Clearing the Fog


In a way I’ve always loved fog.

Literal fog, I mean.

For someone who lives with her head between worlds, fog can be magical. It obscures reality, it shifts, it obscures and reveals.

When I was a kid the village got thick, milky fogs. Okay, part of it was the fact that the city of Porto sent all its garbage to a fertilizer factory on a hill overlooking the village, and that — as a result and because of either lack of funds or lack of permits to build — the factory burned great big piles of garbage above the village almost every night (Yes, I do have asthma. Don’t ask.)  The problem is that the village was in a valley and mom’s house was located about halfway up a slope coming up from what used to be a swamp before the railroad raised the ground to build on it (the other side were still swamps.)

The thick, heavy fog would settle there, and the smoke would weave through it, making it more opaque (also stinkier.)

I did not love the throat burning or the constriction in breathing, but I loved the shifting, obscuring and revealing quality of it.  It was the sort of fog where you saw clearly maybe two feet in front of your face and where, as you advanced, anything might happen. That street light might turn out to be a UFO. The lights advancing towards you might not be a bicycle or a car going slow as heck, but a carriage from the age of sword fighters and romance.

You knew it wasn’t. You didn’t even really want it to be. (I told son the other day after we drove past something that might have been outlandish and was certainly surreal that we’re the sort of people who’ll never have adventures. We don’t get out to check it out. We like this world and this reality, thank you so much.) But it could imagine it was and make the world fractionally more magical, teeming with potential interest that wasn’t there before.

It’s in a way the same reason I like reading about lost civilizations. It’s not that I believe they existed or even want them to have exist (if many human civilizations have risen and fallen, that makes our prospects dim) but I like reading about it for the daydreams and the possibilities (which honestly would be easier if every “lost civilization researcher” weren’t obsessed with astrology. Why must it always be astrology?)

There are times, though, when fog is scary.  The scariest drive of my life (which includes drives in snow storms and heavy rain) was the drive from Colorado Springs to Denver in a thick fog where we saw realistically maybe 5 ft in front of our bumper.  On a highway that has a sudden drop on the right side. We couldn’t even tell where we were on the road, and just followed increasingly dimmer back lights.

And now I’m trying to get back to driving (after five years of very bad sight) I’m glad I took son to grocery with me two days ago.  When we came out there was a fog mixed with frozen rain.  Probably not too bad, but I’m night blind. The combination meant I’d not be safe to drive back, because it’s hard to see through that stuff.

That is more or less where we are, as a society.

The left has had control of education, of means of communication, of intellectual ideiation and narrative for a century.  Full control, I mean. Before that they had partial control and toe holds.  Also before that they were not as full on communist. All the things we “know” and were taught aren’t necessarily so.

And make no mistake, while the current crop of fog machine leftists are almost transparently inept, this wasn’t always so.  Much of your ideas of everything from industrialization to the position of women in society to… well, anything is informed by very smart, very gifted men and women who believed in lying for their cause, and that sufficient lies would bring about utopia.

You realize this when you realize how lies shade differently in other countries, how you get people in Europe who earnestly believe the only alternative to socialism is monarchy, or that people were starving to death in Sweden just before socialists took over.

The lies corrupt everything, including the West’s view of itself.  And it’s a fog.

It’s hard to drive when the fog obscures the road, and when you’re no longer sure where you came from.  And there are drop offs, suddenly, on the left side, which will kill us not only as individuals but as a civilization. Certainly as a nation (ask Venezuela.)

And the new crop of leftists doesn’t even realize the lies their “ancestors” told. That’s why we get idiot children who honestly and earnestly think there were no women of note in SF/F before 1990.

Less idiotic ones but who have no children earnestly believe women are still told they can’t do math and shouldn’t go to STEM (across the board. Yeah, I’m sure there’s one here and there, but trust me, no.) And aren’t aware that the problem is that all these girls and women are being given “the has-vagina A” and thus rendered incapable of facing real competition in college. Because everyone is so afraid of “discouraging” a female.

It’s hard to set course in those cases. You might think you’re writing the most daring thing ever by being a woman with a female main character (or a gender fluid one — rolls eyes –) in a science fiction book. You might think that if only girls got more encouragement they’d all be engineers and mathematicians (if they got more rigor we’d have a bunch of more of them, I’d wager.) You might even think socialism is nothing to be scared of. After all the soviet union was communist not socialist. (Except that they never called themselves communist.  And communist East Germany called itself Democrat. Let those who have ears hear.)

Your history, your literature, your news are covered in fog. It might be pleasant to imagine they’re something other than they are. Certainly if you believe in the power of the government to bring about utopia. But it doesn’t make it less dangerous. Because you can’t see the precipice clearly.

Some of us have taken it upon ourselves to get fog lamps and hit the road, but there’s too few of us and the space we clear is limited.

You have to know you’re driving in a fog and take due precautions.  Don’t simply know all of our cultural references are wrong in some things and then assume they’re right in all the rest.

Months ago when talking to younger son, I asked him how we came out pretty close politically, since I discussed history, writing, engineering and science fiction with the boys, but never politics. And they were faced with such a barrage at school.

He said “You taught me to question everything. To look for proof. When you do that, the conclusions kind of end in the same place.”

