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Yes.. let's go frolic in IronTiger's thought provoking threads. I'm sorry, but this forum is better with Niche, Red, and Meme contributing.

Speaking of which, when and where is our next happy hour?

Quantity ≠ Quality

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The reality is that our collective inefficiency and waste, once captured and saved for another purpose, is not wholly expended on another inefficient or wasteful activity. (I would opt to travel to obscure international destinations, however the additional wealth might just as likely be captured for some kind of government-sponsored educational policy.) This is not merely an argument for economic growth, but for the betterment of mankind, for happiness. I'll argue against Halloween or Christmas just the same, and deservedly so, but at least holiday expenditures are undertaken without any appreciable public policy incentives.

So wasteful spending is eventually recaptured for something productive. And Less will never be More, at least until the asteroid or the Keynesian endpoint, whichever comes first.

I think that's your drift, but your example kinda flummoxed me. (And what kind of monster doesn't like Halloween?!) I find it hard to view education spending as redeeming waste, would much rather you had said "national defense" -- wouldn't it be great if the military didn't have to beg for money, and schools had to hold a bake sale to keep the lights on? Although rooted in the Bad Seed that I was, this resentment of public school is by now one of my more well-developed convictions.

Or, alternatively, I'd be perfectly happy for the recaptured $$ to be used for travel expenses to any remote destination you like. How about Tristan de Cunha?

tdc-04sm.jpg

I've already been there. {National Geographic Jan.1964}

Wikipedia, on the island's school: "The current facility, which opened in 1975, has five classrooms, a kitchen, a stage, a computer room, and a craft and science room." More than adequate!

I am not suggesting that it should, merely that it should not actively undertake a mission to distort markets and suppress economic growth for the benefit of a special interest Realtor-class.

You do dislike realtors. Mr.luciaphile is that way about lawyers. Even the ones who are his colleagues, nominally engaged in the same work (but nearly always, he feels, working against him!). My well-concealed dislike is reserved for - yes - the education establishment, especially platinum-blond administrators; and careerist women in positions of authority generally (an ancient enmity); and members of the state legislature; and chiropractors, accupuncturists, brain-balancers, and infant massage therapists (okay, that's new - just saw their shingle yesterday) and all other quacks; and people who idle their trucks, buses,and SUVs for a long time; and Paul Krugman; and dog-obsessed people, or people who care about domestic animals but not wild animals; and people who love technology but mistrust science; and anyone who has a degree in Leadership. No offense meant, or not much.

A brother of mine works for a commercial real estate firm there in Houston. He really has to hustle -- I don't want him to have to forever. It has not been a great few years for him. Things to which I'm indifferent, I do want for him; so I suppose, in that one sense, I am rooting for the continued metastasis of Houston. But not this side of Waller County, please.

Forms of wasteful spending that people opt into can only be combated with education and countercultural influences.

The culture moved in the direction of the counterculture, co-opting only the worst aspects of it, until they became one, to the detriment of both; there is thus no "counter" current that I am aware of -- maybe you know of such. I have encountered some young, non-judgmental, home-schooling, early-church-emulating evangelicals, but they may be a local phenomenon, or a "lifestyle." They are having multiple babies, though, I've noticed -- that's a significant shift. They carry them in slings and give them names that sound sort of like a Biblical/ StarTrek-villain hybrid. Certainly the true conservationists, at least in Texas -- but I suspect this is true everywhere -- mostly have gray heads now, and many of them made the mistake of not having children. (Though absolutely right to be alarmed, they drew the wrong lessons from the Population Bomb.) Once more numerous, they were never very many, from boyhood mr.luciaphile easily being acquainted with all of them.

So "education" better reward your very striking faith in it. Perhaps it does so already -- you're not the malcontent -- people who are concerned about the environment do not use the term "environmental justice." My preoccupations are not yours, nor do I expect them to be, but thanks for replying.

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This is not merely an argument for economic growth, but for the betterment of mankind, for happiness...

I read further - a little further - into that Economist thing. Even though economics is not in his line, and he wasn't really paying attention to me, 'cuz he was looking at some odd GIS data of an area about an hour away from El Paso*, I gave my husband a ten-second summation of the Pro position on new "well-being" indicators, which predictably didn't interest him. I didn't mention the part about "failure to measure noneconomic activity," but he seized on that anyway. He instinctively feels that while the tools and indicators of economics are perfectly valid, we have so upended the role of the family -- for instance -- that the data of the past is unreliable, not readily comparable to the present and future. (Paraphrasing.) His example: A woman makes her child a sandwich. This is not counted as economic activity. Then the government usurps that role:

http://www.statesman...er-2392869.html

(It was the grotesque neologism "feeding sites" that caused me to recall reading that, my memory being mainly verbal.) Another woman is now paid to make that child a sandwich, and this is now counted as economic activity. At a stroke, the government has "increased" productivity.

End of him, beginning of me: And that is seen to correlate with "betterment."

*I'll find an El Paso thread for that, it's kind of fun.

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So wasteful spending is eventually recaptured for something productive. And Less will never be More, at least until the asteroid or the Keynesian endpoint, whichever comes first.

Not precisely. When wasteful spending is avoided, it is indeed true (as you suggested on Swamplot) that some fraction of that spending will likely be repurposed to another wasteful end; however, it is also possible that an alternative expenditure will not be wasteful.

Therefore, identifying and reducing wasteful expenditure is still better than the do-nothing alternative.

I think that's your drift, but your example kinda flummoxed me. (And what kind of monster doesn't like Halloween?!) I find it hard to view education spending as redeeming waste, would much rather you had said "national defense" -- wouldn't it be great if the military didn't have to beg for money, and schools had to hold a bake sale to keep the lights on? Although rooted in the Bad Seed that I was, this resentment of public school is by now one of my more well-developed convictions.

Or, alternatively, I'd be perfectly happy for the recaptured $$ to be used for travel expenses to any remote destination you like. How about Tristan de Cunha?

I used education because most people of any given political affiliation can think of some kind of pet project related to education that they would like funded, even if wasteful spending on education (e.g. athletics, special ed) cannot be defunded to offset the increase in expenditure. The nurturing of children is a less polarizing a subject matter than the military.

But the point is that whatever one's preference that they consider not to be wasteful, there's plenty that can be done with un-wasted resources that is at least worthy of consideration...whether it is having to do with private or public purposes.

I like your taste in obscure travel destinations, btw.

You do dislike realtors. Mr.luciaphile is that way about lawyers. Even the ones who are his colleagues, nominally engaged in the same work (but nearly always, he feels, working against him!). My well-concealed dislike is reserved for - yes - the education establishment, especially platinum-blond administrators; and careerist women in positions of authority generally (an ancient enmity); and members of the state legislature; and chiropractors, accupuncturists, brain-balancers, and infant massage therapists (okay, that's new - just saw their shingle yesterday) and all other quacks; and people who idle their trucks, buses,and SUVs for a long time; and Paul Krugman; and dog-obsessed people, or people who care about domestic animals but not wild animals; and people who love technology but mistrust science; and anyone who has a degree in Leadership. No offense meant, or not much.

A brother of mine works for a commercial real estate firm there in Houston. He really has to hustle -- I don't want him to have to forever. It has not been a great few years for him. Things to which I'm indifferent, I do want for him; so I suppose, in that one sense, I am rooting for the continued metastasis of Houston. But not this side of Waller County, please.

There are licensed salespersons and licensed brokers, and they serve a purpose in a world where real estate can be a complex and not very transparent endeavor for consumers that might only interact in that market a handful of times. Such persons can choose to be good or very very evil...and many are plainly incompetent. It takes all kinds.

