Coming Apart

No, the title does not refer to America. Though I excuse those who go full on doomer, running around with their heads on fire and screaming the sky is falling.

There is a feeling in the air, a sense that things are falling apart, that the center cannot hold, that in fact the world we knew, the world those of us around the mid-century mark of a little past grew up in is gone, and that nothing will bring it back.

That is because this is largely true. And it accelerated in the last three years.

But it doesn’t in any way shape or form stand to reason that the world we were born into was the best, or that everything was wonderful — as opposed to now — or that in fact we should revert to it. That way lies madness.

It is a very human thing to assume the world and rules you internalized in childhood are “the way it is” and the perfect world. And with a few rare exceptions, it is even true: for you, as a child, that environment was perfect. Someone looked after you. Compared to your limited life experience, everything was stable and nothing ever changed and everything worked.

Sometime around adolescence you started questioning if everything really worked. But while you might have had doubts about your family, you rarely had doubts about the larger structures of the country. In the US and the world in general, for that matter, you took your education, reached for something that worked with what you’d taken from that and you went.

But it is important to remember that around the mid 20th century what was imposed on America (Started around the 20s or so) wasn’t in any way part of the American system. It was, in fact, a form of centralized “scientific” governance given to us by people who knew that central government and command economies were more “efficient” and that this was the future.

Were they right?

Well, this phase of development gave us things like the highway system, wider commerce, and other things that are probably good. It was also, however, being a centralized system, run by a self-proclaimed elite that was getting its ideas from abroad, quickly subverted. Sending jobs abroad was arguably the last phase of this, but the welfare system, the various “compassionate” rules that are supposed to help people but just distort the economy, and things like the EPA and the Education department were terrible ideas and disasters already in the process of happening seconds after they were formed.

So, now, we can’t trust any of the official institutions that we grew up thinking of as trustworthy and places who would come in in last resort. And it feels like the world is coming apart.

If the CDC came in tomorrow and told us that there was a plague in New York City that made people turn purple, buzz for a few seconds, then explode all over the landscape, and that the way to prevent it was to take six aspirin, would you even bother to stop and take aspirin? EVEN IF THEY SHOWED YOU VIDEOS?

Yeah, no. I don’t think I would either. Heck, I might avoid taking aspirin under the assumption there was something in there that would react with the weather in my area and turn me green or give me tentacles. Because if the Federal government wants you to do something, at this point the way to bet is that it’s at best pointless, and at worst bad for you. And it’s amazing how many times it is bad for you.

And as for the FBI and CIA and the rest of the alphabet soup, while it’s true, probably, that there are still decent agents, doing decent things and trying to protect the public, most of those agencies are a sh*t show and either actively harmful, or would be if they could find their ass with two hands.

And it feels like everything is coming apart.

But in fact, none of this is recent.

During the lockdowns, I did a deep dive into the institutions and their history, and the best you can say about all the three letter agencies and pretty much every department of the federal (feral) government is that sometimes, in brief shining instances, they don’t do more harm than good. But those instances are limited and rare.

I’m not the only one who did this. So, among us, the trust in anything that comes out of DC is close to zero. And the fact that the left captured the levers of that power through fraudulent elections isn’t helping the case any. But our distrust extends way beyond that.

Until recently the US public trusted the armed forces. A lot of them had served. A lot of them sent their children into the armed forces. Serving was a tradition of honor in the US, linked to love of family and love of country. Not only has the fact that military commanders lied to the president, when the president was Trump, in order to circumvent his orders, but most military families are telling their children to stay away from the military with a vengeance. Yes, yes, there are patches of shining sanity, but by and large no one can trust a military that is now working to woke rules and desperately trying to fit themselves into the vision of the idiots who took power in a color revolution.

Where we’re headed there’s no respect for the military, because they are just another governmental boot on the people’s neck. Oh, there will continue to be decent people in there. There are probably decent people in the PRC and we know there were decent people in the Soviet army at its fall.

The thing is, the decent people have to stay quiet and submerged, same as they have in the Universities for decades now, while the whole thing tilts more and more out of control left.

And speaking of, the universities. So, while my family — and husband’s — have some sporadic traditions of service (Father in Law was Navy. Dad was Army) that is not as consistent, going back generations as what I’ll call the “university tradition.”

On both sides, our families have a pretty deep tradition of going to university and being learned, mostly in “useful” things like engineering or medicine, but also stuff like finance and law and math. Going back generations and for some of our lines centuries.

I would not encourage any of my grandkids (ducttape or possible biological in the future) to go to college. I’m deeply regretful that husband and I didn’t stick to our idea, oh, going back 25 years or so, that we’d both apprentice both kids in our trades then release them into the world to be who they want to be. Deeply regretful.

Now for a while, I suspect, you’ll still need university credentials for some things, but I suspect it won’t go on. It won’t go on because the credentials are completely divorced from actual competence or ability to do things.

Now, I’m talking about those institutions of our culture because recently my attention was called to them. But if you look around, in your area of expertise, you’ll find the same is happening everywhere. A bit all over.

Look at my very own profession: when is the last time you bought a book and actually verified that the imprint it was released under belonged to one of the now big four or whatever?

It used to be that being published by traditional publishing was a badge of honor. You knew you had gone through an exhaustive selection process, and you were likely to know what you were doing. Heck, you coudn’t get on bookshelves without it, so you know, the public was thoroughly protected from those fools in their pajamas writing about things…

It was never true — and yeah, above I allude to journalism, a field I also have a bit of visibility into — not even in the fifties and sixties. Already back then people were being published or selected for editing jobs based on things other than competence. I have it on credible information that some of the things people were selected for involved “leftist beliefs” since at least the 40s, not uniformly, but in most presses. And there were of course the usual human “Went to the right schools” etc.

But the perception is that if you were traditionally published, you might be worth reading. You’d gone through a selection process, not simply put up whatever.

I used to be pretty proud of that badge, even while having to be quiet about my politics, and often eat live frogs when fans asked questions like “Why did you drop x series I loved” because I couldn’t tell them that it wasn’t my decision at all, and I had to fake enthusiasm about the new thing, making me seem fickle, and not the publisher random.

… And then I started noticing the people who got decent treatment coming in to traditional were self-published and successful before. And then I started noticing the people who didn’t bother with traditional were making decent livings, actually.

And now, fans and other writers are noticing that you get blacklisted from publishing for wrong opinions, the conventions have gone stupid, the books are unreadable, and they think everything is coming apart. But it was for a very long time. There was just this facade.

So, you know, what happened is that anything centralized is always more inefficient, and tends to be captured by left leaning ideologues — which makes sense, since for them centralized is a religion — but you can keep the impression it works, and is great and trustworthy by controlling information, and keeping the absolute crazy nonsense off the public eye. (Like FDR picking the price of gold according to his lucky numbers, say.)

Then the wrecking ball of distributed communications hit. And the facade fell off.

What you’re seeing: the boiling mess behind the demolished facade, the rot and maggots? It was always there. It just looked pretty and orderly. It never was.

You know d*mn well, this is not even the first color revolution we’ve had, or the first time an entire government was frauded in.

It was just the one of the new era, when we can see them.

At some level, dimly, they realize we’re watching. And they’re terrified. Hence those famous barricades that stayed up in DC forever, and their ever more outrageous power grabs.

But here’s the thing, the first rule of tyranny is that it can’t be visible. So is the first rule of fraud and corruption. It has to take place behind the scenes, hidden, tidily away, while in front you present a beautiful and clean facade and call everyone who opposes you crazy and conspiracy theorists.

None of this works in a nation that lost faith in its institutions.

And were every additional power grab and skin suiting of an institution just shows how corrupt they are, and how crazy.

Yes, they can grab all the formalized institutions, even the army, but by the time they have the army, they’ll be able to be defeated by fifteen sixty year old women with their fabric scissors.

Because the more they try to turn institutions into instruments of their — non functional, counter reality — philosophy, the less are those institutions able to carry on their stated purpose.

It’s easy to get discouraged, scared, upset, when things we believed in and organized our lives around — institutions of knowledge, or defense, or even public protections — are subverted and corrupted and made into mockeries of themselves.

But it’s important to remember, they never really were the paragons we believed them to be, or at least the corruption has been laid in for a long time.

You can’t clean a house if you go around wearing a blindfold and declaring loudly that it was always super clean, even while you slide on cat poop and careen into surfaces covered in dust.

And you can’t even guess the shape of future institutions, which might very well be more local, more responsive, and therefore better, while you equate the fall of the centralized state that FDR consolidated with the fall of the USA.

This centralized nonsense is okay for Europeans, with their bonsai countries. And even there it’s not great.Look how many times their countries go to ill defined wars and the continent convulses in fire and blood because some centralized tyrant is in the grip of an idea.

We’re Americans. We came here because we didn’t want the same. If we must have governments and bureaucrats let them be as a local and small as possible. If the bastages come up with some green new deal abortion of an idea, we want to be able to go to a public meeting and give them pieces of our minds. Loudly.

Yes, it feels like everything is coming apart.

I’ve experienced this before. These are the contractions, preceding a birth. It feels pretty awful. It feels like your body is coming apart. In a way it is. Because if it didn’t, you’d die and the future in you.

Yes, it’s going to hurt. Yes, it’s going to feel pretty awful. Yes, there might be blood, and other not so pleasant substances.

Did you think things could change painlessly and with a wave of the hand? That’s an illusion fostered by centralized governments and bureaucrats.

Really change is always painful, messy, and there’s a good chance what we birth will be a monster.

But this one has good genetics. It has the Constitution. Remember that.

Build over, build under, build around. There is only one way to get through the pain, and closing your eyes and wishing it would all go back to the way it used to be, ain’t it.


261 thoughts on “Coming Apart

  1. “And you can’t even guess the shape of future institutions…”

    Guess? Who said anything about guessing? We’re at (or nearing) a critical point. The Left is completely out of steam. THIS IS THE MOMENT TO COUNTERATTACK!

    The Old Order has expended the last of their credibility on the panic-demic. Their lies and incompetence have been laid bare. And people are angry. Mad at the lies, furious at the incompetence. Too many of the Old Order got into positions of authority because of their family connections, too few have shown even moderate competence in the work they are being paid to do.

    And there are a lot of people like me. People who had the skill and work ethic to make it into the upper middle class…but who watched as the well-connected got the policy-making jobs. People who are now boiling mad. Never forget that the French Revolution started in the middle class, not the poor. So did the American Revolution.

    Our goal must NOT be simply to survive. It must be to tap that wrath and channel it. Attack. Sweep out the Old School Failures, bring in some competent people. CREATE the future institutions.

    1. Of course we should do our best to make them what we want. Not arguing.
      HOWEVER the technology is so different, we can’t guess the details. At all.

  2. I found it interesting that you posted on this topic (Coming Apart) just after that lunatic showed up in the other thread.

    And yes, I’m sure that you had written this post before the lunatic showed up. 😉

      1. I doubt that nincompoop will actually send a DD-214. But if sent, will gladly review.

        1. He won’t. It’s Array, which is to say Clamps, Yama, etc. the troll the Colonel nicknamed Chlamydia back in the day.
          He’s never been closer to the military than you know…. serving gay members in the days of don’t ask don’t tell.

