A Time For Black Swans


A Black Swan Event (the expectation at least proverbially being that all swan’s are snow-white) is defined as something happening that no one could have anticipated from what went on before.

The problem I have with these is that it’s almost 100% not true that no  one could have anticipated them.  Take this list for instance:  5 Top Black Swan Events In History.

For instance, I think if our agencies were able to talk to each other, the 9/11 attack might have been thwarted.

I also think only a blind person, or one determined to believe propaganda would fail to get that the USSR WOULD collapse in the near future. I mean, maybe people less jaded than my 14 year old self actually believed the Soviet Life glossy photos. I know CIA agents did, but they’re a particularly gullible breed, after all.

Which in turn brings us to the point of this post: black swan events are not precisely unforeseeable.  They are unforeseeable for a certain set of people, in a certain set of circumstances.

So, say, for the sake of argument, that a king-emperor has forbidden a certain alien religion in his planet and therefore has made any mention of that religion punishable with death.

Chances are that he hasn’t actually stopped the spread of the religion. He merely sent it underground, and MORE IMPORTANTLY made himself blind to its continuous existence and spread.

I’ve spoken in the past about the ridiculousness of the times we live in, in which “nobody knows anything” — btw, I suspect that it was true of most of the modern era, but our ancestors thought they knew. Since there was total control of the news by left-leaning outfits, the “news” might be bovine excreta, but since there was no break in the propaganda, people would think they knew the truth (much like our college students) — and about how on anything from population numbers (even in our own country, let alone globally) we’re flying by instruments to oh, natural resources.

I’ve talked in the past about how this is a human tendency. We like to at least pretend everything is going according to plan, and therefore if we can’t put out the fire, we break the fire alarm, and go to sleep.

What I haven’t talked about is how totalitarians of EVERY STRIPE, including our own left, want to silence not just fire alarms, but even alarm clocks.

Look, perhaps it is because today’s left, is at war with reality. Take its dogmatic shibboleths — men and women are exactly alike and there is no difference (for instance) — or that holocaust survivors have “White privilege” or that the most pampered, catered to and appeased women, in an American society that’s effectively a matriarchy are the victims of “patriarchy”.

Because their dogma varies so much from the truth, they feel a need to control the language, how people think, and ultimately everything. And if they can’t control you, they try to silence you. Hence “cancel culture.”

The problem with this, as we’re seeing with China, is that if you suppress information, you’re going to end up in the middle of black swan events with disturbing reality. And they might very well be lethal to a large portion of humanity.


Well, because the world is interconnected now. True isolation might be impossible. Which means not just viruses, but violent criminals and some day perhaps weapons of mass destruction can and do cross back and forth.

I’ve said before that it’s impossible to have a welfare state and open borders.

I’m going to announce another of those things that don’t work together: we cannot have an interconnected world, with trade and border crossing with secrecy, distortion and thought control.

Totalitarianism is incompatible with modern technology and global civilization.

Countries and groups that insist on being totalitarian should be isolated and limited until they’ve proven they can be trusted. By which of course I don’t mean they should be “cancelled” but that all interaction with them needs to be careful, limited and on the basis of “Verify and don’t trust.”

Because people at war with reality have set themselves up for black swan events. And what they don’t see coming could kill them.

And if we’re associated with them, it could kill us too.

344 thoughts on “A Time For Black Swans

  1. That list of “Black Swan Events were Hubris and/or bad design/decision making. Anyone who knows the human condition would be unsurprised by them.
    Well, a little surprised the Japanese were silly enough to have their backups set in such a way they were likely to go first.

    1. In fairness, the backups were both higher than the highest anticipated tides, and planned to have been obsoleted by then. What they didn’t anticipate was the earthquake that produced the 100 year wave also dropping the sea wall by about a meter, not did they plan on environmental groups blocking the upgrade to the passively cooled design.

      Had either of those events gone differently Fukashima would not have happened.

      1. Yes, but always plan for closer to worst case, than close to best case.
        If anyone should be familiar with quakes and what changes they can make, it’s the Japanese.
        Though I am not a fan of lawfare, they should sue the orgs that protested, as well as every individual who took part.

        1. Though I am not a fan of lawfare, they should sue the orgs that protested, as well as every individual who took part.

          Live by the sword, die by the sword; I’d stick to the organizations, though.

          1. In some cases persons need to be set upon as well. maybe not this one, but oft times someone more famous than intelligent adds their notoriety to something like this and they need to get hammered as well.
            A pile of claims costing the group individually might make them think for a change. Doubt it though.

        2. That’s the curse of policies designed by lawyers instead of engineers.

          The latter think in terms of safety margins, the former in terms of exploitable loopholes.

          1. But engineers think they have the capacity to really fix human beans and social systems.

            There’s a place for everyone. Ideally the laws would be made by a cross-section of the country’s main skill sets.

      2. Actually, the design of Fukushima would have never made it past the old AEC, much less its successor the NRC. They would have been forced to move the diesels higher and get all the switchboards and batteries out of the basement to upper levels. There’s a lot more to this, but you can say corruption played a large part.

      1. And still deny anything that could be credited to him. though what he really did was speed up the inevitable, and make it impossible to sweep under the rug of the time.

  2. Insightful comments. But the reality we must face is that all governments (especially the major ones) are run by and for monsters.

    By monsters, I mean sociopaths at least, and out right psychopaths in all too many cases. It is in governments nature to be secretive, and the more authoritarian a system becomes, the more its actions must be hidden from its population.

    Other governments of course know much of the truth (they all spy on each other) but they have their own secrets to keep, and thus remain silent. Who gets to determine who is to be isolated? Those with the most power? From history and experience, they are also likely to have been corrupted, and have a vast number of secrets of their own. Once one starts an honest examination of “Black Swans”, one has to be quite careful, least one find out just how terribly deep that rabbit hole truly is.

    1. No. NOT ALL governments are run for and by monsters.
      Sorry, that’s the “Both sides are the same” fallacy. There are few things that annoy me more.
      During the cold war it was used to obscure the difference between the free market and communism.
      Nowadays it’s used the same way, actually.
      So are you a dupe or a monsters?

      1. To be fair, the Dims have been working for a long time to make sure that Republicans in federal office were just the battered spouse wing of the Uniparty. Thus a center-lefty like Dubya being smeared as right-as-Hitler.

        I suspect that the open mockery and suppression of TEA activism, instead of letting them try to reform the worst RINO tendencies, was a large part of why Trump won the primary Thunderdome. Watching Romney crush O’Bummer in the first debate, then job so hard for the rest of his campaign that it’s pretty damned plausible that he was a bought-and-paid-for ringer, also helped convince people that a ‘nice’ candidate wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

        The Dim and their media shills didn’t realize how much they were pissing off the undecided middle with their premature victory lap.


        1. The elite are always taken by surprise when the commons don’t do what is expected of them, and never more than at the point in the cycle when the elite have almost completely lost touch with the commons.

          Shortly before the elite fall, or are forced to change.

      2. You are conflating ideals with reality. Reality tends to exist on a continuum. One can be on the lessor side and still be a monster. Greater and lessor evils are still evil. Government by its nature, attracts and self selects for the type of person who should never have power over others. As for the “free market” its an ideal that doesn’t mix well with coercive State power. What exists in much of the west, is actually a “mixed market”. Crony Capitalism is the natural result of the capture of a government, by those with the resources and connections to own its politicians, and their minions. Mix in aspects of socialism and the corruption should be obvious. The “Cold War” was a series of illusions and delusions that was useful to keep the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) fully funded. That is why there must always be a Great Enemy. All we lack is an official Two Minute Hate. But the corporate mass media will no doubt get around to that eventually. Collectivism of what ever type tends to be dangerous to a peoples life, liberty and property. Might I suggest some study of Tom Woods, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig Von Mises?

            1. Oh, I’m MUCH worse than a mere libertarian Sarah. I’m one of those horrible Neil ists ^^ I’m a LONG time fan and follower of L.Neil Smith. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? ^^ Ron Paul is at best a minarchist. His heart is in the right place, and he is a man of great principle and wisdom, which is what I respect. But he is not a libertarian.

        1. And you’re conflating idiocy with reality. Look, it’s been a trying day and it would take me much longer to fisk you than it took you to spew nonsense.
          OTOH maybe I’ll fisk you next week. Who knows?

          1. I’ll look forward to that…I could use a good fisk… ^^ Sarah, none of this was meant to be taken personally. There is a great deal to unpack and its taken me many decades of study and thought to arrive at the place of total confusion that I currently inhabit. ^^ Take care.

      3. I’ll keep reading through the rest, but if all governments truly were run by monsters President George Washington would have instead been George the First.

        1. And even many of monster have some standards. Rule the world, or a country? I’m a “monster”.. sure, I can be rather slow, but that doesn’t make me an idiot!

    2. ???

      Governments are just people. No more, no less.

      They’re run by people, for people reasons. Some are good, some are bad, they’re all different levels of fail. (Because humans aren’t perfect.)

        1. Driving automobiles brings out the worst in people, yet we have not forbidden it.

          Okay, being crowded into subways, buses and light rail also brings out the worst in people. So does World Cup soccer, religious faith and all other human activity.

          1. And? What does that have to do with BJ’s or my points?

            I wasn’t arguing ancap here — though that would be one of the arguments for it — I’m objecting to the idea that “governments are just people”, which is only slightly less misleading than “socialism is just what we choose to do together”.

            1. In the words of Samuel Johnson, “I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”

              However, felling indulgent today, I direct your attention to my remarks at 12:09 pm.

          2. same as every other activity

            Not so fast Lucy. This is one of those “some x are y” problems, isn’t it?

            Does Democratic (and republican, though we haven’t really been that for a while) politics bring out the BEST in people?

