Facts are Facts

I think most of us were raised with a saying that goes “if ifs and ans were pots and pans, we’d all be fed.”  Or “If wishes were horses all the beggars would ride.”

This is very important to remember.  Particularly when our wishes seem to be “real.”  Particularly when forming our vision of the past and the future.

Look, we can’t trust any of our institutions of learning.  We can’t trust most of the research institutes, particularly in the softer sciences.  The price we pay for allowing the left to take over the respected institutions, flay them, kill them, then wear their skins demanding respect, is that these institutions are not the ones you respected, and everything they say must be examined.

The downside of the death of prestige is that you can’t assume that anyone who has a college degree is literate; you can’t assume a “scientist” understands the basics of the scientific method (as proven by all those who think science is made via “consensus”); you can’t assume any statistics bandied about were collected in any rational way; you can’t afford to believe that even if the underlying statistics are right, the reporting of them is (take that thing about women losing ground, or whatever that went around; most of what it seemed to show is that when women can afford to they stay home with the children.  I don’t think this is a problem, and neither should you.  And if you do, you should ask yourself who died and made you the arbiter of strangers’ lives.); the census has been corrupted by counting “invisible” populations, mostly to hide the decline of big cities, and well… we know we can’t rely on economic numbers.  All of this without going into the whole “hide the decline” boondoggle.

Part of the problem is that the left has “conquered” all the think tanks (well, the overwhelming majority) and all the educational facilities.

Someone here once accused me of everything I said (for a while) was “They taught you this and it was a lie.”  BUT we’ve all been taught an awful lot of lies.  And when the lies aren’t outright lies, they are framed in a narrative that is.  And some of these narratives are seductive even to libertarians.

If you’re attuned to the psychological state of the left, which is more or less that of a collective organism (not because they’re not individuals, but because their narrative at the moment is proclaimed by myriad institutions all speaking in unison, because their opinion is “what the good people believe” and because it fits in the overall just-so story of Marxism, so that Marxist narratives are the path of least resistance) you can kind of trace what is likely to be a lie.  For instance, when something calls for more government oversight/control it’s likely to be a lie.  (Not always, but likely.)  When something is in detriment of the economy/the US/humanity/civilization in that order, it’s likely to be a lie, and a favored lie of the left at the moment.

Since ninety one they’ve been experiencing a state of disconfirmation of their cherished beliefs and between denial and resentment, they’ve come to hate more than the US and wealth, which they already hated, humanity as a whole.

So we had the person here yesterday defending the POLITICAL SCIENCE professor who claimed civilization was a mistake because becoming non-nomad agriculturalists “exposed us to illness” and “crop failure.”

Sure, it did that.  To an extent.  More people together exposes you to illness, but at the same time it gives you resistance to illness.  You have only to look at the meeting of Europeans and Amerindians and see who weathered it better.  It wasn’t the hunter gatherers.  By the sole yard stick of “who survives” the agriculturalists (for a definition of agriculturalism) did better.

As for crop failures, they happened when we were gatherers.  As did sudden game death.  At least as agriculturalists, we had some control and EVENTUALLY surplus which is what buys us freedom.

Yet there are many libertarians who also think pre-history was some mythical land of freedom.  It’s easy to put the paradises of communists and libertarians in pre-history, due to the simple fact there are no written documents and though anthropologists tell us potsherds aren’t culture, people forget that.  You can project all sorts of things to grave goods, forgetting we find a tiny minority of graves and often don’t know what those MEAN.

One thing we do know, though: Pre-historical people WERE PEOPLE.  And before they were people, they were great apes.  Creatures of the band.  AND every band has a big man, eve when the man is an ape.  Sure they range from monarchies to outright tyrannies, depending on the big man, but none of them is big on freedom.  A lot of people — mostly men — don’t recognize familial tyranny, particularly when the big man is a woman, and leading from behind the scenes, but it can often be the worst kind of oppression.  (One of the reasons I love Patricia Wentworth is that she GOT that.  Which says nothing good about her upbringing, but there it is.)

It’s tempting to imagine this mythical individual freedom existed somewhen and that when we’re fighting for it, we’re not building something new with inadequate materials.  But it goes against the (admittedly few) facts we have.  And it dovetails neatly into the left’s “We’ll destroy civilization because it won’t let us have paradise.”

Reason and more than enough reason to be suspicious. And when you get suspicious, dig.  Most of the narrative cannot survive a good probing.  It’s built on air and bullshit.  Dig.  Find the facts.  Do not tolerate contradictions.

IF a narrative is too seductive, it’s reason enough to probe it.

If our neolithic ancestors were so well off, why did they change?  If Amerindians lived in harmony with nature, why were ecological systems way out of balance in the US?  If only the US is evil, are other people not human?

Look behind the lie.  The truth is usually not even that well hidden.  And even if all around you believe a lie it doesn’t make it true.

Surviving the mess ahead REQUIRES telling falsehood from fact.  And some of the mechanisms to reinforce the lie were planted in our head by our education.  Some we’re not even aware of.

But humanity will not survive, certainly not with technology, by going with pretty lies.  We need the truth to steer by.

“What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” – Robert A. Heinlein.

(Sorry this is so late.  WordPress was acting WEIRD.  I speak advisedly.  It outright refused to post for a couple of hours.)


185 thoughts on “Facts are Facts

  1. “But are you not being a trifle naïve? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily ‘true’ or ‘false’, but as ‘academic’ or ‘practical’, ‘outworn’ or ‘contemporary’, ‘conventional’ or ruthless’. …

    “By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?”

    C. S. Lewis, writing as Screwtape

    Nowadays we have new labels, such as Sexist, Racist, [$]ophobe and their ilk, but in every instance the goal is to short circuit reasoning, to curtail consideration, to herd you back into the pack.

      1. *looks over the sea*
        *considers Chesterton was going about a generation before, and Sheen the generation after*

        Amazing, or mildly depressing?

        Ah, well… As Mother Angelica, a generation after Sheen put it– what, you think you should be thinking up new sins?

    1. “And this which is true of the apparent physical bustle is true also of the apparent bustle of the intellect. Most of the machinery of modern language is labour-saving machinery; and it saves mental labour very much more than it ought. Scientific phrases are used like scientific wheels and piston-rods to make swifter and smoother yet the path of the comfortable. Long words go rattling by us like long railway trains. We know they are carrying thousands who are too tired or too indolent to walk and think for themselves. It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say “The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment,” you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin “I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out,” you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word “damn” than in the word “degeneration.”
      G. K. Chesterton

      Kind of in the same vein, if you use enough labels, “ists”, and “isms”, you can get away with barely thinking at all without admitting how lazy you’re being.

      1. Speaking of labels and “-isms” it has occurred to me that we in Flyover Nation have every right to denounce Coastal dismissal of our culture, beliefs and practices as aggressive “Regionalism.”

