Auto-Immune — A blast from the past post from February 2013

*Sorry for doing a bfp, but it’s my double blog day (also doing MGC) and I HAVE to be at the other house in less than an hour, to let the electricians in.*

No, I’m not talking about my issues.  I do in fact, have a “complex” of autoimmune issues that seem to run together – eczema (severe) rheumatic arthritis (not troubling since I’ve been in Colorado and weirdly worst in my teens) and asthma (also not a problem pretty much since my teens, though living in South Carolina brought it back briefly – and is one of the reasons I’m glad we moved.)

So… I have some experience with there being nothing wrong with you except your stupid immune system attacking your own body under the misguided impression that it’s an invader.

This came to mind because the other day Older Son was babbling about auto-immune disorders (younger son is likely to go on about physics.  It’s… interesting at the dinner table.  I just achieve this zen state where I’m listening to the parts I understand, while plotting at the back of my mind.  But you know, considering all the years I babbled plot and character at them, and considering that my beloved is likely to get a notebook in the middle of dinner so he can sketch out some equations that he thinks will solve this problem he’s been having at work – I don’t think we can throw stones.)

As he was describing the basic workings of an autoimmune disease, I thought “that’s what our country has.”

From living with eczema, which is a chronic auto-immune disorder, I can tell you that it much resembles the way we stumbled through from the forties (perhaps earlier.  But in the forties, Heinlein described the communists taking over the Democratic party.  And considering it took him till the eighties to vote Republican for the first time, I don’t think he can be considered a biased source.) through to 2001 like I live – most of the time – with my eczema: it flares up in a specific part of my body, and it itches like heck, which of course means that I don’t give my full attention to anything much, but because I’ve lived like this since I was one, it doesn’t really bother me or I should say – I don’t know what it’s like when it’s not bothering me.

It can rise to the level of “argh” when it settles in a body part that’s hard to keep clean/dry and free of irritating agents.  Since it decided it wanted to live in my hands, last couple of years, I’ve had trouble keeping from having infected wounds – I use my hands for everything and kitchen work is hard when you have open sores.  (I’ve been using surgical gloves, but that makes my hands sweat, which aggravates the condition.)

The problem is twofold – first, any “aggravating factor” can cause a monumental flare up, where the condition becomes near-impossible to live with.  (Since one of the aggravating factors for eczema is stress and since the airlines live to make my life interesting, those of you who have seen me at Liberty, with eczema all over my body know what I’m talking about.  It gets so I can’t sleep and I can’t think, and it impairs my functioning all across the spectrum.)  The second issue is that, sleep deprivation and the very fact that my body is – with gonzo-like enthusiasm – attacking itself, means it’s not paying much attention to external enemies – virus and bacteria – which walk right in and settle down, leading to a never ending stream of infections.

And because there is nothing fundamentally wrong with my body, I’m treated to an never-ending stream of people – starting with acquaintances and ending with some doctors, about whom the least said the better – who tell me things like “you just need to stop scratching.”  (Trust me on this, while scratching aggravates it, and this is why – to the despair of both my mother and my mother in law – I keep my nails cut almost to the quick, the skin will still flare up – sometimes overnight – with no scratching whatsoever.)

For those who’ve been following our politics in puzzled wonder, it might help if you think of our issues as an autoimmune disorder.  Let’s for the moment forget where it came from.  Most autoimmune disorders are a bit of a mystery.  Yes, part of it was the same bad philosophy that affected Europe at the time, and some of it might have been Soviet agit prop leaking over the ocean (as someone who grew up in Europe and in a fractured country, I know most Americans ignore the chances of that.)  Part of it was a predisposition to it.  The US and the ancient Israelites are the only people I know of formed on a set of principles and engagins in detailed criticism of themselves over their principles.  (Most other nations engaged in a criticism of OTHER countries over their own principles and blame OTHER countries for their own failures.  For further study, I recommend Europe.)

Anyway, mostly we’ve been living with it and ignoring it, like I do with eczema.  The areas where it was chronic: college campuses, “intellectual” areas were relatively minor.  Even when it affected Hollywood, as long as it wasn’t flaring up too badly, most people rolled their eyes and ignored it.

When I came to the States, the situation puzzled me, sort of like it puzzles people who see me going around cheerfully with, say, the inside of my elbows looking like a third degree burn.  They flinch and go “What happened?” and I look down and go “Oh, that?  Eczema.  Never mind.”

You have to understand, I came over expecting this one of the world’s superpowers to be, if not as repressive (I’m not stupid) as the USSR, at least as defensive.  I expected it to be considered bad form to trash talk the US or talk up the USSR in public.  Because, well… that’s only sane.  Imagine my shock when – in the eighties – not just TV personalities, but people who were considered/considered themselves “high class” talking about the “good ideas” of the USSR and talking down the US and particularly “ignorant rednecks.”

