The Work of our Hands

I’ve been accused of being a class traitor, something that amuses me as much as being called a gender traitor or any other kind of traitor to something I never swore allegiance to. And something that, in one case, is a diseased chimera from the useless brain of Karl Marx. And in the other is not exact science “the contents match the can” the left thinks it is.

What I was accused of, particularly, was of not liking the Dinosaur-my-love idiocy because I “identified with the working class.” Which … not really. Not in the sense the idiot means by “working class.” Which is itself a deranged abstraction but in the case of the Dino-abomination seemed to mean “louts who hang out in bars and beat up people because it’s Wednesday and there’s nothing good on the telly.”

Actually that story is a good example of what I wish to talk to you about. There is a — for lack of a better term — class or if you prefer category of people who really have no clue how the other half lives. What that woman poured into “working class” was some kind of emulsified crap from reading regency romances (the gin!); the eructations of Marxist professors; and the fear of those who aren’t like them, and who must wish to murder them for being so open minded and smart. Or something.

I’ve seen this so many times it’s no longer a surprise, even if that one was particularly vile.

Revolting, yes. Surprising? no. People with a college degree try to depict people whom they consider beneath them socially, and it quickly devolves to white-trash stereotypes and insanity. (Of note, many people (if not most. I don’t think anyone has done a survey) in trailer parks have at least some college. But none of these people think they can even read or write.) And the things these people can do, often complex jobs (don’t ask me to install faucets or do anything with drains. You won’t like the results.) are dismissed as “things dumb people do.”

Which brings us to where we are.

Our current difficulties have been described as a class war. Yes, in that sense myself (and husband) would be class traitors. Or as a friend of mine calls himself “new class traitors.” We are both (hyper, alas) educated, and (him more than me) have the sort of background that should make us eat all that internationalism with a spoon. Our work with words and numbers (me/him. We divide labor that way) should make us prone to abstraction and convinced we can rule the world from our desks, with a wave of our unblistered fingers.

And yet, we insist on siding with those people that the self-proclaimed elite classifies as “hobbits.” And about whom they joke.

And about whom they know bloody nothing.

It hit me yesterday though that we are precisely on the side we should be.

Forget classes in economic or even educational terms. Marx is dead (and I feel fine). Though he had something going when he talked of workers. Not much, of course, because the man was a dumb grifter. So when he thought of workers being a separate class, he thought of it as his leading the hobbits to paradise. (Rolls eyes.) The man who was raping his kitchen drudge though he was a natural for leading workers. Sure. (You know what if I get a time machine, I might or might not kill him but I AM going to give him a Persian blessing. I.e. spray him repeatedly with cow urine. He needed it. And it’s a pity no one ever did it.)

But still, making workers a separate thing made sense. Oh, not in the “owning the means of production” because for some of us those are our minds, and I work very hard to own it, thankee ever so much.

You see, it’s like this: People who make things (even useless luxury things like yours truly) think differently from people who DIRECT things and tell you how things should be made.

This has shadings, because there is an entire preening gaggle that sort of makes things, but not really

For instance artists who live off the public dole, or the academic grift don’t make things. They serve their masters. The work is not tested. It doesn’t have to satisfy. It just has to repeat what you heard. And the flawed, broken parts will be taken as “very smart.”

While artists and writers who are public-oriented i.e. who write for money are a completely different kind of thing. They are people who work. This is why you could always tell Baen writers in the old days. They looked and acted in completely different ways from the other houses. Mostly because by and large we weren’t trying to impress professors.

In the same way, indie writers tend to be more like Baen writers were. People who work, and make a living with the sweat of their brows (ow, my arthritic fingers.)

And of course, anyone who makes clothes, paints walls, grows things is someone who works. Because they have to do things and do them to a certain standard or it fails. You can’t cover flaws in construction up with pretty words: the missile won’t fly, the bridge will collapse, the novel will never “close.”

Yesterday I was watching people install granite counters (I was supervising guy making our internet work…. He didn’t, btw) and when it all came together, the young woman in the crew said “I love it when it comes together” and it hit me it was the exact same feeling as when I navigate a difficult plot point, and bring the novel to a satisfying conclusion. I.e. I can’t just stop mideway and say I don’t know what it means but it’s commentary on something or other. I.e. I’m more kin to that young woman (I was highly impressed. Like me, at her age, she could do the physical work of a man. It’s rare, but it happens.) than to university professors explaining the symbolism in the use of punctuation in a novel.

The problem you see is that the people who never do anything, never build anything that has to be made to certain specifications, have no clue — none — of limitations.

Why not? Well, because they’ve never met them. In the realm of ideas, in which they build abstractions, the result is always right, and who are you to question their vision?

In the real world we learn that the stain won’t go on evenly (I will finally have an actually, for real workshop) despite your best efforts, and then you have to fix; that the bookcase you built should take that dictionary, but in fact it just collapsed, that….

You learn that there is a reality, and that it pushes back on you, and it’s not all shaped by your mind. The stain didn’t blotch or the varnish crocodile because of systemic racism. Preaching to the drains about systemic oppression won’t make no never mind. You need to do the work, and do it so it works.

Unfortunately, the profitable path in our society for almost a century has been to be pharaoh’s supervisor, ordering the slaves to make brick without straw.

Which is how we get to the embassy in Kabul being very very concerned with pride month, but not so much with getting their people out safely.

All of which… leads to where we are. There’s a group of people who can’t find the real world with two hands and a seeing eye dog. And they hate, despise and fear those who can, because those people refuse to fall in with the beautiful abstractions of the shit-spinners.

And they keep trying to control everything. Partly because then reality can’t sucker punch them, I think.

If we let them go on with this, they’ll kill us and destroy civilization.

I think we’ve realized this, which is why we fight. And I’m right on the side I should be, even if the things I make are in the long run rather useless.

This is a war of the workers/those who make and build and create things, against the useless supervisory class, who just tells us how things SHOULD be made: completely divorced of real world materials/specifications/market.

They’ve been driving us to a point we can’t do anything but fight back.

Heaven knows we’ve been trying to do it with words/ideas, not with steel.

But one way or another, we’re almost at

Holla ye pampered jades of Asia!
What, can ye draw but twenty miles a day?

527 thoughts on “The Work of our Hands

  1. There was some idiot a while back who wrote a column about how he? was afraid of the plumber that was working on the plumbing of his? house.

    The idiot said something about the plumber might be a Trump supporter and of course that meant the plumber was EVIL! 😡

    1. And/or a criminal.

      Seriously, when I was in grade school, we had an admin from a local VoTech academy come in to talk to us, and my school’s admins & teachers apologized profusely, making quite clear that that person only came and talked to us because the state said they had to, and that the only people who go to VoTech are juvenile delinquents and people who aren’t smart enough to get into college.

      1. I want to find that principal and slap him now.

        By raw IQ odds on I’m smarter than him (the nuclear Navy would not exist without very smart people drinking their way out of college or getting their girlfriend pregnant in college) and I’m glad I have those kinds of skills. Until my current job (and that has worn off the past couple of year) if asked “what would I do different” I’d say either tech school as a welder or machinist or a degree in Engineering Technology so I’d be on-site/the floor using my hands more.

        Then again, a master machinist today is a computer programmer as much as a hand machine tool operator. He has to be able to handle some college-level engineering work and work to fine tolerance by hand to understand how to run the machines.

        1. Just think of the progress– they’ve made school such a hell for competent people that now a lot of the highly intelligent go “anything but college!”

        2. Herbn, i just sold a 1927 Southbend engine lathe to one of those ‘computer programmer’ machinists. (Hated to part with a beautiful and functional peice of history, but, moving,,, no storage,,,, urk) He had become a little longer in tooth and was finding that ‘the old ways’ work better. They may be slower, but the skills needed to do the work were better, more involved, and way outside the box programming is limited to.
          And I agree, given a time machine, I would have picked up instruction by do-ers, instead of finding out “clamp tight or destroy ALL the lighting in the shop when part goes ‘whheeeeetttttt!’ off the lathe.”
          AND TO Sarah: our writing isn’t useless. Entertainment goes beyond escapism. Your ideas and beliefs carry through and you educate vicariously through time that you wouldn’t physically be able to access normally.
          I’m new to the ‘biz’ but already know, even as unrefined as my work is, I will have touched someones brainstem and given them something to ponder, even if they ‘ it was just a good read’, and never pick up another book of mine.

          1. Yes indeed, the writing of entertaining/interesting fiction is far from useless…It lightens our load, provides inspiration on occasion, and gives us insight into people and places we have never seen..Life would be dreary without it, and our kids were reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels by the time they were 8 years old, and still are now as adults…

            1. Agreed completely on the value of inspirational fiction. Reading the “April” and “Family Law” series was a wonderful break from the viciousness of the current-day environment, and I’m sure the Darkship series will be just as valuable when I get to read it.

          2. “Your ideas and beliefs carry through and you educate vicariously through time that you wouldn’t physically be able to access normally.”

            Books and characters, if done well, exceed their creators and go on to live in the hearts of the reader. The right book at the right time can save a life. That bit of “escapist trash” so sneered at by the Cognoscenti can get that reader past the part of life that’s sucking for them.

            I know because that’s how it worked for me. If I was a kid now, I’d be screwed because there’s nothing to read.

        3. There are a few areas where machinists might make some money, but mostly you’re looking at “machine operators” and “setup men” who make not much more than fast food worker prices. The work mostly consists of listening for odd noises from the machining center while deburring parts. For weeks, sometimes. Turnover is high because most of the jobs suck. At least a Burger King you don’t go home smelling like oil and tool coolant.

          Most shops, the CAD/CAM part is management; operators might tweak things in, but they don’t get to write the programs.

          “…all the things we made by hand
          are now belt-made in Japan…”

          1. Beg to differ: If you work at Burger King, you certainly do go home smelling like oil. It’s just a different, more rancid oil. 🙂

            1. That was most ceprtainly true at MacDonalds in 1969, not to mention that the shoes I wore that summer were pretty much trash by the end.

              Working at the hardware store, the worst smell was when Scotts and Greenfield did their annual shipments. A lot easier to deal with.

              1. > That was most ceprtainly true at MacDonalds in 1969, not to mention that the shoes I wore that summer were pretty much trash by the end.

                My time at McD’s was a couple decades later than that. It was still hell on your shoes, yet you didn’t want to go for the false economy of cheap shoes. Our uniform spec at the time called for boat shoes or something similar, so when one pair had worn out, I made the mistake of replacing them with a $15 pair from Payless. Not only do your feet sweat profusely inside shoes that are pretty much 100% non-breathable plastic, but the damn soles started to crack after only a couple of weeks. I didn’t make that mistake again.

                1. Lightweight. 😀

                  Take one dead cow half-eaten by a million maggots.
                  Add two gallons of gasoline and a match.
                  Let the wind shift the wrong way.

                  You ain’t seen (or smelled) nuttin’ till you’ve lived on a farm.

          1. Drinking…and being so smart I actually lowered my calculus grade my senior year of high school from an A- to a B by staying awake one grading period. I was in no way, shape, or form ready for actual studying required in college.

        4. When I worked at a GM engine block foundry, we had a genuine toolmaker’s apprenticeship program. Real apprenticeships are getting as rare as hen’s teeth. In any case, we had the devil’s own time getting the positions filled. The high school guidance councilors were doing their best to keep their grads out of our program-we didn’t count as “college” and the high schools are measured by the percent of grads going to college. Didn’t matter that at the end of the 5 years program, the apprentices would have an A.S. in Industrial Engineering from the local Community College, and ALREADY be making more than the guidance councilors could hope to, and be making 6 figures a few years after that -in the 90’s. It was college, so even the guys who were bright and loved working with their hands would be “counciled” near to death if they wanted to go with us.

          1. And then the guidance councilor drives home, still ignorant of the very existence of engine blocks. Or cylinder heads, intake manifolds…

            I swear they believe all the technological marvels they use every day are just conjured up by magic, without effort or knowledge.

          2. In the mid-late 1960s, my guidance counselor was disappointed that I skipped AP Chemistry and opted for the business programming course. (No scientific programming was available–U of Redacted might have had it in their lab school, but not in my very good public high school in a major metro area.) Though, that class made CS 101 at U of R a lot easier.

            OTOH, the same counselor was shocked when I told him my sophomore classes would include Drafting and Metal Shop, along with Plane & Solid Geometry, Chemistry and 1st year German. The exploded brains were epic, especially when my parents backed me up. Still went to college, got a masters (MSEE), and live in a manufactured house, though not in the trailerhood.

            Knowing how to draft by hand came in handy for many years, and the transition to CAD was easy. Metal shop took a few decades to come true.

            1. Yes on the drafting. I have sketched out furnishings and floor plans for people, and they boggle. Being able to read blueprints is also very, very helpful at times.

              1. The ironic bit was when I started at the U, it was the first semester that EE students did *not* have to take drafting. For a couple of summers, I had a job at the steel products company where my dad had worked (he passed in November my freshman year–third heart attack at age 53, sigh), and being able to read and occasionally modify drawings was essential. My tiny department spent much of its time doing structural steel for a nuclear power plant near Toledo, and on rare occasions, we’d have to tweak what the outside detailer had generated from the high level plans that the general contractor provided.

                Some drawings are easier than others. A British system used by model engineers (think 50cc 4 cylinder engines, or the 9 cylinder rotary aircraft engine that just missed WW 1 service) is a bit different from the American system, and it takes a while to get into the mindset. And no, haven’t completed any engines; they’re somewhere on my round tuit list. I seem to do better at building tools–kind of proud of the drum sander (luthier’s style–You Push It.) that made turning old cedar decking into patio furniture possible.

            2. Similar background. Only needed one credit to finish high school the day I started as a senior so look a complete schedule of ‘honors’ classes. Did the drafting classes, built boats and all things in between Total generalist. One time in the boat building phase we had to build 2 custom 37 footers on a very short timeline. weeks not months. New designer gave us hull, deck, sailplan and that was about it. Three of us sat down with masking paper at a picnic table and drew out the entire boat, all interior electrical, mechanical, plumbing. everything in about 3 hours. Generated the entire bill of materials for the boat and then built them and beat all the deadlines. Being a generalist and able to draw was kind of critical.

              “Specializing is for bees” RAH

              1. Well — strictly speaking he said insects; I submit this nitpick mostly because I have been thinking for a while that I hope he didn’t mean bees particularly. 😀 There are some very specialized morphologies in ants, say, but while the reproductive bees pretty much do one thing only, worker bees specialize mostly sequentially: they start nursemaiding their slightly younger sisters, then move on through waxmaking and other in-hive tasks, and usually die in hive defense or foraging.

        5. I’ll help – and I was in almost the last generation, as far as I can see, which had a meaningful vo-tech track at my high school; health care, and secretarial, maybe even mechanical, IIRC. Also shop and home ec, which I wish had been available to anyone, male and female, interested in them, instead of the girls tracked to home ec, and the boys to auto, wood and metal shop. (I’d have loved auto and wood shop, I already knew how to cook and sew.) Not everyone had the interest or inclination for college, and it seemed to me, even then, to be cruel and frustrating for kids to be forced onto a college track. Just because…

          1. Here’s one you’ll REALLY want to slap – the guidance counselor at my wife’s high school in Alabama in the early eighties. Home economics counted as a science. My wife wanted to take physics. This woman endeavored mightily to get her to take home ec as her senior science class, even though she was on the college track (wound up with some community college on the way, but still). My wife now has dual BA degrees in English and physics. Argh, makes my blood boil on her behalf.

            1. Way back in 1966, end of freshman year I had completed wood shop with an A. Last class the teacher circulated a paper to sign if you were interested in sophomore metal shop class. Of course I signed. Teacher took me aside and told me point blank that although he enjoyed having me as a student I would not be allowed to take shop next year. The other teachers had decided that I must focus on my college track course work instead. That was effectively the end of high school for me. I drifted through the next three years til graduation then found employment in factory work for the next 15 years. Five years making appliance controls for General Electric, then ten with C&NW Railroad in their car repair shop as a welder and machinist, and at the end in management.
              After that got my BS-ISE and did operations engineering for NASA for 25 years. Long story there with all sorts of twists and turns.
              So it is my considered belief that high school guidance counselors are pretty much the scum of the Earth and have done more to ruin students’ lives than just about any other influencer.

              1. 2006. Our son ran into a similar problem. He was able to take the optional class his junior year, but they weren’t going to let him take it his Senor year, because it would have taken away his “study hall” period, one semester. We intervened. He was able to do both academics AND the “shop” class.

                What was important about the “shop class”? The class had teams of 3 to 4 that built ^electric Go Carts^, from scratch, and race them. Difference between JR and SR year is JR’s do not start their cars until winter term, too busy first term learning welding, electrical, design, etc., then supervised while making the carts … JRs teams, may or may not finish their cart before the end of the school year. Son’s team did. SR’s start their carts immediately, more loosely supervised (prior year class enrollment required) AND build something for their senor project (how we have a solid utility trailer).

                * Not the only school having teams. But most other teams are Clubs, not a class, and even fewer of those build carts from scratch, let alone, build new ones every year (Willamette have two that aren’t deconstructed once racing season is done. One is the instructors. Another belongs to a former student whose family bought it and loans it back to the school. The latter is the only way to save a cart from deconstruction.) IDK what the pandemic has done to this class (kid graduated 2007. Don’t know any HS students.)

