And so it’s come to this…

When I was young I was a liberal.  Well, not by the standards of where I lived, but by the standards of the US.  Impossible not to be a liberal when you’re raised in Europe.

Here are some of the things I believed from an ESR post which you should definitely read in its entirety:

    • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
    • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
    • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
    • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
    • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
    • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
    • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
    • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

Okay, I never believed that first one.  For some reason I had a burning passion for the truth.  That whole thing about hungering and thirsting for justice?  Well for me, raised in a village, and seeing people’s characters distorted by malicious gossip, the first and almost the only aim of justice was to re-establish the truth.

There is a story I was told as a child — those not raised in Catholicism, please bear with me — of a man who was a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, and who died.  As he was plunging into hell, a chain caught him by the leg and held him up.  He noticed the chain had beads and, looking up, heard a voice say they were the beads of the rosary.  You see, even though he didn’t believe, in the rosary or in religion at all, he prayed it every night, because his mother had asked him to.  And that single virtue had saved him.

In the same way, what saved me was that single quest for truth.  It’s impossible to look at those statements above and not think “wait a minute.”

I read the Gulag Archipelago at 14 and I thought “no, you can’t say the anomie of capitalism or the heart break of the downtrodden in capitalist societies is like that.” Yes, they can sort of, compare Dickensenian England (and having read other stuff, Dickens was just another left partisan selling us a bill of goods, sorry) to the communist system, but that wasn’t even capitalism as such.  That was capitalism under a monarchy in a time when the technology was just efficient enough to be brutal.  Capitalism had moved on from the early twentieth century.  It was communism that hadn’t. And worse, they kept pretending the happy people of Brutopia were all happy and stuff.

I couldn’t stand it, and that set me on a quest to figure out the truth of all these received shibboleths so deeply embedded in the culture by the late sixties that they seemed to be divinely ordained.

There were things  that looked at in the light of day were laugh-inducing.  No, seriously.  Like America being just as bad as any place else, while multitudes were going broke trying to get here.  Just get here.  And not always for the money, either.  I knew a high school teacher who was trying to get here (legally.  She’s probably still waiting) just for the chances to be and become and learn.

And that one about Europe being rich because the third world was poor?  A neighbor tried this one on me.  He was communist, see.  And what he used instead of the third world was Portugal.  He must have got hold of the wrong leg of the lizard at some point, because “Portugal doesn’t create its own computer, because America won’t let them compete with IBM.”  Well, I was fourteen, and I wasn’t stupid.  America couldn’t make laws in Portugal, and Portugal had — in fact — expropriated the property of American citizens during the revolution.  So that was not what he meant.  If he meant because IBM was there already, that’s nice, but given how Portuguese patent and copyright laws are about as enforced as China, that too didn’t make sense. So what was the difference?  Well, Portugal had the highest number of national holidays in Europe at the time.  It averaged to two or three a month.  And I knew that — sheer application — was part of the issue.  But not all of it.  Portuguese are clearly not lazy, because those who emigrate work like mad. So I came to the conclusion it was the combination of a dysfunctional culture where you were treated with derision for doing something outside your class and where work was not ennobling and so being seen to work was a bad thing.  (While among foreigners you could do it.) Add to it a tradition bound teaching system as reliant on memorization as China or the Arab countries, and a built in respect for “the way things are done” which extends to the regulations, and even geniuses ended up just working for the government because it was easier.  (From what I hear of writers in Portugal, it still is.)  What all this had to do with America was beyond me, except that America was easy to blame and that kept Portugal from doing the incredibly hard and perhaps impossible (these things are very difficult) work of retooling its culture into something more functional.  It could go on being proud of its history and saying it was the best ever, and not examining itself in the critical light of day, beyond the “revolution” (actually a series of them) that changed the old boss for the new boss and made some adjustments (some of them very beneficial) but did not unleash Portuguese productivity or creativity.  (Just made them into another tired Euro country.)  I can’t imagine that the third world is any better.  In fact, having family in several of these “downtrodden” countries, I knew they were, on all counts, far, far worse.

Yes, America propped up some dictators now and then.  FORTUNATELY I’d read history which means I knew two things: the dictators that America propped up were no matter how bad superior to the communist ones*.  And in a cold war all nations do that sort of thing.  It’s not moral from an outsider, floating above point of view. But it is moral from the point of view of protecting your own people and allowing them to survive.

As for criminals being victims of society — pfui.  I was fortunate (!) to spend fifth and sixth grade in a school where a lot of what we’ll call for lack of a better word the “feral underclass” attended.  There was no virtue.  They were not victims.  They were enjoying themselves terrorizing the law abiding.  I could spew this stuff on command in essays for Portuguese class, but it was not true and I knew it was not true. One of my own cousins belonged — by choice — to the feral underclass. He was still in sixth grade at 14 and his parents asked me to tutor him.  Tutor him?  He hadn’t any problems learning, but he was having so much fun beating up teachers after school and stealing money from little girls who wouldn’t fight back.

Was he a victim?  Sure he was.  He was a victim of doting parents, so enthralled of the fact they’d finally produced a son that he could do no wrong (in terms of the deep culture that we talked about here before, that passes in families, there might have been reinforcement since her mother — from place of birth and names in family– came from moorish traditions.)  They’d failed to instill in his the virtues that would have allowed him to thrive in a free society.  So he was a victim all right.  Of his family.  What the rest of society had to do with this is beyond me.

But though he came to grief later, particularly after his father died, yeah, he was having a good time.  He was nobody’s victim.

Those two years also were the ones I got put in “coventry.” For social and political reasons no one at that school spoke to me in public.  (I did have a friend, but she was on afternoon classes, while I was on morning classes.) Well, no one till I accrued a cottery of real victims. They were the deformed and the small, the poor and the despised.  I’d beat up their tormentors and they clung to me.  That was fine, (and some of them learned to fight back.  Beware the frightened rabbit in a pack) but they weren’t especially virtuous.  Some were very nice people, but some weren’t (being ostracized for that long twists you) and none of them would have benefited from staying victims.  That’s just stupid talk.

So I came to doubt all of those shibboleths, which is a good thing because it turns out, as ESR explains in the article, that we have proof all of these were dreamed up by soviet operatives (Stalinist) and implanted in our culture amid the idiot fellow travelers, in order to corrupt and destroy the west.

In that sense it is literally malware uploaded to a healthy culture, to destroy it from within.

Those of you who are computer programmers know what must be done with malware — it must be uprooted, root and branch.

Now, the problem is that it resides in everyone’s heads by now, even our own, having been propagated by our art, our culture, our news, even, which we trusted to be neutral.

And we don’t want to trash the infected sectors, i.e. get rid of the people running the zombie program of dead Stalinists.  We can’t, because all of us are infected, to an extent.

It might come to a blood bath, but if it does the system will be permanently crippled and diminished — and because we’re humans, not bits and bites, it’s worth mentioning some of the more infected bits are our friends, our neighbors, our family members.  So it might come to a blood bath.  In fact, I’m very afraid that’s the path we’re on, but we as free men and men of good will, owe it to ourselves to do what we can to avoid it.

So, our path is more difficult.

For years, my husband has despaired of watching movies with me, because I have that truth-checking program in my head.  Hit three or more of those pat “everybody knows” above, and I leave the room, no matter how engaging the romance wrapped around it.  You see I grew up, literally, in a socialist country, surrounded by propaganda at all times.  It was so heavy handed you couldn’t help but see through it.  And I did.  Which means like someone who’s been immunized, I’m sensitive to the virus and anti-bodies deploy.

The funny thing is in the age of Obama, he’s started seeing some of it too, with the result that his favorite romcoms right now are Japanese and Korean.

For years, to, it qualified my enjoyment of books.  I can stand more in a book than in a movie, but hit me too many times with the “everybody knows” or the mini-truths being propagated from above (like “Obama care rescued us all from death, hallelujah” which I’ve been seeing in movies and some books. Or “everyone who opposes Obama is racist”) and the book takes flying lessons.  The same for the horrible oppression of women, and how all women in the regency were secretly suffragettes and PROBABLY hankered for abortions.  (Okay, it’s not that bad, but I’m tired of how in regency romances every female runs a shelter for abused women — rolls eyes.  Yes, there was a lot of that, but not THAT much.)

Look at those points above that ESR was so kind as to compile for us.  Memorize them.  Part of fighting the malware is knowing its code.  When you find it in your own head, eradicate it.

And write books that mirror how the world really works (to an extent.  You can’t do exactly because stories have to be more plausible and cohesive than reality) and propagate them.  If you can, homeschool your kids.  If you can’t, teach them to see through that propaganda in our culture.  Tell them the truth.  The enemy died of its dysfunctional culture, but these errors it “uploaded” in our system are designed to kill us.  Don’t let them.

It took over 1oo years to come to this.  We can’t recover in a year.  We’re going to have to take incremental steps, with infinite patience.

Fortunately we’re now at the point that the people most outright running this malware have gone a little nuts, to the point everyone else can see it, and there are pockets of resistance and of just ignoring and cutting off the diseased parts (like gamergate, or what we’re doing in science fiction and fantasy which is go around them with a brief pause to laugh and point.) (Note that second link has a lot of  antisemitism and outright racism in the comments, which I am in no way endorsing.  Note also that there is a lot of this, because when you realize your society is running on lies, you’re going to turn the absolute other way.  And not realize that’s just different lies. Our rescue efforts for society have to fight both the ones running malware and the ones trying to rid themselves of it by flipping the code.)

So it’s come to this.  It won’t be easy.  I think it’s doable, because their worldview in no way reflects reality and is collapsing in shards all around them.  But it won’t be easy and it won’t be fast and a lot of it will feel like, in Dave Freer’s colorful phrase “Taking on hell with a bucket.”

But then easy battles have no glory.  Go forth.  Fight the lies in your head, so you can fight them in others’ heads.  Write compelling stories and teach your children well.

Our culture can be saved. And we’re the only ones who can do it.

Now go.  In the end, we win, they lose. Make it so.

*This is because all communist dictators in fact became puppet viceroys of Russia.  But, you say, weren’t their counterparts American puppets?  Well, usually no, because America is REALLY bad at it.  It wins a war, it gives the country tons of money, but allows the enemy free rein to talk and subvert the peace.  No.  But even if it were, the problem is that the  Soviet Union, which, btw, ultimately meant the Russian Empire, was incapable of producing most of what its people need.  So when they acquired these new territories, they became places to be exploited, their people slave labor and their product sent to Russia at a loss.  When America acquired sway over a country they wanted to sell them stuff and develop factories there while the cost of living was lower.  (No, that’s not the same as Russian slavery, because it allows the country thus “occupied” to catch up, see Japan and to an extent — hampered by its stupid communist/fascist regime, China — which of course brings up the anomie of capitalism which is literally worse than the gulags.  (If you think that think shame on yourself.))  If you want to know how much worse it was for a country to fall under the sway of Russia than of America, talk to Peter Grant who saw the destruction of the Portuguese colonies in Africa.  Be prepared.  He’s a GOOD man but not always a nice one.  Particularly to morons.

