Walls, Liberty and Trust – A blast from the past from October 2015

*VERY important note.  I know I have four or five blog posts you’ve sent me.  I also can’t find them.  My email situation right now is less than ideal.  So, if you’ve sent me something and I haven’t run it yet, please re-send.*

Walls, Liberty and Trust – A blast from the past from October 2015

When I was a kid in the village, I could tell what the oldest walls around fields or houses were.

You see, in the sixties the new, nice houses being built, would have very short walls.  Maybe four feet.  Walls more for decoration than for anything else.

This didn’t mean there was no theft, of course.  I mean, the smart woman brought in the wash from the line at night, and henhouses and rabbit hutches had as good a locking mechanism as a house’s.  Sometimes someone got over the little walls and took all your just-grown lemons, or whatever else.  That wasn’t unusual.  BUT no one would get over the walls and kill you and your entire family in your sleep, and the stories I heard from my grandmother about second-story men who engaged in home invasion were just that — stories that were safely in the past (to be fair, I think most of them were from her mother’s or grandmother’s time) and not at all scary, because they could never happen to us.

But the REALLY old houses in the village, the ones that probably dated back to the eighteenth century, not only had eight foot walls around them, but the walls were topped with bits of broken bottles so anyone trying to scale them would hurt himself badly.

More interestingly, the old fields (the village had clearly expanded greatly in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, mostly with migrants from the mountains, like my grandmother’s family) which again, I’d estimate had been farmed since about the eighteenth century, not only had the eight or ten foot tall walls topped with broken glass, but also gates at least as high and — importantly — faced with smooth sheets of metal in the front, so you couldn’t get a foothold to climb.

This makes sense in retrospect.  In that time it made sense only in light of grandma’s stories of bandits, but I’ve now read a lot about the Napoleonic wars.  I didn’t realize how devastating they’d been to people in Portugal.  Oh, sure, you heard stories like the boat bridge, which sank under the weight of people escaping Napoleon, and that’s one thing — the kind of tales that exist here about the civil war, say.

But then I read some memoirs of the peninsular war from British soldiers, and hey, well…  Stuff like all the cows in the country (even work oxen) being eaten, or stuff like the troops scouring entire regions for anything edible.  It appears neither the French nor the British were well provisioned as we think of it in the 21st century.  To an extent troops were expected to live off the land.  But Portugal was very close to the bone, and …  well, I now know why the broken bottles on top of very tall walls.  I suspect it was the only thing protecting one’s vineyards or fruit trees, very often.  It also explained why most of those were along the old Roman roads, still in use when I was a kid (of course.)  Because further in, in fields amid woods or whatever, there would often be no walls at all, or just bits of broken, knee-high wall (and sometimes just boundary stones written in Latin).  Apparently further in where invaders or counter invaders (sometimes I understand it was hard to tell the difference for peasants on the ground) didn’t reach, or were afraid to go lest they be ambushed, the local trust amid families that had been there forever, (and most of those family were old local families, at the time) kept the walls low.

Then came the nineteenth century, more prosperous, but still not great, and amid civil war and revolution and counter revolution, the walls were a little lower, and the gates might be wrought iron, and you could climb them.  But still, to get to grandma’s back patio where the door was open all day, you had to go past two gates, one of which had a lock (though I never saw it locked.)  And even though the big kitchen window gave out on the side patio, past a set of gates, grandma would put a big board into the frame at night, to block off anyone who might break the window and try to get in.

By the time my parents built their house in sixty eight, it had four foot tall walls and gates the same height, more of a symbolic barrier than a real one.  Of course all the windows had roll-down shutters of the kind here associated with store fronts.

Then the security measures started increasing.  First there was a gate between the garage and the house, locking, and keeping away anyone who might think to surprise us in the back patio.  (Which happened a couple of times before that, and could have got ugly if dad hadn’t been able to stop any intruder.)

And then… well, every time I go back, the walls have climbed a bit more, and are now slick marble-panels on the outside, and the gates are smooth and locking.  I’m half afraid next time I go back there will be broken glass (or more aesthetic spikes) atop the walls.  The last time there were bars in the windows, behind the shutters.

I honestly don’t know if crime is that bad, or if it’s a matter of my parents getting older and less able to defend themselves, plus living in a neighborhood where more people are older and less alert, so the neighbors hearing a disturbance won’t save you.  And also, of course, such neighborhoods attract bad elements as they tend to be easy prey.

But I do know that when I first came to the states it utterly blew my mind that people had decorations in their front yard, with not even a symbolic gate to protect them and NO ONE STOLE THEM.

In Portugal someone would steal these things even if they had no use at all for them.  By leaving them outside, you’re inviting someone to take them.

This morning we bought pumpkins (at last) to carve, and noted the vast bins of pumpkins outside the store, the trust it implies in people taking them inside to pay.

Someone here said something about Arab countries being full of people who want freedom/the blessings of liberty.

I believe them.  Portugal is too.  Many people will express disgust with the Shenanigans of governance, with corrupt authorities, with the general anything goes atmosphere, and will make comments about how much better it would be if–

But what you have to understand is that these people don’t know anything more about America than a cat knows of a king.  They will admire the results of American can-do and entrepreneurship, then commiserate with me when unemployment leaves us without health insurance, and tell me how much better they have it because the government takes care of them; they will talk about how it would be great to have honest policemen, but will expect to get out of a minor fine with a minor bribe; they will decry nepotism but be quite happy when their godfather gets them a job or a good deal on something.

In Arab countries (and in some regions in Portugal) this would extend to things like “there ought to be a law keeping these shameless women from going around in short skirts/short sleeves/etc.”

It’s easy to want liberty in the abstract, but in societies where individual rights, including the individual right to property are not a gut-level belief, it’s almost impossible to implement it.  You need to have citizens who have a minimum of trust among themselves, who view others’ property as sacred, who view others’ rights as inviolable to be able to have people truly govern themselves, without its rapidly devolving to the stuff of nightmares.

As our kids have been taught for the last forty years that the collective is more important, that those willing to hold on to their property or the fruits of their labors are greedy, and that (as Bernie supporters keep saying) one must care for “the people’ in great unwashed collective form, we are at risk of losing the ability to have that mutual trust and respect which is essential to self governance, too.

Cultures change very slowly, and it seems more so when it’s in the direction of liberty and trust.

One of the great flaws in classical SF was the assumption that the whole world could become a sort of extended America without those prerequisites.

It was a beautiful dream, but it’s not how things work.

And when the west welcomes large groups of immigrants who don’t understand the rule of law or the meaning of civic trust, it becomes very hard to keep self-government going.

It is essential immigrants assimilate or leave.  Oh, not in things like food and modes of dress.  That is not important.  But the assimilation of the principles of trust and individual rights?  That is essential.

Teach your children well, and explain to those who would be like us what it actually entails.

225 responses to “Walls, Liberty and Trust – A blast from the past from October 2015

  1. …but the walls were topped with bits of broken bottles so anyone trying to scale them would hurt himself badly.

    During the late 1960s and early 1970s I started to see this feature being added to the top of the garden walls of private row houses in center city Philadelphia.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    High Trust Societies vs Low Trust Societies

    In a Low Trust Society, you only Trust your extended Family (ie Tribe) and you are willing to “cheat” anybody not in your extended Family.

    The US was basically a High Trust Society but even without the “unassimilated immigrants”, we’re losing that feature.

    The “Go Out And Hit A Nazi” is an outgrowth of the loss of Trust.

    More and more, Conservatives/libertarians can’t afford to trust too many Liberal/Progressive types.