      2. I took electronics at Vo-Tech for 2 years. Electronics is not for dummies. Especially in the days of vacuum tubes with high-voltage B+ supplies. “The plate should be between 280 and 310 volts with no signal.”

        1. I only managed a year of it before I realized that the “soft” side fascinated me more than the “hard” side of computers. I can still do a decent job with a soldering iron, though…

          Biggest thing I took away from that class, however, was the anecdote that the instructor told us the very first night, about the time he destroyed >$10K worth of equipment. Most of his working life had been on commercial radio transmitters. He once dropped a wrench from several feet up – and watched it go without any attempt at grabbing it.

          “The circuit is ALWAYS live.” went on my personal list right beside “The gun is ALWAYS loaded.” To this day, when I fumble a tool, I just (try) to get my foot out from under it.

          1. Like I wrote a couple of weeks ago: “Call me chicken if you want, working on a hot electrical panel scares me. Did it before, probably will again, but it’s always scary.”

            1. My father-in-law lives only 5 minutes away, and is a very handy guy. Also crazy, but he knows it, which helps a lot. You mostly get the crazy when you first meet him, but over the years, I’ve grown to greatly appreciate him.

              We had a tree collapsed in our yard, and moving it was not going to be easy, especially since we were out of men young enough to put that kind of a strain on our backs. So he came by and chainsawed it up in to much easier to move chunks. Before he came over, he talked about the safety precautions, which ended up with…

              “If you aren’t scared shitless when using a chainsaw, you aren’t doing it right.”

              Which is a lesson a lot of ‘experts’ could stand to learn. Handymen aren’t stupid people. Stupid handymen get crippled. The ‘experts’ love their rules and regulations, but their inability to respect people who have very strict safety guidelines, where failure can mean permanent bodily harm, is just… stunning. Even by their own standards of how to judge people, they still do it wrong.

              1. There’s a really good, scary video by a construction guy, all about ladder safety. He gives you religion, I’m telling you.

                “Trying to reach six more inches can cost you six months… or your life.”

              2. I once used a chainsaw on a pole while standing on my sloped roof.

                It was necessary. It was also very, very slow. (I rested the turned-off chainsaw on the tree I was working on multiple times, because it was heavy, too.)

          2. I learned that lesson from building models. I dropped an X-Acto knife when I was maybe 12 years old, and tried to catch it. I stopped it from falling, all right. I caught it between my thighs, blade up, and then stabbed my wrist onto the blade. If I look closely, I can still see the scar, over 50 years later. Luckily, I didn’t hit any major blood vessels or nerves. It proved that I can learn, though – I’ve never since tried to catch a dropped knife.

          3. > – and watched it go without any attempt at grabbing it.

            There have been people who have had unfortunate things happen after dropping a gun and trying to grab it before it hit the ground. The modern school of thought is “let it go”, but not all guns are drop safe, so it can be a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice.

        2. Ah, the joy of walking into basic electronics class, sitting down at your test rig, putting your left hand on a 250 volt vacuum tube and flipping the power switch with your right….
          As a matter of fact, I don’t know why I did that. I will say, you’ll only do it once.

          1. High school electronics lab prank – leave a charged capacitor out on the wortktop . . . . . .

      3. Someone should have pointed out that basically every plumber owns a boat. Master electricians are probably the same.

        1. I know. Even by these peoples own logic of “High school education = Lower class, College education = upper class” where in the seven hells do they think the middle class comes from? By that logic, a couple of years of technical school will result in them being somewhere between a burger flipper and a doctor. Which would mean enough wealth to make most people very comfortable, with the occasional nice expense.

          Of course, I think the plumbers and electricians who ignored the ‘experts’ are very grateful for them. No doubt they’re much wealthier than they would be in a world where more people were recommended to become handymen.

      4. I’m cringing and laughing. Cringing because they’re stupid. Laughing because our county has a regional tech program with only so many openings. Years ago, some of the bigger districts didn’t use their slots, so our savvy counselor and an administrator grabbed them for our students. By the time one of kids went to a state competition and took first place in welding – followed by his first job at about $90K – some other districts started getting a clue. But not all. Most people here are understanding of Top Ten students who attend a trade school instead of a university. As long as they have their health, they’ll have a job.

      1. I have learned to spot jewish names, but only because the media taught me to. Otherwise, I wouldn’t care in the least. I doubt the plumber would have cared, if he’d known.

        The lefties seem to live in this crazy state of dread that a conservative person will one day attack them for no other reason than that they are conservative, and therefor prone to random bursts of violence. If conservatives were as violent as the lefties and the media all portray there wouldn’t be any lefties or media left. I know part of it is to other conservatives, to make their useful idiots afraid to interact. This reduces the chance that their useful idiot will come in contact with persuasive arguments against the narrative. But how unhappy and frightened they must be all the time. It’s sad.

          1. That’s different.

            They are safe because they have the correct views and signs. (Those people who complained about attacks when they were virtue-signalling must have been actually not doing it right.)

        1. “The lefties seem to live in this crazy state of dread that a conservative person will one day attack them for no other reason than that they are conservative, and therefor prone to random bursts of violence.”

          Projection. Pure and simple. They think this way because they ACT this way. They have no idea what conservatives actually believe, or how those beliefs shape their actions. They live in a world of their imagination.

          1. Barbarian savages, incapable of peace, and so stewed in lying and magical thinking that they /cannot/ understand any other way of being.

              1. If you’re stewing your Bavarian sausages in lying and magical thinking, you need a different cookbook.

                  1. But I LIKE weiswurst! They make a wonderful “breakfast was early and dinner is probably not going to happen” filler. I just wish they were easier to find over here.

                1. Eh, Bavarian sausages are fine however you prepare them. It’s cooking German sausages that worries me; I always fear the wurst.

          2. Exactly this. The author of that piece knows *he* would have attacked and he doesn’t understand why the plumber didn’t. He’s also frightened because if he didn’t invite said dangerous plumber into his house he would have been forced to undertake the repairs himself. And that would have resulted in a botched plumbing job (he knows he can’t do the work) AND in the possibility that the author would have turned into one of THEM simply by virtue of doing manual labor. The HORROR!

            In their world the sky is purple with pink polka dots.

            1. That’s exactly it. He’s scared of his own irrelevance. Of his dependence on this man so clearly and so far beneath him. “The help” should never have thought of their own beyond how best to be of service to their betters.

          3. i’ve seen many a study that shows the Leftoids have no idea about what “conservatives” (i.e. anyone not a Marx/Mao/etc acolyte) think or believe, yet a majority of the libertarian/conservative sorts know, often in depth, the beliefs and ideology of the Leftoids.

            1. Well, yeah, considering they never shut up, it’s hard to not eventually get the gist of it…

          1. They will get a big surprise if they ever do get that far. Not a pleasant one, of course.

      2. Antisemitic? Ned, you dumbshit, you’d much more likely get that from a Democrat than a Trump voter.

        “It’s what they know that ain’t so.”

        1. The “alt-Right” seems to be eaten up with antiSemitism. Or at least, plenty of loudmouths who claim to be alt-Right are monomaniacal on the subject.

            1. I have a couple of people that keep showing up in my gab feed who are insanely anti Semitic. Like Jews are responsible for everything that’s wrong in the world, and Christians are Satan if they support Jews and/or Israel.
              Crazy. I’d never seen that before, never in my life.

                1. My Polish lady friend in Panama wanted me to get a perm because I ‘looked too Jewish’. “Everybody knows that Jews are dirty”, don’chaknow. Would have been news to my High School Bowl teammate Stacy.

          1. Heh. Given that those loudmouths are every bit the wannabe tyrants in love with authoritarianism as any lefty…they’re actually leftists. They just claim not to be–and I suspect it’s because, like the leftists, they believe that the whole anti-semitism, racism, blah blah blah that the leftists just KNOW all conservatives are steeped means that if they loudly espouse that they’ll get adoring followers…right?

            Narrator: They did not, in fact, garner many followers at all… 😀

            1. They’re the Klan who are upset at being replaced as the militant wing of the Democrat Party.

      3. My teenish buddy, in a segregated Texas town, was a Jew, to whose Bar Mitzvah my Church of Christ aunt and I went. Yeah, some of the guys who worked part-time with their uncles would occasionally get likkered up on Friday night and try to abuse POCs. POCs often had bats, knives and guns, so it took a LOT of likkerin’. My buddy has no fear of going to the teen club and interacting with his Gentile class mates. I wonder about self-induced neuroses to have something to blab about. I was in a play with a boatload of teens, every one of whom, beat the odds by being both lactose and gluten intolerant. Today I suspect that crowd is “gender-curious”.

      4. Proves that these people live without any awareness of people outside their small little circle and truly hate everyone who is not just like the people in their circle. This is like the NY reporter who was mystified that Nixon one because she didn’t know anyone who voted for him.

      5. Strikes me that with the simple substitution of black for white in this screed it would never have been written for doing so would have cost this editor his job and all of his liberal friends.
        Gives me a schadenfreude boner when I consider the angst created in the heads of these hypocrites each time it hits them that at least 75 million of their fellow Americans are Trump voters. Also tickles me every time I use that number and Sarah dear points out that the real number is almost certainly 90 million due to ballot manipulation.

        1. Then I’m pointing it out again. They brought all their propaganda to bear and Trump won probably the vastest landslide ever. And they think they’ll get away, that there is a future in which they don’t dangle from overpasses. It’s baffling. I suspect their intention is to utterly erase the country. May G-d help us.

          1. Firstly, they live in their own very special liberal progressive socialist bubble created by fellow travelers in academia, the media, and increasingly in blue infected politicians.
            Marx and all his followers know in their heart of hearts that True Communism ™ has never been fully implemented, but would inevitably do so if only they and their sycophants had absolute power.
            So their true goal is to burn down the competition, that being free trade and free people.
            Read their screeds if you have the stomach for it, their plan is to tear it all down in order that true glorious socialism can rise from the ashes.
            These people are ignorant of any history that conflicts with their socialist narrative. They have no idea how things work, how it requires skilled workers and craftspeople to create our modern wonders. Put them on a working farm and they would starve waiting for someone to plant, harvest, slaughter, butcher, and prepare meals for them.
            At this point our best efforts are in mocking them, making them look foolish to our nation’s low information voters to the point that we pass the level of fraud required to steal the next election. But make no mistake, a cornered rat, particularly those living lavishly on the government dime, will not fade away quietly. They will lash out on any who they see are their opposition, and with their dying death rattle will cry out commands to what powers remain to them to destroy we insurrectionists.
            Time will come when we will be forced to deal with these enemies of a free America with whatever means it takes to protect us from further harm caused in what they truly consider to be a religious battle.
            Where again did they bury old Karl? I have a pint of used beer I need to donate.

        1. So say all of us who grew up with Bugs, Road Runner, Popeye, Speedy Gonzales, and the entire Looney Tunes family.

    2. On the other hand, we actually have to be afraid of doctors and nurses who are harboring feelings of hatred for unvaccinated Americans, which is not a place I ever thought we’d end up. Our medical industry (key word there) is a technological marvel and a human failure.

      1. Hopefully they’re rare. I read an epic rant by a nurse stating exactly what she thought about denying care to unvaccinated patients. Warmed the cockles of my heart.

      2. Case in point:

        “Casanova later softened the harsh memo in an interview with local media, calling the memo a mere, “homework assignment.” He said that vaccination status should just be one of the factors taken under consideration when making a triage decision.

        Similar disturbing news of unethical treatment of unvaccinated people has come out of Alabama this week where a doctor sent out a shocking letter to his patients explaining that he would no longer see unvaccinated patients effective October 1.

        “I cannot and will not force anyone to take the vaccine but I also cannot continue to watch my patients suffer and die from an eminently preventable disease,” the letter read, according to a report by Fox News. “Therefore, as of October 1st, 2021, I will no longer see patients who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.”

          1. And of course CRT is involved.

            “That excludes the vulnerable poor and people of color, he says. Those groups have received poorer health care, in general, than richer, white communities. They also suffer from lower vaccination rates due to a variety of factors such as lack of transportation and distrust of medical authorities.”

  2. Yeah, I recall the lambasting Louis L’amour gave a college professor who gave him a lift. The fool started out declaiming his erudition, then had to back water when L’amout started talking above his level of knowledge.
    The problem with straw men, isn’t just that it’s a fallacy, it’s that you’re likely to get scorched pretty bad when your argument catches fire.
    BTW, Sarah — when will you reveal where the new Hermitage is located?

    1. That should remain strictly “need to know,” in my opinion. All that I can definitely surmise is that she is not moving in on the other side of my back fence, as the last people there didn’t have cats… (Dang it!)

        1. It’s weird. It’s actually getting spooky. We’ve outright told people where we’re moving and they hear somewhere different. Like across the country. It’s starting to freak me out.

  3. Nice follow-up to your words about “experts” yesterday.
    OH, but let’s all remember the wisdom of Obama when he addressed people starting their own means of producing goods and services, telling them that, “they didn’t build that”.
    The “experts” are killing us and, I think the further we get into “progress” and automation, the worse it can get. Fewer will be doing those, “things dumb people do”.

      1. Exactly so, since to the “You didn’t build that” class, everything just sort of built itself by magic, and will continue to operate by magic after they’ve gotten rid of all the dirty peasants with their dirty hands and their inability to understand the pristine and magical world in which the cloud people live.

      2. My mind keeps trying to classify “you didn’t build that” as a perversion of the “I, Pencil” message that no one person knows how to make a pencil. Because Leftists pervert everything, including perversion.

        1. Oh, I think that is what they try and tell you. They also only include the outside stuff from government like roads. If you go back around the reporting on that, it’s clear that is their conscious understanding.

          The thing is, they don’t even understand, beyond the appropriation of money, how the road got built. Of course, they also think knowing how the road is built is beneath them.

      3. You didn’t build that is right out of Marx. The chattering classes are not noted for their originality

      1. Would look like one of those old comedy films where the Three Stooges decide to fix their own leaky sink…

        1. Having ancient plumbing that made the master plumber stand back and go “Um…” for an extended period before he decided how to fix it… I cackle maniacally at the thought of a robot plumber.

  4. And the things these people can do, often complex jobs (don’t ask me to install faucets or do anything with drains. You won’t like the results.) are dismissed as “things dumb people do.”

    Maybe they are things dumb people do (although I can do them…my job in the Navy overlapped enough with being a plumber if I’d done the paperwork I could have gotten all my apprentice hours), but they are the things civilization needs to survive.

    We need toilets more than we need a new Donna Tart novel and she’s at the readable and interesting part of commercial “literary” fiction. That is, among the books people like your discussion partner buy so people think they’ve read them she actually readable, which is rare.

    Hell, we need toilets more than we need Another Rhodes and we need that book more than we need the mythical Donna Tart novel. They both entertain and teach, Another Rhodes entertains more and teaches more universals, but people dying of waste-related diseases have more basic needs.

    1. Can I get an “Amen” from the choir?

      Plumbing and wastewater treatment are some of the greatest things about modern civilization. I don’t want to DO them (I can give an “eeeeew, icky!” to rival any women’s studies professor), but that makes me all the more grateful for those who will.

      1. Most of my working career was in the utilities; power generation, water, wastewater treatment and distribution. Breaking up clinkers, down in the sewers, cleaning bar screens, hauling sludge from anaerobic digesters, collecting samples, backwashing sand filters, analyzing them in the lab, doing the grunt work, starting my work day at eight in the evening or midnight, managing facilities, teaching the craft in remote villages and universities, etc.

        I can hear your “eeeeew, icky!”, but I found the work quite satisfying and long ago decided I’d rather be knee deep is sewage than working a really icky job, like,say, a dentist’s office with my hands and nose deep in someone’s mouth. -grin-

        1. My father knew a guy with a PhD who taught at the UMich who quit and started working with waste management. He was much happier (and made more money).

          1. When I came up here to Alaska in the sixties, it wasn’t uncommon to meet PhDs working as laborers on union jobs, and making more money, just working during the summer construction season.

    2. Dumb people and/or criminals.

      Like I just said above, when I was in grade school, we had an admin from a local VoTech academy come in to talk to us about his school’s offerings and possible career paths. Afterwards, my school’s admins & teachers apologized profusely to the assembled students, making it quite clear that the only people who ever go to VoTech are juvenile delinquents and people who aren’t smart enough to get into college, and that he only came and gave us that speech because our school was required by state law to have that talk.

    3. Let’s hear it for the Dirty Jobs! And all the folks who do them.

      I do my own plumbing and electrical wiring. Most of my own construction. There are a few jobs that, if you don’t practice regularly, you get lousy results. Like stucco. Other than those, I can do just about everything around the house.

      So I have a great deal of respect for plumbers, electricians, roofers and other construction workers. The jobs they do are critically important and if they’re done wrong, the mistakes are obvious.

      For the Chattering Class, not so much. Most of them have never had a real job in their lives. 0bama, Biden, Harris, Pelosi, none of them have ever done anything productive, never created anything of value. They haven’t added anything to the world.

      1. I doubt I would do my own plumbing on a full house, not because I in theory can’t but because I am 25 years out of doing that kind of work daily and even then it was steam plant, not house plumber.

