Archive for February, 2024

We Need Humility

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

We have a problem with humility.

You have heard it said that humility focuses on what’s right, while the Sin of Pride is concerned with who’s right. Everyone wants to be right all the time. It’s understandable, but all sins are understandable or they wouldn’t be sins.

Women aren’t being held to standards. You find one little shortcoming with a woman or with what she’s done, people swarm out of the woodwork to point out a man did something just as bad or worse. Which changes the subject. What the woman did wrong, doesn’t get addressed. And they’ll be right. But, it’s not a contest. Very few people care about whether men are better than women, or the other way around, and the question is as unanswerable as it is useless. But what’s wrong with the men anyway? Their shortcomings are pointed out all the time…men engage, get criticized, they disengage and get criticized some more. Many have gotten to the point where they just don’t care. They self-isolate and play video games. Two sexes, two entirely different problems. They are diametrically opposite problems. Neither one gets effectively worked, either by the person showing the shortcoming or by anybody else. Humility.

Our so-called “leaders” want us to curb our carbon emissions while they fly around on jets. That’s a humility problem. Do as I say, not as I do. Everyone can see what’s wrong about it. So many people don’t do anything about it, in fact a lot of people sign up to help the phony carbon misers chide the rest of us. Scolding is fun.

There are a lot of bold new decisions being made about how to write and produce movies. “Reimaginings,” and so forth, with this-or-that white straight character made black or gay. But these decisions are not really bold, because when the ticket revenues fall short and the poor reviews come rolling in, the people who made the movie blame the audience for not liking it. They’re steadfastly unready to receive any criticism. Humility.

People say it is of paramount importance that Donald Trump be kept as far away as possible from the presidency, or any office of trust, honor or authority. Ever again. It’s certainly their right to vote that way, and to voice their opinion about it. But their attempts to prosecute him reveal that if the majority is still with them on this, they’re not too confident about it. And the content of the cases against him reveal a quality control problem. They’re laughably stupid. Such cases exist only because of this drive to keep Trump out of office, which should be limited to votes and speech. Everyone knows it’s wrong to abuse the justice system this way, but people are doing it anyhow because they’re afraid to lose. Humility.

As far as Trump’s wealth, I keep hearing about how he inherited it. But nobody anywhere is asserting that he inherited all of it; he’s worth more than what he got. He made money. If people are so fixated on it, shouldn’t they be more concerned about what Trump knows how to do, to make this money? You don’t get to inherit it and then just stick it in a mattress and expect it to grow.

Now we have people talking up the Biden presidency as some edifice of greatness. Joe Biden, so goes the narrative, far from being senile has it all together. He’s sharp; he’s energetic; can’t keep up with him; gets more done in an hour than some people do all day. Silly. Not even worth arguing, just risible nonsense. People, seeking to attend to their social standing, making asses out of themselves. They don’t want to admit voting for Biden was a mistake. Don’t want to admit the lesson they got, when you kick a guy out you need to think more about the quality of his replacement — which they didn’t do. A mistake, followed by a second mistake of refusing to admit to the first. Humility.

Social media has woven people together with a net of social engagement, that’s a bit too effective; the strands of the web are just a bit too thick. People are making judgment calls, and decisions about what to do, based on how these choices will affect their social altitude, whether they’ll generate lift or drag. They want to be “right” all the time, but only right in the judgment of their peer group. To make a decision that’s right from the perspective of nature and nature’s God, in the sense that it will make things better, is of decidedly second priority to them. That’s the Sin of Pride.

In fact it’s worse than that; we have a month where we actually celebrate pride. We’re proud, and making dreadful decisions, about everything, often. It’s hurting us.

Humility. We’re missing some. Need to get it back again.

Defining the Cause and Effect

Monday, February 19th, 2024

Republicans and democrats both hitting me up for donations…

I notice something. The democrats, who I’ve long noticed are opposed to the preservation of any definitions we rely on to make society go, and in fact are strongly in favor of destroying the definitions we have already (legal immigrant, illegal substance, marriage, man/woman)…continue their perfect streak of defining absolutely nothing when begging for votes and money. “My opponent is too extreme for California!” …like…in what way? One quickly gathers the impression Adam Schiff isn’t saying, because he can’t afford to say. California where you still have to pay five bucks a gallon for gas. Yeah, I want to pay Trump-era gas prices. Real extreme.

It seems like Republicans are taking a page out of this playbook. Define nothing. Like, you’ll alienate voters and potential donors if you say anything about the actual issues. We all know why we don’t want democrats elected, so it’s smart to just leave that unmentioned.

