The People Are All Right


Years ago, when I was particularly depressed about something stupid going on in government, I had to leave the office and go pick up the kids from school.

At the time, we lived in a tiny mountain town near Colorado Springs, and it was a fine late Spring day.  As I walked to the school, five blocks away, I saw people out working on their roofs, people planting their gardens, people taking their pets for walks, people driving for a volunteer organization that drives the elderly around, people going about their lawful business in every possible way.

And suddenly, like an epiphany, I realized that our “elites” including the presstitutes and the supposed intellectual heights of academia, are among some of the most corrupt in the world, but the people?  The people are all right.

This is the reason why, despite our terrible institutions we’re not Somalia or Venezuela or even Brazil.  Our politicians are fully that corrupted, doing and saying anything for the sake of holding on to more power.  But we’re different.

How different?  I’ll give you the two ways that made me fall in love with America:

1- for now, in most places — this is changing and it’s a worrying trend — we are law abiding, and more importantly respecting of other’s property.  Every time I go to Portugal, you can fold more of your car and take it away with you, to prevent people from breaking in to steal it: radio, gps, steering wheel.  (I can’t remember if you could actually remove the steering wheel, or if I dreamed it after the last time.)  In most places I’ve lived in the US, including some large cities, you could leave your car door unlocked all night and nothing would happen.  In the place Older Son has been living (which is more than a little dicey) he couldn’t leave the door unlocked, because his car would get boosted, but even there no one is taking away the radio, or the gps from the car, for fear of having it broken into.  And there are no extortionists threatening to scratch your parked car if you don’t pay protection.
More important is the stuff American-born people don’t even think about.  You guys put out garden decor, and Christmas lights, and stuff, and it never occurs to you that it could be stolen.  For instance, right now we have our entire patio set sitting up in front of the (full of stuff) garage.  Why?  Because it’s going in the back porch, which will be rebuilt in August or September, maybe.  So, right now the stuff is on the driveay, which means ANYONE could just walk out with it without so much as a “by your leave.”  In Portugal, the set (fairly expensive, we bought it back when we were well off, before the 2000 crash) would already be gone.  Most countries in the world it would already be gone.  Which is why people have walls and fences and gates.

I know it’s getting scarier some places, but so long as things don’t get stolen if you don’t nail them down, we’re all right.

2- We roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done.

When we were first married, Dan did all the car maintenance, and I learned to do all the house maintenance.  I had a leg up as I’m incurably curious and had followed ever workman around, when they came to repair something.  But here’s the thing: what we did would have been considered humiliating and beneath our station in most places in the world.  We were college educated and trained for jobs of the mind.  We should have been sullen and upset at being “forced” to work with our hands.

Actually we both rather enjoyed it, and it often served as a break from my trying to break into publishing and Dan’s often grueling coding job, in those early days.  We’d wonder around on weekends doing sweaty-work, with a song in our hearts (you don’t want me to have a song in my lips.  No, trust me) because we were doing what needed to be done and taking care of business.  When you’re young and low man on the totem pole in your job, or in my case, locked totally outside it, you need stuff you can control, and we controlled our home improvement and car repair.  (I think I improved our starter home within an inch of its life.  Never mind.)  “Deal with that sh*t” became our watchword.

Now, I know that lots of people here, too, think they’re “too good to–” or that hard physical work will kill them.  BUT the majority don’t.  Not only do we have DIY solutions everywhere we turn, but our natural instinct on seeing something that needs done is to deal with it: not wait on someone better off/worse off/with the right credentials.  We just “deal with that sh*t.”

Yes, our politics are a mess, a combination of the fact that we’re NOT as a rule a very political people, being too busy with the business of living and building something better for our children and grandchildren.  Be serious: would you like every one to obsess on politics as, say, I do?  They’d never get anything done.  Surgeons and engineers would need to check instapundit in the middle of vital work.  Be real.

So people who aren’t very plugged in let themselves be duped by the presstitutes and the power-hungry politicians.  What else is new?

We are fractionally more awake and involved than in the early twentieth century, and believe it or not, this horrible election not withstanding, we’re much better off than we were 100 years ago, when it comes to not believing in collective solutions; when it comes to rolling up our sleeves and dealing with political cr*p; when it comes to finding other news sources and not going along with the majority.  If you don’t think so, you’ve not read any memoirs from a century ago.

This country was founded on and will continue to be a struggle between those who want to give power to the government and those who want to be left alone.  As long as the struggle continues, we’re fine.  It’s when we go to sleep under the boot of the oppressor that we are done for.

As long as the people still do for themselves, as long as the answer to “my roof is leaking” is not “call the government” hope is not lost.

Yeah, our kids are a little more lost than older people, but be fair to them, they were indoctrinated like no generation here before (about like mine was, back in Portugal.  BTW, after we hit our thirties we turned into the most ‘leave us the heck alone’ generation the country had ever seen.  Which admittedly isn’t much, but you have the culture of the country to contend with) and they are the richest generation in the richest country the world has ever known.  Compared to the rest of humanity, they’re all scions of nobility.  And compared to those, by and large, our kids are all right.  And they tend to find their way out of indoctrination before forty.  We can’t ask for more.

So let’s go out today and celebrate the shot heard around the world; that sweet air of liberty which is still shaping us today and which offers us hope for the future.

Nations shouldn’t live under the grinding yoke of a foreign power.  And individuals shouldn’t live under the dictates of an impersonal, far away government.

Both should roll up their sleeves and deal with their own sh*t themselves.

As our British “relatives” are finding just now.  They too have discovered the joys of an independence day.

This could become addicting.  For all the world.   And it would be a good thing.  Below is a hokey speech, from a hokey movie, both of which never fail to bring tears to my eyes.

To our blinkered elites, and everyone who thinks the “common people” can’t be trusted be it with guns, with words, with opinions, with free association, with life, liberty and the pursuit of independence:

Yes, we know the world faces many problems.  This is why you should stop joggling our elbows. Leave us alone.  Let us deal with that sh*t.

217 thoughts on “The People Are All Right

  1. Here Here! I was just thinking the other day of how much gets done below the noses of the .gov and presstitutes – all the quiet helping of neighbors, of volunteer work, donations made under the table in little informal jars in small-town or neighborhood shops, fund-raisers for good small causes, lawns mowed and mail collected while a neighbor has been called away by a family emergency, the list is rather amazing, really.

  2. Strange creatures, huh, acknowledging neither any betters above, nor any job below. They (we) just are. And anyone who has an issue with that.. is just wrong. A fairly simple philosophy, but it works.

  3. I think Michael Shaara’s “The Killer Angels” and the great four hour film based on it, “Gettysburg,” got it dead right- Lee and the Confederates were spooked to Hell that the deciding battle of the Civil War was going to take place on the Fourth of July.

      1. I once got to walk part of the battleground while getting a blow-by-blow account from a rabid history fan.

        Maps are nice, but being right there to *see* the terrain was a whole different experience.

        1. Me … Standing at the high water mark on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg looking down and across the fields towards the line of brush and monuments that mark the starting point of Pickett’s charge … Feeling struck with wonder and awe at just how anyone could have advanced that far against such a well situated and established emplacement.

        2. Looking down into a valley where one of the skirmishes of that battle (one of the ones that were fought hoping to prevent a siege.) While two civilians bashed the generals who sent their men into it. Seeing what the civilians were seeing then thinking of the eventual casualties of a siege…

  4. For some reason I recently felt compelled to revisit Ringo’s The Last Centurion. Fine book by the way.
    In it John goes into some detail over the differences between high trust and low trust cultures. Americans in general seem to be the most advanced form of a high trust society. Or at least we used to be.
    When a wall of tornadoes swept through my area a few years back and shut down the power grid for a week we all formed what John terms voluntary random associations. We banded together in neighborhoods to make sure everyone was all right. The younger healthier folks carpooled to the areas where the devastation was worst to help survivors with food, water, and strong backs. Back in the neighborhoods we cooked out a lot, it was one big block party.
    Now had things gone on for more than a week it might have gotten ugly, and if it had not happened in mild spring weather things could have been much worse.
    I’ve come to realize that liberals in general and many in our current crop of leaders have a different mind set. True, they pay great lip service to “we are all one people!” But they do so in gated communities behind armed bodyguards. And their actions and proposed laws clearly show that they have no trust in the “common” people whatsoever. And this pernicious liberal philosophy has seeped into every aspect of our media, our educational system, and our government. If this goes on we too shall enjoy the minor benefits and massive loss of freedom that caused Britain to run screaming from the one world EU government.
    On this July 4th I’ll leave with this thought:
    The Ten Commandments are a list of acts by men that God finds offensive.
    The Bill of Rights is a list of natural freedoms that no just government has the right to restrict.

