December 31, 2012

This is gom jabbar [McGehee]

In the comment thread to this post I brought up Dinesh D’Souza’s 2010 book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, which D’Souza touts as a theory of Barack Obama that works. It does, in my opinion, do a very effective job.

But in responding to this comment by Pellegri this morning I realized I’ve already been touting a theory of not only Obama but the progressive Democrats he leads, that also works — a theory that draws on Orwell’s Animal Farm (which Darleen referenced in this recent post).

In a structured environment, the only animals allowed are domesticated animals. Wild animals are the farmer’s rivals and must be exterminated, or at least driven and kept as far away from the livestock as possible.

Domesticated animals have to be kept docile and must look to the farmer for all protection and care, and they must never suspect that the farmer is not doing this out of the goodness of his own heart. Animals that can defend themselves might defend themselves against the farmer, and this is unacceptable.

Domesticated animals must leave all decisions about their care to the farmer — after all, even domesticated animals want to live, and the whole point of a farm is to use the animals for the farmer’s benefit, not the animals’.

Humans, of course, are not animals — wild or domesticated. Humans insist on the truth, on the right to defend themselves, and the right to make their own decisions about personal matters such as how they’ll earn their keep, where they’ll live, and the terms of their health care. Humans are citizens, not subjects. And they’re never livestock.

Yet Obama and the Democrats constantly lie to us, try to take our guns, and deprive us of choices about our health care. And those who resist…?

America, this is gom jabbar. Are you human or animal?

Have a happy new year.

Posted by McGehee @ 7:42am
127 comments | Trackback

Comments (127)

  1. Domesticated animals work in the evolutionary sense because they have a much higher reproductive rate and much lower infant mortality, because of the farmers care.

    In return they give up their souls.

    It happens with humans, too.

  2. But when the farm collapses and the animals have to survive without the farmer…

  3. …and here (via a tweet by Jeff G.) is one of the farm animals lobbying on the farmer’s behalf.

  4. Their long term survival rate isn’t good with or without the farmer.

    TANSTAAFL

  5. I didn’t make a big deal out of it in the post (though it gave it its title), but the way out of the ordeal to come is prescribed in a different book by a different author…

  6. Your whole “slave of the state” mantra is just so much BS.

  7. And by BS, I mean to say, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of liberals. And that keeps you from making progress, because you sound nonsensical.

  8. Says the Last Man.

  9. you have a fundamental misunderstanding of liberals.

    We already know you’re a liar who wants us disarmed and left without choices about health care — as demonstrated in your own past commnentary on this site. What more is there to understand?

  10. The Gom Jabbar is the poisoned needle, by the way, and not the test of Paul’s humanity itself.

  11. That’s true, Ernst. The “this” to which I referred is the aim of proggs like slippy. The way out is what allowed Paul to survive — the determination to endure rather than surrender.

  12. BTW, slippy, livestock aren’t slaves. They’re less. And you’re not the farmer.

  13. Guys like Slaphead imagine they’re going to be the ones holding the whip if they get their way.

    Never mind that there’s always a Stalin or Pol Pot waiting in the wings, and the “intellectuals” are always among the first to be sent off to the camps.

    Every. Time.

  14. Camps are so 1970s. Now it’s “the knackers,” thanks to ObamaCare and the government bean counters who will ration care.

  15. And if you happen to be young and healthy, so much the better. Someone important like Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi can make better use of your organs. It’s for the Good of the State.

    Happens all the time in China.

  16. Here’s what you miss. You think libs are out to set up a hierarchy of power where a small group of people at the top hold on to power and decide what’s best for everyone else.

    Liberals think that as a society, we’ll make some (what we believe are) common sense decisions – like, there’s no reason to not wear a seat belt, etc. But if those decisions turn out to be bad we (the people) can later change them.

    You view the world through a lens of hierarchy and individualism. We view the world through a lens of egalitarianism and collectivism (democracy).

  17. Guys like Slaphead imagine they’re going to be the ones holding the whip if they get their way.
    Never mind that there’s always a Stalin or Pol Pot waiting in the wings, and the “intellectuals” are always among the first to be sent off to the camps.
    Every. Time.

    This nails your worldview perfectly. You fear an evil hierarchy more than you trust yourself and your neighbors to come up with sensible policy.

    In our world, bad leadership just gets voted out eventually. We don’t like hierarchy. We don’t view everything as a tree with someone at the top. We see power as spread across a network (a web, if you will).

  18. We view the world through a lens of egalitarianism and collectivism (democracy).

    So conformity of outcome and mob rule.

    Yeah, we have a hard time figuring you out.

    Now, time to head over to the Seidman thread and tell us how he really isn’t calling for an end to the Constitution. Just the parts he doesn’t like. Because democracy and egalitarianism.

  19. This nails your worldview perfectly. You fear an evil hierarchy more than you trust yourself and your neighbors to come up with sensible policy.

    That’s because as conservatives and constitutionalists we understand history and we understand, as did the founders and framers who studied it meticulously, what kind of system is necessary to guard against the inevitability of tyranny.

