Rich, Ignorant and Loud is No Way To Go Through Life

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People in the past were not callous monsters.  The modern leftist is not special.

Okay, one or two might be special (how do I know?) but they are not particularly and amazingly kind.  Throwing their weight around on twitter to show how much they care for the “underprivileged” (a revolting word that denotes that someone is in need of more private law applying to them only) doesn’t make them wonderful.  And their ancestors were not horrible because they verbalized their tender notions better.

The funny thing is that if they had verbalized what was considered an admirable sentiment in their time more, the left would probably hate them for it.

I only know this because not only was I raised in a society very different from the one I live in (though already unimaginably wealthy by historical standards) but I work in the past a lot.  (Okay, not as much as I used to, but we’ve already set the last two books of the Shakespeare series and the rest of the Tudor queens books on my schedule for next year.) This means I am aware of how the past is intensely different from the present.

Humans adapt to the conditions they live under.  We’re highly adaptable creatures.  And if you think that conditions in the past were always “more or less” like middle class America (I run into this a lot, mostly in books written by women a little younger than I) you have no notion how different even the early twentieth century could be.

Take the village I grew up in.  Yes, I know. I was born past the mid century mark.  Yeah.  But you see, I was born under a national socialist regime.  While the Portuguese regime – regardless of what you read in the news here, or the even the history books here – was not as actively lethal as even the Spanish and considerably less actively lethal than any other socialist regime of its time, it was still socialist.  Socialism kills.  It mostly kills by stopping initiative, effort and individual creativity.  Little by little it leaches the society it commandeers, making everyone poorer, and slowing down the normal march of innovation.

You’ve seen – I’ve recently seen – pictures from behind the iron curtain at the time it fell.  It’s impossible not to think it’s like a time capsule to the 1940s. Only dirtier, dingier, and falling apart more.

When I was a child, the place I grew up looked like a mishmash of the Roman Empire and the 1930s America.  (The Roman Empire only because Portugal was once a part of Rome, and … well, it’s sometimes debatable whether Rome really did fall in anything but the administrative bureaucracy sense.)

The most common crime was people stealing clothes from the line.  If you’re nodding along with that and going “Well, in certain parts of America people steal shoes and leather jackets”, you’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick.  The clothes stolen were often not just home made and worn, but they were also often patched. They were still valuable to people who had nothing else to protect them from the elements.  This is almost unimaginable when every thrift store in America sells (sometimes new) clothes for pennies. We have no concept for it. It’s quite literally alien.

Or let me illustrate how close to the bone we lived in another way: mom’s business was to design and make (though sometimes she hired people to help with the making) entire wardrobes for wealthy people. Because – like writing – it was a business of peaks and throughs, she bought a knitting machine which she could use to knit sweaters for the not-so-wealthy when business was down.  Now, the people she knit sweaters for were wealthy farmers, people of some substance.  Only about half the time did she get new wool with which to knit.  The rest of the time, they brought her a sweater and expected her to take it apart, remove the most worn threads, re-dye it and knit it in another shape.

More? Sure.  Once you had gone through all your clothes to the point you couldn’t wear them any more, you either sold them to the rags man, or if they were canvas or some sturdier fabric, you cut them up, dyed them, and had the rug-weaver make a rag rug from them.  (For some reason my family ran on rag rugs so we usually did this.)

Yes, food was about the same thing, though fortunately no one recycled it.  We mostly ate what we grew (what Heilein so aptly described as “root, hog or die.”) and though my family was solidly middle class meat (as opposed to fish, which this being a Mediterranean country was dirt cheap) was a Sunday dish.

I’m not saying this to tell you how hard I had it.  Compared to my parents’ time, not to mention my grandparents’ time we were incredibly wealthy. We didn’t go hungry, and we had antibiotics and could afford doctors.

I’m saying this to say that having a glimpse – just a glimpse – into the past, I know how different it was.

The same thing applies to my research.  Granted, Tudor England was a little more turmoil-y than your average era, but one of the things I read to get the rhythm of the language was the diary of a woman who had three husbands executed for treason, and who only had two of ten children survive. The interesting thing is the insane amount of work this woman – a nobleman btw – did every day, which she recorded with scrupulous care.

Even for someone who had a cook and servants, the maintaining of clothes, making sure herbs and meat were preserved, and supervising things like baking, was an insane amount of work, which makes those of us who run a business and raised children feel like the laziest creatures imaginable.

Now picture living like that.  Ignore the political jeopardy, even (though it took up an enormous amount of mental cycles) because Tudor England was crazy.  Concentrate on a society where if you don’t make sure everything (including the water, which doesn’t come from faucets) is clean, your entire family can die of typhus, or worse, where if you don’t keep clothes mended your baby will be carried off of a chill, where if you don’t work as hard as you can, you’re going hungry.  (Which weirdly in Elizabethan England could still apply to some ranks of noblemen.  Elizabeth herself is said to have grown up hungry and ragged when out of favor.)

Did these people spend all their time worrying about the plight of “insert minority here”?  Nope.  The amazing thing is that as far back as we go, people were still charitable.  Okay, it might be a religious obligation, but at least from what we can find from primary sources, people still seemed to have the charitable impulses we have.  They didn’t like to see other people suffer, and they felt the need to help within their means.

Sure, a lot of them demanded at least some effort from those being helped.  The whole point of helping the “deserving poor” (it was much the same in the village, btw) and letting the “undeserving” go, which the left thinks is so offensive, is in fact essential when you have limited resources.  If you help the “underserving”, you’re going to denude yourself uselessly.  When these people are done, they’ll still be as poor as ever, while you’ll also be poor.

But – the left says – this means a moral judgement.  How can you judge?

You can judge very easily.  Chronically poor people, those who won’t help themselves or shift to improve their lives can’t be helped.  Yeah, sure, it might be because they’re discriminated against for other reasons.  Perhaps it is because they’re ill.  Perhaps micro-aggressions hold them down.

That’s nice.  A society that lives close to the bone is not going to care about all that.  They’re going to help those who can be helped and let the others go. Because when you only have a little to spare, you can’t afford to give it away to no effect.

What brought about this rant is that I just read a Pride and Prejudice Variation written by someone who swallowed Dickens hook line and barbed socialist sinker.

Dickens was an amazing writer.  What he was not was an historian or an impartial observer.  What he put in his books has tainted people’s perception of the past and encouraged the cardinal “socialist virtue” of envy.  It causes people to think those richer than themselves are callous bastards.  It teaches people to see the past through that lens.

This book was almost walled when the woman assured us that the middle and upper classes did not care about the disappearance of a serving-woman.

It wasn’t many years after that the murder of a series of prostitutes set Victorian England aflutter, and yes, that included the upper and middle classes.

In the same way she waxes pathetic about how death was common among the poor in the Regency.  B*tch, death was common in the Regency, period.  If your entitled, propagandized ass were plopped down in a society with no antibiotics and uncertain house-heating, you’d learn really quickly how common.  Young ladies in the upper reaches of society routinely made two baby shrouds as part of their trousseau.  They were expected to lose at least that many children.  And while we’re talking of children, yeah, death in child birth was really common too.  As was death in any of the male occupations which, as is true throughout history, took them outside the house. Even noblemen were around horses a lot, and spent quite a bit of time – if they were worth their salt – managing their own lands, fraught occupations in a time when any wound could turn “septic” and any cold could turn “putrid” and carry you off.

Yeah. The people in these close-to-the-bone societies didn’t give money to people who’d waste it.  They sometimes set conditions on distributing largesse. And they had definite opinions on what behaviors were “good” and which “bad.”

They weren’t tight-ass moralists, as the left imagines. They were following percepts and behaviors proven to lead to success.  Mostly success in staying alive.

They were poorer than us and in that measure they were a lot more realistic.

They had to be. The other way lay death.

Spitting on our ancestors for not obsessing about gender-fluid trilobites is in fact the ultimate expression of “temporal privilege.” The left is yelling at people poorer, unhealthier and less able than themselves.

And they’re proud of it.

 

276 responses to “Rich, Ignorant and Loud is No Way To Go Through Life

  1. Christopher M Chupik

    “Temporal privilege”. I like. I steal.

    • I call it “temporal bigotry” myself. Because it is.

    • I’m usually looking at the issue of “Temporal Privilege” from the other end. In so many, many areas, actions that I view as actually evil stem from the drive for “final solutions”. People want to foreclose the possibility that people in the future might make a different choice (for example, by locking up all of Antarctica, or all of the Moon, or all of the Universe as off limits to development forever, or by enacting “anti-growth” policies so as to deny future generations the wealth to solve their problems in their way). I’m with Jefferson on that one.

      I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, “that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;” that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.

  2. “temporal privilege”…I used the term “temporal bigotry”, after seeing this assertion from (surprise!) a teacher: “Kids learn so much these days. Did you know that today a schoolchild learns more between the freshman and senior years of high school than our grandparents learned in their entire lives?” Not an uncommon claim.

    What, precisely, is this wonderful knowledge that high-school seniors have today and which the 40-year-olds of 1840 or 1900 were lacking?

    The example of knowledge that people usually throw out is “computers.” But the truth is, to be a casual user of computers (I’m not talking about programming and systems design), you don’t need much knowledge. You need “keyboarding skills”–once called “typing.” And you need to know some simple conventions as to how the operating system expects you to interact with it. That’s about it. Not much informational or conceptual depth there.

    Consider the knowledge possessed by by the Captain of a sailing merchant ship, circa 1840. He had to understand celestial navigation: this meant he had to understand trigonometry and logarithms. He had to possess the knowledge–mostly “tacit knowledge,” rather than book-learning–of how to handle his ship in various winds and weathers. He might well be responsible for making deals concerning cargo in various ports, and hence had to have a reasonable understanding of business and of trade conditions. He had to have some knowledge of maritime law.

    Outside of the strictly professional sphere, his knowedge probably depended on his family background. If he came from a family that was reasonably well-off, he probably knew several of Shakespeare’s plays. He probably had a smattering of Latin and even Greek. Of how many high-school (or college) seniors can these statements be made today?

    Today’s “progressives,” particularly those in the educational field, seem to have a deep desire to put down previous generations, and to assume we have nothing to learn from them. It’s a form of temporal bigotry. Indeed, Thanksgiving is a good time to resist temporal bigotry by reflecting on the contributions of earlier generations and on what we can learn from their experiences.

