Generational Rites

When I came of age, back in pre-history, we sure were handed a messed up world.

It was 1980 and all the science fiction authors were predicting nuclear holocaust if we didn’t disarm and submit to the Russians immediately.  This was rather president Carter’s position, I gather, but he softened it somewhat for public consumption.

Being a cold-warrior was a bad thing, in my day.  You see, we came just after the boomers.

Now we’re being aggregated to the boomers which is loony because in 1968, that iconic year, I was learning to write.  Also, btw, the boom had stopped by my time, and classrooms were half full.  Part of what made the boomer generation transformational was no what they were or believed or that a larger number of them were assholes (this is not true.  Same proportion were assholes) but that they came of age at a time when people EARNESTLY believed every generation would be bigger than the previous one.  Read some Heinlein books of the fifties, to get that sense.  So “the youth” was outrageously catered to, instead of being, as always in the past, kept in its place.  Which meant that some of the stupid notions every generation has were enshrined and propagandized AT the boomers by people who wanted to sound “young and hip” and be on the winning side.  The prototypical boomer is a media creation.

But we weren’t even that.  When I was coming of age, we were called all the things the millenials are now (which is why I have great sympathy with them) including slackers, care for nobody, egotists. The twist is that we were also supposedly greedy.  HOW we were supposed to be greedy when we were most of us out of work is a mystery, but it was the fact we walked out of the sit-ins, cut our hair, and tried to find jobs (which by and large were taken by boomers.  Not their fault. They were a massive bulge in the population snake.)

So. When we came of age, we expected to be obliterated by a bomb any minute.  When I told my brother that Portugal, so small, so insignificant, was likely to escape, he reminded me that contaminated sea coasts would kill us.  (I think he was wrong.)

We were, metaphorically speaking, waiting for the hammer to fall.  Those of us who were politically aware knew that the Soviet Union was a mess internally, but we expected it, externally, to project power and have a grip — perhaps the winning grip — on world politics for the rest of our lives.

Pre-Reagan endless unemployment seemed the future.  ALL the future.  As well as ever increasing misery because there just wasn’t enough for all those people being born.  We were going to be increasingly shouting “Make room, make room” just to be able to have a square of ground to sleep on.

Those of us slowly coming to Mr. Heinlein’s view that the founding fathers had a point and that government should be by and for the people were faced with pundits and smart people utterly convinced — even when they opposed it — that history’s arrow pointed the other way.

At best we were all going to to live in a gray world, controlled by bureaucrats.  At worst, we were going to be atoms.  Add to that that we didn’t have jobs (when I was in my twenties and trying to break in, my husband was working 16 to 18 hour days, and sometimes we came to the end of the month wondering how to eat) and there didn’t seem to be much future for us.

The liberty minded among us who aspired to a life in the arts felt like free-marketeers in the soviet union.  If we wanted to survive, we were going to to have to keep quiet the rest of our lives.  The consensus reality was that “mixed” economy, with a heavy dose of planning was the way to go.

Other great ideas of the late seventies though the people here will have to correct me if they were only pervasive in Europe: Price controls. Yes, even in nominally free countries, it was considered sane for the government to tell you how much a bread roll should cost.  Salary controls.  Yes, even in nominally free countries, it seemed sane for the government to tell you how much your employer should pay you. Oil was going to end.  Tomorrow, if not the day after. But we couldn’t have nuclear.  So add a third way of dying: freezing, ofstarvation, in the dark.

Yesterday we got someone very young in the comments (well, I HOPE he was very young) telling us that Trump is the result of his and his like “rage” at the world they’ve inherited, and how we, older people, haven’t done anything to make it the utopia they deserve.

IF I were a little more mendacious, I’d answer with: Well, we collapsed the soviet union for you; planned economies are no longer automatically considered better; you have the internet; things — including overseas travel — are exponentially cheaper and you are, ultimately, much richer than I was at your age, even at the same economic level.  You’re welcome.

The temptation is great, but I’m not that mendacious. I keep my lies to fiction, where they belong.  None of those things were my doing.  I was, as most people were, trying to establish myself in my career, make a living, raise children.

I wasn’t even a public voice for good.  Oh, sure, I worked for Reagan’s campaign, which was probably illegal.  I worked on various elections since.  I write books.  But there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do to hand my kids utopia on a plate.  If I could I would have, but see, the other side gets a say.

I remember — barely, I know, being ancient — being young, and thinking it was all some vast conspiracy AGAINST ME PERSONALLY.  All those rich people, all those fat cats, and yep, all those boomers, were hiding the stash.  And then I’d stop myself and think about it soberly in the same way I controlled paranoia for years.  When I entered a room and thought everyone there hated me, I went to “Oh, no.  Most of them don’t even know me.”

In the same way the young people who feel betrayed by conservatives and libertarians past need to take a deep breath.  Kid, we didn’t even know you.  We were just people doing the best we could, with no visibility into the future, same as you are.  And no one handed us a perfect world.  And we won’t hand one to their children.  And they won’t hand one to THEIR children, world without end.

Each generation has to fight for its freedom against those who want power, even those who THINK they want it for ‘your own good.’.  There will always be those, no matter how many times we discredit them, no matter how many graves we fill.  They just come back under new names.

Would anyone believe that with the wall done and the cold war over, our kids would believe communism was “fair” and national socialism the new hotness?  No?  I wouldn’t either.

But if you look at it logically, we were soft when communism fell: partly because they had infiltrated our universities and partly because the generation then in control, my grandparents’ generation, had seen that after WWII when you destroyed nations you had to rebuild them, and had come to have doubts about it.

So they were soft, the universities remained infested, and now we’re here, fighting the grandchildren of red-diaper babies, and battling the idea of a closed pie and tribal racialism, and hierarchies of victimhood anew.

Take heart though.  Everything we’re battling is sort of a scaled down version of the past.  Even Putin’s bluster has only a minuscule bite compared to what the USSR could have pulled.

Part of the fun in this is that my generation can’t take credit, but we really can’t take the blame.  Most of us who have a voice have had it too short a time; those of us aspiring to command positions (not me) are still too young.  Our parents’ generation and the boomers are in control now.  Will be in control for — given improved longevity — another twenty years.

Which brings us to the young: Bide your time.  You’re sort of like the heir to the throne chomping at the bit to get it, because you have all these neat ideas.

I remember being like that.

If all of us over 30 disappeared tomorrow in a puff of smoke, you’d find out how disastrous your ideas are.  You’d find it out face first into reality.  And the dead would fill graves without end.

So be glad you won’t have that kind of control.  Work on being yourself, on establishing your career, on having and raising kids.  Somewhere along the line your theories will fail and you won’t even notice.  And when you get where I am, not quite yet with any power, mind, you’ll realize that the best you can hope is that you can do your poor best to hand your kids a SLIGHTLY better world.

Rage has no place in this process.  Very satisfying, no doubt. Cathartic.  BUT every time that kind of rage has been unleashed into the world things went badly: French Revolution; Russian Revolution most revolutions in South America and Africa, the abattoir-wars of the 20th century.

You can’t sweep away the past by wishing it.  Cultures and structures have persistence, as the various people trying to replace facebook or twitter have found.  And those are recent structures.  And you can’t create utopia, because the other side always gets a vote.  And sometimes (when the other side aren’t dyed in the wool communists at least) it’s even a good thing, because it might point out your blind spots.

The crown will come to you in time.  And you’ll find out how little you can actually do, with all your power.

Until then bide your time and try to study the history of politics and yeah, the history of… history.  Read some biographies, too, to understand what the assumptions are, and how they have changed.

I will grant you that if we’d known what the future held we could have done much better for you.  We didn’t.  No one does.  All we can do is do the best we can with the assumptions of our time.

Remember that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of haste.  It is also a tragedy of youth.  The two often go together.  And if given their head, it all ends in a suicide pact.

So, go wisely and slow, they stumble fast.

The world is not a conspiracy against you.  We don’t even know you!  And you’re not the great transformational figure you think you are.  Which is great, because those come with a butcher’s bill.

Say thank you to my grandparent’s generation for defeating the soviet union, and give my generation some elbow room, once we have any power, to get you space colonies.

And don’t expect utopia.  It was never in the cards.

371 thoughts on “Generational Rites

  1. The way demographers come up with these named cohorts (boomers, Gen X, etc.) and then treat it as if the members all had similar experiences strikes me as very loose thinking. With a year range of about twenty years, the experiences of somebody born at the start of the period and the end of the period can be strikingly different.

    1. The “WWII Generation” cohort made sense – it was a shared experience. The “Boomers” made less sense, but the label fit for the demographic bulge. “Generation X” amused me as those bestowing the name (or reporting on it, likely as poorly as everything else is reported) were going on about all the lack of unity and unifying experiences (What, they WANTED us to have another Great/World War to focus us? How evil). Surprise! The generation raised being told “It’s OK to be yourself” and “Be yourself” and “Do your own thing”[1] and so on… er, de-coherred. What we’re they expecting? Oh yes, readily advertised-to minions. They might have gotten those anyway.

      [1] “Different”

    2. Also, in a large country there would always be people who differed.

      Take the 60s-70s, the so-called hippy era.

      The hippies got the news but the non-hippies didn’t get the news.

    3. “Boomer” makes sense if you apply it to the folks who experienced some kind of a Baby Boom, say born during the late years of the war to, oh, 8 years later– not so much for those born in the 65.

      Millennial makes perfect sense for the way I first saw it being used– describing those coming of age during the turn of the Millennium. AKA, the 9/11 “generation.” Early years of college through about 10.

      It’s gotta describe something that actually forms your world view— say, the Berlin Wall generation, or the Cold War generation.

      Hammering it so it fits a human-reproductive-cycle “generation” is moronic.

      1. Your system makes more sense. Technically, I’m a boomer, or maybe Gen X, but neither of those fit my age or outlook all that well. My parents weren’t boomers because they were born during early WWII, not after. But calling me the Berlin Wall generation, or late Cold War generation fits quite well, because that’s what shaped me politically to a large extent.

        1. Unfortunately, it starts with some rational thought, but quickly devolves into a marketing/othering experience.
          WWII, of course, but why no Vietnam Generation? (hint: we lost.) Originally ‘Boomer’ meant a demographic shift, additional school facilities and teachers would be required, and then the media got involved. It has been downhill ever sense, especially for 1)Assignment of blame and 2)Sense of being special and superior.
          Personally, I like being a member of the ‘taking over the world and leaving it ruthlessly alone’ group, which is an amazing trans-generational experience, mostly of people that do not want to be labeled or pigeon-holed.

      2. And, here’s another thought: Who had the most influence on you, growing up? Who provided most of your child-rearing, inculcating you with their values?

        In my case, it was my grandmother, born in the late 1890s. Due to my mother being a late birth for her, she was raised in the 1940s/50s, by a woman a generation or two out of step with the surrounding cultural matrix. That, in turn, was reinforced with my mom needing to go to work when I was in grade school, and my maternal grandmother filling the breach for child-rearing and tutelage.

        So… What generation am I? I’ve been out of step with the one I was born in, chronologically, since early childhood. Whatever BS I got from my peers was pretty much overwritten by influence at home, due to the pervasive and inescapable “grandma mafia”, as well as the fact my mom was a damn teacher at the grade school I went to. So, am I a Boomer, born in the last year commonly ascribed to that generation, or am I by rights a child of the 1920s, the progeny of what should have been a pre-depression cultural milieu that I grew up in?

        There’s more to this “birth cohort” crap than mere dates. Cultural/familial impact is a potential contributor, as well–And, I believe, in some cases the critical one.

        One of my anthropology instructors had a survey that supposedly could tell when you were born, by virtue of how you answered questions about your values and norms. Everyone in the class, which being military had a wide-ranging set of ages, was dead on, with one exception: Me. Per that survey, most of my attitudes and mores were those of the generations before WWII, particularly the era before the “Greatest Generation”. Given where I did most of my precocious reading, in my grandmother’s extensive library collection, that ain’t really what I’d term a surprise.

        Looking back on it, I think I know why I’ve never really felt at home with the vast majority of my “peers” by birth; by rights, the majority of my real cultural peers were dead and dying of old age when I was in my late teens and twenties. Culturally, I belong to a world now dead and mostly buried, contemporary to Robert Heinlein. There may be a really profound reason his writing always resonated so strongly with me, and it might be because I’m more a child of his chronologically contemporary era than I am of my own.

          1. We might need to find ourselves a time machine, then, so we can find a cultural/chronological milieu we’re more at home in.

            I don’t think I’ve ever really been comfortable here, in this crass era of wanton sexuality and licentiousness. And, it’s not the sex itself; it’s the damn pervasiveness of it, and the way it’s been pervertedly inserted into every facet of public life from marketing soap to political candidates. That deal with Hillary having whatshername shaking her ass at a campaign rally? Try to imagine that happening in any other era, willya? And, she’s the candidate of “women’s liberation”?!?!!?

            No, this moment in the zeitgeist is for the birds. I don’t belong here, and I’d love to be able to go back and tell those dipshits what they were creating with the whole “let’s listen to Dr. Spock about raising the kids…” BS. Send me back to where I belong, and I’ll make H.L. Mencken look like a bloody piker. Probably get in trouble with the Time Police, though, after I choke Walter Duranty to ‘effing death with his whitewash columns about Stalin…

        1. That might explain a lot of how I feel a bit out of time. My parents were both born in the 1940’s, and I spent non-trivial amounts of time with grandparents (1910, 1913, 1928, for what I know just now). It’s quite likely those around me at my rough age were raised by people about a decade younger, let alone differences in grandparent age – and exposure.

            1. And yet my parents were born eight and seven years before yours.

              Yes, yes, I know. Different country and all that. AND there were supposed to be two between my sister and me. And my family has a history of having late-life children (In my direct patrilineal line, there’s an average of 40 years between generations – my dad was born when his father was 51)

        2. > Who had the most influence on you, growing up?

          Robert Heinlein and Keith Laumer, and a bit of EE Smith.

          My parents weren’t exactly role models.

        3. This…explains a lot, actually. Most of the books I read growing up were older–as in The Hardy Boys and H. Beam Piper.

          No wonder I’m so uncomfortable in this age.

      3. I am told I watched the moon landing. I do not, alas, remember that. I just barely recall Apollo-Soyuz and Skylab and Nixon’s resignation. I do recall Jonestown and Three Mile Island (which is still how I expand TMI for a moment). I have better recollection of the fall of Chernobyl, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Challenger explosion. 9/11 is of course well within my recall.

        It’s a bit jarring that in a couple years I’ll likely have some coworkers that never existed at all in, let alone had any experience of, the 20th Century.

  2. Nixon administration tried price controls. They worked as well as usual. So well that Clinton (or was it Obama) had people who had been in the Nixon administration, working on the price controls saying things like, ‘Don’t do that! It doesn’t work! Guess how we know!’

