Routing Around Damage

new view

Sorry this is so late. I got up this morning ready to give the last coat to what will be the household accounts office, so we can move furniture in on Wednesday, So I can do what will be my office over the weekend.  And then I remembered the stairs to the basement needed to be Zinzered (Totally a word. Like Killzing only more so) because grandcat did a number on them when older son was at work or school and not spending the requisite time with him. (Which in D’Artagnan’s mind means, of course ALL the time. 24/7)

By the time I looked up it was 12:30.  And now I shall try and go work, though not absolutely sure I have enough energy.  In the past I’ve found a nap helps reset the mind after hours of physical labor, but one also doesn’t like to employ it. It is admitting the body is getting old, I guess.  We’ll see.

Because I was working on the stairs, my mind was ranging over a bunch of things, including the old tale of the garden, and of the entity that offers that you shall be “like gods, knowing good from evil.”

For some reason this seems to be an unavoidable temptation of mankind, the sort of thing we can’t resist, just like we can’t resist the feeling that whatever one has should be divided equally.

I suppose it makes perfect sense from the point of view of a clever ape.  In the ape band, if things aren’t divided equally — say the hunt or the produce of foraging — then someone will grow fat, and someone will starve. We are, after all, as a species, scavenger apes. Which means that most of our ancestors, since well before we became human and throughout our past since that time lived at the edge of starvation.

At the same time, being clever apes, we want to know. we need to know. And we want to know what the rules and are and what we can impunely poke at, and what will turn and sting us into next Wednesday or the next turn of the wheel for that matter.

We also, being clever apes, and scavengers, distrust the good times.  We hate it when things are going too well, people have fat babies and there’s peace on the land.  We hate it, because as every scavenger knows too many fat babies mean a time of famine around the bend. It’s unavoidable. There are only so many resources. You have too many scavengers, and the food supply is stripped bare, and then what?

All of this probably explain the 20th century. Well, as much as anything can besides “Dear Lord, that lousy century!”

Because through the wars, the horrors, the killing by the numbers by government fiat (which we show ourselves quite ready to continue this century, by the way) life was pretty good, for most humans.  You know, in raw terms of food and fat babies, humanity was doing pretty well.

Except —

Except the Cassandras were out full force, and often spurring on the government killing by the numbers — and still trying to do it — alarmed at the number of fat babies.  We won’t go into the various theories of Paul Ehrlich. Honest, the man is impressive. How can you be wrong so consistently? It’s like ALWAYS guessing the wrong number in a set of two. By pure luck, sometime, he should be right. By accident even.

And we won’t go into the climate doom and gloom, because honestly, I’m forever astonished at anyone my age who takes it seriously. Because in my lifetime we were going to freeze to death. I bought it then. How could I now? All the smart people and scientists said so.  And the prescription was socialism.

Oh, they didn’t call it that. They call it being sensible and careful and sustainable. What it amounted to, to the kid who read science fiction, was belt tightening on a global scale.  We all needed to live small lives. Ask permission to have kids, earn permission to live in a little cubicle and eat our ration, and be happy for it, because without that we’d all freeze to death by the early two thousands.  Oh, well. It was just my luck, the time I’d been born into.

At the same time we were running our of oil, out of gas, out of coal, out of minerals. Out of everything.

And then a funny thing happened.  Not only didn’t we run out of any of those things, but learned to use them better, found new deposits, but the weather didn’t grow markedly colder.

In the middle eighties, the consensus pivoted in the space of a year to “We’re all going to boil to death.”  Perhaps by then I was more cynical.

I’d realized a few things.  Like, we weren’t running out of anything, and Paul Ehrlich had rolled snake eyes again.  Another was that the prescription to avoid boiling was the same as to avoid freezing. More socialism. And the other was that these prophets of despair didn’t want us to go to space. No we had to “learn to take care of the Earth first.”

That seemed weirdly moralistic. More a religious position than a scientific one. Because, really, who judges when we “learn to take care of the Earth?”  The Earth seems to be doing okay, honestly, humans or not.  How many trees do we need to plant, before we can have a colony on Mars? What sense does THAT make?  Or as I used to put it — to much sputtering — “I don’t think we’d ever have learned to take care of Europe, if we’d not struck out to other continents. Or if you go back far enough, to take care of Africa, before homo sap migrated.  That’s not how any of that works. You don’t learn your language properly before you learn another. And knowing other planets is what will allow us to take care of the Earth. It’s just the way it works.”

Anyway, I think that’s the other, third flaw of the human brain, born of our biological heritage. We’re jumped up scavenging apes. We can’t help worrying about how bad things will get now that they’re good. If there’s enough food today, there won’t be tomorrow.

Unfortunately add intelligence and shake, and what you get is people convince that they ARE like gods, knowing good from evil, and that they get to tell everyone else what they can do and what they can’t.  That of course, being the other curse of apes. You want to be the band leader. Fraught as it is it’s the safest position.

Well, except those of us who are broken apes, and feel safer by ourselves, in our own branch.  I don’t think any of us would have survived too long out in the wilderness, though.  A solitary ape is known as “lunch” to too many things.

I have friends who run terminally ill computers.  I’ve done it myself in the past.  Now that writing pays, even if irregularly (Dear Lord, I need to stop flooring rooms and start writing more, because indie does pay, and so does PJM…. indie more, but PJM faster) I usually don’t fool with computers past the point the they fail me twice. But in the bad old days when I was just starting out, I normally inherited my husband’s computers, once they started sputtering (or we bought them from his job when they upgraded. That’s how the boys got their own computers when Marshall was 3. Which prevented my losing half the workday because the toddler wanted to play the Winnie the Pooh game.)

Because husband is a genius with computers (he just is) he found ways around the damage of computers that weren’t working very well.

Sometimes he wrote programs, that made the computer not get trapped in dead sectors.  Or at one time he (at least tried to) made me use Linux, because the computer was too slow for Windows.

I’m glad we don’t have to resort to that now. The computer fails twice and I point out we need a new computer. (Though I’m a little nervous at replacing three computers with one. I hate single points of failure. Well, I still have the travel laptop, at least.  That will do for writing, if not for rendering or publishing work.)

But there is no such workaround for humanity.  Maybe in the distant future we can get rid of the persistent illusions that are part of being human.  This idea of “fairness” and omniscience and, oh, yeah, that doom is just around the corner.

Perhaps. I wouldn’t trust anyone capable of doing that, mind, capable of tampering with the very essence of what being human means.

Those of us who are religious believe that eventually there will a New Heaven and a New Earth.  Which ultimately means new humans. We believe something will happen, and the good old hardware will be fixed or fix itself automagically.  And, well, if there is an engineer who put us together, then it’s okay if He fixes it, I guess.

But  I’d be really leery, as my fiction probably shows, of any humans trying to fix the old hardware.  Why, even with computers which are orders of magnitude simpler than you or I, and even with as good as husband is with computers, I always tense when he says “oh, it’s just the motherboard.  I’ll get a new one and–”  Okay, it’s been years since he’s made the problem worse. But it can happen.  I know that. And then the computer catches fire.  (No, seriously. Two of mine so far.  Yes, it’s my fault for all the heretical stuff I write, like this post, I guess.)

So, what is to be done?

I don’t know.  So far, we know that the flaws of mankind can be compensated for with software.  And the best software, so far, seems to be called “Western Civilization.”  At least in terms of leading to fat babies and lots of food.  Sure, it also led to government by the numbers, and killing by the numbers, or as we call it around here “20th century.”

But the thing is, it’s hard to tell how much of it is the software “Western Civilization” and how much is the flaws in the hardware.  The Zulus, who were virgin of the software, left enough corpses strewn around Africa that some of them form the basis of hills. And the things the Chinese got up to in their history are best read about thy those with a strong stomach, and not after lunch.

And then there’s the virus of socialism, which takes advantage of the hardware’s flaws of “fairness” and “knowing good from evil” and “oh, no, too  many fat babies, famine around the corner.”

In fact, the Marxism/Communism/socialism virus is almost too perfect, slots too much with the human hardware flaws to be accidental; just like Western civ and bourgeois values might be too perfect, leading too assuredly to enough food and fat babies to be accidental.


Or maybe cultures, like species are subject to evolutionary law and the best adapted one emerges the victor.

Which would mean we win, they lose. In the long run. The very, very long run.  But neither of us will see it.

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I’m not the engineer, and I’m not the software designer.  In fact, I’m not sure any of us is qualified to design software at that level. All attempts at doing it seem to result in a lot of dead hardware.

I do know that if the program is not running on “Respect individuals, don’t hurt them and don’t take their stuff” it ends up in a lot of broken hardware.  A lot of it.

I do know that I cannot be like gods knowing good from evil.

And I will fight against anyone in the grip of the illusion that everything can be made fair, who thinks they can hurt people and take their stuff and somehow bring about paradise.

I’m not the Engineer. I’m not the software designer. But I can read print when its engraved in all the sorry history of mankind, and elsewhere too.

And in the garden there was a serpent….

Do you guys ever wonder if time is circular, and if those writings, metaphorical, of course, are the result of many-times-experience of mankind?

Man, if that is true, we must be the worst students ever.

Of course A Canticle of Leibowitz posited something like that, but the idea was that it was all designed to warn about nuclear war and how to avoid it.

Bah. No nukes needed. To destroy civilization, the inherent flaws of mankind suffice, and are plenty.

“You shall be like gods, knowing good from evil.”

It always leads to destruction and death, and the dark of night, and sweating while laboring to extract our livelihood out of dirt.

Perhaps this time we can avoid it, yes?  Perhaps we can take the old snake and make a pair of shoes out of its skin?

Probably too much to hope for, but at the end of the Pandora Box that’s 2020 maybe some hope remains.

Route around the damage. Write a new program.  Not the same old stupidity again.  Let’s try new and exciting stupidity.  Let’s go elsewhere and try our all too human flaws.

Enough is enough. They shall not pass.


349 thoughts on “Routing Around Damage

  1. If I had a time machine, I’d go back and kill Rousseau, followed by any German intellectual who listened to him. That’s the root of evil for modern Western civilization.

          1. The ‘noble savage’ nonsense is older than Rosseau. If I recall correctly, some of the Roman emperors had it bad. Which doesn’t make expunging Rosseau a bad idea; he was a cockroach. But some other High Intellectual Twit would probably have stepped into his place.

          2. Yeah, I’ve worked up a rebuttal of that ‘Noble Savage’ bullshit:

            The natural state of Man (and Woman) is that of an animal — an unreasoning, violent creature driven entirely by primitive emotions and impulses, constantly seeking immediate self-gratification. In order to overcome that bestial nature, all Men (and Women) have to be taught to think rationally, and carefully inculcated with the values and principles of civilization, a process of education which must be started in infancy and maintained consistently until (at least) early adulthood. If such teaching is not applied, or is not effective, though they may walk upright and ape the words created by civilized folk, they will remain feral brutes and threats to all around them.

            Over the course of some two hundred thousand years, we have raised ourselves up from that savage condition. We have invented the concepts of right, and wrong, and the notion that life is better when the biggest, meanest monkey can’t just beat everybody up and take all the food and wimmins. We decided that living in cooperative societies is far better than violent anarchy. We formulated rules and laws to make such societies work, and refined those laws to make societies work better.

              1. Thomas Hobbes got the sequence off. Life starts “nasty, brutish, and short,” and devolves to that if people are not watchful and careful.

      1. Consider inverting the experiment: who would your typical* Leftist travel back to eliminate? Reagan? Adam Smith? The first ape who figured out fire?

        *Stipulating a Lefty with sufficient grasp of History to back further than last week.

        1. They’d probably go after Pericles if they’d ever heard of him.

          They’d definitely kill Andrew Jackson; they’re trying to take him off the $20. Probably Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. William Henry Harrison, Robert E. Lee, Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

          They’d probably go after Samuel Houston, too. Maybe even Theodore Roosevelt.

            1. Perhaps we’ve identified a strain of virulent anti-Scots/Irish racism?

              It would make a sort of sense, considering the many contributions that hardy race has made to egalitarianism, democracy and industrialization.

          1. Hell, they’re even going after Woodrow Wilson, which I never thought I’d live to see.

            I suspect FDR is only being saved by his minority status.

          2. Pericles bankrupted his city with grandiose public works and got involved in an unnecessary war with Sparta after abusing his “allies”. Not for nothin as they say,

          3. Oh, they’ve already gone after Sam Houston for “stealing Aztlan”. Never mind that he resigned as Texas governor rather than secede.

        2. I would expect them to go after Abraham or Moses, because the left hates Jews and would love to erase Jews from history.

          1. I wonder whether that hatred of Jews is founded on the ancient Hebrews having so effectively put down worship of their deities, Baal & Moloch?

        3. Beloved Spouse asserted, with marvelously straight face*, that it has already been done. Obviously, a sniper took out Alexander Hamilton, Burr having fired into the heavens, thus executing Hamilton and framing Burr so as to eliminate his contributions, as a bonus.

          Look into the mystery of the broken twig.

          *To be fair, forty-five years of life with me has provided ample opportunity to perfect a straightened face.

    1. Sadly, somebody else would have come up with a lot of the same points, in a way.

      The Marxist/Socialist ideal is a return to childhood one(1). It’s easy-you get told what to do, where to go, and how to do it. Wiser, more thoughtful people than you will tell you how you should do things. Unless you’re one of the wiser, more thoughtful people, then you get to decide how to do things.

      In short, you get to be Peter Pan forever and ever and ever.

      Until reality slams into you when you jump off a building and try to fly.

      (1)-Has anyone done a study on how people that believe in these kinds of things grew up? I have a nasty suspicion that a lot of the hard-core socialists and their ilk came from homes that had some serious family damage in one way or another, most likely an absent and/or “problem” father figure.

      1. As to a study, yes it has been done. See Paul Johnson’s The Heartless Lovers of Humankind. Also see historical records of how cruel and vile Rousseau and Marx were to those around them, especially those of “lesser status.”

      2. You mean a family that saw eachother for maybe an hour a day, and three on weekends? Where most of the time spent with those parents was frustration or lecturing, or Mandatory Fun? Where the people who actually raised them, being around for at least four hours a day, changed every year– and when they hit teen years, there was NOBODY that they were around for more than four hours a day that wasn’t of the exact same birth year? Where any opportunities to spend uninterupted time with relatives are deliberately foiled with requirements to show up for regularly scheduled activities, plus extra assignments?

        That, for folks wondering, does describe the overscheduled/”socially active” child. It’s now the norm to have extra practices during any long breaks in the school year, if they are in sports. Which means no traveling to visit family, on pain of losing everything you have worked for.

        1. I think I said the words “healthy family relationship” at some point.

          …which, now, surprisingly, describes so many of my Asian friends that it’s not even funny. (One girl I dated, her Mom made the hypothetical Tiger Mothers go, “Stop pushing her so hard! She needs to get at least six hours of sleep!”

          (And, no, that wasn’t a joke. Her mom would keep her busy until midnight, then wake her up at 5 AM. I saw it happen.)

