The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-Two

Who says having an opinion doesn’t pay? I earned the magnificent sum of $45.36 over the past week from advertisements placed on this website. It costs me about $4.10 per day to host said site, so my true net-out was about seventeen bucks. How did I make this cash, you ask? It was by writing “The Passion of Saint iGNUcius,” an opinion piece that was picked up by Vox Day and Steve Sailer, among many others. Unfortunately for me, it’s the habit of most commentary sites nowadays to excerpt pretty much the entire piece, so I probably lost out on a few hundred dollars that would have come my way had Vox et al. simply linked rather than excerpted. Don’t cry for me about this; I got enough money to buy a hundred balls.

As you might expect, any criticism, or defense, or someone like Richard Stallman brings out the Aspies in force, particularly at places like YCombinator. I’ve now read at least fifty detailed and hugely condescending essays on the precise errors I made in my characterization of the man, his influence, and his legacy. Most of them make the classic Aspie mistake of reaching their halting state, so to speak, the minute they find something they believe to be incorrect; one fellow told me in very superior fashion that today’s Android developers are not using the gcc compiler for their work, so therefore my claim that mobile computing is beholden to Stallman is 100% wrong. How we got to a situation in this world where there are multiple free-of-charge compilers is a minor historical detail which seems completely lost on him. A few others got on their high horses and told me that FreeBSD and OpenBSD would have taken the place of GNU/Linux if Stallman hadn’t existed; this sounds reasonable from a modern perspective but I was there on the ground in 1999, I sold multiple OpenBSD-based systems as well as running OpenBSD myself for years, and I can forthrightly tell you that such a claim is ridiculous. The WhateverBSD projects were doomed almost from the start by a lack of leadership which led to endless “forking”.

That being said, most of the minor-detail arguments made against what I wrote have at least a tenuous foothold in reality, so there’s no need to break any butterflies on a wheel where they are concerned. What I’d like to do instead is consider the above criticism made by an anonymous user at The Unz Review.

As nearly as I can understand what this fellow is saying, it boils down to:

0. My suggestion that Stallman’s statement was “mind-blowingly stupid from a perspective of The Current Year” is cowardly, because it is cowardly of me to note that speaking in an unguarded and forthright fashion is dangerous nowadays;
1. People are keeping their mouths shut because they fear job loss and social ostracism.

I would humbly suggest that he is making the same point using different words. Later on, someone I believe to be the same commenter says, in response to someone else:

You cowards have forgotten what it is to speak the truth. “He had no social filter.” Why don’t you grow a pair.

There are two responses I’d like to make here. The first is to note that human beings, as a rule, do not appreciate being told the raw truth at all times. An example: This past weekend I participated in the 46-50 age group of a bicycle race. My two competitors were, ah, a bit grizzled. They had the hard-edged faces, stringy muscle, and patchwork skin of men who have performed hard physical labor their entire lives. I was a little frightened of them, to be honest. I expressed something along these lines to my brother, who flatly replied, “You don’t look any younger than they do.” This really struck at my personal vanity; I know I’m unhandsome and out of shape but I like to flatter myself that I don’t look as old as a forty-eight-year-old construction worker with blue-ink tattoos. My first impulse was to say something really unpleasant in response but I remembered that the previous night I’d described this meme to my brother and Danger Girl, both of whom claim to be five foot nine:

It’s not a virtue to be able to dish it out but not to take it. My brother doesn’t want to be told that he’s really five foot eight. My wife doesn’t want to hear that she is actually five foot ten. I don’t like being reminded of the fact that I’m not Tom Cruise or Keanu Reeves and that most people would have no trouble accurately estimating my age. The same is true when dealing with people in corporate or public situations. I was on a phone call the other day with someone and all I could think of to say in response to one of their assertions was, “You’re the laziest God-dammed idiot I’ve ever met, which is probably a good thing because if you bothered to do any work the sheer incompetence of that work would likely be dangerous.” Given the likely consequences of saying something like that, I chose to say nothing. Was that cowardice? Perhaps. Is that sort of cowardice necessary for surviving in any society? Absolutely. Normal human beings spend a lot of time obfuscating the truth in the cause of getting along.

