Why Secession Will Not Work

There’s been news lately about States who’s citizens were sending in Secession petitions. All full of drama and with a faint whiff of fireworks in the air.

It won’t happen, and it won’t work. It’s just self delusional theatre.
Why? Because “Demographics is destiny”.

At this site there is an interesting map of the demographically adjusted ‘red states’ and ‘blue states’. They make it clear why nothing will happen to change our present trajectory. Bear in mind that it takes either a 2/3 vote of BOTH House and Senate to make a constitutional convention OR 2/3 of the State Legislatures and it is only via a change to the Constitution that the Several States can reclaim their authority and grant to themselves the power to leave. (Thanks to The War Between The States aftermath, their is a Supreme Court Ruling saying the States are now forever chattel to the Federal Government. Permanently in bondage, like it or not. That would require an overriding finding that can only come from that same Federal Government via new legislation – that would also have to be accepted by the Supremes – or via Constitutional Amendment). Any proposed Amendment then takes 3/4 of the States to ratify. So our hurdle rate is 3/4 one way or the other.

Article Five:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

So lets look at a couple of those maps. First up, the ‘straight State Map':

2012 State Map Red / Blue

2012 State Map Red / Blue

Right off the bat we can see that there is a less than 3/4 to ratify. (Hawaii and Alaska are missing due to the difficulty of making the other, shape adjusted to population, maps; per the author site.) Count the “Red States” and it isn’t even 2/3.

Some folks will have seen a ‘by county’ map, showing most of the country is “Red State Country”. It’s even more impressive, but remember that most of those counties are very sparsely populated.

2012 County Map Red / Blue

2012 County Map Red / Blue

So why don’t all those Red Counties just band together and exit the Union?

Demographics.

It’s a truism of Political Economy that “Demographics is destiny”. Look carefully at that county map and you will notice bright blue splotches where there is a high population density. Yes, some small exceptions, and some more rural areas are blue, too, like that band along the Texas / Mexico border (wonder how many there are, or were, illegal aliens?)

But look at California as an easy example. San Francisco and the L.A. basin are the core of the Progressive California. Inland farm country much more conservative. There is a band of blue that reaches up to the Las Vegas patch in southern Nevada. Oddly, this same problem plays out in microcosm there. A big chunk of that is San Bernardino County where the 90% of it that is rural has been trying to break off from the major urban city that dominates them with ‘progressive’ policies… It is that big blue squarish splotch that connects the L.A. basin to the Las Vegas lump. THE major urban area is down in a tiny corner of it next to Los Angeles.

The center of New Mexico also shows up blue ( I’m sure those large Government Laboratory facilities have little to do with it /sarcoff>; )

So the problem, in a nutshell, is that the majority of the LAND is conservative, but the majority of the POPULATION would rather “vote for itself the largess of the public purse”.

A couple of more maps (the link as several more than I’m going to put here) shows the states and the counties shaded by population and adjusted to size match population. First will be ‘red / blue’, then ‘red / purple / blue’ showing that even in the rural areas, the population skews from just red / blue.

Here’s a population adjusted by State map:

2012 State Population Weighted Red / Blue

2012 State Population Weighted Red / Blue

UPDATE: Electoral College Map

I’m adding this map that is “States by Electoral College Vote” so folks can see the comparative difference. It isn’t all that much, really.

States as alloted Electorial College Votes

States as alloted Electorial College Votes

Now back to the original…

By county, the shape distorting becomes even worse, but it does illustrate the problem of the dominance of the rural areas by the urban, even the smaller urban areas inside counties dominate and distort them.

2012 Counties population weighted Red / Blue

2012 Counties population weighted Red / Blue

But it gets even worse than that. If we allow a purple color for those places with a more even vote, the ‘clearly red’ spaces shrink even more.

2012 Counties Shades Of  Red Purple Blue

2012 Counties Shades Of Red Purple Blue

And the size proportionate to population version:

2012 Counties Population Adjusted Red Purple Blue

2012 Counties Population Adjusted Red Purple Blue

What are the odds of getting 3/4 of that map to ‘vote separatist red’?

Tyranny Of The Cities

IMHO, this is just the Tyranny Of The Cities. It was recognized by our founders that if we ever became urbanized ‘like the Europeans’ the form of government they were designing would fail. I think that day has come. There is a famous quote to that effect that I can’t look up right now due to some time pressures / obligations. Perhaps someone else can find it.

WHY does this happen?

I think it all comes down to the political power concentration in urban collectives. In a rural area, land is power. If you farm your land well, and are frugal, you get more money and buy more land. Power accumulates to those who are most efficient and frugal. The smartest and the most industrious. There isn’t a lot of room for political maneuvering to change that. Furthermore, folks on a farm “20 miles from nowhere” are, by definition, self reliant. You run your own water systems, sewer system, sometimes even electric power systems. Food is stored locally (and often produced at home too). Most farms have their own machinery repair facilities and fuel depot. This also makes them more market oriented. IFF your present fuel provider jacks the price up too much, you are more likely to find another provider (especially when buying thousands of gallons a year) or even get your own truck and ‘deliver your own’.

Compare that to a city. Let’s use Taxis as an example. One lone cab driver in a city is in a cutthroat operation against much larger competitors. “Fattest Wallet Wins” in a game like that. Fairly rapidly, the larger players run the little ones out of business. Wages get suppressed both for the lone operator AND for all the other drives where the Fat Wallet only offers the minimum wage the market will bear. The Fat Wallet further knows that Political Skill will make him more money than competition. So he, over dinner with “His Friend The Mayor” (to whom he ‘graciously’ donates…) suggest a Taxi Medallion program. After all, the city deserves to have well maintained well run (and ‘well connected’…) Taxi Operations, not some rag tag collection of ‘fly by night operators’. So the political connection gets a ‘licensing’ or ‘medallion’ program in place. The Mayor gets a fat contribution. The City gets an annual Medallion Fee of, say $50,000 / company that assures no ‘one man operation’ can ever start. The Fat Wallet Taxi Company gets a near monopoly (as they already hold over 1/2 the total operations and get to buy out most of the rest in the ‘licensing’ turmoil). Then, as “Medallions” are limited, even outside competition has trouble getting enough of them to be effective competition. Taxi Prices rise nicely. Everyone it seems is happy… Except the near-nothing wage drives and the passengers paying monopoly prices….

So the Taxi Drivers form a Taxi Drivers Union. They can now get more benefit from Political Power then from any sort of competitive free market. Their Union Boss takes HIS slush fund to The Mayor (AND City Council…) and gets two things. One, a “minimum wage” to keep out ‘fly by nights’ (NOBODY wants free market competition here…) and a LIMIT on the number of Medallions (only HIS membership to get those Medallions) along with recognition of the union and their right to strike. Perhaps even a law on the books saying unions can strike and “scabs” can’t be used for union busting. Now his members go out on strike for ‘more wages’. It is quite possible that the Union Bosses even are smart enough to whisper to The Mayor that they will accept a limit on new Medallions in exchange for all this, and let The Mayor talk The Fat Wallet Taxi Company into accepting the union in exchange for a perpetual monopoly on Medallions. In the end, everyone is happy. The Fat Wallet has a monopoly business (or oligopoly near-monopoly) often with The City Council setting mandated (very high) prices. The Cabbies Union gets nice fat wages for the wage slave drivers. The Mayor and City Council get nice fat donations from both sides. Win Win Win!… Except for the poor rubes who have to pay $4 / mile instead of $0.50 a mile and can’t share cabs by law as we saw in NYC during Sandy.

Now what did all those players learn in that process? They all, every last one, learned that political influence is that path to a better life and free markets are bad for them. Repeat that process a thousand times in a thousand different industries.

Furthermore, the urban population is, by definition, highly ‘dependent’. Everything. Food, water, clothes, entertainment. It all comes from “someone else” and “somewhere else”. They are all highly interested in stability over efficiency and do not want ‘disruption’. Markets are disruptive. As they are dependent, they feel powerless and want something to hang onto for a feeling of ‘control’. That is their vote for their government. The politician who says “Vote for me and I’ll assure safe clean Taxis” gets the vote. (So off he goes to lunch with his friends at The Fat Wallet Taxi Company)…

Now let this run for a generation or so and pretty soon that population is largely adapted to a world where markets do NOT get you what you want, while political influence does. Don’t like the Taxi service? Complain to the Mayor. After all, he can shake down the Fat Wallet Taxi Company better than you can with your piddly $10 fair (inflation, you know…) You want better pay? Get your union to talk to The Mayor. The only way the Street Sweepers can get more money than The Librarians is if THEIR Union is better connected than the other guy. The Police, Firemen, Utility Workers, heck, even the Maids and Bakers. How do you get more money? Political Influence and A Union. It ends up looking like sheer folly to advocate for ‘destructive competition’ in a ‘free market’… So ever more of The Voters vote in keeping with the politics driven order of things.

