Of Communists and Radical Sons

A few days ago, I was notified that Vile 666 had agreed with me on something, which means I — of course — immediately checked myself to make sure I wasn’t off track.

No, I was still right about the mechanics of collapse not happening in the way it’s shown in the movies, ie. what I refer to fondly as a Mad Max future.  At any rate, and to make me stop doubting myself, they made a disparaging comment about my still having a problem with communism.

When I was told this (I don’t actually have time to waste on these sites, and if I did, I still wouldn’t because I’d rather be writing) it struck me as very funny.  Because, I mean, come on, let’s toll the bell of communist successes, from the Cultural Revolution to the Stalinist purges, from Holodomor to the immiseration of Cuba.

My first thought was Yeah, it sure is weird that I have a problem with such an ideology.  It would be like having a problem with the Aztec religion or the charming Carthaginian practice of baking babies en croute as an offering to the gods.

And then I remembered well meaning leftist/pagan friends who argued violently that the Aztecs had been innocent pacifists and that the Carthaginian’s had been maligned by the Catholic church (this was modified to “the Romans” when I pointed out their slight chronological slippage.

In fact, if you google either the Aztec sacrifices and/or the Carthaginian baby-killing you get varying degrees of apologist.

The Aztec ones because more recent, and I suppose more archeologically undeniable/well known are dressed up as “but they really believed this was needed.”  (Yes, and Charlie Manson really believed he was bringing about a race war that would bring about paradise.  Does this mean he’s innocent?)  The Carthaginian ones are blamed on everyone’s misreporting or the numerous Tophets still unearthed in the Iberian peninsula (I always suspected there was one under the heart of the village, because of regional names that indicate a Carthaginian cultic center.  I probably could point the right spot to archaeologists, though I’d frankly rather not know) and other Carthaginian colonies are either someone else’s problem attributed to the Carthaginians OR on this being a place to dispose of dead babies, but not sacrificed babies.  The archaeology of such sites makes this poppycock, of course, but our fuzzier fellow westerners hold on to this because it allows them to hold on to their idea of the noble savage, that creature who was never guilty of aggression, slavery or murder, unlike we, evil westerners.  (Jean Jacques Rosseau should be burned in effigy every year, for crimes against humanity.)

So if I say something about the horror that was the Aztec religion or the Carthaginian religion, they’ll jump all over me as racist (well, Carthaginians did settle in the North of Africa and probably were as tan as… as I am.)  Because these people in their heads are “little brown people” and therefore innocent of the manyfold sins of humanity, which are, of course, part of white privilege.  Or something.

In the same way I realized they were upset about my reviling of communists because what they are thinking of are not the same communists I’m thinking of.

No, the communists they are defending, the ones that they don’t wish maligned, are the communists they knew at college, which were probably the same communists I knew at college.  (Well, not the same, let’s face it, while I’m no spring chicken, most of these people could spot me ten to twenty years.  But the same model, give or take.)

They are the young men and women who don’t fit in, who continually critique the status quo.  Some of them are actually compassionate, quick to stick up for the underdog.  Some of them engage in extensive charity, or give money to beggars.  Others are more faux-charitable, and yell at you for using the wrong word to refer to the victim of the week, or concoct elaborate narratives to explain how the latest mass murderer is really a victim.

These people were often some variety of “cool” — in my day this involved peasant blouses and elaborate tapestry jackets, the later mostly for the boys — and more often than not from very wealthy backgrounds.

In my day too, they organized protests in solidarity with the people of Mozambique or Angola, the same people at that time being massacred in batch lots by Cuban guerrillas in the pay of the Soviet Union.  But of course, they were supposed to have a revolutionary government and so everything was okay.  In my day — and now — they wore t-shirts with Che Guevara whom they idolized as a sort of communist hippie (even in those days this was unforgivable, but now that the full history of this psychopath is available for anyone to read, including the glee with which he killed students [more on this later] this is frankly inexcusable.)

In their day, too, probably, since the left has ensconced itself in Academia, they met more of these “radical sons” that fit the model laid out by Agatha Christie, in a book whose title evades me just now: he read the Daily Worker and he lectured everyone about the rights of the workers and the coming Communist revolution, but really he was just an upper class Brit and had even secretly married his girlfriend.

Agatha Christie nurtures a certain fondness for this type of character, which comes through in her writing, and I even understand it.  Some of the nicer people I met growing up, some of the people I grew up with were of this mold.  The “communism” was a trendy veneer, to look “intelligent” and to afford the opportunity to critique everything, but at heart they were decent human beings.

They were however adolescent (or just past) human beings.  There is an age at which people naturally are at odds with everything around them, and communism offers a framework for this.

Other philosophies offer a frame work for this.  Mine at the time was rather chaotic and anarchic and later hardened into hard core Libertarianism, which was blown apart by 9/11.

However, of all the prisms that adolescents use to critique their world, Marxism has proven the most persistent pathology and also (that I know) the only one that has managed to fill 100 000 000 graves (a number the Colonel tells me is lowball, and it might very well be.)

Yeah, okay, so the mass deaths aren’t caused by the sort of college Marxists I described.  Except when they are, of course.

What I mean is that a lot of the most horrible things done by communists (and the less horrible but still terrible things done by socialists who kill economies softy and destroy futures in the name of equality) are done by people who started out exactly like those “radical sons” (and daughters) who were communists, but still decent human beings.

The philosophy itself, with its flaws, drives them to either greater radicalization OR…  to the wall.

You see, Marxism’s great flaw is its misunderstanding of economics.

But Sarah, you’ll say, how can economics fill that many mass graves?

Well, see, the great ink stained angry blot (which is how someone described Marx as a human being) understood about as much of economics as my cat understands of rhetoric.  Maybe less.

What he principally understood — in a life spent mooching off wealthy friends — is that he was done wrong! And that in a just world he would command a lot more power and money, but particularly power.

There are many errors in his damned (literally) theory, but the most important of them is that he visualized wealth as a closed pie.

Unfortunately this appeals to a certain instinctive human understanding of wealth, because in the hominid band there were only so many berries, or mammoth haunches and if someone was boggarting the food they were the villain.

If wealth really were a closed pie (nonsense on its face, else, our ancestors in the caves were all far wealthier than us, since there are more of us) then everyone who has more than average is by definition stealing.  And everyone who has less than average is by definition a victim.

And the implication that things are badly arranged appeals to every adolescent, EVER, particularly the wealthy ones who have more time to contemplate how they should have a lot more of whatever the heck other people have and they don’t: power or race cars, women/men or prestige.

The philosophy, in fact, appeals to anyone who is envious of others.  I remember reading a biography of the sainted (ptui) Evita saying that knowing there were rich people in the world made her unhappy.  This is a sentiment you see oft repeated by communists and their soft-sisters, the socialists.  Our very own president said that even if raising taxes decreased the amount collected (which it does, after a point) it was still “the right thing to do.”

Marxism/Communism/Socialism, by its belief in the closed pie, takes envy and removes all stigma from it, conferring upon it the power of a sacrament.

The problem with that is that envy is not just considered a sin by some religions, and is not just “a bad thing, ‘mkay” — envy is poison to the character.  When you make envy “righteous” and “justified” you empower people to completely wash their hands of any of their failings.  It’s not their fault “it’s the system.”  They’re only not rich because “behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”  It has nothing to do with their lack of application, talent or effort, no, it’s all “the man is keeping me down.”

Even if you start out sane, that way of thinking will slowly corrode anything worth saving in you.  Just by virtue of sanctifying envy, you’re going to start uplifting the despicable and hating the admirable.

If you want to figure out how slippery that slope is, just ask your “nice” communist friends (or even socialist friends) what they think of Mao, Stalin, Che, the Kims, and watch them make excuses.

Worse, though, is that this sort of philosophy, by its very nature attracts the crazy.  Of those, those who never grow past teen whining are the least threat.  They continue wearing their cool bandannas and complaining against the man, in their academic jobs.  But a certain number of those who present that way simply see that environment as a good one to hide.  And those are the certifiable psychopaths.  We’ll call them the Ches.

These are people who genuinely want power and who often want to kill people.  Because the philosophy enshrines those who are angry, and those who are envious, it leaves people with no defenses before these psychopaths.

Any philosophy that requires no personal sacrifice, no personal work, but just louder denunciations of “the enemy” is going to grow these like brambles.

And when people give power to communists, whom they imagine to be like those communists they knew in college, what they end up with is Che, or Mao, Stalin (no, Lenin wasn’t much better, he just disguised it more and didn’t get to the massive purges.)

Which is why eventually all communist revolutions end up as a sort of fanatic and sanguinary top-down hereditary monarchy, like the Kims in North Korea or the Castros in Cuba.  Unless of course the would be titular is too crazy even to establish an hereditary monarchy in which case you get fascist states like China.

The decent ones among those college “communists”?  The ones who really thought this was for the downtrodden, and who confused the Communist party with the order of St. Francis D’Assissi?

Those usually end up as splatter against whatever wall the Ches are using to satisfy their psychopathic urges.

So yes, I DO have it in for communism.  Yes, I am against Marxism.  Given the amount of poverty, death and desolation the philosophy dreamed up by the crazed scribbler has caused, I don’t see what other position is moral or sane.

I disapprove most heartily of a hundred million untimely deaths.  I disapprove of killing people and taking their stuff.

If you don’t, you should ask yourself why not, and precisely what is wrong with you.




464 thoughts on “Of Communists and Radical Sons


        1. *sniff, sniff, looks at bits of carp pitter-pattering down after secondary explosion*
          G-d loves me! I’ll never be hungry again!!!!
          *does ecstatic cat happy dance*

              1. You mean the snow has not all melted off yet??

                I remember getting almost a foot back in the 1960’s in Glasscock County and it was all gone in 5 days, especially when it got into the high 50’s on the 5th day……

              1. I understand there’s a real alligator gar infestation down South. Maybe someone (::COUGH:: Justin ::COUGH::) can supply some of those to Sarah. Much better than carp — they don’t splatter, they’re armored, and only pigs will at them. Maybe Sarah should switch? 8^)

                1. Actually, if you’ve ever watched Swamp People, in the first two seasons they showed some of the cast who actually went fishing for them and apparently ate them with enjoyment.

    1. Actually, I would make the case that Communism *has* been done correctly, at least as much as could be done without government interference…it has just never been done correctly by Communists, ironically enough…

      When one takes “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” as a personal slogan, a guiding principle for determining how you’ll help others, this is fantastic advice; ironically, in so-called Capitalist societies (ones I’d rather refer to as “Individualist”, because they are marked by a preservation of Life, Liberty, and Property, etc), you can see this happen all the time, even when the individuals involved don’t see themselves doing it.

      The problem with Communism is that you get power-hungry bureaucrats who think they can determine everyone’s needs and abilities better than the individuals involved, and if you disagree…well, then, it’s off to the gulags for you, because how dare you disagree with our Omniscient Fearless Leader? And when the Fearless Leader fails, it’s always because the individuals didn’t heed the perfect plan of the Collective (as expressed by the Fearless Leader) and *never* because, well, no Fearless Leader can *possibly* know the needs, wants, and dreams of each and every individual in a Collective…

      1. I’ve said many times:
        “From Each according to his Abilities, To Each according to his Needs” is a pretty sweet deal, if you’re a needy incompetent, but it makes a slave of the capable and independent. Advocating such a position says an awful lot about the individual who does so, and which side of the equation he expects to be on.
        — Richard Chandler (10/15/04)

      2. But the successful “capitalist” countries aren’t “Individualist”, either– they’re… make up a word for ‘leave people to form their own size groups’ ist. Practice real subsidiarity– do stuff on the lowest effective level.

        Part of why folks can honestly say that capitalism has never had a real society is because it rules out, from the ground floor, families. Ditto for long-term radical individualism. A society requires sacrifice– to find folks who can say it better than I can, look up “libertarian child problem”. You’ll find someone who can say it way, waaaaay better than I can.

        Part of why communism is evil is because it has to lie about the alternative, and create a creature that’s just as unworkable as communism– forces the other system to look at folks only as work-units, when in real life “capitalism” that’s just a TEMPTATION. And a stupid, self-destructive one.

        1. I pull out my knife, hold it up to the sun, admire the gleam on the sharpened blade, give my big crazed smile which I have practiced many times daily, and cut that thread with the merest touch.

  1. Campus Communists aren’t decent, they are delusional. They never seem to understand that Communism is so far from natural life that in order to exist the strongman rule that creates and maintains the regime is ALWAYS necessary. They will never understand that the Kims re not distortions of the system but a necessity for the system to even exist.

      1. Or as Yoda put it: “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.”

      2. That tendency for cultish behavior and the willingness to overlook anything, including mass murder, in the service of the cult is scary. Especially when you see it in action.

    1. And willful delusion does not mitigate guilt. Indeed, because of the hardness of heart involved, it may increase it.

    2. There’s a certain irony that many academics and writers lean towards communistic philosophies. If communism came to them, they would be silenced first, and they would either fight for their right to learn and write as they pleased or they would be sent to work camps if they lived long enough.

      1. Or they would do what they’re already doing without the threat, and parrot the line, there’s always that. But I agree with you most would be backed against the wall.

  2. Sarah, in your copious spare time, you need to put together these anti-comunists rants of yours. They are brilliant, and I want them in a paper version.

  3. And then I remembered well meaning leftist/pagan friends who argued violently that the Aztecs had been innocent pacifists and that the Carthaginian’s had been maligned by the Catholic church (this was modified to “the Romans” when I pointed out their slight chronological slippage.

    You haven’t run into the “the Catholic church is actually just a reskinned version of an ancient evil group” thing with that one? Lucky!

    1. I may have missed that one and am not sure I want to hear about it.

      (Especially if some Protestants believe that.)

      1. I’d guess leftist/atheist/pagan, Churchian at the most. A serious Protestant arguing that the Catholic church is inherently evil is much more likely to go into Revelation.

        Using pagan Rome, the earth mother, or the old necromancers of Mu has the potential to undermine one’s case in favor of one’s own denomination.

        Though the Church of Rome does have some Roman influences, there are thankfully some huge differences from pagan Roman custom.

        1. Ah yes, the Great Whore.

          I mainly took that image to refer to a church that served “other gods” than God.

          While there have been periods that the Church of Rome appears to fit that image, its not the only church that fits that image. [Sad Smile]

          1. Prosperity gospel and the Churchians perhaps being at least as appropriate a match.

        1. When one of that type started explaining how the Freemasons are an arm of the Catholic Church and part of the vast conspiracy . . . it was a really good time to cut and run.

          1. Oh, come on…that’s like the John Bircher who was claiming Buckley was a communist plant…at that point you need to feed their delusion for the entertainment value.

          2. In defense of the nuts:
            the only guy I’ve met face to face who believed this stuff, also believed that Jews controlled pretty much everything. I gathered this included the Catholic church.

            And had absolutely zero malice against actual members of either group; I knew him pretty well before he knew I was Catholic, another geek buddy that was Jewish (we traded meatless “recopies” for pork days or Fridays on the mess decks) was another of his lower-ranking friends, and he was honestly more generous than anybody else I’d met; I had to argue him into letting me pay for his wife’s old bike (easily a hundred dollars, going rate, barely got him to accept $40) and he would actively volunteer to help people move, since his wife was Japanese and thus they had a “pickup.” (It was a bit smaller than a Toyota, but big for our area of Japan.)

            Me being me, my mouth was faster than my prudence and I asked him about this. He gave me a very earnest frown and informed me that it wasn’t like individual members of the group would be involved in high level junk like that, it would be like accusing (then E5) me of being involved in the junk the admirals got up to.
            Which we had ample first-hand of, and more rumors.

            He was still nuts, but self-giving GOOD nuts.

    2. I don’t think that’s in fashion nowadays. My most recent adventure was with someone who claimed to have studied with Bible scholars who taught that because Jesus was a Jew, he could not have taught what the Gospels said he did. (I pointed out the problems with the argument and she tried to bear me down with authority.)

      1. Wait, what? So sects, heresies, and reformations are all impossible? Someone needs to inform the Author of this; apparently He’s been messing up the plot! [/sarc] Unless there was a great deal more to her argument than your summary, it’s ridiculous on its face. There is, of course, the possibility that what those scholars said is not what she understood. That happens all the time.

        1. That was the entirety of it as she was willing to provide to me. She immediately retreated to “I studied with bible scholars” as soon as I pointed out shenanigans. Dismissed the New Testament as politically motivated and yet was willing to quote it to support herself.

          Not to mention that she got support from a commenter who never, apparently, left middle school, huffily telling me that I needed to respect her obvious credentials and later going full hog with accusations of rudeness and narcissism when I continued to maintain standards of evidence.

