Hope and Change a Blast From The Past From August 2016


*I finally slept (so well I didn’t move till 5 am or so, when a cat jumped on my stomach) and I need to finish a novel, so it can come out this month. So excuse not writing a new post.  And in case you wonder, this post is mostly a sermon to myself today, yes.  I must take my own medicine at last – SAH.*

Hope and Change a Blast From The Past From August 2016

I was very confused, back in 08 to hear the mindless chants of “hope, change.”  They sounded so gleeful.  Also hope and change are not two things you normally put together.

Yes, yes, I KNOW what they thought they meant.  In the media narrative, the GWB times were hopeless and with no jobs and (and we hadn’t seen anything yet!) so change would bring us hope.

They were out of their rocking minds, obviously.

Look, I’m a libertarian. That means, compared to our current system of having the government play helicopter parent to you from cradle to grave, I advocate change.  DRASTIC change.

To get where I want to be, there would be massive dislocation of money and human resources.  Think of the unemployment crisis as bureaucrats without number got run off their jobs. (Okay, now wipe that grin off your face.)  Think of all the genuine scientific research that would have to find a new way to fund itself.  Think of the children.  No, really, think of the children.

I think what we have for a department of Children Services is inefficient, stupid and possibly harmful, but we’d still need to retool and find another way to perform the job of making sure most kids are mostly safe, without giving it all to the government.  That means some truly horrible things would happen on the way there.  (Whether they’d be better or worse than the horrible things happening now is something else again.)

Ditto when it comes to schooling.  Most of our schools are rather inefficient day cares, but without even that, some kids would fall through the cracks, until local government steps up.

(Yes, for those following along at home, libertarians aren’t necessarily AGAINST government, they just believe on keeping most things small, local, and as close to individual as possible.  The guys who want no government?  That’s Anarchists.  And no, Somalia is not a Libertarian society.  Or an anarchist one.  Somalia is a tribal war with borders.  Its dysfunction has much to do with where and what it is, not with the system of its government, which is “totalitarians trained in left wing politics in western universities trying to speak insanity to tribes who are trying to stay alive.” I swear to fricken bob the next idiot who tells me “Libertarianism would cause Somalia” gets hit on the head with the nearest object.  Do these people swallow whole whatever some progressive twit says, without the slightest effort at verification? Without a modicum of thought?)

The point I’m trying to make is that change hurts.  It always hurts, whether it’s an individual or a society; whether it’s ULTIMATELY change for better or for worse.  Whom it hurts and how much is directly proportional to what systems are being changed and how many people they involve.

Truly massive technological change that affects the whole human race takes millenia to process through.  Some anthropologists, seriously, think we’re not through processing all the consequences of the switch between hunting-gathering and agriculture.  It’s undeniable (no, seriously) that it was good for the species as a whole, over time.  I mean, our sheer numbers and populations prove that.  But it was neither painless nor cost free, and right when it happened it was wrenching, the wrench being recorded in our oldest legends and racial memories.  War between those who had settled and those who hadn’t, changes in ways of life (this idea of working every day, instead of when the meat runs out is still painful and still hasn’t worked itself into the way the species as a whole works.)

There is considerable and plausible evidence we’re still too close to the industrial revolution and the French revolution to process it.

At the rate we’re accelerating the changes to our own environment, it is quite possible we won’t (as a whole) be done processing the change to mass production before small-run individual production becomes the norm.

Which brings us to: the most normal result of change is the opposite of hope: it is destruction, blood, often the burning of a generation’s patrimony, as what they learned and what they’ve spent a lifetime becoming no longer has any application to the new reality.

Take the twentieth century.  (Please.  Almost as bad as the fourteenth.)  It was a time of massive, unrelenting change.  And we have the piles of corpses to prove it.

But as an individual — even as president of the US — you really don’t get to “create change.”  Every time I hear “be the change you want to see” or its equivalent, I want to beat someone over the head with a wet sock until I brain them.  (It’s slow and satisfying.)

I think I know what they’re trying to say, but that is not what they’re saying.  I think what they’re trying to say is that you can only change yourself.  And that’s correct.  What they’re actually saying is something on a par with “be a thought leader.”  I.e. be someone who changes society around you by just being a certain way.

Does that ever happen.  Oh, sure.  Most founders of major religions, some kings and rulers, a few other powerful men and women changed society at least for a time (mostly for the bad, taken in whole, though of course there are exceptions.)

But for most human beings, modeling the change you want to see in society can get you either marginalized or killed, depending on how severe that change is. (Major religious figures aren’t exempt on either, btw.)

Is it worth it to buck society?  Sometimes.  It also sometimes — if you judge the moment right — joins with a lot of other people to create a preference cascade.  If I didn’t believe in that, I’d not be writing this.

