Our Debt To Society

Having been what’s known as fried, between rewrite and health and cat health (Greebo is doing better, thank you) I have defaulted to my reading tier that’s one step above Disney Comics (which as some of you know are my go-to when sick/brain dead.)  Yep, Jane Austen fanfic.

And I keep hearing of “our debt to society” and “Doing what we owe society” and “doing our duties to society.”

If this makes you squirm, it does me too.  But here is a refreshing difference between these, which stay largely true to the regency and modern day regencies, with modern day sensibilities: they’re not talking about money.  They’re not even talking about charity.

Sure, charity was part of the duties of a lady of the manor in regency England.  But it usually wasn’t indiscriminate charity.  There might be an organization to rescue “soiled doves” or to educate the children of the poor.  But most of the charity duties of the lady began at home: among her tenants and her husband’s employees.  This was just good sense, since of course, in small communities, you’d know who the deserving poor were, and who the hopeless grifters.

But that’s not included in what all this “duty to society” thing.

Your duty to society is to be involved in it.  To do your part, in whatever position in life you’re involved in.  Do your visiting/mingle with your peers/discuss the news of the day.

That was viewed as a duty.  Charity or even paying your taxes?  Not so much.

Remember, this was pre-Marx, and it was not assumed that if you had a lot of money, you must have stolen it, since the economy for Marxists is a fixed pie.

Instead, your duty was to evaluate your neighbors’ characters and try to improve whatever group you mingled with.  With a view to being virtuous and compassionate yourself (and compassion often meant empathy and understanding more than money.)

It is amazing to look back on this from our day and age, when compassion, duty, etc, is all about money, and when the left side of the isle is losing its mind because the government is allowing us to keep a fraction more of the fruits of our labor.

To read them, civilization is coming apart.

Poor little materialists.  To them compassion and caring has the sound of caching, and your property belongs to them by right of conquest.

It’s interesting to note — and for us introverts to remember — that being social apes, humans DO need social contact.  In fact, recent studies show we need a dismaying something like 3 hours a day (though it need not be prolonged.)

It’s also interesting to note that we’ve not only found that the economy is not a fixed pie, and rich people don’t automatically owe something to the poor, but that indiscriminate charity and “help” are often counterproductive.  Case in point, on a macro scale is Africa where international charity has held back native development and industry for about a century.  On a micro scale, I’m sure you each know a case or two.

I wouldn’t want to live in the regency, of course.  I like today’s tech, and I’m very, very fond of the greater freedom women enjoy as individuals now.  (Though a woman of my age and education would always have had a certain freedom.)

However, it’s interesting to note that the models of the world we had before Marxism oozed into literally every field of endeavor were apparently more in tune with reality.

Shocking.  I know.

But it tells you things can be rebuilt.  We just need to erase the crazy cakes, non functional eructations of Marx from our mental map.  It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Shoulder to the wheel.

Do it for the children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

174 thoughts on “Our Debt To Society

  1. Yo! I gotcha debt to society right chere!

    This is one of those mystical warm schmaltzy phrases that means everything and nothing. Those employing it are probably not the sort of folk you want to leave unattended with your kids.

  2. It is ironic that the folks who profess to look forward, once the great and unstoppable socialist arrow hits its mark in the future, to a future without money, today map everything, including concepts like duty and compassion, to… money.

    For something they see as withering away as unneeded, a lot of their world sure revolves around it.

  3. I am minded again how unbelievably fortunate I am to have been born into the age and time I was. It must have purely sucked to have been an introvert in such days when social activity was viewed as a duty. *shakes head*

    Three whole hours? A *day*? Seriously? Maybe a week. Or a month, perhaps. I can hardly handle other humans for three *minutes* some days,, let alone a single hour, much less three.

      1. Bad Idea T-shirts are chock full of wonderful shirts! And I doubt very much I could get away with wearing any of them. 😦

        1. Love all of these. I want!!! As a programmer/designer my favorite phrase I kept visible (to keep me sane) “Just remember: Nothing is fool proof because fools are ingenious!”. (although not one of mine) This comes to mind as a related desktop/tower hardware support issue: “I broke my coffee holder on my computer.” Yes, the support persons response was “uhhh what????”

