?

                      Nobody cared enough to fight. They didn’t even whimper, as it happened, because they lacked the courage of their convictions. We’ve eroded standards, dumbed down curriculum, and turned most of our institutions of higher learning into indoctrination centers for the left. Hell, look at Notre Dame, a theoretically Catholic university.

                      The biggest problem we have is that we’re unwilling to look these facts in the face, evaluate the situation, and then formulate a workable answer to it. We’re blind to the fact that we’re dealing with what are essentially religious fanatics, and not reasonable people with whom we have minor philosophical differences.

                      Look at how they went after Sarah Palin, for an example of what they’re willing to do in order to attain and maintain power. Why were they so threatened by her, and why did they respond like a pack of hyenas to tear her down? Regardless of her merits as a person or a politician, why did she garner that sort of response?

                      Simple answer: She’s essentially filling the role of an apostate to the faith, in most of their minds. She’s a successful woman; she should be a Democrat. That she isn’t is some kind of abomination to the left, so they reacted as though they were Iranian Mullahs and she were Salman Rushdie. Was there one hint of reason, to the reaction she created with most of these people? One tiny little bit of something you could argue against, with reasoned discussion?

                      Nope. Not a damn thing penetrates through to these people. Not facts, not evidence, not carefully reasoned arguments.

                      Our opponents do not approach these issues from a standpoint of rationality; they behave and react as though their positions, opinions, and policies were passed down to them from on high, writ on tablets of stone.

                      And, our failure to deal with these people stems from our inability to understand and acknowledge these facts. You can’t reason with the unreasoning.

                    13. Fox, you’re taking offense where there is none intended.

                      I am disagreeing with you, not taking offense. Taking the offense, perhaps, but that’s different.

                      People not reacting the way you think they should doesn’t mean they’re not reacting, especially not with an institution that has survived frequently by doing the crazy things that everyone insisted was exactly the wrong thing.

                      Nobody cared enough to fight. They didn’t even whimper, as it happened, because they lacked the courage of their convictions.

                      That’s an inaccurate caricature. Caricature, I’d accept, but the inaccuracy poisons it– people didn’t fight the take over because they didn’t recognize it. That was a major strength of communist groups, infiltration, and these guys at the very least model their tactics on it.

                      You cannot reasonably expect people to respond to subversion like it’s open action, and claim that if they don’t respond the way you think wise within their abilities then they don’t care to.

                      We’ve eroded standards, dumbed down curriculum, and turned most of our institutions of higher learning into indoctrination centers for the left. Hell, look at Notre Dame, a theoretically Catholic university.

                      — is acting like it’s run by Jesuits?
                      I don’t know when it flipped, but at some point Jesuit went from meaning “crazy awesome missionary man” to “guy who will probably argue about Jesus’ divinity.”

                      I believe it was here that someone observed that Communism is a christian heresy; perhaps taking note of how they were fought before (in those few cases where it wasn’t a matter of nations) would be useful.

                2. To repeat myself

                  What we need to figure out is how to deprogram the people who’ve fallen prey to the wiles of the power-hungry.

                  I’m perfectly willing and able to kill somebody when I in my sole opinion consider such killing appropriate. Unlike some friends of John Dean Cooper I take no joy in the prospect but see also Mr. Heinlein’s first person narrator (not to be confused with the author’s feelings) in Puppet Masters for the joys of sex and killing.

                  I’m most unwilling to deprogram anybody for my values of deprogram. You may mean something different by program and deprogram – see also C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength and many other writings especially post Korean War.

                  I doubt very much I could be persuaded to support deprogramming – as in the world of If This Goes On – even if given the technology I’d choose Coventry over deprogramming – a market place of ideas perhaps something similar to voluntary participation in 12 Step Groups possibly excepted – (no court slips, if folks are there because they want to be great; if Court ordered don’t waste everybody’s time and energy) – speaking of Orson Scott Card notice the LDS church feels threatened by 12 Step Groups.

                  1. How do you propose to counter the pernicious effects of leftist indoctrination, then? These people are as much a victim of cultish programming as any kid who fell prey to something like the Hare Krishnas ever was, and they’re about as unlikely to change their beliefs without some form of outside intervention.

                    Seriously–What do you propose? This isn’t some idle set of beliefs they’ve picked up, and are not committed to. Most of them believe in this crap as fervently as a recent convert to Christ, and I think we’ve all had experience dealing with the converted. And, every generation they manage to recruit in their indoctrination centers winds up just a fervent a convert as any Janissary ever was.

