But I Want!

This morning — sorry it’s a late one, I ended up having to take an anti histamine to breathe enough to sleep, and it always leaves me feeling hungover — the news pushed on my screen was about “income inequality, a problem that concerns people around the world.”

I have a question for the audience: WHY?

Why does income inequality or indeed any inequality concern people around the world or around the block, or down the street?

Can you give me a reasonable reason?  Or a reason that makes any sense?

When I ask this of any people who are not steeped in politics, their answer seems to be “because in South American countries there are the rich and the starving and nothing in between, and we’re becoming like that.”

We are?  According to whom?  Sure, the vaunted 1% has a lot more than the rest of us, but where are the starving multitudes who are in need of a crumb to eat, while billionaires circle the world in jets?  Where are the ragged children starving in the streets, while we party?

Nowhere, that’s where.  Sure, there’s need in America, but that need is more often than not the result of individual choices, of a need for drugs or alcohol, or simply an inability to plan.  The dismantling of our mental health system, because people decided that being crazy was a result of “capitalism” (having swallowed Soviet Agit Prop whole) has more to do with the homeless crisis than any inequality or poverty.  Hell, most of our poverty has to do with mental health issues and a government that makes it easy to featherbed while you unlearn all the habits of the industrial revolution.

Habits?  Of the industrial revolution?  Yeah.  One of the most obvious refutations that inability to function in the modern world is genetic and racial is that time-keeping and the ability to work to the clock are strictly a function of how early or late a country had an industrial revolution.

Work, saving, a bourgeois structure of values is learned.  Machines forced people to pay attention to time.  Farming while back breaking was far less careful about being on time or doing things perfectly.  And there was a time that Germans were considered slovenly and slapdash (don’t believe me?  Read the original sources) and then the industrial revolution happened.

It hit Mediterranean countries far later and before it took full root, it was met by the anti-industrial counter revolution, which we are in the mid of.

And if you say that there is a vast underclass who will never be able to work again, because of automation, we can’t be friends anymore.  That is an obvious and pushed excuse for bigger government plans and more people held in vote farm reservations, while being made unfit for all work.

At the same time that the left — who might actually believe this bullsh*t since they love to imagine themselves superior, and what’s more “superior” than being the “intellectuals” in a world that needs no other form of labor — has been running around with its head on fire screaming “the robots are taking our jobs” every retail store has a sign asking people to apply.  A friend this week confirmed that the crisis I saw in the eighties, where we had trouble finding anyone (I worked retail for 2 years) to come and work and keep hours, and heck pick up their paycheck is now full blown.  Finding people who will work and not do crazy things, and keep schedule is almost impossible.  Automated checkouts and such are almost a self-defense against the fact you can’t find enough willing workers.

The biggest problem in people finding and keeping work is the inability to follow a schedule and obey orders.  The industrial revolution is being undone, but as we know, the industrial revolution’s virtues can be taught.  They were, before, to a bunch of malnourished peasants.

The other thing we know for an absolute fact is that if people marry, stay married, and work, no matter how menial the work, neither they nor their families will starve.  None of them will live (long) in unheated houses, or lack a coat in winter.  Sure, all of us hit rough patches at times — and both Dan and I have professions that lend themselves to what Kim du Toit called “chicken or feathers” i.e. huge highs and lows — but the only people who stay mired in a lack of essentials have reasons other than “inequality.”

In fact inequality is never a reason for any social pathology, other than rampant envy.

I’ve been dead broke, and Dan and I would drive our beater car over to a scenic neighborhood, and eat sandwiches while enjoying the beautiful houses, and gardens.  I wasn’t envious of them.  Sure, I liked those houses and wouldn’t mind having one, but I didn’t want to expel anyone from his great house (our neighborhood now, I noticed, looks much like that one without the lakes) because they hadn’t taken the house from me.  I could enjoy the side benefits of their wealth without wanting them brought down and despoiled.  (I am in shock none of them ever called the police, thinking we were casing the area.  Eh.)

Just because someone has more than you it doesn’t follow they’re bad people, or that they owe you anything.

Sure this would apply in certain places in the medieval ages and in a lot of other agricultural, closed societies, where to have more, you had to extort it from your fellow villagers, because agriculture was subsistence, no more.

But in the real wide world, economics is not a closed pie.  We are now immeasurably richer, all of us, than anyone in the middle ages.  A young man growing up in a poor family is now dressed — in comfort, looks, etc — better than Solomon in all his glory.  He likely has heat in winter, he has a refrigerator, he has access to antibiotics, things the great kings of Persia would kill for (okay, more air conditioning).  He has access to fruits and vegetables out of season which as little ago as the Victorian age required an orangery and people to tend the plants.

What should he care if people have way more than him?  Even if he doesn’t understand that with wealth comes work.  (Something I realized when — without being in any way wealthy as it’s defined — we made double what we make now.  You end up having to spend a lot of it to purchase back just… time.  Time to be yourselves and enjoy doing nothing meant cleaners, accountants, and a lot of going out to eat.)  If he has enough, what should matter to him that other people have more?

What should it matter to him even if America’s wealth-system were rigid?  (It’s not.  The 1% cycle in and out.)

Does he live well enough, and work at something?  I can see people want more (and thank heavens.  I do too.  Wanting more is the engine of progress as we make/scrape/invent) but you don’t need more.  And what other people have is ultimately none of your business, nor a reflection on their characters.  (Yes, the parable of the rich man.  You can interpret it in so many ways starting with “their world was not ours” and ending with “attachment to material things meant he had no time for spirituality” (see my observation above) but note that at no time does it say someone should be despoiled of his wealth against his will, or that someone else was ENTITLED to it.)

But the entire edifice of Marxism, from high to low, from the fury of the Russian revolution to the latest SJW bleating about pico-aggressions all of it comes from this idea that people should be equal, and if they’re not equal someone is stealing from someone else.

Native talent, native interest, ambition, willingness to work hard and give up other things starting with free time and ending with health, none of it counts for anything.  To the left humans leave the womb as widgets, and the function of the state is to ensure no widget has more than another.

This is why “inequality” is a problem that worries THE LEFT around the world.  At least so long as the inequality is NOT between party apparatchiks and right thinkers and everyone else who should be kept in miserable poverty for their own good, so they don’t exploit others.

I’ve said for a long time that the left has one huge advantage: the press that promulgates these narratives.  But they have another: endless “institutes” and “organizations” that do studies on things like “inequality.”

Not only are the conclusions cooked, but the fact studies are done teaches those who don’t think about it that, in fact, there MUST be a problem.  Otherwise why would “they” do a study.

We need to learn to counter that by pointing out a lot of these “studies” are done on nothing that is a problem, and the intent is to create a world where the left gets to reign supreme, pushing its idea of how things should be.

The government cannot make us equal, unless it makes us all equally poor and dead.  Nor is there any reason why it should.

Humans are individuals.

I can see caring for the poor, and trying to help those less fortunate (we do, often to our detriment) because I want people to have what they need to live, and I want children to have what they need to thrive.  That’s a personal decision, and I pay for it as for other personal decisions.

But wanting everyone to be made equal is NOT caring for the poor.

It is the scream of the envious child, who can’t stand that others have better toys, and is furious he/she doesn’t get to control all the toys and who gets to play.

It is the unlovely toddler scream of “But I want!” raised against the world, its fury filling millions of mass graves.

And it is enough.  It is time to meet their whining, stomping of feet and screaming, their studies, propaganda and threats, their violence and revolutions with one firm word: No.

No, you cannot dictate that everyone be equal.  No, you don’t have right to what others have.  No you don’t get to tell me what to do.

No.  Learn to live like an adult and stop threatening to hold your breath.  No one cares anymore.

People are tired of your long, extended tantrum.  That’s why you got Trump.  You’ll get far worse than Trump if you don’t stop it.  And those of us who also have to live here would prefer we don’t go down that path.

Go to your room, shut up, and learn how to do something productive, instead of destructive.

“The poor” don’t need you.  “Women” don’t need you.  “People of color” don’t need you.

No one needs your patronizing and offensive “advocacy.”

What we need is for you to get off your butt and learn to create and work and do.

That’s all.

422 thoughts on “But I Want!

  1. I am in shock none of them ever called the police, thinking we were casing the area. Eh.

    The behavior is rather different, at least from how folks responded to my walks– someone casing the joint isn’t going to be stopping and staring longingly at the pretty flowers, or walking back and forth to get a good view of an interesting window, or….

    Yeah, there are still folks who’ll be careful rather than trusting, and I wouldn’t lay odds against your license plate being written down, but for the sufficiently suspicious they’ve noticed a difference between sneaking, looking hard, and admiring.

    Although “looking for that freaking idiot cat” DOES look a LOT like “casing the joint.”

      1. That’s not as dispositive today as it was then. Cf. that woman breaking into houses with her toddler (iirc). *smh*

        1. More than you might think. Keep an eye out for Stupid Criminal stories. The latest one was the guy who left his resume in a house he burgled. (He left his phone in a second house.)
          *smh*

  2. “And if you say that there is a vast underclass who will never be able to work again, because of automation, we can’t be friends anymore. “

    I read this, and I wonder… Are they going to automate protests? Is this what is behind the push to give AI and robots citizenship? They certainly wouldn’t smell as bad. Probably.

          1. Yes. But it will take a lot of research, so I keep putting it off.
            our society, like appreciation in real estate, for ex, is designed for an ever increasing population. A lot of the crazy scams, etc. we’re seeing might be panic because it’s actually falling.

            1. Gut feel says that the local county population is down and falling. The lumber/building products went away, courtesy of the Spotted Owl panic and the housing bubble, so a lot of the baseline population is retired. Until California sees another exodus, I think we’ll decline a bit further.

              Beyond census data, I’d like to see school enrollment figures as well as patient load at the county’s sole hospital. It loses a lot of specialty work to places across the Cascades, but it should correspond fairly well to the population level.

              1. Gut feel says population is rising here, new houses being built in places where there were never houses before, and I never thought there would be, etc. But it is mostly imports, people moving in from areas with more stringent rules. I’ve got a neighbor from California, another from Colorado/Japan (he’s Colorado, his wife is from Japan) and the timber company that owned the ground behind me sold it to a Christian Communist cult from Texas who are building houses on it.
                It seems to be that way all around the area, population is growing, but not organically, which means that the populations may be falling in the areas that these people are moving from. The strictly organic, born and raised population seems to be stable, at best.

          2. I remember Heinlein, in one of his essays where he visited the old Soviet Union, making estimates of the population of Moscow based on his travel. His wife made estimates based on yet a different approach. And later, a military officer made an estimate based on maps and what population the logistics (roads and railroads into the city) could support. The three were pretty close to each other.

            All of them were far smaller than the official population figures.

              1. I remember a lot of Proggie ‘viewing with alarm’ of post Soviet economic numbers; “If Capitalism is so great, why is the country poorer than it was under Communism!?!”

                That was mostly Media, but I did get asked by a few incautious individuals (my in-laws, Liberal/Progressive though they may be, know better). And I would ask them in return “Why do you assume that the Soviet government was telling the truth?”

                *crickets chirping*

            1. After I read that essay, I wonder when they adjusted the figures, since (IIRC) the current figures more closely reflect reality, since everyone has access to the infrastructure via Google Maps. Probably when the Soviet Union fell, they quietly instated corrected numbers and never said anything.

                1. A lot of it was landsat, so, no. There used to be metadata on Google Earth that had which specific satellite did it when…

            2. That essay was included in the Expanded Universe anthology. I remember that last time I read it, appropriately enough on my last (long ago) overseas business trip. He had a lot of trenchant observations on his travel abroad.

            3. That is why I believe none of the population figures out of sub-Saharan Africa. Go to maps.google.com, pick out any African city, then go Earth view and zoom in. Look at the complete lack of traffic. Look at the non existent double or quadruple track rail lines in and out of the city. Look at how quickly they turn into dirt. In most cities, a significant number of roads in the city are dirt. As you travel out on the roads, look for farms and food producing areas, evidence of agriculture. Then look at population figures for those cities and figure out 1. How the food is getting there for that many people and 2. Where is it coming from? There’s neither transport nor production to support the official population numbers.
              An area near Kiev Ukraine:
              https://www.google.com/maps/@50.0020034,30.8948093,19483m/data=!3m1!1e3
              Kiev itself, population 2.8 million or so:
              https://www.google.com/maps/@50.3388887,30.2957114,77385m/data=!3m1!1e3
              Kinshasa population 11.8 million at same scale as Kiev map:
              https://www.google.com/maps/@50.3388887,30.2957114,77385m/data=!3m1!1e3

              Try finding the farm areas near Kinshasa as in the first map near Kiev. And tell me that Kinshasa has 4X the people while keeping a straight face.

        1. I deal with this every year in trying to estimate load out to twenty years (ten officially). When the economy collapsed, I threw up my hands because I was unable to make sense of the data, and used state estimates. Bad idea. When the dust settled from that, I saw that in one case there was a clearly delimited surge in population in one county, but it was clearly a one time event. The state protections regarded it as a trend.

          Really, census figures, whether they’re cooked or not, are too coarse to rely on for planning. But there is no denying actual customers served, and that actual data is what I use in trying to make a forecast. The interesting thing of late is there was an upsurge in customers. The data is too short term to know if this is a trend or not.

                1. Try an interlibrary loan. They (or they used to be) cheap, they’re pretty quick (i remember a week to get a book from a Texas library to a Maryland one), and as a bonus, most Librarians are thrilled to be asked to do one, which pays dividends later.

        2. Forex: i can practically guarantee that the south-of-the-border illegals are being counted as population in both countries.Some pf the more ‘migratory’ ones, likely in several places here.

          1. Yep. Same with African immigrants in Portugal. And probably Russian immigrants.
            And SERIOUSLY the AIDS epidemic never showed in numbers from Africa, even though it was bad enough to create vast roving bands of feral children. yeah, no. Populations census is bs, even here, much less there.

          2. They are likely also using the food pantry numbers, so every “family” that goes in to pick up food is going to have two or three family’s worth of kids– and most likely both sexes of parent are going to be doing it.

            ….yes, the workers notice that the same kids have four or five different mothers. Their bosses tend not to care.

            1. This is because their bosses do NOT want the screaming scene that would result if they tried to deny the poor starving children the food they rightfully deserve. /rolls eyes/

              1. Possible, but from the abuse they heaped on the “worker” (it’s 100% volunteer) they seemed to believe that all the illegal Mexicans really do have six and more kids.

