That Golden Age

Sometimes I post any “Things were actually worse before. With minor bobbles — we’re in one, yes — things generally are moving in the direction we want them to.” (Note even during our bobble, and despite the strangling hand of the vile progs at the controls, we’re still experiencing movement in the right direction. Just slower, and limited.)

And it never fails. Like a rock drops to Earth, like a dog returns to their vomit, someone in the comments does the equivalent of “Argle, barle, prrrrrgaht, things were wonderful in my neck of the woods when I was little. We had faith, community, love, and everyone cared about everyone else. It was a golden age of hand holding and singing kumbaya and we got up in the morning, ate our cup of dirt and sand to the Lord.”

Look, I’m never going to convince you, because you’re so sure of it, but what you experience as all those things as a kid is 90% the fact that you’re a kid. Your vision of the world is simple. You could grow up in the world’s most infectious crab bucket, but you’d think you were loved and protected, because…. you were. Kids don’t have to strive against adults to get to have a job, or to do their job, or to retain any amount of their earnings. Those are adult concerns. Kids experience the “everyone looked out for everyone else” that is the basic mode of both crab buckets and families. And of course you project that on the rest of the world, because that’s how you see it.

Also until the sixties and the counterculture, the mass-cultural-media complex spent a lot of time spreading the idea that the world was like that: tidy nuclear families, who loved, loved loved each other, and where every father was wise, every kid a lovable scamp, every mother well put together and a great cook.

It was that carefully constructed, no dissent allowed from the perfect image, view of the world that the media created more or less wholesale that made the sixties attacks on the culture so devastating. Because most people had never experienced that kind of perfection (and most adults knew that for sure) it was easy to convince them the world was a terrible place and that all the happy stuff was disinformation.

(It should be much easier for us to shatter the image of the grey, decaying world they now push. Particularly if we ignore the loud voices in social media. We know we’re being manipulated. And that most people are decent, if not all in the same manner.)

Those of you, meanwhile, who say that the time between the wars, and extending through the fifties was a golden age because of how much the life of the average person improved? You have a point. More than a point.

The average person went from actual fear of hunger and living on the edge of it, to “reducing” being a popular pastime. The average person experienced the difference antibiotics made in life span. The average person went from wanting a chicken in every pot, to wanting a car in every garage.

The problem is not that. The problem is attributing the prosperity to centralized government and top down control, which a lot of people — and all the “progressives” — do.

That wave of unleashed prosperity came from a time of relatively untrammeled capitalism around the turn of the last century.

Not fully untrammeled, and more and more hobbled as time went on, but the ability to let people make and build and grow was greater than it became in the mid-to-late twentieth century. And the results were astounding.

The problem is, because some of those fruits only became visible to the public as things centralized, people attributed them to the centralization, not the previous freedom.

As I told you, when Obama care was being rammed through: No, people won’t love it. The reason people loved this type of thing in other countries is that it was instituted just as breakthroughs like antibiotics, and other really practical and life saving modern-medicine innovations became ubiquitous.

So people, who of course don’t analyse things very deeply, attribute these great innovations to the centralized “fee” medicine, and will defend it with their lives, because they think if you take it away they go back to pre-antibiotic, pre-vaccine, pre-hygiene era.

It’s nonsense, but it’s what people do.

In the same way the fifties, with the rest of the world destroyed and the US relatively prosperous, allowed a lot of the past eras innovations to be mainstreamed. And people equated that prosperity with center-out, up-down government control.

I suspect it’s where the myth of the infallible government expert and the “Smart” government bureaucrats came from.

In fact, what the tightening of the governmental controls, continuing at least till the eighties (look, people, before the eighties few people realized you “could” have a modern society without price controls. You have no idea how many myths Reagan demolished) did was to make that freewheeling innovation that rained prosperity on the world slow to a crawl. The innovation only happened wherever the government wasn’t looking. And in the last two years, government started reversing the tide of innovation and prosperity.

It’s a sad thing that prosperity and innovation got associated with the big government that killed it. And it’s time to destroy that myth.

Because top-down control mostly kills. And the thing governments are best at is taking money and oppressing their own people.

While it would be nice to have one that fulfilled its constitutionally mandated duties, we should restrict them to that.

Keep government small, poor and limited, and you’ll see a golden age flourish like nothing the world experienced before. Or don’t, and watch civilization perish.

290 thoughts on “That Golden Age

  1. Humans can always “foul up” a golden age.

    Just look at what happened in the Garden. 😉

    Of course, Sarah’s correct about “Golden Ages being when you’re a child and your parents take care of you”.

    So fools imagine that Big Daddy Government can make “everything OK”.

    1. There is no problem so bad that government can’t make it worse.

      On the flip side, as Thomas Sowell is wont to say: “Just because there are areas where government can do better than the free market, doesn’t mean that it will.” Usually, it will figure out instead some way to make matters worse. See the first statement.

      1. First, the US government failed to make money selling booze and sex, and now the Canadian government has failed to make money selling pot. How many more examples do we need of government and healthy economies not being things that should mix?

        1. It is actually worse than that. Canadian here, well versed in the weed business (although I am not -in- the weed business.)

          After -decades- of evidence since the 1960s that cannabis had beneficial effects on cancer, sleep, anxiety and PTSD, which effects were not available from other drugs, the Canadian government finally made it legal to use cannabis for medical purposes in 2001. You could get a license to have it, use it, and grow it.

          Which led to a profitable enterprise. Little companies grew up to produce medicinal weed, all nice and legal. People were getting their medicinal supplies, it was properly inspected, etc. Companies were making money. Not a fortune, but a decent profit. Hope for the future, let’s say.

          Along comes Trudeau in 2015, campaigning on legalization of weed. Of particular note, nobody involved gave a single damn if cannabis legalization was going to be a good thing. It would be legalized, and let the devil take the hindmost. All the regulators at the time (and still, to this day nearly ten years later) thought that blood would run in the streets. They were Reefer Madness true believers.

          The Liberals… did not care if they were right or wrong. The Liberals saw it as an opportunity to make a -killing- in both licensing fees and taxes. Releasing something beneficial to cancer patients for random individuals to smoke up at parties had the potential to be a disaster (because why was it banned in the first place, right?) but it was popular so they went in and legalized it.

          But, and this is where those Reefer Madness swamp creatures got their revenge, it isn’t really legal. It is controlled. Because if they just made it legal to grow and sell, like a tomato, there’s no money in it for the Liberals. They don’t want to give the rights to Canadians, they want to RENT them. You gotta have a LICENSE to grow and sell. You got to have a LICENSE to retail. You have to pay TAX when you buy it. You have to be inspected, etc.

          So the swamp creatures, who are in charge of making the rules, made it impossible to make a buck growing, selling, or retailing weed. ALL the money made in the space was made back in 2016/17 when the stocks first went private. That’s when the Liberals and their minions invested, and they got the mega-payoff. Billions of dollars. Look at the stock chart of Canopy Growth and you’ll see the scam play out. Because Reefer Madness.

          Now, fortunately for Canada weed is a mostly benign thing when taken in medicinal doses. 95 year old ladies take it for their aches and pains. The net effect on society, as measured from 2001 on, is basically nothing. The original ban in the 1920s was political BS exactly the same as our current legalization is.

          But they didn’t know that. They didn’t give a single schlitz about that. They did it for the money. And now they don’t even get any money from it, it is a net loss in taxpayer dollars. The bureaucracy consumes more than they get from the taxes.

          That’s how -everything- works in Canada now. With weed we got to see the whole process, but everything from farming to mining to pipelines to telecommunications works exactly the same.

          And that’s why Canada, with 300 million people, owes a TRILLION DOLLARS, and why we can’t even sell natural gas to Europe. Also why truckers took over Ottawa for a month, we’re getting kinda done with it.

          1. Uhh… Canada has 38 million people.

            The trucker protest/street fair in Ottawa was glorious, until Turd-o brought in stormtroopers from Quebec to crush them underfoot. I guess they couldn’t afford tanks.
            Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

            1. All the tanks in Canada are at CFB Gagetown as far as I know. Most of the tanks owned by Canada are in Germany, as part of our (miniscule) NATO contribution. Some of them might even work.

              Other “armor” is all LAVs and crappy Vietnam War vintage APCs, those things are all over the place. Sadly, like the LAVs the US Marines have, they aren’t really bulletproof except from the front.

              Lately they’ve gotten some armored G Wagens and mine-resistant MRAP-style trucks, but not many and scattered all across the country. Those seem to be mostly used as window dressing for photo-ops.

              All of it pretty much useless in a real war due to lack of air power and sea power. Still flying CF-18s, still no transports, still no frigates, still not choppers. But hey, Shiny Pony emptied a ton of obsolete crap out of our warehouses for Ukraine, so there ought to be room for some new stuff.

  2. Well, there were always pockets of resistance to the centralized-government-good belief, even back in the latter half of the 20th. In rural central PA where I was raised, in eastern TN where I live now, self-reliance and rejection of government for pretty much everything you could reject was the standard, not the exception. I guess probably mostly throughout Appalachia, now that I think about it…

    1. Before Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the defense industry took over California, self-reliance and distrust of big government was pretty strong throughout the western US, although rather outweighed by the bigger population of the east. The “Old West”, although much prettified and glamorized from its grubby roots by the entertainment industry, wasn’t entirely mythical.

    2. My Mother would tell me what she had been taught as family history. I’m not sure about the actual history.

      She claimed that our Scottish ancestors came to America because their Laird kicked them off the clan’s lands to farm more sheep. This happened after English law gave the legal property titles to the Laird’s family, even though Scottish tradition was that the entire clan shared in the holdings. She told me that this was why Scottish descendants in America distrusted socialism.

      1. But wouldn’t that be just as easy to hold as the opposite? Foreign capitalist power comes in, the landed curry favor and use it to disposess those out of favor in order to make more money?

      2. The era known as the Highland Clearances.

        When, later in the century, they came to raise men for the Highland regiments, they were told that since they preferred sheep to men, they should have sheep defend them.

  3. As I told you, when Obama care was being rammed through: No, people won’t love it.

    Unfortunately, one of the most damaging elements of it is also one that does appear to be quite popular: the requirement that insurance cover “pre-existing conditions” with the unspoken portion being “without charging enough extra to cover the expectation value of treating that condition. Too many people are sufficiently economically illiterate so that it sounds like a good thing rather than a disaster in the making.

    1. Look, insurance companies are bookies pure and simple.
      They are betting that your premiums pay them more than they have to disburse in claims.
      You are in effect accepting the bad end of the bet because it provides you protection from some random catastrophic event. Thus the substantial number of premiums paid in with no claims more than covers the occasional massive payouts.
      Preexisting conditions changes the odds by substantially increasing the likelihood that such customers will win the insurance “bet.”
      And to cover the increased risk the companies must spread that greater cost across all premium payments or they will fairly quickly be forced to cease operations. Their businesses will fail. It’s no different than a baker sell a loaf of bread for a dollar when it costs him a buck ten to make. A gross simplification of course but you get the general idea.

