That’s An Awfully Nice Civitas You’ve Got There . . . – David Pascoe

That’s An Awfully Nice Civitas You’ve Got There . . . – David Pascoe

We are mere hours away from finding out the results of the latest batch of experimentselections (so what if it’s more than twenty-four; if you can’t count higher than that, you’re insufficiently ambitious). There’s been speculation for months on whether the Republicans will once more snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. More recently – and more widespread than ever – there’s been speculation that voting practices enacted by largely Democratic legislatures will provide sufficient screening action to allow for the necessary fraud to secure power for All Timeanother couple of years. Regardless, the results of these elections are fiercely anticipated on all sides.

Well, except for that silent mass who don’t know, and don’t care. They just want today to be more or less like yesterday, and for tomorrow to be more or less like today. Which is why Daddy Gov’t appeals so strongly. Someone else to take responsibility for making things work? How great is that? And when the Sun God, er, der Fuhrer, um, Uncle Joe, uhhhh, the Dear Leader promises you’ll get, not just what you need, but enough to provide all those big screens, enormous SUVs, and all the iDevices you could want? And at the expense of meanie rich people and their eeeeeevil corporations? What’s not to love? Especially since they hate us anyway, because accidents of birth, or skin color, or some such.

And, at one level, that’s what it’s all about. And what we writing Human Wave keep working to change. Humans being tribal, we’re wired to gather some “in,” and box everyone else “out.” And we do. Even we, the Huns, do it. Those who show up spouting foolishness about collectivism, and how the good of the many necessitate sometimes, unfortunately, require the trampling on of the rights of the individual get quickly shown the door, so we can go back to picking on each other like a good family.

Our so-called leadership keeps working to do exactly that: fracture American society along lines that make us easier to control. Watch the vileprogs at work: those white people (forming a majority of American citizens) hate black, brown, yellow, orange, chartreuse and mauve people, and want to keep them as chattel. Look at that group of brown(ish) people: they’re really more like white people (as evidenced by things like test scores and college attendance rates), so they hate these other brownish people (who are generally newer to the scene, and so haven’t had quite as long to develop roots in communities and build on their ancestors’ wise decisions). And of course, all those people with more stars on their bellies hate all the people with no stars on their bellies, so you should Always Vote Democrat (early and often, now facilitated by all-mail ballots, though fought tenaciously (those enemies of history, them (AhhH! Nested parentheses!!) by such horrific things as voter ID laws, like they have in Mexico) because we’re ever so much cooler than those old fogies who believe in personal responsibility and duty and similar regressive concepts.

(This is the part where Dave gets to the mother-loving point.)

With all this fracturing, aided an abetted by technological upheaval, we’re losing the older senses of community. The neighborhood, where people sit on the stoop of an afternoon, waving to those out perambulating (another thing which happens rather infrequently) and enjoying the fresh bugs and the delightfully muggy air. The parades and gatherings to celebrate the togetherness that happens in a group of people who live in the same area and have had to help each other to survive droughts, winters, floods and Those Jerks From Over the Hill.

We’re losing (lost?) that sense of togetherness for those whom near we live. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, just that it is, and the more able we are to fool ourselves about long-term survival by looking at short-term trends (what? No, we’re fine: the grocery store is FULL of food. And TP), enabled by technological miracles, the deeper that disconnect will grow. We’re seeing it replaced by more far-flung communities, often of a virtual type. We are an instance of this. Many conventions do the same thing. Fandoms of all kinds are notorious for bringing together misfits from all points of the globe. It’s practically what they’re all about.

I was going to pitch the notion that we’d do well to resurrect some of that small-town, Music Man kind of local patriotism – and I think we would, though this isn’t the way to make that argument – as a means of revivifying the social glue that may or may not have ever actually existed, but that doesn’t seem to be where my fingers have lead us, this morning. It may well be that the old civitas, the sense of citizens bound together by law, with rights and privileges pertaining thereto, is dying. We’re seeing evidence of this as our betters treat us peasants commoners with infuriating disdain. As they gather to protect their own, instead of those to whom their duty is sworn. I mean, really, what are you going to believe, our credentialed experts, or your own lying eyes?

Can we salvage our society from the encroaching hordes of barbarism? I don’t know. Can we do it by writing decent stories, by telling those stories to each other to bolster flagging courage? Again, I don’t know. But I do know that’s the only thing that can, and that’s how big things always start.