          1. When I was working as a tier 2 support tech for an US Army logistics program, I had one of these calls come in. It was right after the Army started fielding computer systems with built-in CD-ROM drives. I’m glad that I managed to mute my mic before I burst out laughing. My work mates thought I had gone nuts (not that they’re far wrong normally, it just wasn’t in that case).

            I also had a case back in college while working as a computer lab tech where an elderly woman needed assistance using the menu system we had to access programs. Since it was a 24 hour lab, the mice managed to take a walk often. We had a wall locker full of replacement mice and ordered more regularly. I looked for the mouse, and since I didn’t see one, walked her through using the arrow keys to navigate. Then, with a serious look on her face, she asked, “Then what do I use this foot pedal for?” I experienced a mixed case of shock and the urge to laugh. I managed to make it back to the tech’s office before I lost it completely. This was the first example of Stupid User Tricks that I’d run into.

            1. Due to some ancient (even for me…) issue with repetitive motion giving occasional wrist pains or at least.. indicators.. there have been times I’ve wanted a huge foot controlled trackball.

              1. Baxk 30-odd years ago, someone was selling a “footmouse”. Supposedly it was useful for word processor users who didn’t want to reach away from the keyboard.

            2. I’ve heard the mouse-foot-petal one too. Just the coffee mug holder, and fool ingenious, are the ones that stick with me. Heck the list I read way back when may have come from you!

              1. Back in the early days of tech, when business computers only had floppy drives, the company I worked for actually had space bars made with the label “Any”….. because we kept getting asked where that key was. Made a measurable difference in the support call volume.

          2. I’m the person who the resident tech support goes and boggles to when he gets those sort of calls – “Why am I not geo-set to South America, I’m in Texas”; “I broke my cupholder” “AAAUGH I AM BEING HACKED” – after 30 minutes of explaining what the remote access software does…. I did a few in comic strip format on my deviantart, because.

            Customers do get seriously butthurt though, that is all I will say.

            1. All I can say is thank heavens for remote software. 10 minutes to see and propose the solution for what was “wrong” vs 30 or more per call, and that includes them setting it up on their end (unless they have to get their IT involved, then all bets were off). Had some “trained” that they would setup before calling; then it was 5 minutes or less.

              1. We had that back at that early company I worked for…. text based, over 300 baud acoustic modems. Convincing the customer that they couldn’t run the coin sorter next to the acoustic modem was always a treat.

                1. The version they work with now (I’ve been retired for 2 years) they’ve had about 6 years now, so no modems. However, when I started, 14 years ago, they did use a Norton version that used modems (I’d used that before in previous jobs). Better than nothing, slower than the 7 year itch, but it worked, and only a (very) few clients had it because of licensing. Now the licensing is all on the company who I worked for side. Second worse case was their IT had to download and install client side version (makes sense IT generally does not want accountants being able to download anything to their workstations). What did not make sense were the IT that would not download it at all to “protect the data”. Say what? 1) We worked with real client data all the time, may not have been 100% current, it at least had the data where the problem was being exhibited, but it was real data. 2) We had VPN access to their server where the data resided, with full database admin access to the data; yes with all the risks that implies, and yes their IT knew/or should have known (part of the contract). At minimum we could then mimic what the user was “seeing” but not actually “see” it. We could also “upload” the data to our server (which is how we got “current” data if we needed to work with it).

                  FYI FWIW. I have never been full time support. Technically I was a “Jr” programmer (only because I was the “last” programmer hired, when I was hired hadn’t been Jr anything for 25+ years, but a job in my area was a job). Company didn’t have tech support. Programmers handled it. Ran hot/cold. Had days phone would not stop and days it never rang. Lot of respect for those whose job support truly was, I could not do it hour after hour, day after day, with someone monitoring what I did (we also had no monitoring). “Bad” times were the 2 – 3 months around “fiscal year”. Since the company is now dealing with 3 different fiscal years (Jul~Jun, Calendar, and Federal) that may change, but they’ll probably just hire more programmers.

    1. I’m with you on that one. I was given the ability to work full-time from home a couple months ago and I love it!

      I get some social interaction at the gym in the morning and usually go out to dinner once a week.

      1. I do that for a couple of hours each night – in Second Life, hosting the live performers and DJs in my club. Or does this involve going *out* somewhere?

        (And, yes, there can be lots of social interaction virtually.)

      2. Do children count towards that? I’m in their presence constantly and I don’t have enough opportunities to decompress or be with adults often enough. When I am in the presence of adults, I tend to end up hearing a lot of political and woo crazy stuff so I want to run screaming away from them too.