427 thoughts on “And so it’s come to this…

  1. The “malware” link was amusing. The “80s and 90s happened” ?? No women in SF ?? And what was Lois Bujold, chopped liver ???

    As for the comics. . . . we stopped reading them YEARS ago, and EVERYONE at my house used to be major comic-book freaks.

    Hell, my FB icon is Reagan-as-Captain-America.

    But, sheesh. . .

    1. In the book plug friday over at PJM, whenever that gets linked, I have PAGES of women who won Hugos and Nebulas in this time. They’re just outright lying about oppression now.

      1. …and Sara doesn’t keep those pages of women in binders, so at least she dodged THAT bullet.

          1. Darn. I’ve been too busy working to go to a meeting to hear how under-represented I am. I like my filthy lucre too much, I guess.

            (And as a totally warped aside, when the coffeeshop network blocked the site as unrated, I wondered if it was a BDSM con. 😛 )

          2. “women and gender nonconforming writers continue to fall far short of equal representation in major magazines and literary journals.”

            So is a nonconforming gender someone who refuses to have a sex change?

            1. Um… let me see, being a libertarian, I’m pretty non-conforming, and that includes my gender. I’m not your typical woman, so I’m of non-conforming gender, right?
              Yeah, I fall way short. WAY WAY short… 😛 five four at last measurement, and hey, I lost two inches just since I had Robert.

          1. In fairness, most of them are self-binding … it comes of believing in self-licking ice-cream cones and self-filling purses.

        1. Leigh Brackett was a kind lady. I’m talking from personal experience having had coffee and cookies with Leigh and her husband Edmond Hamilton in their home in the late 70’s.

              1. She was kind enough to autograph my Brackett collection. 8+ pbs. Leigh had a Friday and Saturday signing due to a new book coming out. Friday I bought her new book and asked if I could come back Saturday with some of her other books to autograph. She said yes. So Saturday I came back with my Brackett novels. She only signed them and didn’t personalize them. I was in the USAF stationed at Edwards AFB and I think she took a little pity on me. She invited me over to hers and Edmonds house for coffee and cookies later in the week. She did tell me to bring only 1 book for him to sign. Edmond had been in ill health the past year.

                1. So I went and visited them where I got one of my books signed by him. I was lucky enough to talk with them for a hour or so. I asked if he was going to write another Starwolf novel and he said no. It was the only time I met them. Not too long afterwords I got re-assigned to Italy where I heard of his passing and more surprisingly her passing a year or so after him.

      2. Still not up as of 7:30 pm CST.
        If it got 86’d I hope you post it here, one less day you have to fill while at the workshop.

    2. “As for the comics. . . . we stopped reading them YEARS ago, and EVERYONE at my house used to be major comic-book freaks.”

      Some of us still *are.* It’s just that darn hard to find good ones, so we went to the internet: Schlock and Day by Day stay on my tabs for good reasons (though those reasons differ…). The slower updating ones I let months pass by and catch up in a weekend or two.

      Maybe it’s just me and the redneck comic book nerds that are my friends, but we liked comic book heroes to be, well, *heroes.* Not morally wishy-washy, irresolute, PC’d-to-death victims-with-superpowers.

  2. My return to grad school was a fascinating exercise in trying to mimic enough of the Communist-based platitudes to survive, while my brain was screaming “Hey, wait, that ain’t the real world!” And once I read the source materials (Communist manifesto, Fanon [blargh], Gramsci, it became all too easy to spot the arguments. I say too easy because pointing and laughing was not the academically safe thing to do. There’s no fury like a progressive who discovers that a “fellow progressive” is a libertarian in disguise (fortunately, I’d inadvertently been warned by another prof).

      1. Eric is **ALWAYS** worth reading. But I have a small personal story about him: I knew him, casually, for YEARS, as being part of the Philcon Fen. (haven’t been to one in ~16-17 years, but then I gafiated from Cons after I got married. . .)

        It was only years later that I realized he was “ESR”. I wonder who ELSE I was oblivious to ??

    1. The only trouble is that kafkatraps can be difficult to diagnose in the wild. What I called the Model N (for the attacks on Miss Nevada 2014) I only realized was a kafkatrap after Larry Correia posted his fire extinguisher analogy (emphasis added):

      That’s like saying I’ve got fire extinguishers in my house, but because fire extinguishers are useless for combating thousand-acre wildfires, I should throw them all away, and if I don’t then I’m pro-arson.

      (Actually, the attacks Larry got for that post included a fair sampling of kafkatraps in various flavors: good place to practice recognizing them.)

    2. That’s you? Thank you so much for writing that. (A while ago I pointed the term out to Legal Insurrection and shortly thereafter all the big bloggers were using the term).

  3. And this is why the whole RH/BS is so delicious to those of us on the outside. I feel sorry for her victims but by imbibing all the above cant and becoming true believers they now find themselves unable to call sociopathic troll what she really is.

    1. Yanno, thanks to ESR posting the Kafkatrap article, I see that the SJWs done kafkatrapped themselves on this one. Well play, ladies, well played!

      1. Eh, they are stalwart “who, whom?” sorts. They invoke GamerGate as horrible even as they deplore RH/BS as deplorable.

    2. It really is kind of humorous in that regard.

      However, I’m also going to say that I have no pity for any troll and at least some for their victims. Of course, the fact that they fell for it so hard is primarily because they fear so much.

      After all, we don’t really care what they call us because we know it’s BS. Hence the trolls don’t have nearly the effect on us they seem to have on them.

      1. They just want to be good, and they still think that others following the same “be good” path are honest.

        We’re not on the same path, so we’re a lot less vulnerable.

        It only works because the targets were of good will, and “neighbors” to the attack.

        Don’t know about you, but that infuriates me… even if their targets are not right, they attacked people who trusted them. They exploited a (strange, twisted, but commonly practiced and understood) sense of honor to get at their victims.

        That’s just disgusting.

        1. It infuriates me to a point. What RH did was disgusting, and I constantly used the word “prey” as the verb for what she did for a reason. She did prey on these people.

          However, I also put much of the responsibility on themselves as well. Their refusal to say “No, I’m not racist” or sexist, or homophobic, or whatever allowed this assault to actually work, and that’s all on them. Call it victim blaming if you want, but it’s not. It’s simply reminding them that they laid down the environment that allowed this person to run roughshod all over them.

          1. Call it victim blaming if you want, but it’s not.

            About the only time I call something “victim blaming” is when someone claims that the malicious one did nothing wrong, because it was easy.

            Pointing out why it was easy is basic tactics; I can’t see why someone would hate that unless they really think that having all possible victims being ignorant of their vulnerabilities is a good thing.

            1. You’d think that, but since campuses have apparently decided to stop warning women about walking cross campus by themselves at night because doing so was “victim blaming” because reasons.

              1. I’ve been accused of it for recognizing that there are bad people around who will victimize you and take joy in the pain caused, and encouraging folks to be aware and respond accordingly.

                I think it’s just a variation of “shut up, I want to win this discussion, so you’re evil.”

                1. Pretty much.

                  Rape victims, once upon a time, really were blamed for what they were the victims of. However, that was the “She was asking for it” defense and was an abomination to all that is good and decent.

                  Saying a woman should be careful, though? NOT VICTIM BLAMING.

                  Saying a woman shouldn’t walked across a dark campus late at night all by her lonesome is the same as telling anyone not to withdraw a large amount of money from an ATM in a bad neighborhood, then walk down the sidewalk and count it.

                  Neither is an excuse for the criminal doing it, but both are behaviors that should be avoided if you don’t want to risk the possibility of becoming a victim of something.

            2. Pointing out why it was easy is basic tactics; I can’t see why someone would hate that unless they really think that having all possible victims being ignorant of their vulnerabilities is a good thing.

              As I’ve repeatedly pointed out before – a number of the people who decry awareness are themselves predators, and do not want the prey to become more careful and less vulnerable… they don’t want that their victims be able to fight back, so they whisper corrupted words and ideas to remove the ‘right’ of the victim to fight back. They want their prey to stand there, in their fog of shock and disbelief, to be taken down, devoured, used.

              But the ones that disgust me to no end are the ones who recognize that by warning people of these tactics, there will be those who choose to make themselves less vulnerable – and the ones who complain are the ones who are upset that their own unwillingness to take action makes them more vulnerable to the predator because that other person will not allow themselves to become easy prey

              It’s disgusting cowardice. Ultimately, with the pretty words and pretenses and doublespeak stripped away, it’s a declaration of “Because you did not let yourself become the victim, it’s YOUR fault someone else did.”

              Hence hiding behind the ‘victim blaming’ stance is a ‘you encourage self defense, therefore you blame the victim” insanity.

      1. You’re not, which is one of the reasons I thought Gamergate was hilarious, as it could be defined as: the incident In which the Internet hate machine turned on its makers. As a social conservative, I was engaging in much schadenfreude as I watched the SJWs scramble as a large portion of their foot soldiers revolted.

        1. the stage after Schadenfreude is Schadenboner.

          example. The feeling experienced when watching the morning news on Wednesday November 5, 2014

          1. That sounds like it could be rather patriarchalist if not full on encouraging rape culcha. Well done!

            1. I try to avoid rape. It may be more or less flavorless, in the most oft used cultivars, but I don’t think that and whatever dubious benefits as a nitrogen fixer make up for its unfortunate ubiquity. Besides, we get enough seed oil in our diets without encouraging the growth of more canola-

              Wait, what were you talking about?

    3. I accidentally fell onto the page detailing the “sins” of RH/BS and came away just as disgusted with its accusers. The wailing about a thug who tried to get a cop’s gun getting shot, in particular. It had nothing to do with the topic — it was just a bit of “see, I really am Progressive! I don’t believe whites have a right to life when attacked by ‘POC’!”

      As nasty a pack of bigots as they believe their chosen enemies to be, frankly.

  4. So, if there’s no truth . . . then Communism can’t be true. It’s just a competing agenda. 😉

    1. There are some truths that they will not deny. Such as “All power flows from the barrel of a gun.”

      1. Oh they deny it all right, what do you think they mean when they say, “violence never solves anything”? It is just that their denying it is what the rest of us call hypocrisy.

        1. The answer:

          “Really? Let’s put that to the test.”

          *Right Cross* *Kick to the groin* *James T. Kirk double fist to the back of the head* *Curb Job*

          “No, I think my problem is well taken care of now.”

          1. Reminds me of my father’s favorite movie scene (from Tough Guys) (I may have this a little garbled, but the essence is right):

            The two ex-cons are walking through an alley when they are accosted by a few gang-member types. The gangbangers tell the guys that they are passing through the gang’s turf and they are going to have to pay a toll. The cons tell them that isn’t going to happen, so the gangbangers tell them they are going to rough them up. One of the cons asks if they know the rules to street fighting and they say no, then the con says, “Well, first, you never do this” and they each kick one of the gangbangers in the groin, then punch them in the face, turn around to the third, who runs away, pick up their briefcases and walk on.

