Who You Are

One of the most appalling moments at one of the DNC — was it 08 or 12? I can’t even remember — was when some creature said “We all have to belong to something, so I choose to belong to the government.”

He/she/tutti-fruti wasn’t wrong in that first half of the sentence. “We all have to belong to something.” We are, after all humans, built on the frame of a social ape. We’re creatures of the band, creatures of the group, half biological and half culture, not nature, not nurture, but yes indeedy.

And that’s fine.

But in that second half the meaning of “belong” changes. You can belong to a group, you can belong to a band, you can belong to a family, a culture and a nation. That means you’re included, you’re part of it, you identify with its history, its past, its future.

But you can’t belong to the army, the bank, the mortgage company, the government. Because those aren’t identities, ad-hoc associations or philosophical entities. Those are organizations, with a ledger, with belongings, with the ability to enforce and reclaim what belongs to them.

To belong to the government means to have people who have the right to order you to do things; not to do things; to work at something; not to work at something; to kill yourself.

Stop right there, Sarah, you’ll say. Belonging to a nation is the same, isn’t it? The nation also has laws, the ability to enforce them.

Kind of. In that case you have to squint and ask yourself how you belong to the nation. Do you “belong” by fitting in, and because these are your people. Do you obey the laws of the nation because the nation’s government takes its power from the consent of the governed?

And that’s as far as I want to go down that slippery slope, because when it comes to nations, yeah, you can belong in both senses. But if you’re a free man — which is almost to say an American, though Britain at one point also knew what it was to be free — the line is sharp and clear in your mind. You might give your life for your nation, but you’ll be d*mned if you obey an order to commit suicide.

That’s the line between free and slave.

What was creepy was that the person didn’t say “I choose to belong to the nation, but “I choose to belong to the government”” That is the order-giving, often irrational, always bungling part of the nation. The authority part of the nation.

I had a moment of recoil, and then a moment of overwhelming pity.

We, the children of the late twentieth century, messed about by generations that went through the two global wars — or if you prefer the long war of the 20th century — we were born to a generation/generations that had had fundamental assumptions shifted, tilted, banished. As a result we were fired off into the world with complete nonsense filling our addled heads.

You’re going to say every generation goes out with heads filled with nonsense. Well, to an extent. But to an extent, it was tried and true nonsense. “My country right or wrong”, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” “Our gods and our temples are right and just, yours are silly, strange and heathen,” “My band has the best flint tools and we will feast on your carcasses tonight.”

Was it nonsense? Band/country/city and religion/tradition/way of doing things? I don’t know. I was taught all that was nonsense, and completely wrong, and besides it caused war and was mean and stuff.

Was it?

I doubt it. A lot of it masked the deeper mechanisms of how human cultures select for the best and the best traits of those; how they share, perfect and evolve. Yes, it sometimes sucked to be a human being caught in those movements. And yes, it often meant that for a time the culture took a turn to greater suckitude. But looking back, you can see we’ve moved steadily to “more people having enough to eat, and being able to live full lives.” (With the exception of imposed synthetic cultures like socialism/communism. Come for the philosophy, but the famines and massacres are to die for.)

I am progressing, slowly, to believing that cultures themselves are…. quasi-sentient entities with minds almost-their-own. They change slowly and organically. There are mechanisms for them to evolve. We violate those at our own risk, because they can die. But they take their people with them.

Anyway, the point is, my generation was sundered from the past of humanity and the things that humanity traditionally told the individual he/she belonged to: family, locale, nation, religion. All of these were wrong/evil bad/ deeply distorting.

My generation took seriously the nonsense of the romantics (what else did we have to go after?) and encouraged by parents who were themselves either already traumatized or addled and confused by Marxism (a toxic form of the romantics besides) did a deep dive in search of the “natural man” with the sincere belief that if we eliminated everything else, we’d go back to Eden and the “natural” way of being, to the noble savage and some kind of egalitarian garden.

Of course this is nonsense. At the bottom of that pit there is no natural man. The natural man is an ape: naked, scared, alone, and without much in the way of tools. It will mostly likely die/be vanquished/kill and commit horrors.

But this is what our elders told us; the only culture we were given.

Those of us who are…. stubborn and odd started noticing the issues, fighting back, finding ways to connect to something deeper, something more meaningful. Others went along, and ended up….

Well, we call them NPCs, because they seem to change their minds and attitudes with whatever comes from above as the new thing.

In fact, they’re rather sad apes, drifting in a sea of nothingness and clutching onto these “truths from above” as a life saving something that will finally make them fit in, make them be part of something.

Yes, they are scary and they will commit atrocities in the name of transitory truth. But in the end, they’re just normal (which none of us is, really, my friends) humans, betrayed by a culture that denies them what they need most: to belong.

They’re willing to be mindless slaves just to belong to something.

You see, humans are brief, but the human mind compasses eternity. We need — NEED — to belong to what came before, and know we are shaping/will belong to what comes after. It’s part of being human. This doesn’t always required biological descendants, but it requires being part of something bigger than us.

Which most people in our culture never had.

A lot of them are the children of my generation. We were fired off into the world with nonsense like the lyrics of Imagine as a map for living. By the time they came along, we knew that didn’t work, but we had nothing to replace them with. We’d been given nothing. So they were fired off into the world with….. nihilism, cynicism, and the vague, desperate hope that there was, somewhere, something to believe in. Then the schools gave them collectivism and the worship of authority.

Maybe what saved me was grandma, my dad’s mom. We were of course from very different worlds, but when it came to being a solid point in the maelstrom, give me grandma as a fulcrum, and I can move the universe.

She knew who she was, she knew what she was for. She belonged, and was part of the past and the future. She was part of her family, her village, her world.

And though I left the village behind (And the family, in the sense women do) and the country too, she gave me roots. I know where I came from. And I know where I am, where I chose to throw my lot in with.

And I know what’s important, and it is this: A free individual provides for him/herself. (There is no work too menial. And yes, for a while I didn’t provide for myself monetarily, but I devoted myself to both improving my craft so I could, and easing the life of the person who did provide for both of us), he/she looks after those who are “his” be it by kin, friendship, choice or chance, and prepares the way for those in his/her future to do the same.

In the end, the rules according to grandma were not so different from Jordan Peterson’s. Though, granted, she would have said “feed a cat” but hey. A dog too. And a turtle. She …. liked animals.

