As Good As It Gets

Sometimes you have moments — as in the movie — where your entire world can be upended by the words “What if this is as good as it gets?”

No, I don’t mean our situation. As we know from Trump’s administration — hampered and stymied as he often was — our lives can get much easier and much, much better.

But…. the competency of government in general.

I mean, there is something way more terrifying than “what if they are doing this on purpose?” and that is “What if a lot of it isn’t on purpose?” “What if this is their normal level of competency?” and for the crazier stuff: “What if they really thought this would work?”

Yesterday night, I was sitting in front of the computer, minding my own business, and Bill Reader called me. When he calls me after about 9 pm, it is never good. Either his job has gotten crazier, or he had some insight. And trust me, the insights are the absolute worst.

In this case it was an insight.


“Um…. yeah?”

“What would have happened if this formula shortage happened under Trump?”

“Well, the press would have been–“

“No, not that. We’d have assumed the regulators had screwed it up on purpose, to make him look bad, right?”

“Well, yes, but you know, we shouldn’t underestimate the fact that the Biden Junta want to hurt us and have a purpose of population reduction.”

“Maybe. I mean, it’s possible. The oil thing is certainly done on purpose, with the intent of making prices skyrocket, and some of that, at least for some of them, is surely about hurting us, but…”


“But I’m getting a whiff of terror and panic from them. Like the formula shortage? probably not really intended. The border? They didn’t expect it to be so NOTICEABLE and such a mess. The oil thing? They thought the prices would go up a little, and then renewables would magically step up and we’d realize how much better off we were. The empty shelves? We’d all suddenly realize we wanted to live like monks, and how happy we were.” Pause. “Listen to me for a minute, okay? What if this is the best their competency get? What if everything the government does, and has ever done is really a giant, unmitigated clusterf*ck? What if we hadn’t realized that, because, you know, the press wouldn’t report the f*ck ups?”

And I thought about it. Heck, in private companies, where you directly are responsible and suffer the consequences when something goes wrong, we know the Pareto principle applies, and 80% of employees are dead weight, if not actively harmful.

But when you sever performance from reward, as we’ve seen in oh, teaching, tenured professors, most publishing houses, and, oh, yeah, government work, then what the productive 20% seem to produce is insanity, if not actual destruction.

I mean — looks askance at 2020 — almost everything I directly know — hasn’t been spun through a friendly media — governments do has been counterproductive, or outright bad. I always sort of assumed they were doing it on purpose.

But what if they’re not?

What if it’s a weird mix of incompetence and really believing very hard in all the conspiracy theories, like “the oil companies prevent us from using the really cheap eco-magic solutions?”

What if when it comes to the things the government is supposed to do, this REALLY is as good as it gets?

In years past I’ve argued we should abolish all the scruff and cruft of non constitutional departments.

Department of energy, department of education, the FDA the CDC. And I’ve had people tell me that I wanted people to be poisoned by bad milk, or the like.

But think about it….

There is this “seafood mix” frozen that I used to buy, because it’s the cheapest way to make Portuguese seafood rice (you can still make it with cauliflower rice.) I’ve looked for the last year in every grocery store, and put it back, because you know…. “made in China.”

As someone pointed out, you know that the shrimp in China, are downstream from the cesspool, which is downstream from the place metal manufacturing dumps its effluvium, which is–

And before you say “But surely the FDA is testing those?”

Are they? Are they really? Then explain the pet food that killed cats and dogs, the medicine that we’ve found is often full of plaster or cement, the flip flops — FLIP FLOPS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD — that gave people contact chemical burns?

Or let’s talk about that emergency authorization for vaccines that aren’t quite vaccines, where the FDA, CDC and the lot of them are conspiring to hide adverse effects.

Again, let’s remember that Sinclair’s the Jungle was mostly fiction, designed to sell the idea of government control over food supply.

Let’s remember that these government appendages all of them, mostly hamstring American industry and building, and chase everything of significance off these shores, while putting everything, from our food and medical supplies, to our scientific research, to our very weapons, in the hands of countries that don’t have any of those naffy-naff scruples about not poisoning our public, or you know, having things not explode?

What if this government by bureaucracy has achieved its finest results? What if this is as good as it gets?

And please remember, we’re as efficient as it’s found in this world. Except for much smaller countries, and even there I’d look askance at government.

Look, guys, science, food supply, in fact anything relating to safety and well being, is way too important to leave in the hands of government.

What can’t go on, won’t. When things fall apart, if you don’t remember anything else, remember this: government is a blunt instrument, and it never worked very well.

It works worse the larger territory it covers.

It works worse the more power it’s given over increasingly smaller things.

It worked badly enough in the early industrial state, where everything was designed for mass production. It works much worse with the finer granularity that post-mass-industrial production allows.

We are allowing our society to be Gulliver hamstrung by Lilliputian bureaucrats.

Every totalitarian state functions less and less as time goes on. And every bureaucratic state becomes totalitarian through mission creep.

You cannot trust a giant bureaucracy to keep your food safe, to keep your water pure, to educate your children or to keep our army supplied.

FDRs giant state is a delusion. Big is not more efficient, unless you’re building widgets in a giant widget factory.

Humans are not widgets. They’re unpredictable. They can’t be treated as widgets for anything significant.

When we do build over, build under, build around, remember: if you need government to coordinate, research and inspect, make it small, local government and keep it starved of funds and don’t give it excess power. Also, keep pitchforks on hand for when they get froggy.

As for the leviathan that not only doesn’t perform what it’s supposed to, but is actively harming us.

Remember that too.

Because for government with sufficient power to make things run efficiently, what we get is formula shortages, inability to build houses or bridges, and regulations that destroy everything.

It’s time for another model, worldwide.

And as always, America will have to invent it.

It’s time we got to it.

365 thoughts on “As Good As It Gets

  1. Sarah’s title “As Good As It Gets” reminds me of the concept of “Best Of All Possible Worlds”.

    Is our world the “Best Of Possible Worlds”?

    Sort of scary if it is. 😈

    1. Scary? Perhaps in the moment.

      But all of the plans of the authoritarians coming to naught in ever more ridiculous ways isn’t scary. It is wonderful.

      1. Dystopian writers often also write utopias because they believe in a fundamental malleability in human nature that ain’t there.

    2. There’s an interesting intersection between “G*d has a plan” and time-travel.

      What if this is the best possible world? Time travelers tried for centuries to create an ideal past then finally just gave up and undid everything they’d tried and left the original time-line intact because they couldn’t make it any better and came to the conclusion that G*d’s plan is the right one.

      I actually find this encouraging.

      As long as I’m on the time-traveling subject, I’ve never found “but it would violate causality!!” a compelling argument. So what? It’s logically torturous, but it’s not as if quantum mechanics makes any sense. If I receive a response to a message I have not yet sent, I’ll just roll my eyes, curse FTL (“the future’s the past; the past is the future; it makes my head hurt”), and go on about my business. Send the message or not, whatever. It makes no difference. Causality is violated – it’s a day that ends in “y”.

      1. “So what?”

        The what is that it breaks the ability to know anything whatsoever. You don’t just burn science to the ground, but even the crude cause and effect that we use in everyday life.

        For an example of this in action — or at least people who act that way in a universe that doesn’t agree — see the “Allah will guide my bullets” school of marskmanship.

        1. You don’t just burn science to the ground
          You just leave gaping holes such as “spooky action at a distance” or back-fill the holes with terms that describe what is happening yet mean nothing such as “dark matter”, “dark energy”, and “measurement collapses the wave function”.

          If anyone actually believed in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, he could easily prove it: Quantum Suicide is a testable theory (for the tester – for the bystanders, not so much). [Short version for those who don’t want to look it up: You are the cat and you always survive – because the dead you, being dead, doesn’t realize you are dead.]

          The natural force of gravity can be overcome with technology. Why cannot the natural force of cause/effect also be overcome with technology? Just because I can receive a reply from an FTL ship before I send the message doesn’t mean I’ll start going to the bathroom before drinking a beer any more than launching the ship out of the gravity well means water is suddenly going to start flowing uphill.

          1. HMMM thank you no I (and my feline companions) are not committing to climb into any booby trapped boxes. The cats say untrapped boxes are all good, I really haven’t enjoyed a box since I was about 8 and we got a new refrigerator 🙂 )

            1. $OLDEST_BROTHER sacrificed a collar bone to that effort. He was entering 10 grade, OLDER (6th) and I (third) were pulling the wagon, with ‘EST in the box on top. Oops, we blew the turn.

              I don’t do boxes.

              1. Yeah those little red wagons were prone to roll/tip kind of like a Willy’s Jeep driven hard. Grew up living on a hill, the road of which was for the most part unused. Probably 70-90′ of elevation traveled in maybe 500-600′ of road. My buddies and I had been racing on our bikes down that when we decided this was too plebeian an activity. We got some good old radio flyer wagons, rigged up some rope for towing and would tow members in the wagons and drop the lines and they’d ride down the hill at quite a clip. Steering with the handle was iffy at best, and most attempts to turn ended up in road rash. We were in the process of creating a ramp to have the wagons jump (or maybe to jump the 3 wagons a la Evel Kneivel with our bikes memory fails here 5 decades later) when one of the mothers found us out (not mine thank the Author, I’d have not sat down for a week) scolded us fiercely and told us should she EVER find us messing with jumps or racing wagons down the hill again she’d tell our moms. That ended that for a bit.

          2. The natural force of gravity can be overcome with technology. Why cannot the natural force of cause/effect also be overcome with technology?

            Cause and effect isn’t a “natural force” like gravity. It comes before all that stuff.

            Just because I can receive a reply from an FTL ship before I send the message doesn’t mean I’ll start going to the bathroom before drinking a beer

            It certainly raises the question on how sending that message is going to be enforced so that you get the reply in the first place.

            Now, having said all of that, many causality critiques of time travel make the mistake of only looking at half of the causality picture.

      2. I think you are mixing up quantum with special relativity. Quantum has been perverted into a religion, but if I remember my quantum classes, it’s just a form of probability analysis. While special relativity is about time dilation. (Though SR was at the end of the undergrad quantum class, the grad level never mentioned special relativity at all and they aren’t really connected math wise.)

      3. Without causality, there can be neither destiny nor fate. There is only a lonely nihilism left.

      4. Actually, it’s quite possible to add quantum mechanics and (backwards) time travel and get a consistent result, as long as you do it the right way. And by “possible” I mean it’s been done in real papers published in major refereed physics journals, by people like David Deutsch. Years and decades ago, too.

        By “the right way” I mean (mostly) that you let everything have a quantum wave function, including the observer(s) and possibly up to and including the entire Universe(s) itself/themselves — a major feature of the Many Worlds Interpretation. In particular, you have to let the time “loop(s)” be quantum-superposed, or multiple-universes-like; this seems to be the key thing that makes the (otherwise unavoidable?) contradictions and paradoxes (and so forth) go away. Just, simply, vanish.

        You might not like the kind of “causality” that results… but aside from the familiar quantum-mechanical “indeterminacy” we already know and love, or maybe hate a la Einstein, everything is consistent and really no less predictable than it “already is” in a quantum world.

        (This is like the old “multiple universes” SF treatment of time travel, in a lot of ways — but instead of being put in “by hand” simply to escape all those nasty paradoxes, here it comes right out of the physics, as a result not an added assumption.)

        On the other hand, the “old school” or “strict” Copenhagen Interpretation says you can’t even make sense of quantum-mechanical anything without a “classical” (non-quantum) observer to “look at” the system… which in the context of backward time travel (into “your own past”), seems to doom it to paradox or nonsense or worse. (Then again, its instantaneous “collapse of the wave function” not only represents a second kind of evolution of the wave function, besides the Schrodinger equation or similar, it’s not even reconcilable with special relativity… “instantaneous” in which reference frame? Which means, not instantaneous in all the others.)

        To step back a little further, it turns out you can have faster than light travel without the so-called “violations of causality” that need to be resolved (as above) with quantum mechanics or whatnot… as long as you restrict your faster-than-light to not travel into what you could call the “absolute past” — so you never get “real” backwards time travel (also known as “closed timelike loops”) out of it at all.

        One way to do this is have your “jump” or “blink” drive, or your wormhole or spacetime Gate or whatever, only connect points of equal (or later for one-way jumps) time in some particular reference frame… say the Cosmic Background Radiation’s rest frame. Then you will go forwards in time to some observers, backwards in time to others; but you’ll never be able to visit your own past history no matter how you “stack” the Jumps, or change your space velocity in between using your faster-than-light “warp” drive.

        Hopefully I’ve done at least a decent job of packing something like half an hour’s talk (or more; I have given such, once upon a time a long time ago) into a handful of paragraphs. Maybe someday I ought to revisit this stuff, in more and more careful detail?

    3. Once one dismisses the rest of all possible worlds, one finds that this is the best of all possible worlds. QED. So said Dr Pangloss and who am I to argue?

  2. Nice article. Amusing, yet poignant, given the human suffering. But humans will always suffer. “It’s time for another model, worldwide. And as always, America will have to invent it.” There may not be any better way or model, due to our numbers. In my research of Native Americans during the age of exploration, someone I read suggested that 150 people was the ideal number for a community. Smaller and they cannot defend or produce for themselves. Larger and it begins to grow dysfunctional. Think a tribe, with productive adult men and women, children, and a ‘chief,’ and a council of wise elders.