That’s why Stallman is so frustrating in conversation; he has no filter, like a small child. Had he lived in another time and place besides here and now, someone would have slain him out of hand long before he reached adulthood. That’s probably a big part of why, for example, the Greeks and Romans accomplished very little technologically. It took the framework of Pauline Christianity to create nation-state environments where people were not killed for minor offenses. Ironically, if I were to expand on that statement to any great degree, I would probably end up sounding like Dennis Prager, who has been forcibly unpersoned for saying positive things about “Judeo-Christianity”, whatever that is.

My second response to this fellow, in a nutshell, is this: You’re using the anonymous feature of a website to criticize me for cowardice? FOH with that, as the kids say. I write a defense of someone who has been, in a broad sense of the term, a colleague of mine and a personal inspiration to me. I publish it under my real name on a website that also has my real name as the URL. (This won’t fly with the Aspies at VWVortex, who for some time have been floating a bizarre conspiracy theory I “changed” my name to Jack. The fact that Shakespeare did the same thing hasn’t registered with them, because they don’t read Shakespeare. They’re also probably still working on the fact that I extended the conspiracy further by naming my son after myself — or did I name him after John Pastorius?) Isn’t there something hugely ironic about not being willing to use your name or identify yourself when you’re criticizing me for things I put under my name?

Trust me, I have plenty of experience with the “cancel culture” that dominates modern political and social life. I’ve been “doxxed” dozens of times. I’ve had so many people call my employers and contract partners that I now start all potential business relationships with something along the lines of “You’re probably going to get some calls and emails about me…” Some of you may remember when a major magazine editor-in-chief felt humiliated by an exchange we had online and, in retaliation, called Honda in an attempt to get me fired from a technical contract I was working there. My son was two years old at the time, not that long out of his plastic NICU box, and hugely dependent on me to do things like pay for his meals and medical treatment. If that fellow had been successful and my child had suffered as a result, I think it could have lead to some remarkable unpleasantness on my part.

My willingness to do, say, and write what I feel to be truthful on a variety of topics, from healthy parenting to the intermediate shaft bearing on the Porsche Boxster, has cost me dozens of fabulous opportunities and, conservatively guesstimating, a couple of million dollars in lost earning potential. It will probably continue to cost me money and opportunities until the day I die. I’m okay with this. There are compensations. My reader and commenter base is a couple standard deviations above that enjoyed by other people in the autowriting business. I am occasionally gratified by a nod of the head from someone like Stallman or Vox Day, to name two people who share very little besides improbable IQs. I’ll go to my eventual reward or punishment knowing that I didn’t spend a lot of time knuckling under to conventional wisdom or prevailing opinion. Still. Every time I see some grinning nonentity in journalism or tech earning seven figures or traveling in an Emirates suite because of his (or her) willingness to parrot garbage or repeat obvious stupidity, I have to choke down a bit of annoyance. Not with them, mind you — with myself. Why did I ever think I could speak my mind without suffering the complete and total suite of potential consequences for every single time I did so? In other words: Who, if anyone, told me that having an opinion doesn’t cost?

64 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-Two”

  1. Avatarpaul pellico

    Trust me, Jack, everybody has stories to tell about their “touched by the Righteous”.
    I once walked away from years of close friendships-in the LA music scene because I had my fill of being gang attacked one evening at a party with losers in the “entertainment” world about my being a conservative. The anger, in my face and pretty loud and hateful, just made me et up and walk out the door, tossing away years of band-hood.
    And there were close friends there that silently watched but could/would not stand.
    My own son speaks to me in frustration that as a game artist he has to sit through mass hatred tweets and social media on the art sites, yet he is never allowed to speak any opposing view. Once done, it would end his career. It has gotten so bad the blacklisting is instant.
    You games are mass attacked. Your profile is slandered and you are finished.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      I lost a great writing gig at Hemmings because I quoted the name of a Lenny Bruce routine in a comment over at TTAC and was the target of a swarm. For a year you couldn’t enter my name into Google without seeing the word racist (ironically, all those links went to pieces that I wrote that contained that word).

      At a used book store, where I went to buy a copy of Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout (see here:, out of the blue the clerk started dumping on Trump. When I expressed my opinion that the black-masked thugs of Antifa are more of a threat to our civil society than the president, he was taken aback that someone could disagree.

      I’m going to be a non-conformist no matter where I am, no matter who I’m with. That’s just how I am, a devil’s advocate.

