When the Mask Slips

I think part of the problem our “friends” on the left are having is that when the mask slips once you can hide it.  When it keeps slipping it becomes …. obvious.

I come from a far distant time, called the seventies.  Perhaps because everyone was doing mescaline-like-substances, the seventies were crazier than those of you who weren’t adults then can even imagine.

One of the strangest things was how everyone assumed communists and socialists were the GOOD GUYS.

Sure, there are some people who still vehemently believe that.  They are either children who were treated like mushrooms all through school and who haven’t yet popped out of their indoctrination, or people who have some reason to hold on to this nonsense.

But in the seventies — and I’ll admit part of it was probably because the newsmedia proclaimed it and there was only one newsmedia — these ideas were mainstream.  They were considered sane.

Being a conservative — or, like me, simply an anti-communist — in the seventies was fighting a rear-guard action, with the certainty we were going to lose.  It was like being one of the warriors at Ragnarok.  You fought as hard as you could and you knew you’d lose.

The assumption was that communism was more efficient.  Central, top-down planing just eliminated waste more, which is why we needed it when we were all heading for the world of “make room, make room.”  Most anti-communists opposed communism because they thought life under it would be worse for the individual, but agreed that due to its incredible efficiency it would win out.

This wasn’t me, btw.  Perhaps because I lived in Europe.  Perhaps because by the age of 14 I’d never been present at any newsworthy event that the press reported right.  (And I’d been present at a few newsworthy events by then.  BTW, the track record continues.)  Also, I’m not by nature a very trusting person.  I looked at the glossy pictures of Soviet Life and I could smell a rat.  I knew that it was impossible that a regime which de-emphasized THE VALUE OF THE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN could be good.  Finding and reading the Gulag archipelago was actually a relief, because it confirmed for me that I wasn’t, actually, completely batshit crazy.

BUT most people are more trusting than I.  And they want to believe that the people who smile to their faces have good intentions.

Those of you who are young and who get furious with the Republican establishment: I FEEL YOUR PAIN.  But remember people like McCain came of age before I did.  Opposing communism was this doomed gallant fight you had no hope of winning and weren’t supposed to.

BTW, despite the defenders of “socialism with an human face” socialism is getting more and more amalgamated to communism, as it should be.  Everyone always knew it was a phase “on the way to communism” and in fact the communist countries always called themselves socialist (while the European “democracies” call themselves social democrat and are on the same greased chute to hell.)

The thing is they are the same thing.  They both take away from the individual that most fundamental of rights “the pursuit of happiness.”  Life, liberty and property usually follow.

Beyond all the tragic misunderstandings about human nature, socialism, communism and all societies in which the state arrogates for itself the right to control the daily life of individuals “for the good of all” (as opposed to “for common defense” or “to keep peace” at a distance, mind, and not in minutia) it fails because the good of all can be defined anyway you want.  The “all” like the “none” has no specific voice.  Leaving aside who counts the votes (and in the US that’s almost impossible, given the serial corruption of voting rolls) there are polls and interpretations and the massaging of public opinion to say what the “people” should say.

When they had full control of the press, this got really weird.  And in countries where blogs aren’t as prevalent they still do.

But here, we’re ah… talking truth to power.  Which seriously disturbs the left narrative of the happy people of Brutopia being incredibly happy with its wise planners.

And they don’t know what to do.  And the mask keeps slipping.  They say things like they want to restrict the first amendment.  Or they burn their own college to prevent a talk by a single, mostly harmless fabulous faggot.  OR they armor it in case the little Jewish man and his talk will physically attack him.  They see Nazis everywhere.  They start banning people on the net.  They defend the NHS.  Yeah, that same NHS that forced a baby to die when his parents had the money to try a last ditch treatment for him.  Because the “right to die with dignity” is in their constitution, and the pursuit of happiness isn’t.  You see, they love death more than we love life.  (Where have I heard that before?)

Now Hillary says she wants to contest the elections NOW.

A lot of people are discouraged by this, and by the soft acceptance of the antifa property destroyers and head breakers.

BE NOT AFRAID.

If the left were secure they would be keeping their mask of “reasonable people” in place.  A friend of mine, in the run up to 04 said they become louder as they start losing.

We haven’t reached peak loud yet.

Get yourself a beer or a soda and a bunch of popcorn.  Things are about to get interesting.

Prepare yourself in case your area is one of those where things get violent.  And other than that, just smile.

The pictures from Soviet Life lie burning in the ruins of the dream of a planned economy.  The defenders of socialism now try to claim spiritual virtues for it, just like the defenders of the free economy used to object to planning on almost aesthetic terms.

A man — or a form of governance — may smile and smile and be a villain, but sooner or later the mask slips and shatters, and boy, howdy, has it.

Now we can look on the monstrous form we knew was there all along, and possess ourselves in patience as our less politically aware brethren catch on.

In the end, we win, they lose.  Never doubt it.  This is no time to go wobbly.

 

 

443 responses to “When the Mask Slips

  1. Yup, yup, yup. (Although McCain has had plenty of years to learn that fighting Communism isn’t Situation Ragnarok, so….)

    Kevin J. Anderson’s publishing company has reprinted tons of Allen Drury’s books. Reading him is a pretty good portrayal of what people thought was fairly realistic for politics. It was edgy that he wrote two endings for his main series, and that one of them had Communism losing everything. (The other one has Communism winning, and it’s pretty much Red Dawn… albeit with an amusingly bad fate for the most annoying media character… and remember, Allen Drury was a reporter by trade….) Both books were intensely hated by pretty much everybody doing book reviews, but they are both actually pretty good sf.

    • the thing is, after about 45 most people CAN’T retool their view of the world.

      • This is true even for me.
        When I was young, I had the time and energy to chase butterflies, and (for example) spend a week or two plowing through everything Keynes wrote.
        Now, I don’t.
        Worse, I don’t remember most of what I used to know. (Although I retain just well enough to, for example, get extremely pissed off at all the talking heads calling Obama’s economic policy “Keynesian”. That was a one-man-band of a lie, with flaming weasels escaping its pants.)

        While I still try to learn something every day, I freely admit that I’m not nearly as smart as I once was. (Although my judgement had improved remarkably!)

        And I know from experience that I’m on the narrow tail of curiosity.
        Most people simply don’t care how things work, or how they came to be.

        • There is also the fact that, at some point, one must confront the natural limits of consumption. I cannot deny I now own more books than I will live to read, so I must become more selective in what I spend my time consuming. This makes me less inclined to read challenging works, such as revisionist histories, and more prone to read for simple entertainment.

          Besides, experience has taught me that today’s revisionist history will be tomorrow’s accepted version of events and next week’s error-filled pushing of a corrupt perception. Every era presrnts a new menu of interpretations that proves, in time, to be the same old ingredients combined in the same old ways, just with new adjectives applied.

    • It took me decades to realize that the series starting with Advise and Consent was science fiction. Just POLITICAL and SOCIAL science fiction.

  2. Polliwog the 'Ette

    I’m only about 10 years younger than you, but it’s amazing how much difference that particular decade makes. I only learned recently that the fight against communism was considered worthwhile but doomed. My frustration with the current DOPe class isn’t that they think the fight is doomed but that they appear to think it isn’t worthwhile.

    • Yep. That decade is crucial. BUT the elder ones, simply can’t retool and they hear the noise and think it’s time to give up. I keep running into them.

      • “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” — Max Planck
        Works for political ideologies as well.

    • I vaguely remember some of that, but I was in the Midwest and Texas growing up, watching SAC and other military planes going past, and wasn’t too worried about a Soviet Invasion. I learned later that I missed the memo about being terrified of nuclear doooooooom.

      • I wasn’t worried about a Soviet invasion, but I was considerably worried that we would go “Toe to toe with the Ruskies.” That led me learning all I could about nuclear weapons and their effects, from Civil Defense manuals to Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Became convinced we should at least have an idea of how to throw together an impromptu fallout shelter. That didn’t completely eliminate the fear, but lessened it a great deal.

        Odd how the Left in the 1970s maintained that there was nothing we could do to survive a nuclear attack. They openly mocked such ideas. Except that book Nine Who Survived tells of nine who survived both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that they survived both says much about it.

        There were two interesting vestiges of this fear. One was knowing where I could get my hands on a book of log tables. The other is a continued preference for solar powered scientific calculators.

        • > nothing we could do to survive a nuclear attack.

          Yet the USA has set off well over a thousand nuclear weapons, almost all of them in Nevada and Utah. Some of them, you could see the mushroom clouds from Las Vegas.

          • Operation Ploughshare (I expect someone thought he was being clever there) – the project that aimed to turn the use of nuclear bombs to peaceful, industrial ends, like plowing fields, or making road cuts.

            • There was a serious proposal to replace the Panama Canal in across Nicaragua by using deeply buried nuclear devices to cause the surface to collapse in a line from Pacific to Atlantic. No reason it would not have worked, without radiation release, if carefully engineered.

              • That sounds epic, awesome, and like the intro to a barely retooled Godzilla flick.

                • US “Project Plowshare” which ended in 1977 (thank you, Jimmeh), and the parallel Soviet “Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy” which didn’t end until 1988, again putting the lie to Soviet propaganda.

                • Have you read the book “Engineer’s Dreams” by Willy Ley?

                  1950s technology, as applied to megaprojects like drying up the Mediterrenean Sea for some more loving space, or flooding Central Africa to change local weather, and…

          • Apples and oranges; none of those thousand nukes were being aimed to cause damage.

        • Solar powered scientific calculators? In 1974 I went through Navy Nuclear Power School where I was taught to use a slide rule. Somewhere in my house is a box with a slide rule in it…

          • You need one of those little glass-fronted boxes, and a brass hammer on a chain, and a sign saying “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS.”

          • There are six slide rules here. Three were from a lot found at a college bookstore. The daughter of a coworker found them under “Architectural Supplies;” perhaps someone thought they were architect’s scales. We took up a collection in our department, she bought them, and I ended up with three.

            I have an additional three that I already used. One of those was a pocket model about 6″ long.

            I was right on the cusp of the scientific calculator era. I learned how to use them, and did until scientific calculators were cheap a few years later. My supervisor, who was a grade behind me, had never even held one until we bought that lot of slide rules. Yes, he ended up with one or two.

            Anyway, these were the days of the bright red LED calculators that doubled as an auto antenna in glass troubleshooter thanks to the RF. Volatile memory. If you wanted to store info or a program, you had to have one with a magnetic card reader/writer. Then came LCDs, but they needed batteries. Long before than I’d discovered log books that would allow seven or eight place calculations, and figured they’d be right handy should you be unable to find batteries for calculators. Then came solar scientific calculators, and that was my choice until I lucked up on an HP on sale, which I bought just because I missed RPN.

            • FWIW, we had some big desktop models in college. They had Nixie tubes. On the other side of the room was a giant, functioning, slide rule that was once used in teaching how to use them.

              • I have a couple slide rules, inherited, and a couple, purchased – closeout.

                “Quiz tomorrow. No calculators.”
                “What about slide rules?”
                “Ha. Sure, slide rules are fine.”
                Next day a quarter to a third the class showed up with slipsticks – and knew how to use them.

                And one of the first things a new smartphone gets is Droid48 so I have a familiar calculator handy.

                • Own slide rules and I know how to use them, but in college it was HP-41C for the win.

                  • Oops. This caught me while in a mild coughing fit and my watery eyes read it as “One slide rules” and automatically completed it “and in the darkness binds them.”

              • My junior HS had one of the big Pickett teaching models. I kind of wonder just one would cost. (Makes note to self to check Amazon while I type this. No luck. I don’t do eBay…)

                At U of Illinois, the big debate was whether to use Pickett (aluminum) or Post (bamboo core, not sure of coating). Considering the humidity variations over the year, the Pickett usually won. My roommate, a contrarian, used a circular slide rule. Handy, but I never got into it. I still have my two college slide rules (used plastic ones in Junior and regular HS).

                I was an early adopter of the calculators. One guy in our dorm got the first HP35 I ever saw, but I got one of the first HP45s on campus. The card-reader models came out several months later.

                The desktop calculators were usually in the accounting buildings; there was a big Singer-Link that used a CRT and displayed the 4 registers.. My HP15 is sitting on the desk, while the HP45 succumbed to capacitor problems. My HP41CX is now the shop calculator. (Yes I worked at HP…)

                • Never so much as held a circular slide rule. Have thought about getting one off and on, but … shrug.

                  Speaking of which, there’s a circular slide rule for calculating Nuclear efects, that was part of a government book on the subject. It was the basis for a BASIC program that appeared in Byte.

                  • I have the aviation version (E6-B). Mom and Dad still have their bamboo slide rules. Apparently some of the rich and/or determined kids had ivory ones, but that was showing off.

            • I know I told this story before, but if I remember right, Heinlein mentioned slide rules in one of his books– a character had one on his desk, and the aliens had made a copy, and he tried to pickup the “slide rule” only to find it was part of the desk.

              I figured it was a scifi-sounding tool, not a real one….

              • It was from Have Space Suit Will Travel. Kip had been seriously injured and Mother Thing’s people had recreated his room to provide familiar surroundings for his recovery. He’d just asked Peewee some question that involved math (I’m so embarassed I don’t remember what the question was–distance from Vega to Earth in miles maybe?) and wanted to check it on his slide rule (a 20″ Log-Log Decitrix). Peewee had to explain that it was just part of the desk, pure ornament.

                Why, yes, I do practically have the book memorized. 😉

                • Sure, that makes you special.

                  • I need to bump it back up to the top of my reading list…again.

                    I still consider it the best book ever written. It really, really, really needs a sequel but there’s no one I think who could do it justice.

                    • I like to listen to Heinlein. I think the best book ever written is TMIAHM but I won’t fight you over it.
                      Sigh. I wanted like crazy to ask Ginny permission to write a sequel, but I didn’t dare because I knew I couldn’t do it justice.

                    • You’re one of the very few who I think could come close because, unlike too many I don’t think you’d try to “make it your own”.

                    • What, and be haunted by HIS ghost? Forfend.

                    • That’s the thing, you’d be trying to channel Heinlein’s ghost. All too many others would be trying to twist the whole thing to suit them. (Look at what others have done with Piper’s Fuzzies, for examples.)

                    • I didn’t dare because I knew I couldn’t do it justice.

                      As if anyone — even the Master hisself — could. The story is complete; you’d have to come up with a “Further Adventures of …” and that ain’t the same thing, not by parsecs.

                      Who controls the estate, BTW? It might be possible to do as August Derleth did to Sherlock Holmes with his Solar Pons novels, or you could tell a tale about Kip & Peewee’s kid(s). Or just fanfic it, “You don’t know about me ‘less you read a book by Robert Heinlein, and while he wasn’t exactly accurate he covered the facts well enough. What he didn’t tell about, what he didn’t know about, was what happened after we figured out a bit more of Mother Thing’s gifts …”

                    • I think The Heinlein Society. It’s a mixed bag.

              • No, slide rules were used for astrogation in all his earlier books. Also, yeah, that was when the Mother Thing tried to replicate the boy’s room in her planet, to reassure him while he healed. They didn’t make the things on the desk separate. But that’s different.

