Status Report

“The world’s in a bad way, my man,
And bound to be worse before it mends;
Better lie up in the mountain here
Four or five centuries,
While the stars go over the lonely ocean,”
The old father of wild pigs,
Plowing the fallow on Mal Paso Mountain.

— Robinson Jeffers —

     Say, are any of you Gentle Readers still gainfully employed? I’d bet that some of you are, though possibly not a majority. Liberty’s Torch tends to attract the older reader: someone not too far from my age, who hears the whistling of the wind and, now that the illusions of youth have cleared from his vision, has allowed, however reluctantly, that his life will someday end. But those of you who are still vigorous enough to endure the BS of wage employment in this Year of Our Lord 2022 will probably be familiar with, if not actively haunted by, the sort of event that’s known by the title phrase.

     Relax, relax: I’m not about to ask you for a status report. Neither am I about to slather you with one of my own. Well, except about one aspect of the nation we live in: the Land of the Formerly Free.

     It seems the Usurpers have got themselves in a pickle.


     It’s not often that I find myself disagreeing with the late Robert A. Heinlein, for my money one of the truly prescient men of the Twentieth Century, but every now and then I feel a quibble come on:

     “We defined thinking as integrating data and arriving at correct answers. Look around you. Most people do that stunt just well enough to get to the corner store and back without breaking a leg. If the average man thinks at all, he does silly things like generalizing from a single datum. He uses one-valued logics. If he is exceptionally bright, he may use two-valued, ‘either-or’ logic to arrive at his wrong answers. If he is hungry, hurt, or personally interested in the answer, he can’t use any sort of logic and will discard an observed fact as blithely as he will stake his life on a piece of wishful thinking. He uses the technical miracles created by superior men without wonder nor surprise, as a kitten accepts a bowl of milk. Far from aspiring to higher reasoning, he is not even aware that higher reasoning exists. He classes his own mental process as being of the same sort as the genius of an Einstein. Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.
     “For explanations of a universe that confuses him he seizes onto numerology, astrology, hysterical religions, and other fancy ways to go crazy. Having accepted such glorified nonsense, facts make no impression on him, even if at the cost of his own life. Joe, one of the hardest things to believe is the abysmal depth of human stupidity.”

     [From Heinlein’s novelette “Gulf”]

     Now, as greatly as I admire the old boy, he got so many things wrong in that passage that I shudder to enumerate them. But “Gulf” was an early story. It’s possible that, later in life, after he’d “wised up,” he hoped to repudiate it. And indeed he did so, partially anyway, in his novel Friday. The key to the wrongheadedness of the above eludes many, yet strikes me as exceedingly simple: the essence of individual competence.

     No one is competent at everything. Human knowledge is simply too broad and too deep. Individuals do their best to become competent at the things that matter most to them. The usual term for this is specialization, though that word connotes an occupational characteristic rather than an overall attitude. One unintended consequence of specialization is a retreat from those fields in which one feels no need to be competent, even if he once found them fascinating.

     I’ve known a few people whose competences are broader than mine. They rarely need to hire specialists in any of the various aspects of home maintenance, for example. They do their own plumbing, electrical work, HVAC work, and so forth. Yet to a man they’re humble: they’re aware that there’s much they don’t know and never will. They would never criticize me, for example, for preferring to “hire it done” so I can concentrate on what matters most to me. Today, that’s time and energy with which to think and write. For most of my life, it was advancing in my chosen field and earning an income that would – among other things – allow me to “hire it done” more often than not.

     We are not stupid; we are specialized. And no, despite Heinlein’s contemptuous statement in a later tale, it’s not strictly for insects.


     As you’re undoubtedly aware, from my ravings here if nowhere else, in November 2020 a gaggle of Usurpers, having availed themselves of a convenient pandemic and solid control of the electoral machines in sever key states, stole the presidency and at least two seats in the U.S. Senate, giving them nearly complete control of the federal government. They had to make some unpleasant concessions to get away with this: the wholesale purchase of the mainstream media; the suborning of several governors and secretaries of state; and worst of all for them, the erection of a figurehead to occupy the Oval Office.

