Socialism Causes Incompetence

The last time I was in Portugal I got to witness (actually the time before last, while running through the Lisbon airport) something I’d only previously read about as being normal in the soviet union: structures that were being built and decaying, simultaneously, which seems impossible, but I assure you it’s not.

As the idiots on both sides try to hurry us into war, and the custard heads try to side with Russia and cite as a reason “But Ukraine is corrupt” I stare at the mind-boggling staggering amounts of corruption necessary to bring Russia to the level of incompetence on display in the battlefields of Ukraine, and I think “If that’s a reason for Russia to invade a country, they’re going to invade all of the world, and the US only escapes on a “relative” scale. (Mind you, that is precisely what Putin wants, but that’s something else.)

The question is: competence has existed, and had high marks. We know it existed at various times, because their works survive: the landscape of Europe is still littered with Roman bridges and aqueducts, not to mention Roman roads. Cathedrals and monuments abound. Our own country has marvels of engineering and construction still standing and you don’t have to fix daily.

So, where did that competence go? And why does no one seem to know how to do anything. (Here as an aside, almost everything I learned to do competently had to be learned on my own, and often against massive resistance.)

Well, for about a hundred years now, we’ve been under the ideological ascent of socialism. And socialism — international socialism, to be precise — is only good for creating picturesque ruins. (The romantics would have loved them.)

Note that I’m not defending national socialism. As I’ve pointed out before, when the government takes over the economic life of a country, and directs what the companies can or cannot do, the tendency is to quash innovation, and as a rule everyone becomes very poor.

It’s just that it depends. Like empires (which to an extent they are) national socialist regimes can do okay under an extraordinary ruler. I had a mini-dispute with Herb in the comments on whether Franco was or was not Fascist. He absolutely was, both in the economic, and in the repressive, take over every minutia of life aspect. He was also better than the average bear at directing the economic life of the country which is why before his death we used to go shop in Spain, where more and better goods were available than in Portugal.

Relatively speaking, Salazar was a softer leader. Or at least, he stomped less on the opposition (while making more noises about stomping. It’s the Portuguese way.) But as an economic leader (director of the economic life. Fuhrer if you will. Or where did you think that came from?) he sucked. He sucked upside down and sideways and with his head in a sack. And that’s because he was raised by Jesuits, and got his economic theories from them. Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. So over his rule, everyone became increasingly poorer. But weirdly not incompetent. (In fact, as a person who — there and here — likes to follow craftsmen around watching how they do things, the average craftsman who learned his trade under national socialism, was probably way better than anyone else.)

Which brings us to: how does international socialism/communism not only destroy competency but introduce incompetency and corruption to the degree it is enforced/implemented.

At first I thought it was due to enforcement/non enforcement of laws. But that dog won’t hunt. Laws in Portugal at least were as inconsistently enforced under one as under the other. And of course the darlings of the regime had, if not carte blanche, at least a certain amount of immunity.

So what does it?

Some people will of course jump to its being the egalitarian ethos of international socialism, the fact that it’s supposed to be a dictatorship of the proletariat, and that nothing can be enforced.

But that’s actually buying the propaganda of the international socialists, and their propaganda has absolutely nothing to do with reality. You are free to believe this is true, but you are also free to believe the Easter bunny is saddling up his egg distribution system.

No, the international socialists are just as totalitarian as the international socialists. In fact, they are usually more so, since they require you to believe– Oh.

Look, the national socialists — other than the Germans, and yes, that is a huge “other” but truly, everywhere else they gained hold wasn’t QUITE that insane and neurotic, let alone murderous — are evil thugs who gain control and rule from above with a heavy hand. Even if one or two exceptions fail to immiserate their populations quite so much, they do in general clamp down on innovation and enforce whatever their strange idea of economics might be, with predictable consequences.

But the totalitarian rule they do enforce is usually in tune with their people. So, Franco encouraged and endorsed the Catholic church, and FDR made noises about good, midwestern values and how “decent” people should live.

It stomps on anyone even mildly different, of course, but the rule it enforces is what most of the native custard heads would think is right and just at least externally. (Yes, I do realize what that says about the Germans of the 20th century.)

So while — in general — it impoverishes the populace and destroys industry and innovation, not to mention free trade, it brings with it an ethos of “poor but honest” and “I take pride in what I do because I belong, and this nation I belong to is the best in the world.”

It slots into the portion of the head that wants to belong to something. And it it gives an appearance of working just long enough that people tend to think of it as right, just and “the natural order of things.”

Which is why so many conservatives– may G-d have mercy on their souls — think of the FDR rule as “the way America should be.”

Meanwhile international socialism (which for a large part of the 20th century was actually Russian nationalism projected outward) while as intrusive and crazy cakes comes with a set of shibboleths that self-admittedly are impossible. And are impossible from the beginning.

Because the international cult dictates that you not only believe but endorse principles that are obviously idiotic, even to the most idiotic of human beings. In fact, it takes years of expensive education to be able to say these things with a straight face. (See the current nominee for Supreme court who is unable to define “woman” because she’s not a biologist.)

In the early stages of this international insanity, it was all about the workers being naturally better than the managers, and therefore if the workers were in control marvelous things would ensue.

Only even the workers know they’re not qualified to manage (No, seriously. I’ve been a worker several times. I suck as a manager.) And the manager seriously know it. And given the workforce of the early 20th (or late nineteenth) century was often illiterate and more provincial than someone born and raised in NYC now, it was obvious they couldn’t manage anything.

Which was okay, because — in an also obvious move — intellectuals took over from the beginning, and managed the “worker’s” revolution, in fact ordering the workers around as the managers never had.

What was even more obvious is that these persons were crazy and had absolutely no clue how anything worked. They were “experts” on everything, on paper, and completely unable to figure out the simplest things in reality. So once they took control things went wrong very very fast.

Which is where incompetence and insanity came in.

Look, it’s like this: When you look at the virtual destruction of the country and the economy, and you like to eat, and perhaps remain clothed, in self-defense, you start making side deals, compromises and side-pacts.

So, that cement for that stack-a-prol building? Well, obviously it can’t go there, because the guys building the sea wall that the government doesn’t think is needed, need it. So the cement takes a walk, and sand is used to make up the difference.

That’s how it starts. And then it expands, until the entire economy is a vast network of lies, arrangements, side deals, mordida and bullshit.

Because there is no real central coordinating authority. There is a crazy person at the top who depending on their particular time in the line of insanity, says — and heaven help us, some of them believe it — that they are ruling in the name of workers, oppressed races, the poor, the gay, the transgender, but who in fact can find his/her/its own ass with two hands, a seeing eye dog and sonar.

And under it there are atomized individuals who can’t trust anyone, because anyone at all could turn them in.

There is no family, no friendship, nothing in which the crazy people won’t intrude.

Now imagine doing business under a regime like that (And all socialist regimes, from euro-socialism, now ruled by an unelected bureaucracy from Brussels, to the hard communism of the USSR are like that. The only question is how hard it comes down on you when you come under its notice. Will you simply lose your job and be made unemployable, will you be thrown in jail,or will you go to Gulag?)

