When Nature Calls

My kingdom for a flush toilet, antibiotics and a warm bath!
My kingdom for a flush toilet, antibiotics and a warm bath!

This is not a literary criticism post, but I need to go through it to get where I’m going. Bear with me.

So, I have a mild fever. I have no clue what the heck this is, but my entire family has been passing something back and forth. I thought it was allergies, but I have the cottony-mind of fever. And I get tired very often. I’m trying to finish Through Fire, so of course, this follows.

Yeah, I need to get out of this house. It’s too big to dust every day, and I’m allergic to household dust. Which let me tell you, is a curse for a working writer to be.

Anyway – while on that – because I’m finishing Through Fire I can’t risk being captured by anything like a novel. I read a novel on Sunday and it kept calling me back when I went back to writing. So—

I’ve been reading a lot of historical stuff that’s free on the kindle KULL. Right now I’m in the middle of a biography of Edward III which is most hilarious for lecturing us on the judgmental ways of past historians, while, of course, being judgmental.

Though I’ll say despite the inartistic expressions and the idea that the historians whose perspective we really need to counter are those of the Victorian age (ah! I should check when it was written!) he has some points, and calls at least theoretically for understanding the person in his time and according to the prejudices of his time.

One of the things he goes on about is how the Victorians criticized Edward III for his unnecessary wars, but viewed in his time, status and power were necessary.

I can see this being true under the heading of being “the biggest fish around that you don’t dare attack.” When most kingdoms were small enough you couldn’t swing a cat without a passport, and when “nationhood” was tied to personal allegiance and honor of the king I think he has a point.

Another point – and I want to emphasize right here, because I KNOW some of you are medieval historians – that I know next to nothing about Edward III, which is why I picked up this book to graze while cooking or waiting for something in between fits of writing. I mean I know where he fits in, and a wiki version of his reign, but that’s it that occurred to me is if the endless small wars of the middle ages were part of acquiring enough surplus to be able to create surplus. What I mean is, back then economies were stuck in what I call “the newlyweds dilemma” – if they could get just a little extra, they could use it to get to a state where they produce extra.

So, in a way, the endless petty kingship wars could have been the precursor to the industrial revolution. By which I don’t mean they were needed to achieve the industrial revolution but that they led to it.

That whole idea of an arrow of history and of something having to had happened so that we could be where we are (in the sense that it was somehow directed this way, even though people at the time couldn’t have known where it led) is one of the things that the historian is yelling about in this book.

I’ve also read a biography of Leopold, the hemophiliac son of Queen Victoria, and I read a lot of stuff about serial killers. It started with the Black Dahlia and it went from there.

Sidenote – I have clue zero what the serial killer reading is about, though since I’m going to write the serialized story from the creation of the Mules to the departure of the Je Reviens, and one of the three voices I’ll use is Thena’s father, I suppose it helps.

The thing that has been hitting me through all of this – ALL OF IT – from medieval history to the Victorians to stuff from the fifties and sixties that are almost contemporary is … how different life was.

And no, I’m not going to talk about the great decay of morals (if you read about the underbelly of Victorian England or even Hollywood in the forties, you’ll realize we haven’t so much decayed as stopped holding up an ideal for fear of being hypocrites. I say we hold up an ideal, though it might be slightly modified and stop longing for the lives of the underclass, and things will be solved there.) I’m going to talk about simple, basic stuff.

Stuff like, how much cloth cost, leading to someone taking home a piece of fabric from one of the gruesome Jack the Ripper murders, for his wife, a seamstress. Think about it. At the time it wasn’t considered evidence. (They couldn’t do fiber evidence, they didn’t even have fingerprints.) And a piece of cloth, particularly a pretty one, was much too valuable to be left to rot just because some victim’s blood had spattered on it. (The cop’s wife’s idea was that it would be worth more as a curiosity so she saved it, but that’s something else.)

Another thing was not just how bizarrely painful, strange and probably counterproductive many of the “cures” for hemophilia were, as recently as the late nineteenth century. And what so many of Queen Victoria’s family ultimately died of, from her husband’s typhoid, to the type of diseases people in the village where I grew up only died of if they were very poor. Peritonitis. Whooping cough. Etc.

Also, when Leopold tried to have his residence (when he got married) improved to have running water, he was told it was too expensive.

What I’m trying to get at here is the following: in the last three hundred years or so, since the idea that “individuals” are merely cogs belonging to the family/tribe/sovereign has been fought back – not defeated, mind, but fought back – we’ve made such rapid progress that the past is not only another country, it might as well be another planet. Even in the forties, what was considered expensive and difficult are things we don’t even think about now – travel, books, etc.

Since we got rid of our overlords, who ruled “kindly” and from their “best judgment” and started allowing people of any birth condition and any ability to do the best they could (always realizing that of course there is more than intellectual prowess to how well one does) everyone has got much, much richer.

And those idiots who try to view the Middle Ages as a communist paradise are the same as the idiots who claim that people lived roughly the same time (not even in the sixties in the village. Yes, you had some very long lived people. That’s not the same as having similar life spans, and certainly not with the same degree of health) and the people who just want us to give it one more try and attempt to make us equal “serfs” (ah, proletarians, that’s what they call it now) under a wise “lord” (though it has many names from secretary to president.)

Yes, there were qualities that came with how harsh and brutal their life was: qualities of endurance and stoicism which we don’t have to have, and therefore don’t. Some of this can be remedied through education – and no, I’m not talking state’s education. I’m afraid for this you’ll have to roll your own.

But the qualities, the wisdom brought on by living lives of misery are not enough to justify bringing about equal misery for all. No, being poor doesn’t make you closer to nature, or happier, or more communal. Mostly it makes you hungry, desperate and ill.

Our environmentalists and airy dreamers can dream they’re better than their ancestors and those less fortunate people around them, precisely because they’re unimaginably richer and have never had their nose rubbed in reality. They can dream that third world countries are miraculous places because they never tried living there as natives.

Breaking out of the rule of the “strong lord” and considering that everyone not even how wretched has a value was a very unnatural thing for us monkeys – social animals with a hierarchy – to do.

Which is why nature keeps trying to drag us back and we – clever monkeys – keep coming up with new names and more interesting justifications for “rule by the chap who can decide life or death”: socialism, communism, fascism, fairness, social justice.

Then there are their enablers.  Those who think if they just let everything collapse a perfect “libertarian” state will emerge, instead of the same old thing we’re predisposed to by nature: rule by the one who can kill the most people.

Mother nature is a b*tch. She’s in everything and in us too.

But if we want to keep what we have an not go back to when running water was unimaginable luxury, we’ll tell her to call later.

Or give her a wrong number.

Sometimes the way ahead is to go ahead. Sometimes the way to deal with “unfairness” is to create even more wealth that people can howl is “unfair.”

And sometimes we have to tell would-be kings to rule themselves.

 

284 thoughts on “When Nature Calls

  1. I read somewhere that the rise of civilization was basically about indoor plumbing/sanitation. Sounds kind of silly, right? Think about where we’d be without flush toilets and instant potable water. And there are people who think the middle ages are idyllic?

    1. I don’t think it sounds silly at all. My son was a boy scout … certain types of camping can tell you a LOT about one’s cultural assumptions and presumptions. My husband did most of the camping with them, and he made it a point to use those teachable moments to try to inculcate an appreciation for modern conveniences … and why one needs to be so careful under primitive conditions.

      Sanitary sewerage and indoor plumbing have allowed us to basically eliminate cholera, plague, childbed fever, and on and on and on. Leaving that much more energy for productive activities, like discovering the steam engine, the atom bomb, the computer, electronic publishing, …

      1. I don’t think it sounds silly at all. My son was a boy scout … certain types of camping can tell you a LOT about one’s cultural assumptions and presumptions.

        First guy I dated thought that “camping” meant a cabin at a KOA or something.
        For someone who considers purpose-made tents to be easy mode, this was …strange.

        1. Ya know, I am like that myself … but I have stretched myself for my kids on occasion, so it really drove home my gratitude for my shower and toilet 🙂

        2. All 4 of my sons considered sleeping under the stars on a pad of leaves better. Mostly from sheer laziness – no tent to fold up or pad to roll up. (and carry)

          1. I grew up in the Olympic rain forest. As a kid when I read people waxing poetic about sleeping under the stars (what are those?) my first thoughts were they were citified idiots who had never spent many nights outside.

            Not that I haven’t spent my share of nights out without shelter, I’ve spent nights curled up in a space blanket (for the uniniated this is a blanket made out of particularly thin tin foil and will keep you surprisingly warm for something that will fit comfortably in your hip pocket) in armpit deep snow; or spent the night huddled over a fire (or more accurately, spent most of the night gathering wood for said fire) in similar conditions. A waterproof/mosquitoproof tent may be a luxury, but it is a very desireable luxury.

              1. I remember trying to sleep during the day after Hurricane Ike blew through… didn’t work.

      2. One major reason ALL boys should do Scouts for at least 2 or 3 years. Way too many boys do not know what it takes to survive and thrive in outdoor situations and have no appreciation of nature.

        I am the Scoutmaster of our local troop and it is amazing when we do hiking campouts to primitive locations how much the boys talk about looking forward to going home and taking a hot shower and a crap on a flush toilet. Like your husband I make the most of those teachable moments.

        At the other end of the spectrum, I teach Atomic Energy, Space Exploration, Engineering, modeling, Electricity, and Citizenship Merit Badges.

        1. One of the most hilarious moments as a scoutmaster was when we unpacked for lunch two boy discovered their hamburger was frozen, “Oh no, we don’t have a microwave!” I went to teach them how you defrost meet using water in the fry pan without a microwave.

