Perpetuating the Problem and Passing the Blame – by Amanda S. Green

Perpetuating the Problem and Passing the Blame – by Amanda S. Green

After last week’s little foray into snarking, I thought it time to get back to Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks & White Liberals. To say I believe this is an essay I believe everyone should read is putting it mildly. Sowell doesn’t shy away from hard topics nor does he sugar coat anything. What he does is poke holes into what liberals want us to believe are truths. He does so with facts, with logic and with experience. In doing so, he shows how liberals, especially white liberals, have caused more harm than good, despite all they crow from the proverbial mountaintop.

The next section of the essay is entitled “White Liberals” and Sowell wastes no time in getting down to business.

White liberals in many roles—as intellectuals, politicians, celebrities, judges, teachers—have aided and abetted the perpetuation of a counterproductive and self-destructive lifestyle among black rednecks. The welfare state has made it economically possible to avoid many of the painful consequences of this lifestyle that forced previous generations of blacks and whites to move away from the redneck culture and its values. Lax law enforcement has enabled the violent and criminal aspects of this culture to persist, and non-judgmental intellectual trends have enabled it to escape moral condemnation. As far back as 1901, W. E. B. Du Bois, while complaining of racial discrimination against blacks, also condemned “indiscriminate charity” for its bad effects within the black community. (BRAWL pp 51-52)

That single paragraph strikes at the heart of so much of the liberal agenda. Welfare. Relaxation of law enforcement rules (Hello, London, this applies to you too). Indiscriminate charity. Is it any wonder so many liberals, especially white ones, hate what Sowell has to say?

By projecting a vision of a world in which the problems of blacks are consequences of the actions of whites, either immediately or in times past, white liberals have provided a blanket excuse for shortcomings and even crimes by blacks. The very possibility of any internal cultural sources of the problems of blacks have been banished from consideration by the fashionable phrase “blaming the victim.” (BRAWL, pg 52)

Oh my, doesn’t that sound an awful lot like what we hear whenever someone starts questioning motivation, causation, or anything else when it comes to a cause the liberals have adopted. We are supposed to believe every woman who cries rape or sexual assault and not look at the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime because to do otherwise is to victim blame. We are supposed to take into account every time a cop is shot, especially if that cop is white and the shooter is black, the “fact” that cops are bad and have abused the African-American community for years. To do otherwise is to victim blame. Of course, that forgets one important fact, in that situation, the victim is the fallen cop and not the shooter. Except the African-American community has been assigned the status of victim by many who self-identify as liberals. Why? Because, more than 150 years ago, slavery was legal in this country. So, everything goes back to that and we, as whites, must continue to make amends for things done by people long dead. [AND to people long dead- SAH]

As Sowell says, blaming “others for anything in which blacks lag has become standard operating procedure among white liberals.” (BRAWL, p 52) There is something wrong with tests if blacks don’t pass at the same levels as whites. We have professors claiming math is sexist or racist. Yet no one seems to bat an eye and ask why Asians are able to take the same tests and pass them at the same – or higher – level as whites. No one seems to worry about how Hispanic or other minorities do on these exams. Yet white liberals cry “foul!” long and loud over how these tests are biased against African-American students.

My question to those liberals: what makes the African-American student more important of a minority than the others?

It is a question that will never be answered or, if it is, will be turned against me. I’ll be accused of showing my white privilege, of not understanding the problem, of being insensitive. I will become the problem, as will anyone else who asks similar questions, at least in the minds of the liberals. After all, it is so much easier to blame the person asking the question than it is to actually consider the question, and the problem underlying it, and realize you might actually be part of the problem.

Any parent knows there comes a time when you have to tell you child you expect certain behaviors from him. There are certain social rules they have to learn and follow. There are certain levels of achievement in school they have to attain and, if they surpass them, they will be rewarded. Parents, at least good parents, don’t tend to reward or accept mediocrity from their children if their children are capable of doing more. They certainly don’t encourage it. You want the best for your children so you encourage them to do their best. THAT is how they get into the better colleges. THAT is how they find the better jobs. THAT is how they earn promotions.

And that, my friends, is something the liberals don’t discuss, much less admit, when they continue to promulgate a welfare state and a welfare state of mind.

Think about it. When is the last time you heard a liberal suggest someone might want to look at themselves, at what they did that led up to their failure? It doesn’t matter what sort of failure. It is the act of introspection in question here. According to Sowell, you don’t see liberals doing that very often. “Apparently there can only be external reasons for anything negative that happens to blacks.” (BRAWL pg 53) What a disservice that is to the African-American community. By taking this approach, you don’t allow them to grow. You allow them to make excuses and blame others without ever taking a hard look at themselves.

