All In All It’s Just Another Brick In The Wall

When I was 14 and in ninth grade, my form and I had a teacher we loved.  In my memory she was communist, but maybe I’m wrong about that and just inferred it.  Certainly unlike all the other communist party members, she never tried to make us sign up for Our. Very. Own. Communist. Party. Card!  (Be the first kid on your block NOT to own one.)  Maybe she was just some shade of pink short of full red, which meant she was average for that time and place, particularly for teachers.

Where she stood out is that she was definitely an Odd.  It’s funny that I can’t remember her name at all, but I remember she had one leg slightly shorter than the other, which probably sealed her as not belonging.  Which made her fit very well with us, a gang of misfits.

Now I’m not going to make claims about IQ — an imprecise and not fully understood measurement — and I’m not going to event try to guess at what the heck was going on there.  I’m just going to say my 8th and 9th grade form were the only place I ever felt normal.

It was created (and it was the same form though they changed letters in between.  I think we were 8th H and 9th N, but don’t quote me on that.  Anyway) because Portugal used to have, as England used to have “grouping by ability.”  What this means is that the “forms” (a group of students who goes through all the classes together.  The form colonizes a classroom and the teachers come to them.  Sometime when I’m not talking about something completely different, remind me to tell you about our second semester 8th grade classroom.) were grouped by ability, ability usually being inferred by the grades people brought from “preparatory school.”  The curricula could be almost bizarrely different.  My brother and my cousin (male, older) were at different “ability grouping levels” and while they covered the same material, it was done at completely different levels.

I’m not going to argue for the rightness of grouping or not grouping.  I’m not sure there should be twelve strata anyway, and I’m aware people change in their abilities and some very smart kids present as dullards in middle school or younger, which could get them stuck in the dummy class and bored sometimes literally to death.  I’m just going to say there ought to be a middle ground between “you’re on stratum one of twelve” and “everyone learns the same thing and let the devil take the topmost and the hindmost.”

Anyway, one of the curious forms of blindness of central planners is that they think that their word is law.  They dictate from above, and that’s it.  Apparently the concept of Irish democracy eludes them.  This is more so when the country is very old and respects tradition and “we’ve always done things that way.”

So the edict came from above, before I entered 7th grade that we weren’t culling people by ability anymore.  This was about as effective as “study war no more.”

I don’t know what happened, not having been on the other side of this, but my guess is several teachers who were used to more or less uniform classrooms had quiet breakdowns.  Or, being Portuguese and a lot of them female, not so quiet.

Which meant that… someone… I’m going to guess the clerks, telling no one in administration, did what they do.  Instead of keeping forms intact for our second year in high school (8th grade) they … shuffled.

I realized something was up when I entered my first 8th grade class, languorously and fashionably late.  The class was Portuguese, and this was my preserve.  I was the kid who lived for creative writing assignments, the literature nerd who had read everything in advance.  I had all the answers and was smug with it.

So I smiled at the scold for being late, sat down.  The teacher was reading a poem I’d read before.  She put the book down and asked a medium tricksy question.  I waited to make it clear that no one else knew the answer and that I was the undisputed queen of the classroom… and then realized every hand was up.

There followed the two best years in my schooling.  We gave some teachers’ nervous breakdowns (no, really.  Three quit for various reasons, not counting the one we locked in the secret closet and who emerged praying the rosary and convinced we were possessed.) but for the right kind of teacher we were a dream class.  The right kind of teacher was one who kept up with us, gave us more work than anyone should be able to handle, and let us teach ourselves and each other.  The right teacher ALSO pretended she didn’t see the competition hangman or battleship games taking place between different rows of the class, or the fingers being snapped behind me, so I’d pass back the pink exercise book in which I was writing the current novel (in installments.)  Or the pink exercise book making its way around the classroom.

The right teacher ignored the fact we’d once put a rubber snake in the supplies drawer knowing full well that she had a phobia of snakes.  The right teacher ignored the fact we were in the habit of playing with the school’s electrical system to get out of late afternoon classes in winter.  And she’d go to the beach with us, and spend the time playing mastermind and chess.  (Yes, on the beach.  And us girls — it was an all girl school — wondered why we didn’t date.  On the train we had competition physics problem solving.  Again, you know, we wondered why we didn’t date.I remember being very jealous of the girl who had a planned arranged marriage with her cousin, because at least she didn’t have to figure this mystery out.)

This teacher was very much the right teacher.  I don’t remember what set this incident off but you have to understand the class were by and large libertarians who didn’t have a name for themselves, or perhaps the true definition of anarchists, not the travesty the left has made of the idea.  (Though possibly more libertarians.  this is the class that passed things like the Federalist Papers, Animal Farm and Gulag Archipelago back and forth covertly.  Mind you, the books weren’t exactly forbidden, but we had feeling that was only because the authorities hadn’t thought we’d read them.  They certainly contradicted a lot of things thrown at us by our lords and masters, teachers included.)  So I don’t remember what set it off.  It might very well have been some attempt to make us conform to new regulations on what to read or to teach us in order to meet a new test.  I don’t remember.

What I remember is next time the teacher entered the classroom, we all stood up, as a unit, and treated her to a (probably off key and shouty) rendition of “The Wall.” I remember she sighed, sat down and said “Let’s talk.”

Which brings us to Odds and the way Odds cope with being Odd, and the way only Odds really understand other Odds and, by definition, most people aren’t Odds.

My former form (eh) was exhilarating to be in because until this blog I’ve never before or since found myself in a group of “my people.”

You know who you are, even if you don’t know why.  You’re the people who given a choice between vanilla and chocolate say “strawberry” and if you can at all set about making it happen.  You’re the people who don’t fit in, and all of you at some point read the story of the pink monkey, torn apart by the brown monkeys.  You’re the people who either learned to go away from normal human intercourse, or else learned to fit in — often not perfectly, but well enough. — In a world of sheep and dogs and wolves, you’re the goats.

Dave Freer, a gentleman and a scholar tells me such a population is normal in every primate band.  Maybe one or two of them.  Maybe more.  Obviously there is a sweet spot.  Back when Robert and I used to take long walks through downtown Colorado Springs, (when he was about 14) we used to discuss stuff like this, and one of the things we found hilarious was the concept of an entire nation — or even band — of Odds.  Any such band that existed in the dim and distant past, for sure selected itself out of existence.  We’re not good at following orders (by and large) we’re not good at giving orders, and we get wild hairs on a routine basis.  In a subsistence economy our numbers would be kept down without any effort on anyone’s part.

Look, when someone says “Come on Ogg, we need go hunt” and the answer is “F*ck you, you’re not the boss of me.  Today I’m exploring basket weaving” the tribe will survive (and if they tolerate the goat, they might yet end up with advanced basketry far in advance of other tribes.)  BUT if every member in the band answers that, at best the tribe will starve to death.  At worst, the predators in the neighborhood will eat well, as each person disperses his or her own way and gets eaten.

A band with no Odds, one that doesn’t tolerate goats, one that enforces conformity, probably turns into those tribes that we meet sometimes, where they have no concept of time.  Or numbers.

We know the civilization-wide forms of that from various societies that have stagnated.  When conformity is strictly enforced and your weirdos are not allowed to contribute, we become … oh, sure stable.  And dead.

So there is a need for a balance.  The reason that form worked is that even if many of the teachers were also Odds they were Odds who had made compromises to work within the system.

America seems to me — at a glance — to have and tolerate a higher range of Odds than anywhere else in the world.  Partly because we are so large and so diverse.  (Really diverse, not the stupid leftist classifications.) Even if you stick out like a sore thumb in some place, there’s always a chance of going elsewhere and fitting in better. Part of it is because the people who came here broke the cultural bonds holding them in place.  Even if you acquire new ones, if “assimilation” is enforced (and I think it should be, at least with societal approval, not with laws) you have broken one set of rules, and you know how arbitrary they are.  And what needs to be adhered to.  And what can be ignored.

Which makes Americans the “Odd” among nations and despite the fact that since colonial times EVERYONE, us included, have decried our education system and results, results in America being the engine of the amazing expansion in technology that has fueled the unheard of prosperity of the last 100 years or so.

But if you look at histories and nations, Odds are more tolerated in prosperous times.  There is enough to go around, and people are more willing to tolerate that guy down the street who decided to shack up with another guy, or that woman who talks to herself during her walks, or even the guy who lives and dies for mathematics.

When a society feels threatened, when each individual is struggling to survive, people revert to where we cam from: the band. The familiar.  The people who eat like us; talk like us; look like us and by gum dress like us.

I’ve heard idiots applauding tribalism as the way of the future.  They might be right.  What they’re missing is that they’re using “Way of the future” in the Marxist sense of of the term.  They’re using “tribalism is the way of the future” int he conviction that the future leads to some sort of utopia.  Or that it’s desirable.  Like the idiot leftists with whom they share a lot they keep opening their yaps and letting completely unreasoned, stupid crap fall out.  The stupidest being “The future belongs to us.”

It did, of course, for the Nazi youth of the 30s.  What they didn’t know is that that future would be short and horrific and that many of them would die in unspeakably bad ways.  In the same way the communists were right in the early twentieth century when they said the future belonged to them.  That future was about 70 years long and filled with mass graves.

The future is the future.  History doesn’t come with an arrow in the direction of “this is better.”  That is a stupid thing we internalize from our schooling.  The future not only isn’t set in stone, but it can be bad as well as good. And no matter what it is, it will pass.  It will become the past.  Another future will pass.