However, Realtors (note the capitalized 'R' because the word is trademarked and copyrighted) are a class of malcontented lobbyists that impose a cartel upon the public and a system of agency whereby expectations are low and information is tightly-held.

Lawyers by contrast are a poorly organized sort. They can't even organize as a profession to effectively limit the number of new lawyers...the way that accountants and architects and Realtors have. Their profession is indeed miserable, but that is the nature of the law. It doesn't reflect on them. If they're good at what they do, then they keep you from doing things that you have no comprehension of as being stupid, but that are. And you feel resentful that they know that it's stupid, keep you from doing it, and perhaps cannot explain why it should be stupid. I've come to really appreciate lawyers. When you get caught being stupid, with your pants around your ankles, and they get you out of the mess, they are redeemed for being asinine...with money. And that's okay.

I like that you included Paul Krugman on your list, though.

The culture moved in the direction of the counterculture, co-opting only the worst aspects of it, until they became one, to the detriment of both; there is thus no "counter" current that I am aware of -- maybe you know of such. I have encountered some young, non-judgmental, home-schooling, early-church-emulating evangelicals, but they may be a local phenomenon, or a "lifestyle." They are having multiple babies, though, I've noticed -- that's a significant shift. They carry them in slings and give them names that sound sort of like a Biblical/ StarTrek-villain hybrid. Certainly the true conservationists, at least in Texas -- but I suspect this is true everywhere -- mostly have gray heads now, and many of them made the mistake of not having children. (Though absolutely right to be alarmed, they drew the wrong lessons from the Population Bomb.) Once more numerous, they were never very many, from boyhood mr.luciaphile easily being acquainted with all of them.

So "education" better reward your very striking faith in it. Perhaps it does so already -- you're not the malcontent -- people who are concerned about the environment do not use the term "environmental justice." My preoccupations are not yours, nor do I expect them to be, but thanks for replying.

Brilliant.

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However, Realtors (note the capitalized 'R' because the word is trademarked and copyrighted) are a class of malcontented lobbyists that impose a cartel upon the public and a system of agency whereby expectations are low and information is tightly-held.

Lawyers by contrast are a poorly organized sort. They can't even organize as a profession to effectively limit the number of new lawyers...the way that accountants and architects and Realtors have. Their profession is indeed miserable, but that is the nature of the law. It doesn't reflect on them. If they're good at what they do, then they keep you from doing things that you have no comprehension of as being stupid, but that are. And you feel resentful that they know that it's stupid, keep you from doing it, and perhaps cannot explain why it should be stupid. I've come to really appreciate lawyers. When you get caught being stupid, with your pants around your ankles, and they get you out of the mess, they are redeemed for being asinine...with money. And that's okay.

Probably having in-house lawyers is sometimes helpful to him, but I never hear about that. (It's a wife's part to listen uncritically to her husband's frustrations, not play devil's advocate; though you should not expect her to understand this for at least the first ten years of marriage, unless she is some kind of Wife Savant.) I think his objection is mainly that, being very detached from whatever he's trying to do, they have no strong desire to move things forward instead of derail them, and he feels they have a tendency to be overzealous, as a means of justifying themselves. But he is friendly with all.

Lawyers in-house and out do occasionally vex him (recently he watched incredulous as a very old good-old-boy lawyer earned his pay by convincing his client/buddy not to accept -- I guess I mustn't be too specific, just insert "colossal sum of money for doing nothing"). But a tiny, inconsequential, but representative thing, a diktat from above: after meeting with people, walking around with them and listening to them talk and being unfailingly polite -- whether or not these people are wanting something from him, or the reverse, he plays the supplicant in these interactions -- and then negotiating with them over a period of months: at some point in this mostly cordial process, he has to give this person who's likely a 6th-generation Texan a piece of paper and say, "I need you to sign this, it's just -- I need you to affirm that you are not a terrorist." The absurdity and embarrassment of this -- well, it gives him one more thing to blame on lawyers.

A solid Realtor® is not going to be concerned about someone's terrorist affiliations.

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Please, out of nothing more than consideration for me, make this the last day you use that word, or allude to it. Your use of it strongly suggests that you didn't grow up with black people, and I don't say that it suggests anything more; but for those of us who did, it is hard to hear. It contributes nothing, and heaven knows it was an emblem of the sort of "groupthink" you despise.

I am glad the Gulf didn't swallow you.

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Please, out of nothing more than consideration for me, make this the last day you use that word, or allude to it. Your use of it strongly suggests that you didn't grow up with black people, and I don't say that it suggests anything more; but for those of us who did, it is hard to hear. It contributes nothing, and heaven knows it was an emblem of the sort of "groupthink" you despise.

I am glad the Gulf didn't swallow you.

I didn't grow up with black people, it is true. There simply weren't any on the border. I was the only white kid in my elementary school, save one that was adopted by Mexicans. I have witnessed racism and been subjected to it all through my youth. As I got into high school and the pool of diversity grew, I fell into the diverse clique, was friends with both Indians and the Sino-Mexican mulatto, along with many Mexicans and one or two of the several-dozen over-privileged white kids.

Thank goodness for Houston. I like the dark meat, but especially after it has been somewhat tenderized by the affluence and ambition of whiteness, along with the general geographic openness; the sense that is imparted that anyone of means can live wherever they like (except The Woodlands, apparently). I could never have made it as well off in such a white-dominated town as Austin or College Station, and Dallas seems too willing to embrace the cagey nature of a midwestern city.

You might've noticed a manner of speaking that I use. It is ornate with much embellishment, yet punctuated by the occasional staccato. I do the same with my meaning, including brash language, testing the envelope of my audience's politeness. It is to move past politeness, to invoke emotion, to make them attack or defend, but to react genuinely. I do not pretend to mislead you, however, in order to incite genuineness. I feel no remorse at attempting to apply a label to a subculture of a people if that label has a meaning that is commonly understood. The common understanding is what makes it a word. The word is not bad. It is only a symbol.

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Niche, I'd love to hear you get into a open discussion with Michael Berry. It would be awsome to hear someone with your language capacitiy and knowlege of current and relevant facts to go at it with Houston's radio loud mouth. The subject wouldn't matter. You would be my hero forever! I'm just saying!

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First, I was intimidated by the length of the video - I have an MTV-generation attention span - but I did watch it, most of it - not quite finished - and found it very on point. Thanks for finding it.

You can traffic in stereotypes all you want; that does nothing to increase incivility in the world. I believe that epithets do. That young black comics have embraced the "N-word," or tried to defang it, has no application to the rest of us.

And since no one can fail to notice your glee in provoking people and exposing their hypocrisy in some fashion (though I don't find these reactions as endlessly diverting as you do, I usually prefer inanity over snark, and I find you more entertaining when you are just thinking out loud, not trying to catch people out) -- I will give you what you want. One of my objections to the word you so casually drop, beyond simple distaste, is that I associate it with a white socioeconomic class from which I will always, always want to distance myself.

Overall, The Niche, I think you will find that I am not a very satisfying target for these brinksmanship games. Now, I know it is probably hard to keep different posters straight, but try to remember this about me: I am often a reactionary, though I'm not fond of that word - the "R-word" - given its origins, but I will never be guilty of faux outrage.

Next I'll try to wade into that Wittgensteinian stuff, if I'm not too sleepy.

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The word is ...is only a symbol.

