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Conservatives Teach, Liberals Restrict

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

One thing that impresses me as I see more years come & go, is the practical definition of dysfunction. Seems easy, at first. You just look at some guy and go “Oh he’s dysfunctional.” I mean, look, he can’t even get dressed by himself, can’t walk in a straight line…

But, wait awhile. He thinks the same thing about you. And maybe he’s right! After all, when you’re sitting in a ferry and it’s pulling away from the dock, it really looks like the dock is the thing that’s moving. And we KNOW it isn’t that easy. We have a whole scientific discipline, psychology, which doesn’t even qualify as science in many ways…it exists so we can have these alien-eggheads come up with names, and codes, to attach to things, thereby declaring them dysfunctional. And we know THEY aren’t all right. Do you actually know any psychologists? It’s a bit like hiring the fox to guard the hen house…

How Nature SaysAlso, think about the stuff they don’t bother to code. I’ve already listed several examples…which, if I were to list them here, that would be a distraction…

In extended family, as well as in politics, I see there is a high-level distinction that works consistently and well.

If you want to do right by someone less experienced, who is learning how to live life — you’re probably all right in the head, if your energies go toward truly EDUCATING him/her/them. Exposing them to your ideas. And then if someone who disagrees with you says “Okay, now I want to have my shot at it, I want to have my say”…you’re cool.

If you want to pass on your ideas, your lifestyle, your methods, your Weltanschauung on to the next generation by way of *restricting* what that next generation is allowed to see; by shrinking their exposure, stenciling off their experiences…then, I have some bad news for you. You’re that guy.

“Don’t leave your home town, that big city is evil.”

“Don’t marry her. With a mother like me, who needs a wife?”

“Stop reading these comic books, they’ll rot your brain.”

With that in mind, take a look at conservatives, liberals, and how each side seeks to proliferate their values forward in time by influencing the next generation…

Conservatives desire to teach. Yes this is in contravention against the stereotype, with the “new ideas” emerging and conservatives saying “No no no to new ideas, for I am a conservative.” But conservatives conserve civilization, and civilization is conserved by way of teaching. The old teach the young, so the young don’t have to re-learn everything the hard way; that is how it works. This is how you tie a knot, tie a bow, start a fire, use a knife, shoot a gun, go to Church. Yes, conservatives get surly about certain things. But very, very few of them go so far as to say “My kids are not allowed to watch movies because the actors are liberals.” Certainly, they don’t make a political movement out of such a thing. They don’t have the time for it. They’re too busy at their jobs, building things other people can use.

Liberals desire to restrict. Constantly. We don’t even need to wait past the next sundown to see more examples of it anymore, they emerge daily. Cultural appropriation! Sexist! Racist! It’s become such an unremarkable event for them to add more examples, to embiggen the definitions. So they can restrict some more. “Toxic masculinity!” With one single sweeping pronouncement, they declare 48% to 49% of humans to be toxic…”Don’t teach that in science, take it to a mythology class where it belongs!”…dishonest. What they mean is they don’t want kids to be taught religion. Even if the parents wish it. “Prosecute climate denialism!”…criminalize the very act of disagreeing with, or merely questioning, their catechism.

“Hostile work environment! You’ll have to take that down!”

“Excuse me sir, you’ll have to put that out!”


Click“You’re not welcome here!”

“This is a [blank] free zone!”

“Sarah Palin should shut up and go away!”

“Did you just assume my gender?”

“Trump’s not my President!” “Russia!” “Twenty-fifth amendment!

With the holidays just around the corner, most people with extended families are going to see this in action. If you’re like me, you have some branches that are functional and some branches that are not. And you likely know enough already to realize: These branches have all been expanding over time. If they’re functional, the mere act of expansion has not brought any drama, or at least, not very much. EVEN if there is disagreement in political opinions.

But if you have some branches that are dysfunctional…and I think most everyone does…again, you’ll see the truth of what I’m saying. That branch has expanded as kids have arrived at adulthood, and married. Boom, like a match in a barrel of kerosene. Instant drama. Why does your wife put the seasoning across the kitchen from the silverware. Have you kids baptized the way I say, not the way she says. Or, the all-time all-too-common ultra-evil one: No, we don’t want you visiting your dad anymore.

If you feel the need to restrict the experiences of others, and MUST act on it, then you’re that guy. The psychologists should’ve coded you.