117 thoughts on “That’s An Awfully Nice Civitas You’ve Got There . . . – David Pascoe

  1. I’m guessing that, in the long run, we’ll end up with micro-states, one to a household. And ally virtually, as you’ve noted.

    I look at my home situation. I know ONE of my immediate neighbors, and yet my virtual pals are all over the planet. And I’ve been doing that more and more since the late 1980s. . . (in those days, it was CompuServe. . .)

    1. Given ubiquitous telecommuting and remote manufacturing, we could see a trend towards further “Great Sort[ing]”, as like-minded people move to consolidate their online communities into meatspace communities, and work from home.

      Whether the end result would look more like the world of _The Diamond Age_ or the Balkans remains to be seen.

      1. The only difference between them was the level of technology at which the violence was carried out.

  2. On the end of the comments. There is a reason that Bards (Poets, Skalds, or whatever the cultural term for tale tellers writers and performers of songs and bringers of such to the people applies) have been, historically, high on the list of people NOT to tick off. Even for Kings. The song survives the singer.

      1. Most probably don’t… they don’t think about why some things work, but I think enough do that that is at least part of the driving force behind the ‘you’re not a real ‘.

  3. I’m doing better than Keith in knowing my immediate neighbors – but then I have lived in the same little suburb since 1995 – and it’s a place where a lot of people jog regylarly or walk their dogs. And a good lot of small towns in Texas do hold onto a sense of community. Sometimes it’s focused on the HS football team, but also on historical societies, local events, book clubs and libraries. There is hope here, at least.

      1. But you can offend in any direction! (with apologies to the Marines and any number of other surrounded military units through the ages)

          1. But people sleep safe in their beds tonight because there are those of us who are willing to offend for them.

      2. Generic Democrat to the left of our house. REST of the neighborhood is mostly LE’s, FBI predominantly, Intel (both Gov and Contractor), and various flavors of Federal Contractors. There is ONE set of Dem street signs, and that’s our neighbor. ~15 GOP street signs. We’re all surly and “don’t bother me” neighbors for the most part.

        I like it that way. . .

          1. Unfortunately, if I move, the closest Dem moves with me. I’m working on how to teach my daughter about the free market, being responsible for one’s self and the Constitution. I figure I’ll start with The Little Red Hen for Christmas. 🙂

            1. Good choice. Appeals to a kid’s sense of fairness, from my kids. I guess they naturally see themselves as DOING, and if asked will help….

          2. What’s REALLY amusing, is that I generally only see my neighbors on two occasions: HOA meetings, and Gun Shows. To the point where people ask if I can haul their cases of ammo back in the van, they filled THEIR car already. . .

            It’s a VERY heavily-armed neighborhood. President of the HOA is a general contractor and is reportedly a retired Green Beret. I’ve seen him wearing a 5th SF patch on a VERY worn fatigue jacket. . .

                1. If the HOA wants to pay my mortgage then they have a say on how I use my property. Not otherwise.

        1. If a significant number of your neighbors are Intel types, I’d be willing to bet I know one or more of them. It’s never been a huge field, and we mostly stay in touch with one another (Imint, especially).

        2. If I were a poly-sci grad student in need of a thesis study, I wonder what might be the result of a test of correlation between GOP street signs in a neighborhood and the burglary/other crime rate.

      3. Why am I hearing the chorus from “Stuck in the Middle with You” ??

        (i.e. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you. . . “)

      4. If I can pull off a midlife crisis before the social collapse, a little homestead in Utah sounds like a really nice place to move to.

        1. I don’t want to live anywhere where it’s easier to helicopter me to the hospital than drive to get me.

          1. I saw an article today that they’re developing drones for that. Built-in robotic watchacallums to restart the heart and guaranteed to rush you to the ER.

            No, I did not read the article.

            1. A grad student in Europe (Holland?) invented and designed that drone. I heard a news story on the radio about it a few days ago.

      5. Just remember Rodger’s first action after moving in “We Few”. It’s the only way to be sure.

  4. If you keep nesting your parentheses I’ll begin to think you’re speaking with a LISP. 🙂

          1. Hackers? Anyone who actually managed to hack in BASIC wouldn’t need to apply. He COBOL get in himself.

                  1. Did you really have to do that? Now we’ll wind up with neverending Modula-tion of such names.

    1. Worse, it’s the source of all evil: a woman with an APL.

      I need to Go Forth and use puns based on newer languages; my knowledge of the older ones is Rust-y.