    Fear and trust and belief has nothing to do with it. Knowledge and experience does.

  20. You view the world through a lens of hierarchy and individualism. We view the world through a lens of egalitarianism and collectivism (democracy).

    Then you aren’t a liberal. I want that word back.

  21. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. Progressivism is a farmer and his sheep voting on which sheep will be on the dinner menu.

  22. That essay on Dostoevsky newrouter linked is worth quoting from here:

    [M]ore than simply being an insightful novelist on the human condition, Dostoevsky turned out to be a truly prophetic voice in his predictions of the dangerous and deadly places where certain ideologies and philosophies popular at the time would lead his beloved Russia in particular, and the modern Western world in general.
    [….]
    Dostoevsky conceived of characters such as the social theorist “Shigalov” in The Devils who announced to the inner circle of socialist revolutionaries he belonged to the logical long-term plan for ruling the people once the czar was toppled:

    Dedicating my energies to the study of the social organisation which is in the future to replace the present condition of things, I’ve come to the conviction that all makers of social systems from ancient times up to the present year, 187-, have been dreamers, tellers of fairy-tales, fools who contradicted themselves, who understood nothing of natural science and the strange animal called man…

    I suggest as a final solution[!] of the question the division of mankind into two unequal parts. One-tenth enjoys absolute liberty and unbounded power over the other nine-tenths. The others have to give up all individuality and become, so to speak, a herd, and, through boundless submission, will by a series of regenerations attain primeval innocence, something like the Garden of Eden. They’ll have to work,[!] however. The measures I propose for depriving nine-tenths of mankind of their freedom and transforming them into a herd through the education of whole generations are very remarkable, founded on the facts of nature and highly logical.

    To this, the aforementioned ringleader Peter Verkhovensky responds:

    “However much you tinker with the world, you can’t make a good job of it, but by cutting off a hundred million heads and so lightening one’s burden, one can jump over the ditch of transforming society more safely. … It’s a new religion, my good friend, coming to take the place of the old one. That’s why so many fighters come forward, and it’s a big movement…

    I ask you which you prefer: the slow way, which consists in the composition of socialistic romances and the academic ordering of the destinies of humanity a thousand years hence, while despotism will swallow the savory morsels which would almost fly into your mouths of themselves if you’d take a little trouble; or do you, whatever it may imply, prefer a quicker way which will at last untie your hands, and will let humanity make its own social organisation in freedom and in action, not on paper? They shout “cut off a hundred million heads”; that may be only a metaphor; but why be afraid of it if, with the slow day-dream on paper, despotism in the course of some hundred years will devour not a hundred but five hundred million heads?

    What’s one-to-five-hundred million “heads” among friends, right?

  23. “This nails your worldview perfectly.”

    No, it nails your worldview perfectly.

    I’ve seen any number of faculty-lounge Marxists holding forth in a similar fashion. They imagine that they’ll be the philosopher-kings, come the Revolution. It never works out that way.

    “In our world, bad leadership just gets voted out eventually.”

    Yeah? Tell it to the Norks who are currently suffering under King Kim III, or the young Chinese people being cut up for spare parts to keep the gerontocracy running.

    It’s not going to happen here, bucky.

  24. Another analogue here is Wells’ The Time Machine. Ironic that a Fabian socialist would paint a picture of the fat and happy and domesticated Eloi serving as the domesticated food source for the hideous Morlocks.

    The only thing he got wrong is that the Morlocks would be wearing suits and little flag lapel pins.

    Back in the mid-90s I authored a paper that did a narratological study of “The Time Machine, “one the concentrated on the layers of narration to draw conclusions about how the text might function on the reader vis-a-vis the takeaway “message” in what is on the surface but an end of days dsystopian sci-fi piece. What I concluded is that whatever romance Wells had with Fabian socialism, at some level, depending on the reliability of the narrator(s) as granted by the reader, he greatly feared what he intellectually had embraced, and the novella perhaps inadvertently, through the way it was structured, revealed that. Wish I could find that thing. I was told by a prof to send it along to the Wellsian but never did. Just as I never sent my paper on Machievelli’s The Prince as parody (again, using as a methodology narratological structuralism) into the Renaissance Journal, though I was encouraged to. Truth is, once I wrote the papers, I was done with them.

    Explains my being drawn to blogging, I guess.

  25. I suppose the 21st-century Eloi would look upon the Dune cycle as dystopian, insofar as it led to a jihad — but with the little god-king they already have their Emperor Leto.

  26. So conformity of outcome and mob rule.
    Yeah, we have a hard time figuring you out.

    Most liberals I know want a meritocracy with a safety net – not conformity of outcome.

    As to mob rule – yeah – that’s what we have. Or less pejoratively, majority rule. Like how the majority choses the president for everyone. Or how the majority decides whether marijuana is legal or illegal in Washington for everyone (in Washington).

    Leave the federal government out of it for a moment – at the state level, how would you like it to work other than majority rule?

  27. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. Progressivism is a farmer and his sheep voting on which sheep will be on the dinner menu.