      1. Which is why insurance should only cover those rare, catastrophic events that 99% of the people paying for it will never experience. Using insurance to pay for common events that 99% of the insured will experience only makes everything cost more, and be more complicated and inconvenient.

        Like insuring your home appliances. Refrigerators, water heaters, washers and dryers are going to break down. It’s inevitable. The insurance company has to charge enough money to cover those breakdowns, plus all the bureaucratic overhead of insurance claims, plus make a profit. They’re also going to control what repairs or replacement appliances you can get. If you just stuffed that money under the mattress and pulled it out when you needed it, you’d come out ahead.
        ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

      2. Aligned with the topic of the
        Post, If circumstances had been different I would likely have become a bookie. I learned how h to handicap horses well before I learned sticks and bonds. The process is essentially the same

        I could have called myself a turf accountant if I wanted to swank

          1. Been done. Gladiator at Law by Pohl and Kornbluth. The funny thing is that there is a truth to this particularly over the short to medium term.

            1. “Gladiator-at-Law” is one of my all time favorite books.
              I think that reading it back in the sixties was probably the first time I recognized that Science Fiction books were very often covert political commentary.
              Kind of hard to miss in that one.

    2. Part of the problem is a lot of people knew about cases where insurance declined to pay for an actual covered event– because it was “pre-existing.” For example, “no, we will not cover the tonsillectomy, because you were born with tonsils.”

      I am fairly sure that most of those cases couldn’t hold up in court, so a better solution would have been reform to catch those cheating…but it’s not out of the blue.

      1. Enforcement of contracts, ao long as it is enforcement of contracts as written and not attmmpts for a third party (which “government” would be in such a case) to re-write the contract to suit themselves, is one of the few areas where government is better than lack thereof. The need to use for to compell the balky party to comply requires some entity with license to use that force, i.e. government.

        1. Three main enumerated powers of the government were national defense, contract enforcement, and interstate commerce regulation. They’ve failed at all three, while assuming hundreds of non-allowed powers.

      2. The other thing about “pre-existing” conditions is that the insurance only has to cover conditions as long as you’re on that insurance, and how long you’re on that insurance has nothing to do with your own willingness to pay and everything to do with circumstances beyond your control. If you get a chronic disease, then lose your job, you’re screwed.

        I developed diabetes while I was in graduate school. No problem, I had insurance through the grad school–but as soon as I finished up with my thesis, I lost that insurance, and now any attempt to buy new insurance was impossible because I had the pre-existing condition.

        In a rational world, my health insurance would have been unconnected to my status as a student, and I could have kept it and been fine. Or alternatively, when I developed diabetes, the insurance I was on could have been responsible for cutting me a check to cover the estimated cost of treating the disease for the remaining sixty years of my life expectancy.

        But we don’t live in a rational world, and thus complications ensue. I can’t blame the insurance companies for not wanting to “insure” against a sure thing, but I can also understand the frustration of the “pre-existing condition” crowd who feel that they did everything right and still got screwed.

        1. But we don’t live in a rational world, and thus complications ensue.

          Yep, so we have to recognize those actual complications, honestly.

          As best we can. 😀

        2. “I can’t blame the insurance companies for not wanting to “insure” against a sure thing, but I can also understand the frustration of the “pre-existing condition” crowd who feel that they did everything right and still got screwed.”

          I developed diabetes at about that age. The doctor wanted to put me on medically supervised weight loss, but Humana wouldn’t cover it and I wasn’t making enough to afford it. I hadn’t gotten paranoid enough to record all phone calls, but their claims rep simply said that they wouldn’t cover it because I probably wouldn’t be on their insurance when the problems showed up.

          1. Mumble decades ago, I went on one of the medical fasts. Successful for values of success; I lost the (lots of) weight, gained it back, then lost about half that and am keeping it off. (I call it the 13 acre exercise program. Avoiding being stupid about food choices and applying some stuff from Overeaters Anonymous–yes, it exists–helps.)

            No coverage from my medical insurance. IIRC, one of the reasons they quoted was the re-gain issue. Medically, it’s a brutal thing to go through. I had to get a fresh ECG every so-many pounds. The people at the program admitted that most people can do a major medical fast once per lifetime with success and/or safety.

            FWIW, I developed diabetes concurrent with the regain weight peak. OTOH, as I re-lost the weight, I went from “needs medication”, to “diet controlled”, to “pre-diabetic” to “high end of acceptable A1C”. The damage that was done ain’t going away, but it isn’t getting worse.

        1. Follow the baseline requirement for your contract and they won’t hate you so much,” yeah.

          Seriously, I want Mr. Incredible.
          “I can’t tell you to go to room 204 and ask to speak to Mr. SMith.”

          1. “Do not file a copy of—” [taps note pad] “—a copy of Form 342-J with Mrs. Jones on the third floor. Don’t expect somebody to get back to you in a week or two.”

    3. People are learning that insurance companies exist to take money and refuse claims. They are also learning that pills, injections, and anything created by Pfizer et al will be approved, but any outpatient treatments will be denied regardless of efficacy. (I’m working for a call center while I get a better job.)
      People are learning that their insurance company and their power company give less than two shites about them–they want your money, regardless. And no, their promise of “payment plans” is not true. Payment plan = your service gets shut off.
      It’s an ugly time for many people as they realize they were lied to.
      The hardest calls for me to take are the patient whose just taken her first chemo treatment, who have just come from their spouse’s funeral, who have just been denied an $80,000 insurance claim and who have no idea how to pay. The human suffering is staggering.
      We’re shuffling off those stupid big government ideas, and it is a golden age of sorts. And it’s like Edmund getting his dragon skin taken off by Aslan. Painful.

      1. A lot of entities have been assuming loyalty is owed to them because of their name tag, not because of what they’ve actually done.

        I suspect a very large part of that productivity drop in the last year was from a lot of people discovering that their company will cut their neck off without a second though if they stick it out, and it closes sales for them.

        And the corporate suits think if they can drive everyone back to their desks that things will get better.

        Idiots. Feckless fools the lot of them.

        1. I think you’re right.
          My employer refused to let me return to work because I can’t cover my face. Feckless morons.

        2. So you read buck this morning. And yep. The ‘thou shalts’ coming from management and elders who ignore the economic changes that the corporatist transition wrought and whose entire intent is to increase “geographic diversity”, meaning outsource to countries that have work share requirements and lower labor costs have done great work making sure everyone is merc.

          1. I’m not sure who buck is?

            I’m just reminded of it because current management is doing exactly that and are now really after everyone to get back in plant after being incredibly vigorous in following all the CDC guides.

            And the thing is, we were just as productive during the 2020-2021 lockdowns/working remote. It was only after they went 100% in on everyone getting the shot, or else, that things came apart.

            Even for the people who had gotten it already, it sent the very clear message that they own your body as well as your time. We all went in knowing we were trading time and labor for pay, but I don’t know anyone who signed up to have their physical person dictated to them.

            1. Buck Throckmorton on ace of spades had an similar rant this am. Basically the mercenary CXOs who just focus on their couple years, crop dusting divisions with all their great ideas, intended just to add something to their resume before they jump elsewhere or retire with their parachute.

              Although I will say that remote works great for folks already well set up in routine but the benefit of impromptu cube wall meetings is lost and that is a major plus for those who have not been within the program. I’ve had too many hour-long meetings that should have been me and a lead ganging up on an analyst. I had the misfortune of transferring into an old school program just before the shutdown and the siloing and lack of knowledge transfer during that period (since leads just wanted to remote, resulting in none of the general informal networking that normally happens, and not share work) has run off all but two of us who arre not retirement eligible out. And I’m actively hunting.

              1. impromptu cube wall meetings is lost

                You mean the meetings because I overheard something and went over and asked an innocent not so innocent question that spiked whatever feature creep change they were cooking up? Or the really good one was the “small phone app” that depended on server back end data for a client who needed the functionality where there was no cell coverage (yea, that worked …), or phones at all so VPN not an option (satellite coverage a problem too). My question was “What is the plan for cell black out areas?” There response was “They don’t have any facilities without cell coverage!” A month later …. Hey, I was good. I did not say “told you!” Subsystem was still not working a year later … then I retired, so I don’t know what happened.

                1. That or the poke over the lead or another peons wall and ask them to poke holes in an idea or how to trick software into doing what I want.

                  And pfft. The only people that matter live in cities without blackout areas.

                2. that spiked whatever feature creep change they were cooking up

                  I did that on a zoom call with hundreds of participants. The group in charge of enterprise technology proposals was demoing an API manager package, to be a single common gateway for all our hundreds (at least) of different APIs for all our different services and systems.

                  I listened for a bit and then asked, “Is this site-licensed, or server-licensed?” Um, server-licensed. “Okay. How many licenses are you anticipating?” Um, four, we think. “Okay, what happens when [perfectly predictable seasonal event] happens and all our [very very large number of] consumers try to hit the website at the same time and the servers overload?” Uhhhhhhh…. “Have you considered something like AWS API Gateway that’s basically infinitely scalable and micro-charged per use instead?” Uhhhhhhh… (I could hear directors and architects from other groups chuckling as I said this.)

                  They visibly hated me for several years after that incident. In the end they never went forward with the proposal (or my counter-proposal) and just left our mess of API handlers the way it was.

                  1. While working for the Army one project was a mobile shelter with a bunch of integrated test equipment tied together by a computer. (To give an idea of how long ago this was, the big feature of the system was that the computer had a touch screen).
                    One of the (few) pleasurable moments on that job was standing up at a meeting in front of the program manager’s people and the Large Aerospace Contractor and saying, ” You put the technical manuals for the system on the main computer. OK, now there’s a problem, so the technician calls up the manual to troubleshoot. The first step says, “Turn off power at main breaker.” The technician says, “What’s the second step?” “Gee, I don’t know, the screen just went blank.”
                    The look on a few faces around the table were priceless.

                3. The cellular coverage maps are a lie. They might possibly indicate where the carrier is licensed to operate, but it doesn’t mean they have any towers there.

                  Large parts of Arkansas have no cellular service; lots of them in the areas where people would congregate for some of the group rides. Lots of good hooning roads in the mountains.

                  We’d stop somewhere for a break, and the phones would come out… and then the puzzled confusion when their phone wouldn’t connect to anything. City people; all their adult life, they’d never been beyond the reach of a tower. It was often comical watching them react to it. In the city the towers all have backup power; they might be sitting in the dark with no electricity, but their phones still worked, as long as the battery held out, anyway.

                  1. Tell me about it. We just switched from T-Mobile back to Verizon (towers anyway, we’ve been off Verizon itself for 4 years. Too many problems even at home and supposedly lots of coverage. We stuck with Verizon forever, despite costs, because OF Coverage. Yet have driven through the county in question enough that coverage is non-existent, at best.