    1. Had your community awaited FEMA’s arrival you’d likely still be without power in all areas.

      There is a world of difference between citizens and subjects and, happily, Americans still seem on balance to being citizens.

      1. As John points out in his book, the M in FEMA stands for management. By charter they aren’t supposed to show up until 72 hours after the event to provide oversight and coordination of rescue and recovery efforts. It is organizations at the local level, whether government, religious, or voluntary random associations that must jump in to provide immediate emergency relief.
        That cluster &**& in NOLA was the direct result of a criminal failure to plan by the elected officials at local and state levels compounded by a fundamental liberal belief that if you sit and complain long enough someone else will come save you and make it all better.
        In other words, you deal with the situation your own self and maybe later FEMA might have some resources that could help in the recovery.
        I do know of several cases where good samaritans were turned back from New Orleans with cargos of food and water simply because they weren’t official. Stupid people doubling down on their stupidity. Mississippi gulf coast which was hit just as hard if not harder hunkered down and did what was needed to survive and recover. Sure they eventually got help, but the key was they didn’t wait. They just did what was necessary. Which naturally entitles them to 30 seconds on the news while hour long shows were dedicated to the plight of the poor Nawlins folk.

        1. I seem to remember hearing that the Governor & Mayor (Democrats) delayed asking for help from George W.

          The President isn’t a King so there are limits on what he can do without a formal request for assistance.

          Elsewhere, they asked for additional help from George W.

          Obviously, people “did what they could” without asking for government (local or otherwise) help.

          1. Point being that those who pitched in and did what was necessary mostly came out OK. The ones that sat and cried for gubmint to come make it all better sat for a long time.

          2. I seem to remember hearing that the Governor & Mayor (Democrats) delayed asking for help from George W.

            That’s one way to describe “told him to buzz off when he called and begged them to do the formal request.”

            1. I didn’t remember “that bit”.

              Makes the asshole look worse. 👿

              1. You didn’t remember that bit because the MSM did a very good and excellent job in not reporting malfeasance by a Democrat governor and mayor because, well, because they were Democrats.

                1. Actually, I think Nagin was still registered as Independent. Nagin and Blanco hate each other. Nagin had endorsed Jindal in that 2004 gubernatorial race, and Blanco holds a grudge like Hillary.
                  Also not widely reported outside local news, that.
                  About the only thing they agreed on was to blame Bush for their not wanting to ceed power to the other.

                  1. There were stories of people who were told they had to come into work, because an evacuation had not been called. I recall seeing overhead shots of a swamped lot full of parked school buses and thinking that they could have been employed to evacuate people if the government had thought ahead — saving the buses, and more importantly some of the people. Nothing I heard gave me the impression that the local government had been preparing for a possible disaster of any scale.

                    1. WP Delenda ate a post that I mentioned the “Big Plan” Nagin (I think) had commissioned right after getting in office. It was an almost well thought out and possibly viable plan . . . and was not put in place because they waited so long and no one thought ahead to keep the Bus Drivers around to drive those buses. By the time anyone though about, you know, consulting the “Big Effin Storm Plan ™” because, you know, there was a big effin storm heading their way, the busing stage was a day late and a driver (or most drivers actually) short.
                      All the drivers, who, having jobs, had families and transportation, bugged out long before anyone thought “Hey, where’d we put that plan we paid a bunch-ton for? Anyone remember that?” So for all it was worth, it could have been the single most brilliant plan evar!, but that matters nil because they never followed the plan at all.
                      Once they decided that they would use the City Buses they were ignoring the folks in the convention center, so a 17yr old kid walked to the bus yard, took a buss, and drove it to the center, loaded up and headed west. It was the first bus to get to Houston.

          3. That, and the State of Louisiana had allocated funds for dealing with just that sort of thing, and much more money from the Fed.

            Had the money been used for the required infrastructure and services improvements, Lousiana would have been able to deal with the situation itself.

            Alas, the money vanished, and nobody seemed interested in tracking down where it went.

            1. As I recall a good bit of the money allocated to reinforce those dikes that failed was spent on a fine new road to service the casinos. All about priorities don’t you know.

              1. Hurricanes might happen, they hadn’t in memory. But those casinos and the money they bring in and the long term jobs they create (also the graft they enable) are immediate.

        2. FEMA isn’t going to do much because it’s specifically designed not to do much. In the 1970s, Civil Defense funding languished until it had become a pathetic joke, and congress wasn’t about to fund it again because they were afraid the Soviets would interpret it as a run-up to a first strike, and initiate a first strike of their own. Others have pointed out that there was no evidence that the Soviets would have seen actually funding CD that way, but that was the buzz and congress was scared to correct the problem.

          The result was FEMA. Unlike Civil Defense, FEMA is designed to be top down so that it wouldn’t be able to function in a nation wide catastrophe. This means that unlike CD, you don’t have an autonomous structure and you don’t have propositioned supplies and equipment. This means that if anyone thinks they can rely on FEMA getting to them, they are going to have a long wait.

          Offhand I don’t know how many disasters I’ve worked in my time with a utility. I started before Hugo and am still at it. In all those hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, ice storms, and floods, I have never seen FEMA on the spot. Ever. I’ve seen them when they came afterward with relief funding, but never during the first hours of disaster. And the way FEMA works means it’s open to abuse, which means more regulation and hoops to jump through to try to prevent fraud, and the sort of sensitivity training that had some emergency workers storming out in disgust because they were there to actually do something.

          FEMA does eventually show up with trailers and such, but as to cutting your way in – and yes, that does happen after a big storm, well, that’s all done by locals and contractors and volunteers from elsewhere.

          1. With FEMA the problem is not the contents, it is the promises on the label and the adverts.

            I never minded a club with a two-drink minimum, but bitterly resented those which would then water my drink.

          2. Several years ago a big tornado went through the eastern Iowa area. One area hit hard was a local Boy Scout camp. With so many downed trees and other damage, emergency organizations could not get to the scouts for quite a few hours. When the “officials”, followed by new organizations finally got to them, most were shocked beyond belief when they saw the scouts, with the few adults that were at the camp, had already set up first aid stations complete with triage, and the uninjured boys were busy clearing the roads with chainsaws and what equipment the camp had. One reporter was expecting a bunch of helpless kids sitting around and waiting on the government to get there to organize aid.

            That week was the scout leadership training week at summer camp where each unit sends at least 2 to 3 of their best younger scouts to be trained on how to run and lead a troop. These were boys who in the opinion of the scoutmasters were going to be the future leaders of the troop, and they were being taught mostly by older scouts and young adults (18-21). There might have been only 4 or 5 adults over 21 there that week.

            What little respect I had for the MSM died that week when they kept talking how ominous it was that none of these kids were meekly waiting on the government to get there.

        3. I do know of several cases where good samaritans were turned back from New Orleans with cargos of food and water simply because they weren’t official. Stupid people doubling down on their stupidity. Mississippi gulf coast which was hit just as hard if not harder hunkered down and did what was needed to survive and recover. Sure they eventually got help, but the key was they didn’t wait. They just did what was necessary. Which naturally entitles them to 30 seconds on the news while hour long shows were dedicated to the plight of the poor Nawlins folk.

          Following Hugo, the official idea was to warehouse goods and distribute. Many church groups said “Forget this, and distributed it on their own. One of them I’m aware was to an elderly black woman who’d lost her roof, and a church group rigged a temporary one out of a tarp.

          News media has selective interests in reporting disasters. Monks’ Corner, South Carolina, was hard hit by Hugo, but how much was about it in the news? We had church groups and emergency crews in the Gulf Coast area east of Louisiana where there was incredible devastation that extended halfway or more northward into several states. Not much said of that, or of Hurricane Rita that hit more rural areas. And some of the stories coming out of New Orleans were bunk, but that’s par for the course.

          The thing is, New Orlean’s attitude isn’t as isolated as we might think. There are placed in Florida some years ago that cursed power restoration crews and stole things off their trucks, and some crews went home and vowed never to return. Other places in Florida were just as good and appreciative as could be. Just as I know some crews that said they would never go up to some areas of the Northeast after how some people treated them in the wake of Sandy.

          Not every place it like that, but it’s a very significant question of what percentage of the US is in each category. I’ve been to some places in the US where I’ve felt right at home, and others where I felt like I was wearing dirty overalls at a black tie dinner. And both sides like to think most Americans are like them.