        While they may deplore us that is merely an expression of their prejudicial and anti-diverse snobbery. They need to stop denigrating other regions of America and stop their efforts to impose their culture on ours. That is cultural imperialism and they themselves have declared that wrong.

        There is urgent need for work on the vast range of items they’ve appropriated from other regions so that they can be encouraged to make reparations. BBQ is the most blatant example, but there are many other regional traditions they steal daily while kicking our areas in the regional teeth.

  2. Okay, I have been guilty of spouting and believing the lies told me. Hard not to when for decades you are stewed in them and sources are hard to find.
    Finding this out more and more that the history I have been taught isn’t what actually happened. Or the actual facts of the matter aren’t exactly the way they’ve been interpreted to me and my fellow students.
    Listening to my elders, reading source materials unabridged, and raw helps getting to the meat of the matter.
    Trick is trying to find the raw meat that hasn’t been tainted by other thoughts and philosophies.

    1. Yep, yep, yep. For WWI I found the huge contradiction that while it was supposed to have been terrible for the working man, at the same time I found primary source aristocrats complaining it was harder to tell their lifestyle from the working men.
      Primary sources, primary sources, primary sources. It’s hard as hell to find, but again, primary sources.

      1. I had a bit of knowledge from history, as concerns WW1, as well*. It was disturbing to me to watch Europe freak out over the tussle in Bosnia. They literally acted as if another world war would start any moment if those fires weren’t put out NOW. The entire political structure was still so warped by WW1 that they couldn’t see the lack of one vital ingredient to re-create WW1: the inter-linked political alliances and houses of royalty. They also couldn’t see past WW1 back to things like the Turkish invasion of Europe (which had more to say about the current situation than some communist shooting a duke).

        I spent 4 months in Bosnia because of that phobia (because, yes, it was irrational).

        (* Not saying it was encyclopedic, nor as ‘primary source’ as yours.)

      2. There’s some unexpected (at least it was for me) primary source in the archives of American Machinist, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanics, with editorials and side comments vastly at odds with Accepted History.

        One of the facepalm moments was a several-month exchange of letters in American Machinist. The War Industries Board had approved an official uniform for all women in the workplace. (no equivalent existed for men) The debate, which got acrimonious, was over exactly what the uniform would look like. I think the war ended before they came to terms, possibly to the great relief of the women, who apparently weren’t consulted for their opinions.

      3. It is hard to find, often. But even more, is to be willing to change your mind when you are wrong. It can be a hit to some people’s ego, when they would rather be ” right” than have the correct facts. I have had to go back to someone on more than one occasion and apologize for being certain of a fact, and then finding out that I was wrong. I learned much about our entry into the second World War by seeking out primary sources. I don’t think I have the complete truth on it, I don’t think that anyone does, but I think I have a better handle on it now than when I graduated high school in 1978. I was a patriotic idealist who still believed we were right for our role in Vietnam back then. So I have learned much, and no longer believe that our government would never lie to us. That is the starting point of learning.

        1. You might want to go learn again. World politics this time. Were we right to enter the Vietnam war? Not with fetters on our feet, but yeah, we were.
          As someone who grew up abroad I tell you that.

        2. Consider that every single Soviet front group was against it. That’s usually a good sign that it was the right thing to do.

        3. *chuckles* I have a lot of people assure me that I only think what I do because of ego…but they’re usually the ones who can’t offer a better argument than attacking me to get at the argument.

          The biggest problem with getting folks to change their minds is that you have to figure out why they think what they do, and a lot of the time they aren’t working on the same assumptions, so you’re standing there fixing something that isn’t even there!

          1. Too often I find when having a strong disagreement (social or political in particular) that the other person and I have incompatible premises. And if you did down far enough, at some point premises are taken on faith.

            Makes it very difficult to have a productive discussion

            1. Heck, if we get to the point where we can identify each other’s assumptions, I consider it pretty dang productive! At least there’s understanding, even if there can’t be agreement.

        4. Check out Chung and Halliday’s Mao: The Unknown Story.

          Mao was crackers, and wanted the world. He was spending a lot on bordering countries.

          Kennedy and Johnson may have been incompetent, may not have even been aware of the good reason to do it, but that war tied down some of Mao’s spending to Viet Nam. And while no one could have planned for it, it lasted long enough that Mao didn’t have much lifespan after Viet Nam was secured.

          It is hard to say how far Mao could have gone, had he a much freer hand in Southeast Asia.

          We would certainly be living in a poorer world, had he managed to take Japan.

    2. Kind of makes you want to write a TRUE history book, doesn’t it?

      Need more projects like Dr. Pournelle’s 6th Grade Reader resurrection. In some respects, that’s an even greater (re-)gift to humanity than his fiction.

      1. I suspect we’re going to see a new wave of revisionist history clearing away the Marxist and Leftist mythology in the future.

    3. Haven’t we all?

      Last time I checked, God only came down here as a human once, and I’m pretty sure He hasn’t come back yet– so none of us is all-knowing, so we will sometimes truly believe something that is not true, and act accordingly.

      The honestly trying to hold to the truth is what matters.

      1. The honestly trying to hold to the truth is what matters.
        Which is why critical thinking is *so* important in schooling. And Paladin figured that one out, thankfully.

  3. I recently had a colloquy with a very articulate (and seemingly both intelligent and erudite) person who insisted that Science was composed of axioms. He would not accept that axioms are absolute, while Science deals in contingent theories. I was gobsmacked.

    He thus educated me in the reality of C.P. Snow’s “two cultures”. I was unable to return the favor by acquainting him with the work of Popper, but now seem to be blocked from his sites.

  4. *rubs little paws with glee* Ah, yes. That pristine wilderness inhabited by noble savages at one with their environment? Bwa hah hah! The Americas were managed and adapted ever since the first humans got here, looked around and said, “Looks good, but it needs more/less/a few of [thing/plant/creature].” The Great Plains grasslands and the open woodlands of the coastal regions were fire managed for thousands of years before Anglos and Spaniards arrived. The Amazon rain forest may indeed prove to be “a feral garden” instead of the uninhabited wilderness we historians thought it probably was. Some of the earliest transplanted plants in North America seem to be agaves and yuccas that were planted along trade routes and well-known paths so in the Southwest so that people could come back and harvest them later. Going back, oh, 8000 years ago or so. Fire and transplanting were two of the major landscape management tools in the human toolbox, and those go back tens of thousands of years.

    Start with Shepherd Krech III _The Ecological Indian_, then _Forgotten Fires_, and go from there. And that’s just North America!

    1. The Goroka valley of PNG has more trees in it now than when the first explorers showed up in the 1930’s. The people of PNG love fire, and love to see whole mountainsides burn.

    2. What is seldom realized is that what the first humans in North America encountered was not what the first Europeans saw. It’s a bit disconcerting to hear archeologists talk about blue grass in the Deep South, yet it was a real thing, along with megafauna that likely influenced the spread of some plants. When the ice sheets melted and megafauna disappeared, things changed. And humans had to adapt just like every other living thing, and humans adapt by manipulating their environment.

