At War With Reality

I’m a bookish person — I know, astound you — who lives at least ninety percent of the time in her own head.  This led to some really weird times in my childhood, where I could see the ideal world so clearly but it just didn’t mesh with reality.  So I would say things like “money should be abolished” because you know, people should just trade for what they needed.

I was never stupid enough to believe top-down control would work to give to each according to their needs, and I didn’t even believe a computer could do it, because I was you know, reading science fiction and so primed for “how this goes wrong” even before I understood the concept of GIGO. (I.e. he who controls the computer, controls the world.)

But I also could see, as every bookish, idealistic kid can, the chasm between what people deserve and what they, by and large, get.

I was, of course, also not very clued in to the real world, so if someone say wasn’t doing too well at work, to me that was the most unfairest thing ever, not realizing that in a complex adult life there’s always something that is far less than perfect.  The older I get the more I give thanks on bended knee that the area of my life that’s always been less than perfect is the career and the area of life that’s close to wholly satisfactory is my marriage and my kids.  Because, screw the world, and my oeuvre, I’d sacrifice them all and the price of a cup of coffee besides if it means my kids would be all right.

Of course, even there there’s no guarantees.  There’s never any guarantees.

The cry of “but it isn’t fair” is an infant (or bookish adolescent) cry, because as you grow up you realize the world is way more complex than that.  Way more complex.

You can’t eliminate money, because the world is not the village, and there are trades far more complicated than a chicken for a large sack of onions.  Money is an imperfect means of exchange, because humans are imperfect beings.  But it is the best way to retain and transport value, until you’re ready to trade.  And it gives way more flexibility to a trade than “what I have on hand right now” for “what you have on hand right now”

I mean in what other way could my distributed fans pay me for my stories with the result of whatever the heck they do for a living, including but not limited to healing the sick.  Even I am not always sick.  Even a doctor doesn’t always need a story told.

I think I realized that around 14.  It always surprises me when other people don’t, and when they keep looking for different ways to distribute wealth than “what I have for what I want.”  Even if what you have is your time, or your company.  Marx’s crazy is that someone, someone else, extraneous to each individual making the exchange should control all the exchanges.  Worse, a group of someone’s should.

I’m not sure where he got that stupid idea, given that he too was a bookish man, and therefore probably not happy with crowds.  I think perhaps it was the gregarious Engels’ idea, and Marx went along with it, because like the perfect grifter, he couldn’t disappoint his patron.

Also being bookish and educated, both of them had the strange admiration of intellectuals for those they assume to be brutes, all want and muscle.  Frankly it would have been better for civilization if both of them had dissipated that bullsh*t in a physical way by tumbling a muscular, illiterate wench or three.  Oh, wait, Marx did that with the household help, and produced a son who was a carpenter, and therefore much more useful than his poisonous daddy who never recognized him (of course.  I mean, why would he admit to fathering a son with the maid?)

Marx’s successors and worshipers have invested that power of the crowd the only way it can be invested: in governmental bodies.  Which are somehow supposed to be perfectly fair and perfectly impartial and perfectly able to arbitrate over imperfect humans.  No, don’t ask me how, being composed of humans.  I’m not an idiot.  I’ve seen bureaucracies up close and personal, and know the sausage at the end of the process might not contain any elements of what is intended. I don’t advocate such nonsense.

Ah, but if the illusion of the “but it isn’t fair” were just monetary, it would do less harm.

I never had the illusion of “I can be anything I want.”  I’m not stupid.  I was sickly when I was born — premature — in an unheated house in the middle of a snow storm.  I remained sickly.  Mostly because my immune system tries to kill me every so often.

By the time I was twelve, I’d spent most of my life in bed, and given that Portugal hadn’t yet adapted to the idea antibiotics existed (and to be fair, mostly we had various generations of penicillin which has limits) in seclusion.  This means I spent a lot of time when I’d rather be tramping around in the sunshine, or playing with my friends, in a room that didn’t even have a window (it was the middle room of a shotgun apartment) reading comics or playing with legos and inventing friends.

Either because of long periods of inactivity and seclusion, or because I was born premature, I was always incredibly uncoordinated.  Most of the games my friends played, when I joined school, were not games I could play, no matter how much I tried.  Jump rope remains an unattainable achievement.  The elastic game (two girls hold a loop of elastic around their legs and stand about six feet apart, then one jumps in the middle, through a number of set figures in you either don’t touch or touch and warp the elastic in prescribed ways, each time in a more complicated movement) was beyond my attainments, even at its simplest.  Even when I put the elastic around two chairs and practiced, I couldn’t get past the “baby figures.”  That other people, even the dumb ones, could do this, was a source of wonder to me, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think I could do it, simply by wishing so.  Or, as I realized after a month of fruitless practice, even with much hard hardheadedness and work.

My body simply didn’t work right when it came to coordination and movement.  It wasn’t fair, but there also wasn’t a whole heck of a lot anyone could do.  I accepted what my body was, spent most of my recesses walking around, balancing on the edge of the flower beds, and eventually sitting in a corner with a good book or twenty.

In the long run it turns out that heavy reading — particularly considering my future profession — was far more useful than being able to do the elastic game.  On the other hand, maybe I’d be svelte and healthy had I been able to play the elastic game for five years of my youth.  Who knows?  Maybe some of the girls who exceeded at the elastic game would now be very happy if they could write books and get paid, which they might be able to do if they’d spent five years reading at recess.  Who knows?

Beyond economics, each of us is such a complex net-weave of influences, genetics, events that left their mark, the ideas we were exposed to, the dreams we dream, and oh, yeah, our bodies and the aptitudes and health of our bodies.

“It’s not fair” is as meaningless to this as to anything else.

Yesterday I ran into — in an otherwise sensible article — this kind of crazy, yeah, the kind of crazy that inspired the #metoo movement.  I won’t go into the lady’s claims of #metoo in the business world, except to say I doubt them, because she’s about my age, and even in Portugal stuff like asking someone to come discuss business in a hotel alone with you so you can take advantage of her was already frowned upon.

But one of her claims was that yeah, me too was necessary as long as women couldn’t walk safely alone at night.  Me too was necessary as long as women had to “endure” stuff muttered or called out to them.  And this should stop.

This is when my head hit desk with force.

You know who else can’t walk safely alone at night (unless armed): small men.

We are a bimorphic species with females being, on average, substantially smaller and weaker than men.  (Note on average.  Don’t tell me about Russian women power lifters and cubicle geeks.)  As long as that’s true, you can’t make the world safe for women.  Why not?  Because there’s always going to be one bad seed.  It’s not that most men even need to be taught not to rape.  The sane ones would rather self-castrate.  But in six or seven billion (or five, depending on how much face you put in UN numbers) there’s always going to be a few million bad seeds.  And male bad seeds will manifest in rape and violence, just as most women bad seeds manifest in manipulation, extortion and poisoning.

You can’t make the world safe for smaller and weaker people.  You can only make women good at defending yourselves.  Self defense — the extreme defense of your right to life — is your most basic right, and if you know other people are stronger and larger than you, either because you’re a woman, because you’re sickly, or because you’re young or old (and all of us will go through this at some point) it is your own duty to make sure you’re safe.

The world is not a kindergarten.  There is no benevolent teacher to ensure fairness.

And as for trying to change humans themselves, that always ends in mass graves.  Hundreds of thousands of mass graves.

Oh, and the same goes for the “stuff called out and muttered.”  Men are, by virtue of their form and function, more interested in sex than women.  Again, on average, by and a large, statistically.  Don’t compare your local female nympho to your local male celibate.  There are always extremes, but the way to bet is the other way.  Women crave connection and relationship, men crave sex.

Yeah, there’s a point we meet in the middle, and women can crave sex in a relationship as much or more than men.

But women — in general, grosso modo — don’t crave sex with random strangers.  So you won’t see a gaggle of  say female office workers, standing on a corner calling out “Mmmmm, you’re so fine” to male strangers, no matter how fine the strangers are, or how uncouth the females.

But men, in general, crave sex.  So, yeah, male construction workers are going to stand on the corner and go “mmmmm, you so fine” and worse at passing strange women.  And depending on how uncouth and desperate they are, this might be a lot more explicit, and the “fine” might extend to my dumpy, middle aged self.

This is again the price you pay for being in a bimorphic species.  Men have all the cravings and instincts of pre-human and certainly pre-civilized great apes.  The good ones control them, but there will always be a bad seed.

Don’t like it?  Find another species.  Stop trying to make women into men (“you should sleep with a lot of people.  That’s liberating” and “if you’re a stay at home mom, you betray your gender”) and stop trying to make men into women.

Not only will this crazy fill many graves, it will make sure a lot of people are never born and those who are already here have miserable lives.

Accept the world isn’t fair.  Yeah, women, someone is always going to look at you funny, make a clumsy pass, be an idiot.

If you give the government power to stop that; if you take off like a pack of baying hounds and destroy the career of every guy who ever looked at you cross eyed; if you embrace identity over rationality; if you demand equality over liberty; if you elevate the collective over the individual, it always ends the same way.

“Fairness” seems like a beautiful call.  The end is always death and destruction.

In the real world there is no such thing as equality.  The only equality to be found is in the grave, where we all decompose the same way.

Beware when you demand others twist themselves out of shape for you.  The mob will come for you eventually.  You too will dance to its rough music.



380 thoughts on “At War With Reality

  1. Minor Nit.

    GIGO means (to me) “The Computer Will Get Things Wrong When It Gets Garbage In Not Facts”.

    The “Man Who Controls The Computer will have extreme problems Controlling The World when his computer gets garbage inputted into it.” 😈

    1. I’d contend that it’s “Whoever controls the data format controls the world,” but that’s also a nit, as it just moves control upstream.

    2. I forget the story (but I know someone here will remember) where someone went searching for the person responsible for some regulation or another, and discovered that the source of all new regulations was some nobody in the deep bowels of the building and bureaucracy who liked sending out memos… which were all then acted upon. He arranged to take the job…

  2. It’s pretty simple. You start off with “Does your life have value?” Most people would agree that yes, their lives have value. Then you ask “How do you determine that value to other people?” That question is a bit harder, because most people haven’t thought about it. But if you point out that charging people for your time and work lets them know you’ve asserted your value, there’s often a little lightbulb going off in their heads. If you’re gentle about it, you can have them realizing that maybe capitalism isn’t Teh Biggest Evil Evar! without ever bringing up the term…

    1. Rare is the person who has sat down and calculated the actual dollar value of their time.
      It’s a simple question- what would it cost for me to give up my freetime and go work for someone else? One can then ask the question “What am I doing now in my free time that may be more efficiently hired out to someone else”- from your kids up to professional services.
      Some things may be cheaper if you do them yourself (assuming you have DIY skills)- basic auto maintenance and home repairs come to mind.
      And some chores people just like to do themselves.

      Then again, time management is like common sense, rare enough these days to be a superpower.

      1. An example I have used with people. I do a lot of home cooking because it’s cheaper. Except for a steak dinner. THAT I will pay someone else to prepare for me in a restaurant. A good steak dinner will cost me probably about $60 including drinks and salad. A steak from a grocery store may cost me from $10-$20 then theres the salad and side (baked potato, butter and sour cream thank you very much). So I am out say $25 for ingredients for the food. Then there’s say about $6 for a couple cans of beer (craft brew about $3 for a tall can). Now factor in the time and energy to cook and prepare the dinner. So, looking at just material costs of $31.
        Kicker, the chef/cook at the restaurant will prepare my steak to my liking all the damned time. Me? I tend to do a botch job and end up with well done. Not shoe leather, but still well done.
        Now for an extra $29 I get a good dinner and no clean up or dishes.
        Bread? Pennies a loaf, and no issues time wise making. Most other things, same thing.
        That steak dinner though is a treat and a savings of my time and energy at a final outlay of 3 hours of my labour (okay, 6 hours but I would have used 3 hours anyway for the ingredients and say another two in prepping and cooking….)

