Mimsy Were the Borogoves

For the wisdom of the wise are the criterion of your madness.

Better for being ridden: the eternal lie of the anointed—Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
Childbirth 2000

(Lennart Nilsson, Omni, April 1979)

Every once in a while I run across something that makes me glad for the way history turned out. I’ve been slowly reading through the 1978-1979 issues of OMNI Magazine. In the April 1979 issue, Gena Corea has an article on what childbirth will be like in 2000.

Nativity A.D. 2000. Susan Rogers wants to give birth the old-fashioned way—vaginally. Since most hospital births are done by cesarean section, Susan decides, after her gynecologist confirms her pregnancy, to deliver at home. The midwife—midwives are illegal but omnipresent in America–screens her for risk factors. She finds none.

Toward the end of the pregnancy, while Susan and her husband are relaxing at their home in the woods of Brattleboro, Vermont, a helicopter swoops down and lands in the backyard. A physician and a policeman emerge from the machine and produce a court order authorizing them to take the unborn baby into protective custody to prevent child abuse. They force the screaming woman into the helicopter.

Corea’s twenty-first century was an era when women had transmitters surreptitiously inserted into their womb when their gynecologist confirmed a pregnancy. Childbirth at home was illegal. Not only could you be forced to give birth in a hospital, but the act of trying to avoid the hospital was child abuse. You could lose your child.

It’s a frightening vision of what sounds today like a science fiction dystopian future. The saying that the past is not another country, but another planet, is very apropos. In 1979 Corea’s vision was not an unreasonable prediction. The exact scenario, sans helicopter, happened in 1979 if parents tried to educate their children at home. When this article was written, homeschooling was illegal in every state except Nevada and Utah. The truancy laws were enforced zealously. You can still see remnants of it in old novels and movies. It wasn’t a stretch to project the same enforcement mechanisms to choices of how to birth your child that were already applied to how to educate your child.

Corea’s article appeared in Omni over a year before Ronald Reagan won the 1980 election. Government control was paramount and there was no evidence that either Democrats or Republicans were inclined to change that. Nixon, derided at the time as the far right, had instituted, under a law passed by Democrats, wage and price controls that the left only dreams of today. He eventually dropped wage controls and some price controls, but not all of them, and Carter maintained at least the price controls on energy production. This was all in the midst of a long-enduring economic downturn that defied all predictions of the experts, or at least the experts who recommended government control of people’s wages. Nowadays, we know better. But nowadays is not 1979—yet.

White privilege is not the nail—Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

The chance of getting killed by cops if you’re black is only disparate in cities dominated by the left—Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Houston, Los Angeles, etc., in order by danger to blacks. So of course the left complains about white privilege instead. But it isn’t white privilege. It’s not dominated by the left privilege. Anyone of any skin tone can benefit from this privilege.

If you live in an area where police are fired when they commit crimes that fall short of murder, you don’t have to worry about being murdered by a police officer. Just as, if you live in an area that fires teachers who abuse children, your kids will get a better and safer education.

Everyone can enjoy not dominated by the left privilege, by not being dominated by the left. But pointing that out tends to elicit a retreat to generic complaints about feeling uncomfortable. I do not want to belittle complaints about anxiety, but used in this context they divert attention away from fixing the problem, that people are being killed under color of law.

It begins to sound a lot like the it’s not about the nail video. It’s a question of whether we want to solve a problem or merely commiserate about it.

If we want to solve the problem, it’s not about the white privilege.

Attributing something to white privilege that is not caused by white privilege means that we will never be able to fix this particular nail. And I think we do want to fix it, because this nail is killing people. That means we need to understand where this happens and where it doesn’t happen, what polices cause it to happen and not happen, and so what we can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Invoking “white privilege” when people talk about real solutions seems to me a lot like asserting that “it’s not about the nail!”

My Car My Abortion—Saturday, June 13th, 2020

From the “Do they realize” department… does she realize that this is a very powerful anti-abortion message? Until I read the tiny text in the hash tag at the bottom of the sign, I thought it was a pro-life protester. I’m still not absolutely sure it isn’t; I honestly don’t know how Trump has been on abortion and am too lazy to look it up.

My Car My Choice

If anything encapsulates the pro-abortion movement more than “My Feelings > Your Life”, I haven’t heard it yet.

“My body, my choice” does seem to be where the left’s principles break down—it’s about the only choice they’re adamant about, and it seems to be the most obvious contradiction to what they claim their principles are.

How many fingers, America?—Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

One day too late for the 2020 Mitt Romney Day awards, I saw this image in my Facebook feed. It is probably the most Orwellian thing I’ve seen so far this year, and perhaps ever.

The two images were captioned with dates across the top, “April 16th 2020 vs. May 26th 2020”. On the one side, the peaceful protests in Michigan several weeks ago—protests that went without violence, but that the left persisted in calling violent and riots.

On the other, the violent riots going on right now, that the left refuses to call riots, and calls peaceful protest.

They’ve even gone so far as to deny that St. John’s Church in DC was burning as the flames rose on their television screens. Even denying violence as the flames rose behind them while they were speaking.

April vs. May protests

“How many fingers, America?”

We’re asked, as Winston was in 1984, to believe not our lying eyes, but the lies they tell us. We’re asked to believe that peaceful protest is violence and that violence is peaceful protest. With the images of peaceful protest vs. violence literally right in front of us.

I’ve never particularly liked the slogan, “1984 was not an instruction manual”, but it certainly looks like the press and the left is using it as an instruction manual. The caption to that collage ought to have been,

“How many fingers am I holding up, America?”

