Archive for November, 2017

Facts, Factoids, Feelings and Naught

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Someone’s been hitting Snopes a bit too hard. And I seek to criticize them for it, not for any hard-linkage to the now thoroughly discredited lefty-leaning “debunking” website, but for their borrowing of the flawed methodology. And the rest of us should pay attention, for this is an object lesson in “How, and why, liberals are to blame for most of, in fact nearly all, of the pointless arguing.”

Ed Darrell sees a similarity between the famous tank-vs.-man footage from Tiananmen Square in China back in the summer of ’89…

…and the chubby Trump-dissenting bicycle-lady who flipped off PDJT’s motorcade…

Well, there’s a problem with this. It isn’t so much with the lack of similarity between the two things, as with the presence of key differences. It takes more time than I’ve got to list those, whether I limit myself to the important ones or not. It would take a lot less time to list the things that aren’t different. Maybe I should do that.

Both events took place on a firm, somewhat flat surface.

Someone came along with a rebuttal:

Of course if someone was flipping Obama the narrative would be racism or lack of civility. Ok , i’m joking the picture would never been taken, let alone shown the light of day…if it were Obama , the media gate keepers would not allow it.

Here the narrative is ‘resistance’ and ‘evil nazi trump’ which the media gate keepers are a main proponent of so nearly any anti trump behaviour is welcome and normalised.

From anonymous protest, to outing herself , then complaining about the consequences of her pursuing her 15 minutes of fame, victim of her own vanity then victim of Trumpian dark forces and now winner thanks to trumpian dark forces…

And Mr. Darrell replied with something that, depending on your point of view, really put the voice of dissent in its place & showed it what’s what & what for…or…demonstrated to all willing to pay attention, the incredible difficulty involved in telling Mr. Darrell anything.

Russian and GOP bots spread far and wide any even barely colorable acts of disrespect or dissent to President Obama. You’ve forgotten the drunken Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s heckling during the State of the Union? You’ve forgotten Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s finger wagging at Sky Harbor Airport? Sen. Mitch McConnell’s press conference to declare the top GOP goal was making sure Obama was a one-termer — while the nation faced its greatest economic crisis at least since the Great Depression?

CNN put together a Top Ten list of great acts of disrespect to President Obama: (Link)

President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, bore those insults with calm equanimity, unlike the thin-skinned Donald Trump. They sought no vengeance, no retribution, and mostly ignored them to let action and reality speak for itself.

They were so cool about it, you seem to have forgotten the insults entirely, suggesting their strategy worked well.

Nor did “media gatekeepers” hide anything. They often were in the forefront of spreading the false, scurrilous claims. Remember the New Yorker cover showing the Obama’s as Muslim militants or terrorists?

Here is the problem with debunking things with feelings. The unstated but unavoidable conclusion Darrell seeks to prove, that there is no institutional anti-Trump pro-Obama bias at work, is patently absurd. But, you’ll notice, all the facts he puts out are technically true. This isn’t because his point has merit overall, it’s because there is so little fact in what he says, and so much feeling. It’s like opening a large Amazon package and finding eighty to ninety percent of the volume is taken up by those cushy air pillows, and you got half as much toothpaste as you thought you were getting.

But the problem is not limited to quantity. Feelings don’t debunk anything, for someone else can remember, with legitimacy…let me say that again, with legitimacy…the historical events having gone down a different way. Many of you are going to be supping with your smart-alecky liberal nieces or nephews next week at the Thanksgiving table, reaping the benefits of the younger generation having boned up on their Salon or Huffington Post articles about “How to win arguments with your Republican Uncle.” If you can’t see my point now, surely you’ll be able to see it then…

I would cite one key example, although I could cite many, for this criticism of Obama that seems to have rubbed Darrell the wrong way was very often, at the time, the story-of-the-week. And the next week, and the next week too. Made that way, by Obama supporters who couldn’t let it go, huffing away with their air of “how DARE s/he say that!”

New Yorker CartoonThe “You Lie!” thing with Congressman Wilson is a suitable example of this. Obama’s detractors thought little of it…at least, the way I recall it. We chuckled a little bit, and said to each other “Well…He does,” and then went back to work while the Obama supporters hyperventilated away, demanding censure, expulsion or both. The New Yorker example is an even better one. The naughty magazine, far from standing as some bastion of clear-eyed William F. Buckley conservatism, sought to publish a pictorial wisecrack, poking fun at those who were not on the Obama bandwagon. Conservatives and moderate-conservatives, in other words. It was a joke that was supposed to be at their expense.

It backfired due to the overwhelming failure of the distinction Darrell seeks to proliferate here: That Obama has thick skin, contrasted with President Trump whose skin is so very thin.

Well…can’t speak to the skin-thickness of the two individuals, specifically. And Trump was many years away from becoming a thing at the time the cartoon hit the stands. But my recollection was that there was little or no “calm equanimity” that allowed the whole thing to fade into the darkness of forgotten history, from Obama’s supporters. It is to laugh. They went into schoolgirl hysterics over it, and against one of their own, much like the revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror putting their own former compatriots into the guillotine for failing to be revolutionary enough. The New Yorker proliferated a vision that was supposed to be in the heads of those unsophisticated and racist anti-Obama types, as in, “This is what they see, amIRight?” And, those who are so solidly on-board with the Obama reforms to see the figurehead more as a religious figure than a political one, yelled “Sacrilege!” And then, for a little while, the whole country was dragged into a phony controversy whether it wanted to be or not.

That’s the way I remember it. Other people remember it differently, I’m sure. But then again, I’m also sure I’m not the only one who remembers it the way I do. This is why skilled architects who design mighty buildings that stand the test of time, even in high winds, use computer software to draw straight lines, and before those came along, they used straight-edges. Some things shouldn’t be drawn free-hand. And feelings don’t prove anything. Logically, this means they don’t debunk anything either. But that doesn’t stop liberals from trying, constantly.

