Size Matters

When I first visited these United States back in 1982, one of the immediate things I noticed was the sheer size of the market.

I don’t think that people outside the U.S. can quite comprehend the scale of industry of all kinds that native-born Americans pretty much take for granted, if they think about it at all.  After the Great Wetback Episode of ’86, I remember watching TV in Longtime Friend Trevor’s place, and snorting with laughter at some car dealer whose claim to fame was that he was “The Largest Chev-lay Truck Dealer in South-East Texas” or some such puffery, and wondering why the geographical area was so tightly defined.  As it happened, the dealership was a little outside San Antonio, and one evening I and a few others drove south for an evening’s carousing and passed said Chev-lay dealer’s place.

It was the largest car dealership I’d ever seen.  It seemed as though the lot contained well over a thousand cars and trucks, and I was completely gobsmacked.  By chance, one of the group was involved in a car dealership — I think in advertising — back in Austin, so I asked her how many times this guy was likely to turn his stock over in a year, thinking that it might take at least a year or maybe even two to sell it all.  When she said, “About four or five times a year”, I could not believe her.  That would involve selling about 5,000 vehicles a year, or roughly 15 vehicles per day, every single business day of the year.  And this was one dealer in a small town (as San Antonio was still back then) — and of course we passed dozens of dealers on our way into town.

Similar discoveries lay ahead — such as the fact that Jewel supermarkets in Chicago was larger in both size and sales than the national chain I’d just left in South Africa (OK Bazaars, for those with long memories) — and just about every week brought more and more.

I ran into a fellow consultant in Chicago, a Belgian who was making a very good living in South America by selling a piece of software he’d discovered in France, and whose franchise he’d purchased for the international (outside Europe) market, as the Frogs weren’t interested in selling outside their home territory.  It was the only one of its kind in Europe, so after setting up the easy business in South America, he decided that it was time to try and crack open the U.S. market.  He attended an industry conference in Miami, and found to his horror that not only did he have competition, but he had lots of competition from companies selling almost the identical product, and at several different points on the pricing scale withal.  He stood absolutely no chance of success, so he slunk back to South America, tail between his legs.

This country is enormous.  The scale of business and the size of the market simply boggles the mind, and it’s no surprise that when the Euros try to bully us into using metric, for instance, we can them them to piss off because outside the sciences and drug dealers, the U.S. market prefers to work with Imperial units, thank you very much, and the U.S. market is big enough for the rest of the world, in most cases, not to matter.

I told you all that so I could talk about this.

Via Insty, as usual, I read an interesting article entitled A Nation Divided, which bemoans the fact that not only are we facing a permanent political divide between Right and Left, but we run the risk losing our conservative voice by falling under a Big Tech monopoly as well:

Now, Apple, Amazon, and Google are teaming up to make life extra difficult for Parler, a right-leaning alternative to Twitter. Apple and Google are removing it from their app stores while Amazon, who has been hosting the site, is yanking their hosting.
Now, Parler will migrate over to someone else and be back up and running soon enough, but it’s still troubling. Especially with people being de-platformed and then some of the biggest in the tech industry doing everything they can to shut down the alternative.

I doubt that.  Remember that when Roger Ailes came up with Fox News, his selling point to Murdoch was the simplest ever:  “Half the market.”

At some point, the Left is going to run away with itself.  That outlets like Gab and Parler even exist in the face of a near-monopoly like Twitter shows that half the market is still there to be had.

Okay, to put on my marketing wizard’s pointy hat for a moment:  not quite half the market because conservatives have better things to do with their time — like holding down a real job — than to fuck around in a glorified chat room 24/7, but remember what I said above:  even a third of the U.S. market is a huge number, and perfectly capable of supporting not only a competitor to Twitter, but to Facebook, GoDaddy and [gasp]  even Amazon.  Think I’m mistaken about the last?  Remember when Kmart was the market leader in mass merchandisers?  Not so popular now, are they, thanks to Walmart.  Think Walmart is too big to fail?  Say hello to Amazon.

And if there’s one thing anyone can bet the house on, it’s that at some point a competitor to Amazon will arise, and put them out of business.  After all, General Motors was once the Big Cheese of automotive manufacturing, but as little as a decade ago, they required a government bailout to keep their doors open and since then they haven’t exactly gone back to their position of market eminence.

And apart from crappy financial management, the one thing that causes all big enterprises to fail eventually is losing touch with their market, whether in spirit or by the market changing to a different model.

