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History Changed So Slowly I Almost Missed the Dragons!

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Okay, I confess this is a phoned in post, mostly in the hopes of amusing you.  I’m not ragging on indie (scarily some of these weren’t even indie) or even on “writers who don’t do research.”  It’s more that in countries with universal public education, books available everywhere and more than a few historical movies (which are crap on the details, but not THAT bad in general) it’s amazing how little people understand of the way people lived just, say 100 years ago. Or 200. Which is not that far. Look, my grandmother remembered stories from her grandmother, and right there we’re at about 150 years. Granted these stories became complete hodge podges in my head, and I suspect grandma’s.  I think the Napoleonic wars were mixed up with the civil war, which in turn was mixed up with the deposition of the king.  But still. Enough came through I knew people lived very differently. Even if as a kid I had real trouble picturing doing dishes without detergent. And btw, having a regency maid washing dishes with detergent would be a MINOR violation for the stuff I keep running across.

Now, you’ll say, why does that matter?  Well, because without an understanding, at least on general lines, of history, people will believe crazy things, like roads are the result of socialism. Or your only alternative to communism is absolute monarchy. Or it’s the increasing erosion of individual rights that brings about technology. Or China is a successful state and people live well there. Or that our times are the most difficult and fraught ever.

That’s the real side of this post and “OMG, how idiotic has our teaching got?” and a wake up call for parents to try to give their kids a sense of what came before.

Now for the funny side.

When I first started making covers and my tools were limited, I subscribed to two or three stock photo sites, and mostly used the thing as was (you can still see it in the covers of Ill Met by Moonlight, etc.)

One thing I figured out very quickly: most of the people posting on these sites — who granted aren’t Americans. Most of them seem to be some variety of Eastern European — have no idea of history.  There is present day and then there is “middle ages.”

The middle ages searches will kick up dragons, witches, sorcerers and elves.  The illustration above came from a pixabay search for Middle ages.

Worse, the Middle Ages search will kick up everything THROUGH THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

Now maybe that’s just me who stares at these things in open-mouthed wonder, but what the heck.

As some of you know I’ve spent the last month or so, since things were busy and often weird, without the spoons to give reading “seriously.” For a great part of it I read mostly Jane Austen fanfic, but then eased into other historical mysteries and such.

As part of this let me give some errors in no particular order:

  • No matter how much your teachers told us that “peasants” were mistreated by “noblemen: there is no way that at any time since at least the high middle ages, in England, a nobleman could kill a peasant for no reason in full view of other people and suffer nothing. Even in times of high lawlessness, at the very least he’d lose reputation.  More likely, he’d come under the purview of the law.
    In other times and places this might be honored more in the breach, and even in England people might not necessarily pay for the crime. There have always been corrupt lawmen and ways of evading the law if you’re rich and powerful enough (which is the whole point of noir mysteries) but it wouldn’t be “no one cares”.  Not in any Christian country, unless in the middle of a civil war or similar.
    Making this the centerpiece of your (trad pub, incidentally) mystery makes me want to scream. Or laugh. Or both.
    Peasants are not serfs, are not slaves. If you don’t learn the difference, you should stick to present day.
  • Duchesses didn’t do their own shopping. No, seriously, repeat after me. Duchesses didn’t do their own shopping.  Not for groceries. And if for some reason (the rest of the house plague stricken?) they decided to go to the farmer’s market (!!!!) they wouldn’t drive themselves in the family carriage.
    And if they did this, they wouldn’t be called “a proper Duchess.”
  • No one in the regency wrote letters on parchment. Unless, of course, they were very wealthy and eccentric (if they were poor, they’d just be crazy. Also, not able to afford parchment.)  At any rate, in the west, before paper became common, people were more likely to use velum than parchment.
    However since Shakespeare’s day (and that was roughly as far from the regency, backwards as we are forwards) paper was common, and there were PRINTED copies of books.  To have a young woman write a note saying she’s eloping on parchment is idiotic. I’d have thrown the book against the wall, except I was reading on my kindle.
  • Horses are not cars. You’re unlikely to go from one end of England to the other riding one horse without stopping. For an education on this, read Dumas whose characters kill horses with fatigue with wild abandon.
    Seriously. You. Can’t. Do. That.  You also don’t park your horse and go gallivanting around. They’re animals. They need care.
  • If you fought a duel in the regency and killed your man, you don’t just walk away. Killing people was illegal. You’d at the very least have to run off out of the country.  It’s not a “It’s okay, everyone does it.” Most duels were fought to wound, not kill, because of this.
  • If you’re a regency miss, you don’t go around, half cocked with no chaperone. And if compromised you don’t just say it’s stupid, and carry on with your life. Society exacted a penalty.
  • There was a war with France for most of the Regency. You don’t go over to France on vacation during the war. Not at the same time people are fighting Napoleon.
  • A manor house (the P & P movie, which I ASSURE you doesn’t exist is confused about this too) is not really a farm and the daughter of the manor worth 2k pounds a year does NOT go around barefoot or help slop the pigs. (DO try reading Austen. Consider Mrs. Benet brags that her daughters have nothing to do in the kitchen, meaning they have help. She certainly wouldn’t tell the girls to slop the pigs.) The manor might include a “home farm” which would be tenanted by a farmer family and give the manor family some percentage of the produce, eggs, etc. Arrangements varied. But the manor house is NOT a farm.
  • Peasants in the Middle Ages were no more likely to know how to read than they were to meet a dragon face to face (and let us be clear, there were no dragons. Ever, really.) There would be exceptions. Nota Bene Peasant is not the same as “not titled” and even in the middle ages there was a “middle class” for lack of a better term, which might well be educated and work as lawyers or accountants.
  • In Shakespeare’s time lower middle class might read quite well. The number of people who could read for fun was calculated at about the same as the number of people who are comfortable reading for fun now.
  • Cooking a meal involved a lot more than cooking a meal today. 1) They did not have refrigeration. So, no, they won’t have fresh meat in the house, just “put by”. The shopping has to be done every day. They might have preserved or salted meat, fish or vegetables, depending. You can at least extrapolate it.  2) I don’t have any proof of this, and I might be dead in the water here, but I don’t THINK that making bread was the duty of the least experience scullery maid.  Can’t prove it or anything. I just doubt it because it’s not that easy without mixers or packaged yeast, and it takes some finesse. I wonder why everyone thinks it is. 3) in the regency in a well to do family pastries would generally be purchased, certainly for a party. 4)In the regency courses don’t mean what you think they mean. What we call courses they called “removes.”
  • Going to the bathroom was more complicated. If you must go there, remember there were no bathrooms IN THE HOUSE for most of the time until oh, the 18th century (very, very rare, and only for what we’d call cutting edge geeks, who were laughed at by normal human beings) and really until the 19th century going to the bathroom in the night involved chamber pots. In the day, and if it was safe (it might be shared by several households) there would be an outhouse.  During balls in the regency, (and particularly before, when women wore these unwieldy gowns, including padded hips and who knew what else) the way women relieved themselves during a ball was to go to a room set aside for the purpose and use these vessels that to modern eyes look like gravy boats (you can tell they aren’t because they don’t have a pouring lip and are more “rounded” there) which they stuck under their skirts, to pee standing up.  No, seriously. And you think your costume for dragoncon/comicon was a pain!
  • Underwear is complicated, because it was all homemade, and might vary village to village or even household to household.  As might the wearing of it.  Some people say authoritatively that women in Shakespeare’s time wore no underwear, but when you deep dive into it…  well, it wasn’t always so. And as Foxfier pointed out there were things found that looked remarkably like bras from the 14th century. (And from drawings, there are suspicions of them among the Egyptians.)  So, yeah, you can get away with almost anything, provided you say it was this cunning design her grandmother had perfected/the local seamstress made/etc/etc.
    What you can’t do is have a man unzip himself.  Please. I mean, I don’t see a point in it, but even if I did, no. Just no.  In the regency it’s called a “fall” and it’s a panel in the front of the pants, which can be untied. Depending on time and fashion, it can be a narrow fall or a wide fall.  Going back further than that, you’re going to step into codpiece territory, and unless you really want to research that, just have the guy untie his breeches/underwear/whatever. Remember buttons, while older than zippers are relatively recent. You look at them and you go “it’s logical” right? Sure. But no. The Elizabethans had buttons but the concept of a button hole hadn’t occurred to them. So buttons were decorative, but everything was tied. [A friend who is a professional costumer informs me this is wrong. See, this is what comes of believing MY college professors. There was a course on garment construction and they assured us everything was tied on.  The inimitable Jonna Hayden tells me this is wrong, and I’ll assume she’s right. She said it’s “teaching from Victorian sources.  This makes perfect sense as vast portions of the college were still stuck in the Victorian era. The other half were hard core Marxists. Sometimes it overlapped.]
  • And speaking of clothes: in a time and place where laundry was a production, beds were aired.  Were the sheets washed between guests?  Uh… I’d say it varied, and you know what, just don’t go there.  Just say the bed was aired.
    Also, because washing was difficult, clothes were constructed of portions that could be changed more often and portions that were worn over and over.  And a minor spill/stain might doom an expensive garment.
  • Not everyone owned a carriage. Not even among the relatively wealthy in the regency. If you have carriages, research the various types.  I very much doubt you could pack a family in a high-perch phaeton or a curricule.  Not that this is my era. But anyway, don’t mess it up too badly.
  • Remember that books like “A writer’s guide to x” is the beginning.  The internet is yours.  If it’s important to your book, RESEARCH IT.  If it’s not and you can’t find exact information? Soft pedal it.
  • But above all, if writing about the Middle Ages? Lose the dragon and the elves.

