Waiting … the end

Never had I, or have I since had such a birth. The evidence that she was a virgin was clear, but so was the evidence that her time was almost on her. She was calm, which was not usual, and when the contractions began in earnest she did not groan and moan as we all do, though the pace of her breathing hastened, and she began to push as she squatted next to me; I held her. But there were none of the cries that were usual. The night was still, and of a sudden, there was a light, one so bright that it seemed that we were in a bubble of it, her and myself; alone, yet not alone.

Then the silence was broken. There was that tell-take cry. As I helped the babe out I held him and I felt something I have never felt before, something which has never left me.

Joseph came in response to the cry, as fathers will.

“Congratulations, you are the father of a healthy baby boy”, I told him. He smiled. “No, I am not the father.” Then, seeing the look on my face he said, “you would not understand, even if I could explain. Let’s settle for it being a miracle. You know now she was a virgin.”

I must have looked even more puzzled, as he looked at me and smiled. “Yes, and what is more, she still is. Her maidenhead expanded to allow the baby to leave, but has closed again.” I smiled back. “You are right, even if you could explain, I am sure I would not understand.” He looked me in the eyes. “Do you need to?” I shook my head. “No, no, all I know is this is special.”

“He is,” came the voice of Miriam. She was cradling the child in the swaddling band in which I had placed him. She had about her not only none of the post-partum exhaustion with which I was familiar but also something unique.

Young red-haired Mary touched me on the shoulder. I had asked her to stay because, well sometimes even an experienced doula needs a second pair of hands, but as it had turned out, she had simply observed.

“What happened, auntie?” I asked her what she meant.

“I have been at another birth, but it was not like this. There were blood and pain, there was anguish more like a death than birth.”

I admitted to her that this was different, but declined to explain; in fact, I could not have explained. Mary pushed me, but I would say no more and sent her for refreshments.

She came back with a welcome jug of wine and some bread. I gave some to Miriam, but she was so preoccupied with her baby that she hardly noticed. Joseph stood over her, over them, and I saw him as their protector; something told me she, they, would need it, but that he would do well. Mary asked me why young girls had to marry “old men” and I told her that there was much to be said for it. They would bother a girl less and die sooner, and they would have money – what more could a girl want? She said that sounded cynical.

The baby cried. I helped Miriam put him to her breast. He fastened on at once and gave suck. I could see she was a natural. Her baby was in good hands, and my work was done.

Then, of a sudden, there was a light and noise, the sound of men’s voices. “Where is he who is born king of the Jews?” They were men of substance, but not from these parts. Young Mary quickly ran her fingers through her hair and looked interested.

Joseph asked them what they meant.

“We saw a star in the East and it was a sign, it led us here, and we were told we should find here the king of the Jews. We told King Herod, but he could not help us, though he said we should tell him when we found you.”

Joseph looked puzzled.

“Are you the Sages?”, young Mary asked. “You said you would be here earlier, I waited at the crossroads.”

“Here is a piece of gold for your trouble. Have you secured the accommodation as our man asked?”

Mary looked sheepish.

“Yes, I booked three places in case you wanted rooms for your servants.” That, it seemed, was why Joseph and Miriam could find no rooms.

They approached the babe.

“Here”, said the first of them to Miriam, “I have gold for the king.”

“Here”, said the second of them to Miriam, “I have frankincense for the god.”

“Here”, said the third of them to Miriam, “I have myrrh for the suffering.”

Miriam took the gifts and handed them to Joseph. She seemed unsurprised. The three men knelt before Miriam and the babe.

We left them. Mary and I stood outside drinking some wine. Across the far horizon, the signs of dawn were unmistakable. Joseph came out to join us and drank some wine with us.

“What will you call the babe?” Mary asked.

“He is named already by He whose name we do not say. He is to be called Jesus.”

“Well”, said Mary with a smile, “Here’s to Jesus.”

And so, as the sun rose on a new day, we toasted the baby.

