A friend of mine works in a field that’s on the cutting edge of the cutting edge. He’s a problem-solving genius and his reputation has taken him all over the world.
This cutting edge business (like any industry) utilizes many types of experts. Some are experts in exciting new tech. My friend’s expertise, OTOH, happens to be in a specialty that, while absolutely vital, is old tech. It’s not “sexy.” Even the big schools associated with it no longer teach it. Lots of brilliant young people are never learning it even on a theoretical level, and have no idea it even exists, much less how it actually works (or doesn’t) in reality.
My friend tells me, only half joking, that the entire secret of his success lies in a 60-year-old handbook he acquired in college and still has in his library.
His claim about the source of his expertise is a slight exaggeration with a big spoonful of self-deprecation thrown in. But it is telling.
Sure, things get forgotten over time. The world changes and renews, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes better or worse depends on your point of view. Classical Greek gets forgotten, then rediscovered, and is on the way to being forgotten again. Nobody learns cursive handwriting any more. How many of you guys could build a forge or forge a knife? Buggy whip factories are in short supply these days. How many housewives can make clothes from scratch (and I mean from growing and picking the fibers)? How many voyagers can navigate by the stars? How many students can do math in their heads? Heck, most of us can’t even remember our best friends’ phone numbers, now that our phones do it for us.
Some losses are greater than others. And some are good riddance — as long as complex civilization provides.
Here’s the thing: my friend’s expertise is not only vital to this one cutting-edge industry. It’s vital to all industry. And to civilization. And it is being forgotten.
What happens when the people who come after him can’t design or fix or even identify the machinery that runs the world?
I thought about this the other day while reading a pair of columns.
In the first, Charles Hugh Smith asks, “Can a Nation Prosper as its Institutions Fail?”
The short answer I’d give is, “Sure. For a while.” Centuries before Charles Hugh Smith was born, Adam Smith noted that “there is a lot of ruin in a nation.” CH Smith’s answer is more detailed and focuses on the inevitable failure of bureaucracies, and specifically of the Federal Reserve.
The second column, really an essay, is linked from Smith’s. In it, social theorist Samo Burja sets out to explain “Why Civilizations Collapse.”
Burja’s take can’t be definitive (it’s a few thousand words, and it took Edward Gibbon six volumes and more than 13 years to detail the fall of just one civilization), and freedomistas might find many points of disagreement. There’s a lot there, though, in both the essay and its links.
One of many aspects Burja covers is forgotten knowledge like my friend trades in. Burja gives, as an example, how the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, in just a few short years, lost the know-how to make a key component for building and updating nuclear weapons and had to spend more than a decade and tens of millions of dollars reinventing the technology.
Burja talks a great deal about institutional collapse and how it leads to or meshes with overall civilizational collapse:
Institutional failure comes as a surprise because organizations try to hide their shortcomings. They lean on other, more functional organizations in order to keep up appearances. During civilizational collapse, no organization can properly hide its own inadequacy, since the whole interdependent ecosystem of institutions is caving in on itself. States, religions, material technologies, and ways of life that once seemed self-sustaining turn out to have been dependent on the invisible subsidy of just a few key institutions.
Hm. Sounds a bit close to home, doesn’t it?
I strongly urge you to go read both Smith and Burja and follow Burja’s links down what might turn out to be a very deep rabbit hole.
I bring this up as a means of edging back toward my own abortive theme from late last year. I wrote regarding the need for a strong contingent of freedomistas to withdraw as much as possible from the corrupt “now” and either create new institutions or preserve knowledge of the intellectual, moral, or physical tools that built Western civilization.
Somehow, this old blog has recently required a lot of new readers, and many of them (coming in from more warlike sites) accused me of “leading people astray,” “trying to compromise with evil,” cowardice, or urging my readers to adopt the kind of passivity, normalcy bias, and blind hopefulness that overcame European Jews as Hitler decided on his Final Solution.
These n00bs don’t know me very well, do they? (One even guessed, on his own blog, that I write from the viewpoint of someone “older, affluent, and religious,” to which I can only say, “One out of three ain’t bad.”)
