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The Captain of the Ship or the Owner of the Ship

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

Explaining 2020 in a single sentence…and a question that follows it. “It’s my ship, I control where it goes.” Who’s saying it? The Captain of the ship, or the owner of the ship?

This is how our red and our blue states have been governed during the pandemic, in the aftermath of our infection with the Chinese Virus. The Captain of a vessel, and the owner of the vessel, are both within their rights to declare that the ship should follow a course. But it makes a big difference who’s saying it, if you’re on the boat!

Red-state governors have governed like the Captain of the ship, who goes down with it if it sinks. They say: Let’s have this mask mandate…or not. Let’s open these schools…or not. These are predictions of what will or will not be okay. They are predictions made by someone whose goose is thoroughly cooked if the predictions are wrong. And they may very well have been wrong. But those are the vital ingredients of real leadership: You figure out what’s going to happen as best you can, you err to the side of caution within reason, and you accept the residual risk. If you bungle it, everyone gets onto a lifeboat before you do, so you do your best not to bungle it.

Blue-state governors have governed like the owner of the ship, which is very different. This is more in the spirit of “If I break it no one can complain because it’s my property,” like a child abusing his own toys. Hey, I won the election, what I say goes! This is not like the Captain of the ship at all. Not even close. “Guessin’ Gavin” Newsom, I call him, decides day to day…I’m going to use these colors on these counties, there’s no such thing as “green,” you can’t advance to the next-safe tier even if the numbers say you can, unless I’m pleased with the racial equity in your COVID statistics. Oh yeah and bar food isn’t food, because if you order beer without a proper sandwich and side of mashed potatoes, the VID is gonna getcha. I decided that! I’m Gavin and I won the election. Ships’ owners, more often than not, are on dry land. If the ship sinks, they’re safe even if all hands are lost…and they just lose their personal property.

We are a law and order society so it’s easy for us to forget this distinction. “Do it my way I have the authority” may be true, but it could mean: Do it my way, it’s my skin. Or it could mean: Do it my way, it’s my toy so who cares if I break it.

It bears repeating: When you’re on the boat, it makes a huge difference.

Okay, so a single sentence, a question, and then an explanation that’s a little longer. But anyway. That’s 2020 for you. We just learned painfully what leadership really is. And we’ve got a big problem with some 2 dozen states being governed the way a spoiled child governs his toys…that he’s about to wreck. Our blue states are sinking ships, with owners who don’t care because they have no reason to care, they’re just playing with their toys. But there are real lives in those toys, with hopes and dreams.

Old Economy Steve

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

This is old. But it’s important, and since I’m just finding out about it…

The Atlantic:

Meet Old Economy Steve. As a proud member of the class of 1970-something, he’s got a doofy haircut straight out of “Dazed and Confused,” along with a sunny financial future. With commencement season drawing to a close, his awkwardly smirking face has become the canvass upon which some angry Millennials have decided to vent their frustrations with the economy, not to mention condescending Baby Boomers. There are almost 700 of these on quickmeme.

Definitely check out that QuickMeme link if this is new to you. As the article promises, it goes on and on…and on. Not that it takes a lot of talent to create a meme, but I’m sure a lot of the makers have talent to do something much more impressive and they chose to squander it by whining and crying about the older generation getting all the breaks…so they could sidestep any appreciation for their own breaks, and pretend to be wallowing in nothing but hurt and tragedy. How sad.

Old Economy SteveYeah kids. Grandpa stormed Normandy dodging machine gun fire so you could whine and cry like this.

Article continues:

But wait, how good did Steve really have it? Assuming he finished school some time in the late disco era, probably not so hot. Remember, the 1970s were the time of stagflation — that awful combo of high unemployment and spiraling inflation that left policy makers flummoxed. When the Federal Reserve finally jacked up interest rates to combat it, the bank induced several rocky years of recession. In 1982, the unemployment rate for 20-to-24-year-old men peaked at more than 18 percent. For teens it was in the twenties. Meanwhile, the late 70s also kicked off America’s first plunge into industrial decline. Little remembered fact, Chrysler actually needed a government bailout to survive in 1979.

Meanwhile, there’s a decent chance that Steve saw his 401K cut in half come the 2008 financial crisis. Or, if he was a Chrysler worker, he might have gotten laid off just a few years short of retirement. So, maybe we should give Old Economy Steve a break.

When an enlightened, woken, no-comments Internet tabloid like The Atlantic is telling you to stop sniveling and pick yourself up by your bootstraps, something’s way off course. Here the problem isn’t that the meme-makers have never been told how to work hard at something; the problem is that they’ve made it impossible for anyone to tell them that. They live in their dungeon of despair. Say a word to bust them out of it, or a sentence or a paragraph or a whole essay, they’ll pigeonhole you as “Old Economy Steve” and let it all roll off them like water off a duck’s back.

It’s a popular idea now: The generation before ours, got all the advantages. You go back a few years before bad-haircut Steve, and you hit another crew that didn’t have to worry about expensive college tuition. In what would have been their sophomore year, they were worried about landing the plane after coming back dodging anti-aircraft fire. How’s that figure into the morose, angst-filled ruminations about dopey ol’ Steve and how he doesn’t realize how good he had it?

These “woe is me” kids were made and not born. It’s a manufactured problem, conjured up not by the requirement to try harder or to jump through a few hoops, but by the lack of such a requirement. It’s that soft sheltered space in mom’s basement with the electricity that always works and the video game console that’s always ready, that makes the problem. In my day, I didn’t have that, I had to pay rent. That created a necessity to get a job, and cope with rejection. There was no safe space for me to build memes or to play video games, unless I made one for myself. But that all begins with “In My Day” so you just try telling these kids that.

It should be noted that the Atlantic’s list of hardships for poor Steve, whatever relevance it has, is not complete. In my day, it was Black Monday. I saw it on the front page inside a newspaper machine — yes we really had those — waiting for my first-real-job job interview. Yes, at eight in the morning, Monday, October 19, 1987, getting my start at the very instant it all turned sour. I remember looking at the newsstand, maybe with my head cocked a little bit like a quizzical puppy dog. Looked like a dark omen. Still waiting to find out if it really was one! That’s life. But I guess not…I have a two-story house, with a mortgage I’m still paying…which makes me you-know-who, in the eyes of some.

Greatness Is Scary

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Let’s discuss this with honesty: #MAGA stands for Make America Great Again. This is offensive to many.

They are not offended because they think America was already great, although many of them have said so. They are not offended because America has never been great; many have said that. These would be two irreconcilable factions, fighting with each other, if they meant what they had been saying. They never did. We never saw them fight with each other and there’s a resaon for that. These were dishonest cosmetic statements lacking any matching underlying sentiment.

It’s offensive because greatness is decision-based. If you’re some slacker living in your mom’s basement with no job, and you wake up this morning and say “This stops now” and you mean it, you’re already great. The resulting education, job, saving, marriage, house etc. are merely following through on the awakening, like the position of a boat following a new bearing. If the boat is following a bearing of greatness, the boat is great already. That’s how people are. That’s how communities are. That’s how societies are.

Similarly, if you’re a nation and you’re the world’s superpower, but you let a bunch of commie filth design your school curricula and your government policies and your big budget entertainment and your evening news and your late night comedy; you have given away your greatness. If you build “sanctuary cities” in which you reward lawbreakers and you pass progressive income taxes and unlimited property taxes and lawn watering restrictions and silly little laws against plastic bags and straws, just to screw with the people who work hard and follow the law and let them know their place; you have given away your greatness. It doesn’t matter if the resulting decline in standard of living takes decades or a century.

#MAGA means: Let our nation conduct itself the way truly positive and spiritual people conduct themselves, not like these poor miserable hot messes you might meet late at night in a bar who you end up marrying right before they run up your cards and take off with all your stuff. It means to embrace standards rather than to abnegate them. It means recognize greatness in each other, where it exists, and to reward it rather than punish it. Stop finding excuses to fail at things before we’ve even tried.

It means, when some among us succeed at something, GO AHEAD AND CONGRATULATE them. Skip this little decision-point we’ve been reaching. You know the one…well now wait a minute, is there an opportunity for ME ME ME to do some virtue signaling here? Is he an amputee or special needs? Gay? Black? Female? If none of the above, then let’s peck at him like jealous chickens in a barnyard, make him step back and let a designated-oppressed person take his place because it’s all about ME ME ME. No. It’s not about you. Being great means recognizing greatness. It doesn’t mean to punish mediocrity and it doesn’t mean to pretend mediocrity is great. It means to inspire the mediocre.

Treat greatness…like greatness.

Don’t punish it or displace it to make room for another. Study it.

Treat friends as friends. Make it easy for people to be your friend.

Treat enemies as enemies. Don’t destroy them right away. First give them reasons to stop being an enemy, and consider becoming friends. If that doesn’t work, then by all means light ’em up.

But it should be easy and rewarding to be our friend, and difficult and expensive to be our enemy. Not the other way around!

In short, greatness means acting like we have some business being on the planet. Like we belong here.

Our country has spent the better part of a century going the other way. Too much apologizing…not for an ugly history or anything like that, but merely for existing. We’re discussing this honestly, remember. And honestly, if it wasn’t for the legacy of slavery, it would be something else. Negative, ungrateful people always look for a subject of complaint, and they ALWAYS find it.

And that is why #MAGA is controversial. Greatness means, ultimately, depriving hostile, negative, ankle-biting wounded incomplete people of their voice, until such time as they make up their minds to become positive people who treat friends as friends and enemies as enemies, and stop behaving like bar trash.

Because once you go down that road, the conversion is hard.

Not impossible. It’s doable. Others have done it.

That’s why it’s scary.

I Couldn’t Possibly Care Less If “We’re All In This Together”

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Who needs to be told “We’re all in this together”? I daresay no one. Not even people who are severely depressed, psychologically and economically, teetering on the brink of doing something tragic and drastic. I don’t think even they care about being in it alone versus together. If you’ve ever been in a situation like that, you know it’s not terribly helpful to have it suggested someone else is suffering the same way. In fact, all that really does is diminish any residual hopes that help might be coming.

I care about young, inexperienced, confused kids struggling away in retail jobs suddenly charged with the responsibility of being miniature public health officials. “Sir! Sir! Where’s your mask?” The poor tykes think if they ever allow someone to walk past a line barefaced, the Wuhan Problem will flare up all over again and the blood of thousands will be on their hands. And I care about those kids maybe getting fired or laid off, then having to figure out how to collect from an overburdened unemployment system weeks & months behind in the process of figuring out which claims are fraudulent. Or, with maybe possibly getting another job. Right now. In this.

Mostly, I care about being told no. I care about losing my cool, not quite so much over being told no, but over the knowledge that my request is not COVID-related even in the slightest. I worry about losing my sense of perspective, as I struggle with a negligible inconvenience, knowing others have it so much worse. Because my intelligence is being insulted by the latest “No can do, because COVID” coming from some guy who can’t even be bothered to look up from his text messaging conversation.

I care about the end game. I’m one of the ones who resolutely refuse to accept the “new normal,” but are legitimately wondering how we get things back again if the answer to every little thing is: Nope. Sorry. COVID.

It’s dishonest because the people who are making the rules about how much suffering we’re all doing, as “we’re in it together,” enjoy immunity from the effects. That’s the real concern people are supposed to have when they wonder whether or not we’re all in it together. In the ways that matter, we’re not. And yet — we are. In a most unhealthy way. To those who make the decisions, the real harm is merely delayed. They’re going to have a lot of trouble collecting taxes from a base that has been so wounded. They’re already crying to Trump. Trump told them no, so now they’re campaigning for Placeholder Joe and Kamala Proud-Of-Rapists. If those two are victorious next month, the answer may change…and the bailouts will materialize. We saw that kind of stuff back in the seventies, right before the dollar price of every little thing doubled and tripled.

In fact, throughout the twentieth century there was a lot of excitement — the wrong kind. Lots of misery. Lots of Keynesian policies, micro-managing, totalitarian dictatorships across the globe. A pandemic came before all of this. And this gives me cause to wonder.

I wish people would stop popping up on the teevee telling me we’re all in this together. It’s the answer to a question no one was asking. The people who are saying it, are showing how little they understand of the real problem. And they’re addressing the sort of people I would hope went the way of the Dodo Bird: The kind whose day brightens just a little bit knowing someone else is suffering. If there’s anything we don’t need right now, that’s it.

Progressive Taxation

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Once again, I’m venturing into a college town, a stranger in a strange land. This is where you can finally find one or two Biden/Harris signs. Which isn’t so bad, but there’s a prevailing sentiment that Bernie Sanders is an okay guy and might still have the right idea. Months after he took the money & ran. People can’t figure out what smells.

Resentment appeals to people, especially to people who pay attention to politics only occasionally. I suppose it’s like a smoothie, that first sip is enticing and delicious. Nobody wants to suck away at it all day, but that’s okay because with politics people only pay attention long enough to form an opinion. They can’t see what their resentments are doing to them, and to the rest of us.

Alright, I’ll explain here we can’t afford to have resentment in our tax policies. Let’s inspect the intersection between economics and politics by making it simple: I’m a collectivist-type politician, running on a platform of absolute collectivism. If I win, everybody’s money goes into a big pile, and then everybody gets back the total amount of money divided by the population count so everyone ends up with an equal amount.

To keep things simple, everyone votes their own interests. If you know my scheme will extract more money from you than it will give back to you, you’ll vote no, and if you know it will give back to you more than it will take, you vote yes. If you line everybody up according to how much they have, and take the property value of the guy standing at the halfway point, that’s the median. If you put everybody’s property in that big pile and divide by the number of people, that’s the average, or mean. So I lose if the median is greater than the mean. I win if the median is less than the mean. It all has to do with whether there’s a slope, and which way it goes.

The way economics works, this will always win. There’s always a slope and the slope always goes one way. The wealthiest guy has a whole lot more than the second-wealthiest guy. The poorest people have roughly the same amount as each other. An “Us Against Them” mentality emerges. But I don’t need to rely on the us-against-them mentality, the numbers are on my side. I can take to the airwaves and truthfully say “If you have less than X, you will benefit under my plan” and if people vote purely selfishly, like rats on a sinking ship, I will win.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Suppose a blue fairy godmother emerges from on high and says “I will straighten your curve.” She would wave her magic wand and do merely the first step of what I’m promising to do — curing inequality. Note, though, she’s offering merely to straighten the curve, not to go so far as I’m going to ensure everyone has the same amount of stuff. No curve means the median and the mean are the same. Poorest guy has 1, wealthiest guy has 100, so the guy in the middle has 50 or 51.

Well! If you ask me, I’m going to say not only no, but Hell No. I can’t win that way. Or — I could win, but I would only squeak through with barely 50% of the vote, best case scenario.

I, the collectivist-minded politician, M-U-S-T have the inequality and the inequality must have the curve to it. My whole political career depends on it. I have got to have those 70%, 80%, 90% continually shafted, continually possessing less than the mean, so they have an incentive to support me. I can’t have: Poorest guy has 1, richest guy has 100, with linearly spaced gradients in between. If it’s like that, my goose is cooked. Note that my plan is supposed to go leaps and bounds beyond that, ensuring that the wealthiest guy and the poorest guy have the same amount. The point is that to achieve merely the first step of that, would already be unworkable because it would be contrary to my interests.

Progressive taxation is supposed to do exactly what it has in fact done, which is to take this glorious fantasized instant of Bastille-raiding and stretch it out endlessly. It’s supposed to promise the whole cookie while offering only crumbs…across decades and generations. It is the ultimate in the counterproductive bureaucracy, which is incentivized to preserve the problem it was formulated to solve. The median has to be less than the mean, in order for it to work politically. Its proponents are not on the side of the rich people, and they’re not representing the interests of the poor people either.

The Polls Have Problems

Friday, October 9th, 2020

The polls have Biden up over Trump. And the gap, I’m told, is consistently much greater than Hillary’s lead four years ago, which turned out to be phony. This Biden-advantage gap is also durable. Time to start worrying.

Some conservative bloggers, fearing a momentary episode of 2012-like disillusionment that could impact the future of the country for generations to come, have taken to characterizing these polls as inaccurate. They have their justifications, but I’m not going to churn up reasons to doubt the accuracy of the polls. I wouldn’t believe in this; the polls are not inaccurate.

But they are plagued with problems.

1. A nationwide poll doesn’t gel with the Electoral College. We have suffered massive and predictable confusion every four years from nationwide polls and the skew always goes in the same direction. A huge chunk of our blue-state electorate is all pooled up in places like California, Washington State, Oregon, New England…these don’t move the needle, nobody is wondering about them. A state like, say for example, Oregon sending its slate of electors to the Electoral College to vote for Biden, is a disaster that can only happen one time. If the state’s voters have gone 90% Biden it’s no different than if they’re 51% Biden. So the other 39% is, effectively, a waste. The Biden column has a lot of waste here. The Trump column, not so much.

