Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
*sigh* Yes, yes of course, absolutely that could very well be the case. Probably is. Now, take your meds…I’ll go unplug the coffee pot and replace some light bulbs…
It began last night, as these things so often do, with a delivery from Amazon: Logan’s Run, not the Michael York movie which we own already, but the “spinoff” series which I think is more of a reboot. The special effects are pre Star Wars, although teevee seasons debuted around September back in the day, so it must have been about four months after the big revolution…so as you can imagine, that’s what happened to that.
Yet the sci-fi franchises which dot the landscape of seventies culture history served an auxiliary purpose, besides dazzling us with the special effects of people shooting each other with beams of light, and robots and spaceships and what-not. As one can easily recognize today by watching one episode after another, there was a need, perhaps a therapeutic one, to morally preen. Post-Watergate, the conflict was usually the way it existed in Logan’s Run: Unscrupulous bureaucrats running the city-state, keeping secrets, perhaps they were old men or perhaps robots. The drama was with their attempts to stamp out the opposition, the morally pristine hippie-children who dared to ask questions and were skeptical of the doctrines. Thus, the dystopian setting was a blend between Nineteen Eighty-Four and Star Trek, the latter of which must accept most of the blame for the uniformity and lazy writing throughout this era. I used to think that was just my perspective, from having been a “Trekkie.” More learning has persuaded me toward the conclusion that it isn’t; this is objective truth.
Our cultural schism is nicely encapsulated and represented by Star Trek, which to fans like myself, captured all sorts of passions that had nothing to do with the hippie-preening. The concept of the “final frontier” stoked my imagination. What fascinated the fans like me, were the episodes modeled after Forbidden Planet: The strong, decisive picture of manliness who leads this expedition, arrives at the alien setting with his two trusty and colorful sidekicks, and discovers some old codger with questionable scruples who runs the entire planet and has exactly one daughter running around in skimpy clothes, lacking any mother worth mentioned anywhere, who’s never seen a man before and needs to be taught how to kiss. And, there’s a mystery to be unraveled. Also, an unsolvable problem that has to be solved, or else they’ll all be marooned here forever.
But for our household, the mystery was why, when our local affiliate moved Star Trek up from six to five, Dad, who so often groused away about Star Trek being the most idiotic show on the air, suddenly started rushing home from work so he could be there at the opening credits. The point of fascination for me was the transporters, and the discovering alien planets. Then, it came to be about solving the unsolvable problems, the “What’s Captain Kirk going to do about this?” The best episodes for me are still the ones with problems-within-problems, like Friday’s Child and City on the Edge of Forever.
Years later, by the era of the Bald Captain, it became clear there is a whole different fan base, no doubt aptly represented by influential writers within the staff — they think the “plucky resourceful manly Captain” episodes are just a big waste of time, ditto for the display of special effects. They think the morally preening is the entire point. And the episodes that gratify them, are a crushing, snotty, lecturing bore to people like me.
Spock would find this “fascinating”: I struggle, in vain, to think of any one single episode out of any Star Trek franchise that offers fans like them, and fans like me, what we want. Seems the more opportunities Jean-Luc Picard and William Riker have to morally preen, and show the difference between themselves and ordinary scum of the galaxy, the less workable it is for them to show their plucky resourcefulness and problem-solving acumen. Almost like an addition equation involving a constant: P + R = K. There was, evidently, someone on the newer writing staff who thought that was the way it should work. They even had a robot to figure out what to do & get it done; the job of the humans was to react, and then dispense the snotty lecturing.
Back to Logan’s Run: The childish, “is-not-is-too” debates between the morally pure, intellectually vigorous hippies and the stodgy old martinets who ran the City of Domes, along with the “Sandmen” like Francis VII who obeyed the martinets without question — ironically — sound very much like any one of today’s exchanges about global warming. But the doctrinaire myrmidons who insist the dogma is true and that it’s too dangerous outside the city walls for anyone to venture safely into the unknown, sound less like yesterday’s Nixon administration defenders, than like today’s libs. The morally pure hippies who dare to question the doctrine, sound like they’ve been listening to Glenn Beck. Funny how that works, innit? That’s “fascinating” too.
The schism among sci-fi fans mirrors the schism among us with regard to everything else: What’s the point of life? What’s the point of the show? Some of us think it’s all about solving real problems. Others among us think the problem-solving is a waste of time, and morally preening is the entire point.
They think they are the forebearers of the ones who will one day invent Warp Drive and make all this possible — doing nothing, solving nothing, just lecturing. That, too, is fascinating, if not sane.
Narratives can’t co-exist with truth when they’re armored-up to prevail over truth. That’s the thing, see: If they’re victorious over any conflict that arises with inconvenient facts, then what they really are, is fiction. “Narratives” because they’re very convincing fiction. And a passive-voice culture that is as drunk as ours is lately on Bandwagon Fallacy, has to bear that in mind.
Factual Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, on the oh so trendy Verizon ad:
From the comments:
Hold the fucking phone, “girls-are-smarter-than-boys-so-what-goes-wrong”? Why the fuck is this seen as an acceptable view when the opposite is seen as downright monstrous?
That’s the trouble with a passive-voice culture: No subject. The question is unanswerable, because there’s no one we can ask. Actually, the entire ad suffers from that problem. Who are these Dads telling their little girls that science isn’t pretty enough for them, or “let your brother do it”? They aren’t being targeted, only their actions are, so we can’t get any specifics. Do they outnumber the Moms telling their little boys “You’re doing it all wrong, AGAIN, here I’ll do it”? Without any specifics, it’s hard to tell.
Hat tip to Linkiest.
I’d like to see a powerful narrative launched about “Boys who are raised from toddlerhood to be lazy little shits” — if anyone would like to have my opinion:
So I was jotting these ideas down in the blog, wondering if they should be in an outline processor first…before that I was jotting down other ideas on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, wondering if they were a better fit in the (real) blog…
So I was saying something a few months back about how the high-drama male-female stuff, which we can monitor by way of news feeds, blogs, social media, etc. seems to show a seasonal uptick at that time of year. I know it was early February, because I was calling out the release of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue as a possible (almost definite) cause.
I now have the impression that the 2nd half of July is another season. Fathers-of-daughters are going public with their hopes & fears about raising their little girls, and frankly they’re saying some very silly things. Add to that, the democrats putting out false and misleading, even more than usual, propaganda in the wake of the Supreme Court decision about Hobby Lobby.
If an alien from another planet crash-landed on Earth, and was forced to learn about women by browsing political blogs and social media, while being denied the opportunity to personally meet them, what would he think about them? Probably that they & their fathers & brothers long for them to be strong capable and independent — but that they’re anything but. I don’t know why we illustrate women this way. Real, flesh-and-blood women are strong and capable, and can do things. They *can’t* do everything men can do, that’s a myth. But they can do a lot of things men can’t. And all in all, they deserve a lot more respect than they’re shown…especially from the noisy types, male & female alike, who claim to be “liberating” them and “totally respect”-ing them.