          Which is it? Dast if I know. But alleged wrongdoing doesn’t seem to have kept Hillary from winning the nomination, and that alone says something that’s not good. And even in a place out from St Louis that I liked, I woke up one morning and found someone had tried to rob the drink machines, and the shuttle bus driver told me someone once stole an entire Christmas tree out of the lobby of a nearby hotel.

          Even where I grew up you sometimes had to get your message across. Such as in the 1960s when someone was stealing gas from us, until my father put two full five gallon cans of diesel in front of the gas tank. We came home to find the cans empty and where they pushed their vehicle out of the yard.

          1. The ridiculous thing about expecting those boys to be helpless, even if it weren’t leadership training, is that this is *precisely* the kind of thing that Boy Scouts prepares boys to do!

            After all, what’s their motto? “Be Prepared”.

    2. Well, they’re going to find out that those “gated communities” aren’t quite so safe – they just nailed a would-be Jihadi down here that lives in one of them. Was going to blow up a couple of County buildings, supposedly. I know that development – $500K and up (which is high for down here).

      Daddy, as far as I’ve been able to find out, either is or was a Federal employee…

      1. I’m staying in one this trip where the exit gate has the motor and opening linkages outside the gate. Someone with a basic knowledge of mechanics and a multitool could have that gate open in 15 minutes. When the checks stop a lot of people are going to learn the meaning of security theater.

        1. The purpose isn’t to stop hordes of people– it’s to make it so that the opportunistic criminals, the type that will jump a random bus and enter neighborhoods away from their normal rounds, have to do some obvious stuff.

          It’s not like you can’t just climb over the fences, or take, what, a minute with a pair of bolt cutters and remove an entire section of the chain type fencing– it’s just that you can’t casually go in, walk past folks’ back porch, pick up random stuff or walk in the screen door and walk out like you know what you’re doing. You’re channeled past too many people who will go “why the heck are you packing two laptops and a gaming system out the front gate? I don’t recognize you.”

          1. > jump a random bus

            A few decades ago Atlanta set up their MARTA mass transit system. The immediate and obvious result, virulently denied by many, was a massive change in the locations and types of crimes.

            Cheap mass transit between the ‘hood and the ritzy sections, the hood rats weren’t taking in the opera or the museums…

            1. Ah, MARTA, I knew it well. Decatur to PDK airport, at least twice a week. Occasionally Underground Atlanta before that got, hmmm, increasingly vibrant and diverse I think is the term.

              1. I’ve heard Underground Atlanta called all sorts of things . . .

                A long time ago I was with a couple of others and we took MARTA to the Greyhound bus station. MARTA subway stopped nearby, and to this day the tallest escalator I’ve ever ridden was from the subway to ground level there.

        2. I would bet that they actually WANT the gate to be able to be opened– so that if things go really wrong, emergency personnel can get through the back gate even if the system isn’t working.

          Same way that interior doors are those glorified cardboard things.

          1. I discovered those doors the other day when I was having an argument and hit the door for emphasis. My hand almost went through it and I wasn’t hitting it that hard. All the other doors in the house are original and hard.

              1. They could be. There’s also solid core doors, which are solid wood and supposedly good for sound dampening. Hollow core doors are your standard residential interior door because they’re lighter and cheaper.

                  1. Wow, you can’t get a hollow six-panel interior door – they have to be solid. I’m glad I don’t live in such an area. We are replacing our interior doors slowly, very slowly.

                1. I have wondered why someone has not come up with something like a foam with fire, thermal and noise suppression qualities for filling hollow doors while retaining their light weight.

    3. I know high schoolers who voluntarily spend time doing the yard, maintenance and repair work at the homes of the sick, elderly or otherwise needy. (Note: they are working under the supervision of adults, who are teaching and watching out for them as they learn and practice these worthwhile and useful skills.) I don’t recall that back in the cities of the liberated metropolitan northeast where I grew up. Of course I can’t help but think that in the big progressive cities it might be illegal for those who are young to do such work or for those who are properly vetted and licensed (i.e., not unionized) to undertake such work…

  5. My cable package includes two DIY channels, and probably more if you broaden the definition beyond Home & Garden. Then we’ve a variety of food & Cooking channels to help everybody be a gourmet.

    Heck, half the magazines at my grocery check-out are blazoned with articles on how to do things better — and that’s ignoring the ones proclaiming Seven Tricks To Better Orgasms That WIll Leave Him Quivering.

  6. I have long maintained that a major strength of the American system was (tense noted) that the average American didn’t have to pay attention to politicians, that it was possible to go through one’s daily activities and make a decent living without regard to what political affiliations were.

    One of my reasons for opposing Leftists has been their demand that politics and government intrude everywhere, but that’s been in their ingredient list since Mayor Daley first discovered the advantages of first plowing the streets of your voters … and last paving the streets of those neighborhoods that didn’t vote for you.

    Frankly, I blame America’s current tilt to more authoritarian government on HOAs, those “little platoons” of tyranny.

      1. That would probably be the *best* end case of a World Government…

        Most of the ways I figure a likely scenario developing have most of the world looking a lot like the German Democratic Republic.

      2. There are several suburban cities south of us, in Johnson County, KS, which are just really big HOAs. Only 5 different shades of earthtone paints are allowed to be used on homes, and all the roofs must be made to appear to be wood shakes and shingles. Only certain trees may be planted, and approval is needed before doing almost anything.

        HOAs destroy individuality. HOAs encourage ratting out your neighbors to the authorities. This is why we bought land.

        1. A friend who is Jewish was aghast when her HOA ‘punished’ her for not setting out the prescribed luminaries thereby ‘spoiling’ the neighborhood’s holiday appearance by leaving a black hole in the overall display.

          1. There is a subdivision that does that in Olathe, Kansas – it’s part of the HOA rules that homes must be decorated at Christmastime. A reason I never even looked at a house there.

        2. The only one I ever saw that made sense used the dues to gravel the road once a year. (Dirt road, got bad during the spring rains.) It was considered a ‘private’ road so the only way to get it graveled or graded was for the neighborhood to pay for it themselves. It was a pretty rural area.

    1. Someone in my little neighborhood asked about establishing a HOA last week on the neighborhood message board – I think they were taken back by the numbers of residents saying, “OH, HELL NO!”

      Last time we had a neighborhood meeting, it was the same. Lots of retired and former military among us – and we all got sick to death of petty tyranny.

      1. Keep your eyes and ears peeled; some good friends got caught in an HOA where the organizers gamed the system like crazy to make sure it got formed– things like scheduling the vote at times they knew that people who opposed it couldn’t show up, failing to tell people, etc.

        Depends on your local laws.

    2. I’ve long thought, even when I was a kid living in an HOA-regulated neighborhood, that those associations were the paving stones for teaching people that we need oversight in order to have nice, functional things. As though, if left to ourselves, our neighborhoods would go straight to crap.

      Having since had the privilege of renting in an upper-middle class neighborhood without an HOA and now renting in a lower-middle class neighborhood without an HOA, I’ve seen firsthand that it’s not about having some neighborhood Napoleon peering over your fence and lurking in your shrubs (yeah, they did that in my neighborhood as a kid. Creeped us kids out to find grown men peeking over fences while we ran through backyard sprinklers). It’s about people taking pride in, and ownership of, their own lives. My lower-middle class neighborhood is perfectly respectable, thank you very much. And we all manage without wishful tyrants snooping about our fence lines.

      I will say, as an adult, I thank (partially with tongue planted in cheek and partially in honest gratitude for a wider lesson learned) HOAs for serving as a microcosm of bureaucratic overreach and giving me an idea as to what I find distasteful in governing bodies. When we give over our personal pride and sense of personal responsibility, and accept in trade the tyrants at the fence line, I think we will find that we used unrefined gold to buy polished crap.

      That aside, I find it reassuring the number of people I know who are my age and who grew up in HOA neighborhoods, who, because of the bad taste left in their mouths, learned a valuable lesson about governing bodies and regulations.

      1. Exactly – pride, self-respect and neighborliness go a long way in keeping up a neighborhood. A lot of people either experienced or heard second-hand HOA horror stories, and do not want a repeat.

