The Death Of Cities

Possibly the least American thing about me, the one thing that acculturation can touch, is that most people not just born and raised in, but immigrating to America, seem to long for the untouched spaces, the miles and miles from the nearest neighbor.

Me? I am a creature of cities. I feel safer — in normal times — in a large city. I like to know there is someone within reach of my cries.More importantly, since my body seems to need walking and since it refuses to walk nowhere, I like to be within reach of places where I can go and have a coffee and people watch, or alternately walk to a store, a church, a farmer’s market.

I haven’t had that for 7 years, and my weight shows it. As do the deep depressive bouts.

I can’t really explain why I feel both safer and happier in large cities, except, perhaps some deep-set evolutionay things. After all, except for smaller contributions, my ancestry reaches to Greece and Rome, long-builders of massive, cosmopolite cities. There is the contributing fact, as well, that I’m an introvert who needs people. I need to SEE people. I don’t in any way need to interact with them, you see? Just see a lot of people, different from myself.

And I know a lot of you are going to bring up all the reasons cities are yucky. And I’m going to shrug and say “whatever.” Because city or deep rural area is all a matter of taste. Both are yucky in the way that humans aren’t ethereal angels, and we must deal with the realities of life, including other people. It’s all on how you prefer to live. My awareness of my surroundings and preparedness to defend myself is no different on a city street than say, my brother in soul Dave Freer, when he goes foraging in deepest wilderness. There isn’t a difference in degree or in skills. Only in favored environment. (No, city people aren’t more dependent on others. Not unless they are in the welfare class, and even then. I was born in the second half to the twentieth century. No sane person then would be dependent on others for their safety and well-being. And if you read enough, you’ll find that goes back to Rome. There might have been a time of greater trust, maybe, but if there was it was small communities and special circumstances. Other than that humans who trust others excessively left no descendants.)

At any rate, I come not to praise cities but — against my own preferences — to bury them. Or at least to sing their funeral dirge. Which is both surprising and weird, to the point that few other people seem to be wrapping their heads around it.

So, let’s talk about cities. Their origins, at least as far as we know, came with the invention of agriculture. Maybe. Gobekli Tepe casts some doubt on that.

The history I was taught was that with agriculture, humans stopped being nomadic, and banded together for agriculture and commerce, and then cities grew.


It makes more sense to me that cities are older than that, older even probably than most people being settled. It makes sense to me for cities to be cross roads trading posts, places where various nomad tribes met to trade and exchange wives and sell slaves and what not. And some people would stay behind, and become …. hosts to these gatherings, merchants, people who kept things that the next people might want. (And some would be dad’s ancestors, probably.) If you want, you can even see agriculture coming from that, not the other way around. Sure, humans probably had figured out seeds and seeding, and the growing of things, but staying in one area would make that painfully obvious. Probably aid in animal domestication too.

No, I don’t know. Neither do they. But it is a possibility.

What we do know is that humans congregate, and that humans tend to congregate in certain places that become/acquire physical structures for the gatherings.

Most of these “cities” even those praised as rich and affluent and admired had maybe 1000 people. 5000? 10,000 was a large city in pre-history, or at least we think so, it’s hard to tell.

However, any modern urban dweller would think Thebes at its height — 80k people — or certainly Rome at its height — estimated at four or 5 million (?) — were cities. Now their living arrangements might strike us as icky and weird beyond belief, but cities they were.

The point I’m trying to make is that cities are very ancient things for humans, a result of our tendency to congregate and trade and gather for all purposes, from religion to finding a mate we’re not related to, to you know, that nice little tavern on the corner that serves some beer to die for.

In the nineteenth and twentieth century (though reaching back to the 16th) we grew megalopolises. If you were a lover of science and knowledge, cities were where you learned. If you wanted to make money trading, you headed to the city. If you were an artist, the cities was where there was money and interest enough to make you famous, or at least to allow you to not starve. If you “just” wanted work in the growing manufactories, you headed to the city. You wanted to exert your craft and learn and excel? Go to the city young man.

Even in the US, and never mind the people who moved ever west when they could see the smoke of other cabins, cities in the newly settled territories expanded rapidly and became the centers of commerce and culture. They also became the subject of f*ck-f*ck games, but that’s something we’ll get into in a minute here.

Now the games go on, but things are changing. Despite the fact that in the late 20th century we were all taught — or imbibed through entertainment — that the future was the megalopolis, and that in the future everyone lived in cities, the future has taken a sharp u-turn, and what we’re looking at is quite different.

We are standing, staring in awed horror, as cities take themselves apart. It seems Detroit was the foretelling of destiny for the American cities, the inescapable future. But in the end it’s not even Detroit. It’s the way of those enigmatic ruins found in the middle of nowhere, where you look at them and say “Who were they? Why did they build this? And why did they leave it?”

Why did they leave it in the first half of the 21st century is readily answerable: crime, malfeasance, bureaucrat hatred of those they govern, making the cities unlivable. Who will stay to be abused when they could live anywhere?

And that’s the second part, the sting in the tail of what’s happening: the seekers of knowledge, the setters of culture, those who make and break things do not need to live in the city anymore.

To the extent we need to congregate, we can do it online. And we do. My work friends range all over the US, with a few more far-flung tendrils, like Dave Freer. I can talk to them, share knowledge, coordinate projects, and I don’t need to see them in the morning for coffee. (Though I’ll grant you, it would be nice.) Both husband and younger son work from home offices for out-of-state companies, while living in places where they probably couldn’t find work, if they looked.

I’ve seen this coming — insert Foul Ol’ Ron screams of “I tol’ ’em, I tol’ ’em, Millenium hand in shrimp.” — for years. FOR DECADES.

Yeah, yeah, I’ll grant you that only about 30 to 35% of the people CAN work remote (and only that many because many clerks and administrative assistants CAN in fact work remote.)

There is a vast number of people who CAN’T: factory workers, and factory supervisors, truckers, and everyone in the hospitality industry.

But the point on this is that the push towards the cities and what made them centers of abundance and interest and magnets for the young were the people who can work remotely.

The other point that some of you might miss — if you haven’t driven around this great country of ours recently — is how much factories are automated now. No, seriously. I first became aware of this in the eighties. We knew someone who lived in the middle of nowhere and worked in a factory. It was him and another guy. Two 12 hour shifts. (I don’t know what they did for weekends.) The factory was that automated. Someone just needed to be there to deal if anything went wrong. The factory made the sorts of things later outsourced to China (I guess it was cheaper. Who knows. Slaves are maybe cheaper than machines.) — plastic buckets and basins, plastic container of all sorts, the kind you found at the dollar store.

More recently, in the last five years, driving criss-cross America for cons and just because we wouldn’t be locked down, we saw many of these. In the middle of nowhere, there will be a factory, and it’s plain there is no great population nearby. They make…. well, a lot of the things that are starting to come back from China (because even five years ago, the problems were obvious.)

No, this doesn’t mean that these professions can be remote. But it means that they can be located in nowhere’s ville — except for one thing. Notice I said that we saw these while traveling around. My friend Jeff Greason says we’re limited by ability to ship stuff. He’s not exactly wrong. But he’s not exactly right either.

Sure, for a certain size of product, you need…. seaports, or airports or at the very least railway confluences. (And if your ears just perked up on that, more in a minute.) For the small crap? All you need is a highway and trucks. (Did your ears perk up again? Yeah.) And America has plenty of those…

Now the conditions for this abandonment of the largest cities, this slow emptying, were there all along. Since… the mid nineties and reliable net access at least.

Militating against them was …. habit. Inertia. Even now, the managerial class is fighting light living hell to have everyone go back to offices. For one, because, you know, they have those expensive buildings. But also because most of them are raging extroverts. But a broad class of mind-workers are fighting back just as hard.

Because…. well, you know? Those people moved. And found they like living some place smaller (in some case the suburbs, but–) and raise their own kids, and spend time with their spouse.

The catalyst was the lockdowns. MOST people found they could work just as well away from the big centers. And they intend to do so. For one, in the midst of economic f*ckery it’s a lot cheaper.

The bureaucratic classes, never having realized what they were bringing about (their minds are slow to see new things) are fighting this as hard as they can. There is a strong attack on transportation, a wish to make trains “unsafe” (which is new, since lefties love choo choos) and a fight against trucking, in the name of their insane enviro illusions. Because if they can stop transport of goods across great distances they can — they think — pen us all back in the cities.

And they need to.

You see, for many years — at least 100 and possibly more — there’s been this weird game going on with cities at least in America. Make the city hard to live in, chase the productive away. Bring in huddled masses (that way you can accuse the productive of being racist or perhaps just rich and uncaring.) Devalue the real estate. Then start a clean up and sell the real estate (which weirdly you or your friends own) to the newcomers. Heck, if you can put restrictions on building, you can sell it to the huddled masses coming in to work on the rebuilding, with every little closet turned into an apartment. (We call that NYC.)

And I think a lot of importing homeless and the destruction that went on, particularly during lockdowns, had this in mind. Recall the NYC mayor, likeanidiot saying that he’d replace the people fleeing with illegal immigrants. He meant it, because, well, that has been the history of NYC since the civil war. And when the factories were IN THE CITY and therefore illiterate immigrants could — being used more or less as slave labor — become immediate sources of wealth, this made perfect sense.

They’re just starting — slowly — to get a feeling this time might be different. I’ve read articles lamenting “What are we going to do with all these expensive office complexes” with the usual berks calling for it to be turned into welfare housing, an expensive endeavor that will only accelerate the destruction.

I understand Denver is one of those seeking to restore the idea that it’s clean and safe for tourists. Good for them. But at least one of the people who visited there recently reported an eerie feeling of “where are all the people?” And judging by the “please send money” from all the cultural institutions (including our church) we used to patronize, I see no reason to doubt it.

Note too, that smaller cities aren’t facing this kind of come apart. At least not yet, perhaps never. Because they remain regional trading spots. And they probably always had a lower percentage of what we’ll call “mind workers” (Only because laptop-class is a weird term that lumps people like me and bureaucrats together.) They might bleed a little but not crazy amounts.

Is there a way for the great cities to avoid death? Well, h*ll yeah.

No, they will never be great industrial centers again. Most of them already weren’t that. And the daily worker grind and commute is or can be a thing of the past.

But most great cities in America have history. And a lot of them are in scenic places.

Besides, they have something mid size cities, towns, and little towns and villages throughout the US can’t get: a variety of cultures, cuisines, shows, etc.

If the weasels in charge of the largest cities — most of them socialists, which can be defined as followers of a 19th century prophet who seek to take us back to the 1930s — had half a brain, they’d set out cleaning up: not just the physical landscape, but crime. (They should all be supporters of a tight immigration policy, but they live in the past) They should make cities as welcoming and safe as possible. Attract interesting ethnic communities, with their cuisine, sure, but they too must be safe for tourists. And make a big deal of the city’s history and culture.

In fact, make each vast city a sort of amusement park, where people in the far flung parts of the country can go. I bet there are enough internal (not to mention external) tourists, to make these cities, centering on the hospitality industry, very wealthy indeed. Glimmering centers of pride for locals and people of the world. Magnets for tourism. You can even slide a little debauchery and bohemian life in there, if you don’t wave it in the face of those who don’t want to see it. The outre has always been an attraction of large cities.

If you’ve noticed, they’re going EXACTLY the other way.

That’s because the ironically self-named progressives really live, mentally, in the early twentieth century. Their philosophy is not suited for any other era.

So they’re going to try to drag us kicking and screaming to the past. And do a lot of damage, trying.

But this type of movement can’t be countered, short of shutting down all of civilization, and I’m going to bet they can’t.

Insert pithy saying about sliding through tightening fingers.

In the end, we win, they lose. Because their entire movement is an attempt to force toothpaste back into the tube.

And meanwhile the rest of us who prefer large cities must learn to live in smaller ones. And do the best we can.

317 thoughts on “The Death Of Cities

  1. The wife loves the city for the reasons you listed, I spend more time there so my view is more …. nuanced. Where we live does have places one can walk to, which helps. I really hate suburbs,

    Marxist, fascist planning killed the communities and that’s what killed the city. Why the denizens continue to vote for their home’s destruction, though, I cannot fathom. I suspect NYC is a combination of atomized people in warehouses and de haut en bas, mostly the latter.

    1. I saw some woman in Portland howling about how they don’t deserve all the horrible things that are happening to them — which really means, the horrible things their elected ‘leaders’ are doing to them. Unfortunately, nobody asked the one relevant question:

      “Did you vote for them?”

      “Oh, you did. Then you are part of the problem.”
      “Truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”

      1. Portlandia, urgh. I’m certain you have to flunk an IQ test to be comfortable living in Portland. There aren’t too many bad ideas from Cali or Washington that don’t get embraced there, and there’s plenty of awful home-grown ones to boot.

        OTOH, Don’t forget vote fraud by mail, since some time in the ’90s. AFAIK, it’s a lot easier to “elect” somebody in big cities than in smaller ones. At least in places like Flyover Falls, if an election tried to come out too weird, torches and pitchforks might get deployed.

        OTOH, there was a fair amount of shenanigans over the marijuana dispensary measure in the county. Some drop-box tampering. At the end, sanity prevailed in the county (no rural dispensaries modulo one town of 1000 where the mayor pushed it for his own benefit (guess who had the dispensary ready to go…). F-Falls also approved it, and pot-shops are now the New Shiny Thing. (Like beauty salons and used car dealerships were ubiquitous for a while after the lumber mills closed. Most of those failed, and I suspect the trend will continue.) I suspect many will fold after a while. Still, 4/20 is a very bad date to drive by one of the largest dispensaries in town. I had a dental appointment and made sure where not to go. $SPOUSE got that a couple years ago, and traffic was decidedly FUBAR’ed due to Stoner Holiday Specials at the big dispensary.