      1. Fie on all of youse!
        Play nice or I’ll cut your punch cards in half and destroy all your code.

          1. I hope I remembered to wave as I went by. (Public service note: even snow tires will not help when a truck has slopped liquid manure and the stuff freezes overnight. First time I’ve spun doing 10 mph.)

            1. ATTN: all urban idiots who recently bought an SUV

              Just because you own a four wheel drive vehicle does not mean it will perform better in snow and ice than your old Taurus… unless you actually engage the four wheel drive.

              Also, four wheel drive does not significantly improve your stopping ability.

              1. And all 4 wheel drive will do is let you spin all 4 tires at once if you try to accelerate normally.

                1. Well that depends, but yes if the person behind the wheel knows how to drive they can quite possibly dive into the ditch, drive around somebody stuck in the middle of the road in a four wheel drive with all of the bells and whistles, pull back out of the ditch and head on down the road. BTDT… a lot.

              2. I wasn’t TOO annoyed when my daughter called me to come pull her friend’s truck out of the ditch, until I realized the silly twit hadn’t even tried the four wheel drive. Daughter didn’t know either, till after I got there.

              3. Simplify it:
                “ATTN! City drivers! The vehicle you are in is not a small, high performance vehicle on a high quality road! Also, your turn signal doesn’t vaporize vehicles.”

                I was startled to realize that most of the really dumb stuff I saw people doing could be explained by “they’re driving like they’re in a different vehicle.”

                From motorcycles to simitrucks, including minivans and pickups and even ‘smart’ cars.

  5. Speaking of Dear Leader promising goodies, check out his promise last week to a predominantly African-American crowd at North Division High School in Milwaukee: “If you want something better, you’ve got to vote for it.”

    Remember the days of yore when leaders advised people to WORK for the things they wanted?

  6. I know my neighbors pretty well, but I’ve been in the same place for a long time. What’s this mortgage thing? Oh yeah, I finished that ten years ago. There’s two SJW households, but one is coming around – life and children tend to do that to you. Two rentals that have high turnover, but we ran out the drug dealers that moved in before they caused too much trouble. The rest of us are pretty tight.

  7. I’m already seeing some SJWs complaining about “42 white men” who are “stealing the election”. The NYT wants to “cancel the midterms”. I hope that’s a sign things are going well.

    You still have to get out and vote, though.

    1. Voted early, in case I get called in tomorrow. This may be the first year I’ve seen straight ticket green and libertarian options, along with R and D. A lot more L than G choices, though.

      1. Unfortunately, in the entire history of our country we’ve only had at most two major political parties. Given our election process there are strong mathematical reasons for that. The upshot is that until the Democrat Party is destroyed voting for Libertarians only helps the Progs.

        I look at it this way: there’s no way in hell I’m willing to trust anyone with political power, so I’m not voting for a candidate for office, I’m voting to keep either the Democrat or Republican – math keeps the other parties out – away from any kind of power.

        1. In general, yes. But there are cases (specific offices) where voting libertarian can be useful signalling. We have more than one slot on the ballot where the two possible candidates are R or L. Typically incumbent Repub.

          Some libertarian signalling when the incumbent is misguided can be useful.

          But, I agree, any case where there’s a dem contender, take no risks.

        2. Filling my ballot at the breakfast table this morning, voting all the judges out (always do) “All in favor of taking down Bob’s corrupt regime!” (Sherman’s Lagoon)

            1. Ah, the thing is, if you do that, you can collect your bribe and then alter it yourself. Do that at the polling place and you can prove that you stayed bought.

          1. I did that with a few judges, but there were three or four there I knew personally, and viewed favorably enough to vote to retain them. One of them was the judge that gave us Timmy, one was one that threw out a frivolous case against my son, and the other two were ones we knew who did good things for people like my son that can’t really function on their own. Good people, and worth retaining. The rest? Maybe, maybe not. Why take chances? 8^)

  8. And back to something I’ve been harping before: yes, we should learn how to talk to them, in a language which will not make them run, assume they are hearing something else than what we are actually saying, or start going ‘lalalala can’t hear you’ immediately.

    Yes, lots of outright enemies. Yes, lots of full idiots also. Undoubtedly hell of a lot of people who just aren’t reachable. But also lots of people who are too focused on their daily lives to think much further, who vote by rote or based on surface impressions, but if you can make them understand that those nice daily lives – or even just some aspects of them – are perhaps actually threatened they might wake up. Or at least some of them. And we’d need all the allies we can get on our side, even ones who are far from being any kind of ideologically pure.