Not only do I thoroughly reject the idea that words are only symbols, I believe that words partly bring the world into being; or short of that, that they alone or foremost lend meaning to experience: whether it's the Queen's English or ... the "birdsong" language of the Pirahã that actually seems to constrain their cognition to a strangely unwavering present moment.* Language doesn't express thought, it is thought.

And for some few people, math, not words, suffices. I know Einstein demurred, but I trust such people that math doesn't correspond with reality, but that it is reality, a deeper level that will, depressingly, always be hidden from me; all I can see is the overlay since I am not capable of higher-order thinking.

I'm guessing we may have to amicably differ on this.

* "He walked out of now" instead of "he walked out of the village" is an example I read. I admit this is controversial, though. I think only one person, a missionary who dropped his mission and became a linguist, has really studied them. They are spectacularly well-adapted to their environment, and they don't need us to Raise Their Standard of Living, The Niche, because they would not then be who they are. They're not even in my National Geographics.

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First, I was intimidated by the length of the video - I have an MTV-generation attention span - but I did watch it, most of it - not quite finished - and found it very on point. Thanks for finding it.

You can traffic in stereotypes all you want; that does nothing to increase incivility in the world. I believe that epithets do. That young black comics have embraced the "N-word," or tried to defang it, has no application to the rest of us.

And since no one can fail to notice your glee in provoking people and exposing their hypocrisy in some fashion (though I don't find these reactions as endlessly diverting as you do, I usually prefer inanity over snark, and I find you more entertaining when you are just thinking out loud, not trying to catch people out) -- I will give you what you want. One of my objections to the word you so casually drop, beyond simple distaste, is that I associate it with a white socioeconomic class from which I will always, always want to distance myself.

Overall, The Niche, I think you will find that I am not a very satisfying target for these brinksmanship games. Now, I know it is probably hard to keep different posters straight, but try to remember this about me: I am often a reactionary, though I'm not fond of that word - the "R-word" - given its origins, but I will never be guilty of faux outrage.

Next I'll try to wade into that Wittgensteinian stuff, if I'm not too sleepy.

As long as you got to the big speech, that's what mattered most.

Some words communicate ideas that are uncomfortable. All the more reason to ponder them, to use them with deliberate infrequency so that the meaning is not lost or despoiled. They should command attention and scrutiny. Their use should be cause to reflect upon oneself, to examine our character, that we might express them with hesitance but without guilt.

As I washed up on the rocks, shipwrecked, blind, calling out for help, being refused it--not simply ignored, but expressly refused--it is a pattern of behavior that demands a summary description, an idea contained by a word. The word fit, more than a senseless epithet.

Mind you, I do not wish anybody ill will. On the contrary, I wish them well, that those fitting the description of a word might contemplate its meaning and use when they feel the pang that it might describe them.

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As I washed up on the rocks, shipwrecked, blind, calling out for help, being refused it--not simply ignored, but expressly refused--it is a pattern of behavior that demands a summary description, an idea contained by a word. The word fit, more than a senseless epithet.

I am starting to wish I could teleport to that beach and haul you up! I don't pretend to understand that behavior. I've never seen anything like that. I am truly sorry that happened to you.

As long as you got to the big speech, that's what mattered most.

Some words communicate ideas that are uncomfortable. All the more reason to ponder them, to use them with deliberate infrequency so that the meaning is not lost or despoiled. They should command attention and scrutiny. Their use should be cause to reflect upon oneself, to examine our character, that we might express them with hesitance but without guilt.

"Whatever, Punk Ass White Boy."

{So disappointed. Since I'm out of my depth where vulgarity is concerned I just googled "absolute worst thing to call white boy urban dictionary." I was hoping for something so shocking, maybe with a hint of sexual cruelty, that you'd be like "OMG luciaphile" and I'd be like "What? - I didn't know" and then I'd get thrown off the forum. That's it, Google? That's all ya got ? Not your finest effort. I've heard that on network television!}

{Houston mother, now as obsessed with Words With Friends as she is with bridge, hands me her phone so I can figure out her next play--

Me: "Mother, what on earth is ---------?"

Her: "It was in the Urban Dictionary. Don't look it up."}

Okay, I think I understand what you mean, and I'll have one last try at conveying what I mean.

That speech is good. I'm not surprised it made waves. But self-scrutiny is one thing. Kicking somebody when they're down is another. I think we can agree that by most objective measures, the black underclass is suffering. But where you, The Niche, evidently see only self-inflicted wounds (yes, I acknowledge them), and a failure to mimic white ambition (which failure increasingly seems a white phenomenon as well, so don't get too comfortable, PAWB!) -- I see social shifts set in motion not by blacks but by what we once described as the "elite." Upper-middle-class whites may have weathered those changes -- the sidelining of mainstream religion, destruction of marriage, casual attitude toward drug use, etc. -- well enough but their effects compound the farther down the socioeconomic ladder one goes. The politicization of Everything hasn't helped, either. These things will never be unmade, but they are also "cause to reflect."

Finally, the N-word has a political dimension to it, has ever since the Civil War, that is -- I can't underscore this enough -- bound up more with bitterness and class resentment than with what is commonly thought of as racism. (This is something that I think people from the North will never understand, nor the people in the cottage industry that surrounds race, the people who would have to re-invent it if the idea of race ever really died out). The word is by no means a simple signifier in my view - perhaps it would be more acceptable if it were. Do you feel the same concern to trot out the word "Polack" so that we will preserve how we once thought Poles were dumb or uncouth? In case we need that label sometime?

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I know the history quite well, and it is a sad one. It is. There's no disputing it. But you know, it's been 150 years since the civil war. I don't pretend that it's been an easy progression of increasing civil liberties, much less a steady one. Reversals of fortune have been too common. However...the trajectory of the black community has been internally divergent both nationally and regionally for a long time, and especially since the waning of the influence of crack cocaine.

Many from the prior two generations of black youth have realized upper- and middle-class affluence by their own well-directed efforts. Once affluent, the differences between black and white melt away. I think that this is why we are witnessing a redirected use of the N-word, such that it expresses within the black community that there is a better way to be. It's a kick in the butt from people that can get away with dishing it out. It's a good thing.

White folk could learn a thing or two, IMO. We're like a Baskin Robbins' 31 Flavors of redneck, hillbilly, cracker, coonass, gringo, whitey, white boy (that was me), wiggers, yanks, and all the various sub-ethnic categories (pollack, dago, et al.) that exist regionally but that have by and large been folded into the broader categories. You can drive out of Houston in any direction and encounter a markedly unique flavor of poor white households. But even then, it's not just that they're poor. There will always be poor. The ones that cause the problems are those that lack ambition and that engage in broadly anti-social behavior. We just aren't that different from black people...except that we're so divisive, polarized, segregated, de-massified, we've lost comprehension of the scale of our own problems and have no mechanism to communicate them across partisan lines.

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No doubt the best way forward for any individual is to throw off the past and cast off the narrowness of his particular cohort. And we're all about the individuals, aren't we?

I don't pretend that it's been an easy progression of increasing civil liberties, much less a steady one. Reversals of fortune have been too common.

I made no reference to the history of civil liberties, interesting and important as it is. Per you:

And a curious thing about happiness; although government is capable of imposing despair, it is utterly incapable of imposing happiness.

But I yield on the supposed ameliorative power of hateful words -- I acknowledge that I am the unreconstructed one. Ready for my reprogramming!

Or are we less concerned with individual than with mass well-being:

... we're so divisive, polarized, segregated, de-massified, we've lost comprehension of the scale of our own problems and have no mechanism to communicate them across partisan lines.