            1. Yeah – I’m the one who brought a can of pork & beans, without thinking that on a day hike I wouldn’t have a fire or time to heat it. Cold, greasy – educational!

              1. ….they didn’t have a lighter, or other means of making fire?

                While I respect the point they were making, that’s moronic. You NEVER go into the woods without the ability to make fire. A tin of pork and beans is a wonderful example of emergency supplies- and that’s as someone who gags at the very thought.

                Assuming you brought some means to open it, at least, then you have food, means of heating food, means of heating water to make it safe, and then you can heat MORE food.

                1. There are some lovely places to hike in National and State Parks that do not allow fires except where there are facilities provided. There are times when even these places, due to drought, will further restrict fire building.

            2. I have a friend (around 30) that brings frozen burritos as his standard fare when hiking, hunting, etc. He usually brings several and is always happy to share, but half-frozen (unless it is very cold out they are usually at least soft enough to bite through) burritos are not my first choice unless I am really hungry. His theory is, you add enough hot sauce and they are warm, but personally I prefer my beans and beef to not be crunchy with ice crystals.

      3. I’ve tent camped before, but these days my idea of roughing it is van camping and using the public showers. Much easier, as there is no tent to put up or take down, and with the windows open a bit there’s more than enough cooling air flow (and morning light) for mountain or northern latitudes camping, even in summer. The only downside is visiting the restroom at night in bear country – that always makes me a bit nervous.

        1. A guy recently told me about using what he called a “dry toilet”, which is essentially a 5-gallon bucket with kitty litter. He said you go, scoop, bag, and add more litter. You could do this at night and put the bags outside, to be buried the next day, if that’s allowed (I’m assuming paper bags).

          1. incidentally if your ever on a (rural) job site you do want to be carful about witch covered buckets you open……not all of ’em contain construction supplies if ya get my meaning.

      4. Reading family history, I see a lot of ancestors who died of cholera. I’d call what we have progress that counts.

    2. The reality, however, was that the most rapid increase in civilization, which occurred during the Victorian age, was largely without indoor plumbing.

      1. Ah, but “largely” is an important modifier. Since most such progress at that time was coming from those who already had money, the proportion of indoor plumbing was much higher than the common household.

    3. Same folks who think that farming is simple, dull work. Even after they’ve been given a reasonable chance to see that isn’t so.

      Hard, sometimes repetitive, sure– but dear Lord help you if there’s not SOMEONE who is creative, observant, has forethought, etc.

      1. Farmers and people from farm family culture are most of the really creative people I know … not in a Jackson Pollock value of “creativity” but by way of creating something useful from limited/handy resources … because on the farm, you really have to be resourceful …

        1. The phrase “you fixed it with WHAT?!?” is a common battle cry of technicians of farm equipment, auto mechanics, electricians and doctors exposed to country workers.

          1. A soup can, a coat hanger, and a tube of JB Weld is a perfectly legitimate repair for a number of low-stress parts.

                1. You use baling twine until you can get back to the barn and get the baling wire to fix it right.

                  By the way, as a guy who bucked his share of bales when he was younger (and somehow was talked into helping a friend get up a few ton this year) I despise the entire concept of wire bales.

                    1. Hay hooks are an absolute necessity when moving more than a couple wire bales. Not only are wire and fingers not really compatible, but wire bales are HEAVY!

                    2. Yes. Gloves a rea neccessisity. heaving 150 lb hay bales are a great offseason workout for fottball guys……..

                    3. I grew up with leather gloves being worn two ways- first the right way, and then backwards because they’d been worn through bucking bails.

                      It’s not just economics that make folks use twine…. (although I’ll note my folks use almost entirely round bales now)

                    4. Nearly everyone uses round bales now. They’re cheaper in cost of equipment, fuel usage, and maintenance, far less labor intensive, and faster. One downside, of course, is that it’s harder to move small quantities by hand

                    5. Don’t need a dedicated huge piece of equipment to move them individually, they can be unrolled from inside of the tractor… basically, they’re exactly what you need when the workforce is in their 50s, not their 20s.

          2. Strangest fix I ever saw was two bolts that were epoxied into place… in the bezel of a laptop. Seems the thing kept coming apart, so the guy drilled a couple of holes, put in some small bolts, tightened them down, then epoxied them into place.

            It worked. The problem he brought the laptop in for was a bad hard drive.

            We reported it to Toshiba, and they gave him another laptop. They really wanted to see the fix he came up with.

            1. I’m not so sure what’s strange about it. He probably checked to see that there was no circuitry behind where he wanted the screws, drilled and tapped a couple of holes in the backplate, added the screws and epoxied them to make sure they didn’t come loose while not having to tighten them, which would crush the bezel. I can understand why Toshiba wanted to see his fix though as I imagine that the bezel issue was not unique to his computer.

            2. Once, I had a car which, unbeknownst to me, had lost one of the cotter pins that kept the castle nuts holding the rear wheel hubs onto the ends of the axles from coming loose. We couldn’t figure out why it sometimes made a strange sound and seemed to slip a little (couldn’t afford to take it to the shop).

              Finally, coming back from a trip to Florida, the wheel came completely loose, and, as we pulled into a gas station we were VERY conveniently near, it came off the axle completely.

              We were able to borrow a big wrench from the gas station and retighten it, but the spline was very damaged by now, and we couldn’t get it back on far enough to replace the cotter pin, nor could we tighten it down far enough to prevent it from coming loose again. For a few months, I would take the hubcap off a couple of times a week, and get the big adjustable wrench I had started keeping in the trunk, and tighten it down again.

              I got tired of this and finally bought some epoxy, and fastened the damn thing to the hub with that (one of the paste-y kinds, rather than the liquid kind), and it was perfect from then on, until the axle came out of the hub a year or so later.

              1. When my crown broke over Christmas, I pieced it together with superglue and put it on. It held till I could go to the dentist.
                I have this secret belief that superglue and duct tape fix just about everything but broken hearts (and not sure about that.)
                Dan says that makes me functionally a guy, but I just checked and I’m still a girl.

                1. my mom lost a crown that was often falling off, and dad helped her super glue it on until she could get around to seeing a dentist. It actually lasted longer than all the other fixes.

                    1. My only issue with medical super glue is that idiots use it.

                      My Duchess has a huge scar on her head because her idiot mother took her to the emergency room when she split her forehead open.

                      They NEVER checked for any kind of head injury stuff, and after six hours super glued her hair into her forehead.

                      Then sent us a $200 bill for waiting in room one, a $500 bill for room two, and a thousand dollar bill for gluing the hair in her forehead.

                    2. not overly surprised to hear that. Sounds like the local hospital we had when I was a kid (and is still not known as a good place, though they have gotten slightly better as there is another hospital in town)

                    3. Bonus points: the ONLY reason I drove an hour to go to this hospital is because they are a dedicated children’s hospital.

                      Next time my child had a head injury, I freaking listened to my Navy training and what my parents taught me and screwed them up less without costing us the price of a used car.

                    4. I think that is the reason I have never had stitches in my life. All the cuts I got as a kid were just taped together and bandaged for a bit. They had little confidence in the local hospital. Only one is a real nasty scar, and that was a stab wound from a slash cut hazelnut bush, so was going to be ugly no matter what.

                      We later had the “quality” of the care there shown by my riding a CT70 into the side of a car and breaking my lag in a most nasty way. The parents rejected having Idiot1 or Idiot2 hack on me with knives or a month in traction and hauled me 2hours and 20 minutes to Green Bay. The doc there was not happy to find my x-rays consisted of one head on to the knee that showed nearly nothing useful, and one from the side that was mostly usable. “Where’s the head and neck shots?” He had me sedated …the break REALLY hurt … then ordered up a full body set to make sure nothing else was wrong.
                      They then just set the break and 6 weeks later I was out of plaster.

                    5. Works fairly good for wound closure, but normal superglue that you can buy at Wal-Mart works about as good, in both cases you need to get the wound to pretty much stop bleeding before applying, otherwise the blood tends to ‘float’ the super glue away before the wound edges adhere together.

                    6. If I recall correctly, superglue was originally invented for medical uses. I’ve not seen or heard of any toxicity problems. I know a lot of the combat medics at the infantry base swore by it.

                    7. I have this old, old cookbook, dating back from the 1800s, and along with the recipes and helpful instructions of how to run a household is a section on the old fashioned medicine and first aid that a wife was expected to know.

                      There’s this interesting little section on ‘hanging.’

                      I looked them up just now and I have Dr. N.T. Oliver’s Treasured Secrets – The Century Cook Book, and The White House cook book (which is available on Project Gutenberg.)
                      http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13923

                      I think it’s quite useful for any mum to know this stuff…

                    8. It’s a plastic, and it doesn’t really react with the body, so no, it’s not toxic. Probably wouldn’t want to get it inside a blood vessel larger than a capillary, but other than that, it’s fine. And it comes off automatically as the skin heals.

                    9. They’re the same thing, it’s just that the medical grade goes through a little more assurance of keeping out things that could cause infection, and of course the price includes liability insurance costs.

                  1. Since superglue was invented for surgical uses, not surprising it would work for this. It does weaken over time in the presence of moisture, though.

                2. I used — I forget the title — but it was a sample of some kind of denture adhesive. (There was a time when there was a temp in there and it came out at least three times before the crown was ready.)

        2. I know a farmer who didn’t have time to visit the doctor, and so patched up his hernia with a tennis ball and a bungee cord until he DID have time, a week later. The doctor was…nonplussed.