        1. Blue grass, as a literally grass, associated today with the state of Kentucky, but thousands of years ago thrived hundreds of miles further south. When giant sloths strolled across the landscape and mastodons enjoyed sunny Florida. A vastly different environment that even half a century ago. And humans were a part of it.

          1. I’ve read that they suspect Bois D’ark (Bodark, Osage Orange) was spread by giant sloths eating those horse apples/hedge apples/osage oranges and then depositing the seeds in scat hither and yon. Once the sloth went away, the range of the trees stopped growing and then shrank to what it is today.
            Learned in my bowyer days 10 years ago or so.

          2. Wellllllll … bluish. More a kind of teal, I think, but “Teal Grass State” doesn’t have the same panache.

            This is the origin of the observation, “Bluish? Funny, that grass doesn’t look bluish.”

          3. Have you been to Florida lately? There’s still giant sloths strolling the landscape. Some of them look ancient enough to have personally hunted the megafauna to extinction.

      1. NY States constitution, 43 pages that read like a law book rather than general principles, passed in 1938 has a “forever wild” provision. ARTICLE XIV
        [Forest preserve to be forever kept wild; authorized uses and exceptions]
        Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired,
        constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.

        All sounds well and good. EXCEPT- in 1938 everyone just knew that mixed hardwood was the natural state of the forest, and had always been the natural state, and would stay that way unless silly humans interfered with the natural state of things. And the intent was that the forest would forever be a delightful mix of mixed hardwood.

        Except, of course, the mixed hardwood forest existed because the original settlers had cut down all the pine, allowing hardwood trees to establish themselves. With help in planting and sowing some species. Oaks yield acorns, chestnut trees yield chestnuts, both of which are edible… The forest in 1938 was far from wild. I read a few years back that the great mixed hardwood forest was rapidly becoming a monoculture of ash. Which is less useful then a lot of the other species. And, nothing can be done to manage and maintain the forests as mixed hardwood because it is enshrined into the state’s constitution that human interference with the “natural state” shall not be allowed nor tolerated. People have been ticketed and fined for removing deadfall from forest paths, thus interfering with nature.

        The people who live there understand what’s going on. Environmentalists and do gooders from NYC will never allow the rubes who live in the forest to ruin it by managing it back to it’s natural state of mixed hardwood.

        1. A good resource are old survey and plat records. They list things like a corner defined by a particular tree. A handy reference for seeing at least what sort of trees were growing at a location a couple of hundred years ago.

        2. Ain’t it peculiar how the folks what loudly proclaim their BELIEF in EVOLUTION so often seem to think that the current state of the environment is its natural and permanent state?

        3. a monoculture of ash. Which is less useful then a lot of the other species
          Ooooh, I disagree. They make excellent bats. Which are handy for beating idiot environmentalists. So, very useful, I think.

    3. There were lots and lots of “noble savages at one with their environment”. The others were ‘buried’ on stands in the air, instead.

    4. The question I haven’t seen addressed is what correspondence there may or may not be between the agricultural practices of the Americas, and what the proto-agriculturists were doing in Europe. I can’t imagine that the two don’t have some parallels, particularly in the transitional period when they were figuring it all out. Did Stone Age Eurasia look a lot like pre-Columbian America, in terms of human impact on the land? Were the Stone Age Eurasians up to similar things, in terms of fire-based practices?

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone address this issue, and I wonder if there were parallels, or did the things that went on here in the Americas unique to human history? From my reading, it appears that Australia didn’t differ all that much from the Americas, in terms of the fire-based practices, and the megafauna extinctions, soooo… Did we do the same thing, in Europe, as civilization got going?

      1. Why not? We know South American Indians practiced similar things. But we also have evidence of cultures in the Americas with more elaborate farming (such as in Central America) at various points. What they didn’t have was an animal to pull a plow, and that had to have made a considerable difference in the development of agriculture.

      2. Europe was not as amenable to fire management of grasslands, because of the greater precipitation and because of where the glaciers were. I have found 0 info about fire management of the Eurasian steppe. I wonder if much of the true steppe is like the shortgrass prairie of North America, where fire happens but was not a management tool because of the dry climate. And modern humans did not wander into a “pristine” environment like happened with the Americas. But I have not seen much in the way of detailed pre-human environmental studies and comparisons. I don’t know if I’m looking in the wrong places, speak the wrong language (French and Russian I lack), or the research just has not turned up anything.

        And once you got domestication of livestock and then the development of metals in Europe, things diverged pretty strongly. I have done comparative work on steppe cultures, but I can’t go into it here without risking “outing” myself.

    5. In my misspent youth, I spent a couple of summers working the summer program at a camp owned by San Diego County Schools. One of the things we borrowed from the school year staff was locating Indian encampments by using math. This involved a stick and a bare patch of dirt where we did the calculations for three cooking fires a day for half of each year for five thousand years. Having arrived at the large number, we then pondered what would be left from those fires, and then what that amount of ash would do to the color of the soil. Then we’d go a few hundred yards down the trail and wait for someone to notice that the soil had gotten darker. This was our cue to point out that acorn mush was a staple of the diet of the tribes that lived in San Diego County, and point out that the preparation took at least a couple of days because of the tannic acid in the acorns. [Depending on time, a side trip into the uses of tannin.] So, here are all of the holes in the rocks where the acorns were ground. [Side discussion on the effects of tiny bits of granite in your food on your teeth.] With the end of the spring rains the Indians had hiked all the way from the desert floor up to their summer home in the mountains while carrying everything they had. So they’re hungry, don’t have much food left, and the acorn mush won’t be ready for a couple of days. Aside from a squirrel or three what are they going to eat? This led to the third sign that you were at the summer home of the local Indians- The prickly pear and teddy bear cholla cactus plants (which produce delicious fruit) growing in the dark soil around the granite boulders full of holes where the acorns were ground. (Forty-odd years later I still think that working at a summer camp is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.)

  5. So all I really need to be “An Expert” is a lab coat, a clipboard, and an Attitude?

    *Thinks on this for a while.*

    Tempting. Very tempting. I think I best retire to the deep, inner labyrinth and lie down until this feeling passes. No good can come of it. Loads of humor, perhaps, but no genuine good.

    1. At base, all you need to be an “expert” in any subject is an unassailable belief in your correctness and an arrogance toward anyone not acceding to that belief.

    2. Well, no, Ox, you also need a “fact” to propound. But those are a dime a dozen at your local media shop.

    3. Housemate related a thing he did when he was working as the guy who went around the hospital, offering cable TV rental for the rooms as a part time job. He’d gone past a waiting room area near a nurse’s station, several times, and there was this woman there, looking thoroughly miserable. Apparently she was waiting for some test results, and had been steadily working herself into a state waiting for them, so the nurses told him.

