Brahmandarins-Guest post by Nitay Arbel


Brahmandarins-Guest post by Nitay Arbel

In the wake of the 2016 elections, I coined the term “Brahmandarins” for the transnational ruling class.

Three years later, it is quite evident that the election of the populist Trump over the Brahmandarin Hillary was not an isolated phenomenon. In nations around the world, from Brazil to Britain, either populist revolts are threatening the stability of Brahmandarin regimes, or voters have put populists (real or perceived) in office.

But who are these “Brahmandarins” really? And why this portmanteau of “Brahmin” and “Mandarin”?

Traditional Hindu society knew hundreds of hereditary castes and subcastes, but all broadly fit into four major “varna” (“colors”, strata):

  • Brahmins (scholars, clerisy)
  • Kshatriya (warriors, rulers)
  • Vaishya (traders, skilled artisans)
  • Shudras (farmers)
  • The un-counted fifth varna are the Dalit (“untouchables”, outcasts in both senses of the word)

Historical edge cases aside, membership in the Brahmin stratum was hereditary, even more so than in the nobility of feudal Europe. At least there, kings might raise a commoner to a knighthood or even the peerage for merit or political expedience: one need not wait for reincarnation into a higher caste.

The Sui dynasty in China, however, took a different route. Seeking both to curb the power of the hereditary nobles and to broaden the available talent pool for administrators, they instituted a system of civil service examinations. With interruptions (e.g. under the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan) and modifications, that system remained in place for thirteen centuries until finally abolished in 1904. Westerners refer to laureates of the Imperial Examinations (from the entry-level shengyuan to the top-level jinshi) by the collective term Mandarins. Ironically, this term comes not from any Chinese dialect but (via Malay and Portuguese) from the Sanskrit word mantri (counselor, minister) — cf. the Latin mandatum (command) and its English cognate “mandate”.

Initially, the exams were limited to the scholar and yeoman farmer classes: with time, they were at least in theory opened up to all commoners in the “four occupations” (scholars, farmers, artisans, merchants), with jianmin (those in “base occupations”) still excluded. The process also was ostensibly fair: exams were written, administered at purpose-built examination halls with individual three-walled examination cubicles to eliminate cribbing. Moreover, exam copies were identified by number rather than by name. For some fascinating background, see

as well as this video:

In practice, the years of study and the costs of hiring tutors for the exam limited this career path to the wealthy. Furthermore, the success rate was very low (between 0.03% and 1%, depending on the source) so one had better have a fallback trade or independent wealth. In some cases, rich families who for some reason were barred from the exams would sponsor a bright student from a poor family. Once the student became a government official, he would owe favors to the sponsor.

Moreover, the subject matter of the exam soon became ossified and tested more for conformity of thought, and ability to memorize text and compose poetry in approved forms, than for any skill actually relevant to practical governance. (Hmm, artists or scholars in a narrow abstruse discipline being touted as authorities on economic or foreign policy: verily, there is nothing new under the sun.)

What do we have today, in the 21st century?

In theory, our elite is meritocratic: the “best and the brightest”, leading graduates from the most selective universities. France’s civil service perhaps comes closest to an idealized version of the Mandarinate, as I’ve discussed here.

The French themselves, of course, joke about living in an “ENArchy”, a pun on the ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration, idiomatically: National Administration Academy) of which so many senior bureaucrats are graduates. Unlike in Imperial China, one can be the son of a street sweeper or a shopkeeper and make it through the ENA on talent and eyebrow sweat. In practice, the ENA has become a by-word for an insular elite, concerned only with its own peer group and out of touch with broader society. Significantly, one of the bones Emmanuel Macron threw the Yellow Jackets protesters was a promise to close the ENA — his own alma mater….

If one visits Europe nowadays and talks to an average middle-class person, there is a broad sense that the ruling class:

  • has lost the plot
  • is focusing on trivial issues to avoid having to deal with “elephants in the room” and to distract the public from them
  • is manufacturing crises while ignoring real ones
  • is focused only on the interests and sensibilities of people like themselves, and treats others like “sheeple”. “We are beinglived”, as the proverbial cab driver told me in Brussels.

Fair or not, politics is a game of perception. It may (sadly) be true that many people are willing to sell their birthrights for a mess of pottage (the way the biblical Esau did). These deals start coming apart, however, when the ruled perceive the ruling class as no longer in touch with events, and no longer able to hold up their end of the bargain. The notion of a “social contract” between ruler and subjects, and of the contract being abrogated when rulers are no longer holding up their end of the bargain, is made explicit in the Dutch 1581 “Plakkaat van Verlatinghe” of 1581.

In this Act of Abjuration (as the name is usually rendered) against the Spanish emperor Philip II, the Dutch lay out their grievances against the Spanish emperor, their attempts to seek redress, and their final decision to declare their independence. (Sounds familiar? No coincidence. )

The Dutch language knows the priceless verb “doodzwijgen”, literally “kill something by keeping silent about it”. This has been a favorite tactic of European Brahmandarins for a long time— the near-media silence on the continuing Yellow Jackets protests is only the most recent example.

Manufactured hysteria about one or more distraction issues is another tactic — one that resembles flares fired by a fighter plane under attack by heat-seeking missiles. The US mainstream media, egging each other on in feedback loops, merely keep amping that technique up not just to 11, but to full potato and beyond.

Fortunately, in the internet age, the train of full media control has left the station. May it never return there.

*Nitay Arbel is (a friend and) an author, working on an alternate WWII:

Operation Flash, Episode 1: Knight’s Gambit Accepted



On March 21, 1943, one man came within a hairbreadth of blowing up nearly the entire Nazi leadership.
In timeline DE1943RG, he succeeded.
Then the conspirators discovered that killing Hitler and his chief henchmen was the *easy* part.*


225 thoughts on “Brahmandarins-Guest post by Nitay Arbel

  1. Many of these Brahmandarins are very smart. The Enarques of France, the graduates of Oxford in the UK, Ivy league in the US etc. are all well up in the IQ stakes (although of course the universities are dumbing things down). Yet despite this academic brilliance, they don’t seem to be very clued in on things like “actions and consequences”.

    This seems most obvious in the virtue signalling they all do, but that isn’t the only place it manifests itself. For example: one thing I don’t really understand about the Brahmandarins is their approach to immigration. Generally speaking they want lots of it and they don’t want the immigrants to assimilate. Yet they also want to continue ruling peaceful nations. you’d have thought that relatively recent events like Yugoslavia and Rwanda would have made clear that having different groups within a nation that see other groups in the same nation as the other is a recipe for things to go wrong. Yet they make, if anything, strong efforts to keep the immigrants apart by proving greater incentives for separateness than integration.

    1. My inner cynic suggests that a disorderly state encourages the people to willingly cede liberties in exchange for government forces to restore order.

      1. Bingo…they want to rule more than they want peace.

        If a little anarchy makes it easier for them to rule, they are fine with it. They don’t live with the hoi poli anyway. If the anarchy reaches their compounds all that peace and brotherhood stuff will be null and void.

        1. Yes. ^^ this ^^

          Disarm everyone, including police, reserves, even military (you can arm when attacked), except our private property and body guards, while they are working for us.


          1. Military would likely revert back to pre-conscription personal retinues and units raised from local areas.

    2. The mistake you (and they) make is conflating Intelligence with Education. The Brahmandarinate are often very intelligent, but over the last several generations they have managed to squeeze all the reality out of the education they provide for their children. This has always been a tendency among the wealthy; to eviscerate any part of their children’s education that conflicts with their egos, and the results have historically been dismally predictable.

      The Brahmandarins are no different from the starched and chinless wonders who slaughtered a generation in WWI. Indeed, this is a point I tend to harp on; the current elites are not a new phenomenon, they aren’t special, they aren’t even particularly interesting. They are just one more ossified cultural elite, full of arrogance and dung. I’m not saying we don’t need to push them off the top of the heap, we do. But they are far more tiresome than they are unique, and should be told so regularly. The more so because they would HATE that.

      1. They might explain the reason for the electric fence, haven’t had the direct learning of getting zapped by it – or dealing with what is enclosed (or what happens when the supply fails). There is a significant difference.

