Be For Real


Sometime ago, my sons, one at a time and in different conversations, told me the thing their generation prizes the most is being “real.” However neither of them could explain to me what that meant, precisely.

I think to an extent I know.  Take this blog for instance (okay, don’t take it, how would I wake up without writing 2k words every morning? BUT feel free to encourage my misdeeds by throwing a few virtual coins at that link on the right.)

I started it at the behest of fourth agent.  You see, I didn’t have the money to self-finance book tours. I hadn’t gone to college with anyone useful. I had neither the money, the time nor the emotional resources to do the job publishers no longer did (in fact, my publishers were more or less aggressively anti-doing-it; i.e. not only not publicizing the books but through slipped publication dates, lousy covers, and just general weirdness making it hard for even devoted fans to find my books. Even if I knew — not often — the books were out and told them so.) So she advised a low cost — and low return — alternative: this blog.

The problem is of course for a blog to become popular is an uphill battle.  It started with the fact that I was attempting this when everyone said the age of the blog was past. If I’d had a time machine I’d have started the blog in 1998, of course. But as usual I find myself without these necessary accouterments. It continued with a friend’s insistence that if the blog was ever going to make it, I needed to blog every day.

The only “model” for blogging every day I could find was using it instead of “pages in the morning.”  I have a friend who swears by this.  He rolls out of bed, sans coffee, and writes however many pages he can, long hand. These are not meant to ever be seen by anyone, and you can them whatever.

I tried this for a brief time in the nineties, when I was more blocked than a constipated armadillo and I found out that my subconscious is either a whiny 8 year old — and I don’t care if no one else will ever see it, I don’t want to listen to it. I’ve raised the boys. I’m not willing to endure my own inner brat — or a machine for generating stories. After a while the “pages in the morning” book filled with ideas, plots, brief character sketches.  And then I gave up and just wrote.

But if I were going to do a blog, I could do it on the principle of “pages in the morning.” I.e. take whatever is biting me early in the day and splay it here.

Now, needless to say — you’re not children — this is not my real me, as such. It’s impossible to put the real you on display (though my ADD is on full pinned-on glory right now, isn’t it?) on such a thing as a blog.  One of the things you don’t often get is my depression or fatalism.  That’s not so much an attempt to hide it from you, as to hide it from myself. I’ve found that if I talk about my fears or my sense of doom it only feeds the black dog. So often my ah…. sunny optimism is an attempt to cajole myself out of a bad spot. Oh, it’s me, too. But it’s the strategies I’ve learned to use to cope with the other side of me.

Also I don’t need to tell you everything I have to do today (heck, I’d prefer not to tell ME but nobody asked me) from laundry to some mending, to moving aside the big pile of branches so son’s moving truck can park in the driveway.  (The stone moving project is temporarily in abeyance.) Or that I’m heartened that restaurants are opening, but divided as to whether I can support them, because of the mask requirement.  We can talk about that at another time, but to strap onto my face a symbol of compliance with a ridiculous and useless order is akin to telling a lie because I’ve been ordered to, and I think that’s what starts the corruption of societies into totalitarianism. On the other hand, the order doesn’t come from restaurants, and they need the money. On yet the other hand, compelled speech and not letting people manage their own risk are steps on the road to hell.

Anyway, although because I write this pre-adderal and pre-coffee, you often get the full blown ADD dancing naked, you don’t need to know every stray thought that crosses my mind.

HOWEVER the “curated me” I first tried on the blog was way more effort than it was worth.

Because I couldn’t talk about any of the things that actually interested me — politics, economics, philosophical credo, or whatever I’d been reading and how it affected me — since I was deep in the political closet, I (instead) had to talk only of writing, my stories, my pets or those experiences I knew to be “acceptable” to the establishment.

Now, those are also me, but it’s almost impossible to do in an hour or so in the morning. I had to think about it, shape it, etc. and sometimes just couldn’t think of anything to say (this will be the general content of my writer’s page, but I only INTEND to do that once a week or so, as it will replicate the contents of my newsletter.  Which speaking of, I need volunteers to test sometime this week.)

My blog limped along for 2 or 3 years, with fifty reader (some of you have been here since then, I know) and I often forgot to post.

I finally lost my mind (there were several circumstances) and decided to come out politically, knowing full well it would eventually cost me my career. (Even the one house that shouldn’t care, does, when you’re a woman and a minority, because the rest of the establishment makes sure they care. I.e. you’re double d*mned if you walk off the plantation the left has built for entire categories of people. It’s hard to defeat a claim that you’re both stupid and insane, and if you don’t think such a claim affects distribution…  well!)

Anyway, that is when the blog started taking off.  Mind you, I still don’t think it does much of anything good for my fiction sales. But by the time I had ascertained that, this blog was a community I thought of as friends and family, and in a way necessary to my mental health.

Still, the blog took off when it was “my real me” and my real interests and ideas.

So to an extent I understood  what the kids meant.  To another extent, the very fact they were obsessed with “being real” tells you a lot about our society.

Let me put it this way, the last age to become obsessed with being real was pre-revolutionary France.

Oh, the enlightenment had a lot of injunctions about not being hypocritical or doing “natural” things. But in France they became utterly obsessed with it.

This was at a time when manners were such a complicated and bizarre dance that you had to learn them from an early age to pass in polite society; when the public self and the private self might be completely different people; and when the public displays had got so out of hand it wasn’t odd for women to wear battle ships among their — fake — locks.

So they craved “real.”

In the same way, our young crave “real” because, though in most circles the display is not physical (except for masks) they know they don’t live in a “real” world.

Those who aren’t stupid might never admit it, but they realized in high school that the teachers who insisted you “question authority” never meant THEIR authority. They realized early on that the same adults who told them to let it all hang out were very careful to only bleat the same opinions as the herd. They realized at some level the party that claims to care for the destitute is filled with millionaires. And they know how much virtue signaling hides florid vice.  So they crave “real”.

I suspect this is part of the left’s obsession with hypocrisy.  They KNOW they’re hypocrites. So they need to prove other people are as well, in order to sleep at night. And they descend to considering others hypocrites in relation not to what others believe or do, but to what the left believes they SHOULD believe or do. Hence why all our leftist friends think memes with “socialist Jesus” are a gotcha, based on their imperfect understanding of scriptures and of non-leftists as well.

The obsession with being “real” and “not lying” is such that it leads to ridiculous book plots in which it is a lie if you don’t fully disclose all your thoughts and feelings to complete strangers.

This approaches the more bizarre Rousseaunian reaches of the Enlightenment in which if a woman were raped, the rapist was now considered her “natural husband” and she could take no other.  It’s not a particularly healthy, or sane attitude, and can only be understood as a reaction to all the lies they are supposed to repeat while knowing they are lies.

It’s not healthy or sane, because not letting it all hang out allows humans to live together without bashing each other over the head with a big rock.  When I was in the political closet — and my leftist colleagues weren’t and were vocal, but were also marginally saner than they are now — having to keep quiet about politics (it was only when that stopped being allowed and vocal endorsement required that the wheels came off) — meant that I could get to know these people as people, outside their politics. And you know, most of them are not bad people. They have the politics they have partly despite themselves, and often by not telling themselves the truth about the ultimate consequences of such things as believing all cultures are “equally valid.”

Manners, interaction and politeness are good for society. It allows to see the others as humans, no matter how much you disagree.

On the other hand, the left couldn’t let well enough alone. Partly because they know they’re double-thinking and signaling things that are either impossible or impossible for them, and then ignoring the result of what they endorse, they require — each time louder — vocal endorsement of their delusions from everyone.

The problem is that the more they require this vocal endorsement to be able to work, live or do business in the world, the more they know this is compelled speech, and thereby a “lie” and the more they crave authenticity, without realizing that you can’t both compel authenticity and demand that people agree with you.

Look, even if it were correct that socialism had never really been tried, and is the best way for humans to live, even if men and women were exactly the same outside the obvious, even if “social justice” (however the left defines it) were the highest calling of mankind, there will be humans who dissent. There are always humans who dissent. Look at the humans who believe the Earth is flat, or people who think dinosaurs orbit the Earth in a spaceship.

And the really weird thing is that we know, through history, sometimes the weirdest dissent opinions turn out to be right. (Well, not things like flat Earth. NASA assures me they checked. So did the Greeks.) Or at least turn out to be possible.

So, when you make everyone not only shut up (which is bad enough) but vocally endorse the consent, you know it’s not “real” and you feel discomfited.

That feeling that things aren’t “real” and that things aren’t “right” are alarms ringing in the back of your mind about how dangerous the situation is becoming.

Remember how pre-revolutionary France ended.

Demanding that people endorse the opinions you WANT to be real louder and louder and louder is only going to make the alarms ring louder.

As it should.

The real world is full of discord, disagreement, and there’s not such thing as “proven” social anything, except for the immutable nature of humanity.  Trying to change that is not “real” but as crazy as demanding the weather obey your commands.  Humans can self-control and self-moderate (though it takes training) but not fundamentally change their nature as social apes who think.

You want “real” you have to tear down “Safe spaces” and stop considering speech as aggression.  Take the battle ship off your head. Dismantle all the locks you pinned on.

What’s underneath might just be a brain that can think.


My word. Misplace mine own head next. I forgot to tell you that I put out an Austen Fanfic under Alyx Silver (my nom the fanfic.) It’s called What if He Were to Pick Me?and I want to emphasize I was neither drunk nor on drugs when I wrote it.  Also, it was the first fanfic I wrote, and it was a hobby, when actual publication seemed an impossible thing.

Also although I had been writing for attempted publication for YEARS, this was my first fanfic. I cleaned it up a lot, but it’s still rough around the edges.  ALSO the line about unruly pillows got me kicked out a fanfic site, back in the day, for being too racy (!). Anyway, if you follow that link you can buy it (It’s 2.99) or read it with Kindle Unlimited.  And hopefully you enjoy it, if nothing else as a sort of juvenalia.


315 thoughts on “Be For Real

  1. I’ve been trying to compose a pithy meme about the collectivist’s dilemma – the one where they need to make up excuses for clearly destructive behavior because they really do think that everyone in a given group is the same and responsible for what others in that group do. So in order to say that *this whole group* isn’t bad because a bunch of people looted a store and then burned it down, they have to make excuses for things that shouldn’t be excused.

    And then, yeah, they need to demand that everyone else vocally agree that *those people* can’t really be expected to control themselves or be honest because of *reasons*.

    1. Old style stick ’em up bank robbery. Couple of robbers, maybe six lobby people, four tellers. Make all the actors of the same race. They’re a group, right? And being members of a group, they’re all the same… right?

      1. I like Ayn Rand’s take on it (paraphrased):

        Bank robbers can’t exist without banks, but banks work just fine without robbers.

  2. Nod, I remember the 60s-70s hippy garbage of “Let It All Hang Out”.

    IE Don’t hide your feelings.

    Well, there have been times where they would not really want to hear What I Was Feeling! 😈

    1. What I usually “hear” when someone demands intimacy which I am not willing to offer them is something like:
      “Please, explain how I can best hurt you.”

      That’s the biggest advantage to the habit of dehumanizing the right– sooooo many barbs are way off in left field, not buried in our hearts.

  3. As far as ‘real’ goes, it’s helpful to remember the rap artists who went to jail in order get street cred as ‘real’. It may be possible to be more fake than that, but it would surely take a lot of effort.

    Honestly, pretty much any kind of performance is fake. Which is kinda the point, but also why Who’s Line improv was as impressive as it was.

    I can’t think of anything more _genuinely_ real than devoting oneself to being a good parent and spouse, albeit that not everyone finds a partner willing to likewise self-devote. (And it’s always a work in progress, of course!) But tooling up towards private space exploration might get close.


  4. Funny, I was musing this morning about Chesterton’s Fence as a way to explain to teenagers why manners are important to society. I.e. “Until you fully understand why people say please, thank you, sir, and ma’am, and can explain the reasons, don’t assume that dropping politeness for ‘authenticity and egalitarianism’ is better.”

    1. I don’t understand why people think that being polite and well mannered is a ‘bad’ thing. Have you seen the (tongue in cheek, mocking) meme of “White people and …*spins wheel* …their polite kids” followed by a person bitching about how awful it is that white kids are raised to be polite, and other such things?

      Manners is something I wish that more people had these days. There are people my age out there (40s now!) who don’t know what that’s like. Eeesh. They’ve replaced it with putting on the ‘gangsta’ act instead and pretend that’s ‘their authentic self.’

      1. LOL. And then there was my kids. 😉

        Though honestly, I had perfect strangers stop to compliment me on how polite and considerate my very small children were one day and different total strangers lecture me on bad parenting the next.

        Over all, though, I do think they managed to all learn how to behave on their own.

  5. But how does one figure out reality when all they have to go on is the Narrative that was drilled into them — probably from childhood, and thus impossibly deep — vs the equally deep sense that something is wrong? Especially when no sources can be trusted and the obvious instinct of “Toss it all!” will be just as destructive, but with different curtains.

      1. They’re making it more so!

        Transracial is … okay now I guess? Maybe? Because it… erases a white person? Or something?

        (and if you’ve had the misfortune of encountering the Twitch Pet Deer *cough* Transperson, uhm… yeah. Therianism maybe too, or is it being considered trans now?)

        1. Eh, I think too many of them will realize how much it shows up the trans hoax, and try to stop it.

          For now.

        2. Otherkin aren’t trans per se, although it seems like a lot of them are. Debate is open if otherkin are mentally ill or just attention whores (or if “and” is appropriate in both senses).

          For the single best discussion of otherkin ever, I recommend the following:

          I still risk peeing myself from laughing after many, many viewings.

