Freedom has no noncompete with propaganda.

Many people would likely see it as an obscure topic reported in a minor venue, but Christian Winthrop’s recent article in The Newport Buzz about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) move against noncompete agreements hits three distinct notes that fire me up. The first is that it is unambiguous propaganda: In a landmark decision aimed…

Men shake hands in a dark alley
The assumption seems to be we’re all either children or slaves.

Civility and compassion are important traits we should, as a society, strive to inculcate in our children and uphold ourselves.  However, big-state nannyism has reached the point that well-meaning people no longer appreciate the distinction between how we should act as responsible people and what we should be forced or forbidden to do by an…

A threatening nanny glowers with a switch
Interest rates have become like rent control.

And they’re both artificial thresholds created by interventionist policies.  realEstateTrent makes a great point, here:   Progressive policies, which shift decision-making to the blunt tool of government, create these unhealthy thresholds everywhere.  People stay on the public dole because they’d have to earn so much money for a job to be worthwhile that no job…

A mechanic stares down a destroyed machine
Land use may be the dog that’s not barking in the housing debate.

Catching up on email, I came across this October article from the American Stewards of Liberty about a federal push for conservation areas: The Service is planning to acquire 250,000 acres of private land in the new federally designated area by offering “voluntary” conservation easements in perpetuity to landowners. Those who do not want to…

A man dreams of depopulation.
Rewriting history, especially to erase the stages of progress, is a dangerous practice.

The featured image of this post compares the original cover of Mountain Music by the band Alabama with the censored version now used for music streaming services.  I should specify that I’m not alleging the band and the companies that manage its music were forced to make the change by a government agency, but censorship it…

Comparison of the two covers of Mountain Music by Alabama
How should we compare Scott Avedisian’s severance package and Caitlin Clark’s basketball salary?

The short answer is that we shouldn’t, but Bill Bartholomew’s attempt is worth a double-take and some thought about what he’s missing: at nearly 68k, Scott Avedisian’s termination payment is almost as much as the contract that the most exciting player in college basketball, Caitlin Clark, signed after being selected first overall in the WNBA draft…

A man in a suit shoots a basketball at a city bus
Increased productivity is a communal good.

Somehow, despite ample reason for civic disappointment, I find I’m becoming less cynical as I get older, not more.  Even now, when I come across reasoning like that expressed by young progressive Democrat Representative David Morales, I can’t help but feel hope that we can salvage reason from the flames of ideology: Here’s the reality:…

Artwork of a worker transforming into a boss
Days of Reckoning for the Salt of RI’s Earth

The point can’t be stressed enough that Rhode Islanders should understand the Washington Bridge debacle as a representative lesson on our state government.  For that reason, not the least, Mark Patinkin’s conversations with local affected business owners is an article to print and review periodically in the future.  Restauranteurs and venue owners bought and built…

A prison warden hides his keys behind his back during a fire
The Maher life can’t be representative of human needs.

Arguably, Eric Abbenante— overstates the degree of “debate” in this clip featuring Dr. Phil and Bill Maher, but the difference in point of view he highlights is the crucial one.  Here’s Abbenante: Bill Maher and Dr Phil debate the importance of family and religion: “You think family and faith are a big fix to the…

A yacht sails toward an almost entirely submerged city.
Freeing teachers means freeing them from an inapt industrial employment model.

Brandon Busteed’s argument in Forbes well taken: U.S. teachers are dead last among all occupational groups and professions in feeling their opinions count at work, that their supervisor creates an open and trusting environment and that they are treated with respect each day. Teachers are also the highest of all professions in experiencing burn-out and…

A teacher at the blackboard in a cage
Student loans are another crisis for the benefit of government.

Whatever one’s political leanings, the incentives of government must be understood as simply reality.  Government agencies don’t have to create a product or service that people will voluntarily purchase.  Rather, they must find activities for which they can justify forcing people who are not the direct beneficiaries to pay.  This model is justified, in some…

A farmer in a suit admires his corn with graduation caps
The details are the important part in the “housing crisis.”

By its nature, advocacy journalism glosses over the details that many would consider crucial.  Headlines from a pair of such articles by Katie Mulvaney in the Providence Journal illustrate the point: Six months pregnant with nowhere to go – an unhoused woman’s plight on RI’s streets After months of sleeping on the street, pregnant woman finally…

A homeless mother pushes a baby carriage in Providence, RI
Journalists should be conspicuously fair, even with groups nobody likes.