This is something that makes sense to them. This is why persons today of sane mind, don’t want liberals running anything, anywhere. Modern liberalism is all about, among other things: My feelings are all-important; yours don’t count for squat.

Thing I Know #463. Facts debunk factoids; feelings don’t debunk anything.

On a related note, I seem to have “Costco‘d” my list of eight things; it should be nine. The list of things young people don’t get. Let me explain: I started the list because of one thing that was slightly bugging me, and after fleshing it all the way out to six things, and then going back to add another two, I forgot the one thing that I was supposed to hit if nothing else.

Young people, and Mr. Darrell, seem to entirely miss the key difference between Tiananmen Square guy and bicycle girl. They don’t understand the difference between “That is a brave thing that person is doing,”…or “His risk to himself, or her personal sacrifice, will mean freedom for many”…or “The idea being presented is meritorious, and worthy of respect, maybe even adulation”…or “It certainly does not justify the disdain and the derision being heaped upon it”…

…versus, “S/He has a right to say it.”

We live in a society that protects freedom of speech. Protect doesn’t have to mean respect. There has to be a difference between these two things, because we have to protect the disreputable ideas first. We have to protect the bad ideas, the ideas that really do deserve the disdain. We have to protect the dumb ideas. If freedom of speech doesn’t apply to those, it really doesn’t apply to anything else either.

Logically, this means “S/He has a right to say it” is not a substantial comment, one way or another, on whether the thing said is any good.

That’s another thing to keep in mind while waiting for your snarky liberal niece or nephew to pass you the mashed potatoes, along with the lecturing. The NFL “Take a Knee” controversy will almost certainly be included among the topics discussed. And if that’s the case, reliable as Black Friday shopping sales, the point will be made that they have the “right” to do it. Which is supposed to end, with an air of finality, the whole thing.

But it deserves only a two-word rebuttal, the only one possible: So what?

Thanksgiving Lecturing Instructions for Liberals

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Reviewing…from 2015, 2016

Don Surber (hat tip to American Digest) has the round-up for this year…

…and closes it out with:

If you will notice, there are no conservatives writing how-to-lecture-a-captive-audience story.

That’s because the conservatives are too busy buying turkeys and trimmings. Cleaning up the house. Getting out the folding chairs.

These family dinners tend to be hosted by conservatives because we took out mortgages, not student loans.

Car Color Metaphor

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Conscientious parenthood, I’ve noticed, is a never-ending series of just-because. That is, to those of us who care whether, and how, our children are maturing. Not all parents do. But for those who do, we have to understand, and all the time: Just because the child’s ready to do this, doesn’t mean he or she is ready to do that. And perhaps the biggest just-because of all comes right after the terrible-twos, when the kids learn to express a preference, and then get a bit testy about it: Just because your child can make a choice, doesn’t mean your child can make a decision.

I have often been distressed to see other parents place great weight…I mean, great weight, like, “I want my child to know how to swim before going to a canoe swamp”…on the making of choices. They don’t seem to remember that this is nothing more than merely expressing a preference. They think they’re doing the right thing. Figure out what you want, and then go after it sweetie! And in a way, it is the right thing. Figuring out what you want is the gateway. Can’t make a plan without a goal. Well…fine, but there are things to be factored into that. Before you can do that, what are the prerequisites? And after you get “what you want,” what are the consequences? This kind of stuff goes into decision-making, not choice-making. Here & there, now & then, such considerations might change the goal. That’s how you make a decision. Making a choice is not that. Making a choice is nothing more, really, than “I want.” It’s an impulse.

Mommy: Pumpkin, your father and I have decided you’re old enough, we’re going to include you in the vote on what color to paint the family car.

Tyke: I want it to be glow-in-the-dark purple and canary-yellow, like my favorite Pokemon character!!

That’s choice-making, not decision-making. A different level of maturity required for each.

The other thing that requires a certain level of maturity, is the processing of rejection…

Mommy: That’s wonderful, precious! Daddy and I have talked it over, and we’ve taken the vote…we’re going to order dark metallic gray.

Ah yes…when you try you have to expect to fail, when you gamble you must be prepared to lose, and when you participate in a vote you have to anticipate you’ll be outvoted. Some children who make choices but not decisions, might at least get this, that everything in life is not a win. The child might conclude the vote was conducted honestly, it wasn’t a set-up, it was a simple case of two against one. Or, she might understand, deep-down, that painting the family car the color of a cartoon character was never going to happen. Or, at the very least, choices are personal, what might be right for one may not be appealing to all.

Or.

Mommy and Daddy knew from the beginning what color they wanted to paint the car. It was a set-up!

My parents are evil!

And stupid! So, so very stupid!

They’re out to get me!

If she doesn’t have the maturity to accept that when you vote, sometimes you lose, she’ll skid along one or more stops in the Kübler-Ross Model, and then come to rest here. The game was rigged, the people who outvoted me are stupid, they’re evil, they’re out to get me. Also, their stuffy old minds are closed to my wonderful, bold new ideas because they are just too simple and set in their ways to understand.

This is exactly what liberals say about conservatives whenever they lose.

It’s going to be that way for awhile, because in liberal-land, lack of maturity is an actual weapon. The political class has learned to deploy, and use — successfully — Weaponized Arrested Development. This is good for them. It’s bad for the rest of the country, including their base which is displaying the lack of maturity they seek to exploit.

My Blog’s Thirteenth Birthday

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Yay…

We’re at 8,269 posts and 26,678 comments. Stopped counting the hits awhile ago…the mechanics for doing so started sucking, and I realized I don’t really care…it’s The Blog That Nobody Reads, after all…

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Our Young People Don’t Understand

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Someone wrote in with a comment, once upon a time, that my blog is very optimistic. Which came as news to me. I always thought of myself as grouchy, and pretty much everyone who knows me sees me that way. But the point the observer was making, was that every post is upbeat…which, I see, has some truth to it. This thing conservatives often say, like “We’re DOOOOOOMED!!!!” — I’m not part of that.

