Archive for April, 2016


Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Had a terrible thought as I was listening to the morning news earlier this week, about these so-called Climate Change accords. It’s a thought I’ve had many times before. It’s about the future, but it’s becoming less and less a prophecy about what is to come, and more and more an observation of what already is.

My thought is that the alwarmists are going to lose the battle of public opinion, but win the war of public policy nevertheless. I find this much more frightening than the prospect that they could win at both, because there are quite a few things that would have to change in order for that to happen. But for them to be unmasked as the plunderers they really are, and get what they want anyway — well, we’re pretty much there already, right? All that has to happen is actual ratification of these international regulations, taxes, penalties, various wealth-redistribution schemes…which “everybody knows” are just a big crock. Just like, some fifteen years ago “everybody knew” they were on the up-and-up, and we only had ten years before the oceans would boil away or whatever.

My dread is that “everybody will know” this is just a big scam, and we’ll have to line up and pay anyway just like cows falling in line before the slaughterhouse. It won’t be worth anybody’s time or energy to question it anymore. Just like the income tax, and ObamaCare, and…

The attitude was adroitly summed up a few years ago by Mark Steyn, describing what has become in the United Kingdom a sort of catchphrase: “It’s ‘ealth ‘n safety gone mad, mate! ‘ealth ‘n safety gone mad!!”

‘It’s ’Elf ’n’ Safety, mate, innit?” You only have to spend, oh, 20 minutes in almost any corner of the British Isles to have that distinctive local formulation proffered as the explanation for almost any feature of life. The signs at the White Cliffs of Dover warning you not to lean over the cliff? It’s Health & Safety, mate. Primary schools that forbid their children to make daisy chains because they might pick up germs from the flowers? Health & Safety, mate. The decorative garden gnomes Sandwell Borough Council ordered the homeowner to remove from outside her front door on the grounds that she could trip over them when fleeing the house in event of its catching fire? Health & Safety. The fire extinguishers removed from a block of flats by Dorset risk assessors because they’re a fire risk? Health & Safety. Apparently the presence of a fire extinguisher could encourage you to attempt to extinguish the fire instead of fleeing for your life.

And this is my feeling of dread. That the struggle of swaying public opinion has not been lost — quite to the contrary, it has been won, rather decisively. People do not support the idea of unproductive people playing the “turnstyle game,” skimming off the top of the business of better people who actually do produce things. But, it doesn’t matter. In the generations to come, that’s how it’s going to be done — even though everyone with viable tissue upward from the brain stem, can see what’s wrong with it. Doesn’t matter.

Reminds me of that old joke about how many New Jersey teamsters does it take to change a light bulb. “Twenty-three, you got a problem with that??”

Proud of GrandpaI’m not sure how we got here. We could not have gotten here without some people acquiring influence over lots of things, people who are very much different from me. People who want to see their own granddaughters watch them as they wreck things. I can’t relate to that at all. In the e-mails, I was inspired to drop a bit of personal history…

I had a good thing going with the network security thing, but I had to go back into software development again. Earning potential wasn’t the reason. Certification issues are much closer to the truth, but there are certification issues required with software development as well, especially in the military, and I have noticed my brain does not work in the same way as the brains of people who build exams. That comes a bit closer to the truth. But the bulls-eye is, I’m unhappy being the guy who meets with the application developers and telling them, “book, chapter, verse, here are the new policies we are implementing, and what you have built, entirely permissible up until this day, is an intolerable infraction against what we shall be enforcing from this day forward. Tear it out and do it again.” That was my whole line of work, a destroyer. My background had been as one of the guys who built stuff, and here I was with my whole working life dedicated to wrecking things. So I went back into the business of figuring out how to make things work and making them work…maybe, from time to time, being faced down by an “Information Assurance” guy just like myself years ago and told No You Can’t Have Firefox. But that’s okay.

You can certainly admit “climate change is real,” and yet many more hurdles will remain standing in front of you before you get to the part about “we have to get these accords signed so the planet can be saved.” Nevertheless, even if I cleared all those and was into getting those new rules in place, because I earnestly believed Charlton Heston would be banging his fists on a beach centuries hence, damning me to hell if we didn’t get it done…I can’t relate to a guy who wants his granddaughter to sit on his lap, watching him do the dirty work. The work of a destroyer. Who wants their grandchildren to remember them as agents of destruction? Even if you can rationalize the destruction is necessary. That’s your living epitaph, seriously? You want that? You found a good reason to stop things, and then you stopped them?

Sorry, I just can’t relate.

And yet, somewhere along the line, this has become the New Normal. Unproductive people, make the rules — are expected to make up the rules — about how more productive people are, and are not, supposed to do their producing.

Part of what has gone away, I think, is the paralyzing fear of a bare cupboard. There are some of us who do like to be productive; when you get right down to it, who doesn’t? But there is also a feeling in place, absent in generations past, that if we fail in this objective then it’s not like anybody in our household is really going to starve. That seems like a good thing. On the whole, maybe it is.

But it has the effect of devaluing productivity, to a matter of taste.

