And All The Devils Are Here

Yesterday I was hanging around at Richard Fernandez (Wretchard of Belmont club) facebook page.  (I hang out there a lot) and he was talking about the forever war.  No, not the book.  What we’re going through.  He was explaining that in Syria as well as all these other fronts we’re fighting on, there is this… holding back of force.  We could win, sure, but our elites no longer believe in victory.  Victory is so rude, so brash, so full of itself, so culturally “insensitive.”  Instead they believe in measured, endless war, that leads to negotiations, also seemingly endless.

And meanwhile, in the endless war, with no goal in sight, no objective of “winning” real people (on our side and theirs) are dying, and even more people (in the Middle East and in Europe, and even here) are having their lives disrupted, turned upside down, their life work destroyed.

This kinder, gentler was is in fact an endless, grinding hell — granted felt more strongly abroad than here — which is imposed on the world in the name of compassion and sensitivity.

When I read that, my thought was “The doors of hell are locked from the inside.”

Because, think about it, in every one of the fronts in which we’re enjoined to be “sensitive” and “respectful” and “culturally diverse” what we get in the end is a blunting of what we know works, and instead of mitigating the awful consequences of whatever it is, it just prolongs it, and makes it horribly endless.

We know how to win wars.  We did so in WWII and installed occupation forces and puppet regimes afterwards, long enough that those countries wouldn’t be a threat to us.  And I see you cringing from those words, but think for a moment: is that more horrible than an endless grinding war; than whole populations always in strife; than children — those who don’t die — growing up in endless hopelessness because the war never ends and the healing never begins.

Oh, sure thing,t hey keep their pride and their culture.  In this case a culture that stones uppity women and throws gay men from roofs.  Those will continue dying too, while we dither and measure our response, and our fighting men die while our REMFers and our effete, castrati elite contemplate the beauties of “negotiation.”

And you’ll shrug and say “what do you expect of a president who thought it was terrible we forced the Emperor of Japan to surrender?”

Fine, that’s a point, but it’s not just him.  It’s the whole “elite” the “glitterati” of Western culture, those educated not only beyond rationality but beyond usefulness except as puppets of our enemies.  The poor darlings were taught that unless we have the perfect solution — to anything, really — we must compound with half measures, we must ignore what we know works, we must never declare that we know how to fix this, much less attempt to fix this.  Instead, we must whisper and apologize, and cringe and writhe, while making the problem observably worse.

Take the war on poverty.  We know how to defeat poverty.  95% of the people in poverty can be saved from their fate, and their children and grandchildren rescued from it by tough love.  Instill bourgeois virtues.  Marriage, abstinence, continence, chastity, hard work.  It fricking well worked before, bringing most of Europe out of peasantry and starvation into an educated and in historical terms wealthy beyond dreams citizenry.

But it would require us to say that some behaviors are better than others.  It would require us to arrogantly refuse to turn a blind eye to self-destruction.  And those bourgeois values are so outdated.  They leave so little room for artistic self-expression.

And then there are the poor who don’t respond to this: the addled, or otherwise willfully destructive.  Those on whom social pressure wouldn’t work.

It is as though those who disgrace the label of “liberal” believe that we shouldn’t leave those who can’t be saved alone in their misery and must therefore precipitate the greatest number of unfortunates down to keep them company.

And behind this is a grotesque sort of elitism that you hear when they think they’re safe and among their own: “As technology advances, most of these people aren’t smart enough to keep up. So we need social programs.”  Social programs which, as constituted wage war on those very bourgeois values that could save these people.  And it’s bullshit, besides.  There is no technology so advanced that there is no room for people who can do things with their hands.  Hell and damnation, other than the internet, when did we become so “advanced” and when are the jobs our “studies” graduates do above the mind of the common man.  These people are wanna-be elites so incompetent they must cast other people as subnormal to feel superior.

Again, we know how to pull people out of poverty, but because the solution isn’t perfect and is what they’ve been taught to consider uncouth, we allow them to live lives of utter hopelessness, for generations on end.

Everywhere you look: war, race, poverty, disease, you see the same thing.  “We know how to stop this” but in the name of “compassion” and “sensitivity”, in the name of caring and listening, we allow people to suffer and die, world without end.

In the end they call evil good and good evil, and allow intolerable situations to continue, all so they can feel good about themselves.

Which is far worse than it would be if they didn’t know how to fix this.

The doors of hell are locked on the inside, and there is a sixth column in front of them, preventing us from opening them and setting the captives free.

We’re going to have to go through them to rescue civilization.

437 thoughts on “And All The Devils Are Here

  1. They would quickly remember how to fight ruthlessly and to the hilt if a some of the ‘flyover’ states decided they wanted to secede.

      1. I have three words for those idiots.
        Iowa. Hog. Farm.
        Eu de piggy poop must be experienced to be believed.

          1. The Union Pacific Railroad used to run a train into Los Angeles with live hogs for slaughter by Farmer John. ‘Fresh’ meat, you know? Anyway, I was working a job which had to report the passing of trains to the dispatcher [traffic director]. Didn’t need to see this train go by. Anybody could smell it go by.

              1. Hmmm…never actually been to Greeley…this was I-25 between Fort Collins and Cheyenne on the way to/from Casper (or could I smell Greeley all the way out there).

                1. You can smell Greeley all the way out there. A few years back there was a joking-not-joking proposal to build a series of fans northwest of Fort Collins to blow the stench away.

        1. Oh YES!

          Pig farm a few kilometers from my childhood home. When the wind was from that direction…

          Well, at some point in the late 70’s early 80’s they did something and it no longer smelled all that bad even when wind was from that direction, but until then… but you can get used to a lot of things, and due to that the house was cheaper than it would otherwise have been when my parents bought it.

            1. It’s hard— pigs are both very effective at processing the most out of what they eat, and have a result that’s very similar to human output.

              BOTH of those make it really, really hard to kill the stink.

              1. Annals of the Cold War, 1956, when vice-president Nixon went to open an American trade show in Moscow, in the events preceding his “Kitchen-Table” debate with Soviet Chairman Khrushchev. Khrushchev complained to Nixon about a recently passed Congressional resolution declaring “Captive Nations Week”:

                “This resolution stinks,” Khrushchev yelled at the puzzled Nixon. “It stinks like horse shit, and nothing smells worse than that.”

                Nixon responded, with unsuspected knowledge of the barnyard (from reading that Khrushchev had once been a pig-herder), that “The chairman is mistaken. . . . Pig shit is fouler than horse shit.”

                Khrushchev looked pensive for a moment, then conceded that Nixon was correct, and changed the subject.


        2. There was a meat packing plant across the highway from my junior high school. When the wind was right (?) on a hot day, it could be miserable.

          1. edit… posted too soon

            On one particularly bad day, I remember one of the teachers explaining how property taxes paid for schools, and that smell let us stay separate from the adjacent city’s school district (as far as we were… the school district only went up to 9th grade at the time, and sent high schoolers to Amarillo).

            1. *points up thread* I know exactly where you were in school! When I was at TSTI we referred to the flies (from said plant) as “Pantex flies” because of their enormous size. 🙂

        3. Iowa hog farm is down there with late-summer Georgia chicken farm. (Hog lagoon into which they also dump blood byproducts and rotten eggs is . . . yeah. Won’t go there.)

          1. I think chicken manure burns out your smell receptors, so after a little while of working close to it you don’t notice it anymore. Which probably makes it better than pig manure, which stands right at the threshold of not being quite bad enough to burn out your sensors.

            1. Honestly, it stank, but maybe growing up around it we didn’t give it a thought. There are worse smells. Removing a dead hog from a water trough in July is one of them.

        4. Drove through Iowa in…1991? in a military convoy with no A/C, windows down, speed limited to 45mph.

        5. NDSU is an ‘Ag’ college, with the swine, sheep and cow bars directly west of the main part of campus. The prevailing winds are from the west. On rare occasions we get a wind from the east, but that’s just as bad since the sugarbeet plant is directly to the east in Moorhead.

        6. I dunno. Chicken poop is right up there, especially when spread over fields.

          I will say this for pig poop. It is notorious for destroying shoes, so much so you could get special leather shoes that would resist it.

    1. Nassim Talib (of “Black Swan” fame) has an essay out along much the same lines: “The Intellectual Yet Idiot.”

      View at

      “IYI’s to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you . . .”

      (The acronym needs work, IMHO . . .)

      1. It’s a very interesting article.

        It goes to show that the beginning of wisdom occurs when you realize just how much you DON’T know.

      2. It all too often boils down to the difference between actually being educated and talking a superficially good game. It’s very hard to tell the difference in advance, which is why “government by experts” sounded so goddamned attractive until it started to be tried, in the twentieth Century, and everything it touched turned into a slurry of shit.

        1. The problem with “government by experts” is generally that they have no “skin in the game” and stand to lose little if their schemes fail. (Especially if those experts are particularly expert at explaining how the failure had nothing to do with them.)

          “I managed good, but boy did they play bad.”
          Explanation of team’s performance offered by minor-league manager Rocky Bridges

          1. It’s worse – since any failure of The Plan can be attributed to lack of funding, they actually stand to GAIN if their schemes fail.

          2. Lack of skin in the game is the first problem.

            The second, though, is the general conceit of “I think, therefore I’m omniscient”. Intellectuals assume that because they have a lot of knowledge, and they can think things through, they can do *everything* better than *anyone* else.

            I recently saw a Bill Whittle Star Trek video where he illustrated this by comparing a super-smart Barack Obama with an accountant, a farmer, and eight other professionals…and pointed out that Obama may be brilliant, and smarter than any one of those people, but the accountant is going to know a *lot* more about accounting than Obama, the farmer will know a *lot* more about farming than Obama, and so on, and so forth.

            Now, take that knowledge, and multiply it by 30 million (to get 300 million)…and it’s *very* hard to see how *any* intellectual, or even any *group* of intellectuals, are going to compete with all of that expertise.

            I would consider “and not have skin in the game” to be very minor compared to this conceit, but then, one reason why these other experts have their expertise, is because they have skin in their own games, ie, their own lives, and the lives of the friends and family they love.

            1. Thomas Sowell addressed this point in his Intellectuals and Society.

              Consider the sum total of human knowledge; what are the odds of any one person, no matter how smart, possessing 1% of that knowledge. Heck, possessing even one-tenth of one percent of human knowledge? For that matter, consider how much of the knowledge held by intellectuals is irrelevant to any given problem.

              Frankly, I would be willing to argue that a master plumber with forty years in the field holds more consequential knowledge than Noam Chomsky or Elizabeth Warren. Our plumber may not have the vocabulary to express all that knowledge, but only a fool (or an intellectual) could confuse vocabulary with knowledge.

              1. And not only would I rather have the plumber than Elizabeth Warren or Chomsky when I have a backed up toilet. But I’d rather have him making decisions on our federal relations with the tribes; or deciding what needs to be taxed, or making decisions on interstate commerce.

                1. Who was it that said he’d pick people randomly from a phone book to run things, rather than rely on the “educated” class?

                  1. W. F. Buckley. I believe it was that he’d rather be ruled by 200 names picked out of the Boston phone directory than the faculty of Harvard.

              1. Usually in ways that stack the deck, too.

                A single intelligent individual has the advantage of decisiveness, a quality noticeably lacking in committees and more noticeably lacking the “more intelligent” the members of the committee. In many circumstances it is that quality of decisiveness (see: OODA Loop) which produces superior results from the “superior intelligence” … particularly when the expertise of the team is only peripherally relevant.

                1. Appearing to be impatient decisive, and intolerant of BS is the reason I am usually dropped from prospective juries, on those occasions when I am called to jury duty.
                  I noticed, after the first couple of times I was dismissed – that the respective lawyers usually wanted the dumbest, indecisive and most easily-led persons called for the panel to be on the final jury.
                  My father was always getting dropped for much the same reason; also that he was a retired zoologist/biologist, and pretty knowledgeable about scientific method as well. Nope, Daddy wouldn’t be buffaloed easily about dubious science testimony, so he usually got dropped hastily and with great force.

          3. Compare the people in charge of the R34 airship program with the ones running the R101 project. The R34 died horribly, so of course the British government would find someone else to build the R101.


            His Majesty’s Government went with the only Proper Officials who had experience with airships. The fact that their experience consisted of organizing an unmitigated disaster was irrelevant.

            The R100, on the other hand, was built by a private company on a tight budget. It was an unqualified success, but when the R101 crashed the R100 was summarily scrapped. After all, the concept *must* be flawed — the Government’s Best and Brightest couldn’t make it work…

        2. Any sufficiently advanced bullshitting is indistinguishable from competence. For most government bureaucrats “sufficiently advanced” is not a high bar to clear.

          1. It is not just that they learn to bullshit, but also that so much of what they learn isn’t so. If you got an advanced degree in astrology, would you have a better or worse understanding of the world when you were through? Many of the courses given in academia are to the real world as astrology is to astronomy. Not just wrong, but pointing you in the wrong direction, giving you confidence in your delusions, and encouraging you to dismiss the evidence that might help you learn you are wrong.