2. Oversampling of democrat voters in the pool. The pollsters keep getting surprised the same way and they just keep doing it. I don’t know why. You have to ask them. Oh, I have my ideas. I think they’re in the entertainment business and not the news business, whether they know it or not. More on this below.

3. Liberals run the polls, and liberals inhabit liberal echo chambers. That has traditionally been safe, because the tinge of the echo chambers tends to drizzle outward, like the blue thing you toss in a toilet tank coloring all the water. But it’s different now because public trust in our news media has dropped to an historic low. It hasn’t been this low, in fact, since…2016. Yup.

4. The Bradley Effect, or The Wilder Effect. Historically, this has to do with people lying to pollsters about their vote for a black candidate, and then on Election Day voting for his white opponent causing an eight-to-ten point surprise. This year it’s more of a “shy Trump voter” effect but the principle is the same: People are lying to pollsters. They’re consistently lying to pollsters in the same way. They will vote Trump/Pence, but they don’t report that to the pollsters because they just don’t want to get into it. They got interrupted while they were cooking & getting ready for dinner.

5. The Flotilla factor. There is a serious enthusiasm-gap problem plaguing the Biden/Harris camp. If our polling resources were trustworthy, they’d at least discuss it, but they aren’t discussing it. Meanwhile, there aren’t any Biden signs out there. No Biden bumper stickers. No Biden flotillas to counter the five thousand boat Trump flotilla. That’s something.

6. Supporters of Biden/Harris have lead in their pants. It has always been true that people tell the pollsters they plan to vote, and when the time comes they just stay home and watch reruns. It’s a safe generalization to make that Trump/Pence supporters are not going to do this. In 2020, the bulk of the lead-in-pants vote is “committed” to Biden/Harris…and they’re going to screw that ticket. Again, if the news were trustworthy, they’d discuss this. They’re not discussing this because they aren’t trustworthy.

7. Contrasted with that, Trump/Pence supporters do not have lead in their pants. This may seem redundant with “The Flotilla Factor,” #5 above, but it’s not. Things are different in 2020 because the stakes are much, much higher and everybody understands this. If Trump/Pence loses, it’s not just a matter of putting up with smarmy liberal jackass nephews at the Thanksgiving table. Pedophiles are roaming the streets burning down the businesses, some of which are family businesses that have been built with caring, dedication and love across the generations. People are getting hurt and killed, because we have a need for law and order that far exceeds what we have. This isn’t a mystery and it isn’t something that’s affecting some unknown person three time zones away. It’s happening right in front of us and it’s real. Most elections, each side is motivated by revulsion and fatigue with the other. This election, only The Left is motivated by fatigue. The Right is motivated by self-preservation, political and personal.

The democrats do not process a dopamine flow the same way normal healthy people do. To a democrat, the dopamine flow is everything. Remember the Saturday Night Live sketch, when “Biden” put “Trump” on pause with a remote control? When strong-woman Kamala came out to lecture the two of them? Not “parody,” because these events bore no resemblance to anything that actually happened. That’s the liberal brain for you; they can’t distinguish between “It makes me happy to have this thought” versus a funny joke. And they can’t distinguish between their happy thoughts, and reality. They’re that hooked on the dopamine flow: Fantasy, reality and punchlines are all in the same Vitamix blender together and that sucker is revved up on high. This is why news can’t be trusted. They’ve given up real news, and have gotten into the business of delivering liberals their dopamine.

I don’t know that all this means Trump/Pence will win, or if any of it means that. I do know it’s a mistake to try to predict what will happen by what we have been told, without taking into account the above factors.

My Unpopular Opinion

Saturday, September 26th, 2020

I have some opinions that are unpopular, but this one is perhaps the least-popular out of all of them. But I must say, I’m not being given credible reasons to change my mind.

I think we can all agree that 2020 is not a very good year. Suffering abounds. We who are extremely fortunate have to redefine our notions of “suffering” so we can pretend we’re doing some of it and sharing in the misery, but deep down we know that we’re merely struggling with some occasional trifling inconveniences. Whereas others are literally wondering where their next meals are coming from, or their next month’s rent anyway. We know it’s entirely understandable for us to do some bitching. But we also know we need to be very careful about when & where we’re doing it, and of what’s making us feel like bitching. A lot of the time, in fact most of the time, we have to recognize these feelings as the feelings they are, and STFU about all of it. The old metaphor about the sadness for not having any shoes, “until I met a man who had no feet.” That’s us.

I have an unpopular opinion about masks, but it’s only unpopular among those who make a lot of noise. Among the quiet ones, I suspect — in fact, I know for sure — it’s not really unpopular at all. The idea that the efficacy of masks is on the fringe of established science, and that their applicability is more political than medical, is reinforced so frequently and just so blatantly that you’d have to live in a deep dark hole in order to keep yourself from at least considering it. Which I notice is where a lot of people are living, and those of us who do not live in deep dark holes, are strongly encouraged to do so. Encouraged by the loud people who make lots of noise to live in these deep dark holes. Watch only what you’re told to watch. Don’t think unsanctioned thoughts, etc.

I have an even more unpopular opinion. I think the rules aren’t going to save us. In fact, I think there is something terribly wrong, not only with the rules themselves, but with the people who cook them up and promote them. I think that they think rules are the answer to everything. Once again, it’s not the conclusion reached that I want to criticize, it’s the method by which people get there. Wear a mask! The advice is not wrong; in fact, I support it wholeheartedly if the conditions are right. Seven million people with the Chinese Virus means one out of every 50, and you don’t want to get this. We’re six months into this so that’s ample opportunity to share airspace with an asymptomatic carrier. But why are you riding a bike out on the trails all by yourself with a mask on your face? “I’m a transplant patient and I can’t afford to get this”…so, you wear a cloth mask? That’s the wrong equipment for what you’re trying to do. Such an error could be deadly. It makes an impression on me that I don’t see anyone in a hurry to correct it.

But, the rules people…rules, rules, rules…let’s establish another rule, that’ll solve everything.

They’re way out of control. That’s another one of my opinions, but this one is by no means unpopular. Everyone who’s taken the time to observe and then to give it so much as a moment’s thought has to agree. It’s our second-virus, these “Karens” interrogating us about “Where’s your mask?” and reporting us to the snitch lines if they see us embarking on non-essential errands. They’re not completely wrong. Intelligent people, by definition, have to adapt to new situations by way of changing their own understanding of what’s normal vs. what’s not, and it was always a given that we’d have to accept a new way of life. But they’re not completely right either. The reluctance to re-evaluate these new rules after we gave the rules a fair try and found out they’re not the right way to go. If you can’t admit you were wrong about your new rules, then what good does this adaptive intelligence do for anybody? And yet the situation persists. We’ve got a lot of people walking around among us who think rules solve all problems. Real life gives them a mid-course correction, but they don’t get corrected. They keep marching along in the same direction and at the same velocity, not surrendering even so much as a blip of momentum. They learn nothing…even when the suffering is their own…which it rarely is. Hmmm, maybe that’s the issue.

When we’re chasing arrow decals on the floor while shopping for groceries, turning into quivering neurotics who’ve discovered we’re pointing the grocery cart the wrong way even though we can’t do anything about it, it’s gone too far.

But that’s not an unpopular opinion.

I have an unpopular opinion that this “rules solve everything” mindset is not only in error, but may in fact be a serious mental illness. It would have been officially diagnosed as such if we lived back in the days where your continuing survival was fastened to your ability to think clearly. My opinion is that it’s not being officially diagnosed because, and only because, this is not the case. Everybody’s continuing survival is everybody else’s responsibility, and this has driven us crackers. I think there are people out there who simply cannot recognize that these useful technological innovations we enjoy, are the products of independent thinking. Chaotic, ramshackle roughshod thinking, in some kind of “Frankenstein’s Lab” — some cloister in which rules did not apply. We have new things we didn’t have before because someone had to say “I’ll do this because I’m not seeing any rules telling me I can’t do it”; maybe they even broke a rule to do it! And there are people who can’t even consider the possibility of that. They are so far gone that they think we have electric light because someone made a rule that we should have it. They think we put men on the moon because JFK expressed the desire that we should do it. They think we’re going to hit “climate change” targets in 2050 or 2100 because of these unelected, unappointed, unaccountable busybodies on commissions and panels make their “accords” and other rules saying we should hit them, and once we hit them the credit should go to the busybodies…who’ve never produced a thing someone else would want to buy, or helped to so produce, ever, for a single moment in their entire lives. I think there are people who don’t acknowledge the ones who sweat out the details, who go through the trial & error to see if something works, because they’re simply unaware of the necessity. They think forming the “vision” is all of the hard work that has to be done. I think they’re that far gone, because we’re in the Idiocracy now, not chased by any natural predators or threatened by any natural threats. I think the entire human race, at least that part of it that manages to make some noise, is a failure-to-launch kid who doesn’t know what a farm is, doesn’t know how food is grown, slaughtered, processed, and thinks the process of acquiring it consists solely of yelling at your mama that it’s time for her to bring a Hot Pocket to your bedroom.

I’ll say right now that’s not my most unpopular opinion. I’m still going after something else. But let me elaborate on this one: Politicians just love these “mom-wanna-hot-pocket-now” people. These people think we have cars and air conditioning and elevators because someone made a rule, and that means they’re giving the politicians all of the credit for everything. They think Barack Obama actually busted out His own wallet, pulled out some bills, and gave them the health care they need. My own Governor is kowtowing to them with a new rule that says no gas-powered cars sold here, at all, starting in 2035. Such bold leadership!

It’s not an unpopular opinion that this is the wrong way to go. It may be an unpopular opinion that this has all the trappings of a mental illness, but I wouldn’t write a blog post called “My Unpopular Opinion” about that. It’s not that unpopular.

No…my unpopular opinion is about bullying.

These days it has become quite popular to take part in building a new world that has no bullying. Now as I think about this just casually, at first I have to agree. It seems hypocritical not to climb onto the bandwagon. As a child I was one of the unpopular ones, I didn’t hit my growth spurt until rather late, and although I came out of it taller than most I spent nearly all of childhood shorter than most. I was bullied a lot. I understand bullying. There’s something wrong with the bullies. My own bullies were wounded, incomplete people and I could see that at the time.

In adulthood, as I look at some of the problems I solved, I can see I’m now paying my mortgage entirely by way of solving the problems that weren’t supposed to be solvable. I suppose in some way or another that’s true of all of us who pay mortgages, or at least some of us. A big chunk, more than just me. Now, how do we solve the truly vexing problems, the ones that are sufficiently challenging that maybe lots of others have tried to solve them and haven’t been able to do it. The problems that are sufficiently difficult that the solution, should it ever be presented and found viable, is naturally imbued with economic value. Such problems cannot be solved simply by way of following instructions. How do we do that?

The very first step is to conquer the feeling of frustration. To move past the “Well, this sucks” sentiment. To click past that notch, into the “So what are we gonna do about it?” And put some thought into that. The evaluation of whether or not the problem is solvable, with the resources currently available, comes right after that.

Bullying is essentially tapping on the glass to get the fish to move. It is the act of placing the bullying-victim in a situation he can’t escape, one in which his desire for the bullying to stop, intense as it may be, is entirely irrelevant. It is the creation of a situation in which all that matters is how the subject chooses to respond. Like many who make a living with their intellect, I am paying bills because — and only because — it is in my nature to obsess over how I choose to respond to perplexing situations, and how I feel about the situation is far less important to me. Like all of us who have a pulse, I did not emerge from the womb this way. I had to be changed. It’s not that I don’t feel bad when situations make me feel bad. I just naturally click past the notch because my clicker has been worn down to an un-clicker. It’s because of something missing, not because of something that’s there. I guess you could call that childhood abuse of some kind?

But the fact remains, that’s how we solve problems. Maybe I should hunt down the bullies from my childhood and give them a big thank you. I’ve often thought so. Maybe I should shower them with some huge checks? But if I did that, I’d have to leave enough in reserves to pay off the piece-of-crap cowardly “teachers” who didn’t do anything about the bullying and told me to handle it myself. I’d have to pay them even more, I think. They told me to handle it myself, so I did. Then the bully and I both got hauled off to the Principal’s office for fighting…and I learned firsthand how hollow and fake authority can be sometimes. The bully never bullied me again though. So many valuable lessons in one day…and none of them in the classroom.

I have to admit that if none of this happened, I’d be just another useless martinet folding his arms across his chest, and obsessing over “I don’t like this” and “we need a new rule.” I’d be just another one of these oxygen-thieves only pretending to solve problems, just chipping away at the liberty of total strangers. Just another amateur sculptor, deluding himself into thinking he’s making art, when he’s really just reducing a beautiful marble block to rubble.

Every justification a hardcore lefty-loosie progressive has for his most intrusive and destructive reforms, boils down to some statement beginning with the words “Don’t you see, we’re trying to build a new world in which there’s no…” followed by the thing they’re trying to eradicate from existence, forever. Today, progressives are turning boys into pansies. They’re actually offended by anything and everything that might possibly turn the boy into a strong, resilient, rugged man. They’ll get rid of all these resources, one at a time, systematically and methodically. In fact they’re already doing it. They’re fairly far down the checklist.

So we’re trying to build a new world in which there’s no bullying? Careful with those wishes.

My most unpopular opinion is that bullying is Chesterton’s Fence.

I note, here, that this does not mean I want to keep it. Bullying is unethical, unjust, and cowardly. There’s something wrong with the bully. We need to figure out what happened to the bullies to make them that way, and if we’re successful at that, then of course we would end up getting rid of bullying. So I’m not entirely opposed.

But it’s not like Cancer. If you really think we have a shot at getting rid of bullying forever, we’d better think long and hard about what we’re going to put in its place. It does have a function.

That’s an unpopular opinion. But let me go even further and twist the knife a bit:

We are living in painful times, right now, because these strutting martinets who always want more rules more rules more rules, weren’t bullied enough. We needed some bullying we didn’t have, back in the day, to stop these assholes from turning out the way they did. Between them, and bullies, they are the bigger problem by far. And we’re paying the price now because we didn’t have enough bullying. Someone unfortunately reached adulthood, and is now filling out their role in adulthood being very loud, seizing influence for all the wrong reasons…never having learned to think like an adult.

That’s why they think a new rule is the answer to every problem that comes down the pike. They never learned otherwise. They needed a bully or two in their lives and they didn’t get them.

They think, way too much, of how they feel about things. Whether or not they disapprove. They obsess over this when nobody cares, and become quite tedious.

They don’t think, nearly enough, of how they’re going to respond.

When that old “legacy bullying” is going on in the playground, that’s all that’s on the bully’s mind. That’s all that’s on the victim’s mind, too. What’s the response? That’s the Chesterton’s-Fence part of bullying. Get rid of it if, and only if, you can replace it with something else; and if you don’t have something to replace it with, or you don’t understand it, maybe you shouldn’t get rid of it quite yet.

We have this “new normal” of new rules that don’t make anything better and make lots of things worse. Those rules come from people who want all of the control but will accept none of the responsibility, and just like to crank out rules without regard to what effect the rules have. These people are that way because they only care about “do I approve of this?” and they’re not putting any thought into how they’ll respond. And they got to be that way because they weren’t bullied enough.

I can’t blame good-hearted, conscientious fellow citizens for disagreeing with me about it. But I have to be truthful: Every year I see come and go, in fact every week I see come and go nowadays, I am more and more sure of it. We’re buried up to our necks in rules that don’t make any sense and that hurt many while helping nobody, because some assholes weren’t bullied enough. I will even go so far as to say, if we’ve been trading the problem of bullying for the problem of these new-normal more-rules people, we should do a system-restore and reverse the transaction. Bring back the bullies. Because this was not a win. All we managed to do is change one flavor of bullying for a different one. In fact it hardly even qualifies as that sort of change. It amounts to a continuation of the same bullying with the same misguided zeal, with some “shelter in place” orders being written down and circulated, and some fancy speeches.

Does that mean I’m yearning to see Dr. Fauci, Gov. Newsom, Mayor Garcetti, Gov. Whitmer, Gov. Cuomo, or Mayor de Blasio subjected to playground harassment as I was? Subjected to the gum-on-the-bus-seat treatment? The “Indian Burn”? The pink-belly or the nipple-twist? Noogies? Loogies? “Stop hitting yourself”? Towel-snapping? Jammed into a trash can or a locker?

Let me be clear about that:

Oh no, I just realized this post is too long and so I will stop.

We Wouldn’t Even Be Having the Argument

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Biden’s backers are swaggering like they’ve got this thing in the bag, but they’re generally too young to understand how many times their guy ran for this thing and lost.

If he shared Trump’s strengths in actually being elected President, or if Trump shared his weaknesses, we wouldn’t even be having the argument.