A Harlot’s Way: 4 Bethany

Hebrew has too few names, as poor Luke has been finding. I have, as I know others have been feeding him snippets as memories come to me. It seems there is a real desire among those coming fresh to the faith to know more about Jesus, even if all we really need to know is known – that he is the Messiah and our bridge to salvation. I understand it, and Luke is an angel to put himself to the task. I know that Mother Mary has told him much that was known formerly only to a few of us. There, though, is the problem, that name – Mary.

I have suggested to Luke that he should solve his problem by referring to us by our place of residence or birth. Mother Mary, or Miriam as I first knew her, is not a problem – there is one of her. But all those other Marys, I am sure that one day someone will confuse us all. It’s to be hoped that Mary of Bethany never gets confused with me, it would be unfair on the poor creature. She is the sweetest of women and as fond of Jesus as any of us, and, unlike some, didn’t mind showing it because she knew it would never be misinterpreted – except by Peter – but then his capacity to get things wrong should never be underestimated.

Just in case anyone imagined that when Paul calls us “saints” it meant what you might imagine, that last barb of mine shows otherwise. I know Paul means well, of course he does, he says so loudly and often. He’s now as earnest for Jesus as he used to be about persecuting his followers. But he never met him in the flesh, never walked with him, ate with him, or talked the sun down the sky with him, and I sometimes think he feels it, not least when that other bull-headed apostle, Peter, rubs it in when trying to prove a point. Paul is a good deal smarter than Peter, but, as Peter is apt to remind us all when he feels threatened, “Jesus chose me first.” I have been known to remind Peter that he also chose me and that since the “first shall be last” it behooves both of us to bear it in mind. I am told that that scowl he shoots at me at such times crosses over into a “who does she think she is?” in private. He could, of course, try that line on me – but he doesn’t. I am quicker with my brain and tongue than he is. But if it makes him feel secure, let it be is what I say. Anyway, all that happens if I make such noises is that he and Paul suddenly close ranks and start muttering about women knowing their place and not teaching men. As though anyone except Jesus could teach two men who know everything anything! To listen to the pair of them, you’d not imagine that Jesus was surrounded by women as he preached, funded by us so that he and the others could live, or that women like myself and Junia were active in spreading the word. The Way is not the synagogue. Jesus did not segregate women, neither did he treat us the way any rabbi would or does. I can see that Peter and Paul would like to revert, and that’s one reason I support Luke’s project. Dear Theophilus has done a splendid job of providing the scribes and the papyrus, and I am glad that he and Luke like my idea of using codices rather than papyrus scrolls. The latter are cumbersome if you are traveling about, and Paul has already adopted the fashion for those letters of his telling his churches to buck their ideas up. Dear Paul. I’d like to like him, but much as I admire (and help fund) his work, he is often his own worst enemy, which isn’t the best idea when his manner provides a ready supply of the same.

It was a good job he was not there at Simon the Leper’s, though no doubt it is one of the things Peter will have raised with him. I remain unrepentant, but having started, should say more lest I lose the thread. The light fades earlier here than back home, and I need more papyrus, but that can await the morrow.

It was not long after Jesus had brought Mary of Bethany’s brother, Lazarus, back from the dead. Normally when passing through Bethany he would have stopped at Martha and Mary’s, but Simon, who had also been cured by Jesus, invited him – and the others – for supper. As I had been with Martha and Mary earlier, I thought I’d go over to see if there was anything I could do.

Whether it was Simon’s long absence from the norms of social life because of his illness, or whether it was his natural pharisaical sense of superiority, either way, the first thing I noticed was that Jesus’ feet were still dirty. It wasn’t the sort of thing which worried him, but it did me, so I went back to Martha and Mary’s and asked if they still had that oil which I had left there to be sold to support the ministry. They handed me the alabaster flask without asking what I intended to do with it, though I think dear Mary knew.