I showed just the tiniest bit of this a couple of days ago when I talked about disentangling myself from Big Tech, Big Retail and Amazon.  Sure, I’m just one guy.  But let’s just think about what would happen if the 75 million Trump voters like me did exactly what I was doing — individuals and conservative-minded businesses alike.  I would also venture to suggest that when it comes to the conservative market, 75 million is a massive underestimation.

As  to who would actually fund all this… I would suggest that Elon Musk is not the only billionaire in town — hell, a bunch of old boys at the Houston Cattleman’s Annual Ball in Houston could probably buy the New York Times  with the change rattling around in their pockets, if they wanted to.  (FYI, if Mexico’s Carlos Slim wanted continued access just to the Texas market, he’d probably sell his share of the NYT  in a NY minute.)

Size matters.  There is sufficient size in this country, whether geography, population or commerce, to support two competing visions of America.  Would it be easy?  Nobody said it would be, but if there’s one thing I have faith in, it’s in that restless American spirit which once said, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” and I think you know the rest.

Let me also offer the words of John Adams, who when he realized the immensity of the task ahead and the purpose and intellectual powers required, cried:  “We have not men sufficient for the times!”  Whereupon Jefferson, Madison, Hancock, Washington and several others said, “Hold my beer.”

We also have men sufficient for our time.  They just haven’t been motivated enough, yet.  But they will be.

Unlike the earlier men, though, the only impediment we face is not external (George III, Russia!!), but internal.  That would be when the Left attempts to prevent such a severing, or suppressing competition by passing a series of laws forbidding such.

Allow me then to quote, or rather paraphrase the words of George Washington when he was asked why he was preparing a number of boats to cross the Delaware at midnight on Christmas Eve:

“We are going to murder our enemies in their sleep.” 

Hates

Bill Bryson (yes, him again) suggests that everyone should be able to have ten things (people, concepts, activities, whatever) that they can hate, without apology or explanation.

Longtime Readers will know that I would have difficulty keeping the list to ten — as Insty would say, I really need a bigger blog to contain all the things that truly make my trigger finger itch — but if I can create universal categories of hatred, I might be able to give it a try.  Let’s see how this goes, and in no specific order, my ten hates are:

  1. Anyone affiliated with the Democrat Party since 1880
  2. The music recording industry
  3. Modern architecture (brutalism, Bauhaus etc.), its creators and practitioners (Le Corbusier, Van der Rohe, Jahn, Pei etc.)
  4. All music composed and released since 2005 — performers, producers, composers, whatever
  5. Automotive design since 1990
  6. Google — everything about it
  7. Journalists, almost without exception
  8. Anarchism and anarchists
  9. Large corporations (referred to as Global MegaCorp on these pages)
  10. Wokism.

Note that I have excluded mere irritants like astrology, veganism, libertarianism, cyclists, the 9mm Europellet and similar nonsense from the above list, because they are largely the result of stupidity rather than actual evil.

As for the list itself, however, I put it to you that if by some kind of magic all ten of those things were to disappear tomorrow, the world would be a far better place to live in.

Feel free to add your own hates, in Comments.  Remember:  no explanation or justification is necessary.

Not So Sure

I’d like to believe this, I really would.

…but I can’t count the number of times I’ve been energized by some kind of conservative uprising — first with Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, then when the Tea Party took to the streets and finally, during the Trump phenomenon.

Every single one of them showed promise, and every single one of them failed in the face of concerted opposition from the massed forces of socialism:  academia, the mainstream media, Democratic Congress, pretty much the entire legal establishment (activist lawyers, Soros-sponsored prosecutors, liberal judges, a supine Supreme Court).  And then we had the outright — and so far, unpunished — lawlessness of a fraudulent and stolen election, to end all hope of peaceful, Constitutional change.

(Incidentally, Jim Hoft has done an excellent job of putting this into context, with details.)

For the first time in my life, I’m starting to understand the appeal of a “strongman” dictator like Franco or Pinochet, because the Augean Stables that this nation has become seems to be both unworkable and irredeemable.

Maybe I’m just too old for this anymore.  So yeah, Mr. Sleeping Giant:  go ahead and wake up, for all the good it will do.

I’ll do whatever I must when the forces of evil come knocking on my door;  but until then… I’m kinda where this guy is standing.

Good Question

From Insty:

…also: “Whom do you vaccinate first?” [takes off Grammar Nazi armband]

That irritant aside, the question is a good one and is especially troubling in a case such as now, when the quantities are likely to be quite limited at first — especially when viewed against the global population of some six billion.