Can You Hear The People Sing

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Yesterday, at coffee with friends, the following words were said “the Democratic party became communists so quickly everyone noticed.”

I’m not sure this is exactly true. Millennials by and large neither know what communism is, nor what the inevitable consequences are, and are all for the democrats because — I swear I heard this as a reason for voting for Colorado’s disastrous governor “they elect gays and people of color [ever so much better than the bigoted “colored people”] and women.”

And the fault is ours, and if we spend the decade in sackcloth and ashes, begging pardon on our knees, or if in the coming unpleasantness we get a bullet to the back of the head, we brought it on ourselves.  Because younger son was right. We didn’t start it, but Lord knows we didn’t end it, or tamp it down, or even object to it much. We let them bring, for instance “political correctness” that corruption of language that has seen both genders of stage puppets referred to as “actor” (when the physical act of acting is quite different for male and female) and we’ve let ourselves be maumaued into not calling things by their proper name, or using an expression instead of another, just because we were being polite. Well, that and because the rabbid weasels of the left would already, even in the 80s have destroyed our livelihood and our way of life, if we so much as spoke up. The land of the free was already in the grip of something that would make Mao, who invented the term political correctness blush. At least the Chinese had to be forced to say what Mao wanted to hear at the point of a gun. But we did it to ourselves. For politeness, and because “aunt Maggy is really nice. She’s just a little silly.”  And then it came to the point where there’s real pressure to use sewist instead of seamstress. Even though there’s a perfectly good word for men who sew and that’s tailor.

And you’ll say “what does that matter? Why would you take issue with such a silly thing?”

Because this battle was composed of a million silly things, and we let it slid, because they were little.  Except the left was pushing — like all crazy messianic cults — towards an end state that was so insane we weren’t even aware of it.

Like the idea there is no difference between men and women, when often men and women need interpreters to even know what the other one is actually saying.  No, seriously, being a woman and raised by males (well, females, too, but my brother and father were living gods, as far as I was concerned as a little kid) I often get thrust out into situations where I have to explain to some guy that no, the fact that some girl said the most heinous things about him doesn’t mean she really believes them, doesn’t mean she is a conspiracy theorist, and doesn’t mean she is irrational. It just means she’s really really angry and wants him to shut up.  Debating the accusations is useless, but if he explains what he actually meant/where the misunderstanding (if there is one) is, she won’t remember saying any of those things, and he shouldn’t.

Because you see, being weaker than males, and (statistically) smaller, women fight with words.  And when you fight with words, you give the beat down up front, so the other doesn’t have the social standing to come back at you.  But people who don’t understand evolutionary mechanics don’t get that.  And because they see fewer girls punch each other out (this is changing with grrrl power, btw, and I wonder how much of it is because the perception of having won a confrontation increases your testosterone. We do know that younger women have way more testosterone than our generation. Anyway, in younger son’s highly competitive high school the most common injury was from fights between girls. Interestingly and gratifyingly for students of history, this was of course mostly knife violence. In the school halls) they think women are more peaceful than men, which is where we get pages and pages of stories about peaceful matriarchies. In fact, trust someone who attended all-girls high school, an all-woman planet would be hell, but with more snide remarks and mocking (However if the story of a Chinese Empress (Look up “Human pig” and China, but only if you have a very strong stomach) and of a lot of queens and concubines who inherited from their husbands are to be trusted, then Hieronymus Bosch’s heartening vision of a demon sticking a pineapple up someone’s rear end is not out of the running.) Because men and women are different. Often very different, though neither sex are saints.  And some of us can interpret across the isle, which doesn’t mean we are free from the defects of our sex. (And some of the other. If you see me in Sarah-smash mode you’d never think I was peaceful. I do, after all, berserk, and that affliction comes from mom’s side.)

But we let them get away with all this, little by little, with language corruption. We let them get away with Herstory, a corruption that ANYONE who knows a word of Latin should wish punished with a pineapple. Same for Human.  And we didn’t tell them “This is crazy, you’re silly. Go home and try to put something in your head that’s not fertilizer.”

In effect we let a poisonous Christian heresy (no? Check your assumptions.  The paradise from which we fell by learning about private property? Check. The subjection of women by a conspiracy of males for six thousand years? Check. The final exegesis of the world when humans start being born as Homos Sovieticus, or whatever the crap they call them now — I suppose they don’t. Being immense racists, they just assume anyone who can tan is naturally this — the perfect collectivist, with not a shred of individual will or desire for property, check.) take over our body politic and indoctrinate our kids with vile Howard Zinn bullshit, that teaches them hatred towards the nation that has done more to eliminate barriers to equality before the law than any other in the world. We let our kids become convinced that we OWE the destitute of the world, because the way to become rich is not to have a less larcenous culture and government but to “steal.”  We let them be taught fake economics. And we stood by while they were told that if they are pale they are guilty of everything.  (Or even if they are merely tan like my boys.  I have to confess I tried and failed to have them form a band called “The Swarthy menace.”)

So, we’ll leave that aside, for now, but there’s worse. There’s much worse we did, though I want to tell you I fought it every step of the way, though not publicly, not where it counted, because baby needed shoes.

I knew when Clinton signed Motor Voter that it was the death knell for the republic. I really didn’t need to have it confirmed that they wouldn’t ask for proof of citizenship to vote. I knew they wouldn’t because “discrimination” and it might make someone with a tan feel bad. (As a person of moderate tan and who has an accent you can cut with knife, I’m upset that no one has asked me for proof of citizenship.) I didn’t need the stories like the Colorado Springs exchange-journalist who got registered to vote with a JAPANESE PASSPORT as ID, or my friend Francis Turner who practically had to commit violence to get them not to register him to vote with a British one.

And because civics are no longer taught, most Americans who haven’t gone through the process and don’t know anyone who has, think you become American when you cross the frontier. So even a lot of legal immigrants are innocently being told they have the right to vote.

