What Are They Teaching The Kids: Dark Satanic Mills Edition

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One of the Marxists — and the unaware-they-are-Marxists-by-indoctrination products of our indoctrination machines, including those who now teach in them — worse lies is the maligning of the industrial revolution.

It’s 2 parts Marx and 1 part Rosseau.  It is the ignorance and disdain of the moneyed for what the working class has to do to survive, coupled with a naive certainty that rural work is sort of like gardening and beautiful.

As some of you have caught on, for the last month or so, between illnesses, travel and trying to squeeze in a few hours a day to write, I’ve been all out of spoons for real reading. So I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice variations, which is to say fanfic. It’s restful, you know how it’s going to end, there’s not even new characters to get into.

Once, during the … not worst but strangest two years of my life, when Dan had a traveling job and I had a pre-schooler and an elementary schooler in the house, I spent a lot of time reading it on line, and also writing it. I find it beyond extraordinary that we now live in a time when we can put these up for money, and as soon as I have a few minutes, I’ll finish some of my half-done stuff from austen.com, such as By Her Hearts and Allurements or Oh, Hill.

Anyway, the way I do it is to find an author I can stand, and read everything she (or he, but hes are more rare) has out.  And this kid I’ve been reading is promising.  She had, in the beginning the occasional impulse to ruin what is otherwise a decent (if not responsible) character like Mr. Bennet to make him sink into depravity and vice for no reason, but the more she writes, the more Human Wave she becomes.  (I’ve been reading more or less in order.)  And she doesn’t preach feminist cant, which is a reason to wall most other authors of these.

But this is the second book that she’s made me stop part way through because of the “dark Satanic Mills” thing.

No, seriously, this woman believes that in the Regency working men and women hated mill owners, that the mills were sort of like hell, that society looked down on children working in them, and that anyone who owned one would be ostracized , not for sullying himself with trade, but because he owned “one of those evil places.”

It is obvious to me, from this woman’s work that she’s very young. Twenties, maybe. My kids’ ages.  And it makes me yell “What the hell are they teaching the kids, actually?”

Okay, the entire dark satanic mills bullshit benefited greatly from the talent of one Mr. Dickens, convinced socialist. I will admit he was a good writer. He was also one of the few whose books I avoid like poison.  Yes, I know he didn’t know how bad socialism would turn out to be. But he must have known he was lying.  And if he didn’t, it was only because he was such an elitist fool that he never mingled with the people or actually knew what went on in their lives.  Actually 90% of what he portrayed well was the criminal under class, and anyone who has had no matter how accidental contact with them, not to mention anyone who reads true crime books knows they are tediously the same in our day, and it has zero to do with conditions or exploitation, but with people’s on internal drive, and what values or lack thereof they choose to listen to.  Without some kind of internal compass people seem to create their own hell, falling victim to human instincts of indolence and envy which will eventually destroy them.

Heck, even with an internal compass, and ambition, it’s sometimes pretty hard to stay on track in the face of set backs and own bodies sudden yet inevitable betrayal, as I can tell you.

Look, we bought into the horror of the early industrial revolution, partly because the Marxists wanted us to believe the present prosperity and the industrial age, which at their core they hate and despise, was built on exploitation and was irredeemably evil and also that anyone that achieves anything is naturally evil and has committed some sort of crime. What else can you expect from the gospel of envy.

However, in the current day and age, no one has an excuse to believe, much less teach this stuff.

Why?

Because we’ve seen the industrial revolution work, in real time, in countries like China and India.  And while China does have a component of slave labor, mostly in camps, that’s not the bulk of their industrialization. And it certainly isn’t in India.

I guess generation fair-trade can not comprehend this, but they should understand these are not feudal systems (well, China kind of is, but again, that’s not the thing driving it. In fact I think the industrialization has escaped the party’s ability to control, which is why they’re getting twitchy.) People leave the fields in droves to go work in the mills, because it’s a better life.

Look, boneheads, I know you guys are appalled at the idea of six year olds working much less working 12 hour days.  Yeah, so am i, but let me tell you, that was not anything the mills did differently from the rest of human history before it.

Coming from a rural community, in 20th century terms poor as Job, but in comparison to the rest of history rich beyond comprehension, and belonging to a middle class family in which grandad was a trained professional (carpenter) and dad had a white collar job, but about 90% of our food was still what we grew, let me tell you that kids worked, starting very early.  I was given all kinds of passes, because I was born premature and was very sickly. To be honest, I was giving more passes than I should have been, and felt excluded often.  But still, I remember being awakened early on a Spring morning when I was 5 and set to weeding the onions. And this wasn’t an isolated occurrence, merely the first I remember.  During grape harvest the entire family — yes, including kids — took time off and spent three days working sun up to sun down.  The women would mostly be in the kitchen, cooking food for the multitude, at least part of the time, but we also carried the baskets of grapes (yes, on our heads.) And as young as three, I was set to harvesting the grapes atop the hen coop, because the roof was iffy, and also the grapevines (which in private residences in the North of Portugal are grown as a canopy over patios and any free space, to maximize area they can grow. Dad said in his day, and before trucks, they grew in a canopy over the street) had grown kind of close to those tin roofs, so no adult could squeeze there.  When cousin grew too big to do it, I was hoisted up there, to harvest the grapes.

Now, in my day and even dad’s day,this type of child labor was safe and almost fun (at least if you didn’t do too much of it) kind of like my gardening these last few days.

But let me tell you I paid attention to the poorer families. If you think having a five year old tend to cows and other big animals was “safe” you’re out of your bloody minds.

So the “Horrible things happen in mills. People lose limbs.” is very impressive to our pampered kids, but it cut absolutely no mustard with the people who were actually leaving the farms in droves to work in those mills.  Why? Because a lot of them had horrible things happen to them at the farms, and lost limbs.  Worse, until mechanization and artificial fertilizers, it was brutal, unrelenting work, sun up to sun down, and at the mercy of fate in a way even traditionally published authors find too risky and scary.

People left the country in droves to work in factories, not because they were forced, but because what seem horrible working conditions to them were no worse than what they’d experienced in farms, and they might have a day (or half day off) plus the work paid more than farm work did. And the cities provided more opportunities.

Heyer, who did her research has a kid working in textile mills growing up to own the mills (the unknown Ajax) and of course it was that kind of upward mobility as well as the fact that their rural tenants and workers whom the noblemen always treated like charity cases, were escaping them that horrified the ton.  They might have covered it in concern for the poor little children, but trust me, that wasn’t it.

And at any rate, no one in the regency was horrified at anyone owning a mill, unless it was in the “tainted with commerce” sense.  And people in the country were more likely to try to ingratiate themselves with mill owners. They brought jobs to the area, particularly at a time of grain-price instability.

However it appears otherwise intelligent women are emerging from our schools with the belief that mills were a horrible place. (Which they were, except for comparison with everything else available to the working class at the time.) I have no idea HOW they think they caught on, and became what’s called “the industrial revolution” except that I know that kids are uncertain about when feudalism stopped or for that matter of the difference between feudalism and slavery.  And guys, they vote.

This distortion of even trivial details in history is what you’re up against raising kids now and here.  And because the left pervaded everything for the last hundred years, they have corrupted everything, including entertainment and teaching, so the kids might never find out any better.  I’m fairly sure some of their teachers haven’t. It takes thinking and analyzing primary sources or an unusual set of experiences to know how full of nonsense all this is.

Oh, and btw, having a house maid be afraid to be “sent to the mills” is the outside of enough.  Mills weren’t workhouses. People didn’t get SENT there, they got HIRED.  Dear Lord, what are they teaching the kids.  And if you think being a house maid was better than working in say a textile mill, you’re out of your mind.  You’re also spitting on the generations of girls who ran away from “service” to work in the mills.  The Jane Austen fan fic writers seem unaware that most house servants weren’t ALLOWED to marry (until sometimes middle aged, sometimes never.) and that their work was a never ending round from before sunup till very late in the evening. They seem to think of it as some kind of sinecure. Perhaps because they think of housework in the light of all the labor-saving aids we have, from machinery to chemicals.

In short, these kids are being taught it’d be fine and dandy to go back to the pre-industrial age, by people who see themselves as feudal lords.  And it makes me sick.

Teach your children well, teach them to think. We might already have lost two generations, who will vote to go back to the horrible conditions their ancestors escaped with cries of gladness, to work in those evil, satanic mills. From which came enough surplus to lead to our current blessed age, where the children don’t even know how good they have it.

 

 

280 responses to “What Are They Teaching The Kids: Dark Satanic Mills Edition

  1. I knew a Jon Mills in high school; I’m not sure if Dark Satanic wasn’t his brother.

  2. Not *quite* that simple, at least for Britain. People *were* forced off the land, and that left them little alternative to the factories. And it was the Industrial Revolution that did it.

    It used to be, in Britain, that the peasant tilled the land, and paid taxes/rent to the landowner. And there was a large Commons, and that in effect produced a surplus, which was important, especially for the destitute. And all this worked more or less fine, for hundreds of years.

    But then the Industrial Revolution, which was initially mostly fueled by textile production, created a Yuge demand for wool and flax, to make fabric. Suddenly it was more profitable to raise sheep on your land instead of peasants. And so the peasants were driven off, directly or indirectly, the lands were enclosed, the Commons were taken altogether or greatly reduced, and all the land was given over to primary production to feed the mills. If the land rent is raised higher than what you can make off it as a peasant, well, I guess you’ll have to leave the land, and find something else. And the something else was the mills.

    For an insightful treatment of what was lost, and believe me this isn’t taught in schools, we’ve lost the ability even to ask the questions, see G.K. Chesterton’s “A Short History of England”.

    Your general point, about people preferring the dark, satanic mills to the bucolic countryside is true, I just wanted to add that there are often contributing factors, and it’s not just a question of which lifestyle is less unpleasant

    • It was also different (when is it not. And very) in America. See my comment below about Lyddie.

      And thanks for the reference. We needed that for first semester’s English history textbook.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I think you are making the same core mistake.

      From the dawn of agriculture, land ownership and legalities of the agricultural labor force have been run at least partly for the benefit of the armies capable of holding a territory.

      Feudalism and other forms of government are ways of extracting resources to support armies. Sucks to be the agricultural workforce.

      The English and Scots workforces were perhaps not at the greatest extreme, legally existing only as part of the land’s title. The system was not set up for their welfare, and probably could not even be described as partly optimized for their welfare.

      Those Commons never belonged to the work force, collectively or individually. As actually practiced, looking at it from our direction, it might look that way. In origin the work force and the Commons were assigned to each other, ultimately by the aristocrat who was the true land owner.

      Removal of the work force from land their ancestors worked was a right as a feature of the system that existed. It was not a feature of a new system.

    • My dad’s family was one of those Scottish “make less money than having sheep” folks– they immigrated when the youngest was going to have to work in the coal mines and g-g-grandma said ‘no.’

      That’s definitely not the mills, though, nor were they house-workers.

      One of the few weak points I see in GK Chesterton’s writings is that he’s definitely English. (Which isn’t bad, just limits his applicability to places that aren’t the UK.)

    • Oy on people being forced off the land. Kind of sort of, but most of the cases I actually investigated are like the “AMazon is censoring books.” There’s other reasons, and this has become so corrupted by Marxist revisionism, it’s now basically useless.

    • Minor historical nit. The enclosures and “forcing people off the land” started under Elisabeth I, when the Tudor government was really centralizing and looking at new ways to generate revenue. Blind eyes were turned to the overturning of traditional rights and patterns.