      2. Tell me about it…

        I can grow plants. If I can keep focused. But one thing absentminded me has learned that it doesn’t necessarily take too many days of mostly concentrating on something else to lose the whole crop, even if we are talking of a small plot/pots on your balcony/other small scale growing plan and mostly rather hardy herbs. You do mostly something else for a little while and then check them well first time in a couple of days and find out there is a full scale invasion of some pests going on or they would have needed more water yesterday after all or…

        1. I grew up haying and I’m STILL not sure what my dad is checking when he grabs the alfalfa and twists it– I know that he’s checking if it’s “wet,” or “too dry,” but there are such a wide range of things that make dry hay wet enough or still a little wet hay dry enough that it drives me nuts.

          Somehow, though, our hay never spoils– and we’ve NEVER lost a barn, knock on wood. (Hay that’s bailed wet, especially if it has lots of alfalfa, will catch on fire from fermentation if it’s bailed too damp.)

          Unskilled labor, my left foot.

          1. ” and we’ve NEVER lost a barn, knock on wood.”

            I’ve had more than one person look at me strange when I mention something about “so and so’s barn exploding.” Or about salting hay (if your hay is a little damp it shouldn’t be put in a barn, but if you are going to anyways sprinkling rock salt on it between each layer of bales will help draw the moisture out an prevent fermentation).

            🙂

      3. pawshaw. ya poke a hole in the ground drop a seed in and weight* for the food to show up.

        *gives ya lot’s of time to work on your poetry 🙂

    4. I remember seeing an old 1800s era army base: Ft. Union, New Mexico – it was a union artillery depot and frontier fort. One of the interesting things about it was the midden pit dug a ways outside of the circle of buildings at the fort. Everyone’s garbage/waste was tossed in the pit.

      Because it was an army base, and because they kept that sort of discipline, it was actually one of the cleaner/more sanitary towns to be at (compared with some frontier towns where people tossed their bucket wherever).

  2. Though I believe THE dispositive answer to SJW’s and their witterings is Kirsten Gillebrand’s “GFY!” It is perhaps more satisfying, when one of them gets on about a return to nature or cutting human population is, “OK. You first.” and thereafter cheerfully offering your assistance along the way.

    M

        1. The problem is not so much that they are passing on their genes, rather it is that they are managing to have so much effect on what and how everyone else’s children are being taught.

            1. I’m sorry? HOW do you know that? Or did you fall for the latest left idiocy of “all your life is pre-ordained in your genes”? Which gives them the ability to excuse everything and also to establish their beloved eugenics.

              1. I’m confused. I thought current P.C. thinking was that only matters of identity (race, sexual orientation, selection among the 53 gender choices…) were genetically determined; matters of ability are all completely controlled by environment.

                  1. Arguments regarding biological and cultural determinism run rife in academic circles. I have three major observations from exposure to such arguments. Strong proponents of cultural determinism are often unwilling to admit any degree of biological influence (let alone determinism). Biological influences are still not fully understood, with areas of research such as epigenetics only in their infancy. Too many (researchers, activists, and others) take some form of determinism as a explanation (and often, an excuse) for poor behavior.

                    1. There are biological influences, granted. My younger kid does things at the same age my dad did — different, culture, language, place. BUT it is not all, spooky though my little example is. (Okay, no longer little at six three, but…)

                    1. I’m not allowed to build gingerbread houses any more. Something about the gummy bear out behind the house in the snow with a yellow stain in front of him.

                1. Variations on this theme are what I’ve been calling the Idiocracy Fallacy – that genetics outweighs everything else forever, or alternately and variously, the “good breeding” or “just one drop” or “blue blood” or “hereditary monarchy” tropes. If true, the chance meeting of the two slightly more intelligent protohuman ancestors in the sparsely populated environment they inhabited, which if the fallacy were true would have been the only way for any improvement in intelligence to take place, would have been so vanishingly unlikely that it would have never happened, and as a result we would not be here now. We are, so it’s not, QED.

                  This fallacy fails on so many levels, but at base it ignores Evolutionary Rule Number One: Mutations Happen. Some mutations decrease mental capacity, some increase it, and some do nothing at all until combined with a completely different mutation from someone else (yay, sex), without any regard to the parents capacity or lack thereof.

                  Thus, great variations in any characteristic including intelligence can and do occur, and reinforce by breeding, completely independently of the reproductive baseline, completely ignoring environmental factors (including things like developmental nutrition, which skips hand in hand with genetics during fetal and childhood development).

                  That’s why dynasties are dumb, even in Hollywood – there’s every chance the great actor’s kids will not be any good at all. And they are dumber in politics – Deity save us from Chelsea’s or Barry and Chelle’s kids political ambitions in a few years.

                  1. Point out to them that this idea leads back to other ideas like Eugenics, and forced sterilization. Horrifying ly, they’d probably be okay with those ideas, as long as they were the ones deciding whose nads get cut off.

                    1. Oh yes. I have seen with my own eyes liberals maintaining the old problem with the old style was in the details.

      1. If their genes were the bad part, they’d be almost extinct already. But they pass on the attitude and beliefs (through education and culture), and we are a species that needs to believe in something, so the dream/nightmare (your POV may vary) is continued…

        1. You must remember that it takes time for a gene to be worked out of the gene pool, and furthermore prior to a very few generations ago, SJWs were not at fact a genetic dead end. They were married off whether they liked or not, and then they had kids.

  3. The caption you put below the picture bring to mind:

    The Spouse regularly thanks God for being born into a time and part of the world where there are vacines, potable hot and cold running water, ample supplies of untainted or spoiled foods, regular power supplies, climate controlled houses, porcelain fixtures and the ability to banish the darkness at will. Then asks: Why spit in the face of God and seem ungrateful by leaving it all behind to go camping?

    I will now go back and actually read the blog….

    1. I lived for a year in a room in a “CHU” in Baghdad. The nearest running water/toilet was a trailer about 80 yards away.

      That suxored at night in the winter and during the day in the summer. But at least it had hot and cold running water. Well, it always had hot water. Sometimes it didn’t have cold water.

      I lived for a month in a tent in Wisconsin in Feburary–supporting Marine Corps cold weather training. We had no running water at all, it was too cold. We got a bath once or twice a week by catching the supply truck back to “base”. That sucked, but it was a month. >>shrug<<

      There's a little community about 2 hours outside of Alice Springs, AU. There isn't much there–just a doctor/nurse, a small store and a swimming pool.

      Most of the year that the pool is open the water is brown from the dirt from the kids using it. They (mostly) come from a culture that doesn't bath because there really isn't any water.

      Once they opened the pool the incidence of skin conditions in the children dropped dramatically (I heard this from the nurse that lives there with her children. They use the pool even though it's *FILTHY* because they don't want to be seen as elitist/racist and want to be good examples).

      So yeah, I'll buy that Civilization==Indoor Plumbing. It's not *exactly* the way I'd formulate it, but it's close enough.

      1. When I teach soldiers about the effects of weather on combat operations, I always point out that historically disease and weather have been a bigger threat to soldiers than enemy action. When your latrines flood due to heavy rains, or you’re drinking contaminated water from a bad well, or you’re covered in dirt and mud for weeks at a time and develop infections, this becomes a major problem very quickly.

        1. I went a big field exercise in Turkey one year… mostly Reserve units, I think the only non-reservists was the hospital unit I was in.

          One of the soldiers coming to sick call complained (?) that our latrines were so much cleaner than theirs. I told him that the lab was in charge of that detail, and we know what can grow there.

        2. There is a class of re-enactor who is a stickler for accuracy. There have even been arguments about hiding ice chests for insulin inside proper period gear. But one thing I have never heard was a desire to add to the reality through dysentery and colera.

    2. Tell her to think of it as regular refresher training on how to live without the modern conveniences………

      1. As we have modern conveniences, and no intention to live otherwise, why do we need the refresher coarse? One does not need to be bleed at regular intervals to appreciate modern medicine.

          1. Both of us know the principles, both have ‘roughed’ it in the past. Unfortunately advancing age and health issues mean that we will not be among the long term survivors should there be a wide spread and extended breakdown.

    3. Childhood and teen memories: combine an outhouse, Finnish winter at its worst, and constipation… diarrhea isn’t much better, maybe you don’t have to test how long you can sit there without getting frostbite on your behind, but running to and from isn’t much fun either.

      My family moved from an apartment in town to a house in what was back then countryside (the town expanded that far about ten years later, although the area is still now more kind of half and half than actual town) when I was four, and my parents got an indoor toilet installed only when I was about eight there, but then there were also the visits to relatives: my uncle never got an indoor toilet and we visited the farm often enough in winter too and I have these not so fond memories… 😀 Loved the farm, especially when I was younger, otherwise, but the outhouse was on the second floor, sort of, over the manure storage or whatever it’s called in English, the cowhouse was on the other side and their manure was shoveled into the same space, and when I used that outhouse I was always afraid the whole thing might one day collapse down there (it was already a rather old building when I was a kid, and some of the boards on the floor were thin enough to give a bit even under the weight of a preteen girl).

      And when back home: that from a town apartment with a real bathroom with hot and cold running water, shower, bathtub, wc, to a house which had only a sauna and cold running water until they got the heater installed and just that damn outhouse for years -move… I’m afraid I remember having had a few tantrums. It was a rather long run to that outhouse too, it was in way back in the back yard. Next to some big firs. Scary. And no electric lights there, of course. Always smelled bad. Flies and other bugs… and sometimes rats. Nope. I was not a happy girl for a while.

      1. Adding another memory – wasps building a nest under the seat. You had to poke your head partway down the hole for a quick check before placing your fundament on the target zone.

        1. argharghargh…I encountered the Outhouse Wasps myself. I think they are a distinct species. O Insectress, what is your considered opinion?

          I didn’t know, being a city girl, to check for them aforehand. Feeling their little feet where they had no business being, I think I set a land speed record….