Oh, and a sidebar on land: In cities, the land was long ago divvied up among a few who are now very wealthy. You can’t just walk in as a small operator and buy a small plot and work it, being frugal, and grow the size each year by your own labor. What matters most is size and connections. The City Planning Committee decides who gets permits for what and what can be built were. Eminent Domain lets big operations wipe out small. THE thing that matters most to that land value is political influence. Who gets a permit for what.

In the end, we have these incestuous interdependent and interlocking power broker driven systems where the way to get more is to grease the right ‘wheels’ (palms?) and form social collectives. Be they The Land Owners Association or The Union or The Party. There is little value or interest in traditional values like Free Market Capitalism and Self Reliance. “Everyone knows” that advancement comes through influence (buying, selling, or peddling) and ‘connections’. What’s the point of “work hard to get ahead” or even of “be frugal”, when what you make can be taken by an act of The City Council and when the guy who takes The Mayor to lunch with a paper bag NOT holding sandwiches can make more money?

Our urban areas inevitably embrace The Collective and embrace that vision of how things ought to be. Teachers Unions shape the schools. Fat Wallets the urban landscape and planning commissions. Bakers Unions what you pay for bread (or Twinkies…) And the relative number of and wages for Police, Fire Fighters, Garbage Collectors, Transit Workers, Taxi Drivers, Waiters & Waitresses, Hairdressers, etc. etc. are all set by THEIR unions and how connected they are to The Mayor and City Council. (After all, if The Council votes to limit the number of restaurant licenses and require that they pay $15 / hour, where else can you go for lunch? Leave downtown Chicago and spend all day driving (or taking the Taxi?…) out of town?)

So once that happens, the city dwellers know that the way THEY gain is via MORE power for government and unions. NOT less (and certainly not for ‘free markets’).

IMHO, it all stems from the “Local Monopoly” power of an urban area. Not just the local monopoly on land where a building owner may own a square mile of downtown, and thus 50,000 population or so; but also the local monopoly on law, unions, rule making of all sorts. This local monopoly corrupts the political process ( from my POV. From their POV it is just ‘business as usual’ and ‘how things get done’) at the expense of the markets and consumers. The residents of that urban area are hostage to it. Few have the ability to leave. And where would they go? ANOTHER urban area with the same problems? Out into that cold and hostile world of rural competition? They are not land holders, after all, so would end up competing for scraps in a poor rural economy. No, they are trapped in the Urban Jungle. And the way to hang on is to ‘form a collective’… so they do.

And that, IMHO, is the real reason why secession dreams are doomed to fail. ANY area that is formed will have an urban core (or cores). They will have this same dynamic. You can shift things a little bit by spitting out a NYC or L.A. Basin, but look again at that map of Texas ‘by county’. You can pretty much see each of the major cities as blue counties. Look again at that map of ‘purple / proportional’ and notice that the Red is limited to just wispy strands. Bits of raspberry jam smashed between urban influence centers. Those rural bits can, at most, shift WHICH urban area tells them what to do, how to live, and what to value, but not eliminate it.

Demographics is Destiny. And it is only a matter of time.

We are becoming ever more urban, both in the USA and Globally. This Tyranny Of The Cities also explains why Agenda 21 is so interested in clearing the rural population off the land. The Cities want ‘stability’ in THEIR food supply. And don’t kid yourself. That’s all the rural areas are. A place to provide for the needs of the cities. To be dominated and controlled. Captive and held thrall. You might be able to find some corner somewhere to ‘hide out’ for a while, but only if it is an uninteresting corner and lacking in things The Cities want.

Is there any way out of this mess?

Probably not. I suppose one could have a system where any City over, say, a Million population would become a County, or maybe even a State. Divide things so that Cities ran the House and Non-City counties ran the Senate. But even that is a bit of a ‘stop gap’. As long as the local monopoly power in the cities is used in self dealing and self serving (and that will be as long as humans are political animals) power will concentrate and corrupt. That concentrated power will then be used to dominate the land areas around the cities (likely via a corporate conglomeration system of ‘Agribusiness’ driving out private land holders). Eventually even the rural areas will find that Political Influence is the only way to ‘get more’ via some kind of ‘countervailing force’ to the multi-national agribusiness combines.

And once everything is run through the political process, rather than private ownership and free markets, well, that ‘collective’ is, basically, the Socialist Way…

Could there be some way to reverse / avoid this? Perhaps, but I don’t see how.

It is highly unlikely that a ‘back to the land’ movement would happen, even if a collapse of mechanized farming advantages somehow happened. Farming is hard dirty tough work and few folks want it, or can do it well. Certainly not well enough to survive at it. It requires a wide range of talents and understanding. Most city people have one or two things they can do, and ‘middling well’ at that.

It is highly unlikely that urban politics will suddenly embrace market forces instead of laws, rule making, permits, licenses and fees.

It is highly unlikely that unions will stop pushing for more control and influence. Buying more favor for their members.

And it is very highly unlikely that folks will stop voting for those things, as they deliver more ‘goodies’ to them individually (even if the economy overall has less).

In short, I think we are stuck with Monopoly Economics (even if only ‘local monopolies’ inside cities) where the result is not optimized for the economy as a whole, but is optimal for the monopolist. That, then, leads to the formation of Monopsony (one buyer) countervailing force models. We end up with a grid of sub-optimal non-market players and the ‘deal making’ via political power between them. Breaking those processes would require a fundamental change to the dynamics of local big city government that just is not going to happen. It is rooted in the inevitability of ‘local monopoly’ in land and rule making; and those folks will not give up that power.

In Conclusion

This does give a hint to the ‘few of us’ who want to be left alone, are not all that ‘political power’ oriented, and don’t need a solution that will last 50 years.

Look to rural counties with no major city.

As this dynamic ought to operate in any country of the world, the conclusion is that any Country with a major urban center (or several of them) will be similarly afflicted. Since “it’s not what you know buy who you know” will dominate there, and as a foreigner you won’t know anyone, they are unlikely to be advantageous. Looking to smaller political divisions ‘out in the boonies’ might be better.

It also implies that it won’t matter much which country one looks at. Yes, there will be some variation based on historical artifacts, cultural norms, and state of ‘progress’ down the path. But the fundamentals ought to hold. So Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Mexico City, etc. etc. all ought to have similar ‘issues’.

Were it not for the likely very very cold next 20 years, I think I’d be planning a trip to rural Alaska…

On the investment side, this implies that looking at the skill of the CEO and Board Of Directors in establishing Political Friends will be more important than actual economic skill, especially going forward. (That would explain a lot about GE and various light bulb laws and windmill mandates…) So keeping track of who has lunch with whom in government is likely as valuable as the factory floor. Or perhaps more so. Much as in China knowing who is rising or falling in favor in The Party is the key to success.

So just like we had “Friends Of Bill” and during TARP / Bailout the “Friends Of Pelosi” pocketed $Billions, the “Friends Of Obama” will be the ones to win favor now. Not just political favor, direct cash value economic favor. Forget what makes economic sense, what matters is political connection. So windmills are a dumb idea economically and worse in terms of grid engineering problems; but via GE ‘well connected’. Bet with the ‘well connected’ not with the ‘right’. (Just be ready to bail out when the inevitable technical / economic realty crushes the political fancy).

And don’t expect that you can ‘quit the game’. Hide for a little while, in some small rural corners? Sure. But this is a game you can’t leave… and you will be made “offers you can’t refuse”.

That’s what I see in the demographics, as collective destiny.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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49 Responses to Why Secession Will Not Work

  1. Thanks for your analysis, E.M.Smith.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to live and to witness a live re-enactment of the classical battle of life, fully confident that the final outcome was recorded long before the current battle began:

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1807

  2. Frederick Davies says:

    Well, there is always The Black Death!

  3. Roger Sowell says:

    E.M., nice analysis. I suspect the current control exerted by cities will be upset as the great cooling occurs. Two reasons come to mind: first, the northern cities will be mostly uninhabitable and far less populated. Second, less food will be grown, driving up food prices due to scarcity.

    The end of my speech in April 2012 addresses much of this: (see Part III – Implications)

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/warmists-are-wrong-cooling-is-coming.html?m=0

  4. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    As a professional civil engineer since 1967, I know that the bridges constructed for the Interstate Highway System were designed for a design life of 50 years, and some are presently failing, having passed their design life. I see no effort or money to replace said bridges.

    As the great majority of our commerce travels by truck, powered by diesel fuel, as these bridges fail, commerce in this nation will be drasticly lowered. Large and densely populated cities will be most effected, as foodstuffs and other commercial goods will rapidly come to be in serious shortfall. Those large densely population centers very well be decimated by this factor.

    The world turns, and changes can (and have) changed quickly and radically.