Well, all business is corruption. The only thing that works is the black market, and that doesn’t work very well. It’s all pass the buck, cheat the next guy and cover your own ass.

And for those who will say that Putin has more in common with the old style national socialism than this. No, not really. He too claims a sort of divine right of kings to know what is right and wrong, even if he does pay lip service to old Russian society. From what I understand in Russia it is obvious it is only lip service. (Though the poor bastages are grateful for even that, after what that society has been through.)

More importantly, the bureaucracy, the mobs, everything he inherited are from the old structure. And he didn’t change them. So, yeah, they are also plagued with corruption and inefficiency. In fact, all the old Eastern block countries are, from what I understand including East Germany. (And it tells you something that the crazy-cakes regime managed to make Germans inefficient and slovenly.)

Socialism is not just lethal. It is a force that — by enshrining the rule of “experts” and “scientists” who are neither — makes it necessary to become an inefficient anarchist and a scammer to survive.

If you’re looking around and saying “Uh oh” yep.

We are already well on our way there, and have been for oh, thirty or forty years.

But there is still time. It starts with cleaning up our governance and getting rid of the masses of unelected bureaucracy that make mere survival almost impossible.

Can we get there from here?

I don’t know. The bridge is out, and from that roar, I think there is a fire coming.

What it leaves behind, G-d only knows. But if we can take from it nothing else, take this: Self governance works. Rule by “experts” doesn’t. You’re the only expert in being you. And humans, trading freely, survive and thrive.

As long as you remove the boot from their necks.

250 thoughts on “Socialism Causes Incompetence

  1. Honestly, I expected the Russians to roll over the Ukrainians, and figured with how much pro-ukrainian propaganda was coming out from the usual suspects that the whole thing stank to high heaven of said same usual suspects looking for a replacement for their industrial corruption in Afghanistan.

    I still think they’re trying to turn Ukraine into that, but the stunning incompetence of the Russian army is making that less and less likely, provided the morons in charge don’t get us into a direct shooting was with Russia. Apparently Russia is so desperate for trucks they are pulling them from the Kuril islands off of Siberia.

    Interesting thing about the UA resistance I’ve been hearing is, it’s strongest in the Russian speaking part. Ukraine is corrupt, but the Putin system is exponentially worse. Where as the UA bureaucrats will destroy ten ruples to steal one, the warlords Putin set up in the Donbas reaction will destroy ten-thousand to steal one. And the Ukrainians who’ve been living next door to it figure if his administration will reduce them to the stone age of he wins, they’ll fight until after they’ve been reduced to the stone age before they surrender.

    But I do worry that our industrial stupid leadership will find a way to snatch universal destruction from the jaws of whatever this thing is.

    1. I’m not surprised by the incompetence of the Russian Army, they spent all their money on nukes, wonder weapons, and the navy, they have way too many officers, and corruption is beyond insane. I’m surprised that Zelensky didn’t run, that is the imponderable here.

      1. Sometimes you only find out what you’re made of when the hammer actually comes down.

        What’s interesting is there is speculation he did leave the country and is just presenting as though he was in Kiev. The reported train ride to Kiev with a bunch of EU diplomats seemed really suspect given they could have easily gotten caught in the cross fire.

        That said, if that is what he’s doing, he is still doing an impressive job of it.

      2. Thing is, could Zelensky have run anywhere and been safe? And did he know that?

        Yeah, personal ambition, but getting into that position, in hindsight one could have inferred that Ukrainian president is a death sentence, because Putin.

        Even if he knows that, still the personal bravery on his part is notable.

      3. We’re used to “leaders” who are in it for money, power, and praise. The idea that Zelensky, with all his faults, would love his country is too alien for the regime to grasp.

        1. Zelansky is, by trade, an actor. Considering the presidents we’ve had who were actors (Reagan, Trump), he’s not particularly surprising. He understands how a war winning president is supposed to act, and he’s acting that way.

          1. This. Whatever else can be said about him, Zelensky clearly understands the power of Story. He knows that if he plays the great leader who charges into the teeth of danger, the Ukrainians are more likely to see themselves as the heroic rebels than the pathetic victims.

              1. A vital front, to be sure. Especially when you don’t have enough hard power to force a decisive win.

                And the guy’s *good* at it

      4. Why would he run? He probably had a good sense of how well the Russians would do while the invasion allowed him to crack down on opposition (he pretty much outlawed all the opposition parties this week including the second most common party in his parliament).

        Sell him some weapons, sell the Russians stuff too, just like the Iran-Iraq War (and much like that war hope both lose).

        1. The….opposition parties that were working for Russia? I can’t imagine why he’d do that. It’s a mystery.

          Putin really dropped the ball on his invasion. He thought it would be like the Crimea, where 80% of the military went over to the Russian side. He was wrong. And he destroyed any pro-Russian sentiment which might have been left in the area. I’m not even entirely sure why. It seems precipitous to me, but it does sort of fit the profile.

          1. All 11 opposition parties just happened to be working for Russia but it only became relevant to ban them four weeks into the conflict.

            I see.

            Let me guess, Putin also is primarily out to stop Ukrainian Nazis.

            I mean, there must be a 100% good guy and a 100% bad guy, not two bad guys or anything.

            1. One thing I have never understood is, why would anybody want to be a Nazi? They LOST! We kicked their asses. The Russian commies kicked their asses. Is it all about the snazzy uniforms?

              1. At a guess, it was an “enemy of my enemy” fallacy. Nazis fought Stalin. Ukraine don’t like Stalin (the old one, or the chuunibyu new one, Pooty Poot). Some of their dudes went deep down the rabbit hole.

                Don’t mean it’s smart or nice. It’s flat out wrong, dumb, and bloody foolishness besides. Just because they get one thing right- Pooty is a bad guy- doesn’t mean that they’re right about anything else. They’re bad guys, too.

                I mean come on. Nazis have been reduced to being cartoon villains for the past forty years or so. There’s a reason for that. Several of them, in point of fact.

              2. Read some of the other discussion about fascism in this thread and the one earlier this week.

                Also, read Paxton’s ideas on fascism (, specifically the mobilizing passions.

                How does communism engage these passions? How does liberal democracy engage these passions? How does republicanism engage these passions?

                I think you’ll find your answer there, assuming you are serious about finding one.

              3. Also, fascism is the authoritarian socialism of industrialized societies while communism is the authoritarian socialism of agrarian societies just beginning to industrialize.

                Thus, post-Soviet nations in Europe are much more likely to become fascist than communist, hence the appeal.

              4. They realize subconsciously that they themselves are losers, and are picking other such to emulate?

            2. I have heard that the number of parties, including opposition parties, exceeds the number of banned parties.

                1. Putin is KGB.

                  Given the implications wrt to his thinking and motivations, what is the expected values of proxy parties set up in the Ukraine?

                  The two recent independent republics, and Crimea suggest at least three. Everything else makes 11 quite plausible.

              1. Among the banned was the second biggest party, and largest opposition party in Parliament, Opposition Platform — For Life. While some have been supportive of Russia, the party has been actively expelling them and supporting war measures in Parliament.

                Maybe it’s just me and my clearly pro-Putin mentality, but suspending your primary opposition party when they are expelling members who support Russia and voting for your defense measures probably isn’t about them “working for Russia” but something else.