Then there is vote-by-fraud -mail. I can’t even begin to imagine how something that not only violates the secrecy of the ballot, but is prone to forced votes by family members or roommates is constitutional. And yet it has spread everywhere.  Every time democrats gain even a little foothold, enough to do that, they go to all-vote-by-mail on the excuse that it’s cheaper (death is also considerably cheaper than life.) And people go along with it because it’s “convenient” as is the month of “early voting” before the elections that gives the left the number of ballots they need to “fake.”

And blatant, strutting fraud like the thing in Arizona last midterms? Is never challenged.

Which means we have no idea what support the left has.  I know it’s become fashionable to say we’re a 50-50 nation. But I don’t think that’s true. If it were, the left wouldn’t always be coming down, heavily on the side of facilitating fraud (and btw, they have perfect mental cover for that. They’re doing what’s good “for the people”and their work will eventually bring about paradise. Enough cover for all the useful idiot fluffy bunnies.)

The left has no idea what support it has either, but it felt secure enough in its mechanisms to secure election, that it thought it could unmask.  I want you to contemplate that.  The great unmasking started with Obama, and they’ve been sneering about putting us in camps ever since.

And they thought they could get away with it.  They might yet, in 2020. If we don’t start fighting back with everything we have.

Do you like a communist dictatorship? No? Sure, it will have a veneer of “they were elected” because those always do. Pretending to the will of the people is part of their cult.

Yes, their cult is receding. Even millenials will/are waking up and at any rate, a lot of them just keep quiet for the same reasons we did.  They’ve hit the high water mark. You can tell for all their mumbling about “populism” and their sheer rage and fury at 2016. You can tell by the clowns they field as candidates. Most of their nomenclature can’t pour piss out of a boot with instructions written on the heel. Which is why all of their power structures are dying, and every field they’ve taken over is in trouble.

They might still secure an “electoral” victory. And then we’ll Venezuela until we get pissed, shoot our way out of it (why do you think they’re mad after gun control and red flag laws) and then the backlash will be unimaginable. Like, if you ever said something about a Dem not eating babies, they’ll shoot you or hang you from the lampposts.

I don’t want that. No, I don’t think there’s anything good about communism. But there are the maleducated, the well meaning, and the crazy. And going that way won’t be good for the republic.

Also, frankly, given my health issues, years of starvation and deprivation are bad, ‘mkay?

BUT–

That means we have to work now.  First, lie to the polls. Answer them and lie to them. Lie like a rug.  It’s important they don’t realize the number of votes they need to fake in advance. Remember how low DT’s numbers were?  Like that. (And don’t believe the polls after you lie to them, for St. Gell-Mann’s sake.  What are you? Dim?)

Second vote on the day and as late as you can on the day.

Third, destroy any ballot you don’t use. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY IN TRASH.  The dumpster-rats of democracy harvest those and use them.

Fourth, speak up.  You get there and someone has voted for you in advance? Speak up.  Make noise.  Make it clear that you will not sit still for this. Make it clear you’ve had enough.

They can throw their utopia all they want to, but they can’t force us into it.  We’re Americans. We’re proud. And we intend to continue being both.

 

 

Another Turn of the Wheel

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Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again.

Today I was talking to Bill Reader, who is a little more discouraged than normal about the stifling climate of academia.  Mostly because, if what I hear of reports from the “inside” academia, like the arts, like writing, like news, like… well, the democrats, and all other places colonized by leftists, has gone farking insane. I mean, if you think that the NYU (?) study declaring that milking cows was sexual abuse is bad, you might not follow the giant pile of manure that is academia in our day and age.

Anyone rational would be fed up with it. And I’m sure a lot of people are.  I’m sure a lot of other mild-mannered lecturers in the liberal arts keep their mouth shut, and nod or pretend to nod, because (their) baby needs shoes, and they can’t afford to do a grand gesture of honor and leave their family starving.

And I pointed out something that came up in one of my private groups on facebook: the peak of leftist crazy has already passed. The wheel is already turning the other way.

You can tell this in several ways.  The first one was given to me by an older friend — who might now be gone, but we lost touch several list-groups ago — who told me in 2004 that the left was losing. They always get louder and crazier when they’re losing.

As a show of the fact they’re losing — not the election. They might pull that from the a…ir by virtue of extreme vote fraud. Which they work to facilitate ANYTIME they get any kind of power — I refer you to the fact that they’ve never been this completely insane.  But wait, there’s more.

The more is that they are pulling out the most bizarre and unlikely slurs. Look, the Russia thing didn’t have any legs. For one accusing the right of Russian collusion was the ultimate act of projection, after Obama’s “more flexible” comment. But beyond that: there.was.nothing.there.

Only the left doesn’t know how to back down anymore. Everything is a fight to the knife, and everything must be pushed to absurdity.  Take the nonsense around Kavanaugh.  They might have accused him of being skivvy around women and got along with it, but no. They had to go for rape, and the chick had to pretend to be so traumatized that she couldn’t fly (while having a vacation house in Hawaii) and then they had to accuse him of having a rape ring. And then…

In the same way they could get away with saying that Trump was crude in speech and manner towards women, and even emphasize the morals of work in the seventies were different from now, and leave him tarnished and walking wounded. But they had to go for the pee dossier and claim he really did grab them by the p*ssy and REEEEEE to 11.

Which pushes it past any pretense of being reasonable or believable.

#metoo could have flown if they’d made it a few, judicious cases, but their people have no discipline — and I’m not talking about the kids in schools and work. I’m talking about cases that get press — and when the press decides to run with George H. W. Bush molesting a nurse, in a description that anyone who has cared for an aged relative recognizes, empathizes with and realizes the man has no more control than does a toddler and only a fool considers that abuse, it’s insane and the movement is already burning itself.

This “and the kitchen sink” behavior is not the behavior of a movement that has any answers or any self confidence.

And as for the clown car of Democrat candidates… who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to pile on with “Health care for illegals, because health care is a human right and they’re huamns?”  So is the rest of the world, but we assuredly can’t pay for it.  They are laying bare the idea that proclaiming something a human right that requires the labor of others is insane and a form of reinventing slavery. (The Dems? Slavery? Who’d have thunk it!)

Other things they keep signaling are how much they hate America and all of us. “Vote for us, peasant. We hate you” could only be a platform that appeals to an aristocratic class that has climbed so far up its own behind it’s forgotten what history looks like.

What history looks like, once aristocrats, or self proclaimed aristocrats get so out of touch is “Aristo, aristo, a la lanterne” and ça ira.  I recommend to the usual leftists reading this blog for things to offend them that they study the French revolution and realize once and for all that they are not the revolutionaries. They are the stodgy, entrenched aristocrats who have all the power. They got there via selecting for the kind of cant that at this point no sane person can believe. And so they’ve achieved in 4 generations what would take a monarchy centuries of inbreeding to achieve: either total lack of ability to think, or total refusal to.

Which brings us to… they survive because they really like power, and because they are protected by being on top.

Look, the institutions they control at this point are the profoundly conservative ones: news (prestige news) reporting, academia (the older and more established, the more leftist) the good old families, the people with money and power.  In fact, now becoming “woke” is the equivalent of joining a country club for parvenus to fit in, which is why people like Bezos and Gates trip over themselves to pay homage.

But the thing is, in every time and in every place by the time an elite controls all of that, the revolution is under way. If not a physical revolution with head chopping, a tech revolution, a new way of doing things that dethrones them.

The left is blind to that because it’s part of their credo to believe themselves eternal underdogs and revolutionaries. Writing that into our entertainment and news ONLY requires them to pretend they’re living somewhere circa 1950.  And not even the 1950s that were, but something from their own heads.  Which means…

They’re out of touch. Even those of them who can reason and think can’t do it without realizing the foundational lie of their ideology: that they’re in power while pretending to fight power.

Now they’re desperately trying to redact history to make themselves eternal victims. That never works well.

