The Grandchildren of Imagine

The other day here, someone brought up “Imagine” under if everything we think we know is wrong, then…

Imagine is one of the songs which gets me talking to the supermarket loudspeakers, and not in a good way. If I’m alone in a section I might go so far as to give the speakers the double middle finger. (The others are mostly Phil Collins.)

The problem with Imagine is not that it’s lousy, kitchy, superficial art (it is) or that I tend to like songs that have a bubbly meaning on top and more layered meanings underneath (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell, but stick around and soon enough you’ll see another part of me.”) I also like plenty of songs that are objectively tempests of sound and percussion signifying nothing.

No. What really gets me going about Imagine is that its pretty, shiny bobbles of concepts are infantile, wrong AND pernicious. And also that it is largely the same concepts I was raised with (not by my parents, but my brother, his friends, the schools, the popular entertainment, etc.)

Take for instance that “Imagine there’s no religion…. Nothing to live or die for, a brotherhood of man.”

Oy.

Where to start?

 

Imagine there is no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

He is of course, fluffy and confused, and then the next verse is about nations and we have:

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

That sort of refers to nations, but bringing religion in, gets us the idea people kill for religion.

Most people start on the Evangelical Christians get boiled out of shape by that verse – which was probably Lennon’s intent – but let’s, do, examine why eliminating religion is such a good thing “Nothing to kill or die for”. Uh…. Really?

Yeah, okay, we had “Wars of religion” that lasted for centuries. But to be fair, most of the wars of religion only got that way because the cause was co-opted by various princes, kings and countries. And I’m not even going to go into the Crusades as war of retaliation, or the West learning that the only way to stop a religion that promotes itself by cutting off heads is to have a religion that cuts off heads, which made the reformation a kettle of fun as the state seized control of the whole thing as a means to enrich itself.

Let’s go instead into the post-religious world. Whether they dressed it in religious shibboleths or not, WWI was not religious. WWII was not religious. The cold war’s “little” flareups, the millions of people who died in the camps, etc, none of it was in the name of G-d, but in the name of the state.

So for someone in the seventies (?) to be crooning about the brotherhood of man that would ensue once no one had religion is not just appallingly shallow, bordering on stupid, it’s also a crazy denial of facts that were already in evidence.

Turns out, humans being tribal, what ensues if you remove religion is not a brotherhood of man, but tribalism for other reasons. And once the higher objectives of religion and the idea that we’re all created by the same G-d and therefore brothers and sisters are removed, what ensues is not a great family, but – as in those countries for whom atheism was a state religion –humans as utilitarian work machines, humans as fertilizer, and humans as food (during the engineered famines. Look up Holodomor. It dare you.)

So, you say, no nations.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

 

We’ll leave aside the fact that it can or cannot be achieved. It’s not something that has been achieved in… ever. Yes, I know some fluffy libertarians think that the nomadic tribes that roamed around without established location were “equalitarian” and had no kings and no concept of nation. This only ignores the evidence of all grave goods and the experience of anyone who’s lived in a large family.

Never mind. Let’s establish that there were no Nation States. Is this by any chance a sign there was peace? Well, no. See again under “humans are tribal.” The graves we discover from that time do not speak of peace. No matter what you heard about the nomadic past of the US, the Amerindians weren’t children of nature, living in peace. In fact, anyone who has raised kids knows better. Humans not only are tribal. Humans have a will to power, a will to either be admired or admire, to either control or be controlled. Humans seek it. We’re Odds and goats and a little different, but still. You can’t even say that in their vision humans would have to be sheep, because sheep fight intruders, too.

That impulse can be controlled but not eliminated.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Do I have to dissect this piece of crap? It’s not even wishful thinking, it’s irrational babbling. You’d think a grown man, no matter how many interesting substances he was snorting, injecting and smoking, would have realized possessions are not the only thing people strive for. For a lot of people, power over others seems to be the driving motive.

But let’s leave that aside. HOW do you enforce the “no possessions?” Humans like things, and humans will take and hold things they like – pretty baubles, interesting stones. Humans will make things too and those they are even more attached to. “You didn’t build that” is the cry of someone who has never built anything and is jealous. Oh, yeah, jealousy. Another thing that precludes “universal peace.”

To have your state with no possessions you need to have someone making sure no one else has possessions, and that person, of course, will have possessions, because human (and we’ve seen this pattern over and over in human history.)

But beyond that, who is going to enforce “no possessions” if there are no nations.

Don’t answer. I know the nightmare answer to this. I once read a document from the Weather Underground on how they’d organize the US after taking over. It was all “soviets.” You’d belong to a soviet for each of your characteristics. Take me, for instance, I’d be in a soviet as wife, one as mother, one as Latin, one as woman, one as writer, one as…

These soviets would have representation, but not the individuals, who were supposed to help the soviet come to positions through “struggle sessions.” Those of you who have read about the Cultural Revolution are shuddering right now, and if you haven’t, do. I suggest the first hand accounts of people who escaped it.

So, none of these concepts or their children-concepts (“No patriarchy” and “PIV is rape” and a million other insane ideas that proceed from believing that religion – something that has been with man since we didn’t quite have language – is just a plot of “priests” and can easily be discarded; that nations and nation states can be abolished without just as pernicious entities appearing in their stead; that possessions are things you can just say you’re done with, and also that these three things are the only cause of violence) are so stupid that a blind child can see their asinine idiocy.

BUT and here’s the important thing, they were embraced and promulgated by the intelligentsia: those controlling your entertainment, your communications, your education. (We won’t point out their semblance to soviet propaganda probably caused that.)

It is assumed in most things that these three principles and everything that comes from them is “right” and that we deviate from them at the risk of “sin” (Not sin, sin, since we’re not supposed to believe in religion, but a secular sin that leads everyone to point and call us stupid.)

These ideas amount to a wholesale discarding of western civilization and of everything that’s been believed and written about how to integrate human nature with civilization without destroying either.

And we are up to three generations raised since these became not just fringe (they have been there since there’s been humans writing, and yep, mostly they’ve been fringe) but the core and center of our education in civics.

We’re now up to the grandchildren of Imagine, people so far gone that the precepts of their grandfathers are these nonsense assumptions; assumptions not only unproven, but proven wrong and impossible at least in this world we live in.

John C. Wright wrote a brilliant (natch) essay on the uglification of art. He approaches it from a … ah… theocentric perspective. (One of the reasons I admire John is that he doesn’t shy away from explaining how his belief works, even when this belief is obviously based on religion. He won’t be shamed by Imagine.) I’m a little different. While I am, as I’ve said, a woman of belief, the way I was raised requires I explain my beliefs and ground them without resort to my faith.

So, here’s my explanation for the uglyfication of all artistic pursuit. These are the children of Imagine. I’m not going to say that the SONG is to blame, understand (I must explain this for the wandering SJWs who read this) but rather the philosophy behind the song, a kitchy, irrational faith prevalent in progressive circles.

The belief in that nonsense and in the nonsense that derives from it makes people’s lives NATURALLY meaningless and horrible.

Look, if you’re going around believing you must eradicate possessions and religion and nations ALL the time, when these things are patently impossible, you’re going to be miserable. If you attribute every setback you suffer to “the patriarchy” or “the oligarchy” or whatever you’re blaming it on these days; if you attribute your dissatisfaction and hunger to the fact other people have more – that is the recipe for ending up in a private hell of envy and resentment.

And this explains the tone, the purges, the sheer anger you encounter in progressive cycles. They can’t enjoy their lives or build anything until oh, possessions are eliminated, and there’s “a brotherhood of man” and every step taken towards that seems to have the opposite result.

Take, for instance “I’ll try everything once.” Or “I will not obey my husband” both precepts promulgated by this sort of hatred for the past of Western civilization. If you live by them, you’re going to end up broken and miserable. (Translation for the SJWs who read this blog: No, dears, I don’t mean that you should always obey your husband. He’s human too. (Well, yours. Mine is a living god. Yes, I AM joking.) I mean that sometimes there are reasons to take his opinion over those of your best friend, your hairdresser or the cashier at the grocery store. More reason probably. After all, you married him. But the women liberated across to your “prescription” refuse to take the opinion or advice of any man, because patriarchy. Which is why they end up miserable.)

Most of the SJWs I know are miserable. At best they hold on to the trappings of “normalcy” by pretending REALLY hard. But they feel either guilty or failures or ineffective, because they’re not living up to their ideals.

Hence their stories, where everyone is miserable, and all of life is pointless, and their works of “art” where every shred of beauty must be eliminated.

They think they’re holding up a mirror to the world and showing that everyone is really, really broken and those evil people who pretend to be happy are really the worst (this is why “hypocrite” is the worst insult in the SJW vocabulary.)

They don’t realize in the end they are just holding the mirror to their own lives, and that those of us who are, in fact, happy and fulfilled, and who are in fact in the majority, just ignore them more and more, until their screams of rage occur only in their own little echo chamber.

Now, is that work complete? Not yet. They still have the education, and other bully pulpits and they’re still twisting the young into non-functionality.

Which is why we have a lot of work to do. Three generations of stupid pap are enough.

Teach your children well. Read, write. Enjoy. Rebuild the foundations of society that they’ve been chipping at for generations.

Living well and living on are the best revenge.

 

 

367 responses to “The Grandchildren of Imagine

  1. In college i wrote a multi-page treatment for -well, it wasn’t quite a feature, call it a ‘long short’- a ‘dark pastiche’ (totally a term) of Imagine. One of the more blatant borrows was the term ‘Brotherhood of Man’ (the government). It actually started out as a whodunit, gradually exposing the more and more horrible aspects of the society… Think 1984, Brazil, THX1138, etc, all rolled into one.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Totally agree Sarah. I’ve disliked that song for the reasons you mention. Mind you, I’ve heard other songs where I wonder “what is the song writer thinking” because of the garbage in the song.

  3. Came across mention of a study recently that compared the happiness levels of pessimists and optimists. They found that happiness depends to a significant degree on expectations, and that given identical chains of events the pessimists were inevitably happier than the optimists. For while the pessimists were often pleasantly surprised by events, the optimists were often disappointed.
    On a different note, I have a deep seated loathing for organized religion. Any organization that achieves any measure of power and influence will attract those who crave such control, and religions are not exempt. That said, much good is done in the name of religion, but it always seems to be individuals piggy backing their own good intentions on the organized structure of some religion of their choosing. A preacher who encourages his flock to excel in themselves and perform good works I’m OK with. Once they start to impose control over choices and actions, which they inevitably do, my instinct is to either push back or remove myself from all contact.

    • Hmm… I would argue that they weren’t testing real optimists, which in my opinion are very rare. I’ve found any number of wishful thinkers, who expect good outcomes without making any plans for bad, but the true optimist sees good in every outcome. Of course, my definition of optimist would make it very difficult to gather enough to perform such a test, as I think I have only met one or two in my lifetime.