It puzzled me, but I could see also that the country was sort of ignoring it.  I mean, we discounted the biases on TV and the twitches of the upper class like I discount the (normally) minor itch and skin bubbling up of the eczema. In real life, where things functioned normally, the crazy people were largely ignored.

The problem is this – the flare up continued growing.  All through the sixties and the seventies, and the eighties, and yes, of course, the nineties, the flare up of self-hatred grew.  And just like the eczema in my hands, it started affecting areas we can’t live without: K-12 schools, business, news.

And it’s not just a little.  The news have been biased left for a long time (yes, I know the left thinks they’re biased right, but that’s because the left is to the left of Stalin, while the media are basically propping up a state-capitalism system much like China’s.)  If you consider Fascism right, then you’re darn tooting the media is biased right.  Since I consider it a misnomer, well…

But more importantly, unlike the manifestations of totalitarian impulse in other countries – Russia, Cuba, China – the autoimmune problems are NOT affecting just out governance or our industry.  It’s not a matter of destroying our industry so we’ll all be poor.  That would be bad enough.  The problem is far worse, though: the problem is that the statist ideology now in control of our government, our media, our education and what passes for “high culture” doesn’t just hate this or that part of us.  No, they’ve been told/convinced/brainwashed that what’s wrong with the world is US – that the country and its existence ARE the enemy.

It might be the first time in history where in a non-occupied country flying the flag is an act of daring that in certain neighborhoods can get you shunned by all your neighbors.  It might be the first time in history where teaching the good parts of your history in school is considered an act of defiance, and where the higher-class and all the bien-pensants push distorted histories and documentaries that run down the country that hosts them.

Autoimmune.  Systemic.

The shock of 9/11 beat back the illness for a while.  The forces of sanity rallied.  But in any autoimmune illness, the more you rally, the stronger the backlash.  And it’s come.  And it’s worse than ever, to the point kids get sent home from school for patriotic clothing.

So… what to do?

I don’t know.  The analogy accurately describes the problem, and to the extent that it applies to the recovery, I can tell you we’ll never get rid of the auto-immune reaction – not fully.  But you knew that.  The same qualities that allow us to try to improve our governance according to our principles provide an opening to the flare ups.  Like a person with a strong immune system is more likely to get an auto-immune flare-up.

But we can’t live with it infecting all of our body politic.

The only thing I can suggest – and it is not going to make me any friends – is that you beat it back wherever you find it.  We, like me with eczema, have got so used to the minor flare ups that we ignore them.  People at a party saying the US is uniquely back, say, because it was founded in genocide…  Beat it back.  Explain about germs, and about the fact that at any rate the colonization was all over the Americas and our part of the Americas saw the least abuse.  (Mostly what happened to the original inhabitants is that they died of unfamiliar illnesses and THEN were genetically swamped.  They’re mostly still here – a bit in everyone.)

Learn our history.  Learn economics.  Learn the history of ideas.  Learn about other nations.  Not the prettied up “multicultural” histories they teach our kids in school, but the real histories (the fact this feels like hitting the weak tells you how badly off we are.  We are the only ones it’s fair to hit on.)  When people start running ourselves down, do a little comparative teaches.

Apply medicine to the flare ups, big and small and try to beat the condition to manageable level.  To survive all of us need to do it (however subtly.)

The alternative is a body – or a nation – that can’t function, much less defend itself.

140 responses to “Auto-Immune — A blast from the past post from February 2013

  1. Holy pickle cows! I remember this post. I guess I’ve been reading here longer than I realized. Or reading over at The Mary Sue has addled what is left of my brain…

  2. c4c

  3. Dealing with two auto-immune diseases plus I have been told that I have severe allergies and pre-asthma. I had the one disease that was so bad that my entire body was hurting… the cure was as bad and sometimes worse than the disease. At least the disease could just kill you. Anyway–I think I remember this post too– As for the country I hope we are not in such bad shape. It is amazing to me that the liberals lost… and still merrily went on the same course.

    • What other course can you imagine them going, that accords with their self-identities?

      • I just wish that they didn’t have so many sheeple in their camp.

        • Sheep respond to a leader. The Progs have a large following because they seem to know what they’re doing. Their ideas are crap, but they’re offered with confidence. The last time conservatives had someone who unapologetically expressed their ideas on the ballot, we won 49 states.

          • Many people fall for the Proglodytes’ claim that they represent the direction of History, that their triumph is inevitable. Who, after all, can oppose the future — King Canute?*

            Don’t bother telling them that the fact that theirs is a house of cards lacking firm foundation in tradition and history renders it doomed to collapse in disaster, that simply renders them unmoored.

            *Yes, everybody here knows Canute ordered the Tide as a demonstration to his followers that they needed to attempt more credible flattery; don’t bother to post a correction to what should have obviously been a rhetorical flourish mocking the Progs.

          • snelson134

            The last time we won 49 states, we had no such animal as social media, and progs had 35 years less lawfare experience, and the laws and court decisions and regulations that enable it.

