Archive for May, 2017

“If You Wish to Be Trusted, Be Trustworthy”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Salena Zito, Washington Examiner:

For 20 years these news organizations, along with CBS, NBC and ABC, were the only game in town. They served as gatekeepers of information, and as their newsrooms became more and more detached from the center of the country, consumers began to become detached from them.

And then along came the Internet. Not only were different sources now available, but news aggregators such as Drudge made it easy to find things giving everyone access to “alternative facts.”

The universe of information expanded, and it became clear that what Peter Jennings, Dan Rather or the New York Times told consumers was not the whole story, and if you were a conservative (and a plurality of Americans self-identify as center right) you lost all trust in the mainstream media.

It took 17 years for that pressure to build not just among conservatives but also Democrats who came from a family of New Deal ideals who became weary of the constant misrepresentation and belittling of the traditions they held dear: church, family, guns and life.

The result was a populist explosion against all things big: big companies, big banks, big institutions and big media. The movement went undetected by the D.C. and New York centralized press not because they are bad people, not because they had an ax to grind against the center of the country. They just didn’t know them. They did not know anyone like them, or if they did it reminded them of all the things they despised about their upbringing, and they wanted to correct those impulses.

And so they missed it. They were a little shocked by the support for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, and they were really shocked by the support candidate Donald J. Trump received in the primaries

And they were really, really shocked by his win.

Via Instapundit.

“…And We’re All Gonna Be Great Together”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

From here.

“There’s Something Fundamentally Wrong With Liberals”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Derek Hunter, Townhall:

All standards have gone out the window; no hypocrisy is too great, no conspiracy theory too insane for someone on the left to advance it and its drone army to believe.

It must be easy to be a liberal in 2017. You don’t have to think for yourself. You don’t have to prove anything. And your life can swirl in a bubble where you’ll never have anything you say challenged in a serious way…
:
On the matter of advancing theories lacking proof, there isn’t a liberal publication that not only functions under the assumption Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to “steal” the election from Hillary Clinton, but prints stories and editorials alleging it on a regular basis.

It’s been almost a year and there is still zero evidence of this conspiracy, yet the Washington Post, New York Times, and every other left-wing birdcage liner has a team of reporters opining in their pages and on cable news about how this myth is fact.

Even Democratic members of Congress, who’d sacrifice their grandchildren to find a crumb of proof, have admitted there is none. It had to kill Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Maxine Waters to admit it, but they did. Journalists can’t.

Paglia: “Permanently Juvenile Condition”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Annie Holmquist, writing in something called “Intellectual Takeout”:

he outcomes of this male-bashing, Paglia notes, are not only harming men, but women as well. Instead of training them to dream big, grow up, and conquer the world, it handicaps and turns them into weak and silly women:

“What I am saying throughout my work is that girls who are indoctrinated to see men not as equals but as oppressors and rapists are condemned to remain in a permanently juvenile condition for life. They have surrendered their own personal agency to a poisonous creed that claims to empower women but has ended by infantilizing them. Similarly, boys will have no motivation to mature if their potential romantic partners remain emotionally insecure, fragile, and fearful, forever looking to parental proxies to make the world safe for them.”

Yup. It’s W.A.D., Weaponized Arrested Development.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… IX

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

My hope, with the way the 2016 elections have gone, is that liberalism as we know it today has caught its last breath and seen its last ray of sunlight. Which is not the same thing as saying conservatism should reign supreme forever and ever. Rather, I’m looking for a shift. If we accept the premise that what we call “politics” is the seeking of answers to questions, and this seems only reasonable; we would have to further accept that these answers we contemplate, and the questions that inspire them, are formulated along a configuration that shifts somewhat as the generations tick on by. They’re formed according to that moment’s open Overton Window. They’re formed according to what the perceived consensus has evaluated to be reasonable vs. unreasonable, which is different from what really is reasonable vs. unreasonable. And, also different from what the consensus had to say about it before, or will have to say about it afterward.

Those are the ground rules. They affect everything decided, which necessarily means they affect lots of people whether the people understand it or not. Well, for the last five decades or so, thanks to the Hippie Movement, our Overton Window is pig-iron stupid.

It is a culture of revolt against authority. Which by itself would be fine, except for one thing. It’s so late now, that these “hippies,” without ever having let go of hippie-hood and the culture of revolt that goes with it, have become wizened, seasoned, portly, wrinkly, rather farcical, comical-looking creatures…and, unfortunately, esteemed and elected. They’ve slipped into the right age in which our society expects people to be running big things. And you’ll never get ’em to admit it, for this means that their revolt has failed. The idea that the over-fifty crowd should be in charge of things, it’s a bastion that’s never been toppled. So we’ve got these revolutionary-minded “kids” who have wasted their lives on the hippie movement, become septuagenarians, and are running things. As hippies.

The rest of us have to learn to cope with our authority figures advocating revolution. Forever. It’s not at all different from what Orwell predicted:

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

The idea that the authority figures should be ordering us into a forever-rebellion, and against nothing, since it goes without saying we’re not to be rebelling against them, is something that makes no sense. And yet there it is.

Some campus leaders may view student activism as dreaded fires to be extinguished. However, research has shown that students engaged in activism reap educational benefits such as developing an inclination to continue their political participation well into mid-life and acquiring a greater sense of social responsibility and identity consciousness. Increasingly, studies have noted that beneath the contention and dissatisfaction that characterize campus protest, students on campuses with a culture of activism and advocacy experience gains in critical thinking civic engagement and commitment to the larger community. Scholars of campus activism characterize its great potential for teaching students about the importance of democratic participation, leadership and the ability to build coalitions amongst a wide variety of individuals on campus.

For these reasons, higher education researchers stress that activism should be viewed as a developmental component of student learning, and that campus unrest must be understood in the context of civic engagement. Campus leaders are right to recognize that in expressing dissent, students are constructing ideas and perspectives that may one day provide solutions to some of our nation’s most urgent and complex dilemmas.

Nothing says “All my learning’s been done inside ivy-covered walls and I know nothing of the outside,” like figuring out what someone just starting out in life needs to learn, by way of a blizzard of citations from “research” and “studies.” Why would an adult with any noteworthy experience need to rely on such a thing?

And when the plan is put into action, we see it has very little to do with critical or independent thinking:

Wall Against HateA professor at Arizona State University gave her Global Politics of Human Rights class a choice for the end of the semester: Take a final exam or undertake a group project.

As you might guess, the group project option was the winner.

And what did that project entail? A protest against the policies of Republican President Donald Trump, of course, which took place Thursday on the Tempe, Arizona, campus.

“The class decided that as a group project they wanted to make their voices heard about the issues that are affecting them today, so instead of just reading about the human-rights violations, they’d speak out about the current violations that are happening,” Angeles Maldonado told the Arizona Republic, adding to the paper that she believed it was her duty as a professor to support their decision.

So about 20 of Maldonado’s students created signs and stood in a line near the library of the public university, making a human wall, the paper said, adding that other ASU students joined their ranks and picked up more signs to display the slogan, “Wall Against Hate!”

Ah…as predictable as the arrival of a season, and not nearly as inspiring. Their education is failing them, of course. They’ve been promised that with its benefits they’ll become Leaders of Tomorrow…but, never in any concrete way, nobody ever actually promised them that, although that’s the hope. That’s what makes it a bad contract. The reality is that these are the kids who will be asking me if I want ketchup with my fries, right before they get replaced by a robot. Designed by someone who dropped out of college, likely, or if s/he didn’t, then spent that time in school doing something productive instead of arranging or participating in entirely predictable, boring and mind-numbing protests.

There is a truth here being ignored; a truth about civilization. I’ve already excerpted my belief about how civilization relates to conservatism and liberalism — keeping in mind the meaning these words have as we actually use them, not the meaning the dictionary tells us those words should have:

What exactly does conservatism seek to conserve? Civilization, the blessings that come from having it, and the definitions that make civilization possible. From what does liberalism seek to liberate us? Those things — starting with the definitions.

This works because it, well…works. Go through the higher-ed-today excerpt, above, and you see it. The liberation from definitions. “However, research has shown…” what exactly is this “research”? Ordinary people read sentences like that, and there’s this implication of “Someone who wanted to know the answer, or whose job it was to find the answer, gathered some data and sat down and applied the scientific method, and you know what they found?” We see footnotes galore, but you might notice it’s been awhile since anyone said that. “Research” has been re-defined, by the political agenda of modern liberalism, to mean “Here’s a footnote; now, do as I say.” We’ve become so accustomed to “researchers” doing their research and “learning” what they wanted to learn before they started doing any research — no one bothers to question it anymore. “Greater sense of social responsibility”? What’s that?

You know what my idea of lack-of-social-responsibility is? The top slot might be something like…pushing some “climate change” scam while burning fossil fuels in one’s everyday life, and/or to participate in these “protests” and so forth to “raise awareness” or some such when the awareness has already been raised…getting called out on your hypocrisy, and coming up with a bunch of thin rationalizations to keep it all going.

Members of the Cult of Climastrology always have an excuse for their own failure to practice what they preach, for being climahypocrites. I remember one little Warmists back in the day on the NJ.com Hardball Politics forum stating that she can’t give up her fossil fueled (FF) minivan because she has to get the kids here and there and run errands and stuff. Remember the old Arianna Huffington thing when she saw no problem taking a FF private jet because it was going that way?
:
From the article by Jeremiah Traeger

In the debate over climate change, an increasingly common tactic among deniers is to accuse the other side of hypocrisy if their life happens to benefit from fossil fuels in any way. Obviously, if global warming is as big of a threat as the scientific consensus claims to be, shouldn’t we be doing absolutely everything in our power to reduce our carbon footprint? Shouldn’t we stop driving our cars completely, stop using energy that [originates] from our coal-fueled power plants, and live out our days in Amish-level simplicity to avoid producing any level of emissions as we can?

Well, yeah.