          1. “Serious family damage” was the one I was looking at– so I took it, and the absent father thing, and started thinking about the kids I knew who were pretty hard core into the promises of Socialism, the ones with theoretically intact families and the ones without, and some of the stuff Elf and I are working on with our kids, vs what we’re “supposed” to do, and doing the math on how much time we’d have with the kids if we didn’t homeschool and there was “only” one hour of homework a day, and then if they got into sports…..

            *shudder* Even short of nuts like your lady friend’s mom, it’s pretty worrying.

            1. I know…there’s a lot of people that go between “free range children raising” and “every second needs to be organized!” I think I was very lucky to have had some parental guidance but not helicopter parents.

              1. Our kids worked pretty hard during the school year, and we — as usual — would dive down rabbit holes of projects (still do) weirdly often all four at the same time.
                BUT since we loved/love the kids and it seems to be mutual, we usually ended two weeks of pushing on our separate projects by going to dinner at a diner at some unholy hour, or finding a bargain on hotels for the weekend and going off with the kids.
                I know, if I had to do it over again, I’d take much more time with them.
                BUT that isn’t given to us.
                They seem to be okay. We did spend a lot of time talking and joking, and going to museums, and building things. And their interests became our interests, so we all looked for comic books when Marsh was fascinated with them and we all went to the DaVinci machines exhibit because he was obsessed, and we ALL went to the Van Gogh exhibit because Robert liked. And Marshall and I took art classes together. Robert and I wrote stories together. The whole family fostered orphan kittens. The whole family mini-golfed and we searched out for the courses with the most interesting fiberglass animals….
                Okay… inn the context of how busy the kids were, I guess it wasn’t bad.
                Of course we were sh*t at making them go to bed on time and the basics of family as other people do it. Until the older was halfway through college, they tended to (I swear I’m not making this up) lie down across the foot of our bed, and have these long conversations with us over everything and nothing, until I fell asleep and Dan told them to go to bed, like 3 times. This was usually in the wee hours. 😛 A psychologist friend said most parents would kill for that sort of access to their teen kids. But I still felt guilty over the bed time thing. 😀
                I still wish I had spent more time with them.

                1. They seem to be okay. We did spend a lot of time talking and joking, and going to museums, and building things.

                  The talking thing seems to be a big point.

                  Elf talked to all the adults in his family– my family found it odd if you DIDN’T talk to kids like they’re growing adults, instead of a different species.

                  And then I see my brother acting like a normal adult to my kids– talk soft and sing-song, give them permission to do all sorts of stupid stuff, then go to the parents to get THEM to tell the kids no. Oh, heck no, you gave them permission to tackle you, you tell them you’re too sore. And THEN we will enforce it.

                2. I know, if I had to do it over again, I’d take much more time with them.

                  The oldest of my sister’s passel turn 10 in September. She’s already saying that.

                  In fact, I think not saying that is the most obvious sign of a bad parent.

            2. “Of coarse you can do both sports and scouts. Your coach is your scout leader. Where is conflict?”

              “No. BSA does not stand for Babysitters of America!” Dang it.

            3. I know one thing bugging my sister is how rarely kids in the neighborhood just go out and play with each other. While they both work and, yes, use daycare, the kids are rarely scheduled (they did 1 hour of kinder music for a while, my oldest nephew did martial arts for a while when he asked to, my oldest niece does dance because she demanded to (long story)) and there is a lot of time at home with Mom and Dad. I admit I worry about the public school, but I also there is a lot of Mom and Dad to take the edge off, Grandma is there and does some homeschooling stuff (I thought we’d be carrying her out of a class room feet first, but at 80 she finally retired). If we never go back to the office, looking more and more possible, or if I get off my ass and publish enough to have an income, I’ll move closer. I’m sure Dad wouldn’t mind someone willing to tag in with boys and both of them in general.

              1. I know one thing bugging my sister is how rarely kids in the neighborhood just go out and play with each other.

                When we had neighbors, we let the kids play with the neighbor kids– it was a LOT of work.

                I had to be constantly aware and around, but not hovering, to make sure the little psychopath didn’t maim my kids. (He eventually figured out that not only was I around, but I was paying attention and I would in fact treat him exactly like my kids instead of fluttering and telling his mom who would talk to him in six hours. Yelling worked amazingly well. Thank God I was paying enough attention to notice when he was about to brain the three year old with a swing seat, and I’m not being poetic here.)

                A lot of the kids are feral. They don’t know how to behave around civilized kids unless there’s a referee to control interaction– and they pay VERY close attention to when the Supervising Adult is gone, and their behavior changes drastically in result.
                It’s scary, honestly.

                  1. Thing is, they’re not bad kids.

                    They improve when they figure out there’s someone paying attention, and the results of what they’re doing. Part of why I didn’t banish the little psychopath was that when I explained, graphically, what exactly the results of what he’d been about to do would be– he never did it again.

                    A lot of it seems to be the presence of moms, yes, but moms who do not give a **** if they’re your son, they will NOT be treating my kid that way.
                    (girls are usually much, much more insidious– but they also take a lot longer to cause harm, and you can protect your kids by teaching them the magic phrase “no, my mom would find out and I’d be in real trouble.”)

                    1. girls are usually much, much more insidious …

                      Asserting there is a differences between the sexes? Report yourself for thought crime!

                      Implying that mothering is an active verb and that mothers who put their kids in daycare are somehow poorer at being mothers? You are being hurtful and merit severe chastisement! The truth of your implications is no defense; indeed, by contradicting public asserted facts (by experts, no less!) the truth of your stance compounds your criminality.

                      Before Cesar Millan took to whispering to dogs, back in the (I think) Late Seventies/Early Eighties, there was a British woman, Barbara Woodhouse, who advocated for proper dog training; her best known book, No Bad Dogs: The Woodhouse Way carried the implicit subhead: “Just bad dog owners.” The same principle applies to ninety-eight percent of kids (the remaining two percent are not properly termed kids; they’re Demon Spawn, but that’s a complicating issue we need not get into.)

                    2. Of course I’m hurtful; I am a woman.

                      (Yes, you can imagine my husband standing over here nodding, and mock flinching when I turn.)

                    3. Wasn’t it Susan Sto Hellit who wanted parents to pass an exam before breeding — other than the practical.

                  2. She’s not kidding. Was in school with kids like that. And playground supervisors that talked to each other instead of watching the kids.

                    Result: Broken bones, paranoia about being cornered, etc., etc…..

                1. There’s a guy who researches how kids learn civilized behavior, most especially risk management, from roughhousing with dad — which specifically teaches “how far I can go before daddy says no.” And his big point is that kids without fathers (or at least another adult male fulfilling the role; an unmarried uncle will do) never learn this, and then we have various sorts of feral behavior, such as braining the littler kid with a swing seat, which a proper dad would have paddled the little cretin for even thinking about (cuz when you roughhouse with your kids, you learn to read their intent).

                  1. One of the Truths That Must Not Be Uttered in our society is how the loss of fathers* in African-American (and increasingly in other) families has produced damaged generations of children. A forest of explanations has arisen, all intended to obscure that fundamental truth: fathers play an important role in development of girls and boys.

                    But that truth is incompatible with contemporary fashion and must be ignored or suppressed. To recognize it would invalidate the Feminists’ theories and the functions of too many government social service agencies.

                    *Yes, uncles can somewhat fill that function, but pressures toward smaller family sizes work to leave that blank unfilled, and irrational fears stoked about male sexual predation (far less present than one would surmise from news coverage) have further reduced the availability of coaches, scoutmasters and other mentors of young men.

                    1. government social service agencies.

                      Reagan was wrong. “I’m from the government and I’m here to service you.” is MUCH scarier than “…to help you.”

                    2. Fatherless kids are the most vulnerable, though– many predators know that if they are dating mom, have her emotionally depending on them, they’ve got access to the kids.

                      “Them” because I know my sample is skewed, but I did see a lot of predators in the lesbians-who-date-women-who-were-married-with-children.

                    3. Gah.
                      I knew this – about pedos pitching serious woo to single moms, just so they could get access to the kids. And that is why I basically took a vow of celibacy as regards dating until my daughter was well into high school. Yeah .. no one, I repeat, no one, would have any chance to harm my daughter, sexually or in any other way. (When I did develop a relatively serious relationship at that point, the gentleman in question was a widower, considerably older than I was, a retired high school teacher and military vet, who took no more than a sweet and avuncular interest.)

              2. I know one thing bugging my sister is how rarely kids in the neighborhood just go out and play with each other.

                Ditto. We can see the school from our house. No pickup basketball or baseball games. Kids just don’t hang there. Families will take their little ones to play on play equipment. Schools as a meeting place? Nope.

                Our street (not that we researched it), and either street north & south, were both kid desserts when we first moved in. We didn’t research it, because, no kid. Heck we didn’t even check the school district. Turns out we had one on the way, just didn’t know it yet.

                Tried to be the “hang out house”. Didn’t succeed. There really wasn’t one. Son’s friends cycled between the different homes, but none more than others. Yes, latch key syndrome was a problem. Not allowed to go somewhere when at least one adult wasn’t present to at least know they were there. Then even when I was between jobs, let son’s friends parents know I was home, they didn’t want to “take advantage”. These are the same parents who entrusted their sons to us for scouting and sports coaching activities.

                Granted we only have the one son. We too took advantage of his interests. Into Dinosaurs? Dinosaur NM sounds like a good destination. Then there is the museum in Colorado on the way to Rocky Mtn NP. The exhibit in Portland. The science camp in John Day (mom & dad didn’t always have to tag along). Marine Biology? Again science camp on the coast. Many tide pools, many trips (despite that the coast is really not dad’s thing, Oregon coast is COLD, or can be). Camping? Lets go. National Parks. Okay, we cheated and RV’d. But we’ve tented too (and mom froze her a$$ off despite having proper good quality camping equipment). Okay the camping part wasn’t hard on us. That is our preferred method anyway. For all that I froze camping, our camping gear is older than the kid. Wanted cub scouts? Okay. Wanted ALL the pins for Webelo’s, okay, how does that get done, he drove it. Wanted Eagle? His goal. He had to do it. He told us what he needed for our participation (mostly adult bodies to be there, so helped not just him). Sports? Need a coach? (HS not so much. But one of us was there to drive and/or cheer.)

                Doubt our son would have been better off with home schooling. We did the tutoring. We knew what was going on. We weren’t ones to keep silent to teachers or staff. Politely, but we did speak up. OTOH our son graduated (OMG) 15 years ago now.

                I know, if I had to do it over again, I’d take much more time with them.

                Preaching to the choir. They grow up so fast.

        2. I remember back in the 90s reading an article on women and race in the south. One wealthy young white woman told her black nanny, “I want you to raise my children like you did me.”

          I usually recall that story to try to get people to understand how complex race in the US, or at least the South, is. But in this context I think it shows a lot about children and the failure of modern parenting. Unlike the wealthy, who had the good sense to realize that it was the help (in the form of nannies and boarding schools) were actually raising their heirs, the modern two income middle class calls it child care and pretends they are doing the raising.

          That’s why the later will switch child care workers (which should be called “deniability of child neglect workers”) while the former at the average at least vetted quality help and worked to keep it consistent. At best, like the young lady above, it formed a broader relationship closer to extended family. I’m led to believe in other parts of the world, that is a not uncommon model.

          1. And remembering that the traditional nanny was right there all the time, as a member of the household, under at least some degree of everyday supervision and with fairly obvious evidence of competence (or lack of it) in the kids themselves. Whereas daycare is some remote location where you really have NO idea what’s happening, other than the two minutes spent dropping off and picking up the kid, and the daycare worker has absolutely no investment in YOU, since YOU are not their employer. Further, you have no control over what feral kids may share daycare with yours, or what crappy part-time workers may share duties, whereas the nanny has one charge and one charge only, and answers directly to YOU.

            1. The lady who raised my grandmother in law was referred to as a “maid,” but her main work was taking care of the kids– she was also the only one who would communicate with said GiL after she was disowned.

              Gotta finish the story: it was obvious that everybody was getting updates through her, and they did the deathbed visit reopen relationship after momma died thing. Her sin: married below herself.

            2. It’s the same sort of relationship that say, Miles Vorkosigan has with his armsmen’s families, or his cook and similar. It’s the feudal tribalistic relationship, and a lot of modern people don’t really understand how it worked, and try to denigrate it based on their own lack of understanding. I imagine it was a lot easier to do when families were rooted in the same area for generations, and everyone understood the bonds of mutual obligation and love.

              Nowadays you have the service industry, where personal trainers and beauticians and nail techs and chefs and day care providers are independent contractors working for multiple clients. Which is perfectly fine; it allows for more freedom and commerce and such. But no one understands the old ways, and their lack of understanding means those ways were automatically bad and exploitative and racist and whatever buzzword sounds best today.

              1. When Madeleine L’Engle’s nanny died, the nanny’s daughter had her sit with them at the funeral.

    2. The problem goes back a lot further than any intellectual (even though Rousseau deserves whatever hate he gets). Only a few of Sarah’s clever scavenger apes understand that the only resource keeping him / her and 7+ billion of their kind alive is homo sapien’s brain. The rest are caught up in the fear of bad times and scarcity tomorrow and make their stories accordingly. The only way out is forward but it appears the vast majority of our species doesn’t see that.

      1. Yep, the idea that human intelligence is our adaptive advantage and more, not less, is a good solution to problems escapes them.

        I used to think the portrayal of what a communist society thought like in Atlas Shrugged was over the top. I’m starting to realize Rand toned it down, knowing the average American couldn’t believe the reality of the nonsense in it.

        1. We read about the October Revolution of 1917 and were appalled, while believing it couldn’t have been all that bad.

          She lived through it, and knew it was WORSE.
          Who is John Galt?

          1. Some people knew as soon as it happened.


            ” 1918

            God rest you, peaceful gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
            But–leave your sports a little while–the dead are borne
            this way!
            Armies dead and Cities dead, past all count or care.
            God rest you, merry gentlemen, what portent see you there?
            Singing:–Break ground for a wearied host
            That have no ground to keep.
            Give them the rest that they covet most . . .
            And who shall next to sleep, good sirs,
            In such a trench to sleep?

            God rest you, peaceful gentlemen, but give us leave to pass.
            We go to dig a nation’s grave as great as England was.
            For this Kingdom and this Glory and this Power and this Pride
            Three hundred years it flourished–in three hundred days it
            Singing:–Pour oil for a frozen throng,
            That lie about the ways.
            Give them the warmth they have lacked so
            long . . .
            And what shall be next to blaze, good sirs,
            On such a pyre to blaze?

            God rest you, thoughtful gentlemen, and send your sleep is light!
            Remains of this dominion no shadow, sound, or sight,
            Except the sound of weeping and the sight of burning fire,
            And the shadow of a people that is trampled into mire.
            Singing:–Break bread for a starving folk
            That perish in the field.
            Give them their food as they take the yoke . . .
            And who shall be next to yield, good sirs,
            For such a bribe to yield?