                3. Where’s the pushback by the Catholics on things like the Act Up desecrations of Catholic worship services?

                  Who huh? Never heard of it, never saw it.

                  Hard to do a push back on something that’s one of those “crazy city guys in a few crazy parish” things.

                  1. Never heard of it? By that metric, then the fallen tree out in the forest never fell, because I did not see or hear it fall…

                    Do bear in mind that that’s the New York Times sanitized version of what happened. I heard a first-hand account from a Lieutenant in the unit I was serving with, and his description of what happened during that protest included a lot more details, most of which incensed even my non-Catholic religious sensibilities. Terming that day’s activities as a desecration of a worship service is a radical understatement.

                    The Church turned the other cheek, in reaction. So did society, in general. It’s no big deal, apparently, to do what they did.

                    Do a quick compare/contrast with what happened in Russia, when Pussy Riot tried some similar behavior. The de facto head of the state-sponsored church, Vladimir Putin, put their asses into the Gulag. Don’t see too many copycats, do you?

                    Act Up got tons of laudatory publicity, and not more than maybe an ounce or two of social censure, even from the Church itself.

                    The point I’m making is not that Vladimir Putin is a guy to be impressed by, but that he at least understands that lese majestie is something to be worried about, when you’re the guy running things. Our institutions signally fail to grasp this point, and are essentially disarmed and defenseless by choice, when it comes to countering these assaults on the social commons.

                    If the immune system isn’t working, the organism is going to be taken over by the disease process. And, I will continue to submit that the immune system for our national body politic is completely dysfunctional. We won’t even enforce the social mores of good manners, any more. We’ve allowed the madmen to take over and run the damn asylum. Mostly because we’re too damn well-mannered to tell them “NO”, and make it stick.

                    Which, I’ll point out, is how the Nazis managed to get so many Jews onto the trains without losing a proportionate number of SS and Gestapo types: The Jews were exquisitely civilized and well-mannered people.

                    1. Never heard of it? By that metric, then the fallen tree out in the forest never fell, because I did not see or hear it fall…

                      No, because you ask for PUSHBACK, which is entirely different than the unheard tree not falling.

                      It would be more along the lines of claiming that people don’t pick up downed lumber because when a tree fell, they didn’t go get it. It ignores that there is no reaction of the sort you are looking for without knowledge.

                    2. Good heavens, you expect people to be STILL reacting to something 25 years ago? No wonder I hadn’t heard of it, I was SIX!

                      The Church did Judo– we have changed things to make it harder for activists to get the attention they want by attacking/disrupting services. I fully believe that the NYT cleaned it up– there’s usually enough former Catholics involved that they’ll try to desecrate the Host. That idiot atheist college professor/blogger (I’d say his name, but I don’t care enough to remember it) tried to get someone to steal the Host for him to desecrate, and either did and lied about it when there were consequences or lied to posture to his idiot friends.

                      Body fluids are common weapons.

                      They want attention. They aren’t able to get it that way very effectively. While the Church’s lack of bold, viscerally pleasing stands annoys me at times, it works. People HAVE been persuaded to come home because they didn’t get hit like the activists claimed to expect.

                    3. On the topic of the vandalism itself (not a protest)– kind of fitting that the attackers were wrong about who was killing people, too, no? Those areas where the Church is allowed to teach abstaining and monogamy, the HIV rate is far lower and so is the death rate.

                    4. Fox, you keep personalizing the general: I’m not saying you’re the one at fault for not going down and kicking ass at St. Patricks, I’m saying that the observed fact that hardly anyone even had the balls to criticize Act Up indicates that the body politic lacks the will to enforce the rules of social conduct.

                      People keep taking offense when I point these things out to them, which tells me a hell of a lot: One, most of us are in a state of denial about what’s going on in front of us, and that two, they feel a sense of guilt over watching this happen without taking personal action. Or, so I surmise.

                      The root of the problem is that we’re not dealing with some harmlessly transgressive juvenile delinquents who are acting out in an immature fashion. Instead, we are dealing with fanatics who are conducting a coldly calculated and utterly ruthless attack on our social institutions. It started in academia, and it’s gone on to other equally important things like the churches.

