Friday, May 25, 2007

Not A Joiner

I've been reading Bill Whittle's essays for a while now. (There's a link to his page over in the sidebar). Like many other people, I would click over to his page every day, see that he hadn't written anything new, and then be on my way.

Then, not that long ago, there was something new on his page! Yay!

A bit of a tease, I'll admit, but I read it all and got ready for whatever his new thing was going to be.

It turned out to be YOU ARE NOT ALONE (Part 1). Yes, he is every bit as talented in the "what do I name this post" department as me. I started reading and felt "yes, an excellent analogy" and "good point" and "I see what you did there."

Then I get to the Remnant part, and wasn't quite so cheery anymore. He even wrote
Now you may be thinking that I am positioning this for you to consider yourself the Remnant and Your Humble Author the latest incarnation of their Prophet. I can assure you I mean no such thing. Because the maddening and magnificent thing about this quality of character is that it cannot be hustled, preached to, manipulated or organized
but I disbelieve ("disbelieved" also) his assurance.

I press on to YOU ARE NOT ALONE (Part 2) and was completely enervated on the spot. "Western Civilization is going to the stars" and so now we can all sign up to make a new Utopia, founded in our own Heinlein-educated images, out there among the stars.

Dang! I was so hoping for something useful. Instead I got a large pile of warm runny mush.

The first part of the first part of the essay (up to the Remnant bits) was super, and I'll be internalizing that for use elsewhere immediately. Thanks for that, Bill. The rest, though, I'll be setting aside. I'll be setting it aside because I don't buy into the notion that founding Ejectia! will actually improve our society here. And "here" is where my wife and children live, and "here" is where I live, and "here" is where we're all going to be for a while until space homesteading is a possibility instead of a dream.

I don't think that people are filled with evil. I think that people are almost always capable of running their own lives to suit their own ends. I think that people are not children. I think that other people, even Democrats, even religious fundamentalists, mean well in spite of the fact that they're often wrong about many things. I think that giving up and running away to found Utopia is wrong (but in a "sadly dismissing with a shake of the head" way more than a "pounding the table in angry denunciation" way).

Second, and I don't know that this isn't a sideline, although the sainted Robert Heinlein said that specialization is for insects, specialization is what has made and is making Western Civilization possible. If you're going to grow your own food and be your own doctor and smelt your own iron and forge your own tools and sew your own clothes, then you and your family are going to be really busy and really dirt poor. Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage is not going to be repealed any more than the Laws of Thermodynamics are.

I applaud the idea of self-improvement. I fully applaud and support the idea of making a change in yourself to engender change in the world. What I don't support is the idea that you can globally flip the bit from "betray" to "conspire" by convincing the people who see themselves as part of the "Remnant" to hold a quilting bee while talking about the best way to churn butter.

I'll turn in my membership card now, I think. But I wish you all well in your enclave.