The “beltway insider” thing is a serious Biden deficiency. In previous elections it was tossed around as a pejorative, casually and frequently, like spitballs. Biden is Mr. Insider. He was elected Senator at the very earliest possible age, in 1972. Not many people realize this. Had Congress been seated a few days after the election, or a couple weeks, as opposed to a couple months, he wouldn’t have been constitutionally eligible. Then he chafed his butt on the Senate chair right up until 2008 when Barack Obama chose him to be His running mate. You can’t get more insider than that. This guy’s asking for some real trouble each and every time he claims to be the liberator and fixer-upper who’s going to make it all better. Which is often.

Odd that Trump’s attacks are mostly veiled references to his opponent’s diminishing mental faculties. “If Joe’s got the answers, why didn’t he try them before?” is something you mostly see on social media, written by someone else.

My current theory about the President is that he’s keeping his powder dry. The evidence doesn’t point anywhere else. That could be significant.

Time will tell.

Duct Tape Them to Chairs

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Software weenies should work according to their own Hippocratic Oath of sorts, to first do no harm. I would have counseled my earlier self, given the opportunity to time travel back to the beginning, to pay closer attention to this “first do no harm” stuff. “Don’t be that guy.” Maybe make a list of that-guy types to try to not be…yes, that would have been good.

But I did pay at least some attention to it. This Dilbert strip, in particular, helped me acquire a little bit of practical wisdom, albeit perhaps a bit too slowly or too late. Don’t be that guy who burns the midnight oil, to put his team two steps forward and three steps back. Don’t be the guy everyone else would like to duct tape to a chair.

Seems like lately we have many sources of acute misery that have arisen to torment us, each one of them due to liberals not being duct taped to chairs. They’re roaming the streets of our cities after dark looting businesses someone spent their whole lives building. They’re ruining Star Wars. They’re promoting pedophilia on Netflix now. They’re running into the hills setting fires, after having pushed a bunch of absurd rules on us for years and years making it impossible or impractical to apply sound forest management. They’re still coming up with absurd lockdown policies and banning Halloween. They’re teaching college students to hate their own country.

I could add to this list throughout an entire afternoon if I really put my mind to it. Unfortunately, I haven’t got the time. Gotta make that living. It’s that “not been born independently wealthy” thing, sure does suck sometimes.

I’m among the riff raff who can’t close down hair salons to get my own personal, private session you see.

Trust Issues

Sunday, August 30th, 2020

Once I worked in an office that had a liberal in it. It happens. And he was actually a pretty smart, compassionate guy. That occasionally happens too. He was pondering the climate change scam– er, crisis — and came to realize that since it’s so undeniably true and everybody knows how true and not-scammy it is, it must logically follow that all of us people who possess and use critical thinking skills and have concluded it’s a scam, must actually be in the process of committing suicide or something. And so he wanted to know my take on it, since he knew I was one of the deplorables. What’s my angle? Why don’t I believe the science?

Or rather, why don’t I go chasing off after their perversion of Pascal’s Wager: If we prepare for climate change and it turns out not to be a thing, then hey no biggie, but if we don’t prepare for it and it turns out to be real, we’re screwed. So we better hedge our bets. Why does this not magically flip over the deplorables on the climate issue, like a pancake? Could I please speak on behalf of all the others and help enlighten him because he really wanted to know.

In my third paragraph I come to the heart of the matter. My answer to this has not changed across this handful of years. I cannot speak for each and every single deplorable, but for the ones who are like me, it’s a trust issue. We do not trust the progressive political movement. Nobody with common sense trusts them. We think of these made-up issues as sales pitches to enthrall us with, or get us acclimated to, socialism. Period, full stop. And with “climate change” it’s pretty darn easy to test: Transforming capitalist societies to socialist collectives, by rights, should have zip zero nada nothing to do with whether we’re approaching a climate Armageddon. MAGA!In fact, if the threat were really serious, what we should then be demanding is that both capitalism and socialism persist, and all these models come together and learn how to coordinate to address the threat. But this remains a problem across a panoply of unrelated issues. Save the whales! Americans with Disabilities Act. Hate crime legislation. Abolishing the Electoral College. Raising the minimum wage. Gun control. All this stuff chips, chips, chips away at the individual’s right, obligation and ability to provide for himself and rely on himself, to think for himself. They’re all baby steps toward socialism. They attack businesses, starting with the small businesses. When you speak of deplorables, you speak of people who have figured this out and are rejecting your agenda. And you’re trying to gaslight them into forgetting what they’ve seen for themselves, playing the “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?” game.

And that brings us to these “peaceful protests.” Liberals are such liars. They say this is the first step in the “progressive tradition” of demanding needed change. Imagine the deplorables taking to the streets to protest the unfairness of a progressive tax scheme. The liberals would haughtily intone to us — and they’d be completely right to do so — that we’re wrong. This is not the way. Our Constitution is malleable, and so are all the inferior laws that derive their statutory authority from it. The Constitution can be amended. All of the laws can be updated or rescinded altogether. Our elected officials serve at our pleasure. Yes taxation without representation would be wrong, but there’s a difference between guaranteed representation and guaranteed winning. So go home you deplorables. Go home, start trying to muster up the votes for the change you seek, and if you can’t do that then STFU.

Somehow, this doesn’t apply to them. Their rules only work one way.

That’s because they’re lying fakers. Oh, not each and every single one of them, but the ones who drive the agenda, the ones who really matter, are unabashed fake phonies. This is why people don’t trust them. They have an enormous problem here. I mean, think about it: As you rank the populace according to net worth, or annual income, take your pick; the median is far below the mean. That’s a fancy way of saying, by representing the people on the economic bottom who would benefit from a redistribution scheme, they’re representing far, far more than fifty percent. A political party that opposes redistribution because it represents those who would be asked to give more, should be getting creamed consistently, bashed and bashed until it’s pummeled into nonexistence, following a brief series of a few elections that turned out to be all but pointless. Why isn’t it happening?

Maybe I shouldn’t say this in social media. Liberals lose elections in the United States because of the trust issues. They’re just so clearly laboring toward ulterior motives they can’t spell out in detail, so obvious in the biases that drive their passions, and just so brazenly out to destroy things and hurt people. Republicans are winning with the votes of people who aren’t at all crazy about Republicans. People shy away from the negativity. Liberals are too close to it and they can’t see it.

The rank-and-file really do think they’re “fighting for the rights of” poor people, blacks, women, LGBTQ+ …really do think they’re trying to make the environment cleaner. They really do think anyone who questions them must want oppression for the minorities, and dirty air.

So they smash, break and burn our stuff. They’re becoming the very thing they hate.

And now that we’re in endless campaign season we get to see it all of the time.

Quietly Revising Guidance

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

What’s this now?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer recommending testing for everyone who’s been exposed to Covid-19, saying people who don’t have symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”

The agency quietly revised its testing guidance for asymptomatic individuals Monday, advising people who are vulnerable to the virus to get tested if they have been within 6 feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes.

The agency previously recommended testing for anyone with a “recent known or suspected exposure” to the virus even if they did not have symptoms. The CDC’s previous guidance cited “the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission” as a reason why people without symptoms who were exposed to the virus should be “quickly identified and tested.” Numerous studies have shown that people who don’t have symptoms can still carry and spread the virus — even in the presymptomatic stage a few days before symptoms appear or if they are asymptomatic and never develop symptoms.

I don’t object to these changes. I really don’t. They call this a “novel virus” for a reason and I would expect there to be some learning along the way. Beats the alternative, right?

What I object to is this “quietly” business. A hundred-eighty degree hairpin turn should be loud, loud, loud. Dedicated bureaucrats, it has been said, act primarily to preserve their bureaucracies and any motivation toward solving the problem the bureaucracy was chartered or mandated to solve, comes in a distant second place. People are struggling to figure out if the CDC has passed that point, and this business of “quietly revising” direction is a pretty big clue.

Only a dedicated bureaucracy would quietly revise guidance, on anything, related to this plague that has touched so many lives, directly or indirectly. And there are all sorts of new evils attendant to a dedicated bureaucracy that’s been elevated to this position, er, or maybe I should say, painted into this corner.

The Rioting Has to Stop

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Okay I’ve been gone, and while not gone I’ve been a bit distracted. While not gone and not distracted I’ve been irrelevant, because now the conventions are going on and I’m not watching them. I find out about the highlights and the low lights the next day along with everybody else, and who wants my warmed-over opinions about that? So I’ve been quiet. All month.

But this…this…is amazing…

“The rioting has to stop, It’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing right now that is sticking.”

People predicted this way back at the beginning, and common sense says it can’t go any other way. Even if you sympathize with the riots and want Trump to lose, the only logical effect the riots would have on you might be one of: I’m totally down with a change of leadership but it looks like now is not the time. We’ve got roving hordes of looting hooligans smashing in stores and setting fires, so Trump 2020.

It’s happening.

A recent poll from the Pew Research Center indicates violent crime is a significant issue amongst registered voters, heading into the 2020 presidential election. And a Zogby poll, reports record approval for the President, partially driven by the increase in violent crime and riots, particularly in Democratic Party-run cities.
News that American voters are more concerned about violent crime than alleged racial inequality, economic inequality, and climate change will undoubtedly come as a surprise to the Democrats. The latter failed to address rioting in the streets at last week’s party convention.

Rioting is not the only violence making voters take another look at Trump. In many cities such as Chicago, L.A., Washington D.C., and New York, liberal mayors have put “handcuffs” on law enforcement, causing spikes in violent crimes.

Allie Beth Stuckey put it in a way the mainstream media isn’t going to understand, at least, not on their own (H/T to Instapundit):

Liberals suddenly want the riots to stop because they realize it’s hurting their election chances. Conservatives have always wanted the riots to stop even though we know it’s helping our election chances. The former cares about votes, the latter about lives.

Mr. Lemon made reference in the video linked above, to the prospect of fixing the problem over the next 73 days, 68 days, whatevs. Liberals have a lot of trouble with the concept of fixing problems. They’re driven by something primal, something hormonal, like the endorphin rush you get when you’re in the process of fixing problems. Which means they’re really interested in going through the motions of fixing problems. We might think of it as playing a video game, finishing a level by beating a “boss” character. No state is being changed and the victory is not reproducible. You can play the same level minutes later with an entirely different outcome, maybe lose your last life when the boss beats you. So nothing is accomplished, not even in the pursuit of playing a game, it’s all about the rush.

That’s how they “solve problems” in the real world. They go through the motions to get the endorphin rush when they “solve”…homelessness, illiteracy, illegitimacy, blight, drug crimes, violent crimes, theft crimes…pandemics…nothing reproducible, no achievements verifiable, it’s all about the rush.

So I’m not entirely sure what was ever supposed to get “solved” here, and I don’t think anybody else knows either.

The Press has been reporting, with an undertone of contempt that comes through in varying degrees of subtlety, that the Republicans have hit a law and order theme hard in their conventions. Seems like that’s true. They’re being pretty smart this year.

Now that the democrats have decided the rioting must stop, assuming they have…I’m a bit lost on what they can do about it. Stop delivering riot supplies to the rioters maybe? That might help. But this is like putting toothpaste back in a tube. It was a stupid plan from the start and it’s not stoppable or reversible.

Picture a jackass building an enormous pile of tires out in a field, big enough to cover an entire city. Then setting fire to it and, in the ensuing months, discovering the fire is hurting his election chances. So he tries to extinguish it. He tries water drops via helicopter, he tries sand, he tries fire extinguishers with some kind of baking soda mixture…whatever…it still blazes away…then he turns to the camera and says “Oh well, you get the idea. Anyway you should totally put my people in charge.”

That’s what’s happening.

As a grouchy introverted curmudgeon, I’ve always had my issues with people in general. But I can’t work up enough resentment against total strangers who are innocently just going about living their lives, to seriously consider voting democrat. It takes far more genuine hate than I’ve got, or can ever get going and I haven’t got what it takes to wish that much suffering on people.

The Chinese Virus Boat

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

The fact checking is awful. It’s the same thing that always happens when there are no standards. Things degrade.

This may be the worst fact check of the year. I suppose it depends on the question being asked. In my situation it was “Is that the true and unaltered lettering on the box?” Fascinating things happened when I used this link to prove that the box lettering was genuine. See…you’re supposed to come to a different conclusion. And wear your masks. It’s important! So…in response to those who say “the masks are no damn good” or some such, they rated it false. I suppose that’s alright because the people who say the masks aren’t doing anything, are leaping to an unwarranted assumption. What fascinates me about the liberal mind though is, the issue being discussed was whether the lettering on the box was being accurately represented, and it was.

So obsessed are they with this business of “the authority figure awarded me the point” that they can’t see anything else. I guess maybe this is what Harry Potter did to that generation.

These poor kids can’t think through anything. They don’t understand the meaning of things.

I envision it through this fragment of imaginary dialogue:

Lefty: Together we can do this!

Righty: ++facepalm++

Lefty: Come on! Blow! We’re all in this together! (blows)

Righty: You…can’t…be…serious…you…can’t…sell…this…b.s.

Lefty: (Smug, lopsided I-can-sell-anything grin) Your intransigence is going to get us all killed. We’ve come a long way! We’re not there yet!

Righty: (Exasperated) WE’RE SITTING IN THE BOAT.

Lefty: Sails that catch moving air exert a force. There are many studies about this!

Righty: Yes, but we’re IN the BOAT.

Lefty: These studies are peer reviewed and everything!

Righty: Yes, but we’re IN the damn BOAT.

Lefty: The vast majority of scientists agree with me! Don’t be a denier! (blow blow blow)

Righty: Blow until your face is blue. I’m grabbing an oar.

Lefty: You’re endangering the public health. There ought to be a law against people like you.

Rules, Masks, and Rules About Masks

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

We are divided into red state thinking and blue state thinking. Both camps have rules they’d like to impose on others. They do not look at the concept of “rule” the same way.

When red staters try to get people to follow rules, it’s to achieve a positive outcome or to avoid a negative one.

Don’t let water get into the diesel fuel tank. Know your target as well as what’s behind it. Bring your tools in out of the rain. Bring the hay bales inside before it rains. The gun is ALWAYS loaded. Don’t get her pregnant until you marry her. If your dog doesn’t want to be around him, don’t trust him. These are good ideas.

When blue staters try to get people to follow rules, it’s to assert their dominance. They don’t really comprehend the concept of “a positive outcome.” If they did, recent experience would have altered their understanding of what masks do. It has not.

Blue staters want everyone else to wear masks, so they can play alpha-dog. And so that they can see masks everywhere, because then maybe Biden will be elected. When blue staters wear their masks, they often leave them dangling around their chins, or letting their noses stick out Gavin-Newsom-style…they haven’t got a care in the world about what the masks actually do.

They tell other people to wear masks. And then they themselves don’t wash their hands. They figure they don’t have to do it. Because they’re so smart! Everyone who agrees with them is super smart. Everyone who disagrees with them is stupid.

When a red stater tells you “Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire”…you can rest assured, he’s doing that himself. If he didn’t see fit to do it himself, he wouldn’t be telling you to do it.

Liberal Wearing MaskEveryone who’s paying any attention at all, understands this. Oh sure, 9 out of 10 of them will get in my face about this and assert that this is a terribly damaging and terribly false way to look at it all. Needlessly polarizing. Divisive. Don’t I realize “We’re All In This Together”? But that’s just lip service. Who wants to bet their next paycheck a blue stater is following the rules he so capriciously imposes on others? Didn’t think so.

I really don’t know if we have a compliance issue about masks. I’ve opined on this before. Blue staters like to presume there is one, because that would justify a whole new round of enforcement measures, and maybe more rule-making…new rules about the not-as-new rules. I just don’t know. Masks are required here, they’re required there…wherever people are required to wear masks, they wear the masks. There’s no actual scientific evidence they do what we’ve fantasized about them doing. California’s experience suggests rather strongly that they don’t.

For the record, I think if you’re in proximity with others and you can’t avoid it, you should wear something. It’s well established that you can go around carrying this thing without showing any symptoms, and when you start talking excitedly about your latest story about whatever…maybe about how you caught someone not wearing a mask and you properly scolded him…your droplets fly all over the place even though you can’t see them. If you’re infected, a cloth mask is very effective at stopping that. It’s very effective at stopping sneezes. But there are many problems with this. A lot of people who want to talk animatedly or excitedly about something, are going to remove the mask anyway before telling this latest exciting story. Also, you shouldn’t be asking me anyway. I’m not a doctor or anything. But I do remember why we started down the bunny-trail of masks; we can be asymptomatic carriers, and if we infect someone they might not show any symptoms either, in fact they could be healthy as a horse but maybe have to go visit someone weak, old and sick after we’re done sneezing on them. That was the idea, that was the rationale. That, and Slow The Spread. Well, slow-the-spread has been given a fair trial here in California and it didn’t work that well. Compliance was not the issue.

The far more important point in my opinion, for whatever that’s worth, is this. How much time are you spending within six feet of others…lots and lots of others? Why is that?