      2. I deliberately bought a house in an HOA area. Because the HOA fees paid for a pool, tennis court, b-ball courts, park like open areas, and maintenance of those common areas. HOA fees were considerably less then a country club membership. Don’t know what it’s like now, I’ve long since moved. The rules at the time weren’t overbearing, and if you bought in, you knew what you were buying into. Fences had to be cedar, unpainted, no more then 4 ft high. Curbside mailboxes all identical. Except for the grandfathered in ones, some really wild, that caused that rule to come into being. Tree planting sites had to be pre-approved as to type and location. I planted a dogwood tree that is doing rather nicely today 26 year later. And the cedar fence is still standing (Google earth is great…)

        Ruralville where I live now was built up without zoning or much building regulation at all. There are leash laws. We’re one of the few families that pay attention to them. There are a few really nice homes. With great views of shacks that nothing has gone into since the were thrown up out of odds and ends. Old trailers with skirts around them. Old trailers without skirts. Trailers with additions. Trailers as additions (I think…)

        And a whole bunch of well built houses with no indoor plumbing or running water, no electricity. Wonder if the Amish would be greeted with open arms by liberals if they moved into their suburban neighborhoods? Around here, they’re part of the landscape. And I strongly suspect that a number of the Mennonite families are violating the number of people per bedroom laws that exist in many towns.

        Where would I rather live? Well, if/when there’s a SHTF event, I’m better off here. I have a dug well and can, if needed, get water without a pump. But quite honestly, suburbia with a well run HOA with proper amenities is an easier place to live in. But probably not as good a place to be in a SHTF event.

        1. Paraphrasing Russian proverb:
          Best for of government is a well run HOA. Worst form of government is a badly run HOA. Problem is, more badly run HOAs than well run ones.

        2. True, HOAs don’t have to be micro-dictatorships, but they can certainly go that way quickly. We had council members climbing fences to spy in our yards, scratching paint flakes off of homes to take the samples to be tested to ensure they were the correct shade (I wish I were kidding. My parents thought they had the right shade and the paint flakes came back the wrong shade. They had to repaint the house two years after having had the paint approved by the association.), spying on neighbors and then filing complaints in the name of other neighbors. That last bit caused a lot of bad feelings between neighbors until we all figured out what was going on.

          Heck, we had a neighbor who was suffering from dementia and, as his family was jumping through the hoops of getting him into memory care (a fact known through our neighborhood), he got taken to court for not keeping the window screens clean. Poor man couldn’t keep the inside of his house in a livable state, he sure as heck wasn’t keeping track of window screens and subsequent citations. Even when his family explained that they needed to move him and then they would replace the window screens, the HOA still went ahead with the legal proceedings.

          On the plus side, our lawns always looked great.

          1. Did they have rules about not electrifying (with handy ground line close by…) the tops of the fences? I know if Pa ever had to deal with that, that would likely would been the initial response to pest control.

  7. May I just say how much I love the word “pressitutes”? Both euphonious and accurate.

    1. It’s not entirely accurate. Proper prostitutes will perform for anyone with money, presstitutes only service one particular party.

      1. And, done properly, prostitutes actually provide value for the money received, which the presstitutes almost never do.

        1. I disagree – while there is no provided value to the general public or society as a whole, the value to the Johns on the Left that they have dedicated themselves to serve is real and tangible.

      2. “You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God! the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”

  8. There was a lovely article in Texas Monthly (and which I cannot find now!) about the catastrophic flood there, Memorial Day a year ago, in Wimberley – which is roughly halfway between San Antonio and Austin. We talked to some Wimberley residents at a book event months later, and they went on at some length on how people had pulled together to help their neighbors, those people who had been flooded out, and how volunteers simply poured into town to help clean up and search for the missing. It was the same when my parents’ house burned in one of those monstrous California wildfires in 2003, Local relief efforts were up and running days before the Red Cross and FEMA arrived.

    1. One of the more encouraging things about the massive tornado event was how many teenagers showed up at the locations of worst destruction eager to help out.
      What had me shaking my head was how many got sent home because no, we will not allow you to clear debris dressed in shorts and flip flops.
      And bless them, most came back in jeans and boots with a pair of work gloves as well.

      1. Our system seems in denial about how much kids want — and need — to be productive and helpful. Folks who tell them, “No, go off and play — this is the best time of your life and you should enjoy it” are doing them no favors and are sowing trouble down the line.

        Every child needs to feel able to contribute to society, and none should be taught to be a parasite.

        1. My kids have rebuilt porches, replanted gardens (from ruin), helped move (way too many times recently) written and been taken as serious writers (at home if nowhere else.)
          Our relationship with them improves proportionally to how much they do at adult level. Since they were 8 or so.

          1. I’ve heard too much about “teenaged brains aren’t fully developed” used to excuse bad behavior by teens.

            There may be some truth in that but IMO the biggest problem comes from not expecting adult behavior as well as not giving teens adult responsibilities.

            1. Their brains are sufficiently developed to imitate adult behaviour when such behaviour is modeled for them. The failure is in lack of proper adult models, not in teenagers’ brains. (See: Eagle Scouts, behaviour of)

              By the reasoning of these arguments about brain development, no teen should be permitted to drive or vote.

              1. Funny you should mention that. A few years back there a school bus crash here. First call to 911 was from a Boy Scout on the bus who kept his head. It was a Scout who opened the emergency exit. Couldn’t exit the front. It was Scouts and a few other BOYS who got the rest of the kids up and moving and out of the bus. And kept them from wandering off while waiting for “first responders” to show up. And the recognition they received from the school? Nada, nothing, not a thing. Can’t recognize boys for acting responsibly and doing as they should. But yeah, kids can act responsibly if brought up right.

            2. I suspect Paul has the right of it. Nothing that I’ve read about the early-modern world or the US prior to 1920 or so says anything about people between ages 12-21 being treated as other than little adults. Sometimes allowances were made for youthful follies and always granted for lack of experience, but if the laws said you were an adult, you were an adult and treated as such. And they seem to have behaved as such, allowing for inexperience, which was soon remedied.

              1. I suspect so, also. Teenagers perform to expectation. Expect them to act like responsible adults, and they will. Treat them like irresponsible children, and they will be … irresponsible children.
                My first job straight out of the military was a part-time one, as a sales associate in a department store fur salon. (Yep – it was a rather fun job, actually. Basic salary, and 2% commission on sales,) One of the other associates quit, very abruptly, and the concessionaire was frantic to pick up another part-time and temporary worker, one that the other two of us could vouch for … and he hired my daughter on my recommendation. She was then sixteen, but looked two years older. So – for two months or so, I worked alongside my daughter, selling furs. She did very well at it, too; responsible, reliable, well-spoken, polite and deferential, the teenage daughter that everyone else wished they had.
                A couple of months after that, she was put up for some kind of international exchange/youth ambassador program; she and about twenty other nominees had to do a presentation about themselves for the local committee, and I was just blown away by how very composed and mature she came off, in comparison with the other kids.

                1. Doing is a major form of learning.

                  Rumor has is that part of the ‘reasoning’ behind the great society was that their technocratic Blue State central economy wouldn’t have enough jobs for everyone; so they decided to fund a permanent unemployed and hence poorly educated underclass.

                  This also makes it easier for them to get away with tightly regulating labor.

                  The marginal always get the worst of shortages.

                  Some of my health issues may have given me insight into future trends of dysfunction. A college degree is not a substitute for employment. Especially not a counterfeit degree.

                2. I’m not even a teenager and I admit to cleaning up the junk somebody left beside the apartment dumpsters mostly because I was thinking about Sarah’s posts about just doing stuff like that.

                  Although I also have to admit that when there were a few little slimy things left and I saw a bug run out of one of them, I decided I had hit my limit for the moment.

                  1. I was thinking about Sarah’s posts about just doing stuff like that

                    Peer pressure for the win!

              2. That expectation is why I’m thoroughly enjoying Kaoru Mori’s Young Brides Stories – that delightful, deliberate values dissonance where 12 year old Karluk, being considered an adult by his people, is in an arranged marriage. Never seeing his bride until the day of their wedding, everyone is shocked and surprised to discover Amir is 20 years old. Culturally she’s considered too old and was essentially foisted off on Karluk and his family. Some of his relatives explicitly state that she’s very old for a bride; indeed Karluk’s elder sister is roughly the same age as Amir, and has four children already. Karluk’s declaration to Amir that at no point did he ever wish her to be different or younger was a delight, but how he realises his own shortcomings and desires to overcome them shows his desire to grow even more capable in what is expected of him and himself is even more fun to read. At no point does he moan or whine (that behavior is for children!) and it makes me wish that there were more of that in the real world – ‘you’re expected to act like an adult, and you should behave like one!’

