Snitch nation

posted at 3:21 pm on July 16, 2014 by Noah Rothman

We are fast becoming a nation of Pavlik Morozovs.

Little Pavlik, you may recall, was the 13-year-old subject of a dubious Soviet story about how a young boy’s loyalty to the state trumped his love for his parents. Pavlik was supposedly witness to his father, the chair of his local Soviet, giving aid to enemies of the people. The boy turned his own father in to Stalinist authorities, the story went. Enraged by the betrayal, Pavlik was killed by his own family and was posthumously dubbed a martyr for socialist values.

Though the tale was later proven to have been wildly exaggerated, Morozov’s actions were hailed by Soviet authorities for 59 years.

Loyalty to the collective over one’s neighbors and even one’s family has always been a socialist ideal, but it was never an especially American one. Ruggedly individualist, Americans have traditionally been uncomfortable with the notion that the authorities in some distant capital have their best interests at heart. Certainly not more so than do one’s neighbors.

While it remains hyperbolic to suggest the United States is fully embracing a Stasi-like culture of denunciation, the times are changing.

California is in the midst of a historic drought this year, one which is forcing authorities to institute particularly strict restrictions on water usage in arid parts of the state. As an enforcement mechanism, some California municipalities are encouraging their residents to become professional snitches.

“Some towns are even encouraging ‘drought-shaming,’ asking residents to rat out their neighbors breaking the new water conservation laws,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported approvingly on Wednesday. She noted that this encouragement from authorities is resulting in a “flood of incriminating photos” posted online featuring local residents violating the dictates of the state.

The tactic has been quite successful. “The snitch campaign has resulted in 3,245 water waste complaints in 2014,” read a dispatch from the city of Sacramento in April of this year.

The efficacy of snitching campaigns can trump concerns about violating civil liberties. In 2013, Ed Krayewski, writing for the libertarian magazine Reason, expressed his apprehensions about a Palm Beach, Florida plan to create a “violence prevention unit.”

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw when asked about the proposal by a local paper. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’”

“Bradshaw says his department knows ‘how to sift through frivolous complaints’ in regards to obvious worries about the prime opportunity this hotline provides for abuse by score-settling neighbors,” Krayewski reported, betraying his own justified skepticism about this claim.

These phenomena would seem to go beyond neighborhood watches which create disincentives to engage in criminal behavior, or “see something, say something” terror prevention initiatives adopted by major urban centers. There is something deeply troubling about state, local, or federal authorities encouraging citizens to inform on their neighbors.

The prevalence of snitching culture goes well beyond crime prevention. The public has for some time been primed to alert the authorities when even their sensibilities are offended.

Take, for example, the purge of photographs of women breastfeeding their children from Facebook. A simple Google search will reveal thousands of complaints of young mothers who had the images of them proudly nourishing their children stripped from their personal pages. Why?

“Please note that the photos we review are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other Facebook members who complain about them being shared on Facebook,” read a clarification posted by a company monitor after hundreds of complaints.

Complaining about content is fast becoming a national pastime. In this country, however, a culture which values at least the concept of free speech prevents that perfectly human instinct to belong to a greater whole by ratting on one’s neighbors still keeps the wolves of tyranny at bay. But the standard of conduct established in other nations, where a similar culture does not exist, is providing our aspiring censors with a model for change.

“Last week, a man in Scotland was probed by police for making dark jokes about terminally ill footballer Fernando Ricksen. Then, in a more high-profile case, two men were arrested on Monday for making ‘offensive comments’ on Twitter about Mikaeel Kular, the three-year-old Scottish child who was found dead in Fife last Friday,” Rob Harries reported for the U.K.-based Spiked in January. “Each of these so-called trolls was arrested after their posts were reported to the police by other social-media users.”

Make no mistake, the value Americans put on free speech is fast being suppressed by the minority’s need to protect ourselves from our own sinister thoughts.

“Stricter regulation of Internet speech will not be popular with the libertarian-minded citizens of the United States, but it’s necessary,” wrote Sean McElwee in a January op-ed in The Huffington Post. Quoting extensively from The New Republic to make his case, he asserts in his call to action that “hate speech is not going to disappear from twitter on its own.”

