The Value of a Human

When I was very little I loved reading and re-reading The Prince and the Pauper. It pains me that I now don’t remember the name of the companion with the prince, but it’s been a good … 25 years since I last read it. At least, might be more.

The story is one of a genre. Even as a child, I identified it as part of a tradition like the one where the princess or prince gets taken from the castle and made to perform menial labor. Because it shows the pauper doing better with the duties of a prince than the prince with the pauper’s life, it is — of its kind — a bit of a fantasy. Very American, of course, and hurray for Mark Twain (I was so young when I first read him I pronounced it Mark Tvain, being wholly innocent of English, but having seen German brands where the w was pronounced as v.) for pointing out a pauper can make as good a prince as anyone, thereby pointing out the inherent hollowness of titles and honors, and inherited wealth…. but perhaps not quite realistic. Look, I’ve read enough about the life of a prince at around that time to know how difficult it would be just to keep up with everything you should do, if you hadn’t been trained to it.

And in this case, trained to it is rather the point.

Humans are amazing creatures. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be in every corner of the world, including highly inhospitable regions. And we wouldn’t be able to survive things that logically should kill us. Humans have lived for years in situations that should have killed them or at least made them irrevocably insane and emerged…. well, alive if not well.

The various wolf-children might or might not be an example of this, since I have read recently most of them are not exactly abandoned as infants, but rather deficient or sickly and abandoned by their parents weeks or days before they are found “living with” a wolf pack or whatever. And maybe that’s true. I haven’t done a deep dive, so I can’t tell you — and it’s an area filled with legend, insanity and ideology, so any truth there has been very thoroughly obscured. But let’s presume a deficient child, abandoned, is discovered living with animals: the child still survived. And yes, it might be one in a hundred that survives, but the fact that any do shows how resourceful and …. invincible humans are when it comes to survive.

What most fish out of water stories emphasize is how hard it is to adapt/learn to live in conditions utterly different from your own. In these stories usually the person survives and thrives, but I suspect in reality, though it’s a mark of our species resilience that we survive at all, there are very few people who would survive. And look you, I am talking as someone who did this. Though I could be more akin to the pauper who finds himself a prince, it still wasn’t an easy adjustment to change countries and cultures. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, willingly and forcibly acculturating was much like going insane. You have to let go of parts of you, of parts of what you know is reality. Every single day brings shocks to the system and new things where you realize you were completely and absolutely wrong the day before. And I swear to you it was a good five years before I realized I was treating people all wrong and giving off all the wrong signals. And a good ten before I more or less could pass and behave like a normal American. Honestly, I think most of the reason I avoided giving horrible offense and/or getting in real trouble was that the accent gave warning I was not quite “from around these parts.”

Yeah, okay, so this might or might not have been complicated by the fact that I’m one of those people that have little or no ability to read others. On the spectrum? Um…. I don’t think so. I’m actually fairly empathetic and for an introvert, I like people, though I don’t like them with me ALL THE TIME. I think it’s more that you tend to assume other people are just like you — it’s the default assumption — right? And it took me a while to figure out I was wrong. I mean, I never fit in with Portuguese culture but by 23 I could pass. And then dropped into another one, where I couldn’t pass at all and had to learn all signals anew. I’m not even sure if there is any native impairment or just very weird life circumstances. (I’ll point out my family were all Odds, though I think mom is convinced she passes, which meant that our family culture also didn’t prepare me for the cultural baggage of Portugal. I don’t know if I mentioned before, but going to friends’ houses as a little, I found myself very much a stranger in a strange land. My parents had raised us with a weird mix of freedom and informality and demands and almost ritualistic behavior that had nothing to do with formal manners or the way people expected you to behave. I think I mentioned the family acquaintance (she was a close friend of a close family friend) who used to chase me around and say the most horrible things about me, and how I didn’t care for the feelings of others, and generally try to set me straight, including the infamous “If you were mine.” While her intentions might have been good (I’ve apologized to her memory, because I think they were) she went about it backwards, sideways and with quite a bit of malice born of the fact that she ASSUMED I’d been taught “proper manners” for the culture. I had not. In fact, other than the fact that one used inferior-to-superior language to older people, I hadn’t been taught any manners, starting with table manners and ending with never having been taught the formalities such as “no, thank you” instead of a bald-faced “no.” Since Portugal is almost as formal as Japan and definitely as ritualized, and since — for instance — some bits like not letting the door swing behind you, and hit the next person when walking out of a room, were only taught to me by my host family at 18, I imagine I spent the first 18 years of my life giving offense to everyone I came in contact with. Combined with living too much in my own head and reading way too many strange stories, I suspect I presented at best as “impaired.” Now, why didn’t my parents teach me manners? I don’t know. I suspect partly because they expected me to pick them up out of the air, as they expected everything else, from proper diction, to reading to the ability to do various things. (They must be way more “gifted” than I am, as I am not very good at learning complex skills out of the air, without instruction.) And partly probably because from the peculiar circumstances of my birth, they expected me to — and the doctor had assured them I would — be mentally retarded. And I was very sickly until I was about 12. So I think there was a layer of “let’s enjoy her while we have her” combined with “she might not be able to learn.”

I tended to follow my grandmother around and pay attention to her, but I paid attention to her when she was doing interesting things, like looking after the animals or planting stuff. I don’t know if she ever realized I didn’t have any manners, or even if she tried to teach me some. I could be remarkably oblivious. (Still can thank you ADD.)

By the time I was ten they’d started grousing that I wasn’t very well mannered, but you know… They still never provided instruction. I learned table manners by observation. Other things like the “no, thank you” thing it took a friend’s parent correcting me. I did learn. I did adapt. I still have a tendency to go somewhere inside my head and completely forget there are people even around me, let alone that they’re talking to me, or whatever. And I can’t even tell you that it’s because I’m thinking of something important or riveting. Very often it’s because something visual has caught my eyes and I’m staring and not thinking at all. (Oh, squirrel.)

Anyway, other than the fact that one way or another I — and I suspect a lot of the people here — are in various ways fish out of water, I am tending to considering something important: What is the value of a human. What is an Homo-sapiens (with admixture, natch) individual worth?

This is important. It is at the root of all the important debates in the world right now, and probably throughout the entire history of humanity.

For most of history the answer has been “not much” save for a few, rare individuals who, through birth or through learning or through other characteristics made themselves valuable. (Though note that other than birth, and that only birth as a monarch or nobleman of some sort that value might not even have been perceived by the humans of their time.)

And right now for a faction — possibly a growing faction of mal-informed, mal-educated humanity — of the world population your value depends on how deeply you tan, and the color of your eyes, and maybe — maybe, but not really — where you were born.

That is, we are back to the oldest valuation of all: “those of my tribe are worth much, the others aren’t even human.” This is rooted of course in the fact that tribes — and before them hominid bands — were kinship groups. There is value in promoting your kin. Evolutionary value, since they carry some of the same genes you have.

Now of course, tribe can be something utterly stupid like “we are attracted to the same sort of people” or even “we studied in the same institution.” But ultimately, through it all, it’s still the same instinct.

This is, needless to say, a problem. And if you don’t see where it’s a problem, you’re going to cause me to roll my eyes so hard they’ll go under the sofa.

You see, it’s a problem because most of the shitholes of humanity, the places still mired in Neo-paleolithic or close to poverty and misery are that way because of tribalism. You don’t pick the best person, you pick the one of your tribe. You don’t do the job out of loyalty to those who pay you, you try to do the job so it benefits your family and kin. You don’t invent, innovate and strike out in new directions, because that’s not what your kin would do/has done from time immemorial.

And we see the same corruption starting to hit all our institutions, where people will forswear their soul for the sake of those they view as kin, be they racial kin or sexual kin, or any other grouping they’ve been convinced exists.

Part of this, of course, is that it is apparently forbidden to study humans. Human intelligence, human resourcefulness, any other qualities we consider inestimable, are forbidden from being studied by all civilized countries.

This is, of course, the legacy of WWII and the eugenics movement that, before it, pervaded all of the west.

It’s also fairly mentally impaired, and shows the problem with never taking second order effects into account; the government sticking its nose where it never belonged; and in general our species behaving as it has since the early twentieth century: like utter morons in the grip of a stupid idea.

Yes, eugenics was a bizarrely stupid idea, built on mythology and legend, and pervaded with assumptions of what made the worth of human important. The rot is deeper than that, but abide a while. Let it stand it was a stupid and murderous idea. It came mostly from man-the-animal-breeder, applied to humans. Except humans as animals are a very curious animal, and nothing like what the other humans are, since we run on thought more than instinct, and therefore are more adaptable/curious and, well….. annoying than other animals. (Though nothing is more annoying than cats. And I’m not convinced they run mostly on instinct either.

But the idea that because humans were stupid enough to treat humans as cows was wrong, then not studying what makes humans smart, or adaptable or resourceful is the thing to do, is bizarrely stupid, and is causing a lot of the distortions in the world, and turmoil and irrationality in society.

For one, more knowledge is always better than less knowledge. For another, sure, if it were proven that one race is consistently “smarter” than the other or that one type of human is more obedient or more adaptable, there might be a tendency to discriminate on race. Because you know, the stupid theories — and some of them are very stupid indeed, like the idea that the ability to tan makes you empathetic, or that the fact that sub-Saharan tribal populations score worse on IQ tests means they’re dumber, or…. — that humans come up with to explain success or failure at various things are much, much better. Or requiring people to have largely valueless (and increasingly more so) college degrees is better than administering a test to know if they can perform, because if those were different for different races, then the test would be racist.

Humans are going to discriminate and be stupid — is it not written “the dumb shall always be with you?” — but to screw up massively and by the numbers it takes a human government, I guess.

Playing keep away with the knowledge of what humans inherent capacity is doesn’t make us better, or less prejudiced. It just means we tend to confuse culture with genetics to the point that idiots think that having to learn the dominant language of the country is “racist.” As though language were genetic.

It also builds an entire system of philosophy based on “systemic” and largely invisible racism. (Or sexism.) Because the reasoning goes something like this: back when there was real racial discrimination, there were a very few, incredibly successful racial minorities (or women.) Therefore, unaware of survivor bias, people concocted this theory that if everyone were given the ability to succeed then every tanned person/woman/whatever would be a genius, with great success.

Of course, that’s not how any of that works. Humans of any race and sex are mostly…. average. Which means if you remove the barriers most of them are going to perform in an average manner. Combine this with the fact that mostly urban intellectuals tend to think minorities (say black people) are like 40% of the population, and you can see how they would be sure there’s “systemic racism” because 40% of people in positions of power aren’t black. (And btw, if black people in the US perform below the 14% or so of the population they are, the fault CANNOT be of race. Because the technical name for most American “black” people is “Caucasian” as most of them have found out through genetic analysis. So if they underperform the problem is culture, particular the culture foisted on them by the intellectuals and the government, including fatherlessness, a persistent culture of victimhood, and being convinced that “systemic racism” makes it impossible for them to achieve. Any racial or for that matter other group of people treated this way by people in power would underperform and have chips on their shoulder the size of elephants. If we started treating redheads like this country has treated black people since the progressive era dawned, in a hundred years they’d also be underperforming.)

And this in the end is because we don’t know what a human is worth.

If we go by the theory of a human being worth what he/she can do (which we don’t, or we wouldn’t have crazy things like affirmative action, or hiring someone to make sure we have “representation” for some crazy thing or other, including sexual inclination) I’d be damned if I’m worth much.

Since this crisis began, I have told people the problem is that I’m not good for much, which usually makes them indignant. But hell, it’s true. I tested high IQ when young, but I’m still not convinced that IQ tests much but the ability to succeed in Academia, and that spottily. Because of ADD I never had flawless grades. Also I had a tendency to complicate simple tests/questions. Other than that? Well, I can rebuild houses, refinish furniture, I’m not a bad cook, I hate driving, and I can tell stories. That’s about it. And all but cooking (and sometimes even that) and story telling are impaired by the fact I run out of energy far more quickly in my late fifties.

Oh, yeah, and I no longer can get pregnant or have babies, which arguably I was never very good at, and which is a definite value to species survival.

So, as far as survival of the species, and probably my own survival, I’m more of a drag than a help.

If that’s how we measure humans — and it’s how statists tend to measure them, since they view humans as debits against the collective, rather than credits that might achieve something for the collective — I am absolutely no good.

Of course, we can’t measure humans that way, if judged against the history of mankind. Some of the most brilliant humans, who helped propel humanity forward, are not….. well…. I read that Archimedes was so absorbed in solving a mathematical equation that he got killed by a Roman soldier. There’s more to that, but you know, personal survival didn’t seem to be one of Archie’s skills, and all of the Greek Philosophers, at least by repute, were less than useless at passing on their genes.

Or take Leonardo DaVinci, who dreamed the dreams of future mankind…. and who was an erratic genius, who never finished anything. Oh, yeah, and an illegitimate child who at least in theory had dramatically curtailed prospects because of that until he overcame them. And who, in many societies would simply have been killed, and certainly not have been taught anything.

The history of mankind is littered with magnificent bastards, cripples, people who in primitive/tribal societies would never have survived, but who pushed humanity forward, nontheless.

And sure, there is a difference between ethnic groups (this is not even at the race level, btw, but at least in countries not America, where traveling was difficult/onerous until the late twentieth century, by the village/city, etc. Sure strangers came in, or we’d all have eighteen toes and be good at playing banjo, but seriously. Where I came from there was “the village of the crazy people” (more than usual number of mental illnesses) and the “village of cunning builders who are good with math” and yeah, I suspect my village was referred to as “Those very strange people” or at least we sent a lot of people to college at a time when it was very difficult to get in, and was considered a privilege of the rich who could hire tutors (which we certainly couldn’t.)) But do we know what the differences mean?

For instance, leaving race aside, there are a lot of female and male geniuses. There are a lot of male and female morons, too. But the distribution is not equal. There are, relatively speaking more male geniuses — and morons — than female ones. Women’s IQ – whatever the hell that means, because we don’t know — clusters in the middle. Relatively speaking. When meeting a new person, male or female, you should mostly assume they’re average. That’s why we call it average. That’s what “normal” people are. I’m sure it’s not very different for races.

There are weird, hereditary characteristics, but we don’t know what’s hereditary or learned, because we don’t allow ourselves to study that.

For instance, my husband is fond of calling me his “excitable Latina” usually under the heading of “Now look what you’ve done. You’re wound up the excitable Latina.” And my sons are…. louder than normal for their culture and age group. Though I’m not sure that’s true when they’re not with family. With family, though, when we lived in downtown situations I was sometimes sure the neighbors would call the police thinking a crime was being committed,w hen the boys were arguing over superhero origin stories.

What we don’t know and can’t know is “Temperament or upbringing?” I can tell you I’m withdrawn, unusually quiet, and definitely not “interesting” for a female in the area I came from. My kids didn’t believe this, until I was with them at the foot of a monument’s stairs waiting for my husband to do something (I don’t remember. It was 15 years ago, okay? He might have been going to the bathroom. Or perhaps buying tickets) and several family groups and groups of women went by us. At which point my sons said “You are quiet, polite and timid for the region.”

But again, temperament or upbringing? Who knows?

And this is problem because if it’s not temperament, they people could be raised in a way that minimizes issues, right? If there are issues?

Sure in rats excitability can be innate. But it is never a good idea to assume mechanisms are the same between different species, and humans are infinitely adaptable. (Contrary to “ethicists'” beliefs a rat isn’t a human.)

So what is all this about: What is a human worth?

If we studied — say — the genetics of various people, wouldn’t we be tempted to discriminate against those whose genetics show them not to be brilliant. I don’t know. We don’t even really know what our genetics do. For instance, my genetics say I wake up naturally at 7:15 am. BROTHER. They also say some truly strange things, like that I have celliac disease (I don’t.) Or a bunch of other nonsense.

BUT Sarah, suppose we study more and find that say people from a certain city/place are not very smart. Wouldn’t we discriminate against them?

