May 26, 2017
In Those Awkward Moments That Proof of Age is Required, You Can Just Visibly React to This.
"Wait. What's that round thing on their phone?"
See how easy that was? No senior discount for her!
May 24, 2017
Links of Note Over at Dot Clue, in the righthand margin, J. Greely has compiled archives of and posted links to all three of the blogs of the late Steven DenBeste. who was a remarkably influential voice in the early years of the "blogosphee".
The U.S.S. Clueless archives in particular are an invaluable resource for those wanting to understand right leaning thought in the very early 21st century. Those posts also possess insights that are still prescient.
The Chizumatic archives are mostly fluff, but entertaining and thought provoking in their own way.
Steven is still sorely missed. Both J.Greely and Pixy Misa deserve a heartfelt thanks for preserving and hosting these bits of web history, as does Steven's family for making them available.
May 23, 2017
Beslan Comes to Manchester. High school and younger kids were the target demographic, of Ariana Grande as well as these fiends.
There is very little that I can add except to say that a phobia is an irrational, unreasonable fear of something. Therefore, Islamophobia should not be a word.
While the sheer depravity of blowing up little girls leaves me speechless, Cdr. Salamander is not so handicapped.
So...How's Dr. Who Been Lately? Oh.
Well, in fairness, the linked critic is from in California.
We should probably temper that opinion with one from somebody in the British Commonwealth who will be culturally more attuned to the show's perspecti...
May 22, 2017
Modern Life Forces us All to Tell Little Lies to Get By
I Did NOT Notice That Much Gainaxing in That Show
Minor Nobles of Exquisite Breeding and Dubious Charachter Sarah Hoyt has a thoughtful piece up on aristocracy and class.
Mostly because Europe still largely thinks in "Classes” — I know, I was born and raised there — and those of us in whose mind it doesn’t fit easily always felt weird about it.Guys, we’re starting to feel weird about what the US is doing too.
I do urge you to read it in full. Like a lot of the products of Hoyt's MENSA mind it goes down a lot of different paths before before having them all begin to merge.
Her piece brought to mind an exchange I had with a professor this past semester.
The professor in question is a damned good one and teaches an extremely interesting class on the history of technology, which she comes at from very nonintuitive and thought provoking directions. At one point we were discussing the politics of late 19th century tech and she asked "Who is the left?" After a brief back and forth, she provided her answer "Cosmopolitans!" Her position was that the left is constitutionally cosmopolitan as they are able to make common cause with people around the world without regard to national boundaries. This is not actually that far off, though it glosses over a bit. In particular she was very keen on pushing the internationalist aspect as opposed to any meaningful connection to the the origins of the word in the French Revolution. However, both are entwined closely.
For centuries Europe had a feudal system where a lord would run a small fiefdom and there would be various interactions with other aristocratic families, usually power related, but these guys ran the place. However, as fiefdoms merged into principalities and principalities into kingdoms and occasionally empires the power of the nobility waned. As the early policy in some regions of kings being elected gave way to primogeniture, the nobles became locked in, unable to advance, except at the expense of some other family, or perhaps in the event of a succession crisis, an invasion or coup. Then some of those damned commoners began making far more efficiently than any conceivable taxes on one's tenants. This was the merchant class, and they began creating wealth hand over fist and in some cases, like the Hanseatic League surpassed kingdoms in wealth, and certain aspects of power. Of course, to the nobles this was a great injustice. After all, they had legitimacy through their bloodline. These dirty capitalists selling cod of all things and gaining wealth without having first secured noble parentage were...CHEATING!
This being based on accident of birth, a litany of effete' social standards were set up to distinguish themselves from those who could not appreciate the magnificent blueness of the noble's blood. Their identity was not being common and so they shunned all things that had any trappings of the average people of their kingdom. On the other hand they tended to resent the upper aristocracy, who were a hard limit on their ascendance, indeed, an invasion or power struggle where a noble chose astutely to change loyalties could result in a major increase in stature. And of course these people had a white hot burning hatred for what we now refer to as capitalism as it enable even the basest people who were clever and assiduous to rise most distressingly...with no regard to ancestry.