Jesus smiled when he saw me. I suddenly felt a chill. For some time he had been talking about what would happen when he went to Jerusalem next week, and on more than one occasion, Peter had remonstrated with him. On a sudden, it came to me. Jesus was telling us that he would have to die for our sins, that was what he had been telling us in his usual oracular manner, he was going to die.

That thought hit me as I knelt to begin to wash his feet before I anointed them with the nard. He looked at me and quietly nodded; he knew that I knew. The tears flowed. The others looked at me. Simon, who had neither forgiven nor forgotten my past, remonstrated with Jesus, asking with incredulity if he knew who I was. As my tears fell on Jesus’ feet, I used my skirts to wipe them, and then, as my skirts were damp, I unbraided my hair and used it to wipe his feet. If that upset Simon, the host with the least, as I called him, then what I did next upset both Peter and Judas.

Taking the phial of nard, I poured it onto his poor aching feet, and, with my accustomed skill, massaged it in so that he got the full benefit. Peter was indignant, but that was as nothing compared to Judas, who started banging on about how much money it could have raised for the poor. I couldn’t be bothered to point out that it was my nard, my money which supported him, and my business what I did with it. As it happened, I didn’t need to. Jesus told Simon a story about the nature of forgiveness and told Peter and Judas that I was anointing his body for burial. That shut them up, though I know it added to Peter’s irritation with all the talk about Jesus dying. Poor old Peter, he really only got it afterward – hence, no doubt, his defensiveness with me.

It was a bitter-sweet moment. Jesus knew, and I knew, that the next time I touched him, he would be dead. I had faith that he would do what he had always said he would do, and show that death had no dominion. I did not know what that meant, but I believed. That, as I told Paul on more than one occasion, is the definition of faith.


At the Lake

‘Do you know, it took me a long time to reconcile with this.’He looked back to the window, watching a deer grazing at the forest’s edge, panting and crying coming from behind him. The winter’s snow-covered the forest before him. A deer was lapping at a puddle by its hooves before a crack in the midst sent it bolting into the trees.

‘I don’t know…if this is right…if…if…but fuck, why did you have to do it?!’ He turned and flung the hunting knife he was holding into the knee of a man tied to a chair in the middle of the room. His scream rent the air, the windows of the room practically reverberating with his pain, as the knife was pulled out and the man stormed out of the room into the cold, wintry air.

Breathing hard and eager to distance himself from the yells behind him, he trudged through the snow, heading towards a jetty which sat snugly before a huge, frozen lake. His mind was racing, his thoughts a jumble and before he knew it, he was kneeling to sit at the water’s edge. The silence was deafening, the air freezing, the mist over the distant forests creating a cocoon from which his thoughts screamed and ripped at the edges.

Only 2 short years earlier, his life had been perfect. A happy marriage, decent job, baby on the way, and in one terrible evening, it changed forever. As he ruffled his hair, all he could think about was her; next minute, his imaginings, more terrible than the actual crime, came to the fore and he shook his head, as if trying to throw off an annoying fly, and looked out to the lake.

As he looked, it changed before him. The sky, misty white, changed to periwinkle blue and the newly arrived sun shone over a busy lake; lots of boaters, plenty of swimmers, and the sound of music, chatter, and splashing muffled from the distance. He watched as a rowing boat broke off from the clutter of boats on the far west side of the lake and moved towards a wooded section on the northeast side. He remembered that day all too well. This was where he’d asked his girlfriend to marry him. He had many happy memories at this lake and he’d inherited the lakeside lodge his parents had bought when he was still a child. It seemed the perfect spot to do it. She’d said yes, they made love in the boat and were married only a month later. 3 and a half months after that, she’d gone, taken by a drunk who walked on a technicality. It had taken a while to find him but find him he did, laughing at a comedy in his home, still drinking.

Getting him out was easy and transporting him to the cabin just as simple but now everything seemed muddled. After cutting this man, doing what he never (at one point) thought possible, his mind was once again racing. What am I doing? he asked himself on occasions when his wife slipped into view. This isn’t me. But even as he thought that, the images of his wife in pain erupted in his mind and the anger burst through again.

