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I haven’t posted …

… because I’ve been dismayed by the number of people, even here, who’ve begun substituting hostility, authoritarianism, and non-sequiturs for actual thought and discussion.

There’s no point talking to people who are driven by propaganda, fear, or rage. All you can do — at least all I can do — is wait it out.

This, the Time of Covid, is exactly like the months after 9/11.

As then, some of the fearful and propagandized will be permanently changed and will drift into new philosophical or political realms where they’ll remain. They may give up philosophy or skepticism altogether in favor of safe conformity to the norm of the moment. Others will eventually look back with regret on the way they allowed themselves to be manipulated and the way they chose to behave. But by then it’s too late.

I am not talking about disagreement on issues. Disagreement is healthy. I’m talking about (for example) being asked to provide evidence for your positions and, instead, responding with insults, name calling, bizarre changes of subject, or even threats to physically attack those whose choices or viewpoints you disagree with. Worse, I’m talking about people who know better reacting in these ignoble ways.


The one good thing about times like this is you learn who the real solid people are — the people you can count on to retain their character and their brains no matter how the outside world pushes and tugs at them. Unfortunately, the middle of a crisis (or a “crisis”) is a crappy time to have to figure out who your friends are.

I’ve been trying to come up with a bon mot of sorts based on an old political saying. The original goes, “A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. A liberal is a conservative who’s gone to prison.”

I want to add, “A libertarian is a libertarian who’s survived a crisis with principles intact.” But the friend I ran that by say’s it’s nowhere near witty enough. So if you’re interested, I leave you to come up with something better.


Meantime, I’ve been living in the real world and it’s been pleasant there.

I’ve been learning more about wines, thanks to a charming friend.

I learned to make a Margarita the real way, sans sickeningly sweet mixes. The friend who taught me even provided the necessary tools and supplies. The glass, of course, came from a thrift store, as so many good things do:

(And no, BTW, I didn’t drink either wine or Margaritas before writing this.)

The Amazing Sedums on the new rock wall — which two months ago were producing brilliant arrays of green, yellow, and deep red — have decided now to spring forth with glorious purples:

I’ve been enjoying good food, even better company, and that part of the outdoors that finally contains some sun and not so many mosquitos.

I’ve been working my arse off on real stuff, going real places, and socializing with real people. I bless all the steadfast friends of freedom, reason, and civility, both real and “imaginary” (i.e. online). I’m proud to know you.

And frankly, I increasingly give absolutely zero effs about everybody else.


  1. Fred M
    Fred M July 26, 2020 9:08 pm

    Pockets of color invading your rocky slope…absolutely beautiful. Think and act positively Claire.

  2. MacGregor Phillips
    MacGregor Phillips July 26, 2020 9:22 pm

    Pray tell us what this fabulous recipe for Margaritas is. Pretty please!!!

  3. Just Waiting
    Just Waiting July 26, 2020 9:32 pm

    Glad to see you again Claire. And the rock wall sedums look amazing!

    I’m hearing that sane people everywhere are echoing your observations. Too many of those who we once thought reasonable friends have become Co-jerks. And its not just thinking differently, there is a complete collapse of civility invading conversation.

    I’m also hearing way too many folks saying “well if the store managers won’t Make people wear masks, I’ll just report them” and then more people adamantly supporting of them doing it. I hate using communist and nazi comparisons, but people advocating snitching seems more like them than us. The absolutely last thing shopkeepers who have been closed or cut back for 4 months need is a hefty fine because their customers stood too close together.

    But we’re doing like you, enjoying real life in the real world, trying to silence the outside turmoil as much as possible. With X’s guidance I’m getting pretty good at putting holes in paper, C and his mrs are spending some time together. We’re enjoying some wonderful weather. I just bought C a new battery powered chainsaw and weed wacker, she’s in heaven.

    How about: A libertarian is neither a conservative nor liberal, but is someone who has survived a moral (existential?) crisis with their principles unchanged.

  4. Maggie Vee
    Maggie Vee July 26, 2020 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the real check-in. Propaganda would have people believing their is some normal to hang on to or return to, but there is no new normal, just creation and going forward. Love the pics and this blog entry.