            1. The one bonus of using an outhouse in the winter time was lack of bugs, and it was bumblebees who built a nest in my grandparents outhouse, they got my cousin. And it was somewhat hilarious to watch him trying to run out of there with his pants around his ankles. 🙂

              1. There are beetles which bite and like old wood too. I probably like spiders and dislike most other bugs because of that outhouse – Finland has no really dangerous spiders so I was never told to avoid them, none of them ever bit me and they ate the other bugs. But the other bugs sometimes did bite – a horsefly on your behind is not much fun either. And I have been stung too, a couple of times.

            2. Wasps, spiders, what have you.

              My computer is being a bit wonky otherwise I would post a link. I suggest that people search for ‘Youtube, The Dillards, Old Blue, long version’ and listen to the introduction.

      2. For a short term high school project a group of us (with a teacher) lived in a cabin that had wood cook stove, water from a pump, an out-house, etc.. This was in the Catskill mountains in early spring. The nights and mornings were – um – rather brisk. In terms of the middle ages that would be luxuriousness. I don’t want to live in a one room hut with my animals.

        1. Try a winter survival campout with NO outhouse, just a cathole laboriously dug in frozen ground. 13″ of snow on the ground, and temps in single digits.

  4. One thing it seems that Libertarians and leftists share is a rejection of the concept of Human Nature or The Human Condition or Original Sin or Our Broken World or whatever you want to call it — that tendency toward selfishness that we all share. Was it G.K. Chesterton or someone else of his timeframe that said original sin is the only religious concept that can be proved by reading the daily newspaper? Yes the Libs and libs both reject it and presume that “under the right conditions” people will be angels … oy …

    1. I think it was Chesterton, though all I could track down was

      Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R.J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street.

    2. I’ve never seen any Libertarian thought that would suggest that many Libertarians reject the idea of human nature or believe humans will always be angels. What’s attractive to me about libertarian economics (I have issues with other big-L Libertarian politics which don’t fit here) is that it proposes a system which works better than the alternatives regardless of the motivations of the people involved. I’d rather deal with selfish people in a fair system than people motivated by what they feel are altruistic motives in an unfair system.

      If anything, my criticism of Libertarians is that they tend to see all people as selfish machines in their wants; they see humans as uplifted apes, rather than angels.

      1. If anything, my criticism of Libertarians is that they tend to see all people as selfish machines in their wants; they see humans as uplifted apes, rather than angels.

        So, they don’t reject human nature and think that in the right situation humans will be behave the way they want, they reject human nature and think they can build a system where people will behave the way they want….

        1. So, they don’t reject human nature and think that in the right situation humans will be behave the way they want, they reject human nature and think they can build a system where people will behave the way they want….

          My approximation is that progressives will always assume that people will behave rationally in the collective self-interest if given a chance (or can be made to behave that way), and libertarians believe people will behave rationally in the personal self-interest if given a chance even if it comes at the expense of the collective. Of course, it seems that for many progressives, the collective self-interest just happens to align with their personal self-interests, and it is inconceivable that someone may have a different personal-self interest than them or a different idea of what is in the collective self-interest. People behaving irrationally (or ‘irrationally’ because you don’t understand their reasoning) are a problem for any system.

          When designing a system, it is a mistake to believe that either everyone will enter use the system as intended or that everyone will attempt to subvert the system, but a system built on the assumption that people will try to subvert the system will function with people that don’t, and not the other way around.

          1. When designing a system, it is a mistake to believe that either everyone will enter use the system as intended or that everyone will attempt to subvert the system, but a system built on the assumption that people will try to subvert the system will function with people that don’t, and not the other way around.

            Guessing you haven’t tried to use the unemployment office to actually end your unemployment…. or welfare to get out of poverty… etc.

            *****
            Both Libertarians and Progressives assume that what they think is “rational” is an objective fact– and will insist on this in the face of any evidence, or they lose their belief system.
            My head STILL hurts from wallbanging after one of the tutti-fruity Libertarian Anarchist guys insisted that nobody would pollute water if the guys down stream objected.
            It was on Ricochet, but it was before the big “upgrade” so I don’t know where the dang conversation went.

            1. Guessing you haven’t tried to use the unemployment office to actually end your unemployment…. or welfare to get out of poverty… etc.

              You have to have people who have a knowledge of the subject when building a system.

              Oh, and the goal of the “welfare” system was never to get people out of poverty.

              My head STILL hurts from wallbanging after one of the tutti-fruity Libertarian Anarchist guys insisted that nobody would pollute water if the guys down stream objected.

              I don’t know the context of the discussion, but if there are contractual water rights, then there are remedies.

              OTOH there are always people who believe that anything they do is right, and are willing lie through the teeth about it. Often times these people are charismatic enough to gather a group around them who will assert (or actually believe) that that person is telling the truth.

              I call this “the sociopath problem”, and it is one of the two major flaws in Libertarianism. The other is that globally there are more socialists/communists/communitarians/collectivists/peasants, and libertarians don’t particularly cotton to borders.

              There’s a solution for the first problem. The second not so much.

              1. I don’t know the context of the discussion, but if there are contractual water rights, then there are remedies.

                Contract by what authority?

                1. Contractual water rights as opposed to statutory water rights, which wouldn’t exist in that world.

                  There is no “authority” needed for a contract other than that of the participants.

                  If there is no contract, then there is nothing other than “good sense” to prevent pollution.

                  Some people don’t have good sense, and many of them are actively evil.

                  1. There is no “authority” needed for a contract other than that of the participants.

                    Yes, there is, because the contract has to be enforced.

                    A contract that depends on my being able to FORCE the other side to respect it… well, like I said. It’s a theory where I end up being property because I won’t be able to force people to keep their agreements.

                    1. And if I have no power to do so, then it’s OK to cheat me?

                      This is sounding more and more like the Middle East…. I am a person whose rights must be respected, so long as I can force you to do so…..

                    2. If they’re strong enough to protect your stuff, they’re strong enough to take it. If they’re dishonest enough to break their contract they’re dishonest enough to take your stuff when they haven’t earned it.

                    3. And it’s kind of cold comfort to think that after they have done it to you, they’re less likely to be able to do it to the next guy.

                    4. …except that the theorized hungry contractors are big, scary, and have guns.

                      See other conversations, re: why having supplies for TEOTWAWKI is useless unless you can also defend them.

                    5. Doesn’t sound too different from what we have now.

                      Since Legally binding contracts are about the only thing respected in Libertarian Paradise, it seems that the gang gone rogue would be enough to get the rest of the gun-toting population up in arms.

                      But regardless, that also applies to the original question. If that fellow you had the original contract with doesn’t live up to his word, he could find himself on the wrong side of the meritocracy.

                    6. Doesn’t sound too different from what we have now.

                      Now you’re just being silly.

                      If that fellow you had the original contract with doesn’t live up to his word, he could find himself on the wrong side of the meritocracy.

                      Or he could find himself with more than enough extra to buy the aid of those who are useful, while they cheat or flatly loot those who are small enough to be gone over. Especially if he picks isolated or unpopular targets, and those who have exhausted themselves combating others “on the wrong side of the meritocracy.”

                    7. “Since Legally binding contracts are about the only thing respected in Libertarian Paradise, it seems that the gang gone rogue would be enough to get the rest of the gun-toting population up in arms”

                      Obviously not too well respected, or there wouldn’t have been a need to hire the gang who broke their contract in the first place, since the guy who broke his contract and caused you to hire them to start with would have been set to rights by the gun-toting “respecters of Legally binding contracts.”

            2. Guessing you haven’t tried to use the unemployment office to actually end your unemployment…. or welfare to get out of poverty… etc.

              I’m trying to understand the connection between your logic and mine. Perhaps I’m not stating my point very well. I see our current unemployment system as fitting my example. Progressives set up an unemployment and welfare system and seem to believe that people will use unemployment as a means to get back to work and welfare only for those extreme edge cases, yet don’t build any mechanism in to prevent abuse by those inclined to break the system. If everyone used unemployment and welfare for those intended purposes, the system would make a degree of moral sense (though it would still have some flaws). As it is, we have a system with no practical defenses against people subverting the system. A welfare and unemployment system that did a fair amount of checking to deal with abuse would be a lot more functional than what we have.

              My head STILL hurts from wallbanging after one of the tutti-fruity Libertarian Anarchist guys insisted that nobody would pollute water if the guys down stream objected.

              Sounds like a real headache. Most of the hardcore libertarians I know would be of the ‘sue the bastard doing the polluting’ school, which runs into the related problem of tracking down which of the gazillion upstream pollution sources is responsible for what part of the pollution and damages and presumes a court system capable of passing and collecting judgement.

              1. Progressives set up an unemployment and welfare system and seem to believe that people will use unemployment as a means to get back to work and welfare only for those extreme edge cases, yet don’t build any mechanism in to prevent abuse by those inclined to break the system.

                Actually, a lot of the issue with the system is attempts to fix it without exercising judgement– the result is that the things that prevent abuse ALSO prevent proper use, while proving yet again that there’s no such thing as a thief-proof lock.
                Cousin was a big guy in one; each of the bloody stupid hoops was introduced to prevent fraud without requiring thought. (See also, the blood alcohol tests and the cellphone laws– an attempt to remove the issue of judgement to hazardous driving.)

            3. This from ESR’s blog. Setup, a young man gets laid off in 1993 in texas. There’s no jobs at all, and particularly not in the tech sector:

              From where I was sitting, I could easily overhear the counselor haranguing the person in front of me for around 20 minutes, about how she was required to check the postings at the unemployment office, get on the phone, go to interviews, and submit paperwork proving that she had applied to at least three companies each and every week.

