About De Civitate

Jesus Christ!

Nate Silver’s reaction to James Heaney

James Heaney is a software developer.  He maintains this eclectic collection of scattered thoughts he calls a blog because he is an egomaniac, and he is most notable for definitively debunking the bizarrely widespread rumor that it is illegal to marry a virgin in Guam.

When not posting bizarrely detailed breakdowns of things nobody else cares about at De Civitate (that last one is 15,000 words about a state constitutional amendment that never stood a whelk’s chance in a supernova), James is usually working on one online hobby or another. Have you tried audio drama?

James knows this About page would be easier to read if he broke it out into bullet points, but he likes it better this way. If you aren’t willing to work a bit, this blog probably isn’t going to be a great experience for you anyway.

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Note About Old Posts

When I opened this Substack in November 2021, I copied my entire WordPress blog over to Substack as well. It turns out that several of them did not come through with correct formatting. Some are missing pictures; some are an unreadable mess.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do about this, but, for now: if you find a post on this Substack that seems badly formatted, visit JamesJHeaney.com and search for the original post there. That blog should remain online forever.

Subscription Perks

First and foremost, all De Civ readers can get my newest articles quickly and reliably by subscribing to my Substack’s free list. I mean, that’s the point. This is not news to you.

Second, everyone can participate in the comments. There’s no paywall on those. Just subscribe so you get the notifications about new posts and jump in. I’m hoping that the fact Substack’s comments work so much better than what we’ve dealt with on the old WordPress blog for the past several years means we’ll actually start to have comments again.

Third, those of you who decide to go the extra mile and become paid subscribers will get exclusive access to two regular features (the only features I’m taking behind a paywall):

  • Playing PredictIt, a brand new feature. Last year, I invested $10 in PredictIt’s political betting markets. My modest goal: to turn that $10 into $1000 and buy my next computer with it. (Hey, this blog isn’t buying me any computers!) If you join my Substack paid list, you can follow along with my strategy and political reasoning as I write about my attempts try to climb the ranks! (I’m currently at $9.88, so, uh, there’s a ways to go.)

    [NOTE 2022 October 15: Playing PredictIt is on hold for the moment, since PredictIt seems to be in the process of shutting down. I’m investigating Kalshi as an alternative, and in the meantime trying to do more Worthy Reads to make up for it.]

  • Worthy Reads, where I post all the best things I’ve been reading online and offer some commentary about them. This series has been a huge hit among my Facebook friends and has generated tons of discussion… but it’s not the main meat of De Civ, so I feel okay saying it costs money now. Free subscribers get half the entries; paid subscribers get to see them all. (Here are some Worthy Reads posts from before the paywall, as a sample.)

Those two features will not be published on my WordPress for at least a year (maybe more) after their Substack publication (since publishing them earlier would rather defeat the purpose of the paywall).

Substack told me I really shouldn’t try to sell paid subscriptions to my writing for less than $7/month and $70/year. So my paid subscriptions cost $5/month and $50/year. Sorry, Substack, but thank you for believing in me more than I believe in me!

Substack also strongly encouraged me to have a premium tier and find some cool reward for it. I don’t expect anyone to actually subscribe to it, but I didn’t want to disappoint Substack again, so I’ve created a $150/year tier called “We’re Friends Now.” Anyone who does such a surprising thing gets to be my friend. (And, really, if you think that highly of me, aren’t you already?) I’ll add you on Facebook and you can join the scorching political discussions I get into on the social meda network for old people.

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"And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?"


James J. Heaney

Walker Percy would have a whole lot to say about our attempts to sum up our selves in a few hundred characters. I blog at decivitate.substack.com.