  5. Myself
    Myself July 26, 2020 9:42 pm

    I’m honestly glad to hear your living the good life and enjoying yourself, in the end that’s all any of us can do, the powers that be will what they’re going to do, nothing we can do about that, and they’ll keep turning people against each other, nothing we can do about that either, just stay out of the way.

    Let those who wish to sing hallelujah and fight for some savior who is no different than the one they think they’re opposing have at it.

    I stepped out years ago, I rarely even enter the U.S. anymore, I keep in touch with people, but like you, I enjoy good food, good friends, good Whiskey and the occasional good cigar.

    Some years back it crossed my mind that I’ve been knocking around the world for over half a century, and I’m in the last half of my life, and I plan to spend it spending the rewards I gained for all those years running between the raindrops, the world and it’s tyrants were here before I came along, and they’ll be here after I’m gone, there was a time when I had an idea that most people wanted freedom, and I was going to help build, I don’t know, Hardyville? Freetopia? I’ve come to see that most people don’t want freedom, they want a government to get the other, and they’ll give up everything to see it happen, and the tyrants just set the stage and sit back and laugh.

    So yes, please Wise Dear Lady, Enjoy your friends, drinks, food, and LIFE, you’ve more than earned it.

    Perhaps someday I’ll pass that way again, and perhaps you;ll find me worth breaking bread and sharing a bottle.

    P.S. I travel light these days, but I carry your books with me, sometimes I have to hide them, but I’ve hidden a lot from TPTB through the years.

  6. MP
    MP July 27, 2020 4:36 am

    Good to hear you are doing and enjoying real things, Claire! I, too, have been a bit more reclusive from the normal forums (even some that aren’t cesspools these days) and focusing on tangible things that matter and that bring joy. If you can’t beat ’em, ignore ’em.

    How about “A libertarian is someone who has been mugged and gone to prison–and is more a libertarian than ever.”

  7. Jeff2
    Jeff2 July 27, 2020 4:56 am

    On your first paragraph, …sad but true… The world seems to be devolving.

    Love the margarita glass!

    Take care!


  8. DH Young
    DH Young July 27, 2020 6:46 am

    Good for you!

    I spent a few weeks doing a deep dive into immunology & available data. Being a science fiction reader (Andromeda Strain!) but also an anarchist (according to a definition Kent M posted a few years ago), I was–in my opinion anyway–willing to look at the data. See where it led.

    But it was quite clear from the beginning that there wasn’t much going on but a panic. People get into those, and many prosper in their own ways. Most don’t. But…contrary to my science fiction role models I latched onto when I was small…it turns out that dรกta is irrelevant. I can’t even get my mom to think it’s okay to hug her grandkids. Peeps aren’t generally wired to respond to data and logic.

    It doesn’t matter how many research papers I find. Doesn’t matter what statistical analysis of easily obtained data clearly shows.

    It’s like post-911, for sure. Also like talking about network security, monitoring, and the structure of the internet pre-Snowden, or climate change, or vaccines. Or evolution. There are logical, reasonable things to say about all the above. Generally they don’t line up with any particular political position, thus they’re irrelevant. You can’t cure an unwillingness to look at data with more data.

    So I’ve been avoiding “the news” almost entirely for the last couple of months. Every once in a while, maybe two-week intervals, I’ll go check out the CDC data. Nothing to see. Over and over, nothing to see. I’m not sure what I’m even hoping to find. More evidence that people are nuts? Bad news of some other kind? It seems pointless. Nonetheless I occasionally succumb to the temptation.

    Anyway. Congrats on your real world. I’m mostly in mine as well.

  9. Jolly
    Jolly July 27, 2020 7:21 am

    I’ve noticed some “libertarians” jumping on the BLM bandwagon because they’re anti-police. Even the current president of the Free State Project posted positive things in the vein on Facebook. She has since purged that post after getting quite a bit of backlash from it.

    The current riots hijacked a “Blue” problem, and turned it into a “Black” problem. I’m white, and have been abused for YEARS by police all over the country, costing me thousands and thousands of dollars. That said, you can’t disarm people, then disband the police.