            3. I prefer the Ukraine to win, but only because they’re not the ones invading or threatening to nuke anyone. Lesser of two evils.

              1. I would prefer it as well, I just don’t think they’re the good guys and selling them as such is a mistake.

                In fact, the press’s investment in the war is odd, a bit frightening, and proves, to my mind, that whole claim that “American’s only care about wars when white people die” is massive projection by the elites.

                I don’t care about Ukraine being invaded nearly as much as the press does because I expect one of four nations will come to dominate eastern Europe as they have since the migration era with the brief exception the Mongol invasions: Moscovy Russia, Kievan Russia Lithuania, or Poland.

                Note: I said nations, not nation states. The exact political form of this domination will probably shift out Soviet enforced borders somewhat then result in one of the four nation states mapping to the above nations dominating the rest as client states, some friendly clients due to cultural ties (see current Russia and Byelorussia) and come unfriendly clients.

                An interesting animated map to give you an idea of what I see as history that will rhyme between now and 2100, especially the period after the Mongols:

                1. Nah. It’s the usual. The left takes all the wrong lessons from history.
                  They know they’re in trouble, that we’re onto them — the polls tell them that if nothing else — and hey, WWII deflected this kind of situation and got us prosperity before.
                  They don’t know why, and are unable to analyze the factors, so they are just trying, cargo-cult-like to repeat history, because that means America becomes prosperous and they end up on top. Automagicaly.

    2. The Reader thinks you’ve hit upon an important point. To generalize, the depth of the socialist contamination of a society can be quantified by the amount of value destroyed for every unit stolen by the bureaucrats.

  2. A basic management principle is “You get more of what you reward, and less of what you penalize.”
    So since everyone is equal (at least the non-elites) under socialism, the individual who puts forth the effort to become competent and the person who never rises above gross incompetence are rewarded equally. So the competent are penalized and the incompetent rewarded. So it is totally unsurprising one gets less of the former and more of the latter. Simple management basics, known just about as far back as we have writing, and likely further.

    1. I think it is more than that. When the only reward comes from the numbers on paper that get sent up the line, all you’re going to get is the numbers on the sheet of paper.

      As the saying goes, “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

    2. Well, of course! Says so, right there on the cover:

      “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

      The more ability you have, the more they will take from you. The needier you are, the more you get. Ability is punished, needs are rewarded, the path paved with Good Intentions leads where it always does.
      Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

        1. Of course. Capable people take care of their own needs and don’t go bothering everybody else about them. It’s the ones that can’t — or won’t — that leech off everybody else and will destroy the economy if you let them.
          Ma Lemming: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff into the sea would you…oh…um…nevermind.”

      1. Yes, and in their view if you have excptional ability, you should be HAPPY to give more. Knowing your ability is helping so many others should fill you with a warm sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that’s much better than any tangible reward. Unless you’re a bad person, of course, and then you deserve to be worked to death just to teach you what the oppressed have had to endure.
        The level of childish self-righteousness and pride involved in that worldview makes me ill.

        1. Altruism encourage with the sharp end of a pike is never a good idea. And it never works out quite the way they say it will. Much like everything else they push and propagandize.

      2. I have often thought that the sheer amount of energy, wit, and creativity that it took to exist under Soviet rule – the endless standing in line, the under-the-table dealing, the time that it all took — was a way of keeping citizens exhausted, distracted and otherwise-occupied. All that energy which could have been turned to creative good purposes, was spent in just trying to survive.
        Rather like keeping people just barely fed on vegetarian mush, just to keep them docile and obedient.

          1. And yet, they still did things like drink insecticide in water for the buzz. Never underestimate how unafordable dirt cheap things are under socialism.

            1. Or flat out unavailable. It wasn’t just food. It was everything.

              Gah. I’m supposed to be writing right now. Stupid brain. Doesn’t want to write about zombies and kitchens. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing zombies and kitchens. Must make words go. More brain, less distraction.

                1. Dragon battles? mulls a think

                  I shouldn’t. But mostly because I already have dragon battles scheduled for project 2, act II of the already mostly plotted fantasy/isikei/strange thing with sci-fi elements and aliens.

                  I just wrote the zombies in the kitchen chapter and posted it. It’ll probably need editing. Episodic fiction turns out to have a lot in common with old school pulp, from what I can tell. Subplot was advanced, minor bit of character growth introduced, had one combat scene and the after-combat scene, put in a tiny bit of foreshadowing and probably made the readers worry a bit. 2.2k words that could probably be shrunk down a bit more.

                  …Dangit. Now you’ve got me thinking dragon battles. And dragons vs zombies. Which I will probably end up writing someday. Because dragon battles are awesome. And I am easily distracted.

                  Going to start another chapter at least today, because I get more done when I at least have a start on the next bit. Weird, but that’s how the brain words. Have fun battling the dragons (dragon battles. awesome)!

                1. In-universe, the zombies are based on the human frame. They need to eat, but they do not poop. This eliminates the “crapping where you live” problem. They also need to drink water occasionally. They’re not quite “undead.”

                  What they are is seemingly mindlessly cannibalistic. The scene in question happens on a ship in orbit, with the protagonist-hero stumbling upon the infected while searching for food himself. He’s already tired from fleeing a massive horde, saving a couple of survivors, battling said horde in a tight space to give them time to flee, then having to escape himself in the dark and trying not to be noticed.

                  He also lost most of his sense of taste at some point in the past, so the food options he has left tasting like cardboard doesn’t bother him overmuch. Food is fuel. The unpleasant comparison with zombie’s uncaring feeding habits is not one he prefers to acknowledge.

      3. In almost any organization it always holds true that the reward for doing good work is…
        More work! And more, and more, until really excellent workers collapse under the load.
        Yet at the same time managers with shiny new MBA diplomas are taught at the “best” schools to treat the workers as interchangeable parts. Work them hard, use them up, then stick a new one into the open slot.
        Another common fallacy with new overly edumacated managers is the belief that a well trained manager can manage anything with only the knowledge and skills taught in those ever so clever MBA courses.
        So they swoop in, take a new broom and so sweep clean approach, and inevitably destroy whatever established process had until their arrival allowed the process to function.
        And this tends to hold true whether the process is related to business, education, or politics.

        1. I realize UAH is not one of the “best,” business schools (my last MBA course was under the (then) incoming dean, and satisfying her requirements was a hard row ro hoe) but they concentrated on things like, “how to get the most out of your people without driving them into the ground.”
          A lot of trendy management fads make no sense and waste time, agreed. But I wonder how much of the crap is just an expression of C.S. Lewis’ comment (via Screwtape) on humans’ horror of The Same Old Thing.

    3. Ayn Rand told that story in chapter 20 of Atlas Shrugged, where a minor character tells about the downfall of the Twentieth Century Motor Company. It’s worth a read.

    4. I had to deal with this in real life managing a Dominos in years where the minimum wage went up every six months. Because the owner had to give all my employees a raise every six months with no real price flexibility (this was the height of 555) two things happened:

      There was no ability to give the best employees a raise for performance. When they asked for raise the reply we were told to give was “you got one on $DATE” where that was the last minimum increase.
      Those positions above minimum wage due to responsibility (shift runners, assistant managers, etc) watched their premium over minimum wage decrease. While they did get raises it usually lagged the increase $0.05-0.10. Over two years that’s losing as much as 40% of your premium.