Question everything. Not just what you’d like to question. Search out primary sources. Don’t think that because you were taught lies, the precise inverse is the truth. Things are never that simple and easy. Not in a world of humans.  Question, search, look. If a theory seems too seamless, a view point without flaw; if there’s a just-so story that explains everything, it’s probably the fog creating a fairy tale.

The only way to drive through the fog is to take it slow and make very sure of your ground.  Yes, sure, your predecessors back lights are useful, but make very sure they’re not just driving off a cliff and taking you with them.

There is a culture to rebuild. History to relearn.

And the fog must clear. Eventually.

Until then do what you can to see your way. Clearly.


129 thoughts on “Clearing the Fog

  1. Ever read Larry Niven’s “For A Foggy Night”?

    Main Character takes a walk on a foggy night and finds himself in another world.

    Ends well as it wasn’t a terrible world but he doesn’t push his luck.

    IE: He never goes out on a foggy night. 😀

    1. I was thinking of the same story, knew it was Niven but the only title that kept popping into my head was Night on a Misspec Moor which is most definitely NOT that story. Thank your shiny scales for remembering that…

      1. I was thinking of the Ray Bradbury story (whose title escapes me) in R Is For Rocket where two knights are out on a foggy moor to slay a dragon….. which turns out to be a steam locomotive that runs them down. And the train crew just doesn’t stop, because they did before and didn’t find bodies.

    2. I like wandering into the fog into other worlds, other universes. The best excursions are when you learn something new, or pickup something of value and bring it back with you. Granted, it can be deadly dangerous to adventure in such places; but then you can come home. The downside? Sometimes something may follow you home…

      1. I believe its in Niven’s All The Myriad Ways collection. There’s also another good alternate history story (which is the title of the collection I think) as well as the ever green Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. Niven was probably the second or third author I read compulsively as a kid after Heinlein.

        1. Yes it’s there. Also using ISFDB .org you can find out where stories of various authors have been collected.

  2. Ignoring the actual important point our esteemed hostess was making:
    For the Love of Life Orchestra, Mrs. Hoyt, when are you going to bring those awesome foggy/smoky memories back online and give us some full-on steampunk? I like your Magical British Empire, but it’s really kind of clean….

      1. If our hostess will pardon my crude analogy, Steampunk is like a supermodel on heroin. Gorgeous on the outside and an utter mess on the inside. It’s really hard to come up with a reason for a steampunk universe. to my taste the only even vaguely self consistent steam punk universe is that of S. M. Stirling’s The Peshwar Lancers. And even there he has to push its boundaries hard in some cases to keep things moving in the desired direction.

        1. You know what’s a headache-inducing problem? Building a pretty freshly terraformed planet that doesn’t have petroleum resources yet, so steampunk & starships is plausible.

          I won’t even start on the story until the environment is hashed out.

          1. Perhaps I’m missing something. if you can terraform a planet you probably have energy to burn, fusion, antimatter, fission, unobtanium, handwavium, something. Unless of course you’re being dumped as punishment or to perhaps isolate a rather aggressive species by someone else…

            1. There’s the classic, you settled this world with High-Tech and sh*t happens to your High-Tech.

              For example, your interstellar civilization is at war (outsiders or civil-war) and your High-Tech is destroyed but for some reason your world is forgotten.

              1. Algol in Mekton is an example.

                Though their tech level is slightly better than ours. And – as befits a setting using the Mekton game rules – they have mecha.

            2. Terraforming was done well before the colonists arrive and the terraformers are long gone, the colonists are maybe on the run or for some other reason lose contact with the rest of the galaxy, or maybe they don’t have FTL and so there is not any fast contact between worlds, and they have to abandon their damaged ship which barely gets them close enough to the world that they can land in shuttles, but on the process of a panicked evacuation lose most of the technology and some knowledge too? So now they are on the surface and have to start from scratch.

              Would work for one world, at least.

      1. Actually, what software guru Tom DeMarco said was “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free…but first it will make you miserable.”

        I learned a different version as a GI: Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

  3. “Your history, your literature, your news are covered in fog.”

    Today’s example:

    All but one of the DemocRats signed on to a bill forcing schools to let boys compete as girls in all sports. Its a done deal, the Equality Act.

    Here’s the fog part from the linked article:

    “The Human Rights Coalition even wrote a statement in support of the bill, claiming that opponents of the measure are denying science. “Opponents of equality in athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have unfair physiological advantages over cisgender girls and as a result, will dominate women’s competitive sports,” they wrote, adding that it is not “rooted in fact” that men are stronger and faster than women, according to the Caller.”

    What we have here is one party in a two-party system declaring women are physically identical to men, and that a man who changes his gender, by declaration alone, is now physically a woman for the purposes of sport. They are saying it is perfectly fair for 120lb teen girls to compete against 170lb teen boys in soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, running/jumping/throwing etc. If the boy declares himself to be a female, he IS one.

    Okay so far? Let’s throw out the whole gender issue for a moment and consider just the making and promotion of this policy. The DemocRat Party, as a political organization, has decided to push this policy purely and simply because their opposition will resist it. The Republicans will say no way, because its obviously insane. The DemocRats will respond “REEE!!! Fairness! Gender Equity! Patriarchy! REEE!!!” and that’s all they have to do.

    Because we live in a time where you can say something like “it is not “rooted in fact” that men are stronger and faster than women” and expect the full support of the media and the Ivory Tower intelligentsia. The DemocRats lose nothing by pursuing an obviously insane policy.