In the last couple decades, Americans (at least those who occupy seats in academia and mainstream media) appear to have lost their ability to distinguish between upholding a principle and supporting any given people who might benefit from that principle from time to time.  Nobody likes to defend groups that are broadly deplored, like Nazis…

Street artist draws passing white people as MAGA
What is it about social media lately? (A hope for controlling the crisis.)

Almost in passing during a recent podcast featuring Greg McKeown, Tim Ferriss stepped into an idea I’ve been contemplating lately: [A]s my job, I interview some of the top performers in the world, hundreds of them, and the change that I have seen for those people in that subset who are already, I think most…

People stare at their cell phones while disasters happen around them
Don’t forget the importance of audience for mockery.

This video of some proverbial “frat bros” mocking some antifa clowns brought to mind Saul Alinsky’s encouragement toward mockery of the opponent:

RichardHanania: Frat bros at University of Washington in Seattle challenge antifa to a push-up contest. Something is happening. There is more on the ground spontaneous resistance to these protests than all others in recent years put together. They’re inspiring a disgust reflex in normal people.

Preparation for conflicts is crucial, however.  The mockery worked because the antifa were outnumbered and in somebody else’s element.  Mockery is a group activity.  You must have a group.

A policy of “socially transitioning” children without their parents’ consent…

… leads me to the conclusion that whoever is controlling education policy wants young adults to be ignorant and emotionally unstable:

AmyGansettRep: Rhode Island public and federally funded schools facilitate social transition in school. This can be done without parental consent.

I’m glad people are starting to pay attention, but I’m not optimistic anything can be done.  I couldn’t believe when this policy filtered down from the Obama administration a decade ago.  And I still can’t believe there hasn’t been more outrage or, at least, a political cost to the promoters of these policies.

Chanting murder in another language is cheating…

… but it’s illustrative, at MIT:TaliaKhan_MIT: Translated and subtitled at 
@MIT — calls to murder Zionists and martyr oneself for the cause of destroying Israel.

I should note from the replies to the tweet that some people are contesting the translation, saying it’s “death to Zionism,” not “Zionists,” which supposedly makes all the difference.  On the other hand, some commenters say the chant references “Jews” in places where the translation says “Zionists.”

I’m not sure that the “Zionism” and “Zionists” distinction is as significant as defenders claim, given the fact the chant also refers to “martyrs.”  Nonetheless, the salient point is that so many young adults in America are chanting along not knowing whether it’s “Zionism,” “Zionists,” “Jews,” or whatever.

So much of young activism, these days, seems draped in this sort of ignorance.  The different language only puts an exclamation point on it.

I’m getting worried about how obvious it is our monetary system is largely fictional.

It’s bad enough that the Biden administration has convinced a generation of young Americans that tens of billions of dollars of their debt can just disappear with no effect because the debt didn’t really exist, anyway, but the Chair of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisor’s being unable to sound coherent when asked why the government borrows money when it can print more really brings the bonfire into the house:

amuse: BIDENOMICS: The reason the economy is imploding might be because this guy, Jared Bernstein, Chair of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors is setting our economic policy.

In fairness, it is a complex question that could be answered from multiple perspectives, but one gets the impression Bernstein doesn’t know because it’s not important to know.  The primary means by which the government (in the form of the Fed) prints money is buying securities with fictional dollars.

The economy isn’t going to be pretty when everybody stops trusting that the fiction is backed by good faith.

This has been RI’s preferred budgeting method for the past 15 years.

They limp along hoping for a catastrophe that gives Democrats in Washington, D.C., an excuse to borrow waves of cash for one-time windfalls:

RIPEC_: RIPEC’s new report finds that the governor relied on surplus funds and remaining federal pandemic relief dollars to pay for operating expenses, thereby sidestepping more difficult spending choices, and contributing to budget deficits in FY26 and beyond.

It’s understandable that politicians and bureaucrats would incline this way, but it’s inexplicable that anybody continues to believe giving increasing amounts of power to people with these incentives and this history of bad judgment is a good idea.

Keep an eye on the progress of violence.

Note something about the riotous behavior reaching American campuses, as Ted Gehring spotlights, here:

GehringTed: UCLA out of control tonight. I don’t know. Maybe USC and Texas were right to clamp down to some extent. UCLA has really let things get out of hand.