  5. hillrj says:

    +Frederick Davies… EM. Dont worry, it will work out in the long run. Demographics alway wins. Some historians link the rise and fall of civilizations to plagues. Until modern times, plagues cleared out the urban underclass which was then replenished from rural areas. Demographics (and the pill) today are doing it more slowly. City women dont have many babies. Replenishment is coming from large families of religious fundamentalists, often rural. But your analysis of the appeal of collectivism is spot on. A long ago fashionable book (I forget it’s name It meight have been “The Organisation Man”) commented on the change in political leanings as people moved to/from rural areas. If you add self-interest to demographics you get a good predictor for behaviour.

  6. That Woman says:

    “Hopeless” is the word we’re using a lot around here.

  7. BobN says:

    I think EM’s take on the situation is very accurate and in my mind very depressing. The city crowd with the loss of manufacturing has had a culture change and the work ethic and the middle class are quickly disappearing. Our society has moved from a blue color job to a white color or service job environment. At the same time our education is being dumbed down so more and more people are moving into the lower paying service jobs. Long hours and little payback with no future upward mobility is very downward assertion on the spirit of the people. With not seeing a growth path, take the easy way out and get a government job or become a ward of the state. Once you get used to living at a lower standard and little is expected, it becomes a way of life and will be hard to ever change.

    To make things worse, the government rewards bad behavior. If you want more money, have more kids and the paycheck grows. Their has been an attempt to swell the ranks with illegals to provide the cheap labor or import many from 3rd world countries. The problem with this is the people immigrating have little education and the statistics show that 25% roughly end up on welfare, exacerbating the problems even more. We are immigrating large numbers of fundamentalist Muslims that have large families and typical poor education, in addition the culture approves inbreeding where the child medical issues are much higher the normal occurrence.

    The policies of the government seem to be to make everyone the same and spread the wealth. While many love this idea, it is abhorrent thinking to the rest of us. The present path will long term be unsustainable and the system must crash and reboot itself.

    In the past society has always rebooted by wiping out large groups by plagues or wars. That may very well be in store for fixing a collapsing society. That’s a very ugly view of things to come.

    The only saving grace I see for the world is an energy revolution and I don’t mean the cheap oil and gas from America, that may buy time, but it is only temporary. I think it will take something like cold fusion or some of the other ideas to come to fruition for mankind to find a way out. I see free energy as the route to changing the problems of society. With free energy individuals will be free of the worry about staying warm or cool and being slave to the utilities, big oil and government taxes on it all. With indoor gardening everyone will be able to grow their own food year around on very little land. When people have free energy they can live pretty independent of the rest of society. With year around indoor farming there will be plenty of food and society will change.

    With the free energy I see many city dwellers giving up the commute to go live off the land. I can see groups forming to share resources in this effort, possibly a new ruralization of America. I can even see skyscrapers being turned into urban food production centers. City agriculture jobs could flourish.

    While society could flourish with such a structure, it will be vigorously apposed by government. They lose their tax base in many respects and they lose the things they normally use as control over the people. The attempt to regulate every aspect of farming will be the high priority and a new cycle of government intrusion will be at hand. At least people will have a way of working for themselves and sustaining life, without the need for government assistance.

    Without the free energy technology breakthrough, society is greatly doomed to a miserable existence. Just my view of life.

  8. ed says:

    I’ve always heard the electoral college was supposed to prevent urban densities from dominating. Is this true? Why? Why does it not apply? Hopeful minds want to know?

  9. John Robertson says:

    Well I almost hate to agree with your analysis, its depressingly accurate. How soon until slavery is reimposed? The cities must be fed so the farmers must be controlled. Cities are very vulnerable, the energy, food and water all comes from outside, this is a real threat from POV inside the city and as we see with the climate alarmists, projection is a way of life.Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.Risky if you have poor values.
    It seem human nature is a constant and the greater the crowd the faster the race to the bottom.
    Once the farmers are alienated and threaten to sell their food elsewhere, the cities will take the produce by force or take the land and place their beholden ones on it.These kind won’t like the work and will lack a farmers ability to think at least 4 years ahead so the crops will fail and then the city must reach out further, extending supply lines into increasingly hostile country.
    Farmers within their reach will limit their losses, forcing ever more extension until cities are at war,if they last that long.So few cities produce anything useful in North America so can they last as bandits? When you couple city politics with no limit on govt theft you have a sure recipe for withdrawal of effort by the able and diminishing rewards from this theft. Everybody gets poorer and more aggravated and destruction is so easy compared to creating.
    What about picking a state and turning it into a powerbase for makers? If a state insists on their constitutional powers and refuse the federal bribes maybe they could hold out long enough for this culture to collapse.

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    Generally poor people in the cities that live on government hand outs are declared to be servants(slaves) of the state and are sent out to do slave labor to produce “stuff” for the ruling Elites and their minions. Already in some jurisdictions welfare is a loan, not a grant and must be repaid if you become able. Indentured servitude that can not be discharged through bankruptcy. Just like government guaranteed student loans. pg

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ed:

    The electoral college provides many advantages, most of them subtle enough to be ignored by the average person in a rush to “Democracy Now!!”.

    I’ve added the map showing and ‘electoral vote’ just near the ‘popular vote’ map for comparison. The relative sizes of states change a little bit, with some of the smaller ones in population a bit larger, but the overall doesn’t really change all that much.

    First, and foremost, it provides hysteresis. It prevents a ‘close race’. Originally, States appointed the Senators, who selected a President. Then we changed things. Now Senators are directly elected, but we left it up to the States how to allot electors. So a State does not need to have a popular election of electors at all, really. A State may well have ‘proportional allotment’ or it may have ‘winner take all’. So as various States allot their electors, the electoral college count tends to exacerbate whatever was voted around the country (mostly due to the ‘winner take all’ in some states but also a little bit due to the ’round up’ or ’round down’ to electors from any particular popular vote.) Basically, you don’t need to count EVERY vote in a state to know where the ‘cut off’ is for electors. Even if the national popular vote were ‘off by one’, the electoral college votes swamp that. In short, it prevents a Florida Recount Hanging Chads on a national level trying to squeeze out every last vote.

    Another benefit is in times of “ah shit”. Say a Hurricane hits New York or New Orleans and the vote gets messed up. No need to wait for Every Last Vote. Just need enough to know how to allot the electoral votes. In the case of a National Aw Shit (say nuclear attack… or massive plague) the electoral college can still convene and pick a president. Doesn’t mater if NO national vote could take place, we are not left leaderless or in deadlock.

    There are other minor benefits. Things like some State going 100% one way and 3 others being 70% / 30% the other, the odds of the 100% State swamping the 3 is reduced. (This can show up in a loss of the Electoral College even while winning the Popular Vote, but IMHO the occasional one of those makes up for the better ‘balance’ the rest of the time. When the USA was mostly rural, this might have made for a little better Urban / Rural balance, but now that ALL states are effectively dominated by a largely urbanized population, it doesn’t do that any more to speak of (as witness the maps above).

    Hope that answers things…

    Personally, IMHO, having the President elected in some way other than the Popular Vote is a very very good idea…

    @All:

    Thanks for the votes that “I’ve got it right” and even the “but maybe it works out anyway” too ;-)

    Having finally reached some answers on this particular ‘ponder’ (that’s been nagging at me in some ways for many years), I can now ‘let go’ of some things.

    One, for example, is that I’ve had a ‘low level quest’ to find that language / culture least susceptible to the Socialist Message. I’d thought maybe German was more ‘at risk’ (as they keep coming up with this kind of crazy idea AND are highly prone to idealized thinking). But the Slavic affliction of Russia, and the spread into China, and the Latin periodic fascination with the Socialism Shiny Thing had me puzzled. Could there not be SOME language / culture less prone to that broken line of thinking?

    Now I know my premise was wrong. It’s not the ‘mode of thinking’ about such things. It’s not something in the culture or language form. It is the degree of urbanization and the degree of political orientation. A rural low-political orientation culture is what would be more ‘resistant’ to the ideas of Socialism and the corruption of Central Authority. So no real need to spend a lot of time looking at various language structures and social normative systems. Just how political a society is and how urban. Further, don’t expect Romance Languages vs Afroasiatic vs Sino-TIbetan vs anything else to make a difference in how things unfold. It’s NOT a cultural artifact subject to choice. It’s a simple economic paradigm. And economic laws can be as immutable as chemistry some times.

    No amount of ‘better at logical reasoning skill’ in the language will change the perfectly logical and reasonable conclusion that “being friends of the Mayor” matters more, once in a city.

    So now I’m going to ‘move on’ a bit to ponder economic solutions to the problem. To wonder “Is there some way to change the rules” or change the structure of Urban Governments to prevent the process from unfolding this way. (Just because I’ve reached a dismal conclusion and said “I don’t see a way out” doesn’t mean I stop looking ;-)

    For example, thinking about it, when I was a kid, California State Senators were chosen by the counties. (Modeled after the original Federal system). That was changed (by initiative I think) when I was about 5? The State Senate has headed ever more Democrat ever since. ( I think that was the goal of the folks proposing the initiative…) So one ‘fix’ might be just to have every State Senate be the ‘representatives of the counties’. That would then weight State Senates by county (so reflective of the above county map). Having them, then, choose “electors” would give a President more in keeping with the ‘by county’ map and prevent domination of the cities. (Or much reduce the risk). How to get that done is another matter… But more ‘representation by counties’ even at the Federal level, more Republic form and less ‘Direct Democracy’ all around.

