The Question They Dare Not Ask

Let's talk about this.
Back when the fight for women to get the vote was underway, it was met with considerable hostility... as the caricatures above illustrate. Those for the women's vote had an ethical point: any person who bore the responsibilities of citizenship (paying taxes, serving jury duty, otherwise demonstrating civic responsibility) ought to also have the rights of citizenship (voting, etc.)
But those opposed to it had some arguments of their own. Firstly that women and men had different natural roles in society, and that it went poorly for society when women tried to take over a man's duties (and voting was seen as a man's duty.) Secondly they argued women would pursue irrational political behavior-- voting based not on objective national interests but on feminine, maternal and emotional desires, and would be unwilling to make the harder decisions often required of those in politics.
Not merely that they would make poor voting decisions, but that they would use the suffrage movement as a toe in the door... that once they had the vote, then the more radical elements that had already begun associating themselves with the Women's Rights movement in general would move in. The demands would come more frequently, more strident, and more onerous-- that men would be pushed aside from their role as providers, breadwinners and heads of their households, that women would use their political influence to henpeck and legally subjugate men, that the family unit would be turned amuck or even torn asunder as women "went off the rails."
Such arguments were finally overruled, and women in America were given the vote in 1920.

Now, though, comes the question none dare ask. Look around and ask yourself:

Were they wrong?
From the moment feminists got the vote, the demands indeed have come hard and fast. Women in America have every single right that men do, **and more.** They enjoy legal protections and privileges that men would never dare dream of, and are excused from the obligatory responsibilities that men are still expected to bear-- for instance supporting and raising a child, or serving on average twice the sentence for the same crime, or being drafted and dying in a war... yet the demands never ceased. They only grow louder, and shriller, and more frequent, and more insane.

Not one year past we had an entire political movement built by feminists around getting one of the crookedest, dirtiest, most bigoted and reprehensible politicians in America elected to the highest office in the land, SOLELY BECAUSE IT WAS FEMALE. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of men serving prison sentences right now for sex crimes they never committed, solely on the word of a woman--- every other week is a new story where a man has to be let out of jail after years or decades because they caught the woman out in a lie. Reproductive rights? A woman can flush the pills and poke a hole in the condom, get pregnant, and the courts will force him to pay either for child care or for the abortion-- and the decision of which is solely and entirely HERS. He gets no say. Prenuptuals? She can get those overthrown at the drop of a hat with a sympathetic divorce judge-- and they're all sympathetic. And still these feminists have the audacity to say, over and over, that they are OPPRESSED. We've had women-- teachers!-- going online and proclaiming that mathematics is inherently sexist. They're out there in the streets DRESSED AS VAGINAS, complaining that it's sexist that their women's studies doesn't get them jobs as astronauts. The feminist movement seems completely dedicated to proving beyond a shadow of a possible doubt that the men who passed the 19th amendment were out of their damned minds, and nothing I've read has even hinted that this is something NEW. The only difference is that what was the fringe element of the suffragettes in 1917 has become the entire body politic of the feminist movement 100 years later.

And to judge by feminist shenanigans in Canada, England, France, etc. it's not a uniquely American proposition either.

So let's ask the question that none dare ask, that none dare answer, and even if they did would not be overheard against the background of autistic women screeching: If the anti-suffragists were wrong about the feminist movement then why in every western country, did it end up like this?

Issues of Immortality

This post is a practical post. In several of my stories, Celestia and Luna are working to provide the rest of ponydom with eternal youth like they have. And no matter how often I post, every five damnable minutes someone is in the comments asking "but what about overpopulation? What about villains, what if they get a new Hitler? What about this? What about that?"

SO. I am posting a summation of my responses HERE. So I can reference it when the question is raised again.

And again and again and again and again....