Regarding this seasonal thing. I was reading this latest bit of malarkey about how women should be able to tell men that some lardass in a bikini is every bit as sexy as Kate Upton…and I just figured it out. It’s simple.
February, there’s this reaction to the SI swimsuit issue…and then, by right about now, we have a few more people who have some actual recent experience waddling down to the beach in their thongs and monokinis or whatever, and not getting back the reactions for which they had hoped. It is pessimistic foresight versus resentful hindsight. In both cases, the real problem is people wearing swim wear for reasons other than swimming. Too much drama. Normal people like you & me come back from the beach with a sunburn to which we have to apply some sort of balm, maybe wait to peel off…whereas this lardass, along with so many like her, has to write a Salon column all about “our cultural perceptions of what is and isn’t beautiful.”
Being a dude is so awesome. If I happen to be lugging around a little too much of the winter blubber to look good in swim trunks, I just, ya know, WEAR the goddamn things. I don’t have to get some giant social movement going to re-program women to find fat middle-age computer guys in swim trunks attractive, I just wear ‘em and look ridiculous, period-end-of-story.
One of the most pernicious deceptions our various social movements have plied on us, is this promise that with the right kind of social engineering we can get rid of anyone anywhere saying “I like this thing and I do not like that other thing.” It’s complete crap. People have been doing this for tens of thousands of years and there’s no stopping them from doing it. In fact, it has not escaped my attention that when it comes to women appreciating the look of athletic-looking men, nobody seems to be in any big hurry to. In some walks of life, particularly with impressionable kids, we have so much drive to teach them to define their fickle preferences about candy bar brands or ice cream flavors, and stick to them, insist on them — essentially, try harder to be spoiled brats. In others, we call it “discrimination” and kick off this weird ritual — that’s what it is, that is all it is, since it will never have any lasting effect — of scrubbing preferences out of people, so that some tub of goo who never bothers to peel herself off the couch to walk around the block, supposedly can enjoy the same adulation as Kate Upton in the middle of a shoot.
What a load of nonsense. And yes, there’s a certain pulse to it: Twice-yearly. Just figured it out. I’m a bit ashamed it’s taken me this long.
On Wednesday, Mike Dickinson, the Virginia liberal Democrat running for the State House, offered a $100,000 reward for nude photos and/or videos of Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader who recently made news with a series of hunting photos on her Facebook page.
“I have 100k to anyone who has nude photos or videos of #kendalljones at Texas tech (sic),” Dickinson tweeted. “She deserves to be a target.”
Unfortunately, these hate filled statements are fairly common for Dickinson. He recently stated that a “dead teabagger is a good teabagger,” referring of course to some Tea Party candidates.
To be fair, there are some who are not like this. They just don’t know what they’re supporting.
To show how mindless this liberal proposition is, the “red state welfare” argument appears to be entirely based only on how each state voted in the most recent presidential election. This results in entirely junk science.
First off, states that are either “haves” (i.e., give more to the federal government than they receive) or “have-nots” (i.e., get more from the federal government than they give) do not just arise overnight. State finances take decades to develop as either “haves” or “have-nots,” so looking at only a single election is meaningless. Rather, we need to look at how a state has voted over several decades to obtain any relevant insights.
Furthermore, it’s equally nonsensical to just consider how a state votes for the president. We also need to look at how each state votes for its senators, representatives, and even governors. Given how Congress has the “power of the purse,” this is core to assessing how a state’s welfare status relates to its Democrat versus Republican voting record. And this is where the “red state welfare” hypothesis disintegrates.
At the senatorial level, how can you call North Dakota, Louisiana, and West Virginia “red states” when their voting record is overwhelmingly Democratic over the past three decades? Even South Dakota and New Mexico fail the “red state” test. West Virginia hasn’t had a Republican senator since before 1960!
On the other side of the aisle, New Hampshire — supposedly a blue state — has only elected a single Democratic senator (the currently serving Jeanne Shaheen) since 1980. Minnesota and Colorado also fail the blue state designation based on who they have put in the Senate over this timeframe.
The “red state welfare” vitriol in the left-wing media has been intense. Witness these statements from a 2011 Business Insider piece on the topic:
“[R]ed states … are overwhelmingly the Welfare Queen States. Yes, that’s right. Red States — the ones governed by folks who think government is too big and spending needs to be cut — are a net drain on the economy, taking in more federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes. They talk a good game, but stick Blue States with the bill … Go ahead and bookmark this article. The next time some smarmy teabagger tries to tell you it’s liberals who are ruining the country and spending us into oblivion, kindly point them to the evidence that shows it is GOP states, not Democrat states, who are Welfare Queens. It is GOP states who spend more than they collect in taxes. It is GOP states who are out of balance, nationally. See if they still want to cut off funding when it means no more socialism for slave states.”
Here is what Slate had to say last year:
“Now, one more cross-reference: these facts compared with the know-nothing rhetoric of the Tea Party. There are only two ways to parse that result: one is ignorance — which we should be willing to forgive in anyone as long as they revise their views when faced with reality. And the second? Selfish hypocrisy. How else can you explain the fact that the denizens of the most welfare dependent states in the country — dare we say, those who enjoy the most benefits from socialism — profess to abhor welfare?”
Fascinating storyline the liberals tried to construct. Too bad it is entirely false.
Reminds me of this classic:
Jefferson used the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. There are some theories, and other theories, about where he got this and what he may have meant by it.
Common sense, though, tells us we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights, that among these rights are Life…Liberty…and, the accumulation of property or whatever else tickles our fancy if we’re not into that sort of thing. Some people aren’t into making money. Some people, although they refuse to admit it, even to themselves, loathe the stuff. If they get some of it, they’ll find a way to burn it off. My own theory is that Jefferson recognized this; his financial picture at the time of his final decline, suggests he may have been among them. At any rate, the American Revolution was inspired by the desire for greater opportunity to embrace risk and engage in commerce, but its blessings were intended by those who supported it, to fall on those who had no such desire, even those who opposed it.
Common sense also informs us that our friends, the liberals, are opposed to the Pursuit of Happiness, unless it’s a faceless government agency that’s actually engaged in this pursuing. Satisfaction and contentment, in their world, are too good (via Instapundit) for the individual: “You didn’t build that.” That’s why Rush Limbaugh makes fun of them with his famous catch-phrase, “Having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.”
Mencken had something to say about this too, when he defined puritanism: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” It is increasingly difficult, in our modern times, to enjoy or pursue this happiness without creating a situation in which liberals see a problem. And whenever liberals see a problem, when we take the trouble to inspect it we find, much more often than not, someone close to the center of it being happy.
Misery, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to get them too excited unless they can recognize some inequality involved in it. In other words, someone being spared from the misery, sets ‘em off. If everyone is equally miserable, they’re alright with that. Their continuing support for ObamaCare proves that.