        I trust myself on repairs and such, but for the heavy work I will hire a pro, pay him, and not complain because I respect what he has to know.

        Then again, unlike those who complain about what a dumb plumber gets for an emergency call on a Saturday night, I know enough to usually patch it until Monday morning and normal costs.

        1. The plumber and the fireman are the most prayed for professions. no-one wants to see the policeman but the plumber? “Oh, thank God you’re here”

        2. I still do my own plumbing and I must admit it’s much easier these days with HDPE and PEX pipe, shark Bite connectors than back in the galvanized and copper pipe days. Hum, I wonder if there’s still folks around that can wipe a lead joint or seal a cast iron joint with oakum and poured lead.

          1. I’ll do my own supply plumbing, because PEX makes it easy and I bought the tools to do crimps so I only have to use (expensive) SharkBites for repairs.

            DWV plumbing is like a two-semester course and the codes are abstruse. Other than rebuilding a P-trap I’ll let the pros do that part. (But I have enough knowledge to understand what’s going on so I don’t ask them to do anything impossible.)

          2. Holy moly, no. If I find lead joints, I take them out with a Sawzall. I’ll happily sweat copper joints with silver solder, and put pipe dope on a black iron fitting (for water or gas), and in the last year I’ve started using PEX and Sharkbite. But lead is right out.

            1. It wasn’t that long ago that wiping a lead joint were required to pass the plumbers test in NYC . Said joint mandated to allow flex on piping to skyscrapers. Oddly enough apparently only union plumbers were skilled enough to past the test.

        3. Household plumbing- on the supply side- is easier than it’s ever been. CPVC where allowed, PEX in most places. Only a few jurisdictions – like NYC – still require copper.

          On the drainage side- making sure it runs downhill at the proper slope and the vents are in the right spot add some difficulty. But still not hard doing it all in PVC.

          So far in my 50 year old house I’ve found 2 drain couplings that were primed and never glued. Held for years… I am seriously afraid to go through the rest of the drainage system and test every coupling. Don’t know if it was done by a plumber of the owner.

          I looked at over 50 houses before buying the one I got about 25 years ago. Saw nightmares in plumbing and wiring in many basements.

          1. Didn’t know what PEX was until now, so I just DuckDuckGo’d it (“DuckDuckWent” it?) and found out. Also found one site listing disadvantages of PEX that claimed that of the three types, A, B and C, A and C can leach BPA into water over time, and only B didn’t have a leaching problem. Do you know if that information is at all accurate, or whether that’s yet another example of “all progress is bad for you” ecochondriac scare-mongering with little to no basis in reality? No amounts were mentioned, which makes me wonder whether the leaching might be on the order of 0.01 PPM or something, i.e. so little you won’t ever be able to measure any effects but it looks scary to see “trace amounts of BPA” on a water quality report. But I’d love to hear confirmation one way or the other from someone who actually knows.

            1. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure it’s ecochondria. (Cool coinage, btw.)

              As far as I’m aware, “trace amounts” means “we can detect it, but the amount is so tiny actually putting a unit on the measurement would induce snorts of derision”.

          2. I wouldn’t use CPVC on anything. Considering that UV light degrades it rapidly and it becomes extremely brittle, I wouldn’t trust it for anything. Especially since I reguarly find it in houses I remodel and it shatters if I look at it. Wirsbo PEX and copper for supply and ABS for waste.

          1. They hide an uneven drywall job. Ceilings are tough to get absolutely flat, and since there’s nothing on them to break up lines, imperfections are very obvious.

  5. “Which is how we get to the embassy in Kabul being very very concerned with pride month, but not so much with getting their people out safely.”

    Bingo. That’s why the fall of Kabul feels like a watershed moment. It’s because, for the first time, the consequences are falling largely on The Good People, while Hobbits-at-arms watch from their fortifications and refuse to come to the rescue.

    1. Except I don’t think the hobbits are refusing to come to the rescue. It’s the Good Person-in-Chief, Mr. Joe Biden, “I’m known for my empathy,” who says, “Eh, we’ll do what we can, assuming that you can get to the airport before our deadline.”

      As an aside, since when has Biden ever been known for his empathy? I keep reading that, but I’ve been following politics for almost thirty years, and I’ve never seen anyone suggest before this week that Biden is an “I feel your pain” guy. He’s the one who shoots his mouth off, not the one who hugs widows and orphans after a tragedy.

      1. Hobbits, by their very nature, will do their best to help.

        It’s the hoity toity elves who can’t be bothered to raise a manicured finger to rescue anyone from the dragon.

        So, if you are being governed by elves, who are supposedly all wise and knowing, you better believe you will need hobbits in your party to have any chance at success.

      2. Hobbits, by their very nature, will do their best to help.

        It’s the hoity toity elves who can’t be bothered to raise a manicured finger to rescue anyone from the dragon.

        So, if you are being governed by elves, who are supposedly all wise and knowing, you better believe you will need hobbits in your party to have any chance at success.

      3. Oh, I know it. I’m guessing that the troopers at the airport are champing at the bit to go out and rescue everybody. But The Good People are feeling the acute consequences of a bureaucracy that won’t let them.

        1. Especially as they watch the French deliver more rescuees to the airport. THAT would probably drive me to go ahead and do it anyway, fragging whatever idiot officer decided to get in my way.

          1. I just learned that the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne is the same d0uchebag that got ratioed on twitter for being woke a couple of weeks ago, and locked his account. *That* is who is preventing the hobbits from rescuing the eloi.

            I am in awe of God’s universe. This is pure poetry.

          2. I should add to that last comment–I am NOT rejoicing in the pain, suffering, or death of any American. I would prefer that none of this happened, that the hobbits were allowed to be hobbits and the eloi would go on in blissful ignorance as Martha’s Sons brake the clattering train to a halt.

            I’m simply in awe of the confluence of malevolence and sheer stupidity as it overcomes the best of humanity–and, God willing, demonstrates the truth of the phrase “evil will oft shall evil mar”.

        1. Apparently that’s been rescinded. I posted that link to the PermaLinks post and RES posted back that Fox is reporting the State Department announced “we’re dumb but we’re not that dumb”.

        2. I gather they walked that back…but only after they got called out on it all over the internets. So, you know, only doing the right thing because they were “shamed” into it (not that I think they can feel shame, it’s just that they realized the cat was out of the bag on that little piece of con-artistry)

            1. What. The. Actual. HELL.

              I mean, I knew Joe (and his administration) was morally bankrupt and always had been, but they are digging to whole new depths.

                1. What we need is military officers over there to tell the politicians and the superiors telling them they can’t help American’s get out to go f— themselves and take matters into their own hands to have the troops get people out.

                  1. The commanding general of the 82nd Airborne (who is the boss of the bulk of the force currently at the Kabul airport) is the same fellow who got ratioed on Twitter a couple of weeks ago for being stupidly woke, and locked his account because he couldn’t take the criticism.

                    Factor that into your “what we need” equation.

                2. Not to rain on the parade here, but when I was at State that charge was pretty much the normal thing. BUT IIRC there was a fairly rigid set of rules on how and when it could be imposed on people who had to leave a country in an emergency and who couldn’t get a commercial flight out.

              1. The story I read (a different story that Instapundit linked to), said something like “Several hours later, the online form still said that evacuees might be charged up to $2,000.” Not a direct quote, just from memory as I don’t want to go digging for the link. I.e., the website hadn’t been updated to reflect what Biden (or was it the State Dept spokesman?) was saying. Which surprises me not one bit: it’s probably a whole big bureaucratic process to upload a new form to an official gov’t website, and can’t be done on an hour’s notice (or even, I’d bet, on one month’s notice).

            2. Link won’t work. “Not verified”, is what I get when clicking on it. Someone is covering someone else ass*ets. OTOH what else is new?

      4. he’s been known for his empathy for as long as he has been known for his akumen in Foreign Policy, inability to lie, and uniquely worded political speech writing

        1. Biden’s one true talent, in truth, was his ability to utter the most blatant falsehoods, slanders and malice with a folksy smirk. He’s clearly lost whatever mind he ever had, but as often happens with senility, his mean streak is fully intact.

      5. What if mind boggling is that the British and French (Yes, the French) are going outside the Airport and getting their people and bringing them back.
        The US Troops ARE NOT!!! Why? The only reason I can think of is they have SPECIFIC Orders NOT to leave the Airport.

        Please think about that for a while. Supposeably the US Government and the Taliban have a “DEAL” that US Troops will not leave the Airport for ANY reason. HOW &()&(^%$^#%^%^ Stupid IS that?????

        We have thousands of US Citizens in country with NO way to move around without running into the Taliban, so what BIDEN is saying is TRUST the Taliban to let you go to the Airport. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT????

        We have moved more troops into the Airport but they only have small arms. Any time the Taliban want they can destroy the runway and have an instant hostage camp. WHAT would Biden do then?? What COULD he DO??? This makes Carters Iran Embassy disaster look like a WONDERFUL Plan, I am not talking about the attempted rescue, I am talking about letting it happen in the FIRST PLACE.

        Biden’s whole Bugout Plan has PISSED EVERYONE OFF, the allies, Europe, Vets, Just about any thinking person. Nobody but our enemies think that this is good. It is a debacle of the First Order. Bengasi can’t touch this, the Iran Embassy can’t touch it, I don’t believe that a President or the US Government has ever done anything as STUPID or destructive as this. He didn’t tell our allies what he was going to do. He didn’t have a plan. It was JUST BUGOUT, NOW!!!

        If there was a plan it could ONLY be that he made a “DEAL” with the Taliban. You don’t attack us as we leave, let people leave via the Airport after we leave. We have to have troops at the Airport until our people are out but they will not leave the Airport. If you do that we will leave EVERYTHING, arms, ammo, supplies, EVERYTHING. We will destroy NOTHING while we are leaving or after we leave and our people are out.
        This maybe the “DEAL” that Biden made with the Taliban and Biden TRUSTS the Taliban to keep the agreement. This when the Quran TELLS the Taliban that such “DEAL” have no weight and SHOULD be ignored as soon as it is Good for the Muslims.

        If the Taliban wanted to they could take the Airport and all the people there including our troops, kill those thousands of people and start hunting down and killing all Westerners in Afghanistan. They could do it because they don’t believe that Biden would not attack them back. The VICTORY that would give them over America and the West would raise the higher than any others in the Muslim World.

        The Question I ask YOU is – “If the Taliban killed all those people, would Biden DO ANYTHING??”

          1. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Americans were just outside the wall and couldn’t get through, so the troops went out and got them.

            Not exactly “daring raid into Kabul to pull people out of their houses” like the UK and French are doing.

            1. Heh, this is after the PR flak got pantsed by a reporter asking if troops had done it without authorization.

              So it becomes “just went over the fence to guide in” no matter what– which I actually predicted when I heard about the guy doing the “I’ll have to get more information on that and get back to you” thing. I had a minor secondary bet on “there was an IED vehicle aiming for the fence and they stopped it” type story.

          2. It does make me wonder how close some of the troops are to the breaking point due to the frustration of just having to stand back and watch.

        1. Dan, I have seen at least one account in either Epoch Times or Daily Wire where the CO of 2nd Para got into a screaming row with the US Ground CO over 2 Para taking out patrols to get British civilians because the patrols “will queer our deal with the Taliban for using the airport”.

          1. I hadn’t seen Foxfier’s post yet; this was apparently earlier in the week and reported yesterday:


            “The US won’t leave the airport because they made a deal with the Taliban while the UK is sending out patrols and grabbing Irish, British, and other nationals from safe houses in Kabul. They want the US to do the same.

            What kind of deal did the US make with the Taliban? Are they going to give them pallets of cash and gold?

            The US soldiers want to go out and search for stranded Americans and are unhappy that they are being held back.”

            1. Additional cool thing that may have gotten the guys who apparently said “Screw it” and did something to do something big enough to get noticed– a 60 year old Harvard graduate came in through Qatar and got a chunk of the girl’s robotics team out.

              Lady’s a mother of 11 from Oklahoma and knew she knew someone that had been assigned somewhere over there, contacted her senator– maybe rep, I can’t remember, I’ll find the story– and then managed to reach some of the girls and get them here.


              An Oklahoma mother of 11 flew to the Mideast earlier this month to help rescue 10 members of the country’s all-girls robotics team, and is hoping to save more as the Taliban takes power in Kabul.

              Allyson Reneau, a 60-year old Harvard graduate with a Masters degree in international relations and US space policy, took it upon herself to try and save members of the Afghan Girls Robotic Team, according to NBC.

              She flew into Qatar on Aug. 9 after making a “Hail Mary” call to a former roommate at the US Embassy there to help get the girls from the advancing Taliban, known for their oppressive treatment of women.

              Reneau had been in contact with the team — made of girls ages 16 to 18 — since 2019 when she worked on the board of directors for Explore Mars and met the girls when they attended the organization’s annual Humans to Mars conference.

              The team was hailed in Western media as the future of the war-ravaged country, as well as a shining example of how women’s rights had improved after the US invaded following 9/11.

              1. *Is praying.*

                That’s a few more that won’t suffer a horrible fate. Taliban is saying there’s no question about democratic government – they won’t do it, the only government is sharia.

                Is. Anyone. Surprised.

                    1. The Talib (student) in Taliban (students) is Sharia law students. They’re part of a major subset school of Islamic law, focusing on Quran and ahadith, rather than on Sharia law precedent rulings. They are in favor of sharia judges making independent rulings for themselves… which was meant well originally, but….

                    2. Found it. Ahl i-Hadith or Ahl e-Hadith is the name of the subset law school. Named after an earlier Ahl al-Hadith school. There’s a whole boatload of stuff online about it, and how the previous leaders were all super-political as well as being law guys, and all in favor of overthrowing stuff and creating Sharia-run, Islamic-run countries. There was also a guy who was against the partitioning of India and Pakistan, but only because he thought Islam should rule all of India and not just Pakistan. So yeah.

                      So yeah, any dream that these guys were somehow not interested in setting up a sharia-run government and law system was pretty much the opposite of understanding the Taliban.

                    3. I’ve read stuff written by a Pakistani author who thought, oh great, we’ve got our own country now, we’ll all live in peace and harmony! And was honestly aghast when every other religion in Pakistan started to get wiped out. Sigh.

              2. a 60 year old Harvard graduate came in through Qatar and got a chunk of the girl’s robotics team out.

                Am I the only one wondering if they’ll end up building a legion of battle droids and send them to free their nation? 😉

                1. A legion of battle droids disguised as 14 year old girls. 😀

                  “I got your Sharia Law right here, asshole!”

            2. Unsurprisingly, there are conspiracy theories floating around that the disaster is intentional. The theories range from distracting from a “take your pick” list of things such as the election audits or an impending government overreach, to “China ordered it”.

        2. “and French (Yes, the French)”


          I know it’s popular and a meme, but people really shouldn’t discount the French military. From what I’ve heard, the troops tend to be decent quality (which means at least “good” in the international scope), and they’ve launched a number of their own low-key anti-terrorism operations over the last couple of decades that are largely focused at assisting their former colonies.

          One thing I’ve noted studying history – French troops are often good. It’s their leaders who screw everything up.

          1. “French troops are often good. It’s their leaders who screw everything up.”

            I believe Ringo had one of his characters saying something very similar in the Posleen War series. Can’t remember which book, but I think it was when the protagonists were fighting alongside a French unit defending a city on an alien planet somewhere. And they said something about how all the French soldiers they’d met below a certain rank (general, or colonel, or major) were really good, and all the ones above that rank were… terms perfectly appropriate for a soldier to use but that I wouldn’t say in front of my kids.

            Someone here will probably know which book I’m talking about and be able to dig up the quote.

            1. BTW, that matches the impression I get from my memories of growing up in France (I left France when I was just shy of 15 years old, so I didn’t get to see much of French politics from an informed-adult perspective, so bear that in mind). The impression I get from thinking back on my experience was that the average French person in “working-class” type of roles — the plumbers and carpenters and engineers and so on — were good, decent people. Too many of whom bought into the whole “solidarité” line their union bosses fed them to persuade them to go on strike, but overall people you could trust to do the right thing. Their leaders, on the other hand… well, I didn’t actually see enough to form an impression, but from what I heard my parents say, well, they’re just what you’d expect European bureaucrats to be like. I.e., people who would inspire the makers of Asterix to write this scene. (“The Place That Sends You Mad” from The 12 Tasks of Asterix). Note the Youtube comment from 4 days ago on that video saying “After helping a friend through the danish welfare system, I must sadly say this is very accurate.”

              1. Apparently the secret of General Charles de Gaulle was that his third child, Anne, had Downs syndrome, and that he and his wife decided that it was against his principles to put a daughter into an institution. So as he went up the officer ladder, he and his wife scrimped and saved and put aside time to take care of their youngest, which naturally meant also spending more time with their son and other daughter, which basically kept him human. It also set him hard against the Nazis, back when people thought they were just “progressives,” because he knew they were the kind of people who would kill his girl.

                She died not long after WWII, and DeGaulle and his family jointly decided to put the proceeds from his autobiography into the project of setting up a better school and home for some nuns who raised girls with Downs who were abandoned by their parents; it’s called the Fondation Anne de Gaulle, after this girl.