ZEROTH POINT: TO HAVE THE CURE TO A TERMINAL ILLNESS, AND REFUSE TO SHARE IT, IS TO COMMIT MURDER BY WILLFUL INACTION. AND DEATH BY OLD AGE IS NOTHING MORE NOR LESS THAN A CUMULATION OF TERMINAL ILLNESSES. That, and that alone, should be the end of the discussion for anyone with the guttering remnants of a moral spark in them. But we have millions, oblivious to the fact that they are advocating nothing less than passive murder, who will yet mumble and mutter on about their "enlightened" viewpoint....

1)Historically, increased prosperity and longevity have resulted in LOWER birth rates, as people postpone having children and things like condoms and the pill become more available. Most of Western civilization, in fact, is currently below replacement birth rates.

2)Most of the problems attributed to a larger population are more correctly attributable to having a large senescent population. Think of how much of our resources are spent on battling the sicknesses and injuries and disabilities of old age. Picture the capacities of a world where you remain in your physical and mental prime indefinitely.

3) What accomplishments would a Gates or a Jobs or an Einstein or an Edison or a Tesla have been capable of after two centuries of learning? Three? A dozen?

4)We are barely utilizing a miniscule percentage of the resources currently within our grasp on this lone planet. Our entire world's population could live in a pleasant, spacious suburb the size of Texas, with the rest of North America for agriculture and pretty much the rest of the planet as a nature preserve. And that's just with current technological and agricultural levels. We have nine planets, dozens of moons and a billion asteroids for resources, again, just with modern levels of technology.

5)There has never been a correlation between population and famine. Ireland was scarcely overpopulated, but foolish management by the UK led to famine. Japan is the most densely populated nation on the planet, yet they are a net exporter of food. The same holds true of other resource shortages, historically speaking. There's more than a sufficient amount of everything for everyone-- so long as we keep the fingers of despots, tyrants, criminals, and well-meaning meddling fools out of the pie.

6)People fret about being bored with immortality who can't manage to get everything they need to done in a given day. If you get bored in a universe this big, where something, somewhere, is always happening--- you're not trying!

7)We're speaking of eternal youth, not godlike unkillability. But even if we were, solving any of the hypothetical problems with such immortality is a lot easier than curing a case of death.

8)There is a disease called progeria--- a genetic condition that causes people to die of old age by around the age of thirteen. it affects one in eight million people. If you had the cure in your possession, would you argue against it for fear of overpopulation, or the worry that these children would be unable to deal with their vastly extended lifespan? Suppose you were the only normal person in a world filled with people who died of this condition. Would you fret about administering the cure? I hope to God you say no! If you were presented with the secret to perpetual youth, you would be under the exact same moral imperative to give it to a world full of people slowly dying of the disease of old age, and to perdition with any silly old-woman fretting about population numbers or hypothetical immortal ennui!

9)There are those that argue either theologically that death is God's design, or nature's design, or that wicked people would only become more wicked if immortal, etc. This one requires sub-points.

a)Again, not immortality, just perpetual youth. Eliminating death, I would wager, lies beyond the impossible for the material world.

b)There are people, Christian people, that sincerely believe we are 'disobeying God's will/failing to exercise faith' by going to doctors, taking medicine, using insulin... these people are regarded by other Christians as in grievous error and ignorance and to be committing a great evil against those in their care, and by secular people as either lunatics or plain evil themselves. Curing the sicknesses and injuries of old age should be regarded in the same light and with the same commonsense clarity.

c)Theologically speaking, death itself in Christian theology is a tragedy, contrary to God's original design and plan. It would also not be the first time God revoked a curse, nor the last-- after the Flood He revoked the curse against the ground 'for man's sake.' If God saw fit to provide a cure for old age, there is, yet again, a moral imperative to distribute it.

d)For those of a more agnostic or pagan outlook, who argue that we should not change nature--- nature IS change. The part that we can affect. And it starts when we decide. (A very wise cartoon rat once said that.)

e)Yes, prolonging life means that men will be given more time and opportunity to become wicked. But by that logic we should be pushing suicides off of bridges and strangle every newborn in its crib to keep Life from corrupting them! Longevity gives men opportunity for wickedness; it also gives them opportunity for virtue and redemption, the chance to change their course and go the other way.