I’m going to be completely on the side of civilization here and say that whichever country developed the vaccine should have first call on the stuff (the dreaded “nationalist” worldview, fuck off, snowflakes).  The fact that Brits, Americans or Europeans (i.e. Western civilizations) would end up being likely ahead of the hapless denizens of sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia… c’est la vie.  So that’s easy:  Western civilization (as the creators) benefits its members first, the rest later.

Let’s look at the situation within two countries who might develop the vaccine (needless to say, at huge cost in terms of research).

Ordinarily, vaccinations start either with children or with the most in need of vaccination — i.e. the populations at greatest risk from whatever pox is being vaccinated against.

Doesn’t work today, though.  In the first place, kids are the ones least at risk from Teh Chinkvirus, so there’s no need to start with them.

Of course, the population group most vulnerable to death from the Chinese Pox is that of the elderly;  but in today’s culture, where we Olde Pharttes are but a step or two away from being shoved onto ice floes by politicians and State institutions (cue:  granny-killer NYGov Cuomo and Britain’s NHS), there would be fainting fits all over the place at the thought of “wasting” the vaccine on people who don’t have long to live anyway.  So those two groups are, arguendo, excluded.  Which leaves the rest.

Then the “meritocracy” argument begins.  In Britishland, it’s easier at least for the first half-dozen or so available doses:  the Queen, and those members of the Royal Family closest to the line of succession.  [cue the Socialists’ and republicans’ grumbling]

Over Here… well, that’s a little problematic, isn’t it?  The thought that a President (any President) should get the first shot is justifiably abhorrent to us egalitarians, ditto any members of government — and of Congress, we will not speak.  (“Fuckem” would be the most common sentiment, I suspect, and rightly so.)

Then we come to the closest group we have to British nobility:  Teh Rich.  Uh huh.  In twenty words or less, explain to me why Bill Gates, some Saudi “prince” or that asshole who runs Google are any more deserving than the guy behind the counter at your local 7-11.  [hands out popcorn]

And the same is true for anyone else whom society may deem “special” and worthy of being at the head of the line.  The thought of Kim Kardashian being more worthy of the vaccine than, say, my Son&Heir… [hands out more popcorn]

The simple truth is that nobody “deserves” to get the vaccination ahead of anyone else:  not in the U.S.A., anyway.  So what’s the solution?

Actually, the answer is really simple:  hand the job over to Social Security.

Social Security numbers are arguably the closest thing we have to a national ID (I know, I know), and it would be the work of a few hours to create a lottery system which would rank the universe of SocSec numbers into some random order which would leave the delivery of vaccinations to pure chance.  Unfortunately, this would exclude all those in this country who are here illegally and thus don’t have a Social Security number, but I see that as a feature, not a bug.

When it comes to survival, life in Earth is pretty much a crapshoot anyway, so why should this situation be any different?

Post-Worthy

From Comments comes this thoughtful piece by Lo-o-o-ngtime Reader GMC70:

So – we have to consider how to live in a nation where, at least at this point, national politics is rigged and, if the Senate falls Democratic, is possibly rigged in perpetuity. One way is to ignore national politics, live in your local area, and get on with life. In a society where individual freedom used to be valued, it is going to be hard to get used to the idea that ideas can lawfully be suppressed. But we’re rapidly entering that age.
Another possible consideration, depending on the state you live in, is simply secession. If you’d asked me a decade ago, or even less, about that, I’d have laughed.

I’m no longer laughing.

Finally we all have to consider where our individual red lines are. What is the red line which will change you from law-abiding citizen to outlaw? I know where a couple of mine are: I will not register firearms (if, of course, I actually had any). At that point I will be an outlaw. I will not comply.
I will not give up my religious practices. Period. Nor will I tolerate any regulation on my church’s practices, decisions, or doctrine. And yes, that one’s coming, too.
If our red line is crossed, what will we do? I’m getting older, and the older I get, the less the threat of prison means to me. I have no desire to go to prison, but I will not compromise or give in certain areas.
And I will not go quietly into the cattle cars some on the left have planned for me and those like me.

What he said.  Only with more cursing.

Words Of Wisdom

From Professor Glenn Reynolds, Blogfather of us all:

“Of course, there’s no action so vile that you can’t find an academic to defend it.”

I’m reminded of the old one:

“Whenever there’s a Communist boot stomping on a face, there’s always an affluent liberal to point out that the face has free medical care and education.”