“You can run but you can’t hide,” is the general message of many of these n00bs. “If you aren’t preparing to take up arms right now,” they insist, “you’re betraying liberty.”
It’s one of those weird quirks of human nature — and certainly of today’s political nature — to assume that if Person A advocates action X or chooses lifestyle Y, then Person A therefore believes that every other human on the planet should do the same and that nobody, ever, anywhere should choose options Z or B or Omega. (Alternatively, you may choose other paths as long as they’re on some unspoken list of approved options.)
Certainly those types are common, as anyone who’s ever had a long talk with a militant vegan, a wokester, or for that matter the more assh*le type of libertarian, knows. Some of the most scornful recent blog comments have been from those “my way or the highway” types. They don’t get that my way (and your way, if you are truly pro-freedom and not just anti-TPTB) is “different strokes for different folks.”
It won’t do any good in reaching those critics, most of whom have probably departed this blog in disgust anyhow. But I do want to clarify a few things about what I actually advocate and why. I want to concentrate particularly on this area of retreating, preserving, and rebuilding, which so many would-be fighters object to.
It’s simple enough to put into bullet points, and much of it you surely already know.
- Our civilization is collapsing.
- Few civilizations ever return from the brink of collapse. They may not immediately blow away with the wind, but they are never as good again.
- Collapse can take a much longer time than most people imagine, or a civilization can go boom and implode quickly.
- There are likely to be a lot of ups and downs in the process — decadent decades interspersed with fondly recalled “golden ages.” But the overall trend will be down.
- War usually either accompanies, triggers, or hastens the collapse.
- There may and probably will be — in our own future — wars, depressions, tyrannies, coups, scandals, assassinations, revolts, overthrows, etc. etc. along the way. We know the pattern; we can’t know the timing or the outcome.
- One of the oddities of long-term collapse (as Burja emphasizes) is that as losses accelerate, most people don’t even realize what’s gone. They may bitch about how bad current conditions are, but as generations pass, they don’t have any living experience of when conditions were better. AND they don’t have the education or knowledge to tell them what created those better conditions.
Back to our contemporary case:
- Taking up arms against tyranny, by itself, has no chance of restoring freedom or a reality-based culture.
- For a restoration or renaissance, we need a strong minority that’s principled, adept at teaching and motivating, prepared for hard times, respectful of individual choice, and knows a lot about history.
- That requires a contingent of intelligent, determined, active, far-seeing people to step aside from the corruption. They need to think, live differently, and create differently.
- Some of that contingent will aim to preserve old knowledge.
- Some of that contingent will (through inclination or sheer chance) work on creating the new. Both contingents have other functions if war does come.
- Militants appear to forget how much support fighters need, from food supplies and medical care to safe houses and spiritual counsel. Not to mention the huge need for covert aid from non-combatant smugglers, spies, and saboteurs. Those who have rejected and ejected the old order from their lives are among those well-positioned to offer assistance.
- Many of those who step outside the corrupt order will be older or female or disabled or they’ll be parents with young children or skilled homesteaders or former members of dying institutions (medical, educational, etc.)
- A lot of these people will be or become what I call Freedom Outlaw Ghosts. But Freedom Outlaw Moles and Agitators also play key non-combatant roles. (And I hope to share a delightful story about that with you if a particular Mole and a particular Agitator will allow me.)
- Such people will fight if they must, but avoid combat as their first option.
- Some who walk away from corrupt society will do it for reasons that seem entirely selfish and cowardly to single-minded militants. Some reasons may be entirely selfish. But running counter to the mainstream is not for cowards — particularly as the mainstream becomes more totalitarian. Outsiders have not taken on an easy job — and they can help those who have even tougher jobs.
- If collapse accelerates and/or if totalitarians wage war on us uppity peasants in their mad desire to impose their unworkable will, many of those who step outside the corrupt order may eventually be destroyed, along with fighters and millions of uninvolved innocents.