            God rest you merry gentlemen, and keep you in your mirth!
            Was ever Kingdom turned so soon to ashes, blood and earth?
            ‘Twixt the summer and the snow-seeding-time and frost–
            Arms and victual, hope and counsel, name and country lost!
            Singing:–Let down by the foot and the head–
            Shovel and smooth it all !
            So do we bury a Nation dead . . .
            And who shall be next to fall, good sirs,
            With your good help to fall?

            1. >> “God rest you, peaceful gentlemen, let nothing you dismay”

              I keep wanting to sing this to the tune of “Comfort and Joy.”

              1. A lot of Kipling’s poetry was written to be sung to fairly simple tunes.

        2. I wonder what she would think of the left using Atlas Shrugged as a ‘how to’ manual? She identified the problems really well, but her proposed solution left me cold.

          1. I’ll probably sound like a fool saying this, but that’s something that annoys me about otherwise entertaining for kids cartoons like the recent MLP. The idea presented that there really is no ‘evil’ ad the bad people would just Be Your Friend if you Ask Nicely. As well as how many seeming adults actually swallow that line.

            Heck in their last season they had fans in an uproar because three utterly unrepentant monsters, who among other things tried starving everyone in the country into a ‘us or die from hunger’ choice ended up turned to stone

            1. You don’t sound like an idiot. That type of tale is EVIL and corrupts youth. Destroys them really. Not just because they don’t expect to meet with evil people, but because it makes them blind to the evil in themselves.
              Dora the Explorer was banned in my household after I saw two episodes that both were like that and one where “giving in to evil makes it your friend.”

            2. It’s hard to show redemption– in fairness to MLP, they did have a good variety of invitation to repent/fixing things/ being nice to try to help them.
              I adored the skewering that happened with Totally Not Q and Fluttershy being sweet, and that not being enough. (Plus Fluttershy’s dishrag nice being recognized as a weakness, but not always a flaw– just something to know about.)

              1. You also have to give credit for a kids show in this day and age to have a pretty much anti-collectivist episode and, if memory serves, a two parter at that.

                That takes stones, big brass ones.

            3. Just think of the left as Sauron; everything is a lie and the biggest lies are the ones where they say that they truly only want to help others.

              1. Thing is, they did a decent job of showing friendship. That it’s two way, really caring about someone else, giving things you value. (Rarity is probably my favorite, because she is a beauty geek who will literally maim her looks in order to fix the fashion issue that’s devastating a stranger. Plus, dragon obcession, and she’s pretty.)

                Biggest difference is that most of the girls involved didn’t have a flinch impulse to someone walking up and saying “I want to be your friend!”

          2. *Insert incoherent sputtering here.* And how. Augh.

            Heh. Freshman English group work, not sure how we got onto the subject, but I distinctly remember one of the girls exclaiming, “But don’t you believe most people are inherently good?”

            “No; I believe most people are inherently evil, and the ones who haven’t done anything truly heinous haven’t had the right opportunity yet.”

            Funny how no one wanted to discuss Evil with me again after that….

            1. *poking at a couple of half-formed thoughts*

              The discussion of evil in ‘polite company’ is incredibly rude. You can’t talk good and evil without the kind of absolute and intimate truths that do not work with people where you don’t have a really high level of trust.

              That’s before the problem that freshmen are really, really unlikely to have a well enough established mental framework to be able to talk usefully about evil. It happens, yeah, but it’s not common.

              That kind of unjustified intimacy is very, very ripe for abuse. Most obviously by putting people into a situation where they are not prepared to defend their half-formed views, which makes them much easier to browbeat.

              Intimacy beyond what can be justified by a situation seems to be very, very common for Progressive thought; I’m not sure why. Even the “calling teachers by their first names”.

              1. *Points up to “putting people into a situation where they are not prepared to defend their half-formed views, which makes them much easier to browbeat.”*

                Unjustified intimacy -> abuse is easier -> power over the abused is easy to take. Seems a logical path for Progressives, who all seem to want power over other people.

                1. *waggles hand* That has strong predictive power over broad ranges, yes– but individually, if they were consciously looking for power, they’d be better at it.

                  Even theorizing some hijacking of social norms doesn’t quite work.

                  It may be at least half-wild or half feral social instincts, a sort of group unity even if it’s in a bad direction thing. You know, a bad plan executed with conviction NOW is better than a perfect plan that’s done too late type thing.

                  It may be that Progressivism taps into tribal instincts, and that means you need an ingroup, and that means you need to stop challengers, and do silly things that show you’re in the group and not just an opportunist… but there’s also an issue where because it’s an exploit, they skip the whole two way loyalty thing.

                  Like I said, a bunch of half-thoughts.

              2. That’s before the problem that freshmen are really, really unlikely to have a well enough established mental framework to be able to talk usefully about evil.

                I’m not convinced many adults do, including myself. I think that is one reason I would much rather discuss man’s fallen nature than his evil. It’s not that I don’t believe in the later nor that I believe men are not capable of achieving it. It is that I understand being fallen, seeing right and glory and failing to reach it and even not always trying and the guilt that brings.

                Perhaps evil is that state where the guilt for not striving to be righteous disappears. Fear of that state is what turned me off to my Protestant upbringing which had strong Calvinist elements. I always wondered what a soul was to do when he realized instead of being one of the Elect he realized the opposite.

                1. I’m not convinced many adults do, including myself.

                  It’s not something you just get, it has to be worked at and developed– and you are very unlikely to SURVIVE enough to build the whole thing on your own. It’s like trying to build modern civilization starting with nothing but a rock.

                  With help, freshmen are a great age to be talking through the philosophy involved– but I sure as heck wouldn’t trust the school system to play referee between the different philosophical statements, much less TEACH it!

            2. *inappropriate snicker* I overheard some students arguing about innate depravity in the commons a few years ago. Turns out they were discussing _Lord of the Flies_. The majority seemed to be on the side of Calvin, at least for English class.

              1. But don’t you believe most people are inherently good?

                Define “good”. If by “good” you mean essentially lazy and self-serving” then yes, I believe people are not only “inherently good” but also quite sensible.

                N.B. – apologies for the premature posting above – I looked up from keyboard and found WP had posted without waiting for my comment to be typed. In this instance I suspect WP of being eminently sensible.

              2. Further, anybody who can say a thing like that needs to be condemned to three months servitude in a day care facility for three-year-olds.

                  1. Agreed – anybody reaching near-adulthood while retaining such delusions ought not be allowed out unsupervised.

                  2. As long as they were watched for at least the first week, because obviously they have no clue how fast the little ramblers can. Mess. Them. Up.

                    I always cringe when Kindergarten Cop gets to the point when Arnold has to go undercover as the teacher instead of his partner the former kindergarten teacher. No truer words when he comes back to their hotel and states “They’re monsters!” and his partner replies “I know. Why I became a cop.”

                1. Not sure if it makes it better or worse that they have never tried to describe what “good” or “evil” means.

                  1. Heh. I was just by way of contemplating the undeniable fact that I do believe people are “inherently good” so long as I don’t have to specify a) under what conditions they are “inherently good” nor b) what they are “inherently good” for.

                    Fertilizer, for all too many.

                    Of course, simply considering the question raises one other: if you believe all people are “inherently good” — why would you want to install a state which compels “good” behaviour?

                    1. If everybody is ‘inherently good’ why would they need leftists to tell them what to do?

              3. Of course. All things are inherently good. Evil is a flaw that some good things have.

                Even mostly good. Human beings are like ladders. One or two bad rungs makes them iffy, three in the right places renders them useless — often, even for doing evil. But that still means most of the rungs are good.

        3. I do not recall author or title, but I did once read a story where some explorers were doomed, but somehow managed to make tiny water-borne analogs of themselves – each one seeding a different pond on a watery world. Eventually one descendant-set builds a vehicle just capable of reaching the next pond… and meets another descendent-set. The memorable bit within was that the *power* was not *a* brain, but _brains_ in plural. The term parallel processing was not used, but somewhat implied, along with error-checking, etc.

          1. I recall that one! Though as a biology student I admit I grumped about it; even haploid creatures have a diploid zygote and genetic crossover, so the descendants wouldn’t be identical.

          2. If I remember correctly it was a short story/novella where a space ship was seeding different planets with intelligent life, based on the planet environments. So rock people, cat people, etc. Then they crash landed, were doomed, seeding equipment survived, and the only “seeding supplies they had were themselves”. Also do not remember author or title.

              1. Kindle is $12 and paperback is $15.

                That really annoys me, especially these days where I have no more space to decorate in Swedish Modern bookcases and really prefer eBook.

    3. I’d be tempted to go back and arrange for Bill Ayers to have been blown up by one of his own bombs. And as many other Weatherman activists could be creditably arranged to be in the vicinity of the shrapnel spread.

  2. You’re very right about the cyclical nature of “Ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil”. Mankind falls for that lie over and over. But it’s not the location, it’s the foundation that counts. That’s why I prefer to call it Christian civilization. And it’s the foundation that has weakened and is being attacked.

    1. I must protest that the lie in Genesis 5:5 was NOT “Ye shall be as the gods, knowing good and evil”, because in v. 22 , “the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”. The lie was “Ye shall not surely die.” It seems that merely knowing good and evil isn’t enough…

        1. I thought the “knowing good from evil” meant that humans have free will and the capability to act according to more than only personal desire; that human actions are not predetermined; and that the freedom to act upon individual consciousness necessitates the existence of evil.

            1. Yes. It was not the knowing good from evil part, but the “be like gods” part, the pretension of infallibility and the right to impose one’s will on others “as gods”.

      1. Both sides were a lie, because the idea was that man would be the determiner of what was good and evil. They already knew what good and evil were: obey God, eat anything you want except from this tree. Obrdience was good, disobedience was evil. If the fall they decided that God was a liar based on the advice of the shining one. As such, His threats of judgment were null and void. They chose…poorly. Adam was not deceived, he willfully chose to disobey and that willful disobedience became the hallmark of sinful man.
        To use Sarah’s software metaphor, we became infected with malware. The infection causes us to err in many ways, including thinking that moving the computer to a new room will mitigate it. The only way to mitigate it is to turn back to the Engineer who will install a patch that reduces the most egregious errors and He places you in the queue for total rebuild. 🙂

      2. I think that the poison lies in the line “God didn’t really say that, did he?”
        Especially since I have heard people say that in all kinds of things these past several years.

        The fact that in at least modern translations, that’s not what God said doesn’t help.

        1. Although it’s tempting to argue theology, I think I’ll stop here. I just wanted to throw in a little “Maybe it’s not quite that simple”. There are plenty of other reasons to consider “something like God” does not mean “full equality”. Being mortal is a big one, but things like the lack of omniscience already noted also count.

    2. I think this is the time and place for this honored Hun tradition:

      AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
      I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
      Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

      We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
      That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
      But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
      So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

      We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
      Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
      But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
      That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

      When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
      They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
      But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

      Dear America: you are here:

      On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
      (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
      Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

      In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
      By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
      But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

      1. Whether the State can loose and bind
        In Heaven as well as on Earth:
        If it be wiser to kill mankind
        Before or after the birth–
        These are matters of high concern
        Where State-kept schoolmen are;
        But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
        Endeth in Holy War.

        Whether The People be led by The Lord,
        Or lured by the loudest throat:
        If it be quicker to die by the sword
        Or cheaper to die by vote–
        These are things we have dealt with once,
        (And they will not rise from their grave)
        For Holy People, however it runs,
        Endeth in wholly Slave.

        Whatsoever, for any cause,
        Seeketh to take or give
        Power above or beyond the Laws,
        Suffer it not to live!
        Holy State or Holy King–
        Or Holy People’s Will–
        Have no truck with the senseless thing.
        Order the guns and kill!
        Saying –after–me:–

        Once there was The People–Terror gave it birth;
        Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
        Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
        Once there was The People–it shall never be again!

        By the same hand.

  3. Perhaps we can take the old snake and make a pair of shoes out of its skin?

    And then not wear them. Or wear them only a little while, on occasion, as a reminder and a warning?

    I bet they pinch.

    1. And note that Adam’s response when he got caught was, “It’s not my fault! The woman tempted me!” And Eve’s response was, “It’s not my fault! The serpent tempted me!”
      So the inability to straightforwardly confess and accept responsibility for our bad decisions got hardwired into our systems.

      1. And the Serpent said, “Who, me, boss? I was just standing here, minding my own business, when . . . Oops.” Because Sumdude had not been born yet. (Nor had the infamous two beers.)*

        *Because no one ever has more than two beers, no matter how intoxicated they might appear to be. “Jush two beersh, Occifer.”

  4. There have, fortunately. always arisen those who can stand against the dark of night, shrug off the death and destruction and bring back the fat babies and surplus of food.

  5. Knowing good from evil is essential to survival. Evil is a corrupter. You must recognize it when you see it and refuse to be corrupted. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to protect other adults as basic modesty prevents destroying evil unless it oversteps the bounds and allows self-defense because you might be wrong

        1. A trap? It’s worse than that, it’s a fruit salad! With marshmallows!!!!!

          It’s too horrible to dwell upon!

            1. Aye on preferable. I can deal with the fruit salad, though I am a fan of neither pineapple* nor marshmallows (unroasted).

              I can deal with pineapple in fruit salad and upside down cakes. It ruins ham by destroying/weirding the flavor.

          1. It’s the coconut I can’t stand. Coconut is GROSS.

            Why does German Chocolate Cake contain coconut and chocolate, neither of which comes from anywhere near Germany? ‘Carried by migrating birds’ is NOT a plausible answer.

            1. There must something peculiar about coconut. I really like it. I know of a few folks who loathe it. And $HOUSEMATE claims it has no flavor at all and is astonished that I pick up on the flavor without having to read labels.

              This is not quite the same as anise/fennel/licorice where there seems to be no middle ground between “I like it” and “Ewwww!” Evidently I was one of very few in the family that ate great grandma’s cookies. As Ma put it, “She used anise like others use vanilla.”

            2. Discovered a neat alternative to coconut in German Chocolate Frosting:
              Finely ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, or whatever). See, one day I’d started a cake, THEN realized the only nuts I had left was the residue of walnut powder (quite a lot of it) in the bottom of the hand grinder. And there was no coconut. Meh, not driving to town just for that. So I used the powdered walnuts, and OMG that was the most delicious frosting EVER.

            3. the sentence is from Wikipedia but I looked there to verify something I thought I knew:

              “It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe.”

  6. I remember being excited as a grade-school kid being told that a “Real Scientist” was coming to visit our class… then terrified as this “Real Scientist” told us all about the coming ice age and how we were all going to freeze to death and how it was all our parent’s fault and that our parents were going to eat all the food and let us starve first and and and…. I mean, any day we were all going to freeze to death AND starve to death. BOTH! What rotten luck! It was absolutely overwhelming for a WHOLE COUPLE DAYS! Then I forgot about it and moved on, as kids do. Frankly, the only reason I remember about it at all was just how crazy the whole thing was and how terrified I was at the time.

