World changing: top down or bottom up? – by Margaret Ball

*I know a lot of you also read over at Mad Genius Club, but most don’t. I though this post from Margaret Ball three days ago needed wider exposure – SAH*

World changing: top down or bottom up? – by Margaret Ball

My flimsy excuse for posting this on a writing blog is that one thing science fiction writers do, a lot, is invent strange cultures and describe how they change. And too often the changes are not convincing; they amount to everybody saying, “Oh, now that you explain it, I can see that how we’ve always done things is counter-productive. Let’s all revise our norms and expectations overnight.”

You know, the usual reaction is going to be more like, “But that’s how we’ve always done things.”

Consider three test cases.

I expect we’ve all seen pictures like this, illustrating stories about the Taliban’s series of decrees aimed at driving women – which means the whole of their society, really – back into the Stone Age. And I know there are some of us old enough to remember the pictures of girls in Western dress in Kabul circa 1970.

Now take Turkey. Kemal Ataturk was a national hero and he did his best to drag Turkey, kicking and screaming, into the modern world. It’s been sliding back into Islamism ever since he died.

What happened? It’s what didn’t happen. Changes that were imposed from the top never reached the mass of society. A few elites enjoyed a brief spring of freedom, but as soon as the politics changed, the societies oozed slowly back to where they were.

It’s depressing, if you think the changes were good ones and that the societies are worse off for rejecting them.

On the other hand…

I feel that normal people in the USA are now being battered by a series of changes demanded by a hysterical, clinically insane elite. And you know what? I don’t think that will last. The majority of people in this country are still sane. We don’t want our children sexualized or our communications censored.

Yes, it’s really hard to change a society by orders from the top. And sometimes that’s a good thing.

128 thoughts on “World changing: top down or bottom up? – by Margaret Ball

  1. Not any more. Not since 9/11/2001. Or perhaps the next major attack.
    Backward cultures must be civilized, by outside intervention, hopefully
    starting with education; It beats a war of conquest and an occupation.

    1. Wars of conquest are not the only wars. Wars of “punishment to teach avoidance” are much more common and effective.

        1. Give the bastages ENOUGH WAR, HARD ENOUGH, there WILL be peace. Though it might be a desert where the bastages used to be. Edward Teller gave us the tools…

      1. I recommend it…But look at all the money that was made by attempting the Afghan culture, (while increasing their opium crop of course), which most of them were perfectly happy with…,.

        1. I type this knowing I’m likely to stir up a sh-tstorm. Had we left them alone they might not have come here. Sure, now that they came here, we have to go there but maybe, just maybe, we ought to have minded our own damned business and not played Team America: World Police in the decades BEFORE 9/11 back to the end of the war when we tried to replace the British empire in the Middle East. ‘Merica! F-ck yeah! I write that as a shareholder of Raytheon, Lockheed, and Exxon but not as one of the senior military officers and various spooks who parlayed their government jobs into well paid retirements. Eisenhower was too early in his call, Peace don’t pay.

          1. Had we left them alone they might not have come here.


            Their cultures only exist by looting; by our existing, and having stuff, we would always be on the target list.

            It’s just a matter of how long it took for them to come and loot us, again.

            Also, you drew the line of when we should have “left them alone” at the wrong point.
            You have to back to the Crusades to get even CLOSE to where they demand that we ‘leave them alone,’ that is, let them enjoy what they’d rightfully captured.
            Until they got hungry and expanded again, of course.

            1. We did an awful lot of looting ourselves. I know my family, did judging by the various Chinese, Indian, and Persian “souvenirs” various members of my family brought back from the British army’s bringing light to the pagan. Couldn’t have Johnny Chinaman refusing to buy opium now could we? I have quite a nice Khyber knife that “somehow”needed up in a box in the attic.

              I agree that Islam is not consistent with liberal democracy. I agree that Islam has always been expansionary and that the traditional Islamic political process of slave soldiers, loot, and taxes on the conquered is not good — though the Ottomans made it work for a long time. One could argue that the Romans did too, just sayin. I certainly don’t want to live there, I don’t want my wife and daughter dressed in bin bags, That said, I suspect the majority there seem to.

              One could argue whether we had to take out the Taliban in the first place, we probably did. One could argue whether we ought to have taken out Sadaam, arrow of time says probably yes unless the deeper conspiracy theories are true. Expecting troops to civilize the desert tribes, never mind the Pathans, was ….. unwise.

              1. Your refusal to engage with the actual arguments made and history involved is noted.

                When you feel like making an argument that answers the issue that they think we have messed with them because we exist, and have since Islam was founded– and, arguably, before; the various tribes in the area which say that they waz robbed shortly after God made a deal with Abraham is not promising– go for it.

                1. You’re going to have to break out who “we” is here, Fox. Because BGE specifically stated not playing Team America World Police. He was very explicit that he was talking about US actions.

                  You expanded it to “non-Islamic” people, which is true but also not what he said.

                  1. You need to persuade them of that. They don’t draw the same distinction, as is shown by them using the Crusades as a justification– and picking 9/11, AKA “when the Winged Hussars arrived,” for the attack on America.

                    We’re successful, and we’re not them. That’s all that’s needed, it’s clearly unjust.