- But some who walk away will survive and thrive. Even if those numbers are few, their works and what they manage to preserve of the best works of others — including intellectual works, hands-on skills, and healthy attitudes toward their fellow humans — have a chance to be built upon, sooner or later.
I’ve talked before about Rod Dreher, the conservative writer who believes staunch Christians will eventually need to take “The Benedict Option” — that is, form communities of protection, preservation, and faith based on the fifth-century monastic model of St. Benedict.
I admire Dreher’s work, though I’m not in his target audience. I also look back earlier. We need a contingent of freedomistas (of any religion or none) who are more like the pre-monastic Desert Fathers. The DFs have analogs in other cultures. Similar Outsiders arise whenever people begin to sense that their culture and its institutions are terminally corrupt. I’ll stick with the DFs because I’m most familiar with them.
The DFs were the ones who, beginning in the third century, looked around at the utterly corrupt and collapsing Roman Empire and said, “Hell no. I’m outa here. For the sake of my sanity, my spirit, and all that I believe, I’d rather go out, live in a cave, and eat bugs rather than pretend to be happy with this rotten-to-the-core sham of prosperity and power politics.”
At first they were lone hermits and ascetics. Then some of them became tourist attractions (really). Then they began to coalesce into hermit communities. Dreher’s cherished monasticism grew out of those informal communities.
No matter what you think of their religion or their lifestyle, those monastics, by keeping literacy alive, by copying and in dangerous times squirreling away classical knowledge, ended up enabling the Renaissance.
I hope very little bug-eating is in our future. Personally, I’m against it. And the caves in my part of the world are far too cold and damp.
What I aim to say here is that We the (segment of the) People who step away, refuse to go along to get along, work peaceably with fellow freedomistas of many stripes, and either preserve the worthwhile past or begin rebuilding for a principle-based future are pioneers.
Pioneers, even some of the biggest screwups, the most tragic failures, are useful. So however much our actions are reviled or eventually repressed — however much others view us as cowardly do-nothings — however badly some of us fail — however much our names are forgotten by history — we are purposeful people doing a purposeful thing for freedom and civilization.
Let others doubt it as they wish.
Let time prove it true.
Nice post Claire. Love waking up to your thoughtful words.
While I’m armed, I am not a fighter. My realtor who owns some land said to me not long after I bought this little farm, “Who knows, one day we may be hiding Christians on our properties.” To which, I responded, “That is the purpose of the farm”. At my age, to start over completely and go from wearing suits and consulting across the country, to worming goats and hauling water, repairing fencing, in muddy overalls, is somewhat comical. But, there is an important, very important, purpose. I have withdrawn from society almost entirely because it’s so shockingly sick, even many churches (so sad). I work every day developing the self-sufficiency needed to feed, protect, and yes, hide, the people I love. I have withdrawn my consent from the government. The bare minimum contact with the government is to file tax returns (wherein I legally pay almost zero), carry insurance as required, and carry required licenses. Our leaders are liars, cheaters, and traitors. The entire economy is in meltdown and they spend their time prosecuting innocent “paraders”, lecturing, and robbing us blind rather than listening to us and righting the wrongs. Not to mention they are about to get us into WWIII, are actively working on The Great Reset wherein they will own the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we live on. I once taught at the University level, and I no longer recommend darkening the door of “higher education” because it has become “higher indoctrination”. Critical thinking is dead. A seemingly large part of our society have become rude, self-centered, and demanding. Who even wants to be around such people? In my little rural community, people are “normal”, quick to help, quick with a smile, go about their own business, and actually have conversations. It’s like a little oasis in a very mad world.
I see my role as a supportive one in Freedomista world. It is important to get a good night’s rest and have a full belly when one is fighting demons. I’m studying the ways of old and trying to incorporate them as I go along, with the idea that should such luxuries that we enjoy disappear, I will know how to keep things running. That’s where I’m at.
Too much here to reply to, so I’ll concentrate on one of the early points – the loss of “how things are built.”