It seems ridiculous the hatred the man draws. And I’m sure grandma would draw no less hatred, for the same reason.

The scariest thing of all to those who would be slaves is to know there is an alternative. You don’t need to belong to a faceless organization that has unearned rights over you. You can choose to build what you belong to: a family; a group of friends; a band of free individuals. You can choose to serve your family, your G-d, your nation.

And in that CHOICE to serve find your freedom. The freedom to choose every day, to do what is best, not what you’re ordered. The freedom you will never find in handing yourself over to the judgement of faceless bureaucrats or “experts.”

The freedom to be yourself, rooted, confident in past and future.

Because even if you lose, even if you die, you’ll do that as yourself. Not another… Brick in the wall.

Go forth and be yourself. Belong only in kinship, never in blind obedience.

Go be American. The world needs your example.

Be the America oppressed people evoke. And tell the government to go fly a kite.

173 thoughts on “Who You Are

  1. If people are feeling fainthearted and hard done by, look up Korea’s Admiral Sun-sin. He was a cavalry officer who had to become a seaman. He was unpopular with his own emperor because he kept fighting the Japanese. He kept having to build the Korean navy back from nothing, several times. And his own emperor ordered him thrown in jail, broken to private, and tortured to make him confess, for the crime of faithfully observing a ceasefire signed by his emperor.

    And then, when the capital was about to fall, they kicked him out of jail to save Seoul with twelve ships.

    He beat the Japanese Navy every time he fought them, to the point that he is a Japanese navy hero. (No anime, though.)

    “I have twelve ships, and I am alive. The enemy will never be safe on the sea.”

    1. Not surprising that there’s no anime about him. Anything the Japanese make that includes Korea will end up drawing attention, and criticism (deserved or not). The Korean attitude toward Japan is rocky at best

      1. Rocky indeed, and deservedly so. The Japanese were intolerable a-holes for a very long time.

        IMHO China wants Taiwan (and Korea!) to make it easier to take Japan. There are still plenty of people alive that remember what the Japanese did in Nanjing.

        1. China is still pissed off that they failed to take Japan some eight centuries back, nevermind more recent things. They’ll use any excuse they think might stick, though.

          Embarrassing China is unforgivable.

          1. Also, the Japanese (unlike the other neighboring countries) have never had any qualms about putting their own emperor at the same level as China’s emperor. Other neighbors might be independent, but they at least paid lip service to the idea that the emperor of China was politically at a level above them (much as an independent duke might compare himself to a neighboring king). The Japanese never did this. Further, Japan’s reference to itself as the Empire of the Rising Sun implies that it’s the ascendent empire. The Chinese historically took that as a veiled comment that the Chinese empire, in contrast, must be in decline.

            1. Trade with China was carried out with the pretext that the foreigners were offering tribute and the Emperor returning gifts. . . .

              (The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of T’ang Exotics by Edward H. Schafer is truly fascinating.)

              1. That wasn’t the only way that neighboring nations “acknowledged” the superiority of China’s Emperor over their own ruler. Japan did occasionally send “tribute missions” to China (the Chinese court tended to be quite generous with what they gave in return for the “tribute”). But it didn’t engage in the other stuff, iirc.

                1. I’ll also note that it wasn’t really what we think of when we talk about “international trade”. We’re generally talking about merchants on each side coming to an agreement and exchanging goods with each other. The “trade” being referred to here involved a full-on diplomatic mission, and was closer to an exchange of gifts (made up of massive quantities of resources and materials).

                  1. That was the pretext. Many countries sent merchants, and they often haggled about the exchange values.

          2. I sort of get the impression every one in that area has some form of blood feud against everyone else in that area going back to somewhere around pre-history, and possibly before.

            1. Yeah, the one that made “kami kaze” a thing is just the oldest one I know.

              Oh, and don’t forget that a ton of the guys currently in the same country are, as they figure it, “really” a bunch of smaller groups….. 0.0

              I’m glad I’m an American, just because it’s SIMPLER.

              1. Yeah, I can’t imagine keeping track of all the feuds my European ancestry would require. It sounds exhausting and given both British and Scottish ancestors I’d probably to obligated to hate myself.

                1. British and Scottish ancestors I’d probably to obligated to hate myself.

                  Plus French Jew (maternal grandfather side, a few generations back). Yes. America is the only place me and mine could mix DNA.

                    1. What is weird is I had no, none, nada clue until recently when mom mentioned it. I’m 65, she’s 87. Not a word until now. Mom knows a lot more about her family history than we knew. I need to get her to write it down.

                      Yes. Cousin.

                      Nothing new for me. Cousins keep popping out of the woodwork on dad’s side (if they are Oregonians back to the early pioneer days, probably a cousin, Applegate’s were very *prolific, and raised most to adulthood). Mom’s not so much. Oh there are cousins unknown out there. Just don’t get surprised often.

                      Or as my husband says “Oh. Another one.” 🙂

                      The 3 brothers who were on the Cow Train, brought along 12 children each. Two, young teens, were lost on the Columbia River. Then, at least my grandfather, had MORE after arriving, including my great-great-grandfather Frank.

                2. Yeah, I can’t imagine keeping track of all the feuds my European ancestry would require.

                  I wonder how many of our ancestors left Europe for America just to get away from that specifically.

            2. Yes, and no.

              AFAIK, most of Japan’s issues with its neighbors are basic racism. In the early Twentieth Century, Japan (officially, at least) saw the surrounding countries as the Japanese version of the white man’s burden. My understanding is that they don’t hate their neighbors. They just feel racial superiority toward them.

              China also has the basic racism issue toward its neighbors. Plus, there’s the crap that Japan did during the war that’s recent enough that lots of people still alive grew up hearing about it from survivors (and a few survivors are still alive). Meanwhile, Korea was turned into a Japanese colonial possession at the start of the Twentieth Century. And there’s the brutal Japanese attempt to conquer the peninsula a few hundred years ago. The Chinese have also attempted to conquer the peninsula periodically (and owned it a couple thousand years ago), but those attempts aren’t as fresh in Korean minds. They’re not forgotten, though.

