Progressing To The Past

So, yesterday there was a comment I didn’t approve. I didn’t approve it because it was posted on my er… competition with Larry Correia for worst person in the world. Or something. And since most of ya’ll had moved on, I figured you didn’t need a chew toy.

It started by telling me – because, you know, I’m stupid, and I hadn’t covered it in the blog post or anything – that “that gender is a social construct has been established since like the eighties.” To begin with, yeah, “gender as a social construct” as people here pointed out is a sociological “percept” but gender in sociology doesn’t refer to your biological sex or to whom you happen to be attracted to, or to any, you know, immutable characteristics of men and women.

In fact, it refers to how gender is expressed in a PARTICULAR SOCIETY. Being a woman in Saudi-Arabia, say, and being a woman in the USA are two completely different sociological personas, and the layered bits about “who you are” clearly are part of that society.

Now, this doesn’t alter certain characteristics of those born with a vagina, because, well… uh… uh… uh… when you’re in the womb, you develop differently if you don’t have a Y chromosome. You just do.

This is not, as I pointed out in the earlier post, to say there isn’t a WIDE variation among individuals of the same gender on how those characteristics display or the level to which they display. Or to put it simply, some women are more feminine than others. That’s because of being individuals, see?

However, on a statistical sample basis, if you take a random woman and a random man, he’s going to be stronger (even if less muscular) and capable of overpowering her by brute force. He’s also going to be more interested in risky and/or dirty jobs. She’s going to be (on average) more interested in things relating to language, and – sigh, I hate to admit this, because I hate it when people ask me “so you write children’s books?” based on nothing but my sex – more interested in jobs involving children.

Now, if you take Minnie, the Olympic weight lifter and Mickey the slacker kid down the block who only gets off his sofa to get a soda, yeah, she can do push ups with him. But that doesn’t invalidate the argument. If you take a random 100 men and a random 100 women, the men in aggregate will wipe the floor with women on strength and interest in doing unpleasant physical jobs.

That means that “gender” in anything outside the social sciences – biology, real life behavior, etc – is not a construct. The way it’s expressed is – at least to an extent. For instance, one of the expressions of gender, in Portugal, for women, was being really good at handywork. All my classmates had trousseaus full of embroidered sheets. Because of hand-eye issues, I wasn’t able to do anything but cross stitch till my middle twenties (and astigmatism correction!) The fact that I couldn’t do it didn’t invalidate the fact I was female. It just made people entertain doubts about me, because in that society it was so strongly associated that even my colleagues who were in medical school spent all their free time madly embroidering and crocheting. In the states saying “I don’t embroider” didn’t make people doubt my femininity but in Portugal it did, because the EXPRESSION of gender is a social construct. In the States what makes people doubt my femininity (or at least my orientation) is my habit of shopping by the male method: “Run into store. Grab first thing that looks vaguely like what I need. Pay. Run out again, because stores are boring and annoying.” (Exceptions made for good bookstores, back when they existed.)

However, in both countries, I’m weaker than the average male, and have to be aware of this when I go out at night unaccompanied because, well, mugging being an outdoor and risky occupation, most muggers are male and therefore stronger than I. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other 90 lbs females who can beat big hulking guys are fantasies. Fun, sure, but fantasies.

Forgetting which part of gender is a construction and which reality can end up with very dead (but empowered!) young women.

We’ll leave for later this “has been established” thing – since that I know in the social sciences things can be accepted or believed but not “established.” I.e., the science is never settled. (Or if it is, we wouldn’t have a regime that has killed 100 million in the ascendant, while we’re told this time they’ll do it right.)

This person – and I’d guess age at high school senior if that old – then went on to tell me the only people who denied that were conservatives, because they wanted to keep things “as they’ve always been.” And also that from my using “vileprog” I must be one of those conservatives, and perhaps I should broaden my mind and consider new ideas.

You know, someone like that has only met conservatives inside their own head. And that’s accepting that everything not a vileprog, and everyone who knows progs are vile is a “conservative.”

First, let me count the fails. This person clearly believes “progressive” is a new idea. Oh, honey, Marx wrote his load of crap WELL OVER 100 years ago. The Soviet Union tried to implement it for 70 years and has now been in failure mode for twenty some years. Beyond all that, his great idea that the world would be perfect if we took from those who had and gave it to those who didn’t have it, was old when he came along. Hell, Cataline had tried something very like in the Roman Republic. (There were differences because the Roman Republic was not, in any sense, a capitalist society.) This neat idea of hurting people whom you envy and taking their stuff is not futuristic or new. It’s old as sin.

Which is why I don’t call progressives progressives. I call them vileprogs, because captures the depths of the depravity they have perpetrated on the human race.

As for my being a conservative who wants to keep things as “they’ve always been” – uh uh. First, when you’re talking of genders… HOW have they always been? No, seriously. Other than those basic immutable things you can’t change: men have penises (unless there’s deformity) and women have vaginas (unless there’s deformity) and on average men are stronger, take more risks and are more likely to engage in outdoor, dirty occupations… WHAT has been immutable throughout history?

Certainly gender role expression hasn’t been, except in general. Most men nowadays aren’t hunters, for instance – certainly not with lance or bow and arrow. (Okay, my husband would be, given time, but…) And most women certainly don’t spin thread, even though it was so prevalent a female activity as to originate the word “Spinster.”

As for my wishing to keep things as they’ve always been, or even as they are – ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah – that alone was reason enough for me not to approve that post, since the poster didn’t even try to read about the person they were trying to put in her place. If they had they’d known that, though most of you disagree with me – I am in fact a supporter of such shocking things as equality under the law (which means an end to progressive taxation, among other things,) a supporter of small government (which means I stand in opposition to the ever increasing power of the state, in place since Henry VIII, and then consolidated into its present bureaucratic boondogle by Richelieu and Louis XIV.)

I believe in mind-bogglingly things that existed far too briefly upon this earth, uncurtailed: freedom of speech, association, right to bear arms, freedom to pick and practice your religion and other concepts that never existed in the ancient world and rarely exist now.

As for gender and its expression, people such as I believe people should be who they want to be and if they’re not hurting anyone, other people should leave them alone.

There’s a book called “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff.”  And that is a revolutionary philosophy indeed.

I was born in a country that had strongly differentiated, rigid gender behaviors as part of its codes. Being allergic to metal (and having parents who disliked the idea of piercing a baby’s ears) meant that I violated those before I was two. And being sickly and wearing my brother’s cast offs meant that I violated the other major one. I.e. the “all little girls wear earrings” and “All little girls wear skirts.” This caused me to be like the boy named Sue and learn to fight before I learned to walk. (Not hard, as I learned to walk exceptionally late.)

This pretty much predisposed me to not give much of a hang about what is the accepted CONVENTION for your gender wherever I live. I do carpentry – and write novels, but that’s an acceptable profession for a woman almost anywhere – and I do crochet.

However, my gender is not socially determined – alas – and I still can’t arm wrestle even my out-of-shape 19 year old, who laughs at me when I can’t lift 100 pounds in a dead lift.

Does the fact I know the difference between those two applications of the word “gender” makes me a conservative? I don’t know. I thought it made me sane, but then again, perhaps Heinlein was right and in the Crazy Years a man (or woman) with all his gaskets tight is the true madman.

Or perhaps my poor would-be troll is just really confused and has a case of believing the label and drinking his own ink.

You see, in modern day, we vile “conservatives” are people who want to upend the social theories that have been in place (and largely driving people nuts) for at least fifty years: such as the idea that nothing is any individual’s fault or credit; the idea that laws SHOULDN’T be equally applied but equal OUTCOMES to any endeavor should be enforced; the idea that your taking my stuff is theft, but the government taking my stuff and giving it to you isn’t theft; the idea that if you just have enough self confidence you will never commit a crime; the idea– I could go on, but this is already too long. Suffice it to say that of the various isms of the twenty century, the only one that was proven real was Zionism, which was based on the idea that people would like to kill Jews, and so Jews needed a place where they could be safe. All others have proven poisonous fruit in various degrees.

And they’re not new. Or scientific. Or even “progressive.”

I was going to make a joke about how if the poster objected to vile progs we should call them “preservatives” instead. But those preservatives, judged by their results, have been pin-holed, and the offspring is monstrous.

Meanwhile, I recommend anyone who thinks those of us who oppose communitarian ideas are “for things as they’ve always been” should be aware that we claim intellectual descent from the Founding Fathers. Keeping things the way “they’d always been” was the least of their interests. Which is why they created the most revolutionary society in the world.

One we’re not going to allow you to destroy just to take us back to ideas that were old and disproven a 100 years ago.

You have been warned.

You can call us names, and you can do your best to lecture us.  But I suggest you start to read what we say and to actually pay attention.  These straw men of yours are very pretty, but they bear no resemblance to us.

And we are infinitely more dangerous.



422 responses to “Progressing To The Past

  1. If I wanted to keep things as they’ve always been, I wouldn’t be fighting some of the laws on the books that I currently fight against. Of course, I’m a libertarian rather than a “conservative”.

    Then again, people like that comment writer don’t get that there’s more than just progressive/conservative.

    • I’m a libertarian too — but they lump me in with conservatives. If you’re not a vile prog, you’re a conservative. We’re just the er… really scary (for vile progs) wing of conservative.

      • Yep, we are. And that makes me tingly all over. 🙂

      • I’m a personal social conservative and political libertarian. I may disapprove of your conduct, and if you ask I might say why, but I’m not going to beat you up about it as long as you are not endangering others or causing a major public nuisance (conjugal relation in the middle of the street during rush hour, meth lab in a populated area, shooting high caliber firearms in my neighborhood). Which I suppose makes me a really terrible conservative and an insincere libertarian.

        • I won’t try to answer to conservatism, but it doesn’t make you insincere in libertarianism in the least, from my perspective. Nothing in libertarian philosophy requires approval of other people’s choices, after all. And not endangering others with your actions is a foundational principle.

        • Like Eamon, I can’t speak to the conservative side, but as for the libertarian part I see nothing insincere.

          There is a perception that since we seek to legalize certain practices, that we condone those practices. That’s simply not true. I had a blog post about legalizing prostitution quoted in part in one of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s books. So, it hit a pretty broad audience. However, one would be wrong if he were to assume that I actually condone prostitution. I don’t. I damn sure don’t want my daughter doing it, and I have no interest in visiting said women.

          Libertarianism doesn’t require that we condone the actions of another. We simply say, “So long as you don’t hurt someone else, so be it.” That doesn’t mean we, as people, can’t think they’re horrible people for doing it.

        • “I’m a personal social conservative and political libertarian. ”

          My philosophy exactly.

      • Well, there are quite a few conservatives about here.

        And if you subscribe to the principles of “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”, you are on the side of libertarianism closer to conservatism than to liberalism.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Libertarian isn’t (mostly) on the (true) conservative -> progressive line.

        I am an American Conservative. I am also a Libertarian, and I work to resolve the conflicts between the two.