    As C S Lewis said: If you want to destroy an infantry unit, you cut it off from its neighboring units. If you want to destroy a generation, you cut it off from previous generations. (Approximate quote.)

    How better to conduct such destruction than to tell people that previous generations were ignorant and that we have nothing to learn from them?

    • What, precisely, is this wonderful knowledge that high-school seniors have today and which the 40-year-olds of 1840 or 1900 were lacking?

      Honestly, I find that the average student these days would find the past’s basic educational standards too hard. I’m somewhat horrified that elementary students now don’t have textbooks (proper reference ones, not the ‘textbooks’ which would have been called workbooks or exercise books in my day), and not as much homework to reinforce lessons learned…

      I have vague memories of being taught how to parse a sentence, but I don’t know if they do it now.

      And I’ll avoid the rants about modern ‘math’ and handwriting…

      • I learned how to diagram sentences. In the sixth grade, about 26 years ago now. Really helped me with grammar and studying foreign languages, to understand how grammar worked. They certainly don’t teach that now, and descriptivist language learning appears to be the way they’re going.

        • *snaps fingers* That’s what it’s called – diagramming sentences!

          Unfortunately for me, it’s one of those things I don’t really remember how and when I learned it (and also no longer remember how to do) so I can’t teach it to my kids…

      • I don’t think they are teaching much grammar at all anymore, and what is being taught doesn’t seem to be sticking with a lot of students. Not that it ever did. But I’ve sure been reading a lot of books lately that make me shudder when I see the grammar rules that have been broken. It’s just too hard to get through some of them — one recently was so badly written I had a hard time figuring out what they meant to say. That one got figuratively tossed at the wall (not going to break my Kindle over someone’s stupid grammar mistakes).

        • I learned last week that one local district has dropped grammar for some elementary grades because the state standardized test looks for creativity and comprehension on the essay, not grammar. There wasn’t enough time (and students were “stressed”) so some grade levels dropped grammar. *facepaw*

          • The Daughter was caught in the early days of teaching to the NC state tests.  Through an internet educational community I had become acquainted with one of the developers of the test for writing.  I described what was actually being done in the class rooms. 

            Her response was at first incredulity, then astonishment.  She explained to me that the tests were designed to access writing skills.  If the child was taught what went into good writing he should be able to do well.  

            There had been schools that were failing to teach needed writing skills.  Therefore the state mandated tests to determine which systems were failing their students.  Then the schools that had been teaching those skills redesigned their programs in order to look better on the state tests.  What started as an effort to improve bad schools resulted in more bad schools. 

          • The Eldest Son whines quite a bit when I get strict about his writing. I’m still rather incredulous at what the teacher thinks is ‘strict.’

            Honestly though, the Housemate thinks that Eldest Son is bored with the lessons, which are, for me, far, far below ‘minimum expectations.’

            Not teaching grammar? Really? How were students supposed to comprehend anything then?

            And I was quite upset at what they were letting slide as essays.

            • Strict? Remember Kip’s father in “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel?”

            • People randomly objecting– sort of organic grammar.

              Like demanding people say “may” when permission is required, rather than saying “can.”

              Which has resulted in my son asking people “may you give me an apple?” or “may you go turn on the TV?”

              -.-

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Mom: Paul, you may set the table.

                Me (Paul): Yes, I have permission to set the table.

                Mom: [Dark Brown Look]

                Note, even as I’ve said the above I started to head to the kitchen to set the table. 😉

              • I think we got around that one by saying it was used in that format when the person asking is asking for permission. “You can, but whether you will be allowed to is another matter.”

                • Strictly speaking, that’s only correct if you’re using a very formal format– the example given in the grammar books is court. This argument is now about a century old. 😀

                  And I growl about it because the only a-holes that pulled it on me insisted on using nicknames. Including the guy who sent me to the principles office for not responding to his nickname for me. (FWIW, I wasn’t trying to ignore him, I just had no idea who he was talking to because that was not my name.)

                  The correct level of formality would involve a teacher that addresses the students by “Miss Smith” and “Mr. Jones.”

                  Once you drop the level of formality, sense comes into play and the person is asking if they will be allowed to use the toilet, not if they are physically capable of it. (Sense generally has very little to do with high formality. :D)

                  • Ahhh. Yeah, that makes sense. For the teachers to drop formality, then expect it back at random won’t work.

                    My profs didn’t use ‘miss’ but refused to call us by our first names in college. Surnames yes; and we students were expected to refer to the teachers as Mr/Ms/Mrs, and Sir and Ma’am.

                    Tangent triggered by memory: I’m still tickled by the memory of Sir deJesus (we were allowed to refer to him by his nickname, which was an acronym of his full name, but Sir preceeded it…) s oring two points off a (3 page, back to back, legal yellow pad) written exam because I used British spelling on one word, and not American… (Colour, not color). Considering how much crap he let me get away with (because I made the lessons more fun) I laughed and let it pass (I got a 98) but the rest of the class was a bit upset (because otherwise, I’d have gotten a hundred, breaking the claim that nobody’d ever gotten a 100% on his classes before… but I pointed out that he was right because I was inconsistent in spelling conventions.)

      • “average student these days”

        Yup. And not only ignorance, but skills like critical thinking and deductive reasoning.

        David Hogg believes that all who came before hin were too stupid to “fix” the world.

        The woke enlightened crowd, the ones who claim to stand against prejudice and discrimination, will use ethnic slurs like “redneck” with reckless abandon. For some reason, they cant work out that a bigoted stereotype directed at rural whites is no different than calling Latinos “wetback”. Why is that? When they should be the ones enlightening us?

        Even better, we apparently have 62 million Americans who champion minority rights while despising the Electoral College. Without any self-awareness or sense of irony. You can almost see the hamsters in their head collapse in shock when you explain why the Founders thought it necessary.

        • Because minority isn’t defined by numbers but by who the feds have declared are so. So it is very possible for ‘minority rights’ to be used by the majority tthat wrote themselves into protection against the minority. Same way people can be fired for politics but not outright harassment if they have the right checkboxes.

        • “David Hogg believes that all who came before hin were too stupid to “fix” the world.”

          One reason the Progressive Left establishment MUST denigrate and mock the efforts of 19th Century Christian missionaries and charities is that if you look at them objectively you might well notice that, on average, they seem to do a damn sight better at teaching the poor and the ignorant than the modern buttinskies. They were ALSO buttinskies, and made some horrible blunders, but they were clearly preferable to the modern bunch.

          • They also COST a LOT less. THEY were not doing it for the money.

            • Oh, there were the usual share of pillocks who ran ‘Christian Charities’ as their own personal piggybanks, it’s just that what was left over frequently did some GOOD.

          • Was it around here that I read about attempts by the Left to get rid of Catholic-run hospitals in American inner city slums, because they don’t offer about 5 or so specific treatments?

            Yeah, sure, do that. Deprive the poor of things like ER care, cardiology and skilled doctors, because those hospitals don’t provide euthanasia, abortion, birth control…

            • That seems rooted in a behavior that is by no means limited to the Left, although they are the worst at the moment; the drive to not only address a perceived problem, but to insist on it being adressed in a particular manner.

              The one that enrages me he most right now is the case of the rhinoceros ; a man in South Africa proved that they can be farmed, and their horns harvested without damage to the anomals. Harvesting also 0rotects them from poachers, sinc ethe horn is what the poachers want.

              No environmentalist goup will TOUCH the idea.

              *spit*

              • Ok, farming rhinos? In my head, both cool, and scary.

                And awesome – no harm to the animal?

                The greenies don’t wanna touch that because they’d lose their stranglehold on that ‘moral point of view’, and would be opposed to the domestication of ‘wild animals that should be frrrrRRREEEEE~~~~’ Which is why there are people who will endanger livestock by ‘freeing’ them.

            • Because they don’t expect them to leave or that the docs and equipment will merely transfer/be bought out by secular. They think the physical serve poor aspect of the bible will overrule the spiritual. They think they can just write an edict and it will be followed.

            • I read with my own eyes a lament about the Supreme Court ruling about the California law for crisis pregnancy centers, and someone pointed out that they could have people at the centers as the other side did at abortion clinics, and a woman literally said that her side didn’t care enough, so regulation was needed instead.

        • They don’t mean “minority” as in “a group which is outnumbered.”

          They mean “minority” as some sort of seal of approval.

        • <IFor some reason, they cant work out that a bigoted stereotype directed at rural whites is no different than calling Latinos “wetback”.

          Worse, a description that is accurate, if rude, but includes an uncomfortable number of a group they’ve decided is protected is suddenly evil.

          So thug and illegal become “dog whistles.”
          Not “Hey, this guy is a physically aggressive bully with a long criminal record,” or “that guy is in willful and routine violation of immigration law,” but insults.

          • Pointing out that hearing coded messages in your opponents’ words that reveal their true evil is normally diagnosed as clinical paranoia — sometimes has some effect.

        • In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

          This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
          ― G.K. Chesterton

        • but skills like critical thinking and deductive reasoning.

          *dry* Those are misogynist patriarchal institutions and have no place in modern education, so you’ll have to report to the re-education camps, comrade…

        • Except that “redneck” is a badge of pride for many Southerners; the Florida Panhandle coast is the “Redneck Riviera”, and Jeff Foxworthy made a whole career off “You Might Be A Redneck” jokes.

      • I have been subbing, after a long career in teaching. The students I’ve encountered have the most indecipherable handwriting – and, the same is true of how they write their numbers. I have no idea how the teachers manage to grade their work.

    • Probably had a smattering of other languages, too. At least of “trade tongue”. Most land-based merchants would too.

      Interestingly enough, second edition Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook used that same concept when explaining “proficiencies”–that the players had skills such as driving and aldgebra, and their characters would have skills such as animal husbandry, riding, and herbalism/healing depending on their background. Things like bowyer, fletcher, tailor. I always liked that part of character creation–making up the background and story that explained why my characters had the skills they did

    • Never mind that the grandparents would have had to much of the same information on their own, at least the important stuff. Other parts they lived and learned that way. Plus, when my grandparents were born they were still in the Depression so any organized book learning would potentially be overruled by needing to work. As such they didn’t spend 12 years farting around in indoctrination centers. When you extend classes you obviously find easy crap to fill it with. Now we fill it with either reteaching things just a few years later because history has changed (A decade ago my college civil war class was open to noting that there was a lot of back and forth tension that helped pile up the fuel. But today it’s evil to say that Robert E Lee or Stonewall Jackson were great generals. Not great people. Just generals.)