    Sadly, the Liberal/Progressive types, for all their words of hate toward us, are still “trusting” us to respect the rule of law.

    • Yes, yes, yes — pretty much what I was thinking. Add in the “unassimilated immigrants” who come from low trust societies and the encouragement for them to retain that low trust culture, and it impacts all of us.

    • Best discussion of High vs Low Trust societies I’ve come upon was in John Ringo’s The Last Centurion. He goes into detail with examples.
      It’s also a very good read.

    • I suspect most Middle Eastern countries of predominantly Arab or Muslim populations are about as Low Trust as you can get short of going into war zones in Africa.

      • On the other end of the spectrum, you could drop a $20 or Y2000 bill on the ground in Okinawa in downtown Naha, come back 3 days later and it would still be there, probably in a plastic baggie with a brick holding it down to keep it from blowing away.

    • PNG is very much a low trust state. You’re generally okay within your own village or tribal group, but outside of that, you’re pretty much fair game.
      Here, the average urban house has a sheet metal wall topped with razor wire and security guards at night. Here, you have to carefully plan where you park, and it would be good to have somebody stay and watch the car while you are shopping.

    • I’ve been saying you can’t live in a civil society with Liberals / Leftists / Democrats since 2003. I hate being right.

      • That’s what I’ve been trying to communicate to my fellow Canadian friends for at least a dog’s age. Many factors are eroding the high-trust society we used to enjoy, not just the waves of mass immigration but the “whatever you can get away with” mentality. We will arrive at a very unhappy place where anyone who trusts outside their family/tribe/friend group is considered something of a “freier” — that’s “sucker” in Yiddish/modern Hebrew. This is not confined strictly to criminal acts, but erodes the general level of civility as well, to the point that we’ll be nostalgic for the days when some yutz taking up two parking spaces with one car was considered the height of boorishness.

    • Sadly, the Liberal/Progressive types, for all their words of hate toward us, are still “trusting” us to respect the rule of law.

      Foolishly, you mean. It’s getting so that the clear hypocrisy of expectations are in play: namely, the vileprogs are expecting that they are not respecting the rule of law and erode everything society is based on, based on their feelings and whims, and that they think that we silly conservatives, being only less than they, are still bound by social conventions and laws. Two different classes, the ‘chosen’ and the ‘dhimmi.’

      This is no different, really, than the erosion of Marxism and Islam.

  3. It appears neither the French nor the British were well provisioned as we think of it in the 21st century.

    This brings to mind the marvelous British science and history series, James Burke’s Connections (1). The particular episode, Ep.8, ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry…’, follows some of the threads of development that led to space flight . On the way it notes that keeping troops fed had long been issue. Under Napoleon a substantial prize was offered for a new method of preservation. Canning (initially utilizing Champagne bottles) won that prize.

    • I loved Connections. I think I learned more about history from it than from all my years in school.
      War is always a great incentive for invention and innovation. The Romans were masters of discipline and logistics. Napoleon expanded on the idea that you could move faster and more effectively if your logistics train kept the warriors fed so they didn’t have to scavenge from the countryside.

      • I would like to obtain Connections some day. I only ever saw it in bits and pieces (in reruns, hence the sporadic nature.) I remember the episode with the stirrup and the plow.

        • The DVD set tends to be available for the absurd price of >$70 through Amazon. It appears to be available online at Daily Motion:

          Whether that is your preferred mode of viewing is a different matter, or course.

  4. And part of the difference in crime statistics, i think, between here and Europe is that many Americans would report those decorations as stolen, while many Europeans would just figure ‘c’est la vie’

    • The big cities are embracing both Progressivism and such European attitudes.

      Over twenty years ago, when visiting Daddy, we parked in center city Philadelphia on one of the finest blocks of one of the posher streets in one of the better neighborhoods. It was full daylight and the parking was limited to two hours. We took our luggage into Daddy’s townhouse, but The Daughter forgot and left her coloring box on the back seat. We returned to find that someone had broken out a window and rifled through the coloring box. (Surprisingly nothing had been taken.)

      Daddy’s reaction was a flat, ‘What did you expect?’ We had expected to return and find our car in the condition we left it. This would be the case even in the lesser neighborhoods where we live.

      • The neighborhood I live in used to be a sort of bad one. The drug den was pulled down the year I moved in, and paved over. Still had issues with the addicts and dealers and the sort that follow that lot.

        I remember one night, having my truck parked at the house, a fellow tried to steal it. Once. My truck is an old Ford. You could break in with a coathanger or a stout stick. It ain’t hard to boost it, if ye really want to. I don’t lock the doors (thief did not check this first). But, it’s old, looks easy to steal, and I’d left it there over the weekend.

        Thief got clocked in the head with a two-by-four. Ran off before much more than “You *redacted* idiot. Don’t steal people’s stuf,f” could be said. Ain’t had a problem with thieves since. Or druggies, for the most part. The neighbor’s dog is about the only trespasser, and she’s a friendly sort, so I don’t mind.

        Trust can be built. But it takes folks who are tough, but fair to make it happen. Without the tough, you get taken advantage of. Without the fair, folks won’t want to deal with you, and if they do, they won’t deal honest in self defense.

  5. c4c

  6. It’s easy to want liberty in the abstract

    You know I’m practically rabid on the subject of individual liberty. (Yes, what you–not any “you” here, just in general–want to do is remarkably stupid, but, hey, you have the right to be remarkably stupid so long as you understand on your own head be it.) And from that perspective even in America we have the same problem, albeit to a lesser extent. Even those who talk about “Freedom” and “liberty” are infected with the twin diseases of “there ought to be a law” and “goodies that other people pay for”.

    And entirely too many of those who are serious about Liberty fail to recognize that problem. They seem to think that if we can just elect the right people (whoever the anointed follower of Luap Nor might be generally) then we can have our Libertarian Paradise and sail off into the sunset in peace, joy, and prosperity.

    By all the gods, it’s enough to make a man take his hat off, throw it on the ground, and stomp on it.

    • Then there are those who want the freedom to conduct ‘Sharia patrols’ and go around telling other folks not to drink beer, etc., in public places. Even here in Minneapolis.

    • “I” deserve liberty. “You”, on the other hand, are a foolish child who needs to be properly managed.

  7. As our kids have been taught for the last forty years that the collective is more important…one must care for “the people’ in great unwashed collective form…

    When I was not yet married I rented one of a number of apartments that had been carved out of what had once been a spacious private Victorian. It was up the street from one of the two universities in the city, and within a couple of blocks from two of the colleges.

    One afternoon an acquaintance came by to visit bringing along a friend. Said friend was rambling on about politics and society that indicated a rather fantastic view of the world highly influenced by Marx. At some point this person insisted that no one need be hungry. Anyone fortunate enough to own property should be required to replace their front lawns with a food garden from which anyone could harvest. I was seriously not impressed.

    • He really thought that he had the right to force other people to feed him? A very high opinion of himself he had. I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a Darwin award winner.

      • The young and foolish are just that. Once he had to fully support himself he may have developed more sense. Then again, from such indications as the surprisingly wide support* for Bernie Sanders he might not.

        *Admittedly, I strongly suspect that part of that support for Sanders was a reaction to how atrocious a campaigner Hillary Clinton turned out to be.

      • I suspect a big part of it is simply that he has no clue how difficult it is to cultivate a garden. I suspect he believes that it’s simply a matter of tossing a few seeds on the ground and in a couple of months, every kind of delicious fruit and vegetable would pop up. Who wouldn’t do that to help the community? The idea that there would be labor spent hoeing, watering, and weeding, as well as resources spent on fertilizer and pesticides, I’ll bet simply didn’t occur to him.

