The frontier was more subsidized than the inner cities of America

I’m gonna go ahead and assert this one, and post potential proofs at some later date, maybe even next week (not likely though). In any case, I think this is a set of numbers worth crunching, even if it takes me years to get around to it and I turn out to be wrong (I’m not lol).

The Rousseau-born idea of the frontier and the idea of living a scaled-down, rustic life beating the earth for its energy is one that requires vast amounts of cash from city folk to allow a much smaller group of people to “live off the land”.

There is a belief among the more technocratic and “human biodiversity (but only on test scores, and only sometimes)” type dissident right wing folk that endless rivers of cash have been poured onto black America (specifically and most widely claimed among these sorts, inner city black America) and that this was bad and didn’t make them uplifted or whatever anyway.

Given that nearly all of the money went to and continues to go to white Americans, I find their chain of logic more than a little confused and incoherent. But the debate about amount is one that might be settle-able in some manner.

The numbers needed, to start with, are the ones around President Johnson’s War on Poverty, plus the ones around the multiple land-grant acts of Congress over the 18th and 19th centuries. Then you have to bring in spending related to the frontier areas (and start with the midwest and work your way out west to California and the Pacific Northwest and Alaska). That can get involved, but the detangling is ever so worth it, if it can be done (ideally by someone with a lot more free time than I have).

The only point I’m fuzzy on is just how big the gap is. It might be small, or it might be comically large. By all means, I am eager for someone, anyone to crunch the numbers all up and issue a report.

The fundamentalist 1970s back to the land movement was funded with food stamps and welfare

This was also true of the more left-wing hippies.  There was an interesting confluence during this time of far left and far right starting “self-sufficiency” communal living experiments with the help of welfare.  I didn’t read a book for this one, although you can find little allusions in memoirs about some of this, and the very occasional one-off reference.  Mostly you can find out what happened by looking up the history of the food stamp/SNAP/WIC nutrition support programs on wikipedia.  During the 1970s, some changes were made to what was then still called “food stamps” to permit seeds, gardening equipment and some other tools to be purchased with the stamps instead of money.  A fascinating side effect was that a number of fundamentalist groups/cults/etc. decided to leave the cities and go try to live out in the country off the land.

What I find really interesting about this is that the right wing appears to have no history for this.  The entire Crunchy Con, fundie-hippie, prepper/survivalist, homesteading subset of conservatives finds its Ur-model in the Back to the Land movement.  And this movement that was all about surviving off the grid self-sufficiently away from The (Liberal) Man was jumpstarted by food stamps and cash welfare.  Yet as far as I can tell, it might as well be knowledge hidden under a rock to the modern conservative equivalents.

Conservative fully tenured professors don’t exist.

That’s a statement of statistical fact, though not technical fact.  Technically there’s a few.  But given that there’s not even 400k tenured academics out of nearly 2 million “post-secondary teachers”, and given that conservative ones are not much above 5% nationwide (tenured or not), in a very real sense they don’t exist.   A few thousand professors is negligible.  At a very generous 10% of tenured academics, conservatives would represent perhaps 2% of academics total, and the numbers are worse than that, increasingly close to 1% of academics total.

But just like with liberals, they wield massive influence on conservative thought despite being almost, in a way, imaginary and fictional.

Why the right in America is basically hippies all the way down.

The right in America is countercultural because it’s people who were unhappy with managerialism (rule by midcentury technocrats and proto-Ifreakinglovescience/ types). This turned out to be flower children and fundamentalists. During the 1960s and 70s, they literally got together and had babies and those babies are mostly what we call “conservatives” or “the right” or “right-wing” in America. We also use phrases like “Evangelical Christian” as well. So it’s not that righties have no principles, it’s that the two big righty principles are anti-managerialism and a hankering for pastoral living. When you look at the last few stereotypical secular/nonChristian hippie types remaining, you see that there’s not a lot of sunlight between them and your organic chicken raising, homeschooling Christian mom of 2-4 kids.

Righties need to accept the historical transition they underwent and acknowledge who and what they properly are, so they can stop being led around by Ayn Rand acolytes into the very managerialism and hyper-urban life they loathe and fear (mostly rightly, pun very intended). Righties are less formally social than lefties, and this is to be expected since one can only arrive at fandom for managerialism by being overly formally socialized. Note that I’m not saying rightie levels of socialization are necessarily too low or poor (sometimes yes, sometimes no), merely that the left embraces levels that are unnaturally ordered in their formality.

