And so it’s come to this… – a blast from the past from November 2014

And so it’s come to this… – a blast from the past from November 2014

When I was young I was a liberal.  Well, not by the standards of where I lived, but by the standards of the US.  Impossible not to be a liberal when you’re raised in Europe.

Here are some of the things I believed from an ESR post which you should definitely read in its entirety:

    • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
    • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
    • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
    • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
    • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
    • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
    • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
    • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

Okay, I never believed that first one.  For some reason I had a burning passion for the truth.  That whole thing about hungering and thirsting for justice?  Well for me, raised in a village, and seeing people’s characters distorted by malicious gossip, the first and almost the only aim of justice was to re-establish the truth.

There is a story I was told as a child — those not raised in Catholicism, please bear with me — of a man who was a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, and who died.  As he was plunging into hell, a chain caught him by the leg and held him up.  He noticed the chain had beads and, looking up, heard a voice say they were the beads of the rosary.  You see, even though he didn’t believe, in the rosary or in religion at all, he prayed it every night, because his mother had asked him to.  And that single virtue had saved him.

In the same way, what saved me was that single quest for truth.  It’s impossible to look at those statements above and not think “wait a minute.”

I read the Gulag Archipelago at 14 and I thought “no, you can’t say the anomie of capitalism or the heart break of the downtrodden in capitalist societies is like that.” Yes, they can sort of, compare Dickensenian England (and having read other stuff, Dickens was just another left partisan selling us a bill of goods, sorry) to the communist system, but that wasn’t even capitalism as such.  That was capitalism under a monarchy in a time when the technology was just efficient enough to be brutal.  Capitalism had moved on from the early twentieth century.  It was communism that hadn’t. And worse, they kept pretending the happy people of Brutopia were all happy and stuff.

I couldn’t stand it, and that set me on a quest to figure out the truth of all these received shibboleths so deeply embedded in the culture by the late sixties that they seemed to be divinely ordained.

There were things  that looked at in the light of day were laugh-inducing.  No, seriously.  Like America being just as bad as any place else, while multitudes were going broke trying to get here.  Just get here.  And not always for the money, either.  I knew a high school teacher who was trying to get here (legally.  She’s probably still waiting) just for the chances to be and become and learn.

And that one about Europe being rich because the third world was poor?  A neighbor tried this one on me.  He was communist, see.  And what he used instead of the third world was Portugal.  He must have got hold of the wrong leg of the lizard at some point, because “Portugal doesn’t create its own computer, because America won’t let them compete with IBM.”  Well, I was fourteen, and I wasn’t stupid.  America couldn’t make laws in Portugal, and Portugal had — in fact — expropriated the property of American citizens during the revolution.  So that was not what he meant.  If he meant because IBM was there already, that’s nice, but given how Portuguese patent and copyright laws are about as enforced as China, that too didn’t make sense. So what was the difference?  Well, Portugal had the highest number of national holidays in Europe at the time.  It averaged to two or three a month.  And I knew that — sheer application — was part of the issue.  But not all of it.  Portuguese are clearly not lazy, because those who emigrate work like mad. So I came to the conclusion it was the combination of a dysfunctional culture where you were treated with derision for doing something outside your class and where work was not ennobling and so being seen to work was a bad thing.  (While among foreigners you could do it.) Add to it a tradition bound teaching system as reliant on memorization as China or the Arab countries, and a built in respect for “the way things are done” which extends to the regulations, and even geniuses ended up just working for the government because it was easier.  (From what I hear of writers in Portugal, it still is.)  What all this had to do with America was beyond me, except that America was easy to blame and that kept Portugal from doing the incredibly hard and perhaps impossible (these things are very difficult) work of retooling its culture into something more functional.  It could go on being proud of its history and saying it was the best ever, and not examining itself in the critical light of day, beyond the “revolution” (actually a series of them) that changed the old boss for the new boss and made some adjustments (some of them very beneficial) but did not unleash Portuguese productivity or creativity.  (Just made them into another tired Euro country.)  I can’t imagine that the third world is any better.  In fact, having family in several of these “downtrodden” countries, I knew they were, on all counts, far, far worse.

Yes, America propped up some dictators now and then.  FORTUNATELY I’d read history which means I knew two things: the dictators that America propped up were no matter how bad superior to the communist ones*.  And in a cold war all nations do that sort of thing.  It’s not moral from an outsider, floating above point of view. But it is moral from the point of view of protecting your own people and allowing them to survive.

As for criminals being victims of society — pfui.  I was fortunate (!) to spend fifth and sixth grade in a school where a lot of what we’ll call for lack of a better word the “feral underclass” attended.  There was no virtue.  They were not victims.  They were enjoying themselves terrorizing the law abiding.  I could spew this stuff on command in essays for Portuguese class, but it was not true and I knew it was not true. One of my own cousins belonged — by choice — to the feral underclass. He was still in sixth grade at 14 and his parents asked me to tutor him.  Tutor him?  He hadn’t any problems learning, but he was having so much fun beating up teachers after school and stealing money from little girls who wouldn’t fight back.

Was he a victim?  Sure he was.  He was a victim of doting parents, so enthralled of the fact they’d finally produced a son that he could do no wrong (in terms of the deep culture that we talked about here before, that passes in families, there might have been reinforcement since his mother — from place of birth and names in family– came from moorish traditions.)  They’d failed to instill in him the virtues that would have allowed him to thrive in a free society.  So he was a victim all right.  Of his family.  What the rest of society had to do with this is beyond me.

But though he came to grief later, particularly after his father died, yeah, he was having a good time.  He was nobody’s victim.