                    1. I don’t need to persuade anybody. We’re not talking about their perceptions. We’re talking about what we can do. What we have done. Nobody is disagreeing with you that the way Islam is practiced (and indeed some of the very doctrines themselves) is incompatible with letting the rest of the world live and let live. We know that. That doesn’t mean we have to interfere in affairs that aren’t our business, or try to arbitrate between sides that have been fighting since long before Columbus set sail. We can stop being foolishly optimistic about trying to assign “good guy” and “bad guy” status (forget that those have no meaning in the Middle East and tribal cultures influenced by Islam), still less thinking that assigning such status means they’d stay that way forever. We don’t have to be the police intervening in a domestic dispute. Let them fight it out and fall further and further behind the rest of us.

                    2. We’re talking about what we can do.

                      Which requires understanding their targeting choices.

                      Which means recognizing that they don’t draw a distinction between the US, and any other heretic.

                      And we should probably listen to them when they’re making the case for why they attack.

                2. -Your refusal to engage with the actual arguments made and history involved is noted-

                  I thought “We did an awful lot of looting ourselves” was a fair engagement.

                  I’m far from a fan of Islam myself, and I’d say the Reconquista and Crusades were both entirely justified – in principle.

                  Likewise there were some high ideals spoken of during Western expansion, and even quite a few benefits to the non-westerners.

                  So in principle, yes, good.

                  In practice?

                  In practice by flawed (or fallen, as the religious would say) human beings?

                  I realize criticism and the call for self-examination is often used as a tool of subversion by those who have no morals and wish to use their enemy’s morality against them, but there’s also something to be said for being hard on your civilization because you hold it to a higher standard.

                  It’s also fair to condemn Islam for both it’s ideas and it’s practices that arise from those ideals, while believing in the West’s ideals but condemning its flaws and failings in practice.

                  P.S. – and no, I’m not setting myself up as some kind of perfect arbiter of historical figures, with the insight and authority to pass unerring judgment on the past. I don’t need to: there were plenty of outspoken opponents – most often among the religious – during those periods who were also equally “products of their time.”

                  1. I thought “We did an awful lot of looting ourselves” was a fair engagement.

                    Your family examples both post-dated what they claim to consider our having wronged them, and did not involve the ‘America: world police’ subset.

                    You then went on to introducing the subject of liberal democracy, shoe-horned in the Romans– which may actually be a big chunk of why the ME is a mess, at least in the sense that there was some kind of stability at some point in the region, but predates Islam–and never did make an argument for where you think we should have left them to their looting, and why it would work this time, when it hasn’t before.

                    Heck, one of the wrongs specifically against the United States is our horrible interference with the pirates that were attacking us for not paying protection money.

              2. I’ve also done more reading on this than I wished to. You and Foxfier are taking past each other, and you both have points.
                To her side, she’s absolutely right we offend Islam by existing. It doesn’t matter how much we do or don’t mess with them, if capable they’re going to mess with us.
                It’s very simple. If your religion said that paradise comes when you rule everyone, well…. you’re going to try for it.
                Do them the honor of believing they are sincere believers. A lot of them are. Probably enough it’s not quite safe.
                Now you have a point that for stretches, Islam has been “Safe.”
                Most of these stretches are while it’s very prosperous. The question here, and from history I THINK this part is right: They behave when they’re digesting conquests beyond their dreams. They’re even tolerant.
                BUT when they’re done, and their system kills it, they’ll try to go to war again, because in their theology, we’re NOT supposed to be rich. We’re supposed to pay them all our excess, as tribute, for being you know, the blessed ones, or something.
                Their periods of enlightenment always end in mean fundamentalism.
                While Rome was also a parasitic empire, they allowed/encouraged areas under their control to flourish. Islam can’t, not long term. There is no equality or freedom under Islam and that has economic consequences.
                The other way to keep them same is to make sure they’re too poor to be a threat.
                Our leaders — here you’re right — made the wrong decision, starting with the British Empire and then the US and thought if we kept them prosperous they’d be safe.
                Note we did the same with China. It’s a delusion.
                To your point, if we hadn’t developed their oil fields, or we’d just expropriated their oil, we’d be safer. Culture change is nonsense.
                OTOH if they were poor as Job they’d now be pouring over the Southern border and still a danger.
                How do we deal with it, I don’t know. BUT yes, mistakes were made, and you both have points.

                1. It is not merely that we offend it, we destroy radical Islam merely by continuing to exist.

                  Non-radical Muslims that grow up in contact with the west turn into the Islamic equivalent of Unitarian Protestants. I have watched it happen.

                  I have not dug into exactly why the west is so effective at peeling then off like that. I was originally thinking that it might be related to the ability to process zelots, but I’m not sure that fits. My hypothesis right now is it might be tied to the differences in family structure allowing much wider opportunity in the Western nuclear family, but I haven’t investigated that yet.

                  And I haven’t even attempted to dig into Islam in the South-East Asian regions which, at least in the part I can see, seems to be on a fairly different trajectory than the Middle Eastern versions are.

                  1. I know a handful of Muslims from Bangladesh. Their version is so riddled with holidays and rites from Hinduism and Bhuddis that I suspect they are not considered Mulism by the hardcore.
                    I also know a small number from Pakistan. As the ones I know are mountain people and were herdsmen they love and respect dogs. This is against a more general dislike of dogs prevalent in Islam.