American free speech jurisprudence relies upon the assumption that speech is merely the extension of a thought, and not an action. If we consider it an action, then saying that we should combat hate speech with more positive speech is an absurd proposition; the speech has already done the harm, and no amount of support will defray the victim’s impression that they are not truly secure in this society. We don’t simply tell the victim of a robbery, “Hey, it’s okay, there are lots of other people who aren’t going to rob you.” Similarly, it isn’t incredibly useful to tell someone who has just had their race/gender/sexuality defamed, “There are a lot of other nice people out there.”

Those who claim to “defend free speech” when they defend the right to post hate speech online, are in truth backwards. Free speech isn’t an absolute right; no right is weighed in a vacuum. The court has imposed numerous restrictions on speech. Fighting words, libel and child pornography are all banned. Other countries merely go one step further by banning speech intended to intimidate vulnerable groups.

All of this is to say nothing of the abhorrently un-American plague of restrictions on constitutionally protected free speech in places like American college campuses, where nothing so offends as does a nonconformist thought. In campuses across America, Orwellian “free speech zones” and “speech codes” are established providing aspiring informants with the parameters in which they can justifiably inform on their peers.

There is value in collective self-policing, a feature of health societies that will never and should never disappear entirely. And public shaming has a rich, if lamentable, Western tradition dating back to the stockades. But the rise of an informant culture in America is distinct from self-policing, and many appear to participate in the encouraged practice of informing on others more in service to a base desire to indulge in a little schadenfreude than anything else.

Whether these developments suggest that America is going down a dark path is perfectly debatable… for now. Fearless public discussion and debate is precisely what is at stake. This century has been characterized by regular demands that we all watchful eye on our neighbors. Maybe, though, it would be better for the pendulum to swing back a bit to an era when minding your own business was an admirable trait.


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Hmm. A point to Noah for knowing who Pavlik Morozov is.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

We aren’t, Noah

Some Lefties, maybe, but we aren’t.

Unless you call people letting the country know what treasonous, immoral, and illegal things the Choom Gang is doing snitching.

formwiz on July 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Mind your own business is something that should also be said to the government.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

We are all thought criminals now.

VelvetElvis on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Unless you call people letting the country know what treasonous, immoral, and illegal things the Choom Gang is doing snitching.

formwiz on July 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Yes, there are some who do consider that snitching, and certain federal agencies and bureaus will simply not tolerate that.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Quoting extensively from The New Republic to make his case, he asserts in his call to action that “hate speech is not going to disappear from twitter on its own.”

Whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”?

beselfish on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Oh it will get worse, those Scottish dudes are probably first-class aholes but even aholes have free speech in a free nation.

Just leave it to the leftist douchebags in our own society, they have a lot of big plans and are itching to implement all of them.

Bishop on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

This seems very California to me.

Cindy Munford on July 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”?

beselfish on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

There are those on the left who are hurt by words, often responding with sticks and stones as their means of rebuttal.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Germans are, and had been long before 1918, a nation of snitches. Their nation is built around the idea of obedience to the law. the main difference between Germany and US/Russia is quality of the laws being followed.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Whether these developments suggest that America is going down a dark path is perfectly debatable… for now. Fearless public discussion and debate is precisely what is at stake. This century has been characterized by regular demands that we all watchful eye on our neighbors. Maybe, though, it would be better for the pendulum to swing back a bit to an era when minding your own business was an admirable trait.

Big difference between being a tattletale and a busybody. IF there is a clear and present danger, by all means–report it to the authorities. Why is it usually the socialist Democrats that encourage tattling on every little thing?

Newtie and the Beauty on July 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

You may not be interested in the State but the State is interested in YOU.

The idea of having to sneak to use something (water) THAT I AM PAYING FOR to avoid the gaze of prying, snitching neighbors is about the most UN AMERICAN thing I can think of.

I am so glad I live 2,500 miles from the People’s Soviet Socialist Democratic Republic of Mexifornia. We have the Ohio River here. It’s not going to run out.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Big difference between being a tattletale and a busybody. IF there is a clear and present danger, by all means–report it to the authorities. Why is it usually the socialist Democrats that encourage tattling on every little thing?

Newtie and the Beauty on July 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Privacy is often contrary to the interests of the Collective, Comrade.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

This seems very California to me.