  4. A fair amount of economists out there don’t understand economics. A certain Krugtron comes to mind. Marx was just out there delusional.

    1. Paul Krugman is not an economist. He might have been one at one time, but his job now is to propagandize Progressive policies.

    2. To be fair, Krugman is familiar with international trade patterns, and is very good at them. However, he is not good with anything beyond his area of expertise.
      He is also a partisan hack.

  5. (no, Lenin wasn’t much better, he just disguised it more and didn’t get to the massive purges.)

    Lenin just did not live long enough to execute a purge. I have no doubts he would have done several had he lived longer and about on the same schedule as Stalin’s.

    1. Lenin lined up all the dominoes, ready to be tipped over. He propounded the requisite philosophy and established Felix Dzerzhinsky as Commissar for Internal Affairs and head of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage (Cheka).

      If a man sealeth all ventilation then filleth the room with gas, what credits it him that t’was not his hand as struck the match?

      1. In Lenin’s defense, he did try and warn the Party about Stalin; however he had a major stroke about the same time he realized that Stalin was a major psychopath and Stalin was able to use health issues to marginalize him until his death.

        This also could be some revisionist history on Khrushchev’s part after Stalin’s death.

        1. It gives one pause to wonder what it would take for Lenin to consider somebody a major psychopath.

          1. We often see in others what we refuse to see in ourselves. Especially if you’re a malignant narcissist.

  6. it allows them to hold on to their idea of the noble savage, that creature who was never guilty of aggression, slavery or murder, unlike we, evil westerners.

    If humanity began in a state of savage nobility before the west began how did the noble savages that created the evil west become evil in the first place without the evil west to dispoil them?

    1. Don’t try to introduce logic, wrecker. You know you are guilty, don’t think they will allow you to question the narrative. Just line up, over here, with the rest of your sort, and let the situation take its natural course…

    2. Having too many possessions will corrupt even the most innocent. Therefore, private property must be abolished (for your own good of course) and since capitalism encourages the accumulation of private property, it is an abomination that must be banned.

      You do want paradise on Earth, don’t you? It’s for the children.

      Yes, my tongue is firmly in cheek, but that does seem to be the reasoning.

      1. It’s a good thing that the Fearless Leader and his associates are willing to shoulder the burden of private property so that we don’t have to be tempted as badly! Also, his brilliant management ensures that there is less private property to tempt us ordinary plebs! All hail the Fearless Leader! 😀

      1. It’s very frustrating that some people think that women are somehow only partly human, and therefore unable to experience or commit the full range of human action and emotion.


                1. “I’m no intellectual; I try to think for myself.”

                  – Steve Matuchek, in Poul Anderson’s “Operation Chaos”

          1. Speaking of Latin. Some idiot commenter i read the other day said that Cruz and Rubio aren’t Latins because “Latin means you were born in Mexico!”

            1. yeah. The other side has said that about me, too. You know, if you aren’t Marxist, you’re just white. (And btw only reason for self-identification is that this is how most people identify me. Also, the US government, but never mind that.)

        1. Just commented a few minutes ago on a HuffPo post (I know: Lie down with dogs…) to the effect: who died and made you spokeswoman for all of humanity?

          It’s as if only cis- white- males were fully human with agency to chose badthink. All the rest of us are locked into these little boxes…


          1. Yeah, yesterday I watched an idiot saying Milo isn’t really gay because he opposes all the political objectives of the LGBT movement. Oh, excuse me, I have to text one of my best friends and tell him he’s straight now.

      2. Agreed, Patriarchy is the answer to everything these days. At the beginning of the nineteenth century though, when the corruption of the Noble Savage was still a fresh question, there weren’t many Modern Feminists around. And the Noble Savages in question weren’t all little brown people. My understanding is that back then the concept of the Noble Savage included children.

        At least some philosophers had turned their backs on the concept of Original Sin. This meant all children were born in perfect innocence. And then they grew up to be . . . less than perfect. Something in society was corrupting them.

        It was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. A lot of people were becoming better off and I’m pretty sure some were acting above their proper station. Obviously this new wealth was undermining Society. If these people couldn’t handle wealth, it would have to be taken away. For their own good.

        Private property wasn’t the only thing philosophers blamed for why the Noble Savage/children became corrupted, some preferred to blame religion, but it was right up there.

        1. There is always animus from above and below for the nouveau riche. Why, do you realize that many of those … people … don’t even know the fish fork from the salad fork, much less the salad knife from the fish knife? How is one supposed to engage such persons in intelligent conversation?

          1. A bit of that, but I think there was a sense the lower classes, who were moving off the farms and into the cities, were become relatively affluent and in the eyes of their betters weren’t handling it well. Perhaps they weren’t showing enough deference.

            The idea was the government would step in and see to it people would have just enough “stuff” to live a proper life, but not too much or they would be corrupted by the extra “stuff” and would choose to live an improper life.

            So there were philosophers back in the early 19th century who believed the “perfect” society required the government to redistribute other peoples wealth. For their own good, of course. Just like today.

        2. My understanding is that back then the concept of the Noble Savage included children.

          Which would be totally obvious nonsense to anybody who’d had to, say, stop their son from kicking Infant Daughter to see what sounds she made… yet is still strangely popular, to the point that kids (generally boys, because their actions tend to be obvious) who break the illusion get attacked.

          1. Well IIRC some who fell into the trap of equating Children with Noble Savage were upper middle class (or higher) and may not have dealt with their own children that much.

            IE that’s what Nannies or Governesses were for. [Sad Smile]

      3. I think I’ve told y’all about the first time I heard that, on a class trip, and laughed long enough to really offend the gal before I figured out she wasn’t making a wry joke….?

        In a perfect world, I’d have quoted Kipling’s “The female of the species.”

        1. For those keeping count, the second was while I was in-processing for bootcamp, and I met a gal who was there to “make a difference” and assumed, based on my wedding tackle, that I was there for the same reason.

          I informed her otherwise and moved.

          9/11 was a bit over a month later……

  7. Best thing to do with a communist is to beat them to the punch, and do unto them before they do what they do to others.

    This is a medical procedure, where 9mm of Pb is administered to the base of the skull via high-speed injection. It’s what they would do for you, kulaks and wreckers, so it is best to go first when administering this medical procedure.

      1. Well, my policy vis-a-vis communists doesn’t require much in the way of explication.

        Basically, the only thing worth arguing about is 9mm vs. .45 ACP, and/or disposing of the resultant medical waste. I’m of the opinion that lime and burial are adequate, but some will argue for going the full-scale industrial furnace route…

        With real communists, the only sure answer is “Do unto them, before they do unto you…”. Nothing else suffices; witness Cuba and Venezuela, here in the Western Hemisphere.

        1. Actually a .22 will cure ’em just as quickly, and it’s much more environmentally friendly – as well as being quieter.

          1. Basically, the only thing worth arguing about is 9mm vs. .45 ACP,

            Be careful you don’t want to start the Gun Wars again! It’s almost as flammable as the ACW.

          2. A .22 is a.) too uncertain, and b.) won’t produce enough evidence that the injection has been properly applied. You might find that your medical treatment of this dread malady hasn’t “taken”, and some subjects might escape effective treatment.

            You have to “use enough needle”, so to speak, in order to ensure a clean medical procedure. You don’t want the disease process to continue on, because it is so virulent and infective. Trust me on this–Use enough needle, and chose your injection site carefully. Base of skull, angling up, so that you give the subject proper penetration and exposure to the life-saving Pb. You don’t want to take the chance that the Pb deflects or glances off a bone–The life you save could well be your own, with a really infectious strain of communism.

              1. That’s…troubling.
                Yeah, sure, he was against Communism.
                Yeah, sure, he wasn’t Castro, never mind Pol Pot.
                But…hero? Really? I’d put Alexander Kolchak or Anton Denikin on that list long before Pinochet.

    1. Lighting them on fire is more just, more humane (you’re keeping the warm for the rest of their life), and – if you eschew the complications of a stake – more entertaining.

      1. Pondering a world in which lies above a certain magnitude actually causes pants (skirts) to burst into flame.

        White lies to avoid causing needless pain only warm the seat, fibs cause them to become uncomfortably warm, but the true whoppers …

        Think how it would change our political campaigning (not to name any names.)

        1. I’m cynical enough to think the unaffected list would be easier to write in politics. After all, we can express the empty set with a single symbol.

        2. People in cold climes would become accomplished fibsters, but only during the winter.

          Would one have to have an audience for the effect to occur, or could one who lives alone keep warm by telling lies to an otherwise empty room?

            1. Given that a lie requires a deliberate misrepresentation of a known truth, as opposed to expression of a mistaken belief, I am not sure such would be effective.

              Thus the simple fact that a person’s pants did not burst into all-consuming flame would not constitute evidence of truthfulness. Additionally, exceptionally skilled liars can misdirect with partial truths, hinging on such nuances as the meaning of the word “is.” For example, when Bill Clinton asserted that he never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky he was making a factually correct statement, based on the premise that “sexual relations” includes a component of concern for your partner’s satisfaction, something I doubt any here believe Bill Clinton cared in the least about.

  8. They are the young men and women who don’t fit in, who continually critique the status quo. Some of them are actually compassionate, quick to stick up for the underdog. Some of them engage in extensive charity, or give money to beggars.

    How many of them are really communists.

    I know a lot of people who fit that description and while they identify in a variety of ways (various religions plus atheists and agnostics, for example) none identify as communists. Very few openly identify as socialists. In fact, most don’t consider their politics to be a key part of their identity based on things they tell me.

      1. In my job we had any number of college kids come in to help with the drudge work for a few hours every week. One of them was an avowed socialist. Many of the others just vaguely agreed with him without examining it so much.

        Based on that and many other experiences I had as a student myself and as a long-time resident of a college town, my observation (open to correction and amendment) is that the students here are more like trainees, eager interns more anxious about their social standing and motivated by the relatively-lesser sin of vanity; they’re status-chasers rather than true believers. They are very like the conception Screwtape had of the English – they yell that death’s too good for the Nazis but then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded pilot who lands in their garden.

        This of course still makes them “useful idiots,” to co-opt a phrase (how soviet of me), but that decency is the way to reach out to them. Even the avowed socialist was a hard-working, decent kid, not a sponge or a budding komissar. A lot of them get into the commie trappings because they’re convinced that the alternative is to be a dreaded capitalist – and the only concept they have of this are the carefully-built caricatures like Gordon Gekko, Alex P Keaton, Archie Bunker… In response they basically form themselves into some bizarre good-guy reverse-strawman – they must AT ALL COSTS never be a “capitalist” because it’s corrupting and sinister, so they reflexively avoid things like overt patriotism (because ick, racist), overt faith (because ick, brainwashing), overt virtue (because ick, sanctimony and hypocrisy and repression).

        TL;DR – they’re not really trying to be commies, but they’re conjured by being taught from youth all the opposite words to things. Orwell’s “Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” and such were apt descriptions, chosen by a master craftsman with inside knowledge of the game. Sooner or later both sides hope they notice the disconnect, but for opposite ends: the darkness wants them to drop the decency as mere pretense, a foolish weakness when faced with The Real Enemy™ – our hope is that they retain the decency and come back to the side that actually believes in it.

      1. Note: this is why I tend to identify folks as “college libertarians” or similar, rather than applying the…er…WIDE range of things on to everybody who IDs as a flavor of libertarian.

      2. many modern (to borrow a term from below) ‘college libertarians’ are more than happy to post on Facebook about how we need to avoid international entanglements on their American designed and marketed phone with a British CPU design made in China from using metals mined in China and South America and petroleum from America and the middle east and a display panel made in South Korea …

        1. Avoiding international entanglements at this phase of our existence makes about as much sense as choosing to switch from being carbon to silicon based life forms, or eschewing oxygen in favor of sulphur.

          1. Well, the original statement by George Washington made a lot of sense and had nothing to do with “foreign trade”.

            The US was far from a military power at that time and Washington didn’t want the US to ally with any of the major powers of that time.

            Besides the problem of “gaining the enemies” of the power we allied with, there would be the problem of the major power dictating our foreign affairs & likely our internal affairs.

            1. And then you have the problem I recently saw described as “The House of Saud looks at how the Obama Administration treats America’s oldest ally in that region and does the calculus on what that means in terms of his ability to rely on us.”

              But the American economy is so big that when we catch the sniffles the rest of the world comes down with the flu. We cannot hope to avoid commercial entanglements and where commercial entanglements occur political ones must follow. Think of it in terms of the small manufacturer who gets to sell to WalMart … and finds their packaging and pricing dictated by by WalMart and 95% of their production swallowed by the retailer — meaning they can’t lose that one customer without collapsing.

              As for Washington’s dictum — sure, when you’re a tail you need to be careful about what dogs you get attached to. Now that we’re the big dog the matter is somewhat altered. Like it or not, we cannot remain an economic empire without acting as a political one. Sadly, our BiPolar political system creates problems in this regard, possibly unresolvable.

          2. Not counting trade, I would like to avoid as many entanglements as possible, too. I wouldn’t want to leave the world in a vacuum, though: before pulling our troops out of otherwise almost-stable countries, I’d give them four years to establish an armed, unorganized militia, and even offer to help with training and weapons. Sure, Great Britain (and possibly South Korea, to pick on a couple of countries) would have to change their laws with respect to citizens owning guns, but hey, what else are they going to do, once we’re gone?

            One of the things that boggles my mind about the French Revolution was how eager both the French and the Austrians were, to get involved in a little war. Both sides were convinced that it would be quick and easy; both sides were convinced it would bring stability to France; and both sides seemed to think that it was just something that you could do, well, because, isn’t that what European countries are supposed to do?

            In the end, the war lasted a decade, “unstable” France (which Europe was looking forward to partitioning, much like what they had just done to Poland) conquered Europe, and every time the war didn’t go well, it fed into the Reign of Terror, until Robespierre decided to go with a Great Terror to keep everyone in line even when the war was going well, resulting in his execution and an end to this “Reign of Terror” nonsense.

            Whatever mindset is involved that produces such weird outcomes, I’d like to stay out of as much as possible! (While we’ve interfered with Europe, and Asia, and Africa, over the decades, I think we’ve managed to keep ourselves somewhat out of the entanglement, to one degree or another…but I think there’s nonetheless room for improvement, if we can do so carefully! But, knowing our Government, it will be done in the worst way possible…)

            1. Unfortunately cultures being what they are, it’s more likely to be forty than four years, else, your grandkids will have to go back and re-fight it. This is what I realized on 9/11. I don’t like it any more than you. It is what it is.

                  1. Unfortunately we’re getting to the point where we need to teach some Americans (i.e. residents of the United States) how to be American.

              1. I thought it would be shorter than that, no more than eight years or so, because I did not realize that we would not take the enemy seriously. For instance, if you’d told me then that the Nation of Islam (Farrakhan’s loonies) would still be thriving in America and the Muslim Brotherhood would be helping to design briefings for the FBI in 2016, I would have said that was nonsense.

                It is nonsense — but we’re doing it anyway.

        2. My ‘favorite’ cousin that’s a college libertarian….well, deleting what I wrote, summarizing: no laws against what he wants to do, lots of laws to make you do what he wants to do.

          1. Yeah, that’s the funny thing about becoming a principled so-called anarcho-capitalist: when you decide to accept that there shouldn’t be formal laws preventing anything, then all behavior is technically legal. For me, that means I can’t principally oppose laws against gambling, prostitution, or harmful drugs, even if I think these are evil. (Well, I can’t oppose them in general; it would not be against my principles to oppose a State-run lottery, for example, because if we’re going to insist on having a State, we shouldn’t have that State involved in immoral things…)

            Having said that, I have the impression that some anarcho-capitalists are for the system, because they expect the system to be absolutely free. Sure, abortion might be “legal”, but it would also be legal for the would-be father to sue you, on account of loss of future progeny. Sure, having a mistress may be “legal”, but your wife will pursue a divorce, and may even sue the mistress for interfering with your marriage (or, alternatively, the mistress may sue your husband for hiding the fact that he was already married). Each of these lawsuits will create a body of law in ways that I suspect many anarcho-capitalists would be unhappy with!

            (Which is why I despise the term “anarcho” in “anarcho-capitalism”: there’s an implication that such a system has no law, when in reality, the law is established, and in practice, I couldn’t help but notice a paradox that the societies that have come closest to so-called anarcho-capitalism are also societies that are highly law-abiding…while, at the same time, some of the worst examples thrown out as “anarchy” are also societies that happen to have a multitude of laws that are often bribed away…)

            1. but your wife will pursue a divorce, and may even sue the mistress for interfering with your marriage

              That is already an available solution called alienation of affection. A woman in the past decade made a big splash suing on it (first time in decades).

