If You Don’t Work, You Die- a Blast from the Past from July 6 2013


If You Don’t Work, You Die- a Blast from the Past from July 6 2013

I was reading a Nero Wolfe book the other day and there is a man we’re obviously supposed to dislike going on about how it’s stupid to try to feed all the hungry in the world.  It puzzled me how this could be even disputed, much less a bad opinion.  Given the different kleptocratic kakistocracies around the world, trying to feed all the poor is in fact to support dictators and evil men. Trying to feed individual, targeted poor is different, but then you can’t feed “all the poor in the world.”  Of course, this was a time when the power of governmental organization and “scientific governance” were considered forces for good. (This man is also referred to as a Nazi, even though he’s clearly against all forms of socialism, national and otherwise.  Never mind, Rex Stout is dead and his time is not our time. Perhaps he was referring to someone who actually existed and there was stuff about this man I can’t now know.)

My grandmother, who was normally very shrewd had a blind spot a mile wide.  When I was little, we got door-to-door beggars.  (One would like to believe that was stopped by greater prosperity and better programs to help the poor.  One would also like to believe that pigs can fly.  Actually downtown in the city has as many beggars as ever, but the crime rate is so much higher that anyone begging door to door is likely to starve.  People don’t open the door to strangers, anymore.)  Grandma had real trouble not giving to beggars.  Mind you, she rarely gave them money (she rarely had cash money on hand, other than needed to run the house.)  But she’d give them sandwiches, eggs, bread, lengths of fabric.

This drove my mother nuts.  I even understand why, since at the time in Portugal there was an (unofficial) beggars guild and families of hereditary beggars, many of whom mutilated their own children to make them deformed/blind so they could beg.

When we all lived in the same house, more or less (well, mom and dad’s home was a shotgun apartment built out of what used to warehouses along the east side of the house) mom would follow my grandmother to the door when the bell rang “to act as her spine” if the pitch was obviously stupid/false.  Though it will tell you the sort of household I grew up in when you consider that both women agreed you should too give a generous amount to the guy who told the most ingenious, if obviously false story – and also to the guy who could not lie and therefore begged with “Please give me something, for neither my mother nor my father are blind.”  Mom and grandma spent the morning giggling and dissecting his pitch.  “Maybe he means since his parents aren’t blind they see how ugly he is and have cast him out.”  And then people think I’m strange…

Sometime a few days ago, I was reading a book about dinosaurs and it referred to how a dinosaur “probably earned his living.”

Yes, there is a point to all of this.

The other day in this blog, a commenter asked me about the Gods of The Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.

These are supposed to be the lessons of the fables in copybooks, and you write them at the top of the copy, in your fairest hand, to show you got it.  (I will note I was raised on Aesop’s fables.)

And they are – yes, all of them – true even those I wish weren’t.  Anyway, the Copybook headings are a great way of getting a spine when faced with reasonable begging pitches.

How reasonable?  Well, pitches about feeding all the hungry in the world.  Who wouldn’t want to do that.  As someone who did have times of hunger now and then (which is not the same as times of appetite) I very much would like it if it were possible for us to feed, clothe, house everyone in the world – if that were the base level to work from. It’s not possible.  It will never be possible no matter how much our science advances.  The flaw is not in our science but in ourselves.

Someone at the panel on transhumanism spoke out against extending life because “we already don’t have enough food to feed everyone.”  I couldn’t beat that one down, of course, because it went into politics and policy, into the governments people choose, into how redistribution is always redistribution of famine.  I couldn’t go into it because it had nothing to do with technology of life extension.  It had to do with Old Adam.  Or perhaps Old Cain.

There is no such a thing as a lack of food in the world.  And when there is in a particular region, at a particular time, it is usually the result of a truly craptastic government.  Anyone who looks at the two Koreas can’t but conclude that the fault is not with lack of food but with a government so constituted that it makes it impossible for people to “earn a living.”  (Anyone but our president, who, having been thoroughly indoctrinated in Marxism likely thinks that SK steals from NK.)  Anyone who knows the history of Rhodesia can’t but realize that Zimbabwe is poor because its government chooses not to let its people earn a living.

In fact, it is normally the governments who ignore the gods of the copybook headings and decide everyone must eat, whether they work or not, who bring that sort of ruin and famine to their people.

