The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Four

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity

— Goldstein, in 1984

George Orwell’s primary brilliance was in his recognition that crimethink was going to be the primary offense prosecuted in any future progressive/socialist society. As the power of the state increases, fewer and fewer people will actually act against it because to do so is increasingly futile. One hundred and fifty years ago we had states seceding. A hundred years ago we had thousands of veterans marching on Washington and getting murdered for their trouble. The most anybody’s been willing to do lately is “occupy” a public park or a wildlife refuge until the men with guns ask them politely to leave. There’s not going to be any further resistance to the United States Government — at least not until paper money runs out of steam.

In truth, The Year Of No Lord 2017 resembles Brave New World more than it resembles 1984. The Alpha and Beta citizens of American society are “decanted”, sometimes literally via IVF, in Manhattan and Chicago and San Francisco. They are programmed from birth with the gentle secular monotheism of the modern age, a ridiculous pablum of moral equivalence belied at every turn by the lily-white gated-and-guarded circumstances of their daily lives. They attend good schools and take jobs in the so-called FIRE industries. They wet their beaks in the stream of commerce and make effortless millions. They advocate for unlimited immigration then build walls around their homes.

Only an idiot could fail to notice the massive gap between the “everyone is equal” media-delivered catechism and the astounding inequality, racial and otherwise, of the globalist illuminati. (Lower-case “i” there; I don’t believe in conspiracies.) Therefore, you cannot be a successful member of progressive American society until you develop crimestop. Until you do so, you will forever be in a situation where any offhand comment on your part could lead to you losing everything from your home to your health insurance to custody of your children. The above comment by “bikegoesbaa” above illustrates this. He “cries no tears” for somebody who loses a job because his Facebook posts are judged to be “racist”. HAHA LOL SUCKS TO BE THAT DUDE. The typical justification of this is the XKCD comic explaining that you have no “free speech” right to a job, a home, a living, or anything else. “The First Amendment doesn’t shield you from consequences.” It’s perfectly reasonable to destroy somebody’s life if they say something that doesn’t agree with our oh-so-gentle-and-nonjudgmental single-party, single-opinion progressive culture. They become unpersons and they literally disappear from middle-class life overnight.

The problem with this approach is that the definition of acceptable doubleplusgoodthink is a moving target and as you’ll see below, the actual comment by “bikegoesbaa” is on its way to being seen as massively racist and discriminatory. Twenty years from now, people will read it and consider it approximately equivalent to spray-painting the “N-word” on your African-American neighbor’s house. I will also show you how credit ratings themselves, although originally designed to help prevent racist behavior on the part of banks and lenders, will come to be seen as thoroughly racist devices. Finally, I will explain how the progressive theology will eventually come into violent conflict with the banking system and how only one of those two things will manage to survive. Allow me to explain.

I’ll highlight the crimethink portion of that post for you, just in case you missed it:

Age and sexual orientation are innate characteristics that are beyond a person’s control.

Credit rating, drug use, and whatever you post on Facebook are less innate.

“bikegoesbaa” was responding to my post about future time orientation and the link between credit rating and behavior in traffic. He is staking out the position that sexual orientation is “innate” but credit rating is not “innate”. Any genuinely educated and intelligent human being should hear alarm bells the minute they read something like that.

Our modern psychology really only admits of two mechanisms by which human behavior is created: genetic inheritance and environment. “Free will” is an illusion, as is any spiritual or divine intervention. You are the sum total of your DNA and your external influences. Period, point blank. It’s currently fashionable to believe that “sexual orientation” is fixed at birth, and there is an increasing amount of research to support that view.

I have my own doubts about this, particularly as it relates to men. The ease and facility with which men facing a constrained availability of women will resort to homosexuality, zoophilia, and all sorts of strange autoerotic behavior make me wonder if there is, indeed, any sexual orientation in men besides “let’s fuck the best thing currently available to us.” The British “public schools” are the best example of this: homosexuality and same-sex rape are utterly rampant among the teenaged boys there but the vast majority of them switch to women the moment they have a chance. I wonder how many young men would identify as gay or bi if they had a chance to sleep with ScarJo in the free hours after the end of the school day. In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter to me either way.