      It was also there that I discovered Gresham’s Law applies to more than money. It certainly applies to employees, although in the employee version the driving out of good employees can be by conversion as well as quitting. Part of the reason we suffered was the minimum wage increases making everyone more equal every six months.

      1. Gresham’s law yes, Goodhart’s law too. the best laid plans of mice and men gang aff agley.

    5. American unions these days pretty much require this. Singling out an employee for reward – no matter the reason – is generally forbidden by the union contracts.

      Interestingly, I have a British co-worker who likes the unions back in Great Britain, but has complete contempt for American unions. We’re not a union shop, so that has nothing to do with his thinking. It’s just that he’s seen unions back home engage in activities that he views as supportive of the individual workers, while he views American unions as only caring about the union itself and not the workers that the unions supposedly assist.

      1. Well, yes…in no small part because American labor unions have long had more than a whiff of organized crime. In many ways, they are a legalized protection racket – you want to work, you pay the union capo his cut. It would be VERY interesting to hold union elections under strict secret ballot and honest-count security. I suspect the results would be catastrophic to many current union leaders.

        1. The problem is, someone has to run against the union’s candidate, without tripping on the steps and breaking his neck.

  3. I’m reminded of Heinlein’s comments during his Innocents Abroad visit to the USSR. That was when Gary Powers/U2 fiasco happened. Even then, he noted obvious signs of decrepitude. Socialism sucks.

    1. I’m reminded of MIG Pilot with its descriptions of things in the USSR being not only corrupt and shoddy, but filthy as well, and how Belenko was amazed not just by the abundance and quality in the US, but also by the cleanliness. “He first noticed the smell or rather the absence of smell” on his initial encounter with an American supermarket.

      Socialism doesn’t just suck, it stinks.

      1. And my thoughts immediately turned to so many of our “blue” cities now covered in filth, excrement, and homeless encampments. Proof positive that socialism in all its variations truly does stink.

  4. Socialism destroys competence because socialism is always and everywhere installed by intellectuals, in Hayek’s sense of secondhand purveyors of ideas. Lenin is instructive here with his view that management is simply administration, nothing more. They believe they know everything when they, in fact, know nothing of value.

    The other thing socialism does is increase risk by eliminating diversification, which is the ONLY risk management technique to ever work consistently. When things break, they break completely and no local competence can save it. Cough, cough China, cough, cough.

          1. he’s an enthusiast. It’s not as bad as all that, here anyway, it is as bad as all that in China but I don’t get my news on China from zerohedge. At the end of the day only the flows of money count.

          2. Please refrain from taking the ‘Lectroid Hot Tub.

            Review The Babylon Bee site after any such grim site visit, The Peoples Cube is also of merit. They are some of my GFI outlets.

              1. Ground fault interrupter. Type of outlet that shuts off electricity veryveryfast when it detects ground fault, such as a toaster dropped in a tub.

              1. And ovens are for baking tasty foods. There are perfectly good supplies of rope and stout trees that stand ready and waiting should it happen that someday the bureaucrats overreach at just the wrong time.

                Despair’s a sin. We ain’tent dead yet.

              2. That’s why I suggested it. We don’t want to lose you, and if we can get a massive duck noise chorus at the same time, bonus points.

                1. Movie I saw many years ago. A person talking about his troubles had the line “I tried putting my head in the oven, but it’s electric and all I did was singe my eyebrows.”

          3. Today is the solemnity of the Annunciation, the traditional date of the creation, and the day Sauron’s ring of power was destroyed. Hope is one of the cardinal virtues and despair one of the deadly sins.

    1. Intellectuals as purveyors of secondhand ideas — not something I’ve come across before. A very apt summation. And unlike purveyors of other secondhand goods, they derive a vastly inflated sense of self-importance from it. I’d say that’s actually the defining characteristic of the group.

      1. Not mine, I got it from Hayek’s Pretense of Knowledge speech given when he accepted the Bank of Sweden Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel. He really put the boot in.

        1. I thought the professional dealers in secondhand ideas bit was in Intellectuals and Socialism, not the Pretense of Knowledge? I mean, the latter is good, but I thought it was more lambasting the then current fad of trying to apply “scientistic” principles to economic theory. And how that was a mad, bad, stupid, wrong, pig ignorant, and made you smell like cheese.

          Either way, Hayek is well worth reading. The world today could use a lot more Hayek and Friedman, and a lot less of what we’ve actually got right now.

      2. Sowell describes intellectuals as people who make thier living producing ideas where the value of the ideas is not demonstration of real-world utility but rather the approbation of other intellectuals. (I’m paraphrasing from memory, but it should be pretty close to his meaning.)

          1. I suspect both groups woul;d agree with that. From different perspectives, of course. 😉

            1. LOL…what about hybrids like our hostess? Was she an intellectual and now isn’t or did she just have them fooled?

              I mean, I don’t want to insult her by calling her an intellectual.

              1. “Different perspectives”…

                Sort of depends on the perceived implication of “intellectual”, doesn’t it?

                1. I was once called “one of fifteen intellectuals” in a small city. I was nonplussed. I wasn’t an intellectual. I was a contract pilot who just read a lot and sang in a madrigal group.

                2. My perspective a intellectual is someone who doesn’t know enough to empty piss from a boot with instructions on the sole, but thinks he should be in charge of both making boots and disposing of piss.

                  1. Yep; there y’go; contradictory perspectives. My posts should tell you which one I think is correct. 😉

    2. Well this is all the rage here now. Managers can manage anything, no need to understand subject matter. Only people better qualified are govt bureaucrats and media. That tradesman or skilled employee? Jus6 replace him with someone who just hopped the border or who is an indentured servant for a green card.

      1. There’s a certain truth to that, given that management is its own unique set of skills and mindset. That said, if you don’t know the subject matter, you had best actively solicit the input of your SMEs.

  5. If I was a theist sort, I’d be wondering if Frank Zappa was taken from us to save him from the Sisyphean task he took on teaching Free Market Capitalism to the Former Soviet Union Russians.

    1. “If I was a theist sort”

      Not on topic, but now I’m wondering what our community’s split is between various philosophies (both religious and secular).

  6. It’s interesting to hear about Salazar. Obviously Sarah knows who he was, but he was very popular among the gentry class during my grandparent’s generation in Ireland. They were always suspicious of Franco believing, rightly, that he wasn’t entirely sound. The Carlist’s were more their speed.

    I do believe that Portugal and Ireland, despite the passage of time since the Celts left Galicia for Ireland, are still much the same: poor, priest ridden, and proud.

    1. And Salazar spoke to that pride. He was a smart, scholarship boy….. So, you know….
      I suspect the poor man — as himself — was a decent sort. But even decent sorts can ruin a country, if given too much power.

      1. I have Salazar: The Dictator Who Refused to Die by Tom Gallagher cued up. He seems to be making a comeback among the paleo con types. I doubt one in a thousand Americans, other than the portagees, have any idea who he is.