      Working on the Harmonicaster project I’ve had to refrain from discussing politics with musicians and try not to roll my eyes when I hear nonsense like “Hands up, Don’t shoot!”. Funny thing is, as liberal and leftist musicians can be, the people in the music instrument business are far less so. I won’t name names because of cancel culture but just about everyone that I’ve spoken to at any length in that industry is kinda libertarianish. The ones in New York and California wish they could relocate.

  2. Avatar-Nate

    ‘ “You’re the laziest God-dammed idiot I’ve ever met, which is probably a good thing because if you bothered to do any work the sheer incompetence of that work would likely be dangerous.”

    Almost word for word this is what got me banned from City Hall, I didn’t let it bother me much because as you well know, the real work was done out in the field, down in the trenches .


  3. AvatarRick

    For however little it may be worth to you, you are my favorite automotive writer and blogger in general. Your honesty, writing skill, and sheer polymath genius set you apart. Keep up the good fight, but don’t be afraid to do a little sucking up if your family’s welfare dictates that you do so. I for one will understand.

  4. Avatartoly arutunoff

    have no idea of the specific situation which stirred up all this but I tend to agree with you. isn’t that fun? fyi I’;m one of the founders of the Oklahoma libertarian party 40 years ago

  5. Avatarbenjohnson

    Random thoughts
    0: My Unix-like world revolves around FreeBSD and hardly any GNU userland – but much of it would not exist without the FSF. To say otherwise betrays a lack of observation.
    1: I’ve flown ultra class a time or two and it was nice, but it’s better to be with your family in steerage.
    3: Enjoy the dignity of being able to look others squarly in the eye – you’ve earned it.
    4: Paul Grahm of YC is worth a read – sadly Hacker News is the next SlashDot.

  6. Avatarpaul pellico

    Well, yes we would understand if, we really are looking forward to, Jack became comfortable in his financial life. And ditto his bro.
    I am constantly passing his stories around and act as if I am one of his people. I never thought I would be adding him to my list of go to intellectuals, but damn it, he is truly one of my go to sources now for so much more than car talk.
    I think jealousy, especially in my family, and i myself struggle, when other members of the family have done well is ugly.
    Instead of being proud of other’s success and achievements, all we get are remarks of how “lucky” or that others made it work.
    Of course this is all true.
    Luck, timing and help of others is always part of a person’s success.
    But intuition, skill and hard work are the key.

    I remember my older brother once explaining genius to me. It is the person who sees something nobody else saw, or did see, but never made the connections how what was seen connects to other things. That sight or intuition is a skill and what makes creators.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      “Who is wise? He who sees the birth.” – Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Tamid, 32a

      This is taken to mean one who can see the end of a thing from its beginning, the consequences of something. Could Leo Fender predict Jimi Hendrix?

  7. Avatarpaul pellico

    What in heck IS a libertarian, anyways? I really have never understood what it means.
    And I am not really in agreement of three or more party systems, at least without a final run off vote with the top two parties, making it once again a two party vote.
    It is awfully early, but I will try this…
    I am considered a conservative on most economic issues. Think drugs as a whole should be legal, although heavily regulated. And I think crimes for abuse of drugs should be enforced, just like most laws are not.
    Keeping the government out of most of my life and limiting its reach and regulations, however it IS part and the foundation of our community, culture and civilization.
    I don’t like empathy being used by the media or pols when twisting the masses into line on issues. To me empathy should never be used when laws are made.
    I do NOT believe in God or that faith is a basis for law or world order.
    Even marriage is based upon truth and probabilities, and needs to be reinforced throughout its being.

    So, again, what is libertarian?

    • Avatarrambo furum

      A libertarian is someone that can’t hope to gain control of government, so merely hopes to shrink it instead. Needless to say, anyone actually in charge is de facto not a libertarian. I’ll skip the oratory on the foolishness of individualism when going against collectives and merely say that libertarian, in most cases, is another name for a principled loser.

    • AvatarFred L.

      Long ago the easy answer was a fiscal conservative mixed with a social liberal. Of course that’s simplistic but it did sum up the typical libertarian position on many major issues (though misses the mark on others, such as gun control).

      So yes, the other comment “Leave me the fuck alone” probably sums it up well. I’d go a step further and say “Leave us the fuck alone”, as the former implies incorrectly that libertarians eschew all social structure and this is decidedly not true.