I confess I don't follow politics very closely and so don't know what political solutions you might be in search of. The only thing that has a really populist ring is the occasional, mainly symbolic call for protectionism, which I know can't be what you suggest.

Anyway, when people start talking about effecting political change on behalf of the masses, someone like me should probably run for the dacha. Only, if it's going to happen, I hope it will happen soon, while I'm still relatively young like Lara. I think the Revolution May Actually Be Televised this time, and I want to look pretty on camera, fleeing. That's how I've pictured it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't think you need have anything to fear in this regard, Nate99. Sweden shares our Protestant inheritance though not our continued evangelical enthusiasm. Children there are seldom, I believe, born into wedlock. The stability of the Swedes must owe to their phlegmatic Northern European DNA.

We can't have what the Swedes have because we are not Swedish; we seem to need the entanglement of marriage, or chaos results. Still, something about the modern American conception of marriage seems off to me. People endow it with more than it can bear, I think. And I find the emphasis on the nuclear family vaguely disconcerting, even repellent -- this despite its evident collapse, and the fact that I am far to the right of anyone I've encountered on this board.

Thinking of Sweden, where I've never been. If I were to go I would visit the home of the botanist Linnaeus:

Huvudbyggnad1193_390244.jpg

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I don't think you need have anything to fear in this regard, Nate99. Sweden shares our Protestant inheritance though not our continued evangelical enthusiasm. Children there are seldom, I believe, born into wedlock. The stability of the Swedes must owe to their phlegmatic Northern European DNA.

We can't have what the Swedes have because we are not Swedish; we seem to need the entanglement of marriage, or chaos results. Still, something about the modern American conception of marriage seems off to me. People endow it with more than it can bear, I think. And I find the emphasis on the nuclear family vaguely disconcerting, even repellent -- this despite its evident collapse, and the fact that I am far to the right of anyone I've encountered on this board.

Thinking of Sweden, where I've never been. If I were to go I would visit the home of the botanist Linnaeus:

Huvudbyggnad1193_390244.jpg

Fair points, analogies are only so useful. The Swedes just seem to have so few problems, apart from the unrelenting cold and horrid cuisine.

I tend to agree that macro level marriage success is fairly dependent on the social universe that helped invent the concept in the first place. We're pretty far removed from that. I would be surprised though if there were a Swedish phrase analogous to "baby daddy".

Still, the nuclear family model works, in as much as you follow it; trouble is, people can't really follow it unless everyone else does too. Women often have grander ambitions than home life, and men often are not wont to work for others exclusively. We came by these notions when we decided the traditional family wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Absent societal pressure to curb ambitions and be disciplined you're either going to fail or be miserable in the process. It's indeed interesting that women working, premarital sex, cohabitation, small families and other common aspects of modern life are all completely counter to the religious teachings that established marriage in the first place, but people that do all this still go get married in the church.

Those with means have choices in how to go about "family" life, so should you be repelled by the nuclear family concept, you have options even here in the U.S. If you have no means, the correlation to life long persistent poverty and having children without a father around is extremely strong.

I read a quote recently, where a Swede quipped, "in Sweden we have no unemployment", to which his American interlocutor responded, "all of the Swedish we have here are employed too". Your DNA hypothesis is likely accurate. I was just thinking how all the data would shake out.

FWIW I'm fairly far to the right myself, though hardly in the Pat Robertson mold. I see great value in a religious life, but the among last people I'd want parsing that in to codified regulations are our elected representatives.

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I tend to agree that macro level marriage success is fairly dependent on the social universe that helped invent the concept in the first place. We're pretty far removed from that. I would be surprised though if there were a Swedish phrase analogous to "baby daddy".

Still, the nuclear family model works, in as much as you follow it; trouble is, people can't really follow it unless everyone else does too. Women often have grander ambitions than home life, and men often are not wont to work for others exclusively. We came by these notions when we decided the traditional family wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Absent societal pressure to curb ambitions and be disciplined you're either going to fail or be miserable in the process. It's indeed interesting that women working, premarital sex, cohabitation, small families and other common aspects of modern life are all completely counter to the religious teachings that established marriage in the first place, but people that do all this still go get married in the church.

Those with means have choices in how to go about "family" life, so should you be repelled by the nuclear family concept, you have options even here in the U.S. If you have no means, the correlation to life long persistent poverty and having children without a father around is extremely strong.

At a party recently I worked out that a college acquaintance of ours, a generous gay man with no designs on a family, had fathered (in an obligation-free way) three of the children there. Afterward, with some glee, I informed my husband that said acquaintance had more successfully reproduced than he had. This was rather spiteful and unfair, as Mr.l is by instinct and reason quietly pro-life, but has not demanded that of me. I sometimes regret that I am not Catholic, and don't look to the pope for authority. Though by convention women are victims, we have an awful lot of power, and I can tell you that "choice" is a sort of Damoclean sword. Only it threatens more than ourselves, so that doesn't quite work. Anyway, not wishing to be too 'severe upon on my sex,' I believe this is partly because women are pragmatic before they are moral -- this favors, often, the short term over the long. People always had their ways (not always effective, true) to sidestep nature -- it's a myth that they did not, but the pendulum has swung too far, it's become too easy to reject life, which is the basis of marriage.

So if I am uneasy about the family, it's because it no longer seems organic and is apparently not, to the powers that be, the simplest, self-evident way to arrange things and divide labor. In its several current incarnations it's a strained construct, precarious and dependent on the whim of women and the (surprising, in some demographics) discipline of men, as you note. And yet we pretend, as ever, to worship hearth and home. Ad nauseum. I agree the traditional family is the best way to nurture children, but even when it was unchallenged, it was many times not pretty; it was, however, strong enough to withstand being severed, to be the "plural" the individual must leave behind to embrace something wider. Why encourage illusions about an institution we have more or less destroyed?

Along these lines: while they may be necessary, I am nonplussed by the defeminizing of women and the neutering of men, in much the same way that I find it strange that we will soon live in a world without wild tigers. It requires an inversion of Shakespeare: "O Brave New World, that has {so few wonders} in it." It's a diminishment. I would never say this in mixed company, of course.

Then, paradoxically, while feminism has refashioned all our relationships, and school and the workplace, and the "role of men," indeed the economy to some extent: I see that women are portrayed, and thus seek to be portrayed, in demeaning ways that would have been unfathomable when I was growing up. This is so routine it goes almost unnoticed. Is this a backlash? If so, it is a feeble one. Way to go, guys.

FWIW I'm fairly far to the right myself, though hardly in the Pat Robertson mold. I see great value in a religious life, but among the last people I'd want parsing that into codified regulations are our elected representatives.

Pace the neocons and libertarians, it is entirely appropriate to codify these things, but we could never do that now and make it square with our New Ideals. BTW someone like Pat Robertson is a sign not of religion, but of the end of religion, the "long, withdrawing roar" of "The Sea of Faith" and all that -- just as it's been suggested that terrorism is a symptom of the death throes of Islam in the face of modernity.

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Pace the neocons and libertarians, it is entirely appropriate to codify these things, but we could never do that now and make it square with our New Ideals. BTW someone like Pat Robertson is a sign not of religion, but of the end of religion, the "long, withdrawing roar" of "The Sea of Faith" and all that -- just as it's been suggested that terrorism is a symptom of the death throes of Islam in the face of modernity.

on a philosophical level it seems that many people lack imagination, or don't want to admit that they aren't completely logical.

on a political level, it saddens me that people use religion to try and control the choices that others make based on their own moral upbringing. I just don't get it.