      FWIW, I’m starting to think for a lot of common English men and women, the period of, oh, 1550-1610 or so were in some ways as stressful and saw as much social upheaval as the modern era. Just the whipsawing of religious observance and the loss of tradition had to make people’s heads spin.

      • That sort of constant societal change sounds like the type of thing that leads to anomie.

        • Actually, the huge increase in value of English wool and wool products started in Richard III’s time or before, and loom weaving (mostly at home) got to be a bigger and bigger thing as medieval times went on. I mean, look at all those huge churches and guildhalls in weeny little Midlands towns. What do you think paid for all that? Wool, mostly. And that was mostly going to merchants and farmers, not lords.

          But Conditions Were Different, up north and in Scotland, and the way the land was used and owned was different, so the changes were deployed differently too. That’s part of why the Enclosures were such a big brutal deal. But the other point was that, under traditional Scottish law, the whole clan owned the land, and the laird just administered it and took a cut. When the law was changed to make the king and the laird own the land, and the clan was largely thrown out of their own possession… well, that was pretty much a matter of theft outright.

      • Yeah. That was insane.
        HOWEVER enclosure of the commons, etc, not as stressful as might seem. See tragedy of commons.They were largely a mess. Look, mostly we get the sob stories….

        • I’m teaching a lesson on the English Reformation from Eamon Duffy’s _Stripping of the Altars_. Wow, that’s a different take on events than one usually gets.

        • Actually, the commons were highly regulated, and the tragedy of the commons did not occur there. You couldn’t send as many sheep as you liked to graze because you had the right to N sheep and Heaven help you if you exceeded it.

          • Sigh. Look, I’m going off documents in Shakespeare’s time. This might have changed through other times, but that’s what I’m going off of. Or rather, my recollection of them 20 years later.

    • Drainage and pumps come into play. The Commons was usually a marsh. OK for pasturing livestock, but not for crops. Drain it, and you could raise crops on it.

      The nasty part was that the wealthy often had legislation passed that allowed them to buy their neighbor’s share of the Commons at knock-down prices. As Adam Smith pointed out, the easiest way for a wealthy man to become a very wealthy man is to have the government legislate him so.

    • Suddenly it was more profitable to raise sheep on your land instead of peasants.
      I’m now picturing peasants knee-deep in the soil, as they grow, not yet ripe for harvest……

    • BTW, this is also why I decry the use of the term “capitalism” to describe our (relatively) free-market. “Capitalism” was the term Marx used to describe the market as it was, based on starting from Feudalism. (Even then, he was wrong to some extent.) That is NOT how we started here. And it’s not where some portion of Europe has ended up (though closer).

      (Ironically, places where they had it all taken away from them, and they started over, are the places where they have the freest markets, it seems.)

    • In short, those who said that peasants were fed to sheeple, were, indeed, correct. Of course, it would be also nice of them if they avoided doing the same, rather than try to improve on this little historical incident by feeding peasants to tanks instead.
      There’s probably some lesson in this.

    • We’re seeing that in the cycle of fuss over Nike shoes (anyone know where that is, currently?). Yes, the Nike workers are getting $1 a day. Last I read on it, they also got room in a barracks and meals. That, compared to working all day, knee deep in rice paddy fertilized with human shit, for a rice ball and sleeping space on a dirt floor.

      Every time I’ve looked into. ‘Fair trade’ cause, the charges being made are utter hogwash.

      • That’s international business; make where labor is cheap, sell where profits are high.

        The problem isn’t that Nike isn’t among those who do that, it’s because they climbed on the more-righteous-than-thou human rights hobbyhorse and rode off.

        Paying American athletes millions is a violation of their rights. Paying southeast Asians a dollar a day, that’s just business.

      • Well, some of it is genuinely bad. China keeps reinventing slavery, what with all the prison camp factories staffed by religious, ethnic, or political prisoners, and factories where the workers can’t leave once they’re hired.

        The latest was that dealie where Alexa Echos are being made by Chinese “interns.” They’re supposed to be in a work-study program; but their colleges are making them just work for 14 or more hours a day, staying in the factory overnight and rarely taking classes or getting outside; and with the colleges and factory bosses taking a huge cut of their wages. If the kids refuse, they get marked down as not allowed to go to college classes, plus getting their “social credit” taken away.

      • This “compared to” is easy to challenge: it assumes lack of any feedback.
        Slave labor is a part of economics, and it’s very much not the same economics with and without it. Nor politics, as in part an extension of economics. And culture isn’t isolated from it either. See American South, or Russia between Peter I and Alexander II. Or before that, decay of Rome.

  3. I’ve been involved with arguments on this subject more than once. (And no doubt will again.)

    First question I ask folk who complain about the factory conditions in the Industrial revolution (or “sweatshops” in the modern era) is “What better options were available to those people?” I then point out that, unlike the British Navy, they didn’t send out groups of armed men (“press gangs”) to dragoon people into working in their factories. There were no armed guards and concertina wire keeping people in the factories, no guarded barracks to keep them from running away when they were off shift. The only real threat the owners and managers had was to fire them. And that threat had teeth because, bad as those factories look to us, everything else available was worse.

    I first had that pointed out to me many many years ago in a short story by P. J. Plauger, “Child of All Ages”. (I probably read it in a “best of” or collection of Hugo or Nebula awards works–it won both of those in 1976.) The main character is a prepubescent girl who’s immortal. The method of being immortal only works if she remains prepubescent–others she’d shared the secret with all eventually decided to grow up “a little bit” and they’re gone but she’s still here. In any case, she gets into an argument with a teacher over factories in the Industrial Revolution because, bad as they seem to us, everything else available at the time was worse.

    And, yes, the same thing happens over and over again when a “third world” country tries to climb out of its economic pit and raise its standard of living.

    The sweatshop/”brutal factory conditions” appears to be a necessary step on the road to economic prosperity. There does not seem to be any way to skip it. It seems that there’s no easy way to learn the cultural habits that make an industrial and technological society work. So, while the conditions of such labor might seem dreadful to us they are, first, an improvement over what came before and second, necessary so their children and grandchildren can have even better lives.

    We do people no favors in preventing them from taking that step.

    • A group from our church just got back from a “mission” trip to a small village in Mexico. There is no work in the village, no money.

      What I wonder is: Do those with ambition leave, leaving the only ones left who see no way to change the short brutal life most humans lived for 70,000 years.

      Could we move the factories of China to Mexico? Would that solve two problems at once? Apple has plenty of cash, what would it take to convince them to move to Mexico? The other choice seems to be to let the Socialist president of Mexico turn it into Venezuela.

      • If you stay home and are successful, folks just take it away.
        Sometimes bandits, sometimes family.

        Story from I can’t remember the country in Africa:
        guy works his tail off, and earns enough to buy the wheat to make the flour to make twenty loaves of bread. Since a loaf of bread costs three times as much as the wheat at the store, he offers it for sale at two times, figures he’ll make a killing.

        HIs father, who has four wives and twenty kids at home, comes by and takes all the bread, leaving him with nothing.

        He never bothers to bake again.

      • Could we move the factories of China to Mexico?

        A number of companies have reportedly been moving production from China. There is always a problem with workforce education, though, and China provides highly educated engineers and middle-management, making the process easier.

        Which is not an argument for placing production in a place that openly steals technology and expertise from foreign investors.

        • An interesting analysis supporting my recollection of business relocation:

          China’s Xi to Trump: Help us save face
          China has upped the ante in its trade dispute with America. By allowing the yuan to fall on foreign-exchange markets, Beijing has shown how far it will go in response to existing US tariffs on Chinese goods, as well as additional ones now threatened by President Trump.

          But China’s moves also signal weakness: Beijing can no longer play the tit-for-tat tariff game. And because the devaluation has raised the risk of capital flight from China, the currency move also hints at desperation.

          [SNIP]

          China has always held the weak economic hand in this dispute. Its export-dependent economy needs overseas sales, which comprise one-fifth of its gross domestic product. More than a quarter of those exports go to the United States, meaning 5% of China’s economy is exposed in this trade dispute. By contrast, the United States counts on exports for about 12% of its GDP, and barely 8% of its total exports go to China, leaving just 1% of the US economy exposed.

          Moreover, some 30% of US goods sold in China are off limits to tariffs, as they constitute components, mostly to computer and iPhone assemblies, that support Chinese exports.

          These relative disadvantages showed themselves early in the dispute. American firms began moving their operations elsewhere, while many Chinese firms have decamped to other Asian countries, in large part to avoid the American levies. Even the perennially upbeat (and suspect) official Chinese government statistics show that the economy is suffering — China’s GDP during the second quarter grew in real terms at its slowest rate since 1992.

          [SNIP]

          These economic setbacks have also constrained China’s access to hard currencies, primarily the dollar, forcing a dramatic ebb in China’s once-mighty flow of overseas investments. In the first half of 2018, investment volumes ran at a quarter of their pace during this same period in 2017.

          Long before the recent devaluation, these severe economic setbacks had already put China’s yuan under pressure. Until recently, the People’s Bank of China resisted that downward push. They did so because China needs financial capital, and in reaction to a loss of the global purchasing power of the yuan, Chinese wealth holders will send their money abroad.

          [SNIP]

          The United States could have an agreement tomorrow if the White House were willing to accept China’s vague promises. But America doesn’t need to give in to the Chinese obstinacy. Even now, talks continue. China might yet succumb to economic pressure and yield to American demands — but the prospect of a deal would brighten considerably if the White House could offer Xi a means of saving face on the sovereignty issues.

        • In China the government A) sees the value of making sure contracts are at least marginally kept and B) can keep any criminal element from moving in (other than themselves).

          Mexico is a failed state. Mexico has BEEN a failed state essentially forever, but it’s becoming unusually noticeable now.

          • And it has always been the US’s fault, too.

            That was the most darkly funny part about living in El Paso and listening to either the El Paso History Hour or reading the local (rather whiny) history plates was how often the guys across the border did something stupid, didn’t get what they wanted out of it, and proceeded to whine about it.

            The one that comes to my mind is that they were massing troops, and the horrible evil US massed troops on THEIR side when the guy in charge of the Mexican troops wouldn’t even talk to the diplomat! How rude! *lol*

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              If only the Americans of the first part of the twentieth century had exterminated most of the Mexicans and stuck the rest on Reservations in Baja California.

          • Right now Mexico may have a chance, between the remnants of Zapatists and politicians like Juan Manuel Gastélum from Tijuana. In that if Mexicans who want their own wall win (and stick to this point rather than selling out), it would constrain their position into opposed by all the globalists (who invite more Honduran hooligans to move through their territory in the first place), and allied with most of sane factions also opposing the globalists (who cannot be very picky now).

          • Not always. I have reliably heard of a company that won a case against a Chinese subsidiary, but when they went bankrupt and the company went against the parent, they were explicitly told by court officials that they saw no reason to endanger their excellent guanxi

        • And China is profoundly unfree which has its own problems.

  4. If you don’t want to do research and dig into primary sources (there’s a few newspaper archives you can get at some U.S. public libraries going back to the late 1700s) and good non-fiction texts, there are two good stories to read. They are short, fun, and have a terrific sense of place.

    Lyddie by Katherine Paterson (for the U.S.)
    Midnight is a Place by Joan Aiken (England)

    The movie you want is Monsters Inc 🙂

    (And I guess I know what’s going back on the book-taking list for November…)

  5. I think a good argument can be made for limiting the franchise to those who can demonstrate some passing connection to reality and some minimal understanding of history.

    “You must be this knowledgeable to vote!”

    • The only problem is who sets the questions and answers. I wouldn’t trust the government to do it.