      Everyone has some “unit” of social structure. For some it may be their family. For others it’s their neighborhood, or their church, or their small town. Libertarians tend to believe that this unit is the level at which the majority of governance should occur.

      This is unfortunately in opposition to the Democrats and Republicans, both of which parties now believe in a strong and controlling central government while paying lip service to “states rights” and “individual rights” whenever they disagree with a federal court decision. The intellectual consistency among those who would vote for either of the major parties, and then acutally support their hypocrisy, is striking in its absence.

      • AvatarSnavehtrebor

        “I’d go a step further and say “Leave us the fuck alone”, as the former implies incorrectly that libertarians eschew all social structure and this is decidedly not true.”

        Good point, Fred. I was fixating on the core value of individualism but totally agree. I’m not a goldang anarchist or doomsday prepper. It’s just that I have never encountered an elected official that I respected or trusted more than the average boilermaker, barber, or coder. I will never understand why some people hero-worship either side of the political aisle.

      • Avatarrambo furum

        Anyone not familiar with the footnote that Hans Hermann-Hoppe made in his ancap book…
        “One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.”

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. A libertarian is a conservative who has been arrested. – Tom Wolfe, attributed to Irving Kristol.

      • Avatarhank chinaski

        The other old gag is that libertarianism can only function in a society made up entirely of high IQ white guys.
        The image of their standard bearer as a naked, fat , likely high, white guy traipsing across a stage speaks volumes more than anything else.
        ZeeMan has a running quip: “When you meet a Libertarian, beat him. He will know why.”

        I wouldn’t put too much hope in ‘being left alone’. Communists aren’t known for doing that.

  8. Avatarbluebarchetta

    Reason #41 to consider a career in the skilled trades: you can say whatever you like about politics.

    I’ve noticed that all the guys I grew up with who became plumbers, auto techs, union tradesmen, etc., say exactly what they think in person and on social media. They are unabashed Trumpers, and why wouldn’t they be? When there’s 18 inches of shitwater in your basement, are you going to turn away the guy who comes to fix it because there’s a MAGA sticker on his truck?

    Conversely, nearly all the guys I grew up with who became attorneys, technical writers, financial consultants, etc., are conservative in real life, but keep their mouths shut about it. They have to, or they risk “job loss and social ostracism.” Sadly, I’m one of them. You can’t be an outspoken conservative/libertarian and keep your job at Cardinal Health, Nationwide Insurance, JP Morgan Chase, or any of the other multinationals with the monolithic buildings along the outerbelt of our fair city.

    Though apparently you CAN be an outspoken conservative/libertarian and get contract work from these companies.

    • AvatarEric L.

      *raises his hand* +1 to this. It’s pretty widely reported that the large tech companies are, ah, slightly in favor of liberal ideologies. Did you click through any of the links on the comments to Baruth’s Stallman piece concerning the deeply SJW code of conduct being forced on FLOSS software? [You’ll be surprised to learn that Stallman coined the FLOSS term and almost single-handedly invented the concept, as well.] The so-called “code of conduct” is used to remove conservative software maintainers from their projects because they may occasionally tweet offensive things. Offensive, here, means anything pertaining to “meritocracy” (that is, someone’s merit as a programmer comes from their ability to program and contribute to a project) or anything questioning the rise of LGB and especially T philosophies.

      I omit my full last name on this website because, frankly, like “bluebarchetta” here, I don’t want my name to be searchable. Google omits these comments from its crawl of Baruth’s site, which is nice. But since I link to my website in most of my comments and use my real face as my Gravatar, it’s not difficult to figure out who I am.

  9. AvatarNewbie Jeff


    Your writing is thoughtful, fearless and has integrity… qualities that are as important as they are rare against the backdrop of the evolving Orwellian dystopia. For what it’s worth to you… I’m glad I found this site, it’s become very valuable to me, a guide, and a refuge of sorts. Thank you.

  10. Avatarpanatomic-x

    god bless you, jack. i’m so frightened of the jacobins that i never post under my own name. i rarely bother to post on other sites anymore because the level of dialogue is painfully ignorant. i’ve learned to filter almost all of the noise out but unfortunately my job is in the belly of the beast. it may be just confirmation bias, but it still helps me to come here and know that there are others who see what i see.