The incorrigibility of white society—and the corresponding futility of black efforts to improve their situation by improving their own education and other qualifications—is another leitmotif of much white liberal writing. (BRAWL, pg 54)

Let’s all take up the cry of “White guilt! White privilege!” After all, that’s basically what the liberals are claiming. We can’t understand because of the color of our skin. It’s all our fault.

Except there’s a bit of a problem with that. Not all of us who question the cries of “white guilt” and “white privilege” are white. Another problem is those claims are only applied when someone questions a situation involved African-Americans. You don’t hear it when we discuss any other minority. Why is that? Liberal America doesn’t have an answer for that. Or, if it does, it won’t give it because it will disrupt their narrative.

Something else liberals tend to “overlook”, as Sowell points out, is the hostility – the prejudice – some members of the African-American community hold towards others: Jews, Hispanics, Whites, etc. Why don’t we hear about this? Because we are told over and over again that only whites can be prejudiced, “that racism requires power, which blacks do not have.” (BRAWL, p 54) However, as Sowell points out, “the arbitrary proviso of ‘power’ was never part of the definition of racism until racism among blacks became widespread enough to require a convenient evasion.” (BRAWL, pg 55)

Once again, the rules are changed to fit the narrative and no one had better question it or you’ll be guilty of victim-blaming, of showing your white privilege, etc. We must march to the “right” beat – or is that the “left” beat – or be condemned.

Liberals have been so busy finding excuses and immortalizing them that they have become a large part of the problem.

The general orientation of white liberals has been one of “What can we do for them? ”What blacks can do for themselves has not only been of lesser interest, much of what blacks have in fact already done for themselves has been overshadowed by liberal attempts to get them special dispensations—whether affirmative action, reparations for slavery, or other race-based benefits—even when the net effect of these dispensations has been much less than the effects of blacks’ own self-advancement. For example, although the greatest reduction in poverty among blacks occurred before the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, the liberal vision in which black lags are explained by white oppression requires black advances to be explained by the fight against such oppression, symbolized by the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. This scenario has been repeated so often, through so many channels, that it has become a “well-known fact” by sheer repetition. Moreover, this protest-and-government-action model has become the liberals’ preferred, if not universal, model for future black advancement. (BRAWL pp 55-56)

This sort of “help” has been anything but. How many generations do we now have of families living on welfare? Yes, welfare is necessary in some situations, but it should not be an end-all, cure-all for our nation. It should be there to help those who can’t work. It should offer training for those who can work but who lack the skills. But, for the latter, there should be a limit to how long they continue to be on the dole. It doesn’t matter what their race, color, creed or sexual identity might be. What we need to be wary of is becoming a welfare state.

But there I go again, blaming the victim and showing my white privilege. (Yes, that is my great-grandmother – my Cherokee great-grandmother – who is spinning in her grave at the idea of my family claiming white privilege.)

Well-meaning or not, liberals have done more harm than good. Worse, they continue to do so, without qualms and without daring to look at the impact their actions have had on a large section of our population. How do we stop it? I’m not sure we can. Not unless we are willing to stand up and speak out and face, without losing our temper or becoming defensive, the condemnation they will sling our way.

For now, we need to read more authors like Sowell. We need to learn our history and learn the facts – not accept the “corrected” history they would thrust down our throats.

Looking at the rest of the essay, it’s going to take two more weeks to finish it up. Sowell manages to pack more information in a few pages than most so-called scholars do in tomes. So, until next week, do yourself a favor and pick up something by Sowell and read it.

[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to  send the woman a drink]

 

The Other Side Gets A Vote

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Or worse, in this case, they get actions.

Look, guys, this is not new, and it wouldn’t surprise many people in the past.  It’s more that what we’re engaged in is a very weird revolutionary activity.

It is a revolutionary activity, don’t make a mistake on that, just because I haven’t bared my boobs like the chick above, and I’m not charging forth with standard.

Think back, those of you who are my age or close to it, to all the times when you were — seemingly — the only one who saw that “what everybody knew” was wrong, all the times when if you had said what you believed people wouldn’t necessarily oppose you: they’d just think you were crazy.  It’s not that you didn’t think them: of course you thought them.  And in the company of very trusted friends or family, you might even say something, but you had no way of reaching the public.

Having blogs, commenting on blogs, working on internet diffusion of ideas that are contrary to the establishment — and the establishment is wholly liberal now — is a revolutionary activity.

The founding fathers and their precursors did in fact engage in much the same activity, given their technology: handbills, political discussions, all of them were part of the revolution, or perhaps the ramping up to it.

