Black Tulips



Humans are built on a great Ape frame.  Whether you believe a creator fashioned us from the all-too-lumpy clay of reality, infusing us with a bit of His self; whether you believe we climbed, wrung by wrung [intentional] from the frame of great apes, figured out our own mortality and were so scared we invented consciousness to while away the knowledge, the underlying framework to that voice behind the ears is a great ape.

The form imposes certain limitations.  One of them is that great apes are social creatures.  Creatures of the band.  If you throw a baby ape out in the wilderness it will die, not only because it doesn’t have protection, but because it doesn’t have a band.  We need contact and whatever our version of social grooming is.  For many of us, at least in the more intellectual professions, our social grooming is words.

We meet, we talk, we make fun of shared dislikes, we reinforce our likes.  You can observe it in yourself, whenever you connect to one of your groups.  Say you go to a family reunion.  You make fun of aunt Minnie’s fruitcake, you laugh reminiscently at that one time you guys broke Uncle Joe’s apple tree, then tied it together, so the branch would heal attached and painted the rope with your acrylics so it matched the tree trunk.  (Okay, so maybe you don’t do the later.  Yes, my best friend and I did that to her father’s prized apple tree.  It worked.  He didn’t see it.  He didn’t notice the rope until years later.  By then we were both married and moved away, so we never removed the rope, and the rope made an indentation on the tree trunk and the branch. Years later, when I visited, he was cutting the rope off and muttering about some idiot having tied this rope around the tree.  But the branch had healed on, so meh.  And no, I never confessed.)

You both know you dislike aunt Minnie’s fruitcake, you both feel both guilty and amused about the apple tree incident.  It’s a shared bonding.  It’s things that don’t need to be said.  It’s social grooming.

If anything humans are more dependent on this than great apes.  So many of the things that make us stick out and make us part of a group don’t happen in isolation like speaking and walking upright.

It’s important for us to remember this right now.  It’s important for us to remember that many of us “on the right”, (by which I really mean most of us who oppose the progressivism project, even if on any sane axis some of our beliefs are objectively way to the left of the progressives”), have for whatever reason stood outside or been cast from the primate band. So it’s easier for us to oppose a collective narrative, the same way that it’s easier for someone who’s lost a leg to lose the other.  We’ve been there before.  We know the shock and the horror, but we know there’s healing at the end.  We can endure it.  We see the other end of this.

And in a way we have our own tribe online.  Yeah, Odds.  People who stick out, odd square pegs sitting on top of round holes.  We know each other.  We find comfort in each other.

When I was still in the political closet and didn’t even have the louvered doors that brought in some light, I fell into the world of political blogging like a fish into the sea.  I didn’t have my own blog, but under a nom de blog, I spent a lot of time commenting on others (the weird thing is that I found out years after I’d come out that someone did use that name to blog, and I wonder if we were ever confused.)  After a few years I realized I’d gathered a lot of strange friends and favorite blogs.  My favorite blogs were artists who were conservative or libertarian, gay people who were conservative or libertarian, people in the counseling professions who were conservative or libertarian.  I was a devotee of Gay Patriot and Doctor Sanity, for instance.

On the face of it this made no sense.  I’m not gay.  I’m not a psychiatrist.  I am an artist, sort of, but writing always sits very strangely in the arts, and besides I’m not in the least bit what we consider “artsy.”

My link to all these was that these were people that the left claims for whatever reason, but they’d stood aside from the group and shouted, “not me.”  They were self-dyeing pink monkeys facing down all the brown ones, and sometimes mooning them.  I’d found my tribe, and I belonged, which is why the blogs helped so much.

The thing to understand as you face your leftist friends, people you otherwise thought were sane and even intelligent, is that this is all that’s making them go along to get along: they can’t leave the band.  It’s their band.  They love their band. They’re the NORMAL ones.

I think you needed to be fairly crazy, fairly broken — unless you came from a very strongly conservative family with a very charismatic atmosphere — to become a conservative before the internet, to start doubting the consensus of the band, transmitted by the MSM, by education and by the arts, even, all of which had been taken over by the enemy (the current ethos in these fields is directly traceable to Soviet Agit Prop) and weaponized against us.  These fields propagandize our society with the same techniques and fervor used in WWI propaganda.  Not many people dared stand aside from that, and not many dare stand aside of examine this.  The fact that we’re being propagandized against our own society, our own homeland is causing various weird psychological effects and pathologies all over society, but the propaganda is still hard to resist.  We are animals of the band.  Leaving the band is encoded at the back of our minds as death.

Which is why those of us who left the consensus, even before blogs, (which can now slowly chip away at the consensus now, and introduce doubt) were already fractured, broken, or had had the sort of experience that sets one apart from the band.

You know mine. I voluntarily left everything I knew and the society of my birth, WITH THE INTENT OF NEVER RETURNING, and voluntarily acculturated to a very different culture.  On purpose.  With intent and malice.

Okay, to do that, I was already fairly odd.  Maybe it’s the shocks and countershocks of the seventies, the “decade of the revolutions” in Portugal.  Maybe it all goes back further than that, to being a little girl with severe eczema all around her eyes and mouth and neck, which looked like third degree burns until she was eleven or twelve.  My son tells me that such eczema and the recoil it causes in normal humans leaves psychological scars, back from one was too young to even talk. (I’ve always wondered if it’s responsible for my shaky relationship with my mother, a woman who is devoted to beauty by profession, as well as everything else.  The recoil is instinctive.  it can’t be helped.  I myself have issues for instance when the cats become old and ghastly looking.  I control it, but I can’t stop feeling the recoil. )  Judging by how much my social life improved once the eczema went into remission (for about 15 years) I’d say he might be right. Without the eczema I might have been at the cool-girls table.  Eh.

At any rate, those of us who became conservative, or worse, Libertarian (a less well known option) were already pink monkeys, standing outside the band, used to defending ourselves.

You have to remember this when you look at your friends and relatives who are still within what still appears to them to be the consensus.  They’ve never questioned.  They never stood outside the band.  They might have twinges and fears, as the MSM drives them down the path to complete insanity, with their (now) wholly baseless lies. But these are the voices of the group, the voices they always trusted.  They can’t step away.  It’s not a thing of reason, not a thing of logic.  It’s a thing of the ape, of the back brain. You can’t argue with it.  And if you manage to break with it, it feels like dying or going insane.

Note, I’m not saying that we should stop sticking to the truth or arguing with those friends of ours (yeah, I still have some) who are leftists and going along with all this nonsense, and self-panicking into unspeakable acts and words.

No. The truth is the truth and ignoring it, as our friends, our institutions, to an extent our (particularly the leftward) politicians have is DANGEROUS.  The gods of the copybook headings eventually come back to bite your ass.  It is important that the man with one eye in the land of the blind keeps sounding the tocsin and telling everyone the meteor they can’t see is coming and we need to change our ways and protect ourselves.

There have always been people like this throughout history.  Usually they get killed.  Fortunately we’re Americans.

Until the sheer dominance of mass Media America was always more fractured than the rest of the world.  We still are.  We’re more… eccentric.  What appealed to me FIRST about the US when I came here is that you didn’t have to wear CURRENT fashion on penalty of being laughed at, you could make silly jokes, etc.

A friend this morning told me that the American system is unique in generating our own “barbarians.”  Right now the city is rotting, the walls crumbling.  Marxism is non-functional, and we’re the barbarians outside the wall, but we’re barbarians armed with the original American values, a respect for the individual and a principle of equality under the law.  It’s a lovely thing.  If we succeed there will be a renewal.

But don’t think too badly about your friends who can’t see outside the band.  They’ve been indoctrinated by the system, they trust the voices telling them craziness, and at the back of their mind is the fear that leaving the band is dying.

Now, mind you, I am afraid their trajectory and ours means there will be blood.  I won’t elaborate on that.  You know it.

But I’m a believing woman, and what I’m praying for is that something happens, something like the miracle that allowed the Soviet Union to fall without a nuclear exchange.

Most of all, though, don’t judge your friends and relatives on the other side too harshly.  They’ve not become monsters or evil.  They are simply acting according to the back brain, the imperatives of instinct.

It is that back brain that allows madness to overtake the crowds, like the craze for black tulips.  It doesn’t mean people who went all in for black tulips were suddenly stupid or crazy.  It was just the will to belong pushing them.

If you’re a believing person, pray very hard the craze breaks before it comes to blood.

But even while they anger you or annoy you, judge your lefty friends and relatives carefully.  They can’t help it.  We’re all just great apes.  And they’re not as broken as we are.  They’re still the same people they ever were.  Attack their ideas, but forgive them.

379 thoughts on “Black Tulips

  1. Forgiveness is powerful. The ability to forgive enemies and incorporate them within the tribal system is probably what gave the proto-indo-Europeans their big advantage, more so than even the bronze axe and the spoked wheel. Other tribes would win wars and exterminate their enemies, and finish weaker. The proto-Indo-Europeans probably Incorporated the defeated tribes into their own, and in consequence finished their wars stronger.

    1. A lot of humans still have difficulty understanding the concept of forgiveness. Witness generational conflict over things that happened centuries ago.

    2. Honest question: what’s the difference between forgiveness and absolution? I ask because I think most of my immediate tribe is confusing one for the other. Hence why I struggle so much with the concept of forgiveness.

      1. Forgiveness is between peers, and doesn’t mean you forget. JUST that you forgive. When people behaved very badly to me when I was dropped by my publisher in 2003 I understood and forgave. You know, they were afraid I’d done something awful and they would get tainted by association. they didn’t want to get dropped. I UNDERSTOOD AND FORGAVE. I didn’t forget. Their sin was remembered and taken in account. If they were in that situation again, they’d do the same. This meant I suffered no surprise or pain when SP nonsense hit. Yep, same people.
        Absolution means either you’re found innocent/there’s no proof you did the crime, or in the religious sense that your sin was not only forgiven but ERASED. The religious thing, which implies changing you so you won’t do the same again, is beyond mere humans (Certainly beyond me.) The legal one is saying “you’re innocent of the crime.” If you did the crime, the best your peers can do, unless they’re amnesiac, is forgiveness.

          1. always looked at it as “You ask forgiveness, you are given absolution.” and absolution is not easily come by. Lee Stranahan might could get absolution from me, as we once argued somewhere online (pre-twitter) and he went rather lower than his wont in insults (funny, I cannot even recall what it was about, and he vaguely recalls it too but not clearly) but with his turn in thoughts etc. I certainly forgive him. He was arguing from within his circle well before they shoved him out for badthought.
            I think Raptor is acknowledging the tendency of the leftoids to Demand Absolution for themselves and their supporters.

      2. The difference is mostly semantic. “Absolution” is primarily used in a religious sense, meaning “freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties.” “Forgiveness” carries much the same meaning, but less formally. If a differentiation can be made, I’d make it like this. Forgiveness means that the deeds for which you are forgiven are still recognized to have occurred, but you won’t be held to account for them. Absolution means that the deeds for which you are absolved are considered to not have occurred. Whether this meets any formal discrimination between the two terms, I haven’t a clue.

      3. If it helps, “forgiving a debt” doesn’t mean you forget you were stiffed. It just means you’ve written the debt off, and aren’t going to try and collect.

      4. Many thanks. As I suspected, my tribe has absolution confused with forgiveness: they insist that part of forgiving someones means forgetting the offense ever occurred and pretending like it never happened. Which is really stupid, IMO. And it explains the tribe’s propensity for having the same people repeatedly use them as doormats.

        FWIW, I’m increasingly feeling/becoming alienated from my main tribe for numerous reasons, this one among them (I’m kind of vocal about not agreeing with forgiving and forgetting). Can’t adequately put into words how grateful I am that a) I’ve found y’all, and b) y’all have welcomed me and continue to tolerate me.

        1. This is actually based on Isaiah 43:25. This raises all sorts of theological points.

          I have to be careful here. Forgiveness, for me, is a hard thing, and yet we who are Christians are commanded to forgive. It’s easy to go looking for loopholes.G_d offers forgiveness through what Jesus did on the cross, yet we are expected to repent. You could make the argument that if we do not repent, we do not really believe we are sinners. I don’t know whether this means that forgiveness must be accepted by repentance or not, for Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” as He hung on the cross.

          I don’t have an answer here, as I might be looking for a loophole, and that won’t do at all.

          1. He said that about the Roman soldiers, not the Pharisees.. He called them whited sepulchres.

            So yes. Tricky. For those of us who are tempted to wrath, we have to pursue forgiveness more strenuously.

        2. As Kevin Cheek said, the idea that we should “forgive and forget” is based in part on God’s words in Isaiah 43:25: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” But there’s one grievous error that is involved in saying that Christians should “forgive and forget”, and that is forgetting that we are not God. We are commanded to forgive, yes — repeatedly. But the only Biblical passage that comes even close to telling us to “forget” is in 1 Corinthians 13:5, which reminds us that love “keeps no record of wrongs” — and that doesn’t mean that we forget, it just means that we don’t hold it against the person (i.e. forgiveness).

          Let me illustrate the difference with an example. When I was a few years out of college, there was a guy who always seemed to be in financial trouble, and I helped him out a few times, amounting to several hundred dollars total. (I was young and naïve at the time). Later I found out that he’d been lying about it the whole time, and had never actually needed the money — or at least, not for the purposes he said he needed it for. I’ve forgiven him, which means that if I ever see him again (not likely since I’m now living on a different continent), I won’t demand that he return the money that he stole from me. And while I was rather angry and upset about it at the time, I don’t feel that anger any more — I truly have forgiven him. But I have not forgotten him: if I ever see him again and he tells me that he’s short on money for rent, I won’t believe him, unless I see evidence other than his own word. I do hold open the possibility that in the past couple of decades, he’s had a genuine change of heart and repented. But he won’t get my trust until he proves that he really does deserve it now — because I have forgiven but not forgotten.

          I suspect that paragraph was totally unnecessary and you already understand these concepts. But I wanted to mention that in order to affirm that yes, you are correct in your Biblical understanding. We are indeed commanded to forgive, but to push that to “forgive and forget” is to arrogate to ourselves the qualities of God.