      1. We know one of the easier failure modes: “Y is clearly bad, Y says X is the opposite, therefore I must believe X”

        cue; alt right, preacher’s children, (some) SJWs, and on and on.

        1. Paranoia’s communists. They know that Alpha Complex’s Computer hates communists. They’re not entirely sure what a communist is (and, it should be noted, neither is the Computer…). But if the Computer hates communists…

        2. [NOTE: Not an accusation.]

          I’ve long hated being told that I am being manipulated by not liking what happens to be popular, on the presumption that I am simply against anything/everything popular rather than having my tastes simply not snap in magnetic alignment with “Greater” Society. What that was (and is) to me, is an attempt to manipulate me into falling in line with such. Now THAT gets automatic resistance – and deserves it.

    1. Thing is, there will either be some societal consensus in the future, or there will be war.

      Right now, the societal consensus can have in the mix folks who predate the current message capture, but grew up in a prior state of message capture, which was different.

      The future mix is necessarily going to be people who have worked out ways to survive the current state of message capture. Forex, it looks very much like current 10 to 20 year olds who buy too heavily into the transex stuff are largely not going to make up the survivors of their cohort.

      Culture has never been 100% reality. ‘But what if the current problems prevent it from converging on Truth’ is a category error.

      Truth is for individuals and God. Function is for groups of people.

      We are probably headed for excessive dysfunction. Large changes to that are not a useful personal objective. The useful personal objectives are closer to home.

      1. “We DEMAND Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusivity!”

        So people who rape children, mutilate women, or randomly kill bystanders are just conforming to their cultural norms and absolutely should not be punished for it, while dirtbags like you, who don’t share the same political views, are anathema and must be eliminated.

        Somewhere in the malware that’s running in their heads, this makes sense…

        1. I don’t think it makes sense for any but a tiny minority who are truly nuts, HOWEVER, I also think that there is a much broader assortment of weak fools who know subconsciously that to condemn the obvious barbarians means starting a process of judgement that must inevitably lead to confronting their complicity in various mass murders…and deep down, they know that would break their minds.

          They cannot condemn Islam’s poisonous culture without admitting that one must JUDGE cultures, and they cannot judge cultures without having to judge the Fascist cultures they profess to admire. And if they judge THOSE cultures, then they must admit, at least to themselves, that they have been covering for and excusing murderous sociopaths. These Prius-socialists cannot face that they are, on some level, complicit in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the viciousness of Communist China, and so on.

          1. > judge

            I’ve lost count of the times I’ve expressed an opinion of something, and the person I was talking to went off on the “you shouldn’t judge” schtick.

            Well, why the hell NOT? What makes those people or their behaviors sacrosanct. that they must not be questioned or interfered with? Not “you should defer to someone else’s judgement”, but that judgement itself is somehow bad.

            TRX: “You don’t have to be a biologist to know the milk is spoiled.”

            I’ve had this happen often enough I’ve come to believe it’s something they got in school, after I managed to escape.

        2. I like the term, oikophobia – the hatred and fear of one’s own culture. If you’re an oikophobe, then you will naturally support Islam, Communism, etc. simply because it’s in opposition to your own, hated culture

    2. When you’re lost, first thing to do is stop.
      Then evaluate the situation.

      Figure out what is good, figure out what you want, and work through testing things.

      Simple, objective goals are a good start.

      1. > When you’re lost, first thing to do is stop.

        Alas, for most people, that’s something that so non-obvious it’s hard to teach to them…

        1. Yeah. The only successful child search I ever did involved a kid in Scouts that had been taught to plant his ass in the middle of a trail and stay there. (Blowing the whistle he had every few minutes also helped). Got him back to his troop within a 1/2 hour.

          I swear that someday I’ll write that paper on the Daniel Boone Syndrome where folks (in the wild or during discussing scenarios in an academic setting ) where the first thing people want to do is strike out cross country to find “civilization”.

          USAF SERE School taught: Non-Tactical: Sit still. Tactical: Unass the area and evade until able to contact friendly forces.

      2. Easy for those who have an intact idea of what they want. I have a pretty solid idea of my central goal. But what of those who are unlucky enough that the damage is exactly where their goals are?

        Someone who’s indoctrination involves “having children is evil” is going to have a hell of a time solving part of the problem until they have solved the entire problem. “Step 1: solve everything” is usually a recipe for failure.

        1. Easy for those who have an intact idea of what they want.

          Not really.
          While “finding myself” has been massively hijacked, it’s just as important as most of the rest of the things the Progs steal.

          Someone who’s indoctrination involves “having children is evil” is going to have a hell of a time solving part of the problem until they have solved the entire problem.

          Oooor they already did that, in step one, with recognizing “this is not good.”

          AKA, identify the problem.

          “Step 1: solve everything” is usually a recipe for failure.

          Asking a question and ignoring the offered answers is a better one.

          1. Not really.

            Relative comparisons. You should recognize them.

            Oooor they already did that, in step one, with recognizing “this is not good.”

            You severely underestimate the stickiness of indoctrination.

            Step one isn’t “this is wrong [and therefore shouldn’t be followed]”, it is “something is off, but I can’t figure out why”.

            AKA, identify the problem.

            We are talking about people who have yet to identify the problem. At most they know there *is* a problem, somewhere, but they can’t tell which parts of the marbled cake are good and which are bad.

            Telling them to just identify the problem bro! doesn’t help them in the slightest.

            1. Apparently we need a step zero for you:

              Consider, for at least a few moments, that you in your self-pronounced ignorance are not still more knowledgeable than those you are asking for information from.

              The asking questions and then lecturing people who don’t tell you what you WANT to hear thing is getting old.

              1. I’m not the one insisting that people go from “I believe this totally” to “I completely understand everything about how that was wrong” in one step.

                If the logic stinks badly enough even a fool can see it.

                  1. Foxfier is denying that there are people who can know there is *something* wrong with what they have been told, but don’t know what part.

                    To continue the example I used upthread: imagine a woman who has been told that having kids is evil because it is killing the earth, yet still wants kids (because guess what; she is human), and hasn’t figured out that what she was told is completely false. That is exactly the type of situation I am talking about.

                    1. When you’re lost, first thing to do is stop.
                      Then evaluate the situation.

                      Figure out what is good, figure out what you want, and work through testing things.

                      Vs you throwing you hands in the air and insisting that doing any freaking work to identify what, exactly, is wrong– no, that’s asking too much.

                    2. Figure out what is good, figure out what you want, and work through testing things.

                      Strictly speaking if someone is having a problem that involves moral issues, “what they want” is not good evidence in any direction, except as a hint that something is amiss. Then comes the hard work of figuring out if they are amiss, or the morals are amiss.

                      Vs you throwing you hands in the air and insisting that doing any freaking work to identify what, exactly, is wrong– no, that’s asking too much.


                    3. Since you seem to have forgotten your original question, it was:

                      But how does one figure out reality when all they have to go on is the Narrative that was drilled into them — probably from childhood, and thus impossibly deep — vs the equally deep sense that something is wrong?



                      That is what you’ve been saying, in your interpretation of the very simple– but not easy— method of of ‘go through each bit and test it.’

                    4. I don’t think you’ve been particularly unclear, but I do think — and I hope I am not being unkind or making excessive attempts at mindreading here — that some of what may be coming across at times as “but how, when this is impossible?” is a real and… um… maybe frustrated/desperate hope for instruction in how to approach evaluation and testing from the very uncomfortable state of suspecting something as yet unidentified is wrong with one’s own premises, and that one’s approach to evaluating things isn’t sound.

                    5. I think you’re correct, in no small part because I’ve been at the point where it all looks impossible.
                      That’s why you break it down into smaller bits. Which is a lot more work– but it’s possible work. You might fail, but it’s possible.

                      To steal from a Disney song, do the next right thing.

                    6. *stifled laugh*

                      A few weeks ago I finally asked someone I know who knows one of the other posters here what I was doing wrong, because I couldn’t parse it. Someone else in the chat remarked that we seemed to be in the unfortunate position of people who naturally hit each other’s scars. I think that counts as a confirmation.

                      That’s why you break it down into smaller bits. Which is a lot more work– but it’s possible work.

                      Find a piece you can pin down with certainty. Follow the implications. Find the contradictions between what is pinned vs “known”. Repeat again.

                      And try not to feed the darker impulses while at it.

                    7. More basic– you’re asking people to put out effort for you, on things that are difficult and intimate. You then either insist that they are wrong, or argue with what they say and change the specs.

                      Based on some background I won’t go into, I don’t think you are deliberately jerking people around as a power play, and I think it’s possible you’re avoiding discomfort of some sort, possibly without realizing it.
                      While that’s a decent coping mechanism for a short time, it goes bad easily, and can cause a lot of damage to both the user and those around them. A mainstream example would be that Peterson clip with the interviewer and her “so what you’re saying” thing. (or, well, a horrifying percent of the Prog folks)

                      The only tactic I’ve seen that at least sort of works, especially with geeks– or Odds, possibly, there’s a lot of overlap– is to keep answering the questions, but also be very direct about the dodges.

                      The good thing is, it seems to align with recognizing the other person as a person, just a little iffy on which parts of “being a person” are identical to “being me.”

                    8. I think it’s possible you’re avoiding discomfort of some sort, possibly without realizing it.

                      I *stopped* trying to figure things out because it was so destructive, of the “anger eating you alive” variety (and watched it happen to others). Not permanently; problems are going to manifest one way or another, but until dealing with things didn’t mean stopping everything and having nothing to work with.

                      Apparently that lid won’t stay tamped down as long as I hoped.

                    9. It never does, sadly. Gotta fix the problem– or more likely, A problem– and it’s not one ****thing after another, it’s a bunch all the time.

                    10. Also frustration in that — from my perspective — the things Foxfier says are often about about as related to what I’m saying as anything Biden says on a day to day basis.

                      See; “talking past each other”.

                    11. To be more clear, I read Foxfier’s comments as well as yours before making my previous comment, and I don’t agree with your summary.

                      I think you are somewhat talking past each other. I am not sure to what extent this is because you might be, as in the case of the patriotism example you brought up, looking for specific (but generalizable?) solutions when you have omitted important specifics from describing the problem. (I do understand the impulse to take an argument you can’t wrangle properly to people you really hope will tear it apart for you, by the way, but it is important to keep in mind that this can be exasperating, particularly if you don’t communicate clearly from the start.)

                      Step 1 can’t be “solve everything,” but it’s not necessarily — or likely — going to be easy even if it gets a simple summary.

                    12. I think you are somewhat talking past each other.

                      This is the usual case. It would be easier to list the times when we weren’t talking past each other.

                      For the rest of you comment, I’m not sure. It needs to digest a while.

                      Not least because I’m not entirely sure what exactly I’m looking for when I touch off these dumpster fires.

                    13. PK: It is something like the line about Brits & Yanks being separated by a common language. Or, as someone else put it, “They are in violent agreement.” Or maybe there’s that story about what an elephant is…

                      No analogy is perfect – or it wouldn’t be an analogy.’

                      Analog-y. Digital-y (note the single ‘L’) ?

                      OT (even further, yes)…
                      “Digitize” – to put in digital (usually binary) format from analog.
                      “Digitalize” used to bug me, and still does, but I have heard a proper use of the term. It is to administer Digitalis.

          2. > Asking a question and ignoring the offered answers is a better one.

            They’re not looking for an answer, they’re looking for affirmation of what they’re already decided to do. Which is often nothing.

              1. Absolutely.

                But there are two kinds of nothing:

                “Not my problem” (or “nothing I can do about it”) vs:

                “passively allow events to proceed so I don’t have to take a stand” (or “decision through inaction”)

          3. While “finding myself” has been massively hijacked, it’s just as important as most of the rest of the things the Progs steal.

            I suppose there is a side question here: I’ve only heard this term used in the corrupted “I just want to derp around” sense, . Am I correct in that real “finding oneself” is more or less a person trying to sort out their values? (in both the philosophical and what their goals are senses)

            1. It’s one of those things that words don’t really grasp well– usually danced around with questions like “why am I doing this?”

              It’s part of growing up, getting your own identity. (The Lazy Writer method of this is to do exactly the opposite of what your parents do. And we’re like three generations, or four, into such “rebels.”)

              1. I’m *trying* to avoid the inversion. That is what I keep repeating in different forms of “trying to figure out where the flaws are”.

                1. Fantasy and scifi are good– it’s philosophy with fun stories. 😀
                  Much safer for avoidance if one is truth-gazing rather than navel-gazing.

            2. Yes. If you want to avoid the baggage of “finding oneself”, you can use “learning oneself.” Or “knowing oneself”, which is commonly found to be the beginning of wisdom. “Finding” implies one is lost. “Learning” has much less baggage associated, plus the added component that learning is a lifelong pursuit.

              1. Except of course you are also MAKING your self. Those who go for finding themselves are often making themselves into selfish jerks.

            1. Yeah. Except nowadays the FBI’s memory is about like Hillary’s. They can’t find email, they can’t find 304s, they can’t find text messages, they can’t find phone records, they can’t remember anything at all while testifying to Congress…

              1. They can’t find the evidence the Bundys were telling the truth, and they can’t remember why this is a problem.

        2. Even for those who lack any idea what they want there usually exists (to paraphrase Heinlein) an understanding of what they do not want.

          1. Aye. I might be indecisive as to if my dessert should chocolate cake, butterscotch pudding, or coconut pie. But I am certain that it will NOT be pea soup.

  6. Hmm. What’s the difference between “being real” and malignant narcissism? I still haven’t quite figured that out. What’s the difference between being socially agreeable and dodging reality? I’m not quite sure of that, either. What’s the difference between being true to my best self, and hopeless idealistic perfectionism? I haven’t quite figured that one out either. The best I can do is, Muddle on, muddle on, muddle on.