    2. It’s all about the equally competing narratives.

      There’s a reason that PRAVDA was named what it was: “This is OUR truth.”

      1. There was a saying in Russia during the Cold War: V Izvesti ne Pravda, V Pravda ne Izvesti. In News there is no Truth and in Truth there is no News. (Izvesti being the other major Russian news outlet.)

      1. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

        The consequences of opting for Life as Fashion Statement: nothing is right or wrong, it is a matter of how it makes you look.

        And then you run aground in the shoals of arbitrary standards of beauty and must confess that your evaluation of the attractiveness of Comicbook Guy is merely a matter of taste, with the distinction between good taste and bad taste erased by abandonment of absolute standards.

    3. And if no culture is superior to any other, anyone criticizing Western culture is just a racist.

      1. If there is no truth, just different agendas, there can be nothing wrong with being racist, and anybody who says there is is racist.

  5. If most if not all of this crap is the result of Soviet mimetic weapons, why don’t people who are shown this recoiling in horror that they’re mindless dupes of a failed regime instead of doubling down?

    1. If you’ve ever heard the term “investment” as applied to psychology, you’d see that’s the most likely outcome. When you’ve spent time and energy into a set of beliefs, no matter what they are, seeing that those beliefs are wrong would mean, in a way, admitting that you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy for something that’s wrong. It’s why the most staunch defenders of the current standard of beauty are women; a beauty icon admitting that women can be happy and healthy without being a size 6 (physically impossible in my case) would have to admit to herself that she’d wasted a lot of energy in dieting, exercise, and makeup. This is subconsciously frightening, so she becomes even more strident about those folk who dare to buck the system. (Note how many comments there are about “she’s unhealthy; just look at her” whenever someone dares to post that weight and health are not a one-to-one correlation.)

      In short, people get mad when you tell them they’re wrong. We hold on to our beliefs pretty tightly.

      1. That makes sense. I know I try and re-evaluate my beliefs occasionally to see if there is something I’ve been getting wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are things I cling to that are just flat wrong. I imagine telling someone their beliefs are based on a lie is like saying the emperor has no clothes. The last thing the emperor wants is to be seen as an idiot who bought a bill of goods.

        1. Discovering “investment” was such a clarifying moment for me. Of course, by that point I’d already been forced to alter my worldview a couple of times and done so voluntarily a further few times—nothing earth-shaking, but it’s amazing how freeing it is to simply give up the investment and say, well, I guess that’s over now. Time to move on. (One of those moments was realizing that I’d been following unconscious rules in writing, and that those rules didn’t exist except in my head. My writing got a lot more interesting after that. Not *good*, mind you, I was still young. But interesting.)

            1. But, but … carbon offsets! They have to do own that ginormous mansion(s) and flit about in that private jet, otherwise how will they bring the wisdom of the Coming Ice Age, Global Warming, Climate Change, the Coming Ice Age to the ignorant and benighted heathens in fly-over country?

            2. “I’ll believe there’s a problem when the people telling me there’s a problem start acting like there’s a problem.” –Glenn Reynolds

        1. I’ve heard a woman tell her story. She was 16. Her sister was 21. Both were pregnant. Her sister had an abortion and went to court to have her declared legally incompetent so she could compel an abortion for her. She escaped out the window and married the baby’s father and so escaped.

        2. Like in Lucifer’s Hammer when the bad guys forced people to eat human flesh so they were indelibly marked as part of the group and could never go back?

      2. People who buy into millennial scares often buy into them even more strongly after they’ve been refuted. And that’s the case where refutation is — irrefutable.

        1. I’ve been wondering, is it safe to come out of my y2k bunker yet? I’m almost out of dried beans and tang.

          1. You’ve got a ways to go yet.

            Since a “K” in computer terms is really 1024, Y2K won’t really hit until the year 2048.

            1. Actually it’ll hit at 03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038 unless everything has been migrated to 64 bit before then

      3. I must admit I’ve said that: “She’s unhealthy, just look at her!” Which I followed up with: “she must be half-starved, poor thing. Somebody needs to start feeding that girl up right.

        *chuckle* I know, some people have fast metabolisms, but part of Southern upbringing is “feed people.” Never have yet let a guest go hungry. *grin*

        1. A common saying in the rural parts of the midwest has always been:
          “If you love them, feed them!”
          Always attributed it to Dutch, German, Lutheran heritage, but seems to be prevalent in the South as well.

          1. When I was in Washington, I knew a guy who had a German wife. He mentioned that when he visited her relatives in Germany, cleaning all of the food off of your plate was essentially an open invitation for the matron of the house to put more food on it.

            1. Yes. That’s why, in those cultures, it’s considered good manners to leave a wee bit of food, about a mouthful of it, on your plate, to indicate “I’m full.”

              I, who had been taught to clean my plate and not waste any food unless I really couldn’t stomach the taste, suffered through quite a few second helpings that way. But if it was cauliflower au gratin OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. (It didn’t help me grow. *sadface*)

          2. Several families around here have Germanic roots, as well as the ever-prevalent Scots-Irish. Mostly, I think it’s a farming tradition. We’re not so far removed from the land that we don’t know where food comes from, and from a time when visitors to the house were like as not to come hungry from the duration of the journey alone, if nothing else.

            1. It also is a face-saving thing– in a place where you can easily end up starving through just bad luck, everyone being given a lot of food when invited to eat lets society function without incurring obligations.

              This is also why those groups hold truly “inviting yourself” as such a big wrong.

          3. Almost all my relatives are Chinese (mostly American-born). Not only doesn’t anyone go away hungry from family events, they end up taking quite a bit of food home for later. Both branches of the family originated in southern China, so I guess it fits.

            This has resulted my wife developing something of a reputation with our local church potlucks…

            1. Did I ever mention that while young and on our US honeymoon (the honeymoon in Portugal was three days and immediately after we got back, Dan’s company sent him to Boston.So in Boston we end every night to this Chinese restaurant and had appetizers because it’s all we could afford) we got invited to the family meal, by the family?

              1. When I lived In Philly, I convinced my friend Mitch that we should look for a better Chinese restaurant than the one he favored (which was terribly bland, and catered to an elderly Jewish clientele). I told him we should look for one where the locals were eating, and when we looked in on the China Flower, there was a big round table with a family around it, and a baby in a seat ON the table being fed by her mother. We started eating there and became regulars because the food was marvelous, and we got invited to a huge dinner they had for the Chinese new year.

                Alas, after a year or so, the place was gutted by a kitchen fire, but it was fondly remembered.

              1. I’m reminded of Jeff Foxworthy’s routine about how Southerners can have an entire conversation without using any real words.

                “Hey, jeetyet?”
                “Naw. Djoo?”

    2. In about 1996 I was having an argument with my father. Now for the most part he was an autodidact, having left school at 16 to go to work full time. But he’d read and travelled widely, at least for a man of “his station”.

      I was arguing that (as I still believe) that the USG is deeply deeply corrupt, and that the Feds no longer wield the power we give them for our benefit, and things along those lines.

      He said to me “I can’t believe that”. For a short while I tried to present evidence such that he could. Then I realized he didn’t mean he did not have enough information to believe that, he meant that *literally* it was not possible for him, at his age (64 at the time) to deconstruct a worldview that he’d held for ~55 years more or less. The mental effort was just too much and would leave him unmoored.

      It is the same with the folks we’re talking about.

      Also it’s about tribe. Look at what happened to Christopher Hitchens–*beloved* of the left–in the early 2000s when he basically said, in essence “Radical Islam is more a threat to modernity than Capitalism, and frankly the Leftist critique of Capitalism isn’t working any more”. He was suddenly out in the cold, which was fine with *him* because however much I might disagree with him on some issues, he was a warrior in his own way and dying, bleeding on a (metaphorical) pile of bodies was not something he would shy away from.

      If changing your political views meant that almost every friend and most family members would treat you as a leper, would you do it? We all say yes, but evidence says otherwise.

      1. Of ever our century had a man more likely to desire a viking funeral that was Hitchens, I know not whom it might have been. I disagreed with him on many points, but never on the value of Truth.

      2. I am and was absurdly lucky in that my Parents valued reason over conformity, and would argue with me rather than dictate. One of my great victories was convincing my Father he was wrong about Gay marriage; I put it to him that if we were going to criticize Gays for living unstable lifestyles (and both he and I were) we had, HAD, to give them a means to live a stable lifestyle. I argued further that while “Civil Unions” might be attractive to people that were socially conservative (as a solution) the simple fact was that even with marriages called marriages the Gays were looking at at least a decade of forcing equal treatment through the courts, not so much because of “Homophobia” or bigotry, but simply because life is full of sphincters who derive great pleasure from clenching up and saying “no”.

        It was following that argument that he told me I reminded him of his father.

        On the other hand, I have dealt with varying degrees of shimming from most of my Maternal relatives, the vast majority of whom are knee jerk Liberals who simply don’t THINK.

        I deal with it.

      3. If all your friends are on the left, but you have moved on, you become very careful of what you talk about. Or how you talk.

        The interesting part is that lots of them actually seem to think in similar ways when we are talking about the actual consequences of certain politics they have experienced in their daily lives, but they seem to be unable to connect those annoyances and downright injustices with the politics which have created them.

        Which is where my thought that some of them might be reachable if approached carefully and very slowly so that they don’t start to feel they themselves are under attack comes from. Although, as long as they are surrounded by the memes which are prevalent in our cultures right now, many also aren’t because sticking with the accepted consensus makes their life more comfortable (on the short run, but hey, most of us do live our daily lives focused mostly on the short run since most of us do on some level assume that things will keep going on tomorrow about the same way they went on today and yesterday because for most of us here in the west, anyway, that has been the way things have been our lifetimes. Slow creeps are happening, yes, and sometimes even faster creeps, but as long as the changes take years or decades they aren’t that easy to notice).

        1. Yeah. Orwell could hold forth on petty official and spiteful regulations, but it never dawned on him that this might affect his socialist dreams.

    3. Because no one wants to believe/accept they’ve been following the wrong side all this time. Particularly since they’ve been wooed with the concept of being “the good and smart guys.” If they deviate, why, they’ll be stupid and evil, right? PFUI.

      1. Exactly — it’s yet another form of the sunk cost fallacy. Just like people will spend thousands trying to repair a clunker so they don’t have to kiss goodbye the five hundred they paid for it, people will keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole to avoid admitting they’re on the wrong side, especially if they’ve invested in telling the other side that they’re on the wrong side of history.

        1. Yup.

          it’s hard to eradicate. Perhaps because human beings on the whole need all the motives they can to act. But sometimes it traps you.

        2. I think that is the “better the devil you know” idea. Even when they may admit this one is a devil, they can be hard to convince that the other one wouldn’t also be a devil, maybe a worse devil, and in any case it would definitely be an unknown devil and one with which they maybe would have to learn whole new ways to cope.