            3. I’ve heard too much about “teenaged brains aren’t fully developed” used to excuse bad behavior by teens.

              I’ve formed a theory that modern teenaged brains aren’t fully developed precisely because nothing is demanded of them. (In many cases; thankfully not in all). The more work you hand a teenager to do at an adult level, the more he/she learns to do it, which develops their brain.

              But the ones treated like overgrown children remain overgrown children into their 20’s and 30’s. And then they vote for the party that will treat them like overgrown children.

              Save the Republic of the future. Give your teenager adult-level work to do.

        2. Thomas the Tank Engine’s desire to be ‘really useful’ has always spoken to me. Still does.

          Play dulls.

      2. A few years ago a nearby town was nearly destroyed by a tornado. Downed trees blocked access for emergency vehicles. The aerial view looked like a giant lownmower had run across the area.

        The radio said the State Police were asking for people with chainsaws to help clear the roads. An hour later they were begging anyone en route to turn back; they now had a huge traffic jam…

        That was a rural area. A while before that, people on the Interstate near Little Rock just sat in the cars and watched an RV burn, complete with occupants. A disabled young man with leg braces and crutches gimped up to the fire and managed to pull a couple of people out of the fire, getting burned in the process. Turned out he was a former high school buddy.

    2. I used to joke about only in the US are disasters catered. I helped with a tornado clean-up (kinda hard to miss, since it was a mile from where I lived), and the amount of food! Anyone who couldn’t show up with power tools or a strong back brought food, or so it seemed. Granted, this was tornado alley, and half the town was originally from the South, so they probably had funeral casseroles in the freezer just waiting to be used. 🙂 The ice storms in ’07-’08 were a little different, but people with heat took in people without, or brought hot things to the different shelter sites. And a lot of trees got turned into stacked wood by the chainsaw fairies.

      1. I would never presume to speculate about a person’s sexual preference while they were holding a running chainsaw.
        I’m sorry I know that’s not what you meant but I could not help myself.
        And in truth a good many chainsaw angels turned downed trees blocking roads into nicely stacked piles of firewood. Hard work, sure, but needed doing and they had the tools and skills, so dove right in.

        1. Around here they don’t consider the tree removal job done until they’ve finished the stump off nicely.

          ‘Ware the weeping angel stumps.

          1. The Rainbow Scout Camp ranger, Bud Hazinger, does those sculptures too with chainsaw and chisels. I’ve seen his work, and they are ART!

            Bud Hainzinger, the chainsaw sculptor who cut “The Chief Forever” statue out of Tom and Becky Heinrich’s elm stump in Dwight, is a forester whose artistic bent has occupied more of his life than forestry.

            A Bourbonnais native, Hainzinger has been park ranger of the Rainbow Council Boy Scout Camp at Morris for more than 26 years.
            He’s been a woodcarver for “35 or 40 years” — or the vast majority of his 49 years on earth and in trees.For much of that time, “I was a purist and would just do chisel work,” he said.
            His education in forestry at Southern Illinois University included a smattering of elective courses in art.To plan a sculpture like the chief, he’ll draw front, back and side views in advance.
            As ranger of the 700-acre scout camp, he has been using chain saws for a quarter-century and, about 15 years ago, he overcame his purity and started using chain saws for speed, first to rough things out quickly for chisel work.Then, mastering their use for carving instead of just cutting, he switched almost entirely to the saws and grinders.
            In place of a collection of about 100 chisels, he now uses 16 to 17 chainsaws, ranging in size from 8-inch to 32-inch bars and “a couple boxes of grinders” for smoothing things out.
            The 10-foot-tall chief took about 25 hours to complete.
            “Some of that’s talking time,” he said.”There must not be too much going on in Dwight.”
            He jokes, but a chainsaw artist — or just a guy cutting down a tree — will draw onlookers anywhere except in a commercial forest.
            “It was a lot of fun doing that,” Hainzinger said.
            For a work of that size, Hainzinger charges anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.
            Monumental work
            He’s done 25 to 30 monumental-sized carvings, some of which have been portable.
            “I like doing tree trunks,” he said.

            Steve Miller, Scout executive for the Rainbow Council, is in awe of Hainzinger’s work — the artistry and the labor as camp ranger, a job in which Hainzinger keeps the 700-acre camp going, doing everything from cutting dangerous tree limbs to overseeing construction of new buildings and running the water works.

            “Bud’s the guy who lets everybody have fun in camp because he does all the work in the background that nobody sees done.”
            Fun here is measured in “camper nights.”

      2. chainsaw fairies

        I need to commission one of the fantasy artists I know to illustrate that! Burly guys with Husqvarnas and Stihls and little fairy wings a la Fairly Odd Parents. Hey Shadowdancer, lemme throw money at you!

        1. Thanks for jogging my memory. She’s never sent me a quote on something and I need to gently pester her. (The timing was not great last Dec-Feb and then . . . life.)

  9. High Trust conditions can occur where you really don’t expect them to. We lived in DC for eight years. It wasn’t a great neighborhood. It wasn’t the worst, either, but when we went to replace the stove, there were crack vials behind the old one. Yet, we parked on the street for all eight years (nowhere else to go), and the car was only broken into once.

    In the middle of a blizzard, somebody broke into the car and stole a heavy coat we had left in view on the back seat. And they broke the smallest pane of glass that was consistent with getting the coat. Kinda hard to actually get mad.

    Go with God, brother. I hope the coat helped.

    1. Sib and Sib-in-Law were saved from two disaster-in-waiting houses before they settled on Fortress Red. Why? They’d watched several seasons of Holmes on Homes and looked at the places (along with the inspector) as Mike Holmes would.

      1. Oh yessss. The son (wanting to eventually become a contractor) watches that. Although sometimes he has to leave the room when Holmes finds something particularly egregious…

  10. I grew up in Mexico, where every house has a high wall around it, with broken glass embedded in the top. I know what you speak of.

    It feels perfectly normal and necessary there, every time I go home.

    I don’t have anything like that here – but I do put the bike away after I use it, and close the garage door. No need to tempt anyone.

    In Mexico, you put the car inside, so you don’t worry about it. If you can. We probably should here, too, but only because that would mean we’d cleared out more of the junk in the garage.

    I joke that we are unattractive to thieves here because we literally have nothing of value; in Mexico, that wouldn’t matter.

    I like it here.

    1. The thing is, when you import immigrants from low trust societies at a rate faster than your society can assimilate them their instinctive behavior winds up poisoning what you’ve worked so hard to build.
      So European ladies can no longer stroll the public streets in summer clothes. And certain urban areas of the US are fast approaching the same conditions.

      1. Reminds me of what Heinlein said (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) about the Earth sending too many prisoners – and how just more of them would die because there weren’t enough people there to educate the newcomers.

      2. Read what Victor Davis Hanson has written about what has happened to the area of his family’s raisin farm in California. It will turn you at least 1/2 of the way a Trump supporter…. and the other half is that Trump would have to support firing the entire bureaucracy, civil service be damned.

        1. Haven’t read VDH on that, but yeah.

          One of the reasons I was so big on Cruz was that, because he was Texan and apparently the right sort of Texan, I trusted him more on immigration than quite a few others.

        2. Not only does VDH mention that anything not nailed down will be stolen (as described by Sarah at the top), but he also has written that if it *is* nailed down, the would-be thieves will likely wreck it out of spite.

          Either way, you’re losing it. The only question is whether the thieves get it or not.

      3. It was just months after the start of the Iranian Hostage Crises. We still had a lot of Iranians enrolled in US colleges, which was interesting, but anyway, it was the first day of chemistry lab. The professor was easy going and soft spoken, and he came in and said “All right: Everyone sit down.” And so we did. All except one Iranian and this big guy we called Truck, who was in the process of sitting down.

        Truck sees the Iranian and said, good naturally, “Hey, the man said sit down.”

        The Iranian, who is much smaller than Truck (which described all of us in the class), puffed up and said “In my country, no one would dare speak to me that way.”

        Truck straightens up. “You’re in American now, son. SIT DOWN.” And jabs a finger attached to a great big hand to an even bigger arm downward. And the Iranian had a sheepish grin as he sat and we all applauded.

        This is not Europe. Even US urban areas aren’t Europe. There’s apt to be many “Truck” moments ahead. Some with a forceful demonstration of “You don’t do that here.”