            I’m other words how often and how reliably does this best / worst get drawn out by this activity? Replace “politics” with “pimping” or “making whiskey” and you can perceive what I’m getting at.

        2. Except that they don’t.

          They really, really do not.

          To believe you do, you must assume that basically all of humanity is so freaking stupid that they will very deliberately choose a worse option than doing nothing at all.

          You must believe that two or three families that group up, set basic rules and fend off violent thugs are worse than the violent thugs.

          It’s possible to recognize that first-assume-a-perfect-angel-government doesn’t work without driving off into the far ditch.

          1. To believe you do, you must assume that basically all of humanity is so freaking stupid that they will very deliberately choose a worse option than doing nothing at all.

            ObSnark: why are you betting against stupidity?

            You are assuming a hell of a lot of conscious thought directly controlling how society works. An odd assumption for an anti-authoritarian.

            I don’t assume what you claim.

            I assume that most people in general won’t actually give it much thought outside of their and their family’s personal affairs (and they really shouldn’t *have* to, but that option doesn’t seem to be realistic).

            I assume that an ample portion of the people in the government will be virulently unthinking in the form of the jobsworth.

            I assume that there will be another ample (and overlapping) portion that don’t care, or believe in Laws Uber Alles and thus will implement whatever is passed down.

            I assume that there will be a variable portion of sociopaths. How dangerous they are depends on the overall health of the government and society.

            But unless you are constantly kicking out or otherwise tamping down the sociopath contingent it will slowly eat and corrupt everything. If all that doesn’t meet the definition of “But the problem is that governments reliably bring out the worst in people, and select for the worst people.’ then I don’t know what would meet the definition.

            1. Ian, will you please stop attempting to argue with what you think my motives are, and what I should think based on your assumptions, and bother to respond to what I actually said?

              Or, failing in that, support your original assertion?

              Because what you actually said can be boiled down to “well, *I* think so!”

              1. will you please stop attempting to argue with what you think my motives are, and what I should think based on your assumptions,

                No more than you did.

                and bother to respond to what I actually said?

                I did. In detail. I even went out of my way to do it point by point because there never fails to be miscommunication.

                Or, failing in that, support your original assertion?

                See above.

                Because what you actually said can be boiled down to “well, *I* think so!”

                Bloody Hell.

                I knew I needed to spell things out. I didn’t realize that any figure of speech whatsoever would be misunderstood. The “I assume…” format is clearly a figure of speech in response to your claims of what I’m assuming.

                As for the actual content of each statement? Uh….. have you ever dealt with any government or bureaucracy? Heard any news? Read any history? Hell, read any of the founding documents of this country? The founders took some slight interest in dealing with this problem.

                Er, sorry, let me remove the figure of speech before it is misunderstood: The founders spent most of their “design time” trying to prevent these problems.

                1. Oh, you’re on this kick again.

                  Sorry, I’d mistakenly thought you were actually going to do something as crazy as support your crazy assertions.

                  Carry on.

                2. OK, this is getting into an ad hominem argument. Cease and desist. Ad hominem arguments are on “Skippy’s List” in the FAQ, and are not acceptable. Argue ideas and facts, please.

                  This applies to everyone, not just the comment this is replying to.

                  1. Agreed.

                    For a countervailing fact… The DMV!!! in this State – Arizona – has reformed. Friendly people (at least at the public interface), efficient service, quick service (unless all service windows are open and occupied – and then they start sending people out to triage “simple” from “complicated”), and this on fees and taxes that have risen less than the rate of inflation.

                    No, I have no idea how they did it, sans the use of rather bloody measures – but I make sure to compliment them whenever I have to go there now.

                    1. And a fine thing you do, too. There is rarely any ill in complimenting people who are doing good. It can make the world a better place.

                      Side note, it has been… some time since I’ve been cursed for saying “May God bless you.” as I’ve avoided college campi and state capitols for a few years that *might* have something to do with it, but I like to think of it as… progress. *grin*

                    2. Partially thinking Arizona’s done it by moving a lot of the stuff to the Service Arizona portal; getting people out of the lines at the DMV altogether.

                    3. They’ve done well in Texas too, with this kind of thing. An on-line portal for renewing auto registrations. Can set appointments for renewing driver’s licenses. Only had to wait about five minutes to meet at a window – and another five minutes to complete.
                      And the main post office here has very friendly and efficient staff.
                      Government services here can be done well…

                  2. It isn’t ad hominem, it is rising frustration with the situation where I can say “The Sky is blue”, and Foxfier promptly jumps down my throat about why I’m accusing people of turning the sky mauve.

                    It would be one thing if this were a common occurrence; I’ve tried to figure out where I’m in the wrong (part of being the fool is to not see one’s own folly after all). But between other people here, other people I know, people I know IRL, and random conversations, there is only one other person I fail to communicate with this reliably.

                    To reverse the saying: “If everyone you meet is an ass, you are the ass. If you meet an ass you met an ass”.

                    1. To elaborate on that slightly: aside form that one other person, the only places where I run into this degree of miscommunication are attempts to talk about economics with communists, or guns with grabbers.

                      At some point you can’t stop your noggin’ from joggin’.

          2. The key here is coercion. The families grouped up as their own choice. The attacking thugs initiated violence and should be dealt with violently. There is a big difference.

            1. *points gun at BJ’s head*
              Give me your wallet.

              Hey, you can’t fight back, I haven’t initiated violence. Just threatened it.

              First hit is free. And because I’m small and weak, there will not be a second one.

              Good heavens, no wonder you go on and on about folks needing to study more and reconsider their assumptions. Projection.

          3. Stupid? No. Ignorant and lacking the time/energy/motivation, to critically examine some of the most basic principles? Yes. Very much so. Couple that with willful blindness to the contradiction between words and deeds, (based on fear) and you have a snap shot of the typical human being. That reality is why kingdoms, empires and nation state governments, have continued to exist for all of human history.

              1. Fear. Its one of the State and its minions primary tools. Its a hardwired response pattern that has been put to good use by those who seek to dominate and control people and populations.

            1. “In order to purse these rights, governments are instituted among men.” Anarchism is as nonsensical and based on idealistic unreality as socialism (and the “withered-away state” that is supposed to come about in successor Communism). Hobbes was correct about the fallen nature of man. Especially in large, unrelated groups.

        3. Exactly. Given how the system is setup, the only wonder is that matters aren’t even worse than they are. When a system of power is established that self selects for sociopaths and out right psychopaths, all the while corrupting and tainting anything it touches, one has to wonder what it would take to shake people out of their illusions and delusions.

      1. Exactly. Governments are just groups of people. People who think they know what is best for everyone else, and are willing to use the coercive power of the State to impose their will on everyone. Even if they start out as semi good people with good intentions, the vast majority do not stay that way. Power corrupts. One of the very few exceptions to that is Ron Paul. If we had several hundred of him, I doubt we’d be in our current sorry situation.

        1. People who think they know what is best for everyone else

          False; or, if you define it broadly enough, no more so than you and in many cases less so.

          and are willing to use the coercive power of the state to impose their will on everyone.

          I think I may have identified the quirk I’d half recognized….
          I like the “coercive power of the state” when it’s doing its job— laws against killing me and taking my stuff are rather high up on that list of justified use of coercive power.

          Power corrupts.

          1) That’s a platitude
          2) That’s in inaccurate platitude, as the original had to do with double standards.


          Ron Paul?

          Doctor I’m-gonna-lard-up-this-bill-and-vote-against-it-so-I-get-that-lovely-fat-but-can-preen Paul?
          Good heavens.

          1. People who think they know what is best for everyone else

            False; or, if you define it broadly enough, no more so than you and in many cases less so.

            BJ: You make many assumptions there. How else can one define those who seek power over others?

            and are willing to use the coercive power of the state to impose their will on everyone.

            I think I may have identified the quirk I’d half recognized….
            I like the “coercive power of the state” when it’s doing its job— laws against killing me and taking my stuff are rather high up on that list of justified use of coercive power.

            BJ: No. I have no interest what so ever in State power. It taints everything it touches. I take it you believe that its not possible to have a system based on traditions and personal responsibility? Backed by everyone being armed and experienced in the use of their weapons? I believe it was RAH himself who stated something like an armed society is a polite society.

            Power corrupts.

            1) That’s a platitude
            2) That’s in inaccurate platitude, as the original had to do with double standards.

            BJ Why is it a platitude? Because its a basic truth of human existence.


            Ron Paul?

            Doctor I’m-gonna-lard-up-this-bill-and-vote-against-it-so-I-get-that-lovely-fat-but-can-preen Paul?
            Good heavens.

            Yes Ron Paul. One of the very few people who has spent decades in Mordor on the Potmac, and come out with his principles intact.

              1. Well, at least you are using the current definition. Yes, I’m one of those vile creatures that believes that people should not be coerced/threatened for the Greater Good™, Far from the strawman of seeking impossible ideals, many of us simply believe that people working together out of choice, rather than coercion is a better way to structure a society.

                1. You’re the guy who thinks that his rights will be safe if only the scary boogieman of the eeeeevil coersion was not around.

                  Yeah, no, repackaged communism isn’t for me, thanks. I recognize a sucker bet when I see one that obvious.

              2. Nah, the ideal human is a perfect copy of what they believe themselves to be.

                Everybody wants exactly what they want, right now; if they don’t, they are wrong. And everyone agrees with the definitions in their head…..

            1. RP was a self serving lying idiot who was either as racist as the leftoids claimed, or too stupid to realize those he was allowing to write in his name were such. In either case it shows he should not have been allowed in office, and that leaves off the pig stacking he did on bills he knew would pass so he could vote against them. Rand is often too much his father, but luckily is more often NOT. The only thing anyone finds more annoying than Ron are his acolytes who wandered around spouting the stupid. They are the “Right’s” equivalence of the leftoid base. Unthinking, logic bereft, and lacking a sense of reality, akin to pigeons playing chess.