There is a reason for this.  It is fashionable in the US to talk about people who are on welfare and don’t work.  That is not precisely true.  Yes, there are people on welfare who neither have a regular job nor look for one.  But what might not be understood is that these people are working: they are navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy and making sure they meet all the guidelines to keep the money flowing.  That is work.  It is just not productive work.  It is a work that is the result of perverse incentives.  These people have become convinced that’s the only thing they can do to survive – so they do it.  And the government functionaries who derive power from their “service” want as many of them as possible under their sway.  So they teach more people how to work at getting money for “free”.  And they put more barriers in the way of those ever wanting to leave that condition.

Then there is minimum income.  We do have the ability to give every adult a certain minimum income, I think.  Or at least we did before we ran the presses at melting speed.  Heinlein in his Fabian socialist days envisioned this as a way to get the economy going.  If every adult has some tiny income, enough to live on if you have three roommates and live on Ramen noodles – say 10k a year – then everything you make above that is in a way disposable.  Not only is there no need, but there is more disposable income to stimulate the economy.  (To understand the appeal of this to Heinlein you have to understand that his most frequent contention with his sister was that they only had a pillow between the two of them.  It’s poverty we now can’t begin to imagine.)  Also, one presumes, since breathing and over eighteen was the criteria, we might spend less on that that on our current welfare system.

And maybe it would be.  Except we hit up on the snag of human nature.  A wise man said “The poor, you shall always have” and He seems likely to be right.  First of all, poverty is relative.  When that man walked in Galilee being poor was usually a fatal condition.  You simply didn’t make enough to eat, or to keep off the cold.  You might not be able to reproduce because you couldn’t support children.  It was a condition of terminal failure.  Unless you somehow clawed up, you’d die of it.

Nowadays, our poor are likely to live in air conditioned houses.  They often – if they’re on assistance particularly – have more children than the very wealthy, and the children have toys and clothes.

Nothing wrong with that, but they’re still considered “poor” – they’re poor in relation to people like me, who are not on assistance, and who live in larger houses and own more stuff and/or who can buy a book just because.  Just like I’m poor in relation to those people who can afford to take European vacations or even who own a mountain cabin to hole up and write in.  (Okay, most people don’t write in mountain cabins.  I don’t know why not.)

The point is that humans are not angels.  This is both good and bad. We’re built on a frame of the great apes, and the great apes are social creatures.  This means they’re also creatures of status.  What we consider poor is a matter of relative status, which means it keeps changing.  If our government doesn’t succeed in Zimbabweing us and we end up in a future where houses clean themselves, where you can have anything you can dream up and order t-d printed, there will still be the “poor”.  They might be those who lack the imagination to have their… replicator create really nifty things, but they’ll still be poor.  They’ll lack status.

The good and bad of the status seeking in humans is envy.  Good?  How can envy be good?  Envy is good when it makes you want what the others have, and instead of this leading to you organizing the community to steal it from them or – alternately – leading a communist revolution, it makes you work harder to “get there”.  Many an Horatio Alger worked so hard they forgot what they were working for and when they got there they couldn’t enjoy it.  BUT many more made it and enjoyed it, and all of them contributed to the wealth of society in general and building that.

There are, however, a group of humans with very low status envy.  Possibly a very large group.  In the seventies, Denver experimented with a minimum guaranteed income scheme.  So did other places.  The results were always the same.  No matter how low you set that income – even if it’s at a level like 10k where you really have to make a crazy effort to survive on it – the majority of people will live on it and stop trying to work or find work.

This might be an evolutionary trait.  The idiot hunter who went off and felled mammoth after mammoth was not only wasting food because his tribe of fifteen could barely eat a mammoth before it spoiled, much less ten – he was also depleting the mammoth herd and ensuring future starvation for his people.

So, the survival trait we inherit is “get enough to live on with minimal work, and don’t strive for more.”

Some of us are broken.  We were given both envy and high principles.  We can’t even contemplate bringing others down to level things, but instead we work madly to increase our status.  (No, it’s not how I think about it, but it’s probably what’s going on in the back of the monkey brain.)  Most of humanity however is functional.  Give them enough to eat, and a place to live, and no matter how unvaried the diet and how small/terrible the place, most people will stay put.

“But Sarah,” you say “Where are the gods of the copybook headings?  Even you say that it’s possible, if we arranged it that way, to feed most people so they don’t need to work.  Why shouldn’t we?”

We shouldn’t because the gods of the copybook headings in fire and terror return.