    Not only is the truth no longer a defense, even bringing it up is an offense.

    Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to realize that we are living in a post-factual fairy land, where all frogs are princes and babies are brought by storks. You’ll never get anywhere backing some Leftist into a corner where they have to prove their case. They can’t. Never could. It doesn’t matter. They will just switch to a new cudgel and keep beating you.

    Plan accordingly.

    1. Tobe fair, wrestling is divided by weight classes so the 120 lb girl won’t be competing with the 179 lb boy there.
      On the larger issue I love this bill and hope that it becomes law. For my entire life the feminists have been lying, saying that men and women are the same (but only if women are not disadvantaged). If this passes women in at least one field will across the board be clobbered. Perhaps people will wake up finally and even if not, feminists will be hurt. What’s not to like as long as you don’t have daughters that are into competitive sports?

      1. On the larger issue I love this bill and hope that it becomes law. For my entire life the feminists have been lying, saying that men and women are the same


        I have had to put up with so much feminist BS that I’m fine with the schadenfreude.

      2. What’s not to like as long as you don’t have daughters that are into competitive sports?

        There’s the rub. She isn’t yet (she’s 2), but she loves kicking and throwing balls, and her favorite thing to do in the afternoons is “go ‘side play baseball.” (She doesn’t really know what baseball is, but she’s working on it). It’s really unfortunate that she may never get a chance to play sports and be competitive.

        1. I bet private teams will pop up like mushrooms, and will be biologically male or biologically female only. At least in some areas. Probably not in big cities, unless enough Muslim parents scream bloody murder (as they did in England and got the lower-grades’ sex-ed [how-to] classes dropped or greatly modified.)

          1. Biological-gender-specific private teams? I can see it now. The lawsuits will be EPIC. All payed for by deep-pocketed political groups. Not out of love for poor left-out trans, although they will swear it is, but out of some deep-seated need to crush those who oppose them.

            1. They need you to repeat their lie, that’s how they know they’ve defeated you. It doesn’t matter if the lie is that there are 5 lights or that Bobby is a girl, it doesn’t even matter if you actually believe it. If you say it, they own you.

                1. That’s one of the bad ones. Green glassy craters glowing gently everywhere north of the equator. Dominated by immense cockroaches and several very sturdy mosses.At present some of Res’s close relatives seem to be making a run at evolving into a sapient race with some help from enhanced background radiation. Office pool betting amongst the interdimensional travelers favors their not making it to a space faring civilization before the next dinosaur killer shows up.

      3. How are they planning on differentiating between actual trans and boys who just like the idea of rolling around on the floor with girls? You think a dude won’t wear a dress for that? I had a friend in HS who’s brother pretended to be gay just so he could hang out with the girls. It worked out for him too. He was cute (or I’m told, I didn’t see it) so there was quite a bit of “too bad he’s gay, maybe I can turn him strait” going on.

        Frankly, if the Left are SO SURE that there is no physicality difference between men and women, then ALL Gender-specific sports are SEXIST and need to be forced into non-gender-specific compliance! ESPECIALLY THE OLYMPICS!!! (I mean, if you’re going there, might as well go big)

        1. There is no way. The trans activists have basically screeched that, “If you say you’re trans, then you are.” There’ve been instances in which it’s been pretty blatant that men have been abusing the rules to peek at women in restrooms. The individual man might get punished for peeking. But nothing else happens, and the incident gets ignored otherwise.

        2. “How are they planning on differentiating between actual trans and boys who just like the idea of rolling around on the floor with girls?”

          They’re going to REEEEEE!!! anytime anyone mentions it, obviously. How dare you suggest that JimBob might be faking it so he can see naked chicks in the change room.

          The truth itself is offensive.

      4. Feminists have been trying to punish all men because they’re angry the world isn’t fair.

        So the solution is…to punish all women because you’re angry that those feminists made the world less fair?

        1. The world has never been fair. Men have borne the brunt of feminists’ ire because the feminazis are nuts.

          1. Men as a group, and women when they fail to be supportive “enough” for the nuts.

            I simply don’t see how on earth copying them would be a good tactic!

            1. I see it as “not standing in their way while they make a bad mistake” not “punishing all women for the sins of the femnazis”.

              Yes, I understand your point but I don’t see it as “punishing all women…”.

              1. What other reading of “If this passes women in at least one field will across the board be clobbered.” is there than ‘some females were asses, this hurts all females, yay’?

                It’s a bad idea— both tactically, and morally. Think how wonderfully popular feminists are. And copying them, without the weight and will to be even worse, will get you equal or better results?

                1. Not going to “fight you” on this. Just stating “how I see it”.

                  1. I think our draconic friend’s strategy is one espoused by Napoleon, basically never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake.

                    As for fair I think the Princess Bride covers that well:
                    Sick boy“Hold it! Hold it! Grand-pa, you read that wrong. She doesn’t marry Humperdinck. She marries Westley. I’m just sure of it. After all he did for her, if she didn’t marry him, it wouldn’t be fair.”
                    Grandfather“Well who says life is fair? Where is that written? Life isn’t always fair.”

                    Whether you hold that there is an Author that designed all this about us or whether it is driven solely thorugh the impartial unfeeling forces of evolution sexual dimorphism is rampant throughout almost nearly anything that has a sexual division (even Jellyfish show it for crying out loud ). To deny these fundamental differences would take an idiot of epic proportions. But then again these are liberal scholars and they’ve said to us “Hold my chardonnay and watch this”. This will end as well as any tale of Florida Man.