    Oh but this Glow Ball Warmening thing… I totes believe in that. I mean… There is evidence and stuff! There was an ice age, then a warm period, then an ice age again, etc. etc. etc. (and maybe a few more give or take, it’s been like bazillions of years after all) And I’m not a climate scientist or anything cause I’s too dum, but if I remember the charts and graphs right we’re still kinda warming from our last ice age. Ergo… global(ish) warming… Sorta…

    Geesh.. I am such a science denier…

    1. Global warming? Sure, there’s been some evidence of that. Anthropogenic? Maybe, but that hasn’t been established beyond a reasonable doubt, and the more the arguments are based on bad data, bad logic, one-sided arguments, scaremongering, politicking, and social armtwisting, the more I doubt. Those things aren’t science. If someone wants to make a scientific argument for the anthropogenic part, I want to see a proper one, which includes a “How we might be wrong” section like my sophomore chemistry lab reports had to do.

        1. The geological record clearly establishes that life thrives on Earth when it is warmer and suffers when it is cooler; mass extinctions come during cool periods.

          Also, of one wants to look at “man-made” influences, its not CO2 emissions that have significant impactl its concrete and asphalt. A lot of temperature records that show warming are the result of the urban heat island effect, not CO2, and likewise a lot of flooding problems are caused by pavement and concrete a well.

          The climate models completely ignore solar and geothermic influence (they are “deemed to be constant”, even though factually neither has ever been constant in the Earth’s history)., Thus, they are the poster child for “garbage in, garbage out”.

          It is very clear that global warming alarmism has the same intent as the global cooling alarmism; it has nothing to do with climate and everything to do with imposing communism. They openly proclaim they want to scare people and adopted the term “climate crisis” for that express purpose. They openly proclaim that their “solution” is totalitarian socialism in a world where the industrial revolution is essentially undone (not completely because our aspiring Inner Party intends to allow themselves to keep all the goodies they seek to deprive everyone else of).

      1. When they start reporting data, and stop using “anomaly” for their charts, I might listen… see, an ‘anomaly’ depends entirely on what you pegged as baseline. So the moment I see “temperature anomaly” I know I’m about to be lied to. Ditto for data that’s been ‘normalized’ or ‘adjusted’.

        Meanwhile, the raw data shows a slow cooling trend. So naturally the ‘anomaly’ grows…

    2. I’m old enough that my childhood fear was nuclear war. I don’t remember paying attention to the coming ice age, but I do remember when all the correct people were writing Edifying Stories and television episodes about either Overpopulation or Pollution destroying the world. Even as a teenager I thought both concepts were a crock.

      1. I’m old enough that I have been through all the scares … global cooling, global warming, nuclear war, nuclear winter, massive overpopulation, mass starvation, some kind of mental malady called future-shock, wherein the massive pace of technological advance was supposed to send us all back to curling up in our beds in catatonic shock …
        Well, none of that happened … so I kind of cynical about doomsday predictions at this point.

          1. I remember being told that. And my reaction being, “But there’s an episode of Babylon 5 on Thursday that I really, really want to see…”

      2. Don’t most teens think everything is a crock? I did. Admittedly, I still do, so….

    3. Sounds like Little Brother’s science teacher that he had in… sixth grade? Maybe seventh? I don’t know what exactly teacher’s lesson was, but I do know that Little Brother went into the class a complete car nut whose dream car was an Aston Martin Vanquish, and came out of the class convinced that we were going to run out of oil within the next few years, despised automobiles, and whose dream car was some VW prototype that got 300 mpg because, “IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THE PLANET!”

  7. In the time that I’ve grown up, I’ve been told that-

    *There would be an ice age.
    *There would be an absolute resource shortage.
    *There would be acid rain dissolving everything.
    *There will be overpopulation so bad that we’ll all like Soylent Green.
    *There would be global warming (but, thank GOD, Waterworld would never happen.)
    *Regan would get us into a war with the Soviet Union that we would never win and would destroy the world.
    *Bush would have his bush waxed by Saddam Hussain.
    *9/11 was America’s chickens come home to roost.
    *Obama was our greatest president ever.
    *Trump would never win the White House.
    *COVID-19 is the most dangerous disease ever.

    -and, every single time, the experts have not been “wrong.” They have been “Holy fuck! Why are we even listening to these people again?!?” wrong. And, every single time, they have the exact same solution-that we need to let “the people that know things” run things, usually through the UN or something similar.

    The “experts” have never been right in predicting the future (1), and all I need to do to confirm this is pick up a few of the old books on “how the world will be in the future!”. (And, dear God just how white everybody was in those books…) The only suggestion I have, and the only thing we can do, really, is just sort of keep calm and carry on, don’t let the turkeys get you down, and hang the communists when you find them.

    (1-This is my big hope for a Trump win. The media got it wrong last time, and they seem to be on track for making the same mistakes this time.)

    1. Apparently, when the newsies run around telling everyone that anyone who might possibly be associated with trumpymchitlerburten are evil monsters and must be destroyed, “peaceful protesters” are setting up ‘symbolic’ guillotines outside the houses of people they don’t like, and courts and reporters are putting confidential reports left and right, very few telling pollsters that they might vote for The Bad Man.

      Must mean that nobody would vote for him, huh.

      1. Which is my point. I think we should make sure that Jonathan Pie says this when Trump wins the election-

        “I told you, four f(YAY!)king years ago, you had to explain and persuade your positions to people. Instead, you turned Trump into Napoleon Bonaparte, clearing out the mob of the insane that have burned down Paris and executed friends and family and people they liked. And, they don’t give a flying f(YAY!)k that to do that he painted the streets red with blood with a whiff of grapeshot. Now, they don’t have to worry that going down the street with the wrong skin color is going to get them and their family killed, because they were there. And, not breaking any laws, like George Floyd did. Or their business is going to be burned down to the ground. Or that they are going to be fired for a bad joke they told ten years ago.

        “These next four years? Don’t blame Trump. Don’t blame Russia. Don’t blame the secret Church conspiracy. Don’t blame Rupert Murdock or the Koch Brothers or anyone else. You want to blame someone? Go look in a f(YAY!)king mirror, you morons! You did this! You made it so that people either had to choose Trump or choose to fear that saying the wrong thing was going to destroy them-destroy them on the Internet, cause them to get fired, have family and friends attack them even harder to make sure that nobody thinks that they’re a horrible human being.

        “You, every one of you who pats yourself on the back for being ‘woke’ and ‘enlightened’ and ‘thoughful’ have made it very f(YAY!)ing clear that if people don’t agree with you, you’re going to nail them to a table and gang-rape them bloody! Who in their right minds would vote for that?!?

        “And, I have to blame myself. For not f(YAY!)ing beating something approaching good sense into you! Because if I did, maybe we wouldn’t have elected Donald f(YAY!)ing Trump. AGAIN!

        1. He’s already on it:

          “We willing handed over the principles of free speech and expression to right wing bigots a long time ago.”

          I reject the bigots, but yeah, I remember when the ACLU defended the rights of Nazis knowing if “they” could do it to the Nazis then “they” can do it to you next.

          1. I like having Nazis in public.

            It makes it easier to mock them, point out just how silly/stupid they are, and show that they are really very small and powerless.

            Letting them hide makes them seem larger because you don’t know what is going on.

            1. You know that.
              I know that.
              The idiots who graduate well indoctrinated, but poorly educated don’t.

              They even think making jokes about Nazi’s makes them stronger…see Count Dankula.

    2. Ooooh…I’d forgotten acid rain even though it makes a brief appearance in my favorite Bill Murray movie.

      Come to think of it, the ad it is in is a media class in 1 minute.

  8. “In the ape band, if things aren’t divided equally — say the hunt or the produce of foraging — then someone will grow fat, and someone will starve.” Here I must quibble. I have not studied apes in a zoological sense, but most pack animals like wolves establish a hierarchy, and in the wild, the alpha male eats until he is full, and the weakest get only the leftover scraps from the rest of the pack.

    1. KInd of?
      Dave Freer tells me even chimps have an inherent “fairness” setting.
      And part of it is distribution. I’m sure the big ones get more, but …. it seems to be an ape thing. We’re not wolves.

    2. There was a paragraph I encountered long ago that described Bushmen dividing the kill. At first glance, it seemed very unequal, but due to the network of social and family relations and obligations, the meat eventually all got divided out fairly equitably. That sort of thing works out a lot more easily in a small band of 20-40 than it does with hundreds, thousands, or millions.

      1. That sort of thing works out a lot more easily in a small band of 20-40 than it does with hundreds, thousands, or millions.

        Sharing with 20-40, means everyone can survive. Sharing with hundreds, thousands, or millions, means no one survives … there isn’t enough to share with everyone.

        Just as true. While I can’t help everyone, and survive. I can help someone and survive. To insure the survival of me & mine, I get to pick who that someone is. Bottom line to those who want to force me who to help … drop dead.

      2. There’s also the fact that different people or sets of people will have different requirements. You need your hunters to be able to eat enough to go get more. Foragers, too. Pregnant or nursing women will have different caloric requirements than those who aren’t. And we all know how teenage boys can eat. Sharing things out equally and sharing things out fairly aren’t necessarily the same thing.

        Which small groups can deal with because they know who needs what, and who has contributed what, but that gets harder as things scale up, and especially as things become more centralized. Reason number 4, 752 why central planning never works.

        1. The communists Believe that because communism or collectivism seems to work for small isolated tribes, the exact same methods will work perfectly for an entire world of two or three or eight billion people. After all, they’re soooo much smarter than a few filthy savages, right? Okay, there will probably be a few malcontents, and they’ll have to be dealt with, but communism will work perfectly for all the rest!

          We can see that it all breaks down as soon as the group gets too big for everybody to know what everybody else is doing. Big enough for the sneaks and slackers to hide in the crowd. Then there have to be informants, to find the ones taking too much, or contributing too little, and somebody has to take the reports, and do something about it…

          And before you know it, you’ve invented the Stasi. Then you need gulags.
          Major Strasser has been shot! Round up the usual suspects!

  9. Delays, delays, delays! Shame on you. Giving free stuff away at your convenience? Who does you think ye be?

  10. “In fact, the Marxism/Communism/socialism virus is almost too perfect, slots too much with the human hardware flaws to be accidental…”
    From my little wisdom file: “The fundamental paradigm of Communist ideology is guaranteed to have wide appeal: you suffer; your suffering is caused by powerful others; these oppressors must be destroyed.” –Leszek Kolakowski
    “We need to hold someone accountable even when we recognize that such a protest is absurd.” –Friedrich Hayek

  11. As to the, “I’m smarter than everybody else, so I should run things!” fallacy, I have a story.

    Many years ago I was in a software development management class. As one of the exercises, the teacher listed 30 activities that needed to be done to successfully manage developing software. We were each tasked with ranking the tasks in chronological order, then we were told to discuss the order with our mates (at a table of 6) and come up with a table ordering. Then we scored our individual orderings and our table’s ordering with the correct ordering. My list was far superior to those of anyone else at our table, but our table’s list was better than mine. You may know more than anyone else about everything, but someone always knows more than you about some part of that everything. Stay humble my friends.

    1. We must have had the same software development management class. My list was the same. Only I had a group member whose list was almost the same. I think we had the top two switched. So I wasn’t far superior to anyone else at our table. The difference between the two of us VS the other 4? We were older students already working in the industry … you might say education of “hard knocks” had been beat into us. We had room for improvement …. well okay, reality intruded on our lists – difference between s/b and best practices and what reality allowed.

  12. “The Earth seems to be doing okay, honestly, humans or not. ”

    Actually no, it’s not. We can fight about the exact reasons til the cows come home, but there’s plenty of evidence that Earth’s biosphere really is in genuine trouble. Populations of many species of birds, bats, frogs, and other small animals are falling catastrophically as spreading humankind and/or human-caused pollution destroys their habitat. (America may not be the primary source of pollution in the world, but that doesn’t mean the pollution isn’t real.) Some once-productive fisheries are now closed, possibly forever, because the fish populations are below recovery levels. Others produce only a fraction of what they once did. We have enough food only because of mass-production farming and livestock-raising methods that themselves depend heavily on limited resources such as petroleum. When the oil runs out, we are done as a civilization and probably as a species as well, and we will destroy whatever remains of Earth’s major ecosystems in our (losing) fight to survive.

    Unless we can get off this planet and colonize some others.

    1. In North America, wind turbines are a major cause of bat population drops, as is white-nose. Several caves and tunnels in the area are off-limits to visitors during bat season, to prevent the accidental spread of white-nose. (Apparently spelunkers can unknowingly carry it from an infected site to an uninfected locale.) I wager the wind turbines in Europe and Great Britain ditto.

    2. Much of the damage to fisheries was done by the USSR, which could get good at clear-cutting the ocean but somehow lost most of the catch before it could reach the consumer.

      People would rather have power than work on real problems, so they invent pretend problems in the hope of gaining followers. But instead of drinking the kool-aid themselves, they want to make everyone else drink it.

    3. Much as it has been since the fossils were deposited in the Burgess Shale.
      Life yet thrives.
      If you want to blame the decline in the number of species on human action, blame it on the introduction of invasive species.
      But after periods of instability and diversification, consolidation is normal. We may be speeding up an existing process, but it is still an existing process.

      1. Life still thrives, yes … but evolution can only work with what it’s given. There have been two huge explosions of new body plans for animals in Earth’s history: the Cambrian explosion of sea life, and the Silurian explosion of land life. There was a lesser burst of innovation when two separate lines of vertebrates developed endothermy – archosaurs and synapsids. Everything else has been a process of elimination, and a line that gets eliminated is gone for good, never to return.

        We know much less than we think we do about life and the way ecosystems work, but what we do know suggests that the more diverse an ecosystem is, the more stable it is, because there are always other species available to take the place of one that gets in trouble. Also, even seemingly insignificant species can be critically important. As diversity falls, risk of collapse rises. A biosphere that is basically humans, human food supplies, and nothing else is about as low-diversity as you can get.

        1. “the more diverse an ecosystem is, the more stable it is” – True in general, but not in some ecosystems in particular. The Everglades, specifically, is in trouble because it’s naturally a low-diversity environment, and people keep releasing alien species in it. And now the frickin’ Burmese pythons have passed snake parasites to somewhere over a dozen native Floridian species, argh….

    4. “Johnny, did you ever hear of the Club of Rome?” Johnny had, but the audience would need reminding. “They were the people who did computer simulations to find out how long we could get along on our natural resources. Even with zero population growth—” “They tell us we’re finished,” Sharps broke in. “And that’s stupid. We’re only finished because they won’t let us really use technology. They say we’re running out of metals. There’s more metal in one little asteroid than was mined all over the world in the last five years! And there are hundreds of thousands of asteroids. All we have to do is go get ’em.” “Can we?” “You bet! Even with the technology we already have, we could do it. Johnny, out there in space it’s raining soup, and we don’t even know about soup bowls.”
      ― Larry Niven, quote from Lucifer’s Hammer

      If we have to get off this planet to survive, we will.