Depends on what “Smart” is. And I suspect we’re going to find real performance is a mix of genetic inheritance, predisposition, upbringing and accident.

Intellectually smart is not the same as smart, and certainly not the same as people smart or cunning. (Witness me and the mathematician trying to sell something, and you’ll think we’re morons. We do sell houses okay, but only because I treat it like telling a story, and because we’re not present when the buyers come through (there’s a reason we always move first) otherwise we’d give the house away and apologize.)

When I was a young, ill-mannered child, one of the things I did was follow — mostly old and crusty — handymen around, looking at what they did.

Most of them weren’t going to pass any IQ test. Hell, most of them barely could read. But they could do things I couldn’t do involving calculations of tensile strength and design. Even if they didn’t know the words for that.

Their “IQ” might be low, but they absolutely were needed to keep the village in roof and walls through the winter.

As for breeding humans as animals, that was always rather stupid. One of the things we don’t know for sure is how “Smarts” are impaired. Or passed on.

One of the “miracles” of the village — a brilliant young man — was the son of the mentally-impaired farmer’s daughter, and (like in the joke) the traveling salesman. Her entire family were tenant farmers and none too bright. Those who interacted with the traveling salesman described him as cunning and unscrupulous but not particularly brilliant (As proven by the fact he barely made it out of the village ahead of the pitchforks.) And yet, the result of this union taught himself to read, outstripped everyone in the village school and went on to outperform practically everyone in a stem degree (I no longer remember which) in college.

Is intelligence hereditary? Well, almost surely some components are.

What does that mean? I don’t know and neither do you. Both of Leonardo Da Vinci’s parents had several other kids with other people. None of them were remotely remarkable. Chances are that Italy is littered with their descendants. Most of whom will be perfectly average.

Oh, yeah, the “mentally retarded” girl in my class, whom I’d estimate at a mental age of six but who learned to read, write and count money, after a fashion, was, in the way such things were managed in the village, married to a boy with similar impairments (which would keep her from being taken advantage of and give her two sets of family to watch over her) and they were given an old house to live in. He did odd manual/requiring strength jobs, and she cleaned houses. They had seven kids before (literally. This is not a joke) someone thought to tell them what caused it. And two more after that but more spaced.

I went to school with this girl. She was very sweet but seriously, I can’t even imagine her keeping house or raising kids, though I’ve been assured she did/does both very well, if at a very basic level.

Most of her kids went to college. With no money for tutoring. With no help passing exams. And certainly with no money for private colleges.

Were both of them impaired for reasons having nothing to do with genetics? Maybe. Or maybe it was the combination that made their kids suddenly above average.

I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.

And this is why both refusing to study humans and the idea of breeding humans like cows are industrial grade stupid.

Humans, as the fish out of water stories prove, are not necessarily “Smart” or “good” or “useful” except sometimes, if we’re very lucky, in a particular niche, where we can excel.

If society values individuals and allows us to be good in our niche (Or as Pratchett put it “find out what you’re really good at”) the result is advancement/better life for everyone. If however we treat humans like widgets with certain genetic characteristics, everyone fares poorly and the world sinks into barbarism.

“But Sarah, that means we shouldn’t study people!”

No, that means I should study how to to swear when I get that kind of stupid response. Because humans are tribal, if you don’t study what makes humans “good at x” they’re going to assume. And they’re going to paint with the broadest and stupidest brush imaginable. So we get “Black people are more empathetic” or “Punctuality is white” or other poisonous, pernicious nonsense that’s actively destroying lives.

Used to be we overcame tribalism and didn’t have to worry about crazy eugenicists because the default mode was Judeo-Christian. I.e. the person next to you might be a moron, but his soul was of as much worth as yours, he was made in the image of G-d same as you, and so you had to respect him/her.

When that broke…. we got eugenics, and attempts to “improve” the human breed by killing job lots in the service of the theories of a lunatic who had seized control of a mega state.

Perhaps I might propose that we need to respect other humans because we are human. Perhaps teach kids that no, they’re not perfect either, and that if they try to eliminate the “dumbasses” they’ll end up eliminated. Teach kids to recognize the impulse to tribalism and the darkness in every human soul.

Other than that? Tread carefully. Every human whose right to exist you diminish diminishes your own right to exist. And yes, that extends to the womb — unique DNA — and to convicted criminals, and to the very very old.

If humans aren’t valued only by what they can do, then all of those are human and you must respect them to respect yourself.

It doesn’t mean it’s never right to kill people. For many humans who are murderers or dangerous, it’s the only way to keep other humans safe from clear and present danger. Arguably more human than life-long incarceration. And yeah, sometimes it is the mother or the child. And yes, not killing, but definitely not engaging in heroic measures to save Grandma for another three days (Much less locking down all of society to save grandma for another six months, endangering children and destroying livelihoods int he process.)

But it means it’s never okay to do it cavalierly, because others are inconvenient; because others are in your way; and because you think you’re somehow superior or have that right. Because every time you do that, you destroy a bit of what it is to be human. In others, and in yourself as well, and in society in general. And at the end of that road lie mass graves.

We must restore the idea humans are worth it because they’re human, as we are human. Each of us is a vessel of unending potential. All of us have the possibility of doing something important. Now, it might be a STUPID important thing, like the ability to chop wood when there’s no other way to get warm, or perhaps just knowing that a certain plant is poisonous because someone told you, once.

But it’s on all these small, stupid things that humanity advances. It is this that makes the future better than the past.

A single human is worth the future. Because there’s nothing else that will build that future.

Find out what you’re really good at, then do it as hard as you can.

Be not afraid.

369 thoughts on “The Value of a Human

  1. In component chemicals the human body does not offer much value, although parts seem to be worth the cost of a PRC bullet. In the West we’ve held a higher valuation for about two millennia.

    1. It depends heavily on which chemicals you’re looking at. If you’re looking at the component elements, it’s true. They don’t add up to more than a few dollars.
      However, if you extract molecules without breaking them down into elements, they’re worth a lot more. Thyroxin sells for about $13 per gram. Other hormones also cost a lot more than their component elements. You could probably find a lot of examples of biomolecules that are even more expensive.
      (Likewise, if you break any pharmaceutical down into its component elements, the price can drop precipitously. The chemo I’ve been on would retail for nearly $61 million per mole. The component elements would retail for maybe $1 per mole.)

      1. THIS. What does a cornea or a kidney go for on the black market? [Swearing redacted] what did a whole man go for, back in the day, in the U.S.?

        Make up divorced-from-reality arbitrary parameters, get divorced-from-reality arbitrary results.

  2. I’ll have you know that I am a *perfectly* normal lava-platypus just like everybody else! It isn’t my fault that so many people like to pretend they belong in water!

    Also I had a tendency to complicate simple tests/questions.


    Is intelligence hereditary? Well, almost surely some components are. […] Were both of them impaired for reasons having nothing to do with genetics? Maybe. Or maybe it was the combination that made their kids suddenly above average.

    When dealing with systems this complicated there are more ways to break them than is possible to comprehend. You could easily (hypothetically) have a gene-line with the potential for mega smarts, but with some other feature that breaks that, or maybe every generation is impoverished and that breaks it.

    Then a new factor comes in and you get a “miracle child”. Same thing with populations known for shortness, that turn into skyscrapers when they get a few generations of proper nutrition.

    Or for an example of both good and bad: see the accidental eugenics program the entire world ran on ashkenazi jews. Lots of obvious good, but also the occasional bizarre brain breakage.

    They had seven kids before (literally. This is not a joke) someone thought to tell them what caused it.




        1. Perhaps but on the other hand it wasn’t all that long ago that a significant number of southerners believed possums copulated through the nostrils, hence accounting for the male possum’s forked penis.

            1. Me, too, and I grew up in possum country.
              Mind you, our son says possums are spawn of the Devil. I don’t know about possum privates, but they have nasty teeth.

              1. I love possums. They eat Ticks. They eat snails … don’t know about slugs. The kill rattlers. They are immune to the venom. They are also immune to Rabies.

                I just don’t like possums in MY Yard. We have snails. We don’t have ticks. We also don’t have rattlers. Not in the middle of the valley. Not anymore. Just not willing to risk the cats or the dog to a bite.

          1. That sounds like something that the mischievous uncle tells the children in order to destroy their faith in the trustworthiness of adults mess with them. Because apparently there’s amusement value in lying to credulous children. (You’d think they’d want more of a challenge.)

            Like when my uncle told my youngest brother that there’s a drain in the bottom of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

            1. You do realize you’re making that statement on a forum where we kind of definitionally love fiction?

              As a representative from that father/uncle tribe, there are many reasons to tell children such stories.

              We want them to grow up believing in things that we cannot prove exist.
              That takes practice. (PTerry has a brilliant quote about it.)

              We want to encourage a sense of wonder. Sometimes reality is boring, and more often it’s deliberately *made* boring to kill a sense of wonder. (Tell me that polynesian headhunters aren’t like Queequeg, and I’ll beat you with a belaying pin.)

              We want to encourage a healthy distrust of authority figures. They will lie to you through your life. You should get used to it, but in a fun way!

              There are explanations that children will simply not accept. You can tell them the truth, but they won’t believe you, and demand to know the *real* answer. So you tell them “a secret”. They retain the actual information better if they think it’s a cover story. (And when they figure it out later, it’s a secret of the in-joke kind.)

              Sometimes, you might not know an answer. You tell them that, but they still want to know. You can give them your best guess, which will be believable, and might steer them wrong at some point in the future. Or you can tell them something entertaining, that they’ll figure out once they actually think about it.

              Or if want a smaller nutshell:
              The world is full of amazing things.
              Think for yourself.
              Stories are fun.

              1. Yes yes yes; it is functional.

                But like anything else that is functional it can be perverted. And there is already a tendency towards — to borrow a quote — treating kids like pets who can talk instead of humans who haven’t matured yet.

                We want to encourage a sense of wonder. Sometimes reality is boring, and more often it’s deliberately *made* boring to kill a sense of wonder. (Tell me that polynesian headhunters aren’t like Queequeg, and I’ll beat you with a belaying pin.)

                Careful with that one: you don’t need to make up wonderousness if you notice the wonderousness that is there already. Typically (not necessarily meaning you) this argument is deployed by people who think reality is infinitely boring.

              2. Just be careful with telling small children about taking a bite out of the moon when it, well, looks like someone took a bite of the moon, like a cookie.

                Sigh. Your drive home from Portland, south on I-5, might go like this.

                “Screech, scream, wail” from 37 month old (whom both adults also in vehicle thought was sound asleep).
                “What’s wrong!”
                Indeterminable words through screaming/wailing.
                Meanwhile, dad, who is driving, is making like someone who is trying to both hide (not easy when 6’2″) AND not laugh out loud.
                Eventually through the wailing, the words are distinguishable. “Daddy”, deep breath, wail, “Broke”, deep breath, wail, “Moon”, wail.
                Dad. “Might be my fault. (BIL) and I might have told the kids we took a bite out of the moon.” (Now mom’s turn to not laugh out loud … not fair, I wasn’t guilty of anything.)

                Note. This was 30 years ago. I still remember that summer. We spent the rest of the summer with very late toddler bed time so he could see the phases of the moon. Bought a telescope (which has since been donated to a science program).

                  1. Somewhere south of Woodburn. North of west bound 569 exit (Beltline). We live in Santa Clara sub-area of Eugene, north of Beltline, take either RR or Expressway exits north.

                    He might have been younger than 36 months. We’d done the monthly run up see MIL for the required 60 minutes at the nursing home in Gresham. Then had gone over to my sisters house, whose oldest is his age. (MIL died when son was 34 months old.) So old enough toddler to be verbal if not 100% correct. I mean it might have been “Daddy breaked moon!” VS “Daddy broke the moon!” Not that the words were particularly clear through the wailing.

                    Two sentences our son, will never, ever, live down. Neither will his dad. Dad caused both:

                    “Daddy breaked the moon!”
                    “Daddy breaked face!” (Otherwise as shaving off beard, to head off the “stranger” syndrome for a 15 month old, JIC.)

              3. Sure, “Don’t blindly trust the authorities/ other people” is an important survival skill.

                But you have to realize that that way you teach that can come back to bite you in ways you’d never expect. Or it can be used to destroy your credibility by third parties.

                Like, for example, when said story-telling uncle tries to convince you that no, this person really is a bad guy and he knows this because of his years of experience working with guys just like that.

                “Sure, he said that. And it sounds plausible. But he lied to us all throughout our childhood. And he and everyone else in the family hate the other person involved. He has no reason to tell us the truth about this.”

                1. Ah… There’s lying and there’s deceiving. I’m a very truthful person by Jordan Peterson standards, but I have few qualms about saying truthful things that deceive opponents. Kids would be right to distrust me, were I to treat them that way.

                  But when I am honest, even if I kissed the blarny stone as a storyteller, I will be trusted. Not sure how to explain the difference.

                  If you’re worried about this, perhaps remember to reward the kiddos with the correct story and give them sunny approval whenever they ask Is that for real?” Then they learn to love the stories *and* being skeptical. Make up the best just-so stories (or, ahem, borrow them) and always answer honestly and you are golden.

                  The trick I suppose is being game to tell “the rest of the story”, and explain as you go. Why you said and did what (for example) bent the twig of their habits. So their older teen and adult selves learn how to distinguish between “that is an entertaining story” and “that is a true thing”. The intersection of these sets is “the good story”.

                  Also, just from practical experience, kids care more about what you do to and for them, than what lessons you tell them.

              4. There is a difference in kind between stories, and deliberately teaching falsehoods because gosh it’s so dang funny to make someone who trusts you look say something silly and be publicly mocked.

                Bonus points when they then complain because the kid doesn’t trust them anymore.

      1. I hate to mention it, but that has a very obvious once you “see” it reason—
        a lot of predators like easy prey.

        So there’s good reason for taboos about “teaching*” such a thing to vulnerable folks.

        So even if folks did explain it– we use NFP. Even when I know exactly how it works, I’ve got the data right here on if it’s relatively low pregnancy chance right now or not, my darling Half Elf has it the same time I put it in (phone app), it’s really freaking hard to keep that in mind when the time for Making Babies is right.

        Even if folks did explain it, there’s a good chance it didn’t work, and no way in hell would someone admit that they did it. There’s conversations I had with my sister that only I now know ever happened. She ignored them, functionally.

        MAYBE someone went and gave rules liek “look, fun time here, no fun time there,” the old calendar method and that’s why the spacing later on.

        That kind of a talk is one that folks will admit to giving, too.

        * Yes, deliberately invoking the old song trope about taking advantage

        1. I don’t think they gave them a contraceptive talk, natural or not.
          Look, I have this second hand from mom, but the girl was complaining that they kept getting kids and it was pretty hard to feed them all, even if she loved them, and she somehow betrayed she had no clue who this happened and ASSUMED it was a random occurrence.
          So other person (I don’t think my mom, but it’s been a while so I don’t remember who. One of the people girl worked for) explained how babies were made. And it was like a lightbulb going on.
          For the record, NO ONE EVER TOLD US. We just picked it up. Me from reading it.
          It just wasn’t told.
          And people treated her as if she were six.

          1. For contrast, I got more classes of “sex ed”– most of it quite explicit– than I did of math.

            Sex ed was required.

            Even after all of it, I share Banshee’s comment about “holy F, how did nobody see fit to mention (basic female body reproductive stuff that should be basic)”?

            1. Oh, heck, Fox, my mom is who is not a fading violet would probably melt if she had to use the word “vagina” in front of me. I got my sex education by piecing together books and because I liked to sit under tables. (I literally have no explanation for this, btw. We had a combining dining room and family room and I used to to sit under the dining room table. Parents and brother sat on the sofa. This was NOT a Cinderella situation. They tried to get me to sit on the sofa, then gave up. I sat under the table, leaning against a leg. Usually reading. Unless I was embroidering and needed better light.) and when mom and her two sisters got together and got silly (not even drinking, except tea) they would have the MOST graphic conversations ever. But introduce anyone else, and they clammed up.
              Look, I got my period on my wedding day. Because of course I did.
              Mom couldn’t bring herself to explain to what she was thinking about this, so my youngest aunt, who is the most sensible came and almost by gestures only signified I should put a towel under me (we went to a hotel for three nights, that was our honeymoon), so the hotel people wouldn’t be shocked. I swear I’m not making this up.