      • mikeweatherford

        I call myself a pessimistic optimist. I believe things WILL get better, but it’s going to take hard work and tough choices because of all the idjits in the way.

        I agree about organized religions. The problems we experience today began in the late 1960’s, when people would do anything to get a draft deferment. Many went into teaching, others into religion. That weakened the foundations of faith, because the problem wasn’t a calling to preach, but a decision of choice to escape something those people feared, and thus treated with contempt. Far too many found it was a great racket, and have perpetrated some pretty horrendous injuries to the faithful. Both the US Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church USA are “sterling” examples.

        A man who has nothing that stirs his soul and gives him a reason to reach beyond himself is already dead, no matter his age or health.

        • I guess I’m some variety of that too (pessimistic optimist). Except I just think that sometimes things get better, sometimes worse, and lots of times you can not tell where we are headed because there are enough random variables that the results are always at least somewhat unpredictable. So things seem to be getting bad but maybe some great leader (or several, or several smaller ones) – and not necessarily political variety, could be something like a movie director or fiction writer or somebody who manages to start something like education reformation, just somebody or several somebodies who can change opinions and start movements – will rise and manage to kick a nation out of its decline. Or maybe a bad leader (or several…) will emerge instead, and things will go bad fast and it will take generations, or even centuries, to recover.

          But I also believe recovery will happen, sooner or later, even if that later will become centuries. Nothing is ever completely lost.

          But nothing is ever really won either. It’s an ongoing struggle. And maybe the big problem is that when things get too good people will relax, assuming that they have either won or at least there is no need now to keep fighting all that hard, and when that happens things will almost inevitably start to slide downhill.

          • I believe that the nature of man (and woman) is inherently flawed, that the species is ultimately doomed to destroy itself in paroxysms of rage and jealousy. Does that make me a pessimist?

            I am optimistic that this will take a sufficiently long time that some of us may escape.

            I also believe that the Universe does not give a flying fig about what the human race thinks, desires or weeps over, much less what I prefer.

            And I see no evidence in the several millennia of recorded history to imagine people will learn, much less change, absent divine intervention.

    • On a different note, I have a deep seated loathing for organized religion.

      When you make a single class out of all philosophies that involve any sort of structure, you’re going to get more bad than good. It’s as nonsensical as talking about shared world views as a single class of items.

      Human actions as a whole fall into Sturgeon’s Law, and he may have been over optimistic.

      • Well yes.
        I am after all at heart Heinlein’s rational anarchist.
        What I have is a deep seated loathing for all organizations as they make excellent tools for those who seek power to control and enslave those of us who don’t.
        The abuse from some flavors of organized religion are just historically well documented. Or as we see every day now the horror when a radical faction of a belief system takes control.
        Of course in my mind I tend to lump things like communism and militant ecology fanatics into mechanisms indistinguishable from religion. At least from anyone’s outside perspective.

        • What I have is a deep seated loathing for all organizations as they make excellent tools for those who seek power to control and enslave those of us who don’t.

          Funny, I have the same reaction to those philosophies that try to destroy organizations– removing competition for those who think they’ll end up on top when other people don’t work together.

        • Organization and organizations are inevitable. They will happen. People need them, and once they get above about 100 members they require a lot of rules and procedures to make them run. They also need a lot of work arounds to make them work at all.
          The death knell of any organization is where the rules become more important than the people and obedience to forms becomes a better route to success than positive outcomes.
          All organizations are, at the very base, a way for plains-living hominids to figure out how to get enough calories and not get the young-uns eaten by hyenas. The next iteration is how to keep the members from killing each other, because that lets the hyenas in. We’ve come a long way but the essentials remain. We will continue to have organizations.
          Since humans are not angels we will always have the problem of humans misusing the levers of power. The secret, I am told by Milton Friedman, is not to find good people to do good things, but to make it profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

        • Why not lump problematic religion into them, instead of the other way round?

    • Eh, you can tell the Catholic Church is of divine origin because it’s lasted two millennia despite the Catholics’ very best efforts.

      However, being a religion whose founder declared that following him requires sacrificing your right hand, your right eye, and your right foot if necessary, expecting it to do otherwise than make demands on you is unwise.

      • An Eastern Orthodox priest told me once during an interview that “the Church survives despite its members, and sometimes TO spite its members.” I think he’s onto something. 🙂

        • When I was an LDS missionary, we had a similar joke – “The Church *must* be true, because otherwise the missionaries (largely 19-21 year-old males) would have destroyed it a long time ago.”

  4. Thank you Mrs. Hoyt

    I’d never really listened to the words before. It was just a tune for me.

    I find that when I actually listen to a lot of the music I grew up with, I like it less. The music can be catchy, the words not so much.

    No excuse on my part, but being a veteran during a very unpopular war, I tended to ignore things and be in denial of things for years. When I got married in ’75 and the family started in earnest in ’76, I buried my head in the sand, concentrating on the really important task of being the provider and father.

    I really lost track of the culture war at that time. Being in denial for years will do that.

    • I have the same reaction to a lot of music I have liked in the past, when I actually listen to he lyrics. I’m not particularly upset with myself about it, though, as I don’t listen to music for the lyrics very often; I simply want something that is pleasant sounding as background noise, to keep me from going stir-crazy while I’m doing something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration.

      • That’s one reason why I don’t like much to listen to songs sung in Finnish. I can’t ignore the lyrics at all then. With English I can do that at least somewhat, which makes it easier to just like something with a catchy tune without getting annoyed by the words (and one reason why I’m often rather fond of fluffy pop songs, especially ones which just talk about something like how wonderful that special other person is because so beautiful or whatever, or how fun it is to dance or something – unfortunately many of them now also talk as fun of doing things which are often more or less, well, immoral, like cheating – however, at least they tend to shy away from those ‘big and important’ MESSAGES).

        And of course languages one doesn’t understand at all can be best – unless you find the translation at some point, and realize you have loved something with a thoroughly aggravating message.

        • I have the same fondness for songs in languages other than English; indeed, the Beloved Spouse & I once bemoaned a particular South African band’s electing to sing their songs in English rather than Swahili. When the words were just part of the music, devoid of content, you could imagine the band was not hopelessly jejune.


          I’ve never been able to decide whether this song was sincerely banal or viciously sarcastic in mocking rock pretension. But it’s got a good beat and is easy to dance to.

        • One of my…favorite?…songs that I hate because of the story in they lyrics is Over the Hills and Far Away. The sad tale of a man accused of a crime he did not commit, and exiled away from his One True Love as a result. Fine. But his OTL is married to his *best friend*, and the reason he didn’t have an alibi is that he was in bed with her when the crime occurred!

          So while the song sounds cool and has a good tempo, the lyrics rather spoil the whole experience for me. Now if I could find a version where they just used instruments to play the vocal line, *that* would be good.

          • Yep. Cheating is one of the things which annoy me thoroughly in lyrics. I can deal with it in longer, written stories, if it’s presented right and you get enough background information as to why – like it’s True Love, but one had to marry the wrong person for political reasons or to rescue her family from destitution, and maybe the spouse is a louse or at least doesn’t care much except as a prestige thing… and it’s all terribly tragic, and they are not proud of what they are doing. Or even maybe stories where it’s just one night fling but under special circumstances and it will matter a lot to at least one of them, perhaps be some sort of life changing event, for example I could deal with the story of that movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, whatever its name was, something to do with bridges, where her character cheated on her husband with his character, but the idea seemed to be that it was what she had needed in order to resolve some problems she had had with her life, and maybe because of that very short affair she could stay in her marriage and become a happy wife again afterwards. But generally, if it happens it should be only

            But stories like that ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’, yep, even if it’s True Love it sounds as if they are cheating a good man, and that’s just wrong, no matter how much in love they are.

            And then there are those now rather too numerous pop songs which seem to think that cheating on one’s girl/boyfriend by having some fun on the side is no big deal, at least as long as he will not find out. Or how acting completely irresponsible by maybe spending one’s whole time just partying is no big deal either. And having fun trumps everything else…

            So maybe I was born as old and stodgy, but I never could accept those attitudes, not even as a teen.

          • Yeah. I have the same experience now with Escape (the Pina Colada song).

            I mean, both of the people in the relationship have act in such a way as to go behind the other’s back to find a new relationship without breaking off the current one, and they (cosmic justice) wind up attempting to cheat on each other… with each other.

            And that’s a happy ending?

            Incredibly catchy song, but…

            • There was a real life incident of that in an Islamic country. Their encounter ended, unsurprisingly, with the man screaming, “I divorce you! I divorce you! I divorce you!” — not that the woman was any happier.

              • There was an incident in China a year or two ago in which the cheating man went to the rendezvous location, and discovered that the woman in question was his daughter in law.

            • Kate Bush’s “Babooshka” had a wife pretending to be a younger, prettier woman to try to seduce her husband and “Catch” him at it, and he went along because she reminded him of the woman his wife used to be before she “freezed on him.” The sounds of breaking dishes at the end of the song shows how that worked out….

              • There are a number of tales where the wife manages to trade places with the pretty young thing. Tends to end with her having the rolling pin or equivalent and vehemently objecting to what he told her about herself that night.

                • From Steeleye Span,

                  An abbreviated version (more common is “Seven Drunken Nights”) of what may be the original song of “Saucy goose for the sauced gander.”

            • Ah, well, there’s the rub, ennit? These songs get past the conscious mind and talk to the lizard brain limbic system. The poison pills are wrapped in musical bacon and we just snap them up.

              Of course, it works both ways; songs have tremendous ability to fortify our better angels, helping us stand our ground against o-erwhelming opposition.

              Works for both sides, of course.

          • Although a bit of research indicates a wide variety of songs under that title (including a duet between Macheath and Polly in John Gay’s Beggars’ Opera), many of us lean more toward this version:

            An alternate version at youtube[DOT]com/watch?v=MEaRiGZBmw0 offers a very nice arrangement accompanying a poorly choreographed (but beautifully filmed, even if the protective blunts are visible on the sword tips) sword fight.

            • Sigh. /I after Beggars’ Opera. The version of Over the Hills and Far Away put up by jabrwok reappears as Long Black Veil, covered by both Joan Baez, The Band, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews Band and many others.

              More cheerfully, say what you will of George Armstrong Custer, he knew how to pick unit anthems for the 7th Cavalry.