      3. I have to interact with a person once a day.

        Mind you, saying “Hi” to neighbors as we pass each other on walks suffices. So does the cashier telling me how much it is.

    2. Oh, yes. And people lived so much more communally than we do, because heating and lighting were expensive, so they’d all gather in one room. Every day. For hours. Even the middle and upper classes, whose houses actually had more than two or three rooms to choose from. Most poorer people’s houses were one roomed, or possibly a two roomed hall-and-parlor design.

      I would have gone crazy. (My picture is in the dictionary, next to the word ‘introvert’.)

      1. “Shotgun shack” is a DEscription, not a PREscription.

        But yes, there are those people who make me prefer the company of dogs and/or horses. And those oh so special people that remind me that there are some lovely snakes and spiders, too.

  4. What I’ve told my kids, and what I practice as much as possible. You don’t have to try and change the world, but strive to leave the small corner you live in better off because you were there.

    1. You ever notice how the people screaming loudest about our “debt to society” can’t be bothered to put their trash in the designated receptacles, much less pick it up after their rallies?

      Sigh. “Debt to Society.” They keep using that phrase. i do not think it means what they think it means.

        1. Ach, I forget who said it. Probably Heinlein via Lazarus Long, or Professor de la Paz. “The universe does owe you a living, but it takes a lifetime to collect it.”

      1. Note, as per usual with Leftists, they are screaming about OUR debt to society. Their debt is, of course, excused. .because of them reminding us of our debt.

        1. Their debt is, of course, excused.
          Especially if it’s actual debt, freely incurred, given in consideration of repayment at a later date, with interest. Like a college loan.

          1. I’m of mixed mind on that one. For decades Society has told school children they MUST go to college and get a degree in something, amd that then they will be able to do what they want. Yes, the smart ones and the ones with clued-in parents know this is bushwa. But there is enormous pressure to fill empty seats in colleges, I suspect so that assorted Liberal academics can keep living a cushy life.

            No, I don’t think the answer is a universal college loan amnesty. I wish to hell I had an answer. The fact remains, we allowed the Educational Industry to perpetuate a lie, and a lot of young people are getting caught in the gears.

            1. Colleges have been unjustly enriched by such schemes, as surely as any patent medicine vendor has profited from misleading the public. Drain their endowments for students so exploited.

              Back in the early Eighties a friend of mine happened to do a work-study semester in the Student Aid division and noted they measured their success by the amount of loans they “won” for students, not by whether their “beneficiaries” had any hope of ever repaying those loans.

              Given the degree to which the Democrat Party has fostered such unreasonable expectations I would place a tax on all registered Democrats with an extra levy on their elected representatives, but that might establish a precedent we would not enjoy.

            2. I’m all for making the loans dischargeable in bankruptcy, just like every other debt (and like student loans used to be.) There would be a lot of short-term havoc as the lenders adjusted to the new level of risk, and a lot of people who really deserve to go to college wouldn’t be able to, but the end result would be a lot of downward pressure on college expenses as the money train dried up. (And seriously, a lifetime of debt when you are literally poor enough to declare bankruptcy—which is not easy to begin with—is just too much.)

              1. Oh, yeah. Being able to ‘discharge’ a student loan debt through bankruptcy would be a great thing. There are probably thousands of people toiling under payments that they can’t afford to make or even attempt to try to make that can’t declare bankruptcy because student loans ARE their only crippling debt.
                Banking lobbyists are the ones to blame for this on the misconceived notion that students were fraudulently declaring bankruptcy to get out of paying back loans. Turns out that wasn’t the case. Wish I had a copy of that article I read almost 20 years ago now that discussed this.

                1. It’s right there with the vast crowds who were driven into forced bankruptcy by their insane medical costs?
                  (Similarly under-exposed research noted that any “we can’t pay it all right now” treatments got rolled into the stats– which means that my husband and I would have been counted, because we used a payment plan with the first kid’s birth.)

      2. Screaming and pouting are easy; cleaning up after yourself is hard.
        And by screaming & pouting, they can pretend they are “making a difference”, and have “made a world a better place”.

      3. “A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.” -G. Gordon Liddy.