          Add to that “at least this one is OUR devil”… 🙂

          1. Oh yes, that is a thing too. I’ve seen people stay for years in bad jobs with dysfunctional bosses because the prospect of changing jobs was even more frightening. At least with the current bad boss, they knew what to expect — who knows what a different boss might try to pull? (And then there’s the whole matter of job-interview-phobia).

  6. Sarah, what are some of the Japanese/Korean stuff your husband likes? My wife and I started watching that stuff on NetFlix about a year ago, and we have been amazed at how vibrant and interesting their cinema is, particularly the Korean stuff.

    1. I don’t know about Dan, but my gateway drug to Korean drama was a series called Faith (the Great Doctor). Action, romance, sanitized history, ninjas, magic, time travel, and gorgeous costumes.

    2. Dunno if the site’ still up, but is where a friend of mine pointed me when she insisted I watch Korean dramas. Pretty good, actually. And I don’t usually watch tv, at all.

    3. We’ve gone to watching Korean and (to a lesser extent) Japanese tv here. “Faith” being a particular favorite of my wife, along with “History of a Salaryman”, once she started catching some of the references.

          1. When I built an AK years ago, one of the first things I did when I got home was stand in front of a mirror, hold it up in one hand, and yell “WOLVERINES!”

            You know, just on principle. 😀

  7. There’s the hilariously predictable Baen-bashing in the comments. Apparently Ringo writes “horrendous” female characters. Also, we get this statement: “I think there’s still the rabid libertarian wing floating around out there, but for the most part it’s slowing down.” (blinks)

    1. Um, kinda like the Northrop Flying Wing, the libertarian wing is hovering in low Earth orbit, waiting for the chance to land and refuel? Desperately trying to avoid the pull of the gravity that is the wisdom of the SJWs? No clue.

            1. I always preferred the flying platform approach myself. Less complex, more maneuverable, and no leg burns.

      1. I like floating around. It’s peaceful. Calm…

        I also like the strategic advantages of an elevated position. Let ’em placate themselves.


      2. Wait, am I the libertarian wing? I thought I was the VRC (Vast Right wing conspiracy, pronounced Very Wick by my sons.) If so, I’m just growing vaster, curse you menopausal hormones. I fail to see how I can hover.

        1. Hover, loom — at this point in time, what difference does it make.

          (Hmmm … what would it take to acquire that as a ring tone?)

          1. Oh, my.
            I just want to do a simple youtube video with images and lists of the disasters the Hill presided over, and have that sentence played over and over, Max Headroom style.

            1. Sneer not.

              If it were not for the weaver, wha’ would you do?

              Where would ladies get clingy knit dresses & sweaters to uplift your spirits?

                1. Heh. Been fond of that song since I were wee, learning it from the Clancys. The line “I’m a weaver, Calton weaver” was lost on me until this afternoon, when my search for a link to “The Work of the Weavers” revealed a reference to Calton Weavers:

                  The Calton weavers were a community of handweavers established in the community of Calton, then in Lanarkshire just outside Glasgow, Scotland in the 18th century. In 1787 the weavers went on strike. Troops opened fire on the demonstrators and six weavers were killed. In the early 19th century, many of the weavers emigrated to Canada, settling in Carleton Place and other communities in eastern Ontario, where they continued their trade.
                  Wikipedia: Calton weavers

                  So, thanks for the song reminding me of why I knew the term, and for the impetus to go back, click through and read.

                  Another great Celtic song about the evils of drink is

                  From which the grand group performing the song takes their name, Patrick Street.

                  1. You’re most welcome 🙂 I grew up singing along with the Irish Rovers. My parents didn’t explain some of what I was happily warbling, although they were pretty amused to learn that one of my junior high teachers was a direct descendent of Lilly the Pink (Lydia Pinkham).

        2. Ah, so maybe you are actually doing a parabolic arc, and when you come down and drop on them… having more mass can be used as an advantage. 🙂

    2. John Ringo writes horrendous female characters.
      As compared to who, exactly? I mean, I could see complaining about it if all you’d read was Paladin of Shadows, but who on Earth is going to call Barbara Everette a horrendous character besides an SJW who hates Christians and people who can defend themselves?

      1. Tell a lie loud enough and often enough and eventually some will believe you. Hey, worked for Hitler and Goebbels, at least for a while. And seems the left have adopted it whole heartedly.

        1. And yet … look at the kinds of female characters they praise.

          Perhaps in Progspeak, “horrible” means “realistic”?

          1. Grey goo. The girls have to be horrible.

            Where things get really twisted is when they declare that all the good females characters are passive, and only the bad ones active. They achieve this by defining all good actions as passive, claiming it’s because society approves of them. As if there were no reason to save a character’s life except because society approves.

      2. I find Cally…not entirely realistic and definitely flavored by Author Appeal (tm TVTropes). This does not stop me from loving the hell out of her, or from getting the giggles at the notion of a “Jailbait: Armed and Dangerous” poster. 🙂

        1. Back when I was involved in manned space operations we never designed for average. In fact one of our catch phrases was “design for the 95th percentile Japanese female user.”
          Cally, the Smith girls, most Heinlein females are far from average, but who the hell wants stories about average?

      3. “, I could see complaining about it if all you’d read was Paladin of Shadows,”

        Hey now! My two favorite female characters of Ringo’s come from that series. Katya and Kacey Bathlick are both awesome in their own ways.

        1. One of my favorite scenes is Mike’s reaction when he’s told his extreme sub aide to camp is being tortured for information,

          Picture it: “Is she talking?”
          “Well, sort of…”
          “But is she giving you any information?”
          “More like…instructions…”

    3. Ringo? Poor femle characters?

      O for Ghu’s frakking sake!

      My wife – who can be as feminist as they come without being an SJW – was reading “Hymn” and bitched at me near the beginning… “6 inch heels? REALLY?”

      She cried when Ellsworth died.

  8. When distilled in that way the stupidity is so dense it threatens the fabric of the universe. The obvious inherent contradictions glare at me, threatening my sanity.

    1. So you glare back. After all, who could pass up threatening the sanity of contradictions when offered the opportunity?

  9. Here’s Liz Bourke, talking about Requires Hate:

    She accidently reveals a truth in the course of her posting.

    “The language of social justice advocacy has been used to harm and to manipulate.”

    Yeah, tell me about it.

    The only reason the SJWs are upset, is because RH targeted their own, is in fact, one of their own. If RH had attacked, let’s say, only Baen authors, she’d get a frickin’ Hugo.

    1. The language of social justice advocacy is only useful for harming and manipulating. It is a hammer and views all the world’s ills as nails.

    2. The problem isn’t really that people have been hurt. The problem is that it got used to hurt people she classifies as the “wrong” people, like you said. It’s OK to hurt us, but their own? That’s unacceptable.

      The irony is that when a troll attacks one of us? We smack them down and move on. It’s really not that difficult…provided you’re not afraid of being labeled as something you’re not.

      1. We’re evil.

        I point out this commenter edud01 on this thread:

        “Yes, whites ARE the ROOT of ALL evil. The planet ITSELF will breath a sigh of relief when YOU disappear.”

        “Well, lets examine that. The WORLD was doing just fine UNTIL you came out of the cave and discovered EVERYTHING had COLOR except YOU. Even though the SAME Blacks you hate welcomed you to the shore, as well as the Natives, YOU had an evil HIDDEN agenda.
        No, Blacks would survive LONG after YOU are gone. Their genetic dominance and survival is the ROOT of YOUR hatred for them. Now it would take the EARTH a THOUSAND years to repair ALL the damage YOU’VE brought to the planet.”

        The article is pretty prime, too, but when you are prepared to call your political opponents that, obviously no tactics are out of bounds.

          1. Yeah, they are. Now, why would you want to keep mad dogs like that in your society, and what makes you think that you’re ever going to cure them except with appropriate doses of lead and copper?

            Jesus may have the luxury of forgiveness, with 12 legions of angels on call. Until He comes back and solves the problem, I have to deal with the world as I find it, and having people like that around my friends and family is not an option.

            1. Been saying for years. Used ta be, you saw a rabid dog coming down the street, you shot it as a civic responsibiliy.


        1. The theology espoused by groups like the Nation of Islam is almost identical to what you have in quotes there. Except that instead of coming out of a cave, white people were created when an evil mad scientist tried tinkering with genetics and was unable to duplicate the work of God.

          1. They haven’t yet started to use the cavemen mix idea as an insult? I mean, if it now seems that white people are the ones who have Neanderthal genes, while other groups mostly don’t, sooner or later somebody presumably will to go for the ‘impure’ argument.

              1. They do seem to have something of an insistence on purity, at least if what we are talking about is a mix of some group who is ‘vibrantly ethnic’ so they find them cool and boring old white. So if somebody is part something not white and part white, they seem to think the not white culture should be chosen and the white heritage ignored, preferably completely, or the person is not authentic, or is some sort of uncle tom or something. So I’m somewhat curious what will happen if that crowd discovers fully the idea that maybe Neanderthal + African = White. Because Neanderthals are poor natives who got displaced (and then destroyed) by evil humans, but if the evil humans started out as Africans (good humans) who bred with the poor Neanderthals and the resulting mix became that most evil group of humans, those Whites who then created the western culture… hm. 😀

          1. We’re breaking down the implements of the Farm-of-Doom tomorrow. We have sticks the size of telephone poles. Now I just need to burn “cluebat” into the side of one…

            1. I have a woodburning iron you can borrow…

              Wait. You need an industrial sized one for that job. Never mind.

                  1. Besides, I start feeling like when I was hanging out with my brother’s friends, and I’ve been reading this book about antique machine guns, and I’ll start babbling at you!

          2. We’re going to need something bigger than a bat. I’m working on a relativistic clue accelerator, but there’s an outside chance that stray clueons could sterilize the solar system.

            1. Doesn’t that corner of Unified Clue Theory need a clue chain reaction after the initial clueon-anticlueon interaction, where the annihilation releases two new clueons, which proceed through curved clue-space until they each find another anticlueon?

              1. The problem is that north of .8c (with c being the speed of clue in free space) the clueon-anticlueon reaction has enough energy to create strange anticlueons, which rapidly decay into normal anticlueons by bogon emission. This isn’t helped by the fact that while clueons are attracted to anticlueons, anticlueons are repelled by clueons – because quantum – which causes an ever-accelerating chain on clueons following anticlueons.

                BTW, thanks to this my tablet now thinks that clueon and anticlueons are words. This makes me inordinately happy.

      2. I was about to say that I had read that somewhere recently, then I remembered where I had read it (your post) and facepalmed.

    3. Oh Lord. I knew RH way back when from Knights of the Old Republic fandom but lost touch with her about the time she started getting social justice-y and/or insane. She was always aggressive and nihilistic, but it was amazing how fast it metastatized when she started talking SJW lingo.

    4. Holy crap, CLAMPS is posting at Liz Bourke’s blog now. I almost feel sorry for her.

            1. True, and I didn’t really expect him to discuss it. I kind of figured he’d stay out of it.

              Of course, expecting Cramps to stay out of something is like expecting Damien Walter to actually read what he’s bitching about before he writes.

