A fair go

Now, while it is said – with some truth – that I took the important aspects of my children’s education upon myself – as a result they have the requisite skills to hang by one arm from a tree, scratch with the other, and fling coconuts with their feet, they did attend school. Someone had to teach them reeling, writhing and fainting in coils, after all. Just down the road from their school was jolly posh establishment – probably the toff… toffee-n… er… top private boarding school in the country. Undoubtedly in the top four, and the most expensive at the time.

They had a rock-climbing wall which was much higher than my kids school’s one, and as all this hanging by one arm doesn’t come without practice, I was keen to accept any invitations for the boys to enjoy. We went there a good few times, as their few climbers lacked a skilled instructor, I spent a fair amount of time talking to and teaching safety to a fellow working there. He told me this fascinating, illustrative story.

Now this school was multiracial (as was my kids’ school). If you could afford it, they’d have you. By American standards it would have been very liberal (except in arenas like needing to wear a uniform). One of the kids there was the son of a leading ANC politician, spoken of as possible state president – black, who had married the daughter of a super-wealthy mining magnate (white) top of the social tree. To this daddy had added loads of Directorships and, as a result a business empire that made him one of the wealthiest men in South Africa. The kid was apparently popular and a nice lad, and has nothing much to do with this story. He is mentioned purely to exemplify a comfortable Western upbringing, with every advantage money could buy, in an environment where his skin color and father’s political power would have been, if anything, an advantage. He was a young man as far removed as possible from the upbringing of Joe Average, black or white, let alone some black kid living in the squalid slum townships of South Africa, or a mud hut in one of the rural tribal areas. In terms of having a great start and every opportunity he could ever use, a million miles above most American children, let alone those in his own country.

C’est la vie. That’s why I was teaching my kids my limited monkey skills – not an advantage everyone has – because, naturally, I wanted to give them the best I could. Anyway, to continue: my acquaintance (a liberal individual themselves) told me a story about a dinner he’d been to, where the school had been, no doubt, trying to turn wealthy and powerful up sweet. The subject of Affirmative Action had come up, and was being discussed, as were the criteria for the school doing some. At which point the wealthy and powerful papa says that really the only criteria needed is race. Awkward silence as everyone had been talking about academic or sporting skill from some child who could flower with a bursary and bring credit to the school. And some bright spark asked if for instance his own son should be the beneficiary of Affirmative Action.

His answer was “Yes.”

My young liberal acquaintance was still struggling to get head around this, ergo, telling a stranger about it, to ask how I saw it.

Which, needless to say, was not quite the same way as Papa.

Look, I come from a long line of hopeless idealists who picked the wrong side (that is the one they believed right) with predictable regularity. My parents were both very involved in volunteering their time black adult education (very frowned on by the government of the day). Barbs and I had put time, our money, and effort into a succession of people we believed just needed a fair go to get somewhere, from my Uni days onwards when I tried my hand at ‘each-one-teach-one’ and on, back in Africa, and oddly, with a fair number of writers. You might say MGC is an extension of that. I’m not a believer in equality of outcome, but when it comes to equality of opportunity, and to the result being judged on merit, nothing more and nothing less – don’t preach to me, because I’m already converted.

Australia appeals to me, because, at least historically (it’s changing a bit, sadly) “A fair go” is a central tenet of what people feel folk should get, and vast respect – the highest society really had to offer – goes to “A battler” – the little guy struggling to make a go of it, who has no advantages, who gets knocked down and gets up and tries again. Who’ll die trying…

When it comes down to whether I admire the achievement and respect the views of a ‘warm beige’ ‘self made man who grew up dirt poor working knee deep in blood and shit, with an illiterate father and an alcoholic mother’ , or an Indian billionaire’s pampered heir more (or at all), it’s not about their relative skin color.

Perhaps I see the world differently from my American friends, and certainly I see it very differently to the modern Europeans. According to that expert on Europe, Cora Buhlert, a frequent habitué of Vile 770, and, by what she let fall the offspring of a senior DDR Apparatchik, raised with every advantage you could dream of, this would make me a member of the German AfD.

buhert As an immigrant (albeit a legal one) myself, I had no idea that this German party was so keen on giving the ordinary bloke a fair go. Plainly this is unlike what I see as her own natural home in DKP (German Communist party – a far left party which has 0.2% national support – but, had they been in power would have feted her as the great German author because of the right connections, instead of fating her to the total irrelevance even a small measure of merit assessment seems to have).