Thing is, the founding fathers, (and the few saneish French revolutionaries) EXPECTED the other side to have a say.  Hanging was not off the table for all the revolutionaries.  When they pledged their life, their liberty, their sacred honor, they expected to lose all three.  The chances of success were infinitesimal.

So, why are we shocked by the people who think we need to be put down and controlled?  Why are we shocked by attacks on the amendments the founding fathers gave us?

The other side gets a say.

Look, for almost a hundred years now they’ve been at least as privileged as the French aristocracy.  There are tangible benefits to lefty privilege.  Why do you think people virtue-signal?  Because virtue signaling translates into jobs, book deals, media appearances and applause.

They had it all.  Make the right noises, support the right causes, and you’ll be on top.

Thing is most people aren’t even political.  They are clever apes who identify what is best in their tribe and what will bring them rewards.  We’re the weird ones.  And the rewards have been on the left for almost a century.

Yes, they managed the neat trick of pretending to be revolutionaries even as they controlled all of the establishment.  The extent to which they controlled it is becoming very apparent in the civil war going on in our institutions.

But they are still the establishment.  Third generation now.  And it has its privileges.  No one on the right with Obama’s type of mind and experience could make it to president.  (And no, Trump isn’t the same.  He’s run businesses.  Obama couldn’t run a lemonade stand.  And oh, yeah, for the lurkers, this is not racial, it’s political.  Red diaper kids rarely manage to comprehend economics.  Their religion makes them believe a set of precepts that is at odds with the world.)  No one on the right who was no smarter than most main stream pundits would have got anywhere.

We’ve had to be faster, stronger, and insanely hard working to be heard, and evne then we were torpedoed at every turn.

Then there was the net.  And computers.  And ways to communicate.

You have to understand how deep 2016 cut.  They spent all their money, they pushed all their celebrities, they controlled all the press.  Everything said they were going to win.  And then they lost.

Is it any wonder they’ve gone nuts?  This is like Marie Antoinette finding her palace full of not-at-all-respectful peasant women, demanding bread.  (True.)  And the guards being unable to clear them away.  (Also true.)

So yeah, unsavory rats like Zuckerberg are going to try to preemptively ban our opinions.  Banks are going to try to refuse money to companies who make guns.  Idiots like the Twitter Twit are going to call for us to be crushed.

Did you expect to have a revolution, and the establishment didn’t fight back?

I’m seeing despondency and preemptively throwing in the towel.  I even understand it, kind of.  We seemed to be growing.  There seemed to be no limits.  And now there are action to limit us to, to stop us.

So what do we do?

We do the same we’ve always done.  We’re faster, smarter, more capable.  We need to stay one step ahead.  We need to ensure the establishment fears us, at least as much if not more than they fear the left.  Sure, we’re the nice people who don’t boycott, who don’t make a political line in our consumption…

Guys… we might have to.  And we might have to get more vocal.  We have to make them fear as they’ve made us fear.  We have to fight back as hard as we can in this arena of words.

Because, guys, this is a civil cold war.  And we want it to stay cold.  If it goes hot, then the OUTSIDE COUNTRIES get a say, and America as such will be a notional memory.

There is one thing we remember from the cold war: Mutual Assured Destruction works.

It’s hard, because we’re starting from behind.  But we need to make them understand if they can ban us, we can ban them.  If they can punish our opinions, we can punish theirs.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  Because that prevents us having to take the whole head.

Sure.  If the war turns hot, we’ll probably “win.”  But what we’ll lose in resources, in time, in people, and possibly in sovereignty will be incalculable.

So, let’s fight the cold war so we don’t have to fight the hot.

This is no time to get wobbly.  Even if we win it is no time to get wobbly.  The French revolution was, arguably, lost after being won, because they let the nutters and the nihilists control it.

Yeah, things suck right now and the waters are about to get choppier.  Did I promise you a rose garden?  I must have been talking about thorns.

Giving up absolves you from having to fight.  It also allows the left to turn the US into another Venezuela.

Liberty is always a generation away from extinction.   Pull your pants up, take a deep breath.

We’re revolutionaries, with all the danger that entails.  No one said it would be easy.

Keep going.  In the end we win, they lose, but only if we fight.

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Commons licenses – D. Jason Fleming

A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Commons licenses – D. Jason Fleming

I’ve been listening to Creative Commons-licensed music for over a decade at this point, and everything I write goes out under a CC license. In addition, my social media bios describe me as a Creative Commons advocate.

So, while I am in no way associated with the Creative Commons nonprofit organization in San Francisco, I do know a thing or two about how the licenses work, and I sometimes get a bit distressed at how less experienced people misunderstand CC licenses and what they mean.

