Odds ‘n Sods:

Scary stuff! Video: Softest Target Ever? A Nuclear Plant Outside D.C. Is Virtually Unguarded – P.S.

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San Diego Unified School district has an MRAP?. – S.B.

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Local legislators squash gun-grabbers, override governor’s veto. – B.B.

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Spain is Militarizing Against Citizens – The Coming Civil War?. – J.W.

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At the urging of a couple of readers, I watched the pilot episode of the new Utopia “reality” television series last night via online streaming. In my opinion, putting people who do not share a common faith and work ethic together in that artificial construct for 365 days is a recipe for sharp conflict and probably for starvation.

There will presumably be 15 mouths to feed. (Although I expect a few early departures of some participants.) Clearly, a few sacks of flour, a couple of jars of pickles, and the milk production of two cows won’t go very far. With just $5,000 available, they will be hard pressed to have enough calories to see them through the year. Buying sprouting seeds would be the best immediate use of some of that cash. They will also need to get lots of row crops in the ground, pronto! The availability of stacked hay bales, electricity, and clean running water were all providential gifts to the experiment. (However, will the latter two come with monthly bills, at Southern California rates? Yikes!) I suppose that if they can use their phone to somehow tap into Craigslist and Freecycle they might have a chance, but I assume that the series producers have laid down some strict rules on outside contact.

History is replete with stories of failed utopian social experiments. Most of them fail within a couple of years. Also, consider that most of those societies have been started by people with a common faith and a shared work ethic. The motley crew assembled for this series clearly lack those attributes, so unless this is all secretly rigged, I’d rate their chance of success at less than 5%.

A large scale hippie commune called “The Farm” did have some success for a few years in the 1970s but only with a lot of very hard work. (Slackers were sent packing.) The Farm’s population peaked at 1,400, but it is presently down to 175. And, not surprisingly, communal banking of private income was abandoned in the early 1980s.

Unless the Utopia series participants quickly find common ground and commit themselves to hard work, then they will live and learn. – JWR

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