          1. This gets into the theological questions. The take-away is as you said:We are not G_d. We don’t forget. This plays havoc with my attempts at forgiveness, for if it is particularly painful, it will come to mind again.

          2. The instruction to forgive is for your own benefit, lest your focus on your grievance warp and corrupt you, damaging you far more than the transgression committed against you.

            I do not doubt we have all known people whose character has been permanently distorted by their inability to let go a grudge.

            1. And also because you do not deserve forgiveness from God, but He will graciously be as forgiving to you as you are willing to be.

        3. as a ferinstence: Someone gets insulting and perhaps even physically violent toward you or yours. After they apologize, you forgive, but not forget that if they get a drink or two (or a dozen) in them, they are insufferable asses. If the reason they went bat guano is because their prescription changed and the drug altered their personality, so they weened off it to something else, then absolution is in order.

          Finding too many who think we need to absolve those who not only don’t stop getting drunk, but refuse to apologize and continue on with the atrocious behavior.

          1. In the best known instance of absolution it is imperative we remember His concluding words to the absolved: “Go and sin no more.”

      5. What I came down to isn’t too dissimilar from what the others said above, I suppose. For me, forgiveness means, in brief “I will not hold anger/resentment/hatred towards you for what you did, but it does not make what you did in any way okay–and I will be watching you closely in future/cutting you out of my life if I deem it necessary.”

        God’s forgiveness is, like they said, absolution: Provided one is truly repentant, it’s as if the sin never occurred. Humans can’t manage that, though, heh.

        1. Forgiveness should never be confused with meaning what some person did is okay. It’s not okay. It never was okay. It never will be okay. It if was okay, forgiveness would never be necessary.

          In the 1st Grade, some friends and I were playing at a side-light by the entrance at school, and somehow I kicked out the glass. Up and kicked it out. I had some half-dollars given to me at various occasions, and went to the principal with them to pay for the glass. He smiled and said it was all right and to keep my half-dollars. He forgave me. Likely those half-dollars wouldn’t have covered replacement and repair. But someone still had to pay for that glass. What I did, even though it was an accident, was not okay, and there was a price associated with it.

          1. Kevin, that was an awesome thing to do–clearly your parents had done something right!

            An unfortunate number of people I’ve spoken to over the years DO confuse forgiveness with “it’s okay”. Probably, I shouldn’t wonder, because one of the things we DO say when someone apologizes is “It’s okay.” Language, oy. (I try not to say “It’s okay” when someone says “I’m sorry for doing that” or “please forgive” now.)

        2. God’s forgiveness is, like they said, absolution: Provided one is truly repentant, it’s as if the sin never occurred.

          Which is why I hope Hitler is in Heaven, having fully realized and regretted the enormity of what he has done.

          1. And if he did genuinely repent of what he did, he could be. And that–that would actually be okay. Because that’s how atonement is supposed to work.

            I used to horrify a few ladies back when I taught Relief Society classes with ideas like that. Was worth it for the other, more thoughtful expressions I’d get, though.

            1. There are some “God Is Love” types that seem to think that “everybody” gets to Heaven even if they didn’t repent.

              I’d like to ask those types if a unrepentant Hitler is in Heaven. 👿

              1. More to the point, how heavenly can it be for an impenitent soul? Heavenly pleasures are not to everyone’s taste.

    3. Actually, telling your CDLLPS friends you forgive them drives them nuts. They don’t understand why or even what you’re forgiving them for. That’s not a bad thing. You want them confused. You want them to try thinking their way out of the box.

  2. But even while they anger you or annoy you, judge your lefty friends and relatives carefully. They can’t help it. We’re all just great apes. And they’re not as broken as we are. They’re still the same people they ever were. Attack their ideas, but forgive them.

    THIS. YES!

    Momma would call it setting a better example.

    1. I’m afraid we’re headed for ‘forgive the rabid dog, the rabies wasn’t its fault’ while still doing the needful.

      1. Well of course it is needful. There is no cure, so it is a kindness to the dog as well as necessary protection for every other living thing.

        But this is an argument I generally reserve for use regarding those who habitually practice homicide and have indicated that they have no intentions of stopping.

            1. I would be okay with this. It’s a heavy responsibility. It darned well *should* be. It might just make folks take jury duty seriously- all too often, they don’t.

              Strangely enough, I believe this would lead to more criminals getting their necks stretched, thus reducing the amount of recidivism. Fewer murderers, rapists, and child molesters sucking up oxygen? All for it.

              1. Yes, it should be a heavy responsibility. This initially came to mind as a reaction to lethal injection making execution too easy, not on the criminal but on the rest of us.

                1. I’ve been thinking for a couple years now that the firing squad should be brought back as the “standard” way of execution. It’s quick, causes only very brief pain if the squad aims right (and anyone serving on the firing squad should have to pass a mandatory rifle skill test first), and most importantly, it’s violent. None of this bloodless “lethal injection”: taking a human life, even when such taking is fully justified by the crimes that person has committed, should have a weight to it. The execution squad should feel the weight of the rifles in their hands, and know as they load the round into the rifle that they are about to kill a human being.

                  Furthermore, I would also propose something like jury duty for firing squads. Anyone could refuse on questions of conscience and be excused from said duty with no penalties, and those picked to serve on a firing squad should be allowed to read the record of the trial so that they can see for themselves that the condemned man (or woman) is guilty. (After which, anyone who doesn’t agree with the jury’s verdict should also be allowed to bow out, but they would be replaced with an alternate so that the firing squad does not end up serving as a second jury). I think that this approach would give more people the sense of the weight of the death penalty, but still allow for those whose actions have utterly deserved death to receive it.

                    1. I’ve never lived in Utah, so I’ll have to pass on that question for reasons of ignorance.

                    2. Utah did get rid of of the firing squad in 2004, and went to lethal injection. Then in 2015 they brought it back in case the lethal injection drugs weren’t available.

                    3. Currently Oklahoma is the only state where it is legal, although Utah banned it non-retroactively so there are currently three people on death row in Utah slated to be executed by firing squad (their choice, made before the ban in 2004) whenever they finally get executed. Also Utah passed a law a couple years ago that they can use a firing squad if lethal injection drugs are not available, and several other states are contemplating that due to a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

                      Idaho banned the firing squad in 2009.

                      Personally if I had to be executed, the firing squad would be my choice, I’m not sure why anyone would think that either injecting or breathing poison, or electrocution would be more humane.

                    1. I know hanging is the form of capital punishment used in Washington state, which is where I grew up, so it seems the normal form of execution to me.

                    2. per google Delaware and New Hampshire both still allow hanging, as well as Washington; although New Hampshire hasn’t executed anybody since 1939, they technically still have capital punishment.

                  1. One place out west came up with an automatic firing squad when no one was willing to serve. It was late 19th or very early 20th Century. Then there was the automatic hanging, also out west, when no one was willing to pull the lever. It was rigged so the condemned stepping on the trap set the triggering mechanism in motion.

                    The whole lethal injection thing was to get around claims of cruel and unusual punishment. Never knew why this affected hanging. It was not unusual, and done properly it broke the neck.

              2. I suspect most would find it easier to be the executioner than the jury. In the former circumstance the decisions about the culprit’s guilt and just punishment have been made.

                It probably says something about our Zeitgeist that the executing of sentence is perceived to be more challenging than the condemnation.

                1. This is something that bothers me about the “Innocence Project”, whose sole goal seems to be to get rid of the death penalty by showing that so many of them are innocent.

                  I find it deeply disturbing that they seem to be fine with innocent people spending the rest of their lives in prison, so long as they aren’t on death row. I, however, am deeply concerned that we’re putting innocent people in prison; even a month in jail can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life…how many people in prison are innocent of the crime they’ve been convicted of?

                  1. Worse, there have been instances in which an anti-death penalty group (I *think* it was the Innocence Project, but it might have been a similar group) intentionally helped obtain convictions against someone WHO THEY KNEW FOR A FACT WAS INNOCENT so that they could get the original defendant off of Death Row.

                    1. The Innocent Project denies them on the basis of each how the Project is set up– it’s a bunch of outlets, not a top-down system.

                      I have a very strong bias against the IP because I believe they are dishonest at best, so I’m stopping at that. 😀

                  2. I’m with you. I used to be cautiously in favour of the death penalty. Now…


                    We live in an era of identity politics run by commies. Who you are is likely to determine your guilt or innocence, or even whether or not you’re charged. Or even if the crime is real. And you know how lefties think, and how violent and impulsive and emotional they are.

                    So, no. And I apologise. We’re going to have more murderers one prison-overcrowding governor’s order away from the freedom to kill again.

                  3. according to my second cousin, he is the only guilty person it the entirety of Jackson federal Pen.
                    He came to that conclusion about a year into serving his sentence.

                2. My image of the idea is that we have the capital phase as we do now. However, every jury gets a private repoll at the moment of execution if they fail to flip their switch/pull their trigger/etc and which one would not be revealed. Failure to execute would result in automatic (and unappealable) reduction to life without.

            2. If you’re going to make the jury be the executioner, then you also need to hold the jury responsible for the future actions of the criminal they’re adjudicating. They want to find them innocent, in order to spare themselves the onus of the duty to execute, then they need to also be held accountable for what that criminal does in the future. Otherwise, nobody is going to want to vote for death.

              It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think it’s a workable one. Too many people would quail at the responsibility of actually carrying out the sentence, and would probably rather free the criminal than bear the duty of killing him themselves. Not to mention, this makes it too close a connection between jury and executioner, which would open the jury up to being targeted by friends and family of the criminal. You’d have to have the damn jury be unidentifiable to the outside, which does away with the whole “right to a jury of your peers”.

              I like the idea, I really do–It’s one of the few things in G.R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones that’s an admirable feature of the society he’s imagined, but… Workable? With real people, average Joes and Janes on the juries?

              Dunno ’bout that…

              1. How about spinning the wheel after a not guilty verdict, and one or more of the jury has to pick up the cost, should that person offend in the same manner again – not necessarily the same offense, but the same type – theft, assault, rape, etc.

              2. I have a serious problem with the notion that the jury should be held responsible for the person who they imprison. The purpose isn’t to determine what the accused who is before them will do in the future. The purpose is to determine what the accused did in the past.

                If the jury cannot convict the person due to lack of evidence, but fear that the accused is going to go on and commit murder, whether again or for the first time, it will be unfair to condemn the jury for letting the accused go. What’s worse, the jury will start convicting *everyone*, for fear that the accused before them will later commit a crime.

                1. ^^^ THIS.

                  The jury is also supposed to be a check on the power of the state, not a blunt instrument of punishment.

              3. Holding a jury who fails to convict responsible for future actions is nonsense. We don’t do that in non-capital cases today. Are you saying people on a jury don’t take the responsibility of sending someone to prison seriously?

                Also, such a rule presumes two things. First, it presumes guilt. If I vote to acquit in a capital case where I would have to be an executioner the death penalty is apply assumes the only reason I voted to acquit was to avoid carrying out a death penalty. The idea that I might vote to acquit would stem from believing the prosecution is thrown out the window.

                Second, you are presuming that a person is set in stone. What about someone a jury believed was innocent, not just not proven guilty but actually innocent, who later commits a crime?

                In fact, your rule would all but assure death penalty convictions due to fear of being held responsible for a person’s future actions regardless of their actual behavior in the past.

                1. Which is why the idea is unworkable. Unless you introduce a sense of accountability, the jury is very unlikely to actually conduct the punishment.

                  You see this all through society–Nobody wants to be the “bad guy”. Performance reviews? Ever notice how the real assholes and problem children skate through and get just as good a set of reviews from the boss as everyone else, when the reality is that everybody knows the asshole is an asshole?

                  Human nature. Nobody wants to be the “bad guy”, and actually be judgmental of someone else’s conduct. Making them pull the trigger, in more than a metaphorical sense? LOL–If they can’t tell Bob he’s behaving like an ass and losing clients, what do you think they’re gonna do if they’re going to be the guy in the booth pulling the switch?

                  No, I’ve been around way too many cases where I’ve dealt with this crap, and the dynamic isn’t there for personal involvement of the jury with the punishment. It’d be even worse with a charismatic type like Ted Bundy, whose attractiveness and charm would make it even harder to deal with in person.

                  Good grief–I’ve seen open-and-shut cases of real, genuine malfeasance in office be hand-waved away, when people have to personally hold someone accountable. I’m actually amazed that our judicial system even works, sometimes, and I think a lot of the reason that it does work is that there’s that element of separation and relative anonymity involved.

                  Remove those two features, and you’re going to have to do something about it, like telling the jury that they need to take ownership of their decision with personal repercussions coming due.

                  I suspect that the same feature of human behavior that makes it all too difficult to hold someone accountable in person has a lot to do with how some of these charismatic sociopaths manage to fool their therapists and evaluators.

                  Seriously–Look around you, if you work in a hierarchy, and ask yourself how many times you’ve seen bosses that call a spade a spade, and actually hold people accountable for their negative performance. The 25+ years I spent in the Army and working around DOD civilians…? My experiences tell me that there are very few that actually walk the walk, and even fewer that manage to make things stick when it comes to the question of making the system work and either fix or get rid of the bad apples.

                  Nothing I’ve seen in the criminal justice system these days strikes me as being any different–Time was, you beat your wife, you got tuned up by the Sheriff’s deputy who knows her brother. Now? You go into some diversion program, and the problem never gets dealt with until you finally manage to beat her to death.

                  Nine-tenths of the problem with our current system isn’t necessarily in the capital cases–It’s in the signaling/training effect we have for the so-called “lesser cases”. You keep telling these guys via your actual behavior towards them, in terms of what the system actually does to them, that their petty offenses don’t matter, that auto theft and armed robbery aren’t big deals, and then when they graduate to the capital offenses like murder, they’ve pretty much been taught that they can get away with it all–And, a lot of that crap stems from this reluctance to punish that’s leaked into the culture.