        My mother’s brother, the guardsman and Jesuit boy, was a great admirer of Salazar. That said, this is the same uncle who went off to Barcelona between college and Sandhurst to fight the fascists. The communists were busy killing the priests and burning the churches when he got there and he, being a Christian socialist, turned to Salazar.

        My reading is that Salazar was simply a throwback to an earlier type of rule, or a continuation — hard to say — certainly you could fit him easily into the Catholic social and political teaching of the time.

        1. Most of the people who write about Salazar think he was Mussolini or Hitler.
          Look up Marques de Pombal,kind of a discount Richelieu. Same sort of thing. Salazar tried to ape FDR, with some interesting overlays of his time and his education

          1. I know who Pombal was. Portugal’s kings weren’t quite as incompetent as Spain’s who had three madmen in a row, but they were close, I have a lot of sympathy for the 18th century old regime, everything was changing around them. It’s a romantic attachment, true, but we could do worse than Maria Theresa, say and the world would have been better off did the Hapsburgs still reign and the empire still exist. No Nazi’s for a one thing. On the other hand, the world would be a better place had Frederick the Great not existed so I suppose it’s a balance.

            I’ve always been very interested in the period between 1689 down to the end of the old regime. Family history mostly, e.g., I had an ancestor in the Spanish army who fought in the war against Portugal in 1762. Ended badly for Spain, that one did.

          2. At least based on family experience and stories, for all the many problems of Salazar’s rule, the post Salazar military coup rulers and subsequent socialist governments of the mid-late 70s and early 80s were worse.

  7. I have been struck of late by the thought that of the regimes that are commonly called “fascist”—Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil—only one committed mass murder against its own people (not just Jews but Romany, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and other inconvenient groups). The others were repressive, but at the more ordinary level of “If you criticize the people in power you’ll be punished.” On the other hand, at least three socialist regimes engaged in internal genocide: Russia, China, and Cambodia. The fact that “fascism” automatically summons up the thought of mass murder, but “socialism” doesn’t, represents a propaganda success by the socialists rather than historical fact.

    In a different history, there might be people eagerly assuring us that Germany wasn’t “real fascism” . . .

    1. and from a certain standpoint Nazism is not Fascism, but they do resemble one another enough to be close cousins (like a Disney movie with “Identical Cousins”). National and International Socialism try to get Marx to work in this world somehow, and Fascism said “Marx is a moron and we need to try this bit instead and see if we can get a better result” then proceeded to do many socialist/Marxist things, they just aligned with Nazism a bit more than they did Socialism under the Soviet Communist Party.

      1. I still contend fascism has the same origin point as Gramscism, Leninism, and the Frankfurt school: the working classes fought for the capitalists of their nations in WW1 instead of rising up and refusing to die for capitalism (no, that isn’t a realistic reading of WW1, but it how Marxists at the time read it). Add in the first successful Marxist revolution was unpossible because it happened in a nation that had not fully embraced the industrial revolution and thus wasn’t even capitalist and clearly, there was a problem with Marx’s prediction.

        Gramsci and the Frankfurt school thought the overculture suppressed the natural desire of the worker to be free. Lenin argued the intellectual vanguard needed to lead the people. Fascism argues that the nation, and the superior people who make up their nation, need to unify around the nation and nothing else to make socialism possible.

        Lenin’s solution has had the most success, although depending on how long Xi’s China lasts the fascists may pull ahead (yes, Xi is fascist and Mao wasn’t…one destroyed the four old while the other is trying to hijack what’s left of them), but Gramsci and Frankfurt have been the most destructive. That is probably because the cultural version is the least in contact with reality.

        The idea of the nation at arms seized upon by Napoleon is the core that Mussolini and Hitler built upon and it does work for a limited time. A group of middle-class leaders convincing the poor to overthrow the powerful only to install themselves as Tribunes of the Masses is at least as old as the French Revolution (and maybe older.

        I cannot think of anyone succeeding in building anything by poisoning their own culture then setting fire to it while it’s weak.

            1. I got it from Lenin. Different context, of course, but the same thought, lack of insight is eternal to the intellectual, alas.

          1. The way I describe it is that the difference is no more than disputing the color of curtains in a house built with the fuondatino and structure of collectivist totalitarianism.

        1. Bennie was a Marxist who got bounced, and decided “No, Not THAT way!” removes tongue tip from right side of mouth This way!” pokes tip out left side
          Otherwise, yeah, all flavors of the same sort of shit, covered in icing of slightly differing recipes

    2. The interesting thing is that it’s fascism that survived. Obama made commie mouth noises, and hates the US, but his arrangements with things like Solindra were utterly fascistic. China, too, is more fascist than communist.
      Fascism can limp along, while being often monstruous, as in China (or here.) while communism kills.

      1. Well, hating the US is as much a fascist trait as a socialist one. The idea that the US is in any sense fascist is a pure left-wing myth.

          1. That’s because they don’t realize/admit they are National Socialists, except Bernie. They also don’t realize how much Soviet communism was an expression of Russian culture.

            The reason they can’t realize it is they really think they are the New Soviet Man, born on day 0 of year 0 and are detached from history. No, I’m not missing the irony of people who claim they are following scientific history thinking themselves detached from history.

            So, they know in their bones they are Americans or English or Russian or Chinese. They’re blind to their own selves.

              1. You realize that is one piece of evidence Obama would use to prove he’s not a fascist.

                I’m not saying he’s not a national socialist. I’m saying he is incapable of even considering the possibility because of his belief, stronger than most in his case, that he is the New Soviet Man. That’s the core of his whole “we are the ones we have been waiting for”, the perfect people not bound to history.

              1. They’re usually the first ones to claim sanctuary of their national government when they run afoul of someone else’s, though. Or to say ” You can’t treat me like that, I’m an American/Russian/Englishman/whatever.” And to expect that everything they expect to be available and working in their home country should work the same way elsewhere, or it’s wrong.

                Except when they’re exclaiming about how quaint and curious the native customs are. Those that don’t inconvenience them, of course.

        1. But corporatism, they say.

          Because of racism against persons of incorporation.

          (Which is to say, ‘racism’ is only a problem if it actually violates the ‘children of God’ religious values. So, abortion is an issue, and systemic whiteness is not an issue. But, hold them to the double standards they want to play motte and bailey with.)

      2. Fascism survives because it uses a unifying force that is real: the nation/people/volk/whatever. People have rallied to their tribe as long as there have been people. That was Mussolini’s insight when he quit the communists during WW1 to create the Fascist party in Italy.

        Xi is trying to use the zombie of the four olds to keep himself in power. The question is did Mao do enough damage to that cultural current to make it unable to sustain Xi.

      3. Yeah, I always figured that Barry the O was a political descendant of Benny the Moose, and that tagging Obama with a hammer & sickle was a mislabeling.

          1. Holy heck I had never really noticed the facial expression thing, you are absolutely correct! I wonder (and not too hard, my bet is yes) if Mussolini was a serious Narcissistic personality . The way of interacting with others, the sheer condescension the arrogance. This is a place where which is cause and which is effect (or perhaps one should say affect 🙂 ) start to blend together.

