The Long March

I’m mostly alive, and sorry to be so late, but yesterday for reasons I can’t explain lest we all be commited, husband, older son and I felt a necessity to walk seven miles, uphill, through snow.  Younger son picked us up when we realized we simply didn’t have it in us to walk back.

It’s not the first time we did this, and it was both easier and more difficult than before.  Easier in that I really didn’t get tired till the last mile, more difficult because we did it in ice and snow, and like a right berk, I forgot to wear my snow boots, so that last mile I had to go baby steps and in waddle mode, which made my ankles hurt like living h*ll.

Of course it’s also 4 years since we last did it, but I must actually be in better shape than I was then, as my legs hurt like heck today, but the rest of me is not that TIRED.

Several take aways, of course, and part of the reason we did this is that we haven’t been exercising as we should and this was sort of our opening salvo warning to the body we’ll be doing more stuff (yes, we probably DO do it backwards.  Deal.) and our assessment of how bad the situation is.

The answer is both not that bad and dismal.  Not that bad, because we can still do this stuff, though it takes us longer, and our legs hurt the next day.  Dismal because heaven forbid we had to actually walk any distance, say, because the highways are clogged with cars fleeing the city.

When I was young and in college, I went to college about 10 miles from the house, and periodically, when the weather was fine and I didn’t need to have stuff done right that moment — say twice a month — I’d walk all the way home.  Now this was ten miles as the crow flew, probably 12 to 14 otherwise.  But here’s the thing, in my grandma’s time when walking was the main form of locomotion for those not rich enough to own a carriage, people walked six to seven miles regularly, for jobs, for studying, for recreation even.

Which brings to halfway through walk, older son said “you know, this is what we evolved to do.  We’re not faster than most of our prey, and we don’t have the claws and teeth to bring them down.  What we are is relentless.  We would follow herds day and and night, not letting them rest, until the weak and the elderly fell behind, and then we had them.  Hunting bands survived this way.  This is what they did.

Which brings us to the long march through the institutions.  In a way when the left started its long march through the institutions they were just practicing ancient hunting practices, with Western Civilization as its prey.

Now their long march might or might not come to fruition, but you can’t avoid realizing that for people whose ideas are at best silly and at worst downright harmful, they’ve achieved remarkable success by taking over what they could and grooming their kids to take over more.

It is not their fault that the fields they’ve completely taken over, like academia, literature, art and news reporting are escaping their grasp.  Yes, sure, the fact that all these fields are in major crisis IS their fault, or at least the fault of their philosophy which, in contact in reality, doesn’t hold up and tends to make people make decisions (and national policy too!) based on the reality inside their heads, implanted there by the cult of Marx.  But the thing is, without new technology to allow us to escape their grasp, we’d be stuck with the crisis AND with leftist control.

However, again, for a philosophy whose proudest achievement is the killing of a hundred million human beings (and that’s lowballing it, as Colonel Kratman says) to take over those many institutions and not to be laughed out of polite (or worse, impolite) society is a testimony to the effectiveness of the long march.

And it has been long.  They’ve been at it for close on a hundred years.

Meanwhile our side seems to think we can do with the hunting techniques of cheetahs.  We are not cheetahs.  We are just human.

The RINOs you complain about are RINOs now but they weren’t always.  I don’t know how many of you remember the seventies.  The right here was kind of like the right in Europe.  It assumed that in the end communism would not only win, but DESERVED to win, and what the right disagreed with was the way to get there.  It is useful to remember this was a time when William Buckley’s dictum that conservatism was “Standing astride History  yelling stop” found deep resonance.  Unpack that phrase.  It assumes history comes with an arrow, that it’s not going our way, and that at best we can get it to pause.

Those RINOs who, by the way, took immense flack back then were as conservative as anyone dared to be.  Because everyone knew in the end the reds won.

Then the wall fell down and we knew what true horrors lurked on the other side.

Individuals process these things fast enough.  Well, my generation, at any rate, awakened by Reagan and shown that the win of the dark side was not inevitable, was  more pro-freedom than people ten years older than us.

But when we saw the wall fall down, it pushed many of us further into the liberty side of the isle.  Not only wasn’t a communist win inevitable, but their vaunted “strengths” like superior planning and better minority integration didn’t exist unless you really wanted to plan for three million size thirty boots for the left foot only, and integration meant grinding the minorities very fine and spreading them in the soil.

However cultures aren’t individuals.  Cultures re-orient and process startling events very slowly.

Yeah, those older Republicans are still with us, and they were over 45 when the wall fell, which means they couldn’t reorient anymore.  (Studies have been done.)

Because we tend to draw our leadership from the older people whose “turn has come” that means you get a lot of those older Republicans.

It doesn’t mean the party is dead.  The fact that there is strife at all means some of us have stopped standing astride history yelling stop and are busy building new roads for history to run on: only this time faster, better, and with more freedom for as many individuals as possible.

Yeah, we’re going to “lose some” via our “elites” i.e. the grand old men in the party betraying us.  This is not their world.  Reality changed too fast, and they don’t get it.  But their time is limited and we can work harder to replace them.

Look, at least it’s not like traditional publishing where most of them are singing “If you’re happy and you know it” while washing down the drain, and the only house that will save itself has long been an outcast.

There is strife.  Strife means the old blood and the new don’t agree.  Another way to look at it is renewal.

Problem is advocates of liberty are about as good at coordinated action as a bunch of cats.  I pretty much laughed myself (Physically) sick when I read that the Sad Puppies “strictly enforced slate voting.”  Not only did the numbers completely deny this (the only lockstep voting was no award) but the idea of anyone on our side doing anything “lockstep”just about…  Giggle, snort.

If you told most people on our side “you have to do it this way, it’s the only way” you’d get “Who’s gonna make me, you and whose army?”  And if you said “you have to do it this way or we’ll kill you,” you’re still likely to get “You’re not the boss of me.”  We should have “Stupidly individualistic” stamped on our foreheads.

So long, coordinated marches like what the left (they of the collectivist will) executed are really impossible for us.

On the other hand… On the other hand, we seem to do pretty well in our long uncoordinated march of building under and building around and building over.

We might all be marching in different directions and to the tune of a different kettle of fish, but the other side is so profoundly incompetent, that even so we can still replace the moribund institutions they took over.

It’s just going to take a little while.  Not a hundred years, but probably twenty.  Not three generations, but one and a half.

In the end we win, they lose, but you can’t stop when your ankles first start hurting.

The last mile of the long march is always the hardest one, but the goal is almost in sight.

Be not afraid.

Sursum Corda.




235 thoughts on “The Long March

  1. Marching in multiple directions IS winning. Liberty is each of us choosing our own direction and then learning what works and improving on it. Tyranny is having one direction chosen for us and forced upon us.

  2. You need a dog that will make you take him/her for a walk. [Wink]

    Since I can’t throw Lilly into the back yard (don’t have one now), I have to take her for a walk! [Grin]

      1. Not while we’re in a rental. Or while we’ve got four cats. Afterwards, it’s in the plans. We’d get something with hair, because Marsh is allergic to dogs, and even if he doesn’t live with us, in the future, we’d like him to visit.

            1. Hungarian Kuvasz are generally non-allergenic and medium-ish on actually shedding. They are wonderful guardbeasts and awesome friends for the right temperament of people (livestock guardian dogs and must be reminded of who is the superior life form). If you like big and smart, it might be worth investigating. But kinda difficult. (Why no. I’m not biased. At all. *pets her handy Kuvasz*)

              Shutting up now because I can talk about dogs for HOURS.

              1. Interesting. I never heard of the Kuvasz before. The only Hungarian breed I knew of was the one that looked like a living mop (which the internet informs me is a Komodor).

                1. Kuvasz look like curly white Goldens, more or less. But they don’t think like Goldens. Much more oriented toward “is human safe?” than “is human happy?”…but the sense of partnership you can get from one that you’ve reached an Understanding with is really awesome. 🙂

              2. I can talk about LGDs for hours, too. My personal preference is the Maremma Sheepdog. Ours, Buffy the Coyote Slayer, is the best dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing a life with.

                She is best friends with chickens, ducks, guineas and peafowl, and with my colored angora goats.

                But she still loves human attention.

                And she keeps me on my toes.

                1. Maremmas are awesome. I love LGD mindset and behavior…though our half-Pyrenees mix Bear got all the stubborn and none of the initiative. Getting him out of a room he wants to be in is *fun*.

                  (I might have once yelled “Bearines, we are LEAVING!” while dragging him, on his back, across a hardwood floor to get him out of the computer room.)

            2. There are two different breeds in that name…

              There’s an Old English Sheepdog, and then there is the English Shepherd.

              One’s a mop with legs, and the other is a slightly less sneaky and somewhat larger Border Collie.