                  Most of the time, when you see someone has a “criminal history” in the news, what you’re going to find is that what’s on the records sheets are just the tip of the iceberg–Cop friend of mine in Lakewood, WA related to me that when you pull up the criminal records for the average gang-banger in his area, the rap sheet may have dozens of entries, but the actual list of “police contacts” for that particular offender, where they weren’t charged or prosecuted…? It’s usually in the hundreds or even thousands. Think about that, for just a second, and ask yourself “Why?”. The reasons generally stem from people who don’t want to “be mean” to Juwon or Tafeo, or they’re scared, or they just don’t want to take the trouble, so they don’t follow up on the case or cooperate with the police and prosecutors. They’re no different on juries, a lot of the time. The former prosecutor I used to BS with told me that he thought it was a flippin’ miracle he ever got any convictions, given the stuff he heard come back out of the jury rooms. The dynamic just isn’t what we laymen think it is, especially on capital cases.

                    1. Civilian? I’m always declined–I hit every defense attorney’s bells and whistles.

                      Military justice, however? Criminy… I swear, a good chunk of my career was dealing with the various ne’erdowells in uniform, and I’ve seen everything in the UCMJ from casual misconduct in the barracks up to capital cases, as well as been involved on the DOD civilian side a little.

                      It’s never ceased to amaze me how often I’d get some miscreant up in front of the commander, and after having gone over the case beforehand with all involved, come to a consensus, and then watched with incredulity as the commander chose to whitewash the entire event and “give the soldier the benefit of the doubt…”.

                      It’s a syndrome that either got worse, or became more noticeable for me as time went on. Crap I remember from my early days that would have gotten you nailed to the wall…? By the mid-2000s, it was a wrist-slap.

                      It’s not just in the military justice system, either–One of the JAG lawyers we had on a fairly nasty case was a local prosecuting attorney in Pierce County, and he described exactly the same thing I am here, from his perspective, so I’m not pulling this out of my ass.

                      Call it the “reluctance to punish/hold accountable” syndrome, and you’d probably be able to write a good thesis/anthropology paper on it. Same thing is what leads crime victims not to want to prosecute–They don’t want to be the “bad guy”, even when someone has really egregiously trespassed against them.

                      Hell, that prosecuting attorney I’m talking about? He had a case going where one of the high-school football stars in this really nice rural town was a legit serial rapist of the girls he was in school with, and I don’t mean that lightly, either: He was raping these girls, flat-out, no possible confusion. But… Get this: Nobody wanted to “be the bad guy”, and testify/press charges, ‘cos “It would ruin his football prospects, and he’s gonna get recruited by UW…”. Have no idea how that one ended, but… Wow.

                      Here’s a case of exactly what I’m talking about:


                      Textbook example of the ol’ “reluctance to hold accountable”. More of that goes on every damn day than you really want to think about…

                    2. I have sat on several. You not only are restricted with what is presented in court, you are not allowed to so much as visit the crime scene unless the jury is taken there as part of the trial. If you do not know the defendant and if priors are not presented at the trial, you do not know if this is an isolated instance or not. If the defendant arrives in shackles and prison garb, he changes into street clothes, preferably a suit, before appearing before potential jurors during the selection process and before the jury at the trial. And you will be asked if you know the defendant during the selection process; that alone is enough to get you struck.

                      What all this means is that the defendant can have a list of priors as long as he is tall, and yet the jury may not know about them. Then the jury hears this long sales pitch in opening and closing arguments from both attorneys, and make no mistake: this can influence a jury. And if the defense attorney makes a strong pitch that implies this is a one-time thing, done in the heat of the moment, the jury is going to go into deliberations with that idea in their heads.

                      So there you sit, with notes in your hand, if you’re allowed to take them – and usually the court supplies pen and notepads for that purpose – trying to sort out evidence and testimony, maybe influenced by opening and closing arguments or maybe not. And while I’ve never sat on a prejudicial jury, such have and do exist, which is part of the reason there’s a strike system in selecting jurors (and to eliminate jurors that might prove unfavorable or favorable to the defendant for other reasons).

                      Everything that goes on in the jury room is based on this. Yes, you have some that don’t want “to be mean,” or think “He looks like a good boy,” and, yes, just flat out scared. But the only thing a jury really has to go on is what is presented at the trial. We once asked for, and were denied, a medical dictionary to look up a word that came up in testimony, because it had not been presented at the trial. So if a jury doesn’t know the guy has priors, “He looks like a good boy” could potentially sway a lot of opinions.

                    3. “We once asked for, and were denied, a medical dictionary to look up a word that came up in testimony, because it had not been presented at the trial.”

                      And I trust you hung that jury from the highest flagpole. I would. “Judge, you are withholding evidence that I know exists and may prove exculpatory. Because you represent the state, the state has not proven its’ case beyond a reasonable doubt. “

                    4. The judge does not ‘represent the state’ WRT proving a case.

                      “Evidence” that didn’t come in at trial doesn’t exist for the jury.

                    5. This was legally an oddball case, and to date is the oddest one, legally, I’ve been caught on. Nothing questionable about it, just something you don’t normally think of involving a jury trial. That argument wouldn’t have flown for two reasons, but the one the judge gave us was we had all admissible evidence at our disposal. Such is life in the jury room.

                      The last time I was in a jury pool, a bailiff didn’t know if she could allow my pocket calculator in the courtroom. I successfully argued that it wasn’t a cell phone or smart phone. Since then, the court has said no electronic devices are allowed in the courtroom, which technically would also ban pacemakers.

                    6. I’ve just got to pass this along:

                      There was this trial some decades back in a certain county. The jury pool was asked if any knew the defendant. One said he did, and the attorney asked him if he really knew the defendant.

                      “Yes. I know most of the people in this court room.”

                      “Oh, really.” The attorney turned to the courtroom. “If you know Mr. [Name Forgotten], please rise.”

                      Just about everyone in the courtroom did. It was a small, rural, county, and he was the mail carrier.

                    7. Kevin, the thing I’m getting at (or, trying to…) is that there is, in my experience, a serious reluctance to hold other people responsible for their misconduct–Which seems to pervade every aspect of the process I’ve observed. Maybe I’m wrong in projecting it into every jury room, but I’ll be damned if I can see how this syndrome doesn’t have an effect there, as well.

                      It’s a weird, weird deal–I had a barracks thief dead to rights, signed, sealed, delivered–He was caught with the goods, the goods were identifiably what was stolen in the break-in, and there was no way possible for there to be any damn confusion about the issue. And, after having dealt with this little human turd-blossom for a raft of other issues over the time I’d had to put up with his BS, I was ecstatic–I had him dead to rights. Only…

                      First problem was that the victim suddenly didn’t want to “make a big deal out of it…”, and started hemming and hawing about how he wasn’t really sure if the thief had actually, y’know, stolen the property. Given the broken window, the jimmied lock on the locker, I was kinda like “Oh… So… You’re saying you may have lent him all that stuff…?”. This was back when pagers were still a thing, and a Motorola StarTac was cutting-edge technology that only a few people had, and the guy had stolen the phone out of a locked wall-locker. So, there was that–Suddenly, the victim was reluctant to see the guy who he’d thought was his friend punished.

                      And, when we got the case in front of the commander? I can’t even… We’d discussed the case, the punishment, and all the surrounding issues with this guy, who really needed to go somewhere else, preferably with bars, and the commander agreed. We were supposed to throw the book at him, right? Everyone agreed, everyone bought in. Only… Once the commander actually had this guy in front of him, and our perp turned on his charm, the commander bent to his will and turned what should have been a recommendation for serious punishment by referring the matter to the battalion commander…? It suddenly became something the commander wanted to deal with via a summarized Article 15, which really isn’t even a misdemeanor punishment. And, that’s what happened, with all of us senior NCOs in the room goggle-eyed at the young Captain, going “WTF?!?!?!”.

                      First Sergeant, the most senior NCO in the company, later tells me that after the proceedings, he’d let the commander have it with both barrels, and wanted to know what the problem was. Commander basically just said “I couldn’t do it, and look him in the eyes…”.

                      That little crook was later responsible for a bunch of other crap, and eventually wound up doing time in a civilian jail for B&E stuff out in the community with his little friends, which I kinda took as a black eye on our unit, but… What’re ya gonna do?

                      I don’t know how you want to define it, moral courage, balls, or whatever, but a lot of people today lack this quality to any real degree. And, though I may be wrong, I sure remember it being different back in the days when I was young and dumb–The transgressions I remember from those days got stomped down, hard. Which may have been a function of there being a fairly high indiscipline rate in that era, too. Dunno, but that’s what I’ve observed.

                    8. It actually goes both ways, as you state often judges and/or juries don’t want to “be the bad guy”, but there are also many cases where the defendant should not be found guilty, either because they are innocent of what they are accused of, or while very possibly guilty, there is no proof that they are.
                      My dad has to testify in court regularly for his job, and he sees constantly that “innocent until proven guilty” is a farce, law enforcement can ticket you or arrest you for about anything they want to, and then it is up to you to prove your innocence in court. A prosecuting attorney should immediately drop any case where they don’t have evidence to prove guilt, but this very rarely ever happens, and most will prosecute with vigor a case where they have no idea if the defendant is guilty or innocent, because there is no proof, just on the hopes of possibly getting a conviction.

                    9. @ Bearcat,

                      Yeah, there is that factor, too. About the only thing I’ll say, these days, is that the justice system is almost irretrievably borked. I emphasized this aspect of refusing to actually do anything because that was the original thrust of the thread–Make the jury be the executioner. And, I don’t think that would work out well, for the reasons I’m stating here.

                      As you note, there is a flip side to the coin, as well. Military justice system has a lot of issues I’ve seen close-up, and I’m certain the civilian one is just about as bad.

                      One of the biggies for the Army, at least, and I’ve seen signs of it in the civilian system, is that when something Goes Wrong ™, then the tendency is to investigate until they find a procedural error they can use to assign blame, and then blame the guys who made the procedural error, even if what they did or didn’t do had no bearing on the problem. It’s like “Find the first mistake, hang the guy that made it…”.

                      I used to tell the armorers I trained in physical security matters that they needed to be purer than Caeser’s wife, because sure as hell, if someone did something really dumb with one of their weapons, the follow-on investigation was going to ground out through one of their paperwork errors, if they had any. And, like as not? The actual offender would get off scot-free. Watched that happen numerous times.

                      You watch things carefully, and after a bit, you develop a very cynical attitude about these issues. The innocent seem to get railroaded a lot, and the guilty seem to get off with no repercussions equally as much. If I had to actually tell you how much of the system was borked up? I’d probably say that maybe 25% of the time the right guy got the right thing done to him, another 50% was the right guy getting away with something significant, and another 25% of the time, the guy was getting screwed over by the system.

                      I’ve not observed much in civilian life that’s convinced me that anything is better or worse. Idiot teenager was driving drunk, missed the corner near our house, nailed the neighbor’s mailboxes. Cops came, mom and dad were there already, and hustled him off while dad said he was driving and slid on the ice… Two months later, same kid nearly killed himself T-boning someone at an intersection, again while under the influence of alcohol. I only found out about the dad taking responsibility for the first accident after the second one, and I was kinda like “That’s not how I remember it…”. Not much you can do, though–Justice systems are administered by flawed human beings, not angels.

                    10. Kirk:

                      In civilian courts, once it goes before a Grand Jury, the reluctance to prosecute thing has already been hashed out. There was a minor incident at a neighbors where they caught the perps. I was talking to my wife how one of the victims said they absolutely would prosecute, and one of my own shocked me with “But he’ll go to juvee (Juvenal Justice System and/or incarceration).” I replied with “Better to straighten him out now.”

                      I know of a bank robbery where the perps had the tellers on the floor, discussing what to do with them, when a customer who came up and saw what was going got his shotgun and they cut out. They caught the perps and the lawyer of one contacted at least one teller trying to get her to help reduce charges against his client (didn’t go over well). Know of a breaking and entering case where the parents begged that the victim not bring charges. All this happens before the prosecutor presents evidence to the Grand Jury. By the time it goes before the Traverse Jury, all this has been hashed out.

                      What reluctance I’ve seen in the jury room has involved reasonable doubt. That gets into what sort of doubt is reasonable, and since I think a jury room is like Vegas in what happens there stays there, I won’t go into specifics.Here the defense and prosecuting attorney’s song and dance in opening and closing arguments can be a factor. You call it pouring on the charm, and yes, that’s what it is, which is why any defense attorney worth their salt wants their client to at least physically looking squeaky clean.

                      Maybe we’re just mean SOBs around here, but once it goes to trial, I have not observed that reluctance.

                    11. @ Kevin,

                      You’re right, but ask yourself this: Both the Grand Jury and the petit jury proceedings have cut-outs for responsibility. The Grand Jury can say to itself “Well, let’s refer this for trial, and if he’s guilty, someone else will make that decision…”, while the regular jury can say to itself “Well, we didn’t prefer him to trial, so we’re not responsible… And, there’s the appeals court, and then the prison system will have to carry out the sentence…”.

                      At all stages of the process, there are things that can help the juror decide that they’re not really personally responsible, and it’s a deliberate feature of the system, in my opinion. Whether intentional or not, that’s the effect–Much like the supposed myth about the one blank cartridge for the firing party during an execution by firing squad.

                      There are reasons why a lot of lawyers want to put their clients in front of a single judge, and this is one of them.

                      As I was saying from the start of this, I don’t think making the jury responsible for the execution is gonna help the process. There’s a reason we do things the way we do, such that we can maintain the fiction that it’s a vast, impersonal system of justice that’s carrying out these executions. You make it too personal, and a lot of people are simply not going to be able to do the necessities when the time comes.

                      What’s interesting right now is that we appear to be at a point where the whole thing is fraying, and where it goes from here…? I wouldn’t be a damn bit surprised if at some point in the next few generations we aren’t assigning a lot of this work to AIs, but then that brings in a whole raft of other problems.

              4. Very dangerous.

                We have the “Reasonable Doubt” standard for a reason. What that means is that the jury doesn’t find a person ‘Innocent or Guilty’. They find them ‘Not Guilty or Guilty’. If there’s room for “reasonable doubt” based on the evidence, then the jury is supposed to let the defendant go. Finding a defendant “Not Guilty” doesn’t mean that the defendant didn’t commit the crime. It means that the prosecutor’s evidence wasn’t good enough, and there was still room for “reasonable” amounts of doubt as to the defendant’s guilt.