    1. The Dems under Carter tried the same thing with oil and gas prices.
      The result was the gas crisis of the late ’70s. Blocks long lines waiting to buy a maximum of ten gallons at a time. And if your gauge read over half full they wouldn’t sell you any at all.

      1. The conventional ‘wisdom’ started with the mis-attributed quote by Marie Antoinette; “Let them eat brioche.”
        While the quote may not be real, the circumstances were. The French set the price of common bread so low that Bakers were losing money, and then wondered why the Bakers stopped baking bread.
        That Nixon and Carter were absurd enough to try it a second time illustrates the typical ignorance of the ‘Washington elite’.

        1. Their “solution” was to require bakers to have enough common bread for all comers, and have to sell their better goods at the common price if they ran out.

      2. Actually, that predated Carter. The Arab Oil Embargo happened in 1973. This brought on all sorts of energy saving measures from the Nixon and Ford eras, from lowering speed limits to 55 to trying to keep Daylight Savings Time year around, That only let us burn more energy in the winter.

        What can I say? That was the era of the aforementioned Nixon price controls and Ford Whip Inflation Now buttons. Even the recommended thermostat settings predated Carter, and there was talk of rationing.

        I also recall complaints about kerosene used in the first stage of the Saturn rocket. “They’re burning up all our fuel!” The moon shots had ended, but we had Skylab.

        What I clearly recall during the Carter Administration is increasing gasoline costs and a propaganda comic made for the government by Disney pushing “energy saving” measures. Carter pushed the thermostat recommendations created before his term, and I dimly remember him squelching rationing, though that part is so hazy I won’t swear to it.

        Then came the Iranian Hostage Crises and attention focused elsewhere.

        1. I remember Pa adding some 3M reflective tape to my lunchbox so I’d be that bit more visible to drivers (inc. school bus) in the dark mornings of the year of attempted full-year DST. Didn’t bother me either way. I’m unsure it saved (or cost) anything to stay on one time standard. And now I’d prefer we simply choose one (don’t even care which one) and stick with it. The changing causes stresses that are problematic.

          I recall hearing of one fellow putting on the WIN button ‘upside down’ with the claim NIM was for “No Immediate Miracles.”

          1. Despite the propaganda, Daylight Savings Time at best saves no energy. The load curves stay the same, only shifts an hour. In the 1970s, it meant that buildings had to run heat longer because people were occupying them for an extra hour. There was also the going to school in the dark issue, where we in the Lower 48 had to contend with darkness our Alaskan buddies have to contend with every year.

            Truth be known, it’s more of a Golf Club Enjoyment Act than anything else. The joke was DST was to let congressmen play golf before dark.

            Ooh: There was an Ad Council campaign trying to get people to shop around in order to curb inflation. Everyone in the ads wore pig heads.

  3. > When I entered a room and thought everyone there hated me…

    I have two Super Powers:

    1) dogs usually love me. (and I like them too, except I’m drastically allergic to them. Not their fault…)

    2) I can walk into a room full of strangers and watch people I’ve never seen before bristle. I feel like Mr. T at a Klan meeting sometimes. I look in the mirror and I see an ordinary-looking schmuck, but apparently there’s something about my face or demeanor that sets some people off.

      1. Much like the blue fuzzy guy from the X-Men cartoon (not Beast, different blue fuzzy guy). His only mutation was being blue and fuzzy, and his only reason for existence was so that the evil mutant-haters could have someone to beat up on who wouldn’t promptly turn them into well-done BBQ.

        1. NIghtcrawler? The teleporter?

          Incidentally, in the comics, he can climb walls (circus training, coupled with his unusual anatomy), is an expert fencer (can use swords in both hands), and tends to be quite popular with the ladies once they get past his admittedly infernal appearance.

          1. Nah, I vaguely remember a couple of mutants with no powers that they added because too many folks were pointing out things along the lines of “what kind of utter freaking moron is going to beat up on a guy who rips cars in two, or juggles tanks, or can chuck you across the road with his mind?”

            It was the step after the…whatever they called the mostly ugly mutants that lived in the sewers, and before the “sucky powers and they’re ugly” mutants.

          2. Incidentally, my computer login screen has a lovely fan picture of Nightcrawler, and the ignorant abuse of Kurt Wagner in the comics is what made me swear off reading them back in…what, ’02 or so?

            1. I assume that’s a reference to stuff done to him in the main Marvel setting. I vaguely remember them moving to make him a Catholic priest, and then backtracking it at the last minute. Other than that, I wasn’t paying enough attention to see what they did with him.

              What they did to him in Ultimate was even worse, imo. They took one of the nicest mutants of the bunch (which made a good contrast to his infernal appearance), and made him a bigot and crazed stalker.

              1. They made him the son of satan.
                And a priest. A fake priest, who was the patsy for a group out to murder millions by simulating a Catholic rapture, so he could be made pope, then be shown as a mutant demon to…. something. Underwear gnomes would have been an improvement.

                1. … There’s a Catholic rapture?

                  Or was it just a case of the comic book authors displaying how little they know of Christianity?

              2. They took one of the nicest mutants of the bunch (which made a good contrast to his infernal appearance), and made him a bigot and crazed stalker.

                Funny thing is, I can see where they got that from– he’s Catholic and actually believes it, and he’s a charming romantic, who is probably a virgin…but still loves women.
                That doesn’t fit in the acceptable world view, so the stuff they don’t agree with but can’t actually argue against means he’s a “bigot,” which they’ll strawman out from there, and the idea of there being more to love than genital stimulation can’t be right, so he’s really a creepy stalker.

                Not that it excuses it at all, but once you get an idea of the blind spots…..

                1. His stalker actions in this case included kidnapping his target – one of his fellow X-Men (specifically Dazzler, iirc). It was pretty bad.

          3. Nope, not Nightcrawler either. Different blue fuzzy guy (I hadn’t realized how many blue fuzzy guys there were in X-Men). Guy didn’t even get a name, literally had no powers except being blue and fuzzy.

      2. Or the rejected Legion of Superheroes member Arm-Fall-Off Boy.

        Guess what his power was.

        1. If we’re going to get into Legion rejects, much less the Legion of Substitute Heroes, we’ll be here all week. Frankly, the heros they accepted were bad enough. Matter-Eater Lad? Triplicate Girl? Token Kid?

            1. As far as Chuck goes I’d point out in main continuity he did wind up marrying Luornu and ran the Academy quite a few times.

              As for Tenzil I found his constantly getting drafted into government amusing. For those who don’t read LSH but have suggest just drafting Congress the planet Bismoll (yes, the guy who could eat anything is from Bismoll…shut up) has been doing that since the 2960s at least.

              1. I read them from their first appearances, I think, certainly not long after, and vividly recall a “filler” story about how Chuck made it into the Legion, with its emphasis that “cool power” was less important than pluck. Courage, quick wits, keeping one’s head in a crisis and willingness to put yourself on the line were what made a Legionnaire.

                It should be noted that the creator of the LSH was Otto Binder, better known in SF circles as the “o” in Eando (with his brother Earl Andrew) Binder, whose Adam Link robot series, started in 1939, was an important step toward Asimov’s robot tales. (Although, as Henry Kutner would eventually tell us, Robots Have No Tails.)

            1. You vi bigot, you!

              Heretic! Blasphemer! Emacs is the one TRUE way!!!

              [we now return to the more usual topics for AtH…\]

    1. I can’t say how I would react to you, not having enough information nor truly knowing you well, but your description does describe my reaction to someone else. Objectively, I can’t state precisely why this person creeps me out – well beyond genuine creeps, even. It’s like he exudes Uncanny Valley to me. It’s a skin-crawling, teeth-itching, sense of Not Right. He’s friendly enough (without being too much so) but though he jokes or tries to, it feels forced and artificial and he seems to be the most humorless creature I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. I suspect I’ve dealt with machines that felt more human to me. Even when he says “Thank you” I get the peculiar feeling that there’s an unseen shoulder-angel/demon/creature whispering, “This is where you say ‘Thank you.'” to him.

      1. I see those too. I call them Pod People. I don’t even need magic sunglasses like Roddy Piper to see them.

        Except in my case, other people seldom see anything wrong with the Pod People I notice…

        Somewhere along the way I missed many of the social cues that other people seem to absorb automatically. I’m used to that. But generally, I have to interact with people a bit before they realize I’m not responding as they expect. The bristle-on-sight thing seems to be something different.

        (I see a lot of Pod People in the healthcare industry. They would have been just as happy and unconcerned working at Dachau or Treblinka as at the local clinic or hospital…)

        1. Perhaps they are people who’ve slipped into the “current” reality from realities viciously opposed to your own base reality?

          Little throwback to post a couple days ago.

        2. Well, there are sociopaths who live normal lives and never do anything evil. They have rules instead of morals, thanks to very bad childhood abuse, but they do their best.

          Of course, there are also sociopaths who are evil.

          1. I sometimes think I have sociopathic tendencies, but not nearly enough to consider myself anywhere near being a complete sociopath. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a spectrum, and I have something like 5% or 10% of sociopathy…

          2. Sociopathy is a very misunderstood thing; you probably know several “high-functioning” sociopaths that have managed to work out effective rules for living in modern society to a fairly successful degree. They’ve managed to create for themselves a set of internal working rules that enable them to pass for normal, and will likely do just fine until the end of their days.

            So long as everyone else follows the rules.

            Start breaking those rules, a lot of which are not likely to be spelled out in actual rulebooks or legal tomes, and then watch the shan hit the fit. Those high-functioning sociopaths are going to morph right into human IEDs, and blow right the f**k up on the perceived transgressor. End point for that…? Well, let’s just say that the pathologist who gets to work that case is likely to need a strong stomach, and be able to use his imagination effectively. Although, if he or she has one whit of empathy for the victim, they might not want to exercise that imagination.

            Been around one case of someone like that, don’t want to be around any more. It’s really disturbing to discover that the harmless little old man you thought you knew isn’t either harmless or in possession of a sense of proportionality. Also, utterly lacking in any form of “stop switch”.

            1. As with autism/aspergers, I suspect sociopathy has a high-covalence with high IQ. Let’s face it, intelligence is not quantitative it’s qualitative. Function at a high enough intellectual level and some thing is just wrong compared to normals.
              NONE of which means you can’t live a perfectly decent and rewarding life.
              It’s all in the raising.
              OF COURSE with this society handing our children to “professionals” to raise most of those people will go wrong.

              1. Handing our children to professionals to raise would be an improvement for a lot of kids I see on the train going to and from work…some of them act and appear just plan feral.

                They scare me more than a lot of adults…the only ones they don’t beat are the men who hang around Civic Center station (it is the one after work…if I get lost in reading and miss my station I will go two stations down to get on a North bound rather than do it at Civic Center).

                1. No, it wouldn’t. Not the professionals we have who are a) those who by and large can’t do anything else b) forbidden from discipline or even talking harshly to the children.
                  The “Daycare epidemic” is why you see those kids.

            2. > rules, a lot of which are not likely to be spelled out in actual rulebooks

              I ran into that every time someone wanted to discuss “ethics” or “morality.” When I would ask them to lay out their ethics or morality so I could examine them, their responses always came down to “everyone knows” and “because I said so” and “because I want to meddle in other people’s business.”


              After due thought I crafted my own:

              I don’t take any shit.
              I don’t give any shit.
              I don’t lie.
              I don’t steal.

              It has served me well for quite some time now…

      2. I sometimes see that reaction from the other side.

        I don’t tend to deal well with people, especially new people. So, the “feeling forced and artificial”, in my case, is me trying to be “normal” (and usually failing horribly). I have found that the harder I try, the worse it gets. Oddly enough, it took me giving up on the idea of having friends for me to begin to understand the problem (mostly because I stopped trying). I have found that some people are more sensitive to it than others. Some people I have to just give up on, they will never like me, and will probably never be comfortable even being around me. A few get openly hostile.

        The funny thing is, most of my small group of friends don’t even see it. They’ve been my friends for long enough that everything has become comfortable. I get to be myself around them, and because they are used to my odd humor, when I crack a joke and they completely don’t get it, they know I’m not trying to be an a-hole and they can just smile and nod (yea, me trying jokes around new people… not good, very not good). Or conversely, sometimes they don’t even notice I’ve told a joke in the first place. In that case, there seems to be an unspoken agreement that when I say weird stuff and laugh, they are free to just ignore it or write it off as me being weird. A few times I’ve made references to me being an introvert, and they act like they have no idea what I’m talking about.

        So, in spite of it all, I do ok. I hang out with my friends and even occasionally meet new people (usually through those existing friends) and make new friends. The real bummer is dating. Sadly, I’ve had to pretty much given up on that. Too dissapointing.

        1. It’s not that. I think if it was, we’d get along just fine. I so know the joke that is missed or such thing. And that the ‘stop trying’ thing means a bit of relaxing (after a fashion) and that helps – some. With this fellow, it’s to the point that other people go, “Wait, he creeps you out? Damn!”

      3. I’ve met a few people that I disliked because of how utterly *fake* they came across to me. Oddly enough, they were all women.

        1. Come to think of it, this is something that happens to me, too, and “seeming fake” is probably a decent phrase to describe why the person bothers me…but I can think of both men and women who fit that description for me.

          There have been several times where I have had to remind myself “Just because I don’t like this person, doesn’t mean I can’t be his friend!” (This is assuming, of course, that the person merely irritates me with their mannerisms, and not because they actively try to harm me in some way or another — I’m not aware of meeting such a person, but by necessity, such a person must be considered an enemy, whether I like it or not.)

    2. dogs usually love me

      Our totally rotten 100 lb lap dog loves EVERYONE, except for deer and squirrels. he thinks anyone who comes to our house has come just to pet him, and he goes nuts trying to get their attention. If you ever came up to our front door, he probably will not bark, but will be standing by with tail wagging madly in anticipation of a lot of petting…….

        1. Ah. One of those transpecies family members…

          We have a cat in the neighbourhood like that. His first response, upon seeing people approach, is to flop over on his back to make it more convenient to give him tummy rubs. If you fail to give him those tummy rubs, he’ll stand up and follow you while meowing, “What’s wrong with you? Pet me!” It can be incredibly difficult for those of us who are allergic to cats but none the less don’t want to be cruel to them…

        2. Oh, hey, I have one of those! He *adores* belly rubs (demands them from all comers, in fact), and never tries to disembowel arms. And all the humans are here to love him. I’m pretty sure he’s a labrador retriever who was mistakenly reincarnated as a fat, lazy ginger tabby…

          Unless there is yarn. If there is yarn being dangled, then he turns into an actual cat.

      1. Large Dog (Small Dog weighs 80 pounds, which will give you an idea of how just how large Large Dog is) loves *everybody*. Ever. He tried to climb into a UPS truck once to make friends with the driver. He has slipped his leash and gone charging into bars because THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THERE TO LOVE.

        I was walking him once, passed a guy on the street, and Large Dog stopped in his tracks, dropped his tail, and sidled over to the other side of me (he is Large, not Protective). I gave that man a very, very cautious berth.