        1. Keep in mind that it is very likely the restaurant purchases a higher grade of steak than you would get at your local grocer or butcher shop.

          The restaurant can also afford higher qualities of equipment, such as a high-end flame broiler than you could justify on your own.

          I don’t know that a brick oven makes a better pizza, but I know I lack the luxury of owning such an oven of highly limited use.

          1. You make some excellent points, which furthers my point. I am paying for the expertise and equipment and I am not shirking the cost. In fact I appreciate it.
            As to a wood fired brick oven pizza? Having worked in a restaurant with such a beast I have to say that that form of pizza is better than what I can produce at home. Of course I would rather one that I produce at home since if it’s not the equal, it’s better then someplace like Papa Dominos or the ilk.

          2. I’ve heard – but not tried – that defeating the self-cleaning interlock on one’s oven will turn it into a great pizza setting.

      2. That is a fun exercise.

        Though sometimes the answer is “I’m going to do this myself because my supply of time is greater than my supply of money.”

        1. I had a job as office admin for a guy who said very much the same thing – he claimed that he worked hard so that he could hire people to do those jobs that he wasn’t interested in, or skilled sufficiently to do himself.

          Although, now and again, I did chide him for not being able to hang a picture, or run an anti-virus program on the computer that he was accustomed to play on-line solitaire upon … Me – I was a privileged person in that office, and could tease him about not knowing the difference between a straight-blade and a Phillips-head screwdriver; his response was that he paid me to tell the difference.

          1. “he claimed that he worked hard so that he could hire people to do those jobs that he wasn’t interested in, or skilled sufficiently to do himself.”

            This is all very well until the Zombie Apocalypse drops; then the execs will be begging the skilled tradesfolk to squeeze them into the queue.
            Or more likely, if history is any guide, they will just hire thugs (with promises of looting) and enslave the workers.

  3. Money is a myth all transactions are barter, some just include goods widely accepted as easily further exchanged. Conversely money cannot be created out of nothing and current fiat currencies are a ponzi scheme pumping a huge debt bubble. Bitcoin is popular because it is not subject to arbitrary changes in supply as central bank money is.

    1. Not only is Confederate money worth considerably more than its original face value, so are authenticated *counterfeit* Confederate notes made before 1900 or so.

      Which mostly proves that the value of anything is “what someone is willing to pay for it.”

      1. No exchange ever happens unless all parties believe they are benefiting. Therefore, the fewer parties involved, the simpler coming to terms will be. Exchanges will happen where one party appears to be accepting a loss. That is when you need to be looking out for ‘benefits’ like “If I accept, I won’t get my skull staved in.”

        All exchanges that are distorted by regulation have such ‘benefits’ hidden in them somewhere.

        1. “Exchanges will happen where one party appears to be accepting a loss. ”
          Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler comes to mind.

    2. As I’ve heard it expressed by professional gamblers, money is how you keep score. Or to say it differently, money is a system of measurement. And in a truly free market it tends to be self correcting as a reflection of real value. Unfortunately once government puts its muddy boot into the mix the market is no longer free, and becomes subject to all sorts of “adjustments” by the powers that be.

      1. You know those fairy tales where the king tells the hero to get a brass bell, but he doesn’t have one, so he goes to the bell maker who says the hero doesn’t have anything he wants enough to trade for a brass bell, but he does want some cabbage, he’d trade for that, and the cabbage seller wants a comb, and the comb maker wants a load of wood, and the wood-cutter wants…. up until there’s finally SOMETHING that the hero can do or give that he can then trade for the thing before, all the way back to the brass bell for the king.

        Or he can pull a twenty out of his pocket, pick his brass bell, the brass bell maker can pick his own cabbage, etc.

        Individuals are no more pure than anybody else– for this example, if it’s a small enough area, the guy selling bells might make a deal with the brass maker so there’s no way for competition to get supplies.


        1. One of my facorite books when I was young was HENRY REED’S BIG SHOW. It isn’t as good as the preceeding three Henry Reed books, but there’s a chapter in which Henry goes to an auction. He bids on a box of junk, and then trades up to a horse buggy (and his $5 original investment back). When his uncle hears this he hands Henry a broken steak knife and says “Here. Trade for the dueling swords.”. I loved that.

      2. Money is an abstract storage unit for human life. You trade little bits of your life for it, and use it to buy more life. This is why any time any imbecile says of some expensive measure “If it saves just one life, it will be worth it.” that imbecile should be belabored with a tire iron. If a regulation or law costs more then a human being can earn in a lifetime, it had damn well better save a LOT of lives, and someone who is unwilling to do a cost/benefit analysis on it has no goddamned business setting policy.

    3. A myth? Money is a means of barter. It’s the lowest common denominator of exchange. That’s how all money works. You barter your time and skills for a certain amount of money, and barter that money for goods and services. Doesn’t matter if it’s certified assay and weight of gold, or carats of emeralds, or pounds of salt, or packs of cigarettes. It’s something that enough people want that it serves as a common means of barter.

      You are perfectly free to barter your time and services for Precambrian fossils, if that floats your boat, But most of society doesn’t share that interest, and it’s going to make bartering at the grocer a bit difficult.

      1. Interesting note, that “legal tender for all debts” of penny-payment fame is about exactly that kind of situation in your last paragraph– unless you spell out something different right off the bat, the assumption is that the units are in US dollars.

        1. There are places that don’t accept cash – apartments for example. They make an attempt to never have you owe them money, so it’s not a “debt”. Or, I may be overthinking this. Anyone here know?

          1. You’re still paying them amounts in US dollars– that’s why they’ll send out notices when they stop taking credit cards and require a check, or similar. They can’t suddenly switch to Canadian dollars or something.

            A lot of court houses will have a small sign that says check or money order only.

            1. Yabbut the original deal (to enforce fiat money) was that if you tendered it and it was refused, the debt was legally paid. When did that go away, if it did?

          2. Which makes sense from a security perspective- cash payments require a cash till, and keeping an amount of cash on hand- a big robbery headache.
            Plus, there’s a whole lot more work involved in accounting, making receipts, keeping cash on hand, making cash deposits, reconciling the tills, ect.
            Swiping a card or making an electronic bank payment is so much easier.

    4. Even the value of precious metals is often a myth- the value of gold, silver, et al can fluctuate rapidly. Look at Spain during the colonial era, or the various gold rush economies.

    5. and if someone manages to make an FPGA config that crunches the bitcoin algorithm significantly faster than the current rigs, or a GPU manufacturer adds an instruction to their GPUs that make them significantly faster at crunching, then guess what? Your bitcoin is subject to arbitrary changes.

      1. If there weren’t seignorage for bitcoin there wouldn’t be any bitcoin. Duh.

        What supports the spread between energy and capital costs of a farm is the perception that it’s a deflationary store of value and that this is a valuable thing.

        I’m quite frightened by the run-up in fiat value of bitcoin. What do they know that I don’t know?

    6. Goods that are widely accepted as easily further exchanged are, by definition, money. Seriously, that’s what’s money IS. By definition.

      Currency is purpose-made money. That is, goods that really have no other purpose.

  4. > Stop trying to make women into men … and stop trying to make men into women.

    [confused] But Sarah, how else will we breed up to New Soviet^H^H^H^H^H Progressive Man?

        1. Putin is a slimy, nasty, dangerous SOB– but he fights like a dude, rather than a chick, so yeah, I’ll take him over the poisonous slimy nasty only dangerous if your back is turned guy.

  5. Fairness isn’t a bad thing– we should try to think of how to promote it, since justice is a rather important aspect of a good society.

    That said, declaring “it’s not fair” is useless; saying “this is unfair in X and Y aspect because of A, B and C, and we can improve it without causing an equal or greater injustice in this way…..”

    Otherwise you just end up with the Parable of the Gas-Lamp on top of the Parable of the Fence! (Chesterton rocks, even if I’m not totally sold on Distributism.)

    1. Fairness and justice are two different things. Justice is (more or less) treating different people in similar situations the same. Fairness is treating them according to some particular set of rules, often devolving into treating people that are popular well and unpopular badly.

      1. “Fair” got hijacked is all– kind of like “Social Justice.”

        I refuse to pretend the redefinition is legitimate, even though I will make it clear I’m speaking of justice, not “kuz I wanna.”

          1. True.

            You can even see them attempting to hijack simple “justice” a lot– “the mob was out demanding justice” type reporting, where “justice” means “lynch the guy.”

            1. This has been the case for the campus anti-sexual assault crowd, who have managed to obscure the fact that their necktie parties have a “disparate impact” on African-American students.

              It is one of the few “crime statistics” in America where racial characteristics of the accused are kept quiet.

              1. I saw a comment from a black guy on the Me Too movement, where he said “the problem I have with ‘always believe the woman’ is because white women did this for years—and my people died.” And it’s a very good point—believing victims is important, but people can make a weapon out of anything, so you need to be aware of that.

                1. Sadly, to this day far more black men are accused of raping white women than would be predicted from population statistics. This vicious racism must not stand!

                2. THIS. EXACTLY. When you throw out due process and evidence, the only thing left is who has the most guns and willingness to use them at each incident. This does not end well, and apparently Benjamin Franklin was right all along, because the Left appears to learn at no other school.

          2. Just like there’s a subset qualifier, there’s a special pleading qualifier:
            “second freshness”, “social justice”, “professional sceptic”…

          1. RC Sproul tells a story from his teaching days. During the orientation, he told the class that their total grade would be based on a few papers, all to be turned in before the due date or it was an automatic 0.
            The first due date came, and some of the students were late, and begged for mercy- which he granted.
            The next due date, even more students were late, begged for mercy, and it was granted.
            The last due date, a whole lot of students were late. In this case, RC was handing out zeros. Some students were shocked, and demanded justice. So, he gave them justice- which meant zeros on the previous late papers too.

        1. I wish they would grasp that gov’t is a very bad dispenser of mercy, but very good at justice (as long as mercy isn’t within its bailiwick), and should be limited primarily to that job (and defense).

        2. Heh, there’s already a book about it – “Justice Zone” by Yevgeny Lukin.
          Basically, “an eye for an eye” without expiration locally becomes law of nature. Obviously, it’s not pretty.

    2. Mencken’s Law should be kept in mind at all times:

      “Whenever A annoys or injures B, on the pretext of saving or improving X, A is a acoundrel.”

          1. Then it’s false.

            You can be damned sure I’m going to upset a rapist with the aim of improving my own, unmolested lot, even if the current norm is that he can expect to do so without any trouble a’tall.

            1. I do rather like this quote, though:
              “Women decide the larger questions of life correctly and quickly, not because they are lucky guessers, not because they are divinely inspired, not because they practise a magic inherited from savagery, but simply and solely because they have sense. They see at a glance what most men could not see with searchlights and telescopes…. They are the supreme realists of the race.”
              ―H. L. Mencken
              In Defense of Women, rev. ed., pt. 1, (1922), Chapter 5

              Realistically, it’s at best a matter of it a rather charming humbleness about abilities he had, and admiration for those he lacked, but it did make me smile.

              Supposedly, he also did the line about every problem having an answer that was simple, elegant and wrong.

              1. Thanks to feminism his claim is no longer true.

                Not that I think it ever was, it was simply a matter of women having less margin than men. A woman who routinely makes bad assessments tends to not pass her imperceptiveness to future generations.

            2. Ah, but you aren’t doing it in the name of improving your lot. You’re doing it as fair exchange for his threat to you.

              “Oh, you want to rape me? Fine, I want to kill YOU.”

              1. That is still injuring him to save me.
                Him= B, Me= A and my virtue=X, that law would require I be a scoundrel.

                Therefore I declare by his authority declaring me, as a woman, to be supremely sensible….

                1. Disagree. The law that cpschofield quoted is about one person harming a second person under the pretext of helping a third person X, who different from B. Maybe that wasn’t written into the formula as quoted that X ≠ B, but that’s how the law was intended to be understood. Otherwise, if you claim that that law also applies to cases of self-defense (where X = B), then I’d agree that it’s a false law.