              Vietnam was partially occupied by China during the Han. There was actually a very talented and open-minded Han governor assigned to the province who the Vietnamese respect to this day. But the Chinese subsequently got kicked out. And then they tried to come back. Repeatedly. The Vietnamese remember all of these attempts at conquest, and are well aware that Beijing would turn their country into the next Tibet given the chance. Other neighboring countries probably have similar attitudes toward the Chinese.

              1. Every nation/ehtnicity is East Asia has reasons to look down on every other one. And they do. Plus they look down on every other non East Asian even worse.

                I think the exchange of soap operas, anime and other cultural products has weakened the Korea/Japan mutual dislike (as has the fact that the WW2 generation is now basically dead) but its still there

                1. I saw a Thai martial arts movie a few years ago while at a party. The protagonist was a girl being raised and abused by her drug gangster maternal uncle after she was abandoned by her Japanese Yakuza father and then her mother died. The story is that she’s trying to get away from her uncle and stay safe until her father can come for her. At the climax, when the uncle and the father fight, they speak English to each other. I can only guess that’s because no Japanese would stoop to speaking Thai and no Thai would stoop to speaking Japanese.

              2. it wasn’t covered in the textbooks of course, but a comment from the World History teacher I had Senior Year to the query “Why weren’t the Chinese the ones helping the Vietnamese, instead of the USSR?” was “The Vietnamese would probably rather go without help, than get it from the Chinese”

        2. Certainly I know of the rape of Nanking as does almost anyone familiar at more than a cursory level with WWII. But people alive that remember it? it was 1937. If you were 5 when it happened you’re 90, if 15 you’re 100. And of course China’s people got the crap kicked out of them by the communists (who were likely as bad or worse than the Imperial Japanese). I suspect the number of survivors of the the Imperial Japanese invasion period is VERY small.

          1. I think it would be like the Palestinian thing: the memory won’t fade until the youngest child of the youngest 1948 refugee dies.

            1. Perhaps just as I remember the stories of the Great Depression from my Mom and Dad (who were young children as the USA came out of it) and my grandparents (who were adults including paternal grandmother who was widow pregnant with 4th child in 1934). Those children and grand children are getting old. Even the grand children are likely in their late 50’s early 60’s. And of course things change in the telling certainly some of my maternal grandfathers stories were, shall we say, embelished?

              As for current generation we’re coming up on 80 years from the end of the war. Even when I was in high school WWII was kind of skimmed over and the Japanese front got little attention particularly pre Pearl Harbor. Given it was a US victory the modern Zinn style history denigrates or ignores it as clearly any non white group has a right to oppose the white europeans. Ignoring the fact of the massive war crimes against Chinese, Asian, Filipino and various pacific Islanders AND the fact that the racial beliefs of an Imperial Japanese make KKK adherents look like NAACP members.

        3. There are still plenty of people alive that remember what the Japanese did in Nanjing
          Not alive there aren’t. They’d be in their 90s and had to survive half a century of deranged communism. A handful maybe, but I’d guess less than 100. Even in Japan the number of Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivors is dwindling fast and Japan has a far better economy, healthcare system etc. than China

          There are however undoubtedly plenty of Chinese who have been taught to hate Japan because of Nanjing and assorted other atrocities. What I think they really hate though is that Japan managed (for various reasons) to avoid being a target of European colonialism/empire and actually successfully fought back. And then decided to copy the Europeans and get their own Empire that was mostly Korea and northern China.

          The Chinese military lost pretty much every battle with the Japanese from 1895 on. They only didn’t entirely lose during WW2 because Americans and others supported them. That hurts. What also hurts for those that pay attention is that the Taiwanese actually look back on their 50 years of Japanese occupation with moderate affection.

          1. They did win a couple of big defensive battles against the Japanese during World War 2. Those were the exception, though. By and large the Nationalist Army in World War 2 was saddled with corrupt warlords as generals who often had only nominal loyalty toward the government (some of whom were secretly helping the Communists), poor supplies (if American troops had entered China, they would not have been able to subsist on the rations that the Chinese considered normal), attacks and sabotage by “allied” communist guerillas, and an unlikable American “advisor” who had complete contempt for the Chinese (and who had been nominally placed over the entire Nationalist army at Roosevelt’s insistence).

            1. The problem is that the Nationalists/Republic of China was run by the Kuomintang Party, and Sun Yat-sen looked to the Russians for external support at one point.

              This had consequences.

              The flirtation with communism gave the saner-than-sun-yat-sen types in the Kuomintang a dislike for communism.

              But, the Soviets also had a lot of strings on the Kuomintang.

              So Chiang Kai-Shek’s son went to Russia, married a Russian woman, became a Trotskyite, and was later imprisoned for Trotskyism. A deal was cut later releasing Chiang Kai-Shek’s son, in exchange for the KMT releasing Mao. Who might have otherwise been stopped, both from acting as rear area security for the Japanese, and from taking over the place.

              1. ?

                I don’t think Mao was ever imprisoned by the KMT. And if he was, it was only very early on (and very briefly), before Stalin was likely even aware of him. Chiang did take various actions with a view toward hopefully getting his son back from Russia. It’s believed that was one of the reasons why he didn’t crush the Communists during the Long March. But he never freed Mao due to that.

                If anything, it was nearly the other way around. At one point, one of Chiang’s generals betrayed him and took him prisoner. The official story afterwards was that the general in question wanted Chiang to commit to fighting the Japanese instead of the Communists, and that an agreement was made between the two men. But there’s evidence that this was an after the fact story, made up to cover up the fact that Mao had encouraged the kidnapping in the first place, and Chiang was to be handed over to the Communists and killed. But according to that same story, the Soviets (who knew that Chiang was the best option to keep China stable enough to resist the Japanese) demanded that Chiang be freed when they got wind of what had happened.

                One of Mao’s sons (possibly two; I don’t recall for certain) was also a “guest” in Moscow. But there’s little evidence to suggest that Mao spared much thought for his son(s).

  2. Yes.
    Also…a lot of these people, especially young ones…well, they may mouth the slogans and they may believe (or think they believe) in the nihilism, but if their leaders’ visions come to pass the suffering won’t be intellectual. It won’t be, “Well, the bad people are getting what they deserve,” or, “Gottta break some eggs to make the omelet.” It will be people they know, people they love. And I suspect some of them will change. Some will break (“I never thought it would be like that!”), but some will change.