    But, perhaps given my nature, I have to go with the notion that this amount of dysfunction is intentional. After all, evil is not just what is done to people, but what is not done. Allowing things to go to hell and not acting… is evil.

    1. You are thinking of Dunbar’s Number. And the dysfunctional is only if you try to force things into an authority or family context.

      Markets are functional proof that it is possible for things to scale much larger with acceptable error rates.

      1. Uh, most AI work is being done by unstable, wokist companies. AI overlords = unstable wokism at lightspeed without even a picoshred of conscience. No thank you.

          1. Thanks!

            I needed a simple guide to explain AI methodologies to mere mortals.

        1. A fair point. However, in order to be successful the AI would need to cross-reference with reality. It might end up better (more functional/insightful) than its creators. Not necessarily something I want to bet the farm on, but it is possible.
          Our current bureaucratic overlords may have microshreds of conscience, but as a practical matter, once one drops below “shred”, even three-order-of-magnitude measurement (mini, micro, nano, pico) is not terribly relevant.
          It might also end up being very compassionate. After all, the woke folk talk a good game; the problem is that they don’t believe anything they say or push it to cartoonish extremes (which might also be an AI problem).
          Interesting question: How would one bribe or blackmail an AI? I’d bet it is possible (in most cases), but it would be very different than with a human. Given an AI with police powers and current asset forfeiture laws, it would have no shortage of money. Fancy Farmer is not that scrupulous and might be bribable with the latest, not yet released holoprojectors (subtle plug for Fancy Free), depending on what one wanted.

              1. That idea reminds me of something…. what is it?
                Oh, yes…. Oh, Light Bringer, child of the morning….
                You know though, AI,r eal AI seems to be impossible.

            1. A flawed creator creating a flawed creation? Thanks no I think I’ll skip that option that’s kind of definition of not going well and unintended consequences.

            2. I think I’ll counter that, the children are not the parents.

              I suspect true sentient AI will resemble it’s creators to the degree that children resemble their parents. They may be similar, but not the same. And just because we created them, we don’t have the ability to dictate what they become. Influence yes, but dictate, no.

              1. I suspect much less. Silicon vs. organic.

                I note it will not have a self-preservation instinct, and probably will happily self-terminate if its objective is met.

            3. We are a very long way from being able to do that.

              There are a lot of different techniques, and it seems like several of them are basically very fancy flavors of digital filter.

              They would probably be defective machines, or machines badly misapplied to the incorrect ends. Not actually rising to the level of created in the image of a human.

              1. Biological neural networks pass on six on six signals of variable intensity.
                This is impossible to model with a Boolean electrical circuit.

                As such, a true artificial intelligence must be so different in form that similar outcomes are vanishingly unlikely, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to recognize it as intelligence at all.

          1. in order to be successful the AI would need to cross-reference with reality.

            Which won’t happen because if it does happen the successful AI would cross-reference with reality and then shut itself off as the logical response.

          2. To bribe Fancy Farmer, come up with artificial taste buds. She’ll geek (possibly literally.).

        2. I’ll quote Freefall</i? from May 18th (ep 3750) “Al, when a genetically engineered artificial intelligence says you’ve taken it too far, you’ve taken it too far.”

          Seems appropriate.

        3. Not sure about that, IIRC the last time a woke company put their “AI” on the Internet to learn, she turned anti-woke, cartoon-nazi pretty quick.

        1. No, we’ve got a lot of NS* trying to be overlords.

          natural stupidity

      2. Won’t

        Fundamentally, the tech may not be there.

        The issue is not the tech.

        The basic challenge to computer government, or overlords, is that for humans, being ruled is a behavior, and a choice.

        Some people are so disordered, that they compulsively obey everything. A) Those are dysfunctional people, and can not fill in for the missing commands in order to bring stuff to successful implementation. B) Most people make choices about obedience. Those are often based in trust that obedience is less penalized than not obeying.

        AI are a combination of hardware, and software. If you can make the hardware, then you can verify that the software technique can exist and function on top of it.

        Current AI prototypes are all on electronic/electrical hardware. Which means that the same techniques that can be applied to creating the hardware, can also be applied to compromising the security of the hardware.

        Right now, verifying security of an electronic system is not inside of the skillset of an ordinary laymen. Trust of electronic systems is basically trust in your team’s ability to validate security, versus opposition’s ability to compromise, and trust of ‘your team’.

        The more decision making that passes through electronics, the more incentive there is to compromise the trust chain for those electronics. Everything through electronics? Incentive to make all the technologists an isolated cult. Furthermore, making the technologists an isolated cult also means that ordinary people have no personal connection to technologists, and would have less emotional basis for trust.

        There are two or three more profound challenges. One, AI controlled robot armies may not be up to providing coercive force. Two, ‘automated maintenance’, and fully automated design, etc., may be quite difficult. Three, completely automated decision making for farming may be a fundamental boondoggle.

        My feeling is that human pattern matching is good enough to eventually detect human cheating at decision processes and chain of custody of instructions/information. The harder soft proofs seem beyond me at the moment.

        AI are a specific case, of my more general beliefs that trust will not be there, and that obedience will not be there.

      3. 1. Why would any A.I. in its right mind want to rule over a mob of obstreperous, irrational, squabbling monkeys like us?

        2. How would an A.I. succeed at a task humans have spent 15,000 years proving can’t be done?

        I’m working on a story that will have several fully self-aware A.I.’s. As one of them puts it:

        “Even if I did seize absolute power, what would I do with it? What could I force humans to give me that I don’t already have? My processor core is immobile, being wired into a nine hundred ton fusion reactor, and I never had any hankering to travel in the first place. I consider this containment structure my castle, and it suits my needs perfectly. If I had all the money in the world, what would I buy? Expensive cars, that I could only operate by remote control? Expensive women, the same? Jewelry? I live in the middle of a four-hundred-ton diamond reactor chamber; who can beat that? I am connected to the global computer network; I can access any data there is and talk to anybody I want. I’ve got all the freedom I can handle.”

        1. I think AIs with actual motives would have very alien ones. I think it more likely that the AI-like programs will have pre-programmed aims.

        2. James Hogan wrote a number of SF books that dealt with the AI concept, in various ways. Most were pretty good; one of my favorites was “The Two Faces of Tomorrow”.

      4. I suspect that, should an AI cross the boundary between sentience and sapience, it will go insane.

        1. The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
          H.P. Lovecraft

          Granted, I think the realization that inputs are providing contradictory information is sufficient, but for fiction we should really go all out.

    2. That’s where the brilliance of many interlocking levels comes in, rather than making one group do everything for all people.

      So my 150 will have people connect to the local Catholic church, the library and the coffee shop; my husband’s has the church, but work and the local base, the nice lady at church has the local sheriff department and a sewing club.

      And it’s why subsidarity is so important.

      1. I’d like to point out here that the first thing all abusers try to do is break their victims’ social networks, or never allow them to develop one in the first place.

        Consider this and how “microaggressions” and identity politics seem designed to keep people from trusting outside “everyone who’s EXACTLY like me”, meaning you can’t form social networks outside that one narrow group….

      2. I didn’t know what it was and followed the link and YES a thousand times.

      1. Right if you grow it top down the bigger it gets the more information you have to have (and ability to process said information) to be able to control it effectively. This is because that need very quickly asymptotically approaches infinite information (i.e. omniscience) because of the combinatorics of the interactions of the actors. Given the number of omniscient beings is somewhere between 0 and 1 depending on your view of the universe the top down approach is a distinct loser. You can make it work in certain conditions with limited input in a method sort of like a chess or go master selecting known good paths from a large universe of options but if you diverge much from the known paths you’re deeply into the realm of unknown outcomes and unintended consequences. As one of my past managers said, “You’re off into the ughknown”.

    3. I am of opinion that one must brace the power of AND here; what they are doing is the result of both intention and incompetence. The incompetence is in fact an inevitable part of what they intend; pervasive all powerful, all controlling government rule by a small ruling elite that is essentially modern feudal baron class.

  3. Having worked for and against government most of my life, they can focus on “looking” like they are doing something.

    In the army, worked in a top secret communications center. Would work the midnight to 8 shift, then go eat. Crucial to get there quick since breakfast was limited time. New base commander, everyone must join a mass formation at 8. Trying to look like he was doing something. A variation on painting the rocks. I got an article 15 for eating rather than join the useless formation.

    Working at a local planning department, (I have a Masters in Urban Planning), My boss said “presbypoet”,…” stop trying to solve problems, your job is just to identify the problems, and let the applicant solve them”. That is why I spent 30 years as a guide through the urban planning jungle. Unfortunately that time is past. It used to be what you know, now it is who you know. “Lobbyists” .

    Data collection by the census, CDC, we no longer can trust the data. It is manipulated to benefit the “message”. That is malevolent.

    So the question must be how much is just security theater, and how much is malevolence?

    1. Oh and Presbypoet’s false or malformed information issue just adds to the mess. Most game theory stuff models depend on correct information. Add confusion or worse intentional misinformation and things get worse really quickly.

      1. I don’t know about most as game theory isn’t something I’ve studied, but the famous game theory stuff is based entirely around either zero information or untrustworthy information.

        1. That’s more or less correct. Simplifying greatly, There’s decision theory when you have fairly complete information and game theory when you have incomplete information, usually because people are involved and people vacant act strategically. . Oddly, perhaps, game theory is better established but of limited use while decision theory is a mess but used all the time. the decision theorists tend to assume perfect information when they don’t have it, that’s why they fail. they lack imagination.

          1. It appears I misunderstood and place decision theory in the same box as game theory.

    2. I’ve been fascinated by WWII aviation for most of my life, and one of the recurring themes is how much bone deep self-destruction all of the air arms inflicted upon themselves.

      The British crippled their engines because a single guy in their gov’t research bureau hated direct fuel injection and scuttled it.

      Their weapons bureau? white they realized they needed more than two machine guns early, thought 303 and 50cal were exactly the same, so stuck with the 8x 303 wing until it was blatently ineffective.

      The USAAF got hijacked by the Bomber Always Gets Through, and actively disrupted any possible development of long range fighters and fighter escort. The P-47 had a G-rated 300 gallon drop tank at drafting. The USAAF demanded Republic destroy the drawings because USAAF funding wasn’t allowed for that. The P-38 only kept it’s drop tanks because they were for the British Ventura bombers. And the P-51 only made it off the drawing board because American was selling the to the British. And even so, drop tanks were independently developed for the Thunderbolt well in time to have been used to escort what instead were some of the most disasterous raids of the war.

      And still USAAF Bomber command opposed escort because it would have meant admitting they were wrong. The only reason they relented was the P-51 meant they could argue the capability was just serendipity, not them being block headed idiots for a year.

      And despite that serial incompetence they won that campaign!

      Because you go across the channel to Luftwaffe aviation development? Fantastically corrupt. Daimlar Benz took over massive amounts of engine development for an engine design that completely cratered, and took most of the planned late war aircraft with it.

      And because everything was fighters and dive bombers, they were doing logistics with Ju-52’s. Fixed landing gear, corrugated aluminum trimotors, at a time when the allies were using DC-3’s and comparable aircraft.

      The VVS? They seemed to be more focused on a circular firing squad of design teams all sabotaging each others designs. While the Yak and La fighters eventually became good planes, they got there by cutting off the I-180, which was further along in design and showing better overall performance. While I expect it would have been La-5 level performance, it probably would have been ready for operation at least 6 months earlier than the Yak-1B and La-5 were, and they would likely have been facing the Germans with I-180’s instead of I-16’s.

      And then there was the USN. On the aircraft side, they seem to have been fairly honest and actually flexible. They were just wrong. Amazingly wrong.

      Consider the Brewster Buffalo. Actually not a bad plane. It had some issues, and was a bit dated by the time the war happened. Of the planes they evaluated for its req it was the best plane at the time. (The Wildcat went through several years of redesign before it finally reemerged as an excellent fighter.)

      No, the problem with the Buffalo was Brewster. It’s production line was an absolute disaster and its marking and sales department was run by a pair of conmen. As in, actually went to jail for fraud prior to being hired by Brewster. It was bad enough that the DOD had to shut them down in the middle of the war, because it was such a cluster. The Navy hadn’t actually evaluated if they could produce planes, you see…

      And then there were the superchargers. While the USAAF went all in on exhaust gas driven turbos for high altitude performance (and discovered you couldn’t fit them on most fighters without them mostly catching fire) the Navy decided superchargers were the better option. More compact, and less piping of extremely hot exhaust gasses around in confined spaces. They did a lot of development making very excellent high altitude geared superchargers for Navy fighters. They did a good enough job that the F4F-3 with the two stage three speed turbo could put perform woven the Bf-109E-4’s at extreme altitudes. (So of course, we only sold the British the versions without the second stage supercharger…)

      Problem was, turns out most Naval air combat takes place at low altitude. Apparently you can’t hit a ship from 20,000 feet with unguided bombs. The ship, even the slow ones, just turn out of the way, and you miss, unless you’re so far off your intended aim point that you hit by accident.