Before he knew it, he was crying into his hands, the tears falling into his blood-red hands. He lifted his head to look back at her one last time but the scene had disappeared. The wintry sky had appeared once more, the frozen lake was empty and his stuttered breath hovered before in the air.

He got to his feet and turned to make the short walk back to the lodge. In no time at all, he entered, the man tied to the chair looking at him. His face, bloodied from cuts to his head and face, was blotchy owing to large purple bumps appearing around the eyes, one completely blocking his left eye.

‘P…pl..ease…don’t do this.’

The man looked away as the tortured man continued. I’m so…so…sorry,’ he said under renewed sobs. ‘I never meant to…to hurt her…’

‘DON’T!!’ yelled the man and punched the man in the chair so hard that his chair fell back onto the floor with a crash, a picture from a nearby dresser falling to the floor with a smash. Rubbing his hand, the man moved back towards the window, breathing hard as the man in the chair moaned. Aside from the sound of breathing and sobbing, the lodge was quiet for a moment before the tortured man spoke again.

‘Does this make you feel better,’ asked the tortured man.

The man by the window looked from the bound man to his wounds, at the bloodied knife in his hands, to the picture of his wife on the floor. He looked around the lodge, memories swimming in and out of vision, and the anger slipped away, the loss heightened as he thought of his wife. Her face, her smile, her touch.

‘No,’ he replied and in one quick movement, he flung his legs either side of a shotgun leaning against a chair and pulled the trigger, sending his head flying in all directions.

Random Observations

The routine is, get up in the morning, go potty, head to the computer room, turn the computer on, and check emails. I am a faithful emailer/responder – nothing sits in my email as I check it every few minutes and respond to whatever isn’t a Republican choke-hold for money; anyway, I check that first. Then I go to the UK web site so beloved by myself and others that write and or comment here. Then I check the headlines on the news feeds which I immediately discount as lies but at least I’ve done my patriotic duty to be aware of the headlines. Then off to FaceBook to see what’s new in my widespread family. Finally, I go to YouTube.

I must have been nostalgic this morning; I watched baby and dad videos. As sweet and cute and fresh and new as these little people are, they caught my eye but the dads caught my attention. The nuclear family is the only way to go. Dads bring something to babies that Moms just don’t. Dads introduce silliness – great big hulking manly men become little children again with their babies. They teach babies how to fly. They teach babies – even the female ones! – how to make a muscle. They teach babies how to make funny faces. They teach babies to be brave (they can’t walk yet but dad can make them fly and they love it!) Dads teach babies how to build – blocks, rings, furniture; doesn’t matter the parts, what matters is how to build things up. Dads teach babies to knock things down because it’s important to know that you can build something, watch it crash, and feel reassured that it can be built again. Because that’s the way real life is.

Moved on – so to speak – to baby gorilla and orangutan videos. Those little faces. They have amazing strength at birth because they have to; a human baby could never hold on to a mom that uses both hands to walk, eat, climb and all the other things primates in the jungle do. They hold as tight to mom as human babies do and love the closeness. They have to learn to walk like human babies must learn. They love getting in a tangle with other baby primates, just as our children love playdates. They are not human, of course, but watching them seems like watching our own – a little hairier but similar. All the primate babies need to learn is how to be a good female or a good male. Human babies have the daunting expectation of language, math, science, relationships, sports, and a decision to religion or no religion. No wonder human babies get that serious look sometimes. “You want me to learn what, exactly?”

Both species of babies, primate, and human, hold so much promise. Primate moms and dads don’t pray for their babies, worry about their grades, or have to explain the birds and the bees. Human moms and dads have something else altogether to look forward to – with joy or fright. Huge, gigantic big job raising children.