      1. The leftists don’t want anybody going into space until they can control every aspect of space industry. They know capitalist entrepreneurs will do so much better than their collectives, they can’t allow them to get a foothold. If Niven’s independent Belter society ever gets going, they’ll do far worse than fight the leftists — they’ll ignore them, and leave them behind.

        Ever notice how communists can’t ever build their own society? They have to overthrow or infiltrate an existing one, and then run it into the ground. And then, once that country has been destroyed, they can’t fix it. The world is littered with the wrecks of Socialist Workers Paradises, and the only ones that ever recovered were the ones that kicked out the socialists.

        Now they want to spread their failures out into space. It won’t work. When a society in space fails, EVERYBODY DIES. Except maybe the elites, if they manage to escape the collapse they caused.
        Facts do not depend on opinions. Unfortunately, for far too many people, opinions do not depend on facts, either.

    5. The Earth’s biosphere changes. It always has.
      And a lot of what you’re hearing is bullshit.
      Also as for oil running out…. pfui. We have 300 years at current levels of consumption.
      Look, market is only and ever the real indicator.
      Also we have the ability for nuclear energy.
      As for we destroy their habitat, reeeee. Every single one of those panics I’ve done a deep dive on, from hermaphrodite frogs to the bees are all dying is a …. pardon me. It’s a crock of shit. Every single time, it’s either not happening or has nothing to do with us and happened BEFORE there were humans, to other species.
      PFUI I say.
      With a cherry on top.

      1. “And a lot of what you’re hearing is bullshit.”

        Some of it certainly is… but some of it is not. Even the parts that aren’t is enough to worry me. When we screw around with Nature, we’re screwing around with Earth’s ability to support life. To support us. Right now we have exactly one planet we can live on: this one. We don’t even have the ability (yet) to construct self-sustaining space habitats. It makes absolutely no sense to me to be FUBARing this home when we haven’t got any others.

        “Also as for oil running out…. pfui. We have 300 years at current levels of consumption.”

        Three hundred years isn’t that much on a historical time-scale.

        Again: I don’t believe the doomcriers any more than you do. And I’m well aware that they, like most political activist groups, lie whenever it suits their purpose. But I see no reason to assume that things are a-ok with this planet either. Everything’s got limits, including Earth’s ability to recover from what we’re doing to it. And we don’t know where that limit is. Shouldn’t we dial back on potential biosphere-breaking activities until we have some idea what the limits really are?

        1. Not disagreeing. Exactly. What gets me their attitude is “get rid of humans to save the earth”. Earth is not going anywhere. It will survive. The biosphere will survive. Might not have same combination of plants/animals/insects/etc., but it will survive in some form. Why are they forcing cleaning up to save humans? Oh, wait. Every single socialist “paradise”, ain’t. Not for humans. Not for animals. Not for plants. Not for aquatics. Not for … um, well okay, maybe not for bees, but other insects do just fine.

    6. “When the oil runs out…”

      The oil isn’t running out. We already know how to take carbon dioxide and water and make methane, and we already know how to make more complex hydrocarbons out of methane. All it takes is energy, and a few nuclear reactors (or a solar satellite) can take care of any realistic energy demand.

      The only reason we don’t do it now is that it’s currently cheaper to pump it out of the ground than to make it out of literally thin air. As the supplies in the ground run low the price will increase. That will cause the users of hydrocarbons to look for alternatives and it will make new supplies, like manufactured oil, economically feasible. Markets fail gracefully, and when they’re capable of being supplied by human ingenuity they don’t fail at all.

      1. I saw an article in the last few weeks about a method of producing construction materials from CO2.

        My reaction was, “They invented trees?”

    7. While one can’t over-generalize from a sample of the US, I’ve noticed some very common patterns in supposedly threatened animals:
      * The species is a sub-species, often recently separated from the broader species, and there is much argument about if it should BE a species.
      * There are important considerations in the evidence which are generally not reported in context. Like the infamous example of a massive drop in eggs hatching for a specific sub-species of bird on an island…when the researchers harvested half of the eggs ON that island for recovery efforts or study. (in the researchers’ defense, this stuff is often picked out of different reports and they guys reporting it only care about scaring folks)
      * There is a drop in reported sightings for a very obvious reason besides “the animal isn’t there.” Like the amazing drop in reported Bald Eagle nests in my dad’s home valley, that happened the year they started talking about taking people’s property as long as there was a nest on it, and that got WORSE locally when they took an old couple’s house away. (Legally, they owned it. Had to pay for everything, too. Just nobody was allowed ON the property, it might disturb the eagles.) Or the way that many areas “don’t have wolves,” they have coyotes that are 90%+ wolf, because if it’s reported as a wolf then the “protections” kick in and make it much, much more dangerous for humans. That Canadian folk singer gal who was killed by “coyotes” is an example– since they weren’t wolves, they could just SHOOT them.

      1. “While one can’t over-generalize from a sample of the US, I’ve noticed some very common patterns in supposedly threatened animals…”

        This is true in some cases, but not true in others. Monarch butterfly populations crashed a few years ago because of loss of food supply. Most species of neotropical migrant birds are losing population steadily because of loss of winter habitat as tropical rainforest is cleared for farming. Some species are down by more than half in just the last twenty years. Other species, most notably many shorebirds, are losing ground because of loss of nesting habitat to vacationing humans. Moose populations in the American Northeast are trending downward because moose are cold-weather animals and the recent trend of warmer winters stresses them both directly and indirectly — the heat stresses them directly, while increased survival of tick larvae means many moose carry so many ticks that it seriously reduces their blood supply and thus seriously weakens their bodies.

        And so it goes.

        It’s not as bad as the doomcriers want you to believe, that’s true. But things aren’t all hunky-dory either.

        1. Then there are the “huh?” responses. We’re in Michigan at the moment (the part the governor allowed to open, which just happens to be where the richest segment of the locals plus wealthy Chicagoans go on vacation and the governor has her “summer cottage”). Several weeks ago the managers of a couple of dams begged permission to release some water downstream. The governor forbade it, on the grounds the release would be environmentally bad for mussels. You may have heard of the two dam collapses that have damaged a number of homes in Michigan. Yep. And I imagine the collapse wasn’t good for the mussels, either.

        2. Wait a minute– back in the 70s, Monarchs were supposedly dropping really, really, insanely low. There was a big push shortly before I was in grade school. Was thinking about it just last fall, trying to find anyplace that would get me the plants they use. Couldn’t get it for love nor money, for those who are interested, but did find some at Walmart this summer.

          So I went looking for a timeline. All the ones talking about a recent decrease start in the mid-90s, largely related to volunteers doing guestimates of flocks headed to Baja.

          So I searched for one that included the 70s.

          Found this paper, which attempts to track the population as far back as possible.

          It appears that the fixation on the recent few decades accidentally selected for measuring the Monarchs from a peak population, rather than a normal one.

          As farming related type, I notice the stuff since the 90s matches up with people complaining about windbreaks; those lines of trees between fields.
          Specifically, older farmers complain that the new guys aren’t planting them, which makes things less nice– the old fields would have room to turn a pickup around without backing up on the edges. And the Monarch population follows the pattern of the milkweed. Which is noted to be common along field edges.

          Thing is, it’s a lot easier to put 5% of your field* into windbreak/green area when the land costs $20 bucks an acre, rather than $2000 bucks an acre.

          That suggests the solution to the monarch issue is to get plants out, like that drive during the 80s– the packet of seeds the monarch people at the fair last year gave out COULD have had milkweed in it. It didn’t, it was generic wildflower mix. But they could’ve done that. It would even be a good school science project, sprout and nurse your milkweed to the point it’s ready for transplant.

          Moose populations in the American Northeast are trending downward because moose are cold-weather animals and the recent trend of warmer winters stresses them both directly and indirectly — the heat stresses them directly, while increased survival of tick larvae means many moose carry so many ticks that it seriously reduces their blood supply and thus seriously weakens their bodies.

          *eyebrows go up*
          And the importing of gray wolves has nothing to do with it, I suppose? Nor that coinciding with massive restrictions on hunting that resulted in a huge surge in deer populations? I know about that one because of laughing at the news stories about the lengths the northeast was going to for thinning deer, rather than allow those nasty hunters to shot them. I also know that after they introduced the wolves in Washington– I mean, after they magically appeared in the place they’d finished a suitability study in, six months prior– moose started showing up in places that not only had we never seen them, but that nobody had seen them since just after world war II. Also where the biologists had to explain why “wolves never attack adult moose” when they were attacking the healthy adult moose in front of the biologists….

          …looking at the list, there is a LOT of assumptions piled together. Assume that the problem actually exists, rather than being a variation; assume that the cause is a specific thing, when there has been a lot of stuff going on in the meantime; assume that’s the only, primary or even a major cause of the change. And without the required double-checking you need before demanding people Do Something.

          *(calculated by taking a 10 acre field, assuming it’s square, figuring 5ft as a minimum, converting that sqft into acres, result is .3, rounding up to 5% because five foot is actually kinda small)

          1. Plus when Mexico announced that the forest where so many Monarchs overwinter would be protected, guess what happened? Yup. Out came the chainsaws and people rushed to clear as much as they could before the law kicked in. Result – habitat loss. A series of hard, cold winters down in Mexico have not helped, either.



              One, that’s insanely predictable, I like butterflies but I won’t let my kids starve for them.
              Two, would kinda be relevant when saying “Mexican over-wintering dropped” to mention that the trees are gone.

              1. There is a related situation in the US where private foresters no longer permit their stands of trees to become old growth in Oregon (where prior to spotted owl they did) so now the only old growth forest is on government owned land.

                That’s going to help preserve and expand spotted owl habitat. Not.

                Here’s an article about a lawsuit between the counties and the state that reference that. It’s an interesting case where the counties are suing the state to cut more timber claiming that the terms of the original land transfer meant the lands would be managed or logging.
                Excerpted the relevant bits to the discussion.

                “ln short, the counties argue, the state is letting trees get too old. Instead of cutting them on a 45- to 50-year rotation, as private landowners do, they let them grow to 80 years and older. Once the trees develop old growth characteristics, they can attract endangered species like the Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet, they’re off limits.

                “That’s what’s happening on our state forest right now,” Yamamoto said.

                Former Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi put it more starkly in testimony to the Legislature on a 2015 bill that would have required steep logging increases.

                “Old growth trees bring in murrelets,” he said, “and when that happens, it is just like a cancer.”

                Also, person overheard managing his pastures to make darn sure no wetland plants get established there (the pastures were kinda low lying) because he didn’t want the additional regs about what can and can’t be done with wetland to kick in. (although that one is counterbalanced by another person explaining how he jumped through hoops to get a section of his property declared protected wetland to put it in a different tax base. One wanted to use the land, the other to just look at it, but both were making decisions with impact on distribution of plants and animals that weren’t being driven by what was best for plants and animals.

                1. Yep.

                  It’s unpleasant to contemplate, but a lot of the 80s “bald eagle was shot” things, I can’t even blame them.
                  Same as the folks who see their children’s food destroyed by elephants not reporting the poachers who kill those elephants.

                  1. That’s part of my answer to why there aren’t dinosaurs. People protect their own people and crops and just look at the troubles elephants can cause, would humans want dinosaurs wandering around stepping on crops and houses, let alone de dinosaur appetite? I think that even if climate were perfect for dinosaur survival, humans could get rid of the dinosaurs. Maybe that’s why we have dragon legends?

                    1. I adore the “dragons were dinosaurs” books. They’re wonderful for figuring out how to make things “work” from an ecology standpoint!

                    2. Dragon legends have been around for thousands of years, long before the first paleontologist speculated on those odd fossil bones. I’d guess they originated with “What if there was something bigger than a crocodile? Oh, and if it could fly! That would be right terrifyin’!”

                    3. Ah, but what is a dragon?

                      *carefully pushes 30 years of books to one side, trying to be subtle*

                      Always found the “only giant snakes are dragons” thing to be a cheat, though, even if that’s the root of our modern word. Nothing else in our language works to that degree, not gonna allow it for dragons, either. 😀

                      The similarities between the Ishtar Gate dragon (oldest fairly well dated dragon) and the dragons of the UK– which could also be described as “like lions, but with scales and wings” and fit similar symbolic slots– are just cool

                      Frankly, anything where you can reasonably include the Korean area Kirin and anacondas is a pretty bleepin’ cool selection of stuff.

                    4. Anacondas are from South America, and couldn’t have entered European or Asian mythology before the 15th century.

                      I’ve always thought Oriental dragons looked more like skinny crocodiles than giant snakes, and we know China and India are lousy with crocs.

                    5. Dragons aren’t restricted to European or Asian mythology, though– Babylon isn’t either one, and the Feathered Serpent as well as the Thunderbird can be argued as new world dragon variants– and not only is it easy to imagine “even bigger snake” from seeing a snake, giant snakes are native to various Asian areas.

                      Ishtar gate dragon:

                    6. Not to mention that Eastern European dragons are small enough to ride horses and have dances with humans.

                2. There is a related situation in the US where private foresters no longer permit their stands of trees to become old growth in Oregon (where prior to spotted owl they did) so now the only old growth forest is on government owned land.

                  Surprised this isn’t occurring on Federal Level too, both USFS and BLM (land type). Whole point of Feds not paying property taxes to counties was because of Timber Revenue. Like state lands the intent is multi use, with percentage of revenue going to county resources. The lands were never intended to be locked up. For all practical purposes that is exactly what has happened.

                  1. Maybe the suit was a test case to see if they could get a favorable outcome in court? The counties would clearly benefit from having more non-tourism jobs especially during the current slump in tourism.

          2. moose started showing up in places that not only had we never seen them, but that nobody had seen them since just after world war II. Also where the biologists had to explain why “wolves never attack adult moose” when they were attacking the healthy adult moose in front of the biologists….

            Wolves will take moose calves and yearlings. Not surprised the migrated wolves will take adult moose as they migrated from Canada where there are moose. Moose benefited from wolf reintroduction migrating in the lower 48 because the beaver benefited from migrating wolves. Wolf packs move deer & elk populations around, specifically away from riparian edges (creeks, streams, ponds, lakes, etc.) which allows riparian edge plant to grow and not be nibbled down to the stub. Plants like trees that beavers love to take down for their dams and have the branches they like to stash for dining on during during winter, no matter how cold. The beaver ponds create moose habitat in the muddy bottom (moose also take advantage of the beaver winter stash if the stash isn’t deep enough). Wolves benefit the smaller canines and cats like fox, and bobcats, by limiting coyotes. Beavers benefit otters and other fish eating land species. Wolves also push deer & elk into neighborhoods, which isn’t really desirable. There is bad with the good, what ya going to do?

        3. Moose are capable of traveling hundreds of miles without a blink. If they’re too hot, they move north, or uphill, to where it’s cooler. The real stress on moose in the Lower 48 has been the introduction of non-native northern gray wolves (half again larger than the very shy native timber wolves, which the bolder grays promptly killed off, along with most of the coyotes and 80% of the elk). Moose used to be plentiful in and around Yellowstone Park. Now they’re extinct, tho Yellowstone is no warmer than it was before.