And meanwhile the real functions they hold are moving on, however shambling and imperfect. They have to move on, because the corrupt institutions can no longer perform. And a lot of these functions are needed (arguably even storytelling.)

More and more, the left holds a shell of power, while the real power moves on.

That’s the good news. When they seem most entrenched, theyre already falling apart.

The bad news is that they won’t go without a fight. And the fight is going to get bad. Both in overreach, because they are doing that, and not just with accusations. Consider proposals to make KG or preschool mandatory. It’s crazy overreach, an attempt at indoctrinating the kids who are somehow still evading them after 12 years.  Or consider California’s bizarre plan to make race studies (their way) mandatory.  Or– It’s all around. It’s all insane. And yet, they will continue doing it.

And then there is the fact they have an iron grip on vote manufacture, which means disinfecting our government might take … well… a revolution.

They’ve already lost where it counts. They’ve already lost the real culture and the “way things will be done in the future.”

What they still have, though, is the ability to make the next fifteen to 20 years very unpleasant, and, possibly, to ensure that what comes next is much, much harsher and more punitive than it would otherwise be.

Keep your hearts on high.  And if you’re a praying sort, pray.  Because the waters are going to get very choppy.

But given half a chance, we’ll turn this yet, and come out on the other side as America. Home of the brave and the land of the free.

 

Out of Weakness – A Blast From the Past From October 2016

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Out of Weakness – A Blast From the Past From October 2016

It never fails but if I’m talking to someone, particularly someone who is or thinks she is older than I (being mistaken is not rare) and the conversation turns to politics, they say something like “oh, you’re for small government and negative liberties because you’re strong.  You’ve never experienced weakness.”

The funny thing is that there is no point to my explaining, because they won’t believe me, but not only am I not strong, but I am unusually weak.

I was born severely premature — I fit in my dad’s size eleven shoe.  Yes, that is my family: faced with a severely premature child they didn’t expect to live out the night, they could think of nothing better to but see if I fit dad’s shoe.  The strange thing is that I’m one of two sf fans in the family — in an unheated stone house round about the Cuban missile crisis. Until I was 12, I spent more time bedridden than standing on my own two feet.  You name it, I caught it, and I probably caught things that no one has caught since the middle ages and which, as they swept the village, never got a name because they were just “one of those things.”) I probably had the scrubbies, the gnats and the gurgling peas.  (Part of this is that we lived in close intimacy with animals and with sewage both human and animal.  As most humans have, for most of history.)

Granted, after 12 or so I didn’t get sick more than normal human beings, but I still have some deficits.  Part of my fear of driving is that I know I have never been good at physical things.  I can in fact screw up something that requires coordination and agility and which I’ve executed perfectly a million times simply by THINKING about it.  And I think too much.  I swear whoever put me together left out the instinct module.  There are things everyone else seems to know that I have to reason through, painfully.  And sometimes I get it better than other people seem to, and sometimes I screw it incalculably worse, and I can never TELL which.

Besides, to compensate for no longer being sickly, I decided I needed other kinds of handicaps, and so I got married abroad.  Not only abroad, but in one of the few places in the world in which neither mom or dad can claim relatives.  Sure, we now have a network, of sorts, but we’ve gone through vast portions of our life where if we (or we and the kids, later) died in our house, no one would ever find out.  Dan’s employer might get upset, but I don’t know if they’d have looked.  And the same for the kids school.  Chances are that eventually the house would get foreclosed and the new owners would get a surprise.

That type of isolation has its own weaknesses built in.  When the kids were little, this was mostly that there was no one to lend a hand.  Not even just the big important things, but for the little “all the time things.”  No matter what else was going on, kids needed to be taken care of, house needed to be at least minimally sanitary, food had to be put on the table.  And I suspect this is what some of the people who have argued with me think is “strength” but it is not.  It’s the direst weakness.  I had no give, I had no margin, I had to keep going till I got sick, and then I had to keep going when I was sick, because people depended on me.  My kids and my husband depended on me (these were mostly the early days when Dan was working often 16 hour days) to keep the house running in such a way they had food and a place to sleep and weren’t unduly disturbed.  And my husband depended on me to write, because when we got married he gave up his music and took a job that would take a lot of his time, so I could write, because my money was our retirement.  The only retirement we could hope for.  (I’m hoping for it, still.  I have hopes, now there’s Indie.)  Because though both of us intend to die with our fingers on the keyboard, we know old age means more of what my childhood was like: there will be times we can’t earn our keep no matter how we try.

So I know weakness.  And it is out of weakness that I believe government should be small, almost powerless, providing to individuals only that which needs coordination and cooperation of many: mutual defense, for instance.  I believe each of government’s actions should be overseen, watched for potential violations of liberty and cut back if there is a shadow of a doubt over its unintended consequences.

Usually in this part of the discussion, I get accused of wanting widows and orphans to starve in the dark.

Which is not just not the point, but is entirely beside the point.

Look, humans are tribal and therefore we identify with the weak and the needy in our group.  And our group can and sometimes does extend to all the world.

I think it’s no small part of the fact we are the dominant species in this world (after grass) and have conquered all types of habitats, that we DO look after the weak.  As far back as we go we find skeletons with the marks of injuries and illnesses they could not have survived without everyone rallying around.  Even some of our cousins, now extinct or absorbed, were like that.  This is probably because cousin Gugr, who broke his arm and can’t throw the spear, can sit around the cave long enough till he figures a way to make fire, or perhaps to make a new type of spear, or perhaps —  Human invention often comes out of enforced idleness, so such a scenario is at least plausible — basket weaving or pottery.

However, what we have to think about is two fold — charity is a wonderful thing.  Looking after the poor and the weak is a great thing but — Who should do it?  AND Should it be a right?

The who should do it is important.  The so called “positive liberties” which our current [at the time Obama] president is very fond of include some doozies.  I think — but someone can fill in here, since I only think so because I heard it from sympathizers — the Soviet Union guaranteed housing, food and a job.  At least that’s the sort of thing proponents of positive liberties here wish to grant everyone.  Oh, and health care, transportation and, for the more daring ones, the right to free entertainment.

We agree these are all lovely things.  Things we would all like to have.  H*ll if I didn’t spend half of my time worrying about money (I know, I know, but the boys will be out of college in two and a half years [both managed to have to add an year. ARGH] and off our payroll) imagine the art I could create.  (More on this later.)

But who should do that?  Who has the power to grant these “positive liberties?”  The only entity large enough is a powerful government.  In the US a federal government.

So a lot of people (including the current president [Mr. Obama]) think that it is the duty of the government to do this.  Because you’re not truly free if you don’t have a car to drive wherever you want, or a place to live, or–

But the key word here is not freedom.  It’s liberty.  And liberty for what?  Life and the pursuit of happiness.

Let me back track: as beautiful as those ideas sound and as much as, as an idealistic 14 year old I’d have told you yes, yes, we need positive liberties, any adult who keeps on thinking they’re a bright idea is either not really an adult in mind, or is so thoroughly indoctrinated he never thought through the consequences.

When you say someone should have “housing and food, a car, entertainment, health care” you’re not saying that angels will come down from heaven and grant this.  Or if you are, you really should tell us how to summon these angels.  What you’re saying is “we should violate someone’s most basic and fundamental liberties so that someone else can be the equivalent of a trustfund baby with never a worry in the world.”

Whose liberties?  Well, builders and farmers, entertainers and doctors.  And while you might think those people can “give” you’re not thinking of scale.  If “everyone” is entitled to this what you’re saying is that these people have to work so that other people can have everything for free even without doing anything.

And if you say this is just a safety net, for when people fall through all the rest, you’re still missing the point that somewhere along the line you’re taking people’s labor and people’s goods to give to others, and since no human institution was ever free of fraud, and since that type of giving creates INCENTIVES for fraud, what you’re doing is taking from those who work to give to those who choose not to.  At which point I must ask, who died and made you god, precisely, that you would take from others their G-d given liberties, those that exist if no one violates them?