        • This is part of the reason why I prefer to listen to music in Japanese. (There’s some side bonus that when I look up the lyrics translation, I tend to like the lyrics themselves.) One of my recent favorites (Setsugekka – The End of Silence by GACKT) according to Wikipedia:

          —-“Setsugekka” (雪月花?), while literally meaning “snow, moon, and flowers”, comes from a poem by Bai Juyi and is used to describe serene beauty.—

          and according to one fantranslator:
          —- The title of this song, “Setsugekka” is a phrase that originates in old Japanese and Chinese poetry, the first recorded usage being in a poem by Chinese poet Bai Juyi, “雪月花時最憶君- At times of snow, moon or flowers, I think of you all the more”. The phrase became a popular theme in Japanese art and literature to represent both beauty and the passage of time through the seasons. —

          While the song itself (translated lyrics) is a poetic love song which is absolutely rife with the Japanese adoration of the tragic, fleeting beauty of life as well of metaphorical nature imagery. Extra bonus points that are lost in the translation is finding out that Gackt, an accomplished calligraphist likes using archaic Japanese in his lyric composition. From the fantranslator:

          koyoi no yume ni zo kimi ga sugata wo (translated in the animelyrics site as “”May you appear in my dreams tonight…” “)

          “In this evening’s dream I find thee…” – Literal translation: “In my dream this evening, I see you (show) your image”. This is written in archaic Japanese along with the lines in Zan. (Shadow’s note: the B-side song of the single) These two songs are influenced by the Man’youshu, an anthology of Japanese poetry collected around 759AD and the language used in these lines is similar. ——–

          So there’s the surface appreciation of the song (a love song about someone losing their beloved to time) then there’s the ‘you dig deeper and holy crap Gackt is a serious poetry, language, calligraphy and history nerd’ appreciation.

          …erm. Sorry for the geekout here.

          A few of my favorite songs have a rather mood whiplash thing going on – the song is upbeat and cheerful sounding but the lyrics are sad (usually lamenting loss, evoking the ‘trying to smile bravely while mourning’ image.)

  5. (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell, but stick around and soon enough you’ll see another part of me.”)

    Keep those parts covered woman! Some of us are eating here. And there may be kids around.

    • Oh come on, she’s just a little impaired and right now you don’t care.

    • mikeweatherford

      Hey, we’re all crazy. Some of us are just more functional while crazy than others. Also, a lot of us didn’t know we were crazy until the world around us became even MORE crazy!

    • rustypaladin

      “Unwell” by Matchbox 20 is one of three songs I really want to redo the video for. I’m always imagining it being sung by Kommander Orsus “The Butcher” Zoktavir from the game Warmachine. It’s just funnier that way.

      • Have you read Dan Wells’ novella with him as the PoV character?

        • Yes, I loved it. I’m still saying he named his axe Lola after his favorite song from his time in a Kinks cover band. Somehow, I don’t think Privateer Press would go for my version though. :p

  6. OK, but Genesis was sorta OK if it was kind of late at night and you were in the mood for something spacy.

    The problem with Imagine is that like most things atheistic is that it is logically inconsistent. Imagine no possessions? LOL, tell it to Yoko. Try ignoring the copyright obligations while playing John Lennon’s repertoire.

  7. I’ll say this as simply as I can.
    People try to say you have a right to life and freedom but no guarantee of private property. This is a lie and naive.
    The right to property is the right to life.
    Without it you are naked and homeless, defenseless and hungry.
    If the state can tell you what to wear, where to live, how to protect yourself and what food you can grow or hunt they hold life and death over you.
    The ones who say – Oh but they will never get unreasonable about it because they have our best interests at heart are fools. Government have killed millions of their citizens in the last century.
    I hate to say it but they deserve to find out just what great fools they are.
    They may get a chance.

    • https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MURDER.HTM

      Governments kill more citizens than anything else.

      • *squints at the chart*
        Are they claiming that 100,000 were killed in the witch crazes, and 350,000 in the Spanish Inquisition?

        The Spanish Inquisition happens to have had very good records. There were about four thousand, total, in that 350 years. (Although I do have to give a lot of credit for noticing that it was gov’t execution.) While it’s probable that some towns didn’t report right, that would be almost one out of a hundred in modern Spain.

        The best modern estimate for 14-1800 witch hunts death total is, high end, 50,000. That includes the mob killings.

        The “Amer-Indians” number is pretty much pure theory; the number you get out depends on the assumptions you put in.

        *pokes around a bit*

        …. that loon used John Motley as a source? What, did Jack Chick not have enough solid numbers for him?

        It’s a great idea, and makes a very good point, but the guys numbers that I know anything about are ear-pulls; that makes me doubt his other claims.

        • I think the point is sound, You can nitpick, but government is the biggest killer around, and they mostly kill their own citizens, Not us, here, yet, but it could happen. You can call him a loon, but he’s right – governments are hazardous to your health.

          • It’s a good point, but it’s badly damaged by bad support.

            Not like it’s HARD to find good– or at least not laugh-out-loud silly– numbers for innocent folks killed by their own gov’ts.

            Breaking it down so that war isn’t included, and secondary effect isn’t included, and reasonable executions aren’t included would make the example even starker, especially if some sort of idea of what the world population involved was. (example: death because you’re a killer, OK; death because you’re a [subgroup], not OK)

            Someone claiming that– if I read the graphic right– over a hundred thousand people were executed in the first 16 years of the Spanish Inquisition, rather than /two thousand/? That will actively drive folks off.

          • If the point is sound, it wouldn’t have to be supported by rubbish.

        • Wasn’t the Spanish Inquisition actually supposed to be rather reasonable when it came to hunting witches, especially when compared to some other countries, like they had real trials where the accused could be declared innocent too instead of being more or less automatically doomed from the moment the accusations first started? And they didn’t care all that much about witches anyway, being more focused on heresies and such?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The Spanish Inquisition quickly got out of the Witch Hunting business. While there was one major Witch Hunt in IIRC northern Spain, they decided that the older Catholic doctrine on witchcraft (ie it’s a superstition) was correct. Apparently they also noticed that claims of being “hexed by witches” mainly occurred during a witch hunt not before a witch hunt. That is, witches only “existed” when somebody was looking for them.

            • Actually, there’s a fair amount of evidence that people accused others of witchcraft after long suspisions. I recommend Witches and Neighbors by Robin Briggs for the interested. Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, Volume 5: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries is also good.

          • *nod* Yeah. It was started to attack folks whose ancestors had been Jewish, as part of the anti-Jew hysteria fad.

            Nasty stuff.

            But dismissed accusations of witchcraft as superstition, thank goodness.

            The Inquisition was actually very much about “real trials”– where it was under Church control, or supervision. There was a REALLY big, nasty fight because the Pope told the King that he really needed to let it be run by the church, not by the locals, and the King didn’t much care for that.

            There’s some kinda darkly funny stuff where folks would deliberately blasphemy to be turned over to the Inquisition and get out of secular jails, although I’m not sure if that was specifically in the later end of the Spanish one or the church-run ones. (Notable for spending most of their time focused on religious officials, oddly enough.)

            Just did an article on this, so it’s fairly fresh in my memory.

            Very brutal time, but nowhere near what the propaganda paints it as– it’s called the Black Legend for a reason.

            Side note, Germany was freaking psycho as far as their laws went. No wonder everyone thought that the stories were wild exaggerations, they drew on a lot of historic junk. And I thought that Ireland had a lot of tribal drama junk.

          • Oh, yes. The Spanish Inquisition, like the Holy Roman Inquisition, and England, said that witchcraft was not an “excepted crime” — all standards of evidence applied to it. So they were stinky about such things as — was this illness actually supernatural in origin? People do fall sick after all. If it was supernatural, how did that prove that this accused witch was responsible? Perhaps a devil did it unprompted. . . .

            Here’s a case. A woman confessed to being a witch, attending the sabbat, and accused another woman of being there. The other woman claimed to be at home, in bed. Ah, that was an illusion. . . and the Inquisitor at this point butted in to declare that yes, it could have been an illusion at home, but then, it could have been an illusion at the sabbat, so no evidence against her. And stood firm against the crowd.

            One notes that contrary to claims about the Enlightenment, those people who didn’t believe in witchcraft’s existence had no part in the end of the witch trials. What really curbed the trials was people starting to be as stinky about evidence as the Inquisition.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              The Salem Witchcraft Trials have a good example of that. After a bunch of hysterical girls started accusing people of being witches with the main “evidence” being that they saw a ghostly image of the witch, the courts started throwing out that evidence on the grounds that the Devil could be responsible for the “ghostly image” and of course the Devil would love to have innocent good Christians killed as witches.

              Of course, IIRC the Salem Witchcraft Trials were long after the main Witch Hunt craziness.

              Oh, I remember hearing a review of a TV (or Cable) series “based” on the Salem Witchcraft Trials. The reviewer was annoyed that the series had the Witches were real and actually evil. [Very Big Grin]

              • It was still early enough to be an influence on the end of the trials. The jurors recanted their verdicts, declaring the evidence had been insufficient, which was promulgated by opponents as evidence toward the evidence problem.

              • Of course, IIRC the Salem Witchcraft Trials were long after the main Witch Hunt craziness.

                At the tail end certainly but I don’t know about long after. The Salem trials were 1692-93. Wiki has the peak of the witch hysteria being 1580-1630.

                The last execution for witchcraft in England (as per Wiki) was 1716; in Scotland; and in Germany 1738.

            • Fun plot bunny notion: try to imagine a world in which witchcraft worked, and you had to try to bring sound cases against it.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                First thought, would the good guys lack magic? If magic was real, I find it hard to accept that only “bad people” would use it or could use it.

                So assuming that the good guys had magical resources, my first world creation assumption is that magic leaves traces that another magician can see. Even better, these traces act as a “magical fingerprint”. That is, if I cast a spell, it would be noticeable different (for a third magician) than if Mary had cast the same spell. Note, the trace remains on the person that has been hexed.

                So if a person has been directly hexed, a forensic magician will know that what killed him was a spell not a “normal” heart-attack. Second opinions may be required in order for it to be classified as a Magical Attack.

                Finding the “evil” wizard may be a problem if the forensic magicians don’t know the “evil wizard”. While the traces are better than “just a fingerprint” in that a fingerprint could be left by an innocent who found the body first, like fingerprints there could be a question of “who the magical fingerprint belongs to”.

                Just knowing who the local magicians are may not solve the problem of “who did it” if the forensic magicians need a sample of the “magical work” of the suspect in order to identify that he/she cast the deadly spell.

                Just to make things really interesting, a smart “evil” wizard might not cast a spell directly on the victim. That is, he/she uses magic to arrange what appears to be an accident. The magical traces will exist but could be far from the victim’s body. The forensic magicians may have to search a wide area to locate the traces and the traces may seem to be innocent magic not related to the murder.

                • Depends on how you’re using magic– in the modern it’s-rebranded-science way, it works just like the forensic magic you mention; if it’s a matter of bribing, enslaving and/or begging Invisible Powers to do stuff for you, it doesn’t work as well. Basically you have an entire class of people that you can’t see, can’t touch, can’t threaten and probably can’t even influence. (They did do something for the witch, after all.)

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Agree. We need to define what magic is, at least for the story.

                    So, does the investigator have “connections” with the Spirit World? If not, then story wise we got a problem as depending on the victim’s condition, he may not even be able to know if the death was murder (by magic) or just death by natural causes.

                    • If we’re trying to be traditional, then the “community” of the spirit world can be influenced, but can’t really be forced– even if you force them to show up, they might lie.