Those two years also were the ones I got put in “coventry.” For social and political reasons no one at that school spoke to me in public.  (I did have a friend, but she was on afternoon classes, while I was on morning classes.) Well, no one till I accrued a cottery of real victims. They were the deformed and the small, the poor and the despised.  I’d beat up their tormentors and they clung to me.  That was fine, (and some of them learned to fight back.  Beware the frightened rabbit in a pack) but they weren’t especially virtuous.  Some were very nice people, but some weren’t (being ostracized for that long twists you) and none of them would have benefited from staying victims.  That’s just stupid talk.

So I came to doubt all of those shibboleths, which is a good thing because it turns out, as ESR explains in the article, that we have proof all of these were dreamed up by soviet operatives (Stalinist) and implanted in our culture amid the idiot fellow travelers, in order to corrupt and destroy the west.

In that sense it is literally malware uploaded to a healthy culture, to destroy it from within.

Those of you who are computer programmers know what must be done with malware — it must be uprooted, root and branch.

Now, the problem is that it resides in everyone’s heads by now, even our own, having been propagated by our art, our culture, our news, even, which we trusted to be neutral.

And we don’t want to trash the infected sectors, i.e. get rid of the people running the zombie program of dead Stalinists.  We can’t, because all of us are infected, to an extent.

It might come to a blood bath, but if it does the system will be permanently crippled and diminished — and because we’re humans, not bits and bites, it’s worth mentioning some of the more infected bits are our friends, our neighbors, our family members.  So it might come to a blood bath.  In fact, I’m very afraid that’s the path we’re on, but we as free men and men of good will, we owe it to ourselves to do what we can to avoid it.

So, our path is more difficult.

For years, my husband has despaired of watching movies with me, because I have that truth-checking program in my head.  Hit three or more of those pat “everybody knows” above, and I leave the room, no matter how engaging the romance wrapped around it.  You see I grew up, literally, in a socialist country, surrounded by propaganda at all times.  It was so heavy handed you couldn’t help but see through it.  And I did.  Which means like someone who’s been immunized, I’m sensitive to the virus and anti-bodies deploy.

The funny thing is in the age of Obama, he’s started seeing some of it too, with the result that his favorite romcoms right now are Japanese and Korean.

For years, to, it qualified my enjoyment of books.  I can stand more in a book than in a movie, but hit me too many times with the “everybody knows” or the mini-truths being propagated from above (like “Obama care rescued us all from death, hallelujah” which I’ve been seeing in movies and some books. Or “everyone who opposes Obama is racist”) and the book takes flying lessons.  The same for the horrible oppression of women, and how all women in the regency were secretly suffragettes and PROBABLY hankered for abortions.  (Okay, it’s not that bad, but I’m tired of how in regency romances every female runs a shelter for abused women — rolls eyes.  Yes, there was a lot of that, but not THAT much.)

Look at those points above that ESR was so kind as to compile for us.  Memorize them.  Part of fighting the malware is knowing its code.  When you find it in your own head, eradicate it.

And write books that mirror how the world really works (to an extent.  You can’t do exactly because stories have to be more plausible and cohesive than reality) and propagate them.  If you can, homeschool your kids.  If you can’t, teach them to see through that propaganda in our culture.  Tell them the truth.  The enemy died of its dysfunctional culture, but these errors it “uploaded” in our system are designed to kill us.  Don’t let them.

It took over 1oo years to come to this.  We can’t recover in a year.  We’re going to have to take incremental steps, with infinite patience.

So it’s come to this.  It won’t be easy.  I think it’s doable, because their worldview in no way reflects reality and is collapsing in shards all around them.  But it won’t be easy and it won’t be fast and a lot of it will feel like, in Dave Freer’s colorful phrase “Taking on hell with a bucket.”

But then easy battles have no glory.  Go forth.  Fight the lies in your head, so you can fight them in others’ heads.  Write compelling stories and teach your children well.

Our culture can be saved. And we’re the only ones who can do it.

Now go.  In the end, we win, they lose. Make it so.

*This is because all communist dictators in fact became puppet viceroys of Russia.  But, you say, weren’t their counterparts American puppets?  Well, usually no, because America is REALLY bad at it.  It wins a war, it gives the country tons of money, but allows the enemy free rein to talk and subvert the peace.  No.  But even if it were, the problem is that the  Soviet Union, which, btw, ultimately meant the Russian Empire, was incapable of producing most of what its people needed.  So when they acquired these new territories, they became places to be exploited, their people slave labor and their product sent to Russia at a loss.  When America acquired sway over a country they wanted to sell them stuff and develop factories there while the cost of living was lower.  (No, that’s not the same as Russian slavery, because it allows the country thus “occupied” to catch up, see Japan and to an extent — hampered by its stupid communist/fascist regime, China — which of course brings up the anomie of capitalism which is literally worse than the gulags.  (If you think that think shame on yourself.))  If you want to know how much worse it was for a country to fall under the sway of Russia than of America, talk to Peter Grant who saw the destruction of the Portuguese colonies in Africa.  Be prepared.  He’s a GOOD man but not always a nice one.  Particularly to morons.

121 responses to “And so it’s come to this… – a blast from the past from November 2014

  1. who, or what, is ESR? Thanks

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      esr.ibiblio.org

      Notorious high end open source programmer, analyst, homophobe and ultra-right winger who wants to bring about a Christian world dictatorship. If you aren’t reading Armed and Dangerous, you are missing some really interesting insights.