Oh sure, yes I’d like to produce something, if I can have that…the way I’d like to put chocolate milk on my Cheerios if I can have that. And that’s it, that’s the change in mindset. We know this is a scam and we don’t want our so-called “leaders” to be pulling this scam on us…but, if they get away with it, and they probably will, it isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s just things the way they are. Line up, get ready to get fleeced, or don’t produce anything, and we’ll just adapt to that. ‘ealth ‘n safety gone mad, mate. We know it’s wrong. We’re going to accept it anyway.

What Color of DatabaseWe did not get here in the blink of an eye. It’s been a series of tiny, unnoticeable changes, one after another, taking place across decades. We’re about to let the unproducers run everything, in part, because throughout these decades it has become something of a pain in the ass to produce anything. To produce something, you have to define things, and throughout this period of gradual degradation it has become harder and harder to define anything. The undefiners have become more popular than the definers, because the undefiners are more fun to watch. It’s fun to watch a wrecking ball. And that right there is the true source of the problem. We’re seeing a conflict between instant and delayed gratification.

Because the unproducers and the undefiners are running everything, and we’ve allowed them to take over like this, many among us have experienced a new misery at work — and, I suppose, we all deserve it. We have begun to labor under the tutelage of a new breed of undirectors.

Me, from the e-mails, again:

Among all the people who are trying to get something done, there are two kinds: Those who obsess on process, and those who obsess on outcome. “Bureaucracy” is a dirty word, you know, nobody ever says “I want to build the perfect bureaucracy.” Why is bureaucracy a dirty word? Because wherever there is one, there is a sink-or-float formulation in place with regard to these process vs. outcome people. The ones who are obsessed entirely with process, to the point they neglect outcome, end up on top.

…Processes have advantages. They provide immunity in case of a bad outcome, at least, to those who follow them. Process is a contingency plan, much like a parachute in an airplane. Plane takes the trajectory of a lawn dart, goes crashy crashy, and to everybody who’s bothered to follow the process — strap on the parachute — it’s all good. “I did what I was supposed to do.” You see politicians say this all the time. People don’t take the time and trouble to explore this aspect of it…but this is why they don’t like bureaucracies. Would you get on an airplane under the command of a pilot, who was overly obsessed with his parachute?

That, too, has become a New Normal: The power-figure who has all the authority, but won’t accept the responsibility that comes with it because the bad results came about after he followed, unquestioningly, all of the rules. Put in simpler terms, we have come to see it as a qualification for leadership, that our leaders won’t demonstrate any kind of critical thinking. We have begun to say — Yes! I would fly on that airplane. Even if the pilot has exactly one more parachute available for his use, than I have available for mine.

For that to happen, we must have lost the vision, somewhere, of arriving at our intended destination in one piece.

But the undefiners have done more damage than simply to saddle us with a new management layer of undirectors. They’ve also rotted the layers further down, closer to the bottom where the work actually gets done. How could it have gone any differently? People are shunned if they try to produce anything at all, shunned if they try to be anything different from what is absolutely mediocre, placed under the directorship of undirectors who are promoted to be undirectors because of their own demonstrated mediocrity…occasionally, you find yourself relegated in the status of persona non grata if you produce anything at all.

And so now we find ourselves living in the age of the unworker. It’s one of those transitions that has been sneaking up on us; we wouldn’t notice it if we had the chance to live the last 80 years over and over again, a hundred times in a row. But if you could have been put on ice that many years ago, and revived in an instant in the here and now, the change would have all the subtlety of a whack in the balls. You see, our grandparents did not live in an era wherein one counted actual “calories,” but they lived their lives around the expenditure nevertheless. Grandpa clocked in to his shift, and then he spent miserable hours that were measured in minutes. But it wasn’t about misery, it was about honesty. He got paid for that time, as a matter of honor from his employer. And he worked for all that time, as a matter of honor from him.

Now, we’re supposed to go without so our kids can go to college. Learning what, exactly? Ah…here, the undefiners have flexed their muscle. We don’t know the answer, all too often. Some kind of degree, that will make them more employable? Employable in what? Doing what? Producing things? Or adding to the already-thickening ranks of unproducers?

Remember, our Secretary of State — representing all of us, in some capacity — wants to be remembered by his granddaughter as a guy who stopped more productive people from producing things. That’s not just him. That reflects in some way on us all. And it reflects on us all, because of this change that has taken place; back when your grandfather measured the worth of his paycheck in the minutes of his misery, Secretary Kerry would have had to do this preening as a private citizen, and would be effectively told by his country “all fine and good, you go down that road alone. And as an aside, you are one weird, screwed-up grandfather.” Today, his unproducer vision is dominant. There is some vision of his granddaughter, hopefully as a long-lived, radiant, wise woman, getting the message out to her own grandchildren what “we” did in the here & now. What we stopped. And those great-great-grandchildren are supposed to be grateful we didn’t trash the planet.

Just like we’re grateful that a few decades back, the Hollywood hippies scared industry away from building more nuclear power plants…oh yes, during the rolling blackouts we all feel so grateful. No, reason and common sense say the tykes from many generations from now, will still be struggling with anemic economic “recoveries” and therefore aren’t likely to show such gratitude. But that’s reason and common sense. The province of definers…not undefiners.

Obama ShootingsBecause we’re living in the age of the unproducer and the undefiner, the ununifier has become dominant as well. President Obama is merely the most resplendent out of many examples that could be offered. Each one surrounded by a cloudy narrative that he is in fact inspiring us all to live together in peace and harmony…but then, uh oh, reality beckons.