      But that means that the progressive class isn’t the most smartest and goodest in history.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Bigotry would not be a case where they respect the value of historical thinking as an alternative to what they espouse. If they were bigoted, they might rest from opposing the past, on the grounds that the past is self-impeaching. They work very hard in discrediting the past. I think it is more some other kind of malicious slander than bigotry.

    • Kathleen Sanderson

      Excellent comments.

      The Founding Fathers were much better educated than most of us — and they were mostly home-schooled or tutored by the local pastor.

      My grandfather, who attended a little rural one-room school tucked deep in the Oregon Coast Range — at that time known as the Appalachia of the West — and who only went as far as the eighth grade, because that was all that was available, and because his labor was needed at home (his mother was partially crippled from an accident when she was young, and his father died of tuberculosis when Granddad was twelve, followed by his oldest brother a year later) — studied Latin in school, and more advanced mathematics than I got in College Algebra.

      I am ashamed of what has happened to the education system in this country. It needs to be fixed.

      • The problem isn’t the students, but what passes for teachers nowadays.

        A one-room schoolmarm who taught everything from Latin to calculus? Without at least a doctorate and certificates for each separate subject? Inconceivable!

        “Education” has become something so rarified and regulated that it has lost any connection to “imparting information to children so they remember it.”

        Meanwhile, kids slide through school in an abyss of ignorance, because nobody *expects* them to learn anything. The purpose of warehousing them is no longer education, it’s simply to keep them off the streets; public daycare. And a reason for a large and expensive bureaucracy to exist to manage them.

        • The people of the greatest generation, essentially those folks who grew up through the depression and World War II, wanted a better life for their children, so that follow on generation got sent to college in the firm belief that a degree was your ticket to wealth and success. What actually happened is a lot of kids got to their junior year in a liberal arts curriculum and realized “Oh crap, I’m gonna graduate and have to find a job.” Looking at their credits they could cram enough education courses into that last year or so to get a teaching degree. Pay wasn’t great, but you wore nice clothes and got the summers off. So the system was flooded with people who had no calling for teaching, and far too often an active dislike for children. And as in many such bureaucratic systems, instead of leaving the worst teachers simply went into administration.

        • “A one-room schoolmarm who taught everything from Latin to calculus? ”
          The person who can do that has far better opportunities now. Doing something else.

          • An awful lot of being a teacher consisted of knowing how to read the books and make sense of it.

            And if they couldn’t, knowing they couldn’t and not doing a cruddy job of it.

            • An awful lot of being a teacher consisted of….
              Actually, a lot of it consisted of disciplining your students into decent manners (otherwise known as “civilizing them”). Which is something teachers are certainly NOT allowed to do today.

          • Elizabeth Creegan

            The American educational establishment has not recovered from women becoming easily able to choose professional careers besides nurse, secretary, or teacher.

      • “only went as far as the eighth grade”

        Grandpa was the same way only in rural Montana. If you went to HS you boarded in town at the schools or relatives. As the youngest he was expected to forgo HS & stay at home to work the farm & take care of the folks. His sisters’ all essentially said BS, & paid for his HS.

        • Feather Blade

          The thing that bugs me about the “8th education” meme is that “8th grade”, at the time, was 16 years old. That’s not an unreasonable age to decide whether you’re going to farm for the rest of your life, or go on and get the professional education that you’d need to be a doctor or lawyer.

          • I don’t think my grandfather was 16 when he ended school in the eighth grade. He might have been 14. But by then, his father and his oldest brother had both died, leaving only the one remaining older brother to do the farm work. So going any further in school was probably not an option even if he’d wanted to.

      • It’s not just in the US. It’s everywhere.

        One of the things I am somewhat grateful for is the Scholastic School Book Club catalogue, which has books priced somewhat cheaper than in the stores, and makes reading look appealing to the kids. We ordered books from there for a while, but then son outgrew the catalogue list – we’ve already put him on some ‘adult level reading’.

        • Xavier Basora

          Agreed. That’s how I learnt to read in English. My nieces in both French and English. In my time, you could buy a wrinkle in time and other classics at really reasonable prices. My parents made sure we’d build up a small library.

    • One of the ways cowboys entertained themselves on trail drives or during winter (if they were kept over to work) was reciting poems and Shakespeare speeches and scenes. From memory.

      • A big deal was going to see an Opera singer when they passed through. There’s a reason it got called The Grand Old Opry

        • And if you look at old Sanborn maps you’ll find that just about every county seat had an opera house that could seat a thousand or more, and possibly another theater, and once into the 20th century usually a movie theater, too. This in towns often with populations well under ten thousand.

          • One of the major riots in New York City (the Astor Place riots) was over interpretations of Shakespeare – English vs. American. There was a LOT of other stuff tangled up in the trouble, but that was the precipitating crises: how should actors do Hamlet and other characters?

            • You are a priceless fount of interesting knowledge.

              I do not recall ever having heard of that incident before. The few write ups I found on quick search were fascinating, with ties to all sorts of colorful characters, institutions, and social undercurrents.

          • Some of the tiniest podunk towns in my state have an opera house. We’re talking places whose population likely never exceeded 1000.

      • Hell, the fact that most of the ‘old folks’ could remember whole loads of poems and songs, and history… Yeah.

      • Do you suppose this contributed to the art form known as Cowboy Poetry? I had never thought of it, but there must be a connection. (I love Cowboy Poetry, by the way — quite a sly sense of humor some of those fellows have!)

        • I know trail songs were often imported from sea-songs– and you’re right on the poetry, the country/western music that sticks to that tradition got my husband hooked on it.

    • *waves the BS flag*
      More like, grandparents learned different stuff, most of which the speaker has discounted as useless.

    • My Mother’s Father graduated from a public high school fluent in English, French, and Latin, and with a command of mathematics through calculus. I expect his grasp of history was commensurate.

      He would consider me semi-literate because I know only one language. Thanks to the influence of my scholarly parents, I am an autodidact in History, but my knowledge is spotty. It is, however, good enough to know that much of what Progressivism has to say about the Victorians and Edwardians is utter pigswill, and that their supposed fondness for the underprivileged and so on does the objects of their affection no favors. I also know that their hatred of Colonialism and Kipling is firmly based in the fact that both were right and they were wrong,mand still are. Being under the rule of the Dutch was usually awful, but French, German, and British colonies were clearly better off under Colonial rule than they are now, especially where the disease of Marxism has ever taken hold.

      I believe, hopefully, that Progressivism is in terminal decline. We shall see.

    • I’ve got books on Age-of-Sail deck seamanship. The skill set of an able seaman of 1800 was daunting. Partly because everything was expected to do double or triple duty. You put it together on the spot.

    • (Waggles hand)
      Let’s be real here, the sea captain in question is the equivalent of a Ph.d. in terms of his position in society. He is not “average.”

      The fact is, on average, today’s high school senior probably knows more than his grandparents did about biology, physics, chemistry, and math. History and English are rather more dubious, however, and the language skills are probably equivalent.

      That having been said, knowing how a cell is structured is something that 95% of people could go their whole life without knowing without causing too much harm to the world. Not knowing how history actually works…different story.

      • The fact is, on average, today’s high school senior probably knows more than his grandparents did about biology, physics, chemistry, and math.

        That’s assuming they’re taught something beyond the basics. I’m still remembering those supposed ‘adults’ who put their children on the rails during the Occupy retardation to stop the trains from delivering stuff ‘from evil companies’, over in … Portland? Seattle? And going “I HAVE FAITH IN HUMANITY” – from the supposed ‘we believe in SCIENCE!111’ sorts.

    • We were just having this convo at dinner. Not too long ago a kid could get roadmaps to life from two adults of both sexes, and several adults of the previous generation as well. (Even if some of the maps were Good God! Don’t go here!)

  3. Even for someone who had a cook and servants, the maintaining of clothes, making sure herbs and meat were preserved, and supervising things like baking, was an insane amount of work, which makes those of us who run a business and raised children feel like the laziest creatures imaginable.

    We take for granted how much modern improvements have… well, improved society, and our lives. I remember having to hand-wash clothing, haul water by the pail from outside – for drinking, bathing, body-washing and cooking, and the water for cooking and drinking needing to be boiled before use, and the top of the water skimmed for floating minerals – chalk? That was in the city!

    I remember being so happy when the water at our supposedly rural area being better – both in regularity in supply, and in potability. That changed as the surroundings became more and more urbanized…

    I have problems imagining more primitive conditions, even though really, I’ve lived some of those, in a sort of ‘touched by the past’ way. I remember there being chamber pots in use when I was a toddler; my maternal grandmother had a wood-fire stove-oven-thing along one wall and while she had a fridge, there also was an odd cupboard made of wood and mosquito-net that kept cooked food from being spoilt somehow. There were still huge stoneware urns on the second story to be filled with water to wash one’s face, even though she had more modern plumbing (and she had a deep well pump that gave water both outside, and a hand pump inside her large indoor kitchen… and other people in the village still washed their clothes by the river; when I was a teenager! (Early 90s)

    My kids can’t imagine any of that. Can’t imagine what it was like to research without the Internet, or not have constant electricity… *shakes head*

    • As part of a school project I spent a short stint one early spring living in a cabin on a apple farm in the Catskills. The heat was provided by the wood cook stove.  It was quite comfortable, except first thing in the mornings.  There was an outhouse, which was well maintained and because it was early spring was not so bad.  All the water was from a well and obtained through hand pump.  If you wanted that water to be anything but the icy you used that wood stove.  (I have considered what it must have been like inside the place during the summer when cooking and canning.)

      We are a spoiled people in the U.S..  I have been saying that a lot since last Thursday when the power went down in our area.  It is a problem when none of your electrical appliances work and your heating and cooling are down.  You may be unable to cook and what you have in the refrigerator and freezer might be lost.  And for many without electricity they can’t pump water.  This means not just doing with out tap water (which impacts not only personal consumption and personal cleanliness) but ability to flush as well.  But the point is that we have all those things — and we have them so consistently — that we take them for granted. 