  11. Avatarrambo furum

    “…’Judeo-Christianity’, whatever that is.”

    There is no such thing. Ask a Jew for Jesus. It is a fraudulent term for Christianity used for appropriation or concession.

    I quote Rabbi Ruttenberg:
    “Were the crusades Judeo-Christian? Was the Spanish Inquisition Judeo-Christian? What about the Salem witch trial, Judeo-Christian? Where does the Old Testament describe the Trinity. If Judeo-Christian values are a real thing then so are Judeo-Christian-Muslim values.”

    • AvatarSnavehtrebor

      Next you’ll tell us that Judeo-Christian-Muslim values led to the Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and founding of America. I’m hugging myself just thinking it.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Ask a Jew for Jesus.

      Funny that you should mention Moishe Rosen’s little cult, since they intellectually dishonestly put a Christian gloss on everything Jewish, which is kind of ironic in light of the fact that they attribute supposed Christological symbolism and significance to rabbinic statutes, notwithstanding Paul’s position that the rabbis have put a veil over Jews’ eyes and that Pauline Christianity rejects rabbinic law and exegesis.

      An interesting alternate history might be what would have happened had the disciples of Jesus rejected Paul, instead following James, Jesus’ brother who observed Jewish law.

      Sure, there’s a clear demarcation between Judaism and Christianity, and yes, some people are uncomfortable with the term Judeo-Christian, but it can be useful shorthand for the religious foundations of the West. I personally use the term Abrahamic faiths when grouping Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Though they have major differences, they’re undisputably related to each other.

  12. Avatarstingray65

    Jack I agree with you much more often than not, but even when I have a different opinion I respect and enjoy reading your thoughts because they often lead me to think about things in a different way. The problem is that Leftists almost never get any exposure to Conservative/Libertarian points of view as the mainstream media, academia, and most of the professions are dominated by Lefties who believe in things that just aren’t true and/or just don’t work, and anyone who points out their hypocrisies and factual errors is a threat to their little bubble, which means they must be destroyed. On the other hand, those of us from the Right side of the spectrum get constantly bombarded by Leftist viewpoints in the media, entertainment, at school and at work, which forces us to constantly evaluate our belief system and strengthen are arguments, which is why Leftists hate to debate anyone with a differing opinion because they always lose. Jonathan Haidt (a committed Lefty) has done research on this and found much to his consternation that those on the Right can accurately argue both the Leftist and Rightist position on any issue, while Lefties have no idea what the Rightist perspective is and simply write them off as evil.

  13. Avatarstingray65

    A quick follow-up that fits very well with your theme above, as I find I was just banned at TTAC for writing what I thought was a clever response to a boring question of the day about what cars should be cancelled because they are “out-of-date”. Turns out Corey is a bit sensitive about bringing in news of the day, although I don’t recall him ever banning anyone for saying nasty things about Trump (or Republicans), or even making personal insults to me, so apparently it is ok at TTAC to insult those on the Right, but making factually correct statements that might be negatively construed by Leftists can get you banned. Perhaps he is afraid of losing the many tree-hugging Leftists who regularly comment at a site devoted to “planet killing” cars, but what follows are the passages that got me banned.

    September 25th, 2019 at 9:20 am
    Every car needs to be put out to pasture, because as climate experts Greta Thunberg and AOC tell us we only have 10-12 years to live unless we stop driving vehicles the emit greenhouse gases. And don’t think you are ok if you have taken advantage of subsidies to buy a Tesla or Leaf, because they are mostly powered by fossil fuels (representing about 85% of global energy use) and their battery production generates extra emissions. We also need to retire all aircraft and boats (except sailboats) because they also generate dangerous greenhouse gases that are killing all the children according to Greta.

    But don’t think you can just start walking to get around town, because your shoes are probably made from leather (animals emit methane) or synthetic fibers (made from oil), so your walking will need to be barefoot and please stop breathing because that also emits CO2 that is killing the children.

    Corey Lewis
    September 25th, 2019 at 11:03 am
    I’d like you to revisit our rules for commenting, and then stop making such flame-type comments.

    If you can’t stay on topic, don’t comment.