            1. I’m sure somehow you do. 😀 I keep meaning to set up a FoxfireFancies blog because I make jewelry under that name and have Opinions, but real life keeps getting in the way.

            1. Yeah, Large Dog might well bludgeon you into insensibility with his tail (it is also a Large Tail) but that’s about it. He can’t even *look* intimidating unless he’s curious; as soon as he relaxes, his face goes into Automatic Doggy Grin and there is no way anybody could be scared of him.

              Although Small Dog pushes him around like mad, and about every three months, he realizes that he outweighs the pipsqueak by 40 pounds and slams him into the ground/wall/trees a few times. Then stands there mildly waving his tail and going “so we’re friends again now, right?”

            2. A friend tells of how he drove up to a job site, where a German Shepard stood, growling, on the porch. He was watching that dog when a little dog ran under the truck and latched onto his Achilles Tendon. Back in the truck bed he fell, with dog still attached. He swore those dogs had that worked out.

          1. Yup I had a red Doberman Pinscher. Everyone was afraid of her (Doberman!) until she wagged her tail. She kind of bent in half in the middle and wiggled (tail cropped, not so much to wag). At that point only true dog haters could dislike her. Everyone else was belly laughing… SHe really was an absolute sweetheart.

            1. I visited a co-worker at home once. She was in the back yard tying up her Rottweiler. Who saw me get out of the car, jumped the fence, and hit me at full speed, trying to climb up on my shoulders while applying vast amounts of slobber.

              Did I mention my Super Powers?

        1. The late, lamented Rex, the walking coffee table, as he was called sometimes, would bark at people just for attention. But if he thought there was something wrong with someone, he would put his head down and growl in a tone that no one would suspect as anything but a prelude to a fight to the death.

          He did that to the neighbor girl one day. My father, who takes no guff from animals, bounced him off the cabinet doors, but it didn’t make a difference, we had to take him and lock him in another room. NO idea what caused it. I mean, they had cats, and he hated cats, but I knew other people with cats that he loved to get attention from, and there simply wasn’t a mean bone in that girl’s body. It just made no sense at all.

          1. Both Nemo (current) and Fuzzy (previous, avatar) were like that, Fuzzy after being badly abused by previous owner. Fuzzy loved even the vet…… but they would bark at anyone who approached the house they hadn’t been introduced to, then quit.

            I had one repairman that Fuzzy literally wouldn’t let in the house. I kept an eye on him and didn’t notice anything….. but a month later when the same thing went wrong they sent a different tech because and I quote “we caught the other one stealing from customers.”

            1. Seems unlikely, but I can’t say it’s impossible.

              Hmm… I can’t remember if this was before or after he was attacked by three dogs, and only my dad chasing them off kept him from being killed. If she had been around one of them, it’s possible that might have done it.

    3. Hm … I have the same issue with cats you do with dogs. I very rarely meet one which doesn’t want to curl around my ankles and spend some quality time. Of course, I’m incredibly allergic to them and would far rather they pay attention to the daughters (who aren’t and love them). I always attributed that behavior to the innate contrariness and/or inherent evil of cats.

      Interestingly, at least in my history, I don’t usually see that level of contrariness or evil in dogs. If you are worried/nervous about a dog, the dog assumes you are up to no good and is more likely to go after you than be friendly. Similarly, if you act like you belong, most dogs are more than willing to accept that you do. (There are some significant exceptions to the last point. Indeed, at the moment, we have one at home which assumes everyone she hasn’t met is out to slaughter the family and needs to be met with maximum fierceness and force. She tends to go to the kennel for a bit when we have house guests.)

      1. Of course, I’m incredibly allergic to them

        Of course they go straight to you…cats can detect cat allergies and, well, cats are like that.

      2. This is huge YMMV territory. I’ve met friendly dogs that I had to be careful that they didn’t get into the truck, including one who tried to “help,” and a couple that were not going to be your friend and made that clear. In between was a dog that basically wanted to know my business and after I started working, barked only once when he thought I was taking too long.

        But working at a church one day, I had several dogs come up from a house down the road, and noticed they were walking stiff-legged. We have pepper spray, but I wasn’t near it, and a heavy tool was usually the unapproved fall-back. I was going to slip it into my pocket when I thought, “No *#%% I won’t.” This wasn’t their yard. I had to kill the transformer, which required an extendo stick, a long, insulated, stick that’s about five foot long before it’s telescoped out and heavy enough to do damage.

        Fortunately, I didn’t have to try it. When the butt of the stick hit the ground, in preparation for me extending it to the transformer, the nearest dog jumped about a foot straight into the air. At that point they decided they best go back up the road.

        1. For those wondering about the stiff-legged bit, and why it mattered it wasn’t their lawn, or that there were five of them.
          A pack of dogs— canids, I’ve contacted animal control about coyotes in town moving like that near people for damned good reason– moving like that, is a pack. If they are approaching, there is a perfectly good chance. that you are the prey.

          Sometimes you’ll meet “packs” of two, or lone wolves, but the situation he just described is a giant flashing “you are prey” sign.

    4. There are some folks my mom simply cannot stand– she calls it “hate at first sight.”

      She’ll even tell you she KNOWS it’s not rational… but it does tend to be mutual, and half the time other folks are driven nuts because from where they’re standing mom and the other gal should be best friends.

      She behaves like an adult– and avoids them. Generally, they do the same. 😀

      1. Had a young lady I was friends with solely because my mother and her mother worked together and were best friends. We went out on a few dates of convenience. For example, she had Knicks tickets, and I had money to buy dinner. The guys in the seats next to us thought they were pulling one over on me when they exchanged phone numbers with her behind my back, thinking I didn’t notice. She would laugh about their naiveté after, that they didn’t notice we were there together, but not together. We hung out with entirely different crowds in HS; I wasn’t friends with any of her friends, she wasn’t friends with any of mine. When my then girlfriend, now wife, and her met for the first time, I swear I could see daggers passing from both their eyes to the other. As we left her mom’s house, the first thing I heard was “How could you be friends with that girl?” (See above for answer.) 2 days later got a call from “that girl”. “How could you be dating that b—–?” I’m still clueless as to what they saw in each other that I didn’t. But- I’m a guy. I don’t pretend to understand girls. They don’t have operating manuals.

        But then- if two guys meet and instantly dislike each other- there’s a reason. May take a while to ferret it out, but there’s always a reason. Every time.

        And I trust dog’s instincts to identify bad guys. As does my wife. Her BIG family dog liked me. Did I say BIG? I meant BIG.

      2. I had a coworker I hated almost the minute she opened her mouth. Couldn’t tell you why. She was the only person I have ever actually yelled at on the clock and I don’t regret a single word of it. Everybody else looked at me like I’d kicked a puppy but she was directly underfoot while I was moving something awkward on a step-ladder.

    5. Slightly related to #2– has anyone noticed an increase in Uncomfortable Stops in conversation in the last…maybe five years?

      It might just be me finally noticing it– but folks who as best I can tell have no common theme for if they’re genuine or not, if they’re geeky or not, if they’re religious or political or what have you….

      Will have all these awkward pauses where you can tell that they’re expecting something from you, but for heaven’s sake I don’t know what! I don’t think it’s social-cues related… it should be more common if it is….

      1. I get them occasionally. Most people seem to pick stuff up from TV or movies and then act out bits of it, best as I can tell. Since it’s quite likely I’ve never heard of either source of their material, an Awkward Moment ensues.

        1. yeah, I get that with people doing stuff i am supposed to recognize from mundane popular shows … and i’m supposed to recognize them anyway cause they are old (specifically: Friends and Seinfeld, both of which i detest and actively avoid watching…)

    6. dogs usually love me

      I’ve had the experience of “$DOG let you get close? He usually doesn’t let anyone outside family get near.”

      I cannot say for sure that I do as well with horses (less experience) but the encounters I’ve had seem to indicate we get along well enough. It might anthropomorphizing, but I suspect it’s a bit of respect and comprehension (on my part) that helps. After scratching just under a bit of harness I got a look that was hard not to take as, “Ah, someone finally figured that out!”

      1. My dad and sister got that knack– my sister once got a killdeer chick to climb into her hand. (They look like cottonballs on little legs, and you’re lucky if you can get inside of twenty feet of them– they’re FAST.)

        1. Before we had a dog, one year a killdeer nested in our gravel driveway. The folks were careful to drive on the other side and we mostly left the bird alone. We did get the broken-wing distraction demonstration a few times when we took a cautious closer look at the nest.

        2. My dad was one of those guys, especially with dogs. He could walk up to ANY dog and have it licking his hand immediately and acting like it was a long lost pack member.

  4. … thinking it was all some vast conspiracy AGAINST ME PERSONALLY.

    That’s silly. It was against me. Sorry y’all got caught up in the blast radius.

    1. The theme to Cheers bothered me for some time. “…where everyone knows your name…” isn’t always a good thing. Many times it’s nice to go where nobody knows your name, and sometimes it’s best they don’t care to change that.

      1. Waaaayyyyyyy back when, San Francisco-based improv troop The Committee had a skit in which a man in trench coat and “mad bomber” beard intoned an extremely threatening rendition of a familiar song, warning that:

        You better watch out, you better not cry
        You better not pout, I’m telling you why, why?
        Santa Claus is coming to town

        He’s making a list
        And checking it twice
        He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
        Santa Claus is coming to town

        He sees you when you’re sleeping
        He knows when you’re awake
        He knows if you’ve been bad or good
        So be good for goodness sake

        You better watch out, you better not cry
        You better not pout, I’m telling you why
        Santa Claus is coming to town

          1. There is also the problem of ascribing supernatural powers to an entity, that later on you will tell the child he doesn’t really exist. Then you get all panicky when he ask the same about God.

        1. A while back I saw the comedian Baron Vaughn at a local comedy club. He contended that Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ was the stalker theme song:

          “I’ve been alone with you Inside my mind
          And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips A thousand times . . .”

          I countered with The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take”, though that could double as the Big Brother theme song (is there a difference?).

          I believe we may have a third contender. (shudder).

            1. I’m not familiar with most of those songs (I’m probably familiar with more than I realize, but I don’t keep up on popular music), but one that caught my eye was “500 miles (I would walk)”. I read the lyrics just to be sure, but I don’t consider that a stalking song. The song has an implicit “If you would be my love, then I would be completely devoted to you…”

              Having said that, if you ignore that implicit assumption of consent from the person who’s being sung to (particularly if the person is completely unaware of your devotion…which, to make the song a justifiable “stalker” song, would only take a change from “I would …” to “I will…”), then yes, I could see it being a stalker song.

              How many other songs are like that, though, vs advocating outright stalking? I don’t know…

              And certainly, songs aren’t the only source of “stalker” entertainment. I’m not extremely familiar with “Twilight”, for example, but I’m just familiar enough to understand that, concerns expressed by Julie Shackleford notwithstanding, the behavior by Edward is creepy by *any* standard, not to mention the fact that he’s a vampire!

            1. Yeesh. How could I have forgotten that one, as the Turn of a Friendly Card album used to be one of my favorites? And it didn’t even make the Top 100 on the list.

          1. In Sarah McLachlan’s (very excellent, I think) song “Possession” she drew most of the lyrics from letters her actual stalker sent her (it was her way of coping).

            Then said stalker tried to sue her for plagiarism…

          2. For your amusement:

            First, listen to Barry Mantilow’s I Write the Songs
            Next, consider that there’s some theological thought that the Devil was a musician.
            Now, with that in mind, listen to the song again.


        2. Santa’s Secret Police are the most efficient and capable intelligence gathering organization in history.

          I suspect they are behind Wikileaks 🙂

            1. I was thinking more the ops from the Gatecrasher (comedy RPG that includes the spells omnipotence and improved omnipotence) adventure On Santa’s Secret Service.

        3. One of my favorite Mike Peters cartoons shows two obvious FBI agents with a Santa in handcuffs. One is on his cell phone, saying: “That’s right, sir. We’ve caught a foreign spy. He KNOWS when you’ve been sleeping. He KNOWS when you’re awake. He KNOWS…”

  5. my big question for the anti-captialists: “so, you enjoy growing all your own food, making all your own clothes, and you could survive were you forced to do that?” I am a crap gardener and a poor fisherperson and I have never tried hunting so I don’t know if I’m any good at it – so I figure, if I couldn’t trade hours of my life in something I’m good at for money I can use to buy food, I’d starve. I don’t WANT to live in a post-capitalist world.

    The people praising anti-capitalism seem to have a poor grasp of history: you’d rather be serfs, cared for by a lord and minimally fed and housed, but only have to work on the lord’s land in return? You’d rather live in a world of communism? (Granted, a communal lifestyle works okay in monasteries where there’s the unifying theme of a life of service to God, but it works terribly out in the larger world, because some pigs decide they’re more equal than others).

    I dunno. I’m a Gen Xer and I also remember being hit with the same stereotypes Millennials are getting now. I was too busy getting an education in something I could earn a living at to care very much.

    And yeah, I also remember being worried about nuclear war and one of the things I hate about 2016 is that I’m now worrying about it again, given Putin and the shoddy choices we have in the US to vote for.

      1. Another Gen Xer here – I think.

        I sincerely hope that we never see a true nuclear war in my lifetime. On the other hand, the probability of there being an “incident” involving a nuclear weapon somewhere in the world in my lifetime has probably gone up to 100%. 😦

        1. It was bad enough with Pakistan. How they and India never got into it is a testimony to both countries leaders.
          Now we have bat-guano crazy North Korea and the Iranians, who want to start an apocalypse.
          Really, Putin is a rational class actor in comparison. (Just give him Europe and he will leave us alone.)

          1. The Iranians are genuinely worrisome. North Korea is somewhat moderated by China and seems that Kim tends to Do Something to swing attention back to himself and his country. I would not be surprised if part of the recent relative quiet is top advisers pointing out the USA is mixed up in a Presidential Election thing and is mostly not paying attention to anyone outside the borders. So expect some ruckus to be raised not long after the election (is finally decided?), or not long after the inauguration. But it’s more like some kid jumping up and down and screaming for attention. That’s the nice theory.

            The nasty theory is that the low-yield test shots are not just about conserving precious fissile material, but maximizing non-blast effects (prompt neutrons, EMP?) and the research is going fairly well.

            Still, North Korea is at least using underground testing. I suspect an Iranian “test shot,” if it happens at all, will be above ground, and not in Iran.

    1. Actually, I’ve tried starting with the simple question of “Does your life [time, etc.] have value?” And if they say yes—because everybody knows their life has value—ask them how they determine that value.

      There’s a lot wrong with capitalism, but it’s like that old saying about democracy, about how it’s the worst system of government except for all the other ones.

      1. Done properly, Capitalism (more properly, Free Market economics) involves people spending their own money.

        As Saint Friedman noted:

        “There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

        “Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.

        “Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!

        “Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

        1. Capitalism (more properly, Free Market economics)

          YESSSSS…it is time for us to accept the label Marx gave along with all the baggage he loaded on it.

