The Wrong Lessons


Perhaps it’s being human, but we always seem to take the wrong lessons from wars or big events.

From World War I we took the idea that nationalism was bad and led to war. From World War II we added the bit not only that nationalism was bad — a reinforcement of it — but that it was particularly bad if those nations were based on blood and soil.  Though lately we seem to be going after those that aren’t either.

Yeah, WWII had the side effect of stopping the runaway fascination with eugenics for a time at least.  Then again, maybe it didn’t, because you know, lately the left has been returning to it, again, like a dog to its vomit, wanting to fund abortions in the third world and generally believing race equals culture, and that they should suppress or eliminate anyone they disagree with.

The Cold War…

The Cold War first seduced us with the idea that if only we were reasonable, and conceded a little more, somehow the people who wanted to step on a human face forever and those who stepped on the face could get along.

And the dismount on that one… Dear Lord. As much as I’m grateful that we ended the Cold war without a nuclear conflict, as much as I’m grateful to Ronald Reagan — yes, it was him. No, it wasn’t the Soviets. What they teach the kids these days should get everyone who goes along with this whipped through the streets — for bringing the Soviet Union to its economic knees without letting them take the Earth with them…

Well, it never fully exposed the horrors of communism.  And part of that might be because by that time communists had taken over the media, the entertainment and education in the West, so there was no one to expose the errors of communism.

The other part of it is that the West somehow got the idea that everyone really could get along, that (and this possibly before the end of the cold war) if we just did business with people, they would change their authoritarian ways, and eventually would become just like us.

I don’t think China has become just like us.  And look, I understand the part where yeah, they’re marginally saner than under the Cultural Revolution.  Maybe.  But at the expense of our companies collaborating in enslaving the Chinese people, and then getting ideas about enslaving us.

Look, there is something you can say about markets.  Well, there is a ton of things you can say. One of them is that of course manufacturing will move to where labor is cheaper, and that cheap manufacturing (in China, mostly) has flooded the west with cheap goods, which in turn have made our lives richer.

On the other hand…

China has continued being China. Giving them a ton of business might have made the country somewhat richer, but most of their riches seem to be invested in ghost towns where no one lives, even while most peasants there still live like medieval peasants or worse.

The fundamental values haven’t changed. The fundamental lack of respect for human life hasn’t changed.  And it’s not just that they’re being worse colonists than we ever were in Africa, that’s the most disturbing thing.

It’s stuff like the exhibit with “plasticized” human bodies that made the tour of museums.  We know — we KNOW — those bodies came from China and are probably, mostly political prisoners. But everyone in the west was going on about how neat it was. Even when they were told.

China didn’t change… but we did.

Which is why Google — Motto Don’t Be Evil — is perfectly okay with controlling the peasants in China, and really wants to bring it here.

Worse, China gave the left an escape hatch after the Cold War ended. They could tell themselves that the Soviet Union had been bad, but hey, look, China worked out, and they were still communist. Look how well communism could work.

I can’t possibly be the only person in the world to notice that for the last twenty years the left has had a China-hard-on.  We needed to be more organized, like China. We needed to control our population better, like China. We  Should build big, like China.  The future was China’s.  We lived in the past.

Of course it’s none of that. We don’t need to look very deeply to know that beyond China’s propaganda, China is a mess at every possible — and some should-be impossible — levels.

If their noses are rubbed in it, the left will make the same noises about it that it made about China.  Anything bad about the regime is the underlying culture.

Look, I’m willing to admit that Chinese culture and history is often — though not always — sheer horror marinated in tears.  And Russia … well. It’s a harsh land with a love affair with authoritarianism.

And yet, you know, communism took both lands to heights of horror and waste that the previous regimes could only dream of.  It was horror by the numbers.

It turns out the only thing communism is efficient at is creating poverty and killing people in batch lots.  Heck, it manages to make even Latin America efficient at these things, even though culturally Latin culture and efficiency shouldn’t be found in the same place at the same time.

In the end, you know, the evil is not nationalism. Evil is not even pride in one’s race (only if it comes with eugenics delusions that put every other race down.  I mean, I don’t see much reason to be proud of one’s race — or sex — because it’s like being proud of having great hair or nice hands. It’s a genetic accident and you did nothing for it. But some people have nothing else to be proud of, after all.)  And evil is not to want to have borders and allow people who live in a country to control their own country.  Nor does doing business with evil redeem it. it is more likely to taint you.

Evil is to regard humans as things and want them to fit like cogs in the machinery of a vast totalitarian regime.  An extra layer of evil is to want to perfect those humans, to change them, to make them “perfect” so they can bring about utopia.

What we should have learned from the 20th century is that it really doesn’t matter if you think everyone should be controlled and the people with bad genes eliminated so the future will be wonderful, or if you think everyone should be controlled and the people with bad opinions eliminated so that the future will be wonderful.

What matters is that any government which wants to control every possible facet of human life, and make humans behave in ways that go directly against every characteristic of humanity is evil.  And none of this is made better when the totalitarian dellusions are carried by companies who try to get the government to do all of this.

Perhaps we should consider that when the government through regulation and propaganda insists that women should be given not just preference but every possible incentive to take the role of men, when the government steps in to take the role of families. When the government, through its education branch, teaches our boys they’re evil because they have a penis, or demand that white people disappear or live in subjection, for the crime of not tanning.

And the companies who collaborate with the evil of other lands and try to impose it here are in fact agents of that government, and equally evil.  Oh, and corrupting our governance along with it.

The lesson should always be: It’s wrong to hurt people and to take their stuff.

Yes, there are exceptions to that — self defense coming to mind, or the kind of hurt surgeons inflict on the way to healing — but the evil does remain, and shouldn’t be ignored. Remembering the evil in these things, the price and the taint, might just keep one from crazy utopian schemes.  Which in turn might keep governments from going totalitarian.

Life is not always black and white. But you shouldn’t look at gray and pretend it’s white, either. You should be aware of the grubbiness in it.

Because once you start ignoring the price and thinking that with just a little more push, a little more control over those dumb people — be they your countrymen who disagree with you, or those people who look funny, or the foreigners over there who live in some way they shouldn’t, or … whatever — you can build utopia, that’s the way to hell.

Every time that’s the way to hell.

Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.  And it’s not any more moral if you do it in a big group, and if everyone thinks it’s neato-keen.

Or if “all” you’re doing is mobbing people on twitter and making it impossible for them to earn a living.

All of that is bad, and you’re still evil.

And you should stop.  Because everything has a price. And the bill will come due.





265 thoughts on “The Wrong Lessons

    1. OK, I’m going to expose my ignorance here. Been trying to figure out “c4c” since I started here. Could someone please enlighten me?

  1. “Star, what is your definition of sin?”
    “Can there be ore than one? Sin is cruelty and injustice. All else is pecadillo. Oh a sense of sin comes from violating the customs of your tribe. But breaking custom is not sin even if it feels so. Sin is wronging another person.”
    I think elsewhere the master defined “sin” as hurting other people unnecessarily.

    1. Peccadillo means something different now, but it originally meant “little sin.” And I don’t know if that was a Spanish Catholic word for a venial sin, or for an “imperfection” (something stupid you do, or a bad habit, or a bad tendency you should work on, none of which is actually a sin that needs Confession).

      But… Yeah, it is witty, but it is also sleight of hand rhetoric. “It’s not a sin, unless I think it is cruel and unjust. Do not think about whether it is cruel and unjust to yourself, because it is only about ‘another person.’ Don’t think about whether God counts as ‘another person,’ or whether a person not taking damage means you should be parted on the head if you try to give damage. Heck, try to compare this passage with other Heinlein works.

      But yeah, this is the book that basically says that an honorable man should sleep with little girls if society supports pedophilia and ephebophilia, and that thinking otherwise is unutterably rude and cruel because it breaks custom. When Star just said it was always okay to break custom.

      I like Heinlein, but he is no true philosopher. He should be labeled “for entertainment only” on some subjects. He tells good sea stories with some wisdom in them, but take him with a grain of salt or a whole shaker. That said, the purpose of a “sea daddy” is to get kids to think, so getting readers to use the grain of salt is probably part of the intended process.

      1. “..he is no true philosopher.”

        I consider that a feature. I have been underwhelmed by the majority of “true philosophers ” I have read (usually under duress). Certainly none in the 20th century were worth spending 5 minutes on.

        1. If the title wasn’t important, the sophists wouldn’t feel the need to claim it.

          Heinlein was telling a good story. There’s no shame in that, but it is still important to remember that he wasn’t working through a world-view for love of reason, he was telling a story.

          (Not to mention the non-zero chance of screwing with folks, generally by setting things up *almost* right but not quite, so that they’d be tempted to– gasp!– think.)

          1. Most of the twentieth century “philosophers” were not interested in truth or wisdom. So of course they did little good and a fair amount of harm.

            The Friedmans are a philosopher family. Kinda terrifying, not at all ineffective.

            Russell Kirk was a philosopher. C.S. Lewis, to an extent. G. K. Chesterton.

            1. There’s a pretty high number of hobby-philosophers here, I’d wager– even if just in the “ooh, playing with ideas is fun! what does this button do?” sense.