For the moment, let’s say that sexual orientation is “innate”, whatever that means. Is it truly reasonable to suppose that people inherit a love of gay sex but don’t inherit a love of spendthrift behavior? If you watch a bunch of toddlers in a nursery you will see that some of them are generous with toys, some are likely to try to steal toys from other children, and some of them will huddle in the corner with a jealously-guarded favorite object. How much of that is “nature” and how much is “nurture”?

A fair amount of research has been done on the relationship between future time orientation and social class. Typically, the conclusions end up being spun as low social class causing low future time orientation. Surely some of that is true; it’s hard to spend much time thinking about your long-term investment strategy when you’re not sure about tomorrow’s meals. Yet it is also generally acknowledged that personality traits are inherited. Therefore, future time orientation is likely something that you get from your parents. This is supported by research on twins that shows “Big Five” personality traits being genetically determined. One of those “Big Five” traits is conscientiousness, which is a marker for future time orientation.

This makes sense to me from personal experience: my father planned for the future with tireless (and tiresome) regularity while my mother operated her personal finances in a manner that suggested she did not expect the sun to rise the next day. I’ve fallen about in the middle between those two extremes. Furthermore, my son is more conscientious and has higher future time orientation than I do, no doubt because his mother has more of those traits than I do. There does not seem anything radical to me about the suggestion that we inherit our future time orientation from our parents.

Now here’s the problem. Low future time orientation is directly related to all sorts of behaviors from outright criminality to promiscuity to poor credit to drug use. In other words, there is a scientific basis for the idea that you inherit your credit rating from your parents. Not literally, although my pal Sidney was able to start a mortgage brokerage in his mid-twenties because the credit bureau confused him with his grandfather and bestowed a lifelong history of paying off six-figure business loans on him at a time when he’d actually never even bought a car on credit. Rather, you inherit your attitude towards debt and payment from your parents. It’s as much a part of you as your sexual orientation is.

Now we are treading in very dangerous waters, because if people truly do inherit their attitude towards financial obligation then we have to consider whether it is legal to discriminate against people who, through no fault of their own, have inherited a tendency to default on debt. We also have to consider whether people inherit a “poverty attitude” which limits their ability to succeed — and if that is the case, what legislative and social protections need to be put into place to ensure that they do not suffer from a “poverty attitude”. To put it plainly, it might end up being illegal to discriminate against people with poor credit. Not just in non-financial matters such as employment, but in the granting and issuing of further credit.

Think about the ramifications of a world in which lenders cannot discriminate based on past credit history. It would destroy the consumer banking industry as we know it today. Pretty much every loan would have to be secured by excess collateral that could be easily attached, because there couldn’t be any penalty for defaulting on a debt other than the seizure of that particular collateral. Every credit card would have to be secured by a deposit, which is already standard practice for people with FICO ratings below 600. The twenty-percent down payment for mortgages would return overnight. Car loans? Sixty to seventy percent of dealer invoice. Maybe. If you consent to a tracking device.

In other words, we would be back in the consumer-lending world of 1955. Now here’s the irony. Back then, banks doled out loans based on the most superficial and bigoted standards you can possibly imagine. If you wanted to borrow any amount of money whatsoever, you’d better wear your best suit to the bank and address the banker with groveling obeisance. Oh yeah — it helped to be white and it really helped to be a member of the same church as your banker. Lending was a very personal matter back then.

The whole idea of the credit score was to decouple creditworthiness from personal judgment. I have never met anybody from American Express, but my credit rating assures them that they can allow me to borrow a truly staggering amount of money from them on a whim. The same is true for my auto loan provider or my mortgage bank. They don’t know if I’m white, black, gay, straight, Muslim or Christian. They know me as a number.

Without TRW, Equifax, and the other credit bureaus, many people from ethnic or sexual minorities would have found it much more difficult to obtain credit over the past four decades. The credit score is a great leveler of opportunity that sets aside all conventional morality in favor of the apparently impersonal question: Does this person pay his or her obligations in a timely manner? As long as your credit score was up to par, the bank didn’t care about your bedroom.