        • Oh, and to add to that thought: he probably also has no clue about the amount of land needed to feed a person. I’m admittedly not an expert on crop yields either, but I’m guessing that a front-yard garden is probably not going to give enough calories to provide daily meals even for the residents of the house, let alone whomever might be wandering by and feel the need to pick lunch.

          • Oh heck no, not even if you do some seriously intensive cropping. And what about the time before the food is ripe? And who is going to dry/pickle/can the food?

            Have him spend an afternoon picking tomato horn-worms off tomato plants and dropping them into a tin can half-full of kerosene. He’ll be cured of his garden idea.

            • I learned a two board method, the tomato horn-worm is placed upon one and the the other is used to crush it.

            • I use sevin dust. Kills the suckers right away with no extra work. I just make sure to wash the produce thoroughly…..

              • I inter-planted my tomatoes with basil. They get along very well in the garden as well as on the plate. Basil does not stand up to ‘thorough’ washing very well.

        • I certainly would not have been at all surprised if that were the case.

    • On the other hand, if someone just wanted to grow vegetables and give them away to everyone, that would be a nice thing. (And there’s lots of people who give away vegetables in good years to people they know, and I know of at least one church in the area that takes in commercial quantities of leftovers or second- or third- grade produce and gives them away to all comers. I got a box of sweet potatoes from them awhile back. They also have people that hunt deer to give them the venison; likewise with fish.)

      But not because the government makes them, but because they feel that it is the right thing to do.

      • Fortunately most of the time people and officials are sensible, but occasionally one needs to tread carefully when exercising individual generosity.

        Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), is the case of an Ohio farmer who grew wheat to feed his livestock and had been fined for growing more than his acreage allowed by federal commercial regulations. The Supreme Court held that even if what you grow at home is not intended for sale it indirectly effects commerce and therefore can be regulated by the federal government.

        I recall that similar jurisprudence was applied in Georgia to a home gardener who gave away excess produce, but I am not presently able to find the citations.

        • Wickard is the classic example of obscene government over reach. The farmer was using his own land to grow produce for his own use. Wasn’t selling it or even giving it away, just using it. And a highly offended government threw all of its resources on the case to slap him down and force him to obey his masters.
          Understandable. The masters’ greatest fear is always that the slave will one day realize how easy it is to slip up behind his owner and slit his throat.

          • If ever they legalize prostitution Wickard has frightful implications for all those folks giving it away …

          • It was seen as a direct attack on the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which required all to participate or none to. Thus by NOT buying feed, the farmer was affecting the market price. Thus under the Commerce Clause… Yeah. Really important decision because of the precedent it set, but really lousy decision.

            • Things got worse. At least it was admitted that this was an outlier, that the chief effect of the Act was to regulate interstate commerce. It’s gone to their head.

          • The fact that at least once Scalia et al passed a chance to do in Wickard is the single biggest proof that any complaints about how “conservative” the SCUS has been is at best uninformed.

          • This ties in to the whole “imputed income” thing, which the Clintons had schemed to tax sometime in the 90’s but gave up on the notion, in one of their rare displays of common sense.

            • If you call being able to read a poll result* common sense, yes.

              *A poll result in bold all caps.

            • They may have given up on it but not everyone has. Working on a project involving payroll up in Loudoun County VA and they have a slot for imputed income entry.

            • The thing about imputed income, maybe it comes from the same or similar stream of thought. There are all too many all to cleaver people in the government who are constantly looking at ways to expand their authority.

              I believe part of the attitude of the government was that the Ohio farmer was not only growing his own grain in excess of that allowed, but in doing so he was working around the market, failing to purchase grain from ‘official’ grain farmers.

      • There’s a reason why people in New Hampshire lock their cars in the summer. Otherwise, you’re likely to come back and find a pile of fresh zucchini or tomatoes on the front seat.

        • I went out to the car one morning and saw it was now wearing a sporty set of hubcaps instead of naked steel wheels. It had come with a full set of hubcaps, but they had all come off during, ah, spirited driving, and I didn’t care enough to replace them.

          It turned out a neighbor had come over late at night and fixed me up…

        • I’ve heard of a similar thing happening to ranchers; an extra horse or two in the pasture. We give our surplus zucchini to the Gospel Mission in town. Haven’t been turned down yet. Not sure we’re going to have much of a crop this year; it’s been cold all “spring”, and we’re in one of the coldest microclimates around. We gave seedlings away a few years ago, and those grown a 1/4 mile from our house did a lot better, in poorer soil.

      • Aye. I like to bake, but really should not have the results of the baking. Thus I bake a cake or brownies or on occasion, cookies and then.. give them away. BUT that is my choice. Were it demanded of me? Well, I can think of some mighty “interesting” flavors — and that’s remaining well within the realm of “food” and not including “poison” – though some might argue the case for the anise/fennel/licorice. And it’s interesting to note how some spices are just fine… at trace amounts. And have.. uhm.. therapeutic utility… at greater amounts. No, not taking about nutmeg. That one is perhaps too obvious.

      • There’s a local commercial farm that has both U-Pick days (at 25¢ a pound, 100 pound minimum because they weigh your car) and charity-pick days. It’s because it’s literally not worth it to them to pay for gleaners over the amount they have to plant to have enough for their direct clients. I’m hoping to get the local church youth group on board for a couple of U-Pick days to prep some produce for a couple of local food closets. Yes, I’d specify that the kids would have to pay, but honestly, I’m all for challenging their faith in meaningful ways. (If I can’t get them involved, I’ll do it myself; it would just be time-consuming. 100 pounds of corn on the cob, shucked and cut and ready to cook…)

        • SheSellsSeashells

          !!! I want to go to one of those! I could do *so much damage*…my mother always delegated me to Official Fruit/Veggie picker because I could denude the plant of her choice in half the time of anybody else. 🙂

          • If you have vegetable farms within a reasonable driving distance, see if they have days like that. Some farms only do it for things like berries or apples, but it’s worth a look.

        • We (may still) have local farms that promote “Pick Your Own” Strawberries days. I heard complains about some customers who thought nothing of pulling the plants from the ground in order to pick them with minimal bending of their backs.

          • This particular farm does have U-Pick strawberries… in strawberry towers. I bet they had issues at one point. (We have a lot of Vietnamese strawberry farms around, so those are popular roadside stands and a lot of people would rather just go with those.)

        • Don’t shuck it! Best way to cook corn on the cob is in the microwave, two minutes per ear, in the husk. Let cool for five minutes and then shuck. The silk just peels right off with the husk. Kernels are steamed and tender.

    • I know somebody who does that — the garden. One of the neighbors who’s eaten from it called the yard inspectors on them.

      • Did someone smack said complainer about that.

        • One would HOPE. One would especially hope it was one of the other neighbors. (We had code enforcement called on us and NOT by one of our neighbors. We explained to them that those were not weeds, those were native wildflowers, deliberately planted as a filler pending xeriscaping. Which is true. Although I have to admit that the poppies were not planted *there*…

          • Native poppies, or the oriental kind? And the oriental ones have such pretty flowers too.

            • California poppies. I took a couple of summers to kill off the lawn and had a huge pile of dirt on one wedge of lawn last year, which I was resigned to looking awful. Then spring came and it was COVERED in poppies. I got compliments. Same thing this year, though I’m going to start pulling them once they start going to seed, because I don’t want them to invade the neighbors’ lawns.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                We got semi-overrun by lamb’s quarters last year, which are not at ALL pretty but so mindbogglingly useful that I don’t care. Edible leaves, stems, and flowers, AND they were producing useful greens in the dead of a North Carolina August.