          2. If you really want the mother lode of Heinlein’s philosophy, go to Will and Ariel Durant’s “History of Western Civilization.” The Durants were the greatest historians of the 20th Century, possibly the greatest ever.

            1. *wags paw* They were amazing synthesizers and popularizers, and I mean that in a very positive way. Their works are a one-stop-shop for quick reference for at least half the history faculty at universities and colleges. Their way of presenting information is excellent.

              But there are some major flaws and holes, especially when you look at their economic arguments in later books. I think they do belong high up in Clio’s pantheon, but Thucydides, Toynbee, Gibbon, Geoffrey Parker, Robert Massie, especially Parker, might be higher in the rankings.

              But at this point we’re about to start arguing theology, and we both know how that ends. 🙂

              1. Due to certain themes in the plans for WIP, I am forced to argue that Clio is also muse of detectives. Thus, Clio’s hierarchy would not be only historians.

                I’m very poorly read in history. I do have very fond teenage memories of Dupuy and Dupuy’s Encyclopedia of Military History.

          3. Also, stories are ill-suited, generally, to pure philosophy. They can exemplify it, and make it admirable to inspire imitation, but the pure stuff generally has to be put in conversation and therefore set up well both in situation and character.

  2. It is probably fair to state that totalitarian systems, which Communism pretty inevitably turns into, exacerbate the worst tendencies of the society they rule.
    Yeah. The USSA would not be pleasant to be in.

    1. Totalitarianism is a system designed by Procrustes and always operates to the same end: elimination of inequality (except for Procrustes, of course. He sleeps in a different bed.)

    2. The raw reason socialism fails is the presence of individuals. They will work the system to benefit themselves at expense of others. Once the swindled realize it they get in on it until the entire system is undermined. But usually that undermining collapses and the swindlers get on top of the pile and step on rest

    3. I would say the same thing- Socialism is usually just a gloss, a shiny coat of paint covering the same old political culture.
      But what usually happens is a new group of bosses step into the place of the old bosses, and then pretty much do what the old bosses did.
      Instead of aristrocrats, you get the nomenklaltura.
      And oddly enough, a vast majority of the people are more than fine with it.
      Tyranny cannot exist without the consent of a super-majority of the people.

      1. That’s utter nonsense; of course there are free lunches. If you would care to have me explain it to you, please step into my parlor.

    1. The problem is most of the price never seems to fall on those who took out the debt.

      Of the great communist leaders of the 20th century which one truly paid for his acts. If Stalin was murdered it was on his death bed anyway. Pol Pot might have died in poverty in a hut after he was driven out of power. Only Ceaușescu seemed to have paid an appropriate price.

      The Nazis and Fascists got it a bit worse, but only Mussolini got anything proportionate. Then again, looking at the Nuremberg docket, I understand LeMay’s claim he would have been considered a war criminal if the US somehow lost and that is not a good thing.

      1. On the bright side, they’re all dead. And so is Mugabe.

        Here on Earth, we do the best we can. I made that comment the other day about some crimes needing a sword for proper repayment, but the truth is that’s just emotion. Disease, plane crash, old age, its all good.

        Osama Bin Laden died -ugly-. He died so ugly, they dumped his body at sea to cover up exactly how ugly it was. How have we as human beings, or America as a nation, benefited from this?

        I don’t intend that as a snarky hipster question, its a legit issue. What benefit has accrued there, if any? Worth doing, or not so much?

        1. We have not benefited from how ugly Bin Laden’s death was. But I suspect some unborn have by making following in his footsteps a tiny bit less appealing.

          If you can’t be an example to others, we can make you a warning.

          1. If it makes this a little less likely, it makes it better for the future.

            Sometimes Jezebel HAS to be eaten by dogs. This is what we missed with the fall of the USSR.

        2. The benefit is he’s dead, and can’t directly hurt anyone anymore. Buried at sea means there’s no place for his followers to gather to gain inspiration; unless they want to gather at that apartment in Pakistan where he was killed.

        1. The realities come in the fact that Dönitz was convicted for ordering unrestricted submarine warfare in violation of the London 36 Navy treaty but suffered no consequences for that action because of the US submarine campaign in the Pacific. He was also found guilty in part because when asked by Hitler if the Geneva Conventions should be denounced he argued against from a utilitarian point, the harm to German prisoners, instead of the moral absolute. It seems the West has convicted “hate crime” for some time, because the outcome was the same either way as treatment of prisoners by the Kriegsmarine shows.

          I’m sure the selective readers will call me a Nazi sympathizer for, but the trial of German military leaders for ordering horrific, but for the period, normal acts of war is shameful, especially in light of the usage of the same acts by the Allies. The more I learned about the more I understand Ike’s reservations about the whole thing.

          1. Your are far from the only one to take that view. I think it was Chief Justice Stone who said when asked where Justice Jackson was (he was acting as chief prosecutor at Nuremberg) said, “Oh Bob is off at his high class lynching.”

          2. NO, not a Nazi sympathizer. Only someone who expects fair and IMPARTIAL application of the law. I’m one of the really weird people who would try a President for any and all crimes committed in office; such as every extra-judicial and un-Constitutional killing of suspected terrorists by the CIA or whomever the Prez has given authority to do so.

          3. IIRC, Donitz was charged for not revoking Hitler’s order to shoot all parachutists as spies. The reality was that the Soviets wanted him dead for being a senior German leader…the Western Allies did not want him charged at all.

            It’s worth remembering that more than a few Allied naval officers visited him. They knew he had not been justly convicted.

          4. Nazi physicians were convicted of crimes against humanity for sterilizations identical to the ones the Supreme Court had authorized in Buck vs. Bell.

      2. Part of it with Ceaucescu is that he just wasn’t that subtle. The only reason he (and the wife) got away with their shenanigans as long as they did was the backing of the USSR. I understood–at least from what locals told me–that the breaking point was the construction of the Hunger Domes–ie, where he planned for everyone to be forced to go to get food (and so cement total control over the population). I saw one on a trip through Bucaresti (Bucharest), half finished and squatting amidst the other buildings. “Malevolent” doesn’t really begin to cover it.

        I lived in Brasov for a time, and even 20 years later (I was there in 2001) there were still unpatched and numerous bullet holes riddling many of the buildings downtown there. (I gather Timisoara was worse, but I never got there. Cluj-Napoca, where I went after Brasov, most of the damage had been repaired (or hadn’t happened as much), and the third city I lived in, Bacau, I’m not sure you could have told because that city was an Eastern Bloc hellhole from the get-go. Whereas Brasov was medieval with later veneers, and Cluj was pre-Roman, but had been spiffied up in the 17th/18th centuries and so was all Baroque charm.)

  3. One of the milestones of child development is the gradual realization that other people are separate from oneself, and that they are just as independent in ideas and as fallible as oneself.

    A lot of false political ideas seem to promise that you (the dictatorial or follower you) will not have to worry about other people having independent existence, ever. Back to Mommy as ultimate giver of ultimate servant, and back to a blur of living without thought.

    1. I have noticed that…while maybe not all socialists, certain the modern social justice left really does not see other people as people. The charges of “inauthentic” against members of “oppressed” groups who show “internalized oppression” is the bet example.

    2. The problem with going “back to Mommy” is that inevitably the cry will ring out, “Mom always liked you best!”

      “You always picked on me!”

  4. Should the thing about the Cold War be “people who want to step on faces forever and those whose face is being stepped on” getting along?

    Also, that idea, that if people just got to know each other and understand the other’s point of view and needs, everything would be lovely, is one of the most pernicious pieces of nonsense I’ve ever run across. It’s true that it can help work against prejudice and hatred, a little, but it can’t erase resource rivalries.

    “I can understand your point of view quite fine, but this little valley can’t support both our tribes, and I have an obligation to my own. We might be able to support…half your tribe. The survivors.”

    1. Also, that idea, that if people just got to know each other and understand the other’s point of view and needs, everything would be lovely, is one of the most pernicious pieces of nonsense I’ve ever run across

      It’s not just resource rivalries. Some of the most virulent hatreds on Earth are those that people have for an opposing group that they’ve been “getting to know” for centuries. Sometimes, learning more about the other guy’s point of view just convinces you that they’re worldview is completely incompatible with yours.

      1. Well considering the state of San Francisco and Los Angeles today maybe it’s also about those who want to step on feces forever.

      2. The wonderful book _The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise_ shows just that, in wonderful detail. The closer proximity Islam, Christianity, and Judaism were forced into, the harder the divisions between them became, and the more in-group legal codes arose to keep them separate.

        1. Yeah. Folks always point out certain locations in history where Jews/Muslims/Christians rubbed along, but I have to note that a.) they were very rare, and b.) usually didn’t last long before one side or another (generally either Muslim or Christian, if only in terms of population size and resources) entered from elsewhere and squashed it flat, or it ate itself from within.

          And I’ll concede that, for example, the Mongol Empire (at least under Genghis Khan) did indeed have religious freedom and a number of other remarkable forward-thinking attitudes, mostly relating to the Mongols really liking stuff, and after conquering people trade was the best way to get cool stuff…but they still committed unthinkable atrocities on anyone who dared to stand up to them and tell them to piss off. (And I find the Mongol Empire utterly fascinating…but it was no more utopia than it was a complete hellhole. Like most human endeavours, it had some really good bits, and some astonishingly bad bits.)