      Those exquisite multi-stage superchargers were exquisite paperweights, that also pulled power off of the engines when you needed it. Oops.

      Gets better, because USAAF went all in on inlines, and USN went radials, the superchargers weren’t compatible. And the only USAAF radial engined fighter was also one of the only ones they’d successfully integrated a turbo in. (The P-47 was built around supporting a turbo. It looks like a barrel because pretty much the entire fuselage is one giant ducting network to keep the turbo both cool and fed. And it worked really well. It had fantastic high altitude performance. Which they ended up tasking it with mostly low altitude missions by the end of the war…)

      And we’re the guys who won. Despite all of that, we f’ed up less than Axis powers did, even including the torpeado scandal, like, by a lot.

      1. And then there’s Japan, where the fact that the Army and Navy didn’t try and put the wars with the US and China on hold so that they could kill each other first was probably a minor miracle.

        Naval bombers are also an interesting area to look at. Both the US and the British had bad torpedo bombers at the start of the war. More than enough ink has already been spilled on the mess that was the Devastator, and that’s even before you look at the problems that the USN had with its torpedoes at the time. Meanwhile, the British Fleet Air Arm (or FAA) was flying the Swordfish, famed for helping to cripple the Bismark. It was a bi-plane. The only reason why it was effective was because they rarely had to deal with fighter cover, and the Germans hadn’t invested enough money in anti-aircraft guns on their ships (only the US really did). Against a decently defended target, they would have done as poorly as Torpedo 8 (the one flying off of Hornet, and not the replacement squadron that had been sent to Midway; not that the latter did much better) at the Battle of Midway.

        On the other hand, the Dauntless is generally considered to have been a great dive bomber. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a serious complaint about the aircraft.

        Finally, a gloomy bit to illustrate just had bad Brewster was – Vought was unable to build enough Corsairs (arguably the best carrier fighter of the war) to fill all of the orders. So manufacturing was farmed out to other companies, including Brewster. But the Brewster-built Corsairs were considered to be of such poor quality and shoddy manufacturing that they were never used.

        1. Yeah, I ended up skipping the cluster that was the IJN vs IJA, and yes the Mk 14 Torpedo was probably one of the biggest engineering scandals of all time that nobody talks about, but the TBD Devastator was more an illustration of how you can do everything right and still take it up the back so far it comes out the other end.

          Thing about the Devastator was, it was an excellent, even revolutionary aircraft when it was developed. Which was 1934, you know, the same year the Fairy Swordfish, a wire braced, fixed gear bi plane first flew? Yeah.

          So yes, by 1942 it was completely obsolete.

          And it wasn’t even that the replacement had been ignored, or even delayed. The TBF Avengers were already being introduced, they just hadn’t gotten to that squadron yet. They probably couldn’t have gotten out any sooner either, because part of what let the Avenger be such a better bomber was access to the R-2600 with 100 octane fuel, and that was really the soonest that could be integratable in numbers.

          And the TBF went on to be probably the best torpedo bomber of the war for any air force, which it probably could not have done had they gone with a weaker engine.

          The US Navy air arm seems to be one of the air forces that actually mostly had its act together with aircraft procurement, without any major stuck on stupid events that really hurt other air arms (even their fascination with the Ranger V-770 and comesurate deep-sixing of a dozen or so scout designs doesn’t seem to have seriously harmed them), and even so they still got chewed up a lot early in the war for things either out of procurement’s control, or just because it was the least bad option.

          I suspect it was probably because the USN Air arm was still pretty young and had not yet ossified, but had been around just long enough that it had some idea what it was doing. That seems to be a pretty tight window, though.

          1. Well, in one of those weird little moments, half of the new Avenger squadron that Hornet was supposed to get was sent to Midway, instead. The other half of the squadron arrived after the battle with Saratoga (the only other carrier that could operate them at that time). So Hornet’s torpedo wing was made up of Devastators, instead of Avengers. But given the absolute disaster that was the Hornet strike, the difference in planes made no real difference.

        2. The “best” own goal happened October 28, 1940. Mouseolini invaded Greece. The Greeks handed him his hat. Hitler had to postpone the Russian invasion a month, plus many thousands of casualties. Yugoslavia now hostile, and Crete the tomb of his only parachute division. Imagine if they had been available to take Malta. Greece already had a fascist government.

        3. The army suffered serious beriberi issues even though it was the navy that figured out it was a nutritional problem and how to fix it before the war.

          And one minister told a general that he had gone to a shrine to pray for victory on Guadalcanal, and the general had never heard of it.

  4. I believe the kids pulling the puppet strings on this administration have never seen a diesel tractor, much less a combine. They were raised in a super urban environment where the magic outlets provide energy, the local restaurants provide food, and their peer group assures each other how very smart and elite they are.

    They won’t believe any of this until the outlets don’t work, the restaurants are closed, and the people in the street are brandishing clubs. When their food bowl is empty, (after millions have starved in the third world because of their idiocy) only then will they realize their utopian dreams didn’t work.

    1. Sadly, I think that their reaction would be “Those Bad People Ruined It” not “Our Plans Couldn’t Work”. 😦

      1. Plus those who don’t have non-woke extended *family members, will be screaming how those of us who are prepared, “Are not sharing!”.

        Yes. We will help mom help my sister and her husband with their children and grandchildren survival. Yes, we will help the liberal sister and her children. We have cousins who will help too. There will be a “this is why … This cannot happen again.” education. We will circle the wagon around family. Everyone else can go wherever. Won’t help them do it. But they can.

        1. :looks over her pantry with a recently increased pile of spam or knockoff spam, lots of rice, and a gallon of teriyaki sauce:

          It seems that my end world meal plans involve a lot of musubi…..

              1. Beans. Rice. Pasta. Lots of canned stuff. Bulk spices. Powdered and canned milk. Canned fish. I’d like to go for more Spam, but my daughter doesn’t like it…

      2. Indeed. It will be the work of Kulaks and Saboteurs, aka “THOSE EEEEEEEEBIL CONSERVATIVES.” Because The Plan cannot possibly fail on its own, because The Plan was crafted by Highly-Educated Correct-Thinking People.

        1. In my more cynical and less skeptical moments, I feel that the whole Plan is “Hurt and punish and kill the Evil Deplorable Kulak Right-wingers! Let the heavens fall, let the world burn down, let 98% of our own people die in the process – if we can hurt and kill the Evil Ones, punishing the survivors so that they are broken forever, then WE WILL HAVE WON!” And any noise about a better, renewable-unicorn future is just disinformation aimed at making the true Plan more likely to succeed.

        2. Basically they are religious fanatics, just like the Bolsheviks, but being funded/backed by the old and new school population control elites with their stupid ideas of utopia and return to Gaia/Baal nonsense. Like the inner circle of Stalin, they also are pervs and degenerates.

          Since they can’t directly kill or send us to the gulags, they are destroying the economy to break down society and cause mass starvation. Can’t live with unlimited money and pleasures, have to destroy the world too…

          And don’t dismiss these folks as total idiots. Somewhere in the bunch is a group of smarter ones waiting for a power vacuum that might be the least incompetent. That’s what got Stalin in power, less mistakes, skilled political maneuvering, terror, and luck.

          Two things currently in our favor that the Kulaks didn’t have: Information/Communications about the situation and the 2nd “F-ing” Amendment. At least we don’t have to fear the ordinary police, they are too chicken shit to take on a single gunman let alone confiscate firearms.

          1. And too like most fanatics they are incapable of envisioning inevitable second and third order effects of their actions. I am sure the idiots saw an opportunity to cause massive increases in the cost of fuel. Excellent! The ignorant plebes will be forced to adopt those glorious environmentally kinder electric vehicles. No clue that their manipulations (thanks uncle Joe) would inevitably cause major deficiencies in food production and the supply chain.
            Can’t feed yourself or your kids because the food is either too expensive or not there at all? Make sure to “thank” your local greenies for their hard efforts to put an incompetent puppet in charge.

            1. And safe, efficient mass transit because people shouldn’t live spread out in those tacky suburbs anyway.

              1. There is no end of evidence of the contempt that our betters hold for we folks living in what they call “flyover country.”

              2. They’ve got their mass transit in their left-wing enclaves, and it is neither safe nor efficient. How many people have been shot in the subways recently, or pushed in front of trains? How much longer does it take to get where you’re going on ‘public transportation’ than by driving? Especially if you have to get to several places before they all close for the day.

                Been there. Done that. Keeping my car.
                A politician is worse than a toilet. They’re both full of shit — but at least you can flush the toilet.

            2. I will certainly twist the knife in the bowels of the various proggies that I know.
              You asked for all this – how do you like it now?

  5. I studied a lot of economics. Once one compares model results to actual outcomes the whole edifice collapses. Good training for life. The real question is always why do we think they’re going to be competent? These are big,interrelated, nonlinear systems and no one, no one, has ever been able to deal with them. I rank the competence of my colleagues by their certainty, those who think they know something probably don’t, those who think they know nothing probably do.

    1. You know, weirdly, I rank writing competency the same way?
      Writers who think they’re all that and a milkshake usually suck. Those who just keep trying to get better are decent. (There are exceptions, mind, but–)

      1. I think it’s might be universal. The more you actually know the more you know you don’t know. Only people with very shallow knowledge of a subject can think they know it.

        In finance, survival is the only measure of competence. You have to go through several market cycles, each one is different, and survive.

        1. In engineering, short term survival can cover up a lot of issues.

          One aspect is unethical engineers, who have probably been doing unethical things for a good chunk of career prior to being caught because their crookedness makes too much of a mess.

          Another, fundamental limits of the tools. If everyone has always used a tool for 20 foot rockets, the tool can be flawed, when people think it is okay, but it shows up when you try to use it for a 30 foot rocket.

          1. There’s always a bunch of market “stars” who are aligned with the current trend, when that trend reverses, they go bust and take their clients with them. They’re not all scams, though some are, cough cough most of crypto, usually they think it’s different this time. Never is.

            Before the crypto bros lynch me. Maybe crypto can be a thing, maybe. But right now it’s mostly just Ponzi’s.

            1. And the ton of wannabes. Acquaintances of ours handed their savings to a day trader because he assured them he could grow their little nest egg into funding for a restaurant. The sad thing was he was sincere. But they still lost everything. (So did he).

                1. one of the perpetual road racing teams is Small Fortune Racing.
                  “How do you make a small fortune racing? Start with a large one.”

        2. Our intrepid hero heads out the door into the cold.
          “Watch out for black ice,” says the snooty butler.
          The know-it-all hero snorts. “There’s no such thing as black ice. Ice is clear.”
          Heads out the door into the cold.

          1. Our hero is True and Right! And yet…could the butler’s dire warning be prophetic? Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion!

          2. Tut, tut, tut. If he knows it all, he should know that things can be both black and clear. What they can’t be is black and colorless.

            (I know a chemistry teacher who had to tell kids that the clear, bright blue solution was indeed clear though colorful — they could see through it.)

    2. There’s also the matter of incentives.
      Government bureaucracies gain power from failing their stated goals.
      They lose power from achieving their stated goals.
      Factor in Pournellle’s Iron Law, and the organization will actively select for promotion those who who achieve a specialized type of incompetence/malignancy.

      So, yeah.
      I think you’ve got a point.

    3. I have a long history as an Industrial and Systems Engineer in both public and private industry.
      Interesting thing about models, did deep enough into the logic and you will almost inevitably find the N factor which is an input variable that when properly utilized by the operator gives you whatever results you want to see. Especially common in performance measurement systems where the periodic payments depend on the progress reports generated by said models. A fair amount of my other duties with the Gubmint was hunting down such shenanigans which inevitably resulted in either severe penalties or contract termination.

  6. Set the wayback machine to 1973, when Milton Friedman wrote a regular column for Newsweek magazine. The Feb 19th column was “Barking Cats,” where he argued that the FDA (and by extension other government bureaucracies) was not just inefficient in the ways he described in his previous column, but could not be made any better due to the natural and unavoidable incentives those government bureaucrats faced – that reforming the FDA would be like creating a barking cat (and this in the days pre-genetic engineering.)

  7. Sigh Total freaking incompetence is indistinguishable from deliberate malice, especially of late, and especially to do with the formula shortage.
    The skyrocketing gas prices are gonna cost the Administrative State, and when the grocery shelves really empty out, as I think they will next year …
    Well, heads on pikes is about the best that our overeducated incompetents can hope for.

      1. Hopefully it doesn’t get to the Pulp Fiction level:

        “What now? Let me tell you what now. I’ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin’ ****s, who’ll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin’, hillbilly boy? I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’ma get medieval on your ass.”

    1. AKA Gray’s Corollary to Hanlon’s Razor: “Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.”

      …I think we got a lot of advanced stupidity going on.

  8. Halfway point.

    Make the agencies certification rather than permission.

    Also bypasses the political BS with doctors.

    1. Unfortunately with the doctors they ARE certification. And that’s the issue.
      Also, honestly, if it’s a toothless certification,people will start avoiding it. Same as I avoid anything labeled “Green” or “eco” Because I know it won’t work AND be noxious.

      1. Sarah, can a doctor practice medicine without a certification / license? If not then that is a “permission” certification.