Mine are more like: Here is a complaint. It has to do with our society and where it’s headed. We’re headed in the wrong direction and we’d better check our bearings if we care about where we’re going — but each day offers some new hope.

Like, for example. Our young people. They are headed in the wrong direction. But…how many previous generations, in the history of humanity, looked at their young people and pronounced that civilization must surely be coming to an end, since the young were so poorly-adapted to shoulder the burdens being passed on by the old? I’d say that complaint has endured throughout all the generations, since the Great Flood. And yet we’re still here. So that has to mean, older generations complaining about younger generations, is part of the natural order of things. It’s okay. It’ll all work out over the long term. N-E-V-E-R-T-H-E-L-E-S-S — the time has now come for my own generation to turn soft, obese, gray, boring, “Get the fuck off my lawn”….and look down with sneering disdain on the younger generation that seeks to eventually displace us.

Let me tell you of the problems I see. Oh, yes there is some optimism. But before we get to that, there is this very short list of important things our young people don’t seem to understand…like…

1. WHY do we bother to study history? The youngsters do study it. They know something about Mahatma Ghandi being a nice wonderful guy and all, and the (mythical) Great Party Switch of the 1960’s. What I see the young people doing, is viewing history through the lens of a movie aficionado, with clearly defined heroes and villains. Well…that’s probably not history as it really happened. Also, we can’t USE history that’s made up of glittering generalities about certain people. Like, Genghis Khan had lots of children, Edward Longshanks was a very capable administrator, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King fought for the freedom of people…Louis XIV had an enormous penis and William The Conqueror was so strong he could mount a horse while fully clad in plate armor. Those things really don’t help us. What helps us is when we notice trends, when we see how human behavior works. That’s why we study history. To avoid the mistakes of the past. And it has not been lost on me, that the young people who are most ignorant of this, are the ones who are most enthused about proving they’re better people than the old people they seek to displace. Well…that’s actually how it’s done. Old people teach history to young people, so the young people have a shot at living better, more productive, better-informed lives.

2. Cause and effect. When you study history, the most useful thing you can learn from it by far, is the stuff that follows the pattern of “WHEN people do X, or have X done to them, the next thing that happens, is Y.” Like, when elected and appointed officials get power, they find ways to get more. When people are given things and don’t have to work for those things, they don’t take very good care of them. When you own a building and a gutter falls off the roof or a window breaks & you don’t fix it, you send a message…it’s okay for people to break all the other windows…

3. The correct way to generalize. A lot of young people are going to look at this list, come up with one or two exceptions to it, engage in a bit of mockery, then march away triumphant like a pigeon that just crapped on a chessboard or a dog that just piddled on a hydrant. It only takes one exception to prove it wrong! I win! Eh, not quite Skippy…there is such a thing as aggregate measurement. These metrics mean things. That’s why we take the trouble to gather statistics. And, while history is chock full of chubby middle-age generations like mine grumbling away about how the world is doomed because the newer kids don’t know what they’re doing…and the world has always managed to limp along…there’s something new & different going on with your age set. The alternative to noticing is to ignore it, and “ignore” is the main part of the word “ignorance,” because that’s how we make ourselves ignorant, by ignoring things.

4. The other side. I was noticing when I was reading this Cracked article…it’s supposed to be eighteen reasons why other countries are better than the United States. It ends up being sixteen reasons why the United States is better than those other countries, with an additional 2 items up for debate, because, well, older people are going to see the other side. Even if younger people do not. Like for example…

Cars are rare in Cuba, and as a result, all government vehicles are required to pick up hitchhikers (space permitting) to ensure they reach their destination safely.

Well…where to begin. I think anyone with a brain, over the age of forty, will see the downside(s). But, based on my experience watching other people notice things and form conclusions about what they mean, it seems lately you have to have been on the planet awhile before there’s a “form conclusion” process at all. Look over the article linked above, you’ll see what I mean. Win cash for obeying the speed limit! Ipso facto! You might have experienced this blindness yourself, talking with young people, having to explain to them: Well no, there actually are some reasons why we don’t want “guaranteed” paid parental leave. You might have noticed, it’s a blindness more severe than simply having never thought of it, a darker shade of pitch-black. Like the concept doesn’t exist in their universe. A downside? Who could imagine such a thing? Must be some sort of other-worldly creature or something.

5. Winning arguments. YES, your generation DID get its news from The Daily Show…NO, it is NOT “just a comedy show,” too many of you kids took it way too seriously for way too long and it’s done something to you. Too many among you think a wisecrack is a winning, even a definitively winning, argument. Well it’s not. Empirically observed evidence wins arguments…and then direct, not circumstantial, evidence. And then there’s logic. Also: “tl;dr” does not win arguments, in fact it makes you look like something of a tool.

6. Time. I really don’t know if “the majority of” people on welfare are chiselers who’ve selected the lifestyle because they don’t want to work…don’t very much care. You can’t measure it anyway. The issue is what happens over time. See #2, “cause and effect,” above. What are we to infer a new policy is going to do to such a ratio? Obviously if it’s very easy to collect welfare when you’re able-bodied, and very hard to find and keep a job, we should expect to see more people collecting welfare when they could work. People do what’s easy. And they, like all the rest of us, do not live inside snapshots. Time passes. Things move.

Update 11-11-17: 7. Conservatism, liberalism, socialism, fascism: No, conservatism is not a bunch of reflexive “no no no” against every new idea that comes along, the stuff we call “liberalism” today is not about liberty, socialism is not about making life fair, and fascism is not some spectrum-opposite of socialism with the forced redistribution of wealth removed. That’s not right at all. For conservatism and liberalism, you’re far better off referring back to what I had to say about it:

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.