      1. What? You don’t think they will confess for the good of the Party Narrative? As all good Communists did at the Moscow Show Trials?

  3. Just to be clear, my country belongs to me and its citizenry, not the other way around.

    I belong to Jesus Christ, but also I am part of His Body and vice versa. So there is reciprocation, by His courtesy and distributed way of doing things. We are priests and kings, as it says in Revelation.

        1. True. They do not realize there are multiple definitions of “belong” only one applies to people and it isn’t the property of others or entity.

        2. Many of those passing themselves off as educators ought to have been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a (split) rail. But God is merciful. He gives us enough rope to either build a bridge or hang ourselves.

    1. I live in San Diego, so I occasionally listen to English language radio stations broadcast from Tijuana. Every so often they are required to play a public service announcement for their government, many in English. One that jarred me many years ago was a PSA touting that the citizens had the chance to elect their rulers. RULERS? That appalled me, and now I have seen it creeping into the mindless discourse of American communists/leftists/Democrats. Now maybe it was a poor translation, but here in America, we elect our REPRESENTATIVES. I will miss the next school board meeting because of travel, but I intend to start attending regularly. We are a FREE people. You do not RULE us, but REPRESENT us. That’s us, not the teachers’ unions or the whim of the next higher bureaucrat.

        1. Watch how often the newsies call our elected representatives “leaders.” It’s eye opening. Even folks what ought to know better slip up from time to time.

          I don’t need no leaders. I need somebody that will represent me and mine, and our powerful interest to be left alone to pursue happiness with life and liberty intact. The greatest threat to those things right now being what sits in old buildings making laws, rules, and regulations ever more burdensome and intrusive.

          1. Those elected are supposed to representatives. Not rulers, leaders or anything else akin to such. Those who run for office however generally view themselves as a ruling nobility, which is why they regularly demean and mock those they seek to rule. they genuinely view the citizenry (and the non-citizens, both those legally here and not) as being beneath them, serfs, whose role is to serve “their betters.”

            Simply put, the hate us.

          2. What drives me nuts is when one of the chief executives, federal or state, says he or she has a country/state to run. No, you don’t. You have a government to run. The two are not the same.

            1. That is because their mentally and overriding credo is “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” and they view themselves and the state as being synonymous.

      1. They are hired administrators. And usually not very good ones. Nothing more.

        Which is why the genuflecting needs to stop.

    2. I had the brainwave that the american west, settled by distributed stubbornly free individuals recalls the distribution of land by law in ancient Israel. All the rules appear partly to set up a middle class based on agriculture. No tiny lots too small to support. No large aggregations shutting out the independent. And every generation a Jubilee to give the kids a chance to set right anything screwed up by the previous one (or two. Depends how long people live). Anyway. The 160 acres was big, but not a latifundia. Every man a king of his own land. A nation of priests and kings.

      1. That was exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he drafted the Northwest Ordinance. An agrarian Utopia of freehold family farms.

  4. I belong to God, my spouse, and myself. I might belong with other people and organizations, but…no. Not “belong to.” Not ever that.

    I am free, I am debt-free, and I am over the age of majority.

    (Depending on the job, I might be for rent, but not for sale.)

    1. Um…. I’m not for sale. My stories are. I used to put them in the envelopes for submission and say “There they go in their tiny little skirts, selling themselves.” And my husband would say “Hopefully they bring back money.”
      We definitely BELONG together. 😉

      1. And now I seem to hear Fagan singing after Oliver and the Artful Dodger and the rest:

        You can go but be back soon!
        You can go but bring back plenty
        Of wallets full of cash,
        Don’t want to see any trash…

        Yes, my childhood was ruined bu Hollywood Musicals, too…

        1. After the movie came out, somebody in the family (not me, was way too young) picked up the sound track to West Side Story. I had (and still have) two–strike that, three–favorite songs, all a take on “belonging”, though with a Sondheim flavor… “The Jet Song”, “America”, and my favorite impolitic* song “Officer Krupke”. (A kid in my elementary school class loved that song, and several of us got hooked. “America” at a loud volume is good for the soul, if not for the inner ears.

          (*) My favorite NSFW song and shower staple is “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”.

  5. Our very mores are also for the fanatics and the loners.

    I swear (or affirm).

    The fundamental, formal, deals of our society. And we accommodated those who could not, or would not, conform to the usual form of them.

  6. Not quite what I remember but it works for “who you are”. 😉

    “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

  7. AND. AND. AND, make certain the gummint knows you don’t want to give them your kite. Let the kite flyers watch YouTube and make their own from materials on hand…

  8. The notion of cultures being entities in their own right speaks loud & clear to us Jews. It’s always been obvious that humanity is not meant to be a single unified collective; that’s the story of the Tower of Babel. Unified mankind is a tool of megalomaniacal tyrants, a catastrophe in motion that weeps over broken bricks and shrugs at broken lives, and thinks it can reach the Throne. Not to mention that no one culture can excel at every aspect of life. Let the different human families (and they are families; that’s why there are so many genealogies in Genesis) bring their best to the table, and share. That’s REAL diversity — and it may be why totalitarians simply can’t coexist with Torah Judaism, or ultimately with any Jews at all. Yoram Hazony makes a great secular case for what Sarah has written here, in The Virtue of Nationalism (published in 2018 and already down the memory hole) and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks takes the religious approach in The Home We Build Together.

    1. Reminds me of the Humans Are Space Orcs etc. sort of stories…
      “The alien invaders made the critical mistake of uniting all humanity. Thus were they doomed.”

    2. It’s funny that you mention that. A few weeks ago I saw a twitter thread arguing the confounding of languages was a blessing in disguise (and so were all of God’s other curses). It was interesting.

  9. Useful to my life is the idea that I elect legitimately a government which I allow to use power to compel and deter me and others to refrain from inimical behaviors. I wouldn’t wish for a government that can force me to act. Deter trespass, battery, and arson? OK. Force me to pay for gynecology insurance for XYs, rebuilding riot-torn Seattle, or reparations to my relatives for the sufferings my Chinese/German/Polish/Irish relatives is a no-go, much less for red or black strangers.