      4. It’s easier. This way, you get to fob off the impossible demands on the business men, rather than carry them out yourself.

  8. “(No, seriously. I’ve been a worker several times. I suck as a manager.)”
    I was not horrible at being a manger, but hateses it with a purple passion and would rather gnaw my arm off than do it again, especially for anything bigger than 3 or 4 people under me, and even than, it’s have to be a specific set of 3 or 4.

      1. I worked with 3 of those people and the company got rid of 1 for little reason, and another quit because they shafted him twice. The 3rd left when I did but went to work for the airline, not the company I moved to where there were maybe 2 or 3 guys I’d also consider worth it.

    1. The only requirement I have in my current job is that I not be promoted and not manage people. Did that for years, hated it. I ran an international division and it was nothing but BS, bellyaching, and stomach acid. Every. Bloody Day.

      1. “Imagine every morning the the delivery man dropped off a great pile of boxes all marked miscellaneous (because if everything is marked urgent, it might as well be marked miscellaneous.) Vorpatril’s job every morning then was to, gingerly, open up these boxes and see what was inside them.

        The things that were not snakes got returned to sender with a little note that these were not snakes, and did not need to be sent here. The dead snakes were disposed of in the appropriate fashion. The quiescent snakes were put aside for later. The hissing snakes, those were forward to his boss.

        He could not for the life of him imagine why anyone would actually want such a job, much less pursue it with the vigor and back biting so many officers did. Who wants to come in every morning to a desk full of hissing snakes?”

        1. I love the later confusion when another character misunderstands his boss’ comment that he has a good eye for “political snakes.” (‘Did he mean “stakes”?’)

        2. I also liked Ivan’s reflection about how, despite all the power-mad people wanting the Emperor’s throne — err, camp stool — no sane person would EVER want the Emperor’s desk, to which job lots of enraged, venomous snakes were delivered day and night.
          Vordarian: “What? You’re a Betan! You can’t do—”

          1. Miles’ response to even the thought of being in the line of succession:


      2. Clearly that’s because you were only in it for the power and you were one of the Evil Bossmen who doesn’t care about workers. It’s amazing the number of people who hate capitalism and accuse businessmen and entrepreneurs of exploiting them, all while not adding very much, if any, value at all.

    2. I’m not naturally a manager, either – as much as the military tried to force me into being one. I was best and happiest as a skilled, independent and creative technician.

      1. That’s me. Waddya need? Okay, be off and leave me to it, unless it is a two man job and then when I say “Need other to work on this too or it ain’t happening, best get with it and get me the help I requested. Twice I’ve been told I was too lazy and that is why I was behind, and when I got fed up and left, multiple people were hired to do the jobs I was doing. My “I need a person to help!”, was “They hired a manager and 2 workers to cover it after you left”

        1. I’m hearing “it’s too hard” rumors uttered by the new hires hired after I left. That is before the two who hit 70 years old and retired, after I left.

          Did the company have overwhelming number of Trouble Tickets? Well yes. Some were years old. But they were new or add to feature requests, not bugs “to be fixed now” problems. Problems tended to get put into the system after solution found and shipped. Process was: 1) Get complaint. 1.5) See if already reported, if so send out fix. Or 2) Find, Fix. 3) Generate Trouble Ticket. 4) Assign to self. 5) Add ticket number to change comment. 6) Recompile, ship out program, through trouble ticket system. 7) Mark TT completed. 8) Trigger need to install email. Generally all within the same day. Rarely longer.

          1. Well, I’ve certainly heard of worse systems:

            Alt-text: “Can’t and shouldn’t.”

    3. Point me at a problem or task, tell me to go do it, and leave me alone. In an emergency, I can herd/encourage/shepherd people out of trouble (BTDT). But do not make me a manager type. I want to reward the good, kick out the lazy, and otherwise leave people alone.

      1. “General manager at the first airport job – “If we let you, you’d fire almost everyone out here, wouldn’t you?” me -“Maybe ¾ of them and go up from there” GM – Yeah, me too, really. I tell them (his inlaws, the owners) Let me start people at $12/hr and fire the deadwood, and we won’t have these problems. But, no, start them at $7.50 and they let Steve vet them, and he ignores the good ones, and hires the morons, because they’ll stay”
        I only got hired because after he trew my application away, my friend who told me to go apply, asked why they didn’t hire me. “Oh, HE was the one you sent? Tell him he needs to fill out the app again. We had a problem with it.” (needed it for airport security background check)

      2. I’ve been in “manager”/”trainer” positions 3 times, limited. Once was “class” exercise (cough, Woodbadge. Luckily I drew the “cooperative”/”consensus” style (or “discuss on how to handle this with your group”). Funny on how we got accused of “cheating” afterwards (nothing in the instructions said we couldn’t do it that way). Plus this is my default. The other two times were involved where I worked. At least the first time, wasn’t all the time, and I mostly “advised”. Third time … my response was “Oh, heck No!” Luckily I was on my way out the door anyway. The new employees got more than “here, figure it out” than I got, because that is how I am. Is it my fault they didn’t read the material after I gave it to them and went over it? It wasn’t even “do it this way”. But “This is the stylistic methods, what everyone else will expect, and what I was told why. Here is how I handled this over here that no one else works on, why I did it this way.” I manage myself. I do not like telling others what to do (well my child, but even then …).

        1. I have successfully avoided Woodbadge training over the last 25 years… I do the minimum required for the position I hold- currently Chartered Organization Rep. And that came about because- we switched chartering organizations and someone else died and…. it gets complicated from there.

          1. Woodbadge is an interesting experience. Temporary bonding with scouters you don’t know. I got incredibly lucky with the patrol members I was put with.

            I would say Woodbadge helped as much with work dynamics than scouts. Primarily because top leadership working with in scouts were already using the principles. So, not new. But work, note I didn’t work projects in groups, but I could still apply the same principles to various stages that each new project went through with me as a group of one. Didn’t get the principles in either of the two different career classes that had large term long group projects, and dealt with management (surprise, I’m not). Flip side made me recognize at next job that team wasn’t in the job description, even though everyone worked on the same system and programs.

            Hubby avoided Woodbadge too. Refused. I wouldn’t help convince him.

    4. My Dad was a manager, hated it…I was a manager, hated it. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      1. Dad was a foreman for most of my teens and never admitted hating it, but eventually he said “I get this much pay raise this time or I leave.” and lo, they refused and were shocked he left.

        1. Son is supervisor for his crew on his shift. Refuses the next step up. Next step up is Salary. Son makes more than the shift section manager. Manager has to be there if the crews working, but doesn’t get paid OT. Essentially dilutes hourly wage. Managers do get holidays paid without taking PTO, and have higher points toward quarterly bonuses, but ultimately make no more to less quarterly than son is already making. Why get same to less pay for more responsibility?

  9. I contend socialism/communism does work when serving a Higher Purpose, for a while at least. I’m thinking of monasticism, Trappists for example, own nothing, shut up, make great beer for His glory.

    Except in the hearts of a few I’m beginning to suspect our Republic no longer exists, that we’re ruled by, call it international socialism if you wish, I lean more toward thinking of it as international, non-national, one world kleptocracy. I’m not saying our Republic and other nations as such, can’t be restored, but I am rather fearful that far too few are willing to do such.