      • Bingo. There are just soooooo many issues like that. Yes, it would be nice to have someone watch over children to make sure their parents aren’t abusing them, but assigning typical government stooges to it is a disaster. Or having somebody manage the wildlands. Or protect endangered species.

        Every time somebody babbles to me about some problem they’re SURE can be fixed by government intervention, I wonder what planet they live on.

        • “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

          H. L. Mencken

        • Best way to protect endangered species is to monetize them alive.

        • Consider that the government is mostly a jobs program for people who are too incompetent to find work anywhere else, and whether you want that grade of personnel in charge of anything….

          • Actually, I don’t think the basic problem is incompetence, though that plays a part. In the first place, the Federal government does too many things that should’t be done at all (like meddle in the health insurance business). So you get people hiring on who are deeply committed to doing something that shouldn’t be done. Then you have public service unions, which make firing an idiot just because he’s a waste of space and air nearly impossible. Furthermore, it isn’t as if the budget process will punish you for wasting money; rather the reverse. So the government is a place where the Peter Principal and Parkinson’s Law work with a vengeance.

            It can be fought, but doing so involves also fighting all the people and organizations who have a vested interest in the status quo. Witness the trouble Trump is having reining in the EPA, amd getting them to focus on doing something as basic as dealing with Superfund sites…as opposed to passing all kinds of regulations dear to the hearts of the kind of idiots who think we should all live in yurts.

          • Incompetence is an effect of selection. It’s the result of procedures and incentives. The more it becomes the cause, the more no one in the system is in control, i.e. can do something meaningful with it. At which point, the problem would lose the ability to meaningfully resist external forces, among the others — which is visibly not so.
            So far, there’s a lot of monkey business, but most of the monkeys dance as directed by organ grinders, and it obviously doesn’t stop on these.

      • Trust the government? Hell, I wouldn’t trust me to do it.

        And I am universally acknowledged as fair, generous, amiable and wise. And cuddly as can be.

        • Indeed, it’s always up to the people involved. And so far the only one mechanism that actually keeps people with power in line is a feedback loop, as short, hard and fast as possible. People quickly wise up if their own hides are obviously and directly in the game.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      It can be made. I’m sympathetic to it.

      Jim Crow still shows that the power to implement is probably not one we can trust any officials with.

      Probably my policy suggestions along that line go into crazy before I reach the conclusion that we should be killing the folks we can least afford to permit to vote.

    • While I agree with some reasonable method of ‘earning’ the franchise, I think that train has left the station, absent a major social/political upheaval.

    • Do consider that the radical left have implemented such a policy not just to vote, but to even voice a public opinion.
      Do not embrace their alternate version of reality and their truths over actual facts and they will do everything in their power to silence you and drive you from public debate. Their attempts to deny conservative speakers a public forum, and their threats of violence against holders of opinions counter to their current narrative are proof of this.

    • So – you’re advocating voter suppression? White Supremacist!!!!!!

      • Knowledge Supremacist, rather…yeah, I know, your tongue is firmly in your cheek…

        • The core problem with the idea, to my mind, is that questions about anything other than math are subjective. At least to some degree. And mathematical intelligence isn’t really what we need in a voter. It doesn’t HURT, and the Left IS militantly against testing their solutions mathematically, but what’s needed in voters is the kind of intelligence that looks at human emoting and says, “Something stinks here”.

          • Or the kind that looks at examples of Single Payer Healthcare implemented in the English Speaking world and says, “Gee, the people most like us on Earth tried this and it’s a mess. Is there any reason to believe we could do better?”

    • No, sorry. Denying the franchise to any law abiding citizen in the US is morally WRONG. And is the wrong way to go about doing things.

      The correct way for a political movement to succeed is to take it’s ideals to the people and convince them that they are right. As has been pointed out again and again, the Marxists do a good job of this. Sure, they do it with pretty little half-truths and outright lies, but it can’t be argued that they haven’t been effective. Unfortunately, Conservatives, Libertarians, and other freedom and liberty minded movements have been asleep at the wheel in this regard. The Republicans can’t seem to decide if they really believe in the ideals of liberty and freedom for everyone, or if they believe in those ideals for Christians only and to the devil’s cook fires with you if you have some other belief. Libertarians, on the other hand, are too busy leaving everyone brutally alone.

      • Everybody used to agree that schooling was a good thing, and that you wanted every American citizen to know lots about lots of things.

        There’s no good reason that we can’t agree on that again. (Lots of bad reasons from bad or badly mistaken people, of course.)

      • Morally wrong? I disagree. And I didn’t propose denying the franchise to any citizen, just requiring them to demonstrate a knowledge about the world around them that many on the left proudly refuse to do. The franchise could be gained by anyone willing to obtain that knowledge, which is hardly a difficult thing to do. Oh, and the franchise is already limited by various things–age, condition of incarceration, etc. Why should ignorance not also be a limiting factor?

        • And I didn’t propose denying the franchise to any citizen, just requiring them to demonstrate a knowledge about the world around them that many on the left proudly refuse to do. The franchise could be gained by anyone willing to obtain that knowledge, which is hardly a difficult thing to do

          “Say the stuff I want you to say, or you can’t vote.”

          That’s pretty solid denial.

          • As opposed to saying things that are objectively false and nonsensical? How about this then–pass the naturalization test questions in order to register to vote. Fail them and you have to come back again to try, with at least one month between attempts.

            • Which several people already pointed out to you will result in the SOBs you want to fight capturing the power to re-write the test.

              Quit being lazy with these “build a system that will fix things!” and do the hard work of actually changing folks’ minds.

              Which, yes, involves something besides sneering. It might even involve trying to find out why they think what they think, which surprisingly seldom is “they think that because they are stupid. I shall inform them they are stupid and they will then agree with me.”

              • What’s your problem with me? I’m not sneering at anyone. You seem to have an attitude toward me whenever you reply to me. If you want to talk to me without fighting I’ll be happy to, but if all you want to do is cast aspersions at me we’re done.

                • What’s your problem with me?

                  People make arguments, and you ignore them to repeat what you said before, while acting like they couldn’t possibly have heard it 30 seconds before.

                  When they make a related and rephrased argument or ask you to actually answer their counter-argument, you get pissy and start behaving in a way that I have watched drive folks I’d carefully cultivated into listening straight back into Liberalism’s arms, because here is a guy loudly making exactly the arguments their teachers said they “really” make, completely ignoring the arguments the seemingly reasonable folks they’ve been talking to making, and quite clearly advocating what they “know,” from being around liberals, is a complete powergrab. Thus showing that conservatives are nothing but incompetent liberals.

                  • And you claim to not be sneering at me. Right…

                    • If you see that as sneering, I can’t help you, any more than I can change that your evergreen solution to people not agreeing with you is to make a system where they’re not allowed to do anything until they do agree with you.

                    • Judgement like that is exactly why you wanting to deny the franchise to people who promote “nonsensical” ideas is such a horrible idea.

                      You can’t even tell contempt from opposition.

                    • Think they can stop it humorously?

                      People: this is a “family” site and regular commentators ought be treated as welcome family members with whom we sometimes disagree, not deplorable uncles or aunties with no clear concept of intrusive inquiries.

                      Cripes – if we cannot resist snarling at one another, how ever will we manage to persuade the truly deranged misled?

              • Which, yes, involves something besides sneering.

                I suspect you might find your arguments more persuasive did you adhere to your own excellent advice.

                If you cannot eschew the sneering tone could you perhaps improve your mockery so as to provide greater humour for bystanders?

                • I suspect you might find your arguments more persuasive did you adhere to your own excellent advice.

                  I’m scolding, not sneering.

                • Now, if I were going to sneer, I’d say something like:
                  Oh, yes, because “let’s hand the liberals a nice, easy route to kick everybody they don’t like out of power.”
                  Gosh, it’s not like they have been pushing a pattern of having people publicly avow obvious counter-factuals or face having their livihoods stripped from them, is it?
                  And CLEARLY the guys who captured the education, entertainment and information networks, who run the deep state, couldn’t possibly in any form manage to taint the (places hand over heart) sacred ranges of the NATURALIZATION TEST!

                  *******

                  See the difference?

                  • And yet the effect is much the same. Both tend to make you obnoxious and disliked — and neither makes you effectively persuasive.

                    • And yet the effect is much the same.

                      Based off of the results I have seen, you’re wrong.

                      As many the folks have noted– frequently, internet conversation is about the watchers.

                      Scolding someone who makes the liberal-expected arguments, and ignores counter-arguments? That does have an effect.

                      Sneering is just politics as usual, but incompetent.

                      No, scolding won’t change his mind.

                      But rational argument didn’t get so much as a rational response, so that is not a reasonable target.

                    • You are assuming facts not in evidence. I very much doubt that anyone witnessing you and DRLoss has experienced a change of view.

                      Most probably just wish you would both move on.

                      As they now doubtless wish I would.

                    • Ah. A RES pissing contest.

                      Been at least six months since the last one, I think.

                      I’ll pass.

                    • Your graciousness is noted, although I think your pun, whether intentional or not, rather negates your criticism.

                      You could enhance your position by abandoning the pretense you are the reasonable one when we all know that there is no limit to unreasonableness.

                    • I’m pretty sure you were one of the first here to inform me that arguing online is a spectator sport, at that. (I still don’t entirely disagree, but you’re not entirely wrong.)

                    • All performance art needs to be mindful of the audience. I do not think you are recognizing the spectators’ leanings.

                      (I still don’t entirely disagree, but you’re not entirely wrong.)

                      Would you care to revise or diagram that sentence? I do not think it means what you think it means.

              • I’m not a moderator, but could we please agree to disagree on this one today and move on? This is something that might fit better as a guest-post, so ideas can be aired in a larger chunk and with more background as to the reasoning.

                • Meh, I noticed it’s a RES wants to fight thing, and already expressed as much.

                  I have my known results, I have offered public resistance to both angles, and I am aware RES is at least as stubborn but is also not a troll who will go off and declare victory in some stupid Yama infested pit if he can get me to stop responding.

                  • Tsk – I’ve no interest in fighting you, Foxfier. I was merely attempting to hold up a mirror that you might see.

                    It is a terrible burden, trying to illuminate the dimness all around, but I believe I bear it with some degree of fortitude and grace.

              • People tend to not value things that they get for free. The idea of some kind of test does have the problems that you, and others, have pointed out.
                I don’t think that you can educate that out of humans.

                • That can actually be jitsued into a bonus– if voting is “cheap” on cost, but requires an investment of time/energy (“oh, damn, I have to actually fill out this form/go to the polls?”) then the folks who don’t care, won’t go.

                  If it’s hard to TAKE that vote, nobody will do it for them.

                  And thus you get a max of give-a-damn with a minimum of paid-to-care.

                  • Yep, and that’s why a certain segment of our political players want to open voting to multiple days, and make absentee (now they’re called mail-in) ballots the norm.
                    You don’t have to earn the franchise, and, especially where it is legal for someone other than the voter to collect and turn in the ballots, you don’t even have to bother to get out of your pjs and go anywhere to vote.

            • The problem is that any test can be written to pass only the folks it wants to pass. Which could well be absolutely everyone.

              I’d suggest something more substantial as the bar: a year or two of some form of national service, military or otherwise, with an honorable discharge. And as part of that service, one perforce takes a civics class, since schools no longer provide one. The point is to grow some dedication to our nation, and to build a sense of having a stake in it — not to show just enough memorized knowledge to pass a test.