              English Shepherds are smart, but not nearly as… twisted… as the Border Collie. The neighbor’s Border Collie will open the farmyard gate, and steal your sheep, whilst giving you a look of utter innocence. Guile and sneak, personified–Watch them herd sheep, and you’ll see the body language of a creature bred for grand theft, barnyard animal. The English Shepherd is nowhere as cunning, and demonstrates a forthright style of herding that simply bears no resemblance to that of its cousin, the Border Collie.

              Same rootstock, utterly different dogs. The English Shepherd is what you get after generations of steady work in a very middle-class and respectable environment. The Border Collie is what you get after steady exposure to the trailer-park ne’erdowells whose descendents peopled the Appalachians…

              1. Heeeeyyyy. Just because some of my ancestors got tossed out of Scotland, Ireland (Ulster), North Carolina, and Tennessee for “liftin’ th’ kai” is no reason to call us . . . never mind.

                1. If I remember correctly…

                  It was Austria, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, the whole of the East Coast, then ended up in Appalachia in the land nobody else wanted. And grew roots so cussed deep nobody bothers to pry us out.

                  Trailerparks were built to keep the likes of us *in* rather than put fences up around everywhere *else.* *chuckle* At least, that’s the way it seems to this Oddball of the clan.

                2. Hell, I’m descended from Borderers, as well. I’m just honest enough to acknowledge that there are some reasons we got our asses thrown out, not the least of which include that whole “grand theft bovine/ovine” thing.

                  Border Collies were our willing companions and fellow thieves. The English Shepherd is, I’m afraid, the equivalent of the respectable settled types that lived well south of the border, and who were far too respectable to participate in the shenanigans we sorts got up to. Not to mention, not nearly cunning and sly enough to bear considerable watching…

                  (Which is a favorite quote, regarding we lower enlisted swine, from a 19th Century officer’s guidebook. The passage discusses enlisted men and NCOs, and goes something like “…enlisted men are extremely cunning and sly, and bear considerable watching…”.

                  You won’t go far wrong in thinking of the English Shepherd as representing the respectable officer class, and the Border Collie his far less reputable enlisted equivalent…)

                  1. Another point… The Border Collie is a lot closer to the tradition of the Southwestern Indian god Coyote than the English Shepherd. You’d never find a forthright English Shepherd getting up to the chicanery that a trickster Border Collie will, in just the course of a normal workday. English Shepherd wants you to throw the ball? They’re gonna come over with it in their mouth, and put it into your hand. Border Collie wants to play? They’re gonna do the classic “sneak”, and just drop that ball somewhere around your feet, and then withdraw to snicker as you trip over the damn thing…

                    You’ll never hear the Border Collie coming, you’ll never see him leave–You’ll just note the sudden appearance of the ball, underfoot. They herd similarly, by indirection and stealth. They absolutely love playing mind games with the stock, and I think there have been several cases of sheep suffering nervous breakdowns after they pissed off their Border Collies by not doing what the dogs want. They’re sly little bastards, and herd partially by indirection…

                    1. They herd similarly, by indirection and stealth.

                      Probably depends on the stock. I knew some people once who had a farm in central Connecticut. Their border collie, Keeper, was not only used to herd their (giant) hogs, but also to get their children to the table at mealtimes.

                3. They named the dang full moon after my kin, we were so notorious. Why yes, I am rather proud of my unsavory ancestry. 🙂
                  *starts singing Thogail nam Bo – To Lift the Cattle*

              2. Heh. You just described my dogs. We’d always wondered why our German shepherd/Australian shepherd had been (who am I kidding? still is) such a cunning handful. Then we took him to his new vet who immediately exclaimed, “Oh! What a beautiful border collie mix!” Turns out, that other thing our shepherd is mixed with is border collie. So, of course, the only thing we could do is adopt another BC mix from the shelter.

                Currently, my husband and I are operating on a level of sanity usually reserved for padded rooms and jackets that let you give yourself a hug.

            3. We have an English Shepard. She tried for the first to years to dominate everyone. Except the cat who kept beating her up when she was little. She mostly ignores her now.
              She is sneaky, and almost….almost knows how to open doors with turn knobs. She also beat up the pitbull next door. Apparently he was not expecting her to time her jump at the fence so she could lunge her snout over and grab his tongue while he was snarling.
              After that we all got six foot fences.
              She also sheds enough every day to knit a new puppy.
              When we get a bigger place I want a whole pack of them.
              She was attacked at nine months by a coyote with no warning in our front yard.
              The coyote left a blood train. She got a dog yummy.

              1. Our backup dog is an English Shepherd/something mix. Something else possibly being Pit Bull… The Border Collie is the alpha, but the mix? Yeesh. Stubborn like a pit, smart like an English Sheperd, and about the sweetest thing I’ve ever met, dog-wise. Terribly sad old eyes, like she knows some ancient truths that would freeze your blood, and prone to these bouts of affection that take your breath away.

                She’s entirely too straightforward to be anything like an alpha around the Border Collie. The Border uses her as a tool, because she’s too shy to open the door, she goes and gets her protege, who I swear will go to the door, look out the window, and then manipulate the door lever like she was a damn human. I wish I’d filmed that, when I caught her in the act. One paw at the bottom of the window, looking out, sees the cat–And, then, reaches for the door lever exactly like a human would, with the other one. Spooky.

                You can’t argue with me that dogs don’t have agency or souls. There’s entirely too much “there”, when you look into their eyes, and they know us far too well. Manipulative little bitches, all. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out they’ve been breeding humans for thousands of years, now, seeking better “hands” and more effective ball throwers.

                ‘Tis entirely possible that the human race owes its existence to the fact that some wolves found out we could throw balls for them. Staggering thought, that…

                1. More likely just sticks, back then, and maybe a femur or two. We had to work up to the level of making balls.

        1. we’ve got four cats.

          Dogs and cats are not necessarily incompatible. We currently have two of each. It’s best to get the dog young enough that the cats can teach him his place. Once the dog realizes that the cats are part of the pack everything is good. If you are really lucky, the dog and cat may become best buds.

    1. i agree you should get a dog. not only that, jim butcher say that you need a dog (or was that larry)

            1. Been following it for years. Hey, a webcomic with decent writing where the engineer is the good guy? When choosing to surround myself with useful and beautiful things, that definitely makes the list.

  3. Martin, you need to think about the difference between the tactical and the strategic, as well as the ultimate goal and the path to get there. Marching in multiple directions _eventually_ is a goal. If you mistake that goal for the path, you get picked off, one at a time, by the ones marching in lock step. If you mistake the strategy – tritely put, “we win, they lose” – for the tactics – “We’re going to spend communism into the grave” then you will be the loser, not them.

    1. “If you mistake that goal for the path, you get picked off, one at a time, by the ones marching in lock step. ”

      This, I believe is called “Defeat in detail”, and is what is currently happening.

      This is, I think, because of two things. One is that a significant number of people who assert they are on our side are really just progressives who disagree with many of the left’s goals. They disagree with “free love”, abortion on demand, the elimination of private property etc. These are folks like Dick Santorum and Newt Gingringch. Sometimes called “neo-cons” (which isn’t always inaccurate), these folks are just really Religious Progressives–they still mean to be masters, they just mean to be *Christian* masters. This is, to me, just as unacceptable as the Secular Progressives as it is just as destructive to individual autonomy.

      Ultimately the biggest problem though is that there are very few of us who really are pro-freedom. Most people–even most “libertarians”–have a very narrow band or two of things they want to be without restriction (or with very little restriction) while they want light to massive restriction on other things.

      That and “we” generally distrust crowds and the madness therein.

      1. Of course, if you’re too pro-freedom, you become an anarcho-capitalist, and then find yourself in arguments where you try to explain how getting rid of all government except for that which you choose to have isn’t going to be the end of all civilization, unless it’s done all at once, of course…at least, until Sarah tells you and those you are arguing to stop it, because the thread has just gotten too darn long…

        Or so I’ve heard. I, of course, have *never* participated in such comment-threads. *Tries innocent look.* Hey, why is everyone laughing?

        1. The problem of Freedom is that, like fire, too much of it can be destructive of that which provides its sustenance. Thus the debate over how much is healthy (as much as you can safely handle is sorta like the problem of alcohol — how much you think you can handle and how much other people can handle you when you’ve been indulging can cause considerable friction.) While we all agree that the American People can handle more Freedom than we’re currently being permitted (I thought the government was s’posed to be our servant, but the gummint apparently thinks otherwise) we are left running about looking for happy mediums to knock about.

          1. The insurmountable problem with Anarchy is the sociopath. He will has no ethical limits and no compunction about lying and manipulating to get what he wants. He is charismatic, clever and often highly intelligent (the less intelligent ones tend to be overtly violent, and thus in a AC environment get identified early on by being a corpse).