Keep forgetting this girl’s name…I’ve tried everything else I can try to get it “bookmarked,” might as well try this…
Her submission video:
She is not a very good speaker, and is prone to shrill outbursts and occasional chortling. She has a bad habit of committing serial gaffes (e.g., speaking too candidly), and what she says on Monday is often contradicted by her rantings on Tuesday. She seems cheap and obsessed with raking in free stuff. When Bill steps in to correct her mistakes, either sloppily or out of some strange psychological spite, he usually makes things even worse.
I honestly don’t understand why she has fans. Anywhere. They must be angry about something; people tend to think they’re looking at something amazing and fantastic, when they’re actually evaluating something mediocre, when they’re pissed off about something.
Hillary’s fans are exceptionally angry. Why is that? Answer that one, and you’ve unlocked the secret to her popularity. But too many people who make it their business to bring us something called “news,” don’t want that secret unlocked.
Her fans sure are angry. They make decisions very poorly.
As I see it, the fact that young women actually expect that people with whom they’re not having sex should provide them with free birth control pills is clear evidence that the real war is the one being waged on the American taxpayer and commonsense.
His neighbors are calling Him the worst President ever.
“It doesn’t matter, just keep spending because that somehow makes things better.”
“People don’t invest the appropriate amount of time in studying the people who would represent them.”
Speaking of hall monitors…I’ve been noticing this for awhile, out on the bike trails. In fact, last summer it happened to me again and CylarZ was right there next to me.
There is a certain type of walk-jogger out there. People say “all of so-and-so looks alike” — in this case it’s really true. It might be just one person following me around the county. Maybe a specter that’s haunting me. But, I think it’s multiple people who happen to resemble each other very closely…she’s in her fifties, give or take, has an awkward hair-do that isn’t feminine at all. Kind of like Lois Lane back in the Silver Age, or Hillary Clinton just after the Hillary-Healthcare debacle. She doesn’t seem to care about her appeal to the opposite sex, but has tanned her skin until it has the complexion of Naugahyde.
When normal people cross each other on a bike trail, they tend to make some sort of positive gesture to strangers. Kind of a “here we are, out here, huh?” sort of a thing. It’s just a continuation of something that’s been going on for hundreds of years…probably. This woman-specter, I notice, uses these fleeting few seconds to mumble some sort of rule at me.
Sometimes, it is an established rule that I have flouted deliberately because common sense dictated that an exception would be safer for all concerned. Other times, the rule is not so well established. On the one incident I cited above, it was about which side of the trail should be occupied by bicyclists vs. pedestrians, and it was doubly silly, because if Naugahyde-lady merely bothered to turn around and see what was approaching us, she would have realized the problem: Everybody has their own interpretation of the rules. In the end, if you’re on a bike or some other piece of equipment that can approach the 15 m.p.h. speed limit, and you see a thicker glut of pedestrians approaching, you just have to check your speed and then move about in whichever direction makes the best sense. It’s actually the dogma-driven adherents to “written” rules who make the situation more dangerous.
But, the mentality is remarkable. Would I use the few fleeting seconds of possible communication, between myself and a total stranger, to bring a rule to their attention? Oh definitely, I could see a scenario in which I might do that, or at least, consider doing that. But it would be an exceptional case.
These Naugahyde-Lois-Lane-haircut types seem to be embracing it as a way of life. And over the last decade or so, I have noticed the situation comes up more frequently. Also, that my breaking or following rules seems to have less and less to do with it.
Not sure why people say this is a boring topic. It’s fascinating to me, endlessly fascinating, that the makers-of-rules know with laser precision exactly what the rules should be regarding gallons, inches, times-of-day, pools, car-washing, watering lawns, washing walls…and yet are completely-freakin’-lost about how to enforce it all.
I mean, it’s all understandable in some way. It’s the sequence that baffles me. I come from another planet, third one from the star, inhabited by homo sapiens that have red blood; in my corner of the universe, enforcement tactics would come first and the parameters would come later.
Who the heck are these people? Where do you find them?
“Six to nine p.m., that certainly ought to do it! Another successful session of rule-making, we are to be congratulated! Okay, now how do we enforce?”
You were all “hall monitors” back in high school, weren’t you?
Something tells me I should be using my outline processor to capture this stuff, instead of my blog, since there is breadth & depth to this and both dimensions are important. That’s usually a tip-off that outlining is the way to go.
But related events are coming in fast and thick, and I’m more concerned about the breadth than the depth. I’ve done the depth already, a few times. I’ll probably be doing it here, too, before I’m done.
I’m seeing three topics of immediate concern:
One. Our modern society, as obsessed as it is with female achievement, doesn’t seem to be interested at all in providing girls with what children really need to become competent and capable adults: Challenge (H/T to Gerard again).
Are girls so totally fragile and glassine, so pathetically weak and easily crushed that gentle parenting to protect and guide them will destroy their gentle souls? Is the delight in science and industry such a guttering candle flame that it is snuffed by even the mildest breeze?
Two. Our society, apart from that, seems to be enthusiastically embracing a mindset that is immature at best, and at worst, insane: Women should be able to decide, on behalf of straight men who are attracted to women, what sexy is. Erm, no, as Captain Capitalism points out, straight men actually decide what sexy is, in a woman. Gotta let us decide something, ya know…
…the women who agree with Brenoff see themselves as diamonds in the rough, caged birds that whose songs are incredibly beautiful, but those infantile, privileged men refuse to recognize them as such. But all the other birds believe our songs are beautiful! Sorry, but singers don’t get to decide what their listeners will find pleasing to hear. A person simply cannot decide what others desire in their lives. It is puerile to demand other people prop up the delusions you have about your life.
Three. The gamma male. Ah, the poor, sniveling wretches…
The third and lowest tier of male social hierarchy. Unlike the dominant alpha or the passive beta, the gamma male’s hallmark traits are clinginess, possessiveness, and manipulation. Since he is unable to compete with men above his social tier, he is prone to isolating and manipulating girls, and failing that, throwing guilt trips to keep them on a short leash. While a gamma male is often a self-proclaimed “nice guy”, his benevolence is merely a means to an end, which is usually trying to hook up with a girl he is obsessed with. Overly emotional and prone to feelings of unwarranted entitlement, the gamma male would rather blame all of his problems on other people than take responsibility for his own behavior.
Fleshing out the “outline” a bit under the high-level “node” that is Observation #3: I see someone took notice of this little tempest-in-a-teapot between John Scalzi‘s fans, and me & severian. I spoke of insanity up above, which has been defined as the exercise of consistent behavior with the expectation of inconsistent results. That fits what we’ve lately seen out of the Gammas quite well:
You can always tell when the Gamma male, who will never openly admit that his precious little feelings have been wounded, is having trouble maintaining his delusion, because he keeps returning to the point where it has been punctured, trying to come up with some spin on the situation that he can successfully sell to others and thereby convince himself.
Note that despite all the reassurance he’s received from the other rabbits, it’s still not enough and he’s actively seeking even more. This is because he knows that his weakness, and worse, his pride in his weakness, makes him an object of derision and disgust by men and women alike. And the knowledge of that is painful to his ego.