When speaking of groups it is important to remember that they consist of unique individuals with the God given potential to develop their characters in any direction. However, in general, the minor nobility (of Europe in particular) became an insecure, status-obsessed group of inbreds whose social position above the hoi polloi was based on...not being of the hoi polloi. They were inclined to deeply resent their leaders and despise free markets, the latter because they threatened them by allowing an alternative avenue to mobility that did not pass through the nobles social register. They flaunted social mores to the extent they did not alarm the upper aristocracy because they could get away with it in a way that the commoners and the merchants (who were mostly commoners themselves) could not, this becoming a marker of their status and further establishing their position above those hated groups.
Obviously, this is a gross generalization, this class of people who had leisure time and nothing to do did produce some who applied themselves to non-despiseable eccentricities. (See Newton, Issac).
However, by and large we are talking about a social class that was pretty much worthless and hated everything.
Well not quite. They had much more in common with their fellow members of the minor nobility club in their country and others. So you had this group of people who had far greater affinity for people of similar status in other countries than they did with their own countrymen who they tended to despise as base and provincial in comparison to the ever so interesting different trappings of other countries...nobility.
Now even the most venal of us want to feel that we are good and noble. So the minor nobility twisted their noblesse oblige into a contemptuous pity for and desire to "help" (but not actually grant respectability to) the commoners. Now they often had no actual comprehension of how these people lived or what would help them. However, if the nobles were ever presented with the opportunity to remove their mask and express their sincerest and most heartfelt impressions to the king and his upper level aristocrats then the hoi polloi had the potential to not merely be objects of pity and charity, but could be most useful. If, after such a transpiration of events, the commoners were ungrateful or forgot their place, well, ' if the Vendee can't be a good example they can be a teaching moment'.
Fortunately, even before the Vendee was bathed in cruor, the founders of our country had provided us with a way to avoid this unfortunate societal dynamic. Title of Nobility Clause means we don't have nobility. For generations our upper classes tended to be people who moved up through hard work or at least astuteness. Now this is no foolproof filter against jerkwads achieving success. However this denied the upper middle class the permanence and persistence of a title. This break from historical norms produced an amazingly productive economy, that in 130 years went from a bankrupt backwater far from the center of civilization to an industrial giant less than a decade behind the most advanced nations on Earth in most technologies (and a world leader in a few). One of the factors here was that our successful people had to keep producing or, well, it wasn't like they could fall back on their titles 'CAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE THEM!
This often vexed the children of the successful as they were suddenly expected to be productive. Going back to even before the days of Caroline Webster Astor setting up "The 400" there were attempts by people to secure their position an eliminate competition (the trusts of the 19th century for instance). Astor's mean girl snobbery was an overt attempt to create a de facto aristocracy, but, without the titles there was nothing to enforce it and, indeed, families that produced children obsessed with such trivialities did not compete well. Thus there was intense churn amongst the upper class as new people came in bringing new technologies and the children of the previously successful proved to be a tad too comfortable to achieve the spark needed to compete and their families were frequently replaced by people bringing new ideas.
However, in recent years, a combination of factors that include regulations raising entry barriers to start up businesses, the inordinate weight placed on credentialism and in particular credentials from a few universities that only accept people from the upper echelons of society and a few new comers who think as they do. These factors mean that the credentialed class is now, for the first time in the U.S., largely self perpetuating. Elite credentials as titles of nobility certainly seems to be a superior arrangement to primogeniture, but in practice, the credential, seems to nullify any sense of noblise oblige, just as the group is becoming increasingly hereditary and it seems, far more credentialed than meritocratic.
This is an extremely status-conscious group and like the Astors of old they have found a kindred spirit in their hereditary counterparts of the old world. The upper classes of developing nations as well are drawn to this and this trans-national class of jet-setters who scold us on our carbon footprint are arguably more international in makeup and outlook than even the Third International. Despite being, in some ways a successor to the old Comitern, this transnational class is, while generally leftist in its politics, quite hostile to and contemptuous of the working classes in general. Indeed, their identity, at least in the U.S.A., is based on not being working class. Futhermore, while this group is want to proudly tout their cosmopolitan outlook, they seem to be, from the outside looking in remarkably provincial. That is, they talk to people from the same social strata from around the world, who are thus similarly socialized. Their diversity is thus superficial at best.