        1. As my Grampaw used to say: Some folks can learn by example, and then there’s those as have to piss on the electric fence for themselves.

          1. And then there’s those that KEEP pissing on the fence, expecting a different result, and when it doesn’t happen demand that the fence be banned…

        1. I don’t think so. They routinely conflate their political faith with wisdom, but their present problems stem from the damage they have done over time to the education of their own class. They lack the fundamental skills necessary to evaluate their own assumptions, and they lack them in large part because of the degree to which they have taken over higher education.

          1. one thing they have NOT been educated to do is to question the worth of their educations. Even those bearing enormous debt are not complaining about being cheated by academia, they’re complaining that nobody will pull them out of the hole into which they’ve dug themselves

            1. because their university allowing them to even consider a masters in puppetry is somehow my fault for not paying their expenses. Somehow they think that we paying it off for them is going to make a job too?
              Forget not teaching logic, I think they surgically remove it now.

              1. That poor shmoo with the Masters in puppetry was programmed to get a Degree by society’s expectations. You want to do something? Get a college degree in it. We’re lucky the rot of Academic Capture (the process by which matters having little to do with actual scholarship are dragged into Academia) never went as far as plumbing and the other building trades; our houses would be as bad as housing in the USSR!

                Should he be angry at the college? Certainly. But the rest of,society carries some blame, too.


                In a perfect world (Ha!) the Universities would be forced to pay off the student debts of people they ‘sold’ useless degrees.

                I ain’t holding my breath.

                1. they sure didn’t have the society or guidance councilors I had in the 80’s.
                  but they did get teachers who also went through that vera same academic indoctrination with an assist from j-schools

                2. I’m not hugely sympathetic to the idea of “society made them do it”…but the guy literally spent his formative years in school, being told that anything you didn’t get a degree for was useless.

                  It may not be the fault of all of us, but trying to at least recognize the factors involved, that’s our responsibility.

                  1. If society is culpable for his situation, we need t address those social forces which put him in that fix, not enable them further.

                    I view the modern education racket as akin to a dive that serves bar scotch while charging singe malt prices — when you sell schooling but call it education you are looting the public treasury through fraud. Paying off Teachers’ Unions so they can bribe legislators should not be a reason to further the robbery of civic wealth.

                    1. Correct on the solution going forward– but also points at a failure in the past and a reduction in personal culpability for those who made choices based on false information.

                      The gap seems to be in the whole “but you were alive at that point and didn’t WIN, so blame you!” junk.

                3. “Society” is a concept. It has no existence outside the figments of human imagination. It can bear no blame. It has no responsibilities, no rights, no interests.

                  Which individuals gave those students the idea that their useless degrees were worth something? That is who bears the blame.

                  1. *twitch*

                    K, that’s a terrible argument.

                    In no small part because of the famous thing about how you can grind up all that exists, and not find a single mote of love– not a hint of honor, not an ion of compassion.

                    Society most definitely does exist; that has nothing to do with it being an object.

                    It is a description of a thing that IS.

                    Which has nothing to do with the question of what that MEANS– like someone being family, it’s a fact, but conclusions based on that fact are going to need support.

                    1. I’ve seen a comment that snippily declares that “you” don’t get to make beauty standards and then criticize women for paying money to achieve them.

      2. Elites tend to get push aside and replaced by the guys with the swords eventually. The guys with swords may be from the next country over, they may be some barbarians recruited to fill out the ranks (because Elites won’t soil themselves), or they may even be the rank and file tired of the nonsense.

        1. Swords or other tools. The European Aristocracy was pushed aside, to a great degree, by the engineers and industrialists. Sadly, not completely enough to prevent them blundering Europe into WWI.

          1. One overlooked reason for the change from aristocrats to more or less popular government is the change in weapons used in wartime.
            When the sword and spear were the prime weapon of war, one needed a near lifetime of training plus a reserve of money to be properly equipped to use them- and be nourished enough to have the strength.

            Guns, especially rifled guns meant that hurriedly trained conscripts could meet, and master armored horsemen, and thus assumed primacy on the battlefield. However, the demand for more conscript riflemen led to them demanding more rights, and eventually getting them. Note that America, which was an early adopter of the rifle was also the first where the common people successfully seized power for themselves.

            1. This is a theme in a number of Japanese movies dealing with the period when guns were first introduced — and banned — in Japan. I hesitate to cite any specific films for it has been many years and memory is vague at present, but I believe it is a major element of Yojimbo — remade in “America” as A Fistful of Dollars.

              IMDb seems to support my recollection:
              Sanjuro, a wandering samurai enters a rural town in nineteenth century Japan. After learning from the innkeeper that the town is divided between two gangsters, he plays one side off against the other. His efforts are complicated by the arrival of the wily Unosuke, the son of one of the gangsters, who owns a revolver. Unosuke has Sanjuro beaten after he reunites an abducted woman with her husband and son, then massacres his father’s opponents. During the slaughter, the samurai escapes with the help of the innkeeper; but while recuperating at a nearby temple, he learns of innkeeper’s abduction by Unosuke, and returns to the town to confront him.

              1. It might be more appropriate to say Per un pugno di dollari was an Italian remake of Yojimbo that was subsquently brought to America a few years later as A Fitful of Dollars, and helped catapult Clint Eastwood to prominence.

                1. It’s a real pity that Kurosawa didn’t do a remake of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” set during the Meji restoration.

                  1. Kurosawa adapted Hammett’s RED HARVEST into YOJIMBO, and it worked. Leone adapted YOJIMBO into FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (surely one of the sanest of the ‘spaghetti westerns’), and it worked. Then Hill adapted YOJIMBO back to its prohibition era roots…and it didn’t work.

                    I’ve long thought that it might have done better placed in a major American city; the mix of prohibition era gunplay and Leon’s dusty, windblown West was jarring.

                    Also; Kurosawa did a sequel to YOJIMBO, titled SANJURO, with strong comic elements. Both films are worth watching.

                    1. ehh, some Kurosawa scholars say the similarities are coincidental and that he borrowed more from The Glass Key for Yojimbo

                      (took both noir film and kurosawa in film school)

                2. More appropriate, sure — but it was late, I was focused on the issue of the gun in the film and had comments to read and replies to make before I slept.

                  I barely remembered to put scare quotes about remade in “America” in referring to the remake, and recognise now that the reference was gratuitous and irrelevant.

                    1. OTOH, I was purposefully being unclear in order to leave room for other Huns to strut their cinematic educations.

                      Yeah, that’s what it was.

          2. Europe engineers and industrialists retained the habit of conscious and subconscious deference to their “betters” even after marrying into the class and seeing their vapidity first hand.

            1. I suspect some of them saw themselves as the New Elites and took on the attitudes of the Old Elites.

            2. Culture is pretty dang persistent. Even those who revel in new found freedoms tend to return again to the accustom cages- France and Russia come to mind.

              1. Culture is pretty dang persistent.

                Indeed, in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Sowell traces the culture exmeplified in things like “Gangter Rap” back to a Scottish/Northern English culture that has essentially died out in the British Isles but remains here. (He calls it “Redneck culture” but I question that use since the term “Redneck” has mutated both through its use as an epithet and people embracing the term in mockery of said epithets.)

                1. This is true. Most people where I live (rural Wyoming–but then all of Wyoming is rural) embrace redneck to mean “hardworking, mostly bluecollar.” Which makes sense, since “redneck” implies “sunburned neck from working long hours outside. It’s largely been replaced, epithet wise, with “White Trash” or “Trailer Trash.”

                  Some rednecks are also trailer trash, but not all of them. And not all folks who originate from trailer trash origins remain there. But yeah, redneck is not the insult the urbans wish it still were. 😀

                  1. Never understood how “redneck” was an insult. They are foresters, farmers, ranchers, construction workers, anyone who spends all day working outdoors regardless of the weather. Red from sun, wind, cold, hot, etc. Hard workers.

                    1. Physical labor=> uneducated => too dumb to get a sit-down job.

                      Think of it as a variation of how some folks have to work hard, because they’re too *(@#$@# stupid to work smarter. Such as putting on sunscreen. Or wearing a hat.

                      Oddly enough, a lot of the folks I know who have this view? ARE ranchers/farmers/etc.

