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POSIWID, QotD 20210904


“The purpose of a system is what it does.”

Stafford Beer, 2001


Wilhoit’s law of conservatism, QotD 20210903

I’m glad to see this blog post comment has caught on a little bit. It stunned me when I first read it, and now I’ve seen it in such disparate places as LGM, Jalopnik, and Charlies’s Diary [1] [2].


Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

Frank Wilhoit [3] , 20180321


Read the whole thing, as the kids say:


There is no such thing as liberalism — or progressivism, etc.

There is only conservatism. No other political philosophy actually exists; by the political analogue of Gresham’s Law [4], conservatism has driven every other idea out of circulation.

There might be, and should be, anti-conservatism; but it does not yet exist. What would it be? In order to answer that question, it is necessary and sufficient to characterize conservatism. Fortunately, this can be done very concisely.

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.

For millenia, conservatism had no name, because no other model of polity had ever been proposed. “The king can do no wrong.” In practice, this immunity was always extended to the king’s friends, however fungible a group they might have been. Today, we still have the king’s friends even where there is no king (dictator, etc.). Another way to look at this is that the king is a faction, rather than an individual.

As the core proposition of conservatism is indefensible if stated baldly, it has always been surrounded by an elaborate backwash of pseudophilosophy, amounting over time to millions of pages. All such is axiomatically dishonest and undeserving of serious scrutiny. Today, the accelerating de-education of humanity has reached a point where the market for pseudophilosophy is vanishing; it is, as The Kids Say These Days, tl;dr . All that is left is the core proposition itself — backed up, no longer by misdirection and sophistry, but by violence.

So this tells us what anti-conservatism must be: the proposition that the law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone, and cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.

Then the appearance arises that the task is to map “liberalism”, or “progressivism”, or “socialism”, or whateverthefuckkindofstupidnoise-ism, onto the core proposition of anti-conservatism.

No, it a’n’t. The task is to throw all those things on the exact same burn pile as the collected works of all the apologists for conservatism, and start fresh. The core proposition of anti-conservatism requires no supplementation and no exegesis. It is as sufficient as it is necessary. What you see is what you get:


The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.


[1] With and without attribution, or attributed incorrectly to the wrong FW.

[2] Maybe not so disparate, but I was surprised when I saw it in the Jalopnik comments with absolutely no push back that it was wrong. It’s apparently self-evident. It’s just whether you think it’s a desirable condition or not.

[3] This Frank Wilhoit, a musical composer, and seemingly pretty sharp fellow. However, he’s not that Francis Wilhoit, from subsequent comments which I can no longer dig up. Also he died in 2010, so unless it’s a nom-de-plume, or he’s posting from the grave, it’s a different Frank Wilhoit. Though from the very short Wikipedia entry, he seems like a good dude who might have said this. However, there should absolutely be credit where credit is due for this conception.

[4] “Bad money drives out good.”


PotD 20210928


PotD 20210927


PotD 20210926

Tagged , ,


I was raised on The Jetsons. I was promised flying cars, robot house cleaners, and jetpacks.

As a splinter GenX/Boomer [1], the color of sky in my youth was that of a television, tuned to a dead channel. The streets of LA were wet, and it rained and the buildings rotted and dripped.

I didn’t get any of that in this drought-stricken, smoky, orange-skied pandemic world.

The cars sound like Jetsons cars. They do figuratively fly down the streets, almost impossible to hear. But don’t actually fly.

The Camaros and Challengers and Mustangs sound like American Graffiti [2].

It remains true in all ages and all dystopias that you know the score, pal. You’re either cop, or little people.


[1] Douglas Coupland is my age. I don’t feel like a boomer [2]. I don’t care what demographers say about the year I was born. Curves don’t linearly determine economics or sociology (haha Laff). I didn’t get a pension, low house prices, a lifetime job, or a summer of love. I did get punk, grunge, alt-country, AIDS, Reagan, a 401k, antibiotic-resistant STDs, neoliberalism, end-stage capitalism, worthless startup stock options, OWS, and cheap college tuition. The collateralized tranche meltdown gave me a house and a dog and an old sports car.
[2] OK, boomer.

Tagged ,

Mode of transport does not matter


It’s one thing when a car tries to pass on a blind curve while you’ve going the speed limit on a 5% downhill grade and almost head-ons into the oncoming traffic just to get around you before a stop sign in 200 m. [1]

After decades on the planet, and especially the last four years, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when people on bikes are assholes to other people on bikes… but I was.

And I suppose I’ll be a bit less surprised next time.