        3. Schooling right now seems highly targeted at teaching not risk avoidance or mitigation but blame shifting. And if you are a good enough bullshitter you will get a better grade than someone that may understand subject better but doesn’t ass kiss as well.

  2. Lamp posts, rope, some assembly required.

    The glitterati have mistaken politeness and apathy for acquiescence. Unfortunately for them, in their sudden rush to see victory and hold the reins of absolute power in their hands before they die, they cranked up the heat under the frog pot too high too quickly. The frogs have awoken from their nice, warm bath and are croaking now. Who knows what will happen when they start to hop?

    1. Experiments on real frogs indicate that no matter how slowly and carefully you heat up the bath, they get livelier as the temperature goes up (as is typical of cold-blooded animals) and will sooner or later jump out unless prevented. Now, if you were to try freezing them instead of boiling them, that might be a different story.

      For people, you have to anaesthetize them, or distract them, or lull them into complacency, or bore them, or confuse them. If those don’t work, you can sometimes browbeat or intimidate them into silence; until it is too late. However, those methods don’t always work.


        The cool thing about the masses is that they really DO like drugs, circuses and distractions.

  3. In other words, you’re talking about reacting to events without having a clear policy, vacillating between what to do, fighting holding action after holding action, and only laying the hammer down when something pisses us off?

    Yeah, the Indian Wars were –

    Sorry if that comes off as snarky. Had a late date with insomnia. But there’s a lot of parallels between what’s going on now and the Indian Wars. I don’t just mean west of the Mississippi. It might not have started with King Philip, before there was ever a US. Certainly from the establishment of the US right up to the dawn of the 20th Century, the US had no consistent policy toward Indians. By the time the US got around to it, it had become irrelevant.

    The same thing is happening right now. The impetus is more the force of habit from sixty odd years of Cold War than Christian mercy, but the effect is the same. We go from incident to incident just like before; rock along between inaction and token effort until we get pissed enough to put the hammer down, never having a consistent policy or even much of a clue. It reminds me so much of the Indian Wars that it’s unsettling.

    It’s also strangely soothing. Because history tells us the outcome of the Indian Wars. Our enemies should take note. Just because we bumble around doesn’t mean we won’t whack their a** if it comes to it. If they’re smart, they’ll make peace with us now. If not, well, our self-appointed elites are very good at putting a politically correct spin on things as they morn the passing of our foes. It gives them something to do.

    As to the other “war,” well, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy comes to mind.

    1. It might not have started with King Philip, before there was ever a US. Certainly from the establishment of the US right up to the dawn of the 20th Century, the US had no consistent policy toward Indians.

      Even if they had, how likely is it that it would’ve been a good idea?

      “The Indians” aren’t some sort of monolithic group, after all– even the same dang tribe (as in the family unit type one) wouldn’t all row together, and how much authority a person would have would depend on that specific sub group.

      It’s like trying to have a consistent public policy towards social clubs that covers both the Elks and whatever the cool biker/drug gang is this year.

      1. The issue was what to do with them. Set aside not a reservation but part of North America as permanent Indian Territory? Keep them on reservations? Work toward assimilation? What, exactly? No one could really make up their minds. And I don’t think anyone asked the Indians.

        1. They sure asked mine.

          Specifically, something to the effect of “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

          The answer was affirmative.

          I know we’ve got several other folks here who were similarly asked, or who just did— bought land, lived by the laws, etc.

          Be really freaking unjust for them to be stuck with the same solution as the folk who chose a very different lifestyle.

    2. our self-appointed elites are very good at putting a politically correct spin on things as they morn the passing of our foes.

      More white guilt

  4. We could win, sure, but our elites no longer believe in victory. Victory is so rude, so brash, so full of itself, so culturally “insensitive.” Instead they believe in measured, endless war, that leads to negotiations, also seemingly endless.

    Maybe I read too much. I would suggest that there is and will always be war. The War to End All War didn’t. It set the stage for what came next. Nor did the great Allied victory after WWII eliminated war. It set the stage for what we see now. There will never be a great utopian time where we study war no more short of the second coming.

    But – yes – the cultural elites in the west are afraid of engaging in hot war. Because they believe in science, planned economies and the best and the brightest, they think that ‘we can work it out.’ This is the lesson they took from the last century. They are wrong. It doesn’t work.

    1. The glitterati believe in order and structure. That’s why they despise war, free markets, and actual people. The natural world is chaotic and unpredictable, and plans fail on contact with reality.

      “Our Betters” believe in planning and organizing for their own sake, because that gives them power and suits their personalities and world views. Normal people make plans to give them a direction towards their goals, knowing that plans seldom work out like you hoped.

      Military planning is (or used to be) taught as a way to let everybody know what the group is trying to accomplish, while thinking through as many difficulties as possible. The point is not really the plan, but the planning process. Thinking about obstacles and opportunities ahead of time allows you to better react to them in the real world. It also helps build the mental agility to handle the unexpected when, not if, it happens.

      What is/are our goals? What are the obstacles? What opportunities can we see from here? Who are our enemies and allies? What are our resources? The answers to these simple (being different from easy) questions inform us as to where and when to start, and what initial direction to go.

      1. “The glitterati believe in order and structure. That’s why they despise war, free markets, and actual people. The natural world is chaotic and unpredictable, and plans fail on contact with reality.”
        This reminds me a lot of the gray hooded things whose title I’ve forgotten from Discworld.

          1. I believe one can solve the problem of the auditors, although it will cost some chocolate. The glitterati are not gotten rid gotten rid of so easily.

  5. “we must never declare that we know how to fix this, much less attempt to fix this”

    Because that would be ‘mansplaining.’

    The feminization of our culture has consequences.

    1. I don’t know. I’m quite willing to womansplain and back it up with the cast iron skillet. It’s more like the sissification of our culture has consequences. #notallwomen.

      1. If you skip the wooden rolling pin (because the marble one is too good to risk breaking) and go straight to the cast iron skillet, is that unprovoked escalation or just experience? Asking for a friend’s cousin’s associate.

          1. One scene I have in my head is this ogre-like man enters the quarters of this woman (that he wishes to court).

            She breaks a broom over his head and his response is to give her a mace (the weapon not the spray). 😉

              1. He’s a member of the human-subspecies self-named “BigUglies”.

                There are no female BigUglies so if they want children, they have to “mate” with human females.

                She’s the oldest member of her family in her family’s castle which has been taken twice in the last few days.

                First by some very nasty humans and second by the BigUglies forces.

                So while he is attracted to her (his people like strong women) and he doesn’t ignore the political advantages of marrying into her family, he is also wants her to think about an alliance with his tribe.

                So that’s part of the reason that he gave her a mace.

                The other part is that while the BigUglies were created by very nasty beings, his people have long ago rebelled and “Came Into The Light”.

                Part of their Coming Into The Light is that BigUglies want willing mates and how best to attract willing mates than by putting their lives into the hands of the potential mates? 😀

                1. He also does this because he has been told “a gift should be something of value” and who doesn’t value a good weapon?

                  Further, this wise guidance was obtained by the Big Uglies’s secret book of wisdom, “Lady Urqhar’s Guide to Etiquette”. The book was obtained in a daring midnight raid after they decided they needed detailed information in how to be human. Alas, one of the things they *didn’t* know before the raid was library books have to be returned. Yes, that’s right. The one thing the Big Uglies fear, beyond confusing the salad and fish forks, is the Coming of the Librarian. (Late fees are now mounting into dragon hoard-levels of gold coins, what with the interest and all…)

                  1. Didn’t you tell them of the once yearly amnesty on fines? This is so that the library can get the books back.

                    1. That’s assuming that the Librarians don’t find out who stole the books.

                      One Dragon was very sure that a certain Librarian would not find out who stole the books from a certain Library.

                      Apparently the LIbrarian found out and nobody knows exactly what happened to that Dragon. 😈 😈 😈 😈

                  2. There’s a one-shot crack Harry Potter fanfiction which involves Voldemort coming to take over Hogwarts and being vanquished by the librarian because of an overdue “dark arts” book. Don’t remember the title, though.

                1. oh no, you can’ta fool me! There isa no proper grammar! (/Chico Marx voice) I have seen that which comes close, but it never quite hits true and proper because, English being English, it changes itself constantly

              1. The saying my dad always used was, “not worth the powder it’d take to blow their brains out.”

                    1. So are bullets and cases. I believe the saying originated before the invention of percussion caps, much less centerfire firearms. So the only non-reusable component was the powder.

      2. I have a profound distaste for the hash-tag culture, thinking it one of the worst results of bumper-sticker philosophers, but I could get behind that one. Possibly –> #notallpeople

        1. What about our non-human friends? We wouldn’t want to exclude them. Just here, we need #notallcats, #notalldragons, and #notallwallabies. Or are cats and dragons people, too? 😛

                    1. More relevantly, “That god that I am trying to bribe or placate is a person. The guys whose hearts I’m using to do it, not so much.”

                    1. For rational, mortal beings, yeah, although he takes it via the “we’re all cousins” route.

                      I was actually thinking more in terms of…well, the Trinity is three Persons, the angels are persons, demons are persons, whatever the heck the old gods are would be persons, some traditions and no few “pet mommies” say at least some animals are persons…..

          1. I have yet to meet a cat who, given a general cat action, could claim #notallcats…and I have lots of cat experience. In fact, even my own sister and wife will tell you I prefer cats to people…I guess I should have been become a freelance counter-terrorism consulant.

          1. By your choice of a picture of a tall animal and your misreading of the # leading to your comment that you are in fact a closet heightist.

            I really should not try to wrap my head around SJW think, it hurts.

            1. The world needs short people to do the jobs bears can’t reach.
              It’s hard to crawl under a sink. That’s why bears hire plumbers.

              1. No, I heard this in a song, so you know it must be true:

                Short People got no reason
                Short People got no reason
                Short People got no reason
                To live

                They got little hands
                Little eyes
                They walk around
                Tellin’ great big lies
                They got little noses
                And tiny little teeth
                They wear platform shoes
                On their nasty little feet

                1. I know what you’re thinking; this is just more proof of American prejudice!

                  But this view is far more wide spread, as these Kenyan sisters attest.

              2. Well, there is the proof of it. How heightist can you get! So, as long as you find them useful they are alright? Really? Really!!!

                Actually, once you let the irate righteous indignation loose, it runs on its own. It still hurts.

  6. As regarding the social conditions which result with massive politically correct social justice solutions – the good is the enemy of the perfect,

  7. “Marriage, abstinence, continence, chastity, hard work.”

    But we can’t teach our children that. That would be imposing our old fashioned, patriarchal morals on them. We must allow them to decide for themselves what moral code they want to follow. (Up to and including, mocking those who do follow the old models.)

    1. Cognitive dissidence — another name for what is being promoted in schools. Children are expected to re-invent the social and moral wheels at a time where they lack an experiential basis to do so and need the structure to already be firmly in place. At the same time they are expected to navigate a incendiary mine field of no-nos set in ever shifting sands that makes one long for the simplicity of George Carlin’s list of words that you only found out could not be said by the reaction of adults when you said them.

      1. Very well said. Education has had free rein with our children for the past 30 years, well probably longer. But I’ve been watching for the past 30 years, and what you say is at the heart of the problem. Now we have to figure out how to realistically replace it.

        1. We pulled The Daughter to home educate in the middle of sixth grade. That is one solution, although not everyone can, nor are all children and their parents suited to it.

            1. Yes, it is very important. We had long before started supplementing what The Daughter received at school. We had never assumed that any school could or should be expected to provide everything necessary for a full and proper education.

              1. The school let me advance from 1st to 2nd grade barely able to read past simple sentences. I have vague memories of my parents doing anything they could, up to buying a school reader/primer, to get me to read.

                Little did they know what they had unleashed. (of course seeing older brother reading voraciously didn’t hurt their efforts. -grin-) A year later I was in the top reading group of my class.

            2. This…parents invested in teaching before school make more difference than the best school as my still a teacher in the class room at 78 year old mother would say (although she has gone to teach at a private school where the parents are invested).

                1. What is it about a PhD in philosophy or ethics that attracts the hyper-loons (apologies to the similarly-named waterfowl)? Or is it the process of getting the degree that drives people over the edge?

                  1. It’s because it’s the ultimate subjective field. As long as you can identify and parrot the beliefs of those grading you your grades will be excellent.

                  2. It appears that those degrees, along with a number of others, are becoming the province of the disciples of the White Queen.

                    ‘I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

                    “Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

                    Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

                    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. …”

                    Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (From chapter V, Wool and Water)

                2. “I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said. [‘He’ is Professor Adam Swift, University of Warwick, England]

                  It would be one thing to suggest we take a moment to be thankful that we are able to read our children bedtime stories, and remember that not all are so fortunate. No, Professor Swift thinks we should feel guilty for doing what Professor Swift admits is good for the child, the parent and society as a whole.

                  It appears Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was exercising foresight when he wrote Harrison Bergeron (& Activity)*. (Should foresight be allowed?)


