Archive for April, 2020

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.