          1. He usually does stuff like that. He comments on a site he’s not banned on in response to one he is.

            I notice that the moron fails to comment on how he uses THE EXACT SAME TACTICS AS REQUIRES HATE DID. Of course, he’s a complete and total coward who can only be brave on the other side of the keyboard.

            1. Also usually whimpering that he’s been banned from here so he ‘doesn’t have the opportunity’ to respond to us ‘fairly’ or somesuch thing. He’ll ‘reply’ to here on a different venue because that venue hasn’t banned him yet.

              Has anyone told the poor blogowner of that other place that he’s a vicious racist stalker and harasser of women yet, whose favorite targets are Asian women living outside of the US?

              1. Of course about the only way I know of to get banned faster than replying on one site, to comments only tangentially related on another site… is to be Clamps.

    5. If RH had attacked Baen authors or Barflies, it would’ve lasted a week. Larry would mobilize his fans, MadMike his, and the Huns would ride forth like an avenging storm. We’re not the most temperate of groups, after all. “Nuke ’em from orbit” is practically our default setting.

        1. That’s more personal, more workmanlike, truly, but you might miss a few. You glass them and the ten square miles around ’em, and you know you’ve gotten the job done.

        2. As Eric Flint pointed out in one of the Belisarius books, intestines are too soft to make a proper garotte.

  10. It’s interesting to stumble on one or another of these elements (or, more accurately, their derivative spawn) in a dusty corner of your own brain. Some snippet from childhood, an idea from a book/movie/magazine, an insidious social cue pounded in during school…

    It’s horrifying, mind. They pop into the light when you’re vacuuming and you find yourself staring in fascination and revulsion. Pulled out, poked, prodded and illuminated they show themselves to be sad little things, devoid of value.

    But, it’s interesting and horrifying to realize how successfully the malware propagates, how insidious it is when grafting on to one tiny concept or another. And how subtle, until directly confronted.

    I like to give ’em a nice plasma bath when I find them. Good and thorough, so I don’t miss any crannies.

    I’m an excessively (to my detriment) introspective fellow, though. How many people more casually intimate with their own minds and assumptions miss those little nuggets of corruption?

      1. I go away all day and…

        I see it (very subtly) sneaking into some subplots/secondary character development/background noise stuff. I’ll stub my toe on it in a second pass or something and there’s a very distinct ‘WTF!’ shaped click I hear.

        I take comfort in the auto-rebel setting of my conscious mind, whatever silliness my subconscious slips in.

    1. I tend to the introspection, as well. One that makes me recoil quite hard is hypocrisy. When I find it in my own head, I take it out and kill it with a hammer (I use a blunt weapon so it’ll hurt more), THEN clear it away with the plasma blaster.

      1. Oh, yes. Hate it. Sometimes it’s necessary to nail something to the worktable so you can really get after it with the plasma.

        Not my fault I didn’t have any nails handy. I beat it with the hammer, it shoulda took the hint.

    2. It’s like the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. The tares are so thoroughly intermixed with the wheat that it’s impossible to get rid of them all without also tearing up the wheat.

      Of course, eventually the harvest time will arrive, and it won’t matter. They’ll *all* get uprooted at that point.

    3. I’ve been fighting the “peaceful, kind matriarchy” trope. The baddies can’t be “men with innies” like some of the stuff I’ve read, but dang, it is hard to keep fighting down the PC version of things. And keep the story flowing and readable.

          1. Can you pull believable story lines out of middle school lunch rooms? I didn’t think you were writing soap operas. In Spanish.

            1. Not the plot lines (the latest cry is “she’s bullying us!” in a four vs. one semi-spat), but the tone and tactics. And add a touch of everyone’s favorite pink-clad villainess from H.P., and a dash of “it’s for the children” and you get kinda creepily effective baddies.

    4. Hey, I grow up surrounded by this, and I am still mostly surrounded by this. Undoubtedly there is still lots of this in my thinking, assumptions I don’t even notice.

      Which is why I love hanging with you guys. 🙂

      1. This is definitely a good group for helping you pull all your boxes out of the attic and examine the assumptions.

        And they find such glee in the job.

        1. It’s the parading around the stuff from the 1960s and 70s that was in that cedar chest that kinda bugs me, though. Just burn the paisley bell bottoms, for Bog’s sake, don’t hang them from the flagpole!

          1. And if you’re gonna hang ’em from the flagpole, could you leave my name off the banner? Sheesh.

            Guy makes a sartorial choice, he doesn’t expect to be dealing with it after the decade is dead and buried.

  11. I think that part of it is that the bad things America has done are possible to believe. They are, frankly, kind of ordinary.The true awfulness of a Communist regime is so vast it’s hard to grasp, and people who are disinclined to accept it (because they hope that they will be among the New Ruling Class) simply don’t.

      1. The one bright side of any communist revolution is that the Lefty Intellectual Fellow Travelers are going to be among the very first to be dragged into basements and peeled like so many onions. And they will be SO surprised and SO outraged. The expression on their faces during the show trials will be priceless.

        Not worth putting up with Lenin or Stalin for, but some consolation if it comes to that.

        1. Just like the lefty college students in Che shirts who don’t realize that *they* are the ‘intelligentsia’….

      1. And the stores are so “brrr…” that people don’t believe them.

        It’s kind of like Glenn Reynolds talking about Obama on Instapundit. So much of what Obama has done is so far out there that discussing it makes you sound like a member of the tinfoil hat brigade. The same goes for many of the atrocities that the Communists have committed. These things are often so horrific that they sound like bad World War One propaganda posters.

        1. My great-grandfather got out of the Ukraine before the Soviets took power. I am eternally grateful for that.

          1. There’s a brief scene in one of James Harriot’s books just after (and I mean *just* after) the end of World War 2. A group of former Soviet PoWs were sent to Great Britain after being liberated from their PoW camp, and were helping out as farm hands on one of the local farms before being sent home to the Soviet Union. It was evening, and Harriot passed by the farm house that the former prisoners were living in, and he had the opportunity to hear the men happily singing in Russian.

            Just a year or two before I read the book that the scene is found in, I read the Gulag Archipelago. And so I had a pretty good idea what happened to those former prisoners when they arrived home. While Harriot’s intention was no doubt to try and make the reader feel more upbeat, it left me depressed.

              1. You could be right. It’s been a long time since I read it, and I could easily have forgotten him mentioning it.

                1. If you surrendered rather than fight to the death for the Rodina, you were clearly an anti-revolutionary and got sent to the gulags.

                2. Relevant, somewhat:

                  Veterans Day Blast From the Past: Intelligence Report On Nazi Slave Labor
                  By Tim Cavanaugh
                  November 11, 2014 7:10 PM
                  My friend Cosmo Wenman posts a really fascinating Veterans Day document on his Facebook page: a report written by his grandfather in November 1944, detailing his debriefings of Russian slave laborers recently liberated from Nazi work camps around western Europe.

                  It’s a fascinating look at how Russian internees were being treated (which jibes with my general impression, formed from sources as impeccable as Slaughterhouse Five and Hogan’s Heroes, that Russians in the hands of the Third Reich suffered in ways that even other prisoners found shocking) and also a great snapshot of how a U.S. junior officer understood the mood within Germany just a few weeks before the ever-resourceful Nazis sprang the Battle of the Bulge on the Western Allies.

                  Wenman describes the report:

                  My Grandfather, Boris Krass, was born in Russia, and while still very young spent 5 or 6 years years as a refugee in Germany with other White Russian families before coming to the US.

                  Fluent in Russian and German, he was an intelligence officer for the US Army during WWII. In 1944 he interrogated hundreds of Russian forced-labor prisoners that the Allies had liberated from the Nazis.

                  This is a report he made to the Army and OSS about their situation . . .

                  Read the whole thing.

  12. You can, with a little effort, find every battle in WW I and WW II listed on a web page or two. There might even be a wiki devoted to the subject. Where is the list of these Soviet attacks? Does it even exist? Are we ever going to get a handle on the problem until that list/wiki does exist?

    1. The stories are out there. You just have to know that to look for. A bit here, a bit there. But too many people have a vested interest in keeping sheer scope and scale of the looting, pillage and murder quiet. Mostly because their credibility is caught up in the lie.

        1. What’s the point? All that does is piss off the Poles, who are already pretty pissed off at the Russians. In fact since I shared my office with a Polish escapee, pissed off is what the Poles are going to be at the Russians for at least a century or so.

          1. Since they’ve been irked at the Russians since the mid 1700s, it’s probably just one more added to the list (the long list or the short list).

          2. So it might be a bad idea to tell them, on the anniversary of them being invaded by the Soviets, “We don’t think we’re going to give you that missile defense the last guy promised you”?

              1. Why would he need to read about the Great Patriotic War? Wasn’t his uncle with the Red Army when they liberated Auschwitz?

            1. Not if your goal is to emulate Communists. After all if the Poles are constantly mad at the Russians, having them spitting mad at you must be a good thing. Right?

      1. I thought that it was basically cataloguing the massacres, forced starvations and other deaths. That’s valuable work and necessary work. It’s not sufficient by itself (obviously since we’re still dealing with this nonsense).

        Is there an equivalent for the memetic attacks? I’d love to hear the title.

        1. I’m confused — I thought basic cataloguing was what you sought.

          Memetic attacks: try Koestler’s Darkness at Noon and Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, or A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia by Alexander Yakovlev, formerly the chairman of Russia’s Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression.

          A very good source might be the various web sites established by David Horowitz, whose The Black Book of the American Left bids to be the comprehensive detailing of the Progressives’ sins. Try truthrevolt[DOT]org/, horowitzfreedomcenter[DOT]org/ and discoverthenetworks[DOT]org — although his focus is primarily on the Left in The West.

          You might even be amused (bitterly) by Black Book of Communism Debunked, although you best get a leather thong between your teeth before watching.

        2. In addition to RES’s excellent suggestions, you may also take a look at Disinformation, by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa (the former head of Romania’s KGB equivalent) and Ronald Rychlak.

  13. “This is because all communist dictators in fact became puppet viceroys of Russia.”

    Except, of course, for China (and by extension, North Korea). Mind you, that wasn’t from a lack of trying on the part of Moscow. But the PRC, being part of what it considered an ancient and superior culture, and having the size and manpower to give even Russia pause, wasn’t having any of it. Oh, they both made sure that they looked in accord to everyone else. Fellow communists in arms, and all that. But behind the scenes they had their own little Cold Skirmish going on.

    The Soviets had Eastern Europe (except maybe Tito in Yugoslavia), and Vietnam. The Chinese had North Korea. I don’t recall whether either government directly backed the Khmer Rouge, though anyone who did has no doubt made every attempt to cover it up.

    1. The Albanians managed to kick both the Russians and the Chinese out. But that was mostly because there wasn’t anything there worth hassling over.