                2. Not necessarily a bad idea tactically. If you start with the assumption that male and female sports are on a level playing field, and this hurts all female sports while not affecting male sports, then it being a bad idea tactically and morally that would be obviously true.

                  However, the current reality is that once you get past the high school level, men’s sports have subsidized women’s sports, and women’s sports aren’t moneymakers. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into women’s sports from male sport revenues… in fact, Florida has a law that requires all state universities to retain, and use for women’s athletics, an amount equal to the sales taxes they collect from tickets for sports events.

                  And it never stops. The women’s sport directors, as well as the feminists, respond to every statistic that women’s sports aren’t as popular as men’s by demanding more money, more subsidies, more airtime… At no point do they ever stop and say “Maybe there’s a reason NCAA women’s basketball is a very low crowd draw other than oppressive patriarchy? Maybe we shouldn’t demand school subsidies to the tune of well over 138 million a year from the all students at the universities for this sport to play on TV?” No, the answers are always Men Bad, and Need More Money.

                  The entire edifice is rotten, and in need a serious purging – but it’s filled with people whose jobs literally depend on denying that. So when people say “Well, good. This’ll bring down the whole corrupt racket finally!” They’re not necessarily celebrating the harm to the athletes who are the excuse for the whole mess, nor are they necessarily wrong.

                  1. and women’s sports aren’t moneymakers.

                    *puts on straightest face possible first* It’s all entertainment. Add mud. Or jello.

                    *cracks smile*

                    Seriously though, the whole sports thing is one of those that escapes my interest unless I’m participating in certain ones; and seems to be of selective interest spheres of entertainment. Kind of like how yaoi (homosexual) fiction seems to be the purvey of female writers and readers in a way that completely escapes me except on the ‘forbidden love’ level, except apparently there’s a LOT of smut in there that utterly fascinates.

                    (I mean, I sort of get it. Kind of. It’s like how girl-on-girl porn is enjoyed by guys. But at the same time the thought of two guys getting it on escapes me as ‘interesting’, but that’s me.)

                    (and if this makes not much sense, I think I’m slightly feverish and probably should lie down now.)

                  2. And all of that has what to do with a teen age girl having to compete with guys?

                    If the idea is to destroy the mess, then why on earth support something that actually justifies the supposed reason for the original fix– “those guys” celebrating harm to innocent females?

        2. “So the solution is…to punish all women because you’re angry that those feminists made the world less fair?”

          Less of a solution and more of an entertainment, I think. ~:D

          Mostly we want to see the radical feminazis losing their collective shit and giving their “lesbians are being erased!!!” speeches at the Heritage Foundation. Because that was the only place they could get security coverage.

        3. Everyone, male and female, is grist for the mill. And the object of grinding is POWER. (For them.)

      5. Normally wrestling is a “male” sport. I have not seen a “Girls Wrestling” program though there may well be one, and every so often girls get onto the teams, especially in younger programs where neither has developed their upper body strength, closer to adulthood the 90 pound boys tend to out muscle the girls of the same weight, and the girls don’t often get far .
        What they are doing is now saying a gay boy claiming to be a girl can run in girls track.
        So, to put that into perspective, the boys running in most state championships for varsity track, are running times on par with Olympic and World record times by woman set at their adult primes. Every guy who can’t beat Usain Bolt could be allowed to claim to be a girl and race against the women.

        1. There are girls wrestling programs in Texas, also by weight, and there are some scholarships at the college level. It’t not a big ticket like volleyball or softball are (or basketball), but it’s pretty popular in some areas.

      6. It seems madness, but I’ll let them have their madness if the political and cultural left want to gut itself. I was hearing some news report yesterday where in Canada one LGBT***?? group was savaging the other over a gay pride parade. and how one trans group denounced lesbians as Transgender men in denial. I can’t even keep track of this stuff anymore.

        1. I shudder to imagine the size of the score cards and cast list you’d need to keep track, and how often revisions are issued.

        2. Case in point. Mayor Pete is gay, but for some folks he’s the wrong kind of gay.

          “But I think it is important to talk about hook-up apps and what our panicky elders used to call hook-up culture before they began to panic that young people are no longer having enough sex, because ostentatious abhorrence of — at least, embarrassment about — hooking up is a major constitutive component of a type of unthreatening, socially acceptable, vaguely conservative gay identity that folks like Mayor Pete are aggressively selling to the squares. I have increasingly come to believe that, though perhaps not intentionally, they do so to the detriment of many other gay folk and queer folk and trans folk and folks who just do not — when you put yourself in the mind of a voter with an NPR mug and maybe even an equality sticker on the back of the Volvo — quite look the part.”

      7. I can see an eventual development where all sports will have some classification scheme similar to the weight classes in wrestling and boxing, maybe handicapping like horse racing jockeys. Not going all Harrison Bergeron here; just to get people into nearly equivalent classes regardless of the DNA, plumbing, or sartorial choices.

        1. In some sports it (e.g. wrestling, and of the rolling forms of martial arts) it wouldn’t help after puberty. A 50kg male is going to beat a 50kg female some large percentage of the time barring large skill differences. Similarly all the desire of a transitioning male to be a gymnast on the uneven parallel bars is NOT going to fix xer top heavy body structure or other issues of slamming xer pelvic area against a flexible wood bar. As it is that sport has been dominated by small females since the late 70’s, Even women of average build quickly cease to be competitive leaving a mean age in the early teens for much of competitive women’s gymnastics.