          Look up the article “Predator pits are biological deserts in Siberia and northern Canada” by wildlife biologist Dr. Valerius Geist. (It should be the first thing up on ducksearch.)

          However we now have a few moose down here in the lowlands along the lower Yellowstone River… where it’s a heck of a lot warmer than in the Park, but where the moose find some protection from an excessive wolf population, despite said lowlands being loaded with ticks (mostly because of the deer). And if you think warmer necessarily means more ticks, you’d be wrong. Ticks are spring critters, and disappear when the weather gets hot. And funny how it’s only moose that are supposedly overwhelmed by ticks, and not the much-smaller deer that are their primary host.

          I’m continually amazed at how much bad science comes out of the Extinction Lobby, if only it lets them seize more control. Here’s another… “Grazing damages desert tortoise!” Er, no. Desert tortoise don’t eat vegetation (unless starving); they eat DUNG, and since there are no longer 120M bison in the western U.S., they make do with the output of 80M cattle (wild critters’ dung no longer suffices). End grazing, and the tortoises not only fail to thrive, they starve to death. Have some actual science, with hard numbers:

          1. As I said, whenever I’ve done a deep dive on cases, this “All hoomans are causing extinctions, goreball warming ree” is bullshit. Often bullshit on stilts.

            1. Likewise. Every single time. But if you can invent a reason why hoomans are to blame, you can also invent a new point of control…. and my cynical little voice is growling something about the Marxist way being to transfer all control to the g/o/v/e/r/n/m/e/n/t/ People.

              Another that I’ve personally observed… the “endangered” desert kangaroo rat. Count ’em in daylight, as they did, and you’ll rarely see one…. cuz kangaroo rats are nocturnal. (And common enough to be garden pests. But woe betide him who admits they’ve been seen on his property.)

            2. Alas, almost all academic studies turn out to be Bullshit when you dive, never mind dive deeply.

          2. Moose used to be plentiful in and around Yellowstone Park. Now they’re extinct, tho Yellowstone is no warmer than it was before.

            My understanding the fires did as much to push the moose out of Yellowstone, lost of habitat. Mostly south into Roosevelt Parkway and Tetons. Both, in general is much hotter than Yellowstone. Also more marshy.

            1. Hereabouts we average about 30F degrees warmer than Yellowstone. Also more marshy, which for moose is more to the point.

              Fact is there are two kinds of critters: adaptable, and sooner-or-later going extinct, cuz ain’t no environment perfectly static.

      1. You CAN become wealthy by farming. Just as you CAN become wealthy by being a plumber. It takes intelligence, planning, a gift for improvisation, and luck.

        Most of these nimrods lack at least two of those.

        It would also help if we drove home the message that by historical standards, everyone in the United States IS wealthy, although some of them don’t use it well. Hell, the primary dietary problem of our ‘poor’ is that they are too fat.

      2. This joke might need radiocarbon dating to determine its age:

        “Now that you’ve won the lottery, what are your plans?”

        “I reckon I’ll jes’ keep farmin’ ’til the money runs out.”

        1. Plains farmers … Montana, Wyoming, Dakota’s, are “mining” to stay farmers/ranchers. They hunt for Dinosaur bones looking for the one payoff to payoff the ranch/farm. Smaller finds helps even the bottom line but isn’t the lottery moment they are hoping to find.

          I am watching the new (Discovery Channel?) Dinosaur Hunter show. Why?

      3. Pick that cotton! Hoe them beets!

        Rapping while they work, no doubt.

        Mechanized agricultural technology was almost entirely white, (only saying “almost” for CYA, as I can’t think of any exceptions offhand) and therefore evil, and should be canceled.

        Back to nature! Hey, it’s all 100% organic, carbon-neutral, and you can plant your own non-GMO crops to get the full effect of low yields and low resistance to blight.

        “Work or starve.” An entirely new concept!

      4. I had a cousin who was a farmer. Spent a couple of weeks there as a kid. He had to supplement his income with his rodeo winnings. Eventually he got wise and made his living selling crop insurance instead. As I like to say, I used to work hard for a living, now I make good money.

      5. These people haven’t got a clue of how much work and effort and how huge the farms have to be in order to be able to do half the stuff they dream. There’s farm, and there’s hobby farm (nothing wrong with the latter, but they’re not going to get industrial and will likely never get more than local market reach.)

        1. They’re just not planting the proper crops. I am informed, by the greatest mind of our generation, that the thing to do is plant arugula.

          For whatever reason, I always hear that in the same mode as this scene:

    1. That worked so well in Zimbabwe. Why, they went from being a basket case to the breadbasket of Africa.

      Or was it the other way around?

      1. The Fascist Left does not learn from history. Part of this is that history would teach them that the vast majority of the Fascist Left have fewer of the skills necessary for running much of anything than a colony of cherrystone clams, so they avert their eyes. Another part, growing from the first, is that they have deliberately distorted what little history they know so badly that they would do better taking their cues from Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

        Also, they are allergic to math. Nothing else can explain their passion for technologies like wind farms that simply cannot work as they imagine.

        They are like third graders, drawing plans for Super Tanks and Rocket Ships while lacking any of the background to plan either. Only they do it with societies, with vastly (and ghastly) more far reaching consequences.

        1. Taking cues from the real, not disneyfied, Grimms’ Tales might be wiser, in many ways, than from history.

          Then again, that strikes at what I consider the true failure of the left, the idea that the personal is the political.

          Of course, the personal is greater than the political. How you treat those you deal with is infinitely more important than how you vote. That is seen in even the little things, such as how clean the area where Tea Party rallies occurred as opposed to the same spaces after the Women’s March (or the time Tea Party protesters in SF cleaned up after the Obama crowd).

          It also explains why so many leftists are awful people who think they are the height of virtue.

          In the end, that may be why we win and they lose. In the long run those who treat you decently are more likely to encourage you to be like them much more than those who treat you like dirt while lecturing you for your failings.

    2. Yeah, that really worked great in South Africa. Send city dwellers who never grew a plant in their lives to work the confiscated farms and feed the country. They couldn’t even feed themselves. On a farm.

      You want to learn about ‘sustainable agriculture’ you talk to the Amish. They are the BEST ‘sustainable’ farmers in the WORLD. You find out that with 20 times the labor, you can get 1/4 to 1/2 the crop yield per acre as the ‘Eeeevul Industrial Farm’ next door that uses tractors, fertilizer, weed killer, bug killer and modern hybrid seed.

      You can get rich farming, but only if you know what you’re doing. They…..don’t. At all.
      Not everybody should go to college. Some folks, you send ’em to college and you just wind up with an educated idiot.

      1. You’d think the demonstration of UTTER INEPTITUDE OF THE CHOP GARDENS would show them, but nooo. These ‘young blacks’ are apparently automagically able to sustainably and successfully farm, because BLOOD OF SLAVES doncha know…

        1. But it’s racist to notice that sort of thing, you racist!

          But seriously, did they manage to grow a single thing successfully? Like, even grass or weeds?

          1. I don’t know. I think it’s gone, because nobody is looking at it any more.

            Marxists can’t grow anything. People who steal from others cannot grow anything, can’t build, cannot create. People who live by a life of raiding others for what they need to survive or want, cannot build, create, grow, or do more than exist.

            Race has nothing to do with it, it’s a sterility of the mind and spirit, birthed by a heart filled with nothing but resentment and rage filled victimhood.

          2. One thing? No – but they would have had it not been for interference by Thuh Man! Kulaks and Wreckers contributed to the failure, too.

            And hoarders.

            Otherwise it would have been glorious, positively Edenic.

      2. It’s like plastic grocery bags. Study after study has shown that cotton grocery bags use way more resources than plastic. Organic, free trade cotton … fuggedaboutit.

        Bastiat should be required reading in the schools. What is not seen is often much more than what is seen. But what matters the truth if you can be seen to be virtuous?

    3. Let’s see, there’s country living, which is nice, then there’s farming. I’m growing things because I can and it’s fun, but we would be very skinny if we were trying to live off it or poor if farming for profit.

      There’s also the accumulation of skills that has to happen to grow anything. It’s a bit more complicated than put seeds in dirt, caper about Eden. And you don’t know what you don’t know until you try.

      Give me a few years and maybe I can feed my family or make a profit. 🙂 People do both, so it must be possible.

      1. I tried several times to maintain a garden. I get easily distracted, especially if I am writing or have commission work. I STILL WANT TO GROW THINGS because it actually does give me a sense of peace and helps me in ways I have problems articulating, but I don’t think I could ever succeed at it enough to sustain my family.

        1. I garden with kids. I think the favorite part might be digging holes. They love digging holes. They will happily dig holes and move dirt, bark, whatever for an hour at a time. You don’t even need plants to be successful at that garden. 🙂

          I garden because I feel happier when I have some dirt on my fingers. No idea why, but I plan to always have at least a patio planter around, it makes me so happy. I get ambitious with my hobbies, and this is a good year to make a garden big, so not the year of the patio planter. 🙂

          1. Mother Jones also has the database of mass shooters and psychoactive drugs they were using or coming off of. Which is particularly useful in talking to anti-gun squishy liberals, because everyone knows Mother Jones is super-leftist, so if they say the problem isn’t guns but drugs, it’s really hard to not look.

            1. Back in the late Nineties they had a really good article addressing a number of the ways Al Gore was corruptly profiting off of government programs.

                1. Glancing over the opuses (opii?) cited, I think we can reasonably conclude that Mother Jones offers an article worthy of attentiion about once a decade?

      1. They’re basically saying that young black farmers want to reclaim some of the rural land owned 98% by white people.

        That worked soooo well in Zimbabwe that they later begged white farmers to come back after being violently driven off when the nation descended into famine.

    4. There’s plenty for sale here in my area. Amish but some of it as it comes on the market- if it’s cleared and in use already. A lot of this area in the link COULD be farmed, if you were willing to clear the trees or properly drain the land (if the government allowed you to do the latter….) Factory farming has gotten so efficient that small farms cannot compete. A lot of prime farmland along the Finger Lakes is dedicated to growing grapes to be turned into wine. Seems rich yuppies think those beautifully manicured vineyards come about naturally and buy the land and then discover- it’s very labor intensive. Owners come and go.,-76.8240465,6328m/data=!3m1!1e3

      1. I’m debating whether I want to take on the work that goes into ONE grapevine. Er, maybe two, if they need buddies for pollination.

        1. Go with about a half-dozen; that seems to be the break even point between the initial “bunch of work” you have to do to have grapes AT ALL and where adding more makes for notable amounts of more work.

          Assuming you have room, anyways.

          (We’ve established three hobby vineyards, current one has three rows of four, first was “recover the ancient vines that were “trimmed” with a hatchet.)

          1. Sis & BIL bought 10 acres for a home (built), and small vineyard, eventually. He is part of a hobby wine making group, always has been, still is. They’ve been in their new home, now for 20 years. Property is 1/2 cleared. They’ve both been retired, on and off for 12 years (took HP parachutes, took time, went back to work). Fully retired for the last 5. She is just now last few years, getting her deer fenced garden that she putters in. The grape vineyard … well we aren’t above teasing about the lack when we are visiting. We don’t even ask or wait for excuses. Excuses don’t matter. It has never been planted. Not like they’ve done anything else with it either.

            1. *looks around at undone projects and pulls a blanket over her head*

              –Okay, no, it’s too hot for that. I’ll just have to finish today’s deadlines and then get some sorting done… or something… or the opposite order… or maybe I should call the yard company I got recommended and ask whether they actually do one-off landscaping projects for people who aren’t about to sell the house. (This is peculiarly unclear from their website.) I did ask if I could get project, seasonal, and regular-mowing-type estimates, but the guy who dropped by only did the last one.

              On the one hand, I think my husband and I both feel weird about the idea of paying somebody else to do basic yard maintenance. On the other hand, more needs done than just the mowing, and several hours after he said, “I can do the other things if you tell me what needs doing,” I realized that he seems to be severely and inexplicably overestimating my expertise….

              1. *looks around at undone projects and pulls a blanket over her head*

                Your point? The difference between me & sis’s big plans, is I haven’t announced them; and won’t.

                On the one hand, I think my husband and I both feel weird about the idea of paying somebody else to do basic yard maintenance.

                I’m closer to thinking that this is a good idea than he is. But, in general, yep, exactly. I don’t mow. Hubby & son do that. Weed spray is my friend. I do weed, but I really knock them back when they go wild. Plants are such that they don’t need trimming, except the roses. We did have to take out a tree (volunteer … okay a weed that got out of hand. We still have the two maples that volunteered.) It gets to the point where it looks like might be headed for our neighbors yard, you bet I’ll get paid help for it (cats love it it is a jungle, it is bad). Neighbor has NO excuse. Her son-in-law business is landscaping and yard work. They’ve offered to keep it up for free; let her putter to her hearts content. (My grandparents were the same so I understand her daughter & grandchildren’s frustration … or been there. OTOH grandparents didn’t just have a town lot. They had 2.85 acres.)

      2. No no, you see, from what I am guessing that article wants, they want the nicely prepared, fully functional farms to be HANDED OVER. Like in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Or y’know… ‘repatriated.’ None of that hard work prepping and working the land. They want to have the fruits of other people’s years of labor to fall into their laps.

      1. You’d think they’d do that, but no. Most of these people don’t really want to move because they would ‘miss the things that make them comfortable.’

        Y’know. All the stuff that white people made. Such as functioning sewage systems and regular garbage collection and abundant groceries.

        1. Point of order. Not all of it was made by whites. Some of it was simply made by Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, etc, who are much too white for the useless academics proclaiming themselves the authorities on and spokesmen for non-white.

        2. Yeah, I’m getting increasingly irritated about this.

          We are told that we need to be listening to the authentic black voices reciting the theory of, say, African-American studies. Thing is, those are academics writing African-American studies theory, and not the same sort of academics as work on theories of engineering, math, physics, or chemistry. Most Americans are not academics, and even those who have studied a field at the university level are much broader than the theorists in one field. African-American Studies represents African-American Studies. Women’s Studies represents Women’s Studies. Latinx Studies, Latinx Studies.

          Women, blacks, hispanics, asians, indians working in agriculture, garbage collection, soil testing, law enforcement, industrial hygiene, engineering, warfare, are not the ones with the time and energy invested in writing Studies Theory, much less Critical Theory in a Studies field. Critical Studies theory is no more representative of their voices than a meth addict passing bad checks is representative of my voice.

          I for sure would not let some white junkie’s theory of whiteness stop me from wanting that junkie executed. I do not see why I owe the academic theorist’s ideas a gnat’s wet fart more respect.

          1. It is well known that not All Black Voices are authentic. Such voices as those of Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Walter B. Williams, Shelby Steele and others would deny the substance of White Guilt, thus also denying White Liberals the balm of expiation of their guilt.