                1. Um…. serious engagement, or raw entertainment value?

                  Because for serious engagement, Ronulans sometimes touch base in reality; for raw entertainment value, Larouchies are just fun, on par with “who would win, Vader or Starscream?”

          1. All? No, I quite agree that all of them have not been as damaging and dangerous as some we’ve seen over the last few decades. Jefferson for example. But even he, in his later writings, admitted that he had done many things that on second thought he should not have. Keep in mind that was long before the trend that started later, that vested ever more power in the office of the president.

    3. Faux cynicism is an ill-fitting suit.

      The problem, as Milton Friedman (and this nation’s Founders) would note, is NOT having sociopaths governing, but in having such power invested in governments that sociopaths can give their animus rein.

      Government, like fire, is a useful servant but must be tightly curtailed. To eschew its benefits in light of its hazards is false economy.

      1. Best of all is to entice one and all to worthwhile and worthy ends. You will not often find angels in public office. If your sociopath is given enducement to do right and keep the peace while not pilfering the public purse then all will benefit.

        1. I’m curious about how many angels you’ve met outside of politics? 😉

          1. In all honestly, two.

            One whose story is not mine to tell.

            The other was family. Dead thirteen years this spring. Never complained. To anyone. Ever. Always helped when he could. Lived a life of good example and improved the lives of everyone he touched. Humble. Never bragged. Never shirked. Gave the world nothing less than his best.

            Such men do not make one feel lesser for their existence. They are instead an example of what a man can become on this earth should he commit to it.

            But he never ran for office. Not that I know of. *grin*

            1. We have a running …not quite joke in the family, Dad was not rich like his peers in government service because he was not corrupt and did not take bribes. During his last visit he joked that he should think about starting to take some bribes, because he was getting old. After Dad died I quipped that his death was God saying “Oh no you don’t, buddy!”

      2. Faux? One can hardly be aware of real history (world and national) without coming to the conclusions I’ve stated. Coercive State power is what attracts the worst types of humans. Corrupted systems keep them in power. Two rules define the illusion/delusion that is the great God Democracy. One; I don’t care who votes as long as I pick the candidates. Two, those who cast the votes determine nothing. Those who count the votes determine everything. Put those two together and one can control any popularity contest (election).
        Thats not even getting into why 51 people get to tell 49 what to do. On examination, majority rule is simply mob rule dressed up in a suit coat. Murray Rothbard was fond of saying something like Government is a gang of thieves writ large. To which I always added, and murderers. But Rothbard was always more charitable than I am.

        1. You mean your cynicism is real? How trite.

          You seem to have stopped reading after the first two words.

          Quoting Rothbard and von Mises around here gains you nothing, as neither amounted to anything of consequence, idealists who failed to move more than a few juvenile idealists.

          The fact that governmental power is subject to abuse does not render that power unnecessary. As has been written:

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …

          Emphasis definitely added.

          1. The problem Paulites ignore, of course, is how to secure these rights without government. Sadly, reliance on the kindness of strangers has a unfortunate track record.

            1. Sadly, there is a remnant of Idiot Utopian Anarchism inside Libertarian, and a similar stupid assumption that possesses the Marxist- that people unfettered by rules will simultaneously move towards a perfect sort of general selflessness.
              A government to enforce the Rule of Law is a necessary evil, otherwise you get tribalism, warlordism, and an eventual move towards Rule of Man.

            2. Kindness? Hardly. Its more relying on tradition, and the fact that everyone is armed and trained in the use of their weapons. I believe it was RAH that once said An armed society is a polite society. One starts from the foundation principles. You own yourself and your works. Then add in the ZAP/NAP and traditions of responsibility. You do realize that one can be a nationalist without worshiping the State?

              1. I’m sorry — I mistook you for a person with capacity for comprehension of literary allusion. My mistake.

                If you cannot recognize the ironic usage of the quoted phrase I do not think we can converse. I disdain to reduce my arguments to their most tedious components. As you’ve yet to address the passage emphasized from the citation above I can only conclude your aversion to engaging the severe limitations of the philosophy you spew. That philosophy is not of this world and cannot operate.

          2. Interesting. Its quite unusual for people to despise both Rothbard and Mise. Its usually one or the other. But anyone who actually believes that both achieved nothing, is either ignorant of both, or blinded by a certain ideology. In either case I suspect further conversation would be pointless.

              1. Might I recommend the same to you? It seems that its not just the Progs who have no taste for perspectives that differ from theirs. I’m rather familiar with the ideologies and patterns of thought expressed by all too many people. Perhaps I’ve grown less patient than I was in my younger days. Or perhaps I’ve seen many of these mistakes before. In any event, I always attempt to never be thoughtlessly rude.

                1. Nothing to do with taste. You have a case to make it, PLEASE make it.
                  As for thoughtlessly rude, you’ve given how many replies over the last hour?
                  And none of them ANYTHING but nose in the air lecturing as though we were your intellectual inferiors.
                  Thoughtlessly rude? It POURS from you.

                  1. If that is your perception, then perhaps the fault is my own. I was under the impression that I was speaking to people who shared some of my interests and perspectives. This is my normal manner of conversation, so if it has offended you, it was entirely unintended. Case? The case that a coercive government is bad for a peoples life, liberty and property? Entire books have been written on that theme. As for the volume, I’ve simply been replying as I’ve read through the responses. Is that considered rude here? If so, you again have my apology. I’m well out on the spectrum, so some times I miss cues that are obvious to others. Take care.

                    1. The case that a coercive government is bad for a peoples life, liberty and property?

                      Your argument has been a touch more than that, it has also asserted that ALL government is inherently coercive and thus illegitimate. You’ve ignored arguments to the contrary and offered nothing resembling a viable alternative to government.

                      Thus participants here find your arguments mere whinging offering nothing of substance.

                      Your obvious inability to acknowledge that renders engagement futile, and your multiple reiterations of the same juvenile criticisms achieved repetitiousness amounting to rudeness. You’ve demonstrated you have nothing to say and say it ad infinitum.

                      You are a bore, which is the essence of rudeness.

                2. … no taste for perspectives that differ“?

                  You err — it is not that your philosophy differs it is that you’ve clearly not yet thought it through.

                  You further err in presuming “the ideologies and patterns of thought” expressed are as you think them, as you clearly have not read the responding arguments, preferring to assume the straw-men to whom you are more comfortable responding.

                  As previously noted: argument is pointless because your mind is fixed.

                1. He’s also usually interesting. Yes, he has his blind nooks. So do I.
                  And I want to apologize to the regulars. If I start slinging profanity around, keep in mind there’s things going on in our lives right now that are taking every.last.spoon I ever had. Nothing fatal yet, but that is one of the possibilities on the table and appointments aren’t being made as fast as I’d like.
                  Unfortunately, when I’m out of spoons I respond to people assuming stupid (not truly stupid, that’s different and I can be patient with that) in very non-nice ways.
                  If you guys think I went off on someone without reason, and/or am being disproportionately aggressive, and you’re a REGULAR who knows me, pm me and let me know.
                  I probably won’t be “myself” for the next three months.
                  And to give you an impression how bad this is, I have to queue the insty posts early, because by 8 pm I suddenly become unable to process more than about two paragraphs. That’s probably the post-viral syndrome, but the other stuff going on isn’t helping.
                  And btw, I’m not sure I’m making sense at insty as is.
                  This is the second day since the beginning of this year that I woke up naturally and didn’t feel like I needed caffeine on IV just to come downstairs and have coffee.
                  And on top of two long-dragging and worrisome situations, AND a viral infection that keeps looping back and making me exhausted, Murphy has been much with us in the form of everything that we hoped would hold another year breaking down.
                  This is not precisely a whine. These times happen in our lives.
                  It is however a “watch if I start acting really weird.” kind of like what they tell you with some meds.
                  In me, attempts to fight depression usually come out as anger first.

                  1. FWIW, you just seem tired.

                    Hell, I feel tired, and KNOW I’ve got less tolerance for folks blowing smoke right now, and don’t get me started on the really obvious manipulation.

                    RES has fun, and it’s with folks, most times.

                    1. What Foxfier said. Heck, Sarah; you have a ton of things you are getting done it looks like, but it’s looking (to me, from afar) like it’s just the middle part of wrestling through, and I hope that you are able to get a bit of self-care in, even if it’s just a mug of your warm drink of preference while working at the keyboard. (That’s my barest minimum level, personally.)

                  2. Now you’re just embarrassing me. My Nook’s battery no longer seems willing to hold a charge, so I’m thinking of purchasing a PaperWhite to not read (still a devotee of arborcide).

                    My read is you’re merely short-tempered, a condition often exacerbated by certain types of idiots who, while claiming, “I read! I study!” are incapable of answering the question, “But do you understand?”

                    If you’ve had any relative of the Upper Respiratory Infection that assaulted Beloved Spouse and myself, its after-effects are long-lingering and pretty much what you’ve described. We’ve both experienced significant disruption of sleep patterns, with overnight sleep typically curtailed: waking after four hours instead of customary six or seven, crashing in late afternoon or early evening for a two to three hour nap. I can offer no therapeutic advice except to obsess minutely over every little aspect of your health.

                  3. What’s the phrase? Something about “Not suffering fools lightly”?

                    That’s all that I’m seeing you doing and sometimes the fools deserve it. 😀

                  4. Three blind nooks,
                    Three blind nooks.
                    They all went after the Fisherman’s wife,
                    She cut off their tales with an EMP pulse
                    Three blind nooks,
                    Three blind nooks.