            1. They also have alcohol, and he can pass as somewhat sane at least some of the time.

              Although i’m still howling that he accidentally outed himself because he couldn’t stop spamming Sarah’s comments.

          1. Wait, Clamps is still around? Sheesh, you get strep throat and you miss all the blog happenings.

          1. Sarah,
            I don’t know. Please send me an email. I try to protect myself from these vermin.

            1. He’s a notorious troll. His IP used to be Boston, but it’s now Viriginia. I don’t think he will target you, unless you’re a female writer who was born abroad and writes better than he does. (The last isn’t difficult.)
              For the last several years he’s hit every right wing blog leaving comments which try to make people think I have a secret financial and/or sexual life. (Like I have time. Or energy.)
              He’s unhinged and very leftist. But mostly unhinged.

            2. Here’s the first time I heard about him.

              He’s also been banned from Larry’s Monster Hunter Nation, was on Brad’s for a while, has bounced through either here or related places on STD related handles a few times (no, really; the only one that stuck in my mind is Chlamydia, and at one point picked a fight with Vox Day and the cops got involved.

              One of his favorite tricks is to try to spin up mobs of activists and launch them at whatever usually woman, usually artistic, usually foreign, always writer (that I’ve heard of– started out in fandom) and try to harass them into suicide or at least off the internet.

              1. He’s also been spotted on PJ Media(all sites), although I haven’t seen him recently; I suspect that when commenting went VIP he couldn’t keep up his stable of aliases.

                  1. Mostly kept the Yama ones. I like to remind him of his police restraining order when he dos post there.

                    Although I suppose by now the restraining order has probably expired.

  3. It started well before the Roaring Twenties. Let’s take 1913 for example: Federal Reserve System created, Federal Income Tax Constitutional Amendment, Clayton Anti-Trust Act, creation of the Federal Department of Commerce, and the list goes on. Or you could look at the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act or the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act. (Aside: Senator John Sherman of Ohio was the brother of General William Tecumsah Sherman. He lost out in a business deal and wrote the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to get even. For details. Google . The Truth about Sherman’s “Antitrust” Act on the website of the Mises Institure.)

    1. The Progressives 1.0 were very much in favor of centralized administration by experts, because 1) that got the patchwork of regulations out of the way and encouraged Efficiency, and 2) it took politics and politicians out of the mix which would lower the chances of corruption. Note, these are the “less authoritarian than others” Progressives, people who still liked people. The “control all the things!!!!! starting with people” Progressives were just the latest iteration of the long string of a.) do-gooders-for-your-own-good, and b.) would-be-dictators. This is the 1880s-1914 or so. WWI shifted a lot of things and opened possibilities the earlier men and women only imagined.

      1. C. S. Lewis’s comment on tyranny comes to mind. “..a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims is the most oppressive.”

        After surviving rule by Despicable Kate Brown and the Salem Progressives*, it’s lived experience.

        (*) Should have been a cover band, playing a permanent gig in Hades. Arthur Brown’s “Fire” would be a good start.

        1. Part of the essay, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.”

          Loooong quote; you’d probably be pleased to read the whole essay, if you can find it. It’s got a lot of timely stuff you’ll recognize.

          The Humanitarian theory, then, removes sentences from the hands of jurists whom the public conscience is entitled to criticize and places them in the hands of technical experts whose special sciences do not even employ such categories as rights or justice. It might be argued that since this transference results from an abandonment of the old idea of punishment, and, therefore, of all vindictive motives, it will be safe to leave our criminals in such hands. I will not pause to comment on the simple-minded view of fallen human nature which such a belief implies. Let us rather remember that the ‘cure’ of criminals is to be compulsory; and let us then watch how the theory actually works in the mind or the Humanitarian. The immediate starting point of this article was a letter I read in one of our Leftist weeklies. The author was pleading that a certain sin, now treated by our laws as a crime, should henceforward be treated as a disease. And he complained that under the present system the offender, after a term in gaol, was simply let out to return to his original environment where he would probably relapse. What he complained of was not the shutting up but the letting out. On his remedial view of punishment the offender should, of course, be detained until he was cured. And or course the official straighteners are the only people who can say when that is. The first result of the Humanitarian theory is, therefore, to substitute for a definite sentence (reflecting to some extent the community’s moral judgment on the degree of ill-desert involved) an indefinite sentence terminable only by the word of those experts—and they are not experts in moral theology nor even in the Law of Nature—who inflict it. Which of us, if he stood in the dock, would not prefer to be tried by the old system?

          It may be said that by the continued use of the word punishment and the use of the verb ‘inflict’ I am misrepresenting Humanitarians. They are not punishing, not inflicting, only healing. But do not let us be deceived by a name. To be taken without consent from my home and friends; to lose my liberty; to undergo all those assaults on my personality which modern psychotherapy knows how to deliver; to be re-made after some pattern of ‘normality’ hatched in a Vienese laboratory to which I never professed allegiance; to know that this process will never end until either my captors hav succeeded or I grown wise enough to cheat them with apparent success—who cares whether this is called Punishment or not? That it includes most of the elements for which any punishment is feared—shame, exile, bondage, and years eaten by the locust—is obvious. Only enormous ill-desert could justify it; but ill-desert is the very conception which the Humanitarian theory has thrown overboard.

          If we turn from the curative to the deterrent justification of punishment we shall find the new theory even more alarming. When you punish a man in terrorem, make of him an ‘example’ to others, you are admittedly using him as a means to an end; someone else’s end. This, in itself, would be a very wicked thing to do. On the classical theory of Punishment it was of course justified on the ground that the man deserved it. That was assumed to be established before any question of ‘making him an example arose’ arose. You then, as the saying is, killed two birds with one stone; in the process of giving him what he deserved you set an example to others. But take away desert and the whole morality of the punishment disappears. Why, in Heaven’s name, am I to be sacrificed to the good of society in this way?—unless, of course, I deserve it.

          But that is not the worst. If the justification of exemplary punishment is not to be based on dessert but solely on its efficacy as a deterrent, it is not absolutely necessary that the man we punish should even have committed the crime. The deterrent effect demands that the public should draw the moral, ‘If we do such an act we shall suffer like that man.’ The punishment of a man actually guilty whom the public think innocent will not have the desired effect; the punishment of a man actually innocent will, provided the public think him guilty. But every modern State has powers which make it easy to fake a trial. When a victim is urgently needed for exemplary purposes and a guilty victim cannot be found, all the purposes of deterrence will be equally served by the punishment (call it ‘cure’ if you prefer0 of an innocent victim, provided that the public can be cheated into thinking him will be so wicked. The punishment of an innocent, that is , an undeserving, man is wicked only if we grant the traditional view that righteous punishment means deserved punishment. Once we have abandoned that criterion, all punishments have to be justified, if at all, on other grounds that have nothing to do with desert. Where the punishment of the innocent can be justified on those grounds (and it could in some cases be justified as a deterrent) it will be no less moral than any other punishment. Any distaste for it on the part of the Humanitarian will be merely a hang-over from the Retributive theory.

          It is, indeed, important to notice that my argument so far supposes no evil intentions on the part of the Humanitarian and considers only what is involved in the logic of his position. My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

          In reality, however, we must face the possibility of bad rulers armed with a Humanitarian theory of punishment. A great many popular blue prints for a Christian society are merely what the Elizabethans called ‘eggs in moonshine’ because they assume that the whole society is Christian or that the Christians are in control. This is not so in most contemporary States. Even if it were, our rulers would still be fallen men, and, therefore neither very wise nor very good. As it is, they will usually be unbelievers. And since wisdom and virtue are not the only or the commonest qualifications for a place in the government, they will not often be even the best unbelievers.

  4. The center is not holding. The edges are frayed. And it’s hard to say if there is enough fabric to stitch things together. New fabric will probably need to be woven out of thread that hasn’t even been spun yet.

    But this country works best as a patchwork anyway. With patchwork, each piece can’t be too big or everything gets out of shape. So work on your little pieces and add fabric as needed.

      1. Yeah. In Canada they are STILL mandating the masking of little school kids.

        I’d suppose it might be happening in a very few places in the US that are run by teacher’s unions, but not many I’d guess.

        Could be wrong and I’m sure the helpful folks here could weigh in on the subject.

      2. Kate Brown’s (D-tached from reality and office) executive order mandating face diapers and so forth expired March 4rd. Oregon Health Authority, being the little hitlers that they are, say we subjects will be allowed to breathe in medical environments April 3rd. Gotta stretch that misery as far as possible.

        I had a blood test that could have been done 3/28. It’s now 4/11. FOAD, OHA!

        1. April 3rd

          Same in Washington. I wonder if my masseuse is putting off opening her own space so her clients won’t have to mask up.

      3. Do they believe in a new variant, or just fear-porn? Or are the Eurocrats trying to discourage demonstrations by claiming public health?

        1. And if a new variant isn’t enough, they’ll ramp the bird flu scare up to 11. From what I’ve seen, they’re trying to ramp it up already, but it’s a little hard to generate mass hysteria with one person (allegedly, if memory serves a child in Asia) who succumbed to the Dreaded Killer Avian Flu. Or, so they say.

          OTOH, has Fauci been doing anything with chickens? Asking for a friend.

      4. Not in Britain, AFAICT.

        People are quite peeved at what the Torygraph has revealed in the “Lockdown files”. I don’t think the UK will care about the wuflu again or pay any attention to their “experts” who try to warn them about the next big bad thing. In the end that may be a disaster because some new measlebola virus will show up that really is bad and now no one will actually trust the government warnings.

    1. This country was a miracle to begin with and I’m hoping God has not forgotten us.

  5. Some thoughts:

    (1) “the first rule of tyranny is that it can’t be visible” IF the country is a democratic republic and the would-be tyrants have to pretend they’re still playing by the rules or face total illegitimacy. Even Hitler had to get enabling acts passed by the Reichstag and get the Länder in line before he could go full dictator. But once that happens, then it’s kitty bar the door and fighting back takes a whole ‘nother cast.

    (2) Pop went to Stanford. Mama was magna cum laude at UNH. Her father went to Princeton and MIT. I went to Williams. So when I had the “have you considered the trades” talk with my daughter I was going against a lot of tradition. I stressed to her that people who went to college when they were older got a lot more out of it because they were there to study what they knew they wanted to study and weren’t just there to party and “find themselves”. And kids who go to Harvard to get into the “elite” are like college football players who are all sure they’re going to get into the NFL, but going to Harvard and not getting into the “elite” will screw up the rest of your life with student loans. (I suggested electrical because you have to be pretty smart and you don’t have to do much carrying of heavy things or sloshing around in sewage.)

    (3) The whole New Deal/postwar/Blue Model dispensation is coming to an end on its own inconsistencies and accumulated errors. Everything feels like it’s falling apart because it kind of is, and everyone is freaked out because nobody can foresee what the end state is going to be like: maybe it’ll be Normie Conformity and any “weird” subculture will feel oppressed, or maybe it’ll be Wokie Heaven and people like me won’t get to sit at lunch counters. Maybe it’ll be Libertarian Minarchism and everyone will learn to leave each other alone. Nobody knows and predictions are just guesses.

