Slouching Into Shackles

One of the things I keep trying to explain to my “woke” colleagues, when they stand tall and righteous and put their shoulders back and say that Heinlein was racisthomophobicsexist or that great authors of the past should have been better than to follow the prejudices of their time, is that when you’re immersed in your time, you don’t see the prejudices and the blind spots.

I have a little more insight into how culture shapes what’s possible to think, because I changed my culture as an adult.  While this can be done (obviously) and immigrants should be encouraged to do it, (or go home), the acculturation is never complete.  What happens is that you acquire a sort of cultural double vision.  Depending on how far your acculturation goes, you’ll see the defects in thought or at least the unquestioned assumptions in one of the countries better, but also have a strong feeling of being outside enough to see some flaws in your dominant culture.  In my case, for instance, I see the flaws in Portugal very clearly, like the obsession with speed over diligence or being decisive over being right, but I still see some in the US which is why sometimes I say “what people born and raised here don’t see.”

I have, of course, even more insight, due to being a conservative in the US, in a culture and profession (the arts/publishing) that is not only majority left, but majority extreme left.  For many years, the only way to stay at least plausibly under cover was to see what they were seeing, and what they expected.

But without that, most people are blind to the … ah, unconscious or unthinking parts of their culture.  Heck, even with what I’ve been through, I still tend to accept a lot of things unconsciously, unless I step back and go “Now wait a minute.”

Man is a social ape, and part of being a social ape is the tendency/desire to fit in with the band.  Our choice not to stand out is instinctive and natural.  And cultures as a whole develop blind spots.  It’s just how humans are.  So, for instance, people in Europe can’t imagine how “empty” the US is, because what they see on TV is mostly the big cities, and because what passes for rural fastness in Europe is for us really densely populated.  They also can’t really picture our freedom of the press because their countries retain at least a sense of not making the country look bad in the eyes of foreigners.

Most people in the US, OTOH, a country where the people are supposed to be sovereign, no matter how much that’s broken, can’t imagine governments that don’t give a good goddamn about their people’s survival, comfort or health.  Americans also have a weird blind spot about war and thinking of it as a choice.  (Accident of history, being isolated from the squabbles in Europe, and leader with foresight who fought before the battle came to our shores.)

The biggest flaw that’s been hitting me in the eye recently is how historians in the future will either laugh or cringe, or both, at the left in the US at this time and place.

This is a movement that hates “slavery” so much they are taking down the monuments and erasing the memories of those who lost in the American civil war, even those who had monuments erected to them before or after the war for feats having nothing to do with it, or those that made it explicitly clear they were fighting for their “country” not slavery.  It is a movement that thinks slavery had such long lasting impact that it should earn unending reparations to people who even LOOK like those enslaved from people who look like the enslavers, even in cases when, clearly, neither set had ancestors in the US.  It is a movement that wants to do away with the founding documents of the country they were born in — the same country that has secured liberty and prosperity to the largest number of people in the history of humanity — because it was written by people who owned slaves.

And yet, these same people want the government to provide them with free health care, and if they got their full way, other “positive liberties” (to quote Obama) including free college, free housing, free food, guaranteed income, guaranteed jobs.

But Sarah, you say, there is no contradiction in that.  They just want to have perfect liberty by having all the necessities taken care of, leaving themselves free to express themselves and be the best people they can be.

Um… I could counter all that with statistics of the different achievements of people with guaranteed income — say, trust funds — and those who have to scratch for a living, but the point of this post isn’t even that.

The point of this post is that the moment all your necessities are furnished by someone else, someone else gets to make all the decisions for you.  I mean, if your health is paid for by the taxes of your fellow citizens, and the government aka the nation looks after your every need: should they pay for your health if you insist on smoking or drinking?  Or should those resources be husbanded for people who take better care of themselves? Okay, Sarah, but isn’t there a point to individual responsibility?  Why shouldn’t you be required to take minimal care of yourself, so you get the benefits of the government’s care, which as you say someone else pays for.

Ah, but there’s the rub.  See, ultimately, there’s always something some of us say or do that can be used to justify denying care or giving only palliative care.  For instance, I’m overweight, which seems to be one of the remaining sins in the current lexicon.  Sure, I gained tons of weight over 20 years of untreated hypothyroidism, even though I was starving myself for a long portion of those.  But hey, I allowed myself to be overweight.  So my prognosis is poor.  Why spend money on me, when someone else could have better results?

Hell, even when it comes to my autoimmune.  I’m a poor prospect, so why give me top of the line care?

If the government controlled other things, it would be exactly the same.  Food?  Sure, I break out in eczema all over when I eat a diet rich in carbs.  But hey, flour and rice are cheap, and why should I get a specialized diet, since I’m only a writer who isn’t even a leftist or a supporter of the state, and besides my prospects of survival are poor?

College?  Sure you want to be an economist, but your teachers say you’re cheeky and talk back, and the state doesn’t need that.  What we need right now are pipe fitters.  Here, you can take this six week course.

When the state is paying the bill, the state gets to decide what is better for you.  The European constitution gives you the right to “death with dignity” because death with dignity is much cheaper than expensive treatments with a low chance of survival.  After all this money is for everyone, you know?

And like the NHS, in Britain, they won’t even let you seek treatment outside their tender mercies.  Why should they?  They pay for you.  That means in the end they decide what to spend on you.  They own you.  And if you went outside their system and your kid got cured?  It would look pretty bad for them, wouldn’t it?  Why should they allow you to do that?  And besides, peasant, you have a bad attitude.

And obviously there are lives unworthy of living.  Oh, so you do this kitchen foil art thing, and thousands of people like it.  Sure. But look, this other person started a steel mill, which brings money to the country.  Who do you think is going to get the food and care?

Because here’s the thing, when you’re a subject of the state, and you exist for the use of the country/government, they get to decide if you continue existing, or what degree of comfort you exist in.

And it’s not even a big decision.  Most of the time the decision will be made by a petty bureaucrat and supported by other bureaucrats, right or wrong, because if they doubt their colleague, they endanger their own power.

You’ll go to your death saying not even “if only Stalin knew” but more “If only clerk number 4589 had listened to my case more attentively.”

Those who give you everything have the power to withhold everything.  In a massive bureaucracy, it’s not hard to come up with excuses and justifications as to who must live and who must die.

The only thing sure is that the individual will have no say in it.

Slaves are, after all, not able to look after themselves.  Just not smart enough.  There needs to be a vast and enlightened bureaucracy to do it.  And the bureaucracy has to decide who gets to live and who gets to die, of course, because they know best.

Do you think the “progressives” will ever understand that they’re trying to slouch back into that slavery they condemn so vehemently?

Or do you think they only object to slavery because of skin color?  (In which case they’re fools.  In the long miserable history of human slavery, there have been slaves of every color.  There still are.)

We are all prisoners of our times and our assumptions.

But there are immutable facts of human nature that should be taught, such as “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

The alternative is for the European Nations who fought against the Nazis to recreate all of the Nazi policies and their dehumanization of humans, under new and more “caring” names.

Everything for the state.  Nothing outside the state.

Not even a right to life.



401 thoughts on “Slouching Into Shackles

  1. Americans also have a weird blind spot about war and thinking of it as a choice. (Accident of history, being isolated from the squabbles in Europe, and leader with foresight who fought before the battle came to our shores.)

    Thus we have an idiot who was afraid of Trump starting a war after North Korea nuked the US.

    Idiot, in that situation North Korea “started the war” and Trump’s only choice was to “surrender” or to “attack North Korea in return”. 😦

    1. Uh, what?

      Not that I disbelieve you (I really wish I did) but I have not seen this particular idiot.

      1. I saw the article. Can’t remember where exactly, but either on Fox, MSNBC, Bearing Arms, or PJ. But Paul’s right, he was a flipping moron of the 1st degree.

      2. I wish those sort of idiots didn’t exist so I’m not going to search for it as I’m afraid that I’ll find hundreds of hits which wouldn’t be about the same idiot. 😦

          1. Funny how quotes satirically attributed to Dan Quayle* and Sarah Palin** (and many another Republican) remained attributed to them long long after disproven.

            *If I had known I would someday visit Latin America I would have taken Latin in high School.

            **I can see Russia from my house!

      3. It has been an actual “thing”– oh my gosh, Trump might nuke Korea if they follow through with their threats to nuke us, and START A WAAAAAR!!!!

        1. I’ve seen it around as well. If it was a satire, it failed, because too many on the Left are/were dead set certain it is True.

          Reminded me of all the “No Iran War!” signs that appeared in Flat State U’s city in 2003-2004. I never did quite figure out all the connections between GWB’s stated policies and invading Iran.

          1. I would guess it was attributed to some big name.

            And it can totally go both ways on if that was the origin, or if a bunch of liberals just totally missed it….

          2. As far as I’m concerned W’s biggest foreign policy failing was not taking the hard right when Baghdad tell and marching on Tehran.

        1. I saw that one, it’s claimed to be a hoax. I did find another by former President Jimmy Carter that ALMOST said that. Something to the effect of, “We should avoid war with North Korea at all costs.” But that wasn’t the I remember. I spent nearly 2 hours last night trying to find the damn article again; but the volume is horrible no matter what search parameters I put in. And I kept running into an awful lot of 404 Not Found making me wonder if the article was deliberately removed, or even a hoax after all. I would have expected someone to mirror the darn thing somewhere.

    2. Viewing everything anyone in the whole world does in the context of US actions is the ultimate in racism… if one thinks about it.

    3. Not exactly. That was a meme that got out of hand and was picked up as being a factual report.

      However, Maxine Waters IS an idiot of that calibre, and has probably said something that condenses down to the same words. I’ve concluded (having seen her rise from being a mere local Los Angeles idiot) that someone feeds her these lines, and then she parrots them forever. (Thus she’s the main drum-banger for “Impeach Trump” while clearly having no idea what impeachment IS.)

  2. Government gate keeper for health care (with a straight face)
    “We have to penalize you for following our food pyramid for decades.”

          1. Aerosolized nicotine is also an effective insect repellent, reducing risk of mosquito borne pathogens such as Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, Yellow fever, Malaria and others. So smoke ’em if you got ’em!

            1. Now as I think upon it, it seems I have seen some reporting on the idea that nicotine helps slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Of course, if that were true there’d have been widespread MSM reporting on it, wouldn’t there?

        1. I was thinking the other day that I was fortunate in that my family, either side, doesn’t seem to have a tendency toward cancer, but it’s apparently not true. Smokers on my Dad’s side get brain cancer. I have a cousin who died of it, which is when my mom shared this information that none of us should *ever* smoke. Thing is, very few people on that side of the family smoke, drink or dance at weddings, so I hadn’t heard it before.

          1. > …smoke, drink or dance at weddings…

            Which one of these is not like the other, which one here doesn’t belong…

            (which is probably a HIGHLY cultural thing)

        1. I would guess that these days it has more to do with surviving bad health, but not in good enough shape to stay as active.

            1. My sympathies for your loss. No matter when or why…. father.

              Did he have any other health issues? Bad knees? Diabetic? Etc.

              My father in law smokes, probably drinks enough to piss off a doctor once a month or two, but is otherwise healthy in a lives-on-coffee sort of way. His idea of “fat” is not even visually identifiable in public settings! (I guess he could just be SURE he’s “really” getting fat, who knows, but his son gains weight so you can’t tell with clothes on, too, so I’m not challenging him on it.)