                2. Awl, you’re just saying that because you’ve seen how I like to needle folks. It helps maintain our close-knit community.

            1. I don’t always agree with RES, but he has a deep fund of knowledge and facts and a good mind to work with it, and I’ve NEVER found one of his arguments not worse considering.
              While most of what you’re saying goes between truisms and a mock world weariness that makes me think you’re about fourteen.
              Look, L. Neil Smith is not an idiot. And if you still read him, you should have got beyond the pablum stage.
              If you haven’t…. well…
              Things that drop out of your typing fingers like “People need government because of fear” are, to put it mildly, insane.
              Sure, government is force. Sure, you might be afraid, not of your government, but of those guys over the road.
              BUT if you think those guys and your guys can drop aggression at the same time and all sing “give peace a chance” AGAIN you’re thinking of humans as the proverbial cow of uniform mass.
              None of your ripostes, which are coming with the frequency of hail even make coherent sense.
              They’re so incoherent they’re TEDIOUS.

              1. don’t always agree with RES

                If you did you would worry me — not even I always agree with RES.

                Sometimes a person’s just got to throw out an argument to see what bites, y’know?

              2. Well, at least you haven’t written Neil off. ^^ He is a fascinating fellow, and I’ve been a fan and follower of his for a very long time. Yes, to use your own phrase, People do need government out of fear. Fear has many aspects, and its one of a humans primary basic motivation factors. A better question would be fear of what?
                That gets into many complex questions, But bottom line its fear of others who are not part of the tribe, or rogue members of the tribe. Government is simply people. But people who have been delegated (or have seized) authority to take various actions. It is in those actions and human nature that corruption sets in. But that is another story.

                1. What is your argument but one of fear? You fear government power and you fear your fellow citizens. You’ve yet to make a coherent argument.

            2. You’re confused. I do not despise either Rothbard or von Mises — it is their cultist followers who have not adequately grasped what their philosophies contain whom I despise.

              And indeed, you’ve demonstrated the futility of engaging with you.

              1. Good to hear. But perhaps your IFF is a tad out of alignment? Cultist is a term that is thrown around rather loosely. Much as terrorist and heretic are. It is rather difficult to apply valid labels to those one has little knowledge of. Both of them (Rothbard Mises) established entire schools of thought, that even the greatest among us have struggled to understand. I must confess that I’m far from one of those enlightend individuals. But I continue to study.

                1. Cultist is a term thrown about no more loosely than Sociopath or Psychopath.

                  As far as Rothbard and von Mises having “established entire schools of thought, that even the greatest among us have struggled to understand”, well, so has Marx. It does not make those schools relevant i the world i which we live.

                  Absent understanding that principle I despair of your studying yielding much wisdom.

                  1. … does not make those schools relevant in the world in which we live.

                    Stupid keyboard, “n” key repeatedly sticks.

                    To elaborate, for those watching: Rothbard and von Mises have produced excellent philosophical lens through which to study human interaction, but their practical application in structuring a functional human society is nil. Thus their advocates are incapable of contributing to improvements and are relegated to critiquing a la the Frankfurt School. They are destructive, not constructive.

                    Again, sort of like Marx.

    4. Other governments of course know much of the truth (they all spy on each other)

      You seem to be assuming that the spying is far more competent than it actually is. Plus, with many Totalitarian societies, the government itself doesn’t know very much of the truth (do you want to be the one to tell the Kommisar that we didn’t meet production quotas this month), so any spying on that government will be similarly limited.

      1. For instance, the KGB using it’s spy sats to try and get an estimate on the Soviet grain harvest is an interesting indication of how those places work.

        1. …and then sending the KGB out to steal foreign satellite images (which would probably have been provided to them for the asking) in order to make sure their own satellite people weren’t lying to them.

          What a lot of people don’t realize is that while the Soviets had agents threaded all through the Manhattan Project, the Soviet scientists saw very little of what the security services acquired. Basically, they were told when the Americans had decided certain areas weren’t productive, so the Soviets scientists were told not to follow those paths. But more importantly, Stalin didn’t like the whole idea of nuclear weapons, which he considered ridiculous, and was convinced it was a plot by the intelligentsia to make a fool of him. So he put Lavrenti Beria in charge of the Soviet atomic bomb project, and Beria, as chief of the NKVD, had them all rounded up and put in a prison camp. Beria kept most of the spy reports for himself, using them to check on what his expensive zeks were doing.

          Kutchatov’s team at Arzamas-16 managed to build their bomb anyway. Of course, the graves outside the work huts were quite an incentive…

          1. One of the more sadly amusing events during that time was when Beria came by to observe a test run of the first Soviet reactor… and expressed doubts about if it was running, or if they were trying to pretend.
            They should have encouraged him to go out and feel if the graphite was warm, and spend an hour or so inspecting the pile while it was running, but no luck there.

        2. They could have gotten USDA reports developed from our spysat data that could have told them pretty well what the harvest was going to be…….

      2. “with many Totalitarian societies, the government itself doesn’t know very much of the truth (do you want to be the one to tell the Kommisar that we didn’t meet production quotas this month), so any spying on that government will be similarly limited.”

        USSR aside. How does anyone think the CIA got the Iraq weapons of mass destruction “wrong” (chemical/gas/etc.), not that there hadn’t been any, there were. There were also found the means to produce them. (Don’t ask me for citations because I don’t have any at my beck & call. Why this isn’t being screamed from the roof tops by those who found & had to dispose of them is beyond me, but off my point.) But even if NONE had been found, Saddam believed, said, he had them at his disposal to threaten with & use. That what was being parroted to spies searching for what was there.

        1. RE Iraqi WMDs: Just google Iran-Iraq war, Kurds, Shia near Basra and chemical weapons attacks. Czech NBC Reconnaissance units operating with the coalition had positive indications of chemical weapons after a strike on weapons depot during DESERT STORM.

          The big intelligence failure is what happened to the majority of the chemical and nuclear (at least advanced enough to construct dirty bombs) programs between DESERT STORM and IRAQI FREEDOM.

          I saw hard data about the programs during DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM but got out in the early 90’s and can only speculate about events after the early 90’s. (although the Clinton Years were no more kinder to the Intel community than they were to the military).

      3. Good points. In many instances the left finger doesn’t know (or need to know…) what the knuckles on the joint of the same finger is doing.

  3. Very nicely presented.

    Also, I wish to thank you for the Instapundit links you post. I realize this takes a significant amount of your time, and I just wanted you to know they are much appreciated.

  4. “Totalitarianism is incompatible with modern technology and global civilization.”

    Yes. So in case anyone was wondering why Greenies find “back to the land” such an attractive notion, wonder no more. They’re trying to make a new religion where technology is the devil. They’re not going to let you have an iPhone 11 Pro on the farm commune, hipsters.

    1. Yet they are dependent on that technology for their surveillance and propaganda. Of course, nobody ever accused them of consistency.

      1. “Yet they are dependent on that technology for their surveillance and propaganda.”

        And they SUCK at it!!!! If I ever saw proof of the utter pointlessness of surveillance at the level of a whole society, this is it. A camera on every lamp post and a spy in every cell phone, and those communist wankers can’t even lock down a fatal disease.

        Meanwhile, Random Guy With A Phone is getting damning video out to the internet and its going world-wide. The leverage works for the individual.

          1. Yep. For a while. The Soviets lasted 70 years, North Korea has been going since 1956, China, Cuba still hanging in there. Barely.

            But the future isn’t looking bright for them, is it? China got away with the Great Leap Forward because nobody knew what was going on. One part of China couldn’t talk to another part. If they sacrifice a few million to the Good of the State this year, we are going to see another Black Swan.

              1. In Canada we DID elect the equivalent, and they are running true to form. We’ve been doing it since the 1970’s. Our political class is three parties, pink, red and Nationalize-Everything! red. The most conservative you can get is “doing Socialism a little slower than the Liberals.”

                They just shut down Canada’s oil sector in the name of global warming. More than half the jobs in Western Canada are oil sector. The other half are flipping burgers for oil workers.

                When the Black Swan comes and destroys Confederation in a year or so, everyone will be So Surprised! “I never saw this coming!” they’ll say.

                I’ve been wondering what will move Canadians since around 1992. Taxes, scandals, outright crime and theft, even rioting and people getting beat up, nobody cares. They keep voting Liberal, every single time.

                But now I finally know what’s going to move them: a famine. When you can’t heat your house and there’s no food you can afford, that’s when Joe Canadian is finally going to get up off his fat lazy ass and pay attention.

                And not a minute before.

                1. I’m not sure if even then. Most of these pronouncements seem to be like Hans Blix’s strongly worded letters. Only plus I see is the lack of cooperation showed to confiscation prep laws but thats currently minimal risk

                2. I’ve had the sense since the early 1990s that Canada was on the verge of shattering, given one good shock. The interesting implication being what parts will elect to join the United States…and the political implications of the biggest land acquisition since the Mexican War.

                3. three parties, pink, red and Nationalize-Everything! red.

                  Being a less informed observer I cannot deny your claim, but yet do I think I would categorize them as pink, red and There Will Be Blood.

                4. In my more cynical moments, I doubt even then. Slightly differing from aacid, I believe they will want a Strong Man to come and Make Everything Alright. Nationalize all the things, gulags for thee but not for me, et cetera. In my worse off moments, that is.

                  I believed that might happen to the U.S., the oncet. It was a bad year.

                  If western Canada wants in, though, I believe Trump could be persueded. Heck, most of America would be all in. Just leave the Reds out, please. We don’t need California above Washington state. *chuckle*

                  If y’all can get things sorted, though, it’d be a fine thing. Trump would not work in Canada, I think. Someone slightly Trump-esque, though, possibilities. Canada is not the U.S. No issues with that. It’s good to have strong allies. Perhaps if we get out house in order, things would filter out to the rest of the world? Other countries seem to diligently ape our past follies often enough. Sweden has it bad. France, too.