Virtually every day around here, on craigslist, I see machinist tools being sold. Inevitably, they’re sold by very old guys, with a garage full of extremely large and heavy electrically-powered – machines.
These machines literally create machines. They are the bottommost turtle holding up the modern age. In the 1990s and later, the US companies sold most of their machinist tools to China. Now we get crap 2nd-tier machines back and can’t manufacture them ourselves.
On a related note, there is an arrogance today that our ancestors – while rugged – really didn’t know as much “stuff” as we do now, and that “old technology” while quaint, is really completely and utterly inferior to the cool gadgets we have now.
Up here in New England – everybody is incentivized by the tax code to get rid of their “old” oil-burning furnaces and use propane. These “old” furnaces work fine, have thermostats, are very safe, and quite effective. ‘course they need electricity to run and if an ice storm occurs – there go your pipes. The propane replacements also need electricity, obviously.
I’ve discovered an 85 year-old oil furnace – 50,000 BTU – that does NOT require ANY electricity. You set it up, tweak the exhaust draft a little ( once on install ), fill it, light it, and it’ll go until you turn it off or run out of fuel.
All with ZERO electrical input. It’s even smaller than most modern furnaces. After attaching to my 275 gallon oil tank, that furnace can keep my house pretty warm for 2 months!
THAT is pretty freaky tech, if you ask me. There are all kinds of other examples, too. The small engines in lawnmowers are basically 90 year-old tech.
Our ancestors knew what they were doing.
Very good post. I especially concur with the first entries in your two sets of bullet points. I suppose I am a ‘ghost’ but in essence I have always been a separate individual and not social creature. As I aged and progressed down life’s path any desire to join in the society around me became increasingly less desirable from its already minimal starting point as that society became increasingly corrupt and debased and as its reality and substance became more and more at odds with its delusional self-image. As I approach the end of my time here this has provided one blessing, I will feel no reluctance at the leaving.
Claire, now I’m totally curious as to what the un-sexy old tech is. I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. 😉
I just finished another Texas Hunter Ed class, a dozen young folks who either want to find out what the outdoors are like, or “to get the course under my belt so I can hunt unaccompanied.” A mom sat in with her son, a dad with his daughter, and a grandpa who I taught back in the day brought his two grandsons. There’s a lot of “old tech” in that class.
I taught more new-shooter “This is the end the bullet comes out of” classes last year than in the four years before. Again, 19th Century tech.
More young Democrats are tuning in to Tucker Carlson than to CNN and MSNBC. Classically liberal Joe Rogan draws 11 million viewers, multiples of the MSM. Even the ever-bland Canadians are getting uppity.
Meanwhile, TPTB are trying desperately to shut down those opposing voices, and failing.
I recently heard someone say the Left has crossed a very dangerous line. A lot of liberal voters who voted for Biden are now seeing politicians saying that parents shouldn’t have a say in what schools teach their children and are mandating vaccinations for toddlers. A sitting congresscritter unmasked for a photo op in the midst of mask-mandated kindergartners. Parents are not happy their kids are in the line of cultural fire. Evidently TPTB who constantly say, “It’s for the children” don’t understand what that means to Mama Bears or real Fathers.
In other news, as Granny points out, WWIII is a very real possibility.
The storms are gathering. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. If we make it that far, November 8 should be a very interesting day.
“An army travels on its stomach.” ascribed to Napoleon by some, and a lesson he should have well learned by the failure with his invasion of Russia.
Logistics and food supply, if anything must be sustained and be a key part of planning.
I would much rather be standing beside those who are looking towards their future survival rather than those who only priority is finding their end in a blaze of glory. Having principles and proper planning are to me three p’s in the same pop, don’t ya know?
i’m going to guess the tech is “scraping for alignment”, IOW, putting a proper precise low friction scraped finish and precise perpendicular alignment on articulating machine tools.
Interesting guess, bryanjb. But no. 🙂
The tech in question is something much more fundamental to civilization and much more difficult to get back if it’s forgotten.
Granny — Great comment as usual, and great role to choose for yourself.