                • I meant witchcraft as it was treated in the witch trials — powers arising from a compact between the witch and the Devil. By definition, the good guys aren’t going to have that.

                  • Harold Shea visited a world where sorcerers used powers granted them by Diabolic sources, and there were officially no good wizards. Instead, there were knights, who called upon the power of God and, unbeknownst to the knight, routinely got miracles as a result. So the knights were de facto white wizards, but didn’t think of themselves as such.

                    • There’s a branch of (forbidden) magic that involves treating God like the other powers.

                      It’s, ahem, disrespectful; it’s attempting to control supernatural forces, which is a good shorthand for “magic.”

                      Now, asking your adoptive Father-in-heaven for help, that’s quite different, even if He frequently does it.

                      A matter of power and control.

                    • I’m kicking about an idea where there’s this order of paladins ala D&D (not, of course, called paladins in story 0:), who, because they have not faced menaces in a long time, have grown lazy and corrupt.

                      Menaces attack. One and only one paladin has the powers to face them. Other paladins not happy.

                    • (Replying to Mary)

                      Ah! So, only one of them lived up to his vows? Interesting… Got to tread carefully, though. You could get really moralistic really fast… but it’s not a bad idea… I think I will borrow this.

                      I’m in a bet with some friends to write a short story by the end of the month, and I have been wracking my brains, trying to come up with something, and this is perfect. I’ll probably put it in an Oriental setting, make the paladins monks, do it like a Cinderella story where the other monks hate him and make him do all the cleaning… then we introduce a dragon… or a manticore… not enough stories with manticores in them…

                      Yeah. Thanks!

                      (Actually, it reminds me quite a bit of The Storyteller – http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/Storyteller.html)

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Then we got problems. [Smile]

                    As I mentioned to Foxfier, the first problem is determining if there is a crime.

                    If our investigator has a body, how does he determine if it was murder (by magic) or a death by natural causes?

                    A clever witch may want the deaths to look as if they were by natural causes.

                    • If there’s a Devil, there’s someone who kicked him out of heaven. Your investigators would come from the ranks of those granted power from him. Priests most likely especially given the current context of the discussion.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Good point. They won’t call it Magic but would have power/insight from God to deal with these sort of problems.

                      Of course, such God Touched Men may not have to use the legal system to deal with Witches and I assumed that Mary was thinking how the legal system would deal with Real Witches.

                    • It could be as simple as ‘detain the accused, and summon God Touched Man to investigate.’ Depending on the story it could be a matter of simply ‘seeing’ that other realm to determine or it could be your kind of spiritual forensics. I’m disinclined to speculate how it might work in a more real world scenario…

                    • Well, the system is in place for dealing with other sins– why wouldn’t it deal with this one, too?

                      I gotta say, I don’t like the “God touched” approach– it feels like a cheat, instead of “how would normal people handle it in the framework of the witch trials”?

                    • *shrugs* It depends on what the story is trying to accomplish, the premise, the world, and to use your own question… what does that have to do with the witch trials? They don’t measure personal salvation but criminal activity.

                      In the realms of a fantasy setting it makes good and realistic sense. I’ve always found it very irritating when stories assume there are people who make deals with the devil and get powers, but that the other side couldn’t possibly have any kind of power, even though they, theoretically to the story, had the stronger patron and a better relationship with them.

                    • The Witch Trials weren’t about personal salvation, though– they were about people being accused of using supernatural means to harm others.

                      It’s a long term/short term matter– plus, a lot of the modern fantasy stuff is make-you-cry ignorant of the help we are offered, like sacramentals (blessed items, etc) being helpful.

                      If it’s handled right, it could be REALLY interesting– not that the “magic as science that we don’t understand” thing isn’t interesting, it’s just…standard.

                    • I know they weren’t about long term salvation, which is why I was confused when you brought up the sins angle? Or did I miss something entirely?

                    • Pointing to there being no inherent good reason to draw a line between the system dealing with theft, murder, infidelity and who deals with a similar harm via magic.

                      Not as clear as I could be.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod, even before the major witchcraft trials there was a school of thought within the Church that witchcraft was just superstition as God would not allow the Devil to give people “magical powers”.

                    • I think that is the general point of the Faustian legend — you might do great in the world but in the end it sure wasn’t worth it.

                      Bad guys and a-holes generally do pretty well in the world, if you think about it.

                    • Well, on the sides not being equivalent, only one side would be willing to give you powers that would be dangerous to you. And that side would be positively eager to do so.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I go by the idea, expressed by a Roman Catholic, that God won’t allow Satan to give actual “magical” powers to humans.

                      Satan may promise people that they’d get “magical powers” over others, but he’s a liar.

                    • I had to read that sentence three times, Drak, because I read it as “Sarah may promise” and I kept going “What? waitaminute.”
                      I really don’t normally confuse myself with the prince of darkness. (Looks at decongestants. Weird.)

            • I’m most familiar with the Finnish part of that history. They weren’t that many cases, there seem not to have been any actual ‘hunts’, many of the accused were men, and the few who got death sentences were hanged but others spend some time in jail or just had to pay a fine, and one could be declared innocent too, with or without a trial. And here many of the accused also seem to have been guilty of old pagan practices, like making appeals to Ukko, the god of thunder and sky, for rain.

              (So neopagans actually can claim some small bits of history here and there having been sorta kinda like the otherwise rather fictional ‘burning times’… well, that idea can make for fun stories when it’s used for an alternate universe or history) (and yes, I am a neopagan myself 🙂 )

              • I think it was over at TOFSpot blog where I found out that witch hunts predated Christianity– part of why Germany had so many and such nasty witch hunts is that it was an existing tradition…or whatever you call mob activity to kill someone you suspect may have done you wrong in an undetectable way.
                I wonder if the old Finnish magic user tradition was mostly male?

                • Oh, yes. Witchcraft is believed in in every known culture except very modern industrialized ones (as in, there were definitely witchcraft beliefs in early 20th century England and France) and certain hunting and gathering societies. Many of them had witch hunts.

                  While imposing Christianity, Charlemagne also issued laws like this:

                  “If anyone, deceived by the Devil, shall believe, as is customary among pagans, that any man or woman is a night-witch, and eats men, and on that account burn that person to death… he shall be executed.”

                  Another, like law:
                  “Let nobody presume to kill a foreign serving maid or female slave as a witch, for it is not possible, nor ought to be believed by Christian minds.”

                • Old Finnish magic user tradition – yes, it’s highly likely it was more a male than a female occupation, although there probably also was some division of subjects, men doing some magics and women having their own areas of expertise. But the most important stuff was probably done by men.

                  • In Iceland, virtually all of the accused were men — there’s always the possibility of similar.

      • Fails on the basis of treating all governments as equivalent. One reason governments kill more people is that, absent government, there would be damn few people to kill. Only government creates the stable conditions necessary for large scale human existence.

        Sure, some folk argue otherwise but there is mighty little actual evidence to support their claims.

        Not saying that far fewer people is a bad thing, especially on the evening of the day of my weekly shopping trip to Walmart, an experience which has me convinced the world is full of people who need to get the h-e-double toothpicks OUT OF MY WAY.

        • Sunday morning is the best time for shopping. Stores are almost completely empty of customers then for some reason!:-)

  8. Josh A. Kruschke

    🙂

  9. “Living well and living on are the best revenge.”
    But finding them in a dark alley and beating the crap out of them comes in at second place.

    • mikeweatherford

      I don’t like dark alleys. It makes it hard to enjoy how much fun I’m having. Anywhere, any time, any way, even if words or body language is your only weapon. Besides, it’s FUN!

      • Well, I and my friends all limp a lot … so we are ambush predators now. The old “chase ’em down” cheetah strategy got jettisoned several knee joints and many years ago.

        • Attack from behind, give them no chance to fight? Only sensible way to do it anyway. ‘Fair’ should be left to the rare cases where the opinions of possible observers might matter. Plus the even rarer ones when you are perhaps hoping to recruit the victim later, if you assume he is inclined to respect and look favorably at an opponent who can beat him in a fair fight.

        • Ambush predators with .45 pistols. Which I can attest you handle very well.

    • And not a distant second.

    • That goes in the quotes file.

      • Frasier: You know the expression, “Living well is the best revenge”?
        Niles: It’s a wonderful expression. I just don’t know how true it is. You don’t see it turning up in a lot of opera plots. “Ludwig, maddened by the poisoning of his entire family, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act by living well.”
        Frasier: All right, Niles.
        Niles: “Whereupon Woton, upon discovering his deception, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act again by living even better than the Duke.”
        Frasier: Oh, all right!

  10. That sort of refers to nations, but bringing religion in, gets us the idea people kill for religion.

    Most people start on the Evangelical Christians get boiled out of shape by that verse – which was probably Lennon’s intent – but let’s, do, examine why eliminating religion is such a good thing “Nothing to kill or die for”. Uh…. Really?

    Not ten minutes ago, talking about a denial of service attack on SONY’s EQII servers, my husband was asked why they’d target a game instead of something impressive like a totalitarian gov’t. He pointed out that really nasty gov’ts will send people to kill you, kind of like how folks will attack Christians instead of the religions that will cut your head off. Immediately the “why don’t they DOS a totalitarian gov’t” guy responds “yeah, unless you’re an abortion doctor!”

    Because there’s been a flood of abortion doctors having their heads sawed off by Christians, I guess. (My husband, of course, executed the “he’s an idiot, ignore him” protocol.)

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Yeah, the idiots talk about attacks on abortion clinics/doctors but never admit (or even know) how few such attacks have actually happened. [Frown]

      Oh, your husband’s “he’s an idiot, ignore him” protocol is better on the blood pressure. [Smile]

      • Oh, your husband’s “he’s an idiot, ignore him” protocol is better on the blood pressure.

        It’s been pretty standard for the last 20-ish years– helps you avoid paying for those whose response to disagreement is…disproportionate.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          “Fortunately” I only have to deal with such idiots on-line where the only danger to me is being “kicked off” that site.

          One idiot on Baen’s Bar, sometime back, really annoyed me with his “of course the major anti-abortion groups speak out against abortion clinic bombers. They agree with the bombers but would be in trouble if they said so” garbage. [Very Big Frown]

          • There’s a reason I’m supposedly not very social. When people are idiots, I tend to question their random insertions. It’s “disruptive” and “causes conflict.” (It’s not the name calling that’s an issue, it’s objecting to being called names.)

            • It’s why I tend to stay out of political threads. I get into premises and assumptions and I don’t allow name-calling (which got me defriended by one person on FB, which was sad because I had previously described him as someone with whom I could have deep disagreements with but still have a low-key, productive conversation. Take out the face-to-face element and stick the discussion online and apparently this didn’t work anymore.)