      The Housemate happened to be wearing, as part of his job, a coat that sort of resembled the doctor’s coat. He borrowed a clipboard and pen from the nurse’s station, and then approached the woman, looking all officious. She saw him and watched him bear down on her with this grim expression, her eyes growing wider as he did. When he stood in front of her, he took a deep breath, as if to make some grave pronouncement.

      Then: “Do you know that you can get a lab coat from just about anywhere?

      He says he expected that he might get slapped, but instead, the woman burst out laughing, and all the tension she’d worked herself up into vanished. She accepted a cup of water and started to chat with the nurses, about which time Housemate slipped away. When he passed by again later, the nurses told him the woman had gone away happy, because her test results were fine and he’d made her laugh.

  6. “if ifs and ans were pots and pans, we’d all be fed.”
    Or “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, oh what a Christmas we would have!” (And the horses/beggars one.)

    1. Or, “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all be fat by Christmas.”

      And “If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt on a lily pad.”

      “Wish in one hand and spit in the other, and see which hand gets full first.”

      (And the beggars and horses one.)

  7. I’m in a kinda weird position in our society….I grew up Comservative in the household of a Conservative Academic (there still are some, or at least there were). I grew up with The National Review on the (Danish Modern) coffee table. So, when the ‘60’s rolled around (by which I mean the period from roughly 1967 through Nixon’s resignation) my gut reaction to the ‘Counter Culture’ was “That’s an interesting fantasy. Were they dropped on their heads?”

    I despised THE GRADUATE. I think EASY RIDER has a happy ending. I’m a Crank.

    As I grew older I encountered cultural currents that everybody around me took terribly seriously that I thought were a total crock. The Playboy Philosophy struck me as utter bullshit excuses for fornication without responsibility. Mind you, the girls were pretty.

    I read Tom Wolfe early and often. I realized fairly early on that if Joe McCarthy had’t existed the Left would have needed to invent him (which doesn’t make him a good guy; he was an opportunistic swine). I watched as the environmentalists proved that ‘sustainable ebnergy’ meant ‘any means of energy generation that either is in no danger of widespread use or will be useless to the power grid’. I lived through the Mayoral campaign of Dennis Kusinnich (sp?) which hinged on ‘saving Muny Light’, a WPA era Socialist system that hadn’t produced one watt of electricity in two decades and ran at a loss by buying electricity from the local power companies and not paying its bills.

    Since my Father had worked on The Manhattan Project (undergrad Physics major), I read up on the decision to drop the bombs on Japan, and then watched as revisionist historians tried for decades to come up with a reason why two bombs that killed less than a quarter of a million people were worse than an invasion that was likely to result in a million US soldier’s deaths, never mind how many Japanese.

    In short I watched the Political Left go from immoderately silly to ostentatiously deranged.

    Which isn’t to say I buy into the Political Right establishment either. Just because assholes are suing confectioners doesn’t make Gay Marriage wrong. I have no patience with the reviders on the Right who want to make Nixon anything but the Big Government idiot that he was.


    1. (which doesn’t make him a good guy; he was an opportunistic swine)
      Nor does it make him wrong (at least not all the time).

      I was much like you. I have looked around me all my life, wondering what on earth these people are thinking, because it doesn’t seem based in observable reality. It’s difficult not to adopt an elitist attitude – that obviously all these people must be ruled by people like me. Of course, knowing history (and reading good speculative fiction) keeps me from pursuing that thought too far.

      1. In reading about him, both Left narratives and Right redemptions, I get the strong feeling that any Communists he actually accused were pure coincidence. He was an opportunistic bandwagon jumper who managed a good ride on the Headless Monster until it bucked him off.

        There were Communists or former Communists thoughout the government. No surprise; FDR was a Socialist elitist ninny, and we HAD been allied to Stalin. I’ve run into accounts of anti-Communists of the day who were FURIOUS with McCarthy because they rightly foresaw that his inevitable crash would be used to,discredit them for decades.

        1. That’s what makes that whole bit scary, though – his randomness managed to hit what he thought he was aiming at. There were so many, you couldn’t NOT hit them without becoming one of the ‘useful idiots’ and wearing blinders.

          1. But keep,in mind that when people trying to rehabilitate his reputation start counting ‘Communists’ he ‘exposed’ they tend to count people like my Mother, who joined a US/Soviet Friendship society when she was young, during WWII when even Churchill was saying nice things (admitedly with a kind of sickly smile) about the USSR. She quit, if I recall correctly, after her third meeting because the people running it were creeping her out.

            Did he expose any number of actual Soviet agents? I kinda doubt it. He may have PUBLICLY exposed people the security agencies knew about..

            1. never thought he was “a good guy” but I’ve oft said his biggest crime was being an insufferable ass. Didn’t make him wrong all the time.
              The other thing the left leaves off about McCarty and the Black Lists (I had a great uncle reside on that list) is those lists were “enforced” by the Left. Orson Bean talks about that a lot. My great uncle was “rehabilitated” like Bean by a somewhat conservative person. Of course, Uncle Frankie never did come to his senses and remained a commie symp all his life. Makes one wonder if it’s nature or nurture when his baby brother, not raised at all within the family, was also a rather leftoid individual all his life.

            2. Apparently McCarthy was mostly right, but ended up going against the socialist “Deep State” of the his time. Both FBI and Soviet documents verified this years later.

              Even scarier is the fact is they gave the Soviets the atomic bomb, if you read between the lines of Richard Rhodes books.

              Actual US history is more messed up than most fiction.

            3. He was a useful idiot, selling the communists rope and feeding the anti-anti-communists growth hormone.

              Because of him it is easy to forget that the HUAC had its origins in a Democrat-led House:

              “The House Committee on Un-American Activities became a standing (permanent) committee in 1945. Democratic Representative Edward J. Hart of New Jersey became the committee’s first chairman. Under the mandate of Public Law 601, passed by the 79th Congress, the committee of nine representatives investigated suspected threats of subversion or propaganda that attacked `the form of government guaranteed by our Constitution.`”

              “Under this mandate, the committee focused its investigations on real and suspected communists in positions of actual or supposed influence in the United States society. A significant step for HUAC was its investigation of the charges of espionage brought against Alger Hiss in 1948. This investigation ultimately resulted in Hiss’s trial and conviction for perjury, and convinced many of the usefulness of congressional committees for uncovering communist subversion.”

              It ought also be noted that there is considerable cause to believe that the infamous Hollywood Ten had all been instructed by their masters in Moscow to throw themselves on their swords in order to create martyrs for the cause. From Wiki:
              “In his 1981 autobiography, Hollywood Red, screenwriter Lester Cole stated that all of the Hollywood Ten had been Communist Party USA members at some point. Other members of the Hollywood Ten, such as Dalton Trumbo and Edward Dmytryk, publicly admitted to being Communists while testifying before the Committee.

              “When Dmytryk wrote his memoir about this period, he denounced the Ten and defended his decision to work with HUAC. He claimed to have left the Communist Party before having been subpoenaed, defining himself as the “odd man out.” He condemns the Ten’s legal tactic of defiance, and regrets staying with the group for as long as he did.”