  3. On “equality”, I once heard a story about a young tyrant going for advice from an older tyrant about “keeping power”.

    The older tyrant took the young tyrant into a wheat field and without saying a word started whacking the wheat heads that were higher than the other wheat heads.

    The young tyrant realized that the older tyrant was telling him to destroy any of his subjects that were more powerful than the others as they would be the ones to lead a revolt against him.

    The Leftish would-be-tyrants don’t want any “rich” person who isn’t one of them to exist as those persons would be dangerous to their attempt at gaining power.

    As long as a rich guy like Trump does nothing to threaten their agenda, he’s OK but once he starts to threaten (or appears to threaten) their agenda, then he is seen as the “Evil One”. 😦

          1. Thoided. Beloved Spouse & I were wont to give that as wedding gift to young couples. And we often bring ourselves up short by complaining, “All I ever ask for is a cup of weak tea and a bit of toast.”

  4. “’Income inequality, a problem that concerns people around the world.’ I have a question for the audience: WHY?”

    Well, a couple of reasons. First, I suspect many of these spoiled children actually do think that they live in poverty. I’m reminded of Aral Vorkosigan’s line: “Is that really the lowest level of poverty you can imagine? Not having a comm console?” I think the lowest level of poverty many of our modern children around the world can imagine is not having an iPhone with an unlimited data plan (not having an iPhone or Android at all is simply beyond what they can conceive). So that’s why they tweet about “income inequality” on their way to pick up a new pair of Nike’s and get a latte from Starbucks.

    Second, simple envy. It’s not “reasonable,” but reason isn’t the biggest part of what makes up the thinking of us Great Apes. Even those of us who recognize envy as an unreasonable and destructive thing need to acknowledge it exists and worry when it starts getting to a critical mass.

    Reading that last paragraph, it strikes me as a bit patronizing (“oh, I don’t care if other people have more than me, but I need to worry about those silly proles who might not be as enlightened as I am”). Still, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that even if you have more or less conquered your own envy, not everyone has, and that envy can get out of control.

      1. It’s why the entire concept of sin is so beneficial. People who don’t accept that concept ultimately have nothing governing their behavior other than their personal whims.

    1. So help me, I’ve had this after a fashion just last night.
      I’ll call the other fellow Codeine since it amuses me to do so.

      Codeine: It must’ve sucked to not have smartphones.
      Orvan: There were times we had no phone at all.
      Codeine: I’d rather have no phone than a flip-phone.
      * Orvan stops before mentioning (original) Star Trek communicators and ‘Ma Bell’ etc.

        1. Waaaaay back, when digital watches were almost still a pretty neat idea, uncle’s son asked if he could call a friend. Uncle told him sure, and pointed to the phone. They were in the basement – the one place in the house that had rotary phone. I am told the boy stared at the phone for a bit and then asked, “How?” And when I was told of this, well, I got that Ancient Feeling again.

            1. When you consider what a dollar used to buy, and how long it tool to earn one at minimum wage, that could have been expressed as several hours a minute.

              Anyone else remember waiting to call until the rates drop to evening scale?

              1. I remember when my Mom’s parents still lived in Kansas. They would “snow bird” down to Arizona every year. There was one short phone call when they left Downs in the fall, and one short phone call when they got back to Downs in the spring.

                When we had an “investment” ranch in the vicinity of Roswell, and the tax lawyer was in El Paso, one part of the annual Labor Day trip over to the ranch was a side trip to El Paso on the way back. Much cheaper to use the gas and get a motel room overnight than to do two or three hours on a phone call to take care of the majority of the business (there was the ranch, there was the veterinary practice, and later there were the race horses – so complication enough to have a very good professional taking care of things).

                This was the case from the early 1960s up through the early 1970s, at least.

              2. Yes.
                Kids today don’t even know what “roaming charges” are.
                When a number comes up on my caller-id* with a non-local area code, it is often a friend who just hadn’t bothered to get a new cell-phone number when she moved in.

                (used to be: “Lois, down at the switchboard, said your mom called earlier” — but that really is before my time)

                1. Or they’re like me, who got his cell phone in AL and has passed it out to several thousand people on business cards.

                  1. All these pictures of rotary phones and none were in black.That’s what we had. I think color cost extra. The “princess” phone with its sleek lines and varied colors seemed the height of luxury to me in the 70s.

              3. Y’all are making me feel old, and I ain’t hit forty yet. But I grew up using a rotary phone on a party line (handy, we could answer our phone when we were down visiting grandma). And you always waited until evening to make long distance calls; and kids weren’t allowed to make long distance calls. I remember when the numbers came out that you could call and route your long distance call through and get 20 minutes for X dollars, and what a good deal we thought that was.

          1. I see stories like that from time to time. I don’t believe them.

            To my knowledge I’ve never seen a hand-cranked telephone or record player, but I’m familiar with them from cartoons and old movies.

            Unless those kids have never seen any visual media older than 1995 or so, they can’t *not* know.

            1. Incidentally, I have heard some of those stories… where I know they’re horse-poo, because I am the kid who supposedly didn’t know how to use the phone.

              Short version, didn’t go down anything like it was described…. but it made such a great story, right?

            2. I’ve know many people who won’t watch anything in black and white. More who can’t deal with silent, but still some.

              I have to say, I don’t get that. But they exist.

              1. Beloved Spouse had become friendly with a guest at an anime con, a voice actor who discussed his plans to teach a course in film comedy at a local college. He’d had to rapidly revise the instructional plan when he learned none of the students watched B& W films.

                I guess they thought the Marx Brothers weren’t as funny as if they’d been in color. I hate to think of those poor kids suffering through films that were not only in B&W but were silent, like Keaton’s The General or Chaplin’s The Gold Rush.

                Alas, poor me; I still marvel at those old Georges Méliès flicks and find the B&W Fleischer “Out of the Inkwell” cartoons a delight!

                1. How does color have anything to do with core of comedy? The twilight zone is no less mind bending in black and white vs in color.

                  1. I suspect is’s a matter of being able to immerse yourself in the experience. I was exposed to silent films young, so they don’t bother me…..mutch. I can susped disbelief, even though real life isn’t black and white and silent-with-title-cards. Thinking about it, I cansee why people could get stuck with ‘it’s black and white, therefore it isn’t real” in their heads. I’ve run into people (mostly older) who simply can’t get immersed in video games because the experience came too late for them. Same deal, I think.

                    Which is pretty goddamned sad, when you get down to it.

                    1. We might be a bad sample here– good grief, everybody here can get immersed in a book, and I’d bet the vast majority can’t remember if a movie was subbed or dubbed.

                  2. much better in black and white! B&W seems to me, a visual version of “long ago and far away”. It also seems to emphasize things because it isn’t like regular life which is in color.

                  3. Siskel and Ebert (I think it was them) made a point about “Does colorizing really add anything?” by showing the ‘punch out the horse’ scene from Blazing Saddles in B&W. It worked as well as, if not better than, in color.

                    1. “Does colorizing really add anything?”

                      Yes. As I understand it, colorizing “resets” the copyright to the date the film was colorized. At least, that was the argument back when film libraries were being colorized left and right.

                    2. Peter Bogdanovich’s delightful movie Nickelodeon, about the early days of filmmaking, was released to DVD in a two-disk edition: one in B&W, the way Bogdanovich wanted, one in color the way the studio insisted.

                      B&W typically offers greater depth of field and low-light compositions than you can get with color stock.

                      Comparing the two is a time consuming but fascinating experience. Finding the release is probably about impossible, given that searching for “Nickelodeon” at Amazon turns up numerous editions of Rug Rats and other childish comedies.

                2. Back in the 80s, there was a copyright change coming up, and all of Chaplin was going to fall back into copyright. (That’s not usually how it works, but this is the story as I was told at the time.) So a local art/historical theater decided to have as its summer run the entirety of Chaplin’s oeuvre, two films a week. (Plus serial and cartoon, since they were doing things right, darn it.) So I got to see it all, including the interesting one in which he plays a serial wife killer. Someday, I shall have to see them all again.

                1. I think of various films…
                  Metropolis
                  Safety Last
                  Dr. Strangelove
                  Duck Soup
                  And, really, all those newsreels – even the overdone silly ones offer a bit of window to Back When – that show history, what was seen as important at the time, and what presentation was used.

                  I suppose it’s a matter of time before “Not even 4K? Come on!”

                  Oh well, often the pictures are better on the radio anyway, I suppose.

                  1. The Oregon Shakespeare Company did The Cocoanuts a few years back—a reconstruction, since the play in its original form was severely cut down for film, and all of the Irving Berlin songs had their musical notation severed. They had a special thanks for a certain drawer in the Library of Congress, where they found the notes—and had to figure out which ones went to which songs. They also took out a redundant character and left in twenty minutes for sheer improv.

                    The interesting thing is that one of the songs cut from the movie was “Always,” which was considered boring and no good, and which is now considered a romantic gem.

                    Anyway. I’ve never actually seen any of the Marx Brothers movies, but given how many people adored this play as a great example of channeling their spirit, and how much I loved it, I look forward to watching them someday.

                    1. Start with “Duck Soup”- one of the best political comedies ever.
                      [singing] If any form of pleasure is exhibited, report to me and it will be prohibited! I’ll put my foot down, so shall it be… this is the land of the free! The last man nearly ruined this place he didn’t know what to do with it. If you think this country’s bad off now, just wait till I get through with it! The country’s taxes must be fixed, and I know what to do with it. If you think you’re paying too much now, just wait till I get through with it!

                    1. I have watched stuff that got the MST3k treatment, BEFORE it got such. In one case, I found (years later) that even with the MST3k commentary it was unwatchable dreck (and no, it was not Manos…). Evidently my tolerance for crappola has diminished. Or I’ve started developing taste. Or yes.

                    2. At one point in my lamentable AF broadcasting service career, I was the NCO charged with writing up the locally-distributed weekly TV schedule – and I had enormous sarcastic fun with writing up the two-and three-sentence blurbs for the movie scheduled for late Friday night. (For a reason too convoluted to go into here, AFRTS generally had mostly crappy movies in the weekly package, and by tradition, we scheduled the crappiest for late Friday night.) I actually had people tell me that they stayed up late to watch those movies, to see if they were as as bad as I admitted that they were.
                      Our broadcast squadron Hq disapproved of my species of levity and sarcasm, of course – but I am certain that viewers arranged drinking games and irreverent comic monologues to accompany EBS broadcast of those movies.

            3. We own a hand cranked (original). Came down from my in-laws side, will go to our son. Great-Uncles from the farm, went to my Uncle (well his ex now has it saving it for their grand-kids, suspect granddaughter will get it).

              Worked a Ranger District, only 30 miles off I-5, yet it was just getting off the party line. This was mid-70’s.

      1. Heh. I get looks. Because I don’t have a smartphone. Mine doesn’t flip (it slides, because keyboard – so I can text), but it is pretty much nothing but a phone and text device.

        I also explain “party lines” to youngsters when the opportunity arises. (My aunt and uncle had one until I was … 19 or so, I think.)

        1. I saw an article about (some people’s) attraction to dumb phones. (I can relate; my flip phone gets used in emergencies and road trips). Of course, the article lost me when it started gushing over $295 dumb phones. Er, my Tracfone cost about $30, and a year’s worth of time is $100.

          1. Yep. TracFone user here, too. The kids keep wanting me to get an unlimited plan – and I say, why? I pay $20 every ninety days, and still don’t use up all of the minutes (although I get close on texts, as they respond much faster to those than to voice mail, sigh…)

            1. Not sure how many thousands of minutes I have, but cell service is dubious for TracFone at home. Used to have a good signal with a provider who used GSM, but they went under and the other GSM people were way too expensive. Still, when I have to go somewhere, I don’t worry about cell minutes.

              1. Example of Your Mileage Will Always Vary.

                Cell phone coverage is strange. I have excellent coverage at home with the TracFone, and just about everywhere I normally go. The exceptions are in certain stores – that apparently are built in such a way that they make excellent Faraday cages.

                When I had AT & T for work purposes, it was impossible to use it at home. Verizon was rather hit and miss for my son in the immediate neighborhood. He switched to T-Mobile to save money – and found that they have better coverage here.

                It’s all in who has leases on which towers, and where your stomping grounds are. Some have more leases in general (Verizon’s poor performance here was unusual), so are the better carriers for the average person.

                My family is all Odds, so of course that didn’t apply…

                1. I have a multiple whammy: 1) The cell tower is on a mountain, about 10 miles away. No other towers in line-o-sight. 2) Lots of pine trees in the way. 3) The siding on our house is Hardie cement panels. Especially when it’s wet, it’s a pretty good Faraday cage.

                  As a result, if we really need a connection, we go outside and look for a decent signal.

                  There’s a wireless internet company that serves our area, but they’re on he same tower as the cell. Sigh. At least satellite works. Usually..

                  1. You wrote: ” it’s a pretty good Faraday cage.”

                    I guess if there’s an EMP you’ll be one of the few places that still tech that works.

        2. The first phone I recall was a party line. I think I was 6 or 7 when we got a private line. The number we got had been the number for a girl’s dorm at the local university. Boys were really put off when my dad answered the phone.

          1. The first phone number my wife and I had together was apparently the number for a (defunct) Waltham Corset Shop. Invariably if you were home sick you’d get 2-3 calls for the shop a DAY even at the end of our tenure in Waltham 6 years later. Have you EVER tried to get off the phone with an irate old lady that needs her corset replaced?

        3. Oh, hell, I don’t have a Cell Phone at all (I have a tablet). When people ask me why not I tell them, “I’ve seen how people with cell phones get treated by the rest of the world. I don’t WANT to be available 24/7 to every jackass with a phone and too much time of his hands.”

          “You can always turn it off.”

          “And I’ve seen the raft of shit people catch when they HAVE turned their cell phone off, and somebody wanted to bend their ear. No thanks. There’s only one person I want to live that close to, and I married her.”

          1. I used to be that way. I have one now, work required (so they can call for overtime, or questions). Mostly it sits on my kitchen counter. Numbers I don’t recognize don’t get an answer. Folks I know, I usually call back in an hour or so once I get to a stopping point. Or right back if they call twice ina row, and it better be an emergency. A legitimate one.

            It’s more or less an answering machine I carry with me. It doesn’t ring. The vibrate is on low. I don’t text, but I can see other people’s texts. Since I don’t have a landline yet, it fills that slot for the most part. Once I get a landline, hopefully I’ll be able to give the poxy thing back.

            1. I got my first cell phone when I was working hourly and missed out on extra hours because boss couldn’t reach me to offer them.
              I got my first smart phone a couple of months ago. I’m the adjustment difficult. I used to say that the phone was smarter than me, when I couldn’t figure something out. I still sometimes have trouble answering it.