The Netherlands has some VERY progressive social laws (as they relate to religion). Abortion, marriage laws, drugs, they are VERY progressive indeed, especially considering the number of churches in the country.

I'd pit them against Sweden any day of the week for their family values, or the work ethic that exists.

One thing that is pretty funny is that 'they say' that as you get older you become more conservative, it's been the opposite for me, as I get older I find myself looking at life in a much different way than the typical conservative would.

On an aside, but not really cause this is anything I want, I enjoy talking in circles with so called libertarians who would see abortion illegal, or marriage only between a man/woman, or continue our fiscally irresponsible war on drugs.

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Regarding Austin, that which I knew and once loved is ruined as far as I am concerned, a playground for north Texans and a vast diaspora of douchebaggery. There's nothing left that is special that can be lost, however there is something to be gained for places like Houston and San Antonio. Our douchebags would go and live there, not here. It would be a sort of Zion for them, and good riddance.

Regarding the way you cross the economics of Milton Friedman with the language of class struggle -- it's frankly perplexing, it feels like there is some tension there.

Regarding your use of the word douchebag:

Me: Please don't.

You: The word douchebag is so potent, nothing else can possibly convey what I mean, it's like verbal electroshock therapy.

I spared you some effort there. Though I don't actually know who the douchebags are...but, let's leave it.

Regarding Austin: the places I like in or within an hour of Austin have nothing to do with people. Plants/water/rocks are my thing.

Everything that was hateful about home, is not here: I am free -- if something similar was your thought upon arriving in Houston, then we defend our adopted cities for the same reason. But I'm not so militant, nor so pleased with growth; and in any case I'm ready for a change of scene, different plants and birds, different weather even.

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Plants/water/rocks are my thing, too, but the presence of douchebags constitutes a desecration of the land. The damage inflicted, irreversible, I shall fulfill my landlust elsewhere, beyond that which they have "discovered". I may have to move out of the country, shortly. I'm aware of that. (Not kidding. Actually investigating that possibility.)

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Agreed. I think Houston is going to keep growing like gangbusters.

I think Houston's pinnacle is very far away and we're all gonna be dead by the time it arrives. Maybe HAIF will still be around five or six generations from now and they'll be intrigued by our discussions and progress.
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Agreed. I think Houston is going to keep growing like gangbusters.

On the other subject that lockmat brought up, access of information in this digital age, whether haif exists in that future or not, the data contained within here will always be accessible, from the inane Walmart thread to more esoteric discussions, someone might dig it up in some future to come.

Imagine 1000 years from today, someone won't have to dig around some 21st century burial site, they'll just go to the Google of the future, narrow results by year, and search for Walmart.

Unless some catastrophic event occurs and snuffs out every server running and storing the internet, this is the future.

Hell, it's fun even today to go cruise the newsgroups and read stuff from 15 years ago.

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On the other subject that lockmat brought up, access of information in this digital age, whether haif exists in that future or not, the data contained within here will always be accessible, from the inane Walmart thread to more esoteric discussions, someone might dig it up in some future to come.

Imagine 1000 years from today, someone won't have to dig around some 21st century burial site, they'll just go to the Google of the future, narrow results by year, and search for Walmart.

Unless some catastrophic event occurs and snuffs out every server running and storing the internet, this is the future.

Hell, it's fun even today to go cruise the newsgroups and read stuff from 15 years ago.

well, looky what relic of the past is still plodding along:

http://www.dolekemp96.org/main.htm

Edited by samagon
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No hints, except that I leave in three hours. Bye.

Well okay, one more hint. I just rode a motorcycle onto the public sidewalk in front of a major local landmark, then plunged headlong into oncoming traffic for a blocklength, and nobody gave a damn. It was more efficient that way.

Americans really are a bunch of ninnies. We're the Brits of the 21st century. Just figured that I'd throw that out there to inform the next round of debates where aggressive cyclists are concerned.

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Well okay, one more hint. I just rode a motorcycle onto the public sidewalk in front of a major local landmark, then plunged headlong into oncoming traffic for a blocklength, and nobody gave a damn. It was more efficient that way.

Americans really are a bunch of ninnies. We're the Brits of the 21st century. Just figured that I'd throw that out there to inform the next round of debates where aggressive cyclists are concerned.

got any pictures of your bike?

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No hints, except that I leave in three hours. Bye.

This comment made me feel like I'm reading a live account of Mission Impossible or a Borne movie. Made me crack up. I also enjoyed you follow up comment this morning.

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How about:

If a place were approaching perfection, we would be able to say that there is something characteristically Texan about its urban form.

Such places will be neighborly without being nosy; dignified without being presentable; have a sense of spaciousness, density notwithstanding; what else will they be? What other qualities of Texans can we interpret and express, make tangible?

strickn posed a question that was sincere, though unrelated to the back-and-forth about which city's medical services district is "better."

None of those Texas virtues, real or imagined, are or ever were perceptible to me in Houston. You need hardly look to the past for anything, and it would suggest something less than full commitment to the future, and your fearsome industry, if you did. I was just looking at Swamplot, at the Brookings Institution's "Global Metro Monitor" rankings, in which Houston compares favorably with metropolitan economies in developing countries; it makes perfect sense.

I notice that the Houston Chronicle immediately drew the same lesson from the Census results -- accelerating population growth and the "mythology of Texas" are not compatible:

http://www.chron.com...sus-1589808.php

An A&M study a few years ago put it this way: by 2030 Texas will have added another DFW, another Houston metro area, another San Antonio metro area; and with the leftovers, another Corpus Christi (or Beaumont-Port Arthur, or Temple-Killeen-Fort Hood ...).

For me, a hard-to-wade-through and never-revisited book that is yet a must-have on any shelf of Texana is John Graves' "Goodbye to a River." {I really should like it given how I feel about dams, but his tone of world-weary boredom -- earned in the war, I know -- didn't engage: tell me how you really feel about taming the Brazos! And he dwelt a little heavily on the theme of how he alone hunts "for the right reasons" -- hunt or don't hunt, with less sanctimony.}

I read it expecting a gentle rumination on nature, Texas' "Sand County Almanac," but found instead it was more a scattershot catalog of the settlement of the river, with story after story of hotheads who came to Texas and their various violent ends and blood feuds.

But I do think he is on to an aspect of our Anglo (more especially Scots-Irish) Texas character, and years of reading historical markers has confirmed me in this view: they came to Texas because they couldn't get along back east, in close proximity with others.

This is a trait that must necessarily be extinct for cities like Houston to work, and I can't pretend it's admirable, though I seem to be a throwback.

Behind everything, there is always an idea or an ideology, even if people can't express it, or it was only crudely imbibed. I think, strickn, the people of Houston have already chosen what is "characteristic" about their "urban form." It was neither organic nor ordained.

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strickn posed a question that was sincere, though unrelated to the back-and-forth about which city's medical services district is "better."

None of those Texas virtues, real or imagined, are or ever were perceptible to me in Houston. You need hardly look to the past for anything, and it would suggest something less than full commitment to the future, and your fearsome industry, if you did. I was just looking at Swamplot, at the Brookings Institution's "Global Metro Monitor" rankings, in which Houston compares favorably with metropolitan economies in developing countries; it makes perfect sense.

I notice that the Houston Chronicle immediately drew the same lesson from the Census results -- accelerating population growth and the "mythology of Texas" are not compatible:

http://www.chron.com...sus-1589808.php

An A&M study a few years ago put it this way: by 2030 Texas will have added another DFW, another Houston metro area, another San Antonio metro area; and with the leftovers, another Corpus Christi (or Beaumont-Port Arthur, or Temple-Killeen-Fort Hood ...).