      3. The adulation of the Nordic Man was in sharp contrast to the Celts in England, and to the Slav in Germany. Proximity had something to do with that.

    2. “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

      1. Mmm. While the Brits did a lot of Bad Stuff in their pursuit of Empire, I have always felt that their enthusiastic stamping out of this custom was a massive Net Good. (Sadly, they still couldn’t quite eradicate it, and it seems that the custom nowadays is all too frequently just to burn the bride if she gets too uppity.)

        1. What is funny all of the “all cultures are equality valid” crowd will agree that stopping it was good instead of calling it an evil suppression of authentic Indian culture.

          1. That’s because it was the wife who was sacrificed; had it been the husband I am confident plenty of sympathy for the practice would be expressed.

          1. Yep. That does seem to be the most common “excuse.” And the instigator is more frequently the mother-in-law than the husband (although from the case studies I read, the husband is frequently–though not always–complicit).

            (Took a class in college to fulfill elective requirements called “Women in India.” Yes, it did fall under the ‘gender studies’ umbrella–but it really was a fascinating class that took a hard look at the culture, warts and all. Probably not worth paying that much money for it, but still interesting.)

    3. if people just got to know each other and understand the other’s point of view and needs, everything would be lovely

      Sometimes to know a person is to loathe the person. Face it: some people are just not right, and I don’t mean their politics.

      Parkland dad uncovers how district enabled deranged student-turned-shooter
      When staff at Westglades Middle School heard that Nikolas Cruz had committed the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some couldn’t believe it. The fact that he was a mass murderer wasn’t what surprised them, but rather the fact that he had attended that school.


      Westglades students and staff had never seen anyone like Nikolas Cruz. One student, Paige, recalled the time that she met Cruz. They were standing outside their classroom waiting for their teacher to open the door, and Cruz offered her a hug, which Paige accepted. Their teacher later pulled Paige aside and warned her, “Don’t touch him. He just got caught jerking off.”

      If something frustrated Cruz, he would curse and threaten anyone nearby. He would hide behind corners and doors, jump out and scream at people, and then cackle at their fear. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, he would burst into maniacal laughter.

      Another student, Sarah, recalled a time when he threw his chair across a classroom. Later, she saw him sitting outside the classroom with his desk tied down.

      Cruz’s torture and killing of animals became a source of pride for him as he interacted with other students. One student, Devin, recalled that, although he tried to avoid Cruz, Cruz would approach him almost every day and ask, “Would you like to see videos of me skinning animals?” Devin always declined, but Cruz kept asking.

      Cruz’s records suggest that his reign of terror at Westglades Middle School began halfway through his seventh-grade year, in February of 2013. For the next calendar year, Cruz was suspended every other day. Why did the school allow him to remain enrolled despite his daily, deranged behavior for a full year? Not by negligence, but by policy.

      Read The Whole Thing, but exercise due care about when you do.

      1. And to show that they don’t learn their lessons, the Broward County School Board, where Parkland is located, voted against allowing armed school staff. I’d say the evidence that their School Resource Officer program is working well is… scant.

      2. That…was horrifying. All those red flags, and the garbage “we’re so compassionate!!” mindset of the administrators and other authorities tied the hands of the teachers who recognized him as a clear and present danger. Ugh.

        It does makes me wonder about some of my mother’s past students–she was a special ed teacher, and proved extremely effective with some of the known seriously-troubled boys (specifically, she ended up, in the years before she became a stay at home mom, specializing in emotionally disturbed fourth and fifth grade boys). Though to this day she says there is only one student that truly terrified her and that she wishes had been safely locked away–and he had all the earmarks of a genuine cold sociopath (and nearly successfully strangled both the principal AND the vice principal on separate occasions…after they had been warned by my mother to never wear scarves or neckties around this kid). That one–that one I could see ending up a school shooter. And possibly scarier than Cruz, because even in fifth grade he was learning to be quiet and low-key about it (because he also had a fairly high IQ). Mom knew to keep a close eye on him–but heaven only knows what naive teachers afterwards failed to recognize.

    4. To compound matters, those who most strongly push “understanding” others are often among the most close-minded when it comes to trying to figure out what motivates individuals outside of their group.

      1. Someone pointed out here, a few weeks back– the same folks who are sure they understand the middle east can’t figure out why Kansas isn’t New York.

        1. Worse, they assume the middle east is a different culture, but people from Kansas are just stupid.

          They seem to want to find out if, to paraphrase Heinlein, “stupid states can build IEDs”

      2. Anymore “understanding” means “accept what I say or else” and “tolerance” means “give fulsome praise to this or else”.

        I can tolerate a lot, but now days failing to give praise is considered intolerance.

        1. It’s even endemic on the right– it’s a rare group where someone can say something like:
          “Look, I am X, Y and Z.” (In the standard looking for reassurance format)
          person two can say “Well, I think you’re wrong, and that you’ll get hurt, but you’re not bad and I won’t try to stop you,”
          and the first person says “Well, I of course think you, in turn, are wrong– but it’s nice to see some actual tolerance.”

      3. among the most close-minded

        They are the least understanding out there. They simply assign views, wants, and goals to groups and individuals without the least concern for whether those are actually the views, wants and goals of that group or individual.

          1. because DOCTRINALY we should want these things.

            What Sowell called “political truth”–something declared true simply because the ideology demands it be true without any reference to empirical facts.

            And when someone questions whether the political truth is actually true, attack not the facts and evidence, but the motive of the questioner–Sowell called that one too.

            Why yes, as a matter of fact I have been reading (actually listening to on Audible) a lot of Sowell lately.

      4. A funny thing happened on the way to Utopia, though.

        Back when the SCUS found a constitutional right to gay marriage trans activists went from 0 to 90 in less than 24 hours. They were going to do next.

        And, thanks to gay marriage, they could just piggy back on 30+ years of ground work built to get to gay marriage.

        I predicted at the time the backlash would destroy what the LGB world built over 30 years. I thought the backlash would be from the mainstream like we’re starting to see with transwomen athletes.

        However, the bill is coming due already and the LGBTQIAA+ world is tearing itself up. In the past four weeks two major leather events have had to cancel due to the fallout from one board member at each making “transphobic” statements. In the case of GLLA even after the person was removed threats, including death threats, to the board of GLLA and their families led them to cancel about five weeks out from the event. They have issued refunds, but I suspect they are also on the hook for the hotel contract.

        Current betting is they are done and International M/s, for which they were a contest feeder, has declared them non-compliant and looking to provide an alternative upper midwest contestant couple.

        SWLC cancelled last week. They are in January and are planning to come back in 2021, but with their founding group, Butchmans, going out of business next year and the planned replacement, Edgewalkers, destroyed in the fallout, I think they are more toast then GLLA.

        These events died in order of production. Next on the calendar is SPLC, home of International M/s. I’m waiting as I expect they are next.

        So, kinky people in events founded by kinky gay people, are no longer sufficiently tolerant even if they kick off the intolerant board members.

        Revolutions always eat their own.

  5. As a side note: one of the things people forget about “containment” was that its end goal was to defeat the Soviet Union by preventing it from expanding and forcing it to collapse from trying and failing to keep up with the free world. Unfortunately, by the time the ’70s came around, that part had been forgotten. Well, Reagan and crew remembered.

    1. Containment is/was sort of like the sulfa drugs – they didn’t kill the infection, but prevented it growing so that the immune system could a potentially winnable battle rather than probably losing one (where the infection kept reproducing reinforcements).

      Reagan had the heretical idea that maybe something more like penicillin might be useful. (Though, perhaps, an herbicidal plant hormone analogy might be better – make it try to grow beyond its means and burn itself out).

          1. If it fed only on diseased tissue would it not be a benign symbiote like the maggot (which saved the lives of numerous WWI soldiers.

      1. It helped enormously that we had the new computer technology, which was developing so quickly the Soviets could not keep up. People today forget just how revolutionary the Strategy of Technology was…or just how incredible the advantage we gained turned out to be.

        I have vivid memories of the Gulf War in 1991, when it all came together…and I think we may have been as shocked as the Iraqis at how easily we crushed them.

        1. I recall the “Red Apple” (Apple ][ ‘clone’ of some sort) that supposedly cost the equivalent of $15,000 to make, which was MUCH more the real thing sold for here – and the Apple machines were not the inexpensive ones of the day by any means.

        2. There is no possible way centrally planned, government controlled computer tech from the Soviet state could.
          Ours involves a bunch of geeks fiddling around and trying stuff and messing with the mechanics and playing with the code- while passing on what works and what doesn’t to other geeks.
          The Soviets couldn’t. For one, the hardware was too expensive and too hard to get. Then, you can’t let people just freely share info lest they start sharing Samizdat as well.

          1. The…hm…. John something or other show, bach-something?… had a thing on that with AI and China just the other day.

            They simply don’t ALLOW the room for failure, so they gut creativity.