        2. My personal favorite:
          Milton Friedman: Free to Choose (1980)
          “The key insight of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is misleadingly simple: if an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”

          1. $HOUSEMATE and I go out to eat. One of the sides is fried rice. Rather than being just rice, there are some peas and some carrots in the mix. I filter out peas. $HOUSEMATE filters out carrots.[1] We exchange – and both feel that the dish has been improved for ourselves.

            [1] We agree that the combination of “peas and carrots” is an abomination, but for opposite reasons. And filtering doesn’t work there as even separated, the carrots have been infused with the taste of peas. $HOUSEMATE claims this cannot be as, “If that made carrots taste like peas, I could stand to eat them.”

            1. Does your housemate dislike ALL carrots, or just boiled carrots? Because I can’t stand boiled carrots, but I’ll quite happily eat about half a dozen raw carrots. (Half a dozen full-sized ones, that is — if it’s baby carrots, it’s more like 20 or 30 before I start to get tired of the taste and look for something else to munch).

              1. All carrots.

                I can tolerate the small pea-pods in some Chinese dishes if they are not too numerous, and I can deal with the dried wasabi peas, but that’s it.

    2. Im afraid a true socialist would point out Darwinism to you and tell you that if you can’t adapt, then sorry, bye-bye, you’re just another cracked egg. They think that makes them enlightened for some reason.

      1. The only thing to do at that point is to rob them, then say, “Oh yeah? What are you going to do about it?”

      2. A true socialist is a materialist and thinks nothing else matters. Freedom, Liberty, honor are abstract concepts that are as meaningful to them as color is to someone watching a B&W TV.

  6. In consideration of the Boomer generation, cut them some slack. Their parents (n) had no good idea how to parent (v). Growing up during a major Depression and War left them with an unrealistic perspective on the world. For someone who was, say, twenty-five in 1948 by the time they had started paying attention the Stock Market had already crashed and Government (Republicrats and Democans alike) were busy “fixing” things … sorta the same way your dentist might fix your car engine.

    So when those folks started in having kids they did not have a particularly good benchmark against which to judge their child-rearing. Sure, there was Dr. Spock, but no mommy blogs, no instructions on how to arrange exquisite afternoon teas and play dates or even (except in a general sense) how to organize Little Leagues. They tried to give their kids the childhood lives they imagined having had the world not been involved in going briefly to Hell.

    Then, in the Sixties, some damn fools in the journalism field started blowing smoke up those kids’ kilts telling them their naive ignorance was wisdom. As if that ever works out well.

    1. I did not see your comment before I posted – I forgot to make a distinction I always try to make: qualify the label Boomer with “Leftist” Boomer. In my life I have come across plenty in that generation who were solid conservatives and realized soon enough (Reagan voters!) what a load of guff they’d been dealing with in the Leftist circles and did what they could to correct it. (I didn’t get a chance to vote for him because I was 17 in 1984 – I did however, get to travel to DC to watch the Inauguration…only to have to shelter in the hotel because it was so blasted cold they moved the ceremony to the Capitol Rotunda. Guess who took the seats of a bunch of highschoolers who had spent their parents money to come see Reagan? All the “important” people in DC.)

      Anyway, I always appreciate a defense of the Boomer generation. Not all of them were spittle-flinging Leftists.

        1. TRUE!! The little town I grew up was still fairly conservative – close enough to a major city but far enough away to not be affected by its more “progressive” elements, and SOME of our teachers were fair and not bent on making us little SJWs. I always joke that my particular class, 1985, was probably the most conservative that the school had seen for a long time. We were a bunch of little Alex Keatons running around.

            1. Whereas my class at the Naval Academy (1975) was known as, “The Flower Children of the Brigade.”

              Relatively speaking, of course.

      1. I always thought the answer to both the climate and security problems of the inaugurations would be to refurbish and use one of the old “super dome” stadiums, assuming any are still extant.

        None of them are in DC, but I don’t see why the inauguration can’t be somewhere else. The domes can seat 40 to 80 thousand people in shirt-sleeve comfort, most have giant TVs to give a view of the proceedings, and the Secret Service would squee at the increase in security.

      2. The Boomers who got the MSM attention for “Tuning In, Turning On, Dropping Out” were the distinct minority. part of the problem is that the boomer generation marks the beginning of the era when education of the youth was largely turned over to “experts” who knew as much about child development as a computer knows about cooking steak.

      3. I know that what the history books in school said was very far from being complete and truthful. Reading hagiography of those that seemed, to me, sacks of shit does not put me in a charitable frame of mind.

  7. we were soft when communism fell: partly because they had infiltrated our universities and partly because the generation then in control, my grandparents’ generation, had seen that after WWII when you destroyed nations you had to rebuild them

    We should have kept in mind what happened after the Mongols conquered China, or Rome the Greeks. Wars are about Culture and which will survive into the future.

    1. From a company I used to work for, on buying a larger company: “We’re the guppy that swallowed the whale.” But they failed to realize an Awful Truth: The result is a whale-shaped guppy, and that doesn’t work. The whale remains after a fashion, but the guppy is all but destroyed now.

      1. In the early ’80s, I was at an HP company function where Dave Packard gave a speech. One line sticks in my memory: “More companies die from indigestion than starvation.” (Not sure that’s really true for tiny companies, but all too true for bigger ones, say, Hewlett Packard…)

    2. It would depend on which culture won.

      Our new overlords prancing about with their pants below their crotches, hats on crooked, and shouting gibberish would truly be something to see, though…

          1. “Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho for President! Sponsored by Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator!”

  8. I’ve come to believe that a belief in utopia should be classified as a cardinal sin. It leads to all kinds of evil.

    I remember how I felt when I was young–though I have a bad memory for some things, it often surprises me when other people clearly don’t remember–and I know that I *yearned* to believe in utopia. But now that I have a better understanding of human nature, it’s clear that utopia for one person would be hell for another. There are always competing goods and values. You are always balancing one thing against another. And people are fallen, selfish, and have limited knowledge.

    I’ve read some of the bullshit that passes for philosophy these days, and they always skip the hard parts. Like *who* gets to choose what’s the “greatest good”, or how to weigh the total benefits of a policy. Or how you’d even have a ghost of chance of determining the “highest good” for another person. The people that fall for that are full of arrogance and hubris.

    This is an imperfect world and will *always* be an imperfect world. We have to struggle through and do the best we can, since despair is also a sin that leads to just as much evil.

    1. I think I’d like the capitalist/liberterian version of a utopia – with personal responsibility, a minimal safety net, free markets, easy contracting, a government interested in protecting the so-called “negative” rights of its citizens with minimal entitlements and/or so-called “positive” rights, etc. Then again, I suspect we agree on more than we disagree. As such, I’m happy to concede that we do live in an imperfect world, that people are likely to act in their own self-interest, there are very important trade-offs that are difficult to determine which way is “optimal” and that power corrupts.

      1. Aargh! I was depressed for two days after encountering the Orwellian labeling of ‘negative rights’. The thought that rational human beings could accept such a concept is alien to my mind.
        The problem is their belief in what causes the ‘imperfect world’. To consider the child unrestrained to become the ‘Noble Savage’ is a perfect situation for utopia. It is the evil patriarchy, capitalism, greed and white privilege that are responsible for all the bad in the world. Remove them, and we will all achieve Nirvana, staring into our navels singing John Lennon’s epic fantasy “Imagine”.
        I think it is why Progressives so hate the Christian religion. There is a cautionary tale about ‘The Garden of Eden’. The moral to the tale is that humans are imperfect and are not perfectible.

        1. Andrew Klavan has argued that modern Liberalism is what you get when you attempt Christianity without G-D. Christian doctrine that you cannot do that without him is like telling a child there’s no unicorn in that stable full of crap.

        2. Since I don’t see the word “negative” as, well, negative, it took me a while to understand the rhetoric involved. Now, my goal is to come up with another way to phrase those “positive/negative” rights. The results so far have been less than stellar, so I want to ask: has anyone here come up with a better phrase?

              1. Nah, the distinction we want to make is between “stuff people have to do for you” and “stuff people can’t do to you”

          1. I have this notion that there are rights and duties. We have a right to freedom of speech, for example, and a duty to speak out when we see something wrong. We don’t have a right to food, education, or health care, so much as we have a duty to ourselves and our loved ones to do everything in our power to obtain food, educate ourselves, and provide for our own medical care.

            Perhaps another a good set of terms might be “natural right” — a right that we have inherently, merely by being a living, thinking human, that exists independent of whatever government might do to us or for us — and “forced rights” — which can only exist when the government forces others to provide it, such as education, which requires a tax to provide.

            I’m naturally open to other ideas, too, because I don’t like talking about “negative” vs. “positive” rights either. Such terminology makes it sound like freedom is negative, and it’s a positive thing when government provides us everything.

            1. How about “inalienable” rights vs “alienable” rights? Is “inalienable” good for you?

              An inalienable right is one that is complete withing oneself, requiring no outside provider, such as freedom of belief. An alienable right is one that is not complete within the individual but requires outside provision of at least some element.

              By way of example, inalienable freedom of movement means you can walk anywhere you want, while a requirement that you be provided a Harley and sufficient gasoline and roadway is undeniably alienable.

        3. I would disagree, in part, that the Christian religion believes that people aren’t perfectible. The entire point of the Atonement of Christ is to provide a path to perfection, through obedience and grace and so forth. But it’s an *individual* journey, and as a Latter-day Saint, it’s a firm belief that it will literally take thousands of years (that is, well beyond our deaths) to become perfected.

          The Left, however, believes that (1) humans are naturally perfect, until they are corrupted by society, and (2) with just the right amount of tweaking society (and with enough removal of the significantly less perfect) we can create a perfect society filled with perfect beings. The problem comes that you can only achieve a perfect society by forcing everyone to be perfect, and that’s simply not going to happen!

          It always seems to comes back down to individualism vs collectivism…

      2. One of the dangers libertarian writers have (and I noticed this particularly in “The Probability Broach” by L. Neil Smith) is that they tend to describe libertarian/anarcho-capitalist societies so glowingly that they might as well be utopias.

        The point of such a society, however, isn’t that everything is going to be glowing and perfect and wonderful: it’s that everyone decides for themselves how best to improve their lives. People are still going to make mistakes, and we’ll still — even on a societal level — have major problems — but overall, the tendency is that things are going to improve over time.

        There’s an additional danger in trying to predict those societies (and this is a danger that makes it difficult to sell libertarian ideas) is that we simply *cannot* know what a free society looks like. As an example: what would the road/transportation system look like, if we privatized everything? We can’t know, because it’s impossible to predict the innovations that people will have as they try to solve this particular problem. Could anyone have predicted what the internet would become, for example, before it became a viable thing?

        When we’re used to centrally planned solutions, though, saying “we don’t know what the free market will do” is downright spooky….

        1. It’s “interesting” to listen to libertarians (especially the more anarchist types) describe their “ideal” system and to ask them questions about how their “ideal” system would handle certain situations that would arise from people being imperfect.

          It’s very rare that they give a realistic answer and too many times they’ll call us “statists” for not believing their system would work. 😦

          1. Oh, gads, the number of times that the answer ended up being “it just wouldn’t happen because they’d be too scared of there being consequences”…..

            *shakes head*

    2. The other problem with utopia is that if you are going to create a world that will be totally good forever, virtually any evil can be done to bring it about. For how ever bad the means, the end will justify it. Further those who oppose total good forever are obviously evil and deserve what ever they get.

  9. I love what you said. “Freedom isn’t free” and Reagan summed it up nicely by pointing out that each generation has a DUTY to stand up for freedom (I can’t remember the exact quote.)

    Anyway, I don’t mind labels. In my mind, anything that set me apart from the Boomers was a good thing, because I was raised by Depression Era babies and they weren’t saying the same things to me that I heard all the Boomer teachers and social doyens of my little town were saying to the children. You were right to point out how we were the generation being told “be yourself” and “do your own thing” and then we got scorned and made fun of for doing exactly that…because it wasn’t following in the footsteps of our “betters” (read: boomers). To find out todays millennials are lumping us in with the Boomers is not only laughable, but pathetic. If anything their parents tried to do with them what they tried to do with us (after they made us Latchkey Kids) and they were nominally successful in implanting a more socialist expectation. But like you, I feel for them. We had a USSR to weigh our political views against. For the millennials, they have a Veil of Lies they have to constantly reposition themselves against just to get a sense of the world i.e. “go back to buying/playing/selling/building – nothing to see here, you didn’t see a bunch of Muslim jihadists amp up the war against the West.” With Clinton saying history was over, Bush saying Islam means peace, and Obama saying you can keep what you have (while giving me all the power I want), its no wonder the Millennials feel so dislocated and disproportionate. Makes the ’80s look like simpler times.

  10. Not only did we believe in price controls and salary controls and the like in the 70s, we still believe in them, though we don’t call them by those names. Rent control, anyone? “Affordable housing”? And what’s the minimum wage but the government telling your employer what salary he has to pay you?

    It does amaze me that the “millennials” (yes, I know not all of them, but enough) believe in the joys of communism given its track record. Okay, the Soviet Union is ancient history, but North Korea is the most miserable place on Earth, Venezuela is reinstituting slavery and forcing people to work in the fields because they have no food, and even China is busy oppressing those fashionable Tibetan Buddhists. That’s not a description of what happened in 1984 but in 2016. Anyone with their eyes open could tell you that this is a bad idea, but I suppose deliberately closing your eyes is a human failing rather than a generational one.

    1. In part it is because you have the siren song of Scandinavia. To an extent they have not failed as spectacularly as most socialist or socialist lite countries because the work ethic remained and this muted the effect of the moochers. But when 100 yr mortgages are necessary it’s not a sign of health. Plus cultural dilution will damage that ethic eventually and hasten downfall.

      1. “But Sweden!” does seem to be the most common response. This usually tries to paper over the differences between us and the generally homogeneous cultures of Scandinavia which I think makes it MUCH more likely that we’re going to get Venezuela than Sweden. It also ignores the fact that the Scandinavian countries are neither as socialist (what they have is closer to a welfare state than a socialist economy, and even that is being cut back) nor as successful (outcomes are generally worse in those countries than they are for Scandinavian immigrants in the US) as they’re usually presented.

          1. In other news, all those happy, healthy people you see in soft drink commercials are not representative of people in general.

        1. Oh I know. Just saying why people think it will be different this time. It’s the same argument as crime. Remove 4 cities and US plummets below Europe even in gun deaths per capita

          1. True. It’s always going to be different this time. And, in the immortal words of The Who, we always get fooled again.

            1. Well, we know Chicago is one certainly and probably NYC.

              Remarkably both are filled with people who prefer Europe. Can we gift them to someone in Europe who is currently annoying us?