            Charisma and sociopathic behavior are incredibly dangerous mixtures. See “William Jefferson Clinton” for a recent example.

  4. First thought – gee, I hope there were coffee or chocolate and bizcuchitos at every house on the way (thinking of Las Posadas routes I’ve helped with).

    Second thought – dig, dig, dig, build, build, build, teach, teach.

  5. “What do we want?”
    “*sounds of many people saying many different things at the same time*”
    “When do we want it?”
    “*once again, sounds of many people saying different things while the occasional fight breaks out about time scales and methodology*”

    Yup, that’s us, lockstepping right along.

    1. It’s a bit of a trick to get individualists to organize. Anything. Unless there’s food, free drinks, and booze. Did I mention food?

      1. Well, sure, if you wrap it around food, 3500 years later they’re still eating unleavened bread, never mind that they’re thousands of miles away and the villains in power at the time have been under the heel of several successive empires since…

        1. Hey, determination and a possessive deity (and patience, and smarts, and a willingness to defend oneself when necessary) will win pretty much every time. As long as you don’t irk said deity. (This week’s texts were Isiah 43 and the bits from Deuteronomy about “Don’t worship idols. I’m not kidding.” Did I mention possessive?)

          1. That has struck me as a sort of “You are not allowed to run the experiment” kind of thing. I had some ‘missionaries’ show up once and I talked to them for a bit. They suggested I ought to pray for a week or two and note the changes. They did not like my idea of running a baseline of not doing so first, or praying to a lamppost or hydrant for a week or two as well, as a control. Power of suggestion, it look{-ed,-s} like to me.

            1. Speaking as a one-time missionary myself, I admit I probably would have laughed and told you to go for it. (But then, I’m of the firm opinion that God has a decidedly twisted sense of humor anyhow.)

              1. I was at church once and having an internal argument with God about the sermon as it went on. The cynical part of my mind said something about “yeah, and if it were REALLY God you were hearing they would play [old family favorite hymn that is incredibly obscure].”

                They did.

                I stopped in my tracks, looked up, and said “FINE then…”

  6. we simply didn’t have it in us to walk back.

    Walking seven miles uphill in the snow one way is one thing, but walking back uphill is another.

    Are you yelling at kids to get off you lawn yet?

    1. Most people, until they’ve tried it, don’t realize how difficult it is to walk downhill, especially on a treacherous surface such as snow and ice. You’re constantly using a different, less strong set of muscles and keeping the weight back rather than leaning into the stride.

      1. Unfortunately, I realize all too well. The rebuilt knee doesn’t do down nearly as well as it does up. Which can lead to interesting complications when climbing mountains, or, ah, talking one’s dearest darling husband into a tour of Mammoth Cave’s system…

          1. Dot, Dot, Dot of the mountains
            Fast as fast can be.

            Dot, Dot, Dot of the mountains
            Watch out for that tree!

        1. My (damaged but non-rebuilt) knee is the same. Discovering that was somewhat embarrassing, as I normally don’t have much in the way of slopes around me day-to-day. That day, I was on a day hike in the mountains with my girlfriend, and when we were almost to the turnaround point, I had to send her back to get the car and pick me up.

        2. Yeah, there are certain parts of Mammoth Cave which can wear out a person who is not in good condition. Ask me how I know…

      2. Depends on the downhill, and how steep. If short, and less than around 60 deg, you can usually run it. Long, if you can zig zag, you might could jog it. Or, if cold and wet enough, and you thought to bring a sled…

      3. Heh. After mostly going down stairs for about 20 years I have a paper signed by a doctor which says I can’t do them anymore in my work (not for hours, I could do routes where I have a few apartment houses, but only something like up to six or so stairwells). Which is why I now have those rather easy paper routes in the countryside I do with the company car. I was also told going UP is no problem, what I should not be doing is going down on stairs. So I suppose I could do more apartment houses if I just used the stairs to go up and then came down in the elevator… (not damn likely).

  7. When I read about people in the fifties and even the sixties, it amazes me how United States politicians dedicated to the fight against the Soviet Union would privately despair that the Soviet Union was destined to surpass us, because there was no way for our economy to outstrip a planned economy. Even as our economy was outstripping the planned economies of the world.

    It shouldn’t amaze me, but it does.

      1. Some of them realized the Soviet Union wasn’t doing as well as we were at that time, but just believed that a planned economy must by nature catch up.

        1. I argued with a lefty friend who insisted China will surpass us due to them planning their economy.
          Why is the concept of the efficiency of individual initiative and free markets such a hard sell to ‘smart’ people?

          1. Ah, the Chinese “got it right” but the Soviets “didn’t get it right”. [Evil Grin]

          2. Planned…. right. Saw an article recently on the Chinese version of the demographic crisis with interviews from two different Chinese bureaucrats.

            BC1: We must encourage our women to have more children so we will have more workers in the future!

            BC2: We must become a world leader in developing robotic factories so we won’t need workers.

            Yeah, this will end well.

          3. I think it’s such a hard sell because the “smart” people have enough imagination to think, “If I was in charge, I’d do things better than that.” And they’re often right about some inefficiency they’re identifying in a particular process, and that they could have done that particular thing better. What they usually fail to recognize is the scope of the knowledge problem. They know they’re smart, so they think that their being in charge (or, failing that, other people as smart as them being in charge) would solve everything. They often don’t realize just how much there is to know about an economy, and how overwhelmed any centralized decision maker(s) quickly become.

            Being a programmer, I usually want to make my case for decentralized planning by talking about the cathedral vs. the bazaar (to borrow ESR’s excellent terminology — see his paper, which has since become a book, if you haven’t already). But for non-programmers, the “How do you make a pencil?” thought experiment is helpful. Just a few parts: wood, rubber, iron, graphite. But they all need to be harvested or mined, which requires workers and machines. Then they need to be shipped to the location where they’ll be assembled, which requires vehicles and drivers. Then they need to be assembled, which requires more workers and machines. And all the machines need maintenance, and the workers need to be paid. Now, you could have one central person in charge of all of that… or you could have a decision-maker at each location, who could more quickly respond to any changing local conditions. (This iron vein looks like it’s almost played out, better start looking for a new one. If we look soon enough, there’ll be no disruption of operations.) Then you’d need to have some system for allocating resources where they’re needed. Perhaps you could assign a numeric value to the importance of each part, and have some sort of “point” system for allocating resources where they’re needed…

            I don’t need to go into any more details for this crowd, of course. But start working up from the basic principles of how to make a pencil, and pretty soon you’ve established the need for distributed decision-making and money to tie the whole thing together via price-signaling.

          4. They think that competition is inherently inefficient, because it causes multiple people or groups to do the same work. They don’t understand that if there is no competition, there it no motivation to improve.

            1. Or perhaps they think competition is terrible because they’d have to compete, and they don’t think they should have to — not because they think they might lose (perish that thought!) but because they think it unseemly, undignified, unbecoming (and they think they might lose.)

            2. It is inherently inefficient. And obviously so, unlike planned economies, where the information problem is hidden.

            3. I think part of the problem is, we call it “competition”, which implies that there has to be one winner and a lot of losers.

              This misses the mark, though. Sometimes, there’s plenty of work to do, and “competition” merely means that you use Jim because Joe is busy, but both are excellent providers of your needs. Sometimes it means that only a handful of people have a certain need to be fulfilled, and neither Jim nor Joe are doing it, so you go ahead and do it in their stead.

              And sometimes it means realizing that Jim and Joe are both ok at what they do, and everyone goes to them for the work, because they are the only games in town, until your realize how to do what they do, but do it better. Sometimes this causes Joe and Jim to go out of business…but sometimes it means that Joe and Jim finally listen to their customers, and provide better services as well….

              1. Without competition we tend not to get innovation (see: American automobiles, 1955 – 1975) because there is little reason to change what is working and because the urge is to maximize capitalization on sunk costs (i.e., we’ve invested in that infrastructure and we’ll milk every last dime possible out of it.)

                Vested interests occupy the governing bodies, challenging any innovation as risky and dangerous and disruptive (see: taxi commissions and Uber.) The river & canal industry balks the development of railroads except as a means of getting goods to the docks, the railroad industry impedes trucking except as a convenience for getting goods to the railhead, and the truckers dislike drones and driverless vehicles except for such areas as inner cities where the trucks just don’t want to go.

                There is an argument to be made for a static society. It’s a stupid argument but it is the only argument they have and they’re going to make it. Efficiency is not the be-all and end-all of economic activity, else we would have only one teacher for each subject, delivering lessons via internet, TED talk, in-class projection, with low-paid learning facilitators to elaborate for those having trouble grasping the topic.