                  2. It mostly is. Part of that is the way that Islam got to those areas. Via traders, mostly, rather than by the sword. People converted mainly for commercial advantage, or folks settled there. Even in places with Muslim majorities or Muslim governments, if they managed to avoid the mostly-Arab-Peninsula based, more puritanical strains/schools of thought, they tended to do better. That’s why groups like Abu Sayyaf Group (in the Philippines) and Jemaah Islamiyah (in Indonesia/Malaysia) attacked against what was often Muslim governments–the terrorist ideologies and training were provided by Saudi exports more often than not, rather than homegrown folks.

                  3. I know a lady from Fiji who mentioned that when radical Islamic clerics came to Fiji and attempted to whip up the expansionist/intolerant sentiment there, the local Muslims sent them packing. I think the mindset is the legacy of the Middle East and doesn’t translate well to non-scarcity cultures. (I mean, scarcity is a variable, and Fiji is definitely on the abundance side of the equation.)

                    I think it’s harder to build up the necessary resentment when there’s more to go around.

                  4. Well, except for the occasional nutbags like that woman from an Islamic family in Alabama that snuck off the join ISIS and kill Americans, and is now whining that the refugee camp in Syria is too hard and wants to come home. The one thing the Obama Administration did right was get Congress to revoke her U.S. Citizenship.

                2. I agree that we offend Islam by existing. The crusades show that Islam offended us by existing, a sentiment that went on for a long time. Religions do rather tend to do that. To be honest, Islam rather offends me, though I always respect honest piety. Prayers offered to Tash and all that.

                  I’m not going to be drawn by Foxfier’s rhetorical strategy. She’s used it on me before and she uses it all the time on other people. It gets old and it doesn’t lend itself to discussion, so I won’t and won’t make any parting shots either because. Sigh. What’s the point?

                    1. Quick image search, trying to find the one that is a time-lapse gif of wars over time.

                      Shortly after 9/11, the talking point of “Both are wrong, because the crusades” was quite common, so people went and looked.

                  1. You made an assertion, directly to me, which you stated you knew would cause conflict.

                    When it was answered, directly, you then abandoned it and went off in an entirely different direction of argument which, in so much as it was relevant, supported the argument to which you were replying.

                    1. You didn’t answer, you attacked. That’s what you do. I’m bored with it. Goodnight, it’s late and I’m for bed.

                    2. Hm. looks at actual post, where she said no, and then explained why no, contrasts with the consistent pattern of arguments against herself rather than the arguments made

                      Suddenly, a lot of the conflict with you makes sense……

                  2. The crusades were perhaps a direct result of the western church imitating Jihad in response to having it practiced on them.

                    Something between the reconquest of Spain and the latter wars screwed up the ability of the people to recover the territory permanently.

                  3. “The crusades show that Islam offended us by existing.”

                    That’s not entirely true, and is in fact revisionist history based on a desire to be liked. Islam didn’t spread out of the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa and into Europe because people decided they liked what Mohammed had to say better than they liked what Jesus said. The Crusades didn’t start until the Islamic attempts to spread by the sword did.

                3. “your religion said that paradise comes when you rule everyone”

                  Ah, the wonderful goal of Karl Marx’s communism.

                  And some people still disagree that it’s a state religion, or religion of the state.

            2. To be fair, there’s a line to be drawn between the Afghan/Taliban and the Arab mujahideen who went there following the Soviet invasion to repel them. I’m not sure that the Taliban would have come looking for trouble. They had enough there. But we persuaded folks to let the muj stay and fight, and gave support to various folks to do the same and fight the Soviets. The base (al-Qaeda) was there.

              That being said, the bargain made between the Saudi royal family and the Wahabi clerics to export the jihad rather than rail against the excesses of said royal family had at least as much to do with their expeditionary plans as anything else. And we had nothing to do with that bargain.

              1. A big mess is a definite truth of the Middle East.

                Can possibly take options to avoid attracting attention… but that also requires looking, honestly, at what the costs of those inactions are.

                For example, who’s up for allowing the genocide of the Jews?

                How about various other groups in the ME, who are trying to be less bad than the neighbors?

                When taking a stance that it was needful to not get involved in an area, then it has to be honestly faced what that involves, since it is also true that all it takes for evil to flourish is that good men do nothing.

          2. They think they have a right to conquer the world. You can’t appease them by leaving them alone.

            1. Which leaves the options of 1) containment 2) obliteration or 3) conquest, managing to set up an honestly and persistently benevolent occupation while changing their culture from the ground up. We don’t have the wealth, time, will or moral fortitude for 3, and 2 is horrific.

          3. Then I suggest you don’t understand the concepts of proselytizing and evangelicalism (although the latter is basically a Christian form of the former.) Muslims are among the worst religions to try to spread their creed as they have no problems using force, threats, and death to do so. Granted, Christians did that for quite some time (including the Anglican Church against other Christians, and it still occasionally crops up); but Christians have been non-aggressive, non-punitive evangelizers for longer than Islam has been around.

            1. I would point out that when you get to basic theology, Christians have to squint and look sideways at the text justify it, whereas Muslims have no such problem.

              1. Violence against non-believers? Old Testament, definitely, especially those stories that are held in common origin for the Muslims. The Koran heavily plagiarized from those Jewish texts, and then Mohammed altered them to suit his desires. IMHO accentuating the violence.