The last go-round of riots took place mostly in urban areas, this one has been on campuses. Granted that they’re often in urban areas, but their attack on colleges seems like the revolutionaries’ taking another step.  One or two more and they’ll be in the suburbs.

This isn’t to say that people in the cities should be expected to put up with this stuff while those in the suburbs should not.  (This stuff shouldn’t be happening at all.)  Still, I haven’t seen much consideration of the value to a society of having enclaves and a path to greater calm and order.  Instead, we get so bogged down in superficial arguments about class and race that we risk losing sight of underlying factors that make our society as dynamic as it is.

Questions get complex when you upend social (and biological) fundamentals.

This video of a police interaction with a young couple entered my awareness at a moment of reduced willpower, so I watched it.  Although it escalates from a towed car to an arrest and flirts with even more-dangerous outcome, the entire twenty minutes is primarily a display of young adults, feeling their economic oats, whose lessons on responding to the world were… incomplete.

One twist occurred to me, though, related to police protocol.  The arresting officer was male, so when he arrested the female, he placed her in his car and then called for a female officer to drive to the scene and search her.  What is the woke thinking on such things?  What if the second officer weren’t biologically female, but only identified as a woman?  Once this question lands on the table, things we’ve been able to take for granted become murky.  Why do we think a female should be more comfortable with another female touching her body?  If the woman objected to an officer who only identified as a woman touching her, would that be reasonable?  Could adding these variables escalate such tense interactions to the next level?

Progressives deny it explicitly, but there is wisdom in things people just feel to be right and proper.

These are the choices will-to-power policies will drive us toward.

“Had the girl not broken the law by purchasing and using pepper spray, she likely would have been raped — or worse.” Sure, the story Stephen Green is sharing comes from Denmark, and sure, one big advantage we have in the United States is the Second Amendment.  But policies change and, increasingly, our rights can go unprotected.

Overbearing government will come down hardest on those it can control, and we can’t afford to let it come to the point that we have to decide between protecting ourselves (increasingly often from people the government has let into the country or let out of prison with unreasonable leniency) and following the law.

I’ve wondered how Americans are getting by in this economy.

This may be part of the answer, and certainly corresponds with my experience:

GameofTrades_: CAUTION: Households have officially run out of excess savings

A reminder for Republicans about immigrants.

They can be won, as James Brooke suggests in the The Sun:

In the latest sign of a rightward swing of the pendulum in Latin America, voters in Ecuador opted overwhelmingly for tough anti-crime measures, including joint army and police patrols against cocaine gangs.

Ecuador is only one example.

This reminder does not mean the border does not need to be brought to order or that the Democrats’ illegal immigration flood should be absorbed in entirety.  It also does not mean Republicans should try to win immigrants’ support the same way Democrats do:  by pandering to them and trying to win their votes.

Rather, Republicans should put in the effort to craft a genuine and coherent set of policies with positions many immigrants will find attractive.  Furthermore, they should not dehumanize immigrants, as Democrats do when they instrumentalize and infantilize them.  Rather, even when policies involve options for deportation, the humanity of people seeking a better life should never be forgotten.

Too often we lose the debate to progressives when we accept their emotionalist intellectual shortcut.  The fact that somebody is deserving of compassion does not mean the appropriate actions of others is obvious.  The success of the West is premised on trying to bring people into the fold and to offer them a path toward mutually beneficial relationships.  Keep that always in mind.

You can tell how journalists see their role by the stories they cover.

This has become a focus of the Providence Journal’s city reporter:

amymrusso: Meanwhile over at Providence College, E. Corry Kole gave their first public remarks on their discrimination charge against the school, filed with the RI Commission for Human Rights.

What stories is Russo not covering because she’s spending so much time on this one?  Why is a personnel matter at a private organization newsworthy?

As for the content, it finally provides some explanation for a mythical cliché.  I’ve never understood the rule that you had to invite a vampire into your house.  The rule applies well to DEI “professionals.”  Once you let them in, they’ve got you.  That is the critical decision point.

I’ve lived under a wide variety of partisan combinations in government at the state and federal levels.

With that perspective, I’d suggest that America works better when voters put the adults in charge but then laugh at them through media and entertainment.  Once, adults could be of either party, but they became increasingly of the Republican variety.  Unfortunately, voters’ frustration with the inability to return to adult policies is loosening that rule, too.

That said, what we need above all is a division between government and social and cultural institutions.  That means electing problematic Republicans so the media can come closer to fulfilling a healthy role, rather than acting as propaganda organs for problematic Democrats.