He condemns these “routine” events and calls for more gun control each time another one happens. After the recent Planned Parenthood shooting, he said, “we can’t let this become the new normal…enough is enough.”

But when did it become the new normal? While the 2nd Amendment continues to be attacked each and every time another mass shooting occurs, just realize something: these events were never this “routine” until Obama became president.

It isn’t just Obama, though. He’s not on the ballot this year, and yet there is something remarkably different: The two candidates with the highest disapproval ratings, happen to be the two most likely to face off against each other in the general election. It has not always been this way. What changed?

Well if you actually listen to an Obama speech, or a Hillary speech, or a Donald Trump speech, the answer is crystal-clear. This is the age of the ununifier. The so-called “leader” who purports to be an exemplar of excellence, but takes the shelter appealing only to the mediocre, the shelter of process over outcome, the parachute on the doomed plane. The guy who’s going to defend himself, after it’s all turned to crap, with craven cries of “yes but I followed all of the rules.” Yes, Trump would object to this, insist that he thinks for himself…John McCain supposedly did likewise. But see that’s the problem. These “mavericks” make up their own minds — how? They walk into a room and lock the door behind them, kind of mull things over really, really good? It seems they don’t take advice from anybody. Where do they get their information? To whom do they listen? What do they read? None of them are ready to say. Three possibilities emerge:

1. They don’t want us to know who has influence on them;
2. They’re making it all up as they go along;
3. They acknowledge someone else might have influenced them, but are afraid to inspect this open question themselves.

Either way, their decisions are beyond question, certainly beyond appeal. What really concerns me more than anything else is, all three of them seem to be open to the idea that in a free and honest exchange of ideas, they may find out the decisions they made cannot withstand an assault of scrutiny, as well as an opposite decision could; and, this terrifies them. At least, that’s how it looks to me. I’m sure there is a narrative that’s supposed to be peddled that isn’t being helped by that thought, but that’s how it looks.

The ununifier is a Prima donna. And we are living in his age. More’s the pity; we really do need, like never before, some open and honest discussion of the ramifications of important decisions. And we’re not getting it.

Worse still, our political so-called “leaders” are getting a rise out of this increased polarization. It has infected them with a perverse incentive, to get the rest of us fighting about anything…about nothing, if the situation calls for it. And so now we have the disgraceful bathroom debate. Should men be allowed to occupy womens’ restrooms because of the way they “identify”? Back when your grandfather punched the clock and began his dreary minutes of productive labor, it wouldn’t even have been a question.

One liberal Facebook-friend responded to this graphic…

…with this…speaking on behalf of many, no doubt…

Is he going to take some little boy who identifies as a girl and drag him behind his pickup truck?

Is he scared of his own sexuality and wants to prove what a man he is?

++blink++ What the fuckety fuckety fuck…

Look, I know this is nothing new. I’m up on this dark fantasy Hollywood has had, that any males who stand for manhood, thereby thwarting their agenda, must be latent homosexuals. I guess it all comes from that sick, sick movie. But this crosses a line: The same brush is to be used to tar any man, anywhere, who sees fit to extend any kind of extra effort to protect a woman?

Oh yes, I do get it, it’s all about narratives with these people. And that narrative they want is the one of an ultra-limber, ultra-strong, sinewy bitch-in-a-catsuit, who weighs 115 pounds soaking wet, kicking three hundred pound men backward so hard that their unconscious bodies shatter brick walls as they sail through the air.

Ass Kicking Woman in a CatsuitWell the problem with that is…and it makes me feel a bit awkward having to type this, truth be told, it seems like I shouldn’t have to say it. There are an awful lot of females in this world, they’re more than half the human population. And they’re not all sinewy bitches in catsuits who can kick heavy guys through brick walls. Some of them are little old ladies who need oxygen tanks and inhalators. And yeah, maybe a big strong protector. What’s wrong with that, exactly?

I thought liberals were supposed to be in favor of defending the weakest among us?

I guess not. I guess we have entered the era of the unprotector. What happened here? This thing we call “liberalism,” far from being friendly in any way to the vision of expanded liberty, has become drunk on the power of the expanding state. And an expanding state cannot find the energy for further expansion, in any environment, save for one saturated in feelings of misery and despair. People feel miserable and desperate when they feel like they aren’t protected.

So it’s: DON’T protect that woman, or me and my friends will insinuate you’re some kind of latent homosexual. Leave her unprotected, so she’ll feel miserable and desperate, and she will grasp for the “protection” provided by my friends who are running for office, as democrats, as a thirsty man would lunge for a canteen of water. That’s how it’s supposed to work. So don’t get in the way.

Rather like two bums getting into an argument over who gets to work the street corner. Except the other guy wasn’t a bum wanting to work a street corner, he was a concerned man spending a few extra minutes to defend a helpless woman against danger.

Ah…but there are still more connecting tendrils. We have entered the age of the unman. And, the unwoman.

Now, what’s written above is quite a lot of words, even before you consider there are hyperlinks to go with it all, leading to more pages with more words. How to bottom-line it all?

