Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The "perfect" girlfriend?

A (female) writer for the Daily Telegraph (with a ridiculously oversized nose- you might want to look into that, dear) gets unduly exercised over the results of a survey of some 2,000 men to define the "perfect" girlfriend:
It wasn’t even my boyfriend who deigned to inform me of this news – it was a study of 2,000 men asked about their ideal woman by dating app Lovoo. According to these authoritative males, the perfect girlfriend must be:
Five foot five inches tall, with 34C boobs. She must weigh 9st 2lbs and look like Kelly Brook, or at least Cheryl Cole
– A brunette nurse or teacher
– A Game of Thrones fan [Didact's note: There are better TV shows, but not as many with so much gratuitous nudity], but must also enjoy Coronation Street, Friends and Match of the Day
– Careful with what she eats [Didact's note: Since when was this news?]
– A Manchester United fan who loves Dirty Dancing
– Able to get on with their mum
Adventurous in the bedroom, “happy to embark in a bit of role-play and experiment with different positions” [Didact's note: Duh, since when do real men want to have sex with the real-life equivalent of an inflatable doll?]
– Happy to wear skinny jeans or miniskirts
– Subtle with her make-up
– Tattoo-less
– P.S. Irish accents are preferable
Erm ... what? Is this real? Do British mean actually care this much about the women they want to date, down to this level of painstaking detail? I get that they want to date someone hot with similar hobbies to them, but WHAT ABOUT HER PERSONALITY?
The article goes on, in fairly predictable (read: clueless) fashion, to excoriate males for being far too picky- not a hint of irony there, considering how ridiculously over-the-top and thoroughly irrational women tend to be when it comes to their requirements for "boyfriend material":
Besides, what kind of men are these, caring more about their girlfriends’ diets than what she’s going to be talking about while she picks on her medium-rare steak? Clearly they’re all Manchester United fans, but more than that, they are a terrifying representation of British men who make me never want to date one again. 
I doubt a continental bloke would care if his girlfriend wore skinny jeans or skirts – I bet he’d just appreciate that she was a real, live woman by his side. It is no surprise that two of the five British men surveyed, who were already in a relationship, said their current partner wasn’t the perfect woman for them.
I'm rather surprised that this is so difficult for a woman to figure out. My dear Ms. Sanghani, here are a few facts of life that apparently you never bothered to learn in school or in real life (or, worse yet, that your parents never taught you- for shame...):
  • Men care about looks. Long hair, a nice rack, a shapely ass- these are all very clear visual signs of fecundity and fertility. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it till the cows come home- men are programmed to find such attributes desirable.
  • A woman who doesn't watch what she eats isn't going to be attractive for very long. The rare and unusual genetic exceptions aside, it's a simple fact of life that a woman gains weight as she ages. It is also a simple fact of life that a woman's looks, not her personality or intelligence, are determining factors for her social and sexual status.
  • Women who pile on the makeup simply are not attractive. Back before she turned into Aunt Giggles with her attack on Rollo's SMV graph, Susan Walsh published a rather good primer on makeup as a useful mating strategy- but women who take it too far just end up looking like overpriced hookers. It's just a fact of life that excessive makeup turns men off. In another life, as a summer intern more years ago than I care to remember, I was working in Singapore for a big company and the secretary for that company was a very short woman in her late thirties or early forties who was very conscious of hitting the dreaded Wall at roughly 150mph. As a result she was extremely fussy about her looks- running 5K every day, refusing to eat carbs of any kind, and piling on the makeup to the point where she looked like a geisha as painted by Edward Munch. She was, in other words, repellent- and that was before you got to her abrasive, shallow personality.
  • No matter how picky you think men are, women are worse BY MILES. Any man who has ever spent a dreary evening (pre-Red Pill) trawling through online dating profiles to find "a match" will know this. Women have quite ridiculous expectations of men, and in the West at least, most young women are so entitled, with such an unrealistic understanding of their true value and status in life, that when reality hits them over the head with a clue-bat, they simply have no idea how to respond.
What men really want is very simple- a woman who looks decent, is pleasant to be around, and makes us feel good about being men. It's that easy. It's also a dying art, at least as far as the average Western woman is concerned. When you go down to the coffee truck outside your office and the woman manning the coffee machine asks you what you want and then proceeds to scream at someone on the phone, dropping F-bombs for a solid two minutes and calling the guy on the other end a Nazi, then you know something's a bit off- and sadly, this sort of thing is becoming an everyday norm, not an ugly exception.

When women like Ms. Sanghani get their noses out of joint like this- did I mention just how impressive her schnozz is?- you can bet that it is essentially a knee-jerk reaction inspired by decades of conformity to what feminists would like them to believe, instead of an informed opinion coming from a real understanding of human desires and biological needs.


So it turned out that Matt Forney was going to be in town for a few days as a stop on his way down to what is already being referred to as the Mardi Gras Meetup of Mass Destruction. He sent out an invitation to all and sundry to have a beer with him, and oddly, I was the only one who responded. On the plus side, I'm a small-group person anyway, so I wasn't the least bit bothered.

We caught up over a few beers at a small bar downtown and I have to say, I came away greatly impressed. Matt is a very genuine guy who has done some amazing things, which is easy to understand conceptually if you read his blog but much harder to really understand in concrete terms until you've met the guy. He's hitchhiked all over the country; he's worked in all sorts of jobs; he's met people from all walks of life; and he comes across as one of the most down-to-Earth chaps you could hope to know. He's articulate, opinionated, well informed, and very intelligent- and he understands what makes people tick at a very personal level.

We talked about a number of topics, including a number of the usual 'Sphere ideas about women, government, and urbanisation in America. Anyone who's been taking regular doses of Ye Olde Truthe Serum knows by now how rare and how odd it is to meet anyone else who thinks like you- hell, I was surprised to find that Singapore, one of the most emasculated cities on God's green Earth, can still produce guys like The Observer. So it was with great pleasure that I was able to chat with him for a couple of hours on subjects ranging from travel to politics to philosophy; despite our very different backgrounds, I think there was a common understanding and agreement on most things.