Cindy Munford on July 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Yup, the very same People’s Republic of California which has enacted a new measure striking from the state’s family code the references to marriage as a union “between a man and a woman” and replaces the terms “husband” and “wife” with the term “spouse” throughout state ordinances.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Just leave it to the leftist douchebags in our own society, they have a lot of big plans and are itching to implement all of them.

Bishop on July 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Half of the reason why the left will go nuclear war on us rather than allow a peaceful National Divorce to take place is the fact that they CANNOT TOLERATE the idea of us being free of their control.

Control Freak Nazis cannot tolerate people being out of their control.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw when asked about the proposal by a local paper.

Wellll, there’s definitely a line there that’s being crossed. Bitch and moan all you want but seriously, don’t talk about shooting people. Come on.

JohnBrown on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

How about dropping a dime to the federal authorities about suspected illegal immigrants, assuming the feds would actually do something about it?

BuckeyeSam on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

George Orwell is smiling. Well not really because he never intended his books as instruction manuals.

jukin3 on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

This seems very California to me.

Cindy Munford on July 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Which California?

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Don’t threaten to shoot people!

JohnBrown on July 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

The Federal Government has taken the position of going after whistle blowers why simultaneously urging the public to blow the whistle on their neighbors. Makes sense.

airupthere on July 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

How about dropping a dime to the federal authorities about suspected illegal immigrants, assuming the feds would actually do something about it?

BuckeyeSam on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

We’ve tried dropping the dime on the illegal acitivies of the Obama administration with about as much effectiveness as ratting out illegals to the Feds.

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

How about dropping a dime to the federal authorities about suspected illegal immigrants, assuming the feds would actually do something about it?

BuckeyeSam on July 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

This would be unethical, but then so is spying on your neighbor’s water use, but you could leave anonymous tips that your nosy neighbor is sexually abusing their pets.

Then again in California that’s probably considered normal.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Complaining about content is fast becoming a national pastime.

We aren’t, Noah

Some Lefties, maybe, but we aren’t.

Unless you call people letting the country know what treasonous, immoral, and illegal things the Choom Gang is doing snitching.

formwiz on July 16, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve seen a fair share of HA comment directed at Noah’s content.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Drought Shamers > VA Whistleblowers

airupthere on July 16, 2014 at 3:44 PM

The Federal Government has taken the position of going after whistle blowers why simultaneously urging the public to blow the whistle on their neighbors. Makes sense.

airupthere on July 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

We are all whistleblowers now: we are blowing the government’s whistle every April 15th.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Don’t threaten to shoot people!

JohnBrown on July 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

My SWAT-resistant compound when I build it, (in a castle doctrine state btw) will have signs on the fence outside saying “If you are found here at night, you will be found here in the morning”.

I wonder what would happen in 2014 Obamerica if one DID build their home to be resistant to SWAT 3AM Commando raids… I bet you would be stopped. After all, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about a right to be secure in our homes and possessions from searches and seizures without a warrant.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

We are all whistleblowers now: we are blowing the government’s whistle every April 15th.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Not that it’s difficult in this bad economy, but I have been making every effort to avoid doing things that would increase my tax liability simply because I don’t want to fund more of this.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:48 PM

We’ve tried dropping the dime on the illegal acitivies

Meh, the City of Los Angeles and many of its surrounding communities have had been welcoming illegals for many years. It is probable that in some neighborhoods finding a legal citizen might be a rarity.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Not that it’s difficult in this bad economy, but I have been making every effort to avoid doing things that would increase my tax liability simply because I don’t want to fund more of this.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Going Galt is not an option for a corporate IT lemming such as myself. At least, not until states start a tax revolt against D.C. And even then, New Jersey will be the last to join.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

How would someone “go Galt?”

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Could be interesting in California this year. If I had to guess, I would think the tattlers would live around San Francisco but I doubt they have a monopoly on the behavior.

Cindy Munford on July 16, 2014 at 3:53 PM

For most of us, Orwell’s 1984 was a warning. To the progressive-fascists, it’s an instruction manual.

Athos on July 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Well when the POTUS refers to half the country as “our enemies,” you’ve got to pretty much figure community-minded civility is gone. And as abhorrent as snitching on your neighbors is, never forget (as the mindless cultists so often do) that two can play at that nasty little game.