            Do you think that Regan could still go over Congress and the media to the people? Reagan never had all the networks refuse to cover his speeches, like Bush did, even the SOTU. It’s a different environment.

            • Jeff Gauch

              Reagan would be a Twitter god, in no small part because he would know exactly how to respond to SJW swarms. “If you aren’t credibly threatening to throw acid in my face, you’re far less dangerous than your grandparents, and I faced them down.” followed by ignoring the impotent screeching.

              It is a different environment, it favors us more than it did 30 years ago. All we need is a leader who believes in our position and is capable of weathering the shitstorm the progs will kick up.

  4. I was reading a comment today about someone wanting to dis-inter Nathan Bedford Forrest and . . . probably not burn the bones but have them relocated to a Potter’s Field or something. I sighed, thinking, “Yeah, that worked so well on John Wycliff back 500 years ago.”

    I don’t know if I just missed it earlier, or if something really went bat sh-t crazy while I was gone, but it seems like I left the US and came back to find it had turned into Arkham Asylum. It’s as if the immune system just collapsed and the rash is everywhere.

    OK, off to write stories and plot the corruption of youth, er, that is, draw up lesson plans.

  5. “It wasn’t like this back home.”

    “Really? Where is that?”

    “1965.”

  6. The problem is, outside of medicine, if you scratch an itch or even a whirling son of an itch, it can call the cops on you.

  7. Just as in the recent WWJD meme — you have to make it clear that turning over tables and scourging money changers from the temple with whips are definitely on the table. I call my take on Americanism smash-mouth constitutionalism for the same reason. The enemies of liberty have never understood anything less than they reach out a hand they draw back a bloody stump. Metaphorically or otherwise. Whatever works.

    M

    • Stumps for commies needs you!

    • Amusingly, caught a “dramatic Bible-reading” on an EWTN station where Jesus sounded like He needed a cuppa coffee when the disciples woke Him up in the storm.

      • Since His day had been almost as busy as Sarah’s Con weekend, I don’t blame Him. 😉

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        There was a film version of (IIRC) the Book of John where Christ is “telling” off the Jewish leaders. You could understand why the Jewish leaders didn’t like what He was saying.

  8. Totally unrelated to the post:
    those Calvin and Hobbes books I and put on the hard-to-reach shelf migrated up to the girls’ room, and I “caught” them reading them instead of sleeping last night. Princess laboriously sounding it out, Duchess “helping” by pointing, and their brother entranced.

    Muwahahah, evil plan is a success!

  9. “because it was founded in genocide”

    When I get this tripe (rarely, these days. I think people get warned about me. ;-)), I say, “As opposed to what country in all of Human history? Take your time. I’ll wait.”

    • Some people believe that civilization was initially a peaceful mother goddess love in. The Greeks and other male oriented cultures stole the wisdom of the goddess cultures and turned it to evil.

      So the answer to your challenge is that the Bizzaro-Celts and Mirror-mirror Cretans weren’t founded on genocide, so there!

      • And I reply “There is no historical, archaeolgical, or anthropological evidence that any such cultures ever existed. On the other hand, we know that all the Great Apes but one live in groups dominated by alpha males and are fiercely territorial.”

    • Well, you see that’s what makes humanity so remarkable. As a species they have proven again and again to be capable of great cruelty and great compassion. Though the history of the species is blood soaked, they have time and time again put aside their differences and banded together to become something greater. The ability to look back at their past and see the crimes of their ancestors as reprehensible allowed them to rise above what they were previously. They took this tendency with them to the stars, and went boldly on to meet the rest of the universe.

      Meeting other sapient species came as a welcome shock, at least until they learned more about their fellow travelers. As planetary histories were exchanged humanity fast found itself an exile amid the stars. No other species they encountered had such a history of violence, no other species had committed genocide against its own and survived to repeat the terrible mistake again and again. No other species had the ability to disregard the lives of its fellows so callously and within the space of a generation offer the hand of friendship to the very one who had tried to eradicate it. Other sapients understandably regarded humanity as a dangerously insane species, one that had no place amidst the interstellar community.

      Independent by nature, humanity accepted its lot, exploring the vast collection of worlds spread across the universe like so many forgotten gems. Time and time again they discovered the ruined remains of worlds, destroyed by their own inhabitants in incomprehensible conflict by beings unable to do as they had done and put their differences for something more. These discoveries were reason for a good number of humans to wonder if their existence was an anomaly. None of the sapient species they encountered possessed a capacity of violence as great as theirs. No other extant species still quarreled with itself the way they did. Perhaps it was some cosmic fluke that allowed them to reach the stars before they managed to destroy themselves. It was easy for individuals thinking this way to believe themselves to be correct. They only had to look at the Martian Rebellion and how brutally it was quashed. What other species would destabilize the orbit of a planet’s moon to force a global evacuation? They were also able to cite the more recent War of Colonial Independence where as a group the United Orbital Colonies turned as one against their parent system in a terrible war that resulted in a literal decimation of the human species. With incidents like that it was easy to imagine what would have happened if things turned out even slightly differently. Even with all of space, humans still fought with each other over the smallest things.