                      It’s one of those things where it seems to keep switching back and forth.

                    2. In times past, tanned skin was the mark of the lower laboring classes. The leisure classes tended to towards paleness because they didn’t have to be out in the sun. The term “blue bloods” had it’s origin from the blue veins seen on pale skin.
                      This did change a few decades ago, as it was the wealthy who could afford the time and money to stay tanned year round.
                      However, this is changing back to the old standard of pale = rich.

                2. the term “Redneck” has mutated

                  Meh. Check the copyright date of the essay; it has likely been around since before the mutation really took hold.

                  1. It’s still an ethnic slur directed at rural whites, no different in degree than calling a latino a Wetback.

                    I don’t mind, but it’s rich coming from “woke” elites who pose as tolerant sophisticates. And sure, we use it among ourselves as a term of endearment, much like blacks use the n-word*. Doesn’t make it right.

                    *and so much for racial equality, some bigoted terms are more equal than others. So much so that they have to be masked in public.

    3. Generally speaking they want lots of it and they don’t want the immigrants to assimilate. Yet they also want to continue ruling peaceful nations.

      I would say that it’s a combination of factors:

      (1) They don’t really understand what “assimilation” means. Most of the “foreigners” they meet are their fellow Brahamandarins, who dress differently and eat exotic food but share the same values. The general assumption is that all foreigners are that way, meaning the only way they would need to assimilate is by giving up that food and dress, depriving both them and the host nation of their vibrant cultural diversity.

      (2) They don’t believe that Yugoslavian/Rwandan style ethnic violence could happen here. After all, they know that the white supremesists of the US are the worst racists ever, and they rarely leave their moms’ basements. Surely those much more tolerant brown people that they’re importing will be even less inclined to violence.

      1. As to one: Yes, most definitely. Most “cosmopolitans” can’t tell the difference between cultural markers and actual culture.

        As to two, I don’t think it’s so much oikophobia as that they don’t get why ethnic violence happens, and they don’t understand how easy it is to break down societal trust.

          1. I have often wondered why this is why they can’t face Islam, but project onto it their beliefs (Instapundit has a “Islam has always been queer” story today…).

            Facing the reality of Islam would challenge that core belief to the point it would shatter.

            1. Worse. They would have to accept that some people take religion seriously. Since they don’t, no one else does, in their world. Taking the Salafists, Wahabies, Shia clerics, and others as meaning exactly what they say would break the Brahmandarins brains.

              1. Yeah, they seem unable to grok the idea that people have different beliefs or values than they do. In the race cases they accept that, they conclude you are evil.

              2. But of course any Christians who say “Look, I don’t believe in homosexual marriage” is of course one step away from following the worst bits of the Old Testament. Their doublethink is breathtaking.

            2. To face what Islam is would involve admitting that ‘all cultures’ are NOT equally valid. That would in turn force them to examine the validity of the Socialist culture they have pushed for so long…and the Socialist culture is dung.

                    1. So, does that mean Lenin is “well-preserved?”
                      And do you serve Lenin preserves on Russian black bread for Sunday afternoon tea?

                      I think I need another cup of coffee. My mind is still tracking along weird dream associations.

              1. They never believed the whole all cultures are equally valid or they wouldn’t be trying to burn down western culture.

        1. I think we’re thinking the same about two just saying it in different ways. They don’t get that the relatively peaceful society with high trust that we have is an aberration. It’s the way it has always been and thus the way it always will be.

          It’s something like the way they reacted to Russia’s invasion of the Crimea: that sort of thing is just NOT DONE in this day and age, and there was an almost aesthetic revulsion that Russia had done it anyway. Similarly, large-scale ethnic violence is something that is NOT DONE in the U.S., and if it happens, there will be similar shocks.

            1. Was done, not is being done.

              It is easy to pass judgement long after the fact, when there is no risk of being tasked to do something about it.

        2. The irony with regards to societal trust is if they set out to break it intentionally, what would they do differently than they are now.

    4. In the US at least, these universities have started admitting on ideological conformity. See David Hogg. That’s just visible. They’ve been doing it for decades.

      1. Decades, hell. The Universities have ALWAYS been hives of conformity. That’s their rest state. Oh, sometimes, briefly, they are incubators of change, because of outside forces. But normally, they are part of the existing power structure and thus conformative.

        1. That’s part of what those behind the ACLU and the free speech movement were really about. When Leftists could be easily dismissed, the conservative nature of the institutions could be maintained. Preventing that was essentially a prerequisite for their long march through the institutions.

        2. Yes. But the extent to which they disregard merit in favor of conformity is probably unheard of.
          It’s destroying other fields, like… Oh, traditional fiction publishing.

          1. Sarah, no. It’s an an extreme point in its cycle, but I doubt like hell it’s unprecedented. The medieval Universities were very bad, and the late 18th century saw a huge blossoming of the sciences outside of the British Universities in large part because the Universities had excluded all non-conforming thought and dropped into mediocrity.

            The is NORMAL. The far end of normal, but normal.

            1. Perhaps, but what bothers me is something out of The Gripping Hand. The shrinking of the last quarter of the 20th century and the first quarter of this one has meant all the institutions, everywhere have joined the same group think to the same degree and will probably collapse at the same time.

              The Moties made peace with the Second Human Empire and accepted the gene engineering out of the fear of losing both the planet and space to collapse for the first time ever.

              Note, I have a similar fear about widespread civilization collapse. We’re closer to a end of the Bronze Age interconnectedness across the planet than we have been before. Will we have a group collapse in the same way? I’m not sure, but I think the risk is higher than even a century ago.

              1. I think you may be overestimating the degree to which the Progressive ‘culture’ has taken over. There is pushback on many fronts, and I expect that other than at the ‘best’ colleges, there is more variation than we hear about.

                I hope so, anyway.

            2. This is why the religion of Science(!!!) has me scoffing constantly. As if scientists aren’t as vulnerable to dogma and conformity as anything else.

              Look, the folks on Ancient Aliens ARE bonkers (because they make no sense, and have no understanding of how space WORKS, if nothing else, and their contempt for human endeavor and achievement pisses me right off ), but they aren’t completely without a point when they complain about being screwed over by mainstream science. There are a lot of folks out there getting dismissed as ‘fringe science’ only because they are trying something new and different. And sure, a lot of them are totally blinkers, and possibly are wearing their trousers on their heads, but there are plenty others with some great ideas and theories that are being shut down because they won’t conform and also have the wrong politics.

              For example: in reading The Lost City of the Monkey God, I was astonished (briefly) at the hostility shown by the archaeological community towards the idea of using lidar to map ruins in dense jungle or otherwise hostile environments. Or even to establish that something is there worth mounting an expedition to. It was only brief astonishment because it quickly became clear that a.) the person behind the idea wasn’t a “real” archaeologist (he was a filmmaker), b.) the “real” archaeologists on the expedition were of the wrong political color (ie, not socialist, and were associated with people who had ousted the leftist dictator in Honduras and put him in prison and allowed open elections), and c.) THEY hadn’t thought of it.

              1. Slight disagreement concerning “religion of Science”.

                Much of it is pushed IMO by people who have no real knowledge of Science and what Science has discovered. IE All of their “arguments” boil down to “Because Science…”. 😦

                Sadly however, there are some so-called Scientists who fall into the “Because Science…” trap.

                I read a non-fiction book titled “What Does A Martian Look Like?” by Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart. They pulled some nonsense out of their rear ends (calling it Science) to “prove” that no Intelligent Aliens would look even vaguely humanoid. They reject the idiotic film showing a dead Grey Alien solely on the fact that the Grey Alien is “too human-like”. 😡

                (IE There were plenty of other reasons to think it was a fake besides that.)

                1. I probably didn’t elaborate enough–but that’s exactly what I meant by “religion.” (sorry, I’m very tired today, and getting sick again 😀 ) Most aren’t scientists–but it sure seems like the ones who ARE (or claim to be) infest academia and/or positions of authority. Which probably ought to be a surprise to no one.