                      You listen to the half-hearted defenses made by the people running these institutions, and you really have to wonder if they aren’t just like that confessed atheist they had as the Archbishop of Canterbury a few years back. Take a look at the BS the left has inflicted on the Chaplain’s Corps in the services. The only people raising a fuss about the new regulations are a few maverick priests and others, who are suing to maintain their freedom of religion. The people running the churches that ordained these guys? They’re doing their level best to shush them up. It’s almost as though they’re embarrassed to advocate for their own beliefs in any meaningful way.

                      All too many of the people running the institutions I’m discussing are doing the same thing that academia did, back in the 1960s. They’re offering polite, ineffectual disagreements with the barbarians, and then nodding their heads along with their abusers, donning the yellow star like good little Jews did under the Nazis.

                      And, these modern-day equivalents to the Jewish community elders of that era are taking the rest of us along for the ride, which will likely end in the same damn place that the last go-round did.

                      Some mistake what I’m saying here as a whimper of despair; I intend it as a cri de coeur, and hopefully, if enough listen, as a call to arms.

                    5. The problem is, you’re mistaking “It’s just not worth the hassle to make a big deal out of it” with “It will NEVER be worth the hassle, no matter what they do.” That is the literal meaning of your original statement that got people disagreeing with you. You claim they will don’t have the will to do anything, others, like me, are saying that it’s just not a severe enough problem yet.

                      Part of this calculation is the fact that the Media, having been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Left for so long, will make out any defensive attacks by the victims of these sorts things to be the evildoers. It won’t help them if they push back on anything that doesn’t outrage enough people, and will actually hurt them.

                    6. Wayne, just when do you think it’s going to get “bad enough” for people to “do something”?

                      This is the classic “boil-the-frog” situation we’re in. Nobody is paying attention to just what is going on, and the effects are so slow and insidious that nobody really notices. Unless you’ve got the perspective from which to see it, you never notice it.

                      Look at our social commons. When did it become acceptable to do these things, like misuse the IRS? How the hell did that creep in, and nobody noticed it happening? Richard Nixon tried, note, tried to do that, and the IRS commissioner, a Republican, shut him down. It was one of the things that went on his impeachment. Now look at the situation: We have a sitting president who has gotten up on national TV, and denied that there was any wrongdoing, while the IRS official who was apparently primarily responsible has taken the 5th in front of Congressional investigation. She still hasn’t been called to book for that. When does someone plan on doing something about that? When this President leaves office, after issuing a pardon to her?

                      We’ve got a rogue agency that broke national law, international law, and violated treaty obligations to pump weapons into a foreign nation. During this “operation”, several hundred citizens of that nation were killed, along with several US agents. Nothing has been done. Nobody lost their jobs, except for the poor schlubs who turned whistleblower. And, what makes it worse? Not one individual in that agency stood up during the planning or actual early operational stages of that entire cluster-fark to say “This is wrong, and I won’t do it…”. It was only when they realized that a dead Border Patrol agent was going to make it impossible to keep things quiet that they even started to think about blowing the whistle on that whole sordid affair.

                      When, pray tell, do you think it will be “bad enough”? Do you think it will be when they start loading the cattle cars for the camps?

                      As the phrase goes, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. And, from the way things look, the vast majority of us are not paying attention. I still can’t believe that we actually re-elected the cretins running this administration, even though the idiot Republicans put up a horrible candidate.

                      I really don’t know what the answer is, to all of this, but to sit back and hope that they’re finally going to get enough people angry with them to actually do something effective about this crap? I’m increasingly pessimistic that anyone really cares enough anymore. We all need to get off our asses and start coming up with an effective way to deal with this, and one of the key things we need to do in order to even begin that is to acknowledge the true nature of our opponents. These people do not represent normal political opposition; this is a quasi-religious movement, inchaote as it may appear, and it would be better for us to frame it as such. Political debates work only when your opponent is amenable to having their mind changed, and that’s pretty much not going to happen with the Democrats. Or, for that matter, the statist elites running the Republicans, either.

                    7. Depends on what level you’re talking about doing something.

                      On the church issue, it will be when something outrages the majority and they call for something to be done about it. Right now, they’re annoyed, not outraged.