                  1. *points up at Washington state’s gun transfer law* If they’re not willing to write it into the law, it’s not there.

                    It’s not a bad line when taken with a crud-ton of assumptions; I wasn’t surprised to find out the guy was German-American stock because the mindset was so familiar.

                    In a modern, Libertarian format discussion? Much less Progressive assumptions? Oh, heck, no.

                    1. Such hair-splitting is vital when dealing with laws in the sense of legal-code type laws, yes. I find it less useful when dealing with laws in the sense of observations that are generally true, like Muggeridge’s Law. (And it actually annoys me a little, because I get the sense of “You’re being dense on purpose”. Even though in this case I know you’re not, which is why I rewrote my previous comment two or three times to make sure I wasn’t being snarky at you before I posted it — after all, although I think you’re applying a good rule in the wrong place (general observation as opposed to legal code), it’s still a good rule in the place where it needs to be applied.)

                    2. I appreciate that.

                      You might want to go up to the top of the thread, where I pointed out that saying “it’s not fair” is actually a statement about justice, and note that the quote was offered as a correction to my statement that one should be able to state exactly why something is unfair, and propose specific improvements that did not cause an equal or greater injustice.

            3. I think you have misunderstood the quotation, which is generally employed as an assessment of politicians, do-gooders and such like. It is valid whether A is sincere or avaricious in demanding that B pay for high-speed light transit (to pick an example.)

              It is a warning against evaluating A’s proposals on the basis of A’s lack of obvious financial interest. It is why “Non-Profit” should always set off alarm bells.

              1. Oh, I understand what the aimed-at target was.

                I’m a lot more worried about being the collateral damage.

                I seem to catch a lot of “but that isn’t what it meant” stuff that actually happens when stuff is applied.

                Actual scoundrels are pretty good at that sort of slight-of-hand, after all, and they do tend to be the ones assuring you they’ve got the “how to identify scoundrels” tricks.

      1. True enough. What’s cleaner, and has more practical use, is what comes from an actual (not proverbial) bull’s hind end than what many a politician effects to do “for” you.

      2. Yes, you never throw a turd into the bowl intentionally just to mess up someone else’s sausage.

  6. There’s never any guarantees.

    Pfagh! There’s guarantees a’plenty. There’s guarantees up the wazoo.

    Every single damned one of them is invalid, unenforceable, void where prohibited and limited to faux sympathy.

    But there’s guarantees.

    1. You’re right, if you’re the recipient of a guarantee.
      On the other hand, the value of your guarantee to another is worth whatever your word is worth.

  7. This inspired a thought I hope you will like;

    Life has s not fair, but it IS instructive. Pay attention. History shows that the Teacher gets annoyed if (s)he has to yell.

      1. Was it Tolkien who said “shortcuts make for long delays”?

        Oh, if he could only have seen the modern “smart”phone…

            1. Every so often, when someone talks about “the only intuitive interface”, I want to respond, “Have you ever talked to a lactation consultant? That interface isn’t intuitive either, not by a long shot — it has to be learned too.”

        1. “shortcuts make for long delays”

          I’m pretty sure that’s a lot earlier. It may well have been a saying in the days of the Oregon Trail, which would also argue for it being older than that.

  8. You can’t make the world safe for smaller and weaker people.
    You can make it safer.
    But now, you have the question of what the business world calls Return On Investment: ROI. You can make the world really, really safe – but only by trading out a LOT of good things. And once you reach some measurement of “safe”, everything after that induces more pain and suffering or removes more good and happiness than any further safety it brings.

    You can possibly make things almost entirely safe for a woman to walk down a street. But that world would make Orwell’s or Huxley’s worlds look like Eden in comparison. People would want to go to hell just to escape the oppression. And the safety of other people in other places would be compromised significantly. (That’s a nice way of saying “Holodomor”.)

    Once again, the progressives (and, possibly, all humans who haven’t been adequately educated into adulthood) fail to grasp reality and human nature. They (as Sarah points out) have an ideal and can’t reconcile that reality won’t allow that ideal to ever come to fruition.

    1. Remember the recent kerfuffle over Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s statement that “fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault”?

      “The comment drew swift criticism from those who said Perry got it wrong on both the environment and women’s safety.

      “The Sierra Club issued a statement calling on Perry to resign, saying, `It was already clear that Rick Perry is unfit to lead the Department of Energy, but to suggest that fossil fuel development will decrease sexual assault is not only blatantly untrue, it is an inexcusable attempt to minimize a serious and pervasive issue. Women, and particularly women of color, are among some of the most severely impacted by the climate crisis, and it is these same communities that are most at risk of sexual assault.`”

      Because well-lighted streets do nothing, nothing to prevent crime.

      1. All in favor of having some Sierra Club people walk through an unlit street in [unlit Third World City] to test their theories of female safety say ‘aye.'”

        1. Not me, only because I remember that poor idiot idealist gal who was murdered when she tried to prove the point by hitchhiking across…Turkey?… in a wedding gown.

          It’s seldom the garbage-mongers who are hurt, rather than the poor idealistic idiots who get sold a bill of goods.

          1. It’s seldom the garbage-mongers who are hurt
            So true. Because they’re usually wealthy enough that they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their very stupid ideas.

            1. There’s a reason a lot of their theories depend on insisting that someone has positional privilege and is using it to exploit poor fools who don’t know better.

          2. Alas yes. I was thinking of going to a Sierra Club annual meeting, “borrowing” the executive committee and a few more, and then taking them on a walking tour.

          3. Whenever somebody gets killed like that I wonder how they hell they could grow to adulthood without a lick of common sense. There’s travel writer I like; Tim Cahill. He blotted his copybook with me with a tear-jerking article about an upper-midld class nitwit who took a break year to go white water canoeing down the Amazon.

            We’re supposed to sympathize with the moron. He went white watering (never a totally safe occupation to begin with), down a river that is at best only mildly mapped, through territories with a smoldering border war, a lively drug trade, gemstone prospectors and claim jumpers, and (completely justifiably) grumpy indians. My reaction? “You go on a trip like this, kiss your family before you get on the plane, because you ain’t coming back.”


            1. Most of the cases I’ve actually seen, they had some reflexive/trained common sense, then were brow-beat into believing it was evil/wrong, usually because it got in the way of what someone with power over them wanted.

      2. “fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault”?

        Urf. Now I have an association between sex and petroleum jelly stuck in my head. Man, I need a drink.

        1. Well, to be honest, I have it on good authority that a rapist slathered in petroleum jelly and then set alight is rather unlikely to continue their career as a rapist…

    2. You can indeed make the world safer for smaller and weaker people. Just increase concealed carry. The higher the odds of a target being armed the less likely the attack because even if the target is not armed the attacker cannot know that until it is too late.

      1. Way back when Florida became one of the early birds in the spread of “must issue” laws, there was a rash of attacks on tourists driving from Miami airport into the City. Lots of ‘viewing with alarm’ was done, until somebody pointed out that criminal attacks were dropping overall. The thugs were targeting people driving from the airport in rental cars because they could be pretty sure those people were unarmed.

        1. And as I recall the rental agencies rather quickly took to removing all rental identification stickers from their cars which made the targeting of tourists by carjackers much less prevalent.

          1. When adding a “Glock rental” addendum would make them so much more money, instead. Maybe they’ll do that when “national reciprocity” is the law of the land.

              1. Don’t burst my bubble. I’m daydreaming about the “bring the ammo box back full or pay for our ‘top it off’ option” decision I’ll have to make…..

                  1. I would think that people visiting Freehold could just buy weapons from vending machines.

                  2. Someplace where Texas is an entire planet? Wow! Does this mean that Dallas is an entire country? Anyway sounds great to me!

          2. similar happened in the New Orleans area . . . all the rentals lost their tells that were making them a target for the NOLA scum (no, not the city govt.!)

      2. The smallest and weakest of women can defend herself with a firearm from the biggest and most violent of men, or any other single predator for that matter. If a person is too small and weak to defend themselves with a firearm, they’re just about dead anyway.

        1. On a slight tangent (have I told this story before? If so, sorry.) I remember a talk show from the early ‘80’s that had, as a guest, a reformed burgler. They asked him what kind of weapon he feared most in the hands of an angry householder. He told a story about breaking into a house he thought was empty. He was in the entry hall and heard a noise from above. Looking up the,stairs he saw a man in pajamas, holding a compound hunting bow, with an arrow drawn back and ready to loose. He said “I said to the man, ‘I’ll just call the cops from the phone right here, OK?”. The host asked him what that scared him so much, and he answered “Most people who might have a weapon for home defense, they don’t practice. A guy like that with a handgun, that far away, might not even hit you. A rifle or shotgun, I’d try running. A compound hunting bow? That guy has that bow because he loves to shoot it. He practices. He goes hunting with it. He’s gonna put that razor sharp arrowhead just about wherever he wants to.”

    3. “You can’t make the world safe for smaller and weaker people.
      You can make it safer.
      But now, you have the question of what the business world calls Return On Investment: ROI. You can make the world really, really safe – but only by trading out a LOT of good things. And once you reach some measurement of “safe”, everything after that induces more pain and suffering or removes more good and happiness than any further safety it brings.”

      Here’s the thing, see: In framing this way, you’re making a fundamental error, in that the way you’re talking about this issue is coming from a perspective and way of thinking that you (or, others you hire/enable) are going to do this protection thing out of the kindness of your benevolent hearts for those “smaller and weaker people”.

      The error? You are emphatically not actually capable of doing this in any real long-term or effective way. Period. You’re not God, and from the signs, either He didn’t think it was a good idea, or it is beyond even His capabilities. You want to protect actual people, you have to get out of the mindset that frames them as some sort of glorified domestic animal that you’re going to be benevolently caring for–Which is the fundamental belief held by most do-gooders. It does not work, over time.

      The crux of the matter is that this “making safe” is something that the smaller and weaker must learn to do for themselves, because they’re a.) the only ones who are likely to be sufficiently diligent in their own defense, and b.) the only ones who are always going to be around when the necessities present themselves.

      Couple of examples, here–One was a gallant friend of mine, who took to walking the female staff at his place of employment out to their cars in the “bad neighborhood” they worked in. He really liked the warm fuzzy feeling he got, being all protective and chivalrous. Worked, too–So long as he was there, none of the ladies had so much as a hair mussed.

      Came the day, however, when he wasn’t there to provide escort? Yeah, that didn’t actually work out so well. One of his charges got herself attacked out at her car, which the owner insisted on being parked well away from the building so as not to reduce customer parking, and, well… She got a bit of a beating, lost her purse and her car, and wasn’t doing so well. Scared the crap out of the rest of the clerks working there at night, as well. When my friend got back to managing things, after his sabbatical, he had quite a problem. This time, however, he chose to deal with it by making his cadre of clerks more capable of taking care of themselves, getting them all trained in self-defense, and some in firearms.

      Somewhat later, another mugging/carjacking was attempted. The person that made the attempt came to regret it, taking several small-caliber handgun rounds into his groin. I believe he was still using a colostomy bag at his sentencing, some months later. The general rate of crime and violence near that particular storefront went down, considerably. I believe the “word on the street” became “…them bitches got guns now, and they’ll use ’em…”.

      Another pertinent case that comes to mind–Friends of ours took to raising goats because the husband needed non-cow milk for his health–Couldn’t digest cow’s milk, or something. And, since that family didn’t do anything that couldn’t be overdone, they gradually acquired a sizable flock, and a side business selling goat’s milk to the similarly afflicted. The goats, which they raised from young kids they got down at the county fair, well… They became family pets, and a large part of the local carnivore smorgasbord. See, the goats they bought were all conveniently polled, and thus incapable of growing horns.

      Resulting in caprine holocaust, because the poor things couldn’t defend themselves when the coyotes and feral dogs came calling on their pens and pastures.

      Much angst and human effort went into protecting the goats, but everything eventually failed, because like with terrorism, you have to be lucky every day in order to keep the defenseless protected, while the coyote or terrorist only has to get lucky once.