                  Generally speaking, though, I think a lot of it can be laid at the door of the fact that humans do NOT like change, and generally prefer to be comfortable. So it follows that most folks in science are pretty comfortable with feeling like they know how it all works, and how it’s supposed to go, and so naturally wouldn’t care for some Odd showing up and going “But what if it was THIS way???” (Especially since there’s a fair chance the person saying this is also, in fact, bonkers and making crap up. Makes it harder to listen to the ones who aren’t.)

                  I mean, I don’t care for that worldview, but I understand it. It’s the ones who treat it as a religion that all should blindly follow and/or the ones that inject politics into it that I get truly irked at and suspect of malicious intent.

              2. Oh, goodness, yes– I freaking HATE the bad arguments against science stuff!

                Especially when half the time you can find good reasons that things don’t work.

                1. I’m pretty sure that’s the reason my mother enjoys watching Ancient Aliens and yelling at the screen, to be honest. 😀

                  I mean, most of their stuff is just so… “WTF?!?!?!” and contrary to Occam’s razor I can’t even.

                  1. *Snort* Come on, we all know that the original Battlestar Galactica was a documentary. Everything else is just a false flag Eric van Dannekan is using to hide the fact that he learned the secret of transmuting iron into gold from the hidden clues in the Great Pyramid and the temple at Chichen Itza. 😉

                  2. Fun fact with the original Battlestar Galactica, though: It DOES have some of the obscurer bits of Mormon doctrine worked in there (like, really obscure), because the original showrunners/writers were LDS. 😀

              3. Anybody want to speculate on the odds that a person with a “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” bumper-sticker on her car is also highly likely to lash out at “Climate Deniers”?

        3. I did not notice that when I was in college, but then I was a local, and lived at home. No dorm, no frat. No hanging out with classmates.

          1. Neither did I – I lived at home, and commuted, first to a community college and then to a state uni – and both of which seemed to draw about one-third adult students of varying ages (some of them GI Bill veterans) about one-third foreigners working on credentials, and about one-third straight from high school. Not much conformity, really.

            1. I saw it in the early 1990s, but I was at a private, all-women’s school. That atmosphere tends towards conformity and social radicalism, especially when you toss in a Protestant denomination in the process of going round-the-bend on “social justice.”

    5. As many of us are aware (and have discussed extensively) being “smart” and being “educated” are a) not quite the same thing and b) no corrective to having your cranium fundamentally misplaced.

      Used to be a good education supplied some element of corrective to that but apparently the ones who couldn’t grasp the concept became the professoriate and thus cannot teach the concept.

      As the manure shoveler told his employer, “Just because you are smart and just because you are educated, that don’t mean you know shit.”

      (I leave building the set-up to that punchline as an exercise for the student. Those interested in a slightly variant punchline might consider a stable containing hinnies and jacks with appropriate modification of the object.)

    6. They test very well, and they repeat back what they have been taught. Thinking, however, is a challenge, and I would argue that the internet is making that even more of a problem. There is no analysis with the internet. You enter what you are looking for, an answer appears and must be right because it is on the internet, and you write that down. Reading and sorting out why that might be right, and if it is right, and what the consequences are? Not pushed.

      And once you can’t get any grade lower than a B at Harvard and other elite schools, well, there it goes. (And when Harvard gets permission to discriminate against Asian Americans and others of Asian cultural descent because, well, “Reasons*,” then the qualifications are pretty well known.”

      *Because they do so well and blow the curve, and make those unable to meet the standards because they were admitted under Affirmative Action, or who are legacy admits from rich families, feel bad. But Harvard would never, ever say that.

      1. You enter what you are looking for, an answer appears and must be right because it is on the internet, and you write that down.

        If only it was that easy. Even when I find an answer on a current thing it is for a world where 12MHz pixel rates was considered fast and I’m seeing a minimum of twice that.

        1. Try searching for OpenGL examples. Half of the results are still fixed pipeline, and half of the rest are through a framework.

            1. To clarify, I’m trying to meld Don Lancester’s old TV typewriter with 640×400 VGA timing instead of a TV.

              I’m now reading his TV Typewriter Cookbook and I suspect I’ll just use the composite in on the monitor instead of the VGA feeds and we’ll be fine. It’ll be closer to the modified TVs he describes.

              1. and i was referring to and agreeing with the previous poster’s statement about opengl.

          1. It’s more I need a 40ns access time ROM to build a character generator.

            Although I now realize I technically have about 320ns to get the scan line byte out of the ROM and on to the address bus for the shift register to load when ready for the next character. I just means my address timing needs to be one full character ahead of the “scan beam” (which will be whatever circuitry converts old style analog inputs to LEDs on the TV).

            1. I meant “try” as in “If you want another sad example of largely-outdated technical information found by online searching, try-” rather than “You might find a solution for your problem if your try-“. Neat project you’ve got, though.

    7. And bringing in Muslims, this has to be the worst decision EVER. The only explanation is that they don’t believe that the Muslims believe what they say they do. The BM since many are only nominally Christian or Jewish, they don’t see any religious belief as real. They have no experience with people that actually believe in a religion. They believe they can CONTROL Muslims!!
      Boy are THEY going to be surprised.

      1. If there was any thought given to that issue, it was a) They’ll owe us for a better life, and vote for us for-evah! and b) If there are any adverse consequences, they’ll fall on the Deplorable class and/or the classes that are bound to vote for us because reasons.

        It is my fondest hope (with low expectations) that the ivory tower/gated compound sorts who dreamed this up will get the damages bill presented to them. In full.

      2. Well, there’s precedent for that. They didn’t believe Lenin the the Bolsheviks would do what they promised, and they didn’t believe Adolf and the NSAP would do what they promised.

        When you have a class with a mindset where “truth” conforms to Narrative and words are redefined on the fly, having someone do exactly what they said they would isn’t something they would ordinarily expect.

      3. They bring in Muslims because they think the Muslims can control US. Assuming that the enemy (Muslims) of their enemy (nationalists, Christians, conservatives, etc), they assume Muslims will be their friends.
        They simply have not thought what happens next.

      4. They believe the Muslims are as disingenuous as they themselves, pretending to Faith to placate the Bourgeoisie.

        1. ‘The mullahs could not possibly believe that, because we never would.” – multiple State Department employees during the Obama Administration.

    8. In school, your grade depends on whether the teacher likes your answer, not whether it is correct.

    9. I disagree. Many are smart. But they are not very smart.

      Bill whittle calls it Island 120 (for 120 iq).

      They are smart enough to get the best grades in the class but also not original enough thinkers or nonconformist or other Oddness real geniuses often have to not get the highest grade. So they were praised as the smartest and that is their identity they are proud of, but are also terrified with imposter syndrome. That is why they are all in such a hurry to repeat the latest smart sounding buzzword or phrase and freak out when instead of giving the proper ‘you are smart and I am too’ response, you try to debate some detail of it.

  2. We’re thinking along the same lines. See latest installment in my Ruling Class Crisis Series: The Elephant in the Room (the ruling class is overwhelmingly LEFT)

  3. The existence of the Bramandarin ruling class, and their media suck-ups also suggest why they are now so very anti-Trump, and were again anti-Palin – because Trump and Palin were so very outside the Bramandarin ideal.

    1. One of the things that always interested me about Palin was how the MSM kept referring to her as “the former mayor of Wasillia,” as though being a former mayor of Wasillia was something she should be ashamed of. As though this wasn’t almost the perfect illustration of how a citizen should get involved in government: first a member of the town council, then mayor, then governor, then eventually getting involved in federal politics as the VP nominee.

      Interestingly enough, they didn’t seem to mind much about Trump going from “never held office” to “president.” Their complaints about him were from another direction.

      1. Well, I mean, it’s not like being the Mayor of Chicago, Baltimore, or San Francisco which would be something to be proud of.

    2. They are anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, etc because they are at least subconsciously aware of a trend on the part of the Unwashed to say, “The problem isn’t Global Warming, Global Cooling, CO2, Methane, or any gas. The problem isn’t Islamophobia, Homophobia, White Privilege, or Cisgender Normalism. The problem isn’t plastic in the ocean, lack of renewable energy, the availability of guns, or uncivil discourse. The problem is YOU. Sic transit gloria mundi; we’re sick of you, and we want to see you in transit.”