If you need to wear a mask that often because you’re in proximity to others that much of the time, something else requires changing. I cannot prove it, but I surmise that California’s situation exists because not enough people are doing that. We like to think of California as a leading-edge state, but what I’ve seen here over the last thirty years is that people like their established routines, a whole lot, and don’t want to change them. Oh sure we here in California are mighty quick to modify them superficially. Zoom meetings! Zoom meetings everywhere! But no not really. We’re gregarious creatures here. The statistics that are making everyone unhappy about us, are simply reflecting this. We’re going through the motions of sheltering-in-place like hermit spiders and logging on to our Zoom meetings, but…no.

Now I’m hearing Louie Gohmert wasn’t wearing a mask at the hearings Tuesday. and Wednesday he tested positive for the Vid. Bad Louie! “Gohmert’s aversion to wearing masks and following other practices intended to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus led many to believe he might eventually contract the virus.” “Sure enough, he did.” People who say such things are not the least bit impressed by the enormous number of “sure enoughs” we have here in California, where masks are required and have been required throughout much of this pandemic event. This is cherry picking.

Cloth masks are all about liquids. They may offer some protection for the non-infected to keep from getting the Chinese Virus, but their primary purpose is to keep infected people from spreading.

A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it.

Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus when they are widely used by people in public settings.

Blue staters don’t care about any of this.

To a red stater, the noun “rule” has very little, or nothing at all, to do with the verb.

To a blue stater, the noun and the verb are the same. It’s all about ruling. They pay some lip service to what the rule actually does, if there’s some medical literature that happens to go in the same direction as whatever bludgeoning they’re trying to do in the moment. But they don’t really care, they just want to rule over others.

On Common Ground

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Most of the frustrations involved in living as an adult human, have to do with conflict between appealing narratives vs. inconvenient realities. And perhaps the best example of this is the narrative that conservatives & liberals can, and should, “sit down and work out their/our differences, find common ground, labor toward the common good and learn from each other.” I think deep down both sides really do want that…so long as it doesn’t involve giving up anything. If it’s cost-free, most people with political opinions would like to be Archie & Meathead after they’ve softened up and learned to see eye-to-eye.

Our parents did that with other grown-ups who didn’t share the same political affiliations, right? Should be easy!

The problem is that what we today call “liberalism” has eschewed any & all notion that its adherents have anything at all to learn from those who are not adherents. This is non-negotiable. All electoral contests and all differences of opinion involve illegitimacy and ignorance on the side of the argument that is not theirs. Every election they lose, was cheated. Every dissenting opinion, indeed every statement or question that bleeds off some of the momentum, intentionally or not, comes from someone who shouldn’t have opinions at all.

Liberalism has devolved into a slightly off-center “I know something you don’t know” smirk. Worn by people who haven’t accomplished anything. And want to make all the decisions that matter, without accepting any ownership of the eventual results.

As such, this notion of “common good” has melted down into the floorboards. It used to be that liberals wanted to get rid of some — perhaps all? — of what we have, and re-do it so that the needs of the forgotten might be met. Like…gay marriage for example. Here are some people who are marginalized through no fault of their own, so let’s dismantle a little bit of what makes society go, and reassemble it to meet these needs. Reactionaries might suspect the desire has little to do with meeting the needs of the marginalized, and has a lot more to do with the process of dismantling and wrecking. They were eventually proven right about that. The liberals who wanted gay marriages haven’t attended any gay weddings — aren’t interested. The dismantling, wrecking and re-defining has shifted into overdrive. Transvestite revolution. New pronouns. Polygamy. Onward!

The tender recruits would protest, with some variation of “But I’m part of that…I don’t want to wreck anything, I don’t want marriages of five or more, or women marrying goats, I just want to help people.” And this is true. It’s also true that the liberals insist “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” They just want the process of transformation, the rioting and protesting…the constant wreckage.

We who want society to manage a foothold so it can thrive and grow, don’t really have any common ground with these people. If there’s too much prosperity then there’s too much individual ambition and hope for success with things the way they are; more conservatives. And their wreck-everything revolution loses steam. Liberalism has reached the point where they’ve come to realize this, and so are invested in widespread suffering — at worst — but, at best, a keenly felt limit to our success without something being wrecked. They don’t want us to keep enough money after taxes to take our families on vacation, or acquire the access to health care we need, or to get our children properly educated. They can’t afford for that to happen. If it happens, it’s too hard for them to recruit new members to their cause, or to win elections, and those are the two things they must do.

Common ground? It’s an appealing narrative…reality doesn’t smile upon it though.

What I Saw

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Here’s what I saw in the first half of 2020.

1. China lied to everyone and infected the rest of the world with SARS-CoV-2. President Trump restricted immigration and travel from China.

2. Joe Biden and other liberals asserted, without evidence, that the travel restrictions were xenophobic.

3. Trump listened to the experts, Drs. Fauci and Birx.

4. Some talking head predicted 2.2 million Americans eventually dead.

5. The pandemic fatalities petered out in late June with 130k +/- deaths. Hopefully they stop there. Trump saved 2,060,000 to 2,070,000 lives.

6. Liberals asserted, without evidence, the Trump rally would be a super spreader event.

7. Liberals asserted, without evidence, that the “George Floyd protests” would not be.

8. Liberals worked hard to manufacture “social unrest,” report on it as if it were spontaneous, and “defund the police.” Libs think the solution to a breakdown in law & order is less law & order.

9. Liberals evidently figured out this “social unrest” they were manufacturing from nothing, had an effect on the election in their favor. They may have figured this out before they started manufacturing it. At any rate, the places run by liberals began to make silly concessions to the protestor-terrorists, that the protestor-terrorists never even requested. Statues, dairy company emblems, rice brands, syrup brands, etc. Evidently these apologies, changes and removals were supposed to deter the protestor-terrorists from protesting and terrorizing. They did not.

10. Places run by liberals also had more violence, more COVID infections, more COVID casualties, more deaths and injuries from protests, and more unemployment. These places run by liberals also had less freedom. Their lockdowns were more stringent and the harm done to their business communities were much greater.

11. While all this was going on, our mainstream media, run by liberals, began hemorrhaging its credibility even faster than it had been hemorrhaging it in recent years…which is really saying a lot. They began to use the phrase “mostly peaceful protests” to excess, applying it in places where it clearly didn’t apply. One anchorman even waxed lyrically about these “peaceful protests” in front of a burning liquor store. This proves the media thinks we’re all stupid. Well who can blame them.

12. Liberals don’t have a clue what all this looks like to grown ups because they never have doubts about anything and can’t be told anything.

Now, I’m told, the COVID numbers are looking bad bad bad. A creepy narrative has set in that we’re having a “second wave,” or rather that the first wave never really ended. Something must be done! Trouble is, no one has come up with any ideas for the new-something that are in any way different from the old-something. Just more orders, more scolding, more tattling…more Karens.

Well hey Karen, I have some questions for you I think everyone else should have for you too. I’m not entirely sure giving you more control and more authority is the answer. We’re already living in your world, are we not?

You told us to shelter in place. We sheltered in place. You told us to wear masks and we wore masks. You told us to practice social distancing so we did. You blocked entrances to our grocery stores so we used the one that you left available to us. Then you made rules about which way to point our carts down the grocery aisle so we complied with that.

Then you set up hotlines so that our neighbors could snitch on us if we didn’t wear our masks, or if we got in our cars and headed somewhere that didn’t look like “essential” work.

You got back total compliance. Total. The very few among us who protested mask-wearing or social-distance-practicing or any of your other weird stuff, were put into situations where someone else would force the correct behavior. You blocked this you barricaded that. Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir! I can’t buy a half pound tub of butter without hearing that execrable word eight times or more. It’s become something like a jaackhammer, pounding on our skulls, and in fact strapped in place so it’s constantly pounding on us…and we, against all odds, have become accustomed to it.



You insisted on it. You would accept nothing less.

Now you see there is a second wave and you have leaped to the conclusion…without evidence…that the problem must be people didn’t comply enough. Uh, no. People didn’t agree with you enough, that’s the real complaint you have. And it’s different from not complying enough.

The level of compliance you received was unprecedented in written history.

Testing is increasing so cases are up. Deaths are down. You say that’s a lagging indicator…this is true…but, it’s also true that the virus is spreading rapidly, while people are complying with your diktats without question…

Herd immunity works.

Masks and social distancing don’t work.

And you people who think you haven’t been obeyed enough, have started a whole new epidemic. You are scarier than the actual virus. You’re like straight out of a Twilight Zone episode. One of the earlier ones, the cautionary tales about Cold War paranoia. That’s you.

You’re creepy as hell and no, you’re not going to get more compliance than you got already. It’s not because people are childish or rebellious. It’s because it’s simply not possible; greater compliance is not within the capability of the human genome. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see how much compliance you got. You got all you can get, all anyone who’s human can give. You got the dial ratcheted up to 11 already.

Here we come to an interesting observation about people. People, in general, like to think they’re “doing what works.” But if you watch them carefully without filtering out your specimens in any way, just looking at the broad, truly-randomly-chosen cross section, what you’re going to find out on average is that people do what’s comfortable. When they give power away, they give it to the people who ask for it, not to the people who demonstrated their ideas lead to success. And they’re heap-big-lousy on taking the power away from the ones whose ideas led to failure.

We’ve got a lot of people running around right now saying they’re doing exactly that, wanting to boot President Trump’s ass out of there and replace him with…they don’t know. Whoever would end up being President if Biden wins the election. Which would be someone who isn’t Joe Biden. But that’s neither here nor there.

They cannot complete the thought. They can’t point to anything specific that was done half-assed or wrong in response to China infecting us, that another President would do better. No really, just listen to their complaints, and listen for specifics. There are none. Just “He said this” or “He tweeted that.” It’s become embarrassing to listen to, as in, proxy-embarrassing.

If we really want to redirect power away from the ones whose ideas didn’t work out well, we should be redirecting it away from the “wear your mask” people. It’s not that their idea is entirely wrong. Masks have their place. When you must be crowded together with other people and there’s no avoiding it, you should wear a mask. But then again, if that situation really does exist, you should be asking yourself two or three times why you’re in it.

Flatten-the-curve is over. That’s been done. What we’re trying to do now is keep people from getting it when their immune systems are compromised, or when they’re old or otherwise infirm.

After what I’ve seen the first half of this year, I’m having a tough time concluding that masks and social-distancing are really all-that. But you have to define what the goal is. Is anyone anywhere defining the goal, any better than I just did? I don’t think “Hide until the germ is gone” is a very good plan.

“Fighting Misinformation”

Friday, July 10th, 2020

I’m seeing a lot of various resources in a big hurry to tell me what they’re doing to combat the spread of misinformation about the Kung Flu.

When anyone uses this sort of verbiage…combat…fight…I notice they never really call it what it is. They don’t use the word “control.” I read it as a big fat “Nope…you can’t trust us either, they got to us.”

It doesn’t heighten my confidence. Quite the opposite. My confidence diminishes so far and so fast, in fact, I find it impossible to put into words. It tells me some people are in complete control of what other people write or say. Even worse, I have no idea who these controllers are. Even worse than that, it proves the controllers are sufficiently motivated to encourage me to think one thing and discourage me from thinking another, they picked up a phone or wrote an e-mail, and started making threats.

Which proves they couldn’t count on the truth just naturally and ultimately emerging. Someone, somewhere, requires greater and greater assurance — and is given it — that our societal Thunderdome of competing ideas will be safely defrocked of the competing ideas. They, whoever they are, have to be equipped with an ever growing arsenal of tools to ensure the dialogue remains a monologue. I suppose if everything was known that might be okay. But this issue with the Chinese Virus is full of unknowns.

This sort of phrasing erodes my confidence so much it has me believing in conspiracy theories when I’m not initially inclined to believe them. I don’t believe a true conspiracy is typically within the capabilities of the human genome. But I know it’s not appropriate to have a tightly controlled choreography, with some mid-course corrections against anyone who wanders outside the demarcated lines, when there’s still so much left to be learned and what little we have learned, we don’t really know for sure.

Shit like this is why Trump won in the first place.


Saturday, July 4th, 2020

A third of a century into arguing with them on the Internet, I’m still struggling to figure out what the true difference is between liberals vs. normal people who think competently.

A lot of it has to do with feelings. When we grown-ups make a decision feeling a certain way, we are troubled by the possibility that deciding it at another time, with the facts remaining the same, in a different mood we might make a different call. This inspires reflection: Would we be wrong then, or are we wrong now? To a liberal, that proclivity toward emotional reasoning is a feature and not a bug. It seems like they live in a world in which all feelings have to be expressed, and making decisions about things is just another way of expressing them.

Sympathy has a lot to do with it. If you listen to a liberal’s rationalizations, you’ll quickly discover there’s some villain in the storyboard — there’s always a villain — for whom they have no sympathy, for whom they don’t want anybody else developing any sympathy. This confuses people because the liberal’s goal is to try to build a “new world” or “new society” that is “fair to everybody” and the temptation is to take them seriously when they say this. But, no. Talk to a young Marxist sometime about being fair to businesses. Talk to a young feminist sometime about being fair to men. There are certain loathed-classes, and what the liberal tries to do is emerge as an autocrat who directs the sympathies of everybody else, rather like a lawn sprinkler…and there is to be no irrigation, ever, in that particular corner. It’s the exact opposite of building a new and just society that is fair to everyone.

Change is a factor. Liberals are never going to see the potential downside of change until such time as the change has been fully defined…like, for example, if it’s change being brought by President Trump. Or, if it’s a funding cut against one of their cherished programs. In the abstract, there’s nothing wrong with change at all, it’s like a six-year-old deciding on more sugar on his cereal. Change change change!

There is a lack of consideration for consequences. It seems liberals simply don’t think in those terms. They run their liberal megalopolises for decades and decades and decades…not a Republican to be found anywhere in Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle. That doesn’t stop them from blaming Republicans when things turn to crap. The rest of us are left to wonder, at what level of consciousness do they fail to establish the linkage between what was done, and what ultimately happened? To a liberal, their noble intentions are what matter. How the souffle ultimately came out of the oven, is irrelevant.

There has to be one epicenter of chaos, some originating point where liberals start making dreadful decisions. A point where the trolley is yanked off the tracks — contributing to all these other hazards, which are really just effect flowing from this common cause. But which one? They overlap somewhat.

Doubt has much to do with it. The liberals with whom I have argued are untroubled by doubt. I suspect my experiences are far from unique. I saw it back when their guy was in charge for eight years, and I’m seeing it now. Those of us who find ourselves in conflict with the liberals, about even simple things, have doubts about things because we’re adults. We don’t like making decisions with our feelings; we try to really maintain fairness to all involved parties rather than just make a lot of noise about it; we recognize that all change is not necessarily good; and we grapple with consequences. We have doubts.

Example: Masks on the face will slow the spread of the Chinese Virus — true or false? I have come to understand that where disagreement exists about this, it isn’t argument about the “true” or the “false,” it’s about the doubt. Well, when in doubt let us win, the liberals say, and wear your mask! Grown-ups, for the most part, comply. We’re not complying because they made the demand. Let’s face it, liberals have been bumptiously demanding benefit of all residual doubts for…well, it’s difficult to say when exactly that all started. The Earl Warren Supreme Court had a lot to do with it. You didn’t tell him his rights. The evidence is fruit of the poisoned tree. It’s conceivably possible someone else might have a knife that looks just like that. Maybe he ran because a police dog was chasing him. Maybe maybe maybe, possible possible possible, you have to pretend you don’t know even though you do…my guilty-as-hell client gets to walk. Our side wins!

Once liberals figured out “We get the benefit of all residual doubt” can be used to spring bad guys everybody knows are guilty, so they can go out and hurt more people and the public will just have to accept this…seems they had a realization that anything was possible. The tactic never backfires on them because liberals don’t have doubts. But grown-ups, thinking about consequences, will wear masks when social distancing is not possible, because sooner or later we’ll come in contact with someone whose immune system is compromised and we don’t want to take chances.

When did we start having doubts about the masks, that they were being used as a political emblem, rather than as simple and reliable devices to slow the spread of the virus? From the very beginning. But in the beginning that was a fringe-kookburger idea to have, even in an election year. But now? As possibilities go, it’s unavoidable! Liberals have made it abundantly clear they want the visual of masks masks masks…it’s the only chance Biden has. And oh by the way, these “Biden buttons” worn on the face may also retard the spread of the virus…possibly. We wear our masks when they make sense, because the masks can be both. We recognize non-mutual-exclusivity; it doesn’t have to be all of one thing and none of another. We want our grandmothers to live and we comprehend functional overlap.

Choosy VirusWe have doubts about the masks themselves. We see something is wrong when “a mask” is what’s being ordered upon us — no exceptions! Don’t even think about going out bare-faced or we’ll report you! And yet…a cloth mask is the same as N95 is the same as a surgical mask. Not how it works at all. But…we have our doubts. The rebuttal is going to be that something is better than nothing, and this makes sense.