Not sure how I fit into the tier system. I know I’m not Alpha, Beta or Gamma. Guess I’ve always been a sort of a “War Games” sort of guy: “The only winning move is not to play.” My kind, like the Alpha and the Beta, is naturally programmed by evolution to get a rush out of sex — the having of it, and the prospect of it as well. Gammas are a different breed entirely. It seems they achieve exactly the same thrill out of female approval. Their wires are crossed. Their mothers, or female caregivers, must have done something awful to them.
severian‘s original point, or a big part of it anyway, was that there is a certain element of danger to this business of bragging about your daughter outdoing you. How could I explain it to the intransigent-Gamma; oh right, I can’t. Well, I’ll explain it to everybody else then:
If the numbers of the Scalzi-daughter-bench-press have been discussed, they haven’t found their way to me, so I’m taking it as an unknown in the equation. Scalzi can bench press X, his daughter can bench press Y, and Y > X. That is known; let us now ponder the likelihoods. It is likely — at least, I would hope — we’re talking about something upwards of 150 pounds, which is mired deeply in the mucky layer of “bro, do you even lift???.” But unless his daughter is freakish, it’s not above what an average man can lift if he’s been working at it. And no, Gammas, I do not include myself in that. Been writing a fair amount of code over the past three years, have a bit of a T-Rex thing going on at the moment. Daughter’s a teenager who can out-lift her dad. We can probably peg this contest down to within 50 pounds. And the daughter, I take it, is in good shape.
Applying a reductio ad absurdum, let’s arbitrarily subtract a decade from the daughter’s age and pretend Scalzi was bragging about his six-year-old lifting more than he can. Now, we’ve lost our ability to provide a quality estimate about the weights being discussed, or much of it. We really haven’t a clue about what’s going on. Is he dictating this “tweet” from a hospital bed, with both arms busted? Is the daughter from the planet Krypton? I dunno. You don’t either. Point is: This is an ineffective way to assess the daughter’s suitability for feats that challenge physical strength — and, may very well involve danger.
Back from the reductio ad absurdum, we have restored the precision and can guess what’s going on again, within 50 pounds or so. But, the observation remains: This is an ineffective way to assess strength. And by “ineffective,” what I really mean is idiotic. Hey sorry John, you’re probably following the trackbacks and are reading this for yourself, and for the record — believe I said this already — I really liked Redshirts. You’re just plain wrong. I don’t mean, by that, that we’re engaged in some sort of cultural clash here and trying to figure out who’s going to impose his personal tastes on whom. It is, as a matter of fact, a matter of fact. Strength. Weakness. Those two are opposites, which means they’re not the same.
Better get word to your fanboys:
So run, kid. Beat the pants off of me. I did my damndest to help you fly, and if you soar above horizons that I can never reach, well, I think that’s what every good parent was hoping for. Instead of, you know, being an insecure douche who’s secretly engineering his kids to fail so he can feel better about his life.
I guess we must be talking about liberals, right? The tell-tale sign is right there: The kid must be soaring above higher horizons, because someone else was properly pummeled downward. Person A’s weakness becomes (somehow) Person B’s strength. Dude, that’s whacked. It’s almost as far out in the tall-grass as figuring out my secret game plan to engineer my kid to fail. And to think I’ve got that beatdown coming because I said something about pulling Scalzi’s man-card; my goodness, these people know so much they don’t really know.
There is some overlap, here, with Point #1. We talk about our aspirations for our children, particularly our daughters, to become all they possibly can. But the people who generate the most noise about this, I notice, are consistently opposed to actually challenging them.
This is destructive. It’s obviously destructive when people confuse weakness for strength. Here there is destruction against human potential. There is destruction against the challenges that build up that human potential, since these poor Gammas seem to be under the delusion that it is the spectacle of victory that makes growing children into strong, capable adults. There is also destruction against those children, themselves, since it is dangerous to pretend to assess someone’s true capabilities, while in reality only going through the motions of doing so. Not that I think Scalzi’s daughter is in this danger; Scalzi, I’m sure, knows the numbers involved in his glorious defeat. But other people reading about it don’t know, and it’s obvious there is this idea churning around out there that girls are being prepared for fabulous and glorious experiences as adult, when they meet the challenge of — beating the chestless old man, who didn’t want to win anyway. It’s not exactly a stringent test.
There is also the matter of disappointment. Competition is great for building up a child’s actual strength; it sucks as a way of building up their confidence, because it works far too well. The message never quite makes it across that there is always someone better, faster, stronger. Ironically, we have dealt with that here in the Freeberg household, during this first summer in which the teenager is taller than his old man. Yeah, great, actually we’re all pretty happy about that. That might surprise some of the Gammas who have gone a little bit off the deep end, speculating about me & my relationship with my kid. But we’ve also had to have the conversation — I’m sure they won’t understand this — that effort is required in other walks of life as well, and there’s always someone out there who’s taller. Boys who win competitions need to hear that; and they do. Girls who win competitions need to hear it too. I’m not so sure anyone’s pointing it out to them.
That takes care of the Gamma/Scalzi matter. If time permits, sometime in the days or weeks ahead I’ll flesh out the other two.
It’s called a “delicious quote” and I’m inclined to agree; it’s one of those gems that seem to have been meticulously designed word by word, not out of intent to deceive, but in the spirit of stringent quality control.
Attempts by experts in the field to defend the embattled messenger inevitably fall on deaf ears. When the firestorm is over, the media’s mindset always resets to a state of comfortable ignorance, ready to be shocked all over again when the next messenger comes along.
What scholars of mental ability know, but have never successfully gotten the media to understand, is that a scientific consensus, based on an extensive and consistent literature, has long been reached on many of the questions that still seem controversial to journalists.
For example, virtually all psychologists believe there is a general mental ability factor(referred to colloquially as “intelligence”) that explains much of an individual’s performance on cognitive tests. IQ tests approximately measure this general factor. Psychologists recognize that a person’s IQ score, which is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, usually remains stable upon reaching adolescence. And they know that IQ scores are correlated with educational attainment, income, and many other socioeconomic outcomes.
Get with it, atmosphere! You’re holding up the show!
Reproducibility and predictability have a lot to do with saying what science is; with separating it from pseudo-science. With the climate, we have a situation in which the thing being passed off to us as “science” is clinging only just barely to the genuine, teetering on the brink of the abyss of the pseudo. And it seems to be aware of this.
The situation has deteriorated, because we’re not doing a good job of assessing what real science is, if our definition relies on the outcome of guesswork. And you know the situation is deteriorating when the so-called scientists are trying to put together a narrative, build up the anticipation, maneuver us into a “perception is reality” moment with the “atmosphere…get[ting] on board.”
…as discussed here.
It had no bearing on the outcome of anything, but still, it was an act of kindness that meant a great deal to the beneficiary of it. And that’s good to see.
“Perhaps the idealogues should think a bit more before trying so hard to mislead and divide us.”
Related: I don’t actually watch Fox News myself, what with it being on the teevee and all, but things like this compel me to consider changing that.
