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The big roads were safe then, or we thought they were. Many of us, the more adventurous, poured onto the highways, just going, moving, looking. We were devotees of the long-haul thumb, crossing and recrossing the continent, dropping into Mexico, whatever.

A camaraderie held. There were rules. On an onramp it was first come first served, no butting in line and anybody with his thumb out was taken as a friend, or at least friendly. “Hey, man, got any shit?” was a common question. This meant grass, pot, ganja, herb, and good manners was to share.

A theme of the age was that “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” This makes more sense than might seem today.

It was wild to be alone in the sun and clarity of the southwestern deserts, trucks howling by, a blast of wind and shining of tires, and it was just you and the whole desert stretching in sand and cactus to the horizon. You might end up sleeping in an arroyo and if there was a gas station in sight there might be a bottle of Triple Jack.

The song that caught the era was Born to be Wild, Steppenwolf, and at my local biker bar in Mexico it still produces an electric shiver and a sadness for things gone. Someone once said, “The symphony ain’t been wrote that matches the lope of a Harley, potatopotatopotato.” Could be.

There were black holes that you could hitch into but not out of, where despite traffic or the lack of it you could spend days without getting a ride. One was in Canada–I swear it was called Wa Wa or something like that–that had a buddy of mine and I contemplating homesteading. On an obscure onramp in California someone had carved into the post of a stop sign, “Day 13. We killed John yesterday and ate him.”

Once in Berkeley, on Telegraph Road, Hill, Avenue, or whatever it is, a friend, a depressive Irishman, was in a phone booth calling back East. The connection was bad. “Plattsburgh. No, Platts–no, P as in psilocybin….” She understood him. Such were the times.

One afternoon after crossing the continent from DC my ride dropped me on on the Riverside exit in California. I was looking for my friend Jimmy Auld, who later killed himself by swimming out into the Rappahannock River at two a.m. in mid-January. But that’s another story. The day was sunny and I felt good after a long haul and in the distance I heard Carmina Burana.

That would be Jimmy. He was a music freak and had a Fisher tube-amp that he managed to carry with him everywhere.

So I reached the house on the main vein through town and there in the living room was Jimmy sitting on one of maybe five pink porcelain toilets, connected to nothing. Just there, in a sort of ring. I asked him why toilets.

“I stole them,” he said, clearly thinking this a reasonable explanation. It seemed he had worked in a hardware store.

“Oh,” I said. “But why toilets?”

“They watched everything else.”

It made as much sense as anything else in those years. It was an age of hunting and gathering.

One thing we all noticed on the road: The less a car cost, the more likely it was to pick you up. Caddies? Forget it. Thing was, people in old cars had probably been down on their luck. They knew what it was. So they pulled over. A crumbling ten-year-old pickup covered in Bondo and pop-rivets would usually stop.

Another thing we noticed was that in the South people were friendlier and more charitable. As you went from DC south, there was a sort of social thermocline at Fredericksburg, a sharp increase in warmth and courtesy. . You could feel that you somehow belonged in Fredericksburg. In the north, you were always just passing through, and usually under suspicion.

I once got dropped off in Boone, North Carolina, almost dead broke. Mountains loomed green and gorgeous and the towns thereabouts had the feel on having been there since at least the Civil War. I went into a local eatery, Dixie Lee’s of something with Dixie in its name I think, to spend my last buck on a coke. The owner could sort of see what was going on and she gave me a burger on the house and offered to let me wash dishes until I found something better. A construction worker, hearing this, put me up on his floor if I needed it. I did.

A lot of kids, late teens, early twenties, were in Brownian motions then, drifting from coast to coast, city to city. Since we seldom had anywhere to stay while in transit, we learned to forage for accomodation. One insight was that if you go ten feet off the sidewalks even in a crowded city, and lie down in tall grass, you no longer exist. In Waverly, New Jersey, hoping for a train south, I spend several nights in a clump of bushes not a yard from a sidewalk and maybe fifty feet from a Puerto Rican bar. Nobody Noticed.

One summer night in one year or another a friend and I–it was Jimmy Auld–had climbed into the Pot Yards–the Potomac Yards in Virginia just outside of DC–planning to hop a freight to New York. I say climbed: The yards were protected by one of those nine-feet-high chain-link fences with the Y-l’shaped out-leading barbed wire.

Why these are thought to provide security, I don’t know. A wiry stripling jumps as high as he can and grables the fence. The gaps provide a toe-hold. He then tests the outleaning Y-piece to be sure it will hold his weight, very carefully throws a leg over, and the other, leaving him inside the Y, and reverses the process down the other side. This might take thirty seconds.

The only sounds were the diesel yowl and the shuddering clangsbangbang of couples hitting each other.

Anyway, we hid under some bushies at the edge of the yards and watched the yard mules making a train to head North, where we wanted to go. The yard crews didn’t really care if you hopped trains, but it was better not to make them decide.

We heard but couldn’t see someone approaching. It was an old black guy–both “old” and “black” were obvious from his voice–with a couple of gallon jugs of water. We said hey, what’s up, nice night. Once it is clear that no one is threatening anyone, people in such circumstance feel pretty much at home with each other, or close enough.

It turned out that he had nowhere to live and was staying in a shelter of some sort that he had put together out of sight and had to go for drinking water. A hell of a way to end your life. Then as now America was killing large numbers of people in foreign countries and then, as now, I wondered why they couldn’t give this old fellow a few C-rations. He gave us some hints as to which trains stopped where. We said goodbye and he walked slowly away with his water. I don’t think his joints worked too welol. The diesels were still howling as mournfully as ever.

There was then in Austin a sort of outdoor beenhall called the Armadillo World Headquarters where various bands played, such as the Greezy Wheels. Austin was where corn-fed blond guys and gals met Haight Ashbury and engaged in joyous syncretism. The presence of the University of Texas did nothing to inhibit this. The result was a rich country-music scene fueled by forbidden substances. At places with names like the Soap Creek Saloon, with girls danced on the tables for the sheer fun of it while a beer-drinking contest raged about them A deeply conservative Texas was properly horrified.

At the Dillo, as it was called, as in Alice’s Restaurant, you could get anything you wanted. The freaks would holler, “Waiter, LSD,” and it would come in mugs.

Lone Star Draft

Today the roads are empty. I’m glad they weren’t when they weren’t.


Introducing The Fredian Occasional Latin Tour Guide!

America has some fifty-seven million residents of Latin-American descent, mostly citizens. Willy-nilly, they are part of America. Thinking that many Americans might want to know something about them, where they came from, what they do and have done, what manner of wights they be, the Occasional TourGuide will offer, occasionally, some glimpses. These necessarily will be selective and biased. Putting a continent and a half in a web page would be awkward. I hope that readers will find them interesting, and a remedy to the idea that Latin America is a series of wretched hellholes.

Mensa, Mexico. Globalization, of a sort: Mensa is a social club for people of upper-middle brow intelligence, here meaning IQ 132 or better. I think it started in America but seems to have spread. The webpage begins, “¡Aquí sí le entendemos a tus chistes!” Or: “Here they will understand your jokes!” Which I guess is why Mensa exists anywhere.

Write to Fred: [email protected] To avoid having your email heartlessly autodeleted by antispam software, the the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line. Failure to respond due to volume and bad eyes, not bad manners.

Fred Reed is a former news weasel and part-time sociopath living in central Mexico with his wife and three useless but agreeable street dogs. He says it suits him.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: History 
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  1. dearieme says:

    When I was a boy my father told me that he’d always stop for anyone who looked as if he would probably have fought in The War. Well, fought on our side, I suppose.

  2. Patriot says:


    Thanks for your great article, which brought back old memories of living on the road, hitch-hiking, sleeping under overpasses, scrounging for food, 1-hr pick-up jobs, etc.

    I, also, was totally surprised at how nice and kind Southerners were, as opposed to how they were portrayed in our culture. That was one of my first inclinations that our media was lying to us.

    “Brownian motion” — Brilliant use of words.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Alden
  3. “there was a sort of social thermocline at Fredericksburg”

    A little different from Fred’s take. Once, in the 60’s I was thumbing home to Virginia from Prep school in Massachusetts. It was windy and I held to a sign post. When a car stopped I ran to it, leaving part of my palm on the sign post. Rapidly, I found the guy had picked me up because he needed someone to yell at. I took it for about 20 miles. We came to a stoplight and I exited. In years of “thumbing” here, or there, I was only approached by one homosexual. My parents never seemed to worry, and the stories I heard, they colored my 16 years.