  3. Someone said that a society is often the least guilty of the thing they think they’re the most guilty of.

    Why? Because the faults that we SEE are the ones we work on the most. The faults we don’t see are still there, ignored.

    It works with personal improvement, too. Suppose a person decides that they are too critical of others. So that person spends all of their time combating their tendency to be critical. But they have other faults. They’re proud, perhaps. And vain. And they weren’t really very critical compared to most, but wow are they ever impressed with how awesome they are… awesome partly for their extreme care not to be critical of particular others.

    So if we take the national sins that we tend to make fetishes out of and try to be objective, are we REALLY particularly guilty of those things? And while we’re so concentrated on those favorite national sins, are we ignoring other more serious and long-term detrimental issues? Compared to every place else in the universe are our national sins of racismsexismhomophobia something that even registers?

    Consider just how authoritarian the “left” tends to be… or the right… or any statist. And yet “authoritarian” is only a word that gets hauled out to accuse people who DON’T want to control your life. How does that work?

    “That nasty authoritarian won’t let me make all these rules to make the world a better place and to force people to be better people!”

    1. I think C.S. Lewis in Screwtape put it that society is guilty of the opposite of whatever sin they’re all screaming about most – like people complaining about a puritanical society going too far libertine.

      Though today, we have people screaming about being oppressed, and demanding to oppress the entire world…?

        1. It certainly fits in a story with hate-filled Spirits determined to distract people from appreciating the real harm they’re doing themselves and others.

  4. … when you’re immersed in your time, you don’t see the prejudices and the blind spots

    Indeed, which is why certain political interests attempt to keep us immersed, like animals, in the present or immediate future. The first because that focuses our attention on contemporary inconveniences and grudges, the latter because it focuses our attention on the short-term payoff for an action and not the long-term consequences.

      1. True. It applies to viruses, bacteria, lice, fleas, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, mice, rats, weeds of all sorts, and of course, people who hate you.

        1. If it will blow a hole in the ground, it will double as an entrenching tool.

          1. any tool that works by applied force is also a weapon

            to translate this for all the wusses out there, ***looks at Britain*** All tools are also weapons (although lineman’s pliers are less useful as weapons than many others. Shoulda went with fencing pliers instead)

            1. ….wasn’t there an episode of Deep Space 9 where a drugged-out-of-his-mind Garak killed a guy with the space version of lineman’s pliers?

              I’d probably stick with a nice, big screwdriver. Heaven knows I’ve drawn my own blood with them enough, especially if they’ve been abused.

              1. long reach needle nose pliers.
                a Phillips driver is an ice pick, and a flat blade in #1 size will do nicely. thin enough to enter nicely. The square blade ones don’t seal well so more leakage

            2. …and they seem ignorant of the origins of various martial arts techniques from East Asia and, IIRC, Brazil.

              (There’s a Brazilian martial art called capoeira that uses the feet and looks like a dance. It was developed by slaves.)

              1. oh, and their practice also worked on teamwork too. By doing a small adjustment on position their dance was two guys attacking a third, or I once saw 3 on one, with pads gloves and foot guards. The guy defending took two kicks to the head avoiding the 3rd’s moves and got his legs kicked out from under him when the third continued with that low leg sweep spin they do.
                Best bring a ranged weapon to that fight.

    1. I am constantly amazed that that one still carries any weight. It’s so obviously wrong.

      Another facorite of mine is ‘violence is the last refuge of the incompetent ‘

      Well, yes. Because the competent resorted to it when it might have accomplished something.

      1. I figure it’s the same way that bullies are pathetic creatures that put others down to make themselves feel better.
        And incidentally have a 100% overlap with those they wish to put down to make themselves feel better.

  5. If you feel history is full of a succession of fools none of whom had the slightest idea how to run things – just imagine how history is going to judge you.

    1. Yep. And the most myopic folk are the ones who sneer at the past without considering what the next century will think of us. (Or, for that matter, what the past would think of us; they have little concept that people in the past could consider themselves our superiors in any way.)

  6. “Do you think the “progressives” will ever understand that they’re trying to slouch back into that slavery they condemn so vehemently?”

    No, because even if they do the same things that tyrants do, they know that they’re good people, so whatever they do cannot be bad, therefore complete control of others’ lives (by them) cannot be slavery.

    And having accomplished this feat of mental gymnastics, the thinking stops. After you’ve exonerated yourself of guilt, why would you continue?

    That the ones controlling the reins of their fearsome imagined powers might be someone other than themselves is unthinkable. History shmistery.

    1. I read a woman (in comments) who literally said that the Obamacare subsidies were required, otherwise she would have to get a job to get healthcare, and that’s slavery.

        1. When I quoted the Supreme Court at her — that slavery was being forced to labor against your will for the good of another — it bounced off like raindrops on steel. No penetration at all.

  7. Not really where I thought you were going with the “Leftists screech about slavery but demand free health care, free college, free housing, free food, etc.” point. I thought we were going for the simple, “If you’re ‘entitled’ to all that stuff without paying for it, then you’re making a slave of someone, whether it’s the doctor and professor and builder and farmer, or the people who do pay them.”

    1. That too, Zsuzsa, but then they bring the “fantasy robots that are just around the corner.” Even if that ever came to exist, you’d still be a slave. OR they’ll say “But the state takes care of them too and it’s what they want to do.” BUT even if that were true, they’d still be slaves.

  8. You want the government to take care of you? Might want to ask the Native Americans how that turned out for them.

  9. BTW, it’s not even necessary to go hugely different cultures to start noticing your own. Moving from one region of the US to another can reveal a whole lot to someone who is paying attention. Those moves can even require acculturation and adjustment to new expectations.

      1. It’s a special WP posting filter that scrambles up posts. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
        Yes, officer, that is my story, and I am sticking to it. Until a better one comes along, of course.

      1. City vs Rural is huge. I’ve noticed that Americans who grew up in cities generally aren’t aware of the points of the compass, don’t notice natural features, and tend to get lost quickly if you put them somewhere that doesn’t have signs? And if they’ve lived in cities their entire lives, they tend to believe that this country is overcrowded and literally running out of space.

        City dwellers, now it’s your turn to point out the important things that hicks like me miss.

        1. There was an Atlantic (?) article a while ago that was concerned that the author’s visiting from out of town hick friend didn’t know how to order food at a trendy bistro and that he’d been unkind to not take his hickness into account when choosing a place to eat.

          I think that the guy took the wrong message away from the experience, though.

          1. Dare I ask what was so very special about ordering in this place?

            Is this one of those places that truly deserve the double-talk order of “Two eggs. Fry one on one side, fry one on the other side, both sunny-side down – and don’t turn ’em over!” ?

            (I forget what movie I swiped that from.)

          2. I believe that was David Brooks of the NY Times:

            Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

            His guest should have had the good sense to show up in a pair of “perfectly creased” slacks (or maybe a Hillary-esque pantsuit) so that David would realize how competent she must be.

            I think it likely she froze up at the thought of how much fat was in those gourmet sandwiches he was proffering.

                    1. NO NO NO YOU TOO SKINNY, MANJA MANJA MANJA!!!

                      My aunt’s mother came over from Italy as a young girl; her favorite nephew is my brother, though they have zero blood in common, because his favorite activity is eating. 🙂

                    2. I disagree – eat enough Italian food and you waistline will be very easy to watch, even if you’ve got a tremendous rack.

              1. considering these are in every grocery store, all she’s need to know the words is to have browsed the cold cuts.
                I think that Brooks is an asshole.
                Alternate theory, his friend is Jewish and observant.

                1. Not in the grocery stores out here. But I’d probably pick what looked as if it lacked stringy meat and go from there. (Crowns are not as sharp as the original teeth. Stringy roast beef cold cuts are my enemy.)

                  1. That Brooks is an a-whole has been clear since he drank the Times editorial room kool-aid. His luncheon guest, OTOH, even if Jewish (and Orthodox; Reform and many Conservative Jews have dropped adherence to dietary rules) could still have had a brisket sandwich, a pastrami, or even a nice mutton, lettuce and tomato.

                    1. Probably not – if Orthodox, the meat would have to have been kosher slaughtered, and having the same utensils that were used to prepare pork would render it unclean.

                    2. There’s a section that does the in-between thing, I believe it’s based on some variation of the law of hospitality, where you don’t eat the unclean foods but you also don’t nag anybody else about avoiding contamination– I guess it’s a pretty big group of those keeping kosher, because it comes up when folks ask about the whole Jewish-people-eating-Chinese-food-on-Christmas thing.

                      Observant Jews in the military do it, too; the guy I use to trade “recipes” with for Fridays was about on the same level as a hard-core Catholic, just towards pork and every day.

                  1. That seems unfair. An asshole is a necessary and important component of the GI Tract, useful in regulating the disposal of waste products and toxins.

                    I do not think Brooks serves any such beneficial function.

                    1. Please. The preferred term is Sphincter-American: the only ethnic group more faithful to the Democrat Party than African-Americans.

            1. I gotta say, I got hooked on paninis (….in Japan….) but if you took me to Subway-but-in-Italian, I’d be totally out. Especially if your response to my expression was suggesting somewhere else.

              Now, if it was me dragging, oh, my folks to a Japanese place? You wouldn’t be able to contain my glee to the effect of:
              “Oh, gosh, this stuff is AWESOME! What do you feel like having? Japanese beef curry, that’s just a thick beef stew with carrots and potatoes, not really spicy, about Taco Bell taco level, very savory, served with rice. Udon, that’s noodle soup with noodles as big as linguini, but not flat, very chewy. Tamagoyaki– k, that one sounds weird, but they do their omlettes with sugar. Do NOT prepare your mouth for “omelette,” think more like french toast without the toast.”

              You wouldn’t be able to shut me up in gushing about getting to show someone I like this great food, even if it says “capicollo” instead of “ham salami,” and explaining what the frick a tomato pasta sauce sandwich actually is. (Pomodoro technically just means tomato, but the food results I get all are bleepin’ marinara!)

              1. There is also the problem that not all restaurants use the same dictionary. I know what a Pizza Margherita is supposed to be but I have been at many a restaurant which feels obligated to take liberties with the formula.

                Leave us not get into the abominations passed off by many joints as pizza crust.

                Heck, where I grew up we learned to distinguish deli foods such as corned beef according to whether they were New York or Atlanta or Chicago style deli.

                Of course, I wouldn’t expect a WASP like Brooks to understand such nuances. 😉

                1. *snickers* Oh, gads, have you seen some of the flame wars about “fake Chinese” like…egg flower soup.

                  Actual problem, ancestors of folks who did Chinese in place A weren’t from the same area as place B; Egg Flower is very much authentic!

                  Repeat for a zillion other places, although none have gotten quite as funny as that one.

                  1. I’ve “heard” that the most authentic “Chinese” foods come from restaurants that advertise the actual “Chinese” ethnic group that the food is from.

                    1. I’ve come to believe that Americanized is superior to “authentic”. Authentic is often made with things like pig whiskers, because “someone pinches the pork*”. Then, when they get to America, they find they can actually afford real meat!

                      *as per Cohen the Barbarian

                    2. *nod*

                      I’d much rather have “authentic” in the sense that it’s what they make with the supplies on hand in the US– the complaints are usually that it’s not a “real” dish at all, rather than they used the “wrong” stuff.