Why They Fear Their Lying Eyes

From Niall Kilmartin at Samizdata.

cult conversions … occur by using doctrine to resolve some core emotional vulnerability. … A… clear sign that one is dealing with a cult indoctrination … is making the mark live up to contradictory demands. You must understand racism and admit that you cannot understand racism. You must admit to your complicity in racism and pledge to do better knowing that it is impossible to do better. You must be an ally but accept that you will always do your allyship wrong. … these impossible and paradoxical demands dramatically deepen commitment to the cult … The concept of “white fragility” in the antiracist Woke cult is exactly this sort of emotional shakedown. … Lead the mark to take a step further in, coach them into rationalizing why that step was good, and then repeat with a further step. … when the mark rationalizes these objectively bad decisions and the cognitive dissonance that doing them causes, they nearly always rationalize themselves much further into the cult.

The Cult Dynamics of Wokeness analyses how it spots and indoctrinates its marks, but says little about the mark’s original issue that the woke exploit:

Sometimes, the underlying emotional vulnerability is there for personal reasons, or as a result of life events.

Sometimes, indeed it is – their prime targets are students, who often arrive at university with plenty of youthful insecurity and teenage angst. But wokeness itself can provide the distress as well the abusive ‘resolution’. Students arriving at a politically-correct university are immediately plunged into an an artificial racial reality that they are forbidden to notice: affirmative-action admissions ensure that the academic ability of their fellow students correlates strongly with skin colour. Next, the disparate impact theory they are taught offers them only two explanations, one explicit, the other implicit, for the disparities it highlights:

– blacks are statistically unequal to whites because of white racism

– blacks are statistically unequal to whites because they are inferior

No third option is allowed into any target’s mind – not if the woke can help it (if they even know one themselves!). So the mark has a simple choice: believe in the explicit explanation, or become the moral equivalent of Hitler by believing the implicit one. No-one wants to be morally equivalent to Hitler, so, since they know no third option (since the very idea there could be any other alternative to the evil implicit one has never risen into their awareness), every doubt that subtle white racism explains the discrepancy, every argument that denies that white racism, however hidden, is at the root of the differences they’re taught to hate and the even more obvious differences they’re forbidden to notice, threatens them with becoming that object of loathing to their (and society’s) principles, a racist! When these two alternatives are the only ones that a student knows deep down (and up top, in the surface of the mind, they hardly dare think of the implicit one) then the claim that one is either a racist or else admits to being a racist seems to make sense.

(It was the same under Stalin and Mao. In both Russia and China, the mass famines were followed a few years later by the mass purges. Either you accepted that saboteurs, wreckers and enemies were fouling up the scientifically-proven socialist dream, or you were a vile capitalist-roader, an exploiter. One communist who had served the Party in the Ukraine famine and been shaken by what he saw, later wrote:

For that very reason, however, my conscious mind reached out desperately for alibis, for compromises with conscience. … It was imperative to squelch these emotions, to drive them into the underground of my mind. I laboured to repair my loyalties. With the purge in the offing, this urgency was even greater.

“With the purge in the offing …” – the far lesser but real dangers of cancel culture have a similar effect of ‘encouragez les autres’. This encouraging of indoctrinated minds to discipline themselves is as important to wokeness as the conscious fear that cancel culture inflicts on outsiders.)

So, does a better understanding of the problem point us towards any solutions?

The only ways I know of to effect a deprogramming of this are these three: (1) striking right to the heart of the point of vulnerability in a completely different and more healthy way …

The first of the three is what I will talk about. However,

None of this is easy. In fact, it’s all usually very difficult … … People who have been reprogrammed into a cult mentality will perceive all attempts to free them from the cult as malicious attempts to drag them … back to the Bad Emotional Place that they have come to strongly associate with that awful feeling of vulnerability that was used to initiate them into the cult in the first place. The doctrine is the opium that dulls their emotional pain … anyone trying to talk sense to a fully reprogrammed cult member … will be, in a very real sense, interpreted as trying to do harm to them … because the cult doctrine is the proffered resolution to the … emotional vulnerability that led them to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed in the first place. And you must appreciate just how much that vulnerability has been inflamed by the cult initiation, indoctrination, and reprogramming process.