                Those passages in the New Testament mostly refer to defense against oppressors, not spreading the Word with the Sword.

                And the ones that talk of throwing into the fire those who lead believers astray are not talking about us doing that, but what God has in store for them.

                    1. The problem is confirming that the Lord is issuing the subcontract, and not the Other Guy.

    2. That’s ostensibly what the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were for: to educate and democratize a backward people. We’ve also been throwing billions upon billions of dollars of aid money into Africa and the Middle East for much the same purpose for half a century, to no avail.

      These cultures are what they want to be, not what we want them to be, and they will remain that way no matter what we do. Best not to waste our time trying to fix them.

      1. Just so. We assume everyone wants what we want, but they don’t. I know there are people in Afghanistan who want (e.g.,) to educate their daughters and not dress them in garbage bags, but I suspect the majority are perfectly happy with the situation.

        I made a study of what the Islamists were on about after 9/11., at least what was available in english. Hassan Al-Banna understood the west very well, he simply didn’t agree with it.

        I’m no Islamist, far far from it, but I can see the force of his arguments.. He foresaw the woke crap almost a hundred years ago.

        1. It amazes me that some are willing to, in essence, throw away 50% or more of available BRAINPOWER. How STUPID is that? Sure, you/they might feel good… but it’s a losing position. Heck, throwing away 10% (pick your racism, etc.) is also a losing position. The more free a society, the richer it is – in EVERY WAY. Why CHOOSE POVERTY?

          1. Sorry, POVERTY is the wrong word. Some Religious Folks choose it for themselves and they are Generally Good. But NOBODY with a functioning brain chooses DESTITUTION.

  2. We certainly won’t change. Well, some of us (older, weaker, etc.) will likely “comply” under protest if they use force.

    While they’re watching.

    Only as long as they’re applying force.

    And stay USAian as long as we draw breath.

    So I really do pity those who try to change us. We might not be as kind to them as Western Europeans were to “Quislings” and “Collaborators” after WW2. After all, we listen more to Sabaton and Metallica than Chopin and Mozart…

    1. Excellent song, but the video is beyond disgusting. Listen, don’t watch. You’ve been warned.

        1. It’s the worst version of that song in existence, I’m afraid. And it’s a great big crowd sing dance song.

          1. I have 3 versions with variations by different artists/groups: Peter, Paul and Mary (too slow, IMHO), The Limeliters (good), and Roger Whittaker (the best, again IMHO). I think all are better than the Metallica version.

            1. Well, I’ve heard more than a few versions. I wish even half were on Youtube.

              This one has better lyrics, if a bit weak (song starts at 3:05).

              1. Irish Rovers and Dubliners were the versions I grew up listening to.

                Shocked the heck out of my rather sheltered shipmates when I knew all the words to “a Metallica song.”

                (Same ones that were shocked I knew the words to all the songs from the Johnny Cash movie, when I hadn’t even been to see it. /headdesk )

                1. “Hey, I saw this great episode of $SHOW, did you see it?”
                  “No. I don’t watch $SHOW.”
                  “Anyway, it involves….”
                  “Oh, so this happened, and then this, then this…”
                  “I thought you din’t watch it! But you know the whole episode!”
                  “Never watched it. But I know the vaudeville bits it used.”

        1. I’d tried to watch the video years ago because I like Metallica, didn’t follow the image link.

    2. There’s something to be said for dying by the sword. It’s usually very quick. After all, a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man dies but once. When it comes to acts of violence to support a “peaceful” ideology, or even a way of life, the smart people look at the risk-benefit ratio. For the wise, it takes quite a bit of benefit to risk death, maiming, impoverishment, or incarceration. As for me, I’m so conservative that I rarely will bet on anything more than a sure thing. I don’t make windfall profits, but then I don’t lose my shirt either.

      1. Precisely. “Is King Louis better or worse than Robespierre… followed by Napoleon… followed by another King Louis….”

        Fact is, we all have flaws, sins, blind spots, weaknesses, and none of “them” want exactly what I want for me.

        So, at 64, I don’t see myself doing much more useful than I’m doing now, quietly contributing.

        Plus, although I was a pretty good shot at 20, my eyesight ain’t what it was…

  3. Sometimes it’s the writer who can’t imagine that everyone really wants to live in his society and will change to accord with him as soon as he gets a chance.

  4. The US wasted a lot of time and effort attempting to impose change in Afghanistan. It is my opinion that we should leave the Marshall Plans in the past and return the Punitive Expedition to our military doctrine and National Defense Strategy.

    1. The Marshall plan worked fairly well in Europe, where we share considerable amounts of culture. The rebuilding of Japan worked well, and I’m not entirely sure why since our cultures are rather different. I think we did a good job of propping up and getting South Korea going post KW; but again, I’m not too sure how much we are continuing to pour into their country and their economy. Ditto Taiwan. The Philippines? I don’t know whether to consider them a 1st World nation or a 3rd World nation with aspirations/benefits.

  5. The last week gave a big example of top-down indoctrination not taking. A football player drops on the field…and everyone in the stands watches quietly, does not throw a tantrum because their entertainment has been interrupted, and prays, while the teams are also praying. Even the ESPN announcers were speaking of prayer (and on a later program, one actually prayed). The quintessential sight was a Bengals fan, head bowed and body language shouting anguish, holding a sign asking for prayer for the player.
    Very American.