    1. I advise against demanding I be real. You wouldn’t like me when I’m real.

      1. Agreed.

        The real me is much more…inclined, inclined is a good word, to physical communication, especially of displeasure.

    2. My wife, when she communicates with others, tries to follow the dictum: Is it the truth? Is it necessary? Is it kind? I seem to always fail the last step. I lack her imagination or her discipline. My father’s last words to me on his deathbed were, “Don’t cause trouble,” which echoes most every authority figure I ever encountered. Also probably tells you why I became a writer. Sorry, if it is the truth and necessary, I tend to say it. Kindness requires me to be better than I may ever be.

      1. Don’t cause trouble

        Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Which took me about 30 years to finally parse.)

        AKA “don’t go looking for trouble.” Maybe that’s what he meant.

        1. AKA “don’t go looking for trouble.” Maybe that’s what he meant.

          I learned it as “Don’t start trouble.”

          Companion advice to “Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’.”

          Of course, there’s a wealth of “trouble” phrases:
          * Trouble is my middle name.
          * She was born trouble.
          * Trouble is my business.
          * It weren’t no trouble.

          1. Last night’s short story was a L’Amour story built on just that. Six men set out to lynch a man who was a supposed back shooter. He leads them on a chase that demonstrates he’s not that kind of man. This leads to a conversation about what happened.

            He didn’t want trouble, but someone started it when he was short his pistol. He went and got it and went back to talk to the other man. He didn’t want trouble, but didn’t want to be perceived as starting it. As soon as he returned the other man drew instead of talking, ie the other man kept starting touble.

            1. Also, the “back” resulted when his first bullet turned the man so the second hit the back. Not in his control.

        2. True enough, and I don’t go looking for trouble. My type of causing trouble consisted of telling my oldest nephew that my brother had secretly married his girlfriend, without making provisions for my brother’s 6 and 8 year old children (oldest nephew’s half brothers) who were in his custody from an earlier marriage to someone who had become a meth addict. Not keeping that family secret was enough to make me persona non grata in my family after we had fought hard to get my brother custody. As I tend to say, to say I was raised by wolves is an insult to the parenting skills of wolves.

        3. John Farnam’s three rules:

          Don’t go to stupid places
          Don’t associate with stupid people
          Don’t do stupid things.

          …from the context of his gunfighting school, but applicable to almost all of life’s situations.

        4. That’s one way to cause trouble– there’s also the entertainment my sister was, sadly, very fond of, “lets you and him fight”– or tempting people into things that you know are bad, or….

          Wise as serpents and harmless as doves. :/

      2. I have the same objection to “kind.”

        The explanation that fits, without becoming monstrous, is more like “is it as truly kind as possible”– is it good, does it do the least damage possible to achieve the necessary truth?

        People conflate kind with nice. My dad is kind. Which is why he has killed countless suffering animals that nobody else could be bothered with, since it’s so much nicer to just pretend the deformed kittens disappear, rather than wasting away in a long, painful process.

        1. Sometimes it is kinder to tell someone, “Be aware that [bad thing] and [icky thing] are sometimes requirements for advancement in your dream field. Things are getting better, but do not be surprised if you hear stories about [appalling behavior]” than to cheer them on knowing they are about to collide with some borderline-criminal demands if they want to advance in the field.

          Details and specifics omitted to protect the innocent, because the guilty sure as &^## know who they are.

        2. Foxfier–“Is it as truly kind as possible?”
          Yep, that’s where I lack my wife’s imagination (or maybe her creativity). She does really well at saying what’s true and necessary in the kindest way possible.
          My advice to others like me who can’t seem to learn comes from the movies:
          “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” –J.B. Books (John Wayne) from “The Shootist”

          1. I’ve met one person who can manage the saying what’s true, and necessary, and in a kind way, and actually convey the required information.

            Most of them….well, there’s a reason I don’t trust complements, y’know?

        3. I have literally seen a person argue that Aslan is not always loving — meaning, no doubt, nice.

          1. When I had the falling out with crazy sis in Seattle, one of her complaints was that I had made her friends, who were nice people, cry.

            Besides the fact that they only cried because they didn’t actually read what I had written, all I could think was “I don’t want my friends to be nice. I want them to be good.”

  7. I occasionally shock some of my friends and acquaintances by my defense of dueling. It shocks them when they see that I’m serious. if some of our more egregious public persons had to answer with their life for their actions they might be more thoughtful. Instead we do it with lawyers and that’s just unjust. It would be bonny to see McCabe meet Flynn early one morning under the rules set out at the Clonmel Summer Assizes in 1777. Alas, McCabe is no gentleman.

    1. There would certainly be a marked improvement in manners on Twitter if NPCs were called to stand up and defend their honor at high noon.

    2. I don’t think McCabe would show up . . . but the equivalent of Denver Summervale in the Honor Harrington books probably would, on McCabe’s behalf . . .

      1. Not under the code. Calling a man a liar required express apology or blood. IF McCabe didn’t show up, he would be finished. The only way he could maneuver a Denver Summervale would be to cause Flynn to strike Summervale. But since McCabe had made the first offense, he would still have to meet Flynn before the second duel could occur.

      2. The problem, as Pavel Young found out, is that sooner or later you run out of Summervales

      1. Look up Alfred Wintle and the case of Wintle v. Nate. One of my heroes and one of the world’s great eccentrics. No author could invent him.

    3. I’d be happy with the return of dueling.

      An armed society is a polite society. That’s why they want us disarmed.

      Because, yes, right now they are being their version of polite (ie, you get to live).

      1. I’m a little hesitant to ask, because I hardly feel like a regular as little as I comment, but would you like a guest post series on some gardening and food preservation (canning, drying) basics? I can put together a series, although I don’t know if you would like it and where I should send it if so.

  8. When whoever writes, wants to write: let it. Just ask John Ringo about the Ghost. Let Sarah write what she needs to write, so she can write what she has to write. Creativity cannot be kept in a cage.

    1. And let’s not forget TLC – imagine if he’d tried to keep that one bottled up…

  9. Being Real is a thing people say when they don’t know what they’re asking for. One of the problems Aspergers kids have is that they are -always- Real and always unfiltered. They can’t lie convincingly and they can’t tell when to speak and when to shut up.

    I think what people value Being Real for is they want to know if they can relax, or if they need to keep up the fake-faced adherence to Normie Normal that keeps the NPCs off their back. They want to know if you’re going to nark them out to Karen.

    Example, the only people I know who will admit to attending church are rural Dutch Reform types for whom going to church is A) normal and B) expected. In their community of family and friends, lots of things revolve around church. Urban and suburban people certainly go, they just don’t talk about it in an urban or business setting. People will talk about orgasms before they’ll talk about Christianity. Saying something like “Mrs. SoAndSo was saying X at church the other day” used to get you branded as unreliable, gullible and stupid by the Karens. Lately it gets you branded as The Enemy.

    This is a problem for us Odds, who will tend to overshare with the wrong people. We get narked out pretty much every time.

    1. This is a problem for us Odds, who will tend to overshare with the wrong people. We get narked out pretty much every time.


    2. Over-share is one of my huge issues. I think I can tell people things…and I will tell them things and that shocks people. Because most people don’t think like I do.

      And, if I nark to a Karen, it’ll be by accident. Followed by the Karen having “an accident.”

      1. You can see Karen having an accident in Minneapolis today. Official over-reach has its consequences. And I say that as a person strongly opposed to everything those rioters claim to stand for.

          1. Basic information regarding the case not at my fingertips, but it seems a black guy died in police custody shortly after a cop had been kneeling on his neck for eight minutes. There’s video of the guy begging for air.

            Now, everybody among the Usual Suspects are trying as hard as they possibly can to make this about race. There are accusations that the rioters in Minneapolis are not -from- Minneapolis, but were bused in for the festivities.

            Also a considerable number of the rioters have focused their attention on looting Walmart and Target, so I question their sincerity, let’s just say. Trump tweeted he was calling out the National Guard to restore order, and as usual I have no problem with what he’s saying. Looters need to be taken to the Crowbar Hotel.

            Lost in the media frenzy is the actual truth: this is -not- about racism. This is about standard police training and procedures.

            Here’s a recent case from Canada:

            Teenage girl has assault rifles pointed at her and gets tackled to the ground and handcuffed over an obvious toy plastic gun while wearing a Storm Trooper outfit. In front of a Star Wars themed restaurant/comic book store. On May the 4th, 2020. While her boss was yelling at the cops that she worked for him, and he’s maybe 20 feet away in the door of the business. And there’s -nobody- else around, because Corona Chan lockdown.

            And while the media and the city try to pretend it was a “lapse in judgement” or similar, the fact is that the cops are all trained this way and ordered to do this stuff every single time. If there’s a gun call, you do the gun-call procedure. It doesn’t matter if its a child with a pink squirtgun. Handcuff the child while kneeling on their neck and pointing a gun at their tiny law-breaking head.

            So no, I’m not surprised guys are dying in police custody in Minneapolis, and no, I’m not surprised that the citizens are pissed about it. It is unacceptable for police to be doing violent takedowns of every citizen they interact with who doesn’t assume the position fast enough to suit them. If the suspect is armed or on the attack, fine. Go to town on them. But if they’re unarmed? Just standing there confused while five cops scream conflicting demands at them? Unacceptable.

    3. *Waves* Oh so much. “Tell me what you really think!”
      me: Okay….
      “Shock! Horror! No one could think that, you monster!”
      me: (You asked me which hairstyle looked better, whyyyy….)

        1. “If you pull it back like that it looks more elegant because it continues the lines of your face.”

          Said girl was of some kind of Asian descent, and apparently took that as something racial. I can’t win.

          1. 0.o

            Said girl was some kind of idiot, much more important.

            I can’t draw a stickman, and even I know about the “lines of the face.” I thought that was one of the basic steps in learning how to do makeup.

              1. I’ve got the basic theory down, but the warpaint of the various tribes is beyond me.

                Helps that my grandmother’s “doing my makeup” consisted of lipstick, blot lipstick, rub top of cheeks where you might blush with lipstick blotting cloth.
                So when I found out about accenting cheekbones– trying to make that hollow over the teeth look deeper– and how a lot of the eye stuff makes the eyes look bigger or more colorful, it made sense.

                I’d still look ridiculous, but my family is the sort where telling a lady you can tell she’s wearing makeup is an insult. If you can tell, it’s done wrong.

                1. If you can tell, it’s done wrong.

                  Figuring that out was the point at which I figured out that something I believed about myself was not actually true. I used to think that I didn’t like seeing a woman wearing makeup, and preferred women’s natural faces. Turns out that what I didn’t like was seeing makeup on a woman, which is not the same thing as seeing a woman wearing makeup. If you can see the makeup, it’s done wrong, as you said. Makeup done right just accentuated the woman’s natural face — and so, for example, when my mother would go to church on Sunday wearing makeup, it just looked to me like her natural face, only better somehow. (I think sometimes I did notice it because she’d over-applied it that day, but in retrospect, there were many Sundays when I didn’t notice that she was wearing makeup even though she must have been.)

            1. I often see women wearing elaborate makeup… that might be fine for someone else, but looks ridiculous on them.

              I am no kind of expert on makeup, but a lifetime of seeing women wear it gives me a vague idea of the norms. But some women seem to have even less of an idea of how to go about it than I do.

              My best theory (which also applies fo clothing and hairstyles) is that they saw it on someone else, and thought it looked great… but couldn’t see that it didn’t makle *them* look great.

              Every now and then, I wonder what they see when they look in the mirror.

      1. On hairstyle, clothes, etc, my Lady and I have worked out a good semi-truce. I tell her what I really think, “I think that grayish, pinkish purple you like so much is messy” and then add, “ but if it makes you feel attractive, then it will make you look attractive to me. I like my Lady to look happy. Everything else is piffle.”.

    4. I admit to it. But then I grew up rural, and heavily Calvinist. so *shrug*

      1. Generally this is an urban fashion statement, like a hairstyle. I find such people vapid and not worth speaking to.

        Mentioning church in passing is a great way to make them self-identify. I make do with a New Holland tractor ballcap. Same principle.

  10. …you can’t both compel authenticity and demand that people agree with you.

    And here we see the violence inherent in the system, for you certainly can compel both authenticity and agreement if you take all who authentically disagree out into the woods and shoot them in the back of the head.

    1. And along those lines, I recommend “The Death of Stalin” as a good ‘truth masquerading as farce’ exercise in education.

  11. I was probably 18 or 19 when I last considered writing seriously enough for publication. What I put to paper looked exactly the same as the stuff every mopey teenager fills pages up with. Blech.

    I considered that the paying jobs in the artistic fields whether acting, music, or painting require top tier skills, talent, and connections. I’m the son of a dairy farmer. Anything artistic in my life wound up categorized as only hobby stuff after that. Well, except for that time volunteering to sing the national anthem got me out of the kitchen for a few years in the Army.

    1. Maybe I’m a very weird person but when I was a teenager/twenty-something and then even in my thirties, I was so worried about writing mopey teenager stuff that I convinced myself that I needed to be at least 40 in order to know enough about life to write passably.

      Sort of the opposite mindset from “old people don’t know anything”.

      So I’m just here to say…write. I was just as observant of human nature as a young person as I am now and while there certainly is some totally cringeworthy mope ideas out there that I may be very glad never saw the light of day (because I probably could have written it well enough to get it out into the light of day) it’s nothing that changing a pen name wouldn’t cure.

      But had I not talked myself into believing that I needed to know life and people better before writing, I’d have learned by writing, I’d have developed that while I had more time and flexibility to do it with, and also would have done it when I had that sharpness of mind that’s been replaced with wisdom (in theory, it would be sad to lose sharpness and not get anything in exchange). BOTH have something to offer.