    In Progressivism, there is no farmer.

  28. Most farm animals I know think they’re going to live to a ripe old age. What you don’t get, slippy, is you’ve been duped.

  29. In Progressivism, there is no farmer.

    That’s what the farmer told you.

  30. McG, help me out if you will — take me as utterly ignorant of the Dune series — so I’m not clear what the ‘this’ is in your title, as you conceive it? Is it simply the condition we Americans seem to be given to endure, as a test or our humanity (and as something painful, which if withdrawn from, ‘we’ metaphorically die?) Or are there some other elements of the story beyond what’s presented here, such as the testee manages to turn on and get the better of the threatening tester, or other such element? Anyhow, thanks in advance for the indulgence.

  31. This nails your worldview perfectly. You fear an evil hierarchy more than you trust yourself and your neighbors to come up with sensible policy.

    And thus you demonstrate that you do not understand the banality of evil.

  32. Sorry, that should have read “as a test of our … etc.”

  33. Liberals think that as a society, we’ll make some (what we believe are) common sense decisions – like, there’s no reason to not wear a seat belt, etc. But if those decisions turn out to be bad we (the people) can later change them.

    Name one. One “bad decision” that has been changed.

  34. If myself and my neighbors can come up with a sensible policy why do we need a hierarchy at all?

  35. For example, gun control is demonstrably a “bad decision.” Self-styled progressives ignore the evidence and want to double-down on it.

  36. So am I the only one really excited that PW is poised to become a Dune fan blog?

  37. slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 8:15 am
    slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 8:18 am
    slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 8:45 am
    slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 8:48 am
    slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 9:31 am
    slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Fuck off.

  38. Sdferr, in the book Paul survives by accepting the pain as the price of life. Only later does he turn the tables on the Reverend Mother, as part of his overall victory against the Emperor and those other of Paul’s enemies the Emperor has used against him.

  39. DK, this blog is for the literate, so of course we are widely read. That’s why you don’t fit in.

  40. IIRC, Hayek noted how the worst always rise to the top. But Hayek doesn’t carry much weight in SS world.

  41. You view the world through a lens of hierarchy and individualism. We view the world through a lens of egalitarianism and collectivism (democracy).

    No, you are talking about Corporatism. It’s what always happens when egalitarianism gets poured into a mix without being tempered first with individualism and natural rights. The response to economic “egalitarianism” is shortage, famine and a black market. Political “egalitarianism’s” response to shortage, famine and a black market is tyranny. It happens over and over, every king was first invested with power by the people, and every tyrant remains in power for the people’s “own good”.

  42. In Progressivism, there is no farmer.

    At which side of the table are our comrades the pigs seated? Since they started walking upright, I’ve had no end of trouble telling apart the pigs from the humans.

  43. Progressive live a life of chaos. They have no faith. They have no loyalty to one another. They are always on the make for the Next Big Thing and the power they perceive they will become a part of.

    It’s part of why they are such angry bitches. Having no routine or discipline in their own lives, they seek order by forcing their will on the rest of us. And if we balk, well out comes the lash in the form of fines (monetary punishments) , shaming (hate crimes), or ruin (destroying the objects’ job prospects or business).

    They seek to empower themselves by taking away what little power the average citizen has in his life. The faith he lives. The schools he chooses for his children. His entertainments and small pleasures such as hunting or smoking.

    In short, they are a bunch of insecure children. Unsure of what they themselves hold sacred, they seek to profane that which the other holds dear.

  44. Thanks again McG: and one more question if I may? What’s the deal with the test (in the book)? Were there ‘other than humans’ posing as humans, which deceptions demanded somehow a necessary ‘weeding’ out, for the later success or good of whatever project was to be entrusted to the survivors? Or was the test simply born in a need to distinguish self-controlled humans with superior pain tolerance from others having a lack of self-control and lower pain tolerance? (But then I’m left wondering why the immediate loss of life? Seems a bit over the top merely on its own hook.)

  45. I’m not trying to argue you out of your world view – I’m just pointing out that you frame progressives as wanting to put a king at the top and make everyone slaves to the state – intentionally.

    You can say, “That’s what happens. That’s what’s inevitable.” I’m merely pointing out that you come across as non-sensical because progressives don’t close their eyes and see tyranny with a king. They see democracy and egalitarianism. They see themselves contributing to decisions. Policy coming up (grassroots) not being handed down.

    Since you don’t even know who progressives are, it makes it easy to dismiss you when you talk about why they’re wrong.

  46. slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Fuck off.

  47. In Progressivism, there is no farmer.

    Has anyone seen Boxer lately? Napoleon said sending him to Knacker, the veterinarian, would make him better.

  48. Then you aren’t a liberal. I want that word back.

    There’s nothing liberal about them. They’re progressives, and they’ve also polluted the word “progress.”

  49. Progressivism: Ideas so good they have to be made mandatory and forced on everyone. Except, you know, the good people.