              1. has a list of crime rates per capita from 2014. Sorting the “Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter” column in descending order puts St. Louis on top with the most murders per capita, followed by Detroit, New Orleans and Baltimore. Chicago isn’t anywhere NEAR the top, appearing only in 19th place when you sort by murders per capita. And NYC is WAY down in the list, though Newark is #5.

       lists total #’s as well as #’s per capita, for 2015. The article title doesn’t match the column headings, as the article talks about “murder rate” but the column is for homicides (which would, I assume, include self-defense). However, if we sort the total # of homicides in 2015 in descending order, and then filter for just U.S. cities, we see Baltimore in first place, followed by Detroit, St. Louis and New Orleans. Sorting the same 2015 numbers by descending order per capita makes the order St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans. These four are the only U.S. cities to appear in that list, which is limited to the top 50 cities worldwide.

                So it’s very likely that the four cities are St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans.

                1. Note that the “Uniform Crime Reporting” can be seriously skewed by the local PDs. New York’s CompStat system isn’t the only one *designed* to fudge crime statistics. And some PDs (Las Vegas was the first to become famous for it) simply refuse to make reports on some classes of crime after their selected yearly limit.

                  1. This. Any number of cities literally won’t take a report on thefts below $500. Especially if no one got hurt.

              2. I posted a reply, but it had two links to sources, so it went into auto-moderation. Until it comes out, here’s the summary: the four cities involved are probably St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans. The four of those had the highest number of homicides per capita *and* total number of homicides for 2014 and 2015.

        2. I very much doubt we’d see Venezuela in our lifetimes but I do see us taking the route Argentina choose in the early 20th century. Hell, I’m voting for someone you could reasonably call a early Peron (not sure it would be accurate but much closer than the other analogies). In fact, he’s more a Peron than Hillary is despite the inevitable comparisons to Evita.

        3. nor as successful (outcomes are generally worse in those countries than they are for Scandinavian immigrants in the US) as they’re usually presented.

          I read an article a while back that pointed out that in all but the poorest US states, residents were wealthier than the citizens of any country in Europe. And when you accounted for the cost of living, even the residents of the poorest US states were better off.

          1. Kinda goes to the articles on mgc today. If you are used to what you have and don’t see more available you are content.

        4. Ah, yes, the Nordic socialist utopia that the media is somehow hiding from you in this age of social media and intercontinental travel.

          1. And that is busy breaking down now that they are approaching US “diversity” of outside culture followers.

      2. People always point to Denmark as “the happiest country in the world.” A Dane pointed out that this is self-reporting, and that there is mild social disapproval in Denmark towards saying that you’re *not* happy, so that stat isn’t particularly useful.

        1. Always look at how data collected and what it represents. A lot of the WHO reports touted for how bad US healthcare is/was vs Europe put heavy thumbs on scale (single payer itself improves rating regardless of outcomes, never mind difference in reporting)

          1. Oh, and the whole infant mortality stat is actually useful when broken down. The U.S. has superior rates when dealing with full-term and most-of-term babies, but we have an anomalously high spike of premature births that drags the numbers down. Those premature births are largely among people without health care in any fashion, so a *real* solution to the higher infant mortality rates would be finding a way to get prenatal care to those mothers. (Or proper birth control and education to use it right.)

            1. My understanding is that there are some significant differences in how tracked as well. Same as violent crime.

              1. Yes, the US has a much more expansive definition of life birth than most other nations:

                The United States strictly adheres to the WHO definition of live birth (any infant “irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which . . . breathes or shows any other evidence of life . . . whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached”) and uses a strictly implemented linked birth and infant-death data set. On the contrary, many other nations, including highly developed countries in Western Europe, use far less strict definitions, all of which underreport the live births of more fragile infants who soon die. As a consequence, they falsely report more favorable neonatal- and infant-mortality rates.

                How do socialists make themselves look better than free market people: by lying.

                Also, Posner is a moron.

              1. Oh, and I should point out: he was born in a very small city with a decent medical system mostly aimed at supporting the accidents for the rest of the county– you know, standard “get them stable enough to go to (bigger city,) and if it’s dire they’ll be stabilized to go to a really good hospital.”

                He wasn’t classified as touch-and-go, just needing extra care until it was safe for him to go home. Tough on everyone, but the only thing they were scared about was that she’d give birth before they made it to the hospital, or that there would be other complications.

            2. Trying to find the dang citiation, it looks like he would have been a “stillbirth” if he died in the first 24 hours (or up to 164 hours for some countries), rather than a miscarriage.

              Or my memory is right, and google-fu is weak.

              1. As I understand it, the position taken by Obama, Hillary and presumably the rest of the Democrat party establishment is that it isn’t a live birth until the mother wants it to be.

                  1. CAUTION: Definitions of “disabled,” “unsightly” and “deformity” subject to change without notice.

                    Objects in ultrasound may be less human than they appear.

    2. Price controls are always supported by those who expect to profit from controlling prices.

      “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
      ― Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

      “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” is chiefly espoused by those wishing to do things that would annoy Adam Smith, but it can be grossly profitable for those controlling the choke points.

  11. We have to be careful about notionally converting these birth-age cohorts into identity groups. It most definitely isn’t the case that everyone born an any of these cohorts thinks and acts alike. I was born in 1952, but was raised in a rural, Christian community and never remotely identified with other members of the “boomer” cohort in the ways that seem to be considered identifying characteristics of the group. I’m sure that’s also the case for many members of “Gen X,” “millenial,” and whatever other age cohort you might point to. So use those sobriquets as shorthands for particular attitudes, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that you know who someone is just because of his or her age.

    1. Same here. Rural West Texas culture was much more like what my Grandparents grew up in than what was in the urban areas, especially the coastal areas of the East and West coasts.

      1. What you are failing to realize is both you and drloss are referring to childhood in ‘Fly-over country’. It has never mattered to the intelligentsia and still does not.

        1. And anyone who thinks of NRO as non-elitist really needs to read Kevin Williamson’s column earlier this year as the TDS took hold about how the flyover community he came from was dysfunctional in the face of the modern enlightenment and should die quickly so as not to embarrass him in front of his globalist pals.

          1. Kevin Williamson… isn’t he that ass of a tin-pot libertarian they brought on board, the one that wants to try out redistribution of water rights because it’s just too complicated and golly it works fine in the city, right?

            1. He wants a start several small scale domestic wars because he can’t understand how water rights currently work?

              Awesome. I totally want him in any position of responsibility. / sarc

          2. Williamson probably got his pansy ass handed to him by too many good ol boys back when he was a teener in Lubbock. BTW….I would not consider Lubbock to be a backwards, dysfunctional city.

          3. In theory he was trying to say something along the lines of “conservatives don’t accept victim culture from blacks and thus shouldn’t from poor white” (the opposite of the VD argument if you think about it).

            The problem is the palpable contempt for poor whites in it, such as that line which many argue is taken out of context with some fairness. While his broader point may be true no conservative would ever treat poor blacks or Hispanics with the same contempt.

            I heard echoes of the “You’re white so I expect better of you” along with the “Don’t embarrass me in front of the other city folk.”

            1. I read the same article and heard no such thing.
              I did, however, hear a lot of seething petulant outrage from people who didn’t like the article.

    2. Technically I’m Gen X, but at the tail end, so the identifying things don’t really resonate for me. Having a 20-year spread is particularly useless for having certain attitudes in common. Oh, and millennial who complain about graduating into a recession: So did I. Ten pounds underweight, looking forward to Sundays because we’d get a good meal at my in-laws’, starting the revolving credit card debt that we’re only just now being able to retire* after sixteen years or thereabouts. So… yeah. I can say that it gets better, but the first couple of years post-college are looking to be the most financially straitened of your life.

      *Most of that is dental work, actually. Save for dental work ahead of time if you can, but seriously, that’s the reason credit was invented. Get it checked out and get it fixed.

      1. We graduated into no jobs, too. And yep, yep, yep, only some of our debt was FOOD. We’d go to the equivalent of soup or salad and devour veggies, because we were living from cans. Because cheap.

      2. I, meanwhile, am right in the middle of Millenial, and in an economically depressed area… and my disgust at talking to folks who couldn’t find jobs was a fair part of why I did little We Are the 53% comics back in 2012. (I had three.) Between the local losers who refused to drive to Utica (from Herkimer) and the online snots who needed a job “in their field”… while every restaurant and temp agency waved their arms wildly, “Come here, come here!”

        (Joke was on me–shortly thereafter was a year and a half of joblessness. BUT that was depression–the jobs were still out there, I just couldn’t convince myself I was worthy.)

        THE whole difference can’t be stopping at Associate’s (no college debt woo!) and a car. It can’t be.

      3. I’m thinking my kids really appreciate the money I put into their mouths over the years. All 5 had braces, all saw the dentist on a regular basis, had tooth sealant applied, etc. And they’ve all seen the results of people their age not having the same. Especially the two who went to boot camp, who found the same thing in boot camp that I did. Young people whose first toothbrush was the one the military issued them.

        About braces. I was reading once that mouths too small to hold all the teeth is a first world problem. Our kids eat softer processed foods. and the jaws don’t receive the stress they need to grow bigger and make room for the new molars. I’m still not sure what I think of that. Sort of makes sense.

        1. In the late 1960s my Dad was an E4 in the USAF. My mom didn’t work. He was still able to afford civilian dentistry for three kids; I had maybe four crowns on baby teeth, that I remember, anyway. I’m sure it cost money, but not enough to be a big deal.

          Nowadays those crowns would probably cost more than my car.

          1. Nowadays my dentist can map my teeth and “print” a crown while I wait, instead of cutting down the tooth, installing a temporary cap and sending the mold off for a porcelain crown to be crafted and installed a month, six weeks later.

            And the crown he prints is of far superior materials, too.

            Happily, most dentists no longer fill cavities with mercury amalgams.

            As I used to chortle every time Beloved Spouse’s temperature was taken while undergoing a year of cancer treatment, “Can you believe they used to take temperatures by sticking a thin glass tube of toxic heavy metal up people’s bums?”

        2. That thing about stress on the jaw being needed to grow to make room for new molars doesn’t really sound likely. If anything, I would think it would cause the jawbone to thicken rather than lengthening. But I’m no doctor, so I could be all kinds of wrong.

          What I do know, though, is that my dentures BARELY fit into a denture cup that could hold two full sets of my mother’s dentures, and yet when I was a teenager, I had to have four permanent teeth removed to make room in my mouth for all my teeth. I would think that even if it IS a “first world problem”, that it’s more likely that poorer nutrition combined with tougher food would cause teeth to grow smaller.

  12. Yes, 1952 also, and in a small blue collar town. Most were Democrat Party too, but the old style that seems to have disappeared. We raised our children the way we had been raised–and both have stable jobs that support them well. Daughter even got married BEFORE having children, and they both also have stable, well paying jobs. Their children are well behaved too…..

    1. Most were Democrat Party too, but the old style that seems to have disappeared.

      A lot of the problems we have right now are because they didn’t disappear– no, that’s not the problem– the ones that were old style and serious about it got shoved out into the Republican party.

      The philosophies are not interchangeable, even when they agree on something like “human rights” including the right to not be killed or have your stuff taken, and shoving them into the same group makes for a lot of unhappiness.

      Every election since I can remember, the cry has gone out about at least one Republican forerunner: Yes, he’s a decent guy, and a perfectly good politician, but he’s an old school democrat, not a republican!

      And this election, the Republicans get a middle-to-mainstream Democrat from when I was a kid…..

        1. Insert hagiography of the 1860s Radical Republicans, complete with the mourning of the passing of those attitudes, into my usual ‘Democrats were democrats then and now, and might merely have substituted communism for white supremacism’.

      1. I think I’m looking at it from ground level, as it were. My grandparents were born in the early 1900’s, my parents in the late 20’s–and they were all blue collar workers and conservative religious. One worked hard, government help was an embarrassment (my mother still denies we ever received gov surplus food), and the military was an honorable profession, etc. Looking back I’m not sure exactly why they were Democrats except that this was Detroit and of course union members were Democrats. They still are, for the most part–although this time around I’m not hearing anything about how Hillary is great, and these were past Obama voters, at least once.

  13. Rage may not have a place– but how about annoyance?

    I get plenty annoyed at Boomers and X-ers (and no few Millennials) freaking whining all the time about how “Millennials” are doing this, that, the other thing, golly we elected Obama allllllll by our widdle selves…..

    And then you show them that the numbers simply don’t work out that way, they start with the adhomen about how we just can’t stand anybody disagreeing. 😀

    Or folks who did nothing to stop kids from being abused when they failed to vocally support the dumb stuff at school or socially, then whine because college kids aren’t taking brave stands. Why the hell would they, when they know that it’s a symbolic risk where they’re going to be abused either way, and going along at least means they might be able to park their car without it being keyed?

    1. As someone a lot better at writing than I am said:

      And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.1

    2. You do realize I don’t have it in for millenials? Only for people like snowflake coming and telling us he’s angry. (And for all I know he’s not a millenial.) The WORST millenials are spectacularly mal-educated. Not their fault.

      1. I was actually fine with his angry thing until he started whining about how the older folks who should have taken care of things dropped the ball and didn’t make it all lollipops and rainbows and unicorns for him so he could stay home and play xbox.

        There’s plenty to be angry about. But pissing and moaning that everyone older than you didn’t fix things to your liking in advance is immaturity that demands a rolled newspaper swat to the nose.

        1. He’s returned to whine I COMPLETELY misunderstood him and provide us with wall of text that made me MEGO finishing with “Yeah I’m ANGRY”. What is it with people who think their ability to get angry is some sort of superpower and must be catered to? I’m going to assume their daycare providers bent over backwards when they acted angry.
          They should fear WRATHFUL which is what those of us slow to anger are starting to get every time we experience these tantrums.

          1. What is it with people who think their ability to get angry is some sort of superpower and must be catered to?

            It’s been working since the 60s?

      2. I know, Sarah–one of the reasons I like reading you on the subject.

        Still at least as annoyed to have the worst behaved of the kids who do not even remember Y2K being a future event shoved into my group as you are about being shoved into a radically different group yourself.

        Rage is foolish– annoyance, OTOH, especially when stuff is self influcted…..

          1. The rumor that when the we hit the year 2000 all the computers would crash. Provided a lot of employmentt opportuniyies for programmers.

            1. Lol. I know. Swine flu and bird flu for computers. Not really sure where I’d identify others in my cohort. 911 was one but people coming 8 years or even 5 years later may have completely opposite mindsets.

            2. It was more than rumor…a lot of systems needed remediation. I was at BCBSRI and was tasked with replacing a PC based one for visiting nurse medical records on a no longer made dBase clone that only did two digit years. There was another one using it that got mixed and the guy responsible for it asked me for my patch to the dBase clone that was allowing the one I was on to work. He was chagrinned to find I didn’t have one but had re-implemented in Access. Lucky for him he found a small business only who had written a binary patch himself and posted it on the web.