Likewise, their policies, while leftist are far closer to the black shirts than the brown. They are explicitly corporotist in outlook, forming cartels that rival and potentially surpass the American gilded age trusts in scope and power. The main difference between them and the Rockefellers, Carnagies and Morgans is that they frequently have enjoyed indulgence by the government from the get-go and those considerations are based to a large extent on social acceptability and political loyalty. This has resulted in the regulatory agencies becoming a weird hybrid of the Cultural Revolution, the Court of Versailles and Tammany Hall.
Like the minor nobles of old this group has set up elaborate rituals, ceremonies and byzantine social codes to differentiate themselves from the average Joe.
"Because "Joe", as a name for a "male", is cis-normative and also an example of patriarchal oppression given that "Joe" is being used as an example rather than Jane, unless, "Joe" is actually a girl which might make it barely acceptable, though bland and non-exotic except in cases where "Joe" used to be a guy named Felix but has transitioned. This is especially true in cases where Felix was a white male and now identifies as a Black tree-squirrel named Joe who demonstrates freedom from the patriarchy by marrying xerself. "
That digression brings us to Political Correctness, which is not merely a totalitarian movement to squelch and instill fear in political opposition, but is a modern equivalent to the old powdered wigs, courtly graces and appreciation for the latest fashions which required social connectedness in the pre-internet age. It is a barrier to entry for those who do not live and breathe it, and only someone who has considerable leisure time or is working in circles where the ever changing rules are being discussed can hope to navigate this minefield covered in eggshells. It's a useful way to differentiate the nobles from the plebs.
The upper middle class/minor nobles have been the strata that has given history its Catalines, Robespierres and Che Guevaras. Now they pretty much run the world.
Of course these guys face a problem that the vicecounts and barons of old never contemplated. The plebs still have a vote, which is why they have been bringing in lots of foreigners to their respective countries with which to cancel out that annoying fact. That this has deleterious effects on the average citizen is not seen as a bug to these latter day aristocrats. This, of course is why we got Trump, who while odious in his own ways is the working class equivalent to Churchill siding with Stalin against Hitler. It is a singularly desperate, hail Mary pass by the working and middle classes to save themselves from serfdom.
It should be remembered that he notion of a republic of free people equal before the law is an aberration in the history of humanity. It is a concept that we struggled to live up to and only embraced as a society in the last 40 years. We are in danger of loosing it, to a new variation on history's most perennial concept pf governance... aristocracy.
Update: Fixed some typos and a completely incoherent sentence in paragraph 19.
Update 2: Gracious! It's an Instalanche! Thanks for stopping by! This blog is mostly fluff, but we do occasionally rant about politics, science and defense.
May 16, 2017
Upon Reflection, There's Very Little Reason for Anyone to Look Below the Fold on this Post
All there is down there is quick update on my Walter Mitty lifestyle, whereas above the fold there's a half-elf in a maid outfit.
Art by Houtengekimore...
May 11, 2017
Instead of Content, We Have a Bit of Tankery
The U.S. Army testing its Mark 8 tank during WW1. Note that the 57mm gun sponsons are retracted in some of the shots. Note too that the music sucks, you should mute it and listen to this instead.
And here is a clever way of increasing the trench-crossing capability of the Renault tanks the U.S. actually used in WW1.
May 10, 2017
Bob Owens Has Passed On
Bob Owens was always an important voice on the right side of the blogosphere, having started blogging at the now defunct Confederate Yankee around late 2003. He was a major figure in the early years of blogging. his most recent blog, Bearing Arms, was a clarion voice in support of the second amendment and a source of advice on gun related legal matters. His passing was completely unexpected. The manner of his passing far more so.
Nicki at the Liberty Zone has thoughts on his passing that should be read in full.
There is a Go-Fund-Me page for his wife and two daughters here.
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