            2. Sure, abortion might be “legal”, but it would also be legal for the would-be father to sue you, on account of loss of future progeny.

              Or take a look at a case currently on the screen: a man hires a woman to have one or more babies for him. A standard surrogacy contract is drawn up, promising reasonable expenses and a fee of, say, $30K for first delivered child, $5k each additional. The surrogate has eggs implanted and three of them take root.

              Father decides three is more than he contracted for and demands the surrogate have a reduction. She demurs, pointing out the contract does not explicitly grant such a demand (which would be invalid anyway on grounds of contrary to public policy.) The case is now in court with babies still developing.

              If she has all three and turns two over to the father, putting the third up for adoption, the father is still at some point potentially liable for costs related to that third child. if she aborts the third there is the potential of harm to the remaining pair and to the surrogate’s ability to continue in such livelihood — as well as the not unreasonable moral objections of a woman willing to rent her womb so that others might enjoy the benefits of children.

              It doesn’t require a SF-writing lawyer to anticipate the additional complications which might accrue, merely anybody who’s run into the inherent limitations of contracts to foresee all contingencies.

  9. Having recently read a little about Pol Pot, and it turns out that he started out as a quiet, rather well-liked teacher of English literature prior to disappearing, changing his name, and resurfacing as the totally-bursar mass-murdering dictator (even his own family apparently did not realize who he was and assumed their relative had been killed in the early days of the revolution or something)…yeah, I’m inclined to not view some of those academic communists as harmless either…

    1. I had a similar experience with Mao. O Conscript Fathers, why didn’t any secret policeman murder him when he was just a bookseller?

      I realized that I only really cared about rule of law in the United States of America. Secret police who murder communists undermine the rule of law, but they wouldn’t have to kill very many future Maos to be the lesser of evils.

      1. Completely off-topic, but your “O conscript fathers” just made me flashback to Cicero and Latin class. I think that’ll be my new exclamation.

        OK, back to your regularly scheduled commie discussion.

        1. I was reading Cicero against Cataline the other day, couldn’t find what I was after, checked another similar speech, found it, and figured it must have been a formula they used at times. That and Kratman.

          Julius Caesar had many of the qualities of the commie.

          1. “Julius Caesar had many of the qualities of the commie”

            Not least of those qualities was his essential destruction of the Roman Republic.

            1. I think it was dead before him. Look at all that Sulla and Marius stuff when he was a kid. Absent that bloody power politics, he probably doesn’t have as much room to grow into his later self.

              1. The Gracchi brothers were paleo-progressives (not that they called themselves that), and did a lot to set up the turmoil of the 1st century B.C.

              2. But until good ol’ Julius I still argue that the Republic could have been revived. It would have been a struggle, but the bones were still there. After Caesar? Not so much. He restructured the bones into a completely different skeleton and Augustus finished the creation of the aberration for him.

                1. OTOH — the thing I always had with Star Wars was the ending of the Republic was a much less pleasant time for people than the beginning of the Empire.

      2. I realized that I only really cared about rule of law in the United States of America. Secret police who murder communists undermine the rule of law, but they wouldn’t have to kill very many future Maos to be the lesser of evils.

        That’s a really depressing way to frame it, but it really is amazing how very easily a good can deform into an evil if it’s divorced from all balance.

        “respect the law” becomes lawful evil, tenderness becomes “put them out of MY misery,” caring for the poor becomes taking others’ property to distribute as YOU wish… all of them destroying the virtue of the good they are rooted in, because it’s out of balance.

        1. Chung and Halliday’s Mao: The Unknown Story was a profoundly depressing influence on me.

    2. Robert Kaplan has written that the most dangerous people of the 20th Century were intellectuals, often third or fifth rate, that dreamed up the ideologies and justifications for mass murder.

      1. It is the intellectual narcissist. They believe they deserve more and set out to “prove” it

        1. The more ridiculous the con, the more the credit goes to the conman who pulls it off. Like most strategies of the Enemy, it mocks a true observation – one Christians freely admit, that the faith requires no special arcane powers, no secret knowledge, and is in fact a gift of pure grace, “lest any man boast.”

          These guys love them some boasting, so they sneer at something simple enough for anyone to believe and understand and improve by. It becomes rather like the Emperor’s New Diploma – only the truly enlightened can understand and appreciate it. You lot just don’t have what it takes to know that if you float you’re made of wood, 2+2=7, and Tuesday is a flavor.

          1. Once philosophy was in plain language. Now with deconstruction it chews away at language like a termite.

    3. Black Book of Communism reports that they didn’t recognize him until they saw enough pictures, and kept their mouths shut.

  10. I, for one, consider myself a communist of a sort: I like the goal of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need”. It’s just that I’ve noticed that so-called capitalism has done far more to fulfill this goal, than all the Communist Revolutions combined.

    So, to this end, I consider myself a Free Market Communist. Do with that what you will.

    Around the same time I realized this, I also realized that the system that Marx disparages as “Capitalism”–the notion that those who own “the means of production” make the rules, and enslaves the workers–is really a system of “Individualism”, where capital is merely a by-product of a strong societal commitment to the notions of Life, Liberty and Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And, in this sense, I’m certainly completely opposite of pretty much anyone who considers themselves Communist or Socialist….

    Now, having said that, as I’ve been learning about the French Revolution, it’s easy to see the seeds of Communism being planted. As horrible as the French Revolution was, however, it kindof just happened, when French society collapsed on itself. I find it particularly disturbing, however, that Lenin (and later Stalin) looked at the worst that happened in the French Revolution–the deliberate overthrow of government that happened a couple of years after the conflict started, and the purges, and the Terror–and said, “You know, we need to do something like that, only harder!”

    Deciding to do that takes an especially evil and twisted mind…

    1. *giggle* I have a pair of characters in one of the works in progress (the Continued Chronicles of Luna City) – they are the last survivors standing of an idealistic 60’s hippie commune and display all if the stereotypical hippie attitudes (vegan, nudists, slightly into wicca and alternative lifestyles — all of this played for laughs) … but they maintain a little campground and goat farm, and sell honey and soap and organic vegetables in the weekly farmer’s market. They are actually well thought of in their town because they are at heart kindly and responsible people … and as different as could possibly be from committed and serious Communists.

      1. So, like Tom Stone in the 1632 books?

        Communal living works just fine in small, committed groups. For short periods of time.

        1. Well, as it turns out, they were the last hold-outs … and to their dismay, all of their own children turned out to be completely conventional and uninterested in the old commune …
          But they do have a yearly reunion of all the old members, and at the midsummer solstice, the campground and goat farm is overrun with aging nudists.
          Not a sight for impressionable children.

        2. It can work for longer if the normal reasons for competition aren’t there– mates and children.
          (Yes, that does translate as “Monasteries” or similar, for those wondering. Even then, it seems like half the “offer it up” is dealing with everybody else. *examines normal life* Wait a minute….)

          1. An Imperial Rescript

            They passed one resolution: — “Your sub-committee believe
            You can lighten the curse of Adam when you’ve lifted the curse of Eve.
            But till we are built like angels — with hammer and chisel and pen,
            We will work for ourself and a woman, for ever and ever, amen.”

            Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser held —
            The day that they razored the Grindstone, the day that the Cat was belled,
            The day of the Figs from Thistles, the day of the Twisted Sands,
            The day that the laugh of a maiden made light of the Lords of Their Hands.

            1. “There’s a girl in Jersey City who works on the telephone;
              We’re going to hitch our horses and dig for a house of our own,
              With gas and water connections, and steam-heat through to the top;
              And, W. Hohenzollern, I guess I shall work till I drop.”

              This is…quite timely. :/

      2. Yeah, I saw something like that today on a spinoff of PBS’ Victory Garden. They were visiting Ohio (actually, Cincinnati), and they filmed a young couple who were really, really into probiotics. They explained that they weren’t allowed to argue in the kitchen while making kombucha starters, because kombucha picks up bad energy and then you get it when you eat it.

        But they were apparently making very good kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and so on, and therefore I can’t really see them as the enemy. At least not in culinary terms.

          1. Bouncing off of something from a day or two ago– might be a misunderstanding, there.

            Maybe there IS something different when they’re “arguing.”

            My mom thought grandma was deliberately sabotaging folks she gave recipes to, until she cooked with her– “two cups flour” meant “two cups flour, and then enough to make it LOOK right” in real life. And Grandma didn’t even notice she was adding the stuff, that was like… saying “drive ten miles on 96” and not saying “but steer around potholes.”

        1. ***perks up ears*** “No arguing in the kitchen when making koumbacha starter?” Yes, that’s just the kind of risible nonsense that my characters are all about – the husband isn’t quite so keen, though — he’s always sneaking off to the DQ in Karnesville for a double cheeseburger. ***makes note for future reference***

            1. Exactly … and there’s a projected sub-plot where one of the permanent tenants of the campground begins to worry that the place is haunted! Strange lights and noises and all …
              But it’s just Mr. Natural stashing away industrial-strength insecticides against the next co-op solstice reunion.
              Mosquitoes and fire ants are not compatible with elderly nudist hippies, after all.

    2. The Amana Colonies in Iowa have a fascinating history. One way to describe them is as a group of Christian Communists. Property was, initially, communal and a member of the communities worked for the communities. But this was a fairly small, somewhat insular group – and it allowed escape, realizing that the system would only work if it only True Believers. And then the Great Depression happened and leeches appeared, who wanted to enjoy the benefits of others working, but didn’t care to truly join in and contribute. So there was a big meeting, and a big meeting, and big decision, and a big change: Quite literally, they went capitalist and private property overnight in an act of self-preservation.

      1. Which follows the early church in Jerusalem as described in Acts with depressing fidelity.

        1. At least they did better than the Oneida communal living experiment. (Nothing to do with the tribe, a lot to do with the silverware and with a presidential assassin.)

    3. A) there is no such thing as a free market communist. There is a free market communitarian, but that’s different and involves small groups and free will. B) That From each bullshit is the worst sort of crap. There is no way for anyone to know others well enough to assure it, and so any bureaucrat/politician/bastard who tries should be hanged fromt he highest lamp post available.
      Aristos to the lamppost. (And you see, I sympathize with SOME of the events of the French revolution. But not really. They should have hanged Robespierre and been done.)
      Actually it didn’t just happen. I spent three fucking years in the French revolution. It happened due to massive propaganda and lies.

      1. About (B), I think I need to clarify: I have no problem with “From each according to his ability”, so long as I’m the one who is evaluating what my abilities are, and which abilities I wish to use. Similarly, I have no problem with “To each, according to his need”, if I’m the one deciding what my needs are, and am fulfilling them either through by abilities or through charity (if my abilities are justifiably insufficient), or, alternately, if I’m the one deciding how to distribute my goods through charity to those who have less ability than me. I completely agree that any bureaucrats attempting to decide these things for me deserve to swing on nearby lampposts.

        The point I’m trying to convey with the term “Free Market Communist” is that the free market has done far better at achieving these alleged goals of communism than any communist or socialist society ever was.

        (And what’s especially sickening, when I think about it, is that the Frankfurt School made the same conclusions, and decided that if Communist society were to succeed in the United States, they needed to undermine the culture…and I cannot imagine a better illustration that Communism is less about “From each…to each…workers of the world unite!” than it is about naked power grabs.)

        And to be fair to my understanding of the French Revolution: I’ve been half-listening to a Revolutions podcast of it in half-hour doses while doing computer work, so I’m almost certainly missing crucial details beyond “You don’t get to decide when, how, or what direction a Revolution is going to take, so while you should prepare for one, you should hope that one never happens”.

        But one impression I had was that the Terror wasn’t a goal of the French Revolution until Robespierre decided it was an end unto itself; in contrast, I seem to recall that Lenin was determined to use Terror from the outset.

        1. Perhaps slightly off-point here, but doesn’t saying, “From each … to each …” imply that those saying it believe that those on welfare are incapable of being productive?

          Wouldn’t appear to bode well for them if we ever did get a communist revolution.

          1. Now that you mention it, I remember a quote from George Bernard Shaw where he basically said that he wanted to create committees that would require you to justify your existence, and if you couldn’t, then you would be painlessly executed.

            In Capitalism, we indeed have such “committees”, but if you fail them, you aren’t executed–you are merely left to starve, or to plead your case before charities, or change your skillset until you are useful, or to just find another committee that happens to like you. Apparently this is “cruel”…but then, I’m one of those weird individuals who would choose starvation over execution.

            I cannot imagine most welfare beneficiaries faring well before a committee of George Bernard Shaws.

            (For that matter, I find it difficult to believe that George Bernard Shaw would necessarily fare well before such a committee…I could see it go thus:

            “What?” sneered the Committee Member. “You’re telling me that you make up stories so that other people could make believe that they are actually happening, and so that others could waste time watching this make believe instead of being productive? I vote ‘Unjustified’!”)

            1. My eugenics bit, which I suspect is poorly written, argues that Eugenicists are one of the few clear examples of people who could be killed for the benefit of society.

              1. The big problem with Eugenicists is that they quickly get bored with the project of breeding the Ubermensch, and instead get into the business of deciding who else shouldn’t breed.

                1. Three Fallacies.

                  Fallacy One: Get rid of the unsightly for cost savings. Fact is, we cannot predict unit profit/loss from childhood. Folks who murder kids on that basis are squandering wealth.

                  Fallacy Two: Use government force to breed more profitable workers. Fact is, parental effort is more important than most of the genetic factors, and coercion is only going to produce the minimum.

                  Fallacy Three: Let’s breed the superman! What heritable super traits? From where? Measured how? It is going to take how long? How do you propose to make it happen? This also seems to be a bunch of hooey when you look at the practical questions. But it has been fun hooey in many many stories.

                  Summarizing it from memory makes me think my latest draft must suck.

                    1. I wonder if Heinlein had doubts about how well the Foundation’s plan would have worked.

                      He later had Lazarus Long as “naturally long-lived” (ie a mutant) and also implied that Lazarus (as an adult) had “contributed” his genes among others within the Howard Families.

                      IE The Howard Families lived longer than “regular humans” more because Lazarus spread his genes among them than because of the success of the breeding program.

                  1. “Fallacy Three: Let’s breed the superman! What heritable super traits?”

                    And what will be the unintended consequences. David Weber has explored that one in some detail.

                    1. Weber posits the level of science that can create what we would have to find in nature if we were doing such eugenics. I figure that most of the extant really beneficial mutations developed in humans have already spread widely.

                  2. That reminds me about a story I heard of China, where they started a program to breed highly intelligent people. That sounds scary…until you realize that their measure of “intelligent” is “does well in school, and obeys the rules”. Such things would prevent the rise of, say, a Bill Gates (who, even if I despise his business decisions, was nonetheless a brilliant college dropout) who is willing to combine intelligence with a willingness to take calculated risk.

                    One other thought just occurred to me, though. It’s been speculated that Schizophrenia (and, for that matter, various disorders on the autism spectrum) are there, in our genes, because a touch of it can lead to brilliance in some way or another, and that brilliance balances out the occasional times when, if fully expressed, is harmful. Attempts to breed highly intelligent people might just lead to lots of people with schizophrenia and other issues…

                    1. I figure the intelligence traits that aren’t pretty much universal probably all have such drawbacks.

                    2. Piffle. if you want to breed for intelligence, simply stop rewarding stupidity. Restore the principle of contributory negligence, for a start, so that you can no longer sue the toaster manufacturer because you poked a fork into the innards.

                    3. In the Honorverse, there were several attempts to genetically engineer more intelligent humans.

                      Some attempts got people who were very smart in some ways but were lacking smarts in other ways. Oh, some of these used much of their extra intelligence to compensate for their short-comings in other areas.

                      Then there were attempts to create more intelligent humans that got smarter people but they had greater than normal problems with “losing their temper”. Honor and her father were this type.

                    4. Heinlein had a short anecdote in Time Enough for Love (I think) about a planet that had bread more intelligent humans. As I recall, it was a shipful of intelligent people who’d crashed on a planet many generations back, and who had reverted to savagery. Their starting conditions and environment had put a premium on intelligence.

                    5. Nod.

                      Of course, if the survivors on the planet were the characters from Orphans of the Sky, they had “reverted to savagery” long before they landed. [Smile]

                    6. Isn’t that kind of what they’ve been doing for generations with… I think it was the Mandarins? The guys who ran the paperwork.