Socialism is many increments of power transfer on the way toward the elimination of private property; it is being governed as if civilization is dead already, the resources are not being renewed, and everybody has to receive an evenly distributed portion so that no one person dies last, the final heartbeat comes to everyone simultaneously. Fascism is not the opposite of socialism, if anything it’s the opposite of classic liberalism, in which the rights of the individual would have been supreme, with fascism it is the right of the state that is supreme. The state controls everything. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you should understand modern liberalism is not opposed to this.

Modern liberalism comes up with new ideas, that are not new ideas at all, they have to do with transfers of wealth and power to the state. It makes these old/new ideas appealing to people who pay attentiopn only casually, by attacking definitions, and exploiting the audience’s lack of critical thinking and lack of maturity. Conservatism, far from rejecting these ideas out-of-hand because they came from a liberal, or a woman, or a black or gay guy, evaluates the proposal conservatively and asks questions about it. Most problematically, for the liberalism, Prof. Sowell’s famous three: “Compared to what?”, “What hard evidence do you have?”, and “At what cost?” You’ll notice, when conservatives object, very often the objection is framed around a concern for the continuance of civilization, with a prediction that has to do with cause-and-effect: Civilization cannot continue that way. And: When people discover they don’t have to do work to get things, they won’t do as much work.

Modern liberalism, you’ll notice, having positioned itself to exploit the lack of maturity among its chosen audience, will reply to these concerns with a bunch of accusations. What does a very small child think, invited for the first time to participate in a family decision, and then seeing his or her cherished idea rejected? If there is maturity, the child will conclude the decision was made in good faith and there were sound reasons, understood or not, for things going the way they did. But before the maturity sets in, the first synapse to jump the gap will be that those who made the decision are 1) evil, 2) stupid, 3) some combination of evil and stupid. Exactly what liberals say about conservatives, whenever liberals lose.

Suzy, Daddy and I have decided to include you on the decision about the family’s next pet. Puppy, or goldfish?

Great white shark!!

That’s nice sweetie…well, Daddy and I have discussed it, and we’re getting a puppy.

What the?? My parents hate me! You and Daddy are evil!! And stupid!!

It’s a civilization thing, a definitions thing, and it’s a maturity thing. The “new ideas” thing comes from liberals who have mistakenly been handed autocratic-level power in determining definitions, which is always a mistake because liberals don’t believe in definitions. They like defining themselves that way, because then they’re like the six-year-old wanting a great white shark in the family pool. It makes it look like everyone who’s not on board with the idea, has a phobia against new ideas. What’s really happening is the detractors are asking good, sound, grown-up questions, and thinking ahead to the ultimate consequences, something the liberal isn’t doing.

Which brings me to…

8. Change, progress, moving forward, lean[ing] forward: This is the one misunderstanding that most efficiently transforms good, honest, fresh little kids who were properly raised, who could end up going either way based on their honestly evaluated life-experience, into liberal dingbats.

All change is not necessarily good. People like that word, when they perceive that the change being proposed will bring no inconvenience to them, only to others. Of course, with this assurance in place, all change is positive and exciting. But, it’s implicitly understood that a fight is ahead, some people will not be welcoming of the change…and so, Barack-Obama-like, the advocate can always launch into a monologue about how change can be scary, for some, but we just need to nut up and get over it.

This is a three-fer for the liberal ideology, because they get to energize their base about this “change” and at the same time renew the slander against those “conservatives” who are resisting because they must be “afraid of change.” And then the base feels like it must be all big-and-bad, because these unmet other-people are afraid of something, and they themselves are not afraid of it. Well…it’s easy to be unafraid of something, if you don’t anticipate any negative consequences from it, either because the proposed change is carefully crafted to direct the negative consequences onto other classes of people, or because you’re just not thinking ahead. Takes no courage to remain-unafraid, in that set of conditions, at all.

Happy 242nd Birthday Marines

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Liberals Gather to Scream at the Sky

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Well…add this to the list of problems President Trump has not yet fixed. It matters because it’s a problem that’s been with us awhile. Difficult to say how long. It definitely kicked into high gear with the Occupy Wall Street protests a few years ago…

You’re seeing an example of the object of my complaint, every time there is a protest without a coherent message. Other than something roughly equivalent to “I’m unhappy with the way things are going and I wish things were different.”

I often make mention of Architects and Medicators; thinking people who must come up with ways to solve new unfamiliar problems, fall into one of these camps, or the other. You aren’t born into this one or that one, but you might as well be, because when people choose to solve new unfamiliar problems by way of subscribing to the methods of one group or another, they acclimate themselves to these methods for the next new problem, and the one after that and the one after that. They ensconce themselves. Medicators act as stewards over their own emotional state, placing a premium value on the shared experience. Whereas, Architects are mindful of, and comfortable with, the metaphysical. They know that two and two make four, and it doesn’t matter who’s watching or what anyone thinks about it. They also understand that not all events are spontaneous. There is cause-and-effect; things happen, because they were made increasingly likely by other things happening.

Our evolving culture is leaning way too far into Medicator territory. Can this be denied, when one notices the liberals screaming at the sky on the anniversary of an election loss? There’s a shared experience — and absolutely, positively, nothing else.

Americans share their feelings with other Americans way too much, right now. Especially young Americans. There is now a hard, distributed, yet concentrated, ignorance of the metaphysical. Ignorance of the fact that Trump is still their President, just as much as he would be if they were ecstatic over the results. That’s how reality works. It doesn’t care what you think.

And I suppose it doesn’t matter if we’re losing understanding of this…doesn’t matter if we lose it altogether. It’s not like an endangered species dying off & becoming extinct. Reality is always there to remind people who’ve become reality-averse. Everyone can always learn from it, and at any time. All it takes is a moment’s worth of paying attention.