Accepting the Results

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the Republican presidential nominee being asked:

You’ve been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you. Your running mate Governor Pence pledged on Sunday that he and you, his words, will absolutely accept the result of this election. Today your daughter Ivanka said the same thing. I want to ask you here on the stage tonight, do you make the same commitment that you’ll absolutely accept the result of the election.

Perhaps there is a way to go back in time to visit ourselves on that night, or soon afterward…or, for a way for them to sneak a peek over our shoulders now…and see to it they have a chance to learn what they were wanting to know. Because there were quite a few people who managed to put together a lot of passion about this. Right? If I recall correctly, the controversy burned long and it burned hot.

It’s all good folks. Donald Trump is accepting the results of the election just fine.

Hillary is another story.


Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Easily the most important clip of today, anywhere…

At 3:39: “There’s no perfect way to make that phone call.”

And at 6:34, I think, this whole phony “controversy” is quashed for good. The very well-deserved verbal spanking takes place in the next couple minutes after that.

We do have a problem. There are those who would say “both sides are equally guilty,” by which they mean, it isn’t necessarily a Republican-democrat thing. With that forced translation in place, I would agree. Things that once were sacred, are no longer. That reflects poorly on us all.

There is a secondary problem, though, in which I continue to see that being a democrat who leans left, is thought by some to be an adequate substitute for basic human decency. It isn’t, and I hope that sentiment would be echoed by those who find leftward-leaning political positions to be more appealing than I do.

It isn’t party preferences that move me to say such a thing, I don’t think, but: They’re the problem. Can persons all up & down the ideological spectrum agree on this? It seems obvious. The name of the game, for their side, is to keep the anger high throughout Election Day 2018. That’s their strategy. It may seem lame, but it’s all they have. Electorally, they’ve lost everything, they’ve got no credible sales pitch to deliver to get any of it back again, so that’s their reality. Vinegar over honey. Stir up the anger, do it on every topic that comes up, every day, and if they succeed at that then find a way to do it hour-by-hour. And it’s sad, but yes, that means if the situation repeated a hundred more times, we would see the same behavior that is the subject of Gen. Kelly’s complaint, a hundred more times.

The Pinkwashing

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

So, the Z-Man posted this, which bulls-eyes a hitherto-undiscussed rationale behind this whole “take a knee” nonsense…

As our society has become feminized, everything is drenched in politics. You see it with the NFL protest debacle. Men watch sports to enjoy seeing men compete with one another in ritualized combat. Men don’t care about what the combatants think about anything, including the combat. Interviews with coaches are to be focused on the strategy of the game, not the guy’s feelings about life. Player interviews are only interesting because most players are black now, so they say wacky and stupid things.
In a feminine society like ours, it is just a matter of time before masculine things like sports are either made girlish or relegated to the fringe. Boxing, for example, still exists, but only as a fringe sport done by foreigners. UFC has managed to gain an audience, but again, it is as a renegade activity, done underground and on pay-per-view. White mothers will never be taking their sons to UFC camp. They can tolerate martial arts, just as long as it is white boys in bathrobes, safely pretending to be Jackie Chan.

This is why football is so much trouble. Peak professional football was probably a dozen years ago. It was around then that white mothers, especially divorced middle-class mothers, started turning against youth football. They did not want their little baby being run over by black kids. That’s why the concussion hysteria gained traction. It’s a ready made excuse for pulling the white kids out of football, that lets white women pretend it is not racism driving their decision. After all, they loved Will Smith in the concussion movie!

It’s why the NFL’s decision to let their blacks kneel during the anthem is going to be a disaster for them. The owners signed off on it thinking it added drama and would therefore draw in girls, because girls and girly-men like drama. Instead, those kneeling black players are a stark reminder to white women that the sport of football is for violent black men, not nice suburban white boys. Youth participation in football is collapsing and this will only serve to accelerate it. The NFL has now made football anti-white and un-American.

Let us start here with where I find it more difficult to agree, before proceeding to the other. I do find the pigeonholing to be troublesome. I try to avoid it myself, which I’m sure is an effort that doesn’t show. But, to say “women act this way and men act that way,” while the observation may be true 90% of the time or more, the 90% is on a noticeable decline year after year, precisely because of the forces at work identified here by Z. As the pinking continues, men are acting more like women and, conversely, women are acting more like men.