Speaking for myself, I’ve definitely taken steps to reduce my carbon footprint. I bike when going somewhere local, I ride the bus going to Denver and the airport, I am a vegetarian, I use a drying rack instead of a dryer, and my household pays a little extra on our bills so that our energy comes from a nearby wind plant*. However, I still need to use my car when there’s a blizzard or my destination is more than a few miles away. My home still needs to be heated in the winter. I take flights across the country as regularly as anyone else. I am certainly not carbon-neutral. When I spread facts on social media about climate change, I inevitably get interrogated to find out if I use fossil fuels, and I cannot avoid being honest and tell them the truth.

:
They always have an excuse. Because, really, this whole thing has nothing to do with the environment, nothing to do with climate. It’s all about power, and increasing the size and scope of centralized Government over citizens and private entities, taking over economies and the energy sector, while implementing all sorts of taxes and fees, redistributing Other People’s money.

So, “social responsibility” has been re-defined as its exact opposite. Do as I say not as I do, oh I got busted for it, now I’m going to play accuse-the-accuser. The mandate for “change” applies to everybody but me.

The “ability to build coalitions amongst a wide variety of individuals on campus”? What’s that? You know, liberalism pre-Age-of-Aquarius needed no such thing. It was invested in the mechanisms of organizing. The company is cutting our time-off, or freezing our wages, or requiring that we work more hours; the argument in favor of collective bargaining was that, the “workers” all knew these things sucked but lacked the bargaining advantages required to merely have a voice. So the premise was, since there are 10,000 of them, this is wrong because it’s not like one solitary copy-boy being told “I need you hear at 7 a.m. every day, if you don’t like it then turn in your key.” A greater number of people, were owed some influence in determining the terms of their own jobs, in a way the solitary copy-boy would not have been owed. Assuming for sake of argument that that is true, though: There is a problem here. The legitimacy comes, then, entirely from the idea that the ten thousand workers all know they don’t like it. They know it inwardly, without any “community organizers” having to approach them about it and get them all riled up about how wrong it is. No one needs to go “Hey Fred, we don’t get weekends off anymore. Yea or nay?”

There was voting, of course. About the process. About the strikes. That meant there had to be recruiting. The subtle shift that’s taken place, now, is that the recruiting has come to be about the suckage. “Building coalitions” has come to mean creating anger and resentment where it didn’t exist before. And, we’ve got generations of people who think that’s the whole point of civilized, rational discourse about political issues: “I don’t know why I should protest Donald Trump; please tell me why.” Sounds so reasonable. It’s lost on pretty much everyone that Fred didn’t have to say “I don’t know why I should dislike fifteen hour days.” He had to say “Tell me why I should risk my job in a strike.” That’s a different thing. Again, that’s about mechanics. It was all about a grievance that was natural, not aroused by someone else.

In that generation, we saw — although it didn’t register at the time — a horse unfastened from a cart, and put in back of it. The protest has become a solution in search of a problem. Now the colleges are teaching it, and at the expense of using that time to teach these students skills that would be useful in the marketplace of honest labor and practical ideas.

This is the dividing line between conservatism and liberalism in our age. It has to do with the “definitions,” as shown above, but it also has to do with “civilization.” This move toward teaching kids just starting out in life, a bunch of “skills” that aren’t really skills, so that they learn to be rabble-rousers and nothing else — it is advantageous to the political movement of modern liberalism. Not to people. At least, not to any people except the people who somehow profit from the rabble being roused. But, those who regard themselves as wise, reasonable centrists, not beholden to one end of the political spectrum or the other, support it. At least, they fail to oppose it. There seems to be a perception out there that yes, these kids are being shorted; they should be learning trig, or calculus, or robotics or something. But, civilization can survive this. It has up until now, hasn’t it?

Especially if it’s a fifty-year-old straight white guy, like me, doing the complaining. Be quiet you middle-age white guy. Middle age guys have been complaining about “those kids” and the impending demise of civilization, since…well, since we’ve had civilization. And I have to agree with this. It’s just true. People my grandparents’ age complained about people my parents’ age, people their parents’ age complained about them…I’m just following suit, right? And the complaints must therefore be entirely illegitimate since, well, we’re still here! It’s undeniable.

CleopatraWell. History also provides us with verifiable events about civilizations collapsing; and, those civilizations were also loaded up with inhabitants within, who thought the good times would last forever. So we know civilizations do end, and we have yet to learn of any civilization that is immune. Again, definitions: How big does a civilization have to be before we call it “civilization,” and compare its collapse to the end of the Roman Empire, or the Egyptian Empire? What is “collapse”? Could it be that ours is collapsing already, and we’re failing to see it?

I can’t help but notice, every time there’s an election there is one angry viewpoint that prevails against all the other ones, rocketing from its first utterance to consensus status without even a break in rhythm: “These candidates all SUCK!!” One should be very careful bandying about words like “everybody” and “nobody,” since such words very rarely mean what they’re supposed to mean, once their implementation is analyzed. But if a practical application of “everybody” finds that everybody loathes all of the candidates, and “everybody” has lost confidence that the process overall is going to bring about a workable solution to the problems at hand…I’m using the word “consensus” here, and that seems to be an understatement, if anything…my point is, What is this if not the collapse of a mighty once-great civilization? Does our civilization not require certain things? Is one of those things, not consent of the governed — with some actual confidence?

I submit that we are losing this; have been losing it, steadily, this past half-century. Conservatism hasn’t succeeded in conserving civilization against this brand of liberalism. There’s no logical rebuttal to be offered against it because it doesn’t make sufficient sense to rise to the level of rebuttal. It is an argument fit for some other, nonsensical, universe: “Let us enshrine chaos as order, and invest authority in our rebels as if they were leaders.” And then, teach tomorrow’s “leaders” to be rebels too.

Civilization cannot survive generations of future-“leaders” taught to be rebels, and nothing else. It cannot survive wave after wave of “educated” fry cooks. This is a concern that cannot be adequately addressed with the idle reassurance that “We’ll still be here tomorrow, because we’re here now.” History has already taught us that’s insufficient. And we shouldn’t expect anything other, since when we talk of “civilization” we’re speaking of a living thing, filled with living people, something that has to change in order to survive. “It’ll be here tomorrow because we see it’s here now” is a reassurance about a dead thing, a static thing, a thing that does not move. Civilization is like a shark; it has to move and keep moving. It cannot survive standing still.

I remember when I was thought by some (mistakenly, in my view) to be an above-average violinist, but one who thrived overly much on natural talent, sucked at practicing. My violin teacher chided me one day, very late in the game, I think in the last year before I gave it up for good. I was wasting his time. “You don’t stand still and stay the same when you don’t practice! You lose!” It’s true. It’s true of ALL LIVING THINGS. Check that…all moving things.

Deep down I think we all realize this. This is why the Jeep resurrection in Jurassic World didn’t work.

Moving machines and living things face depletion, just through existence within time. Civilization works this way. We can’t just “freeze” it where it is, and expect it to work. Living things need to regenerate, to heal. If you’re injured within the day, you have to heal; if you aren’t, you have to sleep. That’s how it works. That’s how it works with civilization. If Guy A lives within a civilization and he does some certain thing without running into a problem, Guy B lives in the same civilization, does the same thing, runs into a problem; there has to be an implied social contract, where by B does his learning from A — A’s behavior is not altered by coming into contact with B. That is how civilization survives. That’s how it learns, by way of experience, of people who do things the right way and see their processes validated through practice, and people who do things the wrong way and learn they should have been doing it the way that other guy did them, who realized better success.

We could think of this as the fundamental rule. Where A succeeds and B fails, B should learn from A, A should not be learning from B. Well…along comes the weaponization of arrested-development, of which I wrote earlier. Because an individual is suffering from arrested development, he lacks the maturity to say “That guy is producing better results than I am, I wonder what he’s doing better than I am?” And, in fact, turns it on its head, insisting on being the teacher. “You don’t know what it’s like!” Ah, we’ve heard the refrain so many times, we seem to have stopped questioning it, assuming we ever started. He’s authentic, he grew up in the hood, he knows what it’s like. Oh, vote that guy out of office, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he doesn’t know what it’s like. The arrested development becomes weaponized, for political purposes, to benefit the future prospects of whole political parties. And we have W.A.D., Weaponized Arrested Development, turning this fundamental rule upside down. B should teach A, when we see A has succeeded and B has failed. A should just shut its over-privileged mouth, sit there and listen. Or, stop existing altogether. We want failure to live on into future generations; success should be buried with the bones. So just knock it off with that mature, “He did better than me, I wonder how” stuff. He doesn’t know what it’s like!

That’s where you go, when you solve problems by feeling rather than with thought. The feelings that are most difficult to ignore, are going to win out over the other ones. And that means frustration and resentment. Of course, you have to think logically in order to figure out that’s what is going to happen.

So I’m writing here about my own hopes and fears — but, they are not simply my personal preferences. I wouldn’t dream of wasting a reader’s time on such things. These are, I submit with a wholehearted, earnest belief, requirements for civilization to continue. They are non-negotiable. This is the timeless rallying cry of this thing we call “conservatism,” throughout all the eras of civilization, at all moments whether it has prevailed or not: “We actually cannot do X. X cannot be allowed to continue. Civilization cannot survive an endless procession of X.” It is true, now, with the subject of my critique, as much as it has ever been true before. W.A.D. is a toxin, a poison, and civilization cannot survive it. It cannot survive a sustained and unchecked leitmotif of B teaching A how to do things because B failed where A succeeded, while A sits there silently waiting to be told what to do. It cannot survive unproductive people telling the producers how to do their producing. Maybe it could, if civilization was a dead thing, an inanimate thing, an unmoving thing like a statue. But that’s not what it is.

Hippie ChickI have guarded hope for a final, killing blow against this stuff we today call “liberalism.” By which I mean, the very tippy-top upper-crust of it, the topsoil, that part of it we saw rise up only in the last few decades. The Hippie stuff, the “Hey what’s wrong with communism anyway?” stuff. The community-organizing thing, the “rebel against everything forever” thing, the pink-pussy-hat thing. As a political movement, it is extremist by nature. If you watch it for awhile, you can’t help but notice this, especially if you start comparing it to other movements. If you start writing an article or a blog post, for example, the point to which is “I am a conservative and I think Barack Obama was a bad President,” of course it is de rigueur for you to spend a few sentences hung up on the proper disclaimers…you don’t mean to say all black people would make bad presidents, or that white people are somehow innately superior. Some columnists spend entire paragraphs on just this kind of thing, before they get to the meat of what they wanted to say somewhere around paragraph five. But notice: Someone writes a column advocating for a new big-government program, or in defense of an existing big-government program like the Affordable Care Act for example; there is no implied social obligation for them to spend paragraph after paragraph saying “To be clear, I am not pushing single-payer as an ultimate solution” or “There are some hard limits to what decisions I think government should be making for us.” You probably can’t remember the last time you read of such a disclaimer, and there’s a reason for that. They’re not necessary, because society-at-large does not expect them.