          This is NOT to say women are not competitive with men in some sports. I was a middling to fair epee fencer in my late 20’s early 30’s. One evening at the open fence a young lady (late teens early 20s?) was waiting to fence foil. No one seemed to want to engage her even though strips were open. I went over and asked if she would care to fence epee . She got an epee cord and club weapon out of the armorers closet. Slightly under a minute later the 5 point bout was over 5-0 and not in my favor :-). She then introduced herself more fully and showed me what she’d done. She was a member of the US women’s foil fencing team to Barcelona (2000?) Olympics who’d recently moved to the area (which is why I’d never seen her before). She’d showed up before and none of the locals wanted to get beat quite that badly that evening. Here, skill and practice easily beat out my (likely small) advantage in response time. Strength did not directly matter. Intentional body to body contact ( corp a corp) like you see in movie swordplay is strictly forbidden and will get you a penalty for a first occurrence and likely forfeit of the bout and/or ejection for repetitions.

          1. Fencing is easily made a co-ed sport (some kind of benchmark qualification for classification?), and so is archery (draw weights could determine classes*) and shooting. Riding might be another, although I suspect men can handle stronger mounts.
            Anyway, thanks for the story.
            AesopSpouse and I fenced a bit in college (neither of us was very good at it), and we were able to get the boys into the sport. One of them kept it up in his college years, and was quite good, and another one ended up with a fencing father-in-law (who loaned his epee equipment to the other brother’s club, lol).

            *Lancaster Archery Supply on the 2016 Rio Olympics: “Brady Ellison, the top American male archer heading to Rio, typically draws 53 pounds. Mackenzie Brown, America’s only female archer competing in the games, draws 46.5 pounds.”

      8. “To be fair, wrestling is divided by weight classes so the 120 lb girl won’t be competing with the 179 lb boy there.”

        Ice hockey. Girls league forced to accept boys on their teams. 120lb girl goalie faces 100mph shots from 180lb “girl” forward.

        “On the larger issue I love this bill and hope that it becomes law. For my entire life the feminists have been lying, saying that men and women are the same.”

        I can’t really quarrel with that. Watching the Fruitbat Brigades all milling around sniping at each other, its really nice. Because fuck those guys.

        The problem with that idea is that this is only the beginning. What more could they get up to? Well, Communist China is about to ship millions of superfluous city dwelling young men into the countryside to “live in the villages”. AKA die of starvation and exposure somewhere that the Western media can’t see them. Before they join together and destroy the Communist Party as it deserves.

        I’d like to get a jump on killing that whole thing in its cradle. If we stake it now, it’ll be easier.

    2. “Not only is the truth no longer a defense, even bringing it up is an offense.”

      To which I will reply, “I aim to misbehave.”

      1. And my answer is, “I will not pick you up after reality knocks you down.”

        I’m starting to see the appeal of going galt.

      2. Unfortunately every time we try to make them watch the results of their World Without Sin they just say it wasn’t real communism.

        1. Oh, yes. The line now is that the US was sabotaging Venezuela for years and That’s Why.

        2. If there is something the liberals dislike they deny its existence, Sin, Sexual Dimorphism, Solar variabilty etc. Their elegant solution is to stuff their fingers in their ears and shout LA LA LA LA. In a more crude time this manner of behavior would be a good way to get removed from the gene pool. Predators and natural hazards do not care if you acknowledge them, and the predators think this just makes you a superior target as you don’t run away and make yourself all stringy. Sadly The Sons of Martha have mitigated this danger and so natures course is thwarted.

          1. Oh, they’ll deny solar variability right up until the glaciers come down the Hudson river valley.

    3. Time was, if you stated a fact, and some cad called you a liar for it, you were within your rights to call them out on the field of honor, or even just shoot the mad dog dead right there, depending on how egregious it was.

      On the other hand, I can often make some trolls look like idiots when they decide to go insulting my mother, alleging they had sex with her recently. Usually draws a laugh from the rest of the room when I counter, “Really? Didn’t realize you were into necrophilia since my mother’s been dead for over 3 decades. How’s it feel to know that the only women you can get are dead ones?”

    4. I remember an article from Theodore Dalrymple on the purpose of lies in totalitarian societies. As he puts it, the purpose of the lie isn’t to convince you, it’s to force you to repeat something you know isn’t true. It makes you a co-conspirator in your own oppression.

      I’ve thought about that a lot through this whole “transgender” craze. I don’t think it’s a coincidence it started up right after gay marriage became the law of the land. I think gay marriage was originally supposed to be one of those lies, but they did too well and actually convinced too many people. Thus, they moved on to the next one: male/female is all a state of mind, and if you’re uncomfortable with a woman with a penis staring at you while you shower at the gym, you’re a bigot.

      1. That is because gay civil marriage, especially after what we have done with no fault divorce and normalizing childbearing out of wedlock, was on pretty firm ground. It was sold as a basket of legal goods that even most religious people who objected to the use of the word marriage didn’t opposed.

        That it has become a tool to silence the religious (which some saw coming) is a different story.

        Transgender might be it, but the TERF Wars mean it might destroy more of the left than it expands.