      • A few years back there was a regional power outage over several states one summer that included Michigan. It lasted parts of four days if memory serves me. We live in a condominium development of 72 units in 4 building. I was the only person living here prepared to cook without electricity. I went down and set up and cooked breakfast by the pool for anyone who wanted it. Steak and eggs and hash browns and coffee. If we had another outage tomorrow I suspect I’d still be the only one prepared for it.

        • During one of the winters where we had recurrent ice storms there was one woman I knew, the mother of two healthy active boys, kept the family going by cooking on their out-door grill. In place of a refrigerator she used an industrial ice chest which she placed in a screened in porch. It kept the basics cold but not frozen.

          Unfortunately that food storage trick does not work in the summer. In summer you have to find a source of ice.

          • There’s a reason most food storage was underground. Go down a little bit and you get a constant 55ish degree temperature, and geothermal gradient takes a while to kick in unless you have really near-surface tectonics going (Like Yellowstone.) Dirt and stone are good insulators.

            • Aye, grandparents place had a basement…. and a sort of small room off from that, seeming to be beyond the outline of the house above, was the cellar.

              • Amusingly a lot of the ‘New and advanced’ geothermal techniques are taking advantage of the things our ancestors used well for centuries (possibly millennia.)

                • “Everything Old Is New Again”

                  Don’t throw…
                  The past away,
                  You might need it,
                  Some rainy day.

                  • In rural Oregon, grandparents & the old homesteads don’t have cellars. But they do have the pump house, which extend underground around the well covering, & pump mechanisms. Plus the pumps had hand &/or manual crank mechanisms. Or they did. Last of the old homesteads passed out of family hands in ’73; grandparents place sold in ’06, now is in foreclosure & the blackberries/poison oak/etc. have obscured the ’30’s house & the pump house.

                    When we went back to Montana, with grandma & grandpa, we got to see the cabin where Mom & her sister lived in the late ’34 – ’39. Grandpa was a mechanic for the mines. One room cabin, one stove, no running water, no electricity, no propane/gas. Outhouse. No well. Grandma had to go down the hill, across the mine road, to get water from the year-round creek on the other side; well in the winter she melted some snow, but also broke the ice on the creek for water. This was with an infant & toddler. In rural Montana (still in the middle of nowhere).

                    Have a friend whose extended family have a vacation cabin on leased FS land west of Crater Lake. They do have propane for cooking, wood for heat, but no electricity or running water. They take a bucket to the year round creek for water; not even a well. Uhhhh, for a weekend, or short week. Maybe. Otherwise, no thank you.

                    Heck even with our small RV trailer, & no connections, we have better facilities available for water holding, heating & cooking, even if we have to move it occasionally to eliminate waste safely & get potable safe water, before relocating back to a spot (have gone 20 days without dumping). We have in the last few years, finally added a small portable generator (I can move it); won’t power everything, but will charge the batteries.

            • I honestly would LOVE to have a basement and a cellar again. They don’t have them in modern house builds, which results in the garage tending to substitute for them.

              I can dream.

    • Until I was ten, we lived on a homestead in Alaska and for the first few years there, Mom hauled our water in a bucket from the lake. We heated with a home-made wood-burning stove made from a 55 gallon drum; Mom cooked on it, too, part of the time (sometimes she had a propane cook stove). We didn’t have electricity until eventually Dad got a generator. We didn’t have a phone until my parents broke up and Mom took us kids back to Oregon — and even there, we didn’t have any luxuries like central heat. I remember her washing clothes by hand, and then with an old wringer washer. We had rats running around in the house, at least until Mom found all of their holes and stopped them up (I think they were pack rats, but still…). We were poor enough that the wild foods we hunted and foraged, and the garden, were essentials rather than luxuries. My children have experienced some of this, especially during the few years when we were back in Alaska, but my grandchildren have seen very little of it. They haven’t even done much camping.

      • The Spouse does not believe in camping, feeling that it spits in the eye of G-d who blessed us with such pleasant things as indoor climate control with air filtration, ample light in the darkness, hot and cold running water with convenient porcelain fixtures, comfy beds and C-paps.

        I, having lived without, albeit in most cases for short periods of time, and having spent two years using a wringer washer do not argue.

        • My one time mother-in-law was firmly of the opinion that roughing it meant staying somewhere without room service.
          My own grandparents, both adults through both World Wars and the Great Depression, taught my brother and me to forage in the woods for mushrooms, berries, and hickory and walnuts. And to grow enough vegetables in their back yard garden to eat and to can for the winter.
          Grandma had her one of those wringer washers, hung the damp clothes in the back yard on a clothes line, or in the basement in winter. Very late in life I bought her a clothes dryer, though she always insisted that sun dried clothes smelled better.

          • Sun dried clothes probably do smell better, but they fade a lot faster. My sister observed this in contrasting her clothes with a cousin’s, whose mother hung her clothes on a line.

            • UV rays fade things much more (and more rapidly) than mere IR.
              I wonder how “air drying” in good shade would go, besides taking longer, that is.

              • $SPOUSE does a lot of that (indoors), to supplement the electric dryer. We have a couple of indoor racks that grace the bathtubs, and various items go on them. Since last summer was way too smoky, the outdoor thermonuclear dryer got put away, and we used the indoor dryers a lot. I did have to run the dehumidifier a lot, though.

                The main thing is that our water is hard. As in absurdly hard, with carbonates and sulfates. (Lime and gypsum, with iron sulfate for flavor.) Line-dried clothes tend to be kind of stiff, and it’s easy to figure out how the current bath towel was dried. OTOH, we didn’t have much fading of clothes this year.

              • It just takes longer. All my skivvies are hand-washed (machine cycle) and line dried indoors because I’m cheap and hate shopping. Colour stays fast.

            • There’s also the fact that sun dried clothes also tend to get pretty dang stiff.
              I usually line dry mine under the porch until they are just a touch damp, and then finish in a dryer.

            • We line-dry our clothes, usually preferring to do so under cover. Drying stuff in the sun is still pretty common here. I’ve actually gotten to the point that we don’t iron most of our clothes – most of it is straightened by the weight of the wet cloth, and wind. It’s fairly convenient too – hang the laundry during one of the ends or starts of the day, take in later. Otherwise, it’s machine-washed, though there are some things I insist on soaking beforehand.

          • Gotta agree with her on that – line-dried clothes definitely smell better than machine-dried.

            • On the other hand when it’s icy out and chilly in, there’s nothing quite so wonderful as fresh-from-the-dryer socks.

              • Fresh-from-the-dryer-towels might give those socks a good run. (The blessing of a good and willing companion to deliver them to you as you step out of the shower or bath is no small thing either.)

            • Unless you live in a place where the breeze moves real estate, and powdered manure (no offense Orvan). Then you don’t want air-dried, because you have to wash the whites again.

              • I currently live in hog country – and hog… output… is its own special NOPE. Hydrogen Sulfide.. for starters.

                And, I take full advantage of modern plumbing, myself. If you want windy BS, listen to Chicago politicians. Granted, you might need to change out the canister on your gas mask with alarming frequency if you risk such an endeavor. Positive pressure and a good air/oxy cylinder are great friends indeed.

                • Mom’s shorthand:
                  pigs are biologically very close to humans. So everything about them is going to set off our defensive measures, including biological smells.

              • Birds …

              • We can get pretty dusty, and if our neighbor’s gravel road is upwind of the dryer, that’s also a no.

        • My grandfather was firmly of the opinion that the reason he worked hard at his job and earned money was so that his family WOULDN’T have to sleep in a tent.

          • We sleep in a tent for fun. It is fun … darn it.

            That is what we did growing up. That is what hubby did growing up. That is what we have done. Currently we have 5 backpacking tents & one big one. Now that we are older (ground has gotten a lot harder, even with better pads), may they stay packed away for emergencies.

            Remember at scout outings how some scouters would joke that their spouses (okay 98% of the the wives, but not all) said the local Hilton was “roughing it”. No way would they go car camping let alone backpacking. Latter I related this to my folks. Then stated, “That means I don’t have to go camping … right?” (I was joking, FYI, FWIW, kind of). Hubby just smiled. Not sure who laughed harder, mom or dad … they have pictures of me taking a bath at Elk camp in the pan used for dishes. I was 3 months old.

            Mom tells a story about how a divorcee who had ran through a number of local small ranchers in their area had set her cap for (still married) uncle. My aunt, just smiled, pulled her aside & listed all the “camping” gear, clothing, & which rifle she’d need for hunting … my understanding is the gal couldn’t leave the area fast enough …

            The only concession I make for tent camping … I don’t cook. Period. I can. I won’t.

            • I had my fill of tent camping before I was in my teens. After we spent a weekend in 18 degree (F) temperatures, Mom insisted on a camper.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Chuckle Chuckle

                The ONE year my family used a camper-trailer on vacation, we got hit by rain. We actually spend more time that vacation in a motel room than the camper-trailer. 👿

              • We tent-camped in the late-50s until the early 60s, when my folks got a folding trailer. With sufficient motivational rain, you could go from level, but closed to more-or-less setup in a couple of minutes. The big canvas tent would have taken an hour or so, going from youthful guesstimates.

                $FIANCE (at the time) bought a Coleman popup tent trailer in 2000, and we did some camping with it the first few years, but now it’s more the emergency/backup resource. It’s been the backup kitchen a handful of times (remodels, mold fiasco, etc) and it’s also a good place to doggie sit when we have workmen doing loud things in the house.

                Both of us still have backpacking gear and a bigger tent, just in case. We’re not likely to be able to use/need a bugout bag, but redundancy doesn’t hurt.

              • A good chunk of my scouting career was in (West, at the time) Germany (Bavaria mostly). Lots of fun hiking and camping in the Alps. In the summer? Not so bad. The hike up the Zugspitze in the summer was a nice enjoyable hike. In an Alpine winter? I did it … once. Just so that I could say that I did. Other years, I let the younger boys do it to find out how much of a pain in the backside (literally, due to the ice) it was. Average temp on the hike, with windchill, was something like 10 deg F.

                Of course, that reminds me of the time doing lifeguard training at the campsite there in Garmisch. Summer time, but the water in the pool was still only 50 deg F. We got to practice our lifesaving skills for real on a couple folks who jumped in on the drownproofing test.