          3. I’ve run into two nominal adults who did not know that beef comes from cows. The conversations went like this:

            Idiot (eating McBurger): Killing cows is wrong!
            Me: So where did you get that hamburger?
            Idiot: McDonald’s.

            1. Yesterday, we were discussing why a Muslim gentleman had asked if there was gelatin in a syrup we use, and I concluded that probably he was concerned about halal meat rules.h

              Co-worker did not know that gelatin came from cow hooves. Or glue, in the old days.

              Ah, the beauty of renewable resources, and using every part of the animal….

        2. Hicks tend to be a bit too trusting when in cities- leaving cars and houses unlocked, or believing what the salesman/panhandler/ect says.
          Not knowing how to navigate the city is another.

          1. Well, sometimes. Other times, they might just be too suspicious/paranoid, having seen too much tv/movies.

          2. The biggest problem I see is the country-mouse in the city not knowing the areas Where There Be Dragons. I’ve been living in country long enough to have to be careful, but the signs are present, though not always easy to articulate.

              1. I can relax a little; done with medical stays for eye procedures, and the day trips for followups avoid the Abandoned Areas. Unfortunately, Medford has a growing problem, not at all helped by a SJW DA (who gives every pass possible to a perp of color). I’m hoping the residents deal with it at the ballot box.

                I know the sketchy areas around home, and when it’s wise to be off the highway (Friday nights feature cars/trucks, alcohol and firearms, and we have the perforated road signs to show it).

            1. Heh. When you have to depend on navigators when driving in a strange city. I took a few wrong turns when I was driving towards the O’Hare airport in Chicago (I stayed in the city four days, but my hotel was near it) when the one in my rental started to act up a bit, and made a luckily rather short detour in some quite interesting looking part of southern Chicago. In a car which was pretty much running on fumes. Did find my way out of there and to the hotel before the car ran out of gas but it was a somewhat, shall we say exciting experience.

              1. When I was growing up in Chicagoland, the south side, say 55th street, was considered safe enough for a couple of kids (10-12 years old) to go unescorted to the museums there (Science and Industry was a favorite). The west side ghetto was dicey, and my father had some eventful days during riot season; his job was adjacent to the ghetto. (The steel company offices moved out of that area in the early ’70s.)

                From what I learned, the south side had deteriorated to the point that I’d given up any desire to revisit the S&I museum in 2014.

                I used to be proud of the fact that I came from Chicago, warts and all. Thanks, Obama!

            2. I must have radiated something, as once I met an area thug who was supposedly gonna steal my stuff, who, when I told him I was warned about how badass he was and how he was supposed to try and steal my bike etc said: “Nah, you’d just kill me if I tried that.”
              I was able to skirt some of New Orleans worse areas with little trouble. In fact, what little trouble I had was brought to me by my city born buddies who dug a hole a few times and it took some jukin’ and jiving to get out intact.

              1. For one thing, check the phone/power lines for dangling sneakers.

                Check the lampposts for dangling city employees, so far as that goes.

                1. I can’t tell, though, if dangling city employees are a good sign, or a bad sign. Does it depend upon the city? It seems that some could be vastly improved by hanging anybody employed by said city.

              2. If there’s a large collection of folks hanging out, and you start getting attention, that’s a real (bad) sign. Also, if the housing looks like hell, but you see flashy cars (tricked out sedans, low riders), that’s a clue.

                If you start seeing broken windows, it’s time.

                I interned a couple of summers at a steel company in the west side ghetto of Chicago. Crappy apartment buildings, but the Buick 225s were georgeous. We used to walk (in a group of 3 or 4) to a park. The blood droplets leading from the park were a good sign to GTFO, but not to run…

                1. One of the places I really wanted to rent, because the apartments were HUGE and the prices were good, I didn’t even give the walk-through a chance.

                  When the baby and I pulled up at 2pm on a Tuesday, there were a lot of young adults, mostly male, “hanging out.” For no apparent purpose.

                  Even I notice that is Not A Good Sign.

                  When I noticed the door on the apartment we were looking at had been busted in forcibly…. nope nope nope nope nope…..

                    1. *giggle* I used to provide content for a local real estate agent; he told me that every now and again, he got a prospective buyer totally interested in a fantastically low-priced property on the east side, adjacent to the Freeman Colosseum complex: an area of late Victorian/Craftsman style small bungalows with perhaps a sixth of an acre-sized plot, handy to the freeway, ten minutes from down-town San Antonio … and, in the words of a military acquaintance who helped me vet my own eventual purchase of a home in San Antonio — “Bad hood.” My real estate friend said, once the potential clients got a good look at the area, it was *snapping the car door-locks* and “Get me the HELL out of here, NOW!!!”

                  1. Yep. that was same when we went looking for an apartment for Robert three years ago. Robert and I looked at each other, “Vibrant Goblin Neighborhood.” And drove on.

                    1. Yep. Why only child still lives at home. Any place he can afford in Eugene without roommate hassles, on his pay, are “less than desirable”. He would rather pay parents rent & co-exist with us as roommates; to heck what anyone else thinks.

        3. Yep, there were people I went to school with and worked with in L.A. that had moved cross country without physically crossing the country… they paid a mover for their minimal stuff and hopped on a plane, so they really don’t think about how much terrain they crossed.

            1. First, don’t know what the answer is, but the worst name for most of our western National Parks is “park”. Wilderness doesn’t work because we already have national wilderness areas. Too many city visitors expect Zoo or at minimum Wildlife Safari conditions for parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, North Cascades, etc., animals fully on display, petting, or at minimum, close selfies, safe & allowed. Have overheard in response to posted warnings “isn’t that cute, they are trying to scare us.”

              1. Oy… and I’ve had (different location) close encounter with black bear in the back yard. I expect potentially that, if I am unfortunate, in unfamiliar areas. Bears are fine – at a distance. Hrrrm.. some people fit that as well.

              2. There have been people trying to put children on Bison for pictures and saying “of course the rangers wouldn’t let wild animals in the park”. 😦

                1. “There have been people trying to put children on Bison for pictures and saying “of course the rangers wouldn’t let wild animals in the park”.”

                  Elk, Big Horn Sheep, play with Coyote & Wolf pups or Bear Cubs … the list goes on.

                  So, are we jerks because when we see such stupidity we are willing to LOUDLY discuss “Darwinism-In-Action” & continue to discuss the specific example occurring? Including in the discussion of why not willing to directly intervene, because we are not stupid enough to get that near a wild animal & indirectly cause it’s death.

                  Happens in Canada too. We were asked why we didn’t get out of the pickup for better pictures while watching a Grizzly graze berries just up the hill from the road, vehicles were preventing us from moving on, either direction … Answer, because we weren’t that stupid.

    1. My wife (Sacramento, California born & raised Chinese) found adjusting to rural-ish Minnesota culture a good deal more jarring than she ever expected. Might have been easier if we’d dropped in to a rural engineer culture, actually. (I’ve always been comfortable around farmers, so maybe I had an unfair advantage.)

      1. Our portion of southern Oregon gets a variable amount of escapees from California (and some from Washington). The local tendency is to not befriend a California transplant until they’ve stayed a winter or two.

        We’re not as Caliphobic as the west side Oregonians. Yes, we do think that 95% of the California drivers give the other 5 a bad name, but they are spending money in town, and that’s a good thing. We just are more wary when we see a California license plate. (Coming up on 15 years; I can get away with it.)

        1. Oregon is the only western state where I’ve had people try to deliberately run me off the road… twice in about 50 miles on I-5 south of Portland. And me with Montana plates. Second guy was rather more diligent about it, and I wound up braking hard, cutting behind an 18-wheeler, and taking a random exit and thereby an exciting tour of the south fringes of Portland (fortunately with an old highway going my way, but so much for my intended stop at the Giant Bookstore).

          1. We had a multi-church get-together several years ago, and a person from SW Oregon was the most bigoted, provincial person we’d met. Anybody further than 50 miles from her home was horrible, and former Californians were the worst abomination she’d ever met.

            We got along just fine [rolls eyes], especially after we told her that we were in that category and many of the newer residents in our town were also. There might have been one more of those get-togethers before the thing finished imploding.

              1. No, this was a person from a town between Medford and Ashland. (Town name elided to protect the innocent.)

                I have had the “I’ve been living in this area all my life, so you better believe me!” trick attempted. That was a person who thought that an acre of my land was his. I told him to see my (nonexistant) lawyer, and switched from concealed carry to open at home. He actually looked at a plat map, or talked to someone who had, and apologized. I still kept open carrying until he changed residences (the Greybar Hotel for several years, as it happens.)

            1. Anybody further than 50 miles from her home was horrible

              Heck, I’ll lay odds anyone from withing fifty miles of her home was horrible, too. And if “former Californians were the worst abomination she’d ever met” all I can say is she’s never met any damnyankees.

              1. Actually, I’ve met several nice people from that area; small town between Medford and the People’s Republic of Ashland on the west side. X was a special case, I’m happy to say. On the gripping hand, I avoid Ashland as much as possible (day surgery hospital is there, but I’m done with that).

                1. Sorry. Clarification: ’ll lay odds she thinks anyone from within fifty miles …

                  Such folk as the woman described tend to find everybody they meet almost as horrible as she herself.

          2. I’ve noticed that I-5 gets a certain class of drivers. We get the occasional prize-jerk on our rural highways, but they have a tendency to make a ballistic acquaintance with a tree, canal or ravine. We go weeks between road-ragers, but I saw much more angry driving in Medford and on I-5. Fortunately, I only have to go a few miles on the freeway, and can skip it entirely if circumstances warrant.

      2. Fellow I knew had moved (back to) MN with his CA wife and there was some adjustment. One ‘tell’ of the difference was that she didn’t ‘get’ Grumpy Old Men, whereas he “knew those people” and found it rather amusing.

        1. watching the new resident across the street from me deal with this winter was mildly entertaining. First snow, his still Cali Plated BMW was stuck in the driveway for 3 days. The next snow, someone did him a favor and plowed the drive, and he then got the beater Chevy P/U he has running, Don’t think the Beemer has started yet now that spring finally seems to be here (feh, chance of snow again! small one). About the 4th good snow, he bought a snow blower.

          1. Yeah, that’s why there’s the 1-2 winter aloofness towards newcomers. Hell, we’ve had people freak out over the road to Klamath Falls. (Bliss, formerly Squaw Flat Road, south of the national forest for those who know the area.) $SPOUSE found one such driving 20 in a spot we’ll drive 50 to 55. Not even the 25 and 30 mph turns. It’s a road that makes me wish I still had a motorcycle. (Long gone…)

            1. methinks he had cabin fever. After most snows, he didn’t seem to leave the house for a day or more afterwards.
              Today, he was dressed warmly in a canvas duck work coat, woolen watch cap (maybe 45f today, was cooler than forecast), and shooting baskets with a basketball.

  10. What do you call something that gets free training, free housing, free food, guaranteed healthcare, and guaranteed purpose? A pet, or worse, livestock.

    Now being a pet does have all those advantages. It also means you’re stuck eating what’s served, even if you don’t like it; and you don’t get to decide on portion sizes. It means you have no choice about being spayed or neutered; or forced to breed with whatever your masters decide to breed you to. It means when you wake your owners up to the fact the house is burning, you’re the last one out, if at all. It means the hand that feeds you can also decide that you’re the one that gets to face the grizzly bear attacking. It means that your owners get to decide when to kill you, err, put you to sleep. It means you’re kept on a leash, or in a pen or a cage for your entire life. And you never, ever learn how to live in the wild on your own.