Matt is a man of integrity who stands by what he writes and lives the way he pleases. If you haven't started reading his blog- and if you're reading what I write, I can't quite see how you got here without stopping by there at some point- then you absolutely should. I don't necessarily always agree with everything he writes, but I have always found his writing to be thought-provoking, interesting, and carefully written (despite the sometimes angry tone, if you know how to read between the lines, you can see that there is a lot of deliberate thought going into certain off-the-wall rants).

I should also say that I owe Matt for giving me my first guest post slot at his blog, waaaaaay back when I got started over a year ago, with an article that kind of set the tone and the direction of my writing fairly early on. Now I'm a big believer in returning favours like this and also in helping this community (if you can even call us reactionary, anti-feminist, rabidly anti-establishment introverted types a "community").

So, if you're ever in the New York area and want to catch up in the city for a drink, let me know, I would very much enjoy getting to know the people who read what I write and what they think of it.

And the invitation for guest posts stands as always- if you wish to submit something, just send me an email. Stephanie Shepard has already submitted a couple, and I believe there is another one from her on the way too. If you would like to contribute, and I think that what you have to say is worthwhile and interesting, then do so.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


One of the first lessons that a novice learns when encountering the Manosphere is the concept of "masculine frame". It is not a difficult idea to understand, at least in theory- you stand, walk, and talk with confidence and strength, you give off an air of masculinity, charisma, and power. These are manly concepts which, in a sensible world, wouldn't have to be described to men- we'd just know it in our bones.

Theory is one thing. Putting into practice is something entirely different.

That attitude is something you have to show in every physical aspect of your being. You can't fake this- if you want to project the image of a badass, you have to absolutely believe that you're a badass. If you don't, for even a second, it will show up in your body language.

This could not have been made more clear to me than it was the other day in one of my Krav Maga classes. Practically the very first thing that you learn in the art is the concept of the basic stance. Put simply, it is a combat stance that involves the minimal amount of effort and energy expenditure required to make you ready to fight. When executed properly, it looks like the picture on the right. (I have some issues with her form- she's not leaning forward correctly, her pivot sucks, and her attitude is way too passive- but the basic stance is more or less correct.)

After the usual hard warmup, the master instructor told us to get into a basic stance so that we could start throwing punches. So I did, just as I've done a thousand times before by now.

The master instructor took one look at the way I got into a basic stance and said, "that's terrible". I looked at my feet, my hands, and my posture, and I couldn't see anything wrong, so I raised a quizzical eyebrow, wondering what minor detail I'd missed. He proceeded to explain why, in front of the entire class of 11 other people, and made me feel about two inches tall in the process.

The mistake that I had made was to take a step backwards with my right foot, instead of taking a step forward with my left. And I don't think I'll ever forget what the master instructor told us that day:
When you get into a fight with someone, I PROMISE you that if you go into the fight with the attitude, "you're going down, motherf***er, I'm gonna take you apart and destroy you", you'll WIN the fight. You can't start a fight by taking a step back- you're betraying weakness and fear. You go into a fight with the intent to absolutely overwhelm your opponent. It's the same philosophy that the IDF- the Israeli Defence Force- uses. We call it "Shock and Awe"- you remember that idea? It's the same concept- overwhelming, irresistible, overpowering force applied to a specific target.
He was completely right to call me out for having the wrong attitude. And ever since then, every time I've gotten into a basic stance, I act with that voice in my head telling me to take the initiative, to stand firm, to attack.

When you take a step forward to get into a basic stance and start throwing strikes, you feel different than when you step back. When you lean forward in such a stance with your hands up, ready to beat the ever-loving crap out of someone, you feel very different than when you stand straight or, worse, lean back with your weight on your back foot- because your attitude tells your opponent, "I'm going to beat you like a drum, and then I'm going to display your corpse for the entire world to see".

When you get into a fight, you're going to WAR. You don't go into war half-assed- well, modern Western militaries do, but they've lost touch with the true Laws of War. You go into a war with the attitude that YOU, and ONLY you, are going to be left standing afterwards. You fight with everything at your disposal, and you aim to completely destroy your opponent.

The same attitude issue applies to everything else in life. The master instructor said as much when someone asked a question about releases from bear hugs- the question was something along the lines of, "is that release applicable to other situations as well?" The answer, once again, was pure unfiltered wisdom:
If you stay with us long enough, you're going to realise- most people figure this out sometime around, roughly, brown belt- that everything you learn here applies always and everywhere. The knowledge that you pick up can be tweaked and modified and optimised to your specific needs, so that if you find yourself in a chokehold, you can still use the same pre-choke stab to the throat if you want. It's all part of the process of learning that knowledge.
It doesn't matter what you're looking to achieve. If your attitude is one of trepidation or hesitation, you'll fail. If you propose to a girl and you're worried that she'll say no, well, you've dramatically increased the odds of that precise outcome. If you go into a job interview without confidence or charisma, you've cost yourself that job- trust me, I know, I've done plenty of interviews, both as the candidate and the screener. If you approach a business deal worried about not closing the sale, then chances are, you won't. If you approach a girl at a bar thinking that she might reject you, it will show in your body language.

No matter what you do, no matter where you go, your attitude defines the outcome. A passive attitude will all but guarantee failure. An active attitude, one that commands, indeed demands, respect, will get results.

How to fail completely on a date

Despite the rude things I say about women and feminists- both online and in person- my sister and I remain very close, which is why whenever she comes over we try to spend some time together and go out for a nice dinner somewhere at least once. The other night we were out at a seafood restaurant, both of us exhausted after long days and quietly talking about various things from back home or simply eating in silence, when a couple came over and sat down at the table next to us. They were an interesting study in contrasts- she was petite, brown-skinned, looked half Latino if I'm any judge of such things; he was big, outweighing me by a minimum of 10kg, light black, with frizzy hair tied back in that silly half-Afro that you see on Rastas these days. They ordered some sushi and, like I would, insisted on no rice on the side. So far, all well and good, nothing really of interest here.

Then the woman made the mistake of asking why her date hadn't ordered rice. What followed was at least thirty minutes of some of the most excruciatingly bad conversation I think I have ever heard on a date.