              The one thing I will always go rabid on is anti-vaccination, though. Sorry that I won’t “let people have their own opinion” if their anti-scientific views can directly affect me and mine. (I’ve known many folk with compromised immune systems, for example.) Funny how I’ve seen folk blaming reactionary types for anti-vaxx hype when most of the people I’ve seen going for it are the “all-natural” types who think you can avoid cancer through eating certain foods and who probably take “Imagine” as an anthem.

          • Only one problem with that, first there has to be a pattern of abortion clinic bombers to agree with. I’m betting the idiot couldn’t list the last few abortion clinic bombings, could they?

            • Two reasons he couldn’t:
              anyone who asked could reasonably expect to have a shit-fit of the century,
              anyone who might ask anyways is already aware of this.

              Not great for keeping folks from feeling alone, but lets the idiots be blind-sided regularly by what people actually do. They just magically end up not being invited as often as the folks who don’t set up drama, if there’s any option….

      • The other thing they won’t do is admit that IF anti-abortion people believe that a fetus is human, killing an abortion doctor is comletely justified; he is guilty of mass infanticide.

        • Justifiable, anyways.

          The habit of the left since the 60s to use the accusation “Babykiller” still strikes me as highly ironic, when it’s not making me half incoherent with rage.

          • Mind, I DON’T think a fetus is human, but I don’t believe I can prove it. I think that pro-life supporters make a serious mistake when they deny that their opponents can believe what said opponents say they believe. The “the just want to control Womens’ bodies” narrative doubtless makes the Pro-life forces feel all warm and rightious, but it also leads them to do dumb shit like defending Kermit Gosnell.

            • Mind, I DON’T think a fetus is human, but I don’t believe I can prove it.

              I think you mean “a person.”

              The other way is a biology question, as is the question of if the fetal human is alive or not.

            • Humanity starts somewhere, and where it starts is not a matter of opinion.

              If you claim that life doesn’t become human until the head leaves the birth canal you have an obligation to back up your reasoning.

              If you wave your hands and say this is what the Supreme Court says (it doesn’t) or this is what consensus is (it most certainly is not) you grant these agencies the same authority to declare any particular grouping of homo sapiens as “non human”.

            • Wait, what? I’ve never heard of any pro-life forces defending Kermit Gosnell. The “pro choice” forces? Sure.

              • My screwup. I mean pro-choice.

                I don’t see how the smarter people on that side don’t get that defending him was poison.

                • because overpopulation. And the right to kill babies anywhere at any time. And they don’t like humans very much.

                  • I’m not saying I don’t understand why they might WANT to defend him. I don’t understand how they can not see that defending him is a massive political mistake.

                    • Because they lack the ability to enter into someone else’s head and look at it from the other person’s point of view. They operate entirely on projection, all the time; therefore they think that everyone else thinks like they do. And if they want to defend him because Justice™ and Good Feelings™, then everyone else will naturally see things from their point of view too, and it will be to their political benefit to align themselves with the side of Justice™ and Good Feelings™.

        • Sometimes I think people like you cause more liberals heads to explode than people like Foxfier. Because you actually believe the same thing they do (on this subject, at least), but are capable of reasoning and actually examine the other sides argument instead of just calling them fascist poopyheads. I think that is a bigger taboo than disagreeing with them.

          • I actually get the “if you believe abortion is murder, then you should support killing abortionists” thing pretty often from pro-aborts. Part of why I clarify that it might be justifiable, rather than is justified.

            Big difference being that Cspschofield would be a heretic because he’s not using it as an attack in the form of “since you’re not out there killing people, you really just want to hate on women” type way.

            Traitors tend to draw more fire than the other side, maybe ‘cus they’re closer….

    • Have you ever seen someone from PETA throw red paint on a Hell’s Angel wearing leather? Same thing.

      • Hell, I’d pay money to see that.
        Natural selection in action.

        • I’ll pass the hat around, and throw the first bill in it myself. Maybe we can collect enough to buy tickets for the entire PETA organization to Sturgis.

          • OTOH, the Hell’s Angels decided they really didn’t have to visit Monterey, CA (back during their town terrorization phase), because they didn’t like all the military waiting to greet them at the city limits.

            • Somehow I believe there are a fair number more military vets in the Hells Angels (I knew a couple) than there are in PETA.

      • “People are more violently opposed to fur than leather, because it’s safer to pick on rich women than biker gangs.”

        That idea’s been around for a while, I even have a copy of a strip somewhere from Mad Magazine that uses it.

        However, I DO agree with PETA on one thing, cute young liberal activist girls belong on the street in cages wearing nothing but body paint. Although where I disagree is on the letting them out part.

    • Patrick Chester

      Not ten minutes ago, talking about a denial of service attack on SONY’s EQII servers, my husband was asked why they’d target a game instead of something impressive like a totalitarian gov’t. He pointed out that really nasty gov’ts will send people to kill you,kind of like how folks will attack Christians instead of the religions that will cut your head off.

      Something similar happened to Star Wars: The Old Republic over the Christmas holidays last year.

      Apparently, we need actual Sith Lords capable of telekinetically strangling and/or shooting lightning at such miscreants….

    • iirc, part of Anonymous made the mistake of going after Israel a few years back. I *think* the Israelis publicized the real-world identities of the individuals responsible, though I don’t remember for certain.

      • I know Russia has been rather… definite… in their response to hactivism.

        • Of course, Russia’s also responsible for an awful lot of the hacktivism that takes place these days. One of the biggest incidents that I can recall off the top of my head involved essentially shutting down the government websites of one of the Baltic States with DOS attacks.

  11. If you can’t win, you can’t really lose. If you can’t be happy (because oligarchy/patriarchy/Republicans/GMO) then it isn’t your fault so you don’t even have to try.

    Why Phil Collins?

    • Um…. apparently I was wrong. This is the song that drives me to screaming at the ceiling: http://www.rockstarinquiry.com/lyrics/lyrics/235875/Bruce-Hornsby/End-Of-The-Innocence But now those skies are threatening
      They’re beating ploughshares into swords
      For this tired old man that we elected king
      Armchair warriors often fail
      And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
      The lawyers clean up all details
      Since daddy had to lie was a dig at Reagan and when you hit the “often fail” I’m screaming “He didn’t fail you f*cking commie, you guys are just trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of Victory.” (Dan learned to turn away from that song at the first sounds, because he didn’t want our toddlers to acquire that kind of vocabulary in three languages.)

      • Ah. Yeah, I pretty much despise that song and it’s everything I can do not to change the station when it comes up on the radio in my wife’s car because she wouldn’t get it. I also hate “The Way It Is” by him as well.

        I thought maybe it was some of Phil’s Ear Worms.

        • “Another Day in Paradise” is the flag I’ll fly to support the claim of Phil Collins as regular offender
          Because he was.

          • “Land of Confusion,” although it’s a great video to use to lead into discussions of the anti-Regan/anti-nuclear movement of the left in the 1980s.

            Along with Sting’s “The Russians (Love their Children Too)”. And “The Black Seam” for politics masked as bad science (dude, no one has ever gotten radiation sickness from Carbon 14.)

            • Carbon 14, no. Radon? Now that’s another issue. If I understand correctly the average coal fired power plant actually puts more radioactivity into the air than the average nuke plant because of what is in the fly ash. Of course if you tell anyone on the left that, they get cranky. Kind of like when you ask them about how much waste was generated making those solar panels or how many birds are dying for that wind farm.

            • Blech, Sting’s “Russians” is Glurge to the Max… Did he ever decide to write the follow-up “The Americans (Love their Children Too)” and pander it to the Russian audience?

              • Patrick Chester

                The Russians may have loved their children, but somehow I doubt the Party officials really cared about any save their own.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              You know, it may have been intended as anti-Reagan, but lately I’m thinking of “Land of Confusion” almost every day. 😦

          • I don’t think “Another Day in Paradise” is that offensive–it’s comparable to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and a condemnation of individual hypocrisy. Collins isn’t going fully Marxist in that song.

          • I prefer Phil Vassar’s (totally different song).

        • I thought “The Way It Is” was Bruce Hornsby and the Range? (I much prefer “Mandolin Rain” anyway)

      • I prefer Warren Zevon, “Send lawyers, guns, and money…”

      • What it’s like” makes me want to spit nails.
        Yeaaaaah, let’s act all high and mighty against folks who don’t enable or at very least approve of what, at the very least, is personal destruction….

        Oh, and the “I’m going to insult you if you are less than enthusiastic about having no strings sex with me, now” type songs, starting with “only the good die young.” Go bleep yourself, manipulative jerk…..

        • I actually always took “Only the Good Die Young” as more of a making fun of self’ song.

          • Oh, I went to look up the lyrics to see why you called it a “I’m going to insult you if you are less than enthusiastic about having no strings sex with me, now” song. I realized that you were thinking of the Billy Joel (another artist I can’t stand, so never listen to) song, while I was thinking of Tracy Lawrence’s “If The Good Die Young”

            I see what you mean about the Billy Joel tune.

          • Alright, pushed that around and tried to fit the corners in, still can’t see it fitting with all the detail work. How so?

          • Yeah, country music is great for that kind of stuff. Yay, sense of humor that’s aimed at THEMSELVES more than anybody else!

            constable clocked me at 104
            Judge said son you’re gonna hurt yourself
            you’d’ve long been dead if you was anybody else
            but if the good die young, yeah if the good die young
            oh there ain’t a sentence gonna hold you son
            ‘cus you’re gonna live forever if the good die young!

            Side note– he got old! Not old-old, but old! *shocked* Singers like that are supposed to be timeless…..

        • SheSellsSeashells

          My favorite was always “More Than Words”: tender, stirring ballad with lyrics that boil down to “stop telling me you love me and PUT OUT, DAMMIT”. I about fell over laughing when they played it as the exit music after a Valentine’s Day sermon at my church…

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            SheSells,

            That is I feel a cynical way of looking at love that the only two ways of showing love is either puting out or saying some words. And it probable justified too. You probable might have heard the ‘if you love me you you’d put out speech’ more than I. 

            I always took that song to mean actions speak louder than words. That it’s easy to say I Love You, but it’s hard to show it. I always think of my Grandparents when I hear this song. I’m not sure if I have ever heard them say the words ‘I Love You’ to each other, but you never doubted it for a secound when they were in a room together. 

            I find it interesting that our expectations of the world influince how we see the world.

            This not to say your interpretation is wrong or that mine is right. I don’t know the intent of the writers. The beautiful thing about writing, music or art in general is the audiance determines what it means to them, and often in ways unintended by the artist.

            🙂

            • I think I used to interpret it as “actions speak louder than words” or “easy to say and hard to show” — when I was younger and more innocent, perhaps. But then one day I listened to the rising enthusiasm on “just reach out your hands and touch me, hold me close, don’t ever let me go!” and reviewed all the other lines like “how easy” and “all you have to do”. And, well… if someone is in a relationship with someone who kept saying “I love you” but didn’t act like it, I don’t think slow-dreamy-cooing “If you’d act like it, you wouldn’t have to say it” is exactly the natural reaction.