And if you make these things a “right” people WILL stop working (enough experiments with guaranteed minimum income show just that.  People can live on very little indeed, provided they have to do nothing for it and there’s no stigma attached to living from it.  Oh, they’ll agitate for more, and therefore empower the government to give more and more “rights” on the back of fewer and fewer people working until–

We have readers here who grew up in the Soviet Union. They can tell you how the end state of this is people doing less and less while demanding more and more, till everyone is living in dire poverty and bitching about deserving the stars.

But let’s leave aside the fact it doesn’t work on the macro-level: does it work on the micro-level?

Humans are scavengers.  This means we are instinctually designed to bring down (or more likely initially find) mammoth and then sit around and eat till mammoth all gone or too rotten to eat.  We’re not instinctually designed to run around killing more mammoth while we still have mammoth because animals that act that way deplete the food supply and starve.

I too have illusions.  One of my favorite games when stressed over money, is to buy a lottery ticket and spend a few days fantasizing about what I would do with 100 million or whatever.  And the first thing that comes to mind is “I’d write a lot.”  I might even do it.  I’m broken on the instinct front. But most people wouldn’t.  It doesn’t matter whom we’re talking about, someone always says “Yeah, he wrote those novels when he was paying a mortgage/putting his kids through college/paying off his divorce”  This is always and inevitably the writer’s best work.

Sure there are others, people of means who spent years perfecting the single, beautiful work they’re known for.  But they’re not nearly as many.

In the end that’s the worst thing.  Grant everyone “positive liberties” and you turn the country into a huge project.  No, I mean Cabrini Green type project.

Humans who don’t have to strive, and who by virtue of the system, don’t have the hope of getting much better, turn to the old human pastimes: fornication, fighting and mind-altering substances.  (Yes, I DID try to come up with an f.  No caffeine yet.)

You see it in the very wealthy throughout history, that sort of enui and a kind of “active despair”, the feeling that life is meaningless, and the appearance in them of all the vices of mankind.

The end of it is the destruction of the human, himself.  Humans are made to strive.  Remove the strife and we become less than human.  Apes, with too much time on our hands, and nothing to strive for.  When cousin Gugr was lying about in the cave with a broken arm, if he invented a new spear or a better way to preserve mammoth meat, he did it because he was conscious that without him the tribe was vulnerable, and he must find a way to compensate.

If you have no one dependent on you, nothing that you absolutely need to do, no matter how you feel, at best you go through life doing nothing and being nothing.  At worst, you find ways to introduce strife to your life.

I won’t say that I think we should eliminate all social programs.  I don’t say it, because I don’t think it’s achievable. Though with winter coming and the mess in the world, who knows?

And no, I don’t mean I want widows and orphans to starve.  I wouldn’t let any starve that came within my purview (and before you say something about the circles I move in, let me say you know nothing of them.  We spend almost as much on charity as we do on taxes, and besides that we give and help with stuff that isn’t official charity.  We’ve bought more computers of writers — sometimes with the money coming out of our food money — than I can count.  Literally.  If I try to count them I always forget some.) because it’s my duty as an able bodied human to look after other humans.  Even when I’m weak there are those who are weaker than I and need me.  Which keeps me from being too weak and therefore keeps me moving.

But I have no interest or need in supporting also a tribe of bureaucrats who eat the substance of that which would go to the poor.  And I have no interest in making the poor and needy feel these are permanent conditions, that they’re entitled to all care, and that no one, ever, should have to strive.  Because that’s denying them their essential humanity and the right to stand on their own two feet and find strength in their weakness.

Because I’m weak and because some days I’ve sat and wondered where the next meal was going to come from, I understand them perhaps better than most of the children of fortune addicted to “positive liberties.”  Give a man everything he wants and needs, and you’ve just destroyed him.  It would destroy me.

So because I’m weak, because I still have no idea what we’ll do for food or housing when we can no longer work, I say: leave us alone.  Leave us our negative liberties, those we have without your interference.  Don’t kill us, don’t imprison us, don’t take our stuff, allow us to struggle for what we want and need.

Because only then can we find strength.

Time, Time, Time

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We live in a very strange age, and as such I find myself wishing for things like a rewind button, a speed up button, or perhaps a “mark as read” for life.

Time, as someone or other said, is the strangest thing, starting with our perception of it, and ending with… well, our perception of it.

Some people posit, in fact, that there is no such thing as time outside human perception, and that everything happens, as it were simultaneously.  The idea is so bizarre, I can’t picture it, and if you can you must have a very oddly arranged mind.

The nature of humans is to be sequential, of course.  My personality today is not like my personality at 30, which in turn was quite different from my personality at 3, but if you arrange them sequentially you get a sense of “one of these things came from the others.”

I liked the idea of Heinlein’s story (Lifeline? I can’t remember the title.  I have a problem with titles, including my own.) where each individual was a bright streak through time, worm like, with a definite beginning and end.

(One of the whole things that turns me off from the idea of uploading your personality, in case it wasn’t obvious from Darkship Renegades is this idea that your sense of self also gets uploaded, and more importantly, that it leaves the body you’re leaving in at the same time. That requires either the belief in souls — I do, but uploading your soul would seem to be more than a simple technical operation. Which reminds me I need to put up my son’s short story collection since one of them exactly plays with that idea. Because if souls exist it probably would also be evil to trap it in a machine — or a very odd idea of what the “ego” in the sense of that thing which is each of us is.  And since I can’t see a mechanism to remove it from the living body, unless it’s a metaphysical one (Heinlein could write that, I think. Most of us couldn’t) how would the “me” in a machine evolve away/toward the me in the body, and how trapped would it feel?)

Moving right along, I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom the sense of time in childhood was incredibly extended. I swear an afternoon playing at my friend’s house lasted as long as a weekend now.  Everyone I know reports the same thing. Older son says it’s because of the way experiences (new, versus old) impress on the brain. Some physicists a couple of years ago came up with the idea that time is accelerating. But for my money, I don’t think either is quite right. Because my time can still get bizarrely dilated when I dive headlong into writing a book. Sure, it seems like it was two hours, but once I emerge from the daze, it feels like months or years have passed, perhaps because the intense experience makes me feel like a completely different person.

Meanwhile, boring experiences also take forever to get through.  I remember, after delivering #1 son and seeing he was alive, well, and frankly pissed about how long the whole process had taken, I wanted to push the forward button and take us to a place where I wasn’t so frigging exhausted and could move around and talk and think.  So I did the next best thing and asked for help sleeping… and crashed for 24 hours, waking up to a very hungry baby.

Often when they were little, and I couldn’t sit down and eat two bites without a crisis in between, I wanted to fast forward to “when they can feed/clean themselves.” And I won’t lie and say that I don’t sometimes, now, wish I could rewind to some of the times when they were little, but in my defense, I’d just play “favorite times” over and over again, like the labor day weekend when we discovered Lakeside in Denver.

Perhaps because I was always a very unnatural mother, I’m not actually nostalgic for the diaper years, or the times when I needed to watch them every second, except for one or two truly exceptional days.

All this to say: it’s been a lot of fun having younger son live with us for three weeks, while between apartments.  I feel a little guilty I co-opted him to work in the garden, but I couldn’t have got all the stuff done (from deforesting to planting flowers) by myself, and Dan’s knees, at the time, don’t permit him to do heavy stuff like that.

I look like a victim of domestic abuse (there’s bruises EVERYWHERE) and younger son has lost all the skin in his palms to blisters (builds character) but the backyard is halfway to looking civilized.  It remains for me to run the sweeper and the dethatcher and then sometime in September, overseed.