      1. I guess I’m lucky – you see the extreme hail all the time; I’ve only seen hail at all a couple of times in my life.

        My first winter in Wisconsin, in grad school, we awoke one morning to a gorgeous sight: everything glittered from the ice storm that had carefully accreted a half inch to an inch of ice around everything. The conditions had been perfect: the ice accumulation was perfectly clear.

        And deadly.

        It didn’t occur to me that this was a regular occurrence, and I still regret that I didn’t have the brains to realize how special it was and take pictures.

        Of course, the weight of the ice took out power lines and broke branches off the trees, brought down exterior building mouldings and anything else that was precarious already.

        But it was beautiful first, and the sun came out and made the world glitter.

        And start melting. 1972 or 73, I believe.

        1. Here in NC, just East of the Blue Ridge, we see that a couple times a year.

          I remember one year I drove in to work after such a storm to find the parking lot (a block wide, with a slope of about 1 in 4) a single sheet of ice, such that it took all my skill to park out of the line between upper and lower access without spilling into the street on the low side.

          What’s really fun is as the ice sheathing the trees melts it flows out to the tips to refreeze, thus causing many fallen trees the second night after the storm.

        2. I remember an ice storm here in Illinois sometime before 1972.

          The reason I remember it is that it was one of the few times Mom didn’t wait for the Official School Closing Reports.

          She (a school teacher) decided that me and my sister had no business trying to go to school. 😉

          1. There was one ice storm like that where I live; a heavy rain and then a freeze, and the leaves and branches of all the trees and bushes were encased in about a quarter-inch of clear ice. When the breeze blew the next morning the trees rattled. Didn’t last very long after sun-up, though – but it was amazing to look at, while it lasted.

        3. Have worked several ice storms. Ice storms tend to be a double-whammy in that the limbs and trees bend down from ice, taking out power lines, then do it again when the ice melts and the trees and limbs spring back up somewhat.

          My first was preceded by several inches of sleet, so I just opened sack out at the office. Snort. Yeah, like that was going to happen. In less than an hour the lights start going out, and away we go.

          The oddest ice storm was one where the air was just warm enough to prevent freezing at ground level, but cold enough that everything from about the 30 foot mark and above was coated with ice. Oh, and never park under an ice-coated tower. Bad things happen when it starts to thaw.

          1. Ice storms are a normal part of winter here. I can’t remember a winter when we did not have at least a small (1/4 inch of ice accumulation would be very small) ice storm.

            The utility companies learned years ago that the best way to avoid problems with power lines is to severely trim back all trees anywhere near a power line.

            This has helped tremendously.

            In 2007, we were without power for 6 days because of a huge ice storm (I did get gorgeous photos, though). We have had some pretty good storms since and had not even a flicker of power loss.

                1. Ah. I was in undergrad in NH in 07 and had one of the two major ice storms while I was up there. Know on one had folks out of power upwards of a month and crews from Alabama to Quebec.

                  Ya. Midwest is all over the place on weather. Had to remind my parents they needed jackets for Oklahoma in December

        4. Freezing rain is far more dangerous than snow because snow can fall off once the pile is too high. But there’s no denying that it’s lovely — and if it falls on existing snow, it’s one of the loveliest sights on earth, especially since the day after tends to be a beautiful blue and brilliant one.

      2. We just got back from LA ad found that hail had taken out the screens on one side of the house. About golfball sized. No windows broken or roof damage (it just got replaced 2 years ago with 30 year shingles).

  11. Most of the folks I know would take #2 as a point of pride, if the work is done well.

    It can be a bit embarrassing if it’s done poorly, like you-really-suck-at-it rather than you-are-learning poorly, but that’s a matter of being shoddy.

      1. And if you had an inspection done on any of them you’d have found a lot more. The guy who rewired portions of our house must have been on crack.

      2. A few years ago I paid a registered electrical contractor to send some of their certified electricians out to rewire the Project House. Generations of previous owners had added to the original crumbly cloth-covered wiring (one outlet per room!) by scraping insulating and wrapping lamp cord, chaining pieces by twisting the ends. No wire nuts or tape.

        Anyway, the “certified electricians” hadn’t done a whole lot better. Not only did their work not meet local code, they drove staples through insulation, ran two-conductor wire where three-conductor was needed, and the load center wiring was a complete disaster…

        Of course I didn’t see any of that until they were long gone. Argh.

        1. After listening to a licensed plumber explaining that you needed L-type (thick wall) copper on a domestic baseboard heating system with a system pressure of 15 PSI because of the heat and M-type (thin wall) on domestic water (40-60 psi on most wells, over 100 PSI in some local water systems) I decided I didn’t need to hire professionals to make mistakes. Oh, if the water in your heating system gets hot enough to compromise copper, doesn’t matter what type it is. Get the heck out of there while the getting is good because bad things are about to happen.

          Then there was the professional plumber who finished someone’s entire natural gas distribution in galvanized pipe. That morning. Everyone within earshot asked if the check had cleared yet and told him to stop payment. Because the gas company coming out for inspection that afternoon was going to red tag his house.

  12. I will admit, considering any job at my house that needs to be done as beneath my dignity is a concept I’ve never considered. I used to laugh at the people who complained about the cost of their gym membership while they paid someone else to mow their lawn and keep their property kempt. Mow your own damned lawn, and ditch the gym membership! Both problems solved.

    And as I’ve said before, when a disaster (great or small) strikes my home or my neighborhood, I’m the first responder–the police, firemen, paramedics are the second responders. And if they try to lecture me about “taking things into your own hands” (they have), they definitely get an earful in return.

    1. if they try to lecture me about ‘taking things into your own hands’ (they have)

      This is when you ought explain you always carry a stick of chalk for drawing outlines.

  13. Musical interlude (dust before viewing):

    America! America!
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law!

    O beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife.
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness
    And every gain divine!

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America!
    God shed his grace on thee
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!

    Courtesy Hillsdale College, where Government Loans still aren’t accepted.

    1. Introductory remarks by Ronald Reagan,

      In memory of Rick Rescorla, singing this as he evacuated the WTC the day it fell, and all his comrades in arms.

        1. Uh, guys? When I’m involved in something I think will be wasted effort, I find myself whistling “Garryowen.” Maybe it was because the 7th Calvary played it as the rode to Little Bighorn.

          1. But as S’major Plumley reportedly said to Col. Hal Moore, Custer was a pussy, you ain’t.

            1. Don’t know about the inspiration for Tumbleweeds’ Goldilocks, but I do know his men mostly had revolvers and breech-loaders, and Sitting Bull had a good many lever-action rifles.

              1. Custer’s group also had two Gatling guns issued to them as light artillery. He chose to leave them at camp as they slowed down the cavalry.

    2. My favorite arrangement – both to perform and to listen to – by America’s greatest choir:

      1. I am always gladdened at inclusion of that fifth verse, even as I am unable to suppress my inclination to murmur “John Brown’s body lies a-moulderin’ in the grave …”

      2. Hm. I was going to add a link to the Leningrad Cowboys’ rendition of the Hymn, but it doesn’t look like it’s on Youtube any more. Most of the other stuff is still there. Hm.

        Well, imagine an insane Finnish rock band doing Battle Hymn of the Republic, backed up by 160 of the Red Army Choir…

          1. Yes. I have the DVD. And a clip *used to* be on Youtube.

            The Red Army Choir also did one heck of a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” You never saw such a happy-looking group of Russian soldiers. Of course it was late 1992, and they were in the West, and getting paid in hard currency instead of potatos and surplus Army supplies…

            If you ever need something to bring a smile to a bad day, click over to YouTube and check out the clip from the concert video.

  14. Pssssst, Sarah. Can you take today’s image and put it on a tee-shirt or mug? And I need an “I’ve been carped” shirt. *waves money*

  15. By way of contrast to the USA, you have Papua New Guinea.
    Window bars, a sheet metal fence with razor wire, and guards are pretty much necessary if you want to keep anything in your house.
    Most stores have guarded parking lots and guards checking outgoing patrons. If your vehicle is not fenced in or garaged, it’s probably going to be gone. Many people take along someone to mind the car if out and about.
    Get in a wreck, and bystanders are more likely to loot your person and vehicle than render aid. Then burn your vehicle.

    1. Thor Heyerdahl wrote about an anthropological expedition to Easter Island. They had a minor theft, which turned into a big deal.

      One of the natives, who was upset by the incident, told Heyerdahl, “God made us poor. But we have to choose to steal.”

      Of course that was 60-odd years ago…

  16. 2- We roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done.

    We do? Then why isn’t the greater part of our criminal political class dangling by the neck from lampposts?