  50. I miss the rains down in africa

  51. The ones who don’t see tyranny either:
    a) are ignorant of what always happens, or
    b) have “good intentions” and therefore don’t see themselves as fostering tyranny, because of the benevolence, don’t you see?

    Doesn’t change the end result.

  52. leigh says December 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Excellent.

    As Danger would say, “Keep firing.”

  53. The double-think is strong with this one.

    (Or would weirding-way be more thread appropriate?)

  54. What’s the deal with the test (in the book)? Were there ‘other than humans’ posing as humans, which deceptions demanded somehow a necessary ‘weeding’ out, for the later success or good of whatever project was to be entrusted to the survivors?

    As I recall, the test was normally used only on prospective Bene Gesserits, which were always female. Paul’s mother wanted him tested for reasons of her own (she had been instructed to bear Paul’s father a daughter as part of the BG’s breeding program, for which the RM chided her in Paul’s hearing) and the RM remarked on how unusual it was but went ahead with it.

    This is getting into such detail of the book itself that I fear if I answer any more questions the Herbert estate’s lawyers will be in touch.   ;-)

  55. They see themselves contributing to decisions.

    They see themselves voting on the dinner menu with the farmer. See my definition of progressivism, above.

  56. Thanks, cranky.

  57. One reason I don’t want power is that I know that even with the best intentions I would very likely become a tyrant. The fact that I wouldn’t see my actions as tyrannical would not change the fact of them.

    Another reason is that I’m lazy, and really, can’t you people just take care of yourselves? After all, you care more about you and yours than I ever could, and you likely know what’s best for you and yours as well. I got stuff to do here.

  58. Actually it was the head of the Bene Gesserit Order (Mohiam???) who wanted Paul tested.

    She wanted him to fail.

  59. FDR: Commonwealth Club Address, 1932

    It’s a progressive’s view, yet schnooked up with all manner of a politicians’ prestidigitation, not least in the dreadfully skewed ‘history’ he recounts. Still, it gets to where he wants to go, and therefore, that being the case, can’t help but reveal something of his more basic assumptions. But hey, does he ‘know’ where he wants to go, insofar as the destination is the completely uncertain, unknowable future? Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?

    Forward!

  60. “Since you don’t even know who progressives are, ”

    In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the “Great Society,” or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they’ve been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, “The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism.” Another voice says, “The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.” Or, “Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.” Senator Fullbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as “our moral teacher and our leader,” and he says he is “hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document.” He must “be freed,” so that he “can do for us” what he knows “is best.” And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.”

    Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as “the masses.” This is a term we haven’t applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government”—this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don’t control things. A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

    link

  61. come across as non-sensical because progressives don’t close their eyes and see tyranny with a king. They see democracy and egalitarianism. They see themselves contributing to decisions. Policy coming up (grassroots) not being handed down.

    Maybe progressives should try opening their eyes once or twice to see where these “grassroots” policies are actually coming from.

    Most people interested in “democracy” wouldn’t think that the government forcing an individual to purchase a product from a private company, simply because the individual is breathing and the government thinks he or she can afford the product, is a policy that makes sense. No matter what that product is.

    In fact, insisting that this particular policy wasn’t handed down by some kind of ruling class is pretty nonsensical. It’s even more telling when a particular “grassroots policy” has its name changed. “Healthcare” instead of “Health Insurance”, for example. Do you think the law passed means you get “healthcare”? You don’t need insurance to get healthcare, but if you don’t have insurance you will be assessed a tax. But only if someone, probably not a group of grass-roots progressives, decides you can afford it… and you aren’t a member or former member of Congress.

  62. Since you don’t even know who progressives are, it makes it easy to dismiss you when you talk about why they’re wrong.

    We know who you are and what you want. You don’t picture kings. You picture bureaucracies made up of you x 1000 lording over the masses. With wisdom and compassion.

    But it always ends the same. Go on, check out some history. We can wait.

  63. “They see themselves contributing to decisions. ”

    They see themselves making all the decisions, in accordance with their personal whims.

    We know you from in front, proggtard.

  64. You can say, “That’s what happens. That’s what’s inevitable.” I’m merely pointing out that you come across as non-sensical because progressives don’t close their eyes and see tyranny with a king. They see democracy and egalitarianism. They see themselves contributing to decisions. Policy coming up (grassroots) not being handed down.

    And Lucy doesn’t see herself jerking the ball at the last second when she offers to play holder to Charlie Brown’s kicker.

    And yet….

  65. It’s been a few years since I read Dune, so I’ll defer to Ernst on that detail. His recollection would be more consistent with the RM’s duty to the breeding program.

  66. There will be blood. There didn’t have to be, but those who want to be farm animals will always be with us. They won’t give up their place at the feed-trough easily. It will probably take the food running out for them to wake up.

    At that point, the farm animals will turn on each other.

  67. I’m not interested in taking care of others outside the sphere of my own family and community. How do I know you are genuinely needy when I don’t know you or your circumstances beyond what has been crafted to make me part with my dollars? I’ve met too many well-oiled cons in my lifetime to trust much of anyone anymore.