[1] This guy had a Larry Elder sign in front of his house for about 4 days before the election, and no days after. I guess that’s not something you’d want to be proud of. It fits right in with someone who’s willing to have a head-on collision because he can’t wait a few seconds (literally maybe five – I was going 29 mph and have the GPS to prove it) to get to the next stop sign. He didn’t stop at that stop sign, or the one before. So I don’t ever want to hear any shit about bikes not following the rules of the road. When the two-ton murder machines start following the rules of the road, or even begin to understand the concept of “right-of-way”, then I’ll stop doing Idaho stops, which ought to be legal.

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PotD 20210904


Climbing ethics

I was once again listening to the dynamic climbing duo [1] while working out in the backyard [2]. Now they’re complaining that, if you roll up to one of the most popular crags in the US, in prime season, with four kids [3] and a huge posse, you get to be all pissy if the group that got there before you doesn’t want to let you and yours into the line-up.

The more stupid one ranted about isn’t it climbing ethics that everyone gets a turn? How dare they say, well, we got here first, and we have four people climbing this, so if you and all your crew takes a turn, we all get one burn and that’s it. Oh my god, how rude can these people who woke up early and got here before me be? I shall post a strongly worded 140 character twit about this. Or spend 20 minutes of an hour-long podcast crying about it.

Well, no. No it is not, and never has been. If you walk up to Nutcracker on a Sunday after a late morning brunch at the Ahwahnee, do you get a turn? No you do not. You go back to your Sprinter van, and get up earlier tomorrow, hipster.

If you walk up to the Grande Grotta at 10 am, should you be surprised when you find out there are already five people in line on the route you wanted to do? Should they let you in, given that a burn might take 40 minutes? Would you demand your rights as an American? Or would you skulk off and just find another damn route?

Because the rule is, and has ever been: First Come, First Serve, baby.

Even if they’re your draws [4]

At some point you get up earlier, or come later [5], if you don’t want to wait in line on a popular climb.

And oh by the way, the super boss climbers who wanted to get on the climb, and were super pissy and rude about it to the people who got there before them, still got to get on the climb before the end of the day. Just not when exactly they first wanted to. And though these super boss climbers who were pissy and rude were walking around like, well, I’d just onsight this, if you’d let me take your turn, peon, on the climb that you woke up early to get to, you peasant, the super boss climbers did not in fact onsight the climb, and had to come back the next day to try to send again.

But somehow that was the fault of the folks who woke up early to get on the climb they wanted to do, and not the fault of the people who rolled up late with four kids and who knows how many other people long afterwards, for not letting the late comers just jump in line and screw you and your needs and wants.

Really, is this how it is in Colorado? Because it ain’t like that anywhere else I’ve ever been. It wasn’t even like that in Colorado when I was climbing there. I know these are Famous Writers and Podcasters who have traveled all over the world and Climbed With Their Famous Friends Who Can’t Be Named At Sekrit Crags You Peons Aren’t Invited To, but to me they just sound like entitled jerks.


[1] it’s a motivating hate-listen
[2] because I don’t want to catch delta from the mouth-breathers at the local gym, which doesn’t even begin to enforce masking. When will Large SoCal City implement the same vaccine mandate that SF has? It’s a forgone conclusion that that’s where all sane places are headed. Why not bow to reality and implement it? Oh yeah, the same reason that hundreds of school kids are exposing themselves to disaster one block away now. We Must All Be Sacrificed for the God of Convenience and Capitalism.
[3] Climate change anyone?
[4] Well, maybe you get a little slack for that. But not infinite amounts.
[5] A little known fact: The best temps, and times, are often at dusk, so if you can hang around reading a book all morning, and time it right, you can be warming up, and getting your burns on your proj, when the sun is gone, the temps are dropping, the humidity is just right, and all the people who started climbing in the sun are smoked and have gone home and taken their annoying little rug rats and badly trained mutts, both of whom should be tied to a tree, back to the Sprinter van.

3rd world problems

I killed my first Aedes mosquito today, around noon. It was full of blood, probably mine. I look forward to the return of yellow fever and dengue. Between contested elections, occasional insurrections, half the country taking dog heartworm medicine instead of a vaccine, the roads falling apart because no one wants to pay any taxes, and the probability of the next governor of this state being a anti-science, anti-vaccine nutcase with 13% support of the population, I think it’s safe to say I no longer have any first-world problems…

PotD 20210825


PotD 20210824


PotD 20210823


PotD 20210822


Sekrit crag rant

What’s the first rule of Fight Club sekrit crags? [1]

Don’t talk about Fight Club sekrit crags.

I just listened to a couple of bozos complaining on a podcast that shall not be named [2] that they had been invited to a sekrit crag, and weren’t able to talk [3] about it, and they were bummed [4]. Oh my, they said, what do you do when someone asks what you’ve been up to. You can’t just lie to them! Oh my! You have to tell!