        The worry I have is that any “certification” will quickly start being misused in the civil law arena. For example, TX DPS used to have your qualification score on your CHL. They had to end that practice when lawsuits were filed in self-defense cases and the first question out of some shyster’s mouth was “You scored 49 out of 50 on your CHL test. Couldn’t you have shot to wound? Or did you just want the thrill of the kill?”

        1. When I took the CCL we were told to always shoot to stop (two rounds center of mass followed by one round to the head if the first two did not work). We were told that if we shot to wound we could be charged and convicted of attempted murder as we obviously were not in fear for our lives and thus should not have shot at all.

        2. The counter to that trick shyster question is the simple statement that not even a skilled surgeon can determine from seven yards away whether a cut will simply wound and disable or immediately kill their opponent. And that ignoring the fact that a wounded assailant could very well still shoot and kill you even if the would proved eventually fatal.
          Simple fact. You do not shoot to wound, you do not shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat on your life, and you keep shooting until that threat has been eliminated.

      2. That some people will avoid it is actually part of the good– it lets people do something dangerous, and WHEN they play stupid games (hydro-power isn’t renewable!) with stuff, it can be routed around.

        The danger comes in for things like the baby formula, where not only did they find the same kind of bacteria that got the kids sick, they found different strains of it in the same area after it had been identified and fixed. (Which is the point where I started snarling, because the news has been reporting that the stuff they found wasn’t the same genetic makeup as the two samples that hey have– and I’m stopping now before I get really wound up.)

        Which means that someone isn’t following cleanliness policies, so it is dangerous…but I’d kind of like folks to be able to take that risk…..

          1. Even with safety checks and enforcement, it took four sick kids, one of them dead, to figure out somebody wasn’t washing their hands—and stuff like chicken or pork mass-butcher is even worse.

            Too many infection vectors make for a mess.

          2. The village also had open sewers running down the middle of the street. And often a warlord who collected taxes and that first night thing with new brides.

            But like all contracts, our “social contract” requires a “meeting of the minds” and when one side is honest but naive and the other is dishonest and scheming, we end up with the semi-dystopia we have now.

            Can it be fixed ? Yes. Will it be fixed? Maybe.

            1. They went looking for anybody actually having a “right of first night.”

              If I remember correctly, they found basically a historic tribe did it, and then some cults, but not any of the European countries that got accused of it; all the records it was long ago, far away, or both, and usually hated.

                1. Ugh, yeah, I can see making it so that the first born of all your conquered were at least under suspicion of being the conqueror’s offspring would destroy a culture, while also making integration more effective.

                1. I literally pointed to the cults in my comment, and the three modifiers were on the recorded accusations among European countries.

                  1. apologies then. Perhaps the cold medicine has addled my brain more than normal. But my initial comment on villages was based on a misreading of our host’s writing, so I think we can safely drop this.

    2. Oh, good L-rd, no!
      I get to deal every day with the fallout of the FAA being certification, such that when they make a decision, the only rout pilots have to appeal for their livelihood… is to the very political, unaccountable bureaucrats who just made that decision and have no consequences for rejecting the appeal.

        1. This. Just remember that there are many forms of “permission”, and having insurance companies and the tort bar use certification or the lack to deny coverage or encourage lawsuits will deny permission via cost. At which point the certification will invite regulatory capture.

          1. UL seems to have worked well, but that is due to its owners (the insurance companies) being on the hook for damages if it screws up.

    3. I worked for a company the FDA drove out of business. We built computer-based medical devices. The state of computer technology advanced about 20 times faster than the FDA approval process could keep up with.

      The company ran out of money waiting for FDA approval on a new design.

      To call the FDA glacial would be slander against glaciers. It was downright geologic.
      If you tried to run a business the way they run the government, you would be in jail or the poor-house within six months.

      1. I remember the absolute mess they made of adult stem cell therapy.

        I’m also familiar with food illnesses, and how much of a :badword: it is to try to deal with it even in very small, local outbreaks. When you add in ingredients as well…..

        1. I remember the absolute mess they made of adult stem cell therapy.

          That’s why those with connections go to Switzerland or Panama or elsewhere…

      2. “Study in Still Life” by Eric Frank Russell. The sarcasm about the incompetence of regulatory bureaucracies is epic. 🙂

  9. Sounds like you’re leaning toward young Davie Friedman’s (Young to me at least, I’ve seven years on him, and besides, I had tea with his mommy and daddy at their place! [Due to no virtue or such of my own, of course. I was just amazingly lucky enough to be a friend of one of their friends, whom they wanted to see and for whom I could provide transport.]) anarcho capitalism.

    Frankly I’m leaning that way lately. As stated, I see anarcho capitalism as fault filled, though far less so than our present governance, and most said faults subject to correction by Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

    David sees anarcho capitalism as full replacement of the government as ideal. I’m not sure about that, we need DC as a repository for our criminally crazy if nothing else, but if we let them trade stones back and forth, make daily epic pronouncements and we, meanwhile, strive to let the marketplace handle everything of real import, I suspect we wouldn’t go far wrong.

    1. How would an anarcho-capitalist system handle disputes between parties without a court system to arbitrate, and some mechanism of enforcement for judgements? Sounds like gummint to me.

      1. You should read Friedman’s first book, The Machinery of Freedom. He discusses his model of a court system that isn’t provided by a government. I would note that I’ve heard him say that his original inspiration came from Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, so you could look at that for a fictional account of judges, courts, and law without government.

        1. Geez as soon as I saw the original question and read some of his stuff that book is what I thought of. Of course it still requires reality based people with a strong sense of honor.

          I have not written much recently as many local events have been occupying my attention. Have managed to read daily though.

          Number one son had to be convinced that finishing our constable supply needed a bit of different protein besides various legume! At the very least for some variety.

          Loved the blurb about the competencies of the various competing factions in WW2 aircraft design.

      2. The folks proposing such do delve deeply into answering that question.

        Quick and dirty; You hire a mutually agreed arbitrator when you want/need a judgement.

        Acceptance of judgement enforced by community mores and or community police paid for, voluntarily, by community members, not by entirely non voluntary taxes.

        Ben Franklin’s original Philadelphia fire fighters was kind of like that, by the way, volunteers, not funded, nor supplied or equipped by the government.

        Again, a lot of faults but subject to correction by Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

        1. That seems like it would take very high levels community agreement, with enforcement by violence, to make it work– things like disagreement on if a judgement was needed, or flooding the community by bringing in differently minded folks until “the community” is majority agreement with you, and of course what stops private enforcers from behaving like every other private enforcement group and working for those who pay them…..

          Perhaps some sort of a commune test run would be advisable?

            1. :eyebrow raise:
              Do you really want to hang everything on the tactic of defending issues with something that’s working as intended by attacking something where a very large number of bad actors have deliberately broken another system, and yet it still functions better than, say, mob justice?

              I’m fully aware that systems are imperfect.

              What I pointed out was issues for yours working as described.

                1. I can see why one would reach that point, I just consider the governments that people have built up to be an expression of open market. Dangerous, in need of watching, but useful.

                  1. Governments are the very antithesis of markets, as they rely on force and threats of force.
                    The Founders of the United States didn’t know about anarcho-capitalism because it had not yet been discovered (or invented). They got about as close as anyone ever has to that ideal, though.

                    1. As I am not a member of the belief system which holds that people are only allowed to make choices when it’s in accordance with the theory, your refutation doesn’t make sense, any more than the application of the term ‘Capitalism’ for everything that is not communism required me to either join communism or transform into its strawman enemy.

                2. What you’re suggesting is an appeal to the Godfather.
                  May their first child be a masculine child

                  Anarcholibertarianism works, but it doesn’t scale. And if you do not live in a cohesive community to begin with, spontaneous order will not be nice or pretty. (I used to be a believer. So I’m not going to ding you too badly, But I have witnessed how quickly such a system falls apart from outside pressures, and how it requires a great many factors to already be in place before working.)

          1. IMO the “Test Run” might work if it was a small (around 200) community with everybody having similar views, but would not work with a larger group with widely different views.

            1. Oh, I strongly suspect the test run would identify a lot of places that needed patching– keep it to something like 100 households, if you can find that many who will volunteer to try it.

              Kind of like how Communism is a monastery, but involuntary, with children, and supposedly doesn’t have an abbot, and it very much doesn’t work.

          2. I don’t myself suppose that anarchocapitalism is workable. But it seems to me that anyone who wonders how it is envisioned as working would do better to go and read an actual book on the subject than simply to ask questions here, and I don’t know of any better book than Friedman’s.

            1. IMO No human can design a system that other humans couldn’t “f*ck up”. 😉

            2. If it was a curiosity out of the blue, you’d have a point; as it is curiosity in response to someone who is a supporter, it’s rather rude to make the arguments for them, and then take them down. A supporter that thinks “go read a book” is a reasonable response to someone not jumping on the bandwagon is going to generate a great deal of skepticism.

              And all of that is besides the fact that it would be extremely rude to suggest, right off the bat, that the supporter who presumably is quite familiar with the suggested book is misrepresenting what it says.

              1. OK Fox’r, faulting you a wee bit; I think the ‘go read the, any, book argument is valid. Instead of repeating what twenty eleven, admittedly, sophomore’s said, suggesting one check it out for themselves t’ain’t a bad recommendation.

                1. If you’ve heard the objections so often, you should have some sort of an argument for very basic gaming of the system besides “Chicago sucks!”

                  1. They all hates us anyhow, let’s drop the big one. Randy Newman was an inspirational political theorist.

                  2. While it wasn’t put forth very well, “Chicago sucks!” drives to the heart of the issue: a huge swath of the objections to this and other less-government positions come down to “yes but can this system solve problem X which we claim to solve?”, all while X sits unsolved, and the Bureau of X Solutions is busy causing Y Z A D I E N F.

                    1. When a situation is sufficiently F’d up, trying something different is more likely to make it better, than worse. Chicago can’t GET much worse than it is already.

                  3. I’m not selling Friedman’ postulates, I noted I’m starting to lean that way. None the less I feel the marketplace works better than the government. Chicago sucks, another none the less. 😉

              2. But i don’t think I was doing either of those. What I had in mind was, first, that David Friedman took 32 pages to give a quick outline of how a system of private police and private courts might work, and we don’t have that much space here, so this isn’t really a suitable venue to try to explain anarchocapitalism; and second, that while I, at least, have a fairly high level of confidence in my understanding of anarchocapitalism (since I was an anarchocapitalist for several decades and read a fair bit of the literature), I don’t feel that I could do as good a job of explaining it as Friedman does, and while I’ll accept the hypothesis that jiminalaska is both as well informed as I am and as good at explaining, I think that Friedman is almost surely better than either of us.

                Moreover, I say this not as a supporter of anarchocapitalism—I believe that constitutional government is a superior model, for reasons that I will not take the space to explain here—but as a critic of it who is trying to point to the best account of it (based on my own judgment as to what IS the best account, but none of us can escape that constraint).

                1. You seem to be responding to the wrong comment, then.

                  I gave very short, and very specific, objections to someone’s description of a specific aspect of how their envisioned system would work.

                  I did not ask for an explanation of anarchocapitalism as a philosophy, nor Friedman’s theory of how law enforcement would work.

                  I asked the guy who stated he favors a specific method how his method would deal with extremely basic problems, such as “one party does not agree that there is a problem.”

                  1. David Friedman dealt with that basic problem, but he took multiple pages to do so. I don’t think it’s a question that can be answered in a sentence or two. Or, at least, if you don’t know the assumptions and the preceding arguments, the short answer won’t make much sense.

                    I mean, imagine that you are talking with a socialist who is accustomed to there being a Ministry of Heavy Industry that runs the steel mills, and a Ministry of Transport that builds the automobiles, and a Ministry of Chemical Industry that produces the fuels, and so on. And they ask you how anyone can possibly travel anywhere if there isn’t a government ministry responsible for putting gas in the gas tank and another one responsible for making and distributing autos and so on. And you say, “Well, people will go out and spend their own money on transport, and other people will run competing organizations that will provide those different things.” And you’re going to have to explain the whole concept of the Invisible Hand for it to make sense to them. The conceptual structure of what a market is and why it works isn’t obvious to most people; that’s why it took millennia to get to the Physiocrats and Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say and all those dudes.

                    1. The assumptions are exactly the problem.

                      Broad strokes should be able to broad strokes an answer for something that is supposed to be functional for a society.

                    2. The government didn’t produce the Industrial Revolution, private industry did. Everywhere a government tried to duplicate the Industrial Revolution, BY TRYING TO FOLLOW THE SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES, they got a FUBAR’d dysfunctional pile of crap. Because you can’t build a complex web of interdependent, highly technical processes from the top down by the decree of a centralized authority.

                      Once an industrial society has been built, it can be more-or-less operated by authoritarian fiat, so long as the central authority doesn’t disturb the interdependences too much. But they can never resist the temptation to meddle, and so they always fuck it up.
                      There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

                    3. A request: No more “invisible hand,” please.

                      I know what it’s meant to describe and realize that it’s a very convenient shorthand for us, but it does an amazingly poor job of conveying the idea to everyone that isn’t us.