For me, a hard-to-wade-through and never-revisited book that is yet a must-have on any shelf of Texana is John Graves' "Goodbye to a River." {I really should like it given how I feel about dams, but his tone of world-weary boredom -- earned in the war, I know -- didn't engage: tell me how you really feel about taming the Brazos! And he dwelt a little heavily on the theme of how he alone hunts "for the right reasons" -- hunt or don't hunt, with less sanctimony.}

I read it expecting a gentle rumination on nature, Texas' "Sand County Almanac," but found instead it was more a scattershot catalog of the settlement of the river, with story after story of hotheads who came to Texas and their various violent ends and blood feuds.

But I do think he is on to an aspect of our Anglo (more especially Scots-Irish) Texas character, and years of reading historical markers has confirmed me in this view: they came to Texas because they couldn't get along back east, in close proximity with others.

This is a trait that must necessarily be extinct for cities like Houston to work, and I can't pretend it's admirable, though I seem to be a throwback.

Behind everything, there is always an idea or an ideology, even if people can't express it, or it was only crudely imbibed. I think, strickn, the people of Houston have already chosen what is "characteristic" about their "urban form." It was neither organic nor ordained.

I find your conclusion as to the motivations underlying Texas emigration to be of personal interest: "because they couldn't get along back east." Sure. That's the boiled down essence of why I've impulsively left Houston for a sometimes lawless post-Communistic third world nation, without business prospects, unable to speak the language or drink the water (which is okay, it turns out, because beer is cheap).

Proximity was not a consideration for me, however. Proximity is simultaneously an amenity and a curse; Texans have always had to weigh town and country, one against the other, within the scope of their means and their desires and the marketplace. I shall do the same here and see what happens. I would suggest that the emigres into Texas might have been a little disgusted at the culture of a settled people, however: absent-minded, unimaginative, and tame. Perhaps they had listened to their fathers' stories about the way that the east had been a generation or two back, and perhaps they felt like they had missed out on something grand and novel.

Add, for myself, that the settled peoples of a 21st century Texas are tethered to a bleak decidedly American existence, to their debts, to the 'American Dream', to constructed material desires mistaken for fulfillment, to an insidious slavery, to a system of banking so tied to government that you cannot tell where the one ends and the other begins. It is as near to a sustainable form of communism as I could ever imagine being achieved in the history of human civilization. And so rather than that they work to live, they live to work. And they work. They needn't even ask why, or for whom. They work.

I have fled that, exchanged it for chaos, for unbridled capitalism (a form of which the most ardent Libertarian cannot fathom, and that they would shirk if they understood its implications), for swindlers and hustlers, for simple earthy pleasures, for excitement, for an occasional sampling of terror.

Texas will get along just fine without me, but even the Texas that my father knew is long gone; and that Texan culture that my ancestors knew eight generations ago, it was erased by annexation, a civil war, the New Deal, WW2, and electronic media. The open range has been fenced and cross-fenced, the rivers dammed; the culture similarly hemmed-in, safe, comfortable, blind, and docile.

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Enjoy expat life, Niche, it's a thrill a minute. So far, I've spent over 12 years overseas, and enjoyed every experience. From being a teen in early 70's London, to being a "left behind" when all but 4 of us were evacuated during civil unrest in West Africa, to being somewhat awed by the sheer opulence of the Persian Gulf countries, it was all good. The Pyramids, Macchu Picchu, the Acropolis, all those sights, and someone else paid the bill. Having said that, Texas was always home, the place I returned to. The Eagles were wrong in Hotel California, Texas is where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

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I should add for the sake of honest and because I don't have any particular need to care:

If physical anthropology taught me one thing worth knowing, it was that my Texan ancestors sought out the 'strange', resulting in some unofficial bloodlines. (You can tell from the shape of one's teeth.) The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

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The Eagles were wrong in Hotel California, Texas is where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I know. I'll come back eventually, but only when I am content to be docile. America is a good place to be docile. It'll be a while, I think.

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I find your conclusion as to the motivations underlying Texas emigration to be of personal interest: "because they couldn't get along back east." Sure. That's the boiled down essence of why I've impulsively left Houston for a sometimes lawless post-Communistic third world nation, without business prospects, unable to speak the language or drink the water (which is okay, it turns out, because beer is cheap).

Well, water will rust your pipes anyway; it was the pop music that I thought might potentially be a dealbreaker.

I should add for the sake of honest and because I don't have any particular need to care:

If physical anthropology taught me one thing worth knowing, it was that my Texan ancestors sought out the 'strange', resulting in some unofficial bloodlines. (You can tell from the shape of one's teeth.) The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Is that a tacit concession to #1983? You are almost certain to return a less free man than when you left ...

If the blandness of your DNA bothers you ("It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me...") go ahead -- tell yourself a story about your teeth. Everybody wants a tincture -- just enough -- of the Other. Like my grandmother, who grew up in the West not all that long after it closed (and no sooner were the Indians gone (or corralled) than people began to romanticize them -- "We miss you!"). All her life she attributed her long silky jet-black hair (which turned snow white in a fever in her early twenties, so we had to take her word on this) to her "Indian blood." Everyone else was content to let her dreamily equivocate on this favorite theme, but with the natural rudeness of a child I tried to pin her down: "Was it your great-grandmother? Great-great-grandmother then? And which tribe? One of the horse cultures you admire -- Comanche maybe?"

Her answer never wavered: she was fairly certain it was the Cherokee...

Of course! The Civilized Tribe -- the upper limit to her exoticism. I only wish I could see it in my cheekbones.

Proximity was not a consideration for me, however. Proximity is simultaneously an amenity and a curse; Texans have always had to weigh town and country, one against the other, within the scope of their means and their desires and the marketplace. I shall do the same here and see what happens. I would suggest that the emigres into Texas might have been a little disgusted at the culture of a settled people, however: absent-minded, unimaginative, and tame. Perhaps they had listened to their fathers' stories about the way that the east had been a generation or two back, and perhaps they felt like they had missed out on something grand and novel.

Add, for myself, that the settled peoples of a 21st century Texas are tethered to a bleak decidedly American existence, to their debts, to the 'American Dream', to constructed material desires mistaken for fulfillment, to an insidious slavery, to a system of banking so tied to government that you cannot tell where the one ends and the other begins. It is as near to a sustainable form of communism as I could ever imagine being achieved in the history of human civilization. And so rather than that they work to live, they live to work. And they work. They needn't even ask why, or for whom. They work....

Texas will get along just fine without me, but even the Texas that my father knew is long gone; and that Texan culture that my ancestors knew eight generations ago, it was erased by annexation, a civil war, the New Deal, WW2, and electronic media. The open range has been fenced and cross-fenced, the rivers dammed; the culture similarly hemmed-in, safe, comfortable, blind, and docile.

"Witness to the total demolition and reconstruction of their environment" is a phrase I read by chance a moment ago. It happened that the writer was referring to the Stalinization of eastern Europe. I don't say it's comparable in kind or degree; it's nothing whatever to do with it, so skip the lecture -- but the words in a different sense express how psychologically jarring I find what has happened to Texas even in my lifetime, and I wonder why others don't find it so. I'm left to conclude there is some flaw in my makeup, that I'm not very adaptable.