              1. s and because I liked to sit under tables. (I literally have no explanation for this, btw.

                Oh, that’s easy, that’s one of the signs of being “a bit odd,” like walking on your toes a lot or prefering isolation– what’s now called “spectrum.”

                I don’t know what CAUSES it, but it’s like the weighted blanket thing.

                We LIKE tight, controlled spaces– small spaces, that are OURS.

                If you read about Harry Potter’s bed-under-the-stairs and thought “wow, that sounds cool,” you’ve got it.


                Taboos are… are big. All the bigger if we don’t SEE them, because it’s just Things You Don’t Do.


                I literally today had to do the “gross talk” with eldest girl, who’s showing signs of it being needed.

                We’re an earthy family, so it wasn’t as bad as it could be….but man, did it bite the wax tadpole.

                Ew, ew, icky icky ew. Says the woman who’s been gutted three times.

                K, giggling.
                Husband just walked up and eyeballed me to see if was talking to someone on discord, because I’m typing furiously. I said, with whimsy, “Oh, no, I’m doing sex talk with a Portuguese immigrant-”
                “Do you mean Sarah Hoyt? Why don’t you just SAY so?”
                “…because then you’d say ‘which Sarah’?”
                “Do you know any others?”
                “Not that I talk to, but yes!”

                  1. Understanding when it is time to step outside the everyday rules to best uphold those rules has always been one of the Hard Problems.

                    One not made any easier by the the fact that getting it wrong too often destroys people and civilizations.

                1. Oh, that’s easy, that’s one of the signs of being “a bit odd,” like walking on your toes a lot or prefering isolation– what’s now called “spectrum.”

                  I don’t know what CAUSES it, but it’s like the weighted blanket thing.

                  We LIKE tight, controlled spaces– small spaces, that are OURS.

                  If you read about Harry Potter’s bed-under-the-stairs and thought “wow, that sounds cool,” you’ve got it.

                  Our Hostess has often talked about Oddness and Neanderthal genes. I think this is wrong: it is actually cat genes. Which would also explain why cats moved in, because they recognized in humans long lost relatives.

                  Black cats are of course the feline special circumstances officers. If you remember they were persecuted during the Black Death, as they had to push humans in a direction that would eventually distill America, and a properly feline attitude towards anyone telling them what to do.

              2. Everything I knew about such things I learned from Harry Belafonte records.

                The woman piaba and the man piaba
                and the Ton Ton call baka lemon grass,
                The lily root, gully root, belly root uhmm,
                And the famous grandy scratch scratch.

    1. “Same thing with populations known for shortness, that turn into skyscrapers when they get a few generations of proper nutrition.”

      Sometimes not even that. I know a couple where the mom is about 5’3″ and the dad is six feet even, and their eldest kid was taller than his mom by fifth grade and their youngest, nine months older than my not-small youngest, looks three years older than him at a minimum. All three of their children are on a path to be substantially taller than both parents, even the girl, and there’s no apparent reason why beyond the genetics worked out that way.

      1. It’s a known human pattern of “tall grandfather, short dad, even taller grandson.”

        A weaker one, maybe because girls are complicated, for the female line version.

        This is after correcting for “short dude married tall gal.”

        It works even outside of the male line– my husband is one of them, his grandfather was six foot, he’s six one ish. His mom is “explain she’s too tall to be a dwarf” short and his dad (married in) is barely taller than I am.

        Charlemagne, for a famous example– Martel wasn’t short, just not as notably tall as his grandson, and his son Pippin is freaking literally called “the short.”


        For mutations, I’ve got a nearly seven foot tall cousin. That uncle is taller than his brothers, but… scottish immigrant. That means “was nearly six foot.” Married one of those really pretty dark Irish ladies who looks like a doll at 5’6.
        He married a tall lady, and their kids are all normally proportioned….just like three to six inches taller than they look like they “should” be. 😀 (Well, last time I saw them!)


        Human genetics are just so COOL!!!!!

        1. Our kids are almost a foot taller than us. Well, younger son IS a foot taller than I.
          Older son says I’m stunted: extreme premie, and caught everything from TB to smallpox.
          On top of that mom decided I was “allergic” to milk (if you stare at random patterns long enough you see whatever. She associated my auto immune attacks with milk, cheese, eggs, chocolate, butter. ALL btw things she doesn’t like.) and so I grew up without milk and probably just under sufficient calories once I decided I was fat at 11. So….

    2. Teachers, and schools, just have NO idea what to do with the kid from a not-Elite family who is unexpectedly smart. Oh, they can handle the dullard from the Elite family – just teach him how to use others for the tough stuff, put on a veneer of sophistication and buzzwords, and let the underlings in the family business cover for him.
      It works, most of the time.
      But, whatever can be done with that working class or lower class little intellectual star? Well, mostly, schools count on the envious middlings – not the children of the Elite, but those who work for them in mid-management – to administer the ‘lessons’ about their proper place.
      Most will fold, and stop ruining the class averages. A few will lash out at the mistreatment, and land in legal trouble. Some of the girls will be cajoled/pressured into early motherhood or other distractors, and the system can deal with the one or two that persevere beyond that point.

      1. I didn’t run into this– but I was also “confident” enough that when they did things like do a tele-math class for calculus, I only signed up after they swore the math teacher that I had done most of the teaching work for* would not be teaching it.

        Next year, I walked into calculus class.

        Bell rang, he walked in.

        I picked up my book and walked right out and to the councilor’s office, to demand to be put somewhere else.

        It wasn’t really confidence, it’s a matter of trust in law; they said he would not be “teaching” the class, so when they violated it, I was released from my commitment to the class. And what is ours, we keep.

        My mom had made it clear that if the school was wrong, she’d maim them. (If I was wrong, she’d maim ME!)

        So I was the only person in five school districts who didn’t fail calculus, that year, because the “copy from back of book, go play on computer” method of teaching didn’t work on a video class.

        *not good at math. Stubborn. I can elaborate if needed. He was lazy and favored “group work” is short form.

        1. Ah.
          A teacher like that is why our youngest is currently passing Social Studies.
          But can’t tell you where Rome is, and had no idea what a Byzantium is.
          (Yes, it’s bloody killing me.)

          1. Why we frustrated our son’s teachers to no end.

            We might have “supplemented” the education system (k – 12), a lot. Should we have had to? No. All we should have had to do is what our parents did, was make sure kid paid attention, did his homework, and learned what was being (properly) taught. Shouldn’t have had to correct what was being taught or teach him what they were doing and why.

            1. My daughter got screamed at in a high school math class (12+ years ago) when the teacher (who was explaining some ridiculous method of solving a problem) heard her say to a friend “Don’t worry, my dad’s an engineer, he’ll show us the right way to do it.” I assume the current common core methods are even worse.

              1. Yup, it took a lot of geniuses 3,000 years to develop mathematics, and a bunch of idiot bureaucrats less than 30 years to wreck it. I was fortunate to have done my time before Jimmy Carter’s Department Of Education started ‘improving’ the schools. Most of today’s teachers should be sued for malpractice.

                Now they’re being paid not to teach, and the unions are still getting dues. They should all be cut off, and then watch how fast they re-open the schools.

                We should sack at least three-quarters of the bureaucratic deadwood, too. Private schools do a better job of teaching without having three bureaucrats for every teacher.

                That’s what happens every time the government sticks its snout into something — they start piling on the bureaucrats, until they outnumber the actual getting-things-done people. Today we’ve got about 3 times as many doctors as there were in 1970 — and 32 times more medical bureaucrats, all of them wailing about how health care costs too much so we need MORE government and MORE bureaucrats.
                There is nothing so simple the government can’t fuck it up.

              2. Son graduated class of ’07, so yes, 14+ years. Weren’t told of son being talked to or yelled at, but we did get at teacher’s conference, that we “weren’t doing son any favors by tutoring him” in math, and overseeing the other topics. That it wasn’t fair that he’d already had *finance, household, citizenship, first aid, etc. Not to mention he has two Foresters as parents, and one of us is an expert with computer programming. Oh. A couple teachers even took exception that his groups always excelled due to his leadership. Others praised this, but there had to be the ones that felt he needed to “fail” once in awhile (Eagle class ’05).

                * If these sound like Eagle required merit badges, it is because they are. He’s also been on the “Freedom Trail” twice (’01 and ’05). Been on numerous wilderness treks, to numerous wilderness national parks, camping – starting at 6 weeks old. Welding a camera before he was in Kindergarten. Need I list more? About the one item I failed him on was reading for pleasure. Oh we read to him, a lot. His does read for pleasure, just not in the what or how I would (RPG on computer, I think it was someone on this list that pointed out the amount of reading that is involved in this) …

          2. Meh. Give the kid Drake & Flint’s Belisarius series or Turtledove’s Videssos cycle. Try some Harold Lamb, or Conn Iggulden’s Julius Caesar books or his Genghis Khan series.

            Piers Anthony’s Steppe is an interesting experiment, instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with Temujin’s adventures.

          1. The way it worked in the math class from the year before was that you were not allowed to ask the teacher a question until you had asked every single other person in the class. And they had tried to do it, too.

            Which is why I still growl about having taught that class, when I don’t do math very well.

            The guy had a math degree, but he was very much the coach-teacher type.

      2. When I was 5 or 6, my mother was called into school by my teacher, who was worried about me because I didn’t go out and play with the other children. The teacher told my mother that I was just looking at books but my mother explained that I was reading. The teacher said “That’s not possible, he’s only 6”. So my mother said “Give him one of your (adult) books to read”. She did, and I read it without difficulty other than pronouncing “architect” incorrectly (I had never heard anyone say it). The teacher’s eyes got very round, and she said “We need to have him tested”.

        So I was taken to a psychological testing center of some sort where they tested me all day and then told my mother that I was someone special who needed to be given the right opportunities. I skipped most of second grade and all of 12th grade, starting college at age 16.

        Of course this was many years ago; I’m sure it’s much worse today.

  3. We have value as individuals because God values us as individuals. We have many ways he marked us as unique: fingerprints, eyes, dna, etc. But he showed our value by entering our world as a man and dying for us. Our value both as collective mankind and individual men. His love is beautiful.

    1. Of course. And for us, believers, this is a convincing argument.
      BUT even non-believers should be wary of debasing the value of the human, because it debases THEM.

      1. be wary of debasing the value of the human, because it debases THEM.

        In many cases the self hatred is the reason they are doing it, so that would be a feature.

            1. Eh… It could be. The atheist track record in getting folks to help and avoid opportunities to exploit fellow in-group members, much less suffer in so-doing is… sub-par, unless (as minorities) they’re forced to default to healthy cultural norms. Which, to be fair, they seem to do.

              And when humans go bad, it seems to be much of a muchness, no? What’s to chose between, say the ancient Aztecs and Cambodia’s atheists?If only Mr. So well had graced us with Religions and Cultures.


              Because is *is* a Christ vs. Atheists (and everyone else, including no few Christian sects) thing.

              Only He is able to get people to sacrifice regularly for their in-group, and, on occasion, people from the out-group as well. Hence the patterns in Christendom , despite the myriad flaws of Christianity.

      2. Yep, they should but really can’t. The theological problem is the one and the many, the individual and the collective. Unbelievers will emphasize the superiority of one over the other. So collectivists have little care for individuals. Anarcho-libertarians disdain the collective. But God is one God in three persons. The one and the many are equally ultimate in him. Only Christianity can reflects this and fam balance these two things. Without it you have a continual cycle of anarchy and tyranny.

      3. There are a LOT of former atheists who were honest enough to join March For Life because of this– there are many honorable atheists and agnostics who are part of the March and allied groups— because if you are truly honest, you must argue that humans matter because they are human.

        Or it will be turned against you.

      1. Come now, if they read him, they might have to intelligently engage with his ideas instead of ritually demolishing strawmen of them.

      2. Yes, it’s Twitter, but the pictures won’t show and they’re bust-a-gut funny:

    1. You know how much they must fear Jordan Peterson, to excoriate him specifically?

        1. Coates’s reasoning: “The Red Skull is bad. Peterson is bad. The Red Skull is red. Lobsters are red. Peterson is a lobster. Peterson is the Red Skull.”

          1. Red Skull is unfairly maligned by the leftists.

            In that it is specifically unjust for them to complain about a comic book nazi super villain because what they celebrate is not so different.

            1. All Red Skull did was take Lenin’s worldwide Russian Socialism and brand it as worldwide German socialism.

    2. It’s the result of the biggest con job of the 20th century: Convincing people that nazism is completely absolutely totally 100% the utter diametric opposite of socialism, communism, and leftism in general.

      Thus any debunking of leftism is Nazi villainy, and any effective debunking is Nazi supervillainy.

      1. Exactly. The battle between fascism and communism isn’t good vs. evil: it’s two gangs fighting a turf war.

        1. The forces of evil vs the forces of darkness. (And which one was which, again?)

      1. Not just a super-villain but, I believe, Marvel’s longest-standing super-villain. The Skull was introduced in Captain America Comics #1 in March 1941. I cannot call to mind any Marvel super-villain of similar vintage, as neither Namor nor the (original) Human Torch had a super-villain opponent in their first issues.
        That makes him Marvel’s first super-villain.

  4. The collectivists, with their grand social theories, do not recognize people as individuals. Everybody is assigned to a group, based on one obvious physical or behavioral characteristic, and all members of a group are the same in every other way. They all have the same needs, the same attitudes, are all to be treated alike and will therefore all respond just as the collectivists’ theories predict. Any who don’t fit the theories are aberrations, to be ‘corrected’ or removed from society.
    There is no shortage of people convinced they can create the perfect world. They just have to eliminate all those imperfect people who don’t fit in it.

    1. This is the same reason they think that a policy applied universally across the entire US will work equally well everywhere…

      Except the solution that works in SoCal isn’t going to work the same in Fargo, ND
      So they keep tacking on exceptions and additional guidelines trying to force it to work everywhere, and only making it worse by introducing loopholes and contradictions…

      It’s always amusing to watch the mental gymnastics when they scream how “that small group doesn’t represent all of that group! Oh and ALL people of X are horrible lying terrible deplorable evil people!”

      1. “So they keep tacking on exceptions and additional guidelines trying to force it to work everywhere, and only making it worse by introducing loopholes and contradictions…”

        Which they regard as a feature because it allows for selective enforcement against the kulaks and wreckers.

  5. Academia REALLY shows you how “valued” you are as a human being. I know I was valued as the lone female member of my department, not because I brought a cool simulation with me. It was assumed by many others in Arts & Sciences that of course I did research on women in politics and of course I’d be happy to teach that course and cross-list it with the new Women’s Studies minor. Um…no. I don’t teach or research women in politics. You don’t??!! Why not?! Well because it’s an overloaded, overwrought, and overly bitchy subfield. And what made you think it was my field anyway? Well, I mean, most women in poli sci… I’m not most women.

    Then I got excluded from numerous committees, funding opportunities, etc. that had nothing to do with women in politics OR academia and that would have helped me advance. So, I wound up valued because I “proved” that the poli sci department was “diverse”, but when I failed to live up to their vision of who I was, I lost all but the superficial photo op value.

    Oh, well. That’s in the past and going to stay there.

    1. Yeah. I know. I also don’t write the fiction trad pub would value me for. Weirdly, that’s what I was going to write about today, and then something highjacked me.

    2. In other words, Becky, if you couldn’t be used for their agendas or bought off to front for them, you were ignored and rejected. The hive of “independent” minds said so,

    3. Academia REALLY shows you how “valued” you are as a human being. I know I was valued as the lone female member of my department, not because I brought a cool simulation with me.

      I am glad I’ve managed to forget the name of the….female… who was the command master chief at my first command.