  12. Another Ian says:

    E.M.

    Somewhere in my collection is a local Chinese production “history of China” that I got in the early 1980’s.

    Which, as I recall, had the basic premise that the various changes in dynasty were the result of ever-increasing taxation and other impositions on the rural population – which eventually said “enough”. Then a new dynasty, which eventually forgot the message, and recycle the above.

    I’ll post a reference when I find the book.

    As one H.S. Truman was wont to say “The only things you don’t know about people are in the history you haven’t read”

  13. adolfogiurfa says:

    @p.g.sharrow says:
    19 November 2012 at 6:21 am
    Generally poor people in the cities that live on government hand outs are declared to be servants(slaves) of the state and are sent out to do slave labor to produce “stuff” for the ruling Elites and their minions. Already in some jurisdictions welfare is a loan, not a grant and must be repaid if you become able. Indentured servitude that can not be discharged through bankruptcy. Just like government guaranteed student loans. pg

    As you know, the Elite, through its means of enforcing their will, as: secret societies, NGO´s, UN´s biding agreements, has already TESTED what you say in other countries, like the obligatory service of graduated students (a kind of military service to pay back to society for their education).

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: You are done kids!: 50 years ago we thought that someday the US way of living would be exported to Revolutionary Cuba, but now it seems that it will be the OTHER WAY AROUND: The revolutionary cuban policies will be applied in the US. Just surprising!

  15. Richard Ilfeld says:

    There is always a way out. It is not always obvious, or pleasant. There is/was a famous communist state saying “The Mountains are high, and the Capital is far away”.

    For many years, there has been a fairly large difference between aggregate farm income and estimated agricultural production. Some
    of the food is probably sold locally for undeclared cash. There is barter. There may be fraud. A small rural community that is motivated may be able to shield a lot of economic from taxation. Enforcement by authorities in some states may be unenthusiastic. Federal employees may decide to be not really thorough in their job performance, and stick to keeping their paperwork perfect. The parts of the urban population who are still productive and not tied to their location by servicing local customers may move — and more and more the urban ‘culture of corruption’ will need to import its sustenance.

    A huge part of our system is that people voluntarily accept government idiocy as the price of a civil society. As the price of the idiocy gets higher
    and wealth decreases, the resistance will increase as well. The parasite needs a healthy host.

    —-
    We don’t see decay, usually, until collapse. I think the urban model is susceptable to systemic far more that the suburban and rural. Sandy is a good example. The system is too costly to be replaced by those who have been using it (maintenance and service having been neglected for years). In rural areas, one sees blue tarps, generators, camp stoves, and rebuilding. In the city one sees helplessness among a population that was already dependant, and the few entrapeneurs facing ruin packing up to find greener pastures.

    —-
    I don’t think the “blues” will have the balls to use force when the time comes, and they don’t appear to have the brains to avoid economic suicide. “California” and “Texas” can coexist, and the difference can increase. While their situation is much worse, in Europe the Takers are having to make nice to Merkel and the Makers (new german music group). There was some concensus when the goodies went to Brussels and the French farmers. It breaks down when the beneficiaries are muslim “refugees” .

    —-
    If the States don’t put up exchanges, and the feds create more disasters, will we continue to love them? Docs are moving outside the system. Will the feds be able to force doctors to practice in the federal system. Will they pull the licenses, Will people not go to unlicensed health professionals???
    —–
    Let me amend my opening. Unless they put a gun to your head, there is always a way out.

  16. Rob L says:

    Its getting far worse too. rural areas are getting more and more depopulated as the efficiency of agriculture increases. Cities are massive population sinks – consuming the extra children produced in more fertile rural areas.

    But cities impose a lot of costs that can be avoided by going suburban or rural. And VTOL flying cars are pretty close to being technologically viable now with cheap reliable high power to weight engines, highly capable software control and autopilots and good safety systems they would make it viable for people to live 50-100 miles away from where they work, eg http://www.jobyaviation.com/home.php

    Incremental improvements in battery technology could soon make such transportation cheaper, faster and more benign than cars and lead to the rapid decline of cities as people no longer need to live in a city to have access to a large job market. Apart from 13-35 year olds I think most people would rather live in a smaller village/community.

  17. Zeke says:

    This idea of stronger county representation is an interesting thought, and a very good solution.

    It is always a struggle to preserve the separation and even hostility between the branches of government and between the states and the Federal government. When one branch consolidates too much power to itself, or when the branches cease to fight each other, the citizens lose. The outward form of government we have is superior to all others, and can survive. One possibility is that a handful of governors and representatives are still all we need to preserve liberty, and fight the oversized Executive, as long as the people still want it.

    “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it…”

    “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves…”

  18. nemesis says:

    Interesting post. I wonder about the reverse of this – when a rural population is too low to be sustainable. There being less opportunities for specialism (and hence progress), no economies of scale and fewer opportunities to meet a suitable mate. Are there studies on the optimal number for successful communities and tipping points in either direction.

  19. R. de Haan says:

    The threat of succesion is that it could trigger a Constitutional Convention. 34 states could decide to force one.

  20. Chiefio,
    Brilliant as usual even if profoundly depressing. It makes one realize how important Ronald Reagan’s “Finger in the Dyke” actions against the air traffic controllers union was. However, things are going in the opposite direction with a vengeance under Barack Obama.

    Fortunately, there is good news although not everyone will see a “New World Order” as such. Roughly 500 years ago the dominant power in the “West” was the wonderfully corrupt Catholic Church . The rise of nationalism and the growing power of the “Nation State” changed all that. Now the “Nation State” has become corrupt and is about to be replaced by something else.

    Great nations are going bankrupt for exactly the reasons Chiefio illustrates. They are offering shoddy services (e.g. American government schools) at monopoly prices. We are seeing nation after nation borrowing beyond what they can ever pretend to repay. This cannot and will not continue much longer. The institutions that have brought us to this point will not survive. Some regions will decline into chaos but others will remain orderly by creating a new social compact.

    This is too large a subject for a blog comment so I implore you all to read this book (The Sovereign Individual). It will be the best $20 you ever spend:

  21. adolfogiurfa says:

    @gallopingcamel: It is really a choice between individualism and communism.

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Gallopingcamel: It is a matter of choosing between surviving as an individual soul or as a member of a bee hive or an anthill.

  23. adolfogiurfa,
    Maybe, maybe not. I particularly liked the quotes that T. Krimm selected from The Sovereign Individual”. Rembember that another four years have gone by since these comments were made:

    “Keep in mind that this book was written around 1997, before 9/11/2001.
    It is summer 2008 and the “US empire” is in decline.
    The US debt is quickly approaching the $10 trillion mark.
    (that is a one with thirteen zeros behind it)
    The US dollar is in decline.
    The US financial markets are in meltdown mode.
    The FDIC has taken over IndyMac, more banks to follow.
    The government is talking about a bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    (how high can the US deficit go?)
    The government has enacted the so called “patriot act”.
    The government has expanded the FISA rules.
    The housing market is in deflation mode.
    The commodities market is in inflation mode (oil approaching $150).”

    Here are few quotes from the book:
    Page 20: “Governments will violate human rights, censor the free flow of information, sabotage useful technologies, and worse”.

    Page 23: “All nation-states face bankruptcy and the rapid erosion of their authority”.

    Page 29: “We forecast and explained why militant Islam would displace Marxism as the principal ideology of confrontation with the West”.

    Page 137: “You can expect to see crises of misgovernment in many countries as political promises are deflated and governments run out of credit”.

    Page 196: “Governments that tax too much will simply make residence anywhere within their power a bankrupting liability”.

    Page 197: “Paper money also contributed significantly to the power of the state, not only by generating profits from depreciating the currency, but by giving the state leverage over who could accumulate wealth”.

    Page 198: “Control over money will migrate from the halls of power to the global marketplace”.

  24. Rhyl says:

    The rise of the super-bugs and the antibiotic resistance will eventually lead to epidemics I think. We live in a small city and already have had some resistant infections this year.that needed, in one case, hospitalisation for an antibiotic drip and in the other four different courses of antibiotics to regain health. The Doctor said that they were Community Acquired Antibiotic resistant germs.

    Add the next cooling phase, similar to 1800s Little Ice Age and scarcity of food and things will be grim.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    Crazy people: Malthusians

  26. gt says:

    A very succinct ecosystem analysis. Nature sends hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, asteroids, volcanoes, etc. to destabilize the entrenched climax communities. Political organizations are not immune to these triggers or ones inspired by “the course of human events…” Just wait awhile.

  27. crosspatch says:

    “I think it all comes down to the political power concentration in urban collectives.”