                      On the political issues, it will have to wait until the cumulative annoyances and outrages give enough impetus to the opponents of those in power to vote them out. Yes, the IRS official may get off the hook, although I don’t know if it’s possible for a President to nullify another President’s pardon? If she were prosecuted before the pardon, I’m sure it couldn’t be done, but if the pardon were produced without her ever being convicted in the first place, the question may be in a gray area.

                      Or are you calling for an armed insurrection? Nothing will be done with the current crop of officeholders, so either a vote has to change the scene (and ground has been gained, though the margin of fraud in the last election was far higher than most people admit, and which HAS been investigated and prosecuted more in the past few years than in recent history), or people will have to take up arms.

                      Right now, I don’t think enough people would support taking up arms, because it’s only been for a few years that alternative media has been professional enough to make a dent in the mainstream media’s stranglehold. You will have to give people more time to digest how much the sheer volume of outrageous acts is so very much higher than anything they knew before. It takes a while for people to believe things that contradict their prior understanding.

                      You’re seeing things because you’re one of those who goes out and finds. Most people aren’t, and never will be. It has to soak in from the fringes that things are far worse than they think.

                    8. “People keep taking offense when I point these things out to them, which tells me a hell of a lot:”

                      What that should tell you is that they do care, and that they are willing to do something. If nobody took offense I would be much more concerned and despairing. People should be taking offense at the things you are telling them, I thought that was your whole point?

            2. It’s a good thing that Henry Ford’s legacy was hijacked. Henry Ford was among other things a seriously bigoted anti-Semite. The Ford Motor Company advertised more in Commentary than all other car companies combined to combat that legacy with the side effect of supporting the magazine.

              We’re not in the middle of a religious war. Many of us are in the Scotch – Irish position of John Paul Jones: we have not yet begun to fight. See e.g. the maple syrup wars for a description of the Jacksonian approach of being slow to go to war but fighting without limit once engaged, I’m not going to strap on my guns to make a history class use Samuel Elliott Morrison and Henry Steele Commager in high school history rather than Howard Zinn but I do have my guns.

              1. Clark, we’re in a religious war. Period. The problem is that it’s not framed as such. We who are here discussing this do not even recognize the true nature of the problem, and that is that the belief system that has captured the left in this country is just that–A substitute religion.

                Everyone needs something to believe in. And, despite all evidence that may appear that that belief system doesn’t work, people will continue to believe and follow it. How else to explain the power of prayer in most formal religions? How many prayers are “answered”? And, yet, despite the demonstrated lack of efficacy, the believer continues on with their prayers.

                They don’t build cathedrals, they don’t have formal churches, but the left has their same irrational beliefs, and they will keep right on trying to put them into effect, despite the demonstrated real-world lack of success.

                Our failure to understand this is a large part of why we fail so thoroughly to counter these people. We can keep making rational arguments, but so long as we try to address the rational mind of people who’ve so thoroughly identified with this belief system, we’re going to fail. This isn’t a political fight; this is a religious one. Whether or not we want to recognize it as such, that is what it is. They believe so very much, with so very much fervor, because they’ve replaced the spiritual centers of their lives, the need for an outside irrationality to fill a void within that it’s past the point of reason. You can’t talk these people out of this shit, because it’s not something they talked themselves into, in the first place.

                1. To repeat myself once again:

                  Some – even on the Bar – argue that frex Trotskyite Deviationism say, and I suppose many such a belief, is not properly a religion but takes the place of religion for those who believe it. Maybe falls into the God-shaped hole square peg in a round hole style?

                  Should be obvious or known who on the Bar I might be drawing on and of whom he was speaking.

                  I’m willing to stipulate that religion or like a religion may either one be appropriate usage rather than arguing semantics or semiotics instead of the underlying issue.

                  In terms from history of religions the Inquisition (and counter reformation) was founded as a humanitarian movement and to supersede less humane – in context of the times – methods.

                  In the context of my times folks are welcome to their religion or anything like a religion or freedom of thought and I will oppose in such ways as I see fit any new Inquisition.

                  “for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

                  I would add over the body of individuals or the body of men as well. Sadly Jefferson was perfectly willing to exercise total tyranny over the bodies of his slaves but die gedanken sind frei.

                  If there’s no uncoerced majority there’s always a remnant. That is in religious terms see Nock on Isaiah’s job; some obscure writer on USA.

                  May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

                  May be the best I can do in the end.