    No matter what, now is the time, or in my opinion, past time, to develop alternatives; shadow economies, trade routes, work-arounds, uncensored, bottle neck free, communication routes, reduced dependency on government(s), self, and group, sufficiency.

      1. I quite agree which is why I noted, for a while. If the abbot wears silk and all the rest sack cloth, some grumbling, even with vows of silence, will occur.

        1. That time even with those with religious fervor is very short. Paul/Saul of Tarsus had to admonish in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” “. The early church started holding everything in common (see Acts ) and almost immediately some were slacking off taking advantage of it. If the saints of the early church couldn’t make communism work ain’t NOBODY going to make it work 🙂 .

          1. There were two things going on in the early Church.

            Jerusalem was living under the shadow of Jesus’ prophecy of Jerusalem falling again and the Temple being destroyed, so they dealt with it by temporary living in common, until they fled to Pella in AD 70. During that time, they ended up occasionally needing food and money sent by other Church communities farther away.
            All local Christian groups, like synagogues of the same era, were obliged to take care of orphans, widows, the poor, travelers and sojourners, etc (and arguably the clergy). The main difference was that as the Church got bigger, their work got more visible to outsiders. It naturally tended to expand to take care of outsiders and pagans, because of Gospel incidents — and because deacons were so local-oriented, that they tended to find everyone in need in their neighborhoods. (Some guys and their helpers would basically patrol around, looking for beggars or people in trouble. And one suspects that the more people they knew, the more they got told about problems as they happened.)

            So especially with visitors, it was possible to live off the Church for a while, staying in homes or the parish guesthouse (xenodochium). But after a while, you were supposed to try to find a job or something that helped out. If people were not obnoxious, they could move along to the next town with Church presence, and do the same; but if obnoxious, warning letters would be sent around.

            And again, this is Jewish culture writ large, or even Greek guest/host travel relationships that were maintained for generations. But Rome was a big empire, and the Church was so darned systematic about it.

      2. And even there, it’s not communism as specced, it’s more about an intent to live off of the bare minimum and devote the rest to direct personal charity.

        Some of the stories about stuff the saints did is pretty eye popping and not listed in the manual. I recall one hermit who endered up taking care of a girl who got into a huge mess and ended up in the oldest profession. She was basically to ashamed of what happened to talk with him, so he sold his stuff for a soldier’s outfit and a piece of gold, and tracked he down. The gold piece was to buy her services so he could talk to her. But the implication is he pretty much walked around the middle east for a month with nothing more than the cloths on his back to find her.

        I sort of suspect that monasticism is partly a safety valve for the true fanatics, and directing them into things that are productive. Saint Simeon the Stylite, his life it sounded like his challenge was moderating his zeal.

        But these are not normal people.

        1. In the Illuminati novels at one point, a character with a Catholic background points out that all religions have mystics and all mystics are insane. He argues the Catholics understood this best, locking in insane asylums euphemistically called monasteries.

          Now we let have jobs of authority in all our institutions.

          The Catholic way was better.

          1. If you’re doing it right, mysticism is pretty normal and grounded. Mystics are in love with God, not crazy.

            St. Simon Stylites was actually very sensible in his own way, if you read his life. He started out as a guy who really wanted solitude, and had to turn into a guy who could preach to crowds (and provide veterinary care for a visiting giant snake).

          2. Asian monasteries, as well. Additionally, they provided an “escape” for someone who had lived his or her life, and wanted a chance to retire. There was an understanding that retiring to a monastery to contemplate the divine was an option to someone who had lived a good life and was getting old.

            1. Sometimes in the West, but usually/often in two forms.

              Person who funded monastery retires there to die. Within a few days, weeks, or months.
              Person winds up working harder at monastery than in worldly life, because they didn’t die as soon as they expected. St. William of Orange, for example, or St. Nuno Alvarez Pereira. Sometimes turned out to be a midlife conversion, if they hung on for a really long time.

              Honestly, a lot of the “comfy retirement” was widows retiring to convents run by their daughters or noble lineages, but it was only comfy if everyone had a good relationship. (Mother Angelica’s mom was apparently not fun to live with, although taking her as a late vocation was the right thing to do. A very medieval situation.)

    1. On too late: Nah. It’s as early as we can get to it, and probably a little early, now the lies of the media are not universal and impenetrable.
      Will we see full freedom in my life time? I doubt it. But we’ll be heading there.

      1. Agreed. I am cautiously optimistic by what I see every day at work. Even when I am seriously tempted to ask the administration for a small air-rifle and low-dose livestock tranquilizers. (Not put them to sleep, just get them to sit quietly and focus!)

        1. Note that on some days, I’m sure my colleagues would benefit from a tiny drop of calming. When we get a rapid pressure change . . .

    2. There is a size limit. A few people, lives bound together can work. Religious orders do work larger but thats more an absent monarch vs world politics

  10. An Historic Opportunity for De-monopolization

    I am old enough to remember the revolutionary deregulations of the 1970’s.

    I remember the forecasts of doom and disaster if competition were allowed in telephone service. The doomsayers were wrong. The free market provided solutions that were impossible to forecast. Competition and the profit motive brought out the best that humans can create.

    Communications solutions today are employing far more people than the old phone monopolies, and delivering services never dreamed of in the Carter era. The forecasts of disastrous unemployment and system collapse if the phone monopolies were opened to competition were totally and completely wrong.

    K-12 is the phone monopoly of our time

    This seems like the best time in years to truly reform K-12. However, the focus seems to be on charter schools, leaving behind thousands of students in poorly performing districts, and most proposed solutions leave out home schooling.

    The fundamental problem is the lack of meaningful competition.

    Endow Students – Simplify and Refocus

    We should create an individual educational endowment fund for each K-12 student. Student endowment funds would pay out annually for students who achieved minimum grade level knowledge.

    Providers for students who did poorly would not be paid, leaving twice the annual amount available next year to educators who could catch them up. Seriously underperforming students would accrue several years of catch-up funding, providing extra incentive for the type of personalized attention that would benefit them. Military veteran servicemen and women teaching small groups of students, developing personal relationships, can change lost kids into enthusiastic young adults.

    Opening educational services to the free market will allow for practical job related instruction, and college level courses, to be included as providers fight for market share.

    Competition among educational providers will make full use of technology, will provide useful training for actual jobs, and will deliver far more education for the same money. Gamification will keep students involved in ways that existing K-12 material can’t touch.

    Instead of leaving dropouts to fend for themselves, the funds should remain on deposit indefinitely, allowing those who get their act together after some time in the adult world to get an education.

    Modeling the idea will show that existing school structures and transportation fleets will be used, more than with charter schools. Most school systems will continue as they are, but a new element of potential competition will focus their efforts.

    A major early effect might be defunding of some inner-city school systems, with the carry-over of endowment funds providing an incentive to corporate providers. These districts are a disgrace, but there is almost no way to change them now. Defunding poor performance in a way that will bring new providers can work.

    The new providers will be renting space and transportation for their offerings in most cases from existing school districts. Just as with telecom deregulation, it will take several years to see the full impact, but requiring minimum accomplishment for payout will protect students and taxpayers as solutions evolve.