                  2. “Large parts of Arkansas have no cellular service; ”

                    Can personally confirm; my family’s farm is one of them.

            2. If folks can be productive working remote solo or remote collaborative,

              then why do we need all these muddle managers?

              Oops. Middle managers.

              -That- is why the workerbees must all return to their managed desks in-office. Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

              Multi-Level-Management: your wealth arises from maximizing the layers between you and the actual workers.

              1. I’m a middle manager, I’ve been managing a geographically diverse team long before covid, it takes a lot of effort to keep the whole team working efficiently. Far more than with a pure local team.

              2. Good point.

                One of the reasons the company I last worked for found smaller office quarters, just enough room for the VPN servers, phone system, and the few workers who needed or wanted to be in an office system, plus room for newer trainees/interns. Everyone else works in their own home office. There were (wags hands) no middle managers, and the owner was out of the office either selling or training a good 90 – 95% of the time. There were rarely any collaboration on anything for all that everyone worked (could) on all the programs in the humongous system (not at the same time, but the comment sections had everyone’s initials by date, and later/now by ticket triggering changes). (Note, there is a middle manager now, because company was sold to a conglomerate that collects these small orphaned large system software companies. But the middle manager is often out of the office selling and training, 75 – 95% of the time; 2020 changed things.)

                Sure the “librarian” collaborated, once in 12 years, on the new base changes for the structures of a major change, and the shared code, but how that was implemented into the actual programs that use it? All mine. To his dismay later. Apparently I have a “Unique” procedure labeling process … That did not match his … Despite 12 years of hints. Not only that, but I knew how to use public, private, inherited processes, and pointers, that my other co-programmers never learnedforgotten didn’t use, and exploited the heck out of; my solutions were not particularly clever. “Clever” = hard to modify later … When I started, I didn’t know I was retiring before it had been universally implemented. (Yes, I have written something that later I’ve exclaimed “What was I thinking? Oh, that’s why. Well that was clever. Crap. Now, how do I change this?” More often it is “What were ‘they’ thinking? Oh, that is what it does, that is clever. Now how do I fix/change this?” But I have been guilty too. Lesson learned.)

                1. What was I thinking?

                  I think the universal experience of enterprise programmers (of whatever type) is this:

                  “Who wrote this crap? [checks logs] Oh, I did. Never mind.”

                    1. I’ve been married to a programmer forever.

                      I know. The stories I am sure he could tell. Way more than I can.

                      Idea for a blog. Have him compile a list. Then the rest of us programmers can pile it on for everyone’s amusement. Note, I’m finally losing those stories, until someone else causes a humorous flashback. Almost 7 years out of the process (retirement) will cause that. Haven’t had a “oh that is how I can fix that!” or “I didn’t turn in my consulting time to get paid” dreams in months.

                  1. Well to be fair, at least the first 12 years, of the last 24 years of my 34 (counting every temp/part time) year coding/designing career, I was the only one responsible, of anything new. However, I did inherit the major systems (even if over 2/3 was my code before job left). I got really good at writing comments for the non-obvious (to me anyway) coding explaining “What, Why, and sometimes How”, whether I wrote it or not. (if I had to research what someone else did, generally more than once, it got explained in the code). Last job, mostly kept a cheat sheet VS documenting what others had done in the code. Same cheat sheet on my stuff, but that went into comments in the code too. Cheat sheet was shortcut for the clients calling. I believe in efficiency 😉 (Okay. I’m lazy.)

  4. The US had price controls during WW II but they were allowed to expire in the late 40’s (the Republicans took the House of Representatives in 1946 largely on the issue of removing the price controls on meat).
    Nixon instituted some in the early 70’s but Ford dismantled those.
    Which is not to say that Congress hasn’t meddled in agricultural prices via price supports, paying farmers to leave land fallow (“soil conservation!”) and a range of other interventions, but we didn’t have the direct price controls here that the rest of the western countries endured.

      1. Well, the progressives did – but most people in the U.S. believed you could have a modern economy without price controls long before Reagan. Because they had lived most of their lives in one.

        1. To anyone able to think rationally, and absent actual peonage or slavery (BIRM), “price controls” is synonymous with “shortages”. TANSTAAFL.

    1. And Britain carried on with WWII rationing for more than a decade after the war was over.

      I had read here and there that the reason the socialists in the US went off backing the working class in the late 1940s and 50s was because the working class generally had their fill of higher-ups running their lives for twenty years: first during the Depression, when everything seemed to be at the whim of the government, to during the War, when so many served in the military. People had just been fed to the teeth with being bossed around in everything, and they just wanted to run their own lives, move out to a nice little place in suburbia with a two-car garage, have a job that meant worrying about what they would have to eat wasn’t a problem, buy stuff for their kids to play around with … and the socialists who thought they could draft the working classes into their own little army were pissy about being rejected. The nerve of the working class, having ideas about how to live their own lives.
      YMMV, naturally.

      1. Yep. The hatred of cars seems to stem specifically from “you’re not allowed to leave the city! You’re supposed to be the reliable block of blue collar workers in this neighborhood, voting this way in the machine!” being met with a mass escape to the sub-urban areas, and with going from tenants to owning their own houses (and the radical change in outlook on property taxes and regulations that accompanies escaping the neighborhood social crab bucket, much less home ownership.)

        These days, most of the left don’t even know why they hate cars, but they still do, like a leftover cultic ritual. Of course, the more that they have their nose rubbed in “California doesn’t want you to have a car with enough range to escape….” the more it’s obvious that nothing’s changed.

        1. Top Gear once put a modern Japanese sedan up against a 1960’ Aston Martin. The Japanese sedan blew the DB4 (James Bond’s car) away. Anyone who drives both old and new cars should be in no doubt about how much safer and easier to drive the modern car is.

          Yes, there was more craft and handwork around back in the day, but that was because people were cheap. You can still get quality handwork, but it’s going to be more expensive.

          Survivor bias and nostalgia shouldn’t blind us to how much better just about everything is.

          1. Indeed some older cars are quite impressive. Two summers I worked for a gentleman who had in his youth chauffeured for a wealthy resident of New Haven. He had admired the socialites 1940 Cadillac limousine (RARE!! remember in ’41 even before Pearl Harbor we were shifting to military production to help the UK and USSR) and was surprised to find when the gentleman died 15 years or so later that he was bequeathed the vehicle and a small amount of cash to pay the taxes. He had brought the car one summer day to give his parents a ride on their anniversary (40th?) to a restaurant. He was involved in something and needed the car moved. He threw me the keys and asked me (not his son who couldn’t drive manual) to move it. It was pristine with the same interior it had had when it came out of the factory. I must say I have NEVER seen anything like it. It was like a Leather and Wood palace and started and drove well for a 40+ year old car. It’s fit and finished surpassed 1980/1970 Mercedes Benz I had ridden in (some of my high school compatriots were rather well off). The clutch and shifter were smooth and precise unlike some 60’s and 70’s vehicles I had driven. So at one time GM could actually make a superior product although I suspect much of that car was hand work by very skilled people, more like the modern assembly of a Bentley or Rolls-Royce. I suspect the cost of that Cadillac probably rivaled a period Rolls.

          2. There is NO COMPARISON between a 1960’s/70’s car and anything built since 2001. No comparison.

            I have a 1964 Buick Riviera, top-of-the-line American car at the time. Mechanically it could have been made in the 1940s. Half the interior of the car is cardboard, as delivered from Buick in 1964. Huge, heavy, powerful and really cool, but not -efficient- and not what you would call “snappy.” In stock trim the Buick 425 cubic inch Nailhead gets 8 (yes I mean eight) miles per gallon. Mine gets 14 because someone put a nice Edelbrock carb on it at some point. Nearly double the performance with a carb swap. Take that GM.

            My 2010 Mustang ~280 cubic inch V8 gets 19MPG and can leave the Riv eating dust. Performance, fit and finish is 100% better than the 1960s, even the welding is better. Handles like a race car, goes like hell, stops on a dime. We’d have killed for a car like that in 1964.

            What’s the difference between the two machines?

            1) CHEAP computer aided design, that’s probably the biggest.
            2) CHEAP computer aided machining and robotic construction techniques of all sorts.
            3) Precision of all the tools and processes involved probably increased by two orders of magnitude from 1960 to 2010. They’re just plain better.
            4) CHEAP injection molding of all kinds of plastics. Lighter/stronger/cheaper than all the cardboard crap and stamped steel.
            5) Finally, coming in dead last, onboard computer control of engine and transmission. A good carb and a manual transmission will give almost the same level of performance as the drive-by-wire setup of the Mustang, but it would be more expensive and not as cheap on gas.

            This is the golden age of motoring. They’re trying to kill it with ever-increasing regulation and electric cars, but they haven’t managed yet.

            I do think things have gone a bit sideways since 2010 with the huge increase in computer-controlled everything. I’m not fond of the performance-related aspects of your 10-speed transmissions, because I’m a clutch and stick manual guy. I like to be the one who decides when to shift. But, that is a small quibble compared to the mileage and sheer power available out of these new turbo-charged fours and sixes. Given the displacement, they are amazing.

            1. “I do think things have gone a bit sideways since 2010 with the huge increase in computer-controlled everything.”

              Been using the same auto repair shop for 16 years and that’s pretty universal among the mechanics there. And the situation is NOT improving.

              1. I’ve lately been thinking about how people smarter than I have been taking mcu and small computer boards and using them to replace proprietary hardware. It seems to me that we could start seeing open source engine control systems built on commodity hardware. Kind if like how a LOT of industrial hardware had proprietary control systems swapped out for PCs and a adapter board on the 90s. We might be ready for a wave of innovation.

                1. Which is why another trend has been to try and patent / copyright the hardware and software so that anyone trying it can be tied up in court. See what John Deere tried with their ag equipment.

                  1. Yes, IP law is suffering from a LOT of issues with determining what is prior art and non obvious. Therefore prone to regulatory capture. The DMCA makes it much, much worse as well.

                    Open systems changed the world and now companies try to use regulatory capture… It I’d all of our loss in the end.

      2. People had just been fed to the teeth with being bossed around in everything

        I’ve read that this was one of the big factors in the Casual Revolution of the ’50s and ’60s: men were sick and tired of wearing uniforms so they deliberately abjured suits as much as possible.

        (Personally, I suspect that the development of fiberglass batt insulation going into all those new Levittown suburban houses had something to do with that. If Dad didn’t have to wear jacket and vest to stay warm reading the paper in the living room anymore, he wasn’t going to.)

        1. Cars too. Men stopped wearing hats in the 1960s and 70s because they were never outside walking around to get to work etc. No need for a hat inside your car.

          1. Mmf. As a gentleman who prefers to wear a good hat, I still prefer to blame that bastard Kennedy.


            1. Nothing to do with being outside. Most women were inside all the time but they wore bonnets. Look, it was being able to wash your hair more often (hot water on tap.) so less risk of lice. The hats/bonnets were a barrier.