                I just wish I knew where they came from to start with…

            • Feather Blade

              I got a bunch of oriental poppies volunteering in my flower bed a couple years ago. No Idea where they came from, since there aren’t any in the surrounding neighborhood. they are gorgeous though, and I’ve..uh.. carelessly dropped… enough of their seeds that I should have an entire planter box full this year.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      Personally, I fantasize about replacing my front lawn with a vegetable garden. But Large Dumb Dog and Small Obnoxious Dog, to say nothing of my rather combative family, would definitely have a say about who was allowed to harvest.

      I am a very charitable person. Until you try to compel or shame me.

      • That’s the underlying goal of their compulsory generosity — it aint charity if it is forced. By destroying all such bonds they increase the power of intervening bodies (of which they imagine themselves in control.)

    • If healthcare is a “right”, then groceries ought to be a “right” too…

      • I will express to anyone arguing groceries are a right how they can get a protein supplement from me.

      • Just the other day I was wondering why nobody marches to advocate for single-payer groceries…

      • Feather Blade

        I was on the FML site the other day, and some person who obviously hadn’t thought things through asserted “You have the right to have sex…”

        • Absurdly, it is now becoming a “thing” to denounce as discriminatory any preference for body type, features, coloration or conformation of genitalia. I do not recall where I saw it and do not care to searchengine for it.

          • Feather Blade

            Can’t blame you there.

            Not even safe search will save you now!

            • Happily, if unsurprisingly, I see that PJ Media has a story on the tempest:

              Don’t Like ‘Women With Penises’? You Need to be Reeducated.
              By Tyler O’Neil April 25, 2017
              Transgender activism extends well beyond the bathroom. Indeed, a few outspoken activists say that sexual preference itself is one more form of discrimination, and that if you like women but not trans “women,” you’re a cissexist (more on this later) and you need to be reeducated.

              “I’m trying to show that preferences for women with vaginas over women with penises might be partially informed by the influence of a cissexist society,” declares YouTube star Riley J. Dennis, in a video entitled “Are genital preferences transphobic?” Spoiler alert: she thinks they are.

              “Some people are making the argument that it’s not cissexist at all to only be attracted to people with one kind of genitals,” Dennis noted. “These people might argue that being attracted to only women with vaginas in no way negatively affects trans people,” but she said “it’s more complicated than that.”

              What is “cissexism” (besides a serious tongue twister)? It is the prejudice for “cis” gender people over transgender people. Cisgender just means a person identifies with his or her biological sex, as opposed to becoming transgender and identifying with a separate gender identity.

              According to activists like Dennis, the cissexism in American society is deeply ingrained into people, so that their sexual preference for women with vaginas or men with penises is not really a natural function of biology — it’s societal oppression, and people need to be reeducated against it.
              [END EXCERPT]

              In other News of the Future, flat-chested girls, 98-lb weaklings, short guys, obese people of all orientations join in decrying preferentialism and seek Federal Civil Rights laws to end this oppression. Any person having any preference about with whom they schtupp or marry will need to undergo cultural sensitivity training.

              • On another forum, I saw a post about someone’s friend who was going to college. Someone set him up with a blind date, it turned out to be an (obvious at first sight) TG person who, upon meeting, attempted to give him a “hello” kiss on the cheek. The “date” ended right there! That was not the end of his troubles, unfortunately. He was harassed by other students and interrogated by officials over the incident, to the point that he transferred to another college in a different state.

                Warding off unwanted suitors is about to become an even bigger minefield.

                • An unwanted kiss is sexual assault, so this incident proves that Progressives are pro-rape.

              • If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.

                • Cough.

                  Three Democrat Errors
                  by Allan H. Meltzer
                  In the months following the presidential election, Democratic Party leaders have made a number of decisions that are neither in the near- nor the long-term interest of the party or the public at large. Two are narrowly political; a third is more fundamental for our future. Together, they show the party following the familiar path: stand for nothing, but let members agree with constituents about legislation they favor or reject.

                  First, leaders of the party are making the mistake of concentrating all of their internal attention on the loss to Trump. …

                  [SNIP]

                  The Democrats have failed to recognize that the only elections they have won since 2008 were elections in which Barack Obama was on the ballot. A majority of voters liked President Obama. They showed no corresponding support for the party’s programs. …

                  [SNIP]

                  Which brings us to the second failure of the Democrats: They have been replacing popular sovereignty–America’s heritage—with rule by experts who claim to know what is right for the populace. That violates the voters’ belief in their role and their right to decide how the country is ruled. Instead of popular sovereignty and the rule of law, we get numerous regulations chosen by officials. That’s government by rulers, not by rule of law. …

                  But instead of popular sovereignty, the Democrats gave them government by coercion. If a voter rejected the choices offered by the Affordable Care Act, he or she paid a fine; party leaders extended many rights to gay individuals and even decided where some children went to the bathroom over the outcry of parents and individual schools. This is government by authorities—select men and women—not government by the people. A free people rejects the loss of sovereignty, as they have done.

                  After the election, the leadership showed no evidence of moving back toward popular sovereignty.
                  [END EXCERPT]

              • Yet we’re also supposed to believe that the sex you’re attracted to is solely based on how you were born, beyond your control, and not at all ever affected by your environment….

                And this also means that marriage and monogamy are the ultimate in discrimination — you have chosen not to sleep with people you’re attracted to! And for what reason? Because you chose to remain faithful to your spouse, even on those days you don’t find your spouse particularly attractive! Oh, the humanity!

              • You know, that was actually a thing in a Soviet-Era Russian dystopian novel that influenced 1984. It was called “We” by Evgeni Zamyatin. Seriously weird book, and the protagonist character was “filed for” by a woman he did not like and was not attracted to. For as much as feminists and SJWS decry the manifestos of certain mass murderers whom they accuse of specifically targeting women because they didn’t want to have sex with them, they sure seem to be pursuing the notion that people are entitled to sex a lot.

              • This is just GD ridiculous.

          • scott2harrison

            The hilarious thing is that it IS discriminatory. They have just forgotten that all discrimination is not bad. For instance discriminating between food and poison is good (except when they do it).

          • Apparently, it’s now ‘rape’ for a man to refuse sex. Or dating. Or marriage proposals. Because a man refusing means he denies the woman’s choices.

            There are some seriously insane people out there.

            • Patrick Chester

              There are some seriously insane people out there.

              Or evil. (Should we embrace the power of “and” in this case?)

            • I wonder if these fools have even thought about the second order implications of that stance, much less the 3rd and 4th order ones.

              • *grin* Probably not. For the sake of further highlighting the madness of their stance, may I prevail upon you to explain the further implications?

                • For starters, it means that he said / she goes something like “well, she asked, and I didn’t want to rape her, so I had sex with her. I warned her it would be bad sex.”

                  We then get to “what do you mean he raped you? He had sex with you, didn’t he?”

                  Also, potentially “Yeah, I’m entirely withdrawing from women, except for contracted professionals”

                • Then there’s the equal protection by gender under the law – if it’s criminal for a man to refuse sex, it is also criminal for a woman to do so.

                  …. I wonder which evil genius dude thought of this?

                  • I first glimpsed this attitude online a year or so ago, from the feminazis. They specifically had the tune that the men had no choices; that it is all the woman’s sexual choice, and to deny that choice is always rape on the woman. The man just has to submit. So if the woman chooses a man, he cannot refuse. If she doesn’t want him that is up to her. She has the ‘right’ to choose her sexual partner, her husband, provider for her family and stud for her children to be sired. And if she decides to leave him he has to accept that and provide for the kids.