        On can be a Progressive and a Libertarian. The conflicts are harder to resolve, but generally postmodernism says “you can hold two contradictory ideas in your head with no need to resolve them”.

        • To hold “LiberalTarian” (leftoid and libertarian) views one has got to be massively disconnected.
          Like the girl I have known online for many years who A: is a massive Ron Paul supporter, and B: Wants single payer healthcare like Canada.
          Okay, not disconnected, but brain damaged.
          She got highly insulted when I pointed out that her mom had a type of cancer that at the time Canada was not treating well (too long a wait for the mildest version of treatment), and those who got it there and survived had jumped the border to get treatment here in the USA, so if we had the same coverage here, her mom would likely be dead.

          • I think the real problem is that you’re confusing Big “L”” and small “L” liberals. A “Big L” Liberal is a Liberal Progressive, and believes the current daffynition of Liberal. A “Small L” Liberal, harks back to the classic Latin Definition, of “leading to, promoting freedom.”
            Big L types, see everything in strict Black/White standards, and force them on others. Little L types see as much or more Grey as B/W. Big L liberals are really misguided(?) Socialists, who see “inequality” and can’t see that “equality” is impossible to achieve. You can, and as Sarah points out, only try for equality of opportunity.

            • No. He’s not confusing anything.

            • no, no …A classical liberal is today what most folks call an American Conservative. I am talking about the ones who claimed to be “liberaltarians” and are just what I described (at least all the ones I ran into online and in real life). Some silly combo of Leftiod (those that call themselves Liberal/Progressive, but are actually illiberal socialists/communists and a few borderline and not so borderline fascists) and claims to be for many things the Big L libertarians were pushing (normally anti-war and/or drug legalizing) They glommed onto RP mainly because he is an isolationist moron (excuse me … a Non-Interventionist … big difference…one thinks nothing bad will happen if we ignore the rest of the world, and the other thinks if we ignore the rest of the world, nothing bad will happen) and was against us being in any and all wars. The leftoids and many who don’t pay close attention to things (how else can you claim RP as a first, best choice, and effin’ Hillary, or 0bama as a second, other than those I knew who were of the “If I don’t get my way, go the way of the worst to Let. It. Burn.”) weren’t too sure 0bama was for real (or in the case of the lady above, were from Chicago and didn’t really trust any machine pol from their not so fine city), or were unhappy with Hillary’s war backing or were wishing for drug legalization were seeing RP as a good bet, even though unlike most of us on here who listen to RP and say ” Yes, Yeah, Of course, Sure, …. wait, back up … WTF was that?” (which was often some sort of deal breaker, though if one really paid attention to the man he had tons of deal breakers) the liberaltarian loons would listen to him and go “What? No!, What? No!, What? NO!, Wait …What?!, Oh! I like that!” and then completely ignore the rest … they had too in order to support say Al Franken for senator and RP as president. About the only thing the two have in common is getting pork for their constituents (sure, RP voted against pork, but always put some on bills he knew would pass so he could vote against his own effin’ pork … one of those many deal breakers).
              Most of them turned out to be both single issue voters and totally uninformed in general. It would have been rather entertaining seeing them then petition him for More Govt Spending for their other pet ideas.

      • When I read “vileprog” I get a vision of a creature, part amphibian and part snail, with an alarming odor and a poisonous bite; the face of Hillary and the slime trail of a thousand lawyers.

        • So, you read my mind?

          • Not so much mindreading, as the occasional ability to hear what people mean instead of merely what they say. It comes and goes, otherwise it would probably be a superpower. Actually, my only reliable superpower is the unfailing ability to find the one carton of feminine hygiene products in any given store whose barcode will not scan

    • Actually, they’re a bit narrower than that. There’s ‘those who believe exactly as I do, which is the only right way and so must be imposed on everyone else’, and ‘everyone else’.

      And they NEVER question their basic assumption, that they’re the only ones who are right and everyone else is wrong.

  2. “You just do.”

    Is not a viable argument.

    It is insulting and denigrating, it assumes that not only does your opponent know the basic facts of life, but they accept that they are true, regardless of how prejudiced/racist they are.

  3. Patrick Chester

    And since most of ya’ll had moved on, I figured you didn’t need a chew toy.

    *Schlock’s Puppydog Eyed Look*

    Though I guess you wouldn’t want us chewing the fellow to bits all over your blog comments so I’ll let that be. I’m not sure it would ever get out of the carpet ;-D

    Though I still call the “progressive” since progress is movement towards a goal. People just presume that goal is “good” for some reason. Enslaving people to the state is what they intend to do and they’ve been making progress, unfortunately.

    • I particularly liked: “Raising em is too much trouble for the stringy meat you wind up with.”

    • I usually take the opportunity to point out that it’s not progressive to demand regress.

      I do think that I really like “preservatives” though.

      • Martin Luther King Jr. was a reactionary. He wanted to return to the policy of the Reconstruction, and decades after, until that enlightened Progressive Woodrow Wilson took office.

    • “And since most of ya’ll had moved on, I figured you didn’t need a chew toy.”

      Oh come on Sara! Taking other people’s inventory is almost as much fun as recoil therapy and cheaper too!

    • It is my understanding that progressives believe that *their*progress is *inevitable*. “Conservatives/libertarians are just on the wrong side of history, because the next generation will always be closer to the goal than the last.”It goes back to Rousseau, and because the vile progs are taught in a certain way, the assumption is buried so deep they don’t even realize they have it.

      To be fair, they haven’t seen much in the past.. oh, 100 years to argue with it, but it begs an awfully narrow view of history. Hence the massive spaz-out when things do not go to expectation. It will probably die off with the next big war, because that sort of philosophy can’t hold water in the face of human tragedy. See ref ca. 1910-1918, which killed off this thought-virus the last time we had a rupture in our “glorious progression into the inevitable future.”

      • I have seen a lot to argue with. Communism doesn’t bring about a classless society, it brings about Feudalism. So again, progressing towards the past.

        • And in feudalism, ideally, those on the top have a duty to protect and assist those farther down the scale, and people knew that ideal existed and should be aimed for. Somehow that never appears in involuntary Communism, either as practiced or ideally. But then I’m one of those “reactionaries” who just can’t understand that this time the vileprogs will get it right.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            On Feudalism, one aspect of it was if your “overlord” was plotting against you and/or your interests, you were no longer bond by your oath to him.

            IIRC there was a story about Henry VIII that his advisors warned him that his plots against one of his nobles would negate the noble’s binding oath to Henry.

            Henry acknowledged his advisors point but apparently said “but the noble deserves what I’m doing against him”. [Evil Grin]

          • Perhaps because, like me, you can’t see through all the piles of corpses they left in their wake.

            • Hmm, apparently my new prescription isn’t strong enough. Because you’re right – I still can’t see through or over the piles.

        • Hardly. Where in Communism did you see the slightest assurance that the lord you held from would protect you, or that you could rest secure in what you were enfeoffed with?

          A serf could assert, as securely as the lord, that this here land was his land.

          • Okay, the nastier parts of Feudalism. You’re going with what was written, not how it was practiced.

            • it was never written — only practiced — it wasn’t even named “feudalism” until modern times.

              it was not, of course, uniformly and justly practiced, but the serfs were known, from time to time, to rule against their lord on the grounds that he had infringed on their rights. And in fact, dispossessing a serf is one where they didn’t move against him because the lords knew that would bring down the wrath of the peasantry on them.

      • Oh, yes. I have heard repeated statements that history always moves in the progressive direction.

        When I point out that the reason that happens is because when progressive ventures crash and burn — Prohibition, segregation, involuntary eugenic sterilization — they rewrite history claiming it was anti-Progressive.

  4. Heh. I’m sure there is a valid explanation by the ‘gender is a social construct’ people for the sex differences in criminal occupations (of course there is, probably that women are more moral so less likely to become muggers or something along those lines). So, will we need more female muggers before we can claim to be truly equal? 🙂

    • Oh, it’s quite simple. You see, laws are evil and unjust, because MARX! Therefore people who break them are Speshul Snowflakes who are sufficiently empowered and have enough self-esteem to ignore the laws, because PSYCHOLOGY! And womyn would have the wonderful wonderful freedom to go out and be self-esteeming, self-actualizing, self-esteem-filled criminals just like men, if only it weren’t for evil society, because PATRIARCHY!

      • Ah, yes, of course. (Would twirl mustache now if I had one. Maybe I’ll just scratch my head instead, I do a bad Snidely impersonation anyway because of no mustache. Which probably is some sort of gender inequality… okay, scratching head, poor me is getting confused. Evil men do that to us suffering womyn.).

        • Womyn are too good and pure to commit such crimes, but they are driven to it because they only get 77% that male criminals get from their crimes.

        • (second attempt, pardon if duplicated [badly])

          “I do a bad Snidely impersonation anyway” Heh, some of us WITH mustaches don’t do a good Snidely – don’t like the moustache wax needed…

          Solution! Join me in the best (mediocre) Muttley impersonation you can muster. Chuckling breathily at all the bad Snidely impersonators out there is usually a better use of energy anyway, at least in my opinion.


      • Christopher M. Chupik

        So if I commit crimes under a Marxist regime, they’ll hail me as a hero? 😉

    • So, will we need more female muggers before we can claim to be truly equal? 🙂

      You’re joking, but an early Zionist writer actually defined a “Jewish state” that way: a state where a Jewish thief was taken in by a Jewish policeman.

    • Look up Money. He tried to use “gender as a social construct”… and his poor patients started to commit suicide. That is an *actively* dangerous philosophy.

      The link probably contains info that isn’t accurate, but it is the same guy. John Money, who lost his PHD because of his research. David Reimer suffered greatly under his “tender mercies”. (sorry about the link, btw.)

  5. My response to those who say that gender is socially constructed is to say that I don’t agree with them on how it is constructed. The most important gender role in my life was the one telling me that as a male I had to be the aggressor. That is a role that feminists say hardly anything about. Why should I accept their version of things? I don’t even exist, according to them.

    • Ask the next one how she knows that you really are a man. Perhaps you are really a woman trapped in a man’s body, or were once a man trapped in woman’s. How would she know unless you are willing to advertise that yourself? So she has been judging on appearances alone. Most unfair of her.

  6. Regarding male vs. female shopping styles, see this Freefall strip for as plausible a theory as I’ve ever seen.

    • I think of it as “tactical shopping.” Go in, acquire target, secure target, escape. With a few notable exceptions (small colored rocks, certain types of traditional female clothing, books. And cantaloupe. You have to take your time selecting a good cantaloupe.)

      • For me it depends on the store, how many other shoppers are there, how much time and money I have, and whether I’m there to look for something specific or it was just a reason to get out of the apartment and see some people (without having to interact with them much, there are times when I find socializing face to face a chore, but I still want to just see people occasionally even during those times and a trip to a store can fulfill the latter need well enough).