      2. We don’t only do it in culture. We expect children to learn math by experiment. From Archemedies getting to the cusp of calculus in finding the area of a circle and a good estimate of pi to Newton and Leibonitz is approximately two millenia. From the first solutions of the quadratic to Galois showing the lack of general solutions above quartic is over three (there are quadratic solutions in Babylonian and Middle Kingdom writings). Even Newton and Leibonitz didn’t put calculus on a firm theoretical footing as that occurred over the next two centuries with the development of real and complex analysis, measure theory, and related fields..

        College students trained in mathematics struggle with real analysis and Galois theory.

        Yet, somehow, if we just create a “learning environment” and given children “freedom to explore” they’ll figure it all out in 12 years.

        1. Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

          Department of Education: “Well, we’ll have no more of that.”

        2. By the time I made it to calculus, the syllabus was “here’s a book full of problems. Newton and Leibnitz figured calculus from first principles, so can you. By the way, you can purchase tutoring from the professor after class.”

          I thought that was what I was paying for in the first place…

          1. Nah, you’re paying for the existance of the professor and all the administrators. You want teaching and help you need to pay the TA separately.

          2. Oh, and they didn’t figure it out from first principles…Reiman, Cantor, Lebesque, etc did that. They figured it out from trial and error and some experiments.

          3. My school changed math programs every single year that I took a math class.

            In the last one, I was expected to teach the other kids… I think it was Integrated Math Three? Been nearly twenty years, I don’t remember. The teacher repeatedly informed us it was our job to learn, not his to teach.

            I signed up for Calculus only after being repeatedly assured that he would not be the instructor for the class, because I knew I would need to actually be taught calculus.

            First day of school comes around– and he walks into the classroom.

            I stand up and walk out, go straight to the front office and state that I will not be taking the class when there is not a teacher.

            I did not take the class, even though that was technically illegal.

            Still rather annoyed I didn’t get to take it, too; majority of the class failed, from memory. Kind of got memory nuked to save folks’ grade average…..


            A few decades later, I have thus far managed not to laugh in anyone’s face when they try to tell me I can’t possibly teach my kids basic math.

            1. Out current administration has implemented something called ‘everyday math’for the lower grades. Come middle school, pretty much everything they were taught is thrown out the window and they are expected to do math a different way. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT?

    2. It’s worse than that. Parents are expected to sit still while others impose *their* moral code…or lack thereof…on our children.
      We banned child labor as dangerous and inhumane, and wonder why our children grow up expecting handouts. We decided that marriage wasn’t necessary before sex, and then worry about rape culture.

      “Let the professionals do it”…and then the professionals bungle the job. To teach in the school system, you have to the proper credentials, and the educational establishment has a lock on teacher and school accreditation. These days, those credentials have precious little to do with either moral values or wisdom.

    3. And note that it is American blacks — who were the most “helped” by the liberals — who suffer the most from the lack of traditional morals. The immigrants — such as the Mexicans — already have such morals, and the smarter ones do not wholly succumb to the blandishments of their self-proclaimed allies, and keep these morals.

  8. Brother Dave Gardner, Southern stand-up comedian: A Liberal is a person educated beyond his capacity to understand.
    How many people were saved from dying by the A-bomb in ’45?
    Our self-identified “elites” still want to slowly raise the heat on us frogs.
    Heinlein’s fans are out there; see cartoon and comments at

    1. The Pentagon’s official prediction was we’d lose a million soldiers to take Japan. Their figuring was questionable, but it would still have been a lot.

      If Japan didn’t want to get bombed, they shouldn’t have started the war.

      1. Their figuring was questionable, but in that it was almost certainly low.
        We had not degraded the imperial Japanese army nearly as much as we thought we had. Nor had we impeded their return from China as much as we thought.

        Not that these facts are what those who want to dismiss the predicted outcome as “questionable” wish to highlight.

        1. I think whether US casualties would be half or twice (or worse) the estimates would have varied based upon the preliminary bombardment. In any event, Japanese casualties would surely have been much higher. If US leadership had waited a bit and used a few more nukes as they became available, or gone with a chemical weapons attacks as US Army Chemical Corps’ had planned, US casualties might have been lower than the estimates, but Japanese casualties far higher.

          1. A big part of the problem is Olympic/Coronet would have been Market-Garden on steroids. There was really one one path from where we were to the objective. Unlike Market-Garden, where the Germans only knew the objective once we started, the Japanese knew from the outset. They had almost three times the forces we thought they had at the Coronet targets when we dropped the bomb.

            When the only possible assault is a frontal one it is going to be bloody.

              1. I picked Market-Garden because of how obvious the ground advance was in face of the paratroop drop locations. My understanding of Olympic-Coronet is it was similar. There is only one logical path from A (Okinawa) to B (Tokoyo) in terms of securing local airbases and lines of advance.

                I’m not as familiar with the Huertgenwald campaign to make a comparision.

                1. Long story short, the Allies knew that they’d have to cross the Rhine. They were worried that if they made an assault crossing that the Germans would let some of the dams go. The closest route to the dams was through the Huertgen Forest.
                  It was some of the most nightmarish combat of the war for the Americans, and was why several of the divisions deployed to the Ardennes just before the Battle of the Bulge were skeletons.

      2. They manufactured such a large stock of Purple Heart medals in anticipation of casualties … that stock was only diminished to the point of needing a re-order in the last decade.
        Think on that. All the wars fought by the US since 1945, and all the dead and injured in them (each meriting a Purple Heart, of course) and it took more than half a century to draw down the supply of Purple Hearts.

          1. I was fact-checking this a while ago, as it seemed a story too bad to be true – and apparently there are still a good few of the WWII order in stock – but they had to re-order because the quantity finally dropped below a certain point.

      3. Not that I expect these to be popular considerations:

        Anyone familiar with the geography of Japan should realize that an invasion would have been very costly for both the invader and the invaded.

        The Japanese people would ultimately have taken the greatest casualties in the event of an invasion and they had not been consulted in the decision to go to war. The Japanese people were being prepared by their government to oppose invasion, fighting to their deaths.

        Some of the Japanese islands would likely have ended up behind the iron curtain.

        Our ability to counter the Chinese backed communist invasion of Korea would have been diminished. Yes, how that was settled was a mamby-pamby solution. Our nation was war weary by the time, it would have been more so had we gone though a land invasion of Japan.

        1. Iirc LeMay wanted to do a lot of bombing work ahead of the invasion to soften up Japan for the ground forces using not only the firebombing and atom bomb technologies the USAAF had already used to ‘good’ result but also with large scale chemical weapons use. And I think that may have included herbicides against crops even. It’s ‘unethical’ but the Japanese were not known for abiding by the rules of war themselves so I don’t think there was much concern about testing them unfairly back. Just calculations being done on the most economical way to eliminate them. The Soviets seemed to realize that a fire sale on Japanese territory was about to happen and they’d probably have shoved men in as fast as they could to grab more of North Japan than just Sakhalin too. The Emperors surrender probably saved the nation from being removed from the Earth.

        2. “Some of the Japanese islands would likely have ended up behind the iron curtain. ”

          You can thank MacArthur for that, and for South Korea as well.

        3. Also remember that just about the entire population of Saipan died in the invasion. When people talked about exterminating the Japanese, they were not always frothing at the mouth warmongers. Sometimes they were cold and sober citizens discussing a real possibility.

          1. Practically speaking, proposing to end the war without either an unconditional surrender or the extermination of the Japanese people, would have been rabid warmongering. The Japanese would’ve fought another war with us, except we made sure they could not, and eventually, for a time, that they would not. Pissing a major part of that away is one reason I am ticked with our enlightened peace loving President.

      4. They believe it enough that the soldier who earns a Purple Heart in Southwest Asia today will get one originally manufactured for someone who was supposed to be injured invading Japan.

        1. In the late 1970s an educated and well traveled acquaintance read a biography of a Japanese civilian. During the war he had been picked up in the middle of the night and thrown in jail under suspicion of ‘thinking thoughts against the state.’ There he remained there until the end of the war and would have been one of those executed.

          She was livid when she told me about it, “They didn’t even give him a trial!”

          I informed her that the concept of due process certainly was not then, nor is it now, a universal proposition. Decades later this remains the truth.

    2. The numbers I’ve seen say at least half a million US and allied dead, and a minimum of two million Japanese from a direct invasion of the home islands. And the alternate proposal of a naval blockade of Japan would almost certainly have destroyed them as a nation and a race. Mass starvation and disease, which of course punishes the innocent worst of all.

        1. Have you looked at ours?

          I think the Japanese are dying as much because they actually believe whatever they are pushing right now as because of anything about the war– the cultural issues of women being expected to fill both male and female roles, and no tradition of “up yours” being an acceptable response to impossible demands or being expected to make those same impossible demands…. (Okinawa has the areas with the highest birth-rate, and they use southern accents for that area in anime for good reason.)

          They’re going to have to change. Again. On the upside, assuming that nothing will change is about the only really bad bet you can make, and most of the really scary graphs are impacted by the well known “grandma died five years ago but we need her check” fraud.

          1. Ours isn’t great shakes (and arguably has a worse recent trendline) but I’m not seeing evidence of the utter lack of interest in sex Japan is starting to see in surveys.

            1. Japan doesn’t have immigrants, not like we do.

              10-15% of our reproduction age ladies are foreign born– and they account for about 20-30% of the births. (Born to foreign born has a slightly higher birth rate, third generation is identical to folks who’ve been here since the US started.)

              You remember those big headlines a few years ago about how the us had a HUGE birth rate decline?
              It was about 5% for native born, and twenty five for foreign born.


              The US, when you sort for education, has 2.3/woman for high school dropouts and 1.8 (some sources say 1.7– I think it depends on if they roll “some college” in with everything through “multiple advanced degrees”) for college education.

          2. I have no descriptions about Japanese males from friends I am willing to put out in public; but from what I gather ‘herbivorous male’ is a valid complaint; even omiai setups might not work after all. To what extent that this affects their society though I don’t know.

            I’ve sadly not been paying attention as I used to.

            1. It sort of remins me of the prologue to Ringo’s Council Wars series. Has anyone looked at the second order trend? Is this now selecting for people that want kids?

              1. I think in the US the problem is not selecting people who want kids but selecting people we want as sex partners without thinking about kids, especially with women.

                There are plenty of men I know who wanted kids who weren’t selected as father material by their 40s and I’ve know a few women with children by multiple men who seemed to have no itnerest in fatherhood.

                We selecting for women who want children for the most part due to biology combined with pretty open contraceptive and abortion laws. But women seem to be selecting men for a mix of traits and “wants to be a father” seems down as one compared to my father’s generation. It is still probably a majority but not an overwhelming one.

            2. Actually I was thinking about survey data like this:


              A new report from The Guardian’s Abigail Haworth quotes a shocking statistic from the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) that 45% of Japanese women aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.”

              Twenty-five percent of Japanese men feel the same way, according to the JFPA.

              The male number is bad enough but society could adjust so that 75% of the men doing the fathering could hit 2.1 live births per woman (or is it 2.2 that is replacement…you get my point either way).

              But when 45% of women are opting out then the remaining 55% are going to need to start having roughly 4 children a piece to hit replacement. Given the 20 minute versus 12 month (including reset periods) for men and women respectively to produce a child that is a big, big problem.

                  1. Twenty minutes??!? Oh, honey — in your dreams. I understand there’s many a man able to complete the task in a quarter of that.

                    What’s needed are those willing and able to spend the next dozen or so years ensuring that the project turns out acceptably according to minimal standards.

                    1. Hey, those are Herb’s numbers, not mine. And I am SO not going to go any farther down that road, nope, no way, not goin’ there. 🙂

                    2. Well Herb admits to liking giving up control in that respect…

                      And I’m turning around now and following you back the other direction on that road.

                    3. I’ll actually answer seriously for a second and point out that Herb said “including reset periods”, meaning that the man would be able to father a second child after those twenty minutes (if he found another woman to, um, participate in the process).

                      Which is why cultures that practice polygamy almost always are polygynous rather than polyandrous: a man with multiple wives can get them all pregnant at once, whereas a woman with multiple husbands can only get pregnant from one of them at a time. (Though it could be argued that women who have three kids by three different men are practicing polyandry, but in serial rather than in parallel).

                    4. Time from initiation of first act to time to initiate second act.

                      Most of that time isn’t intercourse; it is refractory period (and at that it’s probably 30 minutes).

                    5. Robin got me…although I was assuming women lined up next to each other for efficiency. If we’re including seek times for new partners it would be 21 minutes for the typical bad boy to 21 months to 21 years for some of us.

                  2. Ah. The time and effort of attempting conception and the gestation.

                    *grin* the difference between ‘I can’t be arsed to go kill those Borg and Undine fighting each other’ and “It would be inefficient to do so.” (said by me on STO playing my Vulcan character.)

            3. My main exposure to what relationships in Japan are like is that the Marines, even the total jerks, had no problem finding Japanese girlfriends.

              And a major topic of conversation was how amazing good American men– sailors and Marines– treated them, compared to their Japanese boyfriends.


              Is this site’s description of “herbivore men” what you’re thinking of?