                • Spousal unit and I loved tent camping in Garmisch when we were stationed in Bavaria in the 90s. Unfortunately, my subsequent Army career involved a lot more badly-conducted field time and ruined me permanently for tent camping. He still loves it so he takes our Scouts and I stay home and dry. Even a modern KOA with full facilities has too many bad associations any more, I don’t exactly miss it, but I do miss being able to *enjoy* it.

            • I’ve slept I tents for fun. It’s the outdoor “plumbing” I draw the line at.

        • Your spouse and I agree, though I am willing to make an over exception for the sake of family unity, if some form of readily accessible running water is involved.

        • I’ve always loved camping. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I was taken camping from the time I was a baby? But as an adult I know that one reason I love it is that it’s very minimalist — we don’t have much stuff along, just what we really need — and so it’s easier to do the ‘housework.’ I also love to be outdoors — if we lived in a climate that would allow it, I’d sleep outdoors all the time. Well, climate and bugs would need to allow it — I’m not fond of getting bitten by mosquitoes.

  4. I’m going to say something that will upset people. Part of the reason we see the rich willing to throw money away on the undeserving poor is fear. Firearms are now cheap and effective and if the undeserving poor aren’t given a bit to keep them quiet nobody is safe to walk the streets.
    There is STILL a body of undeserving poor so stupid they can’t contrive to qualify for the public largesse, or they are unsatisfied with it. Firearms are a great equalizer, but the wealthy and certain political factions see no difference between the undeserving poor and the middle class. We are all a rabble or deplorables to them and they will do everything they can to make themselves safe. The fact that it has basically failed so many places (Mexico) doesn’t stop them. They are not reality based in many areas – Economics/ morals/ the realities of biology and ecology. So why should they suddenly observe reality and work with it in any one area. They are frankly not right mentally, and will continue a fruitless effort in the face of failure until it leads to a social/economic collapse. (Venezuela)

    • It’s part fear, part dehumanizing them. Treat them like an attack dog, feed them and make them think you’re protecting them and point them at your enemies. The expansion of gangs (and terrorism) isn’t a byproduct of events but a specific intention. Make the people fear so they can be controlled.

    • It’s an habit too, from when everyone lived in fear of communist revolution.

    • Firearms are now cheap and effective and if the undeserving poor aren’t given a bit to keep them quiet nobody is safe to walk the streets.

      …at least, not after you’ve disarmed the deserving poor, and the middle class, and anybody else who can’t afford to hire someone to do violence for them.

      Becomes a self-feeding issue, since the undeserving poor come to feel entitled to other folks’ stuff, and get violent if it’s denied. (Not that a sizable portion didn’t start out that way, that’s part of what makes it hard to get out of poverty. You get a little something, and you are a target.)

    • This is still the reason that the Democrats in the 60’s voted the way they did. They were buying off Blacks to stop the riots.

      • And the reason why the New Deal happened. Everyone was worried that something like the Bonus Army would happen again, but that this time the marchers would come ready to fight.
        My grandfather called FDR the socialist who kept the country from going Communist. He was probably right.

  5. Wish could be on front page of every newspaper in US, repeatedly in every school room (all ages), and lead the tv news. A real “keeper”. Thank you.

  6. Throwing their weight around on twitter to show how much they care for the “underprivileged” (a revolting word that denotes that someone is in need of more private law applying to them only) doesn’t make them wonderful.

    To paraphrase one of Dash’s most memorable lines from The Incredibles, When everyone is privileged, nobody is privileged.

    This is word twisting, used to flim-flam the public by appealing to their sympathies. There is an implication that there is a proper portion of privilege that everyone should have, as a right.  These same people attack anyone who falls into their category identified as privileged.  What they want will not result in a forceful leveling of the playing field, but will lead to a leveling of everything.  Because nature doesn’t work the way they think it does. 

    These followers who flood us with their complaints are part of the privileged.  (They have access to twitter … really.)  They would be in for a very nasty surprise should what they support happen.  It would not be that the people below them would be raised up on the backs of the people above them.  No, it would all come grinding down for everyone except for the very precious few, the thugs who promised an impossible utopia to gain power. 

    • If they succeed in lebeling, what and who they get on the other side will not be who and what they want.

      We go rounds about this occasionally-the teens and I, because I feel a certain amount of “unnecessary, old-fashioned” skills are vital, and I’ll put them on the test.

      • “lebeling” — is that larping a rebellion? 🙂 Yeah, they’ll be startled when their playacting ends with themselves up against the wall…

        As to the nominal topic, I consider groups like the Amish valuable in part because they keep alive old skills — including the nearly-lost skill of community.

    • ‘When everyone is Somebody, then no-one’s anybody!” The Gondoliers, Gilbert 7 Sullivan, 1889.

    • Once upon a time we called folks “disadvantaged”. Having two married parents. Living in a safe, stable community. Money. Health. All advantages. Life isn’t fair, so some start with more, some less.

      “Under-privileged” has been around a long time, but it would be interesting o know when the swop to general/preferred usage happened.

  7. “And they had definite opinions on what behaviors were ‘good’ and which ‘bad’ ”

    That resonates with me. Today “sin” carries the connotation of corruption and evil. But my readings indicate it’s meaning is more simple: bad habits. Little things like leaving an extra helping on your plate, sleeping in, wiping with the right hand instead of the left.

    We roll our eyes because, in our world, these admonitions seem like the petty nagging of evangalizing busybodies. But in their day these “bad habits” could get you killed. Or bring a civilization to it’s knees.

    Why are perversions like anal sex considered sinful? Because of some prude repressing her sexuality? Or because evolution hasn’t developed natural protections against communicable disease for anal sex to the same degree it has for vaginal, limiting vectors?

    You there in the back. Yes, Mr Snicker. Detention.

    • At least most sins were laid out somewhere. Today the rule changes so often that you are ‘sinning’ against modern secularism with almost anything you do. Maybe not yesterday but doing that is unthinkable tomorrow.

      • I’m buying popcorn futures for the day when everyone who has been using the term “people of color’ gets shipped off to the gulags.

        Also, forgot to include a ref above: “The composition of the human vaginal microbiome is critical for maintaining the first line of defense against pathogens”
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880931/

        • Sadly, most of the biggest pillocks will somehow ‘get the memo’ and only the poor confused little people who are only trying to get it right will get caught out.

          Do you suppose we’ll live to see the SJW approved designation come around to ‘nigger’?

          *evil smirk*

          • The joke I’ve heard is “Don’t end it with an r, end it with an a.”

            • I was grabbing a quick burger at a McDonald’s during the summer and a couple of youths from that neighborhood sat down nearby to chat with each other. One seemed to believe that word was required to comprise no less than than ten percent of his verbal output.

              • A lot of black youth talk like that, thinking it makes them ‘gangsta’ or some such. The 1920’s and ‘30’s probably saw similar behavior in inner city poor from Italian, Irish, and Jewish backgrounds. Or, for that matter, from city kids who wanted to be thought of as connected to bootlegger gangs.

                It’s the ones in the affluent suburbs that annoy me most. I feel like telling them “I picked tougher things out of my teeth this morning”, but I don’t often.

                I did once tell some gangsa poseur that he could move or bleed, but I claim extenuating circumstances. It was the Christmas season, I was working in a mall, and he was blocking my way to the food court on my (short) lunch break.

                Also, his jeans were pressed.

                He moved.

          • “Sadly, most of the biggest pillocks will somehow ‘get the memo’ and only the poor confused little people who are only trying to get it right will get caught out.”

            That’s by design. If you’re not paying enough attention to ‘get the memo’ it proves that you don’t care enough. As soon as the “new approved” usage reaches a critical mass language can’t be used any longer to sort the “good” people from “everyone else” so the “new new approved” usage is implemented.

            It’s all on purpose.

  8. How did Reagan out it? They know so many things that just ain’t so.

  9. Re the difficulty of managing a household in past times: Owen Young was a farm boy who grew up to run GE. To his biographer, he provided a vivid word-picture of what life had been like for a farm wife back in his youth. Here, he remembers Monday–wash day:

    “He drew from his memory a vivid picture of its miseries: the milk coming into the house from the barn; the skimming to be done; the pans and buckets to be washed; the churn waiting attention; the wash boiler on the stove while the wash tub and its back-breaking device, the washboard, stood by; the kitchen full of steam; hungry men at the door anxious to get at the day’s work and one pale, tired, and discouraged woman in the midst of this confusion.”

    • Meh. I actually rather liked doing the weekly wash by hand. And yeah we got our milk raw and fresh from across the street then boiled and skimmed it.

    • The washing machine… running hot water… so many wonderful things.

      Though Owen Young would most likely have been tasked to help boil the milk in most households if there was only one woman to do it.

      Back when all these helpful appliances were new there was a thing called a Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. One such fellow pulled up to a farm house and interrupted the lady of the house at her duties. He explained how wonderful this new appliance was, how it would transform her life to one of ease. She listened to his presentation and was very impressed. He even promised to demonstrate. He’d pour some leaves all over her rug and then vacuum them away and if the rug wasn’t perfect he’d pick up each leaf by hand, and he wasn’t about to listen to objections. The leaves were poured onto the rug and the vacuum displayed and the cord unwound. The salesman looked around for the power outlet and discovered that there were none. The lady smiled and handed him a little broom and a pan and thanked him for entertaining her that afternoon.

  10. Thanx Sarah –
    I love the irony you lay out at the end, of the Left picking on the disadvantaged “rich.”

  11. “(The Roman Empire only because Portugal was once a part of Rome, and … well, it’s sometimes debatable whether Rome really did fall in anything but the administrative bureaucracy sense.)”

    This gave me a cluebat to the head for how to handle the ‘ancient’ empire that’s still kicking around in one of my worlds. Thanks. Now returning you to more on topic ramblings.

  12. Is Portugal considered “Mediterranean”? I thought the Med ended at the Straits of Gibraltar? Am I mis-remembering or did spelling-correct change “maritime” to “Mediterranean”?

    • I suspect that because Portugal is lumped in on the Iberian peninsula and shares (some) climatological (and cultural) aspects of (at least some parts of) it’s neighbor Spain, it gets included in the ‘Mediterranean’ category.

      Or not . . .

    • The “sub-race” and culture are both Mediterranean, so it counts.