This is the sum argument: Despite all the problems that come with it, life is still an undiluted Good Thing, and should not be cast aside.

Why Quality (in Anything) Still Matters

Pop Quiz, everyone: Which of these two pictures is art?


or this?

Well. $44 MILLION DOLLARS says Picture Number Two.

For those who haven't noticed, for the past half century "modern art" has dominated Western civilization's artistic culture. It is so prevalent that the mockery is almost an expected cliche.' Yet it persists. To this day utter garbage (sometimes literally-- look up the concept of found art) is called art, while art that displays skill, composition, structure, and pleasing visual qualities is labeled "pedestrian" or "bourgoise," or (oh gods no!) Commercial. The Emperor is not merely without clothes, he is stone deaf to the hoots of derision of the populace, and continues his parade down main street daily... and the thieves who swindled him are showered with money. High art, which is supposed to be the pinnacle of a civilization's creative culture, has become a scam or hustle, and the people who create real art are regarded with disdain and forced to scrabble for pennies... even though more thought goes into the design of a typical burger wrapper than into the pieces of garbage hanging on the walls of the average museum.

How did this happen?

It was a simple and methodical process. We deplored quality as a concept. Quality was merely a matter of opinion, you see. And egalitarianism demands that all opinions be equally valid--- except of course for ones like "Good" or "Bad." Those were, of course, wrong.

And so, step by step, the bad became the tolerated. The tolerated became the commonplace. And the commonplace became the rule, rather than the exception.

For those that insist, in spite of the above, that all things are still merely a matter of personal taste or opinion, I ask one armor piercing question:

If opinions don't matter, than why do you have a comments section below your work?

Acknowledging that there are a variety of opinions on what is quality does not mean accepting that there are no objective standards. There are still limits to how far the boundaries of subjective opinion will let you go. The purpose of having a free market of ideas is not to proclaim all ideas equivalent, its purpose is so that we can develop values... so that we can suss out what concepts have merit -- and that includes artistic merit. That goes for painting, composing, drawing, writing, ALL forms of creative productivity.

When we start insisting that all artistic concepts are equal, no matter what, it is always the BAD that climbs to the top of the heap. Huxters and shysters always thrive in a game with no rules. And given enough time they'll write their own rules for the game-- ones that favor them, ones so nonsensical that they'll have people wearing shoes on their head and hats on their feet.

In any system, criticism is what pushes and goads the creators into improving their own work, in developing a consensus of quality, into setting standards--- standards higher and tighter than the merely acceptible and that go beyond mere technique (all films are on celluloid and use the same tools, same sets and same movie tropes, but not all movies are equal... and even a diehard fan of schlock movies admits that they are schlock.) And yes many opinions will be unfairly biased against a particular style or work, but answering all criticism by insisting that "everyone has their opinion" is functionally the same as insisting that no opinion matters.

And the true quality work gets lost in an ocean of bad.

There are those who will still insist that "good" and "bad" are subjective opinions. But they will have to admit, after looking at the two above pictures, that "good" and "bad" STILL EXIST.

The rest... the ones who can look at the above works and insist that there is no real artistic difference between the two-- or worse, that the $44 million dollar swindle is "true art" while the other is not....

I think "Their problem is obvious" sums it up.


Faust used to say Scootaloo was just a late bloomer. Five years down the road now, she apparently thinks that scootaloo never being able to fly would be "cute" and because it's important to teach children that some dreams never come true.

You break my heart, Mrs. Faust, if you actually mean this. I'm inclined to think that she's pulling a JK Rowling....

You'll recall that the gay mafia whined that there weren't any gay characters in the Harry Potter series, so Rowling came out years after the last book and even the last movie was in the can, and announced that Dumbledore, of all characters, was actually gay.

My guess is that the Victim Class Mafia did the same thing with Faust... whining at her that she wasn't glorifying the noble exalted state of Handi-capableness enough, till she finally broke down and post-scripted her support of the Scootacripple meme.

I wonder how many other creative types are out there who finally screamed "THERE ARE FIVE LIGHTS! I GIVE!"