                1. Closer to this, taken from the article you linked:

                  Another wondered why it should be necessary to add a sexual relationship once he has built a good relationship with a woman. He also said it was “scary” when a woman tries to seduce him directly.

                  Also seems more in the ‘uninterested in sex’ category. Though the article linked has the variations; my general impression of how Japanese women see herbivore men is closer to the text I quoted above.

                  Gentle/shy but sexually active/aware doesn’t seem to fall in that category.

                  1. Makes sense… all the more because I can see how the very concept would be hard to translate, since our culture here isn’t too clear on “guy not interested in sex” EXISTING…..

                    1. Yeah and there is a difference with ‘sex is uninteresting’ and ‘sex is repellent’ types of herbivorous guy. Both are capable of having friendships with women, and the former is capable of romantic relationship and might become interested in making love to a specific love interest; the latter, not so much.

                    2. True, especially when 70% of women *do* quit after their first child– that means both that 30% are not fired, counter to what the gals say, and that twice as many think their family can manage it for at least a couple of years.

                      Which loops back around to the Japanese version of what’s pissing off marrying-type women over here. Women are supposed fill both the male and female roles*.

                      * this gives guys two options: be redundant, or fill DOUBLE the male role. Well, or they go all third route and say to heck with the expectations, but that takes some bravery. Yeah, it’s not being tortured to death, but it sucks to be the One Acceptable Target at every social gathering that isn’t your specific subgroup.
                      Hm. Maybe that’s why so many of the traditional folks I know are geeky, or otherwise already an allowed-to-mock subgroup… if peer pressure worked on them, they would’ve left a long time ago.

                    3. Yep. The whole ‘women fill the role of man and woman’ expectation has some roots in feminism; but I gather actually has stronger growth thanks to the really extremely long adolescence they have there; and with it being acceptable for a man to ‘play around’ longer than the woman. It seems to have done the men who might have wanted to settle down early no favors since the women wouldn’t have taken them seriously; and the women who would’ve been attracted to the more exciting ‘carnivorous’ males would have been prey to the ones who play around. So… Yeah.

                    4. I vaguely recall and am insufficiently interested to research for supporting evidence that a majority of the early studies in male sexuality were performed among prison populations, e.g., among people already having demonstrated a high level of aggressiveness, lack of self-discipline and a paucity of long-term planning ability. Also known for High-T (and not the kind observed by the Brits.)

                      While some might say this could potentially distort the data results, clearly all males are predatory and any effort to make fine distinctions based on how well they hide their predatory natures is pointless.

                    5. You know, I hadn’t really considered that aspect of the stat warping… The rather more obvious percentage warping where a man raped by another man would be counted as ‘homosexual’ for the statistics (and likewise for children, less infamously than it should be) rather overwhelmed it.

                    6. Kinsey did indeed warp his “studies” with unselective groups, such as prisoners.

                      What’s worse, his claims on childhood sexuality are, in fact, his repeating the claims of child molesters.

              1. And a major topic of conversation was how amazing good American men– sailors and Marines– treated them, compared to their Japanese boyfriends.

                I’ve got a female friend that’s a Japanese national who talks about this sort of thing on occasion. She’s never really gone into any details, but just from her occasional comments you can tell that she’s not happy about sexism she experienced over there.

          1. Yes, but until the 70s it was the equivalent of their Silents that were having kids. Their boomer equivalents provided the biggest. That’s what I tend to think it traces to the war, a cultural sense of defeat that was picked up by the immediate post war generation and no reversed.

            1. *headscratch* The Japanese Boomers had the most kids, but they’re the ones that got the “it’s not worth reproducting” thing?

              It’s hard to find a fertility rate chart for Japan, but all the actual birth rate charts look sort of like ours, but without the boost recently from illegals having kids. (CDC birth rate for “all Mexican immigrants” was something like 3.8; no idea if that’s an actual reflection of how many are giving birth, or if it’s a result of identity theft making it so on paper one woman might give birth in a dozen states in the same month, and… heck, it’s just a mess.)

              For what it’s worth, I think you’re sort of right– but that the “we shouldn’t even bother” thing is dying out, not gaining steam. It LOOKS like they’re having fewer kids per woman because the kids who were never born aren’t having kids, which means the “births per year” is down, and the War and just-post-war generation are dying, which IF they were less likely to have children, would make sense– but those who did have kids would be likely to think differently, and *those* kids would be more likely to think differently, and that would result in a better birth-rate.

              1. If their birthrate was solid until the 70s how is it their boomers who had the most kids? I associate 50/60s birth rates with Silents here (is that me reading too much into my own parents maybe)?

                As for rebounding, I’m open to that idea and it tracks with some thing we started to see in the 90s. Exhibit A being the book, “The Japan that Can Say No”. This might have be dulled by the lost two decades.

                What still worries me is that survey on sex for women in prime childbearing years.

                However, I think your premise that after such a decline a rebound is natural because the “having children is bad/not worth it/etc” don’t show up for the future.

                1. I associate 50/60s birth rates with Silents here (is that me reading too much into my own parents maybe)?

                  Where are we getting the rates? The only stats for Japan covering the whole time that I can find are *total births*– not even “births per population.” One of the articles I think I linked mentioned that they’d had a bounce to 1.7 in the 70s.

                  But their “total births” graphics do follow the same high-drop-bump-drop-bump-again squiggle as the US birth rate.

                  What still worries me is that survey on sex for women in prime childbearing years.

                  That might be partly because…well, you’re a guy. As I understand it, it IS pretty unusual for a guy to not be interested in sex in general.
                  Less so for women…even when we’re told that not wanting sex makes us freaks. (yes, in so many words) There’s therapists, usually in Christian subcultures, that specialize in reassuring women that there isn’t something horribly wrong with them that they’re not tempted into purely physical relationships with guys not their husband.

                  Heck, I don’t have much interest in sex as sex. Says the woman with a pile of children. I’m very interested in intimacy with my husband, which includes sex, but not “sex” in specific.

                  I really, really wish that survey had broken it down into the “the very idea of sex is repellent to me” and “I’m not interested in sex” groups.


                  Jumping back to a different topic, sort of, did you note the point where several of the working women mentioned the “you can’t raise kids on one income” thing?

                  1. Talking about not being able to raise a children on a single income is also more socially acceptable versus saying that the woman isn’t feeling emotionally capable of being a mother. It’s one of the social indicators of being seen as an adult, thus having respectable face – the other being a career woman. A woman who has a child out of wedlock is usually forgiven somewhat because ‘trying her best to raise a child’ is at least seen as socially responsible.

                    That’s my impression anyway.

    3. I’ll put the lives saved by the two atomic bombings at a floor of 1 billion or roughly 40% of world population in 1945 and a third of it in 1957.

      I came to this conclusion when one of the arguments given today against the bombing was “Truman only did it to warn Stalin” claiming that was a bad thing.

      Imagine the world circa 1950 with the stockpiles of weapons both sides already had. Now imagine it in 1961.

      Imagine a generation of leaders who, like the generals of WW1 with respect to the machine gun, had only seen demonstrations of nuclear weapons but had no real experience of what they would do in practice.

      Now imagine them going to a general war like 1914. Does 1 billion sound like a low or a high guess for what would have happened?

      By showing what even the earliest and most primative nuclear weapons would do to a city the bombings warning not just Stalin but Trump himself plus every head of state of a nuclear power for 70 years.

      Maybe I should up my estimate to 2 billion saved.

      1. As I’ve written before, Admiral Daniel Gallery (captured the U-505) wrote in one of his books that we didn’t need to use the bomb; we had the navel forces to blockade Japan and starve them into submission. Given their temperament, I’d expect that food would have been saved for the soldiers and the women, children, and old men would have starved first. At the time, that might have been popular, but the downside would have become horror at home at what we’d done, or tried to do. More than the bombs.

          1. One could argue that the bombings gave the Japanese a face-saving way out of a racial-suicide pact, but that would require accepting that America was not wrong evil for dropping it.

            1. Unless one thinks that anime and manga are a good reason to wish the Japanese had been exterminated.

              1. A website I go to has occasional commentary on Japanese cultural artifacts (music, anime, consumer goods, etc.) under the topic heading, “The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?”

                1. “We and They

                  “A Friend of the Family”
                  From “Debits and Credits”(1919-1923)
                  Father and Mother, and Me,
                  Sister and Auntie say
                  All the people like us are We,
                  And every one else is They.
                  And They live over the sea,
                  While We live over the way,
                  But-would you believe it? –They look upon We
                  As only a sort of They!

                  We eat pork and beef
                  With cow-horn-handled knives.
                  They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
                  Are horrified out of Their lives;
                  While they who live up a tree,
                  And feast on grubs and clay,
                  (Isn’t it scandalous? ) look upon We
                  As a simply disgusting They!

                  We shoot birds with a gun.
                  They stick lions with spears.
                  Their full-dress is un-.
                  We dress up to Our ears.
                  They like Their friends for tea.
                  We like Our friends to stay;
                  And, after all that, They look upon We
                  As an utterly ignorant They!

                  We eat kitcheny food.
                  We have doors that latch.
                  They drink milk or blood,
                  Under an open thatch.
                  We have Doctors to fee.
                  They have Wizards to pay.
                  And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
                  As a quite impossible They!

                  All good people agree,
                  And all good people say,
                  All nice people, like Us, are We
                  And every one else is They:
                  But if you cross over the sea,
                  Instead of over the way,
                  You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
                  As only a sort of They!

                  1. Ahh…Yanno when the grandparents introduced modern sulfa drugs, out houses and literacy to the “theys” at the back end of nowhere it was a step up for everyone. And when my mom’s best friend bled to death because they had watch doctors instead of doctors the “theys” and the “wes” were equally appalled by her loss.

                    That’s pure quill humbug.

                  2. From a Goon Show episode (also from memory, so possibly imprecise):

                    “General, Intelligence have determined that the people attacking us are the enemy.”
                    “Do the enemy realize this?”
                    “Oh, no, sir. We’ve got ’em fooled. They think we’re the enemy!”

        1. Gallery was in a sense right; but there was another factor which he didn’t know about. The last “plan” of the Japanese hardliners was that the U.S. would invade, the Japanese would respond with ginormous banzai charges including civilians, and the “soft” U.S. would be so “shocked” by the resulting casualties that the U.S. would accept a negotiated peace that would leave the Japanese military in place.

          If the U.S. had made it clear they were not going to invade, that “plan” falls down. So possibly Japan would have surrendered.

          Of course, this speculation ignores that the Japanese were about to give orders for the massacre of all PoWs and civilian internees when the war ended first.

      2. I’ve read a fair bit about the Bomb project. As far as I can tell, there was never any real question that at least one bomb would be used.

        Afterward when hand-wringing over it became fashionable a bunch of people changed their stories.

        1. Weapons are built to be used but I am willing to believe that after Trinity they changed their minds on using it for demonstration off Japan instead of on a city first.

          Before that, I doubt it. As I said, weapons are built to be used.

      3. I’ve commented something along these lines before.

        My point at the time was that I was *grateful* that the US had used the bombs. I was grateful not only because it meant that the invasion of Japan never took place, but also because WE – meaning the US – were the nation that had used the bomb.

        SOMEONE was going to start using atomic bombs eventually because up until they were used, people wouldn’t be able to grasp just how nasty they are. So someone had to be first. And it’s a very good thing that the nation that went first was one that had the morals and ethics that would cause it to show restraint with the things in the future.

    4. One of the things that folks who argue against the bomb tend to ignore– or never be told– is that yes, there was an alternative. It started with carpet-bombing the cities and went nastier from there, but it was technically an alternative to taking out two military targets, after extensive warning to GTFO.

      1. The mindset of those sorts seems to be “no matter how terrible those means were at least it wasn’t nukes”.

        IE Using Nukes is the Ultimate Evil. 😦

  9. I love Wretchard but reading his columns at The Belmont Club is too frustrating because he makes brilliance seem so obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of it. Thank you for relaying this insight, you explained it wonderfully.

  10. I don’t cringe from the words “long enough that those countries wouldn’t be a threat to us”.

    If I come across as stupid and brutal, I come across as stupid and brutal. As you say, the other goals are a mirage, and cruel.

    1. The Mideast Peace Process is probably the greatest crime against Humanity since the Cultural Revolution. I look forward to the day that our policy on war reverts to “no terms save unconditional surrender.” That doesn’t mean you can’t offer terms, Lee’s officers kept their horses and his men kept their hunting rifles, but you continue the war until one side recognizes that it is beaten.

  11. That “locked from the inside” sounds a bit like the crab bucket thing, which I am reminded of now due to that and due to this response I gave to “A Destiny Beyond the Crab Bucket” For the fellow mentioned in that reply just recent managed to slip up (well, down, really) and is now no longer a concern of mine. He found the lock of an inner circle, it seems… and locked it. Him dumber than ox.

  12. I couldn’t agree more – most recent government policies in the “Western World” seem designed to trap those outside the elite in a permanent twilight of subsistence living – just barely getting by, waiting either for their next paycheck or their next government handout, while a small few at the top (the “Davos People,” as Samuel Huntington dubbed them) jet around the planet, meeting at various conferences to discuss the deplorable state of the world that they run.