      • I’m sure you’re being sarcastic, but perhaps others might not recognize it. Eric is one of the good guys, an extremely intelligent person who is totally unafraid to proclaim the truth when he sees it.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Of the listed items in the first sentence, the first two are are true, and the second two are false.

          esr could be fairly impeached as a homophobe by SJW standards. One time a nutbag commentator out of nowhere accused esr et al of wanting to murder homosexuals, and esr defended the comment as not being a lie. There was a lot of material in that post, especially in the comments, that could be selectively quoted to create that impression.

          I suspect that esr’s regular leftwing commentators see esr as a rightwinger. I don’t have the remotest justification for the superlatives applied.

          And look what you’ve made me do, killing that poor joke dead, dead, dead. You are such a horrible person. 🙂

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Also, ‘extremely intelligent’ greatly understates the matter. There are people who fit that description who lack the wisdom, productivity, and thinking skills to apply it very well.

          I have my differences with him, but if he has flaws they are not both obvious and trivially avoided, and I would use him as a guide for learning in his areas of expertise.

          • I had the great good fortune to get to know Eric back in the early 90s when he was just getting started at creating ChescoNet, a community network/bulletinboard for Chester County, PA. I only talk to him very occasionally, every decade or so, but I can definitely tell you that anyone who denigrates Eric for his beliefs it either a liar, an intentional character assassin, or both.

        • [A]n extremely intelligent person who is totally unafraid to proclaim the truth when he sees it.

          I am sorry, but those two qualities — “extremely intelligent” and “unafraid to proclaim the truth” — do not coexist.

          Not for long, at any rate.

          • Don’t conflate “intelligent” with “wise.” 😀

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            He’s maybe not hitting the extremes of wisdom, as Loss says.

            We are talking about someone whose skills, reputation, and various other factors greatly minimize what employers can do to him. There’s a fairly good chance that he is responsible for some of the code on the machine you post from..

            Also, he has been blessed with a professional social environment somewhat resistant to the impact of the Gramscian march.

          • Actually, in this case they do and will coexist for a while at least. He is literally “armed and dangerous”, being both a master in several martial arts and possessing a concealed carry permit. He and his 1911 can cover my back any time.

      • I don’t think he’s Christian?

      • > ultra-right-winger

        …and here I thought he was a bit left of center.

        • In such context as this, “ultra-right-winger” serves as a mere place-holder, having no semantic content. Like fascist, it is a more refined way of saying “dooty-head” while retaining the same meaning.

          Beyond that, when you look at how far to the Left the Democrats are swinging, their sense of the center is somewhat … less than accurate.

        • He’s merely very anarcho-capitalist who supported action to prevent new terrorist acts like 9-11, which to the right means he’s a center-left-winger, and to the left, he’s an extremist ultra-right-wing fascist Nazi* anarchist Mormon White Male who blends puppies for breakfast.

          *Of course, he became anarcho-capitalist because he studied the Nazi rise to power and concluded that all government is bad…and, of course, he’s not at *all* Communist, because Communists are the good guys, excepting maybe all those people who never actually did Communism right…

  2. “Write compelling stories and teach your children well.”

    To that end, I have a short story on the fire. What happens when drug dealers get hold of some very competent nanotechnology? They make drugs, obviously. The story is about the activities of those a-holes as experienced by the AIs and humans who have to go clean up the mess. Present day Amsterdam and N. America, with lippy robot spiders and giant tanks.

    Problem is, I don’t know any Europeans, really. I know some bikers, I can imagine what they’d do. Make a business out of it. I’ve met enough dirtbag druggies in America to know what they’d do. They’d kill -everybody- who got in the way. They’re not big thinkers, you know?

    But European dirtbag druggies, that I’m not so up on. What does criminality in a context of “Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal.” look like?

    • The same. They mouth the PC words, but really, they enjoy breaking things and hurting people.

      • No doubt, but they seem to refrain from killing each other in the numbers we see in Chicago and NYC. Or maybe that’s just more of the propaganda? Could be, Eurogovs don’t report numbers the same as the FBI uniform crime report.

        • Yep. Most crime isn’t solved in Europe, so technically it “never happens”. This is why Portugal has much lower homicide numbers than the US, but even nice suburbs have strong-steel shutters in every window

          • It may not be that bad. There’s a “UN crime victimization study”, published I think by some outfit in Italy. It gives statistics on frequency of crimes experienced by people (which means it doesn’t list homicide — the victim can’t talk about it afterwards). There are stats for burglary, robbery, rape, various kinds of theft, etc.
            What’s interesting is that the USA, contrary to propaganda, is squarely in the middle of the pack. Also interesting is that many USA crime rates tend downward while those of many others Western countries trend upward.

            • A study endorsed by the UN? I’d take it with a grain of salt … or two … no make that three …

              • I’ll take all of Saltsburg.

              • A grain of salt? Don’t you know that salt is bad for your health? That’s why the FDA recommends limiting intake.

                Any rumours that it is done in order to make government reports and statistics more easily swallowed are not acceptable.

              • I would apply salt too. But the reason I paid attention to it is that it counters the anti-american and anti-freedom narrative that the USA is a dangerous place full of wild west gunslingers. The reality is that many European countries are no safer, and are going in the wrong direction. Never mind other continents.
                By the way, the study I saw predates the current mass immigration.

            • And how much of the increase in Europe’s crime rates is the result of their mass importation of people from familial-trust societies and a religion that says it’s OK to rob and murder unbelievers? It does seem like a lot of the crime is concentrated in one demographic, in spite of all PC efforts to euphemize it away.

            • If you want some real badthink, take those statistics and control for race. When you do, you find out that “gun nut” America has a homicide rate comparable to Canada, Britain, etc. I’ll go into details later.

          • Thanks, Sarah! Steel shutters on the windows, -that’s- the kind of detail I’m talking about. There was something else you’ve said too, that here people have statuary in the front of the house and in Portugal it would get stolen.