        3. “It helped enormously that we had the new computer technology, which was developing so quickly the Soviets could not keep up. ”

          Which is why we’re seeing “Return To The Mainframe”, aka Cloud technology.

          Processing power and communication speed have finally developed to the stage that all that messy independent tech can finally be sat on and the typical user won’t notice a performance degradation.

            1. Yep. I’ve a few things by necessity, but all else I have paid money for I make physical backups wherever possible (even if it requires the use of torrents–but I figure if I’ve bought a legal copy of it, there’s nothing wrong with downloading a copy to burn to a physical disc or similar). I like everything about having my movies digitally EXCEPT the part where Amazon made it so I couldn’t download them anymore. But that was easy enough to work around.

              I still need to convert my audible audiobooks to something other than their weird format (still figuring that one out). The games via Steam, etc are easy enough (if space eating).

              I refuse to buy into the stupid ‘subscription model’ for things like Adobe products, because NO. I will cling to my increasingly ancient copies of Illustrator, etc–and will turn off/mess with code wherever I must to ensure they keep working. (Even if it ultimately means keeping a computer that has an older version of Windows on it.)

  6. Yeah, WWII had the side effect of stopping the runaway fascination with eugenics for a time at least. Then again, maybe it didn’t, because you know, lately the left has been returning to it, again, like a dog to its vomit, wanting to fund abortions in the third world and generally believing race equals culture, and that they should suppress or eliminate anyone they disagree with.

    Eh, that’s just human. “Too many of thee, not enough of me.” *petewie*

    Three generations is about the same as the decay of a family business, if they aren’t doing a good “teach them the lessons I learned” method, isn’t it?

  7. As much as I’m grateful that we ended the Cold war without a nuclear conflict, as much as I’m grateful to Ronald Reagan …

    Well, it never fully exposed the horrors of communism.

    He, and JPII, and Thatcher managed to end it without a kaboom, and that’s why it didn’t expose the horror of it all. To expose it, you’d have to have something like the poor soldiers that marched into the death camps– and the pictures of that.

    The information is there. We’re getting it out slowly. But the smack up side the head, rubyournoseinit would require…well, more kaboom.

    *shudders* Freaking half the world enslaved or poisoned, and it wasn’t enough kaboom to get everyone to notice.

    1. The last few decades of American war are different from all other wars. I didn’t notice it until the Gulf War although it started during Vietnam. In all other wars, at all times, the enemy is demonized and dehumanized in active propaganda campaigns. Just check any newspaper from WWII (the Buck Rogers cartoons are instructive, and even Ted Geisel and Marvel’s Captain America WWII era comics are instructive). Our current wars have been run on such a basis that we (officially) don’t even demonize the Jihadists and suicide bombers. Rather we have engaged in the novel experiment (officially) of killing the enemy with only great regret and sadness, even to the extent of prosecuting our military for treating enemy dead with less than full dignity.

      As a student of history, I find it fascinating and look on it with more than a little trepidation.

      1. On the topic of not demonizing Jihadis– I was shocked yesterday, because on the news they were talking about how Trump had been getting so heat for 1) considering inviting some of the Taliban over to Camp David, and 2) thus clearly not realizing what nasty people they are.

        Me, silent because I’m the only one in the car who is old enough to understand even roughly how bad the PLO is: “Did you sleep through Yasser Arafat or something?”

        (Yes, the kids understand terrorism. The four year old was even asking some pointed questions about if there are Bad People allowed in Virginia. She knows about the Bad People who were in Washington, DC and New York City, and that sometimes attack other places. She was preschooler-concerned about someone breaking into our camper when I wouldn’t say it was impossible.)

            1. Well, it’s what was required for them to consider Putin an enemy and “Russia our greatest geopolitical foe.”

              Face it: the only reason Democrats and the Gaslight Media (BIRM) argued for continuing the war in Afghanistan is that it gave them cover to criticize the war in Iraq without looking like the yellow dogs they are.

          1. It has occurred to me that the recent departure of John Bolton from the NSA position will mean that the Gaslight Media which has been declaring him a war-monger and generally b.a.d. person will now be praising him for his principled opposition to Trump and begging him to elucidate all the ways in which Trump’s foreign policy is chaotic.

            For he to-day that opposes Trump with me
            Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
            This day shall gentle his condition;
            And gentlemen everywhere now a-bed
            Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
            And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
            That fought with us against the Orange Man’s sway.

            1. Yeah, no.

              I’m not sure there is a Trump voter here who I trust less than I trust my fellow Trump opponents.

              I was wondering if Bolton has resigned over late discovery of events planned for tomorrow.

              Like so much else with this administration, I’ve no grounds at this time to make historical conclusions.

          1. The difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump cancelled his meeting when Taliban continued to act badly. Obama on the other hand saw Iran act badly on numerous occasions and tripped over his own feet in his rush to appease Iran. The money Obama gave Iran is of course being used to finance their continuing nuclear arsenal development and to finance global terror attacks. For Obama this remains a feature, not a bug.

        1. Yeah — Mollie Hemingway had me chuckling watching Bret Baier’s Special Report panel from FNC yesterday. She made exactly that point, to the extent that fellow panelist A. B. Stoddard (IIRC) couldn’t control herself enough to permit Hemingway to say more than four words without interruption.

          Because, of course, that was different.

          I similarly chuckle when Lefties credit Carter’s Camp David Accords even though History, carefully read, indicates that Begin and Sadat reached that agreement not with Jimmy’s inspirational leadership but in spite of it.

          1. I similarly chuckle when Lefties credit Carter’s Camp David Accords even though History, carefully read, indicates that Begin and Sadat reached that agreement not with Jimmy’s inspirational leadership but in spite of it.

            My recollection is that Begin and Sadat came to the agreement, then needed someone to pay for it. The US was chosen.

            Mind you, I think a (remarkably lasting) peace between Israel and Egypt was worth paying for, but let’s not pretend that Carter had anything to do with it other than the fact that he was holding the world’s biggest checkbook at the time.

            1. Sadat also needed the shield of the USA’s public approval in order to prevent radicals in hos own country and to prevent other Arab countries from overthrowing him/attacking him, with Soviet backing. Even with that, the Muslim Brotherhood, the same organization Obama routinely praised and invited to the White House, assassinated Sadat for making peace with Jews.

        2. > Yasser Arafat

          Received as a “visiting chief of state” at the White House, by William Jefferson Clinton.

          “Well, he hasn’t murdered anyone lately, and they were only Jews anyway.”

          I would have anything he touched in the White House moved out, pried off, or sawed out, and burned, no matter what its value or historical significance, just to make sure there was no lingering contamination.

            1. And now I’m wondering how often they have an exorcist in to bless the White House… does the DC dioc have an exorcist? A plain old priestly blessing might be enough…..

                  1. It was related to spreading unproven claims that could possibly damage property values, such as might be used by someone trying to get a great deal on a house.

      2. The last few decades of American war are different from all other wars. … it started during Vietnam. In all other wars, at all times, the enemy is demonized and dehumanized in active propaganda campaigns.

        But if you can’t demonize the enemy. who is left to demonize? I did not wear a “Vietnam Veteran” hat until well into this century. And I am still (pleasantly) surprised (and a bit embarrassed) when some thanks me for my service.

        1. Oh, they demonize the enemy. It just isn’t the enemy the rest of populace thinks they are fighting.

          1. In American politics it is always easy to determine who the Left believes is the enemy: it is always American Conservatives. Whoever we happen to be fighting at any given time is merely the foe, and whether or not to oppose them (and how vigorously) is determined by how it helps in the war against conservatism.

            There’s an old military joke which I cannot quite remember, to the effect that during any war the Army perceives the real enemy as the Navy (and vice~versa, of course), with the people trying to kill us being merely a foe.

        2. One of the side-effects of 9/11– an awful lot of folks who didn’t think it was worth the trouble to wear those hats got seriously pissed off. Even my obnoxious uncle dug up his old cover, and rank-insignia, and wears them all the time now. (How he manages to keep finding really nasty old covers, since I know they wear out, I don’t know. Picture a hippy in a Marine digicam cover, that looks like it lived at the bottom of a seabag for a year. With his original, rather tarnished, E-5 pin.)

    2. Speaking of Thatcher, Gillian Anderson is being pilloried for saying she was “falling in love” with Thatcher as a complex character upon getting the role in season four of The Crown.

      Because the world is black and white and the dark that is Antifa and the left (but I repeat myself) have taken Isiah 5:20 as a “hold my beer” challenge.

      1. Poor chick. She’s said plenty of crud, but she’s a real actress with a love of character.

        UK show business has this weird obsession with never saying a nice word about Thatcher. The fact that she was a scientist and not from the “correct class of people” seems to make it even worse.

    3. To expose it, you’d have to have something like the poor soldiers that marched into the death camps– and the pictures of that.

      Their fellow travelers in America precluded the spreading of that knowledge. It was there, it was available.

      Imagine schools teaching The Gulag Archipelago and Darkness at Non as they teach Anne Franck’s story. Imagine if Gulag survivors had been as lauded on American television as were Holocaust survivors — or if Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had been as welcome on Phil Donahue’s show as was Vladimir Vladimirovich Posner.