    Time for SMOD? I don’t know, but it’s definitely time for something.

      1. Nah, SMOD would end the misery. The Umpalumpa will prolong it in slightly varied ways only slightly differently than She Who is, was, and forever will be, Evil

        1. I read Lucifier’s Hammer long ago…SMOD would end the misery for many but not all 🙂

          Plus, think of all the Ancillary Deaths (soon to be a Hugo nominated novel) cause by proximity to exploding heads across the political spectrum if he does win. Never underestimated the casualties caused by Narrative Detonation.

    1. Noted today at Power Line:

      The Week’s Damon Linker dissents from the liberal line that the nationalism evinced by Donald Trump is solely and purely racist:

      [The] perfect distillation of liberalism in 2016: Trump voters and their analogues overseas have “regressive attitudes.” They’re motivated by bigotry, fear, and selfishness, all of which makes them angry that various outsiders are threatening to take away their abundant “privileges.” They certainly have no justification — economic or otherwise — for their grievances. . .

      [T]he real problem with the way Beauchamp and so many others on the center-left talk about those on the nationalist right is that it displays outright contempt for particularistic instincts that are not and should not be considered morally and politically beyond the pale. On the contrary, a very good case can be made that these instincts are natural to human beings and even coeval with political life as such — and that it is the universalistic cosmopolitanism of humanitarian liberalism (or progressivism) that, as much as anything, has provoked the right-wing backlash in the first place. . .

      Underlying liberal denigration of the new nationalism — the tendency of progressives to describe it as nothing but “racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia” — is the desire to delegitimize any particularistic attachment or form of solidarity, be it national, linguistic, religious, territorial, or ethnic. As I explained shortly after the Brexit vote, cosmopolitan liberals presume that all particularistic forms of solidarity must be superseded by a love of humanity in general, and indeed that these particularistic attachments will be superseded by humanitarianism before long, as part of the inevitable unfolding of human progress.

      “cosmopolitan liberals” — I’m sure I’ve seen that term elsewhere.

      1. A loose synonym replacement would make ‘cosmopolitan liberal’ into ‘international socialist’ which I’m sure we’ve never heard anywhere before…

  13. A century and a half ago, a great American general pointed out that “War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” All that the current regime is doing it with their restraint, then, is prolonging it.

    1. Twain commented that as nasty and bloody as revolutions were, they were short rather than the prolonged low-level nastiness and blood of only almost having such.

        1. Ask any hairy person (I was going to say “guy” but these days …) whether they’d rather a bandage be removed slowly or quickly.

          The idiocy of “proportionate force” is that it guarantees prolonged strife. Only application of demonstrable overwhelming force works to convince aggressors that they are better off restraining their impulses toward threats.

          Put another way: some punks are trash-talking every woman entering a bar; a man steps up to them and suggests they be quiet. Does it matter whether that man looks like Adam Baldwin or Joshua Gomez?

    2. Reminds me of the TOS episode “A Taste of Armageddon”, where a war between two planets had become so clean and civilized they had no reason to stop.

      1. Is that the one where the computers determined where a strike had been made and the people in the area were told to report to disintegration chambers even though no actual ordnance had been fired?

      2. The Trial of James T. Kirk comics arc deals with that specific episode as it is used as an attempt to have Kirk turned over to the Nazghul for ‘crimes against the Nazghul’ that ‘violate the Prime Directive’ – opposing the will of their leader, the Salla.

        The crime? Answering a distress call; rescuing the ship’s pilot and Kirk not dropping dead when the Salla orders him to die.

        Someone makes the mistake of trying to bring Leonard James Akaar to testify against Kirk – the baby who was born only because Kirk and McCoy rescued his pregnant mother instead of letting her and the unborn rightful heir of his people be assasinated in a political coup. Spock points out iirc that what they are doing violates the Prime Directive but Kirk and McCoy’s response is more or less ‘screw the rules I am doing what’s right!’

  14. they keep their pride and their culture.

    Aren’t those what got them into a war with us in the first place? I wonder whether the people making such arguments think the American South ought have been allowed to “keep their pride and their culture” after Appomattox, and whether they condemn the United States for not so permitted?

    More relevantly, I wonder how they reconcile their different stances?

  15. it would require us to say that some behaviors are better than others.

    What, we ought declare some attitudes are Deplorable? How judgmental!

  16. In the end they call evil good and good evil, and allow intolerable situations to continue, all so they can feel good about themselves.

    Ref: Thomas Sowell, “The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy”

    What is important about a policy is not whether it is effective but whether it is fashionable. All the evidence that money spent on Head Start is totally wasted (well, the recipients of that money don’t think so, but the purported beneficiaries show no benefit) has done nothing to weaken support for a program that shows “how much we care!”

    1. I won’t say that all Head Start money is wasted, but there is no reason I should be paying for it. Since I am the one footing the bill, and I am getting nothing out of it, it is a waste of my money; that I could have better spent elsewhere.

  17. “One matter further, gentlemen. We fight on their level. With trickery, brutality, finality. We match their evil. I know, James. I was reputed to be a gentle man. But I was commander in chief during the four bloodiest years of my country’s history. I gave orders that sent a hundred thousand men to their death at the hands of their brothers. There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending.” Star Trek: The Savage Curtain

        1. You know, even though “The Savage Curtain” is TOS’s ten-millionth whack at the “powerful aliens make the crew fight for their lives” trope, that episode is pretty good. Roddenberry actually explores the philosophies on display, from Surak’s absolute pacifism to Lincoln’s more pragmatic approach. It’s not a dull lecture like his later stuff. He did some good work before he discovered cocaine.

          You have to wonder what Starfleet Command made of Kirk’s logs, though.

          (Admiral reads log)

          “Stardate string of random numbers. We have encountered Abraham Lincoln floating in space.”

          (Admiral stops, looks around to see if he’s being pranked)

  18. Fine, that’s a point, but it’s not just him. It’s the whole “elite” the “glitterati” of Western culture, those educated not only beyond rationality but beyond usefulness except as puppets of our enemies. The poor darlings were taught that unless we have the perfect solution — to anything, really — we must compound with half measures, we must ignore what we know works, we must never declare that we know how to fix this, much less attempt to fix this.

    I think this, beyond Florida or any actual policy or war (the left liked the Balkans and Libyan wars after all) was the crime of Bush in the eyes of the elites. He wanted to win (even his father passed on victory) and was willing to try a lot of things to do it.

    Winning is the unforgivable sin to leftists (unless the winning involved is getting rich…leftists love being rich).

    1. Note that as soon as they came into power they immediately threw away all the gains he had made, even against their efforts to sabotage “his” war.
      The war in Iraq was won, and Afghanistan was all done but the mopping up, but the progressives managed once again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  19. These people are wanna-be elites so incompetent they must cast other people as subnormal to feel superior.

    In my adult life I have had basically two jobs: mixed plumber and mechanic (which is what a Machinists Mate basically is….machine tool work and welding is done by Hull Technicians) and computer programmer. I’m trying to move into a third, mathematician (halfway there).

    These people couldn’t do any of those three jobs but if they learn I’m political conservative and religious they will assume they are smarter than me.

    They are more useless than pimples.

    1. Don’t forget janitor.

      I had the following conversation with a friend when I was home on leave:

      “Do you do much machining work on the ship?”

      “No, MR’s do that.”

      “What’s an MR?”

      “Machinery Repairman.”

      “So they repair the machinery?”

      “No, I do that.”

      “So Machinist Mates repair machinery while Machinery Repairmen do the machining?”

      “Welcome to the Navy.”

  20. Our friends here in Israel have a running joke of being terrified of “The Peace Process”–NO!! ANYTHING BUT THE PEACE PROCESS!! We have noticed–as has everyone in the world except John Kerry-that during the ‘Peace Process” death and bloodshed increase dramatically. The self-righteous lectures just add insult to injury.

    1. Well of course. Honorable people honor the stand down order. Dishonorable ones not so much. And even if open fighting ceases briefly, the bad guys are using the time to dig tunnels and reposition ordnance.

    2. “Today Israel broke a cease fire when they shot back at the guys who were attacking them…” — paraphrase of the news when I found out 1) that Israel was in anything that involved a peace process, and 2) they were not being treated justly, because the news guy was serious.

  21. We have sown the wind for thirty years. We now reap.
    We have built a bureaucracy of elites. elites supporters, relatives of elites, paid to administer the war on poverty; they will be unemployed if we win it. They have access to the Fairfax County elites, who will see to it that poverty always exists.

    I have said often we can defeat ISIS; at one time with one division. Now it will take a Corps, the Warthogs, and some air supremacy support to keep the Warthogs flying. We will never do it on the cheap.

    We have built a “Homeland Security” bureaucracy, which (think TSA) is needed only so long as there are threats to homeland security. We are building a military industrial complex that exists only so long as there are meat grinders to feed a squad a month into.

    1. Fortunately, DHS would never do anything like awarding American Citizenship to hundreds of illegal immigrants slated for deportation. Our highly professional and unionized bureaucrats certainly have safeguards in place to prevent the public learning about that!

      1. Shush you! Good people do not mention such things in public. At least not during a liberal Democratic administration. Now if a Republican President were to leave his dirty socks on the floor, that would be headline worthy indeed.

  22. There is no technology so advanced that there is no room for people who can do things with their hands.

    (*nods*) Indeed, even if we postulate hyper-advanced technology such that we live as virtual entities commanding swarms of robots to work for us, those virtual entities would be “people” and the swarms of robots the “hands” with which the people would do things. Technology changes the details, not the fundamentals.

    And of course we as of yet do not possess such technology.

    1. And before we get there, for a good looooong time, there will be the guys in the workshop.

      The workshop might be a clean room. The guys might never have grease up to their elbows- or maybe they sometimes do, cleaning the sludge out of a feedline in the ‘bot tank. They might be using robots to fix the littler robots, but dollars to doughnuts gets you big bots like trash haulers and industrial maintenance ‘bots will still require hand tools.

      You may be cutting slagged deck plates to get to where the plasma conduit burst so you can replace it once the feed is shut off, or you may be cleaning a drill head before reapplying it to alien rock, but human versatility is going to be handy for a long time yet. It’ll be *cheaper,* too. Humans run on food, water, sleep, and air. Robots run on power and maintenance. Unless and until that power gets really, really, really cheap and the storage problem gets knocked down a bit, good ol’ bio units will be on the job.

      And the further we go, out in the big black, the more that raw ability, skill, and knowledge will become irreplaceable. All we really need is… a boost! (come on, cheaper cost to orbit. Faster, please.)

  23. Interesting little bit on Fox just now. Congress is looking at claims that the IRS division run by Lois Learner targeted conservative organizations to a much greater extend than liberal ones.
    Couple of take aways from what I saw.
    No question of bias, just intent. Was it incompetence or malice. Now where have I heard that one before?
    And someone on the panel was quoted that this bias likely cost Romney somewhere between five and eight million votes in the presidential election.
    Learner is long gone, but they’re grilling the current head of the IRS almost in a pseudo impeachment style. Or I should say the Republicans are. Democrats on the panel say the line of questioning is uncalled for and keep apologizing to the IRS guy for bothering him.
    Nothing to see here, move along.
    Why the smart money is still on Clinton, that and a few other underhanded qualities she and her party are past masters of.

    1. If it was malice, they should be jailed. If merely incompetence, they should be summarily fired. But either way, they should be gone.

      1. Didn’t the BOLO pretty much admit these claims were true in a backdoor sort of way already? The way they were handled, the requests (demands) for unnecessary information- that’s all in the open already.

        To those that were paying attention anyway.

        1. Right, but would you argue with a BOLO when it said somebody was guilty, but they weren’t going to do anything about it?

  24. It’s no kindness to hang a man slowly. It all goes back to pay me now or pay me later and it will cost a lot more later (and all decisions have a cost).

  25. Poll asked if recent killings of African-American men by police were isolated incidents or part of a broader pattern of how police treat African-Americans.

    1. ‘Recent killings of African-American men by police’ is not a clearly defined category. Give me a time frame to research, and I could research and analyze enough to possibly have an opinion.
    2. The inference is that they are wanting opinions about the cases that have been in the media. These are few enough that one could have an opinion on a case by case basis. The question assumes that they have the same explanation.
    3. ‘Isolated incidents’ and ‘broader pattern’ are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
    4. The provided answers imply categories that do not necessarily sort opinions to match implications. Consider ‘police favoritism towards minorities makes minorities grow up violent’. (Okay, that isn’t what I think is going on. As far as I can tell, the Great Society’s destruction of family is more significant.) Or ‘isolated incidents of criminals being violent enough to justify use of deadly force’ versus ‘isolated incidents of police misuse of deadly force’.
    5. Implication is ‘how police treat African-Americans’ as opposed to whites. If I ignore media reports as potentially cherrypicking, dig up my own data, and adjust for all of the confounding factors, I do not know what I would find. I haven’t done the work, and have little grounds to speculate to what I might be convinced of. (Okay, beyond that certain types of drug use do not lead to good decision making.)