              1. Isn’t that what macassar oil was for? Lice? (I broke down and looked up antimacassar once, because I was writing ‘your Auntie Macassar’ for a bit of comedy and thought I’d better be sure I knew what the real thing was.)

                When did hair oil go out of fashion? 1960s?

                  1. Did you know that They are quietly taking coal-tar shampoos off the market? I heard that somewhere the other day.

                    I always thought the powder was to keep the wig white. One never thinks of lice these days, but they are certainly still out there.

                    1. Kalifornia has banned Gopher Gassers. 😦

                      They’re cardboard tubes about 6″ long, 3/4″ diameter packed with a very low grade of gunpowder. They’re used to smoke out gophers, moles, rats, skunks and other vermin from holes and under buildings. I’ve got a shed with skunks under it, and I can’t get Gopher Gassers anywhere in the state.

                      It’s as bad as “You can only buy electric cars, but you can’t charge them.”

                    2. Assuming the law says “can’t sell”, not “can’t use”, go to Amazon and search on:

                      Atlas Giant Destroyer 00333 Gas Bomb

                      Worked for me.

          2. As fedora lover / wearer, I’ll note that car safety requiring a headrest made driving in a full brimed hat less comfortable as the back keeps rubbing on the headrest.

            1. Yes, that. Also subcompact cars with less headroom don’t have enough vertical space to comfortably wear a hat.

              1. Of course if they became stylish they would accommodate them. I learned that folding chairs used to accommodate storing a hat under the seat… oh I wish they would come back into fashion so it would be more convenient to be a hat wearing gentleman…

  5. Eras are not all of a piece. In material terms the last 2 and 1/2 years have been a pull back from the greatest, most amazing, historically unthinkable golden era of all, but we are still materially doing vastly better than our ancestors, and if the increasingly obvious results of top down control move us back away from the left’s vision, the last few years will be well worth the pain.

    Socially things are a bit different, and I think that may be the real source of the angst in our society. The tremendous wealth we have created, and the technical marvels that we have made so affordable that they have become commonplace, have removed most of the immediate negative feedback that supported long term decision making. In times past bad things happened to you relatively quickly if you gave up long term goals for short term indulgences. That made self discipline more obviously valuable.

    Today you can withdraw from your friends and family without finding yourself immediately lonely and bored. After all, you can just do what I am doing now and poor out your thoughts to people you have never met. Or you can just immediately find a new circle to hang out with by jumping into another MMO, or an online hobby. You can let yourself go physically, and since you drive everywhere, never have to carry anything heavier than a grocery bag, and have air conditioning you won’t experience any real discomfort until you have gone a very long way down that path.

    Now don’t get me wrong, these are all very good things. More options are better than fewer options. The problem is that we haven’t really figured out as either individuals, or as a society, how to retain the necessary human virtues while enjoying the bounty those virtues provided. I think we are in the same sort of transitional era as occurred at the outset of the Industrial revolution (and probably at the dawn of agriculture). We eventually figured those out, and we will figure this out as well. But in the meantime there will be angst.

    1. I’m thinking that is going to be the real challenge of our age, figuring out how to retain the necessary parts of interpersonal contact, without giving up the vast global networking system we’ve developed.

      While I’ll admit, I do miss the romantisism of eating mullberries fresh from the tree every fall, I don’t do that sort of thing these days because I prefer to explore fantastical lands with that time instead. There’s an addiction risk there, true, but I’m not going to miss having to wait to have the tongue bind fixed until I was four and it was a significant surgery. Both our little ones had it, and these days they’re able to spot it and fix it basically hours after birth, when it’s just a quick clip, and they don’t have to live of pudding and painkillers for a week.

      But I also regret my generation never did things like the Friday Afternoon Recreation Troop my folks’ generation did.

  6. Ummm… 😀

    ‘sand to the Lord’ — Devotion through furniture refinishing?

    ‘centralized “fee” medicine’ — You got that right.

    ‘center-out, up-down government control’ — I’ve seen very little ‘up’ about it.

    Hey, you know me and Typo Puns. 😛

    The primary accomplishments of 0bamacare have been to force 10,000 doctors and nurses out of medicine, and bring in 50,000 bureaucrats; and to take health care decisions from doctors and patients, to be made by administrators instead. Doctors spend their time filling out government forms while bureaucrats play doctor. It’s obscene.
    Under socialized medicine, each patient incurs expenses which end when the patient dies. In private practice, each patient provides profits which end when the patient dies. Which patient would YOU rather be?

    1. “Hey, you know me and Typo Puns. 😛”

      I lean more toward Type O blood.

      Just another, typical, day in paradise!

            1. I thought that was the tournament in Harry Potter.

              How about “verbalistic” – had to look that up – it relates to most folks here,
              ver·bal·ist (vûr′bə-lĭst)
              1. One skilled in the use of words.
              2. One who favors words over ideas or substance.

              A little more (1) then (2), in my observation.

              Singing bass? Talking carp?

  7. “That’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” — Garrison Keillor, voice of State Media

          1. And watch for the girl carrying a load of wood? Sounds good to me… 🙂

            (Actually, it would have sounded good to me 50 years ago. Now it would kill me, if my wife didn’t.)

    1. One of the realizations that really put me off Garrison Keillor, and listening to Prairie Home Companion (which I had really enjoyed, back in the day) was becoming aware that GK had created this intimate picture of a lovely small town, with interesting and quirky people, and all kinds of home-grown wisdom … but in real life, he despised the real people of small-town fly-over-country America. He despised them so deeply, that I think he couldn’t hide it any more; the hate was just choking him.

  8. It might be different messaging for different generations, but when I was growing up (90s-early 00s, and getting mature enough to really pay attention right around the financial crisis), the prevailing attitude was that the good old days were long past, and if you didn’t like it than sucks to suck, you should have scheduled your own birth better. Even that was probably an exagerated lie.

  9. Few things I retain from my economics degree–people respond to incentives and there is always allocation of scarce goods either by markets, government, or some kind of muddle in between. So, you get consistent arguments through the ages about fairness in allocation versus efficiency. Markets are very efficient in allocation but no so good in what regular people believe is ‘fairness’. Government allocation is not that efficient but a wise government uses rule of law to guide allocation decisions which results in greater societal buy in of ‘fairness’.

    As a thought experiment already conducted by dear old RAH, how would you and yours act if suddenly medical treatment was available to help you live a lifespan at least double or triple of that today in good health–but it would be extremely expensive–say one billion dollars per person treated. How would you allocate that scarce good? Lottery?, Wealth?, Political power? etc.

    1. So, you get consistent arguments through the ages about fairness in allocation versus efficiency.

      I’ve noticed that those folks screaming “it isn’t fair!” usually mean that they didn’t get the amount of whatever that they believe is the correct amount for themselves. Not that the resource/product wasn’t divided evenly. Things are fair for progressives as long as the distribution is unequal in their favor.

        1. Yes, or of a mental child. Demanding the government take care of your problems – debt relief, ability to finance a home, paying for your healthcare – all of the same things a parent would do for a child. These types refuse to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. They aren’t necessarily full-on psychologically diagnosable narcissists (close, yes), as much as they are fearful children.

      1. They’re chronological adults who never grew out of being spoiled children. Spoiled children who throw temper tantrums and pout and rage when you don’t pamper them and cater to their whims. Who know, inside, that they have no center, no morals, no well of stable self-worth, so the demand grows ever shriller that it’s not enough for them to accept them you must love them, and reflect them as the people they want to be.

        1. I’m not convinced that they do know that; that would require at least semi-mature introspection, which is far from their strong suit.

      2. To paraphrase a bit from a favorite movie
        “Who said life is Fair? Anyone that tells you that is trying to sell you something”
        And more likely that someone is trying to take something you have that they feel they should have. For Fairness sake of course…

    2. The rich, the powerful, and the connected, of course. The Global Elitists. When has it ever been otherwise? Evil bastards like Soros and MaligNancy would be first in line.

  10. I guess it’s just human nature to romanticize the past, especially the past when we were kids or the past we’ve seen in fiction or pictures. We remember the good times and forget the bad times…except if you’re a natural pessimist and depressive like me, I guess. But even so, the Fifties weren’t all tailfins and poodle skirts and nuclear families and boundless optimism. The past is never as good as you remember, and probably wasn’t as bad as you remember either.

    It’s like, I wouldn’t turn down a classic ’57 Bel Air…but I might leave most of the outside appearance and restomod it with a modern engine and suspension so it can actually go and stop and turn like a newer car. A classic shell with modern technology.

    But as far off the rails as society seems to have gone, especially the past few years, I can definitely see people pining for what they think is a simpler time.

        1. To a certain extent I’m with you there. However come the zombie apocalypse, or 4 more years of democrats, I can repair and maintain a carborated, manual transmissioned box or bed on wheels but lack the skills to keep a rig with the mother of all boards, autotrannied, no matter how sweetly fuel injected rig rolling.

          Even today, here around North Pole and Fairbanks, it’s a two weeks to a month -r even more wait to get an auto shop to do most repairs on a rig.

          1. “it’s a two weeks to a month -r even more wait to get an auto shop to do most repairs on a rig.”

            Which is why I don’t know that “running away to the country” is going to be the option lots of people think. We have huge chunks of things, even in small towns, that are utterly dependent on a city based “spoke and hub” supply chain. So one way or the other the Greens are going to get that reduced auto usage, as an example, because lots of things won’t be repairable without those non-local resources.

          2. The Reader thinks the sweet spot for automotive electronics was the late 90’s. When the Reader took his 99 Civic in for the obligatory 80K mile timing belt change he got a call from the shop while it was there. The mechanic (who the Reader trusted) told him he thought the Reader should have them put new plugs in it. When asked why he said they were burned to a nub. The Reader looked at them when he picked up the car and couldn’t figure how the car was running, much less getting normal gas mileage. The high voltage electronic ignition adjusted the timing as the plugs wore to keep the car running correctly.

            Admittedly the Reader’s current F150 scares the crap out of him with all of the electronics in it.

          3. Maybe the Reader should tell that story. His first car was a 75 Plymouth Duster. The slant 6 block and the 3 speed auto transmission were indestructible, everything else not so much. Anyway, the car had about 55K miles on it when it started flooding and stalling on left turns and the gas mileage fell by about 15%. The Reader got a rebuild kit and steam cleaned and rebuilt the carburetor. Problem fixed. It came back 2 weeks later. The Reader repeated the process, taking extra care to ensure every gasket was seated and every jet adjusted. Problem fixed. Again it came back 2 weeks later. At this point the Reader was mildly annoyed. He went to parts shop and got a rebuilt carburetor. Problem fixed and never returned.