Western tradition already has the answer to the attempts to undermine it.

That’s why, although I agree with Jordan, here, I think he’s a step away from the key point:

jordanbpeterson: Think about it this way: How can society continue successfully when success itself (which always characterizes a relative minority) is equated with theft and oppression?

We must reframe. A libertarian lean is correct, but valorizing success won’t work. The impulse to identify with the oppressed has to be changed to wanting to help people, to make THEM successful. It’s the principle at the intersection of Christianity and free markets.

Why are the key questions of politics so easy to ignore?

This exchange between CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has made the rounds and received its share of commentary:

kaitlancollins: Bill Barr responds to Donald Trump mocking him after he said he would vote for him in 2024. And it's something.

To my mind, the most telling part is when Collins looks for a comparison among conservatives to progressive bureaucratic government impositions and points to a local library debate. What Barr should have asked is: “Do you think you’ll have a better chance changing policies you don’t like in your hometown or in Washington, D.C.?”

The notion that different activities are appropriate at different levels of government is too often glossed over, and it’s central to our civic system.  Arguably among the biggest contributors to growing division is the sense that progress means political questions are answered at higher and higher levels.  In that view, it’s great if your local library board promotes your beliefs, but it’s even better if the federal government does, because it affects more people.  That isn’t the pluralistic ideal of self-governance on which our country was founded.

Democrats are moving deeper into the dark side of triangulation.

The concept of triangulation used to mean politicians looked at the political landscape and positioned themselves on the field to advance their policy goals.  The worsening development, facilitated by mass media and social media, is the attempt to manipulate the landscape.  That’s where we start to think of the Overton Window, shifting the range of positions people think are acceptable, and it’s what we see here:

JonahDispatch: I agree Barr’s argument is bad. But you know what? If Democrats really believe Trump poses an existential threat to democracy (I think he poses a major threat, but not an existential one), maybe they should stop doing the nanny-state crap that repels gettable voters.

I think Jonah misunderstands (or pretends to misunderstand) what’s going on, here.  Democrats (among whom I count the mainstream media) promoted Trump and are doing everything they can to paint him as a monster because the worse they make him out to be the worse they can be.  That’s why Barr is right that, in a binary decision, Trump is preferable, and not seeing it may be why Jonah has taken his wise reservations about Trump so far as to be an error.

Government-funded journalism is a bad idea.

One suspects mainstream journalists don’t see this as a problem because they can’t imagine reporting any differently just because the governments they support are directly paying them money:

grantbosse: Remarkably bad idea. Government-funded journalism is propaganda.

And realistically, we’re finding in Rhode Island that government PR is such a lucrative next step for journalists that it’s more a question of whether they work for government sooner or later in their careers.

Progressive policies only seek to manage increasing hostilities and problems.

The headline of a Alexa Gagosz’s recent Boston Globe article asks, “Will tenants unions make a difference in Rhode Island’s housing crisis?”  The answer, we can be confident, is “yes,” although it will make a difference by making it worse.

The state’s problem is insufficient housing, and the only durable, healthy way to give tenants, workers, or any group of people, more power is to give them more options.  Using progressive-style union activism power creates disincentive for people to work together, and working together includes one person creating an apartment for another to rent.

A street protest against a big landlord will make people considering becoming landlords rethink.  When the easy compromises are exhausted and landlords simply refuse demand, politicians will take it as an excuse to tighten the legal noose.  That will lead to even less housing.

As with most policies, what’s needed is to think of both sides as human beings, to think of the incentives that govern their cooperative interactions, and to get constraints out of the way, not build up more hurdles and obstacles invented by politicians.  They serve special interests (note that one of the elected representatives in the story is actually a union organizer) and have no expertise.

The people leaving Massachusetts are no surprise.

Here’s the Boston Globe’s description of the people leaving Massachusetts:

Boston Indicators, the research arm of the Boston Foundation, published an analysis exploring trends in so-called domestic outmigration in Massachusetts, or people leaving for elsewhere in the United States. Looking at a two-year average across 2021 and 2022, the analysis found that the people moving out of Massachusetts were predominantly white, middle- and high-income earners, and college-educated.

Particularly dire: Working-age adults are leaving in droves. On net, Massachusetts lost an average of 22,631 people ages 25 to 44 across 2021 and 2022 — the largest number of any age group and a marked increase over previous years, according to the report. For perspective, that’s about the size of the population of Winchester.