    We only “do what needs to be done” to the extent that it renders immediate, tangible benefits to ourselves, or to those we love, or to our individual consciences. We ignore even the most severe violations of our Constitutional compact. We tolerate outrageous overreach from state and local officials. We even kowtow to local bureaucracies that assert a power to tell us what we can and can’t do with our own land.

    The American spirit has been attenuated to a thin residue that barely suffices to speak against moral relativism and political correctness. That is hardly sufficient to allow us the title of persons who “do what needs to be done.”

    1. Because when you water the tree of liberty it will burn half the righteous along with the leeches. And we know that. I realized that the “first shot” in the revolutionary war was in 1765. But we didn’t get a nation till 1776 and even then, it wasn’t done.
      Don’t hasten to the bad stuff.

      1. And we had our Boston Massacre in the 90s at Ruby Ridge and Waco.
        No one ever said the tree was only watered with the blood of tyrants.

      2. The Tree of Liberty requires the blood of tyrants AND patriots. It never gets just one or the other.

  17. Sudden thought:

    I wonder if your description of the roll-up-your-sleeves attitude you observed is identical in many other former colonial countries. How would this translate over into colony in space, where it’s not going to get done unless you do it? And how would various other countries make this transition, or could they?

  18. Sorry, Sarah, but if the People were all right we would not be faced with a choice between the worst two nominees for President in the history of the Republic. We have the tattered remains of the best institutions in the history of mankind, but institutions – for all their value – cannot save a People from themselves.

    1. Oh, bullshit. The people are all right. Our institutions by and large are all right too. It’s the worst political class in centuries, though.
      It just means most people still trust our press. This too shall pass.

      1. I’ve talked to several college-educated Americans who believe there’s some “Bureau of Facts” somewhere, and that newspapers and TV wouldn’t be allowed to report news if it wasn’t true.

        I guess the Tooth Fairy brought their newspapers to them, too…

      2. Our institutions by and large are all right too.

        An institution has no existence separate from those who populate it. Our public institutions are almost entirely populated by:
        — The tyrannical;
        — The venal;
        — The unreflective time-server.

        Optimism is only a virtue when it is acceptably in accord with the facts.

        1. Institutions DO have a separate institution. It’s called being a nation of laws.
          Francis, have you read Heinlein’s bio? By Patterson? Our institutions are less corrupt than they were 100 years ago. And hte people are more awake.
          Pessimism is NEVER a virtue, but particularly not when you’re lying to yourself.

        2. Our public institutions include state, county and municipal governments and are, by and large, beneficial if a trifle over-priced. Sure, there is rot — when has there not been? But the Foundations remain solid and there’s plenty of sound structure to work with.

          Perspective: It’s not just for drawing.

    2. Wrong on all counts.
      You want horrifically bad Presidential candidates? Try the 1856 election, when we had to choose between John C. Fremont and James Buchanan.
      Or 1920, having to choose between Warren G. Harding and James Cox.

      1. I will agree with you on the 1856 election, which produced one of the worst presidencies ever.

        Harding was not entirely incapable, but he could not control the fallout from the Wilson administration. He did have the sense to pick Calvin Coolidge as Vice President, who succeeded him when he died in office.

  19. They say a fish rots head down. The rot set in decades ago and is working it’s way down to the tail.

    I don’t know when critical mass will be reached but when it does…. well I’m not sure exactly what will happen but it will be ugly. The Feds are expecting an insurrection why else are agencies that have nothing to do with law enforcement or defense buying up weaponry and creating ‘security’ forces? Why are they so obsessed with Tea Party types and military veterans?

    The Feds know they can’t rely on the military to put down a civilian rebellion since many in the military will sympathize with the ‘rebels’ and most likely will be paralyzed and stay out of the whole mess. They assume our civil ‘servants’ will be more than happy to kill their fellow citizens. And given the attitude of many I’m not sure they are incorrect.

    Interesting times are in our future. Oh, and happy fourth. 😛

    1. You’re looking at it upside down. Yeah, the rot set in long ago. Read unexpurgated stuff about Woodrow Wilson. It will curl your hair. What you’re showing mostly is a lack of REAL knowledge of history.
      We’ve been fighting back little by little. Not perfect, and not instant, sorry. Few things are one, much less both. But giving up now would be wanton folly. I blame all this “burn it all down fever” on the failure of our schools to teach TRUE history.

      1. Wilson, Lincoln, Jackson… Lincoln was more incompetent than evil, but it probably made little difference to the people who died because of it.

      2. When the elites casually ignore the laws with impunity and the media cheers them on, what exactly is the solution? Voting them out and replacing them with other elites who are eager to do the same? You do realize with the way the game is rigged anyone with morals and ethics has a snowball’s chance in hell getting elected to anything of importance?

        What portion of the government isn’t thoroughly corrupt? Who is going to reign in a corrupt government when most are elbowing each other out of the way so they can get to the trough?

        You have a law-abiding middle-class being squeezed from the top and bottom, denigrated by both. As the middle-class shrinks with most falling into the underclass desperate for the crumbs scattered about by the elites who will be the moral foundation of the country when they disappear?

        No civilization lasts forever and when any civilization loses it’s moral compass and becomes effete and incompetent…. well the end is nigh.

        1. You do realize things were much worse 100 years ago, only no one knew because there were no citizen-journalists, right?
          If not, please be aware of it.
          Cultures don’t always change for the worse. A spike in fever is often a sign of recovery, not worsening illness.

          1. The FBI just gave Hillary a pass…. has that fever broken yet?

            A hundred years ago the government wasn’t in your face day in and day out like this one is. It didn’t have a mountain of regulations and laws that nobody understands in it’s entirety. We are all criminals right now because it is impossible to not be in violation of some obscure law or regulation. Realize that you aren’t subject to a criminal investigation only because some prosecutor hasn’t felt it worth their time to go after you.

            We were much, much freer a hundred years ago even with all the issues back then.

              1. Obviously local governments vary, but yes you really had to stand out to attract their attention. And the beauty of local governments versus an omnipresent federal government is that if you really didn’t like the one in your area you could move to a different locale. I noticed you didn’t address the mountain of laws/regulations we suffer under that didn’t exist back then.

                The right to vote is an important freedom…. assuming the system isn’t rigged so that your vote is meaningless. They are importing millions of illegals just to nullify your vote…. and that’s not counting the out and out voting fraud that often occurs. So just how valuable is that right to vote nowadays?

    2. “Whyare agencies that have nothing to do with law enforcement or defense buying up weaponry and creating ‘security’ forces?”

      Cachet. Being head of an agency with an armed security force means that you are much more important than the head of an unarmed department. Plus, in the post-9/11 world there’s money for it, and nobody wants to be on record for turning down armed security for an agency that does get hit.

      1. The Department of Education has a SWAT team. The Internal Revenue Service has a dozen 20mm antitank rifles. Who even knows what the Bureau of Weights and Measures has tucked away…

        Every fiefdom wants its soldiers and Men In Black.

        What’s why you hear “Law Enforcement Officer” a lot. For every sword policeman, there are at least a dozen “Law Enforcement Officers”, now treated by the legislatures as real police. But they’re school security guards, bailiffs, dog catchers, paramilitary goons from umpty-dozen Feral agencies, and more.

        1. They’re over-dressed palace guards and likely to be about as much use when the flare goes up as French infantry commanders.

        2. Better details:

          Note, the story starts out with the known-false original claim that it was because the ex-wife defaulted on student loans. Given the lack of news I can find on a lawsuit, I would guess that there was a lot more stuff going on, but it’s rather hard to find out.

          On one hand, a lack of redundancy makes it easier to capture a department; on the other, too much redundancy is wasteful and makes abuses like these easier.

  20. Sarah, I agree with your dislike for the “burn it all down” crowd but my tolerance for the BS of the Left and others is at a low.

    Now when I think about your line of “Taking Over The World And Leaving It Ruthlessly Alone”, I’d say that before I’d “leave it ruthlessly alone”, I’d purge the world of certain people.

    Fortunately, there’s no chance of me “taking over the world”. 😉

    1. The problem with “I’ve got a little list” is that the little list quickly grows into a big list.

      Donald Hamilton had an interesting take in “Death of A Citizen.” The narrator is a government assassin; Mac is his boss.

      “Mac would shift position in his chair, ever so slightly. Atrocities always bored him. We didn’t, he’d say, go around killing people simply because they were sons of bitches; it would be so hard to know where to draw the line. We were soldiers fighting a war in our way, not avenging angels.”