        I’m willing to grant them, those few who really do care, to acknowledge the strength of their convictions- in certain cases. Sure poverty, childhood hunger (I hate that darn radio ad- damn little evidence of intellectual rigor in those “studies.” Pfah.), and so on are bad. The things they propose to “fix” the problems are orders of magnitude worse! Bleed the rich, stifle innovation, pile more and more regulation upon small businesses, mandate “healthy” school lunches, ad nauseum.

        They really don’t see how these ideas connect to *creating* the problems they propose to fix. The real ones, I mean, not the fakes ones that end in -ism. Or rather, some do at the top, but not the ones who have some measure of honest caring in them, but not the wit to apply it intelligently.

    2. I was going to say something about it being just like going camping– always leave it better than you found it, be it picking up other folks’ trash or neatly stacking the starter-wood and your leftover fire wood near the fire-ring, make sure you can’t tell where your forest toilet was, etc.

      Then I was thinking about how looking to the future means you do good stuff you’ll never see.

      Then I thought about this debunking, which turned into a rebunking because the “proverb” was a sort of rephrasing of a line from Cicero’s “De Senectute”.

      1. Full quote is:
        http://www.bartleby.com/9/2/1.html
        But, to pass over these sublime studies, I can name some rustic Romans from the Sabine district, neighbours and friends of my own, without whose presence farm work of importance is scarcely ever performed—whether sowing, or harvesting or storing crops. And yet in other things this is less surprising; for no one is so old as to think that he may not live a year. But they bestow their labour on what they know does not affect them in any case:
        He plants his trees to serve a race to come,
        as our poet Statius says in his Comrades. Nor indeed would a farmer, however old, hesitate to answer any one who asked him for whom he was planting: “For the immortal gods, whose will it was that I should not merely receive these things from my ancestors, but should also hand them on to the next generation.”

  5. Debt to society. Funny, I always looked upon it differently when I was younger, and now that I am older not much really has changed. I have seen a “debt to society” more as a service I render in the things I do. Be it serving in the military or even law enforcement. It’s something that is more a calling.
    As I am now older, perhaps a bit wiser mostly not, I see my debt to society in ensuring that I don’t burden it overly with my desires and needs. Also to ensure that my little is fit to go out in the wide wild world being able to stand on his own two feet.
    If I can manage that much, my debt to society will be paid in full with interest.

                1. Nah, it’s the sort-of judo that Sherlock Holmes mentioned doing. Sometimes “Japanese wrestling.”

                  Think of it as the English home-brew kung fu of the time.

                    1. No, you’re thinking of the honorable sport of Ladies, Knocker Boxing, whose one-time popularity in New York gave that state its nickname as The Knockerboxer State.

                  1. Yeah. Jeet kune do, kinda. Jujutsu, boxing, wrestling, savate, fencing applied to stick fighting–a “pick out what works from each” sort of thing.

    1. Nah man, to each in proportion to his ability and effort; with a hefty dose of luck (especially if you’re a farmer or hunter). Oh wait, Marx never would have said that.

            1. If you read it closely in all versions, it looks like the moral is “Passive aggressive is NOT gonna work here!” He hints that the third servant refused to invest the money because he didn’t think the king deserved a profit. “You have what is yours.”

  6. I used to be asked all the time if I worked at the local clothing store, as I was always folding stuff that prior shoppers left in piles or strewn about while looking for items in my size. My general idea was always to leave things better than they were before I was there.

    This general principle applies all the way from shoppers to corporate life to the military – if it’s better off after you were there due to your efforts, that’s a success. If not, try harder.

    If there’s a general Duty to Society, I’d think that’s a good capture thereof.

    1. Mantra I picked up from the SCA: “Leave the site cleaner than we found it.”

      Pretty much what I do anyway, but it’s a nice phrase; and I’ve taught it to my children.

      1. Standard BSA practice when camping. Our troop always does an arm to arm walkdown of our campsite after packing up the equipment to find all the trash. We often return from camping with more tent pegs then we left with.

          1. In airshows, it’s called the FOD walk – because Foreign Object Debris and airplanes is a bad mix. Before you declare the whole thing over, it’s a little more than arm-lengths apart, walking down the entire area and policing it for everything and anything that doesn’t belong, from camp chairs and a broken cooler down to gum wrappers – because even something the size of a BB can really ruin a helicopter or airplane’s day.