I would be remiss in failing to mention this in light of recent events. Just this week our ground floor office was invaded by a mouse. Being immersed in porting one change at a time over the last two months from one application to another application, a process that is many times more tedious than the dreaded documentation, I was gradually made aware of the rodent incursion by way of the loudness of the human reactions, over the better part of an hour. From the dudes, I noticed…the manly, manly, green-camo-wearing, boot-camp-surviving, returned-from-deployment, maybe-killed-somebody dudes…they were, as we say in military and military-contractor parlance, fucking loud.

I couldn’t help but notice the chicks in our office were as “manly” as you would care to expect. They just kept eyes down, photocopying their invoices or whatever like it was any other day. The chatter came from the Y-chromosome set. Now it’s true that the greatest portion of this was volume-setting-eleven observations that some other dude, let it be known, is afraid of mice. That, and banging on the locked office cubicle into which the illegal alien ensconced itself to scare it back out again. Perhaps this is in contrast to the noise the females would be making, if they made the noise, but see…there is the sticky wicket. I wouldn’t know. The chicks, contrary to the cartoon stereotype, were quiet about it. People call me sexist sometimes. With justification, they & some others would say. But, I do notice these things, and give credit where it’s due. If the image of the screeching woman perched atop a chair yelling her fool head off was ever based on reality in generations past — something has changed.

So I don’t like using references to male behavior and female behavior. They do exist…but, we’re losing them and at a pretty good clip. The average age in my work setting is roughly half of mine, my boss is younger than I am, and I’m not on safe ground making references to popular culture as recent as…hmmm, the last one to give me trouble. The older Robocop, yeah. See? So part of writing is making sure people understand what you’re talking about, and I succeed at that game roughly half the time if I really try. “Fight like a man,” these days, refers to something like a nerd-slap-fight. I’m thinking Sean Connery throwing a vicious right hook, my audience might very well think, I dunno…get kidnapped so some girl has to rescue you or something.

Writing for humans is like writing an interface for a new code library. Make the function calls easy to understand, hard to misunderstand…

Everybody's Equal But We're In ChargeI did not make this problem. The Z-Man didn’t make it either. We did not make it so that “manly-behavior” and “womanly-behavior” have lost all meaning and can no longer be used to reliably communicate thoughts in writing. Feminism did that, and it did it by design. This is part of its own internal contradiction, the thing that makes it inherently dysfunctional even according to its own rules. Men, you see, are entirely disposable because women are strong, and capable of doing everything men can do…and yet, at the same time, any distinctions between the two are culturally driven, arbitrary, unnatural and therefore invalid. The two sexes are the same in every way, it’s just that one of them is so much better and should be running things.

It can’t work. Ever. Not really. And yet when it fails, it’s all your fault.

To the other part of it: Yes parents, of both sexes I would argue, weenied out of football. I’ll go along with the idea that the moms started this, although I have doubts about the racial angle. From having lived through it at the time, from my vantage point it looked like the whole crushing mob-think initiative of “Everything the baby does must be 100% safe.” The peanut-allergy thing rather mystified me, although I lost no time in linking it to helicopter-mom new-wives-tale fever. Soy! Herbs! Oh heavens no, keep the baby away from that…what’s this? A local girl dropped dead from eating peanut butter? What’s going on? I can get that kids get tender when they’re deprived of a challenge, but that’s evolution, which even on the micro scale takes thousands and thousands of years…what is this? Well it turns out, I wasn’t far off at all. Kids are supposed to eat peanuts and when they grow into teen-hood without them, that’s where the trouble starts. And, well yes, that’s what happened to football. As a childhood sport, it’s something Those Other Kids can play. That’s because trips to the emergency room are things Those Other Parents can do.

So now the team owners are outsmarting themselves, according to Z-Man’s theory. All sexes are the same but the females should be running things, so goes the conventional wisdom…where the female sensibilities go, so goes society. So let’s inject some drama into football and get the girls to watch. I find this delicious, because it’s even more sexually discriminatory than I am — no mean feat, that, heh heh. And it’s roughly akin to a housefly taking a shortcut through a web.

Chicks are watching football already. Or, they were. But when they watch, they’re interested in the same things that interest the guys. Combat. Not drama.

We cannot safely associate this behavior with females anymore now that the guys are doing it too. But, we need to observe it, take note of it. You can’t form a solution to a problem until you define what the problem is. This “pinkwashing” is not confined to the relatively tiny wash-bucket that is football, it’s splashing around and hitting everything inside & outside of the car, in the yard, the garage, the house.