The two biggest misunderstandings I see usually go hand in hand: that there is one single Creative Commons license, and that it means you can do whatever you feel like doing with the licensed content. The usual tell is a phrase along the lines of “used under the Creative Commons license”. Since there is actually a set of CC licenses, the definite article is a giveaway that somebody is either ignorant, or being deceptive. (Usually the former.)

There are, in fact, seven CC licenses; and only three of them are “Free Culture” — that is, you can do what you want with the licensed work, with no restriction, provided you follow the terms of the license. (Technically, one of those three gives you permission to do whatever, without following any terms, but we’ll get to that.)

The shorthand for Creative Commons licenses is simple: CC followed by one, two, or three two-letter abbreviations and the license version number. The CC stands for Creative Commons, naturally, and the other abbreviations tell you which terms apply. There are four, one of which is present in all licenses. (Again, there is one exception, which will be the last one explained.)

Let’s start with the most restrictive license:

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0. This is sometimes referred to as the “listen and share” license. This gives you the right to acquire the work for free, make copies, and give those copies to anyone. However, the license must remain intact, you cannot use it to make money or aid you in making money, and you cannot change the work in any way.

So, if it’s a work of music, you can listen to it, and share it, and that’s it. If it’s a book or a story, you can read it and share it, but that’s all.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike License 4.0. This is much more free, in that you are permitted to use the artwork in your own work. The terms of the license do limit you, of course. You have to give the original artist credit, at a minimum naming and linking to their site. You can’t make money off of your derivative work or your copy of the original work. And any derivatives you make must be shared under this same license.

This brings us to the question: What is a derivative work? Basically, it’s anything that is transformative to the original work. If you burn a CD with music on it, but don’t change the music, that’s not derivative. If you put some music into a video, that is transformative, and therefore derivative.

CC BY-ND 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives License 4.0. Here we get toward freedom in one way, but not others. You can copy, share, and sell the licensed work, provided you give attribution and do not alter the work or create works that derive from it.

CC BY-NC 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License 4.0. And freedom in other ways comes in here, but not fully. With this license, you can make any changes or derivatives you want, but you must give attribution to the original creator, and you can’t profit from your derivative works.

With those out of the way, we now enter into the realm of Free Culture. There is an official definition of what makes a work free culture, but what it amounts to is that the conditions of the license do not limit your ability to alter or build upon the work, nor do they prevent you from profiting from your own derivative of that work. There are, however, still conditions that you must follow.

CC BY-SA 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 4.0. This license lets you do what you want, to any extent that you want, but you must give attribution to the original creator, and you must share the resulting work under this same license. I think of this license as the sweet spot, because using it is guaranteed to grow the pool of Free Culture works in the world.

CC BY 4.0

Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0. Do what you want, to any extent that you want, but you must give attribution to the original creator. There is one musician who has been releasing his work exclusively under this license for about a decade, and if you watch Youtube at all, you have heard his work. Kevin MacLeod has thousands of credits on the IMDb and even got his music in a Martin Scorsese movie.

And finally, we have the real outlier, the CC Zero License, which is a dedication of the licensed work to the public domain.

CC0 1.0

Creative Commons Zero License 1.0. If something is released under this license, do what you want, no restrictions, no attribution necessary. However, I personally hold that it’s simply good form to give attribution if there is a means to do so.

So, now you have a better idea of the range of freedoms and restrictions that the Creative Commons gives you. I focused on how you would look at them as an end user, but I think you can see, at least implicitly, how using them can benefit you as a creator as well.

Perspective

I was thinking the other day, apropos nothing much (you know that kind of thought you have when lying in bed between waking and sleep) and realized how strange our sleep arrangements were when I was little.

You see, my parents believe mortgages happen to other people.  So when they got married, my grandparents converted what used to be the “storage” portion of their house into a shotgun apartment which my parents rented until I was seven and they’d built their house, into which we moved at that time.

This is why when I was little I thought windows were “posh.”  We didn’t have any.  The height of my ambition was a veranda.  (Having now rebuilt two upper-floor porches from scratch, I’m okay, really.)

The floor plant of the house was as follows: Living room/mom’s “office” for meeting with clients, into which daylight came from two glass panels on the front door.

Mom and dad’s room (3/4 of that width, with a window cut up top to get a little light from the living room.  (Not super effective.)  And a hallway, large enough for a row of chairs and enough space for an adult to walk past.

Past mom and dad’s room, the space widened again, and there was a single bed for my brother and a very large bin-cabinet for mom’s work supplies.  After that there was a kitchen the width of the apartment and about twice as long as the living room (I’d say about 14 ft? but I’m remembering with a child’s eyes.)