      Or imagine if the fawning newsmedia reassuring us that Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a fan of American Jazz had instead focused on his serving as the Soviet ambassador to Hungary from 1954 to 1957 and his role in suppressing the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.

      We knew what was going down over there as surely as we knew what was going on in the Jim Crow South — but certain powers made sure we could easily avert our gaze.

      1. “We,” the people who were supposed to report on it, yeah.

        Maybe one or two degrees out…but folks who don’t have any first or second hand gossip?

        That’s why they killed those stories. 😦

      2. Um, actually, I’m going to add excerpts from _The Gulag Archipelago_ to the Cold War readings this year. I still can’t get sufficient parental agreement to do _The Bridge at Andau_ as class reading (the prison guard chapter is the difficulty.)

    4. Yup. Although a full accounting of the Soviet Empire would also turn up the Fifth Columnists in the West. We would have run out of rope for nooses.

  8. It’s stuff like the exhibit with “plasticized” human bodies that made the tour of museums. We know — we KNOW — those bodies came from China and are probably, mostly political prisoners. But everyone in the west was going on about how neat it was. Even when they were told.

    I felt mildly creeped out by it the first time I saw it, and couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s like IRL Slaanesh: The Walk-Through Experience.
    That instinctive reaction is part of why I started reading into theology of the body– short version, it’s treating the human body in death like it’s nothing. Like a serial killer’s trophy collection, or some of those maybe-only-in-movies collections of random body parts of people from various areas in curio cabinets in smoking rooms.
    Contrast with the anatomical skeleton, which these days is usually a cast because there is an option. That there is a part of a person there MATTERS. Heck, even…what’s that Scotland Yard thing, the Black Museum? It has horrors BECAUSE they are horrors, not because “gosh look at all the cool stuff you can do.”

    1. “Why is a person this young and in this kind of good shape dead?” was my first question when I heard about that display. There’s no marks of disease or accident on them.

      My next question, which remains and keeps getting louder: “Why are we doing business with these Chicom perverts?”

      1. I vaguely remembered I’d been a teen when it came out– seems right, ’95 launch– so thinking that in depth really didn’t occur to me before the horror hit, but this phrasing sure digs it in:
        He also tries to distinguish his efforts from those of competitors who may have been less thorough in obtaining advance permission from their specimen sources.

        Among them, a woman and her 8 month old unborn child. Source not divulged.

        And at least one shipment of bodies or parts for the first guy’s show was intercepted before arrival, because the seller was, ahem, ‘less than thorough in obtaining permission’ from the specimens. (He was black-market selling corpses.) Von Hagens said he had no idea and wasn’t charged.

        1. I was busy that year (we were scrambling to get the place into shape, and a lot of other life was happening), so today is the first I’ve encountered it. Yeah, it really creeps me out, especially considering the apparent health of the people before they got turned into things.

    2. I was in Germany when those were all the fad, and I refused to go see them. 1. The Chinese prisoner source for the cadavers. 2. Treating the bodies in such a disrespectful fashion and turning them into freak show exhibitions. That’s how the German-language ads were couched, and it just bothered me far beyond an ordinary museum display or anatomical display does. Bog bodies do not raise my hackles. The plastic-filled corpses were a very different thing.

            1. There is literally no way I could even consider seeing that exhibit. I get anxious when an ambulance goes by because it means somebody is sick or hurt even if it’s “just” some stranger I’ve never even met.

              There’s a picture from ancient Egypt showing a “duck hunt”. (I’ll connect this up. Trust me.) A man is standing on a papyrus boat, holding some ducks as “decoys”. In his other hand he’s got a throwing stick (hunting was a challenge back then–none of this shotgun stuff). Behind him is a woman, probably a wife. At his feet is sitting a little girl, probably a daughter, picking lotus flowers. Now, the part that got me, wat that the man, big strong hunter, has lotus flowers draped around his neck. Figure the little girl gave them to him. “But they look pretty there, daddy.”

              And when I made that connection, they became real people to me, not just some historical abstraction. Real people who were long dead. And I was sad, almost to tears sad, to think that these people were dead. Thousands of years separating me from them and the thought that the man, his wife, and his clearly much loved daughter were long dust in the Earth could bring me nearly to tears.

              No, not going to see some recently plasticized human bodies that are being used for entertainment, not even an educational display but just for folk to gawk at.

              1. The right word just came up in my mind– freak show.

                They set the poor bodies up as a freak show.

                It’s obscene.

                At least actual freak shows, you might get an Alice Cooper sort of actor.

          1. Got to hang a lampshade on it sometimes.


            Seriously, that guy hit so damned many “obvious serial killer” tells, and it’s not even reported on……

              1. It would probably be more accurate to say that he didn’t kill the wrong people, given that his adult victims were all poor, minority women. But he gets ignored because the deaths happened during abortions.

              2. He is the inspiration for Dexter.

                Next year, HBO will have a version where he only aborts GOP babies and the loss of the mothers is also a good.

  9. Anyone who points to the PRC as a successful communist country needs to be stripped of all their wealth and sent there to live for the rest of their lives. China has the worst overall air, water, and land pollution in the world. Talk about ecological destruction! (Of course India isn’t all that great either.)

    Yet they want the U.S. to give up all sources of energy except wind and solar because we lead the world in ecological clean up.

    1. Late 90s or early ‘0s, James Lileks had a throw away line in one of his podcasts that stuck with me– “know what the rate of growth in China was last year? 3.5. Know what it’ll be next year? 3.5. It’s been 3.5 for the last XYZ years, it will BE 3.5 for the next however manyyears it is until they need to change what they report. Because they just say what the number is, and we’re supposed to believe it.”

      May not be the right percent, but the point shines through. China doesn’t even expect us to believe their reports, much less believe them themselves!

      1. Figures from the US aren’t a whole lot better.

        When you take an “index” of carefully-selected stocks, production, and export, you can make the resulting figures say anything you want. Which was why the economy was “booming” under Obama, as businesses were shutting down all over.

        1. And wages were stagnant, or even going backward.

          Even in industries that historically typically thrive during down times. Because instead of investing in business infrastructure for the next upswing, corporate was taking their ball and leaving. That was the business dad was in. When timber product plants were busy, his company (one he worked for) was slower, only called in when things broke or can’t put off overhaul. When a downturn hit, that is when plants were overhauled, and the company was very, very, busy.

          Not true for all. The last company I worked for, before retirement, was starting to trend up, as government agencies both are being strangled by tax payers 🙂 yet are being held to high accountability by their constituents, and higher levels of government.

        2. Made up from whole-cloth seems a lot worse than lying by selective choice, especially when you can still get the other data.

          Without vanishing until you reappear in a plastic bodies exhibit.

    2. The Wall Street Journal had a piece about people around the Pacific getting concerned by China’s huge demand for bottled water. Because no one trusts what the government provides, and so you have [huge population] all wanting water, like milk and other food-stuffs, brought in from Elsewhere.

    3. The sad thing is that despite the massive amounts of pollution, people still talk up the PRC as an environmentally-friendly country. The reason for this is because the government in Beijing keeps issuing edicts about opening fewer coal-fired power plants (and then providing a constant stream of exemptions), and talks about plans for renewable energy and lots of electric cars.

      1. Because it let’s them outsource the responsibility. China, India, etc. Will provide all the nasty things so we can get on with being beings of hust the mind. It’s slavery under a different hood. It’s the same reason California imports power and dumps on inland empire.

    4. The PRC has all its people in modern housing now. And they gave people money to move.

      Which means that if you are a granny who lived in a shack or a cave, the local government came and threw you out of your shack or cave, and made you live somewhere else (like with the relatives who stuck you in the shack or cave). Then they made you sign a document that said you got the moving allowance, which went to the local government that threw you out.

      Sometimes they let you sneak back to your shack or cave and live there, as long as you are discreet about it. But if you die on the streets, that’s okay too.

    5. I remember reading a story from someone a number of years back who was working in engineering. They flew in some Chinese engineers, and the first thing one said upon exiting the airplane was “Sky is blue! Sky is blue! I thought that was Hollywood special effect!”

      1. I’ve seen “blue” sky so few times I could itemize each event without running out of fingers.

        Here in my part of Dixie, it’s mostly dishwater-gray. When it’s not black, of course.

        1. a circular polarizer will fix that. Seriously, how do you think that the dingy L.A. sky is so blue on TV?

          1. [flashes back to Eric Frank Russell’s “Sinister Barrier.”]

            Well, as long as it’s not *elliptical* polarization. You might see more than blue sky then…

        2. I dunno; here in NC the primary debate over the sky’s color is whether it is Duke Blue or Carolina (Tar Heel) Blue.

          Maybe that’s why nothing could be finer?

    6. My son has a friend from Scouting days who’s a teacher in Peking. Ran into him at Costco a few years back; he told me the particulates in the air are 250ppm…because that’s the official number and that is what it MUST be.

  10. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.

    It’s right, at least as far as I think I know what you mean, but it’s one of those things suitable only for the governing of a moral people.

    *glances at half-civilized children* Don’t get me started on the flexibility of “my stuff.” And that is with active work to teach that no, seeing it/wanting it/having touched it/it looks like something you have doesn’t mean it’s yours.