    1. I’m afraid that which direction the country goes will come down to what side is so committed to their ideas that they are willing to bleed for them. Normies almost by definition just want to be left alone. The alligator-last strategy. Wokies are very into their ideas, but I’m not so sure they will drop the playsta controller and leave Call of Duty to pick up a real gun. Not the odd Antifa types but the real, core constituency. I never served, but I know very well the privations that go along with military service. Dirt is everlasting and meals are irregular. There’s that whole getting shot thing too.
      I’m not sure about the libertarians either. You?

        1. The root of the problem is not that the Left’s ideas do not work. The problem is that the Left divorces cause and effect.

          Thus failure is no deterrent. To them, failure is irrelevant.

          The implications of that are both obvious and dire.

          1. And they also ignore precedent. If it hasn’t happened to them, personally, they don’t believe it will happen.

            1. …which supports the belief that they are at most barely pubescent, mentally and emotionally.

          2. The way the left divorces cause and effect is they love the Winston Smith History rewrite technique. You have no ability to discern cause when you have utterly wiped/rewritten the information that would allow you to do so. Combine that with the fact that they have a memory/attention span which would put them in the lowest decile for goldfish and voila you have the root cause of their issue.

      1. Which direction the country will go depends first and foremost on what sorts of things will work. Something needs to be at least somewhat feasible, or the country can’t shift to it.

        Otherwise TPTB would take advantage of their position at the top of the pyramid and block any change against them (which is more or less what they’re trying to do; but because their ideas aren’t feasible, it won’t work).

        1. Which direction the country will go depends on which way the vast LIV go-along-to-get-along middle shifts, as it always has. We ideological types on the right and the left can squall and bitch and cajole all we want, but we won’t be in a New Era until the middle says so. In 1775-85 and 1855-65 it took a civil war to get the middle to settle on a conclusion, but in 1935-45 it didn’t.

          Hopefully, the vast middle comes down on “woke memes are antisocial, trad/liberty memes are prosocial”. But they could decide the other way, or they could decide “we want a Maximum Leader to make you all shut up and stop bothering us”.

          1. Well, woke appears to be dying already with the LIV public at large. I think people recognize that a lot of woke ideology basically says, “We reject what works because feelings might get hurt”, and people are generally willing to hurt a few feelings if it means that stuff works properly. The left will no doubt try and repackage it, but there seems to be a slowly bubbling groundswell developing against it.

            1. _Listen, lady, we aren’t here to hurt your feelings. We’re just here to fix the plumbing.

              _But why aren’t more women in plumbing?!?! It’s because you’re keeping them out with your toxic masculinity!

              _Naw, lady, I asked my wife if she wanted learn plumbing and be my partner and she just laughed and went back to teaching pre-school. I dunno how she can stand to be around ankle-biters all day. But it’s just as well, she can’t turn a pipe wrench anyway, not even with a cheater bar.

              1. That just means the fittings are too tight; gotta change reality to suit. 🙂

                But pretty much sums it up…

        1. It’s beyond crazy; “The Scarlet Letter” was assigned reading for us in either 7th or 8th grade (around 1958 or 59). And we had to demonstrate that we understood it, although the class didn’t go into fine physical detail regarding the reason Hester Prynne was “decorated”. (And I can’t believe I actually remembered her name after 60+ years!) What the he11 is wrong with these people?!?

      1. Holy fricking crap (and I did not say fricking OR crap, but this is (mostly) a family blog 🙂 ). In 1983 I took a class in 19th century US literature at an engineering school (Senior year, only a madman took 3 senior level engineering classes in a quarter). A bunch of (mostly freshman) English (subject not language) hating engineers could (with admittedly a fair bit of prodding) puzzle out that and Billy Budd albeit with much prodding in the latter case. These are our “Best and Brightest” ? We are so screwed, “The Scarlet Letter” is massively obvious to any one that could cope with Tip and Mitten (which it seems likely that these future Rhodes Scholars can’t) with symbolism nearly as obvious as the anvils hitting Wiley Coyote. No wonder they’ve fallen for socialism/communism, their brains have the consistency of several week old guacamole.

        1. They weren’t teaching the parts of language when I was in school, and I doubt it’s gotten better since then.

          My high school English teacher LITERALLY brought in a selection of Schoolhouse Rock videos to teach us noun/verb/adjective the week before a test.

          We’re supposed to just…sort of absorb the sense of how things work, and magically be able to apply vocabulary to things we weren’t ACTUALLY TAUGHT.

          There’s also the way that Avoiding Engagement is a good survival instinct, so you’re only going to deal with a fairly small percentage of any class’ students, and that will favor those with a goal.

          Such as, “spin the teacher up in circles so she’s fussing about that instead of giving us more lectures on Subject Of Activism For The Week.

          It’s kind of like how some people :cough: would get the teacher to start geeking so they’d forget to assign homework, much less finish the lecture….

          1. Yes, going back to the early 70s, teaching the nuts and bolts of proper grammar and sentence construction went out of style. I had no idea how little I knew of English grammar until I took German.

            Dative case (among many others)? I had no framework in English to understand the very formal German sentence construction. Forget elementary school grammar, even my English composition classes never bothered with the proper use of the language.

  6. I also have a very long family history of college attendance. Both of my parents were college professors. Children going to college literally paid our bills and kept the roof over our heads when I was growing up. My father told me once “You can be a truck driver when you grow up, but you’ll be a college-educated truck driver.” I and all my siblings have masters degrees.
    None of my kids went straight to college from high school.
    I think that only one of my kids will get a four-year degree at some point.
    The concept that “College degree = Success” is crashing and burning right now.
    More and more kids I know in our small midwestern town are deciding that college isn’t for them.
    I’m hearing from multiple places that small private colleges are closing dorms and cutting entire departments.
    (I haven’t seen anything about it in big corporate media, but I’m not surprised. Reality once again doesn’t fit the narrative.)

    1. Universities are currently panicking about an impending crash in the population of college aged youth, which they are expecting to hit in the next 3 years.

      I can’t tell if they’re actually making plans for what happens when that hits, but I suspect it’s along the lines of “Make our college look more attractive to students so that we can grab larger shares of the shrinking number of students.”

      And there’s also the recent effort to “get every high-school student in [state] to attend our [state] University rather than going out of state!”

      No concept of cutting useless programs that are regrettably tied to continued federal money.

      1. It’s going to be a bloodbath when all that misallocated capital, spent on climbing walls and boutique espresso bars, runs out of financial rope.

          1. Depends on what they’re made and backed by – probably not, but it’s the exceptions that will get you. That pesky exception use case.

      2. I didn’t hear the specifics, it may have been a very narrow thing, but there is already a talk of student shortfalls.

        1. Instapundit has linked to several 3rd/4th-tier small colleges closing or merging over the past few years.

          1. Massachusetts is overrun with little colleges. They’ve been experiencing an extinction event unlike anything seen since the end of the Cretaceous. Also hurting are liberal seminaries. Andover-Newton, Bangor and Episcopal Divinity School all closed their doors in the last few years. Why spend 3 years and 60K to get a degree for which the jobs are disappearing at an epic rate and for which you may or may not believe in.

      3. Heck, a friend’s university keeps f’ing up his research team’s ability to make purchases with their grant money – and the way the grant works the university only gets their share of the grant money when the researchers spend the money. Talk about the university shooting themselves in the foot.

    2. Mom & Dad went to college. Neither stayed to get a degree. All 3 of us were expected (come H311 or high water) to go to college and get a degree. We did. All 8 of the grandchildren went, 6 getting degrees, 1 is finishing up. Only 4 of the 6 are working in their degree field. And agree, if I could go back to when our son was looking, I would have had him look closer at the trades, probably electrician, given how he likes working with his hands.

      What is interesting, was that outside of work (where degree was required, both careers), I apparently don’t present as having gone beyond HS. Do not know why. (I do. Just not very chatty in groups. I do better if I have time to respond, like here.) When ask what I do, just plainly stated “write software” (and that after hanging around the group for months). I get the weirdest stares. Generally doesn’t go much farther than that but occasionally hubby gets irritated, with them, and quips “She’s got 3 degrees.” He does not add it is in two different fields, and two are tied together, a bachelor extension of an associates.

    3. Still, it’s no accident that they’re getting rid of the SAT before they get rid of legacy admissions. Pulling up the ladder behind them and all that.

        1. Looked at cynically, as one should, they’re probably correct for their own narrow interests. Success for a society is very much second best to holding one’s own position. Someone else doing well is not good for my relative position. The wasps lost control of the entry point into the ruling class when they shifted toward “academic merit” admissions to the top universities. The current crowd seem to not be making the same mistake as they keep out all the working class Asian people by shifting away from academic merit. Circulation of elites and all that.

      1. Your second sentence doesn’t follow from your first.

        The point of eliminating the SAT requirement is increase enrollment, not limit it.

        And the universities – as entities – don’t care if students finish. It’s financially advantageous for them for student to quit after the second year.

        (Which is not to say that individual departments don’t want their students to finish. it looks better for them if their students finish, apparently)

        1. Eliminating the SAT lets them select on other than merit, which means they could open the floodgates, or tightly neck it down, or filter for elites and marks, and keep out anyone who could challenge them.

          1. And to be clear, what we’re talking about is the exclusive limited-enrollment “elite” Ivy-level colleges and universities, who are much more interested in their own DIE motives than they are at increasing the student body size. The state university systems are the opposite: they want every warm tuition-paying body they can get their hands on, but legacies aren’t really a thing at those schools like they are at the Ivies.

        2. No it isn’t. The purpose of eliminating the SAT is not getting caught letting in people who are less qualified. the number of admissions will remain the same with the mix changed The Whole point is keeping out working class Asians and, by letting in people who just can’t hack it, ensuring the current ruling class’s dominance for another generation.

          1. “The Whole point is keeping out working class Asians,”

            And any other racial/religious/political group they don’t like. I fully expect homeschoolers to be early casualties, once they can’t compare SAT scores and prove discrimination.

            1. True enough, but that demographic has been blacklisted from the Ivy’s from the beginning. The Ivy’s got a huge influx of public school people after the war, upsetting things and reducing the influence of the good prep schools NOKD. They’ve finally got that under control and here comes these working class Asians bringing publics into the system again. Let’s let in enough tokens to make ourselves feel better about ourselves whilst also reducing the competition for top spots later, the tokens can’t hack it so we’ll be reducing the talent pool. Win win.

              I’m a prep school boy who went to Waspy college. That’s the way they think.

    4. “Reality once again doesn’t fit the narrative.”

      That should be tattooed in large block letters on the foreheads of every large blockhead in academia, the media and government. In reverse,so they’ll read it every time they look in a mirror.

  7. The sense I have is a bit like 1989-1990. The old certainties of the Cold War disappeared in a matter of weeks, or so it felt. I knew that in that case it was good, but I felt dizzy and disoriented. There could NOT be a single Germany. The Iron Curtain HAD to last forever. That was the world I knew! How could it vanish so fast? I grew up with the Cold War, SAC flying planes past my house several times a day, the US Army in the Fulda Gap . . . What now?