We pretty much lived in the kitchen.  Mom worked at the kitchen table most of the time, and cleared it only for meals.  The radio was in the kitchen and was the main form of entertainment in the house.  Dad brought his typewriter from work, and worked at the kitchen table.  I learned to type (and write) at that kitchen table.  Mom’s knitting machine (a way to supplement money between big jobs.  Even local farmers payed to have a sweater knit a winter, even if sometimes you had to undo the previous sweater (developing holes) and redye the wool.) was against the wall across from the sink and stove.  My earliest memories of reading were of scrunching on the floor next to the knitting machine and just going away in my mind.  Oh, the kitchen door had glass in it too, but this being a Mediterranean climate, in all but the coldest days, the door would be open for more light.

You will notice there was no bathroom.  That’s because the bathroom was outside grandma’s kitchen door.  And it wasn’t an outhouse, but a full bathroom, with sink and shower.  It just was outside.  I don’t know how much of this was because the walls were thick stone and almost impossible to pierce/plumb, or how much because great grandma thought bathrooms were dirty and should be out of doors.

Anyway, what I realized is that I had (at least) three sets of memories: one of my brother sleeping in the 125 grams (1/2 of a quarter kilo.  The word for quarter and room is the same in Portuguese.  Yes, my family is like that.)  Of me sleeping in the 125grams (particularly when I started school, about a year before we moved out.) and of me sleeping either in my parents’ room with mom, or upstairs with my cousin Natalia.

So I lay there and put them in order.  The apartment was adequate, though not wonderful when my parents had only my brother (about nine plus years before I was born.)  There was a curtain to give him some privacy, and he had a little “not quite bedroom.”

Then I was born.  Fortunately when I was born, my dad worked outside town, so I simply slept with mom, except on weekends, when I was turfed out to my grandparents’ and slept with my cousin Natalia (14 years my senior.)

Dad came back home when I was about 5.  At that time my grandparents had partitioned off a bedroom off their large, second floor family room, for a visiting relative.  My brother was sent up to sleep in that room, and I inherited the 125 grams (at any rate he was six one at that time, and the little childhood bed, even with all the additional patches at the bottom that grandad had made over time, was not particularly safe for him.)  So when I started school I had my own “room” of sorts.

Note I had to reason this out and pay attention to things like my brother’s surgery at sixteen, when he was laid up in grandma’s spare room.

All of which is not to tell you how terrible my childhood was.  It wasn’t.  Heck, grandma’s backyard was a kingdom and I ruled it as queen.  Also, I wasn’t aware of being poor (we weren’t for the area.  The neighbors sharing a wall with my parents’ apartment were raising six children in the same space arranged similarly, cut out of the house of the farmers’ next door. Mom was raised in a smaller space with four siblings.)  Our diet could be eccentric, mostly because mom lived in search of the cheapest meal, so they could save more money for the house, but when I went into school I was one of better fed kids there. I’d have been one of the healthiest too, except for my screwed up auto-immune.  We had plenty of books, even if sometimes I had to go dig in the storage buildings for them.  Sometimes my paper was rationed because I used a sh*tton of it writing and drawing, but then dad’s godfather who owned the general store across the street found in his attic a pallet of composition books that had been there probably 50 years.  They’d long since been written off, so instead of selling them, he gave us the lot.  Those books, with yellowed pages and gengivitis-pink covers lasted me for my purposes till highschool.  I wrote my first “novels” in them.  And I had toys aplenty.  In fact the only lack of my childhood was people to play with, since I was by far the youngest in the family and my brother, the next youngest, had modeled his amusements on our older cousins.  This is probably why I make up stories (it was so lonely.  It started with imaginary friends) and why I started to read very early and read a lot.  It’s a weird upbringing for a kid, but not bad.

What I was thinking about, lying in bed, though, was that these days if one of my kids tried to get married and rely on that type of arrangements for living, I’d hit the roof.  “Wait, you don’t even have a bathroom?  You’re going to share the single bathroom with a family of three?  And it’s OUTSIDE?”

Unthinkable, right?  As is “Tell me again how this apartment doesn’t have running water, and first task in the morning is to bring in a bunch of it in gallon jugs!  Is this even up to code?”  And “Wait, you wife is going to run her small business out of the kitchen, meet clients in the tiny living room, and store her stuff throughout the house, including kids rooms?”  You know what the verdict would be: “You guys can’t do that, that’s slum conditions.  CPS will be down on you like a ton of bricks.”

And yet, when and where I lived, it was solidly middle class.  A little below my parents’ means, since they were saving to buy a house outright, but not, you know…. alarmingly low.  If anyone had reported us to the equivalent of CPS, the social worker would have laughed herself into stitches.  There were people living much worse.  We had cement floors in the kitchen (not beaten Earth) and electrical light throughout.  And I pulled through my constant illnesses, was doing well in school, and my brother made it to college (even in my time that was rare for village kids.)  It would be viewed, now, as someone complaining of living in a small but adequate home.