This represents hope, because it is something the self-proclaimed open-minded “centrists,” if they’re honest about being open-minded and honest about being centrist — could notice. It also represents work that is left to be done. After all, our prospects for having an honest-to-goodness White Supremacist as our President, like Woodrow Wilson, are quite limited. It doesn’t even rise to the level of a realistic fear to have. But, big-government running unchecked, making final decisions on the most intimate decisions of our personal lives? It’s already happened. Note that our current debate is about repeal of something that’s been passed, and is active and enforceable law.

Tyranny is a legitimate concern we have today, it was a legitimate concern at the founding of our nation; it’s been a legitimate concern every single day in between.

This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves
Kurt Schlichter

The blizzard of lies and distraction blowing through Washington is not just any routine stuffstorm, but a calculated attempt to bring down a president — our president, not the establishment’s president. And more than that, it’s an attempt to ensure that we never again have the ability to disrupt the bipartisan D.C. cabal’s permanent supremacy by inserting a chief executive who refuses to kiss their collective Reid.

This is a coup against us. It’s a coordinated campaign by liberals and their allies in the bureaucracy and media to once and for all ensure their perpetual rule over us. We need to fight it, here and now, so we don’t have to fight it down at the bottom of this slippery slope.

It’s brazen. It’s bold. It’s insulting to our intelligence. They aren’t even trying to hide their lies anymore. Truth is irrelevant; this is a choreographed dance routine and everyone has his moves. Call it Breakin’ 2: Electric Leakaroo, except instead of trying to save the community center they’re trying to save their power and prestige.

If there is hope, it lies in our youth. If they see the political divide as necessarily a generational one, between the old and the new, with the old being a bad thing and the new being a good thing — then all we have to do is open their eyes. Like I said before:

These people we today call “liberals” have not had a new idea in, depending on your specific topical focus, between a half- and a full-century or more. And it is they who are clinging with bloody fingertips to a receding entrenched legacy power structure. But they remain revolutionaries, and the one thing that unites all sorts of revolutionary movements is this idea of creating a whole new kind of civilization by way of destroying the civilization they find today. They are destroyers.

This fits in naturally with the self-romanticism of youth. Young people, throughout history, have dreamed of righting wrongs, being better than the generations that came before, daring to nurture big ambitions and make them happen. I suspect this is even true of the most recent, morose, pussy-hat-wearing generation. Because you see the theme re-emerging whenever one of their representatives says or writes something to distinguish themselves. They’re essentially writing what I just wrote, above, just reaching different conclusions about it: “Hey, we’ve figured out civilization cannot work this way, something has to get re-thought here.” Their generational passion is aligned with that. They want to make civilization work. They’re not unanimously in favor of making that happen by destroying civilization and starting all over again, unlike their septuagenarian Naugahyde-skin Hippie college professors.

Drive the wedge between them, is my idea. Challenge their maturity. You want to do things throughout your life to help people? Then train to do things to help people. Start with the simple stuff: Here’s a woman stranded on the side of a road with a flat tire. Do you know how to change a tire? If the answer is no…and, it probably is…then, it’s an awkward conversation to have. But that’s a good thing. Stinging means the medicine is working.

Still got time to hold a sign and spend the day protesting, cupcake?

This is effective, I believe, because it attacks the problem at the source. This is where it all got started, was with our youth. They need to be taught what somehow didn’t get taught to their baby-boom predecessors: That all of life does not exist on a hairpin turn, that if you program yourself to live your entire life on such a turn then you just end up going in a tight circle and wasting oodles of time. And while we’re at it, the baby-boomers should be getting on-board with this. What decent person among us has made mistakes in his youth, and given the chance to help those born later to avoid the same mistakes, would take a pass on it? They should be signing on to the idea that, while holding a picket sign within a moment of change might be a noble effort if the circumstances determine this, it is always a waste as a lifelong pursuit. If being revolutionary-minded was all it took to fix all the problems, it would’ve happened a long time ago…what generation in our past, recent or distant, was not revolutionary-minded in some way? And so the baby-boomers should agree with this, and they should help us teach the youth. We should expect nothing less. They have lived this mistake, after all. They know it first-hand.

This is not foolproof. Since the new up-and-coming generations have always been revolutionary-minded, they always will be. We should keep in mind that the attraction to revolutions is natural, but the attraction to big-state governance is not. Communism is not natural; totalitarianism is not natural; a revolution that is intent on ensconcing an all-powerful despot upon a throne, while representative of mistakes that have been made repeatedly throughout history, is a perversion of logic because it is a contradiction upon itself. So logic, if implemented with diligence and honesty, favors the conservative side. Teach them that.

Also teach them about money. Our youth have been taught to think of it as privilege. You have money because you inherited it from your dad…they’ve been so thoroughly indoctrinated on this, they can see examples staring them right in the face where it isn’t true, and they’ll just keep repeating the homily. The problem is that they haven’t been taught about what money is, other than by people who nurture their own resentments against it. That’s usually some modern-communist college professor. They should be taught that money is a manifestation of something else; that we keep it around because it works at what it is supposed to do, and it works because it is both an effect and a cause. If people behave a certain way, they get money. Once they have money, they make decisions they otherwise would not be making. This is how we, as a conglomerate of lots of people with disparate interests, figure out the best and most productive way to live together; that’s the miracle at work. They should be taught about the connection between money, and helping people. Time after time we see, if someone’s having a tough time of it, going years and years without enough money, if we take out the tragedies like health care crises and divorce from a spouse who hid some disastrous financial details, what we’re left with is misspent effort. Oh look at this impressive collection of busted clocks, old candles, maybe some living things like a house full of cats…what have you done to help anyone, anywhere? This month, this year, last year? Often times, a case of enduring poverty is linked to an inability to answer that question. It sounds harsh, because it is. And, many among us are afraid to say such a thing, because we fear the ramifications of having it asked of ourselves. But, it’s true. Money is linked to helping people, and a lot of people who don’t have money, don’t help anyone. It has always been polite to leave this unmentioned, because we thought we could afford to leave it unmentioned. Well, I’m not so sure that’s true anymore.

If money is linked to helping people, then it follows that it should work the other way. Show me someone who has lots of money, there should be someone there who has helped others. Well actually, while that’s not true all of the time, it is true a great deal of the time. So this still works. And in fact, here’s something else: The people who have been helped by these rich people who are rich because they came up with a way to offer this help — a lot of the time, those people themselves are not rich. So, you say with great power comes great responsibility, and those who have should be doing something to “give back,” to help the have-nots? Turns out, with the free market being allowed to work, that’s what happens already.

What stops this from happening?

Big-state governance, bad policies that come from disrespect for honest work, disrespect for the free market, boondoggles that come from someone’s raging case of W.A.D., higher taxes, burdensome regulations — and, a lack of practical skills being taught to the new emerging generations:

“Easily the worst game I’ve ever played.” Yup. There’s your message to young people. Just get it out there.

But, that’s not the killing blow.

The jugular that really has to be sliced, the errant mindset that really has to be set right, is this.

We have somehow settled on the idea that if a persuasive argument can be built around “A great wrong is being committed, if anyone anywhere has to go without X” — which can be done with lots of things, easily and often, by way of thinking as well as by way of feeling — this somehow is synonymous with “We should put the state in charge of managing X.” Non-Sequitur: “It Does Not Follow.” It isn’t just the young people falling for this. Get the word back to your dotty old Auntie Petunia for crying out loud. History has shown us that putting government in charge of a commodity is not an effective way of ensuring everyone can get it when they need it. If anything, it’s an awesome way to restrict the supply of whatever the thing is. Others have expressed this more eloquently than I ever could. The shortage of sand quote comes to mind.

Don’t take my word for it. Live a little bit of real-life, where there’s a government that has forgotten its place. You’ll see it’s really true.

Here’s another opportunity to fix something broken: The “isms.” I noticed this nine years ago, during the election of 2008, when something particularly damaging against the campaign of Barack Obama would come to the attention of the nation at large. Probably the best example of this was the Jeremiah Wright flap, when some footage emerged of Obama’s former church pastor saying “God Damn America.” This made an impression on the electorate that was both deep and broad. People of all different walks of life could understand how this was a legitimate reason not to vote for Obama, how His ascendancy was at odds with the prosperity and well-being of the country. After all, what three words could ever be more opposed to that than “God Damn America”?

Obama responded swiftly and surely. And, did so in such a way as to fulfill my definition of what modern liberalism really is: “From what does [it] seek to liberate us? …definitions.” He delivered a speech calling for a national dialogue on race. If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit…I notice such a national dialogue never did actually happen, and I further notice that those who had the most emphatic opinions to offer about Obama being the most wonderful thing since sliced bread, and this speech makes everything all wonderful and okay now — have nothing to say about this national-dialogue that didn’t happen. The whole thing was a red herring. But, it did what red herrings are supposed to do. In the eight months between that week, and the actual election, people justified their planned vote for the Illinois Senator with: “There’s still some racism out there.

Last year, we heard the same thing about Hillary, who was an awful candidate and had no actual ideas to sell: There’s still some sexism out there.

The seduction toward this lazy mindset, is the story within the story. It’s all about the pattern: Of course we all know that two and two make four…but there’s still some ism out there. So, five! It’s bad logic because the original concern isn’t actually addressed in any way. Obama still sat in a church for twenty years listening to this preacher who hates America…Hillary is still a bad candidate who has no positive accomplishments…there is no refutation to any of this, except within the “dialogue” that takes place between people who feel to address problems, rather than think. It feels like the issue was addressed. Therefore, it must be so.