              So when it’s my turn, I’m about ready to tell the counselor that seems like a heckuva lotta work for such an insignificant amount of scratch, so they can just keep their money, but being polite, I let him go first. He looks at his computer screen (which shows him my income for the last who-knows-how-many-years, because the state collects unemployment insurance from employers), then turns to me and says “Sorry, I don’t think we’re going to be able to help you find a job at all. Your checks should start coming in two weeks. Please let us know when you find a job. NEXT!!!”

              How he found the ONE person in that line of work with a lick-o-sense is amazing, but I think there is a lesson in this if you think about it.

        2. There’s two types of nuclear reactors (helium cooled pebble bed and liquid sodium cooled) that have an interesting characteristic–they are (mostly) “fail safe” in that their failure modes wind up with the reactor being down, but “safe”, and that safety not guaranteed by ever complicated monitoring and prediction systems, but rather by physics.

          This is what Libertarians think (and they very well could be wrong) they are doing. By *assuming* that humans are selfish and will steal they don’t build ever complex laws and regulations that specify how every single interaction between humans will be (like California’s fore-play by checklist law) they attempt to build a system that puts the obligation of checking on the individual.

          And no, the libertarian system isn’t any better than we currently have, but it’s not worse and it’s less likely to get you thrown in jail.

          1. And no, the libertarian system isn’t any better than we currently have, but it’s not worse and it’s less likely to get you thrown in jail.

            Applied to real people, it’s a lot more likely for me to end up being *property* without the RIGHT to trial and jail.

            1. That’s about as logical as saying under our current system we’re all owned by the government.

              1. All it takes is following the natural development of a system based on agreements that have no enforcement mechanism.

                We did that already. For most of human history. That’s part of why we developed gov’t.

            2. Libertarianism is my vision of Utopia, like most Utopias however, it is only a vision, it crashes and burns when it contacts reality. I still think we should incorporate as much of it as possible, but common sense (which as the saying goes is extremely uncommon) needs to be used.

              1. *nod* A lot of the ideas are useful, but that’s true for communism, too. But that’s not simple, and a lot of the appeal of Ideal Libertarian Theory is it’s so wonderfully, elegantly simple. No judgement– common sense, though it’s seldom put that way– needed.

      2. The problem is not that they think of people as angels, but that they think of the majority of people as rational.

      3. I like Terry Pratchett’s comment about man being where the falling Angel meets the rising Ape. I expect I’ll still be turning it over and finding new angles when I’m old and cackling.

      4. I’ve run across some of the more… ah… hopeful libertarians. stick around here long enough and you’ll see it too.
        Every philosophy has crazy people and can be taken to extremes.

    3. I dunno: I’m a libertarian, and I have my own problems with the idea of original sin.

      Mostly in reaction to a sort of sloppy collective moral tarring that goes on:

      Someone else’s depravity doesn’t make me guilty. It doesn’t matter how horribly depraved it is – I’m not at fault on account of sharing a species.

      It doesn’t matter how rotten humanity is (and usually you find the people who are most misanthropic and cynical about men on the other side) – it doesn’t make an individual honest man guilty.

      Understanding of evil is not the same as guilt. Comprehension of a crime is not the same as participation. Knowledge =/= approval.

      In short, while I might share the broad outlines of my nature with other humans, my problems are mine, not yours, and vice versa. Collective guilt, like collective pride, strikes me as taking credit/sharing blame what isn’t yours to take from or dump on someone else.

      Also, the reason why men can’t be trusted with absolute power and domination over others isn’t because men are evil, it’s because absolute power over others is evil.

      1. My problem with libertarianism comes from those rare cases where there is no good action, and collective action is the best of the horrible actions available. Modern warfare between states (fortunately increasingly rare) necessitates treating states as largely organizations dedicated to war, which means treating them collectively.

        A hypothetical libertarian utopia may economically and morally be much preferable to a socialist collective state. It may have a lot better long term prospects both for the individual and the group as a whole. But if the other socialist state next door (which, say, needs a little extra ‘living room’) starts mobilizing its economy for war, the only hope may be to likewise mobilize the whole economy temporarily on a war footing. In the industrial era, national survival occasionally depended on being able to mobilize everything in what would otherwise be a grotesque display of state power: conscription (ie, slavery), nationalization of industry, propaganda and censorship. Failure to do so would mean the same, but under the jackboot of someone else.

        The nuclear era has brought both a massive boon and a massive bust for libertarian (or, at least, the minarchist variety thereof) thinking. A boon, because having a nuclear arsenal means never having to resort to war socialism for survival because anyone that fights you loses (though, historically, it took us a while to realize this and end the draft). A bust, because nuclear retaliation necessitates collective punishment beyond even the horrors of industrial warfare.

        1. Personally (and maybe that means I’m not large L libertarian enough), I have no problem with *voluntary* military service, and am in favor of national defense as a legitimate function of the government. I was actually in the military for a while myself.

          I object very strongly to the draft, and to any sort of compulsory service. No, the people do not need to be forced into servitude to be “properly socialized”.

          There is a difference between volunteering a small portion of your life to join an organization dedicated to securing the country and its interests, knowing fully the mortal risks assumed, and having an arbitrary portion of your life taken by being pressed into service. If people love their liberty and understand their nations position in the world, then if their nation is in trouble, the people will by and large volunteer for service. If they don’t, then (a: why is invasion more palatable to them than temporarily joining up? There is usually a reason, and it usually involves a vicious and deliberate waste of their lives, liberties, and position in society in past conflicts) and b why is perpetuating this nation through the institution of a form of slavery morally permissible?

          Occasionally, free societies lose their wars. Poland vs. all of its neightbors a few times. Switzerland vs. Napoleonic France. But becoming a slave society of jannisaries doesn’t solve that problem.

          1. PS – Some of those were not intended to be responses to you specifically, just to a lot of the “compulsory service would sure clean up those intransigent youth” propaganda that is floating around these days.

          2. I am very much against the draft, among other things because I think it’s an inferior system.
            That said there might come a time we need “all warm bodies on deck.” G-d preserve us from the necessity.

            1. Perhaps, instead of the draft, a strong social encouragement for almost everyone to get basically trained, sufficient to reduce the lag time for “all warm bodies on deck” to be of any use? I.e. a well-regulated militia in the original sense?

                1. What they – for some values of they including we need in high school, and before, is moral philosophy. It doesn’t hurt to have Boy Scout compasses graduated in artillery mils. I’d be amused to see the high school drop out rate if kids got to share a hole with a dead horse to shit on a shovel and pitch it as far as possible. I’d be interested to read Col Kratman on integrating part time basic training with other high school courses. I’d suggest there is much that could be integrated past JROTC style. I’m not sure either the methods or more importantly the objectives of Basic Training can be integrated nearly so well as other things.

              1. Pretty to think so. I argued the for the Swiss pattern – which I think has a place for home and heartland static defense – with an instructor who pointed out that he had taken a battalion of reservists to Korea and watched them die for lack of recent training. There is a place for trading lives for time – there is a nasty gap between know less and learn faster – it’s close to a lottery for throwing somebody from the sleigh to the wolves.

            2. *grumpy Navy* I’m against the draft because it’s bad enough dealing with the guys who volunteered– dealing with people who were forced to join would REALLY screw things up!

        2. So, the reason you’re not a capital L libertarian is the same I’m not. What Heinlein referred to as young bucks defending the herd, a system that is less than Libertarian. And far less than internationalist.And which yet is needed.

        3. But if the other socialist state next door (which, say, needs a little extra ‘living room’) starts mobilizing its economy for war, the only hope may be to likewise mobilize the whole economy temporarily on a war footing.

          In modern times, in reply to your scenario, you mention nukes, and there are many interesting things that that does to national strategy. My preferred strategy to dealing with something like that would be to slowly stockpile things. Mobilizing the whole economy for war should be the absolute last resort. Building up massive reserves of stuff (non-perishable food, ammunition, generators) and leaving them in bunkers all over the map is not ruinously expensive if done gradually. It would ensure the nation is resilient against natural disaster as well. I would encourage this on all levels (state, personal, yes in terms of military weapons also).

          Stockpiling nukes is only sane. If you make it very clear that no one is profiting from your demise, then that socialist belligerent neighbor is dead in the water. I’d also sell arms to all our allies cheap while we’re at it. This props up our own technological industry, ensures our allies are just as Pyrrhic to invade, and keeps the world nice and stable.

          Even without the nukes, it would take an act of insanity to attack a well equipped country. The only asset you could possibly seize is bombed out rubble, and there is no way you are taking a fully armed population as slaves.There are acts of insanity, but after some brief pyrotechnic transients, they would be put down pretty hard.

          But then, my strategy seems to be what we’ve aggressively *not* been doing for 30 years.

          1. PS – in a modern war, mobilizing the economy for war FDR style wouldn’t do much for you anyway – it would be far too late. You go to war with what you have stockpiled, and a few weeks later, maybe a month or two at the outside, things are pretty much decided.

            1. Which is why I made a distinction between modern (nuclear and post-nuclear era) war and industrial era war. In the modern era, resorting to the massive civil rights violation that is the draft is both useless and cruel. There’s a reason I compared the draft to slavery.

              Things however change; that’s one of the reasons we consider things with science fiction. One of our hosts “all-warm bodies-on-deck” scenarios with a bunch of genocidal aliens is exceedingly unlikely, yet considering the morality of what to do in a situation that extreme can help us consider less extreme scenarios. The rise of technology has changed warfare, but those changes have not been linear with respect to the social impact. We’ve gone from eras where small professional armies had a military edge to eras where the most boots (or sandals) on the ground determined the winner and back again. We’re luck to be in a ‘small professional’ stage, but there is nothing that proves technology won’t go back the other direction.