  4. Anonymous[211] • Disclaimer says:

    Meh. I remember the era well. Many of us tried the floatabout life for awhile, but found no value in it. Some people are still stuck in it. I dropped back “in” and started working as pure labor at a machine shop in Gaithersburg, Maryland — back when G-burg was middle America instead of a mexicopolis of 150,000 illegals and their Indian overlords. It could now benefit from a well-placed tactical nuke, just like a lot of places in what was once America.

    I learned more in two years as unskilled labor, working with guys who grew up in the Great Depression and fought the Japs in WWII, then Fred Reed ever learned from skating through Georgia on borrowed wheels. If the future is Mexico, we … are …. fucked.

    • Replies: @Franz
  5. Tom says:

    Fred I too was a professional hitchhiker from 1975-1983. I was always looking for someone to drink with, and I usually found some bloke going down the road to get intoxicated with. I was in jail in 14 states for the crimes of hitchhiking on the freeway and public intoxication. All in all it was great fun! I came out of it unscathed, and yes I quit drinking.

    Tom Tweed

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  6. “A theme of the age was that ‘Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.’ This makes more sense than might seem today.”

    That’s the mantra borrowed from Gilbert Shelton’s “Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.” I know who originally said that but I ain’t saying. Besides he’s dead. The ‘Dillo is long since gone but Eddie Wilson is still around and the owners of Esther’s Follies just bought back the Tavern on Lamar & 12th. DM and CL are still throwing “Not Dead Yet” parties. And plans have just been approved by the City Council for a 66 storey mixed use highrise to be built on the next block from us. JHC!

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Jeff Stryker
  7. Giuseppe says:

    Exemplary writing. Fred Reed is the gateway drug to Unz.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  8. Anonymous[342] • Disclaimer says:

    Bait’n’switch. (Old-timey Fred writing, followed by an attempt to slip us the dirty sanchez.)

    • LOL: JMcG
    • Replies: @Michelle
  9. I am 65 Old. I have made some of theese experiences here in Spain in the 70s. After , wen I got a car (2cv citroen) always stoped for people, not fear.Today dont make, Too much insane people

  10. JVC says:

    Geez Fred–what a trip down memory lane. Started hitching around Philadelphia in the early sixty’s–folks had a summer house up in Bucks county, and my afterschool/summer job was in the city. College in Texas–hitching to New Orleans, Ft Worth, Houston–where ever, And then Austin as base for the first half of the 70’s while riding my thumb all over the continent. Met some of the nicest, kindest people imaginable, and also some of the scariest. I concur as to the southern nature, but there were some places along 290/I-10 in west Texas where “I was dressed a little out of sorts for these parts” –a prelude to a week in county.

    As to the Armadillo World Headquarters—never will be such a place again. Spent many an afternoon/evening in the beer garden feasting on a bowl of beans,rice and cheese–good solid food cheap. Had some good friends in management (Bruce W., Hank A), and got to spend considerable time “back stage” where most anything was available. Last I saw Eddy Wilson was at one of his Threadgill’s restaurants, probably 20 + years ago now.

    Those were truly the days, grateful I managed to survive somehow.

    • Replies: @Hal Duell
  11. @Giuseppe

    Fred Reed is the gateway drug to Unz.

    Fred Reed is the gateway drug to drugs. It sounds like he had a good time back when the US was prosperous and 90% white. Now that things have changed, Mr. Reed can reminisce from Ole Mexico and bitch at all the Americans still there that are trying to grapple with the problems his generation caused and ignored.

    2 BTWs:

    1) There are 61 people in the photo and some are probably chaperones or coaches of some sort. Giving the benefit of the doubt, that’s 61 people out of 100-odd million people. How many dumb Mexicans could you fit on one jpeg like that? (“We’re gonna need a bigger image server.”)

    2) I picked up a number of hitchhikers in the 1990’s. I never had a problem besides two guys (separate rides) who wanted to tell me which road to take or tell me we should go to a new destination.

  12. @Tom

    “… and yes I quit drinking.”


  13. Ah, memories. North Carolina to Acapulco several times. Glasgow to Calcutta and back a few times. Luxembourg to Addis Ababa via North Africa. Freewheelin’ Frank from 1963-1969.

    Good rides. I could do Chapel Hill to Laredo in forty-eight hours.

    “And I can’t help but wonderin’ where I’m bound.”

  14. Cortes says:

    Hitched from Glasgow to Rome in 4 days with my girlfriend in 1978 and across Spain a couple of times – Santander to Barcelona, Barcelona to Bilbao and back. As a postgrad at Oxford, back and forth to Glasgow several times. I don’t drive regularly now but nearly always stop for hitchhikers. Obviously drunk/stoned/ crazy folks, no.

  15. Michelle says:

    I know, right? If Latin America is so great why are the citizens thereof fleeing by the millions? As Trump said, “They are not sending us their best”. The “Best”, and most successful, stay in their home countries. Sure, quite a few Latino immigrants to the US open, and run, successful restaurants which add to the tax bases of some city coffers, but other than that, how successful are they as a group? A little more than Haitians, maybe. Latinos are personable and gracious, and so, make good restaurant owners. The Irish found their niche in politics, but I just don’t see a niche for Latinos, other than gangs. They utterly ruin every inner city school they come to dominate by population. No Asian or white person would prefer to have their children attend a school with a majority Latino student body, unless it was a Catholic school.

    As for hitchhiking, my dad used to pick them up in the 1970’s and I hated it. I once hitchhiked to Lawrence Livermore Lab as a teenager and was terrified the entire ride. Ed Kemper, anyone?

    • Replies: @Alden
  16. “America has some fifty-seven million residents of Latin-American descent, mostly citizens.”

    The lies never end, do they. There are well north of 30 million illegals.

    America has some fifty-seven million residents of Latin-American descent, mostly criminals.

    There, fixed that for you.

    • Replies: @Respect
  17. Buckwheat says:

    Things always look better in hindsight. Hitchhiking sucked and anybody that tries to glorify it took too many drugs to remember clearly. Either that or my ratio of being picked up by assholes is higher than normal.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    , @Daniel H
  18. Franz says:

    I learned more in two years as unskilled labor, working with guys who grew up in the Great Depression and fought the Japs in WWII, then Fred Reed ever learned from skating through Georgia on borrowed wheels. If the future is Mexico, we … are …. fucked.

    Same here.

    The Freds of this world don’t know they’re the exceptions, not the rule. The Mexicans treat him well because he’s a rich gringo to them and that’s it. The day his money runs out they won’t be his pals anymore.

    Americans abroad, anywhere, are idiots. Fred seems to have been one in his own country too. This hitchhike years were punctuated by plenty of horrer stories (rape, murder) Fred’s golden glow haze seems to forget.

    After my hitch in the navy I thumbed from Norfolk, Virginia to San Francisco in precisely two weeks and 49 rides. Would have been less time except I met a bud and grazed and puttered around at Custer National Park when it was still named after George. Oddly, they filmed a movie that year called “Thumb Tripping” which was a cheap dig at hitch hiking.

    Where NOT to go was important. I wasn’t two days out of Norfolk when several Samaritans filled us in on Arizona. It was an automatic bust and jail time to thumb thereh. At the same time there were plenty of “who got knocked off where” stories too.

    Neither Fred not anyone else remembers that the “missing and exploited children” years started righte at the height of the hitchhike era. Coincidence? The Depression Era guys told me it was the same back in the Thirties, where every rail yard of any size had a Sodomy Section where they new young meat got busted in.

    Funny how history don’t ever remember the messy parts.

    • Replies: @Bubba
    , @Jeff Stryker
  19. MBlanc46 says:

    I hitched a few thousand miles in the US and Western Europe back in the late sixties and seventies. I gave more thousands of miles of rides in the seventies. I did get a ride in a Caddy once. I was hitch-hiking from NJ home to Chicago and a businessman picked me up in western Pa or eastern Ohio. He took me all the way home, and, since he was stopping for the night, he put me up in a hotel. Just one more thing that we’ve lost as we degenerate into a low-trust hellhole.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    , @Anonymous
  20. there’s north of 70,000,000 Mexicans camped out in ‘Murka

    and more than 1/3 are illegals.

    ALL OF THEM are a wedge, and their purpose is

    conquest and White extinction.

    same as the other Jew-enabled invasive orcs.

    Mr. Unz should really slide Fredo’s bloviations into the vacant

    “Ask a Mexican” column.

    • Replies: @republic
  21. Cortes says:

    Well said.