                The day in 1962 when someone tried to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, the bullet was stopped by the little framed photo of Anne that he kept in his pocket.

                1. He actually had a little rear shelf in his car, where he kept the photo when he was riding in the car for some French reason, and the bullet hit the little photo on the little shelf instead of his head. Which makes it even weirder and cooler, honestly.

                  1. Here’s a reflection on Japanese society:

                    The deeply weird Strike Witches anime/manga is best known for having sex-flipped alternate world versions of famous fighter pilots as high speed flying witches that magically turn their legs into fighter plane pants, so that they can fight invading aliens from outer space. Everyone is libertarian and united for human freedom, which allows the use of people who were evil Nazis in real life; and mostly they are lesbians, because Japan. (I know, the US comics market does this too now, but they don’t believe in lesbians being attractive, much less cute versions of Bad/Trapped in Evil Empires Historical People.)

                    The author decided to include Anne de Gaulle as a character, keeping her sex of birth. (There are a few similar characters, but all the others are based on famous women pilots.)

                    But she has an alternate disability; she is wheelchair-bound, instead of having Downs.

                    Argh argh argh argh argh, Japan. I’m sure they mean well, too.

                2. I did not know this! That is really awesome that he and his family did that, when at the time pretty much NO ONE would have batted an eye had they hidden her away.

                  Were he alive today, I think he’d be enraged at the ongoing efforts to wipe out those with Down’s Syndrome by the “progressives”

                  1. Heck, decades later Dale and Roy Rodger’s daughter Robin was a mini-scandal when they DIDN’T warehouse her to die, since she “of course” would likely die as a tiny infant– very big respect for the parents doing the hard thing, especially when there was so little they could do to help with the heart issues that come with Down’s. (I seem to remember there are other ones, but the heart issues were the most obvious cause of death?)

                    1. Yeah, heart issues were the biggest, followed by–if I’m remembering correctly–a form of either calcification or hardening of the brain/blood vessels in the brain?

                      In any case, modern medicine has allowed for either correction or treatment of those, and they’re now living into, I think, their fifties and sixties? Not quite as long as the average non-Down’s person (at least in the US), but a definitely full life.

                      Not to mention the fact that pretty much every Down’s person I have ever met is the purest, sweetest soul you could imagine. I can’t imagine wanting to wipe that out. (I only met one who was a brat, but she was also only about 6, and as her parents could not agree on warehousing vs. keeping her, not to mention other marital issues, I suspect it was the only way she could get them to pay any attention to her. :/ )

                    2. One of the gov’t buildings in Des Moines has *mostly* either Downs or very similar visual cues folks for their house keeping– husband puts average age in at least their 50s, going off of conversation subjects and general … I’ll go with “feel” for their age.

                      They’re doing an important job, they do it *well*, and most of the time if people even notice them it’s to either ask them for help (usually means radio for the bio-clean up guys) or to thank them for doing a good job.

                      Brilliant enough of an idea that I try to praise it at every chance. 😀

            2. Nobody messes with the Legion Etrangere. Nor does the LE mess around, usually. Of course, many of them aren’t actually French . . .

          2. “Their troops are pretty good; it’s their politicians and generals who suck. Oh, boy, do they suck.” SSgt Eric Bergstresser, Vorpal Blade

          3. France, not Germany, is the great military power in Europe. We get stuck on Rossbach, 1870, and 1940 and forget all the rest. Prussia has a very uneven military record Bavaria lost mist,of the time and flip flopped the rest, and Saxony is, well, Saxony.

      6. Yup. Word is that the American troops on the ground are getting pissed off that they’re not being given permission to do what the British 2nd Para Regiment is doing, and sending teams out into the city to check safe houses for people who are to be flown out (Brits, friendly Afghans, and non-Brit foreigners who happen to be at those safe houses). Meanwhile, one of the high-ranking officers in the 82nd Airborne reportedly got into an argument with his counterpart from 2nd Para because the 2nd Para’s actions are endangering the truce with the Taliban.

        That’s also the opinion of DC, apparently.

        And it’s reported that 2nd Para has some guys whose sole job is to keep an eye on the 82nd Airborne and make sure that it doesn’t suddenly – and without warning – evacuate the airport. Odd… I wonder why the Brits would feel a need to do that?

        I’ve read that the French also have military teams gathering up their own people in Kabul, though I haven’t been able to get as much info on that.

        It’s disgusting. Three and a half more years of this crap.

        1. Maybe, but only a couple more months with Biden for a figurehead. When the FICUS is no longer useful…

          THAT will be the time for a ‘white supremacist’ to shoot the FICUS. It’s even the right year. WHY a ‘white supremacist’ would shoot an old white-haired white dude instead of some more obvious target will never be examined.

          1. And? So? Assuming you’re correct (and there are plenty of reasons to see that as a tactically bad move), what does it change? The answer is “nothing”. It’s still “three and a half more years of this crap” regardless of whether Biden is living in the White House, or Harris is.

            1. Except without Harris as the VP, the Senate will probably pass absolutely nothing of the Democrat’s wet dream wish list.

              1. Except that Romney, Murkowski, etc… will show “collegiality” and vote for whomever Harris picks as her VP candidate.

            2. You don’t get it. ‘white supremacist’, Trump Supporter would be a Democrat Operation, with the intent to create a storm against Trump People and allow the Democrats to Really go after them. Just before the elections next Year.

      1. So did the General in command of the theater when we snuck out of Bagram in the dead of night. No, sorry, General, “just obeying orders.” should not be accepted at the court martial that you should be facing.

        1. It didn’t work for Eichmann…

          They’re like the crew of the Costa Concordia, abandoning ship and leaving the passengers to drown.

  6. I used to work for a very dear man – he was almost exclusively “hands-off” of the company he owned and allowed us to ply our trade unfettered by his rules. His reasoning behind this was, simply, “Everything is easy for the one who does not have to do the work.” I was sorry for his passing, and likely will not see his like again.

    Of course, his other favorite quote was “57 monkeys with typewriters will write a best-seller, given enough time.” 😉

    1. “57 monkeys with typewriters will write a best-seller, given enough time.”

      I consider what presently passes for a best-seller, and conclude that this has been proven true.

      1. There have been a few tradpub, 21st-century novels that I have read, that I suspect were the product of software.

        Over-editing can ruin anything, but those were… they weren’t word salad, since they were grammatically correct, but they read like they had been cut and pasted together from a bunch of other stories, like a novel version of decoupage.

        1. Some “informational” websites have been autogenerated for at least 15 years (since I first heard about it) and there are autogenerated Youtube channels (complete with robotic narrator), and of course the Pomo generators (now with citations!) do better than the real thing. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if some novels have been likewise generated.

          They’re ahead of their time. Boston Dynamics hasn’t yet taught their robots to read.

    2. “57 monkeys with typewriters will write a best-seller, given enough time.”

      That’s quite likely true. But it fails to specify the scope of work for the editor of this tome.

      1. If the 57 monkeys are famous enough, the editor isn’t expected to do anything at all.

    3. I have been known to speak of ‘The Infinite Number Of Monkeys School Of Writing’. 😛

      Along with Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of everything is crap”

      And the corollary: “If you get rid of 90% of something because ‘90% of everything is crap’ you find that 90% of what you have left is still crap.”

  7. Writing words to inspire, uplift and warn is also a useful skill. A skill that is honed with practice and hard work. Because you put food on the table writing books that are of the entertainment variety you have learned how to write in a way that resonates with multitudes. It’s either that or don’t eat.

    I certainly hope that the people who make things are waking up to the fact that the ruling class is not indifferent to their welfare but actively hates and despises them. There is no noblis oblige here, only contempt for the plebes.

    And the question is, how would things be different if we were ruled by a cabal of our enemies?

    If the answer is, no difference at all, then, since they are enemies, we don’t have to obey.

    And we certainly don’t have to help our enemies do their damage.

  8. I’m reminded of the officers and the flag pole.

    It’s the job of the Sergeant to put up the flag pole. It’s the job of the officer to tell them where to put it.

    And it’s really easy to forget that the real job of an officer is to figure out where flag poles actually need to be put, and where they’ll just be a waste of time and people sticking them in the ground…

    1. I thought it was the job of the Sergeant to direct and inspire the grunts who put up the flagpole…

  9. There are those who understand that “Perception is reality”. Especially in the political sphere, perception is *a* reality, and yes, it may differ from reality-on-the-ground. In the push to get elected or desirable legislation passed, or sell stuff, it is just as important (or sometimes, apparently more important) to navigate perception as is it to navigate reality. Those who live in ivory towers on a diet of highly specialized academic debate seem especially prone to confuse the two. Thus we get those who, (for instance) claim that sex is (purely) a social construct, or suppose that violent revolution will beget peace and prosperity for all.
    But those who have been repeatedly mugged by “how things are” as distinguished from “how I thought things were” and “how things ought to be” tend not confuse the two.

    1. Euuughghgh. “It doesn’t matter what reality is. Reality is not reality. Perception is reality.” I first heard that during some briefing by an aparratchik in the Air Force. I knew then, upon hearing it, that it was at the root of an evil philosophy. There may be constructive ways to take the “perception is reality” phrase, but that isn’t the meaning they want you to take. It has been a force of rot and destruction in the 15 years since I’ve heard the phrase. The fall of Afghanistan while our uncaring elite tried to adjust everyone’s perception rather than dealing with reality is just one manifestation.

      “Optics”, as in spinning illusions, not lining up mirrors and lenses to get a beam of light to go where you want – that’s another verbal marker of the enemy.

      1. It is a perversion of a necessity.

        The reality is, even without anyone manipulating it, perception is often far from reality, to the point that one must intentionally fix the perception.

        The perversion is, once one can adjust perception, it is a great temptation to adjust perception to one that favors you, rather than one that aligns to reality.

      2. I HATE that phrase. I push back every time I hear it. Perception can shape or affect reality to the extent that one will react to what one perceives, and that will affect the reality of relationships and such, but as with Bertrand Russell’s “I refute it thus”, it only matters to subjective reality, not objective.

      3. Category error. “Perception is reality” can be correct for things that really are social constructs like “what is the best way to organize society”, not physical, objective things like “the acceleration of gravity at the earth’s surface is 9.8 m/s^2”.

        Just like what happened when Darwinism got applied to categories where it was invalid and ended up justifying “scientific” racism, so did relativity and quantum mechanics. And that’s how we ended up with an academy full of Pirandellos (“It is so. When YOU think so”) proclaiming utter stupidities like “biological sex is a social construct”.

        1. When historians try to apply the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to . . . biology. “By observing the meadow, we change the ecology of the meadow and it is not the meadow it once was.” I boggled. Looking at something—not walking through it, not digging a test hole, not putting up a nest box, just looking at it—don’t do that at the macro level!

      4. “And if one were to perceive you as a complete and utter waste of gravity with no redeeming qualities whatsoever? Sir?”

      5. To my ear, what was meant is that whatever the enemy perceives will become their reality, and the enemy will act on that perceived reality, not on your reality.

        It’s really the flipside of “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” But given the political climate, poorly phrased.

    2. Every time I hear that I want to test that theory with the person who uttered it. Have them perceive themselves as intangible and go step in front of a bus, perceive themselves able to float in mid-air and step off a ledge, etc.

    3. “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
      Philip K. Dick

      1. If you become so enlightened that you manage to stop believing in reality, and then reality kills you, did you win?

  10. Dollars to donuts that these self-proclaimed “defenders of the working class” are the same Karens who verbally eviscerate the poor counter jockeys because of something that is completely out of said counter-jockey’s control.

    1. You’re behind the times Raptor. The Marxists abandoned the concept of defending the working class, for racial categories. THAT’s what CRT is all about. By the 60’s Marcuse and the rest had realized that appeals to the envy of the working class were worthless, because the working class was doing well, thank you very much. If you run out of racism, you can always manufacture some. You can’t so easily pretend that someone is oppressed working class.

      1. Hence the appeals to “systemic racism.” I’m looking forward to actually being able to see the look on someone’s face when I ask “What system?”

        The dirty little secret is that systems aren’t real, they’re an abstraction. For example, there’s no such thing as a sewage system. When we talk about a sewage system we’re really talking about a bunch of pipes, valves, pumps, filters, gauges, etc. that collectively move crap from point A to point B. When we say the sewage system has failed we’re really saying that one or more of those components has failed. You can’t fix the failed system until you identify the failed component, talking about the failed system is useless.

        But a so-called problem that is undefined and therefore unfixable is just what the evil doctor (not to be confused with Dr. Evil) ordered.

        1. What comprises the “system” of racism? It’s not laws or regulations, those were all nullified 50 years ago. So it must be people. Is racism like mass telepathy, that imposes racist thoughts on all white people from outside their own brains? Clearly that’s impossible. So racism must live in individual minds. Now, if a white person is the most virulent racist in his head, but never treats black people with anything but courtesy and respect, how could you tell he was a racist? You can’t, because humans can’t read minds. So it can’t be thoughts that manifest racism, it must be acts (including speech).

          Acts of individuals.

          There is no “system”. Discourage the acts, and racism will wither even further than it already has.

          Thus I refute Kendi.

          In truth, Wokism and Anti-Racism are specifically Gnostic religions: the world is sinful, but due to adherents’ special knowledge they can see the true reality, and they believe this gives them the power to direct the affairs of the sinful world.

          As I’ve said before, when someone tells me I’m full of sin and the only salvation is to abase myself to them forever, they’re more interested in the abasement than they are in the salvation.

        2. Yeah, it is an abstraction that has certain specific legitimate applications.

          One is physics. If someone is trained in physics, they can see how the ‘system’ assumption is applied, and how fuzzy and problem dependent the idea is.

          Another very different specific application is in electrical engineering. There, my specific legitimate example is with mathematical models of components and of electrical machines. If the mathematical models of the components are valid and correct, they can possibly be added up in various ways to get a mathematical model of the machine that is pretty close. In practice, this is not as exact as the theory suggests, but the theory is at least as necessary as training wheels.

          Considering an airplane to be a system is probably legitimate, at least for some problems. You have a bunch of matter fixed together somehow, so even if it is not a rigid body, it may stay attached if you move it to a different location, etc. You can use a certain amount of force to bend the wings at the tip, and the wing bits are coupled in a way that the wing bends, and force is ‘passed along’ through the wing.

          A group of rivers draining an area, with locks and dams to somewhat control the flow, may be on the edge of legitimate applications. GIven certain assumptions, the river flows are a little predictable. For certain predictions of river flow, the controls (locks, dams, etc.) put on the river can adjust the flows in certain ways. Issue is, definitely isn’t valid for all precipitation ‘states’/’vectors’, and a human cannot have the geological/soil information to theoretically predict the results of extreme precipitation, beyond “then it would be bad”. And this soil information problem breaks down into two sub problems that may both be beyond human ability. The first is, with empirical measurement of all soils (ha), can we theoretically or numerically predict the process of being soaked/picked up by water enough for perfect fluid simulations of mud flows, etc.? Second, is there any way to really know what soils are where under the river flows without first removing the water, and digging up everything under and around the river bed?

          Eco-system is definitely not a legitimate application of ‘system’. The effin life scientists responsible for it speculated, wildly, that there were actually a bunch of feedback mechanisms in place, that would preserve some original reference state. There are definitely a bunch of mechanisms that could be matched to theoretical models of a positive or negative feed back control.

          One issue, there are actually very many possible mechanisms, and controls theory may not have tools for verifying whether so many varied ‘controls’ can in fact deliver the control of a system. Certainly, if the engineering theory of controls has figured this out yet, the life scientists are msotly not trained enough in controls theory to understand whether or not it applies.

          Second issue is a result of from looking at the climate science mutha effers ‘investigating’ the idea that ‘climate’ is a feedback system with variation over certain fundamental periods. The climate science folks are using computer models vaguely inspired by fluid mechanics. a) fluid mechanics has a lot of situations where analytical and numerical theory has to be matched to an empirical model. b) Even if we had good empirical test information for climate fluid behavior at climate scale, it will not be valid for all continent configurations unless the finest sound model views land and sea as being identical. Continental drift may be fast where the longer climate periods are concerned, and if it is climate cannot be a feedback system. Fundamentally, even if climate feedback cycles of a hundred or a thousand years can be valid, as long as hundred thousand year cycles are invalid because of tectonics, the biologists cannot treat climate as fixed or a system. Being able to treat climate as fixed or a system is necessary, but not sufficient, for treating ecosystems as a legitimate use of system.

          There is no original reference state for nature; for an eco system, the biologists have taken what is basically a very rapidly exposed picture of objects in motion, assumed that it is static, and started trying to deduce statics from the picture, and a theory of forces holding the objects rigidly in the same position to each other. This, at a time that we can be cofnident from other fields that a bunch of different configurations of object have existed, even if we cannot show very many pictures.

          Lastly, we have models of human behavior. A society is /never/ a system. We develop theories of it being a system, based on this theory, that theory, or another theory of a behavioral model that would provide a positive or negative feedback. Fundamental issue here is that human comprehensible models of behavior are reduced order, simpler than the full reality of the behavior that can physically occur. A human mind cannot hold a complete perfect theoretical model of itself. There is also no human so much smarter than other humans that the smarter human can hold a complete perfect theoretical model of a bunch of humans. (Unless you accept ‘Jesus is fully human and fully divine’ as an example.) We can build theoretical models that explain past data. But, because humans are influenced by a lot of experiences, because they are hugely varied, because they can make decisions about behavior, and because most of them can come up with the same theoretical models, future behavior can be different from an extrapolation of the past.