      2. I think the question has to be asked, did the people really vote for them, or has the machine run by these counter-civilizational bozos so completely controlled things that it doesn’t matter what the people who live there want or vote for?

  2. Great idea but even Vegas is having a hard time following the methodology for a couple reasons. First, the nomenclatura are doing so well at destroying the world, there aren’t enough people to fleece. Second, even casinos need a certain level of education/intelligence/whatever to operate and we’re (the US not just Clark County although Clark County is near the cellar) not educating our people. Third, even though Vegas is pretty good on crime (not as stupid as the other blue states on that one yet) as society becomes less and less civil in general people are more and more inclined to hunker down.

    Although I guess I should realize that your ideas are for if we ever get back to sanity.

  3. There’s an interesting meme going around. Unfortunately, I can’t find it on-line (I wouldn’t be surprised if the CCP is actively nuking every instance of it they can find), but I saw it on The China Show.

    A CCP member by the name of Xi Zhongxun helped Deng Xiaoping rewrite the CCP’s constitution after the death of Mao. The meme I mentioned is a four panel but, with a quote by Zhongxun in the first three panels. The quote praises the new constitution and the hard work that went into it, and preemptively calls anyone who tries to undo the changes a bastard.

    The fourth panel shows who is standing next to Zhongxun in the picture – namely, his young son Jinping.


  4. I think the COVID lockdowns burned out any real desire for me to be near big cities these days. Every time I go to San Francisco, it just feels dirty, run down, and in general just…meh. It doesn’t help that the local news has a story every other day of car and store robberies getting worse.

    It doesn’t help that most of the reasons why I’d want to go to a big city…I can do online one way or another. Buy stuff? Amazon usually has most of what I want in odd things. See things? YouTube or something else. People? Most of my friends left the area and are looking to move from Portland or Seattle to somewhere like Texas or Tennessee or one of those other states. The people that are left, I don’t want to deal with anymore.

    I don’t know what I will do next, but I do know that staying in California is probably not an option.

      1. There’s a difference…it just feels like nobody cares about things. Things weren’t good in the late-’80s/early-’90s but you had people that were making a life for themselves there. You had a lot of the interesting things going on there and in San Jose and Oakland.

        Now, it just feels like a third-world s(YAY!)t hole-the “haves” and “have nots” so completely different it’s like two different worlds.

        1. That’s what it felt like when my daughter and I last visited Austin, a little over two years ago. The downtown crawled with homeless, graffiti and boarded up windows everywhere. We wouldn’t have stopped for anything – and Austin downtown used to be fun and quirky, live music and interesting little shops… we blew into the Daiso store in the outskirts and then over to Pflugerville for the Aldi store – and couldn’t believe the contrast. Austin was dirty, run-down, homeless camps along the green highway verges, camps that looked like a garbage truck had just dumped a load there. Pflugerville was clean, new and green with trees and meadows, not a speck of graffiti in sight, or a homeless camp, either. I’d a sight sooner live in a place like Pflugerville than anywhere in Austin, or any other blue-run city.

          1. Parts of SF were always fun-the Upper Haight had lots of interesting shops, so did Japantown and lots of areas of SOMA. Now? Homeless encampments and people laying out on the sidewalks even in “middle class” neighborhoods. Car break-ins and robberies are a regular issue. It’s bad enough that if you don’t have any injuries, the police won’t come out for a car break-in, but you can report it online. People in “good” areas don’t put anything even in a locked garage because there are criminal gangs who drill holes in the garage doors, pop the emergency latch, and get inside that way.

            When Whole Foods and Walgreens are closing stores in SF due to organized theft rings and that they can’t keep the homeless out…you’ve got a problem.

            And none of these cities seem to want to fix things. I don’t understand why, because many of these cities survive on tourism revenue as a major source of income (tourists and conventions, which still happen post-COVID).

            1. “…criminal gangs who drill holes in the garage doors, pop the emergency latch…”

              I realized a long time ago how easy it’d be to jimmy the typical spring-operated garage door latch, which is why I started locking mine with a couple of sturdy bolts right through the track itself. You can’t open the door at the push of a button, or from the outside at all, but I don’t tend to care about that. And nobody has ever entered my garage sans permission. 🙂

              1. 100% Not as drastic, but we turn off the garage door opener which prevents it from being opened manually (has to be detached from the garage door opener to manually open it). Not to prevent theft, although that is a side effect, but because we use for the 3 cats to expand their “territory”. The back yard garage door is blocked by two 2×4’s across it (how the thieves in 2006 entered the house).

                We don’t go downtown unless forced (unfortunately Schwab brokerage office is downtown so, although rarely, we do have to go there).

                What is funny, not too long ago, the “community” neighborhoods were a thing. Where you’d walk to school, medical, stores, gym, and work, in your neighborhood. I laughed when the concept was proposed. “Yea, surrrrrreeeee.” That concept is history.

              2. We can get a lot of what we need in Flyover Falls, but there’s stuff that we need/want that’s best found at Costco and other stores west of the Cascades. (We long ago ruled out Portland–300 miles for supplies for a craft I was considering. Nope. Not gonna.) Two month intervals for trips turned into 4-5 until I had to go frequently for eye procedures & followups. Once those finished, it’s now every 6 months.

                Medford (Oregon! Can’t speak about the others) is slowly getting nasty. There was a gunfight a couple of miles from my hotel (not when I was there, but I go through that stretch every trip), car thefts are up, and then there’s the cases of disappearing bar patrons/cab drivers. (The bodies show up soon enough…) The Soros DA does her thing, and the homeless encampments make a bad situation worse. In addition, it’s on the I-5 corridor and a stopping point/destination for drugs along that pipeline. It hasn’t helped that the lumber/wood product mills are hurting, as are other industries (Harry & David fruit, aluminum boat companies, plus agricultural support).

                I’ve done a little shopping in downtown Medford once so far. Daytime, and I have no reason to go to a bar, but the vibe is a bit funky. Not a good funk, more like week old gym socks. When it turns into something funkier, I’ll avoid downtown even during the day.

          2. Our son and his family live in downtown Salt Lake City. I used to love going there. Beautiful and well ordered city. Lots of amenities.

            We were there last summer after a few COVID years of not going. All around the town are pockets of empty buildings, homeless encampments, graffiti, dirt, and constant sirens.

            I am very sad I have to ever go back there to visit. After we go to our grandson’s high school graduation in June, which I would never miss, I think I’ll tell them if they want to see me and grandpa they better come to us.

            The thing is I don’t think they even see how far down their area is. It’s happened over time. But it was a shock to us when we saw it.

            1. I would love for a place like that, especially with the mobility issues of some of my friends.

              Nobody’s willing to deal with the requirements for that kind of thing, like law enforcement and prices.

              1. Gonna disagree on law enforcement here. Our previous sheriff here in LA County, Villanuevue (sp?), went proactive in dealing with the homeless. He got some of the worst areas cleaned up (most notably Venice Beach) so that shops and stores could safely attract customers again. The County Board of Supervisors hated him as a result (that’s not the only thing, but it made them hate him even more). And unfortunately he lost the election last November.

                The reason for a lot of the crap that cities are dealing with is because of Soros DAs who refuse to punish all but the most heinous crimes (and even then plea them down to almost nothing if the public isn’t watching), and because of local politicians who blatantly allow it, and screech if anyone tries to stop it. The local police departments typically answer to the mayor and city council, which is why they don’t do anything. But the County Sheriffs here in California are independent of their County Boards (it’s apparently in the state constitution), which gave our former Sheriff an opening to become proactive.

                Summer Olympics are coming back to LA in 2028. This is going to be a disaster…

                1. I should have been clearer, as I consider “law enforcement” to include not only the police, but the DA’s office and other members of the government making it harder for criminals to act.

                2. Summer Olympics are coming back to LA in 2028. This is going to be a disaster…

                  Not a chance. Eugene had the International Track & Field meet. Guess what was not in evidence for about 6 weeks, in and around Eugene? All the parks cleared out. Downtown cleared out. Anywhere visible cleared out. Most the Safe Camps with the conestoga shelters empty. Latter implying “not needed”. Once the event was over, and all the tourists were gone? Back to same, same. I guaranty, how successful who knows, but TPTB will be cleaning out and hiding the problem.

            2. Visiting Salt Lake always makes me want to move to Delta, Utah. Delta is in the middle of nowhere and basically no one lives there.

  5. And I know a lot of you are going to bring up all the reasons cities are yucky.


    Look, I like rural better than urban, but I can allow urban to exist without feeling the need to poop on it!
    Someone can do city? Good on them! Now SHUT UP and stop drowning out the actual subject!

    1. Excuse moi?
      I was calling cities an abominable blight decades before I learned what a vegan is.
      I’m very certain that Lovecraft wrote “Horror at Red shook” loooong before that noxious hippie/yuppie hybrid came into being.

      The simple fact is that many people find cities to be repellent at a fundamental level.
      And as the nomenklatura is urban in nature, we both have a focus for that disgust, and have been the recipients of endless disparagement.
      Reciprocal loathing is well-earned. (And has been since the Spartans terrorized the Helots.)
      But this does not imply that we should hate the random poor schmuck stuck under their thumb.

      1. The simple fact is that many people find cities to be repellent at a fundamental level.

        Yeah, and?

        What, taht makes you any better than the evangelical vegan?


        Grats! You hate something! Get a cookie!

        Also, PISS OFF when someone who doesn’t share your disgust dares to exist!

        1. Well, for one thing, I’m not a vegan. (Grin) That’s enough, in and of itself.

          Also, you might want to read the last bit of what I wrote.
          I expressly limited my disgust to those running the cities.
          And they deserve much worse than that, especially from those whose lives they’re actively screwing over.

          I responded to your indignant denunciation of a strawman. 😉 What, exactly, have you been responding to?

          1. I expressly limited my disgust to those running the cities.

            And yet could not do so in the actual content.

            And, in fact, you felt the need to hammer on folks finding cities bad by existing.


    2. Was there a preceding comment that got deleted? This reads like a response to something that made you angry, but I can’t see that anybody’s done anything.

      1. It’s every time anybody does “Hi, yeah, cities aren’t inherently evil.”

        Actively drowing out anybody else.

        Which is just a liiiiiiitle bit of an issue for scifi when “Hi can we have density not measured in acres per person.”

        1. Not sure it needed such vehemence, but fair enough.

          Myself, I do much better mentally when space can be measured in acres per person — or at least when I can get to a place that is that way within a matter of minutes — and I will extol the virtues of such places and fiercely defend their continued viability.

          I kind of hate cities and will also say so. But my opinion doesn’t dictate what’s acceptable for everybody else, and although they’re very much the wrong kind of place for me, cities are also a necessary and natural part of human society. Which is also fine.

          1. For the love of Gob, seriously, can you not see the correlation between “I am asking X, stop lecturing me on Y” for why folks would be frustrated on asking Xand getting nothing but Y?

            1. I can understand that frustration, yes. It’s been the cause of several resolutions never to visit any blog comments or social media ever again. (All failed, of course.) Expressing it also tends to result in the very thing one deplores being said/done directly to one, instead of somewhere merely adjacent.

            2. Lighten up, maam. You are otherwise just provoking the brownstorm you curse.

              You OK? that was out of character enough where my “WTF” sense is honking. Hope you are OK.

              1. Lighten up, maam. You are otherwise just provoking the brownstorm you curse.

                So EXACTLY like what happens anyways?

                Except that people who do the public display of “oh I shall use this question as a launch point” might actually hear that it’s obnoxious.

                You OK? that was out of character enough where my “WTF” sense is honking.

                Thank you for the concern.

                I do, eventually, reach my limits; active destruction of information for the sin of existing in a subculture-unpopular format, actively destroying the chance for someone else to answer a question, and this happening CONSISTENTLY, so that folks get to do a public display of Gosh Cities Suck while actively preventing even the consideration of how to make them suck less— that chews through the limit really dang fast.

                I don’t demand other folks try to make things better, but I really dislike actively screwing around on the backs of folks who are.

                1. I know several ways to fix cities fast, but to date folks are way too squeamish.

                  And I am not at all looking forward to the day that changes. No, not at all. Let’s not, please.

                  If the denizens decide they want to work on improvements, quite willing to go there. The problem is the wrong folks are doing the usual wrong job, for the wrong reasons and blaming the wrong folks.

                  But you sometimes have to let Portland burn its fingers to get folks to say “enough”.

                  And I think we have, actually, turned that corner.

                  Now, will the idiots allow an actual elected change, or do we actually get to the point where we go the fast and cheap route.

                  Humans are so very human.

                1. Good wishes and prayers for our friendly and fair fox.

                  I had a similar initial response of ??, that certainly had a large element of concern on the behalf of Foxfier.

                2. I am not exactly swift of social “clue”, yet even I had the WTF sense blaring.

                  Hope whatever it is gets mitigated.

    3. Actual subject being American cities are being deliberately made unlivable by one political faction, meaning Leftists. Cities elsewhere do not appear to be having this problem, particularly.