                  Keep the powder dry or keep singing Black Powder and Alcohol

    2. You’re missing one thing — their belief doesn’t work in a real world that’s increasingly more complex.
      Don’t lose faith. Keep the powder dry. In the end they’re the doomsday cult, and they’ll be left on the mountainside waiting for the UFO. Yeah, they’ll kill a lot of us. Look to yourself and those you love. And keep your powder dry.

      1. Sarah, the point that I’m trying to make here is that we’re not analyzing this in terms that describe what is really going on. The left is a religion, and we’re in the midst of a religious war. Just because most of us don’t see their beliefs as being particularly religious, we’re not evaluating them properly, nor are we countering them effectively.

        Most leftists I’ve dealt with flatly refuse to discuss things rationally. The moment you introduce hard facts, and reality, they retreat into a cocoon of doctrine that bears no contradiction. It’s like arguing religious faith with someone who’s a devout believer. That’s the point we’re missing, here: These people may be delusional, but they’re fanatically, religiously delusional. There’s something going on here which is effectively impossible to address rationally, and that is something we’re going to have to deal with. They churn out thousands of indoctrinated believers every damn year, and we keep right on sending our children to participate in the creation of Janissaries against us. This is like the Christians sending the Turks their children, in order to ensure that the kids at least had a shot at food and survival.

        The whole thing is going to crash to the ground, but I guarantee you that the idiots who find themselves in the wreckage are still going to be standing there blaming the “wreckers”, and insisting that socialism would work, if only…

      2. You’re missing one thing — their belief doesn’t work in a real world that’s increasingly more complex.

        It works fine for the people in charge.

  12. The behaviors of progressives, their assumptions and arguments, are why I frequently force myself to work through my premises. Also why I try to divorce my logic from personal preference. The arrogance in progressivism, to assume the capability and authority to dictate the lives of 314 million heterogeneous people to suit their personal philosophy… It does great damage for little or no good.

    Unfortunately, this is not solely a character of the progressive religionists.

  13. First off, I’d like to clear up a misconception by making it obvious that the people who support it are right even though they’re wrong. Confused yet? Good. Let me make it worse for you.

    Historical interpretations of everything have always changed. Really. “Man of his time” does NOT just apply to Heinlein. It applies to Ug and Og as well. Yup and to that baby that was born somewhere in the world while I was writing this sentence. And all of the babies yet to come. And everyone in between. And whoever else I forgot. And, even among people who lived in the same timeframe, there is a dissonance. Seriously. People in Europe (in general) consider World War I to be the most important war to be fought during the twentieth century. Some American just read that and spit coffee all over their monitor because we KNOW that World War II was WAAAAYYYY more important. Of course, a European who saw the map of their entire continent redrawn because of the fall of empires that existed for centuries has a point. Then again, so does an American who looks at the growth of his country from a somewhat important place to the world’s largest superpower. It’s all relative.

    There is a study of this as a sort of sub-genre of history. It’s called historiography and any scholarly work of history will include coverage of the historiography of its subject either just before or just after explaining what the author thinks. I’ve actually took a grad level class that was about nothing BUT historiography and included one particular work that made me want to slam my head against a table. BUT this is not a new phenomenon.

    The interpretation of the left is, however, a newer thing because they have recently taken over the liberal arts and the soft sciences. I’m not saying it’s correct, mainly because it’s incredibly flawed and based on a hundred and fifty year old economic theory that didn’t adequately explain things as they existed then, but it’s what happened. The latest movement doesn’t really acknowledge its Marxist leanings either. They call themselves “post-modernists”. My interpretation of the name post-modernist is that they’re trying to dictate the future by dictating the past. The name in and of itself also signifies a desire to be the last interpretation. After all, anything “post-modern” is in the future. But here’s the thing: History keeps moving. Their interpretation will eventually give way to someone else’s.

    That’s where we come in. We have to find a way to influence that future debate. We have to worm our way in and make our interpretation emerge. Yes, it will be different than the interpretation that past generations have learned. Change is the only thing that will never change. It’s part of the human condition. What we need to focus on is finding a way to get our message out there. A way to point out that, yeah Whitey hasn’t always been a nice guy. Of course, none of us were alive when blacks were enslaved and we’re not the same people who introduced opium to China and we won’t accept the blame. Let’s not forget either that the majority (by NO MEANS all) of the soldiers who fought for the Union during the American Civil War were white. The man who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation was white. The majority of the people who voted to ratify the Thirteenth (end of slavery) and Fourteenth (original non-discrimination amendment) were white. So are the majority of the aid workers in African nations NOW. Yes, it’s true. Not all white people are bad. We don’t have to be ashamed of our pale skin.