    I’ve been lucky enough to get lifts (“rides” = “fucks” in UK English) from a few very prosperous(I think) folks who were kindness itself. Lorry drivers (truckers) were often looking to be kept awake. One journey through mountains was hair-raising with hairpin bends and a seemingly narcoleptic driver.

    • Agree: MBlanc46
  22. In May 1967 as a teenager I was hitchhiking on a narrow road on a mountain pass in Austria trying to make my way to the city of Graz, which was about 30 minutes away. I had come from Salzburg that morning, and it had been very slow going. There was almost no traffic and night was approaching. I had already decided I was going to unroll my sleeping bag and try to sleep while hungry at the roadside, when a large black Mercedes approached through the dusk, stopped, and not much more than half an hour later I was tucking into some schnitzel and potatoes in Graz.

    That was my first ever ride in a Mercedes, but ever since I have liked them.

  23. Patricus says:

    Had the pleasure of thumbing all over the US, Canada and a bit of Mexico in the early 1970s. There was a brotherhood on the highways and the older Depression era generation were familiar with life on the road. They wouldn’t hesitate to give a ride to a hitchhiker. I listened to the life stories of many truck drivers. The best American people are in the mid west, the west short of the coast and the south. Forget the cities where there are self-satisfied assholes and common criminals.

    There was only one threatening situation. Some hitchhikers had murdered a well liked Canadian priest. My friend and I spent three and a half days begging rides all day then sleeping in the old growth forest. We were able to find water but endured days with no food. Finally a vacationing US family picked us up and we rode in their camping trailer. Lake Superior is a beautiful place.

    I visited the Rockies and the Children Of God, worked in a South Dakota gold mine, met many ladies. Women would pick up a lone hitchhiker for anonymous sex. They wouldn’t pick up multiple hikers. All the fun occurred after I split from my hitching partner. I got dysentery in Nebraska and was harrassed by cops in various places. There were old depression era laws against vagrancy. It was necessary to have at least 30 cents to avoid a few days in the local jail. I learned to live on one meal a day. It was an adventure for nearly a year. It is a grand country.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jeff Stryker
  24. Daniel H says:

    >>Hitchhiking sucked and anybody that tries to glorify it took too many drugs to remember clearly.

    Ha, ha. That’s how I feel. At the very least, get a bicycle. Living rough, you can do 100 miles on a good day with a bicycle, and traveling by bike on tertiary roads you will see a better part of the country than freeways. Even 40-50 years ago the freeways were too damned crowded. And the flippin weirdos! On one epic trip down to Florida and back I was picked up by three homos in one afternoon. Bastards are prowling the highways looking for fresh meat, and this was back in the 70s.

    But Fred is right about the song of the road. Who doesn’t want to chuck it all and hit the road, the road with no goal in site, other than to travel it? My plan, soon, is to get a Ford Transit, high top van. Put a little bit of comfort in it (cedar paneling, solid wood floor, toilet, cot, cooler, roof fan) and just hit the road………I will be a simple and satisfied man.

  25. I enjoyed this article.

  26. Rurik says:

    Introducing The Fredian Occasional Latin Tour Guide!

    … Thinking that many Americans might want to know something about them, where they came from, what they do and have done, what manner of wights they be, the Occasional TourGuide will offer, occasionally, some glimpses

    and in the spirit of this vein…

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  27. Dumbo says:

    Maybe things got worse now, but hitchhiking was always risky, and still is, no matter where. Especially for women traveling alone:

    I suppose the risk is part of the adventure, but still, I’d suggest carrying a gun or at least pepper spray, at least these days.

    There does seem to be an increase in psychos and general violence, even in Latin America it was common to hitchhike all over in the 60s or 70s without major problems, but now you would have to be crazy to try it.

  28. republic says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    you know of course that Reed’s wife is Jewish.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  29. @Rurik

    No, no senor, that is not on el touro. Get back on the bus! Next top, shopping for blankets for las senoras, and for los muchachos, prontomundo … we go visit number 4 prostitute in all Latin America.

    • Replies: @Respect
  30. @republic

    I didn’t know that

    and I still don’t know that

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  31. Must have been a really cool country you got to live in

    It was nice of you to fuck it all up beyond repair and then run away to mexico when you realized how bad it was

    Thanks dude!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @anon
    , @Anonymous
  32. Anonymous[233] • Disclaimer says:
    @27 year old

    Must have been a really cool country you got to live in

    Oh, shit, another one of you Millennial dumbfucks. Lazy pieces of shit who think Mommy and Daddy owe you candy and new smartphones for you dumbasses to play shoot-em-up games on. Keerist.

    Get used to not eating real frequent like, doofuss. When the productive generation is finished, YOU are finished. Like tapeworms in a corpse, trying to find an asshole to crawl out of.

  33. Reading Fred Reed makes me less bummed out. About dying one day.

  34. Respect says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Your spanish is very bad , as bad as your lack of respect , ajmed habibi .

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  35. Anon[278] • Disclaimer says:

    It was a special set of circumstances. A lot of the drivers were older guys who’d been in the military, so they didn’t worry about losing if they got into a fight. The guys they picked up were all guys they thought were soft, long-haired little hippies, so they never worried about the hitchikers becoming a problem.

  36. Respect says:
    @Bill Jones

    America has not 57 , but more than 700 million people of latin american/indigenous descent , plus about 300 million of anglogermanic descent . America is the whole continent , not just the usa .

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Alden
  37. @Respect

    Your spanish is very bad , as bad as your lack of respect , ajmed habibi.

    I’d do better if I lived in Mexico – it’s an easy language to learn. That joke was of no disrespect to Mr. Reed, besides just of his silly opinions. (The prostitute part was from Borat – cracks me up every time!) I also think it disrepectful for 30,000,000-odd people to commit illegal entry and then not even make a decent effort to learn English.

  38. @Respect

    nt . America is the whole continent , not just the usa.

    That comment was pretty damn insulting to a few hundred million Chicanos living south of the Panama Canal, dude. You could have gotten away with that, saying we are all one big continent, 120 years ago, but not after Americans did the amazing job of building the ocean-to-ocean Panama Canal. You’re nothing but a close-minded, xeonphobic, continentist, Americas!

    There are 7 continents, and 2 of them are North America and South America. In addition, people in the United States call themselves Americans. I hope that is clear enough.

    No charge, dude… this time.

    • Replies: @Respect
    , @Respect
  39. anon[393] • Disclaimer says:

    Yeah it was fun in a lord of flies sort of way but at what cost half of us died of it and we wrecked western civilization and in the end it wast the answer to anything we didnt get enlightened we got addicted to sex to drugs alcohol self absorption then we sold out or became commies
    yeah it was fun in a very selfish way the irony is we thought we were saving the world and many of us boomers still want credit for this incredible destruction we wreaked

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  40. Respect says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Ajmed , habibi , you are not well informed , the US fostered the Panama separation from Colombia in order to build the Canal and control it . The french Ferdinad de Lesseps designed and started with european money the Panama Canal ….. the USA collaborated in the construction of the Panama canal , but did not build it by herself , in Panama they speak spanish …..control your american ( yankee ) grandeur . Ajmed is a nice arab name by the way , I like it habibi .

  41. Respect says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    And the last reform of the Panama Canal , just finished , to accomodate to the biggest boats of the world was made by ……..?????

    the yankees ?? , wrong ,they are too busy making wars .

    it was carried by Spanish and Italian construction companies

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  42. @Respect

    I am pretty informed about the Panama Canal, in fact, just due to my having done a report on it in grade school a good while back. No, the politics of it are what I learned about later. I can’t argue with that, but of course the Americans under the (high-end) leadership of Teddy Roosevelt built the thing – I don’t mean all the damn digging, but all the planning, logistics, civil engineering, etc.

    The French had tried and failed before the American project started. The key was to put all those locks in just the right places to minimize the huge amount of digging.

    What I learned even before my Panama Canal report was that North and South America are two separate continents. You should have known that, and I still think you owe all the South Americans an apology. ;-}

    • Replies: @Respect
  43. @Respect

    Yeah, well, thanks Jimmah, for giving the damn thing away for nothing. Presdent Carter was a very decent man, but not much of a leader. Yes, you are right that “we” are too busy making wars. I have no argument with that one.

    Sure, you all can modify canals. Write me back when you’ve built one.

  44. Lihn Dimm must have hitchhiked to Kiko’s place, drank all of his tequila, passed out on the floor, woke up early and scribbled this out on Kiko’s login thinking it was his own.