                    Make no mistake, what they want is nothing less than the most profoundly dehumanising and abject sexual slavery.

                    I have seen some feminists nose around that this is something that the Game guys came up with and falsely attribute to the feminazis, but I remember it came from the feminists first. And this was not limited to online spewing. The common denominator though was these were always the most repellent of the feminazis, both physically and personalitywise.

                  • See the key to it is that last part: women who are bitter that they aren’t ‘chosen’ by the guy they find attractive, because he has sexual choice that she feels denies her choices. That satire essay I linked is frighteningly accurate in the portrayal of the extreme self-absorption and entitlement these crazy things have.

                  • Equal protection is the last thing on their minds — they are STARTING from the premise that no one will enforce the laws against Party members.

    • This comment reminds me of A Hippie Discovers Economics, And You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next!.

      Not quite the same proposal (this one encourages everyone to trade food with each other), but along the same lines. Of course, if I had to grow a garden so that others can eat from it, I’d be even less motivated in growing it than I normally am. (And I’m one whose family tries to grow a garden every year; some years it works out fantastically, other years…not so much.)

      I would add that unless you’re prepared to do some canning, drying, or some other preservation, you don’t get to benefit from that garden year-round; planning to go from plot to plot for free food isn’t exactly the best plan for continuing sustenance for this reason alone.

      • People expecting to live off the gardens of others generally have such a short time horizon they can’t think of “what about winter” in my experience.

      • Ringo had lots to say on this sort of attitude in Last Centurion. I still remember how much work my grandparents put in as farmers, gardeners, and then preserving the result.

        • Oh, and my Granddaddy had a truly effective treatment for watermelon thieves…. involving phenolphthalein in the 5 rows closest to the road.

      • > A Hippie Discovers Economics, And You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next!.

        With a clickbait title like that, I guess I’ll never find out…

        • The title is part of what makes it fantastic; it’s an article at the Federalist (which, if I recall correctly, normally doesn’t do “clickbait” titles). The entire article drips with sarcasm, starting with the title.

    • Feather Blade

      That really is one of the cases where one could say “Alright, so when are you going to start planting? You’ll need a proof of concept before you present your idea to the city council.” and be taken seriously by the Commie in question.

      Much more than asking mass-suicide advocates to put their money where their mouths are.

      • Ah, yes, I forgot about all the City/HOA/etc ordinances that require green lawns in front of houses. Many ordinances, that I suspect, are approved by a lot of hippie types, because it makes the neighborhoods look nicer.

        (I have to say many, because there *are* those hippies who would rather see weeds rather than grass or even a carefully planned xeroscopic landscape or rock garden…)

  8. Illegal immigrants automatically fail the test of respect for property on a national scale.

    • On one level, I kindof like the fact that illegal immigrants show a certain rebellious spirit that’s part of the American ethos.

      It doesn’t comfort me that some of the people with this “rebellious” spirit are doing so to get straight onto welfare — and (under Obama, at least, but who knows how long those billboards in Mexico have been displayed, and who knows if they’ve been taken down?) they are encouraged by our own government to do so.

      And it doesn’t comfort me that some of the people who come here illegally to be free might just leave because they don’t have as much freedom here as they do at home. (I don’t know how often this happens with illegal aliens, though, although legal ones have gone home because of this. The particular anecdote I have in mind was a massage therapist married to an American who was licensed in Argentina, but had to get re-licensed in Arizona, and when she moved to Nevada she had to start the process all over again…she ended up staying there when she went there to visit her parents….)

  9. John Ringo, if I’m remembering correctly, gave a lengthy discourse on trust in societies in one of his novels. I can’t remember if it was The Centorian or Under a Graveyard Sky (maybe one of the Trojan Wars) and how it impacted survival during a plague.

    Speaking of economics, here is an applicable quote from “Live Free or Die” by Ringo:
    “‘I was the richest man in the world when I sold one cargo of maple syrup to a tramp freighter,’ Tyler said. ‘I’d also like to point out that when people were selling the artistic treasures of our beautiful planet for a handful of peas, I was the one who found the one thing that we could produce that the Glatun wanted. Anyone could have done what I did. I’m shocked and appalled that some other corporation didn’t. And whereas I’m now the richest person in the world, when I met my first Glatun, the free trader Wathaet, I was cutting firewood for a living. That’s the beauty of the free-market, Lisa. Anyone with the right drive and determination, and just a touch of luck, can succeed.'”

    • That should be “The Last Centurion” and I think it was in the Tyler Vernon novels that the plague and trust were discussed.

      And I think we have become less trusting over the last two or three decades. People lock up their houses at night pretty much everywhere.

      • Well, there’s places you don’t, still. Appalachia, a generation behind still… and sometimes that’s a very good thing.

        • It sure is in this respect. Still, lotta dogs in those hills I would bet; lotta shotguns too.

          • “Once two strangers climbed Ol’ Rockytop/ Lookin’ for a moonshine still.
            “Strangers ain’t come down from Rockytop/ Reckon they never will.”

            • > Rockytop

              [googles lyrics]

              Hunh. We had to learn that one in elementary school choir, but apparently we got a thoroughly sanitized version, not a bootlegger ballad. And it was presented to us as a “traditional” song, not (then) current music.

              I can’t remember the words we were taught, but it was some kind of sappy love song that made my eyes cross.

              “The truth is out there, but the lies are inside your head.” – pterry

      • TLC chapter 5: http://www.baen.com/Chapters/1416555536/1416555536___5.htm

        High trust vs low trust societies

      • When we got married that was one big difference I noticed between my wife and I. She locks the cars in our driveway and locks the doors even when she is in the house.

        Sadly, events have brought me around to her thinking on the cars.

        • I will lock the doors if somebody is taking a nap or a shower during the day. Look up “Richard Trenton Chase” in Sacramento to see why I do.

    • It was in The Last Centurion.

  10. But I do know that when I first came to the states it utterly blew my mind that people had decorations in their front yard, with not even a symbolic gate to protect them and NO ONE STOLE THEM.

    Another note. You remind me of a scene from “The Tale of the Adopted Daughter” arc in Heinlein’s “Time Enough for Love” The man and his two sons who arrive in the valley Lazarus Long and Dora had set up in, and after that meeting had gone badly (ending up with three dead scumbags) Lazarus and Dora find in their wagon the grave marker for their faithful old mule Buck. No conceivable use they could have had for it. They just took it, I guess, because they could.

    • …because they could.

      Illustrating that they were not civilized. They either had not been trained in the necessary values and actions or they had rejected the lessons.

      Our Esteemed Hostesses is correct, we have to teach the principles, the values and the behaviors that are necessary* to enable us to be a nation of liberty. Our policy should be that those who come here need to learn and live by them as well. Ultimately we have to hold everyone accountable for their actions.

      * What actually is necessary has been and will continue to be an ongoing conversation/argument.

      • I attended a police auction many years ago (saw my old B&W TV that went walkabout, but since I never reported it, nope). It’s amazing what crap folks are willing to steal. Plastic flowers? Padded toilet seat? Yikes!

        OTOH, it was interesting to see auction fever in action. B&W TVs went for a song, while the recovered color TVs generally went for a bit over list price. (This was in the early ’80s.)

      • Our Esteemed Hostesses is correct, we have to teach the principles, the values and the behaviors that are necessary* to enable us to be a nation of liberty. Our policy should be that those who come here need to learn and live by them as well. Ultimately we have to hold everyone accountable for their actions.