On the other hand, that’s in matters of principle, and urgent matters.  If the change you want to see is being allowed to wear white after labor day, is it really worth it getting strange stares, or having to continually clean your white clothes that got muddy and dirty in winter?  Or if the matter you’re bucking, if you fail will destroy you and if you win will… make no big difference to most people?

This is when the “change” needed is mostly internal, in yourself.

It still hurts.  It hurts like hell.  But without changing yourself, you’ll never achieve anything.

Look, I remember — and I found while unpacking, a sheaf of these — when I sent out for magazines, ranging from fanzines to Analog, and read them to know what I should be aiming for.  My most immediate reaction was “OMG, these are nothing like what I write.”  And by that I don’t mean political bend.  I mean I hadn’t figured out writing in scenes, yet, so what I wrote bore a strange resemblance to “disembodied ramblings from a world you never saw.”

You’d think changing that wouldn’t hurt, right?

Bah.  You’d be wrong.  Changing that involved changing my habits of mind, the way of working I’d gotten used to, “breaking” the way I thought of story, and endless hours of practicing the new way, till it stopped “hurting.”  It felt a little like going insane.

And what’s more, everytime I “tool up” I go through this again.  Having identified something I do wrong in writing, I have to “break my head” and then fall into a new pattern.

This involves a lot of work (A LOT OF WORK) and forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do.  90% of the people who approach me as fledgelings (or as colleagues seeking help for stalled careers) and to whom I tell stuff like “Okay, so you need to write in a different world, or come up with three new worlds, then write proposals and–”  OR “You need to write four  books a year” or “You need to learn to plot” or “you need to learn characters” go away saying “BUT I CAN’T DO THAT.”  Some of my favorite people in the world do that rather than try it.  I remember a friend telling me she couldn’t possibly write four new proposals in a year, when I’d just written 17 over summer.  (2003, career stopped, and a bitch of a year all around.)

It’s not fun, it’s not comfortable, it’s a lot of work, but if where you want to go is worth it, you do it.

And almost always, unless you were born to a comfortable fortune and your life is pottering ONLY with what pleases you, you need to change to get ANYWHERE, much less where you want to go.  You need to get out of your comfort zone and force yourself to do things that feel unnatural or that you despise.

This is whether or not the world is “right”.  A lot of the way I had to learn to write wasn’t “right” for selling.  It was the more literary way that shorts had been going.  In fact, I later had to unlearn some of it, to sell more in novels.  BUT it was the way it was and if I wanted to publish in shorts (heaven knows why) I had to learn it.

And because we’re extra special lucky, we do live in interesting times.  Times of intense change.  That means we need to work hard as hell to stay standing in the changing maelstrom, and to hopefully achieve something, anything, in the time we’re given.

A lot of this involves changing ourselves: the way we work, and mostly the way we think.

My entire field is turning upside down and inside out, and I NEED to figure out new ways of working, new ways of thinking.

I’m not alone in my field.  Some of you might not have noticed the change in your profession but I guarantee it’s coming for you.

Those new ways of thinking, those clever tricks to stay afloat, are nasty.  They break your comfortable idea of how things ought to work and be.

But no one asked our opinion.  And internal change is our only chance at hope.



148 thoughts on “Hope and Change a Blast From The Past From August 2016

  1. Is 2016 already The Past? I suppose so; surprising how so much of the change I hoped for has come about …

  2. I need to finish a novel, so it can come out this month. So excuse not writing a new post.

    Shame on you, selfishly writing novels which earn you money when you could be writing free blog posts for us! Shame, shame!

    Oh, wait-a-gol-durn-minnit – I’ve almost certainly pre-ordered that novel and will be cursing your publisher if it doesn’t arrive on schedule. If you’re doing it indie then even more do I want it, undiluted by editorial piddling.

    Never mind. Carry on.

    1. Good heavens, actually admitting that two inconsistent desires means one must be sacrificed? You are truly a paragon in these times!

  3. “Do these people swallow whole whatever some progressive twit says, without the slightest effort at verification? Without a modicum of thought?”

    If you’ll kindly pardon the old, tired, and worn-out cliche, “That’s a big 10-4, good buddy!”

  4. I swear to fricken bob the next idiot who tells me `Libertarianism would cause Somalia` gets hit on the head with the nearest object.

    And yet those same [people] will insist that “Communism has just never been done right!”

    Given a choice between Somalia and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, I would choose Somalia with NO hesitation.

      1. I believe the Maduro kleptocracy reserves a monopoly on use of force, so … all in all I think Somalia offers the better opportunities.

        Other views welcome, as always.

        1. Somalia has a border to the Indian Ocean; Venezuela borders the Caribbean Sea, so escape via ocean from either should be possible. Probably more people have walked out of Venezuela.
          The food situation in Somalia could be better than in Venezuela; I haven’t read any reports of masses of people starving there lately. More people would probably be actively be trying to kill you in Somalia, but that aspect of the situation has improved somewhat lately as well (YMMV; caveat emptor).