There is the difference between how things work out here in the real world, rather than how things work in the idea-land where rules are made and unicorns cavort away in the rainbow-sunshine. Yesterday I did my laundry and I forgot to put in my cloth Chinese Virus mask. I’ll try to do another load today because the thing is filthy and it’s skipped a weekend washing already…but I want to get the spare too, and I’m having trouble finding it. It’s clear to me the proper solution is more cloth masks, nevermind that I’m having trouble maintaining the inventory I have already. So how are you doing? Have you got some apparatus in the jockey box or glove compartment of your car? Mine’s a disposable mask left over from when I had to wear it on Tuesday. You’re really not supposed to do that, you know. But — my village elders have handed down the rule, facial coverings required no exceptions, when I go into a store to buy food. Sometimes I find out we have to have something and I have to go. Have to be prepared. We’ve got to eat.

Am I the only one with that terrible, disgusting habit? Everyone is subject to the new rules and we all have to eat.

So I have doubts!

I think Trump is going to win the election. But I have doubts. Liberals are sure Biden is going to win, it’s just a matter of time…even as they seemingly concede that if Biden does win, no one knows who then becomes President. It’s an interesting question, but if they noodled it over for a time they’d have to entertain some doubts. So they don’t. If you back them into a corner about it, they just pick somebody. Then hurriedly change the subject, seemingly failing to grasp that they just named the person who’s going to be President a year from now…and this would be something worth inspecting, to every diligent thinker, no matter what their feelings of it would be.

I had doubts about Trump at the very beginning. Since 1992 I have shied away from this thing about “so-and-so would be perfect because he has his own money and can’t be bought.” So I had doubts about them with Donald Trump. But, he did make it work. Then the establishment DC types came down on him like a ton of bricks, including the establishment Republicans, and so the time came to admit there was such a thing as a Deep State. Couldn’t doubt it anymore.

Liberals say the Trump rally in Tulsa spread the virus, and now people are going to die. They don’t have doubts.

Conservatives respond wondering about the George Floyd protests, wouldn’t they be responsible for spreading the virus too? The rebuttal is that there is “little evidence” of this according to “experts”, but that isn’t an honest expression because that would entail doubt. Liberals, once again, have none. They know for sure that a Trump rally in a single day spread the virus, but sustained authority-sanctioned rioting and looting across hundreds of densely packed cities over a period of several weeks, did not. That must be one smart virus!

Being repeatedly wrong doesn’t faze them. Now that he’s President, Trump is finally done, oh yes he is, those walls are finally closing in on him. Haven’t we been here before a few times? We saw it even before the election back in 2016: This will be the end of Trump’s campaign. No doubts!

So after all these years, the appearance to me is that liberals are 100% sure of absolutely everything, not quite so much because they like certainty, although there is some of that. They share in common a phobia against doubt. It terrifies them. I mean let’s face it, doubt is received negatively by all of us. None of us like to admit we were wrong about things. But it’s part of mature thinking, of becoming a grown-up. Sooner or later, we all reach that fork in the road, choose the wrong path, and then a little while later have to admit it to ourselves and start backtracking. It sucks, but usually that’s the only way to get back on track. And for those doing it the first time, they emerge from the experience better and stronger thinkers than they were beforehand. Doubt is the parent of beneficial humility, and you have to have some of that if anyone’s going to trust you to make decisions about anything that matters.

Liberals want uncontested authority to decide these things. But they don’t have the requisite humility to earn it, because they can’t, or won’t, entertain serious doubts.

That Lawyer Couple

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

For those who have not been following this, the story is here.

The stills I’ve seen could be deceptive, and chosen to give a false impression, but it looks like both of them showed carelessness in aiming their weapons. The wife is clearly not ready to absorb a recoil and her trigger finger discipline is terrible. The optics are radioactively bad no matter what your vantage point is, and the Internet has begun making fun of them mercilessly which is unfair.

Lawyer CoupleThe protestors are terrorists. Yes they’re protesting. They’re also engaging in terrorism.

the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

There were a number of different head-counts of these protestor terrorists. I have no way of knowing which ones are accurate and which ones are not. The lowest number I heard was 100 protestor terrorists, and the highest one was 300 protestor terrorists. It’s not a public street. It’s a gated community, and the protestor terrorists smashed through the gate. They had already destroyed property. So gee, I dunno…what would you do?

Half the Internet is saying “That lawyer couple looks ridiculous, I should make the time to practice with my weapon so that if I ever need to use it for that or a similar purpose, I can do a better job. Also, I’ve come around on defunding the police, it’s a terrible, awful, rancid idea and we should drop it like a hot rock.”

The other half is saying “Those two look ridiculous, I’d better never get a gun because if I do the Internet will make fun of me.”

I am deeply concerned about the priorities and the lack of wisdom in that 2nd half. I hope it’s far less than half, and that they don’t own anything worth trashing.

Some days, I am ashamed of the number of weeks, or even months, I allow to slip by without any range time. The way I see my gun, is as a machine I have purchased for an eventuality I hope never happens. It is only one part of an insurance policy and I have a responsibility to provide the other parts. Another part of this policy, just as important as the gun itself, is the practice time. I would not hold a pistol that way; I’ve at least practiced that much. That’s what she should have done. So I hope there are a lot of people in that first group who are going to buy a gun that actually works for them, make sure they have plenty of ammo, and start burning through some of it learning how to actually use the firearm. And everyone who touches a gun needs to learn the four rules of gun safety. There are lots of versions of this list, with the wording only slightly different among them.

1. All guns are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it


The Toppling of the Statues

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Nobody actually reads this blog, but as long as it’s been in existence I have struggled to explore the real difference between liberals and normal people. It has not been an entirely fruitless exercise. I’ve noticed — although I am far from the first to do so — that liberals and normal people who seem to be taking different positions about a common thing, and arguing about it, are really arguing about two different things. This suggests that our modern, advanced society is burning off vast, untold reserves of energy essentially talking past each other. The two sides do not see the same things the same way; they don’t do their seeing the same way; they don’t even see the same things. They do not exist in the same world together.

The point of divergence is not where we envision it to be. There are fundamental rules that hold the universe together, stitching in the quilt of space-time, that the liberals do not see.

One of the fundamental concepts they fail to recognize, and perhaps the most important one, is time.

The liberals are no longer toppling just Confederate General statues or slaveholder statues, they’ve taken to toppling a statue of Ulysses Grant, who led the Union to victory over the Confederacy in 1865. I don’t think this has anything to do with slavery anymore.

Perhaps what truly offends them about statues, is time itself. Think about it: Why do we erect statues in the first place? It is so that we remember things throughout the generations; record for posterity. What is the one thing that terrifies liberals?

In their world, there is no time. There is the dark sinful past; there is the present which is no different from the past, since we’re all just so oppressed; there is the glorious revolution that’s always just around the corner. And then there is the bright shining future filled with puppies, unicorns and rainbows. The last of these frightens them more than anything. It would nullify their sense of purpose.

They live out their entire lives, as liberals, on a hairpin turn. The revolution is always tomorrow. If they happen to be doctrinaire liberals for seventy or eighty years, they spend all that time on the bend of the paper clip, constantly waiting for their chains to be unshackled, tomorrow. It must be a terrible existence.

To anyone who sees the whole world the way the Mayfly sees it, toppling a statue must seem natural. It is the ultimate flash-in-the-pan communications medium. A year from now, there won’t be anything there; will anyone remember the statue got toppled? Or that there was a statue there at all? There’s a better than 50/50 chance people will notice things are looking kind of bare in that corner, and start circulating a petition to put up a statue there. It might even be a statue very much like the one that was removed — and they might not even consciously know. Destroying a statue, unlike erecting one, earns zero points for recording for posterity. It’s a today-only thing. It’s not at all like tearing down the Berlin Wall. It simply removes an emblem, which could be restored at any time.

It also earns zero points, as far as communications mediums go, for clarity. Grant-statue destroyers insist they’re still anti-slavery, because Grant owned slaves. Or a slave, or something. We’re supposed to interpret their actions in that light. They think this because they think people observing their actions, are trapped in the same echo chamber they inhabit themselves…which is just a fancy way of noticing they’re not truly communicating. You know, I don’t think so. I think of Grant as a liberator, so I think I’ll look on the destruction of Grant’s statue as a pro-slavery act. It makes more sense to me that way, regardless of whether or not that’s what they intend. They’re doing a crappy job of communicating, why should I help them out by playing my part in the “Oh well, nudge nudge, you know what we mean” game? Uh, no. Grant won the Civil War for the Union Side. In so doing, he ended slavery…you’re destroying his statue…you’re pro-slavery, I think. You mayflies need to learn to communicate better.

I suppose we can quibble back and forth about what you think of slavery, and what I’m supposed to think you think about slavery, but we can draw some reliable inferences about what you think of clarity. You’re against it. You’ve got an agenda that wouldn’t be as popular if it were better understood, and you know this, because if it were not so then you would pick a different medium. The fact that you’re committing property crimes and getting away with it has a lot to do with that real message. I’m pretty sure I don’t like it.

Peaceful Protests, for the Most Part

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Watching the evening news, I was impressed with the endless repetition of that hackneyed phrase, “mostly peaceful protests.” “Mostly” implies a quantitative analysis. You managed to get hold of all of whatever you are describing (the noun), tested each part of it against the descriptor (the adjective), and you found that greater than 50% of it qualified.

I’m doubting like the dickens that this happened with that hackneyed phrase, “mostly peaceful protests.” Can’t we just drop the b.s. and acknowledge the obvious: Someone in a position of influence would like me, the news consumer, to think of these protests as peaceful — in spite of the evidence in front of my eyes. Other than that, I really don’t have any idea what “peaceful protests, for the most part” actually means…and neither do you.

All we can tell for sure is that they weren’t entirely peaceful. Whoever occupies that position of influence, anticipated that if they didn’t include that word “mostly” they would be called out immediately — because this is a riot. Someone broke something, someone hurt somebody, somebody killed someone, or some combination of those three things.

Call me a bigot if you want but I’m not in favor of that.

Another thing that impressed me, was all the people claiming to be acting to soothe tensions and lower the temperature, right before doing things to aggravate tensions and increase the temperature. My favorite example is having Al Sharpton speak at George Floyd’s funeral…although there are many other examples to be noticed if one merely takes the time to notice. Someone tell me how that’s supposed to defuse tensions. What’s Al Sharpton’s track record for having this palliative effect during these incidents?

In fact, these protests have devolved into nothing more than just that. Emotions are about to blow over!! Here I am, a soothing, peaceful democrat leader or pillar of the community, to make everything peaceful again…(poke poke poke poke poke)

There’s an old saying about pissing on my shoes and then telling me it’s raining. These riots are like pissing on my shoes, expressing great dismay over my befouled shoes, loudly looking forward to a future with clean shoes, announcing “a new round of” shoe pissing, blaming Trump, then inviting some more people from across the country to ride buses in to piss on my shoes.

Then giving them unlimited free lemonade.

I don’t really know what any of this has to DO with Trump, anyway. Other than he’s against it and Biden is for it.

Here I was all set to vote for Joe Biden! Maybe. But, there’s a hitch in the giddy-up there. Even though these are democrat-run shitholes, I know there are real people living in them with hopes and dreams. I don’t like seeing them hurt and killed, their businesses destroyed after they’ve been waiting all this time to reopen from the Chinese Virus lockdowns. So sorry, Mr. Biden, I cannot support this.

City Breakers

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Obviously, America has a problem.

Our most densely-populated, most highly-populated, cities are run by people who have bought into this hooey that “protests” have some kind of soothing, palliative effect. People who think that any effort to see to it that “law and order” triumphs at the end of the day, must be racist…a thought which is, in & of itself, racist. The persistent and permeating narrative is that we may have peace and harmony again if, and only if, we “listen to” the “protesters” who are breaking the city.

Entrenched liberals acknowledge the correlation and insist it must exist because of the “prosperity” in these cities. Liberals run the cities, bringing their prosperity which brings the population density which creates problems. Hmmm…it has the whiff of truth about it. It’s as if they got beaten in an argument by a conservative who pointed out exactly that sort of thing in defense of the United States as opposed to other countries, and decided to use that as a defense of New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc….

The problem is that these densely populated, liberal-run metropolises are not on an upswing. They are not thriving. They are festering. They have it in common that their salad days did exist, once, back when conservatives were running things. And then things were comfy and cushy and liberals declared “Hey, I like comfy” and moved in and ruined it.

They are the caveman who arrives for the campfire feast, then poses & postures as if he arrived for the hunt. But you can’t hunt thinking like a lib and you can’t build a mighty city thinking like a lib. They are scavengers, not builders..

These arguments that make liberalism look good and that are most persuasive, have it in common that they confuse creation with destruction. We have all these cities in flames right now, and every single one of them is run by City Breakers, or people who are listening most intently to the City Breakers. They are not City Makers, nor are they listening to anyone who is a City Maker.

How do you go about making a city? Or a mighty, prosperous civilization. You can’t do it thinking like a lib. All the morning news I’m seeing now, even on Fox, is lib-thinking. It’s passive voice. “The city is in crisis!” “Two police officers shot!” The noun got verbed. Nobody actually did anything.

News has become the one product offering most out-of-step with consumer demand. Consumers of news are hungering for active-voice constructs and not getting them. Who is peacefully protesting? Who is rioting and breaking things? Who shot these cops?

What I Remember About 2020

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

A hundred years ago the Spanish Flu was a real problem. But this year, nobody was talking about it anywhere until the Chinese Virus made it relevant. And then a bunch of arguments erupted about Spanish Flu on social media.

Before that happened, if you said “The Year Nineteen Twenty” I would have thought about, and everyone else would have thought about: The stock market crash, flappers, prohibition, spats, white sidewall tires on Packard Clippers, shoe polish in the hair, speakeasy parlors, spittoons, shoe-shine stands, the Dust Bowl…

We remember cultural shifts. We don’t remember pandemics, even if the pandemics are what made the shifts happen.

Bossy FemaleJoe Biden is all-but-obliged to pick a Karen as his running mate. Not a “could be male Karen or could be female Karen,” but a double-ex chromosome, born-with-vagina-and-everything lady-Karen. He’s said so. And it won’t be a soothing, common-sense, quiet-strong type woman either. She’ll be a screech-wort. a scrunt. The kind whose presence you never leave without a sigh of relief. A scold. A shrew. A beeyotch.

It’s going to be 1984 all over again. I was struggling to recall if there was ever a single minute in that year, just one, in which Mondale/Ferraro was out in front, even if only in surface appearances. I can’t remember. Of course when the big event happened — not too many people remember this — it was a landslide of historic proportions.

The masses don’t like being scolded by an unpleasant woman. But someone further up the food chain never seems to get the message. I guess they’re not getting feedback from the outcome because they’re not paying attention to the outcome. They’re process people. I don’t know who they are…would love to find out…but they keep offering up these scolding fusspots for us to accept, we don’t take delivery, and then they do it again. They’re about to do it yet again when there are zip, zero, nada, nil, null, none indicators whatsoever that this is what anybody wants.

Six months into 2020, we’ve been awash in Karens. No one is in the mood for this. This is bad medicine for a campaign that’s fallen ill and is very far away from being on any kind of mend. It’s going to be a bloodbath.

I think this is it. This just may be the swan song. Maybe I’m looking at it with rose colored glasses, but no matter who Biden picks, all these viable futures unfold into a common vanishing point: The witch is gone. Not just any particular one. This whole product offering that never, ever moved off the shelves except when it got yanked back for having gathered too much dust. I think the scolding hag is going away. Think back on these cultural shifts in the past, in the US of A. Presidential elections have a lot to do with how they happened. My theory is simply that we’re seeing it happen yet again, and this is exactly how. A failing ticket drives the final nails into a coffin.

Years from now, that will be the memorable event — that our culture went in one direction in 2020, and a wholly different healthier one in 2021. After that, we still elect and appoint strong women…but they have to be genuinely strong. Not just bitchy, the way far too many of them have been up until now. I envision a future in which seventh-grade teachers will ask the class, “Can anyone tell me when irascible, mean, micro-managing, scolding women fell out of fashion?” and all the kids will yell “2020!!!” And then the teacher will say “And can anyone tell me why it happened?” and there will be near-complete silence.

Only the bookworm nerd who spends all his free time in the library will be able to answer: “I think there was a pandemic that year.”

You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

The Coming Redrawing, and Re-Redrawing, of the Lines

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

My Governor, Gavin Newsom, is talking “social responsibility” which means money transfer, with him on the receiving end. Of course, people who use that phrase never have any other direction in mind…

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday said approving coronavirus relief funding for state and local governments is “not charity” and that his state is facing budgetary concerns as a “direct result” of the crisis.