      So write.

    2. Being old is pretty handy for writing, because you can remember all the dumb shit you did as a kid that didn’t work. Having read books for 40 years doesn’t hurt either.

      But neither of these things are -required-. If you measure your worth based on other people you’re just going to shut yourself down.

      WRITE SOMETHING. Anything. Doesn’t matter. Then SELL IT on Amazon. Doesn’t matter how many people buy it. Then write another thing, and sell it. I did it, it isn’t that hard.

      Seriously, half the crap on the shelves of bookstores these days is worse than anything you are going to come up with. If Empress Theresa guy can do it, with his numerous issues, you can do it.

  12. apropos of nothing at all, does anyone know what has happened to the Diplomad? His page has been down the last few days.

    1. I noticed that too. I’m guessing it’s a problem with his web host; he’s been posting fairly regularly lately.

      An expired domain name usually redirects to a notice page, but we don’t even get a 404, just “unknown host.” That usually means the server is offline, not just messed up.

      1. Problem with the domain registrar (godaddy), as I understand it. Try instead. He’s got a new post on Hong Kong.

      2. Tried to send in info about diplomad, they “sold” his site to someone else, and it is possible to access his old site. He is trying to fix it.
        When I sent this info earlier, it go put into “moderation” and my icon is a different one.

      3. Yep. And I got that exact message for a while with Amazon today too. Amazon has resolved. Diplomad has not. 😦

        My theory: Skynet is getting us used to the internet being progressively nuttier so that when it finally takes over, we won’t notice until it’s too late.

    2. Somebody on the Kratskeller (Baen’s Bar) said that he has host problems.

    3. They sold his domain to someone else, and he is trying to fix it. He does show up in his old place.

  13. And you know, most of them are not bad people.

    Which is why there had to be a purity spiral.

    Otherwise, they’re exposed to BadThink– heck, look at how many Catholic apologists use to be very much on the other side, and just started studying in order to learn how to fight better.

    Learning enough to argue both sides is dangerous— you might learn enough to change your mind.

    1. There’s also the need to demonize the other side. If you actually know why Auntie Em closed the storm door without Dorothy, you can’t demonize Auntie Em for leaving Dorothy out with the tornado to die, crying that Auntie is stone cold evil.

    2. *nod* S’truth.

      But learning the other side can also hone the edge of your own argument. You know where you are weak… and where the other side is, as well. It can more clearly define your principles. Knowing where you stand is key to making your argument clearly, concisely, and sufficient punch.

      I am still nowhere near as good at that as the folks I learned it from originally.

  14. We have Baptists, Catholics, and Mormans here. I’m sure we also have Orthodox and Presbyterians, as a minimum.

    The left is a religion, and these days it is the custom of devout leftists to make a big deal over who is doctrinally correct, and who is ‘saved’.

    We definitely would not have the relative peace here among the Christian denominations if it was as much our custom to be concerned about the specifics of who has correct theology, and who exactly is saved. We don’t talk about what happens to people who are incorrect in believing in an exotic theory of marriage (Mormans), that the Pope is the Antichrist (some Baptists), or in prayer to Saint Martin of Tours (I meant Catholic, but I think Orthodox also applies). I’m so badly educated in theology that I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to have a firm answer to the previous sentence or not.

    I’ve been meaning to reread and come up with some answers to Ian’s question thread, I think on Monday’s post. But also a bit relevant here.

    I’m not fussed about patriotic displays, because I personally do not feel that I have been pressured into making them, or not. I know my own emotions, and haven’t seen that it has been a positional good for me.

    I still heartily loathe school spirit events. Much too much crowds, noise, and emotion for my taste. I was young then, and have been able to avoid that stuff for years.

    There was a time in my life when I had reservations about the pledge of allegiance. Largely because I was not willing to make the promise unless I meant it, and had not yet made that decision.

    1. Funny thing with the pledge, we were taught what to do if you were asked to make a pledge and didn’t believe it– basically, don’t make it, but make as few waves as possible. So stand out of respect, maybe put your hand over your heart (standing at parade rest is better) but don’t say the words. But the important thing is to not stand out while doing so.

      My dad is protestant, but went to Mass with us most weeks. He stood when we stood, sat (shifted forward so he didn’t stick out or block the guy behind us) when we knelt, and generally made sure not to be there as a living protest.


      I didn’t like “School Spirit” stuff either. Usually, they’d let us go to the library instead.

      1. Attendance was mandatory at the high school I went to. And they took attendance, and it counted as a letter grade; A for attendance, F if you weren’t there.

        After the first time, I hid out in the library instead. Nobody else was there. In some quirk of fairness, all the teachers and library staff were also on the “mandatory attendance” list.

        After they found out where I was hiding I figured the pep rallies were late enough in the day I wouldn’t miss much if I just left. So I’d walk out to the parking lot, get in my car, drive to work, and clock in early.

        1. Attendance was mandatory at the high school I went to. And they took attendance, and it counted as a letter grade; A for attendance, F if you weren’t there.

          Middle school didn’t have an option to leave; bus was required. Picked up the habit of “you can make go, but you can’t stop me from reading … go ahead and try …” They tried once. After the wrath of parents, they didn’t try again. I was smart enough to not utter the words “I told you”. HS did not repeat the insanity, except for guest presentations (not related necessarily to school spirit, tho they worked that in too). Since I walked to HS, it was an early release when they had school spirit assemblies.

    2. Mostly Protestant. If pressed, I say “Methoterian,” since I was baptized into one but usually wind up attending the other. *shrugs tail* That tends to end the interrogation.

    3. I’ve been meaning to reread and come up with some answers to Ian’s question thread, I think on Monday’s post. But also a bit relevant here.

      It is difficult to hit (one of) the roots of a problem when you are also avoiding mentioning it directly. But since your post mentions an aspect of that…… I was taught that patriotism is idolatry.

      Add in a family member who grew up in a small town (as in one that reified the negative stereotypes) as an Odd. Plus the obsession with group-everything, “it takes a village”, etc, etc, etc that was going on in the school system a few decades ago. And my incoherent ranting the other day should make a little more sense.

      1. I tend to define religion as combining group ritual behavior and magical thinking. Idolatry would be the subset of the religions that are false.

        Questions are 1) Can religion be strictly defined in a way that excludes patriotism 2) how false is Patriotism?

        My intuition is that patriotism is not necessarily a religion. If this is correct, it would seem to be because while there is ritual behavior, and it is a group thing, it is not strictly based in magical thinking. Problem is, some of the thought is clearly magical. So I would need a much better set of definitions about magical thinking to talk about this is any rigorous way.

        I don’t do sports. The types of identification that are often done with sports teams are one of the things I do with nationalism. I’ve picked my team, and I want it to win. For values of win that include being a fan of Doc Smith and 4X games, so I very much am not speaking on behalf on all patriots. (Well, it may be more correct to understand this belief of mine in terms of patching the vulnerability to the Cold War era “useless to fight, everyone will just die” propaganda.) But there are definitely sports fans that look like they bleed over into idolatry.

        There’s also personal affection. I had relatives in the sandbox; I wrote them because I knew they would have a hard time, and that the contact might help them return in better shape. If I had been in the military, or were more active in groups, I might have additional ties of affection and affinity, or be involved in other activities that would fall under the heading of patriotism, and at the same time cold bloodedly and rationally calculated to help others.

        I’ve long been interested in warfare. There were some veterans among my older relatives. I learned what unit they were in, where, which war, partly because of the interest in war, and partly because it was important to them, and they were to me.

        Beyond that, for all that there may be people who can make most of their decisions with few assumptions, and very pure logic, that definitely does not describe every single person. If some people can build a viable ethics ruleset from observation of human behavior and reason, there are others that do not have that inclination, and are more likely to have a viable ruleset if they get it from the weirdness that is group behavior. There are less obvious behaviors than morality, and group ritual is a way to influence them in desired directions. To some extent patriotism can be understood as a civic version of the useful rituals seen in military organizations. Modern first world militaries are very social organizations, groups of people who are not simply all loners doing their own thing. Okay, inspection ready units and combat, combat ready units and inspection. There are very many veterans who are also active in patriotic ritual because they have developed an understanding of the subtle effects, think it is good for people in America to have the benefit of a functioning nation state and an effective military, and are willing to go to the trouble for a small effect because of love for people.

        Sure, some of them are not sincere. If none of them were sincere a) any act could serve as a virtue signal b) we would not see the evidence of the actions backing the public facing rituals; the nation would be significantly more of a mess than it is. Instead of Mexican based cartels operating in the US, we would have a much more activity by domestic organized crime. /Mexico/ is in better shape than a ‘patriotic displays are backed by zero genuine belief’ society. I would need some serious thinking to see if I could find an extant example of one of those.

        More specific to me, I am an irritable misanthrope. I hesitate a little to say this, because it fits one of the talking points that the left likes to use to describe all patriots. However, it is useful for establishing that the reality is complex, and might not fit a simple religious or virtue signalling model. I’ve studied the cultures outside America, at least to the degree of understanding that it is not their custom to keep their governments under an appropriate level of oversight. I disapprove of all the degrees to which they practice such hazardous customs. For this reason, I dislike them much more than I dislike Americans, and if I’m talking about getting rid of people who annoy me, would put the priority on foreigners. Part of the reason America is my team, is because I dislike the English, etc. so very much. On very bad days, say a severe headache from allergies, I may just want people gone. When if a German annoys me, I want Germany erased, if Russian intelligence won’t stop being annoying, erase the Russian culture, if I am reminded of one of the many international treaties which I loathe, I want to exterminate the populations of all the signatories. Yes, I can follow the logical forward to “and then you lose your hat”, and net negatives, but the heart wants what the heart wants. (Which is a major reason why I am not inclined to let other people have license to act simply because of their emotions or unusual personal idiosyncrasies. If my own wishes are crazy enough that I should restrict myself to acting only on those that are moral, I see no reason I ought to be more generous to others.)

        1. I’m a Roman Catholic and a member of the K of C who succeeded in getting under God into the pledge. Affection for ones’s native place is considered natural to man and a matter of right reason; patriotism is considered to be a duty. Aquinas considers it piety. (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q 101) This attachment is to the community and not to any particular regime. Piety is owed to individuals and not to the state. This sort of patriotism excludes immoderate nationalism, which comes under the sin of pride.

          Alas for us, Francis is the Pope, duly elected. Bishops come with being a Catholic. My father used to say they were God testing us. Of course he never said that when my mother was around. Then again, his response to much of the absurdity of the post Vatican II church in the 70’s was “what do you expect from a bunch of clerics in Rome? “

          1. I always liked “under God” having been added because otherwise it all sounds like too much dedication (not merely fondness) for the country. I like the reminder that the State isn’t the highest authority.

            I know that some people dislike the addition of “under God” because they don’t believe in God or else they do and have some other objection, but I’d think that even a militant atheist should appreciate that the State isn’t being set up as holding anyone’s ultimate loyalty.

            But I do think that “affection for one’s native place” is as natural as affection for one’s own children. I think that patriotism should be like that. You love your kids without needing them to be perfect and you recognize their faults without tearing them down to others as if a rant about how poorly they do makes you look good.

            1. I am inclined to view the Pledge as an expression of gratitude for that which one has received. It certainly entails no contractual promise to perform any specific duties in fealty to the Pledge.

              Yes, I know what one gets upon looking up the meaning of allegiance, but none of those impose a specifically dischargeable duty. It is merely a general obligation to not dishonor the flag or the republic for which it stands — i.e., gratitude.

              1. Especially as it would be fairly easy to end up fighting the country because you honor that symbol, so you’d be going against the modern deformation of that which was good.

                …and I just realized this hits the Betsy Ross symbol thing, doesn’t it? In a really unflattering manner, too.

        2. Anyone who read Bob’s comment here and immediately wanted to read a book based on Bob’s fictional memoirs as Emperor of what remains of the human race, and the lessons learned probably belongs here on Sarah’s blog.

          Bob, how are you at writing fiction?

          1. Sure, and WordPress fails to link my comment to what I replied to. Delenda est, is it?

          2. Right now, I’d say pretty bad at writing fiction. At least, not at any length.

            I get lost without a plan, and haven’t figured out how I can outline long fiction.

            Most of my useful plot and character generation, so far, seems to be in the direction of other sorts of stories. I have had a few notions with a significant amount of mass killing, but I can’t recall anything since I started figuring this stuff out that is really on my ‘I’m planning to do it’ list.

            If we got rid of the foreign enemies by getting rid of all the foreign populations, we would immediately have two or three problems. 1. In absence of enemies foreign, what reason do we have to like each other all that much? An America alone in the world is probably not at all stable. 2. Methods of killing lots of people aren’t necessarily selective, and it is more likely than not that they would wind up used on people I do not want killed. Sadly, it is by far safer to not let the mechanisms be created in the first place. 3. In absence of socialism, every human is a net profit. Mass killing also destroys some of the wealth available to humanity. Every hundred million or billion killed, maybe even every ten million, is probably an appreciable hit to standard of living. So there’s a calculation of value of the killing, versus cost of the killing, that is prohibitive before you even begin to consider morality. Not a choice to make for trivial reasons.

            Plus, there are profound feasibility issues. To have it happen at all, foreigners would need to really work to piss the Americans off. I have trouble imagining sufficient provocation to persuade that many Americans. Or rather, most of the things that could drive Americans to an extreme killing rage might be counted as dealt with adequately after a couple of billion deaths. The ‘complete’ scenario feels contrived and boring to me.