    I grow weary of this noble vagabond shtick. Whatever insight into the human condition you think you gain by playing on the charity of other, more productive humans is of no value. The majority of people who get up every morning and you know, go to work at a real job, are the people that make it possible for these fringe outliers to survive even though they contribute nothing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  45. @Respect

    Ajmed is a nice arab name by the way , I like it habibi .

    I’m named after a man of the cloth, like old Amos Moses. What is a habibi, BTW?

    • Replies: @Respect
  46. I too bummed it in the late 60’s and early 70’s; I don’t think of it as hitchhiking. That is just how you get around, your means of transportation. Bumming it is a way of life, it’s a full-time occupation while you’re doing it. I did it in the US and Europe. I’ll skip the details except for one: you haven’t fully lived our human life if you haven’t slept under the stars, i.e., outside on the ground with no tent on a clear night. Once is not enough. You need to do it for weeks or months on end to fully have the experience. The sky full of stars (and frequent shooting stars) is a marvel not to be missed but which you surely will miss if you lead a wholly conventional life all your life. Human intelligence perhaps began when our distant ancestors first became capable of appreciating the stunning beauty of a starlit night sky.

  47. Anonymous[397] • Disclaimer says:

    Yeah it was fun in a lord of flies sort of way but at what cost half of us died of it and we wrecked western civilization and in the end it wast the answer to anything we didnt get enlightened we got addicted to sex to drugs alcohol self absorption then we sold out or became commies
    yeah it was fun in a very selfish way the irony is we thought we were saving the world and many of us boomers still want credit for this incredible destruction we wreaked

    Also, the epoch produced a large number of people of failed intelligence, who have no concept of sentence structure and grammar. And proud of it.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  48. @Anonymous

    No. He’s absolutely correct. Your head is back in an 88% white country that was 120 million people smaller. So is Fred’s. That’s all this column is, a reminiscence on a smaller, whiter, less diverse country.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jeff Stryker
  49. Respect says:

    Certainly hitchhiking years , the 60`s 70`s , were much better .

    Now we have too many lawyers , too many social workers , too much politics and too many politicians , too much press and television , too much ” management ” and bureaucracy , too many wars , too much taxes …. are we dying of success ?

  50. Freedom! Freedom of the body and freedom of the mind. What a beautiful feeling. Open horizon!
    It is not happening anymore. Political correctness dogma capturing young fragile minds of young people, forced on by cultural Marxist did assassinate it.
    Freedom is lost now, and it never by found again.

  51. anon[393] • Disclaimer says:
    @27 year old

    I have to side with the millenial on this one. Freds arguing the “movement” as we called it, and hes boomer characteristically cringingly un self aware (boomers being the first self centered generation and millenials only being the latest weaponization iteration of self centeredness) The counterculture did indeed destroy the west, however in our defence only some of us were of that mindset it took several generations to poz practically half the country and a larger percentage of millenials. I have to admit i was one of the boomers that helped wreck the world the tail end , no longer naive more nihilistic sex drugs and rock and roll than peace love and free the niggers though i did then think niggers were human and just needed a chance. This is another problem with the millennial argument and an indictment of them. in the 60s and 70s it was kind of reasonable to think niggers might be human and just need a chance, that jews were enlightenment capable,that women could be trusted with -well anything but children and dinner. Yes we were naive and yeah maybe if we had read more carlye or burke or something. But every generation has a zeitgeist to overcome in order to think clearly and ours had the 20-50s leftists the red diaper babies the brilliant artists -honestly our propaganda films novels plays music etc was orders of magnitude more sophisticated and better art than today’s, our jews were subtle they had to be we still remembered what they did to russia and tried to do here and elsewhere. The 60s didnt spring up spontaneously invented by a bunch of spoiled rich boomer kids it was the product of a long slow decades long march of commie jews financed by billionaire jews who met the high cog wasp and catholic hayseeds arriving in the cities and universities and subverted them John reed was pozzd at harvard in the teens by the time Warren Beatty met Stella Adler and the cabal of commies in the 50s boomers were just getting roller skates.Boomer need to stop bragging about setting the world on fire and millenials ave to cowboy up stop whining and take my fathers best advice ” whoever told you the world was fair boy”

  52. Respect says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Habibi in arab is my dear .

    Ajmed , Moajmed , Mohamed ,

  53. Morris39 says:

    Thanks Fred.
    This brings back a pleasant memory from a different time. Oh how things have changed. In 1952 as a 13 year old, I hitchhiked with a friend across the northern US (MI, WI,MN,ND) from Montreal to Winnipeg.
    The lasting memory is how friendly and optimistic the people were. Almost all bought us free lunches/snacks and bragged that their town was some world capital of something, say corn. Whatever happened to malted milk? That was standard meal for us. No passports at the border.The general good humor was maybe due to the afterglow of ending the war (7 years previous). There were still men in army uniforms on the road, maybe they couldn’t afford civies.
    My impression then was that Americans were more outgoing and friendly than Canadians towards stranger. That seems to be no longer. Maybe odds of finding trouble has increased asymmetrically. I say this from having lived in the US in the 90’s.

  54. Respect says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    You say

    ” I am pretty informed about the Panama Canal, in fact, just due to my having done a report on it in grade school a good while back. ”

    wowwwwww , probably you never went to Panama , probably you never spoke with panamanians , but because you did a patriotic report ( a couple of pages ? ) in your adolescence , 50 years ago , about the Panama Canal , wowwwwwwww !!!!!! you are an ” expert ” in the theme . Typical yankee knowitall onmipotence , just like Nikky Haley and her predecessors in the UN .

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Alden
  55. @Respect

    I’ve got no love for Nikki Haley – don’t drag her into this. I just don’t think a typical Panamanian today would know more about the building of the canal than I do. Do you read books, Canal del Americas? I do, Do some reading about the construction of it. It was one hell of a feat, and not something Panamanians or really anyone from south of The America could ever really accomplish even a century later without the help of Americans, Europeans, or Orientals.

    Oh, you all widened it? That’ right, and I mowed my right-of-way by the road to widen the shoulder. Yo Soy Canal del Panama!

    BTW, on the internet not everyone uses his real name. I’m not an Achmed, and you are not Americas/Canal del Panama, unless your Mama had a thing for Teddy Roosevelt, hahaa! (just LOLed at myself – is that OK?)

    • Replies: @Alden
  56. Mensa is a social club for people of upper-middle brow intelligence, here meaning IQ 132 or better. I think it started in America but seems to have spread.

    Any nation of 130 million is going to be able to sustain a few Mensa clubs in its largest cities even if its intelligence bell curve is shifted a very substantial 12 points to the left from that of the developed world.

    Per Capita. It’s a thing, Fred. I’d tell you to look it up but you already know what it means and are being disingenuous.

    Fred’s column used to be great but now it’s all pro-beaner, all the time. I think his Mexican wife is co-writing his columns these days.

  57. Anonymous[322] • Disclaimer says:

    The majority of people who get up every morning and you know, go to work at a real job, are the people that make it possible for these fringe outliers to survive even though they contribute nothing.

    Not just nothing; they’re a negative resource outflow. They acquire some degree of positive association by virtue of the “philosophical sojourner and observer” meme. Something of a Johnny Appleseed archetype — no hero, but homespun goodness and (he) benefits humanity by planting food sources. Plus a bit of eyewitness news and storyteller.

  58. Anonymous[322] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    No. He’s absolutely correct.

    No, he’s wrong. Maybe YOU were a pampered little rich boy whose future was paid in full on the day you were born. But I, and millions of boomer kids like me, worked our asses off to get ahead, be prosperous, be productive, accomplish something, and produce educated, productive, motivated children.

    So fuck you and your “boomers broke the country” bullshit. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  59. Anonymous[290] • Disclaimer says:

    Tourism on the extreme cheap?

    Young people with the freedom to do nothing and indulge some fantasy. What was that good for?

    Actually, it used to be very common in past European history for young men to travel. That is where the definition “journeyman” comes from. After the former apprentice passed his exams and now left his ‘master’ (not lord, master. but master of the subject/craft who trained and taught him) to travel, and work with ‘masters’ in different regions, to further his education/training.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Alden
  60. Anonymous [AKA "Red Sox Beat Yanks 5-4 on Chapman\'s Homer"] says:
    @27 year old

    Right. Such putrid Boomer nostalgia.

    Yeah, Fred. Your parents and grandparents sure did leave your generation a wonderful Garden of Eden to f%ck around in and despoil. Glad you had fun. Too bad more of you didn’t live fast and die young.