    September 25th, 2019 at 12:38 pm
    Corey – what flame-type comment are you referring to? A 16 year old “expert on climate change” is invited to the UN, and she says the world is going to end and we are all killing children because we drive cars and fly planes. This would suggest that her Truth About Cars is that they should be eliminated, and millions of people demonstrated in support of her viewpoint. Your question is which cars should be eliminated, and her answer is all of them – so tell me where my statement is factually incorrect?

    Corey Lewis
    September 25th, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    1) Comments are for sharing your own opinions, not citing someone who isn’t here and pretending that it has something to do with this QOTD.

    2) When you’re told to lay off, the answer is not to double-down on the garbage coming from your fingertips.

    3) You are banned.

    • Avatarsilentsod

      Trolling is not flaming but I think that distinction was lost on Corey.

      I can certainly buy an argument that the comment was primarily to talk about something else (I am guilty of the same, especially if something was mentioned tangentially and I locked onto one sentence in an article) and could be deleted as not on topic.

      I don’t go to TTAC any more unless it’s linked directly from here for one of Mark’s pieces.

    • AvatarJohn C.

      Wear your banning like a crown Stingray. Sometimes comments going slightly off topic can lead to the most interesting discussions, hopefully with the tolerance of the article’s author.

      • Avatarsgeffe

        And ironically, sometimes the threads containing the content which led to the banning are removed, but as of now, this is still up.

        Scalp on display, perhaps?

        I’m still trying to figure out how in the hell to change my avatar on TTAC to the Gravatar which I made after seeing that aforementioned Gravatar was how you change that site’s avatar, as the site now states that only an administrator may change one! I just wanted to put a front shot of my new car up! It shows up here just fine! I sent Tim Healey an Email asking about this a couple months ago, and have yet to hear a response.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Amazing that I went years at TTAC without banning anyone who wasnt Ed and Bertel in disguise, but the more recent regimes feel compelled to ban on a constant basis.

    • Avatardejal

      I changed my name on word press to something so disgusting that I hesitate to use it. Thus cutting myself off of wordpress based commenting systems. TTAC and I think profootballtalk being on the wordpress list.
      Sort of like a werewolf that has to chain themselves up before the full moon. What can I say, I weak.

      I know I’m this close to getting banned from the leading news web site in Mass. I already get comments deleted from their moderators. If I get bounced from there, I’ll take it as a badge of honor.

      Considering what TTAC allows as comments, yours shouldn’t have been a problem. Odd that they are sticking up for a totalitarian in training. She’d be a natural working for Pol Pot or Uncle Joe Stalin.

    • AvatarCrancast

      Stallman heard ‘…banned from TTAC…’ and rudely interrupted, “I would be happier if you were to leave now” after calculating with super computer efficiency the degree of stupidity required to be banned from TTAC for reading and then commenting on the worst daily feature ever in auto-blog history.

      The irony of Corey telling anyone to stay on topic, icing on the cake.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      To the site’s credit TTAC published my piece about possible intimidation of Chinses expatriates in California by fake Chinese cops. It was, however, disappointing to find so many commenters there that dismissed the notion that Chinese nationalists could possibly be up to something. What term did Lenin use? Oh, right, “useful idiots.”

      • AvatarAdam T

        Ronnie, Do you know how many cars there are running around Shanghai, etc stickered-up in various liveries? (Obviously not local cop livery) I’ve even seen a Jeep covered in Navy SEALS logos.
        I highly doubt anyone from China would think that car was legit.
        Additionally, it’s just a cop, they’re not the ones to be worried about..