Rational Thought on July 16, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Going Galt is not an option for a corporate IT lemming such as myself. At least, not until states start a tax revolt against D.C. And even then, New Jersey will be the last to join.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

I am also a corporate IT lemming, but what I have stopped doing is doing side projects for money. I won’t do one that will result in a 1099 form (for one thing, back when I did that I found out that all that did was increase the taxes I paid, I would get nothing really for that extra work). I will do an occasional project though in an exchange of service for service however. Barter is it’s own currency. And it is also economy at it’s most local if, for example, I exchange my labor in doing computer work for, (hypothetically since I know IRS goons read forums like this) my mechanic in exchange for the labor he does servicing my car.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Privacy is often contrary to the interests of the Collective, Comrade.
ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Can they outlaw window coverings/dressings? o_O

Newtie and the Beauty on July 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Big difference between being a tattletale and a busybody. IF there is a clear and present danger, by all means–report it to the authorities. Why is it usually the socialist Democrats that encourage tattling on every little thing?

Newtie and the Beauty on July 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

One other way they are building this type of mentality is through the covenant controlled neighborhoods – using the local busybodies.
I live in one of those areas, and we do have busybodies, usually older retirees with time on their hands, who walk or drive around the neighborhood looking for even the slightest covenant violations and reporting them to the HOA manager.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Well when the POTUS refers to half the country as “our enemies,” you’ve got to pretty much figure community-minded civility is gone. And as abhorrent as snitching on your neighbors is, never forget (as the mindless cultists so often do) that two can play at that nasty little game.

Rational Thought on July 16, 2014 at 3:55 PM

The funny thing is that snitching is looked down upon in the community that the POTUS associates himself with.

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

How would someone “go Galt?”

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Buy a rural house with minimal grid dependency. Work and shop for cash. Grow as much of your own food as you can. Barter for necessary services. Do not willingly cooperate with the government.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve seen a fair share of HA comment directed at Noah’s content.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

It gets on my last nerve. Do they go to dinner parties and critique the food?

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

For most of us, Orwell’s 1984 was a warning. To the progressive-fascists, it’s an instruction manual.

Athos on July 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

A description of their utopia even…..

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Buy a rural house with minimal grid dependency. Work and shop for cash. Grow as much of your own food as you can. Barter for necessary services. Do not willingly cooperate with the government.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

We have a good amount of folks like that up here in the Rocky Mountains. My neighbor just a few acres away has a set up like that, although I’m not sure of his politics. It may be the way he likes to live or it may be politics, or a little of both.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Breaking News: Federal Judge rules California death penalty unconstitutional.

coolrepublica on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Orwell probably read the instruction manuals for research.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

It gets on my last nerve. Do they go to dinner parties and critique the food?

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Honestly… I have no idea what your comment means.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Perhaps terryannonline will explain why snitching is a good thang.

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

The City of Jacksonville and the local river management agency encourage residents to report their neighbors if they are watering “on the wrong day.” I’m not sure how many do, or even know of the policy. Of course, the last Republican mayor we had in office imposed a tax on rain, so I shouldn’t be surprised at the level of stupidity. So much for living in one of the reddest parts of the state of Florida.

joekenha on July 16, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Can they outlaw window coverings/dressings? o_O

Newtie and the Beauty on July 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Ones that are impervious to the NSA drones, yes.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Perhaps terryannonline will explain why snitching is a good thang.

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Because teabaggers are nuts. Or something like that.

joekenha on July 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I’m offended by Mr. Comrade McElwee’s op-ed.

Where can I report his malicious opinion whichcaused me so much grief?

Will those in charge at the Ministry of Rats entertain my objection, or are some snitches less equal than others?

Is attack watch still operational?

StubbornGreenBurros on July 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

And it is also economy at it’s most local if, for example, I exchange my labor in doing computer work for, (hypothetically since I know IRS goons read forums like this) my mechanic in exchange for the labor he does servicing my car.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

IRS goons can pound sand as barter cannot be taxed. Technically, you cannot fully amortize equipment used in bartered services but IT has little to amortize, and if the agencies are after you for this kind of micro violations it’s easier for them just to sneak a bag of cocaine into your pocket.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

For most of us, Orwell’s 1984 was a warning. To the progressive-fascists, it’s an instruction manual.