              1. I was always amazed at the necessity for it on a carrier. A big flat surface, open to the wind, with no trees or people or city or whatnot surrounding the deck. Yet, FOD was still found (I participated in one or two, even being a contractor).

              1. “What down that craft?”

                “Sir.. it seems unbelievable, but… weasels.”

                “WEASELS?!”

                “Yes, sir. The enemy is utterly surreal at time. That saying about eagles soaring but weasels not getting into jet engines? They seem to have responded with ‘Challenge accepted!’ It’s also psychological warfare – what pilot expects a barrage of Anti-Aircraft Weasels?”

                “This is quite silly.”

                “Yes, sir. But that’s not all.”

                “Oh?”

                “Sir, High altitude bombing has the radar problem. Low altitude runs have run into barrage balloons… only.. think of parade balloons. So help me, the reports have been of…. helium babboons.”

                “Arrrrrgh!”

            1. Same reason you see guys walking around race tracks before the cars go out. It’s amazing how many cars shed fasteners and bits of safety wire.

              The pits… more than once I’ve had the urge to use someone’s safety wire pliers on varous parts of their anatomy. The little cut-off-bits of wire are hard and sharp, racing tires are expensive, and a DNS or DNF when you’ve taken days off work and paid entry fees can bring the red haze out as you go looking for the fool blithely snipping safety wire and letting the pieces fall where they may.

              1. “Uh, you really should try to shield where the cut off bits go. That last one? It flew across the shop – and pinged hard off the side shield of my safety glasses.”

                Yes, had that conversation. No, was NOT at all happy.
                Aside from glad I was wearing decent safety gear.

          1. Well, leaving that one cleaner than you found it would have required exertion outside the normal. Digging out 6 feet or so of earth is a bit much.

    2. I actually “tried” doing that at Costco not in too distance past. Associate working on pile next bin stopped me, and I quote: “Thank you. But can I help you find what you need? I will finish with these.” Costco actually has a rule to stop customers from refolding piles of items, something they looked at and are putting back, fine, but not what others have “left”. Very politely …

  7. I read the worlds “debt to society” and was overcome with a vision;

    A huge billboard saying, “There is a Liberal-Progressive and/or Bureaucratic cockroach for every productive member of society. Remember your debt to society! Step on one today!”

  8. Absolutely, Utterly, and perhaps even Woefully Off-Topic…

    Once upon a time I spiced up some brownies with a jalapeno slurry. It worked. I got curious (and $HOUSEMATE hatched a plan to bring spiced brownies to con party hosted by ESR who held a tasting panel for hot sauces or such..) and brought unto ESR’s con party four pans of brownies:

    1. Plain old brownies.
    2. Jalapeno brownies.
    3. Habanero brownies.
    4. Ghost pepper (salsa) brownies.

    The plain were (eventually) returned with a :Why did you even bother?” (because not everyone is into, or even tolerant of, spiciness). The next year ESR was asked what should be made & brought. Just one pan – Ghost pepper.

    Recently, at work, some have discovered the ‘Carolina Reaper’ pepper. These sucked peg the needle, as some have discovered the hard way. I had brought in some of the ghost pepper salsa brownies, now there were (amazingly) repeated requests for “Reaper Brownies.”

    NOTE: Despite the horns, the hooves, the tail, I am NOT actually evil. This was a *request*. And I know enough to label things.

    This morning, I made some. Three peppers mashed and left to soak in a (cheap[1]) vodka & water mix, before getting pulsed a few times in food “processor” gadget.

    I sampled a drop or so of the batter. Touched the handle end of the mixing spoon into the batter… and then finished off the eggnog. After baking, cooling some, cutting, sampled a *small* piece (If I can’t eat it, I won’t offer/serve it. I can eat this – but prefer not to.) Not bad at first. It builds. Chased it with cream. And then lager. And then it was toned down enough to let run its course.

    This might be a strange dessert. It might be a peculiar treat. But I wonder… have I crossed the line into chemical weapons production? If not crossed, I’m closer than is comfortable.

    I do have more peppers left. $HOUSEMATE suggests sending ESR a pan of these mouthbombs.

    [1] With the heat of peppers, there was ZERO need of using the good stuff.

    1. Coworker of mine makes wonderful zucchini bread with nuts, chocolate chips and Carolina Reaper peppers. He always seems disappointed when he finds a person who can eat them. I like them because I’m a sucker for anything spicy with chocolate, but I can’t help but feel the ones where he throws in some jalapeño peppers as well have a more balanced flavor. He doesn’t agree, but he’s one of those people who thinks ‘scalding’ is a flavor.