It is entirely possible that tribalism really is the future of the next fifty years or so.  I hope not, because tribalism is a shock-condition of the human race, a reaction to very bad times, and when it takes hold it can, by itself, retard any form of betterment, any innovation, any freedom.  Because as my dad is fond of saying, people aren’t measured in handspans (being unable to help himself, he’d then add they’re measured in centimeters.  But that was fooling.) What he meant is that people aren’t measured by externals and what looks like your tribe might be, in internals, very different.  And eventually tribalism turns on that.  “You have to behave like the rest of us, or you’re wrong, wrong, wrong.”  Eventually it ends in walls and crab buckets, and the one who are odd because they’re brighter, or more creative, or able to approach situations from a different angle are forced to pretend they’re like the rest of the herd.  Or die.

This doesn’t last, of course.  Which is why tribalism might be the short future, but eventually a place that makes use of the best and the brightest surfaces.  It’s been Rome, and Alexandria, and France and Italy, and England, and us.  There will be another place that accepts just enough odds to be the engine on the train of human progress.  (And maybe next time we can get to the stars, to give human freedom a little more leeway, too.)

I’d prefer to avoid it, of course, because in the end tribalism — while the most fundamental of human instincts also — is a dead end.  A cull de sac.  And I don’t say this because my people tend to be the Odds and wouldn’t fare well.

I say this because if we’d stuck to that tribalism thing, we’d still be small bands roaming the savanna and sleeping on branches at night to avoid the predators.

I say this because the end run of this tribalism thing is giving Brave New World and 1984 a try, and making everyone live in conformity where all the square pegs will be pounded into round holes till they either splinter or become another brick in the wall.

Not the future I want for my descendants or even yours.

So build under, build over, build around.  Build the structures that will preserve the prosperity our betters are determined to erase; the tolerance people are all too willing to throw away because they never understood it applies to them too.

Go forth and have no fear.  In the end we win, they lose. We’re in it for the long game.  Teach your children well.




346 thoughts on “All In All It’s Just Another Brick In The Wall

  1. Tribalism is the future, because tribalism is the present. The difference is that, for some reason, for most of its history the US managed to get most of its citizens to see the tribe as the entire country. Over the last generation or so this has been breaking down, and we’re seeing the consequences of this breakdown.

    I believe this partially explains the rise of Trump – ‘Make America Great Again’ can in some respects be understood as ‘Make America Exist Again’ as America, as a concept of the shining city on the hill that the whole world aspires to be, and that we as tribe members can be proud of, does not currently exist.

    1. Over the last generation or so this has been breaking down, and we’re seeing the consequences of this breakdown.

      It didn’t breakdown. It was intentionally broken by some in order for them to seize power.

      This isn’t an act of God (random chance) or a tragedy (greatness brought down by a fatal flaw) but atrocity (the intentional infliction of grievous harm to a large group of people).

      1. I always liked: “We are the ones we have been waiting for”. What better phrase to describe the last 40 years or so of American excellence. Divide and conquer is a technique that works well for computer programming, but it should never be allowed in political calculus.
        Humans are hard-wired to have tribes. It is biological, just like Ugg dragged Bertha into his cave as the official wedding ceremony. Humans are also gifted in that they can rise above their base instincts and achieve something greater than tribe. Note the ‘can’. Unfortunately, it takes effort, and a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions. I just hope the next Civilization to rise does a better job than we have.
        Unfortunately, for the SJW types, I have decided to embrace my inner white male. Since I’m accused of white privilege, I’m going to do my part and rely on it, whenever and wherever possible. Caution SJWs: Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Since there is nothing I can do to please you, I’m not even bothering to try.

        1. Pretty much…the “leaders” of the “opposition” surrendered too much too often to now lead the fight in the minds of many they sold out.

          Nature abhors a vacuum and that vacuum has been filled by the alt-right. If the right won’t stand up for its beliefs and members against the tactics of the left by pretending they’re too good to actually fight do not be surprised when the alt-right stands up for its members (and says “fuck all” to the traditional beliefs of the right) by using the tactics of the left.

          At this point I suspect there is enough diseased water in the well that we’re just going to have drink it and see who it kills and who has some degree of immunity before we can drill a new well.

          1. Nature abhors a vacuum….My thermodynamics professor (bless his heart) would have me correct that, pedantly, that nature does not abhor a vacuum, it abhors a chemical potential gradient; and it occurs to me that most of the universe is almost a vacuum. [But then there’s that word almost…oh, well. I wasn’t his best student by any stretch of the imagination.]

            On the other hand, the distinction between vacuum and chemical potential gradient is, sometimes, useful.

      2. Yeah, done on purpose, but it is not clear to me that how lasting it will be.

      3. It was intentionally broken by some in order for them to seize power.

        I think they prefer the term “fundamentally transformed.”

    2. Our ability to view ourselves as part of a large tribe is, to a large extent, a self defense mechanism. Whether the enemy was the Injuns, England, the Spanish Empire, the Germans, the Germans Strike Back, or Communism, we’ve had a credible enemy.

      When The Cold War ended, so did that state of affairs. We’re in the position of Rome after the defeat of Carthage. For them, it took thirteen years from “no polities are a credible threat anymore” in 146 BC ( to political violence inside Rome in 133 BC (

      1. Seems to me tribalism is as much about having a credible ally as a credible enemy… think: “I don’t really know you, we’re not best buds that I should trust you to have my six, BUT… whoever our enemy is today, I know you and I have been thru similar formative experiences, we have mothers/sergeants/higher-tribal-authority figures in common (or at least they know each other), the odds that I CAN trust you are actually pretty damn good.”

        All of which plays into the idea that organizing for conflict, whether military or political or charitable, seems to meet a fairly strong felt social need.

    3. I’ve mentioned this recently in comments on other blogs. You don’t unite a people by emphasizing differences and cataloging them and making set asides. You unite them by making them all the same as much as possible and treating them equally. Day 1 of boot camp in 1973 we were all told that none of us were black or white or Jewish or Christian or anything else- we were all Navy Blue. Marines got the same lecture- but for Marine green. And I’m sure the same occurred in the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The result, at the end of boot camp, we were all sailors on the same team.

      E Pluribus Unum- from many, one. Our original national motto. Bring everyone from all over together, give them common beliefs, and make them one body, the citizenry of the United States.

      Study after academic study, and the same thing thing is showing up. Emphasizing differences between people, and insisting on differential treatment in the name of equality (newspeak…), and people begin to distrust each other and break up into little groups and work for the small group’s betterment then the communities betterment. So academics are beginning to realize something that anyone with common sense already knew. Treat everyone the same, and you get the best results.

      1. Would that administrators applied what academics are rediscovering (see the Wall Street Journal’s “Review” article from last weekend.) Just when I think the Office of Diversity stuff on campi can’t get stranger, the students and/or administrators outdo themselves.

      2. Ahem…isn’t that *Army* green? *sniffing in pompous disapproval* 😛
        lol. Other than that, excellent point!

    4. The US is a very unusual country in that it’s not a single race. Other countries largely are. And for most of the last 240 years, the idea was that you largely gave up your racial ties when you moved into the US. The execution of that idea was by no means perfect, of course. The theory, as usual, worked better than the practice. But the fact that the theory existed put pressure on the practice, which helped take the edges off the worst aspects of the racial tribalism and encouraged later generations to consider themselves Americans instead of, say, Irish.

      The problem is that a lot of agitators have managed to convince quite a few people that the idea should be discarded. Come to America, become a citizen, but keep yourself apart from the Americans who didn’t come from your land. Focus on race as one of the most important aspects of your existence. So not only is the practice now spotty, but the theory is no longer around to put pressure on people. The result, predictably, is a splintering, as people in society start to focus more and more on race.

      1. I’m a Boomer. The first modern mollycoddled scientifically raised spoiled rotten generation. Trust me we aren’t all self deluded idiots. It just looks that way.

  2. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Tribalism does not end in a happy place, no matter how much people desire it. For tribalism, the best end game is the old SF story I read yesterday about the last remnents of humanity being watched by lizard scientists.

  3. “…they’re using “Way of the future” in the Marxist sense of of the term.”

    There was a similar phrase much in vogue in my long-lost youth and in my parents’ generation (both born in the 1920s, both died in the 1990s), which was “the WAVE of the future”. This, also, was used mostly by people of the Left: but the actual provenance of the phrase was as the title of a book written in the 1930s by Ann Morrow Lindbergh, about how Fascism was, in fact, the Next Big Thing (and of course, from the perspective of the 1930s, you could easily see why one might think that).

    I always thought there was a certain irony there.

    1. Humans can belong to more than one tribe. The Connected World makes it not only easy, but inevitable.

      Back in the old days you were stuck with relatives and neighbors. Now you can pick what tribes you want to belong to.

    1. Seems to me: When tribes become somewhat stable in relation to neighbors, and basics aren’t TOO hard to obtain, then there’s enough discretionary wealth for the occasional odd-ish tribal leader to re-invent imagination, and start seeing the ways that supporting oddity can benefit the tribe. From there, competition for resources (whether warlike or not) and status drives a jerky rebuild of some kind of civilization with a regular place or role for odds – as shamans, inventive war-leaders, or whatever.

      1. It helps though if you’re not redirecting the Odds in your society into places where their genius won’t be fully realized. The Nazi Germans did have a place for Odds; certainly they had their share of innovative military mavericks and their tank and aircraft designers and rocket scientists showed a massive amount of creativity. It’s just that the important Odds turned out to be those that specialized in cryptanalysis and odd branches of physics (and, especially ironically, many of those that specialized in odd branches of physics were specifically driven out of Germany to places like the Manhattan Engineering District.)

        1. Are more Odds Jewish? Is Judaism itself Odd? There might not be relation, but there seems some correlation.

          And in societal/technical evolution… are the Odds not the mutants as such, but the mutations within the very structure. Not every mutation is beneficial, but a species that can’t change, can’t adapt.

          1. We Jews are the result of many generations of self selection. For a long time staying Jewish was suboptimal and leaving for the mainstream religion was encouraged.

            Odds are less likely to care about being part of the mainstream.

            1. Or, and given our ancestry it should be considered, as older son puts it “A trusting Jew leaves no descendants.” This kind of prevents herd behavior.