      Problem got at least somewhat solved when they finally wised up, and got some goats with horns, which were a lot more effective at self-defense. Harder to milk, but more likely to be there to milk in the mornings, ya know? There were also several livestock protection dogs integrated into the flock, which led to some rather unpleasant surprises for the local carnivore community.

      Overall point being, you really cannot “gift” security on the weak and helpless. That doesn’t last, won’t do a damn bit of good when you’re not around, and is a hell of a lot of work. About the only thing you’re going to get is a most delightful frisson of virtue tingling up and down your spine, but that’s only going to last as long as you studiously ignore the actual effects of your efforts.

      The most effective path forward? Harden the weak and helpless such that they’re not actually weak and helpless, and let them deal with things on their own. Trying to “change the world”, and make the world safe or “safer” for the weak and helpless is a mug’s game, one that will inevitably fail and leave you exhausted. It’s also profoundly disrespectful of those “weak and helpless” people you’re talking about.

      1. 1. I guess you missed my remark about making it safe for that one group/type of people would make for an oppressive life for – at a minimum – everyone else.

        2. I do happen to think that, as a society, we have responsibilities to each other. It shouldn’t be a lone-wolf/every-man-for-himself scenario. This is why we have laws – to protect people.
        Putting up street lamps is a way to protect people, committed by the community, as a whole (be it a city, or a HOA). Making police sweeps through “bad parts of town” is a way to protect people (when done properly).
        I think you’re making the perfect the enemy of the good.

        3. God tells us to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I take that seriously. (Though I do not then dragoon others into also doing so through the coercive power of gov’t, for the most part.)

        4. “Harden the weak and helpless”? That can also be abused:

  9. So, yeah, male construction workers are going to stand on the corner and go “mmmmm, you so fine” and worse at passing strange women.
    First reaction: Well, they’ll do it to normal women, too. But they don’t complain as much.

    Second: Obviously, the foreman isn’t working them hard enough. Or he has way too many men employed on that job site. Fire enough that the remainder don’t have spare time to stand around and hoot and whistle at the girls.
    – Follow-on: Which means instead it will be all the men standing in the unemployment line going “mmmmm, you so fine.”

    1. On your second point, these complaints typically arise from urban, big-city construction sites, so … Blue America, which means union jobs, which means the foreman is already presumed guilty of over-working those construction workers, can’t reduce them without the whole site being shut-down by a “workers’ action” and is limited to speaking with the shop steward as a means of eliminating the harassment.

      1. everything the leftoids hate about the US is because of events or policies in leftoid strongholds. Being leftoid means one will never make that connection

    2. He probably DOES have far too many men on that job. In a big city, the expectation is that there is a Union involved,and it has a hammerlock on the Mayor, or the City Council, or both. I live in PA. Know a couple of contractors who flat out won’t TOUCH work in Philadelphia.

      Also; physically demanding jobs are TIRING, which affects judgement. So, A) frequent breaks are needed because small mistakes have big consequences when you’re dealing with I-beams and multi-story drops and B) men who wouldn’t misbehave at their best, aren’t.

      Finally: Ladies, apcan we talk about dress, please? Because certain kinds of signal are hardwired into the species. It’s a pain. I know perfectly well the girl in the billboard ad doesn’t want to mate with me, even if she IS flashing her butt cheeks (ok, there’s a thong. It doesn’t help). The ape in me still wants to make alpha male hoots.

      Yes, I know that, from a legal POV a woman has a right to dress sexy without being assaulted, even verbally. But there is The Law and there are The Rules. The Law says you have a right to go into a South Boston Irish Bar and shout “hooray for the British!” Without getting curb stomped. The Rules say that if you do it without expecting a fight, you’re an idiot. And The Rules say “If you are female, and you don’t want male attention, don’t advertise.”

      1. Dress: I wear calf-length skirts. Female Student: Miss Red, why do you always wear such long skirts?

        Miss Red: High winds.

        The student caught on after a few moments. It is a lot easier to maintain one’s dignity, and to not inspire comments, when you have enough fabric that a gust of wind won’t reveal to the world your preferences in under garments. And I don’t have to drop what I’m carrying in order to grab the errant skirt and preserve my dignity.

        1. Dignity, what a fine concept indeed. *chuckle* All the mini-skirts and tube tops in the world cannot compare to feminine dignity and grace, precisely applied. Mankind *does* have the easy to recognize handles, yes we do- and some of us are bad examples, true.

          But I do believe that mankind as a whole would be infinitely bettered by more women who held their dignity, demanding that men better themselves to gain their resepect, than even the other way around. Not that I intend to *stop* teaching the awkward young gentlemen that become my responsibility the habits of manhood, mind. Hah. Common courtesy is such a strange thing to the young millenials we’ve recently hired, but it seems to be catching on somewhat. *chuckle*

          1. I call everyone Sir or Ma’am, all colors and looks, even ones younger than I am. I get GREAT service, and I get back the respect I give. Hell, say “Thank you, sir.” to the kid handing you a shopping cart? They break out in a BIG grin. And I’m white. If I say ‘sir’ to a black man, no matter what age, it pleases them. They’ve been told white folks don’t respect them. It’s a nice way to undermine Teh Narrative.

    3. Break period GWB. 15 minutes every two hours. Plus a half hour lunch. Then we can ooo and ahh to our heart’s content, and the feministas can tell us how bad we are.

    4. > Fire enough that the remainder don’t have spare time to stand around and hoot and whistle at the girls.

      Big city, they’re probably all union members, and less trouble to just pay them for doing nothing than to go through the hassle of getting rid of them.

    5. I remember an old Cathy cartoon – a couple of women are complaining about being cat-called and they decide to do it back to show the men what it really feels like. A group of guys walk by and the women start hooting and whistling and “you so fining.” Except that the guys love it and cry for more.

      1. In real life, women catcalling consists of the following procedure:

        Girls look at guy. They whisper to each other.

        They affirm their opinion by giggling.

        They discuss the advisability of contacting the handsome guy.

        They turn away, giggle, and discuss.

        Occasionally one of the group goes up to talk to him, possibly accompanied by moral support.

  10. Not to divert things into a discussion on the merits of ironmongery, but the old saying that “God made man free, Samuel Colt made them equal.” applies pretty well for women too. Requires a bit of awareness and responsibility, but that gets a person safely down the street better than anything else I can think of.

    1. An older acquaintence asked me last night what I was going to be doing over Christmas. I told her, mentioning that I’d be doing a little shooting and trying out some firearms. Sounding rather concerned, she lowered her voice and asked, “Do you really need one?” I confess, I blinked a little and said, “Yes.” I’m physically small, wear glasses, travel back roads pretty often, hike in remote areas, and can’t run well or for very long. I need an equalizer. I’ve had to climb a cliff to get away from a pack of feral dogs, and I really do not want to repeat that experience, especially now that I’m *cough cough* years older and stiffer. But at the same time, I hope and pray that I’ll never, ever be forced to use it.

      1. Some things it is better to have and never need than to need and not have. I daresay your acquaintance has fire insurance but hopes never to file a claim.

        1. There’s a joke on this subject. I don’t tell it particularly well, so bear with me, but this is the gist of it:

          An old lady is pulled over by a cop. When he asks her for her ID, she hands it over, and she says, “I think you should know, officer, that I’m a concealed carry permit holder, and I am carrying right now.”

          “I see,” said the officer. “What do you have?”

          “Well, I have a revolver in the glove compartment, a pistol in my handbag, another pistol in my underarm hostler, two rifles and a shotgun in the trunk, and a switchblade in my pocket just for backup.”

          “Good grief!” said the officer. “What are you afraid of?”

          The old lady smiled. “Not a damn thing.”

          1. I know a couple of old girls like that in AZ. They’re hilarious to hang out with. ~:D

            1. Used it on one of my husband’s cousin’s girlfriends, after about half a very boring hour on various “being safe” steps they’d taken with their homes. (Got started because another cousin had just gotten his very sickly mother a HUGE dog.)
              Finally Elf and I started rattling off the various firearms, weapons, then improvised weapons, including every vehicle having one of those heavy flashlights in it.

              Fluffy skinny little blonde sqwawked: “All those WEAPONS, what the hell are you afraid of?!?”
              Me, not even thinking: “Not a damn thing. That’s the point. The weapons mean I’m not left being afraid someone bigger and stronger is going to get me.”

          2. On one trip cross country stopped to visit a distant relative in rural TX. had to make a run to the local bank. She had a big old purse, and was in her 60’s at the time. Put the purse on the counter, pulled a an old Navy Revolver out and placed it on the counter, then found her deposit. Nobody noticed anything unusual at all about the transaction…

            Her late husband, a Texas Ranger, had taught her how to use it many years earlier.

      2. hike in remote areas, and can’t run well or for very long. I need an equalizer.
        Or someone who runs just a little slower and not quite as long as you can.
        Maybe your older acquaintance would like to volunteer?

        1. Works only as long as the slower person provides enough food for the whole pack. Sometimes the world is not enough.

          1. Usually, the whole pack will slow down for a bit to argue about who gets that first bit, though. If you have to deal with larger packs, take along more slow friends. 😉

            1. Depends on the pack, but it’s most common to cut out the weakest, yes. That means kids, older folks, and injured people. Nip the hamstring, then throat or belly. Feral dogs are efficient hunters that way.

              One effective way to cull the pack is to shoot the females first, and everytime you see one. Even one missed male means you could have the pack back again in a few years even bigger than before. Every female downed is one that ain’t bearing more predators. It ain’t pretty. It ain’t nice. But it cuts down the expendature of ammo, year after year, if you have feral dogs/coyotes/wolves/whathaveyou predators eyeing the local human population.

                1. I somehow get the feeling this conversation could be applied to the current crop of (to borrow a phrase from above) leftoids.

              1. The downside of which is there’s more than one bear in the woods, and you can only meet so many before you run out of fellow hikers. Better to keep your friends around so they can help you carry extra ammo. 🙂

      3. Way back in the ‘70’s, when some Feminists still had the sense that God gave baby ducks, a nationally known feminist (and I wish tomhell I could remember who she was) said “Any woman who is in favor of Gun Control hasn’t thought about it.”

      4. My whole state is a remote area and I carry more for four legged threats then two (our murder rate is much lower for people that only sleep with wives they are married too). We had four people killed by bears this summer (two eaten) and one by wolves. On the plus side, anything big enough for a bear is just fine for the two legged problems.

        1. $SPOUSE agrees that gun control is best accomplished with both hands on the grip. Around here, a fair number of (introduced) wolves have died under, er, mysterious circumstances. No brown bears, though I’ve heard of a couple of nutcases trying to get some introduced.

          We get coyotes and cougars, so proper attire if I have to go to the barn after dark includes something nice in .45ACP (or 9mm if the cougars haven’t been close by.). OTOH, the two legged snakes are all too common around here. We’ve had some interesting murders.

      5. One thing to consider here is that the average predator, whether vaguely human or an actual animal, is a past master at reading prey.

        You’re carrying a gun, and are reluctant to use it? They’ll sense that, and use it against you in the encounter. And, trust me, they can tell.

        On the other hand, if you’re the sort of person who sort of exudes a general impression of being someone who is positively looking forward to the opportunity to work out a lifetime’s frustrations on the next fool who provides you with a fully legal opportunity to do so…?

        Yeah; guess what? You’re pretty darn unlikely to pass the “victim selection algorithm” as anything other than a victim of last resort.

        I know a woman who is this tiny little thing, but who just exudes a general quality of “Don’t f–k with me. Ever.” that even a blind man could pick up on. Where she worked at had a bit of a security issue, and one night, there was an attack on a woman who immediately followed her out to the parking lot. They caught the guy, and he’d been laying in wait for victims. Asked why he hadn’t gone after her, when she was so much smaller than the other woman he chose to attack? I quote the police report she got a copy of later, that included the interrogation report from the rapist: “That little one? No, that bitch scared me… I left her the hell alone…”.