            And there’s this guy, who’s as bad as the others:

            White Wokeness
            Charles Love
            Over the past month, protests against racism have taken place daily in America’s largest cities. They started out as a black movement against police brutality, but they have a different look now. In many cases, whites have taken over. They make conciliatory gestures, apologizing for their “white privilege,” and, in at least one case, washing black people’s feet to expiate themselves of their collective sins. Celebrities, athletes, and corporate America followed suit. Portland’s police chief resigned, asking to be replaced by a black man, and the CEO of Chick-fil-A urged whites to shine the shoes of black people to show a “sense of shame.” Countless others have pledged millions of dollars to end racism. Seeing all this, one wonders: Why now?

            To find out what was moving the conversation on race in America, I had to hear what whites were saying. I listened to the protesters, talked with my white friends, and read articles and social media posts from those supporting the movement. Two things started to bring the issue into focus for me. The first was a video I’ve seen retweeted and forwarded on social media, explaining “systemic racism.” The video compares two friends—Jamal, who is black, and Kevin, who is white. “This is Jamal,” the narrator begins. “Jamal is a boy who lives in a poor neighborhood. He has a friend named Kevin who lives in a wealthy neighborhood. All of Jamal’s neighbors are African-American and all of Kevin’s neighbors are white.” The video opens with an image of Jamal standing in front of a boarded-up home with broken windows. This seemed overly simplistic, designed to make an extreme point.

            Then I heard the news about universities deciding to stop using the ACT or SAT in consideration for admissions because the tests are biased against blacks. The schools don’t say that blacks aren’t smart enough to score well on the test—that would be vulgar racism—but that black kids cannot afford tutors or the prep classes the white kids use to increase their scores. This sounded as reductive in its assumptions about black economic life as the video about Jamal and Kevin. In each case, black people are depicted as desperate and defeated, with nothing in the way of material or personal resources to pull themselves out of their misery.

            “I understand your point,” a white friend said, “but don’t you think blacks are being oppressed?”


            Most whites don’t have many black friends who can give them firsthand accounts of what their experiences are with racism. While most blacks do experience some discrimination or racial prejudice, it is rarely violent, and it does not hold them back in a significant sense. Is racism a “systemic” or “institutional” force? For more than half a century, the United States has had no laws preventing black people from doing anything that white people can do, and government agencies and courts closely monitor socioeconomic life for any vestiges of discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodations.

            The media give a distorted view of black life. We see this in the stories they decide to report—and not to report. In 2018, police shot and killed 54 unarmed men; 22 were black. Compared with the percentage of blacks in the U.S. population, that figure looks disproportionate—but black people commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime and thus tend to have more interactions with the police. Every police shooting must be investigated thoroughly and fairly, but we should also demand fair and thorough media coverage of these shootings. It’s telling that so many people can name some of the unarmed black men killed by police, but few can name any of the white men.

            Blacks do lag whites in many socioeconomic indicators—but most blacks do not live in poverty, do not have constant run-ins with law enforcement, and are not uneducated. It’s important to look at racial disparities in context. Though blacks commit more violent crime than whites in relative terms, in absolute terms, the percentage of people who commit any violent crime is tiny. The white violent-crime rate is 0.12 percent; for blacks, it is 0.44 percent. By any standard, most people are not violent criminals, regardless of their race. … Though a persistently poor black underclass has emerged since the civil rights era, the underclass experience does not describe the lives of tens of millions of black people. While efforts should be made to close the black-white poverty gap, the numbers are not consistent with the assumption that American blacks are broadly impoverished.

            Yet sympathetic non-blacks often see blacks as oppressed victims with limited opportunities. …

            1. We at most know a very few people. Everyone else, we have a much more approximate model of. That model can be based in symbolic data and numerical data.

              Our symbolic data is heavily through media and schools. Even calling it distorted may be too generous.

              Trying to ‘fix’ ‘issues’ of very many people based on these approximate models can be very stupid and wasteful.

              It is much more often within an ordinary person’s capability to fix issues that are between them and someone else.

              It is wrong to teach every person that they have responsibilities as if they are the greatest of great men, and are behaving wickedly whenever they focus on the few issues they can both be sure exist, and be sure have actionable solutions.

    5. Geeze, you’d think Mother Jones would recall that back about ninety years ago Black folk couldn’t get off the farms fast enough.

      Here’s tip, Mother-effing Jones: farming is bloody hard demanding work and even when you guess right crops often fail to produce enough to repay the loans taken out to plant them.

      If Black people want their share I am confident there are plenty of farms to be bought.

        1. I don’t want to cast any aspersions, but Wakanda is the invention of Two White Men: Jack Kirby & Stan Lee.

          Two white Jewish men, to be precise … although I don’t believe either one was in danger of being taken for observant.

          1. Yeah. Much as some people still worship at Kirby’s feet, as he got older his common sense seems to have shriveled up and died.

  13. But do they want to learn all the things a farmer must know? Will they learn how a machine works, and gain skill in welding so they can keep it running to get the crops in before the storm hits, so they don’t lose every cent of income they need to get out of debt from buying their seed and chemicals and fuel, never mind groceries for the dinner table?

      1. I… wait. I think I’m having trouble with definitions again. Does it count as truly urban if you have a yard, or does that make it suburban? And if you don’t — well, I get balcony beekeeping, although there are definitely some tricky aspects, but where the heck do you put chickens?

        1. There are Quite ordinary houses with backyards in Manhattan. Many, many, lots in the other boroughs. Parts of Staten Island are almost rural, though that is rapidly changing.

          if Manhattan ain’t urban then urban ain’t a thing.

  14. At the same time we were running our of oil, out of gas, out of coal, out of minerals. Out of everything.

    Well, we did run out of good sense and responsible parenting, at least at the societal level. So, all that oil, gas, and coal will mean nothing to those who reject it for religious reasons or are too ignorant of basic engineering (not science, just the basic rule of thumb engineering mankind learned long before physics was formalized) to make use of them.

  15. Do you guys ever wonder if time is circular, and if those writings, metaphorical, of course, are the result of many-times-experience of mankind?
    It’s a common fantasy trope. You can see it in REH’s Hyperborean Age, Tolkien’s Diminishing Echo, Brooks’ post-nuclear Shannara, or Jordan’s Wheel of Time. (Among many, many others.)
    😉 And we’ll studiously avoid discussion of those RL religions that have strong opinions on the subject.

    1. While I’m not aware of any binding teachings on the matter for Catholics, it is a well known observation that prophecy tends to be true repeatedly.

      To try to be clear– you’ll have something that’s true, and objectively obvious, and fairly close to the time of the prophecy.
      And then there will be a BUNCH of true, and usually only figure it out too late to do anything, later on times.
      And when it’s REALLY important, you’ll have a BUNCH of prophecies where they all point to something big. (I think the word is prefigured?)

      Kind of like building up a theme in a novel. And no, I DON’T know if our narrative structure grew out of it or if it just works well with humans in general!

      1. Someone in our suburban small town development has a chicken coop in their back yard and lets them out to free roam. What gets me is they seem to be surviving. The chickens, I mean.
        Sorry this is going out of sequence. Word Press does not seem to be my friend this morning.

        1. There is actually a book titled, “Women’s Work,” on textiles in early civilizations. Worth reading.

  16. “Scavenger Apes” is not bad, but I prefer “Hypercephalic Hunch Monkeys” on most occasions.

  17. vBut I’d be really leery, as my fiction probably shows, of any humans trying to fix the old hardware.

    Hell yeah, as well you should be– Himself couldn’t manage to make humans failsafe and still humans in His image, like I’m going to trust the broken model of that to do it?!? ALONE?!?!

    Look, I think it can be set up as craftsmanship project– one worker to one work of art– and even then, the Master Craftsman has to do the heavy lifting, AFTER the worker did all they can, IF they are willing to listen to Him!

    1. “Look, I think it can be set up as craftsmanship project– one worker to one work of art”….interesting that the ‘progressives’ love Artisanal products & services…artisanal bread, artisanal furniture, they’re buy artisanal cars if any were available at prices they could afford…but utterly reject the idea of artisanal child-raising.

      1. It’s woman’s work, of course it’s worthless.

        Nothing is great until it’s really expensive and the resulting product is lackluster. (have you read some of the whining complaints on “artisanal bread” that is not unpleasant to eat? *eyeroll*)

  18. Off Topic:
    Is there a site where you can see how many copies of a book has been sold/scanned?

      1. Well that sucks. But you DO have some way to keep track? Surely you don’t rely on a publisher or Amazon to be honest?
        ( Oh my. I just used Honest and Amazon in the same sentence. Mark me down for another year in Purgatory when the time comes)

        1. No. There is no other way.
          When most distro was in paper, it was possible to track in how many bookstores it was, digitally, for a while.
          We also knew when a book got shipped back/not reordered if it didn’t sell. So you could have back of the envelope calculations of how much your books sold over, say, one year.
          Of course the publisher reports were usually 1/10th of that….

        2. To be fair to them, the publishers have NO IDEA how many books you sold. It’s all guesstimating, mostly based on Nielsen figures, which AT best report 1/3 the sales, and often far fewer.
          Amazon is technically accurate, or computer counted but your discoverability varies every time they change their algorithm.

          1. So technically, Amazon’s sales figures would be more accurate than a trad. publisher by a factor of practically infinity. Wow. I won’t ask you for a detailed explanation of discoverability, but could you mention perhaps a link to someone who could explain this and/or the whole digital marketing thing?

            1. Technically, it would seem Amazon’s sales figures could not possibly be more inaccurate than a traditional publisher’s.

              Moreover, it calls into question how any book could legitimately be designated a “best-seller” without copious caveats acknowledging the publisher’s inability to specify the number of copies sold by (at least) an order of magnitude.

            2. Simple explanation, for discoverability to describe a consistent really, software as engineering would need to be much better than it really is.

              The stuff Amazon is doing with search and ranking algorithms is probably poorly understood. If it works somehow for Amazon, that is good enough. Nevermind being able to replicate behavior, predict it, or ensure convergence.

              If you are Butcher or Rowling grade popular, you are going to get a lot of sales. Amazon loses money if the algorithms are screwed up enough to hide you.

              As you decrease in popularity, Amazon need care less and less about accidentally screwing you over, and you are more and more interested in whether Amazon’s algorithms are serving your business interests well.

              Doing well with some behavior, and it changes all of a sudden? Without reverting the code and database, Amazon could probably could not reproduce the previous behavior even if it wanted to. And reverting the database is probably painful and costly.

            3. I think it can be shown that digital marketing is impossible to summarize in essay form.

              It is a very wide category, and you are usually using the internet as a venue. Even internet as a venue, for the purpose of ebook sales, is still so wide as to be useless.

              a) If you narrow it down enough, you can speak from experience. But beyond aging in the Darwinian struggle for eyeballs and clicks, it can also become invalid from some unpredictable change in the functioning of the internet. Which will occur.
              b) Marketing theory I don’t know if is garbage or not; in theory, general theory could insulate against the narrowness of specific experience. A body of theory enough to do so against all probable changes may be too much to concisely summarize, especially because it may need a wider basis than internet venue or ebook sales.
              c) As before, Amazon discover-ability is not a stable thing.

              So I’m wondering about a yearly catalog, in print, for ordering ebooks by mail, shipped on a flash drive.

              1. A virtual Sears catalog?

                Which, like the original, would probably wind up hanging in the virtual outhouse.
                Mrs. Tweedy! The chickens are revolting!

                1. You could do that.

                  I was more thinking a literal catalog, sent in the mail yearly, and ordered from by snail mail. With a kindle copy on Amazon, and perhaps an online catalog, a way to accept email orders, and online store.

                  Part of that is that I am out of my mind. Another part is that ‘why does this absurdity not actually work, in extensive detail’, is often more instructive for me than looking at the theory to try to produce something that would work ideally.

                  I think attempting to design the software might be a fun, educational activity.

                  Frankly, my intuition is that the business plan is profoundly unworkable. And that an open source project to make the software available in a robust way is not going to be enabling ‘Amazon killer’ business start ups. I think the fad for funding blockchain projects is over, so a transaction registry shared between authors and retail stores is probably also not going to financially plausible, even if the coding could ever be made to work reliably.

  19. It takes human cultures time to adjust to disturbing factors; time for customs to evolve, time for lessons learned the hard way to be turned in to folklore and myth and soaked up as part of growing up.

    I view the fundamental challenge facing our civilization as the rise of the “enlightened technocrat”. Science and engineering had such powerful and productive results in our ability to understand and manipulate the physical world, that they displaced older, hard-won wisdom about how human being can, and can’t, organize themselves in to functioning societies.

    This has led to the “Crisis of the regulatory commissions”, the “administrative state”, what in the U.K. is rule by the mandarins of the civil service, what in the U.S. is rule by the Ivy League.

    By no coincidence whatsoever, this is a class which claims the mantle of what I call “scientism” — science not as an enterprise by which *anyone* can know the truth of the physical world, but “Science!” as the old Judaic tradition of the “revealed word”, the “holy of holies behind the curtain”, that which only the priest class may go, and consult, and emerge to pass on The Word, the sight of which is forbidden to others. Technocrats are all quite convinced of the benefits of technocratic rule — just as sincerely as children of royal blood were convinced of herditary monarchy, or people genetically predisposed to height and strength and swift reflexes were convinced of the merits of rule by the victors in personal combat.

    But human beings are not gas particles and they cannot be reduced to such numbers, and the most advanced of the “social” sciences, economics and public-choice economics, are successful in direct proportion to the extent people learn their lesson, which is that general trends can be predicted, and improvements can be made to the system that improves the odds of certain kinds of outcomes, but they can neither be “designed” or “controlled”.

    “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design” — Hayek

    Ivy League graduates have no special pipeline to the wisdom of the ages in how human societies should operate — indeed, their background encourages them to discard the wisdom of the ages and trust to their own superior qualities as the True Elect.

    The only way out that I can see is a systematic devaluation of the special virtue of “knowledge” in public policy, and a return to “wisdom” and “character”.

    In this, I am conscious of my role as a class traitor — I am, in every way, positioned to be one of the New Nomenklatura — educated, knowledgeable, connected, and able to speak and write. But I recoil from that and keep speaking the truth at moments when I am well aware that the customs of the tribe suggest I should instead nod at the right times and sing the responses. For that I am outcast from the ruling class and frankly, happy to be so, for I have no taste for controlling how other people should live their lives and I don’t regard many of the people I find in those positions to be either very nice, very wise, or very good.

    The trick is to divorce “science” from “scientism” so we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Science and technology are key to our understanding of the physical world, key to our continued improvement in standards of living, and key to increasing the power and value of the individual. But nothing about being a scientist makes you more likely to be wise or good, and an appeal to “science says so” is no better a basis for public policymaking (which is, after all, nearly always about balancing *competing* values and interests, in which no party has claim to the Right and Truth) than is plumbing.

    Remember the keys to good science (drawn from James P. Hogan)

    “Who says so?”
    “Who’s he?”
    “How does HE know?”