  61. Anonymous [AKA "The Fez"] says:

    Recall waking up in open bed of pick up truck somewhere in wide blue sky Texas and just how close the clouds seemed to be. That ride spared Greg and I a night in the roadside weeds.

  62. Anonymous [AKA "Bill Tamar"] says:

    It beats me why someone would reminisce about the times when they had no money, took drugs and had nowhere to live. Give me security and a sense of belonging anytime over that.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Si1ver1ock
    , @Daniel H
  63. Anonymous [AKA "Bill Filippo"] says:

    There are still lots of businessmen who will put you up in a hotel but will expect some services rendered of course.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  64. Alden says:

    Kemper not only killed girls . He killed girls hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers in California forever .

  65. Dear Companero Reed, Thanks, brilliant article! Nice to look back and remember the optimism of younger days and the hopes held for the future.

  66. Alden says:

    Journeyman comes from the French word for day as in daily wage as opposed to an apprentice under contract paid with room board and a bit of spending money.

    Source IBEW apprenticeship classes that cover the history of the electrical industry and labor as well as building codes and electrical work.

  67. joe webb says:

    since it is nostalgia time for some here….let me remark that I largely passed on the drug scene and hoboing around, although Big Sur in California was a great place to be and one could sleep in a field overlooking the ocean and the Starry Night and get a natural high.

    I notice a few sour-pusses and maybe sour-grapes types whining about Fred’s fun.

    The only thing I want to say is this: only White people generate hippies and civilized wanderlust. It is in our genes…individualism, adventurism, risk taking. From motorcycles to climbing mountains…it is very white.
    (No Chinese hippies or adventurers.)
    This gene set is partially responsible for our wayward promiscuous altruism, which is killing us with welcoming all 47 Mensa Mexicanos to come and destroy White America.

    Indians , north and South America ….savages, who can also be very friendly …until they get pissed off. IQ is 83 per Lynn. Mate an Indian with a Spaniard and you get an average of 90…barely fit to drive a truck for a living, but tall enough to reach the ballot box for Free Money.

    Joe Webb

  68. Alden says:

    It’s called The Americas 3 continents

  69. Alden says:

    English brother in law and his German and British friends bought those $99 greyhound bus tickets and went all over the country. They all wanted to come to California of course and they’d stay with us a week or so.

  70. Anonymous [AKA "John Holland"] says:

    If that’s all the choices you have in life, I think I’ll just stay at home and slash my wrists while watching Joy Behar and drink stale bud light.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  71. Alden says:

    The education and training was done in the apprenticeship years, a rotation through all the necessary skills. Every Master was Master of all the skills needed for the trade

    Apprentice is the learner.
    Journeyman knows all the skills of the trade
    Master was a journeyman who owns the business and employs apprentices and journeymen

    Source IBEW apprenticeship classes that cover the history of labor, trade guilds and unions as well as electrical work and building codes.

    If Wikipedia says different it’s wrong.

  72. Alden says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Didn’t the Panamians sell the canal to the Chinese a few years after we left?

    I’ve often wondered if Latin America would be in better shape if they’d stuck with Spain. Maybe Spain just wanted to get rid of the whole mess.

    We will never know.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  73. Hal Duell says:

    Truly they were our magic days, our movable feast. And like you, I too am grateful I managed to survive somehow.

  74. Alden says:

    27 year old is probably a White man who realizes he’s up against affirmative action discrimination and has no future.

    Affirmative action immigration school busing was all done by the greatest generation before many baby boomers were old enough to vote.

    My opinion on the hippie movement is that government and business encouraged it because the country was suddenly faced with millions of people coming of age into an economy that couldn’t absorb them.

    Early family formation sounds like a good idea. But when the kids are 20 the parents are 45 to 50 and 20 years from retirement.
    So the kids became hippies and stayed in colleges for 8 years.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  75. Alden says:

    I knew Gilbert Shelton.

    His partner Dave Sheridan was my tenant for a few years. They used my place sometimes because of the big windows and north light. Dave did a lot of those 2 full page spread Playboy cartoons He moved out when he got married. So sad he died very young. about a year or 2 later I contributed for the funeral

    My favorite part of the freak brothers was the cockroach kingdom under the stove

  76. Anonymous[369] • Disclaimer says:

    27 year old is probably a White man who realizes he’s up against affirmative action discrimination and has no future.

    Naw. Spoiled brat who is running out of future real quick, and never made plans for his future in the first place. Daddy would provide, but Daddy probably ran up against his own version of the destruction of America by the rich.

    My opinion on the hippie movement is that government and business encouraged it because the country was suddenly faced with millions of people coming of age into an economy that couldn’t absorb them.

    Nonsense. The economy had no problems absorbing Boomers. The problem happened after the Boomers were in the workforce for 20 years, and the rich started importing foreign labor by the millions. And a Congress loyal to bribery made it easy.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Jeff Stryker
  77. Anonymous[369] • Disclaimer says:

    If that’s all the choices you have in life, I think I’ll just stay at home and slash my wrists while watching Joy Behar and drink stale bud light.

    Go out in style, at least. Get blitzed on Laphroaig, break into the studio where The View is taped, and cut loose with an AR-15. Oh, and make sure you time it so Joy is in the studio. Don’t wait until midnight.

  78. The connection was bad. “Plattsburgh. No, Platts–no, P as in psilocybin….” She understood him. Such were the times.

    Who understood him? The operator? If there was still an operator, that was a loooooong time ago.

    I think it started in America but seems to have spread.

    It was founded in Oxford, England, in 1946. The American branch didn’t come about till 1959. Perhaps coincidentally, the major figure in American Mensa’s early growth was Margot Seitlelman, and in British Mensa’s, Victor Serebriakoff, whose paternal grandmother was also a Seitelman.

  79. @Anonymouse


    It is better to spend your youth as an irresponsible pothead college student then to marry at 21 and start a family and assume adult responsibilities.

    The college kid who messed around between 18 and 25 can cut his hair and put the joint down. The man who marries his high school sweetheart at 19 will end up divorced without the college degree or the memories of youthful freedom. He will be 40 and trying to find himself when the pothead hippies of yesteryear are long into their white-collar careers.

    So my advice for young people is to be irresponsible and don’t have a family under the age of 30.

  80. MBlanc46 says:

    No services ever even hinted at.

  81. Alden says:

    Immigration act 1965 oldest boomers were 19 couldn’t even vote youngest 4

    Affirmative action act 1968 oldest boomers 22 youngest 8

    Nixon’s Philadelphia plan 1969 contractors must hire and construction unions must admit blacks who could neither read nor write or do simple math like addition and subtraction Oldest boomers were 23 youngest 9. Wonderful, construction workers who can’t learn to figure out 8 ft tall 12 ft long wall needs 3 4 by 8 ft pieces of sheet rock, let alone learn Asq + Bsq =Csq or be able to read the code for their own trade.

    Griggs vs Duke Power 1971 disparate impact no more merit hiring Oldest boomers were 25 youngest 11

    It was all done by greatest generation congress critters presidents Johnson and Nixon and Supreme Court. Look up Brennan’s ( may he burn in hell forever and ever ) doctrine of disparate impact

    It was all over for Whites as soon as the decision in Griggs 1971.

    I went to college with the WHITE young men who moved from Pali Alto to NSA in Mountain View and created Silicon Valley by 1980 they were being replaced by Asians and looking for jobs as high school math teachers

    It was done 1965 to 1971

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  82. @Anonymous

    Gen Y has actually had it pretty rough.

    This one probably lives at home at age 27 in the room he was born in and beats off to internet porn because the economy is so shitty.

    He was born in 1990 or so into a prosperous McMansion economy of the nineties prosperity and then in the year 2000 Bush flushed the world down the toilet in endless wars, deficits, triple A rating losses etc.

  83. Alden says:

    They were 20.

    Their home was their parents home. Minimum wages jobs were all over and easy to get, not hidden away and reserved for illegal immigrants. A single young person could live in their own small apartment and maybe even have a car on a full time minimum wage job.

    Restaurants always had waiter prep cook dishwasher wanted signs
    IN ENGLISH!!!!!!

    A girl could see a sign, walk in and be working next day. My sister once quit one waitress job raround 10 am and was working at another restaurant by 2/am, a nice dinner house $60 tips a day in early 70s.

    It was even easier for the guys as there were many jobs forbidden to women.

    Factories steel mills etc were unionized or at least had paid vacations. So it was easy for the guys to get summer vacation replacement jobs that were well paid union scale. Those jobs often became full time career jobs.