              1. It’s a dandy multi-tool. Camera, flashlight, calculator, compass, multimedia device, remote control (if you have a model with an IR port), portable browser, planisphere. And in a pinch, it can even make the odd phone call.

          2. I finally got a cellphone in college, so that the teacher could send out to everyone “I won’t be in school at x time, consider it free hour / this is your topic of homework for next session because I’m stuck in traffic across the city” texts.

            On the upside, we students were allowed to send her texts asking for clarification on class work topics (usually ‘do we restrict ourselves to xyz, or do we need to go broader?’) or request if we could delay submission of homework for a day if we had a good reason (printer ran out of ink, I might not get this printed in time, for example.)

        4. I’ve used a party line. I was around five. Not sure when it disappeared from the community but my usage was late Seventies.

          1. In 1979, possibly into 1980, we had a party line. It was one of the last in the area as thing were being updated. We were glad to be rid of it, as the other party had gotten very used to there being no other party and.. let it Be Known should anyone pick up a phone while anyone else was using the line. Not sure which neighbor it was, but didn’t seem bad to be a bit insular after that sort of ‘welcome.’

          2. My grandparents farm in AR was on the last party line in the country until it was finally removed in 1985.

            1. Wrong. I was born in 1979 and we had a party line until sometime after I moved out, so that was mid to late 90’s. They had tried to get us to switch for years, but even when they raised the rates to higher than a private line my parents and grandparents refused, because they could answer their phone when at each others house, which they considered a convenience. Sometime shortly after I moved out they forced them to switch to a private line.

      2. It is sad to think how little kids today understand this dystopian film:

        “How ’bout that; I forgot to introduce myself.”

    2. When I was about six years old, my church developed a once-weekly feeding the homeless. (It’s still going, BTW.) One of its features is that the clients were sat down and people brought them food, rather than the cafeteria style of everyone picking things up at a window. At the time, I was allowed to bring drinks to the table. Now they don’t allow kids under 12, but when my kids start hitting that age, I WILL be taking them there to do some work. There’s something about working with homeless folk from a young age that gets you over the idea that *you* live in poverty.

      As a side note, the major defining trait of folk who are homeless seems to be that they don’t have a fallback position. If my family were to suddenly lose everything, we have any number of relatives that we could call on while we retrenched. (In fact, my husband and I lived with parents for a few months on a couple of occasions when we were first married, due to such retrenching, and once he stayed with friends in a different state while looking for work.) That’s the true measure of wealth: you have people you can count on when things go wrong. For whatever reason, a lot of folk don’t have that.

      1. The reason a lot of the homeless don’t have a fall back is because they burnt those bridges a long time before.
        A good number of them are addicts, and addicts tend to cheat, lie to, steal from, and exploit those who are closest to them.

        1. I’ve heard that as well.

          It’s funny but there was one TV movie about the homeless that had a family that became homeless.

          However, the idiots making the movie didn’t realize how some people would take it when the husband rejected the offer of a place given him by a member of his family.

          That made the husband look like an idiot but “we” were to feel sorry for him. 😦

          1. Our Church bought an old motel and opened with the intention of providing a place for the Hollywood version of the homeless- the otherwise good and moral two parent family getting hit by a string of bad luck that just needs a place to stay until they get on their feet.

            Or as I told Dad- a unicorn shelter. That sort of homeless family is as rare to be remarkable.

          2. Did the program go into why family did not take up family member’s offer? Pride, Location, or safety reasons for one or more family member (including pets)? Accommodations offered? Granted as long as clean and remotely safe, accept, but I’ve seen some accommodations where a tent is better (sad but true).

        2. I am going to respectfully disagree with you, since my family worked closely with the homeless for many years. Sometimes it’s cyclical—those children raised in poverty can be astonishingly ignorant, especially since they cannot go to school if they don’t have a home address, and it’s very difficult to think and learn if you’re hungry. Sometimes they don’t have resources because the bridge burning came from the other side (some hideously large percentage of teens are kicked out of their house for being kids or for being otherwise unacceptable to their parents.) And sometimes they don’t have resources because everyone they know is in similar circumstances, or because they are too proud to ask for help.

    3. > lowest level of poverty

      I audit some of the survivalist hang outs. Many of them seem to have scenarios for complete economic collapse that involve still having broadband internet and advanced medical care.

      1. Indeed. One should definitely have paper copies of one’s post-apocalypse survival guides. On the other hand, the Kindle will be fine for most bug-out bag scenarios.

          1. Given that my mom has like the first dozen or something of those, they may have influenced my name. I didn’t THINK about it, but it’s possible…..

    4. My oldest 2 can remember the excitement when I got my first Commodore 64. My younger three haven’t lived in a house without a computer and DVD player.

  5. In the US at least, emptying the mental institutions had more to do with reaction to abuse, from locking away the sane for gain to actual abuse within some institutions. Neither were by any means universal, but it did exist. So it was that there was a move to empty the asylums, thinking that inmates would be better off if not institutionalized. That, unfortunately, was not always the case.

    About time awareness. Not being from a land of manana, I don’t know. I do know my farmer ancestors at least to my grandparents were punctual folk. You went to the fields before sunrise and worked until after sunset regardless of the clock, but for church and business, you were expected to be on time. I would really like to see what were the attitudes regarding time prior to the Industrial Revolution in the US. Offhand I can’t recall times noted in the 19th Century court records I’ve seen prior to the railroads, but that would be interesting. There were obviously time pieces then, but how many owned them I don’t know. Likely they were adopted more after the price came down, and that takes us back to the Industrial Revolution aspect. It may account for a family insistence to always arrive well before appointed times, for if your clock didn’t match what the church or court house was using, it could be more than embarrassing. Even setting to local mean time each noon would mean several minutes off from one side of a county to another.

    But then what about the aforementioned case of Germany, and the difference between the US and south of the border? They should have had clocks in at least roughly the same proportion, and there were some mighty fine city clocks all across Europe. How did England rate punctuality-wise in the early 19th Century as compared to the rest of Europe?

    I don’t have even a suspicion as to why; just wondering, particularly how far back the idea of punctuality goes in the US.

    1. Yeah, the abuse was the other prong of it and it is once more “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”
      It’s not the LACK of clocks, Kevin, it’s that most people didn’t need to be anywhere at a time.
      In Europe time was kept by church bells directing when to pray for most of the middle ages, but the fields don’t care if you’re ten minutes late.
      Heck, I don’t think I ever got to elementary school on time, in an agricultural village. Mom would take me in whenever.
      By the time I got to the city, I had, then, to learn to keep time.
      England started the industrial revolution much earlier, and the workers that did well showed up on time, so the machines weren’t left unattended. Others started imitating it, etc.

      1. This is why I’m wondering about the US. I grew up on a farm in a farming community, and we were expected to be at school on time. By this time we had bus service (it even existed in my parents’ day), so that might have been a factor. Radio broadcasts had time signals at noon – a beep at the top of the hour we could set our clocks by. I don’t remember if most set their clocks by that, but remembered I did.

        It may very well be due to the Industrial Revolution, but this is why I wonder if there’s some before and after record in the US of a difference in attitudes toward time.

        1. Stephanie Osborne’s articles on the earthquakes included newspaper accounts. Many of them, plus others I looked up had precise times (precise to their time pieces) of the shocks and aftershocks. That was early 1800s. I think the more town you had around you, the more time keeping people did.

          1. I found references to what seems to be punctuality in Jefferson’s era, and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, published 1814, may have a reference to punctuality as an upper class virtue. But what was the actual sense of punctuality in the US? Is the reference to the “Midnight Judges” of John Adams a hint of it’s existence (based on the concept that it had to be done before midnight of his last day in office), or would it more closely correspond to “about” midnight by our terms? Some early circulars advertise auctions on a certain day, but not a time. I found an 1861 reference to a group convening at 10:30 in the morning, indicating that there were at least the recognition of half hour punctuality, with subsequent meetings held at 10:00 in the morning, but nothing about actual attitudes toward time.

            1861 is well in the range of the Industrial Revolution in the US, but would 1801? When exactly did the Industrial Revolution have an impact in the US? Can we say that Eli Whitney marked the start of the IR in the US?

            1. I don’t know how standard it is, but all the auctions I can think of– cattle, generally– that don’t have a specific time, are all-day events; if you know where the auction house IS, you’re going to know when it opens, adn it’ll be going on from opening on.

              1. That is a good point, and I wondered about that. It was only a few minutes search, but I can’t find reference to the beginning times of the auctions. They may have existed, or the beginning time was generally understood. I’d have to sit down in front of a microfilm reader and go through period newspapers to know for certain.

              2. And most auctions start at the same time, and have done so for longer than the life of the attendees. So all they really need to know is what day it is.

      2. BTW, dimly recall a secular vs religious competition in time keeping. When civil authorities could afford clocks, they could set the time. IIRC, the proliferation of mechanical time keeping moved time away from equally dividing sunrise to sunset and sunset to sunrise by twelve, which meant houses were different in summer and winter. This memory is so hazy I don’t recall if there were early efforts to compensate for actual sunrise and sunset or not.

      3. In California it was also frankly state government greed – there used to be involuntary commitment laws which required vast government mental hospitals across the state, representing a very large expenditure of state funds. Once the involuntary commitment laws were struck down, that expense could be cut and the money used to fund junkets and pet projects and so on. The fact that some folks that really did need to be in such a facility now generated expenditures on a much larger scale in homeless services and such was not an issue at the state level, as those expenditures were dropped onto local jurisdictions, not the state budget.

      4. In the villages up here we still see people who just never care about time. They don’t have a job that requires being on time (there often isn’t any jobs out there) and they don’t seem to keep track of it closer then it being fish season or caribou season. It some times makes it annoying when trying to coordinate things.

        1. We get that locally. We’re far enough away from $BIG_TOWN to keep commuting low, and a lot of the locals figure Roound-Tuit is good enough for various things, OTOH, the ranchers usually work from Can to Can’t, and that’s a bit variable.

        2. I try to be punctual. My wife has a bad case of “whenever.” Which did improve somewhat after I went on vacation without her.

        3. I’m kind of a an interesting case. I tend to be much like your locals, I usually know what season is open, and other than that I go by it is either daylight or it isn’t, and don’t worry much about what day of the week or the specific date is. On the other hand if I am meeting somebody or going somewhere with a specific time I am always early. I abhor being late, and it is known among my friends and acquaintance that if you are meeting me and don’t show up on time, you are more than likely going to get left, because people that are habitually late irritate me.

      5. People got paid to go around waking up workers in the morning. It’s one of the more amusing (to us) jobs of the early industrial age. “A knocker up of workers.”

      6. the fields don’t care if you’re ten minutes late
        Oh, but the cows do. Dairy farmers HATE DST. But farmers and ranchers have been getting up without clocks for all of time. 🙂

        1. *laughing* We had chickens, who, I kid you not, would FLOCK to the door if their internal clocks told them Mom or I was late with the feed. There was one specific rooster who would attack the metal bottom of the screen door with his spurs too, to knock.

          Despite this, he was a polite fellow, up to a point. He’d knock once, wait a bit, knock a second time, and if after waiting a minute there was no response yet, there’d be more rapid attacks on the door.

          There was a bantam rooster who learned to wait until Mom had fed the other chickens too, because he’d get bullied by a couple of large hens (Philippine ‘native chicken’ breed) and hop up onto a water rain barrel for his feed. Then he’d get his handful of feed, and wait until he was sure Mom was standing next to the barrel to keep the hens away before he’d eat. We called him Sapatos (shoes) because of the feathers on his feet, but I guess the English version would be closer to Boots.

          My nickname for him was the name of the crochety history teacher I had, (‘Sir Radj’; Rolando deJesus) who, interestingly enough was present when I first bought the bird. I had bought the chicken at the University of the Philippines during lunchtime and then taken it back to class in a box. Said teacher’s response was to blink in surprise that I was getting my daughter a chicken for a pet, say I’m weird, then at the end of the class, remark that the chicken was a strangely quiet bird. That was probably the most crochety, grumbly, but quiet chicken we ever had too. Maybe Sir Radj made an impression.

          1. We had Stupid the boar hog. I didn’t set out to name him stupid, but I called him that so much that he thought it was his name. I could call “C’mere, Stupid,” and he’d come running.

      7. There was a medieval case where a knight presented himself for a trial by combat, announced that the time was up, and was kept waiting for an hour of our time while they debated whether it really had reached the appointed hour.

    2. If it were just the abuse, then the horror stories coming out of the result would be causing an equal push-back– it’s not, and now they’re manufacturing “abuse” such as not giving people who are non-responsive “sufficient choice” for their food.

  6. “Why does income inequality or indeed any inequality concern people around the world or around the block, or down the street?”

    A related question came up during a recent presentation by one of my classmates. This classmate wanted to design some kind of education center and plunk it down in the middle of Nepal. Why Nepal? Because the country interested him and they rank 146th in literacy.

    Fair enough… but the fellow hadn’t asked the question “Do more Nepalese need to be literate?”

    In the US, we need to be literate, because all of our laws and most of our customs are written down, and our government and society depends on people being able to read and understand the laws as they are wrote.

    But in other societies, where the laws and customs are not written (or maybe the laws are, but the customs aren’t and the customs are the only things that actually govern people’s lives)…how much need is there for the people to be literate?

    The fact still remains that what is a need in one place is not necessarily a need in another place, and it is best for the locals to determine what is an isn’t valuable to them.

    It’s really no one else’s business.

    1. There is something to this, but it’s also worth considering what we need isn’t the sum total of what should be out there. There was some dude who said something about man not living by bread alone. So while the Nepalese might not NEED literacy, they might enjoy being able to read about other places and other cultures and they might find their own society might be improved with some literacy.

      All of which is a round about way of saying that just because the Nepalese haven’t been real big on literacy in the past isn’t necessarily a reason we shouldn’t offer to teach them.

        1. I only text gibberish when I’m asleep. The rest of the time I use punctuation and everything in my texts.

        2. I was amused/horrified a while back some alleged study claimed that using proper spelling/grammar/punctuation in text messages & tweets & the like was a sign of something bad. Well, if that makes me a monster… so what? Perhaps the entry requirements have slipped some of late.

    2. Literacy is a need if you want to “progress” in philosophy and material prosperity. But 1) not everyone wants to progress, and 2) progress isn’t all that and a bag of chips (at least after some point where it becomes an -ism).