      (That last, I stole from Asterix. But it fits)

                    1. No actually I am rather fond of our resident Minotaur. Just trying to help on the sparkling front Maybe bedazzling? Or perhaps a bath in Seltzer water?

                    2. Re: bathing in seltzer. Once upon a time I was in the shower and not quite done when the pump went out (it did earlier, but the pressure finally dropped). Realizing the water was about to stop, I rinsed enough so I could at least safely open my eyes. The rest of the rinse was finished with a couple large (2 L ?) bottles of unrefrigerated (and unflavored!) seltzer.

                  1. ::Gets popcorn ready::

                    I’m going to enjoy watching you attempting to do that (you likely won’t enjoy it). 😈

                  2. N.O. Glitter. Just no. We have yet to get the glitter out of the carpet at Day Job and that was three years ago! I shudder to think what would happen if glitter struck the Huns’ and Hoydens’ lair.

                1. I dunno – I think he looks kind of hot that way.

                  But I’m not really the person to make such judgment as I am not attracted to people without natural pockets. And the floppy ears are too outre to my liking.

            1. “He speaks with the odd hollow noise of a man whose every word is quotation.”
              — Edgar Pangborn

  4. There’s a great line from Mark Steyn that I’m sure I’ve shared before here: “If the culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the people will turn to disrespectable politicians.” The line dates back to 2001, when Le Pen the elder made the final round of the French presidential elections, edging out the socialist Jospin who was “supposed” to be one of the final two choices. Steyn pointed out all the places, from the EU to crime, where Le Pen had a stated position and “Chirac and Jospin (or was that Jirac and Chospin) believe the subject is beneath discussion.” He concluded it was hard to blame the electorate for choosing to include the guy with actual opinions, even if he was a distinctly unlovely person.

    There’s a lot of things that the Brahamandarins take on faith that simply aren’t open for debate in their circles. They won’t seriously consider the opposite position on these any more than the Catholic Church would start a discussion with the premise, “So what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?”

    1) Diversity is the greatest good.
    2) Immigration is an unalloyed good, enriching the host nation and the immigrant, both economically and culturally.
    2a) Due to the above, anyone who questions the good of immigration is a racist. They must be, because given its obvious benefits, the only reason to object would be a hatred of brown people.
    3) Education is a great good, the more of it the better. Everyone can benefit from at least college and probably graduate training.

    There are more, I’m sure, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. And yeah, Trump was the first disrespectable guy who ran for office questioning their premises, but he’s neither the last nor the worst they’re likely to see.

    1. That the right answers are so obvious that not only do they not need to be supported with facts or arguments (“If you can’t see that, I can’t help you!”) but that the only way to have a different opinion is to be evil is…

      Unfortunately where we’re at as a nation right now.

      Oh, and the same folks who will insist that anyone who makes them uncomfortable or anyone who doesn’t believe the obvious truth, they were the exact same people who were mocking people for “black and white thinking” last week. Lack of nuance, dudes! Get with the program.

      1. … anyone who doesn’t believe the obvious truth is evil… missed the “is evil” in that sentence.

      2. I have used the “look, if you can’t get this, I can’t help you” line, but it’s after I’ve offered facts and a rational argument.

        Given prior patterns, I would guess folks got stung by correct use of the phrase, so they co-opted it.

        One of the more obnoxious habits of the totemic phrase argument pattern.

      3. Yep, I found that having come out politically OVER the release of sword and blood, a lot of reviews suddenly pointed out it was all black and white.
        Because you know, between evil vampires and humans…. I don’t know. I should prefer the evil? Vibrant vampire neighborhood….

        1. Well, vampires are parasites and so is much of the elite. Consider wanting you to support vampires a professional courtesy on their part.

        2. Wait – *that’s* what pushed you out of the closet? A book about swordsmen vs vampires? Really?

          1. Hell no. What pushed me out of the closet was the insanity of the Obama years, and the fact that to stay in the game I had to actively start writing “progressive.”
            No. But I came out politically at the same time Sword and Blood came out. And the reviews took a nose dive.

        3. Maybe it’s a personality thing, I sure don’t know. But I’d swear that some people are broken in their noggins because they don’t seem to even attempt to find a philosophical unity in themselves on how to approach questions.

          On the one hand, you’re supposed to read books that make you uncomfortable… the more uncomfortable the better. Challenge your assumptions! But that’s you. I suggested to someone making that argument (and I’m quite willing to accept comfort-challenging as a good thing in general) that we all have different comfort zones and the books that (in the particular in this case) this person insisted that Mike Williamson read were different from what she ought to read, which was probably books by Mike Williamson.

          That went over about as well as anyone would expect. 😉

          And of course it’s still most common to hear people say that books shouldn’t be black and white and wanting something that we’d call “human wave” where the message is positive toward humanity rather than self-loathing, is simplistic and books shouldn’t be that way. Not a fair description, but I’d still expect to hear it and have heard it any time someone expresses (perhaps poorly) their desire for triumph and heroics in their fiction.

          But then turn to look at real life and suddenly human failing and tragedy, controversy by *authors*, even dead ones, is enough to get them shunted off into the shame corner and politely disappeared.

          Okay, yes, I’m talking about Tiptree. And the logic seems to go like this… allowing someone so tragically flawed to be honored is refusing to look at the truth… hiding her in a closet and pretending she’s not important, on the other hand, is wide eyed acceptance of human flaws… by keeping them out of sight.

          So which is it? Are we black and white or are we all the shades of gray with the occasional streak of blood red, and despite it all aspire to triumph?

          (They should rename the Tiptree award, the Empress Theresa award.)

          1. Maybe it’s a personality thing, I sure don’t know. But I’d swear that some people are broken in their noggins because they don’t seem to even attempt to find a philosophical unity in themselves on how to approach questions.

            I think I stunned a talk therapist once when, after I went on a minor rant about religion not being pick and choose from a variety (I was dumping on UUs), he confronted me with inherent contradictions between my professed faith and certain parts of my life and asked how I squared them.

            I honestly said, “I don’t and that’s part of why I struggle.”

            He seemed shocked that someone would just admit to not having rationalized it.

            1. “I stunned a talk therapist”

              Talk therapy is so last millennia. You should switch over to mime therapy.

                1. That depends on how you stunned her, I suppose. I’ve never tried it myself, but my understanding is that mime therapy is like destruction therapy, but with mimes and wiffleball bats. I suppose it could be done with carp…

    2. Actually, they have less willingness to discuss than the Catholic Church, because churchmen have asked just that question and, in their opinion at least, shown it leads to a contradiction of observed facts.

      The modern sh*theads (as the name was translated to the vernacular above) won’t even stoop to that.

    3. “Trump was the first disrespectable guy who ran for office questioning their premises, but he’s neither the last nor the worst they’re likely to see.”

      They liked him fine when he had to schmooze them and make political donations as the price of doing business. Thought he was a great guy. The best.

      Which actually fits into the theme of the OP extremely well, doesn’t it.

  5. I remember early on, right after Brexit, and I’m asking “So what’s the problem, why is this such a big deal,” and I got the answer that some Brit friend or friend’s daughter had just spent years getting an expensive education in order to work in Brussels. And I thought that was silly because England will still need plenty of people who know how to deal with the EU government. How could the education suddenly not benefit that person?

    But if I look at it as a buy-in to the ruling class and you’ve just removed the possibility of having your identity and future be that *position*, then the personal cost is greater. I still don’t *care* but at least it makes sense that an individual would see this as ruining their individual life. And it makes sense that the person in the US who had friends doing this in Britain would also, despite a lack of personal wealth, view themselves as part of that educated class who ought to run things.

  6. I have found the Eighties BBC programme Yes, Minister and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, invaluable in understanding the operations of the Deep State. Carefully non-partisan and with an eye on the failings of both bureaucrats and politicians, it is a brilliantly observed course of lessons on how we got here.

    Anybody not yet familiar could do far worse than buying the (quite reasonably priced, last I looked) boxed set. Or stroll through the Youtubed archives. You’ll laugh until you cry, you’ll cry until you laugh and you will never, ever, take politicians or bureaucrats seriously again.

    1. A second sample, accompanying the endorsements of Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, both of whom were fans of the show.

      Not sure what they saw in it, frankly.