    I know that all the Econ 101 commenters are just outraged that there ever was a time when there were plenty of jobs and employers had to put out help wanted signs instead of asking Jose to call his primitive village for workers.

    I know Econ 101 teaches that only
    3, 000 qualified experienced applicants for every job is a desperate labor shortage otherwise computers will rot in the cubicle farms or there’ll be no one to operate a cash register. But those were the days my friend when there were jobs for Americans.

    My brothers both bought decent cars with their summer jobs money by the time they were seniors in high school. So did many boys. It was just something boys did, buy their own cars.

    Of course American boys did the jobs Hispanic illegal alien adults do today while their women and children are supported by welfare

    I’ve read that high school kids can’t work summer jobs any more because employers use adult illegal alien Hispanics.

    Oh and get this. You all know how expensive text books are nowadays.

    Well in the early 60s my summer $1.00 minimum wage waitress job 6 days a week take home paycheck was $42. One, just one of those paychecks paid for textbooks for 4 college classes a ream if typing paper, white out packs of pens and several notebooks. All that cost about $38: less than a weeks minimum wage paycheck

    Now minimum wage is $8 and a single college textbook is $300

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  84. Bubba says:

    You ain’t kidding – psychos like Ted Bundy or Gary Ridgway and countless others who would rape and murder young women who had naively bought into “feminism & freedom” and go hitchhiking alone – getting into cars, trucks or vans with complete strangers and then disappearing. That Mary Vincent story is horrific. At least she was able to lead a normal life after surviving the brutal torture.

    Today, it’s so dangerous that even a hitchhiking robot’s life was ended in Philadelphia 3 years ago. And I don’t mean this to be funny, just to show how stupid and sick people are…

    And thanks Fred for leaving America. While in America, you & your clueless ilk let every asshole illegal immigrant in here when you could have at least prevented some of it. Most of Mexico sucks and the Mexicans here in America are not their best. Choke on a free Mexican government issued tortilla. And never return to the USA, please.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  85. Alden says:

    I know a young man. He’s black. His gr gr grandfather worked on the Panama Canal. Ancestors was from Guadalupe Island recruited to work on the canal.

    He’s very proud of the gr gr grandfather.

    I always thought deLesseps quit because of the yellow fever not construction problems. Vanderbilt built a railroad for the gold rush to avoid ships going around S America The Spanish built a pretty good road took 2 days. Biggest problem for them was to keep cutting back the brush.

    The expansion was necessary for the newer and much larger ships.

  86. @The Anti-Gnostic


    Fred was young in the late 1960’s as I was in the 1990’s. So we are lost in time.

    Yes kids, though the 90’s had bumpy patches on the roads, teenagers still worked in fast food restaurants instead of college graduates. If you had a degree, you could obtain a decent job. Teenagers did labor jobs instead of Mexicans.

    People moved out at age 19. If a man was 20 and lived at home he was considered very strange.

    Nobody was “hooked on porn”. Porn was the refuge of sleazy old men who haunted sex stores and teenagers who watched X-rated movies. And women did not do amateur porn for shits-and-giggles.

    The idea of another war in 1999 seemed ludicrous. Nobody alive at that time could conceive of a trillion dollar deficit.

    Mexicans were still a minority in the Southwest and the places they lived were called “barrios”. Construction workers were associated with Italians, not Guatemalans.

    Jews were not as hated as they are now. Oh, there were JAP jokes etc. but the sheer degree of antipathy now expressed did not exist then. Ask a rural white about a Jew and he’d say “huh”.

    There was not the antipathy between rural and urban whites, either. People assumed that whites who worked in the city did so simply because there was some opportunity there.

    Life in rural places and exurban towns was not so incredibly dreary. Now it is a non-stop exodus of college graduates to any city with job openings.

    People did not bring their children to gay pride parades. Gays were accepted to a degree, but had their own ghetto. It was mutually understood in 1997 that they would stay there. Of course the Andrew Cunanan biopic seems blame his murder spree on this very thing, but life was better when gays had their “districts”.

    The idea of homeless families on the street was not conceivable at that time. If a white man was homeless in 1998 it was because he was a down-and-out wino or crackhead.

    Wiggers were ridiculed. We called them wannabes then.

    Drugs was weed, LSD, beer. Only white trash used crystal meth. Cocaine was only popular with aging yuppies and Negros smoked crack. Heroin was for Puerto Rican and Jewish junkies in NYC or somewhere.

    Only the absolute lowest of the low scum-sucking white trash females had kids with black thugs or out-of-wedlock children in general. A working middle-class or middle-class white female of 20 having a child out of wedlock was barely heard of in 1996.

    Bear in mind that I’ve not quite been out of the country for 20 years.

    None of you townies, local yokels, rubes etc. have been overseas for extended periods of time because you don’t have the earning power so you don’t notice how much things have disintegrated since 1999.

  87. @Franz


    Wetbacks resent internal migrant whites from the Midwest or South intruding on their casual labor market in Arizona.

    In general Arizona is full of rednecks, tweakers and Mad Mexicans.

    But the place scared me.

  88. @Bubba

    As a fellow expat I cannot possibly imagine why anybody would want to live in Latin America who has encountered Cholos and Mestizos in the Southwest.

    But remember how THIRD WORLD parts of the US now are. If you are white and approaching retirement on an income that would require you to live in an efficiency apartment your going to be far more in harm’s way than Asia.

    There are some exceptions, but Asians do not have the depleted frontal cortex lobe impulse control and hyper-sexual urges that lead blacks and Mestizos to commit crimes or outbursts inherent in low IQ phenotype with high time preference.

    It just DOESN’T HAPPEN in Singapore or Japan that a woman goes on a shrieking fit in a fast food restaurant or on public transport and they don’t weigh 250 pounds to begin with.

  89. @Alden


    Look at the sheer NUMBER of young women entering pornography now who would NEVER have thought of doing so even 20 years ago.

    This economic sex slavery. Young women are not “liberated”. They are being forced into debased sex work jobs for lack of any other opportunity.

    Back when I was a young many there were perhaps 15 or 20 Jewish women of the Sarah Silverman mold who were high on cocaine who got mixed up in porn. Now there are thousands and thousands of young women consenting to HORRENDOUS acts.

    This is not cultural deterioration. It is economic desperation. Porn has become acceptable for the same reason that girly bars are acceptable in the Philippines..

    • Replies: @Alden
  90. @Patricus

    To drift into Arizona, as I did, can be dangerous. And I was not homeless. I was a college graduate with a low-paying menial job.

    Still, the Chicano seemed to resent/dislike internal white migrants.

    Cops were also desperate to fuel their own economy. I cannot tell you the number of times I was stopped and frisked for pot. The police in Phoenix scared me.

  91. @Alden

    When I was young in Ann Arbor, we still had a trickle of German and British immigrants.

  92. @Alden

    Not many Spanish ever went to Latin America. That is why the population is Mestizo. Not many Spanish women ever wanted to leave Spain and ride on a boat for three months to live in garrisons or missions.

    • Replies: @Alden
  93. @Haxo Angmark

    Fred’s wife does not look like some JAP from the Lower East Side or even a rougher Amy Winehouse type.

    She looks like a Mestizo or just plain Indian.

    Having one Sephardic Jewish ancestors 300 years back does not make a person a Jew. It makes them an Aztec or whatever tribe.

  94. Alden says:

    I remember some TV shows where nice young White couple gets huge traffic tickets and jailed by evil southern cops.

  95. @Anonymous


    Boomers got divorced/sold houses in the eighties, when the economic good times seemed as if they would stretch on forever. None of them saw a Great Recession in 1990 when they quarreled bitterly.

    My Dad supports my mother and has since they divorced but we lost our house in the process.

    Sex outside marriage meant that men did not have to be married or stay married to get laid. This meant that many simply coldly divorced their wives and left them in the gutter. Of course at the end of their own miserable life with their house lost in the divorce (Which I agree with, we don’t want homeless 75 year old women) and their young secretary/fling deciding to marry some younger guy at the end of the day they now have lost everything.

    Boomer women started giving it away and men no longer had to visit prostitutes.

    Many late hippie chicks had kids out-of-wedlock. I knew one or two unfortunates whose Mom was a carefree flower child. Then in about 1975 or so the hippie era and the Revolution went out of style and suddenly Mom was just a single mother who got pregnant at a love-in.

    Generation X was damaged from divorces. I was. So Boomers cannot really rely on their 40 year old kids who ended up being losers who fell in with the stoners in the 8th grade and end up hooked on drugs and never did anything with their own lives anyhow.