And that’s what this is all about.  I’m sick and tired of the whining about “inequality” as though that means anything.  It’s a sanctifying of envy, is all it is.  As it is, my family was pretty wealthy compared to our neighbors, partly because my mom squeezed every penny till it screamed, and kept the house sparklingly clean.  So we lived like people richer than us, while a lot of the local craftsmen who made a ton more lived in filth and misery, with six or seven kids crammed in the same space we had.  They got a ton more meals out, pastries on the weekend and “bought wine” (as opposed to the one you grow yourself) though.

Sure, right now there are people so wealthy I still can’t imagine their circumstances (let alone my little self who dreamed of windows imagining their circumstances.)  But I fail to see how their being unimaginably wealthy hurts me.  We have a bathroom per person, right now, and a powder room to spare and I have room for my hobbies that mom could only dream about for her job.  And we’re not exactly wealthy.  (We’re not poor either.  Though we might be if the kids don’t graduate and support themselves soon.)

But thing is, I’m not taking money from anyone living in conditions similar to what my parents lived when I was born. (No one lives in the same conditions.  Not if CPS catches them.)  I make my own money.  I don’t take it from the poor.  And the people above me, save for those that ally with government to get the tax money, aren’t making money off me.  They’re just making money.

I think the left has a fundamentally broken understanding of economics.  They believe in a fixed pie, in which the only way to get rich is to steal from others.  In that kind of system inequality is a problem, because the people at the top are rich at the expense of people at the bottom.  But that’s not what we live in.

The only system in which their fantasies are true is the one that suggest to “cure” our inequality:A top down, controlled economy, with bureaucrats in charge.

Thing is, my friend Nicki grew up in the Soviet Union, under one of those systems designed to stop inequality.  Not only were the common people unimaginably poor (the village would seem like a bit of paradise to them, what with one family per house, and each family growing most of their own food in the backyard) but the party members lived almost like our current one percent, and yep, on the backs of the poor.

In communism and socialism, the only way to live well is to exploit others.  And boy, do they ever.  Some of the world’s wealthiest people are children of “great leaders”.

And in OUR country there is enough interference, mind you.  See where I said above that my parents would have been denounced to CPS if they tried to do what they did then, now and in the US (or even in Europe.)  And yet, fifteen years of sacrifice allowed them to build a house beyond the dreams of their parents’ (particularly mom’s parents) and to send two kids to college.  And then to have my brother build a house beyond THEIR dreams.  If the government had forced them to move out of that little (and relatively cheap) apartment and rent a real one, in one of the highrises then coming into the village, they’d probably never have been able to move out.

Rage, if you must, at bureaucrats who make your property not your own, and force people to live in ways that much wealthier middle-class people think acceptable.  That does, probably, rob wealth from the poor, in the long run.

But stop worrying about inequality. What does it matter to you what your neighbor has?  In college, (or even I, at professional meetings) my kids found out we were Job-poor.  We’re not of course.  But I’m a writer, which means work/payment is irregular and can’t be counted on. Also, though we have a mortgage, we partake my parents’ madness in the at consumer credit is something that happens to other people.  (We should take out a small loan and do some work in the house — we bought it short sale and it needs stuff done — and then pay it off, instead of saving for the work.  But my dad’s last words to me, as I got on the plane to the US after my wedding, were “don’t run up debts.”) So our kids were raised buying clothes at thrift stores, and without a single European vacation.  OTOH they each had their own computer from age 3, and we did buy them materials/books for whatever interested them at the time.  So, in a way we were richer than their rich friends.

And note, at no time did our way of living have anything to do with how billionaires live.  Who cares how billionaires live?  How does their being very well off affect you?  Do the people who are much worse off than you get a vote in how you live?

And what precisely would it do to take people’s money away and give to those below them in conditions?  Remember where I said the people in the village who made more money than my parents lived far worse, because they never saved for better housing (or kept the one they had clean?)

Make the most of what you have, and stop hankering over the unimaginable riches of the super-rich.

The poor we shall always have with us, but the poor in America live better than my parents did, middle class and working as hard as they could, long ago and far away, and we live better than my parents ever did.

The rich we shall always have with us, even the super-rich.  In the middle ages, inequality was if anything greater, as the poor lived close to animals.  But their kings — except for ceremonial and power — lived worse than our wretched poor.  And going back further, Solomon in all his glory couldn’t get piped in hot water, or food warmed instantly in a microwave, or aspirin to manage the headaches he acquired from his multitudinous harem.