          5. Is that before or after all those new cities(and ghost cities) are destroyed by mud/refuse slides?
            Seriously shortly after I left there in 20008, one of the newly built apartment complexes in Beijing fell into its own cellar.

        2. yeah, there was a fairly steady stream of defectors who were telling the truth but were either ignored (why would someone want to leave such a great place, no?) or it was as you say, the belief they’d catch up and pass (no matter how many folks were trying to claim otherwise)

    1. That is because many Economists believed in a planned economy. At least my econ professor did.That mindset still infects the Democrats.

      1. Whether or not the Planned Economy outperforms the unplanned one, it is bound to do better by the planners.

    2. And of course, their much vaunted military was going to stomp us. Even though those actually in the know looked at their equipment and saw bad copies of ours. Really bad copies. I forget which class ship it was, but there were stories that a Spruance class would get alongside one, and slowly start increasing speed. And the Russian ship would step it up. And this would keep going until somewhere until about 33 knots or so. There’d be a puff of black smoke out the Russian stack, and it would go dead in the water. Every time. Also, their ships bristled with missiles. No reloads. We had a few on rails. And a large magazine below to keep the rails full. Didn’t look as deadly, but good if you intended to stick around for more then one salvo.

      1. Mistake not differing philosophies of war with effectiveness…

        Paraphrasing another discussion I’ve commented on, there are things that work, and then there are things that are pretty. A katana and the art of using it, kenjutsu, are both elegant and beautiful, when properly applied. However, one of the leading practitioners of that art took to using a training sword, or bokken, to simply beat his antagonists to death with, as opposed to actually using his sword. On one memorable occasion, Mushashi was on his way to a duel, when he remembered he’d forgotten his bokken. He carved one out of one of the oars of the boat he was using to get to the designated island, and then won the duel with it.

        Which is not to say that the katana is worthless, or that Mushashi thought it was, either. It is simply that craft and technique can often overwhelm the tools chosen for the job. It is entirely possible that the Soviets built inferior weapons, but did that matter if they used them better than we did? One of the key lessons of WWII, one that the Soviets took well to heart, was that the perfect weapon will fall before the slightly less superior one, every time, provided that the less superior weapon can be built and deployed in sufficient quantities to overwhelm the superior ones. Likewise, superior technique can utilize less superior weapons to overcome the most well-equipped force that is burdened with poor technique, leadership, and strategy.

        We are, thanks be to God, never going to know who would have won the North German Plain War Games Number 3. I rather suspect that had it happened, both sides would have had some rather unpleasant surprises, but that in the end, it probably would have been some third- or fourth-tier Soviet outfit driving WWII-surplus T34s that was left holding the irradiated field of battle… Numbers and brute-force have a way of winning, no matter how cool and sophisticated your weapons are.

        1. And quality has a quantity all its own. 🙂 The Russians had lots of tanks, and real problems keeping them maintained enough to be useful. They also had a giant aircraft…that could only land on something like two airfields, total, in the world. Numbers and brute force are great, but to be effective they have to *get* to the battlefield in useful form.

          1. They had a lot fewer maintenance problems than the Germans. They not only sent in maintenance crews much closer to the lines of battle, they also had a lot fewer designs.

            1. I think this particular tangent of the discussion is a hypothetical WW3 matchup, ala “Cold War turns Hot.”

            2. They had to. They didn’t maintain their T-34 engines and drive trains per se, for example. They ran them till the pistons pounded the cyliders oval and the transmissions bled metal flakes, then pulled the entire units and replaced them with complete fresh ones.

          2. Indeed, and we’re never going to know which school of thought would have prevailed. Our own vaunted “system” had plenty of its very own Achilles heels, ones that would have likely made life pretty rough for those of us down by the spear tip.

            Frankly, I think the Soviets had their issues. Thing was, they weren’t our issues, and the intersection of the two systems going to war against each other would have been… Illuminating, for the passive observer. Not so much, for the participants and innocent bystanders, that’s for sure. Unless by “illuminating” you mean “via irradiation”…

            What we now “know” about the performance of Soviet weapons needs to be tempered by the knowledge that those systems we went up against were not manned by the ethnic Russians that designed the damn things, nor were they actually quite the same systems the Red Army deployed. Sure, Soviet tanks blew up with great enthusiasm in the Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm, and whatever the hell we’re calling the last goat-rope, but does that translate into an answer to how they’d have performed in the hands of actual Soviets on the North German Plain? I wouldn’t stake money on the question, that’s for damn sure.

            I think we could have swapped weapons with the Iraqis, and still performed the curb-stomping we did. The issue wasn’t so much gear, it was a clash of military cultures. Ours at least managed to keep our people fed, fueled, and watered out in the desert. The Iraqi Army? Yeah, not so much. Give them the M1 tanks, and we’d still have been in Baghdad in two weeks.

            Similarly, I’m reasonably sure that the Soviets would have treated NATO similarly to how they dealt with Chechnya: Brute force and ignorance. How NATO would have weathered the storm, I don’t think anyone can answer–But, I do know the Soviets would have been a lot more effective than people like to think, in this era. They weren’t everything the Pentagon made them out to be, in the 1980s, but they weren’t the jokes everyone assumes today, either.

          3. A while ago, I toyed with the idea of designing a gun that would be just as easy to make as an AK-47, but as accurate as an AR-15/M-16. As I researched the topic, I was floored by an interesting claim in Wikipedia, if I recall correctly:

            The AK-47 is designed to be stamp-metal mass-produced; thus, to mass produce them, you typically need huge factories with giant forges that can punch out large quantities of metal. This mass-production method is well out of the reach of most people.

            However, the AR-15 can be mass-produced in a small machine shop that costs $20,000 to set up; such a thing is well within the reach of many Americans, and can be set up in a garage or a basement. Thus, the AR-15 is easier to mass-produce than the AK-47.

            To be sure, both AK-47s and AR-15s can be mass-produced in caves, using nothing but files and a drill press (thereby illustrating the challenge of controlling the gun supply)…but the plausible claim that the AR-15 can be easier to produce by a small shop took me by surprise…

            And this also illustrates (likely as a side effect of “shrinking” 3D printing and CNC machining) that, with enough innovation and individualism, you can have both quality and quantity!

        2. Reminds me of a story I read years ago. General in prison for treason. His group had conceived the perfect weapon, started building, and kept adding/modifying when another good idea came up. Lost the war from not building enough adequate weapons for trying to build the “one to win the war.” Wish I could remember names of story and writer, but am pretty sure it was in the second “There Will Be War” book.

        3. i can remember a quote from a captured german soldier, during wwII.
          *we are beating you easily, we are trading just one of our tanks for ten of yours, and every damn time you 11th tank would roll of the hill.*
          everyone talks about the quanity of the Russian army, but forgets the quanity of ours, while suppling the Russians with arms.

      2. There was an article in Harper’s in the early 1980s (OMG, I actually found it through internet search – behold the power of the fully-functional internet!) which postulated that the Mighty Russian Army was definitely not all that and a bag o’chips. (Looks like you have to sign in and read it as a PDF – sorry, chaps. Linky here – It was one of the very first articles in a fairly reputable magazine (which Harper’s used to be, once upon the day) to suggest that the Russian armed forces were pretty much a paper tiger.
        Sigh. I used to have subscriptions to both Harper’s and Atlantic. Good and worthy magazines in their day, and not unwelcoming to conservatives. Alas, Harper’s went to shite after 9-11 and Atlantic after the death of Michael Kelly in Iraq … my needs for information and considered opinionating were filled by various internet sources after 2003 – so yes, the long march has had casualties, including my subscription to both those publications.

        1. Traditionally, it takes the “Russian Steamroller” a long, long while to really get up and running. It is very likely the vaunted Red Army of the 1980’s was much closer to the corrupt paper tiger of 1914 than the victorious army of 1945.

          1. The thing about the Russians is that they have this nasty historical habit of being a bit… Unpredictable?

            The Germans went into Barbarossa, thinking they were gonna be fighting the Soviet Army that went into Finland. Instead, they got the entirely unexpected Soviet Army that curbstomped the Japanese Imperial Army in Manchuria, which was something that the Germans didn’t find out about until after the war, when the reports started coming to them via the US Army debriefings. Informed about Khalkin Gol, the Germans were utterly gobsmacked, and not a few claimed that, had they but known, that would have changed their military appreciation for the Soviets significantly.

            Go ahead. Invade Russia. Will you be dealing with the incompetents who defended against the Germans at Tannenberg, or the lot that turned Prussia and the Baltics into a charnel house in 1945? Who knows? Do you want to take that historical bet, though? Didn’t work out so well for Napoleon, Hitler, or the young Swedish chap who tried it, back when…

            My heartfelt advice? Leave them the hell alone. They’re utterly awful, when they are at their worst, but at their best? Something you don’t want to deal with. I’d suggest watching from the sidelines, and cheering on the poor bastards who have them for neighbors, but staying the hell out of the way.