    I have a mask, but rarely wear it – usually to appease my spouse or offspring. When I put it on, it perturbs them more, as I’ve written “This is stupid” on it. When I’m in a store, and see others sans mask, I greet them with, “Ah, another unbeliever!” with a smile and a nod.

    Regarding your margarita – when I lived in Italy, the “El Mexicano” restaurant ( and the ONLY Mexican restaurant we found in or near Naples ) had a “Vino Margarita” which was excellent. We never got the recipe from them, but the main flavoring came ( obviously ) from red wine. It was a blended drink, with tequila, and lime, and wine. I think they put some sugar in it, too. No salt around the rim. You might do some experimentation with that…

  10. DH Young
    DH Young July 27, 2020 7:33 am

    I gotta add this. Here in San Antonio, it’s easy to get a “real” margarita. Or even a variation that’s reasonably legit. The original recipe, or so I’ve been told, has three ingredients: unsweetened lime juice, Triple Sec, and tequila.

    I’m okay with substituting some other liqueur in place of the Triple Sec. Pointless in most cases, but people do like to be special. But IMO the other ingredients are sacrosanct. Well…mostly. Some other fruit juice, maybe, as long as it’s not called a margarita? I could live with that.

    Think of me as a margarita-enabled version of the Reinheitsgebot beer purity folks. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter.

    But it’s a sensitive issue, at least for my whimsical side! And it’s divisive as hell, too.

  11. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal July 27, 2020 9:03 am

    …learning more about wines
    Is that code for drinking a lot? Either way, I approve.

    I’ve said several times that I’m agnostic about masks. I don’t care if someone wears one or not. But I’m always opposed to “mandatory”. I’m also unimpressed with those who scream at others for their choice on masks.

    With all the hysteria on both sides of the “masks restrict oxygen”?”No they don’t; they can’t” I did my own experiment and found that, yes they do… just not very much. Still I’d rather test things for myself, when possible, than to accept anyone’s word as Truth.

    My parents caught, and recovered from, The Corona. I was thoroughly exposed and apparently didn’t catch it. But the vacation in the mountains that I need and had been anticipating got canceled. Blah. Life goes on.

  12. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2020 9:14 am

    “Pray tell us what this fabulous recipe for Margaritas is. Pretty please!!!”

    Well, I hope I don’t stir up controversy in San Antonio or anyplace else, but here goes. This is not the exact recipe as my friend gave it to me, but my adaptation of it. I’m a wuss when it comes to booze and the original was a tad strong for me, but it’s definitely better than using some sugar-saturated mix:


    1.5 oz Tequila
    0.75 oz Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
    0.25 oz simple syrup (half sugar; half water)
    EITHER 6 drops of saline solution or salt on rim
    1.5 small limes, juiced

    Combine above ingredients
    Fill shaker 1/2-2/3 full of ice
    Pour in ingredients
    Close and shake about 1/2 minute
    Strain into glass

    If using a salted rim, run one of the lime pieces around the rim of the glass, then smoosh the rim around in coarse-grained salt

  13. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2020 9:21 am

    Thank you, everybody, for such nice replies.

    I was expecting a firestorm (which I realize may yet arise). So your responses are particularly welcome.

    (And sorry, Kent, not drinking much more. One glass of wine or 3/4 of a Margarita and I fall asleep. I was simply not made for boozing — or even for being a devoted connoisseur. I’ve been enjoying what I’m drinking, though. Does that count?)

  14. Larry Arnold
    Larry Arnold July 27, 2020 9:33 am

    IMHO the problem with the current cancel culture isn’t the ones screeching and twitter-ching, it’s the grownups (who should know better) who are enabling them.

    The president of Boeing should have said, “We hired this VP because he’s qualified and competent. He’s doing a good job furthering our primary mission, making sure our customers fly safely and arrive on time. An article he published decades ago is irrelevant to his current job performance. He is a valued member of the Boeing team and we stand behind him.”

    CEOs need to notice what happened to Goya. The president said something nice about POTUS. The Twittercult freaked “OrangeManBad” and called for a boycott of Goya brand foods. Folks who live in the real world (who, news flash, aren’t all living on social media) responded, and Goya’s sales went through the roof. Those who consider the ‘buy-cott” an anomaly might remember that J.K. Rowling is still being published, and Harry Potter is still selling books and movies.