Seems everyone who comes up with reasons why I shouldn’t watch it, is put off by the idea of more people coming to find out about something they don’t want people to know. Regardless of how that turns out, this kid’s gonna go far.
During our domain & database crash this weekend, we were going through the archives of Rotten Chestnuts as well as of our own works (RC is physically hosted over here, as a sub-site of ours), and we came across this excellent post put up by severian.
John Scalzi, author of Redshirts & other fine science-fiction works, has engaged in some Internet bragging about — um — not being able to press as much as his daughter. Somehow, “revoking the Man Card” doesn’t seem adequate for this.
Let it be known that my daughter can lift more than I do. Because she’s on her school’s weightlifting team, and also because she’s awesome.
sev quotes Darth Toolpodicus, who offers…
haha good for Scalzi’s daughter…but he has no idea how bad that is. My wife and I are both competitive powerlifters, she benches a lot for a female (180lbs). Her biggest complaint: After lifting for years, the only guys she outbenches are the one who are new to the gym…virtually all the guys who are there regularly pass her up within a couple months.
All Scalzi would had to do is SHOW UP at the gym…but “bro, do you you even lift?!?”
Then closes with a common refrain:
It takes a lot of effort not to notice things like this. It takes a huge, hermetically-sealed bubble, maintained with the zealotry of an industrial clean room, not to notice some very basic problems with the liberal worldview. And yet, guys like Scalzi and his umpteen zillion blog readers / Twitter followers manage it.
Normal people with red blood, gather up the facts and go wherever those facts take them. The conclusions come afterward. Our friends the liberals, though, reach the conclusions first. The facts are stenciled out according to whether or not they’re compatible with that favorable conclusion; the ones that do, are given extra weight, and then some thin rationale is contrived against the “facts” that don’t support the desired conclusion. The liberal calls this “debunking” and can explain, in great detail, why exactly it is a debunking. In fact, just try and stop him from explaining, and re-explaining, over and over again.
But, it isn’t really a debunking. And they know it. It is a process of filtering. God only knows how much energy it takes; if we could somehow capture just a quarter of it, we could end every energy crisis that awaits us, for all time.
Actually, I was thinking about this just an hour ago, paying bills. Out of ten companies who have to receive my money because they sent me a bill, two of them failed to keep their stories straight about what was owed. One complained of a past-due amount, I went back and checked my previous month’s records and discovered there was a confirmation number there. I went ahead and paid the amount, but I guess we have to have a conversation. A third company, a credit card, failed to include a $65 charge for lunch over the weekend; I wanted to pay off the entire balance, I tried to put in what they reported plus the sixty-five, but they wouldn’t accept.
My point is — that’s thirty-percent of the information I have, being not quite so much wrong, but sufficiently pockmarked with inconsistencies to be unworkable. At least let us say, in this case, not-immediately-workable. There actually are no past-due situations here, and I started gathering up the (correct?) balances at the beginning of the month, like I always do. There shouldn’t be any wrinkles to this at all. But, there always are some like this.
It made me think of liberals, because people who manage to receive and then report a perfectly smoothed-out-and-ironed “truth,” with no residual uncertainties whatsoever, whether they realize it or not, are confessing that they don’t live in the real world. It may be an overstatement to say they’re revealing that they don’t pay bills. But not by much (and I suspect, in many cases, that may be exactly the situation).
People who are caught up in this habit of massaging truth into some alternate form, like mashing a pillow up into the right ball to support your neck at night, so that it fits their preconceptions…they shouldn’t brag about doing this. It isn’t a positive human attribute, it’s not a strength. It is a weakness, which would interfere with the capturing & reporting acumen needed to pay bills…or…any human effort that has to do with managing information and is more demanding than that. And paying bills is very, very close to the simple-side of that spectrum. Real life has redundant and inconsistent reports. It has enigmas and illusory contradictions. It’s got lots, and lots, and lots, of uncertainties. People shouldn’t brag about being “able” to do away with these in short order, because they’re not dealing with it, what they’re doing is just ignoring the parts they don’t like. It’s kind of obvious.
Just like, people shouldn’t brag about not being able to lift as much as their daughters. That doesn’t make you a better parent. In fact, it is literally weak. But, if liberals were able to identify strengths as strengths and weaknesses as weaknesses, they wouldn’t be liberals.
James Taranto, writing in Best of the Web, offers a roundup of information about the problem of peer review abuse in science:
In a July 8, 2004, email, one scientist assured another that the hypothesis they shared would prevail “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” Exactly 10 years later, RetractionWatch.com reported that Peter Chen, a researcher at Taiwan’s National Pingtung University of Education, had undertaken such a redefinition. “SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a ‘peer review and citation ring,’ ” noted RetractionWatch’s Ivan Oransky.
According to a statement from SAGE, “it was discovered that the author had created various aliases on SAGE Track, providing different email addresses to set up more than one account. Consequently, SAGE scrutinised further the co-authors of and reviewers selected for Peter Chen’s papers, [and] these names appeared to form part of a peer review ring. The investigation also revealed that on at least one occasion, the author Peter Chen reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he had created.”
Corruption of the peer-review process is a widespread problem in scientific research, argues Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 in an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal. “Even the most rigorous peer review can be effective only if authors provide the data they used to reach their results, something that many still won’t do and that few journals require for publication,” Campbell notes. He offers this example:
In 2002 and 2010, papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claimed that a pesticide called atrazine was causing sex changes in frogs. As a result the Environmental Protection Agency set up special panels to re-examine the product’s safety. Both papers had the same editor, David Wake of the University of California, Berkeley, who is a colleague of the papers’ lead author, Tyrone Hayes, also of Berkeley.
In keeping with National Academy of Sciences policy, Prof. Hayes preselected Prof. Wake as his editor. Both studies were published without a review of the data used to reach the finding. No one has been able to reproduce the results of either paper, including the EPA…As the agency investigated, it couldn’t even use those papers about atrazine’s alleged effects because the research they were based on didn’t meet the criteria for legitimate scientific work. The authors refused to hand over data that led them to their claimed results — which meant no one could run the same computer program and match their results.
Moral crusaders are especially vulnerable to confirmation bias, the tendency to be insufficiently rigorous about testing information that bolsters their preconceptions. That’s a problem in science as well, as Campbell notes:
Absent rigorous peer review, we get the paper published in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Titled “Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes,” it concluded that hurricanes with female names cause more deaths than male-named hurricanes–ostensibly because implicit sexism makes people take the storms with a woman’s name less seriously. The work was debunked once its methods were examined, but not before it got attention nationwide.
Among those who gave it uncritical attention was Nicholas Kristof, in his June 12 column.
The column beats up on poor kristof rather thoroughly, and closes with:
The scientific consensus is stronger than ever,” wrote a New York Times columnist this past January. You can probably guess which one.
It seems harsh to kick the guy over & over about this human flaw which we all share, whether or not we succumb to it as often. But then again…he did succumb. Then again, he has a lot of company there, too; it isn’t just a Kristof problem.