But it never actually was.

And once you become aware of this pattern, you see it in a lot of other places. The real tragedy is that while it’s true there’s still some ism out there, it’s entirely irrelevant. I mean, to everything. Yes, there are all sorts of isms out there. There’s still some ageism out there, there’s still sexism and racism, there’s still able-ism and sex-preference-ism. Know what? There always will be. The biggest lie modern-day liberalism has managed to sell, is that this BadThink is like smallpox or something, and we can entirely eradicate it until there’s only one tiny sample sealed up in a test tube for observational purposes somewhere. The fallacious thinking that “since there’s ism out there, it means two and two make five for today” is just the second-biggest problem. The far bigger one is this mistaken believe that unethically discriminatory thinking is some sort of virus or bacteria and we’re in the process of making it extinct. It isn’t so. As long as people have the freedom to think for themselves, they’ll have the freedom to think badly. Liberty means liberty to be a dumbass. That’s the way it has to be.

The third-biggest problem is that we’ve been aiming too broad of a shotgun-blast at the “isms.” During the Age of Aquarius, we settled on the mistaken believe that all generalization was dangerous, and we should start busying ourselves with ridding the world of it, like The Black Plague. All generalizations, though, are not isms. We deplore the isms because they are merely the lowest level. “A Mexican is going to steal your stuff.” “Black people are lazy.” “Women don’t understand this stuff.” Further up off the ground, though, we allow some of these things because now and then we find it has something to do with testable cause-and-effect. We allow car insurance companies to discriminate by zip code. Here and there someone will try to make a race thing out of it…and this holds sway with people who lean hard-left. But centrist-America accepts it, because it accepts that if there is greater risk, for whatever reason, the insurance company should to be compensated for bearing it as long as the insurance company is not the one actually bringing the risk.

There are other generalizations that are entirely legitimate, even though they aren’t always entirely true. That’s okay. Generalizations aren’t supposed to always be true. When people think the whole point of life is just to be happy, it tends to emerge they don’t accomplish a lot. When people specialize in coming up with excuses for failure, again, they don’t accomplish much. When people say “to tell you the truth,” this is an indicator that you can’t trust them because the question naturally emerges…what about all the other times when they have something to tell you, and don’t say that? When people say “trust me,” then likewise, for the same reason, you can’t really trust them. Why the necessity to say it?

Park Like an AssholeWhen people stop and make a quick determination about whether someone’s watching them or not before they do the right thing…usually, you’ll find out if they think no one is watching, they’ll do something different. Good character means you don’t have to care, you just do what’s right whether someone is watching or not. Virtue-signaling, therefore, is a sign of spiritual sickness. It means people don’t think they’re worth anything, unless other people in proximity happen to agree. It’s an indicator that people are leaving up to mens’ judgment, things that should be left up to God. And, it suggests these people know something about themselves, probably something they did in the past, or failed to do in the past, that makes them unhappy. When people take the easy-out with the little things, this is a clue that they do the same thing with bigger things. That includes waking up late every morning, parking like an asshole, littering on the ground instead of putting it in a bin.

None of these generalizations are true all of the time. And of course, a lot of them I cannot prove. Well…those are out of scope for “generalizations.” We form, and act on, generalizations as a survival tool. They’re supposed to work most of the time, not all. The idea is that they’re premises; if we accept them, over the longer term of time we will end up ahead of where we would be if we did not accept them. Well during the recent generations, we have been making a point of not-accepting them, or anything that is built from the same structure, and if we find we suffer as a consequence of that then oh well…that’s just a personal cost we bear for the glorious revolution. Well, that’s wrong (via American Digest).

In my youth, the Boomer Progs preached tolerance to us. My first class in college, on the first day, I was harangued by a little French girl, telling all of us about how America was a racist and sexist society. Americans were intolerant! The Boomer Prog teacher nodded along until I foolishly pointed out that the word tolerance means to put up with something you don’t like. Therefore, the little French girl was telling me she did not like black people, but was willing to put up with them.

In my first adult job, I was sent off to what they called sensitivity training. Tolerance was now a bad-think word and sensitivity was the good-think word. My hunch was everyone figured out what I found to be obvious in college, with regards to tolerance. Even so, the implications of all the sensitivity talk was that anyone not a white male was prone to weird behavior and opinions. We had to be sensitive to this fact. It also meant treading lightly around them as they were easily offended and traumatized.

Eventually, of course, the Progs figured out that this was a loser so they moved onto celebrating diversity. Unlike tolerance or sensitivity, diversity has the benefit of putting everyone on the same level. One race is as good as another. Men and women can do all the same things. All cultures are the same. Modern life was going to be a celebration of the beauty and variety of life! Well, except the white parts. White people suck and they better keep their heads down, especially you, honky-man.

I suppose it is no surprise that the Progs are now freaking out about anyone noticing diversity…

This was not all entirely without legitimacy. After all, why invite oneself to form negative first-impressions against potentially good people, that otherwise would not be formed? The moral premise has some merit too, since a new acquaintance might be working extremely hard to make the best first-impression he can, and it seems wrong to put a turd in the punchbowl because of the observer’s anecdotal experiences that have nothing to do with him. So there is an understandable temptation to think we should do away with this, that maybe by doing so we can all learn to get along moar-better or something. Well…

Again, history has spoken. The strafe-run against generalizations has been given a fair shot, and it hasn’t worked for us. As the Z-Man’s article points out, above, what has really happened is we’ve discovered more reasons to create conflict among ourselves. It proves the generalization named above, about virtue-signaling. Ooh, lookit me! I caught you generalizing! Which I don’t do, and that makes me a better person. People have not stopped generalizing. Not even close. What’s happened is they’ve stopped generalizing in healthy ways, and found ways to displace those generalizations with unhealthy, tit-for-tat generalizations. Hey, let’s generalize against white people! They’ve got it coming! Men! Straights! Rich people!

But let’s be honest. There hasn’t been any enlightenment here. Society at large discriminates, always has, but now there’s a certain out-and-proud, in-your-face generalization. It is debased and it is too crude to work, operating at the lowest level — “Whites are lazy” just like “Mexicans are lazy” from generations ago. Not at all like something a few feet removed from off the ground, that might actually work as a generalization…”people who smoke don’t spend as much time working because they take more breaks.” Just mirror-reversed bigotry that’s meant to even a score. It’s become a textbook case of well-intentioned people having sworn to defeat something they loathed, and then becoming that very thing.

Well, it bears repeating. Civilization cannot endure this way. But, again: Here is cause for hope. “National dialogue” this. Bigotry is the target; generalizing is not. They’re different things. Political correctness is a war on noticing, and there’s nothing wrong with noticing.

Non-ConformistThis all comes from the premise that we’re living in a Star Trek, secular-humanist world…there is no God, there is only genetic material, and whatever there is about us that is good has evolved that way — therefore, we can continue evolving, as happy cosmic accidents, getting better and better until we reach perfection. This is all a natural consequence of spiritual degradation. Our relationship with God, like any other living thing, or any other inanimate thing with moving parts — like my ability to play the violin, back in my youth — without sustenance and without replenishment, it doesn’t stay the same. It deteriorates. You don’t stay the same; you lose. Without maintaining conscious understanding of the Higher Power that put us here in the first place, we forget our purpose. Ultimately, we have to deny there is one. If we’re just accidental, then by definition that must mean there’s no plan, therefore no purpose. So the purpose to life must be just to be happy! But then we have to improve toward perfection…in order to do…what? There’s the contradiction. An expectation is being imposed upon us, but there’s no expecting party.

Eventually, we have to embrace the final nugget of modern liberal risibility, the fusion point of pure and perfect nonsense: Things WILL be the way we say they are going to be! It is inevitable! Nothing can stop it! And we all have to sacrifice everything important to us in order to make it happen

Our hope is in the vision of those among us, particularly the young, that they should be the ones to reject entrenched falsehoods and put their independent thinking to a noble purpose, which is to figure out what the truth is. Civilization is counting on young people to do what young people are supposed to do. They should, at a minimum, achieve and maintain conscious focus on whether they are thinking like conformists, or not. They’re failing us lately, because they imagine themselves to be bold, critical thinkers, while they march in lock-step.

They have a good excuse for this, insofar as they’re young and aren’t supposed to have a sense of perspective yet. And that excuses most of it. The older generations should be doing their part; the younger set wants to be thought of as having critical thinking skills, to be able to stand up to challenge. So, challenge them. Starting with: How is it independent thinking, when you kids are going into class and then coming out of it again, all thinking the same thing? And one of my favorite questions: When have you gone against the majority on anything? In their case maybe refine it to: When did you ever disagree with your professor on anything? Even if you agree with him overall, an independent thinker should be able to come up with some examples…

Modern liberalism has been able to attack our civilization, because civilization made room for it. The ultimate conformist mistake is to think something that’s unexplainable, because “Everybody Knows” it is true. Well, that’s the breach that has been exploited. Too many supposedly independent thinkers, “think” by feeding off the Common Noise Cloister, or C.N.C. In a way, we’re suffering the effects of a poison we willingly drank, the chickens have been coming home to roost. We allowed people to think things “Everybody Knows” that they themselves were not able in any way to explain, or defend; our civilization has been suffering a sustained assault because it effectively said that’s alright. It isn’t alright. The C.N.C. has been killing us, but in some ways it’s been a suicide.

This is how we got into that civilization-killing configuration, where A succeeds and B fails so B does all the teaching and A does the learning because “he doesn’t know what it’s like.” As a consequence, our civilization has become dominated by unproductive people. Those who live on the dole, or charity — or, those who make a living, but not by helping anyone, just feeding ideas into the C.N.C. We have made the mistake of attaching value to this. It’s hard to recover from the tailspin, because productive people do not have time to contribute to the C.N.C.; there are other people counting on them to produce whatever it is they’re producing, and they have to get to work. So the C.N.C. will be an assembly dominated by unproductive people; they’ll always dominate it, because they have the time to dominate it. No one is counting on them.

We have three options available to us here. We can achieve dominance over the ideas going into the C.N.C., on behalf of productive people. We can cast the C.N.C. into irrelevance, or at least, into a level of significance relatively diminished from what it has enjoyed up to now. Or we can drive toward some combination of those two things.