        This is apparently racist and discriminatory and anti-Islamic, as per the protesting of the liberal media idiots on the changes of the Australian citizenship exam. I was sad that Turnbull didn’t take to task the female commentator criticizing him that a number of the questions involved the test-taker’s opinons on things like female genital mutilation, whether it was acceptable to prevent a girl from having an education, and if they considered wife beating in the privacy of their homes acceptable (“Oh, you mean that should accept those horrible things coming into our country and ‘adopt’ them as Australian? You mean you’d like wife beating to become an acceptable norm? I don’t think they should.” is what he should’ve said.) Nope, she kept after him to try define what was Australian culture, and that this seems to target Muslims.

        Mind, wife beating and keeping a girl from having an education isn’t just an Islamic thing, but she wanted, of course, to paint Turnbull as racist.

    • Reminds me of my boss a couple years ago who had a 300 pound life-size concrete casting of a newfoundland stolen off her front lawn in Newcastle NH. I mean it’s not like someone could put it in their yard and get away with it, no real resale value even if a pawn shop would take it, too big to use as a boat anchor, too much work just to use it for target practice in some gravel pit, and it never showed up on any of the local college campuses. Some people are just dumber than a bucket of dirt, ruder than a camel, and meaner than a wolverine with hemorrhoids.

      • Then there are the things that just rub one the wrong way and ask for it. The ‘clever’ and ‘cute’ NO PARKING signs on the lot that don’t simply say PRIVATE PARKING but “Don’t even think about parking here.” are just asking for folks to leave old junkers there – with welded axles.

        • I disposed of more than one enginless hulk by leaving it in the principal’s reserved parking place at the high school.

          Petty, but at least I got *some* revenge for the miserable time I was incarcerated there.

      • “the local college campuses”

        My sister got her concrete lions stolen, presumably by the local college types. She replaced them with Easter Island heads, rebarred into the ground. Humuhumunukunukuapua’a and Bob.

  11. Back in thr 60’s my father built a house in Manila. It had the 8 foot wall with the glass shards on top. We had a lock on the front gate for the car and locks on all the exterior doors (which were locked every night). My brother and I were given the task to walk around the walls at night and check on things. We only had a small lot, between a quarter and half acre. We lived in a middle class region and the houses all had the walls. The high rent neighborhoods had a fence around the neighborhood and inside the houses still had walls.

    When we emigrated to the States in the early 70’s my greatest astonishment was seeing all the houses with no fence or gates.

  12. Old RPM Daddy

    Re freedom and corruption — my middle daughter used to date a fellow from Central Asia. She was startled to find out how casually he and his countrymen engaged in small-time corruption, a bribe here for some faked paperwork there, just to get something done. Sometimes, it was the only way to get anything done. He, in turn, was a little surprised to find out that what worked in Central Asia or Russia was not expected or approved of in the U.S.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Still, there is corruption and there is CORRUPTION.

      In many places in Asia, work gets down even with corruption.

      In many places in Africa, nothing gets down because of the corruption.

      Heard a story about an Asian looking at a new highway and telling his visitor “10% to me”. IE he got a cut of the money spent on the highway.

      Apparently, the visitor was visiting some African country and mentioned the story about the Asian. The man he was talking to pointed at a dirt road and said “100% to me”. IE all of the money intended to build a highway got into his pocket. 😦

      • A joke from a Pakistani gun forum:

        Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House.

        The first is from India, the second from China, and the third from Pakistan.

        They go with White House officials to examine the fence. The Indian takes out his tape measure and works some figures. “Well,” he says, I figure the job will cost about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my team and $100 for me.”

        The Chinese does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do it for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my team, and $100 for me.”

        The Pakistani doesn’t measure or calculate. He leans over to the official and whispers, “$2,700.”

        The official says, “How did you come up with that figure!?”

        The Pakistani whispers, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and $700 to hire the Chinese to do the job.”

        I have a sneaking suspicion the Fed signs a *lot* of contracts worked out similarly…

        • Story from East Texas: Judge was handed an envelope by the plaintiff’s attorney. Later he was handed one by the accuser’s attorney. Plaintiff’s lawyer had given him $250. Accuser’s attorney gave him $400. The judge returned $150 to the accuser’s lawyer and decided the case on its merits.

          Wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were true.

        • I heard the same joke about New York City contractors, too.

          I imagine it happens to some degree or another everywhere, but certain places it probably happens far more often than others….

      • Something I was once told about the Las Vegas gaming officials is that you really wanted the corrupt ones. The corrupt ones, you see, came from a Mafia background, and they knew what they were doing when it came to numbers rackets. They’ll demand their cut, but they will get the job done. The “honest” ones, on the other had no clue what they were doing, and while they wouldn’t demand bribes, they wouldn’t do their job effectively either.

    • I came across an article about course for guest workers who came from south of the border and were working in the tourist industry in Colorado. They were taught such useful things as not to offer a bribe when a traffic cop pulls you over. Where they came from it was expected.

      • There are a lot of countries where it’s expected to the point that the local cops are grossly underpaid because collecting bribes is how they’re supposed to make a good-sized chunk of their income.

    • That’s pretty normal from what I note back in the Philippines as well. When some things stopped requiring grease money, I was pleasantly surprised, and this was about 8 years ago.

      I’m really happy with Duterte’s crackdowns on such things. He’s trying. I don’t think he’ll get very far (it won’t last beyond his presidency, in my opinion and the only way he’d get anything done is declaring himself dictator, which, interestingly enough he doesn’t seem inclined to do except for a couple of threats at martial law in specific regions, which is not the same as ‘everywhere’), but he’s trying.

      My mother was telling me of his towering fury that a policewoman was discovered helping terrorists who were targeting a well known resort area in the Philippines, with the intent of capturing foreigners for ransom to fuel their terrorism. This backfired on the terrorists, because the common people now know they can report to SOMEONE and be listened to; so they contacted the military when a group of suspicious men showed up. Half the would-be terrorists were ambushed and killed; the rest fled, and the woman was found with a particular terrorist ally, bringing medical supplies and food. She was caught because the pair refused to stop for a checkpoint. I expressed mild surprise that she hadn’t ended up summarily executed, but then I figure, they can get information out of her.

      I heard from a relative who lives in an area that is considered high drug crime (tis all they can afford) and this relative noted that it’s actually visibly safer now, since the anti-drugs campaign has begun.

  13. Liberty requires not that I demand respect for my rights but that I demand respect for your rights while you demand respect for mine. Just as Freedom of Speech requires freedom for offensive speech, something our universities and elites (I’m looking at you, NY Times!) seem to have forgotten.

    If only the “right” sort of people benefit we’re talking about Privileges, not Rights.

    • Feather Blade

      I was meditating on this this morning, and came to the conclusion that far to many people say “the right to do X” when they mean the “freedom to do X”.

      If you have “The freedom to do X” then that means that you may do X, or not, as it pleases you or as the circumstances dictate.

      If you have “The right to do X”, then you may do X whenever and wherever you please, and no one is allowed to stop you. “The right to not do X” does not exists, because exercising that right would infringe on the other person’s “right to do X”.

      So, you have “the right to keep and carry weapons”. If you choose to keep and carry weapons, no one is allowed to stop you. However, having the right to do X does not require you to do X. You have the freedom to exercise your right, and you have the freedom to not exercise your right.

      If, on the other hand, you have “The right to have sex” (or worse, “the right to have sex with whomever you want”), then no one, not even the object of your desire, is allowed to stop you from having sex (with whomever you want). If anyone tries to stop you, they are infringing on your right. And, as stated above, there is no “right to not have sex” because the very existence of that right would infringe on the other person’s “right to have sex”.

      So, when they say that “you have the right to have sex”, they mean (I hope) that you have “the freedom to have sex”, or not, as your inclination and circumstances and the willingness of the object of your affections dictate.