            4. THere’s a scene in “Riotous Assembly” by Tom Sharpe (a ribald satire on Apartheid South Africa) where the dimwitted, perverted policeman assumes somebody is a communist because she owns subversive books like Little RED Riding Hood and BLACK Beauty…

    2. I despised THE GRADUATE.

      I had a teacher that actually got me to like it– sort of. I could tell it was wrong, it was lying to me, but I couldn’t see how– and he showed a lot of the scene-setting tricks they did in our film interpretation class, and explained how it got an emotional reaction and “told” you about a character without having to say it.

  8. I lost all faith in surveys back in College, when I took Human Geography. It was basically an entire semester of studying how to collect survey data in such a way that your “random sample” would support whatever it was that you wanted.
    (That’s even without loading the questions to bias responses.)
    It wasn’t stated outright as such, of course. It was theoretically all about targetting underserved demographics to get better longitudinal samples. But the lines you had to read between were located at the top and bottom of the page. Thirty-foot letters of fire might have been more subtle.

    1. My High School (private and Conservative, mostly) offered (and may have required, but I’m not sure) a course on statistics. The course text was HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

        1. It is. Along with “Economics in One Lesson,” (Hazlitt), you get a pratical, common language, easy to pick up introduction to free market economics as a starting point, and a lot faster than many a course being taught today at the college level.

        2. Back when we attended the state home school conference that book was to be found at many a dealer’s booth. I somewhat doubt there is a public school system carrying it on their approved list.

          1. I attended a public school of an unusual sort, the Alternative Program of the State College Area School District. I saw Huff’s “How to Lie with Statistics” in the main office, and read it. That may be the exception that proves the rule.

      1. I first got that book at the age of *mumble* after reading Denbeste’s recommendation. I can’t speak to any strong grasp of the subject, but at least I’m not stuck at the level of an English major.

      2. I studied statistics as the basis for my Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), Maintenance Analysis. And oh! The many ways that they could be improperly and unethically used.

      3. I think that was one of the oldest texts in the Business section when I worked at a bookstore, and certainly one that had never been “updated.” At least, not past a good clean scan for modern publishing techniques.

      4. I think the book title derived from this aphorism, to wit (per Wiki):

        Mark Twain popularized the saying in Chapters from My Autobiography, published in the North American Review in 1906. “Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’

  9. I am libertarian who wishes all governments would copy pre world war one Britain, I would not at all enjoy returning to hunter-gatherer existence before agricultural revolution that occurred 9,000 years ago.
    AJP Taylor – Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police.

    1. Seeing the number of folks who sold everything they had to get the heck out of there, I think that’s either wish-fulfillment, or requires totally ignoring all gov’t that isn’t “federal” level– for that matter, the examples seem a little…cherry picked.

      My ancestors among them!

  10. Various things:

    I know of a town that changed its city limits to incorporate a prison. The main issue was that all those prisoners counted as an increase in population, and that made it easier to get state and federal handouts That’s the main impetus there, though representation is up there, too.

    I don’t know firsthand if the numbers are inflated or not. I do know I haven’t been impressed with census taking for a technical reason: the Census Bureau payed a lot of money for a hand-held system that at least initially didn’t work when they could have contacted then existent handheld meter reading companies who could have given them a custom solution at a fraction of the cost. It’s the projections that are really whacked at times because they don’t know why the numbers increased.

    On civilization and sickness. It was observed in the US Civil War that those from rural areas were more susceptible to disease than those from cities. I don’t know if they surmised it was because you were more likely to catch a disease in the city than the country. That’s the downside you mentioned.

    On famine. Anyone who’s grown up outside the cities has noticed that fruit and nut trees and berries don’t always yield the same size harvest, and some years you get nothing. Anyone who’s hunted knows that game isn’t always fat and can get scarce. Have seen mention of early explorers encountering famine conditions in the wild, with nary a moldboard plow in sight.

    On American Indians and the “natural” environment. I’m not convinced what the Europeans saw was natural. We now know that American Indians along the West Coast were essentially practicing cultivation of a variety of oak, and I’ve read one account that claimed that members of various Indian towns (don’t recall the tribe) got together to discuss the hunting situation with various animals and may have practiced controlled burns to control undergrowth. Since edge areas see more game because game has more to eat, that makes sense. Note that I’ve only seen that one account on the East coast, so apply sodium chloride as needed. But it’s interesting that Purple Martins are semi-domesticated to the point that they seem to need human assistance to nest. What we think of as “natural” may have been just as much a product of human intervention as a plowed field or concrete jungle.

    1. “Census Bureau payed a lot of money for a hand-held system that at least initially didn’t work when they could have contacted then existent handheld meter reading companies who could have given them a custom solution at a fraction of the cost.”

      Most if not all tales of this kind can be traced back to rules imposed by Congress. In most cases it isn’t legal to buy ‘off the shelf’ without going through a labyrinthine wavier process that takes for flipping ever. You have to write up your specs, blind, and then put them out for bids. Among other idiocies, it means that a lot of the hugely expensive things the military is accused of buying have tool-up costs built into their prices that could have been avoided.

      1. I’ve read in a few places where in extremis the military will go for an off the shelf solution. It really ticks off the bureaucrats, but it can be damned effective. (IIRC, a lot of the squad and platoon level drones started as off the shelf until they could be “improved” with a custom setup.)

        1. The other Big Lies about ‘military waste’ are accounting artifacts and short production runs on spares.

          Example #1: the Air Force bought jet fighter engine field repair kits. Because of the nature of the plane, the kit was an entire replacement engine, plus the tools to remove and replace the old one (which would be shipped back to depot for refurbishing).because of Congressionally mandated accounting practice, the cost of the entire kit was divided evenly amoung the parts. Thus the $700 ‘screwdriver’, and the $700 jet engine…which somehow never caught much outrage.

          Example #2: When Congress decides to extend the service life of a fighter plane, the Military suddenly needs (say) another 10 years worth of spare parts. The machinery for making the parts was re-tooled a decade ago. So they need to pay somebody to tool up and make (surprise!) a bunch of bolts at some absurd sounding price per.

          1. I used to work for a semiconductor company that did a one-digit display that got used in the AWACs. As best as I can tell, the design* dated to the late ’60s, but it was The Mil-Spec display in that family. Later designs in that family were far more robust, but the older part got designed in. Sigh. Eventually our process improvements made that part unbuildable**, so we had to make several runs of the driver chip. At that point, we could tell DOD “that’s it, no more”.

            (*) I’ll be charitable and assert that the IC designer must have been new when he did that chip. Either that, or he should have been stood up against the wall…
            (**) The part depended on the relationship between two resistors that were made at different steps in the process. This is a Bad Thing, causing much grief.