    3. The thing about teaching literacy is that it makes your students far less dependent on what people tell them.

      Interestingly, Christian missionaries (who all Right Thinking People excoriate) have been very dedicated to spreading literacy. OTOH, the net effect of the Left’s involvement in education has been to surpress literacy.

      1. “The thing about teaching literacy is that it makes your students far less dependent on what people tell them.”
        There was a reason the Catholic Church formerly objected to translating the Bible into living vernaculars and getting it printed.
        Now, they are on the Right Side of History, I believe 😉

        1. They objected because the translators were unauthorized and doing bad and misleading translations. When that happened. When it didn’t, they were fine with it.

          1. No, they weren’t. It was the fact that a great deal of doctrine had been built upon specific translational word choices in the Vulgate. And that it would ‘democratize’ theology out of the hands of the ‘educated’.
            It was the exact same protectionism we see today among the ‘elite’.

            1. Yes, quite a bit of doctrine HAD been based on the very carefully supported, cross-referenced, non-language-drift “word choices” of the Vulgate. (still is, actually; that’s why Church Latin is a “thing,” and why you can get so many different citations in multiple languages with support for the specific sense involved)

              Which is exactly why having someone with the mindset similar to those reporters who go “Hey, these are all listed under the same word in the thesaurus, they must mean the same thing” is such a horrifically bad idea.

              Good grief, look at something simple like the title of queen— we use it for either a female ruler or the king’s wife.
              THEY used it for the king’s mother. Who could go and talk to him in a way that nobody else could, but who doesn’t actually have any power at all.
              Example chosen from relatively non-hot but real theological discussion.

              You might want to go see how the supposed democratization of interpretation played out, the examples I remember do not fit that theory of motivation.

                1. Goodness, yes. Heck, even with Presidents there are lots of jokes about sending their moms in– and that title is what set off the angry to-do, and I can’t really say the angry reaction, if the meaning they’d heard was accurate, would be wrong.
                  But it wasn’t accurate, it was an example of why you need to have a really good idea of the time and place folks were writing in, as well as the language!

            2. Have to agree with Foxfier on this one. There is a reason that most Protestant pastors know Greek and Latin, as do Catholic priests. Because there are a whole bunch of translations out there, and some are better than others. The Vulgate wasn’t perfect, but it was both known, and pretty good. Joe Blow’s translation may be very good, or it may be the equivalant of Google translate. Pastors and Priests know Latin and Greek so that they can study if not the originals, at least much older and less translated copies and thus tell whether a translation is actually accurate for this passage.
              The infrastructure of The Church does this in a much more top down fashion, although individual priests in their parishes can and do put their own spin on translations at times. The protestant community tends by and large to leave this to the individual churches and their pastors to verify the various translations.

          2. A topic which makes arguments about the color of the church carpet look almost safe.

            First, while I can discuss translations in general, I can’t as to why at one point the RC Church didn’t like the notion. This was not always the case, and you can find early translations from the Vulgate. I don’t know if the issue were translations that went back to the Hebrew and Greek rather than the Vulgate or not.

            Second, some translations were more like study bibles than straight translations, and here doctrine does become an issue. But not all translations from the Vulgate were what we’d call study bibles today. Such questions of the English translations were one reason the “King James” version exists.

            Third, these days it’s trivially easy to compare the translations with free bible study software. That includes the Vulgate and Douay – Rheims. Strong numbers makes it easier to see what’s going on. Dare to compare.

            1. “First, while I can discuss translations in general, I can’t as to why at one point the RC Church didn’t like the notion. ”

              Yes, you can. We just told you.

              1. No offense, but that may be more looking back at history than contemporary with the event. I’m not dismissing it out of hand, but I’m thinking of various folks who translated parts of the Vulgate into local languages without any great fuss centuries earlier. You’ll note I haven’t cited the standard Protestant explanations, either,

                That said, I just thought of one passed down through family that may be an old echo of at least the people’s take on it at the time. It come from my mother’s family, from the strongly Irish side, and had zero to do with doctrines. It’s interesting and plausible, but I don’t know if it was so.

                1. That’s false. We have contemporaneous records that clearly show the Catholic Church’s problem was with unauthorized translations because they could be bad and misleading.

                  1. No, because they would contradict/em> Roman doctrine, not actually be bad translations.
                    And the notion that you can build doctrine on a single word choice not even in the original language is questionable, to say the least.

                    Each of the major players in the Reformation who was persecuted for a vulgar translation has gone back to the Hebrew and the Greek for their sourcing.

                    But, I’ll drop this now as it seems to be a matter of faith.

                    1. No, because they were bad translations. For instance, Martin Luther wittingly, willingly, and intentionally mistranslated a verse so it would say what he wanted and not what it actually said. We know this for a fact, because his explicit “defense” was “Tell them Dr. Martin Luther would have it so.”

                    2. “And the notion that you can build doctrine on a single word choice not even in the original language is questionable, to say the least.”

                      Really? Have you seen the convolutions created out of “thou shalt not kill” vs. “thou shalt not murder”? Or “thou shall not suffer a witch to live” vs. “Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live”?

                    3. Oh, my gosh, the EVANGELICAL VEGANS who abuse that “thou shalt not kill” line– because heaven forbid that any ancient language not have the exact same implications and shades if meaning as modern-ish English!

                    4. Being omniscient it is obvious that God knew His words would eventually be translated into English and read by Americans in the 21st Century, so obviously He intended for His edict to be broadened as Humanity rose from our violent past.

                      Or perhaps Vegans are idiots.

                      Nyah, that’s unpossible!

                      Vegans wage war against Ruffles over ‘tofu-urkey’ joke
                      Ruffles Chips poked fun of ill-fated Thanksgiving turkeys on the holiday — and angry vegans are feeling salty about it.

                      The snack company posted a spoof image of “Tofu-urky”-flavored chips on Instagram with the caption, “There’s a reason tofu-urkeys are never pardoned.”

                      But the post left a bad taste in the mouths of animal lovers who called it cruel to laugh about killing their feathered friends.

                      “WOW. Tasteless much? Pun intended,” blasted hollywoodpuggle. “Plant based/vegan is the fastest growing movement at the moment so maybe switch your marketing.”

                      Others promised to boycott the brand.

                      [END EXCERPT]

                    5. It gets better—Biblical Hebrew does offer the semantic distinction between (in modern English terms) neutrally “killing” a living thing and wrongfully “murdering” a person. (And yes, the Commandment is against “murder”.) Heaven forbid that 16ᵗʰ- and 17ᵗʰ-Century translators either miss parts of that nuance or fail to take into account language drift which would happen over the next four hundred years.

                    6. My response to THAT sophistry is usually “Yeah, that totally means we can’t eat meat…. which is why He devoted 5-6 more chapters to recipes and cuts charts telling us how He likes it prepared.”

                    7. Only slightly shakier ground than the “Jesus never had alcohol” angle.
                      That at least you could claim it was freshly pressed wine (grape juice).

                      …it does require a lot of discounting other stuff, though.

                    8. “Witch” vs. “poisoner” is a fun one, particularly as the ambiguity only exists in the Greek translation not the Hebrew original, and yet people complain of the (accurate to the Hebrew) “witch”.

                    9. No, because they would contradict/em> Roman doctrine, not actually be bad translations.

                      That rather assumes there’s a difference between the two– there’s an entire fallacy based on exploiting shades of meaning (equivocation) and you think trying to explain GOD is going to be simpler than standard logical formations?

                    1. That is, actually, a theory– and one that’s countered by 1) from-the-time evidence of direct objections, and 2) there being a wide range of modern (ish) thoughts largely derived from secondary source or justifications.

                    2. I’m in too cynical mood to comment in depth. Suffice that it’s derived from the idea that Protestantism is in need of a reformation, one beyond doing down the road from the Harmony Baptist Church and setting up New Harmony Baptist Church. And maybe a round of new reformations for all of Christiandom, to boot.

                      Really, though, I basing my own initial starting point on this from a general observation of secular history, and how modern explanations are often at odds with how those who lived through the events understood them. Unless there’s contemporary documentation of any historical explanation, we have to be careful we’re not interpreting events from afar and looking at blurry features through modern lenses. That does not discount all contemporary histories, only that we need to exercise a degree of caution.

                    3. Alrighty, then we’re in violent agreement.

                      …even before you consider how often folks are dead wrong about what motivates modern folks from the exact same culture and, frequently, specific background!

        2. Other way around, actually– they objected is basically the same as ours to activists re-writing the dictionary, then using it as an authority.

          Good heavens, there are a ton of saints who are famous for having the first books in a language, several created written languages for spoken ones, so they could share the Bible. (Cyril and Methodius created the basic form of Cyrillic, for example– and also fought a heresy that suggested Hebrew, Greek and Latin were the only acceptable languages for God.)

          Most famous example? Latin Bible– “Vulgate”= the common language, AKA the vernacular.

          Look at how much trouble we have with the constitution, which is pretty black and white, and quite short; how try translating it, and imagine how much trouble someone can make, with all the good will on earth, just by reading what they want to be there.

          1. I’m looking forward to exposing some adult church history students to The Heliand – the Saxon edition of the Gospels and some other “suitable” sections of the Bible that was done in the 800s. Jesus leads a “war band,” among other things. But it served the purpose, which was to put the Gospel stories into a setting that the Saxons could understand. Then they could move on to Latin after conversion.

      2. The level below teaching them to read is teaching them a wide-spread language.

        You know, like English…which most agreements are going to be in, and most of the folks who want to help and want to take advantage of them are going to speak, as a second language if not as first….

        Thus, the demonizing of teaching “native” populations English.

    1. Yeah, the revolution in ubiquitous data processing has totally eliminated the programmers and computer technicians and IT professionals and so on that used to service those huge centralized mainframes – why, because of the automation in handling accounting alone since the introduction of the spreadsheet, there’s almost no one left doing accounting anymore!

      Wait…

      1. (Had to look up “ubiquitous data processing” term … NOT keeping up with current terminology).

        “No one left doing accounting anymore” … had a 12 year career with a company exploiting that missing component. A package that provides cost accounting software for governmental agencies, fills the gap between spreadsheets and QuickBooks (which it often replaces), and the large (ex: PeopleSoft) Payment, A/R, and H/R systems. It is usually installed at Departmental levels; can feed data and get feedback from the larger systems. Preferred Road System for State of CA and WA Road Board Auditors, and NW Native American Reservation Auditors, also a presence in Oregon (there is a *much smaller* system, another source, that is “free”, as in they pay whether they use it or not, for the same non-federal agencies). FYI, multiple States and Federal = 3 Fiscal Year-Ends; which is soooo much fun. Know of multiple instances where an agency avoided either major fines or law suits because they had this software. Could be much larger company, country wide, reasons for this, and it is NOT the software content or quality. Interesting times, coming, I know the next generation is looking to expand into other areas (states). Should be some hiring opportunities. They’ll also have some other challenges which will = other career opportunities within the company. I retired from the company about 2 years ago (still have contacts within). Would have stayed, not the work, or normal work environment, but one particular ongoing problem, with multiple solutions that were available to others, but not to me, and I was in a position to quit, so I did.

      2. “why, because of the automation in handling accounting alone since the introduction of the spreadsheet, there’s almost no one left doing accounting anymore!”

        You’re right, they’re not doing accounting, they’re filling out government forms.

        1. Some make a nice bit of moolah from reconciling, for example, fixed assets and equipment with the Property, Plant and Equipment inventory. Amazing the way that people will move machinery, equipment and furniture about in a plant without accurately updating the plant records. Or the way that asset tags on equipment can become illegible in very short time.

    2. It is a core faith of the Progressive Left that the Industrial Revolution was horrible, and that it caused widespread poverty.

      Yet I recall reading (in a book I wish I could remember) that studies have shown that the workers in early Industry in England were less ignorant and about a thiusand calories a day better fed than the generation preceding.

      The Industrial Revolution brought masses of the poor together in the same place, where they could be noticed…but the idea that their predecessors lived in some kind of pastoral paradise is not supported by the facts. The industrial workers may have been poorly informed and malnourished, but their predecessors had been abysmally informed and starving.

  7. Not only are the conclusions cooked, but the fact studies are done teaches those who don’t think about it that, in fact, there MUST be a problem. Otherwise why would “they” do a study.

    Here a non-secret from the consulting and study-conducting and academic world: Studies are done on subjects for which someone will pay for a study to be done. It’s the ultimate manifestation of “know your audience,” where the audience is the dude with the grants burning a whole in his metaphorical non-profit pockets.

    And, surprise of surprises, grants funded by the “Institute for Advanced Inequity Studies” always turn up more inequities than their last study found – you never get a study that concludes “Look, these concerns of the dude writing my grant checks are totally unfounded, and said dude should roll up his rug and go fund something else.”

    1. Folks like Prof. Naci Mocan here are incredibly valuable– ‘I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?’
      http://the-american-catholic.com/2017/11/16/by-man-shall-his-blood-be-shed-a-catholic-defense-of-capital-punishment-a-review/

      (Incidentally, that is why Catholics are generally instructed to argue against wrong things on the ground that they are wrong first, and all the practical reasons second if at all– because even if nobody’s lying, the results can mess things up.)

      1. I am reluctantly opposed to the death penalty, because people like Radley Balko have shown that Prosecutors not only can game the system just to gather scalps, but that when they are caught there is seldom any consequence.

        Start trying Prosecutors and Police who withold or fake evidence in capitol crimes for attempted murder (which it surely is) and I will return to supporting the death penalty.

        1. Can’t say I understand the logic– it’s the same as for banning guns. They are used to commit murder, so even though they stop wwwwaaaaaayyyy more murders that they’re used to commit, they must be gotten rid of until…something.

          1. Well, my personal logic is that, so long as agents of the State are allowed to lie and fake evidence, without serious consequence, then the authority to execute is an authority I decline to allow the State.

            Should vermin like the (far too recently) late Charlie Manson be killed simply as a sanitation measure? Sure. But when a Prosecutor can railroad somebody onto death row, and the somebody can tater be proven to be the victim of gross Prosecutorial malfeasance, and the Prosecutor in question is allowed to keep his job, his freedom, and his life, then I have a problem with the system.

            1. But that same system commits gross errors for political reasons which release known murderous monsters by the dozen, resulting in murders where they cannot be appealed and not only is there no punishment, they’re lauded for their “mercy.”

                1. That is a really good summary.

                  The eternal goal is to reach an environment where it is absolutely un-needed and un-used, sometimes it is going to misfire, and even when it works you’re going to feel sick.

                  But you’ll die horrifically, promoting corruption, if you don’t have it.