                1. The Miranda in Miranda v. Arizona went on to kill another person after having his conviction overturned.

                  1. Tis true. But that was a technicality and not a case of actual innocence. He likely did what he had been arrested for but was gotten off.
                    I was thinking of a case in New Orleans way back (1980’s) where a guy with a long rap sheet was on trial for, iirc, a murder, and the jury hung because one person held out, proclaiming no matter how guilty of other crimes, they were not going to convict him of this one when it was possibly not him. The next rial more evidence came and I recall prosecution dropped the case, it was impossible for him to have done it. They then got the guy who did.
                    Some time later the first guy was convicted in a murder over a drug deal.

                  2. oh, and if I do recall rightly, the “murder” was claimed self defense, but as he was committing a crime when it happened (he was the dealer), it automatically became a murder, and he was convicted, though the death penalty was not part of that second trial.

                  3. It is critical to keep in mind that the purpose of the Bill of Rights (of which Miranda was an expression) is to limit the abuse of state power. We get to choose between Type I errors and Type II errors — we do not get to choose no errors.

            3. A home educating friend was on the jury of a potential death penalty case. She found the whole process devastating. Being red white and blue to the bone she did not shirk her civic duty although she could have been excused. (She never told me the verdict or sentence and I never asked.)

              What I do know is that there were issues with phone calls afterwards, not just the press, but not so friendly people of the public who had tracked her down. I can only imagine what the calls would have been like if she had been required to take part in an execution.

              1. This is also documented in Colin Flaherty’s books. Leaking of jurors names and witness intimidation are pretty much the rule rather than the exception, especially in any remotely controversial trial.

                1. In this case the calls came after the trail. This wasn’t a criminal attempt to intimidate a juror to change the outcome of the trail. Some people can be very nasty both in forcing their opinions on you and how they express those opinions when they think they can remain anonymous.

          1. The application of the death penalty in this country is certainly flawed. The need for the death penalty is not. When you catch the perp red-handed, and he doesn’t have an acceptable excuse for killing, maiming, raping, poisoning people (like justifiable self defense); then we should observe the forms of a fair trial, and then execute him or her.

            I don’t have a problem with being the executioner of a human rabid dog equivalent. But I’m not going to pull the trigger, lever, or push the button on someone who’s been convicted on circumstantial evidence only because he’s a big scary black dude, or looks like a middle easterner with a beard. Plus, I’d rather give the victims first dibs.

            1. The death penalty is the immune system of the body politic, and suffers from the same flaws as the biological one: it can target the wrong thing, or it can fail to target what it should.

              Suppress that immune system entirely and see how long either body lasts.

              1. I am, and have long been, a Death Penalty Agnostic. I simply do. not. care.

                Yes, its application is flawed. Name one human institution which isn’t. If the public wants the death penalty then the public will have the death penalty, whether by legal or extra legal means. Yes, it “legitimizes vengeance” — so what? Is not vengeance a genuine and necessary (as an expression of desire for justice) human feeling? Is it not better we channel it through some mediating institution?

                Besides, if you accept any fashion of religious faith one thing all hold in common is that Justice is eventually served. So push them into the afterlife and let it get sorted out there. If you deny all religious philosophy, what difference does it make whether a person lives 100 years or thirty? As a fraction of eternity the difference is a rounding error.

                1. I’ve always taken the strictly mechanistic view on the matter–Does it reduce recidivism? And, it damn sure does–Few executed murderers go on to commit further crimes, like killing guards or other prison inmates, who I think society has a responsibility to provide a safe incarceration environment for.

                  Administering the system does require a lot of work, and I think there ought to be accountability within it for the mistakes that happen. I think we’d solve a lot of problems with the legal system in this country if we simply did away with sovereign immunity, and started telling the participants in the legal system that “Hey, good-faith mistakes are OK, but if we ever find out you cheated the process to get a conviction, you’re going to do every minute of every day that the victim of your malfeasance did… And, if you put someone to death, guess what?”.

                  Responsibility and accountability are two missing features from our judicial/political system. Look at the whole deal with Hillary, for an example: Does anyone believe that Joe or Jill Sixpack would get similar treatment for similar sins from the FBI? ROFLMAO…

                  Our social betters ought to start considering how all this looks to that Joe and Jill Sixpack out there in the hinterlands, because about the time Joe and Jill finally throw in the towel on the entire cluster-fark that is our political system, there are going to be some folks hanging upside down by their heels from the street lamps going “WTF? I thought I was in charge…” as their vision dims.

                  Depending on how angry Joe and Jill get, there may have been some impromptu drumhead vigilante-style trials first, but then again… Maybe not.

                  1. Sovereign immunity is the civilian equivalent of the military’s chain of command (sorry – don’t know the technical term) by which “I was just following (legal) orders” is a legitimate defense.

                    Of course, in the public employee world the theory is often absent in practice.

                    1. Notice that in this context sovereign immunity might be a tad imprecise. On the one hand there is the sovereign – when the President does it it isn’t a crime.

                      On the other hand we have the actor who is not following legal orders in context but is acting illegally. May or may not be following orders. In many cases is specifically not following orders. In the United States there is a court created notion that the agent of the state is protected almost regardless. Any remedies are pretty much civil and hard to come by. Thus a search warrant sworn maliciously and ultimately invalid must never the less be treated as valid. An unlawful arrest by a uniformed officer is by judicial decree to be treated as valid pending adjudication. Resisting an unlawful arrest is as reprehensible as resisting a lawful arrest.

                      Dr. Pournelle mentions this from time to time as another example of changing times.

                    2. I acknowledge not having paid attention to this field of law in quite some time, so my thoughts on this are an exploration. That said …

                      Sovereign immunity would seem to cover situations in which a duly authorized agent of the state acts in accordance with legal orders. Any instance in which those essentials are not in effect voids any claim for sovereign immunity. The presumption is that there is a controlling legal authority which is responsible for establishing and enforcing processes to safeguard against abuse of its authority.

                      Thus the person(s) responsible for an improperly executed search warrant are not the officers serving the warrant but either the party applying for the warrant (for failure to properly prepare the warrant) or the party authorizing that warrant (for failing to ensure the warrant complies with required provisions.)

                      The fact that none of these parties are liable to be liable personally for the improper warrant suggests a failure of the system. Presumably the Chief of Police, the District Attorney and the Mayor (in that order) are liable for failing to establish proper procedures to prevent such errors, train their agents to act in accord with those procedures and punish those who prove unwilling or incompetent to comply with those procedures.

                    3. Court created immunities for state actors as part of the court creation of rights has been an ongoing discussion chez Dr. Pournelle running lo these many years.

                      FREX Time was the FBI worked with local law enforcement and the FBI had no national power of arrest but only the same power as any citizen for citizen’s arrest. Courts have created new rights and expanded others to protect the state and state actors. There seems to be court created right to break into a home and throw flash bang grenades into an occupied baby’s crib. This from Dr. Pournelle several years ago addresses the issue in broad terms:

                      Roland summarizes the consensus of most Western philosophers on this subject. The point is a very conservative one: that it is impossible to make hard and fast rules and always adhere to them. Hard cases make bad law; and attempts to perfect society by adopting perfect rules seem to end in disaster.

                      At one time most Americans learned much of this in high school, when they studies US history, and the debates of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. More advanced schools even assigned some of The Federalist Papers. No more.

                      Incidentally, in England (at least until the 1970’s when I ceased teaching Constitutional Law) the solution to the entire problem of illegally obtained evidence was to allow the evidence, with the circumstances of its acquisition, to go to the jury. The constable who broke in without a warrant was liable for his actions, and might well be tried for burglary: although another jury might also decide that the circumstances warranted an exception to the rules and acquit him. The whole procedure was sufficiently cumbersome that few wanted to find themselves in the dock and the p0lice did not act except in extraordinary circumstances; at the same time, once the evidence was obtained, the criminal was not given a free pass because the constable blundered.

                      On the whole the system seemed to work. And yes, of course you can make up — or perhaps find real — cases in which the result is outrageous.

                      The attempt to find perfect rules to build a perfect society has not worked in the past, and is not likely to work well in future. Government is an art, and it has always been important to find the right man to govern. We seem lately to depend on an increasingly complex set of rules, as if finding the right rules allows us to have idiots as our governors. I call to witness the imbecile efforts of LA to do something as simple as curb the explosive growth of billboards while continuing to have entirely incompetent city officials. Los Angeles is hardly unique in this respect. Trying to compensate for fools and criminals in government by multiplying and refining laws, rules, and regulations, even in matters of such great importance as dealing with coerced testimony and illegally obtained evidence has never been very successful.

                      But of course if good people will not attempt to take part in self government, then the government falls into the hands of someone else. As it has.

                      We can at another time address this problem.

                      On the experience of the innocent in prison I had some remote dealings where a pretrial detainee who had killed somebody was held a year with no sun and fed frozen TV dinners. He ended up with scurvy while the state argued that it met its obligations to prisoners. A jury eventually decided the victim needed killing so the killer was actually innocent as well as entitled to a presumption of innocence – but he still got scurvy.

                2. I dislike the death penalty because, while you can free an innocent man later on, you can’t bring one back to life.

                  On the other hand, the recidivism rate is zero.

                  1. OTOH, you’ve still chewed up much of his life. Much better to attack the other end rather than console yourself with the limited good you can do a man serving a life sentence unjustly.

                    1. I suppose that rather than simply dumping such people back into a society with which they are unprepared to cope (see Spider Robinson’s The Time Traveler Callahan’s story) we might find appropriate employment for them in the prison system, perhaps providing sensitivity training for guards.

                    2. If you’re thrown in jail at the age of 22 and exonerated at the age of 59, there’s very little anyone can do to make amends. Especially since he’s now responsible for providing himself with three hots and a cot.

                    3. And if you’ve spent all your years, from 22 to 59, in jail, you have destroyed that person’s hopes to get married, have children, and, by this point, even have grandchildren, in addition to having destroyed any hopes that the person might have had to find an interesting career or three…

                      It disturbs me that anti-death-penalty types seem to only care about the innocence (and couldn’t even care less if the person on death row *isn’t* innocent) but doesn’t seem to care one whit about innocent people who are “merely” serving life sentences…

                  2. There’s a practical question. Life in prison is a viable alternative choice so long as it isn’t “unless we elect a nutjob in four years”, or “unless his confederates murder their way into power”. If you don’t have the political and military stability, quietly murdering prisoners, or not taking them in the first place, starts to look more appealing. It is better to have a usable and in practice swift mechanism of execution to keep certain failure modes less catastrophic.

  3. Humans who read (or watch (or especially write)) science fiction have a leg up on this: Instead of talking and reading and hearing or telling stories about the same old people in the same old places doing the same old things, mentally reinforcing the “conform or get pushed out of the band and die when the leopard eats you” monkeybrain analysis, we’ve stretched our minds by reading about situations where one or many things are slightly to very different, with generally recognizable people coping.

    By thinking about these other situations, we’ve basically stretched our mental landscape to accommodate and join all these other ‘bands’, so when the cool kids kick us out, we can count Kirk and Spock and Luke and Leia and Laz and Lor Long and Johnny Rico and Athena and all the rest of the characters we’ve read about as our band. Using that band to convince our monkeybrain we’re not alone and basically dead, we carry on in our expanded landscape, and look for other displaced or only partially exiled to add to our band.

    And then we kill and BBQ the leopard.

    1. Okay, the monkeybrain thing hits something that’s come up several times in the last couple of weeks, and it can be summed up in a single question: Which money brain?

      See, apes aren’t uniform. Arguing from the standpoint of an evolutionary model for the moment, there’s a difference between gibbon and gorilla; bonobo and orangutan. Jim Baen had a few ideas, and not just the aquatic ape theory, and they all boil down to differences. If man descended (“the ornery cuss”), it doesn’t follow that our base brain would be similar to any other species in how this works. Encountered this in an “evolutionary psychology” theory that practically had my eyeballs rolling out of my head because it would be simple to show the observed phenomena could be accounted for by existing anthropology and not postulating something new.

      1. Thank you Kevin. Evolutionary theory can be a poison if taken in too high a dose–that path can and has led to eugenics. Of course we share many traits with many animals because we are animals ourselves. Lots of anthropology notes the tribal effect without recourse to theories that can mislead as well as lead.
        None of that caviling detracts from our host’s very valuable point.

            1. And we haven’t had a moment of peace since. [Very Big Evil Grin While Flying Away Very Very Fast]

              1. Thanks for breaking the seal on that one.

                Or to quote a nearly 30 year old movie (when did that happen), “Was it a mistake or did he do it to us on purpose?”

                1. 😉

                  On the other hand, if somebody asked me about marrying some lady, I’m likely to reply “Why would I want to make her life difficult?”. 😀

                  1. Someone once asked me why I’d never married…

                    My response was that I had never met anyone I hated that much.

            2. I suspect there is a typographical error here, that the phrase properly should be “It is not good that the man should be a loan…” with the clear implication being that it is better to incorporate as a stock-holding enterprise rather than borrow and be in debt. There is no potential for having such an enterprise absent others to participate buy purchasing shares and therefore the Lord needed to create potential shareholding partners.

              1. LOL Res.
                I’ve always believed that, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” was a typographical error in the translation of Nietzsche. It should read, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.” Never looked at the original to confirm it though.

          1. No doubt, but I do not think we are built on the Great Apes chassis. At best we’re built on the Really, Really, Good Apes but more probably we’re built on the Barely Adequate Apes chassis.

            1. I propose we’re descended from the Mediocre Apes That Had To Develop That Ginourmous Big Brain and Cheat Before They Finally Became Successful.

        1. What prompted this was a topic that, to the best of my knowledge, has never come up here. The hypothesis was based on evolutionary psychology, and was really out there, with the researchers coming up with an “instinct” developed on the savannas. And I go “Let’s drop your butts out in the Serengeti and see how far those evolved instincts get you.” It’s pretty easy to show that what they call instinct involves what anthropologists have observed about humans for years, and could even be learned behavior. As it happened, I was reading a lack-luster theology book today, and happened on an observation from someone “on the spot” as it were, and it strongly suggested an anthropological answer.