    If I choose to volunteer my time reading to oldsters at the hospital or knitting hats for babies in the NICU or rocking sick toddlers at the Shriners Hospital, that is a decision that I made.

    If I receive a phone call at the first of the month from some community organizer instructing me to report to a shady part of the city to scrub graffiti off walls, I’m free to tell them they can go fuck themselves.

  68. Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, Outlines of an historical view of the progress of the human mind [1795]

    And in its nativity.

    Forward!

  69. The farm animals aren’t the problem. The problem is the would-be farmers telling people that it’s okay to be a farm animal. When they aren’t making it easier to be a farm animal or more difficult to stop being a farm animal, that is. And then they go home and congratulate themselves on how enlightened and noble and caring they are.

    Because Cain should have been his brother Abel’s keeper.

  70. You can say, “That’s what happens. That’s what’s inevitable.” I’m merely pointing out that you come across as non-sensical because progressives don’t close their eyes and see tyranny with a king.

    One more thing, given the historical evidence, if progressives think that “we” (the very mixed group of small ‘l’ libertarians, social and fiscal Conservatives, Republicans, Classical Liberals, and big ‘L’ Libertarians who hang around on this blog) come across as nonsensical, then there’s no fucking hope. If what you say is true, then it’s obvious that progressives are; being manipulated by some shady conspiracy, morons, children, willfully historically ignorant, unconcerned with unintended consequences, or simply liars.

    I, personally, think “progressives” are jealous.

  71. I don’t think progressives are jealous, I think they are envious.

    Envy is likely the worst of the seven deadly sins, and they revel in it.

  72. You can carry that out to all seven deadly sins. It is their credo.

  73. Slippy doesn’t see a conspiracy because there really isn’t one. The farmer is simply managing the herd using the animals’ natural inclinations.

    That’s what seems nonsensical to him — the idea that he’s part of the plan but not in on it.

  74. Those are always the last to see the knacker’s hammer swinging, McGehee. They thought they were going to the mall.

  75. “like, there’s no reason to not wear a seat belt, etc. …”

    What bugs me about KY is exemplified in that little bit. For an off the cuff throwaway example of the sound sensible type of decision his progressive society will make he chooses an example that:

    -was not made by society but by a bureaucrat in the first place

    -was forced into place not by persuasion and voluntary cooperation but by extortion of withholding our tax money from being paid back to us.

    -was a decision inherently made by individuals in the first place and should have stayed that way

    -was not subject to any kind of post review to see if it made sense and should be reconsidered

    -pissed me right the hell off as an unmitigated power grab by the state

    From the littlest detail he’s wrong. Extrapolate to the big stuff for extra shock effect.

  76. “slipperyslope says December 31, 2012 at 8:18 am
    And by BS, I mean to say, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of liberals. And that keeps you from making progress, because you sound nonsensical.”

    False on all counts.

  77. Put your hand in the box.

    What is in the box?

    Bullshit. Stupidity. Vapid sophistry. Bad Theatre. Eventual collapse. Now put your hand in the box.

    Okay. Durrr.

  78. Slippy measures progress by how well one contributes to ratifying the farmer’s decisions. What lies outside the pasture fence confuses and frightens him.

  79. I’m merely pointing out that you come across as non-sensical because progressives don’t close their eyes and see tyranny with a king.

    Bullshit.

  80. Slappy might want to read this, assuming he’s capable of learning at all at this point:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bolshevik

  81. Honestly Dune was dystopian.

    It was about monarchy and feudalism, secret societies, the semi-fall of the most powerful union EVER, drug addiction, culturally entrenched neo-luddism, routine rube goldberg style treachery that was half Machiavelli and half SMERSH, virtual super-power levels of prodigy reached through self help training drugs and eugenics, memories of ancestors stored in the cells, clairvoyance, precognition, water empire, biological and historical predestination ‘tracks’ leading to rigidly defined alternative futurist paradigms, breeding an ubermensch at the unconscious urging of the masses, and losing control to him so he could shatter the piece and allow uncontrolled breeding to ensue again in the form of war.

    Then the sequels kept mucking with it until it got quite annoyingly stupid and it felt like a bunch of sequels to Shogun set in space or something.

  82. Sorry, boys. I hated the Dune series. I made it part way through the first book and tossed it away.

    I’d rather read Asimov spend 40 pages describing the bridge on one of his star ships in The Foundation Trilogy.

  83. “Since you don’t even know who progressives are, it makes it easy to dismiss you when you talk about why they’re wrong.”

    Translation: Since you judge us by our actions, our tactics, and the externalities that must result from following our theory, since you will not happily repeat our insipid rhetoric about the supposed goodness and fairness of our stated intentions, we will put our fingers in our ears and sing “LALALALAAAA” and hope our apparatchiks can intimidate you into eventual silence.

  84. Actually I think Foundation came from sick leftist technocrat place from the very beginning, and the story was already well off the rails by ‘Foundation and Empire’ anyway.