It’s always best to see things as they truly are, I think, and that would counsel us toward the third option. This monolithic thought-spew of what “Everybody Knows,” may now & then occasionally have some good ideas in it. Overall though, it’s going to be a compendium of things that look good and right, to people who lack the experience of having ever built anything someone else could use. We learn by going through personal experiences, so the encouragement should be toward doing exactly that.

Push people toward living these productive lives, providing products and services other people can use, and it will happen naturally. “Everybody knows Apple’s stuff just plain works” is something that gets said a lot of the time, and you don’t have to work with technology too long before you realize it isn’t true…just to cite one example.

This all comes back to discouraging laziness. Laziness is a package deal; you choose it small, you get it big. Let’s face it, that’s what happened to us. America came out of World War II as a genuine superpower, with a high standard of living. And our people got lazy, in intellectual ways as well as some other ways, because they figured they could afford it. We talk today of the “Greatest Generation” that came before that, and accomplished so much. Well the truth is: They accomplished a lot because it was necessary. We’d like to think when the necessity is gone, our work ethic remains. Without a value system in place and a lot of discipline reinforcing it, it can’t happen that way.

And this is, as I said up above, the enduring message of conservatism throughout history — when it’s right, when it’s not, when it wins, when it doesn’t, the message is always the same. “Civilization cannot continue this way.” Here we see a situation where it really can’t. People reach voting age as liberals, then they become conservatives as they live out the video game embedded earlier…realize how much the policies suck. So they become conservative, but their ranks are augmented by the arrival of new, inexperienced, starry-eyed liberals. We have elections every two-to-four years, so you don’t need to wait for the previous generation of inexperienced starry-eyed liberals to have kids. The saturation of infantile impulses is constant.

ENGAGE the youth. Give them what they want. Have the dialogue. And show all the respect to them that you want them to show you. Which is not at all an easy thing to do…only one side has the experience.

The only other thing I can say is to prosecute hate crime hoaxes to the full extent of the law. We just had that thing happen with the gay church organist who was the first on the scene to see “fag church” spray painted on his church with pro-Trump remarks next to it…ah yes, turns out he did it. It is merely one part of a pattern. Society as a whole is not innocent in all this. We, as a collective, have been allowing this to happen. Enough. No more.

With all of it, the Weaponized Arrested Development, the free-market-bashing, the Common Noise Cloister, the virtue signaling, the “I’m more diverse and tolerant than you” preening…in our elected officials as well as our fellow citizens…it is time for a conservative revolution the likes of which has not yet been seen. One that surpasses everything Trump has done, everything Newt Gingrich has done, everything Ronald Reagan has done. Lift up that top-layer of American liberalism, that tree-hugging hippie crap, and toss it over the side. Sow rock salt into that field so nothing can grow there again. Dump a ton of cement on the corpse so it can’t come back as a zombie. Solve the problem once and for all. Civilization, after all, cannot endure this way.

The time has come for everyone who cares about the future, to stand athwart the silliness with a hand upraised defiantly, yelling “Stop!”

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… VIII

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

I very often use the term “this stuff we today call ‘liberalism’,” along with “liberalism as we know it today.” These are simply embellishments to phrasing, to make the meaning more precise when it seems like I have the luxury of doing so; the rest of the time I just call it “liberalism,” which is a betrayal against proper definition. After all, the luxury of precision may be gone for awhile, but one’s obligations as a writer remain. Now & then, to avoid flouting the far weightier obligation of not-boring-the-reader, one must use shorthand; one must hope the reader will “get it.” Liberalism is supposed to mean power to the people. It has classically meant free market capitalism, and civil liberties under rule of law. Hopefully, where I’ve failed some writing duties, I’ve succeeded in others, for here in the first paragraph even the casual reader can spot the problem. Liberalism, as we know it today, is most certainly not about these things.

And yet it is now what it was before. What we see today is not a usurper against something that has been bumped out of its proper ensconcing, into oblivion. It is, I suggest, a grotesque transformation. It is a formerly beautiful and noble effort that has become the very thing that it, itself, once swore to destroy. How did this happen? It is out of scope for this series to examine the details of the history, but at a very high level I make out that there have been four significant evolutionary stages:

1. The Storming of the Bastille in 18th-century France, which manifested a decline of monarchy, worldwide;
2. Marx and Engels — I’ll discuss this a bit more below;
3. Franklin Roosevelt, the New Deal, and all that;
4. Hippies.

Now throughout history, it’s always been true that if you want to move power around, and get people on-board with your plan but you want to attract the interest of very casual observers, it is necessary to make some enemies. There is a reason for this. The casual observers are always great in number, but they’re not going to be terribly excited about ethics because when you get into the details ethics become very complicated. They also make for some dry reading. To build a coalition, eventually you’re going to have to examine details so you can reassure people they’re not making friends with others whose ethical directions are minutely different from theirs. And very few things in life are more boring than examining the minute details of ethics. This was the contribution of Marx and Engels, as I see it. The Bastille event sought to right wrongs, but it ended up being a flash-in-the-pan; collapsed into the Reign of Terror, people saw what was wrong with that, and the whole thing lay more-or-less dormant without having succeeded in defining what it was supposed to be. (Or perhaps, having succeeded in not-defining itself.) With the second-stage, the weight of the ideology was shifted more toward this aspect of “those dirty so-and-sos are exploiting your labor and keeping the product for themselves.” You’ll notice, even today, you can pick out lazy-thinkers easily because they confuse “Make sure such-and-such a person doesn’t have any influence” as some kind of a workable plan. Cast the designated target out, especially out of any proceedings wherein the Big Decisions are made about things…after that, everything should work out more-or-less alright. This does not reflect reality, not even in the slightest. But it attracts the “tl;dr” crowd, like spilled sugar attracting ants in midsummer. They’ll come running, every time, they can’t resist it.

Jenga TowerI don’t need to list examples, do I? Hillary Clinton’s campaign was about very little apart from that. Global warming “science” has come to be very little apart from that. Kick the right people to the curb, after that we’re on autopilot. The permanent fantasy of those who can’t be bothered to pay attention.

Like the levels of an upward-growing and increasingly wobbly Jenga tower, each layer builds atop the layer just beneath. FDR successfully turned around the declining fortunes of progressivism in America, by introducing her citizens to the idea that they could elect a government to fix complex and terrible problems, by targeting the dirty so-and-sos and defrocking them of influence. His contribution of deceit, here, was to cloak the idea of “defrock business and management of influence” under the guise of “give some influence to the ‘workers’.” There are lots of things wrong with this, but they all take several paragraphs to explain properly. And this is what was so ingenious about Roosevelt’s real plan: It engaged that timeless political ploy, of making a friend out of one faction by way of making an enemy out of another. But to see what’s wrong with the New Deal and all the rest of it, you have to look at things studiously, think on it clearly, and express what you’ve found — with a little bit of length, a little bit of bloat, thus exceeding the attention span of the casual observer. Some talented writers did try to explain in a way that mattered. But, the Great Depression was on FDR’s side. Economic desperation does things to people.

With FDR, we finally had the marriage between revolutionary zeal, and the lust for big-government. Also, he drove a wedge between management and labor, a wedge that, unlike Marx’s, was truly customized for the mechanized age and would endure throughout mankind’s technoindustrial era. He also managed to drive a wedge between “intellectuals,” who were solidly on his side, and the people who are what intellectuals are supposed to be — those more likely to arrive at workable answers to pressing questions, by thinking things through with clarity.

And then we have the Vietnam War, and all the conflict that created. This is what I’m hoping is coming to an end now, for this is where the desire for overthrow is mixed with the aspects of culture. If you were to time-travel back to the Great Depression and ask a fervent supporter of FDR that most pressing question people wonder about revolutionaries: “What exactly is it you want to do with your opposition, convert them or obliterate them?” — the answer coming back would be entirely benign. This movement is about fairness, it’s about sharing the power. Opposition can stay exactly where it is. We just want these “workers” to have a voice. But time-travel back to the days of Woodstock and ask the hippie, the answer isn’t quite so reassuring. There’s a desire for anarchy that wasn’t there before. Convert or kill? We-ell…that’s a demand for definition, and hippies aren’t wild about definitions of things, they tend to avoid ’em. Certainly, some hippies did want to kill rather than convert whoever opposed them…and the movement, as a whole, was in no hurry to save face by driving them out of the ranks. So here, there is a zeal for destruction that wasn’t there before, an emphasis on wrecking the current system altogether before a new one can be built atop the ashes — Marx had some fantasies about that, said fantasies became realities in other countries, not quite so much here in the states until that point. And the avoidance of definitions was fitting into this zeal for destruction, like two happy bedmates meant for each other, in a way that was quite natural but had not achieved final emulsification, to this extent, up until then. Roosevelt wanted to destroy things. But he wasn’t shy about revealing what he wanted to do, and how he wanted to do it. This thing we for the past fifty years call “liberalism,” calls upon the casual thinkers — most people — to keep thinking casually, to define nothing, to remove the definitions of things that exist already, and in so doing become “part of a thing that’s bigger than you.” That would be, to realize Marx’s dream, destroy the civilization we have now so a new one can be built atop the ashes.

The big difference between the third stage and the fourth stage was that the former happened through electoral victory, and the latter by way of electoral defeat.

Which brings me to my concerns about today.

Liberalism, as we know it today, is not entirely made up of nasty, destructive, anarchistic people. And that’s the problem that remains after the 2016 elections to continue confronting us, continue plaguing us…that is the problem that remains unsolved. Liberalism has, within its ranks, people who are genuinely good. And it isn’t made entirely of stupid people either. There are people who support it, some even enthusiastically, who are quite smart. A lot of these people, in fact, are the cream of our civilization, the very pinnacle of what the rest of us should want to be. And they support liberalism. That’s the problem.

This stuff we today call “liberalism” has people within its ranks who are genuinely kind, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent and trustworthy. It has good people it simply doesn’t deserve to have.