    If they can’t answer those, YOU aren’t the one ‘denying science” — they are — even if they have the Ph.D. and the suit. Especially if they’re talking about public policy, because science can’t tell us how to balance unmeasurable things (like freedom, dignity, and emotional and physical well being) against quantifiable things. For that we turn to wisdom, custom, and experience — ideally, including the experiences of history.

    1. “ able to speak and write.”

      Hell, that disqualifies you; most of them can’t really do either. They can repeat the ritual incantations of their Class, but analysis reduces the results to senseless drivel.

    2. Technocrats are worse than monarchs; at least with the old royal families you had a chance of ending up with one who actually felt a duty towards their subject. Technocrats by their very nature view people as interchangeable widgets.

    3. Thanks Jeff. I’m not from the nomenklatura. I’m one of those upstart crows who was the first one from my family to get a college degree–one that isn’t a credential for what I do for a living BTW. It’s truly appalling the number of people who will cite SCIENCE! but have no idea about science. I was duly skeptical about global warming since I understood the problems with extrapolating point data into area data as well as the heat island effect. When NASA sent up the atmospheric temperature-sensing satellite constellation in the mid-nineties, I figured we’d get as close as we could to a real answer about global temperature trends, so I waited. When the satellites showed no warming trend, the results were first ignored by all the know-betters, then eventually they tried to corrupt them as they did the same thing to the historical temperature record.

      My wife is especially annoyed by people who claim to be skeptics but are very judicious of what they are skeptical of, buying everything that comes out of some scientific journal, or even some ignorant journalist’s headline-grabbing misconstruction of a journal article that was far from scientific to begin with.

      1. My wife is especially annoyed by people who claim to be skeptics but are very judicious of what they are skeptical of …

        I find myself generally quite skeptical about other people’s skepticism.

    4. But nothing about being a scientist makes you more likely to be wise or good, and an appeal to “science says so” is no better a basis for public policymaking (which is, after all, nearly always about balancing *competing* values and interests, in which no party has claim to the Right and Truth) than is plumbing.

      Nope. Let’s start the Plumber Party. (Play Mario’s theme song). It couldn’t possibly go any worse than rule-by-technocrat. And the drains will run on time. 😛

      1. Plumbers are also aware that if something is disappearing from the system, it is going somewhere. They are probably also not subject to the fallacy that “water runs downhill, but praise God, it will never reach bottom”

    5. I know people around here aren’t big fans of Vox Day, but he does have a what I think is a useful taxonomic breakdown of the various aspects of science:

      You can skip all the stuff he quotes and just read his own remarks at the bottom. But for those who don’t even want to click the link, here’s the essential part:

      “Scientody: the process
      Scientage: the knowledge base
      Scientistry: the profession

      We might also coin a new term, sciensophy, as practiced by sciensophists, which is most definitely not an aspect of science, to describe the pseudoscience of “the social sciences”, as they do not involve any scientody and their additions to scientage have proven to be generally unreliable. Economics, nutrition, and medicine all tend to fall into this category.”

    6. That is not class treason.

      An engineer’s loyalty is to engineering before academia or science have any right to demand loyalty.

      Some technocrats are engineers who do not know human beings. Some are people who simply know nothing of engineering or of science.

      If you are an engineer, and are skeptical of your ability to apply engineering to systems of humans, then you are competent in knowing the limits of your tools, and have studied humans enough to understand the ways that your tools are not valid.

      Engineers who are technocrats are either traitors to the profession, or failures of the profession in seeing engineering education carried out appropriately.

      That said, I am a recovering technocrat. It is something I have to struggle with continually. It is a defect of my character that is perhaps congenital.

      An engineer with that same flaw, who loses the struggle, or never fights it, is a traitor the same as one that loses the other struggles to be ethical, or never fights them.

    1. That’s funny, kind of. I left the thread a few hours ago, went to YouTube and listened to “Mad dogs and Englishmen” original recording. Loved Noel Coward.
      Do great minds think alike or what?

  20. There is “science, ” which is a way to discover how the natural world works, and there is Scence, which appears to be a religious belief.

  21. It’s just been so hard lately. I don’t think I realized how much the left really really really hates anyone who isn’t left.

        1. It’s hard. Yes, we know how the Story ends, but we can’t jump to the happily-ever-after. We have to keep reading through the rough bits. And the rough bits are not fun at all. *virtual hugs*

  22. thank you.

    On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:06 PM According To Hoyt wrote:

    > accordingtohoyt posted: ” Sorry this is so late. I got up this morning > ready to give the last coat to what will be the household accounts office, > so we can move furniture in on Wednesday, So I can do what will be my > office over the weekend. And then I remembered the stairs to t” >

  23. I’m going to be contrarian about “not running out of anything.” The one thing I do see us running out of is elbow-room. There’s the Heinlein quote about humans being the only animals who deliberately overcrowd themselves to the point of insanity. Also, it looks to me like the crowded urban places are the sources of our current crazy years: Crowded Europe vs less crowded America, and crowded US coasts and cities vs less-crowded flyover-country suburbs and rural areas.

    Now I’m not going to support any sort of “Do something!” about this, and especially not any sort of top-down governmental do-something. That would just make things worse. What I will do is blow big raspberries at the various natalists who are going “Oh Noes!” about below-replacement birth rates and projected declines in population.

    1. Especially when the government approach could easily be, “Save the environment by efficiently packing all the humans into the smallest possible space.”

      1. And especially when “Save the environment” is just a pretext for “Much easier to exercise power and control by packing humans into the smallest possible space.” And when doing so gives bountiful space to the Good Government People who deserve that luxury because of their superior superiority.

      2. Speaking of which, at this time when many are fleeing urban community densities …

        Biden and Dems Are Set to Abolish the Suburbs
        By Stanley Kurtz
        President Trump had a great riff at his rally the other day in Phoenix. It was all about “abolish,” about how the Left wants to abolish the police, ICE, bail, even borders. Trump’s riff is effective because it is true. The Left has gone off the deep end, and they’re taking the Democrats with them.

        Well, there’s another “abolish” the president can add to his list, and it just might be enough to tip the scales this November. Joe Biden and the Democrats want to abolish America’s suburbs. Biden and his party have embraced yet another dream of the radical Left: a federal takeover, transformation, and de facto urbanization of America’s suburbs. What’s more, Biden just might be able to pull off this “fundamental transformation.”

        The suburbs are the swing constituency in our national elections. If suburban voters knew what the Democrats had in store for them, they’d run screaming in the other direction. Unfortunately, Republicans have been too clueless or timid to make an issue of the Democrats’ anti-suburban plans. It’s time to tell voters the truth.

        I’ve been studying Joe Biden’s housing plans, and what I’ve seen is both surprising and frightening. I expected that a President Biden would enforce the Obama administration’s radical AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) regulation to the hilt. That is exactly what Biden promises to do. By itself, that would be more than enough to end America’s suburbs as we’ve known them, as I’ve explained repeatedly here at NRO.

        What surprises me is that Biden has actually promised to go much further than AFFH. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs. Combine the Obama-Biden administration’s radical AFFH regulation with Booker’s new strategy, and I don’t see how the suburbs can retain their ability to govern themselves. It will mean the end of local control, the end of a style of living that many people prefer to the city, and therefore the end of meaningful choice in how Americans can live. …

        1. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs.

          Exactly what is requiring zoning changes in Eugene UGB. Currently in single home neighborhoods, at worst duplexes are allowed on over sized lots. Not always what gets built there, especially higher end developments, but allowed. A few neighborhoods the access streets allow more duplexes. Apartment .complexes are limited to specific commercial areas around downtown, along major corridors (i.e. W. 11th, Hwy 99 (6th & 7th), university district, etc. Zoning changes are ANY lot currently zoned single housing must allow multiple house complexes, not excluding duplex, triplex, or even quads. Apartment complexes? Already have been dealing with “fill-in” on over sized lots. Not on our specific street (no oversized lots; bigger than new lots, but no room for another house, or access). Definitely within the neighborhood however. Time to really start looking for the lot outside of Eugene growth boundary. Unfortunately the change doesn’t just apply to Eugene, but ALL incorporated city lots, whether the city wants it or not.

        2. Of course they have to destroy the suburbs. They’re full of escapees from the Hell the leftists have made of the inner cities. If they won’t live in Hell, the leftists will bring Hell to them!

    2. Running out of “elbow room” isn’t a crazy thing to worry about, but in the U.S. at least, away from the ongoing psychological torture experiment known as the “major cities”, the U.S. is shockingly empty. We *make* people pack in by a financial structure that makes job creation extraordinarily difficult outside the major cities. We are way overdue for the next great wave of suburbanization.

    3. Also, it looks to me like the crowded urban places are the sources of our current crazy years: Crowded Europe vs less crowded America, and crowded US coasts and cities vs less-crowded flyover-country suburbs and rural areas.

      It’s where you can currently get a decent number of young idiots to recruit.

      Counter-evidence, have you looked at the **** that military guys get up to, or the stupidity done by cowboys? The cowboys DEFINITELY didn’t lack for elbow room– they were still mostly males between fourteen and thirty and were very prone to being recruited for stupid *****.

      1. “The cowboys DEFINITELY didn’t lack for elbow room– they were still mostly males between fourteen and thirty and were very prone to being recruited for stupid *****.”

        See also the recruiting posters for the Pony Express. “Bachelors preferred”…… 😎

    4. We’re not running out of elbow room. Yes, cities have grown, for various reasons, but rural areas are more deserted than ever.
      The population isn’t growing. I very much doubt it’s 6 billion too.

  24. Another thing we humans do is consistently overestimate the size and importance of “big” over “many.” That leads to gross overestimates about how much the “rich” have available to share. Which makes the fairness problem worse. The natural tendency is to believe that the rich are secretly sitting on enough wealth to easily pay for every government program the Left proposes, and more besides. All it will take is a little social and legal fracking to get the rich to disgorge their fair share, and all will be hunky dory. Because the Left, in particular, doesn’t want to believe in “peak other-people’s-money.”

  25. “And then the computer catches fire.”

    So, your husband is like Riff from Sluggy Freelance? 😉

  26. the Marxism/Communism/socialism virus is almost too perfect, slots too much with the human hardware flaws to be accidental

    Nyah. It’s like steroids: short term benefits at the cost of long-term damage. Sure, you’re faster and stronger at first but soon you discover your ‘nads have shrunken, your skin is infected and you’re subject to irrational outbursts.

    Mr. Marx’s candy bars provide a sugar rush but leaves you toothless and diabetic. Avoid them, in any of their variants – even (especially) the ones with nuts.

  27. The Bible says that we’re all created in God’s image. So the old tale of the garden, and of the entity that offers that you shall be “like gods, knowing good from evil” has a grain of truth in it. Our nature wants us to be like gods. Fortunately, most of us didn’t have the levels of power normally wielded by a god, until the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, in America, and many other parts of the world, technology allows most of us to live “as gods”. Lands overflowing with milk and honey (fat babies!) Running to and fro in our chariots of fire, steel and plastic. Living in brightly lit mansions with the sound of music through out. Speaking to others around the world whenever we feel like it. Yes, we are like gods, gods with clay feet, and way too many with clay for brains.

    Lincoln said, ‘If You Want to Test a Man’s Character, Give Him Power.’ Paul Eldridge said, “The best way to judge an individual is by observing how he treats people who can do him absolutely no good.”

    We could also say the same thing about all those violent people rioting, looting, and vandalizing during these alleged peaceful protests. The truly good people don’t participate, or try to defend against them.

  28. Hmm, I always liked the Prometheus myth better than Genesis. It fits better with my understanding of the world. Genesis must read differently to Christians than it does to me.

    1. Our primordial state *wasn’t* some blissful garden free of care. It wasn’t *unsurvivable*, like most of the universe, but paleolithic man had a fairly harsh life.
    2. Unlike most of the animals, just about the only thing going for us is our intelligence and our tools. The ability to project the consequences of our actions (which is some non-trivial fraction of what intelligence is) seems a lot like “knowledge of good and evil”. And we need it to survive, because our instincts aren’t enough.
    3. Continuing the theme of “knowledge of good and evil”: Obedience to authority isn’t a moral code at all. (Or an intellectual one, for that matter) It’s the abdication of your moral understanding to someone else’s. Authority isn’t an argument. Part of what it means to be an adult instead of a child is having your own independent moral understanding which you don’t surrender without being persuaded.

    So, Prometheus:
    1. The greek gods aren’t any sort of moral exemplar. They stand in well for the harsh indifference and arbitrariness of nature and the sorts of arbitrary tyranny common in uncivilized societies.
    2. Fire is good. Tools are good. (for values of “good” meaning “conducive to your survival and prosperity.) Power over nature means that you can start controlling some bit of your own fate.
    3. Nice forewarning to would-be innovators that authority isn’t your friend. Tyrants aren’t exactly thrilled when the peasants get prosperous or uppity.

    1. Does it help to knw that paleolithic would be after the Garden?
      World is broken– still survivable, but broken.

      There is incalculable tons of ink spent on trying to explain different aspects of the creation and fall, and different stuff is going to hit different folsk….differently.

      This article is not to my taste– it’s licit, not BAD, but not clear enough on what is binding per revealed teaching and what is just an allowable view– but it does seem to hook in well with your point #3.

  29. The problem is especially severe right now because of what Eric Raymond has called “Gramscian Damage” It’s the difference between naturally-occurring anthrax and weaponized bio-warfare anthrax.

    (And yeah, for some reason this post has sent me into heavy delurk mode.)

  30. Paul Ehrlich keeps guessing 7 and then rolling a single dice … the bearded man with the “The End is Near” sign ranting on the street corner is more rational than Paul Ehrlich …

  31. That’s not how any of that works. You don’t learn your language properly before you learn another.

    Heh. In point of fact, the best way to really truly understand your own language is to go learn another. The shamelessness of their lies…

    As to the rest, you know what I’m going to say: In the Garden there was a serpent who came up with an oh-so-pretty reason to say my will be done, not Thine. .

    With apologies to Madame A. Nonny Maus

    The Hart he loves the high ground,
    The Hare she loves the hill
    The Fowl they love the fair winds
    The Human? Loves his will.

  32. Well, they did it.

    DeBlasio and the idiot Democrats cut the New York City police budget by a billion bucks while in the middle of a violent crime wave, riots, looting and murders.

    Just when you’re sure they couldn’t possibly get any stupider, they have to go and prove ya wrong,

    Not only that, the money will go to social-justice programs administered by DeBlasio’s wife. Chirlane McCray is already being investigated because hundreds of millions of dollars have gone missing from other city programs.

    I would not be particularly inclined to entrust another billion dollars to somebody that has already…misplaced, shall we say, a few hundred million.
    Fiction must be plausible. Reality just has to happen.

  33. Sarah,

    Last night I made a comment with a link to a post on Vox Day’s blog about the various aspects of science. It still hasn’t appeared. Do you have a block on links to there or did WordPress just get hungry?

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