Which brings me to why my writing has been so slow.  In the wake of my coming back from being very ill, I had to deal with a bunch of things I’d normally have done in the house when we bought it (it was a foreclosure, remember?) before it got much worse.  I still need to find a good, reliable handiman/builder, among other things to rebuild the second floor porch/balcony which has dry rotted supports and other issues and also buy a new oven-microwave unit to replace the one that died.

BUT in the mean time, it has intruded upon my attention that I’m managing my time very badly.  I realized it this morning, when I ran everything I needed to do, from feeding and medicating felines to finishing planting, to putting out trash, to writing this blog.  It was all supposed to be done by 9, and as you see I failed.  I knew I would when I reviewed the list in my head.  Because it’s impossible.

I needed to do it before 9 because son and I have been promising ourselves a few hours at the zoo while he was here, and he leaves tomorrow.  So…

But as I realized I need to block off the writing time and hold it sacred (because there’s always another household care/maintenance task to do) I’m calling it taking half a day off.  I’ll be working on Deep Pink come one pm.

That’s the new attempt. To formalize my relationship with writing time and make it x hours a day when it takes primacy. I used to do it when the boys were in school and writing time was from the moment I walked back home to moment I walked out to pick them up.  It worked too, except for the week after 9/11.

I’m going to try to do the same again, before it’s too late.  Because time is finite. And I have a lot of stuff to do that means much more to who I am than mere home maintenance, even though that also needs to be done, so it doesn’t fall down around my head.

And now, it’s time to get ready to go see the monkeys with the kid who used to be called Little Monkey.  That is lost somewhere in the midst of times, but his adult self is quite nice, and we’ll enjoy a nice morning out.

Before it’s too late.

 

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

FROM MEDRON PRYDE:   Forge of War (Jack of Harts 1)

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In 2205, we learned the answer to one of the oldest questions of all time. Are we alone? They brought medicines with them that nearly wiped out diseases, and extended the human lifespan into the centuries. They helped us study advanced technologies, and expand our colonies hundreds of lightyears from Earth. It was a golden age that many thought would never end.

Jack grew up in a world at peace, his only interests, partying and girls. But when a sneak attack killed millions of Americans, and wiped out almost everything and everybody Jack knew, he volunteered to serve and get some payback. But the Marines want more than people looking for revenge, and cybernetic partners demand a higher commitment. If Jack wanted to earn his commission as a Marine Corps fighter pilot, he had to let himself be forged into something stronger than he’d ever felt the need to be. A man willing to live up to the name of his squadron. A Cowboy.

Historical note: The Marine Corps fighter squadron that is a central part of this story was named in honor of the real life Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, the Cowboys. Because of these aviators, and everyone else who has served, I am free to write this story. I will never forget.

FROM L. DOUGLAS GARRETT:   Remember When: a work of fiction

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He had met someone amazing, but then he got pulled back into The Trade. He had to become David Cox again, and his lives were about to converge in a way he had never faced before.

Remember When is a slice-of-life espionage thriller that builds on images of 1983, a cracked mirror reflection of things that were and pieces of might have been. “A story reminiscent of Miami Vice, with a dash of the 80’s music scene” is brought into tight focus in this novella length telling. Everything comes together in Los Angeles in the days before the US Festival. He’s there, or is he? “When you see the price they’ve paid…”

FROM STEPHANIE OSBORN: Break, Break, Houston (Division One Book 10)

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If Division One can’t find Omega, Echo will die.

When Alpha One sets out on an emergency assignment to rescue the NASA mission to which Omega once had been assigned before it ends in catastrophe, all hell breaks loose. But galactic medicine can save Echo, even from the brink of death…

Or can it?

What’s left of Echo’s mind—after he is resuscitated—rejects his life, his love, and his friends. Devastated and distraught, a heartbroken Omega flees Earth, deliberately losing herself in the galaxy on a dangerous, self- assigned mission, without realizing that she holds the key to Echo’s survival. Fox and the others must find her before Echo dies…again.

FROM STEPHANIE OSBORN:  CAMPBELL: The Sigurdsen Incident (Childers Universe Book 6).

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IS SOMEONE TRYING TO KILL MARY RAO?

Captain Mary Rao, Jablonka’s planetary tactical officer, seems to be under the gun from all angles, but neither the Sigurdsen Base military police nor the counter-intelligence investigations personnel believes that it’s anything more than a confluence of accidents.

Lieutenant William Campbell of the CSF Intelligence Division believes differently. What he doesn’t know is who or why.

And if he can’t figure it out soon, he could die with her.

FROM NITAY ARBEL:   Operation Flash, Episode 2: Hinges Of Fate

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Killing Hitler had been child’s play in comparison with figuring out what to do next.
After the coup, the Reich was split into two. Bormann in Munich is Führer of a remnant Nazi state. Goerdeler’s Emergency Government in Berlin fights Bormann on the inside while waging a two-front war with the Allies on the outside.
But a secret meeting abroad may be a game-changer.
Meanwhile, Goerdeler’s special assistant Felix Winter investigates what turn out to be crimes beyond even the conspirators’ worst fears…

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: SHARE

 

Sorry not to post this morning

We went to a friend’s wedding, and though I thought I had plenty of time to get ready, I realized I’d misplaced my hairdryer.  Which led to a frantic (and fruitless) search and implementation of a plan b, which meant no time to put up a blog.
But we’re all fine, and I’ll post tomorrow.

Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell – a guest post by Amanda S. Green

Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell – a guest post by Amanda S. Green

Most of us grew up hearing the cautionary tale about how we must know history or else we’re doomed to repeat it. If we paid attention to the warning and looked back at history, we’d find more than a few examples where lessons hadn’t been learned and tragedies were repeated. Professor Sowell drives home that point in this essay, included in Controversial Essays.

According to Professor Sowell, “we have missed some of its most blatant and most horrifying lessons.” (CE, p 222) These horrors came under Nazi Germany and from Communist regimes. They resulted from “from concentrations of political power, brought about by heady rhetoric, powerful visions and emotional manipulations.” (CE, p 222)

Looking at that single comment, it almost sounds like the Democrats have been reading Professor Sowell. After all, how many times have we heard them decrying the rhetoric of Trump, condemning him for playing to the emotions of the white supremacists in this country? The problem is they need to look into the mirror and see it applies to them as much, if not more, than it does to the current president. These are the candidates pandering for votes by promising they’d erase college loan debt, free college for everyone, universal healthcare, etc., etc., etc.

Professor Sowell quickly gets to the heart of the matter—and the real danger presented by those liberals who so blithely brush aside the foundations of our republic.

“The constitutional barriers that stand between us and the tyrannies that have swept over other peoples around the world are treated as things to be brushed aside or finessed when those who are skilled with words manipulate our emotions.” (CE, p 222)

We see this at work after every “mass shooting”. Hell, we saw it in full media focus a little more than a week ago after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. It seemed like every liberal politician, and a few so-called conservative ones as well, climbed onto the gun control bandwagon. They did so before all the facts were in and certainly before they learned whether or not the two shooters had obtained the weapons used in the attacks legally or illegally.

You see, those facts don’t matter, not when it comes to the gun control narrative. All that does is that they media and willing politicians whip up enough emotion with the voters of this country to limit our Second Amendment rights. Now the media is going after Trump because he is focusing the gun control conversation on mental health concerns. How dare he even suggest there might be some other explanation for why someone decides to shoot up, or stab or firebomb or anything else a group of people! Doesn’t he know it is the gun that causes the evil deed?

Then there’s this quote, one even more important to remember today than when Professor Sowell first wrote it:

The constitution’s proclamation of “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans is swept aside by saying the magic word “diversity,” while creating preferences and quotas for some at the expense of others. (CE, p 222)

I’ve been alive long enough to remember how the “reverse discrimination” movement in college admissions was hailed as the next best thing to come along to help heal the inequities of years of preferential selecting of whites over minorities for admission. I’ve watched my son have to worry about getting into the college of his choice because he didn’t fit the current diversity requirements. Unlike Lizzie Warren, we chose not to capitalize on our Cherokee heritage and, trust me, we have a hell of a lot more Native American blood in us than she does.