We all have people like these in our extended families, do we not? Every Thanksgiving we get to hear & read about smarmy liberal nieces and nephews getting properly prepped to face down their Republican uncles over the dinner table…well, the younger generation has an excuse. If you’re my age, the next generation senior to you actually lived through the Great Depression, and you’ve seen your share of family gatherings wherein it was the older crowd who leaned left. Kind, hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-earth types. Not only are they liberals, if they’re still among us, they’re so enthused about it that they participate in the recruiting. And, do all that other stuff good liberals are supposed to do, at the expense of continuing to be good people. Take on all the proper and expected opinions of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush. In my day it was Ronald Reagan, James Watt, etc. I remember my bewilderment that my aunts and uncles, who I never heard utter an unkind word against the character of anyone they actually knew — even in situations that called for some rich, loaded insulting, they still took the high-road — letting loose on these politicians three thousand miles away. Reagan, in particular, wanted to blow up the world. He already had the firepower to do it seven hundred times, they said over & over again…he still wanted more. Big ol’ meanie.

See, it’s that lack-of-definitions thing again. Talk of nuclear weapons that could blow up the world several times, surrounded us. It was everywhere. You couldn’t get away from it. The point to it was, that anybody who wanted to embiggen a stockpile of nuclear arms must have been insane, because with enough power to blow up the world several times, on tap, this would be pointless. It never seemed to occur to these propagandists that their reaction was equally insane, for the same reason: Accepting the premise that Ronald Ray-Gun has the power on tap to blow up the world 700 times, and wants more acquisition and development so he can do it 800 times, what’s the harm? I’m just supposed to be alarmed that he’s President, and a nutcase? Okay…well accepting that, after he gets told no, and we also have to have a lot of social programs he didn’t want on top of that…he’s still the President, and a nutcase, so nothing’s been solved. If the defense budget is cut, and now he can only blow up the world 600 times? Again, nothing’s been solved. The argument fails to hold up under its own premises.

This is why we need a Twilight of the Age of Aquarius. The most fervent, most casually-thinking Roosevelt-supporting progressive, back at that Third Stage, would not have plied you with such a ramshackle argument. You could have sat down with him and had a reasonable discussion, with good points made on both sides. I’m not speaking about mannerisms — although there is that. I’m describing arguments that are structurally sound, that at least hold up under their own premises.

What exactly does conservatism seek to conserve? Civilization, the blessings that come from having it, and the definitions that make civilization possible. From what does liberalism seek to liberate us? Those things — starting with the definitions.

We have these kind, decent, intelligent aunties & uncles who are fully engaged in the second of those two things. And don’t seem to consciously realize it.

Your dear old Auntie Petunia despises Donald Trump, and on top of that spite has built up an antipathy against the conservative cause…or, perhaps has a history of this already, which made it only natural she should despise PDJT — because she is a decent person. She’ll be happy to describe this to you at length, I’m sure. My own were really in their element, dominating discussions at that Thanksgiving table, about how much they hated Reagan & Co., and it was their calling to be decent people that compelled them to do all this hating against people they didn’t know. Funny thing about this is, it’s honest. It all starts with what makes decent people decent people: The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Decades ago, though, something happened with this. Something with the “others.” I wasn’t there to see it, so I can only speculate that it had something to do with information traveling more quickly, news around the world becoming more important, but there arose an increased concern over “doing unto others” in situations wherein the “others” were nasty people. Terrorists, burglars, rapists, a vagrant who broke into a pool hall to steal beer. Ah, the enthused will say I’m showing my ignorance of the Bible; it was part of the original teachings of Christ, we shouldn’t be showing this kind behavior only to kind people, we need to be showing it to the stinkers as well. Indeed, this is central to the whole point of what Christianity is.

But herein lies a problem. There is a point to the do-unto-others rule; civilization cannot exist without it. This is what makes Christ a conservative. How does civilization endure, when it becomes civilization suited for those among us who would harm others? Conservatives believe in the Golden Rule, even for the benefit of those who aren’t already following it, too. They follow it to set an example. Quite the concept, eh? There’s a subtle difference here. You often hear the liberals object — entirely emotionally — to “torture,” as in, waterboarding terrorists. “That’s not who we are, we don’t do things like that, that’s what makes us better.” The subtle difference is in the recognition of the concept of time. Your kindly Auntie Petunia might be able to grasp it, but she’s not making use of it because the narrative she’s following doesn’t allow for the concept of time. There are these terrorists, which have fallen into the hopper-funnel of oppressed-persons; there are wonderful thoughtful people like her, and then there are stinkers like you. That was the situation yesterday, and that will be the situation tomorrow. Her narrative doesn’t call for anybody learning anything from anybody. The only situation-changing event in it, anywhere — whether she consciously realizes it or not — is Marx’s. The destruction of civilization so a new one can be built atop the ashes.

False ProphetYour Auntie will sometimes quote from the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” There is a perversion taking place here. “Least of” is not a reference to terrorists, thugs, rapists, etc. Christ here is speaking of true kindness. Doing things for the powerless, those who are in no position whatsoever to repay. Read The Whole Thing.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

It’s crystal-clear. Christ is not speaking of terrorists and murderers and rapists. He doesn’t say “I was in prison and you found a way to declare my sentence unconstitutional, and freed me so I could go burglarize, murder and rape some more.” He is speaking of powerlessness with this business of “least of these brothers and sisters.” This is the grand perversion that took place in the middle of the twentieth century, this notion that The Golden Rule should be followed for the exclusive benefit of those among us who are dedicated to never following it. It’s not because Auntie Petunia has been suckered into thinking the malcontent will mend his ways when he sees other people are showing him kindness…although some within the vast crowd she represents, do fall for it. The problem is more like this: The objective has been lost. Because such an epiphany, taking place within the mind of this malcontent, would be a situation-changing event, and so many Aunt Petunias are following this narrative, explained above, that does not allow for such a change.

We see this problem everywhere. We see it with the border issues, like Trump’s “Wall.” We see it with all this discussion about health care. The words of Christ are interpreted to apply to the situation at hand, by a lefty who insists Christ is on his side. But then the recommendation is something that goes against the continuance of civilization itself — and quite often, we see this Christian interpretation articulated by someone who is not a Christian, in fact has nothing but contempt for Christianity, which is offensive in the extreme. So there’s two problems here. Christ, arguably the First Conservative, is being made to look like someone pressing for the erasure of of civilization. Open borders, welfare-state — as Friedman pointed out, you simply can’t have both, but so many Auntie Petunias never read Friedman and want to give it a go. The second problem is the insult from the secular. “Of course my own argument would have no persuasive effect upon me, since I abhor your dopey religion, but I’m hoping it’s good enough for you.”

With Franklin Roosevelt’s innovations now 80+ years established, the Aunt Petunia in the Americas has forgotten all about free will, and supports big government. Can’t quite find where Christ ever did. On that subject, however, there’s nothing I could write that would approach the coherence of a brilliant piece I discovered lately, which found its home in my mental file folder marked “Didn’t write it, but wishing like the dickens I did”:

It’s Time For The Left To Stop Imposing Its Morality On Everyone
Hrand Tookman, April 2017

I was born in 1977, and for most of my life if I listened closely enough, somewhere I could hear some leftist shouting “Stop imposing your morality on me!” Today I’ll be writing about why I agree…
:
I spent years asking anyone who will listen, Right or Left, this question: Why are murder and theft illegal in the United States? I get a variety of answers stemming from “Biblical truth” to “Hold the bad guys accountable.” These, I humbly submit, are merely byproducts.

That murder and theft are illegal in the United States has nothing to do with “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal.” We have these laws because in the United States people are afforded certain rights, such as to life and to property. Our laws may mirror those of many other nations, but in the United States, they’re less about controlling the behavior of others and more about protecting our rights as individuals.

If you’re a person of faith then you likely believe God’s greatest gift to us is life, and that his second greatest gift is free will. In the United States, our Founders codified the gift of free will. They called it “liberty.”

Liberty is effectively free will, minus the right to infringe on others‘ rights.
:
I am a lifelong and practicing Christian, but I think we should reject and oppose using the government to impose morality or legislate charity, foremost because in doing so we negate the very merits of both morality and charity.

If we’re forced to behave morally or give to charity rather than doing so voluntarily, there’s really no merit to it. It’s no different than robbing someone and giving her money to charity, then crediting that person’s “giving nature.” Additionally, the more the government forces us to behave morally or act charitably, the less we’ll be inclined to do voluntarily.

Consider those who insist that health care is a right (it isn’t), but never bothered to ask their own insurers about putting their uninsured friends or neighbors on their own policies. Instead, they just sit around patting each other on the back for insisting that the government force us all to be as charitable as they never have been or will be individually.

I’m not going to try to social-engineer readers’ views by talking about who we are as a nation, but we should resist becoming a nation that collectively hides behind “we gave at the office” simply because we pay taxes…

A pattern starts to emerge here. Auntie Petunia might have intelligence, and with it the ability to diligently inspect something, ponder ramifications to things. She’s just not bringing it. That is probably more because of what she does understand, than because of what she doesn’t understand: She gets it that “politics” has something to do with the making of rules, and the more she finds out about how it all works, the less she likes it. So she lunges for the easy fix: Propose a new rule, and then rather than hang around long enough to see the results, get the hell out of there. Again, what’s missing is the concept of time, so once she’s out of there the cycle will begin again as she comes to find out about something wrong with our society…then she’ll dip her toe into the slimy filth-infested waters of politics just long enough to propose or support a New Perfect Rule again, and then get the hell out of there again.

Solving all the world’s problems is worth an opinion or two, but never worth an investment of time longer than what’s needed to ask for another helping of mashed potatoes.

College StudentThe latest New Perfect Rule is to make sure no one ever has to listen to any “hate speech.” Various campus crackpots, student & faculty both, have come up with some strange arguments to festoon upon the rest of us, about how important it is that our institutions of higher learning should be closed to unwelcome ideas…this is the exact opposite of what institutions of higher learning should be doing, of course. The Auntie Petunias who pay attention only casually, and have emotionally invested themselves in the liberal cause, tell us these are just fringe-kooky people advancing this obvious self-contradiction, and do not represent the mainstream of liberal thought. But no less a person than a former presidential candidate, lately went so far as to assert the idea that the Constitution doesn’t protect whatever he happens to define in the moment as “hate speech”:

Despite being a former presidential candidate, a former governor, and a former Democratic National Committee chair, Howard Dean doesn’t appear to know basic constitutional law.