          So, starve to death from lack of food in Venezuela or risk getting shot in Somalia. I had a short-term roommate who survived a brief trip to Somalia; I don’t know anyone who’s gone to Venezuela lately.

          So, yeah; Somalia might be slightly better than in Venezuela, and it seems to be trending upwards, but lookout for ISIL and Abu whatstheirface.

              1. Rifles, check; green, not so certain; could have (probably should have) been “chocolate chip.” (Tenth Mountain Division out in the hinterlands).

          1. ….it’d probably look exactly like being a gun-runner that happened to set up shop there, and you’d be condemned by the UN.

            Doesn’t mean I don’t day-dream about it, sometimes.

            OK, possibly BECAUSE of the latter one, there.

    1. What you shoudl do is tell them that they had a government and it was Socialist and by many measures, such as infant mortality, life has improved since it fell.

      Socialism! Worse than nothing, literally!

  5. be a thought leader.

    That would seem to require, at a minimum, some of them to engage in thought.

    Might as well ask a dog* to give the Sunday sermon.

    *I acknowledge that the breed of dog would affect the theme and quality of the sermon, such that an Australian Sheep Dog would give a very different sermon from a Beagle or Doberman.

      1. I have a lab retriever/aussie shepherd cross and a border collie who’d emphatically preach “Give us this day our daily bread”. My wife gets dinged every day.

  6. I always understood “be the change you want to see” as directed at your own self and your own activities, though I suppose it could easily be interpreted in a virtue signaling fashion instead of a utilitarian fashion. I just had never thought of it that way before.

    1. I always thought of it as “Don’t be an Al Gore.”

      If you want the world to be “Green” then live the lifestyle instead of being a very conspicuous producer of the Evil Carbon. Applies to everything. Don’t beat up people to prevent them from speaking, in the name of Free Speech.

  7. On the Somalia angle it must be noted that even as terrible as it is they are doing far better than even anarcho-capitalist theory says they should be. Let alone what any of the (relatively statist) factions would have to say on the matter. They were doing so “well” as of a few years ago that that great bastion of freedom the BBC had to admit it.

    Really gets the noggin joggin as they say, doesn’t it?

  8. “Hope and Change” was a tribal chant that meant, effectively, “Don’t notice that the recent fiscal train wreck is a logical and inevitable consequence of our long term policies, and that the man we are trying to demonize tried multiple times to stop the train and we prevented him.”

    You want to strike with a board the next ninny who tells you that Somalia is Libertarianism?

    I want to drop kick the next moron who bitches to me that “Congress has never held hearings about the Bush Crash. They need to get to the bottom of what caused that!”

    THEY f*cking caused that. That’s WHY they won’t EVER hold hearings; they’re scared to death that if they ask the question, somebody might answer them in public.

      1. It started a good deal further back, when the Progressives decided that it would be A Good Thing to bully mortgage lenders into lending to more brown people. Since they couldn’t – quite – see their way to embodying that in Law, they pushed looser qualification requirements, and suddenly ALL KINDS of people who were bad risks could get mortgages. My Lady and I were beginning our house-acquisition years, and were constantly startled (and a little frightened) at the size of mortgage the flunkies with the tables seemed to think we could afford. Fortunately, my Father-In-Law was an actuary, and had taught my Last she basics, so we did our own figuring.

        I recall reading an article in REASON quoting economists from multiple schools, Left and Right, all of whom were saying (in effect) “We hope you like bailing out Mortgage lenders, because you’re going to have to.”

        The banks were tend kind of in the position of the classic Comic Waiter, who has too much piled on his tray and it’s beginning to tip. Of course, the sensible, ethical people in the banking business took one look at the coming mess and got out, so that when the crash arrived what was left were scoundrels and morons…which made it easier for Congress to duck responsibility.

          1. Shocked they got away with hanging that particular albatross around George W Bush’s neck.

            Just as Trump is no more racist now than when the Democrat candidates were accepting all that money from him earlier:

            The Democratic recipients of Trump’s donations make up what looks like a Republican enemies list, including former senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and the late liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.).

            The biggest recipient of all has been the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York, which has taken in more than $125,000 from Trump and his companies. Overall, Trump has given nearly $600,000 to New York state campaigns, with more than two-thirds going to Democrats.


            His Democratic generosity is hardly confined to New York, however. Trump has given more than $250,000 to federal candidates and campaigns, including more than $100,000 to the party’s House and Senate campaign committees. He donated $10,400 to Reid, including for his 2010 battle with Sharron Angle, the GOP nominee and tea party.