Government produces nothing.  It doesn’t build that. It doesn’t build anything.  It can’t.  Government is force.  It can, on threat of that force, seize enough of what someone produced to give to someone else.  Even when it “builds” roads or power plants, it does so with confiscated wealth and at the expense of what the owners might have done with that wealth.  (They wouldn’t have?  How do you know?  Remember status.  Throughout history humans have funded research – often in useless stuff – and paid for innovation.  How do you know left to its own devices private capital wouldn’t have created neighbordhood-sized nuclear plants?  Or who knows what?  The one thing we know is that nothing done by government has ever come in on time or under budget.)

When governments start thinking in terms of “feeding the hungry” which in our day becomes “giving things to the continuously redefined poor” what it is actually doing is reducing the number of people working in the productive sector.  Between the bureaucrats working to redistribute wealth and the people working to keep getting the handouts, a huge contingent of people is removed from the productive sector.

When that number reaches the point where the productive sector can’t keep up, a crash ensues.  An Earth-shaking Kaboom, you might say. The “you” in the poem is collective in this case.  “You” individual might survive for a time, without working, given a very wealthy society.  But no society can remain wealthy when it doesn’t “work” – ie. When it produces nothing.  And eventually the gods of the copybook headings, in fire and terror return.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

76 thoughts on “If You Don’t Work, You Die- a Blast from the Past from July 6 2013

  1. For whatever reason this blog post has ear-wormed the theme from a Fifties (?) TV western — and I don’t know whether I even watched it. It was in the Disney rotation, so probably …

    “Texas John Slaughter made ’em do what they oughta, and if they didn’t, they died.”

    1. i remember that line as “’cause if they didn’t, they died.” He was a real person, but the last name is suggestive.

  2. One would also like to believe that pigs can fly.

    I was going to speculate as to the proper procedure for attaching JATO rockets …

    … but then I recalled Miyazaki has already addressed the issue.

    Besides, based on reported personality types, virtually all fighter pilots qualify as pigs.

    1. You may be on to something pig pilots. After all, half of the American fighter aces from the Vietnam war are behind bars.

        1. I think the numbers here are a bit off. My initial thought was that there were two, with one (Duke Cunningham) being forced to resign his House seat in order to spend eight years associating with a higher class of companion:

          after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes and under-reporting his taxable income for 2004. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, and conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. He was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison and was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution. On June 4, 2013, Cunningham completed his prison sentence; he now lives in Arkansas.

          thus making up the “half” cited.

          But ut turns out there were five (5) US aces in that war, two naval pilots and three Air Force. This is a quite remarkable achievement given the tactical inferiority of the American jets in that conflict.

          According to Wiki the American aces are:

          Name, Service, Victories, Aircraft
          Capt. Charles B. “Chuck” DeBellevue, US Air Force, 6, F-4 Phantom II D/E
          Lt Randall “Duke” Cunningham, US Navy, 5, F-4 Phantom II
          Lt j.g. William P. Driscoll, US Navy, 5, F-4 Phantom II J
          Capt. Steve Ritchie, US Air Force1, 5, F-4, F-104 Starfighter
          Capt. Jeff Feinstein, US Air Force1, 5, F-4, F-104 Starfighter

          The known flying aces of the Vietnam War include 17 North Vietnamese pilots, five Americans, and one Soviet aviator.

          The American aces flew as members of two-man crews on F-4 Phantoms, reflecting the emergence of air-to-air missiles as the primary weapons of aerial combat. Two were pilots, two Air Force weapon systems officers, and two Navy radar intercept officer.

          Robin Olds had 4 kills in Vietnam, making him a lifetime triple-ace with 16 kills, including the 12 he registered in World War II

          1. That had but one URL, so I do not know why it has gone into mderation. WPDE

            At any rate, I wish to add that the article is unclear whether two-man crews were each awarded ace status based on five victories for the team. Thus Cunningham and Driscoll, for example, would have each been certified an ace for having, as a team, downed five enemy craft. The two aces do not, therefore, represent ten aerial combat victories.

            1. You’re right. I should have been more precise and said fighter pilots, which was the point anyway.

        2. I must correct myself. Duke Cunningham was actually released a few years back, after serving his sentence for tax evasion, and conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. All of that from his time in Congress, of course, not his military service.

          1. Certain cynical people imagine that Cunningham’s real sin was failing to grasp the nuances of personal enrichment while serving the public. Thus he inadequately laundered the received inducements, accepting them directly rather than through a third party such as a child, spouse or campaign PAC.

            Nobody here would believe such a tale, of course.

  3. it is normally the governments who ignore the gods of the copybook headings

    Yes, well, they have power, don’t they? That means they can put off the inevitable day … excuse me, Day of Reckoning. Individuals rarely have sufficient power to defy the gods of the copybook headings.