            Ask the Finns. They know better than to goad the bear…

            1. The deciding factor seems to be Holy Mother Russia.
              Do not invade Holy Mother Russia.
              However, when they go outside Mother Russia, the results can be a tossup, very often a loss.

              1. Who was the giant in myth, who was Mother Earth’s son? The one who lost strength if he lost contact with her? Antaeus?

                That’s the historical truth of Russia, in some regards. The deeper into the Rodina you push, the stronger the bastards get.

                Of course, that doesn’t really account for the people who’ve manhandled the Rus, over the centuries. The Golden Horde kept them pretty much to heel… Until they couldn’t, any more. In the final analysis, they should have left the Russians the hell alone, too.

                I still think the path of wisdom is to leave the Russians to be Russian, and hove off the idea of invading the place.

            2. Kirk,

              I would quibble with your statements above. Barbarossa did find the Soviet Army from Finland and completely beat the snot out of it. What they weren’t expecting was that 2 years from now the Siberians and others would be back with the curb-stomping army. But even then – that army got cut to pieces by the retreating Germans.

              The numbers of divisions used in the East looks impressive – but from what I understand, many of the divisions were down to a thousand men as the Russians really didn’t pull divisions out of line nor did they send massive amounts of reinforcements – they would just form new divisions with new manpower. And the Germans would do it similarly (although earlier in the war they would pull a division out to rebuild it, but as the war lengthened this didn’t happen that much – unless they pulled it out from the East to throw it in in the West).

              OTOH the Americans would keep feeding new men into old divisions to keep them up to size, so on one front you would have an American Corps of 3 divisions and one Armored division with close to 100k men (including the normally attached Corps artillery and anti-tank units) on the other side you would have an Army with 20 divisions – and you would have roughly the same number of grunts on either side.

              I am not taking a side on the Soviet/Nato possibilities – mostly because I think that it would be logistics, how small units and junior officers/NCOs acted (on both sides) and what Poland decided to do that would have been the major deciders – and while I think many fascinating conversations could be held over drinks – I don’t think there is a definite answer.

              But this is all fascinating stuff to talk about.


              1. The really astounding thing is how confident the Germans were. After all, they’d just kicked in the door on the Western Front, and France almost literally fell into their hands. After all the risks they’d taken with the Sudetenland, the Rhineland, Austria, Poland, and come out on top, they were like habitual gamblers that just couldn’t leave the damn roulette table.

                Me, I’d have been more of a “Ya know… Somewhere, somehow, all this luck is going to end. Maybe it’s time to get up from the table, and cash in the chips…?”.

                Wasn’t Hitler’s mindset, though. He’d been so damn lucky, or so he thought, that it couldn’t be luck–It must have been destiny. Thing was, the fall of France had a lot to do with the whole COMINTERN thing, and the directives from the Soviets not to resist the Germans. There was a lot more sabotage and just plain obtuseness from the French Communist party than a lot of people realize. It’s possible that without the Communists serving to weaken the French resistance to the German attack, that we’d have seen a much different 1940. I’ve seen some claims that part of the reason why the French Air Force wasn’t properly deployed or equipped was that the French deputies who were supposed to be running that show were Communists, and had sabotaged the whole effort.

                Thing was, Hitler and the Germans had no business getting as far as they did. The fact that they did manage to almost win? A lot of the responsibility lays at the door of the pre-war politicians in Europe, and the overall excellence of the German Army. Fortunately for us, the Germans were terrible at grand strategy, industrial warfare, and a bunch of other issues.

                The fact that a mostly horse-drawn army managed to do as much damage as they did, however? Blame the general incompetence and fecklessness of the people running things. You read about the opening phases of Barbarossa, and you almost find yourself weeping for the sheer human pathos of the Soviet losses, and incredulous that it really happened. Given the material facts, the Germans should never have gotten past their start lines for that campaign, but due to the effect of Stalin’s purges, they were almost foreordained to win. For awhile, anyway… Nobody was counting on the possibility that the Soviets might be able to put together an effective modern combat force, and conduct true combined arms operations of the nature they did. The Germans made the mistake of granting the Soviets time and space to conduct on-the-job-training, and the results showed in ’44 and ’45…

                1. I can agree with all of that – but to amplify the French stuff – they had better tanks and a lot of them (many German anti-tank guns were built on the chassis of French tanks) but used them poorly. But mostly, I think, the French people didn’t think they could or should win – through the fecklessness of their leaders and the treason of the communists.

                  Same thing with the Soviets at first – the German tanks couldn’t penetrate the front armor of the KV-1, and couldn’t do it at combat ranges for the T-34. (There are instances of the German 50cm/48 hitting a T-34 20-30 times without disabling it.) Again, the Germans appropriated the 76.2mm gun of the Soviets and used it for themselves as an Anti-Tank gun. There was serious talk about building a knock-off T-34 for themselves, but instead they built the Panther.

                  Then the incredible infighting and empire building within the German war machine – you wonder how they got that far when the tank commanders were fighting the artillery commanders over “ownership” of Assault Guns, the air force was fighting the infantry over who owned the 88s needed to stop enemy tanks, the navy and the air force were fighting over who owned the planes needed for their aircraft carrier (yes they built one, but arguments over air group were so extended that it never got used).

                  Of course, these issues were not limited to the Germans. The Brits largely refused to use their 3.7″ anti-aircraft gun against tanks – when it would have been even better then the German 88. It was heavier and harder to handle – but with creativity you can work around that.

                  And the US insistence on the Sherman tank and delays of the Pershing because they didn’t want tanks to hunt other tanks – that was the job of the tank destroyers (unlike other nations they were built with turrets, but lighter armor then a true tank).

                  Fascinating time period to study though.


                  1. I have the impression that the French have a habit of doing that. I once tried to read a book about WWI, and while I didn’t get as far into it as I would have liked (darn time constraints! I don’t think I even finished the first chapter) I was mulling over the claim that the French had better guns than the Germans, but they artificially limited their encounters to 2500 meters, cancelling out their greater range.

                    (Incidentally, as I mulled over that statement, I realized that “2500 meters” is about “7500 feet” which is about one and a half miles…and it suddenly occurred to me that these guns they were talking about weren’t rifles! But, in any case, the French could have used them better, but didn’t…)

        2. Harper’s and Atlantic each suffered the inevitable fate of failure to be able to defend ideology and editorial refusal to hew to the facts when the ideology disagreed.

          As O’Sullivan’s Law states: any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

          And the left Wing has but one answer to all challenges to its hegemoony*: Shut-up.


    3. As some have pointed out, we believed the Soviets’ statistics. Heck, so did the Soviets, for the most part. (That most part being a big part of their ultimate problem.)

      What many overlooked — and this was especially true when they were bewailing the idea of Japan Inc. overtaking us — was that while they were indeed growing faster than we were, that was largely an effect of our breaking the trail. Ours was still the more productive economy, and their faster-growth in productivity was largely due to adapting techniques we were developing. They got the benefits of our trials without the errors.

      Ultimately, of course, other factors, factors which had been unanticipated began to affect things, and the society which was better able to adapt was the one which kept on going.

      In a marathon the runner going faster at any given stretch is not necessarily the one winning the race.

    4. There were a lot of very stupid people in the 60’s, and I remember them all to well.
      The thing that strikes me the most, is that I read an article in playboy back in 72 that predicted all of what Islam is currently doing (it was my brother’s, and after looking at the pictures, I did indeed read the articles). I found that very fascinating, and have been following the progress of Islam ever since.
      And now people are stupid about that, instead of communism. Thinking that ‘it is going to win in the end, so lets just succumb to it gracefully’.

  8. Your final Sursum Corda:
    Did you mean “Hearts Lifted” as the opening dialogue of the Anaphoria of that now discredited failed religion, or did you mean that wonderful public housing area of the District of Columbia, HUD subsidized, and the open-air drug market of the product from the Nation of Columbia? (Note: some ‘irony and humor’ was attempted in the making of this question. – YMMV)
    I think the one area that Liberty Loving people can all agree on is that we need to rub the noses of the Progressives in each and every failure. Just today I facebooked the blade of a wind turbine coated with bird and bat blood. sustainable energy and The Silent Spring? The public housing project in D.C. was razed and continues to be a blight on our nation’s capitol. The one salient feature of the Progressive ‘long march’ is the path littered with the suffering and dead. It isn’t hard to find.

    1. The public housing project in D.C. was razed and continues to be a blight on our nation’s capitol.

      Come now, the real blight on our nation’s capitol remains our nation’s Capitol.