If these ‘geniuses’ want to understand me, and my politics, they ought to read RATS BATS AND VATS and its sequel, THE RATS, THE BATS, AND THE UGLY. Very Un-PC, very political, and very me. But I doubt if she could understand it.

We know from some very elegant and repeatable psychological research (psych doesn’t HAVE to be a crock, or worthless- if it is repeatable science), that humans are proximal social animals. If you live in North Korea and have one third of a cup of rice and your neighbors have one quarter – you feel rich, well-off, and relatively happy, even if 50 miles away across the border, the average family throws away more than you get to eat, and anyone with so little would feel like the poorest and most downtrodden. If you’re a rich white kid you’ve got more power and influence than the poor black kids – until you find yourself alone in the playground with a bunch of poor black kids. It’s not just as simple as group A is powerful in the wider society, so is always more powerful everywhere, or that what is terrible poverty in South Korea is terrible poverty in North Korea.

You cannot take proximal circumstances or the individual’s own circumstance out a judgement call. Not if you’re talking about a rich man’s son at an elite school, or an author being a ‘minority’ or if you’re whining about feeling miserable about being a minority at con. Here we have to consider where each individual comes from and what the proximal circumstances are. You can no more do otherwise than you can judge the value of a human merely on their skin color or genitalia, or sexual preferences.

Let’s be very clear: In the traditional writing world you’re seeing almost NO actual ‘diversity’. What you’re seeing is the wealthy or well-connected (or both) using that as excuse to retain power and control. Part of this has been a policy of exclusion, silencing, demonizing, denying access to public space. And it’s –as often as not – done under the guise of playing on the admirable trait of wanting to give people a fair go. Honestly that is nonsense, and it is past the point that the rest of society pays them in their own coin. Here is an interesting essay on that.

I’m all for giving anyone a fair go. But the first thing is to look hard and properly at the proximal space they claim is against them, and the second thing is to look at the individuals claiming they deserve special treatment, and speak for the oppressed who haven’t had a fair go.

Take Traditional Publishing (please, as far as possible). “Women are oppressed, discriminated against. They should get a better deal out of publishing.” Why? “Because the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling etc. etc.” – but when you take a look at the industry itself… Publishing staff are overwhelmingly female. This picture of the huffpoHuffPo staff is an extreme example from the related media world,  but not that extreme.

More half of publishing’s senior management is female. More than 75% of staff are female. And… here’s the kicker… when you look at who they are – that IS a very narrow, extremely privileged, remarkably un-diverse group. In background, in social milieu, in education, in politics and even in where they live. Here’s a clue – this is from an advert for a senior editor – in one of the most expensive places to live in the US.

Senior Editor, Macmillan – New York, NY
Glassdoor Estimated Salary: $46k-$69k

Position Description:

Tor/Forge Books is looking to hire a Senior Editor who will acquire across the adult imprints, in science fiction and fantasy, mystery and suspense/thriller, and general fiction.

That’s not starting at the bottom – they want 10 years of experience, or living in a place where rentals are cheap. As a friend-of-friend said – ‘NY editors live in tiny apartments, paid for by mummy and daddy not their jobs.’ I suspect that’s a bit harsh, but seriously, it’s not a job in a place that you CAN easily take without having someone else pick up quite a lot of the tab. It has social cachet in certain circles, and in those same circles (which are incredibly sexist – both men and women) it is considered ‘a respectable profession for a woman’. As a result: In terms of the demographics of America, publishing comes from one very small group.

They buy books for their publisher, totally disproportionately to the demographics of the US, too. They buy overwhelmingly from the same group as themselves – in no small part because this is not about money. What authors get from this: Awards, big spends, massive publicity… If you took women who are not upper-middle class, with private and expensive Arts education, staunch, loud Democrats, and either New York City or some other major center, urban or wealthy sub-urban, out of your calculation – you would indeed see how badly women ARE discriminated against. Discriminated against by women, but just not of their set or tribe. Women who claim they’re doing this for women. They kind of leave out ‘but just the narrow little clique of women like us.’