        1. It’s no coincidence that the passing of no fault divorce, normalization of bastardization, normalization of non-reproductive sex, the fight to brainwash Americans into believing men are women and women are men are happening at the same time as our native-born population is crashing.

        2. I opposed it.

          Because I really, really, really, resented the way employment laws prevented me from lawfully negotiating wage and benefits below what the bureaucrats have decided I /must/ have.

          If we must support gay marriage on libertarian freedom to contract grounds, why not other contracts between consenting adults? If I don’t see the same enthusiasm, a) I conclude differing motivations b) I conclude that a concession of society’s right to limit contracts in one case may also apply to the other.

          If society’s right to regulate contracts includes civil unions, and if natural likelihood of bearing children is a defining purpose of marriage contracts, then same sex marriages could be excluded by simple test.

          I also have an argument relating to the magical thinking behind the concept of blood related.

          Which of course is the same thing as saying that I want cattle cars loading in San Francisco or Obamacare repealed.

        3. It would, perhaps, be more accurate to say that same sex marriage was originally sold as “civil unions”. In fact, that’s what happened in California. SSM was originally prohibited in California back in the ’90s with a ballot proposition. Later on, civil unions were approved by voters as a way of allowing same sex couples to have all the legal rights and privileges that heterosexual married couples enjoyed.

          And the very next thing that happened is that someone took the issue to court, and California’s highest court quite literally ruled that because the voters had voted to allow civil unions, banning same sex marriage violated the state constitution.

            1. Proposition 8 was passed in 2008, the same year that Obama was elected president. There’s suspicion that the higher turnout among blacks due to enthusiasm for Obama as president also boosted the vote in favor of Prop 8. But note that Prop 8 was passed in response to the above, and thus took place afterwards. It is not the original anti-SSM ballot proposition that I mentioned. That one banned SSM under state law. Prop 8 banned it under the state constitution (but was otherwise worded identically).

              Of course, since Proposition 8 made it illegal under the state constitution, which is the final arbiter of such things under state law, opponents were forced to go to Federal Court to overturn it. And that case reached theater of the absurd levels. State officials refused to defend it, and there were some very blatant signs of bias from the judge (to the point where he got slapped down by the USSC at least once during the course of the trial). When the judge unsurprisingly found that Prop 8 violated the US constitution, appeals failed because the state wouldn’t appeal the decision, and judges ruled that no one else had the necessary standing to appeal.

      2. “As he puts it, the purpose of the lie isn’t to convince you, it’s to force you to repeat something you know isn’t true. It makes you a co-conspirator in your own oppression.”
        Which is why oppressive societies based on false ideologies tend to fall to pieces after about 3 generations. The type of person totalitarians strive to create is not able to keep that society going.
        Which seems really cool for the party leadership at first, but eventually it turns into a game of last man standing, and they can only hope old age takes them before they end up decorating a lamp post.

    5. Which two Republicans signed onto that thing??

      That women and men have significant physiological differences is not supported by facts?? And these are the same people who whine when they hear someone say “alternative facts” or call other people science deniers. This is from the “Party of Science”, with apparently two members from the other party. I guess it’s just rote response from the Left now to claim that any disagreement from the latest Leftist social fashion is “anti-science”.

      I would say that this is unbelievable, but these are Interesting Times.

      1. No.. this is from the same “Science” party who did all those studies that supposedly proved that Black people are an intellectually inferior race. You can get (so-called) “Scientific” studies to say whatever you want, and they don’t care if they are true or not, just that they push the narrative.

        Also the same people who think that “Factually wrong, Morally right” is actually something to brag about.

      2. John Katko (R-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) from the Daily Caller article. Vote accordingly if relevant. I’m glad it’s not the only R congress critter from our state; we tried to primary him for various reasons, but he’s GOPe, not GOP(insane).

      3. “Science” = “jargon filed study that supports our narrative”

        The purpose of the jargon is to obscure that it is either lies or, more frequently, so full of conditionals or P-hacking as to be meaningless.

        Leftist: There is no biological difference between men and women.
        Normal person: Bull, there is a lot of difference.
        Leftist: Science denier. Why do you refuse to accept all humans have 23 chromosome pairs.

        Also, the left is really handy with “motte and bailey” arguments on subjects like this.

    6. Part of the problem is that normal people and progressives are frequently not even speaking the same language. We say the same sounds but the meanings are completely different. To most of the participants in these comments gender means male or female. For the more scientifically inclined Y chromosome or not. I can’t begin to define what Gender means to a progressive. But obviously it is not what I think it is. This changing the meaning of things is quite common in progressive ideologies and not an accident. You can’t reason with someone who has been indoctrinated when they don’t speak the same language as you.

      1. I’m not sure they can explain it either, given the posts I’ve seen about how the gender binary and gender roles are nonsense but! Gender identity deserves respect! Although many of them would probably be happy to hold forth at length and insist they had explained it, and if you don’t agree you’re a bigot and if you don’t understand you should educate yourself.

        Another example of speaking a different language, as well as not grasping logic: People who claimed that Kavanaugh saying he hadn’t had sex in high school was a confession that he had committed rape, because rape is not sex.

  4. STEM… My initial comment was going to be that my daughter’s favorite subjects are math and science, but she decided long ago that she wanted to be a doctor, so while she could do STEM she’s going elsewhere. Then I started to question; is being a medical doctor considered STEM?