                • The one that always made me sit with a dumb look on my face and go, “Uhhhh…” (maybe drool a little, I don’t remember) is in Space Cadet, where they decided the ship was going to land (on Venus) under manual control, because they didn’t have time to go into the machine shop and cut a cam to control the ship’s landing.

          • I saw a slide rule once. My AP calculus teacher brought it to class so we could all say we saw one.

          • This thread was a trip down memory lane. In my Freshman year at Rice University (1970) you could tell the engineering majors by the slide rules hanging on their belts; the next year, they all wore TI calculators. One of the things that amuses me about Golden Age SF is the mix of wild prognostication and failures of the imagination: to wit, Heinlein’s space ship pilots astrogating with slide rules.

      • I grew up in Missouri, and didn’t realize there was a SAC missile base there until I was 26.

      • I knew the Communists were Very Bad People, but they always struck me as safely far away. Not a peril to me.

        • I knew there was an American Communist Party. It was very small and no one paid much attention to it.
          But that was before Social Science and Economic professors started teaching and citing Marx and ignoring his critics. Over time, propaganda began to take the place of logic and reason in higher education. Now, there are still very few professed Communists, but a great many well- indoctrinated socialists.

          • Just before the 1972 elections, the American Communist Party was circulating petitions to put Gus Hall on the presidential ballot. One very well-dressed girl gave one to me, and to my later shame, I actually signed it. (I was 18, OK? I grew up. Eventually.)

            Noteworthy was the fact that they were trying to appear even more mainstream than the Scientology recruiters. The Commie (not a term in use, not then, anyway) outdressed 95% of the girls on campus. If I had to guess, her home address was in of the wealthier suburbs on the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Chicago.

            • There is no harm done by putting Hall’s name on the ballot — it isn’t likely he pulled enough votes to cost McGovern the presidency and it is useful to have a handy measurement of his support.

              As for how the Commie petitioners presented themselves … have you ever looked into the background of Katrina vanden Heuvel, the publisher and patron of that noted old line commie defending magazine, The Nation?

              Vanden Heuvel was born in New York City, the daughter of Jean Stein, an heiress, best-selling author, and editor of the literary journal Grand Street, and William vanden Heuvel, an attorney, former US ambassador, member of John F. Kennedy’s administration, businessman, and author. She has one sister and two step-siblings. Her maternal grandparents were Music Corporation of America founder Jules C. Stein and Doris Babbette Jones (originally Jonas). … Vanden Heuvel graduated from the Trinity School in 1977. She studied politics and history at Princeton University. During her undergraduate years, she served as an editor and eventually as editor-in-chief of the Nassau Weekly, a school publication, and had an internship at National Lampoon magazine in 1978. Vanden Heuvel wrote her senior thesis on McCarthyism, and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1981. … By 1995, The Nation was losing $500,000 year, and its editor Victor Navasky brought van den Heuvel together with other investors in a for-profit partnership to buy the magazine (from investment banker Arthur L. Carter). The investors included van den Heuvel, Paul Newman, E.L. Doctorow, Alan Sagner (former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman), Peter Norton (Norton Utilities software creator) and others.

              per Wiki

              So, doubly inherited wealth and publisher of a magazine that was defending the innocence Alger Hiss long after the Soviets admitted he was their stooge.

          • Until they start paying taxes…

          • We seem to have a generous abundance of useful idiots.

        • Of course!

          If they are near us, they’re just thieves whose parents were not married.

      • I’m younger than our hostess, but I grew up in the rural West where every man of the right age knew what to think of communism from serving in Vietnam, or if of an older generation, Korea. And they weren’t shy about sharing their views with the younger generation either, or explaining in detail (sometimes profane detail, depending on the individual) the faults and deficiencies of logic in public school teachers defense of communism and socialism.

        It also didn’t hurt that I had the local example of the Wobblies to look at (not that they were ever portrayed as communists by the aforementioned public school teachers) and most proponents of communism hailed from the cities, and were therefore already viewed with general suspicion and revulsion; which rubbed off on any ideals they espoused.

    • It’s Seriously Weird to be both modern(..ish) and Ancient. Supposedly I grew up in the (very late)60’s/70’s/80’s (ox slow, yes…) but there more than a few times I suspect even others get the idea I’m really from the 30’s or 40’s (and not just the music, but hey.. they had music). It’s.. jarring. To me. There was a change.. but I’m not sure when it happened. Or if the Hollywood pro-USA stuff of the 1940’s was not as it appear{-ed,-s}.

      • After WWII Hollywood became notably less patriotic (or rather, adopted Critical Theory patriotism in which they sought to improve America by tearing America down.) Some of this was understandable loss of optimism from those who’d seen the war up close, some was industry changes that made filmmakers less responsive to audiences, some came from Marxist subversion of the industry. By the late Sixties most of the old guard Hollywood — the producers and directors and stars who had built the industry had passed and a new wave of “socially conscious” filmmakers had supplanted them.

        Of course, we all know what “socially conscious” was a mask for.

        • You surely wouldn’t be implying that “socially conscious” was an alternative spelling for “socialist conscious”, would you?

        • There’s also the long, slow march through the institutions (especially in Academia) which reached critical mass about then, combined with the G.I. bill.

          More jobs were being done by folks who learned the trade in university, from Marxists academics, than from experienced workmen whose ideologies had been tested by real life.

        • With him the love of country means
          Blowing it all to smithereens

          Robert Frost

      • I sympathize entirely, Ox.

      • If we ever meet, we should compare collections…

        Of course, quite a bit of my favorite eras you have to prefix with “18” to avoid confusion.

  3. I come from an even more-distant country called the 40s and 50s. Growing up mentally then was much easier. But I still can’t work out how the horrors of communism which most of us recognised then somehow became the ‘friendly’ place you describe in the 70s.

    • Media control is the explanation.

      • What the media preached and what people believed, circa 1970s, was not one in the same. Otherwise, McGovern, not Nixon, would have won in a landslide in 1972.

        Circa 1970s, we bandied about “commie” the same way the left bandies about “fascist.” It was in the 1970s that a junior high teacher gave us a crash course on communism to counterbalance the pro-Soviet propaganda in our social studies textbook. And we couldn’t help but notice it was the socialist Soviet Union who came to the capitalist United States to buy wheat,and not the other way around.

        What I remember of the media ranged from the oblique attack, in holding Joe McCarthy to scorn, to the idea that “Oh, if we’ll just be nice to them, they’ll be nice to us.” In between was general propaganda, particularly aimed at the military and arms systems, and at conservative values.

        Oddly I don’t recall much in the way that McCarthy was wrong, which, taken at face value, is a tacit admission that he was right. Most was the implication that he was wrong.

        Whether our leaders believed that communism was more efficient varied. That idea goes all the way back to the Great Depression; possibly before, and it’s possible to be steeped in the idea of socialism to the point where it seems natural. Then you notice the Soviets coming to the US to buy wheat.

        • The media presentation of things affected those who were very young in the 70s, so that they were steeped in it as they were presumably learning to think, which makes the alterations more likely to take.

          • For those younger who want a cultural-elite touchpoint, go watch “The Day After” and keep in mind this was the universal Hollywood and elite coastal view of Ronald Reagan – “Doesn’t he realize There’s Nothing We Can Do, the Soviets are going to win, and he’s just making it worse!?! All Reagan is doing by opposing them is making them madder, and there might be a NUCLEAR WAR, and if that happens we all know There’s Nothing We Can Do!! We should just be nice to the Russians so they are nicer to us once they inevitably take over, since, as we all very well know, There’s Nothing We Can Do.”

            These were of course all lies – history has disproven the inevitable victory of Communism, there was no nuclear war, either due to Jimmah or Ronny, and in any case civil defense was a practical and effective approach to saving the most lives possible, based on real world experience (both in Japan, with conventional, incendiary and nuclear bombing, and Europe with all but the nukes, where the huge numbers of casualties from flying glass when there was no time to shelter drove the much derided “Duck and Cover” drills). In each case there was in fact something we could do – and in the end the main thing we could do was win the Cold War.

            When evaluating this, recognize that the Soviet Union was directly funding multiple groups and organizations in the West, with constant direction on topics from Moscow. The There’s Nothing We Can Do meme was simply what the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union preferred their enemy think. And, at least regarding the “uselessness” of any effort towards civil defense, it was also directly countered by the huge expenditures the USSR made on shelters and civil defense right up until the fall of the CPSU.

            But There’s Nothing We Can Do lives on, enshrined and propagated by the colonization of those Soviet-funded groups in academia and media.

            As Sarah notes, there’s lots of people who saw through it back then, and nowadays there are the vast tubes of the interwebs, where those who realize this can see we’re not crazy and alone.

            And the best part is, when they insist There’s Nothing We Can Do and nobody takes them seriously anymore, it drives them nuts.

            • When evaluating this, recognize that the Soviet Union was directly funding multiple groups and organizations in the West, with constant direction on topics from Moscow.
              A good example would be the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament” Or CND for short. The organization from which we have gotten the “peace” sign.

              • It’s actually very interesting to notice which advocacy groups got into financial trouble in the period just after the USSR came apart.

                Purely by coincidence, of course.

                Similar to how all those Cold War proxy terrorist organizations either vanished or made “peace” deals in eth early 90s. Once the money from Moscow Center stopped coming in, they had nothing else left.

              • The Progressives never had any complaints about Russian meddling in our elections (in the early Eighties Senator Chappaquiddick begged them to tamper in our election) — their only complaint is that this time (they imagine) Russia tampered for the wrong side. Oy, such a betrayal! Hadn’t they always been useful idiots?

                • I have problems with any thinking Progressives (oxymoron, I know) actually believing that. Espousing it yes, believing it no.

                  The Russians have not only always supported the Progressives, they have plenty of history dealing with and supporting the Clintons. While they may be able to deal with Trump and far prefer him over some of the other Republican alternatives, no thinking person would think that they would prefer him over Clinton or Sanders, both who openly espouse either Socialist or Communist ideals, have oftentimes taken Russia’s side over their own governments; and in Clintons* case have been fairly openly bought and paid for by the Russians.

                  *There was no need to buy Sanders, you don’t pay for something you already own.

                  • The most notable aspect of all Progressives is the ability to project a belief in whatever it is necessary to believe. If party needs require zebras be black with white stripes, that is what they will be; when the party needs change then zebras will be white with black stripes. When one of theirs is imperiled by impeachment, the Constitutional standard is High crimes and misdemeanors; when they want to impeach a Republican the Constitution allows any reason at all. (that’s the whole point of a living Constitution – it serves your bidding.)

                    Rare is the progressive encumbered by the need for superficial consistency.

            • I also remember the miniseries “Amerika” – which was quite the odd duck for those days. Not a bad depiction of what surrender meant. Although someone did manage to slide in the implication that the ex-wife of the Kristofferson character, an enthusiastic collaborator with the Soviet occupation, was one of Rev. Falwell’s “Moral Majoritans.”

              One quote from the movie, by the aforementioned Kristofferson character (Devin Milford), is still so relevant:

              Nobody wanted to risk anything for anybody else. Everybody was afraid they were going to lose what they had. They knew it was bad. They were just afraid it’d get worse. That’s all they lived for – for things not to get worse.

        • Note the propaganda was in your social studies textbook. I suspect it depended on what area of the country you were in. And in Europe EVERYONE believed the propaganda.

          • It used to matter which area of the country you were in. That’s part of the drive to nationalize education – so you can force your propaganda onto all the children, everywhere.

            • That is true.
              Of course, this goal has the defect that, if your opponents gain power, then THEY have the means to disseminate THEIR propaganda.
              Or that’s how it would work except that the bureaucracy that actually implements policy (or fails to) is completely one-sided now.

      • They were quietly fighting the social war, while we were occupied fighting the cold war. The sexual revolution didn’t help, either. If you need to marry the government to survive and take care of your kids, you aren’t likely to want to hear about the long-term evils of socialism.

    • I’m another troglodyte who can remember the fifties. And yes, the media did a 180 by the seventies.

  4. I wasn’t indoctrinated in the schools so I wasn’t fooled in the 70s. But then I had to break a different indoctrination in the 80s. When I was in the Navy, I slammed face first into propaganda and its uses. It woke me up. To survive in our world we need a skeptical mind and we need to question even those we trust.

    • I wasn’t fooled, either – being born in 1954. For some reason, all through childhood and teenage years, I knew people who had escaped from Communist countries: Poles, Hungarians, Cubans, a handful of Russian Jews, and in 1975, a whole raft of Vietnamese. (School friends, friends of my parents, mostly.) And the stories they had to tell pretty well inoculated me against any enchantment with socialism, or communism.

      • It took me a little while to realize that the Vietnamese kids who were around the same age as me, many had probably had to flee one way or another. Some might be too young to remember depending on when they fled and how, but their older siblings and parents did.

    • My intro was in the 1960s to a “news” piece. My mother said “That’s propaganda,” and that led to a discussion as to the meaning of the word.

    • I went to a rather unusual public HS apparently, graduating in 1973. The history department head was a Korean War Army medic, who would haul budding young leftists into his office to show pictures of bodies stacked like cordwood. Among other pictures. One of the other history teachers spoke Russian, and made occasional trips to the USSR.Not to admire, but observe. He freely shared his observations. He was almost a polar opposite of Walter Duranty. He also taught the course in military history. Which most schools didn’t have… My favorite English teacher was a Korean War carrier pilot.

      Despite this, the school turned out a few leftists, the best known being Bill Maher. But you get a big enough bunch of apples, one of them is bound to be bad.

      • We lived next to Wright-Patt, my dad had been a Russian linguist for the Army, and we subscribed to Readers’ Digest back when they had tons of true stories about dissidents behind the Iron Curtain and about various sorts of terrorists up to no good, who hated Americans. (Also a lot of health stories and classic sf reprints.)

      • I remember hearing an explanation of Maher. When his show was produced in NY he was (reportedly) fairly sensible; it was only after his show moved to the West Coast that he went full retard Leftist. The explanation was that in NY he would ride a cab to and from work and cab drivers have a way of expressing themselves, but in LA he was driven in a chauffeured limo and limo drivers are not supposed to talk to the passengers — therefore there were no correctives to Maher’s social circle’s inbreeding.

        Seemed superficially credible, and for Maher superficial will suffice.

        • Have never really payed much attention to him, but he always seemed alright to me. The incident with Sam Harris on his show was probably the first mainstream occurance of the far left accusing regular leftists of racism and bigotry when they were just talking about islamic terrorism.

          That doesn’t mean he’s automatically on our side, but he hasn’t backed down from that (that I know of), and that shows a level of spine thats worth some basic respect, at least.

        • He did present as fairly centrist in the early days of the show, then later swerved left hard, but I had no idea it correlated with a change in venue.

          • Even on the Left Coast Maher would have on conservative guests with some intellectual firepower, as opposed to some of the dimmer bulbs of our political faction. I disdain to point fingers, but we all know conservatives who cannot argue their way out of a wet paper bag.

  5. My late hubby used to say “In God we trust– all others must be verified.” (two or more sources btw)

  6. It was like being one of the warriors at Ragnarok. You fought as hard as you could and you knew you’d lose.

    A key difference there is that the warriors at Ragnarok also know that the world will be reborn in a more perfected state and that Gold Thatched Gimle is to be found on the other side.