Look: They’re not doing for women. They’re not doing this for ‘diversity’. They’re doing for their own little clique. Don’t believe me? Look for yourself. Look at any sf/fantasy publisher’s list. Look at the Hugos. Oh yes: They’ll triumphantly crow about ‘muh diversity’. But research them and you’ll find… oh.

‘She is held up as a triumph for ‘diversity’ as a black woman -the victims of racial and sexual discrimination.’ Except her father was an Ivy league Professor, she grew up in that environment (where being black would have given her advantage) and attended schools and colleges (where she would have had positive discrimination) that are way beyond the average person’s dreams.’ The next one: she’s a feminist icon, fighting for oppressed women. Except… she came from money, attended the right school and college, married even more money, and could pay to attend Clarion West and made contacts with all the right people to push her career. Her book is barely PC fanfic, and there are literally thousands more women who write better (even some better and more PC) – but they don’t have wealth and background to make those contacts. You can go on, but your chances of finding the lass from rural Alaska with no money and no contacts, and politics different from theirs is close to non-existent. The ‘self made man who grew up dirt poor working knee deep in blood and shit, with an illiterate father and an alcoholic mother’ won’t be there. But Tor (dot) will happily publish the Indian Billionaire’s son, and claim to be champions of ‘diversity’.

There’s not even an original or different point of view among them. I have a very good friend, one of the kindest and most generous men I know, that I have a world of time for, who is as gay as Dick’s hatband. He writes well. He also thinks Donald Trump is not doing too badly. His chance of ever being one of those ‘diverse’ picks… is zero. Yet there are a not unreasonable number of people of his sexual orientation who feel that way.

The people getting contracts, getting prizes, getting published for the first time SHOULD have almost no chance of being linked in any way. After all, we’re talking a pool 300 million in extent at the most conservative. Natural chances are you’d find a few links between people, despite the odds. But… when you start looking for links –  like Tor (dot) com, and connections between these individuals – and find a lot of the same people, same background, same politics, same class…

They ARE successful.

But they are NOT ‘diverse’, let alone ‘representative’.

And they are certainly NOT the victims of the system. Like the rich man’s son I started the story with, what they’re actually doing is wearing the skins of the real ‘victims’, the talented but unable to break through a wall –largely created and maintained by the same group — and claiming all the benefits. Like the ultra-rich kid who would get affirmative action he neither needed nor any way deserved: This actually makes it harder for people to succeed on merit. In a merit based system the stats (examined on wealth, or background or politics or connections) would show up as almost infinitely more diverse.

You can back them if you like.

But don’t claim you’re doing it for ‘diversity’.

For me: I’m putting my money, my support with anyone else.

Not because I’m PC (I’m not), but because I believe in ‘a fair go’.


            1. While this is joyous news, particularly the not-sharing part, it is perhaps more detail that one might have expected. ~:D

  1. As I recall, that HuffPo picture blew up in their collective faces. And not via criticism from anyone remotely conservative or even moderate. Nope. It came from their fellow travelers, noting the distinct lack of PoC ’round the ol’ conference table. Truly an amusing time to be alive, isn’t it?

    1. True there is a lack of color around that table. I see a few blonds, and lots of brown/black hair end of the spectrum but no redheads or non cis-colored hair like Blue, Purple, or Pink!

          1. If you’re on my lawn, you’d better either be picking dandelion greens for dinner for me, or raking the gravel back into the driveway.

  2. Both Larry Correia and you have “don’t feel like I’m useless because everything I achieved can be attributed to privilege” privilege. It’s one that scions of the aristocracy lack. And lacking that privilege, they have to shout loudly to convince themselves they aren’t the privileged ones.

  3. *SIGH* Nice to see Fr. Buhlert has swallowed the media and German government descriptions of AfD hook, line, and sinker. Granted, the party has shifted to the European right since it was founded, because they (as best I can tell) were shoved hard that direction by the Left. AfD is the political offshoot, so to speak, of PEGAIDA, the pro-Western Culture movement that started in Leipzig in 2016 as a reaction to the de-facto open borders policies implemented in the fall of 2015. AfD is also *gasp, clutches pearls* populist.

  4. You mean that ostentatious virtue signaling is often (even usually) cover for acting in a despicable fashion?

    I’m shocked. /sarc

  5. Frau Buhlert (whinny!) likely grew up bullying the crap out of the other children, and misses it.


    Life’s just not any fun when you can’t terrify little kids by threatening to send their parents to the gulag, I guess.