              I’ve seen a lot of people use the hypothetical “if the war is important enough, people will volunteer” argument you use, and this brings us back to the original point regarding where humans lie between the rising ape and the falling angel; how many of us these days would choose to do something like cross Omaha beach? Is it possible for society to get to a place where, when the call comes, not enough people answer?

              1. “how many of us these days would choose to do something like cross Omaha beach?”

                Or how many would be allowed to? A large minority, if not a majority (no stats available, but I had friends that were both National Guard and Marine recruiters at the time) who attempted to join after 9/11 were turned away for being felons, DUI/MIP, no high school diploma, etc.

                1. A large minority, if not a majority (no stats available, but I had friends that were both National Guard and Marine recruiters at the time) who attempted to join after 9/11 were turned away for being felons, DUI/MIP, no high school diploma, etc.

                  Some of this would be due to demand; I was EPO– Educational Petty Officer– for my division, and had at least a half dozen folks (all male) who had no high school diploma as of shortly before 9/11.

                  We didn’t need everybody who applied after 9/11, so the folks with any issue were turned down; compare folks who go Army to folks who go Marine for similar issues. (Marines are high status, Army is lower– Marines are HARD to get into, as in the recruiter is never @#$@## there, and the Army is there after hours. Folks whose dad served in the Marines say go Marine, folks whose dad served in the Army say “….(Foxfier), I’m glad you want to serve, do NOT go Army*. {paraphrasing my dad when I got up the guts to go say that I was thinking I’d go Navy. About an hour after their bedtime})

                  *for those going military:
                  Air Force treats their folks like union employees
                  Navy treats their people like mildly stupid (or crazy) employees
                  Marines treat their people like valuable weapons
                  Army treats their people like Equipment

              2. Overnight, I challenged myself to ponder hypothetical “draft” scenarios and come up with a scenario with as individual-rights-friendly a “draft” as possible. The idea I came up with was this: imagine the universe of Starship Troopers after the Bug War. You don’t need as massive a standing army of powered armor MI troops and drop ships (though having some ready is always a good bet), but there’s always the chance that a small group escaped to rebuild and may show up years or centuries down the line. So, rather than make voting rights tied to otherwise-voluntary military service, you make voting rights tied to voluntary draft registration. If the war restarts, you agree to take your random chances with everyone else at being called up. What moral hazards are present in this scenario? (I’m currently stuck on what level of ‘stick’ is appropriate for someone who voluntarily registers and then tries to weasel out when his number comes up, but I’m sure there are other nuances I’ve missed.) If you think that voting rights are too much a stickler, substitute a tax benefit or a ‘veterans preference’ and re-evaluate.

                1. You missed the whole point of Starship Troopers, I fear.

                  Not to mention, significant details–If you actually read the work for comprehension, and pay attention to the details, you’d have noticed that one of the features of the whole “service for a vote” thing was that the vast majority of the people most emphatically did not earn their right to the vote via military service. There were terraforming projects, research projects, and a whole host of other “make work” areas for people to participate in, aside from the military. If you showed up blind and in a wheelchair, they had to find you something to do in order to earn your right to vote, even if it was something ridiculous like counting hairs on caterpillars for two years… Which I remember being the example Heinlein used.

                  The root idea that Heinlein was expressing was this: In order for people to fully appreciate the right to vote and having a say in how things were run, they had to earn that right through some form of sacrifice. Only a tiny fraction of the electorate earned that right via military service. This is a point that many fantasists insist on ignoring, whenever they describe Starship Troopers as inherently fascist.

                  1. Out of sight, out of mind.

                    This is why it’s important to show your villain being villainous onstage. Otherwise our natural sympathy for the guy being beaten on will make us like him better than the hero. (After all, isn’t there a point at which we think Wile E. Coyote ought to get a nice roadrunner dinner?)

                    1. Wile E. Coyote is a modern Sisyphus. He has this task that he must complete but never can because the universe (in the form of the writer) won’t let him.
                      It’s not all bad, though. As much pain and suffering as he goes through, there is always one point at the beginning when the plan forms and This Time It’s Going To Work! Wile E. smiles because he has hope, even if only for that one moment.

                  2. Not obvious given an unreliable narrator and some cards palmed in the background moral philosophy discussion and such.

                    On the one hand there is the issue of signing up for specifically military service and deselection – look at the count of enlistees for federal service who started training with Juan Rico and the number graduating to combat arms – and the number graduating to cooks and bakers.

                    On the other hand Iskander (Sgt. later Captain Jelal’s home of record) has something like 80% described first as veterans then as voters without a clear definition of veterans as military service or civil service.

    4. One thing it seems that Libertarians and leftists share is a rejection of the concept of Human Nature or The Human Condition or Original Sin or Our Broken World or whatever you want to call it — that tendency toward selfishness that we all share.

      Neither group rejects it, they just have different ways of dealing with it.

      Progressives believe that proper socialization can fix the problem, and that anything that remains is deliberate rejection of their ideology and thus re-education is the proper response. If that fails, isolation/killing.

      Libertarians do reject “original sin”, at least some of them, but acknowledge that “tendency towards selfishness that we all share”, and bake it into their system. They want you to have unlimited selfishness, but limit how much you can force other people to do what you want. Thus you can create as much wealth as you want, you just can’t steal it.

    5. PPS – “Human Nature or The Human Condition or Original Sin or Our Broken World ”

      Our broken world managed to unbreak itself pretty spectacularly between the stone age and now. If men were irredeemably evil, and all ambitions they had doomed to Greek-tragic failure as punishment for hubris, how did that happen?

      1. In 1972 when the Libertarian Party was being formed, we didn’t have all these theories. Original sin was up to the religion, not the government. Selfishness was an attitude that people were free to have as long as they didn’t steal or rob to satisfy it. Our basic premise was that the founding fathers pretty well gave us a Libertarian government. If we paid careful attention to the duties, functions, and responsibilities in the Constitution, we would have a restrained government, not perfect, but, one that would ensure the citizen freedom while protected from those who would take that freedom from them. We simply wanted to go back to that form of government instead of the socialist state we had at that time. Since then, the ‘new Turks’ so to speak have entered and taken over. Now the Libertarian Party is another wing of the Democrats or Leftists.

        1. What I tend to think of as not so much large or small government, as if size were the facial objective, but a _reluctant_ government, made up of people who will do the job of governing to the extent they must, but would rather go home and do something more productive.

  5. … Those who think if they just let everything collapse a perfect “libertarian” state will emerge, instead of the same old thing we’re predisposed to by nature: rule by the one who can kill the most people.

    Mother nature is a b*tch. She’s in everything and in us too.

    Collapse into paradise? Oh really? Mother nature is a b*tch. She is the one who can and will kill the most people.

  6. What I’m trying to get at here is the following: in the last three hundred years or so, since the idea that “individuals” are merely cogs belonging to the family/tribe/sovereign has been fought back – not defeated, mind, but fought back – we’ve made such rapid progress that the past is not only another country, it might as well be another planet. Even in the forties, what was considered expensive and difficult are things we don’t even think about now – travel, books, etc.

    On a shorter time scale, Bill Whittle covered such things with comparisons between rich and poor here:

  7. I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the small little extra touches that I love in the most recent Captain America film is when Cap is listing some of the things he likes about the modern era… and the lack of polio is one of the things that he brings up.

    I’m often grateful for the many ways that we’re blessed due to modern conveniences, and frequently make mental note of the fact that many a ruler from an earlier era would give all that they had to be able to live with the conveniences that we take for granted and largely ignore (until they stop working, of course).

    1. Polio wasn’t that long ago. My mother-in-law suffered from polio when she was a girl. She has never walked properly since. Despite that, she is still going strong at 90. We are planning a cruise with her for later on this year. Pretty tough old bird.

      1. My mother caught polio as a toddler and had to re-learn how to walk. That’s the only legacy, though. But anti-vaxxers drive me nuts because both my parents told me the stories of their childhoods, and there’s nothing quite like hearing how you’d lose classmates over the summer to hammer home how magical vaccines really are. (Well, and there’s an aunt I don’t have because of that “common, easy disease” measles.)

        1. So very much this.

          The resurgence of whooping cough and measles and similar, easily preventable childhood diseases, as well as attendant deaths have resulted in ‘if your child is not vaccinated, then s/he can’t go to child care/kindy/prep’ policies over here in Australia. We have some very rabid anti-vaccination groups over here and there are periodically discussions about whether it’s polite to ask friends to get booster shots before visiting a newborn.

          It’s silly. For me to immigrate I had to provide documentation that my children and I were fully vaccinated. Clearly it’s important, but they have a ‘cannot force vaccinations’ thing too. Uh. Yeah. Okay, you mean those people who go to exotic locales don’t get their shots and bring back diseases. There’s more than one vector for disease, and stupidity is one of them.

          1. My dad had what he thought was rheumatoid arthritis at 8 and couldn’t walk for a year, so he had to re-learn to walk after. It wasn’t till I was talking to someone about this that it occurred to me that this didn’t bother him again till his middle years (though he did have rheumatoid arthritis. Still does.) and never that badly, and I wondered if it was polio.

                1. Actually, according to this page on the Mayo Clinic website, it’s an autoimmune reaction to Strep or Scarlet Fever, not actually the infection itself. But it says rheumatic fever can usually be prevented by prompt (and complete, ie full course) antibiotic treatment of the strep infection.

                  1. Interesting, I always had the apparently mistaken impression that rheumatic fever was another name for Scarlet Fever, not that they were two distinct sicknesses.