          Note, that is not ‘must be different from an extrapolation of the past’. Many people have in similar circumstances made similar decisions. So there is a lot of past behavior that looks like it always follows this or that reduced order model.

          When people start taking simple behavior models seriously enough to base magical thinking on them, others will be attracted to exploit that thinking. So, if you have a situation that had been stable long enough for consistent decisions making to build up to an apparent behavior rule, you get the magical thinking, and the attempts to game it. When the folks in question are so blind to other behaviors that they sincerely believe in a societal system, then the magical thinking is probably deeply entrenched, and heavily exploited. Well, the folks who are confident in their gaming of the ‘system’ are going to include a few idiots who will brag about it, sneer, and use it to harass those assumed to be weaker. If they piss off enough people, deeply enough, you have a bunch of people looking for ways to change their behavior and get away from the harassment. If this is occurs in the same situation as preference falsification, it can trigger a preference cascade.

        3. Disagree. You can have ” a bunch of pipes, valves, pumps, filters, gauges, etc.”piled up in a heap and you would not have a sewage system. You have a sewage system when they are put together to achieve the aims of a sewage system. The system can fail without any of the components failing if the design does not take into account all of the possible conditions and an unplanned for condition manifests.

          1. Well, you’re free to be wrong. The fact is that you can’t have a system without the physical components. And a system that has failed due to unexpected conditions still has a physical component that isn’t properly performing its function.

  11. Sarah commented on Artists working for the public (ie painting what the public would purchase).

    I remember reading that the Great Artists of Italian Renaissance mainly started as Apprentices of Established Artists. While Established Artists had “noble” patrons, the patrons were of the school that said “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”. IE The patrons were the public and they didn’t pay for garbage “art”.

    So the students of the Established Artists learned to paint well but also learned “paint something that will sell”. 😀

    1. “painting what the public would purchase” NO, Just NO!
      She was talking about “Artists” paid by the Government. To do what the Government wanted them to do.
      Artists that do what people will pay for are honorable and Good. They are doing what every other creator is doing and are valuable to the community.

      “Artists” paid by the Government. Have you EVER seen any art paid for by the Government that was any GOOD. The only thing I remember seeing was a statue by the WALL and that was put there NOT because the Government wanted but people FORCED the Government to put it up.
      The Government may have been forced to put up GOOD Art but it was NOT what the Government wanted.

      1. While Sarah did talk about “Artists Working For The Government”, she mentioned Artists working for the public (ie the free market at work).

        And in many ways, the Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance worked the same way. IE If nobody was willing to purchase their paintings, they didn’t get paid.

        Even the “noble” patrons wanted art that they enjoyed to view and display. They wouldn’t pay for garbage art.

        1. Today all artists “Artists Working For The Government” only produce garbage art.

    2. Wealthy patrons supported artists to burnish their reputations by having their name associated with great art. Sponsoring art that made people scratch their heads would be counterproductive.

  12. Our hostess said
    “And yet, we insist on siding with those people that the self-proclaimed elite classifies as “hobbits.” And about whom they joke.”

    I think Hobbits is a very apropos description. Perhaps the Elites had best pay attention to the chapter in Return of the King titled “The Scouring of the Shire”. Hobbits are people that just want to live their lives and be left alone to enjoy their Ale and Fish and Chips. One had best pay attention to this lest one share the Fate of Worm-tongue and the 70+ Men who all ceased to exist. Hobbits are inordinately good with ranged weapons…

    1. I think you’re being unfair to the elves, the elves made things, at least Tolkien’s did, skill of hand being one of their primary characteristics. Pratchett’s not so much. Our chattering classes cannot make, only mar so Pratchett elves not Tolkien. A better comparison might be Tolkien’s orcs.

      1. Except it was Thranduil who stood by and watched Smaug destroy Erebor, Dale and Esgaroth.

        They pleaded for help and he refused.

        The elves been HAD known how to make and create, but had reduced themselves to hiding in caves and forests while the world went on around them.

        Much like our academics and politicians. They haven’t had to get results in the real world and have no desire to live in it.

        Possibly no capability to live in it either.

        1. Was that Tolkien’s Thranduil or Jackson’s, though? I’ll admit that it’s been long enough to read the appendices to the Lord of the Rings that I don’t remember if there was anything in there about that, but the impression I got from reading The Hobbit was that Smaug’s takeover happened too fast for anyone to do anything but run.

          1. It was Tolkien’s Thranduil. The actual attack was quick but Thranduil refused to help kill Smaug and take back the mountain.

            And there was bad blood between dwarves and elves ever after. Which is why Thranduil had the dwarves imprisoned when they were found in Mirkwood. Although if the elvish fighters had asked for permission to rescue them from the giant spiders he would have told them not to and let them die in the woods instead.

            Thorin absolutely hated Thranduil for his inaction during Smaug’s attack. He hated all elves also and didn’t want to get help from Elrond either.

            1. There was bad blood between the elves and the dwarves long before Smaug, but it’s been donkey’s years since I read the Hobbit and I’ve not seen the movies. In any case, I still think the orcs are a better comparison since they were marred and ruined. A mockery of creation. Much like 100+ years of progressive education has ruined so many.

              1. IIRC there are also strong hints throughout Tolkien’s texts that Durin’s descendants are unusually decent for dwarves. My recollection is that most of the other dwarves tend to be too greedy and selfish for the other races to get along with.

            2. Well, and if I recall right, the reason Thranduil refused to help was because the dwarves had done repairs/refurbishing/something on his wife’s most beloved jewels…and then raised the price well above the previously agreed upon price, and basically said “You don’t pay, you don’t get ’em back.” And he refused to pay, and considered them thieves (not without reason) and so when Smaug turned up…

              1. The enmity between Thranduil and the dwarves goes back to the First Age when the Dwarves sought to keep the Silmaril that Beren and Luthien took from Morgoth and which ended up in Doriath. The elves Thranduil was a part of were allies of Thingol. There were lots of other moments that caused distrust and hatred in the second and third ages. The Noldor, particularly those of Eregion, were the exception with their close friendship with the Dwarves of Khazad-dum.

                Like with most antagonistic relationships, there was a LOT of history long before Smaug attacked Erebor.

                1. IIRC, the dwarves were hired to work the jewel, and promised whatever they wanted from the King’s treasury. After they completed their work, they demanded the finished product. The King said, “No”. People got killed.

                    1. Likely. I can’t remember the name of the wood elf king at the time. And, of course, that he was Luthien’s father.

        2. Smaug set the woods on fire prior to slaughtering the dwarves, and then the humans. If you mean why they didn’t help kill Smaug with the party that had Bilbo– Thorin refused to tell them what was going on.

          The host of elves were also the first to strike– and die– against the wolves and goblins at the war of five armies.

          As well demand why Men and Dwarves weren’t helping make matters better when those few refugee elves’ forest became so infested with darkness that it earned the name “Mirkwood.”

        1. Tolkien went back and forth on the origins of the Orcs.

          Yes, some of the earlier published origins were “corrupted elves” but Tolkien had problems with that idea since apparently Orcs were unredeemable which bothered him. IE A good Catholic (or other type of Christian) would have major problems with an evil-by-nature species.

          1. Well, one can have an “always evil” species, like the Goa’uld from Stargate SG-1 whom have a genetic memory. All the memories of previous Goa’uld doing terrible things tends to corrupt them as larvae and they become evil.

            However, that doesn’t mean an individual Goa’uld can turn away it’s just difficult. The creator of the Tok’Ra was a regular Goa’uld queen who’d become disillusioned with what her race was going so she started editing the memories she’d passed onto her offspring and they became the Tok’Ra. (The Tok’Ra are still a bit arrogant and I even remember a part where Jacob Carter/Selmak was losing influence because the other Tok’Ra thought Jacob was affecting Selmak too much.)

        2. In his later years, Tolkien struggled with the origin of the orcs. They were one of those creations of what he later would call “youthful exuberance,” endless hordes of faceless mooks for the Big Bad to send forth to trouble the protagonists, mooks that could be killed in vast waves and still be pouring out of the gates of the Big Bad’s fortress. But once he wrote that “nothing was evil in the beginning,” he had an ontological problem — and he never really found a satisfactory solution. Corrupted elves was one of his theories, and IIRC made it into LOTR, but there were also a number of other theories in his notes that have been published in the History of Middle Earth. Among them: corrupted Men, some kind of animal given the semblance of sapience, constructs more akin to a golem, and minor Maiar that chose to follow the Dark Lord.

            1. Orcs are much more in the spirit of his sources, where undead are singletons, and robots nonexistent

        3. The first orcs, yes. Although Tolkien himself had said/had in his notes that he did not consider the orcs to be a wholly-evil race–enslaved and told lies to and corrupted, but his own beliefs precluded something that was automatically evil just because of what it was born as.

          So perhaps, then, a better comparison would be those old lords of Gondor who obsessed over their high ancestry and built elaborate tombs and planned elaborate funerals while the kingdom decayed around them.

          1. My own fan-theory is that orcs are corrupted elves, and while they’re not irredeemable the best practice is still to kill them, send their spirits to the Halls of Mandos, and let Mandos deal with them. It’s his job.

            And Saruman became involved with the orcs because he got the bright, prideful idea of “I can redeem these people myself, rather than sending them to Mandos to be redeemed.” Only that didn’t quite work out.

            1. This is one example of how metaphysics is dangerous to the fantasy writer. It is a lot easier to deal with an always evil race if it’s just speculation.

    2. Tolkien had a deep suspicion of technology. Most of the trouble in Middle Earth came from beings who Made Things. Like Feanor. His silmarils caused a war that leveled half a continent. Men made things, and then had the gall to sail to Elfland without permission and made trouble. And the Dwarves, lordy. The greedy little bastards were such good miners that they struck balrog and then attracted a dragon. My sense is that Aule was considered a mistake by Iluvatar and the other Valar. I’ll forgive Tolkien all that. What I will do is suggest that his mindset was common among academics going back a long ways.

      1. Iluvatar didn’t make mistakes. Even Melkior/Morgoth was not a mistake because everything he did ultimately fed into the beauty of creation. Aule certainly wasn’t a mistake, and neither were the dwarves or Feanor or the silmarils (which, even if they gave it its name, weren’t really the cause of the War of the Jewels).

        That said, you’re right about Tolkien’s anti-technology stand. His world was one where the gentlefolk could live in peace and harmony and beauty all day without ever needing to worry about where their food and clothing came from or where their waste went. They could simply be assured that it would all work as it was supposed to and without any of those nasty smoke-spewing factories. I love Tolkien’s writings, but I suspect we would have serious disagreements if he were still alive today.

        1. In the SIlmarillion Illuvator tells Melkor/Morgoth that there is nothing that he can mar that cannot be turned to greater good.

        2. Um… you do know that at the beginning of the industrial revolution, it was all beautiful, light-filled weaving factories driven by fairly quiet water mills, with well-paid factory workers and really nice-looking, large, well-lit apartments and houses. It was kind of a revolution in my own thinking, to see the first Derbyshire mills.

          A surprising amount of early industrialists really wanted things to be cleaner and nicer, if only because smoke and soot mean that a lot of material is going to waste.

          Tolkien clearly had a fair amount of knowledge of how medieval technology and architecture worked, and you don’t pick that up by hating the making of things. But he saw a lot of the seamier and poorer side of England, when he was a kid, and he really didn’t want to go back. He didn’t want anyone to go back to dirt and cold, or relatives that mysteriously hate you versus other relatives that mysteriously are on your side, or any of the other things that filter into his books in a disguised way.

      2. Tolkien had a deep suspicion of the things that got justified as just fine because “progress!”

        Tends to get conflated with technology itself– think like how bioethics has a nasty name, because 90% of the people practicing it instead spend time going “the obviously and applicable ethical considerations don’t apply” without very good arguments.

        Think more of the guy who points out that after breaking a lot of eggs, there’s still no omelet, and oh by the way I don’t think those were your eggs?

      3. The Silmarils were just a spark. Morgoth had gone to war with his old fortress of Utumno before the Elves even woke. If the SIlmarils hadn’t been made, there just would have been another spark. Evil doesn’t need a reason to wage war against others.

        1. That said, I think it’s kinda interesting to remember that Galadriel had known Melian (who was a minor angel, and whose Doriath shield could only be echoed dimly by Lothlorien’s), and Luthien Tinuviel, who had her mother’s beauty, and had raised Arwen Evenstar as well. There’s all these great loves going on around her, but she had a fairly normal happy marriage among all the crazy cross-species drama.

          But Gimli fell in love with Galadriel. Yes, it was sad to have a situation that could only be chivalrous and platonic — but on the other hand, it had to have been good for Galadriel’s ego, in a courtly love way. And it probably made her really motivated to help out the dwarves, until she went over Sea.

          1. Yes, it was sad to have a situation that could only be chivalrous and platonic — but on the other hand, it had to have been good for Galadriel’s ego, in a courtly love way

            Good point.

  13. I used to work for a lovely man (may he rest in peace) who took a totally hands off approach to the business he owned. His reason? “Everything is easy for those who don’t do the work.” So, he left his employees to do what they did best. I’d surely love to see an educated idio…erm ‘aristocrat’ try and repair a broken toilet or washing machine or, heaven forbid, do a little lawn maintenance or climb on a roof in the middle of a heat wave.

    Back to my lovely employer…his other favorite quote went something like this “57 monkeys with typewriters would craft the Bible given enough time.”

  14. I can think of few things I would enjoy more than being told I was a traitor to the chattering classes.

    For the rest, plenty of room in the basket of deplorables as the wife likes to say.

  15. “Which is how we get to the embassy in Kabul being very very concerned with pride month, but not so much with getting their people out safely.”


  16. Sarah, my father would have liked you. His idea of education was learning things that would allow you to get a good job. “Enrichment” was something you did on your own. He was 5’6″ of muscle and cussedness, but he knew more classical music than he let on, and while cleaning out their house 20 years after he died, we found a box full of art and poetry books with his name on the inside covers. The man loved Robert Frost, just as I do. And yet he was an industrial engineer with a 2-year degree from Georgia Tech, and in his job with Chicago’s natural gas utility he supervised the installation of natural gas infrastructure for a tiny little project called O’Hare Field. He knew pipes. He knew vents. He knew chemistry. He knew calculus. He could figure BTUs on a slide rule. He had the power to tell the architects: “Put in 6″ mains to those hangars or we don’t turn on the methane.” Yet at home he wore a white T-shirt and drank beer while he watched McHale’s Navy. We lived in a working-class neighborhood, and he fit right in.

    There were issues between us. I wanted to be a writer (and was good at it, even when I was 14) and he was terrified that I’d starve. My college education was worthless. (Fortunately, it was cheap.) I didn’t starve. In fact, I carved out a niche writing humorous computer textbooks and made a very good living at it. Now in retirement I can write starship novels and not worry about starving.

    And like my father, I’ll take the working class over our badly educated but overcredentialed cretinocracy any day. The key part of citizenship is contributing something to civilization. Ramming drains does. Writing textbooks does. Writing entertaining novels does. Muttering incoherently over bad poetry does not.

    1. > an industrial engineer with a 2-year degree from Georgia Tech

      A modern four-year degree probably has less engineering than your father got; you can’t waste class time with engineering when you have to push the Narrative. Your father probably never had to write a term paper about how right-hand threads were a symbol of white oppression, or arranged his reference books according to the current week’s BOPIC/LGBTQP hierarchy. Heck, he probably never even wondered about the feminist implications of alternating current vs. direct current.

      Your dad just learned engineering, not the *important* stuff.

      1. Thankfully, all that “important stuff” didn’t exist back in 1949, or I’d lay odds that my dad would have gotten thrown out of Georgia Tech. He taught me to think for myself, as he thought for himself. He suffered fools very badly. He’d fit right in here.

      2. “Tanker” over at MostlyCajun has a high school diploma and nothing else. He also handles the huge generators and power supplies that keep the oil rigs and pipelines running, and is (last time he talked about it) one of two people in his field who can do all the things that they do. Everyone else is too specialized, per government et al requirements. He does a lot of retraining of newly graduated engineers and techs.

    2. Hi Jeff!

      I’m sure we’ve worked together on some publishing project but can’t recall the details right now. Glad to hear you’re doing well in retirement.

  17. It’s amusing that they would call the working class hobbits and think it is a pejorative. Yep I’m working class that got a college degree. Doesn’t make me in their class although I can throw a few twenty-dollar words just as well as any college whore.

    1. Toby Keith put out a CD entitled “White Trash with Money”, as that was what he was called by the chattering classes after his dispute with the Dixie Chicks (in which he supported working class country fans who objected to the Chicks’ insults).

      “White trash with money” is a good descriptor of the artisan middle class. The millionaires next door. The ones that those of the right social class, who are suffering from genteel poverty, cannot stand.