  10. And that’s as far as I want to go down that slippery slope, because when it comes to nations, yeah, you can belong in both senses. But if you’re a free man — which is almost to say an American, though Britain at one point also knew what it was to be free — the line is sharp and clear in your mind. You might give your life for your nation, but you’ll be d*mned if you obey an order to commit suicide.

    Old joke.

    A Russian, British and American general are sitting there arguing about who has the bravest men.

    Russian goes over to his enlisted guy and tells him to shoot himself in the head. Does, does.
    Brit goes to his guy, tells him to jump into a plane engine. Does, dies.
    American says no, you’re both wrong, watch this– finds the lowest ranking guy, walks up, and tells him to tie an anchor around his waist and jump in the ocean.
    The E-1 tells him to go fornicate himself, and the general turns around: “See? Mine is the bravest.”

    1. So another old joke then. A Texan, an Englishman, a Frenchman, and 2 Mexicans are on a plane that has lost an engine. They are going down and the pilot says, “We have to lighten the load,” even after they have jettisoned everything but themselves. The Frenchman cries, “Vive la France,” and jumps out the door. The Englishman stiffly says, “God save the Queen,” and steps out the door. The Texan stands up, throws the 2 Mexicans out and hollers, “Remember the Alamo!”

      1. I remember hearing that joke back in the eighties, I think it was. Joke might be older than that, but not really that old, is it?

          1. Definitely not today. But, considering the temperament and attitude on job sites I’ve worked over the years, in certain places you might still get some laughs.

            Some places I’ve worked, if you had thin skin at all you were in trouble. Race jokes, sex jokes, fart jokes, fat jokes, yo mama jokes, poor white trash jokes, you name it. Everything was fair game. And either you laughed when the joke was on you, or they found your weakness and tormented you incessantly for it. Definitely high stress work environment.

            But there is a practical reason for it.

            When you’re working at things that can kill not just you but everybody in thirty feet of you if your attention slips, you’d damned well better be able to deal with the stress. The pranks and jokes level off after a while once you prove yourself, and some of them were extraordinarily hilarious, once you acclimate.

            The current culture of extremely soft living, i.e. don’t you dare even joke about anything makes me sad. If the Twitterati ever wandered into one of those job sites at the wrong (right) time, there might be heart attacks.

            And, to a certain frame of mind, that’d be another thing to laugh about before long. Folks what take themselves too seriously don’t know what they’re missing. That’s also one more reason why poking fun at the left is one of life’s great joys.

            They hate it (because they’re unfunny scolds), and that makes it even funnier. ;p

            1. Some places I’ve worked, if you had thin skin at all you were in trouble. Race jokes, sex jokes, fart jokes, fat jokes, yo mama jokes, poor white trash jokes, you name it. Everything was fair game. And either you laughed when the joke was on you, or they found your weakness and tormented you incessantly for it. Definitely high stress work environment.

              Tell me about it. I was an 18 year old going to work with a USFS field crew, one of those upstart university forestry students working in a small out of the way district. You know the area where they expected their HS graduates to go to work on these seasonal crews. Under my maiden name of Lovelace. Didn’t help. Not only did I not laugh. I had no clue. Nada. Zip. None. My unofficial middle name is Stubborn. The next district I worked at, I didn’t have any problems. Nor did I have any problems at my first timber job out of school, when the crew found out my maiden name. Couple of reasons. By then I could have been one of their wives, or one of their daughters. The other reason? My 6’2″ husband was also one of their new co-workers (we’d been married 2 months when he started, and 3 when I started; I had to finish finals first).

          2. I grew up with “starving Ethiopian” jokes, Polak jokes, and other stuff on the playground. I have no idea what the adults did. Yeah, the jokes were often in poor taste, but that was part of the point. Paramedic humor, military humor, it blurs together. I’ve heard some great, witty stuff that I wouldn’t dare tell today.

            1. Well, not in unknown company. There’s not a race or ethnicity or sexual preference that hasn’t been the butt of jokes that I know of.

              Sometimes when I’m tired to the point of no longer having that essential filter between brain and mouth, stuff just slips out. And then you get the looks. You know the ones. Horrified, incensed, shocked…

              And somewhere in the background, there’s that guy or gal trying to stifle a laugh, because dang it all, dirty or inappropriate or not, it’s still funny. Surprising the amount of good folks you can meet that way.

                1. There’s another lazy day post idea for Sarah: politically incorrect, highly offense meme/joke day.

                  And no, Sarah, I can’t write a prompt post for you. You know why. Someone else will have to steal the idea and do that for you.

            2. “We just need to move you TO WHERE THE FOOD IS!!!”

              Hm. I wonder how Sam Kinison would’ve dealt with the cancel culture of today? Hopefully by telling them to pound sand or maybe (better?) act like he was going to make a tearful apology to whatever group decided to take offense he had not given and then… be himself? evil grin

              1. I didn’t like Sam Kinison when he was still alive; he just seemed loud and crude to me. But from what I’ve heard of him since it sounds like the man had enormous balls. I can respect that.

        1. I can recall first hearing it while still in Junior High School. That would place it sometime before about 1964. I suspect it is considerably older.

        1. I’d say 30+ years. Mid-’80s was when things got sensitive in offices, schools. OTOH might have been just my perspective as I went from timber to not timber at that time. Almost a culture shock. Trust me Timber hadn’t made the switch before then (or ever?)

  11. In 1992, during Clinton’s campaign at one of his “Town Hall” meetings a college age kid stood up and asked: “We are your children. How are you going to take care of us.”

    I lost hope for humanity, at leats American humanity, at that point. I partially regained it later, but at that moment I saw the future and it was grim.

    1. You aren’t grown up until you take care of yourself, at a minimum, and other people as you are called to. If you haven’t learned that by now, we have utterly failed in the essentials of taking care of you, and you shouldn’t be relying on us now.

  12. A nation is a people and a culture..I’m old enough to remember when America was one people, of varying races but predominantly white, and one culture, with only some normal regional variations…(France had even more regional eccentricities than America, but was also one people before mass immigration.) And we were all comfortable together, because culture and a common dedication to decency made it so..Now they have been peddling multicultural for decades, not to mention race baiting, and it is a mess and not one people..And multicultural nations do not survive because there is no common ground…”A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Said someone famous…..

        1. Cookies are at least sweet and tasty, even when crumbled. The current idiots in power are more blown chunks than cookies, salad, or pot stew.