At this point it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room; that third explanation (for why blacks in the US today can be statistically unequal to whites) which, of all others, wokeness most trains its victims never to see. Political correctness is a parasite on the backs of those it pretends to help.

“Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion’, the big agenda on the left is dependency.”

I owe that quote to Thomas Sowell, who has described how lucky he was to be born at a moment when the old prejudices about blacks were dying, and the new ones with which the PC would replace them had not yet grown strong (read his books). Sowell’s long life also lets him witness against what another coloured academic calls the woke’s “ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations”. A third black analyst concludes that

“woke whites would do more good by doing nothing”

Keep reading, there’s more. OK, here’s the thing, this is well out of my wheelhouse, I’m an engineering type, and a supervisor, not a specialist in how to screw up (and unscrew up) people, but it accords with what we are all seeing these days.

Education is good.

Hyper Puissance, The American Way, and Donald Trump

United (States) Parcel Service.

United (States) Parcel Service. (Photo credit: matt.hintsa)

A quick change of plans here, I’ve an article cooking but didn’t start soon enough to get it sorted. Maybe tomorrow. This whose main theme goes back to 2011, explains a good bit about why Trump, as an entrepreneurial businessman, makes such an exceptional president. So enjoy, take the lesson, and vote for America, Vote Trump.

If you’ve been following along here, a few days ago, I posted on how Donald Trump was forcing American government (constitutionally, no less) to run at something like the speed of American business. That post is here.

But something was missing from that post, and it’s been bugging me, so I did a bit of digging in the archives the last few nights, and I found the article that spoke of it. It is one from the first month of NEO, and it was one that when Jess and I became friends she really liked, and asked me to rerun, and I think it deserves to run another time. Here it is.

Something I’ve been meaning to post about, given my interest in the military, freedom, and capitalism, is how they worked together to make the United States not only the most powerful nation in the history of the world but able to defeat the entire world, if necessary.

Pretty bold statement, isn’t it? Well, this isn’t going to be ironclad proof, but I think it is a given if America decided to.

Let’s start with a quote from Courtney Messerschmidt, Great Satan’s Girlfriend, herself:

Which may funnily enough hinge on a factor that is flat out tough to factor in:

Unbridled free inquiry.

“Courtney, free societies have, in general, a decided advantage when it comes to creativity and innovation, including in the military realm. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that”

All the cool kids know how Great Satan’s indispensable ally just to the east of Durand line sold access to that ditched sexed up chopper of Abottabad/Abottagood infamy. Theft of high tech and reverse engineering are the fortunes of unfree regimes and will directly impact the Diffusion of Military of Power.

Stuff that makes the West the BestWonderbra, BvB, individualism, scientific inquiry, rational critical thinking, democracy with it’s inherent capitalism, political freedom, dissidence and open free wheeling debate functions as kryptonite in Smallville in regards to autocrazies, despotries — and by extension — to their acquisition, development and deployment of military power.

Appears to be a dead link, Great Satan’s Girfriend is comatose but maybe you can find the article.

What she is saying here is that free inquiry and looking for the best solution (and being able to afford it) is what makes free armies so formidable.

The other thing is when fielded these same armies can react so fast that they may have 2 or three or even more decision cycles inside their opponents one.

Most of us, in business, don’t have a lot of use for an aircraft carrier, let alone a carrier battle group, that is why they are so expensive. There are less than 2 dozen in the world, ten of them American.

Each of the American ones is equal in power to most of the world’s air forces. They (some of them) are out there, all the time, 5-acre patches (plus their consorts) of the USA, representing all that we are. Freedom, Teamwork, Rock music, Movies, and all.

When the big steel battleships were coming into their own, it was a little different, the new developments were: Iron Ships, Steam Power, Radio Communications, Screw Propellers, and such. This was also the time when America was industrializing. An example of these early dreadnaughts is the USS Texas. These developments had very obvious commercial uses and therefore were much less expensive for navies to deploy.