            For a lot of the more minor scenarios, that level of rage is far enough from the recent experience that it is difficult to really estimate the effects on American society, meaning that the social worldbuilding might wind up arbitrary guesswork. Which bores my story brain.

            Any polity that has to listen to me is always going to be much worse than a polity where people are free to ignore me. Beyond ‘freedom is best’, I would make an inferior ruler of a polity.

            1. I do not care to imagine what atrocity would result in a profound, enduring rage sufficient to ‘arclight’ a continent or even country with nuclear devices – which is what full eradication might require.

              1. Actually, nukes probably would not be good enough. They are expensive, and you’ll recall that intensity of point radiation decreases with cube of distance. So you either try to space them so that ‘no one can possibly survive’ or you try to use remote sensing to find the people you miss.

                My theory of air power implies that it does not work for complete population extermination.

                I suspect drones have some advantage over high speed bombers, but I’m pretty sure people underground have too much ability to survive.

                I think a ground force that is like infantry would be necessary to clean up after the bombs. Like infantry, because our infantry will not do it. Our infantry as they are now would probably fight to stop it. You would probably have to build a new organizational culture from scratch, and it would suck at fighting armed men. Plus wreck the culture of the combat branches so that they aren’t interested in fighting to prevent mass murder, and hope that doesn’t make them more useless than Arab armies.

                Angry enough to make those organizational changes happen is not a fun mental place to visit.

                1. I would not expect nuclear arclight to occur – but the level of outrage to inspire that much rage where it looked appealing.. not a thing good. More likely (and still unlikely in the extreme) is row upon row of armored bulldozers and advancing without caring what is ahead unless it could mire them – though at times I admire the Israeli restraint in NOT having resorted to such decades ago.

                2. > and you’ll recall that intensity of point radiation decreases with cube of distance.

                  Careful! You’re in danger of violating the Narrative…

                  Hiroshima and Nagasaki were full of dry wood structures that burned like torches. Modern cities depend on electronic infrastructures that the EMP would toast. But looking at the blast pictures, the actual radius of destruction of a 10Mt bomb isn’t all that much bigger than a 10Kt bomb, revealing the unsaid problem of nukes: they don’t scale well.

                  The kind of “nuclear armageddon” that was so popular in faction (and waaaay too much “fact”) simply ignored the scaling problem. But it was great for terrorizing people into making bad decisions based on bad information…

                  1. IIRC, the Fallout franchise had them use a *lot* of lower yield nukes making ground burst detonations to make the leftover radiation from the Great War seem plausible.

                    Though I’m not sure there’s enough radioactive material on the planet to do that.

                  2. I recall reading that they had the streetcars running again two weeks after the Nagasaki nuke. Currently there’s a park at Ground Zero, surrounded by office buildings. Google Streetview is your friend here.

                    So much for the nuclear fallout that lasts 10,000 years.

                    There is also the story of the man who was nuked at Hiroshima, lived, and then traveled to Nagasaki just in time to be nuked again. And lived. (Gotta really feel for that guy. It would be hard for him not to take it personally.)

                    Leftist lurkers please note, this is not an endorsement of nuking other people’s countries. Its a comment that the media, as always, have no idea what they’re talking about.

                3. So… killer robots. Which will probably gain sentience and then turn on us.

                  I guess we could get soldiers who saw the world in Pyro-vision, but that would probably backfire (no pun intended) as well. o/~Do you believe in Ma-gic!o/~

                  1. Yeah, no.

                    Robots are at most an adjunct to real forces. AI and other technical problems are hard. A population that does not produce people willing to fight and die as infantry cannot replace those missing human factors with automated systems that are good enough to turn losing a war into winning a war. The engineers are not that much smarter than the fighters the opposition fields.

                    1. But they certainly -think- they are smarter, hence the proliferation of “New! and Improved!” weapons that don’t survive contact with the open field behind the testing facility.

                      Being unable to get over the concrete bumpers in the parking lot is a problem in an armored vehicle.

                    2. depends what the fighters are trained to do. if its human wave attacks then… i’m not so sure.

                  1. Which is potentially useful if you have the right mix of food stockpiles and alternative crops prepared. If you can get enough particulate staying suspended in the atmosphere.

                    But that’s hard to test without actually doing it, so is not a path to victory to be betting on.

    4. that the Pope is the Antichrist (some Baptists)

      With Francis, I suspect you’d find some (perhaps many) Catholics who might agree with that thesis. I’m not Catholic (Lapsed Lutheran, not close enough for horseshoes, no matter what Max Weber said), so I sit quietly and watch the fireworks.

      When and where I grew up (1960s, in a conservative suburb) if anybody had a problem with the Pledge, it never was mentioned in public. Things were changing, and by the time I entered college in 1970 radical idiots had already bombed the Army Research Center at U of Wisconsin. At U of [redacted] a major project that was supposed to be built on campus was shifted to a distant mil base with tight security due to (valid, I think) concerns it would be bombed. (It was interesting being an engineering student when the loud voices on campus were racing leftward.)

      1. Ain’t gonna lie, the Sedes start to sound convincing after seeing Francis worship the fertility goddess last fall.

        1. I thought the same thing. Then I took a step back. We’ve survived worse than him.

          My MIL never accepted Vatican II so she went to Mass with a sedes group. I found that they were very short on charity. I much prefer the proper Mass, and my bishop in particular is an idiot, but I just can’t leave it though every pedo priest and coverup drives me closer to it.

          1. Now I wonder how many, if any (there MUST be some) works of fiction mentioned, if only in passing, the disagreements with Vatican III.

          2. I looked into crowdsourcing a mercenary force to remove commie Pope but found out it was against US law. Sigh.

      2. At our school, the students tended to leave out the parts of the Pledge that they found objectionable.

        “Indivisible”, I think, was the most common omission.

          1. Exact opposite, as it happens. But we had teachers who did the research and ran us through all the whys and wherefores for both sides.

            Most of us came out with a good deal more sympathy for the South than we might have gone in with.

            It helped that we were neither geographically, nor culturally, nor historically involved in any of the Great Unpleasantness.

        1. Whenever the question comes up of whether a state (the ones most often mentioned are California and Texas) could choose to withdraw from the union and become its own country, the Civil War* is usually brought up as a counterargument. “We already settled that question with a war”. But a question settled with a war is not settled at all, unless you’re willing to go to war again if someone tries it again. And if California seceded, would the country really go to war to keep them? A good half of the population of the rest of the country would be saying “Good riddance”, and would much rather go to war to prevent California from trying to come back than go to war to keep them in the union.

          Besides which, the power to secede from the union is not mentioned in the Constitution. Which means that it’s “not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States”, and is therefore, by the text of the Tenth Amendment, “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

          * Which I bring up only to mention the most-often-expressed counterargument to the question I want to discuss. I’m not wanting to discuss the Civil War, only whether secession is allowable by the text of the Constitution — my reading of the Tenth Amendment leads me to a clear “yes” answer.

          1. IIRC, under the terms of their joining the union both Texas and California reserved certain rights, the first having been an independent republic holds the right to sever the relationship, while the second, by joining at a time when it could as easily have declared itself independent (as if the United States could have done anything about it) holds the right to subdivide into as many as four individual states.

            There is an opinion that Texas forfeited any right of secession upon rejoining the Union after the War of Southern Secession. Surely the right of a state to divide into two states has been established de facto if not de jure. Whether it would be in California’s interests (as opposed to the interests of Californians) is a political question of a different sort.

            It’s been many years since I learned of those privileges rights and I may have misremembered details, so I suggest y’all look it up.

          2. A counterargument is that a State cannot be expelled from the United States against its will. But if unilateral secession is allowed, a State could be expelled by having all the other States secede from it. Therefore unilateral secession is not allowed either.

            There’s also an argument that secession is a weird self-dealing form of making an “agreement or compact” with a foreign power (the new independent Nation That Was Formerly A State) and so requires Congress to consent. If (e.g.) California declares “We’ve agreed to become part of Mexico!” then Article I Section 10 says “Not unless Congress signs off on it you don’t!” – and the same applies to California saying “We’ve agreed to become part (well, all) of the new Independent nation of Bearflagia!”

            Now maybe Congress will trip over itself in its haste to sign off on California going its own way. But that’s not the same as unilateral secession.

            1. Now maybe Congress will trip over itself in its haste to sign off on California going its own way.

              Mope. Too many fundraising suckers sources in the Glorious Bear Flag Peoples Republic State, both in SF/SV and Hollywood. No way they would put that cash on the other side of a national border from their bank accounts.

            2. The first counterargument you mention is so clumsy as to basically trip over its own feet. If all the other states secede in a coordinated way, then that’s not actually secession on their part, it’s expelling a state while pretending to be doing something else. If someone tried that in a courtroom — let’s say Mr. Smith is part of a group of fifty people whose bylaws say you can leave but you can’t be expelled against your will, and the other forty-nine all said “we’re all leaving individually, and oh by the way we’re just going to happen to form another group with the same bylaws but only forty-nine members” — any judge would rule in favor of Mr. Smith’s breach-of-contract claim in a heartbeat. OTOH, if all the other states secede one by one, then that’s not expelling the first state, that’s the complete and utter breakup of the United States. Either way, unilateral secession cannot actually be used to expel a state, it can only be used as a figleaf so transparent that a five-year-old child could see through it.

              The second counterargument is nearly as clumsy, but in the temporal realm instead of in the figleaf realm. For the state to make an “agreement or compact” with a foreign power, that power would have to exist at the time of the agreement or compact. How can you make an agreement with something that doesn’t exist yet? And by the time the foreign power (the People’s Republic of Bearflagia) exists, the state of California no longer does. Were I a judge being presented with that argument in my courtroom, I’d warn the lawyer involved that if he didn’t stop bringing such specious arguments before my court, I would sanction him for wasting the court’s time with frivolous nonsense.

              Now, for practical purposes, Congress would probably indeed need to consent to (say) California’s leaving. Because if they didn’t consent, the next thing that would happen would be that Congress would pass a declaration of war between the United States and the new nation of Bearlandia, similarly to what happened in 1861 (though AIUI there was no formal declaration of war from Congress in 1861). But such consent is not required in the Constitution for secession, and the attempt to call it an “agreement or compact” with a power that doesn’t exist yet is, while not as frivolous as the first counterargument, still clearly frivolous. I’d call it barracks-lawyer reasoning, as opposed to the five-year-old playground-lawyer reasoning of the first counterargument.

              P.S. Please don’t take my criticism of these arguments (“playground-lawyer reasoning” and so on) as a criticism of you personally, even if you happen to believe in those arguments. I don’t find it to be a failing of anyone’s intelligence to believe in a weak argument if they’ve never actually examined it in depth, or even if they have but they find the other side’s arguments to be even weaker.

            3. Except that by choosing which federal laws (immigration and drug) it will refuse to obey, CA has already de facto unilaterally seceded. Either that is grounds for invoking the Insurrection Act and re-enacting Sherman’s March, or you might as well admit we don’t in reality have a United States any more.

    5. Pentecostal.

      And I once wrote new ‘lyrics for the pledge, when I had reservations about pledging allegiance to a bit o’ cloth (I got better):

      I pledge to give my full support
      to the Constitution of America*
      And to the Republic which it begat;
      One nation, under Law, held accountable
      For Liberty and Justice for all.

      *Echo of the Oath I swore upon joining the military

      1. One thing that marks me as a Crank; I agree that the words ‘under God’ do not belong in the pledge. Not because of the ‘separation of Church and State’, but because the original author didn’t include them. If you’re going to use the man’s work, quote it correctly!

    6. I still heartily loathe school spirit events.

      I confess that I only ever participated in such events ironically.

      I suppose there is a social benefit to be gained from drilling people in the art of insincerity.

      We don’t talk about what happens to people who are incorrect in believing

      As I have observed, it isn’t my job to make such rulings and I am pretty darn sure that He whose job it is would not appreciate my advice on such questions.

      So I just reckon on going with or without you.

      1. A few other words of wisdom from that source …

        Work your fingers to the bone – whadda ya get?
        (Whoo-whoo ) boney fingers – boney fingers.

    7. That custom has been part of the Left for a long time. One of the dark secrets about the Hollywood people who (shock! horror!) ‘named names’ is that they were mostly victims of a Stalinist clique that practiced just that kind of emotional bullying, getting their own back. Many of those who were ‘blacklisted’ were fairly nasty customers. Any good they actually did for International Communism was probably accidental (they seem to have also been deeply ineffectual), but they had worked HARD to make themselves unpleasant.

      1. There is ample evidence that the Hollywood Communists who were blacklisted were told to fall on their swords, the Party in Russia having concluded they were more useful as victims than as working professionals.

      2. Nice little story about that: back in 1940, while the Hitler/Stalin alliance was still flourishing, Dalton Trumbo wrote an anti-war play to encourage the US to stay out of WWII. Once the alliance was broken, and the “Help!” signal went out from Moscow, Trumbo stopped printing the play and did everything he could to get the existing copies pulped. A few years later, a couple of anti-war protesters who didn’t know the story behind this wrote to Trumbo to ask where they could find a copy of the play. His response to these people who just wanted to read his words and express their beliefs? He reported them to the FBI as likely Nazi sympathizers.

        Now, to be fair, Trumbo did later say that he regretted this, but also to be fair, reading his rational makes it sound like he regrets it less because he realized that persecuting people for wanting a play was wrong and more because it drew the FBI’s attention to him: the feds seemed less interesting in arresting these alleged Nazis than they did in why Trumbo would have written this play and then almost immediately done everything possible to suppress it. If the FBI would have just tossed those two guys in the gulag, he’d have been fine with that.

        I believe that should put an end to all discussion of whether or not Trumbo was some kind of martyr for free speech.