            1. My parents got a new HVAC about a decade ago, replacing the heater (only) that was original to the house. The HVAC people asked to use photos in their brochure, since that furnace dated to the 1950s, and the principle reason my parents were replacing it is that it kept shorting out the controls. IOW, the furnace was doing fine—but it wasn’t quite compatible with modern thermostats from an electrical standpoint.

              1. The boiler in my basement says “Made in West Germany”, close to 40 years old. Brand new, it could be tuned to 85% efficiency. Right now, it can be tuned to 8i2% efficiency. Had the misfortune of going to work for a facility that had a whole bunch of small high efficiency boilers that when brand new could be tuned to 93%. They were 6 years old when I started working there, and could be tuned to max 82% efficiency. Replaced about $500 worth of parts per year per boiler, and ended up replacing all the boilers at about the 15 year mark because they we’re falling apart. Had a few old cast iron boilers there that could only be tuned to $82%…. And used on average zero dollars in replacement parts per year. State facility. We were required to buy new expensive high tech high efficiency boilers that ran at 95% efficiency because they would save us money. Within 5 years they were all at about 82%. And using a few hundred dollars per year each in replacement parts.

                I failed to see how we were saving money, but I’m just a poor ignorant boiler operator who’s been doing it his whole adult life, not a high paid degreed engineer who knows what they’re doing. For HVAC, I’m not a big fan of modern high tech stuff. It’s neither reliable nor long lasting. OTOH, I’ve seen cars get more high tech and more reliable. It’s tough for backyard mechanism to work on them anymore. But my RAV-4 has over 125000 miles in it. Never tuned, hasn’t needed new exhaust parts, 3rd or 4th set of new tires, spark plugs replaced once. Brake pads are due for replacement a second time.

                1. Ugh, my Rav4 has had its brakes done a bunch of times – a lot more often than any other vehicle I’ve had.

                  You forgot one bit in your last paragraph:
                  I’m just a poor ignorant boiler operator who can do simple math who’s been doing it his whole adult life

          2. The other complaint that had me bashing my head against the wall was the really expensive toilet for the space shuttle. I would scream at the newspaper, “Have you people ever tried to crap in space?! Do you not understand ‘vacuum’ and ‘micro-gravity’?!” And they would illustrate the article with a picture of an airline toilet. *smh*

        2. I (along with most of my company) went to Dugway, Utah in the early ’90s to do what I think was final testing on an off-the-shelf system for detecting biological warfare agents (BIDS—NDI). (I was a data collector for maintenance related stuff.) It fit on the back of heavy HUMVEE in a metal box with two operators inside the box (roughly 10 x 10 x 10 ft or 3 x 3 x 3 m—probably it was shorter than 10 feet (3m)). There was a 10 kilowatt generator that was towed behind the HUMVEE to run the equipment.

          I ran an internet search a few years ago looking for something else (probably my old unit) and found out that the last BIDS equipped Reserve unit was being deactivated. Fifteen or, at most twenty years after I was at Dugway, all that stuff was incorporated into a unit that fit into the existing NBC Fox vehicle. If you saw the movie “Independence Day” back in ’95 or ’96, I’m pretty sure the six-wheeled vehicle that reported whether or not the nuke affected the alien ship was a Fox vehicle.

          Custom-developed stuff saves space and can take fewer personnel to operate. Now, instead of having a BIDS platoon to check for biological warfare agents and a FOX platoon to check for chemical and radiological hazards (both from inside their respective vehicles), now you can have just a FOX platoon to do all three, or maybe two FOX equipped platoons, depending on anticipated needs, doctrine, and money available.

          1. OK, I was being sarcastic about “improved”. A custom design can be better than off the shelf; or it might just be “we gotta put our mark on it, so let’s redo this”. Which way it goes should depend on the requirements and priorities.

            FWIW, the off-the-shelf drones I mentioned were developed in another country (Israel, I think) for their purposes, and put on the export market. They weren’t ideal, but they were Good Enough, and available right away. Better than Perfect, but Too Late.

            1. and they technically weren’t using any export-controlled parts.

              One of the games i occasionally play , Armored Warfare, has mercs running tanks in the 2030s, and more than once i have joked about spending $500 on Amazon to buy a DJI Phantom XVII to use for spotting.

            2. Oh yeah, Strategypage.com has had numerous mentions of the deployed (or about to be) troops spending their own money to get civilian stuff that worked or worked better—boots, gear for snipers, what have you, as well as multiple mentions of finding it on the internet cheaper and faster than through DoD.

              1. Remember, though, that is nothing new. It goes back AT LEAST as far as Hornblower. Before the internet, US Cavalry and Brigade Quartermaster were very popular catalogs for military personnel (and Sporty’s was a good place to get flying gear – they had adapters to get good civilian headsets to plug into the military communications systems).

      2. AF modernized fastest when they started buying off the shelf Zenith Z100s and handing them out with a simple punch card emulator, and the manuals and software for BASIC and the early office productivity applications, and looked the other way when the airmen started doing more than just punching emulated cards.

      3. My actual real life employer was a major contractor on that system, and I worked on it. One of the things that made it so bad (true also of Obamacare) is that the Feds a) couldn’t use COTS products because the laws, regulations, and accounting procedures government works under required extensive customizations because they ain’t GAAP — and said laws, regs, and procedures could be and were changed constantly, b) the revelation of said changes were tied to election schedules rather than delivery of working software, c) there were far more opportunities for graft in bureaucrat-designed systems, and d) COTS systems might just prove that the entire government system was unnecessary.

        Remember the opening scene in Jurassic Park, the book, where Crichton pointed out that the guy who developed the system to keep the dinosaurs in was laboring under the minor handicap of never having been told the actual nature of what his system was designed for? Yeah. I felt sorry for the guy…. and was reminded once again that a major reason to hire consultants is so you have someone to blame when Dilbert is proved to be a documentary. Again. /head-desk

    2. I’ve heard that the “great plains” are really more like the “great buffalo ranch”; there were plains in the middle of North America to start with, but they weren’t anywhere near as great as they were after the locals started to expand the preferred habitat of their preferred beef source. Again, take with the appropriate amounts of NaCl.

      1. They were.

        *glances around for Sarah*
        Um, do y’all want an “environment management 101: Burning Down the House” guest post?

        1. Absolutely!

          (Side note: geological data shows that California spent much of its summers on fire before humans ever got there. Five months of no rain, and all it takes is one set of dry lightning to start. And when we passed through Oregon, in the rain, there was one area still smoldering. Both times, a week apart, with near-continual rainfall the whole time.)

          1. Yes, but…
            If you look at a satellite map of similar open areas that include both California and Mexico you find that Mexico has more fires, but they generally don’t get anywhere near as big as they do in California. Lots of small fires from natural causes that burn up to where it’s still somewhat green and lacks brush because of a fire on the neighboring patch of land last year.

            Meanwhile, in Southern California every fire is jumped on right away, so you end up with HUGE areas of dry brush that is mostly greasewood of some sort (manzanita, chaparral, mesquite or wild lilac) that is ready to burn. With all of that fuel in large lots unbroken by smaller burns, all it takes is for one fire to escape for the whole darn place to go up.