        Predators can read “normals” like a book. Any hesitation, any reluctance…? They’ll know.

        Just like they’ll know when they’re dealing with someone who will gleefully enjoy the opportunity to kill them, which was pretty much the mindset my acquaintance had. She had a lot of… Anger issues.

        I’m pretty sure that she’d have emptied a couple of magazines into the dumbass who tried attacking her, and then danced in the blood pooling around his dying body while he bled out. This was something you kinda picked up on, encountering her. Huge “Don’t f–k with me…” signs floated all around her, all the time.

        It’s just something to consider, preparing to deal with these situations. If you’re a genuinely nice person, reluctant to use deadly force…? That may rebound on you, in the opposite direction. If you present as someone who quite clearly has no reluctance to kill, whatsoever? Or, at least, can mimic that mindset, convincingly? Yeah; odds are, you’re never going to have to.

        1. I concur. Prey has a “look” and if you can avoid that, even if it’s just the equivalent of eye-spots on caterpillars, then you’ll probably do okay. I definitely presented a very threatening mien (6′, dark bearded and burly, big black overcoat. I don’t call myself BigFella ironically.) when I was going to art school on the east side of Cleveland and had to walk thru Little Italy on Mayfield avenue at 2am.

          (Actually the art students didn’t get mugged as much ‘cos we looked kinda shabby and poor, wearing work clothes and covered in clay dust or gesso. It was the music students from the nearby music school, well dressed and dragging instrument cases everywhere, who tended to get picked on.)

          Another principle I observed when navigating dubious urban environments is reminiscent of how germs build up in stagnant water but not in running water. In other words, learn to recognize out of the way corners and side alleys where muggers or worse could operate without fear of interruption, vs. areas where foot or car traffic would discourage them, and stick to the latter.

          Goony as I looked, when my walk home from the computer lab included cutting thru an alley between a couple buildings, I carried pepper spray in my hand. (Although I only wound up using it on myself. Long story short, turning a doorknob with a pepper spray canister in your hand because your other hand is full of heavy books can have unforeseen consequences. It was a one in a million shot. :-\ )

          1. During an exercise, once upon a time, I was set the task of taking a prisoner for interrogation purposes. Broke my squad up into a pair of teams, went where the “enemy” was, and then lay in wait for unsuspecting victims. The team I was with experienced a series of dry holes with no opportunities to capture anyone. When we linked up with the other team the following morning at our rally point, well… They looked like hell. Black eyes, contusions, torn uniforms, broken gear (one set of night vision goggles looked like it had been worn during a train wreck, for example…), and all I could do was look at them and ask what the hell happened to them. Turns out they’d been mostly unsuccessful, but there was this one little guy they had stumbled into with his pants down out in the woods, answering a call of nature.

            They grabbed his weapon, and were in the process of grabbing him when things went seriously wrong. Wearing night vision goggles, they were able to see his face during the initial moments of the take-down. The guy doing overwatch described their victim as having a momentary look of confusion, as he realized what was going on, and then transforming into a berserker with an expression of unholy glee on his face as he proceeded to beat the ever-loving crap into three other men, all larger than himself. Do note the “into”, there: I use that deliberately, because the stick with which he performed most of this beating with happened to be, by happenstance, one he’d been pooping on.

            It was at this point that I noticed my guys didn’t smell so great, either.

            Lessons learned from this incident? Don’t volunteer for the easy and “fun” job of snatching prisoners during exercises, which was what my guys had done for us while I’d been availing myself of the facilities (note an ironic congruence, here), allow your subjects the dignity of at least finishing their business before trying to grab them, and when the subject of your efforts responds to your actions with a maniacal grin and high, mad laughter…? Back the hell off, and seek another victim.

            The dude who responds to a surprise attack while taking a dump in the woods in the dark of the night by counter-attacking his assailants with outright glee and utter abandon is empatically the wrong man to cut out of the herd. Made even more so when he has access to a poo-covered stick…

            Found out later that my guys had very nearly captured the Executive Officer for the unit we were playing OPFOR for, and that he’d been having a Really Bad Day(tm) during a Really Bad Exercise, and that he’d come back from his trip into the woods in a much better mood and whistling…

        2. I think I’ve managed a good “I WILL hurt you”* field—at least, I have never been messed with in all of my life, and that includes walking home near midnight from work on dark streets (I have excellent night vision). And I am one of those genuinely nice people. However, I figured out quite young that some people haven’t earned that nice, and I have always been prepared to do what I need to do.

          Funny thing is that I’ve never been in a fight in my life. I’d probably screw things up. But predators don’t *know* that.

          *I’d rather not kill someone. This means I would have to hurt them to the level that they would be incapable of pursuit. There’s something about “I will rip your eyeballs out of their sockets” that seems to disturb people more than a general threat.

          1. (Nods) I work in a warehouse in a not-very-nice section of town. One of my coworkers mentioned that he didn’t go to the restaurants around there because he didn’t feel safe. I mentioned that I’d never really had any problems, and someone else (who was from the area) said (paraphrased) “That’s because you give off a crazy vibe.”

        3. One thing is that all humans are predators and have predator instincts. We just condition and shame ourselves into ignoring those instincts because “racism” ect.
          A lot of training in Managing Unknown Contacts, street smarts, situational awareness, ect is basically giving yourself permission to listen to yourself and to stop making excuses for other people’s behavior.
          If someone or something feels “wrong”, there’s a good chance there is.

          1. As noted yesterday by Mona Charen:
            In 2003 a genetics paper revealed that one in 200 men alive in that year was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan (1162–1227). Khan was the Mongol emperor whose armies swept out of the north to conquer pretty much all of Asia. His successors took big chunks of Europe as well. When Marco Polo traveled to China, he met the conqueror’s grandson Kublai Khan.


            Roughly 800 years later, his Y chromosome is to be found in 16 million men. Talk about conquests.

            Let’s just imagine that most of world history is analogous to the Mongol invasions. Great armies or small armies or just neighboring clans sweep in, kill the men, and rape the women (or take them as wives eventually, but it’s same result genetically). Whose genes are we all more likely to have inherited – the conquerors or the conquered? How many of us are walking around with Henry VIII’s genes or Casanova’s?

            It’s not just that the aggressors raped their way to success either. Somewhere in our lizard brains, we admire the strongmen, and yes, that means you ladies. Every woman who is drawn to the “bad boy” or the “leader of the pack” is expressing a primitive preference that has never been quite squelched.

            So, when it comes to oafs like Al Franken and (insert your favorite reprobate here) and people ask, “How could he behave that way?” The answer has to begin with — men will do what they think they can get away with. And for the last several decades, in matters of sex, it has been more or less anything goes. …

          2. I think it has more to do with “civilization” than PC – until recently, anyway. The key is to not smother the barbarian, but to cage or shackle him. That way, he can be brought out at need.

            I think you see this in fiction, with many of the great heroes of story being somewhere on the spectrum of Civilized Yet Barbarian.

            John Carter is on the spectrum, somewhere in the middle.
            Tarzan is on the spectrum, starting out at one extreme end.
            Most John Wayne characters fit in there, along with every hero in L’Amour’s books.
            Dirty Harry is there.
            Brad Thor’s heroes, I think, are.
            James Bond definitely is.
            The only heroes I can think of off the top of my head that are NOT on this spectrum are Conan and Frodo.

            1. I believe Conan was mostly civilized by the end of the series. See Conan the King I believe the title is or close to it. Frodo is definitely civilized and stays civilized.

              1. You might be right about Conan. I seem to recall a story about him putting aside his kingly ways to go and slaughter bad people. Definitely at the far end of that spectrum.

                1. Conan as a character varied depending on when in his life Howard wrote him (I don’t count the other authors work as the Real Conan).

                  In many ways, King Conan was a different man that he was before, even when he went to war.

                  1. As I recall it, Howard claimed to have been channeling those stories, not writing them, so it is possible that as the man he was channeling aged, the character Howard wrote changed as well.

                    Alternatively, Howard may have been a better, subtler writer than he is generally credited as being.

      6. I mentioned to my little sister i went to the range for my birthday. She said she wanted me to go to the range with her because she was thinking about getting her CCW.

    2. And the not knowing who has it makes it so even those who can’t physically or mentally manage it are protected, because the bad guys can’t know.

      1. Herd immunity. I take advantage of that myself. I don’t own a gun because A) I’m a slewfoot, and clumsy people should not own things like guns and power saws and B) I live in rural PA; enough of my neighbors own guns that no crook in his right mind is going to work my area.

        1. Grenades are better for clumsy people. At least if you can throw far enough.
          (Not necessarily better for anyone else…..)

          1. You misunderstand. Slewfoots shouldn’t use things that would do horrible damage if they hit themselves by accident. So grenades are Right Out.

            I could use a gun, in calm circumstances. I have, and I enjoyed it. But in uncalm circumstances? If I shot myself in the foot, that would be a GOOD outcome.

            I maybe should reconsider, though. I could get so accustomed to shooting that I could do it by rote. Not on power saws; the noise they make unnerves me. But I only have so much time and money, and for now herd immunity works.

            1. That is key in most any up close and personal combat. Adrenaline kicks in, and fine muscle control goes all to hell. Trained, rote responses, things you don’t even think of, you just *do,* those can work, and work well. Practice, practice, practice. Plan your responses to the GOTH situations. Get good training. Like folks here have said, you may never need it- most sincerely hope and pray they don’t ever need it- but if you do… Well, it will still suck, but less than being unarmed and helpless in such a situation.

              1. Several years ago, I took a pistol class from Jeff Cooper in Arizona. The simulation setups (indoor and outdoors) do a pretty good job at getting the adrenaline flowing. I didn’t do that well in the class, but got a bunch of range time later (private range, draw and shoot allowed), and got semi decent.

        2. Truth be told the same “logic” that drives a lot of anti-gun advocacy shares traits with the anti-vaxxers. (Or anti-GMO, or anti-dihydrogen monoxide. Scary things should be banned!)

          I also liken it to those folks who ride bikes but refuse helmets. The wind whipping thru your hair might be nice but a stretch of asphalt doing the same at 60 mph not so much.

          Next best thing to a gun is a dog. If you’re dexterous enough to scratch ’em behind the ears you’re good to go. 😉

          1. I always figured after the second tag axle goes over you, it really doesn’t matter if you started off with a helmet or not…

          2. a cousin was pushing the silly “Helmets break your neck” argument on me and I pointed outall the MotoGP and Superbike guys who crash often (as a ferinstence, Marquez, the ’17 champ crashed 27 times this season!) and rarely hurt the neck, in fact the last 4 motorcycle racers I saw die in crashes (at that time) were from blunt force trauma to the chest/torso, and well, if not for a helmet, he’d not be arguing with me, as mine had a big blue streak on it from the Caprice I hit.

            1. My sister-in-law can still hassle her older brother today only because of the helmet he was wearing at the time he put his bike under a tractor-trailer in Birmingham 15 years ago. The neurosurgeon said that the only reason he survived (and it was touch and go for the better part of a year and he had to relearn EVERYTHING – including continence) was the helmet he was wearing cushioned him just enough that the hit wasn’t immediately fatal.

          3. Whoa, Big Fella. I don’t quite get how you toss anti-vaxxers on the same heap as the gun banners. The ‘A-V’ folk I know object to having vaccines forced on *them*, no one I’ve run across has advocated for banning them completely. Not that there may not be some out there, just that I haven’t met them.

            1. *snicker* I’ve been called an “anti-vaxxer” for accurately describing how they function.

              Starting with, you can still get sick even if you were vaccinated. Basement-bottom BASIC stuff that can get kids killed when their idiot parents shake the magic totem at the boogie man, rather than practicing basic sense.

            2. I was keying off of cspschofield’s point about herd immunity, mostly. It seemed to be an interesting parallel. The question of whether people should be coerced by the state into doing the “sensible” thing is a whole ‘nother can o’ worms.