And i do know how very fortunate i am, and one thing I am grateful for is that I'm not a man trying to figure out a place in the modern economy. I derailed early, found a guy that I knew -- with the pure cunning of a woman -- would take care of me the rest of my life; so I didn't have to feel I was participating in something I didn't understand. I work half-time in a clerical way merely to ease his mind, in case something should happen to him -- to demonstrate "Look at me! I'm totally employable!" Yeah, right.

(For me, unlike you, too damn many people -- always a curse, never an amenity -- is a major part of it ... I mean, what was the point of all those pills and "procedures"? If we'd known that the void we created was going to be so thoroughly filled -- well, hell -- I want my dead babies back! It's so quiet here, and there's a long road winding in front of me ... Sorry -- too honest? I don't have "any particular need to care," either.)

I have fled that, exchanged it for chaos, for unbridled capitalism (a form of which the most ardent Libertarian cannot fathom, and that they would shirk if they understood its implications), for swindlers and hustlers, for simple earthy pleasures, for excitement, for an occasional sampling of terror.

If you want chaos, and "may you live in interesting times," try America in a few years -- this is 5th century Rome right here.

I know. I'll come back eventually, but only when I am content to be docile. America is a good place to be docile. It'll be a while, I think.

... and where, in time, the creature comforts will come in! They have a frightening power to take the edge off life when you've totally lost your edge: warm beverages, one after another; fancy little shelf-stable foods; footrubs, I-feel-a-draft so I'm going to go choose among five different weights of throw blankets for just the right one... Docility is not without its rewards.

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If you want chaos, and "may you live in interesting times," try America in a few years -- this is 5th century Rome right here.

I think considering the climate change we all have to look forward to, living anywhere in will be interesting, not just America.

I'd rather not get into a discussion about the causes of the current changes in our climate, but considering the signs that show the climate scientists predictions and models foretelling our long term climate outlook are coming true, we're in for a wild ride.

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"Witness to the total demolition and reconstruction of their environment" is a phrase I read by chance a moment ago. It happened that the writer was referring to the Stalinization of eastern Europe. I don't say it's comparable in kind or degree; it's nothing whatever to do with it, so skip the lecture -- but the words in a different sense express how psychologically jarring I find what has happened to Texas even in my lifetime, and I wonder why others don't find it so. I'm left to conclude there is some flaw in my makeup, that I'm not very adaptable.

Is it that you are less adaptable, or perhaps society has adapted to your ilk?

I was born at the brink of the "Stalinization" of Texas. I think that the manifest insanity of the oil boom and the looming reality of an oil bust began to set in by about 1981 or 1982. You can hear it in ZZ Top records if you listen to them in a chronological sequence. And then, with the S&L bust, the hard money was gone and the soft money--the "American Dream" money--took hold. The people shall never again be free, not from the banks, and not from themselves. It is their desires, their greed, and a mechanism that fulfills it; that is what makes the American form of communism feasible is the peoples' implicit consent. We fought a revolution and then a civil war over something more straightforward and less ugly; but we will not do so again over what we have become. We don't even know what we are.

And i do know how very fortunate i am, and one thing I am grateful for is that I'm not a man trying to figure out a place in the modern economy. I derailed early, found a guy that I knew -- with the pure cunning of a woman -- would take care of me the rest of my life; so I didn't have to feel I was participating in something I didn't understand. I work half-time in a clerical way merely to ease his mind, in case something should happen to him -- to demonstrate "Look at me! I'm totally employable!" Yeah, right.

(For me, unlike you, too damn many people -- always a curse, never an amenity -- is a major part of it ... I mean, what was the point of all those pills and "procedures"? If we'd known that the void we created was going to be so thoroughly filled -- well, hell -- I want my dead babies back! It's so quiet here, and there's a long road winding in front of me ... Sorry -- too honest? I don't have "any particular need to care," either.)

One of the lessons that has never been forgotten by the third world, which could never be extinguished by traditional communism, is that children are a more reliable form of social security than is any government. They will tend to one's social needs, but only if they are also responsible for one's fiscal needs. The latter begets an interest in the former.

Other lessons, more pertinent to an architecture forum, are that motorcycles (not bicycles) are a worthwhile solution to America's infrastructure constraints, that entire bathrooms can exist within shower enclosures, and that the only built-in fixture needed within a kitchen is a sink.

If you want chaos, and "may you live in interesting times," try America in a few years -- this is 5th century Rome right here.

No, I don't see it that way, not unless Al Qaeda and Somali pirates are construed to be our Visigoths, our Huns, or our Vandals. Rome had something worth fearing, and it did not fear them enough; Americans have very little worth fearing, yet we are excessively fearful. The biggest threat on our radar would be a naval conflict with China in the South China Sea, which would draw in the Philippines (and its ally, America), Vietnam (and its investment partner, India), and then possibly Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan. You infer a prelude to a 21st-century dark age: that's how we get there.

But I don't see it happening.

... and where, in time, the creature comforts will come in! They have a frightening power to take the edge off life when you've totally lost your edge: warm beverages, one after another; fancy little shelf-stable foods; footrubs, I-feel-a-draft so I'm going to go choose among five different weights of throw blankets for just the right one... Docility is not without its rewards.

No, no, no. Those things are readily available. I've never lived so well on some days (or so poorly on other days) for so little money.

Docility is not material in nature. One can be poor and docile as easily as one might be a millionaire and also be docile. One can be docile in the third world, too. It is the comfort of one's own kind, the safety that is implied by that circumstance. It is a false sense of security, but perception is reality enough for most people. And then it is a willingness to invest in a community of like individuals, of being manipulated into an insidious entrapment scenario. That is what it means to be docile. If you work hard and try not to break the law, you'll be forever on the cusp of being well-off enough; and never beyond that threshold, because success in that regard would only reset the location of that threshold.

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I think considering the climate change we all have to look forward to, living anywhere in will be interesting, not just America.

I'd rather not get into a discussion about the causes of the current changes in our climate, but considering the signs that show the climate scientists predictions and models foretelling our long term climate outlook are coming true, we're in for a wild ride.

You are so right, samagon. Nature is destiny and these effects will be much more profound than any of the shifts about which The Niche and I talk past one other (though these things are not unconnected: in particular, America's self-imposed loss of standing in the world and the collapse of our values down to the naked singularity of the almighty dollar, means we must sit on the sidelines of a process we might once have influenced). Only, the result will be a continuing loss of species diversity, thus a less interesting world. But yes, if I am pursued by a tornado that has a personal vendetta against me, that will be interesting.

Hasn't it been unseasonably warm lately? Here, we had not a drop of rain in November for the first time since 1897. A little cold front comes Tuesday.

Of course, some of the manifold climate models project more severe winters, as part of greater overall turbulence, I guess; but more heat trapped in the atmosphere=warmer weather really doesn't seem all that implausible.

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You are so right, samagon. Nature is destiny and these effects will be much more profound than any of the shifts about which The Niche and I talk past one other (though these things are not unconnected: in particular, America's self-imposed loss of standing in the world and the collapse of our values down to the naked singularity of the almighty dollar, means we must sit on the sidelines of a process we might once have influenced). Only, the result will be a continuing loss of species diversity, thus a less interesting world. But yes, if I am pursued by a tornado that has a personal vendetta against me, that will be interesting.

Hasn't it been unseasonably warm lately? Here, we had not a drop of rain in November for the first time since 1897. A little cold front comes Tuesday.

Of course, some of the manifold climate models project more severe winters, as part of greater overall turbulence, I guess; but more heat trapped in the atmosphere=warmer weather really doesn't seem all that implausible.