            1. Complication:
              how much are they managing the water in areas in Mexico, and have they recently had a massive change?

              The US has had several massive changes, from the massive decrease in logging, to a lot of water-screwing (randomly turning it off), and the secondary change where what little water various ag related groups have, they are now frequently putting in pipes instead of channels.

              They made that change up in my folks’ valley starting about ten years ago; starting about five years ago, record-breaking fires started happening. That water had been there for a century, and the environmentalists forced it away– that is screwing stuff up.
              Incidentally, this is being reported as “Evidence of climate change.”

            2. Yep. Sixty or more years of absolute fire suppression means a HUGE fuel load. At least they’re trying to figure out how to manage that now.

          2. side note to your side note: apparently the actual local tribes have stories of the entire San Fernando valley being on fire (it could actually b e the main L.A. basin, or the San Gabriel valley, no one is sure…)

            1. That wouldn’t be hard. After all, there are records of the entire Sacramento Valley being flooded for months (1862), so imagine the fuel load after that winter. (And possibly a typical year of drought.)

        1. It seems to me that the Great Plains started in western Missouri, which is roughly 1000 miles from the Smokeys. I seem to recall the Smokeys were called that because of the clouds and fog that formed.
          AH: Wiki: “The name “Smoky” comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and presents as large smoke plumes from a distance. This fog is caused by the vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds, chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure.[6]”

          1. This fog is caused by the vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds …

            I am so old I can remember when Ronald Reagan was widely mocked by the cognoscenti for asserting that trees were a major source of air pollution.

            Apparently Reagan had parked his car under a sweet gum tree on a sunny summer afternoon, while the bien-pensants were too righteous to own cars, using company provided limos in their stead.

            1. Did a stint as a volunteer wildland firefighter, and talk got to Australia. The eucalyptus trees put out enough volatiles that you can get fire above the forest. When those go, it’s intense.

              I’m still frosted by the wilderness “firefighting” done around here. After decades of Smokey-the-Bear “put out all fires right away”, then it gets designated as wilderness with instructions to use nothing much more effective than a garden hose. (At least one greenie was complaining that the firefighters were using (gasp!) chain saws! The horror!)

              Protip: if you work for the US Forest Service, be very cautious around Brookings, OR. The experience with the Chetco Bar fire with wilderness policies ticked a lot of people off. Especially galling was the fact that some of the fuel was unburned trees and standing deadwood from the 2002 Biscuit fire; salvage logging was banned due to environmentalist lawsuits.

    3. Most of those settlers – at least the ones who wrote things down – were city people, and probably a flower garden in Hull looked like the Amazon jungle.

  11. “War Before Civilization” by Lawrence Keeley is another book that helps to explode the myth of the peaceful hunter-gatherer. Turns out that tribal societies are just as adept at warfare and killing as state societies. Who knew?

    1. One of those things that was learned later about those “idyllic & peaceful” Polynesian societies, well after the damage had already been done.

    2. It is amusing to here moderns deride the historians of a century ago for their prattle of Manifest Destiny, White Man’s Burden and such other delusions of that era, as if moderns were subject to no blinders of their own crafting.

      Of the many ills afflicting modern intellectuals, not among them will we find an excessive humility in their knowledge.

      1. And the historians of a century ago were derisive of the fallacies and shortcomings of the previous generations, and so on.
        The basic lesson? Today’s cutting edge is often tomorrow’s pseudoscience fads.

  12. Oh, yes – I realized what a load of codswallop I had inadvertently consumed regarding local history, to do with Texas and Mexico when I was doing research for the two novels about the war for independence, and the aftermath – during the bare decade of the existence of the Republic of Texas.
    Here I had been told of the irredeemably deplorable racism of the Texans against Mexicans … and then I read volume after volume, outlining the course of what was essentially a cold border war conducted all through the 1840s … by Mexico, against a rebellious province! (one of a dozen or so provinces which had rebelled against the central Mexican government after the cancellation of the 1824 Constitution) Yeah, no wonder the Texans were hinky about Mexico, what with the cross-border war being conducted against them…

    1. I’ve not done a ton of studying on it but there sure are a TON of “Mexican” names on the monuments I have seen while riding around on my motorcycle and coming across spots where fighting for Texas independence occured.

      1. There were — because a lot of the ethnically Mexican (Tejano) residents of present-day Texas were Federalistas in sympathy – that is, opposed to the Mexican Centralistas, who held for to-down authoritarian rule from Mexico City. They rebelled, right along with their Anglo-Texan neighbors and friends … and then, when the rebellion succeeded, the Mexican government worked so persistently (and with ethnic Mexican sympathizers in plenty on the ground) that relations between former allies were fractured, Texians began looking at their former allies with suspicion, and Tejano patriots like Juan Sequin had no place to go. It’s a sad story – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Segu%C3%ADn

    2. That fits closer to what I sort of self-taught when someone said…dang it, something, I think it was something about how the US was all imperialist….

      It was something that just didn’t sound RIGHT, and then I poke around and find that Mexico had soldiers fire shots after they refused to meet with a rep to set the new border….

      “Rebellious province” crystallizes it perfectly. Thank you.

  13. A lot of people — mostly men — don’t recognize familial tyranny, particularly when the big man is a woman, and leading from behind the scenes, but it can often be the worst kind of oppression.

    In “Between Planets” Heinlein has the main character suggest that the Venerian Dragons might have had the right idea–no organization larger than a family. The “mentor” character replies that even family can be pretty oppressive with young not even allowed to speak without permission until over a hundred years old.

  14. Reblogged this on The Writer in Black and commented:
    Sarah makes some good points. People are all too willing to attempt to rewrite reality to what they want it to be. I have seen claims that doctors should treat “Trans” patients exactly as the gender as which they identify. Look a good friend of mine is MTF Trans–not transitioned because, as I understand it, she doesn’t consider the current medical state of the art up to doing what she considers an adequate job so better not to do something irrevocable now. What does doesn’t do, however, is try to tell herself that identifying as a woman will protect her from prostate cancer.

    And it’s not just the left. People from the “anarchist” wing of libertarianism have sworn up and down that Iceland really and truly was their anarchist ideal. That Iceland had people in involuntary bound servitude (thralls) and had an organization considered legitimate able to force an individual to dispose of or abandon his property and leave the area (c.f. Eirik the Red) under threat of force for refusal seems to escape them. Hint: an organization considered legitimately able to use force to impose behavior on others is called “government”. That’s pretty much the definition.

    Someone once said, “to know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” There is much truth to that. And confusing what is (or was) with what you wish to be is a good way to run afoul of the Gods of the Copybook Headings:

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    1. I think the real issue with Trans people is the way they are preyed on by doctors and the like. Whoever decided to name the surgery “gender reassignment” should be publicly crucified. It’s mutilation. Expensive mutilation. One day there will be something better, one hopes, but the pretense now is unconscionable.