            3. then you’ve seen a completely different anti vaxxer crowd than i have… a significant (like more than half) portion of the ones i have met want them banned.

              1. Not to mention that they have a really bad secondary effect on the people they expose to disease. I’ve known too many people who have immune issues to be happy about people spreading severe misinformation about vaccine “injuries.” (There ARE people who have medical reasons to not be vaccinated, and most of them appreciate that people around them get vaccinated to protect them.)

                Note that I live in the land of Fruits and Nuts, where the biggest anti-vaxx crowds tend to be in the richest, whitest, most woo enclaves. Unfortunately their idiocy is spreading.

                1. Unfortunately their idiocy is spreading.
                  Tell me about it. About a year or so ago when the Squire was starting his rounds of vaccinations, I got a bunch of stupid posts from his aunt about how “Vaccines have a 400% chance of autism in african-americans” type posts and crap (yes the Squire is ‘bi-racial [god how I hate the term with a passion]). I ended up just blocking seeing her posts on fecesbook.
                  I also am extremely thankful that I was in charge of making those decisions at that point in his life (still am currently, but that’s another issue).

                  1. My parents were kids pre-vaccines. That sort of stuff would not fly in our extended family.

                    Nothing like losing a sibling or a classmate to “just a childhood disease” to impress upon you the need for protection.

                    1. Likewise. Both my parents dodged the polio bullet. Stories of quarantines featured prominently in their childhood recalls. I think I was part of the last generation immunized against smallpox and my scar is half the size of my mother’s. I also remember being kept home when all the rest of siblings came down with the mumps and my dad turning people away at the door because of this. So yeah, knowing that my young son won’t have to experience some of the pain and agony I went through as a child makes me feel much better about vaccines.

                    2. MomRed was part of the second series trial of the Salk vaccine. Decades later, when she was a Resident at the charity hospital in New Orleans, they still kept a floor with iron lungs in it, just in case. She said it creeped her and the other residents out when they snuck up there one day. She also watched children die because the’d never gotten measles or the DPT vaccine. And having gotten Whooping Cough as an adult (the P in DPT) from an un-vaccinated child after my earlier immunity wore off, I firmly believe that some vaccinations are absolutely vital. Some of the others, like HPV? Not so much, especially not for girls under age 16 (HPV. The State of Texas added it to the mandatory list and had a bunch of girls get the shot until it was forcibly pointed out the vaccine was not approved for children yet. Oops.)

                    3. Mine as well – the polio vaccines were just coming on-line when I was a baby, and all during my childhood, my grandparents anxiously queried my mother as to whether we had the appropriate booster shots.

                      And I was just old enough to see certain older children at my elementary school in heavy leg braces, and in the occasional child-sized wheelchair.

                    4. Yeah. Possibly I’m a case of a bad reaction to a vaccine. But there’s reasons to suspect that, if so, I’m medically a freak from which conclusions should not be drawn for the general population. There are vaccines that are absolutely worth risking causing my death or injury by forcing them on populations. There are vaccines which are not. I’m not impressed with the HPV one, especially not for very young kids.

                    5. I think it’s pretty notable that the hysterical pro-vaccine guys (which I haven’t identified any here yet, thank goodness!) have to roll people like those of us who mentioned we don’t get X or Y specific vaccine for specific, prudent reasons to boost the numbers of anti-vaxxers for their hysteria.

                      Guess if they had to pay attention to folks’ actual objections, they’d be at risk of maybe having to fix something to get their moral preening in.

                    6. Bob, it’s also possible that the carrier material got you. One of the senior faculty at Flat State U. got his flu shot and proceeded to be the one-in-10,000,000 reactor to the carrier. As he phrased it, his body tried to die three times over the next four months. He didn’t return after Christmas break (go figure. He was in the ER in Houston, then made it as far as Dallas before his bod’s next attempt at failure) and took medical retirement.

              2. this.
                unless in the group “anti-vaxxers” you are including the folks like me, who don’t ever get the flu shot because it all too often makes them ill (but not quite as bad as a full case of the flu) and/or doesn’t cover the flu that is going around. iirc this year’s flu shot has about a 10% likelihood of preventing the flu this flu season, and as Dave Freer can attest (and possibly Shadowdancer) the flu we are likely to have come through is a nasty one this season, and not covered by the shot. Although, if they’d guessed right, and covered the nasty one going around, I might get the vax, even if it’d make me slightly sick when given.
                But all the anti-vaxxers I have met or seen are full-on moon landing fake/chemtrails/9-11 was GWB&Jewz/hlocost deniers levels of nutjob.

                  1. *shudder* I was pregnant with The Baron– and even though I had gotten sick EVERY SINGLE TIME BEFORE, I let the doctor bully me into getting the shot.

                    I literally had to crawl out of bed for two days for necessities, and the girls were making their own peanut butter rolls. I literally considered doing an APB on here to ask if there was anyone in the area who could watch the kids while I went to the hospital. (The other option was calling the sister of a family friend who I’d met exactly once before, and if I’d started having any visual effects such as from dehydration, I would’ve bit the bullet.)

                    On the third day I recovered enough to get into the car, drove 8 hours to my folks’ house, and was sick enough mom was scared for the next week.

                    As best I can tell, the flu shot acts like a distraction to my system and lets other nasty stuff get going.

                    1. My experience with flu vaccine has been thus: either it doesn’t work (I get ill from a different strain) or I get very sick. Flu is one of those things I theorize that the health professionals guess on which strain will likely hit (well, I would hope not, but…) and try to vaccinate against that… but no.

                      Last flu season had me …not exactly thankful or such, but this weird ‘glad the boys are missing out on this crap’ feeling… I would have been terrified, worse than I was already. The very old and the very young were worst hit, but would also catch normally healthy and robust individuals unawares.

                    2. “Guess which 3 or 4 strains are likely next year and vaccinate against them” is exactly how I’ve heard this described. And one of the strains in the vaccine was actually going around last year—my wife (who’d gotten the shot) and the Experimental Model (at 5 months too young for the shot) were both sick for a few miserable days.

                    3. Mmm, I don’t really have the doctoral knowledge to explain why, but I’ve noticed the guessing doesn’t work. My offhand theory is, we’re not really sure how our various immune systems handle the most recent flu and it differs how we react to the next one. My Vincent gets sick a LOT, but he’ll be off his feet a week at most. Daughter almost never gets sick but when she does she goes down hard; but her immune system is pretty good otherwise. Usually she’s the last one left standing and taking care of us.

                  2. That’d be my luck, but three days is a lead up to the flu that hit down under and is the one forecast for us this season. One fellow I saw said he was either in bed or in the loo for most of the week and weak as a day old puppy the rest of the time

                  3. I HAD to get the yearly flu shot when I was active-duty, and I always got sick after the shot. I eventually learned to get it on Friday afternoon, so that I would have the whole weekend to recover. Since retirement, I have defiantly refused to get the yearly flu shot … and have only come down with something flu-like once in twenty years.

                    1. Jeeze, this is the biggest group of folks I’ve seen who noticed the same thing I did about the vaccine– guess that means it’s not as out there as most of the nurses act, they probably just blow it off. (Which would also match the attitudes. *sigh* How the heck are professionals supposed to do their job if they don’t get decent information? How are professionals supposed to do their job if they won’t ACCEPT information?)

                    2. This year’s flu vaccine is supposedly only 10% effective against what’s actually out there. The odds are better at Guido’s Shell Game.

                    3. Like Celia, I HAVE to get the shot because teachers are required to have one. I felt a little flat but not nearly as bad as last year. Last year I promptly came down with the crud, and managed to pass it to an immune-suppressed family member. Not a happy two weeks.

                1. I refuse to get the flu shot simply because the damn thing changes so quickly, and the flu will affect people differently. Case in point with regards the last killer flu that swept Australia recently: for a change, it was my rarely ever sick daughter who brought it home. She was sick three or four days, then started to recover. My son, who we tease about being the resident plague carrier, was sick with it only mildly (two days at worst, and at worst, fever); I was out a full two weeks, plus one recovering; husband was ill for just under a week, and housemate was sick a week and some days.

                  Curious about the thing, housemate did a bit of research (probably asked his father, who was a doctor, about the medical scuttlebutt) and said it didn’t matter that I moved out of the marital bedroom in an effort to keep my hubby from getting sick; this was going to hit everyone at least once, it was so virulent, and no flu shot was going to save you from getting ill.

                  1. Yikes.
                    I didn’t recall you saying you had it (may have missed any statements) but i knew Dave had it, mentioning it in a MGC post. and then a video guy I see on youtubes mentioned it. I figured you likely at least knew someone waylaid, Sorry to hear it was you. All we can hope for is it mutates to a milder version like our version of SARS that was a mild cold like thing when it spread through the USA
                    a man can hope

                    1. yes.
                      we’ve had the 7th death of the year for family members
                      seen several family and friends more this year than I had the last 32
                      unfortunately for the wrong reasons

                    2. We’ve had our third death of the year for major kitchen appliances. Not the same thing, I know, but when a family member dies you aren’t compelled to go shopping for a replacement.

                  2. Different plague strokes for different folks. In my family, I would be the one who would shake off the ‘current crud’ with the least effects, while my poor younger sister would run a fever that sent her in the direction of delirium. There was one round of the flu when I was a teenager that sent the whole family to bed – save me, and I wound up being the one well person in the house, administering broth, aspirin and cool water to the sufferers. I figure with this kind of history, I’m better off counting on natural resilience, than a yearly flu shot, which is absolutely guaranteed to make me sick.

                    1. Yeah, we actually think that my son’s tendency to be the one sick was what saved him. Bad news was, he was working under my instructions on how to care for us for a while. When his sister got better, he had help – just in time for his dad to fall into bed, sick. Fortunately, I’d taught them how to make arroz caldo and soups.

              3. Perhaps because I tend to ‘hang out’ with folk of a more libertarian bent, where government prohibition of vaccination is as distasteful as its compulsion thereof (except for the pinheads at Reason).

                1. If we assume for the sake of argument that herd immunity is a thing, can you make a libertarian case for being a free rider?

                  1. No more, and likely no less, than the case for those who benefit from the expansion of concealed carry even though they personally don’t bear arms.

                    1. Last weekend coryza, the common cold, turned me into a coryza dispenser. I stayed home and kept my sneezes to myself. But given that infectious diseases not only victimize but also make allies of their victims, I think your analogy fails.

                      Very very few people become muggers after contact with a mugger.

                    2. Nor do concealed, carriers, once confronted by a mugger, generally go around randomly firing shots down the street. Nor is a high incidence of lawful concealed carry a guarantee that any particular person, even a concealed carrier, will not get mugged.

                      Where I left Reason was when the editor (Richman?) called for mandatory vaccination because being unvaccinated was akin to walking around stabbing random strangers on the street. No, being unvaccinated is like walking around with a ‘Kick Me’ sign taped to your back, or travelling through a high-risk area without a flak jacket. Now, if you are knowingly infected and walking around shedding virus (as some allege certain HIV-infected folks have done to ‘raise awareness’), *that* may be analogous to the random knife play.

                      But analogy is not identity, and policy ought not necessarily to be made as a result of ‘narrative’.

                    3. The thing that annoys me is that we have policy for dealing with those who don’t have a resistance. We must have it, by how vaccines function.

                      All the folks doing a quarantine need to do is contact those who are either listed as “not resistant” or “need to be on a quarantine for other reasons” (such as Alma’s immuno-suppressed relative) when there’s an outbreak.

                      MOST people are just going to go with their vaccination or lack of it– but you would THINK a Libertarian magazine would figure out there was a simple way to use information the gov’t already had to have and protect individuals and privacy, no?

    3. I read an account by a guy teaching at a boys reform school, for kids who’d been pulled out of regular schools for violent behavior. He said his classes were full of these huge hulking scary boys, and he dreaded being assigned to the worst-of-the-worst, the kids who’d been expelled for carrying guns. Only, when he actually had to teach that group, he found they were all the little scrawny kids.