  14. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I came here and read the full article because I also saw it on Vox Day’s site. I’ve since shared it with a number of people, some of whom I suspect are now subscribers. I myself have subscribed because this is the second time I’ve come here, and found something interesting.
    The first time was the Boeing article. I used to work in flight test (Grumman Aerospace) and there is no way that BS would have gotten past me, if I’d stayed in the business and gone to Boeing. A friend of mine who works there now, made all sorts of excuses, but really, you can’t excuse a perfectly good airplane flying into the ground.
    I do enjoy your articles. I started with computers in the 70’s while in Jr High. It’s sad to see people saying incredibly stupid shit because their teachers are all morons who never touched a computer in their life that wasn’t a game machine, until sometime late in college.
    Yeah, Stallman can be an ass. So WHAT?
    I grew up in NY and used to live in NYC, I know all about being abrasive and I’ve used it more than once to my advantage in meetings. I’ve also had to sit through some of the most obnoxious crap you can imagine and just smile. It’s a job. You’re not there to have fun, you’re there to produce something – and as long as people are producing nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if you like the people you work with (and I’ve worked with ones I’ve hated) as long as the job got done.
    Companies that start worrying about ‘feelings’ and what you do when you’re not at work, tend not to last long.
    I’ve watched the tech field go from something that used to produce amazing innovative products, to something that produces crap that barely works, breaks often, and yet people still swarm to by it because they’re got the IQ of a gnat. We’ve gone from having intelligent, reasoning, and bright people on the boards of companies to rich spoiled brats who aren’t smart enough to figure out that their middle managers and directors are lying to them.
    People look at SpaceX and are ‘shocked’ at how ‘fast’ they’re progressing. That ain’t fast, that’s just what happens when your company isn’t run and managed by cargo cultists.
    I am so glad I left tech and am self-employed now.

    • Avatardejal

      The company I work for , around 550 people today is not the same company that the founder started. That guy wouldn’t get a job interview today at the company.

      God, I miss that guy.

      If he thought your idea was stupid he’d say so publicly with an explanation why it was stupid. He’d then probably ask if you want to go to lunch after saying that.

      This is the guy who took the company from using NCR mainframes to Oracle Databases, then retired. I asked him why he was retiring. “They can’t bullshit me with mainframes, they can with databases. Time to let someone else handle that.”

  15. Avatartrollson

    Sorry to hear you spent any time reading ycombinator. But now that you did, I think you might enjoy the “webshit weekly” digest.

  16. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I haven’t gone to /. in years. Place really is a joke.
    I used to contribute, occasionally, to the original HNN, because of the work I was doing back then. When they came back, they were a great disappointment.

  17. Avatarltfftc

    I’m not sure why but it gave me joy to see you writing the words “intermediate shaft bearing”, more of that kind of stuff please.

    And I’m calling bullshit on Bark, he’s 5’8. 😉

  18. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    They had the hard-edged faces, stringy muscle, and patchwork skin of men who have performed hard physical labor their entire lives.

    That’s why British and European aristocrats invented “amateur sports” and the Olympics. They had no desire to compete against professional athletes who were both talented and trained, nor against working class folks who were in better physical shape because they toiled at manual labor. While those folks may have been stronger and faster than the aristocrats, they literally could not afford to take time off of work to train.

  19. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    That’s probably a big part of why, for example, the Greeks and Romans accomplished very little technologically.

    They were advanced for their eras.

    The Greeks built buildings that survive to this day, Archimedes and others provided a lot of the math that underlies engineering, and the Romans could make hydraulic cement and made roads that lasted a lot longer than the ones around Detroit.

    As a Jew I’m hardly enamored of Greek and Roman culture, there’s some history there, but you have to give them credit, along with the Hebrews, for creating the foundations of modern civilization, including a lot of basic technology.

  20. AvatarMrGreenMan

    They really don’t know how it used to be.

    True, in the mid-90s, I had to pay Sun Microsystems $1,000 per year for the privilege of using their single-CPU-only compiler on my SPARC Station, but nobody tried to get you fired for any crazy, insane, downright subversive remark you might make on Usenet.

    • Avatarsgeffe

      Things are different today!

      I am a Senior Applications Analyst at a County Government in Ohio, twenty-six years as of this coming Friday, and until this year, after the full-revaluation of all real property in the County, our three year-old system we now use for appraisal and taxation is officially the “system of record” when disputing a property value. Until then, we ran a couple separate systems on three Hewlett-Packard 3000 minicomputers running the MPE/iX operating system. After some thirty-five years of use, I’ve been tasked with archiving the information contained in various databases (called “TurboIMAGE,” a hierarchical database system, if you’re interested) to ANYTHING which will allow some of our older stuff to be retrieved, as the result of a public-information request or some such. I’m also going through and archiving the source code, report jobs, and other such things, in case someone asks how something was done on one of our in-house legacy systems. And it has happened in the past!

      The MPE/iX OS is the poster child for rock-solid stability! There isn’t much that can take one of these machines down, except for physical problems with hardware, power, or cooling. Stories abound of a smaller HP3000 stuck in the back closet in some office, all but forgotten, but still cranking out important reports and important information for a business, for YEARS!