    There aren’t any magic rules that will make folks do right. There’s just more or less bad rules, and more or less bad systems, and more or less bad methods, and they’ll still depend on the people choosing to be good.

    *sigh* It’s the same issue as trying to use the Catholic moral teachings to make a gov’t. They’re not DESIGNED to be laws. They’re designed to be “you should”s.

    Most gov’ts seem to have the same problem– you can rules lawyer out of “you should” for almost any rule. AKA, violating the spirit of the law.
    But you still need to have rules, and set expectations.

      1. Yep!

        SOOOOOOO much of tribal interaction makes sense if you assume that at least half the time, people will be using the Toddler Rules.

      2. The grandest example I know you can laugh at is the board of directors of the SCA in the mid-90s.

        Also a classic example of being in charge of something is not the same as controlling it or owning it. Again, one that can be a fun laugh and education as the stakes weren’t deadly.

        And David Friedman was even at the heart of teaching the lesson to the board.

  11. I blame Journalists. They write “the First Draft of History” and they’re demonstrably lousy analysts. Those who follow afterward have vested interests they pursue, damaging the data further. As we see with every “mass shooting” there are scores of interests invested in using the event to push their agenda, not matter how invalid their “root causes” might be.

    Most “analysts” are not interested in “getting it right” (I would not lay money they even cared whether they arrived at the correct interpretation) — their interest lies in winning an argument (Conservative BAD, Progressives GOOD or vice~versa) and see every event as a new cudgel they can use to bash in their foes’ arguments.

    1. I’m getting boggled at how freaking obvious they are being– a standard traffic-stop-turned-to-shooting is a “mass shooting” now? They’ve always avoided reporting on those before, outside of local news!

      Given Trump’s honorable, and PR mastery, move of calling in the heroes who ACTALLY DO SOMETHING in mass shootings (both cop and civilian) and recognizing their actions publicly, I am curious when he’s going to do something similar for Odessa.

      1. Dayton people who have long hated Trump gave him massive points for the Award of Valor ceremony. I mean, it was the obvious thing to do and the right thing to do, but it gave a lot of satisfaction to people.

        Meanwhile, Nan “I don’t really want to be mayor of Dayton and you are all steppingstones on my road to governor” Whaley continues to beclown herself. Some amazingly yellow dog Democrats are hugely fed up with her.

        Meanwhile, Dave Chapelle and Trump, and Kanye and his Ms. Kardashian, are in high favor. It is a funny old world.

  12. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.

    This works as long as everyone agrees on two things:
    1. Who are “people”
    2. Who the “stuff” rightly belongs to

    If you aren’t “people”, then you can’t own “stuff” and you being hurt is of little import. This is the end result of telling yourself that God does not exist and/or that He does not care what you do.

    We don’t realize how much our civilization is built on Christian principles, particularly “love your neighbor as yourself”, and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you “.

    1. Those principles are so deeply embedded in our culture that I think there are a lot of people who don’t recognize them as Christian principles and tend to think they really are universal. I was thinking today (don’t ask why; my brain goes on strange trips sometimes) about the song “Savages” from Disney’s Pocahontas. When both sides are singing about how their enemies are “barely even human,” this is treated as so obviously wrong that it isn’t even worth arguing against. Yet throughout history, most people would have agreed with the sentiment. If they disagreed, it would be because their enemies aren’t “barely even human,” they flat-out aren’t human.

      I don’t know how long we can hold onto the principles if we get rid of the underlying Christianity, but I do know its dangerous to go through the world without recognizing that not everyone shares these assumptions.

      1. There is a specific situation involving abandonment of the underlying Christianity, where the principles will not be retained. When those principles or a subset are used to argue that Christianity is itself unjust. As the socialists and Democrats are in the habit of arguing.

        The feminist defense of abortion, the activist homosexual demand that Christians endorse all homosexual acts, all take for granted a broader understanding of humanity. Neglecting the ease with which one can argue that women are no more people than any other ’tissue culture’.

        I am a warning of what may come to pass, but I very much fall short of the true extreme possibility. I am not post-Christianity. However bad I may be at Christianity, however wrong my sense of best practice is, I am not entirely absent of Christ.

        1. Obviously a lot of that is Jewish, too.

          But most people back in the day would agree that the other side was human. They just didn’t care. The only humans who mattered were your kin, your kith, your neighbors, etc. Everybody else was fair game.

          A lot of ancient tribal laws explicitly say things about how the laws don’t apply to you, unless you qualify sufficiently for consideration.

          That’s why trade over a distance often required things like mutual guest-friend relationships, or legal guarantors who would swear to your behavior and cover your debts. It’s why marriage was a way to create relationships, but also why it was sometimes not a way that worked.

          1. Note:
            The disagreement-that-is-probably-actually-total-agreement here is why I try to be careful about terms.

            A LOT of people use “human” to mean “a real, legitimate, moral, just as much a person as me individual.”

            Makes for head-smacking moments like folks saying “science is silent on when a human life begins.” (What they are MEANING is that science is silent on when an organism, which started at some point between sperm hitting ovum and the first division, is ‘really’ a person. Understandably, that’s very uncomfortable to think about– what humans aren’t really people?)

            …and I just realized that goes way further back than I thought, that saint who wrote about the Dogheads and other monstrous races pointed out that if they were moral beings, then they’d be “men,” morally– real people, fully human, someone we have to treat as a neighbor.

            Sorry if I’m meandering a bit, feelign even more long winded than usual.

            1. “what humans aren’t really people?”

              Collectivists. They cease to be individuals when they become collectivists, and hence are no longer people, but merely assimilated elements in the collective. 😛

              1. It may be meant as tongue in cheek, but there may be an argument here.

                If you have outsourced your moral choices to the group you have arguably surrendered the one thing that makes you human.

                Now, I reject that idea because my understanding is it will be rejected by God, that man cannot outsource his moral choice and just following orders/fashion/the group is a choice. That said, I’m told over and over I can’t legislate morality and thus would enjoy the sin of schadenfreude if the killing of collectivists as not people because they have no moral agency became the law.

                1. If you have outsourced your moral choices to the group you have arguably surrendered the one thing that makes you human.

                  That is the essence of Identity Politics.

                  To be a feminist you must support abortion (even though such founders of Feminism as Susan B. Anthony opposed it.)

                  To be Black you must support Democrat politicians (no matter how badly that has turned out for you in the past.”

                  To be Hispanic means you must support open borders (even though you came here legally and no matter how much more challenging such intruders make your neighborhoods and daily living.)

                  The entire function of declaring :authentic” identities and Intersectionalism is to deprive you of moral options, forcing you to support the policies of a self-anointed leadership that views you as so much cannon fodder – useful but disposable.

                  1. To be a feminist you must support abortion (even though such founders of Feminism as Susan B. Anthony opposed it.)

                    What really blows my mind is when they try to argue that, as a woman, you owe it to Susan B. Anthony to support abortion. After all, SBA fought for your right to vote, even going to jail for it, so you owe it to her to support her heirs, the modern feminists, meaning that you’re betraying SBA and all she fought for if you don’t outsource your vote to people who would disagree with her on virtually everything except for a woman’s right to vote.

                    Yeah, you have to be high as a kite to think that even remotely makes sense, which may be why Colorado is trying to legalize magic mushrooms.

              2. Now there is an interesting thought experiment… are we unable to tolerate true collectivism, or does it hit the “beyond the bounds of what is allowable” wall as soon as I actually have to face the individuals-do-not-matter part?

                Functionally, not that different, but philosophically (which is needed for predictive purposes) very important.

          2. It is a custom to regard all humans as having moral personhood.

            American culture could readily retain that, even with the convenience of abandoning it in some cases, even with having Jews, Atheists, and abnormal flavors of Christians, because they were willing to make and enforce laws that imposed American cultural principles, regardless of whether those principles came from specific flavors of religion.

            We have people playing silly games equating moral personhood with ‘party to the res publicae deal by which one becomes a member of the civis, a citizen’.

            Culture is partly an environmental influence, and we are permitting a difficult environment for the unspoken agreements that underlie American culture.

            There simply are not going to be enough Jews for that religion to provide the counteracting forces.

            Christianity may be the only possible source for those counteracting forces.

            Otherwise, that is merely a custom, why are you such a bigoted racist hater as to say that I may not kill people by the thousands and tens of thousands?

            Also, science seems to have proven that I am in fact not Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

      2. I remember seeing somebody on twitter comment something like… every so often it hit her that Ancient Greek morality (she was more specific about the time period) was that it was right to do good to your friends and to do harm to your enemies and that remembering this made a lot more sense of various Greek drama that otherwise tended to throw her.

        Given her own philosophy, she did not provide source credit for the idea that doing harm to your enemies was not an essential part of doing the right thing.

        1. *blink*

          Well, it definitely makes the smith-god not killing the war-god and lust-goddess being anything besides a shining example of his superiority make more sense.

          1. Hephaistos did do a lot of harm to the dignity of Ares and Aphrodite, and they got laughed at.

            Problem was, the gods were high schoolers and also laughed at Hephaistos. More.

            Why you would mess with the guy who built your weapons…..