        So I do both. Sometimes I browse, sometimes I run in, grab what I need and run out.

      • And cantaloupe. You have to take your time selecting a good cantaloupe.


        I used to work in a produce department. Don’t tell me you’re tears-the-whole-freaking-department-apart woman.

        *Lip quivers*

        It’s just ain’t right when people undo all my work like that.


        Sorry, Special Snowflake moment.

        • No, no *pats on back* I just take my time. Nor do I want the one on the bottom. I don’t believe in making messes for other people to clean up. Unless they really deserve it, and I’ve already warned them.

        • There, there — then there are people like me who hate cantaloupe.

          • Patrick Chester

            I appear to be allergic to it. I like the taste, but the roof of my mouth itches whenever I eat canteloupe.

          • Ah, but that just means you’ve never had a good one.
            And while thumping one is permitted, squeezing the melons is right out.
            And fondling them for long periods of time may very well get you asked to leave the store, or at least the produce department.

            • What about sniffing? That’s how I pick mine.

            • Cantaloupe without a ladder . . .

              On Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 9:41 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > Uncle Lar commented: “Ah, but that just means you’ve never had a good > one. And while thumping one is permitted, squeezing the melons is right > out. And fondling them for long periods of time may very well get you asked > to leave the store, or at least the produce department.” >

            • mikeweatherford

              Choosing a good cantaloupe/squash/pumpkin/watermelon/etc., is something you have to learn to do. My dad taught me when I was about six. You don’t pick melons/squash without thumping them and listening. Been doing it all my life, thought everyone knew, until one of my co-workers asked me what the he$$ I was doing.

              I love melons and squash, but can’t eat the overly-sweet ones (watermelon, honeydew, etc.), and have to be careful with the rest. Oh, well… I will say that the best cantaloupes I’ve ever eaten are Rocky Ford cantaloupes. We drive down every year to pick out a few good ones from the roadside stands.

              • I used to like the sweet ones, or still would if I dared to eat them. But the last honeydew melon I ate made my throat itch, and probably swell shut part way because I had noticeable problems breathing soon after. Damn allergies. Especially the fact that they don’t stay the same, I have also almost got ridden of some too. Cats once made me sneeze, but now I have kept cats for close to 25 years and haven’t reacted to them for well over 20 of those (apart from eyes, if I get cat hair stuck in my lashes or something that eye will start to itch and become red and swollen unless I use those eye drops meant for allergic reactions, but that’s the only reaction which remains).

                So I have been thinking that maybe I should start eating those honeydews again, and do it regularly for a while, starting with very small slices. Except the thought of having your throat swell shut is way more scary than sneezing, which is what cats used to give me. Except maybe that would be an even bigger reason to do it, if I just keep avoiding them I suppose it’s possible the reaction may one day be exactly that – swelling bad enough that it will cut the airflow completely – if I then accidentally eat that stuff, or get exposed to something similar.

                • NOTE WELL: what present as allergic reactions to many melons / squash may in fact (originally) be allergic reactions to molds/mold spores. At least so said various allergists and other sources I have spoken to or otherwise “ingested” over the past thirty-odd years. (Yes, some of those have been well and truly ODD years…)

                  Respectfully, Mike C. Baker

                  Opinions? I’m FULL of them!

            • “Ah, but that just means you’ve never had a good one.”

              Ain’t no such thing. Just when you are thinking someone has good taste, they come out and admit something disgusting, like the fact that they like cantaloupe.

      • Our #1 daughter is a master … mistress of tactical shopping. Her sister, not so much. Guess which one has been a competitive target shooter.

    • Far predates the Freehold strip. A comedian did a bit on it a long time ago (and it was probably not new then). Don’t know exactly when that show was recorded but I watched it in the mid-eighties so before that. The gist was, early humans were hunter/gatherers. The men hunted. They went out and focused on one animal until it was dead. The women gathered. A woman went out and looked at this, then looked at that, then decided they liked this other thing and put it in her basket.

    • I tend to ‘zone out’ in stores and forget what I came for. Yes, I make lists. But there’s always that thing I forget… and I wander around in a haze of misery in search of that “one last thing”.

      Clothes shopping is the worst. But the other day I actually was so freaked out about going to the doctor I actually walked into a T J Maxx looking for shirts. It took me a while because I was going through the clearance aisle, where tops have improbable necklines that weren’t designed for human women.

      • I could mention that I zone out like that, too, but I do that all the time, anyway, so it hardly rates mention.

      • CombatMissionary

        Are the necklines too high or too low? I need to know if I should go there to get my wife a Christmas present. 😉

        • I can DEAL with low necklines. That’s what tank tops and lace inserts are for. It’s the necklines that make no-effin sense because some designer decided that my chest is shaped like He-Man rather than– curvy. So the collar sticks out wrong, and chunks are cut out of the neckline that show off too much strap. Showing straps is only okay for seatbelts.

          But frankly, some of the “creative” shirts I saw this time wouldn’t even work for He-Man. I wondered if I was in the non-human isle or something.

      • TJ Maxx has candy and weird, fun food. And purses and luggage. And weird lotions. And weird furniture. And once it had a porcelain UK Spitfire mug which was pretty cool. Clothes… eh. Sometimes you get lucky.

      • We should shop together. I usually walk out of the store realizing that I forgot to get something. Lists only help if you 1) check the list and 2) put things you need on the list.

        • 3) don’t forget the list. Which is what I USUALLY do.

          • I keep my list on my phone, which I usually take shopping with me. Unfortunately, it has a camera, which means I can’t take it to work with all the nucular wessels. That means most of the time my brain throws up a “hey, we need to buy this” message I can’t do anything about it.

      • True, they were designed for human men, but intended for human women to wear.

    • Oh, men do shop. Take their freakin’ time shopping.

      Hardware store? Check.
      Computer store? Check.
      Hobby store? Check.
      Convention dealer room? Check.

      • mikeweatherford

        I go, find what I want as soon as I can, pay for it and leave. Even in a hardware store, computer store, etc. Now a hobby store — it depends. I may do a lot of looking, but not much buying. If it’s a stamp store, all bets are off.

      • I see I failed to scroll down quite far enough before posting my comment.

    • Males can be as tedious shoppers as females, but are more selective about the type of store which triggers the shop response. Take a guy to a gun store, hi-fi store, hardware store or sporting goods store (depending on whether his response to “tackle” involves hop pads or hip waders.)

    • Women shop.
      Men resupply.

  7. This neat idea of hurting people whom you envy and taking their stuff is not futuristic or new. It’s old as sin.

    This. Oh so very much this.

  8. It should be pointed out that Marx published The Communist Manifesto BEFORE the Civil War. IOW, while he was busy trying to lead the benighted workers of the world, the adults in the room were freeing real slaves.

    • … and Marx, and the other early Marxists, wound up deciding that the “less socially advanced” peoples of the world would have to be wiped out because they clearly weren’t ready for The Revolution.

    • Modernism actually has it’s roots in the 18th century. Before Marx did it, Rousseau and a few other leading lights did it. Marx just elaborated on it so he could win a monopoly game. 😉 Not to mention, Kant gives us the perfect excuse to deny reality until we are blue in the face. If we can’t actually see reality, and logic is flawed because it can only give us what we perceive– that means feelings are the only way to know reality. I know, right?

      That’s where we get those awesome insights about reality being units of Will. or Freedom (what does that actually MEAN?) or feelings, or streams of running thought. And “progressivism” is the logical conclusion of that whole mess of wax.

      Someone needs to give these antiquated modernists the good spanking and bed without supper they deserve. Enough innocents have died over this nonsense. We aren’t trying to trump death rates of plagues and natural disasters… right?

      • I’m sure that justifying “kill people and take their stuff” was one of the first uses of language. Probably preceded only by “kids these days…”

  9. “Lead the benighted workers of the world into slavery and oppression” Fixed it for me.

  10. Am I just noticing hate more as I get older, or is there more hate?

    There’s always been political tribalism – we’re human, and we can’t help but tribe up. And maybe it’s just the long advent of the Internet, and the newish ability to make nasty anonymous comments – and make them without eye contact.

    It feels to me like we think they’re ignorant. Hard to wake them, but it happens – like that San Fran former prog who calls himself Zombie at PJM. Just after 9/11 he saw International Answer and their ilk parading with antisemitic placards, said WTF, and woke up.

    The leaders must know they’re gaming their base’s ignorance, but often they seem caught in the ignorance themselves. Our SecState isn’t an evil genius, just an arrogant, slack-jawed fool. Don’t want any harm to come to him, just wish more people would see that – and he’d slink out of the limelight.

    But a big part of what keeps them ignorant is their hate for us. Wishing Cheney dead all the time – he’s not all that Conservative, even: just a Republican from Wyoming.

    Makes me nervous that the hate’s ramping up while the government’s gathering new powers.

    • Yes, there definitely is more hate in the U.S. these days. However, it has not yet reached the point at which civil society breaks down.

      If you want to see what that point can look like, take a look at Albania, which has never quite had a functioning civil society since it was first identifiable as a nation. I am informed that the villages in Albania are nearly all built on high and inaccessible hilltops, because the bother of climbing up and down a thousand feet of steep slope every day to get to the fields is outweighed by the threat of a war breaking out at any time with any of the neighbouring villages. And there is the juicy tale reported by P. J. O’Rourke, where an Albanian government official allowed that there had been a great deal of looting after the collapse of the Communist regime, but it had now (circa 1997) pretty much stopped, because there was nothing left to loot. The Tirana zoo was empty because nearly all the zoo animals had been killed and eaten.

      • But women can declare themselves men and take on men’s occupations! Dressed as men, while carrying knives and guns like men, and carrying on feuds like men! Woo, feminist paradise!

      • Don’t forget the neighboring country who offered to help build a dam that would provide an economic boost to Albania’s economy. Didn’t happen because they couldn’t afford the bribe required to permit the dam to be built.

    • Just to be precise (to say nothing of picking nits), Zombie’s a she. Not that that changes anything else about the comment above…

    • Wishing Cheney dead all the time – he’s not all that Conservative, even: just a Republican from Wyoming.

      …who publicly and vocally supported same sex marriage TEN YEARS (at minimum) before our glorious leader changed his nuanced opposition to support thereof.

    • There is more hate, and I agree with Sarah that it’s because the left knows they’re so close to getting everything they wanted but they see it slipping away. They spent decades marching through the institutions, only to find people abandoning those institutions (in no small part due to their dominance by vileprogs). They think that by screaming down opposition they can make it the last little bit. That strategy is…inadvisable in America.

      In a related note, I found today’s XKCD particularly annoying. Not only does he confuse Free Speech with the First Amendment, his entire premise is flawed. If you have to impose consequences on people who disagree with you, it just means you’re unable to reasonably refute their position. I don’t need to tell racists to shut up, I have plenty of evidence and logic to support my position that race is an essentially meaningless construct. If you want to ostracize someone for their opinion, go ahead (assuming it’s your turf). But you don’t get to call other people assholes, and you damn sure don’t have any claim to the title “liberal.”