It’s even infecting the “science,” I notice:

The researchers conducted three experiments in which undergraduate students were required to perform tasks. In one, students were asked to search online for a blender and report the lowest price they could find with the possibility of winning a cash prize. The price search task was rigged, however, and a computer would inform all participants that the lowest price was $3.27 less than what they found. All failed to win the $50 cash prize.

Some participants were asked to focus on emotions as they learned the results and others their cognitive response, such as rationalizing factors for why they didn’t succeed. During the next similar task, participants that focused on their emotional response to failing exerted more effort than those who emphasized a cognitive response.

“I do think people will be surprised that allowing themselves to feel bad about a failure can improve performance more than thinking about that failure in some instances,” Nelson said. “The kinds of thoughts — like rationalizing a failure — people tend to come up with are sometimes counterproductive.”

This time, let’s talk first about where I agree.

I can see some merit to this, especially if the computer rigged the game the first go-round. Anger, it is often said, is where people stop being poor and start putting together a plan to manage their household finances more responsibly. Anger is where people stop gaining weight and get motivated to start losing it. It is a form of self-loathing that carries a certain radiant heat not found in the other kind of anger, the anger directed at others. I suppose this kind of passion is just like money, or love; whatever problems you have that result from not having enough of it, more of the stuff will fix just those problems. Just those, no others. But, more of whatever’s missing will fix the problems that came about because it was missing, and missing passion is often the problem with not enough money, too much debt, or a too-quickly expanding waistline.

(Glances at mirror)…uh…so I’ve been told…

Or, sucking at your rigged-then-not-rigged computer blender-shopping game.

Now all that having been said, the question arises — ONCE AGAIN — what kind of “researcher” puts together an experiment such as this? An impartial researcher, adhering dogmatically to the rigors of scientific discipline, who has no idea how the result will materialize, and doesn’t care to form such an idea before the data have been gathered? This is difficult to see. And by “difficult to see” what I really mean is laughable…

The experiment itself is laughable too. We rely on these productive passions to drive some of our efforts, like trimming fat from our household budget and from the ol’ midsection, and we rely on horse sense and cognitive ability for other efforts we plan to try again, after a previous go has resulted in failure. It depends on the task. It’s probably a waste of time for me to even point it out, let alone to come up with a list for examples, for I’m sure we all have our own examples we could produce if we really try. Mine…lessee…I guess it would be when I let the battery die and I needed a jump. I had the cables, but not the experience jumping a car from the era in which we’re living now. Long & short of it was, I learned the hard way, and through my cognitive abilities not by way of my “feelings,” that cars these days have so much plastic and so little metal that the time’s come to ditch the old procedure about clipping the black clamp to the frame. Actually, that’s probably been a stupid piece of advice for awhile now…it was a case of “that’s the way we always done it.” And I’m sure it looks silly no matter the excuse, to someone in this era who doesn’t know about the old Robocop.

Now we’re in our fourth year as homeowners, I have other examples…many others…that’s home. And then there’s work. As application developers, we are victims of our own success, with many people using the systems we’ve built. Oh my, the things we have learned. From the people. About people. Last problem we solved together was…well, it was a matter of weeks ago. More like days, really. The problem had to do with people using our system in a way contrary to what we intended, and no, we would not have made progress by concentrating on how the prior efforts made us feel. In point of fact, as is usually the case, one might say we’d done an adequate job of trying that already.

As always, for the real answer, look at the old people. They do not feel the need to define themselves, and if they did, they wouldn’t do it through any sort of rage, directed at themselves or others. “Ooh this makes me feel so mad!” is a game for the young. If something perplexes and the choice is there to use emotions or cognitive abilities, the old people can be counted on to…well, probably have their grandchildren do it next time they come visiting. Point is, though, along the way they had the chance to jettison the Hulk-mad-smash battle-tactic, and/or the figure-out-cause-and-effect one too. The former gets ditched first. Even when the natural ability to support it was never quite there, the latter one continues to hang around as long as it displays some occasional usefulness. The smashy-smashy one has to go first. The ticker can’t take it for too long, so if they keep losing it around every formidable challenge that arises, into the golden years, typically they don’t make it to the golden years at all. When you look at the old people who are still here, makes sense that you’re seeing what’s been left, what’s managed to survive. The “research” is bogus.