            1. I got a deep and abiding “huh?” from that, too.

              I guess it’s a warrior thing.

              There’s a storyline in FF14 where a warrior clan has a cook that you help out.
              He’s asthmatic, and they treat him like crud.
              He is the only cook in their entire tribe. He has to practically beg for meat to cook meals for everybody.

              I spent most of that storyline yelling “MORONS!!!”, although it did get to a pay-off at one point.

      3. In any culture you have to ask what is the underlying cultus. Basically, what is the god, the ultimate authority, the lawgiver in the culture. The character (morality) of the culture is going to image the god of the culture. If the god of the culture is some manifestation of man, then that morality is going to be the quest for power. Man is finite in knowledge, power, and location. Because of this he must seek total power over other men and total information about them in order to accomplish his goals. This requires a top down, bureaucratic, ultimately totalitarian approach.

        God, on the other hand, is not limited in knowledge, power, or location. Christian culture is based on this. We do not need infinite power or information to accomplish our goals. Rather we use the principles He communicated to us and trust that He works the details for our benefit. We trust that God is good and that He is just.

        Currently, America is attempting to keep the fruits: freedom, liberty, love of country, prosperity, etc., while attacking the root, which is Christianity. I say America here, rather than leftists, because even among conservatives, the god of the system has shifted from Christ to collective man. This is why conservatism fights so ineffectually: it has the same core belief in man as god.

        If you want a different culture, you have to turn to a different God.

        In Christianity, this is called repentance. 🙂

  13. The other part of it is that the West somehow got the idea that everyone really could get along, that (and this possibly before the end of the cold war) if we just did business with people, they would change their authoritarian ways, and eventually would become just like us.

    Hell, we’re even losing the ability to do that within our nation. Selected headlines:
    San Francisco Deemed the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’
    New Jersey Will Refuse to Do Business with Banks, Retailers that Resist Stricter Gun-Control Measures
    Church Targeted with ‘Satanic’ Vandalism After Opposing ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’
    Lawsuit: San Antonio to Face the Music for Chick-fil-A Airport Ban

    And that’s just glancing around today. Think of all the headlines this past year about “Hollywood Vows* To Cease Production In Georgia If Anti-Choice Law Enacted” or “MAGA Hat Wearing [Person} Assaulted/Forced To Leave [Venue]” or “Trump Administration member Accosted In Restaurant/Theatre?Restroom, Forced To Leave” or “Calls Mount For Boycott Of [Company] Because Founder/CEO/Janitor Discovered To Be Trump Donor” and the like.

    In America Progressives are no longer willing to endure the presence of Conservatives, much less do business or reason together.

    *I admit that the history of Hollywood’s fidelity to its vows does not instill much concern over that bit of showboating.

  14. Anything bad about the regime is the underlying culture.

    That is what communists say about every culture. For people who proclaim they are scientists of history they sure as hell think history is to blame for everything while demanding we ride its arrow.

    I mean, the worst culture in history, the West, is where communism was revealed to Marx yet it is the culture they want to destroy the most.

    Yeah, coherent thought isn’t their strong point.

    Because once you start ignoring the price and thinking that with just a little more push

    The best sign of this is you exempt yourself from the pice because $REASONS and $REASONS always reduces to “I’m morally superior.”

    Oddly, the thing that played the biggest role in my path to Orthodoxy is the biggest reason I look side-eyed at most socialists.

  15. it’s like being proud of having great hair or nice hands. It’s a genetic accident and you did nothing for it.

    Those are not simply genetic accidents – they represent carefully curated and developed talents. Great hair demands care and attention, brushing, scalp massage, finding and employing the proper hair care products and regimen. Great hands entail careful grooming of the nails and cuticles, avoiding harsh products that damage skin (e.g., lye soap) and a routine of careful use of creams and lotions. Genetic good fortune is just the starting place for those attributes.

    Still ain’t much reason for pride, of course.

    Things like skin pigmentation or fiddly bits, OTOH … meh. It’s what you do to develop the initial hand dealt that matters in this world. Lots of (BAD) Poker players think winning is a matter of getting the cards, but as Kenny Rogers advised, there’s a lot more to it than that.

      1. If you have the genetics and nutrition right, there is a lot of hair care that isn’t precisely necessary. And if you’re a man, the disordered look can constitute a sort of power play.

        If you never ever wash your hair, there is a sort of grease equilibrium reached, or so I understand. Your hair starts acting more like fur. But I cannot swear to this personally, as I am not into brushing my hair a hundred strokes a day in lieu of shampoo.

  16. What matters is that any government which wants to control every possible facet of human life, and make humans behave in ways that go directly against every characteristic of humanity is evil.

    Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it is bound to be bad for the pitcher.

    1. And even worse to be the opposing team’s fan who threw the rock at the pitcher.

      (Um, yes, it is baseball every night at Redquarters now that [Mom’sTeam] are doing pretty well. Why do you ask?)

  17. “From World War I we took the idea that nationalism was bad and led to war.”

    Also that weapons manufacturers start wars to drive sales. An idea that still persists today, among the crowd who believes that weapons are bad magic which turn people violent by their very presence.

    1. From now on, we’re gonna do things my way.
      My way, or not at all.
      We’re gonna do what I wanna to when I say
      Not when you say, but when I say.

      And I say that my way is the sure way.
      My way will work out fine;
      And if you still prefer to do things your way,
      You go your way and I’ll go mine.


      I say that my way is the sure way
      We’d be better off to do things…
      My way will work out fine
      If we leave it up to you
      You’re gonna screw things


      Now, let me have my say:
      From now on we’re gonna see some changes;
      Changes – that’s what we need!
      I’m gonna play what I wanna play when I say –
      Not when you say – but when I say.

      And I say that your game is a sly game.
      Your game could lead to wars;
      And if you’re not prepared to play at my game,
      Then I’ll pay my game.
      And you play yours!

    2. Manchester pushed that idea in “The Arms of Krupp.” I think he credited Krupp with more influence than they actually had… but his description of how the invasions of the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia were dependent on Krupp’s production schedules explained a lot of the “WTF?” in the purely military histories of the war…

          1. there’s an entire sequence in The Last Jedi about the evul merchants of war who are selling to both sides and just making money… because apparently there’s no difference between the Republic and the Empire/New Order and the equipment was all made by the same people(not)

            1. TLJ is a Derp Fractal- no matter how closely you look, there’s new derp to be found.
              The I Can’t Believe This Isn’t In The Prequels Casino scene is too cartoony and garish and silly to make a serious point.

            2. I loved the “how else does anyone make a ton of money??”

              Umm… construction, legal services, etc. With entire *planets* of GDP sloshing around, there is a ton of money to be made.

  18. When the USSR collapsed, I knew perfectly goddamned well the Nitwit Left wasn’t going to abandon Communism. I knew they would shrug it off, just as they had shrugged off THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO and the exposure of the Cambodian Killing Fields. And at the same time, I watched the opposition grow. Every revelation, every Socialist failure, has inspired a growing cadre of Conservative and Libertarian thinkers. And while the Left has wandered off into Cloud Cuckoo Land, the New Right has been winning victories and setting foundations. Think about this; the idea that the SCOTUS might declare involuntary Union dues would have been a complete fantasy in 1976. Now, it’s happened.

    Socialism and the fantasy of Rule by Experts set its roots into the minds of the Western Elite two hundred years ago, give or take. Two hundred years from now, movements claiming to descend from the populism of today will doubtless need to be replaced by something that HASN’T gone toxic.

    But in the meanwhile….

    1. > shrugged off

      Solzhenitsyn was a criminal, and had a bad attitude, and was resentful of his just imprisonment; of *course* he said bad things about the glorious Soviet state. Harrumph!

      Besides, his whole story was obviously grossly exaggerated and taken out of context; the USSR was an advanced, forward-thinking world power, and would never do the kind of things they were accused of. You’ve obviously been misled by Western propaganda…

      [unreel to any desired length, tear off, wipe…]

    2. the fantasy of Rule by Experts” gave justification to the establishment of a modern enlightened aristocracy. (See: the more things change, the more they remain the same.)

      What is overlooked, of course, is the nature of Experts as a self-defining caste, with admission only granted on the basis of having accepted the received wisdom of preceding experts. History is replete with instances of Experts being totally, completely, gob-smackingly wrong (see: Pasteur and his invisible bugs) without in any way dislodging the arrogance of the Expert Caste.

      Heck, look at the terms of the present argument over Climate Change: you must accept their (unproven) precepts before you can participate in the debate, and your participation is voided if you in any way suggest the problem is other than imminent;y catastrophic (see: Bjørn Lomborg.)

      Frankly, in a couples relationship such patterns are rightly deemed abusive.

      1. A lot of the tactics are nothing but bullying and abuse, on both sides. If you did one one hundredth of the abuse heaped on Covington, NRA, etc to someone for nonpolitical reasons you’d be crucified. Iirc someone was recently tried for manslaughter for telling bf to kill himself, which he promptly did. It’s evil to tell someone you won’t make a custom product because they are a protected (read: superior) class but it’s great to stop selling lawful products because you don’t like customer. And nothing you read is true and there is nowhere to moor to. It’s like society is flying in clouds with no horizon with pilots fighting each other for their epaulets for prestige

        1. It wasn’t that the girl told the boy to kill himself. She planned his suicide for him, encouraged him to do it, shamed him into it, and then stayed on the phone with him to make sure he actually killed himself.