        1. It would be improved by hanging some suitable decorations, pour l’encouragement des autres.

          Kudos to Andrew Klavan for reminding me of this.

            1. Stubby Kaye. Also played Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, and was one of the “Greek chorus” members (along with Nat ‘King’ Cole) in Cat Ballou.

              Don’t really see much resemblance, myself.

        2. I thought the scaffolding was rather appropriate. Now if we could just extend it and strengthen it so none of the bright ideas from the capitol leak out . . .

    2. Speaking of rubbing their faces in their socialist stupidity, remind them that most of the EU semi-socialist countries are in the Spain/Greece cycle of trying to vote themselves more money, and winding up with more misery.

      1. That was the irony part: To the people that believe ‘public housing’ helps others, they seldom show Faith, only belief in ‘the State’.
        Latin is always tricky, I understand the literal translation is ‘hearts lifted’… I agree that ‘lift up your hearts’ has a more inspiring poetic feel to it.

        1. Ah, Latin! The verb (lift) is actually omitted from the phrase. So is “your” but with the imperative, that’s understood.
          Sursum = up, on high (adverb)
          Corda = hearts
          So: (lift) up [your] hearts

  9. One problem is that the institutions (particularly universities) actively defend themselves against countermarching (tenure denial, hiring practices, etc), and these institutions still (and will, for the forseeable future) act as major gatekeepers for both hard power (jobs) and soft power (respectability).

    In terms of getting there from here, any thoughts on how to either defeat entryism or undermine the gatekeeper function?

    1. academia is not as solid as you think. It will be facing the same onslaught as books are under in the next two/three years, and by ten years from now will look completely different.

      1. Everything loves to believe it’s solid, permanent, unchanging and been there forever. Even when it’s been shifting radically for years. The more stolid that they shout they are, the more you should suspect the whole structure is full of cracks.

        1. “Everything loves to believe it’s solid, permanent, unchanging …”
          Kind of like the Soviet Union in the 70’s, or Japan, Inc in the 80’s.
          One of those thing that when the crash occurs, looks so obvious in hindsight.

      2. I’m hoping you’re right, but when a degree is a non-negotiable requirement for damned near any white collar job…

        1. Ah, but the cracks in that wall have already started. Not so many years ago any degree from an accredited university along with a decent GPA was a golden ticket to employment. These days, not so much. Now it’s much more which school, which degree, what else do you bring with you. And a great deal of the reason for that new attitude lies solely on the heads of the university administrators who turned institutions of higher education and learning into glorified day care for big kids.

        2. But given that academia’s failure is filtering into the knowledge base of the broader culture, how long will a college degree stay a non-negotiable requirement? Oh, sure, for big businesses with HR departments (and calcified bureaucratic structures) it’ll last much longer than it should, but for the small businesses that are much nicer places to work anyway? You’re going to get a lot more “Tell me about your experience” questions than “Tell me about your degree” questions.

          1. Despite their abhorrence at the fact, secondary education exist to produce a product, in this case, educated graduates.
            But, as with any product, if the cost continues to increase while the quality continues to go down, eventually, they go out of business.

            1. But also it depends on what fields. In actuarial science (where I work) the degree is not nearly as important as passing the exams which are provided by our professional group. I wonder what will happen when some bright kid from Community College with Actuarial exams comes along. I would be a sympathetic ear – I wonder about others.

              You see some of this with IT as well, none-school groups issuing certifications of completeness. What is to stop Khan Academy from saying person XYZ completed these classes and took a test in a computer testing location?


              1. Isn’t that how SYSCO certification works? You watch the videos, do some coding and other work, and pay a fee to take the exam? Pass and you’re certified in a way everyone recognizes.

                1. OK… I tried. I really, really did…

                  But, my inner smartass keeps dragging me back here, and demanding that I sweetly enquire of Red which sort of SYSCO certification she’s talking about–Canned goods, or fresh foods?

                  SYSCO is a huge corporation that sells food on an institutional scale. Cisco, on the other hand, does networking hardware and software… 😉

                  1. Auto-corrupt strikes again. Which, as you think about it, is bass-akwards. It should try to flip the catering provider to the tech company and not the other way around.

              2. I’ve worked for two companies now as a developer, as well as a couple years freelance. I don’t have a degree in even a related field, and it’s never been a problem. The first place gave me a test to make sure I could think the right way, then trained me. The current job, the interview was half an hour of talking shop with my new boss – projects we’d worked on, what this company needed, platform preferences, horror stories of badly designed databases – then a chat with the big boss to see if I made a good impression, and that was it. Small companies, and even larger companies if you’re in IT, care much more about what you can do than what sheepskin you’ve got.

      3. I’m afraid that academia may retrench rather than reform. There will be one private-sector path (aka vocational training) and one public sector path (let’s call it the aristocrat path). Tertiary education has served as a social status marker for a far longer period of time than it has served as a vocational training marker (legal education aside). These days I believe going to an ivy indicates that a family has invested considerable wealth and/or personal time in educating its children. Competing with such ‘lucky’ children for a seat at an ivy is difficult for a child born in more difficult circumstances.

        1. Oh, “higher” education will continue to be an important social signal for the aristos and the strivers who want to emulate them, but as the value drops in the real world, the spheres in which it matters will swiftly contract until it becomes equivalent to Hollywood’s awards: a bunch of wealthy, self-important, and self-righteous people telling each other how important and wonderful they are, while the rest of us get on with our lives.

    2. As long as they depend on state funding, all we need is control of the purse4 strings and the will to use them.

      “Hi, Dean Leftist. We have the evidence that you and your department are harassing conservatives. Next year’s budget has no money for your department. Good bye.”

      1. Deny federal funding to any institution whose aggregate faculty political donations do not mirror the national trends. After all, diversity is strength, no?

          1. That’s what we had when Someone (not me) bought the super discounted “Butcher’s Surprise” package for a cook out. It was pretty surprising all right.

            1. Someday when we’re at a con in TX ask them about my dad’s treat to them at a favorite restaurant. Well, he THOUGHT it was a treat. They call it “Fear factor soup.”

  10. Long March? So far as I know it is going to be 31 days, same as any other year. But why worry over that while still in December?

    Please send all further comments, explanations, excuses, prevarications and justifications to my attention, at the customary address.

    1. It’s a leap year next year… maybe she’s going to add March 0 instead of February 29, so it’s 32 days.

  11. The march that non leftists do is making things work, getting things done. The universities have to teach a certain amount of reality otherwise the technological advances would not happen nor the profession occur.

    In Canada the conservatives lost to the Liberals and you could hear the elites breathe a sigh of relief. Back to the agenda that lost them power for quite a while. Borrow scads of money, save the earth, cut military spending and commitments. Already they are scaling back; the ability to borrow is being threatened, revenues are dropping. The people who actually generate the economic activity are responding rationally; no I won’t stretch my neck out so you can prosper. And dammit if you make it more expensive to do business I will do less, far less. I can live on about 1/10 of the economuc activity I now produce without any difficulty. That leaves quite a few people unemployed and lots of demand that will never be satisfied. And I don’t care unless I can get the return I want from doing it.

    So in a way I’m not concerned. The exquisitely educated fools who buy into that nonsense don’t prosper.

    Sad Puppies would not have existed if these so intelligent and enlightened folks could produce something other than unreadsble drek.

  12. I pretty much laughed myself (Physically) sick when I read that the Sad Puppies “strictly enforced slate voting.” Not only did the numbers completely deny this (the only lockstep voting was no award) but the idea of anyone on our side doing anything “lockstep”just about… Giggle, snort.

    This is pure Freudian projection on the part of the statists; because they demand lockstep adherence to their ideas, they assume their opponents must operate the same way. They can’t wrap their little minds around the idea that people can have legitimately different points of view and still work together.

    1. See: the assumption that Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies were the exact same thing, with the same goals, and the same people involved. Because reasons (or unreason in this case).

      1. Perfectly valid reasons. If they are the same then their accusations hold at least some merit. Vox is after all something of a tool. But if Sad and Rabid are two separate organizations with different goals and methods, well then most of their arguments fall apart.
        See, reasons. Deceitful, underhanded, spurious reasons, but reasons none the less.

        1. I object!

          Vox is NOT a tool. A “tool” is generally one of low intelligence, or at least very biddable and in the control of another.

          Vox is at the very least an ass, and probably worse. But tool he is not.

    2. They suffer a failure of the imagination, being incapable of envisioning a movement that is not led by demanding lockstep adherence.

      You can see the same subconscious self-condemnation in their insistence that the T.E.A. Party was a astroturf and not a genuine grass-roots movement — they wouldn’t know a real grass-roots movement if it kicked them in the pants.