    1. Polling is Art, Or Craft; It’s Not An Exact Science
      By Dan McLaughlin — September 20, 2016

      The opinion polling business has assumed a vast power and importance in American politics, arguably far beyond the influence of the media, activist groups, or really anybody else. Polls, in the aggregate, are fairly effective at what they do, but they also tend to project a false sense of precision in an imprecise business.

      Nate Cohn of the New York Times’ Upshot blog has done an enormous public service by a simple experiment: he provided the raw data from a public poll to four different reputable pollsters and poll experts, and they came back with four different answers – reflecting the extent to which even the best of polls incorporate judgment calls, assumptions and preconceptions in addition to simple data.

      It’s worth a read, even if you don’t normally enjoy this kind of thing, just to see how the polling sausage gets made. These are diligent pollsters, doing their best and knowing their work will be transparent to Times readers. But their conclusions are still different in potentially important ways.
      — — —

      And that is when the poll is attempting to be honest.

      1. You can have a lot of fun playing with pollsters.

        Pick a rough ideology (Trumpster, Green Party), answer as a trade unionist, and self-identify as a Black millennial PhD.

        C’mon. I can’t be the only one?

        1. I’ve not done that, but mainly as not getting any pollster calls that I don’t just hang up on anymore. I did once argue with a push-pollster (it was so dang obvious) who insisted it wasn’t a push-poll. Really? When every question was clearly a leading one? Riiiight. And Gracie Allen and Fred Allen were the same person.

  26. Saw this mentality the other day displayed by someone I’ve known all my life. Her sister unfriended me earlier this year when I pointed out how ignorant she was being over the BLM/Alton Sterling stuff she was posting. Now her older sister was passing around a meme about the Dakota Access Pipeline. When I pointed out that pipelines are many times safer than rail transport and that I would rather have it transported the safest way possible her response was “Safety is not my big concern, putting it through a reservation, a burial ground, and land where people have been marginalized for decades is. Big oil sucks. Bad for environment. N.D. would be better using space for solar and wind energy.”

    Go ahead, read that again. Safety is not my big concern. Well, that explains a lot.

    putting it through a reservation it doesn’t cross the Standing Rock Reservation a burial ground no burial ground sites have been identified, and it actually follows the same route as the Northern Border Pipeline and land where people have been marginalized for decades point of order ma’am, but since it doesn’t cross Indian land, you are talking about my family as a couple of my ancestors homesteaded some of that land over a hundred years ago. I still have fringe relatives living down in that area.

    Big oil sucks. Bad for the environment. N.D. would be better using space for solar and wind energy.>/b> Now I know she didn’t do well in math and science in high school, but living off of warm fuzzies and denying reality is a quest for genocide. There’s not enough ‘Clean Energy’ (it’s not really that clean) to fulfill the necessities of the modern world. Get rid of oil and you’ll see deaths in the tens of millions. Drop fossil fuels altogether and you’re talking dead in the hundreds of millions just in the US alone. Our way of life would shatter just by dropping oil and be obliterated if we quit using fossil fuels.

    These people are completely out of touch with reality. And they revel in their ignorance. Her little sister, apparently devoid of any sort of self awareness, said “Oh god you fell down the…rabbit hole. I had to unfriend him to get the misinformation and one sided opinions to stop.” Pointing out actual facts makes them upset to the point that they happily crawl back into their echo chambers.

    1. Well, if you read too much into what the Greens say, killing the Greens is a form of clean energy.

    2. Stipulating this won’t move her needle one iota, perhaps she might take a lesson clue about the cost of living as a ward of the State:

      How the Standing Rock Sioux should have been able to stop that pipeline
      By Naomi Schaefer Riley
      Quick quiz: What’s the best way to stop a company from building an oil pipeline on a piece of land you find valuable? Answer: Buy the land.

      After staging protests over the last several weeks, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has managed to temporarily halt the construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, which would carry 470,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois, doesn’t actually go through the reservation land of the tribe, but tribe leaders say it’s on land that has cultural significance to them.

      They also worry that if the pipeline leaks, it’ll affect their water supply. Finally, they say, it’s land that was taken from them in the 19th century.

      Fair enough. But by that logic, of course, American Indians could object to the development of most any part of North America.


      … the Standing Rock Sioux are among the most impoverished American Indians, and American Indians are the most impoverished racial group in the country. According to IndianCountryToday, the unemployment rate at Standing Rock is 86 percent. Many people have no running water or electricity.

      Why is life like this at Standing Rock? Ironically, the Sioux there aren’t in a position to buy land adjacent to the reservation because they don’t actually own the reservation land. Reservation residents have no property rights. Their land is held “in trust” by the federal government.

      They can’t buy homes because they can’t get mortgages. They can’t get loans to start small businesses because they don’t really own their land. They can’t buy and sell land among themselves without the permission of bureaucrats in Washington. What they have is what economist Hernando de Soto calls “dead capital.”

      If the federal government gave them the reservation land outright and allowed them to actually develop a private sector there, they might have some money. Indeed, there are plenty of farmers and ranchers living just off the reservation who make decent livings. When the oil company wanted to build the pipeline, it came to them and asked permission. They have decided to allow the pipeline to go under the land they own. They’ve been paid thousands of dollars to do so.

      The Standing Rock Sioux, though, have no recourse. They don’t own the land, and they don’t have the money to buy it.


      It’s true that in America, just as everywhere else, money talks. But so do property rights. Even taking into account the Supreme Court’s terrible Kelo decision (allowing the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another in the name of economic growth), American citizens can still reasonably expect that their rights as property owners will be protected. But memo to Uncle Sam: The Sioux can’t exercise property rights without property.

      Naomi Schaefer Riley is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and author of “The New Trail of Tears.”

      1. They also worry that if the pipeline leaks, it’ll affect their water supply. Their water supply intake was already scheduled to move about 40 miles south into deeper water in SD. Argument is disingenuous.

        Many people have no running water It’s only an anecdote, but back in the ’80’s my uncle was a contractor putting in flooring for new homes built on that rez with Federal funds. The houses typically took twice as long to build than in Bis/Man because when they would leave at night ‘someone’ would come by and steal all the plumbing and electrical that was accessible. The people on the rez bitched about how long it was taking and that they didn’t have decent housing…

      2. ” According to IndianCountryToday, the unemployment rate at Standing Rock is 86 percent.”

        I’m surprised it is that low. Why would you waste your time working when you get a paycheck in the mail every month anyways?

        1. There is a … peculiar spaghetti western, starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill that addresses this issue of how helpful is government “help” …

          “… I also figured out the moral to your grandpa’s story, the one about the cow that covered the little bird in cowpie to keep it warm, and then the coyote hauled it out and ate it. It’s the moral of these new times of yours: Folks that throw dirt on you aren’t always trying to hurt you, and folks who pull you out of a jam aren’t always trying to help you. But the main point is, when you’re up to your nose in shit, keep your mouth shut.”

    3. Well facts are kind of “one-sided opinions” when the other side completely denies said facts, aren’t they? As for “misinformation,” I’m mildly surprised she knew how to spell the word…

  27. I disagree with equating “liberal people” with “creative people”.

    While some progressive / centralist people may be creative, their apparent intent, as expressed in their observed actions, seems to be to deny individuality and stifle creativity, unless it is to their direct benefit, or can be used by those government cronies who lead these mobs for the benefit the very few major accumulators of capital (of whatever form that may take).

    I recently read an article comparing Hillary’s wealth of influence to Trump’s real estate holdings, and finding Hillary wealthier, as she could get anything she wanted to use (homes, yachts, planes, etc) without the need or cost of having to buy the thing herself.

    Heinlein’s view of those few people who both could create and would work to see their ideas flourish as being vital to the success of a society, is, I think, correct. The actions of the progressive / centralists, especially in education, seems sure to result in fewer of these vital people present in our society.

    I hope that individually and together we can make enough of a difference to preserve our civilization for our children, and theirs.


    1. I think a lot of artists, poets, and other people reputed to be creative are no more, and possibly less, creative than stereotypically uncreative people like tradesmen, scientists, engineers, programmers etc. It is just that they have even far less technical ability and so must upswell the creative aspect of thier work to make a living and console themselves that they are better somehow. There are untold numbers of amazingly creative AND technically skilled bits of ‘art’ hidden all around us inside the infrastructure and machinery and processes all around us that perhaps only one or two people even know of… That maybe even only a handful of people in some obscure field know enough about what is involved to be able to appreciate the brilliant creativity of and marvel ‘how the hell did you manage to’. I can think of some specific examples of awe inspiring marriages of creativity and craftsmanship in engineering obscure, unglamorous components to obscure, unglamorous (but by no means unimportant) components that I know of. Yet most people would have no clue what it was and if told would have no clue whether the thing was easily done or a near-impossible miracle conjured up by a quiet genius. They could never hang in a gallery like some canvas splashed with paint and/or bodily fluids or piles of reclaimed trash because the ‘art appreciation’ class to understand thier medium would take years and be beyond the ability of 99% of art students.

      1. Sometimes the simplest solutions can be the most beautiful. Need to move hundreds of tons in angle and height while still not breaking a seal? You could overengineer a bellows…or you could use angled rotary joints.

        The beauty of engineering tends to come from the simplicity of solutions rather than overly complex ones.

        And this is the same as the idea that the United States need merely have the ideas people from colleges (Fallacy 1) as opposed to a manufacturing or production base. Or any of that messy extraction technology. Economies cannot survive by simply trading one value added trade to another. Somewhere you have to have new production. But we stifle that intentionally and offshore the pollution and hardship that some manufacturing creates. (How moral of us.)

        1. The really awesome technical stuff is usually very simple– after it’s there.

          I spent half an hour yesterday, getting my daughter to actually look at the apple slicer.

          She finally realized that it’s just a bunch of wheels and inclined planes —including the screw. (Which is a wheel that has an inclined plane wrapped around it. And the crank handle is a lever that can go all the way around, which is basically a self-making inclined plane.)

          Heck, describing “simple machines” is a great example of this– and so brilliant that even non-techs can see it. Did Archimedes do that, or did he just invent that screw pump? (speaking of simple… the water’s always going “down hill,” even as it climbs)

          1. Simple machines are one of those things that I don’t think we have the invention history. Some of them, to be honest, may be back into prehuman history. Think lever.

            1. The lever? That was invented by an anthropoid ape, a paleolithic man, stimulated by an alien monolith.

              Shucks, I thought everybody knew that.

            2. I mean organizing them and classifying it– and then figuring out how to do OTHER stuff nobody thought of.

              Seriously, putting an inclined plane AROUND a wheel? Zowza!

              1. the wheel and the 4 wheeled cart. the first person who realized you could use an animals to pull a cart or a plow. The plow. Who invented the first sword?

                1. Knife – the first poky, stabby thing. Invented when someone dropped a chunk of chert, it flaked, and they cut themselves when they picked up the flake.
                  Spear – knife on a stick.
                  Sword – really big knife, or big spear on a short, thick stick.
                  I’ve read (and dang if I can recall where) that stone swords have been found, but there’s “a little” doubt about their authenticity. Otherwise I’d guess Mesopotamia or the area around the headwaters of the Tigris/adjacent part of Anatolia and early Bronze Age or late Copper Age. Axes came first (firewood and field clearing before dedicated weapon/ritual object.)

                  1. I don’t know about stone swords, but apparently some of the South American tribes had sticks with a whole line of sharpened stone pieces attached to them, so that it looked something like a sword.

                  2. I’ve seen it too. Including a photo of a flint “rapier” (the sword development cycle seems to start with long thin blades in most cultures). Given the properties of stone knives, I have always assumed it was ceremonial–someone was supposed to be holding a sword, but no metal blades were allowed (stone knives were de rigger for a long time in religious rituals).

      2. Submitted for your consideration:

        The Man Who Invented Scotch Tape
        “He created a greenhouse environment, a skunkworks, where we could do anything, try anything. When you’re an oddball in a permissive environment, things often turn out well.”
        — Paul Hanson, ex-technical director at 3M, on Scotch tape inventor, Richard Drew

        by Zachary Crockett.

        On a surface level, Scotch tape may seem like just about the most boring product in the world. Though it can be found in nearly 90% of American households and is used for everything from wrapping gifts to “repairing” ripped dollar bills, we’ll forgive you for never being curious about its origins. But stick with us: this gets interesting!

        The story of Scotch tape is one of incredible determination and risk-taking — and its invention was thanks to a banjo-playing, college-dropout, “misfit” engineer who believed in his ability to invent.

        He ended up not just pioneering Scotch transparent tape and masking tape, but revolutionizing the way that his company, 3M, treated creative people.


        His boss, William McKnight, the same man who’d initially ordered Drew to cease his inventing efforts, still didn’t see the potential in this new tape, and refused to purchase a machine that would allow for its mass production. Instead of acquiescing, Drew got creative: as a researcher, he had the right to secure purchases of up to $100, so he bought the machine in parts in a series of $99 orders, then constructed it himself. When Drew’s boss later found out what Drew he’d been up to, he rewarded him for his tenacity by establishing a new managerial mandate at 3M: “If you have the right person on the right project, and they are absolutely dedicated to finding a solution – leave them alone. Tolerate their initiative and trust them.”