            My Demon Hunter characters come to Ontario, and the thing that makes them cringe is the windows. All the houses and shops, the windows are glass and close to the ground. There’s no wall around the city, and there’s no gates on the roads.

            • Exactly. That’s something most Americans (and Canadians, I’m guessing) don’t realize, just how strange our countries look to visitors from Europe, Latin America, Asia, etc. No walls around the houses, no bars on the windows, what are these people thinking? How do they not get robbed constantly? Well, we make sure that anyone who does that sort of thing gets caught and punished, which tends to discourage such behavior. (How is this hard for them to understand?)

              • I remember after Sarah published one of her blog entries on that subject, I looked carefully on my morning walk at the fences. Probably about 80% of them were designed only to keep the dogs in the yard while the remaining 20% also served to a privacy function, keeping the yard hidden from people on the street. There wasn’t a single one I thought would keep me out if I really wanted to get in.

                Though I think only part of it is that we catch and punish the people who steal stuff. I think another big part of it is just a cultural attitude that you don’t do that kind of stuff, an attitude that exists even among criminals. Maybe I’m over optimistic about my fellow Americans, but I feel like even the most hardened gang-banger would be embarrassed to steal Christmas lights off someone’s front porch.

                • Also, there’s really no return in stealing most of the stuff in people’s yards. Thieves are typically looking for electronics, jewelry and other things they can fence for quick cash, often to buy their next fix. When you can get a string of Christmas lights at the dollar store, they have no value to a thief. Even the high end fancy ones with chase circuits and whatnot have no meaningful resale value, so a fence is going to laugh his @$$ off.

                  Sometimes I still wonder what kind of reception the thieves got when they tried to fence the garage-sale jewelry they took in the 2010 break-in. It may have looked like real gold and pearls to some kid who knew how to kick in a door, but it was the cheap stuff that is actually brighter and flashier than the real kind.

                  • Heh. A friend of mine back in the Seventies had his stereo burgled, all except for his Nakamichi cassette deck which probably cost as much as the rest of the equipment all together. He quipped that had it been Radio Shack it would have gone with the rest.

                  • Someone stole my string trimmer once. The thing didn’t work and I was wondering how to dispose of it.

                    • A colleague of my father’s, at Case Western in Cleveland, once dealt with a garbage strike by packing his like Christmas presents and leaving them in the back of his station wagon.

                    • The one and only police auction I attended (early 1980s) showed the local thieves to be an eclectic lot; a fair number of color TVs (that sold for breathtakingly high prices–close to MSRP), some B&Ws ones (went for a few tens of dollars at best), and some utter crud. OK, the half-dozen quarts of motor oil makes sense, but toilet paper? The booby prize was the bouquet of cheap plastic flowers…

                    • Once at work, the microwave shorted out and started billowing nasty smelling smoke. We lugged it out the back door and left it on the concrete. (The fire department arrived in time to tell us we probably ought to throw it out.)

                      when we did, a few days later, there were some jokes about its not having been stolen.

              • No walls around cities or gates on roads, in Portugal (well, unless it’s a gated community) but all houses have walls around them (unless they dead end on the street, no front yard, which some old ones do) and sturdy gates. And shutters, despite that.

                • This was my explanation:

                  Guruh glanced at Alice. “This place is ridiculous. A troupe of small children could over-run this city in an afternoon. No walls, no moat, not even a decent gate! And all the houses have windows you can reach.”
                  “Yeah, they do,” agreed Alice, smile widening into a fairly evil grin. “Did you think about that yet?”
                  “For a moment,” said Guruh dismissively flicking an ear. “I concluded everyone here is like you. Completely mad.”
                  “Why are the windows like that?” asked Erwin, interest piqued.
                  “Because the last invaders came here two hundred some-odd years ago,” said Alice, “and the locals beat their asses so badly that nobody else ever tried. That’s why.”
                  “You forgot the Irish,” said Nike.
                  “The Fenians? Who remembers those losers?” laughed Alice. “Turned away by untrained farmers and kids in three days.”
                  “The people here are so fierce?” asked Erwin, looking around the coffee shop at the hipsters and soccer moms with baby strollers.
                  “They are George’s people, Mouse,” said Guruh decisively. “All mad. Every one of them. That is why the indefensible buildings and open city. I told you. Only a moron would attack them.”

              • And those silly little wrought iron fences with their :pointed” crests — too short to be a serious deterrent, too blunt to be even minor inconvenience.

              • They don’t have guns. They likely hear that we do, but they can’t conceive of us actually using them.

              • One of the things I’m worrying about right now is how to get the windows in my mother’s house replaced. The way my father had them constructed, you have to replace the windows AND the bars. After 21 years of yearly typhoons and a particularly bad flood, they need desperate replacing due to rust – the windows stay shut because they risk falling off, and it’s like an oven in the house, because now the wind can’t get in.

                The interesting thing is, despite what looks to be inadequate window barring, we’ve never had the kind of violent break ins Mom’s fellow churchmates have suffered. Y’see, we don’t have a house with a sealed room and air conditioner, which was frequently how people looking to break in put their victims to sleep – most families will sleep in the one air-conditioned room or two, a guard will be posted outside their door to mind any sounds, whereupon any sign of their waking will result in the shooting of all those people inside, regardless of age. One woman related that the robbers had taken their time going through the house for valuables – they’d even stopped to eat food from the fridge. She kept her wedding rings only because the robbers couldn’t pull them from her fingers, and two shoeprints on either side of where she had been sleeping showed they tried.

                Anyone looking in will also see lots and lots of books, which are not considered valuable.