                2. The problem with eugenics is that we don’t understand biology well enough to even begin to start making value judgments about who should survive and who shouldn’t. Most of historical eugenics focused strictly on appearances and other factors that were purely subjective to the viewer. That, plus the fact that they did not have enough objective information about the lives of their subjects to even begin to make proper quantitative judgments from, doomed them to being essentially no better than witch doctors.

                  Now, if you want to be a legitimate, working eugenicist, you need to do a couple of things: One, track the lives of your breeding program members with a detail-oriented, performance-based set of of objective metrics, and then go from there. Like as not, you wouldn’t want to be making your decisions based on the current generation–You want to be looking at the full life histories of their grandparents, and working from there to see what traits are worth repeating.

                  Not to mention, with the current work describing how much effect environment has on expressing particular gene complexes via methylation, you have to control for the environment those grandparents were subject to. It could very well be that the ideal subject for continued breeding might be a very unsuccessful example themselves, simply due to poor environment and high stress resulting from that environment.

                  So, we really can’t say that “eugenics is bad”. Like “true communism”, nobody has ever tried it.

                  The thing I find fascinating about the idea is that while most historical attempts have focused purely on physical genetic traits, whether we’re talking the Spartan’s exposure of unfit babies, or the early 20th Century sterilization of “defectives”, nobody has hit on the idea of using eugenics to “adjust culture”.

                  Given the likelihood that at least some personality/behavioral traits are genetically based, the real question of eugenics may not be whether to breed physical supermen, but cultural ones–And, how do we go about doing that? What would you do, as a “human critic”/eugenicist? Would you look back at Grandfather’s generation and go “OK, Gran’pa Carl was a right sumbitch, and abused his wife and kids… Let’s edit out his contribution, as much as we can… Now, Great Uncle Willy… Hell, he was that guy who died getting all those kids out of that burning building, before he had a chance to have any of his own… We could use a few more of him, I think…”.

                  Right now, if you’re a eugenicist, you’re working with what you’ve got in the current generation. In the future, you’re going to have access to performance metrics and behavioral records going back generations, along with the germ cells that go with them. That’s going to be something that makes a huge difference, and I surmise that someone, somewhere in the maybe-not-so-distant future, is going take advantage of that fact.

                  Imagine a situation where your “genetic fitness” isn’t judged solely by some silly little twit of a girl or boy that thinks that “bad boy” over in the corner is preferable mating material, but the cold, impersonal judgment of an impartial and experienced mature woman that knows the folly of basing breeding choice on looks and “sexy” alone? Who also has the means to enforce decisions about who gets the opportunity to continue to breed, long after your initial life?

                  At that point, you’re no longer playing to the chippy in the bar corner, you’re playing to the ages. The most successful reproducer won’t be the happy womanizer who’s had 19 kids with 11 different women, and has yet to support a one of them–The most successful reproducer might well be that Uncle Willy, who didn’t live to have any kids of his own. With his performance record, and germ line preserved, he can go on to have thousands post-mortem.

                  That, right there, is a fundamental sea-change in reproductive strategy, and its waiting in the wings. Someone, somewhere in the future, will likely grasp it, and it will be interesting to see how it all works out. Could create nightmares, could create utopia…

                    1. Like I said, we don’t know anywhere near enough.

                      But, say we did… And wanted to “improve the breed”. Would it be possible?

                      Part of what I’d like to see “fixed” is the genetic loss we suffer every time someone’s life circumstances takes them out of the gene pool. Knew a girl, once–Lovely, lovely person. If I had to name one person I’ve encountered in my life that I thought was living work of art, and a saint, then she’d be the one I put up as that name. Of course, my memory is a bit distorted, and maybe she wasn’t as perfect in real life as she is in my memory, but… Still…

                      She died in a car accident, killed by a drunk driver. Before she ever even had the chance to have kids.

                      That’s something I think is a tragic loss for the rest of us. Her line ended with her–She was the only child of an older couple, and literally the last of her line. Which I think was flatly tragic–We could use a lot more people like her, and I’m not talking about anything physical, here: I’m talking strictly in terms of personality and behavior.

                      The proper role for eugenics, I think, is in encouraging the propagation and continuation of characteristics like hers, which I strongly suspect had roots in her very genes–Her mother had the same set of characteristics, expressed similarly. Losing that set of genes from the genome was a tragedy.

                      To a degree, I think it would be nice if we could “bank” germ lines, and try to conserve them as best we can. There are plenty of couples out there who are infertile, and who would relish the thought of giving some of these otherwise “lost” gene lines a second chance, were we able to make that happen. I think that someday we will. Think of it like the Svalbard seed repository, or the heritage plant people that try to save the old lines of fruits and vegetables. People aren’t plants, obviously, but there are enough points of contiguity that a similar approach might not be an entirely horrible idea…

                  1. The usual eugenicists (in fiction or otherwise) seem to forget to include a control group to compare things to. I.e., a population that is not tinkered with at all.

                    I suspect it’s less about improvement and more about being able to decide for these folks.

                  2. Robert J. Sawyer’s Neanderthal Parallax series had that idea practiced by his horrifyingly-rationalist Neanderthal-descended culture. They were breeding against aggression, so anyone convicted of assault was sterilized, along with all his immediate relatives.

            2. In capitalist societies, very few people actually starve. The seriously poor live, well, poorly, but free agriculture is productive enough that food is sufficiently cheap that poor people can pretty much always get enough calories to keep on living.

              This is not, of course, true of Communist societies, where episodes of mass starvation are all too common.

              1. Hence, in our society the correct response to ‘murder the unsightly because they are expensive’, is ‘if money is that tight, cut social spending’.

            3. I remember a quote from George Bernard Shaw where he basically said that he wanted to create committees that would require you to justify your existence, and if you couldn’t, then you would be painlessly executed.

              There was a Twilight Zone episode like this. It didn’t end well for the guy who loved that idea. Rather painful too.

              (If I manage to kill everyone on this committee, do I pass?)

        2. I just had one of those “stupid” (as in, why didn’t I see it before) epiphanies as to why Capitalists are so much better at Communism that Communists are:

          “From each, according to his abilities” — we call this “supply”.

          “To each, according to his need” — we call this “demand”.

          When you have bureaucrats dictating “supply” and “demand”, at a minimum, you end up with surpluses and shortages: it’s too easy to make mistakes with these, and when an all-powerful bureaucrat makes the mistake, it’s a HUGE one.

          Individuals, however, can look at the world at a much smaller scale, so their ability to calculate these things are much more fine-tuned; that, and when they make a mistake, the mistake is limited to individual scopes of influence, rather than over entire countries. (Even if that influence is as “small” as the Microsoft Empire, say, that empire isn’t as big as the entire United States…)

          1. When you have bureaucrats dictating “supply” and “demand”, at a minimum, you end up with surpluses and shortages: it’s too easy to make mistakes with these, and when an all-powerful bureaucrat makes the mistake, it’s a HUGE one.

            Individuals, however, can look at the world at a much smaller scale, so their ability to calculate these things are much more fine-tuned; that, and when they make a mistake, the mistake is limited to individual scopes of influence, rather than over entire countries. (Even if that influence is as “small” as the Microsoft Empire, say, that empire isn’t as big as the entire United States…)

            Oooh! Oooh!
            So, Subsidiarity(power at the lowest effective level) + Communism= good?

            That…actually works really, really well. It covers both the single adult, and the family.

        3. Maybe “it’s a great ideal and a poor metric”?

          It’s got such great legs BECAUSE it’s such an awesomely, obviously true expression of Christian charity in both directions.

          It’s so incredibly horrible because…news flash, humans aren’t naturally awesome Christians.

        4. I have a big problem with it: There are only 3 jobs worth having in such a society.

          First is the “from each according to his ability” administrator. He gets to say: “Of course you can be a ballerina, my dear. Oh, by the way, my car will be by to pick you up at seven, wear something nice.” His power is staggering, which makes him a perfect target of favor-seeking, log-rolling, and bribery. This is why the Bolshoi ballet had over 2,000 fetching young ballerinas, and about 200 actual performers.

          The Second is the “to each according to his needs” guy. It is amazing how senior party officials have such extensive – but perfectly valid – needs. Yet again, the scope for personal gain is vast as favors are briskly traded. Those dachas on the Black sea coast do not just grow there.

          And the Third guy? Ah, that would be the tall, strapping fellow with the long, well-made grey coat, smart-looking headgear, and machine pistol. The man whose job it is to keep everybody in line and stifle complaints. He is going to be well taken care of. Plus, he gets the special boon of being part of the ONLY organization in that society that promotes purely on the basis of actual performance of duty. If he can stomach the nastier aspects of the job, it can be the most rewarding one of all. Ask Putin about it.

          Every socialist state ended up the same way, regardless of who started it.

      2. Sarah, I wonder if you’ve ever read Francis Schaeffer on the philosophical underpinnings of, among other things, the French revolution. In ESCAPE FROM REASON, he traces it back to where Reason was set apart as “not fallen” since Thomas Aquinas. Absolutely fascinating reading.

        1. I believe so, though right now I’m having trouble remembering the books I read. I go through phases and right now I’m finishing a novel. Even my own name gets fuzzy.

        2. In which assertion Schaeffer was spectacularly and unambiguously wrong. I am a big fan of his (although not as much as I was thirty years ago), but his hostility to Catholicism led him into some total howlers.

      3. There’s a really fun, albeit darkly humorous, game called Guillotine. If you play it right with young people, before they know what’s happening phrases such as Manges t’ils brioche and the effects of aristocratic socialism on bread prices and the poor; not to mention the truth about the storming of the Bastille, become part of their everyday vocabulary.

        Superversive good times.

    4. I like to point out that capitalism is the only ethical economic system. Under capitalism the only way to improve your life is to convince someone else to help by offering to improve their life. Every other system has the option of using the government to force another into helping you, usually to their detriment.

      1. Which is not to say that all free market exchanges are ethical — see the problem of insider knowledge and concealed flaws, nor that all forced transactions are harmful (we can, I think, agree that requiring an education — definitions may vary — is not generally detrimental?) Perhaps calling capitalism far and away the most ethical system is more accurate, if only because people tend to misapprehend the meaning of ethical. Capitalism is most ethical largely on grounds that all others are unethical, not that capitalism’s ethics are perfect.

        Wait, wha? They’re remaking that movie? Why, in god’s name, why?

        1. This video demonstrates why it’s in the best interest of drug companies to be ethical. They want repeat customers. And the looniness of this character is nothing compared to the snake oil pushing the government does.

        2. Another example of the Child Problem. 😀

          Until my kids mature or reach legal age, I’m their Jimmie Cricket….with a lot more authority.

  11. Jean Jacques Rosseau should be burned in effigy every year, for crimes against humanity.

    One benefit of believing in Hell is the confidence that Rosseau is not burning in effigy, he is burning in Hell. And not just yearly.

    Or better yet, he has recognized the magnitude of his sins and repented them. (Hah! As if.)

  12. “Even if you start out sane, that way of thinking will slowly corrode anything worth saving in you. Just by virtue of sanctifying envy, you’re going to start uplifting the despicable and hating the admirable.”

    Yes, this exactly! Because who needs personal responsibility when there’s envy and self-victimization to whine about (and eventually to act upon)?

    As a ancient history geek, I wish you’d chosen a more well-documented horror instead of Carthage, though. Archaeologist STILL argue both sides of the sacrifice question (as well as the method) as additional evidence is discovered and analyzed. Is it possible? Absolutely: Spartans tossed infants off cliffs or left them to die of exposure if they weren’t perfect specimens. Vestal Virgins were buried alive by Rome if they were found to be not-virgins (even if it was rape). Moses killed every living thing (down to the goats) when conquering Israel after leaving Egypt. Baking babies? Really? Just…sigh.

    1. REPUTABLE archaeologists in Europe don’t. I have been at Topeth escavations and talked to them.
      As for Moses, no he actually didn’t. He was supposed to, but he didn’t. Which was punished in various ways.

  13. Communists are cute, or at worst only mildly annoying, but there are some rules that you’ve got to follow.

    First of all, keep them out of the light, they hates bright light, especially sunlight, it’ll kill them. Second, don’t give them any power, not even to think. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much they cries, no matter how much they begs, never feed they after midnight.

    To paraphrase Mark Steyn’s observation about a certain peaceful religion, when the percentage of your population that is communist reaches 20% it becomes almost impossible to remain relatively free.

    Once communists start to gain any grasp of power they demand more and abuse that power which they’ve been permitted. See: Oberlin or any SJW behaviour. This is because their philosophy recognizes no restraint on the uses of power (for the benefit of Teh People, of course) nor contains any crumb of the concept that power corrupts.

  14. Several months ago a coworker posed the question: Suppose you could (and had to) kill one person in all history and would get away with it, who would it be?

    He was surprised when I argued against bumping off Adolf Hitler, but could just comprehend it. He was utterly aghast that I suggested a far better target was one Karl Marx.

    1. On the utilitarian model of lives saved it’s an order of magnitude better choice at least (order of 10 million versus 100 million and by the end possibly 1000 million).

    2. Another good candidate would be Jean Jaques Rousseau, for writing “The Social Contract”, and creating the ideas of “noble savage” and “general will” that, in addition to making the French Revolution far worse than it had to be, it also set the stage for numerous Communist Revolutions.

      (I haven’t read it yet–at least, if I have, it’s been years since I’ve read it, probably for Philosophy 101–but I’ve seen a couple of comments to the effect of “The French Revolution is more understandable if you read Rousseau first.)

      I followed a link to PopeHat from Instapundit, and in the comments, someone claimed that the Second Amendment is dangerous, because the worst that can happen with the First is “hurt feelings”. For some reason I found that idea kindof quaint, and I think I gave this as one of the examples that showed how ideas can lead to anything from angry lynch mobs to civil wars, revolutions, and world conflicts…

      1. To me, the horrors of the French Revolution are more easily explained after reading Rousseau’s writing on social contracts. There are a few good ideas involved in there, but Rousseau’s conception of social contracts and there formation lacks any real restraining influence on what the society may impose via their social contract. No God, no natural rights, no basic human decency, no custom and tradition, is allowed to stand against it. That’s dangerous, and I think it helps explain the philosophical justifications of the horrors of both the French Revolution and most subsequent totalitarian regimes.

      2. “I followed a link to PopeHat from Instapundit, and in the comments, someone claimed that the Second Amendment is dangerous, because the worst that can happen with the First is “hurt feelings”.”

        Except that I don’t believe them for a moment when they say this. When their feelings get hurt – even by mistake, even when the offense only exists in their overwrought minds – they rampage. The “worst that can happen” is as you observe, that they turn into a fleet of Censors General eager to trample anyone or anything to stop the naughty words and unapproved thoughts they express; shaming and shouting down what they can’t outlaw, and rioting when yelling fails.

        1. They can sort of defend it by removing the power of words– denying them, rather. The meaning doesn’t change.

          So it makes it very hard for the words to hurt them, but at the same time they have to discount the words to get that effect; so “I am going to kill you” doesn’t matter.

          Labels don’t matter, y’knw.

    3. Rousseau, and If I can manage to pot Voltaire in the process, I’d answer to the Authorities with a smile on my cute little muzzle and a purr in my heart.

      1. May I join forces with you in this endeavor? I’m still working on that time machine – turns out that Honda Civics, while more populous, don’t work as well as Deloreans – but when I’ve got it functioning, I say we joyride through history.

        1. Before you start that joyride, please read Alfred Bester’s The Men Who Murdered Mohammed carefully.

          Also, consider researching and eliminating the person who popularized the term “mindfullness.”

          1. Once you have a working prototype, consider going Kickstarter or Patreon and allowing backers to pick targets.

            1. I’d help crowd-fund this, even if it was just restricted to potting Rousseau. Add Marx and I’ll double my contribution!

                  1. Well, as much as I fancy the title Lord High Executioner, I’m simply not sure that my time machine will handle _all_ of the time travel necessary to get through this list.

                    Now, my second version of my time machine which will be created from a Winnebago (at least then I’ll have a showering option as I cavort through time) . . .

                1. There’s one point I have no argument with Theodore Roosevelt about – no darn hyphenated Americanism!

          1. Excellent! Now, I just need to fix (and by “fix” I mean “obtain”) the Improbabilty Drive and we should be good to go.

          1. I did not know that such a wondrous thing existed. *drools* It looks a lot like the Ford F-150 Raptor (which I desire with the envious fire of a thousand suns). I’m now off to look at the specs and see how they compare in off road capability.

      2. Could you work in a little copy editing for James Madison while you’re in the 18th Century?

        “No, really, your descendants are going to be morons and think that the 1st Amendment lets them institute Atheism as a de facto national religion and the 2nd Amendment only applies to a part time standing army.”