  14. Apropos absolutely nothing relevant here, this link:

    Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Medieval Dragons

    Seems of likely general interest, and going to its home page is warned against as a threat to spare hours consumed.

    • I’ll admit, I never got ‘into’ dragons and don’t really get the appeal. Oh, on a general logical level, I comprehend the attraction/attention. But as a sort of fandom kind of thing? I don’t get it. Yes, really, I do not ever recall desiring to be a dragon or such. Yeah, I know, I ain’t normal. Not even here.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        “Nobody Messes With Dragons, Even Minotaurs Are Careful Around Dragons”. 😉

        Oh, I once used a sig-line that went “Sometimes The Dragon Wins. That’s Why There Are Still Dragons Around.” 😀

        • They are not creatures to stupid around/about, certainly. Still, of all the things I might have ever wanted to be, ‘dragon’ is either not among them or was only a moment of speculation at the most.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I quite understand. Minotaurs like yourself also aren’t beings to be stupid around. 😉

          • I would think that as a dragon having reflux would be worse than most.

            • I will not make light (lest I be lit) of a dragon so unfortunate as to suffer from acrid reflux.

              • I have GERD so intensely that I had surgery for it. The surgery was to repair bottom flap from staying open and allowing stomach acid up into my esophagus. Another factor is that I’ve been taking (quite necessary) medication for so long that my esophagus is damaged. I have an endoscopy scheduled for June 2d.
                This explains why when a dragon was mentioned, I thought reflux.

    • I don’t know whether to curse you or thank you. I think I will go with the latter and save the bookmark for future research.

    • You know, dragons are the second biggest reason why I’m interested in health, medicine, and genetics. The first being longevity, regeneration, and anti-aging technology.

      We are getting very close to the point where we could engineer chicken-sized wyvern- or draco-type life forms. Say we took a chicken. We know how to turn the beak back into a snout. We know there are 5 genes to reactivate teeth in chickens. We have a good idea what needs to be done genetically to get a bat wing from a mouse, and what happened to go from a forelimb to a bird wing.

      Keep your lasa apso, I want a feathered wyvern for my next pet!

      • Have you ever kept chickens?

        I’m just saying, making them more effective carnivores does not strike me as a great idea. Making them better at flying at the same time . . .

        Try something tamer, more civilized, more genteel, than a chicken! Maybe a parrot.

        • For years, until I got the neighbor into it. Now I get my eggs from her and only have to care for the chickens a couple weeks each year when they go on vacation.

          Actually, I’d rather try modifying crows instead of chickens. Better fliers smarter, smaller, and already omnivorous. And I’ve had crows for pets several times.

          • Chickens are omnivores too. Have you ever seen what a flock can do to a mouse that wanders into their foraging area?

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              There was a video posted recently showing a farm cat stalking a mouse. When the mouse ran from the cat, a rooster got it before the cat did.

              • Has anyone considered making a flying dog? Something like a flying bichon perhaps?

                  • Not to mention falling poop. In addition to microchipping your dog you’d have to implant a homing beacon.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  And name it Falcor!

                  • Nemo actually. If he can fly we’ll have to get a tall ladder to clean off the tops of the bookcases of pee. Right now he pees on the floor sometimes. A flying Nemo will probably get himself killed because he has no sense of self preservation. A flying dog might be useful to the military.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      No ceiling fans allowed around flying dogs?

                    • This is a reply for Drak/Paul’s comment below. I was thinking more of his habit of picking fights with big dogs. Also he’d need to stay away from electric lines. Also make sure not to get tangled in anything. He often gets things in his fur. I have seen him when he smells something good to roll in it. He’s just wriggling in ecstasy in the stuff. We’d have to put a net on our yard so he wouldn’t fly away. Also so he wouldn’t get eaten by the local birds.

                    • It has been my understanding that almost all fighter jocks are sons of 8itches, so there seems to be a call for them.

    • *clicks, with the anticipation of getting gleefully sucked in*

  15. Anybody out there know about a band called Gorillaz? Their reps or their fans are advertising their first album in about forever through vandalism and graffiti on private property. The bookstore and a half dozen other businesses in the neighborhood were tagged with “Gorillaz Humanz” and the date of the release. The auction house has very good security cameras, so the taggers could be in trouble.

  16. !!!!! They’re the 21st century Archies. One musician multitracking music for a series of cartoons.

  17. Culture matters, and often times it’s difficult to understand how much. I can’t remember if I shared this story the first time on this post, so forgive me if you’ve heard it before:

    When I was looking at colleges, the college I eventually picked made a big deal about their honor code, their honor board, and how the entire school had to commit to this system. Cynical teenager that I was, I thought, “Yeah, right. I’m sure this makes a big difference. If someone wants to cheat, the fact that they signed a piece of paper saying, ‘I won’t cheat’ isn’t going to stop them.”

    When I got to the school, however, I noticed that they had a different way of giving exams than in high school. For midterms, the professor would pass out the exam, then go to his office to work on his research while the students worked on the exam, coming in only once or twice to see if anyone had any questions. Finals were self-scheduled: you would pick up your exam from a box in the front hall, go to any empty room to take the exam, and return it 2 hours later. Both of these systems were practically inviting the students to cheat: there was no proctor there to enforce the “no talking, eyes on own paper” rules. But no one did. In fact, the “no cheating” policy was so deeply ingrained in the culture of the place that it didn’t even occur to us we could until a student from another university pointed it out to us. Talking during an exam at this school would be like stealing the Denver Broncos flag off someone’s front porch in the average suburban neighborhood: it’s something that just isn’t done.

    Since going to grad school and seeing the rampant cheating, I developed a deep appreciation for the honor code at my college and the culture built around it. I just wish I understood better how one goes about building that culture.

    • Feather Blade

      In a way, it’s easier to maintain a culture like that.

      When I got my section of the freshman drafting class, I laid out for them, in explicit terms, what our “studio culture” was and told them that we have a good thing going here, don’t screw it up.

      Was it necessary? Probably not, but sometimes you just have to say exactly what is expected, rather than hoping the kids pick it up by osmosis.

      On the other hand, if you can get one generation of incoming students to behave that way, and they don’t succumb to pressure from the upperclassmen to do otherwise, and you get each incoming batch to do as the first batch does… then in 4-5 years, you have a different culture.

    • My school was likewise. Profs didn’t even come by to check. Alas, by my senior year, problems had started to emerge because of students being admitted who failed to understand what the honor pledge really meant. And who were not academically qualified for the school, and felt trapped into cheating or flunking. The kids on the Honor Court practically had migraines by the end of the year. I suggested that they go to the basic “I will not lie, cheat, or steal. I will not tolerate those who do so.”

      Flat State U had a policy where we could flunk a cheater with an XF. And everyone around the state knew what one of those meant on a transcript. Kiss of death for a lot of jobs.

    • When I was a student at UT Austin, there were a LOT of Arabs and Persians in engineering school and cheating was rampant among them. We sued to complain to the professors about that and were told to mind our own business by most. A more sympathetic prof told us prior attempts to enforce the honor code that was still there at the time were quashed by the administrators because these guys were being put through school by their governments who were paying the full out-of-state tuition. We got the last laugh as several Persians were forced to drop out when the Shah was overthrown and the Khomeini government refused to pay up.

  18. You need to have citizens who have a minimum of trust among themselves, who view others’ property as sacred, who view others’ rights as inviolable to be able to have people truly govern themselves, without its rapidly devolving to the stuff of nightmares.

    The easiest way to have this is to minimize diversity as at least one liberal researcher has found to his dismay.