      But there were other groups, ones that looked at all the dead worlds and wondered. Life was nowhere near as scarce as once believed, with at least a thousand known sapient species existing and an order of magnitude more on the very cusp of that wondrous place. Some people looked at the dead worlds, the ones destroyed utterly and wondered, was it true that violent species destroyed themselves without fail, or was that a naïve hope held by the rest of the universe?

      Humanity dispersed further and farther, reaching points of the universe previously undiscovered and bringing new sapients into the league of beings they seemed destined to be forever apart from. It was during this age of exploration, while the rest of the universe quietly joked that humanity spread out so rapidly to escape from itself, that an ever increasing number of dead worlds was discovered. Humanity, possessing a uniquely morbid fascination with the past investigated these global graveyards, learning of and remembering the stories of worlds that otherwise would have been forgotten. Eventually they came and presented their findings to the Council of Sapient Peoples, making a decree that shocked the universe. The dead worlds, they told, were not all killed from within. On countless dead planets they had found evidence of orbital strikes, of the use of weapons far beyond the level of technology existing on the lifeless worlds. The scientists and diplomats who made this profound and profoundly disturbing statement were laughed out of the Council. It was common knowledge that all violent species were self-destructive by nature and they would never last long enough to harm other worlds. Humanity was a horrific anomaly, but even then they restrained themselves and only killed their own. That, humanity was told, was proof of the impossibility of their claim. None of the Council species ever considered that this was because humanity had been left largely alone for its entire known existence. It was beyond their ability to imagine what humans could do if united against an outside threat.

      A scant fifty three point three standard cycles later that a massive generational ship was discovered on the edge of known space. That such an archaic piece of technology would be found travelling through the glittering void was unthinkable. The story its inhabitants told was even more so.

      They called themselves the Kssra’t’ar, which translated as simply and their ship the ‘Su’Kssra’t’ar’Zhul’ and described how, after their scientists had detected an anomalous radio signal the satellites they had scattered though their solar system winked out one by one. The anomalous signals continued and eventually they received an image from one of their satellites right before it was destroyed. A ship shone in garish colors against the blackness around it, a vision of indescribably beauty against the darkness around it.

      The sight was cause for global celebration, the Kssra’t’ar were delighted to discover that they were not alone. They sent out signals of their own and received no response. They sent out probes, but they never made it the ship. Finally they sent out a manned ship, its crew ready to welcome the newcomers and clear up whatever misunderstanding had thus far impeded conversation. What became of the crew was something the Kssratar would not speak of. Whatever it was, it had shaken their species to its very core and the fear and pain they felt was still raw after three generations on board the ship. They all agreed, if not for their fledgling space program their species never would have survived to tell the story of what had become of their home.

      Overnight the leaders of their world declared a state of emergency and all resources were put into the global space program. Twenty generational ships were made, constructed in the orbit of their three largest moons and their orbital colonies were rapidly refitted for movement beyond what was necessary to maintain orbit. The colonies were already filled to capacity and the generational ships could only hold a fraction of the inhabitants of the planet and its three moons. Individuals were chosen by lottery and boarding began as soon as the generational ships had rudimentary life support systems in place. It was planned that construction could continue once the ships were underway, for given the situation, time was of the essence. As soon as their thrust and propulsion systems were upgraded the colonies departed, their pace agonizingly slow. Three of the generational ships collapsed during their construction, killing all onboard and sealing the fates of those who had yet to board, but had been assigned to them.

      The ‘Su’Kssra’t’ar’Zhul’ was the first of the ships to depart, followed shortly by the ‘Yih’Kssra’t’ar’Zhul’, the ‘Riss’Kssra’t’ar’Zhul’ and the other remaining ships. They held onto the vain hope that what had happened to the first ship to contact the strangers had been some horrific misunderstanding and as such remained in contact with their home world right up to the very last moments. After that they cut off all contact with their remaining satellites as well as the colonies and the other generational ships. Not knowing and being able to hold onto hope was superior to witnessing the fate of their fellows.

      After hearing the sad story of the Kssra’t’ar crews from across the universe volunteered to help search for the other ships. Humanity offered sympathy, but as their nearest ships were too far away they regretfully informed that they would be unable to help in the search effort. Instead they requested to be sent copies of any information available on what happened to the Kssra’t’ar home world. Perhaps it was because of humanity’s reputation as the rememberers of dead worlds, perhaps it was because they sensed something strange about the outcast species, the Kssra’t’ar agreed. Human eyes were the first to see recordings left unwatched for three generations, their ears were the first to hear the last unanswered cries for mercy shouted on a world long dead.