                The only reason why we ever wanted to finish our wall/fence was so it’d finally look neat, and we’d have more places to hang orchids from. It never got done, which probably contributes to the ‘there’s nothing there worth stealing because there is no wall’ impression. Just don’t have the cash. I sometimes wish I could take Rhys and myself and go back for a year, and fix everything up. Sadly, not a doable thing.

            • When we lived in Germany I thought the roll up steel shutters were pretty neat. I always assumed they had them because that area had been completely flattened by my father’s generation. Those shutters would be really nice to have in a major riot situation though.

              • Nope. They have them all over Europe, including in my parents’ upper-middle-class suburb. When I was growing up they were reinforced plastic. Now they’re steel and there are bars in the lower floor windows. Europe… it was nice knowing it.

                • I thought that walled cities was a relic of the middle ages.. The crime that people talked about mostly was assault, rape and murder. Mugger would come up to you and demand your money and your jewelry.

              • Ran into those in a hotel in Bavaria. Kind of wish they had bug screens in those windows. Mosquitoes find me tasty, and it was a really hot June week.

              • Feather Blade

                Japan, of all places, has steel pull-down shutters on shop fronts.

                To my American eyes, it made the down-town area look … scary and low class… in the evening after all the shops closed.

          • Same thing is happening in this country. In several blue jurisdictions, including Denver, cops won’t even roll on thefts of less than $500 – $1000 value. No reports even if they show up, And that doesn’t even count the creative charging of non-felonies for non-citizens we’re starting to see,

            • include L.A. County too. the LASD sends a ‘service officer’ (not-a-cop) that is pretty much incompetent and the detective claims he has never seen the report. I’ll lay odds the alert never went to the local pawn shops either.

            • They never did. When someone broke the windows on our wagoneer, back in 94 no one even came out to take a report. It cost us about 1k but it was below their threshold. For a young couple with a baby and a toddler, it was well above ours.

              • Oh, Sarah, we’re not talking anonymous vandalism in the night time. We’re talking utes walking into the convenience store in full view of the cameras, helping themselves, and walking out….. and the owner knows who they are.

  3. I have been infected by socialism. The system is designed to infect people with the “ease” of it. Now knowing that I am infected I have to work on fighting it and figuring out how to keep the infection from spreading to those I love. Some are lost causes, others are better off then others. First I have to start with myself. If only the system didn’t reward bad behavior so well.

    • We’ve all been infected, and it’s a daily battle.

    • In Canada the propaganda is so pervasive and so thick you can’t even see it anymore. I never really understood the extent of the bullshit we live with in Canada until had I lived in the USA for three years.

      It isn’t that the USA is so much “better,” only that the bullshit is -different- bullshit. The difference makes you notice it.

      • Not to mention the government perks and bennies they hand out willy nilly. I can see now how much of a trap the social net is and how it can be come a hammock.

        • Feather Blade

          That’s the main reason Obamacare chaps me so bad… it forces you to become a ward of the state if you can’t afford to pay the insurance premiums on your own.

          I make little enough money that the “subsidy” payments cover the entire premium amount for my policy. And every month, the insurance company sends me a bill for $0 dollars to remind me that I have “health care” courtesy of the state.

          (Nevermind that I pay out of my own HSA for all of my medical expenses, and would do so anyway, even if I didn’t have insurance.)

          I hate them for forcing me to buy a product I can’t afford, and don’t use, just so they can sweep in and play Lady Bountiful, and expect me to be grateful that they’re paying for the burden they imposed on me.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            That, and they are implying some right to make decisions about my health, which is of the sort that one of the cults they endorse claims ownership of. This cult recommends solutions that would be very harmful to me, and which I have violently rejected since before the age of ten.

            Because of this, I feel entirely justified in making changes to my positions as a response. There is a group that I wasn’t particularly hostile to, except in the minds of the SJW, and I am now much more attentive to arguments harmful to their interests. I also feel that we can propose the mass murder of druggies as an equally valid public health policy.

            • Indeed. “Single payer” means you are not the customer. The “government” is. You know, that group of massed individuals who generally have no one’s interests but their own at heart? Them folks.

              So who is it that decides if you get the expensive-but-chancy experimental treatment, the one that could increase your quality of life/yea, life expectancy even? Not you. And since you aren’t paying for it… Well, as the man said, if you think health care is expensive now, wait ’till it’s free… So hospitals then make their loan payments and keep the lights on by using operating rooms for boob jobs and liposuction, things that insurance *doesn’t* pay for, over heart surgeries and x-rays.

              The sad and funny thing is the left *will* try and use this crisis *they* created as a stick to beat us with. Decrying the evils of capitalism, oh look at poor Timmy who can’t get his broken leg fixed, the hospitals are wasting time *making money* on boob jobs and liposuction. Pfah. It is only the self fulfilling prophecy of leftism at work again. Predict horrible things, sabotage the system (subtly at first, but with increasing recklessness), then blame the other guy when things inevitably shake apart like a turbine failing at full load.

              Used to I thought they were better at it. Hiding their intentions, that is. Lately they have gotten all kinds of public stoopid about it, though. The public, the sleepy, busy, over-tired public, is noticing. That ain’t a good thing, as they’re as obvious as the tired old screeching harridan the morning after the fire/tornado. Ever notice that it is always nighttime when they interview that kind of person (or perhaps that’s more an Appalachian local thing- they don’t go for the guy in a suit, not matter how rumpled and smoke-stained, the newsies always make a bee-line for the shreiking woman in the mu-mu and fluorescent blue eyeshadow)? Can’t hide the crazy in the daylight though. *chuckle*

          • You’re missing out on the sleight of hand that makes Obamacare so spiffy. The vast majority of recipients of Obamacare’s “increased” coverage are Medicaid “beneficiaries.” Because Medicaid reimbursement rates are set below clinic operating costs there are limited providers for such services — most do it to gain access to other more lucrative markets, and many do it because what they lose on each individual service provided, they make up in volume*.