          2. Looking at the theology, traditional Christian and Jewish reasoning seems pretty solidly Odd– and encourages them.

        2. Agreed. It’s a measure of quality of leadership, that suitable places/roles are provided for the Odds in your remit.

  4. Great Post Sarah. Maybe we should print up t-shirts: “I was Odd before it was cool.”

    Unrelated side note and probably no one here would possibly relate: We just rescued an old, feral cat, who had been domesticated once, clearly, and had decided he wanted to come back indoors for his sunset years. Great. Lovely/ugly old beast, head like a melon, crooked broken jaw from a fight he survived, absurdly affectioate, purrs like an outboard.

    Has, er, excretion issues. He knows what a little box is for, and if you catch him in pre-squat and yell, he just trots right off to the box and uses it.

    When you don’t catch him, it’s any port in a storm.

    Any suggestions on how to reinforce the sandbox habit in the old fart?

    1. sigh. spray bottle. Patience. We’re so lucky Greebo who fits similar description (only tamed while feral, outdoor for 12 years) does LIKE going in box.

      1. They may even question their own taste if and when an interest becomes so cool that they become aware of it being cool.

        1. No, you don’t question your taste according to the count of noses. Ever.

          You can be annoyed that such questions are intruded into time you could spend more profitably on the interest.

          1. You can, however, be thankful that the thing you like has become cool because it results in a much greater selection becoming available. For example, if comic-book movies had not become cool, we would never have gotten to see that airport fight scene from Captain America: Civil War as a live-action movie. Animated, maybe — live-action, never. It takes knowing that the sales will be there before a movie studio will invest that many millions to make that film, and that only happens once that kind of film has become cool.

            1. Yeah, but that availability comes at a price. First, putting up with the people you have intruding on your space, who are not there because they actually appreciate what you are interested in, but because they think they are supposed to like it. Next comes the sudden influx of dreck on the market to take advantage of popularity. Then, when the fad passes, the masses flock to the next big thing collapsing the market, so businesses start refusing to put out even good product, because ‘we all know it doesn’t sell anymore.’

              1. A decade or two later there may be a revival in the genre. But it will surely suck when the bad drives out the good.

              2. Been there, done that. I remember when the swing dance club I frequented in Sacramento – the Marquis for locals old enough to remember it – was suddenly swamped with teenagers wearing khakis and white t-shirts and two left feet. On the bright side, there wasn’t really a collapse; in Sac the popularity contracted slowly. So some clubs closed, or stopped having swing nights, but the scene remained larger than it had been before. Last I heard there was at least one club still going strong and a couple other sporadic venues. *sigh* Now I’m feeling nostalgic. Time to go dig up my Indigo Swing and LPN albums.

    2. Also, don’t underestimate the power of convenience. If you can stand a few extra boxes in the most important places, you can eventually thin them down as he picks a favorite or two to keep. Just get clumping sand and keep them really dumped, for your sake. My old one, adopted when the elderly who lived next door didn’t come back from the last ambulance trip, did well with a transition period from abandoned and outside.

    1. B&D? What do you mean by that (I know what I would normally mean but I don’t think it applies here)?

          1. I’ve a old corded drill made by Black & Decker that’s survived three moves, four remodels, and my own fumble-fingered first attempts at DIY construction with minimal maintenance.

            That said, there are tasks that other tools are better suited for, I think. *chuckle*

                1. Ten! Okay, so one was in a box for a while. And the skin grew back. Tendons can be reattached, who knew? Chunks of muscle tend to re-grow.

                  Alright, so I was multiply lucky. Himself watches over drunkards, little children, fools, and the U.S. Fingers (that I’ve still got) crossed on that last one…

      1. Bondage and Domination. I wrote a medieval B & D romance while I was concussed and I let that slip in this forum. I’ll never live it down! And no, no one is ever going to see it.

        1. And of course, Smart People knows that means the manuscript is heavily protected and only a Complete Fool would try to steal it. 😈 😈 😈 😈

          1. And as I am not a complete fool, I can clearly not choose the manuscript in front of you!

        2. I know what I’ll ask you the first time we meet in person . . .

            1. Perfect! Now just keep up those denials and people will never suspect.

                1. Odd that they didn’t make the Hugo list then? Although I suspect to most feminists and SJW’s ‘lactation’ is a term used by the white patriarchy to keep women, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

            2. Oh, I know you’d never write bizarre Catherine of Aragon erotica Mrs. Hoyt. But I was just helpfully suggesting that if Huns ever suspected that this Severely-Conussed-Sarah person had written anything like that on your computer, they’d be posting even more pleas for you to sneak into her saved-files and put those stories up on Amazon before she came back.

              Just for the record, *I* am not one of the Huns clamoring to see more Severely-Concussed-Sarah’s stories on Amazon. I would be afraid that getting all of her peculiar works posted would take too much time from your already late paying projects… like Grant’s Portuguese Travelogue MHI novella.

              (I suppose it is a good thing that Severely-Concussed doesn’t write bizarre science-fiction dinosaur erotica too or else she might inadvertently find herself with a Rabid Puppies enabled Hugo. Why with the prestige of a postmodern Hugo literally DOZENS of people would be inspired to buy her unsettling literary experiments.)

        3. I seem to vaguely recall that John Ringo said something similar, once upon a time.


        4. I’ll never live it down! And no, no one is ever going to see it.

          I wonder what kind of sales it would have on Amazon.

          Just idle curiosity, of course.

            1. It would probably do respectable numbers.

              But of course, Sarah’s not going to publish it.

              1. She can under my name…she can keep the cash and I’ll just flag silver left and collect all the silver right girls.

        5. Now why do you say that when you have a competent first reader/technical editor ready and willing to give it a once over 🙂

            1. I thought was open enough that would be obvious. However, in a word, yes. If you need more details i am on Fet with and extra h before the n.

          1. It’s a medieval romance…
            It’s an elf lord who for no reason I can discern gets turned on by getting tied up by his diminutive red-headed girlfriend… who turns out not to be quite human.
            Brain injury is a bizarre thing.

            1. I can see a number of interesting ways to bring that. Honestly a rather vanilla description

        6. Wait, re-read…not what I usually mean…B&D is usually bondage and discipline…Dominance is usually D/s…

          See, you’re not that kinky.

          On a more serious note, publish it under a new pen name and you might solve the house cost issue (or at least be able to afford enough tequila that it doesn’t bug you as much).

        7. Actually would be interesting in the sense of what would bdsm in a different time period be. Lots of variants I would think…

      1. You just afraid that if people read it and like it, They’ll sneak up and bop you in the head so that you’ll write more.

          1. Afraid that if you adopted yet another pen name to publish it under, “the truth would out” eventually?

      2. Now listen carefully, I will say this only once. Take care of yourself, do not get severely-concussed again, or who knows what cunning plan for marketing your concussed you might employ with its release.

        1. or… get severely-concussed again, and there’s always a chance that concussed-you (sounds like a nickname for a sports-oriented college?) would decide to put the story up on Amazon under your own name … like CACS said, take care of yourself!

        2. Everytime this subthread pops up, I keep hearing the Mission: Impossible theme.

          1. That’s funny given the theme for Submissive Journey Weekend this year was SubMission Impossible.

  5. Odds are more tolerated in prosperous times … When a society feels threatened, when each individual is struggling to survive, people revert to where we came from: the band.

    I’ve been thinking about pendulums while reading about the bathroom wars, and what strikes me the most is that the progressives don’t seem to understand the concept of “enough!” or “slow down”, so they’re pushingpushingpushingpushing.

    Threats can be social or economic, but I think we’re seeing a combination of the two: people have a hard time just making ends meet and are told that they’re (fill in the blank)? Eventually, the pendulum does swing back, and lotsa odds will get smushed.

    1. As someone perilously close to Ground Zero of said wars, I am markedly less tolerant of progressives than I used to be. The deliberate embrace of misinformation makes me very, very hostile. (“Hey stoopid familee-values haters, transgendered people don’t use bathrooms to rape!!!” “Actually, most of the concern I’ve seen is that a non-trans predator will use the law as an extra layer of cov–” “Hey stoopid familee-values haters, transgendered people don’t use bathrooms to rape!!!” Repeat until sick of it, which these days is approximately .3 seconds.)

      1. As I’ve said before I’ve quit trying to convince the jackanapes that they are getting into very thin ice and started trying to figure out how to protect mine (and given the likely backlash myself) when the shtf.

        Because when it does self identified straight submissive males are going to be lumped into the “dress wearing faggots” target the mob goes after.

        1. Oh, and I’m well aware that for far and away the majority of those jackanaes this is virtue signalling and all those champions of the transgendered, homosexual, etc, will be at the front of the mob they helped whip up when the winds change.

          So the former SJWs won’t get a g-d bit of mercy from me in the fighting while long time traditionalists who could embrace live and let live will.

        2. I wish the article from Femina Fortis about why submissive people (either in a relationship or follower personalities) need to be able to defend themselves and their families was still available.

            1. I did read something very like what TXRed describes *mumble* years ago. Let me see if I can remember the gist…

              Say one is a submissive, a follower personality. Not the kind you expect to carry a gun, would they? But there are reasons to do so.

              A common one for many women I’ve heard is that they probably wouldn’t shoot to protect themselves, but the children…! Kipling’s “female of the species” fits this well, too. There has to be a reason, something important enough that you’d do anything to protect. Could be kids, could be pets- or could be a spouse. What’s more important? The lives of those you love, or the life of the one who would *take* those lives from you?

              So you have a reason. It may be more important than your own life, but your life means something, too. Those children need parents, the pets need *you* and your spouse wants *you,* not some random nobody on the street. You can’t just go all out and sacrifice yourself for the good of others- it’s worse than useless, it might be ineffective, or worse. Your lack of training and ability could cause the very outcome you want to avoid.