    I think that is it and I can think of two things to fix that.

    First, we need to get rid of “winner take all” electoral votes and go to a system like Nebraska, Maine, and New Hampshire use. Electors are assigned according to seats in Congress. A state gets two electors for its two Senate seats and one for each House member. The logical solution is to divide the electoral votes according to the constituencies represented by the electors. So the winner of the state popular vote would get two electoral votes. Candidates would also gain one electoral vote for each House district that they win. This does two things. First it makes it nearly impossible to lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote. Second, it limits the influence of the major metro area of a state to the number of House districts in that metro + 2 electoral votes. So a state like Pennsylvania sees Philadelphia sway the state popular vote or Illinois sees Chicago do the same. Basically those cities control the entire electoral vote for the state. This can be done by the states themselves with no change in the federal constitution.

    Second, we need to return Senators to election by the state legislature. As it stands now, the Senate delegation is elected by the major metro areas. Whoever controls Wilmington, Delaware controls the Senate delegation of the entire state. Basically both Senate seats for states are effectively representing the largest 1 or 2 metros in the state and not the state as a whole. When it was first proposed to elect Senators by popular vote, the population was still greater than 50% rural, meaning the Senators did represent the entire state. The population was scattered across the entire state. That is no longer true. Returning the Senate election to the state legislature would more closely reflect the political reality in the state. This would require a change to the Constitution.

    The problem with both of those suggestions is that electoral vote allocation and Senate elections become very sensitive to gerrymandering of districts which makes up not only the House districts for Presidential elections, but also the party in control of the legislature. But something clearly needs to be done to dilute the political power of the cities which is now beyond their proportion of the population and effectively disenfranchises the rest of the state.

    In California, if such a system were used, we would have seen 40 electoral votes go to Obama and 15 to Romney which would more accurately reflect the true political reality of the State of California though it would not likely have impacted the election to any significant degree. One other side effect is that a popular third party candidate can collect electoral votes by getting House districts, again allowing the electoral vote count to more accurately reflect the desires of the people.

  28. adolfogiurfa,
    I thought Holdgren was just another useful idiot.

    Now I am convinced he is really dangerous. The “Intro” to that video created an expectation of another “Glenn Beck” style conspiracy theory. Instead, the presentation was by someone who took the trouble to read Holdgren’s books (so we won’t have to) and pilloried his crazy ideas. All the worst ideas of the loony “Environmentalists” who kill millions by blocking the spread of cheap energy, DDT and much more.

    John Holdgren’s views are extreme, comparable with people like Malthus, Maurice Strong and Alexander King who see the extermination of most of humanity as a desirable end. This is beyond evil; how can anyone like Holdren be allowed within a mile of the “Levers of Power”

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Great quote!

    See The French Revolution for another example. Then The American Revolution for another…

    @Adolfo:

    We had them trying to get that done here. Didn’t take. Now it’s been pushed down into grammar school as obligatory ‘community service’ projects. Doing the ‘generational approach’ where in 20 years there will be an entire generation who think being someone’s slave for part of your life is ‘good’ and ‘normal’, then we’ll get the ‘couple of years mandatory service’ return and it will ‘take’…

    Not really all that surprising that we’re taking our turn with The Socialism Shiny Thing. There are MASSIVE global pressures in that direction; and it is the normal direction on the cycle. (To be followed by Tyranny, then revolution again…)

    The surprising thing is that it’s taken us 200 years to reach this point… Average lifetime for a Direct Democracy is 50 years; so it’s taken 150 years to so corrupt the original structure as to get enough ‘democratic vote’ (and less republic) to reach the inflation / implosion stage.

    @Richard Ilfeld:

    I think it is also worth noting that the “Takers” are ever more willing to keep on taking and avoid going ‘above ground’ in economic activity. So we’ve got a load of illegal immigrants. Many of them are quite happy to be in the ‘all cash’ economy. Then we’ve got, what is it now, $Billions in drug trade? All sub-rosa. The place where traced transactions happen is ever more concentrated into ‘stuff from China’… so what happens when even that starts to be smuggled?

    I worked closely with Chinese before. Not a lot of ‘concern’ about ‘unofficial’ business…

    Your points on rural vs urban and Sandy are telling. I grew up in rural America. Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, expected FEMA (or even knew what it was near as I can tell). Heck, there were all of 2 cops and one Chief of Police in town (and one County Sheriff for the outside of town). All told you could get 4 people in uniform in one place at the same time. (Later as the own grew, I think they added another one or two… but I can’t picture them so that might be ‘projection’ on my part).

    The “fire department” was all volunteers. There was one Ambulance and I think only one driver.

    By definition you were depending on your self and each other.

    Personally, I find the bitching and complaining about power in the aftermath of Sandy pathetic. Go to home depot, whip out the plastic, buy a shovel, a tarp, a generator, and some gloves… Maybe a hammer and nails. Build a ‘lean to’ out of the rubble if you need it. Then start cleaning up and putting back together… Have the generator run some lights and as people show up, invite them to join in. Make a ‘neighborhood posse’ to organize things. Have some folks set up the communal kitchen. Dispatch some others to scrounge / buy / transport food and bedding. Have a ‘barn razing’ if nothing is standing or do floor space assignments and sleeping schedules in what buildings are standing. Then start shoveling and hammering… One home at a time (most intact first) get them back to functioning and warm and let folks spread out in the habitation.

    Guess that Amish Roots thing is still in me somewhere…

    But there is a different mind set in cities… There’s also, as you pointed out, often a disconnect between what’s worth rebuilding vs abandoning. Folks have been abandoning Detroit despite the infrastructure and buildings and letting the place rot, without a storm to destroy it….

    @Adolfo:

    You’ve been told before about picking on the Jews. Let me remind you in no uncertain terms:

    Leave the damn Jews Alone, OK?! They’ve been through enough already.

    Mostly they are just convenient scape goats for the real power mongers.

    @Rob L:

    Ah, yes, the forever popular fantasy of air-cars and flight for everyone….

    Not going to happen. It isn’t a technical problem, it’s a rule making problem.

    There’s not a whole lot cheaper or easier to make than an air cold opposed 4 engine and a cloth covered airframe (think Taylorcraft). A local 76 station (when I was a kid) had one in one bay being rebuilt by the owner in slack time. Some tubing, cables, cloth, dope/varnish.

    There is nothing TECHNICAL to make a single passenger airplane cost more than 1/2 the price of a car. (Some can be quite a bit cheaper… look at ultralights…)

    It’s the mandated inspections, licensing, etc. etc. etc. that kills it. Heck, the mandated avionics alone to fly into an urban TAC is going to run $10,000 to $20,000. Now add in the cost to stay ‘current’ with the licenses and the physicals and…

    A buddy was private licensed and owned, clear, his own (Cesna) airplane. Finally just sold it all and let the license lapse as it was just too much trouble.

    So technically, yeah, I agree. But it’s never going to happen until the FAA is cleaned out and the rule book burned and rewritten. As they say “good luck with that”…

    Private aviation is a dying industry. Strangled by regulatory costs and burden. Just look up what it costs to get an A&P certified mechanic to overhaul (on a mandated schedule) a 1950s era (i.e. pretty damn simple) opposed 4 engine. Something that ought to be ‘doable’ by anyone with a clue on a long weekend or perhaps a full week if not speedy. ( I’ve done an automotive boxer 4 in three days from pull to running again.)

    Technology is not going to ‘fix it’…

    @Zeke:

    Glad you like it! Nice quotes, BTW.

    Unfortunately, few folks seem to care about liberty any more. Just “make sure the cage is closed and locked and keep the kibble in the bowl fresh”…

    @Nemesis:

    Being from a small town, I can tell you that some of those concerns are real, but many have gone away. Like “too small to find a mate”. The car fixed that one… We’d pool our nickels until we had enough for a gallon of gas ( 5 of them, then) and drive to the nearby ‘big city’ of Chico (a college town) and cruise…

    Economies of scale do still exist in farming, and in some other local work as well. Unfortunately, it isn’t LOSS of economies of scale that was the problem. When Gemco (the old equivalent of Costco) came into existence in the ‘big town’ far far away (15 miles) our “urban core” of shops went into permanent decline. At 50 cents round trip (then – now about $4) it became ‘worth it’ to have a once / week shopping trip to ‘the bigger town’… Groceries and even the lower cost of gasoline paid for the trip. Then buying toasters or whatever was all direct ‘profit proportionate to scale driven lower price’. About 1/4 of the retail business went ‘on the rocks’…

    It’s the lower cost of transportation that ‘did in’ a lot of the rural towns. DIdn’t need a local small town with worse economies of scale when transportation costs got low enough. At that point, the first town to put in a ‘mega mart’ killed off the others. That’s how Walmart came to be the largest retailer. Putting down rural Walmart stores where nobody else was going.