              1. I don’t think Chuck was making a serious comment. 😉

                There was a lot of nonsense in the News Media about “what happens in computers when we go from years beginning in 19 to years beginning in 20”.

                However, I started programming in the 1980s and I realized the potential problems back then.

                I’m sure that I wasn’t the first programmer who saw the potential problem but management either “didn’t want to acknowledge/see the problem” or “saw too many other things needing working on”.

                Mind you, back (before my time) when computer memory for storing data was expensive, it made plenty of sense to store thousands of dates using only two digits.

                1. Maybe, maybe not but I remember hearing people claim it was made up while remediation was going on, often by people in companies where without remediation they would have been tits up.

                  Was the world going to end and nuke plants fail? I doubt it, in no small part because a lot of work was done.

                  But more and more people are claiming it was the programming version of the real estate bubble which it wasn’t.

                  That honor goes to the dotcom bubble.

              2. There are a lot of people who look at the fact that there were no major problems as an indication that it was all fearmongering, and completely discount all the work that was done to prevent major problems from occurring as a was a waste of time and money.

                1. Nod.

                  Some of my last work in Data Processing involved preventing Y2K problems.

                  Of course, the News Media made some “interesting” predictions about what would happen. 😦

              3. And of course Microsoft found their own way to make it WORSE…. by ensuring that each of the products in Office that had any date capability set set themselves a different “pivot year”. So if you copied a date of 12/31/29 into Access and Excel, one would treat it as 12/31/1929 and the other as 12/31/2029…. and Word might side with either Access or Excel with that date, while siding with the other if the date was 5 years older or newer….. and since all of them kept the default 2 digit year displayed……

    3. I read a snarkily insightful piece about all of those “lazy Millennial” articles, comparing them to past decades’ articles on “entitled Gen X kids” and so forth, that mentioned that the only people of that age cohort that the letter writers were likely to encounter were interns—that is, kids with enough wealth from their parents to be able to afford a year or two of unpaid or underpaid work in publishing, of all places, in a highly expensive city.

      And of *course* those ones are going to be entitled…

      1. My mom’s thing is “can you hear your mom saying it about kids these days? Then shut up, you’re just showing your age.”

        She DOES say stuff about “kids these days.” Just doesnt pin it on a 20-30 year span…..

  14. It was 1980 and all the science fiction authors were predicting nuclear holocaust if we didn’t disarm and submit to the Russians immediately.

    Man were we reading different authors circa 1980 (I know you were limited by what got translated and I was reading mostly 10 years old or Anne McCaffery :). Most of the far future stuff assumed a nuclear war at some point but I don’t remember the surrender to the Soviets part but then again I tended to avoid books like The Cool War from around that time. I remember more proto-Ecotopia stuff. As with stuff like that cleary YMMV.

    When I was coming of age, we were called all the things the millenials are now (which is why I have great sympathy with them) including slackers, care for nobody, egotists.

    Yep, the movie Slacker is supposed to be about us…it is awful. I only made it far enough to hear about the Suppressed Transmissions, which is still my favorite magazine column of all time.

    Most of us who have a voice have had it too short a time; those of us aspiring to command positions (not me) are still too young. Our parents’ generation and the boomers are in control now. Will be in control for — given improved longevity — another twenty years.

    I think this is genuinely part of the problem. We shouldn’t be running 70 year olds for President. If I have heard any single “pox on both their houses” comment about the two major candidates I agree with it was Scott Adams saying they are both too old.

    You are in the sweet spot for those kinds of jobs age wise: mental faculties still at their peak but with a good deal of life experience. At 49 on election day (and 50 two days later) I’m getting there…of course neither of us is going to run (although I did look at becoming an authorized write in back in August…decided not to open the can of worms of getting permission at work).

    1. They are old, grew up when communist lies were more credible, and have not thought outside of that box since.

      The first time I told that theory to a boomer, I was told that working men of that time in our neck of the woods knew that the Soviet Union was evil, and much more of a festering sore than the United States.

    2. I remember way too much “nuclear winter all gonna die” and “nuclear apocalypse – Mad Max on steroids” on the shelves of the library in YA and adult fiction. And then there’s the horseclans novels – after the end of the world, the barbarians with telepathic cats will take over the words, opposed by the eeeevil Greeks. Which managed to be pretty Human Wave in their own, “don’t let your parents see you reading them if you are under 18” way.

      1. I remember Horseclans…own them all, wish there were more, want a prairie cat 🙂

        That’s why I said I remember the nuclear part but I don’t remember the “have to surrender to Russians to avoid it” part. It was more assumed it would happen or the Cold War would last 100 more years without it happening.

        1. The “have to surrender to Russians to avoid it” part was at the core of Kissingerian realpolitik.– part of the danger of Reagan was considered that he didn’t accept that reality.

          Presented more kindly, the rate of productivity growth of the Soviet Union was such they would certainly overtake us* and their willingness to go nuclear meant that we had to eschew provoking the bear.

          *Apparently many experts in world economics had never met Xeno’s paradox and thought that Russia’s doubling of GDP every five years while ours only grow four percent annually meant the Russians would surely overtake us. (N.B. – “doubling” and “every five years” are metaphorical in this usage and do not reflect actual rates of growth or periods of time.)

          1. There’s a great non-fiction essay by Heinlein from the time he traveled to the Soviet Union, in which he had a civil engineer (U.S.) point out from aerial photos that a large city in Russia could not possibly have the population it claimed, because there simply wasn’t enough infrastructure to support it.

            The actual population numbers of the Soviet Union during the course of the Cold War fall under the category of “we really don’t know.” The numbers that were given simply don’t line up with the post-Soviet Union census data.

            1. That is in Expanded Universe the book I have given away more copies of than any other book combined (including Starship Troopers which I consider a less useful volume for trying to change minds).

          2. I think I was unclear…I don’t remember it in the sci-fi I was reading circa 1980. I remember the thinking in the press about the inevitability of the USSR’s victory but I don’t remember it in sci-fi stories.

            1. It was certainly in the popular media – see “The Day After,” which aired as a very heavily promoted “event” right before Thanksgiving 1983, for what “everyone” knew would happen if we didn’t make nicey-nice to the Soviets. I remember watching it during college. Not optimistic, to say the least, and pretty much the Hollywood case for unilateral western disarmament.

              I was not around LA in the early 90s, so I don’t directly know how much wailing and gnashing and rending of clothes and such the Hollywood crowd went through when the USSR fell. I theorize a lot of them had mixed emotions, crushed by the failure of their dream, but also happy their KGB handlers were not calling them anymore.

              1. I remember that piece of…well, not sure what but something.

                Thought it had the dumb bad and this for a kid who loved Fail Safe (the original with Henry Fonda and Larry Hagman). Still do. That was a Cold War, “what the hell are we thinking with all these nukes” movie done right (I hadn’t seen Strangelove yet and I actually think its commentary aspect isn’t as strong).

                  1. I know of it but never read it or saw the movie. I suspect it wouldn’t be my cup of tea based on the descriptions.

                    Failsafe seems to hit a sweet spot of tragedy and the ability to avoid it.

                    To be quite honest I think the Presidents and the Premiers of the period deserve a great deal of credit for never crossing the line. Given human nature I suspect that was very, very hard (and I suspect if Truman hadn’t used the bomb twice on Japanese cities would not have happened).

                  2. On The Beach is a smear of festering gray goo that is an insult to Australians. The problem isn’t no survivors in the story; the problem is they don’t try to survive. No effort at all. It’s “Oh, we can’t survive this, so we’ll pop poison pills and rot.” They can carve a set of encyclopedias in stone in case intelligent life evolves again and stumbles across it, but they can’t build fallout shelters and underground greenhouses?


                    The only reason I don’t call it crap is that crap makes the grass grow, and thus has redeeming qualities than this book ever will.

                1. You have to remember that the movie is half a century old, and filmed to different ideas about pacing and editing. And it went through a major rewrite *after* it had been filmed, and was re-edited into a substantially different movie than it started as.

                  It also helps to know that the presence of a British officer in a US command structure was quite ordinary; part of the “Special Relationship” from WWII, and that it continued well up into the 1980s that I know of. (I didn’t know that when I first saw the movie, and it caused considerable consternation)

                  I still like it a lot, though.

                  1. I wasn’t complaining or saying I didn’t like it.

                    The reason I think Doctor Strangelove wasn’t as strong a commentary as Failsafe (whose pace is arguably the slower of the two) is the latter is much more tightly focused on one topic: the brinksmanship circa 1960 was going to lead to us slipping over the edge accidentally and the President of the US was going to face a choice such as ordering the atomic bombing of NYC by a US bomber in order to avert all out nuclear war.

                    Kubrick was looking at accidental war, the arms race, the use of Nazi scientists by the West, warmongering, and a dozen other things. They were well presented and certainly several lines from that movie are iconic because of just how true they ring (“Gentleman, you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room”, “Mr. President we have a mine shaft gap.”). He also put what was, for the time, a lot of emphasis on sex.

                    To put the contrast on the simplest term consider the contrast between Major Kong and General Black. Yes, Slim Pickens riding the bomb is a classic scene that has become iconic. However, it doesn’t have one tenth the power of General Black ordering the rest of the bomber crew off the controls so they will have no part in the bombing of NYC and immediately committing suicide after.

                    Dr. Strangelove is always going to be the better known film. Beyond Kubrick and Sellers it is just funny. Failsafe is what all the grey-goo writers of serious books claim to be writing (and their director counterparts claim to be filming): a serious look at a dark subject asking the viewer to face some tough questions.

                  2. I guess you could argue that we shouldn’t compare Kong to Black but to Grady. This isn’t much better in terms of commentary. Kong rides a suck bomb down after shaking it lose. Grady decides to release his bomb at detonation height because, as his co-pilot says, there would be nothing to go home to anyway.

              2. Bah. I read the short story in the St. Anthony Messenger, courtesy of the authoress being buddies with a hippie Franciscan editor. What a piece of gray goo and plotholes. (Yet better sf than many of the recent Hugo winners, sadly.)

      2. I loved Horseclans, which were tailor-made for my own brand of Mary Sewage. The bad fanfic I wrote could have sunk Guam. (Ironically, my overprotective mother saw “armored man on horseback with badass kitty” and never batted an eye, but flipped her lid over Stasheff’s Warlock books, which were incredibly family-friendly by comparison.)

  15. This was rather president Carter’s position, I gather, but he softened it somewhat for public consumption.

    Reference? That sounds extreme, even for Carter.

      1. I think Dr. Pournelle has pointed out that Nixon and Kissinger thought the Soviets had essentially won. What Ford and Carter thought I don’t know.

        I do know such ideas weren’t held in a vacuum. For example, Civil Defense was allowed to deteriorate, and there was fear in Congress in the 1970s that efforts to rebuild it would be interpreted by the Soviets as a prelude to a first strike. What came out of all that was FEMA. Unlike Civil Defense, built on the idea that each area should respond autonomously, with supplies and equipment propositioned to help in that goal, FEMA is designed to be top down so that it cannot function in the event of a nuclear war, or not function well.

  16. I remember the moment I heard a younger (by 12 years) grad student decrying the greed and the “Me Generation” of the early 1980s and wondering what I’d missed. What I recall was trying to recover from the ag crisis of the late 1970s-early 80s, the Cold War, and people being proud to be American.

      1. “Reagan years greed.” What, like investing in an obvious scam development like Whitewater? [Insert mocking summary of all the things wrong with the Whitewater Development because I am too tired and too lazy to provide it.] Or like turning a $1,000 investment into nearly $100,000 in under ten months, thanks to insider tips on cattle futures?

          1. I can see how all she did was read the WSJ: Her broker, on the other hand, had to work very hard, playing games like directing the days more successful trades into her account and such while staying under the SECs radar.

            In the end it was more like money laundering than investing.

        1. As I recall, the cattle futures profits were not over the course of 10 months, but rather, done in one day.
          Obviously, by the broker front-running Hillary’s trades to the financial detriment of his other clients, and possibly by “selling” short in investment positions she did not hold.
          Eg, price goes up, time her trades before as though she bought before the rise; price goes down, she “sold” before that happened. Done on a minute-by-minute basis, the profit _can_ be made, but only at the cost of $100K losses suffered by the broker’s other clients.
          But hey, she is just SO smart. Really. :{

    1. As a Gen X person, the comments being floated around were that we didn’t have any great conflict to immerse ourselves in. I think the disappointment for those decrying us was that we’d never been provided a great unifying reason to riot or protest the “right-wing” actions of the government.

      Bloom County had a great spoof of this attitude, btw. A story arc revolved around a bunch of conservative university students starting a protest on campus in favor of law and order. When the cops finally showed up, the protestors all demanded that they (the protestors) be arrested.

        1. Eh… I never really liked the Trump stuff back in the old Bloom County (when Trump’s brain was placed in Bill’s body). And while I haven’t seen the new Bloom County stuff, I’ve heard it’s largely more of the same.

  17. Oh, sure, I worked for Reagan’s campaign, which was probably illegal.

    I, too, worked on the ’80 Reagan campaign (much to the chagrin of my parents), with a lengthy break for Army basic training, as well as (being just barely qualified by age for) voting for him. Not sure why you’d question whether it was legal. Citizenship status? I don’t think that’s a bar to working for a campaign unless you are an actual agent of a foreign government, only against voting*. At least that was the consensus of the campaign and Minnesota Republican party staffers in a later campaign in which I was involved when the issue arose.

    Damn, I like door knocking! You get to meet some of the most *interesting* people.

    * Not that that seems to be bothering the Shrillery-ites.

  18. I fell at the tail end of the Boomer generation, and I was raised by Christian conservatives. I do remember the Cold War and what it was about. People were still talking about the Berlin airlift, the Korean War, the Hungarian uprising, and the Cuban Missile Crisis and taking Civil Defense in case of nuclear war seriously. [After seeing what Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev managed to do back in their fire-breathing days in the name of their Cause and how they ran the USSR into the ground trying to keep up with the US, Putin is not nearly so scary.] My Dad was interested in the John Birch Society for a while and kept some of its literature around, so I was better informed than most about what was wrong with Communism. I also remember Nixon’s attempt at wage and price controls, which were marketed as a way to combat inflation. It didn’t work.

    It irks me a little bit that people do not notice that most of the Communist countries; Russia, China, even Vietnam, and many of the socialist-leaning countries such as India and Indonesia have been abandoning socialist economics and their economies have been improving in consequence. In contrast, the Western countries and Japan have been adopting socialist policies, and their economies have been stagnating. Look at the stubborn holdouts like North Korea and Cuba. Look at Venezuela. The correlation is there. Socialism doesn’t work.

    On a personal level, after most of a lifetime struggling for survival with undiagnosed maladies and various degrees of opprobrium from my “support system”, trying everything sane and some not so sane to get to a “normal” level of income, I can claim to know a thing or two about life at the bottom of the pile. After going a few rounds with those who administer government welfare programs, I am most firmly convinced that those who advocate moar gubmint as a solution to anything don’t know what they are talking about.