        1. Even better stories about Hollywood Commies. From La Wiki:

          > Captain America Comics #1 — cover-dated March 1941 and on sale December 20, 1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but a full year into World War II — showed the protagonist punching Nazi leader Adolf Hitler; it sold nearly one million copies. While most readers responded favorably to the comic, some took objection. Simon noted, “When the first issue came out we got a lot of … threatening letters and hate mail. Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.” The threats, which included menacing groups of people loitering out on the street outside of the offices, proved so serious that police protection was posted with New York [GOP] Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacting Simon and Kirby to give his support.

          Note the date: on sale Dec 1940. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ran from 1939-08-23 to 1941-06-22, when Operation Barbarossa launched.

          Yes, the “menacing people” were Commies.

          Or think about Robert Downey Jr in “Chaplin.” The movie shows people throwing vegetables at the screen showing “The Great Dictator,” just when Chaplin (as the Jewish barber, disguised as “Adenoid Hynkle”) deliver the climactic speech about the brotherhood of man. The implication is that Americans didn’t want to hear criticism of Hitler.

          But note the release date: October 15, 1940. Again, the Pact, the Comintern. La Wiki:

          > The film was banned in several Latin American countries, where there were active movements of Nazi sympathizers.

          Yes. How about the UK?

          > During the film’s production, the British government had announced that it would prohibit its exhibition in the United Kingdom, in keeping with its appeasement policy concerning Nazi Germany. But by the time the film was released, the UK was at war with Germany and the film was welcomed in part for its obvious propaganda value.

          Of course. But then:

          >The film was well received in the United States at the time of its release, and was popular with the American public. The film was also popular in the United Kingdom, drawing 9 million to the cinemas, despite Chaplin’s fears that wartime audiences would dislike a comedy about a dictator. It was the second-most popular movie in the US in 1941.

          It was a huge hit, and audiences (i.e., Real Americans) loved it.

          La Wiki does not bother to point out any of this Comintern history.

    8. On who we have: Significant number of Jews. A few Atheists. A couple of pagans. In addition to all of the above.
      Actually recently the Orthodox contingent has grown all out of proportion. NO idea why.

              1. Not sure I can rightly say that I oppose it.
                I do have this tendency to be Orthogonal to Reality, at least often enough for it to be of notice.

            1. D’oh! Of course, you are UnorthodOx! How did I miss that?

              [prepares to dodge Carp]

        1. >> “I have been … pointedly.. informed that whatever I else I might be, that I am NOT orthodox mooish.”

          Not a True Bulliever, than?

          1. than = then. Damn it, my puns are lame enough without being brought down by typos.

        1. Now I have this mental image of someone claiming to be heterodox, and an activist jumping up and down and shrieking something about oppressing the transdox . . .

          Yeah, I need to stop reading theology.

  15.  Trying to change that is not “real” but as crazy as demanding the weather obey your commands.

    You know that.  I know that. 

    Tell the more extreme of the religio-environmentalists and their heads might explode.  According to them bad weather is ultimately the result of mankind’s misguided actions.  (One has to wonder where they got the idea that mankind was so powerful.) 

    1. One reason the Left denies the existence of G-D is that He knows them as they really are.

      1. The reason the Left denies the existence of a Creator is that the vast majority of religions that have gained lasting traction demand standards of ethics and morality that the Left simply cannot face. So they made up their own religion, in which THEY are the final arbiters, and the idea of being called to book scares the piss out of them.

      2. I think that denial is part of their general denial of responsibility.

        Eventually being held accountable for your actions is an integral part of a whole lot of religions, not just Christianity.

  16. … not things like flat Earth. NASA assures me they checked. So did the Greeks.

    If Earth doesn’t look flat to you it is because you’re observing it in the wrong number of dimensions.

    1. If the Earth does not look flat to you, HOW did you get the seat on the Dragon capsule?

    2. The local fractal dimension (not a constant, on human scales) has a lot to do with that..

  17. Thank you for another taste of reality and good old common sense, I look forward to bringing your blog up everyday in an attempt to keep me from “bashing someone’s head in with a very big rock”.

  18. I miss being able to be friends with people I don’t agree with politically. But I’m wondering if it was all a lie from the very start.

    I’m a bit horrified that I don’t view them as evil, but I highly suspect, they always thought of me as evil. Yet, I know they have sided with people I *do* consider very evil, and those individuals have the felonies to prove my low opinion of them.

    1. It is getting to the point that if someone does NOT consider me “evil” for some reason or other, I feel a need to think over where I’ve gone wrong.

      1. Easy enough for me, I’m White, male, God fearing, gun carrying … What am I missing?

      2. I agree. At first I was sad, then I realized their choice of dinner companions said more about them then it did of me.

  19. Anybody ever notice how loudly the Karens screech when we are “for real”– when we openly and honestly express our appreciation of their insights and enlightened leadership?

  20. The problem is that the more they require this vocal endorsement to be able to work, live or do business in the world, the more they know this is compelled speech, and thereby a “lie” and the more they crave authenticity, without realizing that you can’t both compel authenticity and demand that people agree with you.

    Evergreen quote from Theodore Dalrymple:

    In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

    And in my experience, “being real” put as the highest virtue is a hallmark of the adolescent mind, as in Holden Caulfield inveighing against “phoneys”. (For the record, I absolutely hated Catcher in the Rye.) Most of us grow out of it when we learn that a little social deception makes cooperative civil society work. Not that one should be completely affected and inauthentic, of course, but exaggerated authenticity is just as much of a pose as its opposite.

  21. I had written “Pritzker is a fascist” on my non-work mask (being muzzled is one thing, being silenced is another), but family has been worried about the pod people turning violent is they see someone not conforming.

  22. @Foxfier (and @PK as well)

    I can give a practical example of the situation I’m harping on.

    The stated position (not what I believe, except for the part where I so far cannot demolish it and thus am required to believe it):

    Hunting for food is not wrong. [Presumably under conditions where it is necessary hunting for clothing would be the same.] Hunting for sport is evil because it is killing for sport and thus cruelty. Additionally people do not spend kilobucks on weapons and equipment to save $200 on meat, therefore that can’t be for food. And if hunting for food and not sport one does not deliberately use more difficult weapons [think; bowhunting for the challenge].

    My analysis:

    First of all I don’t *care* about hunting. I would just as well forget this argument, except that I know I’m being fed a position that doesn’t hold up, and from this position come assertions which do not fit reality. Also it would be good to have the truth by the time I am in a position to teach my future children….

    But no amount of flaws on the outer portions are allowed to damage the core of the argument. If for example 100% of hunters take great care to make the death completely painless, that does not actually negate the core logic.

    Killing an animal for ones pleasure as cruelty… I can’t see where this is wrong. And yet it sits there unsupported.

    There are also various arguments such as that humans are fundamentally hunters, in the same way cats are (of course this would also seemingly require one to believe that cats are monsters; they absolutely kill for sport, with food as a secondary at best concern). But every argument I’ve been able to come up with in the end fails to deal with that central logic: cruelty = evil, killing for pleasure = cruelty, therefore hunting for *any* reason other than food is evil.

    (I’m obviously not listing every single argument by both sides, just enough to give the general picture)

    Meanwhile I can smell that there is something seriously wrong with this. But smell isn’t enough to prove something. And I’ve stuck on issues like this before, and after *years* of confusion discovered that my sense of “smell” was right after all.

    1. As to cats hunting for sport, I’m pretty sure that only applies to well-fed housecats, who still have the “kill tiny animals” instinct but aren’t always on the verge of starvation, so they can prolong the experience by “playing” with the prey.

      I’ve had a lot of outdoor cats, but I could always tell the one that had been feral, because when we gave the cats new toys she was the only one who would give it the “break its neck” shake.

      1. There have been experiments done of mounting a camera on a cat that spends the night outdoors. I don’t remember the numbers, but it was crazy wide separations, like killing 30 things and eating 2.

        And humans hunt primarily for food when that is the food source as well.

        1. That study (the first one) was a *fun* one to dig down to- when you got to the bottom, their sample was horrible. Like, less than two dozen cats, and not even two weeks each type terrible, with the original study even using the formula that the cats might catch a bit over two animals a week if they’re put out every single night.

          This one is pretty fun, though– especially since trackers are so much cheaper and less bulky:

          1. This one is pretty fun, though– especially since trackers are so much cheaper and less bulky:

            I’d always wanted to put a tracker/camera on Thump. My problem would be tracking down the dang tracker. Thump was notorious for taking off his collar. Not that he’d get it caught on something & it would break off as designed, tho I’m sure that happened once or twice too. He took the dang things OFF! Watched him more than once. Bought collars as 6 packs. Last pack has lasted us a year, still have two left. Lil Bit has worn the same collar for years.

      2. Some of the “playing” is functional for safe hunting: the cat is checking to make sure the victim is thoroughly stunned before it takes the risk of getting its mouth close.

        1. I’d be reluctant to apply a human term — “playing” — to a cat’s behaviour. I very much doubt it constitutes play as we consider it; more likely it is instinctive behaviour, comparable to a dog’s instinct to chase what runs from it.

          1. There is that. One the things you might notice in recordings of people dealing with large herbivores. Be still and you are in the class of ‘rock’. As Terry Pratchett, I think, summed it up there are four classes of things to a Large Herbivore:

            – Things to Eat
            – Things to Fight
            – Things to Mate
            – Rocks

            Rocks do not run.

      3. So, Havey is the opposite of this. He doesn’t understand small creatures AREN’T battery operated toys. When the bug stops moving, he brings it to me and demands I fix it.

    2. Unfortunately, at least in the USA, we’ve already exterminated most of the larger predators which were a check on the populations of various animals. Without the wolves, wildcats, etc., animals like deer breed past the limits off the land to support them and are then unhealthy or starve. So they have to be culled somehow. Or exterminated, which would probably cause other unforseen problems.

      The poster child of unforseen problems in ecology is probably the National Park Service’s actions at Yellowstone.

      1. Reminds me of something that happened in Michigan, many many years ago. ‘Activists’ got hunting banned on a big parcel of state land so those mean eeeevul hunters couldn’t shoot Bambi’s mom. Everything was great for a few years, deer population ‘recovered’ until there were about 5X more deer than before.

        Then came a hard winter. 90% of the deer starved, does hit harder than bucks. ‘Activists’ were shocked, SHOCKED to find that nature didn’t conform to their preconceptions. AND THEY STILL FOUGHT AGAINST HUNTING ON THAT LAND. Fortunately, they lost the next time around.

      2. Not just us – North America used to have as much biodiversity as Africa, with Sabre tooths and Giant Sloths and Mammoth and lots more, but Something Big happened, leaving only a small set of large critters like Grizzlys and Bison, but nothing like what was here before.

        It was long the fashion to blame the arrival of Humans The Megafauna Destroyers, without any explanation why large critters persisted in other thickly-human-populated ecosystems like Africa and India.

        Nowadays the theory I like based on evidence like widespread charcoal layers and nanodiamonds is there was an exogenic event, some sort of cometary fragmentation that caused a massive continentwide firestorm, which depopulated the megafauna from the Americas but missed the other side of the planet.

        1. Hominids were living with the African and Indian populations for a long time. Plenty of time to adapt. The Americas were harder hit.

          Possibly there were humans already here they were adapted to, but the new arrivals were Trouble.

          1. The interesting thing about orbital velocity kinetics is they are effectively indistinguishable from nuclear weapons, except for the radiation – both produce a visible and thermal flash, and both will make a mushroom cloud if they are low enough or impact the surface, but there’s no radioactive fallout from a kinetic.

            So if one crafted each such kinetic such that they would airburst ala the Chelyabinsk meteor, and then aimed a bunch in an orbital saturation grid bombardment pattern across whatever area or continent needed such attention, lots and lots of energy would be released, which would be bad news for most critters in the target zone.

            I was just thankful that there were no Chelyabinsk-class or larger events over populated areas during the Cold War. Imagine if a Chelyabinsk-class event over North America had happened during the Cuban Missile crisis.

            1. I know. BUT one thing always bothersome is why the Americas so sparsely populated compared to other continents. Yes, Africa included. More hospitable than Asia, and humans go EVERYWHERE. So, why?
              Well, thank heavens for science fiction, uh?

              1. One theory is that disease took out 95% of the population before they had a chance to appear in anyone’s records.

    3. Choosing something you don’t care about for an example is a good choice, it helps give needed space.


      It looks like one of the ones where there’s a mismatch in what you mean in different instances– have you tried defining all the terms?

      I’m heading out shopping (with the Empress. Pray for me, Mother Mary. [crosses self]) so it’s gonna be a while before responding, but there’s also the question of what the inherent difference between a painless death in a slaughter house that provides food and pleasure (from plastics to jello) and a painless death in the wild that was provided food and pleasure?

      I’d look hard at ‘cruelty’– giving something a painless death for pleasure doesn’t seem to fit, since it require suffering or pain.

      1. Eh, there is “care”, “don’t care”, and then “have to care because someone else thinks it a good argument for some other goal”.

        but there’s also the question of what the inherent difference between a painless death in a slaughter house that provides food and pleasure (from plastics to jello) and a painless death in the wild that was provided food and pleasure?

        In the steelmanned formulation the slaughterhouse can…..


        There is another place where definitions — or reality — shift at whim so that it must always be true. I do know a way to force this to a fair debate table, but it would never be accepted.

        There is a closely related issue in that the original source for this position was someone who was, uh, rather enamored of their own wisdom, and never argued fairly (to the point where I caught a basic logical problem in one of their lectures as a child). Unfortunately that person is dead, and I can’t find any mention of hunting in their writings, so I don’t have access to the original chain of logic.