Jolly — I concur on “how things are built” being a serious problem — particularly how simple tech keeps getting complicated in ways that make it work worse. Nice find on that furnace.
R R Schoettker — Eloquently put. A whole life in one paragraph.
larryarnold — You may not have TOO many more sleepless nights (she says mysteriously). I love how things are in your world.
Amen. Wish the blog had an applause icon.
Claire – Your usual good stuff. I can’t imagine anyone stomping away from this blog because they got their feelings hurt from disagreement. If Claire’s blog ain’t civil enough for ya, I dunno what to tell ya.
Darn it Claire!!!! Every time I am nearing the precipice of “Kill them all, let God sort it out!”, you just have to post a well-reasoned piece that pulls me back from the edge.
Regarding the coming & going of readers from the “warlike sites” – I am reminded of my time (many moons ago) aboard a rusty old destroyer when I worked for my (now estranged) Uncle Sam’s yacht club. There were always guys with an attitude of “Without my rate, this ship wouldn’t go anywhere.” Well dude, without EVERY rating, this ship isn’t going anywhere.
The knowledge loss is real. And it does not take so long. I have seen companies lose in 4 years a significant understanding of the technology that they are founded on. Siloed knowledge, limited knowledge transfer systems, limited sharing – one or two critical people leave, and suddenly no-one can quite remember the original construct or formula.
What the last two years have revealed to me is that many people become the very thing that they are against. It is a dangerous thing, to become so against something for so long that you become the very thing you are against. It is even more dangerous that for many, they simply cannot see it.
It is a fair historical statement to say “violence solves things” – otherwise personal self defense would not be effective. At the same time, it is not fair to say that violence solves things in the way we would like. The result of civil wars is often unanticipated: the great conflagration of the Ancient Greek world in the Peloponnesian War resulted in a 70 year period of shifting power to be taken up by Philip and Alexander of Macedon, not Athens and Sparta; Pompey’s Civil War were followed by the wars of Antony and Octavian and the Roman Republic was swept up into Empire, not back to the Repulbic; the sack of Byzantium in 1204 led not to the survival and growth of Outremer but rather to the fall of the Byzantine empire and the real threat of the Ottoman Empire to Eastern Europe; of all the clans that were involved at the start of the Onin War in 1467, few clans survived intact through the next 130 years to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate. New things are usually born of such violence, not old things re-established.
I would not say that your attempt was abortive – for me, it was transformative. You helped give a form and words to something I felt but could not fully express. It was thanks to you that I was introduced to Rod Dreher (the Desert Fathers, oddly enough, I came by on my own; your mention of them reminds me that I have the book of Sayings of The Desert Fathers and should read it again). It was thanks to you and your writing and the commentariat that I was reminded that just because I did not fall into the “Burn it all down now” group, I still had a place and role to play in my own quiet way.
I would argue you scarcely failed, Claire. Your words just revealed fault lines that always existed – and exposed them – while giving a place and a voice to others who felt they had none and were effectively alone in their struggles.
In my mind, those are not unworthy things
Your Obedient Servant, Toirdhealbheach Beucail
Good post, as usual. I only discovered your blog a few months ago, but it’s now one of my staples. I’m going to guess that the tech you have in mind is either writing or control of fire, probably the former (since fire is present in nature, and control can be developed). Your initial comments about it don’t really seem to fully support either, but that’s the best I can think of.
T.B. – Good, thoughtful reply. You’ve read some history. And you are 100% correct – new things are born of violence, not old things re-established. The question is, WHAT new thing will be born when violence finally comes to us, as it well may. It will probably be later rather than sooner, but as a historian you know, so-called civilizations only stay peaceful for so long.
> how simple tech keeps getting complicated in ways that make it work worse
…such as diesel engines over the last 15 or so years, which have gotten just as complex as gasoline engines and even require two different consumables to operate. Older ones, by comparison, run on just about anything vaguely burnable, and the only electrical devices on them might be a starter and an alternator (but once started, it’ll keep running without either of those).