    A quick web search and the answer is clear as mud. I found both yes and no answers to that question.

    1. It is not because women out number men in medical school.

      Same reason veterinary science and biology are not STEM.

      STEM is “any field feminists are mad women do not dominate.”

      1. They aren’t all that people oriented, really. I spent five years dropping out of and then hanging around Johns Hopkins undergraduate school. In that time I met two (2!) pre-med students I would trust with a tongue-depressor. Most MDs have a serious High Priest complex, and surgeons rachet that up to God complex. There are exceptions, and we have over all been fortunate, but the field is chock-full of pillocks.

        1. Where many of them are essentially just biological plumbers, and haven’t the bedside manner any random plumber has, either.

        2. I’ve had good luck with eye surgeons, but it’s in a geographical area where there’s a lot of competition. No way in hell I’d have let an asshole/incompetent surgeon get at my eyeballs.

  5. “Question everything. Not just what you’d like to question.”

    Ahh, the double-edged sword the post-modernist (and Lefty) runs screaming from.

    They love to question and deconstruct things they bizarrely claim are the dominant “hierarchies” and “structures”. And surely, they have found legitimate faults from time to time. But turn their tools back on them and you find…nothing. Not a lack of flaws, but a lack of substance.

    Over twenty years since Alan Sokal revealed the fraud for what it is (or isn’t), and yet it’s more dominant – or foggier, if you will – than ever. Those of us outside the Left’s “cognitive” dominance know their arguments, methods, and motivations probably better than they do. Their exposure to ours has been decreasing to the point that most young ones (and some old) are only familiar with the caricatures dancing around in their imaginations.

    When confronted with a differing worldview, these people react as if confronting heretics, branding the disbelievers with the worst possible social sanctions available. That is, when they’re not being plainly violent. They’re not intellectuals, well-educated, nuanced thinkers; they’re zealots, with all the destructive baggage they bring.

    It’s the new religion, without any of the virtues.

    1. I’m always amused to ask my students when the civil rights movement in the US started. They usually say the 1960s and 1970s. Then I point out that Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education was decided in 1954… Surprise! It ain’t what they know, it’s what they know that ain’t so… So much for the 1950s being WonderBread™ and Father Knows Best.

      1. Hmm, I’d have put it in the 1850s, myself.

        “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave.”

        1. If I taught US history, I could do that, but the 1850s are Crimea and the Indian Mutiny, and the Tai Ping Rebellion.

        2. And let’s not forget that the NRA started in 1871 and has been a civil rights organization pretty much since its inception. You know it’s true by how vitriolically the leftists react when shown the truth.

        3. Thing is, there really were some significant changes in mid twentieth century that are worth taking note of. It is just that they were at least partly technological, partly the sociological effects of WWII, and perhaps other factors. The boomers pushing it to a later date and claiming all the credit appears to me to be self aggrandizement.

      2. My favorite is pointing out that LBJ used his position as Senate Majority Leader to defeat the Civil Rights legislation proposed by Republicans. It tends to shut the Magical Mythical Party Switch crowd right up. The more stubborn ones usually quit when I point out that that means FDR would be considered a Republican then.

        You don’t really have to get into the more complex debunking after that.

        1. I just point out that the first time the South went completely Republican after Goldwater in a year when the presidential election was actually a contest was Bush II in the year 2000.

          1. Yup. Even the New York Times has run an article saying that the so-called “Southern Strategy” supposedly dreamed up by racist Republicans is a myth.

      3. Sexual Revolution: started during the Industrial Revolution when it became possible for a woman to support herself and one or two others just on what she could earn. The Pill merely kicked what was already happening into high gear.

        (always a bonus when you get to gore *everyone’s* sacred cows)

      4. How about Graham v. Third Avenue Railroad Company, in which a “colored” woman successfully sued a New York streetcar company and desegregated its cars?

        That case was decided in 1855. BTW, Miss Graham’s attorney was one Chester A. Arthur, 24-year-old junior partner in his firm and future President of the United States.

  6. On women and STEM. There’s a poster going around of one of the leading figures in the “Event Horizon” photograph, crediting her with “single handedly” making that happen. And when people object, they’re accused of being against women in science! Q.E.D. I’m sure she’s a leader in the project, I’m sure she should be proud of it, and it’s great if that inspires people to do great things! But … “single handed”? (I wonder just how many co-authors that paper is going to have….)

    On reality vs. narrative — the good news is that the facts and the real historical events are still accessible; you do have to look, it isn’t spoon-fed, but it’s still *there*.

    “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” — “Lazarus Long”, Robert A. Heinlein

    1. On that woman, I’ve heard that she dislikes the idea that she “single-handedly made it happen”.

  7. Question everything. Not just what you’d like to question. Search out primary sources. Don’t think that because you were taught lies, the precise inverse is the truth. Things are never that simple and easy.

    Since “question” got corrupted, I kinda tend towards ‘test.’

    As in ‘test everything, hold to what is good.’

    1. True what you say.
      Minor trivia: the word proof in the proverb (often mangled) that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” is another synonym for test.
      When one “proofs bread” by letting it rise, one is actually testing the yeast for viability.
      Wiki doesn’t say so directly, but I think the bread proofing derives from the yeast proofing.