                  1. I’ve been using that analogy since roughly 2002.

                    Unfortunately, the body politic has gotten to the point that it’s going to take some fairly extreme chemo to get the Leftist cancer dialed back to where the normal immune system will handle it.

                    The chemo MAY kill the patient…. but it’s a lead pipe cinch the Leftist cancer will.

        2. I advocate applying the punishment for the crime which they were trying to railroad to anyone falsely testifying or withholding exculpatory evidence, etc.
          So, you wanna send a guy up for life? You are risking your own freedom if you aren’t scrupulously honest.

  8. I have been giving my left wing family and friends PJ O’Rourke’s Eat The Rich and Parliament of Whores for at least two decades now.

    —–
    The hardest thing to understand about economics is that it doesn’t need to be understood. My beatnik friends and I, when we were in college, were perfectly justified in expending out intelliectual energy on sex and drugs instead of money. But there was one thing that we did need to learn. And still do. And it’s a piece of knowledge that seems to contradict psychology, life experience, and the dicatates of conscience: Economics is not zero sum. There is no fixed amount of wealth. That is, if you have too many slices of pizza, I don’t have to eat the box. Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.

    1. That, and the idea that the merchant who moves goods from A to B doesn’t deserve a markup. Common to primitive Christianity and Confucianism, and probably other belief systems.

  9. It’s been a decade since I lived in California’s Central Valley, but they’d just about successfully wiped out the middle class by then. (Due to: illegal immigration, high property values, high taxes, high crime, “minority” groups being exempt from enforcement of the law, draconian enforcement of the law against the law abiding, environmental thuggery, regulations out the wazoo, list continues…)
    I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better since. In fact, Victor David Hansen assures me it hasn’t in frequent columns.

  10. I pretty much gave up on helping people over one fellow. I got him three jobs and he could not get his butt out of bed and show up on time for any of them. I expended way too much capital of reputation trying to help him.
    About a vast unemployable underclass. They may exist because they weren’t ALLOWED to work. Or at least on any acceptable terms. They will find activities that reward them, but it may not be things that are approved and recognized as desirable economic activity.

    1. There will always be some underclass who is unable to get up on time, or does drugs, or is an alcoholic, or is crazy, or whatnot. (Hence that Jewish boy who said “You will always have the poor.”) But it wouldn’t be “vast” without help from progressive do-gooders. Or tyrants. But I repeat myself.

    2. Our pastor received a letter from a lady once, full of heartrending anguish and weeping desperation over a lack of help in her life.
      He read it to a deacon’s meeting.
      Dad, kind soul that he is, offered the lady a job. She showed up, worked less than a half day, and left.

      1. My sister managed a retail store, and tells some stupefying stories of her hiring woes. People showing up to interviews for cashier jobs in tank tops and flip flops. People who interviewed well and were hired, then never bothered to show up. People who worked for a couple of days and never came back.
        I doubt she was the only manager with this problem.
        One of my religious leaders would get calls from people wanting help and would tell them that if they would show up and clean the church building at such-and-such a time, he would help them. In the two years I worked under him, only one woman ever appeared.
        Another remarked, with experience, that the reason some people were poor was because they had “poor” habits.

        1. Working a few days at a store is a common casing technique– you find out when stuff comes in and where the expensive stuff is.

          Sometimes you can pocket expensive stuff, too.

          If she’s ever checked the ID on some of those “Worked a few days, then vanished” folks, bet they’re fake.

          1. Yeah, there’s a reason that background checks are ever more common – and retail managers / HR folks complain it’s harder and harder to find those even just claiming to be willing AND can pass such a check.

            1. There’s also a reason why the Obama DOJ sought to abolish background checks as a preliminary screening device for employers. It “disproportionately” shrank the applicant pool.

          2. Hmmm – hadn’t thought of that. She managed a WaldenBooks, so I don’t think any of the “fakes” were lifting much, unless they wanted to bootleg best sellers.

            1. It also lets you see where the cash is, any computers, that kind of stuff.

              Books would be a bad choice to steal, because they’re pretty specific– IIRC, infant formula is the most popular target, because you can’t trace it and you can sell it for five bucks a pop like nothing.

      2. The problem of helping vs enabling is a real one. I know of an instance where a family spent church assistance on a computer when they had more pressing issues. That’s why we would give true items of assistance that couldn’t easily be sold for money, such as real food.

    3. desirable economic activity

      Or desirable at all. Sometimes even by themselves
      “This realization comes considerably later to most of my intelligent patients, however, who complain in their thirties of a vague, persistent, and severe dissatisfaction with their present existence. The excitements of their youth are over: in the culture of the slums, men and women are past their prime by the age of 25. Their personal lives are in disarray, to put it kindly: the men have fathered children with whom they have little or no contact; the women, preoccupied with meeting the increasingly imperious demands of these same children, drudge at ill-paid, boring, and impermanent jobs. (The illegitimacy rate in Britain has recently passed the 40 percent mark, and while most births are still registered in the names of two parents, relations between the sexes grow ever more unstable.) The entertainments that once seemed so compelling to both men and women—indeed, the whole purpose of life—seem so no longer. These patients are listless, irritable, and disgruntled. They indulge in self-destructive, anti-social, or irrational behavior: they drink too much, involve themselves in meaningless quarrels, quit their jobs when they can’t afford to, run up debts on trifles, pursue obviously disastrous relationships, and move house as if the problem were in the walls that surround them.

      “The diagnosis is boredom, a much underestimated factor in the explanation of undesirable human conduct. As soon as the word is mentioned, they pounce upon it, almost with relief: recognition of the problem is instant, though they had not thought of it before. Yes, they are bored—bored to the very depths of their being.”

      Theodore Dalrymple

      https://www.city-journal.org/html/lost-ghetto-12261.html

  11. It seems to me that “concern over income inequality” is one of those things nobody much attends to until some politician, “journalist” or pollster asks about it. Generally it seems that, in regard to income inequality, the cures are far worse than the problem.

  12. At my last job I had a co-worker who got fired because he couldn’t make it into the office earlier than 2PM, despite repeated warnings from our supervisor. I had another who insisted that alarm clocks just didn’t work for him, so to be on time for an early morning company event he just stayed in the office overnight.

    I can’t really understand the mindset. If the boss wants me in at a certain time I set my clock and adjust my schedule. If I’m gonna get canned from a job I want it to be for something less basic than “Can’t use an alarm clock properly.” You can train dogs to respond to bells.

    1. And if you keep to a pattern, animals will learn that pattern.
      Feed Kitty every morning at the same time… and Kitty will be quite irked when that Daylight Saving Time thing messes with the timing.

      1. Yes cats are VERY good at internal time keeping. My latest kitten buddy shows up about 5-10 minutes BEFORE my alarm goes off (wanting to make sure the kitties get fed). He was VERY put out with the change to EST (wait get up daddy don’t you know kittens are hungry?). The ugly part is the rest of the Feline clan (His sibling and our 15 year old senior member) follow his lead and I have 3 cats marching across my kidneys. Where the heck do they keep their watches?

        1. One of my cats read the clock at the head of the bed, and knew 6:00 was when we, or at least, I, got up. Changes to/from DST didn’t faze the cat at all.

      2. I get up at 5. Derpycat wants out at 5:30 precisely. The week after DST was fuuuuuuuun, because Derpycat is part-Siamese and inherited Daddy’s vocals.

    2. There was a point in time in my life where I needed three different alarm clocks to wake me, I would sleep so deeply; so I understand the ‘alarm clocks don’t work.’ I’m the one who would have stayed overnight at the office (and have done, given the issues with traffic in Manila.)

      Smartphones helped. I set my alarm to my husband’s ringtone. He rarely calls home, because work. Still, I don’t wake when his alarm clock goes off.

      One of the more amusing things he’s related from field exercises is that COs have learned to not shake someone awake from the shoulder to wake them for their night shift at watch. Apparently, getting punched in the face by a soldier who is still asleep was – and still is – a thing. (and, it seems, not something that counts under insubordination. Jolting someone to not-quite-awake and ‘aarrrgh I’m being attacked!’ is seen as ‘well, fair enough.’)

      1. One of the more amusing things he’s related from field exercises is that COs have learned to not shake someone awake from the shoulder to wake them for their night shift at watch.

        I was once told by a nurse who served in Vietnam that if they needed to shake a patient awake, they shook his foot. Made sense.

        1. We were warned to NEVER walk next to our uncles when they were sleeping, and that if we had to wake them up we were to throw things from the door.

      2. Navy has the same thing– something like a ten second rule, has a few other applications too.

        Has stopped a lot of sadistic pricks from using “I was just trying to wake them up’ as an excuse, too.

        1. First ship had someone who liked to use that 10 second rule. I didn’t like playing that game. So one time with LPO and CPO standing behind me, made standard attempts to wake, then threw a bucket of water on him. He leapt to the floor, fist raised, and my LPO said- “Go ahead, I’d like to see you in the brig.”

          No one ever had trouble waking him up after that.

          1. Oh. I can sleep through diving alarms, phones ringing, people talking, etc. But if sounds like a general, chemical, or collision alarm I’m up and fully awake in seconds getting dressed. And I never sleep through my current alarm tone from the newest alarm clock- my phone. I sleep through my wife’s different wake up tone.

            1. On reflection, it’s probably because we have this idiotic basketball court across the creek/canal from my mom’s house that I can sleep through loud noise. Why? Because they have a fucking karaoke machine there, on at all hours even after midnight and they love playing the basketball horn when they have games there. It’s not a big court, certainly not the kind with stands, and it’s supposed to be what passes for a playground in the Philippines. While the laws about noise after certain times in residential areas supposedly exist, good luck trying to call the police for something like that. Sheer lack of enforcement and discipline, and consideration.

          2. GOOD LPO.

            When they mentioned that rule, they also mentioned that abusing it wouldn’t wash.

            Suddenly pretty sure that Mr. Ten Second found out about the rule by being a sadist…..

      3. I once missed an alarm clock and was very late for work. From what I can tell I must have shut the alarm off and went back to sleep. So I moved my alarm to a place where I’d have to get up to stop it and that never happened again.

        1. The first mother’s day my children …er… celebrated… when we moved here to Australia showed to my housemate that I was capable of sleeping through smoke detector alarms. I have three modes when it comes to sleep: Insomnia, ‘badly’ and ‘sleep like the dead.’

          In Vincent’s defense, he was six, and wanted to cook Mummy brekkie. Aff managed to clean the egg off the ceiling and walls, and regaled me with tales of how he and his childhood friends attempted to show appreciation of their parents as I ate overseasoned egg on toast.

          Why yes, it’s a fond memory now.

        2. Well…. I’ve gotten up half-asleep and changed the time of the alarm on my alarm clock.

          And yes, it is across the room. 😉

          1. My first college roommate would hit snooze over and over and over and overandoverandover. I don’t remember it, but she told me that I once got out of bed, marched to her side of the room, unplugged her alarm clock, and took it back to bed with me.

          2. I used to reprogram the setting on the alarm clock. Things got a lot better after I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and treated. I usually wake up on the border collie’s second bark (she’s our critter detector; barks for deer and deer-predators). $SPOUSE wakes up more quickly, but she gets to sleep in after I take the dogs out in the morning.

        3. I had a roommate that couldn’t make herself get up more than five minutes before she had to leave. She had a cleaning job so getting ready was no big deal. The problem was she tried to convince herself that she could get up an hour early. So she’d set the alarm for then, and proceed to snooze it ten times. I could sleep through one or two of them but not ten. And my wake up time was only half an hour after she left. So I’d lose an hour and a half of sleep. Nothing I could do would get her to change. I was happy when she wasn’t my roommate anymore.

        4. I had a retail job in a mall, once, where the assistant manager took against me for some reason. Couldn’t figure it out. I was on time, I looked for what to do next if I’d run through my assigned chores, I knew the stock.

          Then one Saturday, she woke me up with a phone call; “Charlie, where are you?!?”

          “I’m at home, Sandy, I’m not scheduled to work today. I checked before I left on my last on-shift.”

          “I changed the schedule.”

          “Well, you didn’t call me and tell me. I’m not one of the teens and tweens that hangs out at the mall on my off days. I live an hour away. If you don’t call and tell me when you change my schedule, I won’t know.”

          *silence*

          “I can be in in an hour and a half. I’ll need to dress and eat something.”

          “Oh. Good.”

          *click*

          After that we got along. She’d been riding me because she was used to staff that were’t really adults yet. She didn’t see me as an adult, because why would an adult work at a Suncoast (video retail)?

          Discounts, Sandy, discounts.

          Wish I could have figured out how to convince the Manager that I didn’t care if I got the awful shifts, as long as they were consistent. I just couldn’t break him of giving me some early and some late, to be ‘fair’ (late was considered bad, because of closing). Never did get through to him, and after a while Sam Goody went bust (Parent company).

          1. One of my part-time jobs was with a pizza company, no longer in business, at a time that Family and Adult sides were separated, whether one could get alcohol or not, and if yes, younger than 21 not allowed. When I was hired, since I was <21, was told my hours were limited because I could not work counter alone during slow times; could not work "adult" only side, doing anything. Okay. Was always on time, etc; even tho transportation was a bike, regardless of weather (Willamette Valley, so heavy Rain was the worse). This was in the mid-70's so my work ethic not unusual.

            Then manager was in an accident and area manager took over during his recovery. Temp manager insisted on leveling hours (great money wise, otherwise not so much) so he started giving me more hours, but had to work counter alone; and yes, he was told multiple time by me and others on staff that I was well under 21, and looked it (well into my 30's, became a joke). Note, was not in "alone", there was back area people who were doing other things and not suppose to be used out front (work with machines I was not trained on and therefore could not use). But, since I could not work the side that was actually busy, essentially ended up coordinating having the other staff doing the counter work, interrupting their regular work. New super was not impressed. Since I could not afford the fine, or bribe, should inspector catch me, I stood my ground (still young enough that not legal was flat out wrong, what gray area?). I also found another job. The night the new super called me in to read me the riot act, let him, then told him "Uhhh, I just came in to work my shift and give notice … but okay". And yes, left that job off the reference list.

        5. My husband used to have that, and would go through about five sleep cycles even with walking across the room. (Programmed to deal with that, of course.) He went to a light alarm, that brightens gradually until the alarm time, and he’s never had to hit the sleep button since.

    3. We once had a boss who came this close to buying all employees a wind-up alarm clock as a back-up. Some of us wake up when the power goes out, anyway, before anyone calls.

        1. Try it with a Cpap. You can get used to the mask, but when the power goes, all of a sudden you wake up to the “There’s a rubber fetish thing on my face, amd I’m having trouble breathing!” experience.