              I was fortunate enough not to date anybody who tried “If you loved me, you’d put out” myself, but sadly, I’m pretty sure that’s what the song is about.

      • rustypaladin

        I only have two songs of his in my music library: “Dirty Laundry” which is still a pretty accurate description of the MSM, and “Garden of Allah” which I like for the monologues. I don’t agree with them at all but I can use the attitude displayed when writing less than nice characters. 🙂

      • Hornsby is a wonderful musician and a skillful lyricist. Also sorely misguided at best and an idiot at worst. I still love Cyclone, though.

        • There’s a You-Toob video of “Mandolin Rain” where they modulate the key and have Ricky Skaggs on the mandolin . . . wow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSBO-gvb6KY I really like this version compared to the original. (Apparently enough other people did too that they have a fancy official recording as well, of a later performance.) Much of his other stuff . . . meh.

      • Oh, thank goodness. I’ve been fighting the urge to post Phil Collins videos to this thread all day long.

        You might say I don’t care any more.

  12. That song– used to sucker us in when we were children. The parents would change the station or turn off the radio when it came on– It took a few years (when I was in my twenties) before I actually heard the words in my head and not the music.

  13. mikeweatherford

    With my tinnitus and hyperacusis problems, I don’t listen to much music any more. Both my wife and I grew up on the music of the ’50s, which wasn’t as depressing. Nowadays I listen to classical, or Celtic Woman, or Riverdance. Still remember those songs from the ’50s though, the ones I roller-skated to as a young teen. Never had much patience with listening to a radio. I was either out running the neighborhood or reading.

  14. Well, at least John Lennon felt embarrassed about the song.
    You know, before someone who embraced it, murdered him.

  15. Basically my enjoyment of modern drama is dependent on its morality. Not that is enough for good art, just necessary. There are countless examples of TV series ruined by having the main character do something morally obtuse, or worse, morally reprehensible. People understand this point intuitively, but not consciously. They just drift away from a dramatic series when that starts to happen. Lots of good TV series were ruined in this fashion, The Closer, Burn Notice, and, as they like to say, many, many more.

    One bizaare experience with Imagine I had however is watching the TV series Quantum Leap. On one episode a few years in he leaps into himself at a younger age, and tries to convince his sister he knows the future and that she shouldn’t marry the man who will eventually abuse her. She is a devoted Beatles fan, and this was before they broke up. He tells her that. She doesn’t believe him. He sings Imagine to her, and she realizes it’s an authentic John Lennon song that hasn’t been written yet. A very moving moment in a very moral series, and it hinges on that morally obtuse, historically ignorant song.

    • I loved Quantum Leap, though I think I only saw part of the series due to its late time slot and my need to go to school. (We didn’t spend a lot of time recording shows to watch later.) I remember that three-parter, where he jumped into the same woman’s life three times, and the second time was basically right in the middle of flagrante delicto. So when the third episode started, and her little daughter came out, I said, “She’s Sam’s daughter and she grows up to work on the Quantum Leap project.” My father and brother looked at me like I was crazy. And when I was right, they looked at me even weirder.

      That’s what a strong sense of narrative will do to you as a dedicated reader… I guessed the end of that episode because it’s what *I* would have done. 😉

      • “That’s what a strong sense of narrative will do to you as a dedicated reader… I guessed the end of that episode because it’s what *I* would have done.”

        Shows good instincts on your part. My wife has trained herself to be such a storyteller that she’s that way. Most of the time it astonishes more than bothers me. When we left the theater from “The Empire Strikes Back”, I asked, “I wonder what Yoda meant when Obi Wan said, “He’s our last hope,” about Luke, and Yoda replied, “No, there is another.” She just matter-of-factly said, “Princess Leia is Luke’s sister, and that’s who he meant.” If you want to be surprised by stories, don’t live with a writer.

        • The thing is, at the point that they shot those scenes in The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas didn’t know he was going to have Leia be Luke’s sister. Apparently Lucas thought he needed as big a surprise in the third film as the “Luke, I am your Father” line had been in Empire, and screenwriters who did the real writing only talked Lucas into that twist when they were brainstorming the third movie storyline well after Empire was released.

          According to The Secret History of Star Wars, Yoda’s line in Empire was originally meant to set up the third (eps VII-IX) trilogy wherein Luke was to go off on a quest to find his missing sister, but by the time Lucas was plotting The Return of the Jedi his personal life was in shambles, he was done with Star Wars, and he just wanted to wrap the damn thing up and move on to other things, like Howard The Duck and Willow. This “just get it over with” mindset certainly shows in Return of the Jedi, especially in the plotting and the dialog.

          In any case, this proves that your wife is not an insightful discerner of George Lucas’ subtle foreshadowing, but in fact a class II precog who will be required to register with the bureau of psychic affairs immediately

  16. The movie The Killing Fields clumsily tries to blame the Cambodian Communist murders of 2 million people on the US bombings of the late war (targets specified by the Cambodian government at the time) and ends happily with Imagine on the soundtrack over a freeze frame of a hug. I thought after seeing that on TV, wasn’t that what the Khmer Rouge was all about?

    • I’ve seen a number of spoof videos with “Imagine” used over scenes of war and other violence. It’s very hard to determine if the filmmakers are being sincere or not when putting those shots together.

    • Basically repeating Chomsky’s vile apologies for the Khmer Rouge.

  17. If we followed the advice in “Imagine”, we would all be living in caves and probably eating each other within months.

  18. Too bad more of these miserable materialistic nihilists can’t embrace it, and get in touch with their own inner Lovecraft.
    They might actually produce something worth reading.

  19. It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized this song wasn’t satire. I mean, it’s obvious he’s talking about a world with no people, right?

    • Or that secular Christmas song about three wishes.
      I loathe that song.

      • Last Christmas is the worst secular Christmas song.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          That’s almost as bad as “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.

          Almost.

        • Last Christmas is also apparently the subject of some type of Federal mandate requiring it to be played at least every five minutes from November 1st through December 31st each year in all shopping establishments and on all “holiday” music format radio stations.

          They should have played that for the detainees at gitmo instead of heavy metal.

          • I thought the same thing regarding Last Christmas and Gitmo.

            • I like Last Christmas but then Christmas isn’t my holiday. If I ever hear I have a little Dreidel … ever again I’ll scream. I got a tape Hanukkah songs that my store manager put in the rotation of holiday songs. We didn’t have Muzak. We had a boombox. We were a teeny tiny store.

          • I only really LIKE one pop-music Christmas song (there are a few others that don’t actively bother me); I Believe In Father Christmas by ELP.

            I prefer the version on the box set.

            I hear it saying “you want a Merry Christmas? Get off your fat behind and do something about it!”

            • I’m not a real Christmas music fan, but there is one Christmas Carol I l really like.

            • The Waitresses “Christmas Rapping” is one I really like, just for the line “A&P has provided me with the world’s smallest turkey.” The rhyme in the middle of the line amuses me to no end.

              That one is totally secular, but not anti-Christmas.

              • I do like that one. It’s fun and bouncy, it makes me giggle, and… *waves hands a bit vaguely* it builds and resolves the ongoing frustration effectively, and it treats it with a sense of humor without excessive trivializing or mockery?

                • Fun and bouncy? 12 Days of Christmas by Straight, No Chaser.

                  • I don’t get it. What is to apologize for? Doesn’t everyone include Dreidels in their holiday celebrations?

                    OK, so things are a little ecclectic at our house. On the mantel right there with the menorah is the crèche. Holidays are a dead run from Thanksgiving (USA) through Twelfth night.

                    Anyway, thank you jabrwok, that was fun.

                    • Do you have a tree?

                    • Not since we moved to the house we are presently in. We had no where to put one that was safe for a household with a cat that would climb. Though that cat no longer in this world having, long since used up his nine lives and borrowed a couple more, we got out of the habit. (I am not sure where all the stuff is stuck in the attics. Probably should check that out. Must put that on the list for when the temperatures drop.)

                      But, even without a tree, I do hide the glass pickle ornament somewhere in the den.

                    • My family always had a menorah to play at Christmas/new years. So does a lot of the Iberian peninsula!

                    • How does one “play” a menorah? Isn’t a menorah just a 9-stick candelabra? I suppose you could play “whack-a-flame” and see who wimps out first…

                    • maybe she meant dreidel?

                    • That’s my guess, but I thought taking her literally would be funnier:-).

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      More likely, she meant “display a menorah”. [Smile]

                    • I did, of course. We had a little silver one. Wonder where it ended up.

                    • I’m not well. I meant a dreidel. I had no coffee. I saw Menorah on CACSs answer, and copied that.
                      This is how one of my books had “Mom” in the middle of a sentence (and made it ALL the way through copyedits.) Because my kids had yelled it while I was writing.

                    • I should know better than to take a sip while I’m reading. 😀

                    • Glad you liked it. I’ve been sharing that one for years now:-).

          • O “Do they know it’s Christmastime?”

            If they’re Christians, they probably do.
            If they’re not, they most likely don’t care.

            • Unless they’re Japanese. The Japanese aren’t predominantly Christian, but they like Christmas. Purely for the secular stuff, of course.

              I’m guessing that they picked it up from US servicemen during the post-War occupation.

              • *cackle* I’m still finding hilarious the tendency of Character Goods to be widespread + Obama’s visit to Japan. (Google: Obama KFC bucket.)

                …and on googling to try find a link of what I’m talking about, the Chinese decided to top that with Obama Fried Chicken.

                Filing under ‘stuff I couldn’t make up if I tried but exists in reality!’

                *howls with laughter*

    • ::claps::

      Like I said when the song came up previously, I’ve always wondered how people could find such blatant nihilism to be inspiring.

  20. “Yes, I know some fluffy libertarians think that the nomadic tribes that roamed around without established location were “equalitarian””

    Actually they are sort of right, strong-man government is fairly equality of opportunity. Everybody has the opportunity to be as big and bad as they are big and bad enough to be.

    • Well, sort of. Right up until the strong-man realizes that anyone who might approach his own strength can disappear in an “hunting accident”.

      Brandon Sanderson’s book “The Way of Kings” mentioned a country in that book’s setting where the king is determined by age. Sounds like a reasonable way of determining the king, as there have been plenty of worse ways in the real world, and age often imparts at least some wisdom. Of course, the person who mentions this unusual form of picking a leader then points out that in the country in question, everyone who isn’t a member of a particular family (specifically, the one that’s been holding the throne for a *very* long time) is executed when they start to get up there in age.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well, “Strong Man” governments always depend on the Strong Man being supported by Secondary Strong Men.

        In a tribal setting, it would be harder for the “Alpha” male to pick off one of the “Beta” males that he sees as a threat without the other “Beta” males becoming wary.

        Not saying that it couldn’t happen once or twice, but sooner or later the “Beta” males wondering if it’s time for a new “Alpha” male. [Grin]

        I also remember reading that in a tribal setting, that the “Beta” males act as a check on the “Alpha” male taking action that might endanger the tribe itself.