The question I’d like to pose, picking up where Taranto dropped it, is: What is the temptation? We learn this over & over again, that we are prone to the gullibility, the confirmation bias, when we strap on our shiny moral-crusade armor and vault up into the saddle of our high-horse. How come we keep putting ourselves in that position? No one likes to be embarrassed this way, least of all the people who keep doing it to themselves.
Matthew 7:1, perhaps that’s why it says what it says. People who are so quick to pass judgment on their fellow mortals, getting snookered, embarrassingly, over & over again.
And they keep right on doing it.
From here: “Have you heard the song Rude? If you haven’t than you’re one of the lucky ones.”
And, the capital-dee Dad’s response:
“Marry that girl…I’m gonna punch your face…”
Found out about this via an e-mail from my son. Language warning…
I don’t know why the heckler is looking so shocked. Her kind is everywhere. Spoiled, lazy, feeling entitled; what have we done lately to make the common young citizen any other way? Zilch. We’ve kept them from ever being bored, ever, made sure they had medication to “help them focus,” and bottled water, and cell phones, and plied them with a steady entertainment diet of movies about giant robots from other planets that turn into cars. She provides a voice for a class that fails to see any connection between personal action and personal fulfillment, because there’s never been any reason for them to see such a connection.
That is how “healthy” people’s brains work, actually. They see connections between things that circumstances have forced them to see; everything else in the universe, as far as they’re concerned, is disconnected.
That is not an endorsement for her point of view, by the way. Quite the opposite. Whenever you hear of these “what difference does it make” types, pontificating away with their “wisdom” as they “challenge” the necessity of connecting this thing with that thing…and then challenging this other connection, and that one over there, and those other ones, until they’ve manufactured a phony-baloney universe in which everything is disconnected and random, like the grains of sand on a bone-dry scorching-hot beach — it turns out that what they’re displaying is not wisdom at all, nor depth, nor eloquence, nor any sort of “nuanced” world-view. What they’re displaying is inexperience. And the barely perceptible undercurrent of rage just beneath the surface, you’re not imagining it, it’s really there (as is proven at about 23:45). It’s there because deep down, they know that’s exactly what they’re displaying. They know they’ve been robbed of important experiences, they need these experiences and don’t know how to get them.
That’s why I like this video. What’s written above is usually somewhat obscure. She, and those like her, make it rather obvious.
I’ll do an update about the boring technical details later. We had a failed database restore this weekend, which for most of yesterday “exposed” this 2012 post as the apparent most-recent-one. As a consequence of that, the two-year-old essay caught a link from Linkiest…and so, while waiting for my teenager to free up the bathroom I decided to review. It’s always an educational experience reviewing things you wrote years ago. It is one of the most critical benefits, and I do mean “critical,” of having a blog.
The dusty old piece catalogs the observations made about the Warren/Obama “You Didn’t Build That” credo. It is more about the enthusiasm among agenda-driven leftists, that react to that credo, than about the credo itself. It inspects the social phenomenon of people wildly cheering for the idea that no one anywhere actually builds anything that matters.
Yes, of course it is inconsistent, incoherent, dishonest — clearly it’s alright for Barack Obama to build big, important things — and, probably paid for. Anyway, after meandering through an assortment of run-on sentences, pointing out some things about how creative individuals work together with committees who later hog all the credit, the older post closes with:
I think the motivation is denial. This is the only viable explanation for the enthusiasm: Somebody designed the light bulb, or a part of that rocket, and that means there is an individual doing remarkable things — we are individuals, but we’re not doing remarkable things as individuals, so we don’t want anybody else doing anything remarkable either.
Not unless they are part of a big, big group. So that we can take all the human effort that goes into something noticeable, and safely anonymize it. So that no one single person can put his name next to something that is good, and receive credit for it, on an individual basis. We’re opposed to that.
Two years on, I still find this to be the most solid explanation. After all, we haven’t long to wait in our everyday lives, if we hang around the wrong crowd, to see this: Oh, there’s a gap between the objective we had at the outset, and what we have managed to accomplish since engaging the effort; so rather than upping our game, let’s re-define the goals downward.
THAT way, we don’t have to…you know, get up off this couch, or anything inconvenient like that.
Oh wait, someone else did it the other way? They said “I’m not happy with the outcome, so I’m going to change the methods” and they improved? Well SHAME on them. Let’s get all butt-hurt hatey hate on them. They didn’t build that.
Obama, along with luminaries like Him, gets a pass. He’s in a different social circle, therefore doesn’t have to function as a dangerous role model. So He accomplishes wonderful things all the time — if only someone could recall what exactly those are. Committees are anonymous, they get a pass. Government is anonymous; it gets a pass. “They” can build things. But “Bob” — he cannot build a better mousetrap, for if ever it is acknowledged that he did, then that starts a terrible conversation that frightens many: Bob did it, I wonder if I can do something like what Bob did. What would that take. What would I have to change to be more like Bob, and do some of the things Bob did.
Voters strongly believe the debate about global warming is not over yet and reject the decision by some news organizations to ban comments from those who deny that global warming is a problem.
Only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty-three percent (63%) disagree and say the debate about global warming is not over. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think there is still significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming, while 35% believe scientists generally agree on the subject.
The BBC has announced a new policy banning comments from those who deny global warming, a policy already practiced by the Los Angeles Times and several other media organizations. But 60% of voters oppose the decision by some news organizations to ban global warming skeptics. Only 19% favor such a ban, while slightly more (21%) are undecided.
What is really being studied here, by everyone who has the good fortune to be alive & aware in these contentious times, is not humanity’s effect on the ecology but rather humanity’s attitudes about disagreement.
We’re taught from toddlerhood to have such a curious relationship with it. Everyone loves to win, of course. You get that rush of winning something, plus you look not only wise, but persistent about your wisdom, doing your thing to make sure good prevails and evil is vanquished. It’s a triple-threat. But, you can’t win an argument if there isn’t an argument.
Paradoxically, it seems we also have this social consensus, from which some may dissent in small isolated pockets, but is never challenged much — that when we get closer to something we perceive to be truth, we know we’re getting closer because the argument subsides. Therefore, it seems some among us figure that if the arguing can be forcibly stopped then that will bring us all closer to the truth. It’s “cargo cult” learning. Ah, we certainly do love to think of ourselves as more learned than the other guy, without taking the time or effort to learn much of anything.
Back to the “science-is-settled” people. They never did have much by way of actual evidence that the science really is settled; they’ve been living in their fantasy bubble on this thing since Day One. I guess they’re drunk on the elixir of winning-the-arguments or something. Problem: Winning at just about anything requires a fastening to reality, most of the time with some actual measurements to back it up. I speak not of the measurements of earth’s temperature, but rather measurements about whether “the science is settled” or “everybody agrees.” Forget about serving the community and bringing the people good, reliable, verified information. Just think about the measurement of this victory they desire so feverishly. Their “measurements” say it simply hasn’t happened, and so great is their desire to win-win-win, that they’re pretending the measurements say something else…and they’re just playing a game of pretend and calling it good.