            But what mainly happens is that service providers raise the prices charged to private insurers. Which makes private insurance more expensive/less affordable, driving more people onto the Medicaid rolls. As private insurance becomes more concentrated in only a few insurers their market power approaches monopsony – the only (or majority) buyer of health care services dictates prices, much as Leftists complained about Walmart doing to its vendors. Service providers are forced to vary their pricing according to who is buying, plus pay a significant portion of operating costs to financial management (billing and collection from Medicaid, insurance, private pay — it is bad enough locally that when I pay cash at time of appointment I receive a 55% discount.)

            As you can see, there is no true market for healthcare services — government has too deeply degraded the marketplace. Between setting prices and cost-shifting, it is a market destroying black hole.

            *Why do you think Medicaid fraud is so pervasive?

            • Repeat after me: Access to “health insurance” is not the same as access to health care.

            • >when I pay cash at time of appointment I receive a 55% discount.

              [boggle] Around here I can lay cash on the counter and they recoil like I just presented them with a live rattlesnake. Then they make a production out of not being able to make change.

              Another schtick, which we’ve run into more frequently, is to not bother to send you a bill for two or three months, then send you a bill with a fat late charge, or simply turn it over to a collection agency. No, I’m not paying your late or collection fees. It’s your responsibility to send me a bill. And no, I’m not going to pay you $50 extra for an itemized bill. If you can’t tell me what you’re billing me for, I’m not going to send you a check.

              Then there was the time I got a call from a collection agency while my wife was still in the hospital, and had been there less than 36 hours. Generally, hospitals wait until there’s one of those, whatchamacallit, “invoices” before demanding payment…

            • Feather Blade

              As I said, I hate them – jointly and severally – for making me a ward of the state.

      • Better smelling BS?

  4. I wasn’t in Portugal but England, and I was already clear-eyed way back in 1947 about the legends peddled by lefties of one kind or another. That was the fruit of learning to read early and reading everything I could get hold of and checking for any truth in radio and newspaper reports. Yes, I’d learnt to do critical analysis by the time I was 7 – because the rationing and the seizure of investments ‘for the people’ was so obviously wrong.

  5. There is no truth, only competing agendas.

    Simple, if there is no truth then this and all points that follow cannot be true, but are simply someone’s competing agenda.

    So I ask myself: ‘Self, what agenda is indicated by these points, and does it fit my agenda?’ And I read and consider the rest of the points.

    I read the points and they seem to argue for a whole bunch of ‘truths’. Even though in one point it is asserted there is no objective standard by which to judge civilization better than another, in another it asserts Evilness is the fruit of Western Civilization, a judgement of a civilization that must be made against some standard. Regarding my agenda, well for me and mine — both male and female, and of various eclectic mixes — Western Civilization seems to have done us pretty well overall, although I admit there have been low points.

    So I ask myself: ‘Self, I just spent a good bit of time contemplating this, do I need to go further examining this house of cards?’ Myself tells me: ‘Only to further reject it.’

    So back I go to see what Our Esteemed Hostess has to say about it.

  6. Some favorite points;

    “All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.”

    Well, no. The United States and Canada combined, over the course of three centuries or so, may have murdered 4 million aboriginal natives. Maybe. If we take all Leftist claims seriously.

    In ONE century Communist thugs murdered between 85 and 100 million people. That doesn’t include war dead from stupid wars they fucking started. And they did that many because (although they are ALSO racist) Communists are primarily Classists…and while it’s hard to argue convincingly that a blue eyed read head with freckles is a ‘nigger’, you can always say that somebody you don’t like belongs to the target class.

    “There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.”

    If one society debates whether to let Gays marry and another debates whether to throw them from the minaret of the nearest Mosque or burn them alive, I know which society is better. Furthermore, anyone who doesn’t is a moral imbecile. No, seeing that nobody is truly objective, there are no objective standards. That does not excuse us from the moral duty of making subjective judgements.

    “The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.”

    The prosperity of the West is built on the exploitation of the World in general. Therefore Westerners have an obligation to teach the rest of the world how to copy that exploitation, so that all may be wealthy. This is the White Man’s Burden, and it is exactly as real as it was when Kipling wrote about it. Anyone who objects to it is very likely, on examination, to be the kind of swine who works to keep the Third World poor by persuading them to eschew technology. Such people are vermin, as vile as the worst Colonial exploiters.

    “When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.”

    As we have seen over the last six decades, when confronted with Terror, the only effective (and therefore moral) course is to obliterate the terrorists as swiftly and savagely as possible.

    • On the first point, you are failing to make a crucial distinction. The US (and Canada, doubtless under the influence of pervasive Yankee cultural imperialism) slaughtered several million merely for the crime of being in the way. The Socialist polities were compelled to eliminate wreckers and kulaks who obstructed development of the modern socialist person. Americans did it because they wanted to take people’s stuff, Socialists did it in order to more fairly distribute the benefits of the economy.

      This is why many Socialist leaders force themselves to live the luxurious lifestyles of decadent capitalists, so that they might gain greater insight into the adversaries obstructing the rise of the new socialist person. Is great sacrifice but they make it for their peoples.

      • “Socialists did it in order to more fairly distribute the benefits of the economy.”

        The answer to that, of course, is that that might be an excuse had they succeeded. However, they failed. The ends never justify the means, but the results often idict the ends.