          No, I don’t usually get back to sleep those nights. Funny, that.

          1. Oh, yes. Having the air shut off is about 3/4 of a heart attack on the stress level. I’m usually up the rest of the night after that happens.

          2. It is called a backup power source. Right now mine is on of those car starter things that you can plug things into. Cpap goes off. Wake up go DAMN plug into the battery back up and go back to sleep.

            1. Last year I did a solar powered backup “generator” that was big enough to run refrigeration when the power went out. It feeds a couple of outlets in the back of the house. Most of the time, they just run a nightlight, but they can and have run the ‘fridge. More often, it’s for the CPAP. It’s not a fancy switchover; run an extension cord and replug the CPAP, but it works. The house isn’t really setup to handle a transfer switch, but if I felt the need, I’d run a backup outlet to the bedroom and keep the CPAP on solar power all the time. I’ve learned (after 19 years on the machine) that I cannot sleep without a CPAP.

            2. I bought an inverter so I can run the CPAP off the car battery if I have to. For some reason it never occurred to me to run an extension cord over to the computer’s UPS.

          3. Indeed, we lost power a week or so ago due to some severe windstorms. I was dreaming deeply (using my CPAP like a good boy) and all of a sudden my dream turned to being crushed by dirt dumped on me and I was asphyxiating as the dirt covered me. Wake up, and lo and behold I was sleeping on my back, power is clearly out as my LED clock is off and my 7Lb+ kitten was standing on my chest
            trying to get my attention as the wind was loud and scary AND it was 5:30 and breakfast time time for kittens.

  13. “The biggest problem in people finding and keeping work is the inability to follow a schedule and obey orders.”

    Which, in spite it being such an incredibly low bar, is probably one of the biggest reasons for hiring veterans.

    1. There’s also an inability to delay gratification.
      As the old joke goes, hard work pays off eventually, while laziness pays immediately.

    2. Knew girl out of West Virginia who loved, Loved, LOVED learning. She’d get a fast food job and save up until she had the next semester’s fees and living expenses banked, and then quit. She’d tell the managers, too, up front. They kept trying to make her management, because while she was employed she showed up, on time, in uniform, and fairly sanitary…..which was unusual for that level of job, apparently.

  14. time-keeping and the ability to work to the clock are strictly a function of how early or late a country had an industrial revolution
    Heh. Early or late.

  15. From my perspective, each person who is poor is so for a different set of reasons. Maybe mental health, maybe drugs or alcohol, maybe a physical or mental disability, maybe lack of education, maybe poor habits of self or time management, maybe being raised in a dysfunctional family; maybe some combination of the above. There is a healthy component of bad luck and bad fortune in many cases. To bring a person out of poverty is very much an individual thing and often requires real compassion combined with expert knowledge, which is an astonishingly rare combination.

    Where I do agree is that the government’s solution, a one-size fits all “throw other people’s money at the poor” is no real solution. It subsidizes and perpetuates poverty. I note that means-tested benefits only impede the honest: The real moochers find ingenious and creative ways to prove (and maintain) their entitlement.

    1. It is important to remember that the government is not in the problem-solving business. The government is in the of throwing money at problems business.

      Oddly, the same people who will readily lecture you on how the Drug Companies are in the business of treating symptoms, not curing illness, will become quite insistent about turning to the government to treat ineradicable conditions.

      1. But if you claim that throwing tax money at the poor doesn’t cure poverty, you are a heartless, cruel fink who wants people to starve and freeze in the gutter. You’re pushing grandma’s wheelchair off a cliff. Funny how this kind of overblown rhetoric plays so well among those who are already getting government benefits of some kind.

        1. Funny, ennit, how the same parties complaining about “pushing granny’s wheelchair off a cliff” are usually among the biggest advocates for “assisted” suicide (aka, murder) and for “futility of care” policies.

          Same way Democrats are all for taxing the rich until Republicans agree and suggest not allowing rich folk to deduct their sky-high Blue-State taxes from the Federal taxes.

        2. I take a slight different tack; I point out that government assistance programs have an overhead percentage that would get the books of a private charity seized; “Money funneled through the government to ‘fight poverty’ will pay for government salaries first, government perks second, and actually get to the poor a distant third.”
          I tel them “Cut the budget in half, convert that to $5 bills, and trow them out of a helicopter over the poor sections of cities. It would do more good, less harm, and the Government could rent out the offices of the Welfare Bureaucracy to recoup some of the cost.”

          This is when the usual Proggie realizes that they are dealing with a Crank, and starts backing away.

  16. Anyone who grows up drinking the koolaid, who then gets a feminist studies or other worthless degree, who isn’t sexy enough for bartending or stripping, _does_ tend to rely on jobs that can be replaced by automation, and apparently _do_ get replaced as soon as they demand 15 an hour.

      1. Retail requires the self-discipline to not reeeeeeeeee! at the bottom 10% of customers. So no, a lot of them aren’t.

  17. > Why does income inequality or indeed any inequality concern
    > people around the world or around the block, or down the street?

    > Can you give me a reasonable reason? Or a reason that
    > makes any sense?

    Yeah, I can.

    It’s the same reason we have the left shoving transgenders (by any reasonable estimate about 1 in 2,000) down our throats.

    See, we’ve got absolute poverty down to a REALLY small part of the Western World, between capitalism/free trade *mostly* winning[1], and “liberal” Democracies providing more-than-reasonable safety nets, about the only people who are living in poverty are those who don’t qualify for aid due to being an illegal immigrant of some sort, those who are mentally ill, and those who simply won’t sign up for the programs.

    Even being “poor” in most western countries is either what those countries call “middle class” (i.e. most of western Europe lives at about the level of consumption of the “poor” in America).

    But the left needs a lever to get power, and they really don’t have any intellectual legs left to stand on, their normal prescriptions have failed everywhere and failed IN PROPORTION to how fully they’ve implemented it.

    They can’t pound their philosophy, because it’s got more holes than Elaine Davidson.

    They can’t pound their record, because it’s REALLY BAD.

    But they want power and they want money. So they create a *brilliant* strategy.

    Pound the Pareto Distribution. It’s always been with us, and it always will (even Ian M. Banks couldn’t get rid of it entirely).

    The thing it that is brilliant is that NO MATTER WHAT they do their will be a massively unequal distribution of wealth, and the more the folks on the lower side make the folks on the top will make multiples of that, so it will ALWAYS look like it’s getting worse.

    So just like beating us over the head with TRANNIES HAVE RIGHTS TOO, they are #ing us with inequality because what they are REALLY #ing us with is:

    YOU ARE MEANIES.

    Shut up Eloi, it’s lunch time.

    1. [1] Almost everyone in the west that is in power is trying REALLY hard not to kill capitalism while trying to suck as much lifeblood out of it as possible because they KNOW that it’s about the only thing that works. They just won’t say that.

  18. Dr. Yaron Brook, “Equal is Unfair – The Inequality Advantage” Talk 2015

    Not that anyone here needs to hear this.

  19. As a sort of tangent, I’m going to bring up San Francisco’s housing issue. As many of you may know, SF has surpassed NYC as one of the most unaffordable cities in the nation, with the cost of housing so expensive that most workers are having to commute further and further to be able to work, with domino effects including horrible traffic* and housing prices rising as far away as the other side of Sacramento (into the foothills.) There’s a lot of handwringing over the fact that a lot of people who have lived in SF their whole lives are getting pushed out as their landlords decide to use certain laws to declare their rent-controlled apartments unlivable so as to shove them out, renovate, and charge the going rate. (Some tactics include damaging their own properties or cancelling garbage collection so as to back up their claims.)

    And almost nobody is describing the connection of these happenings with the laws that prevent dense housing. Marin County, to the north across the Golden Gate Bridge, has its laws such that NIMBY is pretty much enshrined there, and Novato, with a median house price of 3/4 of a million dollars, is considered the slums of Marin. The East Bay (Oakland, Concord, Berkley, etc.) has risen in price steeply, and Tracy—pretty much Ground Zero for the housing bubble, and a little bit further east than the extent of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system—is at almost half a million dollars for median price again. Tracy doesn’t even have a river, and is just south of Stockton, which is pretty much the car theft capital of the state. BUT it can get to those Bay Area jobs, and people can buy a house that isn’t a postage stamp and maybe has a bit of a yard. (Remember, in California real estate speak, .15 acres is a big lot.)

    It’s the policies in place that have brought this about. In trying to save the city’s ambience, they’ve killed its soul. If they can build earthquake-safe skyscrapers in San Francisco, they can build earthquake-safe apartments more than two stories high.

    *The last time I took the kids to something cool on the coast, we got caught in traffic on the way home and it was almost four hours to do an 80-mile drive. I’m pretty much resolved to not go to the Bay Area for tourist purposes ever again, unless I have a guaranteed dinner time with my North Bay sister.

    1. (Remember, in California real estate speak, .15 acres is a big lot.)
      For those places in CA that matter that is. Used to be a bigger place anywhere inland, or north of SF, it wasn’t that bad. But bad gov’t metastasizes.

      it was almost four hours to do an 80-mile drive
      Four hours? This guy complains it takes 16 hours just to get to LA:

      1. Almost no one ever listens to the words of that song. Or notices the video matches the song.
        “Glorifies Speeding!” or a “Song in tribute to driving fast”,
        No. He’s complaining he can’t even go as fast as the speed limit.
        /pedant off
        I sorta live in that world still. M35 and US41 north from here are at the fastest points, 55mph limits. Almost no one does that slow, but 90% are not a whole lot faster, because of hooved Rats. There are more deer in Menominee County than people.

    2. I’m wondering just what fresh hell is waiting for those who have to rebuild after the fires in Napa and Sonoma (et al) counties. I’m guessing new regulations are going to put a huge damper on construction.

        1. That should be the case, but California…

          Our governor (Oregon) just mandated that new construction (including residential) will have to be “solar ready” with all parking structures (including residential garages) be “EV charger ready”. Not sure what the “solar ready” entails, but we’re pretty far from town to have an electric car. (Wonders about the people who are off grid.) This is to conform to the Paris Accords. (spit)

          1. The people in trouble are rich enough that it being California makes it a lot more likely.

            If it had only taken out a bunch of middle-class or working ranch type places, it would probably not get the waiver.

            1. At one time, Santa Rosa was pretty middle class. OTOH, I escaped the South Bay in 2003 and have stayed out of Cali as much as possible. With bubble pricing, I really don’t know what SR is like.

    3. Saw an article about a typical sized 60s house going for $800,000 above asking price in a bidding war. So a house that MIGHT be worth $200,000 tops anywhere else in the nation went for nearly $2.5 million in the San Francisco area.

      1. I don’t mind San Franciscans hanging themselves with absurdly high housing prices, but I do wish they not sell that $200K house for 2.5M and then move to my state.

        It isn’t simply that they disrupt the local housing market, it is that they immediately commence to lobbying for the same idiotic policies that drove them out of SF.

          1. yes, that is the problem with Texas getting the tech industry to move there… the tech industry people are moving with it.

            1. Which is sad when you realize that Texas Instruments was “in at the beginning” but fell out of the PC market, so we have “Silicon Valley” instead of “Silicon Plains” — and CA values instead of TX ones.

              “TI produced the world’s first commercial silicon transistor in 1950, and designed and manufactured the first transistor radio in 1954. Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit in 1958 while working at TI’s Central Research Labs. TI also invented the hand-held calculator in 1967, and introduced the first single-chip microcontroller (MCU) in 1970, which combined all the elements of computing onto one piece of silicon.[9]

              The TI Professional (1983) ultimately joined the ranks of the many unsuccessful DOS and x86-based—but non-compatible[33]—competitors to the IBM PC (the founders of Compaq, an early leader in PC compatibles, all came from TI). The company for years successfully made and sold PC-compatible laptops before withdrawing from the market and selling its product line to Acer in 1998.”

              1. I single-handedly raised the average computing capacity of two nations when I sold my TI 486DX25 laptop to my Marshallese shop assistant (the Marshallese government offices were running 286s at the time) and replaced it with a Micron Pentium rig.

      2. That story in the LA Times was absolutely correct – that house was a $25K purchase in 1963 in Saratoga, children of original owner selling it, looked to be well maintained but original, listed for $1.8M and got bid up to $2.5M. Normal 3 bedroom 2 bath, standard tract house check-a-block with a bunch of other houses all on standard 60×100 ft lots.

        House pricing is frigging crazy here – I try and describe the pricing theory to my out of state relatives as concentric circles of Google, with the value of a property getting an inverse commute multiplier based on distance to the main tech job centers. And up in The City it’s way worse.

        Real Estate in the SF Bay Area is very, very bubbly – it will be a mess when it burst.

      3. Related (mphasis added):

        Study: Land-Use Restrictions Drag the U.S. Economy Down
        Something seems wrong with the American economy, despite strong headline numbers. Nine years into the expansion, GDP and productivity growth remain below their long-term trends. According to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, restrictive land-use regulations in California and New York are a major reason why. The paper, by Kyle F. Herkenhoff, Lee E. Ohanian, and Edward C. Prescott, argues that “these restrictions have depressed macroeconomic activity since 2000.”

        The basic idea is that land-use regulations artificially constrain the supply of land, driving up prices for housing and commercial rent — and that these regulations are the most restrictive in places where productive opportunities are plentiful. Take the Golden and Empire States, where, compared with the rest of the country, jobs abound and productivity is high. These states have extraordinarily restrictive zoning and development laws that drive up the price of land. Someone considering a move to San Francisco or Manhattan might find the cost of moving to be prohibitive and decide to continue living in a place with comparatively fewer job opportunities. Hence, the authors say, land-use regulations “raise land prices, slow interstate migration, and depress output and productivity relative to historical trends.”

        That’s not a novel insight. Harvard economists Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag, for instance, found a similar result in 2012. But these authors contribute to the literature by developing a general-equilibrium model that evaluates what the economic effects would be if restrictions on land use were eased.

        And they would be significant. According to the model, “U.S. labor productivity would be 12.4 percent higher and consumption would be 11.9 percent higher if all states moved halfway from their current land-use regulation levels to the current Texas level.” Even if California and New York deregulated back to their 1980 levels, the authors find, “aggregate productivity” would rise “by as much as 7 percent and consumption by as much as 5 percent.”

        Of course, this is an inexact exercise. Not everyone would pack up and move to San Francisco if it became a cheaper place to live. People have sentimental attachments to their homes and communities that no model can capture. But there are certainly people who would make the move, and these regulations benefit a small class of homeowners at their expense. Easing land-use restrictions would open up opportunities for ordinary Americans. According to this paper, it would also give a major boost to the U.S. economy.