      I was given a very special recognition for good behavior, and moved to the barracks for petty officers! As an E-2!

      …. it was because she had some sort of fixation on males and females not sharing a pod-livingroom, and moving me made the numbers work. The setup was four rooms of two (same sex) shipmates, sharing a livingroom with a TV. Doors locked, obviously.

      It freaking gutted me. I had actually thought my good work had been recognized.

      Right up there with the whole “no, really, your art is great!” thing when you can SEE that it sucks as a child, and are asking for help to make it not suck.

      1. Yep. I had a now ex friend who accused me of being brutal to the kids. What I was was honest. I praised things about their art or writing that deserved praise, but if phoned in I told them so.
        (things that deserved praise: younger son drew whirlwinds with minimal faces, but they were recognizable as friends and family without his writing the names down. It was the attitude/expression/shape of face.)

      2. That sort of thing happened to another woman…the only black faculty in the Psych dept. She got tapped for *everything*. To the point that they were hindering her ability to do research, which would have meant no tenure. She knew it too. I talked to her and let her know she didn’t need to be doing all those things (I had tenure at that point so I was safe). She told me she knew she was a photo op. She left a semester before I did.

        1. *snarls*

          Oh gah.

          Y’all’s situation was a lot more of a big deal than mine– I was just a Navy body. My training was paid to me, rather than how you ladies had to PAY for it.

          But it still pissed me off so dang bad to be in even rotation for work parties, every single time for photo-op parties, and STILL be doing more shop work than most of the guys.
          While getting credit for less, because clearly I only got recognition because I’m an innie. (I would’ve preferred “no recognition, leave me alone,” honestly.)

          1. Out of curiosity I went looking for her…found her! She’s listed as “independent researcher” which means no institutional affiliation. But, she’s back working with a Christian schools organization and her brief bio says “deeply rooted Christian values”…so now I’m seeing another reason why she left. I think I can safely say, both of us are MUCH happier.

        2. I remember listening to Walter B Williams guest-hosting for Rush Limbaugh, having Thomas Sowell on for an hour … laughing about how their academic achievements, preceding Affirmative Action, insulated them from charges they hadn’t eared their positions and “owed” it to others to defend a policy which discredited all Black academic achievement.

          1. I regret to say that there are leftists who say Sowell is a beneficiary of AA even after you point that out. (One literally declared that letters of recommendation are AA.)

      3. Right up there with the whole “no, really, your art is great!” thing when you can SEE that it sucks as a child, and are asking for help to make it not suck.

        My approach with Athena was always “Your art is very good for where you are [it was]. Now here are some things you can do to make it better.”

        For a while, even though she was better than I was, I still had a trick or two to show her. Eventually, she reached a point where I really didn’t have anything else to tell her to “make it better.”

  6. Just a shot in the dark, but it could be your parents didn’t bother to teach you at an early age because you were sickly and at the time they didn’t expect you to survive to adulthood.

    “Poor dear thing isn’t going to survive to grow up so why burden her with things she doesn’t need?”

    1. A lot of people who learn by observation just assume that the observation is taking a long time, and that they should not interfere.

      Yeah, I don’t learn by observation, either.

  7. “It also builds an entire system of philosophy based on “systemic” and largely invisible racism”

    My car got surrounded by a Black Lives Matter protest last year near Palo Alto, California and it was the emotional intensity of the marches that struck me as so weird. Lots of aggressive eye stares, and the men had their chests puffed out or their jaws jammed forward. It seemed like they were fighting 1950s Jim Crow laws.

    It got even stranger when I realized that as a Trump supporter, they were denouncing … me. But I’m not a racist! I think that’s part of the problem of why people don’t push back. Average Trump voters look in their own hearts and realize they aren’t a racist and assume these protests aren’t aimed at them, when actually they are.

    1. Most Black Lives Matter protesters are brain washed upper middle class chickies. They needed a good spanking ten years ago, and parents that told them “Yes, you’re special like everyone else. Anything you want, you have to work for.”

      1. And, just like in the hippie days of yore, my money is on the dudes being there to pick up girls.

        1. Conservative girls are better looking but left wing girls are easy. On the other hand, lefty girls are crazy too so remember very good father’s advice about what you don’t put in crazy.

          1. I prefer going to bed with women I don’t need to keep one eye open on all night long. I dislike waking up to a slashed throat, stab wounds, or missing genitals.

    2. I realized that as a Trump supporter, they were denouncing … me. But I’m not a racist!

      In their formulation you are racist if you are not actively anti-racist. That is to say, you are with them or against them, and to be with them you must march in lock-step with them.

      Yes, it is stupid, it is rhetorical deck-stacking, but their side has always played the “Heads we win, Tails you lose” game.

  8. I’m feeling very tempted right now.

    The folks who want to talk about Green energy to me, I think most would do good by swinging from the gallows.

    Likewise, people who sneer at how ill-informed the ‘no nose coverage’ mask wearers are, yet cannot say 1) what pore size the filter medium is 2) what this implies for pressure difference across the filter 3) what this implies for tension in the straps holding the filter ‘sealed’ against the face.

    I’m seriously annoyed by my anger levels about this, and have so lost perspective that I would be inclined to put just about any number of people to death.

    I’m pretty unhappy right now.

    1. Remember that St. Paul was once Saul the Persecutor. People can change if given an opportunity.

      Though if you do end up indulging your inner Madame DeFarge, I could point you to the guy I saw driving alone in his car, wearing a mask but not a seatbelt…

      1. True that Paul was Saul of Tarsus. Of course he was blinded and met the raised glorified Jesus the incarnation of the Author himself on the road to Damascus. I’m not sure even that would change some of the Tranzis.

        1. We know that it’s possible that it wouldn’t– because the Boss gives folks a choice, which means it was possible for Saul to keep on with what he was doing before.

          1. Leaving aside the Predestination vs Free will issue (which far greater minds than mine have debated to indecision for almost 2000 years). Foxfier I think my issue isn’t that Paul/Saul might have chosen not to accept, but that to convince him to change the Author used some tools which were VERY powerful. My suspicion is that even with such persuasion many if not most of the Tranzi types would not change. Whether that lack of change comes through their own intransigence or like Pharoah at the time of Moses through G*d hardening their hearts is clearly above my pay grade.

            1. Considering that God was the one who hardened Pharaoh’s heart, as a means of setting up a demonstration, one would have to assume that he removed any choice from Pharaoh. Which means to me that it would be unethical for God to punish Pharaoh and his followers after having killed them. Whether that means they went to purgatory for their normal sins in life, or were reincarnated elsewhere/elsewhen to get a second chance, I have no idea. What I find unacceptable is that God would send him and the entire Egyptian army to Hell for doing what He forced them to do.

              1. The explanation I got for “hardened his heart” is that it means He gave them the courage of their convictions.

                The choice had already been made– God just made it so he acted on the choice.

                  1. Of course it does, because that’s what you want to hear.

                    The choosing evil is what we’re punished for; there’s no get out of jail free card for being too cowardly to act on that evil. Your objection was to being punished for what they were forced to do– but that understanding would bypass “God made them do what He punished them for.”

                    And it wouldn’t even involve doing something bad to them. Courage is a good thing…that they’d apply it to bad ends is a result of the state of their hearts.

              2. Let me give you a real world example.

                First Mr. Epstein just takes his check and connects willing adult (if young) porno workers with affluent sluts.

                God sends him a warning.

                Then he starts recruiting semi-amateurs to meet demand.

                Another warning.

                Then he forces the girls to get abortions while recruiting teens who are “technically legal.”

                Yet another warning.

                Finally Mr. Epstein is trafficking 13-year-olds. The handful of remaining White Hat LEOs in Florida are investigating his activities.

                Now would be a REALLY opportune time for Mr. Epstein to cool it and lie low. But God hardens his heart.

                Tell me, O Mr. House. What does Mr. Epstein deserve?

      2. I saw his cousin almost cause a pile-up on the interstate this afternoon.
        He was in the center lane, going under the speed limit (in a spot where most people go at least 15 over), wearing a mask, while alone in his eco-conscious subcompact.
        With stickers on his back window telling everyone how doggone virtuous he was, because of course he did.

        1. GAH. The only people crazier than those driving alone, masked, in a car, are those JOGGING alone, in the sunshine, with a mask.
          Or the chick walking her dog both wearing a mask. 😦

          1. Nah…

            True insanity is *biking* alone while wearing a mask.

            And yes, I’ve seen it.

            1. Driving with a mask could be a case of having found a comfortable fit and the knowledge that in about three minutes you’ll be at your next stop and having to don the mask again – so why take it off?

          2. Depends on whether it’s blackfly season or not.

            I hate running and aspirating those damn things. A very loose weave fabric for a mask is great for that. Won’t stop viruses or bacteria worth a damn though.

            1. Would make sense in midge season. I’ve had a white car with a green front after driving by the lake in August.

              1. “Wabbit season!”
                “Duck season!”
                “Wabbit season!”
                “Duck season!”
                “…midge season? Ewwww!”

            2. THIS

              Mask Mandates hurt people

              Masks work for… What they work for depending on the kind of mask it is.

              I hate that I was too dim to figure this out and how to say it. Day late, dollar short.

      3. Sure, Paul was ‘okay’ after conversion. Pre-conversion, it would have been fine to put an arrow through his head, or run a sword through him. Just because people can change, doesn’t mean you have to put up with them or excuse their behavior while they are being evil.

    2. Meh, I come at it from this angle: If you’re going to wear a mask, wear it correctly. If you think it’s pointless virtue-signaling, don’t wear it at all. Half-assing it by wearing it underneath the nose is the coward’s way of maintaining plausible deniability. To paraphrase Captain Oversteegan of the Hexapuma, “Rules were made to be broken, providing the one doing the breaking is willing to face the consequences. Otherwise, breaking rules becomes the province of brats instead of serious civil disobedience.”

      1. Only works if the rule for masks involved precisely how one is to wear the specific kind of mask.

        If that is not the rule, then creative interpretation is a much better way to show it’s about power, not protection.

        1. Sign on door to restaurant we go to regularly. “Masks must be worn to enter this building.” Put the mask on, open the door, step inside, take the mask off, go eat. LOL.

        1. My protest is “Masks are a lie! They were always a lie!”

          Along with “They’ve been telling different lies every month for a year. WHY do you still believe them?”

          And if I HAVE to wear one to get service, break out the Medieval Plague Mask.

  9. It struck me that the early human ancestors, by walking over the hill and far away, were in effect robbing their relatives of the ability to come and mooch their stuff.

    In low-trust societies, if your cousin comes to the store you run, you have to give them anything they want without demanding payment, because they are family.

    The only way to escape and succeed based on effort is to go so far away your family can’t show up and in effect steal your success.

    So those early humans who started walking from the horn of Africa and ended up in Asia or Europe might have just been trying to escape that curse of low-trust tribal extended family obligations.

    1. Possibly.

      I’ve been concerned for a long time about false assertions of common interest.

      ATM, I’m wondering why the lying sons of bitches are entitled to being treated as if they are human beings.

      Obviously, I’m not going to fix my current problem, or do what I need to do, by ranting and raving. So I will probably not be here for a while.

        1. Doing better.

          Went outside with my books, got away from the email, phone, computer…

          Doing a lot better.

    2. Not just in the long-ago Old Days. It’s apparently still a thing in various impoverished cultures that anyone who manages to get a little bit ahead is brought back down by others insisting on “borrowing” and taking the little bit they’ve saved/produced. It might be in African where a white doctor can live well on a modest-for-a-doctor income, but a black doctor gets dragged down to poverty by all his relations leaching from him. Or the way poor people buy one-use packets at the laundromat rather than a box of laundry detergent, because a box of detergent would get “borrowed” away before the week was out. Or how, if it becomes known that one has a few hundred dollars in savings, one receives a stream of relatives & neighbors needing “just” $10 or $20 for this, that, or the other thing, and the only way to refuse (and ultimately escape the neighborhood) it to be near-sociopathic about hiding ones savings and refusing to give any help, until one can just leave.

      1. Thus, the spectacle of successful sports stars or rap musicians (who grew up in the projects) dragging around their “entourage” of hangers-on from the old neighborhood. An entourage whose members invariably cause nothing but trouble.

      2. The “can’t buy detergent because it gets borrowed” is endemic across the lower-class US culture, too. My sister got it a LOT.

        We were middle class by behavior…but she was an incredibly generous person. So my parents were subsidizing a significant portion of Bend, Oregon’s, user population via things like “buy ginormous detergent boxes.”

    3. A former Peaceful Corps member wrote an article several years ago on her experiences in Senegal. Basically, all the merchants were from Mauritius, because a Senegalese trying to do business couldn’t keep an inventory. All his relatives felt free to take anything they wanted, and he would be criticized for not giving it to them.

      1. “Wait, I thought we had more wildebeast jerky put up. This is empty.”
        “We did, but my cousin Oog came and wanted it.”
        “And you let him take it? I hunted that darned thing for a week!”
        “I am not going to get on the bad side of my family again! Besides, your cousin Glurb came and took the hide yesterday.”
        “That’s it! You wanted a better area anyway, so we are LEAVING THIS ENTIRE CONTINENT!! We are going to WALK far enough that no cousins or uncles or any of our relatives from either clan can ever find us!”
        “What is a continent?”
        “Nevermind – start packing, we’re going far away, and we’re leaving tomorrow morning.”
        “If it gets me away from your mother I’ll walk anywhere.”

  10. No, the Pauper would make a lousy substitute for the Prince. The Prince would be literate in at least two languages, would know philosophy, history, basic mathematics and some economics, be familiar with the ruling families and geography of nearby kingdoms, be experienced at riding horses, trained with weapons and armor, and all manner of other things the aristocracy would take for granted.

    The Pauper would know little beyond repetitive, mind-numbing manual labor, and nothing about the world ten miles beyond his hovel. He’d know barely enough math to avoid being cheated at the market. Nobody taught him any of the things a Prince would be expected to know.

    The Prince would have much less trouble with the Pauper’s life, aside from the hard work. Weapons training would help with that.

    1. In Pudd’nhead Wilson Twain shows that he understood that you needed to be trained for the role.

      The Prince wouldn’t know the social cues of the Pauper’s environment–that would probably be lethal.

  11. … more knowledge is always better than less knowledge.

    Unless, of course, there are some things Man is not meant to know.

    Or, as our selected elite phrase it, “:Shut up, monkey, I’m running this show.”

  12. Honestly, I think most of the reason I avoided giving horrible offense and/or getting in real trouble was that the accent gave warning I was not quite “from around these parts.”

    Plus, Americans are pretty chill.

    Or have to act like it, at least– the non-nasty aspect of the “the only thing ruder than being rude is noticing” thing.

    Wonder if that’s why the histrionics-of-offense folks chose that….

  13. … if it were proven that one race is consistently “smarter” than the other or that one type of human is more obedient …

    That would, of course, depend on the definition of “smarter” wouldn’t it? For some (very important tasks) smarter ain’t necessarily better – e.g., data entry. In other instances, smarter actually describes an ability to quickly “pick up” information but often correlates with a highly superficial understanding of what that data actually means; they’re a mile wide but an inch deep in a world in which top experts are a mile deep in a field but only an inch wide.

    Then there is the fact that “smart” and “wise” are two different measures, and in some areas the former is no effective substitute for the latter.

    The real utility of differentiated intelligence metrics would be the ability to construct “classrooms” according to various learning speeds and modes. Instead of classifying people as “smart” or “stupid” we might accommodate them “quick/shallow,” “slow/deep,” or even quick/deep” and “slow/shallow” learners – to employ a simplistic two-dimensional model.

    The point, of course, being that people ought be treated as individuals, with evaluations determined not by general characteristics but by match-to-task. It is certain that a creative genius such as Charlie Chaplin would find an assembly line job maddening, but for somebody fresh off the farm accustomed to milking 100 cows every morning an assembly line might offer a relaxing Zen experience.