      1. One point made in the book “Wiseguys”, which was eventually filmed as “Goodfellas”, was that the mob guys weren’t the biggest or strongest people in the neighborhood. They just had no problem applying violence to the fullness of their abilities.

  11. But women — in general, grosso modo — don’t crave sex with random strangers.

    Well, there are the “Brown Shorts Fantasies” many women reportedly have abut the UPS Delivery guy. Having seen a number of UPS delivery guys I find this dubious, but who am I to dispute reports in our Journalistic havens. Whether this attraction is due t regular routine interactions with UPS delivery guys or lust at first sight is unclear from the reporting, so the phenomenon may or may not support your thesis.

    I expect we can disregard portrayals of female readiness to copulate with strangers in films of certain genres as being as unreliable as any other movie trope. zplumbers, pizza delivery guys and cabinet installers are probably not getting anything like the action depicted.

    That would seem to leave the behaviour of women at “Girls’ Night Out” events, such as those featuring Chippendale’s Dancers. It ought be noted that such entertainments are singular, typically touring shows rather than established theatrical performances, suggesting the market is limited to once every few months, indicating the important thing about them is their Event component. Minor observation of such events suggests that the attendees are not especially interested in the beefcake on display; rather they are an opportunity for the gals to act out a burlesque of how they imagine men behave in such settings. For them it is a chance to abandon normal behaviour and imagine themselves other than they are.

    1. I’ve often wondered how much of the demand for male strippers is described by your second-to-last sentence there: that it isn’t so much that the women are really interested in the strippers as it is that they want (or at least are told that they should want) the same sexual freedom as men, and one of the things that men do with that freedom is go see strippers. Thus, the bachelorette party should have strippers the same way that the bachelor party does.

      1. *snicker* A friend follows the “Spike” (from buffy) fan page, and there was picture shared of pants-barely-on Spike with a chain around his neck, and a question that was something like “you’re holding the chain– what would you do with him?”
        Half the answers were variations on ‘get the man a shower, he looks like funk and a half,’ and the most liked one was something like “hello, he’s a homicidal super-strong guy, I’m running for my life. I’m not a total idiot.”

        The supposed ‘thrill of transgression” and no small amount of “well, guys will think it’s hot” probably figure in to the “male stripper” thing, sort of like lesbian kisses by straight women.

        1. *chuckle* My reply would have been the first one of “Running for my life, but I’ll probably die anyway” – but the I’ll Play The Game answers would’ve been: “Wanna help me unpack boxes of books?”

          I’m one of those who can admire the eye candy, but the only one I actually feel like devouring would be my hubby.

    2. There are some who are … disturbed. Some have it for utility workers. It seems more … thrill oriented and exhibitionist than lust. There are some places we just wouldn’t, and won’t, work alone for that very reason. It may have something to do with uniforms. Dast if I know. I do know that someone who worked at a Western Auto ran into the same thing.

      1. Perhaps they have a belief that those who work at a trade for a living are “real men” who can satisfy them?

        A tool belt can be a turn-on, evidently. At least that’s what I’ve been told…..

        1. Well, as a certain venerable sage from Canada often says: “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

      2. Erk. Your power is out, and you want to seduce the guys from the power company and delay getting the lights and heating/air back on? Good grief and gravy. That sounds more like masochism than a tool-belt turn-on.

        1. It’s more exhibitionism than seduction. We’re talking showing up at the door. in scanty or see-through clothing, if any clothing at all. Like I said, disturbed. It may be something on par with flashers, but I don’t know.

          1. Where I lived in CA the lady in the apartment across from us who left for work when I got home and returned each night at about 0300 would almost everyday walk out to talk to the postman in whatever she happened to be wearing, or as often the case, not wearing. We asked the postman about it one day. Apparently it wasn’t unusual along this particular route- she wasn’t the only one. He said it threw him for a loop the first few times, but he quickly got used to it…

            There were a couple of “adult” entertainment enterprises nearby within walking distance.

    3. There was a woman here who had a weekly affair with the propane delivery guy, but she was also the one who made a public pass at the Gideon Bible Society rep. (Among others). Yeah, she was bonkers.

    4. I know of one UPS romance that worked out. His route included a small mail-order custom shoe business run by a mother and daughter, and the daughter was friendly and quite pretty. After a few weeks of seeing her every day, he asked her out, things proceeded as things do, and after they got engaged, she showed him her Playboy centerfold issue.

      When she told us this story, the men in the room all briefly reconsidered our career choices…


      1. Men generally fail to appreciate how much difference make-up, hair styling. dress and accessories can do. Not to mention lighting, lenses and retouching.

        It is entirely likely that a lass who would wow in a photo could be wholly unremarkable in person. Back when I was a hotel night clerk I recall one guy checking in around midnight and asking where a local “gentlemen’s club” was located. Accompanying him through the lobby was an entirely unremarkable gal. About an hour later the same guy came up from the rooms to he was out accompanied by a woman who was utterly stunning (to the extent noticeable across a large hotel lobby.

        A little paint, some redecorating and the old place can look quite attractive.

        1. Then there is the case of Norma Jeane Mortenson, who could, in the space of a single stride, go from being a completely unremarkable woman in a crowd to the attention grabbing Marilyn Monroe.

          Body language *counts*

  12. Money: It is kinda difficult to keep a chicken in a wallet or a purse (putting them in is way harder). Also, it would be difficult to send you a few chickens by mail to pay for a book. And fish…they don’t keep.

      1. Well, honey, [as the delivery van begins unloading 2,000 eggs] they didn’t have change for anything smaller than a cow, so……

          1. I have a handful of magic beans. They’re easy to trade. Durable. Easily measured. They have pictures of FDR, Jefferson, and Washington on them. They’ll even grow if planted in fertile investments.

    1. Having worked at a post office (yes, feeling much better now, thanks) I can assure you that chickens, or at least chicks, are indeed sent through the mail. Not all survive, and the results can be… aromatically challenging.

      1. Yeah, but those don’t go through the letter sorters worth a damn. For that matter, a lot of letters don’t go through the letter sorter worth a damn either. And having the doggone postal inspectors watching you like vultures as you carefully picked up the shredded letter remnants and put them in a baggie used to drive me nuts.

        1. When I sent stuff through the mail more commonly, I’d often tape at least one corner of the envelope. Why? I had seen what sorting machines did if the flap wasn’t fully glued down.

      2. I walked into my local PO one day, and heard the cheeping of baby chicks. Pretty certain they weren’t from Texas Bix Bender’s Del Rio Chicken Ranch, which I know of from listening to Riders In The Sky’s Rider’s Radio Theater (no longer on air).

        1. My mom always use to order the chicks in the mail, too– keets, too. They’re treated kind of like vaccines, and for the same reason.

          (Yes, sometimes some die. Chicks are strange, they’ll flop over and die for absolutely no apparent reason– not as bad as sheep, and they get over it, but jeeeze!)

            1. 526 Mailable Live Animals
              526.1 General Some animals are mailable under proper conditions. See the specific instructions as noted for the following kinds of animals:
              Live bees, 526.2 and Exhibit 526.21.
              Live, day–old poultry, 526.3 and Exhibit 526.33.
              Live adult birds, 526.4.
              Live scorpions (only under limited circumstances), 526.5 and Exhibit 526.5.
              Other small, harmless, cold–blooded animals, 526.6 and Exhibit 526.6.
              Note: Regarding dead animals or parts of animals, see 526.7 and Exhibit 526.7.

  13. I was reading C. S. Lewis’s “The Abolition of Man” and that is the core of his argument (leaving out the religious aspects). The Experts will try to remake mankind “for the betterment of all”, meaning to their tastes, but with all the best intentions at first. What they envision, per Lewis, ends in the abolition of Man and leaves the only animal passions – to feed, to fornicate, to be physically comfortable. And a small group of “Controllers” determined to remain in power because only they know what is best for whatever remains of humanity.

    The fact that the Controllers and Experts are human, with human strengths and human flaws, escapes their ken. Because they know best. And they must remain in Control because they know what is good for everyone. Which becomes a flat-out desire for power for power’s sake.

    And I kept thinking of modern politics and the would-be improvers-of-humanity…

    1. Lewis’ Abolition of Man is one of those books (like The Screwtape Letters mentioned the other day) that is timeless. It really does address fundamental truths that haven’t changed from Eden to now, and won’t change between now and when we regain it (not through our own devices).

    2. I would add that those Controllers with a lick of sense would be determined to hold onto their position because of a lively and wholly accurate fear of what a mob of animal passions is likely to do to them if they fall.

        1. As a child of the 80s, it hits a lot of the same buttons as post-nuclear fiction of that time period. That can be good or bad, depending on what you grew up with.

  14. An economy without money would be a very strange thing indeed. I’m thinking that virtually everything would be centered around the wants and needs of farmers, because whatever else people may wish to exchange for, they will want to eat every single day, so the food providers will dictate what else is produced.

    As a side note, I always find it kind of amusing that many of those advocating for a return to pre-civilization are people like writers of TV producers or pundits. Do they honestly think that in a subsistence level society, there would be the slightest demand for what they do?

    1. Don’t have to have tangible money, virtue ledgers work just fine. But I do like to have money backed by something tangible. Otherwise, it’s to easy for some unscrupulous types to devalue it on you.

        1. And should such a ledger get misplaced, describing such could be tricky.

          “Help, I seem to have lost my Virtue…”

  15. “You can’t make the world safe for smaller and weaker people. You can only make women good at defending yourselves.”

    VICTIM BLAMER!!11!!!!

    That is pretty much where we’re at right now. Observing the simple and obvious truth makes you a victim blaming misogynist.

    I find it enjoyable though. SJWs ineviatly begin shrieking bloody murder at the notion that they might have to fucking well look after themselves.

    Here some of the Usual Suspects from the Vile Bog of China Mike cry their outrage at the very idea that they might have to lift a finger in their own defense. Bonnie McDaniels was particularly entertaining. Don’t worry, CM won’t get a clicky. They came to me, as it were.

    1. Long ago there was supposedly a “campus rapist” at the local university, and the furor over it had many of the coeds all twitchy.

      I advised a group of them to act cooperative, put their hands on each side of their attacker’s head, and then do their best to lever their eyeballs out with their thumbs.

      One of them screeched, “I could never do that to another human being!” and a bunch of the others were all nodding and agreeing.

      I told them they’d best lay back and enjoy it then, and maybe if they pleased their rapist he wouldn’t strangle them with their own underwear.

      For some reason I wasn’t invited back. [shrug]

      1. They probably wanted someone to offer “practical” advice.

        Like how to piss yourself in fear. *shrug*

      2. A friend told me of a guy he knew who had to teach a self-defense class for women. He started by buying a large supply of cheap dinner plates. The ladies’ first assignment was to take a plate and smash it against the concrete floor. His reasoning was, if they couldn’t bring themselves to break a plate, they were unlikely to actually use anything he could teach them.

        It sometimes took the better part of an hour to talk one of them into it. Especially if she was the first one called up.

        1. Hm, I was going to point out that I don’t think I could bring myself to break a dinner plate Just Because, but I have already shown I’m willing and able to do my level best to maim someone attacking me….
          Then I realized:
          1) I’m freaking strange,
          2) I wouldn’t be going to a lady’s self-defense class, which is usually aimed at deprogramming those poor gals who internalized the “a lady can’t do anything physically violent” rules to a dangerous level.

          I am totally going to steal it for suggesting to family and friends dealing with that sort, maybe even employ it for the “oh, I could never shoot someone” ladies.

          Thank you!

          1. You’re quite welcome.

            It may interest you to know that I believe it was my late wife who told me that story. And if I am correct, she was talking about David Weber’s little brother.

            Little name-dropping, just for the heck of it…

            1. I was told much of his class involved how to think about improvising weapons, but I don’t think the dinner-plate was part of that. 🙂

        2. I took a self-defense class in high school, which was a girls’ school. After a few weeks, people didn’t want to be partnered with me, because I had a disturbing habit of stopping my hand about an inch from their noses. (And I did lightly bump someone once when I misjudged. Not enough to bruise, but enough to upset.)