Interestingly enough, that becomes increasingly less true as you wander away from the world of the 750-plus FICO. When I worked at Ford Credit in the early Nineties, we had a mainframe system that automatically approved any reasonable loan application. If the mainframe didn’t approve you, then we had to take a personal interest in your life, which usually consisted of the dealership F&I guy giving us a sort of potted personal history.

“Oh yeah, he’s a well-known local roofer, wife and kids, lived here 20 years.”

“His father owns the So-and-So down the street.”

“I, uh, don’t know much about him.”

I had one senior credit approver, a bad-tempered and often outright tyrannical woman, who would regularly trash any marginal application with a “black”-sounding name. “Well, La-teeeesha,” she would say, in a sneering voice, “I don’t think you’re gonna be rolling in no Taurus LX on my dime.” This highly racist and outrageous behavior was ignored by everybody in the office, because she herself was African-American. But after I gave her the raised eyebrow once too many times, she sat me down and explained herself to me in a voice that brooked no dissent whatsoever. “You see, little Jackie-boy, my bonus is calculated based on my repossession percentage.” This, I believe, was true. It was absolutely the case that approving too many bad loans was not good for your career at Ford Credit, for obvious reasons. “And I figure that if my ass can grow up in hard times and have a flawless TRW score, then there ain’t no excuse for these people to be any worse.”

To this, I had no reply. And six months later, this woman did me the courtesy of approving my mother’s loan on a car even though the mainframe graded her as a D-minus for repayment likelihood. The mainframe was wrong — Mom paid the car off on time — but it was a good example of old-school loan-officer behavior at work. She didn’t know my mom, but she knew me. I was co-signing that loan as far as my boss was concerned, even if my name wasn’t on the paperwork.

“Wait a minute, Jack,” you’re saying. “Discriminating against someone on the basis of credit record, even if it’s inherited, is very different from discriminating on the basis of race or sexual orientation. After all, race and sexual orientation have no basis on your ability to repay a debt.” That’s a nice sentiment, but you’re wrong. Part of our modern liberal catechism states that all races, genders, and behaviors other than “straight white men” face discrimination in the workplace, lower pay for the same job, increased risk of death at the hands of police, and worse treatment at hospitals. Shouldn’t all of that be taken into account? White women outlive black men by more than a decade on average. If two fifty-five year-old people come into your office for a mortgage, and you only have one to give, shouldn’t you give it to the woman who will live longer? Or should you give it to the man, because he earns more money for the same job? You can easily see how confusing this quickly gets — but if you believe what you’re taught in school, all of these discriminatory factors absolutely affect the possibility of repayment.

Let’s ramp up the crimethink for a moment, just for fun. Let’s say you’re a loan officer in a world where you are free to discriminate on the basis of race. And let’s say that you get a loan application for a new Benz SL600 from a prominent black neurosurgeon. This guy’s never missed a payment on anything, and he makes a million dollars a year. You’d be a fool not to write the loan.

Except.

You live in a racist-ass city where the racist-ass cops like to harass African-Americans and perform civil forfeiture. There is a non-zero chance that your neurosurgeon is going to be pulled over on the road, have his (your!) car taken from him, and then be shot to death by some KKK Grand Dragon masquerading as a police officer. What does that do to your enthusiasm about writing that loan?

I’m willing to bet that you if you could somehow run the numbers on people who have identical credit ratings but who differ in terms of race, sexuality, religion, and physical characteristics that you would discover statistically-significant differences in the way their loans are repaid. I have no idea what that difference would be. Maybe straight white men are the worst prospects when you rank them against gay Black women with identical FICOs. No idea. But there’s almost certainly a real difference, once way or the other. It should be noted that FICO themselves claim their scores are race-neutral while other sources claim the scores are artificially depressed for minorities.