Yesterday we were at war with COVID-19/Eastasia. We were told that anyone who massed together would die—or, worse, that they were grandma killers. Today we aren’t even asked to forget it, or to change our mind; we’re just expected to believe that we were always at war with Eurasia and there never was any danger from Eastasia. The one commonality—whether it’s a shutdown or a riot, they don’t really care when other people’s lives are destroyed.

Mitt Romney Day 2020: Coronavirus Calvinball—Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Since 2011, June 2 has been Mitt Romney’s Day, a day to celebrate the pundit or politician whose one-sided rules most illuminate the entitlement of the anointed. Many have compared their rules to Calvinball. Like Calvinball, each rule changes as soon as the rule might apply to the people making them. Like Calvinball, the rules are only meant to apply to other people. The rules are for the rest of us, not for the politicians and pundits who make them up, whether they’re real laws that never get applied to politicians, or modicums of behavior that never get applied to the pundit and beltway class.

And it betrays our low class to comment on the hypocrisy of the rules they expect to apply only to people other than themselves.

To fully understand the Mitt Romney’s Day award, you should read Thomas Sowell, and watch what the politicians and pundits do vs. what they tell the rest of us to do.

The last-minute competition for the award this year was intense as April and May wound their way toward the June 2 deadline. And this year the rules that the beltway class created are as dangerous as they are ridiculous. To further emphasize the class divide, the dangers are so blatant that, rather than creating rules and then changing them, they’ve literally created two parallel sets of rules. They’ve exempted themselves while endangering the rest of us.

Earlier, I thought that the beltway class wanted people to dismantle their life’s work to enter politics. In the wake of the shutdown it seems that they just want to dismantle everyone’s life’s work, and take their lives in the process if they can get away with it. So far, New York Governor Cuomo and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Levine have gotten away with it.

Growth does not pay for itself—Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
Average Round-Trip U.S. Domestic Airfares 1979-2011

Imagine if your tax rates had fallen by this much since 1978.

When politicians want to create new government programs, they tell us that economies of scale mean that one government monopoly will be higher quality and less expensive than hundreds of personal choices.

And yet, taxes don’t go down when population goes up. Why not?

Well, when politicians want more money for existing government monopolies, they tell us that growth does not pay for itself.

These cannot both be true.

If economies of scale make government programs more efficient than letting people choose what services they want, from whom, at what price, then having more people means that those services will be less expensive. That’s what economies of scale means. It is the entire point of handing most such services over to local, state, or federal agencies.

But when it comes time to raise taxes, we’re told that “growth doesn’t pay for itself”. That’s literally what Mayor Craig Morgan said at the September 26, 2019 Round Rock City Council Meeting. They voted to raise taxes by the maximum allowed by law without asking permission from residents. Texas has a new law that drops that limit from 8% to 3% for cities, and the council wanted to get in under the deadline.

Mayor Morgan was, in fact, correct—with government programs, which are a monopoly, growth doesn’t pay for itself. It doesn’t have to. In any sane institution, of course growth pays for itself. If it didn’t, a 12-pack of Coca Cola would cost more than 12 single cans. An airline ticket across the United States, which cost $200 one way in 1978, would be over $5,000 today taking inflation and increased air travel into account.1 But it doesn’t, because growth, in an environment of competition for customers, does pay for itself, and more: even just taking into account inflation, $800 one-way would buy a pretty comfortable trip today.

Any organization that doesn’t see that will go out of business in favor of their competitors who do see that.

Unless, of course, they don’t have competition, as local, state, and federal governments do not. Growth paying for itself requires competing choices, which is why it is almost always wrong to remove services from the competitive market where people have choices into a government program where people have no choice.

The missing indexes—Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

Whoever decided that cookbooks don’t need indexes was never stuck hungry at one o’clock in the morning with nothing but a pepper, a tomato, and a couple of cloves of garlic.

St. Mary’s Altar Society Cookbooks—Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

Update 2: The index is now available on Amazon, and it looks great.

Update: I’ve added an index by book, in case you only have one or two of the books.

I’ve been toying with making an index for a few of my index-less or basically index-less cookbooks for a while. Last week I decided these church spirals would be a good choice to try it out and see how much work it is, and whether it’s useful. One of them has no index, and the other two have indexes that are in page order rather than alphabetical.

St. Mary’s Missing Index (PDF File, 1.7 MB)

I came up with a system that helps me type recipe titles, pages, chapters, and authors quickly, but while the system for putting the index together is automated, the actual typing of recipe titles and author names was me, by hand. With thanks to Mrs. Bischoff. Her typing class was probably the most useful class I took in high school. The ability to type without looking at the keyboard—or even the screen—has been extraordinarily useful as a programmer.

I’ve tried to fix any obvious typos of mine, but scanning through pages and pages of names tends to dull the senses, and spellcheck doesn’t work well on names. If you see anything I ought to fix, let me know in the feedback, or in the comments of the social media site where you saw me post this link.

There are of course also typos that were in the original. I can, for example, make simple changes to people’s names that don’t harm the ability to find the recipe on the page. If it turns out that Delores Dougan and Dolores Dougan are the same person, I can change the incorrect spelling for the correct one in the source file.

As an aside, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to put something like this together in the day before personal computers were easy to use. I used a combination of Perl, Python, and Nisus’s macro language to put this index together. The latest of these books were published three years before the first Macintosh came out!

This project is completely unofficial and independent of the Altar Society; I did it for myself, and am making it public in case others have use for it too. The index includes only three cookbooks; I’m not aware that the St. Mary’s Altar Society in our area did any others, and in any case these are the only ones I have.

America’s Bicentennial Cookbook1976

Commemorating 25 Years of St. Michael’s School, Brunswick1981

Hesperia Community Kitchens Presents1981

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