            About a year later the Reader was describing this to a mechanic friend who laughed when I finished. He had seen the problem a lot in his shop. In 75 to save a few cents, Chrysler had switched the carburetor floats from hollow metal to some poly-carbonate crap. After a few years the cell structure broke down and the floats didn’t float any more. The result with the slant 6 engine was the overfilled carburetor bowl poured gas straight into the intake manifold and flooded the engine when you made a left turn. When you made a right turn the gas spilled out of the bowl onto the exhaust manifold, vaporizing it and in rare cases causing a fire. The rebuilt carburetor the Reader bought had metal floats and rebuild kits didn’t include floats…

            1. Wow, that sounds creepily like what might have been wrong with our family’s 1976 Dodge Aspen when I was a kid. It too would stall out making left turns, but ours was an LA-block 318 V8 instead of the indestructible 225 Slant Six. That Aspen was the biggest turd ever to come out of Detroit. We had it about a year. It accumulated three recall notices and, according to my dad, averaged 12.2 miles per gallon. He ditched it and bought a 1977 Toyota Corona. My mom had badgered him into buying the Aspen because she wanted something bigger than the Toyota we had, but of course after it damn near got her (and me!) killed a couple times by stalling on the morning school run, she took no blame and pinned it all on my dad.

              Funny thing was, my dad’s brother bought a matching Aspen at the same exact time, except his was the Slant Six. That thing was bulletproof for 20+ years…never a single problem with it until it rusted out. I guess his was a Monday car and ours was a Friday car.

              1. Love those old cars from the 1970s. As I remember, the knocking resulted from the big change of octanes during he energy crisis back then. One future county sheriff in my book drives an old high mileage, antique 1979 Chevy Malibu patrol car with a 350 cubic inch V8 engine and supercharged 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor. The gasoline in the future is so bad, he has to visit the local moonshiner for some octane boost. LOL

              2. The Reader never understood why the Aspen was such a piece of crap. A friend of his had a 77 wagon and the Reader spent 2 days tinkering with it to try to get it to run better. Defeating some of the new antipollution vacuum system helped some, as did retarding the timing a couple of degrees but it still never performed like my parents 68 and 71 Plymouth Furies which had the same engine.

                1. I think the answer may be simpler than you might expect. My experience was with SAAB vehicles but I suspect the issues were similar. With the SAAB cars you DID NOT want one that had been finished on a Friday or started on a Monday. The Swedish workers (or at least a fair number) had a real tendency to phone it in on Friday in a rush to get to the weekend and then go on a bender all weekend returning with the hangover from hell on Monday. Rumor was manufacturing dates were encoded in the VIN. The US issue was slightly different, but also applied to the parts suppliers. Some days they made things that met the specs precisely, some days barely, occasionally not at all. When you have several thousand parts that make up an item if you if you roll snake eyes a bunch of times in the part choice you end up with a lemon. Mr Demming noted this and came up with ways to control/fix this, but Ford and others ignored his strategies, they’d been doing this production line thing for 50 years and thought they knew better. Japan was in the late 50’s early 60’s notorious for producing cheap junk that was effectively disposable (kind of Like China today). Companys like Sony, Toyota, Nissan and Honda listened and applied some of that (culturally suited to match their workers) and all of a sudden things got better. The lousy undependable early 70’s Honda became the mid 80s Honda Accord with dependability and nice fit and finish that sold for list or a bit more due to demand. US manufacturing thrashed about a bit for example the GM Numi alliance with Toyota and the Saturn experiment. Ford picked up some of Demmings ideas but did NOT try to really involve or motivate the workers mostly due to squabbling with the unions who had gotten used to fat paychecks and benefits for just showing up. The cars got somewhat better (it would be HARD to be worse than say a 1980 Citation or a Late 70’s Ford Grenada or Pinto ), but even that progress was swamped by a variety of mistakes.

                2. I think you ran afoul of Chrysler’s ‘electronic lean burn’ system, an attempt to boost gas mileage to meet government ‘standards’. It was said to be particularly heinous on the 318.
                  When Eric Swalwell farted on camera, it was the most intelligent thing heard from a Democrat all day.

                  1. Yeah. Japan’s national quality award is named after an American who is one of the founders of scientific quality control/assurance. Our national quality award is named after a bureaucrat.

      1. I just saw an article a day or two ago about a teenage girl in, I think Florida, who has a thriving business cleaning and refurbishing old carburetors. I’m not entirely sure she could get away with it as an adult, by the time you factor in taxes, environmental permits, and EEOC employment restrictions, but for now, I’m going to applaud her entrepreneurial spirit.

    1. Ah, the fifties. When lots of people had outhouses instead of indoor plumbing, Driving While Black was a crime in many areas, and a broken neck or broken back was a death sentence. Polio epidemics swept the US and the rest of the world, killing many and crippling no few of the survivors. (The first vaccine was developed in 1956)

      The cars ran so dirty the exhaust left a visible hazy smog that set asthmatics choking where they idled (Back then, you waited much longer after the car had passed before you walked behind where it had been), and the corrupt machine politics in Chicago, Detroit, and other parts of the country were rampant. The first attempt to root out the cancer that is still killing us now, communism, was labelled McCarthyism, and the progressives fought back and sucessfully blackened the name of those trying to fight them. Scandals in the IRS blew open wide, the FBI was used as a political weapon against anyone opposing the power of the state, and the media was revealed to be corrupt in the quiz show scandals.

      …And the campus groups were advocating the glories of international communism under Soviet control, and the Rosenbergs were giving information to the USSR instead of the Confucius Institutes and wholesale theft and spying for the CCP today.

      Halcyon, eh?

      1. So… Much like today, but with so much more pollution, and even more central control. And without personal computers and independent media.

        I do have childhood nostalgia — my childhood was awesome — but I do NOT want to go back to those times as an adult. Sure, I’d love to be younger and stronger, but not at the price of living in the 70s/80s/90s again. Especially not knowing what I know now. It’d be hell. (Although if I did go back knowing what I know now, I’d be getting laid on the regular and enjoying the hell out of it, so there is that…) 🙂

    2. I think its also important to remember the Theory of Human Relativity. Our viewpoint and frame of reference influences our memories and thoughts. As a child, the world seemed so big, but as an adult, the same places we were living as a child seem so small. Same thing goes with time. Those endless days of boredom as a child transitioned to an ever faster pace of life as an adult. As the years go by, time seems to speed up to the point there is never enough time to get anything done! Animals are the same way… Those 7 years of a dog per human year means they are living seven times as fast. I swear, my dog is a lot faster than I am when I try to pull the toy from its mouth! LOL

      1. “Our viewpoint and frame of reference influences our memories and thoughts.”

        Yep. And the import of that is summed up in two maxims:

        You can’t go home again.
        You can’t step in the same river twice.

        I had a great time as a boy growing up in the ’50s and spending all my summers, and most weekends, running around the woods, fishing, crabbing and just generally screwing off out in “the country”. The rules were basically “Don’t drown”, “Don’t break any bones”, and “Be home for lunch and supper”; pure heaven, for a boy. Maybe the lack of responsibility had something to do with it…? 🙂

        1. There is also that a lot of the inconveniences and bad things were just “normal” and therefore accepted.
          I mean, I wore wool clothes a lot, and wool makes me break out. But that was just NORMAL.

    3. David Halberstam may or may not be a mendacious SOB when it comes to Vietnam, but I found his The Fifties to be a good overview. The decade was hardly the semi-static period of good economic times plus cultural stability that people think.

  11. It may just be that around my birthday and the winter holidays I suffer from a twinge of depression and melancholy, legacy of a troubled childhood, but I am not optimistic for our chances of a recovery absent a significant amount of pain, suffering, and bloodshed.
    Government, be it democracy, republic, autocracy, oligarchy, whatever. All government is a cancer upon the body of the citizens. Left to itself it infects every aspect of their lives, growing tendrils and latching on with hooks and anchors driven deep into society. Always striving to grow larger and more secure, protecting its members at the expense of all else.
    We are now by all accounts at the stage where the infection is rapidly eating its own having taken everything it can from the citizens it feeds upon.
    The disease that is government will not relinquish its hold on the body if feeds upon, and will react violently at every attempt to reign it back. We see this daily as our government, supposedly our elected representatives, lie repeatedly to the public, cheat and embezzle funds intended for the public good only to feather their own nests, cut deals with foreign agents totally against the best interests of the country, the list goes on and on.
    Face it, our government is behaving like it owns us, not only that, but as though we are its draft animals and they will beat us into submission wresting the last gasp of effort and value from us before casting us aside. And you can only treat someone like that for so long before they turn on their abuser and strike back in self defense.
    The mainstream media and the left, but I repeat myself, seem to be anticipating the right rising up in a second civil war. And they may very well get their wish, starting with spontaneous and ill conceived protests such as that January kerfuffle, but once a tipping point is reached I fear and expect they will wake up to discover what it’s like to have open season declared on their sorry selves.
    And I may just be having a bad day, it’s common with ancient curmudgeons like myself.

    1. Open season? With a bounty? Depending on the level (higher for upper-level bureaucrats, etc.) or on the degree of difficulty (higher for militarized response teams, etc.)?

    2. So, something to brighten your day, you remember how those big money funds were buying up houses in lot batches the last few years? Turns out they were doing them on variable rate loans…

      Then: Commercial Investors Are Sucking Up All American Housing! Now: They’re Losing Their Shirts! « Lawrence Person’s BattleSwarm Blog

      I mean, it’s going to be messy, but couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people, either.

      1. History may not repeat but the real estate market always does. The same thing happened to the Japanese who went heavily into US real estate in the 80’s. Foreign investors missed the ‘it’s a trap’ sign again.

      2. Which probably explains why the Fed isn’t pulling a Volcker yet. If they raise the rates enough to stop inflation, their cronies take a bath; if inflation continues, no one is buying or able to afford rent.

        1. Yeah, but if they don’t, they’re looking at a major currency crisis too, so if they keep trying to glide down the middle, they will likely end up splitting the baby instead.

            1. No, they are trying the “squirrel in the road” option.

              With about the same likely outcome.

              Assuming they do not switch to “armadillo in the road”

              Or with this bunch the “Wyle E Coyote in the road” option.


              1. Actually, your options are the likely result, so everyone should be ready. (but I think most people on this forum are ready. 🙂 When a building is collapsing, gravity always wins! (disclaimer: unless you are not on this planet!)

          1. As the Reader looks back over 60 some years he is not sure he would pick any time out of that span as a ‘golden age’. He can’t say that his parents would either. They were grateful for what they had (as is the Reader) but the last hundred years or so have had their share of turmoil. Looking back, the Reader sees a mixed bag of progress and regression. As Sarah notes the biggest fallacy of that span is that ‘the government did it’, whatever it was. And in some cases the government did have a hand but even then no one considers what the outcome would have been without the government meddling – Bell Labs comes to mind.

            1. I know my folks got hit hard by stagflation. They were buying a house right at the end of the 70’s, and rates were not low, and the market crashed not long after that. Despite my old man being an extreme saver, they were always running on tight margins.