    Obviously I survived, found other ways to make sense of the world (still mostly bipolar in my mind, but the poles have different names and slightly different members.) But that’s the sense I have at the moment.

  8. The US Interstate system did not come from scientific governance.

    It came from Eisenhower, one of the generals who won WWII, on the basis of being able to manage logistics, deciding he did not want to have to deal with that BS if the Cold War came here, and pushing Congress into funding a nationwide road network that would make war time logistics in the US easy.

    That’s not government by “science.” That is one guy with the experience, vision, and will to make it happen.

    1. The centralization of power and money in the federal government was bolstered by scientific governance.
      Eisenhower, in this tradition, decided we needed a NATIONAL highway system. I’m not disputing his reasons. I’m saying it wouldn’t have happened without the structure and the beliefs.

      1. I’m not so sure it would not have happened without centralization.

        Recall, Eisenhower had just won the largest war in human history through logistics, and as the President of the US, one of his core charges was to ensure the defense of the US. Do we think he would have not spent just as much time and effort talking the individual states into building compatible road networks as he did getting the Interstate network through Congress?

        And even if he had only persuaded some of the key states to build that kind of network, I’d expect most of the rest of the hold outs to have linked up to it before long. We have a national rail network that was largely privately built.

        Just because great men have used centralization as a tool to achieve big things does not mean they would not have accomplished it with a different tool, or that the tool was even required.

        I guess it just bothers me that so many proponents of centralized ‘scientific’ government argue that it was their glorious processes that produced great things, when so many times, once you peel back the layers, it is a small handful of brilliant and motivated individuals who had the vision and will who really made it happen.

        Yet the technocrats preach “just turn our crank and the awesome automatically appears!” I have yet to see that happen. Not even once.

        1. Eisenhower was also a part of the US Army’s 1919 trip across the Continental US. While the trip was completed, the roads that the group traveled across were an unpleasant mess, and apparently marked the start of his desire for a good-quality national road network.

          1. you took my thunder about Ike’s Cross Country Cluster. He was really changed by that adventure, by all accounts.

        2. Personally, I hate the Interstate system. It destroyed so many small towns and has concentrated people into mega cities. I would strongly prefer for the population be distributed in smaller cities and towns connected by a more finely grained mesh of smaller highways. I’ve driven some of Route 66 (didn’t get much in the way of kicks) as well as parts of Route 50 on both the east & west coasts. Eisenhower also had reservations about the Interstate system, he remembered how Allied tanks got on the autobahn and took is straight into Berlin.

          1. Concentration into mega cities was already happening before the interstates, and in the era of mass communication and giant corporations was probably inevitable. Also, I believe that Central Place Theory posits that the central place will grow faster than the periphery under population growth.

            And small town destruction by highway planners has been going on since there were highways. I’m not even all that traveled, but I have personally been through near-ghost towns that got that way because the railroad decided to abandon a line, or the state put the state highway on that side of the hill instead of this side back in 1912.

            One benefit of a large connected highway system is that it brings Americans together. If you can get in a car in New Jersey and be in Georgia by tomorrow, it’s at least a little harder to think of people in Georgia as The Other.

            1. Oh, and I should point out that the era of the mega city may be coming to an end as mass communication yields to mass connectivity. I note that houses in remote rural Eastern Washington are nearly as expensive as those in Greater Seattle. Likewise, the price of untouched land in Mason County (across the Sound from Seattle) tripled during the year I was looking. That wouldn’t be happening if people weren’t trying to get out of the mega cities.

              Does that mean that Specific Flyspeck, Nebraska, is going to revive and come back from the dead and have vibrant congregations at the three churches, and boutiques on Main Street instead of pot shops and meth rehab centers? Eh, maybe? How far is it from the city and the nearest Home Depot and Costco? If it’s not very far, then instead of people rehabbing the old houses there’s probably going to be new tract housing from Enormous National Developer, Inc., but at least there will be more people. I guarantee it won’t be the same as Specific Flyspeck circa 1940, but that’s just life.

              1. I believe it is. That’s one of the reasons I said we don’t know what comes next. Because the manner of living is changing, and rather fast too.

                1. Sarah,
                  My question is why do those who congregate in megacities go Democrat/Socialist? It seems endemic to urbanization. It seems to be a pack mental disease.

                  1. Why do you think they do? I saw FLORID election fraud in Colorado Springs in 12, and heard it was far worse in Denver.
                    Bigger more anonymous cities make it easier to hide the fraud.

                    1. Cities make machine politics practical. The ideology of the machine shifts, but the basic purpose, to concentrate power in the hands of the machine, stays constant. Right now, the machines are leftist, and the leftists are going with, “we are the future, our rule will last forever !” bit.
                      Lewis could have been writing about machine politicians in the quote above. Merely crooked politicians may actually do some good now and then.

              2. “Oh, and I should point out that the era of the mega city may be coming to an end as mass communication yields to mass connectivity. ”

                As long as physical goods must be produced from physical inputs, spoke and hub distribution will be the most efficient way to get them there. And yes, that includes energy.

                1. Indeed, but there is far less need for an army of paperpushers to all congregate in large buildings near each other in megacity downtowns. And therefore also all the support, maintenance, infrastructure, transit, shopping, and restaurant workers that support them.

                  Also, note that Anchorage, AK, is a huge hub for international air cargo transport and distribution, without being even remotely close to being a megacity. So the functions are not necessarily colocated.

                  1. We used to stop there for fueling on flights to Asia, an awful lot of air cargo routes through there..

                    1. Yup. It used to be a huge passenger hub, but then long-haul planes became the norm and now to fly from Anchorage to London you have to go to Seattle first.

                      But cargo flights value cargo weight over flight time, so they load more stuff and less fuel and stop in Anchorage to gas up.

                    2. Video explaining this with nice maps and diagrams:

                      What with Russia closing their airspace like the USSR did, Anchorage may see some pickup in passenger traffic too.

                  2. Information != physical. Information follows connectivity; physical goods still have economies of scale. Cities will shrink; they will not disappear.

                    1. I don’t think I ever suggested they would. Just that the pace of their growth will slow or even reverse.

                      We’re already seeing reshoring in manufacturing. How much of that is crowding into central cities, as opposed to 3rd-ring exurbs or completely detached small towns?

                    2. “How much of that is crowding into central cities, as opposed to 3rd-ring exurbs or completely detached small towns?”

                      Depends on how much free space is available or can be made available at a reasonable cost. I’ll let you provide the figures for that assertion.

                      Here in the DFW area, they’re being built pretty much anywhere they aren’t having to demolish skyscrapers, and usually there’s a pre-existing railroad or capacity for a spur to be built.

                    3. Reshoring manufacturing requires good transportation access, good internet access and talent for staffing. Many small to medium sized towns / cities will fill that bill and more will once Starlink becomes more prevalent. A careful look at the Starlink architecture yields the possibility of a ‘business class’ service where gibibyte rates are guaranteed, freeing manufacturing businesses from being tied to fiber connections.

                  3. I was surprised the first time I drove into Anchorage from Chugiak and the road took me right by the airport – no signs, no special turn-offs, just suddenly driving by this big landing strip.

                2. You’ll still need cities for the blue collar concentration. But the need for white collars to all be in the same location won’t be as pronounced. Mega-cities tend to be largely white collar, with not much industrial work. As an example, the job I had for the last few years was at a production plant in LA County. But it wasn’t in Downtown LA, which is the ultra-high density part of the LA County sprawl. Rather, it was in one of the other cities in the county. Downtown LA is where you have the massive corporate high-rises, with all of the vertical office space. There’s not much manufacturing going on there. So if the white collar work goes remote, Downtown LA will suddenly have a lot fewer people. But the other cities, which all have industrial areas, will still retain many of their workers as those are blue collar jobs.

                  Downtown LA will still have the homeless, though…

                    1. The lack of evidence is on your end. I mentioned a former place of employment that required a nearby blue-collar population. You have provided no counter-examples.

            2. small town destruction by highway planners has been going on since there were highways.

              I would submit that small town destruction has been going on before interstate and state highway planners. The private railroad routes killed small cities well before the highway system was dreamed of.

              1. The introduction of trains helped kill some towns along canals that had been used for shipping before the trains took over that roll as well. Places that had both rail hubs and were on major waterways became even bigger, while those that were not shrank.

              2. The ability to make a living in cities (especially with less work, uncertainty, maiming, or multiple of the above) is probably the real cause.

                My ancestors were in rural areas, but that’s where the kind of jobs they were willing to do WERE. Not a lot of rural electrictrification in cities. 😀

                1. Yes. A lot of mill based towns in Oregon shrunk in the ’80s through early 2000’s. Now are starting a comeback because of the internet and ability to work from home. Not to mention any job commute to job in city is more mileage but less driving time than the commute they used to do. Plus housing cost is way less. Grandma & Grandpa’s place sold for $100k, house with 2.75 acres. The house needed at least $60k worth of work (was not worth trying flip it). Resold in 2017, by the bank, for $130k … House had been fixed, resold, then went into foreclosure upon which it was trashed (or the prior new foreclosed owners stripped it, who knows). Hard to see that happen to the property, but for reasons, family could not buy it.

                  1. Yes, Flyover County real estate took off with the start of Covidiocy. The lumber mills in F-Falls are pretty much gone, though there’s a couple of lumber product or lumber-adjacent factories in the area. The economy was shifting to support older people (lots of retirees) in the past several years.

                    Part of the economic revival came from those retirees and/or refugees from blue areas. We might have been typical. With the Dot-com V1.0 bubble bursting, San Jose was going to be too expensive to live, and we could (with care) stretch savings and proceeds from the SJ house to live in $TINY_TOWN. The locals thought our place was expensive, but we didn’t. OTOH, we put in a lot of work (sheds, infrastructure and renovations).

                    With Covidiocy, the outmigration from Cali to Flyover really took off. Never underestimate the power of lunatic governance to empty a state of decent people. OTOH, the housing stock got depleted, and our dream of moving closer to town went away.

                    Much of the local economy is service oriented. Older people came in, as well as younger families. I’m not sure if the latter will stay around; I’ve seen it go both ways in the past couple of years.

                    1. Inlaws did the same. Only they did it in ’72 VS early 2000’s. They also didn’t make a huge killing on their house in Lemon Grove. Still more than the house they built on the property they had next to the Dechutes and Pine Creek State Park. The property they’d had had since early ’60s. They had also bought property in Sunriver, which they eventually sold. They earned more on the Sunniriver property than they earned through the properties they sold in Lemon Grove.

          2. Oregon has only two interstates: I-5 and I-84. Everything else is state highway, which are still required to be kept clear for military movements should US be invaded. Or that was the excuse why neighborhoods didn’t get plowed in ’69. Not enough plows (true). What plows had were required to sent to help keep the “military route highways” clear. Which while included I-5, but also state hwys 126 (east and west), and hwy 58 (east).

            We rarely take I-5 north to I-84 to Idaho. We cut across the state using state hwy 126 to hwy 22/20 through Burns to Ontario. Even going to Baker we go through Bend/Redmond to hwy 26.