      1. As I said “It’s fortunate that I won’t be taking over the world”.

      2. Could we just deport all the Democrats? Tell them “You obviously don’t like living in America. Fortunately for you its a big world and there are plenty of places, from Canada to North Korea, that you might find more to your liking. Go ahead and pick, we’ll pay for your (one-way) ticket and ship your goods to you.”

      3. Hamilton’s Matt Helm series played almost as great a role in forming my beliefs as Heinlein did.
        In Death of a Citizen Helm was content to let his violent OSS past stay in the past until he was pushed to the point where that was no longer an option.
        We have quite literally millions of former soldiers Viet Nam and later, millions more who grew up hunting and trapping who are very comfortable with gun, knife, and getting bloody in a good cause.
        The sort of abuse of local culture we are seeing now in the EU will not be tolerated here. If our elected officials will not act the people will. Not all of course, but enough. Won’t burn it all down, not gonna happen, but at some point the citizens patience will break and then things get ugly.
        And if the feds try to implement the draconian and ultimately useless gun control certain states keep chipping away with, it will just get very bad even quicker.
        I see a great potential for another ACW, but unlike the last one this will much more resemble the asymetrical warfare we saw in Viet Nam with the Viet Cong, and more recently in Iraq and Afganistan.

        1. For role models, probably 33% Hamilton, 33% Keith Laumer, 33% E.E. Smith, and 1% other.

          I didn’t have any real-world models to observe, so I chose them for myself from fiction. I figure I did all right.

  21. The people are all right, and we’ll figure it out eventually – I have faith.

    But as Kurt Schlichter notes in the instalinked Independence Day article, the modern Aristos of our “ruling elite” are owed nothing but contempt. I do, however, fear that lampposts and cordage are becoming unavoidable.

    No matter what happens, remember we win in the end.

    But Posner is still a moron.

      1. Trump 2016 — I’m making book on whether how long he survives. The over/under on impeachment is thirty-four months.

        Hillary could be the first president assassinated by the Secret Service.

        Fun times, fun times.

        1. I agree with you on Trump being impeached pretty quickly. Hope he picks a decent VP.

          Hillary, damn, I don’t think she is healthy. I honestly can’t believe she will survive a 4 year term.

          I don’t like either of them, but I’ll not sit home – there are senators and congress critters and state level offices to vote for, no matter who wins the presidency – which is not supposed to be a “king” position anyway.

        2. I think health issues are plausible for both Trump and Hillary. Especially if the Trump Coke model is correct. Four years is a long time at that age, and I would not be surprised to seem them medically unfit to hold office, or dead of natural causes.

          There won’t be a military coup, or an assassination by secret service. Clinton and Trump have greatly limited their ability to do damage, so when their hubris catches up with them, there will be options short of letting the balloon go up.

  22. Well, lets look at my street. Originally it was full of retirees who all worked to keep the neighborhood well-kept and cared for. Now every third yard is littered and unkempt, the house across the street I have to look at every day tells the story: the wonderful old lady who lived there for 30 years and had a fairly nice amount of desert landscaping passed on and some family from Texas moved in (based on the license plates they still haven’t changed), literally bulldozed all the landscaping away so they’d have room to park all their commercial trucks and boats and off road vehicles out front, let weeds grow rampant now seeding all us neighbors’ yards. This and much more is all against city code, but the city has no desire to enforce it. No interest in communicating to neighbors. I was hoping some of this might be temporary, but its been two years. The folks on either side of me are a little neater, like to converse and watch out for each others homes, and stopped parking their boats in front of my house with only subtle hints on my part, but I have to endure the weed aroma that wafts over the walls each night. No, the people are not alright, at least not here.

    1. Epador, the fact your street has gone to the dogs, means what? There are these fluctuations throughout the country. PFUI. Also, the things you’re complaining about — I invite you to go live in another country for a while. DOUBLE PFUI. With a cherry on top.

  23. The people are all right? You mean the people that twice elected Barack Obama and are quite possibly on the verge of electing Hillary Clinton? Those people? Because if you mean those people, then you are confusing “all right” with “out of their freaking minds.”

    1. Do you have a better option? Trump?
      The people are not political.
      Also, if you think we didn’t have worse choices before, your knowledge of history, it sucks badly.
      As for electing Barrack Obama, I watched polls in my state. We elected him if over 1/3 of my precinct had developed amnesia over having voted by mail in advance.
      We have a fraud problem. Massive. BUT the people are all right.

    2. Yeah, We The People are all right. Some of the younger ones have gotten into the strong drink of Socialism and lost their heads, but they’re not a majority, any more than the majority of kids in the Sixties were tuning in, turning on and dropping out.

      Objects n the media may appear larger than they are.

  24. “You guys put out garden decor, and Christmas lights, and stuff, and it never occurs to you that it could be stolen.”

    I only wish this were true. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood, flowers and garden decorations too frequently get damaged. In a nearby neighborhood an annual tradition of decorating for Christmas is dying out due to people vandalizing and stealing decorations. (they sole the baby Jesus one year) My niece was mugged on the front walk.

    Bad neighborhood? No, not really. Just a sign of changing times – no one knows the neighbors anymore, we don’t watch out for each other they way we once did. Once upon a time we knew each other, sat on the front porch and talked, watched people going by. Today we go inside, close the door and windows, and lose ourselves in TV, games and the internet.

    By and large, people are still decent and caring, we just stopped showing it.

  25. The People’s alright, The People’s alright
    They just seem a little weird
    Surrender, surrender
    But don’t give yourself away
    Hey, hey

    Whatever happened to all this season’s
    Losers of the year?
    Every time I got to thinking
    Here’d they disappear?

    But when I woke up, The People
    Are rolling on the couch
    Rolling numbers, rock and rollin’
    Got my Kiss records out

    The People’s alright, The People’s alright
    They just seem a little weird
    Surrender, surrender
    But don’t give yourself away
    Hey, hey


    But don’t give yourself away

    But don’t give yourself away

  26. With thanks to all the wonderful videos in the comments I offer this transcript of a radio address (I have never been able to find an original recording of it)

    I don’t think that anyone here will not recognize it and its author.

    “I am not going to talk about religious beliefs, but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.”

    “I believe in my neighbors.”

    “I know their faults and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults. Take Father Michael down our road a piece –I’m not of his creed, but I know the goodness and charity and lovingkindness that shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike; if I’m in trouble, I’ll go to him. My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat. No fee — no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.”

    “I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town say, ‘I’m hungry,’ and you will be fed. Our town is no exception; I’ve found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, ‘To heck with you — I got mine,’ there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, ‘Sure, pal, sit down.’

    “I know that, despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, ‘Climb in, Mac. How how far you going?’

    “I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime, yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest decent kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up, business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries –but it is a force stronger than crime.”

    “I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses…in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.”

    “I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.”

    “I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.”

    “I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River.”

    “I believe in — I am proud to belong to — the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.”

    “And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown –in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability….and goodness…..of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth –but that we will always make it….survive….endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure –will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage –and his noble essential decency.”

    “This I believe with all my heart.”

  27. Reblogged this on Wisdom Distillery and commented:
    There’s so much bad news out there that it’s getting increasingly difficult for me to be positive. But Sarah Hoyt reminds me that it may still come out ok.

  28. I’m uncertain as to whether or not we have enough of a unified culture to speak of “the people” as a singular entity. Now, I will grant that I am relatively young, but even in my own lifetime I have seen a marked decline in the unity of the Republic. This worries me much more than the political class which has, as you pointed out, been farcical and corrupt for a far longer period of time.

    All too many people don’t desire to be Americans any longer. Oh, they want to reside here, and profit from us. But they don’t want to BE us. This isn’t just an immigration thing, either — for many Americans born into this country share a disdain, even an outright hatred, for it. Others are less activist in their orientation, but are ashamed of America nonetheless. This is partly because the Left has long dominated media, education, and cultural outlets, harping constantly on how evil America is, emphasizing her sins and failures instead of her successes and achievements.

    Government corruption is as near to inevitability as any set of human actions can be. And perhaps the people are not so bad off as I sometimes fear (you know my cynicism with regards to this), but the cultural control of the Left categorically MUST be broken, or it WILL destroy America. That is the doom I fear. We can survive a thousand bad Presidents, but can we afford another decade or two of cultural subversion? I doubt it.

    1. National unity is an imaginary thing. It only existed for a couple of days after 9/11. And I suppose after Pearl Harbor. It was just this bad back in the 70s. Or worse.

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