“It’s a social responsibility at a time when states large and small [are] facing unprecedented budgetary stress. It is incumbent upon the federal government to support the states through this difficult time,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Newsom said lawmakers have a “moral and ethical obligation” to help Americans across the country…[snip]

“I hope they’ll consider this next time they want to salute and celebrate our first responders…consider the fact that they will be the first ones laid off by cities and counties,” Newsom said.

“This is not a red issue or a blue issue. This is impacting every state in America,” Newsom added.

Hmmm. Our budget is a mess, give us money or else it’s the core essential services that will have to be cut. He says it’s not a red or blue issue, but it’s the blue states with their weird, perverse priorities that keep running into the problem.

Forty of the nation’s fifty states don’t have enough money to meet their obligations, with a total of $1.5 trillion in growing unfunded liabilities.

While most states are in hot water, the problem is worst in states with a Democrat governor alongside a Democrat controlled legislature. A new study from Truth in Accounting analyzed the fiscal health of the fifty states [and] the trend was clear.

California comes in 8th-worst, with $21,600 in unfunded liabilities per citizen. It doesn’t surprise me a bit. I’ve seen my own clear trends over the last quarter century of living here, with the law-making. It’s a busy feeding frenzy and no one takes the responsibility to find out what the law says…today. It’s just too much maintenance. You just ask yourself if a productive working law-abiding tax-paying citizen would want to do it, and if so then it’s probably illegal. Or, it’s taxed very heavily. If it’s something a parasite would want to do, it’s almost certainly allowed and there’s a good chance it’s generously subsidized.

MoneyThere is a myth out there that blue states contribute more money to the federal government, from which the red states do more than their share of the withdrawals. This says a lot more about the blue staters who are manufacturing this propaganda, than it does about the red states which make up its subject. The blue staters have their own reality. If the real-reality doesn’t co-exist harmoniously with it, they just go with the reality they like and then they start proliferating it.

Now it’s true that the average taxpayer in blue states pays a higher per capita income tax than the average taxpayer in red states. But that’s because those states — particularly Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and California — have more rich people. Don’t the Democrats want the rich paying their fair share?

As for blue states allegedly getting back less, what numbers are they looking at? It is true that red states receive 35.75 percent on average of their budgets from the federal government, while blue states receive 30.80 percent. But this is because the blue states’ budgets are far larger due to all the bloat and waste.

Of course the blue staters aren’t going to call bloat and waste, bloat and waste. To them, this is the first & best stuff government is supposed to do. What they dismiss as peripheral concerns — the “first responders” Newsom is threatening to furlough — are more in line with what normal people consider to be government’s core functions. We’re having a disagreement and it’s a cultural disagreement.

We have had this separation for a long time, but of course things have become more contentious since somewhere around the Bush v. Gore election debacle. I see the democrat Attorney General of Michigan is grabbing headlines with the highly democrat-dominant talking point where the opposition is “not welcome here.” The issue is the mask. We’re all supposed to wear masks now.

Michigan’s attorney general said President Trump is a “petulant child” who is no longer welcome in her state over his mask-wearing habits.

In a CNN interview Thursday, Dana Nessel noted that Mr. Trump did not wear a mask when in public view during a visit to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti earlier in the day.

CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer asked her “Is the president no longer welcome in Michigan?”

“Well, I would say speaking on behalf of my department and my office, that’s exactly right,” Ms. Nessel said.

This move, this sweeping gesture, has become so commonplace that it’s hard to remember how unfitting it is. “[Blank] is not welcome at [Blank]!” says…someone. Someone who has zero legitimate authority to say so, little to no relevant jurisdiction over the [Blank]. Usually it’s some petulant student “leading” a drive to keep a conservative speaker out of a university campus. Do conservative Republicans do this? I suppose our evangelicals make some pronouncements about who’s not allowed into Heaven…but that’s not exactly the same thing, is it? They’re not going through the motions of deciding the matter. They’re just echoing how the rules work, as they interpret them. It’s the loudmouths on The Left who are floating up this “so and so is not welcome here” stuff as actual trial balloons.

That’s kind of what Newsom is doing, in a way. His message is not that there is an “ethical obligation”; what he wants to get out there, is that he’s the one saying so.

It’s a style thing. You’ve heard of style over substance, as a logical fallacy. That’s not quite fair because Newsom and Nessel are not trying to convince anybody that a certain thing is or is not so. An “argument” is not the product they’re trying to sell. They’re just trying to impress, like peacocks with plumage.

I hate to sound like a broken record. I’ve been saying often, for many years, we shouldn’t allow democrats to run anything that matters. To a lot of people that just sounds like a Republican who wants democrats to lose elections, just as democrats want Republicans to lose elections. No that’s not it. I’m not saying it in that tone. What I mean by that is: Do not put democrats in the position of running anything because they don’t do it. They don’t want the job.

I remember one glowing performance review I got at a place where it took a few years for it to sink in that I was poor fit, waiting to be outcast; there was coded well-poisoning language in my first year, which ripened and pickled throughout subsequent ones. Something about my prior developmental experience happening at places where outcome of an engineering endeavor was more important, and that I was distressing some of the senior engineers who placed greater emphasis on following the correct process. Outcome…process. Process…outcome. Interesting concept. I had a little bit of concern over this, and shared it with one of my former bosses one weekend when we met at a shooting range. He mulled this one over as he unpacked his magazines, gazed off in the distance and said, “That’s not a liability, that’s an asset.” Is it really?

What’s more important? Process, or outcome?

I have learned over the years that it depends on your locale.

People like Gov. Newsom are not going to contest the raw facts that show the state is being poorly run. They’re not going to take issue with the inference that something must be way off kilter, way out of place. What they’re going to do is deflect the blame. But they’re not selling the outcome. It isn’t part of their world. They are process people.

This isn’t always apparent because a lot of process people, catching a glimmer of some statistic that might make it look like their management methods could be deserving of praise, will pounce on it. One notable example is President Obama claiming credit for a record 75-month streak of private sector job growth…for which even the NPR fact checkers concede He probably can’t claim legitimate credit. But even if He could, the streak thing is kind of weird, right? “I want a long streak of growth, the longer the better,” said…uh…pretty much nobody. I mean yeah, if you have a President who actually does make something like that happen, it’s a good thing, but it’s also the answer to a question no one asked.

My point is not that the likely outcome from democrat policies is substandard. My point is that, if we’re really going to discuss it honestly — they’re not trying to do that. That’s not the focus of their energies.

They’re about process.

Not about outcome.

This suggests there is a split coming. Attorney General Nessel’s not-welcome-here tantrum, empty as it may be, signifies an unwillingness to co-exist shared by many others besides just her. The process people don’t want to take responsibility for outcome…and they don’t want to be around outcome people. I made the mistake when I received that first-year performance review, of using it to assess my own performance. Ensuing experiences made it clear I should have taken it as a warning, that I was not where I belonged.

Trump’s election four years ago shows how widespread and how incendiary this conflict really is. People argue about Trump, for & against, and if you can pay close attention in those very few minutes before a Cheesecake Nazi lays down the edict of “Stop talking politics, there’s cheesecake” — you will then notice something. These two sides are talking past each other.

Romney betrayed us. Trump delivers.

But his tweets!

Kavanaugh. Gorsuch.

But his tweets!

It’s style versus substance. If a man runs out of a burning building with a baby in his arms, but his socks don’t match, or you find out he’s been unfaithful to his wife…would you throw the baby back in the fire? Some people would. They don’t care about the outcome. It’s not that they want the baby dead, they just don’t care. Something else has captured their focus.

Many among us have noticed the status quo seems unstable, in a way it has not been in times past, and some sort of realignment is in order. One person likened it to a divorce decree citing “irreconcilable differences,” that that’s exactly what we have here. I lost a job a decade ago due to irreconcilable differences…cultural differences…some have theorized that maybe someone in a position of authority discovered my blog. I suppose it’s possible.

CheaperI don’t know. I do know that that was the first time in my life I ever encountered the mindset, of: We would rather the bug stay unfixed. Weird stuff. I’m not going to lie, it still creeps me out today. But only because, now that I’m consciously aware of it, I’ve seen it crop up in other places. Most notably in politics — post-Trump election. We’d rather the baby cook. His socks don’t match.

The Left thinks The Right should have more humility, be less sure of itself. But if I were in Gov. Newsom’s position, with my hand out, babbling away with this codswallop about “ethical obligations” of others…but my state had huge deficits where other states have surpluses…well, it wouldn’t get that far. No one would have to ask me to stick a cork in it before I’d stick a cork in it on my own, already. Just seems like a setup for self-embarrassment. But our friends the lefties who have so much to teach us about being properly humble, are not so troubled. So there he is. And not alone.

They are not monitoring outcome, looking for deficiencies or potential areas of improvement, and revisiting their methods looking for ways to self-improve. The rest of us like to think of them as doing that, because they want us to imagine they’re doing that. And we’re inclined to oblige, because that’s what we do…when we generate wealth they get to tax away to spend on their goodies. But they’re not doing it. You can’t monitor an outcome if you don’t care about an outcome. Process people don’t do that. There’s no reason for them to do so. Anytime something goes wrong, they demonstrate their lifetime-accumulated skills at finding scapegoats for the horrid consequences of their terrible policies. Outcome isn’t their thing. They just compare what’s in front of them with their clipboards full of check boxes, making their little checks and then squawking about what’s left blank. Or about the words we’re using.

Such scolding definitely does have an appeal. Not with me. But, based on my experiences of a decade ago, and before then, and since, I know there are places where I do not fit and I know there are people with whom I’m incompatible. In fact, based on all I’ve seen I surmise there are three different types of us: The outcome people, the “Architects” as I’ve called them; the process people, or “Medicators”; and those who fancy themselves capable of living in harmony with either one of the first two. That third group, I’m afraid, just hasn’t run into the learning experience. It’s still ahead of them. They believe in an emulsification factor, or process, or condition, that simply doesn’t exist. Irreconcilable differences lurk in the pathway upon which they have not yet tread. I hope for their sake that their learning experience is a gentle one.

The process people are made up, substantially, of people who want to be managed. They just want to labor away under the expanding burden of more-and-more rules. They don’t care that the rules do, or do not, make sense. They just want them there. This is not a novel realization. It’s the subject of one of my favorite Heinlein quotes: “The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” You’ll notice this defining sentence is ambiguous: Want people to be controlled? As in, themselves? Or somebody else? This is not a lack of attention on the part of Heinlein, I’ve gradually come to conclude; the ambiguity is intentional. And ingenious. Those who fall in with the process crowd, but do not want to be controlled, want to do the controlling.

To do the controlling. Not to take responsibility for how things go. It’s not their thing. They just like to sit way up high.

I see in this age of the Rise of Karens, many of whom are male…process people…check box people…Joe Biden is said to be taking a longer and harder look at Elizabeth Warren as his possible running mate. Whether that comes to pass or not, she’s made the short list. This is another adventure unfolding in a world to which I do not belong. I simply don’t understand and I don’t think I ever will. Senator Warren was summarily bounced out of the race, rather unceremoniously, because she’s toxic and has bad character and lies pretty much all the time about everything. People don’t like her. It was a rather decisive end to her campaign, and it was a decision handed down by democrats. So why is she on the short list of anything at all, other than “most execrable presidential candidates in history”?

It means something. Whether he ends up with Cherokee Liz, or someone else, that someone is going to be a Karen.

The Democratic Party is an assembly of Karens. That’s who it attracts. So it doesn’t matter which prospect Biden chooses. He gets a Karen.

The petulant yard duty teacher who’s just about had it up to here with me, and is scolding and scolding and scolding some more…again, I just don’t understand. That product keeps getting thrown in the hopper, to be shoved down our throats. No one is actually asking for it. Forty years plus something, I’ve been watching this.

Stein’s Law says that whatever can’t last forever, won’t. This is why people look on with worried anticipation toward some near-future alignment event…a separation event. This does look like something that can’t go on too much longer.

But if the separation does occur, I have a warning of my own that there would have to be a second shockwave. A re-redrawing of the lines, after the first redrawing that is due to confront us. Process people, in spite of their bravado about “not allowed here,” can’t exist without outcome people. Some outcomes are important, and so it follows that someone is going to have to pay attention to them as they materialize. You can’t eat a check box.

There is a reason why the red states have the most solid budgets and the best infrastructure: It’s necessary. Republicans grow the food.

You can’t build things that actually work, thinking like a lib.

So if you think our present situation is unsustainable, I say just wait until you see that next one. Wait until we have everyone properly pigeonholed according to the priorities they claim they have. With the people on one side of it entirely incapable of existing without the people on the other side, and at the same time, being wholly unwilling to admit it. But also with the people on that other side, being able to get along quite well by themselves. That’s an unsustainable situation, on steroids.

I can’t say how that second shockwave is going to happen. I haven’t got a clue. It will have something to do with an “ethical obligation” to give the Karens what they need but aren’t willing to admit they need. I’m sure there will be no gratitude involved, superficial or genuine. The narrative will be pushed that the providers aren’t providing anything at all, just fulfilling this “obligation” we were supposed to be doing anyway. Other than that, I dunno how it will happen. It just will. It’s Stein’s Law.

Listening to the Experts

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

I’ve come to learn something new, again, thanks to the Kung Flu. It’s about “listening to the experts.”

People don’t believe in doing it, I’ve learned. Even the ones who make the most noise about it don’t believe in it.

I’m listening carefully to the people beating up on President Trump and I’m also listening to the people defending him. Here is the defense: Everything he could do, he’s done. He restricted flights, he locked down the border. He turned over the re-opening of the states, to the states, consistent with our constitutional framework and also a brilliant political maneuver.

Expert!The people attacking him insinuate the pandemic is just awful because of his “ineptitude,” although they don’t have good explanations of what exactly that’s supposed to be. And he’s being attacked from the right, for listening to Dr. Fauci. Did you catch that? “Listening to the experts”…here…is a liability not an asset. Is the left giving Trump credit for listening to the experts? That’s a big fat nada unless I’ve missed something. No one from either the right or the left is giving Trump credit for listening to the experts…even though, as we can see for ourselves every day, that’s what he’s been doing. I guess the narrative was already written sometime back that “Trump is getting us killed because he isn’t listening to the experts,” and when reality turns out to be exactly backward from the narrative, both the reality, and the narrative, disappear into a hole.

What if Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama were handling the Coronavirus response? Well then we know there would be praise from near & far — even though He wouldn’t be doing too much differently from what Trump’s done. He might be slower to restrict flights, might not lock down the border at all…He’d give a lot of snotty speeches blaming white people, blaming cops, blaming Republicans…and the media, and the left, would flap their hands & squee like little schoolgirls.

Obama would get credit for “listening to the experts” no matter what. He would likely calculate His latitude as so broad that He could make a big show out of ignoring the experts, what with Him being so much smarter than they are…and then that very same day, minutes later in fact, circle around the room collecting high fives for having listened to the experts. MSNBC, CNN and ABC would squee about how He listens to the experts.

I think the phrase has that little meaning. I think it has zero meaning. The meaning of the phrase has flat-lined. People say it when they mean “Think what I think.” It’s easily testable: If you find out what their cherished belief is, and can manage to produce an honest-to-God expert in good standing who supports a contrary belief, reliable as rain they’re going to insist you listen to the next expert and ignore this one. They don’t want to hear the opinions of the experts. They want to hear their own opinions, with an established and respected “expert” speaking them.

People who tell me I should listen to the experts on climate change don’t want me listening to Fred Singer, Ross McKitrick, Sallie Baliunas, Anthony Watts or Timothy Ball…who are experts. They want me to listen to an underweight Swedish teenager with learning disabilities who can’t even be bothered to go to school.

I don’t believe people believe in listening to experts. I think, based on all I have seen, that that’s a magical incantation people recite when they want to get democrats elected.

A Week in American Statistics

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Monday, we start counting something.

Tuesday, we notice the number is getting high and someone really should step up and do something about it.

Wednesday, Congress votes to appropriate money to the people who count the numbers for each number counted.

Thursday the numbers shoot way up, and we wonder why.

Friday the numbers are higher still, and we split into two groups: Those among us who link the higher numbers to the perverse financial incentives; and, those who accuse the people in the first group of “hatching a wild conspiracy theory.”

On Saturday someone puts out an editorial lamenting that we’ve become so conflicted and contentious, and wondering how that happened.

To Disbelieve in What is Seen

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Theodore Dalrymple:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

Via Z-Man.

Raising a PoliticianSomewhere in my sheaf of notes, over at Jim’s Blog, the proprietor made a similar point a few months back:

One of the many hurtful effects of a state religion that requires you to disbelieve in what is seen, rather than merely believe in what is unseen, is that it drives the adherents mad and makes them stupid.