I would compare it to drinking water after eating Jalapeño peppers. We’re doing things that seem at first blush like they should fix the problem, and in an instant…but the “solution” we’re trying just makes the problem worse. Nothing gets better until we do a better job of defining things, and the solutions we’ve been trying all have to do with removing definitions, rather than re-invigorating old ones or imposing new ones. So the problem languishes, or even gets worse. So we try a bit more of what we have already just seen doesn’t work.

At this point, we’re like a man who has ingested so much water that his health is starting to see a new danger that wasn’t yet present when he was just eating the peppers, and is still asking for yet more glasses. The distinction between men and women, we’re ready to rend asunder — that can only mean, all other definitions are on the table as well. Producers vs. non-producers, workers vs. non-workers, people who abide by the law vs. those who flout it, men, women, excellent, mediocre…people who need help and protection, people who do not…weakening and erasing these differentiations, has not done anything to help us. And yet, the critical thinking has yet to make a comeback.

We’re on auto-pilot, and have no business at all flying that way. It doesn’t fit our situation. The aircraft nose is pointed downward, the “pilot” has a parachute and we don’t. Oh yeah, and he’s not in the cockpit either, he’s in the back of the craft, by the emergency exit…

Now might be a good time to wake up from the nap.

Liberals Review “God Is Not Dead 2”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Oh, my.

Jack Jenkins is ThinkProgress’ Senior Religion Reporter and has a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard University. Zack Ford is ThinkProgress’ LGBT Editor and an out and proud atheist who has spoken at various secular conferences nationwide. This week, they went to see the new film God’s Not Dead 2 together.

You can read the whole thing at your leisure. The two things that really resonated with me were…

1. The nerd-slap-fight at the beginning, over the pen. They were both supposed to take the “reviewing” assignment seriously enough to take notes, but prepared for this by arriving, somehow, with only one pen between the two of them…the result of which is one liberal blaming the other for hogging the pen. Well that is worth a giggle and a snort. I know it goes over the head of a dedicated liberal, and non-liberals were likely never supposed to see this…but, isn’t that just like ’em? Because of this, the first two paragraphs read like parody of liberal entertainment sites, written by a conservative. Except, I think, they’re serious about it.

2. Continuing on to the very end, what you get out of it is the same as what you get when you take it upon yourself to argue with a liberal, on any given day. Here, I’ll summarize it: “You lost us when you acknowledged the victimhood of, or identified with, someone we don’t think should ever benefit from victimhood.” The difference between that, and the whole review, is just some volume of idle mockery. But that gets right to the heart of it. Trans-genders, gays, atheists, women, blacks, and illegal immigrants can be victims. Along with felons who are actually guilty. Boy Scouts, home-schoolers, business owners, conservatives, Republicans, stay-at-home Moms, whites, straights, men…and Christians, cannot be.

A tempest-in-a-teapot has emerged over whether the film accurately portrays the legal challenges some Christians have encountered as they freely exercise their faith. The producer of the film maintains that the plot is taken from real-life examples, and to bolster this point as listed 25 such cases at the end of the credits. The so-called review links to an effort to debunk some of these, but it amounts to nothing more than any given left-wing “debunking,” it’s far less of a debunking than an exercise in “we can’t [afford to] let anyone else have the last word on anything, ever.”

What I got out of the actual movie they don’t want anyone to take the time to go see, is a point that seems to have gone sailing straight over their heads. And it isn’t complicated: There’s a big difference between a state that is dedicated to non-establishment of an official religion, and a state that is dedicated to establishing non-religion as its religion. In the United States, we have arguably managed to achieve the second of those two things, albeit outside the purview of written legislation, through a chilling effect. Yes, that’s a real legal term, because it’s a real legal concept.

And here begins a fascinating discussion. Someone should make a movie about it. Actually, someone did, but the liberals, thinking they’re responding to & prevailing in this ensuing discussion, could much more fairly & accurately be characterized as refusing to participate in it. Because it acknowledges people could be shorted, slighted, wronged…the foundational premise of any civil-remedy system…while maintaining membership in classes liberals don’t like. And liberals refuse to participate in any contemplation, in a group environment or in solitude, that allows for such a possibility.

“It’s a Fight About Freedom of Thought”

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Finally — finally! — someone bulls-eyed it. Can you play the clip? if so, keep watching until the very end.

The other issue is, of course, that there are reasons why we have been herding males into boy-restrooms and females into girl-restrooms. It’s a “Chesterton’s Fence,” you shouldn’t be allowed to dismantle it until such time as you understand why it got put there in the first place. One liberal was admonishing me that there is a possibility that a girl can be molested in a girls-only bathroom, and a boy can be molested in a boys-only bathroom; my rebuttal to which, of course, was that the likelihood of such shenanigans going down was much higher with men being allowed in a girls’ facility. Which I’m sure the liberal, when he responds, will make untrue by chortling at it and invoking his magical “I Laugh At It And So It Becomes Untrue” powers. That’s the ethereal liberal realm; people don’t change their behavior in an altered environment, ever, unless such behavioral change would be helpful to whatever liberals are pushing. Buying doesn’t slow down when there are artificial prices built into things, active-shooters don’t gravitate to places that restrict the ability of bystanders to shoot back…human behavior remains absolutely static.

But the primary, most-important issue is that we’re deciding what truth is. Is it merely an after-product of a person’s feelings.