Athos on July 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Exactly.

joekenha on July 16, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Honestly… I have no idea what your comment means.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Critism of Noah?

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Buy a rural house with minimal grid dependency. Work and shop for cash. Grow as much of your own food as you can. Barter for necessary services. Do not willingly cooperate with the government.

Rix on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

That is the model I am working towards.

Have my own rural property free of covenants and without neighbors staring at me, do a little farming for my own staples, set it up in such a manner as being defensible if necessary. Preferably a hill fort type concept.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Breaking News: Federal Judge rules California death penalty unconstitutional.

coolrepublica on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Perfect timing. With the influx of some questionable new “citizens,” that should make things interesting.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:09 PM

That is the model I am working towards.

Have my own rural property free of covenants and without neighbors staring at me, do a little farming for my own staples, set it up in such a manner as being defensible if necessary. Preferably a hill fort type concept.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Is it zoned residential/ag?

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Have my own rural property free of covenants and without neighbors staring at me, do a little farming for my own staples, set it up in such a manner as being defensible if necessary. Preferably a hill fort type concept.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

I don’t give any money to the government anymore but I would advise anyone to give them as little as possible. Someone like you who does a service can easily barter.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

“Stricter regulation of Internet speech will not be popular with the libertarian-minded citizens of the United States, but it’s necessary,”

This is a big reason why our nation is going to Hell in a hand basket. What’s wrong with people?

zoyclem on July 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I live in California and I can honestly say I worry about neighbors reporting me for excess watering of my lawn. if you have *any* runoff, you’re in violation! And the fines are stiff!

If that weren’t bad enough, just the fact that I have to conserve water really peeves me! I live 5 miles from the ocean! half the state’s border is next to the ocean, yet we lack water?!? dems are always spouting off about getting with the times and being high tech, yet we get still our water from melting snow and rain, which we buy from other states! for a third of the cost of our stupid bullet train to no where, we could build dozens of desalinization plants across the state, providing not only water be electricity. but that would upset the environmentalists…

jetch on July 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Another of Noah’s books about nothing

#Noahcott

I live in CA. This is a nothing burger.

koaiko on July 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

One leader, one party, one sheeple.

VorDaj on July 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Breaking News: Federal Judge rules California death penalty unconstitutional.

coolrepublica on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Future Charles Mansons’ heave a sigh of relief.

zoyclem on July 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

That is the model I am working towards.

Have my own rural property free of covenants and without neighbors staring at me, do a little farming for my own staples, set it up in such a manner as being defensible if necessary. Preferably a hill fort type concept.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Moat? I’ve bred Oscar Jr.

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw when asked about the proposal by a local paper. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’”

I am a proud, compassionate American who loves what our government does for our citizenry, especially the less fortunate. And I have never found a single elected official or bureaucratic worker who was not an altruist honorably laboring for the good of the people.

And most of all, I thank the Lord for that boating accident last year when all of those evil guns I foolishly owned were providentially sent to the bottom of the lake.

M240H on July 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

I don’t give any money to the government anymore but I would advise anyone to give them as little as possible. Someone like you who does a service can easily barter.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

My post employment backup plan is to do IT services privately, as much for barter as possible.

If I took it to an extreme, I could easily maintain my standard of living yet shrink my actual income to below poverty level.

Unless Obama shuts down all the power plants, computers and internet are always going to be with us, and if you break my main job down to it’s most basic level I am the mechanic, the plumber, the electrician, the construction worker that keeps that part of your daily life going and fixes it when it gets screwed.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

…computers and internet are always going to be with us, and if you break my main job down to it’s most basic level I am the mechanic, the plumber, the electrician, the construction worker that keeps that part of your daily life going and fixes it when it gets screwed.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

That’s REALLY far off the grid.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Moat? I’ve bred Oscar Jr.

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

A moat would be very cool.

I’m thinking hedgehog traps for the MRAPS would be easier to build and more practical though.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Similarly, it isn’t incredibly useful to tell someone who has just had their race/gender/sexuality defamed, “There are a lot of other nice people out there.”

Of course if you are a white male or a Christian then anything goes.

JohnnyL on July 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Time was in America that communities pulled together and policed themselves when it came time to conserve resources.