    Interestingly enough, I never bought into the “Communism is more efficient” claptrap. Nor was I alone in that disbelief. The late (damn, I hate writing that) Jerry Pournelle, in one of his essays somewhere (sorry, I can’t be more specific) said that it was Conservatives who were predicting the downfall of Communism and Liberals who were caught flat-footed.

    • Communism was so efficient that when Patton and Zhukov met in Berlin, their troops were both driving trucks made in Detroit.

    • There are times when i am happy to be in an area that Twain described as being 20 years behind the rest of the country. The closest I ever got to hearing that Communism was good when I was less than about 30 was, “Communism is good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice”. Which, of course, we know that it isn’t really even good in theory, but it SOUNDS nice, if you aren’t particularly ambitious.

      • It’s good in theory, in that you can theorize a world where nobody is ever sick and has everything they ever wanted and science has figured out how to make candy out of orgasms.

        It’s also really good in practice, if you assume the goal is to trick the populace into letting you and yours become the autocratic rulers of a dictatorship.

    • I’m not sure the perception of efficiency is the reason that the conservative cold-warriors expected to lose. It was the perception of ruthlessness (theirs) and useful idiots (the West’s) that made our defeat vs. the Evil Empire inevitable.

      In other words, I fully expected that the Communists to implode, but not before taking us with them.

  7. I may be a touch younger then you, although I never got the “good communism” memo. You see, my parents were Christian and my mother was a missionary kid. So we were pretty in touch with current missions and issues. “God’s Smuggler” was a book in our house. My father was also fairly interested in military stuff so I was informed on both things.
    I knew it would be a fight if one broke out, the winner though wasn’t pre-ordained. I had to struggle with a lot of school indoctrination yet I managed (although I did slip occasionally when I was older).
    Still think the stupidest thing was talking to a Leninist after the collapse of the Soviet Union try to brush off all the bad stuff as Stalinism. Neglecting to face the horrible atrocities under Lenin.

    • Aside from the millions he killed himself, Lenin built the power structure of which Stalin then assumed control. And, of course, one big reason Lenin killed less was that he was only in power a few years: Stalin was in power for DECADES.

    • I read that book when I was young. I loved it.

    • One of the groups I’ve always found particularly sad are the Trotskyites who keep insisting that if only Trotsky had taken power after Lenin, the Communist Utopia would have become a reality. (There’s more than a little of that attitude in “Animal Farm,” though there are also hints that, yes, Snowball was not immune to corruption).

    • I highly recommend the book Tortured for Christ.

  8. “The assumption was that communism was more efficient. Central, top-down planing just eliminated waste more, which is why we needed it”

    There’s a very interesting book by a guy, Gennady, who served as deputy manager of a factory during the Stalin era. The plant was entirely dependent on the supply of raw lumber, and allocation decisions were arbitrary and very political. Gennady, whose father had been in the lumber trade before the revolution, was contemptuous of the chaos into which the industry had been reduced by the Soviets:

    “The free and “unplanned” and therefore ostensibly chaotic character of lumber production before the revolution in reality possessed a definite order. As the season approached, hundreds of thousands of forest workers gathered in small artels of loggers, rafters, and floaters, hired themselves out to entrepreneurs through their foremen, and got all the work done. The Bolsheviks, concerned with “putting order” into life and organizing it according to their single scheme, destroyed that order and introduced their own–and arrived at complete chaos in lumbering.”

    As Gennady says:

    “Such in the immutable law. The forceful subordination of life’s variety into a single mold will be avenged by that variety’s becoming nothing but chaos and disorder.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/31715.html

    • Friends in Romania and Hungary in the seventies explained how communist “efficiency” operated in publishing. If a publisher had unsold books, he was in trouble for wastefulness. If a printing sold out, he was praised for efficiency. So the publishers deliberately printed only a fraction of the copies they could hope to sell, and everybody stood in line to buy the books on release day, and that’s why I couldn’t buy a dictionary.

      It’s kind of frightening to consider that there actually was a publishing system even crazier than our own traditional model.

      • Must have been the same in Portugal. We used to stand in line for the good authors’ releases.

      • Speaking of “efficiency in publishing”, the Kindle version of that book is $25.99. Yeesh. (And the book was published in 1954, in Russian, so it ain’t that fresh.)

      • And that seems to be the management system for AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange System) – be sure you never have to mark anything down because it didn’t sell; don’t put out the new version until the last of the old has been sold. I’m apparently a slow learner because it took me several months of my Germany tour (87-90) before I realized that the rational consumer choice for American products was “buy all of [your preferred product] you can afford/store/use during your tour because you may never see it again.”

  9. When I was in school, many many years ago, we had history that actually contained real history (it was on the way out, but vestiges remained). One of the things we learned was that the difference between Socialism and Communism was means rather than ends. Communism basically just took the existing socialistic “thought” and added “armed revolution of the proletariat” to get to it.

    All of these different Leftist philosophies are just variation in means. They all have the same end game if allowed to play out.

  10. Those of you who are young
    Wha?!? Where is the whippersnapper?

  11. The belief that more centralization = more efficiency also plagues many corporations. It is easy to make the case that by combining two separate sales organization (which are selling very different products to different markets) one will gain efficiency, and even to ‘prove’ this quantitatively…not so easy to quantify what will be lost in effectiveness even though the loss may be very real…similarly for combining R&D groups or even, in some cases, factories. And the current ‘big data’ obsession will likely lead to an excessive level of top-down management and tying the hands of front-line people, as with the South Florida chain stores that were required to carry snowblowers.

    But at least in the case of business, competition makes the damage self-limiting. Not so in the case of government.

    • The funny thing is that this myth was exploded by the Leftist economist Kenneth Galbraith.
      He demonstrated that once a [economic production unit] comprised more than thirty people, it became a bureaucracy and inherently inefficient.
      (Naturally, the conclusion he came to was “therefore nationalize all the things!”, which didn’t logically follow.)

    • “The belief that more centralization = more efficiency also plagues many corporations.”

      The way I would phrase it is that the belief that everything would run better if only a smart person were in charge of making all the decisions is one that plagues many of those who consider themselves the smart people. Bob down at the Miami store says the snowblowers will never sell? Bah, what does he know? He’s just some southern hick. I, meanwhile, am a well-rounded liberal arts graduate from Brown with an MBA from Harvard Business School. I’m smarter than he is, and he’ll do what I tell him!

      The wisdom to recognize that some things are better if left alone is something that most of these people just don’t have.

      • The people who truly are smart are the ones who recognize the inherent limitations of being smart. No matter how smart you are you remain prey to the limits of your data. It is only the semi-smart who fail to grasp that you’re never smart enough.

        • I’m not sure anyone can be born that smart.

          But that kind of wisdom (experience + judgment) is achievable. So there’s hope for me yet.

        • The First Rule of Dunning-Krugger Club is you don’t know you’re in Dunning-Krugger Club.

        • Rumsfeld stated:
          Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

          • I am sure you noticed the multitude of the bien-pensant who mocked Rumsfeld for that assertion.

            Tells you which on side of Smart Street they live.

      • It’s true of almost all organizations. *cough the pope*

      • Lowes and tomato plants. When they first moved out here, both Lowes and Home Depot started stocking tomato plants in March. They froze to death. Lowes also tried azaleas. Our soil is so alkaline it dang near foams if you drop vinegar onto it, and azaleas need water as well as acid soil. Eventually they learned, but the first year or so were painful in terms of plant losses.

        • You can grow things like that; my neighbor has living proof. He told me he only had to amend the soil in his back yard down to about two feet.

          Considering that in this part of Tucson, you hit a nice thick layer of caliche (Nature’s concrete) at about three or four inches down – I make do with alkali loving plants (except for a couple of herb beds that have about a ton of “foreign” soil apiece).

          • Or you could grow plants on tables, like people in the Orkneys grow potatoes. (“Raised beds” at a certain point become “the heck with it, just pile the dirt on a platform.”)

          • We’re in a funky climate (just had 18F this morning, but should see the mid ’60s by afternoon), so we grow tomatoes in a greenhouse. $SPOUSE starts the seeds the beginning of May. They sit in the sunroom during the day and come in at night. Zucchini get started mid to late May.

            June 1 is planting day. We have 3-4 generic types; plants suited for cold weather (though the greenhouse can get awfully toasty in the summer), and an experimental type. Potted tomatoes (Siberias–good in cold climates) get 1/3 Super Soil, 1/3 manure compost, 1/3 dirt/compost. Bedded plants get the Super Soil and manure tilled in with older dirt. All these are in the greenhouse. Zucchini see outside beds with the bed mix.

            The greenhouse keeps plants from freezing (75 gallons of water ballast helps), and I’ll use frostcloth and occasionally a huge sheet of poly plastic over all the outside beds. The latter is when we get a hard freeze; usually happens a few nights in June.

            We get good yields and share the zucchini with the local mission. The tomatoes are still ripening (had to pick them green last week), and we dehydrated a couple gallons worth for cooking. Still getting some with dinner.

            • Well, here in Tucson, hard freezes are the least of my gardening problems. (Although we did have a low 20s for one night a few years ago – even my green thumb neighbor had a pretty bad time.)

              At the most, I throw a sheet over the most vulnerable stuff maybe twice in a winter. Those are mostly on the north side of the back yard, with a block wall that keeps them pretty warm normally overnight.

              Project for the winter is to get one area set up for hanging tomatoes and peppers. Going to be a lot of work, as it is mostly the “junk” area right now…

              • I’ve been told that snow has fallen on the 4th of July parade. Haven’t seen that yet (it’s been 13 years) but we have had snow in June and September. We’re not high desert, but 4000′ and dry climate can make for interesting times. We get 30F temp swings most of the time, and 40+ is pretty common. Frost cloth is a must, though I didn’t need it after June this year.

                We had several 95F days–just when I was doing construction. Sigh.

                • Even at 4000′ (about the altitude in the little town I grew up in, or a bit less), we don’t get June freezes here. Delightful summer nights, though. I try to blame it for turning me into a night owl, even though all of the indicators are that it’s genetic.

                  Construction – or any major outside project – seems it’s too hot, or too cold, or miserable wet, or a combination. I’m hoping to get real busy this coming week. (But probably the olive trees will bloom, and I won’t be able to see hardly anything through the allergy tears. So it goes…)

                • I’ve heard of a woman who managed to get her grandparents’ wedding certificate. She walked into the town hall and told them that she didn’t know the year, but it was the 4th of July and it snowed.

                  (Of course, I’ve heard of Canadians hearing that story and being baffled that it was an identifying trait.)

                • Grew up on the east slope of the cascades, and a mandatory part of any halloween outfit is working a sweat suit into it. (obviously doesn’t include adult, indoor only costumes)

        • Oh, the big box stores still stock tomato plants. The local radio gardener has an annual thing in February when he spots the first tomato plants in the store and warns all of his listeners that the existence of tomato plants in the stores (and the lack of frost) does NOT mean that it’s time to plant them. Official tomato planting day is April 26th* (his birthday. 😉 )

          *LOCALLY. All gardening is local. Look up a local gardening calendar.

      • Back long before the internet… Put a sprinkler system in my yard in CA. There were 3 big box stores nearby. In order to get the proper assortment of parts for the system I had to go to all 3; none of them carried ALL the sprinkler system parts.

        Worked for a big box until recently. We carried 1½” copper fitting, but rarely sold any. Possibly because we didn’t carry 1½” copper pipe… We carried well pumps, but not all the variety of fitting to set a house up with a well pump… And the assortment of fittings for a hot water baseboard heating system was laughable. I pointed all these things out to my manager, and there was nothing he could do about it.

        And then there was the day home office sent us a great special purchase of ABS fittings. Which don’t meet code in our area; PVC if using plastic.

        And as much as I hate to say, the small locally run hardware stores and plumbing supply stores aren’t any better. You have to know which ones carry which parts when you’re planning a project. Or just point and click with an online supplier with a full line…. Which I assure you doesn’t mean Amazon. Not yet, anyway.

        • Even if Amazon or one of its vendors *has* what you’re looking for, *finding* it may not be possible. No matter what you type in, Amazon decides what it wants to sell you, offers two or three sorta-but-not-quite items, and then the rest seems to be a random mix of crap entirely unrelated to your search term. (proven by typing in a completely different search term and getting the same crap)

          Most often, I have to use Google or Bing to find items on Amazon’s own web site…

          The people that see Amazon as the juggernaut mowing down its competition don’t seem to see how minimal its level of service is…

          • This is actually new. They buggered their search, somehow. I’m not even sure if it’s intentional.+

            • Aye, Amazon’s search has generally been quite good about getting me to the right thing or at least close enough I could re-jigger the search and get there. A huge advantage when most business sites seem to have a crudely bolted thing labeled ‘SEARCH’ but it’s… garp. And I’m being kind.

          • I almost never have problems finding what i want on Amazon.

            Sometimes it gets a little vague when i am using multiple search terms or the terms are out of order, but i find it.

          • I’ve a few times that Amazon is *not* killing Business X. Business X is committing suicide. K-Mart ( a while back), Sears, and JC Penney have all gone from town now. Last time I went into Penney’s… their own system didn’t have the simple shirts I was after. Amazon did. I can’t “buy local” or fake-local if the local-ish places don’t have the things I need.

    • It also ignores that you want redundancy– if you make it so that in addition to their main job, both places can help out at the other, it can be a GOOD thing that they’re radically different jobs. Slow time in one is busy for the other, and such.

  12. This is why my public-contact job is so horrible lately. I see the mask gone. I see the horrible visage. Worst of all, I’m not allowed to laugh at it and its frustrations.

  13. I was going to post this anyway, because it’s important enough to mention even if it would have been off-topic, but it’s actually on-topic given what Sarah wrote about today.

    There is a bill before Congress that is intended to help victims of sex trafficking — a noble goal. But one of its clauses would have the effect of shutting down free speech on the Internet. If you think that claim is too scare-mongery, read Shadowdancer’s excellent summary of that bill that she posted a couple of days back, along with the followup comments:

    https://accordingtohoyt.com/2017/09/20/the-great-american-eclipse-from-the-centerline-by-stephanie-osborn/#comment-477847

    Please, contact your Congressional representatives and make them aware of the danger of that clause in the bill. Tell them that it’s vital that that clause be amended out of the bill, or else if it isn’t amended out, that that bill be voted down.

    • Not sure if my representatives have their heads in the sand or what, but I’ve pretty much given up on influencing them at all.

      The deal breaker for me was when my representative — in response to my queries about her position on a bill that would criminalize Americans’ free association in regards to joining an embargo against Israel — parroted that she was a strong friend of Israel. She didn’t bother to respond when I asked her to clarify that being a strong friend of Israel meant abrogating American rights at the behest of foreign powers.

      Moved to a new state in late January, and haven’t even registered to vote, and I’m not sure if I will. After all, what difference does it make? The Uniparty will do as they please, regardless of how we (constituents) feel about it.

      • Note (’cause someone might go nutso) that I don’t really care about embargoes against Israel — there are other countries far more deserving — but what had me concerned was the number of elected representatives who were willing to abrogate our rights of free association.