      1. I ought caution, these are terribly hard to stop watching once you’re started.

        The series is an ongoing instruction manual in the operations of Public Choice Economics

        The British journalist, Alistair Cooke, commenting on the Nobel Prize awarded to James M. Buchanan in 1986, reportedly summarized the public choice view of politicians by saying, “Public choice embodies the homely but important truth that politicians are, after all, no less selfish than the rest of us.”

        presented at a time when recognition of the theory was just breaking through to broader public awareness.

      2. Thatcher was such a big fan of the show that she wrote her own script for a short conversation on the show, and then appeared in it.

    2. }}} and you will never, ever, take politicians or bureaucrats seriously again.

      What? What? Are you insane?

      Who the heck takes politicians and bureaucrats seriously?

  7. This brings up an issue that I think explains the rise of the populists. There are four kinds of people: the educated and credentialed (Group 1), the educated and uncredentialled (Group 2), the uneducated and credentialed (Group 3), and the uneducated and uncredentialled (Group 4).

    It used to be, at least in the United States that there was an unspoken, subconscious bargain: Groups 1 and 3 would be in high positions, with Group 1 keeping Group 3 from doing too much damage, and bringing in people from Group 2 when their expertise was needed, while Group 4 just went about doing their thing. This was not, of course, how things would be ideally, but it served well enough.

    However, sometime in the 20th century (I’m inclined to say during the Progressive Era) this understanding shifted. Group 1 began to believe that Groups 2 and 3 did not exist–that lack of credentials meant lack of education, and that credentials meant education. As a result, they began to let Group 3 run wild and began to shut out Group 2. This process continued until the Internet happened, and Group 2, which had been comprised of largely isolated individuals, started to find each other, and Group 4 began to find out what had been going on.

    Groups 1 and 3, in the meantime, refused to admit what they’d done, refused to admit that things needed to change, and refused to admit to making any mistakes. The result? The current political climate.

    1. I think you are not correct if you are presuming that credentials will save an educated person who dares say that simply handing out more credentials is not a victory condition.

    2. No. You ARE an optimist. It’s worse than that. Group one has mostly disappeared. It’s all group 3 in positions of any power. 3 are threatened by 1 and actively work at pushing them out (trust me on this.) Hence…

      1. Group 1 was always a small part of the world. The old rule of thumb is that 20% of the people do 80% of the work in any organization. As things have changed and we decided that credentialing should not SOLELY be based on ability more and more of 3 have been cranked out instead of just a few Drones of the upper class Twit of the year form.. Heck you can’t hardly even get a C at Harvard or Yale, basic thought being is if you could get in you should get through. And the crap that passes for decent papers at the lesser (2nd and 3rd rank) credentialing institutes wouldn’t have gotten past my 7th grade English teacher (she’d have had you diagramming each sentence to figure out what you did wrong and make you pull words like :Thing”, “Stuff”, “Nice” and “Like”).
        The credentialed group was never super functional but as the functioning parts become more scarce things quickly come apart.
        Our last President seems to be an example of class 3. Part of me wondered/s if there wasn’t a power behind the throne somewhere, but if that were so I’d have expected things actually focused on some result instead of some scattershot of generic socialism (albeit in huge quantities).

        1. Thing is, I suspect that Group 1 is having to spend much more of it’s time trying fix Group 3’s goofs than it has in the past. I’d feel sorry for them, but they kind of brought it on themselves.

            1. The 3’s despise a 1. Why? Because even a mildly competent 1 makes it clear they aren’t doing diddly squat, and in fact that their actions tend to go the wrong way. Also they spend a lot of time constraining the 1 because they THINK their choices are the correct ones. 60Guilders is right, by covering up for the three the 1’s have earned their mess.

              1. Again, a lot of us — note pronoun — didn’t cover up anything. We found it was all 3s with power over us and tried to work with/around them till they kicked us.
                The 1s of the 20s and 30s? Sure. But that’s not my fault.

                1. A rule of thumb I wish folks would keep in mind– when you start punishing a group that is made by intrinsic traits because some members of the group did or didn’t do a thing you thing they should’ve done the opposite with?

                  You’re probably being lazy.

                  It’s silly to go “Oh, hey, at some point the people who actually do the work did work that was supposed to be done by someone else. So everyone who is competent should be forced to keep doing everybody else’s work!”

        2. It is only a matter of time until credentials become more barrier to entry than seal of quality.

          1. In Robert Caro’s short book on writing, “Working”, he writes about his boss at Newsday, Alan Hathaway. Hathaway says to Caro “I didn’t know anyone from Princeton could do digging like this. From now on you do investigative work.”
            Hathaway was a 2, convinced there were only 3’s. This was 70 years ago. Caro was/is a 1. So this is nothing new.

      2. Recent experience with not one but two (2) Canadian banks indicates that this useless-but-credentialed state is spreading from government and infesting the business sector. The sheer incompetence is amazing.

        1. Historically, also see: AIG, Enron, Too Big To Fail — and all o’ that rest.

        2. Not surprising. Long ago when I was a co project lead we had a gent that had been given to us from on high. On paper he looked awesome, Bachelors from respected engineering school, 2 different masters CS related one specifically in Software Engineering from what used to be the Wang Institute. Co lead and I assigned him a task suitable to his alleged skill and set him loose. 3 Day’s later, NOTHING. We took the task from him handed it to a junior newly minted software engineer (but a bright ambitious one) and gave him the simple task that was next in the junior guys queue. Two more days, Junior Guy (JG) had finished the task Alleged Genius (AG) had been given with flying colors. AG had a mishmosh of garbage in APL (a language we didn’t use we told him C) that didn’t work (and couldn’t given my limited knowledge of APL). Co project Lead(CPL) and I tossed that off in about 1/2 day. CPL wanted to complain to the dude (3 levels up) that had stuck us with AG. I had a bit more political savvy then that and managed to suggest to upper management that this dude would be awesome for a new complex project (which was doomed anyhow). That solved our problem. I always figured the AG must have had pictures of the higher up in incriminating positions with a farm animal or something similar.

    3. What I saw, beginning with the early mainstream personal computer explosion and extending through the first decade of the Internet, was that, in tech at least, ability mattered more than credentials so a lot of your Group 2 were doing very well. They had become too valuable to exclude. And the Internet has served to keep them in the mix.
      Of course once Novell & Microsoft became corporations where the bean counters mattered they developed their own credentialism so they could profit from it.

      1. Group 2 always manages to get more than it’s usual share whenever a new thing comes along, mostly because the fact that it’s new means there are no credentials for it, which keeps out Group 3 for the most part and causes Group 1 to keep it’s distance. Once the whatever it is becomes established and credentials start to matter, Groups 1 and 3 take over.

        1. Yes. I avoided the extra credentials. Can’t say the education portion didn’t hurt, or I didn’t use it, even if was only on a micro scale. Later in my career, even as I learned new technology, my resistance to paying for the official credentials via Microsoft (and earlier IBM) testing, did hurt, financially; and in job interviews*. Was one of the minority able to still get work. But I was so done with that “mess”.

          * Couldn’t come up with the correct terminology on the fly during interviews. If had the correct certification credentials, it would have been presumed. Never mind that the work product examples showed the concepts had been used and mastered. I’d worked with credentialed that couldn’t use the concepts without being shown how, repeatably.

      2. I was reading the news at the time and a big problem was anybody who could do wasn’t wasting time teaching, and once those who were learning got past the basics (typically covered by sophomore year college) there was too much money (and hands-on learning) to be gained through employment that there was no reason to lose time completing a degree.

        A degree or credential is only an instrumental goal, something t gain in order to do what you would like; if the cost of winning it exceeds the benefit of having it only idiots will pursue.

  8. 50 years ago, Peter Drucker wrote that the US had a major advantage compared with Europe because we did *not* have a set of “elite” universities which controlled access to key jobs:

    “One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…”

    “It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the strength of American higher education lies in this absence of schools for leaders and schools for followers. It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the engineer with a degree from North Idaho A. and M. is an engineer and not a draftsman. Yet this is the flexibility Europe needs in order to overcome the brain drain and to close the technology gap.”