        1. “I beg you, Sir, tell me – was the entire water supply Poisoned with lead? Were your scholars put to Death? Should I perhaps write in Latin, so that our Meaning is not lost by any change in our Mother Tongue?”

          It’s a kind offer, but it won’t help unless you could slip in an Amendment against Reality Television.


          No, it’s not you, sir. Even when you know what it is it makes no sense. Just ban it. Trust me.

      3. Here I thought I’d sufficiently improved that one timeline (for Macross 1812) by getting rid of Leopold and Karl Marx. (If Charlotte of Wales survives child birth, no Leopold and no Victoria. An Anglo-German alliance in that time period would also be interesting. As for Karl, I plan to read up on where he was when and drop a conflict on him.)

    4. You don’t need to kill Hitler. Just slip the headmaster a few marks to let young Adolf attend art school. Problem solved.

    5. Hm. Well, Germany’s society was pretty broken back then. Take out Hitler and that might only make room for another charismatic dictator to jump in and do similar things.

      Marx dying before he published his ideas? Yeah, that might work, though you could argue another blowhard claiming Envy as a virtue might still show up. Hard to predict.

    1. Marxism would have a very irregular ending to match Carthago and delenda est in gender and number.

      I’ve used Salafi Necandi Sunt. “Them (neuter) Salafi need killin'”.

  15. Communism is the greatest and most destructive snake oil scam in history. It promises egalitarian prosperity and delivers non-egalitarian misery. And all to deny the simple and universal fact that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. You have to work hard, save, and take risks to get hold of the wealth that socialists envy.

  16. I’m surprised that no one has brought up communist “Liberation Theology” (LT) in various supposedly Christian denominations. LT is what happens when a church decides to build a utopia here on earth along the lines of Marx. I ran into it in my 20s when I was a member of the United Presbyterian Church and found out my offerings we going to communist revolutionist –I mean freedom fighter!–Angela Davis. The entire World Council of Churches (That No One Goes To Any More) is infected with LT. It’s made huge inroads into the doctrine of some Catholics, especially in South America. And it’s rife in many black churches, which is where we got Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright of “G-d damn America” fame.

    My husband works with a number of men who go to black churches that teach liberation theology and he stops their arguments cold by simply pointing out that one of the Ten Commandments is “Thous shalt not covet.” Liberation Theology–communism in a cassock–is all about the coveting.

    1. The current Pope, as best I can tell, grew up around massive levels of LT.

      He opposes it, but has been so poisoned by it that all he says is in that…. what, format? Layer of assumptions? booger if I know, it just gives normal folks the whillies and takes a ton of digging to figure out anything that’s not emotive junk.

      1. And at the bottom he believes in it. See the above commenter saying I “smear” my opponents with communism. No. They smear themselves. As does the current pope smear himself with LT ALL THE TIME. The assumption of the closed pie is there. The assumption anyone who has more stole it is there. The OMG OSTENTATIOUS humility is there. (Yes, Holy Father, your predecessors lived in a palace, that I understand is about as comfortable as a stone tomb. They did so out of respect for their place in the world and the power they hold. Going and pretending to live in a modern apartment as a “normal person” doesn’t make you less powerful. It makes you Marie Antoinette playing farmer in the little trianon.) They are so steeped in communism or at the very least Marxism that they think it’s just “what everybody knows.” And THAT is what we must fight.

        1. I suspect it is less a matter of “at the bottom he believes in it” than it is so much in the air he breathed and water he drank that he is incapable of perceiving it as what it is. While he may have rejected it formally, informally it is the window through which he views all economics.

          If the only capitalists you ever meet are the crony capitalists that populate Latin America, you soon become incapable of perceiving any other kind of capitalist.

          1. Let’s just denounce Capitalism. The whole world just equates it with Crony Capitalism. How about Freedom Economics or something. Freedom to make you own decisions whether to buy or sell what you want to who you want. All government trade regulations boil down to politicians and graft.

            1. Agreed. “Capitalism” is the term Commies give it. That is why I try to always refer to Free Market Economics when engaging in non-casual conversations involving the subject.

    1. Hmmm… no America for all of those over-educated college students to hate?

      This might convince some of them to get on board with the project.

    2. I’m sure the Byzantine Empire would have collapsed of its own weight around the same time – maybe even sooner if the threat to the Holy Land hadn’t united Cristendom in the Crusades – and the resulting chaos and anarchy would have throttled trade with India.

      1. And probably would have been conquered by the Turks, Christian or pagan anyway. Population pressure was forcing them eastward about that time.

        1. I suggest Christian Turks (probably Church of the East) would have had a much different Empire than Muslim Turks. Same with pagan Turks.

          Religions are not meaningless wiggets that have no influence over the people who adopt them.

        2. Had the Turks been Christian (almost inevitable in the absence of the “Vile heresy of the Ishmaelites”), why would they have tried to conquer the Roman Empire? Now, If they were brought in as mercenaries by the Sassanids, yes, but is it likely that the Sassanids would have survived that long?

  17. Come to think of it, there’s a notion of Marxism that grates on my nerves: the idea that something is valuable because someone put Labor into it. This idea may have originated with John Locke or Adam Smith, so it might not be fair to place the blame of this idea on Marx, but I *will* put the onus on his taking the idea and running with it!

    There is only one source of value for something, and that’s the value that someone puts on it. I could spend all day working on a crummy iron S-hook, for example, but it’s never going to be as valuable as an elegant iron S-hook made by an expert in five minutes; and neither are going to be as valuable as an S-hook made out of pure gold (although if I needed to use the S-hook for some practical purpose, I’ll purchase the iron version every time, even if I thought the pure gold one was very valuable…). And there are many reasons why something is of value to someone at a given moment.

    Of course, the reason Marx latched onto this “value theory of labor” comes down to envy: it’s relatively easy to tell a factory worker “Your labor has value! Without you, the factory wouldn’t even exist!” and then go on to say “You should own the factory, not that Eeevul Capitalist!” (ignoring, of course, the effort that the Capitalist put into getting that factory running, and making sure that it’s well-supplied and that there are contracts to fulfill…)

    1. The greatest evil of Marxism is the idea that Labor and Capital are in conflict. In reality they must work together synergistically in order to create wealth. Either one alone is impotent, neither is more important than the other.

      1. I’m not sure sure. Circa 620 they had finally overcome their long term enemy, the Sasaniads Persians, permanently. Had Islam not burst out and seized the Sasaniad Persian Empire before the Byzantines had recovered they probably would have consolidated the Levant with client states (largely due to inability to integrate the Church of the East) further east With their East secured the Balkans would probably have been brought to heel by 700.

        The true death kneel of the Empire was the 4th Crusade and the Latin Kingdom although the loss of Egypt (and her grain) was a huge setback. Neither, however, occurs without Islam.

        Sans Islam I suspect the Byzantines would have lasted until the coming of the Mongols and the Turks. Even then the Ottomans would have probably been a Christian Empire although not Orthodox. Remember, the Church of the East reached as far as modern Mongolia even under Islamic rule in Turkey. With the Church under Byzantine but still Christian client rulers in the East it probably would not have collapsed the way it did in the 16th Century but instead have become the official Church of Ottoman Turkish power during the period where Islam did.

        A Nestorian East would not have inhibited trade nearly as much. That said, I suspect a desire to just not deal with a middle man would have driven Europeans west (or perhaps fisheries in the North for the British and the French) no later than 1600.

        1. I think you are putting too much weight on religious cohesion. Remember that the Ottoman Empire itself fell apart even though the splinter states were all Muslim. Never underestimate the power of greed.

          1. Less religious cohesion than tendencies of the religion.

            For all the progtards want us to believe otherwise the Christian faith hasn’t had nearly the level of rape, slavery, and abuse the Muslim faith has. After all, one was founded mostly by a guy walked around founding churches and writing letters to them (yes, I consider Paul the founder of the church more than Christ…at least in a historical sense…theology is something else) and the other was founded by a man with sword slaughtering those who surrendered to him.

            If you remove the later the former is probably a more stable trading partner regardless of greed.

            I think where greed would rear its head is the desire of the West to cut out any middleman but the relative safety of the middleman would influence how determined that effort would be.

      2. (Waggles hand) I would regard Capital as being less important than Labor, largely because Capital is derived from Labor.
        However, if Labor wishes to move beyond subsistence or semisubsistence farming or herding, it requires Capital.
        Labor is necessary for Capital; Capital is an enhancement to Labor.
        (This also sums up my opinions about the Government and the People)

        1. Without Capital, Labor has nothing to work on or with. You cannot farm without seeds.

          Sure, at the very beginning when we were bootstrapping out of the hunter-gatherer stage, Labor didn’t need Capital. But we are well past that being a feasible business plan.

          1. Capital is deferred consumption. It means putting aside seed corn, it means working harder than what mere subsistence requires in order to put a little of that “excess” income into a new plow, or another chicken coop, or being able to afford the stud fees for that healthier bull. It means buying the lumber to install a water wheel on the creek and mill some stuff your self rather than spending the time and fees to haul stuff across the county.

            Capital can be gained by drinking less (reportedly, RJ Reynolds was just a good ol’ boy tobaccy farmer whose wife went with him one year when he went to sell his crop. Rather than paying off the loan and drinking the rest of his take she got him to put that drinking money into the bank and from that beginning a mighty fortune was made) or by living in a smaller house or eating hamburger instead of steak. It means deferring gratification by going to college for an engineering degree instead of partying after work at the burger joint.

            Lots of people deride capital, just as lots of crabs are happy to pull you back down in the bucket.

          2. I think we’re running into a definitional problem here–I’m using the Marxist definition of Capital, and you’re using the real world definition of capital.
            (Change in capitalization deliberate.)

      3. ehem, might be the reification of labor and capital. You have (or used to have) people solemnly saying that labor is superior to capital because it’s the source of it, as if John Doe saving for years and years and opening a store and hiring Richard Roe and James Poe meant that Roe and Poe were the source of Doe’s capital.

    2. Doing my usual attempt to find a different view to make ti make sense trick…..

      So he problem is that he chose the wrong base value for his “value” thing?

      Communism= man-hours are the gold standard
      Capitalism= desire is gold standard


      1. Yes, I think that’s the core of it. Actually, this is how wealth grows between trade, and why there is no “fixed pie” as Marxists tend to believe.

        Essentially, when I trade a dollar for a loaf of bread, I get something that I wanted more than the dollar, and the baker gets something he wanted more than the loaf of bread, so we both come out ahead.

        Marxists seem to believe that I’m somehow exploiting the baker, because I’m taking advantage of his labor…

        1. Yes. Marxists deny the Law of Comparative Advantage (in direct theory, though they sort of weasel around it to re-install it in a less-effective version), which is the explanation for why trade enriches all the parties to it, normally speaking. That’s why Marxists are constantly looking at voluntary trade relations and seeing “exploitation,” starting with employment and continuing all the way up to international commerce.

    3. I put a lot more time and effort into my cartoons than Dave Kellet does into his. That is because he is head and shoulders better than me, and more experienced.

      Forcing people to pay him less (so I could get more) so we have income equality, or forcing part of his audience to be mine, is… it would be wicked. Wrong. And not just because we’d all end up getting less of a good thing, e.g. Sheldon Comics

      It’s because no self-respecting cartoonist would want it in the first place. You’d have to be a complete third-rater, and a soulless weasel to be okay with that kind of programme.

      I think THAT is the tack to take with eager young students. Make it personal.

      And if you wouldn’t want that kind of atrocity done FOR YOU, why are you so gung-ho about schemes to do it to others?

  18. As far as your Agatha Christie characters are concerned, a couple come to mind:

    Ferguson aka Lord Dawlish from Death on the Nile is probably the closest I can think of to the character you’ve described. Self-righteous self-proclaimed revolutionary in Egypt “studying conditions” and preaching the joys of violence.

    Another character in that mold would be Gerald Wright from A Pocketful of Rye. Communist schoolteacher who claims that money is the root of all evils yet doesn’t even bother to make any pretense that he’s marrying his girlfriend for anything other than the contents of her bank account.

    I always felt Christie treated both of these characters more sympathetically than they deserved. Miss Marple expressed the opinion that Gerald and his fiancee would have a good marriage (to which my mental response was always, maybe, until her money runs out…). Race, after listening to Ferguson rant about how the murders on the boat were a good thing and he wished he had participated in the killing, described Ferguson as a “likable young cub,” though at least Ferguson didn’t get the girl in that one (one of the most satisfying scenes in Death on the Nile was the one where Cornelia told Ferguson exactly how horrible he was, a scene equaled only by the one where Ferguson realized that Cornelia actually meant it).

    1. There’s at least one more. In one of the early Marples (*The Body in the Library*?) there’s an obnoxiously “up to date fellow” who delights in scandalizing the village (loud dunken parties and sneering lectures on Marx and living in sin with his girlfriend.

      Miss Marple shows up at his house one day and tells the “girlfriend” they need to drop the act. Ticking off the old biddies by pretending not to be married may have been fun, but her husband is about to be arrested for murder, and they’re going to need all the goodwill they can get…

  19. Nasty mind working (thank you, weird medications). Consider a story where Pharaoh is offered 21st century vaccinations for himself, his wives, and his children by a 25th Century time-traveler (any dynasty). How much would he be willing to pay for what most children today are given for free?

  20. I wish someone would explode the “finite pie” narrative once and for all. I’d like a comparison of GDP from 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950, 1955, 2000, and 2015, in constant dollars. Make it as a series of pie charts. I think most idiots will find the pie keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. . . all thanks to capitalism. At the same time, calculate the median poverty level and the mean average income, again in constant dollars.

    1. Nyahhh – they’d calculate in the translation of long-term assets (mineral wealth, timber resources, environmental degradation, etc.) as wealth stolen from our descendants in contradiction of our obligation to preserve the wealth of the planet for our heirs. Proclaiming themselves Defenders Of The Meek they would generate accounting spreadsheets demonstrating we had been appropriating our long-term positions in favor of present consumption.

      1. I have always wondered how the “preserve the planet for future generations” thing was supposed to work. What are they supposed to do with it, then? Continue preserving it for THEIR descendants? Does anyone EVER get to use/exploit/take advantage of resources, or are they always “held in trust”?

          1. I think their goal is more along the lines of the feudal system prevalent in Merry Olde England circa Richard Lionheart’s era: a few nobles, who have the acute awareness to use resources sensitively, harvesting only the surplus while preserving the pristine foundation, are permitted estates to govern and protect against the greedy self-serving encroachments of poachers and firewood grabbers. Think Al Gore and Bawbwa Streisand in the roles of Sir Guy of Gisbourne and his class.

          2. Except for the mud shortage. Your application has been received, comrade and you will be notified concerning availability in due course.

    2. There’s a finite amount of hydrogen in the Universe. Once that’s used up no more stars or heavier elements.

      Peak Hydrogen! O_o;;

      1. But once Peak Hydrogen is achieved the Universe will begin collapsing, reversing entropy and once again coalescing into a single point, a singularity which will explode and once again contaminate the purity of space with debris of hardened energy, aka hydrogen.

        1. They haven’t found a tenth of the matter needed to make the universe collapse. Looks like heat-death is most likely.

        2. Actually, one theory (based on some evidence* gathered in the 90s) is that the Universe will keep expanding. Forever. Until space tears itself apart.

          (*= Something about the various galaxies are accelerating away from us instead of slowing down.)

          Who needs HP Lovecraft for depressing stories? O_o;;

      2. That actually happens to one of my main Bad Guy cultures, the Night Shadows (who come from a universe where the stars have gone out but the black holes not yet evaporated from Hawking Radiation). They’ve concluded that there’s no hope for any solution to their problem in any technological advance, so they consume young Universes for energy.

  21. Meanwhile over in Japan, the famous old Takarazuka theater troupe is about to present a deeply Usaian take on the life of Abraham Lincoln.

    However, it should be borne in mind that Takarazuka is also a Western-style theatrical reply to the tradition of all-male kabuki troupes, by way of returning to the original kabuki tradition of all-female actors. They also do musicals, including an Ace Attorney one.

    And before that, the lady played Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Takarazuka, you are weird.

        1. PJ O’Rorke, I think, in the National Lampoon “Foreigners” issue: ‘The most disturbing thing about the Japanese is we’vs nuked the little yellow bastards twice and it doesn’t seem to have had much effect.’

    1. Takarazuka is also a Western-style theatrical reply to the tradition of all-male kabuki troupes

      Transphobic! Cisnormative! Dual-Sexism!

      I can’t figure whether it is Cultural Imperialism or Cultural Appropriation, so call it both — that way they’re wrong coming and going.