    Trying to talk with them can be both very, very frustrating and very, very irritating, but it should be done anyway, right?

    Because every individual who can maybe be enticed to our side are one less person keeping up the other side. And whether it happens now or ten years from now with any particular individual, and whether it is because of a full ideological shift, or because they realize one of their pet causes is more likely to fare well under our kind of people rather than the others… should it really matter? At least try to plant occasional seeds if at all possible. Talking to the choir can get people like me, who was there already, just surrounded by people who think otherwise and not sure how alone she maybe was, but it will not draw any of those who mostly have bought the other ideology. (Okay, not that preaching to the choir isn’t important. Just that it shouldn’t be the only way to proceed.)

    Lots of those who seem to be on the other side have probably ended there without really thinking about it, just because it seems to be the generally accepted way of thinking, and do not have any strong convictions, and at least some might still be reached if you approach them carefully, not in a way which makes them think they personally, or their ‘tribe’, whatever that may be in each case, are under attack.

    And no, I’m not trying to suggest Sarah should change her way of talking about this, or anybody else, but if you think you can do it yourself, or can find those who are still stealthed but subversive, and good with that subversive part, or out in the open about their ideology but able to talk in a way which does not scare the left-indoctrinated, and which maybe can penetrate past their shields, do support them, please. Whether it is in a blog or in fiction or on opinion pages or anywhere.

    And sometimes it seems this can also be people who fully profess to believe the leftist views, but whose work seems to say otherwise, at least part of the time. But subversive can work, even when it is not intended as such. We mostly seem to change our opinions first on the subconscious level, only after that we’ll perhaps get that road to Damascus moment.

  9. Part of the problem is what even years ago was called the Californication of Colorado. You have a lovely area with a lovely shared sense of community, and the outsiders suddenly find out and want to ‘share’ it. Unfortunately, as soon as they land, they start complaining of anything you do different, until they have made over Colorado in the image of California.
    I live in a wonderfully rural area of Virginia. When you are driving down the road, you wave to the people on their tractors or lawn mowers and they wave back. Unfortunately over the years ‘come-here’ people have arrived. Recently, my best friend’s 21 year old son and some friends had come over for some shooting. Wonderfully responsible kids, and we try to be considerate of the neighbors. One of our new ‘neighbors’ called the sheriff’s office complaining that ‘some one was shooting’. Well before dark, totally legal in the county. Fortunately for us, the deputy on call was the son of a personal friend. He called my Father, who assured him that it was us, and the kids were shooting into an earthen berm to control strays. This allowed the two squad cars dispatched to return to the donut shop. Unfortunately, the response to the complainant should have been: Lady, this is the country. People like to go out in the woods and target practice. They are not shooting at you. If you don’t like it, move back to the big city where you came from.

  10. Here in Oklahoma it is nothing to see ‘the highway salute’ when you meet another vehicle, especially a pickup or truck. People in yards or along the highway wave all the time. New in town, it will be less than a week before someone will tell you the history of the town. We moved here from New Mexico in 78, my wife’s sister and her husband (Democrats) followed about 2002. We live middle of the block on north side, they live middle of block west (backyards touch) People immediately took them in, though being atheist and Dem, they were paranoid. They found other Dems and sort of became comfortable, though even today feel persecuted. (Don’t understand why yet) Their son is homosexual and in a relationship of at least twenty years. They mentioned he was looking for work and the wife recommended they come to Oklahoma where there were jobs. “Oh no, they can’t come here, it’s not safe; they’re gay!” My wife and I exchanged a look and kept quiet. Our across the street neighbors, male, have lived together on our block for about twenty years, manage their own business and are good neighbors. I don’t know if they still go to their church or decided to sleep in on Sundays, but, weren’t pushed out in any case. They have drank the kool-aid and not even reality is going to change them.

    1. I know. I sing in two choirs with several out gays and a few that are, well, everyone knows but no one says anything because it’s none of our business. Good people, active in their houses of worship for the most part. One’s a firearms instructor. I guess the redneck bigot memo hasn’t gotten up here yet.

      1. Do we start getting the memos after we get our “Official ‘The Man’ Oppressor Card”? Cause I haven’t gotten either yet.

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