        In September 1930, the product, Scotch® Brand Cellulose Tape (later renamed Scotch Transparent Tape) was released and its initial users championed its usefulness. As the Great Depression set in, 3M’s tapes conversely thrived: instead of purchasing new products in the economically bleak times, consumers enlisted Scotch tape to “repair and restore” broken items around the house. According to 3M, the tape “virtually sold itself”:


        In assembling and building out his team, Drew grew a reputation as a quirky, off-kilter leader. Ray Hunder, who was hired by Drew to work on the precursor to Post-It Notes, fondly looks back on his boss’s philosophy:

        “Dick never turned anyone away from his office, even though they came in with the strangest ideas. He never discouraged people. He thought of himself as a bit of an underdog and he had compassion for others like him. He allowed his lab team to freely follow their instincts. Dick encouraged people to be themselves. He’d say, ‘Hey, your idea’s as good as anybody else’s.’ When people can be themselves, they use their gifts and talents to the fullest.”


        “There was complete freedom to build and do,” recalls John Pearson, who once worked under Drew. “I could purchase stuff and build things, and the engineering department agreed to a hands-off policy.”

        “Dick created an environment where people were always encouraged,” adds another ex-employee. “He created a greenhouse environment—a skunkworks—where we could do anything, try anything. When you’re an oddball in a permissive environment, very often things turn out well.”

        At the core of this “oddball” environment was a new concept that Drew had introduced to 3M: workers were encouraged to spend up to 15% of their work day innovating and developing their own products (similar strategies have since been integrated at Google and other tech companies). This ended up producing a series of very profitable breakthroughs: Scotchlite reflective sheeting, Micropore surgical tape, foam tape, decorative ribbon, face masks, and respirators among them.
        — — —

  28. Things We Won’t hear Obama Say:
    (First in a series)

    A Black man is more likely to die in a bathtub fall than be shot by a police officer.

    1. Things We Won’t hear Obama Say:
      (Second in a series*)

      Thank God for police who put themselves on the line to ensure people in crime-ridden communities have a chance at living full lives.

      *Feel free to add your own

      1. Things We Won’t Hear Obama Say:
        (Another in a series*)

        As the effective head of the Democrat Party, before I leave office I want to apologise for my party’s history and to say how deeply I regret that our party defended slavery, established Jim Crow and until nearly fifty years ago actively prevented African-Americans from full participation in American public life. It is a record for which no amount of apologies can atone.

  29. Questions: I understand that organized agitation in Ferguson and Baltimore was politically motivated. How long did it take to get from incident to people in the streets?

    Why the difference between Charlotte and Tulsa?

    Could Charlotte have been seen as more politically useful, given bathrooms, and picked?

    1. At a guess, the incident in Charlotte is more likely to help the governor and Trump, more likely to hurt the Charlotte Liberals and Hillary. I think Hillary’s mostly maxed out her vote in the liberal areas of NC and the sight of such unrest is more likely to turn out the conservative votes.

      It depends a great deal on how effectively and decisively Governor McCrory acts. Frankly, Charlotte isn’t greatly loved in most of the rest of the state.

    2. I seem to remember the folks in Charlotte told the race-mongers to go get bent when they showed up, but in a very Christian way; Ferguson definitely had multiple family members jumping through the monger’s hoops and having a lawyer for the family formatting the news releases.

      Willingness of those closely tied to the dead to allow their memory to be used for The (amazingly well funded– think those lawyers are cheap? Or the paid protesters?) Narrative.

      There’s probably other stuff, like how willing those in shipping distance are to at least act like the cops are being unfair if they shoot back.

      1. From Wikki:

        During the American Civil War, Indian Territory occupied most of what is now the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It served as an unorganized region set aside for Native American tribes of the Southeastern United States following the Indian Removal Act. It was occupied by captured Native Americans who had been removed from their lands. The area was the scene of numerous skirmishes and seven officially recognized battles involving Native American units Native allied with the Confederate States of America, Native Americans loyal to the United States government, and Union and Confederate troops.

        A total of 7,860 Native Americans participated in the Confederate Army, as both officers and enlisted men; they were mostly from the Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. The Union organized several regiments of Indian Home Guard to serve in the Indian Territory and sometimes adjacent areas of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

          1. Yes. Just like any friend-favor. Or do a work swap – you de-bug the ‘puter and I rake the yard, or keep the kidlet for an hour or so, or help dispose of the bod—, er, the stuff you need hauled to the dump.

              1. “Can?”

                Oh, sure. One “can” also calmly, patiently, but ultimately bluntly explain that there’s paying work that takes precedence/got to sleep before said paying work/got family obligations that take precedence/miles to go/promises to keep…

                After all, there’s no stopping them once they know you can fix a wireless printer, clean that sticking secondary shutter valve that’s causing random engine halts, hang drywa-

                Err, sorry, can’t do any of those. Nope. Completely clueless. *walks away whistling tunelessly…*

                1. There’s a reason every pickup owner has a bumper sticker somewhere:

                  “Yes, I own a truck. NO, I won’t help you move.”

    1. Why oh why can we not go back to those good old days when everyone from toddler to old crippled granny worked from sun to sun just so they barely had enough to eat and a bit of shelter from the elements. In a good year. In a bad one both toddler and granny died of disease and malnutrition. And even in those good years the life expectancy was somewhere around 40.
      Yep, technology certainly screwed up that idylic paradise.
      Look when your life’s work disappears by way of technological advancement you have one of two choices: retrain to something else, or throw yourself on the tender mercies of government or private charity.
      Personally, in my 65 years here I’ve held at least a dozen jobs, many of them vastly different from the last and requiring an entirely different skill set.
      And government can play one of two roles in this situation. They can contribute to efforts to provide the education to do the retraining to develop those new skill sets, or they can treat those who have lost their employment like ignorant fools incapable of change so dependent on Big Daddy to take care of them, and thus destroying whatever vestige of self worth they might still possess.

      1. Sorry, this was intended as a rebuttal to the Greg Price comment immediately below. Typing is obviously not a part of my many skill sets.

  30. Passed along without endorsement, for consideration and discussion:

    NESFA Press Announcement Mailing List



    SOMERVILLE, MA — NESFA Press, the publishing arm of the New England Science Fiction Association, announces the publication of A LIT FUSE: THE PROVOCATIVE LIFE OF HARLAN ELLISON, AN EXPLORATION BY NAT SEGALOFF.

    Written over the course of five years, consisting of exhaustive and exclusive interviews with Ellison, his colleagues, his family, his friends, and his enemies, A LIT FUSE will be published in a 500-copy limited special edition this fall (2016). The limited edition is now available for pre-order at $75 from NESFA Press. A general hardcover edition is expected by early Spring, 2017. The slipcased special limited edition will include features not available in the general edition.

    “A LIT FUSE is authorized, but that doesn’t mean it’s a hagiography,” says Segaloff. “The first thing Harlan told me when we started our adventure was that he wanted me to write the truth. Considering that that’s what Harlan himself has been doing for the last sixty-five years, I had a clear mandate.”

    Tracing the fractious Ellison’s life and career – and including, for the first time with permission, excerpts from his work – the biography explores his fears, his demons, and his doubts as well as his principles, his hopes, and his triumphs. “It is, without question, the most vulnerable and intimate he has ever allowed himself to appear in print,” Segaloff says. “This is a portrait of the man and his intensely personal creative process, not the usual list of lawsuits, melees, or tantrums, although they’re in here, too.”

    Those interviewed include Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Peter David, David Gerrold, Robert Sawyer, Michael Scott, Edward Asner, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Bryant, Alan Brennert, J. Michael Straczynski, Robert Silverberg, Paul Krassner, and Walter Koenig.

    Of particular note are an analysis of the Connie Willis controversy, the infamous dead gopher story, allegedly pushing a fan down an elevator shaft, and the final word on THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS.

    “NESFA Books is honored to be publishing A LIT FUSE,” says editor David G. Grubbs. “So much has been written about Harlan Ellison without Harlan’s input that we finally have the man himself on record. This will be a revelation, even to people who know him.”

    Information and order forms for A LIT FUSE can be found at

    Contact: NESFA Press

  31. “There is no technology so advanced that there is no room for people who can do things with their hands. ”

    The millions of people pushed out of their jobs by endless automation/telecommuting/etc would beg to differ with you. We are now technoloizing delivery driving, housework and a host of other tasks that provided at least a minimum of fallback work for those displaced by incessant technological advance.

    When you have so much tech that a small fraction of the previous labor force can produce what the entire labor force used to produce, it is inevitable that you must either change the economic relationship of work for resources to live or watch as your economy/society dies.

    1. Oh, okay, so you are actually a lefty with blinders on.
      The people “pushed off their jobs” haven’t learned new ones, mostly because the idiots in power think they’re incapable and so sit tight on the levers of technology and job creation.
      Take a powder, Jack. I read “With folded hands” back in the seventies. When we have a socialist in power, technology ALWAYS mysteriously destroys jobs for “the vulnerable.”
      Stop patronizing. You’re no elite. I grew up amid working class people. They could spot you half of their ingenuity and still come out ahead of you.

      1. Because naturally, in his perception, the government needed to sponsor a buggy whip maker preservation program, i guess.

      2. The people “pushed off their jobs” haven’t learned new ones, mostly because they’ve been schooled into uselessness, their imaginations crippled and their initiative crushed. They were trained at great expense to be drones and now they have no way to make a living.

        1. While this works for those pushed of their jobs by technology, it doesn’t work for those pushed off their jobs by a third party changing the playing field– if I lose my job digging irrigation ditches because they bought a backhoe, I can shift to a fairly similar job, say, cleaning irrigation ditches and digging those ditches too small to be backhoed. (No, cleaning them can’t be automated. THey’ve TRIED.)

          If I lose my job digging ditches because it’s now so expensive to have someone dig a ditch that the backhoe is cheaper, they’re not going to have a lot of money to have the now-poor-quality (because the replacement was forced, rather an a genuine advance) ditches cleaned.

          That means it goes undone.

          (Except for, say, the mid-60s rancher who has to get into the ditch THREE TIMES this week to keep his water running, because they had to cut the hours for the ditch walker again; that guy’s actually getting paid slightly more before taxes, but he isn’t working as long, and the job isn’t being done.)

          1. Or a job training pipeline that presumes that a) graduates are somewhat functional human beings b) that the economy will be growing enough to employ all of the graduates. Combine marginal soft skills with a sluggish economy, and one can be left wondering ‘WTF?’ Pushing ‘disadvantaged’ through technical skills training does not automatically result in success.

            Centralized regulation of business exerts a lot of pressure towards uniform standards in hiring. This increases the chance that qualities that prevent one from being hired at place A will also prevent one from being hired at place B.

            1. This increases the chance that qualities that prevent one from being hired at place A will also prevent one from being hired at place B.

              Which is “fixed” by making it so that you can’t fire someone for having ___ qualities, or refuse to hire them for ___ qualities, which means people find something that can work as an OK filter to avoid the people qualifying. (Say, “a college degree” to avoid getting someone who’s been a career criminal since he hit puberty.)

              1. Yeah. The more all formal hiring must circumvent the most direct means to filter for an issue, the more formal hiring falls back on cumbersome less reliable filters. This increases cost and risk of hiring. One can hire less, or one can use an informal process of finding someone of known background and character to then push through the formal process.

                Which means that the people with no connections, purportedly helped, are hurt.

                I imagine it would be pretty demoralizing to be someone with no social skills, long term unemployment, trained hard skills, and the eyes to see all of this.

                1. Of course, if you’re in an official government victim group, you can bypass that to at least some extent by placing a call to your identity politics support network, EEOC, Title IX office, etc., and mention the magic words “disparate impact.” That guarantees you a better chance of being hired because the business can’t afford to deal with the hassle.

                  In that kind of legal environment, identity politics is a rational response. For everyone.

              2. See my reference to “disparate impact” below; that’s being used to force businesses to ignore little things like that. Which is one reason the “Amish” slasher ended up in a security guard uniform at that mall.

      1. Of course, you will NEVER do that as long as we have a warm-body democracy where parasites have the same say as producers.

    2. The millions of people pushed out of their jobs by endless automation/telecommuting/etc would beg to differ with you. We are now technoloizing delivery driving, housework and a host of other tasks that provided at least a minimum of fallback work for those displaced by incessant technological advance.

      We “technologized” housework back when my grandmother was a ranchwife– it’s why she, unlike her mother, didn’t have to “have a girl in.” It’s now possible for me to cook, clean, teach, write and keep a house (including doing all the bills- which takes next to no time, compared to what even my mom had to deal with every month when I was my kids’ age) — AND I HAVE RUGS. EVERYWHERE.
      High holy crow, do you have any idea what kind of work that involves? Have you ever had, say, a kids’ rug that is too small to vacuum effectively, but too big to fit in the washer, so you have to try to beat it clean? *shudder* But we had wall to wall rugs in almost every room, and that’s the lower maintenance choice. Because vacuums are a thing.