  96. Alden says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    And unlike England, Spain never had a program where hundreds of thousands of women were chained up and shipped to the colonies as convicts slaves and indentured servants.

    That’s what most colonial Americans were.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Hank Yobo
  97. Alden says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I know nothing about porn or who works in it.

  98. Anonymous [AKA "Waste"] says:

    Old men should share wisdom, not bullshit tales of youthful degeneracy.

  99. Pancho says:


    latin Americans, or some of them are starting to catch on to socialism. throw some red meat to your readers by talking about people like this. We like anti commie stuff. Tell us about how crooked the PRI is in Beanerstan.

  100. Hank Yobo says:

    You might want to read, or re-read, Bernard Bailyn’s books about the immigrant populations in colonial America.

  101. In August 1979 (a few weeks after Sandinistas took Managua) I hitched from Peñas Blancas (Costa Rica-Nicaragua) to Masaya, Nicaragua. One ride was in back of a Jap pickup truck with an old man and two 14 y/o boy Sandinista irregulars with SKS rifles in back with me. The old man had to remind the kids about gun etiquette, as one kid nonchalantly rode with stock of his rifle on truck bed floor with barrel inclined at my head.

  102. Speaking of Boone, NC- I bet Fred ain’t never had a good ol’ fashioned ais [sic] whoopin’ by a Boone Goon.

  103. Factorize says:

    That time had a self-contained logic all of it’s own. Yet, from the perspective of today, I am not sure whether many youth would find it compelling. There are now virtual realities to explore and imminent technological singularities to imagine. Who would want to dropout of life and miss it? We will soon touch infinity.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  104. @Anonymous

    It was a different time. He had all of life before him.

  105. @Factorize

    Sitting in Mom’s basement looking at screen is nothing compared to backpacking around Europe. However, the sad thing is that Gen Y does not have the money to do so. It was good to be young in the 90’s.

    These days, not as many Gen Y can afford to backpack.

    Technology and the like have not improved the economy one bit.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  106. Daniel H says:

    >>It beats me why someone would reminisce about the times when they had no money, took drugs and had nowhere to live.

    I’ll give you a hint. Rosebud, Rosebud, Rosebud.

  107. @Anonymous

    Again, you refuse to recall what it was like 120 million people ago and nearly 25% whiter. I know because I was there too. You are recalling advice your parents gave you in a high-trust, net-creditor country. Two generations after St. Ronald the Great and we are low-trust, net-debtor in addition to more diverse, more numerous population on the same land mass. Very, very different dynamics.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Anonymous
  108. @The Anti-Gnostic

    There were less blacks and Mestizos in the nineties, in terms of population.

    But they were equally feral during the crack cocaine era. NYC was a hellhole in the 90’s. It could just be that people stopped smoking crack and the profits that fueled the violence dissipated. Not enough people use cocaine these days for a Freeway Rick to exist.

    I blew into Phoenix in the late 90’s and the Mexicans were scary then.

    • Replies: @Chris Mallory
  109. Anonymous[251] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Again, you refuse to recall what it was like 120 million people ago and nearly 25% whiter. I know because I was there too.

    No, sport, I was “recalling” real life experience. All you are doing is signalling your membership in the unproductive rich elite.

  110. Factorize says:

    Y has embraced virtuality over physicality. It is a remote sensing generation. An inevitable consequence of this shift is the parallel existential shift from being physically to mentally present. This fits well with an online world as there is no presence for those who only want to express a sense of beingness.

    This focus on ideas over existence reflects current reality quite well. An exascale computer is expected within about a year. A computer with the equivalent computational capacity of the human brain is obviously something that I will keep a close eye on. With such computational power it is not entirely implausible that an Artificial General Intelligence might soon emerge. Thus, if someone were to offer me round fare to Europe, a backpack and economy style backpackers hostel accommodations, I would have to politely refuse. I want to maintain continuous Singularity watch.

    I also want to be constantly monitoring for the arrival of the Genetic Singularity. The enabling technology has already been unveiled which will allow for IQ enhancement; I want to maintain high alert until I detect the first hint that this has happened. I want to be fully awake when the genius eugenica god children appear. Their arrival by itself should lead to profound social change. Once this Genetic Singularity has occurred, technological progress will begin to dramatically accelerate.

    This is the most exciting moment in the history of the universe. I want to be fully conscious as a witness of this pivotal time. Being disconnected from the global internet mind or cognitively impaired by chemicals is not how I want to experience this transcendent transformation.

  111. @Factorize

    Since Gen Y has to live at home when they are 30 this is a good thing.

  112. @Factorize


    As a Gen Y you would refuse to travel or leave your house because you are the helicopter child of 90’s Yuppies who lives at home when you are 25.

    By the way, technology has not improved anything since the 1990’s. The nineties were a much better time economically and socially compared to today. Your parents probably BOUGHT the house you have lived in all of your life when they were your age.

    You cannot do that because things have declined since the 1980’s-1990’s when you were born.

    So what makes you believe things will improve?

    • Replies: @Factorize
  113. anonymous[739] • Disclaimer says:

    I had similar coming of age experiences doing a Eurail pass, backpack trip of Western Europe, England right after college in 1984. Western European cities and towns were safe, clean and very White European – you could make friends on the Road and live day to day with the help of a “Let’s Go Europe” travel book.

    Greece was much different – Athens a polluted scary place with people who looked like 3rd world Arabs or Turks not handsome classical Greeks of Greek statues.

    Portugees undercover police put guns at my/our ribs to drive us off the beaches at night – they thought backpackers didn’t contribute enough to the hotel and tourist economy.

    This type of carefree experience simply isn’t possible anymore for a young White American in places like France or Germany – these once beautiful safe White Western cities have been ruined by 3rd world migrant floods, hostile Muslims.

    Well, you’re only one once and one is pretty much stuck in the times we live in now, which pretty much suck if you aren’t filthy rich.

  114. @Jeff Stryker

    I wouldn’t hitch round the UK now, let alone Europe, and I and my wife both hitched a lot in the 1970s.

    In the 70s pretty much everyone on the roads here was a white Brit. There were still dangers, but they were calculable. Hardly anyone hitches now except car delivery drivers (and Eastern European students working on farms, but I live in the country).

    anon738 – “This type of carefree experience simply isn’t possible anymore for a young White American in places like France or Germany”

    Or the UK, outside of places like Scotland or rural Wales. You can still find it in Iceland, but that hostel will be expensive and it’s too cold to sleep out.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  115. @YetAnotherAnon

    I stayed in North Wales and was surprised how remote and rugged that country is.

    Muslims and blacks probably will never fully invade the Celtic fringes of the UK. They are urban rats and will simply end up turning London into one great big Detroit. But they are not going to invade the rural secluded areas of the British Isles (Nor did the Romans or Normans).

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  116. @Jeff Stryker

    There were less blacks and Mestizos in the nineties, in terms of population.

    You are right about Hispanics, but wrong about Mexicans.

    In 1990, Blacks were 12.1% of the population. In 2010 , they were 12.6% of the population. .5% isn’t that much out of a nation of 300,000,000 people.

    Now Hispanics nearly doubled from 9% in 1990 to 16% in 2010.

    the Mexicans were scary then


    OOOO-Kay. Not much of a man are you?

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  117. Factorize says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I really do not understand the pervasive negativity that I perceive.

    There are so many reasons to be highly optimistic. For example, the upward ramp of computational power continues. Home computers are approaching 1 Teraflop and within roughly a year there will be an Exaflop supercomputer. Notably, all the major global superpowers are racing to have the first Exaflop. This should not be surprising. Once Singularity feedback occurs there will be a volcanic plume of wealth erupting from the nation that closed the loop. The entire universe is being saturated with cognitive ability. The Turing line between what humans and artificial technologies can achieve continues to blur. Recently, an autonomous voice answering service performed so perfectly that it was not possible to determine whether it was human or artificial. A world saturated with technology would be so amazingly interesting. You could walk out your door and run into an Einstein bot or a Plato bot. Such technology will make our lives so much more alive and engaging. We are approaching an artificial/virtual world in which the cognitive environment could interact with people in ways that are not possible now.

    Of course, the genetics of human IQ has now been unlocked. The recent article from Nature Genetics left no doubt that the Genetic Singularity has essentially arrived. It is not plausible to believe that this will not have an overwhelming impact impact on humanity. The global cognitive elite no longer want to even bother debating the question. Shifting human IQ even by 1 SD will have profound consequences. It should be fairly clear that the medium term trajectory for technological change will be nearly vertical.