You can’t eliminate the super rich.  Even vast revolutions don’t manage that.  They just replace them and the source of their wealth.  You can’t eliminate the poor.  As Venezuela is proving yet again, the best you can do is make everyone poor.

Let everyone do what they want to and can do with their own.  And keep your mind off other people’s business.

If you must have fantasies of being super-rich, have those.  But don’t bother thinking that you’re not that because others are.

Envy is poison that corrodes the soul.  Work for what you want.  No one has ever stolen your success.  Only you can blight your own life.

If you don’t think about it, the problem of inequality goes away.  That means it’s not a problem.

Go tend your garden.

 

 

 

A Spring of Books! Also Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

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*Sorry this is so late.  I have all symptoms of a sudden cold, but I think it might be allergies.  At any rate, I just feel I’d like to sleep a lot and took time getting organized enough to do this.

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.  One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

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GRAY RINEHEARTWalking on the Sea of Clouds

Before permanent lunar encampments such as Clarke’s Clavius Base (in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or Heinlein’s Luna City (in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) could be built, there would have to be the first settlers–the first people to set up shop and try to eke out an existence on the Moon. Walking On the Sea of Clouds is the story of such lunar pioneers: two couples, Stormie and Frank Pastorelli and Van and Barbara Richards, determined to survive and succeed in this near-future technological drama about the risks people will take, the emergencies they’ll face, and the sacrifices they’ll make as members of the first commercial lunar colony. In the end, one will decide to leave, one will decide to stay, one will put off deciding … and one will decide to die so another can live.

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FRANCES DECHANTALMarguerite: A Novel with a Little Murder

What should a loving relative do to help her family? Can Marguerite Wilmington protect her cancer-stricken nephew from a killer at large in the hospital? Can she help her widowed sister and not lose herself in the process? Can she finance her own next cup of coffee?

Marguerite is a journey through a child’s cancer treatment with added stress from a mysterious extra threat to the child’s life.

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L.A. MAYNiko and the Shades

Monsters lurk in the streets of Aldemyr …

Fifteen-year-old Niko secretly longs for magic spells, crystal balls, maybe even a hero’s sword. Instead, he can see the scarpies, sinister little shadow creatures who live in darkness and feed on black magic. Most people can see one or two, here or there, but Niko sees them everywhere, scuttling along the streets, hiding in shadows.

No one takes the scarpies seriously. Niko’s cousin calls them spectral rats. But when a powerful figure at the royal court is murdered by black sorcery, Niko begins to think the scarpies are involved. While court factions scheme for power, Niko may be the only one who can stop a magical assassin before someone else is murdered, and a killer takes control of the kingdom.

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: follow

An exercise for the audience

Okay, I forgot to post till now, mostly because I was doing art, I’m sorry.  Husband woke up and I remembered “oh, shoot, blog.”

But yesterday’s discussion on “why should we believe the UN on population when we don’t believe them on anything else?” made me think we have a pool of people with diverse backgrounds and knowledge…

WHAT things are generally accepted as “the truth” that are doubtful or outright wrong in your experience?  Particularly things that, like “the population is exploding, zomg,” trend to support higher government control?

I mean, not “people think the best gun is blah blah, but it’s actually blah blah, because that falls under holy wars” but other stuff, like population that you either know or have a strong reason to suspect ain’t as painted?

 

Room For What?

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Yesterday we had friends over, and for reasons unknown to anyone but the psychiatrists we don’t have, we ended up sharing “favorite youtube crazy people” from Ants Canada (run by a Philippine from the Philippines) to Collin Furze, to someone a friend shared and whose name I don’t remember (really bad night.  Asthma) but who seems to be an African living in Belgium and commenting on… lifestyle videos on the internet with a surprisingly common sense perspective (in English, of course.)

For whatever reason the first of his videos that came up was of his fisking someone’s review of “eating ass.”  (Most aren’t that salacious.  He fisks vegan videos and such.)

First, the guy was absolutely right in fisking that video and in what he says a) why do you review something like that?  Are you selling it on ebay?  b) you can’t convince us it’s all that and a cup of coffee.  You’re lying (It was curious, watching the woman — kid really — doing the video.  Given the subject, and how much she tried to tell us not to knock it till we tried it, she looked bored and joyless, and like she was performing some sort of duty.  It made me think of the far left talking about the revolutionary nature of sex or whatever.  They honestly make sex boring, something no one else has managed, ever) c) You need help of the mental kind.

BUT what struck me was her clinching “argument” at the end of the video which was that if you were against eating ass, you should just be killed.  It went like this “The Earth is overpopulated, and if you’re not even going to try this you’re weak, and we should get rid of the weak first.”