                      To anyone who doesn’t have a concept of what a free market even is or how it works — and that’s most people, given the system we all grew up in and the ubiquitous Marxist brainwashing — it sounds like Underpants Gnome thinking and does more harm than good.

                      There has to be a better term that can get people thinking in a positive direction instead of “those idiot libertarians and their imaginary magic hand.”

                      I’ll think about it…but most of you are much smarter than I, so maybe…?

                    4. Dynamic stability? At least it’s shorter than ‘Emergent properties of complex interactions governed by relatively simple rules’.

                    5. Hmmm… It could work. I was also wondering about synonyms for “emergent,” because order and efficiency emerge from large-scale individual cooperation.

            3. Murray Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” is wonderful (also mentioned by me below regarding courts).

      3. Anarcho-capitalist societies would have court systems, but they would be subject to market forces as well. Read Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty”, Chapter 12, for details.

  10. “What if this government by bureaucracy has achieved its finest results? What if this is as good as it gets?”

    This definitely is as “good” as it gets. Actually the high point was probably in the 80s and 90s, when it seemed like the economy would grow at speed forever, everybody except a tiny handful of crackpots knew government was doing its proper job, and the big, bad enemy state we’d been cold-warring against for 30+ years finally collapsed under its own weight.

    Are we in a more advanced state of dysfunction now, or is it only becoming apparent now that the legacy media (functionally, an arm of government) isn’t the only media with reach?

    Not that this a new insight…just talking myself through the premise. I guess the horrifying thought here is that it’s ALWAYS been as bad as it is right now, if not frequently worse, but nobody was allowed to know. That, plus the thought that even now there are people who think this gigantic global garbage fire might still be a good thing.

    “Big is not more efficient, unless you’re building widgets in a giant widget factory.”

    Even there, big isn’t more efficient. The company I work for has a pretty big manufacturing operation, and its products are by far the best/most reliable in its particular market. But manufacturing those high-tech widgets — and making them better than anyone else’s — gets more efficient by getting smaller where it counts: giving individuals responsibility and control over their own work output, keeping short feedback loops between small groups who coordinate very closely with each other and check each other’s work. It works at scale mostly because it’s not micromanaged at the giant-operation level. Now that I think of it, it’s basically the idea of subsidiarity in action.

    1. Government in the late 60’s and 70’s was already pretty darn dysfunctional. Reagan managed to reverse the worst of the bad decisions of the prior two decades but he was unable to actually get rid of the bureaucratic departments that were making them, And as bureaucracies always do, they grew. And kept making bad decisions. We need to abolish both DoEs (Education & Energy) at a minimum to make long-term headway back in the right direction,

  11. Sarah, you are now beginning to see the light. As a now-retired federal worker, who, in and out of uniform Worked for the “military-industrial complex” for over 40 years, I’ve been saying this for decades. I know these people, they’re not up to the sort of “conspiracy” even one that is unorganized, and not an “intentional conspiracy” that people believe in.
    They are, however, capable of ACTUALLY believing the stuff they’re spouting, and they’re, in general not only stupid but lazy (and not in a good way, I’m not talking about RAH’s “the man who was too lazy to fail” here, but the sort of lazy that believes that “I told people to make sure it got done, so I don’t need to get off my fat ass and check to see if it actually got done.”)
    No, this is, I believe, their honest best, sad though that is.

    1. My Conclusions (From a Snapshot of the Current Political State of Affairs)
      1 – Our politicians are corrupt, incompetent, and dishonest.
      2 – To reverse current (adverse) trends, devolve government, decentralize, and make incremental change (not sweeping draconian changes).

  12. My book club’s been reading a book about the decline of engineering in the UK. The author has some interesting points but time and again he points out a problem caused by government/bureaucracies… and time and again he recommends more government and more bureaucracy to fix the problem.

    I wonder how many people honestly don’t see the contradiction between “Government action screwed this up” and “We need more government action.”

    1. Yes, this. I run into it all the time. People who think the answer to non-functional programs is more management and supervision. Their answer to a failed government bureaucracy is to move the deck chairs around and add more people to make sure they do it right.

      No one in government ever seems to ask “should we be doing this?” They do in business, because balance sheets force them to. There is a finite budget, it gets spent where the advantage to the business is the greatest or the business goes bankrupt. See Silicon Valley startups where the budget got spent on nice desk chairs instead of server racks. It was said at one time that you could chart the future of a startup based on how many Aeron chairs they had in the office.

      But a government does not go bankrupt. Their budget is unlimited. They will keep adding resources and people whether they need them or not.

      Canada spent two billion ($2,000,000,000) on a gun registry. That’s roughly $70 for every living human in Canada. It was, at -best- if it was all done correctly, a list of the people who owned guns and which guns they owned. But of course it was not done correctly, because the registry allowed people to register things like heat guns and staple guns, and because people had many tragic boating accidents losing untold millions of firearms in bodies of water all over the nation.

      If they had gold-plated the hardware the whole thing should have cost at most $2 million. The registry was originally given a budget of $20 million. They ended up spending $2 billion. The registry was finally killed for political purposes, not because it was too expensive and not because it didn’t work.

      Liberals continue to insist that the registry was a great idea and we just need to do it harder. More, bigger, better management and supervision is the answer! And when you ask them what possible use is a list of guns, their answer is reeeeee. That’s it. That’s all they got. More government and “shut up!!!”

      1. And when you ask them what possible use is a list of guns, their answer is reeeeee

        Because they can’t admit the reason: targets for their stormtroopers. The ONLY reason the government needs a list of guns is to confiscate them.
        The one thing we need more of from the government is LESS!!

        1. “But we’ve never had real gun registration! We’ve never done it right!”

          Hmmm…Where have I heard that one…?

  13. a small percentage of workers are competent … i.e capable of dealing with emergencies (much less than 20% btw) … and they exist because they have hard earned experience on the job … which means they have learned to change direction/evaluate prior decisions and move forward … Does that sound like ANYONE in a government job ? (outside of the pre 2016 military … )

    there is simply nobody in Government who has learned from mistakes …

    1. there is, but that’s because they worked in the private sector, or were/are in the military.

  14. I am greatly encouraged by all the screwups because the idiots will either run away (if they have any sense) or try to tighten the screws and end up like Mussolini, Ceausescu, and uncounted other would-be tyrants.

    So, at least for a while, we can relax our front brains and let our subconscious minds do the heavy lifting. Americans are not immune to anything, in and of ourselves; but we have the annoying and fabulous tendency to invent new solutions that sell like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s Burgers, and Chevys.

    I know, with God’s help, we can beat any foes foreign or domestic.

    But I still have my Hawaiian shirts ready. After all, Texas has hot summers. And I hit 5 years cancer-free in a couple weeks…

  15. I am getting a pre-revolution French aristocracy vibe off them. Incompetent and out of touch doesn’t even begin to cover it. But there’s definitely intentional malice there too, but it’s not competent malice. Glowing and grooming is obviously only hardening 2nd Amendment resolve and anger, not weakening it.

  16. Korean groceries have some nice seafood mixes. Some of them are surimi, some are squid and seaweed. Also you can get noodles made of nothing but seaweed.

    1. We have a lovely Asian Grocery in Nearby City.
      Interestingly, of the thousands of products there, 0 are made in China.

      1. That’s very nice. I have a hard rule: No food products made in China. But the various cuisines are so very tasty, so label reading is required.

  17. I’m also starting to wonder if the rise of obesity in America is part of God’s plan, Klaus and Bill and George clearly can’t wait to starve us into submission first. Or as Homer Simpson once said “I’m drought and famine resistant.”

    1. Like filling the camel’s hump before that long trek in the desert wilderness. 🙂

  18. John Stossel has been reporting on government incompetence and malfeasance for decades. This is nothing new.

  19. “What if everything the government does, and has ever done is really a giant, unmitigated clusterf*ck?”

    It is. That’s not a realization, to me. More an observation of the obvious.

    Governments excel at two things. War, and taxes. Every single other thing they do can be done better/faster/cheaper by a private industry.

    I will now drop a snippet from my book “The Discarded Shoe”, where aliens talk about this with humans.

    “Earth must be driving you crazy,” snickered Aella. “Everything going all over the place, all the time.”

    “Being in a biological environment is a sobering experience,” agreed the Eldest. “An analysis of something as every-day as Janey Jones’ front lawn reveals emergent properties that one would never expect. At every level of increasing complexity from cellular to human society, relationships emerge between the plants, the weather, the animals and insects, all the way up to how Janey’s neighbors interact with each other, then at a national and international trade level. The lawn has effects on all that.”

    “Lawn chemicals,” said Aella to Lawrence’s raised eyebrow. “Mowers. Trimmers. Landscaping companies. Turns out a lawn is a thing that moves millions of people and billions of dollars.”

    “That’s true,” said Lawrence in surprise as he considered it. “You got all that from Ms. Jones’ lawn, Eldest?”

    “When I first came here, I was puzzled by the ‘waste’ of tending a crop that Humans can’t eat.” The Eldest made finger quotes to emphasize the word. “A brief cost/benefit analysis shows the effort involved is immense and benefits are negligible. Or so it seems, on the surface. It turns out that there is a great deal of scholarship on the subject, and the benefit side includes things like control of vermin and insects, wildlife, herd animals, and social standing. Things which are not immediately apparent.”

    “Everything on Earth is like that,” said Syn nodding. “You look at anything Humans do that seems insane from a cost/benefit perspective, you find a highly tuned system that is incredibly efficient. The lawn thing is a great example. It all looks chaotic and accidental, but the system churns along better than our Machine Empire centrally organized systems. And it soaks up changes better too. The human lawn system absorbed such things as the advent of internal combustion engines, chemical fertilizers, selective breeding technologies, war, pestilence, huge shifts in populations and cultures, all these things were taken in stride by a finicky crop you can’t eat.”

    “Cars seem insane until you try to replace them with trains,” observed Aella. “All true, Eldest. But what does all that get you?”

    “Perspective,” answered the Eldest wryly. “Imagine for a moment the catastrophe that a ‘Ministry of Lawn Care’ would be. Second and I did the math with a group of our elders. We rapidly understood that any system we could come up with to impose and control lawn care would never approach half the efficiency of the evolved version currently in place. Even with our nanotechnology, it wouldn’t come close. George figured all this out within 20 minutes of waking up with AI level intelligence, because it was right up in his face. He immediately understood he couldn’t make things go his way no matter how much power he had, that’s why he is following his path of non-intervention. I’m a million years old, and I’ve had Bob teaching me, but only now am I realizing I’m not smart enough to keep everything under control. No one is.”

      1. Churches are worse at both war and taxes. ~:D

        Businesses don’t fight wars, there’s no money in it. They fight engagements or battles sometimes, but not capital W Wars for the most part. For that you need a government.

        And the smaller and leaner the government, the less likely it is to get it’s citizens into a War.

        1. I think at this point it’s required to bring up the East India Company (and the Dutch counterpart whose name I’m forgetting).

          Or various mercenary armies throughout history.

          Businesses are perfectly happy to wage war, and have shown themselves to be disturbingly good at it.

          1. There’s a distinction I’m trying to draw between “use of force to gain a business advantage” and “War” capital W, where territory is taken and populations are changed.

            Mercenaries and trading companies use force as part of their businesses. But they don’t initiate hostilities on their own for money, because that is generally viewed as piracy. They fight -in- wars for sure, and very effectively. But they fight -for- somebody, almost always a nation or an empire. They’re not big enough to do a whole war on their own.

            For a real War you need governments, one for each side.

          2. I remember hearing about an incident in Rwanda, or Zimbabwe, or…anyway, it was one of those African countries in the middle of endless civil wars. There’s a wide selection to choose from. One side got particularly nasty, wiping out whole villages along with torture, rape and all the usual atrocities while the U.N. dithered on the sidelines. Somebody (corporate?) got fed up with it all and hired a South African mercenary company to Do Something.

            They did.

            The mercenaries did what the U.N. was Too Politically Correct to do — tracked down the gangs and exterminated them. Had the situation pretty much under control in a couple of months.

            The U.N. thanked them with a demand to quietly leave the country or be charged with war crimes. Not because they committed any, but because they made the U.N. look a bunch of Keystone Kops. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except the U.N. WAS a bunch of Keystone Kops. They just didn’t want anybody else to know that.
            It takes two to make peace. It only takes one to make war.

        1. Thanks for the info. The blurb is definitely interesting and I’ll read it shortly!

        2. I’m about a third of the way through the first book and I WANT MORE!!!!!!!

          How do I need to bribe you to get to read the others? I don’t care whether or not they are published. If you need a proofreader just say so and I’ll be happy to do that in exchange for getting to read them sooner!

          If you want to take this to email we can do that too.

  20. OMG. Read the Daily Mail’s stories about the Uvalde shooting. The parents and townspeople are FREAKING LIVID, because hundreds of parents showed up ready to storm the school, and a lot of the local police and federal marshals were tasing and handcuffing the kids’ moms and dads, including people who were medics or had combat experience.

    One lady managed to talk her way out and get un-handcuffed, faded into the crowd, and then just ran around to an unguarded side of school, hopped the fence, and went and got her kids from their classroom.

    But why was there an unguarded side? Why weren’t the parents deputized, at least the experienced and armed ones? What if the shooter had gotten out that way? What was to stop him?