Have Jimmy Kimmel CryIt’s been pinkified. It bears repeating, don’t go blaming it all on the chicks, the dudes are acting pink too and they’re getting pinker.

Nevertheless, the pinkwashing continues, just like a stupid dog that keeps on eating because it can’t comprehend the primitive idea of “I’m not hungry anymore.” I remember The Man Show, Season One Episode One, “Oprahization,” oh would you look at that it’s a real word now…”a dam to hold back the tidal wave of feminization,” the brain behind it belonging to one Jimmy Kimmel. Yes, that Jimmy Kimmel, who in this day & age has become the poster child for crying to get what you want. In undergoing this transformation, and willingly, Kimmel has also become the emblem of the pinkwashing. Things that just a handful of years ago were insulated from the toxic stew of this “feminization,” and in his case in fact even stood as a bulwark against it, have succumbed.

I’m thinking there’s got to be some sort of way for me to make money off this. We have a lot of people heading off in a direction that the conscientious observer knows full well — by way of using his cognitive abilities, which are looked down upon with disdain by the “scientific research” like you see quoted above — leads to a dead end. No, high-drama for its own sake doesn’t make anything better. Anywhere. It is a solvent that dissolves whatever it touches. Rapidly some of the time, very slowly most of the time, but, well there it is.

The take-away? This is yet another in a long list of transformations we have seen, over a relatively short period of time, each of which is enshrouded in a bumptious confidence so tough on the outside and so unrelenting on the inside, as to command error. And yet, no one really wants it. You have to ask, Who is building this new world? Because you have to ask in the same way, Who wants this world? The answer is nobody. Nobody wants to live in a place where our public policy is flipped in an instant, like a pancake, because some late night comedian cries. Where science tells people to stop puzzling things out logically and stew in their emotions, if they want to succeed — so that you have to wonder now how the scientists are putting together their science. Where football has become a protest without an actual message, with the game-play as an afterthought.

Nobody really wants these things. Nobody.

So how did we get here?

We got here because people got too concerned about maneuvering conversations by forcing abrupt topic-shifts, so they could climb atop the din like a pile of junk in a yard, and self-genuflect from the apex about how they, in their individual status, turned out to be right about everything.

Without devoting sufficient concern to what is and is not really true.

Memo For File CCVII

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Liberals, as Thomas Sowell pointed out twenty years ago, dominate comedy, fiction and drama. Why they don’t dominate something else is obvious. Their required attachment to reality isn’t there. They think gender is a matter of opinion, ObamaCare was awesome, and the Clintons have a wonderful marriage.

The mystery, to me, is why they “dominate” even what they dominate. They think a reference to Chris Christie being overweight is a great punchline.

They don’t even try for drama. Haven’t you noticed? You’d think a one-trick pony would at least know the trick, but liberal drama is heavy on effort and light on achievement. All liberal drama breaks down into “A is a victim because B victimized A. C is completely oblivious to this but D is sufficiently enlightened to notice A’s victim-status, and this makes D a GOOD PERSON. The end.” Go on, think of something liberals put together that falls outside of this. Better yet, think of something they put together that doesn’t…and, somehow, scored Oscar gold. With you being left wondering why, thinking you’re the only one. See how we’ve been rooked? Damn you, Dickens.

Oh sure, the rest of us keep lapping it up and demanding seconds, because, through over-exposure all these years, we’ve lost our sense of perspective. We’re like some weird other-culture, maybe like the future world in Demolition Man, where all the gourmet Mexican restaurants are Taco Bell because no one can remember ever having had anything better.

This was not an overnight thing. No publisher accepted a manuscript from Charles Dickens and decreed “That’s it, from this day forward this is what drama is, burn everything else.” In my lifetime, we had Westerns, tales of good rising up to confront evil. In fact, even the Westerns were rehashes. Pale Rider is the same story as Shane, and so is Steel Dawn. These are all stories about oppressors and victims, but they also had battle-climaxes near the end where the hero would mete out justice against the villains. These days some “action” movies still have battle-climaxes near the end, but you can see this staple is living on borrowed time. The other vital piece, “So-and-so has been victimized, nobody can see it except these sensitive, intelligent, enlightened people over here” is going strong. Well of course it is; it’s still in the prime of life. The “Shane” story-line doesn’t include enshrinement of some noble Olympus-inhabiting class of elite demigods uniquely endowed with the ability to see injustice; the injustice was a matter of fact.