I say: No. It isn’t smart. It’s dumb. People are so much more eager to say “I’m conservative” than “I’m Republican,” because the latter has not often been the former. The people who might be persuaded to support the Republican party with their votes or with their donations, are typically jaded. There’s been a long string of abuses, a track record of bait and switch, and they’ve had enough of it. They want assurances. Also, a lot of them became Republicans or conservatives in the first place because they’re hypersensitive to this business of “I just give you tiny teaspoons of information because if I tell you too much you’ll go away (because you’ll figure out you should).” If you’re worthy of their support, you’ll say what you mean, and you’ll mean what you say.

I have to wait for Donald Trump himself to give a speech to find out what it means to Make America Great Again. Nobody else is even mentioning it, except democrats, by way of the single word MAGA which they use as a put-down. Yes, an undefined put-down. “Those MAGA Republicans.”

Gee I don’t know about that, Joe & others. I never saw any MAGA Republicans install local prosecutors who refused to prosecute felons, or bus in violent thugs and child molesters to crowded cities to stage dangerous, destructive George Floyd protests. And I haven’t seen any of them bench-press the cost of energy upward, to make me poorer, on purpose.

It’s aggravating. The 2024 election year shouldn’t be a nail-biter, shouldn’t be any kind of photo-finish. The other side has the Senate and White House; the case to be made for a change in leadership is strong, and their election-year bragging rights are as thin as during any election in my living memory.

If it isn’t a Reagan-Carter rout, that can only mean the Republican leadership is making bad decisions, heading in the wrong direction. And it almost certainly is not going to be that.

Specify stuff. State your case. Define things.

It is the essence of conservatism to define that which should be defined. Liberalism obfuscates and obliterates definitions; it takes **liberties** with them. Define the things. Or, give up and go home.

You might start with what causes what. Connect them together. Yes, you’ll be unable to prove it, and the “fact checkers” would jump on such fastenings like hungry hyenas on a carcass. But the fact checkers are hyenas; they’ll do that no matter what.

Let’s look into that. And start with recognizing the disconnect, and correcting a misconception. Liberals say conservatives are extreme and conservatives say liberals are extreme.

But people generally agree, conservatives want to keep things the way they are and liberals want to try out new ideas. Unfortunately, this common ground is faulty. There are situations in which it does not hold. For example, right now we’re looking forward to the day electric vehicles can entirely displace, at least in some efforts, internal combustion. Do you know of any conservatives taking the position “Nosiree, I will keep my gas engine forever and ever, no matter what”? I’m not like that. I’m too cheap. Stubborn, sure. But also cheap. You get me an electric unit that can save me money, I will buy it as long as I can count on it.

And really, everything is like that.

So it’s more like: A new idea emerges; liberals pounce on the idea, while conservatives are still asking questions about it. Sensible questions. The kinds of questions grown-ups ask. Conservatives want to treat the new idea as a new idea. Has it been tested? Are we going to phase the roll-out, in an isolated sandbox first? Opt-in? Opt-out? Reliable rollback strategy if it goes to shit?

Whereas liberals go rushing after the idea, like a dog chasing a car. That is your distinction between the two — the real one. Conservatives think, liberals don’t.

As such, conservatives have a better and more disciplined understanding of cause and effect. They believe in it. Liberals don’t believe in cause and effect unless they’re blaming a bad thing on Republicans; then they believe in it. Republicans did the bad thing, humans are trashing the planet, other than that nothing causes anything in the liberal world. It’s a world of sensationalist headlines, effects without cause. Refugee crisis, energy crisis, inflation crisis, and don’t forget the poor people, losers of life’s lottery.

Of course the thing about cause and effect is, with very few exceptions, no one can really prove anything.

But if you want to make a plan that’s got a better chance to succeed than a random selection, you have to think about the C&E. That is at the heart of all strategy, what causes what. Without those connecting rods, it’s all just a crap-shoot, a roll of the dice followed by a “let’s hope.” That’s not strategy.

I think…

1. When the Government prints money without anything to back it, that results in inflation. Really, I’m stunned that anybody who thinks highly of their own understanding of economics would disagree, but people do. And I can’t prove it. But I know it’s right.

2. When you tighten down on gun restrictions you really only impose the restrictions on the people who are willing to follow the law, which criminals, by definition, are not willing to follow. The tendency is going to be for crime to increase as a result, including violent crime.