        • I do care about embargoes against Israel. If you don’t, you’re a foreign policy moron. This is not unexpected, considering words like “uniparty” and the exhortation to just give up.
          ONLY the dead-mind hippies believed in a uniparty. Hell, even the two parties aren’t unitary within themselves. You, sir, are a nincompoop.

          • Byzantine_Corporal

            Giving up is not the solution. That said, the effective difference between GOPe and Democrat is all hat and no cattle. Now if it was convenient, we could reify that commonality by giving it some sort of a name. What should we use?

            • No it’s not. Republicans are soft liberals, and way behind the people in their outrage, but our government is designed to be a slow-turning machine ON PURPOSE.
              OTOH the democrats are outright communists.

              • Byzantine_Corporal

                The “On Purpose” of our gerrymandered rotten boroughs has defeated the original design of a 2-year Congress.

                • Yeah. And? Enough of the design remains.

                  • You’ve never done any software work. If you had, you’d already know that the only fix for an over patched system is format to bare metal and re-implement from the original design documents.

                    • Yes, I have. I just know humans aren’t computers.

                    • Assuming the conclusion– that the metaphor is correct.

                      Kinda looking forward to that argument, actually.

                    • The fun part: I haven’t done software work in 30 some years, but I was once offered a full ride scholarship to a software program because I was that promising in high school.
                      And I learned something there too: even the perfect program needs patching. And sometimes what works perfectly in a machine doesn’t work in the other (identical) one. And sometimes it’s a series of adjustments as the versions of the OS change. Like, for instance when a sparsely populated rural nation becomes industrial. Yeah, we have patches. I’d say we have a few Marxist viruses. We still work better than anything else, and we still have the original program, if we need to go back to it.
                      BTW I wrote an adventure game in 1983… Yes, all by my lonesome.
                      Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d taken that fork. But probably no books would have happened.

                    • What is software? Nothing but a set of rules (or laws, in the non-scientific sense) to handle processing of information so that the outcome of the functions the design establishes are what we want the system to produce. Similarly (because no metaphor is as exact as Fox is pretending), government is ultimately nothing more than a set of rules for how humans will interact with each other so that we can live in groups.

                      So the system is set up and begins working. The design isn’t perfect, the interface isn’t quite right, the result isn’t quite correct… so you patch it. Every patch, though, has the good chance of introducing a new defect. The more patches, the better chance there is. Sooner or later, every patch is a new bug. At that point, you either accept that your system will not produce the results you intended, and live with the errors even though fatal to some aspect of the design (like, say, actual equal treatment under the law), or you accept the cost and effort of re-implementing. Sooner or later, the old system has to go away, no matter how many people are using the defects to conceal the graft and the futile attempts at patching to run up the billable hours.

                    • So in that other timeline is there a series of Earth Revolution RPGs?

                    • The metaphor is what it says, not what you claim it says.

                    • You’re using the metaphor to draw a parallel. We’re rejecting that it actually is parallel. Metaphors and analogies are illustrations, not proofs. Attempting to use them as such is a logical fallacy.

                    • …that has nothing to do with supporting the metaphor as a model.

                      And I didn’t say anything about what it says, I said it was logically unsupported because you hadn’t bothered to make an argument for why we should agree that it’s software.

                      You just declare it.

                      So, I declare you wrong.

                      They’re equally well supported.

                • Actually, gerrymandering is more of an issue for Democrats. They tend to pack and crack themselves just by moving together.

            • While not as fast as some might like, progress is being made. Look, for instance, at the dichotomy between the “young Republicans” in Congress vs. the “Old Guard”. There is a sea change brewing, it just hasn’t hit critical mass yet (to mix a metaphor or two). I have written on this subject before:
              https://thewriterinblack.com/2017/07/28/blast-from-the-past-moving-forward/

            • Baloney.

              Even if I accept, for the sake of argument, that the Republicans never do “enough”– you’ve got the guys who bump into you in the subway, and the guys who take a spiked baseball bat to you.

              Going “they’re both interfering with my right to be here, unthumped” is silly.

            • GOPe and Democrat? Easy, just take the first “half” of each and combine them: Goddems. As in, that Goddem McCain!

          • Oh, but they certainly act</strong as a “uniparty”. They certainly don’t – from the party establishments’ POV, at the national level – have different end goals in mind. They both desire to run the country as a semi-socialist technocracy, with the primary difference being how much it costs to do so (and who foots the bill).

            Foreign policy is still more fractious. But, even there, a lot of the assumptions are the same – globalism, can’t we all get along, war is the ugliest thing, etc. It doesn’t matter the party affiliation, they all seem to want an aristocracy (or technocracy) with themselves among the chosen nobility.

            Being a conservative — or, like me, simply an anti-communist — in the seventies was fighting a rear-guard action, with the certainty we were going to lose.
            In one sense, it always will be either a rearguard or a revolution. Because we’re fighting against human nature. No, despite Bush’s statement, every human heart does not desire to be free. Many want to be ruled, and many others want to rule. That is the State of Man.
            To achieve otherwise is a brief, glorious thing. And it must be fought for. We have seen the American spirit enervated across the land by welfare and statism and post-modern thought. We can and should fight to renew that.
            But, understand, it will have to be fought for all over again. And again. And again.

            • More nincompoopness?
              Please, this is like saying “there are three stories in the world.”
              Even in Portugal where the choice was sometimes between socialist and social democrat it was worth fighting for the least of two evils, so we could start the counter-assault.
              NOW you want to give up in despair?
              Rearguard action my sore patooty. Since the new media came in we are turning this bullshit around.
              I know, it took them 100 + years to take over, but you want it yesterday.
              Get up off the floor, or at least curl up in a fetal position out of the way of the rest of us working. I’m all out of patience with despair and defeatism.

              • Yes, there is a difference. But even a “win” now won’t give us our country back. Look at the 0bamaCare no-repeal stuff. Please, tell me how the Republicans being in charge has made us ANY less socialist than 2 years ago? Oh sure, at least we’ve stopped greasing the zip line – but it’s still headed down.

                Nowhere above do I say we must give up. But understand the reality in which we find ourselves: a significant minority of the country does not believe in small gov’t constitutionalism, and has no desire to upend the currently solidifying technocracy. And I argue that significant minority is really a majority (a lot of pro-Trump folks really don’t sound like they want small gov’t constitutionalism).

                There are three ways to fight: the soap box, the ballot box, and the cartridge box*. The ballot box is currently not effective at the national level (and it’s not effective in a lot of states, either – witness the number of Republican legislatures and governors violating their supposed platform and campaign promises). This leaves the soap box and the cartridge box. We can continue to try and convince the people to return to morality, reason, wisdom, and freedom, certainly. But understand it is an uphill slog at best. Or we can divorce ourselves from our would-be overlords.

                I do not advocate giving up. I do advocate not holding to the wishful thinking that we will – anytime in the near future (say, 40 years) – ever achieve a majority of small gov’t constitutionalists within the gov’t. We will require a revolution first – either of thinking, or of fire. The technocrats will not go away willingly, and they have the advantage of being able to buy voters’ loyalties.

                This is a constant fight. Even after victory (in any fashion) we will have to fight again. Part of our problem the last century was the utopian idea that we had our problems licked, and we didn’t need to keep watch over our liberty any more. This is never true. We must always be on guard against those who would take away our freedom. We can never say we have won the war against tyranny, only that we have achieved a temporary respite from it (witness the fall of the USSR to the rise of Putin).

                (* I think there is a 4th way, just short of the cartridge box. But it involves finding a tallish tree with stout limbs, some supplies from Home Depot, and stacking those three boxes under a stout limb…….
                Or, any other method of directly, physically encouraging our would-be overlords to get out and never return.)

                • But even a “win” now won’t give us our country back.

                  Only if you only think in terms of immediate win/loss. It took us a hundred years to get here. Getting “back” won’t happen overnight either.

                  Even after victory (in any fashion) we will have to fight again.

                  Why, one might almost say “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Do you think this is a surprise to anyone here.

                  People seem to have this strange idea that competing on the field of ideas–teaching the young, for example–is all one way. The Left can successfully do it but we can’t. That, right there, is an admission that one doesn’t actually believe in the value of the cause of liberty. “Liberty” imposed at the point of a sword (which is what you have when your force those who don’t believe as you out by force) is not liberty at all.

                • But even a “win” now won’t give us our country back.

                  Thank goodness- because if it did work that way, one loss would destroy all hope. In which case our country wouldn’t have started in the first place!

                • “There are three ways to fight: the soap box, the ballot box, and the cartridge box*. ”

                  The fourth is the jury box.

                  • Well, except for the inconvenient fact that since there is NO privacy any more, we’ll see more and more “Bronx juries” by excluding wrongthinkers from it.

                    • You say ‘Bronx juries’ as if it were necessarily a bad thing. Which it is, from the view of the perprosecutorial standpoint.

                      And what sort of ‘wrongthink’ would result in more Bronx juries? In the matter of jury stackingvoir dire, the advantage usually lies in the direction of the state, rather than the defense. Which would, as I understand the term, *reduce* the likelihood of a Bronx jury.

                • The “Dear Colleague” letter was rescinded today.

                  That would be the one which started the Title IX abuse, and has been the enabler of the raging insanity happening on college campuses for the last few years. The Rule of Law is reasserting itself.

                  If that isn’t a major win I don’t know what is.

                  Besides, this is all academic; the mega-state like the mega-corp was a product of the Industrial Age. We are now in the Coasian Age*, and the mega-whatevers will melt away because the dominant technologies do not promote their health.

                  * “Coasian Age”, is always misnamed the “Information age” which captures a surface detail without grasping the underlying process. “Coasian” is a reference to Coase’s Therom, which you should study.

                  • “We are now in the Coasian Age*, and the mega-whatevers will melt away because the dominant technologies do not promote their health.”

                    Tell that to gab.ai, which is in the process of getting the “Daily Stormer” treatment of getting kicked off the internet because wrongthink. No domain, no hosting, no recourse.

                    “First the came for the Daily Stormer. Then Milo. Then…” And the choke points are obvious.

                    • Yes, Steve, you’re right. EVERY reverse is a reason for us to go jump off a cliff. Because things aren’t getting better at all. In fact, we aren’t fighting back at all.

                    • Which is why I was unable to reach gab or stormfag, oh wait….

                      And the choke points are obvious.

                      Oh come on. Yes they are obvious. That is why the people who built the internet in the first place are working on decentralizing those key chokepoints. I’ve been privileged to be able to listen in a bit on those discussions, the tech isn’t *quite* there yet, mostly because there are other dumpster fires that need to be put out immediately. But you can be sure that if governments try to bring the hammer down that fire will shoot to the top of the priority list in about 3 planck times.

                      But on a more general note (that others have already said); you mistake the screeching of losers for the cheering of a triumphal parade. For the last couple years the left has not won a single battle they have tried to fight.

                      Washington Post were so desperate they tried to out-meme 4chan, and had their asses handed to them in less than a week.

                      The Republicrats couldn’t even successfully rig their own primary to exclude the guy they hated.

                      The left tried to go after Pewdie Pie to make an example of him: it backfired horribly.

                      But the most telling detail in the psychological state of the different sides: they are in a permanent state of enraged triggeredness, we are laughing our heads off constantly.

                      Wake up and smell the roses already.

                      We just wanted to play vidya……

                    • Also, yeah, they’ll score some points and make some attacks. That’s because THE OTHER SIDE FIGHTS BACK. Sometimes they’ll win one or two victories. BUT THE TECH IS GOING AGAINST THEM, and if you look through history tech shapes the minds and the view of the world. In 25 years their mind set will seem even crazier than now.

                • Oh sure, at least we’ve stopped greasing the zip line …

                  I’m sorry, what part of that sentence is not a win? Why is it that so many people want to declare objective progress as being practically worth acknowledgement?

                  Look, when you’re training a pigeon to ring a bell, in the beginning, you reward it simply for NOT walking AWAY from the bell. Then you reward it when it is walking more toward the bell than not. Then for walking directly towards it. Then for bobbing its head down. Then finally when it actually rings the bell.

                  You don’t declare that drastic measures are necessary if it doesn’t walk over and ring the bell immediately. That’s a complete waste of time. You have to take the little bits of progress and encourage them to improve. And have some patience. It takes time. Give it at least four or five Pres. election cycles, and realize that there are still going to be steps backward on the way.

                  • Oops. Changed the wording partway through, in that first paragraph. “practically worth acknowledgement” should read, “barely worth acknowledgement”.

                  • Wonderful analogy, with one slight flaw: it assumes Republican politicians have at least as much brains as a pigeon. The evidence does not support that assumption.

                    • Well, I suppose I do have to grant that one. The same general method does work even with goldfish, though, can we expect more than half of them to have at least the brains of a (variety of) carp?

                  • You don’t declare that drastic measures are necessary if it doesn’t walk over and ring the bell immediately.

                    Particularly when the “drastic measures” are so very likely to make things worse. These “drastic measures” aren’t plan B, C, or even Q. They’re the “we have nothing left to lose” plan, where even the near certainty (seriously: look at the history of armed revolt in the world, don’t just cherry pick the American Revolution) of ending up with an openly tyrannical government. “The Terror” followed by a Napoleon is a far more common outcome than “Constitutional Convention”.

        • That ship sailed in 1964. When a private business can be redefined as a “public accommodation” to override all parts of the First Amendment, the only thing we can do is make sure it’s applied to every private business equally.

          • Well, except for purposes of the Second Amendment, where suddenly property rights trump the Constitution…

            (I live in a “signs have the force of law” state. But translated into English, the signs say “WE DON’T WANT YOUR BUSINESS.”)

            • Yeah, signs like that are a handy counterargument to “things are getting better…. as long as you take what we allow you, and agree that words like “private business” and “public accommodation” mean what we say they mean.”

              • Steve, when you squeeze the other side, they’ll FIGHT BACK. We’re in the early stages of the squeeze. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

                • The fact that they feel moved to put up those signs means they are feeling the pressure. But note what isn’t happening. Look what happened with the campaign against Chick-Fil-A. Business boomed despite the so-called “boycott”. Gun rights supporters are basically saying “okay, I’ll take my business elsewhere” and there is no countervailing rush of anti-gun folk giving them the best year ever.

                  They’re trying, but they’re failing.

          • You cannot both have that everything reasonably privatizable should be privatized, and that people have absolute property rights at their business.

            To take an extreme, you can’t argue that property rights mean that a hospital can refuse to do immediately-life-saving work on crash victims because whatever. All that does is ensure that property rights will be destroyed, and I’d lay money on people setting up stuff in order to do so. (Why? Because I’ve been paying attention for more than five minutes, it’s about the oldest trick in the book.)

            Yeah, it’s complicated. Yeah, there will be some wrong done– but there will be wrong done in all the ways, and this one doesn’t result in all the good being destroyed out of a refusal to try to find a just result.

            • Byzantine_Corporal

              Without agreeing or disagreeing on the direct point, I find it concerning “You can’t argue…” that you consider your preferences self-evidently binding on others…

      • Register, AND vote. “Despair is a sin”, as Dr. P. used to say.