              If it’s your spouse, they need someone to watch their back and flanks. They need to *not* be worrying about you excessively because you can’t protect yourself at all. If you are naturally one to follow, be an *effective* follower. That means train together. Be vocal, let them know where you are and what threats you face. While they are focused on the main threat, you must support them by being an asset, not a liability.

              None of this means you have to be the leader. None of this means you cannot remain who you really are, who you want to be. It’s about protecting what’s most important to you the best way you can. Being a follower implies you follow someone, a leader. Do you want to be a *good* follower? Be a good support to your leader.

              If I got something wrong here, blame it on me. Any mistakes are mine.

              1. You got it. The author pointed out (from personal experience) that there is a vast difference between consensual submission/followership and being forced/coerced, and that if you are in a submissive/follower relationship with someone, in some ways you have a duty to protect that relationship by not allowing yourself to be forced/coerced by an outside party if you can avoid it. She gave a few real-word type scenarios like Dan outlined, and pointed out that being competent and able to back up the dominant/leader so he or she can concentrate on the Big Picture (or main threat) without worrying is an important part of being a good sub/follower.

          1. Everyone needs to be able to defend selves. It is or rather should not be about power but about respect for oneself. My life matters enough that I will employ lethal force to protect it. Just like yours does enough for me to enter a burning building

      2. In one sense, you do have to lower yourself to their conversational level; that rational argument needs to be replaced with a sound bite / slogan that’s even shorter and pithier than theirs.
        E.g. “You’re right! But pervs will use showers to!” — after which, when they repeat their one slogan, you’ve set them up so you can respond “perv-lover!” – which, being lower-energy and quicker, wins the argument at the level they’re playing it.
        The only point of such a “win”, of course, being that a slightly more intelligent, not-quite-SJW-yet prog observing the argument MIGHT try to meet the alternative point you made, so you can point out that the same law applies to dressing rooms & associated showers, and forbids reasonable people from reasonable defenses if a perv, no matter how dressed, walks in with the defense “I identify as…” on his lips.
        If there’s no chance of such engagement, better just to laugh derisively at them and walk away.

      3. Ugh. Yep. No one’s gonna check your bc unless you are really bad and obvious. And no, none of the laws allow withholding of emergent medical aid. (And yes, if you are in my bus I need to know your sex. Gender don’t matter unless medicated.)

  6. There is another option, besides “Everybody follow the leader” and “radical individualism” (bloop you, I’m going my own way) is exactly the way the classic Absent Minded Professor manages it– he’s got a “Keeper.”

    Thanks to the internet, it seems that most Odds are finding other Odds to be keepers– just ones with complementing strengths.

    To work it into the metaphor above and extend it out, Odds aren’t all the same– offered Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream, I’ll probably just say no thanks and try to bake something that I like to offer next time, you’d probably bring strawberry ice cream, and someone a bit more practical would bring an ice chest. (She who brings the treats gets to pick the treats!)

    1. > bloop

      You might be interested in Eric Frank Russell’s novella “And Then There Were None,” and F=IW. F=IW never became as well-known as TANSTAAFL, but it should have…

      [ the story was printed in 1951… googles for a URL…. looks like it pops up on a bunch of libertarian sites, but not Gutenberg, for some reason. Try this link: ]

      1. So far I’m to the car, and am amazed that the author managed to make secondary characters that are so annoying them make the exaggerated primary characters somewhat sympathetic.

        1. Were you able to read through all of it? Because I managed about two and a half chapters before I wanted to nuke that planet from orbit. Something about the characters bothered me in a way that I can’t articulate and I’m angry now.

          Does it get better, make sense or have anything worth taking away in it or should I not force myself the rest of the way through it?

          1. I didn’t read through the whole thing– got up to the part where it explained the word and considered my duty done.

            I don’t know if it was the only thing I disliked, but the thing that hit me was the utter lack of charity or joy– they were in that horrible, mechanical system and they weren’t even having any fun with it.

            1. That’s as good a reason as any to dislike it, more coherent than any impressions I got from it so I guess I won’t try and brute force my way through the rest of the thing.

          2. It’s a fine example of how magical thinking works. There are people who actually believe that people who act like that can thwart people who are determined to make them do things, take their stuff, etc., not understanding that such tactics only work against essentially decent people. If they had been visited by a bunch of true bastards, a bunch of them would have been rounded up and beaten, tazed, or otherwise coerced until they cooperated, and then they would have been used as examples for the rest, instead of the results that happened in the story.

            1. Somebody once wrote a short alternate history story in which Gandhi’s pacifist agitation helped the Axis to defeat Britain. In the final scene Gandhi is about to be executed by the Nazis, with a comment that to the effect that Gandhi helped to defeat the British who would never have killed him.

              1. Sound sort of like Harry Turtledove’s “The Last Article” although Turtledove’s story didn’t imply that Gandhi “helped defeat the British”.

                In Turtledove’s story, Gandhi’s ideas didn’t help defeat the Nazis who had taken over India and he was executed.

            2. “how magical thinking works”
              Not quite as crazy as the “yogic fliers” of that crackpot meditation party, but crazy enough.

      2. I can see why it didn’t become more popular.

        It supports a very limited philosophical theory that barely even works in the story, and would fail entirely if the value of either information was recognized or the situations where generosity is involved were examined; in contrast, TANSTAAFL recognizes the value of what is offered.

        When something makes me wish for those horrible “Christian Stories for Children” shows as an alternative, the persuasive writing has failed.

        1. The take-away part was that “Freedom – I Won’t” also encompassed “Freedom – I Will.”

          It’s a part that, for example, some of the more extreme libertarians sometimes can’t see.

      3. This. I read a story (wish I could remember what/where/when; you’re not the only one with memory issues, milady Hoyt) where the Axis won WWII and a Nazi administrator confronted Gandhi. When faced with the Mahatma’s intransigence, the Gauleiter (IIRC) just shot him and went on about his business with barely a ripple to his day. I ‘spect a Nazi or ‘good Communist’ facing a F:IW situation would simply say something like, “Fine. Don’t then.”, eliminate the resistee and make some lebensraum for his masters to exploit.

        Still, And Then There Were None is a fun story to read as *story*. E.F. Russell was a terrific writer. Sentinels From Space is either the first or second SF story I ever read (the other contemporaneous one was R.U.R), and Allamagoosa and The Space Willies” are examples of the sort of actually humorous satirical stories that, say, Keith Laumer tries for and (often) fails at.

        1. Campbell certainly like his work. I liked it too back in the day. But even then I could see that he had a limited number of stories that he told over and over. I am not sure how well he would wear if I were to go back and reread some of those.

          1. I recently got that story in in a compilation I bought online to get some of Turtledove’s other short stories.

        2. Gandi’s and Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience only works when the ruling class has morals. Few in Britain thought that Gandi was wrong going to the sea and making his own salt. King showed white America that Blacks could be civil. In both cases, the law enforcement officials inflicted punishment way out of proportion to the crime. Both countries at the time, much like Progressives today, were really misinformed about how the ‘real world’ operates. It didn’t take too much light to see there were roaches scurrying to the darkness.

          1. I suspect that King was aware of the drawbacks of his methods against a more violent government than the one that the US had at the time. The same, unfortunately, can’t necessarily be said for Ghandi.

            1. The same, unfortunately, can’t necessarily be said for Ghandi.

              Which is why that short story about Gandhi trying his tactics against the Nazis (in an alternate universe where Britain surrendered and had to cede India to Germany) works so well. It’s entirely plausible that he wouldn’t realize they were willing to kill his followers (by the millions) until it was entirely too late.

              1. Gandhi said that if they had had nuclear weapons they would have used them. He said “…Had we adopted non-violence as the weapon of the strong, because we realised that it was more effective than any other weapon, in fact the mightiest force in the world, we would have made use of its full potency and not have discarded it as soon as the fight against the British was over or we were in a position to wield conventional weapons. But as I have already said, we adopted it out of our helplessness. If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British.”
                Speech (16 June 1947) as the official date for Indian independence approached (15 August 1947) , as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase (1958) by Pyarelal Nayyar, p. 326.
                I grabbed that from wikiquote, but it’s not too hard to find. Gandhi wasn’t the naive flowerchild that many history books portray him as. Dude was kind of a badass. I only mention it because it blew my mind when I first learned it, y’know? “Gandhi would’ve used *nukes*? What?!” Lol. God bless.

                1. I don’t read his statement as saying that he would have used nukes. Look at his opening sentence. He’s saying that the Indian people would have used nukes against the British if they had had them. That he personally would have been opposed to the idea is clear from the opening sentence of that quote (“non-violence … [is] in fact the mightiest force in the world”, and if we had realised that, we wouldn’t have discarded it once we obtained conventional weapons.”)

                  1. Messed up the quotation marks there — second half of that quote was a paraphrase, not a quote, so it shouldn’t have had a close-quote at the end. But I think the idea comes across.

                2. Okay so I read through the whole wiki article and I got to the bit where he suggested Britain disarm before Hitler’s armies…forget what I said. I thought wrong. Gandhi *wasn’t* a badass. He was, as Monty Python would say: “A loony!” …sheesh. I’ll go wash the taste of foot out of my mouth now… *shuffles off sheepishly*

              2. Gandhi waffled about supporting the Allies in WWII. (The rest of the Indian National Congress was squarely behind them. One even used Kipling in his explanation.)

        3. It was in one of the “There Will Be War” volumes, IIRC. Though it looks like some others remembered the story so now I don’t have to go dig it up.