    Home schooling pods will explode, but those kids will still participate on local sports teams, and transportation to practice (and back) will also be rented from existing fleets by their parents.

    Special needs students would still have the extra funding, but at an individual student level.

    Let’s end the monopoly. Let’s open the door to competition.

    Unleash technology, but pay only for results.

    On Thu, Mar 24, 2022 at 11:54 AM According To Hoyt wrote:

    > accordingtohoyt posted: ” The last time I was in Portugal I got to witness > (actually the time before last, while running through the Lisbon airport) > something I’d only previously read about as being normal in the soviet > union: structures that were being built and decaying, si” >

  11. When I saw the reticle on my phone the title came up as, “Socialism Causes–” and I filled in, “Brain Damage.”

  12. Socialism? Government by a-holes, for a-holes. Central planning and central control of all the fail you can possibly imagine.

    Here is something better to take up a couple of minutes with. I fell down a YouTube hole and found it.

                1. I think there was some kind of relationship between T Rex and Hawkmoon doing hippie folk, and then a Hawkmoon guy founding Motorhead. (IIRC. Probably don’t.)

                  But there is a direct personnel relationship between folk and the early metal bands, that is my point.

            1. SO, um, I think I broke UTube’s algorithm today. I looked up music from the Thirty Years’ War, then the Wagakki Band, then Avantasia, then Blind Guardian. The side bar suggested everything from Bach to Blue Oyster Cult to Nightwish to Imagine Dragons. So I listened to something by Ola Gjiello, just out of spite. I think I heard a whimper from California . . .

          1. And of course, there’s The Hu (actual song starts about 1 minute in):

            Also, a surprisingly large number of metal bands have a saxophone these days. I suspect this is a sign, but like most things I can’t decide whether it’s a sign of pent-up freedom, eternal slavery, or the end of days.

            1. My descent down the YouTube hole after main and back-up chute failure has somehow passed mach 1. Getting some skin heating and stuff is going by pretty quick.

              Currently watching an American weeb cover of the theme from Kimetsu No Yaiba. Next up, piano cover of One Punch Man’s theme.

              I’ll post later if I hit lightspeed.

                  1. I was listening to random music videos (that I never watch) on youtube. And I keep finding soundtracks that just fit the plotline of the story.

                    Then I start checking AoS and…

                    I don’t think time has run out. But those lyrics were a bit too on point for sleep deprived me.

                    1. Yeah. Me too. I like Ace and the cobloggers. But they don’t do my natural depressive tendencies any favors. Or the slow burn frustration and outright anger at what’s being done to our country.

                      Pixy in the morning and the weekend threads are pretty safe though. Mostly. Book thread and gardening thread are a must.

                  2. Nothronychus is the best. Depending on the artist.

                    I have a couple of books that reinterpret dinosaurs, mostly as being fatter. ‘All Yesterdays’ by John Conway(?) is one, but I can’t recall or find the other one. You can probably find it at Lib Gen or similar sites.

                  3. Hey, I resemble that…

                    Though oddly enough last night I actually got to bed at a reasonable time. I’d finally figured out all the key notes for at least the first half of the story If been working on, and realized the reason I wasn’t typing was I was falling asleep at the keyboard…

  13. The most disgusting part is that while international socialism was Russian socialism, today its US socialism. The alphabet people are a kaleidoscope view of the ‘you can be anything/make it happen’ bootstrap type mindset. Same with the batteries will save the world, the diplostupidity, and a lot else.

  14. In a Communist regime, success depends on who you know, not what you know. Meaning that the competent people get pushed aside in favor of well-connected morons. Like Hunter Biden.

    In a Fascist regime, competent people can get ahead some…as long as they don’t have the active hostility of the regime. And some well-connected morons get by because the regime likes them.

    Now, in a capitalist system, the competent have more chance to get ahead. Which is why they build things that are functional, durable, and beautiful.

  15. In 2010 in Romania, noted the beautiful city was defaced by huge, hideous concrete blocks of apartments. Also noted some were in better shape than others, with serious efforts to improve their appearance. Turned out those had been bought and were now privately owned.

    1. When the Soviets left Lithuania, the first thing that changed was the color and condition of the apartment blocks. Poland had similar things happen. Now the stack-a-prol housing is all pastel, or has non-Communist murals, and is well maintained.

  16. Team HarrisBiden and the Democrats are saying that natural gas sold to Americans will cause imminent climate doom, but natural gas sold to Europe won’t.
    The effort to curtail domestic energy is purely to create shortages that can be used as a pretext to ration energy and redistribute wealth according to the “woke” Critical Race Theory intersectionality checklist.

  17. I try to stay confident, but I’m stockpiling ammo, canned meat and pasta, rice and beans. I’m not sure where this goes but I fear for my wife, children and grandchildren.

    1. Oh no no no no no no no.

      I don’t care if they’re “only in the country to establish a safe haven”. No. Nope. DO NOT DO THIS. No NATO troops in Ukraine. Period. And I’m sympathetic to Ukraine in this war.

      Such a thing is quite literally flirting with disaster of catastrophic proportions.

      1. The only good thing is that Biden always gets what he’s supposed to say wrong. I’d almost feel worse if he said they weren’t going since that would mean they absolutely would.

        1. Countering that, unfortunately, is that you can always count on Biden to do the worst thing. He’ll only not send troops if there’s something worse to do instead.

          (Do I need a hyperbole alert here? Yes, I know there are far worse things he could do involving things like nuclear football and such.)

      2. The possibility of having to send a thank you note to Putin for destroying the domestic enemy in DC, but attached to an ICBM because you really can’t let that kind of thing on unanswered?

      3. Why all the focus on NATO in the first place? Isn’t the UN supposed to do something about countries invading other countries? Has the UN done — or even said — anything about this invasion after a month? Or are they just sitting around sniffing their own farts?

  18. Wow, this ‘thought piece’ speaks to me so clearly, so on-point, so objectively true! Thank you, your analysis and assessment is excellent, ‘corrupt and incompetent’ describes these vile looters well.

  19. Incompetence is all over. Here in Florida we are inflicted with the ” Some guy with a Truck” phenomena. Virtually every time you hire someone,it’s some guy with a truck who claims to be an expert, then you hire him and when they are done you either have to finish the job yourself, get some other guy with a truck to try to fix it or live with a half ass job.
    My mom has been falling for the same song and dance from them for years. She can’t quite understand that in Florida they are work men and not craftsman.
    She grew up and lived in Massachusetts for half her life, and there the people who claim to be craftsman actually are, because they have had to go through years of apprentice training before they could join a trade.
    Where’s in Florida all you have to do is buy a truck and get some tools and you are good to go.

    1. Government licensing is NOT the solution to that situation!

      There has to be a better way to sort the competent professionals from the bungling oafs. A review process, where customers can rate the work they receive. Some sort of professional society, but with ways to prevent it from ossifying into an authoritarian bureaucracy.

    2. A good argument for Yelp/Google reviews.

      We won’t use a company that (A) has reviews which we consider red flags or (B) has very few reviews which would indicate either a new company or a new name.

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