    The question now is what kind of diversity needs to be limited. Plenty of us would argue culture but by declaring that out of bounds the left has cut a huge opening for those who want to say race is the kind of diversity to minimize.

    It is essential immigrants assimilate or leave. Oh, not in things like food and modes of dress. That is not important. But the assimilation of the principles of trust and individual rights? That is essential.

    See above about refusing to limit diversity. In fact, the left is less likely to common down on unassimiliated immigrants for behavior, even behavior they protest, then they are native citizens. See the recent complaints about arrests over the past weekend for cutting off the privates of young girls as Islamophobia for a current example.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I am an unassimilated immigrant from the past. I have no regard for the mores and customs of the modern leftwinger. I demand the same leeway the other unassimilated immigrants are granted by such.

    • A blast from the past (1851!) as reinforcement:

      “Some years ago, in Nauvoo, a gentleman in my hearing, a
      member of the Legislature, asked Joseph Smith how it was
      that he was enabled to govern so many people, and to
      preserve such perfect order … Mr. Smith remarked that it
      was very easy to do … “How?” responded the gentleman;
      “to us it is very difficult.”
      Mr. Smith replied, “I teach them correct principles, and
      they govern themselves.”

      For nearly 200 years in the U.S., it was common that each generation was taught to respect private property, e.g. two sets – “mine” and “not mine”.
      Granted, some few ignored the lessons; and for the last 50 years that group seems to have grown exponentially. Sarah is correct, those who cannot assimilate the fundamental principles of self-government must be removed from our society. Anything less is a suicide pact.

  19. ” . . . but will expect to get out of a minor fine with a minor bribe . . .”

    And what, after all, is a fine but a bribe to the government to keep you out of (or at least reduce the length of your stay in) prison? Seems to me it’s just a matter of degree, and of what entity ends up with the proceeds of the ‘transaction’.

  20. c4c

  21. Feather Blade

    Off topic for Earth Day, week, whatever.

    The local fish-wrap is apparently so desperate for circulation that they are inflicting their paper on decent citizens for free, and today’s issue concerned recyclability. (It is so a word stop red-lining it)

    Re: Pizza Boxes – “No. Card board is recyclable but the grease in it is not. In fact, the grease can ruin a batch of cardboard pulp, so don’t sneak it into the recycling bin unless you want to be an Earth wrecker.”
    (emphasis mine)

    As if anyone needed more confirmation that environmentalists are Commies….

    • Yeah, our local fish wrap has started littering our driveway and yard. Since we work from home most days, sometimes we don’t notice it.

      • Try getting them to *stop* doing that…

        I finally got angry enough to go down to their office and tell them not to do it any more. It was one of those times I was glad local police response time is 20 to 30 minutes.

        • oh the fun part is when they send you a ‘bill’ for your ‘subscription’

          • I wonder about the efficacy of filing police complaints for littering. Especially if you organize the neighborhood to follow suit.

            • All I know is that every time they update the computer or billing system at the Pasadena Star-News, suddenly we’re resubbed.

      • They got a bit of a clue when I started returning it to them, in person, and expressing my irritation every time. “I don’t have a wood stove.” I explained…

      • Hard copy spam gets used to start fires in the fireplace; along with personal and financial information papers. Considering what gets used for inks, I wouldn’t want it ever in contact with food stuff.

    • I am a big advocate of recycling — as simple resource efficiency, not government nannyism — but all you need to know what nonsense it represents is a look at the recycling efficiency rates of the two most anal-retentive cultures in the First World — Germany & Japan.

      If those two societies do not achieve higher rates than reported, there is no chance that Americans are properly sorting “clean” paper from dirty, nor sorting plastics into type 1, 2, 3, etc.! Which means secondary sorting at the facilities is required, making our initial sorting unnecessary … except as a socially imposed penance for living.

      The lies about recycling are as great as those about Climate Change and serve much the same purpose.

      • Feather Blade

        The local recycling center has instituted “single–stream” recycling for exactly this reason.

        You can’t put glass in the bins however, because apparently that ruins cardboard pulp batches even better than pizza grease does.

      • If you want to blow what little mind a “cimate change” fanatic still has, walk them through the energy analysis, on just transport costs, of paper recycling. It turns out that using virgin paper is more carbon friendly than recycling.

        • Grow trees (trees used to make paper are almost exclusively farmed, not cutting “old growth forest” or the like). That takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Use trees to produce paper. Carbon is now in the paper. Use paper. Carbon still there. Bury used paper in landfill. Carbon is now locked underground where it will eventually turn into coal. Grow more trees to replace the paper you’ve buried.

          If they were serious about this “climate change” being caused by CO2 in the atmosphere, they should be all over that.

        • Feather Blade

          Cheaper too.

          Recycled copy paper (last time I ordered any) was… 15-20% more expensive than virgin paper?

      • I remember a blog post that pointed out the best measure of whether or not something ought to be recycled, was how much the market wishes to pay for the recycled material.

        The market, for example, is all over metal recycling. You can take it to the local scrap yard and get *money* for the metal you turn in. It’s fairly easy to show that this type of recycling is also environmentally friendly.

        Glass recycling, however, has a problem: it’s generally cheaper to get sand from the beach (or pretty much anywhere else) than it is to deal with all the different types and colors of glass. Between sorting, dealing with contaminated glass, etc, it’s easy to show that it’s more environmentally friendly to just bury the old glass and make more. The same analysis applies to things like paper as well.

        Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries are a special exception: it costs about six times as much to recycle them as it does to make them from raw materials. But the elements of these things are nasty enough that if I have NiCd batteries to dispose of, I’ll make the effort to find a battery recycling center. This is a type of nastiness that generally doesn’t exist for most things that I might consider recycling or throwing away, though….

        • Years ago I read an article about a comprehensive recycling center which pretty much admitted that the best way to recycle waste paper was burning it as fuel for electric generators or mulching it in the compost.

          Toxic chemicals have, as you note, hidden costs that justify their recycling. Of course, hidden costs is one of the greatest problems of any economy … a fact recognized in discussions of the Tragedy of the Commons if not ere that.

    • scott2harrison

      Thank-you!!! I hate litter so much that I cannot bear to toss trash on the ground even for Earth Day/Week. I will be disposing of some pizza boxes tomorrow night though and mis-filing them with the recyclables should be a fine way to celebrate the whatever it is.

    • I was dismayed to learn that our county apparently has “mandatory” recycling.

      I’m okay with recycling. Happy to do so, most of the time. But if I want to throw that cereal box or soup can in the trash can, instead of walking it to the recycling bin, than dang it, I should be able to do that.

      (to be fair, there is some debate between sister and I as to what “mandatory” means here. I think it means they (county) have to make it available to citizens. She thinks it means we have to recycle. To which my answer was a rather rude suggestion as to what they could recycle and where.)

  22. From walking around various cities I’ve devised what I call the SOPI: Stuff On Porch Index. It’s a much better gauge of a neighborhood than how fancy or new the houses are. If there’s no stuff at all, that’s a bad sign. Stuff secured by bike locks, or disposable stuff, marginal. Actual outdoor decorations and furniture, un-secured, means a thriving neighborhood.

    • Doesn’t work very well in many of the cities around here. Apparently, it is a ‘thing’ to not leave anything in your front yard.

    • I’ve also seen that as the “park on the street” index. Cars on the street that are not obviously junkers is a positive sign; minivans are actually a really good sign, even more so than higher-end cars, because family vehicles are more critical and protected.

  23. OT: Happy (Belated) ANZAC Day to all the Australians and New Zealanders here at According to Hoyt.