        We’re finding out here in New Hampshire that even a single vote makes a very big difference when you have thousands of fraudulent voters flooding into your state, and too much complacency by the valid citizens. Remove the fraud votes, and Trump probably would have taken the state, and Maggie Hassan would be have been given the heave-ho.

        • He’s a nincompoop, Mike. He doesn’t particularly care about Israel — our only real ally in the Middle East — and thinks that “there are other countries more deserving” of embargo. Let me see, all of them?
          He also thinks there is no difference between the now outright communist dems and the milky republicans. NINCOMPOOP. He can’t think, and you aren’t going to make him. He’s comfortable and happy in his defeatism. And he BELIEVES he’s smart.

      • yeah, giving up is always the action more likely to get results. Sure.

      • If you don’t think your work will make any difference for good, then at least it’s not like your acting on things will make anything worse, right? Even if things are hopeless (whether they truly are at this point or not), the least we can do is go down fighting. There is a reason despair is called the unforgivable sin. Do not go gentle into that good night!

    • How to reach your elected representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

      A sample e-mail to cut-and-paste & customize. I’ll x-post to Shadowdancer’s comment thread as well.

      Change.org is also an option.

      =================================================

      Please don’t use the victims of sexual trafficking as an excuse to destroy American liberties.

      Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.

      SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.

      As a librarian, and a union employee, my freedom to speak up about controversial issues could be abrogated if a Trump “pizza-gate” activist decided to use law-fare to shut down the social media site. For those on the right, if the next president and congress are Democrats, they could face a similar shut down.

      Please stop this bill.

    • Robin, ‘Hobbit, thank you. I was a little worried that my rudeness (in abruptly posting the off-topic comment) had pretty much killed any chance of anyone paying attention to it.

      I am trying to see about getting a post done, if Aff is willing to help me parse it, and folks think it might be helpful. (He understands it much better than I do, and bear in mind, he hates blogging and social media full stop.)

  14. >>The assumption was that communism was more efficient. Central, top-down planing just eliminated waste more, which is why we needed it when we were all heading for the world of “make room, make room.” Most anti-communists opposed communism because they thought life under it would be worse for the individual, but agreed that due to its incredible efficiency it would win out.<<

    (*nods*)

    At most, some idealistic anti-Communists thought it likely that socialist societies would miss opportunities for rapid economic expansion because of the static nature of the growth model built into the system, but certainly not that they would handle running an already-established economy much worse. We also totally missed the way in which the Left would go utterly bonkers when the tide of history started to turn against them — such as is the case today, where they are decreeing dozens of genders and handing out crayons for safe spaces, while allying with reactionary Islam against women.

  15. I see some of the same thing in the ongoing RKBA fight. For a long time we were losing. Based on their actions the NRA seemed to take it as their mission to make the best deals they could to put off the evil day of eventual prohibition as long as possible. But it was going to come.

    Then, in 1987, Florida passed it’s “Shall-issue” concealed handgun license law. They weren’t the first but theirs became a matter of national news sparking a lot of debate. Later 1994 became the high-water mark for Federal gun control with the enactment of the “Brady Bill” and the “Assault Weapons Ban”.

    Since then, however, “shall issue” and even “Constitutional Carry” have exploded. The AWB was allowed to sunset and no attempt to reinstate it nationally has had even a chance of success. We’ve had Heller and McDonald. And while there have been a few “losses” in some of the bluest of blue states we’ve, by and large, been _winning_ the gun control battle and restoring people’s rights.

    Still, some of the old guard at the NRA appear to be having trouble adjusting to the new battlespace. They still seem to be stuck in the “make the best deal to put off the inevitable eventual loss” mode. That seems to be changing but oh, so slowly.

    • The NRA has been happy to take credit for most of those advances, but the actual work was mostly done by local groups or the SAF.

      A lot of us got sold down the river by the NRA in 1986, and we won’t be fooled again…

    • Patrick Chester

      …and one of the mantras bleated by the alt-right types is “conservatives conserved NOTHING” or similar.

      I think I’ll post that animated .gif showing gun laws changing from state-to-state. IIRC, there are now FOUR states that don’t have any restrictions and many others have shall-issue CCW laws.

      • I think we’re up to 11 or 12 Constitutional Carry states (I’m waiting Indiana). It’s been going like gangbusters in recent years.

      • And part of the answer will be, rightly, from people who have been labelled alt-right, will be “Yeah, and that was us, making a stink and working our hearts out, while the Beltway GOPe referred to us as raaaaacists, nativists, hobbits,, etc. Trump was us, not you Beltway types “

    • Back when I was working the gun shows for Minnesota’s Shall Issue measure, I had several people say to me that it was a good idea but would never pass. Last year, Constitutional carry was proposed in the legislature. It didn’t pass, but I can see it coming in my lifetime (It took almost a decade for Shall Issue to come to fruition).

  16. A friend of mine, in the run up to 04 said they become louder as they start losing.

    Duh.

    If you got the fact pound the facts. If you don’t pound the table. If things start to go down hill then wave your arms and scream.

    When things tank, see if you can find someone to be more anti-social, more extreme, and more destructive, than you, Then rile them up, set them off and then present yourself as a reasonable alternative.

  17. The assumption was that communism was more efficient. Central, top-down planing just eliminated waste more […]”

    Forgive me while I laugh and point and fall over and roll around on the ground and laugh so hysterically hard that I make myself puke.

    Even Capitalists can’t make centralized top-down planning work. I’ll spare you the long-winded stories of my days working in The Supermarket (okay, okay, quit applauding), but suffice to say that we were routinely handed down directives and goals from the Execs in their ivory tower glass-clad skyscrapers that everyone on the floors and counters knew were impossible and doomed to failure. The running joke in my department (heck, probably the whole company) when such directives came down was, “This is a really stupid idea. But what the hell do we know? It isn’t like we know what the customers want because we work with them every day or anything.”

    • (Nods) I haven’t experienced it myself, but I know there are people here who can tell stories about what happened when bookstore chains started trying to centralize and, of course, homogenize their inventories.
      Suffice it to say, it didn’t work out.

      • Traditional publishing push model. Just like communism but crazier. No wonder they’re all leftists.

      • when bookstore chains started trying to centralize and, of course, homogenize their inventories.

        As I recall, it involved a significant increase in the Romance novel section and a significant decrease in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and reference sections.
        In a town whose market was comprised primarily of college students and college professors.

        • Yep, that sounds about right. And every time they “update” the store’s floorplan, Sci-FI/Fantasy and Reference get smaller and smaller (with the exception of SAT/ACT/PSSA/College Admission, etc. prep guides), and Romance not only gets larger and larger, but also spills over more and more into the general Fiction section.

          Oh, and there are more and more toys, models, collectibles, DVDs, etc. as well. And to think I used to like B&N.

          • What bugs me is that they’re now putting pretty much ANYTHING that isn’t a novel in reference. 😦

            • Oh, you aren’t kidding. Yesterday, my wife and I went to the main Half-Price Books in DFW. The geology section was maybe one bookshelf, and that was including the books on “The Healing Power of Crystals”….

              Jesus, take me now.

              • LOL. The things I’ve found under “science” don’t bear examining. These ARE the crazy years.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  I went this summer to the Chamblin Bookmine in Jacksonville and fell in LOVE, not only because of the incredible selection and TARDIS-like architecture, but because there are all these old and *factual* books buried in those shelves. I am hoping to go back and spend a day instead of half a morning so that I can dig out some good practical stuff as well as fun!books; the novels are sort of organized but the nonfication is a good deal hairier.

                • Half Price Books has a lot of turnover for the good stuff, so they are left with a lot of crap a lot of the time.

              • I keep thinking of quartz, but properly cut and set in electrodes, it can be useful. Curative? I dunno… diathermy, perhaps?

              • Going by my searches for decent mythology sources (that are not escaped novel or movie plot points) I fully expect “The Tough Guide to Fantasyland” to be in the reference section any time now.

                • It is probably better grounded than much of the propaganda published as non-fiction.

                  Sweden: What You Won’t See in This Book…
                  by Bruce Bawer
                  Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, President Trump mentioned recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris, and Brussels, and then said:

                  “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

                  Nothing major had happened the night before in Sweden, except that the country has taken in armies of Muslims, and as a result is descending into social and economic disaster.

                  The Swedish media might have responded to Trump’s comment by addressing their country’s immigrant crisis honestly. Instead, they took it as an opportunity to mock Trump. The Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet ran an article in English headlined: “Here’s what happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President.” The article included a list of innocuous news items, among them technical problems that had occurred at rehearsals for Swedish Eurovision and the temporary closing of a highway because of lousy weather.

                  So much for that episode, right? No. Several Swedish photographers decided to drag it out way beyond a single news cycle. The result: a new coffee-table book entitled Last Night in Sweden.

                  [SNIP]

                  The first copy of Last Night in Sweden, published on September 7, was mailed to Donald Trump. Other copies have been, or will be, sent to “all members of the US Congress and European Parliament” as a way of countering “false news.” [This is how they put it] At the end of October, an exhibition of photos from the book will move from Stockholm to the European Parliament in Brussels.

                  The book contains pictures of an ethnic Swedish man sitting on a snowmobile on a snow-covered icy river; a young guy walking around a gym practicing the tuba; a 94-year old Swedish woman in a retirement home being pushed in her wheelchair by a Somali immigrant; an octogenarian Swedish couple sitting in their home sauna in Lapland; a handicapped Algerian immigrant working out in the gym he founded; a Romani beggar woman kneeling on a city street; an elderly Swedish couple playing in their kitchen with their dog. And so on. In other words, a bunch of images showing immigrants doing things that, in one way or another, enhance life in Sweden, mixed in with a few photos of ethnic Swedes living pretty much the same way they did before the immigration tsunami started.

                  What won’t you see in this book?

                  You won’t see Muslim violence in Sweden’s public libraries, which has increased so dramatically in the last couple of years that many librarians are looking for other jobs. You won’t see a picture of the three condos in which a newly arrived Syrian immigrant’s three wives and sixteen children are being put up at a total cost to Swedish taxpayers of $1.75 million. You won’t see a picture of Muslim “morality police” patrolling neighborhoods and controlling women’s conduct. You won’t see Muslim men cutting in front of Swedish women in queues and then calling them “whores” when they protest.

                  You won’t see a TV news crew from Australia being physically attacked by Muslims for entering a no-go zone. You won’t see Muslim girls being beaten by their families for removing their hijab. You won’t see Muslims setting cars on fire, and then hurling bottles and stones at the firefighters who show up to put out the blaze.

                  You won’t see a picture of a recent event at which politicians and welfare officials met with residents of Stockholm’s Järva neighborhood to address the prevalence of violence, forced marriage, compulsory hijab, and other forms of oppression within Muslim families – only to be told by the locals that they were not interested in conforming to “Swedish values.” You won’t see a picture of the head of the Swedish security service, Anders Thornberg, who in a TV interview the other day admitted that the number of potential perpetrators of terrorist violence in Sweden had risen immensely in recent years.

                  You won’t see a gang of Muslim youths raping an infidel teenager. You won’t see a Syrian refugee raping the fourteen-year-old daughter of the woman who took him into her house out of compassion. You won’t see ten men committing a gang rape in August of last year – or their arrest, which finally took place earlier this month because it took that long for the police to fit it into their schedule. They are too busy these days investigating murders to spend much time on rapes.

                  You won’t see convicted Muslim rapists being punished by paying small fines and performing community service for a few days.

                  [END EXCERPT]

        • And nonfiction would focus more and more on travel books, cookbooks, biographies of people you care nothing about, and political tracts that read like Marx on LSD…

          One of my last ventures into Waldenbooks was in the late 1980s. At the same they still stocked a small number of auto repair manuals. I drove 15 miles to the store to order a manual for my car. It was listed as available in one of my other manuals from the same publisher.

          “I’d like to order this book, please.” [passes over paper with title, author, and ISBN.]

          “We don’t do special orders.”

          “I’ll pay in advance.”

          “No, special orders are too much trouble.”

          Funny, it was too much trouble for me to go back, after that…

      • I used to work at Borders. Got out before the worst, but the idiocy had well and truly begun before I left.

      • I remember that. I was assistant-manager-ing at a Waldenbooks which was (IIRC) a “green” story, which was one level down in sales volume from the top “grey” stores. Despite a centralized order-and-replace system, the manager got a lot of lee-way by consistently bringing in “grey” sales numbers. One of the ways he did that was by having some very part-time people who simply managed “their” popular section. There was a military history section that reliably drew in buyers from the whole metropolitan area. The guy in charge of that section it even managed to get Tom Clancy for a book-signing while I was there.

    • Aye, it’s a feedback loop and if you mess with it, you get distortion – at the very best.

      Ace Widgets overproduces.. widget market is glutted, widget prices fall, other producers that had been considering going into the widget business decide doohickeys, thingamjigs, and whatsits are better production investments. The widget glut dries some.. widget prices rise some.. and the system “rides the gain” all by itself. Eventually things stabilize. Not rock-solid, but the price floats around a sensible level, constantly self-adjusting. A truly free market is its own automatic gain control.

      But force a shortage (or a glut) and prevent the feedback from asserting itself and you have a permanent shortage – or glut. But what you do NOT have is useful production of desired goods in either circumstance – effort is wasted either way. Market distortion. Let it go on long enough, wide enough, and the system “blows up.” See: USSR, Cuba, Venezuela…

      • But you are not taking into account that at some point we will reach peak widget!

        • Well, that’s when you engineer the widgets so they have to be replaced every five years, or convince people that this particular color of widget is out of fashion and you must must replace it with a new widget of the proper color, or tell people that this widget is better for the planet so they have to throw away their old widget and get a new one….

          • Widget fins, to make them more aerodynamic? Green Widgets, organically made with carbon offsets and socially conscious engineering? Bring on the Cash For Clunker Widgets program!

          • So basically Apple?

            • He didn’t mention ‘force obsolescence by stopping supporting older versions of your hardware even though the hardware can run the newer stuff’ and ‘deliberately kill a high end market that you use as a selling point for your widget’ so, it cant be Apple.

              • I’m quite familiar with your first example, but I don’t recognize the second one. Which high-end market (which had been a selling point for Apple’s products) did they kill?

            • Or home appliance manufacturers.

              You didn’t think that the “stainless steel is the new hotness” and “buy EnergyStar appliances!” marketing came out of actual consumer demand, did you?

              • EnergyStar came from the EPA, which set ridiculous standards of energy use which they could only make look good by artificially inflating the price of energy…. and when there was nothing else available to buy, people learned to put up with the barely functional performance.

                • There are other things available to buy. They’re usually SO cheap that the store won’t show them to you. Like my amazing washer.

                  • Which store is that, seriously? Everywhere I’ve looked it’s Energy Star everywhere.

                    • This was home depot. I made a post about it. Our washer was something like $230. We found it and told the lady we wanted it. She said “But it uses lots of water.” We grinned madly (after three top of the line washers that lasted a couple of years and grew mildew) and said “great. we’ll take it” “But it’s bad for the Earth.” “Bullshit. Water is a renewable resource.” “But–” “Lady, sell us the damn washer.”
                      I think she might still be crying…

                    • I’m going out on a limb and guessing that her commission was at least partly based on moving “the right” machines.

