by Sarah A. Hoyt
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
We don’t have access to the paths of power, the official support, the institutions, the easy money, the wealthy supporters.
That’s the bad news. The other bad news is that those things are all corrupt and extensively corroded. This is bad news for society as a whole, even if we’re locked outside it.
Look, one thing is for the hand that has money and power to tilt slightly in favor of the still more or less good performers but ideologically balanced to the left. That I understand is what was going on in the forties, fifties, etc.
Oh, the president — FDR (ritual spit) for instance — could be a loon and choose winners and losers according to the color of their socks or whether he liked their accent. Or you know, because he had a pash for commies. But in the tiers and ranks below, even in the most biased fields — writing, television, movies, newspapers — you would get a leg up and be expedited on your way to success if you were known to be red, but still quite decent.
Sure, perhaps not the best one could find, but competent, and at least with a marginal spark of talent. (But Sarah, red scare. People were against communists. Yeah. Right. Pull the other one. It plays jingle bells. Some people were publicly and obviously ostracized by the other communists in the field, but those businesses were already thoroughly left by then, and everyone was in on it. McCarthy wasn’t wrong. He was profoundly late. (Alas, Trump might have been too.)
Still, they produced watchable stories, wrote watchable stories, threw their money behind projects that might cement most hierarchies as lefty controlled but were also massively successful, thereby creating more money. And more disciples. To an extent. The amount of soft lefties who are so because of all the “of course” leftism implied in the world building of old shows and books became their unexamined premise. It’s just that the soft sell takes a long, long time. And mostly creates decent people who are reflexively left but still able to be shocked of it, and use their damaged thinking processes to think themselves away from the poison. (A lot of us.)
However perhaps the slowness rankled them. Or perhaps it is simply the decline of any hierarchy that relies on ANY OTHER REASON THAN COMPETENCE for hiring and promoting.
It doesn’t matter if that hierarchy is skin color (any) or likes my kind of music or is a communist or is one-legged or is related to me. Over time any hierarchy, any field, any arts, any crafts and most definitely any science where hiring happens due to reasons not related to competence, dedication and devotion to the field/thing itself, becomes a clown world of idiots, virtue signalers and slackers.
We’re well into that now. We have entertainment that doesn’t entertain, military that can’t defend us, a Junta that is in the pay of our enemies, fiction writers who sound like the most boring of Elizabethan preachers (apparently under the belief people will be fined for not filling the pews) and “scientists” who bring in non-reproducible results. And that is not counting the “scientists” and people who “f*cking love science” who rage, rage that math is racist.
ALL THE HIERARCHIES ARE CORRUPT AND BROKEN AND FALTERING.
And most of our politicians and a lot of our universities are being paid by China, apparently not having realized Chinese money is basically monopoly money backed by the “faith and credit” or totalitarians. They could print it in their basement and achieve the same effect.
So, everything is broken, things are going occasionally and bizarrely sideways in ways even I would find unbelievable ten years ago, and we — the bad kids — are locked outside the whole thing.
Well, there’s good and bad in being the outsiders.
The bad is of course that normal career paths of growth are closed to us. Hearing a soft-left friend not nearly as published/with as many fans as I have talk about movie deals, and money to hold properties for possible movies, and how he’s talked to so and so about a TV series made me want to cry. I knew I was giving that path up when I came out of the closet. It’s still disheartening to know it’s as closed to me as if there were a concrete wall at the very beginning. Unless a cataclysmic event occurs, and Hollywood turns upside down, I’m out of that game.
The good… I’m going to sound like a hippie, so forgive me, but the good is that we have each other.
As times become more unstable… more people need help. But it doesn’t take a huge benefactor. It takes a hundred (or a thousand) little ones. And we have that, because we have the numbers. (Which is why we need to budget what we do in that area, so we don’t bankrupt ourselves.) It’s not easy, it’s not flashy, it’s not easily visible, but it works and often flies below the radar.
I have been telling you for 12 years, give or take, that it’s all going to fall down. It’s rotten through and through. And we have to take the weight when it falls, when it blows. We have to be ready to step in and take the weight of civilization, and keep our people alive, and make sure what comes after is sane.
Honestly, if I didn’t know you bunch of weirdos, as it becomes obvious the rot is larger and worse than I thought, I’d be worried.
But I know you. I know us.
My directive to you is “find a way.” I don’t care what the community you’re involved in is or what project: find a way. If possible, find a way to make whoever needs money more “solid” (training, redirection, direct employment) so they don’t need help again. And help them in the direction of making them more what they want to be (not what you want them to be. Alas, neither son married/is marrying a web designer.)
As you’re building over, building under, building around, do try to be creative. Sometimes the extra mile between “I helped my buddy survive” and “I helped my buddy find a new sideline that he can do or needs just a little instruction for and which will be the beginning of a new career” is very fine, and not a lot of money. Sometimes of course, it’s more than that.
Consider too your time. That two hours you spend watching cat videos? There’s a lot of learning videos on you tube.
I’m not telling you what you should be interested in, mind you. Not my job. I’ll just say I don’t think civilization will fall all the way to pre-industrial or medieval, let alone primitive. Venezuela and Cuba still have electricity (ish. Most of the time.) But if what makes your heart pound is forging metal armor, go for it, maybe there will be something it’s needed for in the future.
However, more likely? Oh, soap making. Candle making. Bread making. Clothes alterations. Car repair. Dishwasher repair. making stuff out of scrap wood. Things that will pay out right now, but will really pay out in a disrupted society. Making natural cat food (Buy taurine to drip on it.) Whatever.
I’m a very useless person and conscious of being so, so what I’m noodling on is “ways to sell my books if Amazon falls.” And writing ever more compelling stories. I haven’t however lost sight of ‘teaching writing, because I’ve learned a few things and might give someone a leg up. I’ve just been slowed/hampered by years of well…. apparently of being high altitude, but I didn’t know that.
There is a wealth of information out there. Things that the scholars of the past would have killed themselves to get. You can learn anything. If you can try to make it useful, but don’t underestimate the chances things will be unexpectedly useful.
Just stay alert and be creative.
What can you do today to support one of us who are excluded from the structure? What can you do to build or solidify a network? What can you do to help someone go a step further? (Ye, I hear you “yelling at Sarah to finish books. I’m working on it.)
Think about it, stay active about it. Because we really really really are going to need all of us and all we have to survive this and to survive the collapse of the structures.
As I said, looking at you bunch of weirdos I’m not even worried. A little confused of how it will work out, but sure it will.
Be not afraid. Just keep working. We got this.
Reprinted from According to Hoyt for February 6, 2023
Your editor respectfully disagrees with the author on one point. She is not useless. Good writers and thinkers are always needed.
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