      What I’m going to need to figure out how to do is make a raspberry/reaper sauce, make habanero brownies, put vanilla ice cream on the brownies, maybe a little fudge sauce and then drizzle the raspberry/reaper sauce on top. I’ve got the feeling that it would work really well as a crazy dessert that’s still edible. The flavors feel right to me and the fats/cream from the ice cream should help ease the heat enough to make it easier to appreciate those flavors.

      1. Friend makes mild chili suitable for all that somehow has lots of lovely jalepeño flavor, but almost no heat. I have no idea how he achieves this (worse, neither does he, other than “less chili powder”) beyond using beef that’s coarse-chopped rather than ground.

        1. Cooking for a long time kills the heat of jalapeños, but doesn’t harm that wonderful flavor. If the chili is cooked for long enough then most of the heat will be gone.

            1. Oh yeah, I always cook mine overnight. Otherwise it comes out more like a thick beef and bean soup; the flavors don’t meld with only an hour or two of cooking.

          1. A local restaurant used to bake jalapeno cornbread. It always tasted sweet rather than hot, and I quite liked it. Maybe the baking part is what toned down the heat.

        2. If you’re using baked, stuffed jalapenos, you can get flavor rather than heat by cutting them in half, removing the seeds and veins, then scraping the inside with a spoon just enough to pop the bubbles inside.

          Soak in water as you’re preparing them this way, when the bowl is full, rinse, put on a towel and microwave for ten-fifteen seconds.

          If you take that, stuff it with a sausage cream cheese mixture (one block cream cheese to one roll of sausage, I like Italian) and wrap it in bacon, then cook at 375 for 20 minutes (or until bacon is crispy), it’s delicious, has flavor, and my toddler has eaten it without pain.

        1. Walnuts and pecans work very well in certain types of bread. It’s figuring out which nuts work with which breads that’s the trick.

        2. You just about can’t buy brownies or fudge without nuts in the South. And I *hate* hard chunks in soft food, not to mention the taste of the nuts don’t usually go well with the rest, as far as I’m concerned. So I mostly forego prepared foods in those categories…

          1. $HOUSEMATE claims the style of brownies I prefer are “incomplete.” I maintain that the style $HOUSEMATE prefers are “contaminutted.”

            I like nuts, mind. Just not in things – with a few exceptions. A pecan pie rather needs the pecans. I have a similar issue with raisins.

            1. Yeah. I have issues with the “let’s just throw a bunch of random crap in there” style of cookery…

              No, raisins, carrots, onions, and olives do NOT belong in “potato salad.” If you’re making “garbage can surprise”, at least have the decency to label it as such…

              1. None of those are bad, but yeah, the potato shouldn’t have them. Well, I can see having some onion in the mix. But I also only care for hot potato salad and that might be a factor.

                1. I’ve come to realize that most people can’t taste onion to any significant degree. Even a few tiny specks are enough to overwhelm the taste of anything else. And onions are aromatic enough to contaminate anything they’re near, so it’s not like you can take them off or pick them out after they’ve ruined the rest of the food.

                  Locally there’s a fad for “cilantro”, which tastes like sour socks smell. It’s common enough now that many places don’t even bother to mention it on menus. And sending it back and asking for no cilantro doesn’t work, because apparently it comes in the pre-packaged spice mixes some restaurants use.

                  Arrrrghhh…

                  1. I have that with peas – the flavor leaches out and ruins other things, so simply physically removing the peas often isn’t enough to render a dish edible.

                    I wonder if perhaps you are a “supertaster” – they who seem to be doubly sensitive compared to most.

                    I don’t get that from cilantro. If the concentration is low I get mildly spicy. But if it gets too high… it’s like eating soap.

      1. I use a box mix (any brand that isn’t absolute bottom of the line will do) and follow the recipe with one change. Where it says to use 1/4 cup water, I replace that with the pepper slurry. For the jalapeno version, one tiny can of La Victoria diced jalapenos is about right – but don’t just dump them in. They need to be made into a slurry unless you/they prefer brownies to have (non-chocolate) chunks in them. For the ghost pepper salsa version, I use Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa as-is.