      For the bakers among us (which I was before the waist line got too generous):

      “Proofing the yeast is a hydration or dissolving process that occurs when dry yeast is mixed with warm water and allowed to rest for a short time. The minimum weight of water required may be calculated: yeast weight x 4 = water weight.[4]

      Yeast viability can be tested by mixing yeast in warm water and sugar, and following a short rest period during which it first dissolves then begins to grow, a layer of foam is developed by the action of the yeast, a sign of primary fermentation and live yeast.”

        1. Grayson is a planet in the Honorverse (created by David Weber).

          Thanks to the challenges of the planet, Graysons refer to “God The Father” as “God The Tester”.

          David Weber also has the Grayson Church talk about “testing new ideas” to see if the ideas are Good instead of “just rejecting them because they are new”.

          1. Should also note that Grayson was originally a *very* hostile world to live on when it was first settled. And iirc (it’s been a while since I read anything Honorverse) it was still not a very nice place to live much later when it entered the story.

            1. Yep.

              Originally the Graysons wanted to completely give up technology but it became clear to most that they couldn’t afford to give up technology on their new home.

        2. Mining the Bible is cruel. Just imagine a poor, innocent child going to open it up, then KABOOM!

  8. Just a little cheer for people who like fog (so long as it is not accompanied by sleet or hail or smoky garbage).
    While in college, I used to go out on foggy mornings in Houston, where it was still warm even in the fall or winter, and the humidity was so high most people in Denver would call it rain.
    On Sunday, when all the buildings and quadrangles were empty, you could easily imagine being in an Alternate World, possibly the last survivor of a non-destructive apocalypse.
    That was one of my favorite things.

  9. I know the winter inversions here in Utah county inspired Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. I remember one year where all of January felt like the Twilight Sun and I was ready to die from missing the sun.

    1. I can totally believe that.
      We left Utah finally because of the really bad inversions in the late 80s, after I drove home from work one winter day and discovered I had been on the wrong side of the street for 3 blocks.

  10. “The left has had control … of means of communication, of intellectual ideiation and narrative for a century. Full control … full on communist.”

    This would be a great surprise to mass media tycoons William Randolph Hearst, Frank Knox, Robert McCormick, Lord Beaverbrook, Lord Rothermere, Cecil King, Walt Disney, Jack Warner, Rupert Murdoch, and Silvio Berlusconi, none of whom were leftists.

    And to Nobel Laureates in Literature T.S. Eliot (1948), William Faulkner (1949), Winston Churchill (1953), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1970), Camilo José Cela (1989), V.S. Naipaul (2001), Imre Kertesz (2002), and Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). (Though the Nobel has gone often to flaming Reds like Gunter Grass and Harold Pinter, and even outright Communists like Pablo Neruda, José Saramago, and Elfriede Jelinek.)

    Certainly the Left has a dominant position today (e.g. in the last US Presidential primary season, 92% of donations from elite-university employees were to Democrats).

    And Charles Murray has documented how “Intellectual Upper Class” population segment of Americans moved far to the Left over the last 50 years (while everyone else moved Right).

    But exaggeration only discredits the complaint. (For instance, Tthe shift detected by Murray began around 1970, when the IUC segment was centrist, like everyone else.)

    We’ve got a hard battle to fight, and can’t afford to squander credibility.

    1. HAVE YOU TALKED TO ANY OF THAT UPPER CLASS non-communists? Read their product, by any chance?
      I have. Take Rex Stout. He hated “communists.” But if you read his books you get every bit of the communist program piece meal. While he says he hates communists.
      The end result? I don’t know how many communists were aware they were that, but Saint Marx was already worshiped across the board. The fact they denied it doesn’t make it SO. PFUI.

  11. There are a couple of ways to get rid of the fog.

    One is ample quantities of sunlight. Though fog can last in the daylight, too.

    Another is to burn fires. The fires can actually burn off the fog. But they have to be clean fires, fueled by well-seasoned wood, so they don’t give off black or white, heavy smoke. History and reason and faith are the well-seasoned woods for those fires.

    The last is to turn it to precipitate. Either a good, cleansing rain, or something that will pull the moisture out of the air. Dry ice and alcohol have been used. Facts – actual, observable, only-deniable-if-you-wear-a-blindfold facts – are the precipitate for this fog.

    Get to clearing the fog – any way you can.

  12. As a student of History, I have become very wary of “common knowledge”. In the 70’s I annoyed my parents with the observation that the Star Spangled Banner wasn’t declared the national anthem until 1931, and that it wasn’t used to systematically to open sporting events until 1941. Silly default leftist barbarian that I was in my youth, but it was nevertheless true.

    Although I have no energy to waste on documenting it, I’m greatly skeptical of the “common knowledge” of McCarthy=evil. I do know that those blacklisted by Hollywood were Stalinists, and yes, it was the sainted Hollywood, savior of our morals, that did the blacklisting, not the government. Hollywood’s still doing it, just from the opposite point of view.

    Most people who hate unions still believe that they were good and necessary at the start of the Industrial Age to get basic workers’ rights. Just propaganda. Don’t believe your lying eyes. I’ve worked a union job. It’s evil from conception.

    The propagandists like to get you to concede that something was good, but may have been eventually corrupted by evil-doers (as GWB would say). That’s the road to, “But this time socialism will work!”

      1. And these days they support ‘reforms’ like $15/hr minimum wage while simultaneously getting themselves exempted from them.

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