                  Interesting times, friends.

        1. There is no protection against a lone wolf, regardless of whether it’s a white one or a black one. All you can do it mitigate their impact, and that requires eternal vigilance and preparedness. The American Founding Fathers implemented that with the first and second amendments; no government barriers to communication and association, no government barriers to self protection, and the assumption of self responsible people.

          And it’s one of the things that Joseph Betz, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University, (https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/joseph-betz-bernie-sanders-and-his-democratic-socialist-vision-for-america-have-my-support ) doesn’t understand at all about communism and socialism. Both the communist, and the socialist State requires government imposed barriers to communication, association, and self protection. Destroy liberty and you destroy all self responsibility. Destroy liberty, and you have zero rights, and no protection from any wolves beyond what the State thinks they need to provide you. And the State will never give you what you really need; they can’t afford it.

          1. “The American Founding Fathers implemented that with the first and second amendments; no government barriers to communication and association, no government barriers to self protection, and the assumption of self responsible people.”

            This idea is the basis of my book, as it happens. You have an enemy that behaves like an infection. It comes in as small packages and uses your own population to work against you. No centralized system can beat that. The cops are at the cop shop. They have to be dispatched to where the trouble is, so they are always late to the party. By definition, because that’s the architecture of the system.

            What beats a diffuse threat is an -individual- defense, where whatever person is handy deals with the problem. And they don’t deal with it out of the Noble Sense of Civic Duty so beloved of Leftists, they deal with it because its going to kill them otherwise.

            Life on planet Earth is -always- a diffuse threat. Animal attacks, diseases, assholes, crazy people, you never known what’s coming down the pipe. If the nearest available weapon of self defense is at the police station, hanging on the belt of a unionized public employee, that’s not good for you.

            Systems architecture. You can’t beat it.

            1. This is why I call police/firemen/EMTs Second Responders – the First Responders are the people on the scene at the time of the event. Cops, etc. have to be dispatched unless they just happen to be on hand when things go down.

              1. So much this. The FIRST First Responder is the VICTIM and whoever else happens to be standing on the corner, minding their own business.

                Our society could use some brush-up courses on being a Good Samaritan and emergency first aid.

              2. Yup. I made the same argument to a fire chief after he and his crew responded to a garage fire at my house that my son and I had put out before they arrived. He tried to shame me for not waiting for the “professionals” to take care of the problem; I wasn’t having any of that. My house, my responsibility, my right. I welcomed his late assistance, but absolutely rejected the hectoring tone. You want to be in charge, buy the house from me.

              3. I’ve seen the term Immediate Responders to refer to folks already on scene when an incident happens.

                I’ve always looked at the resources that could be summoned by calling 911 as being similar to Air and Artillery support. I’m going to call for them early and often, but I’m not going to passively sit around waiting for my position to be overrun either.

            1. The Atlantic . . . about once a month they surprise me with a really good article. No idea why they slip through, but they do.

        2. And once you have an earphone (Rochelle salts are your friend) you can cobble up a crystal set from junk. As long someone is transmitting AM… it’s not that information wants to be free, or valuable, it just plain LEAKS.

          1. Ha, I used to have one of those when I was a kid. I made Dad stretch the copper antenna wire (thread, really) all the way across the yard. It only picked up some religious station in the USA at night, but it was a laugh to build.

      2. Totalitarianism always has an elite to whom the restrictions do not apply. And often who enjoy the very luxuries (or even amenities) that they’re telling the common herd they should abhor.

        1. Yes, the Great Green Leader of the farm commune will have an iPhone 11. It will be the one he took from Young Hipster when the kid showed up for mandatory volunteer hours.

          1. And, young hipster still has to pay for it … heaven forbid Great Green Leader soil his hands with money to do so. /sarcasm off.

      3. ain’t just consistency, it’s lack of being able to see long term implications.
        Then again, if they had these qualities, they’d not be the knobs they are.

      1. Funny how they all wear Che Guevara t-shirts but they don’t remember what happened to him. He thought he was going to be a noble too. Ended up dead of lead poisoning. The fast kind.

    2. Thing is, totalitarianism doesn’t really work with pre-modern technology either. The logistical problems are too great if you’re restricted to wagons, water, and walking, never mind the surveillance issues.

      1. I recall hearing/reading once upon a time that the kingdoms of the Lower and Upper Nile had very stable, very totalitarian governments. Lasted hundreds of years. Because the priesthood controlled the water and all the writing too.

        Might have been in an RAH book.

        1. I’ve a vague sense of it being something Larry Niven would have written but I’m not about t try to look it up.

          1. Water empires get discussed in the Niven book in which the protagonist is sent alone in a starship (with an AI based off of the hapless political officer who’d been assigned to evaluate him for the assignment) to explore other systems, and instead steals it to take a sightseeing trip much further out.

            Can’t remember the bame of the book off the top of my head.

        2. And the food. There’s some real truth in the Joseph story and the scene in Ten Commandments showing the temple granaries. The pharaoh and his administration (often the priests) would collect everyone’s harvests and then ration the grain back out to the farmers. Damn hard to rebel when you can’t feed yourself without the government. (Which is why several other ancient cultures did the same thing, like the Minoans at Knossos.

        3. Not so much totalitarian as authoritarian–no Pharaoh ever really tried to control all aspects of his people’s lives at all times, a la Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. As long as the taxes came in and the corvee labor was provided and no one tried to get shirty, things just kind of went on.

          1. There was a lot going on in Egypt, because they had so much history.

            Early on, most farmers owned their own farms. But a lot of the richer people bought land, invested, hired people to farm or got slaves. There were also a lot of pious donations of land to the gods and their priesthoods, or setting up individual priest families with land in exchange for perpetual funerary services. So gradually more and more land belonged to the priesthoods, or the nomarchs and bureaucrats and merchants.

            So the kings really really wanted more royal land to compete, and the Joseph scheme (which apparently really did happen, as there are references in Egyptian history) was part of how the power struggle balanced out (for a while). But it was also how a lot of ordinary Egyptians got stuck as slaves of the king, even if they needed the welfare scheme at the time.

        4. I just finished reading an older history book, that referred to a bunch of historical polities, including maybe Egypt, as oriental despotisms. The things they had in common with their educated class and the bureaucratic controls had some interesting impacts on their types and degree of learning practiced.

      2. Arguably, totalitarianism can only work in pre-modern technology cultures, because only in those is there sufficient (what, for lack of a better term I will call) looseness in the system to permit it to persist. Technological culture demands too much point-of-use control for distant managers to direct activity (see: Russia). Pre-technological culture has to retain enough slack in the system that management is content with merely raking off its percentage and doesn’t try to micro-manage producers.

    3. None of those greenies have any clue on just how hard it is to grow food with modern technology, much less trying to do it with less technology than the Amish use.

  5. “Totalitarianism is incompatible with modern technology and global civilization.”

    Truer words were never spoken. If samizdat existed in the Soviet Union when copying technology available to the subversive was limited to handwriting, typewriters, and the occasional mimeograph machine, imagine how hard it would be to stamp it out in a society full of ebooks. Hell, on a basic level the Internet IS samizdat.

    1. The student movement that was crushed in Tiananmen Square was able to do a lot of it’s organizing due to the fact that the Party’s control apparatus did not realize the utility of the FAX machine in sending (semi) secure communications to multiple end users.

      The KGB puppets in the Warsaw Pact countries had similar issues.

  6. “5 Top Black Swan Events In History.”

    Sheesh! The FIRST one is Fukushima and it omits it is one of TWO with that design and all – and the other one had a Stubborn Cuss of an engineer that refused to sign off on thing until the seawall good for even the “500 year tsunami” was part of it. Guess why it isn’t in the news and collective memory?

    1. I got shocked looks when an anti-nuke nutter was spouting how bad the 3 Mile “Disaster” turned out.
      “You do know it is still online and functioning?”
      It wasn’t taught but is held forth in a way he was convinced it was too contaminated for humans to work there.
      They also thought all plants were the same design as Chernobyl.

      1. Oy. Three Mile Island wasn’t ideal at all, but sheesh. It showed that even with massive screwups, a reasonable (not great) design can go to hell… and still do almost nothing outside the the containment.

        1. Exactly. As my father used to like to point out, Three Mile Island is a shining example of how engineers and designers can screw everything up and you *still* don’t have a massive disaster.

      2. I read somewhere that the excess cancers observed near Three Mile Island in the wake of the ‘disaster’ did not present as the consequence of any measurable radiation pattern, but DID present as random clusters that might be caused by stress.


        1. I recall one study where those living within 5 miles of the Mississippi, down river of Baton Rouge had a massively higher chance rate than those having been down wind of 3MI.
          That area is known as Cancer Alley

        2. Dixie Lee Ray, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, raised considerable whackadoodle ire when she pointed out the average coal plant put out an order of magnitude more radiation than a nuclear plant.

          Madame Ray was prone to using her +10 Spiked Jackboots of Snark when speaking in public:

          “During a speech in Pasco, Washington in 1991, she further denounced the growing number of scientists advancing theories of climate change by telling her audience to ‘beware of averages. The average person has one breast and one testicle.'”

      3. Except Three Mile Island Unit 2, the one that had the problem, is not still online and functioning. Three Mile Island Unit 1 is still online and functioning.

        Reference the talk that Nickolas Means did. Viewable here: https://youtu.be/1xQeXOz0Ncs

        It’s an awesome watch and well worth the hour or so it takes to watch it.