            Washington Post, April 26, 2011

  9. Speaking of libertarianism not causing the US to turn into Somalia, did anyone else realize that we’re 19 days into a government shutdown?

    Not even being sarcastic here; I knew that there was a lot of shutdown talk but I had no idea that they’d actually done it. It’s kind of odd to think we’ve gone the better part of a month without the Federal government, and I hadn’t even noticed.

    1. I’ve noticed a few half-done news stories about how horrible the effects of the shutdown are. But I think the media is reticent to really hit it hard just in case House Democrats end up getting blamed for it.

      Other than that, the shutdown has been mostly a big nothing.

      Remember shutdowns during the Obama administration? (according to the media) it was like the US had become a 3rd world country… Then when you really looked into a lot of the news stories about how bad it is, you find out that the Obama admin spent more money grandstanding and making it seem worse than it really is than it would have spent to keep the subject of the news story open.

      1. I love the sources saying they got bills etc, and kids, and, and, and, but please don’t give in to the orange man. I will tough it out on no pay. Then it is Simone who is not part of the not being payed group and hasn’t missed a paycheck.

        1. I’m afraid that might be partly my fault.

          Elf and I are part of the sequestered….and we said right off the gate that we were OK with missing a paycheck or three, we can last.

          The Border Patrol guys whose job it is to pick up the corpses of those kids who don’t make it out of the desert are probably even louder, though with more justification.

            1. I’m not sure how government shut-downs are effectively any different from private company strikes, except it is the employer striking rather than the employees.
              Government unions (if we must have them, and we should not) ought to prepare some kind of slush fund for their members to draw on, and be prepared for these events.
              It’s not like they are once-in-a-lifetime acts-of-nature that can’t be foreseen.

            2. FWIW, if things really got in a bind for you, folks here would pony up to help, I’m sure.
              ICYMI, take a look here, enjoy the video, then read the long comment quoting Davy Crockett on the lack of Constitutional warrant for government charity, undertaken with your money (because that’s the only place they get it from).


          1. There’s also concerns about fuel for vehicles, because we’re having to buy commercial right now, and eventually the money’s going to run out.

      2. 22 years in the military. We went through all kinds of shutdowns. Single airmen didn’t have any problem except maybe making their car payments; and the banks and credit unions all knew that and usually took it into account, letting them make the payments when the government restored their back pay. Those with family members either saved up a small emergency fund for just such occasions, or were forced to rely on various charities (private, military associated, or otherwise) or in a few cases, did go belly up.

        1. If you log into Ally bank right now they have a link for people affected by the shutdown. Not sure how, but at least with car loans which Ally holds.

        2. Mike, I pointed out on another blog that private employees go through shutdowns all the time (they call them down-sizing or seasonal lay-offs or what you will).
          That government employess should somehow be privileged above their employers (us) is a farce, and I say that having a number of friends affected, as Denver is a hub of government services in the West.
          Fortunately, at least for some of them, they are getting short-term relief from several places, including unemployment (pay back if they get paid), churches, and others.
          I don’t think banks and credit companies give them the same deal as with military folk, though.
          To my mind, however (much as I like them all), it defeats some of the purpose of a shut-down to then pay them for NOT WORKING. The ones with really essential jobs who are coming in, should get paid of course; but then, if they are coming in, how is the government shut down?

          1. To my mind, however (much as I like them all), it defeats some of the purpose of a shut-down to then pay them for NOT WORKING. The ones with really essential jobs who are coming in, should get paid of course; but then, if they are coming in, how is the government shut down?

            It’s not shut down, it’s unfunded. That’s the technical difference.

            A lot of the folks who work for the gov’t aren’t allowed to take a second job, because of security concerns– this is especially true for the areas currently unfunded. (Count on the Dems to fail to fund law enforcement.)

            A peeve I’m rapidly developing is folks confusing “essential jobs” with “stuff that needs to be done”– it’s actually more along the lines of hurricane jobs type essential. And yes, I was someone who had to go in with a hurricane at least once, more times in a blizzard.


            Look, gas is essential to your car running. No matter what, you have to have gas to drive.

            Oil changes, and further up services, aren’t.

            Doesn’t mean you don’t need them, means that if you skip one you’re still going to be able to drive…although it’s gonna cost you eventually.

      3. Other than that, the shutdown has been mostly a big nothing.

        Partly because every time something is discovered as a problem, the administration runs to go see if they can fix it; first they DIDN’T withhold the already allotted paychecks (Obama did that at least once), then they paid the Coast Guard (only partial pay was already allotted), then the parks started running on the entry fees they’re collecting, and last I heard the IRS will be doing refunds.

