Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

2020 in Photos

Jerry Stratton, January 1, 2020

May 16, 2020: The Jurassic Park shutdown

This was a very quick response to a Jurassic Park meme, “You know what else was opened before it was ready?” Presumably, comparing people’s livelihoods to carnivorous dinosaurs. Other people’s livelihoods, as the person posting it was a government employee and still had a job.

You know what else was shut down?

Ghostbusters and William Atherton: You know what else was shut down by a bureaucrat who had no idea how many lives it was saving?

Mind you, neither of these memes withstand serious scrutiny. But then, you’re not really supposed to think about memes, just regurgitate them. If you find it useful, great; if you don’t, well, you can never go wrong with a Ghostbusters reference.

April 16, 2020: Mongols and turnips: coronavirus roundup
Mongols and Turnips

Yes, those whiners who want to be able to feed their children while you whine on about needing a total lockdown against a virus that can supposedly be defeated simply by walking six feet away from everybody else.

The Mongol and the turnip farmer

There must be a version of l’esprit d’espalier that describes someone making a social media post you wish they’d made before you wrote your blog post.

The meme went like this: two people on the walls overlooking a Mongol invasion, except that later we discover that the Mongols aren’t there all the time, and some farmer is complaining that he needs to harvest his crops. The other guy says, no, the Mongols will kill you if you try to harvest your crops.

The point of the meme is that it is silly to try to harvest your crops while there might be Mongols outside.

It’s very apt, because in real life, the Mongols got through the walls without any help from turnip farmers. Walls aren’t meant to keep the Mongols out on their own. They’re meant to divert and delay. They’re meant to divert the Mongols to areas more easily defended, and to buy time until we can bring a defense against the Mongols.1

But the crops… the crops are meant to feed us, and without the crops we die.

I will give this meme credit: it neatly encapsulates the tradeoff that I was talking about in Deadly Perfection between the unreasoning fear we’re asked to accept at the cost of the civilization we’ve built. The Mongols are an immediate threat. It might be possible to fight the Mongols hand-to-hand, or to attempt to build up a resistance against them slowly. But the crops are the future. Without the crops, we die when winter comes.

The Mongols are barbarism, the crops are civilization.

The barbarian at the walls isn’t the virus. The virus is the excuse for the barbarians to act. The barbarians are the politicians and the media who want to destroy our civilization. Everything that is made is made for a reason. Every week we don’t build, every week that we let what we’ve made rot for lack of use and distribution, we increase the chances of a deadly winter.

And when people start talking seriously about the tradeoffs involved, and how we’re killing real people in the future to prevent deaths predicted by models that have failed spectacularly, we’re met with fearmongering about Mongols at the walls.

  1. <- 2019 in Photos