    If far enough away for transportation costs to be large, a small town of even just a dozen folks and a general store can still ‘make it’. If close enough to a large town and with low transportation costs, even a town of 4,000 can go into decline. ( I watched both happen at the same time in the ’60s-’80s)

    @R. de Haan:

    Look again at that ‘by State’ map. There are not 34 red states and the blue states don’t want to let the red ones go…

    @GallopingCamel:

    Thanks for the compliment…. wish it was for a better ‘message’.. but “it is what it is. – Paul the Mechanic”

    Putting the book on my Christmas List ;-)

    BTW, heard on the financial news that Soros was buying gold. As he’s a currency trader, I think that is the other half of a ‘pairs trade’. So ‘short (some currency) long gold’ is a typical trade. I’d bet ‘short dollar and euro and pushing hard for policies to cause their collapse / long gold’ is is book…

    @Adolfo:

    Never was happy with a load of ants crawling over me.. ;-)

    @R. de Haan:

    Ron Paul is right, but irrelevant. Not going to happen.

    The other folks are ‘over the top’ by a ways… but perhaps not a very long ways…

    Lucky for me, I don’t have enough money to worry about most of it ;-0

    @Rhyl:

    For a few years now, when folks were moaning about wars or starvation or whatever, I’ve regularly said I figured it would be a new bug first… With the global urban population and the massive daily air travel, a slightly slower Ebola like bug could do in about 70% of the world before anyone knew what was happening. Just such a ‘slightly slower’ form has shown up once or twice, but was in so isolated an area it didn’t escape to the urban areas before extinguishing.

    Basically, we’ve been a mater of days away from such a status…

    A “Spanish Flu” reprise could do in 2 or 3 Billion in a year or two. We’re just a recombination or two away from that (and the flu does a recombine of types each year).

    Then there’s all the stupid waste of antibiotics in everything causing superbugs. The MRSA is one, but the multiple resistant TB in an urban setting is just horrific.

    And oh, BTW, UV is what keeps it from spreading out doors. Think a lower solar UV level from the sun, reduced further in an overcast cold urban canyon might be an issue?

    I’m going to stop listing them now, as it gets real depressing real quick…

    @gt:

    Interesting point… we ARE a climax community… and getting ever more reactive to destabilizing forces…. but some of us more so than others…

    Think what happens to U.S. Govt ‘ability to pay fat salaries’ as the Boomers all retire. Earnings (so taxes) end and payout increases… We’re about 1/2 way into the bolus now, finishing in the next 8 to 10 years. As I’m not expecting much ‘payout’ it doesn’t matter much to me. But for all those on the government dole / dime / retirement plan… it’s destabilizing.

    @Crosspatch:

    All true, IMHO. The problem, though, is that those presently in power do not want that system as it puts them out of power….

    @GallopingCamel:

    You were close… It’s just that he’s not ‘useful’ is all ;-)

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.:I did not mention anything about members of that group of human beings, it´s just that such an old document contains so many things that are happening now……It is not about a whole family of men but rather a supposed crazy elite where some of its members belong to that group. No one of us would imagine to ambition such a lot of power and money, perhaps just because we care for other people and just want to live at let other live like us, living common and peaceful lives.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    The words need not exit from YOUR keyboard if you post links to them. YOU posted the link to a “Radio Islam” page condemning Jews so that is just as much YOU doing it as them. Neither of us is dumb. “Zion” is a word you know is roughly synonymous with “Jews”. But just to make it clear for folks WHY I’m slapping your wrist, from the right side of that page just a couple of random ‘link topics':

    Jewish hate against Christians

    Karl Marx: The Jewish Question

    Reel Bad Arabs – Revealing the racist Jewish Hollywood propaganda

    “Anti-Semitism” – What is it?

    The Jews Banished 47 Times in 1000 Years – Why?

    How Jewish Films and Television Promotes bias Against Muslims

    Judaism is Nobody’s Friend

    Judaism is the Jews’ strategy to dominate non-Jews.

    That is blatant and bigoted Jew Bashing. Post a link to it, and YOU are doing it.

    As you’ve done this kind of thing a few times now, despite repeated requests to stop, I can only conclude you do it deliberately, and with the intent to try to ‘get away with it’. That you then try play the “who, me?” game is even more annoying.

    While I value most of your contribution, presence, I will NOT tolerate anti-Semitism nor Jew Bashing, neither directly and blatantly, nor in a subtle way via links and proxy.

    Again, let me be very clear: I have left this discussion here, and the link up, for one, and only one, reason: so that everyone will know WHY you suddenly disappear and are never heard from again if you do anything remotely hinting of anti-Jewish sentiment. Period. NO further warning.

    It’s a very simple paradigm I run. Folks are given a free hand at first. Anyone can ‘screw up’ on something in the ‘be polite’ category. So the first one or two, gets a nudge. Every one thereafter gets a tighter leash. End up on the “shit list” it means strict moderation, or just outright banned to the trash heap.

    I’ve given you more positive ‘points’ to work from / expend, than most folks get, largely since on most things you can be fairly polite and have some interesting points. Clearly, though, you have a ‘grudge’ and dislike of Jews based on things you have linked / posted. That is NOT acceptable here. Period. Full stop. As I’ve pointed out, the historical abuse of Jews gets them an especially tight filter on more abuse. While I’m not Jewish, I’ve been on the wrong end of abuse, and I’m not going to let someone who’s been histories ‘whipping boy’ get more of it here.

    Have I Made That Clear?

    @All:

    WHEN Adolfo suddenly never comments again ( I have little faith at this point that he can restrain himself from trying to push another one of these through in a few weeks or months) it will be because more of this anti-semitic crap was posted, linked, referenced, or even hinted at. I’ll not play this game any further. It’s over.

  32. Chiefio,
    In defense of Adolpho, it is possible to offend Jewish people quite accidentally as I once did. One of my long time golfing buddies is Jewish and I offended him by re-telling a joke from “Reader’s Digest”.

    The city of Los Angeles had constructed a Nativity display in the civic center. This caused the ACLU to file suit to have the display removed. When asked for a comment the Mayor said “They are just jealous”. The reporter persisted and asked the Mayor why the ACLU should be jealous. The Mayor replied that “They don’t have three wise men or a virgin in their entire organization”.

    I was a little puzzled when my friend took great umbrage. Eventually he explained, “Everyone knows (although I did not) that the ACLU consists of Jewish lawyers”. We remain friends but I don’t make jokes in front of him any more.

  33. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith ; When I read links, I just read the linked material and ignore the crap. Guess I am too “narrow minded” to waste my time. I have and have had quite a number of Jewish friends, they are just as crazy as everyone else.
    Adolfo does post too many links, especially videos, I am bandwidth limited and ignore most of them. One of the reasons I include few links and citations is that the opinions I voice are my own. I don’t need to give others credit for my foolishness.
    I find if someones comments rub me the wrong way I move on and later reread before commenting to let my temper cool down and see if I can water down the fire rather then throw more fuel on it. pg

  34. omanuel says:

    Friends,

    We are all here on this journey of life. We will figure out how to work together, or society will crumble while we fight each other. That is why this 2012 Thanksgiving message:

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1807

    Addresses society’s greatest need this year – HOPE – with a quote from C.K. Chesterton on the America that filled once us all with HOPE:

    “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just.”

    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/262437-america-is-the-only-nation-in-the-world-that-is

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @GallopingCamel:

    Due to that, I ‘let folks have a few mistakes’ and I ‘give a few warnings’. This isn’t the first time, nor the second, nor even the third for Adolfo.

    Yes, Jews can be ‘over sensitive’, then again, with a few million dead and a couple of thousand years of persecution, I can see why.

    So one of the ‘issues’ I have to deal with as a ‘blog operator’ is to assure the place doesn’t get decorated with links to offensive and / or crap sites. Yeah, some will ‘slip through’. Yeah, some folks will link to a story that has ‘crap’ next to it that they ignored. That’s why folks ‘get a few’ without comment and get a few ‘warnings’.

    Heck, I link to some offensive and ‘crap’ stuff (but typically put a ‘this will be offensive to some due to [content] in it’ to flag it). So I can even accept a link to an anti-semitic site that says “Look at this article that says FOO that is offensive and stupid”. Or even the occasional “This site has offensive anti-semitism in it, but this article on GMO food is OK” (or whatever the OK content might be).

    Realize, too, that I’m not saying Adolfo caused some complaints from ‘sensitive’ others. I’m saying he’s directly violated my directions to be less anti-semitic in what he selects to link. I’m not particularly ‘thin skinned’. If he’s offending ME, he’s not on some marginal side of things. Again, I’ve had NO ‘complaints from others’. This is all me talking.

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    The directly linked article was anti-semitic crap about the “Elders of Zion” and world domination by some Jewish cabal or some such. It’s the usual such. It’s not like the sidebar links were outliers. The whole site AND the directly linked article were directly anti-Jew.

    I’d do the same thing for “Anti-Black” and “Anti-Asian” and yes, even “Get Whitey” sites / links.