    But America today has come far closer to granting Grand Ecole status as certifiers of an aristocracy to Harvard Law School (and similar institutions) than it had when Drucker wrote the above.

    1. It is a tribute to the culture of the US Military, then, that it prospers in spite of the Ring Knockers.

      Of course, in their line of work bad management tends to be quickly exposed.

  9. From the linked 2016 post: “Engineers (whose academic training at even second-tier colleges is much more rigorous than that of the journalism major at a big-name school) are arguably closer to artisan Vaishya than to Brahmandarins. They need to build things that actually work, you know.”

    Anecdotal evidence, though, is that a lot of software people (I mean even *real* software people who can actually write difficult code) have adopted Wokeness. Suspect that this is not as true of mechanical, electrical, or civil engineers.

    1. There’s a book about software engineering called “Castles in the Air.” The point was that when you engineer something like a bridge, you have take into account that whatever your ideal steel bridge looks like, it’s going to be built with real steel, that’s going to have flaws, and be built by real people, who every now and then are going to be thinking about their upcoming lunch date and won’t tighten the bolt as much as they should.

      With software, though, you’re building with what’s essentially pure thought, so many software engineers have this nagging feeling that what they’re building OUGHT to be perfect. I can imagine that if you stay in that mentality too long, trying to build the perfect person might start to seem like a good idea.

      1. “many software engineers have this nagging feeling that what they’re building OUGHT to be perfect. I can imagine that if you stay in that mentality too long, trying to build the perfect person might start to seem like a good idea.”

        Have seen this. Especially with those who don’t deliver. Because the project is never perfect.

        Personally, while I delivered my software, it was never perfect. But I could tinker it to “good enough”. I guess my reasoning on the perfect person, is that is impossible, who am I to tinker? It is a lousy idea. As we hear with addicts of all kinds, “They have to want to change. They have to make the effort. They have to take the helping hand. You can not force them.” Why are they trying to force us?

      2. Run into similar with analysts. Mechanics trying to work miracles to get the thicknesses and geometries they try and drive. May have all the experience with software but don’t know one end of wrench from other.

    2. Read the first chapter of Brooks’ “Mythical Man Month”: Software engineers work a lot closer to abstract than other types, and that makes them less rigorous than those who must allow for material limits.

      1. That, and the fact that a fair bit of the time, “throw more hardware at it” does work.

  10. The thing that most amazes me (but does not surprise) about all this is the *legion* (on the evidence, they have to be) of lefty-chic, “right thinking” people who speak and *act* like they’re members of the Brahman-Mandarin-ENArch-Ivylegger “class” — but couldn’t ever manage to pull open the door, much less begin to walk inside (on *either* meritocratic or “right kind of people” grounds).

    For convenience, identify them here (more or less) as the Great Disappointed of that night in November 2016 — one of my friends (then) actually said this event had “shaken her faith in God” — minus, of course, the Real Mover and Shaker crowd here in America.

    It’s not hard to see why you tend to get this kind of provincial stratification as soon as you begin to replace “does the best work” with “wears the Old School Tie” as they used to say in Britain. (Suddenly I hear H. Beam Piper reminding us that a machine “does what it was designed *and built* to do” — in his story titled, fittingly, “Day of the Moron” ca. 1960.)

    But (look at any late-night “comedy” segment now), it’s the entire “thought follower” group that’s (more or less) appropriated the in-group “cachet” or “cred” of the “thought leader” or Brahmandarenarch caste. *Someone* has to watch this stuff — the “elite” couldn’t possibly pull enough ratings alone.

    Having a *small* ruling “elite” lording it over everyone else (as “peasants” or “deplorables”) might be kind-of stable, mostly, for a while. But having a large minority of pseudo-elite hangers-on treating the (majority) rest of society as some kind of defectives, where they’re *not* an isolated elite and even nearly, let’s say, “emulsified” with that “deplorable” balance of society, just cannot be as maintainable or even stay pseudo-credible for long.

    The everyday reality is too inconsistent, too contradictory, too disillusioning in the literal sense. The glamour, in the old magical sense, dispels itself. Which is to say that this “poseur” class, by impersonating the “elite” class, first destroys its mystique and then its stability.

    We’re dealing with nutcases, a mob of nutcases, who believe in fantasy stuff like running an electric power grid on solar and wind power in a dead midnight calm. Or that socialism magically will *not* produce the same results as ever, a national-scale game of Russian Roulette with real bullets and fake bravado.

    And that’s the word I keep hearing, from others and myself: crazy.

    Which is the opposite of credible. And an extinction-level threat to the *real* elite through the same dynamics that otherwise might keep them in charge.

    And that’s about where my answers run out, though the questions within this framework keep coming. *Why* is the “real” elite *self-destructive* enough to allow / encourage the poseurs? Egotism? Blindspots traditional, dogmatic, axiomatic? Intellectual inbreeding to the point of mental paralysis?

    Maybe we should, mostly, just be glad the self-destruct is being pulled…

    1. *Why* is the “real” elite *self-destructive* enough to allow / encourage the poseurs?

      Because the poseurs tell them what they want to hear, reaffirm their prejudices, and buy into their delusions. They are the false mirror that shows them what they so desperately need to see. So long as they can keep their eyes on that mirage, they don’t have to admit that reality exists.
      Not everybody should go to college. Some folks, you send ’em to college and you just wind up with an educated idiot.

    2. I think it comes down to what the Progressive Elite had to do to gather power when the power they had at the end of WWII didn’t allow them control. They were all set to rebuild the Nation along Approved Lines, when the Working Man abandoned them for a split level ranch house in Levittown and a car with tail fins.

      So, they started pulling in minority groups. They’ve stuck onto the Blacks like a plague of ticks, with much the same results. They more or less created ‘feminism’ out of thin (hot) air; Betty Friedan was a Leftist writer with a Smith education and servants when she whined about how bad women had it. They keep pulling in smaller and weirder little cliques, and many of them have no real common ground. And the Elite have to keep pretending all these groups matter, or the whole thing flies apart.

      1. The Working Man was happy because capitalism was working for him. He didn’t have to worry about starvation. His wife didn’t have to hire help or blow her back out trying to keep things clean. The kids didn’t have to go to funerals for their peers ’cause they died of the measles or rubella or chicken pox. And, it seemed that every time the working man looked around, he was seeing things getting better.

        Which, of course, the Progressives had to stop somehow, or hide that things were getting better, because happy, warm people don’t usually flock into the pews of the Marxist Church.

    3. > ratings

      You’re assuming the ratings have some relation to actual viewership.

      I’m pretty sure they’re substantially tweaked in support of Wokeness, if not outright falsified.

      1. Remember all the cord cutters. The last time I looked, ratings had plummeted when one starts thinking about the absolute number of viewers, rather than the relative share of viewers. Audiences are seeking out their preferred shows.

        We stopped watching late night comics about the time David Letterman (remember him?) made abhorrent comments about Palin’s daughter. I once subscribed to the Washington Post, but let it lapse after the opinion page ran the political cartoon with his children as dogs. I’ve stopped listening to any number of musicians, due to stupid comments they’ve made. We stopped watching NFL games due to the management’s asinine wokery.

        It’s only a shame that we were neither NBA fans, nor Blizzard Entertainment consumers. You can’t buycot things you’ve never bought.

        I have no idea why business people think it’s a good idea to alienate at least half their consumers.

        1. Um, sorry. Cruz’s children were depicted as dogs.

          I don’t have a hair trigger for these things, but in each case, it was the last straw, the last item in a long tradition of unbalanced reporting.

          As to books, I find that many modern science fiction/fantasy books are fully into identity victimhood. It leaves me cold. I have learned that few books are worth reading past the first 40 pages.

          Oh, and pet peeve? Female heroines who are “warriors.” Who live to beat people up. You know, I would find that sort of character uninteresting were it a teenaged boy. In a woman, spoiling for your next physical fight, in real life, would mean you’re an unbalanced psychopath. And not in a good way!

          1. Oh yes. I just polished a scene when a real 120 lb weakling woman snarls at the stronger male lead – because he needs temporary control of her magic, NOT because she has waif-fu. Control over anything of hers is, ahem, a touchy subject, for Reasons. Big, bold letter, extra-heavy serif-font Reasons.