          It was the opposite of a suicide hotline.

          Frankly, if she hadn’t had the phone location evidence, she would have been up for murder, because it seemed like she was ready and able to get her hands dirty too. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had secretly gone over to his house and done the thing.

          1. Her problem is that she, as an individual, convinced a male his life was useless, vile, and not worth living.

            That’s Society’s job.

  19. I never expected the future to be wonderful even if we eliminated all the people with bad genes. We’d just have (hopefully) healthier, smarter, stronger, faster, more resiliant people doing bad things to each other.

    Yeah, sooner or later the bill will come due. And none of us want me to be the bill collector, capisce?

    Heinlein didn’t have to be a philosopher to be right about a good many things. I think he hit the nail on the head when it comes to a basis of morality, and patriotism.
    Decent Wiki article on TANSTAAFL
    “The earliest known occurrence of the full phrase (except for the “a”), in the form “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”, appears as the punchline of a joke related in an article in the El Paso Herald-Post of June 27, 1938 (and other Scripps-Howard newspapers about the same time), entitled “Economics in Eight Words”.”

    When the other guy’s point of view is that you are an infidel and it’s not only okay to kill you, it’s actually required; the only understanding you need to take from that is you’d better kill him first if you want to keep breathing.

    The one question I’ve not seen asked. “How much of the plasticization process was done while the prisoners were still living?”

    “But our enemies are human beings too!” Fine. Say a prayer over them after you’ve killed them. “But he’s your own brother!” Yeah, and family feuds have been some of the most vicious ones in history. Me, family, clan, tribe, nation, species; that’s the order of precedence.

    Fox, you want an answer to what humans aren’t really people? The mad dogs, the ones who want to kill you, or dominate you, or who don’t really consider you to be people. I know, that’s very circular. You’re not really human if you consider a human fetus to not really be human.

    1. The one question I’ve not seen asked. “How much of the plasticization process was done while the prisoners were still living?”

      Thanks, last week’s reappearance of nightmares about being trapped in a burning ship were not enough it seems.

      1. Maybe this will help-
        I had a abject terror, I am screwed nightmare…where the last thing that happened before I woke up is I looked at the guy who was helping me save a baby.

        And realized he had red sunglasses on.

        And that his eyes were slit-style.


        Who promptly informed me I was correct (in what I hadn’t said) and basically said to trust him.

        Abject, utter, “I am so screwed”. Woke up. Still somewhat mindbroke on it.

        1. For me it was a mix of old fears from being in the Navy combined with losing two friends from my Boston days on the Conception.

          Took until Thursday for them to hit and were gone by Sunday, still, I don’t like having friends die in one of the ways I’m most scared of and have experienced, but survived.

            1. Digression:
              one of the most humanizing things for the character of Captain Picard was that he was scared of a fire.

              He’s on a tin can in space. It makes sense.

          1. My sympathies, Herb.

            I saw a thread in a forensics-engineering forum and the only consoling factor was that the passengers most likely died in their sleep.

            There’s a picture of the sleeping quarters for that boat that really bothers me–marine safety standards have a long way to go to get to modern fire codes.

            1. My sympathies Herb.

              My thought was “but for the first day of school. My husband’s niece could have been on that boat.” She’s 47, a widow with a 16, and a 5, year old … She’s been profiling her diving certifications on FB.

      2. Thankfully, there appears to be zero chance that anybody was plasticized alive for these exhibits. Purchased cadavers were shipped to the artists’ facilities and then plasticized. Whether the sources for the cadavers were really legitimate is another question entirely.

    2. “Fox, you want an answer to what humans aren’t really people? The mad dogs, the ones who want to kill you, or dominate you, or who don’t really consider you to be people. I know, that’s very circular. You’re not really human if you consider a human fetus to not really be human.”

      James Alan Gardner had a premise in his Expendables series where the only races allowed to travel in between solar systems were ones defined as “sapient” (enforced by alien races so far developed beyond our ken that they literally just killed those who broke that rule.) Races as a whole achieved that certain level of sapience, but individuals could lose it by willfully killing a sapient being—therefore reducing their classification to “dangerous non-sapient.” This meant, for example, that if you were in a peacekeeping force, your bunkmate could just die while crossing the invisible line after, perhaps, being a bit too into killing pirates.

      Naturally this doesn’t keep mayhem from happening in the series—it just refines it within different parameters.

  20. “You’re not really human if you consider a human fetus to not really be human.”

    Not really human? I disagree – merely a human who has failed Moral Reasoning.

    1. But in my culture that is the same as not being a person, and it is racist no good haterism to disagree with my culture.

  21. They may have taken the wrong lessons from the falls of the glorious communist regimes but they learned the right ones about people. Hence the propaganda streams and ginning up hatred.

  22. Only now are we starting to get popular media about the bad side of the Soviet State- “The Death of Stalin” film, the opening of “Fargo Year 3”, and the “Chernobyl” miniseries.
    But, I suspect that has more to do with the Russia Collusion narrative over any true loathing for the horrors of Communism.

  23. ” Because everything has a price. And the bill will come due.”

    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  24. WRT the First World War, the big problem was not that it happened, but that it dragged on WAY past the point where they should have made peace. Which I blame entirely on the fact that the Allied powers were politically unstable…and the Communists were circling like sharks in the water.

    And yes, it’s a pity we did not get to liberate the Gulags. No need to drag the Russians through them…drag the Leftists in the West through – then off to trial.

    1. The Central Powers weren’t exactly shining examples of stability, either, though they may started in slightly better shape.

      1. I’m having a hard time linking the Austria-Hungarian Empire or the Ottoman Empire with the concept of “stable”.
        The German Empire likewise had some pretty fatal inherent flaws- the big one was that it was not being governed by Otto Von Bismark during WWI. True, he was long dead at that point- but he’s the only one that could make that collection of states actually work.

        1. The A-H Empire was more stable than we think. There’s been a lot of relatively recent research showing that the nationalists were very loud – after the fact – but the people at the time were rather happy with the way things were going, and saw the Habsburgs as being preferable to Prussia, Russia, and some of the other options. Judson’s _The Habsburg Empire_ is a very good book about it.

          1. There’s a large amount of inertia in governments.
            They probably would have drifted along and muddled through just fine without the stress of multiple years of total war, same as Imperial Russia, the Ottomans, or the Kaiserreich.

            But, there’s something about multiple years of privatization that total war brings that pushes the starving and suffering people to take a good, hard look at how things are done, and makes them willing to actually get off their butts and change things.

            1. I’m guessing that “privation” was meant here rather than “privatization.” 😉

              I’m not so sure Russia was particularly stable, war or no war.

              1. Yeah, autocorrupt strikes again.
                Had Nicky been more like his Dad, they probably would have pulled through.
                But, you had a nice guy trying to be a rough & tough Russian Autocrat, and it just didn’t really work out. Russians will happily tolerate a tyrant, but never a weak leader. It’s that culture thing again.
                Note the first revolt came after the Russian losses in China, and the Non-Bolshevik Revolution after massive losses on the Eastern Front.
                Nobody likes a loser.

        2. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was inevitably going to go to a federal structure. And the Ottoman Empire was doomed.

          But the British had undergone a soft coup that eliminated the ability of the House of Lords to counterweight the House of Commons in 1908. Russia was a boiling cauldron of revolutionary discontent. And the Third Republic in France was holding only because the French could not figure out what to replace it with.

    2. One wonders if an internal purge by the Allies (sending as many commies to the Front as possible) would have been beneficial in ending the war earlier by relieving the threat.

      1. Possibly. If you could lay hands on them. If you could find officers who could lead a penal battallion.

      2. I tend to suspect that the number of active actual Communist in the ranks back during 1917 to perhaps be a bit actively exaggerated by post-war historians with Communist sympathies.
        “Communist Revolution Stopped WWI!” is a claim to be viewed with the same amount of suspicion as all claims by Communist.

    3. Thank you, Woodrow Wilson. If the SOB had followed through with his ‘kept us out of the war’ thingie, things would probably ended sooner and much more equitably. But no, he had to spend 50 K American lives to prolong the festivities and set things up for WWI Part II 20 years later . . .

      1. But consider how important that war was as training ground for the officers who would become the generals who lead us to victory in WWII!

        Think how many will consider that a credible argument!

  25. It helps me to understand our relationship with God to imagine we are 7 billion 3 year olds.

    It is all about us.
    We don’t have a clue.
    We are sure what we do is important.
    We entertain Adults/God with what we come up with
    We need to be protected from the consequences of what we do.
    What we don’t know is more important than what we know.
    We need to learn what we don’t know.
    We have become dangerous.
    We want it.

    So God has 7 billion 3 year olds to manage. It explains much.

  26. Sarah, I think I read the book of which you speak, with a writer who is ridiculously challenged in inventing character names. Of course the character didn’t strike me as angry at all, just totally non-introspective, so I may be wrong. I enjoy the books nonetheless.

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