And what do you do about spray lords, those disgusting dudes, says the dudes who were just spraying about being invited to the sekrit krag that they are not supposed to talk about, with the Canadian Model Girlfriends That You Don’t Know pro-climbers they hang with.

Well, no. You don’t gotta tell. You just… leave it out. Just like you’d leave out that you went to go visit your sister in prison who keeps scamming dudes out of their medicare dialysis checks, maybe you’d just… not mention… that you went to a sekrit crag. Oh yeah, I was at Rifle, then the Park, then the Sekrit Crag, then Eldo. See how that works? You. Just. Don’t. Say.

You might say, well, the only rule of climbing is, Say What You Did. But that’s about the act of climbing. Stick-clipped the third bolt? Say What You Did. Found a new kneebar? SWYD.

That’s clearly different that saying where you did it.

Then there was a bunch of spray about how sekrit crags are wrong, and no one owns them. Well, yeah. That’s right. But someone put in a lot of time finding the place, making a trail, hundreds of dollars on bolts (even at pro-deal prices), dragged up a drill, and worked hours and days cleaning and working and making stances. That doesn’t mean they own it. But they are under no obligation to tell anyone else about it. And if they want to keep it on the DL until it’s sorted out, keep the masses away until loose rock stops falling, and they get a chance to send that wicked 5.11 they’ve been working, that seems okay.

That’s the deal with Fight Club. Keep it to yourself. Not forever. But maybe for a little while. There’s such a thing as sweat equity.

If you don’t like it, go bushwhacking through the poodle dog bush or poison ivy to find a crag and put it up yourself. You can post it up on SuperTopo on day one. Oh, wait…

Or you can say there’s no such thing as a secret, everything belongs to everybody, spray about it, post, and bring the Touchstone Junior Climbing Team out to total gangrope that sick 5.13 all day every day, because, hey, it’s not yours. You don’t own the place.

But maybe you don’t get invited next time. [5]


[1] insert descent, break, rail, sushi joint, camping spot

[2] I really don’t know why I keep listening to these bozos. One I used to know slightly BITD from The Center Of The Universe aka Yosemite Lodge Camping Parking Lot and the base of the right side of El Cap dodging Bear 47 while trying to get your bags off the ground solo; the other I had no respect for ever since he slagged a pro climber for being too young and too good and too pretty (hey, she was qualifying for World Cups, whatever else, she has mad skilz and has worked hard, and it was bullshit sexism making anything else out of that, and defending that hill a muerte). If you’re going to talk about comp climbing and can’t be bothered to look up Janja Garnbret, and her accomplishments, and learn how to pronouce her name before you make a podcast, then maybe you shouldn’t hold forth on that. Anyway, not gonna link to that rage listen.


[3] post pix/words on ig, twits, or fbs. Forgetting perhaps:
What’s the first rule of Fight Club sekrit crags? [1]

Don’t talk about Fight Club sekrit crags.

And seriously, don’t post up pictures, and don’t say I was up at Big Top Mountain. Because someone is going to figure out from the topology, the flora, fauna, or geology, where you are. So you can’t just post up a picture and say here’s the new secret place that you don’t know about. That’s enough. There’s something else there from a canyoneering or moutain biking or hiking website that someone is on both sites and will put two and two together. Then it’s just a matter of driving up the road and looking for a certain Toyota truck.

Keep it to your fucking self. Jesus.

[4] Except of course they were talking about it, and in the most public place possible [6].

[5] There might have been a certain strong local climber who didn’t get invited to a certain local sekrit crag for about five years because he can’t keep his fucking mouth shut and once you tell Big T, you’ve told the world.

[6] Funny story. Once, I was the opposite side of the world, hanging out in a campground underneath the shade of a coolibah tree, and a fellow there asked me what I had been doing. Well, friend, I was as far away as you can get, talking to a climber, let’s call him John, because his name is John, who was unlikely to say the least to ever show up in my neck of the woods, so I told him. We found a 30 degree 20 m overhang on chossy rock, and we’ve spent the last five years putting in routes and not telling anyone about it. Keeping it on the DL, just a select few who can keep a tongue in their head. Now here I am, spraying about it, albeit halfway round the world, but what’s the harm.

Friend, not three months later, I am climbing at a local chosspile with the same folks I’ve putting up this new crag with, and who should come stumbling down the trail but my antipodean friend John. And he is looking for the newest thing, and walks right up to me and asks me how to get to the secret place.

Friend, it was a long time before I heard the end of that, and I might not yet. I also learned a lesson about spraying, and keeping things to yourself. It’s a small world, and there aren’t that many places in it, and we all go the same places at the same times of the year.

What’s the first rule of Fight Club sekrit crags? [1]

Don’t talk about Fight Club sekrit crags.