  7. > We know the civilization-wide forms of that from various societies that have stagnated. When conformity is strictly enforced and your weirdos are not allowed to contribute, we become … oh, sure stable. And dead.
    Actually, it’s not as much “who” as “when”. As in, two specific stages of a people’s lifecycle – Mediocrity Land in the middle (“We are tired of the great!”) and Sleepy Kingdom at the end (“Eh, who cares? Stop buggin’ me, life’s good enough. Let’s go fish.”). The latter isn’t observed more often because that’s when they cannot adapt to, well, pretty much anything – and end up eaten or dragged off their path by external forces more often than everyone else.
    Yeah, Gumilev is good reading. ;]

  8. Why is that The Beautiful But Evil Space Princess’ posts are more daunting when herself is feeling more herself?

    1. *blink*

      *carefully does not mention the many things, some of them invloving blood, explosives, chemistry experiments gone awry, and amateur artillery that certain persons got away with… oh, about twenty odd years ago or so. Without getting arrested, expelled, killed dead, or losing too many minor appendages.*

      1. Yeah, and none of the rest of us ever even contemplated anything like those either. Belt sander? Chemistry office? Hey, chemistry teacher needed sawdust for something, really.

      2. I know you didn’t actually say it, but for a moment I saw, “exploding blood” and well, that just seems a Bad Idea. Very amusing, at a great distance, but Bad.

      3. I took high school chemistry my Sophomore year. We had a very old man as a teacher who had come out of retirement as a teacher. In March he had a heart attack and was out for the rest of the year. 8 boys were left alone for a week for an hour a day in a chemistry lab with an unlocked store room, as the Principal had forgotten about us. Of the 7 boys, two of us were sophs, three juniors and 3 seniors. The respective class valedictorians AND salutorians were all present.

        The first day we made black powder and then played around with different variations for oxidizers the second day. The 3rd day we stuffed the various bp concoctions into used model rocket motor casings and fired them off. Bored on the 4th day, we looked up the recipe for, and made nitroglycerin (Encyclopedia Britannica used to cover it…..). After school, we sneaked back in, too the nitro, and carefully made our way far out into the country where we set it off by shooting the beakers with a 22 rifle. The fifth day we repeated the nitro experiments and made guncotton.

        The next Monday the principal stuck his head into the lab, noticed us all busy concocting various things, and said…”OH MY GOD!”

        The unsupervised fun ended immediately. In retrospect, we were lucky to not have killed or maimed ourselves……

          1. Not in 1972 in West Texas…..There were no liberals, at least outspoken ones, among any of the school staff……

            1. Guessing it’s more likely, the principal in those days was concerned about his accountability to the parents, directly or indirectly via the School Board… and the fact he didn’t have the knowledge to know if what you were doing was safe or not.

    2. It wasn’t a cabinet. Remember when I told you that the room was special? It had been expropriated from a count’s palace there were two secret passages and a secret closet in that room.
      And no, we didn’t. It would be more appropriate to say she locked herself in the closet running away from us. NO we did NOT threaten her physically. We were just asking questions she didn’t know how to answer and punning. Somewhere along the line she decided we were possessed. We closed the door on her to keep her safe till the proper authorities arrived. Ahem.

      1. Oh, well then; makes perfect sense.

        (And I thought those crayon throwing maniacs I had when I subbed at the middle school–actually, they were bad.)

          1. and attacking her with PUNS – oh, y’all were bad! Poor woman, indeed.
            BTW – a closet that even a beginning teacher knows is there doesn’t sound very “secret”…

  9. You’re the people who don’t fit in…

    Not quite, dear. Some of us probably fit in quite well; indeed, I’m certain of it. What we are is “the people who are at ease around people who don’t fit in.” That’s a far more valuable asset than merely being an Odd.

    <blockquoteAmerica seems to me — at a glance — to have and tolerate a higher range of Odds than anywhere else in the world.

         I concur, but I would add that the tolerance factor is strangely orthogonal to another easily perceived aspect of the U.S. population: our rather high degree of conformity! Indeed, it’s that extremely high conformity, especially as regards public deportment, that makes it possible to have a country this large that isn’t always suffering revolutions, secessions, and schisms.

    1. I’m pretty certain that I’m an Odd, myself – Mom has said on occasion that I was a very weird child, but eventually – I think by the time I was in my twenties I did learn to “fit” – or at least, develop suitable and very convincing social camouflage.

      1. That’s quite all right, Celia. We’ve been “on to you” for a long time now. I hope the failure of your veneer of normality doesn’t disturb you unduly!

        “All my friends are trying to make me paranoid, but I’m not gonna let them!” — from a college buddy

      2. There’s a range of ‘odds’ that do. My husband is one. Doesn’t make them less odd, perhaps makes them MORE Odd, but I’ve noticed they tend to make it easier to bridge the gap between the ‘Odds’ and the ‘non-odds’.

      3. Last year Child indicated to me her desire for the current playground toy-of-choice, these particularly useless things called Shopkins. “You can spend your allowance on them, hon, but they seem kind of pointless to me.” “Oh, I don’t LIKE them, but I need some protective coloration.”

            1. If you’re rich, you’re eccentric. If, howsoever, you just *happen* to be dirt po’ (or, nothing, you get no other option but po’), they say “that crazy lunatic always muttering about rockets and tan staples or something.” *grin*

    2. I’m not sure that I’d term it so much a high degree of conformity as an accepted social pact for behavior in public spaces. Which pact is slightly different in different parts of the US, but overall similar enough to be generally understood. And when it fails (as it does signally in most of our inner cities) it leads to essentially barbaric conditions.

      But where it functions, so long as you observe the public behavior rules you can pretty much do whatever you want with minimal disapproval or attempts to stop you. That’s tailor-made for the Odds.

      In my part of the country it’s expected that you can do whatever you want so long as you’re not harming anyone else. We run on the three rules of, “I’m not bothering anyone, it’s none of your business, leave me alone!”

      1. I’d further refine it to American culture quickly getting set to “lowest common denominator” of human cultures, especially on the outer edges/frontier where your two nearest neighbors (in 20 miles) might have different languages and customs from each other *and* you. Yet you needed to help each other to survive. My speculation is that is why Americans both prefer greater interpersonal space, and why we smile more (confusing the French, it does NOT mean we are trying to be best buddies). Smiling at strangers is simply a “I have no immediate hostile intent” thing, and doesn’t require language.

                  1. I call them Hel-Mart. The easiest way to get through the store is to find one of those fat ladies with an attitude that ride around on the ‘courtesy’ motorized wheel-chairs. Although sometime you have to step over the bodies they have run over.

                  2. I tend to go to Wal-mart around 3:30 AM, which neatly avoid crowds and, generally, screaming infants. Every once in a while I visit in late morning and rediscover why I prefer “stupid early.”

                    1. 2:30am- 4 is about prime time. The only people I see then are stock-persons and maintenance, so it all tends to work out.

                    2. I sometimes shopped at one near a military base. I timed my trips for 0530, just before shift-change at the base. It was quiet, orderly, and they had live clerks because of the incoming rush.

        1. Smiling at strangers – also encourages them to smile back, which generally improves their looks, which in turn improves your aesthetic experience. All good.

      2. It helps where the social rules are structured enough for an Odd to memorize acceptable responses, yet also free-flowing and permissive enough to tolerate social missteps and, critically, allow you to try again.

        Years upon bloody years I spent mastering basic social graces, because that’s what’s expected and necessary to manage simple transactions and avoid those sideways glances. Southern Appalachia pretty much tolerates all the weird that harms none but themselves, but woe unto he who decides you must change “for your own good.” There remains here a special kind of scorn for that sort of busybody.

        1. Well, “for your own good” absolutely violates my first tenet: “I’m not bothering anyone.” So they’re breaking the social pact right there. 🙂

          And yes, I’m talking about east Tennessee right now, but it pretty much goes for all of Applachia, up to central Pennsylvania. It might be a bit weakened when you get to northern Virginia due to the dilution of the culture by the D.C. cancer…

          1. Northern Virginia, a blight and embarrassment state wide. Except for Virginia Beach, of course. I maintain that Virginia Beach is just another city in New Jersey.

    3. The appearance of conformity is a kind of courtesy, extended to enable the tolerance you see. A pragmatic combination of “going along to get along” with the underlying understanding that “convinced against his will, of the same opinion still” and “pick your fights” – means a lot fewer insignificant arguments in social situations than there would otherwise be for so many people of diverse opinion.

  10. To play devil’s advocate (err, dark lord’s advocate?) How does the prevailence of Odds in prosperous times compare with the R-selection theory?

    And maybe I’ve not been looking at the same sources, but I’ve heard less “way of the future” than simple survival, and to quote the second Matrix movie “There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept.”

    I’m not a big fan of reactive tribalism in most cases, but I’ve gotten pretty sick of the reactive hats of the West and veneration of the other.

  11. The problem with “tribalism” is that your tribe are People and anybody outside your tribe are Non-People.

    Of course, Non-People weren’t protected by the Rules/Laws that governed the Tribe. 😦

    1. > The problem with “tribalism” is that your tribe are People and anybody outside your tribe are Non-People.
      Is there any evidence for this meme? Because from observations it seems to be the other way around.

      > Of course, Non-People weren’t protected by the Rules/Laws that governed the Tribe.😦
      Sure, it would be better if instead Americans just told the whole world what to do, surely they’ll gather much love and respect this way.
      Oh, wait, they already do. Let’s make it Sweden – they are even more Free Of The Tribe by now. That’s going to be great!

      1. We tell the rest of the world what to do? And they listen? Again, I say onto thee, is the sky green cheese in your world?
        Sweden has its own fucking problems. Sweden is not the US.
        Try the blood and soil thing in the US and you’ll set off a civil war the likes of which will never end until civilization is consumed.
        If you don’t think that, you might be an innocent abroad.