    • “As we have seen over the last six decades, when confronted with Terror, the only effective (and therefore moral) course is to obliterate the terrorists as swiftly and savagely as possible.”

      Contrary to the popular saying, when you kill one terrorist, six more don’t arise to take his place. It’s more likely that six more who were thinking about joining with the cause decide, “Eh, maybe I’d rather take up checkers instead.” Even those who crave martyrdom imagine themselves dying in a 9/11-type operation, taking thousands of the infidels with them. The possibility of being blown up in a hovel without ever having gotten within 10 miles of an infidel has a dampening effect on the fantasy.

      • (Nods) You only have others arising to become terrorists when you kill people who aren’t terrorists while trying to kill terrorists. Sort of the “as well hung for a sheep as a lamb” effect.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Even then it isn’t a problem if you do an effective job of playing people off against each other while you exterminate entire populations.

      • The thing about Islamic Terrorism is, it ain’t new. Islam regularly produces bands of barbarians who pester their neighbors. If there is a strong government opposed to them, they stay in the hills (or jungles) as bandits. If the government is weak, or supports them, they become internationally bothersome.

        Historically, gunboat diplomacy has worked wonders with the problem. If Islamic idiots are annoying a first world nation, from within a second or third world one, the first world nation steams (or sails) a gunboat up to the capitol or major port of the lesser nation in question and explains that if the authorities don’t do something about the problem, the first world nation is going to commence shelling.

        It’s nasty, it’s amoral, and it frequently works. It doesn’t involve the first world nation in the messy (and stupid) business of ‘nation building’. It’s relatively cheap. And nations that keep their nut-jobs under control tend to get stronger, while those that don’t get weaker until somebody fixes that.

        Now, there are all kinds of objections to gunboat diplomacy and old fashioned paternalistic colonialism. And at the end on the 19th century, there were reasons to believe that they could be put behind us. But what replaced them hasn’t worked at all well. The UN should be evicted from its headquarters and the building repurposed as something more socially useful…maybe a combination casino and brothel.

        Sadly, the West doesn’t, at the moment, have the right mindset for a return to colonialism.

        Pity.

    • “The prosperity of the West is built on the exploitation of the World in general.”

      I’ve never been satisfied with that sort of answer. Prosperity is about more than superior access to resources and knowledge. The older I get, the more I think our prosperity is mostly plain old work. We frigging well work harder (as a culture, yes I know that individuals work hard everywhere) and we don’t tolerate people or institutions that undo all the work we did.

      • A big part of it is “What is a resource?” Oil was just annoying black crud that occasionally bubbled out of the ground until we figured out how to refine it, then suddenly it became black gold. “Access to resources” is pretty meaningless without the ability to figure out how to use them.

        Whatever else can be said about the West, we’re pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out.

      • This, to a great extent. You own what you buy. You have the right to pick up and leave if you don’t like where you are. And the cops don’t pull you over just to solicit a bribe.

        That last is, I think, one of the most important elements. The more corruption a country has, the worse it will do. And as Glen Reynolds likes to point out, the more power the government has, the more opportunities there will be for corruption. And those opportunities will be used.

        • the cops don’t pull you over just to solicit a bribe

          Civil Asset Forfeiture for the winloss. Get caught driving with cash and it can be taken from you on ‘suspicion’ that it is the product of nefarious activity. And you don’t get it back, even in part, unless you can afford to sue. Yet another pernicious result of the War on (some) Drugs. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

          • Civil Asset Forfeiture is not a bribe, it is not offered freely (or even under duress). Bribing takes all the fun out of Civil Asset Forfeiture.

            • You are correct in that CAF is not a bribe. It is theft under the color of law.

              And if you think it is ‘not under duress’, I think you have another think coming. “Give us all your cash and we’ll let you go on your way. Don’t, and we’ll take you in and make your life *more* of a living hell.”

              Sounds like duress to me.

      • Dominican Republic. Haiti. Two countries on one island. One does fairly well, the other is so amazingly screwed up it manages to be worse off (by some measures) than Cuba. That’s quite an accomplishment, and not a good one at all.

        • The other so screwed up that only the UN can make it worse?

          (reference to the cholera outbreak that suddenly occurred there not long ago)

          • reference to the cholera outbreak …

            For some odd reason my mind initially scanned that as “okra outbreak” and recoiled in horror.

            • SheSellsSeashells

              About once every eighteen months my prepper streak takes over my logical brain and I start lamenting the fact that I can’t stand okra, because it’s good food value for the amount of garden space it takes up and it grows so well in my area and maybe if I cook it right this time…

              Then I try a few ounces and I’m inoculated for another year and a half.

              • Unless it is hot and freshly batter dipped and fried, I do not care for okra. OK, in Louisiana stews where the fish, shrimp, et al mask that there’s okra as thickener, but those are the only two ways I’ll eat it: when you make it un-okra.

                • It can be excellent as bhindi masala, which is closer to battered and fried okra than the usual suspects, being a more dry and slightly crispy sort of curry.

        • I used to use that example, but it was pointed out to me (and I believed, which may be wrong) that due to geography the Dominican Republic has a better climate for agriculture of a particularly profitable nature (cigar tobacco) and Haiti doesn’t.

          Yes, Haiti seems to have atrocious luck vis-à-vis governance. But the DR governments have been no great shakes either (usual run of Caribbean – South & Central American Juntas and strongmen).

          • Not true on geography. Haiti had sugar cane and tobacco agriculture. They just stopped doing it because it’s awful. BUT they oculd still do it.

            • When Haiti was a slave-labor based plantation economy, it was very profitable, at least for the owners. Much of the agricultural land has since been destroyed by deforestation and erosion. I’m not sure what it would take to make that country productive again. There seems to be a large part of the population that is completely dependent on international relief agencies. That complicates the process of building real functioning markets.