As Heather Wilhelm points out at Red State (H/T William Teach):

So why can’t we just live and let live? Bathroom law opponents “are crusading against a tiny minority that poses no real threat,” Jillian T. Weiss, a transgender rights lawyer and activist, wrote in Wednesday’s USA Today. In a way, she’s correct: Demonizing transgender people is unfair in any light. But Weiss also misses the bigger picture behind the bathroom brouhaha. It’s not a fight against people. It’s a fight about reality, and whether the government can dictate a certain version of it. Ultimately, it’s a fight about freedom of thought.

America’s burgeoning bathroom wars, so silly and banal on the surface, are actually quite deep: They fling together two conflicting, wildly incompatible streams of thought. On the transgender side, identity is everything. If gender is truly fluid, and yet truly knowable, then the denial of one’s gender identity is a hurtful denial of one’s very being or self.

This is also why the bathroom issue provides such a massive spark point: If the government agrees that trans men and women can access the bathrooms of their choice, they are officially validating the view that gender is no more than what you feel or believe it to be. They are ruling this view, in their own way, a fact—and if it’s a fact, can anyone really rightfully disagree?

In a way, this is all quite obvious, this business of government ruling on a belief held by only a few among us, as a fact, and ruling against the contrary belief held by the remainder. People actually “know” this already. You can see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of the sugar-pumpkins in the video. “I identify as a 6’5″ Chinese woman.” How say they? Well the honest answer would be — I’m not as “sure” about height as I am about gender identity, because this month’s bandwagon is all about gender identity and not about height. We’ll see about height sometime later, maybe.

That would be the honest answer. But once people climb onto the bandwagon, they can’t say that.

From the comments:

My problem with this bathroom thing is no[t] even related to abstraction or morality, but to plain and physical conditions of the people affected. Male has penis, female has vagina. There are not “Peginas” in nature, not in humans, no in animals, not even in plants.

Public bathroom separation is based on that very simple, binary, but undeniable scientific and natural truth. Everything else is opinion and PC. And that is all there is to it.

I think the liberals have really met their Waterloo with this one. One of their most popular tactics in recent years is to get hold of some cherry-picked statistic, friendly to their agenda, that makes the reciter-of-the-statistic sound like he’s somehow pulled in a Ph.D.-level of expertise on the subject overall. It doesn’t matter if the statistic is questionable, or even if it’s been entirely discredited. President Obama, for example, is still getting mileage out of the business with ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists agreeing with global warming. The shelf life on this stuff is quite long. And let’s be honest, your Republican Uncle is usually going to be unprepared for the recited-statistic. This stuff works, that’s why they keep using it. So the liberals get to crow about “get the facts!” Case closed.

They use that here too. But here, on this subject, they are promoting a view of truth that contradicts their “facts.” They’re promoting a new fabric, a new shape to the space-time continuum, that says facts must give way to feeling. They are reduced to their usual, routine protest that the facts are on their side, while simultaneously insisting on the premise that facts don’t matter.

Furthermore, if facts don’t matter and feelings count for everything, then there is only one solution available to us to keep our society functional. We’re going to have to have more separation, not less. Give up on that celebrated liberal one-world utopia. Build more and more walls, so that people can live in segregated-bathroom societies, or unified-bathroom societies, whichever way their feelings make them feelz. And then we’ll have to build more walls still. Guns-or-not; high-taxes-or-not; meat-or-not; birth-control-or-not; money-or-not.

If we must insist that all feelings are valid, and that they trump truth, but that we are unified in our desire for peace — there is no other solution.

Update 4/18/16: Thanks for the feedback from those who weren’t able to play the video. I’ve replaced it with the tried-and-true YouTube.

Super Powers

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Isn’t it exciting to think about, if you had super powers, you could avert some sort of disaster that would otherwise bring bodily harm to one innocent, or many? Or, that you could do something amazing that might simply have a positive effect on their lives? Make their day? Give them a thrill? Advance the cause of science, technology, peace, love, understanding…?

And all that stuff?

Super PowersI guess the answer to that nowadays is “Not only no, but hell no.” This permeating theme that used to be de rigueur in comic books, from Action Comics #1 on through decade after decade after decade, has given way to a different one: What if the super-powered being turns against us? And ya know what…that started out as an intriguing thought. You have to welcome any & all intriguing thoughts into the superhero genre, provided they truly are intriguing. And new. But by now I have to put together some sort of a PSA, for the benefit of writers of superhero movies and comic books.

This is not new.

Also, it’s bad story-telling. It might not start out that way, but it’s bound to end up that way. It has zero potential. You can’t take it anywhere.

“[blank]-Man, with his powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, constitutes a threat.” Alright…what do you do with that? You can do two things, you can neutralize this threat or not neutralize him. Those are your two options.

How do you make this reasoning even appear mentally balanced? You can’t. Batman gave it a good try in Dawn of Justice, but he did not succeed. And I suppose the writing staff intended for him to fail at this…although they don’t seem to be too sure about that. How do we even summarize the theme so it seems somewhat appealing to someone who isn’t either working in a security-related industry, or completely off his nut? Let me give it a good-faith try: “If any one among us has powers not shared by everybody else, then not one among us is truly safe.” Ooh. That’s quite good, if I dare say so myself.