There are rings of madness around that central, insane point of her argument, but let’s for a moment go with “The Earth is overpopulated” which the left seems to default to in their arguments on why, oh… we should support wholesale abortion for nay reason; it’s a good thing that people don’t get married; non reproductive sex is superior; we should have low-tech and the resulting deaths are a good thing; we should encourage assisted suicide; we shouldn’t spend money keeping old people alive… etc…

Yes, I know that the center of this is that they hate people, and in a more wide circle, they hate all of life.  They’re hierarchy of hates goes: oikophobia, hate of humanity, and ultimately hate of all life.  The core of their being is self-hatred which they project outward, until their ideal is a rocky planet scoured of all living things.  Only then would they be happy.

The inevitable massacres of Marxism, and the population decline and death of socialist (even soft socialist) countries comes from that place.  It’s not so much an unintended consequence as the wish they don’t even admit to.  It’s return of the repressed written in graves and rotting corpses and lost opportunities.

I know that, but they don’t.  It’s very important for them to view themselves as good people, hence the “this time utopia!”

However, they use overpopulation as an excuse.

As you guys know, I think overpopulation, ie. the numbers the UN quotes are bullshit slathered in bullcrap.  The giveaway is not only that the countries still reporting massive growth are those that are net receivers of international aid per-capita, but that they’re not countries who could count their own government functionaries and get the same count within a thousand two times in ten.

But let’s leave that aside, and pretend that the UN, in this as in nothing else ever, is absolutely right and has an accurate count of the Earth’s population on the way to 9 billion or whatever the heck their crazy estimate is.  Let’s say it’s that.

By what principle are we even remotely overpopulated?

1- Overpopulation is when an organism runs out of room.  I’m looking out my office window on 300 acres of natural preserve.  If the Earth were truly overpopulated, we would be trying to take over every last little bit of land.  Oh, and also, I’m not in a mega high rise, to take advantage of the high-priced acreage.  (I am on a third floor, but it’s MY house.)
Look, the free market and prices are the best way we’ve come up with to measure abundance and scarcity.  Abundant resources are cheap.  Scarce resources are expensive.  At least barring the government interfering.
The reason we know we’re not overpopulated is that, except by some urban areas (and that’s not overpopulation, that’s people wanting to live there for other reasons, like job market) land is NOT at a premium.
Honestly, I think Europeans buy this because they never drive to the almost-abandoned rural areas of their countries; because they imagine that America is as populated as their own countries (honestly we aren’t.  We have miles and miles of miles and miles.  They don’t.  Older countries, etc.), and that most Americans who push this line live in dense urban environments.
Out here, particularly in the west, but hell, I’ve driven rural Pennsylvania, land is not at a particular premium.  Certainly not the kind of premium if we were overpopulated.

2- Food would be scarce if we were straining the capacity of the Earth.Food is not scarce.  Even in the worst spots in the world, famines aren’t as bad as they were, and famines are mostly caused by kleptocracy and bad governance, not by a lack of arable land, a lack of food, or anything like that.  In this year of our Lord most people’s food problem is being fat, not being famished.  And not even just in developed countries.
In socialist countries, yeah, it’s bad, same as it’s ever been, because they whack the free market, i.e. the only engine for knowing what is abundant and what is scarce and when to make more of anything.  Pray for Venezuela.

3- There would be mass immigration from starving countries.  That’s not the mass immigration we have.
Immigration is not a sign the places the people are coming from are overpopulated or that the numbers they report to the UN are true, btw.
Immigration is sign that some regimes, some cultures are so dysfunctional they have nothing to offer their people; and that western regimes are so soft headed as to give everything to newly-arrived parasites.
That “caravan” from the Honduras that was coming to the US?  Yeah, I saw the pictures.  No one there was eating the bare minimum of calories, okay.  This is not a symptom of overpopulation.  It’s a symptom of crazy.

And yet, the left’s idiocies, including the “no borders” one are based on the idea we’re so overpopulated we should be killing all babies and letting people in to relatively unpopulated areas, because humanitarian or whatever.

But scientifically, by the numbers, we’re not overpopulated.  The carrying capacity of the Earth might well be double what we have (however much that is) given current technology, let alone future.

And don’t cry to me about the animals.  The whole “if we take over the Earth the animals become extinct” is another excuse to kill humans.  Animals have been going extinct since the Earth has HAD animals.

So when people tell you we need to start eliminating the weak because the Earth is overpopulated, call them on their bullshit.

The Earth is not overpopulated.  Some people just hate themselves, are too cowardly to suck-start a gun, and prefer to turn their hatred on everyone else.

The answer to their hate-spewing is and should always be “You first.”