          One of them commented that I seemed to be taking it seriously, unlike most of the other girls. Funny thing was that all of us who *were* taking it seriously seemed to be on the lower end of the income spectrum (which, BTW, was still decently high, but we’re talking strict middle class vs. the level where a car for your 16th birthday is a given.)

          1. In college “Unarmed Combat” class, I was close to the only one actually taking it seriously. I usually “shot” my victim when they tried to take my gun away. Similarly, I was only “shot” once when I took someone else’s gun away. That lesson stuck with me.

            I also regularly took away the attacker’s knife when we ran those drills. Being willing to get “cut” makes a huge difference in effectiveness. (Part of that predatory attitude mentioned above.)

            (Yes, this was a military school. And yes, that is scary, that all these soon to be military officers seemed unprepared to actually do violence.)

    2. During a training on risk assessments, someone commented that there are people who won’t do it because it is scary to think that something bad may happen to them- with the superstitious undercurrent that the act of planning may cause the event to actually happen.
      Looks like we have something similar here- people from the Reality Based Community who steadfastly refuse to look at reality.

      1. Meanwhile I have the opposite “superstition”– the act of planning, and preparing, makes it less likely to happen.

        Of course, if mine fails, it means I’m prepared for the bad stuff…..

        1. “the act of planning, and preparing, makes it less likely to happen.”

          That works with all sorts of things!

          Finish your big project on time? Class is cancelled and everybody has an extra week to work on it!

          Do everything except that one minor diagram that probably isn’t important?
          That’s the only thing the reviewers want information from!

          1. There was recently a discussion on a true crime website about victims who survived and fought back in very scary situations with notorious killers.

            Of course, somebody SJW-ish dropped the opinion that any crime victims who stopped by the discussion, and who hadn’t fought back, would be made to feeeeeeel saaaaaad by the discussion. (Instead of thinking, “Yeah! Hit them sonsabitches!” or similar.)

            (Naturally I commented to the contrary.)

            1. These are likely lyrics the same people who say things like “Remaining silent means you’re complicit in *political crime du jour*” And then don’t see the irony.

          2. Don’t include $software in your set of benchmarks? Your tests are invalid because that is the only thing that $reader was interested in.

  16. The logical conclusion of the current crisis is segrated male and female ‘safe’ workspaces, with the immediate further fission to accommodate gender preferences other than cis-, with teams of HR chaperone/monitors in every interaction just to be safe.

  17. “Money” is a token for “time”. I earn money by spending TIME fixing and setting up computer systems. I buy things because other people have spent or will spend TIME doing what I want done.

    I want somebody to spend his TIME raising hogs so that I can exchange a time token for bacon, and I want somebody else to spend time raising chickens and fetching eggs so that I can give him another “time token” so that I can have breakfast. Sometimes I go to a place who also makes breakfast FOR ME, and I give them additional time tokens to exchange my labor on computers for their labors on the farms AND the cook’s labor in the kitchen.

    Raw materials like steel and aluminum? Miners spend TIME digging that stuff out of the ground, and other people spend TIME refining it and shaping it. I could walk 10 miles to my office, or I can spend my “time tokens” on a machine that will transport me there in a fraction of the time.

    Money is time. Time is money. LITERALLY.

    1. Sorry Ken, Money is not Time. It is what is produced and what someone will pay for that product. It doesn’t matter how much TIME it takes to produce it. It is still only worth the same price.
      I make plain Jane coffee cups, it takes me 4 hours total.
      You make the same cup in 2 hours.
      Both cups will sell for the same price.
      The hours to make it don’t matter in the price.
      The hours matter in how many you can make.

      1. You’re just pricing it differently. His cup of coffee is $.50 an hour, yours is $.25. But, on the purchaser’s side, it’s $1 for a cup of joe.
        But, you’d best learn to make your cups faster, because on your end, you’re making a lot less money than he is.

    2. *hand waggle* some time is worth more ‘time tokens’ than other time (Unless people quite literally have different numbers of hours in the day), therefore it is not time that is being calibrated against with money, rather the desirability of the goods and services produced in that time. Money is not paying for your time. Most people don’t care if you spent one year or five producing a book, or anything else. They want the book, or the steak, or the bacon, or the eggs. The background is largely academic to them. You can spend years perfecting a widget… and if no one wants it, tough. Your time, is therefore worthless.

      There are similar issues in claiming ‘labor’ (in the physical sense) as the fundamental unit behind money. If so, why are some labors worth more than others? (See communism on where that ends, and ‘time’ is just the same thing in different clothes.)

      1. “Work,” meaning “a thing done”– honestly, the metaphor doesn’t hold up all that much better even with that done, since while yeah the whole feet up vs feet over making fore more distance with less effort kind of works out, but then you don’t have a measure for the difference between putting something on a shelf because you’re stocking the shelves and putting the same box up and down for three hours.

        Physics/math just isn’t a very good metaphor for it at all, even though it uses a lot of the same words.

      2. Since we’re seeing so many quotes of that vicious misanthropic racist Mencken, here’s one more:

        “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”

        People do not pay you for writing well, they pay for writing stuff they want to read. This is a distinction which commonly escapes “Literary” writers.

        1. I object. Mencken was not a vicious misanthropic racist. He was a cheerful misnathrope, who despised most people, and liked individuals. He used the common language of his day, with was full of racism and ethnicism, but he also fought for fair treatment. He supported the cause of one of the first black men to apply to the U. Maryland law school. He championed the black pastor who warned the establishment that if they wanted to draft young black men into the army, they had better be ready for slightly older black men, confortable with the ise of arms, to come home and expect respect. One of his last editorials was a scathing attack on a ‘no race mixing’ on some public tennis courts. The panjandrums of the day were puffing and blowing that the people demanding a change were Communists, and Mencken wrote “the way to frustrate the Communists in this (if there are any) is, don’t fight then when they are right.”

          He was far more scathing about white Southerners than about blacks.

          Mencken wasn’t a racist; he poured his cheerful scorn over all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds…including his own (German speaking Americans).

  18. Preppers, those people that see everything falling apart for any number of reasons, some of them gather gold and silver because they “Always hold their value”. So they can be used after the fall. Not very bright Preppers. For gold and silver REQUIRE enough society to make them worth something.
    I have a gold coin, I will trade it for that rice and change. Change?

    The Smart Prepper knows that after the fall certain THINGS will have value. Ammo, Food, Coffee, Tea, Toilet Paper, sewing needles and thread, and many other useful THINGS. Ammo – 5 22 rounds for 1lb of rice. No 10 rounds, 7 rounds. OK.

    If things are reduced to barter, you NEED things that can be bartered with.
    I am an SAP ABAP Programmer, there will not be a lot of call for that after the fall. I can do a little Blacksmithing that may work a little.

    1. On the other hand, most societies above complete chaos develop some form of currency. A good that is, by and large, not used, but simply traded about. Because people, as a group, tend to get frustrated with ‘I’ll give you four bullets and a tin of instant coffee for that pile of scrap metal’ which may ore may not be desirable, and round-robin swaps get hairy quickly. Which is why money was invented in the first place.

    2. You know, in the aftermath of TEOTWAWKI, I’d be perfectly happy to accept current legal tender. A medium of exchange is a medium of exchange, after all, and this is one we’re used to using.

      Electronic transactions would be right out, of course.

    3. “If things are reduced to barter, you NEED things that can be bartered with.”


      1. Tinned tobacco keeps indefinitely and addicts will do silly things to get the stuff.

        Everclear would give you a handle on the other addicts until you got your brewery set up.

      2. Yep, my trade will be in fermented spirits (unless I can get a proper portable still set up before then).
        My wealth I hope to have in lead, brass and gunpowder.

    4. In 2012, the convention I was running did the ubiquitous “end of the world” theme. I got put on a panel and one of them went on about how she had just exactly the skills needed to survive the coming apocalypse.

      I’m not so sure. The catastrophe, should it ever come, will not be the one that they anticipate. It may not be even remotely similar. You’ll need skills and materials that only the most amazingly lucky will have. If your intent is to survive that situation, I think it’s better to have a broad variety of skills, the ability to deal with unfamiliar situations, and a willingness to do heavy manual labor.

      You probably won’t survive, come the catastrophe, but that’s in the nature of that sort of beast. To continue to survive will require toughness and flexibility.

      1. If you want to know what a collapse would look like, look at the colonial remnants of the British Empire- which looks a lot like the collapse of other empires, a very slow motion process.
        Instead of the sudden stop so beloved by preppers, you get a little less each year. The process is a bit like watching the waves during a receding tide. You get the usual highs and lows, but the highs are a bit less high, and the lows are increasingly lower.
        So, you get bits falling off a little at a time- a province here and a territory there become more autonomous and go independent.
        Infrastructure gets ragged- roads get potholes, the power grid becomes more unreliable, and you can’t trust the water.
        Crime increases while law enforcement decreases. Which means that private measures to protect property also increase. Walls, guards, and bars become a normal part of normal homes.
        Law enforcement will also get nastier, and people don’t really care, because of the increased crime.
        The government starts making more regulations, many of which are ignored or bribed away.
        The currency weakens, which means it becomes harder to get imports. So the stores have goods, but if you see something you like, better buy it now before they sell out. You may not see it’s like again.
        And so on.

        1. The particular catastrophe that they imagined was a global pandemic, similar to those that have been seen in the past, and not a general decline and fall.

  19. I’m surprised no one has mentioned RAH’s Time Enough For Love, where Lazarus is on a frontier planet and runs the local dry goods store/bank. The town council shows up to announce that they have voted to seize control of the bank because no one person should control the economy. Lazarus says fine, then when they find out that there are no banknotes in the vault, Lazarus has them examine one to learn that it’s nothing more than an IOU signed by him. And why would he keep a vault full of his own IOUs where some thief might steal them?
    Best explanation for “money” that I’ve ever learned.

  20. When you have people who think of humanity as a problem, we need to be very worried about what their “solutions” might be.

  21. It has taken me 78 years to have a complete stranger (Sarah) totally describe me in the first 2 lines of this article. (OK, she’s not quite a stranger to me.) Anyway, I enjoyed watching the replies wend their way from topic to topic. Rather humbling to realize how many of us really don’t want to rule the world. Probably too bad we don’t want to go into politics either. More related than I realized. Glad I live in FL which is a concealed carry state. Small town which means most of us are.

    1. Rule the world? It’s a tremendous amount of work for an unappreciative clientele. No thanks, only an idiot or a pervert would want that job!

      1. I always identified more with Kwai-Chang Caine than Auric Goldfinger. Not that I was enamored with Caine’s lifestyle as much as riding herd over assorted minions and defending myself from ambitious subordinates was a DO NO WANT.

    2. “Rather humbling to realize how many of us really don’t want to rule the world.”

      Learned from the master; however, that often makes us (speaking collectively, not individually) the prey of those who DO want to rule.

      “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

      ― Robert A. Heinlein

  22. Rape is bad, mmkay? And yet it persists. To pretend it doesn’t have the ability to keep it’s genetic underpinnings in the gene pool is just silly.

    Sickle cell for the dick exists, it’s real, and it’s not going away. It’s legacy dove/hawk mixed strategy in/for our DNA.

    My belief is that nasty bastard traits get concentrated during population bottlenecks, disruptive though they be in good times. See also the rather extensive posterity of Khan, G.

    1. Except Temujin wasn’t really all that nasty of a guy- a rather effective manager, to be honest.
      True, there was the whole “slaughter and raze cities” thing, but that particular action had to be earned, usually because that city had rejected his previous friendly overtones via slaughtering his ambassadors. And that action was recognized as a request to be sacked in the ancient world.

      1. Also, the part of the world where they “made a desert and called it peace” was Islamic. Kinda hard to blame the Mongols for doing what I half wish we would.

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