      4. the Obama admin spent more money grandstanding and making it seem worse than it really is

        That was because the Obama mal-Administration shared H. L. Mencken’s view: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      5. “But I think the media is reticent to really hit it hard just in case House Democrats end up getting blamed for it.”
        Good point, although perhaps that should be changed to “Democrats can’t get people to keep blaming Trump for it” because the media and the Dems will NEVER blame themselves, ever.
        On the parks thing, a friend works for the Park Service (in contracts, not in the field) and mentioned the problem with trash and some vandalism, which is a result of keeping the open but unstaffed in an attempt to counter the bad optics Obama generated by closing what didn’t need to be closed.
        So I checked around and it looks like locals, including states and cities, are taking up the slack for the furloughed rangers; plus, vendors police their own enterprises (which they did anyway; there was NO reason for Obama to make them close), and individual parks can close partially or totally if they decide facts warrant it.
        Totally the opposite of the Dems, whose only objective was to make people hurt as much as possible, but got burned by the backlash because what they did was so stupid.

    2. Really? I haven’t noticed either, but I hear a lot of talk about it on the news. (Coast Guard may or may not get paid; food inspectors are off the job; let’s see something about farmers….)

      1. Oh! I forgot that one– they were saying food stamps were going to be reduced or removed.

        That’s not going to happen, now, either.

    3. Yes; aviation is noticing, because the air traffic controllers aren’t getting paid, so they’re split between the ones who are “out sick (of working without pay)” and those who are working like mad to keep coverage. Both are getting pretty worried about their household budgets. As well, the (private) testing centers are open, and the (private) designated examiners are still doing checkrides, but people aren’t actually being issued new pilot certificates

      Oh, and the microbrewery noted they can’t release the new beer because nobody in the government is there to a prove the new label. Why yes, they have to approve every beer label for some stupid governmental reason…

        1. The label thing isn’t exclusive to beer, but extends to virtually all foods and beverages. My Dad ran into this when he was still working. They were moving production of a non-alcoholic beverage into his plant, which had a different type of water supply than was on the label. It ended up being cheaper/faster to add some super-pricey (as in several million dollars, IIRC) equipment to the plant so that it would technically be the same type of water as was already on the label, rather than to go through the label change process.

    4. What, there’s no mohawked gangs on spike-covered cars fighting over gasoline yet?

          1. Some time back I recall there being arguments abut we Americans not being sufficiently grateful we were not paying European-Level gas prices, so I did the math to convert liters to gallons and compare the prices … then I eliminated the taxes to compare real price per unit and found out Europeans and Americans pay about the same price for gasoline but Europeans are paying a much higher tax per unit of gas, making their prices seem much greater.

          2. Eyup. Way back when, as this Hopey/changery stuff came about they were decrying the cost of gas and it’s affect on the poor folk of the USA. When 0bama took office, the average gas price was $1.87 a gallon, a bit less than 50 cents a liter. In Euros abut .43 or so.
            The whole 8 years of his damage, we never got back down to that. A rare instance it got to $1.99 and he was unhappy because it was despite him, though his supporters were all asking why when gas went down under him (iirc it hit $2.20/gallon or so) he wasn’t getting any credit (this was the start of Fracking being better developed) and I pointed out to a friend (former coworker) that A: it was the $1.87 when he started, and B: added a link to video of him saying “Under my policies, energy prices will necessarily skyrocket/go up”. In order for gas to get below what it was back then (here we haven’t hit below $1.89.9) gas itself has to be far cheaper than it was when 0bama took office, as taxes on it, from hole in the ground to pumped into your car, is higher.
            The other thing I used to use was profits (evil profits). Way back, pre-Billy Clinton, Gas was sold like this: Station got load, was told the load would be X amount per gallon, and the station set the price, sold the gas, THEN paid for the load, usually when the next load was delivered, or sometimes, as they went along, but the price was what the price was when the tanker first showed up. Using the current price then (forget how low it was, but say it was $1.50) of that price .05 was profit to the gas station, minimum, by contract, he had to charge at least .05 (charging more was okay, but you ended up selling less, and tended not to make it up). The company that dropped it into your station got the same profit, .05. The distribution places got less, pipelines bulk hauling etc, at .04 or less, except for certain places that got a touch more, but were moving it further. The Refinery got about the same .04 to .05 per gallon. So, going profit on gas, we got about .20 being the Evil profit.
            Now, prices started moving up and down faster and folks wondered why, blamed the stations mostly. I knew station owners.
            Clinton signed a law that changed the way gas was sold, now you paid for it on delivery. So if the next day prices went up, you best go up too, or you won’t be able to buy your next load from the profits. Prices were changing 10 to 20 cents a day, and a buddy of mine was getting a tanker a week.
            He sold his last station and now owns a Laundromat, and rental property, and got out of the gas biz

  10. My Grandfather HATED Libertarians… Or at least the Libertarians in his head anyway. According to Grand-dad, all Libertarians were Anarchists who wanted to legalize drugs, rape, and murder. Along with shutting down Law Enforcement, and Schools. They also wanted to burn down all federal and state parks to clear more land for growing marijuana (just what they would do with THAT much marijuana he never said). He had such gloriously childish fits over it, we ended up having to stop saying the “L” word around him, because we were afraid he’d hurt himself.