    What what Asimov did with it at the end when he was trying to mix all his robot stuff and empire stuff in a big trashcan and messing it up with prequels like ‘Forward the Foundation’ was a grotesque travesty.

    The funny thing about Dune is that (assuming his son and Kevin J “reanimator” Anderson didn’t make it all up to pay off a new boat) that Frank Herbert had notes for a previous draft that was “reconstructed” into a novella, called “Spice Planet” that reads almost like a Heinlein juvenile. It’s by far the best thing about ‘Road to Dune’ the attempt at selling a ‘silmarillion like’ collection of scholarly notes and early drafts and edited out passages for Dune .

    ‘Spice Planet’ is a pretty damned fun read even if it is probably just a mash-up stunt and a scam.

  85. I didn’t say I liked Asimov. I think he was a pretentious douchebag and a technocrat.

    I have mixed feelings about Heinlein. He had some great stuff, but after I learned more about him as a person and re-read his books as an adult I take them as fiction they are and certainly not any great revealed truths. Especially his later stuff where he starts to let his perv out.

    I still have a soft spot for Ray Bradbury. He was an old lefty, but he walked the walk. He rode his bike everywhere. I once met an ancient nun who had been a family friend of Aldous Huxley and we had a very cool conversation about him and his work.

  86. I like Heinlein’s juveniles. I’m not a fan of the rest of his stuff including Stranger in a Strange Land. I thought Number of the Beast read like it was written by a man sliding into dementia.

    But I find Asimov smug, dry, and usually distasteful.

    I like Glen Cook but he’s a bit too into the military novel(Star Fishers, Passage at Arms) or just ‘WTF’ spasm plotting (The Dragon Never Sleeps) where the novel feels like it got confused 2/3 of the way in and decided to just quit before it shit its pants in public.

    I’ve been reading a couple novels of Iain Banks’ Culture stuff since he seems to be a bit of a witty horror futurist who covers the “life , if you can call it that, post singularity” angle where humans are pampered pets in a theme park run by AI’s who take care of them because it is trivially easy and you can leave if you want…but sigh. Most people don’t. Insanity seems to be the only real sanity. I read ‘Look to Windward’, and ‘Consider Phlebas’ so far. I might try ‘The Player of Games’ next.

    Then the stories are mostly dirty spy and caper stories that take place on the periphery of this creepy post scarcity wonder civilization that wrestles mostly with its own pointlessness and soporific ennui.

  87. I thought the atrociously trope-ish quotes used as chapter headings in Dune grew to be rather obnoxious as I read the book.

    ” A lateral side to side motion is generally inefficient. It’s best to scrub in little circles. ” : Mua’Dib’s Post Jihad Toothbrushing Tips for Children of the New Empire #18, 4th edition

  88. I don’t read any sci-fi or futuristic novels anymore. I usually read detective novels or mysteries involving shady types trying to outwit the local sheriff when I”m not reading non-fiction stuff.

  89. Slippy forgets that we judge progressives not by what they say they want, but what they have shown they actually want, which is a return to an European style class society, with themselves as the aristocracy disguised as a meritocracy.

  90. [aleo,

    I thought they were merely foreshadowing the Personality Cult Jihadi Empire that was coming under Paul.

  91. Slippy forgets that we judge progressives not by what they say they want, but what they have shown they actually want, which is a return to an European style class society, with themselves as the aristocracy disguised as a meritocracy.

    Spot on.

    All done with smoke and mirrors. Stand up to it, push back, and it disperses like the mist it is.

  92. SGTTed, don’t you mean Barry instead of Paul?   ;-)

  93. Well, I liked Asimov, and Heinlein and Dune.

    I believe the Foundation Trilogy parallels Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — without space travel, psychohistory, etc.

  94. Stand up to it, push back, and it disperses like the mist it is.

    Kinda like slippy.

  95. Snotrag is off at Sparknotes (Cliff Notes for the computer user) trying to get up to speed on the books being referenced.

    Fat chance there.

  96. I think of the Foundation series as Comte and Hegel jerking each other off over EE Doc Smith’s grave in Asimov’s head.

    Then twenty something years later apparently he thought it really needed some robots in disguise, a guy bred to have super intuition, and plan to impose a galactic hive mind where all matter is sentient and networked through hyperspace.

    Asimovs’s short stories were usually better than his novels. I think he benefitted from having a magazine editor there to keep him from getting boring.

    I get the feeling that when Asimov read ‘We’ and ‘Things to Come’ he got a bulge in his pants instead of creeped out. He seemed to want a society that would be smart people steering dumb people from the shadows for their own good because nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Also he was terrified of nuclear war because he was so smart and convinced that everyone else was so dumb.

  97. “I thought they were merely foreshadowing the Personality Cult Jihadi Empire that was coming under Paul.”

    Either that or Frank Herbert wanted to portray Irulan as a rather insufferable author/chronicler.

  98. Wait, since when is slippy an out progressive? Last I paid him any attention, he was claiming to be a libertarian.

    Or maybe those brain cells died. No matter.

  99. We don’t like hierarchy.

    Then why do you keep expanding it?