        2. Sad Puppies showed us that many formerly-successful authors were more than willing to slag off big chunks of their customer demographic.

        3. The Blizzard thing gets even worse. Not only did Blizzard punish the player (which would have been understandable if the punishment weren’t so draconian), but it also fired the two guys conducting the livestream.

          Instapundit’s got a Twitchy link about a former Blizzard local lead who’s announced he’s swearing off the company. He’s also swearing off Epic, which is owned by Chinese company Tencent, and has recently been trying to muscle into video game digital distribution in a way that is ticking off the players.

  11. It’s fun…for values of fun…to examine the Progressive Elite class in the United States. They’re amazing with words, no doubt about that. But, the magic isn’t working anymore-they were good at the shock and the awe, but people get jaded.

    I can still read, and enjoy, Heinlein and Clarke and Asimov. Stirling and Pournelle and Drake are wonderful. I can barely remember who the “next big thing” in Science Fiction was five, six years ago. Their books make so little of an impression on me.
    I can read-and enjoy-most of Warren Ellis’ work, despite aging badly in a few cases (my iPhone, minus a few special features, can blow the doors off the phones of the Global Frequency). I had to remind myself that if I burned all the Tom King comic books in the comic book store, I’d have to buy them. And, don’t get me started on Kieran Gillan (absolute coward).
    George Lucas took a bog-standard Hero’s Journey story, threw in Flash Gordon, added a few twists, and you have a movie trilogy people still watch to this day. Same with Peter Jackson. JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson wanted to have “it’s a TWISSST!” Mystery Box storytelling written by a pretzel maker with Tourettes and trying not to offend the perpetually offended Twittermites-and they may have killed an evergreen franchise in the process.
    (This actually pisses me off, Brick was a fairly interesting movie and I wanted to see more of Rian’s work. Which only went downhill from there…)

    But, the Progressive Elite has to like the Progressive products, because they tell the Right Kind Of Story, and they tell it so very poorly these days.

    1. Thing is, TFA was halfway decent (better than the prequels, anyway) and had the potential to be the springboard for a good trilogy.
      Then TLJ came along and tacked an asinine C plot that had no effect on the overall story and a less annoying but still pointless B plot onto a pretty good A plot and wrecked it.

      1. The thing about the prequel trilogy…

        Let’s be fair. Fans of the original trilogy had expectations that could probably not be fulfilled this side of Heaven for the prequel movies. This wasn’t saying that they were good, just that you saw the difference in the semi-jaded 30-something Star Wars fan that grew up with Han shooting first, and his son that had just seen the coolest thing ever.

        TFA? I said that with the addition of about fifteen minutes of scenes and some dialog editing, it would have been twice as good. TLJ? That nobody looked at this and said, “it’s cheaper to redo the whole movie than to let this…thing out into the world” says terrible things about the movie industry these days.

        Yea, TLJ killed my interest in the movies. They showed the man behind the curtain and there’s no urge to try and enjoy it there.

        1. The problem with the Prequels was simple.

          Lucas destroyed the “Glorious Image” shown in the first movies about the Jedi.

          Instead of showing the tragedy of the destruction of the Great Republic and the Great Jedi, Lucas showed that they deserved to be destroyed.

          1. Which is a valid point as well. I agree that George Lucas had to make the point that the Jedi deserved what they got, and I think that’s what pisses off fans the more.

          2. That, and I think a lot of us wanted to be somewhat SORRY about Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, instead of rooting for Obi-Wan to shove him off a walkway in the first five minutes of the second film. (6 year old Anakin was all right–and what the fandom did to that kid was NOT okay–but ‘adult’ Anakin should have been taken out back and shot, not given lots of weapons and power.)

            1. With the first trilogy having the redemption of Vader as a major theme (kind of wishy as it was, but doable if you squint) they then turn around and in the prequels make him utterly unredeemable.

              I don’t care how manipulated he was being, there are certain lines you just do not cross and have any hope of redemption.

              1. Well, Vader’s “redemption” was somewhat easy since he didn’t have to live afterwards with the people he had terrorized in the name of the Empire (or live with the relatives of the people he had killed).

                But yes, having him kill the Jedi children was a “step too far”.

    2. You forgot Niven.

      If you would like some good authors to check out, which ignore PC ness, AFAIK….

      The Late Robert Conroy (weak on plotting, but otherwise decent AH author who picked a wide variety of inflection points OTHER THAN WWII and the Civil War

      Jack Campbell — Good space opera but with better plotting. But he also does some good fantasy

      Christopher Nuttall — both good SF and good Fantasy. He has multiple story series, and can often be found on Amazon with an early book in a series for a low price, to see if you like the series or his writing. Start with either Schooled in Magic or Ark Royal as a series, depending on which appeals more, SF or Fantasy. But he’s one of the most prolific guys around, having something like 125 books out as I write this.

      Taylor Anderson — Good Military SF/Fantasy/AH — Assume an Earth where the Dino-killer never happened. Assume that lemurs, on Madagascar, developed sentience and tool-using. Now Assume that, occasionally, some weird storm system on our Earth occasionally tossed ships and people from our earth to that earth. Finally, assume that a WWI-era Destroyer, fleeing the Japanese Asiatic fleet in early 1942, encounters one of these storms, and, after crossing, encounters a sea battle between the Raptor-based Grik and the Lemurians — both of which have about an 1800s era sailing tech.

      S.M.Stirling. He’s been around a while, but continues to do good SF/Fantasy.

      Dennis E. Taylor — some of the purist SF in the bunch.
      “We Are Legion (We Are Bob)”
      Noted tech guy sells his company for millions. Signs up the next day to save his brain using cryotech… gets killed by a car 15 minutes later… Wakes up in a dystopian future as a disembodied machine intelligence, with the goal of running an interstellar slowboat/ramscoop searching nearby stars for livable planets. Seach on “The Bobiverse”, if you want to know more.

      Daniel H. Wilson — he is a world-class authority on robotics, and started SF with Robopocalypse, and its sequel. But he has other tech-oriented stories which are quite good as well

      Walter Jon Williams — Start with Dread Empire’s Fall (The Praxis), but he has several different series which are good… His Dagmar Shaw stories, which are very very near future SF, are good to0.

      Marc Alan Edelheit — Amazon had to invent a new category for him — Military Fantasy, which, granted, other books could fall into but his is purest of both… Roman Legions, on another planet, with elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and dragons. Three different series with the same rough context — (Captain) Stiger, (Lieutenant) Stiger, and Karus (How the Legions got to this planet). You can start with either of the two Stiger books, though I do recommend switching to the “Early” Stiger books (“Stiger”) afterwards, if you read “Stiger’s Tigers” first.

      1. “S.M.Stirling. He’s been around a while, but continues to do good SF/Fantasy.”

        What I like about Stirling, is he sneaks in what appears to be PC, without whacking one over the head. “A bit of Testosterone poisoning” indeed. Who knew one could end up liking Tiffany or Sandra (as characters); or feeling sorry (ish) for Norman? Then too the whole noble savage bit where “must preserve the native population” contingent wipes out said population in one little, uh, “feast?” … That is just a couple of examples. Check out the Emberverse (Change series) – 15 books, starting with Dies the Fire, and flip side Nantucket series – 3 books, starting with Island in the Sea of Time. Or given that both are based off the same “event”, 18 books in all; plus short stories.

  12. Nitay: If you are interested in alternate history, I would recommend one thing — WWII and the Civil War are, if not “mined out”, then, at the least, a forest of mousetraps (i.e., if you build a better mousetrap vs. you cannot see the forest for the trees).

    While I do like alternate history, one author I appreciated a great deal (though his plotting was very ER Burroughs-esque) was Robert Conroy (, who hooked into alternate inflection points other than the two popular ones, along with Flint’s Ring of Fire, which, again, uses a very different point of change.

    Sure the Civil War and WWII are flashy, but they really really are hardly the only ones. Conroy wrote 7 books using totally different inflection points, and even his WWII/Civil war choices included a couple unusual ones (the USSR does not stop at Berlin… Goebbels continues the war after the “end” via guerrilla operations from the Alps, Japan still refuses to surrender after Hiroshima /Nagasaki)

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