      1. In their logic, if their opponents are not AstroTurf, then they’re the bamboozled, racist, and easily led.

  13. my generation, at any rate, awakened by Reagan and shown that the win of the dark side was not inevitable, was more pro-freedom than people ten years older than us.

    I have been struck, of late, by how much the criticism of Trump (Cruz, Carson, etc.) has been an echo of their attacks on Reagan. Whil I am not fan of Trump, I can’t help but think that being called a nut by such people is like being called ugly by a frog.

    It isn’t that being called a nut by them means the candidate is sane, but it certainly does not mean the candidate is a nutter.

    Being denounced by the editors of the NY Times, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, E. J. Dionne, Eugene Robinson and their like is nothing to cause concern. The time to really worry is when the Keepers of the Konventional Wisdom agree with you.

    1. I don’t think Trump is a nut, but I have yet to see any evidence that he is a conservative. Which really annoys me because this year we had nearly half a dozen proven conservatives in the race until Trump sucked up all the oxygen – with a little help from the Democrat media, who would love nothing more than a Clinton-Trump election.

  14. Yeah, those older Republicans are still with us, and they were over 45 when the wall fell, which means they couldn’t reorient anymore.

    There is reason those ancient Israelites wandered the desert for forty years; it took that long to replace those conditioned to slavery.

    Swamps don’t drain overnight, and the peat must dry before being lit. But it will burn beautifully when it is ready.

    1. A woman told me they wandered the desert for 40 years because the guys leading them refused to pull into a gas station and ask for directions. 🙂

    2. Which is what irritates me with the whole “let it burn” phenomenon. It took the Progressives over a century to get here, but they want to give up after three election cycles? Can these people not see the progress we’ve made? We’ve denied the establishment their first choice “inevitable” selection, we’ve forced a sitting Speaker of the House to retire, and we’ve decimated the Democrat bench.

      Sure, we still have to deal with Senator McClellan and far too many Republicans who don’t realize that sometimes governing means saying no to stupid and/or harmful ideas, but “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. “

        1. Any excuse for an Abbott & Costello routine …

          … is ample justification for an Abbott & Costello routine.

  15. “Standing astride History yelling stop”

    My sleep deprivation made me read this as “Standing astride Hillary yelling stop”.

        1. Please pass the mental bleach.

          And if that isn’t worth a carp-orbital strike I don’t know what is.

  16. Now I will attempt to hijack the thread. I haven’t seen Star Wars although some friends have said it was good and told me to go see it. So I will (I held back because I couldn’t live through another Phantom Menace so I wanted to wait and see.) But that isn’t what I want to hijack it too.

    But rather – as creaters (either published or wanna-be published authors) – what do we think about where Lucas must be sitting right now. He produced a set of three movies that were loved by most. Then some dismal holiday shows with ewoks, and eventually a universe of novels and comics that did well, and three movies that have been criticized heavily.

    He then sells his brain-child to a third party – who create a new movie (while dropping most of the comics/novels as not canon anymore) while ignoring all of his input – and the movie appears to be well received.

    Is Lucas living through the nightmare of a creator – seeing someone else take his “children” (Han, Luke, Leia, etc) and using them more successfully then he himself did?

    I find myself wondering if I should have *some* sympathy for him even while his “greedo shoots first” still rankles with me.


    1. I… kind of doubt George Lucas sold out of necessity, somehow. And I realize it’s too soon to say anything definitive, but I also doubt these new ones are going to match the original three in terms of “success” — depending on how you define it, I suppose. Certainly they’ll make plenty of money, but I assume he accounted for that when he made the deal. They’ll always be built on the first three, anyhow.

      As for the comics, novels, etc., he didn’t have any direct involvement in most of those nor appear to feel any obligation to adhere to them in the prequels etc., so I really have trouble imagining he’s too cut up about Disney ignoring them.

      1. I thought he sold Star Wars to escape tax concerns. He still has his technical companies. Skywalker Sound etc.

        1. I believe Lucas sold the entirety of Lucasfilm, including IL&M and Skywalker Sound, not just the rights to Star Wars.

          1. To be clear, I am not talking about “why” he sold. Also, the books and comics were controlled by someone at Lucasfilm so they were a comprehensive universe – unlike the Star Trek books where you could do literally anything you want and you end up having conflicting stories.

            Now did he toss ideas in books to do the prequels – yes – but that isn’t the same as saying there wasn’t direct involvement.

            But I was aiming at an idea closer to Sara the Red’s commentary below – seeing someone take your creation – that you succeeded in driving into the ground – repair it and make it fly once more.

            As a Star Wars fan I am happy he was not given any input.

            But as an aspiring writer I wonder about creating a character, having success, then carefully crafting new movies and having them bomb critically with the main audience – who vocally throws darts at him. Then having someone else buy the universe and succeed.

            But I also wonder about the parallels with Rodenberry. Didn’t he want Spock to go back in time and shoot JFK in one of the movies? Maybe it is something to do with visionaries, that once they imagine something you need to take it away so it can be safe from them “re-” invisioning it?


            1. Roddenberry was slightly a different matter.

              After Star Trek (prior to NG), everything he did bombed and one of his biggest sources of income was from appearances/events associated with Star Trek.

              So he was “living” on the memory of his last success and IMO went off the deep end imagining what an utopia “his” Federation was.

              At the same time, when Next Generation was being planned, he was so strongly associated with Star Trek that his opinions could not be ignored *even* though he didn’t own Star Trek.

              Thanks to the so-called Star Wars prequels, Lucas’s opinions of the New movie could be ignored by Disney.

              But Roddenberry couldn’t be so easily ignored by the makers of Next Generation.

                1. Okay, now I feel guilty for having a smidge of sympathy for him – when you put it that way. 🙂

            2. The most dangerous point in any creative type’s career (and this includes fields such as IT) is when they get successful enough that they feel they don’t need editing, testing, or any other form of criticism…. and no one dares to offer them any because they are successful and can ignore it.

              In some respects, I think we’re seeing this with David Weber and the Honorverse.

              1. I’m pretty sure I watched it happen with Anne McCaffrey. It seemed to me the overall quality of her stuff went waaaaay downhill in latter years, and I gave up reading it. I’ve seen it in some other big bestsellers as well, and I think it’s exactly that: at some point, they either think they know better, or their editor (possibly not their original editor) is too overawed/intimidated to tell them “No, that’s a terrible idea, don’t do that.”

                1. I know that I have seen it in Sue Grafton — the first ‘alphabet’ mysteries were crisp, efficient, low on the personal angst, while the later ones are a long wallow. Still interesting, but a slog to read.

                  1. To take this further – maybe there is a reason that “starving artists” are such a meme in culture – because they are the ones remembered? When you have a good artist who creates a masterpiece acknowledged by the people in his lifetime – they get successful and their artistic vision suffers.

                    But if an artist it is not that well recognized in their lifetime they stay hungry and create many masterpieces, as opposed to one and done.

                    Does that mean we should halt government funding of the arts to save it?



              2. Forget David Weber and the Honorverse.
                Try “David Weber and anything else he’s writing.”
                Good night, it seemed like half of Hell’s Foundation’s Quiver and Sword of the South were spent talking about how special everyone was.

    2. Last I read he was semi-vocally pouting (at least to a couple of journalists) about the fact that Disney ignored his “ideas” for Episode VII completely, and (implied) how dare they, and he so he has no use for the new films, he doesn’t care anymore, Star Wars is no longer his etc, etc. I was left with a strong impression of sour grapes.

      Personally, I have little sympathy for the man. He strikes me as someone who forgot that his job–and what people threw money at him for–was to entertain. And when he failed and/or refused to do that in pursuit of some ‘artistic vision’ (which was, of course, within his rights to do) the fans got irked with him and didn’t like his new stuff. And got really irked when he mucked about with the old stuff they loved. And so he’s pouted about it, and now comes the ultimate slap in the face for his ‘artistic vision’: someone else took his brainchild, and made something the masses loved again. More to the point, they set out to deliberately do so, having paid attention to what those masses wanted/demanded. I’m sure there’s snobs out there sneering about how the Star Wars film (haven’t seen it yet, on account of stupid winter weather and living in the boondocks) was ‘tailor made’ for fans, as if that’s somehow a bad thing. (In fact, I have one friend doing just that–but he’s French, and more than a little socialist, and he hates just about all the movies there are. I’m fond of him despite the fact that there are maybe TWO films in existence that we both like. I honestly would hate to be him, always holding things to some impossible ‘artistic’ standard instead of just being entertained.)

      1. From what I have read of the script development of the early films, most of what was good was in spite of Lucas and most of what was horrible was because of him. He is (was?) a talented director but should not be allowed any script input.

        1. This is what I have heard – that he is pouting and upset that they didn’t take his ideas and use them – although with a lack of self-awareness that he is the one who screwed up the other movies in the first place.