        • A traditional way to bring down a leader is to tell those who are the next rank down that he’s using his position to eliminate rivals.

  21. Sarah, thanks for verbalizing all that I find wrong with that dopey song.

  22. Ah, “Imagine”. One of the many ways in which the popular culture established communism as the beautiful, tragically unattainable ideal. People will break themselves for an ideal.

    On revenge:
    “The best kind of revenge is not to become like unto them.”
    -Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, book 6, meditation V

  23. I loathe LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. “There’s a girl right next to you, and she’s just waiting for something to do”.

    Yuck!

    I have scant patience with the feminuts who think all PIV is rape, but every time I hear that song I understand and sympathise.

  24. “Imagine” is one of the songs that will make me walk out of a place–“Signs” and “Free Bird” being two others. I know someone who had “Free Bird” played at his wedding. Might as well have just announced, “I’m only doing this for the gifts–we’ll be split up inside a year.”

    • I seem to recall an interview in which Sting said he was appalled at the number of people who told him the played “Every Breath You Take” at their weddings.

    • The concert I mentioned in 2001, a few people called out for songs they wanted Zevon to sing, and some kid yelled “Free Bird.” Zevon INSTANTLY, not a fraction of a second of hesitation, snarled “Do you really want the star of the show to tell you s*** my d***?” He nearsightedly stared down at the kid for a moment, hands on hips, while the rest of us laughed, and said, “Young man, you just arrived on this planet!”

      • I’ve got fond memories of serenading an entire Company with “Freebird” right after I had my DD-214 in hand.

        I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I made up in enthusiasm what I lacked in accuracy.

      • Just curious — did anyone ever ask him to play Whipping Post?

      • A friend told me about a Frank Zappa concert where someone shouted “Play Freebird!” And so they did, but with all the weird sounds and rude noises the Mothers were capable of. Which was an act of Win right there. But when he screamed for them to play it right, they DID, and with such exquisite artistry it showed what true masters they were.

        • I love to yell “Play Freedbird!” are really odd times. Like at a 2nd grade music recital or to a busker playing sax in the London Underground. Probably because I know they won’t.

    • “Imagine” is one of the songs that will make me walk out of a place–“Signs” and “Free Bird” being two others.

      Argh, Signs! “Let me ‘expose’ how horrible other folks are, by showing exactly why they have the sign up with my behavior!”

      • That is one of those good toe-tapping songs that is totally ruined if you actually listen to the lyrics.

        • Well, and think about it reasonably, rather than emotionally. I have had folks that still support/agree with it because, basically, the POV character Is Always Right.
          I think the whole “being a long haired hippy freak” thing is supposed to be viewed as something as immutable as skin color, rather than a behavior set, in that interpretation.

          *shrug* Alien mindset. I did cut my hair and join the Navy instead of going and getting my freak on, or whatever, so I’m clearly part of the problem ‘Signs’ was dealing with.

    • I was once at a 50th wedding anniversary party where they played “Good Hearted Woman”, no I’m not joking.

    • I don’t know the “Free Bird” y’all talking about and it sounds like it’s good that I don’t. This is the one I know (the opening theme song to Haibane Renmei.)

  25. When I was young enough to be around people who brought up Imagine, I just responded that by using that word Lennon was admitting that the ideas were fantasy, and that the Dungeons and Dragons game I was in was more grounded in reality.

  26. The beautiful thing about filk is that you can rid yourself of earworms. It also works with theologically enraging hymns, except that those usually have horrible music also.

    (My usual parish these days has great priests who say Mass seriously and give great sermons that really make you think. Unfortunately the music director is a talented guy with a talented group that really loves singing the worst crap he can get away with. And I love harmonica, but not folk/jazz style in church! What’s worse, this guy runs music workshops for the whole archdiocese.)

    (What can I say? Maybe people don’t do ascetic practices as much anymore, because bad music is our new form of mortification.)

    • How are the acoustics? Over the years I have been in far too many Churches that showed every sign of having been designed by some dolt who hated God and music, and loved concrete….

      • Acoustics are okay, but the music director for that Mass mikes it loud to hide the lack of pew singing. I have been there at other Mass times on occasion, and people sing. Better music selection.

  27. Tim Hawkins nails it!

  28. So much to say…
    First: the Beatles. Try the following ballads, just from the first few albums: In My Life, For No One, If I fell, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, And I Love Her, No Reply, and so on. Rockers: Help!, Hard Day’s Night, Get Back, Back In The USSR, Revolution (the fast version) etc. Brilliant ballads, great lyrics, just great stuff. The problem came when they split up, and became self-indulgent — e.g., Imagine. And there was Yoko. ‘Nuff said.
    Now, as for Imagine: it’s the perfect liberal song: a whole bunch of bumper-sticker aphorisms, none of which have the slightest bit of becoming successful and which, if implemented as policy, end in chaos and/or bloodshed. It’s just like Jesse Jackson: “We have to end Black poverty!” Sounds great, excellent sentiment, and it falls completely apart at the very first hurdle, when some asks, “And how, exactly, are you going to do that?” Any kind of concrete proposal will be unworkable, divisive, criminal, socialist or coercive (lots of overlap there).
    “Imagine no possessions” founders completely when you understand that a baby’s very first non-family spoken word will be “Mine!” Human dream, meet human nature. Guess which one will win.
    But socialist “thinkers” ignore all that, because for them, intentions are what matters, consequences are irrelevant.

  29. Oh man. Just visited the site of a fanfic group that has been around forever, which has some very liberal people involved. The character arc that is most liberal is now getting attacked by some chickie who apparently signed up just to say cisgender and PIV in a non-ironic way.

    Fortunately, the founder of the group and originator of the story is telling her where to go… but sheesh, some people are definitely more-liberal than thou.

    • And it is a group with plenty of women in it, but since they have not been around for two weekend days, she is claiming to be oppressed by the guys on the forum. Because they argue with her instead of submitting, and they insist that the original source material for the fic storyline is germane.

      I do not know why she is not banned yet.

      • Links? sounds fun! Moonbat in the wild.

        • Next on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom… watch as my heteronormative cisgendered assistant Jim is attacked as he enters territory claimed by an assortment of GHHs and SJWs.

          • Situation seems to have been handled… but yeah, there was Backstory. Younger guy who’d been on the board a long time apparently decided at some point in the last year that he was a transexual lesbian, which is apparently somehow connected to taking a lot of classes in postmodern criticism and women’s studies, even though his degree is econ. So all of a sudden, he decided to stop posting about Star Trek Online and post about how the founding author’s Utena/Rayearth anime fanfic crossover story about a threesome marriage disrespected lesbianism by having one of the women get pregnant with the man’s child. I have a lot of problems with this entire huge story series (ie, I find it improbable and immoral, albeit some parts are better than actual Utena or Rayearth, but it does help me remember a dead friend who liked it a lot), but come on.

            On pretty much all other stories, I like Eyrie Productions Unlimited fanfic a lot. The main series (Undocumented Features) has been running since rec.arts.anime first started having fanfic writers, and it’s pretty much a mammoth crossover (CSI where some members are aliens, on a Dyson sphere, cooperating with Transformers? Sure!) including everything the writers like, including author inserts of an amusing sort. The characters’ romantic lives have been getting a lot weirder ever since Utena came out, but the stories themselves are relentlessly clean. I have been an occasional reader ever since raa, and I’ve read almost every story. (Albeit there’s some pretty stupid plot events, the stories are very fannishly entertaining.)

            So if you want to read about the Top Gear guys stuck in the middle of a planetary invasion and forced to drive mecha in order to survive, this is the fanfic series for you.

            Here’s the annoying person forum thread, which actually happened weekend before this one (yes, this is why I lurk more places than I contribute).

  30. Not having read the comments yet, I’d launch into this:

    Property is the foundation of civilization. Possibly even language. The first word ever uttered by a hominid was probably some variant of “Mine!” We learned to write so that we could write “Mine!” on things, and invented law so that we could force other people to give us back our stuff without having to kill them first.

    We invented Geometry so that Egyptians farmers could get their own specific bits of land back after the Nile flooded. We invented Accounting so that when those farmers put their grain in the communal silos, they would get proper credit for their work. We invented Copyright and Patents so that people could even say intangibles like words and ideas are “Mine!”.

    No possessions? That’s an idea that can only be supported by someone whose real goal is to take your stuff.

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      +1

      Beautifully put.

    • Even so, family predates property rights. Without the bulwark of kinship underlying the social structure, property rights quickly disappear.
      After all, those who have power are rarely fond of property rights.

      • I remember once reading a short that mentioned some aliens who have trouble differentiating the varying levels of “Mine”. My Arm, My Brother, and My Country were all equal levels of possessiveness. Alas, it was only mentioned in passing in the story, but it was an interesting idea.

        • I know supposedly mature, socially functional adults who can’t wrap their head around the idea that “my family” is not the same as “my shirt”…. (It may have to do with the whole responsibility angle, not sure.)

          • We produce this sense of ownership not only by pride but by confusion. We teach them not to notice the different senses of the possessive pronoun — the finely graded differences that run from “my boots” through “my dog,” “my servant,” “my wife,” “my father,”“my master” and “my country,” to “my God.” They can be taught to reduce all these senses to that of “my boots,” the “my” of ownership. Even in the nursery a child can be taught to mean by “my Teddy-bear” not the old imagined recipient of affection to whom it stands in a special relation (for that is what the Enemy will teach them to mean if we are not careful) but “the bear I can pull to pieces if I like.”

            And at the other end of the scale, we have taught men to say “My God” in a sense not really very different from “My boots,” meaning “The God on whom I have a claim for my distinguished services and whom I exploit from the pulpit” ”the God I have done a corner in.”

            — C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

    • I think marriage is the foundation of civilization in that it gives men equal parental status with women (motherhood is obvious, but absent marriage [and it’s exclusive sexual rights] fatherhood is a matter of opinion). Without marriage, men will just do the bare minimum to get by and get laid occasionally, and child-rearing will be left entirely to women. Why fight, bleed, kill, and die for some random hook-up or her spawn? They’re probably not *my* kids, so why should I care that much?

      Property is more of an instinctive thing. You can have property without being civilized, but absent marriage, civilization won’t last long.

      • But remember, back in the beginnings of civilization, women were “Mine!” too, as well as the kids. Knowing their parentage was important for determining who got the property after the father died.

        Treating women like people too is a fairly recent invention, and it still hasn’t caught on in all parts of the world.

        • A valid point. The two concepts (marriage and property) are deeply intertwined.

          • Interestingly enough, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and she mentioned a culture somewhere in Asia that practices polyandry (woman has more than one husband). But it tends to be practiced in an unusual fashion – a woman will marry brothers. The reason for this came down to inheritance. There’s a scarcity of land, and splitting the land amongst multiple inheriting sons would mean that the plots of land were too small to be usable.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              IIRC that’s the usual situation with polyandry. IE the men are either closely related or have a strong relationship between themselves before the wife comes along.