          I don’t know if theories in evolutionary psychology are a case of a man who only owns a hammer is always looking for a nail to drive or what, but some of them twitch my skep-to-meter.

          1. Saw a study that found that people were nicer about not taking revenge if they’d recently had someone show them kindness– even when they had a chance to take a petty revenge without anybody knowing.

            I sat there and just thought: yeah, that’s the result you got from well socialized, young adult Americans. Wouldn’t suggest it in, say, the middle east.

      2. I remember someone talking about violence and self defense, describing a “lizard brain” that has very basic “flee or fight” reflexes, while the monkey brain has social “you looking at me? let’s fight and establish dominance” reflexes, all screaming at the logical “let’s analyze the situation” brain.

        I don’t know how literal these different types of brains are — and I expect that they are NOT based on thorough biological research —
        but they are good conceptual models that help us think about our own thougts and behavior, and how they might affect a given situation….

        1. They argue that some parts of the brain are more primitive than others, so, assuming evolution, one specific part is considered a reptilian brain (yes, it’s a specific part of the brain, known before it was called reptilian). But arguing that it’s the “monkey brain” that plays social games ignores that it also happens in everything from birds to cats and dogs. That’s why trying to stare down a cat or dog is interpreted as a challenge.

    2. SciFi and Fantasy both cultivate that desire for the exotic– crossing “ooh, that’s so NEAT and SHINY” with finding stuff that you can relate to– look at the vast number of “book wyrm” dragons. People who like books tend to read a lot of them. 😀

  4. Exactly. Attack the ideas, not the person. It’s something I learned when studying the facilitation of group interaction (with an eye toward keeping working groups functional and productive). If you can get the ideas out as concepts for the group to consider but not belonging to particular individuals, they can be looked at more objectively. If the ideas are “my idea” or “his idea” they’re much more difficult for people to evaluate rationally.

    But as a caveat–sometimes (many times) those on the left are simply incapable of making this separation of ideas and persons. Their beliefs aren’t at all examined, but are a form of religious dogma to them. Questioning the ideas can’t be done without questioning the person. If you do so, you brand yourself as a heretic. It really is a religious war for them.

    1. Yes. Since I want to keep my friends here, and most of them are more or less on the left with their thinking, I have always been reluctant to push anything too strongly. I try to insert ideas, make them perhaps question things a little bit, see some inconsistencies, but I can’t push or declare because if I do they mostly just stop listening. They are good people, and so far I haven’t lost anybody due to being the weirdo with funny ideas about politics, but while they don’t cut me off they stop listening if I push (and yes, I am also scared that if I come off too strong I might lose somebody. And it’s not even the risk of losing people, I guess I am more scared finding out that I might have been wrong to trust somebody in the first place).

      And if they stop listening completely and just relegate me into the “kooky friend” category… well, I still would want to be able to maybe influence them even a little. So – I don’t insist, I don’t push, I talk “hypothetically”, I try to point things out in the “isn’t that funny?” way, and I don’t do it so often they’d get tired of listening. So if they listen at least a little, who knows, maybe they might at some point come to some conclusions on their own. At least about a few things. I think I may have helped to shift at least a couple of them a bit towards the way I think. Maybe. About a thing or two.

    2. Given how often I am attacked as a person for assumed motives based on questions (not even statements but questions) about politics from Leftists it is getting harder to separate the person and the stupidity.

      1. As I said, questioning their beliefs is revealing yourself as a heretic to their religion. They aren’t rationally-arrive-at beliefs, they’re fundamentalist religious dogma.

    3. The identified caveat is why certain people made “gayness” an identity instead of leaving it as something you did. It ensured that any argument about its rightness or wrongness immediately became “you’re attacking me! you must hate ME as a person!” It was a very successful tactic.

      1. I will admit I have never gotten why gayness is an identity which trumps all other parts of the person. I get some of it especially for people my age and especially a bit older when being gay carried real social price. For example, Ann Bannon admitted had she been caught in a sweep in the Village in the early 60s, when she was busy inventing the modern image of the dyke, she would have committed suicide rather than endure what it would do to her family. Yet even then and later she doesn’t seem to see lesbian as an identity which trumps all other aspects of her.

        And I say this as someone who wrote a rather long essay explaining why, despite prior same sex sexual encounters and openness to new ones, I don’t consider myself bi or gay. I get how it isn’t just paying with matching fiddly bits but I still don’t see how it consumes being a programmer or a gamer or a Christian (yes, the two have clash points but one does not preclude the other although it might influence you to not act in certain ways) or…

        And feel free to replace gay with programmer, gamer, Christian, or even Marxist. It doesn’t make sense for sane people.

        1. That’s always been a big problem for me, too. I’m demographically supposed to be a Communist ten times over, I think. But somehow I missed the class where I learn why my genitals, preferred genitals, ability or disability, preferred bedroom acts, religion, or whatever is supposed to supercede my core belief that men are individuals before all else, and can accomplish amazing things when you get out of the frickin’ way.

        2. I am adamantly opposed to all attempts to refine any person’s identity to a single aspect. Such simplification of the complexities of human identity seem violent in their purpose and dictatorial in their effort.

          These peoople would never consent to a single suit of clothes, whether it be three-piece or track, yet they want everybody to be fitted into a uniform of their choosing? Include me out.

          1. Example of when one aspect was determined to outweigh all others:
            “But I am a Decorated Veteran of the Great War! I fought and bled for the Kaiser and the Fatherland!”
            “Shut up, Jew, and get on the train!”

                1. indeed there were many highly nationalistic “heroes” of Germany during WW1 that suffered likewise in WW2. Some even supported the early protoNazi politics, until it came to eat them.
                  Leftoids tend to be that way, no? They do so like to eat their own nearly as much as lording it over the rest of us.

          2. These peoople would never consent to a single suit of clothes…

            Ah, umm? Actually they might. Mao suits.

        3. It doesn’t trump the rest, but sometimes you can tell even before the person themselves knows it. A friend of mine from way back came out in his twenties, back in the late nineties. Still was a bit on the iffy side with a social price to pay (backwoods town).

          But his friends and family? Aw heck, we knew this a good while before he did. Sometimes you can just tell. It’s never been an issue for his sister- those two are close as close can be, still yet. Or for any of the rest of us. He’s a good man, heck of an athelete, seriously geeky, and quite probably an Odd, too.

          I very much ascribe to the old idea that what goes on consensually between two folks ain’t nobody else’s business less they decide to make it so. And really, it *ain’t* nobody else’s business. Back when, everybody around could tell that a certain pair that lived on the back side of the mountain from us was gay. They were in their late forties back then, never married, never went anywhere without the other. A few people might have cared, but not enough to cause much ruckus. Also, between the two of them, they were the best mechanics for miles around, and cheaper, too. *chuckle* That may have encouraged a bit of “tolerance” from those less inclined that way.

        4. I dunno… My issue with the whole thing has always been more that it’s not what you’re doing with your genitalia, it’s your damn fixation on it that matters.

          For most people, sex and sexual gratification are not the centers of their beings–It’s a nice spice, a way of growing closer with someone, but it is not the sole focus of their lives. It’s an aspect of their identity, not the whole identity, if you get what I mean.

          The folks who center on sex and sexuality, to the exclusion and subordination of all else? Those are the ones I have issues with, and it’s got nothing to do with who they chose to boink, either. The macho-man male “stud” who boasts of how many conquests he’s had, and how he cheats on his wife is just as much an object of distaste as that guy who makes a production of being transgressively gay, and puts his fetishes on public display during the annual gay pride parade in San Francisco. I don’t want either one of them around me, regardless of who they chose as sex partners. They want to do their thing in private? Fine; no issues. Impinge on my life, my public spaces? Mmmm… I’ve got a bit of a problem with that, depending entirely how much impingement there is.

          Abnormal focus on sex and sexual behavior is as much a problem with the putatively heterosexual as it is with the homosexual, and a sign that there’s something more than a little “off” in the residing personality of the possessor. There’s being a “wild child”, and then there’s the other side of the line where it becomes actually destructive of yourself and others. I’ve got no problem with people who are up front about being promiscuous, or uninhibited, but the people who make wedding vows and then break them without their partner’s consent…? Yeah; so not people I want to be around.

          You wanna be a slut? More power to you; hell, I honor that, so long as you’re doing it freely of your own volition, and are completely honest with your partners about it. The obverse, where you’re doing it in the shadows? Nope. You’ve got a problem with integrity, as expressed in your sex life–Which, in my experience, inevitably winds up being expressed elsewhere in your life as well.

    4. When the mob is at the door with pitchforks, clubs, and torches, feel free to attack as many of those persons as possible; preferably with lethal results. You can NOT reason with a mob. You can only crush it until it flees, or get the heck out of the way if you can; and wait for it to burn itself out.

  5. Interesting. Illuminating, too

    Helps me understand why so many of my friends say they feel “attacked” if I merely express an opinion that they don’t share. My words might cause their faith to waver, and then they might be expelled from the tribe.

    I fear they vastly overestimate my powers of persuasion, but then I don’t know how fragile their official beliefs are.

    1. I think they are often very fragile because they realize they can’t actually defend their viewpoint against a logical attack. They always fall back on “scientists say” or “it isn’t fair” of some other weasel excuse when you do challenge them

      1. Interesting article, and sheds light on why the left is so fond of weasel-worded substitutions: delete “illegal” and say “immigrant”, replace “tried to influence” with “hacked,” etc.

        The right uses some emotive phrasings too – “death panels” – but we could do better if we let go our piddling concerns about accuracy and logic.

        Ouch! I can’t believe I wrote that. But we’re in a war, and if emotionally loaded phrases are the modern equivalent of tanks, I want a First (Psychologically) Armored Division on our side.

        1. I find by the use of deliberately inflammatory labels to manipulate public discourse distasteful. I dislike the use of obfuscating words as well. But I know that the use of such language is tactical. I doubt that much can be done to stop it.

  6. “Whether you believe a creator fashioned us from the all-too-lumpy clay of reality, infusing us with a bit of His self; whether you believe we climbed, wrung by wrung from the frame of great apes”

    Why is it either/or? Why could evolution NOT be the tool the Creator used?

    BTW; I love asking that question of rabid evolutionists; they get the cutest ‘hit in the back of the head with a board’ expression.

        1. Aye. The great scientist, time was, many or most were quite devout. Trying to understand this world that Himself created was *holy* work. And since science is the realm of hows (the scientific method), I’ve never really been convinced or even interested in the “disproving” of any religion. That isn’t why science does. Religion answers a why, and who, and so on.

          1. Listening to a library audiobook of The Seashell on the Mountain, which is a biography of Blessed Nicholas Steno, and explains in a breezy way how a biology and anatomy guy invented historical geology.

            Man, did he get into trouble for doing the right thing instead of the correct thing. Lots of times.

          2. One of the reasons I remain religious, even if I’m half-atheist, is because I realize that whether or not there exists a Supreme Being, or even multiple such beings, there exists a need in the soul to believe in a Higher Power; this need is probably there to help us be humble regardless of our accomplishments, to help us accept death when our loved ones depart, and to encourage us to participate in some sort of social networking with like-minded neighbors, who can help and support us through difficult times, and give us opportunities to help others as well.

            Of course, one of the reasons I’m only half-atheist* is that I look at the work we do in physics, and the understanding we’re trying to achieve, and the hope we have of being able to create our own universes, and pop into them ourselves as this universe dies from the inevitable heat death that is its fate as we currently understand it — and I think that if there is no God, it is up to us to understand the laws of the Universe to the point that we can become Gods, and if the laws of the Universe allow it, to create new Universes, and to also go back and rescue our ancestors from death — and if the laws of the Universe allow for this, it now becomes a question of “Has this already been done?” and if so, there’s also a question of “Is this life a Rite of Passage to determine which of us would be able to handle the powers of creating Universes without abusing them or our fellow beings?” because if there’s *anything* that can express the importance of being careful with immortality and the power to do all things, is to have an experience where you *might* be in control of a few small things, and be *completely* powerless to do (or to stop) most other things….

            *(The bit of atheism in my soul comes from looking at the stars, understanding what they are, and wondering “What room is there for a Creator, when all this pretty much operates on its own? And why would such a Creator be concerned about little old me, a tiny speck of a speck on a speck orbiting a speck in a speck of a galaxy, in this huge universe of ours?”)

            1. And why would such a Creator be concerned about little old me, a tiny speck of a speck on a speck orbiting a speck in a speck of a galaxy, in this huge universe of ours?

              That is not a feeling confined to atheists. Here’s the same feeling expressed in the Bible, in Psalm 8, verses 3 and 4:

              When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

              1. And why would such a Creator be concerned about little old me …

                Simple. He’s a perfectionist, He pays close attention to every detail. Because He can.

                  1. We do have free will. He keeps track of us because he loves us. If he talked directly to me, I’d worry then.

                    1. I suspect that this is why He usually works through other mediums, as it were. Prophets. Dead relatives (and that’s happened in my own family, and sooo many others I’ve known). Personal inspiration that–if one wanted to argue oneself out of it–could have come from your own brain in a Eureka! moment. Direct contact, like you said, is pretty overwhelming. Not sad, but overwhelming.

                    2. An archangel kicking my butt and getting me to get medical treatment and come out of the political closet. Either that or I went insane, but it’s working for me, so meh. And Raphael is not around so much now, just looks in occasionally.

                1. It’s like that boss who puts too much of himself into everything– right there on the tin, it says “Made in HIS image”.

                  He put Himself into us, right from the start. He cares because He’s a good guy. (Well, kinda backwards, but it’ll work.)

            2. The bit of atheism in my soul comes from looking at the stars, understanding what they are, and wondering “What room is there for a Creator, when all this pretty much operates on its own?

              Why would a Creator wish to create a Universe which requires constant fiddling to run? Or, to approach it in a different direction, how incredible is it if a Creator, with a single gesture (metaphorically, not necessarily literally), can create a Universe with all the properties and laws needed to develop over the vastness of time to our own time and beyond, which does not require micromanagement? It’s like rolling a bowling ball down a billion-mile long bowling alley and making a billion-pin strike.