        For the Carolina Reapers, I took three (Purely a guess – fewer might have been better. More seems evil.) dried peppers (what was available) and carefully de-stemmed them, put into glass measuring cup and added the vodka & water and (carefully!) broke them up some with the not-bowl end of a wooden spoon (one I do not normally use, and can spare if it comes to that) and left them to soak/infuse for a while. Then they went into the food processor/pulse chopper gadget, and then into the glass mixing bowl.

        I made a point of not touching anything directly except for the tiny tastes (opening the pepper packet made it clear that isolation was a Good Idea) and prepared with the idea that everything that might touch the peppers would need to be cleaned immediately and thoroughly, or be considered expendable.

        I (and $HOUSEMATE, and ESR fwiw) prefer dark chocolate. The requester has a preference for milk chocolate so there might be slightly less of a moderating factor.

      1. I find the jalapeno and habanero versions tasty and fairly mild – the brownie moderates things quite well. The ghost pepper salsa version isn’t superduper hot, but there is a heat that builds, but not to insane levels. The effect seems to last about half an hour, unless actions are taken to actively quench it (cream, lager).

        These? While I was not in pain, it was clear that leaving it unquenched would in not-too-long become more than distracting. It’s not “OHMYG*DINEEDADRINKNOWNOWNOW!” but adding one more pepper might be.

    2. (used to be) Regular, annual Camporee event for Adult Dutch Oven “cook off” – “Honey Bucket Stew” = Beef (or Elk/Deer) stew cut, a few cut potatoes & carrots, chopped onions, topped with (pre-cooked) Ribs, all spiced with pepper mix, Chile pepper powder, and 3 mashed chilies with seeds (okay dropped the seeds 2nd year), cooked all day over fire/coals. I couldn’t eat it, but the guys ate it up. FYI. Honey Bucket is because stew has a little bit of everything, play on local company, and camping dish.

    3. There’s a vendor who shows up at the Saturday market in the San Francisco Ferry Terminal – home-made potato chips. Including Ghost Pepper Chips. Incredibly hot, but somewhat addictive.

      If we’re in San Francisco for the weekend, we always try to swing by. We find that a small bag split between the two of us is about the most we can eat at one time. For people with lower levels of endorphin addiction, the jalapeno chips are probably a good bet.

    4. Homemade habanero chocolate peanut butter cups. My Reeses addicted wife could eat only one bite and actually would not touch them after that……

  9. Merriam-Webster says a debt is, “a state of being under obligation to pay or repay someone or something in return for something received”. If you look at it from a financial viewpoint, it mean that someone has a claim on you for something you’ve gotten from them. What’s missing from this is whether the transaction was mutually agreed on or not. If you give me something that I never asked for, then I have no obligation to respond in kind.

    To take it to an extreme, if I fall, or jump, off the Golden Gate Bridge, and you save my life without my desiring help; I don’t owe you anything. I might have been planning on saving myself, in which case I didn’t need your interference. In fact, you effectively robbed me of the opportunity to prove I could (or couldn’t) save myself. If I had jumped with the sincere intent to kill myself, you foiled my desire, you just violated my right to self-determination (regardless of your religious/moral viewpoint on suicide). It does get a bit murkier if you change your mind halfway down.

    Now the Harbor Patrol, the Coast Guard, or even the Navy may have a duty to try to rescue you from those freezing turbulent waters. That’s a responsibility, a legal obligation they agreed to when they took those jobs for which we provide a mutually agreed on compensation. And in an ideal world, we decide what we’re willing to give them to perform that duty. If they choose not to at that level of compensation, they let us know and we either agree to pay them more, or they have the right to say “Bye-Bye” and go do something else. Duty duly discharged.

    Our government was constructed by us to make it easier to provide the majority of us with services beneficial to the majority of us, without any un-agreed on detriment to the rest of us. Defense from outside aggressors (enemy nations, states, organizations). Defense against inside aggressors (thoughtless neighbors, criminals and criminal organizations). Protections against our government becoming a criminal organization. And we originally agreed to fund those things with taxes,duties, impost and excise fees and tariffs. What we did NOT agree to is for Congress to place us under indefinite debt, financial slavery to the State. For instance, the National Endowment for the Arts is frankly un-Constitutional. Congress was given the right “To promote the progress of science and useful arts” via copyright and patents, NOT by taxing and redistributing funds to those authors and inventors they deemed worthy of the money.