Yet, to challenge these diversity laws and rulings is bring condemnation down on your head. Forget hiring the most qualified person for the job. If you receive state or federal funding for your business or institution, you have certain quotas you must fulfill. Forget about making money for your shareholders. That’s an evil capitalist idea. We must make up for the so-called sins of the past, no matter what the impact on the present or the future.

The first amendment to the constitution says that the right of free speech cannot even be infringed, but that is all forgotten in the stampede for ‘campaign finance reform.’ (CE, p 222)

But it goes beyond that. We have politicians wanting to make it a crime to be critical of them or to make jokes about them. We have colleges and other institutions giving First Amendment protection to AntiFa and similar groups but shutting down the free speech rights of more conservative speakers and organizations. To those “woke” institutions, the fundamental right of Free Speech applies only to certain types of speech, certain “approved” types.

But we are playing with fire when we simply ignore the constitution or find clever ways around it. Without a constitution, we are at the mercy of whatever phrase or fashion sweeps across the political landscape. . . Yet our judges, politicians and the intelligentsia play with fire as if they had never seen the conflagrations. (CE, pp 222-223)

The example Professor Sowell gives is campaign finance, but it applies to so much more. The scary thing is both sides of the political aisle are guilty of trampling on the Constituion when it suits their purposes. We’ve seen presidents use executive orders to circumvent it. We’ve seen Congress passing laws it should reasonably have known would be struck down on appeal. We have even seen the Supreme Court, or at least members of it, trying to rewrite the meaning of certain parts of the Constitution because those portions aren’t, in their opinion, “woke” enough.

Sowell points out that the protections given us by the Constitution are protections millions of others on this Earth would love to have. Unfortunately, we have “agents of change” who have made it their life’s work to dismantle those protections or, at the very least, water them down to insignificance.

The professor hits the proverbial nail on the head with this:

In short, we and our children are being trained to be sheep and to respond automatically to words that strike an emotional chord. We are being set up to be played for suckers by anyone who wants to take up where the totalitarian movements of the 20th century left off.

The very tactics of those totalitarian movements—intimidation, demonization, and disregard of all rules in favor of politically defined results—have become hallmarks of political correctness today. Some people think political correctness is just silly. But many people thought Hitler was just silly before he took power and demonstrated how tragically mistaken they were. (CE, p 224)

Those two paragraphs say it all. The Left wants us to react with emotion, not intellect. They want us to follow blindly. The freedom to question and doubt is not to be allowed. March in lockstep, Comrade, of hie thee to the gulag.

It is up to us to say not only “no” but “hell, no!”. We do that by voting. We do that by speaking up and speaking out. We do that by not supporting media outlets that are nothing more than mouthpieces for the Left that would tear down our Constitution. We do that by teaching our children history, philosophy, economics and so much more. We do it by not abdicating our roles as thinking human beings.

Our country has survived serious trials before. But for it to survive this one, we must be willing to step up. I am. What about you?

 

What Are They Teaching The Kids: Dark Satanic Mills Edition

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One of the Marxists — and the unaware-they-are-Marxists-by-indoctrination products of our indoctrination machines, including those who now teach in them — worse lies is the maligning of the industrial revolution.

It’s 2 parts Marx and 1 part Rosseau.  It is the ignorance and disdain of the moneyed for what the working class has to do to survive, coupled with a naive certainty that rural work is sort of like gardening and beautiful.

As some of you have caught on, for the last month or so, between illnesses, travel and trying to squeeze in a few hours a day to write, I’ve been all out of spoons for real reading. So I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice variations, which is to say fanfic. It’s restful, you know how it’s going to end, there’s not even new characters to get into.

Once, during the … not worst but strangest two years of my life, when Dan had a traveling job and I had a pre-schooler and an elementary schooler in the house, I spent a lot of time reading it on line, and also writing it. I find it beyond extraordinary that we now live in a time when we can put these up for money, and as soon as I have a few minutes, I’ll finish some of my half-done stuff from austen.com, such as By Her Hearts and Allurements or Oh, Hill.

Anyway, the way I do it is to find an author I can stand, and read everything she (or he, but hes are more rare) has out.  And this kid I’ve been reading is promising.  She had, in the beginning the occasional impulse to ruin what is otherwise a decent (if not responsible) character like Mr. Bennet to make him sink into depravity and vice for no reason, but the more she writes, the more Human Wave she becomes.  (I’ve been reading more or less in order.)  And she doesn’t preach feminist cant, which is a reason to wall most other authors of these.

But this is the second book that she’s made me stop part way through because of the “dark Satanic Mills” thing.

No, seriously, this woman believes that in the Regency working men and women hated mill owners, that the mills were sort of like hell, that society looked down on children working in them, and that anyone who owned one would be ostracized , not for sullying himself with trade, but because he owned “one of those evil places.”

It is obvious to me, from this woman’s work that she’s very young. Twenties, maybe. My kids’ ages.  And it makes me yell “What the hell are they teaching the kids, actually?”

Okay, the entire dark satanic mills bullshit benefited greatly from the talent of one Mr. Dickens, convinced socialist. I will admit he was a good writer. He was also one of the few whose books I avoid like poison.  Yes, I know he didn’t know how bad socialism would turn out to be. But he must have known he was lying.  And if he didn’t, it was only because he was such an elitist fool that he never mingled with the people or actually knew what went on in their lives.  Actually 90% of what he portrayed well was the criminal under class, and anyone who has had no matter how accidental contact with them, not to mention anyone who reads true crime books knows they are tediously the same in our day, and it has zero to do with conditions or exploitation, but with people’s on internal drive, and what values or lack thereof they choose to listen to.  Without some kind of internal compass people seem to create their own hell, falling victim to human instincts of indolence and envy which will eventually destroy them.

Heck, even with an internal compass, and ambition, it’s sometimes pretty hard to stay on track in the face of set backs and own bodies sudden yet inevitable betrayal, as I can tell you.

Look, we bought into the horror of the early industrial revolution, partly because the Marxists wanted us to believe the present prosperity and the industrial age, which at their core they hate and despise, was built on exploitation and was irredeemably evil and also that anyone that achieves anything is naturally evil and has committed some sort of crime. What else can you expect from the gospel of envy.

However, in the current day and age, no one has an excuse to believe, much less teach this stuff.

Why?

Because we’ve seen the industrial revolution work, in real time, in countries like China and India.  And while China does have a component of slave labor, mostly in camps, that’s not the bulk of their industrialization. And it certainly isn’t in India.

I guess generation fair-trade can not comprehend this, but they should understand these are not feudal systems (well, China kind of is, but again, that’s not the thing driving it. In fact I think the industrialization has escaped the party’s ability to control, which is why they’re getting twitchy.) People leave the fields in droves to go work in the mills, because it’s a better life.

Look, boneheads, I know you guys are appalled at the idea of six year olds working much less working 12 hour days.  Yeah, so am i, but let me tell you, that was not anything the mills did differently from the rest of human history before it.

Coming from a rural community, in 20th century terms poor as Job, but in comparison to the rest of history rich beyond comprehension, and belonging to a middle class family in which grandad was a trained professional (carpenter) and dad had a white collar job, but about 90% of our food was still what we grew, let me tell you that kids worked, starting very early.  I was given all kinds of passes, because I was born premature and was very sickly. To be honest, I was giving more passes than I should have been, and felt excluded often.  But still, I remember being awakened early on a Spring morning when I was 5 and set to weeding the onions. And this wasn’t an isolated occurrence, merely the first I remember.  During grape harvest the entire family — yes, including kids — took time off and spent three days working sun up to sun down.  The women would mostly be in the kitchen, cooking food for the multitude, at least part of the time, but we also carried the baskets of grapes (yes, on our heads.) And as young as three, I was set to harvesting the grapes atop the hen coop, because the roof was iffy, and also the grapevines (which in private residences in the North of Portugal are grown as a canopy over patios and any free space, to maximize area they can grow. Dad said in his day, and before trucks, they grew in a canopy over the street) had grown kind of close to those tin roofs, so no adult could squeeze there.  When cousin grew too big to do it, I was hoisted up there, to harvest the grapes.