                    • I’m sure, but she also seemed to have internalized the whole Paul Ehrlich “we’re running out of water” fable, and was horrified we laughed at it.

                    • i’ve told this before, somewhere, but don’t remember if it was here:

                      In the 80s, I was subscribed to Scientific American magazine. I distinctly remember a cover with a man standing next to what must have been at least a 12-inch pipe with water gushing out, and the headline, “This water is practically free. That’s why we’re running out!”

                      30+ years later, we haven’t run out yet…

                    • I’ll keep that in mind. Of course, I have a pre-2000 Kenmore washer / dryer that’s never had a problem in 20 years next May.

                    • I went to a kid-oriented science event semi-locally (not close, but easily gotten to.) They had a table with a lady talking about plastic pollution in the ocean. I talked about that guy who has proposed (and is implementing) a solution to cleaning up the big plastic patches where they tend to collect. I mentioned the folk who have come up with a recycling scheme to basically turn plastic bits into Lego-style housing bricks. And you know her response? That it didn’t matter—because we’d just put more into the ocean.

                      Sorry, lady, you just lost any sympathy I had for you when you started peddling nihilism to KIDS.

                    • I am sure it would be too much to ask if she were aware that microbes have evolved to eat* that plastic?

                      She ain’t anti-Eeeevolution, is she?

                      *In fact, I gather some have been selected to not only eat the plastic but to crap hydrocarbons. … imagining a cartoon of two microbes in a mass of six-pack rings with one saying, “I can’t eat plastic, it gives me gas.”

                    • … microbes have evolved to eat* that plastic?

                      N, that’s impossible! We’ve been reliably informed* that that plastic will be there for a thousand years! The Enviro-whackos told us so!

                      * I kind of wondered about that reliability all the way back into high school, when i first heard it, because I know that in general, where there’s hydrocarbons to be had, SOMETHING will come along that can eat it.

                    • I made the mistake of pointing out that I’d seen sun-rotted plastic all over the place, so how did they figure it would last forever?

                    • That does work as an argument for the plastics floating in the ocean, because there are few plastics that can withstand UV damage, but for those that get protected, such as by being in a landfill, there is no natural mechanism save evolving critters, for their destruction.

                    • More importantly? That plastic and trash is almost exclusively non-US. What DO they intend to do?

                    • P.S. Everything else was cheerful and not trying to beat the kids over the head with OMG Humans Are Awful™. It was just this one table.

      • take that post and send it to Nintendo.

    • The assumption was that communism was more efficient. Central, top-down planing just eliminated waste more […]”

      Forgive me while I laugh and point and fall over and roll around on the ground and laugh so hysterically hard that I make myself puke.

      I couldn’t get into socialism. Not after having lived in a socialist country and city, where crossing over the border of said divided city showed exactly why capitalism was better. I remember how I learned very early on to hold my tongue, and that any gifts we were given by the East Berliners were to be shown proper appreciation – because it likely was the best they could give and more valuable than they might get for themselves.

      Lines for bruised, and browning bananas from some fellow Socialist country (Cuba? Venezuela?). I should write about that sometime on my blog.

      How everything seemed dingier and older, even though East Berlin was visibly cleaner than the West side…

  18. The assumption was that communism was more efficient.

    The purpose of government isn’t efficiency. Despots are the most efficient form of governance. Phooey. The purpose of government is to protect certain inalienable rights with which we were endowed by our Creator. The purpose of government is writ right clearly at the beginning of the US Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Emphasis added.

    Note the absence of any twaddle about efficiency.

    • What happened to the emphasis!

      and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

      That is the purpose of government!

      • Remember when, “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” meant you could keep what you earned?

      • “Liberty” is a racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/whatever-the-buzzword-is-this-week-ist/phobic concept because it intrinsically means that white heterosexual cisgendered Christian Conservatives capitalist males won’t be permanently disenfranchised and rendered third-class pseudo-slaves the majority will be able to disenfranchise and oppress minority groups, and that all people will not be absolutely equal in every aspect (except for the right-thinking leadership, of course).

        Liberty is the enemy of diversity. I know this because some over-paid, over-educated mouth-breather on TV said so, so it must be true.

    • I spent a good deal of time in the 1070’s and 1980’s insisting that an efficient government was an authentic menace…I got a lot of strange looks. I get fewer now.

      • “The LAST thing I want is a truly efficient gov’t.”
        “Huh?”
        “I don’t want them ****ing me over efficiently!”
        “Oh.”

        • That’s why Herbert’s ConSentiency had the Bureau of Sabotage; to put a stick in the wheels of a bureaucracy so efficient that laws could be proposed, passed, enforced, and repealed, all on the same day…

          “The Tactful Saboteur”, “Whipping Star”, and “The Dosadi Experiment”, though the latter isn’t really worth reading, while I’d put “Whipping Star” at the top of my list of Herbert’s work…

        • Bingo. I also formulated this variant of an old saying;

          “The problem with a government that can give you everything you want isn’t that it can take everything you have. The problem is that it will be so big and clumsy that it’s likely to squish you like a bug without even noticing.”

          NOTHING as big as the Federal government is efficient. But corporations that get that big are either efficient ENOUGH, or they fail. Possibly the most egregious piece of idiocy committed in recent years (and that’s a BIG category) was the GM bailout.

          Oh, well. Unlike my Leftie Liberal in-laws I never considered Bush to be Conservative. Just more Conservative than his opponents.

      • Sounds like conversations I have with friends and family now.

        “The Republicans are going to let the government shut down rather than compromise with Trump and The Democrats!”
        “I know, that’s great!”
        “What?! No it isn’t! If the government shuts down, then nothing will get done!”
        “Exactly! If the government isn’t getting anything done, it means they aren’t actively working to screw us over!”

        At which point I get scolded for using “foul, inappropriate, and/or uneducated language.

        • “It took five years to learn to euphemize with ‘screw’.” }:o)

          {Old joke, I know. Ox ancient. So there.}

        • How did we ever express the sentiment “It’s a feature, not a bug” before the advent of computers?

        • Saw an….”interesting”… take on Trump and the hurricane relief bill; was basically:
          “What a horrible guy, he’s HOLDING MONEY FOR THOSE POOR PEOPLE HOSTAGE to get a higher debt ceiling!”
          1) Trump WANTED a higher debt ceiling?
          2) There was no money left. They had to raise the debt ceiling to have anything to send.

    • “Despots are the most efficient form of governance”

      Well, no, they’re not. Mussolini did not get the trains to run on time.

      The blunt fact is that no one can make someone do something, he can only make it quite painful to refrain.

      • You are aware that efficient does not equate to effective?

        In terms of government, efficient is a somewhat nebulous term, nicht wahr?

        • personally I always thought effecient and government were antonyms.

        • If you aren’t effective, you aren’t efficient, by defintion.

          • The definition of effective can vary, according to who is doing the measurement. Or do you imagine that all governments employ the same metric, that the US government, the Israeli government the DPK government and the Iranian government all strive toward the same ends?

      • As Mr. Tooze pointed out, the Nazi economy was a wreck, a corrupt inefficient mess disguised by a veneer of propaganda.
        A despot can live off the accumulated resources of the previous regime for a while, but eventually they’ll run out, and won’t be able to replace what they lost.

        • Twaddle. The Hapsburgs ruled for about 500 years. The Ottomans ruled for slightly over 600 years, the Byzantines for 1,120 years, except they thought themselves Roman and dated their despots back an additional 357 years. The Egyptians “enjoyed” despotic rule for nearly three millennia.

          Despots can rule a very long time so long as due care is exercised. They can be very efficient* because little time is wasted debating decisions.

          It somewhat depends on whether you view the purpose of government in Lockian or Machiavellian terms, doesn’t it?

          *For certain values of efficiency

          • It does help if one has decades of inertia on one’s side. In those cases, the despot weren’t attempts to establish something brand new from scratch (as in our more modern examples), but just doing things they way they have always been done.
            Note the reaction of the Egyptians to the Amarna Period, and aftermath- the succeeding Pharaohs returned Egypt to the old ways.
            And a despotic system can be pretty efficient… right up until those less efficient and orderly bastidges in the next country over come in.

            • And a despotic system can be pretty efficient… right up until those less efficient and orderly bastidges in the next country over come in.

              As the Ancient Greeks and 20th Century French found, that can also be true of democratic governments. Of course, the Napoleonic French demonstrated that monarchical forms of government are not proof against such problems. I am not sure any form of government has proven itself efficient against such bastidges.

  19. It’s weird. I grew up in an academic household. My Father was actually a college Professor. My mother had been an actress (went to RADA) and then a high school history teacher. Furthermore, she had been raise Quaker.

    There was not a day in my life that I thought Communism was anything but pseudo-intellectual bushwa, pretty much guaranteed to fail messily.

    Y’see, my Father may have been an academic, but he was an actual scholar. He went where the data lead him. Consequently, our house had a subscription to THE NATIONAL REVIEW all of my life. I got the whole ‘central planning is A Good Thing’ narrative at school, but just accepted that as an example of ‘teachers are human, and much of what they teach grade school students has already been superseded by events’. Later I developed less flattering theories.

    My mother, though not as hard line Conservative as my Father, had a horror of the ant-colony mentality of the Socialist Left. Her position was that humans do not make good insects.

    So, I know what you’re talking about, but distantly. Because I knew Communism was just power-hunger with a new, not particularly convincing mask, as long as I can remember.

    It took me longer to throw off the NR’s attempts to rehabilitate McCarthy. Tail Gunner Joe was a swine and a slob, who jumped on a bandwagon and thereby discredited it. Any damage he actually did to International Communism was doubtless coincidental. The Left should get down on their knees every night and thank the God they don’t believe in for sending them McCarthy to discredit anti-Communism.

    I’m a Crank. I find the current political uproar hysterically funny.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      My mother divorced when I was fifteen and was dating again when I was sixteen. The most clever of her suitors took a look at my bookshelf and gave me all his back issues of National Review in a transparent but appreciated attempt at bribery.

  20. Growing up where I did in NY in the 60’s, there were a LOT of people living there who had recently escaped communism. And every year or two, another couple or family would move into town, who had just recently escaped and would tell some pretty nasty stories of why and how.

    Anyone with half a brain could go and talk to people who knew what it was like in communist countries and who had lived in one.

    Sadly, most of the teachers who were starting to get jobs in the public schools didn’t have half a brain. Looking back now, I can see how the indoctrination began. And no one did anything about it.

    • It was inevitable from the first moment that people accepted the idea that school teachers were a Profession, and needed specialized certification. Progressive experimental schools looked swell, and nobody seems to have realized that they were self-selecting samples. From that point, it was just natural that public schools ended up filled with teachers with heads full of utter drivel which wouldn’t work on calculus of average kids. And since teaching kids to parrot doctrine is a great deal easier than teaching them to think for themselves, we got parrots.

    • I attended a college that was mostly focused on churning out teachers. I can vouch for most of them not having half a brain.

      There were a few exceptions here and there. A lot of very ‘nice’ people with very little critical thinking ability or interest in learning critical thinking skills.

  21. Just saw a comment on the song “Postcards From Cambodia” by Bruce Cockburn that some fool exclaimed the Khmer Rouge weren’t really communist.
    One person called them out as ignorant or mendacious. Sad to say the only other comment over that statement exclaimed they learned the meaning of a new word, “mendacious”.

    • In fairness, the Khmer Rouge weren’t really communist. Neither were the Bolsheviks, the Maoists, the Fidelistas, the Chavistas nor any other criminal conspiracy using communism as a mask for their looting and oppression.

      As far as I know, the only true communists were some minor Christian sects and even they couldn’t make it work (hence the modifier “minor”).

      • Officially, per the publications of the USSR, they were socialist working toward the glorious day when the workers paradise would arise and there’s be no need for a government, and True Communism would have been achieved.

        Still waiting.

      • Aren’t there some tiny monastaries that do communism successfully?

        Which only reinforces the point that it takes an Act of God to get it to work.

          • And being there voluntarily and able to leave at any time (and likely be thrown out if you aren’t productive)

            • That’s why I point out to my students that “voluntary communism can work on a small scale. Involuntary communism and large-scale communism have not worked yet, after 200 years and tens of millions of lives.”

              • I think there’s an important distinction to be made; Communalism can work, especially where all the participants are volunteers who view themselves as submitting to a Higher Authority than anything human. Communism is Marx’s attempt to take Communalism and turn it into an idea that could run nations. Communism is a sketch; which makes it popular with violent thug dictators who want an excuse to mass murder….there isn’t a framework that says that’s a no-no.

                Communism is a conspicuous failure. Communalism has occasionally been made to work in very limited circumstances.

            • And still needing regular reform to keep on the strait and narrow.

        • true communism and true libertarianism are exactly alike in that neither will ever work in the real world when dealing with real people

          but only one of those two has a body count in said real world

        • And even then it’s a long shot. The 12 Disciples backed up by God couldn’t make it work in Acts.

          • Socialist wannabes get a detail wrong about the early Church in the book of Acts. Most of the newly converted were not from the Jerusalem area, and a good majority was not even from Judea or Galilee. They had traveled to Jerusalem for the feast days, and weren’t really prepared for a long stay. However, they did need and want further teaching about their new found faith, so they stayed and listened to the teaching of the 12.
            What we see was not an attempt at Communism, but necessary hospitality for a large group of people far away from their own resources.

            • Read it for yourself.
              Book of Acts, 4:32 – 5:11, Ananias and Sephira. NewLiving translation.

              There is no doubt that they are practicing the economic system of communism:”All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had…There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them, and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need.” From each according to his means, to each according to his need — Marx would have been proud to call them brother.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                And about impossible absent *strong* spiritual motivation. Strong enough to overcome the many human impulses toward greed and laziness.

              • First, it was never held out as an example for Christians to follow- it was the circumstances necessary for a few thousand people not from Jerusalem to be able to live and learn about their new faith.
                And how was a new Christian from Rome, Africa, Greece, or further supposed to support themselves at this time? Credit cards? ATM?
                Note also Peter’s comment to Ananias and Sapphira- “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”
                They were judged not because they didn’t give all the money to the Church- they were judged because they lied.

            • There’s also the issue that the stuff given was gifts— Ananias and Sapphira were struck down for lying, that they claimed “we sold this land and gave ALL of it to the apostles.”

              Which clicks rather better with your point than idealized then perverted Christian charity.

  22. Interesting, For one thing, even when I was in school (upstate New York, graduated 1977, still remember duck and cover from elementary school in Rotterdam Jct.), we never considered the communists, or the socialists, as good guys. They were always, The Enemy. Never considered the fight to be doomed. Knew we were all going to blast ourselves back into the stone age, kill a couple billion or so; and figured we’d both lose, but the few Americans left would survive and rebuild from the radioactive rubble. (Talk about unbridled optimism! Or maybe not so unbridled, humans seem to survive even the worse environments, although at high cost.)

  23. I knew that it was impossible that a regime which de-emphasized THE VALUE OF THE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN couldn’t be good

    Either there’s one too many negatives in there or my caffeine is taking longer than usual to kick in.