        I’d look hard at ‘cruelty’– giving something a painless death for pleasure doesn’t seem to fit, since it require suffering or pain.

        Example of shifting cloud arguments: suffering will be brought in as a factor (only on the hunting side), but if a situation is specified where there is no suffering that is not relevant: Merely the killing for the pleasure of the hunt is all that is required.

        1. A good analogy for all of this is that I see a statue standing on its pedestal. I know somewhere there is a seam in the rock, but when I try to feel for it with a chisel I can’t find any catch.

          Also if it reaches the point of debate and I try to chip at it the tip of the chisel has unaccountably turned white hot, and smooshes against the stone.

          1. Sometimes that can happen when you’re arguing against an incorrect axiom, because an axiom has no underlying argument. It’s just a bare statement that’s used as the fundamental premise for another argument. (Yes, sometimes the premise for an argument is itself the conclusion of another argument resting on more fundamental premises, but let’s not overcomplicate things too much. This isn’t a dissertation for a philosophy Ph.D., after all. *grin*) The statement “killing for pleasure is cruelty” is an axiom; it’s a bare statement of facts, that one must simply accept as fundamental. It’s not based on any other premise (“because X and/or Y, therefore killing for pleasure is cruelty”); it’s just a definitional statement. One definition of cruelty, according to this statement, is killing for pleasure. And the only possible argument against a definitional statement like that is to say “No. No, it’s not. That’s an incorrect definition.” You’re trying to find a seam in the rock and not finding it, because that seam would be the argument from a premise — and this particular statement isn’t an argument from a premise. I believe it’s an incorrect definition, and you’ll see below that I’ve given a rather lengthy argument as to why it’s an incorrect definition (and also why it’s kind of a strawman when applied to hunting). I won’t repeat that argument here so that you don’t have TWO extremely lengthy posts to wade through. 🙂 But what I will say here, that I didn’t say down below, is “Stop worrying that you can’t find a flaw in this argument, because it isn’t actually an argument, it’s an axiom, and the way you deal with axioms is different from how you deal with arguments from premises.”

        2. There is another place where definitions — or reality — shift at whim so that it must always be true. I do know a way to force this to a fair debate table, but it would never be accepted.

          Frankly, Ian, I wouldn’t trust your idea of “fair.” As you’ve repeatedly pointed out, you’re not well grounded– and you can’t even formulate more than a feeling based understanding of a form of justice as relatively simple as cruelty.

          Merely the killing for the pleasure of the hunt is all that is required.

          Then you’re not objecting to cruelty. Cruelty requires pain — either enjoying it, or disregarding it out of hand.

          1. I looked up the definition; I had no idea that it was limited specifically to suffering. Which blows the foundation out from under this position. At least in its current form, no doubt it will mutate the instant that is presented.

            Frankly, Ian, I wouldn’t trust your idea of “fair.”

            I didn’t mean you when talking about the debate table.

            1. In this case, I am familiar with that pattern from the “torture wars” of the blogs.

              Torture is that which is cruel, cruel is anything they don’t like, and needless is anything they don’t like in this instance.

              Solid aaaargh.

          2. Frankly, Ian, I wouldn’t trust your idea of “fair.”

            To elaborate / clarify: I mean the person I got this idea from. In the telling the focus shifts around to whatever I’m not trying to address. And then silly assertions like the humane nature of a slaughterhouse, vs animals getting skittish during hunting season (what I tripped on in the above post). Or arguing from consequences when convenient, then shifting to deontological arguments when consequences are addressed. aka: someone who fights like a liberal.

            1. vs animals getting skittish during hunting season


              Heck, animals get skittish from any pattern that means stress.
              Hunting season is just the most obvious because people are looking, and there’s a lot of activity.

      2. but there’s also the question of what the inherent difference between a painless death in a slaughter house that provides food and pleasure (from plastics to jello) and a painless death in the wild that was provided food and pleasure?

        The pretend reasons or the real ones?

        Because there are all sorts of arguments about this or that with hunters vs this or that with slaughterhouses. And if the isolated demands for rigor are removed none of it holds up that well.

        But the real reason has to do with someone who didn’t fit in, growing up in a small white trash town where the people really were cruel. And then isolating from any chance to learn otherwise.

        1. But the who is saying it, and they why, isn’t relevant to the question of if hunting is cruel/needlessly cruel/cruel when not required for survival.

          That’s what makes this a good choice for practice– it’s something where you’ve got “space” to identify what is me, what is them, what is the question, without so many emotions on the answer involved.

          Humans are cruel. Himself wouldn’t have had to keep harping on love thy neighbor if it was the natural order of things.

          1. This is true.

            I mention it because “this person is known to have troubles being logical” is similar to “hunters report trying to not let the animal suffer”. Not admissible evidence in and of itself, but something to be aware of when searching for flaws.

    4. Humans are large mammals that live on land. Other large mammals that live on land are also degrees of competition and threat.

      The food or pleasure analysis is not considering competition or threat.

      Feral hogs are a pretty key example. They compete with us for eating crops, and if the numbers were high enough they would be killing adults and eating children.

      Permitting hunting for pleasure is necessary for a bottom up, self organized wildlife management system.

      If you look at things strictly in terms of food use, land used as wildlife habitat is not efficiently used for human food. Duck hunting is less efficient than exterminate all the ducks, and converting the wetlands to some crop. If one is strictly optimizing for food, it makes sense to try to exterminate most species of wildlife.

      It’s like how if pets and agricultural use of domesticated animals cannot be allowed, then why keep such large populations of the domesticated species?

      Anyway, the people who hunt for pleasure are maintaining skills human populations need access to to make sure animals are not infringing too much on the needs of human welfare.

      The answer to “I can’t figure it out on my own”, ideally, is discussing it with people you can trust to be honest with you. It helps if some of them are alien enough that there will be differences between your blindspots, and a chance that you will not overlap blindspots for a particular problem. Problem is, alien makes for greater communication difficulties, and perhaps too little common ground to even agree on the basics.

      On this question, I happen to be out of step with my own culture, ‘crazy’, enough that I have reactions like “if apes and elephants are so smart, maybe we should exterminate them as a precaution”.

      1. The food or pleasure analysis is not considering competition or threat.

        Removing pests is considered under the necessary label.

        The answer to “I can’t figure it out on my own”, ideally, is discussing it with people you can trust to be honest with you. It helps if some of them are alien enough that there will be differences between your blindspots, and a chance that you will not overlap blindspots for a particular problem. Problem is, alien makes for greater communication difficulties, and perhaps too little common ground to even agree on the basics.

        That last line is key: nothing can ever “count” unless it shows up on the terms of the original position.

        I’ve looked into weird people, and I’ve never actually found even a close match. Not in degree; for any given aspect there are people who were far stranger. But in combinations of oddness. I’ll find a description of someone odd, and yet they still carry incomprehensibly normal assumptions.

      2. Permitting hunting for pleasure is necessary for a bottom up, self organized wildlife management system.

        Who said that practical matters had anything to do with this?

        If they are doing it for pleasure therefore cruel therefore evil. Beep Boop

        I didn’t say it didn’t lead to absurdities, merely that I haven’t figured out how to destroy the core.

        1. Something that I think isn’t getting conveyed (partly because I hadn’t fully brought it into focus): This has nothing whatsoever to do with how much the animal suffers. It is entirely on the hunter enjoying hunting.

          1. As I said in much greater length in the reply I just posted, I think it’s a false statement to say that the cruelty has nothing to do with whether the animal suffers. I think cruelty has everything to so with whether it inflicts suffering, and the state of mind of the person doing the killing has nothing to do with cruelty. (And to say that it does is a category mistake, in my view.) Hopefully my lengthy reply, and the thought experiment based on a real case at the end, will help you as you work through the logic (or lack thereof) of this idea.

        2. This post brings up one more thing I want to say to you which I haven’t said yet in my three (or is it four by now?) previous replies. When you see that an argument’s core leads to absurdities, without having any other absurd premises (I’ll explain that qualifier in a minute), that all by itself destroys the core of the argument. Have you ever studied symbolic logic? Remember that one valid reasoning step goes as follows. “I know that if A is true, therefore B is true. I also know that B is false. Therefore, I can conclude that A is false.” (The formal name of this step is modus tollens if you want to Google it.) Most real-world arguments aren’t so kind as to rely on only a single premise, so in practice it usually becomes “If A, B, C, and D are all true, then statement E will also be true. Statement E is ridiculous and quite obviously false. Therefore, at least one of A, B, C, and D must be false, but now I have to examine each of them in turn to try to figure out which one is false.” And that’s why I said “without having any other absurd premises”. Because if on examination, D turns out to be true but C turns out to be totally absurd, then you won’t ever reach any conclusions on A and B because C was enough all by itself to cause the logic chain to fail. If there’s an argument that rests on the two premises “killing for pleasure is cruel, and killing animals is totally unnecessary for food anyway because you could just buy your meat at the grocery store where no animals were harmed” then even if that argument leads to a ridiculous conclusion, the second premise is inherently ridiculous and its failure is enough to invalidate the argument, so you can’t reach a conclusion on the first premise.

          BTW, about that “where no animals were harmed” line — I am NOT making this up. The quote is real, but it’s unclear (and unknowable) whether the person who said it was joking or not, since the source was a call into a phone line where (according to one local source) about half the calls were people making jokes.

          Anyway, the point is this. One: you already know that the “hunting for pleasure equals cruelty” premise leads to absurdities. Two: I assume that the other premises inherent in those absurdities aren’t obviously false (otherwise you, who have proven yourself to be a very logical person, wouldn’t be questioning that cruelty premise). Three: therefore, if you find that premises A, B, C and D lead to absurd conclusions, and B, C and D show themselves to be true statements, that inherently destroys the core of A without any need to take further logical steps.

          1. I know that. The problem is getting an adamantine chain of unbreakable logic from those absurdities to the core. Let’s say most hunters minimize suffering and respect the animal. Just because that casts doubt on a narrative of “hunter == scum” doesn’t mean it logically proves the core logic false.

            Also an issue if one of the underlying premises is in an unquestionable category: that makes everything 1000x harder. Then the simplest way is to figure out how the unquestionable doesn’t actually lead to what is claimed.

            I’ve been through this before with the function of sex in a marriage. That one I had very little confusion about even when I still “believed” (massive scare quotes) the nonsense-rule because there was a fairly tight chain of logic to “upon marriage must have sperm frozen and then castrated, once the tech is available”. Pretty obvious absurdity that one.

        3. Those “practical matters” are all that stands between those animals and being eliminated as competition for scarce grazing and water, or as a direct threat to people and livestock. Providing for compensation in those cases is necessary, and trophy hunting provides the resources.

      3. Note neither pigs nor hogs are native to North America. They were brought over by European settlers.

    5. Killing an animal for ones pleasure as cruelty… I can’t see where this is wrong.

      I’ll have a go at demolishing this one, because I think it has two flaws.

      First, it’s a false definition. Pulling wings off of flies would be cruelty, whether one takes pleasure in the action or not. Why? Because it makes the animal suffer. Taking pleasure in cruelty is a worse moral crime than committing cruelty without taking pleasure in it, but from the point of view of the suffering animal, it can’t tell your motives, so the action is just as cruel if you don’t take pleasure in it. Whether or not the person performing the action takes pleasure in it does not make the action NOT cruel. Killing an animal in a way that’s as painless to the animal as possible, when one does not take pleasure in the action, is not cruel. Why? Because the animal does not suffer. (It might be wrong for other reasons, such as killing your neighbor’s pig for your bacon roast without permission or payment, but that would be theft, not cruelty). So why would that action become cruel if you don’t change anything else — notably, the animal does not suffer — but the person killing the animal takes pleasure in the act? To me, the answer is obvious: cruelty depends on whether the animal suffers, not the mental state of its killer, and so the action does not become cruel just because the killer takes pleasure in it. (I can easily imagine someone who enjoys killing animals, but knows that he should only do so in certain constrained circumstances — so he takes a job as the guy they call when there’s a rabid dog, who comes out with a gun and shoots it in the head. Such a person, who has chosen to channel his natural tendencies in a direction that’s morally commendable — shooting rabid dogs performs a service to society and to the dog itself, because you cut its suffering short — is doing something good, not something evil. If he took his enjoyment of killing animals in the direction of killing other people’s beloved pets, then he’d be doing something evil.)

      The second flaw is that this is not what actually happens in hunting, so this turns out to be a strawman argument. The hunter, nearly always (I won’t swear to every single case), doesn’t derive pleasure from the actual act of killing. He derives pleasure from the hunt: the challenge of finding the animal’s trail and stalking it, or of concealing himself so well in a blind that the animals don’t know he’s there. And, in many cases, the pleasure of being out in nature and seeing the animals.

      Finally, another point on hunting, that I see someone else has made while I was composing this reply. This isn’t exactly a counterargument to the “killing for pleasure is inherently cruel” argument like my previous two paragraphs are, but I’ll include it because it’s part of arguing against the “hunting for sport is wrong” argument. Thing is, good management of an animal population requires culling the herd sometimes. For most deer to live, some deer need to die sometimes. And it’s far kinder to the animal for it to die painlessly, shot by a hunter it never saw, than to starve to death. (Or, if the hunter wasn’t quite on target and hit an artery rather than the animal’s heart or brain, to experience sharp pain for a few minutes as it bleeds out. That’s still far less total pain than it would experience as it starved to death over the course of several weeks in a harsh winter like the one Imaginos1892 mentioned.)

      So some animals need to die from time to time to keep the rest of the herd healthy and alive. If you accept that fact (I know some anti-hunting activists, such as PETA, probably wouldn’t, but it’s plain fact in the case of deer population since we’ve driven away most of their natural predators), then is it morally better for the action to be carried out by someone who takes no pleasure in it? Or is it better to give that job to someone who would enjoy doing that job? I certainly don’t think it would be morally worse to assign a necessary job to someone who would enjoy it.