    1. These days not everyone knows what it means to act American, like you just described. These moments where we can show them are big and important.

  6. The Declaration states it quite nicely; “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

    Furthermore, simple majorities aren’t sufficient. The people who initiated the Revolution were between 10 and 30% of the population of the Colonies at that time; and both Parliament and the King not only ignored their complaints, they actively tried to suppress them. The concept of supermajorities e.g. 2/3rds, or 3/4ths, was designed to prevent implementation of decisions without significant buy-in. Of course those in Congress who have done away with the requirement for supermajorities in many legislatorial actions did so for their own empowerment, and not for the good of the People. Worse, their fellow legislators allowed them to do it.

  7. On one hand, I’m sure that the people who want to impose, for example, legally binding rules about how trans people must be addressed and treated are just as confident that they are making improvements as Atatürk was. On the other, I expect the feelings of devout Muslims on having Western values and norms brought into their societies are much like the feelings of conservative Americans about having progressive values and norms imposed on them.

    And on the gripping hand, I don’t think there is any value-neutral position from which to say that those feelings are justified in one case or unjustified in another.

    1. Who’s claiming to be value-neutral? I’m perfectly willing to say that refusing women education, forced veiling of women, child marriage, and stoning people to death offend my values.

      Consider Napier’s response to the claim that suttee was an Indian custom and should therefore be permitted.

      1. /agreed

        A lot of the mess we’re in right now is from people taking a polite fiction– that value neutral is possible, which in a healthy society where there is minimal variation and a low enough load of people trying to cause trouble– and trying to apply it as the one morally binding consideration.

        My favorite example is “gun violence.”

        Because it pretends that there is moral equivalency between a rapist shooting his victim after he assaults her, and a prospective rape victim shooting the rapist attacking her; and the morally superior option would be the rape victim strangled to death in an alley, because there was no “gun violence” at all.

        1. Exactly. If I shoot a burglar in my living room, there is no ‘moral equivalence’ — I did not break into the burglar’s house.

          Nonetheless, I would get more jail time for shooting the burglar than the burglar would for shooting me. This is where we are. Looters, arsonists and murderers are set free within hours; walking into a public building gets you locked up without trial for two years. (and counting…)

          Waiting for my copy of Larry Correia’s ‘In Defense Of The 2nd Amendment’ which I pre-ordered in November.
          The Democrats trust violent criminals and terrorists with guns more than they trust you.

          1. Nonetheless, I would get more jail time for shooting the burglar than the burglar would for shooting me.

            If you’re in a location where you get jail for doing so, likely, yes.

      2. Yes, well, I’m not neutral between the two cases either.

        But it depends, doesn’t it, on WHICH values you adhere to? It doesn’t work to say “I’m in favor of tradition”; the Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan are in favor of tradition too. It doesn’t work to say “I’m in favor of modernity”; the progressives in Canada and parts of the United States are in favor of modernity too. What’s needed is to be in favor of good traditions and good modernity, and against bad traditions and bad modernity. But then we need to define what’s good and what’s bad, by some other standard.

        At least at a social level, one of my criteria is informed consent, backed up by the right to walk out of an unbearable situation. That would include, for example, the absolute right to apostacy, which of course goes against many version of Islam. In a LIMITED sense, that looks a bit like value-neutrality; I tend to say “If you’re freely choosing to do X, it’s not my business to interfere, so long as you don’t interfere with my freely choosing to do Y (so long as I, in turn, don’t interfere with you . . .).” That’s not my fundamental value, but it’s a set of terms on which I can coexist with people with different fundamental values. It’s what used to be called “toleration” (a better word, to my mind, than “tolerance”).

        1. Nobody here has said “I’m for tradition,” or “I’m for modernity,” without qualification. I don’t want to fight, so I’m assuming you have a point here that isn’t a straw-man argument. Could you clarify?

          1. I don’t know if I’m arguing FOR anything. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m curious what your criteria are for saying either that “the changes were good ones” or that “sometimes that’s a good thing” [that it’s hard to change a society from the top down].

            I think I broadly agree with imaginos1892 (below).

            1. I think it’s fairly clear that I believe the changes now being pushed on our society are evil, that they are to be resisted, and that therefore in this case it’s a good thing that it’s hard to change a society from the top down.

              Similarly, I believe that many of the changes which modernizing leaders of some Islamic societies attempted to make would, if they had been accepted, have rendered those societies better places to live.

              I’m not trying to assert any universal morality here. Those are my sentiments, with which someone else may or may not agree. Clearly, quite a lot of people disagree. And (again in my opinion) that’s one reason why Afghanistan is such a hellhole.

              Your belief in mutual toleration, which I happen to share, is also not a universal moral imperative. And yet we’d like to see more societies affirm this belief, wouldn’t we? Wouldn’t you agree that a change in this direction would be a good thing?

        2. Your rights end when you trample on the rights of others. When the ‘trans person’ denies you the right to speak as you choose because they’re ‘Offended!!’.

          ‘Rights’ must also be in accordance with objective reality. You have the ‘right’ to believe you’re a bat — but don’t be surprised when you do not so much soar, as plummet.