            1. Drain, Oregon has been growing lately. New homes on hill above old sawmill are the most noticeable. Not the least because mom & dad had an acre they finally sold 40 years ago, after paying taxes on it for 28 years. When we first saw the house mom said “We could have waited.” My comment? “Sure, and paid taxes for another 30 years. Really think you’d have gotten $70k or even $48k for the property?” Answer: “No” to both. The acre itself didn’t have a house on it. One above, on the bench, but not on the actual acre (steep hill below bench). Timber on it was scrub (when sold). Standing firewood at best.

              1. Why is Drain growing? Because it is only 40 minutes to either Eugene or Roseburg. For large density urban areas having only a 40 minute commute, most of it at 75 MPH, is nothing. That is before working at home became the standard.

                1. Hell, sometimes it took 40 minutes to get from downtown Seattle to West Seattle, a whole 8 1/2 miles.

                  1. I know. Rather “I’ve heard”. I’ve complained about my commute, which was at worse a 10 minutes to go 2 miles to get across the Willamette (whether going east Beltline, or taking River Road to First to go over Washinton/Jefferson bridge, north). Either way had to get east of the river.

          3. I get so tired of hearing traffic engineers complain that, whenever they add capacity (more lanes) to an expressway, it increases congestion. My response is that the added congestion happens because alternate routes have been foreclosed. If you funnel all the traffic into a single corridor, of course there’s going to be congestion.

            1. Tell them to go LOOK at Iowa– I love it, it looks like their initial plan was taking a chunk of graphing paper and putting a map transparency over it, then drawing in the roads.

              It doesn’t work unless you got a lot of mostly-flat, but oh goodness does it work.

              “Hey, this bridge is GONE. Oh, well, I’ll drive to the every-ten-miles-max next turn off and bypass it!”

            2. that the added congestion happens because alternate routes have been foreclosed. If you funnel all the traffic into a single corridor, of course there’s going to be congestion.

              We only have 3 ways to get east of the Willamette from the west side (unless going north out of town to Hwy 99 E, taking Territorial way south, or W 18th through town to 30th (if Beltline is blocked, taking w 7th to Washington/Jefferson & Coburg bridges is an exercise in patience). I guaranty blocking one of the bridges east bound access, snarls the other two badly. Block two, and it becomes “impossible”. Two being blocked is rare, it has happened, but is rare.

        3. Don’t get me started on the DOD-5000 acquisition process. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy at work. The only thing that I’ve seen capable of fighting it is the Band of Brothers effect – a small, highly competent, dedicated team working outside the normal processes can do miracles.

          1. That is true. Also true that every time a small dedicated team succeeds in doing that in DOD procurement, the processes are improved to close the loopholes the team used to succeed. Don’t ask the Reader how he knows – but the Reader did have a new internal accounting rule named after him after he exploited a large loophole at one point in his career.

            1. I got into Army Management Staff College ( sadly abolished) by applying directly rather than going through the command process. I understand the command took steps to make sure it didn’t happen again.

            2. BZ! I had the privilege of being part of the original DARPA team that did the RQ-4….then was Test Director and one of the first two Tactical Coordinators for the Global Hawk Maritime Demo. Which got deployed on a 6-month tour…that ended 13.5 years later.

              1. The Reader led the team that internally developed the radar that is now the APG-83 for retrofits and new build F-16s. We got that radar from concept to contractor flight test in 2.5 years and demoed it on an F16 for the Air Force 11 months after that. The Reader started the team with 2 (and only 2) requirements – 1. You can’t mod the airplane to install the radar (hadn’t been done before – every fighter AESA radar before it had the airplane designed around the power and cooling requirements of the radar) and 2. Cost goal (still proprietary). Everything about the radar’s performance was an outcome. God knows what the cost and schedule would have been if this had been an AF program.

          2. Mike M.,
            Please God/Goddess/Odin/Freya save me from Acquisition Hell. Looks like I’m going into it regardless of my screaming. And I thought RMF was bad … I’d ask someone to shoot me, but I can’t leave the grandkids without a grandfather/father figure. All the others are dead. I’ve got the duty & the watch.

        4. “…just turn our crank and the awesome automatically appears!”

          Mythological reference: See “Sampo” in the Finnish national epic, “Kalevala”. This seems to recur on a regular basis…

          1. I’m going to have to keep that one in my files for later. Had a peripheral character who Odin’ed it up, and this could be a fun little thing if that character ever ends up being in the main thread.

      1. In large part it was enable internal movement of military equipment and supplies, including nukes, anyplace in the country they were needed, with the idea that a war with the Soviets and/or Chicoms was inevitable.

    2. A coast to coast road system for a nation that spans a continent is a good idea. No one has yet mentioned, so I will, the actual name is the National Defense Highway System. And the reason it meanders into so many sparely populated areas is that goes near every major military installation that existed at the time it was initially designed and built.

      Near, not to. One of the thoughts behind it were the installations themselves would be targets. But the roads would survive an initial attack, and surviving units would be able to use it.

      AFAIK, only one state really screwed any of it up- Pennsylvania. Ever been through that traffic hellhole called Breezewood? Even with construction of the new I-99 route you have to go through a town to go from another interstate to the PA Turnpike.

      1. Alas, I am only too familiar with Breezewood. It seems that PA did every junction between major highways that way…you have to route through a town to get from one highway to another.

      2. That’s partly because Breezewood is the spot where the new interstate (now I-70) tied into the existing Pennsylvania Turnpike. Early law/regulation regarding the interstates forbade certain types of connections between interstates and toll roads. Breezewood was the cheap and easy solution.

    3. You remind me of a college chemistry professor I once had who made it a point that the “We all know now” of science did not come from the great mass of indifferent students. It came from a comparatively few dedicated individuals who relentlessly pursued the truth, sometimes in the face of considerable opposition from the “established consensus”.

  9. You managed to hit one of my hot buttons here. The traditional four year college plan is nothing but a scam. Getting a college degree is often a useful thing, but there are other ways to do it. One of the best is an external degree program, such as the ones offered by Charter Oak State College, Excelsior University, or Thomas Edison State University. You can earn the vast majority of college credits by examination. A bright high school student should start taking CLEP tests while a sophomore in High School and then move on to DANTES/DSST tests. Having 60+ hours of college credit by the time high school graduation rolls around is very practical. There are online study guides available, when I was using one, it cost $20/month.

    Yes, you will need support and encouragement from your family. Very few “guidance counselors” in high school will have any clue about these programs, and will likely try to discourage you from taking what is often the easier path. Very realistically, getting a Bachelor’s Degree will cost less than a new economy car, possibly less than $10K, but having a budget that can deal with up to $20K at the top end is a good idea. Realistically, if you start early and apply yourself, you should be able to finish an external degree program in less than 18 months after you graduate from high school. Is it worth it? I think that in many cases it is. If you want a degree from a prestigious university, go get a Master’s from one after going through your Bachelor’s.

    1. You can take the CLEP tests, sure, but you have to pay for them and also you still have to pay for the class credit if you want it to count toward a degree.

      You get to pay one way or the other.

      1. Yeah, when I was taking CLEP tests they were $120 and provided between 3 and 6 hours of college credit. DANTES/DSST tests were $150 and typically provided at least 3 hours of upper level credit. As far as I know the external degree programs do not charge on the basis of the number of credit by examination hours, just a flat fee to evolution. It’s not free, I never said it was, it’s just a lot cheaper and faster than even going to a State University. So, yes you pay, but you pay a lot lot less in terms of money, time and effort.

        1. Yeah. They got around that by charging for the credits whether you take the class or not. If you want the credit to count for your degree then you pay for the credits. Even if you have already paid for the test. You can test and move past prerequisites but that’s about it. And a few of them may even count them for electives but not degree requirements. No matter what the class is.

          Unless you pay. Of course that may be different in different schools. Most likely is. But many schools have blocked that way of getting by cheap. They charge you for credits from other schools too. If you transfer. And you already paid the other school.

          They are in a fight to the death and they know it.

          1. Susan, you are talking about something different. I am talking about going through an external degree program, not applying CLEP credits to a traditional 4 year college. I’ve done it. If you are paying the college to accept the credits, it’s a scam, just like all traditional 4 year colleges are these days

            1. Matt,
              Please contact me on Facebook or MeWe (same name, I don’t hide. The Woke mobs come after me, it won’t be pretty. Well, except for Twitter – they mob too fast there). I am very interested in this external degree concept for my grandchildren. I have the means to help them, coach, tutor (for STEM), finances. The first one wants to do Forensic nursing, and we’re likely moving to south Texas after her HS graduation. If you reach out either place by DM, I will send you my email so we can discuss. If you’re at a Con we’re at, you get a drink/beverage on me.

          2. charge you for credits from other schools too. If you transfer.

            That is new.

            When I transferred (went for a second bachelors), I applied both the forestry degree hours, and the associates computer degree hours, toward the new degree. Same with the forestry hours toward the associates (yes, backwards). Ultimately, only math and electives worked to eliminate requirements on the degree I was going for. That (by insisting), the forestry degree counted to the second bachelors “minor” (gotta be well rounded), and the associates for the under graduate pre computer requisites. Did not get charged for any hours accepted. What didn’t get accepted, either time toward the degree, was the statistics. Had to take statistics three times! The second time the class was even labeled Statistics! I not only got the same statistical math the first time as the second and third time, I got a lot more practical usage (forestry uses a lot of statistical sampling on standing timber, young stands, and growth models, and it was continuously used in subsequent forestry classes for three years). But the class was called “Biometrics” so “didn’t count”. (Note, I do not like stat classes!)

            All 3 degrees if not “full time”, paid $/hours taking. Full time was 12 – 19 hours. Anything over 19 hours, paid full time tuition + $/hours over 19.

            Another change (I squeaked by) was if a required class had been taken, but over 10 years prior, it could be on your transcript but had to be retaken. That would be irritating. I did retake calculus I, but that is me and math (took the first term discrete math with required calculus 1, got a B by the skin of my teeth because I’d had linear math prior too. Decided, let’s back up). The difference is between the new requirement and what I did is I chose to retake the class.

  10. Farmer/Rancher needs to get his goods to market; city slicker wants his steak and baked potato. We’re Americans, we woulda figured something out even without government intervention. It might not look exactly like the system we have, but it would work. Possiby better than the perpetual jobs programs we have here/now.

    1. Here in Texas we have Farm to Market & Ranch to Market roads. Yeah, they are managed by the State government. One of these days, I need to write down my rant about “who will provide the roads” that goes into all of the different governments with often conflicting goals that are currently building the roads.

      1. Yeah. It’s a pretty complex net.

        I remember a streamer from Britain was trying to make sense of how US roads were named. I gave him a brief rundown of all the different layers of the US road system and it helped him to understand why we’ve got so many different naming conventions involved.

    2. Well, we did have one, it was called “railroads”, and it was even more beholden to the feds for rights of way, subsidies, etc. The Interstate Highway System was largely paid for by the feds, but that wasn’t a new thing; the feds had been giving money to states for highways since the 1920s.