The guy basically started on the subject of his diet, and about how he had shed 20lbs of fat while counting his calories and being active. He made this sound as if it was some sort of grand divine revelation, rather than the blindingly obvious reality that it is. (Although I'll be the first to point out that counting calories simply does not work. If you want to look as jacked as this guy does, you won't get there through conventional dieting advice.) He proceeded to drone on, and on, and on, and on, about how losing fat was about counting calories- even going into the details of how many calories men and women burn on a daily basis. He then went into a highly enthusiastic description of the 3-Hour Diet, or whatever it's called, where you eat every 3 hours on an extremely strict schedule, in order to stave off hunger and stay within the 2,400kcal limit of energy intake that is supposed to be "optimal" for the human body.

Things continued in this vein for the entire meal. By the time I was done with what I had ordered, I was about ready to reach over and punch the dude- and I was just the poor schmuck sitting next to him. I felt a little sorry for his date- only a little, though, it was clear from their interactions that she was in provider-hunting mode.

To be as fair as possible, I'm quite guilty of this sin myself- I once went out to dinner with a girl from my Master's program and she made the mistake of asking me a question about economics, whereupon I proceeded to talk about nothing but the uselessness of modern economics for the next 20 minutes. Suffice to say that I got friendzoned PDQ. These days, I know enough to understand that women just aren't turned on by logic, facts, and details- so there is not the slightest point in trying to ram such things down their throats. If you do, you very likely won't be ramming anything else on her person either.

The lesson to learn here is that even if you look good, even if you dress well and have a dominant physical appearance and masculine frame, you can seriously screw things up by simply refusing to shut the f*** up. If you take a girl out on a date and all you talk about is your wildly fascinating dietary regimen, then the message that you are sending is that there is nothing else of any use or interest in your life. You have no personality, no magnetism, and nothing to offer. You end up giving her torture, not tingles.

There are exceptions, but all they do is end up proving the rules. I remember a great comment from FrancisBegbie on one of my better posts from last year:
Also, I think the connect with the emotions is a big one. I managed to get a makeout by talking passionately about the Austrian School of Economics, a subject boring to 99.9 percent of people, but when you go on about "inflation robs people, the elites screwing people over", the fate of the world, it can work, hilariously enough.
Note the importance here of connecting with emotions. If all you are doing is telling a girl about your utter and total lack of interesting hobbies or pursuits, then you are blocking off her ability to form any kind of emotional bond. And chances are that if you've been on this Earth for longer than 15 years, you have done at least a few interesting things in your life. All you have to do is figure out how to articulate those things.

There really is no fun in Islam...

You can't even get spaced if you're a Muslim, according to the UAE's government:
The United Arab Emirates issued a religious law Thursday banning Muslims from manning a spaceflight voyage to Mars.
Starting in 2024, Dutch non-profit Mars One wants to start sending one-way manned missions to colonize the red planet, and has recently begun interviewing candidates for the project. None of those candidates will be devout Muslims from the UAE, thanks to a ruling by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment of the UAE. 
“Such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam[Didact's note: not a hint of irony here!] There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death,” the committee said in its decree according to a Times of Israel report. 
The Mars One website includes ”500 Saudis and other Arabs” in the 200,000 plus applicants for the mission so far. The General Authority of Islamic Affairs asserted the potential interplanetary travelers “may be interested in traveling to Mars for escaping punishment or standing before Almighty Allah,” which the group says would be futile anyway. 
Numerous Muslim astronauts have already successfully traveled in space — most notably Sultan Salman Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family and former Saudi Air Force pilot who was a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985, becoming the first Muslim in space.
Does anyone else find it mildly ridiculous that a religion that encourages its sons and daughters to blow themselves up as human sacrifices in its global war of subjugation, has a big problem with letting them risk their lives to advance science and human progress?

Then again, Islam has never been about "scientific progress". Growing up in an international school environment, the myth that Islam and Muslims somehow "saved" science for the West was rammed down our throats in ways both obvious and subtle. It took years of independent study and thought for me to realise just how badly I'd been lied to, and how anti-science Islam really is.

Once you understand that Islam is a political movement, first and foremost, and one that is about control over all aspects of Man, then you will understand that there is nothing the least bit surprising about an Islamic state banning its people from pushing the boundaries of what is possible, of working with private free enterprise to take Mankind to distant places and planets. That simply is what Islam does.

Monday, 17 February 2014

All hail the Dark Enlightenment!!!

Apparently the Manosphere is now, according to certain breathless and all too easily startled poltroons over on the left side of the pond, run by Sith Lords of the Dark Enlightenment who all want to do Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Things to human society by bringing back (gasp!!! shock!!! horror!!!) traditional values:
Blossoming on the Internet like a fetid rose, a mysterious new political movement has generated a serious and not un-terrifying critique of modern society. Its members are loud and growing in number, and they demand nothing less than the elimination of the democratic system. Mostly white, male and angry, they lie in wait for the imminent collapse of civilization. 
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Dark Enlightenment. The Empire is striking back.

Much as Christianity grew out of the cult-sodden ferment of the Roman-occupied Middle East, the Dark Enlightenment has sprouted from the hyper-anxious anti-liberalism precincts in the darker recesses of the Internet. 
So we’ve dug deep into the Web, where the movement lurks. We’ve talked online to its philosopher king, Nick Land, and we’ve conversed with his faceless adherents.
(Courtesy of the greatest and most badass Sith Lord of all, Darth Vox.)