The fact of the matter is that lenders would and will absolutely discriminate on any basis that has even a minor statistical backing. Did you know, for example, that almost all of the major auto lenders have at one time or another used a special system that discriminates against otherwise identical applicants based on their job title? It’s true. Ford Credit had a tiering system that placed “Professor” and “Doctor” on top and “Construction” at the bottom. It made a difference to the rate we offered you. Think about that. Two otherwise identical credit profiles got different rate offers because one of them was blue-collar.

It’s therefore obvious that the laws preventing discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation, race, or religion are there because otherwise there would be discrimination. And since we firmly believe that you should not be discriminated against based on “innate” qualities, it stands to reason that eventually “future time orientation” will be considered to be discriminatory.

By eventually, I mean already. There are already people saying that “future time orientation” is a racist concept and that discriminating against people based on their ability to make informed decisions about future behavior is, inherently, racist. It seems reasonable to assume that eventually we will see credit scores and other behaviors based on future time orientation be protected from discrimination because they are inherited and therefore race-related.

This is not as ludicrous as it sounds. With certain very limited exceptions, I can’t place a Help Wanted ad that says “Only six foot and above need apply”, and I absolutely can’t offer an auto loan program that is limited to people with an IQ of 135 or above. How long until those general protections against “innate” conditions are extended to credit rating and past behavior? There is a growing movement to make employment discrimination based on credit rating illegal. The next step will be housing discrimination. And after that it’s only “progressive” to make it illegal to “credit discriminate” based on previous performance.

And that is why “bikegoesbaa” will eventually be viewed by posterity with the same kind of arm’s-length contempt that people apply to their grandparents for using “colored” when they should be saying “people of color”. His great-grandchildren, who will exist in a world where the genetic basis of credit-related behavior has long been accepted as “settled science”, will laugh when they remember their bigoted old ancestor. “Can you believe Great-Grandpa used to hate PoC?” Naturally, “PoC” will refer to “People of Credit”.

And we could sign off there, except for one thing. After all the protections have been applied to everybody’s “innate” conditions, then the truly progressive and enlightened will start looking at environmental factors. After a fashion, it’s already happening — think of scholarships for people who grew up in bad neighborhoods. Eventually we will be told that it is illegal to discriminate against people based on choices they’ve made due to environmental factors. If somebody is a rapist, you can’t punish them for that; they were raped as a child and the environment made them a rapist. And so on. Each generation will find a new discrimination to eliminate.

At the end of that road we come to that terrifying old socialist chestnut: equality of outcome. Under that doctrine, everybody needs to achieve about the same results. To do otherwise would be unfair. Equality of outcome takes many forms along the road — Title IX, race-based admissions at universities, quotas for hiring, tax policies that verge on the confiscatory, outrageous healthcare policies — but it will always end, and it is always meant to end, with the world of Harrison Bergeron. Note that the Handicapper General is, herself, free from a handicap. Whenever the progressive doctrine comes into conflict with the profit motive, you can guarantee that there will be a deal made that pleases the former in public while serving the latter in private. The one percent will always ensure that they are safe from whatever nightmare they create for the rest of us. Legacy admissions will always trump equal opportunity. Inherited capital will always be safe from redistribution.

At the end of it, we will all be forced to admit that the Twentieth Century was a singular aberration, that the middle class was not some God-given right or inevitable destination but rather the briefest of diversions in the otherwise unerring course of human history, a flicker of light out at the edge of the horizon as the sun sets. The future is much like the past. There will be a tiny number of people who have the right to live as they please. The rest of us will be serfs, bound and broken by a whirling cataclysm of law and social expectations that changes just a bit too fast for us to truly understand it, the same way the AIDS virus manipulates its protein bindings just a bit quicker than your white blood cells can predict.

If you have children, grandchildren, loved ones, then you should understand that their choices are simple: fight, kick, punch their way into the one percent, or lick the dust with the billions of shoeless proles across the globe. That subjugation will be gentle, it will be progressive, it will be fair, it will be race-neutral, it will be gender-neutral, it will be credit-neutral. But it will be subjugation nonetheless. They used to say “Act British, Think Yiddish.” I tell you that the future demands something more complex: think crimestop, but act in the most exploitative manner possible. It’s what Zuck does, it’s what the Goldman Sachs crowd does. Let your public persona be a meaningless Babel of “No human is illegal / Science is real / Blah blah blah” and then you can use the banking laws of this country to steal millions from the poor and retire behind a community gate and take a helicopter to the Hamptons and nobody will be able to take it away from you. You can succeed in the world to come. But you will have to perform the impossible, or at least the difficult. You will have to love Big Brother.