    1. Back in 1944, the ‘Calutron Girls’ were much better at operating Calutrons than the scientists and engineers who’d designed and built them. Apparently, knowing everything about how the machines ‘should’ work got in the way of seeing how they actually DID work, and keeping them running efficiently. The ‘Girls’ didn’t know when the machines did things that would surprise a scientist; they just kept the meters where they were supposed to be.

      1. I’m “smart” according to a given value of smart. What my IQ measurements actually mean, are that I’m good at taking tests, and “book larnin’”. I can’t build. I can only do basic plumbing or car maintenance. When I was young, I didn’t recognize that book smarts aren’t the only – or most important – smarts. As an adult, I realized that, for example, Norman’s gifts with cars were more useful in general than my vocabulary and reading speed. A person’s “value” to the world shouldn’t rely on skin color, or academic level, or any other specious example. Assumptions are stupid. “When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.”

      2. Jordan Peterson slaps down this epistemological relativism easily, pointing out that ANY metric of ability measures G or IQ at least to some degree. And that IQ is as well established and repeatedly found fact as supply and demand is in economics. And it is a highly inheritable difference, as my class mates father, experimental psychologist David T. Lykken, proved with his Twins Raised Apart studies at the University of Minnesota (which remains an ongoing cohort study), 0.75 correlation, ie, very high. Economic historian Gregory Clark runs with this finding, arguing that during the centuries before the Industrial Revolution, the upper class was over-producing offspring who then filtered their adapted and heritable advantages to their children down to lower classes in England, creating a human capital base that subsequent inventions like the steam engine then exploited. If not, then finance capital would have found creative and competent success elsewhere in the world, even far from Great Britain. But it did not – for a long time. To buttress his claims (while sadly PC genuflecting that they do not), in this TEDx talk, Clark outlines the results of his international names study. That is, if IQ is heritable, then surnames ought to persist through time. For example, Charles Darwin worried that incest marriage would result in diminished intelligence for his progeny. To the contrary, that did not happen, and his offspring have remained remarkably accomplished. Clark finds that ruling class or elite last names do persist, over time. Which, again, supports Lykken’s findings. (
        Richard Jensen applies this thesis (and Lykken, et al, findings) to national IQs and comparative national economic development. His results also find strong correlation of national wealth with a country’s IQ. Lastly, there is a persistent and regularly found group difference found regarding ethnic ancestry (or race). Thus, what BLM ascribes to inequalities that reveal “systemic racism” is readily and much better explained by group inherited IQ differences. Occam’s Razor shows is ain’t racism. It’s Nature. And their path of totalitarian scapegoating instead of opportunity society is tyrannical, empowering the sadism of Robespierre’s and Procrustes alike.

        1. Rolls eyes.
          Jordan Peterson is not god. Witness his confusion about left and right.
          From my experience as a high IQ person who grew up surrounded by high IQ people, including my kids, the idea that it measures anything that makes any kind of sense is bullshit on stilts.
          It’s great for getting ahead in a society ruled by … academics, who believe they can rule everyone.
          For anything else? Bullshit on stilts.
          Sir, I used to be a member of Mensa. Anyone making even a middle class income at anything that required TRAINING was a rarity.

          1. I read Murray and Hernstein on this in the Bell Curve. The real issue they don’t address is that most of the effect they describe is caused by very low IQ persons not being able to function well in any society. The tests add nothing to this. Further, very high IQ is often accompanied by other things that reduce “success”. Everyone else just sloshes around in the middle where the data are muddy.

            I’m all has to do with the totality of traits and circumstances. I wrote here a while ago that I am certainly among the lowest IQ here but I’m probably among the best paid. Some of that is circumstance but more of that is the other factors, for example I have a fairly high tolerance for certain forms of risk and no tolerance at all for others and I am attracted to certain kinds of problems that have often turned out profitably. Most of all, I’m very comfortable living in a world I can’t understand and can make the best of that by dealing with what I can understand. Very high IQ people often aren’t, which causes them to do dumb things.

            A few anecdotes, number one son is much smarter than me, he speaks several languages and learned Japanese so he could read manga in the original. He and his ABD in Linguistics stock shelves overnight in a supermarket. Number two son is also much smarter than me. He will either own the world or be a beach bum, at the moment bum is winning since he has the misfortune off seeing clearly but we remain hopeful. My daughter, who is bright but not like the others, simply sails through life dodging between the raindrops. Her combination of traits is close to optimal.

            1. There is an actual physical impairment that accompanies intelligence. Since as far as we can tell it comes from excessive connections between dendrites (sp) it is akin to things like schizophrenia, and it often comes with sensory and other issues.
              My biggest enemy, particularly as I get older is ADD. I can waste my entire life chasing butterflies that are fascinating.
              AND YET I’m probably one of the most successful people in my IQ range.
              Which, I’m afraid is not very successful at all, at least monetarily.

              1. ADD is a bad name for what I’ve got. My problem isn’t an attention deficit but rather a surfeit of it. Thankfully some of the things I lose myself in have been very lucrative. On the other hand, if my wife wasn’t a very organized administrator we’d have been evicted or jailed for non payment of tax since I just can’t be bothered.

                1. I suspect what is meant is a deficit of general rather than specific attention. The hyper-focus is a sort of tunnel vision and the result is, for ‘normal’ people, “How could you miss THAT?” and the response, is, of course, “Miss what?”

                  1. Bingo.
                    It isn’t a deficit, per se.
                    It’s hyperfocus.
                    Which can stay locked in in one thing, or rapidly switch between things, with little control.

                    When you’re hyperfocused on what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s magic.
                    When there’s a whole bunch of interesting stimuli…

                    I can plow through pretty well if I slap on a pair of headphones and tune everything out.
                    But I can’t do that while watching kids.

                2. Hyperfocus is a well-known side issue with ADD. The ADD brain seems to flit like a butterfly between subjects that don’t really trip its trigger, but will draw down into a laser focus on subjects that do so. And for some people, it is a narrow range of subjects, while for others, it’s simply noticing that some aspect of a given subject seems odd, and the person will be drawn down a rabbit hole into wonderland, where they don’t notice the rest of the world turning around them.

                  1. And for some people, it is a narrow range of subjects, while for others, it’s simply noticing that some aspect of a given subject seems odd, and the person will be drawn down a rabbit hole into wonderland, where they don’t notice the rest of the world turning around them.

                    ::turns bright red, along with half of the rest of the blog::

            2. Is stopping when you see something you don’t understand in order to understand it a good trait or a bad trait?

              What are you trying to do? Sometimes it is most important that you keep moving. Sometimes understanding everything that touches on the problem is what matters, even if you pretty much never get anything done.

              As far as I can tell, raw intelligence, not backed by applied skills, not directed to some end, it fairly useless.

              If you get bored fast, and then start looking for trouble instead of focusing on your duties, you will get yourself in a lot of difficulties.

          2. Well, Sarah. To apply your cynicism to your own critique, I’m sure your MENSA experience was representative (NOT). (That is, my genius buds had the same experience as you did. But this is not that. For example, one of my genius buds has indeed had an eminent career as a neuroscientist, producing over 50 scientific papers. Given Charles Murray’s report from historians of science that the median productivity of the PhD in science is only one published paper, this is an annectdote that is consistent with other empirical research findings. You, your claim on the other hand? Not so much but spec.)

            1. Oh, it wasn’t representative?
              Which is why EVERY SINGLE MENSAN (a Lot post here) had the exact same experience.
              You’re an idiot with illusions of understanding genius, and what genius means.

              1. I never joined precisely (see elsewhere about “tend to peg IQ tests”) because what I was seeing was what Sarah describes. Analogous to Lazarus Long’s tale of the “sad little lizard” who “said he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side.”

          3. The creators of the first IQ tests defined IQ circularly. “What is IQ? It is what my test measures.”

            Whatever “there” might be there is not understood except as an ability to score well on IQ tests. How it might apply to anything else is…dubious at best.

            1. Most of the tests I took were heavily weighted to math, vocabulary, and speed.

              The questions seemed more oriented to “easy to score” than trying to measure something.

          4. I too used to be a member of Mensa, and noticed the same thing.
            But only among the most devoted members.
            People who were at their first or second meeting didn’t have the same issue.

            Why? Of course I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure it’s because people with moderately high IQs (e.g., Mensa), who are otherwise at least average in social skills, have a lot of other options for how they spend their time.
            On the other hand, people with moderately high IQs who are below average in social skills don’t have much else to do, so they often are active Mensa members.

            1. Um…. the people who do best, as far as I can tell are the borderlines. The ones who get into Mensa “on a good day”. I know several who failed the test “on a bad day” and they all do better than I.
              We’re social apes. We don’t favor geniuses. We favor “normal” people who are a little faster, a little smarter. But not too much.
              When younger son was 12, we had him tested because I couldn’t read him at all as to intelligence. This told me he was either a moron or at least two standard deviations above me. (Which for various reasons is …. rare.) So we had him tested. It’s number 2. BUT — but– he’s having a much tougher time than brother who is at about my level and for whom it’s not a bed of roses, either.
              The farther away you are from the mean, the harder it is to navigate “normal”

      3. [shrug] I’ve pretty much “pegged” every IQ test I’ve ever taken (and gotten similar scores on various achievement tests like SAT, ACT, and ASVAB).

        I also note that I couldn’t throw a rock at LibertyCon without it striking three people smarter than me before it hits the ground. At least, in theory. I am not stupid enough to put that theory to practical test. 😉

        And, strangely, well, [looks around], yeah, I have to question the “IQ uber alles” types.

        1. My very unscientific classification of intelligence levels:
          1. Low intelligence — are aware that other people are smarter than them.
          2. Middle intelligence — are aware that other people are dumber than them.
          3. High intelligence — are aware that other people are both dumber and smarter than them.

          As someone of high intelligence on this scale (though certainly nothing special in this crowd), the most frustrating people to deal with are the middle intelligence people.

    2. I once worked for a very large corporation that was still old school (privately owned) when I started there. We are in the midwest, and they would almost automatically hire any girl who came off the farm to the big city. They found that after working ten hour days seven days a week on the farm, making rate on a production line 40 hours a week was a snooze.That company made a LOT of money back in the day, and so did their employees.

  14. Is it tribalism if one can belong to more than one tribe at a time?

    Because if ditching tribalism isn’t possible (and I don’t think it is) then the best practical alternative is to have networks of interlocking tribes. In fact, I think this is a better description of the US than any sort of “class” system. The wealthy and the well-credentialed aren’t really upper class (despite many of them yearning to be) but instead are just members of “The rich people tribe,” or “The advanced-Ivy-League-degree tribe.” Not better, certainly not “our betters” – just different.

    And there’s a certain ease in when one is at a convention of one sort or another, and the importance of the “skin color tribes” take a step back in favor of belonging ot the photographer tribe (“Canon or Nikon?”), or the model tribe, or the D&D tribe, or the Warhammer tribe, or the Sad Puppy tribe, or…

    1. Pa: This town doesn’t have a “high society” – just some people that claim it as they drink more expensive booze.

      Alright, I suppose it might be ‘high’ in one sense… but that one crosses levels.

    2. Kinda depends.

      There seems to be a limit of how many groups one can be extremely deeply attached to at one time. Dunbar’s number, or two groups of 200.

      As long as some of the groups you belong to/have belonged to demand that you treat outsiders as human beings, you are potentially willing to have a sense of monkeysphere outside of the really close groups.

      So, a bunch of Christian religion groups can cluster that way, but probably a bunch of communist religion groups cannot.

  15. I’ve come to the conclusion that not teaching people how the meat machine works is particularly nasty to them: if you know why you’re brain soup is off, or even that it can be off, you can make a choice to adjust it directly. Otherwise it’s just the crazy monkey brain grabbing the controls and hammering away on them.

    The same with male/female dynamics. It was striking to me to discover, during the act, the female’s body is flooded with hormones to induce them to trust their partner, but the male’s isn’t.

    There is just so much of biology that tries to steal the wheel from you, that not telling people that it can happen is a horrid injustice to them. But I think it’s rooted in the desire to believe that we are fully self-determining machines, free from such hijacking. We can be, but, paradoxically, it takes knowledge that such hijackings are a thing and training to manage them, for us to become so.

    1. If your brain soup is off, you won’t notice.
      The analytical thing is convincing you that everyone else is going crazy.
      After all, you know what you said, and what you did. You were there for it!

      Painkillers put me into serotonin syndrome a couple years back. Whatever I was speaking, wasn’t English. But if you’d have told me that, I’d have called you a “pleamed byre” at best.
      Worse, were the vivid memories of things that hadn’t actually happened. Those kept ambushing me. I showed up to non-existant appointments, had already researched an answer, or knew *exactly* where a location was…
      I was only stark raving mad for under a day, but it haunted me for months.

      1. Ok, that’s an entirely different degree of brain-soup-offness than I had in mind. I was thinking more along the lines of realizing if you’re mad about something, you’ll take greater risks, or specific medications have made me a moron in the past, so I shouldn’t plan to have to do anything involving serious judgement of I’m on them, or the first three months of any relationship, you are literally addicted to the other person sort of thing

  16. Oh my gosh I just figured out one of the reasons Eugenics hit so hard.

    K, part of why you can’t breed humans like cattle is that we’re messy. We’re the result of untold generations of pair-bonding. Yes, yes, that famous genetic study where there’s far fewer male ancestors than female. … the one that nobody paid attention to where they explained this was expected, since guys tend to die in battle or childhood, while gals died in childbirth. One of those selects for a much wider range of partners without some stupid harem fantasy.

    Eugenics is based mostly off of farm animals. Where you have as few of the only-useful-once-a-year animals as possible! Add that, to untold generations of carefully selected breeding, and the genetics of domestic animals are amazingly well organized, compared to humans.

    So, the Really Smart People looked at what those dumb mud-grubbers were doing, and figured it couldn’t be that hard.

    …and then took the CENTURIES OF SELECTIVE BREEDING as a baseline for “what we can do with breeding.”

    And tried to apply it to people.

    Ignoring that even in cattle, you have things like the really common mutation/recessive of black angus with black angus will throw red calves pretty often. (I guess that kind of looks like the Random Redhead kid thing?)

    1. Also Ghost Face. Dan loves seeing ghost face calves in the middle of a black herd. No idea why. There’s a herd that pastures beside a road we routinely drive when we go to officeish and the city-boy gets so excited. 😀

      1. My parents are both long time beef ranchers and THEY love those, too!

        Does any white-face work, or only the ones with the mascara look?

        The ones that mostly get my folks going are Herford/Angus crosses, they are an INCREDIBLY awesome crosses for beef cattle, and oh my gosh the calves are CUTER than even the pure ones for the rest and that’s hard to manage!

        1. Any white face, really. 🙂
          Look, Dan didn’t see animals growing up. He’s not a fluffy head, so he’s not decided to stop eating beef or something.
          But he keeps watching them and catching them doing things, like boy calves wrestling, that he didn’t know happen. And he gets ALL excited.
          …. My DIL who grew up on a farm used to get a little weirded out by his enthusiasm, until I explained. 😀

    2. … he takes pictures and shows them to people as “my cows.” DON’T ASK.
      Also, the wild turkeys in the preserve behind us? Those are “My turkeys.” It’s very weird.

    3. Not to mention the relatively high ratio of extreme birth defects in selectively-bred domestic animals. Peanuts, meat cakes, and just plain deformed animals. Selective breeding of humans would create widespread, intense misery.

      1. *waggles hands*
        Depends on how open they are to culling defective animals; cattle don’t have that high of a rate of negative defects, because we kill those that even SUGGEST they MIGHT have them.

        For obvious reasons, not gonna work with people.

        For those who don’t think it’s obvious, it takes hundreds of generations to get a result, to the point that dairies having bulls that aren’t psychotic ax-murderers is a major achievement, and has been for most of a century even with extreme ease of finding breeding stock that is sane.

        1. What I find really appalling about the eugenicists of the last century is that most of them were not so far removed from the farm that they wouldn’t have understood all of that. They knew exactly what they were signing humanity up for.