Wait, it gets better:
Where does the term Dark Enlightenment come from? Inspired by the pugnacious writings of Mencius Moldbug, the prolific blogger who serves as the movement’s unofficial center of gravity, the neologism is the creation of philosopher Nick Land. In 2012, Land wrote an impressively thorough manifesto titled simply The Dark Enlightenment, which boldly articulates the movement’s central thesis: “For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative.” The essay continues, ”[Neo-reaction] conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption.” No, this isn’t your grandpa’s conservatism. (Unless your grandpa was General Franco.)
Now if this doesn't have you falling off your chair laughing, then here is something that surely will (again, courtesy of Vox):
The Dark Enlightenment Exposed 
I first heard about the Dark Enlightenment (aka “Neo-Reaction” or just “Reaction”) last year, the year after I graduated from college and was interning at a conservative think tank. I briefly become involved with the Dark Enlightenment and then left the movement in disgust. Here is what I learned: 
- The Dark Enlightenment is controlled by what the media call “Sith Lords”. You have more public Lords like Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, but there are even some Lords up higher whose names are not revealed. They say the Master Lord says ‘Et Ego in Arcadia’ which is an anagram for ‘Tego Arcana Dei’ (“I hide the secrets of God”). 
- But only the media call them ‘Sith Lords’. In Inner Speak, they will often use phrases like the Men of NĂºmenor or the Eldars. 
- I never met any of the higher Eldars, but I did once meet an Eldar in Training. I don’t know his real name but people called him Legolas. He had long blond hair, was dressed like a 19th century count, and wore a pendant that had both a Christian Cross and Thor’s Hammer on it. 
- The movement is a weird mixture of ethno-nationalists, futurists, monarchists, PUAs (“pick-up artists” like Chateau Heartiste), Trad Catholics, Trad Protestants, etc. They all believe in HBD (what they call “human biodiversity” i.e. racism) but disagree on some other minor points. 
- The religious people in the movement (both Christians and pagans) practice what is called “identitarian religion” (religion that doesn’t deny ethnic identity). 
- Some of the rising stars of the Dark Enlightenment on the internet seem to be Radish Magazine, Occam’s Razor Mag, and Theden TV. 
- The Dark Enlightenment allegedly has millions of dollars of money to play with. They have a couple big donors. One is rumored to be a major tech tycoon in Silicon Valley. They actually had a private 3-day meeting on an island which was furnished with a French chef, etc. Different forms of formal attire were required for each day (tuxedos, 3-piece suits, etc), and some weird costumes were required too (capes, hoods, etc) — which sound like a pagan cult. (I wasn’t at this function but heard about it.) 
- I was initiated into the first stages of the Dark Enlightenment, which involved me stripping down naked so people could “inspect my phenotype”. I was then given a series of very personal questions, often relating to sexual matters. I was then told to put on a black cape. (I really regret doing this but at the time I was younger, more impressionable and eager to please.) 
- For the initial oath taking, everyone must swear on a copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, just to show their fidelity to HBD. After that, for the later oaths, seculars will swear again on Darwin, while Christians will swear on the Bible, and pagans on the Prose Edda or Iliad. 
- At one of the meetings I heard someone continuously chanting “gens alba conservanda est” (Latin for “the white race must be preserved”) and then others were chanting things in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Old German, but I don’t know those languages so I can’t remember exactly what they were saying. 
- They also have all their own secret handshakes, and their own terminology [like the Cathedral ("political correctness"), thedening ("re-establishing ethnic group identity"), genophilia ("love of one's own race"), NRx ("neoreaction"), etc.]. 
- On the philosophical level, this movement is not entirely original. Much of it is borrowed from the Identitarian movement in Europe. They also all detest democracy. They are not trying to be a “populist movement” but are only trying to convert other elites to their way of thinking. 
This whole movement is like a secret cult, which is why I left. Also, because of the valiant and brave efforts of people on the net exposing this movement, I saw this cult for the evil it truly is. Please stay away from it.
If you were at all worried that we here in the 'Sphere have lost our ability to troll the idiots of this world, then fear not, for Mark Shea got trolled so hard, it's something of a wonder that he's allowed to show his face in public. The sheer anxious earnestness of his article is utterly hysterical to read- I nearly caused an incident at work when I read the whole thing, I was laughing so hard that the coffee in my hand was in serious danger of ending up on someone's desk. It all reminds me of being in the 8th grade again, when I was a founding member of the Star Wars club and we used to run around referring to each other by military titles (I was Commander Didact and fancied myself as an X-wing pilot, like my hero, Wedge Antilles) and pretending that what we were doing was of the slightest relevance to the world around us, with the earnest eagerness that only the very young and the very dumb can summon.

The difference between that 13-year-old and Mark Shea, of course, is that the 13-year-old had the good sense to grow the f*** up.

Speaking as a (very very very junior) Sith Lord myself, I found the use of phrases from The Master's lexicon to be particularly funny. I'm thinking that the next time we have a meetup, we all wear dark robes, speak in sinister British accents, and refer to each other by the names of ancient Eldar kings- I claim dibs over the name Fingolfin!!! Anyone else down for this?

Two remaining thoughts:
  • I'd love to hear what other junior Sith Lords like The Observer- who shall henceforth be referred to as Turgon, in honour of the founder of the hidden city of Gondolin- and Sith Ladies like Tempest have to say about this highly amusing batch of bat-brained stupidity. Should make for some absolutely hilarious commentary.
  • My thanks to our unintentionally kind counterparts over there on the left bank for providing us with endless hours of amusement at their expense. There is literally no end to how far we could go with this whole Sith Lord/Eldar/Men of Numenor thing, we'll keep ourselves cracking up for weeks.

Frack ALL The things!

I have a fairly (un)healthy contempt for the Obarmy administration's general cluelessness about most things in general, but when it comes to domestic energy production, I find myself wondering if anyone who works for the current Executive branch, from the jackass at the top on down, actually has even half a working brain. When BP's rig blew up a few years back, for instance, the response of the administration essentially stopped exploration in the Gulf of Mexico for years, and to react to BP's manifest failings of management and safety with some sort of bizarre anti-colonialist backlash where the administration seemed to think that BP was a British company.

(I suppose that is only to be expected from a half-Kenyan socialist whose own back-story- the bits of it that we know, anyway- indicate a deep-seated hatred of Western culture and an appalling lack of economic literacy...)