    Only governments truly offer the leverage to defy the Laws of Economics long enough to make a Really big mess of things. Only governments can engage in sufficiently wide scale looting and enslavement as to profit from such defiance. As Fidel, Hugo, Yasser, Mao and a few others proved, you can hope to escape retribution (in this life) if you simply Think BIG and con enough others. Sure, it’s a Ponzi Scheme, but that doesn’t mean you cannot hope to be long gone before the bill arrives.

    When it does arrive that bill is a whopper …

    1. Actually, individuals have a greater chance to have sufficient power nowadays. It requires some savvy internet communication; but a single person can get action to go viral. We’ve already seen flash mob demonstrations (and we don’t even have teleport booths yet!) Now imagine flash mob assaults on specific targets. Although I have to admit the Left is much better at generating those than the conservative Right.

      1. Having witnessed ‘the lightning strike’ and seeing so many failed attempts of drawing forth the lightning, I believe it safe to say that while such power exists, the sure summoning and channeling of it is an uncertain thing at best. And as been said here many a time, what one summons, one must be SURE can be controlled – even if the only controlled is to “unsummon.” I have yet to see this level of refinement, at all. In fact, the accidental summoning was described as, “All I can do is grab the ears and ride the tiger.”

  4. A variation that drives me nuts:
    “Zero traffic fatalities.”

    Stated as an actual goal. Like it’s possible, even if you stopped counting “had a heart attack while sitting in the car.”

    1. Even if we could perfect ourselves (we can’t), the moose ill still get a vote.

    2. Well, technically, you could if you were first able to murder every human being.

      Because otherwise you cannot control human activity well enough to everywhere prevent carts, and as you say, coincidental fatalities are possible with every kind of vehicle.

      1. OR as in Dies the Fire, make it so motor vehicles won’t work … of coarse in the process of all transportation coming to a quick sudden doesn’t work, a lot of people died. BUT after that no more accidents due to motorized transportation, be it planes, trains, or automobile.

        1. Actually, I think this is closer to the goal. I don’t think the people, who say, “they want zero accidents” really mean that. I here, “I want no one, who isn’t government or ME, driving”. That way they can fully control the populace.

        2. Strictly speaking, traffic can include foot traffic.

          We could cut off the electricity and fuel supplies, we could kill all the draft animals, but human powered carts would be difficult to entirely prevent.

          It is a combination of a) people who haven’t really thought about it, responding to propaganda b) people who want power.

          1. True. You can not eliminate premature deaths. Change the metrics, you just create new methods to die prematurely.

            1. Nonsense. Employ a sufficiently mutable value of “premature” and of “death” and you can totally avoid them.

        3. Never mind that if that actually happened you just might be able to save 1% of the population.

    3. I believe it was Andre Malraux who asked, when visiting the Soviet Union and hearing the spiel about complete happiness for all people: “What about the child dying in a tram accident?”

      To which the indoctrinator replied, “In a perfect, planned Soviet transportation system, there will be no accidents.”

      1. So when the kid dies in a tram crash it’ll be deliberate?

        They really did plan for everything! /sarc

  5. How can envy be good?

    Those attentive to linguistic nuance will note that the Decalogue does not forbid envying your neighbor. It is the coveting that you are not to do! If you do not grasp there is a distinction then any discussion with you is time wasted when I could be putting pearl necklaces on my flying pigs..

      1. Covet is rightly a sin – for it inspires theft and worse. Envy, channeled, is no sin. “Get one of your own” might be work, but work is not theft.

  6. The idiot hunter who went off and felled mammoth after mammoth was not only wasting food because his tribe of fifteen could barely eat a mammoth before it spoiled, much less ten

    No, this was a necessary step in the development of processes for preserving meat. Until you have more mammoth than you can eat before it spoils you have no reason to figure out how to cure meat so it will remain good longer. It doesn’t require much to learn the benefits of mammoth hams, mammoth bacon, pickled mammoth feet and mammoth head cheese, but it does require surplus mammoth.

    Mmmmmmm …. mammoth jerky.

    1. No innovation happens without a surplus to experiment on.

      Except, perhaps, discovering another mostly poisonous thing that can be eaten in a pinch.

  7. This past weekend I tended to a few fauns, a couple centaurs, an elder minotaur, and checked in on a mermaid. One fellow visiting this gathering asked what the most dangerous creatures were. My answer was, “The humans, of course.” And the human asking did not dispute that.

    I have NOT dealt with gods. I would prefer to keep it thus.