      Canada for example has only just started making Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal into no-go zones. You can see them doing it. Cops are basically ordered to let the homeless drug addicts do -literally anything- on public property. Lest there be any doubt of this, there’s several videos circulating of druggies shooting up right in the hallway of the TTC subway station, with the cops standing right next to him telling him not to do it, but he keeps right on going and they -don’t- arrest him.

      Three years ago is when it started. 2019, this was not a thing. 2022, it was well established. This year they’re going much harder, people are getting killed on the TTC.

      Also, cops don’t enforce traffic laws, property crimes, shoplifting, assault (depending on skin tone) etc. But let a middle aged white guy pound some street-weenie for trying to jack his car? That gets enforced. It isn’t subtle.

      In the USA they did it slower and over a much longer period of time, but its the same thing. Vandalism on a scale so big you have to call it treason. That’s what’s going on.

      Result Number One, the most tone-deaf strike action in history is going on right now. In April (of course, when else?) the union responsible for income tax clerks, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is on strike. Pretty much paralyzing the Ministry of Theft at income tax time.

      One of the big demands on the table, apart from some really egregious wage demands, is work-from-home. During the past three years of COVID (government agencies stopped pretending COVID was going to kill us all only a couple of months ago), it was amply demonstrated that civil servants and clerks can be just as inefficient at home in their PJs, no need to come in to the office and be inefficient there. And why do they adamantly not want to come into the office? Because downtown government offices are surrounded by meth-heads sleeping in tents and making doodoo on the sidewalk. That’s why.

      Same thing in the private sector, Toronto office buildings have a vacancy rate right now running mid-double digits. Downtown traffic my my estimate is maybe half what it was pre-Covid. You can actually park these days.

      That’s just what’s going on. People are voting with their feet.

        1. No, but usually the first thing you do to make something better is to identify what’s making it suck.

          In this case its a deliberate government policy, and a pretty common one. Want your city to not suck? You gotta fight the cretins who are wrecking it on purpose. So far no one has managed it, but signs are starting to be hopeful in parts of the USA. Basically all those places where guys are using cans of Bud Lite for skeet targets.

          Canada? Well, I guess we’ll see. Currently the glide-path is a steep dive, but the bouncy castles put them on notice, and Bud Lite is not selling like it did. The Normies are not amused, but they’re stupid and complacent so not much is moving.

          Personally I live in the country because I friggin’ hate being around other humans. >:D Any need for social interaction is filled by a trip to the gas station.

          I prefer dogs. Dogs are way better.

          1. That would be relevant if …uh, folks did it, rather than just saying “cities suck.”

            But no.

            And heck, YOU don’t manage to say “this is why cities suck.’

            No, “because gov’t sucks” is not a useful why.

            1. Cities suck because the residents have voted for leaders who promise to give them stuff.
              We have mayors who paint Black Lives Matter on city streets. We have mayors who shrug their shoulders at vandalism, fights, murders, because the culprits are young men of color, and it is forbidden to point that out.
              Cities suck because city leaders seem to believe that cities should be woke. LGBT flags are flown everywhere, and traditional anything is mocked.

              1. Beth, I’m beginning to question if the residents actually voted for that given all the voting irregularities showing up on the USA and Canada. Maybe they did, but on the other hand maybe they didn’t.

                Because how many people -really- believe that a guy putting on a dress makes him a woman? How many are going to pull the lever for that in the privacy of the voting booth? I’m really wondering.

                1. This. I’ll admit I was born in Chicago and for many years liked to go downtown or to the museums. Richard J. Daley had election fraud down to a fine art (as Richard Nixon found out in 1960), but he gave a damn about the city.

                  I had faint hopes for improvement when Groot got dumped in the first round, but between the fraud and the Chicago Teacher’s Union, somebody who’s interests have nothing to do with making Chicago better got “elected”.

                  Another part of the problem is that Chicago has a lot of clout at the state, and that helped turn formerly conservative cities and counties blue. If (and it’s a big if) a way could be found to eliminate the rot in the suburbs/satellite cities, that will reduce Chicago’s power, and the state could go back to purple and apply pressure on the city. (Federal pressure on the state would help, along with resuming the tradition of putting crooked ex-governors into orange jumpsuits. Dan Walker, Otto(?) Kerner, Blagovich come to mind.)

                  I realized that I didn’t much like cities when I was 13. Still, I’m 70 now, and have spent 50 years in cities and/or suburbs. I see the advantages when they work. I still miss the Museum of Science and Industry. Had to skip a visit in 2014–wasn’t safe.

                2. They go along to get along. Thus they still are responsible.

                  And that will bite just about everyone’s ass sooner or later.

              2. They can’t be bothered to deal with violent criminals committing robbery, looting, rape and murder, but they can spend millions persecuting prosecuting folks guilty of Badthink for the most trivial of reasons.

            2. I speculate, because SO MANY PLACES are doing it in North America (but not all places) that it is a business model. As Sarah said above, some form of real estate crash/burn/rebuild type of scam. They have some way of going short on the crash cycle and long on the rebuild cycle.

              I do know that the reason Rudy Giuliani’s broken windows policy was thrown out the day he was no longer mayor was Big Real Estate.

              It turns out that having grungy neighborhoods become drug sale havens was great business for guys who owned run-down old buildings. All the drugs were sold out of street-level storefronts pretending to be convenience stores, cafes, what have you. Some fat guy sitting on a chair in front of a fridge with pop in it, couple bags of chips, that’s a “store”. For which the landlord charges $10,000+ a square foot like it was in Times Square. Drug dealers can pay that rent. An actual business can’t, as all the REITs and landlords found out very fast when Giuliani locked up all the drug dealers.

              That’s why crime is back up in NYC, and why Republicans never win there. Landlords, not illegal immigrants.

              That’s why Chicago has free-fire zones. Same reason.

              So if you want to FIX that, first you have to know why they’re doing it. You have to find the profit.

              Currently I don’t know how anyone profits from filling the City of Toronto with drug addicts and homeless immigrants. But SOMEONE is, and if we find them, that’ll be a big step to f-ing over their little scam.

              Same thing with industry. Somebody makes money when a company leaves Canada and sets up offshore. The company does for sure, but to the point, somebody makes money by forcing them to leave. Otherwise, why do it?

              Who makes money when Sherwood Sports Equipment gives up and sends their whole hockey stick manufacturing facility to Hunan China, where the ponds never freeze? The Chinese do. Connection? Could be, given the news in Canada lately is filled with China!China!China!!! all day long. They might have bought our whole f-ing government for all I know. It wouldn’t shock me, that’s for sure.

                1. Given that they’re being broken on purpose, step one is find out who is making money from it and how. I don’t know how to do that, but maybe somebody else does? But you’re not going to make much headway without that.

                  Step two would be go have a little friendly chat with those guys.

                  1. it’s worse than them making money at it, they are doing it for your own good, to make you a better person, it makes them “good people”

                    much harder to defeat than if they were doing it for the money

                    1. Oh, making a pile of money from doing “good” is part of the incentive. See the Green Nude Eel outfits.

                    2. I agree that the Useful Idiots are doing it “for our own good,” but they don’t run the show. Stalin was not doing things for the general good, he was doing things for Stalin.

                      I argue that this is the same type of thing. Useful Idiots are camouflage.

                2. Step one is Triage.

                  Step two is understanding “qui bono”.

                  Step three is …. harsh.

                3. If a person went downtown with trashbags and started cleaning up all the trash, that would make cities suck less. The advantage of this is that it’s something can be done on an individual level, without government intervention.

                  If a person went downtown and enlisted homeless people to clean up the trash, that would be even better. If one had sufficient spare cash, one could pay them $5-10 a bag for trash picked out of the street. This could also be done by an individual on an individual level.

                  The individual doing this should have their own truck and trailer and be willing to pay the transfer station fees – this is not a situation in which one can just put the bagged trash in city dumpsters and expect it to stay there or be hauled off in a timely manner.

                  Just cleaning the streets would make things significantly better.

                  And yes, it’s likely that as soon as the local government gets wind of what the individual is doing, they will accuse the individual of taking work from union workers, of exploiting the poor, of running a business without a license, of refusing to accept that cities should be miserable and dirty, of trying to be an American and make things better on the smallest possible level with no room for graft and corruption… So what?

                  All that will accomplish is further exposing the government employees for what they are.
                  Which, eventually, will result in the people replacing them with someone who is less like that.

                  1. “If a person went downtown with trashbags and started cleaning up all the trash, that would make cities suck less.”

                    As you note, that person would be arrested. If an organization like a church started paying the bums $5 a bag for garbage, they would be charged with a crime and be made to stop.

                    That’s not cynicism, that’s what they do. Stop a shoplifter, see what happens.

                    1. Like I also said, “So what?”

                      If making the city better is important to a person, starting from the bottom, even with the risk of arrest, will actually accomplish something.

                      Starting from the top won’t.

                      Especially in cases where the top is entrenched and controls all the means of getting to the top.

                  2. My city (which is basically a big suburb) got in the national news a couple of years back for paying homeless folk for trash pickup. It went like this: They would give homeless folk a bunch of trash bags. If they came back and found the area clear except for the tents, they’d take the full trash bags and give the folk gift cards to local grocery stores.

                    The thing is, I never saw any follow-up on that program. Did it work? I dunno, still a lot of messy homeless groups around (though the ones along 99 have disappeared, probably because of the flooding that cleared them out of the low-lying areas.) I’ve seen clean homeless camps (and hooray for that), but most of them are still garbage piles.

                    I’d want it to work. That’s the sort of thing that separates out the ones who are down on their luck from the ones who don’t care.

              1. There’s a clue in the comment about Giuliani: Do the “broken windows,” sorts of enforcement. Use existing laws to clean up bad areas. Like keeping the swarms of drunks in the Bowery from “washing car windows,” with dirty rags and expecting payment (yep, was in a car that got swarmed. Better than being carjacked, but annoying).
                Probably the best short answer to, “how to make them such less,” is to focus on the safety and opportunities of the residents. Easy to say, hard to do.

                1. Did you see the news from Haiti? Local people have been executing gang members by stoning them and burning them alive while the police stand and watch. That’s how it ends when the law is not enforced. Damned fools.

                    1. The cops stood and watched is what I heard. Amounts to the same thing. The police are there to protect the accused from the vengeance of the wronged. The bargain, social contract, is that the state will provide justice. When that breaks down then this is what you get,

                    2. So where does this happen first in the US? It is going to.

                      I can hear the cries now: “Ban Clubs! Ban Fire!” Still will be “Ban Guns!” even if a gun isn’t anywhere in sight and evidence. What? No?

                    3. “So where does this happen first in the US? It is going to.”

                      I’m going to guess California, because the crazy always happens there first. Second guess, Philadelphia. NYC as a distant third.

            3. Some places suck because the are ruled by sucky people, supported by sucky people. Some of those places, yes, are cities. I try to use prybars to remove heads from asses, but I only have two hands. Its as if we need a Dr Seuss “HeadOutOfAss” machine, as the “Sneeches” figured out the star on/off thing and just doubled down.

              Cities can be kinda cool. But I spent my young childhood in Northside Pittburgh when it was a shithole, so my standards are warped. Shadyside was kinda nice in places.

              Also, “country” has its cesspits. I remember some trailer parks…. Its like some humans have their heads up their…

              Where is that dang machine? I bent another prybar yesterday.

          2. We should have moved when we could. Now with Ficus putting through his thoroughly illegal equity mortgage program effective May 1, 2023, it is way too late.

            We’re in suburban neighborhood that is neither HOA or within the city (yet) limits (they’ve been trying for 60 years that I know of). But we sure are not rural either. Neighbors aren’t like the ones we grew up with (in *everyone’s pocket and business). We know them, to say hi. We don’t socialize with them. We get pretty peopled out when we travel. Because anymore the National Parks are flat out crowded. (If TPTB think the Timed Entry process is working where implemented, they are nuts. Too many ways around them.)

            (*) As – when the police showed up to tell mom & dad the neighbors were complaining about the noise at our wedding reception, dad’s response was: “What? They are all here?” 100% accurate.

            1. That policy definitely makes me think I completed my move right on time! I don’t know if I would have gotten as good a price for my old place as I did if I’d waited much longer (and gotten what I did left over from my cash purchase on the new place for that matter).

              1. If you paid cash for your new place then you wouldn’t have been affected. It only targets mortgages based on credit rating. If you squandered your credit rating you benefit. If you worked your assets off to have a highly rated one, no matter how financially well off, or not, you get to pay thousands. Of coarse those who get mortgages, to avoid laying out the cash they have, will just do that instead. Those whose only route is to get mortgages, but have done all the right things to qualify? Will pay.

                Agree. Your timing couldn’t have been better.

                1. It wouldn’t have been me getting hosed, no, but the investor who bought my place would have had trouble and I may have had to have settled for far less than what I got and that’s where the issue would have been.

                  1. Yes. It will have an impact on all buyers, which has an impact on most sellers. A lot depends on the availability. I know that when the market tanked locally in the ’80s everyone just hunkered down. The comparable when we finally bought in ’88 just weren’t there. That hurt us buying. I suspect that will happen again. Unless prices stay really high. At this point we’d need enough to pay off our loan (which is nothing compared to what most have), plus enough to buy something new with cash (essentially telling Ficus where to put his “equity” mortgage program).

            2. Don’t get me started on that Timed Entry insanity at the National Parks. And a lot of private attractions (amusement parks, aquariums, museums, zoos, etc.) have copied them, though a few have back-tracked.