            1. It is now a very over grown zone, and has hot spots one needs to limit their time in, or wear protection. But it is patrolled and there is work being being done to maintain certain things.

            2. I read one report from the mid-90’s of a Western scientist visiting the zone as part of a study of lasting effects. He commented to his hosts on the size and non-user friendliness of the radiation detection equipment they were using to monitor their work areas.

              He was told that they were using monitors designed for laboratory use as the standard industry, survey, and military reconnaissance monitors weren’t sensitive enough to read the levels of radiation present.

                1. The reactor vessel with the fuel inside was sold to the Dept. of Energy back in the early 80’s and was hauled to Idaho for study.

            1. From what I can find, that’s the plan, but they have to finish shutting it down first.

              Wish we’d get that nuke waste recycling program going. 😦

                1. Why were you telling Cybersmythe about Bhopal when the question was about three mile island being dismantled?

                  Is WordPress being even funker than usual?

                  1. Raising an older example of a “black swan” which oughtn’t have been.
                    Three “independent” safeties were in fact linked by one failed maintenance function.
                    Challenging assertion “no black swans, only unrecognized correlations.” Always seeking incidents to analyze,

                    1. *laughs*
                      Ah, I see!

                      Nah, that comment thread is way down below here!

                      If you’re getting emails, you can sometimes see enough of the comment they were replying to in the email to get an idea.

                      now it makes sense, though.

            2. Not yet. In line with Exelon’s standard practice, it is being put in SAFSTORE, which is essentially mothballing it until the contamination inside the reactor systems has time to decay off to a level allowing recycling the materials. This period is 60 years.

              1. Oh, okay. Thanks. My background is in aerospace and computing (but not, aerospace computing–I started in the oil patch) so I know very little about such things, outside of the video I linked to and a, now sadly deceased, college roommate from York who had a T-shirt featuring a classified ad that began “For sale, one nuclear power plant. Slightly used.”

                The video only said that they weren’t going to dismantle unit 2 until unit 1 was refueled. The things the guy says about the laying blame are things I agree with. I often say that the purpose behind assigning blame is to find out what to do different (i.e. how to change the training of those involved) next time.

  7. Most of these “black swan” events are cases of hubris or ‘good enough’ planning. That Fukushima couldn’t use external power to continue functioning was a design decision. Not a good one but a decision. Commercial airliners as weapons was foreseen prior to 911 and in a competent world would be preventable, but given what we’ve learned about our peasant control apparatus it was fore doomed by politics and ineptitude. The soviet union was good at propaganda and was so good at spreading lies that it will have won the cold war after it’s own collapse once the US becomes it’s own authoritarian nightmare. Titanic was completely foreseeable, but design and policy led to risks. Cortez really the only unseen variable but mostly the varying tech level issue.

    All of these are cases of hubris and if there is one thing we have in spades it is hubris. We think we can change human nature. We think we can ride the tiger. In the end humanity will be bit. The trick is stopping the bleeding and getting back in.

    1. The thing about 9/11 was that prior to that, all hijackings in the US had been guys trying to get a free ride to Cuba or something else of the sort. It was more of a lark and “hey, this’ll be a fun story to tell when we get back.” The only reason it succeeded was because no one on board the planes realized what they were going to be used for until it was too late–except for Flight 93.

      1. Which is why I confidently expect that the next time something like that is tried, the hijackers will end up stuffed into the overhead luggage compartment in somewhat used condition….

        1. Look up attempted hijackings of Southwest Airlines flights. At best, the would-be hijackers ended up, ahem, worse for wear.

              1. There is an appropriate sobriquet, but it would likely understate the issue to refer to him as the “Briefsbomber.”

            1. We might call that HIS black swan, failed to detonate because of “inguinal moisture,” worn too long…

      2. There was a thriller in print years before 9/11 about hijackers crashing planes into airports. Not to mention actions of the Japanese at the end of WWII in the Pacific…

        1. I remember being a little baffled, reading “Insomnia” by Steven King, where it was INCREDIBLY STARTLING that someone would be flying a plane into a convention center (and the only reason we figured it out was that he was wearing a scarf that had the Japanese characters for “kamikaze” on it).

          Then I looked at the publication date and saw it was from 1994. Whoops.

          (There was apparently a Lone Gunmen episode, too? But I haven’t really looked into it.)

    2. Currently my local government is working on two aspects of Corona Virus. Basic hygiene and stigma, because CV could cause racism.

      There guesses which got the colorful poster.

      1. Got to love Progs, they never let facts/reality get in the way of their Narrative. 🙂 I believe the Supreme Dark Lord once said something about SJW’s always lie, always double down and always project.

      2. RACISM????? Dear Lord.
        Yeah, the infected from South of the Border will run in.
        Yeah, we should send them back/prevent them from coming in.
        Race? No. Public health crisis.

        1. Yep, “racism” is the new response to anybody changing their behavior to avoid possible infection vectors, with the burden being on the accused, from these lefty idiots.

          They’re going to get people killed.

  8. I was at a certain place listening when the Soviet Union just stopped. It was eerie and we had no clue. The World Trade Towers may have been a black swan event, except there had been a try at the towers just a few years before. I see what you are saying… Those who haven’t drunk the cool-aid and who are getting their news from several places are less likely to be blinded. But there are always “unintended consequences.”

  9. Totalitarianism is incompatible with modern technology and global civilization.

    And yet you say that my proposal that we kill the rest of the world (paying special attention to Canada) is crazy.

    Okay, it is crazy. But the method to the madness is a) anticipating too much the problems with other cultures who are, relative to Americans, much too totalitarian friendly b) going systemically after everyone else, to avoid the charge of racism c) going systemically after everyone else, to avoid the charge of being too partial to the interests of any specific foreign government d) completely avoiding the slippery slope that can lead to being willing to surrender rather than fight. If you first resolve to kill the rest of the world, you don’t find yourself being intimidated by the disparity of forces on any question, and by the time there is enough support to actually carry out an act of mass murder, the population in question will have pissed off enough people that they probably objectively have it coming to them anyways. (At the individual level, it is rational enough, as long as only a few people actually are thinking that way. And it is excellent trolling of the pretend Russo-phobe Democrats, who are not implementing the policies that would make sure Russia never again interferes with any US election.)

    Killing everyone else would be ultimately too costly for any worldly objective.

    1. “And yet you say that my proposal that we kill the rest of the world (paying special attention to Canada) is crazy.”

      Its crazy because it won’t work. We know it won’t work because they tried it already. The whole 20th Century is guys trying to kill everyone they don’t like.

      What have we learned? You can’t do it. It is structurally impossible.

      Time to think up a new idea.

      1. Look it over again.

        The results are that you can definitely kill a lot of people if you are strong enough and the group is weak enough. (You are correct that it is mostly a useless activity.)

        So ‘killing all the foreigners’ is only so wildly improbable that it would take a historically unprecedented series of miracles to pull off. In terms of engineering plans it is a step with ‘Earth evaporates due to quantum effects’.

        Better to be killed while trying to do that than to live endorsing environmentalism or socialism. Think of it in terms of ‘the way of revenge is to enter and be cut down’. If the foreign populations of the world were willing to die to impose statism, environmentalism, socialism, etc on the US, then they would have done so already. They lack resolve, and will back down if we have enough resolve that acting will be costly for them.

        And if we kill the ‘innocents’ who are willingly taking part in acts of hostility against us, punishing the cheating, they will have the choice of waging war openly or in accepting peace.

    2. Depends on how you do it and how you protect YOUR people. Your people have the vaccine and the others don’t and the virus is stable and deadly. Cost, WHAT Cost???

      1. I push a button, and all the foreigners disappear.

        US production of anime, manga, and light novels is kinda low, so that is an obvious immediate cost for me.

        What is less obvious: Wealth is probably an artifact of human productivity, hence someone dependent on population size. Killing that many billions definitely means that the post-killing economy is gonna suck. If I even survive the economic re-alignment, there is no assurance that I will be able to support myself with the work I want. In fact, it would be safest to assume that if any work is available, it will be the sort that I hate the most.

        Bunch of others. Importantly among them, while ‘kill the foreigners’ is a fun rhetorical trick when talking to people not truly decided about AWG, the reality of getting rid of that many humans makes too many environmentalists happy. Making environmentalists happy is to be avoided.

  10. black swan events are not precisely unforeseeable. They are unforeseeable for a certain set of people, in a certain set of circumstances.

    See also: Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome.

    ref: “If I don’t know it, it’s not knowledge.”

    ref: “A clown who – look at him – not even gloves! no ribbons-no lace-no buckles on his shoes.” – Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

    An “expert” is a person who has mastered the conventional wisdom, therefore “listening to the experts” (as Trump reputedly does not do) means that you will only hear the CW.

    zee box, she is click-ed!

  11. we cannot have (1) an interconnected world, with trade and border crossing with (2) secrecy, (3) distortion and (4) thought control.

    Three of these things belong together
    Three of these things are kind of the same
    Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?
    Now it’s time to play our game (time to play our game)

  12. if we’re associated with them, it could kill us too.
    I am told that, among the first lessons taught a life guard, is how to break a drowning person’s grip, lest you be dragged under by one you’re trying to rescue.

    1. Yes (once a trained lifeguard). That is exactly the first thing you learn. Do not drown with the person you are trying to save. The drowning person will likely throw their arms around your neck and try to lock you in with their legs. You push up on the arms and slide down, out of the circles, swim away and resurface a safe distance away.

        1. Not while floating in water. Buoyancy and lack of proper purchase renders a head butt ineffective and as likely to stun the buttor as the buttee.