It is a fair historical statement to say “violence solves things” – otherwise personal self defense would not be effective.
Apples and oranges. I would quibble that there is a difference between the justified self-defense “use of force,” controlled, limited, and within the law, and uncontrolled, unlawful, unlimited criminal “violence.”
OTOH, when I hear people (and I have been lately) debate whether it’s “legal” for a state to secede from the U.S. I try to remind them that the legality of revolutions depends on the “Winners write the Laws” rule.
The U.S. is no longer part of Britain because Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, but the Confederacy is still part of the U.S. because Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.
The masks have dropped. We silly people who express our opinions and disgust at the failed institutions are considered domestic terrorists.
@larryarnold – Maybe Oranges and lemons? Agreed that justified use of force and and uncontrolled use of force that could be defined as violence could be different things. At the same time, the same issue with rebellion versus secession you mention below that applies as well. There have been several cases where in the mind of the individual involved, they were justified in the use of force – one particular case (I believe it was in Texas?) comes to mind some years ago, where a gentleman who apparently had did not have good relationships with his neighbors ended up “defending himself” on their property because their music was too loud. I remember it clearly because he recorded the whole thing in to justify his actions. Not saying at all you are justifying such an act but it does create the same question of “in the eye of the beholder”.
(Which is really meant as a clarifying response, not intended as a debate point. No intention to derail the point of the fine original post or discussion around it.)
Secession versus rebellion: In modern times, it falls back to Rousseau: do citizens of the social compact have the right to withdraw from the social contract or are the effectively servants of it for their entire lives because of what their ancestors decided? In ancient times, sadly, it falls back to the response of the Athenian empire to the Melians: “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” It is not just winners, but the powerful that write the rules.
Asimov wrote a story about a civilization where machines failed and humanity survived only because one person had a slide rule and knew how to use it.
Real collapse (as you note) can take decades before the final fall – a girl born at the time of the French Revolution would likely have had multiple children before Waterloo . . .
I just re-read all the robot stories and novels of Asimov last year. I am not familiar with that story. Would you remember the name?
P.S. That story has a personal relevance for me as I lived at the cusp of that technological transformation. When I was working on my associate degree in chemistry in the late 60’s students were required to have a slide rule ( I still have my Post Versalog in a leather case) but by the time I graduated some students were using calculators.
Preserving knowledge is the way to go.
From Kearney’s machine shop books to (now) learning mechanical watch repair, luthier skills, gathering optician tools and books, and learning forging and grinding, gunsmithing and reloading, everything I do is geared toward renew and repair, rather than replace. The Remnant will see us through and beyond…
I also used a slide rule getting my first degree, but then I spent four years in the Army. By the time I returned for my masters, the huge slide rule training aid was gathering dust in a hall of the Physics building.
OTOH my first calculator, in 1975, cost well over $100 and it would add, subtract, multiply and divide. The battery would get you halfway through a 50-minute class.
Ah, the good old days.
Good points, and one reason I stress nonviolent conflict resolution in my Texas License classes.
one particular case (I believe it was in Texas?) comes to mind some years ago, where a gentleman who apparently did not have good relationships with his neighbors ended up “defending himself” on their property because their music was too loud.
I’m guessing neither the prosecutor nor the jury bought that claim.
Wow. How can DHS not understand that “attacks against churches and synagogues” aren’t coming from us deplorables, who attend said synagogues and churches?
I thought about clicking “No-this is not helpful” at the bottom, but decided discretion was the better part of valor.
Yep, slide rule at the university, I even learned how to use these out of curiosity;
Crunching numbers is what these did;
You needed ear protection to work in an office full of them.
But a little large for your pocket they were, don’t ya know?
The tech in question may come in the size of a pocket sized book only thinner. Jurassic Park lesson about shoulders of Giants then just hacking out optimizations with 0 thought to why those Giants would have done things so inefficiently.
Fragility and leanness go hand in glove with the larger implementations meaning more fragility. Don’t garden etc it’s time inefficient causing cascading failures.