    1. Animals that live in the wild on their own die sooner than those who live in homes. (With, perhaps, the exception of those we eat, but I’m not even certain that is true on average.)

      1. /shrug
        You’re talking to a guy from the “Live Free or Die, Death is not the worst of evils” state.

    2. > What do you call something that gets free training, free housing,
      > free food, guaranteed healthcare, and guaranteed purpose?

      Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman?

  11. They just want to have perfect liberty by having all the necessities taken care of, leaving themselves free to express themselves and be the best people they can be sh!# wherever they want.

    And I’m one of those who has noticed my own culture for a very long time.
    Of course, I’m an Odd. And I have traveled widely starting at a young age. I’ve read thoroughly from a young age. And I’m one of those folks who can see the flaws. (No, I’m not really a pessimist, why do you ask? I’ve been described as a realistic optimist – or a pessimistic idealist.)

  12. Oh, here’s one…

    Our current sensibilities are panic over global warming.

    The future will wonder why we didn’t care about environmental hormone levels wrecking us from the inside.

    1. They’ll also wonder why we let the predatory lending scam called “Higher Education” go on unchecked for so long.

      1. Random thought: we’ve recently learned how bogus those “medical expenses bankrupted me” studies were (by basically counting anyone with any amount of medical debt declaring bankruptcy as “forced into bankruptcy by medical debt!!!”)…why aren’t there loudly touted studies that show how student loans cause bankruptcy?

        These studies are probably going to be confounded somewhat by the fact that the Federal Government has made it practically impossible to bankrupt student loan debt….

          1. Yes, which makes student debt worse, since you legally cannot get relief from that debt. Student debt is still a factor in bankruptcies.

    2. The worry over global warming is eventually going to bump up against whatever is actually happening. It seems that the April we’re nearly done with this year is the coldest on record since ~1895 or so.

      Midwest farmers looking at soil conditions still to cold/wet for planting, and it doesn’t look like it’ll warm up fast enough soon enough to make up for the late start.

      Most of them don’t realize that a colder climate can be a lot worse for almost everyone than a warmer one.

      1. Global temps have dropped .5C in since March 2016.

        Seems that Trump is better for the globe than Oblama.

        1. oy, hope that trend doesn’t continue
          today’s high is now forecast to be only 9f under the average, instead of the 13f below it was yesterday, and we get to average again some time next week.

          1. LOL 😆

            Elsewhere one individual was saying that based on his experience, Trump had extremely little support.

            This was at a time while the polls were talking Hillary to win, the “gap” between her and Trump was around 10%.

            Others pointed out to the individual that little fact.

            IE If he was correct about Trump’s level of support, the polls would have reflected that which the polls weren’t. 😈

      2. That last is sort of a big deal. When it’s been warmer it’s been NICE. Civilization outright blooms in response to better crops and longer summers. (And in paleo-climate records, no-ice at the poles = lush vegetation and dinosaurs.)

        Cooler… not even *colder*, but merely cooler and it sucks.

        So what would we be most worried about?

            1. I’m sure someone is working on proof of Anthropogenic Solar Cooling. Just in case.

              1. All those probes we plunged into the sun? Yeah, they’re responsible.
                Stupid scientists, poking at things they don’t understand.

          1. Hell, I’ve been reading minority opinions about the coming ice age for, what, a decade? I fully expected the Climate Change believers to do that shift by now.

            Which means they are dumber then I thought…which takes some doing.

            And Paul Erlich is in his middle ‘80’s, and STILL being treated with respect.


      3. The alarmists are trying to cover their asses bets by changing the nomenclature. Note that Anthropogenic Gorebull Warming is now Anthropgenic Climate Change. Makes it easier when the One True Solution is to give TPTB more money.

          1. That’s why there’s a part of me that says the Universal Solution is to humanely euthanize liberals. Global warming, new Ice Age, stubbed toe…same solution all the time.

            Just like the liberals like to propose.

      4. As RCPete noted, the proper term is now “climate change”. The alarm is still over temperatures rising, but the new term allows them to change that.

        Of course, when I was growing up, it was the coming ice age that we all needed to be worried about. And I believe I’ve read that before that, it was a warming scare.

        1. Yes. ’60’s & (at least) early ’70’s pollution caused by man was heading us into a premature new ice age … hey at least we don’t have water catching fire due to introduced fuel additions. I can appreciate smoke free summers after last summers reversal of trends (wild fires VS planned fires from field burning). Also, the addition industries created to replace field burning, etc. But I refuse to retreat back to the cave & gatherer (because “hunting” is bad) or “drop dead” as wanted by the environmentalist. My attitude “them first”.

          OTOH Locally the push is for individual Solar Power & water recycling for lawns, etc.; … hmmm my translation “Decrease EWEB’s income”, not a bad idea, once costs come down more. Don’t think they’ve thought that one through.

      5. Yeah, as John Ringo said on FB some time ago… of all of his books for us to be in, why is it this one?

        1. Given what the alternatives are, I think I’ll take this one.

          Okay, living in the wider world of the Kildar series wouldn’t be too bad, but Ringo does have a tendency to redshirt large swathes of humanity.

          1. Ringoverses from suckiest to best:

            Black Tide
            Queen of Wands / Paladin of Shadows
            Council Wars (pre-fall)

            1. Well, while the world of the Council Wars was better Pre-Fall than it is after the Fall, there’s evidence that there were plenty of “serpents” in the Pre-Fall “Paradise”. 😉

      6. I had occasion to drive up from Omaha to Detroit Lakes MN last week (long story, basically non-work-related trip to help out an old friend). By the time we got up to the upper third of Iowa, temperatures had been above freezing for over a week….. and there were snow patches even on slopes getting sun, ice floating in the farm ponds (an acre or so in size or less, let alone the larger bodies, some of which still had unbroken ice surfaces). They hadn’t much diminished over the course of a week more of above freezing temps when we drove back down 6 days later.

  13. Hum, hum hum, hum, hum.

    Much as an AA member conversing with a stranger who, during a conversation, thinks the guy just might be a kindred soul & member of the club will ask; “Hey, do you know Bill?”, we’re getting to the point where, we, to avoid being ostracized or even incarcerated for ‘wrong think’, might have to work the query in to any conversations with strangers; “Hey, who is John Galt?

  14. Watching the actions of the British National Health Service baby killers I cannot help but feel that just perhaps old Guy had the right idea after all.
    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England’s overthrow.
    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James’s sake!
    If you won’t give me one,
    I’ll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

    1. The sadism of the NHS administrators and so-called-doctors turns my stomach.

      OK, so the government can’t afford to treat patients with problems more complicated/protracted than X. Got it. So let the individuals leave and seek treatment elsewhere if they have a way to do so. Perhaps make them sign a waiver saying they won’t seek further treatment in the UK for any complications or sequellae of [medical problem] if they get treatment elsewhere. But the way the NHS has been torturing the parents of the sick children?

      You don’t have to believe in [deity] to get a sense that justice is not going to be pleasant for those administrators and so-called-physicians once Fortuna’s wheel turns.

      1. I have seen valid speculation that the primary reason the NHS won’t allow the child to be moved is their fear that Italy just might have a way to help him. So it really does come down to an issue of authority and control vs the life of an innocent baby.
        I cannot help but imagine a Cartman like figure draped in the Union Jack demanding that the parents “Respect our authoritah!”
        It certainly explains the push for extreme arms control in the UK. Something like this happen in America and certain politicians and hospital administrators would have to go into hiding or hunted down like rabid dogs.

        1. Wasn’t there a case in Boston a couple years back? Something about mitochondrial disease?

          1. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it was less than a year ago. A British couple had an infant with a probably fatal disease. The NHS refused to treat it. An American facility offered to try an experimental treatment, and the parents were able to raise the needed funds for the process. But the NHS (and a British judge) refused to allow the parents to take the infant out of the NHS hospital. The argument given was that putting the infant through an experimental procedure that would probably fail would prolong his pain and suffering.

            1. Charley. Guard, IIRC.

              Alfie has died, five days after they pulled food and water. Don’t know how long they let him have food and water, and I don’t know if they’re going to allow an autopsy that would catch if someone did the air-bubble-in-a-vein trick.

              1. Mark Steyn:
                “[T]here is no compelling reason for the British state to kill Alfie. So, when the Pope has championed his cause and the Italian government has conferred citizenship upon him and there is a plane standing by to fly him to the Continent, why not err on the side of generosity? Why not let his parents enjoy whatever extra time may remain with their helpless child? Why is it so necessary for the British bureaucracy to be seen to kill this two-year-old on their timetable?”

          2. Yeah, that case was a teenaged girl. A bit of a search gives the story of Justina Pelletier. The parents brought her to Boston Children’s hospital, with flu complications, She had been previously diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, but the hospital decided that she has a psychosomatic condition caused by the parents and got custody.

            Among other things, there was a gag order on the parents, but they apparently violated it and got some heavy hitters on their side. 16 months later (and rotten care, IMHO) she was released back to her parents. Search on her name for the gory details. Looks like The Blaze has some good summaries.

        2. With the whole “We can’t tell what on earth he has, but he’s totally dying” type diagnosis, they might have reason.

          I am pretty sure they’re quite glad there isn’t a tradition of people being able to offer armed resistance right now.

          1. That and I find myself wondering why their version of “dignity” for the patient usually involves killing that patient?

            1. That, I never had trouble understanding– I ran into the “dignity” one after understanding that when they said they wanted to put someone out of their misery, they meant the misery of the person speaking, not of the ill person.

        3. It might have been on Twitchy, but a “doctor” stated they wouldn’t let the poor kid leave the hospital because they didn’t like the parents’ attitude. Rope, Lamp post, some assembly required.

        4. Especially given we know the British doctors are at least partly wrong. Their prediction of “minutes” after they removed the ventilator have been falsified.

        5. I am more willing to cut (some, slight) slack over their treatment of toddlers with terminal conditions (brutal, heartless and horrific as that is – and isn’t mortality itself a terminal condition) than I am the games they play with patient intake, games which make the VA look efficient and compassionate.

          When they got caught stockpiling incoming patients on cots in the ER their solution was to set a maximum time on that. Which was met by stockpiling incoming patients in ambulances awaiting admission to the ER.

          What effect this had on patients waiting on ambulances I cannot say as at that point I threw up my hands and damned them all.

          I swar, patients can be so inconvenient, demanding emergency service when that just is not compatible with maintaining staff schedules set by unions and rigorously adhered to! Just because your appendix burst is no reason for a union member to have to miss a mandated ciggie break!

          1. Just because your appendix burst is no reason for a union member to have to miss a mandated ciggie break!

            Sometimes I have this feeling that there is not enough glyceryl trinitrate in tobacco.

        6. I had an epiphany a while back, while listening/reading some tiresome Lefty trot out the old “and what good are firearms going to do against tanks anyway”argument.

          Tyrannies are not run from tanks. Tyrannies are run fro desks. And anything that keeps the desk-infesting stooges of The State thinking fretfully about Helm’s Law* is a good thing.

          *If you push enough people around long enough sooner or later you end up facing an angry man with a gun.

            1. The Soviets were there in all sorts of armor and got their asses handed to them. Some of the best of those doing the handing were those we hooked up with to fight the Taliban who were also rather well versed in it.