      1. I an convinced the bombing Hiroshima knocked the Japan of this universe seven to the left and pushed that universe’s Japan here.

  22. “(Jean Jacques Rosseau should be burned in effigy every year, for crimes against humanity.)”

    If you want to designate a date, I’ll be happy to join you in burning an effigy.

    1. Given that he died on July 2, might I recommend that as an appropriate date? It also fits in well with the Usaian high holiday that occurs two days later. Maybe a program like so:

      July 2: burning-Rosseau-in-effigy party
      July 3: recovery
      July 4: fireworks!

      1. As the Usaian sect was being driven underground, many members realized that their traditions were too obvious and could give them away. The Festival of Grilled Meats was therefore moved from July 4th to August 2nd, a date also attested in the Sacred Scriptures but whose significance was not generally known. One Usaian leader named John A. Hyatt tried to encourage the use of July 2nd, but that was deemed too close to the 4th for safety.

        Interestingly, a fairly minor military victory in the history of Seacity Syracuse happened on July 2nd, and a tradition of celebratory fireworks inexplicably grew up around it. Some have pointed to the irrepressible John A. as an early supporter of these celebrations.

        1. Why don’t you write my future history for me? Go head.
          It’s like there was something wrong with grandma’s Christmas doughnuts, or something. I’ll have you know that’s how I knew Christmas was coming! Perfectly above board and… stuff.

        1. The Freedom Festival here in Utah is several days long, usually culminating on Independence Day itself. Perhaps we’ll try to add the burning-in-effigy to our own personal celebrations. We still need something for the 3rd, though… maybe a day to go shooting? For targets, colonial British shakos, Red Army caps, blue helmets, etc.

  23. Sarah,

    I thought that as you’ve not actually read what you are supposedly responding to, I’d try and add some relevant background. Unfortunately, as you’ve not actually specified the statement you haven’t read I can’t be specific, but I can say in general what I see people at “Vile 666” and other places commenting on regarding yourself and communism.
    They do not (as you spend your article defending against) argue against your opinions on the wrongs of communism, but the way that you link pretty much everyone you dislike with communism, and drag the subject up whenever you have even the most oblique opportunity. In your blogs, if your targets aren’t actually communists, they are supporting communists, or tolerating communists. Per you, if they’re liberals, they’re leftists. If they’re leftists, they’re socialists. If they’re socialists, they’re basically communists anyway. Ergo, goes your logic, everyone you disagree with is tainted with communism.
    What I, personally, find particularly odd is that despite the existence of actual, genuine Marxists, Trotskyists, etc out there in the world right now, instead of heading off to argue with them you sit here and point at people who aren’t actually any of those things.
    I don’t make comments about you because you are a staunch opponent of communism, I make comments because you use it to smear everyone you disagree with.

    1. TL/DR
      “Smear” people with Marxism? SMEAR?
      Sir, if you believe in a fixed pie, you are a Marxist. If you believe anyone who has more stole it, you are a Marxist. If you believe you are “speaking truth to power” on the behalf of some bureaucratically declared group of widgets you are a Marxist.
      That you don’t see it and don’t see that this inevitably leads to hurting people and taking their things is the problem.
      SMEAR? I can’t get you to wake up long enough to see it all over you.

      1. Sarah,

        For some reason Amanda wants me to prove my claim that you’ve said all your targets are Leftists, and that all leftists are Marxists. I don’t know why she wants this as you’ve been entirely open about it, but maybe she hasn’t been paying attention. The length of this is unfortunately necessary as she wanted full quotes and links.

        1) You say SF is taken over by the left and progressives:


        “Science fiction is a beach head that the entertainment-industrial LEFT, of Course, had taken, and they’re calling all their organs, no mater how remote to come and defend it, with impeccable coordination. “

        “We set out to prove that the Hugos, which are supposed to be a fandom award had become so reduced by low voting numbers that it was being controlled by a clique which more often than not followed a progressive agenda. “

        2) Your views on “the other side” in the anti-slate kerflufle are that they want socialist stories, and their politics are based on Marx:


        “Because the other side is all welcoming and inclusive.  All you have to do is make sure your stories don’t support child rapists nazis (preceding struck-through) non-socialist views which at any rate would be such a break with the revolutionary mission of science fiction that it wouldn’t be science fiction at all. “

        “There’s only one solution for today’s problems, and we know it’s based on a larger state, policing of thoughts and Marx and (preceding struck-through) the gospel of social justice.  All the rest is just wrong fans having wrong fun.” (see original for strikethroughs)

        You also pleasantly imply they support child rape and Nazis.

        3) You claim opposition to conservatives is pervasive in the publishing industry, and is like a Stalinist Purge:

        “After that I lived in a state of fear
        I imagine it was similar to living in one of the more unsavory periods of the Soviet Union. You saw these purges happen. Whisper-purges. You got the word that someone was “not quite the thing” or that they associated with so and so who associated with so and so who was a – dropped voice – conservative. Suddenly that person’s books weren’t being bought and somehow people would clear a circle around them, because, well, you know, if you’re seen with a – dropped voice – conservative they might think you’re one too. And then it’s off to Neverland with you.”

        4) You claim leftists (in your term, positional good leftists) are all some variety of Stalin-apologists:

        “But that was the first time I met an on-the-street American (he was a new employee there) and realized that it not only wasn’t true that communism and socialism were looked down upon on the US, but that the “cultured” groups in the US were pretty much indistinguishable from cultured groups in Europe, where leftism was a positional good and saying things like “Stalin was a little harsh” was not a reason to recoil in horror but a reason to nod and know the speaker was on the vanguard of culture.”

        5) You then claim “positional good leftism” is Marxism. As you’ve defined all modern leftism as “positional good leftism” we can reduce that down to “Leftists are Marxists and very close to Stalinists”:

        “This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.”

        6) And to complete the set, you say the left act according to Marxist training:

        “The left, though, can’t apply logic to its beliefs, because if it did they’d crumble at the touch (no? really? Answer me quickly: which one is more UNJUSTLY oppressed? A black woman raised in the lap of luxury by college-professor parents or a white man in the Appalachia raised by a druggie single mother? Which one deserves your help more? If you said the woman, you just proved you internalized your Marxist training perfectly, but you can’t think. If you said “the man” you just proved you are trying to game me. The actual answer is “It depends on the content of their characters.” That’s the ONLY sane, rational answer for a non-racist human in a free society.)”

        7) Just to be clear on where you view the left, you say Democrats (I’m assuming the US political party, not just everyone who believes in voting) are fine with both communists and socialists:

        “This is because they have no principles and no ideas. So the “Democrat” or “communist” or “socialist” label makes someone’s thoughts “safe” even when despicable. (And the fact that communist and socialist are “safe” labels tells you how much they will swallow, because those two regimes always end in blood, faster or slower, overt or covert.)”

        8) And finally, just to clarify how you view the (simplistic) political spectrum, you say that Jeb Bush (moderate republican) is a “soft-Euro-socialist”:

        “Am I the only one who shuddered at that sentence?  The pursuit of “perfect justice” be it racial, economic or whatever has filled millions of graves.  Now, would Jeb Bush do that?  I doubt it.  Or at least I don’t think so.  He’s a soft-Euro-socialist not a Stalinist (which means yeah, in certain circumstances the lesser of two evils) but the phrase is still worrying for a demonstration of brain-rot and how lazy thinking gets into people’s minds and ejects reason and sense, and can cause horrible evil.”

        So, in 1-3 you identify SF, US publishing, and anti-puppies as leftists.
        Then in 4-6 you identfy leftists as Marxists, close to Stalinists and Stalin-apologists.
        Finally, in 7-8 it’s made clear you lump the vast majority of American voters into a pile marked “some sort of socialist”, and of course you equate socialists with Marxists, so….

        Does that amount to “everyone you disagree with”? Certainly yes in the context of the Hugo kerfluffle that I was referring to, given (2). Absolutely everyone you’ve ever disagreed with, ever? Probably not. I note Amanda’s little legal threat, but as she doesn’t even know the difference between slander and libel I’m not going to worry (and if she graduates to claiming libel she should look at the treatment of opinions based on disclosed facts first).

        Is my chain above correct? Well, it’s in line with the one Patrick Richardson just constructed, so I’d say your supporters agree with it. As the only thing you disagreed with was that the people you were aiming at weren’t Marxists, I’m guessing you agree with it too.

        Anyway, that was actually an unnecessary diversion. I’m not interested in arguing whether your “all leftists are marxists” shtick is actually correct or not, as you’re incapable of doing anything with it other than making yourself look bad.

        What I wanted to get over to you was that when you say that your opponents are arguing that Marxism/Communism/etc isn’t bad, you are incorrect. What people are actually saying is that your opinion that “all leftists are marxists” is untrue. That doesn’t require them to have any opinion on Marxism whatsoever, it just requires them to think there’s a difference between liberals, liberal democrats, democrats, democratic socialists, socialists, Trotskyites, Marxists, communists, etc etc etc.

        tl; dr – stop claiming that people are taking a pro-communism stance vs your anti-communist stance when they are actually just arguing with your opinion on who the communists are.

        1. Jeb is not a ‘moderate’ he’s a lefty.
          More often than not is not ‘all’
          and your claim that the majority is on the left is a bit of a stretch.
          And I believe your last claim is rather disingenuous. These days all leftists are pretty much socialists/communists. Because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else out there on that side of the aisle.

          And no, I don’t speak for Sarah.

          1. Sorry, I missed this one.
            “Jeb is not a ‘moderate’ he’s a lefty.” – If you view Jeb Bush as left within the Republicans rather than moderate Republican then I won’t argue too hard – he seems broadly centrist-Republican to me, but it’s hardly an exact science. It doesn’t really affect my main point, which is that if you’re calling a member of the Republican party a socialist you’re applying that label to a heck of a lot of people.
            “More often than not is not ‘all’” – very true, but that was 1 of 3 quotes building that point up, and the other two are much more absolute. You may feel it’s unfair of me to construct absolute and sweeping statements about what Sarah has said, but they are as fair or unfair as the absolute sweeping statements she has often made. If she wants to take a step back and show a bit more nuance in her proclamations, I’ll happily follow.
            “and your claim that the majority is on the left is a bit of a stretch” – I can’t work out what specifically you’re replying to here.
            “And I believe your last claim is rather disingenuous” – I assume you mean my claim that there’s a difference between liberals, socialists, etc, because you say “These days all leftists are pretty much socialists/communists”. Well, obviously I disagree, and that’s actually the point: I, and other people, aren’t criticising Sarah’s anti-Marxism stance, we’re criticising her claim about who is a Marxist and therefore a target of her ire. I could argue the toss over it, but I’m not interested in digging in for a week here, I want to make the point that Sarah’s claims about what people are saying about her are wrong.

            1. Your ignorance of the conservative critique of contemporary politics is showing, Mark. It has to do with the fundamental assumptions politicians (and people) make about the proper role and function of government.

              Jeb! — like John McCain, Jerry Ford, Richard Nixon, and Nelson Rockefeller before him — takes as underlying principles of the role of government precepts that originate in a Marxist critique. While Jeb!’s view of the role of government is more constrained than that of Barry Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, that only makes Jeb! more conservative than they are — it does not make him conservative. Just so, advocating drinking water that contains only 20 parts per million of arsenic does not make a man an advocate of safe drinking water than those who argue for a standard of 50 parts per million, merely an advocate of less dangerously harmful drinking water.

              Your inability to grasp the fundamental nature of your error is why you fail in your effort “to make the point that Sarah’s claims about what people are saying about her are wrong.” Your examples are not material to your argument and your rebuttal attempts do not get to the crux of Sarah’s claims. You think you’re refuting “po-tay-to, po-tah-to” when in fact Sarah’s arguing “they yam what they yam.”

              1. Thank you for your opinions on conservatism and where Jeb Bush does – or doesn’t – fall within it. However, I didn’t mention conservatives, I mentioned Republicans, and so you simply strengthen my point. If you – and Sarah – view some sizeable segment of the Republican party as not conservative, and in fact socialist, that’s a lot of people that you just called socialists who would strongly disagree with you.
                Again, I’m not bothering to argue with your position, just pointing out how many people are caught up in it.

                1. You’re right — many, many people are caught up in a socialist worldview, largely unawares. Thank you for demonstrating my point.

                  That many would not agree with me is irrelevant; many men do not think of themselves as sexist, many slaveholders undoubtedly did not think themselves racist. People’s self-perceptions are hardly an accurate measure.

                  Your argument has now devolved into Sarah pointing out that water is wet, fire hot, Popes are Catholic and bears crap in the woods — and many people disagree. You have utterly failed to attempt any refutation beyond “they don’t think they are.” Are you actually taking the position that a person is only socialist if they proclaim themselves so?

                2. Since Jeb and other “mainstream” Republicans share belief in central planning by the state; how ’bout just calling them “statists”?

                  (We’ll ignore the fact that central planning by the state is an integral part of all forms of socialism.)

          1. Pick the answer that fits best:
            a) Clamps has substantially improved his writing skills.
            b) We only have the one actual white supremacist troll.
            c) Some white supremacist hate group like maybe File 770 socializes these poor dears to act this way, then points ’em in our direction.
            d) Google’s in kind contribution to the National Association for the Advancement of Rapist-Americans (Hillary 2016) includes a white supremacist troll bot.

              1. I would go with a), but we haven’t gotten a rant about the Stalin of the Puppies or She Who Waltzes in Shade.
                My personal bet is e) that you are beginning to live rent-free in their heads.

                1. Even free the rent is too damn high for those tenements. The landlords never do maintenance or take out their garbage and as a consequence there is vermin crawling all through. Good grief — even most of them don’t live in those hovels!

            1. Probably some variation of C; Clamps has been seen to stir up bigot groups with selective quotes to point them at Shadow, mostly because he’s so bad at it that there’s been some push-back. (Sadly, only some.)

        2. 1) You say SF is taken over by the left and progressives:

          Plainly true, and what’s more “progressives” purely in the sense of leftist, as witness the spectacle at the recent Hugos of leftist white men organizing “No Awards” to avoid giving awards to non-whites and women who didn’t happen to be leftists. This is the sort of thing that has turned “progressive” into a dirty word.

          2) Your views on “the other side” in the anti-slate kerflufle are that they want socialist stories, and their politics are based on Marx …

          … though often second or third-hand.

          As to the “child-rapist” business, science fiction has had a problem with that, traceable in particular to Delany and to Bradley’s husband, for a while. The assumption has been that writers are above common moral standards.

          As to the “Nazi” business, given that Communists have been at least as murderous as Nazis, people who are willing to excuse Communist mass murders should logically be judged at least as harshly as those willing to excuse Nazi ones. Sarah’s just not going along with the convention of white-washing the Communists, which seems to be bothering you a lot … why?

          3) You claim opposition to conservatives is pervasive in the publishing industry, and is like a Stalinist Purge:

          It is. The main difference is that the publishers have no weapon save refusing to publish.

          The good news is that the old-style, traditional publishers are being out-competed by e-publishing and self-publishing, in part because the audience is tired of being force-fed Communist propaganda in their books. So the Invisible Hand is correcting the problem — which, as the traditional publishers sink, is truly Karmic Justice, now isn’t it?

          4) You claim leftists (in your term, positional good leftists) are all some variety of Stalin-apologists:

          All must make excuses for various Stalinist regimes and their enablers, at least. If I were to argue in favor of mass murder as a normal tool of international relations and domestic resource management, and subordination of the rights of the individuals to the State, would I need to also specify spiffy brown or black shirted marching brigades before you called me a Nazi? No? Well, then why aren’t Leftists to be termed Stalinists for arguing in favor of the exct same things, or supporting regimes with exactly those policies?

          7) Just to be clear on where you view the left, you say Democrats (I’m assuming the US political party, not just everyone who believes in voting) are fine with both communists and socialists:

          The two leading candidates for the Democratic Party right now are a corporate socialist (Hilary Clinton) and a flat-out self-confessed socialist (Bernie Sanders), so … yes.

          You’re basically accusing Sarah Hoyt of speaking truth to power. Literally.

          Well done, fool.

    2. Really? Everyone she disagrees with? Where is your proof of this absolute statement?

      As for claiming she is arguing with people (at the site which has taken such great pains and enjoyment out of smearing those they don’t agree with) who aren’t communist or Marxist, again, you once again speak in absolutes. Are you sure there are none there who follow those philosophies?

      Perhaps we would take you more seriously if you would quote from Sarah’s posts where she makes the claims you allege. Oh, and please do so in context. It is so easy to make claims when you take something out of context — as you appear to be doing here.

      Now, for your final statement. That, sir, could be viewed as slander. Sarah by no means uses communism to “smear everyone” she disagrees with. Now, either support your claim or go away.