I ponder all the "messages" this actually sends....

1.Some dreams never come true, so give up already.

2.Being handicapped isn't a tragedy, it's a DESTINY. And overcoming "destiny" is for losers.

3.Adults are useless. Even if you're surrounded by ones with demigod-like powers, they can't help you.

4.You only have an identity if you have a disability.

5.Shut up, kid, you're not here to triumph over your problems, you're here to inspire people. Inspire people to what, we don't know.

6.Wanting to beat or worse, CURE a disability rather than just using it for a pity-sponge makes you a HATEMONGER. (1)

7. Failure is the only option, no matter how stupid or contrived it is. (2)

Years ago, there was a woman in the news who was promoting a treatment course (primarily therapy and nutrition) for children with Downs Syndrome, to try and ameliorate some of the physical problems associated with that disease. I remember her opening speech to a group of Downs Syndrome parents; "There's one thing we need to get straight from the start. You've not been given a 'blessing' or a 'gift' or a 'special little angel from heaven,' you have been given a sick child. And if you love that child you should be TREATING that sickness, not praising it."

We are more worried about accidentally making a handicapped child feel bad about themselves than we are concerned with the fact that we have a handicapped child on our hands. You want that kid in the wheelchair to feel good about themselves, busting your ass finding a way to make them WALK AGAIN goes a lot further than any make-a-wish program.

1)This is a real thing. There are people in the deaf community, for instance, who are so devoted to their identity as a "culture" that they get ANGRY whenever people start talking about treatments or cures for deafness; they regard it as an attack on them as a group...

2) Turtle can't fly? Quick, find a magic solution. Unicorn can't fly? We got a spell for that. Pegasus filly can't fly? Auuuugh, it's hopeless, throw your hooves up in despair and give her a handi-capable parking tag.


Rarity flew. Pinkie Pie flew. Twilight flew. Bulging Biceps flew. TANK THE TORTOISE flew. But Scootaloo can't? Horseapples.

The Old Jedi Order had it coming.

ah, the fatally flawed Jedi philosophy.

"I will not use my powers for personal gain--" so you'll be a parasite on society, instead? Or eke out a living doing what you are only half-arsed at? It is not a sin or evil to get paid for what you are good at doing. In fact, morally coherent people recognize it as an imperative.

"I will not allow myself to feel fear or anger--" these are called psychopaths. No wonder every Sith for 10,000+ years came out of the ranks of the Jedi. Both the Jedi and the Sith have pathologically unhealthy views of human emotion, but the Sith at least do not deny or repress their emotions.

And yes, psychopaths. Consider the actions of the Jedi in the prequels.

Do good people steal away children from their mothers?

What kind of mentally healthy person tells you to shun form NO emotional bonds or connections with others? Does an emotionally healthy person look at a room full of child corpses and not have an emotional reaction, like Yoda did? Or encourages a man worried for his lover to REJOICE that she was going to die? Or use an army of CLONED SLAVES--- men who had their free will removed and their capacity for independent thought genetically removed--- as cannon fodder in a war? What kind of "order of the Light" discovers a planet ruled by crime lords and rife with slavery, and DOESN'T return with an army to purge it? Is it mentally normal for a boy to be rescued from slavery, and then NOT return to free his mother for over a decade... because his masters told him to purge all 'worldly connections?'

How can they revere a Force created by Life and Love and that binds together all living things-- and then steal their 'acolytes' from their families as mere infants and train them their entire lives to their emotions, abhor love, and sever all binding connections with others?

We lock people up in padded rooms with that kind of soulless lack of empathy.

The fundamental failure of the Jedi was assuming that because the Sith were bad, that THEY were the good guys.

It's far more likely that the Force was restoring balance not by ending the Sith but by purging the galaxy of the corrupt, emotionally stunted and sociopathic cult known as the Jedi Order like cutting out a cancerous tumor.