      1. Too bad he wasn’t a little more vindictive: “White Trash With More Money Than You Assholes”

    2. Fwiw, the crew I deal with (decidedly blue collar, I’d say, if not as skilled as some) have been considered ‘elves’ at least once. But NOT Tolkein elves. Think of the shoemaker tale. We do stuff at night and “magically” (HA! HAW! HAR-DE-HAR-HAR!) things are done (hopefully) in the morning.

  18. Looking hopefully toward a transition from top heavy universities to rubber-meets-the-road trade schools.

    Also, yay for Mike Rowe.

    1. We need, to be honest, something that can be called a “white collar trade school.” Yes, a lot of the “nuts and bolts and theory,” to be sure and some side learning to widen your knowledge base and how to do research outside of your wheelhouse. But I damned well don’t need to go for a four year university and it’s costs to learn how to be a technical writer. Or do MBA work. Or similar things. In a shorter period of time, at a lower cost.

      1. There are a couple of smaller universities and distance learning things that offer certifications in technical writing or business. Some community colleges, too. We just need to make those credentials sufficient for HR departments or headhunters.

        And destroy all attempts to make AB5 and its ilk nationally required. Destroying freelancer and gig workers’ ability to make a living is evil, and even more so when it’s cloaked in the guise of concern.

        1. Some of us are much happier doing freelance/gig work. We’d be miserable working for a boss who regulates the how and where and when, as opposed to having a deadline and a deliverable. I want to be able to finish my work, not have to find Visible Busy to do because “there’s three minutes left.”

      2. I do want to do nuts and bolts teaching. It never worked right in this house because our internet is ficked.
        BUT new house, I’m gonna try to do weekend workshops. For what it’s worse.

        1. It honestly makes a lot more sense. Move it out of the four year university system, streamline it so that it doesn’t take four years to finish, and it doesn’t burden the student with this massive mound of debt that makes it more difficult for them to get established and makes it harder for other lenders to lend money to them.

          1. That’s absolutely how it should be. Shame the whole education process got so badly messed up. Here’s hoping the building over, under, and around can restore some sanity to it all.

    2. OT, but we could use some amusement…

      Once upon a time, one of the ham radio groups in which I was involved held foxhunts (use directional antennas and whatnot to discover the location of the ‘fox’ transmitter). Rules were the the ‘fox’ had to be within City Limits of BigTown. Once, a clever fellow found a new subdivision just annexed and used that, so old maps show would (this pre-GPS, or pre-*inexpensive* GPS) as out of bounds. Well, the place was still _mostly_ undeveloped. The fox was discovered, eventually, and the ‘gang’ converged on the location. Only then did someone notice that the place must have been a local make-out spot. The area was nicknamed “Firestone Alley” as it was where “the rubber met the road”… as indicated by all the condoms in the ditch. Fortunately, the foxhunt was held well into daylight.

        1. When you get back to a keyboard– Suburbanbanshee seems to be in moderation, there’s two messages that made it to my mail box that aren’t showing up on the page, and a third that didn’t even make it there– the thread about “General Charles de Gaulle” and his daughter, Anne.

          1. Wait: sent out through comment e-mail but not displayed? How would something in moderation show up anywhere?

            *golf clap*Even for WordPress, that’s IMPRESSIVE. *golf clap*


            1. She commented, and it put the first comment in moderation, but it still showed on her screen, so when Banshee did her usual polite “make follow-ups as she finds more” type posts, THOSE went through the email, but the spam-triggered didn’t.

              It took a while for me to figure out what was going on. 😀

            2. >> “Wait: sent out through comment e-mail but not displayed? How would something in moderation show up anywhere?”

              Others seem to get them through e-mail, but not me. Don’t know why.

  19. And yet, we insist on siding with those people that the self-proclaimed elite classifies as “hobbits.”


    Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

      1. Funny thing is, cowboy was an insult– up until the mid-60s or so, among ranchers.

        A “cowboy” was an irregular, seasonal hire who was probably a thief if he didn’t get hired, and might be a thief even if you DID hire him. (Think like in the plot for some westerns, which I suspect were also the source of ‘cowboy’ being the term for ALL of them, since hired-on-worker who is viewed with suspicion and then saves the day is a great story-line.)

        The people who are now “cowboys” would be described as either ranchers or hands; it was entirely normal for a “hand” to be basically an honorary son, to the point that if the bio-children left, they’d be expected to inherit. (If you’ve seen the Lone Ranger episode staring a young and very cute deForrest Kelly as “the Kid,” you can get an idea of the interaction.)

        My godfather (so old that HIS father died in the last Indian raid in California) was still very picky about that, although even he mellowed enough to take stuff in the sense it was offered.

            1. The term is probably a translation of the Irish buachaill bo’ (cow boy), which was the group of guys who would take cows to market, or take them from summer to winter pasture and vice versa. Sometimes they were really boys or teenagers, sometimes they were young men. Not a high status job, but you had to be trustworthy.

              1. The origin I heard proposed was vaquero– once one knows that ‘vaca’ means cow it’s pretty obvious what THAT means– but honestly it’s not like it’s the kind of word that needs a strict origin, anymore than “shepherd” is the guy who “herds” the “sheep.”

                The untrustworthy aspect for the American west would’ve come from there being a very seasonally variable demand for labor– you *only* needed those guys when you rounded up the ranging herds on very sparse pasture, separate out the calves, then took them to sale.
                If you’re in the same area year to year, you can turn out a herd with relatively few people– the cows remember. If you’re not rotating pasture, you may not see them again for however many months are in your summer….

              2. Dang it, Banshee, now I’m envisioning some sort of utter crackfic crossover between Irish cattle raids and the American west…. I don’t even know what sort of story that would fit in! Some sort of mythology thing set up by Coyote?

                    1. I believe you were aspiring to be a writer? Sounds like an opportunity to get some practice in. 😉

                    2. I’m at about 100k words this year, in two stories, coherent and plotline and everything.

                      Which is probably why the image hit so hard….

                  1. That would be a little more impressive if I wasn’t fairly sure my car driving through Montana at the time would detectably raise the Irish per capita, and that’s figuring percentages…..

                    1. I have family in Bozeman. There seems to have been a cluster that went there after the Civil War and they certainly reproduced. Still a bunch of them there. I was surprised since it never struck me as an obvious place for them to go.

                      Up Limerick! 3 all Ireland’s in 4 years. They blew the rebel county away.

                    2. I’m not sure how *accurate* the claim was, but when mom was a kid they said Lake County (Oregon) had more Irish in it than the county their families had come from.
                      (Cork, IIRC– mom’s family is one that was from elsewhere.)

                      I was making a crack about the TOTAL population of Montana. 😀

        1. My family on my Papa’s side comes from Eastern Oregon ranching stock. Prineville and Bend and…. maybe other places.
          Cowboys were considered drifters and not necessarily suitable for polite company.
          Grandma Pearl carried a hogleg pistol [the picture is boss] for all kinds of reasons.

          1. *laughs* Godfather was in Nevada and in California, Modoc county. 😀

            We’ve probably got some sort of not-a-cousins in common.

            1. Sweet. 🙂
              I swear, once we’ve fixed things, whatever that looks like, we’re going to set up in a field near Sarah’s new house. We’ll have a party like Bilbo’s 111st, and we can all tell stories of heroism and glory and pain and cowboys and such. And we’ll see if we’re related!

                1. Ha! Not that he ever let on to Auntie Muriel! But Uncle Jimmy was the classic movie star handsome, and in his whites? Oh la la.
                  Mary? Probably.

                  1. If he was classically handsome, not our cousin Jimmy, but there’s no way I could let that question go unasked!

                    (I have had odder circumstances; got assigned to sit next to my second cousin twice removed, who I hadn’t met before that point, on an airplane. Assigned to the same ship.)

                    1. My sister is plowing through all the photos and documents my Mom left behind.
                      I’m going to find a picture of my… he’s not actually a Great Uncle, Jimmy. My Dad was an only child (Mom too) and so all the relationships with cousins turned to “Uncle so and so.” Like my “Uncle” Ron was really my Dad’s first cousin.

                      You never know. But this will get me into some of the fun photos, the really old ones.

                      They lived on Coronado for the longest, I do believe.

                  2. I was really trying to reply to the Coronado quip – Navy brat here who lived on “the Strand” and went to jr/sr high school at Coronado. Happiest time of my life as it happens. I shudder to think of what has happened to SD in general and Coronado in particular in the intervening years…

                    1. Other than the prices now being (even more) insane, Coronado is still a nice place. Little bit shifted more towards the general flavor of the Del in general, but it’s possible to walk around in safety, and the park is nice, and people are a lot nicer than across the way in San Diego.

          2. I did one of my books with a sub-plot concerning the early days of the cattle trails from Texas to Kansas, immediately post Civil War … and never in 500 or so pages used the term ‘cowboy.’ They were ‘drovers’ or ‘hands’ and the ones who dealt with the spare horse herd (and every company which moved up the various trails at that time had a herd of spare horses, as the work was wicked hard on horses, and most trailing hands changed out horses at least a couple of times in the day) were called ‘wranglers.’ Historically, the term ‘cowboy’ had a rather checkered history – usually referred to those whose attention to the law and rightful ownership of cattle was somewhat lax…

            1. My mom actually made a point of telling us not to call ANYBODY a cowboy at the same time she was giving us lessons like never touching the tail of someone elses’ horse, because that was implying they didn’t know how to care for their animal.

      1. Point and Match.

        This is why they speak so disparagingly of ‘hobbits’. Hobbits do not seek power over others, only over their own lives. This confuses their detractors who think only of power and how to get more.

        1. But don’t make us angry or threaten our homes or hearths because we will cut your heart out and roast it.

          1. We’re a Very Patient Lot. But you know what is said regarding the angering of the Patient…

            [For those unaware: NEVER do that. NOT KIDDING. For example, the USA was being Very Patient in 1941. And was Angered. See: 6 and 9 August 1945.]

  20. “Forgive my rudeness. I cannot abide useless people.” -Firefly episode ‘Shindig’ Are these people as useless as the debutantes? You Betcha! We all laughed and groused about the inadequacies of the DMV and other agencies of useless information. It’s not so funny now.

    1. And now they want to put the happy folks that run the DMV in charge of our health care. Doesn’t that just fill you with serene confidence?

      1. I need to find what to store it in and what gloves (or “gloves”) to wear when handling any VaxPass. Also, where I can get the methylmercury to soak that sucker in? I suspect merely sneezing on might not suffice.

    2. That was a good episode, including Mal’s merciful nature and the part where the guys wanted to listen to Kaylee talk about engines. 😀

  21. My bugbear is smarter than I am, which takes some doing. He’s also SENSIBLY smart, and good with his hands. He makes–HORRORS!–knives. And installed the dishwasher himself. And replaced the kitchen sink and the toilet. He barely finished (I think) an associate’s degree.

    But he can argue philosophy and discuss orbital mechanics just as well, too.

    A plumber or miner or truck driver can read Aristotle, study Shakespeare, write poetry, or play guitar. It’s a lot harder to learn to make a jig (or even understand what a jig is for) or lay pipes or wire a house.

    Asimov was wrong. People aren’t anti-intellectual. They’re anti-intellectual snobbery, which seems to be the default mode of those who over-specialized in intellect.

    1. They have to play the snob card because somewhere, deep down where they’re afraid to look, they know they’re not good for anything else.

      1. I haven’t had that, but my favorite Uber driver experience was an immigrant Thai man listening to the young country station. ‘Murica!

      2. I *love* the story of the truck driver who decided to look into how the atomic bomb(s) were made… and figured out that the decades-accepted diagram of Little Boy had the ‘bullet’ and ‘target’ reversed. Once realized, it seemed obvious, but before that… either it was Readily Accepted or the *few* who worked it out Kept Quiet. And people are generally NOT very quiet.

            1. That bit about the inventor of the infinite improbability drive getting “lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists” is starting to make sense now.

    2. Jigs are not hard. 6/8 metre, 16 bars, repeat, at about 116bpm for a feis, a bit slower if ye are running sets, and if it’s a seisiún it’s whatever ye want – unless the fecking rhythm lads get their knickers in a twist

  22. You’re only forever right in the realm of ideas if your ideas are never challenged.

    None of these people have been challenged, not really and not ever. Especially by the people, their teachers, that should have challenged them and made them think beyond the platitudes.

    And, the “uneducated” are actually rather insightful-if you can listen and translate. And avoid your own biases, which is very tricky in itself. It demands that fully understand your own ideas-and that requires them to be challenged. Which is why you get things like the comic book industry-in a time when they should be making bank-is having their lunch eaten by manga, YA (real Young Adult, not the stuff they claim is that on the shelves at Barnes&Noble), and independent publishers. Their ideas and their biases have never been challenged, not really, and they have been taught that their challengers are wreckers and fools and a basket of deplorables.

    And, if opposing these people makes me a class traitor? You betrayed us first, your parents and your teachers and your role models. And you’re passing along your treason, your heresy, your apostasy to the rest of us.

    (PS-Great Aunt, if at some point I get a chance, Karl Marx and Engels and a lot of his contemporaries are going to at a young age (say, 18 or 19) have a frozen turkey fall on them at terminal velocity out of a clear blue sky. And, I promise to have video from at least three angles in 1080P HD, 60 FPS so we can all watch in slow motion.)

          1. “All these Lifting Stations… to get the sewage to really stupid place to put a treatment plant. WHAT WAS SOMEONE THINKING?!? HELL, WERE THEY EVEN THINKING?!!!”

            * Tour conductor points to a plaque.

            [On this site is buried the body of Karl Marx.]

            “Sorry. Where can I contribute money to maintain this? And… which restroom is most directly above Karl?”

    1. You are familiar with the time travel stories in which the intrepid heroes go back to kill (or otherwise stop) Hitler in order to prevent WWII…only to discover on heir return that someone else arose in his place? Same concept. If it hadn’t been Engels and Marx, it would likely have been someone else. The seeds were sown when the Divine Right of Kings was discarded as the basis for legitimacy of political rule. The model of the French Revolution with its violent class struggle and ovethrow of the existing order, either led or followed by an “enlightened, benevolent,” charismatic dictator (the 19th century was full of admirers and would-be emulators of Napoleon) seems to have been adopted all over Europe.

      1. I do, but the idea of just watching these people get hit by flying poultry makes me smile…

        (I also suspect that the Time Cops just have a cloning line to replace Hitler at various intervals. They also sell tickets to shoot semi-defective Hitler clones in a Potemkin village area.)

      2. Roman history, in th exchange over from Republic to Empire, has many of the same issues. The brothers Gracchi, for instance. Our political class could learn a thing or two from paying attention to what happened to them, but they won’t.

  23. Between us spouse and I have two of every degree level out there. In the end one political science PhD and one political science and economics PhD. We are so over educated it’s not funny. I spent 20+ years as a faculty member. We are both on the working class side of things and very happily so. We both like to surprise those people who do the “well, you know, blue-collar…” wink and nod with “No, I don’t. Tell me…Oh, no. I disagree with you.” We have fun. 😀

    1. I had a similar run in with a very stupid young woman years ago. We were looking out the window toward 195 Broadway, a beautiful lady built in the 20’s, and I remarked that my grandfather had built that. She said “Oh, he was an architect?” I said, “no, he was an iron worker.” She almost fell down running away. I probably shouldn’t have said “ion woika” but couldn’t resist.

      My kids laugh when a I fall back into dialect. I only do it with friends from my boyhood and pretentious people. I do have a N.Y. accent and will use no r unless initial.

      1. sounds a bit like the time on “The Slo-Mo Show” when Gav and Dan were out in Cali, and did a show on Pro Wrestling, and one of the long-haired only communicates in wordless growls and grunts was pointed out as having a degree:

        starts at 1:00 if it doesn’t automatically.
        Masters in Medieval Literature.

        1. 1980s GI Joe had a time travel episode where they went back to Thermopile in you know when.

          ….Sgt Slaughter spoke Ancient Greek. (Given the subject matter, including the event they were AT, which would’ve been written in that language it made perfect sense, but still awesome.)

      2. My grandparents were both carpenters.
        Mind you one of them was born to be a manor lord, but he … well. Money went through hsi fingers.
        The other came from an old moneyed family, but he had the same sensory issues as younger son, and at the time was just called “dumb.”
        So, there is that.

        1. In my family, both sides, it was always drink. If you didn’t drink, you were comfortably, sometimes well, off. If you drank, you were poor. The only reason my mother’s family got by was the Indian Army and entail. Loot bailed the family property out at least twice.

        2. >> “My grandparents were both carpenters.”

          [raised eyebrow]

          Remind me never to look too closely at your family tree…

      3. My neighbor across the street was an iron worker. Great guy, single dad raising two kids. I never advertise what I do for a living for the most part, so he didn’t know for a long time. When he found out he got all impressed. I had to tell him that while he could easily do my job, there was no way in hell I was going to do his job in a million years. Iron workers are amazing. I think he finally believed me.

  24. I have the joy of being a redneck who grew up in the suburbs, enlisted in the Army, got commissioned, got a degree. And my sensibilities are completely rural. But my looks and education make me appear to be wokey woke. I wear tortoise shell cat glasses for heaven’s sake! Then when somebody tries to pull some tranny shite on me or make some victimhood statement, and I say I’ve never been discriminated against because I was a woman, or some other transgressive statement…. Lordy the look on their face makes me laugh so, so hard.