          1. I sense a get off my lawn moment. “To toss one’s cookies” used to refer to vomiting… I would not want a piece of those…

          1. Exactly.

            (Thinks of euphemisms for vomiting and the remnants thereof. The list is colorful in a bizarre way.)

      1. I think our elites gave up the tossed salad as too plebeian, and replaced it with a kale and quinoa salad.

  13. “Belong” isn’t the only ambiguous word in that quote. When I read it, I automatically read “government” in the British sense of “administration” (probably because my idiot brain assumes things will make sense until informed otherwise). Which made the quote not so much pathetic as hilariously presumptuous: “I have chosen for myself the identity of Cabinet secretary, and don’t you forget it, Barack.”

  14. Clearly the person who chooses to belong to the government doesn’t get what a government by the people, of the people and for the people even means.

    They just want a nanny.

    I have the belief that slavery is a persistent state of mankind because so many people choose to be/stay slaves..

  15. For belonging…. I’m familiar with it from the ground-side victimization angle, and mostly women making bad choices, because no matter how much he’s using her it’s better than being alone.

    It is not right that man be alone isn’t just romantic, although that’s obviously rather strong; people who are alone are in danger. Vulnerable, if not actively threatened.
    So they’ll grab hold of even very bad associates, just to not be alone.

    …now, apply the large social pressure to move at LEAST hours away from home as soon as you graduate, to not give kids more than one or two siblings, to not even know your extended family, to doubt family over fashion, to insisting on ‘self saving princesses’ to the point that someone who can’t pull themselves out of the deepest pit all by themselves is treated as deserving that harm … it starts to look like grooming for vulnerability to abuse has become the norm.

    1. Some of that looks familiar indeed, even if a lot of the pressure and standards I’ve dealt with are fairly different.

  16. As a story trope, the lone hero wasn’t born that way, but had to learn and earn various things to become what he/she is then. Usually the lone hero doesn’t remain alone by the end of the story, even if they ride off into the sunset by themselves. Rather they’ve been accepted into the group from thence thereafter.

    1. I just finished all 6 seasons of The Expanse. The reluctant, everyman hero had 5 fathers and 3 mothers–it was a save the farm from the government by trick genetics thing. He was raised to stake the whole brood’s claim to their piece of land, but his birth mother sent him away at 16 to avoid his being used for such a thing. He ended up leading a family of misfit toys, that all either never had a family, had given up theirs, or had it ripped away from them. If you don’t have one, you have to make your own. “The lone wolf belongs to the forest, Number 6.”

      I understand Tocqueville emphasized how Americans make voluntary associations like Free Masons, Kiwanis, Optimists, Shriners, etc. (He’s on my to read list once I get through Witness, and maybe The River War.) Unfortunately we are now confronted with “Bowling Alone.”

  17. From Shanghai, a tiny little sample of what happens to you when you really do belong to the government.

    In the true sense of the word “belong” meaning as a chattel. Not a “member of” type of thing, very much ‘My socks, my car, my dog’ etc.

    1. I’m reminded of Uncle Screwtape’s thoughts on “mine”. Words to the effect of “We want each child to mean by ‘my teddy bear’ NOT ‘my treasured companion with a special place in my affection’ but ‘the bear which I can pull to pieces if I want to’.”

    2. One more argument against gun control. Somebody woulda shot that thing down were it in most places in America. Or hacked it.

      1. I’ve been thinking for a while now that if the CCP needs a short victorious war, and can’t count on winning one against an external enemy (e.g. Taiwan, especially after seeing what happened to the Russians in Ukraine) then they might attack a “rebellious” warlord or province for their short victorious war.

  18. Agree with FoxFier’s last comment. Seems that the benefits of “belonging” are strong enough for many of today’s young adults embrace the fringe elements — it’s a welcoming band that (at least at first) accepts them as they are. Shades of the Hitlerjugend, which was both accepting and mainstream (so widely supported by the ‘older and wiser heads’.
    It is going to be interesting to see how many of today’s fringe-dwellers continue when the costs start to add up.

  19. What was it they said in the sagas? I believe in myself. Well, I belong to myself too.

    1. The two axioms of my idiosyncratic philosophy are “nobody owns you but you” and “nobody can read anyone else’s mind”. (There may be other axioms that I haven’t identified yet.)

  20. I belong to a long line of misfit boys. Not related by blood, many that died childless and alone, often outcasts and loners. Curmudgeonly fools and stubborn old farts, finding contentment in peace and quiet, good books, maybe fishing and the like.

    That’s belonging that doesn’t require much from me. As it should be. You belong to a group because that group fits you, not that you subordinate yourself to that group. Sure, you make sacrifices for the group sometimes. Time and effort maybe, to get together and do a thing.

    One doesn’t belong to a state or government that way.

    The average American has the idea of America in his head. That history and culture is what makes them “American” and not “Armenian” or “Frenchman.” We are a country of choice and ideas, not blood and soil.

    Freedom and liberty are what I belong to because I can do and be no other. Doing so does not mean that I agree with everything that those elected to office do. I choose to belong and to join what groups fit me.

    But folks like me and mine are no property of the state. It often mistreats its toys and doesn’t often pick up after itself. A poor servant, but a worse master. We belong to what family and friends and groups we choose- we may be law abiding citizens, but not ever chattel.

  21. “We need — NEED — to belong to what came before, and know we are shaping/will belong to what comes after. It’s part of being human. This doesn’t always required biological descendants, but it requires being part of something bigger than us.

    Which most people in our culture never had.”

    That’s a mindset I never had. But I grew up on a diet of Doc Smith, with Heinlein as a chaser. Plus American History…some of which was of the Politically Incorrect variety. Duty, grim Duty, has been the mainspring of my life.

    And doing it has carried a price. I spent a good six years living out of a suitcase, on a continual travel to the middle of the high desert to do flight test work.

    1. …requires being part of something bigger than us.

      But while it has appeal, I admit, it is also terrifying as it can be misused. Say, for a “Thousand-Year Reich.” I suppose sports fandom, in the stadium, might be a ‘safe’ minor version of, such. but still, having seen 1930’s & 1940’s newsreels (and Why We Fight…) High School “pep assemblies” scared the [manure] outta me. My thought was always: It Can Happen Here from that.