I recall when I lived in Northern California in the early 80s, we had another severe drought. When citizens were asked to conserve, we did so. We had a saying “if it’s yellow, it’s mellow…if it’s brown, flush it down…”

The result was that so much water was saved and so many lawns were willingly ruined, that the utility companies were forced to raise their rates per cubic foot of water consumed.

When I complained about this to my Dad, he explained the economics of it all by stating that while water is free, the cost to deliver it to the consumer is not.

We ended up paying the same for less water, but the point is that we survived and we did so without resorting to immature tactics and relying on Big Government to police us more.

bimmcorp on July 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw when asked about the proposal by a local paper. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’”

Come to my abode for that reason and you are going to be told to hold your warrant up to the peephole or GTFO.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve seen a fair share of HA comment directed at Noah’s content.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

It gets on my last nerve. Do they go to dinner parties and critique the food?

katy the mean old lady on July 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

I understand how you feel. Noah often gets on my last nerve. :)

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

We ended up paying the same for less water, but the point is that we survived and we did so without resorting to immature tactics and relying on Big Government to police us more.

bimmcorp on July 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

They are wanting to do the same with gas taxes now for a similar reason. The People can always do with less, always. The Government, NEVER!

That, my friends, is tyranny at the most basic level.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

I understand how you feel. Noah often gets on my last nerve. :)

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

He needs to overcome the inner RINO.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

He needs to overcome the inner RINO.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:25 PM

And where would you like him, in the right-wing nut corner? Would that make you more comfortable? I would hate to see someone with a different conservative point of view invade this great blog.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

“Not to worry, Comrade Citizen: Holy Mother Government(TM) knows which reports to evaluate, and which ones can be ignored.
“So, report everyone! We don’t want any unmonitored conservatives malcontents to go unnoticed, or undisciplined.”

orangemtl on July 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM

And where would you like him, in the right-wing nut corner? Would that make you more comfortable? I would hate to see someone with a different conservative point of view invade this great blog.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Ed and Allah both have their own areas of RINO tendencies. Mary Katherine seems to be pretty straight laced conservative but she doesn’t post as much.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

“Not to worry, Comrade Citizen: Holy Mother Government(TM) knows which reports to evaluate, and which ones can be ignored.
“So, report everyone! We don’t want any unmonitored conservatives malcontents to go unnoticed, or undisciplined.”

orangemtl on July 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM

It’s been a couple years since Obama has set up a snitch site. He’s overdue to bring that back again. Remember? flag@whitehouse.gov, FightTheSmears, AttackWatch.com, etc?

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

What is your definition of ‘conservative’?

lineholder on July 16, 2014 at 4:32 PM

…JugEars approves!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

we could build dozens of desalinization plants across the state, providing not only water be electricity. but that would upset the environmentalists…

jetch on July 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

I imagine it has more to do with the fact that doing that would cut into the income of some other industry. It’s always about money.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

What’s the consensus on where one should put one’s money? Other than the mattress that is. They’re always trying to get us to buy gold but it doesn’t seem like a good idea when gold is high.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Hate to say this, but the government also builds the snitch mentality in the military through the academies.
Now, there really is a good reason for this, since military officers will be making life and death decisions – up to use of nuclear weapons, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing there.

The honor code states “We will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”
I hear they’ve moved away from automatic expulsion for any and all honor code violations these days, but back in my day, if you knew about someone else violating the honor code and didn’t report it, you could be found guilty of a violation (toleration) yourself, and the punishment could be just as severe for toleration as for actually being the one to lie, cheat or steal.

Of course, considering the politicians we have in charge now, I suppose something like an honor code is a bit old fashioned…..

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 4:44 PM

What’s the consensus on where one should put one’s money? Other than the mattress that is. They’re always trying to get us to buy gold but it doesn’t seem like a good idea when gold is high.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Forget gold.
My money is in brass, lead, steel, some plastic, and a certain volatile type of powder.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 4:46 PM

My money is in brass, lead, steel, some plastic, and a certain volatile type of powder.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 4:46 PM

You’re planning to rob something? Or hunt something?