        1. >We tell the rest of the world what to do?
          The vast majority of those outside neither sees YOU, nor really cares.
          America as both the official” talking heads and the whole bunch of power groups? Obviously. Who both on highest level take a dump on everyone’s sovereignty most often (after USSR croaked, that is) and on low became the stereotypical “arrogant tourists”?
          You don’t notice every time powers-that-maybe from USA insist everyone should bow to the laws Disneys purchased locally once? Nevermind, a lot of folk do. Especially on the outside.
          > And they listen?
          Generally? Those who “remain sold” – mostly, yes, and for last two decades or so they were kissing the butts of Soros and Co non-stop. Same for the weathervanes actively aping American politicians (of either pseudoparty).
          Others point fingers and either laugh or turn to their kids and say “see, THIS thing wants to eat you”. And some don’t notice because they have other problems, of course.
          > Again, I say onto thee, is the sky green cheese in your world?
          I’m not standing under the green rain, and from outside it doesn’t exactly look like the whole sky. :]
          > Sweden has its own fucking problems. Sweden is not the US.
          Yup, it’s far, far ahead – downhill.
          >set off a civil war the likes of which will never end until civilization is consumed.
          Please. This “civil war” talk is more and more of an empty self-consolation. The Americans were and are degraded by their oligarchs in just about every way possible, but oh, the NEXT step surely will… Really? After the witch-hunts, Waco, censorship, court decision about money-grabbing at will, witch-hunts, Nev Moore and others, airport-kid-grabbing dealie, safe spaces, commoncore, more witch-hunts, blacklivesmatter, and so on?
          By now the prophesies that oh, the NEXT TIME an uproar is happening for real are not much more realistic than expecting Jefferson, King Arthur, Karl the Great, Alexander II and Ghenghis Khan to simultaneously return and Set Things Straight, Dammit.
          This nonsense is going to end of course – everything does – but quite unlikely this way. Maybe as a wild orgy of socialist autophagy… at least that already started.

      2. The Names of most American Indian Tribes translates as “The People” and people who have studied “primitive” tribes have seen evidence of “outsiders” aren’t protected by “tribal laws”.

        Of course, if the other tribe is powerful enough to cause a tribe trouble, then the tribe will be careful to not be caught treating members of the other tribe as non-people.

        This has little to do with Americans vs non-Americans.

        You might want to look up the concept of “amoral familism”.

        1. Oh my, yes. Almost THE reason they call themselves “The People” is to discriminate themselves from those who are *not* people. If they’re not people, they’re things- or at best, animals. You might feel bad if you ran over a squirrel, but it’s not like they were, y’know, real people or something.

          That is quite literally how the tribal thinks. Outside the tribe, there’s no reason to apply tribal laws to those Outsiders any more than you’d apply them to your favorite eating utensil. You use them like you would any other thing, to benefit you, your family, and the tribe. What that thing wants? Who cares?

          1. Another negative aspect of tribalism is that if you are successful, you are expected to take care of the rest of the tribe. We see this holding down development in PNG
            Start a business- you’re expected to just give your wantoks stuff for free. Or, you are pressured to hire no account, incompetent thieves because they’re from the same tribe.
            Got a good job in the city? You’re going to have support a dozen or so freeloading relatives- most of whom just laze around and drink your paycheck.
            Payday? Good luck getting the whole thing home before you have to loan most of it out.
            I could go on.

            1. I think that John Derbyshire made the same point about Africa – that any individual who did make good by his or her own efforts had a metric ton of shiftless relatives to look after, which made corruption inevitable.

                1. That was one of the great things about America- you don’t have to do what your daddy did. You don’t have a “place” to stay in.
                  They want to change all that.

        2. >The Names of most American Indian Tribes translates as “The People”
          Between the still-living habit of not translating “Allah” and Soviet acrobatics, this only elicits laugh.
          Outside the opium smoke of wikipedia, nothing “translates” itself. It’s always translated by someone.
          > and people who have studied “primitive” tribes have seen evidence of “outsiders” aren’t protected by “tribal laws”.
          Yup. The outsiders are treated as outsiders. Limiting contact is the simplest way to avoid the incidents. If the locals are relatively smart and unrotten, hospitality is a great thing, too.
          > This has little to do with Americans vs non-Americans.
          It has a lot to do with creeping internationalism, however.

          1. Actually bonafides bullshit. DO YOU HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE OF LINGUISTICS? Trust me, in the language I came from “we” still meant the people. GOOD FRACKING LORD, have you heard of regressive linguistics that trace meanings and changes of meanings?
            No, you make up bullshit and hope it sticks.

      3. Let me recommend to you a book, Of Men and Monsters. See what THEY do to people who are deemed “not human”.

        Alternatively, watch the movie, “A Man Called Horse”, and see how they treated him before he was allowed to prove himself and become a member of the tribe.

  12. > forms

    In America that’s “ball players” who get 90% of the school resources, and “everyone else” who are basically irrelevant to the system.

    The schools I went to, the ball players had an entire parallel curriculum structured specifically for them for the half day that they attended classes.

    1. Then you have the guys who were like me, Strongest kid in the school from Sophomore year on, starting center on the football team, shot/discus thrower, class valedictorian by a 10 point margin, decent mechanic and science fiction/model rocketry nut.

      Being I went to a small West Texas school, I was definitely the odd guy, but there was at least one or two in every grade, which meant 8 to 10 of us for the whole high school/jr high…..

      1. Yeah, the year before me the valedictorian was on the football team. Great guy. We had nice cheerleaders too.

        I was really irritated with the guy at the school paper who tried to make out that the school was full of cliques — intellectuals, athletes, band, etc. — without apparently grasping that people would hang out to talk about common interests without arbitrarily shunning everyone else, which I considered an important bit of the definition.

        1. (Nods) Based on personal experience, I’m inclined to say that things don’t tend to escalate to “After-school special/Cliche YA novel” levels of cliquieness and obnoxious social posturing if your high school size is larger than about 750 or so. At that point, everyone can split off into their own groups and keep enough distance to avoid friction with everyone else.

          1. That was more or less my experience as well. I didn’t think of the cheerleaders as the “popular girls”; truth be told, I had no idea just how many friends the cheerleaders might or might not have because I never had any reason to hang out with them. No, when I envied the “popular girls,” they were the nerds who had more friends than I did, the ones who were popular in my set. Who might have been popular outside of that, I neither knew nor cared.

            1. The Band’s Majorettes (or as my Father calls them baton twirlers) I considered as friends. Now the fact that our daily band class was ‘color reeds’, which was flute, oboe and bassoon, and I was one of only 2 guys and all the majorettes were in my class except the two percussionist, other band members’ mileage may vary.

          2. Agreed. My HS was, hmm, a thousand or so. My escaping class was 350 (started with 400). We had groups that more or less left each other alone (kickers, preps, jocks, nerds, stoners, ROTC nerds, music nerds, the Spanish gang and the black gang). It wasn’t until a few years after Sib and I graduated that things escalated from the occasional teenagers-being-stupid thing (my experience being a wild exception to the rule) to the episode where a kicker ran over and killed a goth kid in a parking lot (off campus). Now it’s everyone against the different gangs and vice versa, or so I’ve been told. And the school now warehouses 2000.

            1. Oops, left out the vo-tech kids and shop kids (auto and jewelry. They lived in their labs and the body shop, or so it seemed.)

            2. Your class was just over 10 times my classes size. We had 28, and that was the largest graduating class Garden City High had ever had up until then. The record class size was 43 two years later.

      2. I went to a very small suburban Twin Cities (MN) high school, and it definitely had its cliques, though perhaps not quite as strenuously defined/’enforced’ as they might have been in a larger environment. This is good, since the other ‘geeks/brains’ were *weird*, and my best bud was a ‘burnout’. Once the burnouts figured out that I wasn’t going to narc on them even if I didn’t smoke the weed (I did try it once, unlike Mr. Clinton I did inhale, and didn’t like it so I never tried it again), they were cool with my hanging out with them.

        Until the word came that mine was to be the final graduating class of the school. Suddenly, all the cliques disappeared and everyone usually got along with everyone else. Any ‘issues’ were as a result of personal, not tribe, animosities. It was pretty cool.

    2. WHEN? Because I don’t think that’s true anymore. In the schools my kids attend/ed the stars in sports were Lacrosse players and no one was paving their way.

      1. Hmm, come to think of it… I assumed the reference was to high schools, but there is the whole thing with UNC-Chapel Hill….

      2. Mid-1970s in high school. We didn’t have enough desks, so we drew lots to see who sat on the floor. We didn’t have enough textbooks, so they had to be shared and left in the classroom for the next class. We had to reshuffle desks and put out buckets when it rained because the roof leaked.

        There was money… but it was going to a complete renovation of the feetball stadium, building them a new clubhouse, and building a new, separate gymnasium for the girls, who had shared the same gym (with separate locker room facilities) for the previous 25 years.

        We had mandatory “pep rallies”, where we were supposed to scream our support for “the team.” And we got demerits if we weren’t “doing our part.” I got a handful of them.

        Meanwhile, the entire curriculum was scheduled around the ball players, with all their (remedial level) classes in the morning – just English, “earth science”, and “calculator match” – before they went off to their clubhouse, which was basically their own separate playground.

        In my brief stint in the state college it wasn’t quite that bad… but fully half of the “student guide” was about their various ball teams. And apparently the only purpose of the various alumni associations and incessant begging was to give the players a free ride through school and luxurious accomodations when they weren’t outside playing.

        1. We had mandatory “pep rallies”, where we were supposed to scream our support for “the team.”

          The coach hated that I took a book and read through it all, and wouldn’t stand for the school cheers and song. I did stand for the Pledge/Anthem. Then I realized that while I couldn’t leave once there, they couldn’t force attendance, so I simply didn’t get up from the class before. I think that by then it was known that forcing the issue would become an issue. They had a salute for the school that made me think of 1930’s newsreels from a certain country in Europe… and a Spike Jones tune.

            1. Where I was it during school hours and they guarded the doors. Had they not, I’d have spent the time more productively in the library next door.