This is, incidentally, why the “homeschool or die” thing is so dumb. It’s exit, done in a way that…forces you into overly formal settings for socializing! It’s worse than public school for locking you in with a very narrow, insular group of people. The righties who are doin’ it rong, who are truly UNDERsocialized, they’re the tail wagging the rest into less socialization, less civic participation, and ultimately less ability to be ORGANICALLY social in the semi-formal, not very managerial environments they so greatly prefer. We don’t have to choose from only social distancing life or the overly regimented daycare to grad school pipeline (pre-pre-k to MA, increasingly). It’s a false binary.

The truth about pioneer and settler greed

Something that is always left out of the portrayal of pioneers and settlers as secular saints is how rapacious they were.  FDR’s administration had to intervene during the Depression because whites only a generation or so removed from pioneers were so careless with forest harvesting that they were creating massive hazards and epic forest fires.  There was also the poisoning of water supplies for gold mining, there was the overfishing and rapacious hunting.  The ecological types arose in response to the fairly astonishing way in which (white) Americans were scooping up resources and hollowing out land with no particular thought to keeping it going for some future beyond the next few harvest seasons.

And the pioneers themselves worked hundreds of acres alone or nearly so with the aid of technology so they could have more money.  Wall Streeters putting up 100 hour weeks are working extremely hard, but I don’t see conservatives jumping up to explain how their hard work means they earned everything they have and that we should all look to them as role models for how to really live the Christian life.

Note, I’m not saying the pioneers and the first couple generations following didn’t work very hard.  I’m saying they chased them dollahs until they hollahed and whatever that is, it’s not saintly.  There’s this strain in American conservatism of slaving really hard for any extra profits and I think you have to consider the socialist and communism infiltration in that light.  There was a competing strain that did not win out of using the technology to work only enough to be “comfortable”, a sort of proto-distributism, and it’s very interesting to see it rise up alongside the “gotta get ’em all” mentality of the settlers and their children and even some of their grandchildren.

I have to throw in that “pioneer” and “settler” are terms along a continuum.  Pioneers and settlers were homesteading into the 1950s (Alaska) and there were still what moderns would consider “real Ingalls-style pioneers” as late as the 1920s in parts of the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest.

Realtalk for Righties: Homeschooling promotion vs. homeschool reality

It’s presented as easy to jump into, especially by conservative men talking out of their hats, but there are numerous obstacles and regional barriers.  A few of the more common ones are listed below.  Actually, this should be an ongoing series, with each one its own post.  A project for another time.  For now here’s the capsules.

  1. “Just go join a co-op!”  LOL.  As if they’re listed in the phone book, or posted at your local church (if you even have a local church, the commuter-Christian phenomenon is painfully familiar and common, and has been for much of American history).  The existence of contact information does not prove the co-op is open to new families.  The lack of contact information does not prove the co-op is closed to new families.  This is, needless to say, confusing as all get out, especially considering the state the average Christian SAHM is in.  Sure, I’ll take my sleep-deprived, pregnant self around to ten or twenty churches and ask about their homeschool co-ops, towing my four kids under 5 behind me.  Or I’ll compose a dozen emails because doesn’t every homeschool co-op have a well-designed website with contact information and details of how the co-op works prominently labelled?  Oh, oh, wait, wait, let me make PHONE CALLS while KIDS SCREAM IN MY EAR.
  2. “You can easily homeschool older kids with littles around!”  ROFLMSMBO (rolling on the floor laughing my shiny metal butt off).  Not really, no.  It’s hard to end up with the mix of personalities that would allow this to be possible, and what is rare and unusual at best is all too often presented as a normal, reasonable expectation in homeschooling.  But everyone lies.  It’s just not real.
  3. Not distinguishing between HomeSchool and School at Home.  The latter is just a way to bring all the ridiculous pedagogy from public school into your house for no gain and a lot of needless hassle.
  4. “It’s always superior to public school!”  LOLOLOLOL.  The homeschool vanguard, with exceptionally well-educated mothers who had access to classically trained elites (because that was their cousin or uncle) could not produce employable children.  They couldn’t even produce the army of little Lee Kwan Yews they were very convinced they would end up becoming the new elites.

Brought to you by my attempts to find other homeschoolers locally and the honest experiences of homeschoolers online and off when it’s just us ladies realtalking while the kids run around.