Let’s slip it one notch further toward the brink of insanity: If we can make a world where not one person can do anything everybody else can’t do, we’ll all be completely safe. Whoops! That one toppled over the edge. Looks like we never had too far to go…

Which is kind of the point I’m making here. Not only can you not take this idea anywhere in fiction, you can’t take it too far in real life either.

It does form the basis of sensible enterprise security. I remember one time management wanted to know if someone on the team could conceivably be a threat…not sure how that question came about, but the answer we provided was far more sensible. YES he’s a threat, the same way everybody on the whole damn team is a threat, we have administrative privileges that are required for us to do our jobs.

It boggles my mind, knowing that there are people out there who never get tired of this boring theme. It boggles me even more knowing, after they’re all done watching the latest movie that uselessly cogitates upon the idea-that-can’t-go-anywhere “Golly, what if Iron Man decided to take out downtown?” — will lose no time in solemnly intoning, goodness gracious here’s ANOTHER problem, so we’d better give President Barack Obama more power to do something about it.

I had high hopes for Suicide Squad. The Harley Quinn actress looks like she’s turning in one of those memorable performances, of the “great acting, because it’s not that much of a stretch for her” variety. But, the first line of the first scene, crapped all over my hopes for it…

What if Superman decided to do that? Dunno…file it under “If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t have to bump his ass on the ground all the time.”

Stop it already. I liked it in The Incredibles, because it wasn’t a serious thought, except when the storyline was showing how flawed the reasoning was. Since then, it’s been done to death…and it started out tired. Now it’s an irritant. Stop. Now. Please. Thank you. ThatIsAll.

How They Fail to Mature

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Last month (as well as previously) I noted…

1. There is an intelligence within the liberal movement, manifesting itself through its competence, taking on the responsibility of adjusting the agenda between election cycles. Let us call this the “scheming elites”…

2. There is a demonstrated ignorance within the movement as well, a bloated, voluminous, sprawling ignorance…We could call this the “ignorant commons.”

3. The liberal movement consists, in large part, of a sustained monologue taking place FROM the scheming elites TO the ignorant commons, with zero feedback…

This creates something of a question. New information has a tendency to do that; one mystery solved, two more created. How are liberals motivated, what’s their angle? It’s easy to see how the “scheming elites” gain ground when it’s harder for me to protect my household because I can’t get a gun, or when I spend more time on the employment sidelines because it’s harder to get a job. It creates an atmosphere of hopelessness and desperation, and democrats win more elections when people feel hopeless and desperate.

What of the ignorant-commons? They flock to social media to recycle the talking points the scheming-elites gave them. They think it makes them look smart. How it makes them look, is like Lenin’s “useful idiots,” except on the wane curve of their declining usefulness…

I have noticed a certain drive to make sure all discussions end a certain way. So I guess there’s a childish addiction to winning-the-argument. But that’s not all of it. I recall a certain tireless gadfly engaged in an endless push to smear a questionable George Washington quote, give it a good shove one layer down from the category the facts support — “disputed,” “unsubstantiated,” “frowned-upon by the experts at Mount Vernon,” — to the category the facts would not support. “Debunked” or the equivalent. The tempest in a teapot ground onward, through the sands of time. The weeks turned into months and the months turned into years. Embarrassing to watch. There is an example where “winning the argument” rapidly dwindled into a lost cause. They wanted the quote discredited altogether, couldn’t bring the foundation of fact to support that, got caught coming up short with it, everyone saw. And it’s notable because as an example, it doesn’t stand alone.

I can’t help wondering what they’d have to say about Lenin and the useful-idiots quote.

The motivation is to make sure the discussions end a certain way, not quite so much to win arguments. One of my exes was a lot like that. I used to call the conversations “‘This conversation isn’t over until it’s over the way I like it to be over’ conversations.” I suppose this reflects on me; wouldn’t such exchanges be finished in an instant, if I would simply give them what they want?

But what they want is lying. Worse than lying. Voluntary assistance in lying.

I might add that making sure all conversations end a certain way, in a monogamous relationship, is slightly less silly than making sure all conversations end a certain way on Facebook. How many of those are there? Whose job is it to notify you these conversations are underway?

But, back to the questions that might perhaps actually be answered. What motivates the ignorant commons to persist in their ignorance, and to spread it to others? This answers itself, somewhat, because of the enabling factor. Wallowing in ignorance feels so much better if others share in it. And so we are burdened in the tragedy of ignoramuses working so much harder at recruiting, at pulling others into mire of the ignorance, than those who have successfully extracted themselves work at keeping others out of it. Said mire of ignorance thus becomes — unnecessarily — a sort of rite-of-passage. Only some emerge, but everyone has to enter. Like a turn-style on a subway, everyone has to go through it. Is this a fixable problem?

I was given cause to think about this while reading Susan Stamper Brown’s recent column in Townhall. She, perhaps unintentionally, hit on an illuminating point.

While it’s true that liberalism is destroying America, it is also true that most liberals are not doing it intentionally.

Instead, they do what they do out of fear. Liberals are the casualties of social conditioning which inspires them to fear just about everything. That’s why they fear free speech, warm winters, competition, healthy debate, individualism, the Bible, guns, big sodas, freedom, capitalism, the U.S. Constitution, salt, manly men, a strong military, and so on. These irrational fears drive liberals to attempt to control their environment by creating safe spaces and collective utopias which always fail.