  100. He last claimed he was a liberal then he dialed it up to progressive. Now he’s turned it up to eleven and is a hectoring, sanctamonious asshat.

    I’ve quit talking to him since he’s incapable of linear thought and still hasn’t admitted that he’s a lying POS.

  101. …but if he did, he’d probably just be lying (by intent, if not in actuality), so it probably doesn’t matter either way.

  102. Some good SF if you want to try something a little less mildewed is Orson Scott Card, David Brin, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Moon and Jack McDevit.

    All over the chart politically but still good writers.

  103. Somebody needs to make one of these for our trolls. It wouldn’t be hard, and we could just turn in off when tired of the noise.

    http://thomasfriedmanopedgenerator.com/about.php

  104. Thomas Friedman always reminds me of an undergraduate trying to bullshit his way through a term paper.

    I trained a Markov Chain text generator to create Nishbot posts a few years back, with a fair amount of success.

  105. WRT SF, the Wool series by Hugh Howey is pretty damned good, and the first one is available free at Amazon right now.

    There’s also an inexpensive omnibus edition containing the first five volumes on there.

  106. I read a lot of Orson Scott card back when I was in highschool in the late 80’s. (Hart’s Hope, Wyrms, Hot Sleep, Songbird, and A Planet Called Treason were all very strange. I liked the Alvin Maker books.)I got tired of Orson Scott Card when he started writing Ender books past Speaker For the Dead that got weirder and weirder and stopped feeling like they belonged with the first two. I never read Empire, the Bean stuff, or Homecoming.

    As for Scalzi, I really liked Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigade, and sort of liked The Last Colony(thought it suddenly broke left in a fairly unconvincing way). I tried reading Zoe’s Tale and eventually gagged on all the “oh.. mah.. gawd. Like..Tiffany is totally a.. like.. such a bitch y’all. ” writing style. I’m also not interested in the premise of Red Shirts.

    I was getting along pretty well with Brin (Sundiver was neat) until the last couple of Uplift War books just went ultra-super-bonzo with space gods doing crazy stuff as the space folds linking the galaxies flew apart.

  107. Dune, one of my favorite early-childhood reads. The gom jabbar was a simple needle with a poison, wielded by a monstrous evil; the reason for it…

    “But the pain…” he said. “Pain,” she sniffed. “A human can override any nerve in the body.”

    “Ever sift sand through a screen?” she asked. “We sift people to find the humans.”

    The Bene Gesserit were a religion, unto themselves, attempting to create a God with the science of genetic manipulation. Paul Atriedes came a bit early, and easily slapped away their feeble attempts to control him. But was he really the God they desired creating? He had his doubts. A good read, if you haven’t.

    We see our very own LeftLibProggs tearing down every religion in an attempt to fill their roles with their own Godheads. Humanity, they proclaim, is the best there can be; there is no Other greater than collective US!

    Animals they are, herded without the realization of chains, their goals and triumphs insubstantial and fleeting.

    Without God, humans are but animals.

  108. “Everyone learns sooner or later that there are only two kinds of people in this world of vanity and delusion,” the Overlord proclaimed. “They are the servants, and the served.”

    “And which are you?” asked the foreign rabble rouser.

    “Why, I am the served, of course!”

    “Bad news for you, then. It’s a cookbook.”

    …it just popped into my head today for no discernible reason. It made me chuckle.

  109. I still like Dune. The following books (and the prequels, and the … everything) are kind of insane, but I enjoyed Dune itself.

    Asimov’s short fiction is really insightful. I may attempt his Robot series at some point.

    My personal recommendations are doubling down on Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge (ESPECIALLY his Zones of Thought books, The Peace War and Marooned in Real-Time, and Rainbows End–the last is a good hard look at self-determination versus “benevolent” control of the masses), Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Bear (the final book in her Jacob’s Ladder series, Grail, is also another good look at the defects of a socialist society even if her writing seems strongly sympathetic to the “right-minded” socialists–but then it also takes several digs at the particular madnesses inherent in the philosophy), Susan R. Matthews’ Jurisdiction books, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, and … uh. I think that’s most of the thinkier stuff.

    Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw and Naomi Novik’s Temeraire/His Majesty’s Dragon series are fluffier stuff. Anything by Sharon Shinn is really good for fluff, too. Diane Duane writes some amazing books but she’s much less concerned with politics and economics and society than she is with personal morality (and science and cats), so I kind of consider her “fluff” even though she writes a lot of things that’ll make you think. I REALLY like the new series she’s started about massively multiplayer stuff ~in the future~, too. I’ve also started reading Carol Berg’s fantasy books; she’s quite good and I am enamored of her writing style.

    CJ Cherryh also writes some really really good cultural and sociological science fiction but I can’t always keep up with her prose because it is so dry. I stumbled embarrassingly over her fantasy books even though I’d like to read them. Robin Hobb, on the other hand, has a very readable style and tackles a lot of tough issues in her Liveship books. …Oh and Gene Wolfe. GENE WOLFE IS INCREDIBLE. I love Gene Wolfe so much.

    tl;dr i read a lot of science fiction

  110. I’ve been a loyal Vorkosigan series reader since I first encountered “The Mountains of Mourning” in Asimov’s SF.

  111. Oh, excellent.

    I just finished Cryoburn recently and absolutely loved it.