              1. Ours were during school hours too… like all the other assemblies, just in the gym instead of the auditorium. I don’t recall minding any of them much — I liked our sports teams — though I do vaguely recall complaints about taking time out of class, about it being ironic to take time out of class for the ones honoring academic achievement, about making the students who weren’t being lauded at any given event feel bad, and about scheduling things when working parents couldn’t come. I don’t think we really had an excessive number though, and I don’t think anybody checked whether individuals were cheering.

  13. I attended an experimental-format grade school that seemed to combine the best of both worlds. Each building had a four-classroom structure and was nominally a single grade, a “unit”. But you didn’t have to stay in that building all the time. If you had advanced math skills, for example, you might spend most of your time in your “real” grade unit, but take math classes in the next grade unit. There was a little bit of stress as to whether you got promoted to the higher grade unit at the end of the year (for 5th grade go to the 5/6 grade unit, or stay in the 4/5 unit?) but it solved the divergent-skills in different topics yet kept age groups mostly together. Until I hit the last “unit” and had worn out all the available English teachers–so they brought in a special instructor for me, and we camped out in the teacher’s lounge for my English class 🙂 I learned later that lady was a *judge* who liked to volunteer in the schools. She deserved a medal for dealing with me all by herself…

  14. >results in America being the engine of the amazing expansion in technology that has fueled the unheard of prosperity of the last 100 years or so.
    “…as provided by good old Americans like Dr. Wernher von Braun.” Doesn’t take mad detective skillz to notice American education always was a joke for the most part.
    Back in Mark Twain’s time? He insisted that he got anything despite it than because of it.
    R.W. Wood? Got what he wanted because the school was basically post stamp collecting (granted, when he was a professor, HIS students apparently had… quite memorable lessons).
    But things probably didn’t go downhill all the way until schoolbooks became complete scam (you did read Feynman’s report about how he caught a Curriculum Commission on favorably evaluating an EMPTY book, right?).

    1. In his (second?) book, Feynman talked about a California science book that showed a whole bunch of pictures with the caption “ENERGY MAKES THEM GO!”

      I recognized it immediately, all those years later – that was the “science” textbook in one of the schools I went to.

      1. Feynman himself was also pretty much self educated during secondary school. Happily, one of his teachers was wise enough to hand him a book on advanced calculus and told him to learn it.

      1. I was mostly educated by Isaac Asimov and his science and history books. Other than a very interesting ROTC elective, school was a complete waste of my time. Most of the time they didn’t even *pretend* to teach anything other than “sit down and shut up.” And they mostly failed at that, too.

      2. I learned some in school, but I learned and retained more – I think – from my own reading. Reading the textbooks Pa left readily available, reading stuff from the library, and inter-library loan. Asimov’s short story fiction was alright, but the collected nonfiction columns were of perhaps more interest. Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one to ever read some of the books in the high school library. I recall never having to wait for any to be checked in again. And I recall getting strange looks from some, at first, for “Wait, you read that stuff… for fun?” Yes. Science is interesting. Poor teaching methods are what makes it seem dull. I presume the same can be said for other general subjects.

        1. My high school didn’t have a large selection of science books, but I think I’m the only person who knew that our library had a subscription to Science magazine.

  15. You’re the people who given a choice between vanilla and chocolate say “strawberry” and if you can at all set about making it happen.

    Only once did I taste a strawberry I liked. Of course I had invested a good half hour turn on turning the crank on the churn. Absolutely fresh, from the cream to the strawberries, it tasted of a decadent Spring afternoon.

    When I was a child the family took an annual leaf peeping drive in the Poconos. We would stop at the Howard Johnson’s on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the way home. Daddy ate vanilla because he liked it. Momma always ordered Butter Pecan. Me, I would choose Pink Peppermint. So what it was pink, it tasted like Christmas. (I doubt were I to find it again it could ever have been as good as I remember it.)

    That remained my dream flavor, that is until I discovered a not too sweet intensely lemon Lemon Gellato.

    1. I was well over 30 before I discovered “vanilla” was actually a flavor, as opposed to “white ice cream.”

      Apparently vanilla is expensive, so they don’t bother to uncork the bottle as they wave it at the vat…

    2. There is a family-owned ice cream shop near us whose pear sorbet tastes in equal parts of summer afternoons and Heaven. I am good with this. (the Key Lime Pie ice cream’s not bad, either. :D)

      1. Fine chocolate was something I did not discover until I had left home. For Momma ‘Death By Chocolate’ would not have been a joke. Daddy had eaten so much chocolate during his time in the army that his system decided that he had had his lifetime share.

        1. (Real) chocolate is moderately poisonous to humans. The LD/50 (where half the subjects die) is astonishingly low. For many animals it is *very* low.

          It’s also allergen to most people, though reactions vary widely. Over time, my sensitivity has increased until I have finally had to give it up entirely.

          1. (Real) chocolate is moderately poisonous to humans. The LD/50 (where half the subjects die) is astonishingly low. For many animals it is *very* low.

            Gonna have to ask for a cite on this one. The only chocolate-related LD50 I could find in a quick search was for theobromine, and with an LD50 of 1,000 mg/kg, that’s not very low.

          2. Huh! Think I’ve seen an article cited on Insty recently pointing out various health-advantageous things dark chocolate does for people. I can easily believe individual responses, but feel less confident about “most people”.

          3. In grade school we all felt bad (at first anyway…) for the girl who was stuck drinking the always seeming to be sour white milk as nature had pulled what we considered the dirtiest of tricks on her and made her allergic to chocolate.

    3. Used to live at a place where wild strawberries grew alongside the road. Small things, but wonderfully flavorful and always fresh, since just-picked.

      But while I like a genuine vanilla (not mere ‘white ice cream’ as mentioned) and chocolate, I’d be likely to reply with pistachio. Or mint. (Not together, however).

      1. Back home in SE Idaho, it’s fresh huckleberries, which my mom would make into this amazing raspberry/huckleberry jam.

        And there’s a little place south of us in San Marcos, TX, that makes a pecan cobbler that’s sorely tempting, even to those of us who are allergic to flour. Pecan (or peach, I suppose, if you’re into that kind of thing) cobbler, with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla on it, nice and warm, so the ice cream melts down and into it. Mmm…

        1. We used to go out every fall, dad and I, and get enough wild blackberries to fill a couple of buckets. Mom would then make blackberry jam. Blackberry bushes grow like a weed in the North of Portugal, to the point the village BURNED them to stop them growing so wild on the sides of roads they became an hazard.

            1. Georgia Pacific has a facility near Ft. Bragg, CA, on the Mendocino Coast. Over near the ocean on the northish end of their property is an area of blackberry vines. As in, piles of brambles growing 10′-15′ high. Thick enough to trap large mammals. Probably elephants. Or good sized pickup trucks.

              Sometime during the year (early winter?), GP runs some heavy equipment through the vines, cutting lanes wide enough to permit easy access to locals.

              This seems to stimulate the plants, which usually produce very large amounts of delicious berries. Bring your own buckets, pick what you can reach.

              Blackberry cobbler often results.

              1. Wondered about that. Yes, blackberries are the invasive common weed and roadside underbrush of western (coastal) Washington, but northern CA is closer to Portugal’s latitude.

    4. The very best strawberries are the tiny little ones you sometimes find growing wild. They are much sweeter than domesticated berries.

      1. Guess you have better wild strawberries than we do. The ones here (I think they’re known as “woods strawberries”) are like eating styrofoam.

        1. Same here. I was thrilled when I saw them growing in our yard, waited eagerly for them to become ripe, and promptly discovered that they tastes more or less like paper.

          1. Okay, I guess the ones I used to find by the blackberry patch were escaped domestics.

      2. Huh. Our yard one place had what we thought were wild strawberries — they looked like tiny strawberries, and the leaves looked right — but they had no flavor. I wonder if we just had a bland strain or if they were something else entirely.

        1. ….And the trouble with replying from the emails is I didn’t wait and read all the other people with defective wild strawberries.

  16. For many, many years I’ve felt California was so crazy because of what you call the odds. I’ve called them the malcontent. This is my theory.
    In the beginning the continent was settled on the closest shore to where the malcontents were coming from. And come they did. And as they came, it got crowded and it made the children of the malcontent even more malcontent. So they moved on to the west. And then the even more malcontents became extreme malcontents, so much so they were willing to cross the mountains and the deserts to keep on keeping on. And so we have the West Coast, full of the most extreme malcontents, genetically so, and the craziness that comes from them. For some strange reason that craziness makes its way back across the continent in some way and disrupts our education systems, our cultural traditions, (via Hollywood) and our common sense.

    That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

    1. During the sixties and seventies a lot of seriously ill people made their way to California.

      1. Oh, it began quite a bit before then. My parents were both native-born Californians, although their parents all came from somewhere else. (Pennsylvania and Great Britain) and they both pegged the beginning of the decline of California into the State of Fruits and Nuts with WWII. Specifically, 1942. The war and the pell-mell rush and build-up of war industries did a number on California that the post-war years just intensified. My mother often said that the student body in her elementary school doubled between 1941 and 1942.

        Mom and Dad often voiced the wish that everyone who came to California after 1942 would just go the HELL back to where they came from and take the nutballs with them. When they were children, California was an awesome place to grow up, especially So-Cal. Citrus orchards everywhere; rose gardens in bloom, and snow on the tops of the mountains, miles and miles of pristine beaches, with hardly a McMansion in sight.

        1. I am an native-born Californian. I always planned to return, until I realized the People’s Democratic Republic of California didn’t want me, my cars, my guns, or my politics.

            1. Y’all should return in force and drive the progressives into the Pacific.

                1. This could be an international incident. After all, LA is the second largest city in Mexico.

                  1. Maybe the progressives should just be driven to Mexico? Or would the sudden influx of additional stupidity finally cause the implosion of what passes for government in Mexico?