    Ditto the United States of America. Slavery happened. The conquest of the West happened. It wasn’t always pretty. (Or maybe never pretty) but it happened. But it’s not all bad. The US saved Western Europe from totalitarianism. The worldwide push for civil rights started here. The Marshall Plan kept Europe from starving in the wake of the Second World War. The list of times the American government and its military have stepped in to help people in the wake of disaster is too long to cover here. The Founding Fathers were not perfect but the government they set up (which is NOT the one that we currently have, BTW) was, and still would be, the best form of government that has ever existed on the planet.

    How do we ram this down the throats of the lefties out there? I don’t know.

    1. I still remember the time that Chesterton wished that people who said that some man or another did very well considering the limitations of the time, would then add that they were doing a pretty good job interpreting him considering the limitations of theirs.

    2. I’d say speak for yourself on “ we KNOW that World War II was WAAAAYYYY more important.”

      In my not at all humble opinion the 70 Years War was way more important. More important mostly because of compromises made internally in the United States with the folks who sincerely wanted to lose, the useful merely idiots and with the folks who just wanted to log roll by attaching their pet projects to the war effort – people with misguided priorities who were willing if not eager to lose the war unless their personal and in my view both selfish and misguided conditions were met.

      As Churchill said of not intending to pay with the old Great Britain for winning WWII but he did so; so too we the people have paid much more than necessary for winning the 70 year War. Europe of course fought the 70 years War about as much as Switzerland fought WWII. See Dr. Pournelle for expansion and exposition if desired.

      Then too, not WWII but WWI left the United States a super power – WWII may have made it obvious. Compare life in the United States in the 19th century – my grandmother went west in a covered wagon – with the position of the United States after the Spanish American War and World War I and into the Roaring Twenties – such things as immigration flows GDP and such making the United States the Arsenal of Democracy before the United States entry into the WWII fighting.

      Historiography is easily explained because easily observed in the context of the Comintern and the Soviet Union in general. Sometimes it’s Stalin who won WWII sometimes it’s the people. See Fred Pohl on shifting positions – pre Barbarossa the Nazi parade down the Champs Elysee was a triumph of socialism; post Barbarossa not so much. Stalinization de Stalinization re Stalinization and so it goes. Some reason for hope because every time the story shifted somebody started questioning.

      1. It is a fallacy to distinguish between WWI, WWII and the Cold War that followed. The actual war triggered by the collapse of the reigning European Philosophy of Government has worked its way through a Century of aftershocks and will likely require decades more. In one light, even the War of Islamic Fundamentalism is an extension of that war because it represents yet one other paradigm of How The World Should Work.

    3. The latest movement doesn’t really acknowledge its Marxist leanings either. They call themselves “post-modernists”. My interpretation of the name post-modernist is that they’re trying to dictate the future by dictating the past. The name in and of itself also signifies a desire to be the last interpretation. After all, anything “post-modern” is in the future.

      Post-modernism is called that in contrast with Modernism, and isn’t really marxist at it’s base.

      See the wikipedia entries.

      Post-modernism is pretty much old news now.

        1. Agreed, with one exception: in areas of knowledge where there’s no controversy, it’s quite good. I’ve found in exceedingly useful, for example, in researching details of Intel chips when I needed the right size of heatsink to fit my computer’s processor.

          But for history? Or philosophy, or any other contentious issue? Check the editing history of the article you’re reading, and beware if there is a significant number of revisions to it.

          1. You have to know enough to recognize vandalism, too– there’s a hobby of folks going around and defacing the most obscure stuff they can find.

            A bit more generously, there are some veeeerrrrryyyy special interest groups who organize Wikipedia “correction” groups. Ran into some arguing that because they were able to “correct” the page on the history of an obscure middle-of-the-mystic-fad two centuries back guy, then Wikipedia is obviously totally able to be corrected to The Truth!!!!!

        2. Wikipedia has routinely been evaluated to be as reliable as any other encyclopedia and/or general information source. Yes, on certain hot topics there are fanatics that attempt to use it to push an agenda.

          But this is true everywhere. Fox News isn’t any more *accurate* than CNN, it just gives different news.