     The figurehead they chose is a 78-year-old man, clearly in failing physical and mental health, prone to frequent physical and verbal mishaps, and with a long record of deceit and peculation. They consoled themselves that they had little choice: all the other candidates for the position were massively unpopular and had even worse records in office. They assured one another that after they’d dragged their candidate across the electoral finish line, they would “manage to manage him.”

     That has proved not to be the case.

     Their problem is that the largely not-stupid American people have been watching. We know that the Usurper Regime is responsible for the nation’s swiftly escalating troubles. In consequence, the Regime is now tottering: it’s massively unpopular; widely held responsible for our national ills; unable to command compliance from a great part of the country (including a great many state governments); and generally deemed untrustworthy. The one aspect of the Usurpers’ strategy that’s worked as they hoped is that the bulk of the odium has focused on their Oval Office figurehead.

     But what can they do about him? Were they to remove him, whether via the 25th Amendment’s prescriptions or some less savory means, he would be replaced by a figure even more roundly hated. Meanwhile, his approval ratings have descended below the survival threshold. Without some sort of remediation, this threatens the entire Usurper enterprise.

     If you’ve wondered why the Regime is so fixated upon federalizing electoral law, now you know. With Washington in control, they could assure themselves of the veneer of legitimacy despite the sad state of affairs at present.

     But it would be a veneer only. The not-stupid American people will not be fooled by a massive vote-fraud campaign when the disapproval of the majority of voters is so plain. They got away with their 2020 electoral theft by the skin of their teeth…which have started to fall out.

     None of this portends well for these United States.


     But that’s the national political status. Our individual statuses vary widely. Some, of course, are merely hoping that “It will all go away” or that “Someone else will take care of it.” Others are bracing for hard times, though how hard they’ll be in actuality remains open to question. Still others are studying the map.

     We older folks are somewhere between the first two positions. Relocation is always a trial and a jolt, even to the young. For one whose seventh decade on Earth has just ended, it’s near to unthinkable. But we do what we can:

  • We fill our pantries;
  • We buy gold and silver;
  • We buy weapons and ammunition;
  • We see to any lingering maintenance needs;
  • We form mutual-defense alliances with our neighbors;
  • We certainly don’t count on things “going back to normal.”

     The “normal” of 2019 will take quite a while to re-establish…if it can be done at all.

     But do have a nice day.

UPDATE: Please, don’t give me advice about how important it is to move out of New York. I’d love to, but for reasons I prefer not to explain, I can’t. So thanks, but that’s that.

All my best,


    • Eugene hotz on January 23, 2022 at 10:28 AM

    Pondering this

    I happen to be one of those “still in the game” of active employment.  Just turned 70 today.  Somewhat like you, Fran, I don’t quite know where this is going.


    For decades I have advocated that two items should be eliminated from ballots: party affiliation and incumbency.  It is my belief that if one is unwilling to take the time for the minimal education to know those prior to voting one is not fit to vote.  I have little confidence these things will be done.

    I also have no affiliation with any party.  As the saying goes “listen to what they say but watch what they do”.  I was very wary of voting for Trump the first time around but was left no choice in 2016.  Having had 4 years to view his governance I heartily voted for him in 2020.  I believe, however, that his time has passed.  Nothing less than a sweeping out of all the vermin in Washington D. C. will be adequate going forth.  That is probably 90% of those holding national office at minimum.  Fresh blood is needed in both parties.


    We shall see.

    • SteveF on January 23, 2022 at 7:27 PM

    Relax, relax: I’m not about to ask you for a status report.

    Certainly not. You should be asking us for a TPS report.

    Please, don’t give me advice about how important it is to move out of New York. I’d love to, but for reasons I prefer not to explain, I can’t.

    Likewise. I’m stuck in upstate NY until someone dies. Several someones, most likely. Maybe something will change but I’m not hopeful. It tends to make one feel discouraged.

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