        1. OTOH, I really really wish they’d stop building on freaking floodplains here. (And not like Oroville, which is only a floodplain if the dam breaks, but like Natomas, which is a floodplain only protected by levees that have already broken once when they were still relatively new and strong.)

  20. Ok, first off;

    “The 1% cycle in and out.”

    And that’s what the Progressive Left REALLY HATES. If they could count on the 1% being permanently their bestest buddies, they would be ecstatic. But being a raving moonlit is expensive, and not always salable. So people in their ‘inner circle’ keep losing their expensive condos and wilderness retreats and being replaced with geeks who actually DO SOMETHING. Sure, the process of brainwashing the New Goy is made easier by the backing of the Media and academia, but the poor geeks keep having IDEAS. Ideas that show up their betters.

    The Progressive Left simply wants everything under their exclusive control, forever. And they have managed to ignore that just about every country that heads in that direction, by focusing so much power in the State, ensures that the State will be taken over by the toughest evil bastards around. Stalin wasn’t an accident.

    1. To put it more simply, they think they are philospher-kings, and are outraged that we aren’t an hereditary aristocracy–with a religion-based caste system to keep things stable.

      Untouchables in the palace next door! People whose fathers WORKED for a living! That’s just…wrong!

      1. Yeah, because that worked so well for the Israelites. If only people would *READ* those stupid books! (In this case, Judges, Kings and Chronicles.)

        1. Given that most Christians barely read the Gospels, why would you expect them to read the “boring historical bits?” (Which, IMO, have a lot of practical application, and go a long way towards demonstrating that there is nothing new under the sun.”

  21. Automated checkouts and such are almost a self-defense against the fact you can’t find enough willing workers.

    There is also the problem of setting the cost of unskilled labor to ridiculously high levels, such that the productivity can never exceed the cost. If government wants to ensure that any body working “regular” hours makes a “living ” wage the government should provide wage supplements, such as E.I.T.C., directly rather than imposing that burden on the employer who has to pass it to customers. Or offer it as a credit against taxes on profits. Only when unskilled labor has acquired sufficient skills* to provide productivity above their labor cost can it be expected to earn raises.

    ProTip: if you lose money on every transaction there is no way to make it up in quantity.

    *Sufficient skills include showing up when scheduled and remaining until shift end, actually doing something useful to the employer (as opposed, say, to streaming cat videos on your smart phone.) These used to be part of every school’s curriculum but have been abandoned in the name of sensitivity to the plight of “challenged” children.

    1. Cousin manages a Grocery store.
      young cashier guy: “It’s exhausting doing a 6 hour shift with only a half hour lunch break!”
      Cuz: “No. Splitting wood by hand for 12 hours is exhausting, which is what I had to do at your age. Doing 6 hour shifts of cashiering is boring, but easy”

        1. There is a tiring effect that a boring job has that even an exhausting physical job doesn’t. I’ve done my share of hard labor, and even though one may be exhausted, there’s that satisfaction of accomplishment that makes it feel good.

          1. take it from me, ‘sold 100 burgers and then cleaned the restaurant’ doesn’t feel like you’ve accomplished anyone at about the third time

          2. Once, for a funeral, we drove up the day before, but after the funeral, we drove several hours to the burial place, and more hours home. Sitting in a car being driven about is not like splitting wood. Nevertheless, all of us went to bed early that night. We were TIRED.

      1. Absolutely not what the kid was talking about, but I’d rather do physical work on a ranch all day than do Mandatory Constant Human Interaction for half the time. Much less exhausting, even if my body would hurt– at least I wouldn’t have an emotional breakdown from feeling like I’d managed to piss off every third person I’d met.

        1. Oh, I don’t mind pissing off every third person, as those likely need it and more, but yeah, keep me away from them in the first place, and we’ll all be much happier.

          1. I must be doing something wrong. When I grumble about not being able to stand people and how I could happily go ways at a time without interacting with a single person in meat space people seem to think I’m joking!

            No, I employ politeness and humour to conceal how much people tend to annoy me. To paraphrase Matt Quigley, “I said I never had much use for people. Never said I didn’t know how to handle them.”

      2. Eh, even at my greenest, the problem was that I had stood still for so long that
        1. my feet hurt, I wanted off them
        2. I wanted to move around a lot

        1. I had the same issue and then some when I was a dishwasher in a Western Sizzlin’. Proablly why I only held the job for a month and quickly found a different one.

          1. When temping, I worked for 2.5 hellish days as a telemarketer. Never, ever again. (as it turns out, the next assignment was packaging T-shirt orders for mailing. Good people, lots of moving around, and all the overtime I wanted. Worked out well for a summer job.)

            1. You ADMIT TO BEING A TELEMARKETER!!!!!!
              A sin so grave and vile that there is NOTHING that can make you really HUMAN again. The SHAME, the SHAME!

              1. For low and short values of “being.” Did have the sense to get out and do something else. If you wish to claim that 2.5 days makes her a monster, well, this monster (for certain values of, yes) has no issue with the joining of out ranks. She might, however, need to check into PUFF exemption just to be safe.

                    1. Oh, I avoid him on principle. Do I get an exemption for the fact that I started calling my supervisor to Get Me Out at the first smoke break of the first day?

                      (OTOH, I play World of Warcraft. Tauren, particularly. Got no beef (sorry) about joining the bovine ranks.)

            2. That’s 2.5 days longer than I would have done that.
              I’ve had two temp jobs via temp services in my life. One was a summer job as a groundskeeper at a golf course (Caddyshack is a documentary) the other was filling drums at some place in Texas.
              13 years later and I am still doing the job, though it got moved to Wisconsin.

              1. I used to temp as a summer job in high school and college, after realizing that it paid better than Mickey D’s, kept me off my feet, and let me 1) network and 2) learn office equipment. I had Adventures on occasion.

                1. When i did temp work i ended up filing stuff. My typing wasn’t great, no traditional office stuff skills, but i can apparently file stuff faster than most other people.

                2. When Apollo 11’s Eagle landed, I was working at McD’s. Lasted one summer, then the local hardware store accepted my application.

                  FWIW, I found if I leaned my butt against the back counter, I could stand all shift. I did have a flexible job; worked the register until after dinner hour, then did fries (and the register), then the cleanup sink near closing time. So, I got to walk a bit, and only ruined one pair of shoes.

    2. the government should provide wage supplements, such as E.I.T.C., directly rather than imposing that burden on the employer who has to pass it to customers
      The cost still gets passed along to the consumer. After all, the gov’t doesn’t have any money of its own to spend.

      1. ALL costs are eaten by the consumer. But when you do it by direct government transfer the source of the costs are clearer. Laws setting wages are stealth taxes; I say make them overt.

  22. Oh yes, yes, yes. Every time a local food pantry is in the news for it’s “feeding kids over teh weekends/overnight” program, I want to ask, “Then why are none of the kids in the TV news shots underweight?” Followed closely by “And what are their parents/guardians doing with all the benefit funds, and has CPS/charity looked into that?” I know, people fall into the “too wealthy for aid, too poor to afford four servings of fresh fruit/veggies/day” but really? And how does having a third party feed people’s children encourage the parents to put out the effort to learn how to shop on a budget and feed the kids themselves?

    OK, rant over.

    1. One thing learned from working at a food pantry during the summers is that sweets are commonly donated, and veggies (fresh & canned) aren’t.
      If the poor were savvy enough to budget money for low cost healthy eating, and diligent enough to do it, they wouldn’t be poor for long.

    2. *grumbles* WE can’t afford four servings of fresh fruit and veggies. Frozen work just fine, and canned at a good price. It also lets you get variety.

    3. TXRed said, “I want to ask, ‘Then why are none of the kids in the TV news shots underweight?'”
      The reason is because they aren’t starving, they are UNDERNOURISHED. They get “food”, basically corn and flour and not much else. Those things make you FAT and very unhealthy.

          1. I’d heard the tune McNamara’s Band on XM once upon a time, and went looking and also found Spike Jones did a version, went looking further and found The Pentose Phosphate Shunt (and the other biochem tunes). Interesting what can turn up when you look around / start digging a little bit.

            1. I ‘m a particular fan of Spike’s “Chloe”. Also, “Feitelbaum” and “Hawaiian War Chant”. (My parents had a 78 of it which started with an announcer saying, “As the sun pulls away from the shore, and our ship sinks slowly in the west…”

        1. Thanks for increasing both my musical and educational horizons.
          I thought I had done well to memorize Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements Song” — I used to sing “New Math” to my Computer Literacy classes but someone would always ask me to slow down so they could take notes.
          Listening to some of the tunes reminded me of this (per Wikipedia):

          “Isaac Asimov, in a 1963 humorous essay entitled “You, too, can speak Gaelic”,[4] reprinted in the anthology Adding a Dimension among others, traces the etymology of each component of the chemical name “para-di-methyl-amino-benz-alde-hyde”… Asimov points out that the name can be pronounced to the tune of the familiar jig “The Irish Washerwoman”, and relates an anecdote in which a receptionist of Irish descent, hearing him singing the syllables thus, mistook them for the original Gaelic words to the jig. This essay inspired Jack Carroll’s 1963 filk song “The Chemist’s Drinking Song,” (NESFA Hymnal Vol. 2 2nd ed. p. 65) set to the tune of that jig, ..” (look it up too, it’s a hoot).

          I have heard a recording of Asimov telling the story, and this clip does not do justice to The Good Doctor’s comic delivery at all. I told the joke to a group of American college students who found it hilarious, and also to a group of Irish musicians, who didn’t get it.

      1. That’s not how the charity pitches their efforts. They say “kids are complaining about being hungry and not having food at home, especially on the weekends, or in summer. They are starving. We need to feed them.” Your point stands, but the pitch from the charity is 180 degrees from the pictures of the actual kids.

  23. Only once did I snarl at a very elaborate property and think, ‘That is too much house for that person.” Then I slapped myself, because I’d been around too many academics for too long. The house really was too much, IMHO, because of the glass walls that let out so much heat in winter. It was a log-mansion built for a guy who flew in on weekends sometimes. 40’ ceilings and a glass wall for the view. I shudder to imagine his utility bills.

    1. I heard a few mutters along these lines taking a short sigh-seeing boat trip this past summer. There bay is filled with dozens of small islands, most of which have had vacations homes, or in some cases, entire vacation estates, built upon them. Some are value in the tens of millions. None are year round residences.

      1. To be honest, I’d do the exact same thing had I the scratch.
        I love Sanibel & Captiva Islands, but living there all year would get old after a bit.

          1. But, if you don’t build it on sand, the house (or most of it) should remain when the water departs. Unless a LOT of water visits.

    2. Eh. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that someone has too much stuff. The problem is that A. how much stuff is too much varies from person to person and B. government shouldn’t be involved in deciding what that amount is. That’s between you and God.

      1. In my experience, “Too much stuff” is generally a condition of the second or third person and rarely of the first person. That is, while it is common to say “You have too much” or “They have too much” it is quite rarely said that “I have too much stuff.”

        1. You have too much stuff when the accumulation endangers your health and life safety.

          I have a friend whose husband used to be a volunteer firefighter. He dreaded the “neighbor hasn’t been seen for a while, funny odor” calls. Especially ones where they had to enter through a window because accumulation had blocked exterior doors.

          (Looks around, thinks that I really need to do some sorting and decluttering around the place. We’re not at the danger point yet, but we really need to establish some order so we can find things at need).

      2. I’ve been told I have ‘too much stuff.’ The stuff in question that fills the house are books; the second most numerous thing that’s easily seen are anime figures (which forces me to not fill ALL the shelves with just books, and ensures light still comes through windows). I do not like the trend towards fashionable ‘asceticism’, which isn’t; but merely a way of lecturing others about their ‘greed’ and ‘misuse of money’ that ‘should be put to more charitable causes, like Planned Parenthood.’

        1. yep, i got rid of a bunch of stuff including a lot of things with significant sentimental value before moving back and still got told i have too much stuff. Roomate’s parents were telling us to ‘just get rid of all the junk and you only need one computer each’.

          1. My husband liked my having stuff so much he shipped my whole library to Australia. =3 It’s his opinion that matters to me, nobody else’s.

            Sure, we’re not going out to swanky dinners and cruises, or holding parties… but at least where we spend our money has re-read value. ^_^

            (Or rewatch value. Son is now watching Lina Inverse blow stuff up.)

        2. “But Duterte-sama’s method of substance abuse treatment is much more effective, efficient, and expedient than Planned Parenthood’s.”

          If they are know enough to be creeped out by it, substitute -no-mikoto-no-kami. (assuming I have the order correct…)

    3. The guy who came to install our cable (a Bernieite) informed us we had too much house, unless we had “a lot of little children.” We didn’t tell him to fuck off, but thought it loudly. We have one son living with us, plus four businesses. Each business gets a room.

      1. “We have too much house? Funny, I was thinking you get paid too much for such a simple task, one that doesn’t even require a college education.”

        Although Beloved Spouse, a far gentler soul than I, is prone to remark, “Funny, I don’t recall asking your opinion.”

        Daughtorial Unit has been heard muttering darkly about lampposts and “your own entrails.”

      2. We didn’t use “too much house,” but when I worked summers in construction, we noticed it was very common for a couple who’d lived for years in a small house to go huge when they could afford to build their own. Didn’t seem practical. OTOH, it was them and their money, and they were paying us, so …

        The thing that really set us off was horrible wasted space and great big, hard to insulate cathedral ceiling in a house. The boss used to say “Okay, we can do this, but it’s going to end up wasting/costing you thus and so.” If they still wanted it … shrug. I know some ended up with horrible heating and cooling bills, but we told them

        On the opposite end was the customer who insisted we install storm windows on top of double pane insulated windows. The boss warned them they’d get condensation and trouble, but they wanted their house “tight.” Fast forward a few months. There I was, with the big boss and a corded drill (only kind then), going around that house and popping weep holes in the bottom of the storm window frames.

        1. Extravagant architectural features seem to be a real thing when people suddenly get a whole bunch of money to construct a building. Andrew Carnegie had to issue a directive to rein in such outrages in the libraries he was funding, since the huge domes and atria often left no room for actual book stacks and reading areas.

          There used to be a website that mocked the worst McMansion absurdities, especially the architectural features that had no functional reason to be there.

          1. My old boss railed at “architects” who didn’t have a sold understanding of construction. Once we had a set of “store bought” plans that had two different slopes for the porch room. Since he always reviewed store bought plans, he caught it long before we had an expensive mistake.