              1. Don’t get me started on that Timed Entry insanity at the National Parks

                Trust me. I know. What I find funny about Glacier is the required times. Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and Going-to-the-Sun Road from Rising Sun from 6 am to 3 pm. Don’t know about the other entrances, but if you want parking at Logan Pass? Entering at 6 AM is way too late. You have to be at the parking lot by 6 AM, or earlier.

                Ran into the same problem at Rocky National Park. We scored (prior day 5 PM release), 5 AM entrance for Bear Lake Drive. Through not long after 5 AM. Parking at the Bear Lake Trailhead was already 3/4 full by the time we got there. The only difference was we had the option of leaving and going throughout the day.

                Like I said. It is a joke. I think the only park it works with is the Utah one that is closed to vehicle traffic unless you have reservations. Otherwise you are required to park outside the park entrance and take the shuttle. Zion National Park: https: //

          3. I’ve heard Japan’s cities aren’t bad. Hearsay only, since I’ve never been anywhere near Japan.

            1. They’re quite nice.

              People take pride in keeping their businesses and streets clean and in good repair.

              And the criminals tend to leave (western at least) foreigners alone, as long as you aren’t deliberately getting into their business.

          4. Speaking as a former Montrealer who is currently looking to move out of the Vancouver area to somewhere smaller, I say let TO, and Van burn. They have brought it entirely on themselves. I would say the same for mtl, but my whole family is there, soo…..

      1. It’s not just in North America. We were talking about no-go zones in Paris (that the French rabidly deny exist) long before we were talking about Soros DAs. But the problem does still come down to woke attitudes, and a refusal to hold certain groups of people accountable for their actions.

          1. Don’t know about Paris, but the touristy parts of Rome are patrolled by the Italian Army -and- the federal cops -and- the city cops. Don’t act up in front of the Vatican.

  6. Larger cities as currently configured mostly do have services I want – dining, entertainment and medical. That’s why I live near one.

    But except for college, I’ve never lived in a ‘city’, just little 10K-resident organizations ‘technically’ cities, or moderate conglomerations of bedroom communities at about 100K.

    My current little ‘city’ has water/sewer/fire/police/street services, all of which I wanted over living rurally.

    And for the first time in forever, we know our neighbors.

  7. Automation is getting better, but I think there are still limits on the types of things that can be fully automated like that. At the plant I used to work at, they opened a brand new section just a couple of years ago. If full automation had been feasible, I’ve no doubt they would have gone with it. But apparently it wasn’t, because they still had quite a few workers (mind you, “quite a few” in this case means several dozen in each of three shifts, spread across three rooms that included the manufacturing equipment and computers).

    1. Automation for that is like automation for farming.
      Who the heck is outraged that a harvester takes the work of a dozen young men, now?
      At 14, I cut alfalfa that would be a month’s work for a dozen men, as a runt.

      1. :nods: Know you haven’t read the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but they had a lot of automated farming. See Luke Skywalker on his uncle’s moisture farm, but also Baron Soontir Fel (EU character) and his clones who preferred farming on worlds more like the midwest.

        They had droids and machines to do the heavy lifting. They still needed people to own and run the farms, to say nothing of keep the droids and machines in good working order.

        Machines replace people? Nah. Not going to happen now anymore than it ever happened in the past – back then the “machines” were known as slaves or serfs. I rather prefer a setup where you have free people running the machines and helping to grow the food they’ll eat, thanks.

        1. But machines did reolace human labor in the past, and will continue to do so. I bucked many (too many) a bale of alfalfa onto a (farm) tractor-drawn flatbed and then stacked same onto a truck for shipment . Later, I (we all) watched in amazement as a machine stacked bales in cube after cube and then watched as the squeeze picked up each cube and stacked them on the semi-truck trailer. Literally days of back breaking labor for a crew of 6 was done by machines, and took only a couple of hours. I’m not even mentioning the mowing and raking and baling machines.

          So it is disingenuous to state that machines have not and will not replace humans in ag.

          1. Those machines didn’t drive themselves– they’re tools, not replacements.

            (And yes, the bale stackers are freakin’ awesome!)

            1. So were the textile machines, but the Luddites smashed them anyway.

              What they couldn’t understand was, when we can produce more value for the same amount of labor, everybody benefits. Society becomes richer, the economy grows, and products become less expensive. When it doesn’t take 50 hours of skilled labor to make a simple cotton shirt, people other than the very rich can afford to buy more than one.
              At my house, the ‘things that go bump in the night’ are cats.

              1. Not exactly arguing because I understand the utilitarian argument even though I’m not a utilitarian.

                I’m not sure the skilled weavers, the Luddites, did better. Perhaps some of them did, perhaps not. The skilled weavers were very rich comparatively before machinery and most slid back into the poor fairly quickly after. That’s one of the fallacies of utilitarianism. Why should the many benefit at my expense? How do you judge ex ante that it will be better? I’m really not so sure the dismal science’s arguments notwithstanding.

                  1. Fair enough, ex post. I suppose I don’t believe that progress is always, well, progress. To take just one example the book of faces was seen as progress,

                1. Note that the anti-Luddite argument is functionally equivalent to “you can get shirts at Wal-mart for cheaper than ever, so why are you upset that the local shirt factory moved to China?”

                  From a 30,000-foot view, more goods for less labor is a good thing for society, but I’m sympathetic to the people facing difficulties at the 10-foot view until such time as the allocation of capital and labor can adjust.

                  But note that while government can certainly get in the way of that adjustment, so can the displaced workers themselves. My ex would talk about in her childhood how impoverished the Ojibwes on the nearby reservation were, and I could never figure out why they wouldn’t just move to somewhere there were jobs.

                  1. Because it costs them. Move off the reservation and they lose non-monetary critical ties. They also lose monetary equivalent support. Depending on the era your wives tales are from they may not have been allowed to move off reservations. Or the option was so new to the current generation it wasn’t considered.

                  2. why are you upset that the local shirt factory moved to China?

                    Because that is not producing more value with the same labor, it is replacing regular labor with slave labor, which benefits the Chinese economy at our expense, and China is assho. Any notion of ‘free trade’ with China is a delusion.

                    If only the U.S. government didn’t give away our tax money to reward companies for sending our jobs to China…
                    Negotiating with an enemy that can’t be trusted is just plain stupid.

                    1. Okay, let’s say it moved to Vietnam or Honduras or Bangladesh or Nigeria. Not China. So the slave labor/asshoe factor is removed.

                      The point, if it wasn’t clear, is that “why are you mad that you’re all out of work, don’t you know shirts are much cheaper now” applies whether the jobs have disappeared because of technology or because of offshoring. So it’s inconsistent to deride the Luddites but champion American victims of globalization, or vice versa.

                    2. Still not improving productivity. Moving the factory just to pay the workers less for the same labor is not an overall benefit. You’re just subdividing the same pie.

                    3. I don’t understand why you’re not getting the point.

                      I’m not talking about the global view of total human productivity here. From the point of view of the unemployed workers the fact that $WIDGETS are cheaper at their local store is less important to them than that they are no longer employed making $WIDGETS.

                      This is true whether that’s because new technology meant that the local factory could make the same number of $WIDGETS with one person operating a giant machine, or whether that’s because the whole factory disappeared and went somewhere with cheaper labor costs.

                      So if you have sympathy for the modern American workers tossed aside by globalization, you should also have sympathy for the Luddites of 1800 tossed aside by industrialization. Or if you have no sympathy for the Luddites, you should also have no sympathy for the Americans. (That’s the heartless globalist position, if it’s not clear.)

                      Technological changes that improve productivity (same number of widgets for less labor cost is improved productivity) inevitably cause displacement, and either we figure out a way to soften that displacement that actually works (“learn to code” ain’t it), or we should accept that we’ll need to forgo some degree of productivity improvement.

                      This is not the perfect laissez-faire econo-libertarian position, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that in service of a more perfect union and domestic tranquility, libertarianism needs to stop at the water’s edge.

                    4. So if you have sympathy for the modern American workers tossed aside by globalization, you should also have sympathy for the Luddites of 1800 tossed aside by industrialization

                      By that logic, if I have sympathy for someone in a low paying job, I should have sympathy for someone who wants to take my money away because they feel they don’t get enough.

                      I’d hold the Luddites to be rather more like the guys running the Chinese shops; they’re willing to actively harm others, so long as they get ahead.

                      Contrast with banning updating a factory to do more with less– or, heck, the folks who want to forbid touch-screen and self checkout options.

                    5. Because you’re making the wrong point. Improving productivity by producing more value for a given quantity of labor is NOT equivalent to paying workers less for the same labor producing the same value. One expands the economy; the other merely reduces the workers’ share of the same old pie. Credentialed Professional Managers, abetted by the government, specialize in ignoring that difference.

                      By your logic, we should never have utilized the steam engine.
                      Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

                2. That’s the economics of scarcity. I prefer the economics of abundance — making the pie bigger, instead of putting your effort into trying to shave a few crumbs off everybody else’s slices, while they do the same to yours.

                  Why would you expect to be worse off because you produce more for the same amount of labor? Just because the guy who invested in the machines makes money, too? Somebody who understands clothmaking still has to operate the machines.
                  Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

              2. Folks at the top don’t usually want more company.


                They will rule a shithole versus sharing glory.

              3. Everyone may benefit eventually but that may be after your death and a lot of suffering on your part

                1. By that logic, we should have rejected the steam engine. Along with every other labor multiplying technological development.

                  When machines make it possible to produce 10 times more cloth for 1/10th the cost or less, people who could barely afford one shirt can now buy two or three and still have money left over for things they had to do without. Demand for goods and products unrelated to cloth increases, leading to more jobs and more productivity.

                  The new spinning and weaving machines will use much more wool, cotton, flax and other fibers to produce all that cloth. The businesses of supplying and transporting both the raw materials and the finished cloth will expand greatly. There will be more work for tailors. Cloth products that were undreamt of before will become practical. Every aspect of cloth making and processing will expand and the cloth industry will need more workers, not fewer.

                  No, the Luddites were short-sighted, elitist fools, too jealous of their privileged positions in the established order to share in much greater opportunities.
                  Ma Lemming: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff into the sea would you…oh…um…nevermind.”

            2. even when it superficially looks like they do (automation/self-driving), there is still someone planning/directing things, just a layer or two further up.

              Yes, automated trucks will kill the trucker subculture and related businesses, but we’ve been through it before, going all the way back to the trapper subculture disappearing when beaver pelt hats went out of style.

      2. I’m waiting for the strawberry operation to go to automated weeding. Right now they have a tractor with outriggers. Haven’t seen it up close, but there’s 6-8 people on each side on cushions who weed as the tractor rolls along. One other crop that the operation does is potatoes. I think the seeding is automated, but the harvest entails a fair number of people, a couple of whacking great sifters, and a few thousand watts worth of floodlights. Seems harvest time coincides with the start of nasty weather often enough.

        The third rotation is a green crop; likely a green manure; I’ve never seen them treat it like hay. The hay operations at other ranches are mostly doing the big cubes, though a few of the smaller balers are around, as are a couple of round balers. The big cubes get done fast. I see the odd small baler sitting forlornly in the middle of a field often enough.

        1. My theory on the persistence of the small square baler – the products are hand portable, so there’s a dedicated market of hobby farmers willing to pay a per piece premium, since they don’t have enough livestock or space to justify large handling equipment.

            1. Oops! Oh yeah. Looks at next door neighbor’s elderly horse. I’ll see pickups with a few bales or a trailer with several heading to $TINY_TOWN. Lots of people with a horse or two around here, and most of them wouldn’t be interested in the big cubes. That and small tractors with loaders might not have the weight capacity for a big one. My tractor is good for 600 pounds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the big cubes push 1000.

              I should have remembered the retail hay operations. There’s one on the way to town, and there might still be one nearby. Not sure about the latter; water issues (and related lawfare) curtailed a lot of hay operations in our valley.

              Every once in a while, I’ll see a big hay squeeze on the highway, though they’re usually empty. I don’t know if people are getting single cubes delivered, or if it’s shuttling equipment around for really big operations (or a co-op).

          1. It also handles awkward little fields better–we’re in the middle of a bunch of corn and soybean, but all the little spots that aren’t any good for that? Have hay on them, and about half of them are the bailers that were old when my mom learned on them. 😀

  8. Hospitality workers work where people are, as people decentralize out of the big cities, so will those jobs (into more, smaller businesses)

    re: transportation, if you have trucks that can mostly drive themselves over the highways (just needing a driver for handling unusual conditions) getting stuff to/from the remote factories and remote hamlets (for lack of a better term) becomes much easier.

    yes, you will need transshipment points, but look at Amazon for how they are likely to be run, a huge warehouse with robots moving most of the stuff and a relatively small number of people doing the fiddly work that’s hard to automate.


    Sarah, I think you misunderstood something I said about the possible next great wave of decentralization. I don’t recall saying we are ‘limited by our ability to ship stuff’. In the age of FedEx and UPS and the internet, “no one knows you are a dog” — or that your factory is located in “NextToNowhere, TX”. We are limited by three (related) things: the need for occasional face-to-face contact, access to a poll of skilled employees for those things that are not done remotely, and access to capital. They are related because people don’t invest in things without looking you in the eyes.

    The current long-range air transport network essentially requires you to be within easy access to a feeder airport to enter the world travel net, and access to investment capital is centralized, not just in ‘cities’ but in a very few major urban metroplexes.

    I’m not sure how to solve the ‘access to capital’ problem but it is the core; however, I suspect that if urban-air-mobility services appear, these problems will go away. The advantages of operating in a lower-cost area will bring the investors willing to invest out of the major metroplexes enough of an advantage that the older parochial style will go away. Mind you there are other ways to solve it via reform of the financial sector but that’s essentially impossible since they have captured the regulatory/legislative system to such a degree.