Of course, without fail will come the commenters whose counter argument is little more than "they don't really mean that." In spite of the Jedi Order BEHAVING precisely like that for the entire prequel. Even in the original trilogy Yoda and Obi-wan were no prizewinners. They dumped Luke on a desert slave planet and left him to live in hardscrabble poverty, lied to him, kept vital information from him, and ramrodded him through combat training in mere weeks (that strangely enough used to take Jedi padawans their entire childhood) all to use him as a weapon to kill the Emperor and Vader.... and then when he slipped the leash, immediately made plans to go try and use his sister, next. "Don't worry, there's another we can use--" conniving little bat-eared frog.

Bad Writing Tropes in Harry Potter Fanfic.

Magic binding and obliviating of magical kids. I hate that trope. It's utterly anti-canonical, counter-logical, and were the Ministry of Magic to practice it, so self-evidently counterproductive they'd never dare try it.

If the Ministry obliviated little kids, then where did the Squibs come from? Every squib would be brainwiped by default for failing to get into Hogwarts at all. Yet Squibs are apparently scattered hither thither and yon-- and are fully aware of the Magical world.

And even with obliviation, that just goes back to square one, with a magical child or teenager or adult performing more and more accidental magic, only having no explanation for it and imperiling the Secrecy Act in their panic.

Because no, they can't 'bind' someone's magic in Harry Potter. How do I know? Simple: if they COULD bind magic, they WOULD. Every prisoner in Azkaban would have been bound in that way, even if only temporarily. Yet they are explicitly not! Hell, they didn't even do that to Hagrid, and they had every reason to. They broke Hagrid's wand, legally banned him from using magic, yet never bound it-- and we know it because he practices it with the broken pieces of his wand hidden in his little pink umbrella.

Never you mind the backlash if they tried obliviating and binding wizards. The outcry, even from the Purebloods who feared such measures, would be deafening. And the rebellion against that law would be endemic.

You'd eventually have someone who slipped the noose. A bungled Obliviate, or rebellious friends and relatives would go behind the Ministry's back with a Pensieve to restore their loved one's lost memories...

Best case you'd have the start of a magical society rebellion, an underground of de-obliviated and Unbound wizards. Worst case, You'd have a new Dark Lord. Someone who remembered the magical world, that they had been outcast and their magic bound by those who claimed to be their own kind... They would have every reason in the world to go Dark, go on a shopping spree in Knockturn Alley and then go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Wizarding World. Maybe even de-obliviating and/or unbinding other outcast wizards, witches and squibs to swell the ranks... if the Ministry thought that the DEATH EATERS were bad, imagine how much worse and more ruthless a band of vengeful dark wizards who didn't want to rule the wizarding world but smash it to rubble.

Especially if they were so pissed they took the easiest route to revenge--- and busted the Secrecy Act wide open. One live show-and-tell at, say, the World Cup...

Another Potterverse entry.

Fanfiction being what it is, and with fanfiction writers' predilection for making their version of the source material at least a bit darker than the original, it should come as no surprise that most fanfiction writers' portrayals of the world of Harry Potter have a lot of darker sociopolitical atmosphere. In even the mildest, there is an assumption that the Potterverse is rife with prejudices, bigotry, and archaic caste systems brutal in their medieviality.

Not to deny that there is obviously some of these things in the canon material (the mistreatment of house elves, Umbridge's loathing of non-humans and non-purebloods, etc) , but I think the fanwriters, for the sake of drama, are steadfastly ignoring any contrary signs. The wizarding world cannot be nearly as racist or bound by pureblood privilege as the fanwriters like to portray it.

First thing to consider: hate groups are made up of those who believe themselves disenfranchised. The IRA's ranks are filled with irishmen harboring bitterness against the British crown, not lords and dukes sitting in Parliament. The KKK did not even exist until AFTER the Civil War, and was made up of white men who blamed the blacks for their downfall. If Wizarding England was as feathered a nest for purebloods as most fanfics portray it, Voldemort would never have filled the ranks of the Death Eaters.