  11. Just to point out–the American tradition of conservatism is a form of libertarianism. So it’s really not an insult to be called conservative.

    • the American tradition of conservatism is a form of libertarianism.

      I recently read Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative”. What he called “conservative” sounded very much libertarian to me. The one “break point” was his described willingness to spend money, troops, and lives to counter communism. The justification for this was that we were at war with communist nations, just that that war was being fought mostly by “other means” and that losing said war was an utterly untenable proposition. We had to win and, so, we had to do whatever it took.

      Today it’s to a large extent other enemies rather than the now no longer extant Soviet Union (although Putin seems intent on performing empire necromancy) but the principle holds. And, so, this is one area on which I break ranks with the more radial Libertarians. These other guys have made themselves our enemies. They cannot be allowed to win.

      • That sort of concept is a decent marker for “L” libertarians, and sane ones. 🙂

        • INTERNATIONALISM. The insane ones adopted that over from Communism. And it makes NO SENSE.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Another one IMO is which they consider more important “property rights” or the “life of another human being”. One Libertarian novel had a person escaping death by entering another person’s apartment and the author approved of the owner of the apartment trying to “throw the trespasser to his death” for the “crime” of trespassing. [Frown]

          • It is a discussion of the opinion of what property rights actually mean. Are they absolute or are they just convenient. The argument, which I support fully, is that it is like freedom of speech or the sanctity of life, if property rights are only valid when convenient then there will always come a time when your property has to be sacrificed for the common good or at least others’ convenience.
            I won’t go all godwin here or go stompy feet, but I am sure you can think of situations how that may come about and what it would mean.
            (I like L. Niel Smith by the way, in spite of his flaws)

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Yep, that’s the problem with Big L Libertarians.

              Their Ivory Tower ideas wouldn’t work in the real world and they fail to realize it.

              Personally, I believe there are “absolute values” but in the real world humans have to chose between two evils more often than they chose between a good and an evil.

              In addition, any absolute principle can be turned into an evil if taken too far.

              It’s obvious to me that “property rights” in the L. Neil Smith Libertarian idea have been taken too far.

              IMO all “absolute values” have to balanced against other “absolute values”.

              Apparently to L. Neil Smith, “property rights” is the only “absolute value” in existence.

              I can not accept that view.

              • Absolute values? You mean shared by everybody, always? If you don’t, what do you mean?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  God’s Standards. Human standards always fall short of those standards.

                  • Okay, I’m wichoo. (All morality comes of religion.) But if you’re talking Judeo-Christian, the Ten Commandments are mostly about theft. Coveting begets theft, murder is the theft of life, and Thou shalt not do it. Property rights.

                    I also think that when Jesus talked of a camel passing through the eye of a needle (Sermon on the Mount), he was doubling down on the Commandment against coveting. The rich have their own troubles – don’t envy them.

                    Never read Smith. I know in Heinlein we have approval for mounting the heads of housebreakers. Seems utilitarian in flavor – “pour encourager….” But the death penalty for lesser crimes than premeditated murder is wrong for me only in a utilitarian sense. Like in Wambaugh’s THE ONION FIELD. Kidnappers reason that killing the cop they’ve kidnapped is the safer course because of the Lindbergh Law.

                    I don’t see anything morally wrong with killing somebody who’s broken into your house. One shouldn’t have to assess his intentions before firing.

                • It would mean unconditioned by anything else. Presumably you could not enter a plea of necessity, for instance, for stealing a ladder and breaking a window to rescue people from a burning building.

                  • If property rights were absolute, that is.

                    Technically speaking you can’t have two absolute rights unless they don’t conflict.

                    What would be absolute would be the the entire system of their relative values and tradeoffs.

                    • Well, that is the goal of any society. Well enough so we don’t kill each other and don’t make the lawyers overly rich is about the best we can manage.

                  • Wouldn’t that be borrowing? I mean, if the rescuer takes the ladder home afterward, he’s a thief.

                  • We recently had a case here where a woman was left in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter, without a cell phone and very lightly dressed (it’s possible the people who left her there had taken some of her clothing off her too, although I don’t remember the details well enough to swear to that). She survived by breaking into a then empty summer cottage. Considering the circumstances she probably would have died of hypothermia if she hadn’t done that.

                    I’d say that was a completely justified act for her.

                    And if there had been somebody inside I think it would have been their duty to let her in and call the police for her. On the other hand if this had happened somewhere where people are allowed to carry, and there had been somebody hard of hearing sleeping in that cottage (so didn’t hear her knocking on the door or any other attempts to get attention first, which are also something she better had done first), and who then was startled awake by her and shot her, I think that would also be quite excusable.

                    Different things have different values. As far as I’m concerned a human life has the highest value as long as we are talking about a human who is not a threat to the life or property of another human. But even then I would take as a valid excuse if he has become that threat because through no fault of his own that has become the only way for him to preserve either his own life or the lives of people who depend on him. Self-defense is the obvious one, but also if somebody, say, steals because that’s the only alternative he has to starving I would accept that as a good enough a reason. But only if it truly is the _only_ alternative, and even then the owner of that property should not be required to give it. The main thing for me would be that if that thief is then caught I do think he should be treated more leniently if he could prove a forcing need, especially if he didn’t steal something essential to the life of the owner (like food the owner would have needed as bad as he did) than somebody who steals something without having been truly forced to do it. Which practically never is the case in our part of the world now, apart from cases like what happened to that woman.

                    Also, of course, things can be at times easily confused by the fact that you can’t always tell if somebody is really in distress, or if they are a predator trying to lure a victim, so leaving somebody scary looking outside on a winter’s night… well, lets say that cottage had been occupied by some very small very old woman who was scared by this half naked lady beating on her door in the middle of a night, then throwing the lady a couple of blankets and maybe a thermos full of coffee through a window and calling the police might have been an acceptable solution, but the occupant definitely should have done something to help.

                    • Simple equation: Property can be restored; when you can say the same of human life it will be reasonable to view them as equivalent.

                      All the arguing I am seeing centers around constructed circumstances. It strikes me pointless to assert what one would do in such circumstances when the reality of my experience indicates most of us don’t know how we would react. Perhaps I shall watch Friendly Persuasion this morning, or maybe The Red Badge of Courage. Fiction offers such comforts!

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard


                      My problem with the “constructed circumstances” was that the fictional society thought the owner was completely in the Right.

                      Having a strong “asshole” element in me, I dislike any “constructed circumstances” that would allow me to kill somebody who annoyed me without question.

                    • I think that you have to be fear for your life or something comparable for it to be a justified homicide. Like not just afraid you will be killed but fear of rape counts too.

                    • True. 🙂

                      On the other hand I think it’s likely I will act more sensibly in an unexpected situation if it’s something I have played with before, in my imagination. I’m not good when it comes to improvising, I always do much better if I have some sort of script to play to. Well, of course it’s also likely that if something someday does happen it will probably not be any of the exact scenarios I have imagined before, but if it’s even something similar…

                      Plus I think it’s also useful at times to go through all the possible ramifications of anything you can possibly imagine. Makes it slightly less likely you will be fooled by some glib salesperson, politician or otherwise, when it matters, simply due to having developed that habit. (Yes, that sounds good, but what if… 🙂 )

                    • Oh, nothing against role=playing, war-gaming, thought experimentation or the like, so long as participants recognize that under actual conditions actual mileage may (and probably will) vary.

                      I am very lenient about what I allow authors to get away with; I view it as a personal failing not requiring remediation.

                    • Simple redirect. What was the intent of the shooter at the time of the incident? Ameliorate frustration with the interloper for disrupting the soaps/soiling the carpet? Or defending against the violent and unexpected intrusion?

                      It’s simple enough to say killing somebody over stuff is bad. But property rights are not solely about owning, they’re also about being secure.

                      If someone sets out to take your mechanism of survival, what rights do you have to defend it? It’s still property and it can (theoretically) be replaced. How far above my own life am I required to place the value of the thief’s life?

                      How much benefit of the doubt am I required to give the violently unexpected intruder in my home? How much risk am I required to assume to protect his safery over my own?

                      I haven’t read the book in question, so I don’t know how the scenario is presented, but these aren’t idle inquiries. They’re key to establishing the frame. And in establishing the shooter’s rights and responsibilities, all that can be known is not important. What’s important is what was known at the time, and what could reasonably be expected to be known.

              • We’ve had this discussion before. I still think you are wrong.
                I think you are wrong because even if you have your life, and you can do what you want with it (you know,got liberty), and you have no rights to your possessions you can obtain with your own labor taking advantage your life and liberty then neither your life nor your liberty is truly yours. Your life and liberty belong to the person or group that can take your property away from you at their will without your free participation or agreed on compensation. You are not a free farmer, really, if the local Commissar comes by during harvest and makes you shovel all your beets into his trucks at gunpoint and shoots you if you run away, are you?

                I don’t know which ivory towers you are talking about, it used to be a term for the sort of over-educated self-deluded fool found in academia. The ones I’ve been forced to rub shoulders with seem to hold attitudes that absolute rights are unbearably destructive to the correct ordering of society and will invariably be used for evil because they will be taken too far. Now me, I would like more personal property rights practiced, I’d like to practice them to get better, but claiming that we have too many absolute property rights is like claiming that America’s society has too many freedoms and uses them wrongly, or the current environment of unbridled capitalism is destroying the world and the only solution is more socialism.
                I would also like to point out that I never intended to say that absolute rights work in the real world, but I will say that like Christian love or faith in God and redemption, philosophical absolutes are invaluable as a guidestars. After all, even if you sight on Polaris to guide your voyage, no-one so far has ever expected you to get there…at least at available tech levels.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Typical Big L Libertarian Ivory Tower nonsense. IE ideas that can’t work in the Real World and would cause major problems if tried in the Real World. Your talk about the “evils” of what happens if “property rights” aren’t absolute ignores the value of other people’s lives. You defend the idea that it’s OK to kill a trespasser even if the trespasser is trying to save his own life. In the Real World (not the make believe world of L Neil Smith), the majority of people who value their property would still consider that action Murder.

                  • L Neil Smith wrote about 12 books, three of them were Star Wars universe, none of them were anything but pulp, none of them topped 180 pages, and not a single one was ever reprinted. Yet you go electric at his name. Is there a reason?

                  • “In the Real World (not the make believe world of L Neil Smith), the majority of people who value their property would still consider that action Murder.”

                    Not this member of the Real World. Honestly I think you have both a much higher value of human life and much lower value of property rights than I do.