    1. self-driving cars to let you be productive while you drive to a feeder airport where a self-flying aircraft can shuttle you to a larger one…

      The nice thing about rural areas is that there is space for runways

      Access to Capital will solve itself once a few companies become successful in decentralizing their production and others notice (after they try to use government/regulatory power/bad press to try and kill the upstart that is upsetting their comfortable way of doing things)

      Look at Elon Musk’s companies, they are building factories a fair way out from conventional cities, close enough to get there for a night out, but fairly distant in miles.

      1. I’ll also say that Internet connectivity has been a limiting factor (even in suburban areas until very recently), but Starlink and it’s competition is good enough that even in crowded areas I can work from it (I’ve tested it) and am planning to do more testing our in more remote areas (at least as remote as I can reasonably get in California)

        1. The Reader notes that as the Starlink constellation grows, Starlink will have the capability of offering ‘business class’ service at 2X to 4X existing speeds. The Reader is not privy to Starlink’s business plans but he can extrapolate from their FCC filings for bandwidth at different frequencies. This would enable any business or factory to be sited without regard to the availability of fiber, providing another degree of freedom for locating offices or production.

          1. I don’t think that factories need that much bandwidth. The website is not hosted there, you don’t have lots of people in the factory doing video conferencing, what you have is system updates and other bulk transfers that are not particularly time sensitive. Standard Starlink will handle that today (including a few video-conferences, streaming video channels, etc)

        2. Internet was good enough in rural middle-of-nowhere Utah 10-12 years ago for some of my family to run a very lucrative business that sold exclusively online. Not good by current standards, and but good enough for a small business with ~5 employees to get work done. (Side note: They shipped enough product when they were in business that they were the main reason the gov’t decided not to shut down Tiny Rural Post Office.)

          No doubt there were plenty other places where the local telecom co-op wasn’t so forward-looking and it wouldn’t have been possible — and the fam’s bandwidth consumption was really quite low — but that list wasn’t as large as one might think, and with services like Starlink it’s getting very small indeed.

            1. True. Even places that have very good internet service (e.g., large company in small city where I work) have struggled with that. As small as their operation was, they could do just fine without it if they still had the business going today.

        3. Even in $TINY_TOWN, the telco put in fiber optic service as an option. Our neighbors bought into it, and it works well for them. Starlink isn’t quite attractive enough for me to drop the satellite broadband-ish/TV dishes, but I’m keeping an eye on it. Running fiber to the house would be more interesting than I’d like.

          1. If you can get fiber, that will beat any wireless setup (assuming a competent ISP). I hope to be able to get that soon. But if you are too far out for fiber, starlink will easily beat DSL, dialup, or a wireless ISP, and it will even work from an RV

    2. A major issue here, is that the people who run the businesses get kickbacks for moving the business to metropolitan centers.

      The current class of business managers loves them a golden parachute and the social approval of their peers.

      1. That’s one of my gripes about where I live – the last few batches of city leaders seemed intent on selling now for some vaguely wonderful future by offering huge tax incentives and so on to large companies and chains. Many of those are service providers, not manufacturing or firms that add value to local and regional products. When the economy goes splat, so will chunks of those big companies, leaving the tax payers with a problem.

        1. Hyuandai Chips 1997 – 2003 (or 2004?). City/County gave them 5 years break on their property taxes. Right at the 5 year mark, they pulled out. Lot of good that did the timber employees who got economic help to change careers when timber was yanked out from underneath them. County even paid for their retraining under dislocated worker programs. Bit of a sore issue locally.

          1. That happened with a couple of customer service companies in Flyover Falls. Incentive expires, the company exits. Repeated once, so far.

        2. Similarly, if you look at who’s occupying the newly renovated buildings downtown (or do I mean Center City?) the population is heavily skewed towards entities that spend taxpayers’ money. This has the effect of driving up prices to an extent that’s prohibitive to many thinking of opening a new business there. Without some kind of special circumstance (like inheriting a building) the only people making money would be the landlords.. Which may be one of the reasons that the commercial property market here appears to be bucking the national trend.

          1. Indeed. And if you get two blocks away from the main after-hours business/cafe/theater streets at night, it can get really “interesting.” I didn’t care for that sort of “interesting” the last time that happened to me.

            1. I’m sorry to hear that. That certain types of “interesting” are simply unacceptable, is a fundamental fact which I have no interest in debating. In a less imperfect world the purveyor(s) of said “interest” would have ended the evening by picking up their teeth. Or worse.

              That sort of juxtaposition is not uncommon, however and may be found in many cities. As may others – I live just a few blocks from there myself, for example, albeit in a more southerly direction.

    3. Also at issue, is modern business managers getting kickbacks for relocating their company to a metropolitan area.

      The current class of business managers are much more interested in golden parachutes and the approval of their peers than the long-term health of their company.

      1. Sorry for the double post.
        I thought WP ate the first comment when it suddenly disappeared from the form. Evidently, it decided to submit instead.

    4. Sorry. We were talking at a con, when I’m always in a state of panic because PEOPLE who know who I am and want to talk to me. So, misunderstanding is HIGHLY likely.

  10. I’ve been to NY and Wash DC as a tourist, and did see ‘the sights’. But I wouldn’t want to spend time anywhere outside the tourist zone, where the real residents dwell. And, having visited once, I don’t have a lot of desire to go back. So I fear that Sarah’s proposal may reach a limit faster than expected.
    And it’s hard work to keep things working, much easier to take from others. I do not think that large cities can keep that workers they need, without some way of getting rid of the drones. And that doesn’t seem to be on anybody’s to-do list.

    1. Never been to NY. Don’t know why I’d want to go. Been to DC, twice. At one time I wouldn’t have mind going again with husband and show him the historical sites and memorials. Now? Not so much. Not anymore.

      1. Was to NYC in bad early 80’s a couple times, it was not fun. Have been to DC many times. Last 2 times with my daughters being out on/near the Mall at night was somewhat dubious but daytime was OK (2014 or so was last time ). Philadelphia was already turning into a nightmare in 2010 and up near the zoo was crazy as was around the Liberty Bell and Independence hall. Boston I worked in until 2020. It had a fair number of homeless/ beggars near North Station/ Boston Garden but was area was generally OK as that neighborhood was busy. I miss the North End, Italian food of every sort and bakeries and Coffee shops all over.

        I’m a country mouse thank you. I have lived in the 2nd biggest city in New England for 4 years, and worked in the largest for 7 but even given all the things to do (and Boston has that in spades, even Worcester is more metropolitan than you’d think) something makes me long to be away from them.

      2. Used to think it would be wonderful to spend a week (or two) doing a detailed visit to the various Smithsonian museums in DC, and wandering through the lesser visited memorials…. I’ve had two visits to DC – senior trip in high school, “You can spend 3 hours at the Air and Space or the Natural History but not both…” and a day trip more recently.

        Not really interested in DC anymore.

        1. I had this dream of going to the Denver Natural HIstory Museum every day for a summer with my charcoal and drawing pad and drawing the bones/creature.
          I had meant to do it in 20. Now we’ve moved away.

        2. I consider myself fortunate that we made several trips to DC for milblog meets and once for husband to go to WH with a few other military bloggers to meet with Bush. Each time, we took a few extra days to spend time at the museums and the Botanic Gardens. It was all much safer then.
          Our opinions of Pres Bush have gone way down since then, sadly, as we realized how regular people have no input at all …it’s all the elite.

          1. I did one visit to Washington DC – a flying visit, so I had no time to see the museums or do anything much more than participate in the MilBlog meet-up over a weekend at a very nice hotel in Arlington. But the shuttle bus from the airport wended a winding way all through Georgetown, and through the city center and past many of the historic buildings, including the Capitol and the White House … and traffic was so bad that I had my fill of looking at them, as we went…
            If I had but known, I think I would have made more effort to stay for another day and see the Smithsonian museums. But I was on a strict budget and it turned out that my pay-as-you-go cellphone had died the death, so there you go.

            1. I imagine we were at the same hotel. Back then, we had a lot of free flights and free hotel rooms because my job required me to travel a lot.

  11. When I was a young youngster and we left Youngstown for Miami and Coral Gables I found there wasn’t anything in Ohio I’d want to go back for. Same is true when I hitchhiked from Florida to NYC. Even more so when I left New York for Alaska, pretty much rural Alaska.

    I’ve rather good memories of the cities but I know the realities therein today hold no attraction for me. Even the museums, Denver Art, Washington Smithsonian, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, NY Metropolitan are all, I suspect, too broke by woke to entice me back.

    I do wish the cities and the cities dwellers well, and hope they recover but day to day, in this day and age, I am quite glad I am far far away.

  12. I lived or worked in the most feral parts of 2 major cities (Harlem in NYC and the Inner Harbor in Baltimore) and they are never coming back … not because they can’t but the “community” there will never allow it … not without bloodshed … and the normals will never spill the amount of blood it would take to reclaim them … and as you point out the normals DON’T NEED TO RECLAIM them …

    1. Right up until a fire starts, and it burns the entire area down because the fire trucks don’t dare go into that area. There’s a minimum level required for an area to merely continue existing. Remove that, and eventually it will stop existing.

  13. Reading Simak’s linked stories in City. Great SF however I think he is as wrong about cities (and humanity) as the modern wreckers are.

    Any one city might be toast, however cities themselves will last as long as people do.

      1. Cities are caves of glass, brick and steel filled by the ghosts of the past and tomorrows forlorn hopes. As the lefties and deeps state continue to wave the dead ideas of yesterday like a shield against reality, they will continue to collapse and decay. Until the Marxists in both parties are destroyed and thrown on the ash heap of history for good, they will continue uninterrupted to collapse and decay. Notice that the smarter people are running away from said places as fast as they can liquidate their assets. Yes it is a shame all the hard work of some of the more industrious of us will go to waste and rot. But all those feet fleeing the insanity is a good sign. Losing a little on liquidation, is the price you pay for freedom and liberty, just ask the Jewish holocaust survivors, or any of those who fled Marxism. “You Can’t Stop The Wave Mal”.

        1. “…the smarter people are running away from said places” [dying blue cities] “as fast as they can liquidate their assets.”

          They are indeed. Unfortunately, too many of them refuse to learn (or accept) the reason why their former homes turned to dreck, and have apparently internalized the Marxist mantra, “This time we’ll do it right!”, and keep their same voting patterns. The result is the bluing of former conservative areas.

            1. True, that. But they’re not stupid, just insane: They believe that doing the same thing repeatedly will have a different result.

  14. Didn’t the mayor of NYC declare his city a sanctuary city? And when the governor of Texas took him at his word and started sending busloads of illegals, didn’t he start screaming bloody murder? Not that I was paying that close attention, but one might be excused for thinking he had been posturing all along.

      1. Nah. Adams is just hustling for more free FedDollars. Once he can buy off the newcomers without too-badly pissing off his prior constituents, he will go back to whore-hearted support.

      2. Adams is bucking to be Dinkins II as far as I can tell. He seems slightly more competent than Dinkins.

  15. Yes, yes, dammit! I need to finish “Advance Guards”. By the end of May, I swear it by Grabthar’s Hammer.

    I was born in Detroit and raised there in my little neighborhood bubble until I was 10, then transplanted to the middle of nowhere (not exactly Wyoming, but try taking a 10 year old out of the city and putting him where the nearest people under 60 are 10 miles away). I have chosen to live in the city my entire adult life, even as I watch my beloved city destroy itself–more slowly than San Francisco, but still, it’s happening. Sarah, you do identify some of the things that make a city attractive to many even now that the factories have moved away. Yes, all the great writers thrived on the cultural diversity of New York City, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Little Italy, all close enough that you could visit by crossing the street. But I know there are not enough of us lovers of culture to maintain such a place. It would be a faux culture anyway with the Jews committing whatever the kosher equivalent of seppuku is. The writer/artist/actor class will always be a minority, but we only grow from ground fertilized by the mix of authentic cultures that cannot be supplied by us “sophisticates”. We’ll end up with Zardoz instead.

    As to the hospitality industry saving the cities, “I hear the USSR will be open soon as vacation land for lawyers in love.”

  16. People like cities, obviously, or so many wouldn’t live in them.

    But also, many people in cities feel trapped. Where would they go? How would they make a living? Etc.

    For some reason, it seemed easier for rural people to migrate to the big city than for a big city dweller to go rural. Until COVID forced people to really think about and take the idea of living in a smaller town seriously. Especially if they have or want a family. Until then, even if they liked the idea of a quieter life in a less complicated place, the money kept them in the city. But one chaotic pandemic event and a few mostly peaceful protests later, and suddenly things other than money started to weigh more heavily in the equation. Making people feel like they are in danger from germs, crime, or protests is a sure fire way to get them to move along to somewhere else.