            I remember walking into a friend’s house going up, and seeing the ceiling in the living room knew it was going to be a heating and cooling nightmare. People don’t seem to realize there are issued in volume and air flow. Lately I heard they were considering moving into another house that I know has significantly more heating and cooling issues (high ceilings + no insulation = high bills). I know; I’ve had to look into high bill complaints at that house.

            1. I was once given a tour of a university campus. The professor giving me the tour showed me one building that looked very much like a mall; huge central atrium with fountains, office suites and classrooms to the sides.

              The inside of the building had actual clouds in it, and the walls in the atrium were damp. The professor told me the problem had existed since it was built, and they were suing the architect and contractor, and hadn’t managed to find anyone who could figure out what the exact problem was.

              Since some of those damp offices belonged to the schools of engineering and architecture, I wondered why they couldn’t identify the problem themselves.

              It was one of the few times I managed to rein in my mouth before it said something I would regret…

              1. hadn’t managed to find anyone who could figure out what the exact problem was
                Had they turned off the fountains and drained them for some period of time, say two weeks? Oy….

                1. Like many college areas, it was apparently a “brain free zone.”

                  While I can see that the real problem might have been political or financial in nature – perhaps the school thought they could get a bunch of money in their lawsuit – I wouldn’t hire any architect or engineer who was a graduate of that school.

          2. Don’t know for certain, but I’ve been told that Monticello has a dome with a cupola at the top. No one can figure out what to do with it, so it’s a junk room.

            And apparently Mr. Jefferson didn’t know what to do with it either. But he was doing Italian, so the dome had to have a cupola.

            1. My wife is crazy for Disney style turret-and-tower architecture. Though she’s never managed to explain what use she would have for a collection of small, oddly-shaped rooms that had to be accessed by spiral stairs…

              1. Such spaces make excellent reading rooms, are fine for small crafts such as beading, jewelry-making, needlework, knitting and are excellent for storage of captive princesses. They are also useful for various acts of magickry when the dungeons are otherwise occupied.

            1. Frivolous? Nonsense. A fountain, pardon “water feature” (unless humidification is needed) might be frivolous. A decent observatory? That’s a real window on the world – without cable fees and such.

              I once remarked to someone that I’d like to live in a larger place (all of them had been rather small through then) and got accused of wanting a (Mc)mansion. I explained that I didn’t want that as such, and a decent warehouse might even work.

              Of course, what I really want is a TARDIS setup, even sans time travel. The room! The easy travel! The not having to ‘move’ any more. I can dream…

              1. The Mrs. was perfectly fine with the idea of buying a warehouse or large steel building and converting part of it to living space. We never quite made it, but it was an option for quite a while.

                A friend came *this* close to buying a closed-down elementary school. Some political shenanigans pulled the rug out from under that…

              2. I actually put lots of little koi ponds around my mother’s house, and the whole place was always much cooler than the surrounding neighborhood. (Being the Philippines, humidity is MEH.) For this reason, we think a koi pond near the fruit trees and such would be a good idea.

                A pond that has fish in it that we could eat? Even better.

                We know of a couple of folks that went and bought themselves a boat. They live on it. It’s cheaper, apparently, to pay mooring fees than other things.

    4. I for one thing Sarah’s private island estate is only just adequate to accommodate her vast housekeeping and grounds keeping staffs, along with the plane, boat, and motorcar drivers and their maintenance crews. And the pool boys, naturally.

      As everyone knows, this is the barest minimum that a successful author of her caliber needs to maintain appearances.

      Well, that and the volcano lair for her secret identity.

      And anyone who criticizes her is just being petty.

  24. I would suspect that if you took any random poor person, gave them a nice house and a few million dollars, they would shortly return to even worse poverty in a very short while. The examples of most lottery winners bears this out.

    The reason these people are poor is not because of a lack of opportunity.
    No, the reason they are poor is because they constantly make really stupid life choices. Most have blown off many, many opportunities in their lives. I could be here all day writing down examples like the following.
    I know of a lady near retirement age who is working a part time job at a supermarket. She was offered a better, higher paying job as an assistant to a very successful real estate agent. And she turned it down.

    1. We knew someone who worked for a company whose business model was to buy out lottery winners (and other windfalls) – because they almost always overspent and put themselves in a bad situation. They would buy them out for dimes on the dollar, cash, then take the income from the annuity. It was a very successful business model, sadly.

      1. If we were to win the lottery, the first thing on the list would be a reputable financial planner. And a plan that includes having no more than 10% of the annual earnings available to be used for living expenses.

  25. “And if you say that there is a vast underclass who will never be able to work again, because of automation, we can’t be friends anymore. That is an obvious and pushed excuse for bigger government plans and more people held in vote farm reservations, while being made unfit for all work.”

    This is a false dichotomy. It is not a binary choice between pure self-reliance and pure handout dependency. Another choice is to abolish the minimum wage, and set the lower tax brackets to a negative income tax.

    Let’s look at the simple numbers. Suppose LaShawn is paid 10¢ an hour for sweeping the floor at a warehouse. And suppose we want people doing that sort of work full time to get $15,000 a year. We would set the income tax in his bracket to -7,111%. He would earn $208 a year, and the government would send him a tax bill for -$14,792. Well you know what a bill for negative money is? A payment. Bringing him up to $15,000 for the year.

    What would happen if LaShawn refused to work, or got himself fired regularly? LaShawn would find himself starving and homeless. Conversely, he would receive a guaranteed cash incentive for good work, no matter how poor the economy.

    While we’re at it, we can abolish unemployment compensation. Charities and local governments can establish work houses. The work house would consist of a pile of sand and a stack of shovels. The job would be to move the pile to a new location, and then back again. Anybody could show up and and earn 10¢ an hour. Keeping it open 24×7 would create 3 supervisor jobs. If supervisors got 20¢ an hour, the overhead cost would be $4.80 a day.

    Incidentally, this system is already in effect in the U.S. The earned income tax credit is a negative income tax, albeit too small and too convoluted. Ronald Reagan greatly expanded the EITC and it was a major part of his welfare reforms to turn people into citizens who had been farmed for their votes.

    1. Uh…. no.
      First of all, what business do “we” have establishing how much anyone should get paid in a year? It goes downhill from there.

  26. If you pay people for not working, they (Surprise!!) won’t work, which is why the negative income tax and the EITC are both bad ideas. As for work houses creating meaningless make-work drudgery for less than survival wage, fuggetaboutit. If you’re going to teach a man a work ethic, give him something to do that’s worth his sweat and frustration.
    A better idea would be to cut the regulatory and tax burden that makes it so expensive to either hire people or start up a business.

    1. Properly, the EITC does not pay people for not working, it pays them a bonus on what they have earned through work.

      Which is not to say that the EITC is ever properly implemented.

      1. I stand corrected; I should know better, having claimed the EITC in a previous existence. But the EITC does have a slightly perverse incentive to do as little as possible in order to keep the benefit. It does little to motivate people to find a better job.

      2. I don’t think you CAN “properly implement” an EITC. It’s a perverse disincentive, and can never work “properly”.

          1. They aren’t working for *that* money. They are working for an amount that values their labor, then being gifted a third party’s money, with whom they did not contract for that money and who receives no value for that money.
            That’s a perverse disincentive.

            1. The “third party’s money, with whom they did not contract” is the Federal government, rebating the SSI taxes on the hourly wages.

              We can debate whether this is sound policy, but as SSI is an inadequately funded promissory note that will likely never be collected, not withholding those taxes is not necessarily bad.

              We can put aside the entire issue f whether or not they “contracted” with this particular third party, as the Feds were involved well before the person was hired.

              As to the policy matter, I merely submit that EITC payments are a less destructive way of implementing a policy upholding living wages. In my ideal world everything would be offered with two prices: one representing the fair market value of the good or service, the ther adding a surcharge for “living wage” advocates, enabling them to put their money where their mouths are. Experience leads me to believe that their purpose is, instead, to put our money where their mouths are. And, considering where their mouths have been, I am disinclined to have any intercourse with them.

              1. The third party is NOT the gov’t. It’s the taxpayer. Even if it’s a rebate, money is fungible – if money is not retained for the uses for which it is taxed, other money will be substituted, which will come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

                I don’t think I agree with the ending of your second paragraph. But you have an argument. (And that ain’t nothing.)

                I will concur with your final paragraph there.

                1. Government, taxpayer — I am not sure I would care to dine out on the difference. Regardless, I do not endorse the system, merely acknowledge arguments in its support. Given my druthers SSI would be recognized as the Ponzi scheme it is and all funds in it redistributed as individual accounts. The fact that such a “solution” is fiscally impossible indicates why it is a Ponzi scheme and all who imposed and defended it ought be convicted and punished.

      1. I think we should employ them to work traffic lights. That way people don’t have to sit at a clearly unencumbered intersection waiting for a light to change when anyone (a person, that is) can tell there are no vehicles approaching for a quarter mile in each direction.

        1. I wonder how long it would be until they followed the methods of the squeegee men and insisted the light would remain red until they had been “tipped” an appropriate amount?

      2. Ask and ye shall receive… a blog post…

        http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/11/trump-versus-the-administrative-state.php
        “Many readers may be puzzled that our tempestuous president should preside over the principled, calibrated regulatory reform described here. I have a hypothesis. Perhaps our first businessman-president, whatever his troubles in dealing with Congress, foreign leaders and other outside forces, is comfortable and proficient in managing his own enterprise, which is now the executive branch. He devoted unusual personal attention to his regulatory appointments, including those whose programs did not figure in his campaign strategy. He gives his subordinates wide running room, checks in with questions and pep talks, and likes management systems and metrics. He may even understand that modern presidents have become too powerful for their own good and can benefit from sharing responsibility with Congress.”

  27. That comment was supposed to be a reply to Zippy, not to the original article. WP keeps misthreading my replies (not to mention eating them if I take too long to compose them…)

  28. Why does income inequality or indeed any inequality concern people around the world or around the block, or down the street?

    The sensible answer, is that it is a symptom of the disappearance of the middle class. Like a fever, it is not necessarily a bad thing in its own right, but it points to something that could be seriously wrong. Such as creeping socialism. Or endemic corruption.

    The realistic answer is that envy and resentment are useful tools for evil demagogues. Remember Thomas Sowell’s five-part series on race and culture? How one group doing significantly better economically or socially than another group was a handy target for the local version of VileProgs?

  29. It really is shocking how deeply this meme has rooted itself in even people who are vocally non- or anti-left. In one of my recent binges on Jordan Peterson videos, even he bought into this idea for what seemed to be the exact historical examples (which don’t apply) that Sarah identified above. And that guy is staunchly anti-left.

    I can only guess he doesn’t get to hang around many Austrian-schoolers in Toronto.

  30. Heh.

    Woman in Black (Gloves) Rattles Liberal Democrats In a Visit to the Treasury
    What is it about that photograph of the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and his wife, Louise Linton, holding a sheet of dollar bills that has so captivated America’s journalistic elites? The chief fashion critic of the New York Times, Vanessa Friedman, fingered Ms. Linton’s black leather gloves.
    [SNIP]
    A Times columnist and former Washington Bureau chief, David Leonhardt, retweeted Bill Kristol’s assessment: “Maybe not the best photo on the eve of vote on a tax bill that’s being attacked for favoring the wealthy? If the Democrats were a competent political party, this photo would be in ads in every GOP swing district tomorrow.”

    It’s terrific to see the Times finally discovering Mr. Kristol’s political astuteness. The tweet, though, sent me reaching to my bookshelf for a collection of essays by Mr. Kristol’s father Irving, who wrote in 1972, “Anyone who is familiar with the American working class knows…that they are far less consumed with egalitarian bitterness or envy than are college professors or affluent journalists.”

    That is as true today as it was when it was written 45 years ago. Witness the election of President Trump, he of Mar-a-Lago at Palm Beach and the marble-clad apartment at Trump Tower and the private jet and the gold, or gold-colored, fixtures. Many American voters don’t hate the rich; instead, they admire rich people and want to get rich themselves.

    As for those who do hate the rich, or who hate Mr. Trump and the members of his administration, the Mnuchin-Linton photo kerfuffle gets to a key point. So much of the revulsion against Mr. Trump is not primarily substantive. It’s aesthetic.

    The Democratic-leaning money class — Carlos Slim, who owns the largest economic share of the New York Times; George Soros; Ned Lamont; Tom Steyer; Penny Pritzker; Steven Rattner — is every bit as rich as Messrs. Trump and Mnuchin and Ms. Linton. Do they have nicer smiles? Or wear gloves not of leather but of fleece made from recycled soda bottles?

    [END EXCERPT]

    Emphasis added.

    1. I’m baffled why she’s wearing gloves inside (when no one else is). But it doesn’t make her a villain. Just odd.
      (And invites questions like Fezig quizzing the Man In Black.)

      1. Could be her hands get cold easily and ache. Had a relative like that – wore little half-finger mitts when it got below 70 degrees…in Houston.

        1. I’ve had arthritis since I was 19. It’s autoimmune, so it comes and goes. However lately it’s started attacking… my feet. So on a not-particularly cold day, if my feet get cold, ever JOINT hurts. Think of all the little bones in the foot. Not pretty.

  31. Things I’d like to ask SJW types – ignore the rich for a moment. Is there anything you think the middle class should be allowed to have that the poor won’t have? Is there any benefit that should be allowed to accrue from bourgeois values? I suspect the answers are no and none.

    1. Indeed.
      I append a tangentially relevant joke I found in the comments to an (otherwise unrelated) PowerLine post.
      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/11/the-never-ending-climate-hustle.php

      Mark Jaeger
      Reminds me of an old Soviet era joke that goes something like:

      “Party Secretary Brezhnev decides to entertain his beloved Mama one Sunday so he has her ferried to his palatial dacha outside Moscow in a ZIL limousine. After Mama arrives, he takes her on a tour of the place and shows her the expensive furniture in each room, the fine art on the walls, and the vintage oriental carpets on the marble floors. He then treats Mama to a haute cuisine multi-course meal featuring Beluga caviar and fine Georgian wine. After the meal, Brezhnev opens a bottle of imported French cognac, fills snifters for Mama and himself, and lights a fine Cuban Cohiba. As fragrant smoke wafts around Brezhnev’s head, he says contentedly, “Well, Mama, your little Leonid has done very well for himself, hasn’t he? After a long pause while making furtive glances to the left and right, Mama quietly replies, “Yes, Leonid, this is all very nice. But what will happen to it if the Communists take over?”

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