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

What’s the consensus on where one should put one’s money? Other than the mattress that is. They’re always trying to get us to buy gold but it doesn’t seem like a good idea when gold is high.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

The price of gold and silver are actually being kept artificially LOW due to extensive central bank manipulation by the Fed and others… Gold should be more than double what it is right now just based on the fact that the Fed is devaluing the dollar by a trillion dollars of printing a year.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Forget gold.
My money is in brass, lead, steel, some plastic, and a certain volatile type of powder.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 4:46 PM

If it goes completely to hell lead and brass will be worth more than gold and platinum…

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM

My money is in brass, lead, steel, some plastic, and a certain volatile type of powder.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 4:46 PM

You’re planning to rob something? Or hunt something?

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Rob, hunt … is there a difference? And if you’re only “robbing” those who have voted themselves some of your income, is there a moral quandry?

M240H on July 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

You’re planning to rob something? Or hunt something?

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

What he said -

If it goes completely to hell lead and brass will be worth more than gold and platinum…

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Defend against the robbers/zombies/gimmedats/rioters/tyrants/gun-grabbers.
Possibly be hunting….

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Rob, hunt … is there a difference? And if you’re only “robbing” those who have voted themselves some of your income, is there a moral quandry?

M240H on July 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

LOL.

May just have to be taking out swarms of zombies – and there are many different types of zombies – IYKWIM….

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Maybe, though, it would be better for the pendulum to swing back a bit to an era when minding your own business was an admirable trait.

So true.

In addition to snitching, people should wake up to the fact that Putin invented disinformation and obama perfected it.

The Harry Reid thread is a good one to discuss it.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 5:05 PM

In addition to snitching, people should wake up to the fact that Putin invented disinformation and obama perfected it.

The Harry Reid thread is a good one to discuss it.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Obama practices disinformation like a kindergartner compared to Putin. The press has to be-clown itself daily supporting it.

ConstantineXI on July 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Forget the metal investments. You cannot drink them. Water will be the most valuable.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Metals fall under expendables. Different value all together.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Forget the metal investments. You cannot drink them. Water will be the most valuable.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Depending on where you live.
And if you have water, and it’s scarce where you are, you’ll need the substances I mentioned to keep and protect it.

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

dentarthurdent on July 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Yep. That’s why they fall under expendables. Water will be traded. ; )

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Those of you advocating moving to a rural area to get away from all of this insanity are really missing the point.
You cannot go anywhere in America to get away from the govt.
I live in a very rural area.
It is not possible.
Bcs the first main point is that you do not really own your land.
The state you reside in does and you rent it every year in the form of property taxes.
And the day you quit paying them when that states’ grace period comes to an end & you get that certified letter telling you if they don’t get their extortion $$ on such date they are going to auction off your property to the highest bidder, you suddenly realize you own nothing.
I know this bcs ND has a grace period of 3 yrs (used to be 5) and we have had that certified letter sent to us many times.
Our property taxes have increased a LOT in the past 20 yrs and there is no end in sight.
I love how fellow county citizens will shrug & say that “oh they are tax deductible’. You think I give two shits about that considering ranching causes us to actually pay no Fed taxes and only state taxes?
It’s still cash $$ I have to pay that I cannot put back into our business to make it better.
I am renting my home that I supposedly own.
So this fantasy of preppers & self sufficiency is nothing but pure BS bcs the govt WILL find us all and they will dispossess us of all things we hold dear at their pleasure and WTF are any of you really going to do about it?
Voting does nothing. Agitating does nothing.
The simple matter is people are so coddled and have had it easy as hell for several generations and they do not know what true chaos is really like.
So they will continue to vote for favors from their statist governments & the federal govt.
From FEMA $$, to SS/SSDI, to food stamps & welfare programs of all kinds, the average conservative American citizen is indeed not conservative really at all when it comes down to it bcs there are very few animals that are willing to forgo a handout.

Badger40 on July 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Honestly… I have no idea what your comment means.

Walter L. Newton on July 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

We are guests at Hot Air, Noah would be considered a host.

Cindy Munford on July 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

The simple matter is people are so coddled and have had it easy as hell for several generations and they do not know what true chaos is really like.

Badger40 on July 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I think we’re due for a refresher course.

Closet Optimist on July 16, 2014 at 6:08 PM

My ‘honeybadger’ comment was legit, not my fault you don’t understand what it means. Stop deleting my posts or delete my account.

Tard on July 16, 2014 at 6:15 PM

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