    Folks are free to say “I don’t like Mexicans” or “I don’t like Chinese cheaters” or even “I don’t like Jewish doctors” or whatever, as those are personal and mild statements of personal opinion. Folks are not free to link to sites pushing hate for a whole group, nor push an agenda of insult to a whole group. So, for example, I have said I’m not nearly as “Ok with Islam” as I was prior to reading the Koran. But I’ve also said individual Muslims have been fine people. That isn’t ‘hate for a group’ nor ‘based on bigotry’. It is a statement of personal feelings / opinion about an ideology after researching their beliefs and actions. Similarly, if someone wanted to say ” I had a Jewish doctor and he talked my parents into a circumcision so now I don’t like Jewish Doctors”, I’ve got no problem with that. (Happened to me, despite the Catholic Dad… and as an adult, I’d rather have not been ‘cut’… so I’ve had Jewish doctors, but my son did not have a ‘trim’… and yes, I’m not ‘fond’ of Jews pushing circumcision on non-Jews so they can ‘blend in’ better.)

    So it’s not like I’m being all P.C. and “sensitive” here. Just looking to have ‘blame the Jews’ NOT be a ‘hobby horse’ here. It has ‘legacy’ and has not ended well. Doesn’t mean folks have to profess love of Jews (or Blacks, or Whites, or Asians, or Muslims, or Skin Heads, or…) just don’t use the whole group in a blame game. And pay attention when I say “cut it out” the first couple of times…

    My wife’s Dad liberated the concentration camps in W.W.II Germany. My Jewish Uncle took shrapnel that nearly killed him near by (battle of the bulge IIRC) though eventually recovered. I’ve had blacks give me the “Whitey” treatment and I’ve had my Mexican Friend insulted in front of me. So maybe I’m a bit sensitive to ‘insult a group based on group identity’. I just don’t like it. It doesn’t do any good and it does cause bad. So want to say some Mexican was a lazy SOB and you don’t want to hire more, not a problem. ( I’ve seen it.) Want to denigrate Mexicans in general? Not going to accept that. Too many good folks who were / are my friends, and no ’cause’ in evidence. In that same light, want to blame “The Elders of Zion” for attempted world domination? Bit bucket time. At most, it’s a couple of percent minority trying to not be slaughtered again. And it’s not like other ethnic groups aren’t ‘clannish’ too. Chinese are great at self dealing and insider ‘arrangements’ – I’ve been at the table when the deals were done – as are Mexicans and Blacks and {it’s a long list}…

    Don’t know how else to make it more clear.

    Statement of specific facts, opinions, and preferences, even if non-PC and racist / sexist / whatever-ist, are just a reality statement. Casting insults at whole groups for group membership and asserting broad stereotypical negative biases are just bigotry.

    Want to say “So and so, a Jew, hired so-and-such, also a Jew, and they are packing the board of directors of FOO Inc”, if substantiated by evidence is “just a fact”. Saying “Jews are conniving to dominate American boards and industries” is a bigotry. (Unless, of course, you have the data to back it up, then it too becomes ‘just a fact’ though ought to be caveatted with the fact that you can’t know motivation, and it might just be a side effect of more emphasis on education and knowing each other from Temple.)

    Adolfo has had too much “Jews are trying to take over the world” links and not nearly enough dispassionate facts in that topic. Then, worse, didn’t take guidance to ‘lay off the Jews’.

    Perhaps the best clarification is just the “pool party” description from the About Box. If someone were starting to spout off about “Lazy Stupid Blacks & Mexicans” or “Jewish Bankers screwing the world” at your poolside, you’d ask them to tone it down and maybe point out you have some Black, Mexican, and Jewish friends at the poolside too. If they don’t ‘get it’, after a few such, you gently escort them to the door…

  36. Zeke says:

    @Adolfo: Please, just apologize and say you will work on your particular issue and do better in the future. This can be forgotten and never thought of again.

    Everyone has a group of people that bothers them sometimes. For me, it is the Boomers. If it felt good, they did it…and I dealt with it.

    They are always there when they need you. etc.

    I am not looking forward to their authoritarian health care system and layer of state rule over my doctor, which I am not to question, since the Question Authority crowd has involved the IRS for enforcement.

    But we learn spiritual lessons from people who hurt us the most, and move to a new state of being.

  37. omanuel says:

    “Can’t we all just get along?”

    At ~ 8:15 a.m. (local time) on Monday 6 Aug 1945, one neutron captured by one U-235 atom about 1,900 feet above Hiroshima provided mankind’s first brief glimpse of the powerful force of destruction and creation [1].

    Sixty-four years later, in late Nov 2009, Climategate emails and documents surfaced with the first clear evidence of world leaders’ irrational, fear-driven response to the powerful force of destruction and creation [1]:

    Today, on Thursday 22 Nov 2012 we can be grateful that sanity will be restored and government policies will be changed, or world leaders will be removed from office because ultimately, “Truth is victorious, never untruth !”

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1807

    [1] “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron J. 19, 123-150 (2012)
    http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

  38. Tim Clark says:

    In this order: Devaluation of the dollar, aka 1925 Germany. Depression. Roving bands of thugs. Murder. Starvation. Then ??

    Get to know the local sheriff reeaal well wherever you go. Give him beef, wheat, whatever. I’m going to Arkansas. We’re doomed.

  39. Tim Clark says:

    Let me elaborate about the sheriff.

    Back in 1970 I was working for my uncle south of Grinnell, Iowa, a farmer down the road had his house broken into several times and got tired of it. So he rigged up a 12 guage booby trap on his back door. Left town for a week or so and sure enough someone broke in (surely the same felon). He hadn’t rigged up the trap properly and it blew the leg off the crook. He sued and won a very large settlement.He was going to lose the farm. Most of America doesn’t know what farming was like just that far back. Dirty little 100-200 acre plots. Everybody had cows and hogs.My uncle still picked corn in the ear, and shelled it over the winter to feed the pigs. Everybody helped each other out. Well, all of the folks in the area went to the local friends church. The O’Cheeks, Jelsmas, Boycheks, etc. Quakers. Didn’t really practice much, mostly just the place to meet. A little axiomatic, I know, peaceful and all that. But they dreamed up a plan and about 20 of them went to the Sheriff of Poweshiek county and told him they weren’t going to let their friend lose his farm over this and he better look the other way or he’d make the news in a bad way. They went to the banker and the auctioneer and told them the same thing, and that they would make it right. The day of the foreclosure sale, over 100 of the men, plus wives and kids showed up. Being a close community, you could tell the outsiders a mile away. The local men all brought an axe handle. a walking stick, something that technically wasn’t a weapon.They mingled in the crowd of 200 adult men and informed them, quite vocally, that they would be very sorry if they bought anything. It was pretty confusing to me, being 14 at the time, I was scared spitless about the transpiring events. But, amazingly, by the time the sale started not many outsiders were left. The Sheriff and his posse had stayed back, leaning on their cars. When the sale began, everything at the auction, equipment, tools, buildings, livestock, and land was entered in at $10. by the auctioneer. The locals took their turn buying this guys stuff at $10. a crack. Nobody bid one thing higher. The banker never showed to bid in the loan amount.The local farmers raised enough money to pay all the costs associated with the sale and the one years land payment. I know, this sounds like a Steinbeck novel, but I WAS THERE.
    I can only hope that when the shit hits the fan, the rural county dwellers will stand together.
    Alas, that didn’t happen following the Civil war. One can only hope, and get to know the Sheriff at the local level.

  40. Paul Hanlon says:

    Wow, this thread is like a veil lifting from my eyes. I think you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head in the post and subsequent comments.

    Before Henry Ford started making the Model T, he looked after the family farm. People thought he was slacking, when in actual fact it gave him the time to iron out the wrinkles of his idea. The greatest investor in the world (arguably) lives about as far away from a stock exchange as you could possibly get.

    Cities are a pile of work. I live in the outskirts of Dublin yet there are on average three unsolicited calls to the house every day between door to door salesman, and assorted others. If I want to go anywhere and use the car, I not only have to watch other road users and wait my turn after them, I’ve also got to watch for the legalised highway robbers hiding behind walls waiting to catch me do a few mph over the speed limit.

    Being in a city, it makes it worth their while to do this, whereas you will rarely see them in the country. You’ve also got to negotiate through far more people and their expectations of life, before you get to do what you want to. There are far less distractions in the country, and way more time to pursue the things that interest one. The fact that you have to be more self reliant in the country is just an added bonus IMV.

    Your epiphany that it doesn’t matter if you emigrate because the same dynamic applies is spot on as well. I’ve been mulling over whether to leave Ireland (again) and start anew, but now I’m going to wait a while (family commitments) and move to my partners home town in Kerry in a couple of years. No new system to learn, no worries about language, and lots more time to pursue my own ideas. Thank you.

  41. Jeff Alberts says:

    Being in a city, it makes it worth their while to do this, whereas you will rarely see them in the country.