    That is how I see how we are.

    With all this excitement I would not want to be hitchhiking on a backroad or chemically unconscious for even a second. Getting away from it all would be torture. Sure, I have always felt immediately better whenever I have gotten away from human civilization for a few days, though with all the current excitement I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

  118. @Chris Mallory

    I felt safer among Muslims and Indians than around Mexican males, who erupt in mindless violence driven from their Aztec-Arab-blooded Andalusian cross-breed genome DNA.

    My own situation came about when I was in an AZ Tempe condo. The two Brown Pride Cholos that nearly went after me were in the newspaper a few months later for shooting two people in Tempe Park.

  119. @Jeff Stryker

    Don’t be so sure. I was on Snowdon a couple of years back and Pen-y-Pass was surprisingly crowded with subcontinentals – about a third of the people on the track to the summit.

    Mind, it was a bank holiday, the weather was good, and it’s not a long drive from Manchester.

    Similarly the park at Alum Bay was full of headscarves and pushchairs when I was there last year – a shock, as most of the Isle of Wight has a wonderful 1950s feel and minorities are rare.

    Scotland’s a pretty safe bet though – few Glaswegians seem to make for the Highlands, let alone Muslim ones.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  120. @Factorize

    Technology will not save us.

    • Replies: @Factorize
  121. Anonymous[183] • Disclaimer says:

    We are approaching an artificial/virtual world in which the cognitive environment could interact with people in ways that are not possible now.

    No, we are not, and saying so won’t make it come true. What we ARE approaching is peak global population, and utter despoilment of available resources. Insatiable greed by the global rich is constantly moving an ever-greater proportion of the productive class into abject poverty. The wonders you describe will be tools to control the people of the Brave New World, and I don’t think you’re going to like what you get.

    • Replies: @Factorize
  122. This is for you Fred. In some ways we are kindred spirits and in others polar opposites. I am considerably older, ninety at last count, and over those years I have seen the drastic changes which have affected America culturally and demographically, I was fortunate to be born and raised on a farm, albeit small it provided for our wants through the dark days of the Depression. Even in the rural area where I lived a number of young men took to the rails going thither and yon looking for employment of some kind. They were definitely not hoboes. always having the desire to return to their hometown. As a young lad I listened to their stories filled with wonder at all the adventure they encountered in the Western and mountain states, Had they been educated men they might have written down their stories which I would now read avidly.
    In the course of my 90 years I have seen our population increase from 130 million in the 1930s to over 330 million. today. In the same period world population increased from 2 billion to over 7 billion. Commensurate with these incredible increases have been the technological changes, from hand cranked Model Ts to self driving Teslas, from hand cranked party line wall phones to the aptly named Smartphones, which besides being smart also serve as self-contained entertainment centers. I have seen the United States involved in a series of wars, every one avoidable had the powers that be not been so hell-bent in having the blood of mothers’ sons spilled for the Cause. The blood lust does not appear to have abated since warmongers aplenty lurk in the shadows of government.
    I was stupid enough to engage voluntarily in both the Korean and Vietnam debacles, much to my belated regret because only in the past ten years or so have I realized the Cause was not just. It is just possible that in years ahead we will return to an agrarian society as small farms and even small plots of land will provide the homes and means of employment for the millions of people who can not survive otherwise.
    May I RIP some day.

  123. @YetAnotherAnon

    ‘…Scotland’s a pretty safe bet though – few Glaswegians seem to make for the Highlands, let alone Muslim ones.’

    That’s because a nice summer day in the Highlands is overcast, with the temperature in the low fifties and spitting rain.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  124. @Colin Wright

    Wales has nice weather but the problem is that it is really remote. I was surprised how secluded and wild North Wales was.

    So if you want to be a sheep farmer you can move there.

  125. Factorize says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Yes, that could be true.

    The approaching storm of technology will quite possibly result more in devastation than salvation. For some the very essence of living is to see what lies beyond. The Singularity will give us such an opportunity.
    Having an insurance ticket to some less developed part of our planet might be a good standby. A society entirely saturated by infotech might be unliveable.

  126. Factorize says:

    Anon, the problems that you noted are clearly present and in other times would have led to another dark age. We have witnessed near monotonic exponential population growth and this has resulted in an unprecedented advance in technology. Yet, a reversal of psychometric potential has been evident in most developed nations starting roughly near the year 2000.

    This reversal would ordinarily be a very ominous sign. Demography does not turn on a dime. We might be expected to look to a future for perhaps the next few centuries of relentless and accelerating decline.

    However, there is a way out. With current genetic knowledge we could choose to genetically select embryos. In this way, a world of 10 billion could have the psychometric potential of 10 million billion.
    In this scenario, the current strategy of building up human psychometric potential through a mass random process could be replaced by an engineered one.

    Once it is fully recognized that a period of increasing decline is underway, the empty rhetoric that it is unethical to want smarter children will soon fade away. It will be all too clear how unethical it would be not to begin enhancement. Our current circumstances will compell us to embrace an answer that will make many uncomfortable. Our crisis will simply accelerate the arrival of our Brave New World.

    The conception of a world of tomorrow being a mere reflection of our current world seems highly unlikely. Yet, people almost always make this assumption. The Singularity will be different. It is nearly impossible to predict what will happen once we cross the threshold.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  127. Anonymous[151] • Disclaimer says:

    However, there is a way out. With current genetic knowledge we could choose to genetically select embryos. In this way, a world of 10 billion could have the psychometric potential of 10 million billion.

    Certainly — yes, we could. However, this country is under the full and merciless control of a cabal of amoral principals who are so driven by greed as to be effectively psychopathic. I don’t think any change, or any genetic program, will be permitted by the reigning monsters. What do do? Revolt? Then what?

    Once it is fully recognized that a period of increasing decline is underway, the empty rhetoric that it is unethical to want smarter children will soon fade away. It will be all too clear how unethical it would be not to begin enhancement.

    Name one historical period where the few people capable of recognizing irreversible decline were in any position to do anything about it.

    • Replies: @Factorize
    , @Factorize
  128. Factorize says:

    The research has already been published that will facilitate IQ uplift.

    The 1.1 million person EA GWAS (now open access).
    Simply using the PGS from this study would have selective power for IQ enhancement.
    When the sample size increases by another million or two the entire IQome is expected to unlock.

    A chromosome technology would dramatically intensify the potential for IQ enhancement.
    Where embryo selection would give you 1-2 SD IQ uplift maximum, chromosome selection
    might move it more to 10+ SD. Importantly cost would no longer scale exponentially with enhancement.

    This is mostly low level technology. Our chains have been removed: Those who love freedom should claim what is by right theirs.

    Yet, if we choose not to … our future could be quite disturbing. As of now the only region in the world that has an above replacement total fertility is Sub-Saharan Africa.

  129. Factorize says:

    Yet, even within the logical framework of greed, not pursuing IQ enhancement violates the first law of acquisition (namely, acquisition of wealth is the first law and only legitimate rationale for effort). Focusing on the loss of relative social standing in the wealth hierarchy that would likely result from IQ uplift is against this prime directive and, thus, illegal. Wealth is Wealth. If more wealth can be acquired by enhancing intelligence, then the only moral course of action according to greed logic is to enhance. Given that greed is a substantial driver of the power elites thinking process, IQ enhancement should not be unexpected over the short-medium term.


    This is a great point about how powerless humanity has been up to this time to intelligently manage long term development. Numerous civilizations have been unable to identify and reverse the forces that lead to their declines (Egyptians, Romans, Aztecs).

    Yet, what the figures above show is how an extremely powerful demographic force has powered progress for at least the last 300 years, especially the last century. It would be difficult to look at the figure with nearly vertical population growth and not imagine with awe what billions and billions of additional human minds might create/invent/discover. Even still, the figures also show that the world has been sliding deeper and deeper into a demographic reversal over the last 50 years. It is quite startling to see how much the base of Japan’s population pyramid has contracted. They (and we) have lost half of their youth psychometric potential of their population over these last few decades.

    This is ominous. To even maintain our existing technology base will require a substantial commitment of human cognitive ability. In other times and places civilizations actually began to lose their hard won gains of technology. The notable example of this was Tasmania. When they were “discovered” by European settlers a few centuries anthropologists described their technology and society as paleolithic.

    Admittedly for the first time in my life I have begun to seriously contemplate living in a world of relentless decline. My reading list so far has been A Tale of Two Cities, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I think that I will add in The Time Machine and The Foundation Novels. Any additional suggestions would be welcome.

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