30 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Four”

  1. jz78817

    Jobs described the type of glass that Apple wanted for the iPhone, and Weeks told him that Corning had developed a chemical exchange process in the 1960s that led to what they dubbed “gorilla glass.” It was incredibly strong, but it had never found a market, so Corning quit making it. Jobs said he doubted it was good enough, and he started explaining to Weeks how glass is made. This amused Weeks, who of course knew more than Jobs about that topic. “Can you shut up,” Weeks interjected, “and let me teach you some science?” Jobs was taken aback and fell silent.

    Reply
  2. sightline

    I make it a point to re-read the Big 3 midcentury dystopian novels every decade or so and it always strikes me how Huxley was more prescient than Orwell once the Wall fell, even though Brave New World was more fantastical than either 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

    Of course, there are elements of each in today’s society, although my preferred lens for your “illuminati” are the Neo-Victorians from The Diamond Age, complete with our own equity lords.

    And I’ll just leave this here from Beatty’s speech to Montag:

    “Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters,
    cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember
    that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your
    typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic-books survive. And the three-dimensional sex magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”

    Reply
  3. Tomko

    Inspired by your final paragraph I draw the oblique conclusion that Make America Great Again stands as much chance of real success for the 99% as did Make America Great Britain Again, 240 years ago.

    Reply
  4. arbuckle

    “I tell you that the future demands something more complex: think crimestop, but act in the most exploitative manner possible.”

    Now you are getting it.

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  5. hank chinaski

    Great piece Jack. You’re drifting into the sort of material that will warrant a nom de plume as things deteriorate.

    The lower case ‘illuminati’ meet in Davos every year behind armed guard; there’s really no point to being a secret society anymore. Zuck has even hired BO/HRC’s campaign consultant for a run the bookies have odds on.

    I hope the clones have it easier than you’re predicting, but it will probably be worse. Innawoods in an Uncle Ted shack with guns and a waifu pillow it is, then.

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  6. Kevin Jaeger

    Great post, though I’m not quite as pessimistic as you.

    I am a little curious about just what bikegoesbaa considered to be “outright racist”. In progressive circles that goes something like:
    – thinks Mexicans should follow immigration laws like Canadians do
    – Isn’t entirely convinced that the Somali refugee/resettlement program is a full success
    – western civilization has its good points and should be defended
    – Trump makes some valid points about how well we can vet refugees from failed and hostile states in the middle east,

    When literally EVERY dissenting opinion is labelled racist this type of social media filtering is certainly disturbing. But I’m reasonably optimistic that we’ll adapt to this in ways that are short of the dystopia you envision.

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  7. Ronnie Schreiber

    “Outright racist stuff”. It would be enlightening to see what bikegoesbaa and his associates consider to be “outright racist”.

    Adam Carolla’s advice about building your own pirate ship is wise, but it’s very hard to find a niche where you can make a living without fear of the mob.

    Back in the early days of the internet, when I was a LAN manager for DuPont, someone once tried to get me fired because of something political/ideological (I think it was something pro-Israel) that I posted from my DuPont email account. This was when there was just email and newsgroups, no web yet or the web was in its infancy. In any case, they sent an email to Wilmington which eventually got sent to my line management. At the time, nothing happened because the person who sent the email had violated one of the earliest forms of “netiquette”: since everyone then was posting from a corporate or university account (because back then it was very hard for individuals to get direct access to the internet) you didn’t fuck with someone’s job for something they posted online.

    With today’s character assassination and doxxing, the 1990s seem so quaint and innocent.

    In a comment at TTAC I once quoted, in quotation marks, the title of a Lenny Bruce routine and the haters still sometimes call me “racist” because of it.