Yet, as usual, individuals and corporations (I hesitate to call anything in the US a "free market" anymore) figured out ways to get around the restrictions imposed by their pigheaded government, and as a result, American domestic oil and gas production are at levels not seen in decades:
American energy independence is right around the corner and the country is set to become the world’s oil and gas superpower. This could be the era of American energy dominance, thanks to the advent of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking. 
BP Global expects that the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer this year due to rising production from fracking. On top of that, U.S. oil imports will fall nearly 75 percent through 2035. This will diminish OPEC’s influence on world oil markets and dampen their abilities to manipulate prices — something the global oil cartel is fretting over
Natural gas from shale is expected to account for 68 percent of U.S. gas production by 2035, and North American natural gas is expected to make up 71 percent of the world’s shale gas production by 2035, according to BP.
The Obarmies, of course, have tried very hard to take all the credit for something that they manifestly had nothing whatsoever to do with:
“In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence,” Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union Address. “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.[Didact's Note: I had to physically restrain myself from throwing my coffee cup at my computer monitor at this point; the man is so full of BS that it's a wonder he doesn't spontaneously catch fire at some point.]
The federal government has had almost nothing to do with the oil boom that has been going on for the last few years. In fact, the feds have only been detrimental to energy production. While oil and gas production soared on private property and state lands, production on federal lands has withered
The Congressional Research Service found last year that all of the increased crude oil production “from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands.” Natural gas production on federal lands fell by 33 percent from 2007 to 2012, while production on private and state lands grew by 40 percent. 
The benefits of the energy boom go beyond the broader economy. Such benefits can be seen driving through the hard hit areas of rural America. In Pennsylvania, once struggling farms can now afford to rebuild dilapidated barns or buy brand new tractors with royalty payments from gas companies.
A sane country, with a sane administration, would recognise fossil fuel energy for what it is: completely indispensable, a tremendous economic boon, and a resource that should absolutely be exploited for the benefit of Mankind. Unfortunately, we have neither a sane country nor a sane government in the US of A these days, which is why really potent resources like the ANWR are still largely off-limits to exploration despite their immense wealth, both potential and real. To limit a country's ability to exploit its own reserves of energy is to limit its economic potential and its growth.

If you're a neo-Marxist idiot with a deep and abiding hatred of imperialism and colonialism, then perhaps attempting to drive up your country's energy costs to near-crippling levels makes sense. To the rest of us, though, it's simply unutterably stupid.

Book Review: The Shadow Legions by Jay Allan

Two Very Good Things happened on January 31st, 2014: HALO: Spartan Assault was released for the Xbox 360, and Jay Allan's latest entry into the Crimson Worlds series was finally released, after a month of delays and revisions. I have to say, I was quite annoyed by the wait for the new book; I was hoping to read it while I was still on holiday in Singapore, but to my great disappointment that didn't happen. Judging by what Jay Allan wrote on his blog about the subject, he needed to make a few additions and edits to the latest book in order to make it fit into the overall plot arc of the last three books in the series. The end result is an impressive, if somewhat flawed, work of sci-fi that is a worthy entry into the Crimson Worlds canon and nicely sets the stage for books 8 and 9.

A word of warning here: if you haven't been keeping up with the series up to this point, then this book won't make the slightest damned bit of sense to you. There is a great deal of knowledge that is basically assumed about the characters and the factions involved in this book, so if you haven't been reading the past, oh, five novels, this one is going to be quite difficult to follow.

If you have been keeping up, however, then you're going to enjoy this book.

The book starts pretty much right where To Hell's Heart left off. The Grand Fleet of humanity, under the command of the greatest naval commander in human history, Augustus Garret, is limping back to human space after achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the robotic forces of the First Imperium by detonating a massive antimatter device inside a warp gate. By doing so, the fleet managed to cut off a massive First Imperium armada that would, without a doubt, have destroyed humanity had it been allowed to proceed through that gate, but the victory came at a truly staggering cost. More than 40,000 men and women remain trapped on the other side under the command of Admiral Garret's best friend for more than 40 years, Terrence Compton. Garret himself, devastated by the loss but trying desperately not to show it, faces a massive new crisis almost immediately: an unknown force, armed and armoured and trained almost exactly like the Alliance's Marine Corps, is attacking and conquering colony worlds throughout the rim of Alliance space. Suspicion and doubt begin to fracture the Grand Pact, and at Sandoval, Garret dismantles it for good, recognising full well that he and his people may very soon have to fight the very same brave men and women that they once stood beside against an overwhelming alien threat.

Into this volatile background enters, once more, Erik Cain and his Marines, who take the fight straight to their unknown enemy on the ground. Cain's character has shown considerable development over the past books of the series; he starts out as someone very similar in character and style to Juan "Johnny" Rico from Starship Troopers, but over time, as he sees ever more of war and death, he becomes almost two separate people, and this division is made very clear in this book: the introverted and quiet but affable and rather dishevelled man who is deeply respected and admired by the men and women he leads; and the utterly cold, ruthless, remorseless harbinger of death that he becomes on the battlefield, the general for whom defeat is never an option, for whom only victory or death are permissible outcomes in battle. Cain takes to the battle with the same unbreakable iron will that he has always exhibited in the past, fighting grimly and without mercy against an enemy almost as well trained as his own troops- but numerically far superior. The manner in which he fights his war shows that Cain, who was on the cusp of losing his humanity in the previous book, recognises full well what he has become, and is heartily sick of war and death, but drives himself relentlessly onward even so in order to protect the few bright spots left in his world- his lover, Sarah Linden; his beloved Marine Corps; and the colonists of the worlds that he has sworn to protect, for they represent the sole hope for a better future for his people.

In many respects, I think this is the best book in the series thus far. Everything in the series so far (except maybe the first book, which was really a standalone novel that was very successful and turned into a much bigger venture) has been building to this climactic point, and you finally get to see where the series itself is going to end up. All of the major players of the past novels- Gavin Stark, the utterly amoral and now basically insane leader of the Alliance's Intelligence Directorate; Li An, his counterpart among the Chinese; Roderick Vance, the head of the Martian intelligence organisation; Augustus Garret; Erik Cain; Elias Holm; Sarah Linden- are present and accounted for, and significant time is spent with all of them. The plot is truly engrossing and intricate, because the attacks by the Shadow Legions on the Alliance's colony worlds are basically part of an awesomely complicated, and completely batsh*t insane, scheme on Stark's part to take complete control over all of human space.

The broader plot itself is really quite interesting. As you will find out in the book, the attacks of the Shadow Legions are basically part of the machinations of Gavin Stark, who is engineering a colossal takeover of all of humanity, with the outright goal of remaking it in his image. The methods by which he seeks to do this will result in the deaths of millions- probably billions- but that doesn't bother him in the least. You get to see, in some detail, just how Stark's plan will bring the entire human galactic economy to its knees, through the greatest and most vicious economic collapse ever seen- one that will take place in minutes, not months, and one that will impoverish Earth so completely, and will destroy the existing balance of power so thoroughly, that only a truly insane mind could see that collapse as a virtue. This book, more than any of its predecessors, has a very tight, very interesting plot that never gets lost despite its twists and turns, and which reads like a great thriller rather than a sci-fi book. It's a lot like reading one of Tom Clancy's books, but without the overwhelming wordiness.