      1. Amanda,

        Please see my reply to Sarah which lays out in quotes and links exactly how I arrived at the conclusions I did. The funny thing is, I don’t think Sarah has ever hidden this opinion of hers, so I’m not sure why you didn’t know about it.

        Anyway, the one bit I’ll tackle here is “As for claiming she is arguing with people (at the site which has taken such great pains and enjoyment out of smearing those they don’t agree with) who aren’t communist or Marxist, again, you once again speak in absolutes. Are you sure there are none there who follow those philosophies?”

        Well, firstly I didn’t say there were no communists or Marxists among her opponents, simply that her claims that they were all communists are wrong. The ludicrous absolute claim is hers, not mine.
        Now, of course there are actual Marxists out there writing books (or Trotskyites, or whatevers), because they quite openly identify themselves as such. Steven Brust is a Trotskyite. China Miéville is a member of the International Socialist Organization (so technically not a Marxist, but I won’t quibble). Phil Sandifer is a Marxist. None of this is a secret, but the existence of a handful of card-carrying something-ists doesn’t mean everyone in the same industry holds the same political views. In fact, it’s the existence of these people that should demonstrate to you that “they’re all marxists in SF publishing” is a load of rot, because being a card carrying whatever-ist is no bar to being a successful writer. In fact, the political spectrum is a rather wide one, and liberals do not agree politically with Marxists, and vice-versa, so claiming they’re all the same is silly. Now, as you seem to be asking about File 770 specifically, I’ll say that as far as I am aware no-one I’ve had a discussion with identifies as a Marxist or communist. I suppose some might, but if so they’ve not mentioned it that I remember. What I can say is, that whenever someone has identified their political leanings, they’ve most definitely not been Marxists, and this is why they comment on Sarah’s claims that they are.
        Now, as I mentioned before, there are actual, genuine, out-and-proud Marxists out there. Sarah isn’t bothering to argue with them. She’s not writing a book of counterpoint essays to China Miéville. She’s not anti-blogging Steven Brust’s blogs on Trotsky. She’s running around pointing at liberals and left-wingers and throwing them into one enormous clump with Marxists, then saying they’re the worst people in the world because she just defined them as Marxists.

        Tl;dr – no, but that isn’t what I said.

        1. Mark, i am trying to finish a book to meet deadline, so I will be quick here. Yes, you did imply at the very least that there were no Marxists, etc., at File whatever. To quote: “What I, personally, find particularly odd is that despite the existence of actual, genuine Marxists, Trotskyists, etc out there in the world right now, instead of heading off to argue with them you sit here and point at people who aren’t actually any of those things.”

          And I note how you don’t give full context in your so-called examples, you merely quote. Further, you have yet to address the absolute nature of your statement that she smears everyone she disagrees with with as being communist or socialist or whatever its you want to fill in. Not that it surprises me you chose only to find a few select quotes to try to support your statement.

          Tell me something, sir. Do you spend as much time trying to correct or educate the regular commenters at File Whatever when they say something blatantly false as you seem to feel you need to spend here, educating Sarah on the wrongness of her beliefs?

          1. Amanda,

            I’m glad that you’ve come down to “you did imply at the very least” so I can correct your misapprehension: that was not my implication. And as I’ve answered the question you posed anyway (see para starting “Now, as you seem to be asking…”) I think that’s covered.

            I didn’t give full enough context for you? I would usually have taken some time to accurately cut the quotes much shorter and still maintained their meaning, but as you were concerned about context I gave the full paragraph and the url to the article, hence the length. What more can I do without cutting and pasting the entire article into the comments? Anyone who wishes can follow the url. Also, as I assume Sarah can remember the articles she wrote I’m hardly denying her the context of her own words.

            I haven’t addressed the absolute nature of my statement? Umm, read my earlier comment starting at “Does that amount to “everyone you disagree with”?” in which I address that very point, and “I didn’t say there were no communists or Marxists among her opponents, simply that her claims that they were all communists are wrong.”

            Also, I find it rather bizarre that you’re lecturing me on lack of context and criticising the quotes I’ve thrown in when we’re discussing an article in which Sarah not only doesn’t give context for her quote, she doesn’t even give the quote, doesn’t give a link, all because she openly admits she’s responding to something she hasn’t read. If you want to lecture someone on how to provide evidence, why not do so to Sarah, and while you’re there you could cc in Kate Paulk and mention that articles which don’t even name (let alone quote) the person she’s replying to doesn’t meet your standards.

            Finally, “a few select quotes.” Well, I’m not pulling any more evidence at your request, as those are a decent sample and Sarah hasn’t denied the position I impute to her with them. You’ll notice that she’s commented here since, and hasn’t said a thing to gainsay it, and that Patrick Richardson has posted a very similar explanation that, again, neither Sarah or anyone else has disagreed with.

            1. Mark, Mark, Mark, go play elsewhere. You have yet to prove your point that Sarah paints everyone she disagrees with with the brush of Marxism or anything else. Like so many others, (note the lack of absolutism here. I say so many and not all) you want to make Sarah into something she isn’t. You pull quotes from posts that are thousands of words long — without giving full context or explanation. As for the rest of it, why should Sarah continue to deny your comments when you simply stamp your foot and say “I’m right!” or when you accuse another of being a meanie and attacking you?

              And again, I asked a simple question that I don’t see you answering. Do you spend this much time trying to correct the commenters at File whatever when they blatantly lie about others who don’t agree with them (and do NOT construe this as me saying I think that is what Sarah has done because I do not)? Did you come to Brad’s defense when folks over there were calling him racist and agreeing with claims that he only married his wife so she could be his “beard” against racism? Did you defend those who go over and simply post a comment that goes against the accept line of thought over there that “Fans” are only those who go to the right cons and perform the right duties at them? Until you can answer those questions in the affirmative, I suggest that you go back to your playmates over there. You can tell them how mean we were to you and how we just don’t appreciate your attempts to paint Sarah with a brush of absolutism they would approve of.

              1. Amanda,

                I’m disappointed that you’re so quick to tell people to go away – I thought you were all for free debate and the like.

                Tell you what, let’s assume for a minute that despite her rhetoric Sarah doesn’t really believe absolutely everyone from a spot in the Republican party leftwards is a Marxist (and maybe she actually doesn’t, but she’s responsible for her own rhetoric). Let’s say she merely paints “the majority” or “a lot” or “large numbers”. That’s still a vast swathe of people who are nowhere close to Marxism in their political beliefs that Sarah is a) calling Marxists and then b) smearing with association with Stalin, Mao, etc etc. I’m quite happy to play with this assumption, because Sarah just posted a new blog using those very words. So, is it any surprise that when she’s telling a bunch of non-Marxists that they’re Marxists they point out that she’s wrong? And is it any surprise that I take exception at her reading (or not bothering to read) that criticism and then re-purposing it as a claim that people are attacking her anti-Marxism and defending mass-murder? Really Amanda, for all that you’ve focused this on whether some absolutes are strictly correct or not, you’re dodging the main point: Sarah is misrepresenting what her critics say about her in order to smear them, and she does so even though there are actual Marxists available for her to go argue with instead.

                No, I didn’t answer your question because, really, why do I have to go around correcting every ill and wrong you see on the internet before I’m allowed to address this one? That’s just facile. I will give you the challenge you gave me: feel free to post specific examples, with links and quotes and context and reasons and everything, of stuff you’re offended by, and tell me why on earth you think its my job to do something about each one, and I’ll give it the same consideration you’ve given my response to your request.

                (And as a final point, you still complain about my giving quotes without giving context. As I replied, the context is available from the very full passages I used, and if that isn’t enough then the entire article is linked. If you think I’ve been unfair, pick one out and show how I’ve taken it out of context.)

                1. Amanda, I’m disappointed that you’re so quick to tell people to go away – I thought you were all for free debate and the like.

                  Where do you get that idea? For that matter, what makes you dream what you’re engaging in is “debate” or anything like. All you’ve done is make tendentious arguments which neither support your premise nor refute Sarah’s. That is not how debates work. Perhaps you ought attend an argument clinic, as your prior instructors have clearly failed you.

        2. Your inability to objectively analyze Sarah’s (or anyone’s) writing is duly noted, as is your lack of comprehension about leftism, progressivism, and its links to Marxism and ultimately communism.

          Hate to tell you this, Sparky, but just because many of them haven’t read Marx’s economic theories (and I’m being generous by calling them that), doesn’t make them any less supportive of his contentions. Many of them HAVE read said dreck, and proudly call themselves Marxist (look up Phil Sandifer, who also has the distinction of being someone who supports pedophiles).

          Yes, there are levels of socialism, just like there are shades of conservatism and liberalism. No one has denied that. But in your froth-flecked, long-winded, supercilious zeal to erect yourself your very own Straw Sarah, you’ve failed to look at context and really comprehend her statements. Or maybe… judging by your loquacious, tedious responses, you’re simply incapable of understanding context. I’d say that’s more likely.

          In other words, go peddle your condescending dreck elsewhere. No one here wants to be bored silly by someone who is incapable of simple analysis, but who feels himself qualified to lecture Sarah on what she ALWAYS says, feels, etc.

          1. Do you think he is another one of those white supremacist trolls we’ve had a spate of recently?

            1. Bob

              You get White Supremacist Trolls? How odd. No, I’m not one. If you want me to prove it, just assume I’ve said something rude about Vox Day or something as my bona fides.

          2. Nicki,

            If I’ve failed to read and understand various things, how do we judge the person who tells me to “look up Phil Sandifer” when I actually mentioned him in my earlier comment?

            1. You’ve obviously NOT read him in any depth. I’ve engaged with that weasel numerous times, and he truly is a sickening human being on many levels.

              1. He’s one who identifies as a Marxist AFTER actually having read Marx and agreed with that evil, demented ideology. His frothing acolytes both on Twitter and Facebook either wholly agree with him, or just in part. But they certainly never challenge him.

                If you read what that group says writ large, here’s no way they DON’T identify with much of hat ideology. It’s one Hong to know that Sandifer identifies as a Marxist. Hell, he says it and proudly. But it’s quite another to see his communications with others.

                    1. @overgrownhobbit Did you tell the Android to look you up? That might intimidate it into behaving. 😉

        3. Che Guevera T-shirts vs. Gamergate T-shirts at a science fiction convention.

          Shooting people in the head and founding a frikking gulag vs. Being really, really obnoxiously mean to people on the internet.

          Naming a popular writers group after the KKK vs. The KGB and posting loving kudos to how neo-chic it is on a major publishers website.

          Okay, the former never happened. Anywhere, but the latter was on Tor.com, and all the usual Torling progs were shocked, shocked that I found said club grotesque.

          The cluelessness is strong in this one.

          1. There is a “Young Communist” author group. (They’re not. Except for communists. They’re all in their forties.) NO ONE recoils from them. And they should. It’s like having a young Nazis group.

              1. Note – they even lie about that.

                To paraphrase Mary McGrory, “Every word they utter is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

    3. Oh you _are_ a special kind of nitwit aren’t you?

      A. Liberalism is a left-wing ideology.
      B. Therefore liberalism and leftism are the same thing.
      C. Liberalism as it is currently defined is indistinguishable from socialism (cf Neither Debbie Wasserman-Schultz nor Hillary Clinton being able to define the difference between a democrat and a socialist.
      D. Socialism — which all liberals tacitly support — is responsible for more of the worlds ills than any other philosophy.
      E. Socialism invariably leads to totalitarianism.
      F. Marxists are socialists and frankly you scratch any liberal and the Marxist ideology is just below the surface but:
      G. Most of you don’t realize it because you’re useful idiots who are too busy virtue signaling to realize where the idiocy you spew from your mouth like shit from a goose invariably leads.

      Get it now?

        1. This illustrates the crux of your misunderstanding, Mark. You conflate Patrick’s disinclination to have a conversation [with you] without being abusive as representing an “inability” to have such conversations, period. In fact, it merely reflects his conviction that engaging you with reasoned argument would prove a futile exercise as you have already demonstrated you do not use reason, instead employing a series of logical fallacies that superficially resemble reason — as, for example, you did in declaring Patrick’s “inability” when no such inability was in evidence.

          Similarly, your culling of examples of Sarah’s imputed tendencies does not prove your claim that Sarah always does such a thing, it merely shows she occasionally does such things. As one of the memes of this blog is the insinuation of Marxist thinking into everyday life, it would be improbable for such assertions to not occur. but three, nor ten nor a hundred examples do not prove she always makes such accusations. Again, you demonstrate an incapacity or unwillingness to use logic correctly; in either case there is little to be gained by logical rebuttal of your fallacies.

        2. So you make a snide comment attacking the hostess and whinge when someone is *gasp* rude towards you.

          Poor pitiful Mark.

          1. Patrick, if you were cursed to go through life with a name which identified you as a target, as vulnerable, as prey, an “a un street wise person” and “an easy target or victim”, you’d be a hypersensitive whinger, too. Have a little sympathy instead of drawing back your boot and toeing the mark.

          2. My impression is that he saw himself in the useful idiots who get put against the wall, but isn’t willing to turn in his progressivism since it’s a positional good and all, and also of course his side is vicious and eats apostates. So instead, he turns his impotent anger on me. He thinks this will somehow change reality and make his side the wonderful philanthropists he wants them to be. Poor Mark. All that stands between him and that wall is those of us who still fight. He’ll never forgive us for it.

            1. Sarah, I notice that you’ve nothing to say to my substantive points above.

              Your commentariat here really isn’t a credit to you (or maybe you think it is, I don’t know). Now, I’m hardly going to claim I was here being nice to you or anything, but I wasn’t swearing or launching tedious ad hominens. Amanda was capable of engaging with my points without descending into insults (Thank you, Amanda) so the rest at least have a good example to follow, if they’re willing.

              The thing is, I’m really not too concerned if you continue your shtick about Marxists. It’s great stuff! Everyone from the centre of the Republican party leftwards looks at it and thinks “Umm, she thinks I’m a socialist? And therefore a Marxist? Welp, better cross that one off my credibility list.” My only concern was to point out that your canard about people disagreeing with you about your judgement on Marxists was wrong; they’re disagreeing with your judgement about who is and isn’t a Marxist.

                1. Useful Tip For Internet Discussion:

                  Calling a point “substantive” does not automatically make a point substantive.

                  It doesn’t even make it a point. Sometimes it remains an irrelevant digression from the crux* of the discussion.

                  *Offered for those who are ignorant of the Principles of Rhetoric:
                  Crux, noun (Pronunciation: /krəks/ )
                  The decisive or most important point at issue
                  [Oxford Dictionary]

              1. Jesus in a Tupperware Container! Could you be any more arrogant, clueless, and sniffy? So now you’re speaking for everyone who is a moderate Republican as well??? And not only that, but you’re claiming to know what they’re thinking based on your lack of understanding what Sarah writes?

                Holy toenail fungus, Batman!!!

              2. You don’t get to claim “substantive comments” after taking comments out of context, making general claims about others unsupported by evidence, and then coming here and acting like a self-important, sniffy prick, you supercilious douche nozzle! Do you honestly think Sarah has the time or the inclination to address your lengthy idiot contentions and attempts to paint her as something she’s not, by taking her comments out of context and then making claims about oh-those-poor middle of the road Republicans who almost certainly all are scratching their heads at her supposedly calling them Marxist?

                I’m fairly sure – and I won’t speak for Sarah as you presume to speak for anyone and everyone you think will somehow support your contentions – you mean about as much to her as a dog turd that accidentally made its way onto a shoe.

                Take your spew elsewhere. No one is interested. Still.

                1. Tsk, Nicki, tsk and double tsk! Such ad hominem argument is inappropriate.

                  A douche nozzle is a very useful and cleansing piece of equipment which does not deserve to be so meanly impugned by your use in such a comparison.

                2. The only type of Republican mindset that Mark can hope to understand is that of the RINO. This is obvious because he is not conversant with the principles of Lincolnist-Shermanist Diacritical Mysteriousness.

                  Sarah is a moderate Republican. I even find her an extreme leftist, because she does not wish for a return to the mores of that one perfect day in a particular house. This was in New England in the mid 1700s, before George started getting ideas above his station.

    4. The “actual, genuine Marxists, Trotskyists, etc” are so soaked in Marxist claptrap that there is no reasoning with them. Sarah is trying to help those only marginally tainted by that crap to recoup their souls.

      Your complaint consists of falsely claiming baby Marxists aren’t at risk of becoming adult, feral Marxists. While they may be cute while they’re pups, they are still a danger unless neutered in time.