    Meanwhile, in a fit of projection, one of TTAC’s lefty readers just used some rather vile and offensive terms I suppose he was trying to ascribe to others.

    I’m not willing to let incipient totalitarians define the limits of free speech. I’m Jewish, I hang out with a lot of black folks, I have a pretty good antenna for catching bigotry, and I’m pretty sure that I don’t want folks like bikegoesbaa defining what is “outright racist” or not.

    Look at the fools calling Trump advisor Stephen Miller a Nazi because Miller, a Jew, said Jim Acosta, whose family is from Cuba, had “cosmopolitan bias”. Yes, Stalin used “rootless cosmopolitans” as his own dog whistle for “Jews”, but are lefties going to say that the soft core porn magazine that single women like to read has an anti-semitic title?

    Reply
    • Kevin Jaeger

      And we’re seeing another example with the #GoogleManifesto. A guy writes a well-reasoned argument complete with references and footnotes and the SJWs go nuts and dox him.

      Another guy getting the Charles Murray, Lawrence Summers treatment. I guess as long as they don’t revoke his stock options he’ll be okay.

      Reply
  8. MrGreenMan

    If you read some of the scholarship about pre-Muslim invasion of Visigoth Spain, there was quite the middle class there for about 200 years after the fall of Rome. They didn’t have the feudal/slave economy, and property ownership was open to a wide swath of people. (The Visigoths did not like the Jews, which led to the Jews being the scouts, administrators, and allied forces of the Berber Muslim invaders.)

    In any case, there was a global economy, and a global system, and the very rich, and the poor who begged for Roman citizenship to get their free food in the cities, and, once it collapsed, things emerged, and people prospered again.

    However, it really sucks living through the collapse of the global system, which becomes inevitable once you pile up a big enough underclass and the rich and politically connected push them around too much.

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  9. Daniel J

    A good article on equality vs fairness,: https://fee.org/articles/the-unfairness-of-equal-outcomes/

    Basically, most people won’t sacrifice fairness for equality except those who think they are opressed, fairness be damned.

    The problem I have with credit is that the game is rigged a bit. You have to borrow to have good credit. I pay cash for most things outside of mortgage and car loan. My credit was good but not great simply because I didn’t borrow and give money to the banks in interest.

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    • S2k Chris

      The game is not rigged. A credit score is a score of your likeliness to repay your debts, and your desirability as a debtor. If you’ve never or rarely taken out a debt and repaid it, it’s hard to claim you should have a score that says you’re particularly good at it, no? Too many people think a credit score is a Good Finances Merit Badge; it’s not. It’s simply a measure of “if we loan this guy money will he pay us back?”

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      • Brawnychicken

        FICO is simply a measurement of your interaction with debt. That’s it.

        You’re right, it doesn’t mean you have money, or are in good financial condition, at all. But many think it does.

        A good FICO score is useful. Having a bad FICO score makes a lot of things very difficult. Cash on hand solves most of those issues… There used to be, and may still be, banks that did mortgages manually. IE, they examined all of your finances rather than basing everything on the score.

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  10. viper32cm

    I would argue that real world examples of “crimestop” currently include aspects of our criminal justice system, especially at the federal level in areas where the crimes described by statute are “malum prohibitum” in nature (perhaps a majority of our federal criminal statutes). Exceptionally copious, voluminous, dense and often vague laws written to allow for equally copious, voluminous, dense and often vague regulations written, administered, and enforced by generally well-funded and very-intelligent specialists, the effect of which (either intentional or not) is to make the law either unknown or inaccessible to the common man. Add in the fact that unwitting law breakers can be prosecuted without a need to show intent (or such a low threshold of intent as to be the same thing as no requirement at all) or an actual victim with identifiable damages, and you have the perfect method to control behavior without jailing a soul (although we certainly jail more than our fair share in this country). If there is a high degree of risk of legal sanction (usually imprisonment) surrounding a particular set of activities and only a vague understanding of what is prohibited, the natural instinct, I believe, is to stop short of where one believes the “line” is drawn, even if the actual “line” is–to the extent it can be safely determined through lay interpretation–more permissive. Additionally and alternatively, it leads to a system where we create numerous, unwitting law breakers who are unaware of a particular body of law and regulations or the precise scope of that body of law and regulations. In my book, neither situation is good for a supposedly free society.