At the heart of liberalism is a quest for control over people’s lives and the insistence that a monstrous, micro-managing government offering minimal personal freedom is the only way to achieve fairness. If Americans understood how enslaved they are, they’d run the other way, but, “ignorance is bliss,” as the saying goes.

Yes, there is something to this. I recall a liberal who was oh so anxious to win-win-win the argument, and/or make sure the conversation ends a certain way…had to ‘fess up, in spite of all his passion for gun control, he didn’t have any guns. In fact, he was grasping for some GoodPerson strokes, having boasted of a personal oath to never own a gun, ever. He hadn’t anticipated the optics. A lot of people haven’t got an opinion about guns one way or another, but they can see what’s wrong with non-gun-owners laying down the rules about how guns are to be owned.

That’s a good issue. Gun control illustrates the distinction between “good fear” and “bad fear”; one enables you to prevent a bad thing from happening, the other enables you to prevent the living of life. Bad fear, like good fear, is rational on some level and that’s what makes it dangerous. There really is a possibility, however remote, that you will be run over by a car & killed if you leave the house. Just like there is a possibility that a gun you own might be used for nefarious purposes, or have some role in a tragic accident. But how far are we to take this? Do you really want to swear an oath never to leave the house, to go along with your oath never to own a gun?

Well, if you’ve never made the decision to “go ahead, damn the risks and let’s see what happens” — about anything, ever — that can look reasonable.

A second enabling factor is the elevation of theory over practice. Every now and then I’ll see a liberal turn this on its head, try to set up this false narrative that it is the conservatives who short themselves, shutting out reality, reciting the same litanies over and over again. Some will accuse me of never having been open to the idea that something I said might be wrong. Now, that’s funny. A typical morning for me will begin at around 3, when I put on some coffee and start inspecting why an application or library I’ve been developing at home doesn’t behave the way I want it to behave. Then I shower, dress, drive to work and spend another eight hours doing exactly the same thing. So my favorite rebuttal of “I realize I’m wrong about six to ten things, every day, before you kids think about getting out of bed” has a paralyzing effect on them that I have not missed out on noticing. They don’t know how to deal with it. It’s as if they’ve never been in a conversation with someone willing to admit he was ever wrong about anything; and that’s probably exactly what’s happening.

We know liberals are great at coming up with theories, but are terrible at refining those theories based on the lessons that come with practice. My favorite example of this is the Affordable Care Act. They want to tell us it’s an overall success, on balance, but there are two things you’d have to take into account to determine that: 1) things that were working fine before the Act became effective, and 2) things that are all cocked up in the aftermath. Liberals resolutely refuse to acknowledge either one of those things, let alone evaluate either one.

But that’s just one example. There are many others. The above-mentioned gun control, climate change, minimum wage…”My favorite part about the Obama era is all the racial healing.” Theory, practice; practice, theory. Liberals don’t look at this the way normal people do. That requires maturity. Admitting that practice contradicts cherished theory, or even just that it has required some minor adjustment, can require a lot of maturity that they simply don’t have.

There is a third factor. We have to mature to a certain level to admit nature doesn’t care what we think. That means there is a metaphysical truth writhing away, like a great sea serpent in a moat, seen or unseen. It doesn’t care who wins what argument, it is what it is. Liberals, having failed to develop the maturity to recognize this, seem to think “truth” is shaped by these conversations ending in one way or another. I’m guessing they’ve been commanded by the scheming-elites to log on, and do what they can do drum up support for this thing, or to dissipate the support for that other thing. But I get the impression it isn’t only just that. They seem like true believers, like they can go back and re-write history, make it so George Washington really didn’t say what they “know” he didn’t say, if that is how the dialogue concludes. This is rather ironic, since it’s a tacit admission that with one potent rebuttal inserted where it otherwise would not be, or removed where it otherwise would have existed, reality is likewise altered and suddenly George Washington really did say it.

It seems strange and surreal that there are people who don’t understand this, and therefore it is necessary to point it out in writing somewhere: Reality doesn’t work that way. But it takes maturity to realize that. For that reason, I maintain that some of the most productive and beneficial opinions, over mankind’s history, were formed by those who implicitly understood the limits to how much their own opinions mattered. It’s easy to prove the reverse, that the opinions that have done the greatest damage, or the least amount of good, were formed by those who thought their own opinions were all-important.

They Think They’re the “Conservatives”

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Frank Bruni, New York Times:

OUR infrastructure is inexcusable, much of our public education is miserable and one of our leading presidential candidates is a know-nothing, say-anything egomaniac who yanks harder every day at the tattered fabric of civil discourse and fundamental decency in this country.

But let’s by all means worry about the gays! Let’s make sure they know their place. Keep them in check and all else falls into line, or at least America notches one victory amid so many defeats.

That must be the thinking behind Republican efforts to push through so-called religious liberty laws and other legislation — most egregiously in North Carolina — that excuse and legitimize anti-gay discrimination. They’re cynical distractions. Politically opportunistic sideshows.

And the Republicans who are promoting them are playing a short game, not a long one, by refusing to acknowledge a clear movement in our society toward L.G.B.T. equality, a trajectory with only one shape and only one destination.