          1. I like that law.

            Oh, got “informed” yesterday that…hell, let me get the exact quote….
            it is just an unrealistic fantasy to think that privately owned firearms are EVER going to outmatch a professional army with even comparable equipment.

            I suppose you can torture such a claim enough to make it true…but it would consist, basically, of defining any collection of privately owned firearms that did beat a professional army as a professional army.

            My husband’s response: “Did he tell the Russians that they didn’t put a professional army into Afghanistan?”

            1. As mentioned here a few times, a tank without supporting infantry is just a really big target, especially in urban areas.
              And tanks don’t exactly have a really long range, so they need trucks what carry fuel, which need roads to get places
              And there’s nowhere near enough tanks or active duty soldiers to be properly concentrated for the vast area of a single US state (excepting Delaware).

              What’s really funny is how the Left will say that our military will be triumphant over their fellow citizens in their own country, but should they go anywhere else, it’s going to be an utter unwinnable quagmire.

              1. Got to thinking about the old headline about “third largest army on earth invades Wisconsin– first week of hunting season!” and you know, it really is more accurate that you’d think from being cynical about the they-just-have-guns angle.

                They’ve got firearms, supplies to GET way off the beaten path, they are trained in moving around that area, they’ve got supplies to STAY in that area…..

              2. And the eternal corollary: they will endorse using weapons and tactics against their “fellow Americans” that they prosecute as “war crimes” if used against actual foreign enemies.

      2. It’s palliative care. A slow painful death is better than a life in poverty and the cultural experience of the educational wasteland. Since they are denied the authority to forcibly sterilize and abort, they have no choice but to use indirect psychological means. It is harm minimization, the kinder thing.

  15. So, for instance, people in Europe can’t imagine how “empty” the US is, because what they see on TV is mostly the big cities, and because what passes for rural fastness in Europe is for us really densely populated.

    Shortly after we were married, my wife (from Japan) had the habit of referring to some areas we’d pass through as “inakapoi” (basically the sticks”). I was like, you have no idea.

    Then, a few months later, her parents gifted us with a trip to the American Southwest–a loop starting in Las Vegas, through Zion National Park, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon (I had long wanted to see that and it was well worth it), Meteor Crater, and back to Las Vegas.

    On that trip she saw places where for 360 degrees, horizon to horizon, the only sign that humans even existed was the road we were on (and had I had an off-road vehicle rather than a rental convertible, we could have eliminated even that much).

    A whole new appreciation for just how empty, empty can be. (I don’t think she believes me yet that that was just a minor taste.)

    1. We had a guest once who was on an around-the-world trip (his stop with us was a bit unscheduled as he’d cut Australia short.) At one point, we were driving in Marin County (north of the Bay Area), and he said that visually, it was much the same as England—except that in England there would be a town or cluster of houses every mile or so.

      1. I remember seeing a quote that sums this whole Europe vs North America difference quite well. “Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance. (North) Americans think 200 years is a long time ago.”

        More than a little truth in that.

        1. German friend moved the family back to Deutschland then years later was doing some dealing with property he owns in the states so he stopped by us in New Orleans, and had with him his oldest son (who spent 10 years here) and two of his son’s friends, who never had left their area of Germany. They flew into DFW, drove to Houston where a place was considered for purchase, then were driving to Gulfport (luckily for him to sell that property. Katrina about took it off the map) then on to Orlando and Tampa where the other properties were.
          “What do you think of America so far?”
          both friends in unison: “Big”
          Jurgen said something and then translated that he told them they were not seeing the big places of the U.S. or even Texas.
          Ain’t like they were trekking from Moscow to Magadan.

          1. The thing to keep in mind about big spaces in Russia is that if you thawed them and squeezed the water out they could fit in a saucepan.

            There’s usually a very good reason for big, empty space. Too much water, too little water, man-eating giant bats. Something.

            1. Large critters, and lack of people do a lot to keep central Russia MT One of the reasons they packed folks off there as punishment was because they couldn’t easily walk away from the place and survive, even in summer.

    2. Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, on into parts of Nevada, all magnificent opportunities to get up close and personal with the vastness of nature. Gives a thinking sort a bit of perspective. Not to mention that car breaks down, cell has no service, and absent outside intervention you’re dead in 48 hours. Of course much the same can be said for parts of several major cities.

      1. What you say is true about surviving parts of major cities, but it’s true for vastly different reasons…

      2. Mom, Dad, my Aunt Max and Uncle Jerry towed their Fifth Wheels from the U.P. of Michigan to Fairbanks, Alaska, and had to wait a year for my uncle to get an auxiliary fuel tank installed, so he could make the trip from one fuel stop in Montana to the next available one. I know of guys making the same run across eastern Montana on motorcycle who had to either add a tail tank or carry a gas can to make the same run. Well tuned, my bikes would only make it if you keep the speed down so you get iirc at least 48mpg. I think it is slightly less of a gas, to gas run now, but not by many miles.

        1. I drove up the I-15 from San Bernardino to Ogden Utah, after spending about twelve years straight on assignments in Greece and Spain, and seeing a sign just outside a little town in Southern Utah – next gas 50 miles on, and thinking that some of my friends in Europe would absolutely flip at the sight. It was in the Great Basin, where there was nothing human-constricted save the highway and the powerlines off the side of the highway … for miles and miles and miles…

          1. Imagine their shock if it was a sign saying next service 340 miles or so.
            My Nissan Frontier won’t make that without jerry cans in the bed. My normal riding style on my bikes won’t get me there.

          2. My ’84 Ranger had dual tanks. Having a 600 mile range made crossing Nevada on US50 a fairly simple experience.

            1. Dad’s diesel F250 has dual tanks as well, but towing he only got 12-14 mpg. Uncle Jerry had a Dodge with the Cummins, and their trailer was a bit lighter than my folks’, but it came with a single, smallish tank and would in no way make the trip between fuel in iirc 4 different places. 2 in Canada and 2 in Montana, though they could have traveled a different, far longer route, and then it would have been only having to stop so much more often and another few thousand miles of driving, and a longer ferry trip.

        2. I have a book somewhere, published for the (50th?) anniversary of the AAA, which included an account of a coast to coast auto trip in the (I think) 1940’s, when it was necessary to check the local maps and local memory to see if there as a road to the next town West, and a good idea to call/telagraph ahead to make sure that somebody had gasoline.

          I think they made it, but I’m not sure.

          1. I saw a car ad in the 70s that advertised by showing a car drive by a gas station in the Southwest, to the shock of those there, to express its gas mileage.

          2. I’ll have to check the stacks, but my dad got a late 1920s book about Chicago Roads of the 1820s or so.Those roads were absolutely horrible, but the fascinating part is the epilog; a description of the contemporary highways and roads. Not very good roads… (Deleted rant about 21st century roads in the Chicago area. It’s their tax and toll money, not mine.)

    3. A friend’s wife accompanied him on a business trip from Memphis to Phoenix. She had seldom been outside urban areas, and then only to the thickly-wooded east.

      After Fort Smith there’s not much to do except wait for Oklahoma City and Amarillo. After the second day on I-40 she was thoroughly freaked out.

      Later, he heard her telling her sister about the trip; “It’s like the sea… it just goes on and on.”

      1. We used to drive from western Illinois to northern Utah every summer for visits with my great aunt in Ogden. First on US-30 and later on I-80. As I recall Iowa, Nebraska, and the start of Wyoming was flat as a pancake and got drier and dustier the farther you went. We longed for the first glimpse of the tips of the Rockies. Our best time once I-80 opened was 21 hours straight through. Then they dropped the 55 limit on us and it again became a two day trip.

      2. As has been said about West Texas: “Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.”

        1. Texas joke:

          Texan: Why in Texas, you can get on a train one morning traveling west; ride that train all day, and still be in Texas! Yes, and all night and all the next day!

          Oklahoman: We have trains like that, too.

          1. And Tennessee. I-40 through Tennessee goes up and down so many hills the road miles are noticeably different from map miles…

              1. Yeah. Unlike, say, Connecticut. Small state. But from the dead center, it’s about an hour to any border.

              2. Interstate 95 runs 381 miles through Florida, 306 miles through Maine and approximately 1,220 miles through the intervening states. It takes another 113 miles to get from Miami to Key West via Route 1. Total distance Key West to the top of Maine is just over two thousand miles.

                1. Tampa to Cincinnati via I-75 would seem like a breeze if that darn Georgia wasn’t in the way. I’ve even driven it straight through a few times, though the last time was a bit of a shock to the system. I started off wearing shorts in warm, sunny Florida, dropping kin off at the airport in Tampa, and by the time I was north of Atlanta I had to change into jeans and toss on a light jacket. As I crested some mountains and crossed into Kentucky a few hours later, I found myself suddenly in near blizzard conditions that persisted until I crossed the Ohio River, whereupon the snow changed to a cold rain. With backtracking to the airport and stops for meals, gas, knocking the ice accumulations from the windshield wipers, etc. it was about 18 hours to cover just under the thousand miles.

                  Likewise, trips to the east coast would be so much easier without Pennsylvania in the way, and trips to the Rockies would be much faster without that column of boring states (ND/SD/NE/KS) getting in the way. 🙂

        1. Excepting Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, of course. Neither is a major metropolis, but both have some substance. The KOA in Tucumcari’s a decent spot to overnight, the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa is worth a couple hours, and the Silver Moon Cafe serves up a nice meal.

          1. I hit an ice patch between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa. Totaled a Fiat X19- and my wife an I walked away from it. That was the night I discovered it snowed and iced in the desert southwest. ‘Twas pre-cell phone days. State troopers were notified by CBs, Took 45 minutes for a trooper to get there. First thing he wanted to know is where the people in the car were taken to. Took him a moment to realize we were serious when we said I was driving and she was the passenger. November 1978. If I had known what the roads were like we’d have stopped in Tucumcari rather than pushing on towards Santa Rosa. Spent that night and the next 2 in Tucumcari. Going by the accident site during daytime 2 says later we looked out the bus windows and realized if we had gone off the right side of the road someone might have noticed the wreck come springtime unless we had been observed going off the road….

            1. “realized if we had gone off the right side of the road someone might have noticed the wreck come springtime unless we had been observed going off the road….”

              More than a few places in New Mexico, Arizona, & especially Utah, that is true of BOTH sides of the road. Straight down the cliff & nothing, except rock outcroppings to bounce off all the way down, both sides. You are driving across a land bridge or ridge, depending on how steep the road actually is. Oregon mountain highways have steeper cliffs the roads are built on, but at least only one side is “down” & unless you really are paying attention, you can’t see how far down it is because of the trees & brush in the way; most places, SE corner high dessert might have some execptions.

        2. I like the western Nevada route from SoCal to Boise.

          One trip, I saw exactly ZERO other vehicles all the way from Bishop to Winnemucca, and ZERO more vehicles from Winnemucca to the west fringes of Boise.

          In my defense, I did the drive at night, during a blizzard.

          1. you’re one of those loons too!
            I’ve only twice stopped traveling for weather. One time skirting a hurricane going from NOLA to Melbourne FL, I stopped for several minutes due to wind blowing tree parts across the interstate and rain so heavy the road dissapeared, and once in Kansas I stopped for the night because I was on my motorcycle and I rode into hail, and tornadoes were possible. Hail hurts at 70mph.
            A lot.
            Also loud against the helmet.

        3. I must say, driving through the rezs in New Mexico made some of the cultural cliches about Indian reservations make a little more sense. Not much, especially when looking at the ones I grew up around in California and Washington, but it’s not totally bugnuts anymore.