          I’ve basically got a minor in Art History (this is what happens when you attend an Art School and have a studio fine art degree).

          The Wikipedia entry for both Modernism and Post-moderism might not have Ph.D level accuracy, but it’s as close as you’re going to get without spending a month digging through books, and the point that I was trying to establish–that “modernism” and “postmodernism” are not about specific times, but rather refer to art movements is both clear and accurate. We can quibble over values to the right of the decimal if you really want, but we’re into very small differences.

          1. The Post-modernists were initially started by the refusal to follow what they considered to be discredited authorities that brought them to the failures, sacrifices and ultimately the blood-bath of WWI. I have trouble thinking that the only people who made this intellectual jump were Marxist-Socialist-Communists and everyone else of other politics stayed mired in the old discredited thinking. On a gut level I know there had to be classic liberals and libertarians, who were then either co-opted or suppressed or ignored out of existence.

        3. I use Wiki as a way to get a handle on the terminology and then support the facts by other sources. Treat it like ore and separate out the dross.

  14. Somehow the study done by a (leftist) professor where he ended up – to his dismay – discovering that “conservatives” operated on all five moral axes he was checking fairly evenly, while liberals operated on mostly the same two, and that conservatives could pretty easily predict the liberal answer, but not vice versa, seems appropriate.

    Not only did he have to (grudgingly) admit that conservatives weren’t simpletons but factored in a lot more when making judgements, but you also end up with (especially in light of the first study’s results) either having to accept that conservatives have the more nuanced outlook, or that the guessing discrepancy comes from overwhelming media bias giving exposure to actual liberal viewpoints to conservatives, but only straw men (if any) conservative concepts to liberals. Or some mix of the two.

    1. You’re thinking of Jonathan Haidt, and I think he’s wrong about liberals. One of the three axes he says they don’t operate on is “purity,” or the avoidance of contamination. He sees the right as concerned with this in terms of sexual matters; but he doesn’t see that very similar passions operate in the left, in relation to pollution and Green issues. The very word “pollution,” which now means releasing waste matter into the natural environment, in the 19th century was most commonly used to refer to masturbation.

      Haidt also sees conservatives, but not liberals, as concerned with loyalty to one’s group. But liberals are the ones who strongly endorse the idea of “identity politics” and the idea that it should be most important to black people to side with other black people, or to Polynesians to side with Polynesians, or to lesbians to side with lesbians.

      In other words, Haidt (a) overemphasizes the exclusive concern of liberals with the two arguably “rational” of his five moral motives because (b) he does not see the passionate and nonrational sources of some key liberal values, perhaps because (c) he takes them for granted as just obviously right.

        1. I’ll grant this – the study is full of holes – especially in regards how he chose to label the axes and what values he assigned to which.

          (this is the part where Larry would snark – but with far more air – something about when did facts ever stop liberals.. Dito him being nuts, etc… but i tend to be suspicious of anyone, especially liberals, who wants to call a philosophy a mental disorder. That said, modern “look at me” liberalism tends to promote traits that correlate with narcissism and a lack of reality checks…)

          Nevertheless, people who’ve tried to prove “conservatives==idiots” using any objective metric of complexity/etc. have failed. He’s not the only one.

          Also – and yes I’m repeating myself – the “who can guess the other side’s answers” bit correlates well to both “no, conservatives are not stupider” AND “yes there is liberal bias, it’s the water you swim in…”

          I think the most important thing is something else that study result points to when looked at through a lot of other life experience – language, and how statists and individualists use it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gotten, over and over again, the creepy feeling that the other person just doesn’t see all the related issues and contexts. That you acknowledge their point, demonstrate why it’s irrelevant, and they still act like you said something completely different, or they didn’t understand what you said meant and implies.

          I’m also sure I’m not the only one who’s run into liberals who considered Steven Colbert to not really be satire when he’s making fun of “conservatives” – that actually only exist in their heads.

          1. Yes. I’ve always said liberals live in a time warp in imaginaries-fifties land. (The fifties of Leave it to Beaver.)

            BTW do you know how many comments I delete that start with “I too am a gay-hating Christian and a real conservative.” At which point I deep six them. From a height.

            1. I have no idea. Not sure I want to know. Sadly – while I’ve lived in the south and the north, and the bigots are pretty equal (regular rednecks actually hang out with regular black folk more down here, from my own limited sample…), I still run into some people who are either unrepentant bigots, or have no idea how what they say comes across even taken charitably.