      1. And the Albanian dictator was fucking nuts even by Commie Dictator standards. PJ O’Rourke covered that in EAT THE RICH (not his best book, but pretty good. And he describes the Albanian national anthem as sounding like the Marine Corps band playing the Ring Cycle while falling down all the steps of the Washington Monument, which my cousin, whose family had some connections there, said was about right)

          1. And it even has the lyrics translated in English. Very upbeat lyrics with a positive outlook at life. 😉

            Of course if they actually believe their national anthem, I could see them possibly being a hassle.

    2. Mao backed the Khmer Rouge. That’s one reason why the Vietnamese Communists were the ones to (finally) roll in and clean out that horror – the Vietnamese are historically predisposed to the state of not being buddies with the Middle Kingdom.

  14. ** There is no truth, only competing agendas.
     V=IR
     F=MA
     E=MC^2

    ** All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
     In Order:
     The Gulag
     German Death Camps
     Terrorist bombers

    ** There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
     Sr Charles Napier: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them.”

    ** The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
     The Dominican Republic vs Haiti
     Saudi Arabia post WWII (note how our ruthless exploitation of their resources left them impoverished and unable to act on a global scale)
     While some individuals exploit others, I challenge that it is a cultural policy.

    ** Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
     This is so insane I have trouble coming up with a more cogent reply than “Are you nuts?” I am aware of, and have encountered individuals who claim that there is no right to self-defense, that self-defense should not be a defense in a criminal trial, and that the obligation to retreat as far as possible, and to never oppose your attacker with greater force than they present to you, (that it’s wrong to hit someone with a ball bat if they’re bare handed, or to use a gun against a knife, etc) and that physical disparity (one vs many, or a 70 year old vs a healthy teen) doesn’t matter when discussing fairness, but I have never understood the argument.

    ** The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
     The Beatitudes make great poetry, but they don’t make great public policy.
     The poor and criminals don’t do much. They don’t build roads, they don’t install sewer systems, they don’t invent new technology, they don’t pull wire and fiber across continents. While it may be a fine and noble thing to live in a mud hut near a swamp, even the poor and criminals would rather not, and would rather not be poor (although some may prefer to be criminals.) It seems to me that there is virtue in doing things for others. Building (and cleaning) sewers, pulling fiber, inventing the internet, &c all seem to be virtuous. That I identify with the “Sons of Martha” probably isn’t something that those who accept this list would be surprised at.

    ** For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
     So, apparently, oppressed people are not allowed to ask for help from unoppressed people, since the unoppressed helping them would be engaging in violence and war. Hmm. See “self defense” above.

    ** When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.
     See Sir Charles Napier above. Reword as necessary.

    1. One of the business e-zines I used to subscribe to made the frequent point that the best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them. Being not-poor enables you to build and create things that can help them become not-poor too, whereas wallowing in misery alongside them gets everyone nowhere.

      And the editor of the e-zine walked the walk. He did a lot of work down in Nicaragua, helping the community where he was building a factory. He didn’t just hand people stuff, but found ways to facilitate their creation of better things in their community. I remember his article on the process he went through when helping to build a community center, to make sure that they would have a personal investment in it and it would be something that they would be able to maintain and would have a reason to maintain.

      Somewhere along the line it stopped coming, and I never looked into why because it was in the middle of a very rough period in my life. Maybe I ought to see if it’s still out there and get back on the subscription list.

      1. This points to one reason Habitat For Humanity is almost universally endorsed: they don’t simply give homes to people, they a) allow people to earn those homes and b) they give skills that can be used to improve their lives.

      2. Bono got rounded on by the right-on thinking crowd when he said essentially the same thing; that trade was better than aid and so on.

        Because it feels so much better to gather up loose change and send it to help the starving Ethiopians than to by stuff from Ethiopia so they can afford to buy food.

        1. Ethiopia now has one of the more successful African Airlines (They’re buying lots of 787’s) and they’re not starving so much. Somalia, on the other hand….

    2. It occurred to me, while cleaning, prior to leaving tomorrow, that the whole “victims of society” thing has led to our not drawing clear lines. And that means that while there are some behaviors where we don’t hurt others and should be cut slack, we’ve been accepting as “not of their volition” things like petty thieving or drug taking. Which leads to our cities being infested with people who can’t help themselves and whom no one will help by giving them clear boundaries, and if you say they’re a danger (a lot of the indigent are in fact feral and a danger) you’re called heartless, because they’re victims.
      The lowering of the barriers, so we didn’t exclude anyone leads to upper middle class girls diddling their sisters with no sense of fault and no remorse. And that, that is societal suicide.

      1. The thing is, the alternative to letting the users have some slack has always been the sort of Law n’ Order idiocy that led to Prohibition in the first place. Are Drug users are drain on society? Sure. Are they one tenth the drain on society that The War On Drugs, with its attendant erosion of civil rights has been? I would have to see REALLY hard evidence.

        I wish that the Legalize Drugs side were arguing “Yes, drugs let people destroy themselves. Too bad. It’s better than giving the State the ok to destroy them first, because I’m the sovereign, and THAT is done in my name.” instead of “these poor people can’t help themselves”. The do seem to be paling the “poor victims of society” card less these days, but I wish they’d f-ing drop it entirely.

        1. “Yes, drugs let people destroy themselves. But that destroys X number of lives, while the tactics in the War on Drugs have destroyed nX number of lives, militarized the police, an encouraged the theft of property of innocents by governmental agents.”

        2. I’m definitely of two minds on the legalize drugs debate. I’m libertarian minded, small government and all for everyone having the right to make their own choices and having the right to ruin their life if they so choose. On the other hand as a teenager I did most of those drugs in question and saw first hand how they ruined the lives of not only those doing them, but many of those around them, and the proliferation of crimes that commonly goes hand in hand with said drug use.

          I would probably back a push to legalize drugs if it also made the punishments for crimes committed while under the influence considerably harsher. But said punishments would have to be a lot harsher in order to counter the uptick in crime that I believe would follow the legalization of drugs.

          1. I rationalize around it this way. Functional Libertarianism requires that people be able to make INFORMED and Rational decisions in their self-interest, and the usage of drugs takes away their ability to be informed and rational, therefore it is incompatible with a libertarian society.

    3. The poor are more often the victims of criminals than the better off are because they are easier victims. Especially if the right to self-defense has been taken off the table legally. If you are poor you can’t afford to move to better neighborhood, can’t afford the devices which might make it more difficult for somebody to do something like burglar your apartment, and can’t afford anybody really good to defend you if you are physically attacked and harm your attacker instead him harming you.

      And as I have told you, those rules about self-defense are something which exist in my country as the law. One recent example from the local newspaper – a bouncer was trying to get a drunk out of a local restaurant, but he kept trying to get back in. The last time the bouncer walked the drunk out the drunk’s friend entered the fray, and jumped the bouncer from the back. Now the bouncer was a martial artist, and threw the guy off his back, into the street, with the end result that said guy broke a few bones.

      End result: the injured guy went after the bouncer in courts. First level, the bouncer won, but he kept at it, and in the second level court the bouncer lost. He has to pay 11 000 euros to the injured guy. One of the points seems to have been the fact that as a martial artist he should have been able to subdue the attacker without harming him.

      Well, of course it is possible that there were facts to the case not mentioned in the newspapers, and those maybe would have changed the picture, but as this type of cases have happened here often enough, yep, our rights to self-defense in our law seem to say that yes, we have the right to defend ourselves, but we do not have the right to injure out attackers any worse than they have already injured us. Which, in real life, makes that ‘legal right’ to self-defense more theoretical than actual.

      1. The equivalent to your bouncer’s plight in the US is locales that don’t have “Stand Your Ground” laws. Absent such a law, you’re expected to look for any and all means of leaving the immediate threat before resorting to violence to save yourself.

        1. Another argument is that if you took a training course on firearms you should have been able to “shoot him in the leg! You didn’t have to kill him!”

    4. I agree with you completely. Once small nit to pick. “The Beatitudes make great poetry, but they don’t make great public policy.”
      Dr. Roy Blizzard, name of website forgotten and yahoo useless, explained. Most of what Jesus is quoted are sermons. He preached ‘having a relationship with G-D, not a social system. The Beatitudes are a reference to G-D and prayer. ‘Blessed is he who mourns (his lost relationship with G-D) for he shall- Blessed is the peacekeeper (makes peace with G-D) for he will be known as a son of G-D.’ Unfortunately, most pastors don’t understand Hebrew thought. Dr. Blizzard has studied with Rabbis in Israel and how they interpret the New Testament. Christians are not doormats. Not to infer that you said anything like that. I reiterate that you stated the point very well.

      1. Anyone claiming that Rabbis in Israel study the Christian Testaments commonly enough to be considered authorities on the subject—is asking to have his conclusions taken with a grain of salt.

        (As it happens, Jewish writings from the 1st centuries BCE & CE often speak of the virtue of peacemaking—explicitly in the context of bringing peace between people, and especially between man & wife.)

    5. I think you are confusing the “poor” with the actual poor. There are no actual poor in the United States of America. The very poorest live at the 70th percentile world-wide. The homeless shelters must have, to operate, some amenities now considered required to make a place habitable, but which kings and queens and emperors of two centuries ago would gape with envy at.

      The poor do a heck of a lot. Generally their problem is that that barely keeps their head above water.

      1. The poor, whether you are referring to US “poor” or third-world poor do not have capital, and act as employees rather than employers.

        And yes, I am well aware that you can find exceptions. I wrote a -very- long comment, if you want better analysis you;ll need to justify my writing a substantial monograph.

        I stand by my contention. The “poor” (either definition) do not design and build sewer systems, design and build public water supplies, pull optical fiber across continents, build roads &c.

        Doing those things requires capital. Doing those things (even if you do so for profit) is virtuous. Therefore, the poor are not the only group who exhibit virtue. Q.E.D.

    6. If crime is the fault of society and one is not to attack criminals, and there are so many laws that everyone breaks some, then it is society’s fault I shot that guy who broke in my house and he shouldn’t have attacked me.
      Does that work?

      *Note, please, that no one has actually broken into our house, nor been shot by any resident thereof. This is the beauty of living in a neighborhood where it is common knowledge that everyone is armed.

      1. If crime is the fault of society, then not only are police a misallocation of scarce social resources, secret police (has there ever been a socialist society without secret police?) are doubly so.

  15. We watched Bones last night. I like Bones, or at least I used to. The science is over the top but it is at least real, even if exaggerated. This season, though, it’s really started to get crazy on the political end. In last night’s, I said, toward the beginning, “in a bad show, she would be the criminal, because she is a rich person helping the poor and alien outside of government assistance.”

    Then they forgot about that character until the end, when it turned out, she was the criminal.

    1. Bones has always had its issues. iirc, it was a first season episode that had a political talk radio guy who was set up as a contributory cause of what happened. And the antenna that he was using to broadcast (out of his home) was also illegal.

      1. Most “cop” shows have their issues.

        What’s funny is that most of those issues are cops infringing on the rights of suspects, something that the left screams about whenever it happens in real life. Go figure.