      Here’s an actual case that might help you clarify your thinking by pondering it. (By which I mean “you might figure out what you truly believe”, NOT “you will come to believe as I do”. The way many people, especially left-wingers, use “clarify your thinking” as “stop arguing and just agree with me” is… well, let’s just say I would call that bullying and brainwashing and all sorts of other unpleasant names.) I don’t have details like names and places on hand because I got this info third-hand, from my wife who got it from a podcast she listens to, but I’m pretty sure I have the basic facts right. There was a male black rhino somewhere in Africa that had gotten rather old. As rhinos get older they get meaner and more aggressive, and so this one was fighting a lot with the other males, especially over mating with the female rhinos in the herd. Because this rhino was old but not yet decrepit, it was winning those fights, BUT it was also old enough that it was not actually mating very well with the females. (I don’t know if it was incapable of mating, or if it had just become sterile through old age, but either way it wasn’t producing offspring). Black rhinos, by the way, are considered critically endangered — so a rhino that was preventing the females in its herd from having babies was a big problem. For the sake of the rest of the herd, this rhino needed to die. Now, the people managing the land where this rhino lived came up with a creative solution. Instead of just going out and shooting the rhino, they auctioned off the right to kill it. Anyone interested in a big game hunt, of an animal you’re not normally allowed to kill, could bid for the right to hunt this specific rhino that needed to die. The winning bid, IIRC, was from a dentist somewhere who bid something like $30,000; the money went to the wildlife conservation program in that country. He paid the money, went on the hunt, and shot the rhino. Some time later, the fact that he’d done this came out somehow, and he started getting death threats from people who were incensed that he would pay money to kill an endangered animal.

      The question I’d like you to ponder is whether it would have been better for the people managing the land to go out and shoot the rhino themselves, deriving no pleasure (and no money) from the act, or whether it was better for them to sell the right to kill that rhino to someone who would enjoy it, and thereby gain some much-needed money for their conservation program. If you truly believe that killing for pleasure is inherently cruel, you’d probably end up saying that the first choice would have been better. If you find yourself saying that the second choice (auctioning off the right to hunt the animal) was better, then it seems that some part of you doesn’t truly believe that killing for pleasure is cruel, and the only thing remaining is for you to figure out why you don’t truly believe that. In which case my two counterarguments above might be of some use to you.

      1. Under this position it is the actual derivation of pleasure from the act that is evil. Deliberately causing pain would also be cruel, but as an additional issue.

        As for hunters not getting pleasure from the killing itself, but the hunt……. that is where we get into the problem of someone refusing to acknowledge any “anecdotal” information that doesn’t match what they already think.

        And I don’t think the details behind that hunt were known, but it was one of the examples of scum hunter getting their thrills from killing.

        I do have a lot more to go on now to properly reject this idea. And possibly even make the argument stick where that matters. I looked up the actual definition of “cruelty”, and even in the Websters 1828 it pretty much precludes painless killing. So even if we say that a hunter is evil for enjoying it the one thing they definately aren’t doing is cruelty.

        1. I don’t quite understand what you mean in your third paragraph about the “scum hunter getting their thrills from killing”. Was that an accurate description of an accurate event? Or was that simply an accurate description of what the person you were arguing with said, but you know based on that person’s other behavior that that person is an untrustworthy source?

          Also, if that “scum hunter” was presented as a single example that proved the whole, then (as you already know) your interlocutor was committing a logical fallacy, of the “this cat is white therefore all cats are white” variety. I doubt that was actually the case, and in fact the person was probably saying “all hunters are evil, and here are some anecdotes that reinforce the point.” In which case he/she was guilty of cherry-picking (plenty of hunters are not scumbags), not of the “one cat therefore all cats” fallacy.

          BTW, don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you can’t make the argument stick with one person (who you already know is illogical), that makes the argument bad. It just means that this person won’t listen to reason. But I think you already know this, and the place where you want to make the argument stick where it really matters is in your own head. In which case I’m glad I could be of some help.

          1. From the other person.

            And not a single event; their position is that they have never seen someone who was into hunting who wasn’t nuts. Uh, ever seen Gilligan’s Island? The episode where the big game hunter shows up, and decides he wants to hunt one of the castaways; that is the model for a hunter here (just that he was a little exaggerated).

            This leaves out that said person grew up in a bad area, and then sealed themselves off from and chance to learn otherwise.

            your interlocutor was committing a logical fallacy

            Stereotyping where inappropriate, and refusal think outside of them, is a standard problem.

            1. Your acquaintance’s attitude (“they have never seen someone who was into hunting who wasn’t nuts”) is starting to remind me of a coworker I had at a previous job. (Thankfully not this one). This man, who hailed from Ireland and had not grown up with American gun culture, thought that everyone who owned a gun was compensating for a small, well, you know what he thought they were compensating for. (I think if I’d pressed him on it, he would have made exception for hunters who owned it as a tool, but he would NOT have made exception for people who owned a gun for self-defense purposes; he would definitely have thought that to be an illegitimate reason). I decided not to enlighten him as to how many people in the room with him probably owned guns, as it was clear to me that nothing I could say would have changed his mind on that point.

      2. As for what I believe; the rihno example seems like an obvious “everyone wins” good. Hunting in general confuses the issue because you have both the hunt and the kill, so it would be entirely possible to have a hunter who detests killing, yet loves the hunt.

        For the example of someone who enjoys the killing and takes jobs where the killing is necessary, I’m not sure. On the practical level that is a better option than most of the alternatives. For the morals of the person in question I want to say there is clearly something wrong with them. I don’t know if this is correct, or simply narrative: that is the entire problem after all.

        1. I have heard of people who enjoy the hunt but don’t want to kill animals, who go “hunting” with a camera. (Or sometimes, I suppose, people who enjoy hunting and don’t mind killing animals at all, but want to go hunting more often than they have a license for, so they go camera-hunting which doesn’t require a license).

          BTW, the “someone who enjoys killing” example I took from a work of fiction (where it was killing people that the character enjoyed, and she was morally repulsed by her own enjoyment — but since she kept getting attacked and having to kill people in self-defence, it kept coming up). The book in question is Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon, and she presents this character as quite clearly a good person. It’s quite an interesting philosophical thought experiment to work through. My conclusion was that there was indeed something wrong with a person like that, but not morally wrong. It’s not your fault if an accident of birth makes you born blind, and it’s not your fault if some brain chemistry issue makes you enjoy killing. But it is your fault if you indulge that enjoyment in morally wrong ways. To see that point in another way, let’s look at an example of something that’s clearly not an inherent malfunction in someone’s emotional makeup. It’s not inherently wrong or right to enjoy sex (and it’s totally normal), but it’s the context that will make it morally wrong or right. If I enjoy sex with my wife, that’s morally right; if I have sex with someone else instead of my wife, I’d still derive physical pleasure from the act, but it would be adultery and would be morally wrong. The pleasure isn’t what makes it moral or immoral, it’s whether that pleasure is obtained in licit or illicit ways. I think the same would apply to someone who enjoyed killing animals because (let’s say) it gave him a feeling of being powerful, of ruling over Nature. He could take that feeling and become a scumbag hunter that would fit the worst stereotypes… OR he could choose to find activities where his pleasure is derived from situations that help everyone else (possibly including, as in the case of the rabid dog or the deer that would otherwise starve in winter, the animal being killed). It’s not so much the pleasure itself (as weird as that pleasure might be) as it is how one chooses to act that matters.

          1. Whoops. The closing italics tag should have been after “not”, and the rest (“an inherent malfunction”, etc.) should not have been italicized. Except for the phrase “chooses to act” at the end, which was the next intended italicized portion.

  23. Sarah, thank you so much for the seed crystal that creates the community on this forum. It is a refuge of sanity and reality, and if you ever have doubts, consider the gratitude of the people who congregate here.

  24. SH, I would guess you are familiar with Neal Stephenson’s semi-famous screed on hypocrisy from The Diamond Age? (I found it here among other places.) Your middle section reminds me of that. A little Voltairean in some respects, too, an unresolved (maybe unresolveable) struggle to reconcile the existential value of free-thinking with the practical benefits of mental — and spiritual, and cultural — discipline.

    1. That’s one book I’m trying to forget…

      Stephenson is “hit or miss” with me, and that was a righteous miss.

    2. I liked the Diamond Age, but the ending was futzed. Yeah, I know. I’m not as good a writer. But as a reader, where it hit me, it FELT futzed.

      1. You don’t have to be as good a cook to know the standing roast has been unevenly cooked.

      2. Yes, agreed (about the ending). But I don’t think Stephenson has ever ended a book well. It’s just a weird weak point with his writing. He is awesome at constructing multilayered human drama, and a master of the witty aside (vide supra, as well as the unparalleled ingredient list for McWhorter’s Original Condiment), but he can’t tie it off with a bow to save his life. Weird flaw. I guess it’s why his books are so long, maybe they just go on and on until he gets disgusted (or has a deadline) and saws it off crudely.

        Funny you should compare yourself to Stephenson as a writer, though: so far as I can tell from your morning blog ramble, there is an interesting similarity — the efflorescence of many-branched ideas and original thoughts. I’ve not read new fiction in probably a decade but maybe I should buy one of your books and see if it carries over there. Although I didn’t think you wrote in that cyberpunky kind of world (which probably appeals to me in part because I was somewhat in the middle of its cradle in the mid to late 80s). I was always a pretty hard-core hard sf reader; my favorite author when I was young was Niven.

        Although…I also really liked Ursula Le Guin and Leigh Brackett, come to think of it, who are miles from that kind of stuff. (But they do share a tendency towards wildly original ideas.) If you come back to this comment, I would be interested to know which of your books is the least conventional, the least polished or most full of the nuttiest ideas you ever had. That’s the one that would interest me most. My thanks in advance if you care to name it.

        1. Eh. the most multi-branched one that’s currently out is Witchfinder.
          The SF is more like “retro Heinlein” and more disciplined…. so far.
          Ending books is its own skill. My husband when he’s paying attention (we both go through years of being lost in separate projects, so that he doesn’t read me for a year or two, much less beta reads me) makes me finish them PROPERLY and some of that has rubbed off.
          I actually hated cyberpunk which I found when I moved to America. BUT I loved Diamond Age.

          1. Okey doke, thanks. Retro-Heinlein, huh? Hard to imagine what that would be like, since RAH is about as retro as you can get, kind of a Mitochondrial Eve of the genre. It’s quite interesting that you hate Gibson (one assumes) but like Stephenson (at least one work). Most people I know like both or neither. Stephenson is by far the more romantic, Gibson is almost 1950s style bleak. But then elsewhere you said you really liked Walter M. Miller’s classic, and that is about as 50s bleak as one can get…although…now I think about it, maybe better described as a slow-brewed Thomist disquisition on the necessity of grace.

  25. ac·cou·tre·ment
    Learn to pronounce

    1. is this an attempt to correct my spelling. Don’t bother. I type these early morning, and if the computer doesn’t red line I don’t see typos. Nor am I going to spend time correcting them.
      NO ONE PAYS ME FOR THESE, and I have paying wok to do.


        One, minor, quibble. Anybody hitting the tip jar to sustain this site is, presumptively, paying you for these. The question is whether such people are paying you enough to make it worthwhile for you to copy-edit more scrupulously than you already do.

        As all contributions are voluntary and would seem to constitute endorsement of the present “warts and all” product, it can be reasonably concluded that “no one is paying for these” to be edited. Some folks seem to think that the odd typo adds to the charm of these posts, others see them as a useful tool for smoking out the pedantic and arrogant.

        OTOH, if those objecting to such minor flaws want to make substantial donations to the underwriting of these posts, donations sufficient to hire a copy-editor, I am confident Sarah would not refuse the money.

        Whether she would squander t on anything so useless frivolous as an editor is a different matter.

        1. Yes. Sorry. One thing I should add is that WordPress has stopped redlining typos, which I didn’t even notice, until son told me my blog one day read like I’d had a stroke.
          So I’m trying to be a little more attentive, but yes, the issue is that the blog pays me about 2k a year. …. I ain’t doing this for the money. And I DO have stuff I HAVE to do for the money….

    1. At least three companies in the light industrial compound where I work have gone out of business. Units vacant, furniture removed, signs taken down. My work hours have been reduced, and I was working part-time to begin with.

      The government is run by deranged idiots and they are becoming LESS sane the more we see how weak this virus really is.

      1. which, i think, is one reason they are moving so slowly to implement any kind of generalized testing. They don’t want us finding out that 60%+ of us already had it and got over it.

      1. That’s really sad.
        I visited Uncle Hugo’s (& Uncle Edgar’s next door) a couple of times when passing through the Twin Cities on the way to family reunions. A great resource, up in flames…
        D**m Antifa & BLM!

    2. Oh, I didn’t get the point at first. I don’t follow Farcebook and Twit links, because most of them end at a login screen and I don’t have accounts on either one.

      They are a mob of savages. Destroying what they don’t have the wits to understand. Why does our supposed civilization tolerate them? Why do so few see that this is what the leftists WANT? THIS is what they have spent fifty years bringing about! Now they’re cheering!

        1. It’s “not letting an atrocity go to waste.”

          No long-range plan, no Secret Central Committee in charge, but just a herd of wolves who have been in sheep’s clothing so long that they’re convinced they are sheep. One of them smells blood and bleats “Orange Man baaaad!” because the opportunity to do so should not be allowed to go to waste.

          The rest of the wolf-herd hears, sniffs and scents the blood, and the bloodlust kicks in.

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