But, two or three generations in a row, trained from birth to cultivate and display discomfort about this, and at every opportunity? That can’t be good.

There are quite a few jobs Medicators can’t do. Quite a few jobs that, when they aren’t done, someone has to recognize “Duh, hey, that job is not yet done”…even though no one feels good about saying so. Matching up jobs with the people who would presumably do those jobs, in recent years, has become the nearly-exclusive domain of the Medicator mindset. As in, “Although he has the hard skills, I feel like this other candidate would be a better cultural fit.” That could work, if the people who were experienced at doing the job made these sorts of judgment calls. But we’ve lately been getting away from that, entrusting first-gatekeeper chores to clerk-zombies and H.R. hosebeasts who can’t even pretend to know the first thing about doing the actual job.

There is, arguably, some value in young people developing the skill to coordinate with each other, even if it’s about a big silly nothing, a post-election screaming session. Better to have them understand how to work together on such a futile thing, than to not know how to work together at all. But, all things in moderation, and this one has passed the point of moderation. “Working together” is a learned skill, but it isn’t a productive skill. It’s just a first step. Somewhere along the line, seems we as a society have forgotten that.

No, I don’t see these tow-heads as fringe-kookburgers. I see them as a direction where we’re headed. We haven’t quite had anything like this before, have we? We had the hippie movement. Before hippies, there were beatniks. But this is different. It’s a heading, I think, that won’t be changed until such time as some influence from the outside produces such change. The individuals might grow out of it, as real life challenges them to recognize reality & actually solve problems. But they will be replaced by more ditzy kids just entering the phase, so that it hangs around us like a bad smell. It is the price of our success, we have all these airheads who have time to protest about nothing.

If we really try, I’m sure there’s a way we can enjoy the material success, without being encumbered by this constant spectacle. Seems to me children should be taught how to contribute to the prosperity they enjoy, when they find themselves privileged and emboldened to participate in these protests-about-nothing. Perhaps if that were happening, they won’t have the time to protest-about-nothing, or not nearly as much. Or, not nearly as many of them would, as often; perhaps we wouldn’t see it reaching critical mass, like, every single month out of every single year like this. Perhaps what we’re seeing, is the parents taking an undeserved and unearned holiday. Not enough parenting happening.

And so the young, who will inherit the future whether they’re ready for it or not, have yet to figure out two and two make four, and that things happen because other things happened. That is what we’re seeing. “I don’t like it, so let’s protest.” Protest…to stop it from happening a second time? Take a few of them aside, interview them in isolation, they wouldn’t be able to tell you…

It isn’t cute. Those are our future leaders. Yes, only the best will lead, maybe, hopefully…but if that’s the best out of a whole generation that lacks understanding, that doesn’t solve anything. And maybe it won’t be the best. History tends to offer us specimens of the most outspoken being selected for positions of real influence. That’s the norm.

Their Very Fine Line

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Once again, I wrote it out, looked back and thought to myself, “Hmmm, that’s quite good, innit?”

The democrats have to walk a fine line when they control the electorate. Voters have to feel like things are good enough that there’s no penalty for wrong decisions, and they can say & do any ol’ stupid thing…but, at the same time, bleak enough for their own individual circumstances that an even redistribution of wealth would net them something.

Best way to do that is to insert a layer of wise, sophisticated bureaucrats in the acquisition of vital goods & services, like gasoline and health care…and, keep the proles in positions of absolute local mastery over their acquisitions of non-vital, silly, electable things. Like sneakers, tattoos, video games, tongue & navel studs, barbiturates, hallucinogens and fidget spinners.

President Trump was elected by millions of people who don’t even personally like him. It is, by & large, the same group of voters that elected Barack Obama twice. There are many reasons for this, first of which is that “by & large” is not the same as “exactly.” There were voters who stopped voting, and other voters who started (again). Obama provided an opportunity for virtue-signaling, for going through the motions of fighting racism. Hillary Clinton would have provided equivalent opportunity for going through the motions of fighting sexism, but either people aren’t as concerned about that, or she wasn’t as convincing. Or, she was just a horrible candidate.

I think, though, people have a very primal way, a very accurate way, of sensing when they’ve run out of margin-of-error. They grow up real quick, when it becomes necessary to do so, dancing much more cautiously when they know they’re nearing the edge of a cliff. A lot of voters wanted to offer the impression, to others, that they & their families were suffering through dire circumstances in 2008, when it made perfect sense for the presumptive candidate to say…

We will look back and tell our children, this was the moment…when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal…

Hate to rain on the pity-party. But if your circumstances are such that this is convincing campaign rhetoric for you, you really don’t have it that bad.

And that’s the perfect storm they need to create. If people are suffering too much, they might get the idea the source of their suffering is the government the democrats want to empower and inflate. This would be a repeat of November of 2016, and of all those midterms that didn’t work out well for democrats, like 1994, 2002, 2010, 2014. If people are doing well enough that they’re starting to feel some confidence in their own abilities to make things better, this will diminish that feeling of helplessness and dependence the democrats need to exploit. Of these two spoilers, I think the democrats are more worried about that one, the aspiration toward self-empowerment. Material prosperity isn’t required to make it happen. You just have to have confidence, and then you have to think like a grown-up. Spiritual health, and belief in a Higher Power, contribute to this. So, they’re none too fond of such things.

Right now, it’s interesting to watch them. They themselves know they’re in the “can’t screw up” mode, dancing like they’re nowhere near the edge of the cliff. They’ve already fallen off it, enjoying the luxury of knowing they can’t go anywhere but up.

And what is it we see them doing, when they’re relieved of the burden of pretending they’re something they’re not? When we get to watch them in this state of relaxed candidness?