    1. Oddly, the solution to “those who advocate moar gubmint as a solution to anything don’t know what they are talking about.” usually is moar gubmint.

      1. How do you figure that? Advocating more government as a solution for government-created problems is stupid, but if stupid were illegal, we’d all be in a world of hurt.

        1. “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” – H. L. Mencken

          Some folk need to get their wishes granted to grasp how stupid those desires are.

    2. One things those smitten with Communist rule could never explain. Why was the refugee flow always away from the Communist paradise, never towards it? Just knowing this one fact is enough for a rational person to decide the Worker’s Paradise isn’t.

      Which says volumes about liberals and rationality.

      1. My favorite was the member of Carter’s council of economic advisers whose thesis claimed Romania had the best organized economy n the world. It was only held back because the West denied it access to advanced Western technology.

        Why the best organized economy in the world couldn’t create such tech itself was left as an exercise for the reader.

  19. I’m raising my eyebrow at the word “utopia” since I never invoked it and never would. It’s a label the comment section pasted on me in lieu of understanding. Perfect societies are farcical. I wouldn’t want to live in one. I don’t have the temperament. And the only utopia possible is the one promised after The End to the believers, after the shadow is vanquished forever.

    I wouldn’t like living in a utopia. They usually involve lots of state management, mass surveillance, and secret police purging undesirables — “utopia” is by its nature a dystopia only able to support a constantly shrinking homogenous population.

    So, no, I’m afraid you totally missed the mark of what I was saying. If you think that I want to force everyone else into a certain mold then you are drastically wrong. It’s as simple as that. I want a country where free speech reigns supreme, where the market place of ideas is vigorous, and where universities don’t ban speakers from coming to my school just because they’re conservative. I want a country where the IRS doesn’t steal my tax returns just because I live in Texas. I want a country that chooses national pride over political correctness. I want a country that vigorously defends the homeland instead of allowing at least five terrorist attacks a year because America is supposedly big enough to absorb them.

    If those theories, such as the belief in free speech and the desire to have an accountable government, is one of those things that will die and collapse without me noticing, then I guess I don’t know what America is supposed to be after all.

    I’m not part of the alt-right though I have a great deal of sympathy for them. (IMO they’re too racist and bound up in conspiracy theory to be much more than a flash in the pan.) I’m just trying to explain that they’re extremely pissed at being denied their birthright enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They’re not represented, they’re constantly cheated and talked down to by smug elders trying to shame them into compliance with the groupthink, and they are, like the rest of us, the victims of a culture based on lies. A culture that was not built by them but one they have to suffer under anyway due to the iniquities of their forebears. (Those forebears had many victories; they also have many failures. I see no reason to gloss over those failures. In fact it is ridiculous to do so since glossing over them keeps us from understanding how our current problems got started. Ignoring history is but one method of committing suicide. Good for them, they defeated the Soviet Union. They also screwed up Vietnam and Korea.)

    I would say that Romania and Hungary did more to defend freedom than anyone else. They will know more about evil and war and heartbreak than Americans ever could. They brought the fight to their dictators, suffered, died, and then dragged themselves clear of a corpse to emerge triumphant. I think we could learn from them. Not because of the violence but because they had enough of the boot crushing their faces and remembered who they were and why. They had had enough. I admire that. It takes a very special bravery to push back against something so huge that desperately wants to kill you.

    But there is no conspiracy against my generation. There never was. Humans aren’t smart enough to maintain conspiracies for longer than an hour. There are only forces that wants to destroy and subvert us so that they can kill and steal from their populations as much as possible. Most of those forces are coming from within the country.

    So, yes. Many people are very, very angry. We have been betrayed by the people who promised to defend us and speak the truth. That merits a lot of fury.

    1. Remember, fury is just another feelz, and we don’t operate on feelz.
      Feelz change, fury and anger fade pretty rapidly, and are easily sated.
      Better cold determination and patience, with a lot of hard, boring work.
      Things cannot change for the better overnight.

      1. All humans operate on feelings. We are irrational creatures that had to create logic and math and rationality. Feelings will always be our first reaction, at least if what I see on my college campus is any indication.

        Feelings are the start, not the end. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter, or else there would never have been a revolution in 1776 in the first place.

        1. Feelings are good and all, and yes, we can’t get rid of them.
          But you do need to be able to set them aside if you want to get anywhere. Many virtues are based on being able to delay the gratification of one’s feelings.
          Commitments, for instance, may start based on feelings, but cannot continue on feelings.
          As Gurney one said, “Mood? What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting!”

            1. One also fights better with a cool head. The Greek hoplites valued the man who stayed cool and keep his position in the Phalanx over the raging berserker. The Romans kept silent during the attack.

      2. I read that as “furry is just another feelz” and thought, “Yes, it’s the next one I’ll have to accept as reality after transgenderism.”

        1. In defense, that’s otherkin or therians you are thinking of. A hobby should not require changing reality.

          1. I know…I did love the last Tumblrism video that covered otherkin…still damn near piss myself every time I watch it. He even gives furries credit for getting their shit together and working to fix the image problem they gave themselves.

      3. “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” – David Hume

        I know that failed attempt at a philosophy degree would come in handy one day 🙂

    2. I lived in Romania for the better part of two years. And about half the people I spoke to while living there (I was not there as a tourist, and so was not living the ‘sanitized for the visitor’ side of things) liked to wax lyrical about how things were “so much better” under Communism, and would occasionally get upset when I gave them funny looks.

      Yeah, they got violent when overthrowing Ceaucescu…and then put former Party members in charge of the country (which was ongoing at least as far as 2001-2003, when I was there, and I very much doubt even joining the EU changed things much.) Romania was a lovely country to look at, and the people are wonderful (on an individual basis, as most humans are) but the government was corrupt as hell, there was no free speech to speak of (nor freedom of religion), and if you wanted anything done you had to bribe the right persons–even for things as simple as paying the damn electric bill.

      That…is not facing up and overcoming evil, not by a long stretch. Nor is that ‘defending freedom.’ They survived. They are not, even now, thriving overmuch. Because all the mechanisms of the old socialist/communist regime remained firmly in place–“Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.” They just weren’t *quite* as loony as Ceaucescu was. (Or at least, not openly so.)

      1. I never had the fortune to do that (I would have loved to – more research on Vlad and actually visiting the places where he lived), but I recall some time after the Ceaucescus were killed some news report on Australian TV where the Romanian locals were talking about corruption in the government, and the general opinion was that “someone” should do “something”.

        That’s something all tyrants crush, and Communists more than others it seems, the notion that an individual can and *should* act to fix problems.

        1. It also always seems that once “Someone” does do “Something” it either gets worse, or the Doer is derided then ignored, then things go back to the same ol’ same ol’

        2. I can definitely say that in Wallachia, Vlad is very much still considered a national hero, since that’s the former princedom he actually ruled. The first city I lived in (Brasov, in the heart of Wallachia) even had a street named after him. The general spiel I got was “Yeah, sure, he killed a lot of people but mostly they were Turks, so that’s okay. And there was no crime.”

          Interestingly, he didn’t come up much in Transylvania, or at least not the region of it where I lived (Cluj-Napoca). He *was* held captive in that region, though, so I imagine he wasn’t as revered in the historical memory. Anyway, Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) was the popular historical ruler of choice in that region. (And less vivid than Vlad–I’d have to go read up on Stefan to remember what he’s known for, heh.)

          Not so sure about how they viewed Vlad in Moldavia (that’s the third region in Romania), but I only lived there three months, and Vlad was never a ruler there, and I’m not sure he ever went there.

          Someday when I’m less poor, I’d like to go back and visit places like Sigisoara (where Vlad was born), and his (one of his) actual castle(s) outside of Sibiu. (The one billed in-country as ‘Dracula’s Castle’–aka Castelul Bran–isn’t. He *might* have spent a night there. Once.) I’d also love to visit Hunedoara, which is where he was held prisoner for a long time. 😀

          (Interestingly–though I’m sure Kate already knows this from her research–‘Dracul’ is actually one of the the worst insults you can call someone in Romanian. Yeah, it loosely translates to dragon or demon in English, but that doesn’t convey the level of insult conveyed in calling someone that. Kind of like calling someone a ‘cretin’ in English is fairly rude, but *unbelievably* rude to do so in Italian.)

          1. Oh, I’m *jealous*. I really want to visit and see Vlad’s old stomping grounds and research on the spot.

            Stefan and Vlad were double cousins and as I recall, Stefan had a phenomenal number of children… legitimate and otherwise. Apparently he believed that the “father of his country” thing should be taken literally (Yes, this is what I remember most from the research I did… Sad).

            Vlad was among other things the only leader who *ever* forced Mehmed the Conqueror to retreat, and he did so in such inimitable style that Mehmed never went near the Wallachian border again. He did everything through local proxies after encountering the Forest of the Impaled.

            Vlad definitely had a perverse sense of humor – in quite a few of his letters he signed himself as “Dracula” (or a transliteration of that, since spelling was kind of… um… different then). Possibly he treated the nickname his father got as a kind of odd honor, to deliberately style himself as the son of the dragon/demon

      1. Recall that Hungary had a go at independence from the Soviets in 1956, in the end requiring 17 Red Army divisions to put down.
        I know of no such parallel event in Romanian history.

        1. The problem with Romania, I think, is that it was always a crossroads kind of place: everyone and their *dog* trooped through their on their way to conquer the west (or east), so perforce it got conquered. A lot.

          You’ve got Anglo-Saxons, Greeks, Turks, Romans and probably several others I’m not remembering who all conquered and/or settled there. (Pontius Pilate, in fact, was posted there prior to being sent to Judea.) Of the Dacian tribes (who may or may not have been original to the area) there isn’t much left beyond the name being attached to an incredibly crappy car. (I kid you not: in order to change a tire on a Dacia, you have to flip the car up on its side. That one can do this without help from more than a few other people is a little worrisome to me. Also, that was the brand I most frequently saw being drawn by horses…)

          1. There is a comment I ran across when I was researching Vlad’s life – basically everyone and their dog pillaged and burned Bucharest, and every time it was rebuilt. With *wood*. (Mostly because there was plenty of it available, but when you’re the local joke because everyone burns your city down? Um…)

            1. Heh. Nowadays (or at least, nowadays circa 2001-2003, heh), it’s all concrete. Hideous, badly poured concrete, mostly. Though to be fair, I never actually lived in Buc, only passed through a few times. (The size of the Palatul Poporului has to be seen to be believed.) I have heard that if you wander deep enough into the side streets, you can still find remnants of the city that–prior to the Communists taking over–was known as “Little Paris.”

              My most vivid memory of Bucharest, though, is passing by one of the unfinished blocs and seeing a tree growing from the upper stories. (When Ceaucescu fell, the construction crews just walked away, and so there are a LOT of crumbling, unfinished concrete buildings in the city.) And going through Sector Five, where you could see one of the remaining unfinished Hunger Domes* along the main bus route.

              *Ceaucescu’s last “brilliant” idea–and very possibly the one that tipped things to the boiling point and got him killed: he was going to cut off all food distribution and force the population to receive their rations from the “Hunger Domes,” and thus by his lights prevent any rebellion. Yeah. Dude was an idiot.

              If you do get to go, definitely be sure to visit Brasov. It’s in the heart of Wallachia (it’s the one with the street named after Vlad), and only a couple of hours from Sigisoara, where he was born. I never got to visit Sigisoara (or Alba Iulia) on account of my being there as a missionary for my church, and so under some pretty strict rules regarding wandering around. But Brasov is gorgeous, and it has a TON of medieval-era stuff still extant around it (including some buildings still being lived in). Also has the narrowest street in Europe. It’s great for getting a nice ‘feel’ of the old world. (Sigisoara is likely much the same, though the pictures I’ve seen also indicate that it is *very* colorful. Lots of pink and bright blue buildings.)

              Someday, when I’m less poor, I would like to go back and visit.

                1. They really, really do. And yes, Brasov is gorgeous. As is Cluj-Napoca, although it’s more 18th-century, Age-of-Enlightenment/Baroque/Roccoco (but with Roman ruins in the center of town). Bacau–which was the third city I lived in–not so much, alas. It was pretty much a concrete former-Soviet blah. Iasi, on the other hand, which I got to briefly visit, was a fun confectionary of different church styles (it’s kind of the heart of the Romanian Orthodox Church).

    3. Picking just a few points:
      smug elders trying to shame them into compliance with the groupthink

      Well, I suppose if anything you disagree with is groupthink, then this makes sense, but the complaint yesterday was that the old folk betrayed you by failing to win all the fights, leaving all the work to you. I guess maybe there were two sets of groupthink? Or are you saying any time two people agree, that’s evil groupthink and the rebel must rebel against any agreement? Alas, confused I am on this one.

      They also screwed up Vietnam and Korea
      OK, Korea was a win. Sorry you didn’t learn that. See the context to understand why a wider war with China and the Soviets would have been a loss, and why in the end the UN had to leave half the country under the rule of the nutjobs.

      And Vietnam was a screwup of the first magnitude, but even there, in spite of the disaster that was the LBJ administration, between the late war strategy change and innate skill sof the US military, we almost won (again, which would have looked like Korea – with Vietnam divided into North and South). It took Kissinger’s negotiating blunders in Paris and Teddy Kennedy’s congressional betrayal combined with the Presidential paralysis fallout from Watergate to cancel millions of tons of promised arms deliveries (in many cases defending RVN troops fought hard until they ran out of ammo) and block the air strikes that the US had promised would back the ARVN forces up if the North invaded again (In 1972 those B-52 strikes had annihilated the invading North Vietnamese tank columns, which set the pattern for the war plans and force structure of the ARVN with no need for any US ground forces in-country). There’s no reason to think that, absent Teddy Kennedy, that would not have happened again, and the South would not have fallen.

      Remember, the Cold War strategy was “containment”, not “invasion.” The idea was fence the Soviets in and keep them from getting new lands to plunder, so they would suffocate in their own filth. Which basically describes the environmental state of the entire Eastern block, as we found out after the wall fell.

      glossing over (screwups) keeps us from understanding how our current problems got started

      Yep – but glossing over the successes, the wins, makes it easy for you to be mad at all those gosh darn old people who didn’t win it on your behalf. Which is certainly easier than admitting they had as much to deal with as you do, and you are in a better position for what they did manage to accomplish.

      I guess being grateful does not feel as good as being angry.

      1. -“Well, I suppose if anything you disagree with is groupthink, then this makes sense, but the complaint yesterday was that the old folk betrayed you by failing to win all the fights, leaving all the work to you. I guess maybe there were two sets of groupthink? Or are you saying any time two people agree, that’s evil groupthink and the rebel must rebel against any agreement? Alas, confused I am on this one.”-

        I was repeating the talking point that Sarah herself has made on this blog, that the adults must re-take society from the regressives that want to destroy it. My addition to that is, who allowed the regressives to take control of society in the first place? It certainly wasn’t my generation.