            • I could see making the franchise dependent on being self-supporting…or at least not supported by government handouts. Or even government salaries. Don’t think it has a hope in hell of passing, and the shrieks of outrage would be earsplitting.

              But making anyone pass a test, when the test can too easily be rigged? No. No way in hell.

              It’s like the talk about requiring schools to teach subjects beyond reading, writing, and math. It sounds swell, but we all know how good the Left is at subverting curricula.

              Put a test requirement on voting, and before you can turn around California will be failing people who believe the Second Amendment means what it says.

              So, not just no, but HELL NO!

              • They think everyone’s dependent on the government. Because driving on roads is the same as being wholly dependent on welfare.

        • And again, that would be a great idea if you could get the seraphim to administer it. Done by humans? It’s just chock full of possibilities, most of them bad.

      • What is the purpose of voting for representatives? Is it to make them do what the majority want? Or to make our government less likely to go off the rails?

        First we must decide the proper role of gov’t. If that is to do what the majority of the community wants, then yes. Let every citizen vote; even 3 year olds (Stuart didn’t give any limits to “morally WRONG”). If it is to protect our unalienable rights, then the selection of people who should be allowed to vote ought to be the people who are most likely to keep the gov’t on that mission… and it would be morally WRONG to let more people vote who would endanger our fellow citizens unalienable rights just because we don’t want to hurt those non-voters feelings.

        So which is it? Or did I miss something?

        • What I was trying to get at is that every right comes with an implied responsibility to exercise that right in an informed, rational way. The franchise, the “right to vote,” has the implied responsibility to become informed about the issues, the candidates, and the history and philosophical basis of our society so as to be able to cast the vote responsibly. To make that responsibility a requirement, while the details would be a real bear to get right, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

          • Voting is not a right. Read the constitution. The government is forbidden to deny the vote to people for a very few things only such as race or previous condition of servitude.

            • ??? How does that make voting “not a right”? ALL rights are subject to reasonable limitation and may be forfeit for cause.

              The debate over what constitutes “reasonable” is unlikely to ever be settled, but that is a detail, not a denial.

          • Humanity has been trying since time immemorial to devise a way to force people to live up to their responsibilities. Thus far we’ve had greater success at squaring circles.

            I do not assert people should be irresponsible, I merely fear that efforts to impose responsibility are doomed to frustrate, and that frustration is likely to encourage unwelcome excess.

          • This is very right.
            Until you get to the part about “make that a requirement.”

            That’s the problem with a republic of free citizens: if you let gov’t force them into that responsibility, they will rapidly (as far as nations go) become no-longer-free. But, if you don’t force them into that responsibility, they will slowly slide (as they become prosperous and secure) into not being responsible (which will also eventually make them no-longer-free).

            For it to work, the people themselves have to take responsibility for jealously, zealously guarding their freedoms and for being a moral, educated people. If they don’t govern themselves (individually) someone else will.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I must disagree with that formulation.

        Morality only comes into play when you have a deal, and are complying with it or not complying with it.

        Citizenship and suffrage should absolutely not be exactly the same.

        I am absolutely comfortable with age restrictions on voting.

        Modern feminists are one of the strongest arguments that women should never have gotten suffrage.

        I deny that there is any moral imperative towards universal suffrage. The franchise is simply a mechanism for sharing political power among citizen-soldiers. It is a function of military technology and doctrine.

      • I disagree, strongly. When the United States was founded, the franchise was restricted to free men, over the age of 21, who possessed property or income (40 acres or 40 dollars, IIRC). 30% of free adult men failed that last qualification.

        This produced leaders like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin. Great men of tremendous insight.

        Every time we have loosened the requirements, the results have been catastrophic.

        And a government that is neither just nor competent is morally wrong.

        • A stronger argument would be made if you picked great leaders who weren’t also founding members.

        • In 1793, one dollar was 1/20 of an ounce of gold. So going by today’s prices for an ounce of gold, about $3000 in the bank. But you couldn’t be using that $3000 for investments or anything; it would have to be sitting in the bank all the time, or no votey-votey.

          Now, let’s talk about bank failures, of which there used to be a lot. Imagine what a beautiful system this was, when all your money in the bank just went bye-bye. No votes for you!

          The same thing goes for fun stuff like disputes over land grants, or outright theft of frontier land. No votes for you!

      • Extending the franchise to just anyone is just as disastrous a course, which we’re seeing played out in front of us as we speak.

        Most of our current electorate is completely oblivious to what the politicians are actually doing, what the government is doing, and getting their attention requires a 16lb sledge between the eyeballs.

        So… What’s the solution?

        I don’t have one, but I think that one path is down the lines I’ve suggested before: You want the vote, and full citizenship? Fine; here’s a document laying out that entire deal, and before you get the right to vote, you sign it. Signature means that you’re eligible for conscription, taxes, and benefits accruing therefrom. Don’t sign it? Fine; you’re a resident. You pay basic taxes, get basic services, and that’s the end of it. All you get out of the deal is to be left the hell alone, and live as you always have. Opt for full citizenship, and you are pledging your name, economic effort, and sacred honor to the nation. Full liability–And, if you can’t do that, through mental or physical inability, then you don’t qualify for full citizenship.

        I’d basically put it on a contract basis, and along with it, end the practice of professional politicians. We could either treat it like jury duty, or we could limit the number of years served, and require a certain amount of life experience/success outside the realm of politics before you got to run for office.

        I think that limiting the franchise arbitrarily, via a poll tax, property ownership, or whatever else you might come up with, is a bad idea. Likewise, extending the franchise to every single warm body is an equally foolish idea. Setting the system up so that you have to consciously make a decision to opt into it, and pledge to abide by the operant rules…? I think that’s a happy medium.
        he rules, and pledge your sacred honor to the nation? Fine; you’re an American. Don’t want to? Fine; you’re a resident.

        • Kirk, you’re getting at what I was (somewhat tongue in cheek) trying to start a discussion on. The universal franchise is something that we should examine rationally and talk about, not just reflexively cheer without any thought being involved. And “rationally” is a serious part of the discussion I hoped to start, not the ad hominem attacks that I somehow seem to have attracted.

          • We have a massive problem looming with universal franchise.
            Take my MIL for instance: for the last five years she’s had no clue what year it is or where she is. But she might live another ten.
            The population in that state is growing. We know the aids vote for them. Or “volunteers.” I might as well give the franchise to my cat.
            With the aging of the population and how good we are at keeping people alive after they’ve checked out, we’re going to have to start evaluating voters. It terrifies me because I know the potential for abuse, but I don’t see any other way.

            • One thing that might help with the abuse is to require a team from the voting registrar’s office, along with the standard “observers” from each team, to go to the rest homes on appointed days (within a week or two prior to the election) to do their absentee balloting.

              You still have the abuse for folks living at home, but at least the harvesters have to work for those votes.

              • Oooh, that would be a really good way to make absentee voting work for the folks who really can’t show up– “I’m homebound,” they’re on the list, and the official and a minimum of two opposed observers hop in the van and do their road-trip.
                Ballot goes in with them, the person is given it and goes to a room alone, comes back out with the sealed ballot container, witnesses sign it. Checked off at the other end and then it goes just like a normal absentee ballot. (Except actuallyc ounted.)

            • Two options:
              use the same system as for identifying the completely insane, with the same they-must-be-institutionalized rule
              or
              Make it so that the person being assisted has to petition for that assistance. (coupled with no absentee voting for less than dire reasons).

              • I think we desperately need the no-absentee-voting for anything but extreme necessity. It used to be that way.

                • *Sad* I only had the OPTION of voting in person once in my life, thus far.

                  • look, the military should be obvious. Also any job where you absolutely CAN’T get the day off. Medical pros, for ex and anyone subjected to being on call. OR which was my exemption once, for early voting, plane tickets to be out of the country that day.
                    The rest? Nope, just nope. Show case by case, and show proof. Or show up on the day.

                • I think that we’re way beyond the idea of ‘absentee only for real reasons’. There is at least one political party that is strongly invested in the idea that voting should be as easy as possible. (And it appears that counties would rather go to all ‘vote by mail’ than spend the money to have sufficient polling places – of course it’s a self-reinforcing system, the more you allow ‘vote by mail’ the fewer people go to vote in person, resulting in under utilized polling places, which leads to pushing ‘vote by mail’ so that they don’t have to keep those polling places open.)

                  • we HAVE to get rid of those, or risk dictatorship by AT MOST 25% of the population. My guess is this is coming to a head real soon. Keep your powder dry.

                  • One political party has sued (repeatedly) to prevent any tightening of the voters’ screws. Their judges have held that elimination of “vote by mail” and “early voting” (during which rallies are held from church pulpits and people loaded onto buses and take to the polling place — making payment for voting absurdly simple) constitute illegitimate constraints upon exercise of the franchise.

                    So, there is that. They will only complain when Republicans attempt the same tactics.

                    It is like nuclear deterrence — so long as only one side gets the benefit there will be no end of it.

            • I like the idea of making the franchise contingent on Paying Your Share.

              If you run the numbers, the Federal Government takes in roughly $6,000 per adult in income tax annually. So we require that in the two years prior to the election, you must accumulate 100 Points of Equity to vote.

              $100 in tax = 1 day paid active military service = 4 hours unpaid voluntary labor service. Cash, blood, or sweat…you have to have skin in the game.

              • *mother of six raises the back of both hands, flat, facing you*

                Read between the lines.

                (short version, “getting” to be charged for the 3k+ we pay directly into education that we don’t use, plus my actually raising the kids rather than paying taxes, as some kind of a burden on the public can go burn in a pit)

              • Only if married couples are a partnership that can pool their input.

        • getting their attention requires a 16lb sledge between the eyeballs
          Or, take away their bribes.

    • “…limiting the franchise to those who can demonstrate…”

      …a trait chosen by [somebody] and measured by a test chosen by the same [somebody] which they will -say- is completely fair and reasonable, but likely will be a scam.

      Government, I do not care whose government it is, cannot be trusted to make such a determination. Human beings have rights conferred by the Almighty, even the stupid and ridiculous ones. Governments have CONSTRAINTS. The more and tighter the constraint the better.

      The best constraint is money. You starve the beast, keep it hungry and small, so that it only grows slowly. The more you feed it, the more likely it will kill you.

  6. Actually, Dickens isn’t all “dark Satanic mills” crap. He has one bit in David Copperfield (a very slightly shaded version of his own juvenile stint in a blacking factory), and Hard Times is pretty anti-union and anti-industrialism, but he portrays factory owners, etc., fairly well in other books, such as in Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.

    He tends to write very well about London, and not just the lowest classes.

    The one thing he really did rag on was the state of education – not just the notorious Yorkshire schools in Nicholas Nickleby, but the way the system “worked” in Hard Times and Our Mutual Friend (and a couple by-ways, such as in David Copperfield).

    He was also very good in showing frauds (especially financial), which crops up in several plots. My fave is the fake life insurance company in Martin Chuzzlewit.

    Dickens tried out some of his ideas in real life, like Urania House, and came up against reality there. I would say that as he got older, the books got closer to real current conditions. Our Mutual Friend is my favorite, and it was his last complete novel. Starts with a body being found in the Thames… anyway, I recommend it if you can get over your Dickens-hatred.

  7. I have occasion to teach elementary school children about the industrial revolution. So I made them watch two videos about industrial revolution kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7todgQH460 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnBaWeKMEPA (there was a clearer version available back then). Then I made the point that the industrial revolution wasn’t the start of child labor, it was the end of it.

    It’s important to teach kids to develop a healthy suspicion of the prevailing narrative. It’s mental self defense.