      2. Heh. They really did one up on political talk radio toward the beginning of this season. They basically killed off Rush Limbaugh after turning him into an S&M freak. So it’s not like they didn’t warn me.

          1. (The answer, of course, is that they never had any respect for it. Considering how often they make Gay slurs at people they don’t like. So it only stands to reason that they’d do the same for BDSM.)

            1. More relevant, their “Limbaugh” character was depicted as not believing most of the “crap” he spewed but rather was pandering to a particular market niche. The S&M “therapy” was to handle the discordance in his own pysche between his actual views and those he was forced to advocate due to commercial pressure.

              Not that any network TV executive would ever experience that sort of dissonance.

              1. More leftist projection. They don’t believe in the things the Right believes, so clearly the Right doesn’t REALLY believe them either. Just like there’s never a truly devout character on TV, just Televangelists who are actually snake oil salesmen who don’t believe a word that they tell the “stupid” Christians who follow them.

                1. ” Just like there’s never a truly devout character on TV, just Televangelists who are actually snake oil salesmen who don’t believe a word that they tell the “stupid” Christians who follow them.”

                  That has always been my problem with those claims by the left. If nobody actually believes the views they are espousing; WHO THE HECK ARE THEY PANDERING TO?!!

                  1. Stupid Christian believers. It’s merely the leaders who are always deceiving them with a false belief.

                    It’s more projection, just like many Liberals don’t really believe all of the leftist program, but they see that mouthing it is the way to lead the stupid Proles and give themselves power.

                    Of course, some of them DO drink their own Kool-aid, and those are the dangerous ones, to the party and everyone.

                  2. Who? Why, the dumb, ignorant, gullible masses who would probably spend invest their money unwisely if given tax cuts.

                    IOW, your typical low-info voter who can be relied upon to elect Democrats.

    2. This seems the season for Bones to jump the shark. It isn’t just the PC episodes, it is the fact that they aren’t actually solving the crimes slash resolving the red herrings. Add to that the season opening vast decades long conspiracy that destroys Booth’s faith in the institution of the FBI being essentially shrugged off and I’m getting a vibe that the writers are just phoning it in and the producer is letting them.

      This season it seems that every episode ends and our discussion of its flaws, fallacies and jumped conclusions begins.

          1. Last I saw of Boreanaz in the news he was caught cheating on his wife several years ago. A little playing with search engines reveals they are still married, that he is among the wealthiest actors in Hollywood, took a shot at Nathan Filliion’s work ethic (jan 2013) and suggested President Obama needed to “Grow Some.”

            It seems Boreanaz was upset by Putin’s aggression and, among other things, that Obama “lift the crude oil ban that we have here in the US.”

            This does not actually represent a “conservative” orientation — even Liberals will call for direct action when pushed far enough (albeit usually against the wrong targets) but, to the extent Twitter reflects politics, it certainly qualifies as “not-liberal.” When Boreanaz, Adam Baldwin & Nick Searcy make an action movie for John Milius I will deem he is conservative for a Hollywood star.

            Geller is a more complex matter. She is a Manhattan-raised (apparently) secular Jew who has endorsed gay marriage (not a big deal except to those who don’t know any actual conservatives) and cheered Obama’s election in 2008 (again, not dispositive) who is reportedly a registered Republican (which, in Hollywood, leaves much room to be Liberal.)

            As she is apparently closed-mouthed about her politics I would say it makes her center-right … few Hollywood liberals are quiet about their politics.

            For entertainment purposes only:

            1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.“??

              I guess I failed to neutralize that last link by insertion of [DOT]? Or is WP tightening the link loading limits?

  16. FORTUNATELY I’d read history which means I knew two things: the dictators that America propped up were no matter how bad superior to the communist ones*.

    Aaand I hear a sound like a bunch of minds snapping closed, as if an entire portion of those reading had suddenly found something that their patterns of belief cannot accept…..

    Yes, you explain why you reached that conclusion, and did just fine; thing is, pointing out the fact that all of group A were superior to group B. (Pretty sure the Americans didn’t do as much… um… option reduction on those that they were supporting, either. Russians, I wouldn’t be surprised if they killed off more of their own guys than we did.)

    There’s just a non-thought process that I’ve been gnawing at, trying to understand, that sees a conclusion like that and goes “ah-ha! Clearly, this is wrong, because it makes a blanket statement!” No matter if it’s well supported, arguable or flatly undeniable– the existence of a blanket statement without a bunch of “except for”s means you’re wrong.

    1. The non-thought process seems to go something like this;

      No criticism of Communism, or by extension anyone with a nice line in revolutionary patter, can be true, because Communism is the only hope I have of ever being part of the Ruling Class, and if I’m not a part of the Ruling Class, then I will have to face the fact that absically I’m a workshy bum.

    2. That’s one bit that I would agree with, with the caveat of “on the whole.” Guatemala (ours) I’d be inclined say was worse than Cuba (theirs). Friend of mine’s an MK raised in the area, and it’s completely nuts down there. However, it was nothing compared to Ethiopia (theirs).

        1. I must confess I have not, and I think Guatemala’s gotten better since the ’80s and ’90s (which is why I used the past tense), which means it’s probably better than Cuba now.

          1. Cuba from what I understand was appalling all along. Again, they just had better PR. They were also the mercenaries used in Africa and I understand brought back spoils.

        2. Haiti’s worse. But they’re not only dealing with a failure of leadership, they’re paying for buying their way out of slavery. (Not repudiating that debt could also be seen as a failure of leadership…)

    3. Funny thing about that, I was thinking of the Shah of Iran after reading that paragraph.

  17. I see Bones at least a season behond. Still haven’t viewed last season’s DVD’s, though they’re in the house. (because Netflix…) I’ve always viewed it as one of those secretly conservative shows. Because in any investigation which involves sexual hjiinks or alternative marriage arrangements or anything else liberals champion- there is always something wrong, and the person who predicts something wrong is Booth. And he’s always right about it. And the one that always saves the day through action? Booth. And Booth understands Bone’s father much better then Bones does- because Booth and he live in the same world of reality. Different sides of the law. But Bone’s father is a con artist, and it’s harder to con an honest man. Something both he and Booth recognize.

    The most conservative character is the one everyone else relies on. They value each other, and all play a part, but when push comes to shove, Booth is the one they all rely on. Just my viewpoint on Bones.

    1. Many of the actually popular shows seem to go through that arch – they start with at least sorta kinda conservative worldview, although often a cloaked version where the good guy characters may seem to have rather liberal opinions but what actually happens does not break that conservative worldview, at least not badly. Then they start to drift with time towards more and more “controversial”, that fake controversial which is actually the current consensus (by the “man”). And with that they start to lose viewers, which often seems to push the makers of the show towards even more “controversial” in hopes of luring back the lost viewers with shock. Which usually leads to the jump the shark moment, after which the show either dies outright or fizzles off a bit more slowly.

  18. To extend the excellent metaphor of cultural subversion as malware a little further, since the ‘operating system’, so to speak, of Western culture is the incoherent dog’s breakfast of contradictory, incomprehensible, and sometimes downright malignant notions known as Christianity, it is little wonder that, just like an ill-conceived and encrufted computer OS which may function tolerably well in a benign environment, it has been easy pickings for malware predators.

    1. Excuse me, but you seem to have piddled on the carpet here. You should really see a doctor about that.

      …contradictory, incomprehensible, and sometimes downright malignant notions known as incorrectly called [Fixed it for you] Christianity…

      It is hardly unusual for a system containing humans to contain contradictory, or at least seemingly contradictory, parts, so that criticism can be thrown right out, unless you can give examples of core contradictions. “Incomprehensible” is a stretch. Just because you cannot comprehend, doesn’t mean no one else can. “Malignant”? While some horrible things have been done ostensibly in the name of Christianity, the underlying system has done immense good for civilization.

  19. One of the current faddish “truths” is something called “economic justice” or as I prefer to refer to it, The Golden Pie School of Economics. in this system, on January first each year, somewhere in the Midwest, near Iowa City as best I can tell, a large pie of gold spontaneously appears out of the air. Every person in the nation gets a slice. If my neighbour gets a big slice, by default, I get a smaller slice.

    When I explain economic justice like this, a few people realize how foolish the idea is.

    1. It’s like the parable of trying to construct a factory out of thin air by bringing a lot of workers (labor theory of value). It’s a seed of doubt that some people will remember.

    1. WTF? Portugal does NOT have silver. What exactly ARE you talking about? Precisely?
      As for obscurantist autocracy — wow. Blow my mind. I haven’t heard that term since the sit ins of the seventies that my brother attended with his lefty buddies.
      Portugal is a Latin country, which means in the end it is run like all countries that come from Rome. That’s all. Efficient institutions? But you’d offend someone’s family. And what ARE “efficient” institutions, anyway? That’s usually meant to refer to treating people as widgets in five year plans.
      I think, sir, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

      1. I think he’s making reference to the way Spain shipped boatloads of “precious metals” from the New World. They thought that made them rich. There were two problems with this;

        1) By bringing in comparatively huge amounts of minerals valued largely for their rarity, Spain was effectively doing what a modern State does when it does desperation print runs of Fiat money. Little or no actual wealth was being created by importing metals.

        2) Because Spain had (by among other things, chasing out the Jews) eliminated its middle class, all that “money” went through Spain to countries that actually produced things, stopping only briefly.

        The passage of that much money through the country convinced the aristocracy that they were rich, when they weren’t all THAT rich. Since they thought they were importing wealth (as opposed to currency), they didn’t see a need to develop a base of manufacture and trade. Oops.

        I know that there are details I’m missing; this was my Mother’s riff on Spain (she was, among other things, a History Teacher in a Private school for a while), and I haven’t heard it for some time (she passed a while back). But in general outline, I believe that the above is pretty solid.

        1. yes, that is true. Portugal got close to this, but from the profit of the spice merchants.
          Thing is, really, Portugal was dysfunctional WELL before that…
          Sorry, he rubbed me wrong with seventies leftist slang 😉

      2. Portugal had an empire in Brazil: there were Brazilian silver mines. Getting rich from the spice trade was not such a problem, that involved actual commerce and merchants. I was simply pointing out that there is a history, and it was not favourable to the development of free institutions. As for obscurantist autocracy–small thing called the Inquisition, expelling your Jews, that sort of thing. Spain and Portugal missed out on a lot of the Scientific Revolution too because proving your were the right sort of Catholic got access to the goodies. Not exactly conducive to open-mindedness.

        Which all actually supports your original point about not the fault of any outsiders at all.

    2. Now, if the US were really interested in cork…
      Oh, btw, the idea that rich countries get rich by stripping poor countries of natural resources is so … it’s not even wrong. It’s just stupid.

      1. I think Lorenzo from Oz was thinking about the problems that the influx of Mexican silver caused in Spain (when Spain “owned” Mexico) and was thinking that those problems occurred in Portugal as well.