      But if we didn’t have interstates, freight transport would not be as flexible or as comprehensive, and the concept of the family road trip would be much shorter range and probably more reserved for the wealthy (in that it would take forever to get anywhere meaning more time off work).

      Remember that the Constitution explicitly authorizes Congress “to regulate commerce … among the several states” and “to establish … post roads”. I think even though Ike’s original purpose of being able to move armies around never became operational, the Interstate system is still on balance a good thing and well within the Constitution.

      1. If you ever want a taste of what U.S. highways might be like without federal involvement, try taking the Trans-Canada Highway through northern Ontario. Despite the name, it is built and maintained (or not) by each province that it passes through. The Ontario government is run by people who never leave Toronto and don’t believe there is human life north of Sudbury, and for many years (I don’t have recent information, alas) the highway north of Lake Superior was legendary in its sheer awfulness.

        1. Even Hwy 1 is a problem. Kind of aware before but just thought our need for rest stops were out of sync. After all we could just pull over the trailer wherever there was an off/on ramp, and use the trailer. Learned differently on our first trip without the trailer. Canada Hwy 1 does not believe in US style rest stops. Instead they are an off ramp where trucks can get off the highway and truckers can rest. No rest rooms outside the small towns that are gone through. At least we had poo bags (not the problem, but my bladder hates car rides), and wipes (for the bum and hands). Poo bags double for not leaving used TP/wipes anywhere. (Poo bags because we had the dog with us. The handiwipes were for her clean up, JIC, too.) To be fair, the freeway/highway running N/S through Wyoming and Montana, east of the Rocky’s are almost as bad. Only there isn’t any trees to go hide behind.

          1. Alaska Highway has pullovers and outhouses. In Canada you get told NOT to sleep in the pullovers. Within 20 miles of crossing into Alaska (probably less) the lady at the wildlife refuge told us it was absolutely OK to park overnight in a pullover. Quite a contrast.

            1. We never saw any trucks in the pull offs. We never slept in one of the pull offs either. Just stopped for “can’t wait for potty breaks”. Even in the states the rest areas are not meant for sleeping overnight, for non-trucking rigs. A few hours, yes. We’ve used them when we had the RV, traveling to/from our first camping reservation. But we also learned stop before 10 PM, or you won’t find a slot to pull in (full of truckers). Do NOT recommend doing what truckers do when there isn’t a spot, line up along the on/off ramps to the rest areas, if you are an RV. We’ve also taken advantage of different corporations like Walmart who have some locations where you can use the far reaches of their parking lots. Always made sure to go in and buy snacks/pop before we left (and we don’t shop Walmart normally). With abuse that option has been disappearing at a lot of locations. Now that we are traveling by vehicle, we find a hotel. Depending on the trip we’ll plan the stop location, get reservation. But we’ve also done the “time to stop, find a hotel” route, which can be dicey. It was in Red Bluff Montana … It would be the last “big traveling” weekend. It was our first time dealing with “we didn’t know our itinerary” when in a car.

  11. One does always need to ask why one is reading this now. First Insty reposting a piece about elite overproduction and now this. I suspect that an awful lot of what’s going on is simply demographics, I know I’m a broken record but just about every large scale social movement comes down to demographics in the end, specifically the interplay of age cohorts,

    It’s no accident, as the marxists used to say, that the political upheaval of the 60’s and 70’s was over by the 1980’s, the elites had turned over and, since The US is so dynamic, the number of “elite” positions had grown. Right now, we’re in the middle of another boom, and the crisis point is …. Right now …. If we survive — if. — it’ll all roll over again around 2030.

    For the rest, the single most shocking day of my life was when I found out we’d invaded Iraq on suspicion, not confirmed fact. Everything changed that day. Couple that with the wholesale replacement of the senior officer class during the reign of error and my trust in the military as an institution is very low. I come from a military family and should have known better than to believe their competence and good will, but the funeral flags and the ribbons got in the way of my seeing clearly.

    With all, I’m optimistic. I spend a,lot of time with the utes from the rugby club and the kids are alright. That’s why we need to keep asking why I’m reading this now. None of what we read in the press is an accident.

      1. Every day I come down more for demographics. Everything else is just human nature playing out as it always has and always will. Demographics is behind the pace of change and current thing.

        My problem with the doomers is their straight line extrapolation, except when they go exponential. Real life doesn’t work that way.

        That said, I’m afraid a lot more change is coming and bad luck happens. many things I like or took for granted are passing away.

          1. Why we’re thinking Japan for 10 days. I deem Europe far too dangerous by my standards, except for Poland, Hungary, Romania, perhaps Czech Republic. Not sure about Finland yet. My reason is unrestrained immigration of military age, and/or militant, 3rd world refugees who hew to a certain ideology, that was blessed by the 3rd Reich. These migrants have rendered areas in London, Paris, other areas, uninhabitable by those who don’t obey their “laws”. They are trying to do it in Michigan, Minnesota, a few other places.
            I’d love to do Poland, but the language is harder than Russia. And, unfortunately, less useful than Mandarin. If I had a chance to do over, I would have studied Mandarin instead of Russian, Japanese and Korean instead of German. I have yet to seriously try an Asiatic language yet. I know a few words in Japanese. And Korean. I know kimchi (love it) and Soju (it will sneak up on you with little cat feet and put you on the floor).
            Besides, I love Japanese food. I grew up in South Texas, and fresh seafood was a staple.
            Time to get with the program.

    1. Oh, in this case you’re reading this because I’m tired of people acting like the sky is coming down. I don’t think it is. It’s just a lot of change at once.

      1. Even Zeihan, who wrote the doom and gloom book I just finished about an impending global-scale catastrophe due to the demographic crash, ends with a note that the really bad stuff will only be temporary. Things won’t go back to how they used to be, and we can’t begin to guess what things will be like fifty years from now. But people around the world will adapt to their new situations and make the best of it.

        1. … And the US will come out smelling like a rose, and even more firmly #1 in the global hierarchy.

          1. Maybe so, but I will be long dead. That’s why I want to leave the US so I can spend what few years I have left in a much more comfortable environment.

            1. 5 years out is very possible. Zeihan is too aggressive in his timing but 5 years is not crazy. I’d be surprised if China managed to go 10 before massive dislocations.

              It’s unwise to assume, but I do wonder if you’ve ever lived in another country. I have and the grass is not always greener.

              1. I’ve spent time in other countries, but never been a resident. I am worried about not being able to drive safely in the next few years. Since there are no cities in the US where it is practical to live and practical to not drive, I am looking at European cities that were built before cars became so ubiquitous. I found parts of Kiev to be very practical to live in without a car. Getting old sucks. Getting old with no family is even worse.

                1. Check out Eugene, Oregon. Seriously. I wouldn’t want to get around without a vehicle, but doesn’t mean one can’t. Takes time, planning, and patience. Grandma did. Mom tried to teach her how to drive after grandpa died in ’59 and grandma and her youngest three followed grandma’s oldest son (dad) to Eugene. Driving lessons did not go well. Car was parked up on blocks until the boys were old enough to get their licenses. Instead grandma used LTD busses, more so after all three younger boys were out of the house. She also walked (because bus means some walking). LTD takes time. But it is fully doable. This happened even after (second oldest) son ended up in a nursing home that was a 3 transfer ride (was there every day she was in town to feed him lunch; every day!) Since she’s passed away (’87) LTD has added additional busses for the elderly and handicapped where service is more door to door and on call. Makes it a lost easier for those dependent on them. A lot of the early assisted, over 55, living complexes use them. Eugene does not have a subway.

                  When grandma first lived in Eugene, she was down around Jefferson & 4th (somewhere, I don’t remember). Eminent domain had her moving to Harris & 24, where she lived until her death. She exclusively road the bus from both locations.

                  1. Downtown Colorado Springs. You can. And it’s relatively safe. And far, far better than Europe, even though I wouldn’t want to live there. The laws in Colorado are crazy. not as crazy as Europe.

                    1. Ditto. Oregon is Blue. Eugene is Blue. But still better than socialist southern and coastal California.

                2. Japan is far safer than Europe for city living and it is normal for people in the larger cities to not have cars. Public transport works. Convenience stores and grocery stores tend to be close at hand. There are delivery services. And so on.

                  Of course there’s the language issue. But there are plenty of gaijin in the Tokyo area so it’s doable assuming you can get residency (which may not be that hard if you have a nest egg).

              1. No place in the world will be safe??!! If I couldn’t live in the US, I’d consider Switzerland, New Zealand, Southern France, and maybe Panama. Why do you think Switzerland wouldn’t be safe?

                1. Why do you think Switzerland WOULD be safe? Especially since Europe is showing all the signs of going back to full tribal. You’d be there and you would NOT be Swiss.

                2. Sigh. Because if there is no pax Americana, Europe will be the playground of whichever conquering tyrant wishes to.
                  Switzerland…. Have you heard of DAVOS? It is a socialist paradise. It wont’ be safe to free-thinking humans.
                  All of Europe, too, is under invasion by the third world, and has been longer than the US.
                  But do go ahead. Write us letters.

                  1. Just a quick correction here: All of Europe is much more than the EU. There are countries that are not being invaded by third world leeches.

              2. Maybe I am delusional. But I’m not going to have fewer connections to the world elsewhere than I do here. Your life is very different from mine. Living somewhere with a lower cost of living and where I don’t need a car are high on my priority list. Living somewhere that doesn’t have people calling for my death would be a nice change as well. I’ve been thinking about these issues for a long time now. Europe looks like the best choice for me, different, but a shared European heritage and culture.

                1. You’d be there. You’d be a foreigner. Worse. You’d be an AMERICAN that wasn’t a gravy train. The cost of living is much higher there all around if you’re comparing same to same. If you’re willing to accept a lower standard of living you may be right.

                  1. Even at a lower standard. To buy decent health care in Portugal, for instance, you not only need a lot of money (My parents are starting to pinch, and they saved A LOT) but you have to KNOW how to get it, and where to go.
                    Crime is much higher. They just don’t report it/record it (this is true for all of Europe) life is harsher, period.
                    I’m trying to prevent Matt committing suicide through naivete.
                    BTW outside the major cities which in most of those countries are far worse than he can imagine, cars are absolutely necessary. Or you’re at the mercy of buses and trains that are dangerous, like they are in our inner cities, particularly for the foreigners.
                    AND ambulances might come or not. A relative of mine in the suburbs of a large city died waiting for the ambulance she called at night fall. They never came. Another relative drove her to the hospital in the morning. She died before admission.

                    1. And that is the Leftroids’ ideal, which they are eager to impose here.

                      During the COVID19 Panic, Italian hospitals would not admit anybody over 70. “You might have spent 50 years paying a fortune for Socialized Health Care, but now there’s a Crisis and you’re not human any more. Just go away and die.”

                    2. “To buy decent health care in Portugal, for instance, you not only need a lot of money (My parents are starting to pinch, and they saved A LOT) but you have to KNOW how to get it, and where to go. Crime is much higher. They just don’t report it/record it (this is true for all of Europe) life is harsher, period.”

                      So a lot like CA?