    1. I’ve considered the legalizing murder thing. Look, we only solve 90% of them. It might be a bigger deterrent to know the relatives and friends will come after you and it’s perfectly legal. 😉

      1. IIRC, the national average clearance rate for murders is considerably lower than 90%, more like 66%, though it varies widely by state. In some states you’ve got less than a five percent chance of getting away with it, while in DC and IL you’ve got better than even odds of offing somebody and getting away with it.

      2. I prefer the term decriminalization of vigilante justice.

        Look, our mass incarceration situation is in no way justifiable, and we need to be following the example of enlightened foreign places like the People’s Republic of China.

        It is only criminal penalties that stand in the way of the average American garroting the street junkies with fishing line.

        In conclusion: 1. Legalize murder 2. Dead druggies. 3. ???? ???? 4. Perfect utopia.

        1. Legally killing something like street gang members – okay, that might work. So leave the actual “find the murderer” to cases where somebody offed Colonel Mustard in the library and there are several suspects but no certainty who did it, and it might even have been some outsider nobody knows about, maybe? With those any kind of vigilante action could be bad, you really need somebody with some credentials to at least point out who most likely did it first, or maybe even more important, who most certainly didn’t.

          Of course the latter could be privatized too, as long as there were some sort of checks and balances to make sure nobody could be hired to find “evidence” against the person who their employer wants to be the murderer, instead of actually trying to find out who really did it.

          1. And while I have not watched any of the “Purge” movies, from what I read about the idea and what the plotting seemed to be, I think they got what might actually happen under those circumstances rather wrong…

            1. I haven’t seen the movies either, but I agree with your take. There might be breakage and bedlam in some areas with a high feral male population, but that won’t reach far into the suburbs anywhere where the Second Amendment is respected. Of course that doesn’t include California, so maybe that explains why the film makers thought their plot made sense.

              *evil grin*

              1. I think you are underestimating the effect that “permission” (as in legalization) would have. I think there are a LOT of people out there who wouldn’t dream of killing anyone, but give them PERMISSION, and the knives would come out!

                1. Absolutely. Legalize killing, and the leftist/progressive problem would pretty much go away in my state, and considerable parts of the nation.

                  1. I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be the other way around. I think, well maybe not “conservatives”, but Liberty/Rights-minded people (Libertarians etc.) would be much less likely to violate people’s right to life (or their property rights to own their own body) than Leftists who see anyone who disagrees with them as less-than-human.

                    Although, you might be right after all, because conservatives and liberty/rights-minded people are much more likely to be armed and willing/able to defend themselves.

                    OH OK. Now we HAVE to do the experiment, if only to see what happens. LOL! (just kidding….. as far as YOU know….)

                    1. I rather favor your view.

                      Especially at first.

                      As the knockout game shows, there is a too-big group that likes any victory, even if it’s at an innocent’s expense.

        2. In the end, the police exist to protect the criminals from the rest of us…and some subset of us from mistaken vigilante justice (although what we learn many years about prosecutorial abuses make me wonder about that last part).

          1. I’ve long assumed that I am weird enough that I’d be the natural target of any mob with the option of simply targeting someone they don’t like.

            1. But if you get seriously weird, suddenly you become far too dangerous to risk going against.

              “If you off me, the 37 time bombs around town I keep resetting will no longer be re-set. How much bloodshed do YOU really want?”

              (And the beauty is, you might really need exactly zero of those 37.)

              1. No, you just need one, maybe two at the most. That goes off after you are unjustly detained, and you warn them that one is going off at precisely such and such a time, and you’ll only tell them where when it becomes impossible for them to get to it in time. That gives you the credibility that they have to take you seriously. On the other hand, the stubbornness of some people (like me) can be hard to overcome. You might need that second one to get through their thick skulls. Oh, and those two should be placed in locations to cause no real damage or injury. After all, they’re just demonstrations. They don’t let you go, then you blow up serious targets.

            2. The fact that you often advocate for the casual slaughtering of drug users and other folk who piss you off raises the likelihood that in a ‘Purge’ scenario someone will knock you off out of a sense of general self-preservation. I don’t know if you’re serious or being ironical; it’s difficult to tell. In any case, to me calling for mass murder is not a laughing matter.

          2. In the main, the police and the law usally do protect guilty and innocent alike from mobs, although that was not and is not always true.
            What they don’t protect us from is corrupt judges, mayors, and LEOs, of which there are a plethora, apparently.