Second thing to consider: Taboos. Draco Malfoy may spit "mudblood" with every other sentence, but early on it was established that this was regarded as so outrageous a vulgarity that Ron Weaseley immediately went for his wand when Draco used it. Compare and contrast the usage of the word "nigger" in the United States today. The word is so verboten that people--- even in supposedly racist "Deep South"--- actually have to bolster their courage to say or even type it, in even a purely academic setting. You don't get a taboo like that unless the sentiments behind the word are already in exterme disfavour.

Third, you don't get nobility going to school and mingling casually with commoners. When the working class nouveau riche in Great Britain started moving into upper class circles due to the rising wealth of the Industrial Revolution, and started putting their children into higher education, children from "commoner" families underwent a gauntlet that makes the worst of Hogwarts look benign. The sons of Lords would not be rubbing elbows at the same dinner table as the sons of textile merchants. Yet in Hogwarts there is no caste division at their tables or their dormitories--- divided by house and year, certainly, but caste doesn't even make an appearance. Except at the Slytherin table. In fact the Slytherins are effectively a dumping ground for all the pureblood prats whose families STILL want to make a big deal about their lineage, while the rest of the houses intermingle "upper" and "lower" classes indiscriminately. The very existence of Slytherin, once the house of the cunning and ambitious, now demoted to the House of the Inbred and Isolated, shows how far into disfavor the worldview of lineage and caste has fallen.

Things Missing from the Harry Potterverse

1)SYSTEMS AND UNITS OF MEASUREMENT. They have magic. Yet they have no quantitative way of MEASURING magic.... to determine how much of a magical charge an artifact has, or how fast it is draining or recharging, no equivalents to volts, watts, ohms, amps.... seeing as this sort of thing is a matter both of human nature and utility, they should have SOME sort of system for measuring magic, if for no other reason than objectively establishing which wizard was "stronger" without a dueling tournament.

2)This is coattailed by ENERGY CONSERVING DESIGNS. Regardless of how endless or "free" magical energy is, wizards get tired and enchantments run down--- which means there's high motivation to produce designs that are more "fuel efficient." Take brooms: At least one person had to have hit on the notion of attaching a bicycle seat to a broom rather than waste magical juice on a cushioning charm, for example.

3)Expand into general DESIGN PHILOSOPHY, Other than tradition. Regardless of where you start, under the influence of individual need, FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. A chair, regardless of culture, needs to be shaped to hold up a butt.....

Continuing with brooms, you don't see equivalents of headlights, navigation lights (port and starboard), luggage and cargo capacity (such as saddlebags), multiple passenger size. Magic carpets have that at least; it would take someone cutting off their nose to spite their own face to outlaw those things. Why not a flying la-z-boy recliner, for comfort?

Magical suits of armor make terrible guards-- what could be less well-thought-out than sending out a warrior to fight who was nothing more than a hollow metal shell? They should at least have an internal load-bearing "skeleton" to put weight behind their blows and enable them to hold up against blows in return without crumpling. There should be separate floos for communicating and traveling--- using the dual system in the book is just begging to be kicked in the face by someone going the other way. in fact using them to communicate should be outdated: Sirius' two-way mirrors should be common as cell phones in the muggle world. Large magic mirrors, rather than a Wizarding Wireless, for entertainment-- and why not 3d tv using illusions cast by the wireless, at that? and so forth.

4)there should be MORE INFLUENCE FROM AND AWARENESS OF THE MUGGLE WORLD. A smaller society that hides within a larger one is going to, by necessity, be more aware of the larger. The Potterverse is the exact opposite: Muggles, from folklore and popular fantasy, have a better overall picture of the wizarding world than wizards do of the muggle world, despite being literally engulfed and surrounded by it. The wizarding world should be awash in Muggle art, music, clothing styles, pop culture, etc. just from the debris and litter the muggle world leaves behind (newspapers, magazines, books, disposable goods...) If anything, the wizarding world should be a mish mash classical folklore and the wildest imaginings of pop culture--- futurism, zeerust, etc.--- because unlike muggles they are not constrained by the limits of engineering or physics or even three-dimensional space. Think either victorian sci fi, Spelljammers... or perhaps even Dr. Who.