    1. I think a lot of people base their proximity to urban cores on habit more than on actually liking it.
      If a person grew up in the suburbs, his or her habits acquired over a couple of generations are going to include mowing the lawn, shoveling the walks, maybe going to catch a movie on Friday nights or going on a hike on Saturdays, etc.
      If a person grew up in the city (as in apartment dwellers), the idea of mowing the lawn (and maybe even driving a car) may be as foreign as fly fishing or recreational minor league brain surgery.
      If you grew up as an Odd off in the sticks like me, your habits on weekends might include overhauling car engines, re-roofing your house, excavating for a new sprinkler system, or laying a new concrete driveway.
      We tend to “like” the life we’ve created for ourselves if we’re left largely to our own devices and don’t have the neighbor’s septic tank overflowing into our yard or if we don’t hear the people upstairs having a shouting match and running around like elephants on the floor above us. But in the end, all other things being equal, a lot of “like,” I think, is more about a predictable routine with a high enough percentage of unstructured time and enjoyable activities.
      You can go from rural to suburbs and retain a lot of your old lifestyle; and you may even move from the ‘burbs to the urban and do the same. But the idea of moving from urban to the ‘burbs means acquiring a bunch of new skill sets and abandoning a lot of recreational activities, and is therefore scary.
      But that’s just my general theory on “like.” I’m open to there being a whole lot more reasons people tend to avoid moving out from the urban core, like language barrier if a person is a first- or second-generation immigrant who would be leaving family (or even a same-ethnicity or same-nationality neighborhood); having fallen victim to the Hollywood psyop against all things not urban (Deliverance, The ‘Burbs, The Stepford Wives, etc.)…

  17. In the 1960s, along with the Vietnam war, race riots in the major cites were continually on the news. There are some neighborhoods that have never recovered from those. In high school social studies some attention was given to urban decline, and the reasons why major cities tend to rot from the center out.
    I know of a few cities that are attempting to do the kinds of things you suggest: to make the declining inner city attractive to visitors and residents again. It isn’t cheap. Others have essentially given up trying.

  18. “In fact, make each vast city a sort of amusement park, where people in the far flung parts of the country can go”

    Or as I saw, D.C. At least the central parts. I guess NYC counts, though as someone mentioned above, I have a visceral dislike of giant city areas. NYC just barely triggers it, because I only saw a quick overview of the touristy bits, but pictures of the gigantic faceless apartment buildings in Hong Kong set off a strong repelling factor in my mind.

    Incidentally, I am a resident of Greater Suburbia. I think most Americans these days gravitate to that level of city.

  19. Cities are nasty hives of scum and villainy. That said, if other people choose to live in one, it’s no skin off my nose…except for the part where the fraudulent politics and concentrated population of large cities are dragging entire states into the morass with them. It’s not a responsible or thoughtful position, but right now I’d be very happy to watch a few cities burn themselves down.

  20. “…you need…. seaports, or airports or at the very least railway confluences,… you need … highway and trucks. And America has plenty of those…”

    And yet what has the Biden Administration (and other leftists) been doing? Killing seaports, making air travel more onerous, making rail fall apart, killing all long distance shipping,

  21. Speaking of cities, or at least the vacant commercial real estate caused by the WuFlu. First Republic Bank of SF is “exploring strategic options.” The next shoe may …. may ….be starting to drop.

      1. Very likely, alas. There’s very little credit to be had at the moment. Gonna be a bear trying to roll all this over,

        A conspiracy theorist would note that this tends to work to the advantage of the big, big banks. An anti-conspiracy theorist would note that the people taking these losses were all massively in favor of the lockdown and are just getting what they deserve.

        1. Does this have to do with their 100 billion dollar loss from SVB? Is, “strategic options,” code for, “going belly-up?”

          1. Yep, and yep. Strategic options means they’re looking for someone to give them loadsa money, usually a sale to a bigger buyer. The alternative tends to be bankruptcy.

  22. I’ve observed my medium-sized city (the leaders at least) trying to lure artists and “thinkers” and “young people” to the city in order to . . . I have no idea, and I’m not sure many do know. There are only so many organic vegan bakeries the area can support, so many art galleries, and “indie film studios” subsidized by a local educational institution. In uncharitable moments I wonder if the idea is to be like Austin without the politicians, but with the same problems (growing numbers of homeless, high property taxes, less-than-ideal public schools.)

    As I said, uncharitable. I’m glad people like different things, and that there are larger cities for people who prefer them. There’s some thought that religious observances and the desire to establish a claim to a region led to the creation of the proto urban areas, and that “what the anthropologists call a city” developed in parallel and slightly later than the proto-urban-areas. YMMV.

    1. It seems to me with each passing year the Anthropologists and Archeologists are having to redo much of what they thought was fact. Too many new discoveries have over turned their ordered world. Oh and you lefties can stop hating on Columbus, the Vikings and before that the Native/First americans invaded this pristine wilderness of America.

      That’s another thing, America got it’s name not from Christopher Columbus, but from a Portuguese map maker named Amerigo Vespucci. He had written his name on the map, and the people copied the map and left his name there. So stop hating the Italian guy.

      1. I learned that in school.

        Of course, that was 50 years ago. The poor kids trapped in today’s schools probably don’t learn that. Or much of anything else useful. Certainly not how to read and do math.

        1. I was boggled recently to find that someone learned of the tune Yankee Doodle being, in effect, a reverse psy-op as an adult rather than in elementary school.

          Then, I recall seeing a bit on That’s Incredible that made a big deal… of something that was taught in, I think, grade 4 in the 1970’s…. at least in rural WI. I found it rather amusing, but also a bit depressing.

          1. “Yankee Doodle” was English mockery of those scuzzy stupid colonists.

            The Continental Army, and various militias, used it as marching music.

            When Conwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown, Washington had the American band play “Yankee Doodle” for the surrendering British. Cornwallis had such a case of vapors he sent a subordinate to hand over his sword.


      2. “Anthropologists and Archeologists are having to redo much of what they thought was fact.”

        There’s no such thing as anthropologists and archaeologists anymore. Those departments do “culture, society, and justice” now.

      3. Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian who, in service to Spain (just like Columbus) and later Portugal, made two voyages to what is now Guyana and Brazil. Unlike Columbus, he realized that this was NOT India but in fact a new continent, for which he coined the term “The New World”.

        Later, German map maker Martin Waldseemüller named the continent that Vespucci discovered “America” in his honor.

    2. The uncharitable observation is almost certainly the correct one. They don’t mean it to be friendly to people like you and me. Nor will it be to anyone, really, in the long run.

  23. I used to enjoy access to “the city” when I lived in So Cal, because there were enough people to support a store serving any possible sub-interest or artistic style that required direct personal access to enable a good choice or proper fit.
    Much of this has gone away, either to online purchasing and acceptance of “almost good enough”, to regional fairs / festivals / shows / cons, etc, or abandonment for lack of enough concentrated interest to support a business.
    Over time I realized that the lack of good and broad education is part of this problem, because if people in general do not know that better is possible, they won’t know to seek it out.
    The cities are a huge sunk cost in their physical and supporying infrastructure, which will carry them for a while, until, like Rome or the other cities of the ancient world, they take so much loss of population or damage that they can no longer support their necessary supply structures. (Eg. Roman sewers, aqueducts, latifundia, etc.)
    As it was at the end of the Roman Empire, it will not be fun, but we will save the art, the libraries, and the principles of Civilization, and teach our survivors. Be the future.

  24. So long as government is centralized, they will try to enforce centralization on everything and everybody else. Because people are so much harder to control when they’re decentralized. Government wants everything to have one single point of failure they can use to keep the Kulaks in line.

    Thus all the taxes and regulations that place disproportionate burdens on small businesses. A soulless mega-corp can afford to hire the extra accountants, lawyers and ‘compliance officers’ to deal with all that paperwork — which then gives the politicians a single target to hit up for bribes campaign contributions.
    Those who do not remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the mistakes. Those who do remember are doomed to watch everybody else repeat them.

    1. “Come round the bed you know it’s the end, fireman screams but the engine just gleams”

      They got it started but now don’t know what to do?

      “Driving that train high on Cocaine Casey Jones you better watch your speed”

      They’re in control but so high on the lie of Marxism they can’t change.

      “Trouble ahead and trouble behind and you know that notion just crossed my mind”.

      They see the problems but don’t see any way out so they are doubling down on stupidity.

  25. Amanda Podany’s book Scribes, Weavers, and Kings suggests that agricultural city hubs might have happened because of gods and holy places, in part.

    And fair enough… People do come to holy places, even if only seasonally or for a visit.

    But by the time we find cities in archeology, they have already been around for ages. So it could be anything.

          1. And it’s often a matter of simply finding someone who DOES SOMETHING that can look at $MysteryObject and go, “Dude, it’s clearly just a transgobulator[1], nothing mystical at all.”

            [1] Insert semi-obscure yet quite mundane gadget of choice.

            1. “Oh, it’s a miniature sword for a child. Odd shape, though. Perhaps a sign of contact with the Levant.”

              Person with some skills – “Oh, it’s a loom beater for tightening a row of thread before adding the next one. Have you looked for wear patterns?”

              Archaeologist [slumping] – “No.”

            2. Bone burnishers…

              Or where the key for the lock in the Mästermyr chest.
              Story goes that the archaeologists dismissed the mechanism as a lock because there was no key in the find. Until one of the workers asked where the archeologist kept his house key.

    1. It does occur to me that if you get enough people together in one group they are bound to create a holy place of some sort even if it wasn’t there when the town began.

      Humans are like that. Everything has religious significance eventually.

      1. “Everything has religious significance eventually.”

        Especially after an archaeologist gets hold of it.

        1. “We don’t know what it was, or what it means, and we’re not permitted to speculate anymore.”
          “I know, let’s call it a cultic object!”

          I still think the little hollow clay things with four legs and a curved top from the Trypillia Sites were mailboxes. So nyah! Flaps tongue and makes rude sound in cat

          1. “It’s clearly a cultic object!”
            “It’s obviously a… uh… ‘marital aid’..”
            “Well, yes, of course. But we don’t dare publish THAT!”

            1. “It’s the earliest known representation of the Staff God of the Andes!”

              “Like hell it is! That’s a vampire!

  26. I’ll be will to bet a large creme filled doughnut that if they look just off the coasts of every continent they will find sunken cities from before the ice age ended. *They have found several recently in the black sea as well as off the coast of India. That would put civilization past 10,000 years ago. That is where Atlantis is as well as the garden of Eden, under water or most likely there. Cities starting near bodies of water makes sense as they would have fish as a ready source of food when you couldn’t grow crops.

  27. The hard left knows that the only reliable source of actual hard-core marxist revolutionaries is the huddled hopeless of failed cities. This especially true if they are hungry as well as resentful and ignorant.

    Thus all the various leftoid efforts to pack humans into cities “for the planet”. Once they can control the food, the city-folk are controllable.

    The Covid power grab actually farked it all up. Oopsie.

    But if they have to pack the cities with immigrants to get critical mass, they will do so.

    Meanwhile, they will continue to eliminate the transportation that makes non-city life practical and pleasant. Sooner or later, they will remember the gas and tire rationing of WW2. Those “A” cards for average folks went mostly nowhere.

    I sometimes wonder if China and Russia would sabotage a true authoritarian government here. They believe such governments are stronger. They certainly do not want to face a stronger USA. So, perhaps, they merely want us fighting each other, instead of them.

    Did they encorage their minions here to try to so obviously crook 2020 in hopes we would implode? What would they try next as “-now- they boog! Yes?”

    Imagine if a bunch of hard left and right characters get obviously whacked, seemingly by their opposites. What happens next? How many folks take it at fraudulent face value and decide the balloon is up?

    Or disappearances of same?

    Or a half dozen other bad movie script things?

    I suspect that the foreign fies won’t try it, fearing a result, left or right, that would then be far less restrained dealing with foreign threats.

    It was Kennedy the donk who darn near wound up nuking the Soviets in the deliberate mutual escalation over Cuba. Reagan never got us above Defcon 3. Kennedy had us at 2, and only a very, very sober Soviet sub officer prevented a shot at us that would have taken us to war. (Essentially, a Zampolit was unwilling to turn his key on a nuke torpedo. That close.)

    Yeah. I suspect that they kinda prefer a Kennedy/Reagan/Trump to a Caesar MacArthur or worse yet an -American- Stalin.

    1. What they don’t understand is that their precious mega-cities are more dependent on reliable transportation than those Deplorable Rural Kulaks. Everything has to be brought to the city; it does not produce food, water, energy or the raw materials needed for its factories. Lose transportation and the cities implode, violently.
      The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

    2. NONE of that. That’s actually bullshit. The huddled hopeless my ass. Our cities aren’t — even now — vast slums, much less huddled.
      What the cities are is — because big — really easy fraud centers. THAT’s it. Thta’s the source of hte cities=left.
      But it’s okay, they’ve spread it elsewhere with machines and vote by fraud.
      HUDDLED MASSES MY ASS. Sorry, but where do you find that outside border camps.

      1. And the Marxists are living in the 19th century. So?

        They are trying to create what I stated. Their actions are unmistakable. Drive out the annoying Bourgeois, pack the cities with poor, and rip out the hope. Revolution.

        That it keeps going sideways is just more proof they are lunatics basing their schemes on ravings of a lunatic. They are, however, remarkably consistent. I do laugh at how quickly some of the newcomers go native, and screw up the Lefts would-be revolution with the newcomer rocket rise to Bourgeois. Lol.

        The slow dribble of unassimilated illegals didn’t work. Try harder. A river of them failed. Harder! Fire hoses harder!

        I suspect that when Biden either loses a primary, or if loses in 2024, he will pardon every illegal in the country, as of January 2025. With lots of notice. Tsunami hard.

        I so very much hope he isn’t -that- stupid.

        I wad kinda surprised Obama didn’t do it. But LGB might just give it a go, if only out of spite. And that will wind up destabilizing Mexico and maybe Canada. Neither can handle that level of throughput.