              And in part because my parents were extremely unlucky in their timing, we’ve ended up extremely lucky, sliding into some fairly narrow windows when it was possible to get established before prices on stuff exploded and before routes in got cut off through quotas and DIE took over everything.

              1. My folks paid $35k for the house mom still live in, in 1963. Bought the lot, built the house, a good portion of it sweat equity. Don’t know what the interest rate was. More than our current 3.37% rate. The house has a flat roof because they didn’t have the money to put in rafters and a slope roof (given Willamette Valley, that was a problem once, in almost 60 years, 1969 snow, roof wasn’t built for 50″ of wet snow and ice).

                We’ve hit the housing lotto, kind of now, but only now. House we bought in 1980 we couldn’t give away when force transferred out of that area. It was another 4 years, after moving, before we could sell it (because building stopped cold during those 4 years). Even then we only got what we paid for it + cost of enlarged deck and cover + fresh up to get it sold. Made out like bandits on taxes (rented it out) with it, but actual cash out VS cash in, not so much. We did luck out with a rental locally while we rented our own home that we couldn’t sell. Four cats and a large dog in a rental, no deposit for us or pets? Dang right we lucked out. But that wasn’t happening again when it sold from under us. We crossed our fingers to buy. Knowing two mortgages we got lucky on the cost of the house. Interest rate however, not so much (13.5% variable with 5 year balloon). We whittled down the latter to the current 3.37% rate. House has quadrupled or more in possible market value. Sounds good? Right? Not so fast. Sure we could sell for a lot, but we’d have to turn around and buy for that or more. Guarantied our property taxes will skyrocket. Note, we could go somewhere and save money … problem is we don’t want to got to those locations (seriously, no, locally we call heavy humidity … Rain). Meanwhile we have a house plan we love. Not happening.

                As far as a golden age? Over the last 44 years we have been married, we’ve seen a number of national to local economic downturn. Everyone of them has affected us one way or another. Every single one has been a financial struggle to tread the financial waters and not have it take us down … Until the current one. Oh the ficus plant and company could still take us down. I can’t speculate on how bad they could make it. What they could try to take.

        2. There’s also the national debt. Congress enjoyed twelve years under Obama and Trump of 0% interest rates. Borrow money, and don’t pay interest on it. It’d be nice if I could do that. That’s no longer the case. And every time the rates go up, the interest payments go up as well. Congress likely doesn’t pay attention to the principal. But the interest needs to be paid, or else the bonds won’t sell.

          1. OTOH, we owe most of it to China, so if they get too uppity, some “bright” critter with striped pants might try to cancel it by fiat…

            1. Regardless of who holds the debt, future creditors will be harder to find if any of it gets cancelled. That will cause problems for the government’s profligate borrowing

              1. Yeah… About that, look at Brazil… They did exactly that, nationalized private property of foreigners, and still managed to stay in business. Never overestimate the morality or intelligence of financiers.

                Then, too, China’s own finances are pretty shoddy…

                  1. The financial equivalent of “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”? 🙂

                    Or, as I recall reading somewhere a couple of decades ago, the “book value” of all the real estate in Tokyo totaling more than the GDP of every first-world nation at the time, combined?

                    Smoke and mirrors are transparent by comparison.

            2. We don’t owe most of it to China. The vast majority of the debt is held by social security and private pensions. China holds about 3% of it. Since the Chinese yuan is essentially domestic scrip, their holdings of US treasuries are the sole backing of their currency. Selling it would absolutely destroy their economy,. Not impossible given he lunatics in charge over their, but not likely either.

              Just sayin.

        1. I get the impression that Ian thinks if he’s a big enough asshole we’ll leave or shut up.

          Ain’t happening.

          1. I get the impression that Ian thinks if he’s a big enough asshole we’ll leave or shut up.

            To skinsuits, yes.

            The both of you should consider yourselves miraculously lucky: all you are getting is mean words on the internet in a war or words. In earlier times you would have been summarily executed for cowardice and your families would have to bear the shame of your actions for decades.

            1. Don’t worry, I’m sure that Any Day Now the feds are going to kill those who don’t agree with them and worse yet offer evidence against their claims.




              1. I have to give The Enemy credit for one thing; they are really good at suborning their opponents to get them to mouth propaganda while still thinking they are on the side they were always on.

                1. You mean like today?

                  Wonder how many “bad apples” this took?


                  “First Amendment attorney Harmeet Dhillon confirmed that she was aware of at least some of these cases. Dhillon appeared with Tucker Carlson. She said that there had been a reporter reaching out asking if search warrants or subpoenas had been served on some 50 people. Dhillon confirmed to Tucker Carlson that search warrants or subpoenas had been served on three clients of hers — one of whom had their phone seized. The federal grand jury subpoenas were broad asking for any communications from October 2020, a month before the election to two months after the election. The subpoenas sought communications related to certification, fraud in the election, alternate electors, anything related to the rally before the Jan. 6 riot, and any communications related to the Save America PAC.”

              1. Hey youngster if denigrating me helps you get through the day, go for it, it doesn’t bother me none.

                Really if it helps you cope feel free to do so.

                1. In typical fashion the doomer’s only response to anything is to accuse the other person of being too young.

                  It would be tragic and worthy of pity, if they weren’t actively working for the enemy.

                  1. Please:

                    Define “doomer”
                    Define “working for”
                    Define “enemy”
                    Show the evidence that your assertions relate to reality.


    1. Jim, you’re about my late father’s age. Tell me, how many of your elementary classmates and your cousins died as children?

      Guess how many of my kids’ friends and acquaintances have died UNDER age 80? All six of my kids together (who range from 7yo to 19yo) have fewer than the fingers of both hand. Not 18, 80.

      Golden Age. Right. When my mother still remembers the names of children she knew who died before she was eight, of diseases that children don’t catch anymore or that are easily treated with modern medicine. The youngest person my seven-year-old (eight tomorrow) knows who died was her 83 year old grandfather.

  12. I must say I did not love my childhood. Probably the single worst thing about it was having to go to school, where I was the odd kid who didn’t fit in and where none of the schoolwork was any challenge or held any interest. The fifties, when I was a child, were a time when adjustment to society was the standard definition of mental health, and wow, was I ill suited to that milieu . . .

    1. a time when adjustment to society was the standard definition of mental health

      Which is a good encapsulation of everything that was wrong about it.

      It is little wonder that the Soviets chose mental health as the low hanging fruit for defining opposition out of existence.

      1. Eh, they went with mental health because their thing was breaking the social adjustment– so then when folks opposed them, if they could scream louder, then they can get anybody for Doing It Wrong.

  13. This is where I recommend Century of the Self, the three-part documentary that was on… I think the BBC?

    Really fascinating (and terrifying) stuff about culture changes and how we ended up where we are.

  14. The “expert” probably had something to do with the really bad situations being fixed by someone who had the authority to say “no, we’re NOT doing it your way, we’re doing it THIS way” and it worked.

    Kind of like how the “young kid is amazingly effective” type story. (Which is also largely nonsense, at least as told.)

  15. Were the ’60’s a golden age? There were certainly advantages, the buying power of the average blue collar American family was VERY high as even 20 years later Europe and Japan were still sticking themselves back together from WWII. Small town things were simple mostly because the towns were effectively small interrelated tribes. Things were starting to shift underneath though. Low to mid cost manufacturing was moving out of the Northeast as things flowed towards the South to places with right to work and lower cost of living. Places like Connecticut were seeing lots of motion out of the small regional cities to the suburbs changing the nature of those suburbs. In 1961 when I was born my hometown had a population of ~2.5-3K. Of those 3K people I was probably related (though usually 2nd cousin or more distant) to perhaps 1/3 to half. It was primarily Protestant, white and of British/ English descent. By the end of the decade it was ~5K with many of the newcomers of Irish, Italian and Portuguese ancestry. And it went from mainly craft and factory labor to predominantly factory laborers with some white (and pink) collar jobs. It was predictable and boring , the big excitement was the summer people that nearly doubled the population and the Church fair that went for nearly a week on the town green. We avoided the excitement of the various summer riots and watched Hartford and New Haven have major issues (though not like Newark) with some trepidation. Certainly if you were an 5-10 year old kid it was idyllic, although you better behave as if somebody saw you do something you shouldn’t your parents (and likely grandparents) would know before you got home and if the person who caught you hadn’t read you the riot act (and tanned your backside) you could bet Mom was going to,

    I suspect my Girls would find living here in the suburbs nearly as pleasant though with less freedom but more anonymity.

  16. With regard to governments stifling innovation and generally producing worse outcomes than private industry, there are a couple of illustrative examples where government and private practice were directly competing with each other.

    The more modern such example is the space program after the Shuttle. SpaceX (mainly, with others in a more minor role) has far outstripped the launch capabilities of the government space program. And it doesn’t matter which government space program you point at – SpaceX is just about to the point of outdoing them all put together. Meanwhile NASA, with Artemis and the SLS, is tied to the use of old technology due to the government’s desire to save money in the short term and spread the work around to as many voting districts as possible.

    The older example I have in mind comes from England in the 1920s. Dirigibles were the coming thing in international air transport, and England authorized the construction of two of them – the R100 and R101. The R100 was to be designed and built by a private company (Vickers, Ltd., as it happened), and the R101 was to be a government project. Both airships were experimental, testing new technologies in several areas. The R100 was a fairly successful design although it had several problems that were overcome in testing; the R101 was plagued by cost overruns, design changes, and performance problems that resulted in it not being nearly as capable as planned.

    The R100 successfully completed its trial flights, including an international flight across the Atlantic to Canada and back. The R101 crashed on its first long-distance international flight, killing the majority of the people on board. When looking at the history of each project, it becomes apparent that the R100’s relative success was due to the private company’s ability to make necessary changes when a design element failed to work. The government project was not able to do so when needed due to political considerations.

    This brief description is, of course, highly simplified. I think that it still provides a useful contrast between the capabilities of private industry and government management.

    1. I’ll note two things. First, the Artemis issue with ssme is not too different to the whole b52 cerp. You can’t take savings over 10 years to justify the cost outlay even if it’ll pay for itself 5 times over. And tbh ssme are understood and have a good record. The issue is the focus on perfection (that doesn’t happen) rather than iterative testing, cowboy engineering like SpaceX.

      Second, Empire of the sky. Not gonna try a YouTube link but a personal project of a certain heavy metal singer and pilot.

        1. Build it, blow up spectacularly, repeat. High speed, high risk, high reward. As opposed to the idea of slow iterations because you do cautious tests.

          1. OK. But IMHO cowboy engineering was responsible for more advancements than all the NASA-style projects in history. Plus more spectacular blowups and mass deaths, of course, but mostly among volunteers who knew the risks. How many supersonic attempts, with debris scattered all over the desert, before Chuck Yeager made it, for instance. Let the ones taking the risks decide.

            (As you might imagine, I oppose mandatory motorcycle helmets and seat belts, although I personally wear both.)