              That also said – news crews of the 20/20 variety have tried to demonstrate antigay bigotry or anti muslim bigotry in the south (the latter at a Nascar event) and the only news they could report was…. nothing to report.

              Oh – and when I was discussing Larry, I meant to say “flair” , but given the heights of his wit, what I wrote works as well.

              1. I should make it clear those comments ALWAYS go out to demonstrate they never MET a conservative. Sorry — I thought it was clear from the context, then I realized it wasn’t.

                1. You were crystal clear – I was the one who went off on a tangent from there ( and also wondered how many such nimrods you had to deep six who thought that would show they fit in…)

        2. I would not go that far. Haidt has made an honest attempt to research the values of liberals and conservatives, he’s reported the differences he found even when they were contrary to his expectations, and he’s advised other research psychologists that their research is bound to be flawed if the only people they interact with professionally are other liberals. Oh, and he makes a distinction between conservatives and libertarians. I see Haidt as a man whose intellectual integrity is at war with his personal presuppositions.

          1. He’s also tested having members of each group take a test as if they had a different political affiliation. Results:

            Conservatives can do it as a liberal or a libertarian.

            Libertarians can do it as a liberal or conservative.

            Liberals can’t do it as either a conservative or a libertarian.

            They really don’t get you.

            1. I actually saw an anecdotal test of that over the holidays. I quoted Haidt’s idea about both liberals and conservatives valuing fairness, but meaning different things by it, to my out-laws (my girlfriend’s sister and brother). Specifically, I mentioned Haidt’s saying that to liberals, “fair” meant that everyone got the same as everyone else, but to conservatives, “fair” meant that you got more if you worked and saved than if you didn’t. Her sister found the liberal idea baffling and unbelievable; her brother said that yes, there were people who really thought like that, and he had talked with one.

              If the majority of academic liberals had as much mental flexibility as Haidt, we’d have a lot fewer problems with them. I think it was William F. Buckley who said that liberals believe that it’s important to recognize other points of view, but it sometimes shocks them that there ARE other points of view.

    1. I quite like it as well, but heed here some unsolicited advice: Whatever you do, ixnay onyay askingyay arahSay otay aysay “ooseMay andyay uirrelSqay”.

        1. All Ahead Flank. Helm, evasive pattern alpha three. Divert life support power to aft anti-carp defense grid.

          1. And get that linguistics tech up here from the intel pit – She told me Pig-Latin was unknown in Portugal.

  15. So many of you lament that the conservatives can’t be roused to action, just want left alone, and seem to put up with everything.
    We have not seen the really hard times of no food and no place to take your family that are needed to move most people to action.
    When things get that bad – where there is no safety net – do you want to be with the hand-wringing liberals who abhor violence and depend on the professional soldier and cop to do their thuggery for them? Or do you want to be with the people who don’t recoil in fright and horror from an evil black rifle and admit they would have no trouble blowing your brains out if you threaten their family?
    Just remember that the hand wringers have been progressively insulting their guards and diminishing their compensation for some years now. What happens if they don’t get paid at all?

  16. I cannot help but notice that those portions of America which have most avidly disavowed religious values are also, in many ways, the most puritanical.

  17. And of course the blossoming of the state, and the edging out of religion in favor of the state had been going on for a long time — since at least Henry VIII.

    Are you sure that’s the edging out of religion, or the returning of religion to it’s primordial state? Look at mankind’s first religions: They worshiped their kings, every bit as unselfconciously and literally as certain Obama fanatics worship Obama today. They imbued the object of their devotions with absolute authority – moral and temporal – it was all one in their minds.

    1. For over a century people – who really don’t know a scientific principle from a hole in the ground – have been preached to about science as the ultimate arbiter of all things. And of course, the state is run according to ‘science’ and enforces ‘science.’

      It’s truly amazing how much we resemble medieval peasants, who believed in the divine right of kings.

      Nevermind – you go on to say much the same thing.

      1. Well, semantics is meaning, and agreeing on meanings is critical to going forward in a conversation.

        And I still say that 85% of people are natural born peasants.

        1. That may be true, but it misses the more important point: 0% of people are born to rule them. The best you can do with the natural born peasants is create a situation wherein they are a) least able to inflict harm on others and b) forced to extend themselves to at least some degree in order to survive.

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