    I’m working on a propaganda video and this blog ties into it perfectly.

    One of the things I believe is most important as the war is heating up is this: Know what you believe and why you believe it, because you may have to kill someone because of it. Could you? The time to find out is now.

    Those of us who know how to do things are being “othered”. The parallels to 1930s Germany are many. This is helping me prepare.

    It’s also helped me say to various bureaucrats and medical functionaries that no, I won’t, and you can do your job just a little better, sweetie, if you don’t pretend you’re better than I am.

    Oh, and I forget where it is in the post, but the idea that fiction is in any respect “useless” doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like saying the Mona Lisa is “useless”. The joy we get from fiction seems very worthy of respect and admiration–how many people can tell a story that brightens another’s life?

    1. Issue is, giving oneself full credit for positive effects on others, from the inside, looks like the inaccurate thinking of some of the intellectuals does from the outside.

      Hang around enough ‘writers’ or ‘scholars’ with a wildly inflated notion of what their work has done to change society, and a sane person’s reflexes are going to drag them to ‘No, I am only an x, I have not done anything real’.

      To some audiences, that will sound depressed. It may even be depression, and worth intervention. At the same time, “I am a scholar/artist, doing x for society and to change the world” is not exactly necessarily the most functional or healthiest place to put one’s confidence.

      1. If I understand what you wrote, I think I agree.
        I can write a novel that sells a million copies and gets me concert halls filled to hear me speak. That is fulfilling.
        I think it’s as important, and good for the neighborhood, that I love order, I can feed myself without a grocery store, I can build useful things (like fences if you have NO ONE else), I can create useful things (like soap), and I can teach anything I know to anyone.
        Humility and perspective?
        If that’s not the point, I’m listening.

        1. Part of it is the actual good of humility and perspective.

          But what we tell ourselves is humility and perspective can also be the black dog lying to us. Which is a bad thing

          One mistake that we try to avoid is arrogant self-importance. Another mistake we try to avoid is being caught in depression. The answer to both is hard to do, and not easily described because there is no single formula for doing it correctly.

          Pay attention to both the measurable and unmeasurable results of what we do.

          We need to have the courage to see, admit, and accept when our measurable results are slim. Illusions can comfort, but you have to see what you are doing if you are going to make things happen. So, the psychological strength to accept reality is a life skill.

          At the same time, if we have set the right goals for how we live our lives, there are positive results that are not measurable. This isn’t necessarily true of someone chasing a wrong goal, like hurting others at every opportunity. But, if we work to say true things, if we work to be oriented towards reality, if we try to be effective at helping others and ‘being of good cheer’, we will influence others for the better for years after we have spoken to them. This isn’t something that a human can predict. It is not deterministic and it is not statistical. But it is a thing that exists, that can not be found by chemical assay, measured in a lab, or calculated by theory.

          Honor is one of many things that exists, that is invisible to physical experiment, that we forget at our peril. That we cannot know and list all of the good things done is definitely another.

          Okay, I still feel in debt when I compare the measurable things others have done for me, with a measurable things I have done. All I can do is try my best going forward from now. At the same time, the black dog lies when it says I can /know/ that I have done nothing. That is information I do not have. Okay, I’m not Babe Ruth, George Washington, or Richard Feynman, but I can point to times and places where I have made an effort.

          Treating others decently can be a healthy aspiration. Becoming regarded as great in the history books is rarely a good life goal. Using a credential or an occupation to build one’s identity around a social caste is basically stupid; any form of happiness that relies on persuading others is fragile. Getting satisfaction from doing tasks is okay, if task selection comes from self knowledge instead of theoretical imagining about what the result might be. (I say that as someone who probably wastes far too much time daydreaming about results.)

          1. Let me offer the right hand of fellowship.
            I understand this on a level that doesn’t have words.
            Thanks so much.

            1. It helps hearing when something I say here is useful for others.

              This isn’t the only place I get told I’ve been helpful, but it is definitely a place I like hearing it when I am morose about the RL efforts.

              1. A lot of folks on this blog offer terrific advice, and I cherish it.
                You, however, are the only one I’ve saved their comments. Three of them, I believe.
                The way you put things resonates with me.

          2. “Treating others decently can be a healthy aspiration.”

            I spend a lot of time at this level.

            1. Some of the things I say, looking back, are things I saw because of gifts and experiences The Lord has blessed me with. I don’t know what I was put on Earth to do, so one of the things I ought to do is labor truly at the tasks that come to my hand.

              Something that may be a vocation is a temptation, a burden, and a blessing. When you really love something, it is tempting to see the whole of the world through that lens. To ignore everything that you cannot see through that lens.

              I’m frustrated with how my day has gone. Let myself get fixed on depression, and did not do the things on my list.

              Reflecting now, I’m wondering if I was sent today’s troubles to bring my attention to being blind, to ignoring a need for decent behavior, because I thought it was too hard, and also a distraction.

          3. “Becoming regarded as great in the history books is rarely a good life goal.”

            This cannot be emphasized enough. As an example. every leader in the Union who went to war during the American Civil War with an eye toward attaining glory failed. Miserably. The war was won in large part due to the efforts of two men who saw their job as holding the Union together, and who had been failures in *everything* that they’d attempted to do up until the war started.

            Those two men also happened to become wildly popular due to their success in prosecuting the war to its conclusion (as well as Grant’s lenient terms to the surrendering Army of Northern Virginia). But popularity was a side effect, and not their goal.

    2. The parallels to 1930s Germany are many. This is helping me prepare.

      Blog post possibility/ Or at least a followup for those slow as ox. I get the idea, but much the ‘good’ response to that time and place was to cross an ocean…. and that doesn’t seem to be an option for the “last, best hope.”

    3. All absolutely admirable qualities – save the commissioned part. Admittedly, someone has to do paperwork so the E-5s and up can actually get things done… 🤣

  25. The more I think about it. The more I think right now is closer to the end of the bronze age in the Near East, specifically Achean Greeks, than Rome. The collapse of Rome included severe disruption at all social levels, especially if you include the Crisis of the Third Century. The cities empty, serfdom appears as the urban survivors have to learn to farm and trade output for protection.

    At the collapse of the Bronze Age palace culture, it appears nothing for the productive classes change. There are no huge invasions leading to a feudalism protection culture. The isn’t a large-scale disruption of farming or personal crafts. Just the luxury goods and management providing palaces collapse with the farmers around them tending the same farms with the same crops without significant disruption.

    I wonder if part of the issue in that collapse wasn’t just too many useless luxury elites to s survive on what pissed-off workers were will to surrender.

    1. Bronze age collapse was one of the things that inspired my ‘history, and all human comprehensible models of humans, are reduced order models, and can never have perfect predictive values’.

      What might we consider the theory that ‘we have to pay taxes to the king, because he is king’? It is an idea that people can have, that partly relies on magical thinking.

      Maybe it is based in a magical theory of the prowess of the king’s armies. Maybe it is based in a magical theory of the king’s ritual value.

      Where ever humans have a theory based in magical theory, other humans will be tempt to use it to exploit them. If a King does so, they may try to coerce people by force to show belief in the magical theory. Which can be preference falsification.

      Magical theories that people believe because of inner desire are likely to last. But a magical theory forced on people, resulting in widespread preference falsification, is fragile. Probably the magical theories of kingship have been invented many many times in prehistory and history. Probably there were lots of kings who were not exactly careful, fore-thoughtful, and restrained in exploiting the belief of their subjects.

      I think the bronze age collapse was a result of preference falsification of a magical belief in those kings. Whether it was military or ritual, it must have gotten shown false, and then the subjects were eager to stop constructing those palaces.

      This is what I came up with some number of years back, and it has shaped my thinking since.

  26. Trump, DeSantis, or whatever other Conservative nominated in 2024 will likely win all 50 States.

    And lose by 150 points in the Electoral College because we didn’t get the corrupt County and State Elections Board people cleaned up.

    The only answer is prayer. Our only hope in in God. And He promised, if we call out to Him, He will deliver us.

    Start calling out to Him. It’s late; but He never sleeps.

    1. Yes. As Jung said: “Bidden or unbidden, God is present.” I remind myself of that regularly and have it on two plaques on my office walls, one in English and one in Latin.

      1. Trouble with that is, how can you tell when the very worst times have arrived? Because no matter how bad things get, they could always get worse. Somewhere around half the time, they do.

        1. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You do your duty as it lies before you, you remind yourself when things grow worse that they will, and our hope is not in this world only, and you pray to be able to endure in patience– and that His kingdom come.

  27. I can count on one hand the truly stupid and crude people (the 2 usually go together in my experience) I have known, and I’ve done a lot of menial labor. I can think of one out of about 400 in a clothing factory where I was a janitor (my main job was sweeping the floors to clean up the cuttings that fell off the tables. There was also a vile industrial engineer who thought his main job was trying to figure out how to cheat the piece-workers, but he wasn’t stupid, just evil. One was a dumbass Marine–sorry there are such people–surrounded by much smarter Marines. He was dissuaded from firing his .45 into a swimming pool to prove the water would stop the bullet, but, not by my reassurance that he was right, rather by the argument of one of the other Marines who was much smarter than I and took the argument that he would pay for the pool if he put a hole in it. Clearly he knew better than I what argument would work. There was the drapery installer who was crude, but not stupid. His mother and brother, who ran the shop were perfect people.

    Now, all that said, my experience has been limited to people who actually work for a living rather than those who just cash unearned checks and get drunk in bars, but it shows that there are such people. They’re just not everywhere like the current crazies seem to think.

        1. Forgot to say that the joint thing was more for doing math with a sort of finger-abacus.

          This is the merchants’ price gesture system, which was better known, and arguably worked better for calculation than the joint system. I suspect the joint thing was an Irish thing, because there was a way to spell ogham on your fingers and joints also.

          Click to access countleft.pdf

  28. They think they’ll be the commissars, coming the revolution. Rather than the ones that the commissars shoot in the back of the head for being unwilling to slave away for glorious peoples’ revolution.


  29. Spot on with all of that. What can’t go on won’t but it’s been dragging on for so long it’s hard to keep going. I sometimes wonder if being shunted out of the college track the way I was wasn’t a good thing but then I see what’s happened since then on both a personal and large-scale level and fall right back into a slump. This is also making escape plans difficult since it’s hard to gauge just how much Time of Suckage to prepare for – not that there’s much anyone with my lacking skill set can do in the worse ones, unfortunately. Hope your own escape goes smoothly of course.

    1. Not knowing when this will turn/end/whatever is insanity making.
      Do you have something you feel you must do, or accomplish, or create once you feel like we’re on the other side?

      1. I’m not convinced I’m going to make it to the other side to be honest and even if I do? My life has always been about what I have to do rather than what I want to do, especially in these last 13 years, so it’s not a question I even think about most times.

      2. Since I am basically lazy, I have no idea. I do build stuff. I have made a Lyre, forged metal jewelry, designed and built a number of 2 hollers for a SCA camp ground that lasted many years. Everything I ever built worked, maybe not a well as I wanted, but it did work. A friend who was a true craftsman and artist said I was a deletant and he wasn’t wrong. The maddest I every made him was after he had been trying to make a lute with a round back, cutting an trying to get the pieces together on the form he was using. Including the trim pieces between the main boards. Driving himself insane trying to get it right. One night I looked at what he was doing and told him to just put paper over the form, glue the main pieces to the paper to form the body as close as he could but don’t worry about small gaps, after that dries make the gapes between the pieces even and then use the trim to fill the gapes. He looked at me for a few minutes, started cursing and asked why I hadn’t said anything before. I said that I thought he knew what he was doing. I had been watching and trying to understand why he was doing it the way he was. Every cut had to be perfect, every piece had to fit perfectly, the glue had to hold exactly. There was absolutely NO room for error. Finally I had to say something. He cursed again. He the started over and in a couple of days had his first lute and played it. It wasn’t great, the materials needed to be better. He made others with the right material and most worked wonderfully. While I was a deletant, HE was a perfectionist. If the work didn’t match the picture in his mind it was a failure, he threw it away as soon as it couldn’t be made to match the picture. When he was doing pottery, people would pick up pieces he had thrown away, glaze them, fire them and be very glad to have them. I miss him. I on the other had had a picture but I was happy to CHANGE it if something went wrong or I thought of a better design. My goal was to make something that DID what I wanted it to do. It would WORK. His was to create the picture in his mind and only that and be able to make as many EXACT copies as he wanted.

        1. Yeah, I do need to get back on that. I really shouldn’t have let this crap that landed on me get to me the way it did.

          1. I hear you, brother. This past week . . . When you automatically assume that a certain organization is going to mess something up, so when they do you can push through the Slough of Despond to start reaching for solutions, it helps. But you still have to get through the Slough.

            1. And that’s the hard part, especially when your first chance to go out isn’t as fun as you’d think. I really need to get to one of the places the other Huns mention where people are done with Covidiocy. It could be a lot worse where I am but even without mandates diapers are creeping back up and there’s plenty of go along to get along because Scary Delta… *Sigh* Are all of us here really the only ones who don’t want this “new normal?”

              1. Most people are immersed in the media fear-porn. Finding and paying attention to non-msm sources takes effort

                1. Which these same people don’t have the time or energy for, hence the crap continuing.

                1. I hope you and Bob are right. Looking around and seeing this crap just keeps wearing me down.

                  1. Maybe this will help– Iowa State fair TV coverage had to do really close-crops to get pictures where a significant portion of the folks shown were wearing masks, and some of them were obviously staged, when they did the thing with “if you want masks they’re at all the information kiosks for free” on local news.


                    Most of the folks I saw wearing masks were doing it for obviously family reasons, with the exception of the WWII veteran that was with a disabled Vietnam vet and an obvious caretaker; in that case, I’m guessing that was the promise they had to make to get out the door.

                    Of all the folks doing parking near the fair grounds (for at least a mile, half the houses have little signs out front offering parking– and people do roving taxi type rides to the fairgrounds. Various organizations take over church parking lots and do real busses, too.) only two or three I saw wore masks

                    They made a lot of noise in the Des Moines Registered Bully that can try to publicly abuse a guy for donating beer money to charity um, Register, about how the attendance was down from 2019.

                    …which was a record setting year. Second only to 2018. This year’s numbers are about the same as the record before that, 2015. (2017 seems to only have an estimate up.)

                    1. Sounds like you’re in a better part of the country than me, though that’s something you and your husband have emphasized on Discord repeatedly. Like I said it’s just hard to see this crap dragging on, especially as the fearmongering rises and I see people who should know better start buying it, which plays into my own fears and worries that if people like us who see the Covidiocy for what it is aren’t already a rapidly shrinking minority we will be soon. I just can’t get a clear picture of things and uncertainty is one of the fastest ways to wear someone like me down.

                    2. No one in Colorado wears masks unless their employer makes them, and then most wear them badly on purpose. Like beard snood badly. But that’s part of our reason not move to the east

                    3. Trying to help you feel better is a big chunk of it.

                      I know how it can be when you can SEE stuff, even if you hear it’s not normal– that’s part of the “make people who should know better, buy in” thing.

                      So, video. With tricks pointed out. 😀

                    4. It’s a strong case for non-SE move options for sure, Fox and Mrs. Hoyt. I just hope I can make one of those work, mostly from financial and material concerns but also hoping that there’s nothing I’ve overlooked with my family or other people that could sabotage this.

                  2. FWIW the only way the mask numbers were kept high here in IL was because Lord Pritzker of the Buffet Table started threatening businesses if people were found in them without masks.

                    Yes we have lots of idiots here. We also have lots of non-idiots. And keep in mind that I’m in Springfield; so I’m in one of the idiot concentration zones.

                    1. Yep, Springfield is also as Bad as Chicago. 😉

                      Oh yes, I’m in Illinois as well.

                  3. I live south of Portland OR. I am linked in via SM and other means to people in OR (all over the state, but also in the Portlandia *spit* area), as well as the West, and the rest of the country, who are Sons (and Daughters) of Liberty.

  30. FBI report folks may want to quote.

    The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.

    Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.

    “Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”

    1. Something really must have taken an unexpected turn if they’re admitting to that. Hopefully in the sense that it’s one more piece falling off the clown car rather than shifting focus to a stronger narrative. Then again, they seem to be sweeping the crazy guy in the truck under the rug already so maybe it’s a sign it’s the former?

      1. That’s because right now the only worse for their narrative than the truck bomb guy being a leftist would be if he was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who flipped out because of what HarrisBiden just did there.

          1. Yes. 🙂

            It genuinely hasn’t had a high profile here, but there has been a recent arrest, allegedly of someone trying to truck bomb some place in DC. Suspicion here is false flag and/or lunatic. Building or buildings in questions were vacant of high profile targets, the arrestee apparently was throwing dollar bills out the window, and allegedly claimed to have a ‘nitrogen bomb’ in his glove box.

            I’m regurgitating posts here, I haven’t been curious enough to look into it.

          2. Hopped up black pickup, bald and somewhat-sunburnt guy with ZZ-Top beard pulled on to the sidewalk between the Capitol and the Library of Congress, near where it intersects that through road. I think it’s south?

            Not like “swerved up to hit people,” looked like what someone that didn’t want to get his side scraped would do.