I think the most concerning thing isn't necessarily being chased by a tornado (although when I was a kid I had dreams about being chased by a tornado), but sea level rise. based on current data that has been collected (not just models predicting what will happen, but actual data about what is happening), the climate scientists were wrong. Sea levels are rising at a rate much faster than they had anticipated.

This was released last month:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/28/us-coastal-cities-sea-level-rise

The crux of the article:

Satellite measurements over the last two decades found global sea levels rising 60% faster than the computer projections issued only a few years ago by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They have some odd numbers, just in that (actually, when I presented the article for my friend who actually is a climate scientist to review, he said the numbers were odd, but the point is accurate), this was his commentary:

IPCC4 in 2007 predicted .6m to 1m sea level rise by 2100, that would be 6mm to10mm/year, current research is saying it is faster than the 2007 predictions at a range of 10-16mm/year so 1-1.6m/century. the old models did not properly compensate for deep cold water convection, the majority of the sea level rise predicted for the next century is actually from thermal expansion not melting ice, about 60%, turns out both have been underestimated. There is more melting, particularly in permafrost and more thermal expansion due to marginally warmer waters being subducted into lower levels in the ocean leaving a marginally steeper temp gradient with the up welled cold water than expected making the energy transfer a bit more efficient than expected.

Then there's stuff like this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/dec/03/climate-change-compensation-doha-talks

basic gist is that some low lying countries that will be adversely affected by sea level rise are wanting compensation from countries like USA. My own commentary on that was that we should send them some FEMA trailers left over from Katrina and call it good :lol:

I think we'll be luckier here than in other countries, but we're in for a hell of a ride no matter what.

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You are so right, samagon. Nature is destiny and these effects will be much more profound than any of the shifts about which The Niche and I talk past one other (though these things are not unconnected: in particular, America's self-imposed loss of standing in the world and the collapse of our values down to the naked singularity of the almighty dollar, means we must sit on the sidelines of a process we might once have influenced). Only, the result will be a continuing loss of species diversity, thus a less interesting world. But yes, if I am pursued by a tornado that has a personal vendetta against me, that will be interesting.

Hasn't it been unseasonably warm lately? Here, we had not a drop of rain in November for the first time since 1897. A little cold front comes Tuesday.

Of course, some of the manifold climate models project more severe winters, as part of greater overall turbulence, I guess; but more heat trapped in the atmosphere=warmer weather really doesn't seem all that implausible.

Nah, I don't really care about climate change. Warmer weather typically aids in building up species diversity, but it's the pattern of rainfall that is the real kicker. Some regions win and some regions lose. Whatever the anthropogenic contribution to climate change, the climate has been changing in absolute terms since the beginning of geologic history. Sometimes it is warmer, sometimes it is cooler, sometimes Texas is under water. That is our geologic heritage, which begat our economic heritage and the climate change that you seem to abhor. Concern over it just seems so senseless in the scope of geologic time. Everything is so new; what is worth preserving? Perhaps our civic architects should preserve construction sites in mid-course if every event and activity is so precious, if we are so self-important.

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Nah, I don't really care about climate change. Warmer weather typically aids in building up species diversity, but it's the pattern of rainfall that is the real kicker. Some regions win and some regions lose. Whatever the anthropogenic contribution to climate change, the climate has been changing in absolute terms since the beginning of geologic history. Sometimes it is warmer, sometimes it is cooler, sometimes Texas is under water. That is our geologic heritage, which begat our economic heritage and the climate change that you seem to abhor. Concern over it just seems so senseless in the scope of geologic time. Everything is so new; what is worth preserving? Perhaps our civic architects should preserve construction sites in mid-course if every event and activity is so precious, if we are so self-important.

You're in a combative mood, pen pal. Is Dodge City not agreeing with you today? I know we're of two minds on this subject -- I've heard you expatiate on growing citrus in Siberia, was it? -- but if you think I only "seem to abhor" climate change I apologize for my own lack of clarity. Of course I regard yours as the extreme and not the common-sense view; much like someone I heard "lecture" once twenty years ago, who reassured us that there was no such thing as pollution, since it was all just a re-shuffling of chemicals in the environment. But leaving aside whether or not it is desirable: for people to deliberately, unidirectionally, and radically alter the atmosphere in a couple of centuries has to be classed as humanism run amok. It's your side that has no self-esteem problem.

Our other topic interests me more, but I'm very distracted and will have to revisit it later, sorry.

Edited by luciaphile
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If ever my views should fall within the spectrum of common sense, then they would not be worth expressing.

In this matter,my conflicting sense of humanism and nihilism are in agreement. The climate is changing due to humanity's economic development. Productive capacity (and the political stability afforded by globalism) will prepare humans to adapt successfully. But then the nihilist in me says that they'll adapt or die, just like any species, that it really doesn't matter which, and that preserving the tradition of the living is absurd because there is also a tradition of dying, and of extinction. What happens happens.

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... the climate has been changing in absolute terms since the beginning of geologic history. Sometimes it is warmer, sometimes it is cooler, sometimes Texas is under water. That is our geologic heritage, which begat our economic heritage and the climate change that you seem to abhor. Concern over it just seems so senseless in the scope of geologic time.

If ever my views should fall within the spectrum of common sense, then they would not be worth expressing.

In this matter,my conflicting sense of humanism and nihilism are in agreement. The climate is changing due to humanity's economic development. Productive capacity (and the political stability afforded by globalism) will prepare humans to adapt successfully. But then the nihilist in me says that they'll adapt or die, just like any species, that it really doesn't matter which, and that preserving the tradition of the living is absurd because there is also a tradition of dying, and of extinction. What happens happens.

We're still on this then. All right.

I am strictly backward-looking (hence conservative -- no matter how degraded things may be, there is always something I wish to see saved). I'm not able to think about the future, never have, with the single exception that, morbidly, sometimes, I think of my son as an old man dying, long after I am dead, and perhaps he is alone, and I can hardly bear it. (And would you believe, that thought first came to me looking at him in the hours after he was born -- there's nothing my neuroticism can leave untouched, but there may have been plummeting hormones involved as well.)

So, first thing this morning, I casually raised the issue -- well, after a decent interval -- with my moral and intellectual superior, whose work you would definitely categorize in your "why bother?" file if you don't already object to it on dittohead grounds (I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but what you value -- is a continually moving target to me): "So, uh ... all human endeavor's pretty meaningless in the scope of geologic time, hmm?"

Him: "Of course."

"Then why do what you do?"

Him: "Because one respects the time frame one lives in, it would be ridiculous not to."

Then hedonism is a legitimate response, though no more so than any other?

Him: "Actually less, as it's not a very good strategy."

By which he meant, as always, reproductive strategy.

Which reminds me: you thought I was referring to military threats to American dominance. Of course I wasn't. {How stupid do you think I am? No, don't answer.) Rome fell due to internal weakening, specifically, a fertility crisis: people got too lazy and decadent to procreate. My limited understanding is that the Romans, believing the Visigoths to be the best of the lot, gave them Gaul in the hope they would keep out the others; and further, that as early as the1st or second centuries (no time to look anything up, sorry) they passed laws to try to incentivize childbirth. Historians are too precious to say "Rome fell" any longer; they would say, "it 'became' Visigothic in the West, Byzantine in the East," but that's what they would mean, if they were being honest.

ETA: re the marvelous globalism, and the infinite adaptability -- not being a utopian, mr.l foresees a bill coming due that you do not; or at least an end to the easy credit afforded by fossil fuels. Right or wrong, and quite apart from the fact that you don't share my narrow interests, we can't really expect to be mutually coherent given that difference.

Edited by luciaphile
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