    Just because I was born into and raised in this society doesn’t mean I owe it anything. But as an adult, I owe it to myself and those I care about, to participate in, manage, and restrict this society and governmental system I’ve chosen to remain in.

    1. If you give me something that I never asked for, then I have no obligation to respond in kind.

      There are lots of obligations that happen without you specifically going “hey, I really want this.” The most obvious are the ones where you accept the offered thing. There’s also where things are a reasonably foreseeable result of action or inaction.

      How enforcible they are is going to vary.

      1. And, some of it you are obligated to simply by being born. If you don’t want to contribute to society, then you really should leave it for elsewhere. You can always hand build a cabin in Montana. (Just don’t start writing manifestos….)

        I think that a free man does have an obligation to the world:
        Contribute.
        At the very minimum do what you can to add something useful (or remove something bad) to the world, even if it’s just your everyday labor, being a good citizen (as we freedom-lovers would define it, not the Marxists), or raising some decent kids. Not all contributions will look the same (the woman who makes a home for her husband and children is contributing much more than most give her credit; the plumber who comes out in the middle of the snowstorm to help unstick your pipes is near a hero, etc.).

        You do NOT have an obligation to abandon your own self for the betterment of others at THEIR insistence.
        Ironically, most of those insisting you have a “debt to society” are not contributing meaningfully (some of them qualify for that “remove something bad” I mentioned). And many of them think the society to which we owe this debt should be destroyed. So… odd.

        Having said all that, I believe that you are not your own. You have a Creator, and to Him you owe much. You owe your praise. You owe the acknowledgement that others are His creation, too (love others as yourself). You owe Him not just contributing, but contributing your best.
        My debt to Him* can not ever be fully paid, but I’m expected to make the effort. For His sake, not the sake of that idiot marxist down the street.

        (* Here I don’t speak of the ‘debt’ we owe because of our sins, but our debt because of creation. For my sins, even my best effort is laughable, and He would rather I embrace the One whom He sent to take that obligation for me.)

        I apologize if this steps over the bounds of the site, Sarah. It’s intended to present my point of view, not start a sectarian battle. Some points needed inclusion for the sake of completeness, imho.

        1. It is rather hard to declare that you owe no-one anything for feeding, sheltering and educating you, since you didn’t ask for it, you just accepted it….

          Likewise, there are a lot of folks who would rather not accept law enforcement activities. Generally, that’s the folks that are the reason we have law enforcement. 😉

  10. Oh gads yes. My (first) college graduation was spent enduring a speech from a local politico (who later became national, then went so far off the deep end that I think this individual was committed). Said politico insisted that we had a debt to society for the privilege of going to college, and we needed to do community service to work off that debt. My best buddy, who had worked 20 hrs a week work-study, plus working full time in summer, plus had an academic scholarship, was pretty dang peeved. Another associate leaned over and hissed, “I thought debt to society was what you served in prison.”

    Because that’s how we’d always heard it used: someone who had “a debt to society” was doing time in the county or state or federal jail/prison.

    1. It’s only really helpful if you’re growing something that requires bone meal.

      Or did you mean “compost a commie”? 😉

  11. in small communities, you’d know who the deserving poor were, and who the hopeless grifters
    And this is why gov’t can never be an effective charity. There’s likely no way (short of “don’t work? don’t eat”) to ever weed out the “hopeless grifters” that can be written down as a law/rule that they can’t abuse/get around.

  12. My right knee is currently burning, and i have had trouble sleeping for the last several days due to the pressure changes. Any debt I had to society was paid in 1990, tyvm.

  13. Interesting. When Mrs. Hoyt wrote “…our debt to society” and “Doing what we owe society” and “doing our duties to society. If this makes you squirm, it does me too.”

    I expected her to write: “Which society? I don’t owe a plug nickel to a bunch of damnable Marxists.”

    The duty part would seem to be self evident. Duty = civilization.

    1. I suspect the difference is in “duty” seen as a moral and civic obligation that helps keep civilization running smoothly, like people answering the “hue and cry” to stop criminals caught in the act. As compared to “duty” espoused in the media and by so many politicos, even those who ought to know better, as “everything to the people declared to be worthy of assistance from the state, everything in the media and schools and any after-tax change you might have given to ‘charities’ that are for the state, shut up and vote for me because I know better than you do*.”

      * Like Dr. Science but not nearly as entertaining.

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