    • *snags*

      Had a homeschool video glut this morning, one of the girls’ books said something about how the only reason that we don’t use hydrogen to run cars is because it is so expensive to separate out.

      That was true, but not…entirely accurate….

      So the kids learned about the Hindenburg, including watching the footage of the crash.

      (Best comment, from the princess: “Oh! Nazis! Those were, like, French? I know we fought them in France.” Me: *silent face palm and then a brief summary of Germany from Bismarck through WWII, with a brief touch on the Holocaust and how they worked up to it, but saying yes, we did fight them in France.)

  8. Now, in my day and even dad’s day,this type of child labor was safe and almost fun (at least if you didn’t do too much of it) kind of like my gardening these last few days.

    The stuff I grew up doing is now verboten, too, and I’m only in my 30s. 😦

    I worked around cows, yeah, but it sure wasn’t TENDING cows, it was more like “hey, I need a spare hand, STAND HERE AND YELL IF THEY COME TOWARDS THE GATE.”

    Or sitting on a horse. That’s good, too, if you don’t do stupid stuff.

    • I was fortunate enough to have a horse that didn’t let me do stupid stuff, no matter what (White Mountains Apache trained).

      Except once, when they had to borrow a neighbor’s horse for me on one roundup. Fool thing spooked (at what, nobody ever figured out) and I wasn’t paying attention and lost the reins for about a mile’s worth of sheer terror.

      • Observation from a recent performance by Webb Wilder, as broadcast on Song of the Mountains: I’ve concluded there are only two things horses are afraid of — things that move and things that don’t.

    • And the animals do sometimes know the difference. I knew (of) a pony that was used for a couple purposes. Light weight? Kid. Plod along for the kiddie ride. Heavier weight? We’re goin’ barrel racin’! And if an adult wanted to have nice little trail ride, there could a bit of an argument.

      • Good ranch horses know more about the situation than the rider does– the trick is teaching the rider to make sure the horse knows what is going on.

        Say, with Comanche, he knew what to do with an idiot bull wanting to thump him than I did….but he couldn’t SEE the bull coming, it was my job to yank his head around so he saw the idiot.

      • We had one of those – an elderly ex-parade horse who would barely move with a small child on his back, but an adult rider, and out on the bridle path that ran alongside the busiest road in town? SHOWTIME!

        • This reminds me of a fictional example: Sparhawk’s horse from the Elenium and the Tamuli. He knew perfectly well how to act in battle and deliberately acted temperamental and ornery because he thought it suited his owner, but whenever Sparhawk was wearing formal armor instead of combat gear he would actually start prancing (much to Sparhawk’s annoyance)!

    • When I had my first gout attack I described it as being almost as painful as having a cow stomp on it. (10 years old helping out moving cows around on my uncles dairy farm)

  9. As for the feudalism thing… of course they’re not sure of it. I know for dang sure it wasn’t mentioned when I went to school, most I ever got was a sort of idea it had something to do with the “dark ages” and Christianity, and a little embarrassment from vaguely religious groups.

    Heck, even this thing from the old Catholic Encyclopedia would’ve been a heck of an improvement, and it basically opens with “oh for heaven’s sake, you want me to SUMMARIZE SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT!??!”
    https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/feudalism

    • The Great Courses thing about the Vikings has a pretty good thing about the start of feudalism. Basically, Charlemagne’s successors Done Messed Up, and had run out of money to pay followers or reward service. (Mostly because of Viking theft and paying danegeld.) So they started handing out government areas in exchange for warding off Vikings, which quickly turned into handing out land ownership for military service and protecting against Vikings. Bam, feudalism. (At least in France and Germany.)

  10. My mom started hemming sheets at the age of three. She personally watched a neighbour drop dead and die from one of the little asps that hide in the leaves beneath the coffee plants. She was nearly killed herself, twice. She wears an orthopaedic shoe because the family cow stepped on her foot and the bone never set right. Chores from sun up to sun down, and the only break schooling a few hours in the kitchen while grandma (an educated woman) cooked. And Sunday service of course.

    On the other hand she had a lot of fun. Trees to climb, streams to dam and frogs to catch in between and around work. Helping with an ant-hive hunt was good value. Do city kids have that kind of fun? In and around the endless work. I’d bet yes. I will add, though, that Southern climates are more forgiving. No danger of freezing to death, and unless you’re paralyzed, there’s always mangoes to eat. The one time she nearly starved was when the family moved to the city.

    Make of it what you will. My thought is that American society is telling all the wrong stories. And I can’t be too hard on Charles Dickens. He was a socialist just as Mackey Chandler is an atheist. Once we eradicate all religion and particularly Christianity from the public sphere, a scientific moral society will break out.

    Why civilized people believe foolish and civilization-destroying things is too long for a com box. Human beans gonna human…

  11. “Mr. Dickens, convinced socialist.”
    Auto-correct convicted?

  12. Yeah, “Dark Satanic Mills” were only such to those who’d never had to break their hearts on trying to be a smallholder, and operate a working farm that could support a family and rent.

    The options were either “Dark Satanic Mill” or starvation/stress from failed crops, etc., etc., etc.. The usual upper-middle class dolt who wrote about such things had no freakin’ idea at all what it was like, trying to be one of those bucolic milkmaids or jolly farmers. Even dwelling in a slum was a better deal, and why you still see people moving off the agricultural lands of the world and into cities. Arcadia ain’t a real thing, and staring at the backside of a mule ain’t much better than serving a machine in some factory, somewhere. Those factories only look horrid to those who breezed by the average farmer out mowing hay, and never had to actually do all that crap in the fields.

    Beware the dolt educated far past their intelligence, who theorizes about the lives of others. Marx never did an honest day’s work in his entire life, and left no legacy of a functional business or other institution behind that embodied his worthless theories. That alone ought to tell you he was not what he pretended to be…

    Had Marx or any of the other “socialist theorists” constructed and left behind some form of concrete institutional legacy, I’d have no problem taking anything they said seriously. As it is, there’s not a damn thing out there, besides the odd vestigial remnants like the Oneida corporations that succeeded that particular utopian attempt.

    That fact alone ought to tell you something. Equally observable is that nobody, but nobody, ever bothers to discuss this rather salient point in any of the academic theory and instruction that I’ve ever seen or heard of. It’s a question I’d love to pose someone like Zizek, if only for the entertainment value of watching him try to talk around the factual reality of it all.

  13. “Anyone who thinks farmwork was safer than factory work has never been kicked by a horse”

    • Instructional Video:


      N.B. – these are professional horses; do not try this at home!

    • …or bitten by one.

      My relationship with horses is “cautious standoff.”

      Give me two wheels and internal combustion any time.

      • *gets the giggles*

        You know, my dad had to deal with someone who insisted that horses NEVER bite.

        No, really.

        They also didn’t believe him when he explained he’d seen horses snap at mice running across the hay- and they will eat them.

        All the horses around dad are nice, because he won’t accept it any other way!
        (See also, why none of our ranch bulls were deliberately dangerous.)

        • A lot of steppe horses got fed jerky or pemmican-equivalent, on long trips where they could not graze much.

        • Jordan S. Bassior

          As domestic animals go, horses are fairly mellow. The problem is that horses are also huge, and if they choose to be dangerous, they will be dangerous. Horses are also skittish, so sometimes they’ll hurt you even if they didn’t intend to.

          • *snicker* Yes, as large domestic animals go, horses are fairly mellow. I will not soon forget the reaction of a very militant vegan friend of ours (English, city girl, nice woman, in spite of the vegananity) who was minding the country residence of another friend, looking after the other friends horses, emu, flock of geese, chickens and a very bad-tempered medium-sized pig.
            The English friend was worried about the pig eating a non-vegan burrito. (Note – I am not a country girl, but my maternal grandmother was, and she was pretty salty about farm animals.) I said – “No, they’re omnivores,” and I passed on a remark my grandmother had made now and again, about a farmer’s unfortunate fate in the pig-pen. “He went to take a leak and the pigs ate him!”
            English vegan friend was thoroughly horrified at this. I don’t think she ever went into the pig enclosure again. (I don’t think she had ever watched Deadwood, either.)

            • Yeah, I don’t think we were EVER inside of half a mile of Someone Else’s pigs when my mom didn’t mention we had a cousin who was eaten by pigs.

              Short version, young boys are idiots, they dared eachother to walk over the pig-pen, he fell, 30 seconds wasn’t fast enough.

              • When I worked in the Midwest, the year before I got there, someone in the county went to clean out the farrowing pen and missed one piglet buried in the old straw. He stepped on it and it squalled. The sow ate most of him.

                • Belle Gunness had an extensive hog pen. Very useful for your olden days serial killer, but still a valid method of body disposal today.

                  * 10 out of 10 doctors do not recommend becoming a serial killer.

                  Btw, there’s a “new” Belle Gunness book called Murder Princess or some such, but there’s no need to read that, when Lillian de la Torre’s true crime book about her is back in print. Her “solution” is pretty convincing.

      • Or been tossed off of one, on purpose or not.

        AND I was one of those horse crazy kids. Still am. Love horses. Never owned one. Couldn’t ride one now if I wanted (damn knees).

        Yes. Have been around them. At least summers at my cousins who did have them. At first only two weeks a summer. Then for 4 summers straight, all summer, or at least most of it. But looking back. Sure spent a lot of time feeding them, riding them a lot, not so much. Too much other work on the place to do. Weeding the garden (STILL won’t keep a garden …), Milking Cows (are you NUTS?), moving irrigation pipe, feeding pigs (mean things), even house cleaning (because my 12 year old standards were higher, or it kept me out of the weeding, you choose), … And I was just a kid with an extra set of hands on a 40 acre HOBBY farm (E Oregon).

        Problem with kids these days is they’ve never had the privilege of working the bean, pea, or strawberry, fields. Or the canaries. Not sure when that stopped. I did the former (as little as possible FWIW). Younger sisters worked the latter. One Sis and I also worked inventory counting (not sure how legal it was, but we were working for mom’s cousin, so …) By the time we had kids, all options were illegal until the kids were 18.

        Farm work (locally anyway) is illegal to work if you are under 18, unless you are an immediate member of the family … tried to get Uncle to hire kid, but kid was Uncles great-nephew, Uncle said no, too young, even tho Uncle’s youngest daughter was working equipment, and she was only months older than my kid. Not close enough family relationship, because we (parents) didn’t have a direct personal or financial relationship to the farming activities. Heck same Uncle wouldn’t hire his own brother’s kids to work the farm because of the same reason (kids were all near the same age … that is what happens when Uncles are not that much older than you are).

        • Forgot clicky box.

        • Hell, I did 10 to 12 hour days haying as a 15 year old. Got $20 a day, plus lunch and thought I was in heaven. (Paperback books cost less than $2 new back then.)

          • My cousin (male) did hay bucking and moving water irrigation pipes. Have no idea what he got paid. Probably $20/day for 10 hour days. Closest I got, when I was over there for the summer, was the summers I was 15 & 16, because I got to get up to help milk the cows then drive him to work.

            Otherwise, yes, did have to help get hay for Uncle and Aunt. But then so did working cousin, and his little sister (5 years younger than us). Younger cousin & I shared duties for picking up a single bale to put it up on the truck or flatbed trailer. I could pickup by myself, just not chuck it high enough. Older cousin and I then were tasked with stacking the hay in the hay barn.

            All for the “privilege” of being around horses for the summer, and a little bit of riding. Oh, one summer I got “paid” an appropriate straw cowgirl hat, boots, and non-folding hunting knife. Still have the knife, somewhere. Wore the hat and boots out.