Fun 4th world fact, fat belly is the ultimate savings account. As for a separation when times are difficult aside from a life boat people seem to find each other for good or ill usually for good as worthotacracy forms around what one can offer directly. My hope is the performing arts are not seen as valueless
Excellent post Claire!
Tech and skills for quietly living free: For going on fourteen years I’ve been preaching that basic living skills can be learned and practiced by anybody with average learning ability and a real intention to do it. Doesn’t require a huge initial investment, or superhuman survival skills, or anything of the sort. If a stiff old one-legged guy can do it, anybody can. Bring a sense of humor and a willingness to suffer from time to time, and gather tools as the opportunity allows.
Don’t know that I’ve changed a single mind, but I’ve had a lot of fun. And yeah, every now and then I’ll still get some gung-ho Keyboard Kommando who kindly takes the time to school me on how I’ve sold out to The Man: I ought to be digging bunkers or something instead, I dunno. I just smile and wave – you can spend your life hating on The Man, or you can bend your efforts on actually living free. I’ve done it both ways and I know which I prefer.
Nice post Joel.
We have lots of options currently. It’s really about whether or not we wish to inconvenience ourselves. My body doesn’t work so good any more and I’m slogging through more “manual labor” than I think I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve never been so happy. My crowning achievement this past week was purchasing a pitchfork! LOL. The barn had to be cleaned out and well, I’ve seen farmers use pitchforks in the movies so I figured that was the right tool to do the job. LOL. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me any more. I’m living my best life, in freedom, and I’m going to learn to do everything I didn’t think I could do.
“And yeah, every now and then I’ll still get some gung-ho Keyboard Kommando who kindly takes the time to school me on how I’ve sold out to The Man: I ought to be digging bunkers or something instead, I dunno. I just smile and wave – you can spend your life hating on The Man, or you can bend your efforts on actually living free. I’ve done it both ways and I know which I prefer.”
Joel, this is brilliant. Thank you.
ok Claire, i probably don’t have a right to expect another yea or nay on guesses, but depending on how far back that notion of civ goes, its either making electricity, or printing.
btw, i am deeply involved (not yet committed) to making my first guess work on my equipment, of which i a overly proud.
Back when I took the Appleseed course, the quip was “You’re either a Rifleman, or a Cook.” I never could get my rifle zeroed, but I went to the gun shows, set up booths, and talked to the curious. I was a Cook, doing unglamorous but necessary work that few Riflemen were interested in.
Come the revolution, I will not be a soldier. But I’ll be there.
Claire, I have admired your blog for a long time. I read and kept your books. I have not posted but now I must: I am dying to know the ‘secret’ your friend has- so I will posit a guess. All our civilization is run with electrical power, and the AC motor is what it runs on. I used to rewind them in the US Navy. A very difficult skill, and there are VERY few places that can still perform this important task. Nearly all our AC motors come from China, and most are just replaced as opposed to a rewind which is quite costly – shipping to somewhere and back. A handbook on rewinding fits in a pocket- but the equipment to mount the motor on and associated copper wire feeds, etc.
Of course it could be even more simple: who makes the copper wire?
Old Coyote the bedrock of America say power plants nuclear missiles pretty much are frozen in tech from the 60’s to mid 80’s think 2 mb max 5 inch floppy disks that run on coding language no one learns. Uk subs on a updated software? WinXp.
Good to see old salt Joel is spreading common sense from a piratey peg leg
ah ha! my last nuclear plant job was draining sodium from the experiment fast flux at Hanford- they had to keep ‘retired’ programmers around because of the coding languages no one learned… scary eh?
Around here we have a saying, you can always recognize a Fed, they’re the ones with the explosives. Far too often the most radical fringe promoting violence are being paid to do so. It’s a lot easier to make your arrest numbers look good when you’re behind the whole operation, less detective work necessary and you can create the narrative you want.
What is the foundation of so many government agencies’ vast computing systems?
The programmers who are still fluent in that aren’t getting any younger.