There’s a huge glaring error in this, but first let me nit-pick a bit. It is the polar opposite of the truth to say this trajectory has “only one shape and only one destination.” The trajectory meanders, turn by unprecedented turn and inch by serpentine inch, just like any other trajectory driven by emotion and drama. This year it’s all about forcing businesses to do away with male and female restrooms. Previously — just last year or so? — it was about same-sex marriage, and forcing the businesses to participate in that. Next year, who knows…although it will probably have something to do with forcing businesses to do something else. Frankly it’s become rather tiresome, not unlike taking a phone call from a friend who’s in the eleventh year of her divorce and has a whole new round of tall tales to unload about the awful things “Bob” did.

Another issue is that I think I know more conservatives than Frank Bruni does, and I can’t recall a single one who’s terribly obsessed with making sure anybody from any particular group “knows their place.” For keeping groups of people in places, we have democrats to worry about that. The concern with religious liberty is exactly that, protection from litigation; not exactly an unneeded thing in this day and age. One wonders, Who is against such shielding? And why, exactly? More lawsuits are a good thing?

But the big problem is:

…that’s very interesting, considering that it was the city of Charlotte, NC, run by Democrats, which initiated this whole thing with their passage of a gender confused bathroom law. The NC law, HB2, did a few simple things, one of which was to restrict local cities from forcing private businesses to allow transgenders to use the bathroom, locker room, and showers of their “gender identity”. If a company wants to do this, they are welcome to do so. It is their choice.

I thought liberals approved of choice. No?

As for the real issues, yes, we have them. So, why are so many Democrats, like Frank Bruni, so utterly concerned with a law that simply reaffirms freedom of choice for private entities as to who uses their bathrooms? Mention the danger from ISIS and radical Islam, and liberals mostly shrug and say it’s much ado about nothing. Gender confused in bathrooms? 5 alarm fire!

Recap: If liberals don’t get anything they want here, at all, the retail businesses can build all sorts of other-gender-identity bathrooms, let confused males use the womens’ restroom, confused women used the mens’ restroom…you can still have all that. This isn’t about what decision ultimately gets made, it’s about who makes it and gets to force it. And I don’t see anyone on either side overly obsessed with who exactly it is who owns the businesses, or overrides the business’ decisions, by name; so, this is about roles.

No, liberals do not approve of choice. They approve of force.

And they’re opposed to having any sort of discussion about it. Like John Hawkins noted,

Liberalism creates a feedback loop. It is usually impossible for a non-liberal to change a liberal’s mind about political issues because liberalism works like so: only liberals are credible sources of information. How do you know someone’s liberal? He espouses liberal doctrine. So, no matter how plausible what you say may be, it will be ignored if you’re not a liberal and if you are a liberal, of course, you probably agree with liberal views. This sort of close-mindedness makes liberals nearly impervious to any information that might undermine their beliefs.

And over the years, I have noticed something about this. Whenever I chance upon a liberal struggling in this mental state, which is very often, it seems to happen pretty consistently that there’s some disagreement lingering about what is natural. There is a certain pedigree to this. It may have started with the environmental movement. But today, it’s an oversimplification to say: Liberals have a hot, new, potentially disastrous whiz-bang idea, and conservatives are standing athwart the silliness yelling “slow down.” It’s accurate, but there’s more to it than that.

The liberals’ hot, new, whiz-bang idea — at least in the minds of the liberals — has something to do with a return to a more natural state. We have reason to believe this, across the board, including even such issues as the Affordable Care Act and Common Core.

There is perhaps no subject on which this is made more clear, than with the economic issues that have to do with “equality” of income or wealth, like raising the minimum wage, progressive taxes, and social safety nets. Their narrative is not one of “We have come up with an innovative new way to make sure everyone has the same amount of stuff”; it is one of “We have come up with an innovative new way to get things back to the way they were supposed to be, so everyone has the same amount of stuff.” It’s an important distinction, because the latter interpretation is seasoned with a pungent hatred of humanity missing from the former.

Liberals think in passive voice. This is what allows them to envision some sort of intended order to the universe — while simultaneously rejecting any belief system that has to do with a deity that’s doing this “intending.” This is, in a sense, what makes a liberal a liberal. It’s where the arrested development comes into play. It’s definable. Absolute certainty about what’s “supposed to” be this way and what’s “not supposed” to be that way…coupled with a resolute determination to never, ever, under any circumstances, entertain any inquiries into who or what is doing the supposing.

Businesses are supposed to have bathrooms based on feelings of gender identity. “According to whom?” is a rude question, unfit for polite discussion.

Apart from the above referenced hatred of humanity, what’s really dangerous about it is that they envision a validation from history for their ideas, that never was there. You can see this just by discussing things with them a few minutes, letting them monologue about it. They envision a halcyon era that existed before mankind, or when mankind was in too infantile of a state to have much of an effect on anything, in which things worked the way liberals want them to work now, and everything was wonderful. Then man came along and dorked it, so now it’s up to them to return us to normalcy because they & they alone have the smarts to do it. It’s rather like a twisted, Bizarro-world version of the expulsion from Eden. But, they didn’t get it from any sort of written Bible, they imagined it. That’s why I think it came from the environmental movement. They’re just living in a comfort zone, and during the environmental movement’s ascendency they became very comfortable with this. “‘We’ botched it all up, after it was all perfect and wonderful, before ‘we’ came along.” And liberals, of course, never, ever include themselves in that “we.”