      Sarah does not imagine that “everyone [she] disagree[s] with is tainted with communism” but the public trait she is most likely to take exception to is communism, because that is the trait most dangerous to her and those she loves. The deplorable habit of smearing mayo on a hamburger or even the disgusting swill that is vinegar-based barbecue are sins she can tolerate during the present emergency.

      1. The idea of Our Beloved Hostess attacking everyone and anyone who disagrees with her as a commie is hilarious to anyone who’s spent any time here at AtH. I mean, who among us has not disagreed with her (and/or everyone else in the commentariat) on something over the years? Sometimes at length and loudly? Heck, I think I’ve disputed things with her and I’m the mellow one around here!

                1. I don’t get into “fights” about who is the nicest because I’d lose. [Evil Grin]

                1. I come not to start arguments but to settle them. As is widely acknowledged, I, RES-afix, am the very embodiment of reason and geniality, cordial as a cherry liquer and never disputatious.

                  It is a source of deep regret to me that some few, sadly benighted, unreasonable souls will occasionally, at the prompting of what inner demons we will never know, find themselves compelled to challenge my comments, in which instances the strictures of charity and noblesse oblige require I gently but firmly correct their misapprehensions. This is not an argument, quite obviously, because the principles of argument demand there be some element in dispute, and as all well know there can be no disputing the wisdom I bestow.

                  As no reasonable person could sensibly challenge such unconcealed good sense, I rest my case.

  24. John Maddox Roberts’s SPQR mysteries discuss that a lot. His hero is an old man living under Augustus, writing about his youth in the last days of the Republic and through the “reign” of Julius Caesar.

    One thing that runs through the novels is a vivid description of the slow political suicide his class (and the Republic) was committing–and how thoroughly dead Caesar and Augustus killed it.

    Caesar is portrayed as one of several megalomaniac emperor-wannabes of the time. The one brilliant enough to pull it off.

    The hero is a cheerful degenerate (somewhat–neither his appetites nor his tastes match his reputation) with a real love for Rome. Fun reads, with a melancholy tone in the background.

  25. Next time some communist tells you it’s just because they didn’t get their message out correctly, tell ’em to stuff a sock in it.

  26. For the benefit of Mark, who seems to have trouble grasping the fundamental point that it isn’t whether people recognize their biases that defines those prejudices:

    Academics Are So Lefty They Don’t Even See It
    By Megan McArdle
    Consider this recent account of a graduate admissions committee meeting. An applicant to a linguistics Ph.D. program is a matriculating senior at a small historically black college unknown to some committee members. “Left-wing black nationalists,” one committee member said of the college, while another said, to much laughter, that the college was “the academic arm of Black Lives Matter.”

    The committee then spent more time discussing details of the applicant’s GRE scores and background — high GRE scores, high-poverty urban school district — than it did with some other candidates. The chair of the committee said, “I would like to beat that college out of her,” and asked, to laughter from committee members, “You don’t think she’s a nutcase?”

    Other committee members defended her, but didn’t challenge the assumptions about the historically black college or the people who attend it. One noted that the college had a good reputation in the humanities. And another said that her personal statement indicated intellectual independence from her college and good critical thinking. She was eventually passed on to the second round but rejected there, and given the comments of the earlier reviewers, it’s reasonable to think that in that second round, her background probably counted against her.

    This is beyond outrageous. Giving a candidate a harder look because they grew up in a high poverty school district, and attended a historically black college? No, no one said “we don’t want blacks in this program”; they don’t have to. They just have to decide that traits common to black candidates, like growing up in a high-poverty neighborhood, or attending a historically black college, disqualify you from being “one of us.”

    While characters in movies often make explicit speeches about how they hate black people, in reality they aren’t necessary. Racists build their racist consensus in coded language, perhaps sometimes language so coded the speaker doesn’t think about the true message.

    That makes it that much harder to root this kind of pervasive bigotry out of our society. And why it’s so outrageous to hear this kind of racist talk on a graduate admissions committee in this day and age.

    Or it would be, if graduate admissions committees talked like that. I changed a few of the important details. In fact, the conversation I’m alluding to concerned a young woman who was home-schooled before attending a small Christian college, which the reviewers of her application dismissed as a place of “right-wing religious fundamentalists” that was “supported by the Koch brothers.”

    What happened on that committee is bigotry, plain and simple. And it’s not just a problem for conservative Christians, and people seen as conservative Christians. It’s a problem for academia.


    It requires a special kind of obtuseness to be incapable of generalizing from this example to the broader point: many people, whether they grasp it or not, even many who proclaim themselves Right of Center, are thinking based upon a priori assumptions which are demonstrably Socialist. This unacknowledged fundamental bias affects their intellectual space as surely as believing the parallel lines never meet defines their geometric space.

  27. I’m afraid I can’t agree with you here Sarah. Born in 1970 in the Soviet Union I was a happy kid. Sure you didn’t have to choose between 10 different flavors of vinegar at your local grocery store, because only one was on the shelf and yes, meat of any kind was scarce once in a while. Still, putting my hand on my heart I won’t be able to claim that I spent my life in terror, even after retiring from the mandatory draft into the Soviet Army.

    Yes, the purges were there and so was the Holodomor (actually the correct translation would be “Golodomor” – “Holod” means coldness in Russian and “Golod” means starvation). Lenin was an idealist, Stalin was a psychopath, Khrushchev was a down-to-earth guy who tried to get the war-ravaged country back on it’s feet, only to get replaced by that “party pooper”, Brezhnev. What does it have to do with communism? Nothing. In the game of thrones you win or you’re dead.

    I’m not a commie and not a lover of any ideology in general. Yet I cannot discard any of the accomplishments the Soviet people did for the love of their country and their beliefs. The communists won the WWII by throwing 20 million weaponless soldiers at the German machine guns. But they did win. If not for communism and it’s perpetual propaganda and the ideology behind it, there’s a pretty good chance you would be reading this blog in German and not English. Sounds crazy? Not to me.

    1. It is no denial of the WWII achievements of the Soviet soldiers to suggest they might not have thrown away so many of their lives had their system been better. It might even have been unnecessary to have their officers standing behind their lines with their guns pointed at their own troops.

      There is a world of difference between the American officers’ tendency to lead from the front and other officers “leading” from behind.

      Let us also acknowledge the supplies sent via America, some 20% of the American materiel went to the Russian front.

      The USSR was highly dependent on rail transportation, but the war practically shut down rail equipment production: only about 92 locomotives were produced. 2,000 locomotives and 11,000 railcars were supplied under Lend-Lease. Likewise, the Soviet air force received 18,700 aircraft, which amounted to about 14% of Soviet aircraft production (19% for military aircraft).

      Although most Red Army tank units were equipped with Soviet-built tanks, their logistical support was provided by hundreds of thousands of U.S.-made trucks. Indeed, by 1945 nearly a third of the truck strength of the Red Army was U.S.-built. Trucks such as the Dodge 3/4 ton and Studebaker 2½ ton were easily the best trucks available in their class on either side on the Eastern Front. American shipments of telephone cable, aluminum, canned rations, and clothing were also critical.


      In total, the US deliveries through Lend-Lease amounted to $11 billion in materials: over 400,000 jeeps and trucks; 12,000 armored vehicles (including 7,000 tanks, about 1,386[31] of which were M3 Lees and 4,102 M4 Shermans); 11,400 aircraft (4,719 of which were Bell P-39 Airacobras) and 1.75 million tons of food.

      Roughly 17.5 million tons of military equipment, vehicles, industrial supplies, and food were shipped from the Western Hemisphere to the USSR, 94% coming from the US. For comparison, a total of 22 million tons landed in Europe to supply American forces from January 1942 to May 1945. It has been estimated that American deliveries to the USSR through the Persian Corridor alone were sufficient, by US Army standards, to maintain sixty combat divisions in the line.

      The United States gave to the Soviet Union from October 1, 1941 to May 31, 1945 the following: 427,284 trucks, 13,303 combat vehicles, 35,170 motorcycles, 2,328 ordnance service vehicles, 2,670,371 tons of petroleum products (gasoline and oil), 4,478,116 tons of foodstuffs (canned meats, sugar, flour, salt, etc.), 1,900 steam locomotives, 66 Diesel locomotives, 9,920 flat cars, 1,000 dump cars, 120 tank cars, and 35 heavy machinery cars. One item typical of many was a tire plant that was lifted bodily from the Ford Company’s River Rouge Plant and transferred to the USSR. The 1947 money value of the supplies and services amounted to about eleven billion dollars.


      Joseph Stalin, during the Tehran Conference in 1943, acknowledged publicly the importance of American efforts during a dinner at the conference: “Without American production the United Nations [the Allies] could never have won the war.”

      Without American support of Soviet troops there’s a pretty good chance you would be reading this blog in German and not English.

      Of course, the probability that the Nazis could have conquered the US mainland remains indeterminate. There were sections of New York that I wouldn’t have advised them to try.

      1. There were sections of New York that I wouldn’t have advised them to try.

        Thank you, Richard Blaine.

      2. Over at Chicago Boys, Trent Telenko has done a large series of articles about World War 2 and one of the things he stated, and backed up with the data, was the fact that fate of the Axis was set the minute the US became actively involved in the war. Sure, Germany might have knocked off the USSR had a better strategy been followed, but given the insanely massive amount of war material the US could produce with only about half of all production going directly to war material, there was no way the Axis was going to win. In 1944 the US out produced every combatant nation combined and by the end of the year, war contracts were being curtailed because the end was already in sight. We had just started getting warmed up by that point. If we had kept the pace of 1943-44 up through 1945-1946, the results would have been mind-boggling.

        And Stalin knew it, which is why he bluffed with the massive hollow shell army he had at war’s end, but never pulled the trigger to roll on and take Western Europe.

    2. Lenin was an idealist….

      Well, let’s see what idealistic Lenin had to say about rational discourse, shall we?

      Why should we bother to reply to Kautski? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There’s no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautski is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything.

      Gosh, what a magnificent non-psychopath he was!

      1. He appears as a non-psychopath only because we have the follow on examples of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pot, who took his ideas and ran with them.

    3. Hitler was an idealist, too. It doesn’t make the ideals any less evil. Divorcing the profoundly anti-human ideals of communism from the immense pile of dead – many of them Russian – does nothing except enable the next round of slaughter.

      The communists did not win World War II. Reputable (as in not Soviet propagandist) historians are divided on whether Hitler lost it (and yes, the British stopped trying to assassinate him because his decisions were so much to their advantage) or whether the USA’s covert aid through Lend Lease then their actual battlefield aid won it. The USSR following the Czars in attempting to bury their enemies in Russian dead didn’t enter the discussion.

      Without Communism, over 100 million people starved, tortured, and murdered by their own nations would have gone on to do who knows what. Without Communism, Eastern Europe could have gone through a second renaissance. Without Communism, you might have seen enough to make a sensible observation on this topic.

    4. You and I grew up there right about the same time. I was born in L’viv in 1971. Sure you had a happy childhood. Most parents try to shield their children from the horrors of the shit they had to live through.

      I had a happy childhood too.

      Except for getting my tonsils out without anesthesia, because there wasn’t enough, tied up with a sheet, with a kidney dish under my chin, and pieces of flesh being snipped out of my throat, screaming and gagging on bloody chunks.

      Except for being so afraid of wasting food, that after vomiting some horrid soup my mom made from some rancid fish, that I slurped up what I threw up.

      Except for wiping my ass with newspapers.

      Except having to get water at the “zavod” across the street from our apartment building, because there was none to be had, and bathing in the same dirty water in the same tub as the rest of my family.

      Except for never having seen anything like a kiwi or a grapefruit or more than one type of apple.

      Except for never having any opportunities as a Jew in the USSR.

      Except for watching my loved ones die at young ages because of diseases that have a high survival rate anywhere that’s not a barely second world shithole.

      Except for having the customs officials in Chop, Poland steal literally everything we had – leaving us with half our already meager possessions – because fuck us, we were Jews leaving that precious Soviet Utopia and having a Soviet soldier stick an AK in my face when I got scared and wanted to follow my dad into the back room of the customs place where they strip searched him – just as a last humiliation.

      Yeah, your childhood may have been happy. Mine was for the most part as well. But my parents knew there was no future and no opportunities there. To claim otherwise is a repugnant lie!

      Yes, the Russian people are tough, but generations of tyranny – the czars, the communist party, the corrupt crony capitalists, and now this neo statist fuck in the Kremlin – have made them completely addicted to statism.

      You certainly appear to be one of those, to whom the brainwashing we received in school stuck like crazy glue. Hate to tell you this, Sparky, but “Neznaika Na Lune” was a condemnation of western society and capitalism, not just a cute storybook. Step out of your indoctrination.

      1. Yes, I am Latvian. And I guess my childhood in the former Soviet Union was happier than most. I have no love for communism, but it did happen and both wonderful and terrible things came out as a result.

        In the first days of WWII there were more young men than guns to throw away at the enemy. If you don’t believe me, please watch “Enemy at the Gates”

          1. Nyah – perfectly legit. Just as you can show there were many African-Americans content as slaves in the Old South by pointing to Gone With The Wind.

        1. Yuris ,,, ( I am breathing deeply, trying to find my Happy Place, and trying to control the Massive Fist of Historical Accurate Fury) Do not, EVER! cite as your historical authority, a movie, in order to make your so-called point. Not with this group, and ohhh – never in a thread that I contribute to. Link to books by experts of every stripe, the more academic and contentious the better, link to websites run by history enthusiasts, but do not cite movies as your argument. Do not. EVAH.
          The flaming idiocies perpetuated by Hollywood and the film industry in general with regard to so-called historical films are notorious and well-documented, and sufficient to make serious amateur and professional historians alike begin to gibber incoherently and reach for serious weaponry.

          1. “Enemy at the Gates” was a fine movie, and that opening scene was pretty powerful. It was even probably more historically accurate than, say, “Braveheart” or “The Patriot” (setting a low bar I know).

            But, yes, citing a work of fiction, no matter how good, does not support a historical argument.

            (Though, I do own a Moisin-Nagant in part because of Vasily Zaitsev.)

          2. The movie in question was filmed by two French producers and is based on a book written by an American writer… who spent 5 years traveling around the world getting his facts straight. Sure he might’ve twisted the truth a bit. And most likely the movie has twisted them even more. But to this date it’s the most realistic WWII movie I ever saw and believe me… Being a communist kid I saw a lot of the other ones.

            So please take another deep breath and look up “barrier troops” on Wikipedia.

            1. You miss the point, Yuris. Citing a movie, no matter how authentic it is supposed to be and how well it was cinemotagraphed … is not valid. Yes, the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan are shatteringly authentic. Yes, the producers of (god help us) The Patriot got a nice write-up in The Smithsonian – that did not make either of those two movies overall authentic documents.
              And Wikipedia, due to the manner in which it can be edited freely by interested partisans, is hardly any more authoritative a source for serious cites than pop movies.
              Try again.

            2. and cake spewed out of Great Stalin’s ass too I’m sure and Nikita “We Will Bury You” Khrushchev was just a regular joe. Jesus Tits, you probably think Pravda was a bastion of journalistic integrity …

    5. I can make the argument as to why it is good to have ten different vinegars to choose from (assuredly you are no cook) but instead let’s take this a step further — the biggest waste of shelving at my local groceries seem to be in the wine and beer department. They’ve got a whole bloody aisle of wine, and another of beer, when all you really need is what — two wines and one beer, right? Red wine, white wine, Budweiser — that’s all you need, isn’t it? Think of how much they’d save reducing the floor space of those groceries, reducing rent, heating and cooling costs (what;s the point of them keeping the beer cool for you , anyway?) and staffing to manage that stock.

      For that matter, trim the cracker aisle down to just saltines, and the bread aisle doesn’t need anything more than Wonderbread. Cut the mustards back to two, yellow and brown, and the pickle section doesn’t need to offer more than dill and sweet, right? A lot of that produce is just flaunting societal wealth — we could cut it back to lettuce, onions, cabbage and carrots and hardly anybody would miss the rest.

      Why force people to have to choose between so many alternative products when they don’t need that?

    6. …didn’t have to choose between 10 different flavors of vinegar…

      Didn’t have to choose? What a strange construction. I have never felt that I have to choose. Rather, I believe I am most fortunate to be at liberty to find what I need for my purpose. Different vinegars have different levels of acidity and flavor and therefore uses.

      For example: rice vinegar is too low in acidity to use as a cleaning agent for eliminating mildew, but it is perfect for seasoning certain oriental dishes which would be overwhelmed by white distilled vinegar.

        1. Not only that, cider vinegar has uses for other than food preparation. It has medicinal applications and can be used to make an excellent fruit fly trap.

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