            1. Wasn’t intended as derogatory. Try, fail, try again with what you learned is a better route for when you are push the bleeding edge. If it’s done intelligently it is even relatively safe, although it also can result in mission creep and loss of life because its just a little bit more pushing the envelope than last time.

              But it has a bigger cost in the view of the bean counters and pr folks, though and outside of the handful of oligarchs who self finance thosecare the people in control. Thats why Hollywood just does sequels and reboots, why general products all just undergo marginal improvements when controlled by a few companies, and so on. It’s also why we shut down for 2 weeks, wanting to play things safe and say we did everything we could to prevent bad endings. But we’ve gotten people thinking that following the checkbooks and computer models is safe.

              1. “Wasn’t intended as derogatory.”
                OK, thanks for the clarification.

                “…in the view of the bean counters and pr folks…”
                IMHO one of the problems with society today is the seemingly-endless quest for the “perfectly safe” combined with allowing bean counters and safetycrats to make unchallengeable operational decisions in work environments which are inherently expensive and/or unsafe. OSHA seems to have become “helicopter parents” writ large.

  17. I think you are being unfair to those remember better days in society. Until the sexual revolution, the rise of no-fault divorce, and the disintegration of families promoted by government welfare, the stable two-parent family with children with the father as primary breadwinner and mother as primary caretaker was the norm. After the stagflation of the 1970s, it became far more difficult to support a family on only one income. The norm wasn’t universal and wasn’t perfect, but it was what most people of the older generation grew up with. Along with recognizing the technological innovations and discoveries that have made life better in some respects, I believe it is also important to recognize that multiple cultural and social changes really have made it worse in others.

    1. If honestly recognizing differences were what people were doing they wouldn’t be playing the golden age card.

      Even if we restrict to only “family issues”, the wasteland of traumatized soldiers coming back and either completely checking out of raising their kids, or beating their families to a pulp, is something the golden age cultists refuse to address.

      Especially given that it lead directly to the horrors they decry so much.

      1. I didn’t say perfect. I don’t know how many military fathers came home and tried to raise their families like an old-style drill sergeant (crush their individualism and rebuild a cohesive unit), but I knew of a few. I also know of some who employed much sounder methods of discipline they learned in the military. I also knew of a few mothers who were “Beat the devil out of your misbehaving kids”, which has little to do with combat trauma.

        But compare this to the modern wasteland of broken families, overworked parents too busy to know what their few children are doing, let alone being taught, and unrelenting pressure for irresponsible sexual behavior, and I’m still not sure it was worse back then.

        1. Born in December 1959, so my memories are competing with what really happened.

          Now, perhaps in error, I look at America’s heartland, at America’s small towns anywhere, and I see the life I lived as a kid. Again, from a kid’s perspective, so the markers for my memory are what I see: Families, families, families, kids, kids, kids, churches, police officers, people speaking to each other over backyard fences, people greeting each other on the street, stopping to talk in the grocery store. Things that work. Things that are clean. Things that are cherished, and are beautiful. Flowers. Memorials.

          It’s like the 50s and 60s kept going more in small towns. But again, this is the way it feels and may not reflect what’s happening or has happened.

          And my my childhood was difficult, so this isn’t coming from a rosy place.

        2. NOTE: You’re misjudging modern families. There aren’t that many broken families. (The 50% was always bullshit, let me rub Fox’s lamp here.) And the parents who are checked out are probably about the same number that used to beat kids to a pulp. I know a lot of young families breaking themselves in two to do the best for the kids.
          So unless you’re talking welfare cases….

          1. :laughs: I go elephant child on the stat just once….

            Actually, a couple of times, but still!

            Short version is, you can sometimes get close to 50% of official divorces stat compared to recorded marriages if you look at recorded marriages, and compare to records of divorce– which include common law marriages dissolving, and the issue of “they divorced in different states of record.” (Remember, if you married elsewhere, your marriage isn’t in this record.)

            For a slightly more sane stat, check page six of this record:

            Click to access p70-125.pdf

            “percent of ever married women who are divorced”.

            ONE of them goes anywhere near 50.

            It’s women from 40-50, a decade and change ago, so …the “I have minor discontent, I am required to divorce” folks.

            Note, the several folks I know who married their ex and stuck to it?

            All in that demo…..

            1. (“Steelmanning”, presuming the 50% stat were actually valid.) One thing the “50% of marriages end in divorce” thing neglects is the serial marriers (marryers? Shut up Autocorrect, one of those is a word). It’s the difference between “marriages” and “people who marry”. For every person like the late Elizabeth Taylor who was married eight times, and divorced eight times, there have to be eight couples that did not divorce for the 50% to hold.

              1. :does metal hands and grins rather ferally, though with sadness:

                That’s the poison pill in the link from the CDC– you have to get up to…. from memory, like 30, 40 years to hit 50% of first marriages end.

                Only for women.

                …. it’s death.

              2. Not as dramatic as Miz Taylor, but BIL has been married 3x’s (divorce twice), his wife is on her 4th marriage (3 divorces). They’ve now been married 25 years. I have a cousin whose marriage track record is worse (I think divorced 5 times now, I’ve lost track). I know someone else who has been married 3 times, but divorce 0 times (spouses died). Even the current husband isn’t in the best health (well state doesn’t call it marriage, technically they are one of those who did the “partner”/”commitment” ceremonies VS marriage).

          2. There are a lot more welfare cases now than there were when I was a child, and yes, the worst rates of family breakage are among the urban poor…which are disproportionately black, which partly accounts for the high black-on-black crime rates: Yes, I know observing this is considered racist, but it’s not race, it’s culture. In defense of fathers, the statistics are that the perpetrators of abuse are far less often the father than the unrelated live-in boyfriend, and I suspect it has always been so.

                  1. And if the quotes I’ve read, supposedly from Lyndon Baines Jockstrap, are accurate, that is definitely a feature, not a bug. Dependents vote for their meal ticket.

      2. Ian, I’m interested in learning more about the soldiers returning, and what happened in their families. Can you recommend any sites/links/information that would help me grasp what really happened?
        I’m nearly 63, so I’ve got childhood memories competing with what really happened.
        Thanks in advance.

        1. It’s just putting a lot of little observations together. And it was a friend who pointed out that enormous cost imposed on several generations for Wilson’s and FDR’s little adventures.

        2. I can suggest a book – The Great Santini – Pat Conroy. According to Conroy, his mother hated the story and his dad thought it was great.

        3. Just off my own reading of the subject, and this isn’t exactly a secret among the Huns who know me, my Vietnam veteran stepfather brought his unresolved issues from his long military career, and time served over there, into the household which led to me having psychological abuse from him on one hand and even more from public school on the other when I was a kid. I wonder how I made it to where I am now sometimes.

            1. It happens, and he has my sympathy. But, like school shooters are not typical of gun owners, abusive veterans are not typical of veterans. Every definable group has not-so-sterling examples, available at need for those with less-than-stellar agendas (and no, I’m not claiming any here are in that category).

              1. Completely agree. The vast majority are like the men who trained me in Basic: very good men, loving, competent.

                1. To be clear: I’m including all the guys who came home and just……. quietly drank the memories away….. in the tally of the damaged, as well as various other things that are quiet enough to shove under the rug. Not just the ones who returned as monsters.

    2. From 1945 to 1975 we had the mass introduction of abx, highways, air travel, and television, not to mention landing on the moon. In the past 30 years we have gotten Facebook, tiktok, Twitter, the introduction of online shopping, cable news, offshoring, and covid. There was definitely more a sea change in the post war era than even in the last 40 years. And they seemed to be more associated with genpop being given more freedom vs the current zeitgeist of increasing govt and corp control

      1. Even with a cherrypicked list you managed to screw up. Mass narrative control became almost trivial with TV, and started shattering when the internet came on the scene.

    1. Well, actually it’s not off-topic, given my reaction to this line:

      We also know that when you were a kid, if you were released from school a few minutes early for, say, a gas pipeline explosion or hostage situation, your mom or dad was waiting at home with milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches, not hunched behind their laptop, rage snacking. But times have changed.

      Actually, both my parents worked full time and would have been in Denver, an hour’s drive away. I’d have been left hoping that one of my friend’s parents wouldn’t have been too annoyed at me going home with them.

      I can’t say if the 50s and 60s were a perfect time to be a kid, but if people are really spouting lines like that about being a kid in the 80s and 90s, then I can say nostalgia definitely has rotted their brains.

      1. For a serious data-point, both of my parents’ mom’s also had a day-job. (They also graduated from college, which really pissed off my teachers…but I digress.)

        My folks just went home, and it was OK that a pre-teen was home “alone.”

        Same when I was at home a generation later, in the 90s.

        I only have two bits of information for what it was like in my grandparent’s generation– my paternal grandmother, who was at the Indian School so probably was with her mom (the Indian School teacher) as a kid, and my maternal grandfather, who at 14 came home to a note note saying “Got job in Kansas City, took first train, left $10 with the neighbors. Be good.”
        (it was not THAT bad– they were basically adopted by the neighbors– but dang what a story, and his foster brother Lefty’s kids/grandkids/ggkids are still family)

      2. Well lets see, Mom went back to work in 2nd or 3rd grade ( Late 60s 67? 68?). When I came home on those days usually dad was home. Unfortunately dad worked 3rd shift so he was normally out cold sleeping getting ready to go back to work for Midnight. You weren’t waking him without several several sticks of dynamite and even then odds were in favor of him remaining asleep. That’s ok door was unlocked (as it was probably 95%+ of the time for all houses in the town) so I just let myself in. One time my parents went out and locked the door while they were doing something bank related. They got massively delayed and by 4:30 pm or so (after getting home at like 12:30 I was getting hungry (no lunch on a half day) and cranky that the door was closed. I was so angry I mule kicked the door facing away and busted the wood behind the lock. When they got Home Dad helped me fix the door, and later that week we went to the hardware store and had a key made for me 🙂 .

  18. Today’s oligarch despots, having the power to exile, ruin, and kill their subjects, are not called kings, princes, and dukes. The beheading ace falls at the whim of the presidents, senators, and bureaucrats of the Left, and no small share of remoras, claiming to be the Reasonable Right.

  19. First comment, upon seeing illustration: head for the basement, because that storm has HUGE hail in it! And we’re about to get a second round.

    OK, now to read the article.

  20. Random internet musing I ran across today, meshes with The Author having a wicked sense of humor, and getting away with audacious plots lesser writers could never hope to:

    July 8, Shinzo Abe assassinated
    Aug 8, Mar a Lago raided
    Sept 8, Elizabeth II died
    Oct 8, TBD
    Nov 8, Election Day

    1. October 8th?

      Either a major political figure gets arrested


      A “Godzilla” event “changes everything!11!”

      There. With my prognostication at work, the dice should come up “snoozer”.