      Delivery driving has taken a fraction of what it “requires” for years, also because of technology– you don’t need four people to manage the paperwork for a tiny store, you can do it with one and a computer. You don’t have to have two or three guys in a delivery truck, because they can and are built so one guy can use lifts to deliver heavy stuff.
      I grew up in places where there simply wasn’t the money flow to do upgrades on a lot of services, so I got to see things done like they have been since the 50s, or watch the upgrades.

      I’ve got a pair of uncles that run a farm mostly on a ’50s technology level, with a splattering of ’20s for some of it, and as modern of machines as they can manage on the cheap. You do not even want to think about how much more labor it takes to make enough food to feed a family on even 1920s technology farming vs “most of these tractors are older than the people driving them, they’re replaced when they break” modern farming. Heck, my parents manage a ranch that’s the second sort– there are a ton of out-buildings for housing the hands that were needed to handle the operation; now it’s two senior citizens and one usually unskilled-and-not-wanting-to-become-skilled laborer, and it’s physically possible. Not easy, and they really need at least two more “unskilled” or one “willing to become skilled” guy, but possible.

      When stuff is changed because there’s a better way to do it, for less, then yeah the person doing it right now is out of that job– but the cost for the service they were doing drops, too, and there are other similar jobs to get until that job is similarly replaced if it can be. (You have access to the Science Channel? They’re doing a marathon of How It’s Made. Watch how many of the “highly automated” jobs still need people, and not just for watching the machine. These guys make it look easy, but that’s because they’re GOOD.)

      When stuff is changed because the cost of that person doing their job was just artificially raised– say, by requiring that they cost the company several dollars more an hour, or that there has to be two of them instead of one– that job goes away and so does the service it supplied.

      *IF* you’re lucky, the person can be replaced by a machine– at least well enough for the business they were supporting to function. Sometimes, it can’t be. That’s “they were put out of business” rather than “their job is filled by machine,” but it’s the same cause.

      Naturally, the second one has a lot of really freaking bad effects, and it’s the only one folks notice because nobody looks around for stuff that caused what isn’t a problem.

      “Oh, gads, Molly– it’s terrible! My job switched over to computer supply management, and now instead of having to spend a couple of hours a day going through the back rooms looking for stuff and matching it to the order receipts, the guys who put it on the shelves use this laser gun and it’s added to the listing, and when it goes out the front door with a customer it gets removed. The only time I have to go walk around the back is when someone screws up and can’t find the parts. My job is so much easier that I don’t even have to pull the clerks off the front to come help me anymore. You know how George was having a lot of problems with getting things on the shelves, and we were thinking he’d have to be let go? It looks like we’ll be able to keep him on, because he can run the laser gun when it’s something big enough to take two people, and then when he retires we just won’t hire a new guy until some of our youngsters get a bit older.”
      “Oh, Polly, that’s just a horrible side-effect of technology. People not having to work as hard, and there being more give in the system– how terrible for you!”


        Which are affordable because they are now mass produced, woven on machines.

        1. And they’re synthetic, so “wool” and “silk” are things I have in nice-for-me clothing (I don’t buy anything that would be ruined and I’d be destroyed if a child walks up with a handful of food, or I’m forced to change a tire.)

      2. About those tractors older than their drivers.
        When one of those breaks anyone with the proper skill set can get it back up and running with a hammer, wrench, a bit of bailing wire, and in extremis access to either a blacksmith or a junkyard.
        As a boy I fondly recall steam engines dating from the latter 19th century still being used for the annual sweet corn festival. Noisy, impressive as heck, and a great source of boiling water to cook the corn. Field, to boiling water, to your plate with butter and salt. Dang I miss those days.

        1. The problem is building up that proper skill set– when you simply don’t have a whole lot of time, because warm body workers are so expensive, now.

          1. Oh, this. This. Thank you kindly for bringing it up.

            People learn by doing. How does one learn to do when one has never done? You get a job doing work that isn’t worth much. If costs are high, or firing difficult, there is more risk for the employer, which means they either take the risk less often, or must offset it somehow.

            Five-ten years ago I read that in Europe (particularly France), this drove high long term unemployment for young people. Better off parents would get around this by getting their kids unpaid work until until an employer had a job they were willing to take a much decreased risk with.

            Guess what I am convinced, from real life evidence, might be happening in America?

            1. This.

              Also, lots of regulations for working trying to ensure that everybody works the “right” way, gets paid the “right” amount, works only a certain amount of hours at certain times of day. Doesn’t matter if the worker would be perfectly willing to work for less pay, work more hours for that same pay, work at unconventional times perhaps because it would fit his personal schedule better.

              I do that, actually, since my main job is delivering newspapers, done at night, and due to that I need to sleep during the day, so I also prefer to do the cleaning which I do as my second job either very late, just before starting my rounds, or very early, right after them. “Officially” I am doing them earlier or later than I actually do them. It’s a bit hinky arrangement, and I fear that dodging the system that way will become harder sooner or later.

              With the cleaning we also have a system to register the time we start and the time we stop. Now don’t tell anyone, but I often do sign myself off work before I am actually done… I work alone at times when nobody is there, and I am older with beginning osteoarthritis. Sometimes I need to take short breaks, and I am slower to start with than most of the young healthy students the firm mostly employs and for who the designated times aren’t difficult to achieve while I can be a bit hard pressed to get the job done well in the time it should be done. So I cheat – sort of – to give a better impression of myself since I’d really need this job as long as possible, preferably until I am old enough to retire, unlike those students who will be doing it for a year or two, if that.

              The government and too many of the voters in this country (not USA, but similar situations in all western countries, worse in some, slightly better in others) are so eager to help people like me and they all think they know better so I am not given any personal choice in the matter once some laws or other rules have been decided on. After all, if I would work for lesser pay or weird hours or whatever that would be unfair to those who won’t. Better that we all are on dole.

            2. The minimum wage is *always* $0.00/hr. Either because you can’t find work, or you have to volunteer until you get to the point where you can have the skills to justify being paid at the current minimum wage.

              The funny thing is, though, that sometimes inflation catches up with the minimum wage, or even surpasses it. When I was in college, I noticed that McDonald’s jobs were typically starting at around $7/hr. It seemed that the only jobs I could find that were minimum wage were work/study jobs advertised on campus!

              (Granted, I wasn’t looking for work at the time, but still…the disparity was definitely noticeable!)

    3. Sweetie, the “millions of people pushed out of their jobs” would have found other jobs or started their own small businesses if starting a small business hadn’t been damn near regulated out of existence.

      Instead, a fair few start their own small businesses anyway, in black market areas. Others fall for the whole “it’s someone else’s fault” nonsense. Still others wind up with the short end of the favored H1B abusers bringing in cheap replacements.

      If you’re not a fan of “incessant technological advance” what are you doing on the internet? You should be living in a cave, hunting wild animals with tools made from all-natural materials, and wearing only the pelts of what you catch. Otherwise you’re just a snob who’s quite happy to claim “okay for me but not for thee.”

      Technological advances are picked up and become widespread because they improve life for a hell of a lot more people than they disadvantage. You don’t get to decide whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, except for the technology you personally use.

      Go play Luddite elsewhere.

    4. When you have so much tech that a small fraction of the previous labor force can produce what the entire labor force used to produce, it is inevitable that you must either change the economic relationship of work for resources to live or watch as your economy/society dies.

      Mr. Price, you are an ignoramus, at best, but let us take your ignorant assumption and test it against Actual History.

      According to your assertion, technology that pushes people out of an industry should cause the economy/society to die.

      In 1850, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the total US population that lived and worked on farms was 4.9 million of the nation’s workers out of 7.7 million total. That is, farming took up sixty-four percent of the total work force.

      According to you, Mr. Genius Person, introducing technology and forcing workers out ought to destroy the economy.

      By 1987, the total population living on farms was just under five million (4,986,000), which might not seem like a significant change.

      Except that the total US population in 1987 was two hundred forty-three million, making the percentage of the population working on farms, at most, just about two percent.

      In 1850 it took sixty-four percent of the population to feed the nation. In 1987 it took two percent.

      And yet, some-crazy-how, in the years between, there was no mass starvation, the economy didn’t die, society didn’t vanish in a puff of Marxist wankery. All of that change, you dear sweet fool, was due to improving technology, allowing people to move off of farms and into other, non-farming pursuits.

      I’d suggest you read something so that you don’t make such idiotic pronouncements in the future, but I’m quite sure you are incapable of learning. You are still certain you are right, all of history notwithstanding.

      1. In 1850 it took sixty-four percent of the population to feed the nation. In 1987 it took two percent.

        Chotto matte, if you please– the US in 1850 we exported less than $190 million in ag products, mostly cotton. (although it WAS a massive chunk of our total exports)

        Now the 1980s are actually rather bad point to pick for comparison, because there was the “farm crunch”– a bunch of loans came due, basically. Hit ag really hard.
        Even then, we exported over 35 billion in ag products. (It was a much smaller chunk of our total exports.) Largely food, too, not stuff to make stuff.


        My point being, in 1850 we were really dang impressive for feeding ourselves and having a bit left to ship. (minimum 75 hours and 2.5 acres for 100 bushels of corn)

        In 1982, we fed ourselves and had so much to ship off that when other countries couldn’t buy it, even at very low prices, it actually hurt the less than 4% of the population involved in the business. (less than three hours and 1.2 acres for 100 bushels of corn)

        Not that it detracts from your point in the slightest, but I thought your massive understatement needed to be highlighted a just bit. 😉

        1. I was simplifying for the reality challenged original commenter. 🙂

          Also, I went with literally the first link I found after two seconds of googling, which was an article from 1988, because seriously, why be arsed to put more effort into establishing something so blindingly obvious?

          1. Keeping it simple also lets me get new sources for my kids’ classes. 😀

            That site I linked has a LOT of really good information in very simple chunks, and well sorted– but you have to know a little bit about it to find anything, so it would’ve been a horrible first response.

            There’s always the issue of figuring out exactly how much of the population is in agriculture, too, because how does one define it? Only the folks employed on the farms? By the farms? the guys who ship for them? The tractor store over the hill?


    5. When you have so much tech that a small fraction of the previous labor force can produce what the entire labor force used to produce, it is inevitable that you must either change the economic relationship of work for resources to live or watch as your economy/society dies.

      Exactly right. And this is why I’m now getting paid rather a lot to teach people who have run out of saleable skills in the old economy to become web programmers in the new one.

      This is also why my Medium piece It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Code has had 8000 views in the last 30 days, more than a year after I wrote it.

      Break the habit of assuming that those puir benighted heathens are too goddamn stupid to learn new things, and you’ll begin to get a clue.

    6. How far back would the new Luddites take us?

      I like central heating and cooling with its filtered air during pollen season(s). I find refrigeration of food a handy thing. I like hot and cold running water. I enjoy functional porcelain fixtures which take away human waste. I would not like do without vacuumed cleaners or the household washer/dryer. I like living without the droppings of horses and what it attract all around me.

      On a school spring project I spent time in a cabin in the mountains of New York on a farm with produced maple syrup and apple cider. The cabin was heated by a wood stove on which we cooked. Lots of work there, from cutting wood to hauling out ashes. Then there was the out house, not a pleasant trip if needed in the middle of the night, particularly if you don’t need it, but are going to accompany someone else who is scared of spiders. (The Dillards were correct, they are inevitably too close in the heat and too far in the cold.)

      Someone builds the computers, someone packs and ships the computers, someone sells the computers, someone repairs the computers and someone is doing their work by telecommuting. Why keep jobs that can be done better more safely through automation, such as painting automobiles, just to have jobs. If simply keeping people busy is your goal, why not bring back street sweepers and scribes? Jobs have been changing as long as there have been jobs.

      At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

      1. Or forced labor for the destitute. Make a steel mill for the druggies, the leftists, and the luddites. Have them take the finished work, and melt it down to start again.

          1. The value of work is not in the manhours alone, and I love to put poison pills in remedy proposals that I think are fundamentally unsound.

            1. Indeed, I recall hearing about a study that showed that people can’t work for wecy long doing something they believe is completely useless, even if it’s well paid.

              The particular study I have in mind had people dig trenches with and then fill them up again. Even though they were being paid $15/hr to do it, they couldn’t tolerate doing something that was clearly useless.

              (I do wonder what would have happened, though, if those same people were told that the trenches they were digging and filling up again were to make it easier for plants in the local ecology grow, or some other semi-plausible explanation…it could be that the study tested things like that, but I don’t remember it well enough to say for certain.)

              1. It seems it might not be limited to humans, either. There was a story, during the first couple of weeks after 9/11, that the search & rescue dogs were getting distraught, and they had to have some people hide in the rubble for the dogs to find living people to rescue, so they would perk up and go on working.

              2. Digging trenches for the corpses of politicians sounds a very useful job, digging them for interment of their policies, not so much.

        1. Have them melt down plowshares and make swords, since they assume we’re all better off without firearms.

        2. I’ve heard of a concentration camp experiment where inmates were forced to haul stones back and forth across the compound. Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth — until they went mad.

          Gotta keep up the pretense that it’s work.

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