That isn’t just climate change alarmism; that borders on a psychosis.
And He isn’t interested in photo ops.
Oh? In 2004, as senator-elect, he said, “I’m so overexposed I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse.” His name or face appeared on half of Time magazine covers in 2008. As of the August 2009 edition, he had appeared on seven Time covers since his election in November 2008. Newsweek featured Obama on 12 of its 2008 issues. Obama marked his first 100 days in office with 300 photos — all of him. On Nov. 25, 2009, Drudge Report had a photo of him leaving the White House holding an issue of GQ magazine with his own picture on the cover. He appeared on “America’s Most Wanted” to commemorate its 1,000th episode. He’s appeared on ESPN, Leno, Letterman, “60 Minutes,” Conan, Oprah and on and on.
How about his claim that he just wants to solve a problem? As exhibits A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L and M, I offer Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service scandal (the FBI hasn’t even interviewed the IRS employees involved), the border invasion, the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, Obamacare, Iraq, our Marine in Mexico, the deficit, the debt, entitlements, jobs and education. I could go on. This man is not about solving problems but about creating them — unless you believe that America, as founded, is a problem.
“It’s funny how so many far-left posers get a hard-on for violence and smashing stuff.”
Revenge, as Lord Bacon tells is, is a kind of wild justice; and the desire for it has had a very poor press over the millennia. We are enjoined not to take it, in fact to turn the other cheek to those who strike us, to return good for evil. This is easier said than done: and the question is whether it should be done. Is total forgiveness, that is to say forgiveness in all circumstances, desirable?
What is certainly true is that it is easier to forgive the evil done to others than to forgive the evil done to oneself, especially if in the first place we don’t really like those others to whom the evil is done. Then conspicuous forgiveness becomes a kind of sadism, an additional burden to bear for those to whom the evil was done: for as I know from clinical experience with my patients, the lack of proper punishment of the perpetrators of evil is itself a punishment of the victims of it, a punishment that is often long-lasting and even rather like a life sentence. This is because it removes from the victims all confidence that there is justice in the world or that anybody cares what happens to them. Their experiences and their feelings are of no account; they (the people who have them) are nothing, no more than insects under the feet of society.
A most eloquent expression of the thoughts I was having as I watched Star Trek Into Darkness. My goodness, the If You Kill Him You’ll Be Just Like Him trope has gotten tired. That’s because it doesn’t work. I go to the movies to be entertained, and Kill Bill is a much better movie, entertainment-wise, when you get right down to it.
But what kind of grown-ups do kids become after watching “don’t kill that bad guy, bring him to justice instead” movies? Non-vengeful, angelic types? Or, are they taught to de-value human life, to see it as not worth avenging, or for that matter, much of anything else. The latter, I think. For that reason, and some others, after watching the recent Star Trek installment I always come away with the same aftertaste as the closing credits roll: I don’t want to see the “don’t kill the bad guy” trope, ever again. Let’s go back to Han shooting first again. It isn’t that I entirely disagree with the point, that the desire for vengeance should be checked. The problem is that it’s bland, boring, reeks of lazy writing and that’s probably what it is. My impression is that the writers never even bothered to contemplate the other problem with vengeance, that those who crusade against it may have as many problems as those who crusade for it. They may pose just as grave a threat against what we think of as “civilization,” which, if it relies on anything at all, must rely on the idea that humans are worth something. Also, that actions have consequences.
Back to Thompson’s post. What’s interesting about it is that it has offered a connection — without meticulously explaining how the connection works — between this “lust” for not-vengeance, and the lazy condescension of the intellectuals by way of a link to Mises.
The intellectuals are a paradoxical product of the market economy, because “unlike any other type of society, capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.” Like Hayek, Schumpeter described intellectuals broadly as “people who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.” More narrowly, “one of the touches that distinguish them from other people who do the same is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs.” That is, intellectuals do not participate in the market (at least not in the areas they write about), and do not generally rely on satisfying consumers to earn a living. Add to this their naturally critical attitude—which Schumpeter argues is the product of the essential rationality of the market economy—and it is easy to see why intellectuals would be hostile to the market.
In other words, intellectuals are often out of place in entrepreneurial societies. The growth of the intellectual class is not a response to consumer demand, but to the expansion of higher education. Passing through the higher education system does not necessarily confer valuable skills, but it often does convince graduates that work in the market is beneath them:
The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. His failure to do so may be due either to lack of natural ability—perfectly compatible with passing academic tests—or to inadequate teaching; and both cases will, absolutely and relatively, occur more frequently as ever larger numbers are drafted into higher education and as the required amount of teaching increases irrespective of how many teachers and scholars nature chooses to turn out.
If higher education takes little or no account of the supply and demand for useful skills, it will produce graduates who naturally gravitate to the intellectual class, bringing with them feelings of estrangement and dissatisfaction:
All those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite or in which aptitudes and acquirements of a different order count. They swell the host of intellectuals in the strict sense of the term whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment. And it often rationalizes itself into that social criticism which as we have seen before is in any case the intellectual spectator’s typical attitude toward men, classes and institutions especially in a rationalist and utilitarian civilization.
A swelling intellectual class then molds public opinion, swaying it in favour of socialism.
Thompson (via Small Dead Animals) then adds:
This “conspicuous forgiveness,” a kind of vicarious tolerance, can be quite striking in its boldness and disregard for facts, with acts of savagery being met with improbable excuses and rhetorical diversions. Generally from a safe distance. In 2011, following the London riots, China Miéville, a middle-class Marxist and member of the International Socialist Organisation, claimed to be “horrified” that members of the press and public had used the word feral when describing the career predators and assorted thugs who, seeking excitement and a sense of power, had beaten passing pensioners unconscious and burned random women out of their homes. And who, on the arrival of firefighters, had dragged them from their vehicles and punched them insensible.
To use the word feral when describing such people was, Mr Miéville said, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” You see, by referring to such behaviour as savage and anti-social, we are the degraded ones in Mr Miéville’s eyes, the ones in need of chastisement. Our compassionate Marxist was hardly alone in his rush to invert reality and flatter the brutish, even as it became clear that an overwhelming majority of the looters, muggers and arsonists had previous convictions for similar crimes, an average of 15, and some more than fifty. Despite such bothersome details, flattery and evasion were very much the done thing as fellow leftists Nina Power, Laurie Penny and Priyamvada Gopal were happy to demonstrate. Presumably on grounds that none of the feral behaviour, the random beatings and violent predation, was being directed at them.
Tying this all together is the concept of worth. Say what you like about those who think humans are worth avenging; at least part of their mindset is “humans are worth.” Their philosophy is not, as we’ve been repeatedly told by the pop culture, opposed to justice; it’s more of a close-cousin to it, since you can’t have justice without thinking humans are worth something. The work they do, for each other, is also worth something, inconvenient as that may be to the intellectuals who consider themselves to be above it all.
Captain Capitalism has completed an interesting item of Internet research:
I had to search her name and after finding her newly hyphenated name was able to track her down.
What is she doing today?