So let’s go back to the infantry for a bit, it’s not nearly as sexy, even being the Queen of Battle, you tend to get all muddy. But what does the American military do so well? React. Small unit leadership is what we are all about. Spring and ambush on American forces and what do you get. If they are still doing it like they said they did when I was in college, this is what you get: Apaches and Warthogs, and Abrams and p****d off grunts (Oh, my) coming your way at a dead run all spitting fire, and if you are really unlucky even Spectre may show up to complete the ruin of your whole day. And that’s the first 30 seconds of your ambush, your day will probably still get worse. Try it at night and it will be worse.

OK, back to us civilians for a while, we compete, like our infantry, right down to the stubbornness to hold our positions. The other thing is, did you ever wonder why it is always the big companies running to Washington for help, while those of us in small business don’t? It really not the money, we could combine and find enough to at least rent some Congress-critters. It’s because, on anything remotely resembling a level playing field, we will outmaneuver the big companies so bad that we’ll run them all the way back home to mommy.

Why? Let’s think about it.

If I’m a supervisor at XYZ, Inc.that employs say 15,000 people (that would be a middle-sized company). I have probably something like 10 layers of management between me and the CEO, all of which have their bureaucracies to sustain, they aren’t all that interested in the company as a whole, they are interested in their little piece of it. So if I (a supervisor, remember) come up with a way to produce widgets at half the cost, how long is it going to take it to get out of the suggestion box and to a level where somebody says what a great idea. If XYZ is unionized, it’s going to be at least twice as bad. I don’t know either, but it will be a while, probably measured in years.

OK, now let’s say I’m a supervisor at Joe’s Widgets, LLC. where there are, say, 20 of us working. When Joe started the company he just copied what XYZ was doing and because his overhead was lower he made pretty good money. But now, I come up with the same idea and as before I sketch out how the process will work. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea, now what do I do? If Joe’s is like most companies this size when Joe comes to work, I ask him if he’s got a minute and he says yes. In some companies, this would be an after-work beer with the boss, but no matter. So, I go to Joe’s office and lay it out and he likes it, so later that day I’m talking to his support people and within a month it’s implemented. It will probably take a bit of tweaking, say another month and Joe’s cost has been cut in half. THAT is how small and/or informal businesses always win. That is also how Lockheed’s famed Skunk Works worked.

The other thing you notice is that its more fun to work in a small company where your effort is appreciated, as it usually is.

The real point here is whether we are talking about war or business, free inquiry, and minds that do not have to worry about being shot (or fired) for dissent are always able to run at high speed and outside the box. We’ve been doing this since at least when we decided the Redcoats needed to go home and it is what has fueled us all the way to where we are now.

The other thing that top-down management stifles is quality. If we remember the Soviet union designed really sexy widgets, their problem was that an 8th-grade shop class in America had better quality control. Courtney, again:


Cold War history continues the action for autocratic Commonwealth Russia. Long lol’d as more ‘evolutionary than revolutionary,” her defense industry is plagued with the horrible situation of being unable to redeem warranty claims by Pakistan, India, Iran and Algeria AND crank out new stuff at the same incredible instant. Since 1992, not a single state defense order has been fulfilled completely and on time.

If we allow ourselves to go over to the European model, we will need to set our sights to European levels in all areas including the lower productivity, higher unemployment, and the lack of what Courtney calls Hyper Puissance in both the military and commercial/cultural fields.

It amounts to a path to mediocrity, and I will never be ready for that.

Will you?

In talking with Jess after I reran this for her, I mentioned the aphorism that ended that other post, although in its more civilized form: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way”. She commented that she had never heard it, and was stealing it. That night she went to a social function with another friend of mine and used it when they were dithering over the choice of the wine. 🙂 She said it raised some eyebrows, and that our friend (who is quite senior) commented that she was keeping company with Americans, which raised them even further. Well, Britain is perhaps the next best at this, but it is basically an American trait. That pandering to Europeans is another reason the ‘elites’ got Trump (Brexit too, I think).

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