          2. We have some very rabid anti-vaccination groups over here and there are periodically discussions about whether it’s polite to ask friends to get booster shots before visiting a newborn.

            The last two kids have had a “no non-immediate family” rule in place (in theory) for visitors to new borns to avoid this issue.

            I heard about folks who were obviously not anti-vaccine who may have avoided the rules by one means or another but I can neither say the place nor say for sure they happened.

          3. There’s more than one vector for disease, and stupidity is one of them.

            Freaking Ebola.

            Doesn’t matter if YOU sweat your ass off in the hazmat suit, go though an hour of decontamination and are generally acting like your life depends on it if the guy next to you is a moron who thinks that diseases can be cured by, say, having sex with a virgin.

        2. It’s the only reason I don’t have contempt for my grandmother– her generation had a magical belief in the Power of Doctors, so much so that she went into deep mourning over the loss of the twin boys she “knew” she’d have. (Doctor said so. She got my mom, who would’ve been an entirely different person if her mom hadn’t been given this changeling in exchange for twin boys. It took until mom was at least 30 for the oddness to ease.)

          While I get really hot over folks who treat vaccines as magic– they DO have costs to their use, look at freaking agriculture where the only value is in product living in a way that you can make money– the folks who do the “vaccines are poison” drive me up a wall.

          So everybody gets pissed at the person who says “No, your kid won’t die of polio because her school has a lot of Catholics who object to getting the HPV vaccine and chicken pox*.”

          *grown in fetal stem lines and, as a bonus, increases the risk of the very dangerous adult chicken pox; if I had the time, I’d work up a well researched article on the risk/reward of child group immunity to chicken pox, given the association of vaccination with an increased risk of shingles. Data is old, though; I made my choice for the kids based on the severity of not vaccinating vs the moral question, in line with Catholic Teaching, and I’m the kind of person who printed out a statement from the USCCB to give to our doctor so that another mother would at least consider vaccinating for MMR, and I wouldn’t even hesitated for a second over smallpox. **

          **On a total digression, a lot of TV scifi being “deep” makes me roll my eyes. Is Data a person?!? Can we allow a Space Nazi doctor to save our friend’s life?!? Zzzzzzzzz…….

          1. Adult chicken pox is nothing to laugh at. At two I contracted* the chicken pox, and shared it with Daddy, who had never had it. I got to recover at home, my Daddy was hospitalized.

            *Whoever let a two year old form a contract for a disease should have been ashamed of themselves…

            1. *Whoever let a two year old form a contract for a disease should have been ashamed of themselves…

              Oh, that sounds like something I would have written. Ow, my head. (Yes, I write them to make the pain go away 🙂 )

  8. As a child my family used to go camping every summer. You only have the water you bring, and if you’re lucky the place you’re camping at may have something better than outhouses.
    As a teenager I used to go camping and hiking in places that had nothing and you could only bring what you carried on your back. Finding water becomes a major concern when you’re days from civilization and do not possess any means of communication if you need help.
    These things really make you appreciate civilization and I think more people need to be exposed to the situation of ‘if you don’t do these simple things to survive, you will die.’

  9. I am certainly aware of how much life improved with sanitation, indoor plumbing and sewage and by no means should these accomplishments be trivialized. I am surprised that no one has mentioned the single invention that has led to the greatest improvement in the quality of life for everyone on the planet. That invention was the tin can in concert with the factory food processor. Getting enough to eat was the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly struggle. Famines killed millions even in civilized countries. The tin can made it possible to store food for unheard of lengths of time. It was truly revolutionary. It also allowed people to spend more time improving things than worrying about survival. The invention of the tin can really allowed all the other improvements that came after to happen.

    1. Long-term storage came long before the tin can. Canning in glass jars is rather old, and there are many things you can do to preserve things in various liquids, such as alcohol, vinegar, and olive oil (not sure about other oils, but olive oil has enough acid to keep things pretty unspoiled).

        1. Even in my childhood both fish and pork would be preserved by immersing them in brine. The end result, especially the fish, was something I never learned to like because it was so salty you pretty much could taste nothing else but the salt – might as well just been eating the salt by itself – but my older relatives loved it.

          1. I was stunned by the amount and variety of Norwegian candy that combines fish, salt, and chocolate. And licorice.

            I’ve come to love sea salt and licorice though….

            zuk

              1. Isn’t there a Japanese word for “salty sweet” that Americans are odd for having?

                It translates something like “thing that makes you want more.”

                Chocolate potato chips are a common example

    2. “Food preservation techniques” come from sanitation– ‘all’ that food preservation is, is applying it to food going nasty.

      Canning and variations apparently came from, of all places, a contest that Napoleon started.
      http://duplicate.hubpages.com/hub/history-of-food-preservation
      (Before Pasteur figured out his claim to fame, but accidentally applying the correct technique.)

      It was more effective by leaps and bounds than dried, jammed, honey-packed, salt-packed, pickled or root cellar storage, and was similarly improved on by freezing. (I’d go hug my freezer, but it’s kinda big.)

      Is pretty awesome– chicken went from a huge Sunday Dinner thing to the cheap stuff– but it’s a sub-group of “not getting sick because filthy.”

    3. Although IIRC the early tin cans used a mixture of lead and tin as sealant and, as a result, gave you lead poisoning eventually. Mind you that was a net win since it allowed you to survive famines and avoid vitamin deficiency diseases like scurvy but it was a classic case of short term gain for longer term pain

    4. One of the smartest guys I know says the biggest single contribution to longevity is modern dentistry. Bad teeth will kill you! (Yeah he’s an endodontist, but still really smart.)

  10. I was reading Churchill’s History of the English Peoples, and he pointed out the fact that in Roman Britain, they had hot and cold running water in the houses. There was a higher percentage of people with indoor plumbing in Britain in Roman times than there was at any following time until something like 1898. Well into Victoria’s reign.

    We take this stuff for granted, and it isn’t.

    On a similar note, I think you could make the case that modern medicine really began only once we had antibiotics. Medicine pre-WWII looked nothing like medicine post-war.

    Heck, my mother (who is still alive) was born in a dirt floored cabin in Idaho, not particularly different than the way people had been born for thousands of years before that. _I_, on the other hand, was born in a modern hospital in Southern California, only some 20 years later.

    Things has changed.

    1. On a similar note, I think you could make the case that modern medicine really began only once we had antibiotics. Medicine pre-WWII looked nothing like medicine post-war.

      Another similar change at about the same time was brought about by the use of pesticides. I wonder what the toll for disease would have looked like without measures to control fleas, lice and other disease vectors. Either one would have made a significant reduction in the death toll; we got both.

        1. slightly off-topic, but I’ve often thought letters of marque & reprisal would be an appropriate tool for reducing the number of economically-motivated hackers on the internet… what they’re doing is a kind of piracy, after all.

    1. That’s not entirely true. There were no passports with photos before 1920 or so and passports were less required in general but they existed.

      My father has a blank of a passport hanging on the wall like a picture that one of our ancestors, who at the time was a British diplomat to the Ottoman Empire, could issue for British travelers who wanted to go to more obscure parts of the Ottoman Empire.

  11. The survival rate for Ebola victims runs at roughly 10%. In Africa.
    Not enough data points for a real assessment as of yet, but it’s looking like survival of the disease if caught early and treated in a modern western health care facility is at least 50 and more likely 90%. And that huge difference is due entirely to availability of the infrastructure to provide life support: antiseptic environment, antibiotics, oxygen, IV fluids and nutrients, all to help the human body survive long enough to overcome the disease.
    Yeah, living rough is great fun when it’s a choice and you can quit whenever you wish. Or as an ex mother in law once expressed, roughing it is a hotel without room service.

    1. “roughing it is a hotel without room service”
      Of course that is a 20th century definition of roughing it. A 21st century one might be “no Amazon access for my Kindle”.

  12. The gents toilet in the office where I work is, for the US, unpleasant. There are some design flaws that lead to more mess on the floor that one would prefer and some small flies seem to have colonized the place. Yet it looks like a sanitary paradise if you’ve ever traveled to the third world (or for that matter some areas of Southern and/or Eastern Europe). And even the hole in the ground in China or Peru is better than the chamber pot and so on.

    Before about 1800 even the richest and most powerful in the world used the Chamber pot. And frequently died from diseases caused by lack of proper sanitation. Things have improved so much that these days even homeless down and outs can have access to flush toilets and drinking water. That’s quite an improvement in quality of life.

    1. Much as it pains me to begrudge the less fortunate, I do despair that those homeless are getting their flush toilets, running water, heat in the winter, and cool in the summer by camping out in what used to be one of my favorite places, the public libraries.

      1. That’s my one major complaint about the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. I feel like I shouldn’t begrudge them the use of the facilities, but it leads to messy and overutilized men’s rooms. Ick.

      1. We used chamberpots, until I moved out of grandma’s house, because the (with running water) bathroom was OUTSIDE the kitchen door. The new owner has solved the problem of putting water in, through 3ft stone walls (The room where I was born is now a bathroom!) but at the time it had plumbing added, this was an impossible feat. So, you know, you didn’t go stumbling down steep staircases and meandering through the kitchen to the back patio and into the bathroom in the middle of the night. You used chamberpots.
        When we had an Earthquake, grandad stepped out of bed and onto the chamber pot which had been rocked out from under the bed. Fortunately it was empty and clean. Unfortunately, his foot stuck in it, which embarrassed him mortally. He had to escape out the front door with his foot in a guzunder.