              1. Yes, that would be a good thing to remember.

                One notion, too, that drives me nuts about atheists being critical of worship — why would a Supreme Being need us to believe in Him? — because the answer is that He doesn’t need us at all; the purpose of worship is to help us.

                1. Just because He is Supreme doesn’t mean he doesn’t want our love. Sure, we’re just offering crayon scribbles for His refrigerator door, but it is our reasons for making those scribbles that He values.

                  Fathers’ Day this Sunday, y’know. The greatest gift your Dad likely wants is your appreciation. (Those with evil Dads exempted — one way you know your Dad was truly evil if he doesn’t care whether you care.)

                  1. So… punning doesn’t make them evil?

                    (If so, I may have to take my Dad off the list.) 😀

                  2. My favorite thing to bring up in classes was that while the Creator gave us everything we have–down to the air we breathe–the only thing that we have, that is truly our own, is our free will (which He can’t take away). So it’s the only thing we have to offer Him as a gift–and darn if it isn’t the hardest thing to give, too, and is a life long thing.

                    But He’s patient, and He loves us. (We’re his children, after all.)

              2. Any good system administrator writes scripts to automate as much of the day-to-day operations of the systems he administers as he can. That lets him concentrate on the bits that can’t be automated or that crop up randomly and require attention.

              3. *nod*

                Catholic Theology, He is supposed to have set it up so we can figure it out with the gift of wisdom– why would it not be like clockwork?

                Good heavens, I’m a sucky housewife and even our household is on a pretty good schedule! Breakfast about 8, lunch about 11:30, dinner’s about 6, lessons are at 8:30, break is at 11, etc.

                The whole POINT of a well run place is that you can’t notice it’s happening!

            3. it is up to us to understand the laws of the Universe to the point that we can become Gods, and if the laws of the Universe allow it, to create new Universes

              That’s really neat. Also happens to be one of the major beliefs of my own religion. ^_^ In the past, when someone has goggled at me over this particular belief, I pointed out to them that, if one believes we are His children, what else are we supposed to become? A baby horse, for example, does not grow up to become a cat…

    1. Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

    2. Yep. I’m fine with embracing the power of AND here.

      It can also be fun to get a rabid atheist to enumerate the steps that resulted (in his view) of humanity today and compare them with the 6 days of the book of Genesis. If those 6 days are understood to be an allegory suitable for illiterate shepherds then they describe the creation of the universe, stars, earth, evolution on it etc. pretty well. They absolutely hate that when you point it out to them.

      1. Gerald Schroeder’s “The Big Bang” is one example of this “six days of creation as allegory” concept . “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4)

        1. I find that once you have discarded the idea of a Creator limited by Time most of the challenges of evolution vs design become irrelevant. If He created Time he cannot be bound within it.

          It seems presumptuous for us to assume our current state as the goal of His creation of us, as if the goal of parents was the raising of adolescents.

            1. Oh, I do. But you know, I’m allowed to kvetch. Says so on the specifications. I look upward and go “This seems like a good idea to you?”
              BUT when I’m sane I agree with you.

            2. I do not know much about G-d, but I do know that I do not know nor understand much about G-d. On my best days I can only fumble with the implications of being outside of Time. Most days I am a colour-blind man critiquing van Gogh’s Starry Night.

              Nope. Nothing there.

              1. A long time ago, relatively, i came up with the idea that religion was a box which our finite ape brains used to try and understand the infinite.

                This was followed by the idea that not all religions used the same sized box; that, for example, the Catholic Box was considerably larger than the Jehovah’s Witnesses Box.

                I now believe the average Atheist Box is the smallest of all, with the Militant Atheists tossing their boxes in the recycling bin and pretending they never had one.

                1. might could argue the atheist boxes and relative size thereof, but only in a few cases of individual atheists, but I’d bet you are right in the case of Militant Atheists, or really any Zealot of most any religion (and Militant Reformed High Church Atheist is among the most zealous)

      2. If those 6 days

        Not sure how old I was when I started questioning, “how long is a day?” Considering that G*d is so far beyond human understanding, our method of time keeping certainly wouldn’t be capable of measuring His actions.

        1. St. Augustine of Hippo was telling people in the 4th Century not to interpret Genesis literally; long before Copernicus, Galileo, or Darwin.

          1. To my dismay, Young Earth Creationism is becoming dominate in my denomination. In my day, it was Old Earth Creationism, with the idea that the period “day” is an unknown amount of time in human terms. That concept was so well known my grandparents held it, and I heard it from a woman older than they.

        2. When you think about the phrases “In my day” or “in that day”, a “day” can be as long or as short as you want it to be….

    3. There was a Frank & Earnest (if I recall correctly) cartoon of the pair as angels looking down on the earth:

      “What’s this new thing He has?”
      “Calls it ‘evolution’. Says it’ll put the creation business on automatic.”

      And I recall the idea of ‘Intelligent Design’ being described as, “If you think G-d wasn’t smart enough to work out evolution…” I found it amusing to describe ‘Intelligent Design’ as an evolved form of Creationism.

      1. When my father was teaching at Iowa State, every year in his survey of the Hitory of Science course he would get at least one Creationist asking ‘what about the Theory of Creationism?”. And he would look ovr the top of his glasses and answer “I have never understood why you people wish to call the Revelation of Genesis a ‘theory’.

      2. My issues with ID is it tends to be the RonPaul of origin theory.
        All to often you hear what an ID person believes and think “Yes. Could be. Totally plausible. Yes, quite reasonable. Ye . . . wait . . . WHAT. THE. ACTUAL?” followed by a massive headdesk.
        If portions of your theory make a Pastafarian’s sound mild and reasonable, you might could have a hole there.

        1. Well, I believe in Intelligent Design but IMO it is not science. 😉

    4. Knowing the time and place of each sparrow that falls today – that is awesome.

      Creating a universe some 7K years ago, knowing the time and place of each sparrow that falls today – awesome squared.

      Creating a monobloc some 14 billion years ago, knowing the time and place of each sparrow that falls today – awesome to some multiple of googol power.

      To me, most proponents of both sides of that debate are rather failing in imagination…

      1. Also, I’m sorry if this offends the evolutionistas (no I’m not), but look at a giraffe and tell me that isn’t a Being, working with the evolutionary equivalent of Photoshop, thinking ‘I wonder hiw far this can go’ and messing with the sliders.

    5. If there is a Creator, what better way to remind us of humility than the knowledge we’re only a few steps removed from poo-slinging primates?

    6. “Here, again, time-scale confuses us. We can choose which we see: a slow glow into burning, like the coals of a fire burning hotter as they are blown on — or (from the Galaxy’s own perspective) a burst of celestial firecrackers, life leaping into being, light born and blazing in the time it takes to speak a Word….” — Diane Duane, “Spock’s World”

    7. “Just because it appears random to us, doesn’t mean it is random to Him.”

      Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

      1. I’ve managed to do some “magic” for the kids, using patterns that they’re just not old enough to notice, yet.

        Or the “magic” way I can tell if a siren is a cop, an ambulance or a fire truck. (They’re slowly starting to realize they can tell the difference, even if they can’t quite say why.)

    8. I’ve met a number of religious scientists. They invariably are excited to uncover yet another tool representative of the Lord’s work. Scientific facts are just a means to that greater understanding.
      But many if not most liberals have adopted a mishmash of liberal, socialist, envirogreenie kant as the only true religion. To them any scientific fact that speaks counter to their closely held beliefs must obviously be lies and trickery.
      AGW = man is poisoning the planet, we’re all going to die. Only massive control over all people can save us.
      But the Earth hasn’t gotten any warmer for 19 years now.
      Heretic! Unbeliever! Blasphemer! You must be driven from society and every aspect of your life destroyed.
      Communism is the only just and fair political system.
      Er, no it’s not, 100 million dead say so.
      Heretic! Unbeliever! Blasphemer! You must be driven from society and every aspect of your life destroyed.
      Removing all guns from society would make us ever so much safer.
      No, it would bring about a dark age of brute force and submission of the weak, the old, and most females.
      Heretic! Unbeliever! Blasphemer! You must be driven from society and every aspect of your life destroyed.
      I could go on for far too long a time, but you get my drift.

    9. A while back, I posted a link to an article talking about the dodgy stuff the NHIS in Britain did a few years back (Liverpool Route, or something like that; can’t remember off the top of my head). It was a pretty good write-up of the whole thing.

      The friend I was posting it for complained because it was posted on the website of an organization that endorsed Intelligent Design.


      Though to be frank, I think she was (and still is) mostly annoyed about the fact that I complained about a fellow friend citing links to Buzzfeed and The Daily Show on Facebook.

    10. Michael Flynn is reliable on the subject matter of the great Scholastic principle, “created in their causes.”

      After all, even we say, “I planted that tree” when you mean “I planted the acorn that grew into that tree.” How much more so if we created everything about it, including the tendency of oak DNA to turn an acorn into a tree.

  7. What, though, out the outliers? Sure, we’re odds and sure, company is nice, but . . . well, there’s a certain attraction to head for the hills or the desert or the swamp and be done with it. Sure, we’d rather have company, but at what expense? Or maybe I’m an odd odd, and there’s hints this is genetic

    Another rumination: This is going to be cold and negative (you all knew that, right?), but I don’t think we can afford to think of friends and relatives on the other side as friends and relatives. Acquaintances, yes, perhaps dear ones, but not our friends. Be kind and be polite, by all means, but it probably would not be wise to extend this to trust.

    Before anyone calls this paranoid, there is a sharp difference between assuming everyone is your enemy and assuming someone could under the right circumstances. If those who are close are willing to believe all sorts of vile things about you because it fits the tribal narrative, they’ve already demonstrated a willingness to throw you under the bus. Maybe they wouldn’t but . . . can you really count on it?

      1. “Love thy Enemy.”

        Unfortunately, sometimes the enemy needs tough love.

        Sadly, and hopefully very rarely, that tough love needs to take the form of a 7.62x54r, 174 grain, full metal jacketed round.

        1. Nah, hollow-point. Minimizes through-and-through collateral damage, maximizes stopping power…

          1. Hunters use soft or hollow point bullets not because they hate their prey, but because they respect the animals and wish them a quick, painless, and merciful death.
            In similar fashion kosher and halal rules go into some details as to the proper methods for ending a meat animal’s life.

            1. Which, when considered against the state of the medical arts back when they were coming up with the various Hague and Geneva agreements…?

              Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it? You look at it from a standpoint of “reduce human suffering”, and then compare/contrast results of pushing an FMJ bullet through a human being on a filthy field somewhere, letting them lay in the dirt, and then get hauled off to a medical system that doesn’t have antibiotics or even decent sulfa drugs, vs. using an expanding round that makes a much bigger hole and then kills relatively quickly?

              What were they? Sadists? Couple of minutes to bleed out vs. several weeks of dying from gas gangrene in a filthy hospital ward with a bunch of your fellow wounded? Uhm. Yeah. I know which option I’d prefer, thankyouverymuch…

              1. I suspect they looked at the way things were going and said “Do we really want them to keep putting massive ingenuity into even nastier ways to disrupt flesh?”

                Explosive bullets were already being played with. Hollow points were just starting to come out. What next? We should stop this NOW.

                And, of course, it worked about as well as it ever did…

                1. Actually, if you go back and look at the surrounding politics of the situation, it wasn’t anything anywhere near as positive in intent.

                  Mostly, that whole proscription on “expanding/exploding projectiles” came out of Wilhelmine Germany giving Imperial Britain a hard time over made-up BS during the Boer War. Basically, it was the same trick the Soviets used to play, the great-power politic version of the wounded gazelle gambit.

                  You can tell how seriously they took that whole thing by observing that the same sanctimonious pricks on the German side who were making these accusations and agitating for all this “humanity” were the same ones who later introduced the world to chemical weapons and the organized slaughter of non-combatants.

                  I’m not a fan. One of my old medics who was assigned a unit that went into Afghanistan got to deal with the consequences of this nuttiness personally, and it did a good deal of psychic damage. The locals came up to his patrol, one day, and told him that they had someone they wanted him to look at. They led him off to an isolated grape-drying shed, where one of the foreign fighters that had been wounded a week or two before had been laying up. The kid, and that was what he was, a kid, had been hit with multiple strikes from something in 5.56mm that didn’t do it’s job properly. Mostly peripheral hits that carried dirt and other battlefield filth into the wounds, and in the absence of modern medical care, the poor bastard had been wallowing in the same sort of crap someone wounded in WWI might have had to deal with.

                  They got the poor bastard back to the hospital, but by the time they were done with him, they’d had to amputate everything, and he died anyway a couple of weeks later. My medic later commented that he’d have been kinder to this guy if he’d just taken his M9 out and shot him, there in the grape-drying shed. Out of all the crap that guy saw, this case was the one that gave him nightmares years later.

                  That’s what this crap meant, back then, and that’s what it means now. It’s unpleasant, it’s rough, but trying to inject a false “kindness” into the affairs of war often results in far more suffering than you’re ameliorating.

        1. mills people

          Mill, v:
          1: to subject to an operation or process in a mill: such as
          a : to grind into flour, meal, or powder
          b : to shape or dress by means of a rotary cutter
          c : to mix and condition (something, such as rubber) by passing between rotating rolls

          I like the way he rolls.

    1. Another reason why I never push things when it comes to politics etc with my friends here. I don’t like it, but the fact is I don’t quite trust them that much. And I don’t want to find out I would have been wrong to trust either, so I rather not test it.

      1. There may come a time where you have to test your friends on the issue, but I see no compelling reason to push the issue until it clearly has to be pushed…

        Well, if I try hard enough, I could imagine scenarios where bad things happen because you didn’t test or sort your friends early on; on the other hand, I can also imagine scenarios where bad things happen because you *did* test and sort your friends early on….

    2. well, there’s a certain attraction to head for the hills or the desert or the swamp and be done with it. Sure, we’d rather have company, but at what expense?

      Oh yes … me too. Sure, I’m planning on extra room so if SHTF then I can cajole Mom & Step Father into moving in with me, and company *would* be nice, but overall?