      1. High School “pep assemblies” scared the [manure] outta me. My thought was always: It Can Happen Here from that.

        I was never afraid of them – though I didn’t make the “It could happen here” connection – but I never liked them either. I’d just quietly vanish and go read a book somewhere alone, and no one would notice I was missing.

  22. By the way the way the tax and regulatory state has grown in the US, you lot aren’t particularly free either. I think a fair case could be made for Japan being at least as free as most “blue state” America. The Japanese government may have banned (more or less) the bearing of arms but it actually obeys the US imposed post war constitution regarding citizens freedoms and government obligations

    For example (and it drives me mad) Japanese telcos are not allowed to censor messages passed on their network – even when the telco knows the message contains a SMISH link or similar. Likewise during the wuflu there were almost no actual central government derived lockdown decrees. There was (is) a lot of “we recommend this and we’ll be noting who doesn’t comply” but bars and restaurants shut down from a combination of carrots (we’ll pay you compensation) and lack of customers.

    Then there’s planning and building regulations. There is far simpler zoning. There is no eminent domain – which is why Narita airport has never expanded as planned. The rules for building are basically that to has to meet earthquake standards. If it meets them it can look like anything.

    And so on

    1. Just looking at some of the laws you’d think so. Then you look at the rest of the picture. Most Japanese wouldn’t tell an official to go shove it where the sun don’t shine. A good chunk of Americans have at one point or another in their lives. We’re more apt to disregard rules we don’t like than they are. Which drives rule makers bat-shit crazy.

      In Japan “We recommend this and will be noting who does not comply” means “you will do this or else.” It’s just somewhat more courteously phrased and people bowed. That wording out here and most things wouldn’t have shut down.

      1. In Japan “We recommend this and will be noting who does not comply” means “you will do this or else.” It’s just somewhat more courteously phrased and people bowed. That wording out here and most things wouldn’t have shut down.

        Well yes and no. In the wuflu stuff, the first time we had states of emergency the regulations/recommendations were mostly obeyed. During the last lot regarding omicron, a lot of people and places ignored them completely. For example we wanted to meet some friends from Nagoya in an Izakaya then. Now the town where we were meeting had a thing about not having disparate groups at the same table and not having more than 4 at a table anyway (there were 4 Nagoya people + 2 of us). My wife called the Izakaya we wanted to use to see if we could skirt this BS by having two adjacent tables and the Izakaya just said, “Oh don’t worry we’ll give you a booth for six”. And that was fine for us, our Nagoya friends and the Izakaya even though technically we were in violation of the rules.

        Likewise, AIUI, with vaccination. Initially just about everyone. Boosters on the other hand are not seeing the same level of take up.

        And the Japanese do the Yes meaning “I heard” not “I agree” thing to other Japanese as well as foreigners. Some self important bureaucrat lectures them, they nod, say “hai, wakatta” and then proceed to not do any of what he told them to do.

        On the whole the Japanese government treats the adult population as adults who can take responsibility for their actions and behavior. On the whole Japanese people will agree to do what the government says. But there’s plenty of wiggle room there and plenty of Japanese who will do a bare minimum to signal that they are good people but nothing more. See, for example, all the Japanese wearing their face masks around the chin.

        And that’s a good example of what happens if you don’t comply. You don’t have bossy karens and jobsworths telling you are wearing the mask wrong if you do wear it around your chin. You’ll get stares if you walk down a busy street without a mask, probably, but no one will say anything and very few will refuse to do business with you. Some businesses may be more up tight. Some customers may be more strict and take their custom elsewhere if they see the shop assistant or bar tender not wearing a mask – others (me for example) will be happy to patronize such an establishment but instead will be less willing to comply with the safety theatre that other businesses insist on. But there’s no law and no official enforcement, it’s up to you to decide

  23. To my maybe simple mind, the distinction between “nation” and “government” is an easy one. Which one can you change without necessarily changing the other?

    (Note, that is “nation” as in a recognized geographic area, not culture. Define it as culture, and the USA is not a “nation.”)

      1. Sigh. Note didn’t work, did it. That was to note that a nation is not a culture, and a culture is not a nation.

        A nation can stay the same thing with very different governments. The * government is completely different from the Teddy Roosevelt government, but we are still the nation called the United States of America. (Some very minor changes in territory, involving a handful of islands.)

        We have a nation – with many different cultures, albeit with a great many similarities. All of our cultures have overlaps with the cultures of other nations.

        Born and raised in Arizona. Lived in New England for several years – different culture, with some similarities to my birth one (for one thing, about the same tendency to military service), but still different. Same nation.

        I could move next door to Jim in Alaska – different culture, similarities also (but different ones from New England). Same nation.

        I could move next door to Dave Freer – different culture, similarities again, different ones again. Different nation.

        (Yes, you did warn us about your current mood, so probably my own fault here…)

          1. We’re not even the same culture as Great Britain. Or Canada. Well, the Albertans and rural Canadians may be closer, but definitely different than Ontario (even the urban liberals are different betwixt the two).

            And Europeans? Vast difference. They’re closer to each other than us, and they’re not that close to each other. Not at all. And the Middle East? Asia? Africa? South America? It is to laugh.

          2. Compared to Canada (outside of Quebec)? Quebec, incidentally, is more similar to Louisiana than either is similar to the German/Swede area of northern Kansas into Nebraska that my parents moved from.

            But compared to, say, Germany (any of their subcultures), yes. Compared to Portugal or Spain (two different but more related than either to the US cultures), absolutely. Compared to Thailand – well, very hard to find anything.

            There is one MASSIVE difference – the many cultures in the nation of the United States manage to get along far better than any other culturally diverse nation. Mostly. Usually. Not always, but only one episode of truly vicious and widespread violence (so far).

        1. The word “nation” is historically and etymologically slippery. The earliest meaning I’m aware of was more like ethnos: when the Psalm says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”, it doesn’t mean the specific Kingdom of Judah, it means the whole Israelite people.

          Sometime in the Early Modern period around the same time as the Wars of Religion, Europeans got it into their head that each “nation” (ethnos) should naturally have its own “state” (exclusive territory, government, laws, etc.), and thus we got the concept of the “nation-state”, which would have been meaningless to the ancient Greeks and Persians, the early Germans, the contemporary Chinese, the Mongols, or what have you.