    Or to paraphrase Carl Sagan: “We’ve arranged a [nation] in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on [the law] and [regulations]. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands [the law] and [regulations]. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

    It does, however, employ a shit load of lawyers.

    Of further interest are the various measures to “ban the box” and prohibit employers from asking about criminal history. I would not be surprised is those measures also begin to include attempts to prohibit discrimination based on criminal history. Given the beginning of my post, maybe that’s a good thing. I do think it is fundamentally wrong the number of felony crimes we have in this nation, the sometimes low bars that exist for prosecution, and the life long consequences that are attendant with being convicted for said crimes.

    Reply
  11. Sseigmund

    Jack,

    I enjoyed the article. It is thought provoking, if a bit depressing. After reading this I decided to catch up on my print mag reading with P.J. O’Rourke’s “The Last Best Year” in Haggerty’s. A good read, but another cup half full perspective on the world of cars.

    If you makes you feel any better about not being a member of the 1 percent crowd, you can at least find solace in the fact that you are in the 4.3 percent group simply by winning the biggest lottery of them all in having a U.S. birth certificate. If you take anther look at your glass, I think you find that it is at least half full! Sure, President Trump has a fight on his hands with Deep State enemies that have a vested interested in furthering the progressive status quo, but against all odds we are at least having the fight!

    P.J. is wrong too about those 1967 cars. I can speak from a position of knowledge having owned several of the pets he dotes on in his article (Series 1 E-Type, Gen 1 Camaro, 1967 Mustang). I no more want to daily drive those cars than I want to relive my adolescent years. If I ever do revisit one of those artifacts it will only be with a generous infusion of modern LS DNA. No, I’m not looking back, and I can see the future with a clarity much better than my current vision correction would suggest. We don’t make anything better by moaning about it and sitting on our hands. I believe this is why you have written so passionately about driving instruction and track day safety, while not abandoning the right seat. This is a lesson for life.

    “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
    –WINSTON CHURCHILL

    Reply
    • Kevin Jaeger

      ” I no more want to daily drive those cars than I want to relive my adolescent years.”
      Hmm. There are certain aspects of being young that I would be willing to try again, but overall I guess you’re right.

      But as for those cars – I did have a ’67 Cougar and a ’69 Cutlass as daily drivers in my younger days. While I have very fond memories of those cars I can’t say I’d want them as daily drivers either. There are just so many improvements in my modern Mustang that I don’t think I could go back.

      But then I would say the same thing about the modern economy and society. Sure, there were some aspects that were better back then, but….

      Reply
  12. Widgetsltd

    Perhaps these times are not so desperate. Millions of people voted to a guy for President who is – to be charitable – an abrasive jerk. This could well usher in an era in which a person can just say/do whatever he/she wants but suffer no consequences. Heck, it might even be possible to deny objective truth with impunity.

    Reply
  13. ChompKing

    The little public school retards will love their slavery…It’s what public school is for.

    You will have to be deceitful, cunning, and ruthless to even have a chance to live in the Big House instead of being out in the fields with the dull obedient lefty-brat Borg. The Brave New World of socialist terrorism will happen – The political terrorists will have their 1000-year Reich….Resistance is Futile.

    Reply
  14. danio

    Deep.

    This plays well with my theory on Leonardo DiCaprio. If it weren’t for all the “social credit” gained from all his proselytizing on the proper social matters, he’d just be some rich asshole who flies around on jets and fucks a lot of models on yachts, viewed with contempt by the virtuous.

    Free pass.

    Reply
  15. MindShare

    Got BitCoin?…….And a place in Argentina?

    The worst thing about living in authoritarian “socialism” is the retarded parasitic people you are forced to live around. They ALL claim to own you and look at you as if they want to eat you.

    Reply

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