    3. Said like a true hillbilly – which my father was. The oddest peoples on this continent, and not ashamed of it.

        1. Little known tale of that phrase’s origin. Seems the old moonshiner spotted his daughter, absent of clothing, climbing into bed atop her brother. “Girl, whatchoo doin’?” called the old man. Came the reply, “Mountin’ Will’m.”

  8. I’m not sure I totally agree. I wasn’t in the US at the time but I’d have thought the Reagan times were as formative to people growing up in them as the Thatcher days were for us in the UK. I know a lot of people who grew up in the 1980s (more or less) who are sort of small government anti-PC types. You probably can’t exactly call them libertarian and you probably should be cautious calling them conservative (though of course Lady T was the Conservative party leader) but they aren’t the standard sneering classes sorts.

    It helps that in the UK, while the BBC dominates TV and leans solidly statist left, the newspapers are rather more varied. In fact the biggest circulation papers are all definitely right leaning to one degree or another. That’s why Brexit happened – there were enough of us who complained loudly enough about the EU disaster.

    Its true that ZANU labour has now produced a younger cohort who don’t get it, but I have strong hopes that the Michael Gove inspired educational reforms will result, a few years down the road, in another wave of similar people.

    It can be done. In fact I’d guess that the growth of homeschooling and the like in the US means it is being done there too. And, now, thanks to the Interwebs, we can more easily find others like us so we won’t feel like quite such pink monkeys goign forward

  9. What’s that saying? Conservatives think the ideas of the left are wrong. The left think conservatives are evil.

    1. From Charles Krauthammer:

      “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”

      1. And that is all in process to change. As liberals act out against the perceived evil we conservatives have no choice but to meet acts of violence with appropriate self defense.
        Violence initiated by one side of an argument begets an equal and opposite response. Otherwise the attacked side has no recourse other than total surrender. And since liberals must have someone to blame for the utter failure of all their grand and glorious schemes even total surrender would never be enough. Hitler and his Nazi party had to have the Jews to blame. Same, same, liberals must have rich, power hungry, evil conservatives as scapegoats to their failures.

  10. I’m a Believer as well… But.

    The Old Testament has G*d allowing “bad things” to happen to His People because they fell away from Him.

    John Ringo (who is no longer Christian) in his “The Queen Of Wands” had G*d testing the US to see if the US considered itself “His Own”.

    Side note, it was “interesting” to listen to the response of some of the American Political Leaders to Barbara’s warning especially the response of an unnamed female Speaker of the House. 👿

    Well, the President was willing to give a speech (including a very ecumenical cry for help) and G*d showed his Mercy.

    It was well written IMO on John’s part and I’ve been wondering if G*d is testing us. 😦

        1. If you believe the historical bits of the OT are, in fact histories, then the pattern of God’s judgment and mercy is easy to spot.

          He allows your enemies to crush you like a bug, the rebuilds from the remnant. Rinse and repeat as us human beans seem constitutionally incapable of learning (en masse) from our mistakes.

          1. I’m not sure I see any evidence of God’s plan for salvation in the history of Old Tucson…

    1. I realize most here aren’t LDS. But despite that, it’s probably worth noting (due to your comments) that the Book of Mormon maintains that the New World is a “choice promised land”, and anyone living here is put under stricter standards than the rest of the world. If the people living there are righteous, then they’ll be blessed. If not, then Bad Things(tm) will happen.

      There is no in-between.

      1. He’s said it a while back in Ringo’s Tavern. He’s formerly Catholic.

        Part of this came up when some character “assumed” he was Christian because he’s Conservative.

          1. Chuckle Chuckle

            IIRC there is also Catholic Theology that states that even if “you” think you’ve left the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church “still claims you”. 😉

            Oh, the other reason that this “person” thought that John Ringo was Christian was that his main character in “Princess of Wands” was “too nice” to be a Real Christian. 😦

            1. Oi. that person needs to go to St. Amant Louisiana and visit Stafford Brothers Auto Repair.
              Nicest folk one will ever meet, and when I’d visit on a Tuesday, they’d still be discussing the previous Sunday Sermon.

                1. The younger brother was messing about with an Olds Quad Four. I found why he was having an issue (incredibly stupid design and engineering by GM) and he turned red-faced, started stuttering, looking like he wanted to Hulk Smash.
                  So, I asked him “Wanna swear?” He answered with a grimace, “Yes!” so I asked him “Want me to swear for you?”
                  He got a smile and said “No. . . Thanks though.”

            2. Oh, the other reason that this “person” thought that John Ringo was Christian was that his main character in “Princess of Wands” was “too nice” to be a Real Christian.

              These days, I’d point them at Jagi “Mrs. Wright” Lamplighter!

          2. um… there are others, trust me. Thinks too much Catholics (my favorite kind. Some of us are so Catholic we’re almost not.) And then there’s OMG, please duct tape Catholics who think everything is an insult to the church. Weird thing, those second are often STARTLINGLY bad in praxis.

  11. It is perhaps slightly easier to go with a… hrm.. non-default? ( I hesitate to use ‘non-traditional’ here) when all through ones youth one is told “You are not of us.” Well, I got the message. And my reply is: DAMN RIGHT, I’M NOT! Seems they somehow have a problem with facing their very own statement(s).

    1. I usually go with, “If everything I say and do is wrong, I get to say and do anything I want!” It kind of upsets them to realize that their approval isn’t needed. 🙂

  12. My parents moved us every two to three years… My dad was out of the Navy by then but he still had the traveling bug. We never fit in… although my sisters tried. I didn’t know how it felt to actually belong until I met my late-hubby. Both Odds and outsiders btw.

  13. I think you needed to be fairly crazy, fairly broken — unless you came from a very strongly conservative family with a very charismatic atmosphere — to become a conservative before the internet

    Since you are Usaian by adoption, I would ask you not to overlook the home-grown variety who are descended from New England minutemen and have kept the faith from the beginning.

    I came from a conservative family.. although not especially a charismatic one. I was a child in the Vietnam Era. Back then, political conservatism was highly respectable.
    There was a religious component to to mine. I was raised to believe that God had set up the circumstances for American liberty, without kings or an established state church, that He had favored the cause of the American Revolution for that same purpose, and that He had raised up wise men to establish the Constitution and create a government that would preserve that liberty. If we are deserving of another chastisement, so be it, but in the end, I do not believe His causes will fail.

    I was also taught that Communism was founded on lies (and what some of those lies were) and could only bear evil fruit. The more I have learned of European history, and the more I have seen of the fruits of Communism, the more I am convinced that what I was I was taught is the truth.

    I know of a great many people who quietly share those beliefs. They are chiefly minding their own business and not writing newspaper columns or joining Twitter mobs, but they are and have been watching the signs of the time. Captain John Parker’s order at Lexington is still good advice. Don’t Panic.

    1. Quite. I was a soldier during the Vietnam era, and a child during the 50’s/early 60’s. In rural central PA conservative views were the norm and not really given any particular name, as they were just the traditional American values that our families had held for generations.

    2. I was going to go fancy and beg to differ with our esteemed hostess by pointing our William F. Buckley, Jr. and (probably) George Will and then thought of Goldwater; but I think you have the right of it. Conservative, in America, to me at least, is traditional values—particularly those taught in church.

    3. The key to undermining this was the schools. Little by little progressivism was introduced. A little history here, a little pseudo-science there, over here a little literature.
      Many conservatives that I’ve spoken with reveal at least a little bit of that progressivism, even within their “conservatism”. “There oughta be a law!” “Well, Congress should be doing something!” Or some form of utopian thinking, occasionally even globalist. And of course, some variation of post-modernism and “well, truth is relative.”

      Little by little, the core of the conservative/libertarian (I would say “American”) principles have been eaten away.

      1. Rust never sleeps, Liberty is an unnatural state which requires active maintenance. We must run twice as fast as we possibly can merely to hold our place.

    4. My parents were more liberal than I. But we all had elements of crazy.

      I was left to my own ends, mostly, thought things through, and the conservative elements won out. (And by some stroke of fortune, the more liberal one gave me Crane Brinton’s Anatomy of Revolution in my teens, which probably helped me along the way.)

  14. Perhaps the issue here is that we need to rebrand ourselves. Identifying as “Odds” does nothing to encourage those on the tribal fringe to pay attention to us; if anything it drives them away (“Do not listen to that raving lunatic, she’s odd.”)

    I propose we identify ourselves as American Cassandras. Or maybe Cassandra-Americans, since hyphens are (apparently) what all the cool kids are sporting.

        1. Which guarantees they will stop listening immediately. re “Attacking my ideas is attacking me.”

    1. I tell them, “Please don’t call us rednecks; that’s an offensive term when used by you outsiders. We prefer the term, ‘the majority.'”

      1. I suppose you could always go with “You’re mistaken: I’m neither Scottish nor Presbyterian” and really confuse them.

      2. I consider myself to be an intellectual redneck.
        I have a degree. An old dead tractor in the back. And I hunt deer and turkey from my front porch.

            1. Oh, but the image of you grasping the senator from Vermont by the back of the neck and rubbing his head up and down a splintery piece of pine is just priceless!

                1. Well, if his face imprint shows up on a cabinet door in your next furniture mystery, we’ll all cheer.

        1. Wow, I only have the degree…no tractor (living, dead, or undead) and I’m not much of a hunter.

          Do I have to turn in my redneck creds? I do own a table saw, drill press, and a pistol plus I’m a vet?

          1. Hrm. Redneck cred. This’ll take a mite. Pardon my written accent, I’ve been around the old family lately, and it infects.

            Have you ever come home soaked in sweat and the fruits of your labor, be it sawdust, dirt, axle grease, deep fryer grease, mud, blood, or suchlike? Ever eat what you killed? Heck, ever eat raw berries and fruits off the vine, or cleaned carrots in the creak and skinned them to eat raw? Ever drunk from the hose, made a meal from scratch (note, the microwave is right out, but bonus points if you cooked it over an open fire, or pan over a hot engine), or created your own recipe on the fly?

            Have you ever fixed something broken all on your own? Felled a tree, dug a ditch, put up or tore down a wall? Ever got a vehicle stuck in a ditch, mud, or a creek, and managed to get it free without calling a tow? Ever planted a field, laid a foundation, sweated copper, or run wire? Know what heat stroke feels like, know how to keep hypothermia at bay in practical terms and not from books? Ever set a bone with what’s on hand?

            Have ye ever shot a rifle, pistol, shotgun, or machinegun, and wanted to go some version of “whee!” “Yee-haw!” “Hell yeah!” of similar? Could be because of a well placed shot, or just the fun of it. Ever taken part in the longbow vs crossbow dispute, or wanted to? Know how to gut a fish, hog, rabbit, deer, or elk? Heck, knowing how the sausage is made works, too.

            Did ye ever work from daylight to dark to daylight again to get a job done? Ever ride a horse? Or heck, a bull, even a mechanical one? Ever tasted fertilized eggs? Ever laid a roof that didn’t leak, hung a door, or built a deck? Ever drunk alcohol from a mason jar, walked barefoot in the grass, shoveled turds, or delivered a calf? Tended an animal that was sick, rode in the back of a pickup truck going faster than the posted speed limit, slept under the stars, skinny dipped, busted your knuckles while turning a wrench, cussed any particular machine ’till it ran right, or sang dirty songs while drunk?

            This is a partial list, mind. But pick any three or four, and chances are you’re still good. A red neck is a sunburn from honest work, and honest work comes in a good many forms these days. Not all of ’em leave the kind of calluses the driving nails does, or working iron, or breaking horses. A tractor is optional. Work ethic, upright behavior, and the ability to cut loose and have fun are darned near mandatory. *grin*

              1. When you made a pile of bones on the corner of the field before planting (and while turning over the Earth) and there are some Napoleonic war uniform buttons/roman fibulae/who the hell knows what there, and you’re REALLY not looking too closely at those bones, and told yourself they’re just pet bones? BROTHER you WASH those carrots, with real running water and a brush.

                  1. often. I grew MONSTER carrots in my own veggie garden. It drove my mom nuts I didn’t peel them. I also got onions out of the sun-warmed earth, peeled off the outer layer, sprinkled salt on them and ate them like an apple. This was apparently not-lady-like. The fact that I liked spending time out there barefoot, with a shovel, planting things never registered as the primary disqualification on the lady thing.

                    1. And I think through a lot of time, The man was the farmer, the Garden was the woman’s domain. I think because it contained more than just the food stuffs, but also herbs etc for cooking and healing.

                    1. A heavy vegetable brush? Is that a brush for vegetables with significant deuterium oxide content?

                    2. Way too dangerous. I have scars on five knuckles from a belt sander (not the hand-held kind, but a floor-standing one that used a two and a half or three inch belt).

                      And no, obviously I didn’t learn better. They are from five separate incidents of having the piece I was working on slip off the belt and allowing the belt to snap back and cut a hole right through my glove before I could move my hand away. *SIGH*

                    3. sorry. I had to laugh.
                      To laugh in commiseration I shall relate:
                      Last Saturday, I was ripping old 12×1 stock boards (well, one was actually 14 inches wide) and after spending 45 minutes pushing old nails out with a hammer and punch, I had the blade find one I missed and fire it out at me.
                      I caught it with my chin. Better than the throat!. but as I staggered from the blow, I reached up to rub the sore spot and almost cut myself on the embedded bit of metal.
                      After removing it from my chin, leaking into my bundled t-shirt, I got to watch as the winds broke a large branch off an old maple across the street. Twas an eventful day.

                    4. Yeah, close calls like that take a little longer to feel humorous, anyway, especially when they still hurt.

                      On the other hand, when I fell and (probably) tore my rotator* cuff a few years ago, it was funny even while it still hurt like a mofo, because I felt (completely justifiably) really stupid for having done it.

                      * Really, spellcheck? The term “rotator cuff” isn’t even obscure. It’s a normal term that is in everyday language. Stupid spellcheck.

                    5. sometimes I wonder about spell check. you’re on letter off and it can’t come close to the word you want, then the typing is about like touch typing QWERTY on a Dvorák kb and it gives only the right word you meant. WTF Yo?