      While the rest of the universe searched humanity organized an effort of their own. To the rest of the universe it seemed that the strange, violent species had come of age, all internal conflict seemed to stop as the humans banded together. Ships left to gather dust were refitted, new ships were built and humanity as a whole began a massive reorganization of people and resources. All who observed saw it as just another of the strange species’ inherent insanities. They promised help in the search, but sent no ships, just countless swift satellites, fanning out sensor arrays keyed for highly specific signals.

      When the first of the search ships sent back what ended up being its final transmission a report that they had found what might have been a surviving Kssra’t’ar ship, possibly one of the mobile colonies judging by its size, humanity began to move.

      It took them nearly sixty eight point five standard cycles to get their ships in position, by which time the gorgeously colored ships with their seemingly impossible weaponry had made it far into known space, guided by the very search parties hoping to help the Kssra’t’ar. Planets in their path were evacuated, but there were more refugees than there were places for them to go and xenocide on an incomprehensible scale took place. Efforts were made to communicate the strange and terrible ships, but no response was ever given.

      The human ships, when they arrived, made no such efforts. They responded to the attack in kind, destroying the ships without mercy, taking no prisoners. That humanity was a violent and mad species had been common knowledge for so long that the rest of the universe stopped considering what it meant. For the first time in history the universe learned what it truly meant for humanity to go to war. After countless generations in space humanity had found something it had always suspected to be out there, a species as violent as they were and it seemed that they were glad for it.

      Every one of the ships they came across was obliterated, though they suffered losses as well. The weapons of the colorful ships were powerful, but the humans fought with a ferocity forged from countless generations of bloodshed. On and on the war went, the first war the universe had known that took place between two sapient and spacefaring peoples. Humanity suffered countless casualties, their sleek and deadly ships blasted into scattered debris, but they fought on. While the rest of the universe despaired they pressed on and with each planet lost, each species left homeless, humanity fought even harder. They drew upon the resources of the worlds they had colonized for themselves, the dead worlds they had adopted and eventually, the assistance offered by other species. Humanity was the only species actively fighting, but by the time the war reached its turning point, they did not fight alone.

      They pursued the invaders, driving them back to their home system until finally a signal was sent out, one that shocked the universe at a time when most sapients thought themselves numbed to shock.

      The invaders, the human commanders reported, were willing to surrender and if the Kssra’t’ar people wished, their surrender would be accepted.

      It was an appalling offer to make to the Kssra’t’ar people, who had been but one amongst many to suffer at the hands of the invaders, and so the decision was turned to the Council of Sapient Peoples. By this point in the war humanity had suffered a literal decimation, having been alone on the frontlines, but they were still willing to leave the final say in the hands of all those who had suffered, all those who had assisted in the effort. There was some talk, mostly quiet whispering about how this was because humans were used to such things, having admitted doing it to themselves on more than one occasion in their history. Faced with the gravity of the situation, the whisperings were quickly silenced and the Council wrestled with the situation presented to them. Killing an entire species, despite what they had done, was too horrific a thing to contemplate, and the decision was left to humanity alone. It was expected that they would kill off the invaders and resume their solitary exploration of the stars.

      Instead what they did proved the insanity of their species once and for all. They allowed the invaders to surrender and when the process of rebuilding began they offered assistance to the very beings they had fought so long against. It was madness on a species wide scale, but to humanity it was simply the way things were done once a war ended.

      Shortly thereafter humanity was invited to end its position as the pariah of the universe and join as members of the Council of Sapient Peoples, an offer they agreed was generous if long overdue. There was a problem though, they refused to join unless the invaders they had so recently made peace with were allowed to do so as well.

      • …guess who read a comment on a blog post and ended up spending an hour and change writing something original rather than fanfiction for once? Please don’t judge me, I wrote it all at once and clicked submit without thinking to look over what I’d written. Hopefully I didn’t make and mistakes that are too painfully stupid. My stomach still churns when I think of the mistakes I’ve made in some of the fanfics I’ve written…

        • Don’t judge you? Like heck– that’s beautiful.

        • I see no mistake in conception or execution.
          Nicely done.

        • Wow. That’s great!

        • I choked up. Let us know if you turn it into a full length story/novel series/whatever, okay?

        • Feather Blade

          That’s excellent. You should continue with the writing of original things.

          The only question I would have is about the phrase “literal decimation”… unless you meant to say that the humans only lost 10% of their population, then, no problem. ^_^

          Are you going to keep the end there or do we get to find out if the humans join the council?

          • 10% of the population, which would be heavy on the young adults, is pretty dang horrific.

            • …And in the second instance, considering it’s a fight taken to the enemy and therefore casualties would have to consist of people we packed off into space for the express purpose of fighting them and still leave enough survivors to win, appears to indicate a fairly stunning war effort.

              (Probably a heck of a lot better percentage than waiting for them to find Earth, though.)

          • Yeah, that’s what I meant. It’s a phrase I’ve been looking for an excuse to use for a while now.