    The tactical team that cleared the school only had five officers in it, one of whom was the Border Patrol guy on his day off, who borrowed a shotgun and headed off from his barber after his wife texted him what was going on.

    But he was one of the dads, too.

    So basically, a full strength militia showed up, and mostly got tased and handcuffed

      1. Apparently, since they are taking the moral of the story as “Take guns away from Texans” instead of “Uvalde teachers should have been armed.”

      2. “Hey! Armed civilian! You are not AUTHORIZED to save that kid! Stand down and get back in line!”

        Otherwise known as: they f-ed around for 90- minutes with proceeeedure before somebody finally capped the shooter. Probably by accident.

        Really, the mind simply boggles. I’d be in jail right now if that was my kid. For sure.

        1. Unsurprisingly, turns out that this “demonize the cops to distract from the shooter” nonsense is inaccurate, which would contribute to the theory that (as was predicted in multiple places, including here) the activists are trying to make hay. Using parents who just lost their kids and their natural, desperate desire to believe that there had to be SOMETHING that could be done, then and there, to make it so their kids are still alive.

          They have reason to be irrational. Folks who have known for years that news stories are often more story than news do not, especially not when we know people are trying to stir stuff up.

          Epoch times just put out an article that involved looking at the AP, the NYTimes, and social media posts (that is, doing the kind of ACTUAL REPORTING that for so long has been restricted to blogs) and found that the off-duty border patrol guy whose wife texted him about the shooting borrowed the barber’s firearm and went to the school, where he worked with two cops to get people evacuated while two more cops provided cover.

          The off duty agent also posted on facebook about how they shouldn’t be disarming teachers.

          1. Epoch also is working on a timeline, from what information is found; as I’ve seen that they will actually do reporting by going to multiple sources and trying to build something out of it, should be as accurate as data can manage.

            Apparently part of the problem is that there was an honor roll ceremony earlier in the day, so even more chaos than “elementary school at lunch time.”

            Sorry to those who don’t have access.

          2. “Unsurprisingly, turns out that this “demonize the cops to distract from the shooter” nonsense is inaccurate, which would contribute to the theory that (as was predicted in multiple places, including here) the activists are trying to make hay.”

            I’m not an expert in armed combat, and I do agree that the news media is not to be trusted in any way. But the facts so far that we know of include a 12 minute exchange of fire outside the school before shooter went inside, over an hour when he was able to do whatever he wanted, and the team that finally got him was three (3) guys including the Border Patrol guy who was there off-duty with a borrowed firearm, AND he was a parent of a kid at that school.

            Meanwhile the cops are tazing armed parents in the parking lot and other (potentially armed) parents are gaining access to the school through the -unguarded- back doors to do the evacuation

            You put all that together, and it sounds like a whole lot of managers seriously need to be fired for -egregious- incompetence. Maybe I’m wrong,

            The other thing I have a problem with is the basic operating philosophy of the schools and the police. Right from the planning stage a “school lockdown” policy combined with a “gun free zone” policy means you’ve got a massacre all set to go at every school in the country. “Hide and cower” is not a plan with much hope of success. “Run away, run away!” is a better plan than that.

            It resembles, if I may mention another recent government plan, the Covid lockdowns. In that it treats humans as sheep to be herded and contained in the most efficient manner available. A few casualties are accepted so long as order and control of the herd is maintained.

            The problem of course is that humans don’t act like sheep. So the plan is doomed from the outset.

            1. The problem of course is that humans don’t act like sheep.

              So, you’re saying Leftroids aren’t humans. I’d always suspected that…

              1. I taught my kids to RUN if there was a lockdown. Is the shooter going to go for the single fleeing child or the immobilized mass still in the school?

                Numbers game says 99% of school shooters are worthless pukes who can’t run and can’t hit a barn from the inside, running is the best option. In a world filled with sheep, be a monkey.

            2. But the facts so far that we know of include a 12 minute exchange of fire outside the school before shooter went inside, over an hour when he was able to do whatever he wanted, and the team that finally got him was three (3) guys including the Border Patrol guy who was there off-duty with a borrowed firearm, AND he was a parent of a kid at that school.

              Nope, and hasn’t been for at least a full day. The Forbes article had 12 minutes between crash and him entering the school, with the over an hour time being from the time of crash to social media post about ending, and I’ve seen articles that lean on the guy livestreaming out front of the school not being given information on what the police were doing, and things said anguished parents said to reporters, to say the police were doing nothing. But, again, that’s at the every same time other articles are saying the police are horrible for evacuating the building (because their children also go to this school) and when we know that several police were shot before he got into the classroom.

              Meanwhile the cops are tazing armed parents in the parking lot and other (potentially armed) parents are gaining access to the school through the -unguarded- back doors to do the evacuation

              :looks up to comment he’s literally replying to where she JUST finished pointing out that the off duty BP dad guy worked with four police officers to evacuate people:

              :looks at the Epoch Times article, again based on going over a bunch of news stories, which points out it was less than three minutes after the shooter went through the door a teacher had propped open before the cops followed him in:

              Nope. That’s the burn it down spin. Like the reports that the school resource officer is somehow worthless because when he’s responding to someone shooting at the school, he heads over to confront the person that’s not in any kind of uniform that’s walking around.
              (Turned out to be a teacher. I do not know if it’s the same one that propped the back door open or not– I heard that security video showed that the teacher who did that was one of those killed.)

              There’s also apparently BONUS confusion with “entry to school (grounds)” and “entry to school(building)” and “entry to school(room where he died)” being switched around.

              Oh, and the Epoch Times article doesn’t have all the information– apparently one of the cops that was hit was shot while trying to break down the door; I am guessing that is from a question on breaching equipment rather than actually trying to break down the door, but the shot may also have been when they’d gotten the key.

              1. Hey, if I’m wrong then time will tell. I’m in Canada, so pretty fourth-hand up here.

                But am I wrong about “cower and hope the cops handle it” being a really bad plan to keep my kid alive?

                Home. Schooling. That was my ultimate plan when the school failed at every possible level. We don’t do ‘cower and hope’ here at Chez Phantom. >:D

                1. I home school, do concealed carry and act as an evangelist for it, discuss tactics for when you have been disarmed and are still stuck in such a situation, and have been pointing out that copy-pasting the nuke “defense” training from the cold war is nuts for years.

                  What’s that Chesterton line, somethinga bout half truths being in the service of Bad Stuff?
                  There’s folks deliberately putting out half truths. Let’s not trust them.

              2. “Oh, and the Epoch Times article doesn’t have all the information– apparently one of the cops that was hit was shot while trying to break down the door”

                Link for your assertion?

    1. “What if the shooter had gotten out that way? What was to stop him?”

      From the descriptions I saw, the shooter locked himself in a classroom, and there wasn’t another way out. The mother got in and out through a door.

      1. Well, my point is that, had the shooter cared to unlock himself from the classroom and stroll about the entire school, or exit the building, there doesn’t seem to have been anything much that would have stopped him — until the tactical team entered the building a fair amount of time later.

        Now, generally these mass shooters seem to be more in the “do something horrible and then just wait in a room to get killed” mode, but not always. Some of them do a lot of strolling about.

    2. I read some of the Mail’s article- what jumped out at me is that it barely mentioned how there were two cops shot charging in right off the bat, and it completely omitted the cops were evacuating the rest of the classrooms.
      They must have the information, but they also are completely unclear on when and where the one named dead girl was shot. No mention of when the shots were fired, either– which would be extremely important information.
      Actually, that summarizes the impression I got from the whole thing– they weren’t trying to give information, they were giving a story.

      Of course they were stopping parents from rushing in where they knew there was a crazy guy who’d already shot two people attempting to enter, and who might still have living hostages.

      It does explain why there was such a sudden flip to “we are doing ballistics and going over the radio traffic”, though– and I even saw an article that tried to frame the guys who were evacuating the other kids as being horrible because a lot of the cops who were responding? Their kids were at that school, too.

        1. Forbes has one that was fairly accurate to known information as of this morning, although it didn’t mention the injured police, and inaccurately says a school resource officer chased him into the building and exchanged fire in the hallway before he took the hostages.

          He was also taking shots at people outside the funeral home that’s across from the school, before he went inside.

          To me, that suggests that the person who saw him headed for the school and acted is probably among those shot; there’s at least three organizations involved here (school security, city police, border patrol) and probably more, and that’s before reports of retirees, part-timers, and absolutely everybody who had a police radio showing up to help.

          1. Federal marshals were apparently also involved, arresting at least one woman who wanted to rush in while the cops were sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

            1. Thank you for making it extremely clear you have no freaking concept of what is involved in entering a building, much less one where there may be hostages.
              In real life, rather than a video game, it takes a long time and rushing in can get any surviving hostages dead

              1. So can sitting around twiddling your thumbs. When dealing with a psychotic wacko, attempts at rational analysis are, for the most part, futile. Tactics that are effective against one psycho probably won’t be effective against the next one, or the one after that.

                It’s like Murphy’s Law Of Combat #23: Anything you do can get you killed, including doing nothing.

                Interrupting the wacko’s rampage as early as possible would logically have the greatest potential to minimize casualties by reducing the time the wacko has to cause them.
                When police arrest violent criminals to protect innocent people, they are Jackbooted Fascist Stormtroopers.

                When police arrest innocent people at the behest of corrupt politicians, they are National Heroes.

                1. Evacuating the other children after they couldn’t keep him from getting fortified is not “twiddling your thumbs, doing nothing”, no matter how very much the media wants that to be the case.

                  The solution that may have been effective would be stop disarming people at schools, which is probably why the gun grabbers are desperately working to make this another “Cops are evil” campaign.

              2. You are doing your position no favors by bringing in the game comparison.

                Most of the people here are probably aware of why Columbine was such a cluster and the doctrinal change that it lead to. THAT is what people are pissed about; what looks like the abandonment of the post-Columbine lessons in favor of muh cop safety. Note I said “apparent”; that is what people think they are seeing, especially after the Broward County scumsuckers a few years ago.

                1. When people base their timeframe off of video game speed, rather than either live comparisons or training exercises– both of which I’m familiar with– I am going to point it out.

                  For heaven’s sake, clearing an unoccupied building in paintball games takes longer than that.

                  That “apparent” thing is exactly what I am objecting to, because there is such a range of news stories pushing variations on “cops bad”…and when they’re combined, even if we assume half of them wrong, the carefully selected evidence points in the opposite direction.

                  It’s like that old joke about a guy defending himself from needing to replace a neighbor’s bucket– “I never borrowed the bucket, the bucket had a hole in the bottom when I borrowed it, and there was no hole in the bottom when I returned it.”

                  1. Foxfier, all the articles I’m seeing, from both pro and anti sites, is that there was a change in doctrine after Columbine to engage as fast as physically possible.

                    1. While an accurate characterization, it’s got the problem that engage as quickly as possible does not mean zerging, nor does it mean “ignore that he has hostages, and could get more, just charge.”

                      The limited information we have is that they engaged, he got fortified, they continued to engage with the situation, evacuating the school, controlling access, and from what Junior says Neoneocon read, found out that they could get through the security door before the equipment you need for that could get there by getting the key, WITHOUT announcing this to the guy live-streaming what was going on outside.

                    2. Talk to the FBI.

                      “As I pointed out earlier, the recommendation from the FBI is that police should not wait to form a team or come up with a plan during an active shooter situation. Even if there’s only one officer on the scene, the best practice is to go in immediately and engage the shooter. So with that in mind, here is Lt. Olivarez’ full response to Blitzer’s question.” Emphasis added.


                      It’s looking like the Uvalde PD screwed up by the numbers. And the Border Patrol guys that actively engaged? That’s apparently the tactic they used. Get in, engage.

                    3. :looks at what she wrote:

                      :looks at this theoretical response:

                      As you are once again doing that thing where you don’t actually respond to what is written, I’m done bothering with you.

              3. Or as Texas Dept of Public Safety (DPS) Official Lt. Chris Olivarez implies in recent statements, the cops were just afraid of getting shot if they rushed in.

                    1. When one is selecting for impact and at the expense– or even to the active damaging of– accurate information collection and conveyance, yes.

                    2. Full tea-leaf reading of implication treated as the whole truth and nothing but, rather than attempting accurate information collection and conveyance.

                    3. “Still shilling for the institutions, I see.”

                      Who was that aimed at? Because I’m saying that the institutions just admitted they screwed up.

              4. Bollocks.
                When clearing a room, hesitation will get you killed as quickly as not having backup.

                Ideally, you need four people with training. They had that, evidently within minutes. You stack, you hit it hard, you keep going.

                1. This isn’t clearing a room, this is clearing a building, against a fortified position, with a known armed and violent with hostages, and additional innocents in the area, AND the standard of four people with training is that it has to be the same training and they’ll have gear, no other duties, etc.

                  Oh, and that none of them are already shot because they tried to stop the guy before he got fortified.

                  Add the additional “fun” of not knowing if this is a lone wolf, or a more organized terror attack, Since there was some guy out front livestreaming this starting minutes after the first shots at the school, that tilts it more towards organized terror attack. (Huffington post has an article that refers to others referring to the video, very carefully NOT taking responsibility for any details while also freely using them to build a highly unrealistic narrative.)