                    • Well, the scene we are arguing about is not focused on property rights, since all the characters in the society involved accept property rights as absolute. I also have to add that the society also accepted that the property owner also had the right to demand just compensation at his sole discretion for inadvertent or or non consensual use of his property. The whole fictional dispute was over the property owner’s reaction, which all the characters, including the property owner, considered to be uncalled for.
                      The adjudication held was initiated by the trespasser because he did not want to have a social obligation to pay in kind for the trespass. The determination by the adjudicator was that the trespasser was due current rate of rent for the district, as figured by the amount of time the trespasser occupied the property, plus 100% penalty for non consensual use, and also issued the statement that the property owner had acted like a jackass and had endangered others, but no actual harm had incurred, so the property owner had absolute right, like anyone else, to act like a jackass.
                      The dialogue to explain to the outsider what was actually going on went on to discuss that the property owner had the right to control access and use of the property to forestall what is called by libertarian philosophers “homesteading”, or what we used to call in the Western states “adverse possession”.
                      The outsider’s reaction was that he had fallen down a rabbit hole.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, it’s obvious that I heard only “part of the story”.

                      However, if I had been the “trespasser” and after fighting for my life, escaping a fatal fall only to have an asshole trying to throw me back out (which would continue the fatal fall), then the asshole would have been lucky I didn’t try to kill him.

                    • Yes, but Drak, exploring that type of shocking idea IS what SF is for — testing theory with scenarios

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      True, but it helps if it does it in a good story.

                      IIRC this situation was mentioned in Forge of the Elders.

                      IMO the “message” was piled high and destroyed the story.

                      After trying to read “Forge of the Elders”, I took Smith’s line of “the evil publishers tried to suppress me” with a ton of salt.

                      I suspect that Baen didn’t get very good sales for Forge and weren’t interested in another of his novels.

                      Of course, you had Eden in Darkship Thieves and its sequel but no message, good story and a society that I could accept.

                    • Drat. “The trespasser was required to pay the current rate of rent”

                    • Drak, that was the other option open to the characters. In that society dueling was an accepted method of problem solving. But in this case he determined that he had actually transgressed on another individual’s rights and acted in an accepted way to attempt to compensate for his transgression. And at the end of the adjudication the property owner threw the money on the ground anyways and it was given to some charity instead. And everyone agreed again that he continued to be a jackass. Which all the witnesses agreed again was his right.
                      L. Neil Smith clearly considers the world to be capable of more civility that I have experienced or can imagine.

              • I see nothing wrong with your example, myself. If he entered the guys apartment that is not only his property, but his living space. Not having read the book, I’m going off your explanation of the example, but if he found the guy on the back forty, without having prior conflicts with the guy, I could have a problem with throwing him to the crowd on the other side of the fence. But the guy entered his living space, if some guy comes into my house uninvited I’m not going to need a crowd of strangers to do my job for me, I’m going to blow him back out the door.

                • Common law supports your position. I forget the terms, but there is a differentiation between your home and its immediate environs and property further afield. Your rights in the former are far stronger than in the latter.

                  Absolute rights are a theoretical abstraction with limited intellecual use and no real-world utility. It’s the same over-simplification of reality that leads to marxism. That’s why I’ve taken to calling it “progressive-level stupid.”

                  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

                    The argument has always been how absolute these Rights are and if ones that are not explicitly named are also inalienable.
                    If any right is “sort of” inalienable, does that mean that we mostly have them or that we don’t have them all except at the will of our political masters?
                    I was taught that we have the rights and can only surrender them voluntarily, for example when we join a group or support a cause. Being compelled to surrender them by others (perhaps without a mechanism to be compensated for them in cases of existential threat) means we don’t have them at all.

      • Minor point — although it was Goldwater’s name on the book, Conscience of a Conservative was actually written by L. Brent Bozell (brother by marriage to William F. Buckley) of Media Research fame … just as Profiles in Courage is actually the work of Theodore Sorensen.

      • Putin seems intent on performing empire necromancy

        More like empire necrophilia, lubricated by oil and nat gas.

        I don’t think he’ll bring it back, but he’ll enjoy the effort, even if nobody else will.

    • I don’t consider it an insult. I consider it an insult to think I want things to be “as they’ve always been” mostly because the idiot seems not to GET HISTORY

      • Things “as they’ve always been” would entail government by an anointed aristocracy, an all-powerful state that treated citizens as chattel, to be provided for as their betters deem convenient. Conservatives are those seeking to conserve liberty, to constrain the state, to restrain the proclivity to abuse power by interfering in people’s lives through various undemocratic mandates which trample the concept of inalienable rights..

  12. No– not preservatives– no, they are poison

  13. Need I point out that there is a simple mechanical device that renders a five foot 90 pound woman the physical equal of a six foot 200 pound man?
    If the vile progs really wanted gender equality they would be demanding age appropriate firearms training at every level of education.
    Instead they preach disarmament and dependence on a nanny state that has long since proved itself incompetent to protect them.

    • This, Indeed this. The leftoids (I too refuse to call them liberals or progressive) are also the same group of morons who, when something does happen to them, are the loudest complainers of Gov’t not coming to their rescue, and do not see the irony of being pepper sprayed in the face by riot police when they are at one of their typical protests for even more gov’t.

      • On starting the car this morning the Morning Talk Show guys were playing a clip of some woman denying that she should defend herself against an assault because “only a duly authorized law officer has the right ti use force.”*

        I immediately switched to my audiobook, In the Best Families.

        *Quote is paraphrase, rather than precise, because attempting to hold such tommyrot in my head all day would cause my brain to melt and flow out my nose and ears.

        • *Quote is paraphrase, rather than precise, because attempting to hold such tommyrot in my head all day would cause my brain to melt and flow out my nose and ears.
          Which explains why she was able to spout that type of snot … her brain ran out quite some time ago.

  14. In the States what makes people doubt my femininity (or at least my orientation) is my habit of shopping by the male method: “Run into store. Grab first thing that looks vaguely like what I need. Pay. Run out again, because stores are boring and annoying.”

    See, there’s where I’m the opposite again. I go into the store, looking for a couple of things, but as I wander around and see things on sale, that I know I can use, I pick them up, and often I wind up with half a cartfull, when I intended to pick up just 4 items.

  15. Christopher M. Chupik

    Marx? Eh, who cares what some dead white privileged male European philosopher who lived nearly 200 years ago had to say about anything?

  16. … a regime that has killed 100 million in the ascendant, while we’re told this time they’ll do it right.

    I wonder what “do it right” means? 1 Billion dead? 2? 5? I mean, there are those who think we need to get the global population down TO about 100 million…

  17. I’m really a little annoyed by sociology. They persist in co-opting terms with an extant definition and use and applying a skew factor to them, such that those lacking the specialized knowledge of sociology (and often enough, those having said knowledge) are likely to misunderstand their use and misapply their principles.

    Physicists at least have the decency to make up new words, such that those lacking the requisite knowledge are left wondering what quarks are. And maybe encouraged to dig a little more before running on about pulling up the down quarks and letting the bottoms know that it’s okay to be on top.

    It’s a (vastly oversimplified) character of human societies that youth are the driver for change and elders are the foundations for stability. Thus an ongoing dynamic tension is expected to exist between these two demographics and decisions made at the friction line are expected to benefit from both perspectives. That vile-progs* have successfully corrupted so much of the driving force of youth with these remarkably old and stale and stodgy ideas made up and practiced by people so old they’re dead** is one of the potential fracture points for our society. Quirky libertarian and conservative notions popping up among the youth are one of those things keeping that fracture potential and not actual.

    However, for so long vile-prog thought has been stroked and approved of in the academic arena, and other ideas are left to the actual rebels, thus hampering the motive force. So — support your local rebels. And buy lemonade from some kid this summer.

    *I have examined the precepts of much of the vile-prog movement, in some agonizing detail and with a foundation in political science, all from several different vantage points and without reference to ‘conservative’ bias (I don’t think anyone here will swoon when I admit to being a libertarian). When I was done retching I pronounced them vile.

    **Chew on that youthful rebellion.

    • “Physicists at least have the decency to make up new words, such that those lacking the requisite knowledge are left wondering what quarks are.”

      Not always. Have you ever had a physicist tell you that the sun doesn’t burn and is not fire? They are so wed to their discovery that much fire is oxidation that when they discovered that some wasn’t, after all, they tried to declare it not fire.

      • Well, strictly speaking, I don’t think fire is a plasma, is it? And honestly, as long as people leave me the poetic expressions, I’ve got no problem with getting technical according to the advance of knowledge.

        • Sure, fire is a plasma. Roughly, a plasma is a gas that’s at least partially dissociated into ions. Makes it more useful for things like magnetohydrodynamics.

        • Fire is any process that burns up stuff while producing a lot of heat and light.

      • CombatMissionary

        I call for more research on the topic. Anyone know a drugstore where I can buy some plutonium? 😉

        • Oops. I have looked it up and it seems that fire is a plasma. So it would seem that one could indeed say that the sun is fire, if one realizes that “fire” is being used as a poetic synonym for “plasma,” under the rule that a member of a group can be used as a name for the whole group. And I guess that’s the point of the remark that the classical four element system can be used as a stand-in for the states of matter.

          Yup, didn’t take physics in high school or college…. Me ignorant. Me shame family.

          • It’s not that fire is being used as a poetic synonym for plasma; it’s that the word ‘plasma’ is being used as a technical term to describe the electrical state of the matter that constitutes fire. Rapid oxidation (combustion) is merely one of the ways of making fire.

          • That’s not poetic. It is, and always has been, standard English. I remember a physicist, fervent on the topic of the stars not being fire, nevertheless being driven to say that when fusion starts, the star begins to burn.

        • Plutonium? I’m pretty sure you can get that on Amazon.

          • Don’t know about that, but you can get Uranium Ore.

            • See above. 🙂

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                You do realize the NSA is now reading this thread, don’t you? 😀

                • I wish them luck. They’ll bog down in the puns. They’ll think it’s some intricate code.
                  The mighty tower trembles at the passage of a butterfly.

                • Hardly the first thread I’ve been involved in that they’ve read. 😀

                • Given the kind of conversations that go on here, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a continual feed from this site. Or even if one of them is a commenter.

                  May the waves of amber sway among the fields of grain. /code 😛

                  • Mary had a little lamb.
                    My dog has fleas.
                    Mairzy doats and dozy doats, and I’ll be home for Christmas.

                    Your loving son,
                    Queen Victoria.

                    • Jean has a long mustache.

                    • The Swordfish sings at midnight.

                    • Everyone turn to page 54 of the Voynich Manuscript….

                    • **computer generated woman’s voice** 1, 5, 6, 3, 7, 4, 5 …. 9, 6, 3, 3, 2, 1, 4, 6,”

                    • (Woman’s voice reading numbers)

                      I used to listen to these on shortwave when I was a youngin and the Soviets were still around, trying to pick up any accent.

                      Why, yes, I am odd. Why do you ask?