          1. Eh, I’d have to do some serious biographical deep dives, but my impression is that eugenicists were some of the first people who were three or more generations off the farm. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing by then, so you get middle-class and up folks who don’t have any first or second hand experience of animal husbandry, just a vague feeling of “well, farmers can do it, so of course we can do it better.”

            1. For example, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. of “three generations of imbecils is enough” infamy, appears to not have had a parent or grandparent who wasn’t an educated town-dweller. (Father was a poet/physician; paternal grandfather was a minister; maternal grandfather was a judge)

              Francis Galton, coiner of the term “eugenics,” was descended of economist/scientist/businessman (father), arms manufacturer (paternal grandfather), and physician/scientists (maternal grandfather). Again, not a one who would have had any hands-on experience with animal husbandry.

  17. If we go by the theory of a human being worth what he/she can do …

    What is the value of entertainment? Does a great stand-up comic increase the sum total of human wealth one gram? Do Tom Brady’s achievements on the football field in any way increase the amount of food available in this world? Is anybody fed or provided medical care by Taylor Swift’s latest song?

    None of those things do the least little bit to enhance our material wealth (arguably, they diminish it by diversion of resources to frivolous use.) If we are measuring human value by a standard of strict utility then the guy emptying bedpans at the Mayo Clinnic is more valuable than all the people in Hollywood.

    1. Putting some numbers to this: a quick check reveals that in 2017 the average annual wage of late-night talk show hosts was about $15 million, yet neither Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel nor Jimmy Fallon produced a bushel of tomatoes nor a unit of widgets. Shouldn’t the ability to nurse a sick child be more valuable than being able to cause a person to involuntarily shoot lima beans through their nose? (Not that there’s any danger of any one of those three achieving that metric; mild chuckles seem much more their provoked response.)

    2. What is the value of entertainment? … If we are measuring human value by a standard of strict utility then the guy emptying bedpans at the Mayo Clinic is more valuable than all the people in Hollywood.

      And if we’re measuring human value by a standard of how much we can entertain each other…I suspect the guy emptying bedpans is still more valuable than all the people in Hollywood. He at least probably knows a joke or two and won’t endlessly lecture you about dying gay polar bears or something.

      1. … won’t endlessly lecture you about dying gay polar bears

        If nobody dyes them how do they become pink?

    3. I’ve had such thoughts myself. It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? What is “value” anyway? Is a skilled maker of fancy, high-quality horse saddles more “valuable” than a less-skilled but still competent maker of plain, high-quality horse saddles that perform their functions in exactly the same way but without added beauty? It’d appear that despite the lack of functional differences between plain and fancy saddles, many people are still willing to pay considerably more for the fancy saddles with gorgeous artwork. “Value” … is in the eye of the beholder? Beauty adds to the quality of life in ways that cannot be directly compared to the health benefits of an excellent flame-broiled steak or a tall, cool glass of spring water?

      1. This calls to mind an observation by James Cagney, that there are dance steps which the pros appreciate but which the public thinks nothing of, not realizing how damned difficult those steps are. OTOH, there are steps that wow an audience but which the pros sniff at, deeming them showy but easy.

        This obviously applies in other venues as well, such as readers who dismiss short stories as easy – without realizing how hard it is to trim away every excess word.

  18. Unfortunately, the people doing any such studying will be human.
    Those attracted to the endeavor will have their own axes to grind.
    They will be vulnerable to responding to incentives.
    And any organization funding such an endeavor will have conclusions that they expect the researchers to reach.

    In the absence of the obligations imposed by Christianity and a functional society that values an Objective Truth, any study is likely to end with mass graves or a subjugated caste. (And I’m not entirely certain which is worse. But they’re not mutually exclusive.)

    The taboo that reigned until recently was NOT good.
    But given the current society lacks a common moral core, denies the possibility of objective truth, and rewards those inclined to control others…
    Returning to it might be the best possible outcome.

  19. If we studied — say — the genetics of various people, wouldn’t we be tempted to discriminate against those whose genetics show them not to be brilliant.

    That would sort of depend on what we thought we needed people for, wouldn’t it? I suspect the PRC has far more need of cannon fodder infantry than of rocket scientists (at least numerically) and is far more competent at training the former than the latter. Thus they would be better off plucking potential rocket scientists for intensive (a polite term for “expensive”) training while electing to turn out far greater umbers of “mundane” minds for infantrymen. I cannot help but think that brilliant people make poor foot soldiers.

  20. BUT Sarah, suppose we study more and find that say people from a certain city/place are not very smart. Wouldn’t we discriminate against them?

    But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down
    And the eyes in his head see the world spinning around

  21. One of the “miracles” of the village — a brilliant young man — was the son of the mentally-impaired farmer’s daughter, and (like in the joke) the traveling salesman

    It is important to consider that the mentally-impaired farmer’s daughter might have been (genetically) highly intelligent but, due to in-utero trauma, delivery issues (such as oxygen-deprivation) or other factors, unable to “access” her intelligence. It exists in potential but can never be realized. This is superficially identical to a similar dim girl who suffered no trauma but simply lacked innate mental capacity.

    To use a familiar literary example, we must distinguish between Miles Vorkosigan and a mutant.

  22. Since this crisis began, I have told people the problem is that I’m not good for much, which usually makes them indignant. But hell, it’s true.

    So, as far as survival of the species, and probably my own survival, I’m more of a drag than a help.

    But it’s not true.

    Which is why they’re indignant, because they can SENSE it’s not true– but they don’t know how to argue it.

    I got this!

    ….well, part of it.

    You just finished talking about how people on average are average.

    Look, if you manage “not actively damaging or at least not more than you create,” you are a net plus.

    …wonder if that’s what He meant about “those who are not against us are with us….”

    It’s somewhere between the Just In Case stuff, and the Don’t Be a Dick Head rule.

    Upkeep is an ongoing cost; so if you even manage to not be a drag in addition to upkeep, you are “good for” something. Objectively.

    This is a cousin to the beat-yourself-up thing women sometimes do, where they’re home all day but nothing “gets done”– which completely ignores that nothing gets WORSE, even though people are eating, and living, and Time Happens, so the upkeep must be done.

    It can be useful, but it can also be a trap.

      1. It’s just feels so good to actually do things, where you can see them getting done!

        ….I dug roughly 6 cubic feet of clay so we got the fish pool we’ve been working on set up after like a year. -.- Then seeded stuff we bought fall 18 months ago.

        1. I would seed stuff. NOTHING GROWS. Seriously. I’ve never lived in a place where cosmos don’t grow. Sigh. Well, hopefully different next Spring.

    1. Look, if you manage “not actively damaging or at least not more than you create,” you are a net plus.

      Wait, how is *that* math supposed to work? This isn’t a sub-subject where “other ways of valuing” matter.

      1. Read the damned comment, Ian. I quite literally spelled it out. Repeatedly.

        Quit doing the skim and try to be clever, I do not have the time for it.

        Or figure out that dishes don’t stay clean when you eat off of them, so having clean dishes takes work. AKA, “wear and tear exist, if you manage to keep things at the same level they were when you started YOU ARE A NET PLUS.

        1. No, I *did* read the comment.

          The comparison happens after all the stuff is tallied up. Just because Net Neutral is far better than Net Loss does not make it Net Plus.

          It makes it Net Neutral. Deserving of recognition for not making things worse, sure. But calling a N-N a N-P is no less a lie than calling it a N-L.

          1. No, I *did* read the comment.

            Then choose to follow an argument, and go read the comment again. Pay attention to the words quoted, and written, and what they actually say.

            I’m not going to work through your baggage when you so desperately cling to it, rather than reading what is actually there.

            Stuff being in your head does not obligate me to follow it.

            1. > So, as far as survival of the species, and probably my own survival, I’m more of a drag than a help.

              But it’s not true.

              [snip build up]

              Look, if you manage “not actively damaging or at least not more than you create,” you are a net plus.

              ….as already talked about


              Upkeep is an ongoing cost; so if you even manage to not be a drag in addition to upkeep, you are “good for” something. Objectively.

              The goalposts haven’t moved as this subject was already on the table, but you’ve changed the target. The question of whether someone is “good for something” is completely different from what their net survival effect is.

              If you want to talk about being good for something, fine. If you want to talk about the other values a person might have (say to family) beyond survival, fine. If you only want to talk about survival production vs survival cost, that is fine too.

              But don’t squish of all that together and ask me to believe that because -1 != 0, therefore 0 == 1, which is what your net plus statement requires.

              1. They’re good for something in that they are good for keeping things from getting worse.

                They fight entropy. That’s not a small thing.

                1. There is a hell of a lot of work in “keeping stuff at the same level they were at, while they are being used.”

                  Or there’s the old joke about “I didn’t do it today.”

                  A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

                  The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

                  Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

                  In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

                  In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

                  He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.

                  He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door.

                  As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap, and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

                  As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel.

                  She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked:

                  “What happened here today?’”

                  She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?”

                  “Yes,” was his incredulous reply.

                  She answered, ‘”Well, today I didn’t do it.”

                  AKA, why Samwise is one of the biggest heroes of LOTR.

                2. Strictly speaking “good for something” doesn’t mean someone is a net benefit. Which is part of why you can’t just shove the concepts together and call it a day.

                  1. Well, maybe it’s a confusion with the use of the terms then.

                    Just understand that with houses and households and families active maintenance is a win because it’s the only way to stay where your are, and it takes extra effort to achieve active improvement, but after the improvement is done you’re back maintenance to keep it improved.

  23. … both refusing to study humans and the idea of breeding humans like cows are industrial grade stupid.

    The problem here being, as is implicit in your summation, that the people who seem most prone to study humans tend to be the sort of people who are the very last people we want doing such work. Too commonly the instruction in the study of people seems to reduce the subject matter to matter, the basic stuff of psychotic dreams.

    It seems as if one of the defining traits of humanity is to view other humans are less human than ourselves, as manipulable clay for our entertainment.

  24. And my sons are…. louder than normal for their culture and age group. Though I’m not sure that’s true when they’re not with family.

    At least partly nurture, I’ve got adopted cousins with zero DNA shared who have the same “this is how you deal with conflict” thing.

    BUT, there are also would-be-mental-illness-if-not-managed things that are, duh, genetic– but the management is cultural. My family does lots of yelling; my husband’s doesn’t– but a lot of the depression management techniques are close enough to cause a lot of problems with the differences. 😀

  25. It has always been my belief that genetics sets a top limit on various abilities, very various and many never accounted for. Upbringing, to a greater or lesser extent degrades them. The best “tribes” – societies do the least harm and so have individuals that, on average, outperform societies that do more harm. Then the societies that do the harm blame the societies that don’t as being evil monsters who are stealing from them.

  26. There is always tension between the valuable parts of group membership and the negative parts. Humans want to belong, they need tribes of some kind. But (pre-)judging people by their group membership is generally a bad thing. Probably, considering human nature, this is something that everybody should be struggling to balance almost all the time. As far as major religions go, I consider Christianity better at this than most of the others.

  27. For instance, my genetics say I wake up naturally at 7:15 am. BROTHER. They also say some truly strange things, like that I have celliac disease (I don’t.)

    My DNA says that I am unable to use folic acid, and if I don’t use a special variant of mostly-digested folic acid, all of my children will have that nasty spine-didn’t-develop-right disease where the cord is exposed.
    ….found this out on child 6. Yeah, I took the pills, but… from the evidence….

      1. I seriously wish that they hadn’t had the freak out about B complex shots when my mom was in college– if I’d taken B in high school, I may not have screwed up my body.
        I’d probably also be a bit taller…..
        (Quite literally starved myself to try to lose weight, since exercise didn’t work. Turns out that restricting diet and working like crazy doesn’t fix vitamin absorption deficiencies, even if they’re not trendy. Go figure!)

          1. My usual school day diet after I hit my teens, found the internet and was thus up before my parents:

            Coffee for breakfast, four carrots for lunch, some sort of beef with greens and either potatoes or noodles for dinner.

            As best I can figure, mom and dad assumed that I ate cereal for breakfast, and those times mom saw my lunch she approved because I was over-weight, clearly I should be dieting, and it worked for me so it was fine.
            Sometimes, I’d get teased for eating too much, usually when mom was feeling fat. 😀

            1. Mom yells at me — still — for eating too much.
              Here’s the funny thing: last time I visited, they lost my luggage. So I raided mom’s closet. Mom is now more than a foot shorter than I,a nd just before I visited had lost a lot of weight, and had her clothes altered.
              Her clothes FIT ME. I mean, short as hell, for the skirt, but they fit me.
              BUT ask my mom and she tells you I’m “Monstrously fat” and I must eat all the time.
              I am fat. I need to lose 50 lbs. But it’s obvious it’s genetic, damn it. And it’s not because I eat a ton.
              And mom is proportionately bigger than I.
              As far as I can tell, she confuses total size with “fat.”

              1. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but a lot of your mom stories match up with my mom’s mom stories– and granny literally had neighbors sitting on her after several of the babies, 24/7, to keep her from KILLING THEM in post partum depression.

                Her relationship with mom’s dad was also oddly similar to that with yours….so probably another sign of Irish relations, one way or the other.

              2. I know it’s trite, but… people see what they expect to see. Even when it’s standing right in front of them, and visibly not what they say it is. They get some kind of aphasia that prevents them from seeing that.

  28. They had seven kids before (literally. This is not a joke) someone thought to tell them what caused it. And two more after that but more spaced.

    I went to school with this girl. She was very sweet but seriously, I can’t even imagine her keeping house or raising kids, though I’ve been assured she did/does both very well, if at a very basic level.

    Most of her kids went to college. With no money for tutoring. With no help passing exams. And certainly with no money for private colleges.

    Just assume I did my usual foaming-at-the-mouth about that truly hateful thought-pattern usually supported by the movie Idiocracy here.

    Me and my smart guy are still going to have kids, but if people looked instead of assuming their conclusions, they’d realize humans don’t work like that.

    (And yes, I understand some folks think the movie is funny. That’s fine. Don’t make me watch it, or expect me to respect arguments based off of a freaking humor movie. What next, Three Stooges as evidence?)

    1. Eh.
      The joke is presented as “intelligent couples not having kids”.
      But the execution was “this societally-encouraged stereotype of a feminist woman not having kids”. The Walter Mittyesque husband clearly wanted kids, but wanted to avoid pissing off his ball-buster of a wife even more.

      It took full advantage of the liberal “you’re an intelligent, caring liberal, or a mouth-breathing degenerate” belief system as the setup.
      Most of the Leftist hangups are shown to not be an issue in their absence. (Like racism. In the movies’
      comically dystopic future, it simply doesn’t exist. The wildly popular President is black. It’s never even lampshaded. It just is. Unlike his AWESOME MONSTER TRUCK.)
      Really, an unstated central metajoke is that Liberals have no self-awareness,
      That they aren’t hugely offended by the movie pretty much makes the point.

      Heck, the bloody plot is “most of society’s problems can be solved by an average man with a little common sense who interacts with others in good faith”.

      It really is a deeply subversive movie. (Obscured by everyone’s favorite gameshow “Ow! My balls!”)

      1. But what it is used for is “you have children, thus you are a moron, because Idiocracy showed that only stupid people are breeding.”

        I oh my stars and garters WISH I was joking.

          1. Truth.

            My favorite is folks who went from thinking I was impressive mentally to talking to me like a three year old when they found out I had then four kids.

          1. If I remember right, that’s one of the things Idiocracy was “inspired by,” although I may be misremembering and they’re both examples of Malthusian/eugenics justifying stories.

        1. I had forgotten that, but true. There used to be a lot of scorn heaped on Breeders and a lot of probably-pretend-Gaia-worshipers claiming that having no kids was virtuous, and if you MUST have kids limited to one, or at MOST two was the goal.

          I do remember writing “Too bad your parents didn’t agree with you” once or twice. Sigh…

          I do not know whether it’s been the rise of Anti-Whiteness (also written sometimes as Anti-Racism) and some of the contradictions involved, or that I move in different circles now (My LJ is dormant, maybe dead) but I do not see that kind of loud-and-proud “breeder hate” very often any more.