They’re stockpiling the one asset they have, which is the widespread resentment against the current President. If that anger diminishes too much within the next year, they lose. If too many people say “I really don’t like the way 2016 went, but ya know what, I’m over it…gonna get on with life”….they lose. The one arrow they have left in their quiver, is to keep that anger keen, sharp and hot. Building on it, if that could be done, would be ideal.

So the masses have to feel like they’re doing well enough they can afford to think all cockeyed, like our voting makes a difference in what the planet’s going to do…and, are miserable enough that they’ve managed to net fewer material possessions than the average, such that they’d come out on the higher end if all the wealth were to be evenly re-distributed. Like they are wallowing in some misery because other people didn’t care enough about them, didn’t give them enough stuff.

And, they have to be angry at Donald Trump. How do they make the voters angry at Donald Trump? How best to rub those emotions raw in the year ahead, when the emotions have been rubbed already over the past year, or more? How to keep the flame from being exhausted at the very moment when it counts?

By reminding them how stupid he is

Think about THAT, now. We’re constantly told the democrats are the party of the little guy, of the underdog. The handicapped, who cannot do, couldn’t have done, anything to improve his present circumstances. Well, putting aside the fact that this is exactly how small children argue — “You’re stupid! I win!” — when the time comes for all of their hopes and dreams to depend on making an entire country angry at one guy, they see this as the most promising strategy. Promulgate the notion that he’s stupid, like they did with Sarah Palin and George W. Bush. Convince us he’s stupid, and our anger is automatic. And right, and good, and just.

Think about that…take all the time you need…

Speaking for myself, a guy who’s had to curse himself for thinking dumb thoughts and doing dumb things, even as bosses & colleagues have practically worshiped him for his soooper-genius intelligence in the aftermath of solving this or that problem…and, has watched others do super smart & super dumb things…the simplicity of this boring bromide bothers me. “Intelligence” — there are quite a few different kinds, right? Have we forgotten this? I guess we’re prospering enough, once again, we feel like we can afford to think all silly and sloppy. It’s not like ounces of residual wine left in a jug or something like that. It’s not a singular metric.

Besides, if we’re dancing close enough to the edge of the cliff that we have to think a bit longer & harder about what might be an errant move, what we can & cannot afford…it is not lost on me, that government tends to become much more expensive, much less affordable, when under the stewardship of these sleek, sophisticated, eloquent talkers who’ve been billed to us as Higher Beings with genius intellect. Seems to me that pattern’s pretty durable. The World’s Smartest Woman, or Black Guy, or Gay Guy or just plain World’s Smartest Straight White Guy gets in there…a year later, the price of gas goes up, premiums go up, deductibles go up, the grocery stores are required to stiff me by selling me fancy plastic bags…the money just flows. We get nickeled and dimed to death. But, not to worry, because the super-smart bosses can make fancy speeches.

The perfect situation, for them, is one in which we’re all out of money and have no idea where it went. This is why super-smart super-genius politicians, owing their allegiance to the democrat party, are so wild about controlling energy policy. If they were to pass some laws resulting in a sharp increase of the price of just one thing, let’s say for example cold cereal; there would be wrath expressed at the ballot box. The candidate running for re-election would be the six-dollars-for-a-box-of-Cheerios guy, and he’d lose. BUT. Make energy more expensive; that pushes up the price of everything across the board. The cereal, the milk, the bowl, the spoon, the cream, the sugar, the table and chairs.

Better make some more money! Oh, but the companies are not hiring. It looks like that’s because they don’t care about you all of a sudden…we can blame Republicans for that. The truth is, it costs more to hire you.

The democrats need another 2008. That means their guy has to appear intelligent; present an opportunity to cosmetically fight some sort of “ism”; be visually appealing, young, vibrant, a bit sexy, and the voters have to feel pampered enough they can afford to think clumsily, but abused enough the time’s come for revenge.

But, the rest of us cannot afford this. Bring on the dummies. We’ve already elected all the phony sophistication we can afford.

The Ogle Shaming

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

One of the women in my workplace erupted into a lecture-dervish when she discovered it was my policy to “discriminate” in favor of kids with good Halloween costumes, by way of handing out extra large chocolate bars. She announced that if I was going to give a reward to a skinny fit girl in a Wonder Woman costume, then I should be compelled to give an equal reward to a pudgy fat girl in the same costume. Then she got distracted, so no debate ensued.

There wouldn’t have been one, anyway, though…these are little tiny kids, not swimsuit models. Withholding chocolate bars from obese kids, as much sense as that might make because of issues concerning health, not sightliness…it isn’t part of my routine. A costume’s a costume. Yes, Wonder Woman gets the top spot because we had a Wonder Woman movie this year…which the feminists, oddly, find threatening. Batman ties for first place, because Batman’s cool. Kylo Ren is the next one down. Then, Moana. They all get enormous, pound-plus chocolate bars. The idea is to reward kids who really put thought & effort into the occasion, and send the “bag over my head, where’s my candy?” kids home with their fun-size snickers to think about how they could try harder next time. These are great messages to give to kids. Great job! And, Try harder.

Kate UptonIt’s tradition. The way it’s supposed to work. “Trick or treat” means, I’ve got a treat waiting for you, show me your trick. The rest of the world may have moved on to something else, something one-sided, but I haven’t.

This never-ending crusading and offense-taking, though, about fit-vs.-fat…it’s interesting. I write frequently of questions a space alien might ask, if he were intelligent and logical but unfamiliar with our evolving culture. This is perhaps the #1 question I wouldn’t be able to answer fully. You wouldn’t either. We crusade tirelessly against men appreciating the sight of fit, beautiful women. And yet, as our economy veers away from the production of goods and services, into the morass of selling things to one another that someone else built…we rely to excess on the sight of fit, beautiful women to help us sell things. Does this mean we wish to destroy ourselves economically?