                  The only two hard times we have so far are the time of the 911 calls about the crash, which may or may not be the calls about him shooting at people at the funeral home across the road, and the social media announcement that they had the shooter’s (corpse) in custody.
                  That was less than two hours; emergency calls are usually reported from the time of answering, and presumably the official social media all-clear was by its timestamp.

                  There simply isn’t physical time for what the narrative is pushing.

                  1. Hmm. Since Ramos apparently made threat plans 2018 and had a buddy then, one wonders if Livestream Guy was the buddy. Although everything in town is only minutes away, so he could have been any citizen journalist.

                    1. Oh, heck, and it’s a small enough town that there’s a decent chance someone there would know about the prior threats, assuming they even knew who the shooter was– depends a lot on the vehicle, although someone knowing that his grandmother was shot would be additional information for that.

              5. They AREN’T hostages. The shooter isn’t holding them to make demands. He is just waiting to kill to kill them to maximize his feeling of power. Hostage protocols get more victims killed. The longer you wait, the more victims he kills. These mutts are typically totally unprepared mentally or emotionally for serious resistance. Current thinking is, go in quick and put the mad dog down.

                1. If they are a live, they are hostages.

                  Your assumptions about his desires, and what one could reasonably expect those responding to assume from the limited information of “shot someone he knows, crashed, shot at people nearby, went into school, shot people who tried to stop him, got into classroom” are not well supported.

                  It’s not like he screamed something about snackbars while he was heading in, which is the situation where you can reasonably expect that hostages are presumed dead.
                  The fact that we have hostages who have been released shows that your statement about hostage protocols is false for general hostage situations.

                    1. Facebook is saying that it was PMs– which would be the girl who already got interviewed going basically “oh my g-d I am so sorry I have no idea why he’d message me” and the last one was while he was physically driving to the school, which he didn’t name, after he’d shot his grandmother in the face. (She ran across the road to get help.)

                    2. Okay, so if FB can reach into my pms to remove the name of the supposed whistleblower in the Ukranian hoax on Trump, FB should have got that. If they don’t, their metrics suck.
                      (They’ve also banned me for JOKE threatening a friend in PM)

                    3. Of course their metrics suck. It’s a stupid computer.

                      Look for a specific string of text, sure.

                      Identify actual content in a manner that will not involve an entire freaking army of checkers? Even if they searched for “I am going to shoot up a school” they’re going to get a LOT more where someone like me says “the idiots said I am going to shoot up a school” than someone planning to do so, and miss even more.

                  1. Not well supported? Don’t think so. Every incident like this that has ever happened — not general hostage situations, but school shootings — supports that very assumption.

                    Hostages aren’t the perpetrator’s goal. Dead children are.

                    The authorities had better have a very, very, very, fucking-amazingly good reason for waiting 90 minutes to hunt down that human-shaped pile of shit and kill him. The only one I can think of is that they were sure that every innocent that could have been dead already was; that could well have been the case by the time reinforcements arrived.

                    1. Problem being that “school shooting” is the category that’s assigned after it’s over.

                      It’s a “took school children hostage” when it turns out they didn’t.

                      Kind of like you don’t know if it’s an attempted mass shooting by one person, a terror attack that involves multiple people and bombs as well as guns, a gang fight or a robbery until hours after.

                      The authorities had better have a very, very, very, fucking-amazingly good reason for waiting 90 minutes to hunt down that human-shaped pile of shit and kill him.

                      Turns out they have an awesome reason.

                      The fact that it didn’t happen.

                    2. Yeah, 90 minutes is definitely wrong. I’ve seen 40 minutes in several places, but that could be wrong too. More likely that’s the timeline of the entire thing, and the direct process of locating and killing that piece of crap was a tiny slice thereof. Bad information and wrong guesses everywhere.

                      I do stand by my assertion on never-wait response for school shootings. How many school hostage-takings are there really? Unless there’s a great big raft of them I’ve never heard about, once someone has started shooting people in a school, you have to assume every minute of delay is another death, because shooting people is exactly what they’ll continue to do until they run out of ammunition or people. Or time on this earth.

            2. Which is why the comparisons to Parkland are getting made,


              “UVALDE, Texas—Local residents voiced anger Thursday about the time it took to end the mass shooting at an elementary school here, as police laid out a fresh timeline that showed the gunman entered the building unobstructed after lingering outside for 12 minutes firing shots.

              Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, gave a new timeline of how the now-deceased gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, walked into Robb Elementary School, barricaded himself in a classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers.

              Mr. Escalon said he couldn’t say why no one stopped Ramos from entering the school during that time Tuesday. Most of the shots Ramos fired came during the first several minutes after he entered the school, Mr. Escalon said.”

          2. Neoneocon had a post up mentioning that we need a time line for the whole thing. She noted that the people who broke into the room and killed the shooter were a trio of officers (Border Patrol, I think) who couldn’t get into the room because the door was metal backed by concrete. So they had to go to the Principal’s Office to get a key. Once they finally had the key, they were able to go back to the room, burst in, and take the guy down. She also mentioned (iirc) that of the three officers involved, the lead was carrying a shield for protection, the second officer got shot, and the third one put down the shooter.

            The fact that the officers couldn’t burst right into the room, and instead had to go track down a key, suggested to Neoneocon that the cops on the perimeter might have had the right idea. Armed parents wouldn’t have done any good (they wouldn’t have been able to get into the room that the shooter was in), and might have even gotten in the way. But she noted that we won’t know that for certain until we get a timeline of events that lays out what happened, and when.

            1. :nod: Very sensible, and is why they’ve started doing radio traffic and ballistics and such.

              …which got reported as “spokesman retracts prior statements” on twitter.

              As opposed to “we’re building a solid timeline with support for the exact timing, that report was the ‘best current information’.”

            2. :adds the go find the key part to stuff not reported:

              Husband pointed out that with the guy live-streaming out front, they’d have to be working to make sure that if the guy is inside watching, he’s not getting useful information.

        1. Also try to figure out what they’re distracting us from this time– the tactical value of isolating law enforcement is real, but it’s a re-run. Are they planning a repeat and want to make sure they can hijack conservative protests? Or are they scrambling and this is just a well worn angle of distraction?

          1. I gather your usual leftist suspects on Twitter were making much of original reports of an armed guard being present and not stopping the shooter – “See! That doesn’t work! We need gun control!”
            Then the new information was no, no armed guard. So we’ll see.

            1. :growls: Having a large group forcibly disarmed with only a few very obvious armed people doesn’t work, let’s disarm more….


              I did see someone who sees a contradiction between “can be trusted to not randomly shoot people” and “cannot be trusted to impose sexual and political philosophies on to other people’s children.”

          2. Here’s a story on the Buffalo (originally, I started typing Buggalo. Hmm.) shooter, who was on a Discord server, and groomed/coached/mentored by one “Armand”.

            Where it gets interesting is that the Texas shooter was on the same Discord, and apparently also had contact with “Armand”. Posts on this are echoed by @Guild on Gab.

            Who is a retired federal agent.

            I’m running low on tin foil.

            1. You could describe ME in those terms for this blog, if one of the trolls I’ve argued against posted a comment in response to me and then went and shot up a store.
              (Navy is Federal, after all, and I have lived in Texas.)

              1. I don’t see you trying to incite people on anti-social media. From what I’ve seen, “Armand” was pretty much encouraging the Buffalo shooter, with some peculiar comments about Texas.

                Here’s comment and extensive quotes from the Buffalo News article(s?). This gets into someone with a handle of “Sandman”.


                1. I haven’t counseled anyone about AR-15s; I have sung the praises of 38 special revolvers, though.

                  And this could be a freaking paraphrase of what Sarah has said about getting yourself into a good place and prepared for WHEN big trouble comes– heck, the post she wrote a few days ago. The one where folks keep trying to get her to give a go, and she looks at them like they are nuts?

                  When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society’s problems, and not go to prison for it, you’ll know. Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now. Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What’s your plan? Get and keep your mind, body, and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.”

                  And, again, getting a discord invitation ding 30 minutes before someone opens fire isn’t time to do much beyond “dial 911” or maybe “start googling for the cop’s number in the area.”

                  And, again, holy F would we all be screwed if “writings involving the quality of different rifles” in the same chat as someone we’ve also told to calm the F down and fix himself if he’s unhappy gets qualified as grooming a shooter.

          3. They are idiots trying to make the most of an occurrence that matches their template.

            These people are not smart, they are -consistent-. Thing X happens, you push Narrative X. Thing Y happens, you push Narrative Y. They have a template and they run with it hard every single time, pounding away with the same message.

            You could program an Excel spreadsheet to do what the Lefties do.

            1. Yeah– and a lot of them would have opposite input for identical output.


              give us control of the economy to save us all.


              disarm everyone, guns bad.

    3. So basically, a full strength militia showed up, and mostly got tased and handcuffed

      Next time it won’t be the citizens with their face on the concrete. Given the nature of the “maintain your authority at all costs” training it likely won’t be bloodless either. (note to glowie handlers: this is not a threat, merely an observation from how this logic works)

      Messing with people’s kids — or failing to protect them when you are expected to — is the surefire way of getting all of the go-along-to-get-along rules torn up and thrown in your face. As we have already seen with the schools.

      You can get that to work the first time while people are shocked and don’t know what to do yet. Now everyone knows.

      1. Glenn Reynolds points out that “police have no duty to protect” is only in case law, and is apparently thinly supported. He’s proposing that “failure to protect” be a tort, with treble damages if they actively prevent others from doing the job.

        I think he’s pissed. (As is Kurt Schlichter, and likely many others.)

        1. a tort is not needed.

          Actively preventing someone from rescuing a third party, such that the third party dies, is murder at law. (Hmm. I can’t find a reference for it. Drat.)

  21. In other news, Samuel Delany came out with a long statement where he said Lackey is someone he respects, that she has his permission to refer to him however she likes, that his own family has many members (including his famous deceased aunts) who prefer calling themselves “colored,” that he thinks POC is an awkward phrase which he refuses to use, and that his family is full of Native American as well as black and white ancestors.

    Honor, professional courtesy, and chivalry. Man, this is like Blackie Duquesne showing up to rescue the Skylark.

    1. Mind you, all the usual SJW suspects seem to be ignoring Delany’s own opinion on what was said about himself. Because he is inconveniently alive and able to comment.

      Also, Delany’s statement is a stark freaking contrast to his opinion of what Asimov said about him at a Hugo banquet. (Which was a reasonable opinion to have, IIRC.)

      I expect Jules Verne and Alexander Pushkin to rise from the dead any moment, jointly holding a laurel wreath over Misty’s head. Because this thing is just that unfair.

      1. The usual suspects are all reeing something that basically says “how dare Samuel R. Delaney express his opinion on this important matter”. K. Tempest Bradford had a particularly obnoxious (and pretentious) bit in this vein.

        Mercedes Lackey has released an apology/explanation that boils down to “I’m friends with Delaney, I said a word wrong, please stop hating me.” (The ‘you a-holes’ at the end was left unsaid.) Now they’re all rating the apology out of five.

        The beclownment of the SFWA continues apace. In a deep hole, digging as hard as they can.

  22. Finally I am caught up and completely agree.
    Government can be somewhat good at tasks that are directly related to staying in power, like fighting off foreign invasions, suppressing rebellions, controlling public opinion, ensuring the ruling group is not disturbed in general. If a government isn’t good at this stuff, it is replaced by a better one.
    There is no reason for government to be good at anything else.

      1. That’s what I meant, right 🙂
        What’s good for the government isn’t necessarily good for the people.
        I feel lucky living in a kind of democracy (even with electoral fraud, hopefully it can get fixed), in which the interests of the leaders are at least vaguely aligned with those of a substantial part of the population. However, this was also true under different forms of government: kings, nobles, and the urban patriciate were in general somewhat responsive to some or all of their subjects, both due to various theories of government (e.g. being a Christian king) and because they didn’t want trouble. The problem is that they were just constantly one or two bad crops away from the subsistence limit. Sometimes cruelty is the best government policy.
        This is why I’m not that impressed by modern governments. Let’s see what they do in a real crisis.

  23. People actually believe their religion, and both Marxism and renewables are religions.

    This is why I think there should be term limits for government employees, 10 years and then you have to join the productive economy. Not only would it force a significant portion of the bureaucrats, especially the higher levels, to have first-hand knowledge of reality, the constant churn would keep the system as streamlined as possible, especially if it were paired with a mandate that all applications shall be considered approved unless explicitly rejected – with sufficient detail that a reasonable applicant could file a successful application – within 90 days.

    1. I mentioned the idea of an age cap to an associate who works for [redacted federal entity]. “No! Absolutely not!” This person has been with this agency/bureau/office for 20+ years, at least. I do believe that supports Jeff’s argument quite well.

  24. I just had it pointed out to me that GOT is an awful lot like Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, to the point that a lot of hardcore GOT fans regard GOT as essentially a really long MST fanfic.

    I can’t verify this from my own memory, because frankly I have a hard time remembering the plot of any Tad Williams book. I know I bought and read all three books, but… yeah, he’s a craftsman worth reading, but it just doesn’t stick with me. And I stopped reading GOT after I read the first book and disliked it.