        I’ve been on the pointed end on that failure. I’ve had professors scream at me in classes (as a method to humiliate me into agreement), call me a liar, and threaten to fail me for pointing uncomfortable truths for them, like the fact the Americans dropped leaflets on the Japanese cities before dropping the bomb. (I once had a history professor accusing me of lying because “white people were too racist during World War 2 to warn the Japanese about nuclear weapons.” She still refuses to acknowledge the existence of those leaflets despite their display in the World War 2 museum in Japan.) When I tried to start up a Republican club on my college campus I was denied by the administration and accused of creating a racist hate group (and my being white was their only cited evidence of my racism.) A man threatened to throw me out a window when I told him that Dick Cheney wasn’t a war criminal. He wasn’t joking and I had to get out of the room or else he would have done it.

        Other people in my age group have been physically hurt, threatened, harassed, and intimidated by authority just for expressing their political views. Those accounts are all over the internet. Consider the numerous Trump supporters that have been beaten up by mobs of left wingers.

        So I know I got off lucky in a protected environment.

        The regressive left enforces the cultural groupthink that produced the alt-right. Meanwhile, the right allowed it to grow unchallenged, except for Rush Limbaugh of all people, who has been fighting the good fight completely alone until the advent of blogs. Consider how recently those were created. Alternative media is barely 15 years old and only just hitting its stride.

        The larger point I was making with that comment is that when one side loses a battle then the later generation that must clean it up must do it with the only tools they have. My point wasn’t a complaint that I wasn’t handed a ~utopia~ (your insinuation, not mine): my point is that the alt-right is a product of neglectful parents. We were locked in a room with the regressive left with no alternatives. None. It’s no wonder some people went crazy after they tore off the veil and realized the extent of the lies.

        The alt-right is the predictable backlash against leftwing culture. I think it’s pretty rich of anyone to mock the anger expressed by it considering how little effort there was to reach out to young people and educate them on conservative values and why conservatism is important. Making fun of it is missing the point. The point is that the alt-right are looking for a reason not to be angry anymore (though I don’t think they know that.) They are looking for hope. They’re not finding it.

        And there was very little effort to reach out to us. I know. I lived with it. Again, I am on the pointed end of that failure. I know what happens when leftist authority figures are allowed to brainwash and intimidate without any challenge or antidote. Particularly when they zero in on you and you alone as the nail that sticks out. It’s fucking terrifying to be that isolated.

        I don’t think the whole edifice is worthless. I don’t want to “burn it all down.” But I understand those who do, because I know what it’s like to have your entire life crumble and you realize that it didn’t have to be this way. That things could have been different. That we were blinded and had our tongues cut out, and we didn’t know it until we tried to see and speak.

        -“Remember, the Cold War strategy was “containment”, not “invasion.””-

        I remember being taught about “containment.” I just never thought it was a good military strategy since it lowered the standing of the United States in the eyes of our enemies. I see the value, I just think that there could have been a better way. Too bad Patton didn’t live.

        And Korea was not a win. There was only a ceasefire/truce. That’s not a win, that’s a holding pattern. One that we’ve extended because we didn’t want to start a war with a country as big as China. Unfortunately that’s resulted in the Pacific slowly heating up into a potential war zone.

        Again, I understand it. I just think there could have been a better way.

        -“I guess being grateful does not feel as good as being angry.”-

        I wasn’t angry until people, including our host, started putting words in my mouth and accusing me of being ungrateful that I wasn’t handed Paradise when I said no such thing. My intent was to explain why Millennials are so angry and that it’s because we feel isolated and afraid.

        1. Fellow millennial here. Twenty-four. In graduate school. Angry? Yeah. But I learned to control my anger, because I learned that being the rational one won you support, and that anger makes you do stupid things.

          1. That will be easier after the election is over, not to mention once the FBI investigation comes out in full. That will be when people are looking for alternatives and want to listen.

        2. [T]he adults must re-take society

          In this usage “adults” is not a generational term, nor even one of age.

          Merriam Webster: mature and sensible : not childish

          We have two immature and childish seventy-year-olds standing for president. A large number of college students, professors and deans are demonstrating such immaturity of intellect and emotion as to disqualify them from any activity relying on mature judgement and responsibility.

          When Sarah refers to the adults re-taking society, she means this nation needs to grow-the-eff-up and accept responsibility for our selves else we sink permanently into the dependency that afflicts all children. Liberty is not an option for the immature; it is a privilege of maturity, not of years.

          Your complaint bespeaks immaturity, demanding that others provide your desires rather than asking their help in attaining them yourself.

          [T]he right allowed it to grow unchallenged, except for Rush Limbaugh of all people, who has been fighting the good fight completely alone until the advent of blogs.

          Twaddle. You haven’t been here long enough to know whereof you speak, nor have your teachers given you the facts, nor have you done your research. You may dismiss National Review, but they’ve been fighting for conservatism since before Nixon ran for president. The American Spectator has fought alongside, as have other magazines. The Media Research Council has been challenging and exposing the MSM’s leftward slant for decades before there was an internet. Phyllis Schafly, almost single-handedly, blocked implementation of a so-called Equal Rights Amendment that would have given the Progressives the tools they’re only now deploying through the zealots in the Justice Department Division of Civil Rights forty years ago.

          Jesse Helms and Ronald Reagan were among those making conservative arguments for restraining the power of government since the Sixties. Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay fought twenty-two years ago to prevent implementation of Hillarycare and the Left’s agenda and were smeared for it. Justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas have fought to preserve the Constitution for decades and gotten slimed for their efforts.

          Little effort to reach out to you? Your eyes were closed to what was being done. Instead of thanking folks for their lonely rearguard action against a Progressive zeitgeist which has enjoyed nigh overwhelming force for almost a century, you complain because your liberty doesn’t come gift-wrapped, because “some assembly is required”?

          Sorry, kid. We welcome you to the fight, and maybe in your lifetime, if you work hard, motivate and support others, spread the gospel of conservatism you might, just might see liberty restored to this land. And if you do, teach your children well of its value because we are never, as Reagan reminded, more than a single generation away from sliding back into the darkness that has besmirched most of human history.

          Instead of complaining about having to bear the burden of liberty, put your shoulder to the wheel and put your back into it; some of us old geezers are breaking down trying to hold out for you.

          1. Why do you keep saying that I don’t want to fight for liberty? What do you think I’ve been trying to do? Do you think I challenged my professors in public and endangered my education (the key to my employment future) for fun? Do you think I tried to start a Republican organization on campus because I didn’t want to find like minded people and convince others? Do you think I got into arguments with men twice my size who attacked me because I’m too lazy to fight for liberty? Do you think I challenge the stereotypes of the fragile female feminist in my workplace and put my job in danger because I’m a stupid immature child that can’t handle conflict?

            The rest of it isn’t even worth addressing. I give a small list of the things I have tried to do to reach out to others around me and fight leftism the only way I know how, and you can’t even acknowledge it. Unbelievable.

            1. Given the evidence of your poor reading comprehension, I am unsurprised you’ve had trouble persuading others towards conservatism’s light. If you would have every point of your screeds addressed in reply, you had best learn to write more briefly. Until such time I reserve the privilege of selecting what points seem to most merit response.

              Nowhere did I say you were unwilling to fight for liberty (although I regret you feel such deep need of praise for defending it in your classes) but rather I said you appeared ignorant of all those who’ve fought to preserve such little as remains to you. I said nothing about your travails because it is the duty of every patriot, every advocate of liberty to stand for his beliefs — because those are his beliefs, not in hopes of being given a cookie.

              As Martin Luther informed the Imperial Diet of Worms, “I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen.”

              I called you an ingrate, not a coward; if you wish to rebut my argument you might at least address the argument made. Keep up the fight, but do not disparage the fight of others who’ve stood forth to preserve what little footing remains for you.

              1. So what you actually want is to be able to show off how much more you know than other people, while acknowledging that we were deliberately never taught any of it, while still wanting to call people names and act superior. All the privileges of being a teacher with none of the responsibilities. As soon as the possibility of someone else’s accomplishments comes up you run away from it and dismiss it because God forbid someone assert that they are actually doing something. What you actually want to is be incoherently angry in comment sections towards young people for not showing due deference to ghosts.

                Good to know. Find someone else to fawn over you and reminisce about how great the good old days were. That appears to be what you want.

                1. What I actually want???? Good Lord, No!

                  What I actually want is for furious little twerps to stop their self-pitying whinging and try to get a clue how long this battle has been going on. I certainly don’t claim to have done anything worth anyone’s admiration, and what I did I didn’t do for any such purpose. I sure as Hades don’t want the likes of you “fawning” over me; I want you to get off my lawn.

                  If you prefer being ignorant over listening to others “show off how much more they know” it hardly seems reasonable to complain that nobody taught you about this history. If you cannot see the incoherence of that complaint, I suspect the problem is less “you weren’t taught” and more “you didn’t learn.”

                  I suspect that nobody else here would deem my response to you as “incoherently angry” … especially as it is to your incoherent rage I was responding. Rage is the enemy of reason, self-destructive and corrupting. I always eschew it and advise others against it.

            2. FindHome, I’m probably about halfway between you and your interlocutors generationally and in my outlook. I’m in my mid-40s, a fairly typical Gen-Xer in most ways. Your fury reminds me of the somewhat less focused outrage we felt. Older generations were handing us a giant sack of crap and lecturing us about gratitude when we didn’t enjoy the smell. We were derided as either unprincipled greedy brats or unmotivated slackers. There was a little bit of truth in the criticism, but it seems like every generation winds up thinking that the next one is ruining the world.

              RES mentions all the people who were fighting the good fight in the bad old days…I never saw any of them. Very few of us did (at least as far as I know) unless it was in the context of those crazy right-wingers that all the knowledgeable people assured us were crackpots. Now I look back and see that most of those crackpots were unrewarded patriots who saw through the blinders of their times, and I’m glad they kept at it until I finally came around.

              We didn’t have easily accessible alternative channels then. Unless you were already connected with the crackpots, you probably didn’t know there was even the slightest need for an alternative to the unified progressive media. When you’ve lived your whole life on a slanted field, you don’t know what level looks like.

              As for who’s at fault for handing your generation the giant bag o’ fertilizer you’re trying to climb out of, it was me. Not personally and not intentionally, but the seedlings of everything you’re currently getting hammered by were there when I was in college in the early ’90s. The insufferable twits in my ’90s humanities classes are the literal parents of today’s millennial SJWs. We just sighed and rolled our eyes and thought they’d see sense eventually. And we didn’t want to be those censorious older people who thought those rambunctious kids were ruining the world.

              Unfortunately, that just gave our censorious classmates more room to grow.

              So…yeah. In hindsight, maybe if more of us had spoken up and taken our obnoxious politically correct classmates down a peg, they might not have gone on to corrode universities and journalism and their children and so on, and we wouldn’t have so much of the nonsense that’s making everyone miserable right now.

              But like Sarah said, we had no way to know how the future was going to play out. People that mostly just want to be left alone tend to leave everyone else alone, which is nice — but also a double-edged sword, because we tend not to notice the detrimental meddlers until they’ve already done a lot of damage.

    4. I never thought much about utopias until discussions with my youngest son. (He says we have “different” dinner table conversations then he hears at friend’s houses.) And we both agreed after a very short discussion that all utopias are dystopias. No matter what face it put up to the world outside it.

  20. I think perhaps the biggest problem with the boomers is the sheer size of the demographic bulge. I’m like Sarah: I grew up in their wake, complete with advertising consistently targeting the age group 10 to 15 years older than me. Yes, there was stuff aimed at my age group, but there was more aimed at theirs.

    Personally, I think my generation is basically those who were young adults when the Berlin Wall came down: that’s *our* defining moment. Our view of what makes a good government was shaped by what came out from behind the Iron Curtain in the years after that (if it was reported with any honesty, which… may vary).

    Those whose defining moment is September 11, 2001 have a rather different perspective, I would think.

  21. …books of the fifties, to get that sense. So “the youth” was outrageously catered to,…

    To go with the songs, when I hear some 1950’s/1960’s tunes that were likely innocently meant enough, they do sound creepy – and I don’t mean things like Monster Mash – but like You’re Sixteen which sounds… well, not age-appropriate for the fellow singing it, to put it mildly.

  22. In other news…

    Apparently there’s a ‘Starship Troopers’ “reboot” in the works.

    The script will be written by the team that wrote the script for the Baywatch movie (which releases next year).

    Why!? WHY!?

    1. I used to sneer that Hollywood would eventually be so hard up for a script that they’d do a movie of “The Mod Squad.”

      And then they DID.

      The mind, she boggle.

      I guess “F Troop” or “My Mother the Car” will be next, then…

        1. Eh, in theory, so would I.

          In actuality, considering what Hollywood would do with it … shudder.

          They might be able to adequately cast the Ken Berry role. They might, might conceivably come up with somebody to semi-adequately replace Forrest Tucker. I do not think any of us would enjoy what they do to fill Larry Storch’s shoes. Probably cast Jim Carrey to mug Cpl Agarn. God Satan alone knows what they would do with “Wrangler” Jane; they could hardly make her more assertive, self-willed and everything feminists claim to want women to be, so they would probably play up the “body positivity” element and make her a slut. As for the Hekawi Indians? In these politically correct, socially zealous times? Besides, Graham Greene already did it in Mel Gibson’s Maverick film.

          The only argument for such a revival is that it would lose lots of money and thus further drain the Hollywood Swamp, hastening its destruction.

          1. *sudden vision of a two hour long Saturday Night Live “parody” of what they’re sure the show was about without ever really paying attention to it at all*

            Gad, Res, like the original vision I had of what they’d do wasn’t bad enough…..

            1. For its era the show was surprisingly not bad. The writing was no worse, no better than usual, but its reliance on fine veteran actors raised the material a bit.

        2. I was going to say “they couldn’t make a movie of F Troop, it’s not PC.”

          And then I realized that wouldn’t stop them– they’d just gut it even worse than A Team.

    2. They “yay another movie about facism” has already started up on Twitter complete with links to Moorcock’s Starship Stormtroopers. Got sucker into it last night.

        1. The retort was:

          1. I clearly couldn’t read and just thought “space marines and bugs and…”

          2. That I liked it so it couldn’t be fascism therefore I couldn’t like it because fascism is icky.

          I replied they couldn’t define fascism beyond, “anything I don’t like” before I caught myself. While I was composing the tweet storm explaining fascism as one of the solutions to the crisis of Marxist thinking brought on by the reality of WWI I came to my senses,

  23. I don’t know how it was then (Reagan years), or there (Carolinas, wasn’t it?)

    But the law now is that a legal alien with a green card can work for anyone (well, except where a security clearance is required).

    Not that certain people pay any attention to silly laws…

    1. You still might run afoul of a law that attempts to limit foreign influences in elections by restricting campaign workers to citizens, or something along those lines. I’m not sure if there are any laws like that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are.

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