Monthly Archives: October 2015

Orwell and Heinlein

If you’ve read my stuff, you might have noticed that I like to quote Orwell.

Glenn Reynolds had just excerpted and posted a link to Robert A. Heinlein’s 1973 speech to the U.S. Naval Academy.

It should go without saying that it’s worth reading the whole thing, but the excerpt reminded me of “The Lion and the Unicorn,“ a George Orwell column written in London 1941.

And I’ll leave you with this paragraph from Orwell to whet your appetite.

“In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British. It is questionable how much effect this had, but it certainly had some. If the English people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were ‘decadent’ and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the Left was partly responsible. Both the New Statesman and the News Chronicle cried out against the Munich settlement, but even they had done something to make it possible. Ten years of systematic Blimp-baiting affected even the Blimps themselves and made it harder than it had been before to get intelligent young men to enter the armed forces. Given the stagnation of the Empire, the military middle class must have decayed in any case, but the spread of a shallow Leftism hastened the process.”

It’s important to remember that, although Orwell was a socialist himself, he supported the war before it became popular among his friends.

This is what the future will be like

Found via FuturePundit Randall Parker on the decreasing value of human labor.

He rightly points out that, where some people may think job losses could be offset by more private chef positions, those careers are also threatened. And while he says they’ll be in upscale households, it’s only a matter of time before prices are brought down like computers and VCRs. These things could eventually become as ubiquitous as George Foreman’s products. And by that time, they’ll be smarter and more versatile.

I’m not altogether sure that what you see in the video is the genuine article. The system, by Moley, is still in development for rollout in 2017. It looks different (and more real) in this video, but I’m sure it’ll look more like that once it’s available in the stores.

We’ve come a long way since the Automat.

A further thought:

Imagine for a moment that on 12:01AM, December 25, 2017, a hapless parent is trying to assemble a gift with four pages of instructions written by someone with an engineering degree and a D- in writing.

Not a problem with one of these. Check the internet. Someone else might have handled this before you, and recorded the assembly on their own Moley cooking device. Just put the pieces on your kitchen counter and let it do the work for you.

Better yet, put this beside your 3D printer, and let the two devices work together. You won’t even need to buy that Christmas present.

I can’t say that this one will be good enough to handle fine tools. But give it five more years. We’ll get there.