Sunday, July 31, 2011
  Fall back to sanity 2

Returning to an earlier theme.



The "experts" always tell us that globalization, outsourcing, special privileges for fairies and bulldykes, Die-Versity, "climate change" pseudoscience, and other lethal monstrosities are Historically Inevitable. Modern. Progressive and Infinitely Desirable. It's not just unthinkable to turn back the clock on these genocidal trends, it's physically impossible to turn back the clock. So they say.

= = = = =

Another supposedly irreversible trend is the death of storage. [I know this is a clumsy phrase, but I can't think of a more concise way to say it.]

Refusal to store for the future is supposedly Modern and Historically Inevitable, but in fact it's atavistic, primitive and anti-human.

Many insects, birds and mammals store food by instinct. Humans spent several millenia developing all sorts of ways to store and preserve food, minerals, water, manufactured goods, money, and information. We're now working with intense fanaticism to abolish all storage. We're trying to operate only with immediately available or (worst of all) totally borrowed and imaginary materials.

(1) "Just In Time" manufacturing. Wildly vulnerable to all sorts of disruptions. If there's a bad snowstorm between your factory and the source, you have to stop production. If your source goes bankrupt or gets destroyed in an earthquake, you have to stop production. But if you operate with a large inventory of parts and materials, you'll have time to develop new sources or alter the product.

(2) Disappearing libraries. It's true that most information is vastly easier to reach by digital means, but digital is fragile. One scratch, one power surge, one Chinese virus, and it's gone. Paper is far more durable and far less brittle. A book can last for centuries, and it's still mostly readable after considerable damage from water or bugs or fungus. Major libraries should now focus more on becoming permanent repositories, less on being accessible to everyone. Paper is for storage, digital is for access. Time to bring back closed stacks. [Update: Brewster Kahle has the right idea! A true hero.]

(3) Breaching dams and refusing to build new dams. The genocidal envirokillers "protect" the Holy Aristocratic Old-Growth Infinitely Royal FISH by smashing human work, culture and communities. In saner times, breaching a dam was considered an act of war. It's still an act of war, but we're not allowed to name it. Because we're under permanent siege by the marauding enemy army EPA, many cities and agricultural areas are starved of necessary water. They may do all right in rainy seasons, but they can't outlive a drought.

(4) Living on credit. Home equity loans, derivatives, permanent government deficits, companies running on short-term loans. All fragile, all vulnerable to the slightest disturbance. If you live or function entirely 'in the black', with a considerable reserve, you can outlive a loss of income or a loss of tax revenue. You can retrench and develop new sources. If you're running constantly 'in the red', a year of drought will destroy you.

(5) The non-Euclidean mindset. (More abstract than the others, but part of the same trend.) We don't need no steenkin facts, we can run our minds on purely imaginary values. All the big corruptions of science: "Global Warming", Big Bang, quantum "physics", refuse to start from the facts and methods that have been carefully stored by previous generations of scientists. They start instead with an arbitrary postulate or theory, then build a highly complex system around it and call it science. Doesn't matter if any observable facts agree with the results. With the Big Bang there's not even a way to test the hypothesis. You just keep on building more models and equations and get more publications to advance your career. A similar disconnection from stored facts shows in the Neocon insistence on American Exceptionalism. We can safely ignore every universal law of history, we can do absolutely everything that every competent leader ever warned us against. We'll still succeed because we are a Blessed Moral Force. It doesn't matter that we have clearly and transparently failed for 50 years; we must keep going.

In other words, human capital doesn't exist. We won't use the skills and culture developed by previous generations, and we sure as fuck won't develop any skills and culture for our miserable descendants. It's all unmoored, unfounded and impermanent.

= = = = =

The deepest consequence of non-storage is qualitative. It's a difference in the soul, not the wallet.

When you're operating without storage, you're totally dependent on your government, other governments, international agencies, harsh Nature and higher-status people. You're running scared all the time. You can't trust your own skills and experience, can't afford to depart from the fast-changing official line, because you'll lose house, job, money, credit and status.

When you have a solid cushion of parts, food, water, information, or money, you're ahead of the curve. You don't need to keep up with every immediate trend, don't need to please every creditor or employer. You have room to chart your own course, develop a new product, try better ways of governing, or just relax for a while. You don't need to wait for Experts or Government to tell you what's happening; you can figure it out yourself from facts, experience and history.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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