    By the way, Frau Buhlert (whinny!), Stalinist isn’t any more a “European” point of view than, say, the theories of John Locke.

    1. Indeed. Mao and his people learned a great deal from Stalin, even if they rejected the USSR after Stalin’s death. And Mao is most certainly not, was not, per his own writings, a European in any way, shape, or form.

  6. Sarah was threatening to drop her name on Instapundit, whereupon Fr. Butt-hurt would discover that not all exposure is good exposure. I think the frauline should keep Sarah’s name out of her mouth.

    I have no such power myself, and a good thing too, because I tend to swing before I think. Red tunnel restricting vision, you know. Therefore, I will merely observe that the notion of a “respectable political spectrum” is very handy for purging great masses of people into the “deplorable” category.

    In Canada the Liberals are using it to suggest that anyone who thinks their taxes are too high is a raaaaaacist. Anyone who even thinks that (mildly) conservative Doug Ford is a legit candidate in the Ontario provincial election (June 7th! Sharpen that pencil!) is a racist/bigot/homophobe, just ask CBC/CTV/Global/CityTV/and all the newspapers etc. We are not allowed to vote for Ford. It is simply beyond the pale.

    Now, peace be unto the frothing newsies and Fr. Butt-hurt, but y’all don’t get to declare half the population deplorable and maintain any claim to the moral high ground. Talk like that has psychopaths polishing their resumes so they can apply for jobs as concentration camp guards.

    Shorter version: You want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.

    1. Lower taxes are racist?

      Of course they are. Perfectly logical.


      1. Hadn’t you heard? Keeping your own money, that you worked for, is racism.

        In all seriousness, that’s the argument out there right now. Its one of the reasons that Larry Correia and John Ringo are being called racists. Because they argue against socialism, make fun of it, and etc.

        Same thing as the “self-defense for women is rape culture!!!” bull-puckey.

        Which being on the wrong side of these days gets you kicked out of SF/F cons. Tax cuts and women’s self defense are excluded from the “respectable political spectrum” by the likes of Fr. Butt-hurt.

        Its why “populist” is a bad word with them. People generally are stupid, therefore anything “popular” is bad, by definition. Low sales are a mark of quality, it means only the most highly educated can enjoy it.

        1. Actually it’s the socialists who are the raging racists. Anyone who can tan is inferior and needs public money to get along. Oh, they might eruct about “Historical disadvantages” but that’s the merest bullshit, after most people in the world right now grew up with some form of affirmative action and people bending backwards to avoid being called racist.
          And I say this as someone who, both in herself and her sons, ran up against some true racists. They’re no bigger a percentage of the population than those who’ll hate you because of the way you comb your hair or tie your shoes. You can’t legislate them out of existence.
          Spun Gold — me — warm brown, dark brown — right now younger son — and black people and every color in between have succeeded despite this, and pay their taxes, and reap the fruits of success.
          But the left are such deeply dyed in the wool racists that they can’t imagine ANYONE who tans better than a Swede managing to make their own money and be on the “thieved from” side of the tax equation.
          And because they are so blinkered they don’t see past their own racism, they think if you don’t want the government’s hand in your pocket you want little brownz brothers to starve in the dark.
          As a mildly-tan culturally Latin woman I want them to gaze lovingly upon my middle fingers, and to come with me to the street where I grew up, where I’ll give them a smack that will make their varnish pour out.

          1. Oh, I am particularly unamused by those who say we need socialism because robots are going to steal the jobs of everyone who tans. So if you oppose socialism you’re raccciiiiizzzzz.
            With Folded Hands seemed like a very impressive story to me in my teens, but it’s basically “Things democrats tell themselves when they crash the economy and unemployment is through the roof.”
            That’s not how the economy or humans work, even leaving color out of it.

            1. Er … in “With Folded Hands” the robots are what the Left aspires to be: perfectly rational calculators who destroy human liberty from a wholly sincere desire to keep the humans safe from harm. It isn’t about dangers of automation; it’s about how the wish to “do good” for other people unleashes monsters when you get the definition of “good” wrong. It’s one of the most powerful arguments against socialism that ever saw print.

                1. There were (and are) a lot of them. The ones I remember best were the “Midas” ones by Pohl.

                  I was one of the few who read them that realized the man had created the perfect dystopia.