                      “I grew up in California, moved away in the early Nineties, and moved back in 2019. One of the new things I noticed upon my return was small signs stuck to the side of a car, or printed on posterboard and erected on a street corner, advertising “DMV services”. After some intercourse with a few of these, always conducted in halting, heavily accented English, I came to understand that these entrepreneurs are “fixers”, a species that most Americans are unacquainted with. If you want to get something done in the developing world, you often need to engage the services of a fixer. This is someone who has connections in the bureaucracy, often by virtue of kinship. Being a naïve visitor without connections, you couldn’t possibly know whom to bribe, how to approach them, or what forms must be observed. These things must be accomplished with delicacy. You, brainwashed to believe in the Weberian version of bureaucracy as impersonal rationality, are too naive to navigate a real one in most parts of the world. Too European.”

                  2. I’ve looked at the numbers. It really is cheaper to live in other parts of the world. Food is cheaper, cellphone service is cheaper, internet is cheaper, living in the city center is cheaper. Not needing to own a car is quite a bit cheaper. Books in English are more expensive unless I go to using a Kindle, so that’s covered. Medical care is cheaper, although I might need to come back to the US when my battery needs replacing. Really, I’ve been researching it.

                    1. Uh, that gas price is euros per liter, not dollars per gallon. Works out to somewhere between $8.00 and $9.00.

                      And don’t forget that you’ll be paying 80% taxes to support their Workers Paradise.

                    2. Okay, you are comparing living in the EU to living in the US. There is a lot more to Europe than the EU and several other currencies than the Euro. I certainly do not want to live in the EU. I’ve been to Portugal, it’s a nice country, but a bad match for what I want and what I am.

                    3. Sigh. No. I’m comparing living in Europe to anywhere in the US. And I think you’re seriously deluded. I’m trying to prevent you getting in serious trouble.

                    4. You have to be talking about far Eastern Europe. Because I can’t think of any place in Central never mind Western Europe where anything is cheaper than it is here, and I live in the most expensive part of the US outside SF. Eastern Europe, you’re talking about very poor countries. Very poor. Like makes Mississippi look like Alpine, NJ —. Look it up. Eastern Europe is a dump and outside the big cities a third world sh-thole. Have you ever spent considerable time in a third world Sh-thole? I have, I don’t recommend it, even staying in expensive western hotels with drivers and bodyguards, and everything. A sh-thole is a sh-thole, Seriously.

                      Well, it’s your neck. An Asian financial commentator made the comment that he’d start to believe in American decline when the visa line outside the American embassy went away. they’re still there, longer than before and well … there ain’t no lines outside Ukraine’s embassy, or Moldova, or Romania, or Bulgaria, or Germany for that matter,

                    5. People don’t seem to understand that “Lower cost of living” often means “lower standard of living.” Sure you can live in Africa for $1 a day. Without indoor plumbing. Or modern medicine. Or….

                    6. You’re assuming that the food isn’t about to go away.

                      Netherlands is one of the most productive countries in the world where food production is concerned. And the Dutch government’s trying to end that. The reality TV series Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon starts out with Jeremy Clarkson (of Top Gear fame) trying to figure out how to farm his own land (land that he’d previously paid someone else to farm for him since he’s insanely rich), and gradually coming to the conclusion that even the local community government is trying to destroy British farmers.

                      Further, one of the things that Zeihan looks at is farming and everything that goes into it. For example, modern farming generally uses stuff from all over the world. Potash in the fertilizer from one part of the world. Heavy-duty farm equipment from another part of the world. And so on. No one part of the world produces everything… except for the US. Or to put it another way, assuming that the disruptions we fear are on the way, farming is probably going to get a lot more expensive, and produce much smaller yields, pretty much everywhere in the world except maybe in the US, Canada, and Mexico (i.e. the North American Free Trade bloc).

                      You might need to move to somewhere in the US other than where you’re currently living. But when the entire world goes to Hell in a handbasket (and I do mean the entire world), you will be safer and more secure nearly everywhere in the US than you will be anywhere else in the world.

                    7. Taipei. Renting is cheap, buying a home very expensive, excellent public transit, a lot of English speakers around.

                      Pity they’re under the eye of Mainland China . . .

                    8. Almost everything in that list is “cheaper” (if it indeed is cheaper) because the US effectively subsidizes other countries.

                      Since your entire plan is based on the US having a nervous breakdown, how exactly is that supposed to continue?

                    9. I will merely point out that conditions vary in Eastern Europe. I’m still amused by my Romanian fellow students’ feelings about Bulgaria- it was very similar to the way an Alabamian looks at Mississippi.
                      On there physical level, was also surprised the Best Western in Sibiu (will, first I was surprised to find a Best Western in Sibiu) had no air conditioning and no screens on the windows. Given they do have bats and rabies is endemic, I was not very pleased.

                2. I’ve lived in France, Hong Kong, England and Ireland along with NYC, which most here think is a foreign country too. 😜.

                  Europe is much more expensive than here and you’ll be a foreigner, their medical care basically sucks despite what everyone says about it, and crime rates in towns that are reasonably priced are very high, again despite what everyone says about it. Living without a car is expensive too as you’d need to buy necessities at small shops with high markups., if you can get them at all.

                  The Swiss won’t let you stay. Getting residency in Switzerland is very difficult, For the rest, they’re trying to bring in labor to replace the babies they didn’t have. Maintaining the social welfare state with Muslim labor supporting old White people is going to be ….. interesting. They won’t want you, they already have enough of you. Sorry, that’s the way it is.

                  If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful and want,out of America, then Costa Rica but you’d better know what your getting into. This sounds to me like frying pan into fire.

                  Eastern Europe may be different, certainly the demographics are, but again you’d better know what you’re getting into. I like it there.

                  For myself, I am likely to retire to the south coast of the UK for at least part of the year, I have a place there. However, I can do this because I have access to American healthcare and enough money to live comfortably anywhere. remember that poor Americans live better than most Europeans.

                  Lastly, the simple fact is that America is where to be if the hammer comes down. if it falls, it all falls.

                  1. Eastern Europe also has Russia problems. How much of a threat Russia will be in the near future relies heavily on what happens in Ukraine. But Russia’s long-term strategies (ones that will likely outlast Putin) probably include reincorporating Moldova (which almost certainly means war with Romania), the Baltics, and parts of Poland. Even if the Russians don’t start a war, they’ll find ways to cause trouble.

                    Plus, ethnicity is, and likely will continue to be, an issue in Eastern Europe.

                  2. Our socialists ought to have to go to Costa Rica (or less wealthy Central American countries) so they can see actual wealth inequality. The contrast between the gated expat community we visited on our last night (mission trip) and the barrios of San Jose is….notable. And that doesn’t count village life.
                    Now I’m shaking my head at how lucky and blessed we’ve been. Romania.

                    1. The same is true of Puerto Rico, and they have the advantage of being an (unincorporated) US territory. Probably not as bad as Costa Rica, but not exactly Beverly Hills.

                      Aside: We watch Death In Paradise, and my wife (who tends to black-pill about all the crap here these days, even in AZ) usually says she wants to move to St. Marie. Then sighs, and says it’s a shame that it’s not real, and that the real area (Guadeloupe) would not be a good idea for us… 🙂

                3. Sigh. Why do you think Europe — I presume Europe — has a lower cost of living? For what you actually need, like health or….
                  Look, most Americans last a year in Portugal. It looks cheaper. On paper.

                    1. Well, the point of retiring to another country like Costa Rica is that your American savings will take you a lot farther there, or the same distance but with like servants and stuff. Europe is more expensive than the US.

                    2. I truly find this bizarre. I spent the entire last ten years standing in front of friends going “You’re going where?”
                      I mean Brazil? Are you actually joking? Germany? Are you for real? Switzerland? Stop toking. Poland? Oh, the welcome mat of the Russians (Though the Russians don’t seem to hack it.)
                      Seriously people, if the US descends to anarchy, you don’t want to be anywhere else. We are — as screwed up as we are — the greatest consumer and buyer in the world. Without us the world loses shape.
                      The Americas, south of us? Oh, dear. I was reading twitter comments recently, where the locals were talking about how America had stolen all their wealth. This was San Salvador. Where the main exports are underwear and jeans…. to the US.
                      We give them jobs.
                      When they find themselves unemployed and broke, it will be lots of fun to be a broke and lost American among them.
                      And Europeans? Around the edges, they’ve hated Americans since we prevented them killing themselves. Twice. What do you think happens when they don’t fear America at all? Or when you’re isolated there?

                    3. Even when I was in Germany in ’04. They muttered it under their breath (Didn’t know I spoke rough German. Enough that I was willing to just wander about on weekends. Heard a lot when people thought I couldn’t understand.)

                    4. Is amusing to read the Imperialism claims. I think Jordan## had a bit on LiveJournal back when about how the USA technically could invade and strip anything of value from Haiti, but it would cost to do that. OR… the USA, even with the not-so-great economy of when he wrote could…. let the economy run for about 20 minutes and get at least as much, without the expense.

        2. I think Zeihan is mostly wrong about the doom and gloom bit of the demographic crash. I strongly suspect that automation is going to mean that the world can maintain its current standard of living even as the number of working age people decreases.

          Now what will cause the standard of living to decline is all the idiot NetZero glowball worming stuff, but that’s nothing to do with demographics

          1. Zeihan brings up automation toward the end of “The End of the World is Just the Beginning”. He mentions new advances in automation will dramatically cut down the number of workers required to work in certain factory-based industries in the US, and will help cushion the US from some of the worst effects of the demographic crash.

            He also notes that most countries aren’t going to be able to do that because it’s really high-tech stuff, and most countries won’t be able to build or maintain it.

              1. Those three nations are all resource-poor, requiring the import of raw materials to do just about anything (which is why Japan got involved in World War 2). If the world gets more unstable, there’s a possibility that their access to the raw materials and intermediate goods that they need to make finished products could go away.

                I’m of the opinion that the US would be inclined to support all three, given what they offer and the closeness of our current relationships with them, the ease of access (they’re a long way away, but it’s all empty ocean). That would probably mean that they continue to have access to goods. And the JMSDF might be strong enough to secure overseas sources if things go south and the US doesn’t help out (the ROK has also been talking about building up it’s Navy, but that seems more locally oriented over China concerns). But there’s a distinct degree of risk there due to the likely coming uncertainty.

                1. AIUI the JMSDF is the 3rd or 4th largest navy in the world. USN is 1. PLAN is 2. Russia 3 and JMSDF 4. Unlike the Russians and (probably) the Chinese the Japanese are not corrupt and have plenty of institutional know how about how to run a navy successfully.

                  Also JMSDF has been building relationships with other regional navies like the Philippines and Vietnam. What Japan needs is a secure shipping corridor from Indonesia-ish to Japan and another from Aus/NZ. The JMSDF could certainly do that and the Taiwanese and Korean would likely ally in doing so.