Now, in my day and even dad’s day,this type of child labor was safe and almost fun (at least if you didn’t do too much of it) kind of like my gardening these last few days.

But let me tell you I paid attention to the poorer families. If you think having a five year old tend to cows and other big animals was “safe” you’re out of your bloody minds.

So the “Horrible things happen in mills. People lose limbs.” is very impressive to our pampered kids, but it cut absolutely no mustard with the people who were actually leaving the farms in droves to work in those mills.  Why? Because a lot of them had horrible things happen to them at the farms, and lost limbs.  Worse, until mechanization and artificial fertilizers, it was brutal, unrelenting work, sun up to sun down, and at the mercy of fate in a way even traditionally published authors find too risky and scary.

People left the country in droves to work in factories, not because they were forced, but because what seem horrible working conditions to them were no worse than what they’d experienced in farms, and they might have a day (or half day off) plus the work paid more than farm work did. And the cities provided more opportunities.

Heyer, who did her research has a kid working in textile mills growing up to own the mills (the unknown Ajax) and of course it was that kind of upward mobility as well as the fact that their rural tenants and workers whom the noblemen always treated like charity cases, were escaping them that horrified the ton.  They might have covered it in concern for the poor little children, but trust me, that wasn’t it.

And at any rate, no one in the regency was horrified at anyone owning a mill, unless it was in the “tainted with commerce” sense.  And people in the country were more likely to try to ingratiate themselves with mill owners. They brought jobs to the area, particularly at a time of grain-price instability.

However it appears otherwise intelligent women are emerging from our schools with the belief that mills were a horrible place. (Which they were, except for comparison with everything else available to the working class at the time.) I have no idea HOW they think they caught on, and became what’s called “the industrial revolution” except that I know that kids are uncertain about when feudalism stopped or for that matter of the difference between feudalism and slavery.  And guys, they vote.

This distortion of even trivial details in history is what you’re up against raising kids now and here.  And because the left pervaded everything for the last hundred years, they have corrupted everything, including entertainment and teaching, so the kids might never find out any better.  I’m fairly sure some of their teachers haven’t. It takes thinking and analyzing primary sources or an unusual set of experiences to know how full of nonsense all this is.

Oh, and btw, having a house maid be afraid to be “sent to the mills” is the outside of enough.  Mills weren’t workhouses. People didn’t get SENT there, they got HIRED.  Dear Lord, what are they teaching the kids.  And if you think being a house maid was better than working in say a textile mill, you’re out of your mind.  You’re also spitting on the generations of girls who ran away from “service” to work in the mills.  The Jane Austen fan fic writers seem unaware that most house servants weren’t ALLOWED to marry (until sometimes middle aged, sometimes never.) and that their work was a never ending round from before sunup till very late in the evening. They seem to think of it as some kind of sinecure. Perhaps because they think of housework in the light of all the labor-saving aids we have, from machinery to chemicals.

In short, these kids are being taught it’d be fine and dandy to go back to the pre-industrial age, by people who see themselves as feudal lords.  And it makes me sick.

Teach your children well, teach them to think. We might already have lost two generations, who will vote to go back to the horrible conditions their ancestors escaped with cries of gladness, to work in those evil, satanic mills. From which came enough surplus to lead to our current blessed age, where the children don’t even know how good they have it.

 

 

The Power of Law

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Laws have power.  Mostly they have the power of the government behind them.  As in: if you don’t do this, we’ll kill you and/or put you away for a long time.

That’s it. That’s the only power laws have.

The left meanwhile seems to think they’re some kind of magical incantations, which, by existing, would make it impossible to do/think/say something.

I don’t understand that.

It is most notable in their crazy rush to forbid guns, which give middle aged, out of shape women like me the possibility to defend themselves against crazy people who might want to kill me. (Up to and including the government, should things go that way.)

What puzzles me about the idea that if you forbid guns no one will have any, and there won’t be any crimes committed with guns is that it’s so widespread. Europe has tried this. Yeah, they still have guns.  Britain is now forbidding knives, and yes, they still have knives.

Soon enough all British citizens will only be able to get the kind of ridiculous plastic cutlery you get on airliners.

And yet, people will still murder people. And would be spree-shooters will find other ways to kill a vast multitude of people.

Yes, America’s crime rate is higher than Europe’s. We know. We also know statistics aren’t tracked the same way there and here.  And also that, honestly, if you remove our cities which are as hot on gun control as Europe and make sure we’re comparing apples to apples, we have one of the lower rates in the world.

This is because even crazy criminals understand “I might get shot.” And even suicidal mass-shooters understand “I’ll never accomplish my glorious killing spree if I get shot the minute I fire. I might not even kill anyone.”

This is why all shootings of this kind occur in gun free zones.

Making the person or persons who decides to create a “gun free zone” liable for any shootings in the place would do more to make us safe from spree shooters than all the red flag laws in the world.

Because red flag laws can get abused. The left already think anyone who disagrees with them is “crazy.” And look at how the Soviet Union used their mental health system sometime.

And more importantly they’ll do nothing to keep guns off the hands of people who want to misuse them.  Nothing will.

Humans are cunning apes. We’ve been killing each other since we only had fists. Stone-ax control would have stopped nothing.

The conceit that a little sign saying “this is a gun free zone” is capable of stopping someone already intent on killing a multitude of people is… I’m not sure? I think believing you can turn back the sea with a word makes more sense.  This is madness on a par with the craziest Roman Emperors, an assumption of power that is not only improbable but impossible for a human being.

But it might be part of how the left thinks. They also think we can “teach rapists not to rape.” As tough you know the entire instruction of mankind has failed, but if we specifically tell them not to rape, that will stop it.

The problem with all this is that making laws that won’t be obeyed, or won’t be obeyed by those people who are intent on doing whatever it is the law is supposed to prevent, doesn’t only “not work” and lead to more bad laws, when the hysteria sets in.

No, the problem is that it creates a highly corruptible system, full of contradictory injunctions that can be exploited by fallible and corrupt people, who are often attracted to positions of power and force.

And the other problem is making everyone is a criminal.

Laws that can’t be obeyed, won’t be obeyed. A lot of behaviors will go underground, where they are more dangerous.  For instance, if you forbid cloning, you’re guaranteeing cloning will be used for body parts (or whole-body transplants) instead of, say, for infertility issues, or to make a twin for your kid (which whatever you think of the morality, is infinitely more benign.)

Forbidding guns will disarm the law abiding and trusting, leaving them, therefore, vulnerable to those who couldn’t care less.

And giving our law enforcement agencies a mass of self-contradictory, unenforceable law to enforce will corrupt them too. For illustration, look to South America.

Heck, we’re already halfway there.  There is no one, left or right in this country who truly believes that Epstein committed “unassisted suicide.”  No one. Not even the people who TRY to.

That tells you where we’ve got to.

And that’s the problem.  Because the only power of the law is knowing an impartial authority will enforce it with clear eye-ed impartial vision or as close as humans get.  That is what makes laws worth respecting. That and the fact that they are not only useful but enforceable/trackable/doable.

When you lose that, and can’t trust your authorities who are just another gang, you’re on your way to the time when every man’s stone ax was needed, every day, to protect his meager belongings.

Neither prosperity nor civilization will survive that.