        Will he may be mistaken, it’s not about US foreign policies. [Smile]

          1. Probably produced much the same effect. The vast majority of people were not involved in getting that money, so they could be ignored.

            not so bad as foreign aid where they positively must ensure their people stay poor to get the money.

        1. [insert whatever evil mustache twirling accent floats your boat] Hah! You cannot fool the world! We all know that Yankee Imperialism CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME!! We know that all events of even slight negativity, from the Chicxulub impact, to the Black Death, to something really terrible that happened in 1775 to be THE FAULT OF THE AMERICANS!!!

          WE ARE ON TO YOU YANKEE SCUM!!!! Do not force me to use yet more exclamation points!!!!![/accent]

            1. Aw geeze, you were given one, but after what you used it to do the re-editing of History was so extensive we had to create a timeline in which you don’t get a time machine before 2023 (no, I can’t tell you why that is the year you receive it.) And the one you will get is only good for limited travel.

                1. Well, see, that other timeline? It solidified the moniker. So you get to carry the reputation you won when somebody left a time machine parked by your curb with the keys in it.

                  By all accounts you had a great time.

                  Kublai speaks fondly of that trick you showed him with the dagger and the knitting needles.

                  Friedrich is still a little hot. And he really wants to know what you did with Karl.

                  I can’t get the Israelis to talk about the scene they found on those tablets. But they swear it’s greatly exaggerated.

                  I’d tell you about the sonnets Will wrote, but… sworn to secrecy. He was a little effusive.

                  1. Wanna wanna wanna wanna TIME MACHINE!
                    I’m going to hold my breath till I turn blue if you don’t give it back to me.
                    And I want to have dinner with the Heinleins!

                    1. Oh, I assure you that Bob & Ginny want to have dinner with you, but not until they can keep a straight face while going over what you did. That’s why you have to wait as long as you do.

                    2. Yeah, that’s a big part of the problem. What you and Bob got up to on Jovian station…

                      Ginny says there was never really any risk of a diplomatic incident. Bob just smiles.

                      The Gru-ur-eckian embassy has outlawed all mention of your names “until the stars swallow your memories.”

                      Lotta good bourbon went missing on Jovian station.

                      I’d ask what you were thinking, but when I asked the Heinleins Ginny just kept giggling. And Bob’s smile was kinda scary.

                2. Look, you know I can’t go into details, but what you did with that machine … well, let’s just say that this is why you can’t have nice things.

                  (When you get clearance to see the video of what you did to Rousseau and Karl Marx, believe me, you will be rolling on the floor. As for the “prank” you pulled on Simone de Beauvier, the boffins are still chuckling. I give credit — you were responsible for record amounts of coffee spewed onto monitors.)

                    1. Are you kidding? Once he gets over the shock he’ll laugh!

                      I’m more worried about Isaac’s & Gottfried’s reactions when they learn Sarah was two-timing them, whispering sweet derivatives in their ears. Or when Carl, Nikolai and Janos learn how she didn’t play straight with them!

                      They should never have given a time machine to a vixen with a liking for mathematicians.

                    2. Yeah, but look at all the mathematics we got out of it! I know we had to scrub most of it (they’ll figure it out later) but it’s been key to our understanding of the time weave.

                      Really, we kinda had to let her go. Just — next time? Keep her away from the red heads.

                      Helluva muse. Just really hard on red headed mathematicians.

                    3. And by the way, we all appreciated all the Madeira you brought back with you. At least those of us who remember it do, they aren’t kidding when they say it gets better with age.

                    4. There’s still a case stashed in the room behind the bar. I stuck it behind the pallet of Pabst. Nobody ever moves that pallet.

                    5. I knew I was flubbing something with my terminology! You know, this kinda thing isn’t a problem around Boudicca’s campfires.

                      That was a busy week.

                    6. Wait – you didn’t move that pallet marked “Pabst”, did you?

                      I better go check. Can someone grab the boxes labelled “Temporal Dosimeter” and “Timestream Wrench” from behind the bar? I’ll get the Tranquilizer Salvo Gun, the sparkly wand thingy that other-Sara brought back, and the bix box of Twizzlers just in case.

                    7. Move it? After all the trouble we had getting it in place?!?

                      Now you’ve made me nervous. I’ve got the Timestream Wrench. Somebody moved the Temporal Dosimeter. Again. Who knows what they’ve done with it this time…

                    8. Wait – we don’t have personal Temporal Dosimeters? Then what is this thing I’m wearing attached to my shirt collar? (Sniffs, licks) Hey! This is just a Candy Cane! I was told it just looked that way so it wouldn’t be conspicuous! Oh, when I get my hands on the one who told me this was a personal Dosimeter, they’re gonna regret it.

                    9. [Heard in normal voice through the open door from the basement storeroom:] Well THAT’S something you don’t see every day.
                      [Then, shouted up the stairs:] We also need the BLUE fire extinguisher, Please!

                    10. “I think the Temporal Dosimeter is out in my truck, I’ll go grab it.”

                      Stops halfway through the door and turns back around, “Wait, did he say the BLUE fire extinguisher? Cuurrraaap!”

                      Door slams and a voice can be heard fading into the driveway, “I’ve got three acid resistant Pulaskis, They’ll last longer than regular ones, but still not all that long. Somebody better get some more!”

                3. You get other perks. Just not that one. Yet.

                  They made me promise not to go and play any more practical jokes on any of the Evil Leaders of History. They got upset because I animated Trotsky’s corpse and made it visit Stalin a few times. Dressed as a Teletubbie.

                  But I swear the amorous camel in Rommel’s tent was NOT my fault!

                    1. I confess I admire what Kate did, rearranging events so that all of Oliver Stone’s movies are false.

                    2. If you remember that one do you remember that time in Chandraketugarh
                      when she…

                      No. Better not tell that one. Still a few bruised egos over that one.

                    3. Heh. Yeah, good times, man, good times.

                      If only she hadn’t invented spam I think they’d have let her keep the machine.

                    4. Hm. Yep. That was a weighty straw.

                      To be fair, she was trying to fix the 23rd century crisis. If it wasn’t for the dang tangent!

                  1. You get ponies.

                    The cats become great friends with the ponies, and you make them little equestrian outfits and feline horse tack. And then the cats go out riding one day and get attacked by terrorists, which leads them to invent peoplechase.

      2. And interestingly evil capitalist innovators are now replacing cork with the hideous (but oh so convenient) screw top bottle and the fake plastic cork made from OIL!

        Fortunately snob value should keep the real oaken cork going for a long while

      3. Actually, not what I said. Indeed, my point was exactly the opposite–“easy” wealth got in the way of developing the sort of good institutions which produces genuine, broad-based wealth.

  20. Lorenzo from Oz – You do realize that Spain is *not* Portugal, yes? That the problems of Spain are not immediately the problems of Portugal, just because they happen to share the Iberian Peninsula?

    1. But they did share Crowns who got a lot of “easy” wealth from American silver–there were Brazilian silver mines. Not as big as the Spanish ones (which are estimated to have produced about 3 billions pesos worth of silver), but then Portugal was a smaller country, so they did not have to be to have much the same effect. Hence Brazil have the same screwed-up institutional heritage as the Spanish colonies, producing the mostly dysfunctional mess that has been Latin America (though bits of it are getting better).

      Also all not the US’s fault.

      Reminds me of a good joke:
      American — why do you Mexicans hate us gringoes?
      Mexican — because you stole half our country and, what’s more, you took the half with all the paved roads.

  21. As for Ringo writing unrealistic female characters …

    Lena Miculek isn’t jailbait any longer although she was when I first saw her compete. She is the daughter of the great Jerry Miculek and Kay Clark Miculek and the granddaughter of the late great Jim Clark.

    Unfortunately, I’ve no video of her wielding a kukri.

  22. “In fact, I’m very afraid that’s the path we’re on, but we as free men and men of good will, owe it to ourselves to do what we can to avoid it.”

    Sarah, the problem is that by that logic, for example, Israel shouldn’t have launched the Six-Day War, but waited to be attacked.

    When someone says repeatedly they want to destroy you, shouldn’t you believe them?

    1. Israel did that six years later, allowing their enemies to attack on Yom Kippur*. It still didn’t earn them any credit with the “World Community” — thus proving Israel is a special case and not useful as an example.

      We see this replicated by our current administration which denounces Israel for not “doing more” to avoid civilian casualties in spite of their being far more successful at such than is the US military, complaints against which get shrugged off by administration spokespuppets as “We do the best possible.”

      *Those recalling cries for halting American military operations against Iraq during Ramadan will be amused to remember that this war was initiated by Egypt and Syria during that holiday. Presumably the point is that it is appropriate for Muslims to celebrate their holy days by killing infidels, not being killed by infidels.

      1. “Presumably the point is that it is appropriate for Muslims to celebrate their holy days by killing infidels, not being killed by infidels.”

        How did that work out for them, again?

        1. Well, during the Yom Kippur War they lasted about three times as long before their ignominious defeat.

          Credit Where Due Department: Had Nixon not guaranteed American resupply the Israelis might have needed rather longer to defeat the attackers.

  23. Did I hear you speak against “memorization in schools?
    Knowledge means that you know things. The way that you know things is that you memorized things. That’s why they’re in your brain. People who haven’t been called upon to memorize things are people who don’t know anything. And people who don’t know anything are a pretty significant threat to the world that we’d prefer to live in.

    1. There’s a difference between memorization of basic information, such as how to spell words, basic math tables, such as multiplication, and such, and complete teaching by rote.

      Low grades need rote learning (memorization, if you will), in order to have basic building blocks with which to construct more complex concepts, but at some point, reason, logic, and critical thinking must be learned, in order to fully round out a person’s ability to process the world around them effectively. Some cultures don’t seem to get to the “thinking” part, and stick with the “memorization” part.

        1. I view memorization as the push-ups of mental conditioning. It is unlikely you would ever need to do a push-up, but the upper body strength it develops can prove very handy. Memorization drills facilitate development of the ability to hold more than two thoughts present in the mind at once, a trait which seems useful in many various situations.

          1. My mother found that her high-school students, handed a list of ions and told they had to memorize them, were clueless. They had no idea how to do it.

    2. Actually, knowledge isn’t just facts and information– it is also skills.

      You can’t have knowledge without facts, but you also cannot have it without the skills to utilize those facts. You have to understand the things that are known, not just have them “in your brain.”

      (Oxford, from Oxford University Press, via Bing)

  24. There are rom-com’s other than Japanese and Korean? I wasn’t aware of them…
    (I can now exchange pleasantries with the wait staff at the local Korean restaurants, thanks to Netflix).

  25. I was born and raised in the United States. When I was young, I would have rejected every one of your bulleted items. Now that I’m older, I reject every one of your bulleted items. I don’t understand how a person—even a young person—could drift so far from reality that they believe those things. At least you found your way out of the pit you were sunk in.

    Sorry, that’s just me. I enjoy your writing.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

  26. I’m happy to learn that I’m not the only person who has had to explain the occasional banging noise with “nothing happened and no one is hurt, this author just went too far in insulting my intelligence.”

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