In a tweet on Thursday, Dean wrote, “Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment.”

Back we go, to the definitions again! And this time it’s not me going off on ’em, broken-record style, as is usually the case. It was the first response to the “tweet”:

Before you can ban anything legally, you’ll have to explicitly define it. Please give a definition of “hate speech”.

Therein lies the problem.

Gov. Dean is wrong. Completely.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not have a free speech exemption.

The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that there is no explicit “hate speech” exemption to the First Amendment, provided the hateful statement statement does not lead people to commit acts of violence.

Most notably, in the Brandenburg v. Ohio case, the Supreme Court clarified that the fighting words exemption to the First Amendment applies to language that is used to directly incite violence, or “imminent lawless action.”

But try explaining that to Auntie Petunia. Casual learning…icky hate speech, to be muzzled and expunged…a Magic New Perfect Rule to make it happen…it’s all too alluring. You’re on the wrong side sweetheart, now please pass the green-bean casserole.

And this pattern will hold up with regard to just about anything that gives more power to the government, and takes power away from the people. Classic-liberalism has been turned entirely on its head — not replaced by something that stole the label — and it wasn’t even ambitious, power-hungry or unscrupulous people who made it happen. It was casual observers just like your dear Auntie Petunia who made it happen. The only time she doesn’t support big government, in fact, is with the death penalty. And the military.

She’s been fooled, repeatedly, but it bears repeating that she isn’t stupid. Not necessarily anyway. She’s just not showing intellectual vigor where it really counts. Her desire for influence has spiraled — temporarily — outside the perimeter of her zeal for knowledge. She doesn’t understand how this hurts people she’ll never meet.

Back in the day, she would have been solidly behind this self-contradicting, ramshackle, can’t-stand-even-on-its-own-premises argument of “Reagan wants more missiles even though he can blow up the world 700 times.” Because she’s been forming and solidifying opinions without taking the time to think on things with some diligence, even as she emotionally bonds herself to these opinions, she believes in all sorts of silly nonsense. And it isn’t just her problem. Because if she’s a good person for believing these bits of nonsense, then it follows that anyone who disagrees must be a bad person.

She’s very sure that if people desperately need something, like medical care for example, then the profit angle has to go away. If you profit from ending a person’s suffering, then you must be profiting from the suffering itself, and what sort of monstrous human being would do such a thing? It seems like a reasonable argument when you read these stories of people and businesses profiting to excess, in situations where the delivery of the medicine or aid is restricted, for sake of enlarging these profits. But again: Thinking with some diligence. The concept of time. Conserving civilization. Ramifications; consequences to actions. Where’s this all lead? No profit for delivering medical care, or for making medical care possible…or, profits, but sharply limited. What kind of person goes into that line of work? Well one might argue, dedicated practitioners who really believe in what they’re doing, which I suppose might be a good thing. But how many of them? And even more importantly than that, what sort of resources do they have at their disposal as they try to find cures that have not yet been found? Weighty thoughts to be considered…but, oops, Auntie Petunia’s very limited attention span for political things has been exceeded. She’s helping to clear the dishes and asking your mom if she needs any help loading the dishwasher. And here was you thinking this was an important subject, with lives on the line, just because she said so when she brought up the subject…silly you.

BureaucratsShe also thinks if it’s very important for people to get something, like the above-mentioned medicine, or education, or gasoline or legal services…what we need to do is put all the important decisions about this stuff under the control of bureaucrats who pay no price for making the wrong decisions. Oh no, she won’t say that’s what she means. But if you look at how she frames all these things, those are the definitions that actually work. If everybody has to have X, then what we need is a Federal Department of X. If ABC Corporation is the thing that’s supplying the X, then there is harm already being done, in her eyes. Part of it is because of the profit-angle explored in the paragraph above, but that’s not all of it. Auntie Petunia, with her pass-the-gravy length of attention span, seems to be laboring under the assumption that when faces and names are taken away from authority, all human frailty is removed as well. The functionally-anonymous bureaucrats, and commissions packed full of bureaucrats, boards, committees — they seem to become saintly oracles who never make any mistakes, just because they aren’t associated with any names.

This thing about hate speech is rather revealing, since like Gov. Dean, Auntie Petunia finds the hateful ideas to have earned her passionate opposition before they have even been defined. As I pointed out above, this is a new thing because the hostility against defining things doesn’t have a long ancient lineage, at least not here in the United States. It is a post-New-Deal era thing. Most of us didn’t notice it happening while it was happening, because the desire to destroy melds so effortlessly with this thing we today call “liberalism”…which in & of itself, is a disturbing thought to have. But it’s true. The opposition of these “hateful” ideas is all wrapped up in the objective of destroying things. It’s easy to prove. Let the purveyor of this “hate speech” have his say, come up with a good rebuttal against it, convince EVERYONE watching and listening, COMPLETELY WIN THE ARGUMENT any possible way it could be measured, but let the purveyor keep his position. FAIL. But, get this purveyor of hate speech fired before the word even gets out about what his position is, or what your position is, where the epicenter of disagreement is between the two — Mission Accomplished! And so I have to ask, can we please dispense with this cock-and-bull notion this is about any sort of mutually-respectful exchange of ideas, or a search for the best policies that will help the most people? It isn’t true, and hasn’t been true for a very long time. It is about heads as trophies. It’s about blood on the water making the sharks hungrier and bringing more of them coming. The ultimate irony: This is all about promoting something called “tolerance.”

Another flimsy thing Aunt Petunia believes is not a concrete thing at all, it’s more of an abstract concept. It’s a clue to answering the primary question, which is how does an ideology of indecency and destruction of civilization, attract and hold the loyalty of decent people who don’t want to destroy anything. You’ll notice anytime modern liberalism detects some sort of vice, people who are at various stages of emotionally submitting to the ideology will start to think of that vice in strange terms. Let’s say you experience an everyday human vice, like bad driving. Some jackass cuts you off on the freeway, notices what he did, acts like you are the problem, flips you the bird. Being a reasonable person, you’re going to look at this as a jerk being a jerk. “What an ass!”, you say to yourself. And then you forget about it. You do not mobilize some tireless crusade to rid the world of bad driving…although that is a pleasant thought to have. And you’re not even thinking of it as an isolated case. Perhaps you’ve noticed there’s a whole zip code of people who drive like inattentive, rude jerks, all of the time. You go “Oh well, that’s life in the hood” and you resolve to avoid it. I mean, geographically. You take the long way ’round. Point is, being a reasonable person, you take an attitude of “it is what it is” and you adapt. Auntie Petunia does the same! But somehow, other rude, ignorant, jerky behavior, like for example…”Ain’t no way I’m gonna vote for Barack Obama, he’s just a dumb ni**er.” That brings on a OMG! There’s still some racism out there! And, we have to eradicate it. Like it’s Smallpox. Which wouldn’t be a problem all by itself, that would just be a quixotic pursuit by itself. Oh there’s Auntie Petunia jousting at windmills, let her keep going at it, who knows maybe she eventually will eliminate racism and that’ll be nice…she can work on rude assholes driving, next. But that’s not all of it. Because Petunia is making racism a thing of the past, we have to do things that don’t make any sense whatsoever. Like actually vote for Barack Obama. What Petunia is essentially saying is: Okay, so ordinarily it would make sense to keep Obama away from the White House, or to get Him out of it at the earliest opportunity once He’s there…BUT, ThereStillIsSomeRacism and so, we have to do the opposite of what normally would make sense.

We see this a lot with sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. Flimsy ideas emerge, self-contradictory ideas, ramshackle ideas, ideas that do not stand on their own even if one uncritically accepts their own premises. One of my favorites is the litany that is so routinely recited in “sexual harassment training”: “It is important to remember that the intentions of the accused are irrelevant, it is the perception of the offended person that is all-important.” And: “These rules are put in place to foster an environment that is effective, productive and non-threatening for everyone.” Every time I’m required to attend one of these courses, which by the way do nothing to improve one’s skills at sexual harassment, I’m dismayed to learn, I always end up asking the same question: Which? Is it the perception of the accused that determines everything, or are these rules put in place to make the workplace non-threatening — for everyone? Which is it? Can’t be both. There’s nothing more threatening than having to work in proximity to some unhinged, lifetime-spinster crazy-cat-lady with a giant chip on her shoulder, and be formally told that her perceptions against you are going to determine your future. Again, we’re in smallpox-eradication mode, and the perception that “there’s still some” leads to doing the opposite of what would make sense.

The “safe spaces” within our universities are merely an extension of this. There’s still some hate speech out there! So it isn’t enough to notice it the way normal people from Planet Earth notice it; say to oneself, “What a colossal jerk!” and then move on with life. Oh no. Once again, we do the opposite of what makes sense. College, a place where brilliant young minds to go to get their “well-rounded education” and be exposed to all sorts of new ideas…is to be purged of any not-quite-right new ideas. Life imitates The Onion, again:

College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea
Students, Faculty Invited To Freely Express Single Viewpoint

BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus. “Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.” Abrams told reporters that counseling resources were available for any student made uncomfortable by the viewpoint.

One of the most widespread ways Auntie Petunia hurts total strangers without being aware of it, is by way of exercising a latent sexism that’s not at all different from what she’s supposed to be working to eliminate. She might do well to think for herself, one of these days, what exactly it is men and boys are supposed to do; but, that requires diligent thinking she’s not willing to expend, and so she ends up wandering the earth as a sexist who doesn’t realize she’s a sexist. She’s full of castigation and chiding against her nephew who’s in the middle of a divorce — “you made your bed now lie in it,” “she can’t be all that bad, after all you’re the one who picked her,” etc. — all somewhat true, but not worthy of being mentioned to her niece who’s in exactly the same predicament. In our society today, this is all just good manners. Because we have a lot of people walking around who think of themselves as ideological “centrists,” sensible middle-of-the-road types, who are Auntie Petunias. They’ve been fooled into taking the liberal viewpoint on everything, including the family-law issues. They don’t consciously sign on to the agenda item to eliminate any & all places for men in society, to get rid of masculinity as if it was just another “ism,” or smallpox. Never would sign on to it. But in actions, they fully support it, in all things, never go against it. There there, dear…what a bum, he made you do it. You were only running up the household debt on useless junk to make yourself feel better, and you only had that affair with the postman because he made you do it.