          Kind of like the libs whining about how there’s only the same six or seven companies all along the roads. Wasn’t even vaguely true driving from Biloxi to Death Valley, ditto Seattle to San Diego, but about half of the drive from El Paso to San Diego, and half of it from El Paso to Salt Lake? Yeah, there are a bunch of cookie-cutter places. At a guess, that’s because you’ve got to have a really good supply chain to survive 200 miles from everything. Once you hit towns more frequently, the variety totally changes.

        4. I think it’s beautiful, but I write about the area and know the geology, botany, and history pretty well, so I’m a little biased. 🙂

      3. My folks lived in Iowa for 15 years (Father teaching at Iowa State), and Mother took an interest in local history. She ran across a memoir of a man who came from one of the Nordic countries, whose wife freaked out about the Big Sky. She was SURE that trolls and giants were lurking everywhere, because the country was obviously too big for people.

        1. My German prof went to an academic conference in KC in the 1970s. She and some friends drove west of Kansas City, into Kansas… and she ended up hiding in the car with a jacket over her head because there was too much sky.

          1. California, where the houses and yards are tiny but the sky and mountains are big.

            Have to sympathize. Getting lonesome for trees and topography is a thing.

            1. The time I took I drove to PA and took the train to CT for the holidays, the lady in the next seat was from NY, had just completed a geography degree in VA, and moved to IL for a job, and was complaining about how flat everything was in the Midwest. I commented that it must come as a relief that we were entering the Appalachians. A groan was heard.

      4. if not visiting the folks or sis in Memphis, my preferred route to Michigan from Texas was up US75/69 to Checotah, over to Ft Smith then up I540 now I49/US71.
        Well, now that I’m in Michigan, I guess the reverse is my preferred route to visit my Sis in Texas.
        I did do a more westerly route once while on the motorcycle, but after KC, I ended up sleeping in Ottawa due to hail and tornadoes hiding in storms, and most of the run to Checotah was either in dark, or in heavy rains, so not much was to be seen though those are still the areas of Kansas and Oklahoma with features. All to avoid going through Illinois. The most annoying and boring state to travel through on any of the available routes.
        Yeah, I never got to do a western states run, canya tell?

    4. I like to tell my European friends about my roadtrip from mid-Missouri through Kansas to the Royal Gorge in Colorado. I left MO at 5:30am CST, and arrived at my Aunt’s house at 7:30pm, MST- a 15 hour drive at an average speed of 60mph. Blows their minds.

      1. I used to drive Prince George to Surrey a few times a year. 10ish hours on the highway.

      2. A friend in College had a friend come visit from German.

        He took the Greyhound (!) from NYC to central Missouri. He thought the schedule was wrong because NO WAY could it take 36 hours to go that far. It wasn’t even all the way across the country.

        Yeah, the bus got in a little later than he expected. Right on time by the schedule.

  16. “…they stand tall and righteous and put their shoulders back and say that Heinlein was racisthomophobicsexist or that great authors of the past should have been better than to follow the prejudices of their time….”

    Isn’t that eraist?

  17. Not that any of this will be new to anyone here:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    ― C.S. Lewis

  18. I still can’t not see in the PPACA the road to euthanizing transsexuals and drug addicts.

    I think it might be fun to pretend I am convinced that PPACA supporters who would object to such, perhaps for personal reasons, are simply fanatic enough socialists to cheerfully pay the price.

    1. They just don’t grok the unintended consequences of their well meaning actions.

      1. Certainly some do not, but I am convinced some do.

        Recall the current passion from the watermelon environmentalists for “population reduction” schemes to “bring humanity in line with nature.

        The thing is, absent a nationwide kick-down-the-doors US gun confiscation effort, the “You go first” answer remains valid.

        1. Guns are only necessary to avoid excessive collateral damage. I leave the rest as an exercise to the reader.

        2. Even the ones who do are often surprised to find themselves in the gulags about to receive the final ration of lead.

  19. The notion of Heinlein being *phobic is so utterly wrong as to be laughable. After all, he had major characters who are trans (“I will fear no evil”), bisexual, all sorts of ethnic groups, etc. He also, in many places and very plainly, opposed slavery of all kinds. Then again, maybe that is the *real* beef they have against him.

    1. IIRC, one of the (many) complaints against the Starship Troopers movie was that Juan Rico was miscast as a white kid.

      1. What’s up with that? Hollywood is like… no one will watch an asian actor in a kung fu movie, lets cast a white guy… no one will watch a handsome latin hottie in a movie, lets cast a white guy.

        I don’t know who they’re casting for, but I think they live exclusively in the heads of Hollywood money men.

        1. Generally they’re casting for a Big Name.

          A couple of times, there’s been outrage…and the person they cast was actually the “correct” race, just not what the outraged had expected.

          See the complaints when they make Polynesians and Hawaiians and similar holy-freak-BIG folks look like…well, they actually look, and then all their dream-casting is guys who are half of the “correct” race. I love The Rock, and that guy who was the warrior dude on Andromida is both a good actor and highly attractive, but they sure would stick out as…well, muscular twigs, among my old parish! (Samoans. The pre-teen kids were bigger than me, and I don’t mean fat.)

            1. When my dad was last at Tonga, only one of the King’s younger sons could visit because he was the only one small enough. The Navy’s steel gang planks weren’t rated to take any heavier weights.

        2. Then there’s “This character is the villain but is Asian Indian. We can’t have an Asian Indian as a bad guy so we better get a White Man to play him.”. 😦

        3. When it comes to the mechanics of making movies, Hollywood is super conservative. It’s been said that one is better off making a multi-multi-million dollar bomb with all the “right” choices* than an original film with moderate success. Recognized white actors for non-white roles is the safe play.

          *name actors (even if horribly miscast), a by-the-numbers script, lotsa special effects, ect

  20. “””You’ll go to your death saying not even “if only Stalin knew” but more “If only clerk number 4589 had listened to my case more attentively.”

    Those who give you everything have the power to withhold everything. In a massive bureaucracy, it’s not hard to come up with excuses and justifications as to who must live and who must die.”””

    George Bernard Shaw believed (1) that Capitalism is evil, and (2) that we needed special panels to decide how useful someone is, and if that person isn’t useful, that we should humanely put that person down.

    I have always suspected that George Bernard Shaw believed that he would be on the panel judging others — and that he would never be one being judged by such a panel, who would find his contributions to society to be wanting.

    What’s even funnier, if you think about it, is that the Capitalist system he so despises has already set up a system of sorts, that’s kindof like this, but much more humane. Every time you apply to a job, or ask for money from a charity, you are putting yourself in front of a panel, justifying your existence. Some of these panels will say “not today”, but rather than outright execute you, they merely turn you away — giving you another opportunity, before another panel, to justify your existence. If you can’t justify it with your skills, you can go to a charity and justify that you’re unable to work, or that you’re able, but need just a few more resources before you can find something you can do. Yes, there’s a danger in starving, but it’s not as immediate, or as final, as what George Bernard Shaw proposed.

    It’s things like this that makes me convinced that Capitalism is the very Communism that all these Communist theorists desire — but because they don’t really want to save mankind, but merely be in charge of it, their quest for power and control blinds them to this very fact.

    1. George Bernard Shaw believed (1) that Capitalism is evil, and (2) that we needed special panels to decide how useful someone is, and if that person isn’t useful, that we should humanely put that person down.

      I have always suspected that George Bernard Shaw believed that he would be on the panel judging others – and that he would never be one being judged by such a panel, who would find his contributions to society to be wanting.

      They who aspire to Stalin’s brass ring seldom consider that they may end up with Trotsky’s ice axe instead.

    2. From my limited exposure to Shaw I’m unsure whether he was genuinely Socialist, or simply a shite-kicker who couldn’t think of a creed that he could adopt that would outrage more people….

    3. The only real power most bureaucrats have is to say “no.” If they don’t say no, they feel they aren’t doing their jobs.

  21. Tyrannical systems will inevitably become corrupt, because clerk number 4589 figured out that he can get a little extra on the side for being more willing to listen to reason.

    1. They will either become corrupt, OR they will become hopelessly rigid, because the bureaucratic procedures are so comprehensive that clerk 4589 is totally programmed. Peter Drucker wrote in 1969:

      “Whether government is “a government of laws” or a “government of men” is debatable. But every government is, by definition, a “government of paper forms.” This means, inevitably, high cost. For “control” of the last 10 per cent of any phenomenon always costs more than control of the first 90 per cent. If control tries to account for everything, it becomes prohibitively expensive. Yet this is what government is always expected to do.

      The reason is not just “bureaucracy” and red tape; it is a much sounder one. A “little dishonesty” in government is a corrosive disease. It rapidly spreads to infect the whole body politic. Yet the temptation to dishonesty is always great. People of modest means and dependent on a salary handle very large public sums. People of modest position dispose of power and award contracts and privileges of tremendous importance to other people–construction jobs, radio channels, air routes, zoning laws, building codes, and so on. To fear corruption in government is not irrational. This
      This means, however, that government “bureaucracy”— and its consequent high costs—cannot be eliminated. Any government that is not a “government of forms” degenerates rapidly into a mutual looting society.”

      To which I would add:

      If government operations are fully proceduralized, to the point of eliminating individual employee and frontline manager discretion, they will be cumbersome and inefficient. If they are not fully proceduralized in this way, then they will be subject to widespread corruption and tyrannical behavior.

      Hence, the expansion of government into all aspects of human life leads to increasing inefficiency, eventually resulting in sluggish performance across the entire economy–while the increasing frustration with bureaucracy results in a widespread demand to “make government more responsive” by giving more discretionary authority to administrators and to their political superiors. This, in turn, results in a government which is not only a looting society but a tyranny. Yet at the same time, there will still be enough baroque proceduralization (selectively enforced) to ensure high levels of inefficiency and very high government administrative costs.

      1. “If government operations are fully proceduralized, to the point of eliminating individual employee and frontline manager discretion, they will be cumbersome and inefficient.”

        Welcome to Canada, where encumberment and inefficiency have been raised to a fine art. In this place, only enterprises with the right backers are possible.

        Want to build a two billion dollar pipeline to bring the nation’s oil wealth to the Pacific market? Forget it. Not happening.

        Want to stick a 300ft tall bird-chopping, electric grid destroying 3 megawatt windmill in every farmer’s field from Niagara Falls to Turkey Point? No problem! As long as you have enough Liberals on your board, and enough Liberal MPs buying in through their “blind trusts” you are good to go.

        Bird choppers have their environmental assessments waived, you see. Pipelines will never get through the paperwork stage. Ever.

        This is an American problem too. I remember the president of Intel a few years ago saying that all new Intel manufacturing was being built in Arizona or overseas. They’d have like to build it in California, but he said there was literally not enough money in the -world- to get a brand new manufacturing plant built in California.

        1. In 2004, there was a story about people in the towboat industry in Seattle who have had to wait between four and five years to get permits for minor facilities improvements. This is not just about bureaucratic delay and inefficiency–there is something else going on.

          “It’s all cultural,” says Eugene Wasserman, executive director of the Neighborhood Business Council. If it were biotech, it would get the green light.

          “Biotech is cool. Propellers and pilings are uncool,” is how the government’s attitude is summed up by columnist Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times.