      I’ve always appreciated how INNOVATIVE some of these early computing systems were, and the depth and breadth of knowledge carried along with it! Even today, almost twenty years after then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina announced that HP would be dropping support for this platform, it continues to chug away, albeit on a smaller scale than in its heyday. This platform was proprietary, like others from IBM, DEC, and Burroughs. Several years back, Stromasys, a company which markets VM-based emulators which run on commodity Linux-based Wintel servers, of older platforms such as the DEC VAX and Burroughs Bull minicomputers, was able to obtain the MPE/iX source code from HP, and now have machines that can run applications faster and more efficiently than the original physical boxes offered by HP! Heck, some of the remaining HP 3000 faithful are planning for what can be done to remedy the date “bomb” inherent in the OS because of how Julian dates are represented—in 2028!! The platform was rolled-out in the ‘70s, with the modern, 32-bit version of the OS arriving sometime in the 1980s!

      The pioneers of this platform weren’t all rigid in their thinking, but used a “wild-West” approach, seeing what was possible while still maintaining the positive traits of the platform, and testing, testing, testing! Today, however, it seems like things are all over the map! The Almighty Dollar is king, where you now “rent” software for a yearly “Micro$oft tax,” for which you get a joke for “support,” software that is beta-tested by the end-user (since Micro$oft doesn’t test), and every day, it seems you (or your company) has to open the wallet for yet another thing! And for the privilege, forget any inkling of “privacy,” as you can be bought and sold by the very entities with their hands shoved in the wallets! And of course, don’t dare have any conservative inklings, lest you be banished into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth! This same groupthink results in people having to attempt to communicate with people in third-world shitholes to attempt to solve problems in their software caused by a “who gives a shit” mentality toward requirements, coding standards, or efficiency, to the point that the person who’s been sitting on-hold for five hours can only hang up in disgust after the aforementioned bunghole denizen gets complicated confused by the fact that the answer isn’t on the script in front of them! And some of these same people are brought to this country on the cheap, while the few college-educated youngsters who AREN’T curled-up in the fetal position in their parents’ basements in hysterics over the condition of the planet and how rotten America is, are forced instead to sling overpriced coffee someplace because aforementioned former-shithole denizens have taken their jobs, and they can’t even get past the receptionist desk for an interview!

      As I prepare to switch those 3000s off for the last time, I wonder what IT is going to be like in 25 years, and will anyone remember when it was REALLY fun to be in the field, and will we get it back? I enjoy my job, but I’m secure in a government position, and likely won’t be fired by Email after having to train my replacement from aforementioned shithole! Private industry? IMHO, if you’re not watching your back every day, woe be it!

      I’ve been assured by my Operations department that I will be issuing the last SHUTDOWN command on our final HP 3000, and powering it down! I was going to plan a black-tie affair, inviting past employees in our department back to reminisce and celebrate with us, but I think a small gathering of current colleagues, a couple elected officials, and an Alexa speaker playing Barber’s ”Adagio for Strings“, and “Thanks for the Memories” by a great old crooner will have to suffice! Followed by a “wake” to be held at a local watering hole after work! 🍻

  21. AvatarPatrick King

    Decades ago, I was riding the Green Line in Brookline, a wealthy suburb of Boston, while reading National Review. A fellow commuter scolded me, using unpleasant words, for being “politically incorrect in public.” First time I’d heard that term.

    Since then, I’ve spectated at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, seen greats like AJ, Mario, Emmo and the Wee Scott at their best, driven the Nürburgring, owned lots of fun cars and fulfilled plenty of bucket list items.

    Now I’m retired in central Florida. I get to the Rolex 24, the St. Pete GP and Sebring every year and I am completely immune to accusations of political incorrectness.

    Some things never change.

    Wonderful article Jack, as always.

      • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

        Things are different now – but less than two decades ago, National Review and Weekly Standard were the only place to read ‘timely’ Conservative commentary.

        “Conservative” thought was mostly banished to Radio (Rush Limbaugh et. al.), the unfashionable corners of the Wall Street Journal opinion page, and dog-eared copies of “Atlas Shrugged” passed between friends. The rise of the Blogosphere really changed the paradigm when it comes to dissenting voices.


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