  13. If you want a REAL scare – pick up the Mcguffey Readers!
    Remember these were to be finished by the 8th grade.
    It is the LAST 2 that are the mind blowers.
    Almost NOBODY gets that stuff in College anymore.
    Just look them over and see how education has gone down hill.
    Even the First Reader makes Dick and Jane look really bad.

    • YES!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGuffey_Readers

      In 1835, the small Cincinnati publishing firm of Truman and Smith asked him to create a series of four graded readers for primary level students. He had been recommended for the job by longtime friend Harriet Beecher Stowe. He completed the first two readers within a year of signing his contract, receiving a fee of $1,000 ($20,000 in 2017 dollars). He compiled the first four readers (1836-1837 edition), while the fifth and sixth were created by his brother Alexander during the 1840s. The series consisted of stories, poems, essays, and speeches. The advanced Readers contained excerpts from the works of well-regarded English and American writers and politicians such as Lord Byron, John Milton and Daniel Webster.

  14. About Dickens;

    Of the several versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, my favorite is the one starring George C. Scott. Unlike many of the others, his Scrooge isn’t pathetic. You get the feel that his success in business stems at least partly from his dynamism. And that brings me to a point I doubt Dickens ever considered; Alastair Sim’s Scrooge will doubtless go through the rest of his life being a ‘kindly Master’, doting on Tiny Tim, and lavishly funding Charities. But you (or at least, I) get the sense that about a week after the end of the scene where Scrooge raises Bob Crachet’s salary, Scrooge is going to come in to the office, bursting with energy and say something like;

    “Bob! I’ve a new project I ned your help with! What kind of industry do you think we can start here in London that will support itself and give good jobs to the unemployed?”

    See, Dickens only thought of what scrooge could GIVE with his money, not of what he could BUILD. Dickens had also bought into the ideas of ‘Trade’ as somehow bad and wrong, instead of recognizing it as the engine that would make society so much wealthier that it would be considered a scandal that the children of the poor are illiterate.

    • Good point. And there you’ve pegged the soul of socialism: what we can give, not what we can build. What happens when you run out of built things to give??

      And I too greatly prefer the George C. Scott version (ran out and bought the DVD as soon as it came out). Had never really liked Scott, but damn, that’s a hellacious performance.

      • When you go back and actually analyze the criticism of the post Civil War rich who tried to set up planned communities what you run into is;

        They tended to have rules agaist drunkeness and fornication…which were major stumbling blocks to getting ahead. A lot of outrage over Teh Wealthy telling people how to live, and a lot of silence about their own tendencies that way.

        A great deal of outrage about resistance to unions…and a lot of silence about how those unions trended toward terrorism.

        And a lot of outrage about enforced Christian indoctrination…and a lot of silence about any comparisons between it and their own indoctrinating.

        The major difference between a Victorian Christian buttinski and a modern Progressive buttinski is that Christian indoctrination produces stable societies and Progressive indoctrination produces mobs.

        • Also that the Christian one would take “no” for an answer, and might even give you some basic help– but they wouldn’t treat you like the folks who were making an effort to follow the rules for getting ahead.

          • Well, not always. If you wanted to work for a company owned by an evangelical type, you might be expected to live in single sex barracks, with no access to alcohol. I think the first mass manufacturer of cash registers did things that was. You wanted the job, you accepted the rules.

            Now, how that’s different from the SJW rules in companies like Google is that they were spelled out explicitly.

            • And that google wants to impose it on me when I don’t work for them.

              I get nothing out of the deal except for being allowed to exist IF I do what they want; contrast with “if you want the job, do XYZ.”

        • Eh. The trade unions could at least truthfully claim that their terrorism was usually counter-terrorism, and that it targeted people who had actually given orders to start the terrorizing.

          • Yeah… No. I’ll give you the “May’ve targeted the bosses and foreman sometimes.” But for “mostly” and “not ordinary workers who didn’t trust the union organizers”…? Citation needed.

          • Nope, although maybe they targeted folks in the same class/category as those who did give such orders– and anybody who didn’t want to join was obviously a thug on the side of such terrorizing owners.

            Even when it was the entire shop.

            And the only body who got hurt was the folks who weren’t volunteering to unionize…..

    • In a similar literary vein, I’ve always found it ironic that in Les Miserables, the person who does the most to help the poor is the distinctly capitalist “Monsieur Madeleine” with his factory. The socialist revolutionaries, for all their big talk about how much they care, bring nothing but misery to the poor people of Paris.

      • IIRC, Victor Hugo included a note that immediately following Jean ValJean’s departure from the town, the factory almost immediately shut down because no one else knew how to make the product, and a lot of people lost their jobs as a result.

        Despite the big scene at the barricade, I think there’s an argument to be made that Hugo didn’t really like socialists.

        There’s also the conversation early on between the priest, and a man who’d been heavily involved in The Reign of Terror during the Revolution, and who still believed in what he’d done during that time.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Victor Hugo was apparently the child of one of the old nobles and one of Napoleon’s officers.

          • Xavier Basora

            And yet he loathed the nephew Louis Napoleon. I’very always been ambivalent about him. I think France would’ve done much better and been far more stable if it hadn’t been for the Franco Prussian war

            • Perhaps, but that would have required France not invading Germany. French eagerness to “put Prussia in its place,” even if somewhat aided by Bismarck’s Machiavellian machinations, was quite strong.

      • My Lady loves Les Mes (the musical, not the book, though I believe she has read the book). I love the music. At the same time I want to climb on stage and shake Valjean until his teeth rattle, screaming ‘why the f*ck didn’t you emigrate to the New World, where you wouldn’t HAVE these problems?”

        OTOH, I have much the same reaction to the behavior of most characters in most opera, amd Les Mes is close enough to opera as makes no nevermind.

        I WOULD be interested to see a Japanese take on Javert that delved further into the conflict of his duty to his salt (‘giri’, I believe) and his duty to do the right thing (‘gimu’ if I have that right). In terms of motivations, he is by far the most interesting character in the whole boiling.

        • Amsel, Matthew

          Because like many European types, he was incredibly provincial – he couldn’t conceive of a world outside of France.

    • First thing to my mind:
      Basic home repairs. Like a handyman, but more Victorian.

      Train them by hiring them to fix the “dark and drafty” houses that Scrooge was lending.

      Builders, too– I know there was a guild type bottleneck for teaching, but if you got some sort of a junior fix-it group, then the guys teaching could have their pick of the guys who’d only been trained to do the boring stuff that took too much time, rather than trade secrets.

    • Yes. In my own mind, Scrooge lived a long life…and became famed both for his generosity and for his ability to wring the most good from a penny of charity.

      He made a fortune, of course.

      It’s also worth noting that English High Society looked down on “trade”. Even in modern times – they never forgave Margaret Thatcher for being the greengrocer’s daughter.

  15. Reading all this it struck me that in olden times people of substance owned slaves, or if more enlightened, indentured servants and hired help. Families of lesser means simply had lots of kids just to provide the many hands required to support daily life.
    These days modern manufacturing, a robust supply chain, and all the countless appliances available that do the scutwork for us have taken the place of those servants. And of course anyone having more than two children is at best considered odd, at worst some sort of fanatic.

    • Something else modern supply chains have done is move the residence of the servants or slaves. Now you don’t need to hold a person in bondage for them to be in hock to you. You can just go overseas where they are in midst of their own industrial revolution in some cases, where the state owns the workersin other.

  16. Did you run into the idiot meme about women being expected to follow “rules” (which boil down to “recognize bad people use these situations and avoid them”?)

    Or just a cousin of it?

    • Oh, yeah, women are “discriminated against” because men had it easy or something…

      • Bad people exist.
        Men tend to be larger, stronger, and more likely to commit crimes of violence.
        They search for weaker targets. This field is larger percentage female.
        Women should take precutions and not go to bsd parts of town.
        Ergo:
        Men have it easy because they don’t have to worry/men should be submissive and never makea woman feel bad or scared.

        • All presuming physical strength as the differentiator vs tool usage like firearms.

        • Misogynist! You’re not allowed to state that women are physically weaker than men!

          😛

        • Except that men are also more often victims of violence. Maybe because they don’t pay as much attention to where they are and what is around them. Who knows?

          • In many cases it is because they participate either directly or tangentially. Of the shootings in Chiraq a majority are intergang shootings iirc. Plus sexual assault is the ne ultra crime donchano. And only men commit that. Look at the statistics (where female abuse is not included or papered over)

            • Identifying if someone is an actual victim of violence, or was in a fight, requires actual research– you can’t just comb up the numbers of injuries and report that.

              There’s an obvious difference between someone walking along and being mugged, and two guys injured in a bar fight, but one is definitely a victim and the other is two “victims” in stat only.

          • Semantics issue– men are most often subject to violence.

            Victims aren’t always nice about laying down to be victimized.

            A horrifying number of protests about “victims of crime” deaths is families of serial criminals complaining because a victim successfully fought back.

            • Good point.

              • Can’t claim it, comes out of listening to the factual stories of “gun violence.” A horrifying number are really white washed.

                • Though, on the other hand, my brother has been mugged and I haven’t because my brother has done things that I would never ever do, such as deliver pizza at night in the Bay Area.

            • Thus all the sarcastic jokes about “He was just walking home from church choir/youth group/volunteering at the animal shelter/ turning his life around, and [insert crime here].”

              • There was a news story about some kid that got arrested because someone called the police after church and said that someone (him) was carjacking his grandmother. :/

                Cops came and pulled grandma over and pulled the kid out of the car. If the picture was real, he looked sort of like Urkel. I mean, what?

            • scott2harrison

              Interesting that the reporter said that none of the sources have confirmed the information, not that none of the sources have replied. Did they perhaps deny it and he wants to keep the story going?

              • Most likely it means they said something like “Are you f-ing kidding me, you want me to go out on a limb and make a big public statement that can get us sued? Are you f-ing stupid?”

                But in polite terms, because they’re PR folks.

                Incidentally, I’d guess that the guy got fired for being violent, and went back (with a gun) to rob it because he’d get a chance to harm or at least seriously scare whoever he had issues with.

                Given how careful they are to be vague, I’d guess the shooter was a lady.

      • The “Women are strong, independent persons with agency over their own lives–except in certain cases” shtick? And also, men must always be responsible for their own safety, and also for protecting women against themselves, but only in the ways acceptable to women?

        Women, you see, are only vulnerable to ONE specific crime (two if you count domestic abuse, I suppose), and men are never vulnerable to that (or any other) crime.