        • You could learn to drive horses. Comfy seats, not nearly as much bending.

      • Not a fan of horses. Big idiots. Much rather deal with cattle. Dumb beasts but much more sensible where things like barbed wire are concerned.

        The big ones, Clydesdales, Shires, Belgians, Percherons, they are, in my admittedly limited experience, something of an exception. Maybe their great size gives them the confidence to be calmer.

    • Oh heck, even friendly horses can be a problem. There’s a kid in my son’s BSA troop who was going to be working with the horses at the summer camp they go to. “Was going to be” because in working with a horse new to the camp, he got thrown—and his foot got caught in the stirrup. A few broken bones and a concussion, and the horse wasn’t trying to do him any damage, just not used to things yet and got spooked.

  14. Here I was thinking that the Dark, Satanic Mills were a description of the current US K-12 system, and wondering what they’d pulled now!

  15. ““Child of All Ages”. (I probably read it in a “best of” or collection of Hugo or Nebula awards works–it won both of those in 1976.) ”

    Equally deserving as I recall it – short listed – but my memory is that Catch that Zeppelin won. Perhaps a nod to the recent death of Fritz Leiber’s wife.

    The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi deals with somewhat the same issues from a more normative perspective.

    • ISFDB showed “Child of All Ages” as included in both the Hugo Winners and Nebula Winners anthologies which is what I based my earlier statement. But on reflection I seem to recall those anthologies (in general, not just that particular year) didn’t just include winners but select other stories from the short lists so I could well have been mistaken on its winning.

  16. This reminds me, I need to rework the lessons on the Industrial Revolution again. I’ve got some better primary sources and secondaries to add to my notes, so I’ll have some better numbers if That Student challenges me. (Every so often I get a student who is absolutely certain about what they know. I ask them to show me their sources and I’ll show them mine. One or two of those encounters and we generally reach a truce.)

  17. (Re Household Service as Maids) They seem to think of it as some kind of sinecure.

    I think what is happening is they are running their Regency stories based on a brain load of basically Downton Abbey, with just possibly (but not likely) some Upstairs-Downstairs thrown in if they are especially interested. By that time (Edwardian and later), the shakeout for the Industrial Revolution had pretty much undermined the aristocratic landholders, but they foundations had not yet quite collapsed, and the gradual rollin of revolutionary things like electric lighting and central heating meant the household staff didn;t need to go around lighting flamey things for light, watching them like a hawk so the place didn’t burn to the ground, build fires and then clean out fireplaces in every room so the lower floor aristos didn’t freeze at night, and hand-clean everything.

    They very briefly touched on this in early Downton Abbey re electric lights in the castle, and the vast hoards of scullery and whatever-the-fireplace-maids-were-called do in fact vanish by the later seasons. They also touch on the fact that many households could only afford a butler and a cook, if that, and some storylines show the failing estates getting bought by either trades or wealthy Americans.

    And as some have observed, at least in Downton Abbey the landed gentry were portrayed to some extent as the ones who were obligated to service, required to stick it out and keep things going so they could continue to employ the household and estate staff in the manner to which they’d become accustomed – the cooks and footmen and maids could quite and hie off to other opportunities, while the gentry were stuff trying to make ends meet as the entire society changed out from under them.

    But that’s after the turn of the 20th century, not Regency. Big difference.

    • The latest season of Grantchester was touching on this, set in the 1950s. The new vicar (not sure if he’s going to avoid bring quite the trainwreck as the previous one) inherited the family estate after his father’s suicide, only to find that the only way to settle debts is to sell the estate. All this at the end of the season, so we might see a resolution next year.

  18. Farming is still fairly dangerous, compared to other occupations; I don’t know if it’s in the top five, but I’m sure it’s in the top ten of the most dangerous by fatalities per capita. I had a cousin get killed in ’98 in a farming accident; a farming neighbor down the road lost an arm, oh, fifteen years ago, when a tire exploded. When I helped my uncle barn his tobacco, years and years ago, I mashed the same fingernail off two years in a row. I don’t recall being injured by any farm animals to any memorable extent; there was a man who was bitten by a sow above his wrist. (And nowadays, it’s all large contract hog growing. The company sends you the pigs (which they paid someone else to breed and raise to weaning) and you grow them to market weight. Similarly with chickens or turkeys, depending on your preference.) Probably my closest call was falling off the back of a trailer loaded down with tobacco (back when it was on sticks) when it was going down the road at 20 mph. But it was the back of the trailer so I didn’t get run over by the trailer, and a neighbor picked me and carried me to the tobacco barn we were working at.

    I wish my kids could work on a farm, but my second cousin who truck farms produce has it written in her contracts “no child labor.”

    • Tractors going as fast as possible are loud so with that and the wind noise my father, who was driving the tractor, couldn’t hear my sister trying to tell him that I had fallen off.

    • I’m pretty sure farming is in the top 5, along with logging.

    • but I’m sure it’s in the top ten of the most dangerous by fatalities per capita.

      Last time I saw a list of top ten most dangerous occupations farming was in there. The point of the list was that “police officer” was not on it.

      • All such lists need to be taken with a shaker of salt. They usually don’t include the really high-risk jobs, like flight test.

        • Well, I can see leaving off flight test, since there’s, I feel sure, less than in thousand test pilots in the country (or the world).

          • Unless you count people who build their own aircraft…

            • “Test Pilot” actually covers a lot of territory. The guys who fly high performance aircraft to the very limits of their capabilities (with the significant risk of getting a new street at Edwards named after them) are what most people think of but a small fraction of the field. Every new airframe that gets checked out, every modification, re-engining, or any change that might affect performance, stability, or stresses has to be checked out at some point by a pilot taking it up and confirming that it works. Just like every new, modified, or repaired piece of equipment faces a “smoke test” so too does every new, modified, or repaired aircraft need a test flight–with the pilot of said flight, by definition, being a test pilot.

              • There’s a saying in aviation that every time a pilot flies an aircraft after maintenance, one is taking on the role of Test Pilot whether one realizes it or not.

                • I think Skippy has it right about the Ro-tor spirits and their capricious nature. And you never know what will upset them whenever anything is changed even if it’s just the various operations in a routine engine PM

              • I limit the definition to graduates of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School or its foreign equivalents.

                Let me put it this way: My acceptance letter to USNTPS recommended updating my will. I did NOT tell my mother about that part.

    • Last list I saw farming was something like #4, behind log skidder, commercial fisherman, and some other robust outdoor trade that I forget.

  19. In the UK, Monday was a half day in the dark Satanic mills, and people spent most of the day playing games outside, socializing, and such.

    Also, a lot of industrial towns had excellent bathhouses/laundries. They got nasty and yucky later on in period, but they were really nice for twenty or thirty years.

    The UK walking tour show about Bronte Country, though, still blows my mind. (Walking Through History with Tony Robinson, season 3, ep 1.) Bramwell worked for the railroad! Good job, not a drunk or druggie more than other normal guys, and did not waste all his money! And the moors were right next to a whole mill town!! And the vicar dad was a real doer of good, unlike your SJW delusionary types!

  20. If you have Amazon Prime, btw, they still have that season of Walking Through History.

  21. A true fact deliberately presented out of its natural context can be a worse lie than any explicit falsehood. Even Voldemort ultimately wound up getting torpedoed because he only heard half of Sybil Trelawney’s original prophecy.

  22. Excuse me, but I think you are doing Mr. Dickens an injustice. At age 12 he was working 10 hour days in a factory when his father was in debtor’s prison, and he was certainly familiar with the conditions he was writing about. After a stint at an inferior school, his next job was working as a law clerk and court reporter. Between the two he became quite familiar with the lives led by the urban working poor and criminal classes. Yes, there was some overlap. He also portrays some overlap of the criminal class and the wealthy elite. There is probably some exaggeration (he was an entertainer, after all) and conditions may not have been universally as bad as he portrays them, but his interest in social reform was genuine and borne from bitter experience. By his account, the law was no kinder to the poor in his day than the bureaucracy of social welfare is in ours. At least he wasn’t promoting class hatred and violent overthrow of the system.

    • At least he wasn’t promoting class hatred and violent overthrow of the system.

      One word:
      Scrooge.

      • London kinda sucked. Things were a lot better in the North of England, Scotland, etc., or at least a lot of the mill owners tried to do a decent job. A lot of times, things were dangerous because nobody had invented anything safer yet, and the inventors and owners were often right there, also working.

        I think I mentioned this before, but St. Antonio Claret’s family were hand loom weavers in a weaving town in Spain; and when they saw the writing on the wall, they all kicked in money together and set up a machine loom factory that did programmed stuff, like the Jacquard looms. All their families and neighbors were working there. They sent Antonio to study and work at loom programming at another factory, and bring back info. That’s not exploitation.

      • Eh? Scrooge was not only exceptionally misanthropic, but got scared straight.

        • “Here is an embodiment of the ownership class– and it takes supernatural intervention to make him any better, which incidentally looks EXACTLY like him handing everybody all the stuff they want!”

          Gosh, what message does that send? That most of the guys who are doing stuff that you don’t like are doing their best, or that because they are kicking you out after you didn’t pay rent for the last six months, it PROVES they are hateful haters who hate?

          • Yep. Dickens was a hell of a propagandist.

          • I see Scrooge as less an indictment of a Social Class — remember, we’re given examples aplenty of his peers displaying concern and desire to assist those in need — than as representative of the Pharisaical error of minding institutional requirements and forgetting the personal.

            Many Christians of that day and this engage in such behaviour, attending and tithing to the church and neglecting any personal acts of charity (whether financial or otherwise.) Scrooge’s tale is a reminder that the primary purpose of Christian practice is the benefit to the practitioner, with benefits to recipients being secondary.

            “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

            “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

            “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

            “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

            “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

            “Both very busy, sir.”

            “:Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

            “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

            “Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

            “You wish to be anonymous?”

            “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge.

            “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

            “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

            “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

            • Note also his mentor in business, Mr. Fezziwig, who was as cheerful and generous as Scrooge was coldhearted and stingy.

              “The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it had cost a fortune”.

            • That actually was part of why I pointed to the way it demonizes basic not-giving-me-stuff– those guys were collecting to give stuff away.

              AKA, they’re the faces that hand you stuff, for nothing.

              And the entire conversations seals in the idea that if you’re not giving handouts, you want people to die.

              • Showing that you miss the point entirely. You are endorsing Scrooge’s position on “charity” and ignoring his attitude post-Christmas.

                We perceive those solicitors from Scrooge’s perspective only, thus it is easy to dismiss their generosity. Yet after that night we see the Cratchitt household from Scrooge’s new perspective and witness the change in attitude that results from not being beaten down by the world.

                Surely you do not mean to denounce all charitable giving as “something for nothing”?

                • I’m going off of what the story shows us. A mature consideration of the story takes it from caricature to “condensed for story reasons,” at least arguably, but we’re looking at what is actually offered.

                  Scrooge is bad, because kicks people out who don’t have the rent; good people collect money to give to others.
                  Not for any good reason, either, but because he wants a profit. Not like everything he owns will be taken away and liquidated and everybody who WAS paying their rent kicked out, not to mention not being able to pay the folks who are working for him and THOSE folks not making the rent and their kids going hungry…just a profit.
                  Good people give away stuff.

                  By a complete three-ghosts-miracle and vision of his death, Scrooge becomes a good person who gives money to others instead of expecting folks to pay rent.

                  So, when you’re someone who knows all the reason you can’t possibly be expected to pay rent, and “knows” that them taking the rent is just profit, what is the result?