          Several years ago, I observed a local example of the cool/uncool phenomenon noted by the columnist above. A county government had an “incubator” program for new, technology-oriented small or low-cost office and lab space, that sort of thing. Someone who was starting a metalworking business to make a new product applied…he was turned down, because the county government wanted “cool” computer-related businesses. (There were no environmental issues: this was clean light manufacturing.) Government officials, who most likely knew very little about any technology whatsoever, chose the currently-fashionable technology, which was web sites, not lathes and milling machines. (Wonder how many of the companies that they did sponsor are still around?)

          Faux Manufacturing Nostalgia:

          1. Unions commonly use the permitting process as a weapon against employers, exercising undue influence with the unionized bureaucratic workforce to get their “complaints” about misbehaviour heard and attended to.

            An awful lot of environmental permitting is held up for similar reasons, and the EPA notoriously heeds union accusations of environmental degradation.

        2. California has literally used environmental paperwork to forcibly prevent saving whales, for love of Pete!

          Poor SeaWorld; they made the mistake of being effective at doing what they said they’re doing.

      2. If you look at the old Soviet Union, the system was corrupt because it had to be. The manager for People’s Widget Factory #47 needs to meet his monthly goals, but he’s short of widget oil because the Central Logistics people never got around to delivering it. So, he goes to a Fixer, who happens to know that the Red Ocktober Doodad plant wound up with tons of widget oil by accident, and can arrange a trade for those extra raw doodads.. plus a reasonable fee.
        The Parti Commissars know about these little trades, but have to turn a blind eye, because they’re on the hook if they don’t make the goals… and the fixer will kick in a few bits towards the new dacha.

        1. part of the problem in the lands of the Rus is the most capable capitalists were the mob and corrupt officials, so they were the ones who got most of the power after the fall.

    2. Yes. And given that the Democrat Crime Gang has a 150-year record of wholesale bribe-taking, you can bet that medical care will depend on how much you paid the Dem Gauleiter.

  22. > Do you think the “progressives” will ever understand that they’re trying
    > to slouch back into that slavery they condemn so vehemently?

    They aren’t trying to bring back slavery.

    They’re trying to re-implement feudal society. They aren’t trying to enslave us, just make us peasants. That’s not going to work well for anyone.

    1. Living out in “the sticks” I am convinced they want to bring back feudalism. Increase gas prices! make everyone sue public transportation! Ban private cars!
      Public transportation doesn’t work/make sense in ruralville. Doesn’t make sense in a lot of other areas either but that’s another story….

      1. the people saying that don’t realize how rural ruralville is… they think those farms they see are just farms, nobody wants to live out there…

        1. I spent the first part of my life trying to get off the farm. Now I’m working my butt off to go back. . .

          1. yeah, i could deal with a little more rural, esp if i could make a backstop and have about 100m of clear space…

      2. Public transportation, which takes you from where you aren’t to where you don’t need to be by the least direct route practical.

        1. a better way to put it is that it takes you from where they want you to be, to where they want you to go, on the route they want you to take.

        1. Now I am curious, but will not ask you to expound upon such here. I do like the idea of god(s) secure enough in their own godhood to not need external validations.

          1. Why do we give thanks and praise to God?
            It is appropriate (either that or commit suicide, ya hypocrite), objectively correct (gratitude is a virtue), and good for you (honestly, you’ll be happier and more at peace)

            Why anyone confuses the pagan gods with the triune God, the unmoved mover, omnipotent, omniscient, and rational creator of the universe is a bit of a mystery.

            1. NOT getting into religious discussion/argument here, but the most forceful argue against Organized Religion was the Organized Religion Indoctrination I was exposed to. You do what you feel works for you. I’m still recovering. (And not from sexual predation.)

              1. *shudder*
                I am a hobby-evangelist for Catholicism.

                Grew out of, mostly, going “where the @#$@# did you get that insane idea? It has NOTHING to do with Church teachings!” and either getting the answer that it was the usually female relative who acted as godmother, or from their religious education classes. Some of it may have been simple misunderstanding on two or more sides, but some…makes me wonder what they were smoking, you know?

                1. Grew out of, mostly, going “where the @#$@# did you get that insane idea?

                  Try being Jewish and dealing with blood libels that directly contradict Kosher rules. NO! we do NOT use the blood of Christian children in making our unleavened bread! For one thing it discolors the dough and gives the matzoh a coppery aftertaste that nobody wants.

                  1. I’m puzzled by ‘coppery’ (many others here have used such to describe blood…) when hemoglobin (for mammals, anyway) is iron-based. Now, hemocyanin, found in arthropods and molluscs (and supposedly Bostonians…) does involve copper.

                    1. Yeah, that’s always puzzled me, too. Admittedly I don’t go around drinking blood, that kind of thing gives a body a bad name, yewknow? And I haven’t sucked on a copper wire since I don’t know when. But that is the common association so that is what I used.

                      My guess is the beet juice often used to colour horseradish causes idiots to jump to conclusions.

                      As much horseradish as I pile on my matzoh I doubt anybody would believe I can taste anything, but it goes sooooooo well with my momma’s haroses.

                    2. I don’t know why, but it does taste coppery.
                      One of the ways to tell you’ve got a sinus infection (besides the whole sneezing-out-blood-clots thing) is a strong taste of copper.

                      Tried to see if there was anything on why that was so, got a bunch of twits sounding off that iron and copper taste alike.
                      No, they don’t…. they’re both metallic, but there’s more of a kind of bite, or zing, to copper. Iron can taste almost sandy….

            2. OvergrownHobbit, we don’t discuss or argue theologies and beliefs here. It’s one of the few hard and fast no-go topics. If someone wants to mention a specific theological idea or has a specific question, that’s one thing. Otherwise we don’t go there. Please check the FAQ for more details, and the list of Things We Don’t Talk About.

              1. Re-read the FAQ BBQ. If I’m understanding you, the comment crossed from “point of information” to discussion/argument. I can see that. Thanks for the reminder.

    2. “You say plantation, I say collective, let’s put the chains back on!”
      The label doesn’t matter as much as the essence.

  23. haven’t read the comments yet, but i have one.

    In the future we’re currently slouching toward, it won’t even be ‘clerk 4589’ it will be the Department of Human Affairs ‘AI’ (its not really AI, its more of an expert system, but don’t tell them that…) decides you don’t check the correct actuarial boxes for continued support from the state…

    (yes, i know insurance companies already do it… technically, so does the NHS)

    1. Bail, sentencing, and parole are all done by software in some jurisdictions now.

      Privatized prisons, privatized probation, and even “privatized police”, who are uniformed like police, but are actually non-sworn contractors. Originally those were mostly traffic enforcement, but their use is expanding.

      Federally-funded “fusion centers”, which are nominally private companies, used for gathering intelligence without Federal oversight.

      People focus on Big Brother and fail to notice all the Little Brothers preparing the way ahead of him.

  24. If we don’t have publishers controlling access to books how would we ensure that only good books, books encouraging proper thinking, get published? I think Sarah’s missed the fly in her ointment!

    Finding A New Way To Sell Books
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Right now, in a lot of professions affected by the Internet revolution, there are people thriving unexpectedly, and people getting in unexpected trouble, and – mostly – a great deal of fear.

    Catastrophic change is called that because it takes place so suddenly that society and the economy have no time to prepare, and several people experience catastrophy.

    The advent of the Internet caused just such catastrophic change, amplified by the fact that at first, it didn’t seem something that would touch our daily life, but something that eggheads and geeks played with. However, from the ability to communicate around the globe, to the ability to work remotely, the changes from the world wide web started affecting everyone and everything.

    And though at the beginning it was relatively gradual, it was still too fast for the rate of change humans can cope with. Also, the effects accumulated and accelerated, from shopping on line, to, well, in my field, the ability to publish your own work without the blessing or intervention of a publisher. …

  25. While I do think you make some good points but the way you portray the NHS isn’t correct.

    It is quite easy for people to have private health insurance in the UK. I’ve had it myself ‘ by accident’ when I’ve had a job that includes it. Because the NHS is fairly high quality private treatment mainly gets you a better room. The NHS does have delays and probate care can sometimes help you skip the queue. My mother in law had private treatment on cataracts in one eye because the delay was a problem at her age but then was happy to wait to get the other eye treated on the NHS.

    The current disputes about the treatment of a particular child wouldn’t be any different if the child was being treated privately. The dispute is within our legal system not our medical one. The doctors believe the parents proposed treatment would expose the child to unnecessary pain and suffering. A lawyer appointed to look after the child’s interests agrees. If a private doctor had the same opinion about the child suffering the result would have been exactly the same.

    1. Your legal system and your medical system are two legs of the same behemoth and THAT is the problem.
      NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO DEATH, WITH DIGNITY OR NOT. Any government that sets itself up to deliver death with their version of dignity is slouching towards Nuremberg.

      1. Somebody played that “death with dignity” bit on my recent blog post on the Alfie Evans case. My response was that there is no dignity in death. At best it’s an alternative to something worse that an individual can make for themselves. Having the State decide that certain people are just suffering too much and should be euthanized to keep them from being a burden has such a good track record, right?

        Prompted a “sulk quit” of the “Oh, you just want an echo chamber” variety. (Sure, that’s why I approved your comment from moderation and responded to it, practically point by point–pretty much the exact opposite of having an echo chamber.)

        1. At the very least, if there be “Death with Dignity” it is death willingly accepted. The soldier throwing his body atop a grenade, the mother hurling herself into the bear’s maw before it can reach her child, Jesus on the Cross! It is not, cannot be, a death imposed by government fiat.

          This is execution accompanied by euphemism. There can be no dignity to it no matter what the murderers claim.

          1. Taking care of the ill is undignified.
            So killing the ill, especially if they make you look bad, preserves the dignity of the system.

            1. Taking care of the ill is undignified? I can provide convent-loads of nuns who say otherwise.

                1. I do understand the “death with dignity” idea. There’s an argument to be made that scrambling to desperately preserve life at all costs is not dignified. Keeping a person alive to simply breathe one more moment is not really what we should be aiming for.
                  There’s also the idea that letting them go out in agonizing pain, making a mess of themselves, unable to give and receive the love of their families, is definitely not dignified.
                  Then there’s the arguable notion that letting someone choose their moment and method of death is more dignified than otherwise.

                  The problem is when some of those ideas 1) start overriding all other considerations and 2) become generalized to Solution A is always appropriate in Situation B, no matter whether patient is C, D, or X. And this will ALWAYS happen when you have a bureaucracy in charge.

                  Because, then you get things like Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans.
                  Again, it’s not just that the parents couldn’t try some crazy option. There’s plenty of evidence for parents (and others) doing *anything* out of desperation; and plenty of folks who have preyed on that in the past and the present. And those things don’t necessarily help the child and may end up prolonging pain and suffering.
                  But, it’s that, in denying them some grab-at-the-brass-ring-miracle-attempt, they also denied the parents’ parenthood. They simply said “Nope, he’s not yours.” Not even to the point of letting them take him home.
                  That’s evil.

                  1. There’s an argument to be made that scrambling to desperately preserve life at all costs is not dignified.

                    Except they never go with that, except during the argument.

                    Probably because the only examples that can actually be found are on the extreme edges– doctors doing stuff over the objections of the family, to “save” someone who would rather go like Mrs. Bush (and my grandfather, and my husband’s grandfather, and…) did.

                    It’s either “I want to kill myself, when I’m no worse off than normal people,” or “that person, right there, is inconvenient.”