            Was throwing dollar bills out, then yelled he had a bomb, demanded to talk to Biden, told the responders there was nitrogen something in his glove compartment and that the trigger was sound activated so if they shot through the window.

            I was able to find a couple of photos, mostly from live news feeds, and that’s it, it just freakin’ vanished.

      2. Oh yeah…what happened with that guy? I’ve been so outraged over the State Department extorting money to rescue Americans from Kabul that I nearly forgot about him.

        He certainly seems to have vanished…

      3. I’d guess it’s part 2 of the “throw the case against those AntiFa/BLM kidnapping guys” so they can dump the other Antifa/BLM cases.

      4. Hopefully in the sense that it’s one more piece falling off the clown car rather than shifting focus to a stronger narrative.

        Embrace the power of “and”.

        But fear not; a “stronger narrative” just means it will last an extra day or two before blowing up in their face.

        1. Could very well be both indeed and we’ll see on whatever their narrative turns out to be. Hopefully the damage to the clown car and collapsing new narrative hurt them both and that they don’t stumble onto something that actually helps them.

    2. So, all those messages Antefa and BLM ‘activists’ were sending to each other for 3 weeks before January 6, about infiltrating the crowds disguised as Trump supporters and then instigating violence just…got lost? AND forgotten? All those left-wing dirtbags that were IDENTIFIED on video and tracked to riots in multiple cities over the course of 8 months just don’t matter?

      1. *points at the kidnapping plot guys*

        Like how all of a sudden KNOWN LEFT WING ACTIVISTS are supposed to be framed right wing innocents whose lawyers I should trust? Just incidentally making it so it’ll be easy to lose, and then dump any other cases?

    1. (Have to be very careful with humor in these communist times):

      Since it has been established by the enlightened that wanting your kids to succeed in school, respect for the rights and property of others, belief in hard work, and many other things are signs of whiteness, it’s an obvious inference that “whiteness”, like so many other previously unsuspected traits, is a social construction. Indeed, in the absence of this being pointed out to them by those of a socially enlightened perspective, many people had never suspected that they may in fact be white.

      In light of this revelation, we should obviously push for greater tolerance and inclusion of the “trans-white”, by forming a kinder, more inclusive movement for the rights of white people of every skin color. 😛

  31. I’m telling you, a book of essays. Title it “According to Hoyt.” It will sell, and become a landmark.

    By the way, I’m a lawyer who moonlights in a factory. Can I be a class traitor too? Where do I sign up?

    1. I say I am a redneck from Berkeley. Also a Charismatic Calvinist, (who communes with God in Catholic churches).

      An American who’s ancestors came from a whole bunch of places, both Mayflower, and De Anza. Some were Germans who lived in Russia and did not become Russian, but came to America and became Americans.

      So we join Sarah as American “class traitors”, on a dangerous journey. Will we drink the cup offered?

        1. Oh, geez. A thousand times this: “But if it has to be drunk, let it be me and not someone who can’t endure it.”

          1. This question from James and John is at the heart of being a disciple. The reason for it being on my mind is my Charismatic gift. Years ago I had bad internal bleeding, (lost about 4 pints), so was in the hospital. They decided they needed to do a colonoscopy, so at 10PM a nurse came in with a 4 liter bottle and told me I had to drink it. If you ever have a colonoscopy, drinking the fluid is the hard part. That and the disposal problem.

            So she pours me a cup, I drank it, and so it started. After about 2 hours of cup after cup, with the bottle still too full, I wrote a prayer to God, part went: “…So many times I/we must drink a bitter cup in life. You asked James and John if they would drink the cup. They blithely agreed, not knowing the full meaning of their request. We know before we drink just how bitter. How to drink a bitter cup?
            Lord, as i drink this cup, use it as a lesson about all the other cups I also fail to drink. The cups you offer, painful, hard. I know you don’t offer easy, yet with your help they are easy. You gift of Joy in suffering. Your gift of martyrdom. To forgive those who hurt us. True forgiveness, not pretend…”

            God responded:
            “Beloved; if you seek a lesson:
            Remember just drink one cup at a time. Your journey, one step at a time. Your writing, one word at a time. Just forgive one trespass at a time. Each action you take, take it with Me. Each step, each word, each cup, know I AM with you.”

            I wrote/heard that more than 5 years ago, God brought it to my attention this week to remind me that I AM is still with me. I share it with you as a gift. That is the readers digest version, it does not include the weird stuff.

            1. Wow, brother. I had the same treatment, but was so wrapped up in my suffering I didn’t draw the same parallels. I admire your perspective on the experiences of our daily lives. You are so eager are to encounter Him in everything, I think your soul is more transparent to Christ than mine.

              I tend to agree with the words Robt. Bolt put into St. Thomas More’s mouth, “Our natural business lies in escaping.” Failing that, I just hope they kill me quick. Whatever they do, I sure hope it’s not another colonoscopy.

              1. Joe,
                it’s more about being in the word, and as God is fond of reminding me.
                “Don’t be impressed I speak to you. I speak to all. Only a few listen.”
                I just take dictation.
                I tell people I have 3 goals.
                1. That everyone who meets me is made more Joyful.
                2. That i make people think.
                3. That I reflect God perfectly to all I meet. This means to bless those who need to be blessed, and curse those who need to be cursed, and have the wisdom to know the difference. (My version of the serenity prayer).
                Just remember the refiners fire burns off our dross. My favorite hymn, “How Firm a Foundation” puts it well:
                “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
                My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply
                The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
                thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
                Find and read the whole hymn, you will be blessed.

                My current plan here in Mordor, is to say (when someone demands I put on a mask): “There are four fingers.” (1984)

      1. I say I am a redneck from Berkeley. Also a Charismatic Calvinist, (who communes with God in Catholic churches).


        How many times did you have to spin the random character generator to get that?

  32. I’m late to the party for this one, but….

    As I’ve alluded to previously, for my sins, I’m a lawyer — and a government lawyer in a supervisory position, at that. At the time I graduated law school, government was the only group hiring lawyers and I had people depending on me — but the combination of low wages for Non-Federal government lawyers and high interest rates for my law degree loans mean that the only way I can ever pay for it is completing my 10 years of “public service.” I’ll freely admit that I lack the hands-on crafting skills of most of the commenters here; I have just enough knowledge to recognize when I’d muck it up and that I should hire a professional, whose skills I admire precisely because I do not share them.

    But I’ve absolutely experienced the wonderful feeling of things coming together in a brief or argument or case, the joy of discovering something new, or the rush of battle. And much of my work has been spent trying to restrain Leviathan from the inside piece by piece, or at least give it indigestion when it tries to eat something it shouldn’t. Nevertheless, I wonder:

    Am I a “class traitor,” which would be a badge of honor? A mole, awaiting the chance to do my part for liberty? Or merely a coward? And how would I know?

    Sorry. That’s probably more than I should have said, but it’s late on a Saturday night and the column gave me something to think about, out here where West becomes East.

    1. I don’t know if you read Jordan Peterson, but in his most recent book, one of his Rules is about maintaining your sense of self and “right” when inside a group that seems to be drifting to the wrong, especially if you need to stay in that position (or similar ones) in order to support people who depend on you. It sounds like you are doing what you can, as best you can, to keep things from going too far off the moral (and possibly legal) rails. That’s no small thing.

      I studied water law when I was in college the second time. The thrill of the chase and of finding that one little case/fact/bit of information that locks something into place really is a wonderful sensation. 🙂

      1. I haven’t read any of Peterson’s work yet, but I have managed to listen to a handful of his recorded lectures on the first set of rules. Getting copies of the books and reading them remain on my to-do list.

        Water law is particularly fun, especially in how differently it’s handled in different regions — it’s one of those areas where relying on past experience can lead you to exactly the wrong answers, so you have to be very cautious. My work out here in the islands has been mostly real estate focused, so it comes up every now and then.

        1. My research area was/is Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, with Oklahoma, ahem, sticking an oar in on occasion. As you say, three of the four are similar for surface water, two of the four are similar for ground water, and one of the four can’t make up its mind which water law procedures to follow. And each one has a few quirks, just to keep people guessing.

        2. If you have access to the Libby app, you can borrow audiobooks. Audible also offers free audiobooks with their introductory trial.

          I do not recommend the Hoopla app, as they do not seem to stock Jordan B. Peterson’s books in audiobook format. Any such stocking decision is a sign of an unbalanced political perspective on the part of the people running the outfit. To compare, on the Libby app, the 12 Rules for Life book is very popular–there is a wait to access the audiobook. Same sponsor library (my local), it doesn’t show up on the app.

    2. a) I’m pretty bad at hands on. Assumptions made based on a set of statements may not be correct, etc.
      b) Class is a pretty pointless category of tribe for this problem. The tribes that are important here are largely choice, or somewhat lived experience. It isn’t birth, it isn’t what you do, but a choice of values and life goals. Religion is a bit relevant, but is most certainly not the thing that defines the tribes that ally to form ‘our side’.
      c) They would not have needed to ‘long march’ the ABA and the law schools if lawyers were just so naturally crooked that the left had their complete support without even asking for it. Being a lawyer is definitely not something that prevents one from being a member of a correct tribe. ‘It is afraid’ of lawyers that are not in lockstep.
      d) Re: “and how would I know?” This is actually a couple different things. In world war 2, the Japanese were holding a bunch of Canadians and putting them to forced labor. One of them behaved visibly as no worse a security risk than any other, but had his heart on sabotage. He bided his peace carefully, picked a single trustworthy collaborator, and ruined a shipyard by burning down the plans office, and did so neatly enough that the Japanese did not suspect the prisoners. Secondly, Jesus calls on Christians to exhibit good, and also to resist evil at any cost that is not itself evil. Christians are not expected to necessarily physically survive resisting evil. Always, a greater evil will be requested from you, with more coercion. You cannot know that you will resist the coercion beforehand, no matter how prepared you are. But what if you have already submitted to evil in some way? God can help you return to good, and to strive again to resist evil. These possibilities are among the fundamental magics or miracles of the Christian religion. One can submit to evil, and yet, even weakened by that submission, come again to resist evil, and to give everything to resist that evil. God alone knows the true worth of our acts of surrender, and of resistance.
      e) d represents some possibly extreme circumstances. I may be fooling myself, but am currently optimistic to think that the extremes of sabotaging evil human regimes, and the extremes of resisting evil, may not be truly necessary, at least not for all of us.
      f) I have a great temptation, that may cause me to fool myself and be in error. You see, I have a vocation. And I have been searching my soul, trying to understand if I am called to abandon that vocation, and cut off my attachments to it. At the very least, contemplating this may help me avoid ruining my vocation by submitting to evil in ill thought desperation. I truly do not know.

      1. Thanks. I’m not a religious man, but there’s a great deal to comfort me in what you said. I’ll continue trying to be Leviathan’s kidney stone, for now.

    3. Just because a lot of group X are…um… well, earn their bad reputation, doesn’t mean that the job is worthless– we *do* need lawyers, or they wouldn’t so consistently exist, in direct correlation with *not* being a “shut up and do what I say” type organization. (I don’t do well in those. I LIKE rules. 😀 )

      Laws have power, so they do get abused. Doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be used, just means they’re dangerous. Dangerous things need skill to be used correctly.

      So long as you’re getting that thrill from skillfully doing right, isn’t that constructive?

      1. I suppose so. And I’ll cheerfully advocate for my profession’s necessity — if you think government with lawyers is bad, wait until you see government without lawyers! There’s a reason the pretenders in Henry VI wanted to do so as part of their regime.

        I’m not sure what to say about lawyers earning their bad reputations. I’ve encountered both very bad lawyers and very good lawyers, and seen both types win and lose, and I think that there isn’t necessarily a greater proportion of bad or good among them than among any other group. However, a good lawyer’s work done well is (generally) nigh-invisible, whereas the work of a bad lawyer has disastrous, highly visible secondary and tertiary effects on both the fool who trusted them and those around them. So I guess the bad reputation of the profession is appropriate and commensurate to the harm it can cause, when done poorly.

        1. Necessary Job Bias.

          Nobody notices the guys who are good at their jobs, 99.9%of the time. Because if they’re good at it, there’s nothing to notice.

          So only the guys being idiots get noticed.

          See also: moms, teachers, cops…

          1. Thoroughly concurred.

            Speaking of teachers — in my years of lurking, I’ve noticed that you’re the homeschooling expert around here. I have a three-year-old, and while he’s been doing fine in the local Montessori preschool out here in the islands, the nonsense I see reported as occurring in mainland schools sends chills down my spine. I also ended up with an education in spite of school, rather than because of it (Oregon public schools). Can you recommend any good resources to look at as my wife and I explore homeschooling?

            1. Well, I’d be more of a drip under pressure, but I’m willing to share what’s worked for me.

              I highly recommend HSLDA for anybody homeschooling. I expect a lot of predators to show up and take aim at getting rid of homeschooling, and folks who *don’t* have a lawyer on call are a much easier target.

              I’m guessing your wife is at least open to the idea– my husband was iffy, but willing to give it a try, when we did a test-year of putting the preschooler through home schooled kindergarten. He got converted FAST to fully supportive.

              There’s a LOT of resources to make homeschooling early grades easier than public school. Dead serious.
              Starfall dot com is very good for all the preschool stuff and has a lot of sing-along stuff with School House Rock level usefulness. We honestly started our eldest on that at about four because I was worried about her fine motor skills. Helps with reading. Inexpensive to subscribe, has a good selection of free stuff. The daughter that’s doing geometry right now quoted one of their songs– symmetry– because it included the definition of the word, lots of songs like that in their selection.

              Education dot com is good once you get up to doing paperwork (my kids pretty much need it). If you subscribe– we got a lifetime sub on sale, timing is very important with them– you get access to a set of games and learning-songs similar to Starfall, but that goes up to 6th grade.

              School Zone’s Big (grade) books are good, used it largely to give the kids a Daily Lesson they had to do, gives good work ethics and a ton of amusement when they give good answers that are totally not what was meant.

              Khan Academy for math, and there’s Khan Academy Kids as a preschool/early grades learning app, I find it mostly annoying but there are some good aspects and the kids seem to enjoy it. Biggest selling point is it’s free.

              iCivics for later on, it’s a decent, reasonably unbiased social studies foundation. Also free.

              Hillsdale for more advanced “social studies.”

              Hifalutin Homeschooler’s blog, and a lot of other homeschooler type blogs, because you or your wife WILL need a laugh at times.

              The biggest thing is socialization. Not the way that 90% of the folks who have a go at you will mean it, but in that your kids WILL be weird, if you do it right.
              They’ll speak to adults like normal human beings, instead of being incapable of socializing effectively with someone just because they’re more than 12 months distant in birth.

              My kids freak out a *lot* of adults exactly BECAUSE they are polite, and direct, and considering they don’t have very much life experience are rather good at holding up their end of a conversation. Well, and because when an adult is rude and talks about them like they’re deaf or gone, the kid will answer the question….
              I did the same thing, but that was because my mom dragged us around everywhere and made us be polite, so we interacted with someone besides classmates. (4H food booth at the fair, yay!)
              Most school kids don’t get that chance, so if you do go with it, remember that is one of the BIG differences. He’s going to learn that he is a person, just like everybody else, and that means both they and he deserve respect.

              I suggest avoiding PBS kids if possible. Their games aren’t very good, and some of the lessons are questionable.

              1. Thanks for the advice!

                She’s actually more in favor of homeschooling than I was, but the news keeps making her arguments in favor for her. I’d much rather the Oddik be confident, polite, and direct, so the weirdness sounds like a plus to me.

                He’s been doing Khan Academy Kids since he was two, and I agree it’s a bit annoying sometimes (I think they must intentionally seek out the world’s worst voice actors, since it’s as bad as a late-90’s video game english dub). But he seems to enjoy it and to be learning, which is what matters.

            2. Oh, and while not mandatory?

              Homeschooling more kids is *easier*. They’ll get carried away and start teaching each other.

  33. “You got culture!”
    “Really, me?”
    “Yeah… AG-ri-culture!”
    “Did you eat recently?”
    “Yes. So what?”
    “You’re welcome – agriculture.”

  34. “ What that woman poured into “working class” was some kind of emulsified crap from reading regency romances (the gin!); the eructations of Marxist professors; and the fear of those who aren’t like them”

    And not just the “working class”, but also even different types of intellectuals! If you wanted to pick branch of study that is typified by the most rugged outdoorsmen and toughest people, then Paleontology would be right on up there with Geology and Forestry! The very opposite of the delicate sensitive character she described!

    1. At least with forestry you get to stay where the trees are. While geologists fulminate over beer about the nasty plants and dirt hiding their beloved strata. [I learned new vocabulary after the state of {redacted} carefully buried a beautiful, easily accessible tectonic fault. Literally buried, then grassed over. Dr. Stratigraphy was livid.]

  35. And they keep trying to control everything. Partly because then reality can’t sucker punch them, I think.

    Idiots. The more you try to control reality, and believe you’re succeeding, the harder it kicks you in the balls.

    All of their authoritarian top-down centralized control fantasies assume they are dealing with one-dimensional NPC’s, all identical within their defined classes.

  36. So you’re saying the hoity-toity elites have actually made the “workers of the world unite” – against THEM. Good column. I just shared it with my husband.

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