    The proper response to hate speech demands, Right or Left, is to tell the authors to pound sand.

    Oh, and:
    “Libertarians in the midst of crisis take a NAP.”

  15. Comrade X
    Comrade X July 27, 2020 9:42 am

    real libertarians know good wine, whiskey and smoke means freedom so why not smell the flowers when ever you can and be free!

  16. ellendra
    ellendra July 27, 2020 9:52 am

    Everybody’s a freedom fighter, until someone else does something stupid.

    Real freedom means respecting the fact that people have the freedom to make choices you disagree with, as long as they aren’t encroaching on the rights of others. Call it a litmus test. And yes, a lot of people are showing their true colors right now.


    On a different topic, how’s the community garden project doing?

  17. WolfSong
    WolfSong July 27, 2020 10:05 am

    The flowers are so pretty!
    Bet that rock wall looks fabulous with those pops of colour in it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve definitely learned who our Tribe is through out this whole thing.
    Some folks who I really thought were a part of it have turned into shrieking harpies at the slightest of disagreement with the expected (in some cases, mandated) status quo.
    Sad, but I just cut ’em loose ’til either sanity comes back or not at all.
    But we’ve also added a few folks who were unexpectedly solid in their belief in freedom.
    My Tribe has shrunk, but at least those who remain are steadfast and honorable.
    We’ll get through and we’ll persevere.

    (I’ll add…I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I expect basic courtesy. If we disagree on something, we can disagree without the nastiness…and if not we can part ways. Which is what I’ve done with a fair few folks.)

    Meanwhile, we’re working hard on growing as much food as we can, setting up a new 2 acre garden for next year, and enjoying some fine whiskey and loud music.
    In these times I prefer to work on food for the body, while enjoying food for the Spirit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2020 10:45 am

    “Libertarians in the midst of crisis take a NAP.”

    LOL! I like ’em all. But this suggestion has the most proper wit. Pithy, LarryA. Very pithy.

    Now if only millions more people knew what a capital-NAP is …

  19. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2020 10:49 am

    “On a different topic, howโ€™s the community garden project doing?”

    Sigh. I was afraid you’d ask. Alas, the project died aborning. The person who organized the project quit before it even got going (just because her life went haywire). That left only two of us working on it in one of the coldest, wettest springs in recent memory and we didn’t last or draw any new recruits for various reasons. Oh well. Excuses, excuses.

    However, I did disburse your squash and bean seeds around the neighborhood and while I’m sorry to report that conditions were just too cool and soggy for the beans this year, the squash is doing fine.

    Some survival-vault seeds Pat sent also germinated just fine in my home garden, but currently it’s a battle to see whether the slugs or I enjoy the crop first.

  20. Joel
    Joel July 27, 2020 1:43 pm

    Glad to see you. I was getting worried.

  21. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail July 27, 2020 8:24 pm

    Sounds like a lovely margarita recipe. I do not enjoy them often, but a good one is well worth the occasion.

    As to the rest – I find myself retiring more and more from any discussion or debate, as both sides become more and more dug in. This all ends rather poorly, I fear; my biggest concern is weathering the storm to the other side.

  22. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge July 28, 2020 1:31 pm

    The ancient Greeks said that law was reason devoid of passion.

    I think politics is passion devoid of reason.

    My tribe has also shrunk a bit in this similar to post 911 environment. It shrunk over 20 years ago when my son was diagnosed with severe autism, so I’ve dealt with cutting people loose before.

  23. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge July 28, 2020 1:46 pm

    To Larry Arnold – That’s got to be the sanest, most logical reply to cancel culture that I’ve ever heard.

  24. Daylan
    Daylan July 28, 2020 4:40 pm

    I am curious about that you mean with “But by then itโ€™s too late.”? Unless irreparable harm is done won’t a sincere apology (and restitution) be sufficient? Too late for the ‘soul’?

  25. buddhaha
    buddhaha July 28, 2020 8:50 pm

    A libertarian is a Libertarian who has run headfirst into reality.