It’s been about 20 years since I started warning Rhode Island that our data told a similar story, and I coined the term “productive class.”  Rhode Island and now Massachusetts are driving out precisely those people who move an area forward:  those who are primed to transform their time and talents into productive activity.

Lose these folks and, as we’re seeing in precipitous experience in the Ocean State, you get the government plantations, which involves special interests using government to make government the areas core occupation by finding clients for government services and looking for excuses to bill other people.  That model won’t last long, probably not even to the point that the mid-career special interests are ready to cash out and move to Florida.

Keep tabs on who gets ousted in Rhode Island government

Whatever one thinks of Avedisian, seeing Alviti in this picture is a reminder that state government incompetence can harm the lives of hundreds of thousands, but it’s the guy who leaves the scene of a fender bender who’s shown the door.

PatricAnderso_: The 
 Board has accepted Scott Avedisian’s resignation.

Not long ago, objecting to the Trump cases would have been uncontroversial.

As he’s done for a long time, Mark Steyn zeros in on the truth with panache:

There are times, however, when it is necessary not to conceal it. This week’s Trump Trial of the Week is the bazillionth attempt by the ruling party to nail the leader of the opposition on …something, anything, whatever’s to hand. So naturally a certain artfulness is required. In this case, if one accepts as true the charges of corrupt prosecutor Alvin Bragg, Trump paid former crony Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels. Which would be a falsification of business records. Which is, under the “laws” of New York, a misdemeanour – albeit one in which the statute of supposed limitations has already kicked in. So Bragg is arguing that the expired misdemeanour is actually a non-expired felony, because it was used to cover up another crime.

What other crime he has not said. And, as is now familiar in the State of New York, the corrupt judge Juan Manuel Merchan has been happy to indulge him.

… why all the Trump cases wind up in the hands of this particular Biden donor is a mystery to me.

Well, actually it isn’t: much of “American justice” is stinkingly corrupt. QED.

One wonders if the enormity of the corruption has become its own incentive for Democrats to turn a blind eye.  Once down the road of acknowledging it, what else might be overturned?

The more bucks, the less education.

As shocking videos emerge of progressive fascism showing its antisemitic face, Nick Freitas’s on-point observation here comes to mind:

NickJFreitas: I want you to imagine universities sitting on billion-dollar+ endowments lobbying for taxpayer-backed student loans in order to get more people into their schools.

Americans have been had in a major way (this issue not the least), and I’m not sure there’s any way to turn things around.

A horse-riding general leads his troops off a cliff

Politics This Week: Breaking from the Top

John DePetro and Justin Katz look for the realities behind the headlines in Rhode Island.

Man jogging on a treadmill while on cell phone threatened by snake

When did life-optimizers become snowflakes?

A self-improvement celebrity’s partisan trigger warning provides a warning about the extent to which we’ve lost our civic heritage.

A Democrat self-interviews

Politics This Week: RI’s Eternal Return

John DePetro and Justin Katz explore recent examples of Democrats setting the stage for themselves.

Parents have a picnic with their alien children

Politics This Week: The Twilight Generation of Political Normalcy in Rhode Island

John DePetro and Justin Katz worry about the significance of creeping lunacy in RI politics.

A weatherman reports a sunny day while it storms outside

Politics This Week: The Era of Messaging

John DePetro and Justin Katz highlight some of the ways the local media and political establishment distort the public message.

Man jogging on a treadmill while on cell phone threatened by snake

When did life-optimizers become snowflakes?

A self-improvement celebrity’s partisan trigger warning provides a warning about the extent to which we’ve lost our civic heritage.

A Democrat self-interviews

Politics This Week: RI’s Eternal Return

John DePetro and Justin Katz explore recent examples of Democrats setting the stage for themselves.

Parents have a picnic with their alien children

Politics This Week: The Twilight Generation of Political Normalcy in Rhode Island

John DePetro and Justin Katz worry about the significance of creeping lunacy in RI politics.

A weatherman reports a sunny day while it storms outside

Politics This Week: The Era of Messaging

John DePetro and Justin Katz highlight some of the ways the local media and political establishment distort the public message.

A woman in a business jacket walks on stage

Politics This Week: A New Stage for the Self-Promoter

John DePetro and Justin Katz check in on politicians’ emphasis on promotions.

Girls jump class in a 1960s gym class

Title IX Becoming a Victim of Its Own Success

Title IX has given generations of American girls and young women athletic opportunities on an equal footing, but that success has made it vulnerable to the latest social revolution.