  24. Mask? What mask? We don’t need no steenking masks!

    Secret Facebook Page Reveals Marvel, DC Comics Writers Conspiring to Harass Comic-Con Conservatives
    [SNIP]
    Richard Meyer has a YouTube channel called Diversity & Comics, where he reviews current comic books. Most of his reviews mock the overreaching and suffocating leftist messaging that has infiltrated the entire industry. I’ve seen enough of them to say with confidence that Meyer seems like a pretty nice guy with a passion for comic books. His reviews contain no swearing or major insults, just mild humor and a lot of chuckling.

    [SNIP]

    To make matters worse and more embarrassing for the SJW crowd of comic book writers, a secret Facebook page was revealed where writers plotted to target Meyer with harassment meant to incite violence.

    [SNIP]

    Meyer’s videos are low budget, filmed with his phone usually while sitting in his car or house flipping through comic books and chatting about the stories and plot lines, artwork and themes. It’s not exactly a hate crime. He is knowledgeable, interesting and intelligent and he clearly loves comic books. But he, and others like him, are facing an industry that seems to not want them anymore.

    [SNIP]

    J Media reached out to Richard Meyer, who was happy to talk about being targeted by SJWs. “It’s a neo-McCarthyism situation, the industry is being destroyed,” he said. “They are killing it. They’ve turned an industry into a community which doesn’t have to have sales or success. It’s a vicious pogrom and excommunication of anyone right of the extreme far left.”

    Meyer has been accused of transphobia for calling out the questionable elevation of a transgendered comic author, Magdalene Visaggio, who seemed to come out of nowhere with no history or accomplishments in the industry. Visaggio rose quickly for a beginner, leading some, like Meyer, to believe he was hired for diversity instead of skill. Visaggio won a new talent workshop at DC Comics that put him in a position to be mentored by the top comic writers in the industry even though he appeared not to like or understand DC characters like Batman.

    He also appears a little unstable, threatening “cis” people with violence on social media.

    [SNIP]

    Meyer believes he is being targeted for, among other things, daring to criticize Visaggio. “You can’t say anything about the diversity hires because they’re magical,” he explained. “One of the successes of my channel is that I say what other people are thinking. There’s about 100,000 fans out there waiting to come back. America only has a few unique institutions and one of them, comic books, is literally being murdered. Normal comic pros have been chased away and it is now a weird club for people with personality disorders.”

    [END EXCERPT]

    Anyone else feel like they’ve seen this movie before?

  25. I do not support everything Paul Ryan does, nor do I believe him capable of herding Congresscats, but credit where due, he has some great people on staff, including Caleb Smith, Ryan’s digital communications director:


    This is great.

  26. “A friend of mine, in the run up to 04 said they become louder as they start losing.”

    We’ve certainly been seeing it. Frankly I’ve been astounded by the sheer number of Leftists I’m seeing. I’m worried that “become louder” is going to keep pushing till it becomes an attempted “People’s Revolution” (never mind that “the People” never really benefit from one).

    • So am I. They’ll miss big, because, well, they don’t get that the army aren’t their serfs. They keep expecting the “Soldiers and workers” to “rise in solidarity.” But their myth is broken. However, note that I said if you’re in an area likely to have trouble (eh, Denver, eh) be prepared and have a place to retreat to.

      • That’s one factor that rather amuses me personally- to win a revolution, you need lots of dudes with guns.
        Does the majority of shouty leftist own guns? Nope.
        Do shouty leftist join the military or law enforcement? Nope.
        Are the shouty leftist working to win the hearts and minds of regular dudes with guns? Nope
        Are the shouty leftist working to win the hearts and minds of the military and law enforcement? Nope.

        Now, throwing hissy fits and breaking things within locals where the leadership is on their side is one thing- think indulgent parent with spoiled kid. But it’s a far cry from doing the same where the people don’t like them.

        • “Do shouty leftist join the military or law enforcement? Nope.”

          Chelsea Manning, the Dallas sniper, and the Fort Hood killer say you might want to re-think that. They didn’t join the military that won the Cold War, they joined one that “diversified away its’ commonsense.

          • They didn’t join the military that won the Cold War, they joined one that “diversified away its’ commonsense.

            Given a military that’s quite a bit more than a million strong, you’re going to have the occasional fruit-loop. That doesn’t alter the basic point.

          • People in the military aren’t exactly looking at those guys as heros to emulate, and they’re not really fond of those that defend them.

            • Oh, Gnu, no – and there were a couple that I encountered in my service in, or people that I heard stories about … usually the real dysfunctional fruitcakes can’t make it through Basic, but there are always those few who can hold their breath and last… I had written a post about the most poisonous military personnel that I ever encountered, but cannot find it. But yeah – there are some real pieces of work out there.

        • I’m not sure I completely agree. Sure, a lot of Leftists don’t own guns, and don’t know how to handle one, but don’t underestimate Guerrilla warfare. A lot of Leftists venerate Che Guevara as evidenced by all the annoying “Che” t-shirts. Che was a flat out amateur when he started out, but he was intelligent and ruthless enough to learn and became a monster because he believed in the rightness of his cause. I see a LOT of Leftists who are similarly true believers. They wouldn’t be able to take-over using violence as they are NOW but what can/will they become?

          Besides, If clueless Leftists did rise up and ended up getting themselves killed in job lots because they were wholly unprepared to actually fight the People’s Revolution they started. What kind of damage would that do to the fabric of American society? I worry about that too. I would like to have an America my kids can still live in somewhere on the other side of it.

          • Byzantine_Corporal

            I won’t be there to see it.

            I have diverse children and grandchildren, so perhaps I’ll be happier not to. The conflation of commie-assholism with race, etc., is going to be disastrous for POC, etc., on this soil.

            I can speak for the Contrite Boomer Grandpa Brigade. There’s a lot of us. We were obliviously cashing out our civilization, and so we took our eye off the ball. And therefore we’re guilty as hell. Further, we’re not particularly useful. There’s nothing left except sincere apology.

            When TSHTF, we’re single-use directional mines. We’ll run out of grandpas before we run out of commie assholes, so we’ll have to leave the rest to the kids.

      • Actually, Sarah, what they’re counting on is that by carefully defining “legal” and “Constitutional” their way, they can paint us as “domestic enemies” and make our suppression lawful. Why do you think they got so upset when Trump condemned both sides? It was a major disappointment to me that he didn’t veto that silly joint resolution, or at least give a signing speech using Captain Sheridan as the model.

  27. Byzantine_Corporal

    I got beer and popcorn. But I’ve seen video where, had I been present, I would have been moved to protect the life and health of innocent others. So, also drilling ((shoot-step-)+reload)+. Holographic optics make a large difference at my low level of expertise.

  28. One of the strangest things was how everyone assumed communists and socialists were the GOOD GUYS.

    I have been told by my wife that the fears of the USSR were generated completely by post-WWII NAZI (escaped, obviously) Propaganda.

    • Or, you know, she could read Gulag Archipelago or the words of many people who escaped the USSR and knew their war machine.

      • I keep getting told by certain folks that all those stories from people like Oleg Volk (USSR), Hon Lee (Vietnam), Peach (Cambodia), An Dang (Vietnam again), Gilbert (Cuba), etc, etc, etc, were all lies, because people like Teddy the murderer, and John effing Kerry said so.
        All those people I knew personally who suffered from those places was just overreacting or somesuch.

      • I did read Gulag Archipelago. I took careful note that one of Solzhenitsyn’s biggest regrets was refusing to use violence early.

        • Yeah, I wasn’t talking to you but to Wayne’s wife.
          Also, please not there is a big difference between the two centuries and the two countries.

          • Yeah. Part of the wife’s problem is that she’s insulated by being where we are. She hasn’t really seen the left eating itself up close, and doesn’t really put much confidence in things that I tell her.

  29. Growing up and going to primary and secondary school in Holland, it never occurred to me to doubt the “socialism is good” subliminal message. The real turning point was having my college girl friend lent me her copy of Atlas Shrugged. And around that same time, perhaps a year or two earlier, I picked up a wonderful book in the remainders pile: “The final fall” by Emmanuel Todd. He’s a French historian who used historian’s tools (specifically, the tools needed to distill truth out of fragmentary old records) to analyze the Soviet Union. He concluded it couldn’t survive, hence the subtitle “An essay on the inevitable decomposition of the Soviet Sphere”. This was at least 10 years before that decomposition actually happened, and still several years before L. Neil Smith predicted it in “Probability Broach”. My original copy was a Dutch translation, but there’s an English translation also. Highly recommended.

  30. I am Canadian who greatly admires America’s first amendment, perhaps the single best law ever written. Free speech is more than being allowed to talk without ending up in jail, it also allows actions that government can’t prohibit, which other countries are missing.

    As a Canadian, I can rant to my friends all I like about the enormous amounts of twattery from politicians we exposed to everyday in news but there would be different reaction from The State if I started news site, or political party or handing out newsletters.

    The war against leftism is not going well here in Canada, that’s for sure. Public schools, universities, media and politics are all dominated by various left wing types, there is no right wing party in Canada, we have Conservative Party who are slightly less left wing than other choices we got.

    • The single biggest problem with gov’t all the world round, is the people who would do it best, tend to be off doing other stuff, so you get those who are willing to spend the time, and those tend to start at “Well, I don’t think they’ll be too, too bad” to, well, effing power hungry marxist bastages. and the further you get from “Not Too Too Bad”, the more of them there are willing to join the bureaucracy.

    • Keep in mind that the First Amendment prohibits government interference with more than speech. It also enjoins the government from establishing a (Federal) religion, interfering with our right to worship according to our beliefs, infringing* on freedom of the press, recognizes a people’s right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

      *No prior restraint. Once published the government can prosecute for any number of reasons, but they cannot block the publication.

    • The US Constitution is a marvelous document. The 2nd Amendment in particular, since it aims to protect the tools required to defend all the rest of it.
      Unfortunately, there is a distressingly large gap between the text and the reality. And this is not a new thing; the gap started to appear shortly after the ink dried on the original document. By 1803 there was enough to fill a book — the highly worth while study of the Constitution by St. George Tucker. Shortly after 1900, things really went downhill at high speed.
      One example is the modern notion of “balancing” — as in, balancing the governments desire to infringe our rights with our desire not to have them do that. As opposed to “what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ was unclear to you?” Or the bizarre notion of “scrutiny” (sometimes “strict scrutiny”, sometimes not strict) which roughly translates to “we’ll let the government infringe on your rights if they have a halfway plausible sounding excuse (or, if “strict scrutiny” an 80% plausible excuse).
      Still, it’s better to have a real constitution to refer to when battling the government, rather than trying to fight that battle without a constitution for moral support, as the Brits have to do. Or with a fake one, as the Dutch do.

      • it’s better to have a real constitution to refer to


        So long as it is not a “living” constitution. You never can tell what it might evolve into.

      • You’re slightly overstating your case, so I’ll point out where I disagree and you can take it that I’m in substantial agreement with everything else you said.

        Try this thought-experiment regarding “scrutiny” and the First Amendment. Recall that the Bill of Rights was not intended to change the powers of Congress, but to make explicit certain limitation on Congressional power which should have been implicit in the un-amended text. Consider also that Congress has the authority to pass laws for Washington D.C.

        Okay, then: Congress passes a law against murder on Federal territory; can the First Reformed Aztec Church sue for First Amendment infringement on its “right” to perform human sacrifice? (Remember, morality doesn’t win this argument: we’re discussing law.)

        Next case: Congress bans some slaughter of chickens within D.C. city limits, and although neutral language is used it’s blatantly evident that the intent and effect of the law allows a housewife to kill a half-dozen chickens for a dinner party but bans the killing of a chicken for a Santería ritual. Is that Constitutional?

        If the first case gets ruled on first, the USSC will say something to the effect of, “an incidental infringement on religious practice in a law Congress is authorized to pass, does not violate the First Amendment.” And then comes the second case, and the petitioners are out of luck.

        The levels of “scrutiny” work exactly the opposite of how you described them. It means that though the reasoning and precedent of the first case is valid, Congress can’t use its enumerated powers as a fig-leaf to cover a law with the intent to infringe on religious rights.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IIRC there was a Florida “anti-cruelty to animals” law that was intended to deal with Santería rituals as seen by all the exceptions to the law.

          It was correctly struck down by the Supreme Court.

          • Yes. They’d have done better pushing the public health argument (the practitioners were leaving the remains outdoors, attracting rats, flies, and other things).

  31. I grew up in the 70s and what I noticed was not so much a longing for communism as a hatred of freedom. It was never expressed that way, but even as an elementary school kid I could tell. The fetish for having somebody else tell you what you want is something I never understood, but it was so pervasive in the culture I figured I was the weirdo.

    This widespread desire by so many to cede control to strangers who don’t care about them made it impossible for me to not think about it. I really examined socialism/communism closely because I thought I must be missing something since so many people who *have* freedom wanted to give it up. The more anyone examines it, the worse it looks. It’s impossible to work on a very basic level. *All* of the basic tenets of the system are false; it can’t work, not even in theory, not even if everybody tries to make it work. And yet here we are, with millions of people loudly, violently clamoring for strangers to control their lives.

    There are too many people who don’t want to think. They will not even listen, and our political officials are seriously trying to make sure that disagreement is punished. This cannot end well.

    • > . The fetish for having somebody else tell you
      > what you want is something I never understood

      Like I keep saying, “freedom”, even “freedom of choice”, isn’t something those people care about. Someone has told them what to do for their entire life; it’s normal, they’re happy with it, and anything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. What’s not to like?

      Then, of course, there’s the problem that the very word “freedom” doesn’t mean the same thing to that it probably means to you. You might think of it as being free to make your own choices without someone breathing down your neck; they think of it as “free to shoot people in the face if you don’t like their looks.” Because obviously, what else would freedom be good for? Sort of like they changed the meaning of “respect” to mean “fear.”

      • “You might think of it as being free to make your own choices without someone breathing down your neck; they think of it as “free to shoot people in the face if you don’t like their looks.””

        No they view it as freedom to make their own choices, and freedom from the consequences.

    • “Freedom of choice, is what you got. Freedom from choice, is what you want.” As a group of gentlemen in ziggurat hats once sang…

    • Communists do not hate freedom, at least, they do not hate freedom for themselves. It is only freedom for others that they find hateful.

    • John Keegan, in his intro to his book on WWII, once pointed out that a lack of freedom can be in a way freeing. The peasant farmers conscripted in the 19 Century found military life to be less arduous than life on a farm- and the food was often better.
      Which kind of explains the appeal of Statism post WWI. Many had been in uniform, and preferred the ordered certainty of military life to the chaotic freedom of the civilian.

  32. Communism and Efficiency….the Leftist argument was that Socialism/Communism would be more efficient and hence give the Common People *more*….this lasted roughly until evidence began to grow that the Soviet Union was falling seriously behind in providing for consumers. At that point, the story began to switch: now, Capitalism was bad not because it gave the Common People too little, but because it gave them *too much*, and hence led to social corruption.

    The timing of this switch can be dated rather precisely: Malvina Reynolds’ awful song, Little Boxes, 1962.

    http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/MALVINA/mr094.htm

    • Hm.

      Having grown up singing a somewhat truncated version of the song, which made it sound like a mockery of mindless social conformity, rather than a condemnation of normal family formation and gainful employment…

      I haz a emoshunal conflikt. *puzzled cat face*

    • The Monkees have a song “Pleasant Valley Sunday” that, It Says Here is supposed to be mocking the “materialistic” suburban lifetyle.