The characters are fully fleshed out and very easy to relate to. Even the newer characters, who keep popping up throughout the books, are always interesting, and Allan does a quite remarkable job of keeping up with his own universe. His plot lines are internally consistent, and the characters that were killed off in previous books are recognised by their successors and friends in later books in a manner that tells you clearly that Allan knows exactly what he's doing. Overall, the way that Allan handles plot, setting, and character in this book is very impressive; it's clear that he's learned from a few mistakes in the previous books and has excised most of those flaws from his writing.

The one major downside of this book is that even though extra time was taken with the editing and the prose, it still feels rushed. It's not because the quality of the writing is lacking- very far from it. It is because there are several truly jarring mistakes of spelling, grammar, and even character names scattered throughout. The biggest one comes about literally in the last chapter of the book, where Vance is called "Stark" for no good reason for a couple of paragraphs, and then it's like the editor suddenly woke up and did his job, because things go right back to normal in the next paragraph. It's weird, and that is only the most obvious mistake in a book that has a fair few of these irritating gaffes scattered throughout it. I'm not saying that this automatically renders the book unworthy of reading (it doesn't), I'm just saying that if you're going to take an extra month to write a book and get it really in shape, then surely that extra month would result in a completely polished product?

(To be as fair as possible, it must be noted that George R. R. Martin took a total of eleven years to write the two sequels to A Storm of Swords... and both books ended up being terrible. So it's not like Allan is committing some terrible sin here, a month-long delay is quite acceptable when the end result is this good.)

Overall this book is not only a worthy successor to the previous book, it also neatly sets the stage for the final climactic arc that should be published by roughly June this year. In many respects, this is indeed the best book in the series- better even than The Cost of Victory. It's not perfect, but it is definitive proof that Jay Allan is one of the best military sci-fi authors out there right now. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series, as and when it comes out.

Didact's Verdict: 4.6/5, really solid read despite some very irritating flaws in the editing process and absolutely recommended (just remember to read the other books first).

Buy/download The Shadow Legions here.

Book Review: Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos

Terms of Enlistment, the first novel in the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos, was in my opinion an excellent if slightly flawed new entry into the canon of military sci-fi. The follow-up, Lines of Departure, picks up a few months after ToE left off, with Earth facing an extreme new threat in the form of 80-foot-tall sauropod-like aliens that the humans dub the "Lankies". These aliens are extremely resilient, highly advanced technologically, and distressingly prone to a nasty habit of sending three-kilometre-long "seed ships" to land on Terran colonies to exterminate the local human population.
The setting of the novel is even more grim and dystopic than the previous one. Earth has gone from being overcrowded, poor, and stinking to all of that plus uncontrollable and practically unlivable too; food riots are commonplace, economic collapse is being barely staved off by truly draconian price control and rationing; and despite the threat of utter extinction at the hands of a xenos race that has never shown even the slightest interest in communicating with humanity or in sharing the galaxy with humans, Terrans remain divided into two ideological blocs dedicated to destroying each other through any means necessary. In fact there are points in the novel where I found myself thinking that the only reason this isn't a Warhammer 40K novel is because the tagline, "In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war", didn't show up in the byline for the book...

Into this unrelentingly unhappy setting steps young Andrew Grayson- not really "young" anymore, after fighting for nearly five years in the Commonwealth's spaceborne infantry units and re-upping to enlist once more. Five years of war have made Grayson a cynical and hardened character, and as you see the world through his eyes, you cannot help but feel the same sense of contempt and despair at the way humanity refuses to set aside its old grievances in order to face a far greater threat. In this respect, I think Kloos actually did a better job with characterisation in this book than he did in the first; Grayson comes across as a scared kid who has been forced to grow up too early, and who tries very hard to remain emotionally detached from people in order to avoid being hurt by their deaths in war.

Despite the maudlin settings, though, there are some very bright spots in Grayson's life. His girlfriend, Halley- a hotshot dropship pilot stationed on Luna as a trainer- is clearly still crazy about him, and he about her. When they meet this time, the decision to get engaged- despite the fact that either of them could die at any time in the war against the Lankies- is clearly made without the slightest regret or hesitation on either side. And there is a short section in the middle of book in which Grayson meets his mother for the first time since enlisting and takes her out to the countryside, where price controls and rationing are just a bad memory, and both are treated to a breakfast of real food made by real people by an ex-infantryman, which is beautifully poignant and very emotional.

The plot of the book is as depressing as its setting. It starts off with a spaceborne shock troop landing to take out some Lanky atmospheric conditioners- mile-high structures that rapidly change the atmospheric composition of a target world into something deadly to humans and apparently perfect for the aliens. Here Kloos shows his talent as a writer by describing perfectly the fear and the anticipation that run through the minds of the troopers as they wait in their drop pods to fire through the Lanky minefield in orbit around their target planet. Duty done, the platoon boards the ship for the long trip back to base, and Grayson is permitted some time to head home on leave, where he meets his girlfriend and his mother, to the great delight of both. That bright spot dealt with, High Command proceeds to shut down the Alcubierre chute nodes (the means by which FTL travel is achieved to "jump" between systems), for they know full well that they are losing the war with the Lankies- and very badly- and adopt a strategy similar to the Cole Protocol in the HALO universe to give humanity some measure of safety against the alien menace. On the way to the ice moon that Grayson and his people are soon to guard, he meets his old platoon sergeant from his Terrestrial Army days, and proceeds to bond with Sgt. Fallon and her team of "difficult cases".

So far, so good, and this covers about two-thirds of the book. It is in the final third that things start to get a bit weird. I'll try to avoid any real plot spoilers here. Basically, civil war breaks out between two different factions on the iceball; Grayson chooses his old sergeant's side, and things proceed into a standoff until a Lanky seed ship shows up. I have to say that I found this section to be the least believable, by far, of the entire book. The fratricidal conflict just feels... forced, somehow, as if the author was watching "Crimson Tide" while writing the book and thought, "hey, that would be a great plot idea!". Kloos redeems himself quite thoroughly, though, by concocting a quite brilliant and thoroughly crazy scheme to destroy the Lanky seed ship- and then ends the book on a powerful cliffhanger, which indicates that the next book may well be the final third of a trilogy.