We are required to disbelieve in things things that get right in our face, such as female misconduct in the workplace, disbelieve things that expose us and our children to substantial physical danger…to believe in things that lose buckets of money, as illustrated by the destruction of the Star Wars franchise that Disney paid four billion for.

I think software development guys who have to step into new environments now & then eventually, without being consciously aware of it, develop some ways to figure out where they’ve landed. I learned some time ago to pay particularly close attention when the issue came up about too-many-males on this team or that team. First of all, who is making an issue out of it?

Management — all layers, but most particularly the highest ones furthest removed from the actual work — might be put in the position of writhing away under the burden of believing the engineers are 95% male because of some ingrained institutionalized sexism. The only alternative explanation would be that the chicks just don’t want the job, and no one is allowed to say that. It sounds too much like saying the chicks aren’t capable. The hypersensitive “Could Be Construed As” standard of wrongdoing, that ultimately dings everybody. And so, I found, when people who had personally built the company, became obliged to advance the narrative that their company was ingrained with a plaque layer of chauvinism that had been with it from the beginning…I knew I was working in a crazy place.

It’s a great measuring device. Because in this line of work, the dudes outnumber the chicks heavily, pretty much everywhere. People try to fix it, make the girls feel more welcome…I’ll not deny there may be some value in this…but ultimately it’s self defeating. No one should be “made to feel welcome” here. You either have the personality type to struggle on an unsolvable problem until you’ve managed to get it solved, or else you don’t. Doesn’t matter what your plumbing is. And there’s nothing wrong with people who decide it’s not for them.

But anyway, yes…this thing religion has been doing throughout the centuries, asking people to believe in something unseen…this is relatively harmless. The thought exercise has done a lot of good for a lot of people. It’s a question that separates the spiritually strong from the pusillanimous: Is there a reason for me to be here?

The reverse of that though — requiring disbelief of something we can see playing out right in front of us — has a toxic effect. It drives us mad. I’d go even further, to speculate it may have a damaging effect on our cognitive abilities. The ability to noodle things out logically is a perishable skill, not unlike passing an eye exam.


Sunday, April 26th, 2020

One month ago, staying at home and abiding by sensible “shelter-in-place” directives was an entirely non-partisan thing. That’s no longer true. There are exceptions to everything, but a sentiment of “That’s enough of this nonsense let’s get back to work” has risen up and it is a political-right thing; continuing with this “whole nation housebound” situation is a political-left thing. What happened?

Leftists would claim to have a monopoly on compassion for the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, with everyone disagreeing with them wanting those people to die in ditches somewhere. It’s good party propaganda but I think everyone knows deep inside that that’s not what’s happening. It’s a narrative crafted for consumption by “snapshot people” who have no concept of time. If the division had to do with a callous disregard for the lives of people with weak immune systems, it would have been that way from the get-go. No, things are different. Things have moved.

The first thing we should look at is lifestyle since that’s what has changed most drastically. Republicans and conservatives evaluate this as what it really is, a trade-off; we’re getting our “social distancing” which we have to have, although we can’t afford it for too long. The democrats are looking at the same situation but they don’t register the concept of “can’t afford.” Anyone who’s watched democrats for any length of time knows this. We’ve seen it for generations. Whee!! New program!! Spend spend spend!! If we run out of money it’s the taxpayer’s fault for not coming up with his “fair share.”

But if they could process the concept of foregoing something because of lack of availability of controlled assets or offered credit, it wouldn’t apply. See, what’s this thing we can’t afford? Sit on the couch watch Netflix, wait for checks from the government, do a lot of complaining. That is literally what democrats do all the time. Nothing has really changed for them. There’s nothing to be afforded.

The Internet, the streaming services, the potato chips…all this stuff sort of magically happens. I guess they think it’s little elves or something. Little coffee-milkshake-brewing, soda-carbonating, marijuana-growing elves. Unseen between-dimension creatures who haul away our garbage, open our grocery stores, stock the refrigerated cases with the milk we want to buy, and I suppose piloting all those cargo ships all over the world so the stuff keeps arriving at its required destination. Like it Girl Farmernever occurs to them someone had to do some work to make it happen…which means someone had to leave a house. It takes a lot to keep this shelter-in-place lifestyle going.

Conservatives and liberals go through life confronting a common predicament, and constantly: You have to leave the house in order to live life, but anytime you do, something might happen. Part of growing up and living life as an adult is recognizing this, and accepting the risk. Now the more years I see come and go, and most especially with this latest Chinese Virus debacle, the more I’ve come to realize this is a conservative thing. Liberals have some other way of dealing with it. Some, perhaps, don’t. Never leave the house. How sad is that? It’s not the same as agoraphobia, since some agoraphobic people must recognize they have a neurological disorder and this isn’t a rational way to behave. And some liberals do get out and live life. We’ve heard about them for years, ridiculing the rest of us for allowing our passports to expire or never having use for one in the first place. But now we can see this is projection. “Worldly and well traveled” is how liberals like to think of other liberals who traipse around abroad, the antithesis of this being some sort of buck toothed barefoot conservative who clings to a tight radius from womb to tomb, living in fear. We see now it’s the liberals who live in fear.

Maybe…just maybe…the conservatives don’t get the passports because they have work to do. I’m not saying it’s that way all the time, but it’s interesting that the metrosexual blue-state mind can’t even consider the possibility. Someone has to grow that wheat, slaughter the pigs and move the gallon jugs of 2% milk into the dairy case.

And maybe this smugness is what motivates liberals to leave the house. Perhaps they’re shrugging off the fear of being hit by a car the first time they cross a street, much the way conservatives do, but with less of a risk-acceptance calculation and more of a “I’m too good for that to happen to me” arrogance. One thing we know for sure is that it has to be something different. It isn’t calculation and acceptance of a sensible level of residual risk. They don’t believe in that concept. That’s settled now, because they want us all hunkered down, with the national agoraphobia continuing onward indefinitely, throughout the summer and into November…so that maybe you-know-who will run into some trouble. But either way, they’ve made themselves crystal clear. No one comes out of the house until everything is completely safe.

They don’t get that in real life, nothing is ever completely safe. They don’t get the concept. They refuse to recognize it. That’s my point here. Some of us have spent literally decades trying to get that simple thought across to liberals. If we ever succeed at it, they forget it in five minutes or less because they’re liberals. And then they’re back to “If it saves just one life it’s worth it.”

The idea that liberals want the economy to tank so that Trump can be limited to one term, is not a wild-ass conspiracy theory. Bill Maher is on record talking about this wish he has…and was he speaking just for Bill Maher? Nowadays it’s a very bad look for him, and his fellow liberals would like to convince anyone & everyone that was him just going down a bunny trail all by himself, and furthermore he’s seen the error of his ways. Well…form whatever conclusions you wish about those. I’ve formed mine.

It isn’t just dedicated Trumpophile conservatives who want to get back to work and end this silliness, or at least put it up to some kind of open discussion and rigorous challenge. It’s the middle-of-the-road people too, the politically unaffiliated, who have had time to take in the information and mull over what it means. We still have very small subsets of the population being tested for the Chinese Virus, and that stands to reason because if you test negative on Wednesday you might be infected by Thursday, so what’s the point? Well there is a point. If you can test 1% from State A and State B, this doesn’t sound like much; but if 40% of those tests come out positive in State A and only 5% of them are positive in State B, this is valuable information to have. Furthermore, it works even if the populations of states A and B are markedly different, and a 1% test coverage is the best you can manage. This has helped us to track what the virus is doing.

But it’s being misused. We have our “number of active cases” metric, our mostly or entirely useless metric, being elevated almost to deity heights, as a sort of golden calf because it helps make Bad Orange Man look bad. People who couldn’t care less about Donald Trump, or about this effort to besmirch him, have figured out they can’t trust what they read. They know the death toll is being overstated and by design. The statisticians wait until they get caught before they put any effective countermeasures or corrections in place. That has to mean something. If you’re smart enough to record and process this information, you should have seen these embarrassments coming, proactively. And yet it didn’t happen. That makes an impression on people.

And they understand our so-called “leaders” are speaking out their butts. Yes, these leaders have been elected to the positions they hold…yes, in theory if they make the wrong decisions, they’ll be the first to be embarrassed and potentially defrocked from their positions of public trust…but, not really. Nothing bad will happen to these martinets, if we get sick because we reopened too early. Nothing will happen to them if we go broke from opening too late. Nothing will happen to them at all. These are people who were hand-picked, by way of their elevation from one plateau of political power to the next one to the next one, based on their lifelong skill at giving fancy speeches, hogging credit and deflecting blame. It’s a bad habit we Americans have. We pick these people who have spent their entire lives, from “No Mom I swear I was just putting the cookie back into the jar” onward, refining this talent, escaping accountability. And then we put them in charge of our most important decisions. What did Thomas Sowell say about this:

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.

The weirdness of our situation is that we live in a totalitarian police state, of sorts, and yet the guy on top of it is not part of it. Just about everyone with a passionate opinion to offer about what we should do next, has formed that opinion around him, pro or con.

SandcastleThe Karen rules continue to churn out non-stop. I just went grocery shopping a few minutes ago. I bought three things. Had to be corrected about what I was doing five times.

We can’t keep doing this. For one thing, being corrected this many times about fairly innocuous movements or decisions, being this unsure of where to go next or what to do next, can’t be good for halting the spread of any communicable virus.

So the alignment that has taken place, with right-wing wanting to go back to work and get things back to the way they should be, and the left-wing carping on about “this is the new normal” and settling in to their Netflix streaming and their grass-smoking…it’s not all laziness and it’s not all about crapping on the economy so maybe Trump loses in November. It’s a whole way of looking at life. And it’s the thrill of coming up with these rules that nobody can follow so that you can scold people who don’t follow them. But mostly it’s about that bizarre viewpoint, carried aloft by many a liberal, that we’re not here to do anything. The lack of purpose conservatives and moderates feel as they waste away in their homes — liberals don’t feel it.

Recently a liberal satire site tried to mislead Trump supporters into sharing a false story that Mitt Romney endorsed Joe Biden. Did that effort go anywhere? No it did not. Did it fail because such a story is unbelievable? No…the opposite. It packed zero punch. Biden and Romney are both red-tape makers…Process people…they’re both drag and not lift. They belong together. This bores everybody. It’s not even worth discussing.

The American People are reminded every day there are people out there who don’t want anyone living life. Why is that? After many years looking closely at it I’m still struggling with it, still trying to flesh out some details, patterns, exceptions…figuring out what it all means and how it got to be this way. It seems to be a success thing. Some liberal tries at something and fails at it, he comes to conclude he doesn’t want you trying to do the same thing because you might succeed. It’s something that’s got to do with that.

That Other Virus

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

Okeedokee. So what has happened in the three weeks or so since I made my observations about the lockdowns and non-compliance and so-forth…

Well we have another rapidly-spreading virus, one whose effects I fear are going to remain with us even after the “Don’t Tell Me WTF To Call The Chinese Lung Killer Virus” virus has become a part of our past, like the influenza epidemic. You can see it in all these weird little rules. Statutes, ordinances, taboos, rations, nasty notes left on doors

The surfer, or paddle-boarder, who was arrested for not socially-distancing properly. As this Facebook graphic makes clear, overall the effect of this action is to accelerate the spread of the virus, compared to just leaving the guy where he was.

I would like to know about blocking store entrances so that there’s only one narrow passageway for entrance and egress. Maybe there’s a rationale for it. But here again, the effect would be to accelerate, and not slow or stop, the spread. I suppose there could be some “Excuse Me Sir” types monitoring each customer’s use of masks and hand sanitizers, and they were on break as I passed through the archway? And so there’s only one portal to make their jobs easier or something…I dunno. Seems like rule-making for the sake of rule-making.

Speaking of grocery stores, the food rationing could use a re-think. It makes sense if you’re having trouble restocking inventory and that was a problem in the first couple of weeks. But now, if you only allow 1 or 2 packages of chicken per household, you’re just forcing people to go grocery shopping again sooner than they would have to otherwise.

The Surgeon General’s “recommendation” that we not wear masks turned out to be a Noble Lie proliferated for the benefit of health care practitioners who needed the masks, not for the public at large. This is a great model for now not to do it. Telling us half-truths and untruths erodes our sense of trust.

The plastic bag rules…oh good heavens. They change daily and there’s no point to linking to anything. Can you pick up the vibe yet that I’m not describing badly thought-out rules and lectures and scoldings, but rather mental frailties? You see, if I were a strutting authoritarian martinet and I came up with a plastic-bag rule for everybody else to follow, and by the next day it turned out to be a stupid idea, I would just yank it. I’d just say to myself, okay then that was a bad idea. Hopefully learn the lesson. I would never dream of strutting around in the opposite direction, handing down an opposite rule…and then the day after, coming up with a third variant overriding the first two. Strutting and scolding and “on penalty of whatever” the entire time. It takes a fragile and crooked mentality to do that. But that’s what the plastic bag rules have done.

The banning of church services has gotten way out of hand. The banning of seeds. Sand in the skating parks, to trip anyone who might use them. Park closures. One-way grocery aisles. Gatherings of more than ten people. A thousand dollar fine for not wearing a mask. Statutory limits on medication that could treat the virus.

Kurt Schlichter said it well:

One of the least appealing aspects of the American character is the residual Puritanism that still compels a certain percentage of our countrymen, women and others, to nag, pester, and generally annoy the rest of us by trying to make us conform to their stick-up-the-Lieu vision of propriety. These people – these obnoxious Karens, for lack of a better FCC-compliant term – are delighted by the Chinese Bat Biter grippe and the opportunity it presents for them to try to impose their arbitrary will upon the rest of us. These mewling Mussolinis need to be slapped back, verbally if not physically, but as long as we are under this lockdown, they will not stop. They live for this, the chance to dictate to and control us, and the problem is some of them have positions of power…
I'd Like to Speak to the ManagerThis is not to say that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic is fake or unserious, nor that we should ignore it and pretend that it’s just another flu. It is to say that there is more going on now than a respiratory ailment. There’s an economic ailment that most of us are painfully aware of, and there is a freedom ailment, where the Karens in everyday life and in the corridors or power are taking advantage of this crisis to let their fascist flag fly.

Key point to all this is:

Safety is an important thing, but not the only thing. If the standard is no life can ever be put at risk, say good-bye to cars, to steak, to swimming pools, to any kind of freedom to make choices. And to the Karens, that’s a feature, not a bug. [emphasis mine]

Here we come to a uniquely American problem. Our country has it in common with all other countries — and the people in them, you, me, just about everybody else, and our pets, most living things — that we are an exemplary model, a worthy standard which others should follow and by which they could be judged. We’re also a dire warning. Living things, by the very definition of living, are spinning stories that have yet to be all the way told. We are all exemplary models, and dire warnings, both at the same time. At least most of us. America’s unique story is that we have promoted a healthy temperance of safety concerns, balancing them with aspirations to do great things and become great people. These aspirations often take us to the far side of potentially dangerous enterprises. That is not to say that ours is the first country to do dangerous things. Far from it. But we promote the healthy exploration of this security vs. opportunity seesaw. We have become great because we have challenged our Karens and, in our history, told them to pipe down and be quiet while brave men and women did what they had to do.

Now the Karens are surfacing like earthworms after a storm. What’s really dangerous about them is that they’re not inclined toward moderation. They’re addicts; the more Karening they do, the more they want to do. They’ve even started to put up some snotty articles for us to read about how using the term “Karen” is sexist.

Remember #BanBossy? A wad of irony that could choke a horse: Bossy girls bossing us around on social media, forcing us not to ever use the word that perfectly described them and what they were doing. Now the Karens are gaslighting us as sexists for noticing what they’re doing.

I have a very dark thought about this that goes beyond even what Colonel Schlichter has noticed. Some of these pain-in-the-ass little-laws, as myself and others have noted, have a reverse effect. Not only are they unlikely to stop us from getting sick, their most reasonably anticipated ultimate effect is to make us sicker. I never did understand the rationale for banning the sale of alcoholic beverages in the self-checkout lanes. Now, with the Wuhan Flu, we’ve got no small number of people seeking to replenish their lockdown libations…which is not a good thing. But be that as it may. When their “grocery shopping trip” is for a bottle of hooch, why do they have to go through the motions of an actual grocery shopping trip? We’re making people stand six feet apart in the “real” checkout lanes, so isn’t it to everybody’s advantage if somebody’s two-minute shopping trip really is just two minutes, rather than twenty? If we couldn’t repeal the “no adult beverages in self-checkout” rule before, wouldn’t it make sense for us to suspend it now?

Karens think more-rules-less-freedom is a feature, not a bug. They are not capable of compromising in any way, it would appear. But what if they are?

What if they have what it takes to say: More people sick, more people dead, but it means I get to make a new rule. And scold people for not following it…so that makes it worth it?

Well, I don’t want to think thoughts that dark about anyone.