                    Then there’s the arguable notion that letting someone choose their moment and method of death is more dignified than otherwise.

                    It gets made. And then bogs down in both reality-checking– where the sick get bullied by being told their life is not worth living if they hold on for “too long”- or by defining “dignity” as identical to “control.”

                    And those things don’t necessarily help the child and may end up prolonging pain and suffering.

                    Life is pain, your highness; anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

                    1. See: Alfie Evans a Victim of the Technocracy, By Wesley J. Smith.

                      Pull quote:
                      If Alfie had been a royal baby — either of the political or celebrity kind — he’d still be on life support if that was what his parents wanted. He would be in a different hospital with new minds and new imaginations searching for causes and treatments. And it rankles.

                      Our institutions are in a crisis state of distrust. In health care, this is bred and worsened by each case of coercion by the “experts.” I know. People reach out to me. They email or approach after my speeches. In the stories they tell, I sense that sometimes two lives were lost in the event because people’s sense of rage and loss is so raw they simply cannot move on.

                      Given the millions of times that patients and families decide to stop fighting illness or injury and allow nature to take its course, it is remarkable that bioethicists and health-care policy honchos feel the need to push the relatively few dissenters out of the lifeboat. It isn’t right. It isn’t just. And it isn’t smart.


                      What if they established a technocracy and nobody obeyed? This was about raw power. If Alfie — Charlie Gard before him, and the victims of futile care in this country — had escaped the diktat, there would soon be others demanding their freedom too.

                    2. You know, one of the reasons I defend Coast to Coast AM, no matter how nutty it is, is because that’s where I first heard Mr. Smith. (author of that piece)

                      He’d written a book, and it didn’t fit the narrative. So he went on Coast to Coast AM to make the case.

                      I believe he’s done it several times, actually; all stuff that is quite objectively sound, but not handy for the folks scheduling book interviews…..

                    3. What, the embed didn’t work? Sure. Piece o’ cake and no carbs involved.

                    4. BTW: it is worth mentioning (even though I presume all here already recognise this fact) that it is only through treatment of “untreatable” conditions that we can develop effective therapies. I could cite many instances — the nun who discovered the effectiveness of physical therapy in treating polio/paralysis, the advances made in treating autism and Down’s Syndrome — supporting that argument, but this choir don’t need to hear that sermon, merely to be reminded to sing those hymns.

    2. I’ve know a few folk over yonder and they had jobs with perks that included private medical insurance. Problem here is the leftoids want Canukistani style NHS where any thing else is illegal.
      the UK NHS sucks, but you can get other care, in Canada you can get other care too . . .in the USA
      Even the sack of $#!t Jon Stewart has quipped that if the US goes Canadian health-care, where will Canadians go for good health-care?

      1. Except that the “other care” if it’s the same as in Portugal, is provided by the same doctors with the same habits. Suing your doctor is not a thing, and if it were your right to death with dignity would be enforced.
        He seems to think he’s explaining socialized medicine to someone WHO GREW UP UNDER IT.
        Of course there’s other medical services. Otherwise it would have collapsed decades ago. But they’re provided by the SAME PEOPLE trained in the same “the sick person is not the client but the product” system.
        SERIOUSLY. Oh, the beds are cleaner, and you might get nursing. My parents have loads of supplemental insurance, too.

        1. All these were young at the time, so actual services were not really discussed, but it was admitted that the paid for was still not the best, one had to leave for that (Italy or somewhere far east usually) and the one complained because her new job only had better health not the dental she used to have, so she paid full price for dentistry herself “So it would be fixed before it rotted away and fell out”. Also the private dentist was far better than NHS dentists.

          1. Funny how ranking members of the government often had expedited access to top quality medical attention. The Permanent Secretary for the Department of Administrative Affairs is just too critically important o the smooth functioning of government to be allowed to linger waiting medical treatment; there are meetings to be held, conferences to attend and studies to be prepared!

            1. In my ideal world all people standing for government office would be asked whether they are familiar with the series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.

    3. So, you have private doctors, who can also have patients imprisoned to prevent people from trying to save their lives.

      Are you under the delusion that this makes the situation better?

      1. /amen

        One of the things that makes it really obvious Texas isn’t as far from its democrat roots as I might wish is their hospital laws that make such abuses much more probable. Something about advanced directive.

        Abuses of stealth-euthanasia have been caught elsewhere, too.

      2. I’m not saying it’s better or worse. I’m saying it derives from differences in our legal systems and the differences in health systems in irrelevant in this case.

        There is a good overview of the legal differences here;

        Note that one of the experts quoted believes that such cases do happen in the USA even though there is greater emphasis there on the rights of parents. Despite the differences it is possible that an American court would rule the same way as the UK one of the suffering of the child was thought to be extreme.

        I would personally have preferred that the transfer to treatment in Italy had been allowed in this case but I don’t think you should make law that prevents the court looking at each individual case on its own merits

        1. Despite the differences it is possible that an American court would rule the same way as the UK one of the suffering of the child was thought to be extreme.

          Except that it would be pretty much universally recognized as an atrocity, and suspicious.

            1. This article, which is generally on the side of the parents, quotes equivalent cases which have happened in the USA. Surprisingly this is particularly likely to happen in Texas.


              Note: I’m not arguing here whether this is right or wrong, I suspect this situation brings out such strong emotions that arguments on this topic cause more bad feeling than agreement. I’m just suggesting that the situation is not as different in Europe and the USA as it would first appear.

              1. Except that none of those cases were equivalent, even to the state level.

                And in Pickering’s case, as I’ve mentioned several times in the last week, the SWAT team doctor was in a flat panic when they finally got into the room– because they couldn’t find the vegetative patient whose organs were to be harvested. The kid was responding just fine, considering his medical history. (notable lack of information on how exactly the estranged wife and the brother she’d kept were picked to make health care choices, when the father was the one who’d cared for the guy through prior fits; this is a not uncommon happenstance when a medical establishment got caught playing fast and loose)

                And for the love of all that’s holy, if you really can’t tell the difference between removing a ventilation tube and denying food and water, really not a good topic to mess with.

                For that matter, checking out the actual text of the Texas law might be educational. This is from someone who already mentioned that said law is nasty, especially after the ’03 modification.

                Especially relevant is this bit:
                (d) If the attending physician, the patient, or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the individual does not agree with the decision reached during the review process under Subsection (b), the physician shall make a reasonable effort to transfer the patient to a physician who is willing to comply with the directive.  If the patient is a patient in a health care facility, the facility’s personnel shall assist the physician in arranging the patient’s transfer to:

                (1) another physician;

                (2) an alternative care setting within that facility;  or

                (3) another facility.

                (e) If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the ethics or medical committee has affirmed is medically inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d).  This subsection does not authorize withholding or withdrawing pain management medication, medical procedures necessary to provide comfort, or any other health care provided to alleviate a patient’s pain.  The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility.  The attending physician, any other physician responsible for the care of the patient, and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after both the written decision and the patient’s medical record required under Subsection (b) are provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient unless ordered to do so under Subsection (g), except that artificially administered nutrition and hydration must be provided unless, based on reasonable medical judgment, providing artificially administered nutrition and hydration would:



                Incidentally? Spending a few minutes checking the unsourced claims of the news article would be a good idea, too. There’s a lot in there.

                Mr. Dunn died of natural causes, with treatment never removed, just a few days after the court ruled that no, they couldn’t remove treatment over the wishes of the patient.

                Jahi McMath was issued a death certificate, but allowed to be moved elsewhere. Notably, she did not deteriorate in the next few months. We’re in years, now, and when the New Jersey medical center that accepted her transfer fed her (which was supposedly going to do no good) her body handled it, and she even healed. Severely disabled, yes; no way to know how much of that is from neglect, though, and Wesley J. Smith observed her move and do exactly the odd motion her mother had requested a few minutes earlier. (Touch right index finger to thumb.) This is especially notable because Mr. Smith is one of the bioethicists who thought the brain death diagnosis was valid, but that the hospital was wrong to try to force the family to keep the girl there.

                No information available for baby Sun. That does suggest that nowhere else was willing to take him, though.

                Better examples might be found– for example, Genevieve Marnon of Michigan right to life had her father murdered by one of the DIY eugenicists I mentioned. Doctor ordered someone with perfectly good kidneys to get no fluids, inserting a DNR over the healthy and alert man’s wishes and against family wishes, etc. Or talk to the folks here who took organ donor off their license when they heard a few too many “donorcycle” “jokes.”

  26. One of the things few non-Americans appreciate is how culturally diverse traditional U.S. is. Washington is not Virginia is not Missouri is not California is not Texas. And I’m only speaking to States I and my family have lived in for some length of time. (Good Lord how I hated the USN for never letting me live anywhere in peace. In hindsight, I might owe them one)

    But what unnerves me is the number of Americans I talk to here in [redacted] who not only don’t realize this, but if it’s brought to their attention, find it weird and alien. Nor do they appreciate the cultural distinctiveness of their State or why it’s cool.

    Figuring out [1] How to vet wanna-be transplants to be sure they’ve got “Hoyt-ism” and [2] implement relentless indoctrination (my mom did NOT want to come here, originally) are job one for dealing with the mess we’re currently in. The Alt Right (not the swastika panty version. The other ones) are valuable for their shameless willingness to slaughter sacred cows and speak heresy to zealots, God bless them, but they just don’t get this.

    1. Missouri is not Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, nor Nebraska, neither (couldn’t resist using that). Arizona is not New Mexico. (I’ve been in all of those except Iowa and Tennessee.)

      1. And not just culturally.

        I grew up (and currently live) in Illinois and was living & working in Columbus Georgia.

        A bunch of co-workers & I were on a smoke-break outside of the building and the co-workers were apologizing to me about the “unusual cold weather”.

        To me it wasn’t really cold as I’d experience Illinois winter. 👿

    2. I keep telling people “The USA is not a monoculture,” but they just give me blank looks. Every place is just like where they are, obviously. Or at the very least, Hollywood’s interpretation of it.

      These same people tend to freak out when they move somewhere else, an trash pickup is on Tuesday instead of Thursday, or bicycles don’t have right of way, or they can be arrested for letting their child walk to school.

      1. It’s funny, because I agree (about the US not being a monoculture). And yet, I’ve always thought of it AS a monoculture – but a very broad one.
        Sure, they eat their pizza weird in Chicago, and they talk funny in NYC, and they have cowboys in Montana. But they’re ALL Americans. And partly because they’re all different, it helps make them all very American.

        One of those odd contradictions-that-really-isn’t. 🙂

  27. “Americans also have a weird blind spot about war and thinking of it as a choice. (Accident of history, being isolated from the squabbles in Europe, and leader with foresight who fought before the battle came to our shores.)”

    Geography matters. The only natural enemies the U.S. has are Canada and Mexico. Kindly note there are very, very few islands from which a successful blockade of either coast could be supported. As opposed to Germany in the World Wars…or China today.

    1. Canadians are your natural enemies? Damn… our secret plan to take over via Tim Hortons is foiled! Foiled, I say! 🙂

    2. Canada, Mexico, formerly Indians, maybe Cuba and very definitely the greatest proven danger, other Americans. ACW cost us the most deaths of any one war.

  28. Do you think the “progressives” will ever understand that they’re trying to slouch back into that slavery they condemn so vehemently?

    Two answers. “Some” and “No.” The first applies only if you are discussing people who, strictly speaking, aren’t progressives when the understanding is actual.

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