I want to highlight this because there’s a couple important lessons to pull from it.
1. Look at the money raised and their pleas for money. Also look where it goes to. It goes into just basically supporting themselves. These aren’t professional activists. They’re panhandlers on the internet pursuing some sad pathetic crusade they’ve been told to by media, leftist professors, and yes, even the government.
2. Precisely what is their crusade? To take selfies on Monsanto’s signs out in the middle of nowhere as they hold up craptastic home made signs? Not only is the crusade itself pointless and ultimately mentally-egotistically self-serving, but they’re not even doing it right.
3. She is obviously with child. If they only have $160, guess who’s going to pay for her birthing expenses! That is the least of our concerns though. Any body want to place odds on the kid growing up right?
I could go on, but the larger point is this is ultimately where crusaderism leads. A dead end wasted life of delusion and no real practical or meaningful achievements.
In the last post I had made reference to nihilism, singling out for special criticism the “don’t discuss politics” types and the “I’m a (phony) moderate” types and the “conservatives and liberals there’s no difference between the two” types:
Nihilism — the belief that life lacks meaning or intrinsic value. It’s really a “Captain Obvious” thing when you think about it: The belief that ideas and actions are pointless, leads to the belief that life itself is pointless.
That is our culture clash. This is why we see all the arguing. “First Black President” has nothing to do with it, nothing whatsoever, it provides no motivation at all on either side. We’re having a national shouting-match about all the rest of us, and our worth. A certain Secretary of State summed it up very well, as she was being grilled in the Senate about her most glaring failures: “What difference…does it make?” Waitaminnit, did I say “very well”? I meant “perfectly.” That is the epicenter of disagreement.
Ultimately, if you are dedicated to a consumer-economy in which we rely on helping each other, lots of things matter that otherwise wouldn’t. In fact, whether you realize it or not, just about everything matters. But if you’re above-it-all, then none of it does. So then you can join some crusade that doesn’t really have any meaning, or value, material or otherwise. Get yourself knocked up with no means of support, no food in the cupboards, no cupboards, just panhandling on the Internet? Burn randomly-selected women out of their houses? Beat up old people? Get beaten up yourself? What difference does it make?
Let’s concentrate instead on banning words like “feral” and “bossy,” because words mean more than people. Yes, that does start some arguments. I should certainly hope so.
1) No matter what they fail at, it’s always someone else’s fault. George Bush did it, the Republicans are mean, the dog ate Obama’s homework. It’s not his fault that he’s flunking every class!
5) They demand to be treated like adults, but the moment they get an adult responsibility — like being President — they quit doing it the right way five minutes in because it’s “boring” and wander off to find something more “fun” to do (like golfing or campaigning).
11) When they don’t like something, they throw a tantrum and demand that other people change their behavior to work around their attitude problem.
15) They torment, bully, and provoke other people at every opportunity until someone hits them back, at which point they start crying and demanding sympathy.
In all these examples — just like with the bratty kids — the common situation is that the object of study makes reliable errors, out of a sense of conviction that their feelings are somehow important.
Me, in the e-mails, on the subject of people who insist “all ideas/ideologies are equally valid,” and then somehow end up (or always wanted to be?) voting straight-lefty-dem:
I have concluded that this is the natural sentiment people end up having, when they don’t see linkage between actions they exercise, and results produced. When they build nothing, or think they’re building nothing. I’ve found people who disavow that notion, have made a lifestyle of some kind out of producing favorable consequences. It doesn’t have to be software engineering…It can be 4H. It can be gardening. But when your most impactful effort in this world is something like “I’m going to keep drawing a paycheck for no work, and my boss is never going to get rid of me,” it produces nihilism.
Nihilism — the belief that life lacks meaning or intrinsic value. It’s really a “Captain Obvious” thing when you think about it: The belief that ideas and actions are pointless, leads to the belief that life itself is pointless. And if all these things are pointless, then the only thing that has a point to it is being happy, right? Therefore, the only thing anybody can do that’s wrong, is raining on your parade. Crowding your buzz. Ruining your little party.
Being a square.
I can’t imagine living any kind of life as some sort of “adult,” that somehow permits me to maintain the same world-view I might have had in middle school. I have a great deal of trouble envisioning how that’s possible. I don’t envy it, but there must be a sort of bliss in it. Especially when the person at the center of it, has become accustomed to feeling his or her way through every little problem that comes along, and ignoring all consequences.
All the way to the eighteenth hole.
It really has been amusing to hear all these nice liberals bemoaning the use of the Religious Freedom Reformation Act when it was a law passed with near unanimity and signed into law with great self congratulation by Hillary Clinton’s husband. Suddenly, liberals no longer like the idea of finding a balance between the reach of the federal government and people’s individual religious beliefs if it interferes with their desired policy goals.
And all this for the goal of forcing employers to provide employees free contraceptives. It has always struck me as rather strange that that is the one prescription that the administration wants to insist should be provided at no cast to insured employees. Think of all the possible medicines that they could have chosen to be provided for free – prescriptions for heart problems, cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV, or psychiatric treatments. But none of those were considered worthy of mandating that they be provided free of cost. Only contraceptives. Not covered with a deductible or for a certain percentage. Nope, absolutely free. I would love to have a reporter ask Obama why didn’t they have similar mandates for other medical needs? I think it was all done deliberately so that they could take advantage of the opposition that they knew would arise in order to gin up their phony cries about a war on women.
Obviously, they don’t really care about health. What’s really going on here? Three explanations:
1. Liberals have far more ability to “troll” conservatives, than the other way around, and they’re making the most of their battle-superiority here.
2. Heavy overlap with explanation #1, arguably inseparable from it: Liberals, like any political force arguing for an entitlement, defeat their own purpose of existence if they ever enjoy complete success and so they’re waging a battle on vanishing ground. Their most potent battle-weapon has been a “reproductive freedom” that isn’t actually listed in the Constitution, they’ve won this fight, so now they’re arguing to make it freer and freer and freer and freer…
3. Who cares about politics? Liberals are opposed to the human race.
From watching their actions as they form positions on existing and new issues, and arguing those positions, I find a persuasive strength in all three of these.
They are vastly more talented at trolling their opposition, by the way. And it’s good for them; “moderate” after “moderate” after “moderate” watches this go on, and yells something like “Eek, those rotten conservative men are going to force me or some poor woman to carry a pregnancy!” and starts voting straight-dem. But there’s some give-and-take involved in this. A parallel argument emerges about whether or not abortions are being used for “casual” birth control; this gets “settled” in the sense that everybody’s socially stigmatized from offering any opinion that they may be; but, as liberals continue their arguing and advocating and lobbying to keep abortifacient drugs “accessible,” meaning free for their constituents while others are forced to pay for them, there certainly is an appearance that they’re arguing to maintain unhealthy and unproductive lifestyles.
Now they’re trying to move the ideological line in our society so that it becomes an extremist and intolerably right-wing position to say people should pay for what they use. That part of it is not good for their cause; they’re weakening themselves by pushing for this. At least, I hope so.