      • Yes, we work harder. We exploit the natural world, including the physics and chemistry of it. We learned (usually the hard way) how to apply man hours to best effect. That, too, is exploiting the world to our advantage. There is no reason that people in the Third World should have to learn all that by doing, is all I’m saying. Maybe they’ll look at our history and come up with a better way. I would be delighted to see it. But we owe it to ourselves to make them into the most profitable trading partners possible. This isn’t possible while we have SJWs distracting them with Collectivist pipe-dreams and Marxist drivel.

        • From your mouth to God’s ears!. Many people don’t want to trade and do useful things, they’d rather war and take people’s stuff.

          • Which wouldn’t be anywhere near the problem that it is if every time they tried it the West kicked butt and took names. But we don’t. We don’t do it nearly often enough, and when we do we let ourselves got bogged down in ‘humanitarian’ gobbledygook.

      • Polliwog the 'Ette

        My brother-in-law was gatekeeper at Sun before the merger with Oracle. The gatekeeper *has* to be an American because they’re pretty much the only people who will agree to be on call 24/7 (besides regular scheduled duties) for two years and don’t have social pressure to appear perfect. Western Europeans go home at the end of a shift (to be fair, some have no choice because of laws) and Asians can rarely be brought to admit to a programming mistake which makes them poor choices for being in charge as well. It was a really eye-opening experience both for him and his family.

      • Watching a live stream on YT tonight of various guides rattling their Land Rovers around the current great migration in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, I’m struck with the vast plains I see there, untouched by humanity except for the dirt roads that the safari trucks use while rolling about the bush.

        I realize the Maasai Mara is a preserve, but I can’t help but contrast what I see with the vast plains in the US, which are cultivated quite thoroughly and thus feed the world several times over, but unfortunately no longer host the Great Plains-darkening herds of the bison.

        If this is that exploitation of which is spoken, I suppose it’s a fair cop. Dear world: You are welcome.

    • “As we have seen over the last six decades, when confronted with Terror, the only effective (and therefore moral) course is to obliterate the terrorists as swiftly and savagely as possible.”

      Which is why the Left is so anxious to have Charlottesville declared “domestic terrorism” committed by “white nationalists.” After all, they’ve already defined everyone who doesn’t agree with them as “white nationalists”, and this will justify killing all opponents based on skin color.

  7. yeah,, the thing about being ostracized for so long rings true in my case.

  8. This is because all communist dictators in fact became puppet viceroys of Russia. But, you say, weren’t their counterparts American puppets? Well, usually no, because America is REALLY bad at it. It wins a war, it gives the country tons of money, but allows the enemy free rein to talk and subvert the peace.
    ————————

    As you note, the American problem wasn’t so much the US government running other governments like puppets on strings (if that were the case, then the South Vietnamese government wouldn’t have had the constant leadership turnover that it did). Instead, the problem was the Banana Republics. But that wasn’t the US government. That was private businesses using their wealth to take control of countries that were smaller than most US states.

    • Well, and the US government did tend to intervene whenever the locals got upset with the fact that their country was owned by outsiders.

    • Turbo Beholder (@TBeholder)

      > But that wasn’t the US government. That was private businesses
      Because it wasn’t moving to the oligarchy we know (with cronies and socialist manifestos, even) back then?
      It’s but one more face of corruption. And an incredibly poisonous one, in the long run.
      Russo-Japanese war happened because a weak ruler allowed “private parties” (someone’s cronies) run across strategic interests to have a little proto- banana republic… dragging a huge empire all the way into the cesspit where it drowned, a smaller one into hopeless dead-end, where it eventually became a punching bag for the next faction seeking pretext to collect some banana republics, and the whole Far East into bloodbath we don’t know for sure is completely behind.
      And giving opening for creation of the whole system where “banana republic” became such a common thing, too.

  9. I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading ESR’s stuff. I should do some catching up.

    When my daughter was in school I used some of his writing about nerd/geek culture as a starting point for talking about where she thought she and her friends fit into the wider society. I’m not sure if it was helpful, but I think it might have been.

  10. Turbo Beholder (@TBeholder)

    It wouldn’t be a good lie if it didn’t contain much truth, would it?
    So let’s turn those noses back down. Because that’s where the tracks are.
    #1 – Needs a caveat, but mostly so.
    Why not? Science? Everyone agrees that 2×2=4, but beyond this quickly starts “who plagiarised from whom” kindergarten fights, and then it slowly dissolves in a swamp of obvious quacks, cargo cults, eugenics, etc.
    #2 – Only a false cause, in that both parts are firmly rooted in the traditions of Phariseeism (Holier-Than-Thou entitlement). Which grew fat in Catholic era, and then mostly ate Catholic and every faction after them.
    Mussolini and Marx didn’t come to Europe from Australia, and if someone feels smug while looking right down a slippery slope and standing on it at the same time, the most likely reason is that the picture doesn’t really get across well and clear.
    #3 will be okay, if you replace the last words with “a provincial Narcissist/Pharisee”. It mostly comes from either comparing a flattering fake with unflattering fake or “I like therefore it’s good!”. The latter has a merit, but can become “objective” only via self-deception.
    #4 – Well… British Empire and a few others (Belgians with Congo, for one) became big deal mostly by making a lot of ugly mess all over the world.
    It’s not that they were worse than, for example, Aztec Empire, of course, just had good starting conditions – were able to build better ships and thus had opportunity to affect a larger area.
    Not even always directly by force, but in the end, who cares? List major outbreaks of socialism – British influence quite visibly contributed to all of them!