But I do have to say, I’m gaining a new perspective on people because of this experience. I suppose that goes for everybody. Some if it is positive: Those among us who chafe at unnecessary rules and unearned power more than I do…very few people. Dedicated “libertarian” types, their ideology borders on anarchy. But with this crisis, I have seen this crowd, in general, take the trouble to educate themselves on a communicable disease still baffling the experts, enlighten themselves with a confounding pool of knowledge still full of unknowns. And in the end, act like adults about it. They have had the same shelter-in-place rules foisted upon them that have been foisted upon all the rest of us, and they’ve complied with all the edicts, even the silly ones. And now, with the passage of a bit of time and a few knowns taking the place of the unknowns, they’re pushing back a bit and they’re going to be pushing back more. This is all correct behavior. We’re human beings not livestock. But before the pushback, there was mature, grown-up compliance. Anarchy could wait for another day. That’s been good to see.

On the negative side, I’m still learning a lot about bullying. One of the terrible things about it is that bullying encourages more bullying; a lot of bullies, both in childhood and in adulthood, are people who themselves were once bullied. The reverse is also true. We’ve got this other country, which is communist, pulling out all the stops manufacturing propaganda and manipulating discourse, as communists are wont to do. They’ve given the world this sickness and their apologists are busy chastising everyone for not fixing it fast enough. The Chinese Government, as William Jacobson so elegantly put it, “threw the world overboard, and now is claiming the world should have known how to swim better.”

This is a new kind of bully. Or a new bit of knowledge I’m only now gaining, about a strain of bully that’s always been walking among us. You see, on my third-grade playground, if you messed things up for some other kid…and I dunno how you go about doing that in the 3rd grade. Drop someone’s textbook in a mud puddle maybe? And then you castigated him as he struggled to cope with this problem you had made. Well, that’s just a wonderful plan if your goal is to leave the playground with a split lip. So what we see in Communist China, and their apologists, is a sort of “Bizarro Bully,” the reverse of the bully we more commonly know; a bully who came to be a bully because he didn’t get bullied enough. And I suppose maybe that’s what a Karen is. Spoiled brats who somehow came to exhibit terrible behavior, actions so beneath any threshold of the acceptable that the only proper rejoinder is violence. And then they didn’t get the violence, so they coasted into adulthood just keeping on keepin’-on.

You see, we have this unfounded premise to which we cling. Someone makes rules for us to follow and we presume they have our best interests at heart. It’s a flaw in our thinking. People who want to constrain your options, by default, don’t have your interests at heart unless it can somehow be established that they do. We have this tendency to think “Oh well, he’s a public official so that means he’s accountable to me at the ballot box.” No. A lot of these Karens are elected jerks who sit in safe seats, and aren’t worried about your vote. The very few who sit in unsafe seats and need to placate someone in order to have a shot at re-election, are placating someone who is not you. Either way, the notion they have your bests interests at heart, is — in general — a falsehood.

I say, we should think big on this thing. Stop hoping that maybe, if everything goes right and we behave just so, we can emerge from this with something that vaguely resembles the body of privileges and rights we had last year. That’s not thinking big. Here’s a thought: Let’s use this pandemic to embiggen that body of privileges and rights. Roll back some of the least sensible rules, the silly rules…not just the pandemic rules, but the pre-pandemic rules.

We have to figure out how to get back into “workspaces” anyway, right? May I ask why? Workspaces have become kind of like marriage, in the sense that if you’re a man and you start to apply some diligent but cynical thought to how it all works, you come away with some hard questions about why you should want to participate. Questions not so easy to answer. Let’s see…these workspaces from the viewpoint of a man…well, we have these “human resources departments” which are busying themselves with the task of making the workspace “comfortable for everyone,” but that “everyone” does not include men. You get stuck in cubicle-land with, potentially, a neurotic twatwaffle in the cubicle next to you just looking for excuses to sue or file grievances. In fact, she could be a crazy-cat-lady who makes that nonsense into her whole raison d’être. You’ve got no control over any of this, and if it happens that way then your whole career is looking down the barrel of a Russian Roulette revolver, five days a week fifty-two weeks a year. The workspace is to be made comfortable for the crazy-cat-lady. No one with a name or reputation worthy of preservation, would ever put that name or reputation under a statement that this should be comfortable for you. You are chaff. The neurotics who go around wrecking things are the wheat.

That is the truth of how a pre-pandemic “workspace” worked. We got used to it over time. We were like the frog in the boiling water in that we tolerated it because it was phased in a little bit at a time. If it hit us all at once we would have revolted against it, quite sensibly and unanswerably.

“Shelter in place” work-from-home ends up quite appealing. A lot of men had jobs before this started that absolutely, positively, in no way shape matter form or regard, would ever allow tele-working. It was unthinkable. And now it’s happening. I’m one of those people and you know…you can’t put toothpaste back in a tube.

What’s the female side of the change? As Z-Man pointed out when this all started,

Suddenly, the women taking care of their kids, taking over their schooling and being a stabilizing force are cool. Those career women sheltering in place with their box wine and social media account can no longer kid themselves about their real status in society.

There’s been a lot of wishful thinking about a baby boom coming from this lock-down, but what may follow is a marriage boom. Millions of single women now have no reason to exist, because they are stuck at home. They can’t cause drama at work and they can’t cruise the bars with their friends. Meanwhile, the women they made sport of at the office are having the time of [their lives] at home with the family. There’s some chance this panic opens some pretty young eyes to the reality of their existence.

So males and females are processing this change differently, but along both paths the end-point is the same: The “workspace” is going to take a real pummeling.

We wonder if “life” will never get back to normal and I think it will. The workspace won’t. So since it’s been bashed to pieces and has to be put back together again, I say put it together the right way.

No culture retains its health and vitality if its changes over time are guided by the dysfunctional and weak. “Make the workspace comfortable for everyone,” for far too long, has implicitly meant “Make the workspace comfortable for the quivering neurotics who have no skills and are there only to suck up paychecks and settlement checks as they sue, sue and sue some more.”

Kate UptonHumpty Dumpty has to be put back together again. So let’s fix that.

Silliest stuff first — because that’s where the enemy always makes its inroads as it attacks our freedoms. The picture of Kate Upton goes high on a cubicle wall, where everyone can see it. You may chortle at this in disgust and say, not wrongfully by any means, That’ll never happen. But the point is, Why? And you know the answer: It could be construed as a hostile work environment. That’s the correct answer. And it reveals the problem. Apart from giving me an excuse to put a Kate Upton bikini picture on my blog, which is always a plus, this is my topical conduit into where I really want to take this inspection:

The “could be construed as” standard is a false standard because it’s passive-voice. The sentence does not have a subject, because specifying a subject in that sentence would reveal that we’re pandering to the dysfunctional among us. “Crazy cat ladies ready to litigate at the drop of a hat, could construe it as a hostile work environment” would be the active-voice variant. How crazy are these crazy-cat-ladies? They don’t want anyone else to see girls in bikinis…which is the same as saying they will never, ever be happy, and if we think on things with logic and common sense, we ought to be asking what’s the point of placating people who will never be happy.

This is a bad world we have built. It is a world that was desired by lawyers, who wanted to make lots of money, and by absolutely no one else. And no one, including the lawyers, ever wanted to live in such a world.

We tend to do this a lot. We make “sensible” decisions one day, which by the next day slap us upside the head with some nightmarish existence no one ever wanted. This is our chance to fix that. We should take it because when workplaces are nightmarish hellholes in which no one would ever want to work, unless they have zero other options for their income because their skills are narrow and their work quality is low, we all suffer.

With that very silly change — not necessarily bikini pictures on cubicle walls, but a newer, friendlier, more flexible environment in which the option could be there — we could enact less silly, more meaningful changes. Who ever wanted to live in a world where you have to attend mandatory training about the correct and proper way to tell your work colleague that she’s wearing a nice sweater? Who ever wanted to live in a world where the answer that ultimately emerges is one of, “Maybe it’s better and safer for everyone if you just leave it unsaid”? Who ever wanted that? So now if I’m a man and my colleague is a woman, I can’t say anything positive to her at all except for what’s rigidly and tightly constrained to work competence…even have to pick my adjectives as if I’m traipsing through a mine field. That was very competent, Susan. Competently done. Oh you’re just the most competently competent competent person in the history of competence, like, ever.

That’s pure misery. But it’s how we’ve been living. It’s what we have made normal. The truth is, women don’t need this much protecting. They’re not that fragile. It’s just the ones we should have been ignoring who are that fragile.

So these “worksapces” of normal human beings get bored, and fed up, and have Halloween costume parties. With lots of paper guidance from HR about keeping it professional…and it’s understood this is absolutely necessary because of that most unfortunate decision made by Ariana in Accounting three years ago. And the ladies push the envelope because they’re so fed up with it. And the fellas are obliged to pretend they’re not noticing. Which, of course, is something we males can’t really do.

Well…I’m not standing by, billfold in hand, ready to pay someone’s lawsuit settlement for them so I can’t really criticize. But I know a stupid rule that doesn’t make any sense when I see one, and I see an opportunity to fix what’s long been broken when I see one. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

We live in this world, awash in Karens both with & without a pandemic, because we’re way too free and easy with allowing liberals to make rules. Liberals chirp up and say “I dunno…do we really need [blank]? We should have a new law against [blank].” It’s a familiar formula. There is something we can all agree, regardless of our ideological positioning, is a bad thing. And then the liberal fastens something liberals don’t like, to the bad thing. A great example of this is guns and school shootings. The liberal breezily bans this feature, that feature, that other feature…why do you need more than ten rounds? People living out in the boonies have an answer for that but the libs don’t want to hear it. Ban ban ban. If you mutter so much as a peep of protest then you must be in favor of school shootings.

Now, returning to work, opening up the country, has become a partisan issue. The liberals can’t say “I’m opposed to opening up the country” because that would be an election-loser. And they wouldn’t feel good about themselves saying it, so it wouldn’t proliferate among liberals. But they can say: People will die. And they’re not completely wrong about that. They’re not completely right either. What they want to do is live out this narrative they see on their teevee shows — liberals watch way too much teevee — where the star of the show knows something that’s game-changing, and everyone else is a bit player who’s just marching along, making bad decisions, wallowing in derp. It’s not all just salivating over more more more security and neglecting opportunity, although there is a lot of that. The balance of their motivation has to do with how they see the world, as a teevee show in which they’re the star. No one else, other than Barack and Michelle Obama maybe, has any speaking lines of any significance. We who disagree with them, are the “Designated Wrong Guy” you see in all the police procedurals, who’s got the job of advancing all the wrong opinions, all the theories the lazy, lazy scriptwriters have already decided are going to be falsified later. You can often tell who this individual is by the way he talks.

Sometimes this is a sympathetic character. By the fourth season of The X-Files a lot of us were wondering why Dana Scully ever bothers to say anything at all, since it was her job to come up with the normal explanations and it was Mulder’s job to come up with the paranormal ones…and in the third act of every episode Mulder would be proven right and Scully would be proven wrong. Why doesn’t she just shut her always-wrong girl mouth? Well…that’s the way liberals think. Everything is scripted. And the central character of the show is always right.

I really don’t think he did it.

There’s a bomb on that truck.

She’s not a killer, I just know it.

Maybe that paraplegic somehow did an astral projection.

That cross belongs in a museum.

I’m telling you Sheriff, you’re about to execute an innocent man.

That dog is trying to tell us something.

That’s the “script,” see? So President Trump, and those who support him, along with those who are too sluggish or are otherwise inadequate in opposing him with sufficient vitriol, we’re all teetering on the brink of making this terrible, disastrous, deadly decision…even though the President of the United States has no authority to “open the country.” This is what makes liberals liberals. They’ve got their villain all picked out, and he doesn’t have power (nevermind that he, being a big dumb-stupid, fails to realize this)…and yet he is to be blamed for everything. But here comes the noble, enlightened liberal with his nugget of game-changing knowledge. And a disaster is coming when Mayor Vaughn lures those swimmers into the waters of Amity, or when the Greeks bring that big wooden horse through the gates. How it will end remains to be seen, but for now the desired narrative has been constructed: The noble liberal knows what’s right, and is screaming and struggling to be heard.

It always comes back to that. We have to do what the liberal says or else we die. Every single day of every single year, every single issue.

It doesn’t matter if the liberal has an actual plan, or nothing more than a don’t-do-it objection to the status quo. It doesn’t matter if he’s subsequently proven wrong. Being a liberal means never having to admit you were wrong about anything.

Meanwhile, we have a current method of living that isn’t living, and is unsustainable. We have had the capacity to do just-so-many weeks of this; and, we’ve done it. As early in the game as was practical, which was the correct thing to do. Now our capacity has been exhausted. We can’t keep huddling away in lockdown, but we can learn some lessons. I cannot summarize them better than what I saw earlier this month on Instapundit:


The debate over immigration is over: restriction wins.

The debate over borders is over: they are needed.

The debate over globalization is over: the era of autarky begins.

The debate over Europe is over: it is a geographic expression, not a polity.

The debate over global warming is over: it is irrelevant.

The debate over international institutions is over: only nations matter.

The debate over the People’s Republic of China is over: it is a menace to the community of nations, not a member in good standing.

Crisis is clarity.

This has been an era of clarification.

Breaking the Law

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Genius Times, which is a satire site:

Analysts were shocked that a state that encourages foreigners to break the law should have so many residents break the law.

“We let homeless people take a dump on the street in front of nice restaurants. We let people spread AIDS with impunity. We encourage immigrants to come here illegally. You’d think people would listen to my orders!” [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom said in a press conference.

Money quote: “Newsom issued a ‘shelter in place’ order directing the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home beginning March 20 to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Instead, residents have issued a ‘kiss my ass’ order for Newsom.”

Newsom is on the younger side of the “Baby Boomers” who, since roughly around Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, have been around the age where we expect people to be in charge of big things — even though, as kids, they started rebelling against authority and for the most part never really stopped. Having people in positions of authority who’ve spent their lives rebelling against authority has made things weird. That’s why this is good satire, it reflects what’s true. Newsom is representative of a whole generation of pricks who’ve aligned every fiber of their being in the direction of “Question Authority,” and now that they’re the authority they expect not to be questioned. That’s a generalization and it shouldn’t be taken as an indicator that every single one has this problem. But the ones that do have it aren’t completely sane, and yet they’re still in charge of things.

Because of this, we’ve got laws that you’re supposed to follow even though they don’t & could not ever exist; we’ve got laws that do exist, that people are expected not to follow. Like I said, it makes things weird.

Now if “Guy who has a blog that nobody reads anyway, came upon a graph someone uploaded to social media without any sources or citations, and republished it” is what turns your crank…here’s a good one…

Let’s just say I’ve spent exactly half my life, twenty-seven years, in this state and I find it entirely believable. In fact, as I’ve noted before, even at this very late date I still have a lot of trouble adjusting to it — a zillion-and-one little pain-in-the-ass laws that don’t really matter because no one enforces them and no one even knows they’re there. The concept confounds, baffles and distresses me, but that’s the reality here.

And so as I reach out and ask for sources and data for this plotting, it’s really just a formality. I already know this about Californians. They’re/we’re like cats. “Here Frisky, come here!! Come on!” (Cat: Fuck you. Feed me.)

I’m not saying I approve of that behavior. As tyrannical and anti-American as a “Shelter in Place” order might seem to be, and let’s face it, it is — it’s the right thing for us to be doing right now. This dumb virus lives on surfaces for several days, but at the end of a couple weeks it should be done. If we could somehow wave a magic wand and achieve perfect distancing throughout that period, this would be over.

But of course we can’t. Whenever someone acts out their selfishness and stupidity, they hit the reset button for the rest of us.

As far as my own situation, because I’m antisocial, I am naturally-distanced. The Powers That Be have reached out and asked if I can come to work, which I will be doing tomorrow morning. It’s that huge big office. I work in it all by myself. I really don’t even understand what you “real people” do at work that’s sociable. The traditional “water cooler talks”? Monday-morning quarterbacking? Jibber-jabbering about who got booted off Dancing With The Stars? Who got the rose on The Bachelor? I have no idea and I don’t really care. As a true twenty-first century nerd, I just go in, make myself a pot of coffee, design/implement/test/debug/document and then go home. Then I spend the evening with my lovely wife, whom if I’m going to infect I’ve already done it anyway…and in the morning I go on social media and argue with dingbat liberals before heading in to work again. So yeah I’m as low-risk as they come.

This event suggests the bureaucracy might be functional after all, contrary to my previous dismal predictions, and is going through the coarse unrefined people like me who lack social skills…therefore, at some point, will eventually get to everybody else. This is light at the end of the tunnel.

Some who remain in lock-down may take this as inspiration for a renewed effort to watch the same teevee shows, or do other things that call for being within line-of-sight of their lock-down-mates, knowing an end to this ordeal may be at hand. That would be a good thing. And so I’ve reached a decision that I should probably say something.

Please don’t hurt each other. Not yet.