      3. I don’t like the idea that your life is only of value if you have friends and relatives willing to avenge you. As a loner with older parents, I think there were a lot of periods when I’d have been fair game.

            1. I don’t mind just killing, much. Consider it pest control. Torture on the other hand, is totally reprehensible. Even pulling the legs off flies is just plain sick.

        1. For several decades now I have been advertising a slightly more modest plan: every citizen gets one free murder. The benefits are obvious. Society would be polite because you never know if that guy you just cut off in traffic has used his “Kill” yet. It would encourage practicing delayed gratification because you can never be sure whether tomorrow you will meet an even bigger a-hole. It would cut down on divorce. It would reconcile abortion with “abortion is murder” stance. Other benefits too numerous to type!

          Non-transferable, of course. Although … possibly inheritable?

          Minor problems of keeping track of who has and who hasn’t utilized their “1Kill” are left as exercise for the reader.

    2. Libertarians are great.
      Anarchists need to be turned into fertilizer, it’s the only thing they’re good for.

      1. Libertarians are great.

        Oops, fella — minor grammar & spelling error.

        Libertarians grate.


          1. From what I’ve seen of recent election returns, that is working as well as most other Libertarian projects.

            Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan? Seriously????

            Both members of that House delegation seem to have a D behind their names. I’ll grant Sunununununununu as governor, but isn’t he kind of a legacy seat?

  11. The guys who want no government? That’s Anarchists. And no, Somalia is not a Libertarian society. Or an anarchist one. Somalia is a tribal war with borders. Its dysfunction has much to do with where and what it is, not with the system of its government, which is “totalitarians trained in left wing politics in western universities trying to speak insanity to tribes who are trying to stay alive.”

    Eh, Somalia is a not improbable result of anarchy, especially with that culture(al mix).

    Libertarian doesn’t spend enough time looting and preventing threats to one’s (personal) power to eat that much seed corn–there’s still an assumption that SOME organizations will happen, so the proto-governments aren’t ripped down until they’re too brutal to be countered.

          1. That’s why I’ve pretty much stopped voting for Libertarian candidates. The problem is that, for the most part, those people who want to run for office are not the sort content with leaving others alone (and vice versa).

        1. I said repeatedly that I would vote for the Libertarians in the last election if they hinted that they cared about any freedom other than the freedom to smoke pot. They never did.

          1. What, you weren’t persuaded by various demonstrations they were very interested in the freedom to avoid the natural consequences of other actions? /gasp

          1. OT: As a kid, I wondered why we couldn’t just go to the church down the street from the high school, one I could easily walk or ride my bike to. This is when Dad explained a bit about there being different kinds of Baptists. Dad maintained that there were as many different kinds of Baptists as everything else put together.

            Later we got into how to count Baptists. I don’t remember his exact words anymore and am fairly sure that the passage of time edited and polished this in my mind, but it essentially went like this:

            One Baptist is a Missionary.
            Two Baptists are a Congregation.
            Three Baptists are a Conference.
            Four Baptists are a Denomination.
            Five Baptists are a Schism.


            1. Ah! Now I understand why we not only had the First Baptist Church which I attended as a child, but also the Second Baptist, Third Baptist, New Baptist, College Heights Baptist,…. and none of them “sub-congregations” of any of the others.

      1. And our anti-Fascists want to practice Fascism. When did we slip into Bizarro-World and how is it no one noticed?

        1. Eh, the Nazis were always in the habit of accusing other peoples of just what they did themselves. They did anti-Polish and anti-Russian films depicting the persecution of the German minorities in Poland and Russia; they did anti-British films about the concentration camps in South Africa — and just when they built their own; they accuses Jews of plunging the world into war.

    1. Somalia is a likely consequence of tribalism, UN style multicultural bullsh*t diplomacy, and the absence of a colonial power. Somalia is the worst case, but much of Africa resembles it to one degree or another.

      Pity there’s nobody in a mental and cultural postion to replace the Victorian British Colonials.

  12. I hope to see changes in government such as smaller federal government, fewer bureaucrats, fewer regulations, and more common sense. Since that would violate Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, I’m not holding my breath.

    1. The Code of Federal Regulations has decreased in page count by approximately one-third over the past two years, returning from its Obama-era high to about the same spot it was at thirty years ago. In the same period there have been minor layoffs and attritional reductions in staff at several Federal agencies and departments, including EPA and State.

        1. When he promised to remove 2 regs for each one added, I just wrote it off because I remembered John McCain’s and Obama’s promises (which they had not intention of delivering).
          That Trump’s administration has actually delivered on this promise I consider a boon of magnificent worth.

    1. I guess my gut reaction is that if this is substantiated research, we would have heard of it before now. The anti-marijuana forces have made a lot of claims over the years, and I don’t recall this kind of apparently solid layout.