                    • Pah oli orjana elellä, käyä toisen käskyläisnä: olin orja mieki muinen, palkanpiika pappilassa. Pah oli olla pappilassa, kehno kellonsoittajassa, paljon pantihin olutta, meille hiivat heitettihin. 🙂

                    • I’m trying to imagine that in a smooth recitation by a feminine voice. I’m failing miserably because I have so little reference for Finnish, but I’m trying…

                    • That’s from Kanteletar, poems collected at the same time as those of Kalevala were. I couldn’t find any just recited as a poem on youtube, but a few of them have been set to music several times:

                    • Okay, more looking through youtube, and I found some recited poems, including one which is sang the way the Kalevala poems supposedly were all sang in:

                      It tells how the old Väinämöinen sings his rival young Joukahainen neck deep into a swamp. 🙂

                    • It sounds smoother than it reads, for me. I don’t decode the written words properly and they make my brain twitch.


                      But very cool to listen to, thanks for the links!

                    • Oh, sure. Easy for you to say.

                    • BTW, considering that that Kalevala poem, ‘Kilpalaulanta’, does tell the story of an old man totally obliterating a young upstart with his superior knowledge, to the point where the young guy is hysterically begging him to take any of his possessions in return to letting him get up from that swamp and go on his way… fits the theme, doesn’t it? 😀 Now which part of the theme is of course an other question.

                    • He thought he saw an Elephant
                      That practised on a fife:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A letter from his wife.
                      ‘At length I realize,’ he said,
                      ‘The bitterness of Life!’

                      He thought he saw a Buffalo
                      Upon the chimney-piece:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      His Sister’s Husband’s Niece.
                      ‘Unless you leave this house,’ he said,
                      ‘I’ll send for the Police!’

                      He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
                      That questioned him in Greek:
                      He looked again, and found it as
                      The Middle of Next Week.
                      ‘The one thing I regret,’ he said,
                      ‘Is that it cannot speak!’

                      He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk
                      Descending from the ‘bus:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Hippopotamus.
                      ‘If this should stay to dine,’ he said,
                      ‘There won’t be much for us!’

                      He thought he saw a Kangaroo
                      That worked a coffee-mill:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Vegetable-Pill.
                      ‘Were I to swallow this,’ he said,
                      ‘I should be very ill!’

                      He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
                      That stood beside his bed:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Bear without a Head.
                      ‘Poor thing,’ he said, ‘poor silly thing!
                      It’s waiting to be fed!’

                      He thought he saw an Albatross
                      That fluttered round the lamp:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Penny-Postage-Stamp.
                      ‘You’d best be getting home,’ he said,
                      ‘The nights are very damp!’

                      He thought he saw a Garden-Door
                      That opened with a key:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Double Rule of Three:
                      ‘And all its mystery,’ he said,
                      ‘Is clear as day to me!’

                      He thought he saw an Argument
                      That proved he was the Pope:
                      He looked again, and found it was
                      A Bar of Mottled Soap.
                      ‘A fact so dread,’ he faintly said,
                      ‘Extinguishes all hope!’

                    • Pohjalainen, that is going to keep my dad out of our hair for a week chasing those down. Dad’s parents refused to let Dad learn Finnish, beyond a handful of words, but he heard the old stories and songs growing up.
                      Thanks so much.

      • Absolutes are hard to find. Every specialization will have specialized language and specific standards for the use of language.

        In the case of the physicists you describe it’s a matter of over-specification of a term in common usage. For physicists, that the sun is not ‘fire’ and does not ‘burn’ is essential to their dialect. The very specific and narrowly constrained definitions of science allow for clarity and reduce confusion. Being pedantic about those definitions as applied to words in common usage, however, invites beating about the head with padded ridicule. Your physicists were socially awkward, but they weren’t corrupting discourse quite so much.

        In the case of sociology and other of the soft sciences, they take a defined concept in use in other sciences with specified meaning and tack on a new definition. Thus corrupting understanding between the two disciplines and sowing confusion in the general usage.

        Chemists and medical professionals are discussing different things when they talk about burns. One group is pondering process, and the other result, but there’s enough division between the disciplines that either group recognizes the word usage when derived from the other. It’s typically not necessary to check references and analyze source material to understand which version of the term a physician was referencing in patient notes. And nobody has to get too far bent out of shape when a chemist shouts “Careful with that, it’ll burn ya!”

        Not so with ‘gender’ or ‘collective,’ I fear.

        In any event, I chose quarks to make a physics/gender intersection joke. The success of failure falls on my head.

        • I have been repeatedly told by physicists that describing stars using “fire” and “burn” is wrong. Any time, any where.

          • As I said, socially awkward and inviting padded ridicule. They are very enamored of their precise definitions and wish to export that precision to general usage.

            But then, you seem very enamored of your particular definition: “Fire is any process that burns up stuff while producing a lot of heat and light.” Which isn’t terribly useful in specific scientific discourse.

            My point was, despite their insistence on overspecificity, they are not corrupting the very concept of fire to mean something only loosely (if at all) related to its usage in other disciplines. They are not using fire as a descriptor for anything that raises the temperature of an object, say. In fact, they are constraining the definition to improve it’s communicative power within their discipline.

            Sociologists using gender or collective or whatnot to refer to behaviors described solely in sociological terms without reference to or in contradiction to how those terms are used in other disciplines is not constraining the definition, it’s ignoring it.

            • Sorry, lousy last paragraph. Sociologist’s use of

            • Then why do physicists use it? That the star begins to burn is sometime you will find frequently.

              • because “the hydrogen begins to fuse” lacks immediacy, maybe? And accuracy, since it tends to be that whole Bethe cycle thing eventually.

              • “Burn” is not solely linked to “fire.” Beyond that I can’t speculate.

                • Burns…I loved Burns night except for the drunken poetry.

                  ,Gravity to a Cold Cloud of Hydrogen
                  I’m truly sorry gravity’s dominion
                  Ha’ broken electrostatic’s repulsive force,
                  An’ releases that nuclear fusion
                  Which makes thee burn…

                  • This is funnier if A) you know I was trying to re-write the second stanza of “To a Mouse” and B) if you read it in a broad Scots.

                • Look in the literature on stellar evolution, you’ll see phrases like “the star begins to burn helium.” In my own line of work the reactors are loaded with “burnable poisons” to control power distribution. You usually take a couple of minutes in introductory classes to emphasize that the burning isn’t a chemical process involving oxygen, then go about using the word. The idea that stars don’t burn is more of a pet peeve than standard terminology.

                  But physics does have its share of common words used in non-standard ways. In everyday langauge “velocity” and “speed” are synonyms, but they have distinct meanings in physics. To a physicist, a person who gets up, runs a marathon, and goes back to bed has performed no work (ignoring friction). I wouldn’t recommend trying to tell a runner that.

                  • All disciplines have their share of common words used in over-specific or non-standard ways. I’ve never disputed that. But how often are those non-standard uses entering the common discourse and corrupting the common understanding?

                    As RES says, crossing the streams: how likely is the flavor of a quark known as beauty to impact our understanding of the aesthetic of beauty?

                    Any number of disciplines outside of physics would maintain that a marathon runner has done no work. That’s the joy of a living language spoken by random people. But I don’t see that corrupting our fundamental understanding of work.

                    The idea that gender is a construct, and that all voluntary and associative tasks are collective has demonstrably (on this site) corrupted some people’s understanding of basic scientific and philosophical information.

                    I never set out to defend physics as blameless in the use of words, nor really to indict sociology within sociology for their use of words, as much as I set out to indict the blurring of those uses across the common understanding, and the resultant corruption. I have an admitted bias against sociology in many of the assumptions. In truth, many of those assumptions scrupulous sociologists would rail against. The non-specialists have grabbed on to ideas and run with them, absent the necessary qualifiers. But I’ve done more than a fair bit of reading in social sciences and I came by that bias naturally.

                  • I’ve never known a marathon runner to do any work on the day they run a marathon.

              • Besides what Bob and Eamon said, it’s largely because it’s the word with the closest meaning that they can find. Scientists don’t actually invent their own words for everything, so they often use words that have a meaning that is close enough to give a general idea of what is going on.

                One reason for resistance the use of the word “fire” in reference to stars is that it carries a strong implication of chemical combustion, which tends to give laymen the wrong impression.

                • One reason for resistance the use of the word “fire” in reference to stars is that it carries a strong implication of chemical combustion

                  This. Whether it’s logs crackling in your fireplace the deflagration of fuel-air mixture in your automobile engine, or the burning of RP1 and LOX in an F-1 engine, these have more in common with a rusting nail than with with what goes on in stars.

                  At the heart of the star, in billion degree temperatures, lighter atoms fuse into heavier ones, releasing energy in the form of recoiling particles and high energy gamma rays. The recoiling particles bounce off other particles, transferring some of the energy to them, and to others, and to others. The gamma rays scatter off of particles, shifting their own frequency downward while transferring some of the energy to those particles. In some cases they’re absorbed, then re-radiated. Over the course of thousands of years this energy works its way to the photosphere of the star where instead of being at billions of degrees, it’s at thousands and instead of hard gamma radiation, most of the energy is in the visible light range (for stars like the sun).

                  That process has essentially nothing in common with the burning wood of a campfire except that they’re both glowy (totally a word).

            • Beg to dissent… My disagreement being that, like many/most other disciplines of study, sociology establishes a new definition of an existing word _for use within the sociological discussion_, a definition that in SOMEone’s opinion has some cognitive relevance/connectivity to the concept which they are attempting to convey. CF. discussion about the terminology of physics vis a vis “fire” and “burn”… [tiredGryn]

              DISCLAIMER: my degree sez Psychology (w/ Concentration in Business), my undergraduate classload originally was aiming at a Physics degree, and I consort with Known Engineers regularly. “So there!”

              Respectfully, Mike C. Baker

              Opinions? I’m FULL of them!

              • The problem is largely due to sloppy Politicians and members of the Commentariat employing terminology outside of discipline-specific contexts. It is a form of intellectual sleight-of-hand that merits horse-whipping*.

                *Horse-whipping is a difficult and highly-skilled occupation which should only be engaged in by trained professionals.

              • No argument, really. I understand how it comes about. I think they (and other scientific communities) have to understand how information dissemination is occurring and take steps to divorce their terminology from easily corrupted terminology in common use*. I think it’s an interesting sociological observation to see how a sociological definition of gender has skewed an entire discussion on individual identity.

                *I’m also in favor of other impossible things, so take that and this whole thread (which began with “I’m really a little annoyed by sociology.”) in the meager spirit in which it was offered.

        • Believe me, when someone shouts, “Careful with that, it’ll change your gender!”, I’ll give careful scrutiny.

    • Quark is an evilly rich and luscious type of yoghurt cheese that is used in cheese danishes and other pastries. And served on the best breakfast buffets in Germany and Austria and Switzerland. *licks lips at memory* Not my fault the physicists borrowed it.

    • And maybe encouraged to dig a little more before running on about pulling up the down quarks and letting the bottoms know that it’s okay to be on top.

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *applauds* You sir, made my evening.

    • It’s up, down, strange, charmed, truth, and beauty.