                  • What the story shows us????

                    Where does it show us Scrooge kicking people out for inability to pay their rent? I am sure I’ve missed that part.

                    What I understand it to be showing us is Scrooge as a man accumulating wealth for no greater purpose than accumulation of wealth.

                    Whatever – you’ve now moved this into the realm of boring nit-pickery, so I suggest you keep Christmas in your way and leave me to keep it in mine.

                    • In the chapter on the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge was apparently about to evict or otherwise foreclose on a family because they were going to be a week late paying the rent, or some other debt.
                      sarc And since there is *clearly* never a financial excuse for forbearance, and since the tax-supported poorhouses, however feared and despised, are the proper and effective cure for poverty, the financially prudent Mr. Scrooge is being unfairly abused as a miserable, coldhearted miser. /sarc
                      You *could* interpret the story that way, but I prefer not to.

          • “Here is an embodiment of the ownership class– and it takes supernatural intervention to make him any better, which incidentally looks EXACTLY like him handing everybody all the stuff they want!”

            Where did you get this (since you have it in quotes) There are at least four other gentlemen in the story who could also be taken as representatives of the ownership class, all of them more generous than Scrooge. From a Christian point of view, it can be taken as a moral duty of those who have means to use them generously to relieve want and suffering when the opportunity arises. Scrooge was instead creating it by his penny-pinching selfishness. And no, relieving want and suffering does not necessarily mean handing everybody all the stuff they want, as stated by Scrooge himself, speaking of Mr. Fezziwig. Nor does it involve being taxed to support the poorhouses,,,institutions of state-sponsored “charity” which people were literally dying to avoid.

      • He WAS promoting class hatred.He was just good at it.

    • Incidentally– and I had to go look it up, since it seemed like something they’d have hammered to death– his ‘time in a factory’ was spending a few months when he was 12, working in a warehouse that managed shoe-polish, before going back to school. At 15 he finished education and became an office boy.

      http://www.dickens-online.info/charles-dickens-biography.htm

      So he had a slight acquaintance with it, as a 12 year old who (to put it mildly) had a LOT of other horrible things going on, then he went right back to school.

      That would be like my being an authority on being fatherless– I was about that age when my dad had to move to a new job ahead of us, for several months, while we packed up.

      • I’m willing to grant a short-term but intense experience (several of them, actually) during his formative years as being sufficient expertise to account for a great deal of mature zeal as a reformer. But for Sarah to claim that “he never mingled with the people or actually knew what went on in their lives”. I can’t accept that as accurate. Dickens was no recluse working from the library exclusively with the arcana of German philosophy. He was very much a mingler. I will grant that his experience was urban and not rural, but there are plenty of other sources besides Dickens to indicate that being poor in London in the mid 19th century was as miserable an existence as anyone could wish for.

    • He had no clue — NONE — what the rural people had to do to survive though. He was solid fallen middle class.
      And no, I’m not doing him an injustice. He was a socialist and a proselytizer. Far more effective than Marx.

      • He had a great grasp of an emotionally seductive and simple story– “here, you’ve got the guys who want you to pay rent on time and you’ve got these guys who give you stuff. The one who wants you to pay the rent is a horrible, evil person who is obviously unjust. And when he reforms, he explicitly identifies anybody who doesn’t agree with his new generosity as being blind.”

        Classic ‘if you don’t agree, you’re just blind’ style argument, it’s enticing because anybody who upsets you is objectively horrible, and there’s no good reason for his actions. Just greed.

        …sounds a lot like modern TV, come to think of it, doesn’t it?

        • Again, I challenge you to cite passage about Scrooge demanding rent. While I’ve not read the tale in many a year I recall it being singularly lacking in description of exactly what Scrooge’s business consisted.

          Seems to me the story is about an individual accumulating wealth for its own sake — your basic definition of miser — rather than to enjoy the benefits it brings. Scrooge’s problem was not that he didn’t want to give away free stuff, it was that he didn’t want to pay what a thing (Bob Cratchitt’s labor) was worth and that he took no pleasure in life and Christian fellowship (as exhibited in the passages about his apprenticeship and his nephew’s invitation.)

          Perhaps you have not actually read the book?

          • Dude, the guy you’re agreeing with noted the part where he was evicting a family the week before Christmas for being a week late on the rent.

            • That was in Christmas yet to come — ergo, future Scrooge, not the Scrooge as we receive him. You are condemning him for sins as yet uncommitted.

              A little online searching turns up the assertion Scrooge was a money-lender — thus someone who would not be in the line of rent collection.

              Wikipedia ia strangely silent on the important question, yet provides some interesting insight into the inspirations of many of Scrooge’s most famous lines: the two Thomases, Malthus and Carlyle.

              According to the sociologist Frank W. Elwell, Scrooge’s views on the poor are a reflection of those of the demographer and political economist Thomas Malthus, while the miser’s questions “Are there no prisons? … And the Union workhouses? … The treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” are a reflection of a sarcastic question raised by the reactionary philosopher Thomas Carlyle, “Are there not treadmills, gibbets; even hospitals, poor-rates, New Poor-Law?”

              It seems likely contemporary readers would have caught that.

              Further insight into the two visions we receive of Scrooge are also on offer at Wikipedia:

              Kelly writes that Scrooge may have been influenced by Dickens’s conflicting feelings for his father, whom he both loved and demonised. This psychological conflict may be responsible for the two radically different Scrooges in the tale—one a cold, stingy and greedy semi-recluse, the other a benevolent, sociable man. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, the professor of English literature, considers that in the opening part of the book covering young Scrooge’s lonely and unhappy childhood, and his aspiration for money to avoid poverty “is something of a self-parody of Dickens’s fears about himself”; the post-transformation parts of the book are how Dickens optimistically sees himself.

              Which would somewhat undermine any argument this is a economic rather than moral treatise.

              • Which would somewhat undermine any argument this is a economic rather than moral treatise.

                A great and stunning victory, had you been arguing against it being an economic treatise, rather than against it being a story which promotes class hatred.

                • Actually, my dear, I was simply looking for evidence in the story supporting claims about it. The evidence I found indicates it is a parable and as much an incitement of class hatred as Jesus’ parable about eyes of needles. I maintain the tale contains nothing of class warfare and you’ve simply misread it (granting you’ve ever read it at all.)

                  Given that it presents the wealthy as more inclined to benevolence than miserliness, I suspect you have not, in fact, read it. Scrooge is presented as an outlier, one who rejects the (as presented) obligations of the wealthy to be generous.

                  Your snark is as unbecoming as it is ineffective, by the way, more likely to provoke response in kind than sober consideration of your assertions. While one less generous-minded than I might be inclined to snidely suggest you were experiencing “female” difficulties as a wise and kind wallaby I recognize it is merely your human nature.

                  • Actually, my dear, I was simply looking for evidence in the story supporting claims about it.

                    I responded to what you actually said.
                    With quotes.
                    Apparently, this should’ve been part of the “don’t respond” series.

                    • Still suffering confusion over the whole “context” thing, are you?

                      I notice you’ve been pretty adept at cherry-picking only such elements as can be construed, however tenuously, as supporting your claim and ignoring all contradictory statements. Perhaps it is best for you to retire from this … what was your term? … “pissing match” as you seem sadly bereft of anything of substance. After all, I’ve the advantage of being full of piss & vinegar while you seem merely saturated with piss.

                    • I keep doing this crazy thing where I quote you, and/or quote your response, and/or quote the evidence that you or the person you’re supporting offer… and then I stop.

                      It’s, like, insane, man.

                      I, like, totally don’t GET the context because I, like, am not agreeing, man.

                      (Note: this is responding with contempt, as demanded.)

  23. at the mercy of fate in a way even traditionally published authors find too risky and scary.

    That is both a remarkable turn of phrase and the best short summary of why I gave up on writing at 25 and I’m coming back to it at 52.

    In short, these kids are being taught it’d be fine and dandy to go back to the pre-industrial age, by people who see themselves as feudal lords.

    Don’t let the kids off too easily. A lot see themselves as the feudal lords (see one AOC) and are encouraging this because they know they can’t get to the top any other way.

    Of course, most can’t do math to realize how few top spots there will be. As ruthless as they might think they are aren’t ruthless enough to claim those either (none of the so call Squad will win against the competition who will make Nancy Pelosi look like a girl scout).

    • They probably think Game of Thrones is high end brutality, rather than mostly short-sighted chaotic stupid.

      • There’s a difference?

        • Short version, a lot of the game of thrones things are old propaganda that was designed to destroy those who supposedly did it, by making them impossible to trust.

          No trust, can’t work with them, they die alone.

          Vs historic brutality, which was usually some variation of “make it so horrible NOBODY will ever do this again.”

          • In Portugal some people who tried to kill the king after the French revolution were killed after PUBLICLY having every bone in their body broken, starting with the feet.

            • Breaking on the wheel was one of those “cruel and unusual” punishments the Constitution prohibits…not the fevered whimpering of some Leftist about how an air-conditioned prison is too cruel.

  24. In the Chinese system, they actually have to force people to stay on the farms. If they were given a choice between working in the sweatshops and spending all day in the rice paddies, the paddies would be empty.

  25. the first three amputees (other than Dad’s finger lost as a machinist in the Navy) that I knew were farmers.
    Old gut down the road (well just a few years older than Dad anyhow) lost a leg at an early age to an accident, while working on a tractor iirc.
    Our 7th grade art teacher lost all the fingers of her hand (including most of the palm portions) except the thumb to a potato picker when she was a teen.
    A classmate in Machine shop lost an arm just below the elbow to a hay baler iirc at 12 years of age. a zerk fitting on a flywheel grabbed his heavy winter glove and wrung the arm off before someone could shut the machine down.

    • The last is why I never where a glove when I’m woodworking or machining metal. I will wear a glove when I’m cutting weeds/brush/grass with the big tractor, only because I’m feet away from the (guarded, and I don’t count on the guard) PTO shaft. The tractor can apply 25 HP to the power take off, and I have no wish to be turned into a pastry roll.

      • I’m always paranoid working with the tractor. 3 pt hitch hydraulics, or the FEL can ruin your entire day in seconds.

        • I should be more paranoid about the auger. If the proposed new tractor hydraulics can do it, I’m putting in a downforce piston so it can grunt away when I’m away from the festivities. OTOH, I used that auger to chain-drill a 12″ x 24″(deep) x 100′ trench with no problems. On the gripping hand, that was an easy soil to dig in. The shale is a puppy mother.

      • I won’t wear anything with *sleeves* when working with the lathe or mill. Heating costs go up in the winter, but I’m okay with that.

        • Can’t do that; winter default temperature is 38F in the barn. If I get there in the morning, it’ll be tolerable in shirtsleeves (maybe a sweatshirt) after lunch, but it’s 1400 square feet, and the roof starts at 14′ up. The overhead fan will spread the heat, once there’s heat to spread. OTOH, my kerosene bills are reasonable, and I have enough firewood for anything short of Fimbulwinter.

      • I have a subconscious hatred of gloves. That may be why. Lord knows I know enough people with missing fingers and hands. Only time I use them is for dealing with HAZMAT and extreme temps.

  26. Things that can be true at the same time:
    A. The mills were a better proposition than farming
    B. Working conditions in said mills were worse than were needful
    C. Feudal aristocrats were very unlikely to criticize people for exploiting those of a lower social class than they
    D. The industrialists created a world where it became much more difficult for aristocrats of any kind to exploit those less powerful than they.

    Don’t let the bounty of the harvest blind you to the ingredients of the fertilizer. By the same token, don’t let the ingredients of the fertilizer blind you to the bounty of the harvest.