            2. There’s a meme going around (I’ll try to add it – but WordPress is mighty contrary) with pictures from Venezuela. “This is your hospital on socialism” etc. juxtaposed with “This is your politician on socialism.”

              In my more cynical moments, I believe it’s not just racist attitudes, but intentional weaponised racism.

              After all, at least in the U.S., rich Democrats really, really want to own slaves. And they always seem to make bank off it.

              Here goes nothing:

  7. It was observed over half a decade ago that the political “Middle of the road” was moving steadily leftward. It would appear that a full Reagan conservative, of the strong national defense, balanced budget (for short), pro-life (for short) variety of merely 40 years ago is now so extreme right wing that Fr. Buhlert would probably consider him indistinguishable from Hitler. Without changing position at all.

    1. In fairness, many in the eighties viewed him as indistinguishable from Hitler. These being the people for whom Hitler’s principle sin was invading the Soviet Union. Given that Reagan opposed the Soviet Union, instead of endorsing surrender, for them he was the same in the most important respect.

      1. I remember the 80’s well. It was the time when we all stopped listening to the revolting hippies and started enjoying life.

        People forget (or never knew, you friggin’ kids, get off my lawn!) what it was like to hear an air-raid siren, even in Canada, and wonder if they were going to finally drop The Big One. People forget the shame of Trudeau and his constant appeasement of the Russians while hiding behind NORAD and the American’s skirts.

        Ronald Regan stepped up to the Russian communists and spit in their eye. And they FOLDED like a cheap lawn chair.

        We all owe that guy big-time.

        1. I was a very junior enlisted (E2/3) during the first few years of Reagan after the MISERABLE Carter years. That man made all the difference in the world.

          1. Ah – I enlisted on the day that Carter was sworn in. Yes, it did improve under Reagan – from the moment the hostages taken in Iran were released. (Carter – spit! What a misery. And he had been a Naval officer, too.)

              1. Nope – just about all the Navy officers I knew then were from VP (P-3 Orion) sub chaser squadrons. I’ve often thought it curious that none of Jimmy Carter’s old Navy pals have never shown up over the years, attesting to what a great guy he was. Which makes me suspect he was a real pr*ck back then, as well.

                1. Most of the sub-0 types I met when I was either in scuba school or on operations on subs later. Many of those subs were NOT nuke boats, Many, though not all, of those officers, spoke poorly of nuke sub folks, officer AND enlisted. A common opinion was that while they might be booksmart, they couldn’t lead a troop of hungry men to a chow hall.

    2. Apparently there’s evidence that the Carter Center is supporting terrorism. Unsurprising if true.

  8. They’ll drive out Correia, Ringo and that Fascist pig Freer……
    And the rest of the English Department will still consider them subhuman SF/F geeks. Margaret Atwood will not say she’s an SF writer. Really attractive people will not become cosplayers. Cons will slowly die off.
    That’s the reason for the hysteria, the knowledge that no matter how hard they try,the SJW branch of SF/F will still be considered subhuman geeks by the really cool people.

          1. Ah, but that’s just a sign that she has “false consciousness” (in classic Marxist parlance… I forget what the modern-day communist heresies we call “SJWs” call it. but I’m sure there’s a bit of academic jargon for it.

            They’ll be more than happy to get offended on her behalf, whether she wants them to or not.

      1. Sadly, I have to use this to describe it, but it’s accurate-

        They want to get rid of being Jews and get out of the ghetto, and become a part of the “Right People.” This means that they have to turn Science Fiction/Fantasy into “literature,” so that all the Right People are now their fans and they can get money from their rich patrons.

        They don’t want to be funded by the proles, because the proles want to be entertained, not enlightened by the cause of the day.

  9. The successful, linked in, non-diverse SJWs certainly seem an awful lot like the skinwalkers of Navaho legend.

    1. Actually, Andy Warhol was a good Pittsburgh Ruthenian boy, who had icons in the kitchen and his mom living with him.

      I mean, I guess he also had some debauchery, but not in the house.

    2. > Katz also claims Interview owes her unpaid wages to the tune of $230,000.
      > Ragone says the magazine owes him $170,000.

      Even at the annual level that sounds like a lot of money for a minor magazine I never heard of. Either they worked for free for a ridiculous amount of time, or they’re suing for “compensation”, which can be very different from “salary.”

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