          There can be no ‘Rights’ which must be provided by the coerced labor of other people. ‘Free!’ college, ‘Free!’ health care, ‘Free!’ 0bamaphones… the list of what they want for ‘Free!’ never ends. The money to pay for it does, no matter how much they take from us.
          There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

        3. This, honestly, is my issue with people saying that they are “moderates” or those who say that that other group are “extremists.” What does that even mean? Either you have principles, and you can state what those are, or you are simply a fence-sitter who says that you will just pick the middle position, regardless of what the positions are. I’m not saying you (general you) have to have the same principles or mix of values/positions/priorities that I do, but if your principle is that you are “a moderate” what does that actually mean? Do you know how you would actually vote on any given question, and why? Do you know what the limits of your position are, or are you simply choosing based on literal position on an axis? You can’t just say “oh, I’m a centrist” because the center moves. The extremes move.

  8. The killer jab may be the undoing of the new world order, which would be a rather interesting irony. The football player collapsing on live television before millions of viewers has opened many eyes. There are going to be a lot more “died suddenly” victims, and at last the compliant and well meaning citizens may look at their precious daughters and sons and say: “No more.”

    1. There already have been. In the news today, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) star Victoria Lee died two weeks ago at age 18 of ‘undisclosed causes’.

      Did she get COVID shots? Also undisclosed.

      Tucker Carlson had a doctor on his show (an actual medical doctor) last week. He said that before 2020 an average of 29 athletes a year were struck by ‘Suddenly’. Since the COVID shots, there have been more than 1,500.

      Will anybody ever be held to account for this? Of course not. And these are the people they want to give even more control over our health care?
      A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘Publick Health Authoriteez’ over the last three years.

    2. might have been a mechanical injury

      Those would also be a problem for the NFL.

      Would still be a problem for the would be experts that the corruption of official speech in their favor has promoted so much widespread distrust.

      Common sense sports control: The notion that a complete ban of professional, collegiate and high school sports would be less harmful than the number of sports related fatalities and injuries. I mean, it isn’t like playing together could possibly be a beneficial or necessary form of social interaction where quite a lot of people are concerned.

  9. What was it about the Damar incident that caused both teams to walk off the field of play and kneel in prayer then refuse to finish the game? I have seen some pretty gruesome injuries on the field, and play has gone on after a respite. It’s a dangerous sport. And I have NEVER seen the prayers en mass as we witnessed that day. Especially by the media.

    Something happened, a corner turned, where suddenly, not only can players pray, but they can just decide, as a group, to refuse to continue the game. I suspect that mandatory shots are over in the league whether that was the cause of the incident or not. TPTB are no longer trusted to give anyone the straight scoop on anything. I suspect that there were also many fewer players who wanted to kneel in submission to BLM than felt they were forced to do so or look like racists. If that were not so, Colin Kaepernick would have been praised by more fellow players and not just corporate shills.

    If we are very blessed, the civil war we are fearing, might just be a massive amount of, “No! And you can’t make me.” Followed by a hounding of the fascists out of office.

    We’ll see.

    1. My understanding of the situation was that the NFL bigwigs started making noise to get Damar off the field and resume play ASAP, with attitude indicating that they didn’t much care if Damar was going to be okay or was even going to live so they could keep charging for that sweet sweet TV ad revenue. Players and coaches asked for a delay, NFL said “no, get back out there.” Players Union asked for a delay, NFL said “No, get back out there!” The owners asked for a delay, NFL said, “no get back out there or else,” and everyone (Players, coaches, owners) collectively said “Or else what?” and called corporate’s bluff and refused to continue the game.

      1. “…so long as they could…”

        Can’t even blame autocorrupt or WordPress for that one. Lack of Proofreading Due To Haste strikes again!

      2. Yep. They flat refused to go out there. And then what happened to them? Nothing. Nothing at all happened to them. The NFL was shown to be a paper tiger. They certainly can’t retaliate against the teams at this point. They aren’t even rescheduling the game to recoup their list revenue. That seems major to me.

        So, now that it has been shown that the NFL only has the power that the players let them have, what else will the players refuse?

        Will any other group try a similar work stoppage? And if they do, what will be the catalyst? Will the outcome be as successful?

        One hopes that this is not a one-off and other free Americans find that together they are mighty.

    2. I suspect it is the pure randomness of it. I’d heard about a blow to the chest causing heart fibulation before, but the incidents I knew about never really looked like that. And most of the really bad injuries are one or the other person screwing up or otherwise doing something unexpected. There’s always a factor of “well, if I just don’t do that it won’t happen to me.”

      Combine that with the experts’ decree that questions not be asked, and it turns a fluke accident into “that could have been me, and there’s nothing I could do about it.”

      1. Consider the number of automotive fatalities where the steering column struck the chest of the driver, but there was nothing more than a bruise at the site of impact.

  10. Times might be changing, even some woke folks might be really really wakening.
    Hope so, but I’m still keeping necessities very close at hand.

  11. In re: Change from the Top:

    This was something posted on Baen’s Bar some 15 or 16 years ago. It was in the context of the Virginity Bonus program for the Timocratic Republic of Balboa. You can find the whole (very fucking lengthy) thread on Baen’s Bar under “The Virginity Issue.” But the real issue is about social engineering that works versus social engineering that does not:
    One of the differences between a good and workable program of reform and a bad and unworkable one is “how long do you have to keep it up?” Affirmative Action for example, seemingly requires endless attention, it’s own huge and intrusive bureaucracy, laws pouring forth in a never ending stream. And it will never quite work for the purpose intended.