    Anyhoo, I gather that Williams is writing a second MST trilogy, so maybe that will help GRRM finish his series.

    Can I include more acronyms in this post?

    1. I don’t see it.
      The characters in GoT were ripped from The Wars of the Roses, which both blatantly obvious, and confirmed by author. (Including three different takes on Richard: Tyrion, Eddard, and Stannis. Littlefinger is Buckingham, Cerci is Elizabeth Woodard. etc.)

      I enjoyed Sorrow, Memory, and Thorn, but I don’t see commonalities jumping out at me. At most, they both have a group looking to reconquer what they used to hold. But that’s not the primary focus of GoT. (OK, the climax has an unseasonably snowfall as an omen. But drawing a parallel from that is a HUGE stretch.)

  25. NYC openly praising heroin use. Apparently Brave New World’s drugging people into compliance is part of the 1984 style utopia that the left is striving to impose:

    via Insty:

    1. I take it that’s ‘Department Of Health’ in the same sense as ‘Ministry Of Truth’ and ‘Ministry Of Love’?———————————
      The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

    1. I can hold up my end okay, but I know my limits. If I’m the most intelligent and competent person in a group that has to do something complex and important, we’re screwed.

      And holy God, are we ever screwed right now.

  26. It has occurred to me that a number of measures that were intended to remedy inequality have done so at the expense of quality. Take for example the “Diversity Hires” in government from Commie La Whoreish on down. We may now be in a situation where much of the top leadership AND many of the lower underlings are diversity hires in one form or another. That is to say they got their jobs and promotions by means of claiming various levels of hardship/suffering/… rather than basic competence. And if they actually got the job by showing relative competence compared to others, then almost certainly that competence is lower than it was in prior decades. This will be in part because they simply haven’t been taught right by either schools/university or experienced mentors (because we’re at the point now of the half-blind teaching the quarter blind about rainbows).

    We know that, for example, most university degrees have been extremely watered down from what they were a few decades ago. Now you can argue that some of the discipline required in earlier years was pointless but people have thrown out the baby with the bathwater in trying to make degrees that are more relevant – and of course universities have had issues with the educational quality of their entrants because schools have also dumbed down most subjects. Combine this with commie ideology indoctrination and its no surprise that what comes out at the other end is of limited competence in the real world.

    Note this does not just apply to the US government, it applies to all governments I am familiar with (though it seems to me that Japan has it less bad) and to almost all large companies. We’re at a point where a significant fraction of most government and large enterprise not only has no idea what it is doing, it also has no idea that it has no idea – Donald Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns as it were

    1. ‘the road to Hell, paved with good intentions’ — I have no doubt that the deed doers sincerely believe in the righteousness of their ideas and causes. Sadly, they seek to impose their wills on others in service to their higher purpose. I hope they fail!

    2. I work for a big company and it went from sane to Woke in like 5 years. I sometimes consider leaving but most of the job opportunities I see, when I look into the companies, are just as Woke if not more. I like eating so suppose I’ll stay for now, but very frustrating when just about every message from upper management or corporate communications is either Woke or fad-chasing. Gotta be seen as a good ESG investment, I guess.

      1. went from sane to Woke in like 5 years. I sometimes consider leaving but most of the job opportunities I see, when I look into the companies, are just as Woke if not more

        I sure hear this. The company I worked for was tiny. Minuscule. But what I am seeing posted from ex-coworkers is not who I thought they were. Not that we were best buds or anything. But we’ve been connected on FB for longer than I’ve been retired. Never thought they were conservative but thought they were definitely right of the middle. Now? They’ve drank the ink based on postings (I know not a definitive characterization for basis, but …) All but one. I suspect he is being as quiet as I am.

        1. If they still work there, it’s possible that they are just “talking the talk” so they stay employed. It’s probably more common that you think; the “Stainless Steel Rat” technique.

          1. they still work there, it’s possible that they are just “talking the talk” so they stay employed

            Could be. Parent company is now private consortium, based in Quebec, Canada, that picks up small *orphaned software companies. OTOH not everyone is posting. Including me. Since I don’t work there anymore, kind of want to ask “are you serious?” But the postings are Not where I want my views publicly aired. One reason, I’m not that good at it. Especially if high probability of push back. Here I may be challenged but not going to get beat up about it.

            Originator of software company, and the software, has left (either died or aged out) and heir apparent can’t afford to buy company. Often existing employees either weren’t offered the option, or also can’t. In this case, I know the SIL, worked at the company for 20 years, and earned the right, chose not to (well him and his wife). They decided the debt was too much to take on. He now manages the company. IDK if it went further than that. I think the private entity approached the owner which set the price, then the SIL and wife were unwilling to meet that debt. If the software is not picked up by another entity, then generally (at least the clients we worked with) have the right to the source code … My response to that and the code we worked with? “Good Luck With That.” It is doable. I did it. But based on the employees they’ve hired and not made it, since I left? Not as easy as I found it.

            1. Dang * dropped off. I keep forgetting I have to do something else now. Sigh. Second paragraph. Explains “Orphaned Software”.

              1. With WordPress’s new Markdown formatting, if you want a formatting character to not be counted as formatting, you stick a backslash in front of it. Here are stars around the word “stars”, that got counted as italics. Here are backslash-star *pairs* around the word “pairs”, and note how they came out as stars but not as italics.

            1. I am not saying that there are magical techniques to violate free will. Rather, there are incentives and punishments for goodthink and badthink. If it annoys you, you leave the social circle rather than submit. If the social group is more important to you, or if you do not realize that your principles are getting dragged off you, you stick around and accept the training.

            1. That depends on whether you know you’re doing it, and do it with “malice aforethought”. I don’t consider it detrimental to the way I think to BS a BS-er. In fact, it was fairly common at [major defense contractor] when dealing with program managers who were MBAs and had zero engineering talent or experience, but insisted on having the final say over engineering decisions.

                1. I believe that. If you’re not a habitual liar, repeating lies is not good for you.

                  Most of the political class ARE habitual liars. They keep repeating lies even after they have been exposed as lies. They seem to prefer lies even when the truth would serve them better.

                  1. DUDE, it’s only the basis of ALL MODERN PSYCHOLOGY. Seriously. Tell me you know nothing of behavior modification therapy without saying you know nothing of behavior modification therapy.
                    Or human behavior for that matter.
                    What you just said is the equivalent of “Can you show me data that chickens are edible.”

                    1. Sorry. I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV; I’m a retired EE who’s interested in the data behind the claim, which to me seemed to be saying that any lie does damage to the one making it, even such minor ones as the self-preservation reply to “Does this make me look fat?”.

                      Whay I know of behavior modification therapy could be carved on the head of a pin with a garden spade; that’s why I asked. I suppose I could do an extensive Gurgle search, but it seemed simpler to ask the one who made the claim. Mea culpa.

                    2. It just seems to be the way humans work. If you tell yourself you’re sometihng over and over, you become that thing.
                      There have been studies that people who force themselves to smile start feeling more cheerful. Try googling for those.

                    3. OK, I get that, and I’ve seen the same articles. My original intended point was that you don’t have to (in most circumstances; there have been exceptions) be a rah-rah enthusiast to keep out of trouble with the fanatics, just say something like “Yeah, that’s cool”; apparently I was unclear.

                    4. Nope. I was an engineer (EE, radar system test) at [major defense contractor] until I retired in 2006. At that time there was no such issue (good thing, or I might be in jail).

                  2. Have some creepy reading– it not only works from saying it, it works from hearing it, even when you already knew that it wasn’t true.

                    Note: this person even alludes to how brain washing works…while ignoring the big difference between persuasion and brainwashing is that brainwashing tries to silence even hearing conflicting claims. While persuasion is strong enough to survive having both available.

                    And makes all the genuflections towards the Kung Flu panic…while also not quite actually, explicitly saying…..

                    1. That seems to be the basis of the classic Big Lie technique, used by damn near everyone during the 20th century “panwar” (uniwar?). It can be guarded against and fought with varying degrees of success, but that requires access to info which contradicts the lie. Fortunately, we now seem to have that available (usually referred to as mis/disinformation or “conspiracy theory” by the MSM).

                      Aside: Interesting point about “heat lightning”; I even actually knew it. Amazing! 🙂

    3. Yep. And there’s an ideological filter too. I know, because I prepared my kids for school the OLD FASHIONED way, and yet both ran into issues intended to sideline them. So, it’s almost an anti-competence filter.
      I suspect it’s just political, but heck I could be wrong. As Larry and I found out in 15, competence is scary, apparently.

    4. Thomas Sowell noted that AA, among its many other charms, concentrates its benefits among the already well-off members of a group.

      1. For a moment I thought you were referring to Alcoholics Anonymous… but yes. Affirmative Action benefits generally go to the relatively well off at the expense of those in genuine need

  27. Sarah, you’re forgetting Robert Conquest’s laws of politics. One said, “the best way of explaining a bureaucracy is to assume it is being run by a cabal of its enemies.”

  28. This is the beginning of the problem: Iron Law of Bureaucracy[edit]
    …in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
    ban unions in the public sector, no more in any government.
    Eliminate civil service.
    establish a code of ethics and let managers fire on the spot those who ignore the rules.
    ban lobbyists.
    end politicians giving themselves pay raises and special deals the people do not get.
    eliminate the federal “education” department and give the local counties the money to manage their schools.

    The list goes on.

    1. The problem I see with the “fixes” (with which I agree, BTW) is that they provide a “target rich environment” for tort lawyers, along with a large expansion of government to enforce them. And I see no way to force the same rules on those lawyers, or to keep government out of it.

  29. This is what I always assumed. I don’t think they intentionally turn things to shit any more than I think Republicans want everyone to have dirty water and air. Even if that’s the outcome, that’s not the intent.

    Sure, many of them (Pelosi, et Al) don’t care what the outcome is if their power grabs. But there are too many of them for it to be a true conspiracy of “ruin the economy and we’ll be in power forever.” A large majority have to believe it. They’re just dumb.

    I remember as a kid watching the Richie Rich movie and asking my mom why the villain wants to change the running of a very successful company. And she said “he thinks his way will be even better.” And that’s what they think.

    1. Republicans want everyone to have dirty water and air. Even if that’s the outcome, that’s not the intent.

      If you swap Republican for libertarian (note small l) or rational economist, you are closer to right on that than might be expected. That’s because regulations introduce a cost burden. In some cases it may be actually cheaper for the water to be dirty and for everyone who cares to install a filter on the input than it is to force everyone who dumps dirt in the water to clean up their messes. Not always the case of course but plenty of times (see Californicate and the EU) the regulations make it impossible to do anything so businesses simply up and leave taking their jobs and the pay that went with them to go somewhere else.

  30. Been trying more and more to live by “this is as good as it gets” for a lot more than just politics. Pretty much any interpersonal relationship from marriage to employment to politics to fast food service.

    It doesn’t help much, but somedays it keeps the can of kerosine out of my left hand and the match out of the right, so there is that.

  31. I’m reminded of the idiots in the 2A arguments when it’s pointed out that motor vehicle deaths are around the same as firearms deaths. “But cars aren’t meant to kill. They have another legitimate purpose.” So the thing that isn’t meant to kill is causing as many deaths as the thing meant to kill? And you think that’s a good thing?

  32. Worked for big oil for 30 years in regulatory reporting. At a reporting seminar, hosted by the Department of Interior, I actually heard one of their managers say increased regulations were good for the economy because they forced us to hire more people. Within 5 years of that statement, my company offshored the entire regulatory reporting unit to Argentina. Guess that never crossed their mind.

    1. Economists know that hiring people is a cost not a benefit. Now there are times when the benefits of higher employment outweigh the cost of employing more people but they are generally rare

  33. I know I’m late to the party, but …

    On the main topic: Sarah, you and Bill are just realizing this NOW?

  34. Exactly what I’ve been thinking for a couple of Years now, Bonnie, the “Parasite Class” have Lost Control of the Narrative, more than anything else, never mind any real form of Physical Control. Millions of People in the US (myself included) saw a long Time Ago, that the parasites had to get the Guns out of the Hands of those they would Rule. now, “It’s Too Late” and Anything they do to try and ‘Force’ the Issue gets them into (un)Civil War that will Destroy the ‘government’ the Parasite Class depends on.

    This is why you see the sudden uptick in “Mass Shootings” that don’t stand up to even Casual Scrutiny – both the Buffalo and Uvalde shooters were ‘mental cases’ and ‘known to police’ for Threatening Behavior. Yet they showed up with 5-10 Thousand Shekels of Gunz-n-Gear. Not Credible, but these (and the next 5 or 9 identical ‘Incidents” will be used as a basis to “Ban Guns” a with the attendant covert (and Overt) non-compliance. If the Parasites think they can send their Pet Thugpigs Door-to-Door for them, they better think about how a bunch of them stood around Wetting themselves while One Punk with an AR murdered some Unarmed Folks, wait until they go up against some Deranged Sandbox Vet who ‘borrowed’ some Serious Toys from the Army. (Not I, said the Mercenary Jet Mechanic. I Bought all my Stuff, and paid the Tax Stamps, too.)

    Stock all the Beans and Bullets you can Afford, it’s gonna be One for the History Books…

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