            • Clark E Myers

              And still touchy – literal to mean one in ten and yet not to mean punished for cowardice in the face of the enemy?

              I’d scratch it first on the general principle of scratching any passage the writer has fallen in love with and second on the policy of not making the reader stop, get out of the flow and think – which may be the same thing often enough. Somebody fairly successful or at least famous first said in words I can’t recall but to the general effect of scratching anything the writer is especially fond of on general principles – who was it?

              Or I’d expand by adding “the first time humans hadn’t done it to themselves.”

              • Maybe I’m an abnormal reader, but I didn’t have to stop and think about it.

                • I figured it meant what it said and probably, not misused for once.

                • Clark E Myers

                  Easy enough to not care but do tell me: how did you know it was/wasn’t self inflicted in context? And which was it?

                  If enemy inflicted it could hardly be literally decimated; if self inflicted it doesn’t match the tone in context.

                  Usage on decimate – as suggested by NPR using decimate (along with literally as something between an comparative and a superlative usage) as an enhancement of devastate – in the media has become exceedingly ambiguous.

                  I’ll acknowledge that I alert on every use of decimate just as I expect disinterested to be an enhanced form for uninterested but feel some slight pleasure when the usage matches the traditional meaning of lacking an interest in the sense of financial interest.

                  • Look, you’re trying to insist on a specific historical practice meaning when it says literal and is, additionally, crystal clear in context.

                    Paraphrasing several dictionaries on the origin of the word: decimare, from decimus [tenth], from decem [ten], and several even list “kill one in ten” as the original meaning, while pointing out that it was to describe a punishment.

              • As far as I’ve been able to find, the earliest “murder your darlings” quote is from somebody named Quiller-Couch, basically decrying the practice of inserting fancy verbal flourishes just to show off. Which is a fair point right up until you get to people who are really good at them and readers who enjoy them, perhaps.

                The version running around where it seems to mean getting rid of anything the author especially likes on general principles… strikes me as iffy. Yes, it’s important to cultivate the ability to consider whether any given element is actually working for the story as a whole, and it’s natural for that to take more effort for things you’re particularly attached to. But getting rid of things purely because the author likes them seems to me like a good way to wind up with stories that the author doesn’t care about finishing and nobody else will either.

                • –That said, I do think that using it twice this close together could call for an acknowledgement of the repetition, at least. If the tale were being edited in this form. *grin*

              • Jeff Gauch

                Decimation was the punishment of 9 members of a decade killing the randomly chosen 10th. Decimation was awarded to units that had deserted or shown cowardice in the face of the enemy. I think the first use is absolutely spot-on. The second one jars me because I have a thing about repetition and it seems to me that if humanity can inflict a 10% casualty rate in an internecine conflict a war of genocide would be substantially more gruesome.

        • That is a stellar outline of a multi-book series. Wow. Any chance of you expanding it? I think it could easily go on as long as Weber’s Honorverse.

        • Jeff Gauch

          You did that in under 2 hours?

          1) I hate you.

          2) Where can I give you money?

          3) When the heck can I buy the rest of it? Chop-chop.

      • Dang it, that stirred up dust…..

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        This would make an interesting story. [Smile]

        • Someday we’re going to have to compile all the fiction instigated/generated/committed around here and . . . Why is everyone looking at me and grinning?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Because you just volunteered yourself. [Very Very Very Big Grin]

      • Humanity, Hell Yeah! I enjoyed your story.

      • Expand it, self-pub it, make moolah!

      • snelson134

        Instead what they did proved the insanity of their species once and for all. They allowed the invaders to surrender and when the process of rebuilding began they offered assistance to the very beings they had fought so long against. It was madness on a species wide scale, but to humanity it was simply the way things were done once a war ended.

        It has a very long and honorable history:

        Rudyard Kipling
        Kitchener’s School
        1898

        Being a translation of the song that was made by a Mohammedan
        schoolmaster of Bengal Infantry (some time on service at Suakim)
        when he heard that Kitchener was taking money from the English to
        build a Madrissa for Hubshees — or a college for the Sudanese at Khartoum.

        OH, HUBSHEE, carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast!
        This is the message of Kitchener who did not break you in jest.
        It was permitted to him to fulfill the long-appointed years;
        Reaching the end ordained of old over your dead Emirs.

        He stamped only before your walls, and the Tomb ye knew was dust:
        He gathered up under his armpits all the swords of your trust:
        He set a guard on your granaries, securing the weak from the strong:
        He said: — ” Go work the waterwheels that were abolished so long.”

        He said: — “Go safely, being abased. I have accomplished my vow.”
        That was the mercy of Kitchener. Cometh his madness now!
        He does not desire as ye desire, nor devise as ye devise:
        He is preparing a second host — an army to make you wise.

