The purpose of this post is two-fold: first, it is an addendum to my last one, “A Scientific Explanation for the Persistence of Crusaders,” and second, it is a look into the future of both this blog and my work in general.
I used to work in Quality Assurance (QA), where continuous improvement (CI) is a big deal – a very big deal. Kindly keep that phrase “continuous improvement” lodged way back in the grey matter for me as I now present a semi-opposing viewpoint to my argument from the previous post. Speaking of grey matter, mine is suffering from immense pressure thanks to a sinus infection at the moment, so bear with me if I seem a little incoherent. Anyway, I am a firm believer in CI. No manufacturing process is perfect, and no manufacturing operation is flawless. There is always something that can be done to make the operation run a little faster, a little more efficiently, and produce fewer errors. It is an incremental process that requires persistence and OCD, both of which I have. However, the same can be said of social planning, hence the well-known phenomenon of the perpetually unhappy social justice warrior. The oft-repeated quote is “there is no pleasing these people.” That is correct. Social justice warriors have the exact same mindset as QA managers. The flaw in their thinking, of course, is that populations are NOT industries. Industrial planning works extremely well, but social planning doesn’t work at all, mainly because people are not machines. Sometimes, I wish they were, but that’s because I have a mind of metal and I like machines a lot more than people. Machines are predictable, and do exactly as you tell them when they are functioning correctly. Notice that I said “exactly as you tell them,” not “exactly what you want.” Machines have limitations, and you have to know how to talk to them. If a program doesn’t produce the results you want, then the first troubleshooting step is to make sure that the program is written correctly. People, on the other hand, are much more flexible in their interpretations of commands, and able to correct for mistakes their superiors make, but are also prone to making mistakes themselves. In addition, a machine has a definite maximum output: it cannot be made to work harder or faster than it was designed to, so if it’s capabilities are not good enough, you must either modify or replace it. Therefore, to compare the CI that is the very core of industrial QA to the CI of social dynamics that armchair activists live on is like comparing oranges to rotten onions.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: technology changes faster than law, which changes faster than culture. The CI idea itself must be implemented at a fairly slow rate, to allow the operation to catch up and run smoothly again following changes. Machines are not creatures of habit, and respond instantaneously to changes in their programming. People, on the other hand, take much longer to change, especially if they have not had to change for so long. When I tried to implement my own CI plan, it was in a shop full of workers who had been stagnant since before I was born. Needless to say, my modernisation efforts were rewarded with utter failure, thanks to a bunch of complacent old-timers who didn’t like computers. In my case, I faced the challenge of changing the shop’s culture as much as everything else. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had no choice. Our customers required the shop to be modernised, and the workers had to change whether they wanted to or not. Either these old dogs would learn new tricks, or they would be out of a job. This is not what we’re talking about with social planning outside of industry. Social planning is the attempt to create a culture based on certain principles. A company can do this, and anyone who doesn’t conform can’t work there. This is one of the reasons I will never take a corporate job – I can’t stand toxic corporate culture (key word being “corporate” in this case). However, countries are not companies. People do no choose to be part of a country (barring immigration, of course), so a country’s culture is not planned and created by the people in charge, rather, it evolves on its own. This, by the way, is the reason that constructed languages have never been adopted (outside of some very small circles, that is). Language is part of culture, and there is no cultural analogue to Esperanto. There is, however, a cultural analogue to Newspeak – it’s called social justice.
Conflating humans with machines is something that socially detached intellectuals have done throughout history, the most famous example, of course, being Karl Marx. Marx himself eventually realised that his own philosophy was deeply flawed, but no-one who holds him up on a pedestal today ever acknowledges that. I used to think the same way as Marx, since I don’t understand people. Note the present tense – people still confound and infuriate me, but thanks to the internet (and a few friends IRL), I at least know enough to know that they are anything but programmable. I won’t ever even try to become a social planner for that very reason, and I would make that plea to anyone else thinking that they have all the answers and can change people: you can’t. People don’t change, and even if they could, they can change only themselves; you can’t make them. This is probably the only thing I can say with any certainty, mainly because trying to change me is good way to make me hate you.
Right, that’s enough of THAT. Anyway, I posted this in “Opinion Pieces” as well as “IAMADA” for a reason. The latter is the name of a secret society in my fictional world, but it is also a possible name for my new business. I say “possible,” because depending on what direction it ends up going in, it may not be appropriate. IAMADA is an acronymn, and stands for International Arms Manufacture And Distribution Association. In The Nine Empires, it is a modern-day version of the old arms dealers’ guild. In the real world, however, it is an idea I had for making custom weapons for historical re-enactment such as swords, polearms, muskets, and cannons. Yes, you read that correctly: cannons. I have access to a building that I can put a fairly large lathe in (much larger than the 13″ x 36″ South Bend in my shop now), so I might be able to set up an operation to turn full-size cannon barrels. On the smaller end of the operation, I also want to make custom swords for people on a budget – normally, custom-made swords go for several thousand dollars (but are worth it, especially if you know how to properly use one). However, the first sword I bought, a Windlass Steelcrafts crusader sword, I had issues with, so I took it apart (the other nice thing about threaded pommels, besides the ability to end one’s opponent rightly) and put a new guard, new wooden grip, and new pommel on it. This is the type of customisation that I would do in my own shop. For higher quality, of course, that’s where CraftNet comes in. CraftNet (name subject to change, for all I know it’s already taken) is the electronic side of my business project. It is a network of independent craftspeople (including bladesmiths) that can provide literally anything one needs for historical re-enactment, including costumes, jewellry, furniture, and of course, weapons. It’s still under construction, but hopefully, I will have a second WordPress site up by the end of the month for the foundation of the network. I already have a few people involved, but since they are very busy, coordinating with them hasn’t been easy. Furthermore, I’m the only computer-savvy person in the group, so the network is entirely on my shoulders. Then again, that’s the whole point of the network – connecting people who are stuck in the 18th century. So, my call to anyone who actually bothers to read my posts is to get the contact information of any independent craftspeople that you know, and whether they have a website or not, direct them to the Custom Work section of this site or my contact page, so that I can get as many people involved in this project as possible. If you have any suggestions for the network itself, I’d appreciate that as well.