                    1. Upon reflection, I may be engaging in a bit of political tribalism in my comment. I didn’t used to do that much, but the past 18-30 months of progressive tyranny and trumpeting have taken their toll.

              1. Just drive them west of the San Andreas fault (much easier, so many are already there), which is apparently overdue with a lot of stored energy, per recent news.

    2. Odds aren’t malcontents. No, they don’t fit in, but they’re usually quite happy being left alone. What you call malcontents is “radical losers.”

      1. This.

        Oh, it’s quite easy for an Odd out of place to *think* they are a radical loser (esp. when youngsters). Or others to cause such a thought to happen in their heads, the normals, being children, do. Humans have to be taught civility and manners, they don’t appear fully formed as a goddess from striking some thick-skulled god on the head.

        We’re no more malcontent than the average. A bit touchy when we are stressed, magnanimous when sated, wrathful when we are wronged- same as any human. Just… well, Odd in our ways and how we see and experience the world.

        1. Yeah, I mean, I tend to forge how strange we are as a family, until I find myself in a “Normal and average” environment and the people think oh… science fiction = porn.

          1. Wait, what? Where on Earth did they come up with that connection? And what rock have they been hiding under to maintain it?

            1. George RR, probably.

              I’m still agog that after a couple of decades outside SF, I came back and a very minor writer is now a superstar… apparently due to a bunch of anthologies and some kind of fantasy soap opera.

              1. Nah, my mom was very nearly convinced of that when I was a kid, which was well before George RR was known. She’s still convinced that Romance=Porn.
                I think it was because there were some fade-to-black bedroom scenes, you know? Moon is a Harsh Mistress convinced her that at least some science fiction was okay-ish. (I was smart enough not to offer other Heinlein, but to offer The Caves of Steel after, and then she started reading the Black Widow mysteries, so Asimov was okay.)
                It doesn’t require much of a rock, okay? Any big-budget science fiction movie trailer makes it clear there’s a romance, right? So if you’re predisposed to think that it’s porn, there’s evidence right there, and as a good person, you’d never actually watch or read something pornographic.

                1. “Yes, sir. Daffy Duck, personal representative of the biggest discovery since the Sweater girl. He’s colossal! Stupendous! One might even go so far as to say… he’s mediocre.”

              1. From some old collections I’ve seen, I think at least half of the old Sci Fi pulp novels from back in the day had a picture of a (mostly) naked woman on them, even if none appeared in the story.

                1. Yeah. Not only did the counter clerk give you the stink eye, but from what a couple of authors mentioned, the guy who painted the bimbo cover usually got paid far more than the writers.

            2. Probably comes from recent years Hugos. I mean they are chock full of non-traditional sex (Missionary position, during the new moon only)… Some are so kinky they refer to everyone as xer, so you don’t really know what any base pair consists of.

              1. But the thing is that the same stuff can be found elsewhere. Nvm most recent Hugo winners barely sff.

                And that actually sounds like a fun plot point for a lycanthrope story. Only with a new moon can urges be controlled in high energy events

            3. Is it bad that my first response to that is “I want that rock!” It certainly sounds like a lovely place for peace and quiet to read in, and ignore the world. For oh, say, the next 4-8 years… *chuckle*

      2. “No I don’t hate those not like me – at least not until they try to force me to be like them.”

        (And to quote Tom Smith in I Want to be Peter Lorre, “Between a mad scientist and a jock, who would you want on your side?” – though I make no claim to either.)

    3. In “He Built a Crooked House” RAH stated something to the effect of the US is tilted and all America’s fruits and nuts roll to Hollywood.

  17. I’ve just realized that the Medieval era monastic system was designed by Odds for Odds.
    -Segregation by sex means you don’t have to have awkward interactions with females
    -Vow of silence means you don’t have to really interact with anybody
    -You get to read books a lot
    -You get to illustrate manuscripts
    -You also get to brew beer and make wine, but you don’t have to drink it in public

      1. Related to why the monasteries were set up in Neal Stephenson’s “Anathem”. Granted, one reason was to get the odds away from normal people and get some form of regulation on their…. proclivities and enthusiasms.

        But it also set them free in a lot of ways to explore.

        Which then caused… other issues.

        I don’t think that the beginning point starts too soon – it ALL becomes relevant, but you slowly realize the type of story is changing partway through from what it first appeared to be.

    1. Depends on the founders and local conditions… but yeah, a lot of Odds among the founders and reformers of orders. Also a lot of conflicts when That Admin Guy (or girl) tries to take over and change everything. (Sometimes inclusion locking the founder up somewhere to keep him/her from stopping them, and then trying to rewrite history to eliminate the founder. It usually doesn’t work out.)

    2. A whole lot of the saints you can practically hear them going “Oh, for love of Himself, LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME THINK!”

      I think it was…Benedict that made the Monastic Code for his guys because they wouldn’t stop nagging him to let them join?

      Don’t get me started on the nuns and lay-sisters.

        1. But then I’d have to do RESEARCH to get names and stuff right, rather than gesturing over at the gals who were running businesses like nothing, bossed around Popes because they were wrong and generally went about founding stuff and doing things that would be in National Woman’s Month if they were even a little honest.

            1. Try suburbanbanshee’s blog; she does a lot more of that kind of stuff.

              Me, I’m a few months late on more geekish Catholic stuff. >.< Got one on the so-called Saint Death to do, goes in the same series as the vampire and Frankenstein ones.

  18. My former form (eh)

    Could be worse. I was reading an old favorite recently and came across “…evidence of the destruction of the destroyer became more evident…”

      1. I was wondering that, myself.
        It’s appropriate, though, given the tendencies of that mindset…

  19. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Heinlein’s “Bad Luck” with regard to the odds in a country.

      1. Viewed safely from the distance of years, it can be quite amusing. Assuming of course things come out as I fully expect, and things improve in the future (oh we’ll still have problems, no fear of that, but not -quite- as horrid as the bad old days).

        1. I that there will be a lot of death and destruction before things get better. I don’t want this to happen but I fear it will.

  20. The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it.

    He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.

    ― Adam Smith

    1. I tried a little of that, in an organization I “led” when I was (much) younger – got mugged by reality and learned from it, thank God!

  21. We know the civilization-wide forms of that from various societies that have stagnated. When conformity is strictly enforced and your weirdos are not allowed to contribute, we become … oh, sure stable. And dead.

    I read something along that line in a closing portion of “You Mean I’m not Crazy, Stupid, or Lazy?” by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo speculating what might happen if the gene for attention deficit (w/ or without hyperactivity) disorder were removed from human beings; risk taking would go away. Further speculation was that it could be put back, but people would be afraid to take the chance; thus, stagnation set in.

  22. I find it very strange how often Sarah and I see to think down parallels. In wealthy comfortable fat times a country or society can ‘afford’ tolerances and indeed pampering of extremes that go by the board when hard times (economics, war, major social pressure). Society – particularly in the US to my outsider’s eye – but in the West in general, has granted vast ‘extra’ perks and tolerances which will go, very abruptly…

    Why does this worry me? Most of the ‘odd’ folk I know and like Chameleon really quite well.

    Well, yes. We do. Most of the ‘outre’ demanding everything from bathroom privileges to special consideration for prizes and publications – and their supporters are NOT chameleoning ‘odds’ – you might reasonably accurately describe them as camp-followers completely driven by being the same as the ‘cool kids’ of the moment — who happen to be left far fringe, and tight-bound to some very uncomfortable bedfellows (Muslims to gays to radical feminists). When fashions change, it will be difficult to get any of them to admit that they ever supported the current liberal fashion in causes. Their loudest leaders will take a fall, and become ‘out’ – and the herd will shift to a more centrist position.

    Honestly, if they were all that were going to be affected… I’d shrug. But I do fear collateral damage, as there will be lot of attempts to suddenly be chameleons.

    1. > the US to my outsider’s eye

      I’m not sure “outsider” is meaningful any more. The “US” I read about in the mass media news might as well be entirely fictional. At least, the country it describes bears to little similarity to the place I lvie that I can’t recognize it.

      If I cared, I could buy into that narrative. Or I could become expert in, say, Tasmanian politics and current affairs. Which would have just as much relevance to my daily affairs, and it’s the same few clicks away.

    2. And some of my oddities — the accent — can’t be hidden. Or my son’s oddities — they look more “hispanic” to American eyes than I do, the result of Dan’s Amerindian ancestry and my Portuguese ancestry — and the alt.right is quite deranged enough to — as the left — believe your externals dictate how you think.

    3. Odds typically adapt to environment. The changes are trying to force the environment to change for the folks with chips on their shoulder…(oh if I see another story where kid is beaten, thrown out of house etc for coming out when I can be certain probably a lot more to the story)

  23. In controls, perturbation is required to challenge and change inputs. For countries odds and anticonformists provide this perturbation. It is merely a matter of where it goes

  24. “In a world of sheep and dogs and wolves, you’re the goats.”
    I prefer to consider myself a polar bear. Or possibly an elephant. 🙂

    1. *sniff* Y’all are displaying your appalling mammallian vertebrate privilege. I demand that shellfish, flatworms, college students, and other invertebrates recieve equal respect!

  25. > When a society feels threatened, when each individual is struggling to survive, people revert to where we cam from: the band. The familiar. The people who eat like us; talk like us; look like us and by gum dress like us.
    To say without “isms”, that’s just a survival adaptation of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. No more, no less.
    Ultimately, the ways of each people used to adapt to its environment.
    The transportation dependent on the Oil Needle and some loonie XIX century European teachings weakened this (rather superficially), so what? Neither of those are eternal. They are already winding down. The internationalism, like any parasitic fungus, withers when its substrate does. Then what? Assuming that the humanity survives, same old. What else? Stones tend to fall down, fish swim, humans band together by a small set of behaviour stereotypes. It’s just how things work.

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