    I think one reason you don’t see many salesmen in the country is because, in the US at least, lots of folks in the country have guns, and don’t tend to take kindly to trespassers.

    I repair wheelchairs, and one house I went to for a repair had a sign out on the road leading up to the house, “If you can read this, you’re in range”. If I were making unsolicited housecalls, I’d certainly think twice.

  42. Lars P. says:

    Chiefio, thank you, brilliant analysis.
    Maybe you repost it, or only the second part and re-analyse, as I trust there is more to it as only material for one or two blog posts.

    I always thought that corruption is the cancer that may and did destroy democracies but it is hard to face the analysis that shows why and how it happens. Lets put it blunt “connections” and being good with the mayor to make special treatments for the “fat wallet” is corruption.

    On the other side, we are lucky to live in times when the overall global living standard has increased continuously – see 17 reasons to be cheerful:
    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/reader%27s-digest.aspx
    I also remember seeing a chart on Matt’s blog showing clearly that each decade the world average income has increased in real term in the last 5-6 decades. Maybe I find that link too. (And this was due to increased free trade not through regulations and taxes!) And the result is a more freer world, as Matt says trade brings democracy:
    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/perishability-and-democracy.aspx
    so not everything is lost yet.

    To your analysis, yes in history we saw society rebooting and trying to find new ways to find its balance. Yes we saw a couple of decades ago the bankruptcy of communism – which was a society based on centralism, what we fear will happen to the west if it goes this way further.
    So is the west doomed to repeat the history?

    Maybe not. You get the same challenges again and again but the environment changes, each time we may try to do it right, maybe it works now, we got now much more communication, more free excahnge of ideas through the internet which is a fantastic way to share ideas and form communities.
    Maybe with the new technology we have a chance, but as always, any coin has two faces the new technologies have also their dark sides.
    So lets hope and see where all this leads.

  43. Mark Miller says:

    What you describe makes a lot of sense of what we see happening politically. It even makes some sense of “Atlas Shrugged,” answering the question, “Where does this collectivist impulse come from?”

    Re. the “taxi medallions,” I remember John Stossel talking about this in one of his specials, along with other anti-market trends.

    A question that came up for me, though, is this can be traced all the way back to Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, and Andrew Carnegie’s philosophy (and his American mentor’s–I still forget his name) in the 19th century. Why does it seem so prominent now? Did it take 200 years for it to finally take hold of almost the entire country, or was there something else that came into the environment more recently that made this more virulent?

    It seems to me the collectivist impulse we’re seeing now comes from a fear of change. Yes, there’s greed involved. What I see again and again, though, is when proponents of this are asked about it, behind their answer is a fear of being made irrelevant by change, whether it be globalization, or technology automating more and more of what we do. Rather than embrace this reality and cotton onto how they can use it to find new solutions to problems, and gain from it, they create a wall around themselves to try to keep these new things out.

    From the time Obama was elected in ’08, I was struck by how Americans could turn their eyes away from the current reality, and cling so tightly to outdated mechanisms of the economy. What’s really weird is liberals camouflage this as “progress,” that, “This is society moving forward.” What a farce! If they had their way, we’d find our way back to feudalism, substituting their religion of the collective for Christianity.

  44. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mark Miller:

    When my Dad was a kid, most people in America lived on farms or in small farm towns. When I was a kid, most folks lived on farms, in small farm towns, or came from them. Now most folks (by far) live in large cities and came from them… “Demographics is destiny”.

    Also add in that the “TV Generation” makes even the rural cultural rubes ‘city slickers’ by proxy… Even a kid on a remote farm in Kansas has grown up with collectivist messaging on The Tube and with the ‘urban truths’ as what he sees and hears every day (rather than the local church group or Granger’s meeting or 4H troupe.)

    Basically, more than 1/2 of us are physically ‘big city dwellers who know nothing else’ and nearly all of us are culturally urban.

    Where the cities were always corrupt, but the country wasn’t, there isn’t enough refugia now for the self reliant to find liberty.

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Like the sign, nice idea ;-)

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Glad I could provide a candle in the dark…

    @Tim Clark:

    Ah, the good ‘ol “Rural Justice”…

    Story from My Home Town. 3,328 or so folks for most of my life. For ANYONE in town you can say “We’ve Met.”

    So the local “Good kid but a cut up” gets himself in trouble one too many times. Everybody loves the guy, but he’s a handful. The Judge tells him “Either you enlist in the Army and let them straighten you out, or I’ll send you to prison.”… Time passes. He comes home from the Army a ‘small hero’ and joins the local police. Having been a local ‘petty delinquent’ he knows what folks do and when / where they do it.. Time passes. A couple of years into it, he’s on a rooftop. Gets a chunk of his little finger removed with a shotgun blast from a ‘bad guy’ in a scuffle…. Swears “I didn’t get a look at him. No idea who.” Everyone thinks “Riiiight…”

    The way you lose just a pinky to a shotgun is by being very close to it, knocking it out of alignment with your center of mass. The way you get that close to someone with a shotgun is You Know Them and are talking to them… In that town, folks can tell who you are by what car you drive and the sound of your voice. Heck, I’d pick some folks out by silhouette at a distance. No way you are inside 40 feet (roof top size) or worse, at end of a barrel and “not know them”. Everyone knew “he’d take care of it”.

    Some time later someone had an ‘unfortunate accident’… fatal it seems. There was a lot of speculation in town, but no way to prove anything.

    Yes, important to be nice to the Sheriff.

    BTW, no police or sheriff ever paid for a cup of coffee / doughnut in our restaurant. Folks in uniform were ‘on the house’. ( I’m pretty sure my Dad gave free meals to anyone in military uniform too, but that wasn’t as often so I don’t remember it as well. Just a couple of isolated particulars.)

    We had another kid, real SOB. (The one of the “walk on broken glass to join my club” story). At about 18 he was reported to be joining the local Neo Nazi or KKK ( a bit unclear) but then one day some months later “woke up dead” out at the river. Scuttlebutt was that he was killed by them for “giving them a bad name” (!). Local police were called. They investigated alright. Drove all the way out to the river. Looked at him. “Yup, looks dead to me. What you think, Burt?” “Yup, he’s dead alright. Looks like someone shot him.”. “Yup.”. “Coffee in town?” “Sure”…

    Not a lot of reason to investigate who killed someone that most of the town wanted gone… Odds are that whoever did it, if known, would not pay for much ever again. I know I’d have bought him dinner and drinks… Hell, I’d wash the guys car and clean his boots too. ( The SOB who was shot was a sadistic bully of the worst kind.) The SOB is buried about 20 yards from my Dad’s grave. I spit on it when I visit Dad…

    Small towns are a unique place to grow up…

  45. Mark Miller says:

    @E.M. Smith:

    Just to provide some contrast with what you’re talking about, I did not grow up on a farm. I grew up more or less in suburbia, in a single-parent home. I think a difference with me, as compared to many others, is one, I was raised to value my self. A good part of that was respecting the self of others. Secondly, I got some good education early. My mom was a Montessori teacher, and she enrolled me in her school when I was about 3 years old. Montessori is very hands-on with concepts. We didn’t just sit around and “listen to teacher,” or “repeat after teacher.” The learning was child-initiated within a loosely controlled, though at the same time a very structured environment. Even if our “workflow” was ad hoc, each task we could choose had some kind of order to it.

    Thirdly, I’ve been interested in how things work all my life. My mom has sometimes told me that when I was little I’d want her to buy a toy for me, just so I could know how it worked. I wasn’t just interested in the “shiny new thing” (though I was), but I wanted to tease out “What makes this thing tick? What enables it to do what it does?” My mom, being into arts and crafts, encouraged exploration, and creativity. If I was interested in mechanics, she figured I could use an Erector set. A boyfriend of hers introduced me to science, which I embraced with some passion, but not enough to go into a particular science field. I got too interested in computers, in and of themselves. Fourth, I grew up in a home that was open to all sorts of ideas, even some pretty wild ones. There was a prejudice against conservatives in my home, but the openness that was fostered allowed an opening for me to listen to them when I was in college, and after I got out. That’s where I turned conservative, because I actually met some of them, and they demolished my arguments with real world experience re. law, policy, and economics. Most of the ones I met after college, it turned out, all either had a farm, or owned their own business. They paid much more attention to the legal system and the Constitution, and what it all meant. Since I was interested in how things work, I paid more attention to what they had to say than my dreams about what should or could be. I even played a part in turning my mom conservative. The fact that she had been self-employed for many years helped, I think. :)

    Still, a legacy of my liberal upbringing is I have a “way things should be” streak in me that looks positively on the idea of social change, particularly in the sense of people understanding themselves better, and expanding how they see our world. I often see Americans, and to some extent people generally, have an oversized view of themselves, but have a parochial world view. What’s different is that I’m more interested in looking at the limits of the feasibility of my ideas, and I have no interest in forcing people to go along with them. I’d rather invite them.

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