        And it still won’t bring us down, although things will get chaotic. For a while. Because their root plan is nuts based on nuttery, and America is fundamentally chaos-sanity.

        It won’t be pretty, but the good guys win. But most decent folks are going to not talk about some of it. Kinda like how all those Torries mysteriously decided to move to Canada or England, post 1783.

        Hopefully, we find a less story-dramatic way. But I suspect we are nowhere near peak drama.

        Sometimes, the lemmings just have to go swimming.

  28. I was traveling in Turkmenistan when I came upon a completely deserted town of considerable size. Once there had been a river flowing by, but the river had changed course or dried up. Now there was nothing but desert for miles around. I suppose that it would have been a pleasant place to live with trees and gardens. But now it was just a nameless place baking in sun that no one remembers.

    Another time, I sat in the amphitheater at Ephesus looking down a broad avenue that once went the port. In biblical times, it was a bustling city, but little remains of it.

    I have seen other places too. Cities arise when there a purpose for them and then whither away sometimes leaving a hint of their greatness. Such as Timurlane’s tomb which sits all by itself on banks of dried up river.

  29. Another time, I sat in the amphitheater at Ephesus looking down a broad avenue that once went the port. In biblical times, it was a bustling city, but little remains of it.

    I’ve been to Ephesus. The ruins of the temple of Diana are there too. One of the eight wonders of the ancient world. It was destroyed by earthquake before biblical times but still Ephesus endured. It wasn’t until the port silted in that the city died. What was once the port became olive groves and the carved stones from the temple were carted off across the Sea of Marmara to build a massive cistern under a Basilica in Istanbul.

    No jobs, no reason to be there. Merely a tourist attraction now.

    1. In order to fix something, you first have to figure out how it’s broke, and which parts need to be replaced. You have to know how the widget works in considerable detail. All of that requires knowledge, skills and critical thinking.

      Assembling widgets requires no such understanding. Assemblers don’t even need to know what the widget does, let alone how it works. Which is why illiterate Chinese peasants can assemble widgets designed in other countries for 15¢ an hour, 15 hours a day.
      Today, every child in America is born $139,000 in debt.

    2. Yes, but not the numbers of humans it used to require.
      And think about it. Does it really? You could have a highly skilled repair team responsible for all repairs within 200 miles.

    3. Depends to a great degree on the repairs. At least some repairs are probably doable with a drone being remotely operated by a human on the other side of the country.

  30. And now for something completely different.

    Tucker Carlson is gone. He must have really pissed off somebody with a lot of clout. Who did they threaten, and with what?

      1. I dunno, the Leftroids did a pretty thorough job of canceling Lou Dobbs. Haven’t heard from him in a while. That’s what happens when you ask The Questions Which Must Not Be Asked.

      2. Yeah. If Megyn Kelly can run her own streamed news show (and she’s been doing that for a while), then so can Tucker. And he’ll get a lot more viewers than she does.

        1. See this substack from Chris Bray on that very topic (with a comment quoting Larry Correia):

          The Wall Street Journal claims to have inside information that puts Tucker Carlson’s contract with the Murdoch empire at about $20 million a year, and maybe that’s even true. Compare the math if the Tucker Carlson Network — .com — starts streaming with two million subscribers at $50 each per year.
          Network News v2.0 (the cable news stations) are going the way of v1.0 (ABCBSNBC). There won’t be a v3.0, because the money won’t be there.

    1. Word that Ace got through his rumor-vine (i.e. it’s a rumor, so even though Ace seems to think it’s true, still take it with a grain of salt) is that Carlson’s focus on 1/6 upset Rupert Murdoch, and Murdoch got rid of him as a result.

      Regardless of the reason, Fox will likely be in serious trouble after this. Tucker was the only reason many people watched the channel to begin with, and getting rid of him is going to cost them tons of credibility with their usual audience.

      1. Carlson kicked the pharma/jabs anthill recently, yes?

        I wonder…. “Hm. That didn’t get me fired. Lets try kicking -this- anthill….”

        He has lots of options. A whole bunch of folks won’t like whatever he does. If he goes into politics, he is a wrecking ball. And in any media platform he could easily be an entire broadside of loose cannons.

        If he goes silent, that should be a Big Farking Signal.


        1. We’ll have to see what happens to Steve Hilton. He’s been kicking the COVID anthill since the beginning. He was among the first to say:

          1. Fauxi paid the communist Chinese to tinker with bat viruses because such research was banned in the U.S.

          2. Fauxi laundered the money through a third party after the ban was extended to other countries in 2014

          3. In the course of those experiments, the virus that would be labeled COVID19 was developed in a Chinese bio-weapons lab in Wuhan

          4. The virus got loose sometime between July and September 2019, probably as a result of negligence and incompetence, of which that lab has a long history

          5. Fauxi, the NIH, the CDC and the WHO helped the communist Chinese cover up the outbreak while they deliberately flew thousands of disease carriers to other countries

          6. When COVID19 became too widespread to cover up any longer, Fauxi, the NIH, the CDC and the WHO orchestrated a conspiracy to deny that it originated in the Wuhan bio-weapons lab and destroy the reputation of anybody who questioned that denial

          All the evidence that has emerged so far shows that every one of those claims is true.

          Steve Hilton has also aimed a few kicks at the January 6th anthill.

  31. “There is a strong attack on transportation…”

    February 2022, honk honk. Canadian Normies pushed SO FAR that they finally pushed back. Two years too late, but better late than never. The government activated the Emergencies Act (previously the War Measures Act, new and improved with bigger and shinier teeth) in a fit of rage/fear/madness. That’s how friggin’ thin the ice they’re standing on really is.

    “Is there a way for the great cities to avoid death? Well, h*ll yeah. No, they will never be great industrial centers again.”

    Well, about that. I’ve been noticing lately that there are an awful lot of big machine tools available out there for pretty cheap. Plenty of the medium-to-larger lathes and horizontal milling machines can be had for under $5,000. We’re talking 3-5 horsepower three-phase electric motors, 2-5 ton machines with life left in them.

    Why is that? Those things cost a fortune when they were new.

    Reason is automation. CNC mills can punch out parts 24/7/365 forever. Set it and keep the fluids topped up, it’ll just go and go. Lackeys can run around moving trays of tools, sweeping up, etc.

    The only reason anyone would need a manual machine is to refurbish something that wears out of breaks. Or, for making custom one-off parts for something crazy, like a rocket or a race car.

    Now, there are some things that are too freaking big to move with a truck or even a train. Aircraft parts, ship building and super-heavy construction equipment. Maybe steel mills and large scale foundry stuff. Most of which is currently made in China, but that will be changing in the next few years between one thing and another.

    Anything else, you don’t really need a port for shipping. Most cities are there because of the port, be it sea like NYC or fresh water like Toronto or Hamilton. Canadian cities are gentrifying their port areas, because all the businesses that used the port have LEFT. Gone. F-ed off to the sunny shores of Communist fricking China. Where, perversely, they are allowed to make a buck. Because they can’t make a buck in Southern Ontario anymore. Not since the 1980s.

    But, guys find a way. And the new way is to hire a kid to sweep the floor around the CNC robots that do all the work, situated far enough away from the nearest city that the City Council can’t get at you.

    Pretty soon McDonald’s is going to do exactly the same thing, one kid per shift to feed the machines and call the repair guy if anything breaks. I don’t know who they think will be buying their food, given the general unemployment, but that’s their plan.

    What would it take to turn this around? Practically speaking, I think a war -might- do it. If cheap ocean shipping becomes impossible, then maybe it turns around. Maybe.

    Funny that #LetsGoBrandon seems hell-bent on getting the USA into a war these days. Almost as if it was deliberate…

    1. “War is the health of the State”

      its like it was a prophesy or something.

  32. When I was younger, I liked cities for museums, interesting shops and restaurants. As I got older, I liked living in a nice suburb, until I realized how toxic HOAs were. Now that I’m old, I love living out in the country on our 80 acre farm.
    I’m almost a hermit. I can’t imagine ever living in a city again.
    The cities are dying. Gangs have taken over, no one is safe anymore. It’s pretty sad.

      1. Suburbs. Grew up in one, liked it fine as a kid in the 1960s. Moved back as a grown man to discover the AMAZING toxicity level the place had acquired.

        Man, what appalling a-holes lived there! So entitled! So snobbish! So holier-than-thou!

        Neighbors from down the street complained to the city that I was fixing -my- car in -my- driveway. Not that I had a shade-tree mechanic shop going, just that a car was jacked up and I was lying under it. (I did not know these people, had never met or spoken to them. Apparently they considered complaints to the city a form of entertainment.) After the city guy dropped by to mention there were a-holes in my neighborhood and inform me how to circumvent their complaints, I put my plan into action.

        Imagine their concern when I put up an A-frame crane in the driveway. And left it there. Sometimes with a flathead V-8 dangling from it. (No law says you can’t have a crane, right? >:D The city guy liked it. I got a hearty thumbs up for the 2-ton chainfall, very industrial chic.)

        The final straw was when they called the cops on me for trimming dead branches off -my- trees in -my- backyard. (The cop said a 6 foot privacy fence would solve the problem, particularly if I painted something uncomplimentary on the side facing the neighbors. He suggested pigs.) Other dwellers at Chez Phantom decreed that was the end, to keep us out of jail. Arrangements were then made to decamp.

        The a-holes were super happy when we moved…. until the Russian guy I sold it to renovated the house for years, complete with heavy equipment. He cut down all the trees they called the cops on me about, and then put up the big fence. Karma is a beeotch.

        Living in the country is awesome. Neighbors have been known to drop by and admire my crane. Half dismantled tractors in the driveway are considered a sign of industry and hard work, as they should be. The damn things don’t take themselves apart, right? ~:D

      2. I love our little suburb. I like going on walks and seeing the gardens and decorations other people put up. And in the summer we are only 15 minutes away from being in the mountains.

        1. summer we are only 15 minutes away from being in the mountains.

          Ditto. We’re a more than 15 minutes from (more than foothills) the mountains. But we are an hour-ish from both mountain ranges (Cascades, and Coast), and the ocean.

      3. It is kind of nice to be less than ten minutes’ walk from a trail, though. That’s not necessarily available in most suburbs, but at least the designers of this city-suburb had that much foresight.

        Eventually all of the trails along this creek will be tied together, and potentially there will even be connections to the nearby river trails. That’s on the level of “decade +” design, but they are thinking on how to do this. As it is, I have to do some city street connections to hike along the creek, but fewer and fewer as time goes by. (It’s pretty big as “creeks” go. It almost never runs dry by the end of summer, which is impressive given the complete and total lack of rain in between May and October.)

      1. We are at the end of a dead-end road, also. 1 mile from the paved road. No one comes here or drives by except the mail lady and amazon guy.

        1. Okay, now super jealous. 😡

          Got a gate to keep the Amazon dude at a respectable distance? I put up a beauty cow gate to keep Maximum Maxwell the massive poodle from eating foolish delivery men. I found it also kept them from doing u-turns in my driveway, and from sitting and sorting their packages for half an hour.

      2. Technically, inlaws had only 1.5 acres between two lots. However, one side of each lot bordered a portion of La Pine State Park, undeveloped section. One lot bordered the Little Dechutes River (south of Sunriver of Oregon hwy 97).

  33. Another thing about work from home: home can be mobile. During the fracking boom we had trouble finding a place to stay in North Dakota (a woman running a slightly seedy mobile home park took pity on us); all the regular RV parks were booked for months by oil crews. I’ve had one newbie traveler tell me she’s hitting the same thing – RV parks booked out for months – now. And a couple of years ago we met a young couple who were full-timing because husband had a job he could do from the RV and wife could homeschool the kids. Seeing some construction workers going the RV route, too.

    1. I hope it’s because they’re just traveling to where the work is.

      During Obama’s last few years, the mobile home parks were full because that’s where people were living after losing their houses.

  34. Well, maybe I’m going to push back a bit here.

    First, there are cities and there are cities. There are cities in the East that are miles and miles of concrete canyons of steel and masonry, with vast inner cities populated by the underclass. That’s your New Yorks, Phillys, Baltimores, and Chicagos.

    And then there are cities, mostly in the West, that are dense downtown cores surrounded by miles and miles and miles of single-family homes — on very small lots, to be sure. In those cities, in my experience of LIVING IN SEATTLE FOR TWENTY YEARS and visiting Portland frequently, the downtowns are emptier than pre-Covid and perhaps dying, but the rest of the city is just fine, modulo a bad couple of zipcodes here and there.

    The traditions of the people in the single-family neighborhoods are mowing the lawn and shoveling the sidewalk and shopping at Safeway, not walking from a high-rise shoebox apartment to the bodega on the corner.

    Here in the southwest corner of Seattle, the local supermarket has just as many shoppers as always, storefronts that closed during Covid are being reopened by other businesses, the freeways are almost as crowded, etc. Seattle has been losing population, but it’s been at the margin, and not comparable to the white flight from the big East Coast cities of the ’60s and ’70s. Crime may be up overall, and there are ten permanently parked RVs within six blocks of my house, but we’re a hell of a long way from Death Wish territory: no, gangs have not taken over the entire city and putting everyone in constant fear of their lives.

    Notably, the new mayor seems to have noticed that the peasants are revolting, and has launched a cleanup of the worst and most dangerous city blocks and homeless parks downtown. Even Herr Gauleiter Inslee has made noises about clearing one of the worst encampments under a local bridge. Maybe people — even Seattleites — are at the point where pols realize they need to do something for reals this time if they want to get re-elected.