    I drink Irish, so I’m of no help for Margaritas. I have a hard time distinguishing Tequila from high quality ‘shine. A Philistine, I know.

  26. -s
    -s July 29, 2020 11:43 am


    Speaking for myself, after someone that I once trusted shows me that they are a coward, a hypocrite, or worse, it really is too late. The sincere apology will go right out the window with the next crisis. How would they make restitution?

    An unconditional apology might convince me to attempt civil conversation with them, but only on topics I know are “safe.” I could never trust a person like that again.

  27. Claire
    Claire July 29, 2020 5:40 pm

    Yes, what -s said, Daylan.

    A person who can’t be counted on when times get tough is a person who can’t be counted on when times get tough, period. No apology or attempt at restitution alters that. That goes double when the person actually abandoned their own claimed principles. And triple when they abandoned principles out of mere panic or media influence, and not under any huge, compelling, and personal threat.

    A sincere apology might re-establish polite relations, but there’s no restitution in the world that can turn a betrayer into a non-betrayer.

  28. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth July 29, 2020 5:57 pm

    Hang in there, Claire. It is indeed demoralizing to see otherwise intelligent people become what they behold (and for such pointless, trivial reasons, too), and it’s all the more so when you realize that your own kids deserve an explanation for it, when they see it happen with their own eyes. “I don’t understand it myself” feels like a cop-out, but I sure as hell don’t have a better response, either.

    Not that we don’t try. Let’s just say that my 8- and 11-yo daughters already have a working understanding of the Allegory of the Cave, and my 5yo son regularly asks innocent questions that neatly illustrate the utter cognitive dissonance of the “ZOMG LOCK IT DOWN NOW” mindset.

    It’s just not that hard to figure out the con, here, as the protection racket it is; hell, protection rackets are as predictable as sunrise. What’s so dumbfounding is how such bad snake oil can be so effective on otherwise intelligent people–and not just the shameless partisans who so thoroughly out themselves by going so far out of their way to tell you how “woke”, informed, and aware they are.

    Anyway, I struggle with it too, and try to capitalize on what I can to stay sane. The extended stoopid has given me a chance to spin up a facelifted and rebooted Rifleman Savant, which focuses more on education and training than on the uppity-peasant bits, which still remain at the dormant-but-not-quite-yet-defunct Blogger site. I’m pretty happy with that launch thus far (especially Cathy’s great photos of me working with the girls). And I’m really proud of my family for bucking the naysayers and carrying through, even with sanctimonious resistance from the other organizers, with our town’s beloved annual Mud Games, which for all the gratuitous and snotty Chicken Little-ing, came off pretty much exactly as we were hoping for–with rather more specific personal, backchannel thanks from the (predictably) meager turnout than we’d have ever guessed. (“Of course I was going to come. You spoke to me like an independent equal who can make her own decisions.”)

    Of such things are soul food made, these days. (Hey, it was you, Claire, who first really made me realize that the whole point of all this freedomista-ing, is actually to live free. I do my best to lean on that, when the outrage fatigue sets in and tries to make me crazy. I’m not always as good at it as I want to be, but I’m never disappointed in the result when I do it right. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    Finally, for me, the best ‘rita is a rock glass of sipping tequila with a splash of lime juice. Sure, the Triple Sec addition is nice too, but kinda gilding the lily. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’m with you, too–I consume hardly any alcohol at all, any more, but when I do, I make that one drink count with good stuff.)

  29. Comrade X
    Comrade X July 30, 2020 9:38 am

    methinks it all comes down to this;

    “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart.”

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    There are lines being drawn and we all get to decide which side we want to be on, it is an everyday matter but once you decide wrong getting back to the other side becomes a lot harder IMHO.

  30. John Wilder
    John Wilder July 30, 2020 9:20 pm

    Well, I promise to play nice.

    For whatever reason, when we go out, The Mrs. makes me order her Margarita for her. No idea why. She likes hers liquid-like, with tequila. I gave up tequila after one evening. That was enough for a lifetime.

  31. pitbullrn
    pitbullrn August 1, 2020 4:44 am

    Darlin, it’s YOUR blog. No need to tolerate meaness or rudeness. That’s what the “delete” button is for! Blessings!

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