    • Doing things more safely long predated OSHA, too. Early mills (and machine shops) used overhead shafts with pulleys, eating the occasional limb. Shortly before OSHA was passed, a co-worker told me of the last overhead shaft machine shop in Chicago.

      (Actually, a variant of the shaft system was used by Amish woodworkers within 20-30 years ago. Just because they didn’t use electricity, doesn’t mean they weren’t high tech. Don’t need mains power for diesel. Really high tech used pneumatics and/or hydraulics.)

  27. I’m willing to accept that a fair number of the mills could have been better designed…. but that’s true of everything in that era. what we think of as modern safety engineering really hadn’t been invented yet.

    I’m also willing to accept that at least some mill owners had rather less concern for their worker’s safety, interests, or liability for accidents than, say, a parent on a farm might have had for their children. But again, that was a problem with pretty much any form of non-familial labor back then.

    With a mountain of textbooks, legal precedents, CAD programs, spreadsheets, planning software, and a generous development budget, could I have designed a better system for safely using the tools of the day?
    Sure, but that’s true of anything that occurred back then.

    Were the farmers increasingly driven of their lands by nefarious forces? that should properly be dealt with as an entirely different set of questions, not necessarily related mill work as such.

    • “Were the farmers increasingly driven of their lands by nefarious forces? that should properly be dealt with as an entirely different set of questions, not necessarily related mill work as such.”

      The British 1846 elimination of tariffs on food imports (the “corn laws”) probably had much to do with driving farmers and farmworkers off the land. Greatly improved sea and rail transportation also acted to make food imports, especially from the US, more relatively attractive.

      From a 1910 book on railroad history:

      “About 60 years ago Great Britain abolished all duties on grain…By curious reasoning the statesmen believed that this policy would not only make the British Isles the manufacturers of the world, but that it would increase the prosperity of the agricultural communities as well. The first thirty years’ experience of free corn did not seriously challenge the correctness of the free trade theory, for more of the American wheat lands were yet unbroken prairie or virgin forests, and our steel rail makers and locomotive builders were merely getting ready…In 1858 the rate per bushel of wheat from Chicago to New York was 38.61 cents. The rate today is 11.4 cents…

      The effect of that cheapening of transportation in the United States has been very disastrous to Great Britain, for during the last thirty years there had been a shrinkage of 3,000,000 acres in wheat and another of 750,000 acres in green crops; an enormous amount of land had reverted to pasturage…and the number of cultivators of the soil had declined 600,000 in thirty years–1,000,000 in fifty years.

      That is a high price to pay for the devotion to a theory which fails to work out as expected.”

      But then the author goes on to say…

      “The cheapening process represented by these figures involved changes that caused terrible affliction and suffering to a multitude of people, but their misfortune has been small compared to the benefits conferred upon the many by the invention of Bessemer steel and the development of the hundred-ton locomotive.”

      I think he is saying that the technological developments of which he speaks were greatly beneficial, the coupling of these with the elimination of the tariffs–a theory which fail(ed) to work out as expected, in his view–led to a great deal of unnecessary human suffering.

      https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/58187.html

  28. I wrote about the attitudes of intellectuals toward industrialization here: Faux Manufacturing Nostalgia

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/11680.html

    Note especially the mid-1960s hostility, by ‘activists’ and schools, toward the GM-Fisher Craftsman’s Guild, which was part of a larger trend of hostility toward industry.

    (This post was written 9 years ago…liberal intellectuals largely wrote off any nostalgia or other positive attitudes toward manufacturing, historical or present-day, in the interim)

  29. It seems very reminiscent of how horrible the US is being portrayed by our media and leftist politicians. It’s so bad here in the states, that people are risking their lives to get in, even illegally and knowing that they face deportation if caught. But people keep coming because we’re so awful.

  30. Pride & Prejudice – the first chapter is one of the great English comedies (i.e., somewhat restrained).
    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (And so on through Ch. 1)

    “Teach your children well, teach them to think.” And to read – especially History, even if they have to get it through dull books.. Because thinking without something to test it against is a losing proposition. A Liberal proposition.

    To quote a character in the Narnia stories, “What do they teach them these days?”

  31. What has me worried is that the kids are learning little to nothing about history. About How We Got Into This Mess…and how other people had similar problems in the past. And what they tried to do, and the results.

    As we say in flight test, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

    • Part of the “credit,” in my opinion, goes to Schools of Education at the university level. Another part goes to the hyper-specialization of academic history. People who can make history interesting AND popular are scarcer and scarcer as fields get narrower and narrower.

      • History suffers from the sad fact that it is hard to game. English, especially once past basic grammar and vocabulary, can be evaluated largely according to the grader’s whims. Math, particularly when the students shows the work, can be easily manipulated through use of partial credit. Besides, being largely “value free” — even when the student gets it right it is unlikely the wrong things will be learned.

        But History? Highly dangerous topic, and one with a high probability that the intelligent student will learn very wrong things. Grading for Correct Thoughts can be very challenging and, worst of all, it tends, even when carefully constructed, to broaden student minds, to expand perspectives and teach inconvenient lessons.

        No, History is not at all the sort of thing a good, progressive school wants taught.

  32. Christopher Chantrill

    Couple of things: In Britain the nobles started kicking peasants off the land in the 16th century when Henry VIII nationalized the army and the nobles didn’t need peasants for their private armies any more.

    In Vietnam they asked the Nike factory workers what they liked about working for Nike. They said: working indoors. Hmm. Who knew? And what did the workers want most of all? They wanted Nike to hire their relatives.

    By the way, I think that Thomas Hardy gives a pretty good idea about what life was like on the farm. Nasty, brutish, and ruin is always round the corner.

    • “working indoors”…a North Carolina woman from 1899:

      “We all went to work in the Amazon Cotton Mill and we all worked there all our lives. We were all anxious to go to work because, I don’t know, we didn’t like the farming. It was so hot from sunup to sun down. No, that was not for me. Mill work was better…Once we went to work in the mill after we moved here from the farm, we had more clothes and more kinds of food…And we had a better house.”

      and a present-day Chinese woman :

      “(Farming) is really hard work. Every morning, from 4am to 7am, you have to cut through the bark of 400 rubber trees in total darkness. It has to be done before daybreak, otherwise the sunshine will evaporate the rubber juice. If you were me, would you prefer the factory or the farm?”

      There are, of course, huge differences in work climate from factory to factory. Also, maybe, from country to country even for the same sort of work. A manufacturing consultant observed that workers in Vietnam seemed a lot happier than those in China…one exception being the Vietnam Nike plant, where the workers seemed equally unhappy as those in the Chinese equivalent.

  33. So, I had to do research for a Victorian-era game (and, it is the proto-notes for either a magical girl novel series or a TV series), and the difference between the common perception of the era and what really happened was so different that it’s scary.

    Throw in the fact that this was the era that was the birthplace of Socialism and the parents of it’s bastard offspring of Communism, Fascism and Liberation Theology…yea, you have to misrepresent the era. The truth would be horrible.

    • This is before the Victorian era, but… no. The era was not that horrible compared TO THE PAST. To the present sure.
      In fact, think about it, they were wealthy enough to concoct completely reality-divorced theories and not die immediately. THAT’s the problem.

      • I claim that I was slightly brain-dead when I wrote that and would have revised it.

        But, I agree. I don’t want to go back to when life was red in tooth and claw. But, too many people think that meat comes from the supermarket, put on foam trays and wrapped in plastic and don’t think about what it takes to get there.

  34. two generations, who will vote to go back to the horrible conditions their ancestors escaped with cries of gladness
    Egad, it didn’t even take a generation for the Hebrews escaping Egypt. Heck, they got as far as the desert* and freaked out! “Oh, why did you bring us out here to die? We had all these good things to eat and we had meaningful work and places to live! We wanna go back!” They had friggin’ bread literally from heaven and they complained “Oh, we miss the figs and the dates and beer. Forget your promises of milk and honey! We want all that goodness!”

    Not a single word about being slaves who were treated less well than the camels and horses. Forget about their masters trying to kill all the firstborn sons. Forget about slaving to make bricks without straw. “Oh, we had it so much better back there!”

    It ticked God off enough he had to basically kill an entire generation off before he could let them into the Promised Land.

    (* Admittedly, they only got as far as the sea and started their kvetching and complaining. But that was more about the chariots riding toward them than whining about how good they used to have it.)

  35. “In short, these kids are being taught it’d be fine and dandy to go back to the pre-industrial age, by people who see themselves as feudal lords. And it makes me sick.”

    [rant-mode ACTIVATE]

    Yep. That’s why HOME SCHOOLING is the best (only) way to get a decent classical education.

    With a couple of exceptions. Engineering is still taught properly, with no SJW nonsense. Medicine, despite efforts to wreck it, is hanging on. The trades are well taught, particularly welding and machinists.

    Those subjects, and others I have missed, resist the efforts of the SJWs because they are professions where you don’t get paid until there is a RESULT.

    Welders have their work constantly assessed by non-destructive testing (NDT) and they get graded on how the welds turn out. This is in the field, not just in school. Because if a guy is welding pipe, that weld has to be to specification. If it isn’t, it will not hold pressure. It will break, and then Something Bad will happen. How bad depends on what’s running through the pipe at the time. If its high-pressure gas, then it’s going to be really bad.

    Your well-graded welder, who can turn out hundreds of feet of on-spec weld between flaws, in any material, he gets the money and the hard jobs. That impossible upside-down-and-backwards job? He’s doing it, and charging cubic dollars for it.

    Your poorly graded welder is re-welding the teeth on a backhoe for minimum wage.

    Doctors, same thing. The good ones get ALL the patients, the crappy ones work the night shift at the county hospital or the VA. (Don’t get hurt at night.)

    Engineers, same thing. The best are getting snapped up by companies who absolutely must have the best or they can’t do business. The crappy ones are doing software testing or painting houses.

    If your kid has any interest in ANYTHING out there, from computers to sewing it doesn’t matter, then support the kid in going after it. Because school will only crush their spirit and get them ready for a job cutting grass.

  36. An interesting book from 1836 on industrialization, its effects, and its future: Peter Gaskell’s ‘Artisans and Machinery.’ I reviewed an excerpted it here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/56406.html

    Note C P Snow’s comment:

    “The industrial revolution looked very different according to whether one saw it from above or below. It looks very different today according to whether one sees it from Chelsea or from a village in Asia. To people like my grandfather, there was no question that the industrial revolution was less bad than what had gone before. The only question was, how to make it better.”

  37. “dark Satanic Mills” thing.

    So… she is literally crusading against the windmills? 🤣

    Okay, the entire dark satanic mills bullshit benefited greatly from the talent of one Mr. Dickens, convinced socialist. I will admit he was a good writer. He was also one of the few whose books I avoid like poison.

    If not running “Disney princesses and oh nevermind” is socialist… Chesterton, it appears, also was a “socialist” of this sort: «There, still living patiently in Hoxton, were the people to whom the tremendous promises had been made. In the face of that I had to become a revolutionary if I was to continue to be religious. In Hoxton one cannot be a conservative without being also an atheist — and a pessimist. Nobody but the devil could want to conserve Hoxton. »
    Either that, or what Mr. Dickens depicted as not pretty, was in fact… not pretty.
    In which case — what of it? Without obsessive attachment to some or other image of those times, the point of commotion is not clear to me. A lot of things all over long and messed up history of humanity were not pretty, sometimes extremely so. It happens. When there’s much power to be grabbed or contested, this can be expected, even.

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