    To sum up, Seattle (and from what I can tell from twice-yearly weekend visits and reports from friends, compared to in-laws living there in the ’90s, Portland) is on the whole worse than it was twenty years ago, and someone from a small town in Eastern Washington would probably be appalled, it’s not the 7th Circle of Hell that you read about in conservative media (and comment threads cough cough). The politics are incredibly stupid (but read a Seattle Times comment thread and see that there is at least a significant minority that opposes it all), but mostly it’s a pretty pleasant place to live.

    1. The tl;dr point here, that I managed to forget to emphasize, is that in my experience of the cities I know, it’s the downtowns that are dying, not the cities.

      And the dying seems to be of the “slow poisoning” variety, not the “aggressive metastatic cancer” variety.

    2. The homeless are trying to spread here in LA County. I spot the set-ups all the time when I’m out and about. But fortunately, the local cities seem to be keeping things under control. I frequently note the disappearance of what had looked to be some homeless person’s little encampment, set up in a fashion that indicated expectations of a long-term stay.

    3. Thanks for the interesting counterpoint. I just read an early 00s romance that was trying to make Portland sound like an awesome happening place and honestly failing at making the case, and actually your more balanced description makes a better case for the city overall.

      1. Which will mostly be a problem for the owners of those buildings, not the people who previously worked in them.

        We were seeing a distribution of commerce and industry out to the exurbs long before Covid, which is why I have always opposed light rail in Seattle: it was clear twenty years ago that funneling workers from the outer neighborhoods into the central downtown district was a dying business model.

        I predict that downtowns in Seattle, Portland, and their equivalents will see a vicious circle of buildings emptying, owners going bankrupt, small “lunchtime” businesses closing, downtown and near-downtown residential de-gentrifying, lather rinse repeat, until only government still has offices in the downtown district and the rest is thinly-populated except for the tourist centers. This will obviously impact the economy of the rest of the city, but not so much as it would have fifty years ago.

        1. You bring up a point. Eugene has the reputation of scattered homeless camps. But our neighborhood is “spared”. What is the difference between our neighborhood, or mom’s, and my sister’s or niece’s neighborhoods? Oh. Yes. We are not city incorporated (yet). We are County (even if within “urban growth boundary”). We can complain. We can harass get them to move. The homeless know that, even as drug addled as they are. Which means we haven’t had to deal directly (yet) with the problem. Closest two city properties nearest us are the two grade schools. So far, in our area anyway, they have been deemed off limits by the homeless.

        2. It could go that way, or the commercial buildings could become apartments/condos.
          I think there will be some of each, with some pockets converting well and others falling apart (in large part depending on how the city in question controls the homeless that would make people feel unsafe)

          where real estate is cheap, people will want to buy it and convert it to housing. the current owners will probably lose a lot of money (unless they do the conversion), but it will eventually happen.

          1. Modern commercial office buildings are so different from residential construction that conversion is basically impossible. Just running the plumbing would be a nightmare.

            If those buildings are going to convert to residential they are going to have to be totally demolished before rebuilding. Maybe they could save the underground parking garages, but that’s about it.

            1. most office buildings have higher cealings than residential homes, you could add a false floor if needed. But I really don’t think you would have to. If you planned appropriately to stack bathrooms, you leave most of the floor space as-is and your plumbing is relatively contained.

  35. About cities and agriculture, decades ago, Jane Jacobs wrote The Economy of Cities, where she wrote that one of the things cities did was to create new products and services and new types of work, and then export them to the countryside—and that agriculture was one of those.

    C and I lived for many years in San Diego, which became one of the country’s largest cities (it wasn’t that when I was born!). Then we moved first to a smaller city in California and then to an even smaller city in Kansas. In each case, we were able to retain a variety of services, and find neighborhoods suited to walking around (though sometimes a short walk or bus ride away, I admit). And we have felt that with each move to a smaller city, the people around us became less stressed and friendlier. Note that our smaller cities were both as large as all but the ancient world’s one or two biggest cities . . .

    As for walkability, there is a helpful site called Walkscores, which scores any address in the US or Canada for access on foot, by bicycle, or by public transit. If you ever have to move again I recommend a look at it.

  36. Unserious comment: chuckles quietly at the paraphrase of a line from one of my favorite scenes in A New Hope.

    Serious comment: we need more “nucular” power plants.

  37. I used to like cities and I still like what I did get to experience when I lived in cities. I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years (and my parents lived there for 25 years), in Haight Ashbury and Duboce (by the mint). I worked downtown and took Muni everywhere. Later, husband and I lived in a small city, Rochester, NY, for a couple of years and were able to walk to most everything there (except work). When we moved to Philly, we both looked forward to the idea of living in a big city with all that it had to offer. And Philly was on an upward move when we got there. Our neighborhood (Art Museum/Brewerytown) became a destination, a lot of things started up in the last ten years (mobile beer gardens on summer weekends being just one lovely thing). We were members of the Art Museum and I used to just walk over (a 5-10 min walk max) and check out one or two galleries simply because I could. But the BLM riots and the giant homeless encampment on the little league fields were the end for us. We’re back in the ‘burbs, this time in Texas and we’re looking to buy a place somewhere probably smaller. I do miss being able to mosey over to the neighborhood pub and have a burger and a beer. But I don’t miss dodging the crazy dude on the corner and stepping over the folks camping on the sidewalk.

    When I grew up, my hometown was a small town on the beach. It’s not that anymore and although I’d love to get back there, I don’t think I’d like it.

    Now? Now, I want at least an acre on every side of me.

  38. The destructive power of Gnostic theology and communist politics is truly amazing. Who needs dynamite when you have BLM & Antifa?

      1. Hatred of the body. Secret Knowledge for the elect. Lots there, it’s an old, old heresy.

        Eric Voegellin’s your guy here. immanentize the eschaton Is his money quote, which is memorable because it’s so bizarre. They want to bring on the second coming. Without God of course, they being gods themselves and all.

        1. James Lindsay has a bunch of podcasts talking about modern Woke Gnosticism.

          I noticed that it was a Gnostic mystery religion several years ago.


        Thank you for teasing, and thank you for asking. James Lindsay gives a pretty good rundown about how ancient Gnosticism is the philosophical root of the insanity we observe in America in particular and the formerly “Freeish” world in general.
        Gnosticism, according to Lindsay, deconstructs reality so it can be replaced with megalomaniacal fantasies. Though I doubt the ancient Gnostics would have had the nerve or the unmitigated gall to try to get away with the abject idiocy of our present day Woke contigent.

        I do think that what’s happening, to the cities in particular and the world in general, cannot be explained by mere human greed, or lust for power, I believe it has a religious and spiritual angle that needs to be acknowledged in order to understand what’s really going on.

        Having read your blog for a long time now, I’m thinking you’ll see why I’m thinking this about Gnosticism, even if you may figure I’ve overblown its significance to some extent.

        I’d love to hear your take on this angle, I know it will be helpful to the cause of wisdom and understanding in the world.

    1. OH, do they?
      I’ve been getting a bunch of VD fart-sniffers leaving these clever-fool comments. Because he’s fucking obsessed with race he of course baited you with this.
      And you, like total morons — which you have to be to fall for this shit — didn’t think any deeper than that.
      Explain to me, oh, great thinker — cough — how the effe the demographics changed that much in TWO YEARS.
      Or, you know, it could be destruction from above, by law and refusal to persecute. (As in Denver, an executive order allowing camping everywhere by homeless who, btw, again in Denver, are whiter than I am.
      Morons. Idiots.
      You are so obsessed with race you miss ferals and addicts come in any and all races. And that the destruction taking place by Marxists who infiltrated the institutions are ALL perpetrated by people who have been here since the Mayflower or shortly after. Who were all educated in the Marxist Ivy Leagues.
      I’m not approving any more of you. You’re all too dumb to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel, and prefer to outsource your thinking to a race-obsessed agent-provocateur. You’re beneath contempt.

    2. As soon as I saw the comment “Demographics Matter” I thought, “hey, it’s a Mindless Teddy Spaghetti Minion come to @$$-beclown himself.”

      Perhaps you knew or you didn’t that Teddy Spaghetti posted about this death of cities item over on He of course accused you of ignoring the one and only factor that caused the death of cities, which is, demographics, apparently.

      I take a different view, I think it’s all about the Gnosticism, which is just a fancy alternative word for Satanism, in my lexicon. I think it matters not what color you are, if you’re obtuse and disingenuous, you will end up destroying everything that comes near you.

      Remember Anita Sarkeesian? She was a Gnostic, on steroids.

      1. I saw the link. I love how these idiots didn’t actually read the post.
        You’re not wrong. I mean they keep plotting our destruction and killing themselves. Evil doth oft evil mar etc.
        But you know, here’s the thing: Skin color matters not at all. Idiots who think it does are just flipping the left’s ideas on their head. But wrong on their head is still wrong. The truth lies elsewhere.

    3. No, 50+ years of a Marxist substitution of race as the immutable condition requiring a Revolution matters. Not enforcing the law and norms without regard to skin color or sex matters.

      All you Marxist shills have achieved is to turn skin color etc into a uniform, and a badly fitting one.

    4. Demographics matters to shitheads like YOU that believe people who look similar are all the same. The ones that call black conservatives ‘White Supremacists’ because they don’t fit your prejudices.

      One of my characters, when asked “What would you call People Of Color, then?” gives the questioner a funny look and says, “People.”
      Never underestimate the stupidity of government.

        1. It’s darkly humorous to watch a group of racists declare something stupid like “Culture is a racial construct” and then descend into in-fighting over cultural issues. The number of times I’ve seen both sides devolve to calling the others ‘JOOS’, I’ve lost track.

          Maybe I should get a new hobby, but since some of the guilty parties are family, I’m kinda stuck with the season tickets.

    5. The future belongs to those who show up.

      Now… stop pretending icky all-cons (both so and fi) who have one drop of not-WASP are “non-white.”

      Thank you, a minimum-of-two-not-“white”-because-Catholic-plus-indian ancestries family with a lovely little horde.

      1. Absolutely correct. To matter, you have to show up. If you die out, or are killed off, you will no longer matter.
        All empires fall, the American empire is no different. What follows, will be interesting.

        1. You are being approved simply to be told that you have failed to prove that:
          A) America is an empire. (Spoiler, it’s not, in any way shape or form, except in the fevered imagination of Russians.)
          B) that it’s dying, organically or otherwise.
          C) that the rest of the world is any better.

          I’ve seen you’re other comments and they manage to be dumber than this one.
          If you reply make sense and show your work. Senseless trolls who don’t think are tedious and get spammed.

        2. All empires fall, the American empire is no different. What follows, will be interesting.

          That doesn’t even follow “the future belongs to those who show up.” It may faintly rhyme, but then we run into the issue of an “empire”…..

        3. Empires tax and often remove all resources from their conquests. The USA has so far just rebuilt or attempted to rebuild places it has fought in. The resources and money is flowing the wrong way. We are an anti-Empire.

        4. Dude, if you think the American are an empire…. Yeah, I got nuthin.

          1. We’re the exact opposite of an empire. We pour our blood and treasure out for other nations. Empires require others to give their blood and treasure to the empire.

          2. Empire seems to be one of those Schrodinger political words, like capitalism, that changes its connotation based on the speaker. The clue is that America is accused of empire from both left and right, and the symptoms are completely different.

      2. As I delight in pointing out, according to my DNA tests, I’m as much African American (and sub-Saharan African at that) as Elizabeth Warren is Native American.

        1. Oh, I am super salty about DNA test results.

          That is.. not how DNA works.

          (Look, a sibling has between 99 and 1% of the same DNA.)

          That just tells you “where are their folks that match your DNA as of when we measured?”

          But they ARE fun.

        2. The best visual I’ve seen for sibling DNA?

          “two strings of beads”.

          Some portion of them are swapped, but not most.

          And each kid gets one half of each string.

          (vathara’s Embers fic, which is better than canon)

          1. Each parent has 23 paris of chromosomes. Each sibling gets half of each pair (which may or may not have some individual genes swapped) from each parent. Whether they get the same or different halfs of a pair is completely random. So, there are 2^23 different ways those pairs of chromosomes could match up from one parent, and the same from the other. That’s 2^46 (more than 70 trillion) different possible chromosome combinations (ignoring any swapping or genes between one half of the pair and the other during meiosis), any one of which each of the siblings might have.

            And that’s just the number of possible offspring from one pair of parents.

            1. :nods:
              I know, but I can ‘t see that.

              I can “see” the stair-case split in two, so it’s two lines of pony beads, and you swap some, and then each kid gets one.

              1. Oh, I just find the sheer numbers that come out of that. The number of “potential people” that never were and never will be from just one pair of parents is almost a thousand times as the best estimates of all the members of species Homo Sapiens Sapiens that have ever lived.

                It’s that old “sense of wonder” thing.

  39. As soon as I saw the comment “Demographics Matter” I thought, “hey, it’s a Mindless Teddy Spaghetti Minion come to @$$-beclown himself.”

    Perhaps you knew or you didn’t that Teddy Spaghetti posted about this death of cities item over on He of course accused you of ignoring the one and only factor that caused the death of cities, which is, demographics, apparently.

    I take a different view, I think it’s all about the Gnosticism, which is just a fancy alternative word for Satanism, in my lexicon. I think it matters not what color you are, if you’re obtuse and disingenuous, you will end up destroying everything that comes near you.

    Remember Anita Sarkeesian? She was a Gnostic, on steroids.

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