            1. skinned [carrots] to eat raw
              I now have this image of little carrot skins staked out to cure after being thoroughly scraped. Guessing you have to cut around the top and the tip, slice once lengthwise, then peel the skin off? 🙂
              What do you sew them into, when all is said and done?

              1. Wash ’em, skin ’em… You can get this little knife with a slot cut into it, with the edges on the inside of that slot, and it works a treat to get ’em clean. Or just use a pocketknife.

                Miss Sarah mentioned upthread a bit on why she cleaned her carrots first, and around here there may well have been similar reasons. Can’t rightly say what battle may’ve been fought, but horn buttons and the occasional bent spoon were the least of our concerns there.

                As to why you sew carrots into? Little round orange buttons for shirts, naturally. *grin*

              2. “Carrots staked out”

                Now I’m seeing Bunnicula’s origin story with Ottoman carrots being impaled in row after row.

              1. Given the way some of our leftist “betters” behave insects might be a good term for them.

                Actually, Marxism expects humans to be insects, colony insects specifically (oddly a point Starship Troopers makes).

              2. Heh. Well, time was, redneckery was the simple result of being at the arse end of a *very* long supply chain. So there was quite a lot of “making do” and having to do multiple things at once.

                Adam Smith had a bit to say about this in that book of his that everybody knows about but darned few read. I didn’t read it as a value judgement, and humanity as a whole has gotten quite far on specialization… But that specialization takes up but a small part of a human being’s lifetime. And no man yet has been born to be just one thing.

                Heinlein’s quote is a reaction to that mindset. If you take note of our current education system (and how it got to be that way in the first place), I find his take much more palatable.

          1. knew a guy who called himself a high-tech redneck.
            He was from Coffeeville, Mississippi, and had gone on a world tour with Ugly Kid Joe as their soundman.

  15. it’s easier for someone who’s lost a leg to lose the other
    “You don’t eat a pig like that all at once!”

    People who stick out, odd square pegs sitting on top of round holes.
    Who you callin’ square?! I am a proud septagonist!

    Right now the city is rotting, the walls crumbling. Marxism is non-functional, and we’re the barbarians outside the wall, but we’re barbarians armed with the original American values, a respect for the individual and a principle of equality under the law.
    Yeah, we’re outside, striving to tear down the walls. Not because we want *in*, but because we want to let them *out*. It’s the weirdest barbarian invasion of all time. But it’s quintessentially American.

    A well-said post, Sarah. It’s a good reminder.
    But, this is the consequence of politicizing *everything*. And it’s what the ringleaders want – to ensure division between their legions of the indoctrinated and those who would oppose their power.
    We have to either separate our friends from the ringleaders’ influence or eliminate the power of the ringleaders.
    Interestingly, that’s what our Founding Fathers hoped to achieve by limiting gov’t’s power. If you limit the power, then those sorts of people can’t do great harm. Unfortunately, we started giving that up a long time ago (about a century, as Draven pointed out yesterday.

    It’s like one of those stories where one of the protagonist team members is out of their head, and very capable of doing great harm. The other team members love him and don’t want to hurt him, but they have to figure out how to handle him before he kills them all and brings down everything on their still warm bodies.
    There’s a reason that’s a trope.

  16. Yeah, we’re outside, striving to tear down the walls. Not because we want *in*, but because we want to let them *out*. It’s the weirdest barbarian invasion of all time. But it’s quintessentially American.

    “We must stop the invasion!”
    “We’re trying to break you out of your prison!”

    1. And, thinking about it now, I realize there have been stories about that, too. (I’m thinking primarily of some classic SciFi. “The Mark Of Gideon” being one.)

  17. Well, I see 2 types of circumstances. We know a very nice couple that we’ve frequently shared laughs, meals, and such with. When they discovered we were conservatives (or maybe it was Republicans, I can’t remember), their reaction was, “But you’re so nice!” With folks like them just staying around being who you are and not hiding it eventually erodes their faith in their preconceptions.
    With the mouth frothing, “Trump is going to kill me and all my friends” types, I recommend a comment on the order of, “It must be tiring to be that angry all the time.”

    1. On the contrary, many of these folks are rage-addicted. They get a high from the adrenaline rush, the hormonal punch they get. When they momentarily aren’t offended or outraged, they feel dull and mildly depressed. They then have to look for their next fix of hatred and disgust, to feed their addiction.

    2. Heh.

      I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican
      A Survival Guide for Conservatives Marooned Among the Angry, Smug, and Terminally Self-Righteous
      Harry Stein

    3. part of it is the worry we will do what they wished to do to us. How many times do you hear them rant about shipping us all off or what have you? Surely we will do our damnedest to do all that and then some to them, right? (okay, I’ll stop calling you Shirley)

  18. And this is what we’re talking about:
    Keep a mental separation between these sorts of bozos and the folks that Sarah is talking about. One is the feral and rabid coyote that doesn’t deserve a second thought. The other is the acquaintance who either is uncritically accepting of their immersion or simply looking to not be pushed from the herd.
    (BTW, one “antifa” was arrested for pulling out a knife. The organizer of the other side had his tires slashed and was hit with a can of some kind. Others were pepper-sprayed by the goons.)

    One advantage to getting your friend/acquaintance to leave the herd (and join ours or form their own) is that it isolates the goons more and more. It’s like peeling away the flanks in a battle.

  19. > They are simply acting according to the back brain,
    > the imperatives of instinct.

    So were Jeff Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy, but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with their vibran

  20. Note, I’m not saying that we should stop sticking to the truth or arguing with those friends of ours (yeah, I still have some) who are leftists and going along with all this nonsense, and self-panicking into unspeakable acts and words.

    Larry Correia has frequently said how much he hates “memes”. They take complex issues and oversimplify them where they’re not out and out lies. Now, what he says is true but it misses an important feature: people, by and large, don’t make decisions rationally (oh, they might come up with a rationale after the fact, but that’s not why they make the decision). They make them emotionally. The left understands that and “memes” are an effective tool toward that end.

    The challenge for us is to learn to use truth emotionally. Yes, “memes” are often lies, but they don’t have to be. Truth can be rendered into “meme” form too.

    And yes, to render it into the meme/soundbite form that means we’re going to have to “oversimplify” things because if you try to describe the full complexity of many situations you’ll lose people and the person on the other side who’s quite willing to oversimplify in order to get his message out will sway more people than our complex truth.

    To illustrate that, here’s a meme that I created last year:

    1. The difficulty, of course, is that truth is rarely entirely simple and only on one side. IMHO, most truth – the deepest bits of it – is balanced on a knife edge, too much one way or the other and you fall off into lies (or, at least, heresy).

      “Compassion and charity are great!” has to be balanced by “It’s not a virtue to spend someone else’s money on charity.”
      “Freedom” has to be balanced against “Responsibility”.

      This can be hard to achieve in a “meme” – at least with the deep truths. With a meme, you’re left with pronouncing a local, event-related truth. Which is dangerous, as it can then be turned back on you (used out-of-context to drive the uncritical thinkers the wrong direction).

      (I think I just restated some of what you said. Huh.)

      (BTW, I can’t get to your meme from where I sit at the moment, so I don’t know how effective it might be. 🙂 )

    2. I am among those who prefer reason and argument over memes and caricature, but as Boss Tweed reminds, sometimes you have to bust the blinders from their eyes before you can engage their minds.

      1. The problem is “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.”

        It was true when Hume said it and is true today. Actually, The Everyday Novelist in a recent podcast discussed the problem in trying to portray in SF an emotionless society is that as far as psychology can determine humans make all choices with the passions. Reason can inform the passions’ choices but cannot make a choice without them.

        I think, for all I say the left is clueless about human nature, that is the one place the left has understood human nature better than the right in general at least in this time and place (Western Culture and the last half of the 20th century until now).

        Then again, and this will get boos around here, I think a lot of libertarians, especially very philosophical ones, don’t understand human nature any better than Marxists for similar reasons, they are reductionist materialists.

        1. Then again, and this will get boos around here, I think a lot of libertarians, especially very philosophical ones, don’t understand human nature any better than Marxists for similar reasons, they are reductionist materialists.

          Fish and water– I was eyeballing your comment about “passions,” but if you include “I don’t want to hurt from hunger” and work up from there, it’s true. It starts getting difficult to do the immediate, direct reaction thing once you get to, oh, those experiments where they raised a monkey with no contact just immediate physical needs filled, a fluffy blanket bottle holder, and a surrogate mother.
          (For those who aren’t immediately familiar, first was utterly insane, second was stunted, third was OK.)

          The “water” aspect comes in when you’re trying to figure out what is your need/hunger, and not someone else’s…..

    3. A good meme example is also that comparison gif of Gunga Dan’s forged W National Guard memo.

    4. What I see a lot of is people that don’t actually make decisions, either rationally or emotionally. Instead, they seem to pick up attitudes and beliefs by some kind of social assmosis. They have no idea where they learned something, it just *is*; part of their basic programming that they refuse to question or even acknowledge.

      1. I half remember a quote (Heinlein I believe) that described it as “the re-arranging of their prejudices people call making up their mind”.

        1. That line always awakens an uncharacteristic desire to steal Sarah’s “these are my middle fingers” move.

          Someone saying it will not listen to anything you say, because they’ve already made up their mind about what your motives are, before you’ve opened your mouth…..

        1. I’ve never met a soft squishy rhino; most you have to hammer on until your rattan breaks before they acknowledge a hit.

          1. Ah, uncalibrated heavy fighters…good memories.

            The thing I noticed about rhinos, though, is they never realize there is always someone tougher than you.

            1. There appears to be someone locally who tends in that direction quite strongly, and happens to be a Duke. Thus, when one of my friends asked a little girl who is close to the man (don’t know if it was his daughter or not), “What does a Duke say?”, she responded, “Light!”

              1. I believe the sequence is: “Light!” “Light!” “Light!” “Watch Your Power!!!”

        2. I prefer to think of them as Peter Capstick did as a hunter:

          “Whereas Cape Buffalo are dangerous because they’re smart, rhinos are equally dangerous because they’re so wonderfully dumb. My observation is that most rhino charges are because a rhino has an IQ 7 points lower than a standard issue preservationist. And if there’s anything dumber than a rhino, it has to be two of them.”

  21. I have, partly due to your influence, come to the conclusion that most seventy year olds vastly overrate the soviet union unless they are outside the box thinkers.

    The major schools of thought of their youth were wrong about the soviet union, even the Birchers, who were least wrong.

    To have a really correct understanding of the soviet union, analysis independent of any major school was needed, along with self correction, and the gathering of a truly vast amount of intelligence.

    1. The best description of the old Soviet Union I ever heard was, “Think of the U.S. Postal Service, with tanks.”

      1. I want to disagree, since I think the USPS is mostly okay; then again, the USSR was the first to put a human being in orbit.

        And the USPS ain’t what it used to be, although I don’t think it could be described as fallen. It hangs in there for an organization whose prices are set by the US Congress.

  22. I’ll forgive them when they repent. Shoot, I’ll go one better and embrace them like a brother. But as long as they keep working toward our destruction. .. No.

    But I can manage not hating them (if they’re strangers) and loving and befriending them if they’re my neighbours or co-workers.

    Hate things (including ideas), love people.

    But I’m actually kind of a jerk, because mostly I look at these entitled young determinedly vicious ignoramuses and don’t care about them at all. Hatred would be a step up.

    1. One does not hate a rabid skunk, one merely deals with it as expeditiously and gently as possible. Holding hatred does more harm to the hater than the hated.

      Those screaming about h8ters are engaging in public acts of self-destruction.

      1. Yep. My mama told me that hating someone is like reaching your bare hands into a pool of acid to cup and hold until you can throw it at your enemy.

        Even so, indifference is worse. They’re still God’s children.

    2. Exactly. “I don’t care about you enough to hate you. You mean nothing to me.” But you have to be ready to remove them (in whatever way is needed) when they become an impediment to civilized society.

    3. I don’t hate them. They’re rattlesnakes. There’s no point hating a rattlesnake. It is what it is.

      But I’m not going to let it stay in my yard. One way or another, its is leaving.

  23. “But even while they anger you or annoy you, judge your lefty friends and relatives carefully. They can’t help it. We’re all just great apes. And they’re not as broken as we are. They’re still the same people they ever were. Attack their ideas, but forgive them.”

    Yeah, no. Attack them.

    I don’t have Leftist friends. The Left is beyond the pale. The Left is composed of the people that have been trying to pound me into the round hole all this time. They don’t get to pound me anymore. I’m not going in the round hole. It is over.

    Our entire adult lives, all of us, have been lived in an atmosphere of ever increasing fear, doubt and POVERTY. Everybody is poor these days, even if they have money. In their minds, they’ll be out on the street in a week if something happens. Nobody has a job, or if they do, they’re freaking out in case they lose it.

    Our entire adult lives, WE have been the Bad Guys. Western civilization has been the All Consuming Eeeevile since about 1945, according to the trend setters and intelligentsia. We must be curbed. Like dogs.

    Our entire adult lives, our very families have been under attack from every side. Even the Church attacks our families. Mom, Dad and two kids? Squaresville! Forbidden!

    Our entire adult lives, the law has become increasingly insane and capricious. As of today, in Canada, it is a Federal offense to mis-gender a person in speech or print. If they tell you their pronoun is zhe, it is illegal to refuse to use it. That is insane, utterly totalitarian, and very fricking real.

    Our entire adult lives the Cult of the Left has been trying to destroy us. Now they are openly killing us instead of knifing us in the back.

    So no, I’m not going to forgive them. I’m going to defeat them. We all are. They need to be defeated. Or we all die. They’ll kill us. Its their goal.

    When my personal freedom begins naturally increasing instead of naturally decreasing, when my taxes go down every year instead of up, when I can have an NRA sticker on my damn car without fear of having it vandalized, and when they get down on their f-ing knees and beg my personal forgiveness for screwing with me and mine the last 80 years, then, maybe, I’ll relent.

    Until that day, no.

    1. Pretty much covers the territory. Leftist tyrants do not stop. They have to be stopped.

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