        Not at the mouth of his clean-lipped guns shall ye learn his name again,
        But letter by letter, from Kaf to Kaf, at the mouths of his chosen men.
        He has gone back to his own city, not seeking presents or bribes,
        But openly asking the English for money to buy you Hakims and scribes.

        Knowing that ye are forfeit by battle and have no right to live,
        He begs for money to bring you learning — and all the English give.
        It is their treasure — it is their pleasure — thus are their hearts inclined:
        For Allah created the English mad — the maddest of all mankind!

        They do not consider the Meaning of Things; they consult not creed nor clan.
        Behold, they clap the slave on the back, and behold, he ariseth a man!
        They terribly carpet the earth with dead, and before their cannon cool,
        They walk unarmed by twos and threes to call the living to school.

        How is this reason (which is their reason) to judge a scholar’s worth,
        By casting a ball at three straight sticks and defending the same with a fourth?
        But this they do (which is doubtless a spell) and other matters more strange,
        Until, by the operation of years, the hearts of their scholars change:

        Till these make come and go great boats or engines upon the rail
        (But always the English watch near by to prop them when they fail);
        Till these make laws of their own choice and Judges of their own blood;
        And all the mad English obey the Judges and say that that Law is good.

        Certainly they were mad from of old; but I think one new thing,
        That the magic whereby they work their magic — wherefrom their fortunes spring —
        May be that they show all peoples their magic and ask no price in return.
        Wherefore, since ye are bond to that magic, O Hubshee, make haste and learn!

        Certainly also is Kitchener mad. But one sure thing I know —
        If he who broke you be minded to teach you, to his Madrissa go!
        Go, and carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast,
        For he who did not slay you in sport, he will not teach you in jest.

      • “They called themselves the Kssra’t’ar, which translated as simply and their ship the ‘Su’Kssra’t’ar’Zhul’ and described how, after their scientists had detected an anomalous radio signal the satellites they had scattered though their solar system winked out one by one.”

        Translated as simply what? That’s the biggest mistake I saw. Personally, I’d have probably broken that sentence into two, but that’s just me and it does work as it is.

        That was better than anything from Hollywood since Babylon 5. That’s something I would buy, and encourage everyone I know to buy too. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Jeff Gauch

      “My ancestors were enslaved and oppressed!” – Every human being in history.

  10. I am sorry, but the party you are attempting to reach is not in at present. Please forward all comments to the appropriate mailbox.

  11. Clark E Myers

    PBY-5A

  12. reddragonhawk

    Does this mean I can squirt hydrocortizone in the mouth of anyone who starts up with lefty nonsense? Because that would be loads of fun.

  13. reddragonhawk

    When you’re right, you’re right!

  14. Pingback: Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

  15. It strikes me that Auto-Immune disorder is another way of declaring you are sick of yourself — and that certainly fits America’s SJWs and such to a T. Looking at their attacks on our military, with insane RoE and crazed prosecutions (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420526/how-destroy-morale-army-special-forces-bing-west ), America seems to be engaged in full-on Lupus.

    Looking at the deal our president seems intent on giving Iran (and what he has already delivered unto them) I cannot imagine how he would have acted differently had the Iranians bought him the presidency (and, sadly, remembering those unblocked overseas internet “contributions” his campaigns have received, I cannot say he wasn’t.)

    • If jug-ears in the White House were as clever as he thinks he is, I’d suspect him of setting them up for a good, brisk invasion when they welch on the deal.

      • How does the old saw go:
        If he were twice as smart as he is he would still be only half as smart as he thinks he is?

        That strikes me as unduly optimistic regarding our goat-rodeo leader. If he were four times as smart as he is he would still be only a quarter as smart as he thinks he is seems much closer to the mark.

        I think Barry would lecture Aquinas on moral philosophy (hell, I think he’d lecture Jesus.) I wonder the man can shave for the glare of his brilliance blinding him.

      • Wile E Obama, Super-genius:
        Arab allies looking anywhere but to America for friendship
        By Benny Avni
        As America and partnering world powers toil in Vienna to turn Iran into their BFF, our traditional, now jilted, Arab allies are looking for love in all the wrong places.

        Can you blame them, though?

        [SNIP]

        … we’re beginning to see a reversal. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suspects that the United States no longer has his back, so he’s turning east.

        [SNIP]

        … now the Saudis, too, are seeking Russia’s friendship.

        Two weeks ago, Riyadh’s newly minted deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, popped up in St. Petersburg for an international economic conference.

        A 29-year-old Saudi prince — a defense minister, King Salman’s favorite son and a strong candidate to succeed him — doesn’t come to Russia just to see the beautiful churches of St. Petersburg. Mohammed was there to make a statement, and also to sign deals — including, most importantly, in nuclear technology.

        Why would Saudis seek help in developing nuclear-energy technology? Surely not because they lack home-grown energy resources.

        And why in the world would Riyadh turn to Russia, of all places, for help? After all, both countries rely on oil exports to maintain their economies, so they’re fierce competitors.