                  It is worth noting that Japan has very clearly paid attention to the wuflu related supply chain issues and learned from them. The real “must have” imports Japan needs are gas oil and coal and it is storing more of those. With those it can make pretty much everything else it needs and/or substitute imports from somewhere else (e.g. swapping India/Bangladesh for PRC)

                  1. More importantly, the JMSDF has range. The Chinese can theoretically work out of distant regional bases (they’ve got a few), but otherwise can’t project. And depending on how things go, Beijing might not be able to continue maintaining those bases. The Russians are even worse, with poor range on their ships, crappy maintenance (reportedly Moscva was lost because most of the anti-air defenses on the ship hadn’t been maintained) and only one warm water base, which is hidden away in the Black Sea.

                    Korea still has issues with Japan over the first half of the Twentieth Century. The Koreans should make their peace with Japan if things go south. But there’s a not insignificant chance, imo, that they’ll refuse. Taiwan’s military is mostly local (aimed at big brother across the strait). But Taiwan’s strategic resource isn’t its military. It’s the semi-conductors that a high-tech military requires.

                    Also worth noting is that Japan is building nuclear power plants again.

                    However as I stated above, and contrary to what Zeihan thinks iirc, I think the US will continue to support our three East Asian allies even if we otherwise start disengaging from the rest of the world. All three nations have important things we want, and Japan and Korea have some sympathetic soft power in the US due to cultural imports.

                    1. Korea still has issues with Japan over the first half of the Twentieth Century. The Koreans should make their peace with Japan if things go south. But there’s a not insignificant chance, imo, that they’ll refuse.

                      Check out things like the credits at the end of anime or, I suspect, manhwa. One anime we were watching recently, I noticed at least a third of the names were obviously Korean.

                      The politicians may still be somewhat publicly prickly, but the have-a-young-family and younger management level folks are working just fine.

                      (I’d imagine it’s hard to be pissed off about what someone’s great-grandfather did to your great-grandfather when the guys telling you to be pissed about it have no issue with your neighbors right now who are starving to death under Much Bigger Neighbor’s watchful eye, and you’re next on the menu.)

                    2. Maybe. Hopefully. AFAIK, the Japanese don’t have any problem with the Koreans (aside from the usual casual racism common in that region). So it makes sense that the Japanese would offer work to Korean firms, and the Korean firms taking it is just good business.

                      1.) How much of that goes the other way? How likely is it that a Korean firm will reach out to a Japanese company to do some work?
                      2.) Anything military complicates things, particularly when people start pulling up memories of Japan’s “incorporation” (no other word for it, really) of the peninsula into the Empire of Japan. People who might accept a business deal (even as they sniff about it) might have a more negative attitude the moment military starts getting discussed.

      2. There is a difference between natural change and the type of change that the oligarchs seek to impose on everyone else.

        The changes the oligarchs are trying to impose in their effort to create their globalist socialist “utopia”, which of course is really a dystopia, must be fought tooth and nail. Their “change” is motivated by their belief in their superiority over the masses and thus their divine right to rule. They are the poster child for C.S. Lewis’ warning about tyrants.

        As far as natural changes of progress, people adapt as they always have.

        1. A lot of the changes we see coming down the pike are the “something that can’t go on forever will eventually stop” type.

          Second or third order effects, rather than natural evolution or deliberately imposed.

        2. Most folks abhor change.

          That you do not is highly unusual, and you appear unaware of that.

          Unless it is something they personally try to cause, they would rather not. Even then, they may not like it.

          This trends “more” with age.

      3. Sarah,
        You’re correct. The Republic has endured far worse. We might be recovering.

  12. Genetically speaking we all, each and every one of us, come from a very long line of survivors. Our parents, grandparents, back to the Nth generation, back to Adam or to the first amoeba (Take your pick, statement’s still true either way.) survived and thrived long enough, else we wouldn’t be here.

    The best of times, the worst of times, age of wisdom, age of foolishness. Dickens talking yesterday and/or today. They, the long long line behind us, got through it. A fair to middling chance we will too.

    Don’t be too hard (Firm, OK. Strict, OK, Hard, OK, LOTFLYAO, OK, -but not too hard.) on the sports, the freaks, the mutants though. There just might be a gene in that Jane our future prodigy needs to cope with global cooling, monsters drooling, mad men ruling or some such, you never know…

    1. You got me. I don’t know what LOTFLYAO means. Please expand our knowledge.

  13. Never forget, to forgive is divine, revenge on the other hand is very human.
    The best revenge of all would be instituting constitutional principals upon the fools who never understood history in the first place. That being the elites in both parties, every party, any party. A big dream indeed. I’ll settle for a few hundred criminals politicians hanging from street lamps instead….

    The longer I live the more I believe Mark Twain was correct, “I would not join any party that would have me as a member”.

      1. Yeah, you gotta get the bureaucrats, too. Especially the ones at the top. Assume the most expensive 30% of any bureaucracy is composed of useless deadwood and prune accordingly.

        With a chainsaw.

  14. We know what they want. All the bleeding leftists write books about their utopia. And they are all shallow hacks like that failed painter from Austria.

    Will they hurt us? Yes, they already have. Alot? Could be. Depends on too many factors to determine how much.

    We need to make sure not to give in to their juvenile games and give them little victories they can use to hurt more people.

    Prayer is a powerful thing. And many people praying for the same thing has been known to cause the Creator to react. But sometimes God chooses silence to indicate “No.”

    Especially if we, in our arrogance, demand that He perform like a trick seal.

    I live America and it hurts me to see how far we have fallen since even the 1980s.

    We can’t vote our way out of this. We can’t shoot our way out of it (especially if we start the shooting). And we still have a lot of fellow-travelers who wear masks in the car driving by themselves.

    YMMV; but maybe humbly praying is a good place to start. It really has come to that.

    If nothing else, we may be able to help the people around us.

      1. “Setnaffa”, please!!! (Smile)

        The name came from an attempt to make random 5-8 character names (for computer games like Wizardry, Bard’s Tale, and Ultima) on an Apple computer at a local community college in the 1980s. Setnaffa was the first one we could pronounce.

        Back on topic, mostly I consider what has happened to 3 or 4 small towns when I say “fallen”. Eureka, CA, Rome, NY, and Spokane, WA.

        Granted that all are under the administration of leftists, the difference in all three places over the last 40-45 years is stark.

        The worst part is the seeming approval of the local citizens, like Wells’ unconcerned Eloi, to the decay of What-Was-Then to What-Is-Now.

        Trump pulled back the curtain and exposed the people leading the decay, and although they are still there, many people are more willing to speak out against the rot. So that’s good; but the rot remains in place.

        It remains to be seen if we are a strong enough people to swallow our medicine and be healed.

      1. Well, if I don’t keep y’all motivated, there won’t be anyone taking care of the crippled old guy sitting in my rocking chair… 🙂

  15. To be fair, the EPA was an attempt to solve a real problem. Some dangerous pollution travels so widely that tort law is ineffective in making the producers of it clean up their acts because you usually couldn’t prove the pollution’s source(s). I grew up in the rust belt seeing this first hand. And the EPA was effective at first. The air & water where I lived were significantly cleaner just 5 years after the Clean Air act was passed.

    The problem is that once a bureaucracy is created they don’t stop once the problem they were created in reaction to is solved, they double down and stick their noses in any place the language of the authorizing legislation can be stretched to cover whether or not it was intended.

    1. EPA was an attempt to solve a real problem

      Ditto locally. None of the Willamette, McKenzie, rivers through the valley ever caught fire, but eating fish out of them was not advised. Upper Willamette or McKenzie river fish, fine. Not the sections that went through the valley north to the Columbia. Fishing and eating the fish is now safe.

      2020, and to a lesser extent 2019, was a lesson on how southern valley fall air used to be, due to the ash from both valley field burning and timber, both east and west, slash burning in the mountains. Even went through mediation where if wind was blowing toward either the freeway or large population centers, burning couldn’t occur. Like that helped. (Anyone else ever have any luck with controlling smoke direction coming out a campfire? Yea, not me either. Didn’t work with the open burning either.) So any burning has stopped and forced new industries to deal with what burning used to. EPA has done good. But they don’t know how to pivot and complete the job.

      What gets me is that the EPA, with all their regulations and enforcement, still can’t prevent new super sites from developing, let alone get existing ones cleaned up. While corporations skate, the individual gets not only handicapped but chained up by all the excessive over the top regulations.

      1. Sometimes they even create new super sites by their own incompetence.

        Seriously, if the EPA just threw away every regulation written since 1999 [arbitrary year] I could be convinced to let them live.

        1. Heck, the EPA had all the regs they needed by the mid 80s.
          Which reminded me. it’s a crying shame Reagan couldn’t get Congress’ cooperation to fulfill his campaign promise to abolish the Dept of Education.

    2. “tort law is ineffective in making the producers of it clean up their acts because you usually couldn’t prove the pollution’s source(s).”

      And the whole reason the Superfund was created was that even if you could, it was cheaper to simply declare bankruptcy and walk away. The harmed can’t jail the corporation, and even if they could jail the officers who were within the jurisdiction, you still had the mess.

      1. My favorite part is that if you aren’t part of a Superfund site, but are adjacent to it (say… in a valley where they had mines and smelters, and lead levels in all the soil on the valley are naturally higher than what the EPA says is safe) you have to follow all the Superfund soil disposal rules whenever you break ground, but you aren’t allowed to claim any federal funds to pay for the disposal.

        Which usually means that people ignore the required dirt-moving permits until the heavy equipment rental place tell the local EPA functionary that you rented an earth mover from them, and some officious busybody with a clipboard starts nosing around you property.

    3. The EPA, like all the TLA’s, over time, got weaponized by the leftists and the power seekers.

  16. “Look at my very own profession: when is the last time you bought a book and actually verified that the imprint it was released under belonged to one of the now big four or whatever?”

    To the point, I have not bought a book in three years. I, who used to devour three or four a week, have stopped reading. Completely.

    It’s the relentless Message. It is intolerable. I can’t read anymore because of it. It’s like being in the fricking Matrix.

    Mostly I write my own now. The Industrial Publishing Complex is not getting any of my money.

    I’ve also pretty well stopped watching streaming TV. Same problem, same solution. About the only media I still consume is anime. Because no Message.

    As we slowly climb out of the plague pit they shoved us into in 2020, more and more people are rejecting the Message. Cracks are showing everywhere.

    So, I’ve got my popcorn ready for when the Normies finally figure out that we’ve all been taken for a frickin’ sleigh ride since the Income Tax was first imposed ~1916. Farmers in Belgium this week finally figured it out, they’re all in Brussels shutting the city down.

    The only answer to too much government is less government. You get there gracefully with tax cuts. Starve the swamp rats and they eventually leave.

    1. I read a ton of (Amazon Kindle) indie books. Right now I rarely buy any trad pub and the ones I do are generally reissues of old classics from Heinlein and co. Baen is the partial exception to that but even Baen is a brand I buy a lot less of. From ~2002 to ~2016 I bought every single webscription month. Now I am much more selective

  17. Sara, I have been living in Europe for several years. You said “This centralized nonsense is okay for Europeans”. The Germans around me with heads still on their shoulders will tell me that America has been their center since WWII. They shake their heads about their own country…but are REALLY worried about what is happening in America. And, just like us, they shake their heads at the blind stupidity of their own socialist pols.

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