In terms of entertainment, this is quite an enjoyable book. It's just not quite as good as the first one. Everything that made the first book quite good is present and accounted for here- the obvious nods to great sci-fi canons like Starship Troopers and HALO (the way Grayson's team drops down onto the Lanky colony at the beginning of the book could not have been a more obvious reference to HALO's Orbital Drop Shock Troopers if it tried), the vivid and powerful descriptions of the battles; the fleshed-out and thoroughly believable characters (with a couple of exceptions- Sgt. Fallon, for instance), and the rather clear understanding that humanity's flaws will not necessarily be overcome to consistently build a better future, are all back and in force. Humanity is forced to resort to scorched-earth tactics to find even the slightest respite from the Lanky threat- and consistently fails to do so, as the Lankies just keep coming and keep swallowing up Earth's colonies in the process.

Despite this, the plot is not quite as believable as the first book, and the Lankies remain just as absurd now as they did in the first book- I mean, come on, 80-foot dinosaurs went extinct in large part because the world's atmosphere, which was once much higher in oxygen content than it is today, changed dramatically to a much lower oxygen atmosphere that is basically perfectly suited to us mammals, but in this book the same sauropod-like creatures prefer an atmosphere so high in CO2 that it is lethal and unlivable to humans, despite being, as far as anyone can tell, carbon-based creatures. It is simply very difficult to suspend disbelief properly where the Lankies are concerned. Maybe their biology will be explained properly at some point, but thus far, they remain quite at odds with the otherwise scientifically literate tone of the series- read the last five chapters of the book and you'll see what I mean by that.

And I've already mentioned how absurd the concept of female space marines is in my review of the previous book; let's just say that things don't improve in this one. I mean, Tom Kratman wrote an entire freaking book about a highly effective fighting force made up entirely of women, and he was the first to acknowledge how idiotic the idea seemed to him when he first thought of it. I really do wish that sci-fi authors would follow Tom Kratman's lead and stop trying to pretend that human biology doesn't matter when creating their universes- even my beloved HALO universe is deeply guilty of this, though fortunately the primary protagonist remains the biggest badass of them all.

The flaws aside, this is still very much an enjoyable book. It is definitely a good follow-up to its predecessor, even though it isn't quite as good. You'll go through it in a couple of days if you don't sit down and read it in one sitting (or in about 5 hours if you do). And despite the issues that I have with certain aspects of the book, I am still very much looking forward to the next one, whenever that one gets released.

Didact's Verdict: 3.5/5, several flaws remain from the previous book and the plot is somehow just not as interesting or as involved. Still a fine book, though.

Buy/download Lines of Departure here.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

"The MAYOR of Snap City"

On the back of my thoughts about CrossFit comes very sad news about a trainer named Kevin Ogar who suffered a horrible injury while performing a snatch:
A Colorado CrossFit athlete was performing a routine lift during a competition in Southern California over the weekend when he suffered a critical injury to his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Tragedy struck Sunday while Kevin Ogar, a coach at a CrossFit gym in Denver, was performing a 'snatch' - a staple move in the sport that combines weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting.

According to published reports, the 6 foot 1, 210-pound Ogar lifted a heavy barbell to his waist and then over his head, but couldn't hold it, letting the heavy bar plummet to the floor behind him. 
The bar bounced against another set of weights, striking Ogar in the back and severing his spine. 
‘When impact was made, he jumped almost like someone shot him,’ Ogar's friend and employer Matt Hathcock told ABC News.  
The gravely injured athlete collapsed to the floor inside the Costa Mesa venue hosting the OC Throwdown, unable to move his legs. 
The CrossFit enthusiast and his training partners described the devastating injury as a 'freak accident' and insisted that the flourishing sport was not to blame for it.
The inimitable Elgintensity, who has a YouTube channel which he frequently uses to beat up on CrossFit and its adherents, has a very good response to this incident:

My thoughts on the matter mirror his. I'm not going to criticise Ogar for what happened- I feel great sympathy for the man, and I hope that if you're reading this, you can kick some cash his way, as he is uninsured and is facing massive medical bills to go along with his injury.

It is, however, entirely right to ask hard questions about the methods by which CrossFit trainers and coaches teach their "sport".

I have been a drug-free powerlifter for not quite 3 years now. Powerlifting has changed my life, my health, my physique, and my fitness. I love lifting heavy s***. I try- Lord knows I try- to maintain good form when I lift, and I am always looking to fix little things about my form so that I can avoid injury and be safe. I know full well that when done right, powerlifting is actually pretty much the safest sport you can engage in- by miles. I treat powerlifting as an essential part of my life now, one that I cannot imagine going without- so it offends me to my very core when I see idiots like half-trained CrossFitters abusing the basic principles of powerlifting by doing crazy things like deadlifting before squatting, or lifting with rounded lower backs, or doing Kipping rows, or other assorted stupidity.

If you're going to lift, do it right, or don't do it at all. It's that simple.

"Doing it right" means paying attention to your form every time you step into the shrine. It means that you deadlift with a straight lower back, as much as possible. It means that you squat down to at least parallel, every rep, every set, every time. It means that you take your time in between sets to analyse your form, catch your breath, and recover- because as any powerlifter knows, fatigue is the deadly enemy of good form. As you tire, your form gets shot to pieces. When I'm in the gym doing a set of 20 deadlifts at 225lbs, my form on the 18th rep sure as hell isn't what it was on the 1st or 2nd (and that is after several much heavier sets).

This is the primary beef that guys like Elgintensity and I have with CrossFit. When you have an organisation that is actually proud of the fact that its trainees often end up puking their guts out after a workout, or end up suffering from rhabdo, there is something seriously wrong with what they are selling. When it comes to weight training, you can do high reps with light weights, or you can do low reps with heavy weights. You absolutely CANNOT do high reps with heavy weights and still be safe. And if powerlifting is about anything, it is about building strength, character, and power while remaining safe.

If you must do CrossFit in order to get some aerobic exercises into your regimen, learn the correct form first. Honestly, though, you'd be better off doing Krav Maga instead- you'd be surprised just how useful the art of learning to beat the snot out of someone is when it comes to staying fit and strong.

Do not, whatever you do, think that you can just walk into a gym, start half-assing your way through a powerlifting workout, and think that you're going to achieve something. All you'll end up doing is buying a one-way ticket to Snap City.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

"S*** my overprotective older brother says"

Older brother: So what's a good time for me to call tonight so we can catch up? You've been sick and all, just want to make sure you're OK.

