Heinlein on the marks of a sick culture

Boss made a notation. “We’ll discuss it later. What are the marks of a sick culture?”

“Boss, fer Gossake! I’m still learning the full shape of the Shipstone complex.”

“You will never learn its full shape. I gave you two assignments at once so that you could rest your mind with a change of pace. Don’t tell me that you’ve given no thought to the second assignment.”

“Thought is about all I’ve given to it. I’ve been reading Gibbon and studying the French Revolution. Also Smith’s From the Yalu to the Precipice.”

“A very doctrinaire treatment. Read also Penn’s The Last Days of the Sweet Land of Liberty.”

“Yes, sir. I did start making tallies. It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn’t the whole population.”

“A very bad sign. Particularism. It was once considered a Spanish vice but any country can fall sick with it.”

“I don’t really know Spain. Dominance of males over females seems to be one of the symptoms. I suppose the reverse would be true but I haven’t run across it in any of the history I’ve listened. Why not, Boss?”

“You tell me. Continue.”

“So far as I have listened, before a revolution can take place the population must lose faith in both the police and the courts.”

“Elementary. Go on.”

“Well. . . high taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that’s old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way—even though there are always endless attempts to wish it away by legislation. But I started looking for little signs, what some call silly-season symptoms. For example, did you know that it is against the law here to be naked outside your own home? Even in your own home if anybody can see in?”

“Rather difficult to enforce, I suspect. What significance do you see in it?”

“Oh, it isn’t enforced. But it can’t be repealed, either. The Confederacy is loaded with such laws. It seems to me that any law that is not enforced and can’t be enforced weakens all other laws. Boss, did you know that the California Confederacy subsidizes whores?”

“I had not noticed it. To what end? For their armed forces? For their prison population? Or as a public utility? I confess to some surprise.”

“Oh, not that way at all! The government pays them to keep their legs crossed. Take it off the market entirely. They are trained, licensed, examined—and stockpiled. Only it doesn’t work. The designated ‘surplus artists’ draw their subsidy checks… then go right ahead peddling tail. When they aren’t supposed to do it even for fun because that hurts the market for the unsubsidized whores. So the hookers’ union, who sponsored the original legislation to support the union scale, is now trying to work out a voucher system to plug up the holes in the subsidy law. And that won’t work either.”

“Why won’t it work, Friday?”

“Boss, laws to sweep back the tide never do work; that’s what King Canute was saying. Surely you know that?”

“I wanted to be sure that you knew it.”

“I think I’ve been insulted. I ran across a goody. In the California Confederacy it is against the law to refuse credit to a person merely because that person has taken bankruptcy. Credit is a civil right.”

“I assume that it does not work but what form does noncompliance take?”

“I have not yet investigated, Boss. But I think a deadbeat would be at a disadvantage in trying to bribe a judge. I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course—but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking away at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. I guess that’s all for now. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial— but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.”

“Friday, I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all.”

“I have? Are you going to tell me? Or am I going to have to grope around in the dark for it?”

“Mmm. This once I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named. . . but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”

“Really?”

“Pfui. I should have forced you to dig it out for yourself; then you would know it. This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. Friday, it is too late to save this culture—this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper. But that may not be enough. The reservoir for the next renaissance may have to come from beyond the sky.”

Friday, Chapter XXIII, By Robert A. Heinlein

 

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How They Hunt: A lesson in practical intelligence gathering

From The Lizard Farmer:

In this scenario we’re going to assume to perspective of the lead intelligence officer in a built up area with a fairly large population.  Austin TX sounds good at this point.  Anyway the country has de-stabilized to the point that National Guard units have deployed but martial law hasn’t been declared yet.  Over the last few weeks we’ve been faced with a frequent insurgent attacks against logistics columns traveling up and down I-35 in areas around Georgetown and Salado.  Additionally this (or other groups) have attacked the infrastructure junctions and  in that area as well.

We just happened to get lucky (from our perspective anyway) and kill one of the insurgents and have possession of his body.  He had no identification, the serial number on his rifle had been removed, and he had even gone to the trouble to remove his own fingerprints (talk about dedication).  Those are some significant hurdles to overcome figuring out who this guy is right?  Yeah, but not something we can’t work around…

The rest of this article is an excellent tutorial in practical battlefield information exploitation & is well worth your time to learn from.  Click here to continue reading.

 

 

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Compulsory public education

I can’t find a suitable confirmation, but apparently Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm I on this day in 1717 decreed compulsory education for all those aged 5 to 12. The system’s purpose was to instill loyalty to the Crown and train men for the military & bureaucracy. In the 1840s New England Transcendentalists imported the totalitarian Prussian system into the US, and with it the idea of compulsory education. Y’all have heard that praised so much in your lives you’ve likely never taken a second to think what it really means: snatching children away from their parents’ care & nuture to indoctrinate them the way the state wants them indoctrinated. Nothing has damaged the American character worse than compulsory public education.

Don’t y’all forget I have a delete key and know how to use it, so don’t send me any of those “No poor kids would know how to read without compulsory public education” emails because it’s simply not true. About 1802 a DuPont wrote home of his experience in the US that literacy was almost universal. It doesn’t matter, though– teaching people to read at the price of rupturing the holy bond between parent and child is simply too high a price for a free people to pay.

Frankin Sanders

A little practical experiment…

A SurvivalBlog reader sent in this amusing note:

“Today I swung my front door wide open and placed my Remington 30/06 right in my doorway. I left six shells beside it, then left it alone and went about my business.

“While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and cars stopped at the stop sign near the front of our house. After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there, right where I had left it. It hadn’t moved itself outside. It certainly hadn’t killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do so. In fact, it hadn’t even loaded itself.

“Well you can imagine my surprise, with all the media hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people. Either the media is wrong or I’m in possession of the laziest gun in the world. The United States is 3rd in murders throughout the world. But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the bottom for murders. These four cities also have the toughest Gun Control Laws in the United States. All four are controlled by Democrats. It would be absurd to draw any conclusions from this data — right?

“Well, I’m off to check on my spoons. I hear they’re making people fat.” – M.R.

 

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