          I am just wondering if some sense of sympathy for him is out of place. (I am NOT saying he doesn’t deserve it – Jar Jar has left deep scars in my enjoyment of Star Wars).

          But as a fellow creator – seeing that he created something great, but someone else had to come back and make it great AGAIN after they screwed it up – how would any of us feel in his place.

          Or am I being too touchy-feely and need to go chop some wood or hang some drywall. 🙂


          PS: if you please – keep in your prayers a couple who just got informed that they can adopt a baby girl (after waiting like 4 years) and should be picking her up today.

          1. I’d feel more sorry for Lucas if he acknowledged that he “screwed up” on the so-called prequels.

          2. I can feel sympathy for him — in the same way in which I feel sympathy for the senior citizen who has had to give up driving after the fifth “fender-bender” in three months.

            1. Sigh, I still remember giving Mom detailed directions to drive to my sister’s house and she still took the wrong route.

              She also drove into the ditch (snowy weather).

              Some good person got her out of the ditch and helped her find her way to my sister’s house.

              I was out of town that weekend and my sister had to call me about it.

              Thankfully Mom didn’t argue when she was told “no more driving”.

              Admittedly, I was doing most of the driving prior to that weekend.

          3. Yes, but… Dave Filoni and his team did wonderful stuff by getting Lucas’ ideas, on the Clone Wars series.They were fannish but not afraid to discuss things, and so they made Lucas’ big vague pictures into stories that worked. Just like the original story team for Star Wars did.

            1. Thanks Sarah. As an update they showed up on our front door last night at 11pm with baby in tow, and we are waiting for the state to do their paperwork. 2 weeks old and very cute. It will be interesting with them over. Fun – but more chaos.


      2. I wonder how much of the crappiness from the Prequels is due to the release of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”?
        Lucas was an original part of the “New Hollywood” movement of the seventies. Part of that was the auteur ideal of making personal, artistic films as writer, director, and producer.
        However, he and Spielberg were portrayed in the book as sellouts- making special effects blockbusters only for the money and killing off the golden age (not true, but that’s another story).
        Thus, Lucas would be disinclined to collaborate with others- auteurs don’t do that!- which led to disaster. George is a great idea guy, and a great Executive Producer, but terrible when it come to the execution.

  17. “It doesn’t mean the party is dead.”

    Considering the number of people who have been betrayed one to many times and now will neither vote nor give material support just so they can be betrayed again… If it ain’t dead, it should be. And probably will be soon.

      1. Oh because when the Republicans have power the Democrats don’t get their policies through?


        The last 20 years or so seem to disagree with your assertion.

        Republican = Democrat, just slightly slower and more dishonest.

        1. Sigh. You really, really, really, really, really need to study the history of the last century. You also need to figure out how parties change. You can’t create a new party without giving TOTAL power to the democrats for decades. There won’t be an America when they’re done. Oh, and btw, the “respectable” range will start at socialist. Ask Europeans how that works out.

          1. I have studied history. Whatever the Republicans way have been at one time they are not now. The argument could seriously be made that the never really were a party for limited government and freedom, but even if there was a brief period in the later half of last century when they were, that is not now. So far this century they’ve been almost exactly the opposite. I’ve voted and carried water for them for pretty much my adult life, and they’ve only ever used the power I gave them to stab me in the back and pee on the ideals I hold and that they claimed to represent. I see no further need to reward the Republicans for their treachery and deceit.

            So that means the Democrats will have total power for decades?

            News flash. They already do. Sending more Republicans to DC will not change that, because in the end elected Republicans are cowards without principles, who cave at the merest hint of Democrat and media disapproval.

            Burn the GOP down and start over.

            1. Yeah. That will work. The media didn’t immediately discredit the tea party. Please read my post again. What republicans used to be was RINOS. You don’t get it.

            2. Burn the GOP down and start over.

              With what?

              The Proglodytes will rewrite the Constitution, eliminating the 2nd Amendment, eviscerating the First (no Hate Speech, no Microaggression, no imposing your hate-filled homophobic anti-woman superstitions on others – that includes you, Little Sisters! – and no assembling to petition the government without appropriate permits and indemnities against potential violence provoked by your odious demands.)

              Only an idiot burns down the barn to get rid of rats.

  18. Well, if you don’t mind eating the same sh** sandwich again and again, maybe your (serving)party ain’t dead; what used to be mine proved that it was completely unsalvageable this year with this budget “deal”. Tell me what difference it would have made if I had voted for democraps in the last election cycle – or the one before that, or…?

    1. Tax increases, for one. Obama getting to do everything he wanted, for another.
      Let’s be real here, slowdown is the best we can go for at the moment.

      1. Because principled conservatives announced they would not support any attainable deal Nancy Pelosi had the upper hand in the negotiations to achieve a budget. This demonstrates the difference between the Democraps and the Repulitards.

        Making the Perfect the enemy of the Good generally results in you being served sh** sandwiches on a regular basis.

        1. Which is one reason why I detest the Libertarian Party. Do they run candidates in places like Montana or Alabama? No! They run them in places like Virginia.

          1. I am not going to track down cases, merely rely on memories and anecdata, but I can recall several races where it was proven that the Democrats were funding the Libertarian candidate, and other cases where the Democrat candidate ran ads during the GOP primaries to promote (albeit indirectly) the least viable conservative candidate, such as the one in Missouri(?) who concurred with Whoopi Goldberg’s ideas about “rape-rape.”

            To paraphrase the old joke about the two hikers being chased by a bear, the Dem doesn’t have to win 50%, but just outrun the Republican.

            A lesson demonstrated by Bill Clinton who never won 50% of the vote (thanks, Peronistas!) who gave us Justices R. B. Ginsberg and S. Breyer. you can draw your own conclusions about Clinton’s declining to accept Osama bin Laden as a gift.

            Even Trump would give us better SCOTUS nominees than Hillary would, and it would take a mighty effort for his foreign policy to be less competent than hers.

            If you can honestly say you see no difference between having a limp-wristed moderate Republican and a iron-handed liberal, it can only be because you have never seriously thought about how our government works.

    2. Oh, huge. Because the GOP is now social democrats, but the democrats are straight up communists. If you don’t know the difference, keep effectively voting for democrats by abstaining. You will.

  19. Sorry, but if (make that when) the repuke(“social democrats”) support the democrats(“straight up communists”) continuously, I repeat WHAT. DIFFERENCE. DOES. IT. MAKE. And the GOPe have been doing this for years.
    Not to mention those self-same repukes supporting democrap candidates over conservative repubs. Ah well what will be, will be. I think I’ll just move up to the kids’ farm, build a range, and practice, heh, heh, heh.

    1. The difference? Has Obama confiscated our guns? Has he made private cars illegal? Has he set in the taxes he wants?
      Please. Americans who repine about this have never looked closely at the rest of the world.
      Yes, there is work to be done. But let’s leave “What difference does it make” to the empress.
      Let’s put it this way, if you infiltrate the GOP and take it over (which is what the communists did to the democrats) you have a chance. If you don’t, you’re relying on the libertarian mythology of “things collapse and the amazing libertarian state emerges.” Of course, it never does. Instead you get strong man government.
      I’ll admit though that, at least in theory working slowly and through the process to take over an existing structure sounds like a lot less fun than running around the hills with a Kalashnikov.
      It’s just some of us can see past that to what has a chance of success and what doesn’t.

  20. With all due respect – and I REALLY HATE that phrase – I have traveled a great deal in this life, having spent ~30+ years as a field engineer. I have worked in countries under “benevolent” dictators, kings, sheiks, queens, communists and fascists. Filled four dip-passports in my last ten years and 5 Official ones before that – desert, Far-East, Near-East, Middle-East, southern Europe, northern-most North America – somehow missed South America, darn it.
    I have often said that all these young’uns who hate this country so much should be given round-trip tickets to other places in the world with the return being 60 days after the departure.
    Remember the picture of the kids from Grenada kissing the ground as they got off the plane?
    Frankly I have no desire to “run around the hills with a K-gun”, I’m too old and besides my philosophy has always been more along the line of “if you have to shoot your target more than once, you shouldn’t have shot at it the first time.” (and if you do have to shoot, do it quietly and be certain you have selected the right target, heh, heh.) Don’t have much use for Libertarian myths either.
    The problem with going the infiltration route is the time line. Anyone who reads anything besides the .gov propaganda realizes that the cliff-edge is rapidly approaching – 15-20% real unemployment, borders out of control, and don’t get me started on the financial manipulations going down. And our Ship of State has a very large turning radius. These days I’m mostly walkin’ around on the deck checkin’ out the conditions of the life boats, figuring which one I’m going to try to put the family in.
    Sorry for length of this screed.
    Y’all take care, ya hea’.

Comments are closed.