          1. They seem to have started tapering off about 5-8 years ago on using the term “Breeder,” probably in response to “Evolution, Mo-Fo, you ever hear about it?” and “Yes, how terrible. I am capable of not screwing up the reproductive act, when even you can’t stand to **** yourself.”

      2. I watched it with my sister, found it to be an over-long joke, not too bad, didn’t really pay off for time invest in the punch line.

        And then I kept meeting people who treated a freakin’ comedy movie as gospel the point that a god-botherer would blush….

  29. Oh! Oh! Oh!

    How how about this– the problem with “studying people” is that they’ve got it backwards.

    Look, like “X is made for Man, Man is not made for X.”

    The guys going into the studying people thing have been looking at “how can we make Man good for Thing?”

    They need to be going, “What part of Thing works for Man?”

    Over at The American Catholic, I’m arguing with someone who thinks that telework is bad; my argument is that it should be an option, because the method should serve both the job and the person.
    Hers is basically that trying to watch the kids and do work doesn’t work well, plus she likes being around people at work.
    (you can go look, it’s the Pentagon picture one, After We Get Whipped By China Remember This; I’m not even exaggerating)

    Humans are not a means to an end.

    Humans are an end in themselves.

    But one of our ends is to be useful– so, while being totally ourselves, what can we do and be creators?

    Even if it’s “just” being the janitor– it’s important work.

    1. Sigh.
      Dan and I always wanted to work from home, because his work COULD be done from home, and he works best from home. We’re sorry we couldn’t do that when the kids were little.
      I worked BEST with littles around my ankles. ADD, you know?
      What I need, and I’ve said, is like…. one day a week we go out and see people. Every couple of months, we take a weekend and do a “writing weekend” which is actually a plotting/brainstorming/reading a lot/go to museums weekend, in a hotel not where we live.
      “See people” is just that. The usual program was go to zooseum (zoo and/or museum. For this purpose Botanic gardens is a museum) go to church, go out to dinner — with friends optional but not more than once a month with friends.
      This was enough to set me right on my “People still exist, I’m not alone on the ice-floe” sense, and I’m FINE after that.
      Unfortunately the assholes shut that down.

      1. My mom’s “people who need people to show that they don’t need people.”

        You don’t need to interact.

        You need to know, in a way you could lay hands on, that there are people around who are alright.

        Last year at one warm evening point I did a mental health drive and pulled over near a park– and broke down crying, quietly, because the old biddies from the coffee shop had taken their coffees over to the pagoda in town and were being COMPLETELY NORMAL.

        It’s been a year since we’ve been to the library. I just… I just can’t go in, with the librarians masked, and the little kid stuff gone or wrapped in plastic, and….
        Going to start crying again. :/

        1. I have the same reaction to my favorite places, with masks and signs and damn purell. Except you cry, and I’m afraid I’ll be arrested for assault.

          1. I’m not allowed to use effective action for emotional stuff, I carry.

            (see earlier comment about cultural differences for Dealing With things; not a claim you would shoot someone for annoying you, a description of the ‘fence’ that’s in my head to prevent Unthinkable things. My “there is nothing I can do to fix this” solution is to cry. Very Irish crying. 😀 )

          2. THIS is why I haven’t been to the botanic gardens in over a year. And it guts me, because that’s our relaxing/happy place, just the two of us. BUT I don’t want to go there with masks.
            I broke down and went to the zoo for my birthday and it was incredibly depressing. Areas are closed to avoid people clumping? or something. It makes no sense, and the result is you see almost no animals, and no people either, because people are all wearing masks.

        2. The local Scheels had been one of the stores that didn’t Karen people about masks. At least until Lord Pritzker decreed punishments for those who didn’t.

          But in recent weekends I’ve noticed that even with that people there are starting to drop the masks.

          And Scheels is a pretty good place to walk through on a busy Saturday. Lots of families with lots of kids. My pre- or post-range trip walk thoughs aren’t even really about seeing what they have in stock so much as seeing people.

            1. I already had noted their customer service; one evening I went there looking to see if they sold chamber flags. They didn’t. So one of the employees gave me one from the back.

              My most recent pistol was purchased there for these reasons. (that they had it in stock certainly didn’t hurt)

        3. Parks closed all summer.
          Libraries closed, with books in quarantine after being “returned”
          Friend’s kids being yelled at during lunch for talking with out a mask inbetween bites of food.
          The fauxcine
          Churches all over closed, social distancing, masks, following lies because it’s “loving your neighbour”
          The constant obsession with the 2nd coming


          I want back Underhill. I want to dance with the fiddlers of Dooney whipping through Seán sa Cheo.

          … and then when I make loud and pointed comments about government … things … people have “PTSD attacks” and I almost lose my damned job.

  30. I was sitting here reading the comments — and the post was great, of course– and I felt just a little uncomfortable about assessing my value. I have done a lot in my life. I haven’t done everything, but I have done a lot that if I talk about it, it would sound like bragging. Now I spend most of my time walking the dog, eating, dialysis, and looking at nature. I watch shows and movies. I watch political commentary. I can’t find value in much of that. I keep writing– and keep failing at it. The one thing I do have is a survival instinct. I work hard at staying alive.

    1. Thing is, when you are evaluating your worth on the basis on things you can see and quantify, it is very easy for depression to start working its way in and start lying to you.

      One of the fundamental lies in depression’s toolbox is that you can know what effect you have on others, much less that you will know what effect you have on others.

      This is a statement of faith, that does not require one to believe in Christ: You can not measure what effect you have on others. You, and everyone else, do things for or to others that you don’t notice, that they may take a lot away from. Since you try to treat people decently, you must believe that you have done great things for others without realizing it. That you can continue to do so.

      It is important to try to live for the future possibilities, which you can not know in advance, which you may act on without realizing or noticing.

      I’m neither perfectly virtuous, or always pleasant to be around. Yet, I’ve tried to share cool observations with others. I’ve maybe been working to do good in that way for twenty years, and I literally can not tell you what it has accomplished. Because the people I’ve spoken with in person have mostly moved on, I hope to better things, and I have not stayed in touch. I hope that I have helped them in some way, that I threw seeds on fertile soil. I would have limited information about what role I played, even if I knew more about their outcomes.

      I refuse to say that what I don’t know justifies ugly things I have done to others. However, what I do know for certain is not on its own a basis for emotional health. If I haven’t done enough to plant seeds, I can try harder in the future.

      1. Some idiot archeology professor went on a trip to Australia and killed himself, and left a note with his department that nobody could read for ten years (which he made sound as if it were going to be about academic stuff that would be helpful to the field). And the note was all about how being old stunk, and how everybody old should kill themselves, blah blah blah.

        But he killed himself by walking off a cliff, which caused a lot of trouble, and I guess he was okay with defrauding his life insurance company. But man, that note. It was really poisonous stuff. I couldn’t decide if he had been depressed or just freaking pompous and narcissistic. It’s okay to spend one’s old age just being happy and doing different retirement things, but no.

        If you really want to read it, it’s on Laudator Temporis Acti (a blogspot blog) under “A Burden to the Community?”

        1. Oh, and idiot dude was a Marxist. Of course he was. He managed to go to the USSR in 1935 and see nothing wrong with it, even though he was in a discipline that deduced stuff from material objects. Argh. I can see where he was influential and not totally wrong, but… he also did Marxist archeology. As a thing on purpose, not a thing one suddenly noticed and was embarrassed about one’s politics contaminating one’s observations. Ugh.

          1. I saw that in the English Literature degree study. Hated it. Made up my own critical theory on the basis of Jung. I found out after talking to my professor that I hadn’t been the first to do it (Northrup Frye) 😀 We were on the same track except I didn’t know it.

      2. When I can be around people– I am an introvert and also auto-immune compromised, I try to be a good listener. I had a professor tell me once that I had an instinctive grasp of psychology. I couldn’t do that job for any length of time btw, but I do try to be kind if I can. If not– I leave the situation as quickly as I can.

  31. I attended a peds conference once where the presenter was talking about different skill sets. We have all heard of IQ, and some EQ(emotional quotient) but he expanded it to 8 differing categories, including physical, spatial, numerical, mechanical, emotional, time orientation, verbal, etc. (I wish I still had the presentation, it was quite good). His point was that the only ones we count as “smart” are verbal and numerical. There is no one who is good at all of them. So counting only the verbal or numerical ones as “smart” devalues the geniuses in the other realms. It was a developmental talk, and aimed at using the strengths of the child to teach to the weaknesses of the child. It resonated with me because the children can’t be taught in only one style. Another of MANY weaknesses of the school system.

    1. What saved me was that I was reading at a high school level by the time I was in late elementary school. This made me seem smart. I was an introvert but had a great inner life. I didn’t realize how timid I seemed to others until I met an old elementary school friend when I was an adult. She was totally surprised that I was how I am now– I told her that I was always this way. It’s just I am now living my inner self in my outer life. I’m not protecting it —

      1. BTW my learning style mainly aural. I was almost blind until I had laser-surgery in my mid 30s. I’m not as visual as most people.

        1. Mine, weirdly isn’t even verbal, it’s tactile. If I want to learn to do something, particularly crafts, I have to take the pieces/instruments in hand and feel them to figure out how they work.
          This is fun when I’m assembling something.

          1. 🙂 or disassemble. I have brothers who are tactile. One of them became a Merchant Marine and the other owned several body shops— I do a little in tactile… not my big learning style though.

          2. Why would that be weird? You’re feeding spatial dimensions to your brain in a manner complementary to that afforded by sight, and it’d appear that drafting the senses of touch and proprioception into heavy labor works considerably better for you than sight alone. This’d appear to be similar to the example of how gifted mechanics might not be able to parse a sentence but can perform amazing feats with machinery, absorbing complex mechanical interrelationships with almost insulting ease. Ja?

            1. Weirdly what I wanted to BE until mom (and to an extent the school) objected was mechanical engineering.
              Weirdly only because I work in words, obviously.

    2. My verbal abilities, or lack, are well in evidence here.

      No comment on numerical.

      Time, I’m not sure where he was focused. I’m bad at some of the time sense/focus that involves doing stuff in the here and now. But my forecasting is sometimes okay.

      Spatial? I can have a really significant lack of awareness of my surroundings, but my object visualization, etc. can be acceptable.

      Mechanical? I have a really bad level of ‘mechanical aptitude’. I’ve learned a little about looking at machinery, and imagining how it might work/look in motion.

      Anyway, I would say that he understated how much we over simplify it. It seems like there are a lot of people who only see articulate people as being smart, and completely overlook numeracy.

      It is almost true that my learning style is trolling and flame wars. 🙂

    3. My spatial skills are terrible. All those jokes about women parking cars? I am that woman.

      1. I don’t have much spatial either– for instance navigation. My late hubby learned quickly that I had very little aptitude with it.

      2. I am what the school counts as “smart” in that I’m good at words and math. But I still have to turn the map to figure out whether I’m turning left or right. My spatial sense seems to be nonexistent.

        1. We are still having arguments about this. With map navigation, I’m fine when we can stop and plan it out. I can read a map. I can translate left and right between N/S E/W so I have that down. I just can’t tell him which of the myriad 3 – 6 lane to multiple exits is wanted at speed, and when we need to get over. I love the *navigation systems, for this one thing, … first trip ever we didn’t get into arguments.

          Wilderness maps. Again. I know I’m not spatially aware. I’m so bad I don’t presume where I am on the map and insist the map is wrong … which I have seen happen.

          * We are well aware of the dangers of navigation systems. Although they’ve improved. Try planning a trip through Yellowstone or the Tetons now. You’d never know there are navigable roads through either of them. True enough for November through Mid-May sometime (YNP). Tetons road opens sometime in April.

            1. I have a friend who is a successful lawyer and romance writer who can’t do directions. She can’t do left or right, much less north, south, east or west. Whatever direction she is facing is north in her mind.

              1. Hm. That would explain some of the utterly bizarre directions I’ve been given from time to time…

        1. Want some real fun? Try parallel parking while pulling a trailer…and yes, it does help to have two co-linear spots 🙂

          I grew up on a farm, so I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. But I haven’t done that in quite some time.

          1. Oh. Yea. Don’t get me started. Let me detail the arguments, starting with storing the trailer alongside the house … This doesn’t count the camp spot parking and leveling arguments … um, never mind. Seriously. A lot of ranting, on both sides. Doesn’t help that he can’t hear me in the cab with me in the blind spots. We’d worked out a system. But there was always something not covered that could go wrong. Whenever the kid is available to help put the trailer away, he dealt with it. Doesn’t help that hubby (his brother is exactly the same way), has to have the RV parked perfectly the way imagined (loading on RV Camper, exactly square, to the micro MM). FYI. It is fun watching other people go through the same, especially all the newbies at it this last fall (you can tell). Hey, I don’t judge. But it was fun.

            Note – I did not grow up on a farm. I don’t tow. We’ve been in some interesting situations while on the road. Major tourist towns who do not make it clear the best method of RV access to get fuel, getting everyone trapped until said RV can be gotten out of the tight situation.

            I swore we were going to get a tow camera for the back of the trailer. Would have helped with parking in tight spaces in that I didn’t have to be in two places at once. Plus we’d have the benefit of being able to see directly behind us. We didn’t. But I definitely recommended it to the people who bought the Trailer.

            1. Heh. Never dealt with RVs, but I’ve parallel parked pickup-pulling-double-axle-hay-trailer more than once. Unloaded…so camera wouldn’t have helped much in that case.

              I also used to be a perfectionist, but as I matured as an engineer, I embraced the healing power of “good enough.”

              My wife’s answer to parallel parking is “Here, you do it.” 🙂 Actually, that’s her second answer…her first answer is, “I’ll park over here so I don’t need to do that. I don’t mind walking.”

              1. her first answer is, “I’ll park over here so I don’t need to do that. I don’t mind walking.”

                Makes perfect sense to me. Both first and second options.

                This is why, when hubby paying attention to his next camera shot, at the top of a cliff, stumbled, because he misjudged the height of the redone thick asphalt … and fell, sprawling half on/off the asphalt! Luckily it was also at the top of the Fire Hole River Swimming Hole, stairs down to the rocks and swimming hole (closed for the 2020 pandemic). After the “Oh Holy …”, “Are you okay?”, “I’ll get the first aid kit”, “Did you break the camera?” (No, that he held up off the ground … heaven forbid.) Then came the “Oh, crap. He could have gone over the cliff!” He was that close. Then, now that the panic is over, he is bandaged. (Scrapes, more bleeding … age related.) I realized … I might have had to figure out how to get the truck trailer hooked up, and home … like mom said, “You’d only had to figure it out once!” Nope. Rather not have to figure it out at all. Just because I could, doesn’t mean I want to.

          2. I spent 6 years living on the farm. Drove, parked and backed up just about everything that can be, in various combinations. Parallel parking is dead easy. Pull up, back in, find curb, back and fill until front and back wheels are about 4″ from the curb. Stop engine.

    4. It’s not a weakness. The school system isn’t *designed* to teach kids things. At least, not anything useful.

    5. Al Maguire, who coached Marquette to the NCAA national title, pointed out that one cannot be stupid and play high level basketball. They may not be good at math, but they can certainly judge time and motion instantly. Don’t get me started on music.

      1. There’s a scene in the movie Billy Bathgate. The eponymous kid is asked by the big bad guy of his opinion of the shooting of two of his henchment. One of them took careful aim and fired a perfect “between the eyes” shot. The other used two 1911’s and in rapid fire blew the center out of the target. The kid’s claim was that the guy with the single aimed shot was better. Big Bad explained that he’s good if you want to do a targeted assassination but if you’re in a fight for your life the other guy–just a few seconds and it’s over–was the better choice.

        Different abilities for different tasks.