  17. Spitting on our ancestors

    Only tangentially related to the topic at hand, but it does relate to the past, even the 1960s, being enough of another country that it’s incomprehensible to some zip codes:

    The latest effort involving Hollywood spitting on somewhat more recent ancestors, “First Man”, has flopped – and, per Variety, it’s not because the filmmakers only showed Neil Armstrong as a morose sad-panda robotic entity lacking all human emotion, and also, edited out the American flag planting from the Apollo 11 surface ops, but in fact it’s all the fault of George Lucas:

    https://variety.com/2018/film/news/first-man-how-40-years-of-star-wars-killed-the-mystery-of-the-moon-shot-1202979759/

    Variety neglects to explain why Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” was a hit, in spite of Star Wars.

    • Some years ago there was talk of going to see one of the Star Wars movies at a convention (now defunct, alas) in Huntsville, AL. I opined that I could see the movie pretty much anywhere, but since it was Huntsville, why not go to the space museum there and see actual spacecraft and such?

      It was jarring in some ways. The launch console for Explorer 1 looked like it might have been made by someone in their garage… but it wasn’t about fancy looks, but getting the job done. The Apollo stuff, yes even the Saturn V, seemed.. well.. small. Probably because of how long I’d heard/read how amazingly big it was… and then.. there it was. That, however, did NOT make it any less impressive. To paraphrase a line from a certain movie, “They went to the moon in that?”

      • Someone thought I was spoiling “Star Trek: The Movie” when it came on TV (maybe it was rented—early ’80s so maybe) when I recognized V’ga as Voyager. My family had been to the National Space Museum that summer.

        • I suppose that’s like “spoiling” Apollo 13 by knowing modern history.

          “Main B bus undervolt.” (I know, there are supposedly more common/famous quotations, but having READ of it, that one sticks out for me.)

        • Voyager 1: launched September 5, 1977
          41+ years in service
          still responding to commands and sending data

          It is Man’s – America’s – furthest reach into space, 140 A.U. from the Sun, out in the current definition of “interstellar space.”

          There’s an American flag on the outside. And inside, there’s a golden record containing, among other things, a recording of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

          Eventually, we’ll have to decide whether we’re going to leave it alone as a museum piece, or refurbish it and send it ahead again.

      • scott2harrison

        Decades ago I visited what Spider Robinson called the “Garden of Spacecraft”. Seeing the Redstone rocket and the launch pad floored me. The blast deflector was the size of a garbage pail lid and I think that the blockhouse was no more than 50′ from it and multiple people, nay heroes went to orbit using them.

        • Technically they rode Redstone to space not orbit, but the Atlas is not that much bigger.

          That makes The Astronaut Farmer movie actually slightly plausible – after all, the entire Mercury program was run basically using mechanical timers for onboard event timing. That’s why the first thing you hear in any Mercury launch recording is “The clock is operating!” as it’s a really, really big problem if it’s not.

          • scott2harrison

            Thanks for the correction. I had not realized that they switched to the Atlas for the later Mercury shots.

      • Why, yes, we DID go to the Moon in that. It’s roomier in zero G.

        I got the Houston tour going through Test Pilot School – a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff (the zero-G training pool is BIG and DEEP). The Shuttle mockup is shockingly cramped…think a smallish RV.

        • I’ve been in one of the shuttle mockups (not one that goes in a tank) and you’re right, very cramped. But the one person I sorta knew who went up on STS-61C swears it isn’t cramped in zero-G.

        • I’ve been on Wonderworks’ old space shuttle set and yeah its tiny. There’s a reason it is in two pieces in order to film it….

      • Mumble years ago, the Smithsonian road show hit San Jose. Not sure which Apollo command module was there, (it had re-entry toasting, so it wasn’t a mockup) but it was pretty cozy.

        • The Apollo 15 command module’s been up at Dayton for at least a couple decades now, so that’s likely not it.

          • This was in 1997. I see they have Columbia (Apollo 11) at Air & Space, but I don’t know if they’d borrow that for the tour. As I recall, it was the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian.

            • It very well may have been Apollo 11. I just located an article from early 2017 in which with the wonderful photo caption reads “Four the next two years, Apollo 11’s Command Module Columbia and one-of-a-kind artifacts from the Apollo era will travel the United States.” If they’re doing it now, they might have done it before.

    • The irony being that Armstrong’s life is an interesting tale. He definitely was following Charles Lindberg’s later life as an example…stay aloof, descend from Olympus once or twice a decade to speak to the mere mortals.

      And send Buzz Aldrin to punch obnoxious doubters.

  18. I recently read a YA book that ran into the issue of not really understanding the past. I’ll name it: Girl at the Grave, because it was not actually badly written overall, and I see a lot of potential for the writer, but it was certainly a costume drama rather than a period piece. It was theoretically set in 1848, up in New England, and it had a few nods to the time period, but there were a few real tells that the author hadn’t submerged herself into the actual times, such as the (young, female) protagonist not being absolutely paralyzed at the thought of being caught with only the company of a young man, and other things of that stripe. (And yes, she does want to go to NYC to meet up with someone campaigning for women’s rights. Not enough to have me wall the book, but enough to be noticeable.)

    When I was in high school, I was rhapsodizing about the fun I had at a Renaissance Faire to my history teacher. He asked if I wanted to live back then, and I think he was surprised at my emphatic “no!” I like modern dentistry, and medicine, and not dying in childbirth, and all of those things. Playacting is fun, but I don’t mistake it for reality.

    • It’s good to read The Body Electric by Becker – even if you believe his take on electric and magnetic fields on life was misinformed at best, there is a section where he describes pre-antibiotic medicine, specifically for pneumonia. As I recall, the chart being at the foot of the bed was to keep the patient from looking at it. One trend meant “lives” and another meant “dies” and there was nothing anyone could do to flip the trend from “dies” to “lives” – palliative care, hope and prayer. And then one day in 1946 penicillin became available for civilian use in the USA. “And a week later, we closed the pneumonia ward.”

  19. Rich, Ignorant and Loud is No Way To Go Through Life…
    …I might be willing to try, though…

  20. I remember a discussion one of my friends and I were having on the Book of Job, specifically the part where it says that God gave Job twice the number of children he’d had before in order to make up for the ones who had been killed. My friend sarcastically said, “Because apparently the individual kids don’t matter, the only point is the total number of them.” And I’ll admit I’ve felt this way myself. But we’re looking at it from a modern perspective where kids aren’t supposed to predecease you. In a modern family with 12 kids where only 8 of them live to adulthood, the family has suffered 4 tragedies. In Biblical times, if you had 12 kids and only 4 of them died, you were blessed with 8 miracles.

    I’ve always thought the best example of this is Calvin Coolidge Jr. He got a blister while playing tennis on the White House lawn, it became infected, and he died of it. Think about that for a moment: in the 1920s, the President of the United States couldn’t save his son from dying of a blister. That really puts some perspective on how people viewed things in the past.

    And yeah, the “good guys” weren’t who the Leftists of today would have been. In the early 20th century, they’d have been clamoring for eugenics as the only compassionate way of dealing with the “defectives.” In another generation or two, I’m willing to bet that their spiritual descendants will be among those decrying the “right-wingers” who forced hormone treatments on children who didn’t fit with gender stereotypes.

    • Fair indeed were the daughter of Job, as I recall.

    • When my grandfather’s youngest brother (Uncle R) was born in 1920 or so, his birth certificate (which was posted at his 70th birthday party) listed that he was the 13th child and the 8th child alive. I don’t know if it was influenza or typhoid or stepping on nails (but no, that was another branch of the family) that took the five children. I think my great-grandmother’s age was listed as forty-something (42? 44?).

  21. I read a cookbook written by a woman who had grown up on an Indiana farm during the Depression. Things were hard, but not starvation hard, and they had a summer kitchen. She recalled her father or brothers going in on summer wash days or when her mother was canning and the weather was hot. They’d find her mother passed out on the floor from heat stress. They’d take her outside, revive her, and she’d go back to work. Once, looking back, the author recalled her mother glaring at her, probably resentful because the daughter was out doing farm chores and not trapped in the overheated, steam-filled kitchen.

    As one who got the do wash the old fashioned way after whining to my grandmother and aunt about folding clothes, I ❤ modern washing machines and driers.

    • I can just see/hear the exchange…

      “He’s on a STEAM ENGINE. ALL the TIME! Must be terrible.”

      “Nonsense. The steam is IN the engine, or vented out, away. He’s NOT *in* the steam. AND he can poke his head out the window and get a fresh breeze at what.. 60 miles an hour? He has it EASY! The fireman works a bit more, but let him do canning and I’ll take his shovel. He’ll be BEGGING for his shovel back before sunset.”

      • In the early ironclad warships, the boiler room temperature was so high they only worked ten minute shifts if they wanted to make it back out under their own power.

  22. What was the title of the Tudor woman? Because that sounds like an awesome resource, and I would love to get my hands on it.

  23. Everyone if you get the chance see Major Barbara from the book by George Bernard Shaw. March 20, 1941. Wendy Hiller and Rex Harrison.

    Really does a job on the Do Gooders, actually helping the poor, etc.

    Great Movie, thought provoking.

    • Also one of the prime reasons I think Shaw was a Fabian largely to irritate people. In a play about charity, the most moral character is an arms dealer.

      CEASAR AND CLEOPATRA is also wonderful, amd contains my favorite single line in all of Shaw; “The Gods are not always good to their poor relations.”

      Ain’t that the friggin truth!

  24. There’s a couple of moments of perspective on this episode of “Silent Service” about the USS Gar’s trip to Luzon summer 1944; see 13:38 and 18:12. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li0gqb1it3A; also DeForrest Kelley.

  25. “Young ladies in the upper reaches of society routinely made two baby shrouds as part of their trousseau. They were expected to lose at least that many children.”

    My great-grandmother, born and raised in the late 19th century on a farm in Virginia–and of a comfortably well-off family–wrote in her memoirs that when she would misbehave, her father would look at her and comment, “All my GOOD children are dead.” She had two older siblings, both of whom died in infancy and who were buried on the farm, back in the era when that was the done thing.

    So you don’t even have to go back more than a century or so to see this.

    • My grandma’s family was very well off, corn farmers, she went to college and all– 18 kids, and thirteen of them lived!