    Lemme tell ya a story, true story as it happens. (I’m simplifying here, though. What appears below as a one part program was actually five part.)

    Once, in the dim mists of antiquity when yours truly was a brand new rifle company commander, I noticed that a) time was being ill spent, b) troops were fucking off in the barracks, c) individual training was shoddy quite despite the requirement that there be sergeants’ time on the training schedule.

    Now the normal Army approach was usually something like “supervise continuously, tighten up the training schedule, make every minute count…” and similar bullshit. I’d been watching the same things for about ten years by then and they never, never, never worked.
    I decided to take a different approach. I called in my lieutenants, the platoon sergeants, first shirt, and squad leaders, explained the wellspring of my discontent, and said, “Boys, y’all suck moose cock. Here’s what we’re gonna do.”

    “Instead of tightening the training schedule, accounting for every minute, blah, blah, blah…I’m going to loosen in up. In fact, it’s going to be more a guide to MY activities than yours. Note that “sergeants time” is gone. Note, however, that ALL the time not on the schedule is now sergeants’ time. Buuut…please turn to page five of the new training schedule. See where it used to say “opportunity training” but now says “mandatory opportunity training.” That word “mandatory?” I mean it. All that extra sergeants time you now have? Use it. I don’t mean use it or lose it; I mean use it.”

    “We will be testing every friday afternoon to ensure that you have used your time well.”
    They didn’t believe me. Really. I was almost shocked. But I wasn’t as shocked as they were when I kept the whole company to nearly midnight on Friday training to standard.
    Over the next six weeks it got progressively better as they realized “the muthafucka’s serious.” It got to where the troops were going to their squad leaders and saying, in at least one case literally, “Forsooth, Sergeant, I’m in desperate need of getting laid. The only time I can do this is Friday night. So please, please, please, TEACH me this shit or the motherfucking CO is going to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

    After about another six weeks I changed the approach. Instead of dictating the MOT taksks I let the Squad leaders pick their own, generally, though I retained a veto. I still tested, as always two men per squad picked at random. Never had to hold the company late again.
    The first major payoff came when we had what was then called the “hands on Skill Qualification Test.” The rest of the battalion literally shut down for between 2 and 3 weeks to prepare. My company went to the field and did recons, raids, ambushes, deliberate attacks, delays…

    The day of the test we rolled back in from the field about midnight. I said, “Clean your rifles, Boys. Get a good night’s sleep. See you in the morning.”

    I had, if memory serves, 94 troops take the test. Of those, all but six maxed it. This was considerably more than half the maxes in the battalion, although the company was only about 11-12% of the battalion’s strength. Nobody missed more than two, and only two of the six missed two. We had the top company, top three platoons, top 9 (or ten if you count HQ) squads. There was no competition outside the company. My bottom squad was better than anyone else’s best, considerably better, and without shutting down for 2-3 weeks.
    Now that’s an example of good societal reform, one that changes the underlying culture (it would take too long to explain what that underlying culture was and how it got to be that way) without the need for continuous, painstaking, intrusive wastes of time that social engineering, in its modern, leftist form takes.

    In this particular case, that’s what Carrera’s doing and that’s why all those other possible approaches are falling on (my) deaf ears. Every other approach will not change the underlying (perversion of a) culture, and will require continuous interference and effort, whether that be sex education or lining up 14 year old girls for contraceptive injections until they reach age 18…or most likely both…in perpetuity. Instead, he’s going to raise a generation of young people who place a premium on chastity and foresight. The individual failures of that program are not a detriment to it, but add the necessary “or else” to persuade others in order to make it work. In a generation, and perhaps less, he can stop shelling out drachmae because once the cultural change is made it will not longer be necessary to do so for some generations.

  12. Different people genetically, different history, different geography all leading to a different culture…But the way you change people’s attitudes and culture (to the extent that’s possible) is by gentle persuasion…That means movies, Books, TV, music, etc…Force always provokes a strong counter reaction…

  13. I feel that normal people in the USA are now being battered by a series of changes demanded by a hysterical, clinically insane elite. And you know what? I don’t think that will last. The majority of people in this country are still sane. We don’t want our children sexualized or our communications censored.

    Yes, it’s really hard to change a society by orders from the top. And sometimes that’s a good thing.

    Yep, to change, you have to persuade.

    Sometimes you can do that by “if you don’t, I’ll kill you.” Sometimes that doesn’t work.

  14. “normal people in the USA are now being battered by a series of changes demanded by a hysterical, clinically insane elite. And you know what? I don’t think that will last. The majority of people in this country are still sane. We don’t want our children sexualized or our communications censored.”

    I hope it won’t last, too!!!

    “Yes, it’s really hard to change a society by orders from the top. And sometimes that’s a good thing.”

    Very, Very, Good Thing!

    Honestly I think the elite look at the family unit. The family unit can influence young children in a top down method (what parents do). The elites take that and think it can happen from their top down leadership. The elites are wrong. I hope they get hit hard enough with that reality to shut them up forever. (Dream, I know.)

    1. Aye, but I think it’s more than that: they want to destroy the family. They want to destroy people, and destroying the family is one of the best ways to do that.