  18. You see, in modern day, we vile “conservatives” are people who want to upend the social theories that have been in place (and largely driving people nuts) for at least fifty years: such as the idea that nothing is any individual’s fault or credit; the idea that laws SHOULDN’T be equally applied but equal OUTCOMES to any endeavor should be enforced; the idea that your taking my stuff is theft, but the government taking my stuff and giving it to you isn’t theft; the idea that if you just have enough self confidence you will never commit a crime; the idea– I could go on, but this is already too long. Suffice it to say that of the various isms of the twenty century, the only one that was proven real was Zionism, which was based on the idea that people would like to kill Jews, and so Jews needed a place where they could be safe. All others have proven poisonous fruit in various degrees.

    Oh, how I could wax poetic on the truth and weirdness contained in the paragraph above. Seriously. If I ever get back into school again (and I’d really like to at some point.) I’m going to write papers and steal bits and pieces of this as thesis statements. I’m not joking. There are at least two papers that could come out of what Sarah’s just written off the cuff. Granted, they could be seen as more Poli Sci than history, but I do political history. But anyway, on to my point.

    Equality of outcomes is something that only occurs in very tiny societies. When there is very little to share and you’ve got a very few people trying not to starve to death it makes sense. Even in those cases though, the best hunter is probably going to get the best bits of the animal he just killed. It’s just life. That hasn’t changed and it never will.

    This is, once again, not about uplifting anyone. It’s about tearing down those who have. I know all about Marxism and the zero sum game and it’s not even really about that. It’s about jealousy and hatred. The leftist sees someone with more than one and wants to seize it. They’re like a five year old at the park. “Mommy! He has a nicer toy than me! Take it away, Mommy, take it away!” Mommy, in this case, being the government. It is three parts hatred mixed with two parts jealousy and stirred with a spoon manufactured by the Marx and Engels Co, LTD, where the employees own the business and the business is run like crap.

    As far as “isms” um…wow. Marxism _is_ a miserable wreck of a failure. Calling it a pile of s**t would be an insult to a source of perfectly good fertilizer. Socialism is the same pig in a dress and makeup. Nazism… Well, I’m sure that a lot of you already knew this, but for those that did not… The term “Nazi” is an abbreviation. Nazi is short for the Nazionale Socialistiche Duetsche Arbeiter’s Partei. In English, that’s the National _Socialist_ German _Worker’s_ Party. (emphasis mine) They were leftists too. Seriously. The Nazi state had absolute gun control, a tightly controlled economy,a state religion and hated Jews. Why did they hate Jews? Well, in their words (and yes, it’s stereotypical and wrong, but these ARE Nazis I’m quoting) Jews had too much money and hoarded valuables. They looked out only for their own interests in attempting to stay rich. Yup. They were hated because (at least according to Hitler) they HAD MONEY. Leftism.

    Want to try a fun game? Do this: Find a Hitler quote where he is talking about Jews. Then pretend you’re a modern day leftist. Read the quote, but substitute the phrase “the rich” for every time you see the word “Jews.” Congratulations! You’ve officially been indoctrinated into the Left! You too, can now spout nonsense and call yourself enlightened.

    Other isms though? Capitalism is *GASP* not a perfect system, but it has produced the economic gains of the last few centuries, including the colonization of the New World. Seriously. Colonies were money making ventures with (sometimes) a political goal. Rightism, meaning a belief in freedom of choice and the right to determine one’s own fate, led to an expanding frontier, economic growth and prosperity. The cash poor United State of America, circa 1849, grew rich because some poor farmers DECIDED to go out west and dig gold out of the ground. Then it became more rich when men like Henry Ford INVENTED A FREAKING INDUSTRY and employed thousands. Try that with a leftist government.

    So, I’m going to disagree with the though that all isms are bad. Because, as we can see above, some are actually not so bad at all.

    • No, no — the isms of the TWENTIETH century. Capitalism is from the eighteenth. 😉

    • When there is very little to share and you’ve got a very few people trying not to starve to death it makes sense. Even in those cases though, the best hunter is probably going to get the best bits of the animal he just killed. It’s just life. That hasn’t changed and it never will.

      Back when I was in college I took a course in physical anthropology (don’t look at me like that; I had to take two “social sciences” classes to get my degree in physics). They showed a video of some !Kung hunters stalking, shooting (with poisoned arrows), tracking, and ultimately killing a giraffe.

      After killing the giraffe, the hunters built a fire, carved off strips of meat, and basically stuffed themselves. Then and only then did they get a “work crew” to bring it back to the group to be shared out.

      The instructor went on about how the meat was shared out. No mention was made that it was shared out after the people who actually brought it down had eaten their fill.

      Another video, from much longer ago, showed hunters bringing seal carcass back to their village. The meat was portioned out, “shared”, but there was a strict hierarchy. Those of higher status (hunters and the like) got larger and better portions than those of lower status (women and children).

      So even in these “very few people not trying to starve to death” the ones that produce more value to the tribe received more of the rewards.

      • My mother spent her teenaged years in Guam as the daughter of an army engineer. One occasion she remembers clearly: the natives (Chamorros, I think?) had invited the officers and their families to a feast. And she remembers how the visitors, and the men, got all the roast pork, while the women and children–after the feast was over–got the rice stuffing.

        Ah, yes. The magic of simple societies.

        • hit post before I finished my thought. Anyway, hierarchy doesn’t really reflect what sort of value you bring to your community. In fact, I would argue that hierarchy arising from productivity is one of those astonishing new ideas that generate progress, and is what the progs are busily trying to destroy.

          • There are a fair number of Greek stories where the heroes fight over who gets the good bits of the feast beast. But the funniest/saddest one is the Irish story of Bricriu Poison-Tongue throwing a feast, blackmailing heroes into showing up against their better judgment, and then deliberately setting up all the heroes to fight each other for the meat — just for his own malicious entertainment. “Bricriu’s Feast” – probably a forerunner to trolls on the Internet.

  19. Knew a pharmacist once that in many a conversation he would work in the phrase, “There’s a pill for that.” It was good for quite few laughs. So when I read, “…women have vaginas (unless there’s deformity),” the first thing that came to mind was, “There’s an operation for that…” 🙂

    Seriously, I think it was Monday I read an article that a group of doctors had grown and surgically replaced the vaginas on 4 patients that had a deformity. They grew them from tissue taken from the patient, not just used tissue from other parts of the body to create one as had been done in the past, but actually manipulated the cells into growing a completely new organ. After reading that article, I e-mailed it to my brother and told him that it reminded me of the scene in Weber’s “The Armageddon Inheritance” where they are discussing the state of the 4th Empire’s technology and that just before it’s demise it could be best described as a cuspal one – that they had incrementally pushed their tech nearly to the limits of understood science, but that they appeared to be on the cusp of making several world-changing discoveries. I think that is where we are right now – on the cusp of making several world-changing scientific breakthroughs…if we can keeps the wheels from flying off.

  20. “You know, someone like that has only met conservatives inside their own head. ”

    How true. Proven in the lab, even. Jonathan Haidt did it with his test asking liberals, conservatives and libertarians to take the test as if belonging to one of the other groups. Only liberals could not pull it off.

  21. You denied us a chew toy? I am going to sulk.

  22. David, infamous sock puppet

    “These straw men of yours are very pretty, but they bear no resemblance to us.”

    You alluded to this briefly, but it really bears repeating. Strawmen don’t shoot (back?).

  23. CombatMissionary

    In the rural West, the expression of womanhood often involves carrying a 12 gauge shotgun. I actually knew of a 90 year old woman in the past few years who went out of her way to go threaten meth dealers in her rural area. Her expression of choice was a .357 Magnum.
    That’s what happens when the nearest law enforcement is 45 minutes away if you can get to a phone to ask for their help.
    I think one of my mom’s favorite birthday presents ever was when I paid for Dad to take her Winchester model 1200 to the gunsmith to disassemble it, clean it, adjust it, and reassemble it. It’s smooth as silk now. 😀

  24. People from all over the political spectra have a tendency to use “constructed” as the opposite of “real,” and also to suppose that [social] constructions can be shed or re-calibrated by sheer willpower (individual or collective). Obviously this is only true for a tiny fraction of [socially] constructed phenomena, and acknowledging that some phenomenon is [socially] constructed should always be step one. That opens up a whole bunch of questions about by what mechanisms that construction is generated and regenerated, about how deeply it’s entrenched, about how adaptable its various aspects are, about what it would take to change it or create flexibility or exemptions within it. (I think part of the basic force of [social argh] construction, as a general concept within the social sciences and humanities, is that whenever you look at human affairs and seize on something that is pretty damn solid, i.e. would take a helluva lot to change, it tends to be so interconnected and mixed up with a whole spectrum of comparably more contingent and pliable and fungible factors which determine how it manifests, and which you can’t just set aside without getting yourself in all kinds of tangles. This fact is perhaps not as universally fascinating and endlessly relevant and morally enlightening as it is sometimes made out to be). (The reason I keep putting “socially/social” in stupid square brackets is because I have a hunch it already begs some of those questions, which by rights should follow from step one — whereas it’s better to be as intellectually pluralistic about this stuff as possible. Not that we should all go around saying that gender is economico-politico-pedago-biologico-linguistico-pyscho-socially constructed or whatever, actually no I’m totally saying that).

    • Just one question– because I refuse to parse anything without paragraphs. Why are you using barackobamasuicidebomber as a gravatar name? The name you chose says so much about you-

    • ** sniff ** ** sniff ** ** sniff **

    • Is there a point in there somewhere?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        We’re idiots?

        • If that’s the case, then it’s one of the more creative ways a leftist twit has called me an idiot today. Less coherent than the tool I’m dealing with on Larry Correia’s blog right now (and those who are over there as well will know how sad that statement is), but certainly more creative.

        • Rob Crawford

          Like I need an anonymous stranger to know I’m an idiot. The certainty I’m an idiot is why I’m not a leftist.

          • Yeah. While I can beat most people in the field with half my IQ tied behind my back (seriously) I’m daily made aware this doesn’t mean I’m smart enough to run anyone else’s life. Look at my assumptions on the subjunctive defaulting to what I learned in ninth grade! (Though the subjunctive exists, and I’m still not giving it up.) Unfortunately, leftists are NOT bright enough to know they’re too dumb to run anyone else’s life. (And usually have made a prize mess of their own.)

            • “From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address.

            • Birthday girl

              ” I’m still not giving it up.”

              If I were you, I would cling to it, too. But then I’m just a bitter clinger, so … nvm

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I’m not saying I’m particularly smart, but this, so very much.

          • What’s funny is that someone once made a comment about how someone who’s screwed up so many things in his life could think he had anything to say about politics. (Yes, I was a screw up for a lot of years)

            I thought about the comment for a bit, then realized that the fact that I had been a screw up is exactly why I believe the way I do. I’ve screwed up too much to think I have all the answers. The beauty is, I don’t have to. If everyone finds their own answers, we’re all good to go. I don’t know what’s best for anyone else, so I’m not going to pretend I do. Therefore, I want people to have the freedom to screw up their own lives as much as they want.