    2. Go across the Mexican border more than 40 miles in and away from the larger cities and it will be genuine third world filth levels……

    3. Do not forget toilet paper. I have used old newspapers, and even that is huge improvement over trying to scrape your bottom with something like a stick, or a stick with a sponge on it which is kept in vinegar and used by everybody else too (yech… that was Roman, I think) but soft but strong toilet paper: ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. Go to te Newspaper Archive and look at some of the papers from the turn of the century through the 1920’s. Toilet paper was advertised as containing no slivers, in fact it was a point of pride for some brands…..

        1. My uncle was a WWII Merchant Mariner. Had a story about a too long cruise, rerouted around the south of Australia, sandfly fever, and Australian toilet paper. All of which was jettisoned rather then used. It’s not a pretty story at all. Nobody dies in, just wish they were dead.

  13. My Father was a professor of the history of science and technology. My Mother was, among other things, a high school history teacher and an architectural historian by avocation. I grew up with an acute awareness that the past mostly sucked. And that, therefore, those who yearned to live in the past were dolts.

    I would love to live in an era with as much dynamism as the latter half of the 19th century, through to the first world war. The great engineering projects, and the attention paid to them, fire my imagination. The drive of exploration, of advancing education, of improvements all over, all thrill me. But I don’t want to LIVE in the late Victorian era; I want to import some of it’s drive to make things better.

    I’m sick of the Proggies and their fellows, with their whining and their faux fatalism (which they put aside in an instant if it’s a question of their own comfort).

    We could, goddamnit, make the whole world so wealthy that everybody willing to make a minimal effort would have enough to eat; not guaranteed by the State (which would merely guarantee that all shortages were studiously swept unde the rug) but simply because we had so much. We could spread the industrial revolution to the third world, and with it sanitation and hope.

    But we would have to start insisting that we knew best, and (weirdly, since the are certainly convinced THEY know best) that is the one thing that the Proggies absolutely will not let us do.

    Let’s move iron mining and smelting to the moon. And anybody who whines about us “polluting” the lunar “ecosystem” gets shoved out an airlock, sans suit. Let’s terraform Mars. Let’s build stuff and do things, dammit! And tell the Proggies in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up while the adults are talking.

    1. Save the lunar surface for those processes that require at least some gravity and a solid base. Metal mining and smelting is better left to the harvesting of large chunks snatched from the asteroid belt and processed with concentrated solar and vacuum separation.

      1. A) We know how to get to the noon; we did it.

        B) I’m told that there is effort-worthy iron ore on the moon.

        C) Use the industrial base on the moon to go farther out.

        1. No real objection from me. We’re here debating the most efficient plan for success while the powers that be refuse to take any steps to move forward. The right answer of course is to try it all and stick with the approaches that work the best.

        2. There’ s easier effort-worthy titanium, magnesium and aluminum on the moon… you can literally collect it with a vacuum cleaner.

        3. Lots of effort-worthy ores on the Moon. Plus super-easy access to vacuum, which is something that requires a significant effort here, so many kinds of manufacturing and research become significantly easier.

          1. Yep, on the plus side, low G and easy access to hard vacuum. On the minus however, huge temperature swings and the lunar dust is a very abrasive substance that gets into every nook and cranny of your equipment.
            When we looked at lunar habitats we seriously considered keeping the moon suits outside and entering them through a flexible tunnel rather than tracking the nasty stuff inside every time someone came back in.

            1. Was a shower in the airlock ever considered? Step in, get hosed down (thoroughly) and then take off the suit. The water would be recyclable, and the dust could be extracted as part of the recycling process.

    2. You would also need to do something about the *massive* corruption that exists in most parts of the world.

      1. The thing is, by comparison with today “Massive” amounts of corruption existed in the 19th century in most of the West. It’s just that we all got wealthy (comparatively) so that we are now approximately as affected by such corruption’s the very wealthy were then. And the corruption is probably greater, in absolute terms measured in money, it’s just less of the overall economy.

        Make West Africa RICH, and the corruption of the local politicians won’t matter so goddamned much.

        1. But you can’t make the West Africans rich because the investments needed to lay the groundwork for making them rich will keep getting funneled into Swiss bank accounts.

    3. We could, goddamnit, make the whole world so wealthy that everybody willing to make a minimal effort would have enough to eat; not guaranteed by the State (which would merely guarantee that all shortages were studiously swept unde the rug) but simply because we had so much.

      Congratulations. We’re already there.

      The only large scale famines since the 1900s were because either governments wouldn’t *allow* food into the areas (Ethiopia, 1980s) or because the government was–at gun point–taking food away (Ukraine, 1932/33).

      Other times it’s war that displaces people and chews up crops.

      Right now with what we either know or strongly suspect about farming and ranching (and using both together), we actually produce *more* food than we need.

      The problem facing us right now is that the food is grown in places where the people don’t need it as much, and getting it to the people who do–and who have very little money–is logistically problematic.

      The other problem is the greenies who have Africa so afraid GMOs that they won’t touch them.

      We could spread the industrial revolution to the third world, and with it sanitation and hope.

      The industrial revolution is over, the machines won. Right now it’s not worth it to build a factory in Africa and hire people to run it. It would be cheaper over even the short term to put robots in.

      1. From my understanding, the Africans are usually smarter than that.
        However, the idiot Euros who buy their food exports won’t buy GMO-based food product. So the farmers, in an effort to try and get some of their product exported, stick with non-GMO food.

    4. We could, goddamnit, make the whole world so wealthy that everybody willing to make a minimal effort would have enough to eat; not guaranteed by the State (which would merely guarantee that all shortages were studiously swept under the rug) but simply because we had so much. We could spread the industrial revolution to the third world, and with it sanitation and hope.

      Pretty much did that long since. See e.g. Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity Frances Moore Lappé (written with Joseph Collins, 1977) “she went on to identify other causes of starvation that included the centralized control of farmland and economic pressures to produce “cash” crops rather than basic food products. ”

      See the various Enclosure Acts in the British Isles and the history of Irish peasants starving from the potato blight but raising the landlord’s untouchable pork with some success.

      I used to know an AID type who had killed more head of African game than anybody else I ever heard of or imagined. He used a Garand with ball ammunition to crop the whole ecosystem for bush meat (some other issues there with). AID had the notion, which I believe correct, that a flourishing ecosystem (giraffe browsed and so didn’t much compete with zebra for grazing but both had to go to maximize beef production – in the United States few think of Elk as plains game but they once were) was more productive in terms of available meat for human consumption than the artificial system of clearing everything out and using antibiotics to raise beef to be sold to hamburger joints for dollars. The choice of meat or dollars was easy.

      Lots of issues with the appropriate use of night soil. It says something about how short human memory is that I’ve known some well to do people with remote ski cabins that had regularly pumped outhouses and didn’t routinely use urinals or chamber pots even on very cold nights.

      Notice that few people are allergic to household dust which is mostly quartz fibers in Colorado. Allergies are mostly to biological products such as dust mite by products. Life high and dry reduces dust mites in the house.

      1. We live in an urban area. Household dust, in this area, contains polen and judging by the stuff that coats my outdoor furniture, a not inconsiderable amount of exhaust particulates.

  14. Not to suggest books for you, when you should be working, but on the idea of the ‘Newlyweds Dilemma’, I read a very interesting book, a few years back, “A Farewell to Alms”, Gregory Clark. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but the central theme was trying to discover why societies, in general, don’t get rich, and how the West managed to avoid the trap.

  15. I went to a Christian college. While they took the “Christian” part seriously, there were some people who seemed to be of the opinion that modern industry is evil incarnate.
    I told them to go look at all the little baby gravestones in colonial churchyards and get back to me.

    1. Don’t need to go that far back. Look at death certificates in the late 1800’s in Boston. Found the one for my g-grandmother, died of what would be today pneumonia. A few weeks after losing another infant. Cause of death: Marasmus. Several infants on that page died of the same thing, and one adult. Had to look it up. Malnutrition. Severe malnutrition. No formula then. If you didn’t produce enough, and couldn’t afford a wet nurse- your baby died.

  16. Back in high school I once raved to my history teacher about how much fun I was having at the Ren Faire. He said, “I bet you’d like to live then, huh?” and was shocked at my vehement denial. (I was, after all, a teenaged girl.) I told him I *liked* things like modern dentistry and the position of women and playacting was fun, but the real thing would be awful.

    1. Standard short description for SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) camping events: the Middle Ages as they _should_ have been (i.e. with good sanitation, etc.) A little bit of study and thought makes the point quickly to newbies.

      1. Apparently, large events often contain live examples, too, usually where people don’t clean their dishes sufficiently between meals, and get sick.

      2. I hereby steal and adopt as my own this notion.

        “History With Modern Knowledge” for the win– it beats even Vader dancing with a Queen!

  17. Lots of fun here, so here we go.
    Anyone who thinks “we” aren’t owned by the various .govs should try not paying their income tax or property tax or school tax, etc.
    Camping – my idea of roughing it is having to stay at the Hilton because they lost my reservation at the InterCon/Crown Plaza.
    Vaccinations required for every child starting school, oh, except for the illegal alien “children” who are being shipped all over the country(mostly to Red states) by the thugs in DC who are currently engaged in destroying this country as fast as possible. ‘Course those same “kid/disease vectors” didn’t need any kind of id to get on the airplanes that brought hem to their new homes.
    With the proper course of treatment in Western hospitals, Ebola can be “cured” – except that there aren’t enough isolation wards in the entire US to treat the number of US soldiers who will probably be bringing the disease back from their deployment to the various African hellholes that their cic has decided to send them to.
    Yeah, we ‘d be mining on the moon and beyond except that a democrap admin back in the ’60’s decided it was more important to buy votes(and at the same time utterly destroy the culture/families of those voters) then it was to continue the space program. And now it’s for “musilm outreach”.
    Yeah, I’m one of those “bitter, clingers”…

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