  112. OH.

    Holly Lisle. I have to recommend her too.

    Especially because in a roundabout way she led me back to protein wisdom during the run-up to Obama’s first election. She had a bit on her website about how the ideological precursor to AttackWatch(!) creeped her the hell out, since they were snooping around in chat rooms and whatnot putting the kibosh on any badmouthing of their Precious Candidate.

  113. Diane Duane writes some amazing books

    Her “Ael T’Ralleiu / Romulan Way” Star Trek books are some of the best sf I’ve ever read any where, and if Paramount had any brain cells they would have used them as the basis for movies already.

  114. I had to go up to read it all.

    . We view the world through a lens of egalitarianism and collectivism (democracy).

    Ba haa haaa haaa.

    And Scotty McCreery won season 10 of American Idol because he was the best singer in America.

    That’s your egalitarianism and collectivism in action.

    ha ha ha …

  115. As for reading, I’m giving “Cryptonomicon” a try.

    Snow Crash wasn’t bad, and I really enjoyed Reamde. A friend said Cryptonomicon was the best book he’d read recently, so it’s on tap.

  116. Cryptonomicon! Neal Stephenson:

    “Unless you are as smart as Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, savvy as a half-blind Calcutta bootblack, tough as General William Tecumseh Sherman, rich as the Queen of England, emotionally resilient as a Red Sox fan, and as generally able to take care of yourself as the average nuclear missile submarine commander, you should never have been allowed near this document.”

    Yes, it’s a good read, albeit somewhat a slog early-on.

    Speaking of slogging, I’ve got the Baroque Cycle to (re-) start. Soon!

  117. Cryptomomicon is still my favorite of Stephenson’s books.

  118. Also in tribute to Ric Locke I have got to give a shout out to Terry Pratchett, and one of his compatriots Neil Gaiman is a favorite of mine also.

  119. With Pratchett, I’ve unfortunately reached the point where I have to wait for him to write new books. The good news is, he is still writing them.

  120. Orwell — proceeding further — seems to have had a direct experience of the shackling of political life where Tocqueville had only his active imagination, applied to his ken of human nature, in order to go before:

    D.inA., “After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. ”

    Tocqueville, though he describes a process credible enough in itself, yet does not press into the next step, but pauses at a form of peaceful setting. We wonder whether this mild condition is actually possible, and indeed, rather doubt it can be so.

    But do not the monstrosities Orwell sees come about, in the event, do come about precisely as the result of natural human resistance to acquiescence to being herded? That is to say, the terrors appear to the terrorizers as a necessity, if they will have the world their way, by (flawed) design, as the sole means by which they can achieve their ends? Ends in which, we note, the designers never seem to mention to themselves (let alone anyone else) must contain the terrors to come, i.e. of necessity, before they ever take the first step.

    Fucking nature: Always getting in the way.

  121. Obama has discovered the problem: Folks haven’t been reading their bible:

  122. As Danger would say, “Keep firing.”

    HARUMPH!

  123. Hey, I didn’t get a HARUMPH! from that last link :\

  124. Cryoburn was a fun tale, if very sad at the end… Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance was also fun to read. I like the blurb used on the chronology for her stories. “ImpSec suffers a problem with moles. Ivan turns thirty-five.” Sort of a spoiler, sort of misdirection. Summation: It has Ivan as a central character. Hilarity ensues.

    ISTR some parody of that “human test” scene from Dune was done on SNL or some other comedy sketch show. Only second hand info on it, but I think it went something like:

    “What’s in the box?”
    “Zeppelin tickets…”
    “Oooo…”
    “….and pain.”
    “Aigh!”

  125. Yeah I’ve seen one where they have the reverend mother (bald woman in nun robes) and Paul (a skinny guy in a “boy” wig) do “the test”, which Paul has to wait in line for. The test is required to enter the space academy and will determine if you are aofficer material or crew. He sees lots of people leaving with tears in their eyes, and then it is his turn so he goes into the room and sits down.

    The reverend mother points to the box and says put your right hand in the box. Paul lifts up he left hand and she says “your other right hand.”

    Just before he puts his hand in he narrows his eyes and says “What’s in the box? ”

    She says ” Pain. Do you want to get into the spece academy or don’t you?”

    Paul sticks his hand in the box and the reverend mother pulls out a big wooden tent-peg hammer and WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM smashes the box with it which knocks the wig off of “Paul”.

    Then the reverend mother puts the hammer aside as Paul curses and holds onto his and and falls out of his chair. She takes out a little note pad and pencil and says ” Stupid enough to fall for the ‘put your hand in the pain box trick’…CHECK” and checks it off on the notepad. Then she says “I’d put some ice on that if I were you.” She sends him through the door that says “Officers” .

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