            • The knowledge that there are no guard rails tends to make people drive much more carefully. For most people it is only that their actions have consequences that they modify behaviour. Moderate the consequences and they’ve scant reason to moderate their behaviour.

              Some years back I read about a town that removed all of the traffic lights and saw accidents decrease.

              • The autobahn supposedly has fewer accidents, despite no speed limit. Part of that is people only go as fast as they feel safe driving and don’t sweat it if they’re not going as fast as the other guy.

                It’s amazing how the human desire for self preservation can work miracles that government regulation can’t.

                • Portuguese castles have no guardrails. Little hellions… er… I mean, elementary school students get taken on successive field trips (everywhere) last month of school because school ends in June and kids are a bit nuts by then. I remember racing up and down tower stairs, playing with my friends, dancing in guard towers with half the floor gone, and posing on crenelations. That’s fairly normal behavior. NO KID HAS FALLEN, in recorded memory. Or at least no kid had when I came over thirty years ago. Now I think about it, some places have guard rails now. Fargain EEC

                  • It’s funny how, when you remove the safety nets, people take less chances. After all, when they know it’s all on them, they take less changes because they know there’s nothing there to stop them from killing themselves.

                    Even kids get it. It’s funny how so many adults don’t.

                    • Similar to my idea for car safety. One problem with airbags is, they allow you to plow into things and not get hurt, so people think they won’t get hurt if they plow into things. It affects their thought processes and results in careless driving because they feel safe. Now if instead of airbags, you welded 12″ steel spikes to the dashboard, I bet people would be a LOT more careful driving.

                    • I know I sure as hell would 🙂

                    • Dr. M,

                      You obviously don’t live in a cold climate. If there were 12-inch steel spikes on the dashboards of cars in Canada, nobody would ever drive at all for about seven months of the year – because even a technically perfect driver cannot get traction on wet ice, and we all know this very well.

                    • Then clearly a car is the wrong tool for the job. 🙂

                      That said, my little 4wd Subaru Loyale, with two sets of chains is damn near unstoppable. Wait, that’s the wrong term for driving really well in the snow…. *grin*

                    • There is no right tool for the job in Canada. Even a Ski-Doo can’t function well on wet ice, and if it could, you’d be facing a stretch of bare dry pavement half a mile on, which would wreck your tracks. Plus, there’s neither heat nor a rear seat in a Ski-Doo.

                      Sorry, I’m not going to stay home all flipping winter and starve so you can indulge your fantasies of impaling bad drivers.

                    • Well, the REAL fantasy is the hood mounted disintegrator beam. Although missiles would also be satisfying.

                    • For shame!! We live in a Democratic polity where random (or even purposeful) targeting is inappropriate.

                      I suggest instead we institute a system whereby drivers (and pedestrians, what the heck) can report offending drivers, with sliding scales of offensive behaviour scoring (one point for running a red light, five for side-swiping a “stopped” school bus, whatever) and controls to limit “swatting” so that drivers, as they accumulate points can be advised they might want to moderate their behaviour up to and including elimination of driving privileges/abilities.

                    • Actually Ski Doo do make models (or did, they change their lineup year to year) with seating for two and they hand and thumb warmers, the old air cooled ones even had a ‘defroster’ where the warm air that had passed over the motor to cool it was exhausted under the windshield, thereby blowing back in your face. I am actually in the process of installing a homemade duct work to do the same on my newer Tundra, because the engineers at Ski Doo decided every other manufacturer blew all there warm air on the riders foot, so they must be doing something wrong by keeping Ski Doo riders warm, so they redirected all the air to the left hind foot of the driver.

                      Oh you can stud tracks to, to get much better traction on ice, I’ve never did it myself, but every year when I get stuck spinning on clear ice I swear I’m going to. And bare pavement will ruin skis much faster than your track. Especially the factory blown plastic skis that Ski Doo uses. I went through three sets the first three years I owned my 08 (my 00 has steel skis) and then put a set of Pilots on it. They are getting roughed up some, but are still good for another couple/three years, still.

                    • Risk Compensation.

                      Now you know the technical term.

                      Even here in the United States — it has been proven that “risky” intersections have fewer accidents than lower “risk” ones because people realize they are unusual and drive more carefully.

                • Sam Pelzman published on this topic decades ago.

              • Screw up enough and you know exactly what not to do. When most of your screw-ups came from trying to live the way you thought you should as a good socialist, the screw-ups reinforce the ‘socialism is ridiculous’ position. It’s good negative reinforcement, if you figure things out before you get the idea that someone else is responsible for cleaning up after you, which seems to be what happens today.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              From time to time, I’ve used the following as a Joke “Sometimes I think I’m the most intelligent person around and other times I know I’m the most intelligent person around which is scary since I’ve done some really stupid things”.

              What’s sad is that I often get these thoughts after dealing with a Lefty. [Sad Smile]

              • My younger kid is a bonafide genius. This means he comes up with the STUPIDEST things to do — things no normal human being would think of.

              • I was once absolutely convinced that I had three hands. I can be PROFOUNDLY stupid at times.

                • Not necessarily stupid — could have been absolutely correct, if you were playing a card game at the time (or holding a position being metaphorically referred to as “playing the hand I have been dealt”)…

                  Respectfully, Mike C. Baker

                  Opinions? I’m FULL of them!

                  • Well, the way I found out I was wrong was when the object I put into my third hand started falling…actually it wasn’t when it started falling, it was when I tried to catch it with my third hand and my motor cortex said “what third hand?”

              • Unfortunate, but true.

                When I’m the smartest guy in the room, I feel really, really bad for the rest of the room. 🙂

                • Imagine when I’M the smartest guy in the room. By which I mean not only am I the smartest person there but the one with the most testosterone — and I’m a normal (well in that way) female and the room contains people of penistude!
                  Sad days we live in, my friend.

                  • What a bunch of self-important gits. Experience and reflection have led me to the conclusion I never am and never have been :the smartest guy in the room(TM)” even when I am the only person in the room. Even when there’s no cat in the room.

                    Other times I have sat been confident I was the smartest guy in the room and still walked away from the table poorer than when I sat down and dealt the cards.

                    Being smartest guy in the room is:
                    a) not all it’s cracked up to be
                    b) in most circumstances irrelevant
                    c) not an especially difficult achievement
                    d) an opportunity for a truly unpleasant learning experience
                    No effort at providing a complete and/or comprehensive list has been made.

                    OTOH, in no room I have ever been in has there ever been anybody better equipped and prepared to be RES than I was.

                    • RES — weirdly I wasn’t being self-important. When I found myself being the smartest person in the room it was like “OMG. I’m the one eyed man, but these people are blundering into walls.”
                      TECHNICALLY they’re all probably way smarter than I, otherwise, they wouldn’t have the intelligence to be SO stupid.

                    • Pshaw — actually, I just like saying “self-impirtant gits” and too rarely get the opportunity. I quite understood the point being made and have many times in my youth made similar observations, if only in the “I’m not all that smart but I am worlds ahead of these clowns” form.

                      But it is useful to remember that in any conversation it is possible for each participant to reasonably believe himself the smartest guy in the room and each of them to be wrong. Generally speaking, being the smartest guy in the room and a dollar fifty will get you a venti coffee at Starbucks, and then only in communities with no sales tax.

                    • Sigh. Self-imp_o_rtant gits.

                      I like my wireless keyboard (Logitech K350) but at times the fact that a half-dozen keys are now blank tests me severely. Anybody know whether replacement key caps are available / reasonably easy to deploy? The L looks like an _, the A is topped, I’m missing half my S and the I & O are but dim memories. The less said about the E, the better. I am sadly deficient, having frequent trouble with my vowels.

                    • BTW, not to go on about this, but I find myself far more concerned about those occasions in which I find myself the sanest person in the room, the more so as I am acutely aware of how tenuous my grip on that quality tends to be.

                      I also dread those times when I realize I am the least verbose member of the group or, for that matter, best-looking / best-dressed member, wittiest member, wisest member or best-smelling member of a group. List is neither comprehensive nor complete and is proffered merely as evidence underlying my aversion to being in a group.

                    • IQ isn’t the same as common sense of life experience. Sometimes common sense is more important.

                    • actually mostly through raising the boys I’ve come to think of IQ as “More interesting ways to get in trouble.”
                      But as an example of most “with it” person in the room — I at one time found myself amid a bunch of writers who wanted to stop used book sales. By disseminating rumors about disease borne by pages, if needed. That’s not just cutting off nose to spite face stupid, (I found many of my current favorites at a time I was so broke I could only buy CHEAP ebooks at the thrift store. Those writers have been paid many times over, by my buying their harcovers when they come out. Yes, Pratchett was one of those.) but it was at the beginning of the ebook revolution and my reaction was “it will take care of itself if you price your back list sensibly.” Which it is doing, if slowly.

                    • I think you have a duty to be the best person you can and a good person. Good doesn’t always mean nice. That idea is courtesy of Kate Paulk via her Con novels.

                    • RES,

                      You can often find replacement key caps for Logitech keyboards on Ebay. However, they are liable to go for four or five bucks per key, so if you have many worn-out keys, it might be as cheap (and would certainly be easier) just to replace the whole shebang.

                    • I suppose using a fine-point permanent market would be gauche?

                    • RES, have you considered etching the letter into the key and then inlaying it with white-out? We used to highlight the markings that way when trying to move #1 MKIII*** SMLEs way back when they were cheap and plentiful. It was quick, easy to remove, looked cool, and wasn’t damaging to the collectability of the rifle

                    • I think I would rather simply replace the wireless keyboard/mouse combo — it seems likely to be cheap enough. My main problem is finding a mouse I like — 4 or five button and sized to my hand. Complaints are mostly because a) I like publicly slagging Logitech for shoddy manufacturing b) I recognize I ought be a good enough typist by this point to not need to look at the keys and thus take perverse amusement at publicly embarrassing myself through such complaining.

                  • Agreed. Very sad.

                    Of course, there have been a few times I had more estrogen than anyone else in the room, and I was the only male…

                    …like you, I’m perfectly normal in that regard as well.

                    Talk about awkward.

  25. [i]Physicists at least have the decency to make up new words, such that those lacking the requisite knowledge are left wondering what quarks are. And maybe encouraged to dig a little more before running on about pulling up the down quarks and letting the bottoms know that it’s okay to be on top.[/i]

    I dunno. Try digging into the fiddly details of what “uncertainty” means with respect to quantum physics versus what uncertainty means in any sanely constructred classical system, or mathematical system of probability/statistics. It’s not exactly what it says on the tin – maybe not at all.

    Spin is another one where they claim it is absolutely nothing like what it acts exactly like, same for some subtleties. Instead they’ll feed you a group theory textbook when you push them on what they’re actually trying to talk about.