    2. Yep. For the Lifesaving Merit Badge we had to practice that against an evil instructor. I remember one trainee lifeguard who got caught in a scissors hold and held underwater by the “victim” until he almost passed out. I suppose that’s one way to learn how dangerous a drowning victim can be. (After all, it’s REACH, THROW, ROW, GO, so a swimming rescue is supposed to be your last resort.) I towed my “victim” to shore by dragging him by his hair instead of using the normal cross-chest tow — that settled him down right quick.

      1. During my AF Water Survival course the instructors picked one of our non-swimmers and pulled him away from the 20 person life raft while the rest of us were getting in. Partially to test our situational awareness and to see how we handled it.

        I was one of the last ones in (by choice, I was a pretty good swimmer, had the Lifesaving Merit Badge etc. so I held back). I spotted him floating some yards away. Got one of the heaving lines from the raft and swam out to him. The instructors had told him to fight (and by this time I think he was a little stressed for real), so I just kicked back a half stroke, grabbed his life vest and turned him around facing away from me, hooked the lanyard to him and let the folks on the raft reel him in while I hung onto the line a couple of yards away where he couldn’t reach me.

        The hardest part for me was the dang aircrew life jackets (“water wings”) made swimming a pain and I couldn’t submerge to sneak up on the guy.

  13. In as much as I believe in Black Swan events, it’s not stuff that nobody could predict would happen– it’s that sure, you can see something like _________ will happen, but accurately identifying when and how is the problem.

    USSR fall? Eventually, yeah; however, if you say “oh, we’ll not assume they’re strong here,” you’re making a weakness in yourself if you’re wrong.
    It’s the intel version of overbuilding, or that annoying thing you run into in medicine where each layer removes an extra layer “just in case” so that what started out as “don’t eat these high mercury breeds of fish more than once a week if you’re pregnant” turns into “pregnant women shouldn’t have a tuna sandwich more than once a month, and avoid it then.”

    1. pregnant women shouldn’t have a tuna sandwich more than once a month, and avoid it then.

      As the stench of tuna convulses my stomach, this is an advisory I heartily endorse for all women, pregnant or otherwise and with or without vaginas.

            1. Garlic. Lots of garlic. Occasionally hot sauce. Not with garlic, mind.

              The garlic goes with toasty crusty bread, cheese, noodles, and savory tomato sauce. Pepper, bit of bite. Parsley, some sweet basil. Some red wine goes well with it- a dry red, usually. For those that still drink, as I do not.

                1. That’s the odd thing. NO other fish bothers me. (I have not been exposed to lutefisk, fwiw). Various “white” fish? No issue. Salmon? Wonderful! Herring? Great! Kippers? Fine! But tuna is stinky cat food.

              1. I rather like dry reds. Even some that $HOUSEMATE finds not merely dry but astringent. But… I am not exactly the norm… (I *like* various bitters/amaros.. and I can take my Malört straight).

    2. I suppose that most, if not all, here know about “we win, they lose.”

      That was how Ronald Reagan responded to the question of the cold war after(?) the 1976 election(s). Some (media, left.. BIRM) were horrified as that HAD to mean WWIII. But… what happened? Yeah, we have a LOT of memetic mine-clearing to do, even now, but… where is the USSR?

          1. I can’t remember the name of the writer over at PJ Media that does it, but he tacks on a lot of funny titles to the dem candidates. I saw one for Warren recently that was (D-1/1024th plan), and others as (D-Hasn’t-Got-a-Clue.) They’re very entertaining.

            1. He’s been out of circulation for a while, but I rather liked James Taranto’s for Arlen Spectre (R2D2).

              1. Yeah, I think it’s Vodkapundit. Though I would not be surprised to find that other writers on the site are emulating it–it’s too fun to pass up.

            2. ““Senator Bernie Sanders (S-USSR)””


              “Warren … (D-1/1024th plan), and others … (D-Hasn’t-Got-a-Clue.)”


              Keep ’em coming …


                1. I think it more likely that AOC literally does not know what Science actually is.

                  AOC rips Trump pick to lead coronavirus response: ‘Pence literally does not believe in science’
                  New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cast doubt on Vice President Mike Pence’s ability to lead the government’s fight against the new coronavirus.

                  Trump announced on Wednesday that Pence would be heading the executive branch’s response to the coronavirus, which causes a SARs-like disease recently named COVID-19. Following Trump’s news conference at the White House, Ocasio-Cortez condemned the president’s decision and questioned whether Pence believes in science.

                  “Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic,” the freshman congresswoman wrote in a tweet. “This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have.”

                  Ocasio-Cortez pointed to Pence’s record as governor of Indiana, claiming his response to the HIV epidemic was proof that he could not handle the responsibility of dealing with the coronavirus.

                  “As governor, Pence’s science denial contributed to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in Indiana’s history,” she wrote. “He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health.”

                  [Tweets Deleed]

                  While serving as governor, Pence cut funding to Planned Parenthood, which offered HIV testing in addition to its more controversial procedures, such as abortions. He also disapproved of needle exchanges, which could reduce HIV transmission via intravenous needles. By 2015, nearly 200 people in the state had contracted HIV. Pence has since reversed his position on needle exchanges.

                  Ocasio-Cortez argued that Pence was “not a medical doctor,” but he will be surrounded by doctors and working as the White House’s point person for top officials at the Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they monitor the spread of the coronavirus.

                  In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed Ronald Klain as the “Ebola czar” who was similarly responsible for the White House’s response to the illness. Klain, like Pence, was not a doctor, but was well connected within the administration after working as a Democratic strategist.

                    1. Not to put too fine a point on it… yes.

                      That’s one reason academic science blithers about “reproducibility crisis” like it was some kind of Heisenberg effect changing their data, rather than owning up to the whole research process being built on falsehoods.

                      “It’s not a lie if we all say it together!”

                1. Very interesting point about Warren’s Amerindian lie, that tribal membership is a matter of political affiliation, not of race:

                  Natives against Warren
                  By John Hirschauer
                  February 27, 2020 12:33 PM

                  More than 200 Native Americans signed an open letter to Elizabeth Warren, insisting that Warren’s claims to Indian ancestry are “part of a long and violent history” of “white people claiming to be Native.” The signers also accuse Warren of perpetuating “a dangerous misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty” by implying that Native Americans are part of “a racial category” rather than members of “political groups.”

                  They continued:

                  Our rights are based on citizenship in sovereign Nations and those Nations’ treaty relationship to the United States. But that hasn’t stopped opponents to tribes from arguing that laws defending Native rights treat us differently based on race and therefore should be declared unconstitutional. If they win, it could be the end of tribes as we know them. By publicly equating race and biology with Native identity, your DNA test promoted the exact same logic the Right is currently using to try [to] destroy Native rights.

                  Warren wrote a 12-page (!) letter in response, affirming that which was obvious to everyone who has ever laid eyes upon the senator from Massachusetts: “I am not a person of color; I am a white woman, and that is how I identify.”

                  (Well, that’s how she identifies now.)

                  [Emphasis added]

                  Links to open letter and Warren reply at site.

  14. I would suspect that most true black swan events are triggered by acts of God. For instance, a massive earthquake destroys San Francisco, allowing Chinese non-citizen legal immigrants who had been unable to marry (due to a combination of a massively imbalanced Chinese male to female ratio in the US that couldn’t be redressed because further imigration was banned, and laws that punished white women for marrying Chinese non-citizens) to suddenly lay claim to birthright citizenship (“Honest! I was born in the US! My birth certificate was destroyed during the earthquake!”), giving them an opportunity to finally get married and start raising a family. And all because of an earthquake that no one could have foreseen.

    Yes, it’s a fairly minor event, unless you were a part of one of those families. And the earthquake had much more notable consequences. But this particular result was one that would have seemed impossible before the earthquake.

  15. Whenever I hear “nobody could have foreseen this,” I think of the housing bubble burst, which I found out about in 2005.

    Yes, three years before it actually happened.

    I’d been researching house buying, wondering why we couldn’t afford to buy a house and were we crazy? And I found some bubble blogs, where they broke down all the actual craziness going around, and one of them had a timeline about when the bubble was likely to burst. They based it on statistical analysis of adjustable-rate mortgages, and showed that there was going to come a point when the reset numbers would overwhelm the system, and even came pretty close to guessing where the epicenter was going to be. (Pretty danged close to where I was living!) So with that in mind, we were able to plan when to start looking for a house, and we bought in 2009.

    So “nobody could have predicted this”? Honey, there were people predicting this, and you just weren’t listening.

    1. I remember that when I heard about the concept of the interest-only mortgage that there was no way that could end well–and I was in high school at the time.

      1. interest-only mortgage

        Didn’t make sense until I recalled a term used in old comedies/cartoon, “balloon payment” – and then it made even less sense. Set things up so someone could pretend to afford the unaffordable… for a little while. Then… it would be even more unaffordable, and a lot of money would have spent to… to… rent by another name?

        1. It has to do with allocation of risk. Say you take a job that will have you living in TOWN for five years, after which you reasonably expect to be promoted and have to move to CITY. That’s a long time to rent and depend upon the diligence of a landlord. Instead you might opt to buy, gaining the benefits (?) of owning your home. By taking an Interest Only loan you are betting that you can a) improve the property and b) sell it a a price higher than your balloon payment required at the end of the period during when you expected to move from there. You claimed interest deductions on your taxes and had a free hand with home improvements (Sarah could attest to the benefits of such house-flipping) as well as recouping the investment rather than bequeathing it to a landlord.

          You also get to represent yourself at school board and town council meetings as a “home owner.” Yes, you pay property taxes but unless your landlord is a total idiot you would be doing that anyway as a portion of your rent.