      Frankly, it always sounded like a paean because what they described sounded pretty good to me. If it was intended as social satire, they were doing it wrong. 😉

      • Rather like the Beatles’ “Penny Lane.” Same apparent purpose. Same abject failure, in my case.

    • How horrible! All those poor suburbanites who have to live in nice houses that (supposedly) look all the same while going to school to train for their chosen careers.

      If only they could experience the joy that communism could give them! Then they could all live in industrial concrete apartments that…er, well, yeah, they kinda do all look the same but look, squirrel! And they could experience the individualism that comes from being a drone in the state-run factories.

      • All those houses looked “just the same” because they were mass manufactured by Mr. Levitt, using techniques and strategies he learned from the government during WWII. Presumably our “betters” would rather we’d continued the housing shortages that were prevalent in the post-war period and been forced to live in tenements and pay rent to them.

        As for all looking “just the same” … that didn’t last very long at all, as Americans with typical pluck and determination quickly began to individualize their new homes, putting on additions, remodeling and landscaping in an effort to individualize their homes. They were so successful that efforts to find an unaltered example of Mr. Levitt’s houses to preserve for posterity have been largely fruitless.


        Now, if you really want to find “little boxes” that “all look just the same” you need to check out some of those stack-a-prole monstrosities, if they haven’t all gone the way of Cabrini-Green and been demolished by angry mobs.

        • When Chicago started putting up public housing blocks they ran short of qualified tenants, and wound up advertising in other cities to get their occupancy numbers up.

          “There’s a lot of money to be made in poverty…”

        • This predates Mr. Levitt. There was the “government house” as it was called, found where the US government relocated people for bases and such. They really did make good use of space, were well constructed, and all had the same floor plan.

          Prior to the “government house” was a technique used by builders all the way back into the 19th Century. A crew would learn how to build a specific type of house, and to build it well. Usually you didn’t have row after row of them, but enough in a community or a surrounding area to be noticeable.

          Something you often find in subdivisions today are houses build on variations of several plans, with different exteriors to escape the cookie cutter look.

          A different fork of this were the tenant houses and slave quarters. It’s very hard to find surviving examples of the latter. But now I’m thinking of a common design, circa early 1800s, that’s easily recognizable.

          • Our Victorians — two, over 20 years — both were a plan you could find with slight modifications elsewhere in Co Springs and vicinity. Obviously the plans were bought.

          • And Sears was happy to ship prefab house kits across the prairie, with or without wood cut to measure. As noted, Mr. Levitt learned the idea from the military and applied it to commercial applications after the war.

            “Little Boxes” was, however, a response to the Levittowns which were springing up across America in the Fifties.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            I live in a house that was built in the 1940s and has a strong, strong government house/Army influence. Not that you can tell from the outside, because first the owner built a workshop and then he built a dining room on top of the workshop and then he decided he wanted a new front porch… but of COURSE they all look just the same.

            • I first drove my husband nuts, and then got HIM looking, by describing our house by what areas were “new.”

              All areas were way older than us. Or our parents. But…once you started looking, you COULD find the original house, and the first expansion, and the second, and where they’d punched a wall out of the original “living room” to put the wood supply inside, and…..

          • “Miner houses” is what Grandma would talk about– there would be the rich guys’ houses up on the hill, and then the “miner houses” down below.

            Pretty simple, but still standing in the late 90s when I was old enough to drive and she was young enough to talk at me as I did, so….

      • richardmcenroe

        And then, “They could pretend to pay us and we could pretend to work.”

    • The Urban Bourgeois Bohemian has always had a horror of the common, rural, and Proletariat. They think that under Communism, they would become part of the Nomenklatura, and get to lead a funky, artistic, Bohemian lifestyle under benign state support.

    • That song got repurposed in the early ’70s by these guys:

    • Malvina Reynolds? Could that have been shortened to Mal(colm) Reynolds?

      Baby Name sites indicate Malcom is from the Scots, meaning “follower of St. Columba” — which makes little sense for the character.

      Saint Columba (Irish: Colm Cille, ‘church dove’; Scots: Columbkille 7 December 521 – 9 June 597) was an Irish abbot and missionary credited with spreading Christianity in what is today Scotland at the start of the Hiberno-Scottish mission. He founded the important abbey on Iona, which became a dominant religious and political institution in the region for centuries. He is the Patron Saint of Derry. He was highly regarded by both the Gaels of Dál Riata and the Picts, and is remembered today as a Christian saint and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba

    • Only time I saw my grandmother get angry about someone who wasn’t there– visibly angry, which was… not done, her version of a raging argument was a polite “well, dear, I don’t know about that….”– was that stupid song.

      Her mom was the teacher at an Indian school. She grew up sleeping in the barn, because her dad was so rich he could afford to build a barn.

      Cheap, safe houses, with ROOM for everyone? That was awesome.

  33. The government should ….

    Stop squrming this is for your own good!

  34. A more recent example is the story of Hillary’s failed campaign. A modern exercise in top down, centralized planning according to a scientific model- and they lost a number of “safe” states.
    According to some of the bits I read, “don’t question, we know what’s best” was often the reply to concerns by state level Democratic parties.
    Makes one rather happy she lost.

    • yes, but she prevented her biggest stated fear the top people were working to prevent. She was convinced she HAD to get the popular vote or her victory was going to be looked upon as a failure. So instead of working on getting out the vote (and busing it from polling place to polling place) in Michigan and Wisconsin, she had it done in NYC and Chicago.
      They succeeded greatly in getting those places to vote for her.

      • They also got a bit lazy in their “safe states” because they expected the Media to push the Deplorable Donald narrative enough to make it unthinkable for any right thinking person to vote for him.
        Plus, there was a good helping of believing in the Inevitable Demographic Democratic Majority- they started drinking their own ink.

        • More than a bit lazy!
          someone noticed the issue and sent folks to WI and MI to do groundwork . . . then NYC called them and told ’em to get the buses back to Chicago and work on getting the vote out there. When the person pointed out it was showing a possible Trump win in both places, they got told they were not payed to think and plan, they were to do what they were told.

  35. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 09.22.17 : The Other McCain

  36. I also ended up never buying the communism was more efficient line. My recalcitrance can be traced to the first Scifi Novel I read in the 6th
    grade. Spent $.75 of my hard earned paperboy money for that book. There was this character on Col. Dubois who taught History and Moral Philosophy. His statement on the communist idea of value made it clear to me that any philosophy that played that fast and loose with reality was never going to work. Thank you Mr Heinlein.

  37. I knew that “planned economies” wouldn’t work when I was in junior high school and was reading about GM. The story, if I recall rightly (I can’t find it anywhere) was about John DeLorean about his time at GM. For all intents and purposes, General Motors is pretty much a dozen or so car companies tied together like Siamese twins and the incest between them would even make GRRM go “whoa! too much!”. Anyways, DeLorean is looking at the specifications of a mid-sized car engine for GM cars, and discovers that there are about six different engines being built for the various brands under GM management. Six engines that, with some very small differences, are pretty much the same engine. And even those differences can be handled by add-on parts.

    So, DeLorean looks at this and goes “why do we have six entirely different makes of engines that can all be handled with one engine? There’s no engineering reason for it, there’s no real mechanical reason for it.” So, the word comes down from on high-no more six separate engines, only one engine and whatever necessary add-on parts are needed.

    Unfortunately, DeLorean didn’t realize that the six different engines needed-

    *Six different sets of executives.
    *Six different sets of supply chains.
    *Six different sets of mechanical qualifications and training.
    *Six different sets of engineering teams.

    -and everything else that was needed to support six different engines. All of which had supporters, all of which had people that were dependent upon those six separate engines existing, all of which could get support from people that didn’t know or care why they were supporting six different engine types but could use the issue to break DeLorean’s kneecaps, and so on and so on.

    And, this was in a (presumably) for-profit company where they had to actually make a profit, and not a government agency where nobody really cares.

    • And, this was in a (presumably) for-profit company where they had to actually make a profit, and not a government agency where nobody really cares.

      A big pile of rotting matter won’t change its smell depending on whether the text on a board you’ll hang before it reads “Ministry of Truth” or “Truth, Inc”.
      Whether there’s any difference depends on the incentives and feedback – if it’s governed mostly by Parkinson’s Law (rather than a decision-maker directly interested in the results and capable of more or less direct control), bloating decay can be only stalled, not reversed.
      Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote about the roots of such problems.
      In USSR Parkinson’s Law ran wild until near-complete paralysis and reintroduction of market driven economy (“NEP”) just out of self-preservation. Then it was pushed back by cutting down bureaucracy and overriding it via promotion meritocracy enforced by dictatorship on top. Of course, soon after pruning and enforcement stopped, the cancer resumed its spread.

  38. “for the good of all” (as opposed to “for common defense” or “to keep peace” at a distance, mind, and not in minutia) it fails because the good of all can be defined anyway you want.

    Well, yes, it cannot be just “peace for us!”, but “peace in the whole world!”.
    But the question is: how does this work and why? The simplest model is what James A. Donald calls “left singularity”.
    A competition for being “holier than thou” must ever escalate. One result is constant sliding down the slope from mildly unreasonable to batguano insane. Another is increase in slipperiness: taking a single step back (and thus bargaining) or pausing at any reasonable position becomes impossible without opposing the whole dominant movement.
    Or, as Trotsky plainly called it: “Permanent Revolution”. Perhaps Stalin won not as much because of his politicking, as because those capable of thinking ahead aligned with the first moderate alternative strong enough to have a chance: if you expect to ride a tiger, why choose the crankier one?

    • Robespierre wanted permanent revolution as well. So did Thomas Payne. There is a type of loony to whom that idea appeals.

      • So did Thomas Jefferson, although every 20 years may not be quite permanent.

        • possibly. BUT the revolution he envisioned wasn’t QUITE the guillotine running 24/7

          • Looking at how the early Americans viewed revolution, it’s entirely believable. “We won!”, “Right, lets go home and get on with the important stuff.”

          • Have your revolutions every twenty years and you could probably run the guillotines on a forty-hour week.

            The bigger problem with his idea is that incoming tyrants know they have at most twenty years to strip the treasury ad retire to comfier climes, running tax-exempt charitable (for some values of charity) foundations.

            • Tax exempt charity foundations that never seem to actually spend money on charity, anywhere.

              And you’re (whatever)ist if you question it..

      • “Streets running red with blood” — whether of martyrs or tyrants — rarely appeals to the people who have to sweep those streets.

      • Yup. And it follows that at some point they are indeed insecure – but are they afraid of, or of each other?
        At some point enough of revolutionaries and opportunists figure out it’s a question of “when” rather than “if”, allowing them to band together and stop the slide (somewhere already far down the slope). Once enough see they ride a tiger and want to survive more than to be on top – if only someone would let them. Then they are ready to accept a takeover if it gives them a way out.
        Social-Revolutionaries are gone, Communist minority sect is gone… Communist majority sect squabbles, but they stand over the meatgrinder. And if it sounds like the only way to at least somewhat slow it down is to push a bunch of the Trotskyites in the funnel first… why on Earth not? But will they be allowed to slow down the meatgrinder after that, or pushed into it too?
        And that’s when Comrade Stalin steps in. He doesn’t scream for anyone’s blood, but finds a moment when but a small group screams for blood and the rest didn’t join yet, and some others look at this grimly – and says: “we will not give you Comrade X”. Imagine the relief. At this point, does it matter who Comrade X is? And does it matter much if later he “gave” Comrade X, though to quasi-legal execution – after all, this guy both deserved it and was more of a problem that help for the rest? Because comrade Stalin still calls for moderation – when he wants to get rid of someone, he does not call for blood, only opts to not stop the others.

        Both observations and step-by-step simulation seem to fit with these parts of model. Does the rest of it work too?
        (e.g. here: http://blog.jim.com/economics/the-left-singularity-continues/)

      • It’s simply the type of loony who feels entitled to climb just a few bodies higher, and is overconfident enough that this matters more than risk of joining the queue to the guillotine.

  39. Then accept that you will be discriminated against. You have chosen to accept that government force can be applied to you on an arbitrary basis and words mean nothing except what someone else says..

    Oh, and as for your hospital straw man: The hospital may choose to treat, or not treat; the doctors may choose to treat or not to treat; but that’s their choice to be charitable. Once you accept that the government can force an individual to provide treatment regardless of compensation, you’ve endorsed slavery, not charity. “Now we’re just haggling over price.”

    And I’ve been paying attention to this longer than you’ve been alive.

    • My post was intended as a reply to this from Foxfier:

      “:You cannot both have that everything reasonably privatizable should be privatized, and that people have absolute property rights at their business.

      To take an extreme, you can’t argue that property rights mean that a hospital can refuse to do immediately-life-saving work on crash victims because whatever. All that does is ensure that property rights will be destroyed, and I’d lay money on people setting up stuff in order to do so. (Why? Because I’ve been paying attention for more than five minutes, it’s about the oldest trick in the book.)

      Yeah, it’s complicated. Yeah, there will be some wrong done– but there will be wrong done in all the ways, and this one doesn’t result in all the good being destroyed out of a refusal to try to find a just result.”

    • Of course, Foxfier’s point was that the perfect is the enemy of the good, but that went over your head, apparently…

      • You’re confusing maximum and minimum again. So is she. Equal treatment under the law is one of those non-negotiable things.

    • It wasn’t a strawman, it was an obvious example.

      Which you did not answer, just restated a declaration that it was an acceptable cost.

  40. Pingback: News of the Week (September 24th, 2017) | The Political Hat

  41. Hit the wall so moving it down; original at here
    What is software? Nothing but a set of rules (or laws, in the non-scientific sense) to handle processing of information so that the outcome of the functions the design establishes are what we want the system to produce. Similarly (because no metaphor is as exact as Fox is pretending), government is ultimately nothing more than a set of rules for how humans will interact with each other so that we can live in groups.

    I’m not pretending it’s inexact, I said it’s wrong.

    Software is a set of rules for a system which is controlled by the designers at all levels above signal/no signal. Even the machines that use it are designed, and they’re standardized.
    Laws are a set of rules where nothing is under designer control except the text.

    Computers can’t operate at all without a program; humans operate perfectly fine without laws. (Unpleasantly, and not for long, sure, but fine.)

    Software you can completely remove and put new stuff in place; humans are rather infamous for having pre-existing software that does not allow total rewriting, although there have been some more successful attempts to modify it around the edges, and it tends to snap back into form when modding is pushed too far.

    Programs are a sub-group of “rules,” and laws are as well, but the metaphor gets badly over-extended.

    • Addendum to the above: laws rarely work as designed. Seriously, how long has murder been banned in human society. And it still happens.
      HUMANS ARE NOT FRIGGING WIDGETS.

      • If you buy Ayn Rand’s theories on the underlying basis for laws, they certainly do work as intended, with the cautionary observation that there is frequently some disparity between the official intention and the actual. With laws as with so much else, it is critical to not mistake the package for the product.

        Ambrose Bierce:
        CYNIC, n.
        A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.
        http://www.alcyone.com/max/lit/devils/c.html