Let’s try to formulate at least a partial answer. No…one of our inexplicable paradoxes is that everyone likes money. Some people, I’ve noted, act as if they don’t like having it, find ways to get rid of it when some has come their way. What they really despise is math. Monitoring the checking account balance, and finding ways to help other people. If you watch them awhile, you’ll see they like the things money can buy, just fine. They want someone else to handle all that “We’re running low, better get some more money” stuff. And there is a lot of overlap between this crowd, and the “Force guys to fall in love with sloppy fat women even if they don’t want to” crowd.

Side rant: I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet. Like many people in our modern world, perhaps more than I should. Perhaps I’m seeing content surreptitiously customized to my own proclivities and preferences, but I’ve gradually noticed something about Internet advertising. And I’m inclined to think something about this, because Internet advertising is not a trivial thing, it seems to be where our world is headed. A lot of it seems to consist of a pretty girl wearing something skimpy, and then a box appears over the image to interrupt my ogling to tell me about something. When I see this, my first reaction is: This was put together by a gay man or a straight woman, someone who just doesn’t get it. Men have been assessing the physical attributes of women for thousands of years, just as long as we’ve been selling & buying things. Maybe longer. Science has confirmed that such lengthy traditions have an effect on our primal wiring, and it is this wiring framework advertising seeks to trigger. That’s the whole point. To close the “I wanna buy that” circuit. The cock-blocking popup box doesn’t do this. It does the opposite. How do I describe what happens in the male mind when such unwelcome occlusion-culling occurs, to someone who doesn’t have a male mind? Words fail. Suffice to say I’m not reading what’s in the box, and I’m not buying what it’s selling.

And when it become prevalent, it gets very difficult to sell me things. It also gets difficult to sell me on the whole “Men still run the world” thing…I’m looking around, and I don’t think so. I really don’t. I doubt we’ve been running things before. Going back a long ways, I’m doubting it strongly.

Back to the subject at hand. What’s the end game? Could men be forced, socially, to change their preferences as feminists and other fat-worship activists hound them? Seems unlikely anyone could actually be hoping for such a thing. But there certainly is a lot of energy devoted to this. What are they trying to do?

Rush Limbaugh had a lot to say about this. In fact, of his famous First 35 Undeniable Truths of Life, I have noticed there is exactly one, and only one, that ever gets any press at all, either from him or from those who criticize him:

#24: Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.

This gets all the attention, because 1) it’s true, and 2) we’re not allowed to notice. The objective can be accomplished by way of the two fronts of attack which modern-day feminism so often presses: 1) discouraging any attention given to nice looking women, and 2) diminishing the influence of the men who’d be lavishing such attention. Well…the latter of those two things seems more realistic than the former.

I don’t think you can culturally shame men who appreciate fit healthy women, so that they equivalently appreciate disgusting sloppy fat women. Furthermore, I’m inclined to think the people who continually try, agree with me. But, try they do…they continue to do. It’s dishonest because they know they can’t succeed at this, and they still command resources which they leverage toward this futile end. It’s also hypocritical. A shirtless Taylor Lautner? Or, back in the day, Tom Selleck? All good!

I think this is one of those crimes that are to be identified, and called out, but people aren’t supposed to stop committing. It’s part of that weird “criminal class manufacturing” thing civilizations do after they’ve passed the zenith of health, and begun their decline. People who aren’t guilty of anything are harder to control. Before we got here, we made simpler laws about bigger things, that existed as actual laws with definitions, and penalties attached. “Don’t kill other people” and the like. This one, not being part of our justice system, can’t have actual penalties attached. It’s a purely social cudgeling.

There are two aspects to it. There’s the preference; if you like pretty fit thin girls, you should stop liking them, or else make sure and lavish a measured and equal portion of enthusiasm and affection upon the sloppy fat girls. And then there is etiquette: When you’re out in public, in a place where others can see you, you shouldn’t stare because it’s rude. These are both useful efforts in attracting the support of decent people, people who never would ordinarily support liberal causes because they’re decent people. These are the people liberals do not deserve to have in their ranks, but they manage to recruit them anyway. Some of these decent people have daughters, sisters, wives. And they all love their mothers. Hey! That glance is disrespectful! Why yes…let’s have some penalties. Let’s apply some force. Just see where it goes. Try and make those bad men stop doing that. Who, in their right mind, could possibly be opposed?

Distracted BoyfriendWell I mentioned up above about definitions. However you want to define a rude glance, buying a copy of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition is not it, although that’s a prime example of what’s being targeted. But, to this offensive leering: There has to be some sort of criterion, somewhere. Everyone’s going to accept this. In fact we hear it all the time. “A polite glance is okay, a rude leer is not.” So what’s the threshold? Can we measure it in milliseconds? I think everyone would agree that’s a negative. A polite, loving, respectful gaze can stretch on and on, whereas this leering we’re supposed to be burying forever, could be over in a flash. So time is not the factor.

What is, then?

Here we come to another thing that 1) is true, and 2) we’re not allowed to notice.

What’s going on here is a grok. I mean that according to its original, correct definition…not according to the wrong definition, the one you find in the dictionary:

[T]o understand profoundly and intuitively.

I’m referring to that part of “grok” that is exclusive to this word itself, and does not in any way apply to apparent synonyms like “comprehend” or “understand”:

It assumes the Quantum mechanics principle that one cannot observe a subject without changing it and thereby becoming part of it.

You see, for all these thousands of years while the men were gazing & leering at female breasts, thighs, bellies, hips, lips, toes and ears, to assess the specimen’s physical health inside & out and thus make a determination about her suitability for bearing children…thereby, hard-wiring the custom into the DNA of those who would come afterward — the women were shopping. For everything. Mostly food. And a lot of this food, like drupes, fruits and nuts, required practiced inspection. The men programmed their sons, and the women programmed their daughters. A man sees a pretty girl, enjoys the look, would look all day, if he could…well, it turns out the woman sees the man. And with thousands of years of evolved practice, she doesn’t need all day to make a decision.