  15. When the Soviet Union fell, there were two “republics, ” Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. One of the first things they did was to start fighting, as soon as they were free. It was as though the years of Russian and Soviet control was a fairy tale, where armies freeze in the midst of a battle. After being unfrozen, they just start fighting again. Multi generational transmission of something hidden.

    As Bismark said “Some damn thing in the Balkans.” Although in this case it is the Caucasus. A big hunk of it is tribe. America has been a tribe, but the left have been working to turn us into many tribes. This is why control of the schools has/is such an important battle. That was our trouble in Iraq, and Afghanistan. We did not understand tribe, even tho the left keeps trying to divide us into tribes. They think they can control the tribes. They can’t.

    Regarding prayer, the problem is that this is just another example of treating God as a “friend with a truck”. You only call him when you need the truck. When you call him, his first words are: “When do you need the truck?”. He knows you don’t have any true relationship. You just use him. You don’t know him. Just ask the sons of Sceva how that worked out.

  16. On an unrelated note… okay, maybe very tangentially related:
    Has anyone here read Andre Norton’s Rebel books, Ride Proud, Rebel! and Rebel Spurs? If so, are they any good and would they be appropriate for a middle-school boy?

    I know it is off topic, but the Huns are the crowd I would most trust to have a sound opinion on Andre Norton books.

    1. I have. Read Rebel Spurs first as a teen. Was an adult before I found a copy of Ride Proud Ride. (Note, disclaimer, never have been a young middle school male. Double checks … nope.) There is no romance, period. Rebel does cover the CW from a young rebel’s view. It doesn’t cover the CW ideology/reasons, at all (“Drew was a rebel before there were rebels based on how he was raised”, pretty much at the very start, without giving the reason here.) Mostly scouting action, crossing rivers, etc. Not a lot of direct battles, but action. Rebel Spurs is post CW taking place in western Texas or Arizona (I forget).

  17. There doesn’t seem to be any shortages of wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Wiki says they started (for Wiki values) in 1918. I don’t know the AZ role in the Armenian Genocide in 1916, but I can see Armenians looking at an Islamic neighbor with the fire of a thousand suns.

      1. I was looking at how it had been so many generations under a totalitarian rule that did not allow for such differences. “We are all Soviet Man now.” Yet lifting the the totalitarian boot seemed to expose ethnic hatreds unchanged after generations. ” Do you know what they did to us in 1358?” Which seems to provide evidence for the post.

          1. Well, of course! All the members of the Soviet Union were, after all, autonomous independent nations in a strictly voluntary association; it says so right on the label. Ask a Hungarian in 1956, if your time machine is working.

            Uh-huh; now pull the other one; it plays Jingle Bells. Or maybe Eskimo Nell…

  18. Quasi-tangent set off by the Metallica reference.
    Great post in its entirety – RTWT.
    Could be a launching point for a discussion on what creates, and what constitutes, a “national culture” and is it monolithic or just dominant?

    After moving back to Copenhagen, Torben Ulrich plastered the walls of his house with a row of sayings of Buddhist and Sufi masters, leading up the stairs to the Kabbalistic alchemical table of Adam Kadmon. He hung a copy of the Shema, the Jewish proclamation of the oneness of God, in the bathroom, because he liked the forms of the Hebrew letters. His co-editor of Copenhagen’s jazz magazine was named Rabinowich; he was originally from Odessa, where his father had been the chief rabbi. Once, when they were together in the house, Rabinowich had to use the bathroom, and saw the Shema. “I said, ‘Can you read that?’” Ulrich remembered asking. The story is important, he explains, because it illustrates the sense of estrangement he mentioned earlier. “I was bewildered about all this while it was happening,” he remembers. “But he was not, you know?”

    The Kabbalistic chart of the elements that he hung outside the bathroom was opposite the bedroom of his son Lars, a hyperactive yet deeply focused child who was too impatient to play tennis or study Buddhism. As a teenager, he started a heavy metal band, which he imagined would be the heaviest band in the world. Driven by his ferocious drumming, the band expressed a nameless rage in the face of a nameless hatred—an emotion that tens of millions of listeners around the world took as their own.

    Where that anger came from is open to a million interpretations, of course. But its association with something Lars Ulrich felt during his childhood can be reasonably deduced from his decision—inspired no doubt by the chart of the elements that his half-Jewish Danish father who fled to Sweden twice on a boat to escape the Nazis hung outside his bedroom door—to call the band Metallica.

    That’s karma.

  19. According to Wikipedia, the band’s name had an entirely different source, but that doesn’t make as good a story.
    And there could have been a subliminal influence….

  20. Comes down to what the national security requirements are for the U.S., and where are national interests lie. National security can consist of going extraterritorial and preemptively taking out a potential enemy’s capabilities. e.g. we could decide to eliminate the known cartels and gangs in Latin American countries to close off that driver of the illegal immigration invasion. Except we have certain interested groups in this country that highly desire those illegals that would/have sabotaged any attempts to do so. The other problem with extraterritorial preemptive strikes is, of course, media play and perception by other countries.

    Now I will make one comparison, don’t know if it’s valid or not. If you alternately beat and reward a dog for inconsistent reasons, what’s that going to do to that dog’s psychology? And doesn’t that hold true for countries?

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