          The risk is a market downturn or job situation change which leaves you unable to sell the house for a profit or having to live in it past when you anticipated paying off the principle with proceeds from the sale. You either sell it for what you can and hope the difference between the sale price and the principle balance is not too great (which you risk even with a conventional amortized mortgage) or you stay in it, refinancing the mortgage to a standard fifteen, twenty or thirty year mortgage.

          You’re taking the risk that you can escape the property before the market collapses.

      2. There was a time when the interest only mortgage with a balloon payment WAS a mortgage. For example In my possession I have the release of the mortgage of my grandparents property in the late 1920”s. It was for $2200 for a house and 24 acres at Glenwood Road (no house number) and was held not by a bank but by the Henry Carter Hull Library a private philanthropic organization (which ran my home towns library well into the early 1970’s). It was $12 a month with a 10 year term principle to be paid at the end no penalty for paying off after 5 years (before that a cash penalty I do not remember the sum but it was in the low $100 range, maybe 5% of principle? ) They paid it off after ~8 years. Which is good if it had gone much longer they would have skated into all the 1929 Crash issues.

        1. Yes. What we usually have now is amortized mortgages. The original mortgage was you paid interest until the end, when you had to pay back the principle.

    2. You have to remember that when they say “nobody” what they mean is “nobody whom we would have heeded.” Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell would have likely said it, but they would rather heed Paul Krugman.

      The racists.

      Bankers warning of such risks would probably have gotten audited by multiple oversight boards and possibly a few courts.

  16. “I mean, maybe people less jaded than my 14 year old self actually believed the Soviet Life glossy photos. I know CIA agents did, but they’re a particularly gullible breed, after all.”

    Plus the CIA had a vested interest in portraying the USSR as a dangerous bear. If they’d shown it as the toothless, starving creature it actually turned out to be they’d have lost a lot of their funding, at least ’til something better (or at least different) came along.

    1. Of course, there was also be the problem of the CIA reporting the USSR as weak and the USSR not being as weak as they thought. 😈

        1. Perhaps.

          But imagine the “fun” of an intelligence agency reporting an enemy as weak and it turns out that the enemy is strong.

          I agree that our CIA had problems, but I can’t help but see the flip side.

      1. Exactly: it’s the “no one ever got fired for buying IBM problem.” Say the USSR is strong when it isn’t, no real security risk. Say the USSR is weak when it isn’t, maybe start a war. (I think “War of Honor” by David Weber explores that dynamic well.)

        I tend to agree that things like the fall of the USSR or even 9/11 aren’t so much “black swans” as “migratory swans”: you know they’re going to show up eventually because of a track record of human behavior, but the timeframe isn’t certain beyond Soon(tm). I remember my first comment on hearing the Twin Towers had been attacked, “Again?” I turned 18 three days prior, but I was old enough to recognize that they were a predictable terrorist target.

        I’d put earthquakes, tsunamis, and even this corona virus as true “black swan” events. Sure, you could argue that they’re also somewhat predictable, but they are so in ways that aren’t controllable by anyone. (I don’t buy the theories that this was a deliberate release of a bioweapon. I’ll concede that it may have been an accidental release, but while yes, the Chinese are plenty evil, they’re not so stupid as to deliberately shut down their economy while they are dealing with a trade-war recession and a farming crisis. The Mandate of Heaven has been lost for less.)

        1. Yes – we know there will be black swans, precise details of magnitude and timing to be filled in later. The Yellowstone Caldera will eventually destroy much of the central United States, a large asteroid will probably impact Earth someplace within the next 250 years.

          OTOH, actuarially predictable events such as demographic trends or the financial un-sustainability of the Social Security model are reasonably anticipatable. As would be the probable effects of a Sanders-style Green New Deal. Calling them “black swans” is merely a means of ducking responsibility.

          1. And there’s that giant earthquake that’s supposed to eject California from the continent.

            annnnnnnnnnnny minute now…

    1. (Nods) That particular issue is the main reason I had no problems with Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. If you’re in a warzone, logistics are uncertain at best, and people who are dependent on hormones their bodies don’t naturally produce for survival are, to put it bluntly, liabilities.

      1. You say that as if the military had a purpose beyond serving as a test laboratory for rectifying social injustice!

  17. I’m pushing the “Chernobyl” miniseries on as many people as I can, as it beautifully demonstrates just what kind of messed up results you get from all powerful, top down societies.

  18. For some reason discussion of Black Swans keeps bringing to mind the phrase “Surprise exists in the mind of a commander”.

    Why yes, I am re-reading Pournelle’s Falkenberg/Sparta books. Why do you ask?

  19. Hmm, interesting. I’d seen people commenting about “checking the box”, but I never saw any box. I just wrote it off as one of the peculiarities of the left and moved on.

    Earlier today I came across an article about how Gravatar was using their icons to harvest data on their users and when/where they hit sites using Gravatar and marketing that data to spammers. I don’t have a Gravatar account, but it’s a dirtbag thing to do. So I added two lines to my /etc/hosts file: gravatar.com secure.gravatar.com

    Now the icons are gone and something new has appeared; two lines when I reply to a message:

    __ Notify me of new comments via email.
    __ Notify me of new posts via email.

    Why Gravatar (presumably) interfered with that is a mystery to me. But it’s a good lesson on why *not* to play fancy, likely browser-specific tricks with HTML code…

      1. Beats me; I don’t have an account with Gravatar. Or WordPress or Google, which is why I’m conspicuously absent from some blogs. Some, I’d like to participate, but not enough to voluntarily sign up for tracking my activity across the web…

  21. A certain person’s posts brought the following back into my thoughts

    If Men were Angels, We would need No Government. If Angels were to Govern Us, Government would need No Limits. (James Madison in the Federalist Papers)


      1. True.

        Of course, Mr. Madison was talking about the unfallen types.

        But then, I think any human who considers himself an Angel and wants to be treated as “Somebody Special” is more likely than not to be closer to the fallen types. 😈

      2. Theologically — angels fall or do not fall right up front. An angel does not live for a time, unfallen, and then fall. This is possibly because they do not stand in the same relationship to time as we do.

        1. Someone willing to deal with the headache might be able to figure out a way to have interaction with the pre-fallen angels, since they are outside of time…but my head hurts just thinking about it.

          1. If an angel, being outside of time, can exist in both fallen and unfallen states, shouldn’t the unfallen self be able to interact with the fallen self? Can an angel exist in two distinct states across time?

            Or are we postulating Schroedinger’s Angel?

            1. That one, I sort of know– no, because “time” is the box, so to speak.

              But figuring out how timeless interacts with the time thing is headache.

            2. This would explain a lot of the “Books of angels” in which angels have both an angelic and a demonic form.
              Though I prefer to think they’re spies in hell. But I AM demented.

              1. No, Biden is (D)-mented. You’re just (R)-eally weird.

                Which is why most of us are even here in the first place, so carry on.

          1. That’s my understanding of the theology concerning fallen angels, especially Satan.

  22. There are no black swans, only unrecognized correlations.
    Even more poignant than Fukushima – the tragedy at Bhopal.
    Three independent 1% safeties: mechanical, electrical, hydraulic. Except there was a correlation – all maintained by the same undermanned, under-trained staff because Union Carbide was fighting with New Delhi over royalties, intellectual property and taxes, all more important than human life.

    1. Also because there’s a law in India that the folks in charge had to be native Indians.

      Everybody fought to get their relatives and cronies into those high-paying, high-status jobs. Qualifications? Those are for plebes!

      Union Carbide’s engineers and safety inspectors warned them repeatedly about unsafe conditions and operating practices, the last time less than a month before the disaster, but they didn’t want to hear it. “Go away, you loud, boorish foreigners. This is our chemical plant!”

      Of course after the disaster, it was all Union Carbide’s fault. Just like they blame Chernobyl on the engineers, instead of the bureaucrats that caused it.
      John Sheridan: “You can’t kill the truth!”
      “Well, you can, but it always comes back to haunt you.”

  23. Even presuming some funny accounting tricks, this* is evidence the nation may be too stupid to survive:

    Corona owner Anheuser-Busch announces revenue loss of $285M amid coronavirus outbreak
    Anheuser-Busch has lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the coronavirus outbreak this year, the company said.

    The company reported on Thursday that it has missed out on approximately $285 million in revenue during the first two months of 2020, as well as lost earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of about $170 million in China. In the company’s release, which included a report on 2019 and an outlook for 2020, it specifically attributed the decline in revenue to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Anheuser-Busch also noted that the outbreak has lead to a decreased demand in China in homes and on premises. Additionally, the demand in China around the Chinese New Year, which was on Jan. 25, was lower than it had been in previous years. …

    *Okay, this may be unrelated to the fact Anheuser-Busch owns Corona beer and may merely reflect lost sales of Bud Light in China.

    1. No, we’re doomed, doomed I tell you! The morons are marching in greater numbers than we ever imagined and against such zombie swarms self-governance cannot hold.

      38% of Americans won’t drink Corona out of coronavirus fears — seriously
      Some American beer drinkers are avoiding Corona, the beer, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, according to a new survey.

      A surprising 38 percent of beer drinkers insisted that they would not, under any circumstances, buy Corona as the deadly virus spreads across the globe, according to the survey conducted by 5W Public Relations.

      “There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus,” Ronn Torossian, founder of 5WPR, said in a statement.

      There is no known connection between the beer and the virus — except for the name.

      But Torossian explained how important the name was to the product’s branding.

      “Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying, ‘Hey, can I have a Corona?’ or ‘Pass me a Corona,’” he said.

      In fact, 14 percent of respondents who said they regularly consume Corona beer admitted in the survey they would not order the beverage in public. …

    2. I was in the ER a couple of weeks ago and I spoke with someone who said they had stayed up to late last night drinking. I said “Oh, so you have the Corona virus?” and there was much merriment.

Comments are closed.