      1. I’m hoping for “meteor shower obliterates national capitals, leaves most of the rest of Earth untouched.”

          1. Chicago. Illinois would be much better off if Chicago was “eliminated”. 👿

            1. Or, with San Francisco, New York City, and other places that would prefer to not have the hoi polloi within smelling distance, spun off into ‘districts’ like DC – no national votes, no actual power outside their boundaries.

              The foot voting would be awesome.

        1. Well the goverment is promoting UFOs these days, so that is a higher probability than we realize! (LOL) Actually if they came to the “Streets of San Francisco” these days, 1) They would fit in perfectly or 2) return to where they came quickly from since there is no hope for our species.

        2. The high odds thing would be an economic event. But aliens would be different.
          I think of Julian May’s Great Intervention. Honestly, a lot of us would probably chafe under that sort of benign despotism.

    2. Narrative logic would suggest that Andrew’s ties to Maxwell, and that Meghan’s desire for political success with the Democrats are not a coincidence, and somehow relate to the plot.

      Narrative logic is as a tool of intelligence analysis perhaps one of the ones more certain to drive one insane.

    3. The Reader notes that October 8th would be a good date if you wanted a presidential funeral a week later for maximum midterm sympathy impact.

        1. The Reader agrees. He also notes that lack of sympathy will be another grounds for attacking deplorables, USAINs and other odds.

      1. Uggh not liking that Reader, Far too much sense. I’d say that perhaps Ms. Harris was communicating with the Clinton Suicide Squad, but she is neither bright nor ambitious enough for that. It would get SOME sympathy out of the Deep Blue loonies and maybe put them back in line for a couple weeks.

  21. I have indulged myself today with BBC and Daily Mail regarding Queen Elizabeth’s death. Talk about going down memory lane! Interesting how much of “golden days” memory is simply that we were young.

      1. I went back later and re-read so many of the comments along with your replies. You really do hit a variety of our sweet spots and make us think. Your mind and blog are one of my real satisfactions. Thanks again for all the time and effort it must take to provide this forum.

  22. The Feds have too many commissars! Commissars whose job it is to regulate all manner of human enterprise. Well-compensated commissars who have the authority to decide who thrives and who is relegated to wither away. UnFund the commissars! Take their money away!

  23. Not disagreeing with the original thesis, that ‘the good old days’ were neither that good, or that long ago (=old). Reading Sarah’s words of wisdom (NOT sarcasm), I had an epiphany: going back 150 years, and North American society was organized on a very feudal model. A small number of nobility (the very rich) were supported by a parallel social bureaucracy ( in the dark ages, the church, in post-Civil War society, the government) with the overwhelming majority of the population poor and socially locked in place (the Horatio Alger ‘boy makes good’ idea was mostly honoured in the breach). The big difference was the slice of society that were small business owner, who had a much larger influence on history that the Dark Ages guilds. Wonder if this could be turned into a story line….
    I am no fan of centralized government, but I do appreciate the effect of the recently-enabled post-Civil War federal government’s role in breaking up the robber barons that effectively ran the economy in the 1880s through to WW1. Yes, the robber barons did fund some pretty impressive things – cross-continental rail & inter-continental telegraph, heritage universities, and mass-production factories. But they did these for their own benefit, with only secondary improvements for the common folk. And the life of a wage slave or subsistence farmer was not anything to aspire to in our g-grandparent’s day. (For the record, my grandparents were born between 1900 and 1905, so I’m talking about the social opportunities their parents had)
    On the other hand, I think that in terms of personal freedom to do as I dam*ed well choose, we have regressed to less than I had as a young adult (early 70s)

    1. ‘Wage slave’? Don’t spew that idiocy here. Any worker in America that doesn’t like their pay or working conditions is 100% free to quit and find another job. The employer can’t do anything to stop them.

      The ‘robber barons’ created more value for the U.S. economy, made greater improvements in the general standard of living, than anybody in all of history before them. They deserved to keep small slices of the gigantic pies they baked.

      People flocked from all over the world to be ‘wage slaves’ for the ‘robber barons’ because that life was such a huge improvement over anything they had ever aspired to before.

      In short, you are talking out of your ass, to a lot of people who know better.
      Welfare is pay without work. In order to provide pay without work for some, others have to work without pay. We used to call that slavery. Now they call it socialism.

      1. Except that gets back to build your own banks, your own internet, your own backbone because big corporate dislikes you for pointing out they are naked. The only competition to Twitter, who feels about 80% free to deplatform at the will of the most easily offended totalitarian, is the chicom run tiktok. Big corps strangled Parler in crib and are trying to do same to truth social. You cannot interact with normies sans Facebook which has its own restrictions. Work in an industry regulated by the government (ignoring direct contractors you have health care, transport, lots of manufacturing, multistate retail, etc) ? Bow before king Biden and bare thine arm to receive st faucis mark.

        In short, honestly those of the day of the robber baron had more opportunity than today.

      2. Mea Culpa. “Wage slaves” was a poor choice of words; better to have said “working urban poor”.
        You are right; workers of all stripes have normally been able to quit and move on since the founding of the nation (some quibble about the percentage who had outstanding debts at the company store, or were working off their passage; those employees could not legally leave during the period I’m talking about). And there is no denying the great improvement in goods and services, world-wide, from industrial development, especially since the late 1800s, which directly enriched those families I’ve lumped together as the ‘robber barons’ (a term in common use in contemporary sources) and indirectly enriched the rest of the population (nowadays, we’d describe this is as “a rising tide lifts all boats” or “trickle down economics”, terms which come with their own emotional associations).
        And I agree, immigration to North America (although Mexico didn’t benefit as much) offered a better life for millions. But it wasn’t moving to a land of milk and honey where the streets were paved with gold, which is what Sarah was trying to show – it wasn’t automatically ‘the good old days’ for those who lived through it, and we need to be cautious about calling it that, today.

    2. At least the Gatsby age robber barons did good for their interiors by creating oil, rail, and steamship lines. Our robber barons are intent on getting rid of freedoms we have. They wish to destroy oil and steam power and relinquish us back to trains, of whom the automobile is a superior variant.

    3. Step one: stop drinking Marxist kool-aid.

      Monopolies can only exist when enforced by government, else they are impossible to sustain.

      Marxism proposes that the cure for monopoly is monopoly, the cure for slavery is slavery, and the cure for scarcity is scarcity.

      In other words: idiocy.

      So step one is stop drinking Marxist koolaid.

      1. TRUTH!!

        The main reason we have mega-corporations today, the reason the big fish are eating the little fish, is the expense of compliance with government regulations. A huge soulless corporation can afford to keep 6 or 8 ‘compliance officers’ to fill out all that paperwork, and can cover up the inevitable mistakes with bribes contributions to the right politicians . A small business can’t.

        Tax policy is rigged against small businesses. Huge banks prefer to deal with mega-corps. And so on.

        Our wanna-be ruling class prefers the mega-corps, which they can efficiently hit up for bribes contributions, and they in turn keep those unruly peasants under control.
        If a business tries something and it doesn’t work, they either stop doing it or they will go broke. If the government tries something that doesn’t work, they just keep shoveling our money into it forever.

  24. Being the charismatic, Calvinist, redneck from Berkeley, gives a different view of reality. In the 50’s in elementary school, we had a very interesting mix of children. We had the sons of U.C. Professors. Sons of sharecroppers, who had moved to the bay area to work in the shipyards during the war. A girl was a refugee from the Soviet takeover in the Baltic. Others were the children of Japanese families who had been guests of the U. S. government. We didn’t waste any time on ancestry. We just all got along in a very good, inadvertently integrated, public school in Berkeley.

    Two books that provide eyewitness testimony of the time include:
    “Christians in Crossfire”, a book by a Liberal, motorcycle riding, Presbyterian pastor at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. Published in 1967, it gives his perspective on killing a church. He didn’t mean to, but he drove a lot of people away.

    He was on the Berkeley school board in the early 60’s, working to force “integration” in Berkeley Junior high schools. Another member of the school board, also from Calvary, was Spurgeon Avakian, an Alameda County Judge. Best known for presiding over Oakland’s failed attempt to buy the Raiders, when they first moved to Los Angeles.

    The second book:
    “From Ike to Mao and beyond” is written by Judge Avakian’s son, “Bob” Avakian, who was radicalized in the 60’s, and has been the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA since. Published in 2005, he writes of growing up in Berkeley in the 50’s, and his radicalization.

    Any details, may expose my secret identity, so my connections to these men shall remain a paradox.

  25. How did Sarah know I grew up in an infected crab bucket and ate my daily cup of dirt (no sand, we were on a limited budget) while being thankful we weren’t like those with less dirt and no bucket to call their own??? Who gave it away???

  26. “Keep government small, poor and limited, and you’ll see a golden age flourish like nothing the world experienced before. Or don’t, and watch civilization perish.”
    Exactly, and apart from the military draft, we inhabitants of the hinterlands in the ’50s and most of the ’60s had no contact with the Federal government, and very little with the State government…No one was telling us how to live our lives…That’s the point….

  27. BTW, my inoculation against the fear pr0n the would-be “puppet masters” spew is Isaiah 46:4. YMMV.

  28. As most folks age, change becomes more annoying. “Why can’t we do things the way we used to?”

    Youth mostly assumes things are screwed up because age and experience is inferior to youthful exuberance. Ahem. Yeah, about that….

    Things change. -that- is the constant. And not always wisely or for the better.

    We now live in an age and place of the outcome of Libert: super-abundance, where the poor get fat. When else in human history were basic calories so cheap that the “impoverished” were unheathily overweight? 90% of planet earth’s billions envy the wealth of the poor of the USA. Thus the tsunami of folks coming here, because wether a hard worker or mooch, the living is indeed easier here, and freer.

    Thus the insanity of the Left, selling the “advantages” of shared poverty and chains to the beneficiaries of the cornacopia bestowed by Liberty’s bounteous output.

    The Left says “imperfect! So destroy it all and Utopia will somehow grow from the ruins!”

    They follow the guidance of a long dead madman, whose insanity killed scores of millions, and has never improved a single society infected with it.

    But they promise absolution from responsibility, and loot from the “others”, thus the serpent beguiles another cohort to the poorhouse and abbatoir.

    They enlist those too enthusiastic to check the notes, and too exuberant to hear the warnings.

    Why should I care what another has, when I can so easily alter my own condition? Thus the Left must wreck the USA, lest any slaves see the folly of the Left.

    The Left claims “nihilism” as the change of “progress” because ultimately they seek oblivion, not progress. And that doesn’t market very well.

    1. As most folks age, change becomes more annoying. “Why can’t we do things the way we used to?”

      A bit near the beginning of Time Enough for Love Lazarus Long tells the ruler of Secundus (don’t remember the name–been a long time) that the primary thing one learns with extreme age (you know, over 2000 years in this case) is that change is inevitable, you don’t have to like it, he doesn’t, but you do have to accept it.

      1. “Youth is a problem that time corrects, and error teaches us to err again in a different vector.” The Uncle (age unknown)

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