We have to stop taking offense at the drop of a feather.

Here’s the key paragraph in this Epoch Times article about a California teacher who’s been put on leave after wearing a paper headdress and dancing in a (let’s say) indigenous fashion to drive home a math lesson:

“It is damaging and disheartening to see Native American and indigenous culture represented in such a trite and insensitive way. However, this is not an isolated incident, as such teaching practices, even in math classes, have been used across the nation. It is time that we stop this behavior.”

That’s from a statement by state legislators, and it’s an incredible cultural artifact in that its factual assertion can be read in two ways.  To the woke, the common nature of such lessons is proof of the mountain of work they have to change the world in their own image.  To sane people, it’s an illustration that this is very common and has for years been widely regarded as unobjectionable.

We have to get back to that sense of ourselves as a single community with many cultural influences that we can share, in seriousness and fun, without giving offense.

Flood insurance looks like a looming surge in the bite of climate alarmism.

This shift in the calculation of and requirements for flood insurance will be something to keep an eye on:

For the first time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is about to incorporate climate risk into the cost of flood insurance. The impact will be a dramatic increase in the cost of flood insurance. In Rhode Island, many policyholders will see their premiums go up and continue to increase by as much as 18 percent annually for the next 20 years.

I’m open to the possibility that legacy flood-risk assessments were simplistic in a way that benefited special interests, like rich people, but the use of words like “equity” point to the probability that the system won’t me more accurate so much as put in the service of different special interests.

Here’s the question I have:  With the calculations so heavily based on models (versus proven experience), suppose they prove to be completely off; what is the feedback or correction mechanism?  If all homeowners can do is try to change the culture and the mix of elected officials so that the bureaucracy shifts its emphasis, that’s a recipe for a great deal of mischief.

Private sector jobs were down in RI in September, partly owing to health care workers.

The RI Department of Labor and Training has changed the way it reports monthly labor information. But one notable observation is that the number of payroll jobs based in Rhode Island actually fell from August to September.  Total jobs went up, however, owing to big increases in state and local government jobs.

The industries that saw decreases are worth noting:

  • Construction down by 100
  • Financial activities down by 300
  • Health care and social assistance down by 400
  • Leisure and hospitality down by 700
  • Other services down by 100

The relatively big decrease in healthcare and social assistance during a time of shortage makes one wonder if that’s a result of Governor McKee’s vaccine mandate.

Funny how political defenestrations only ever go one way.

Expressing a view on a political or social issue can be harmful to your career, if it isn’t of the progressive-approved variety:

The CEO of an American video game developer stepped down after he issued a statement supportive of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a law in Texas that bans abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

The company, Tripwire Interactive LLC, announced in a statement on Monday that John Gibson “has stepped down as CEO” of the company, effective immediately.

In general, people with more-conservative views tend to be more tolerant of other positions.  Unfortunately, that reinforces progressives’ sense that nobody decent disagrees with them, making disagreement seem like evidence of deplorableness.  So bravo for John Gibson.  More people need to speak up.  Of course, the consequences can be so severe for merely not agreeing with the left-wing fascists that it’s understandable that more people don’t.

We need to restore the sense of going out for adventure.

While he goes a bit far in framing ’80s dance parties as a path to God, Mark Judge makes a great point, here:

Going out was a long ride uninterrupted by texts, which didn’t exist, or phone calls, because phone booths were hard to find. The experience formed a kind of meditation. The professional world was not just lost for an hour of yoga or pilates, but completely abandoned for a lengthy, restorative journey. It often changed you. As Mohaghegh observes in Night, “Night brings revolution against the archetypal. It overthrows the dominant hierarchies and universal myths in favor of the beautiful diary of the masquerade or the bonfire. It is where one fathoms otherwise, the time-space of the visionary, the imaginary, the unreal, the unknown, the elsewhere, the outside, and the emergent. It is where one builds machinations of radical thought…those droplets of mad and dangerous consciousness.”

The movies back in our youth drove the point home.  Whether Dazed and Confused, Weird Science, or dozens and dozens of other hits of the time, we cultivated a sense of adventure, as if anything could happen.  You disconnected from ordinary life, and sometimes the sun came up on a world transformed.

Of course the movies exaggerated, and we should have no illusion that attempting to prove them right caused some in our generation a fair bit of pain and harm, but too much of that sense of possibility seems to have been lost.