This is sexism against the woman, when you think about it a bit. Everything bad that happens to men, supposedly, the men did to themselves…we are empowered. Bad things happen to women, that’s also something men did…women are not empowered. Just waiting to see what someone else is going to do to them. Is there any situation possible, within the human condition, that’s less powerful? But again, Auntie Petunia is a casual observer and a casual thinker. She won’t think about it.

Girl ChemistIf she did, it might do some damage to another article of ideologically-neutral good-manners…another item that makes no sense, that we have to do anyway because we’re in the middle of eradicating something. This notion that there are no innate differences between men and women. Once again, we see the idea is sufficiently silly that no one who supports it will actually string it together, word-for-word. When you do that, the nonsense is too stark, too in-your-face. Subtlety is required. But we know the idea not only lives on, but has achieved mainstream status, for you cannot stand on a hilltop and broadcast to a general, unrestricted audience and say: Men can do things women can’t do! Oh Lordy, batten down the hatches for what comes next. Even though it’s 100% true. The casually-thinking Auntie Petunias will swarm all over you, like fire ants…very noisy fire ants. We see this in the software engineering industry quite a lot, as I’ve mentioned a few times. Numbers numbers numbers, there are so many male engineers on this team, and only so many female engineers or no females at all, it must be because of systematic discrimination! And just try to point it out…managers cannot hire people who do not apply, and the chicks aren’t interested. Turns out boys like to think about this stuff over here, girls like to think about that stuff over there. We find a girl here & there who happens to be interested in the Periodic Table of the Elements, and when we do, we treat her like gold. You know why? Because she IS gold! And you know why she’s gold? Because that’s rare. Show me ten kids who’ve memorized the Periodic Table, nine of them will be boys, maybe more. Ah ha, says Auntie Petunia! But here’s a girl who can out-engineer you any day of the week! Usually this is a lecture about Grace Hopper. Well if Auntie Petunia could stick around for an actual discussion about it, the obvious might sink in…you were bent out of shape about statistics, as in this-many males and that-many females on this team. Statistics are about averages. Girls, on average, are not Ms. Hopper. They want, on average, immediate acknowledgement when they do something positive, which means far less to their male counterparts, and this tends to distance them from nerd stuff. Tends. It isn’t an ironclad rule, but then again it doesn’t have to be one, because Auntie Petunia you were complaining about the averages.

This makes perfect sense, but unfortunately, once again it exceeds the “pass the sweet potatoes” attention-span.

Auntie Petunia believes it’s very wrong to “stereotype” against all Muslims based on the actions of a few Muslim terrorists. She has no problem, however, stereotyping against lawful gun owners after one gun-owner — more often than not, a not-legal gun-owner — shot up a nightclub or school. Once again, this is supposed to be centrist, not dedicated to any particular ideology, just about right-vs.-wrong. But her biases are evident.

She believes everybody’s choices should be respected. This has been especially damaging, because it isn’t even close to being true. Fooling your boyfriend into impregnating you when he doesn’t have a job, and you don’t have one either, is not a respectable choice. She also thinks that what’s really important in life, is that those who are in it should be happy. Again: Not even close to being true. The point to life is not to be happy. History is full of people who led very important lives, who by their actions made wonderful things possible for those who came afterward. Sometimes it was evident while they were still alive what important lives they were living, and sometimes it was commonly realized only after they shucked their mortal coils. But a lot of those people were not happy.

She thinks these flimsy things, and others equally flimsy, because she doesn’t think much about the things she thinks. It bears repeating, this is not necessarily because she’s stupid, it’s because she’s not bringing whatever intellectual acumen she’s got, to the exercise at hand. But that’s not all of it. This is a self-perpetuating cycle; one person falls for it, and that provides additional incentive for others. It’s the bandwagon fallacy of “everybody knows.” Again, we see Auntie Petunia doesn’t have to fit a profile to fall into the trap. She could have a long history of being mostly-invulnerable to bandwagon. She may be an introvert. She may even be antisocial. Being socially engaged, though, is not what trips the trap. It’s this desire to make a snappy decision, to have an opinion, without doing any actual work to develop one. Not at all unlike deciding to eat something unhealthy, on a weeknight, to avoid having to cook anything.

What I find really alarming about the whole Auntie Petunia thing, is that it encroaches on turf that traditionally has not been hospitable to the liberal way of life. In the smaller, more sparsely-populated areas that were the subject of Obama’s ire when He spoke of people who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The thing about small towns is, as others have pointed out, everybody knows everybody else’s business. What’s not widely understood by some who’ve never been there, is: Bandwagon fallacy plays out especially well there, almost as well as it does in a more populated, densely-packed urban area. In some ways, maybe even better. You have to “get on board” with whatever. If you don’t, you’ll be cast out in some way. The small town is decidedly red state, but like a dry, tinder-packed forest during the hot summer season, it’s got all the ingredients needed to make something very different start happening, and maybe in a great big hurry.

Because Aunt Petunia is so lazy in her thinking about the politics that so often attract her attention, but always for such a brief amount of time, she has a tendency to think in caricatures. If you personally know of one, she probably still refers to Trayvon Martin as a “boy.” Sheriff’s deputies are bullies, husbands are abusive, CEOs are greedy and don’t look out for their “workers.” The environment is being polluted by their “corporations.” It isn’t that she actually sees the world in such a monochromatic way; what’s really going on, is the exceptions just don’t interest her. They’re not part of the narrative she’s chasing. What she’s doing, is virtue signaling. There is an eventful, but not overly long, history behind the use of that phrase and it gratifies me to see my own terminology, “GoodPerson Fever”, made its debut relatively early. (Although the two aren’t exactly the same, since V.S. is a verb and GPF is more like the mental affliction that keeps the behavior self-perpetuating.) She’s after the quick fix. “I have no opinion” would, in her own estimation, make her a BadPerson. So she reaches for the microwave-dinner-for-one way of forming an opinion…liberals have it all over conservatives here. They’ve got a product ready to go on the frozen food shelf. Conservatives don’t.

Wise Super-AuntieHere I have another concern about the Auntie Petunias. They may live in small towns and they may be afraid of being perceived as BadPeople for not having formed opinions, therefore for not having formed the correct opinions. But, is that all of it? I’ve explained in detail above how their ideas don’t make sense, and on some level they must be able to understand this themselves. What gets the GoodPerson Fever started in the first place? Is there something in their pasts that make them feel the need to show what good people they are, by having these correct, but nonsensical, opinions?

She wants to be seen as compassionate, she wants to be seen as informed, she wants to be seen as cool. The cool aunt, kind to everybody, and nobody ever gets anything past her. That’s the desired narrative. The thing about her that is so painfully true, and you’d better not ever mention it out loud, is somewhat at odds with this: She is motivated by self-preservation. She’s acting out the situation I was describing years ago, in “Liberalism is a Holdover From Human Evolution.” Summarizing it at a high level: We have a village with people in it, and shared supplies. We do not have an abundance of these life-sustaining supplies, which have to be rationed in any case. But if things get bad, someone will have to be ostracized and left to die, outside the gates, in the cold. So you’d better behave the right way, because if the next harvest is bleak you might very well turn out to be that guy. And oh by the way, if I tattle on you maybe you can be the guy anyway…and I get your share of stuff.

No that isn’t reality. Not anymore anyway. But, that’s the mindset. Orwell wrote of this in 1984, toward the end of the book: “Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me: There lie they, and here lie we, Under the spreading chestnut tree.” We’re fortunate to be living in America, where this is just an idea, not reality. But it’s still an idea that motivates people, even if they don’t want to admit it.

This is why, at least a part of the time, she turns her back on religion. As long as we’re stuck on what “everybody knows,” part of that is that religious people are dolts. She doesn’t want to be a dolt…

And this has been going on awhile. Politics and religion, religion and politics. Don’t talk religion or politics! Stop it! There’s cheesecake!

The truth is, Auntie Petunia, far from being harmless, is a walking disaster to herself and others. She is easy prey for the current era of disinformation, in which the casual thinker is being prevailed upon — quite effectively, might I add — to take to the streets to “protest”…something.

In this arc I have complained about, and celebrated the apparent disappearance of, all sorts of wellsprings of unhealthy political thought that have emerged over the last fifty years or so. My hope is that the “protest” we see today is a swan song. I’m celebrating the demise of the idea that anarchy should rule, and our current civilization must be destroyed to make way for some new one. Of the idea that women should be “empowered” as rude bitches who talk over people, with all this lately-appearing “nevertheless she persisted” nonsense. Of the idea that while women are acting more like men, men should aspire to act far less so, that the ideal man is a man who doesn’t act manly at all. Of the idea that the most effective public discourse is to be a “Crazy Aunt Mabel” who refuses to control her own impulsive emotions, and by implication obligates everyone around her to do it for her. Of the idea that our various agencies and institutions should be weaponized. Of the idea that truth is subject to a person’s individual choice. Of the “we do it together, or we don’t do it at all” group dynamic. Of the idea that security is worth so much that we should sacrifice opportunities for a little bit more of it. Of the abnegation of dignity. Of the idea that clean-hands people should run everything, and it’s the place of the productive to stop producing, and wait for unproductive people to tell them when it’s okay to start again, and how they should be doing it, and how much. Of the idea that it’s man’s place on the planet to squeak through it, aspiring toward no more noble purpose than to reach a biodegradable burial site without leaving any evidence he was ever here.

I am daring to hope, that we are seeing a “twilight” of all these bad ideas. And more.

But, Auntie Petunia’s intellectual laziness, I fear, is a permanent thing. She isn’t going anywhere. Laziness is a human vice without beginning or end. Best i can hope for, there, is that it may go out of style for a bit. And I’m not overly sure about even that much.

Auntie Petunia labors tirelessly to be the kind, cool, perceptive, compassionate aunt everybody should want. But she scares the stuffing out of me.