      That’s not counting lost pregnancies that weren’t full term; I don’t know any details at all, I just know that “miscarriages run in the family.”

      • My great-great on one side had 18 children and 16 lived. Only the one set of twin babies was lost. My ancestor was the youngest and his mother never recovered and eventually died of it. People talk as if this was horrible for her but I’m thinking that she was likely extremely proud of herself. None of her daughters got married young, though, most no earlier than mid 20’s and then to younger men. And all but two of her living children had six to nine children who *all* lived. At late 1800’s it seems like suddenly most children started to live to adulthood. Not all, and there were things like epidemic and flu that killed so very many young children, but for a generation or two the number of children born didn’t almost all die.

        • My great-grandfather, her youngest, had 13 children and all of them lived to adulthood. No notion about miscarriages.

  26. William O. B'Livion

    I had dinner with a friend on Saturday evening.

    He told me that as kid his family–in Bolivia–at rats at one point. Because there was NO FOOD. They had a bunch of American dollars, and couldn’t buy anything because there was no food. Because *no one* had any money, so *no one* would import food into that area.

  27. When I started reading up on Plantagenet and Tudor England, what struck me quite hard was how many people died in mid-adulthood. We’re accustomed to old people dying. Most of us understand that infant mortality was once quite common. But if you plot likelihood of death versus age, medieval Europe didn’t have the ‘bathtub” we would expect.

    Think about it…Henry VII had three children. One died. Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon buried at least four kids. And his one surviving son, Edward VI, only made it into his teens. “An heir and a spare” was more like “an heir and two or three spares” back then…and the spares had better be ready to step up.

    • An astonishing number of those people lived into their eighties, and occasionally nineties.

      That means a whole lot of them died young if you’re looking at an average lifespan of 35 to 45.

      • And sometimes the spares died too, which is how periods like The Anarchy in England got fueled.

      • That means a whole lot of them died young if you’re looking at an average lifespan of 35 to 45.

        Proof that the average person has no grasp of statistics. Announce that the average lifespan was thirty-five and then ask how long the average person lived; the results will appall. Give them a childhood mortality rate of seven out of ten dying by the third birthday and they still won’t be able to grasp that the other three lived to approximately forty-seven years of age. (Okay, one of those three probably died by fifteen and another by twenty-five, meaning the last survived to age one hundred — likely crippled and blind, but survived.)

        What people these days fail to grasp is that life has ever been an exercise in the lifeboat principle, and the only thing which has changed is the size of the boat. Where our ancestors had a dugout canoe the “Greatest” generation was aboard the S.S. Minnow and we’re sailing on the [Insert Name Of Cruise Ship From :Black Tide Rising”] — but there are yet limits to how many can ride as passengers and how many are needed to comprise the crew.

        THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON
        Short video depicting the Shaw Festival’s 50th Season production of THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON.
        http://www.youtube.com
        Every generation, it seems, must learn the lesson of The Deplorable Chrichton.

    • Alfred of Wessex was the 5th son and never thought he’d inherit. Granted, the Vikings accelerated the succession a little, but still… And what’s amazing is that even with his medical problems, he lived as long as he did! (Apparently had a variant of what we call Chron’s Disease.)

    • My paternal grandfather was one of 4; two sets of twins; that we know of. The only one to have kids. His twin died in his early 20’s without marrying & having children. His sister lost her twin in infancy (before 18 months). She was a T1 diabetic & although lived into her mid-70’s, married, but never had children; or never had surviving children. Was too young to know which, it wasn’t discussed.

  28. Got a theory about this-

    What if it’s a form of sensory deprivation? Think about it for a moment-in a (relatively) short biological period of time, we’ve gone from sticking sticks in ant hills to poking the moon with sticks. We’ve still got a LOT of the instincts that allowed us to survive when we were poking those anthills.

    And, in quite a few places, we aren’t in those circumstances any more. Most of us aren’t worried that something is going to rip our face off in the middle of the night. Or where we’ll get our next meal. Or if that particular potential mate might only beat us every third night than every night. Our instincts are built for that hot savanna in Africa, not a nice two-level in Boston.

    And, the instincts have to be satisfied somehow. Like some of the people in big cities call their pets their “fur babies,” how are many of these things that people are upset about are re-directed instincts from back when we worried about being eaten by a leopard?

    • That dovetails nicely with something I have observed for some time; One of the Left’s obsessions in the 1960’s was wiping out ‘inhibitions’. I noticed that most inhibitions, if not taken to the point of obession themselves, kept one from making an ass of oneself in public.

      Hence, I say, “No one without inhibitions is fit for polite society. Please develop some.”

      Now, for ‘inhibitions’ read ‘control of instincts superceded by events’ and I think we’re on the same page.

      • We are more than our instincts.

        But, we have to know that the instincts are there-and what they can make us do if we don’t pay intention to them.

      • Developing the discipline and *strength* to live purposefully instead of reactively or *impulsively* is necessary. So much of the demands to break down the societal supports for “inhibitions” overwhelmingly destroy the poor and disadvantage children who’s parents are dealing with additional stresses, mental, emotional, or economic.

        But who cares, right? At least we showed those uptight prudes they can’t tell us to control our impulses or “keep it in our pants” or “keep our knees together.”

        And in general, upper middle class people are just fine because they tend to have the resources to deal with those stresses and teach their own children completely opposite what they’re insisting upon for the rest of society. Because they want to explain how much better they are from everyone else for not “judging”.

    • I just picked up Ship of Fools by C.R. Hallspike. It seems to address that (Just read the first chapter)

  29. I’ll see you a rag-and-bone man and raise you owning one’s first pair of shoes at 13, and one’s best friend bleeding to death in childbirth. Village life in Mrs. Hoyt’s mom’s day (maybe?) and mine’s. (She married at 16, and it is was a love match, so dead a year later). And the outhouse was a major upgrade in local tech.

    But mom didn’t have to worry about theft of clothing on the line, rather bandits getting a hold of grandad’s only transportation – the family mule. (Most of the stories involving him had the line “and I wish they would.”)

  30. Well, someone is being trickled upon.

    The Left Believes in Trickle Up Poverty
    By Sarah Hoyt
    How many decades now has the left been screaming about “trickle down economics” and how the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, or that giving tax breaks allows people to invest and thereby creates more jobs is just “wrong wrong wrong, miles and miles of wrongitude?”

    Thirty or so?

    In fact, their mad-infatuation with “democratic socialism” is part of this shrieking and this mind set. (Hello Occasio-Cortex Occasional Cortex.) And it’s mind-bogglingly stupid as well as evil.

    I didn’t realize how much of both it is until a recent facebook discussion in which a leftist got… vocal and defended Trickle Up Poverty.

    Okay, they’re – probably, though I wouldn’t bet on all of them – not aware that this is this their preferred pathway and end result. But it is.

    The discussion was about charter schools funded by government, ie. tax money.

    The argument against them was the same it’s always been: it privileges a few kids, while the rest remain mired in failing standard government schools. I’d heard it a million times. I’d just never actually stepped back and taken a look at how ridiculous that is.

    Look, there is no comment about the charters costing more (they usually don’t) and no argument about the fact that government schools are failing.

    There is just this outraged screeching that not every kid can get the same thing. …

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      A divorced mother of two, making minimum wage, can’t provide an appropriate education?

      The one element that she might not be able to provide, on her own, of better quality than what the schools provide, is a stable relationship with an older man. The schools cannot provide that either.

      Okay, there are valid reasons to debate the facts of the example I am personally drawing upon. Very valid reasons. But not with the likes of whatever moron supplied the initial assertion.

      As for their so called caring? Zip tie the hands of that alleged caring, shoot it in the belly, draw out the entrails, make it choke on its entrails, clear the air passage, set the feet on fire, then extinguish them, and leave it dying wearing a sign. “This, always, for ‘Caring’.”

      Their voices are so loud and they are so badly mistaken that to be labeled ‘caring’, ‘compassionate’, or in possession of a ‘conscience’ is a sign that one has likely made a pretty severe mistake somewhere along the line. Better to be considered an unfeeling monster, callous and cruel. Better still to find a compass that does not rely on fallible humanity.

      • “Better to be considered an unfeeling monster, callous and cruel.”

        The classic difference between reputation and honor… how others view you vs. what you know is true about yourself. Or parenting! Your children “hating” you because you correct them, vs. being the “fun” Mom or Dad who only cares that they are happy with you, no matter what it means for them for the rest of their lives.

        Solving problems is always harder and less appreciated than making the right noises and solving nothing at all.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I may have lost my temper a bit.

          My mom has talked me down from extremes of opposition to public schooling.

      • I’ve seen a lot of them waving about “empathy” — as if that wasn’t what inspires teachers to not punish the bully, often.

  31. One reason I so much like Pat O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin books (‘Master and Commander’, etc) is that the characters are definitely people of the early 1800’s, as opposed to being 21-century liberals mysteriously transported back in time.

    Example of a great ‘Toto, we’re not in the 21st century anymore’ moment in one of the early books: Maturin–the model of the Enlightenment scientist– is challenged to a duel by a Jew. His friends are shocked at the nerve of a despised Jew demanding the respect and honor of a duel, but Maturin explains that a) he reverences Our Lady who was a Jewess and b) he sympathizes with the challenger and thinks he has a point, so they fight.

    None of that sequence makes any sense at all by modern standards. Which is great. I don’t know anyone who does it as well as O’Brian.

    • None of that sequence makes any sense at all by modern standards. Which is great.

      I ❤ this explanation so much…..

    • I have actually read an online discussion where historical romance readers were complaining about a book where the heroine’s big complaint about her marriage (which she had consented to) was that her husband expected her to sleep with him. They realized that she would have known at the time what she was consenting to. Especially she had other complaints that made sense in the era.

  32. “this being a Mediterranean country”

    Portugal is not a Mediterranean country; its wealth of fish comes from the Atlantic, which has much better fishing.

  33. It mostly kills by stopping initiative, effort and individual creativity. Little by little it leaches the society it commandeers, making everyone poorer, and slowing down the normal march of innovation.
    Sounds a lot like a tapeworm.

  34. A society that lives close to the bone is not going to care about all that.
    And, interestingly, they will have much fewer of those who won’t try to help themselves at least a little, since consequences like death and maiming are more likely.