    1. I noticed a long time ago that the Atheists (usually Statists, actually) who complain about what a swine the Christian God is not only know practically no Christian theology, but have never considered the what absolute BASTARDS most pagan gods are. Seriously; if you ever meet anyone you think might be Odin, run away!

      1. It’s interesting in some of the myths, Odin is “best buddies” with Loki until he “screws” Loki. 😈

        1. The gods are like unto nuclear weapons. When one “goes off” the best place to be is elsewhere. As far elsewhere as one can manage, ideally.

      2. In one of the Incomplete Enchanter stories, Harold Shea and Reed Chalmers visit a parallel universe where the Greek gods are real. They have an unpleasant encounter with Apollo. After they have escaped with a (mostly) whole skin, Chalmers remarks, “And Apollo is one of the nicer gods.”

        1. I have to put that on the reread stack, though a Wiki search shows a couple more stories than the 1989ish collection I have. (The Oz and Barsoom fictons.)

      3. It is not without good reason that the Norse, rather than looting defeated armies, sacrificed all those perfectly good slightly used weapons, armor and goods by dumping them in the nearest peat bog.

        It has proven useful for present day anthropologists.

      4. It is like people are unaware that meeting an Angel is NOT A GOOD THING! Meeting something THAT powerful is NOT Good or SAFE.

    1. “I can’t pay rent, utilities, car, and food, let alone my (expensive) phone (& plan) on full time minimum wage hours, without a roommate.”

      Well, duh. Here is a history lesson. Nobody, ever, has been able to afford the above without roommates (usually multiple, all contributing to housing & utilities), AND you shared the phone (ma bell wasn’t exactly cheap) on minimum wage. Exceptions were rented rooms, quad room, and maybe studios. Oh the joy of collection your share of the expenses from roommates …

      1. Ah, but you can’t have boarding houses and suchlike anymore. They’ve been regulated right out of existence. Plus, of course, rising incomes and rising standards of living.

        Somehow, “real wages” haven’t increase since the 70s, according to some people, and yet the standard of living has risen quite a bit higher since then. Amazing how that happens.

        It’s rather like that meme on Facebook about death in childbirth and “the worst that can happen,” or the ones about vaccines. When those things are aberrations rather than regular occurrences, people start to think they can’t happen again, or that they were exaggerated, and precautions are no longer necessary.

        You don’t get “higher, faster, stronger” by complaining about how not everybody WANTS or can GET faster or stronger, and therefore nobody SHOULD.

        1. Quads are available around campuses. I know some of them in Corvallis are not exclusively for students. But you generally end up rooming with strangers. Which opens a whole lot of complications. Locally, studio apartments are few and far between and they are “less” expensive by a few hundred but still more than our house payment. Room rent … my niece rents a room from a HS friend who got married out of HS, they bought a house then divorced within 5 years, she got the house. She rents rooms to two HS classmates. Other than that the option is long term weekly/monthly hotel stays … and the ones that do that are “Oh, Hell No.”

          How do I know? Our son researches this regularly. We essentially are renting him his old room (okay, he gets a hell of a rate VS market, OTOH we are aren’t claiming it as a rental either.) Only seem him on the weekends (sleeps days, works evenings, gets home well after we are in bed.) Our only complaint is his lack of social life. Doubt it would change if he had his own place.

    2. That’s always been my problem with universal basic income plans. One of the defining characteristics of money is that it’s rare, otherwise we’d use leaves as currency. If an income is truly universal then its value must be zero, or near as makes no difference. “Free” money chasing the same basic goods will just drive up the prices of those goods, making the UBI useless and creating popular pressure on lawmakers to raise it, which just perpetuates the cycle. See: Tuition, college.

      Arguing that the UBI increases the disposable wealth in society is just a restatement of the Broken Window Fallacy. That money has to come from somewhere, either taxes, printing, or borrowing, so the increase in disposable income for the poor is offset by a decrease in disposable income for some other group.

  8. Tangental thought; I seem to recall Manuel from THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS commenting that if you put two Chinese down in a carter on Luna, they would soon grow rich from trading racks to each-other. It strikes me that Heinlein was commenting on the observable Chinese trait of getting on with business over, under, and around Government.

    (it seems to apply to other Asians, too, to varying degrees)

    Is it possible – even likely – that whatever progress has been made economically in China is despite rather than because of China’s government? It seems so to me, anyway.