3. Lowering the voting age results in less wise voting, by which I mean, stupid. It takes awhile to figure out how to vote like you’re not an impressionable dumbass, and a lot of that learning has to do with — yup. Cause and effect. Shutting your mouth, sitting back, and watching it.

4. Female conduct leads the conduct of society overall. Women deciding, en masse, to shun family life and limp from cradle to grave as spinsters, leads to large numbers of women becoming disoriented and unhinged, and that leads to society overall becoming unhinged.

5. Men become disoriented too, if they’re missing a sense of purpose. Without a sense of benefit to their deeds or consequence to their misdeeds, men lose their way. Very, very few men will maintain their sense of direction without anyone depending on them, and even they will become disoriented if their decisions and actions don’t seem to affect their own prospects.

6. Children require discipline. They have to learn at a young age to respect others. If they don’t, they grow up to be assholes.

7. People who read too much about how to do something, without actually doing it, will become clean-hands idiots. It’s in our nature. We’ll start to think of ourselves as superior to the dirty-hand people who are actually doing the work. If anything, it should be the other way around, because when people get their hands dirty they get to experience first-hand — yup, cause and effect. The book-reading people with their clean hands, generally speaking, are sheltered from this. But they’re offered a superficial impression that their education is better and they know more. It’s a dangerous combination.

8. College tuition, legal services, petroleum products, housing and food are expensive because government has stepped in at some point and started subsidizing these goods. When government “helps” people to acquire something, you can expect the market price of whatever that is to skyrocket. That’s because whoever opts to pay for the thing themselves, has to wade out into the market as a consumer and compete with the government.

9. Feminists are the progressive activists most keenly invested in our evolving culture; they are affected by it, and they also induce an effect upon it. As you look at their various efforts over the years, you’re going to see a pattern where they label something as oppressive evidence of patriarchy, and when you look at who wanted that thing in the first place, you’ll see it was the feminists. They clamor for something, get it, and a generation later they’re complaining about that very thing.

10. Technology has an atrophying effect upon the mind. As it provides us with more conveniences, raising our safety, our security and our standard of living, it compels more people to think like idiots. It essentially manufactures liberalism. People feel like they can make it without parents, without family, without God, without any stable definitions of anything anywhere — but, at the same time, they can’t make it at all. Need Government to give them freebies, or else they’re doomed to become victims of the patriarchy.

It may not result in Republicans winning reliably right away; may not give us a red-wave rout this year like we should be getting. But we really should — need to — start debating issues in terms of what causes what, rather than leapfrogging ahead to policy changes or reversions of earlier changes. When we jump ahead to “what’s our next move,” that’s when we alienate people needlessly, and we tend to argue around the real disparities, avoiding explorations of other things. Those things we’re leaving unexplored, discussed in the daylight more openly, would prove injurious to liberals and other people with bad ideas who should by rights be losing.

Of course…I can’t prove that either. Such is life.

The Problem with the Problematizing Problematizers

Sunday, February 4th, 2024

So I was reading this epistle posted on this Internet woke-kiosk called The Mary Sue, which was sounding the familiar clarion call of the woke, “Oh how much I hate this thing, come gather around and help me hate it.” In this case, for today, “it” would be J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter adventures.

The author piqued my curiosity by willfully using the word “problematic.” This isn’t a good word. It doesn’t say anything. Take an object, let’s say it’s a beehive, or a pair of salt & pepper shakers. A milk bucket. You tell me it’s “problematic” and what does that say about the thing? Nothing. You’re telling me about yourself, and your objectives. You’re trying to start a new cultural more in which the thing is generally disliked, for some reason. You’re instigating an exchange. You’ll grant me approval if I help you dislike the thing. Or, you’ll withhold the approval unless I help you. And…that’s it. That’s all you’re saying.

You don’t need to overthink it like this to see the — problems. The word is just awkward and weird. It is a punchline all unto itself, fairly screaming “educated beyond my intellect.” But our newer generation of woke-people just can’t stop using it. The walls of their echo chamber are so thick? They can’t see this?

It’s like they’ve become, bit by bit, now perfectly willing to ‘fess up to anyone paying attention

1) They haven’t got anything to say besides telling us about their dislike of something;
2) They haven’t got any reason for disliking it, other than someone else gave them instructions to dislike it;
3) If the thing they dislike were to go away, it wouldn’t help anybody besides them — in short, there’s really no reason for anyone to listen to ’em.

Van Harvey clued me in on something that gave me a bit of a shock. There’s a verb to go with the adjective: Problematize.