    6. It has been my observation that every field tends to value the skills conducive to success in that field. Musicians value perfect pitch but it is of little (professional) utility to a physician or accountant. The ability to diagnose an engine by listening is malfunctioning is praised by mechanics but disregarded by artists. Reporters tend to put a high value on verbal dexterity and the ability to quickly grasp a superficial understanding of something, which is why they so admire politicians like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

      Academia places a premium on verbal and mathematical talents, and in a framework where comparative comfort in such areas is blatantly obvious. Those gifted in such areas are groomed for advancement in academia (for which law is a subsection, putting as it does an emphasis on scholarship.) Professors groom and mentor “successful” students, in whom they see themselves reflected and flatter their students and themselves by declaring this collection of talents “smart.”

      A person able to look in a refrigerator, pull out a selection of ingredients and assemble a gourmet meal possesses a form of intelligence, as does a person capable of looking at a pile of dirty dishes and cookware and able to organize an efficient cleaning process. But neither is likely to be called smart.

  32. Because of ADD I never had flawless grades. Also I had a tendency to complicate simple tests/questions.

    Cringe. Might resemble that.

    I’m actually fairly empathetic and, for an introvert, I like people, though I don’t like them with me ALL THE TIME.

    I get exhausted if I’m around a lot of people any length of time. Even family. I have to take timeouts.

    1. Me too. Dan and I are such frigging introverts. Our ideal workspace in all our married years was this ginormous attic room. Our desks were at opposite ends. So we are together, but not. Worked great. Now with both of us working overtime, we spend a ton of time apart, and that’s not so good….

    2. I have to take timeouts too. I get embarrassed when people are too intimate too quickly. I think sometimes I should have been born in a more formal age.

    3. “I get exhausted if I’m around a lot of people any length of time. Even family. I have to take timeouts.”

      Me too. It doesn’t help that some relatives are psychic energy vampires either.

  33. Why do we win and they lose? Because they chose… poorly…

    In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
    The battle belongs to the Lord

    We sing glory and honor
    Power and strength to the Lord

    The power of darkness comes in like a flood
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
    The battle belongs to the Lord

    When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
    The battle belongs to the Lord

  34. Why do we win, they lose?
    Because they chose … poorly…

    In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
    The battle belongs to the Lord

    We sing glory and honor
    Power and strength to the Lord

    The power of darkness comes in like a flood
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
    The battle belongs to the Lord

    When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
    The battle belongs to the Lord
    Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
    The battle belongs to the Lord

  35. The problem is we buy into the world’s view of “success”. “What did you do for your tribe?” What owns you? Is it having the most toys? Power? Safety?

    God has a very different view. “Did you learn to hear Me, and join Me in MY PLAN?” This may be being blessed by a child with challenges. Life is not about finding the stepping stones so you can avoid the swamp, sometimes it is being thrown into the slime pit like Jeremiah. Sometimes what looks like failure is key to success.

    These are actual words I heard from God: “Are you following me because I made the rain stop? What will you do when I allow it to rain?” This was in response to a simple prayer. “It would be nice if you held off the rain, I forgot to bring an umbrella.” Within a month my youngest brother was diagnosed with the malignant melanoma that killed him within a year.

    Will you trust God when all hell breaks lose? When my son was diagnosed with the cancer that killed him within 6 months, I offered my grief to God/Jesus as a gift. I did not operate in my own strength, but His. One simple word: Trust.

    I realize I have an advantage. I know that God is real. I know He speaks. I know where I will go. I do have one slight problem. God told me: “In order to keep your books (12,000), you must be willing to give them up”. What does that mean exactly? Do I own the books, or do they own me? I am a work in progress.
    A couple of months ago my wife told me “you have too many bibles.” (Only 60.) So I was sorting, discovered one was the 1912 “marriage” bible of my grandparents. Then got an email from a church deacon asking for bibles for women in prison. So a few less bibles now. I can take a hint. Still keeping the 1912.

  36. “For one, more knowledge is always better than less knowledge.”

    This reminds me of how much I hate modern philosophy in general and John Rawls in particular.

    1. Dude. Sub-Saharan Africans are a) malnourished compared to most of us. Yes, that affects IQ. And height. And just about everything else.
      b) MOST of them have IQ tests dropped on them without having any idea of what this shit is, or any experience of sitting through that kind of thing.
      c) depends on who gives the test and what their agenda is. For instance, Older Son, the profoundly gifted one scored “barely normal” on his first test. It took digging to find out that he’d been given a test that topped out at the IQ he “got” — because the school wanted it to be that way.

      IQ tests are not objective or by any real world measure SANE. If you dig — and keep in mind I was a member for 15 years — Mensa members, people who by definition have “high IQ” are mostly working menial jobs, single and generally failing at life. If that’s “smart” count me out. It surely isn’t useful for anything.

      I first became aware of this when I was studying psychology — I ran away screaming because the variety at the time was “behavorism” aka according to Heinlein “When a dog salivates, a pavlovian rings a bell.” — do you know you “calibrate” IQ tests, according to various things, some of them highly subjective, like how you feel about the people tested?

      I guess you proved your point that smart people write dumb things, indeed.
      The fact that the VolksDeutsche Expatriate can’t process this is what first made me aware he wasn’t really interested in intellectual honesty.

      1. “Sub-Saharan Africans are a) malnourished compared to most of us. Yes, that affects IQ. [And everything else” True. Except that this has changed. Sub-Saharan life expectancy is now at 1950s European levels.

        And the typical test subjects are not those of starvation age but the young and able. For example, the lecture, “In Search of African Genius” by the late Phillipe Rushton at a conference (late 1990s?) has been memory holed from the internet, maybe, two years ago (formerly on YT). He patiently explains how IQ testing at a South African university (Capetown, IIRC), was done to control any culture or motivational bias. Thorough if not heroic measures and countermeasures were performed. If it can be found, do watch it. I was impressed; I was also depressed. Answer: overlooked African “genius” was not found.

        PS you rubbish Jordan Peterson. But he plainly states that IQ is the most psychmetrically predictive variable ALONG with persistence. The genius could be an addict, a dypsomaniac (quaint for alcoholic), or else simply lazy. Human habit formation can ruin natural gifts just as much as the beauty queen could be a self-destructive hippy or otherwise careless about her health. ‘Gifts” entail no necessary performance or dedication. We remain human and humanly vulnerable. But any good writer like you knows this in spades.

        1. Obvious issue, seems to be assuming that their go-to-college selection is similar to that in the US.

          Also assumes that being trained how to take tests isn’t a thing– when there’s the known issue of taking a class in “how to take this test” routinely causes big jumps in the score.

          We’re weird, here.

          1. I think he’s British. Americans can’t POSSIBLY be this stupid about culture vs. race. In fact all the primary exponents of RACE UBER ALAS who aren’t leftist are European.

            1. The eye-opener I got in looking at the first PDF I shared was that the author claimed USA “Africans” are no more than 20% not-from-Africa.

              dude…. even in the 90s, when he would’ve been doing this, it was COMMON for black kids to have one known non-black grandparent, if they didn’t have a non-black parent! There’s lots of mention of genetic evidence for the 20% claim, but … that’s not how genetics for ‘race’ work…that’s why there’s an entire thing of twins that are different “races,” and at least a couple of identical twins that are “different races.” (slightly different expression of the same genes)

                1. I notice that there was no attempt made to correct for obvious issues, or even look to see if they exist.

                  The most basic thing would be to get all the information you can on each test taker, starting with home life and if they wanted to take the test at all.

                  I know when they did that with grades, the racial differences vanished and the strongest correlation was “has both parents at home” and “family values academic achievement.”

        2. a) I am NOT rubbishing Jordan Peterson, only your stupid, idiotic interpretation of it.
          b) Sure, it predicts for that individual HOW THEY WILL DO ACADEMICALLY.
          Are you actually capable of RATIONAL THOUGHT?
          First – Academia is not the world.
          Second – IQ is not predictive of success in the world. NO SERIOUSLY. I think 90% of the people here can testify to that.
          Third- IQ CAN and often is tampered with on the back end: what test you use, how you administer it, etc.
          Fourth – IQ is NOT genetic. It just isn’t. There are too many cases that prove this.
          FIFTH – IQ is HIGHLY cultural. For instance, why would someone in a tribal culture want to stand out from his fellows.
          Sixth – It is QUITE obvious you’re a leftist, who has flipped the left on its head and thinks that’s “the truth”. Why? You’re using the whole “instances of my being wrong aren’t data” they always default to.

          1. There are physical measurable attributes that track IQ (nerve conduction speed, certain trace elements in hair). That means that IQ — whatever it is — is measuring something. The fact that the left does everything they can to destroy the concept of IQ* is a pretty good indicator that there must be something real as well.

            Much like kung flu; you don’t necessarily have to narrow it down to something specific, but you can safely rule out the Official Narrative (“COVID is the black plague!”, “IQ doesn’t exist, and if it did it would be racist!”).

            * except for certain narrow usages which allow petty tyrants teachers and school administrators to bully Odds with a veneer of science.

            1. Um….. it’s measuring SOMETHING but again, no one knows what it’s GOOD for.
              And no, there isn’t a physical way to do it. SORRY. I actually have people who are brain researchers in my circle.
              IT CAN be determined after death…. by looking at your brain. That’s it. Sometimes it accords. Sometimes…. Look up Anatole France, do.

                1. No, it still has nothing to do with anything.
                  If you talk to a leftist, they immediately inform you of their IQ.
                  They say that aptitude tests are racist, IQ tests are racist, any tests are racist that don’t have their result.
                  I’m going to call uncle Lar to witness here just because he’s the first one I can think of, but there are tons.
                  DUDE MOST OF US QUIT MENSA not because it was a collection of sad sacks, but because it’s a collection of LEFTIST sad sacks, preening on their IQ.
                  My friends in research agree that IQ measures something real: the number of connections in your rain. High IQ people don’t actually prune connections as much as others.
                  HOWEVER that also comes with a load of problems including “Autism like issues.”
                  What it doesn’t associate well AT ANY LEVEL with is “success in life, outside Academia, and Academia-like situations.”
                  The left hates for people to use tests that show whether you can read and write too. Not because it’s objective (well, at an elementary level they are) but because it takes control away from them. That’s all.
                  Look, humans are social apes. You know what success in life correlates well with: being average.
                  Trump is an outlier. And it’s part of the reason they hate him, yes. BUT mostly people want to promote, encourage, help PEOPLE LIKE THEM. And the majority of them ain’t too bright.

                  1. I’m actually not arguing the question of what IQ is measuring here…..

                    And the leftist-on-the-street likes IQ in the same way that they like Evolution. Because they “fucking love Science”, while hating every detail and implication of it.

                    1. They like it, because largely it favors them.
                      I.e. a large number of people who have been tested and brag about it are leftists.
                      Why? Well, because Odds are insecure and go with the dominant narrative, where government forces people to like them.

                      As for not arguing what it measures…. well, if it’s not good for anything, Orson is full of shit. The end.

                  2. “If you talk to a leftist, they immediately inform you of their IQ.”

                    And then they usually proceed to produce a disjointed screed of stream-of-consciousness, meandering through multiple subjects, without ANY attempt at breaking into discrete concepts, with no paragraph breaks few if any sentence breaks. It’s painful to try to decipher such things, and they point to that as an indicator of how unintelligent you are.

        3. Found the likely study; page 13:

          Click to access Rushton-Jensen30years.pdf

          Studies in Southern Africa have also found the mean Black–White IQ
          difference is mainly on g. Lynn and Owen (1994) were the first to test explicitly
          Spearman’s hypothesis in sub-Saharan Africa, administering the Junior Aptitude
          Test to 1,056 White, 1,063 Indian, and 1,093 Black 16-year-old high school
          students in South Africa. They found a 2 standard deviation difference between
          the Africans and Whites (yielding an average African IQ of about 70) and a 1
          standard deviation difference between the Whites and Indians (yielding an average Indian IQ of 85).

          …there seems to be absolutely no recognition of either the method-to-take-tests issue, or the much more basic and ignored aspect of the cultural question– “I don’t care, so I’m not going to work on it.”

          Good heavens, did these guys SLEEP through the ASVAP testing day or something? I was the only one in my entire class who was actually trying to do it properly!

          1. Obvious issue, the claim that test scores are the best predictor of future success is based on one unsourced look at the military aptitude test scores, and the one cited proof is this:

            Click to access The-Validity-and-Utility-of-Selection-Methods-in-Personnel-Psychology_Practical-and-Theoretical-Implications-of-85-Years-of-Research-Findings.pdf

            Which basically says “if you’re hiring someone who doesn’t know the job, people who test out as being general mental abilities that are higher tend to be better choices.”

            Nevermind that the obvious cultural issues that would cause people to disrespect a test would also make them disrespect the job, resulting in worse job performance.

        4. “most psychometrically predictive” doesn’t mean it predicts anything. Better does not mean good. Sorry, when I was in uni I did an awful lot of pretty education major’s psychometrics homework. Further, once you strip out the malnourished and other people with severe cognitive
          Limitations, IQ tests don’t rank order well.

          Very few, basically no, social “scientists” really understand what the math they use means.

            1. That too. The biggest thing to me is that they’re unnecessary. Good for academic research and worse than useless in practice. I like to talk about the current preference for “countable beans” if there’s a number people will use it even though it’s useless or worse rather than focus on dealing with the issue. They call it being data driven and listening to the data. Idiots. Fauci is a perfect example of this. It gives them the illusion of control over things that are unknown and unknowable rather than trying to limit the damage that the unknown thing might do to us. Nicky Taleb manages to antagonize everyone he comes in contact with but he’s absolutely right on this.

  37. I can’t believe I only just thought of this song:

    A single thread in a tapestry
    Though its color brightly shine
    Can never see its purpose
    In the pattern of the grand design
    And the stone that sits on the very top
    Of the mountain’s mighty face
    Does it think it’s more important
    Than the stones that form the base?

    So how can you see what your life is worth
    Or where your value lies?
    You can never see through the eyes of man
    You must look at your life
    Look at your life through Heaven’s eyes

    A lake of gold in the desert sand
    Is less than a cool fresh spring
    And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
    Is greater than the richest king
    If a man lose ev’rything he owns
    Has he truly lost his worth?
    Or is it the beginning
    Of a new and brighter birth?

    So how do you measure the worth of a man?
    In wealth or strength or size?
    In how much he gained or how much he gave?
    The answer will come
    The answer will come to him who tries
    To look at his life through Heaven’s eyes

    And that’s why we share all we have with you
    Though there’s little to be found
    When all you’ve got is nothing
    There’s a lot to go around
    No life can escape being blown about
    By the winds of change and chance
    And though you never know all the steps
    You must learn to join the dance
    You must learn to join the dance

    1. I love that song.
      #2 son is still sulking because we didn’t watch Prince of Egypt for Passover. (Or keep Passover this year. Too overwhelmed by other stuff to.)

  38. I haven’t asked the folks I work with what their ideal human being would be. Some I’m pretty sure would decline to try to specify; some I’m sure would.

    I’m pretty sure that those who specified would describe someone like themselves only more so–superlative analytical skills, peaceable and easy to get along with, tolerant of the same things they tolerate, and so on.

    Outside America and academia, though… We forget how handy it can be to have a loyal berserker in your village, even though he can be a pain in peacetime.

    1. It will come back to bite them. The fastest growing suburbanite group is the BiPOC or whatever. Organise! Arise ye masses!

    2. Already happening in Lane County to comply with State Law … We got to vote on the measure so it wasn’t City of Eugene, but Lane County. I voted “no”. Pretty sure it was a forgone conclusion result to pass.

  39. The Prince and the Pauper thing reminded me. I remember watching an episode of I Love Lucy where Ricky and Fred “swapped roles” with Lucy and Ethel. Now, given the general “hook” of the show (generally getting its comedy from Lucy’s ditziness) one might expect that the focus would be on how much more difficult Lucy and Ethel found it to go out and make a living than it would be for Fred and Ricky to stay home and take care of the apartments. Instead, they showed that both sides were out of their element in the others’ tasks and everybody had a new appreciation for the others’ trials and challenges.

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