  9. I had my bleeding-heart tendencies surgically removed while spending a year delivering pizza in a neighborhood that had a significant number of Nth-generation welfare clients living in subsidized housing. The children who had clothing were constantly running out into traffic, the homes were uniformly trashed but had awesome stereo equipment, our drivers carried exact change and sturdy flashlights, and there were places female drivers were not sent. The manager always booked extra drivers for the day the government checks arrived; no matter what day of the week it fell on, “Mother’s Day” was always busy.

    Quite a contrast to the previous neighborhood I’d delivered in, where it was common for drivers to leave their unlocked car running half a block away, and have upwards of $150 in their pockets (both typically after a high-school football game let out and half the town ordered pizza).


      1. Unrelated, but my husband used to play D&D with his buddies at one of their houses, which was about a mile past the “do not cross” line for ANY pizza driver. If they got the munchies, they had to meet the delivery a couple miles out.

    1. A couple of friends of mine used to work fixing up those rentals between tenants. They came up with their own definition of “shithole:” If you walk into the place and the literal pile of shit is not the first thing you notice.

  10. One of the dumbest things I see (over and over) is the assertion that work is *modern*. That our consumerist culture created it.

    Now, maybe, just MAYBE, if you live on a tropical island with edible plants all around you and tidal pools with trapped fish you can get by living like a gorilla and doing only what is necessary to bring food to your mouth, go without clothing, and sleep in the trees or on the dirt.

    But everyone else has to work or die.

    1. Work was imposed when the Capitalist Imperialists invaded the peaceful socialist utopia of Earth back in the Renaissance. Prior to that, buildings were magically raised by the power of The People and food was created effortlessly by all-natural methods of green agriculture.

      1. Nobody starved or froze to death and there were no wars. Everyone sang in harmony.

        *I actually wrote that without laughing …* oops, nope.

      2. Jubal sang of the Wrath of God
        And the curse of thistle and thorn —
        But Tubal got him a pointed rod,
        And scrabbled the earth for corn.
        Old — old as that early mould,
        Young as the sprouting grain —
        Yearly green is the strife between
        Jubal and Tubal Cain!

        Jubal sang of the new-found sea,
        And the love that its waves divide —
        But Tubal hollowed a fallen tree
        And passed to the further side.
        Black-black as the hurricane-wrack,
        Salt as the under-main-
        Bitter and cold is the hate they hold —
        Jubal and Tubal Cain!

        Jubal sang of the golden years
        When wars and wounds shall cease —
        But Tubal fashioned the hand-flung spears
        And showed his neighbours peace.
        New — new as Nine-point-Two,
        Older than Lamech’s slain —
        Roaring and loud is the feud avowed
        Twix’ Jubal and Tubal Cain!

        Jubal sang of the cliffs that bar
        And the peaks that none may crown —
        But Tubal clambered by jut and scar
        And there he builded a town.
        High-high as the snowsheds lie,
        Low as the culverts drain —
        Wherever they be they can never agree —
        Jubal and Tubal Cain!


    2. Waitwaitwait…whaaaaaaaat?

      How do they think food was grown and tools were made and buildings constructed? Magical happy fun times? Why do they think slavery was invented?

      The mind boggles.

        1. “… people think believe there were wizards and magic in medieval times.”

          FIFY. No thought involved.

          1. Aye. It takes a helluvalotta work to do “magic” in sane people’s eyes (this is most if not all non-trivial programming, fwiw). Those more inclined to.. spurious beliefs, might paradoxically require more effort.

      1. People just picked fruit off of trees and accepted nature’s bounty. It’s the garden of Eden. And it’s the communist vision of post-government anarchy. “Imagine.” It’s easy if you try.

        On planet earth, however, hunter/gatherers live feast and famine, but mostly famine. And the “pastoral” primitive agriculturalist avoids that by working non-stop.

          1. But only when fruit is in season, only a short time each year.
            It is one of the reasons you wanted to get fat. Better survival odds. But not too fat. You don’t want to be fat when everyone else is starving. It can lower your odds of survival and increase you odds of being dinner.

        1. “the “pastoral” primitive agriculturalist avoids that by working non-stop.”

          A society where soldiering was where the farm boys RAN to when they were the spares (some ran to the clergy.) Otherwise they were just slaves to their fathers, and later, older brother who inherited. Farm work, even with mechanized help, is a LOT of work, every day. There is no weekends off during growing season, or with animals all year.

          1. Been there, done that. Didn’t love the lifestyle.

            Que up Larry Correia’s Dairy Farmer Privilege…

  11. Kipling says it all between the Copybook Headings and The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon.

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