Younger sister: Uh actually I've got a date tonight, can we talk tomorrow?

Older brother: Sure, no problem. You go do that, and I'll go clean my shotgun. Y'know, just in case.

Younger sister: (utterly exasperated) Could you please not try to scare away my boyfriends like that?!?

Older brother: *grins* It's my job, kid, get used to it.

Ladies, if you have an older brother like this (and in case anyone is wondering, this is not too far removed from several conversations I've had with my little sister in the past), then be thankful that you have a strong man in your life who stands up for you, protects you, and puts up with you. Remember to thank him, honour him, and respect him- because if you're a Modern Empowered Woman, chances are that if you can't figure out how to treat your own brother correctly, there is no way in hell you'll be able to hold onto a husband.

From the Meetup: Not everyone wants to be free

(This is the second in a series of posts dealing with my thoughts on various topics that came up during our Singapore meetup late last year. As always comments and criticism are of course welcomed, especially from the guys who were there. Oh, and I owe one of the guys who was there an analysis of some links he sent me. I haven't forgotten, I've just been busy. Or lazy. Take your pick.)
The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. -- Thomas Jefferson
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” - Ronald Reagan
During our little confab in that coffee shop in Singapore back in very late December, my opposite number from the old homestead brought up a very interesting point during a broader discussion about human freedoms and the ways to maximise those freedoms while still being consistent with law and order. The Observer pointed out something very important: not everyone wants to be free.

He is, of course, entirely correct.

I have touched upon this before myself. You see it time and again in young men- and, to a much greater extent, young women- of this generation. Some of them have the good sense to recognise that they are being led very badly astray by the people that they were taught to trust. They understand that the government, the media, the education establishment, the corpocracy, and even their churches are lying to them, about almost everything. The most self-aware of them understand that the old virtues of hard work, thrift, masculine strength (for men) and feminine attitudes (for women) are being denigrated and destroyed at every turn. They see the cesspool of their culture surrounding them every day, the reality shows and the mindless sludge of entertainment that is passed off as "news" all around them. They see the cumulative costs of the effects of these evils upon their society and upon themselves, and they do not like it.

That does not mean that they are actually willing to do anything about it.

I remember very clearly sitting in that whiskey lounge, and later, another bar nearby, talking to one of my colleagues about these very issues. I told him very clearly that he had been misled and lied to all his life about the nature of women, about what it takes to be a man, about what it means to be strong and virtuous. He couldn't refute any of my arguments, so he finally said to me, half-drunk and exasperated, that he just didn't want to believe me.

As I said in my original post on this subject, the best advice that I have ever seen about this comes from Rollo, referenced in a stellar post by Matt Forney a while back. The advice is simple: "save those you can, read last rites to the dying". The fact is, you can't force freedom upon people who don't want it- leaving aside that doing so would be the most absurd form of tautology, it just wouldn't work.

On the subject of who does and does not deserve to be free, I respectfully part ways with the majority of libertarians, which is why I identify as a paleolibertarian rather than your relatively more common "free-markets-free-people" white privileged college student weed-smoking "libertarian". This is in my opinion the point where the stock libertarian philosophy begins to fray at the edges, and where neo-reactionary thought starts to make a lot of sense. For those who find this description a bit obtuse (read: suffering from a full-blown case of RCI*), I simply mean that the standard libertarian response to almost every question regarding individual freedoms is something along the lines of "herp derp more freedom more good".

This is generally true- provided that very specific conditions prevail first.

Freedom, you see, is a very fragile thing. You cannot simply give freedom to people who are not willing to fight and sacrifice for it. As you go through life, you're going to come across a lot of people- I would argue the majority of people- who just don't want to be free. And why would they? If you think about it, freedom is actually bloody terrifying to most people.

When you have freedom- true freedom- you, and you alone, are responsible for your destiny. You can't pass the buck for your failures as a human being over to your parents, or your church, or your government, or your children. You have to take responsibility for your actions. You have to fend for yourself. You have to accept that although many things are outside your control, those things that are within your control are difficult to deal with. You have to be willing to defend yourself- you can't rely on anyone else to do it for you. You have to earn for yourself- you can't mooch off the efforts of others. You have to exercise self-restraint and live in a manner that is consistent with your own principles- you can't just bend or break them for a whim. You have to refuse the temptation to impose your desires upon others- because you don't want them to do the same to you. You have to accept that when you screw up, it's your damn fault and you need to fix it. You have to accept that you, and you alone, are responsible for your health, your body, your well-being, your money, your life, your family, and your relationship with God.

Put in these stark and simple terms, is it therefore at all surprising that most people would not want to be free at all? Are you then surprised that most people would rather choose, quite happily, to stay dumb and contented their entire lives?

The reality is that freedom is hard. It is work. It requires sacrifice, and very often pain, in order to thrive. And we as a species have evolved through that last n-million years to view pain as a Very Bad Thing that needs to be avoided. Is it any surprise at all, then, that if you give the average person a choice between a life of blissfully contented stupidity and then proceed to rob and rape him blind in return, or a life of hardship and toil in which he is master of his own destiny and answerable to none but the Almighty, said average person will almost always choose the former?

The upsides of freedom are tremendous, which is why you'll still find people willing to pay the price to be free. But make no mistake- just like rights come with responsibilities attached, you can't have freedom for free. You have to earn it. And if you're not prepared to earn it, then don't bitch when you realise, belatedly, that you don't have it.

UPDATE: what is a post about the price of freedom without a badass MANOWAR song on the subject?

UPDATE 2: Stephanie has her own thoughts on the subject, go read them here or here. Her take is very well written, I highly recommend it- even if she did link to a rap video in there. I was quite amused by this and responded by threatening to include a link to a death metal video the next time I refer to her work.

Jokes aside- Time Of Calamity and Ready To Be Caught are now consolidated under a single blog due to time constraints, so if you want to check out more of her writing, it comes with the Official Didact Seal of Approval:

*RCI = Rectal-Cranial Inversion syndrome. Known more colloquially as "head-up-ass disease". Highly infectious, though fortunately generally very easy to cure with a swift kick in the pants or a hard slap upside the head.