          And that’s the reason we Westerners go around saying things like “the Kurds should have their own state” — maybe they should and maybe they shouldn’t, but the concept is still a pretty new one for most of the world. It’s also why many Western states have historically gone around suppressing, expelling, and/or forcibly assimilating minorities, because otherwise there’s no legitimate reason to keep their territory if they’re not part of the same ethnos/nation.

          After centuries of usage, the distinction between “nation”, “state”, and “nation-state” (and “country”) has worn down so they’re pretty much synonymous with each other. One has to think to remember that the nation-state is a relatively recent construction.

          Americans may constitute a nation, but if so it’s an entirely synthetic one, and that’s an even more recent and historically anomalous concept.

  24. Anybody born after about 1985 has never experienced a time in which the United States was not the supreme world power. The U.S. has always been the supreme world power. History? What is, this ‘history’?

    Therefore, everything bad in the world is our fault. We are the supreme world power, so if there was something about the world we didn’t like, we’d fix it. If there is something bad in the world that we haven’t fixed, it must be because we want it that way, ipso facto it’s our fault.

    Of course, if we do try to fix something in the world, we’re Eeevul Imperialists!
    Some folks can be taught. Others can learn by example. The rest have to piss on the electric fence for themselves.

    1. everything bad in the world is our fault. We are the supreme world power, so if there was something about the world we didn’t like, we’d fix it. If there is something bad in the world that we haven’t fixed, it must be because we want it that way, ipso facto it’s our fault.

      So the US is responsible for the Aztecs? Overrun of England? Mongol Hordes? Rome? Fall of Rome? Alexander? Alexander’s Reign fall apart? Greece? Oh, I know, the Fall of Atlantis? … Blink … Damn we’re good. I mean Wait? What? 🙂 (sarcasm JIC)

        1. When I point out to high school students (and others) that American Indians enslaved each other long before Europeans showed up, and that Europe was a major source of slaves until the early 1600s, their jaws hit the floor. The rest of them hits the floor when I remind them that there are still slave markets in the world.

          1. That they’t not been taught that basic history by high school… that’s a sad thing. Slavery (while not a focus) was in kindergarten, as a backdrop to Bible stories and the like as we were learning to read. In Western Civ in at least 3rd grade, if not before that. History of America covered pre-Columbus American Indian cultures as well, for good and ill (not a few sons and daughters with Cherokee blood in ’em in those classes, and a few stories that didn’t make it to the books were passed around, too).

            Someone might make themselves a good little niche in the interwebz someday with a few good practical history lessons that don’t make the kiddies bored to tears. Like Jordan Peterson has done for psychology. History should never be boring when taught (or very rarely).

            Sure, it’d be absolutely hated by the usual suspects. But free advertising…

          2. Yeah, slavery was pretty much universal for 300,000 years before humans ever set foot on this continent. Everybody practiced slavery, everybody had it done to them. There is no branch, twig or leaf of the human family tree that is free of the taint of slavery.

            It wasn’t until the 18th century that people started to seriously consider the idea that there might be something wrong with slavery. The United States was near the forefront of the brand-new Abolition movement.
            Does the Left drive those idiots barking mad, or were they drawn to the Left because they were already batshit crazy?

            1. What’s worse is that slavery is so pervasive on the African continent even now. Then. Who was catching slaves to sell to the slave boats? What would they have done if there hadn’t been a market? Left their neighbors alone? Or …?

              1. The reply to that is usually along the lines of “yes, the Africans practiced slavery, but it wasn’t full Barbados-style chattel slavery, and once the Europeans massively increased the demand the Africans equally massively ramped up slave-capture to satisfy it, so it’s really the Europeans’ fault.” I don’t really have a good response to that, other than “nobody held a gun to their head and forced them to do it, I guess they just liked guns and trinkets more than their fellow human beings.”

                East African slavery into the Arab market was from a set of cultures separated enough and presumably different enough from West African slave-selling cultures that I don’t know if there’s an analog.

                1. My point is they were raiding their neighbors before they were selling them to the slavers. It was just those they didn’t wholesale enslave themselves, they killed. Heck if they couldn’t afford to keep slaves, they killed everyone in the raid. The raiding was not new. More of an even footing between sides, but not new.

                2. There is. In fact, Arab slavery inspired one of the worst (in terms of fatalities) and longest slave revolts in recorded history. It started with sugar cane fields on the Euphrates and went downhill from there. Arab slave traders started ripples that went well inland. I don’t know if they inspired the same defensive alliance that trade to Europeans triggered (the Afaso companies) but it wouldn’t surprise me. I suspect sources could be found in Ethiopian archives, any that survived the Italians and Communists.

            2. I think everyone could always see a problem with them personally being a slave. Applying that to all humans? That was new.

          3. The first people to make a moral case against slavery (and related serfdom, indentured servitude etc.) were the various generally non-conformist christians in England and the US (though at the time when the argument was first made the American colonies were still colonies and people travelled between them so it’s really just one group). The French revolutionaries adopted the premise too but it originated before that event

          4. It’s worth noting that the English word “slave” derives etymologically from “Slav,” which tells you who was being enslaved back in the day . . .

            1. Not just the Slavs. But they were one of the most popular groups to raid and enslave.

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

  26. I belong with my family, with my faith, and to God. When I focus on that, it is easier find peace.

  27. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
    Si alius est effectus is.

    (It is sweet and proper to die for your country.
    If someone else is doing it.)

  28. Au contraire, you CAN belong to the government. All it takes is passing a few simple tests and taking the Oath of Enlistment in the Armed Forces. Somehow I suspect your Democrat speaker had not done so.

  29. This was on my subs list today and seems appropriate to put her. Lots about the desire to make humans interchangable.

  30. Thoughts matter and this is an exceptionally thoughtful piece. Culture transcends. Belonging in kinship maters. My analysis concluded some time ago that the way ahead requires devolution and decentralization because, when the villains gain too much power, too much money, and too much control, they (the villains) can exact horrible consequences on other beings. Benevolent v. malevolent, despite good intentions the gross levers (and fulcrums) tend swing too wide and changes are too great. Incrementalism, because it moderates, is better (preferred). Thank you for this excellent insight!

  31. …And WordPress is doing that thing where it makes me post each comment exactly twice again.

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