Problematizing is, as adherents to Critical Social Justice and other critical theories would say, the process of making those oppressions (and other moral failings) “visible.” Put otherwise, problematics are what critical theories criticize, and problematizing is how it does its criticism. The goal of this activity is to replace false consciousness (especially internalized oppression) with critical consciousness (i.e., wokeness) and thus agitate for a social and cultural revolution.

So wait…what? The anti-woke, like me, have been accusing the woke of just looking for reasons to be upset. Advancing the notion that peace with them is impossible, that if their demands are ever met in total, they’ll just come up with more. And here they are, not only admitting it, but being proud to do so?

It seems like something they should only be talking about behind closed doors.

Well if this isn’t a secret, or hasn’t been one, then I can only conclude the “progress” progressives have been making is due to a monumental misunderstanding.

We entered a cul de sac, doomed to stall or beat a retreat, way back in the prior century. When we allowed progressives to assume a role as final arbiter in the rules of good manners.

It isn’t because my biases are the opposite of theirs, and I don’t trust their judgment. Although those apply. No. I would expect a reasonable progressive, if you can find one, to concede the point that never being happy is an indispensable part of their ideology. This is easily defined and easily tested. Just give them whatever they want, which is something we’ve done many times. They’ll find a new way to be unhappy, to say “Still not good enough.” Progress, remember?

This sounds so captivating, especially to decent people. “We’re making a perfect new world, one in which that behavior, acceptable now, simply isn’t good enough.” Who could say no? What could possibly be the problem?

The problem is that, ironically, it makes us all into wretched people.

We become a society in which, if any one of us plays Rip van Winkle and falls asleep for twenty years, when he wakes up he finds himself a pariah among those who used to accept him, through no fault of his own. It doesn’t matter which guy. It doesn’t matter what twenty years those are. Our society is one in which you’re obliged to stay up on where all these reforms are going, and what ones are coming along next, in order to keep your status. In fact, in order to remain only marginally acceptable.

The higher standards are not the focus. The whole point of the activity is the rejection. The goal is to find more things “problematic.”

It’s a motte-and-bailey argument. The motte, the mild and easily defended argument, is: People shouldn’t be annoying each other on purpose. They should put just a minimal amount of effort into complying with these new rules, to avoid offense. Unfortunately this comes attached to a whole slew of baileys, as reliable as a thunderclap following the lightning. Ignorance is no excuse. If you don’t follow these rules we made up, you’re unfit. Your shortcoming must be deliberate. It must prove something deficient in your character, irredeemable. And if you occupy a position of authority, profit or honor then you must be unfit for that and the rest of us have to separate you from it.

We can’t continue down this road.

Ultimately we’re going to have to admit society took a wrong turn, quite a ways back. This is a tough thing to admit, because it all started with “It’s a sign of bad character to treat a black fellow differently from the way you’d treat his white counterpart.” Which is true. Progressives want all the credit for guiding us out of that sort of discrimination. Well, a lot of people gave it up without progressivism helping them, and a lot of people never started on it. But more importantly: It’s not a manners thing. Can we admit that now? That’s a “make society go” thing, a “the American dream is for everybody” thing. A don’t-be-stupid thing.

Very subtle difference but an important one. You can be a rude cluck and concede that the American dream is for everyone. Manners were not on the bill.

We goofed way back there. Nowadays, it’s many times a year progressives have new ideas for our ever-evolving “manners.”

Whoever proposes a bold change for all of us, should be ready to deal with rejection. The bolder the change, the greater the readiness, and the bigger the problems that emerge if the readiness is not there. Now we’re armpits deep in this wreckage of progressives telling us “The change we have in mind for today, is [blank]”…and they’re entirely unready to deal with any dissent, or even any questions. To the contrary. We’ve become accustomed to their readiness for the opposite, to destroy anybody who so much as hesitates to go along, let alone those who refuse to do so.

This is unmaintainable even if the progressive ideas are good.

A pattern has emerged in which, the more impractical and extravagant the progressive idea, the harsher the social penalties to be lowered on those who resist. We have to pretend men can get pregnant now. Use the pronouns. Go to the training. Our ability to earn money to pay our mortgages, utilities and grocery bills depends on accepting the falsehoods.

We’re running out of road.

We shouldn’t have put progressives in charge of manners. It’s not their thing anyway. Their agenda is not for people to be better mannered or less offensive to each other. They thrive on the offense. They aren’t about manners. They are about control.

We’ve accepted clear and obvious falsehood, and now we’re paying the penalty.