      1. it’s the mainstreaming, and all to often now, encouraging, participation in mental illness.
        Until you can fully swap an X for a Y chromosome or vice versa, you are not changing your gender.

      2. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the vast majority of the people who are undergoing “gender reassignment” today will, in the perfect future where changing gender is as easy as changing your address, be just as FUBAR and confused after making “the change” as they are today. The root of their problems ain’t in their biology, but in their headspace and timing.

        There are, I believe, some number of their group who are genuinely “the wrong gender”, and who will benefit from the ability to swap out their genes/gender/physicality. The rest? The problem isn’t that they’re the wrong sex, but that they’re ‘effing nuts–Just like the ones who want to chop off an arm or a leg to be disabled. Fundamentally, these folks are just not happy, and the sexual and body dysphoria is just a symptom of that. Treat just the symptom, and the underlying root cause is still going to be there, untouched.

        Hopefully, most of these folks will turn out to be treatable for whatever organic issue they have in their heads, but there’s likely going to be a fraction that are just not going to respond to that treatment.

        1. Another problem is that “being ‘trans'” is now being treated as if it was “noble” and “courageous”. So it appeals to young people, and even ones without a serious case of dysmorphia are turning to it as a way to make themselves noble and courageous. (Especially since all the actually noble and courageous things are now un-PC or illegal.)

          There really isn’t enough tar and feathers in the world……..

    2. Call me unsympathetic, but I don’t know what else one can expect, when one insists on being treated as a member of the opposite sex in every other aspect of one’s life.

      I remember seeing some account of a FTM transsexual who, IIRC had her sex officially listed as “male”, was accusing her doctor of discrimination because the doctor was treating her as a man by not giving her hormonal contraceptives.

      What else can one do?

  15. Oh, and, Time to Kipple, I think:

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  16. That’s two parts of the same saying:

    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
    If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.
    And if ‘if’s’ and ‘an’s’ were pots and pans,
    We’d never want for dishes!”

    1. Eh. Not in my experience. Thank you for adding to my knowledge. And what I heard was “we’ll never go hungry” which always made me wonder if we ATE pots and pans.

  17. Actually, that should have been, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride,” for the sake of the meter.

  18. Moral bettors? Is this Pascal’s wager? More like moral abettors.

    The Moving Finger Fingers Our ‘Moral Betters’
    By Sarah Hoyt
    As Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor’s skulls are added to the ever-growing pile collected by the #metoo and #sohardtobeawoman feminists. This libertarian is starting to wonder if there will be any straight, normal testosterone males remaining on the left, so it’s time to inject a little sanity.

    Let me say right up front that I’m not an idiot, and I know I will be told I’m victim blaming.

    My answer to that is, “Sure am” and “not a problem.” The trendy way of shutting up any complaints of women not behaving in any sensible way is not going to work with me.

    I’ve been observing the dynamic of victim worship in America for three decades. Call it an outgrowth of rooting for the underdog. It’s nauseating. About ten years ago I realized new writers (and some not so new) thought that if someone was a victim, he was by nature sainted. They wouldn’t bother to develop a character beyond “he/she is a victim” and we were supposed to accord all virtues to this creation.

    I didn’t like it in fiction, and I like it even less in real life.

    Victims can be victims – real victims, tormented by real suffering – without being in any way good people, or even someone you want to touch with a ten-foot pole. In fact, any veteran police officer will tell you that habitual victims and habitual criminals are often drawn from the same group, where amoral victimization is the norm. There are also historical figures like Robespierre, who sent many a person to the guillotine before he too was devoured by it.

    So, what does this have to do with the real victimization of women, often verifiable, mostly done by gentlemen of the left?


  19. Oh yes. And so many lies, so many false assumptions are baked into the bread of our day-to-day lives we don’t always see them. Until someone points them out, and there they are, large as life & twice as unnatural, and we wonder: how could I not have seen that?

    Speaking of which, I think I may’ve figured out why *race* is the thing that separates the alt-Right from the other flavors of “not lefty” both giving it its unique strength in the culture war, and also acting as a corrupting influence. More later. Got a sick kid.

    1. Because what they don’t understand of biology could fill a universe, so they confuse culture with biology.
      Also “unique strength” because it’s always easier to convince people to hate someone than to think through things rationally. As Heinlein pointed out lo 45 years ago.

  20. “𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑚𝑦𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑜𝑛,”

    They started using technology to speak in unison to create the narrative earlier than most people realize. In the early 90s, I began supporting a proprietary e-mail system called Dialcom. In addition to e-mail, Dialcom had a built-in facility for Broadcast FAX. It was a bit awkward to set up, and you needed to understand the editor to maintain it, but once it was set up a single account could have 500 names and numbers. If demand wasn’t too high those 500 faxes would be sent in about 40 minutes. If your list was longer than 500 then you needed to get a second account. In the early 90s when most of the US didn’t yet know what e-mail was, a large abortion provider and advocate had 19 accounts to hold their lists. Not all of them were full, but there were over 4,000 fax numbers on the lists. It generally took our system about three hours to get the faxes all sent, including retries for the numbers that were busy or didn’t answer with a FAX tone the first time.

    While the very large abortion provider and advocate usually maintained their own list there were times when I had to do adds, deletes, or changes because their person who understood the system in detail was out of the office. This led to me seeing names on the list, and while I didn’t recognize most of them I certainly recognized Democrat politicians at all levels in the town I had grown up in and left a couple of years before, national Democrats, talking heads, and people who were or had been reporters in places where I had lived.

    So even without e-mail, if an abortion-related story was in the news around 4,000 politicians, talking heads, reporters, and spokespeople from local and state offices of the very large abortion provider and advocate would all be singing the same tune in time for the next newscast.

    1. And before that, there was teletype, which became commercial technology in 1938, and was quickly adopted by radio stations. If you were on a major news feed, you got the same story as everyone else on that feed, and typically announcers would just read it as-is.

      1. News typically still does that– here’s the open version of it:

        If they’re honest, the stories in various outlets will even flatly say “AP Feed.” Less honest, they’ll have someone re-write it a bit and it’ll be under their byline, but you’ll still find the same phrases.

  21. One of your best posts yet. I will have to steal your remarks about killed and skinned institutions not being the same institutions that earned respect in the first place. For a very long time many academic disciplines, particularly the ones with no market value, have been largely discipline free. There are still exceptions even in the “lefty” arts. Ever notice how there are no obese ballerinas or idiot concert violinists? These pursuits still require relentless discipline and practice: whiny Marxist SJWs no so much.

  22. that you can’t assume that anyone who has a college degree is literate

    Or that a “physicist” professor knows that phases of Moon are not caused by eclipses, for example. :]

  23. most of what it seemed to show is that when women can afford to they stay home with the children.

    Wait, what – even the Operation Sour Grapes is a visible failure? They can’t send their Kool-aid even in small cardboard packs?

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