What makes the glance rude, is the guy doing the glancing, and the decision the glancee has already made about him. No one’s supposed to see her being all gorgeous and everything, except the guys she wants to attract. That, there, is your difference between rude and polite; does she want the guy to look?

This is another thing feminism has ruined. Back before, in that awful period we’re supposed to despise so much because women were being treated like property — which is actually a bit of fiction, but let’s let that go for now — fathers and mothers told their daughters you’re not going out in public wearing that. Today it’s all about her choice. Well, back then when the girl was old enough, eventually she would be taught the true ramifications of “in public.” You’re going out, looking attractive, shopping for guys…with these thousands of years of evolved practice, you’re going to very deftly and very swiftly make a determination that this guy or that guy is too old, too fat, too thin, doesn’t make enough money, and cast them aside like a wise old housewife passing on a rotten coconut or overripe melon. From then on, you’ll concentrate on the specimens that remain. But, everyone can get a look at you.

Some of the girls were not bothered by this at all. But at least they were educated about it. They knew what “in public” meant.

Today, this particular bit of education is no longer acceptable and is not being done as often. And so — this is the fact of the matter, and there are people who profit from it — we have lawsuits galore, because females were reminded rather abruptly of what they should’ve been taught years earlier. The substandard males who don’t make the cut, get to see them being all gorgeous too. It isn’t just Brad Pitt. They’re out in public. “In public” means everyone gets a look.

None of this would be worth calling out, if it were not for where we are as a society, and where we’re headed. These days, not a week goes by before you hear about some supposed scandal involving a famous male, and some indecent liberties he took with a member of the fairer sex ten, twenty, thirty years ago. These are invitations for more women to “come forward with their stories” about the male, and if enough of those materialize, then it will become obligatory upon everyone paying attention to presume the accused’s guilt. But haven’t you noticed? The name of the target gets primary focus; what he actually did, is relegated to secondary status. Since it’s a popular fad right now, some of these accused persons are bound to be innocent. Not that the accuser is being dishonest in her chronicling of what happened or her feelings about it, what I mean is the quite literal sense that he didn’t do anything wrong. We’re bound to be seeing some examples in which she went shopping for men the way old housewives went to the village marketplace to pick out seasonal grapefruit, and being uneducated about what “in public” means, became quite offended to discover the grapefruit was animated, sentient, and “shopped” right back.

Also, our economy is relying more and more every year on men appreciating, and being motivated to purchase things by, the sight of a pretty woman wearing not too many clothes. And the culture in which that economy thrives, is consumed with the idle activity of bludgeoning these men into not looking. This will not end well.

That Other Split

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

One year onward, it might be a good time to think about That Other Split, the one that isn’t between Republicans and democrats. Conservatives and liberals are on both sides of this.

To the one side, are people who translate their values directly into selection of candidates. They want the guy who gets their vote, to stand as an emblem of what’s right. Their kids should want to be like this guy. Note that very few people, even among the ones who voted for him, would elevate Donald Trump to such a pedestal. There isn’t much strategy here, other than “If I elevate what’s important to me so that everyone sees it, and bury what I don’t like so that no one can see it, I will prevail,” something like that. There are a lot of people here who forget the Morgan Rule Of Winning Arguments: First step is, you have to DO some actual arguing. They like to skip forward, to the fun part, where they win.

The other side is much more pragmatic. They see an election as, possibly, the first step toward solving problems; or, if the other guy wins, the first step toward making those problems much worse. The candidate states some policies, which may be good or bad, and he may be sincere or not. If he wins, he’ll do things; if he was sincere, the things he does will bear a resemblance to what he said he was going to do when he was campaigning. If the things he does are good things, then things will be made better, and if the things he does are bad things then things will be made worse. This crowd thinks a lot of the problems we have, are the result of politicians being dishonest about the good things they said they were going to do, or being elected to do bad things. They’re completely right about this.

The democrats lost a year ago because they appealed entirely, or at least mostly, to the first group. “Remind people of climate change constantly, FORCE people to buy bio-bags & drink out of eco-cups, REMIND them that Trump called Alicia Machado Miss Piggy, make every cartoon character gay and then everyone will have to like us.” To the second group, they’ve only been throwing scraps. “Actually, when you raise the minimum wage, unemployment goes down” — nice thing to say, you can have Paul Krugman repeat it a few times, but no one believes it anymore. Not even Krugman.

The business of the democrat party is to make it prohibitively expensive for a full-fledged, legal, law-abiding citizen to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide in the time period between paychecks. Nickel & dime them to death, with gas taxes and “You must carry the health insurance that pleases us or else pay a fine”…tax them on their taxes. Until following the law is not only questionable as a possibility, but pointless. And the average American lives in a tiny apartment with a bunk of screaming kids and his credit card debt is equal to many years’ worth of income. With the country enshrouded in despair, democrats just might win something.

So when they campaign, as they appeal to the pragmatic group, they have to sell nonsense. Joe Biden said it himself: “We have to spend money to keep from going bankrupt, yes that’s what I’m telling you.” We have to succumb to an invasion of outsiders for the sake of national security, we have to make it more expensive for businesses to hire people in order to get the people hired, America is the greatest country on Earth already I hope you’ll join me in fundamentally transforming it. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. People are tired of it.

You can’t win an election appealing to the first group, because too many of them are defecting and joining the second group. “Hooray, I elected someone who looks like me!”…it only lasts so long and then there’s another election. When people get more desperate, they get more practical.

Trump won because he appealed to the second group, with plans that are credible. A year onward, we see they’re working. The nation has learned an important lesson, albeit not a very sophisticated one, it’s a lesson fit for children just on the verge of becoming grown-ups, about cause and effect. When you do this, that other thing is more likely to happen. Say what you want about grabbing pussies, but that’s what our evolving culture needed to learn.