        [SNIP]

        Until recently, the Saudis have mostly relied on the United States for all of their defense needs. Now they’re playing catchup: Public bravado aside, the Saudis are light years behind Iran in developing nuclear capability.

        [SNIP]

        As American and Iranian diplomats itch to sign an oh-so-historic nuclear deal, our traditional allies are looking anywhere but to America for friendship.

        It’s a desperate pursuit. Egypt would much rather bank on the old, reliable American dollar than on the volatile ruble, to say nothing of the value of having the US military train its officers. And Saudi Arabia is more comfortable doing business with America than with Russia or China.

        But, as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said this week, Washington now sees Iran as the solution, while Israel — and America’s traditional Arab allies — see it as the problem.

        We’re yet to witness any reciprocation for our efforts to befriend Iran. (Starting with an end to Tehran’s “death to America” chants, maybe?)

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Not just our president. Justin Trudeau (of the House Trudeau) is vowing to normalize relations with Iran and end Canada’s mission against ISIS.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I meant of course “your”. Sigh.

        • Well, at least our philosopher-king has exacted a high price from the Castros for reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

          As I understand it, beatings of political prisoners will occur of the sight lines of American visitors, so long as those visitors keep their eyes straight ahead.

          What was it Churchill said about Munich? “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war.”

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        And what’s really funny is that some of the same Canadians who will sneer at the States for nominating another Clinton or Bush will have no problem voting for another Trudeau.

  16. Over at PowerLine, Steven Hayward cites this excerpt from Richard John Neuhaus’ 1984 book The Naked Public Square:

    When the democratically affirmed institutions that generate and transmit values are excluded, the vacuum will be filled by the agent left in control of the public square, the state. In this manner, a perverse notion of the disestablishment of religion leads to the establishment of the state as church…

    Our problems, then, stem in large part from the philosophical and legal effort to isolate and exclude the religious dimension of culture…only the state can…”lay claim to compulsive authority.”…of all the institutions in societies, only religion can invoke against the state a transcendent authority and have its invocation seconded by “the people” to whom a democratic state is presumably accountable. For the state to be secured from such challenge, religion must be redefined as a private, emphatically not public, phenomenon. In addition, because truly value-less existence is impossible for persons or societies, the state must displace religion as the generator and bearer of values…

    [T]he notion of the secular state can become the prelude to totalitarianism. That is, once religion is reduced to nothing more than privatized conscience, the public square has only two actors in it – the state and the individual. Religion as a mediating structure…is no longer available as a countervailing force to the ambitions of the state…

    If law and polity are divorced from moral judgment…all things are permitted and…all things will be done…When in our public life no legal prohibition can be articulated with the force of transcendent authority, then there are no rules rooted in ultimacies that can protect the poor, the powerless and the marginal…

    Politics is an inescapably moral enterprise. Those who participate in it are…moral actors. The word “moral” here…means only that the questions engaged [in politics] are questions that have to do with what is right or wrong, good or evil. Whatever moral dignity politics may possess depends upon its being a process of contention and compromise among moral actors, not simply a process of accommodation among individuals in pursuit of their interests. The conflict in American public life today, then, is not a conflict between morality and secularism. It is a conflict of moralities in which one moral system calls itself secular and insists that the other do likewise as the price of admission to the public arena. That insistence is in fact a demand that the other side capitulate…

    The founding fathers of the American experiment declared certain truths to be self-evident and moved on from that premise. It is a measure of our decline into what may be the new dark ages that today we are compelled to produce evidence for the self-evident…”

    Perhaps this sheds light on some of the forces at work in our nation’s capitol.

  17. My experience with autoimmune includes sarcoid, diabetes, IBS, and other troubles. My wife was diagnosed with Lyme, RA, and had asthma and eczema when younger.

    We go with the Marshall Protocol definition of autoimmune – a chronic infection of the immune system itself, which once compromised let’s in lots of other bugs which cause the wide range of autoimmune problems. (And we go with it because the MP has worked for us.)

    The relation now becomes between autoimmune, and the Frankfurt schools long march through the institutions. Churches are intended to maintain morality and tradition, courts to maintain law and legal tradition, schools to teach the young in the (old) ways of society. These are the parts of the immune system of any society, that maintain and protect the society, that fix problems.

    The immune system of Western Civilization is now dysfunctional. We are open to every degeneration. Where once public schools might have had a leveling function, to make sure all the new immigrants were acculturated, they now have a twisting function, to make sure the next generation lives in a different society. The churches applaud, the courts and police shut up those who dissent to this twist.

    What to do? I’ve not a clue, I’ve got to take the long odds bet that somebody smarter than me, and with more energy is going to come up with an idea that I can get behind.

    In the meantime, I’m just working on getting rid of the last vestiges of the sarcoid, to try and recover some of the time I’ve lost to that damned disease. Which should be easier, now that the wife has lost most of the RA troubles.