Assorted 2021-03-04

     My “future columns” folder is once again overflowing, and I’m disinclined to slough any of the contents, so here’s a round-up of things that have poked me somewhere sensitive these past few days.


     Have a trio of election-related links from Gateway Pundit:

     Believe in the “integrity” of American elections if you like…but stay well away from me, move slowly, and keep your hands where I can see them.


     I’m beginning to feel a cold draft: Amazon is quietly banning books deemed to contain “hate speech:”

     Amazon has adopted a rule against books that contain anything the company labels as “hate speech.” It appears there was no announcement of the new rule. It was only noticed by media after the online retailer recently banned a book that criticizes transgender ideology.

     It’s not clear what Amazon means by “hate speech” or even if it used that label to drop that particular book. In general parlance, Americans hold widely diverging views on what constitutes hate speech, a 2017 Cato poll found. Some tech platforms describe it as speech that disparages people based on characteristics such as race, gender, and sexual proclivities. But insider evidence indicates the companies aren’t clear on where to draw the lines, perpetually redraw them, and at least in some instances ignore violations when politically convenient.

     If you’ve been putting off acquiring any of my books, or those of anyone else politically to the right, I suggest you get off the can and buy them. They could soon be deemed “hateful.”


     I don’t have to tell you that Chicken Little was a fictitious character, do I? Well, that doesn’t mean he can’t have real-life emulators:


     Doom-shouting, with the accompanying “We’ve got to act now” exhortation to mindless action, is one of the Left’s major tools these days. The more Americans they can succeed in panicking, the more power they accrue over everything from our social arrangements to federal policy. Preventing them from stampeding us has become an important undertaking.

     Irish’s post contains two extremely useful lists that everyone should have stored somewhere safe. Keep them handy for when the doom-shouters come to your neighborhood. You’ll be glad you did!


     Here are two on the always-lively Kung Flu front:

     Can you reconcile those two? I’d rather try squaring the circle – which, incidentally, doesn’t mean “draw a circle that looks square, or vice-versa.”


     I’ve only an outsider’s knowledge of the controversy over fantasy and science fiction publisher Baen Books, but the little I know inclines me to believe that it’s just another left-wing cancellation campaign against a perceived ideological enemy. Baen CEO Toni Weisskopf is one of the most admirable figures in publishing. Moreover, she’s open to books from every imaginable viewpoint, as long as they’re well written and tell a good story. But of course, the Left simply can’t have that. Its control of the entertainment, education, and communication industries must be complete:

     I grew up in the days before Kindle or the internet. I would periodically visit the local library, and look at the new selection. Slowly, and without my noticing at first, the books on offer changed. There had always been books I did not like, but now large numbers of them began to feature the same themes, over, and over, and over again – as though they were all written by the same person.

     In nearly every book that dealt with religion, religion was fake and bad – gods were made up or were deceivers / aliens / demons. Anything but benevolent and sovereign. In the book, “Heaven” by Ian Stewart even the desire to prolong life is portrayed as immoral and contrary to universal law. The more powerful features of an advanced space-ship are unlocked … by the diversity of its crew.

     The apparent monomania of science fiction was no coincidence. In those days before the internet, a lot of what was published was not decided by what the public thought was good, but instead by a self-appointed elite, believing they had greater knowledge of what was “good” or “virtuous” than everyone else. The fact that many of them are not particularly functional or successful by a variety of measures has never given them the slightest pause (or indeed, any of the woke). It was this elite that held up Bradley.

     The idea of a ‘virtuous elite’ reviewing art is a ludicrous idea. A book on mathematics, law and engineering, can be right or wrong (at least in large part). Art is aesthetic. A painting is not right or wrong. Neither is a fictional novel or short story. It has merit only insofar as people enjoy reading it, which can be measured by willingness to pay. The public, barring ‘that’ one minority, mostly do not wish to read books and stories about child abuse. When an ‘elite’ is put in charge however, there is a tendency towards degeneracy. What made Interzone devote an entire issue to Jason Sanford’s work? They would have been better off featuring popular stories from, or similar.

     In the above, author Samuel Collingwood Smith has described what became of speculative-fiction publishing as the Left’s colonization efforts bore fruit. Baen has been a lonely holdout against the Left’s campaign. At one time, I considered submitting some of my novels to Baen, but I sensed that it would come under the Left’s crosshairs, for its operating principle was (and is) to give the reader what he wants, rather than to push an ideological line. In the end I decided to self-publish.

     The Left cannot colonize the independent writer: he who self-publishes and answers only to his conscience. It’s one of the things that makes me happy to be an “indie,” even if the rewards, so far, have been slight. Given the anti-Baen campaign, in which a single sub-mediocre Leftist writer has succeeded, by the use of online libel, in drawing a fusillade down on Baen, I think I made the right decision.


     Finally, I’d like to point my Gentle Readers to a remarkable piece that describes the current, agonized state of American womanhood better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere. Here’s the merest taste:

     She wakes at 6:30 a.m. to leave for work by 7:30. Forty-five minutes later she’s parking in the basement garage then taking the elevator up to the 24th floor. Ten steps through the glass doors then make a right. Go down past the first door and make another right into the kitchen to put her brown bag lunch in the fridge and grab a coffee. She walks to her office, turns on the lights, and closes the door. Six months at a new job in a new city. It felt like 60 years….

     She finishes some reports and eats lunch at her desk. The sandwich and crackers leave her unsatisfied. This was followed by meetings and drafting a memorandum discussing the liability of some corporate client who screwed over some employees. She sends it to her boss for review. The boss returns it shortly thereafter, demanding a discussion of some irrelevant law.

     Near the end of the day she makes all the necessary changes, forwards it to the necessary people, and ducks out of there. She hopes to make it home by 7. Management says her future looks bright. If she continues with the long hours and the dedication to the firm she can make partner in as little as 8 years. That was the encouragement from her boss not long after she was hired and moved here.

     Partnership: the pinnacle of success. You might work Sundays and have multiple failed marriages, but at least you made partner.

     Please read it all. Then give it to your teenage daughters to read, if you have any. It’s a mirror to the perversity of our times.


     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. My hand has hurt rather badly these past two days. I’ll hope to see you again tomorrow.