      It certainly runs counter to my personal experience of potheads, who tended to be kinda sad, undependable, and small-time thievish.

      Don’t much like the stuff, myself. My personal preference in drugs doesn’t run to things that make my thinking fuzzy.

      1. If illegals committing crimes could be substantiated, we would have heard about it by now.

        Illegals, spree shooters, and this. There are incidents where if you dig, you can see that the media has a clear pattern of overlooking details and failing to draw parallels, and instead engaging in hysteria over things like guns.

        The stuff with adolescents has been known for a long time. Okay, maybe not the claimed ten uses level of effect, but doubling rate of schizo might be the sort of subtle effect you would expect at that level.

        As for effects on mentally ill, most people do not know tons of mentally ill people. People with serious brain chemistry problems are rare enough that most people will not have the chemistry problem/pot use overlap well represented in their anecdotal evidence. Mrs. Berensen’s psychiatric practice is precisely the background that would produce the anecdotal evidence that highlights the cases and effects I have the most interest in. That marijuana, used without careful dosing and supervision, would be bad for people with organically caused mental illness was established when they proved psychiatric efficacy.

        The interesting claim is the violent crime. It fits my intuition. The issue is that broken families might cause both. Total despair at the ability to make a future in the lawful world might increase both. Violent crime and weed both have short term ‘benefits’ that screw one over in the long term, so we would expect a natural overlap. And weed impairs judgement enough that a career violent criminal and chronic user would be expected to be more reckless (to include escalation) and more likely to get caught than your ordinary decent career violent criminal. Certainly we are not dealing with people who are so reliable as witnesses about their history of use that we can really trust the testimony. My instinct is that if it is possible to really correct for those factors, it would take a study with serious funding.

        I don’t have the background for a medical practice, don’t have extensive law enforcement contacts, and haven’t had the spoons to do the sort of work that Berensen seems to have done.

      2. I checked the census for Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. I thought the 15% difference in increased murder rate could also be caused by a disparate effect of racial preference in relaxed policing. Alaska has a much lower population, as you would expect. The other three states are whiter, more educated, and wealthier than average. They also have a higher population growth rate than average, and that seems like it could also be something that could disparately increase murder rate given other favorable conditions.

        So the confounding factor I initially thought might be possible wasn’t, but another is.

      3. I’ve been linking to studies that say roughly what the articles says for years– different sources, too.

        They tend to get denounced as bad-think, and at one point I was informed that the gov’t of…can’t remember which European country it was… was only interested in promoting the American plan to put all recreational potheads in jail for money. (They’d failed to notice who the study was by.)

        There is money in pot, and being against it isn’t cool; of course they don’t get much attraction, same way the breast-cancer and abortion links are ignored.

    2. I’m still for legalization. Just because something is legal to use, doesn’t mean you should use it, or use it constantly everyday. If I used Motrin the way some people smoke Mary Jane, I wouldn’t have a functioning kidneys anymore.

      1. yep. Also we’ve managed to demonize tobacco despite its being legal.
        But its being illegal gives the government way too much leeway to poke into people’s lives.

        1. That’s the great thing about the PPACA.

          Combine oversight of physical custody of prisoners with oversight of medical care for prisoners. There’s an actual mandate for treating substance abuse, and all measures available to bureaucracy are basically fraud. Which means that torturing people to death is as medically legitimate as anything else.

          If most of the violent criminals one is operating against are going to have a history of weed use, it might be practical to torture them to death once one has them in custody, use the information from that to grab confederates, torture them to death likewise, and so on.

          Recognition of human rights as applying to this or that group is a cultural factor. We are not successful at changing cultural factors to order. If weed really is causing a form of brain damage that makes white wealthy ‘educated’ people more prone to violent criminality, legalization might induce more interesting cultural changes than keeping it illegal. And neither you nor I can accurately and reliably forecast the cultural changes.

  13. Think of the unemployment crisis as bureaucrats without number got run off their jobs. (Okay, now wipe that grin off your face.

    I am thinking about that as today (Friday) will be the first missed paycheck in the shutdown.

    I suspect there will be two or three.

    I also suspect come three some fraction of bureaucrats will say “F****t, I’m going to the private sector while unemployment is still low and people are hiring.”

    I just hope (there’s that hope) that a lot do and aren’t replaced (I mean, if they are non-essential anyway…).

    1. “I’m going to the private sector while unemployment is still low and people are hiring.”

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that many of them have that much self-respect to do so.

      1. Government bureaucrats, ike university researchers, prefer to avoid the private sector.

        In the private sector they expect results.

    1. Definitely worth the read. Makes you think about where the Left is going, and what’s likely to happen with Islam and the rest of the world. Maybe we need to up our game and start being really intolerant of the Intolerant Tolerators of Pogromessivism, err Progressivism.

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