              From what I’ve heard about polyandry, it’s not that the woman choses several husbands. It’s more that several men decide to share the same wife. [Smile]

  31. Imagine there’re no records
    It’s easy if you try
    No record players for us
    No need to pay that guy

    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Starving on tomorrow because those crops don’t plant themselves.

    Yeah, when I imagine world peace it looks like a desolate wasteland, devoid of life.

  32. I like fantasy.
    I like the Beatles music.
    I like ” Imagine”

  33. How has no one posted a link to Silent Running yet?

    • I love this song! I’m a sucker for ballads.Especially ones that leave room for your imagination. I heard the songs many times. I never saw the video.

      • Also have a deep love for “Silent Running”

        As to Billy Joel – well, “Only the Good Die Young” always bothered me, “Still Rock n Roll” a bit of party fluff, really like “Downeaster Alexa” despite the misguided populism, Like the “Piano Man”, and absolutely love “Lights go Out on Broadway”

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Running_%28On_Dangerous_Ground%29

      Interesting bit in there: The song was banned by the BBC during the Gulf War due to its address of war, nationalism and religion, as well as a direct reference to weaponry in the line, “There’s a gun and ammunition just inside the doorway.”

      What a BBC thing to do.

  34. John C Wright

    “…the way I was raised requires I explain my beliefs and ground them without resort to my faith.”

    Resort? You perhaps are confusing two distinct things: (1) the historical reason for things, that is, what men did and (2) the spiritual reason for things, that is, what heavenly or hellish things inspired those men.

    I, for one, am perfectly willing and able to explain both or either to the best of my ability, but to imply that I have failed to explain the one because I also explain the other is a slight. Saying “God did it and here is the mechanism He used…” is not the same as saying “God did it, no one knows how it was done…”

    • No, no. that’s not what I was doing. Sorry if I was imprecise. I agreed with your explanation — I just feel a crazy need to exclude religion when explaining things.
      Though it makes it useful for “non religious people” to follow at home why this is still a good idea. So, you take the high road, I take the low road. But not as in the song, as that would be just icky.

      • What? You don’t want to go to Scotland? Or you just want to be alive when you get there?

        On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > accordingtohoyt commented: “No, no. that’s not what I was doing. Sorry > if I was imprecise. I agreed with your explanation — I just feel a crazy > need to exclude religion when explaining things. Though it makes it useful > for “non religious people” to follow at home why this is sti” >

      • John C Wright

        Ah, the mistake is mine. I should have read your words more carefully. I apologize for the confusion.

      • William Newman

        “I just feel a crazy need to exclude religion when explaining things”

        It might not be crazy if it works. Consider that physicists do something very similar with quantum mechanics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correspondence_principle . It is not *exactly* similar: a big difference is that the theologists’ correspondence principle fades into lack of detail about God working his unknowable will in those unspecified conditions where he chooses to override natural law, while the quantum correspondence principle sharpens into mathematical complexity about how classical behavior transitions to quantum behavior, giving precise but often impractically-messy formulae throughout. But for the purposes of deciding what can be excluded from an explanation, that precision/imprecision difference may be unimportant.

        It’s a bit like using a map to give someone a route. If the map has some areas that are uncontroversially well understood and simple, and the best routes naturally run through those simple areas, it is natural, not crazy, to give the answer in terms of the simple stuff without worrying about the trickier areas far from the route. It is natural regardless of whether the tricky areas contain painfully exact uncontroversial detail (like QM in the example above, or like a state map which has little insets for cities where the roads aren’t shown unless you flip to a page which shows the city in magnified form), or contain controversial vagueness (“here be dragons”), or contain controversial truths (that the Little-Endians have annexed that road and it’s dangerous to acknowledge that annexation in the presence of Big-Endians…) or whatever.

  35. John C Wright

    Allow me to quote myself from the essay to which you link, “There are seven steps by which a man, or a society, starts with a wrong but understandable idea, and ends in gibbering, giggling, shrieking, Lovecraftian insanity.

    A caveat: No claim is being made that all Leftists consistently act this way. By definition, no one can consistently practice a philosophy that is openly and insolently hypocritical.

    Here I am claiming only that they have all subjected themselves to a powerful incentive to talk and think this way. Incentive is not fate. Any man may who has taken any one of these steps may, at any time, draw back, make up some lame ad hoc excuse why he will not take the next step, pay the price and stand his ground. This is unlikely, but it can happen. The logic of illogic is against you; the ad hoc posture is awkward to maintain, and irks your friends and fellow travelers. And if you had integrity to begin with, you never would have taken the first step of all.”

    I must ask, where in this approach do you see me as hiding behind my religious belief, or making an appeal to the authority of religion, or doing anything in any way different from what you yourself do here in this essay, namely, giving the speculative reasons for the misery and despair that springs out of modern thinking?

    • I thought the fact I admired your approach precluded thought that you were hiding behind it.
      I admire your courage in using your faith to ground your analysis. As a person of faith, I don’t disagree with it. I just feel compelled to take the other side (because I was trained to in socialist schools) and prove your point without mentioning religion. I thought of it more like a “proof” done to prove an equation is valid even if arrived at by other means.
      I’m very sorry if it came across wrong.

      • Personally, I think your approach might be more effective. While making a faith-based argument to those who share that faith can work, leftists have a highly trained disdain for faith. It pains me to see a political debate where someone makes an eloquent argument for a perfectly rational position, but pulls in a Bible quote and thus gets dismissed by the leftist he’s arguing with as a “Jesus Freak”. Bible quotes may be effective and authoritative to those who believe in it (Twain’s comment about how even the Devil can quote scripture to his purposes notwithstanding) but they are worse than useless to convince leftists of anything.

        It’s all a matter of knowing your audience and using the correct levers to move them.

        • Pretty sure most of the religious folks here have seen folks that take quoting the Bible in an argument about the Bible as a “you automatically lose” act.

          There are some serious nuts out there.

          • On the other hand, quoting the Bible in an argument about Politics or the Law, yeah, automatic lose, especially against atheistic Liberals.

            It doesn’t work against Libs any more than an argument invoking the Koran will persuade a Christian.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              What really bugs me are the “Liberals” who quote the Bible when “lecturing” (I don’t call it debating) Christians. They usually don’t really know Christian thought and what the Bible actually says on a given subject.

              • Rules Lawyering the Bible back at you without understanding it. Yeah, it’s pretty pathetic. Perhaps they heard (they certainly didn’t research it themselves) two parts of the Bible that contradict each other and they go “Aha!” and try to use that against you to invalidate any other bible-based argument. It’s a trap, since if you spend the time explaining why this trick they’re using is wrong, you’re spending your time NOT persuasively arguing the issue you started with. And if you try to avoid it, they’ll harp on it.

              • Nothing is funnier that a non-Christian Christian fundamentalist. And they are Legion.

        • I see why using the religious argument is typically frowned up, and my default mode is to go that way when making a point.

          But I’m starting to think that I need to do both. That is, if I eschew any kind of spiritual reference when I’m making an argument that has, at its core, issues that relate directly to spiritual things, (including my viewpoint of morality, chastity, respect for persons, the importance of families, etc.,) then by my framing the argument in such a way as to remove religious reference, you could say that I am discounting the influence of religion and its teachings. Sort of like trying to show people the building without the underlying foundation that the building rests on.

          Maybe that’s not clear. Let me try that again.

          The absence of religion in debate can lead to people assuming that religion has nothing of worth to add to the debate and it can be safely ignored.

          Replacing logic with just “my religion teaches me such and such” in debate can also lead to people assuming that the person making the argument has nothing of worth to add to the debate and it can be safely ignored.

          So I’m beginning to think that those of us who do come at these issues from a particular point of view (say, the Judeo-Christian value set), need to be able to speak to and need to actually express both approaches.

          • Make the non-religious argument conclusively, then explain how it fits into a religious context.

            • Precisely. Reason and logic get me to X today.

              A couple thousand years ago, religion was already teaching X.

              Failure to FOLLOW X (as the ability of human beings not to live up to their ideals can never be underestimated) does not disprove X.

          • Are you trying to convince yourself, or the person you are debating with?

            That’s where people go wrong all too often. They present their thought process that led them to a conclusion, based on the things they have internalized, like their faith. But those thought processes are not necessarily transferable. If you want to convince someone of something, you have to find a route to your conclusion using THEIR mental road map.

            This can be difficult with a liberal, since their thought processes are a bunch of unconnected cul-de-sacs – a collection of catch-phrases and positions dictated to them by the liberal intelligentsia and packed away, un-analyzed and unexamined until crude conversational pattern matching causes them to blurt out “Bush Lied, People Died!” as if that proves something.

            But the point is, to get someone to even look at your point of view, you have to find a hook to get them to seriously consider it, and have to avoid the shields that will repel them.

            • Am I trying to convince myself, or the person I’m debating?

              Maybe a little bit me, maybe not so much the person I’m debating. You know how the Correia-Meister Meister-Correia will present an argument not so much for the benefit of the guy he’s debating as it is for the benefit of someone else who will see the debate, has some sympathy toward the more conservative side, and needs a little encouragement? That. No, you’re not going to convince trolls (though you never know. Things happen.)

              As for the hook, that’s why you have to be able to approach it logically and rationally. Still, you’re not going to get trolls, but I think you can at least make the point that religion and religious teachings have worthwhile and important things to say, and that dismissing them simply because they come from religion is perhaps unwise.

              “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” – C.S. Lewis

      • The problem with basing an argument on foundational Faith elements is that, no matter how cogently argued (or rather: the more cogently it is reasoned) the mores of modernity allow the untutored to dismiss (which, the student of logic must realize, is not the same thing as rebut, much less refute) the argument as being “religiously rooted.”

        This is, of course, part of why logic is no longer taught in schools.

        • Context matters. If you are going to argue a science question — i.e. can something come from nothing — then you want to stick to science or at least reason such as coming to an agreement on definition of terms.

          OTOH, personal witnessing — this is what I once believed and this is what I once was, this is what I now believe this is what now am — is still better and is a combination of reason and faith.

  36. Hit the wall above

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard commented on The Grandchildren of Imagine.

    in response to Mary:

    Well, on the sides not being equivalent, only one side would be willing to give you powers that would be dangerous to you. And that side would be positively eager to do so.

    Well, I go by the idea, expressed by a Roman Catholic, that God won’t allow Satan to give actual “magical” powers to humans.

    Satan may promise people that they’d get “magical powers” over others, but he’s a liar.

    It’s not a universally agreed thing; there’s actually some rather nasty arguments you can get into on the subject, but it’s a matter of theory, and thus a prudential judgement, rather than an official teaching.

    In real world terms, it’s a “sin in your heart” thing– or maybe attempted murder with a dummy bomb would be an easier way to convey it.

  37. Imagine the copybook headings…

  38. For those with bad imaginations, here’s the link