This is why I say, I can’t understand why liberals dominate drama. In real drama, you have to have a meaningful event or two happening. “A is a victim, B is the oppressor, C is the ignoramus and D is uniquely enlightened sage who can see what’s wrong” — if it is true at the end, it will all have to be true at the beginning. Right? If everything that’s true and that matters at the beginning, is still true at the end, there’s no place to put any kind of a story. You can’t have a plot. And, indeed, when I look at this depressing wilderness of movies made by liberals, I see they tend to strain under this problem. There is no plot, because nothing is happening, and nothing is happening because there’s no shift in these roles. The victim is still a victim. The ignoramus is still an ignoramus and the enlightened empathy-authority is still an enlightened empathy-authority. Maybe the oppressor stops oppressing, but that’s all you get.

The teevee shows are even worse. Episode after episode, season after season; the cast-core is D. Oh look how enlightened and sensitive we are…everyone else is a bunch of ignoramuses, but we can see what sort of victimizing took place. Maybe we’ll even do something about it. Maybe. But the important thing is we’re sensitive to it and we acknowledge it. And so-and-so is a victim.

I’m afraid what’s getting jettisoned here is something bigger than all of this. Like…the concept of time. A future. A situation getting meaningfully improved. People enjoying freedom, at the end of a story, that they didn’t have at the beginning. Moses did something — because, with his people liberated from Egypt, a Jewish state became possible. And then Sampson did something, and then David did something, and then Christ did something. No wonder liberals hate the Bible. It upstages them.

Their drama is boring, because the doing-of-something is decidedly secondary. The primary is “Lookit me, I have empathy and I can see.”

I don’t know why liberals dominate drama. I really don’t.

The Demolition-Man Taco Bell analogy is apt. It’s on the rest of us. We’ve settled because we don’t know any better.

Making Mistakes and Being Wrong

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

I’ve occasionally noticed, when arguing with strangers on the Internet that I figure out are still in college or have only recently graduated (it isn’t tough), I can completely discombobulate them simply by admitting I’ve been wrong about something. Sometimes if I’m in an extra snarky mood I’ll tell them I make ten or more mistakes every day before they even think about getting out of bed, which in many cases is probably true. Trouble is, if this assault is fitting for the target, it’s difficult for the dialogue to proceed because it’s like introducing the concept of days-of-week to a barnyard animal, or depth to some kind of stencil-creature from a two-dimensional universe. Willing to admit you’ve ever been wrong about something? My professor didn’t teach me how to deal with this! What is this strange brew?

What’s really going on here is arrested development. No, that’s not a reference to a man in his fifties getting in Internet arguments with strangers…although that may apply too. No, I’m referring to the fastening of an identity, not so much to the specific assertion being made, but to the lofty goal of being right. Five-to-seven year olds argue this way: I’m smart-n-right, you’re wrong-n-dumb. They grow up, graduate high school, go to college which is supposed to be a proving ground for bold, diverse, innovative new ideas, and then graduate that. Still arguing the same way. I’m right you’re wrong, ALL the time…now what were we arguing about again? I forgot. But I’m still right.

And then…if they’re very unfortunate, they’ll achieve positions of leadership in some government agency. Which has some perks, but this way they might very well reach their coffins without ever understanding the virtues of being wrong about anything and having to admit it. Which is where the real learning begins.

As Thomas Sowell said,

Fiction and opinion are likewise dominated by the political left. If you can tell a good yarn, whether in a book or a motion picture, the only test you face is whether people will buy the book or go see the movie.

On TV talk shows, what matters is whether you can talk the talk that keeps people tuned in. You may scare the daylights out of them about fictitious dangers in apples or beef without a speck of evidence that you know what you are talking about. But, so long as it sounds good, that’s all that matters.

Any engineer, businessmen or athletic coach who knew no more about what he was doing than the talking heads on TV or foundation officials have to know would be heading for disaster in no time. When your bridge collapses or your business goes bankrupt or your team gets beaten again and again, you are history.

Nowhere are half-baked ideas more safe from facts than in government. When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission assumes that statistical “imbalances” in a company’s work force show discrimination, the only test of that assumption is whether federal judges share it.
One of the reasons why government absorbs so much money and takes on ever-increasing powers is that it is home to so many people whose beliefs could not withstand the draconian tests of science, the marketplace or a scoreboard. What we the taxpayers are ultimately paying for is their insulation from reality, as they pursue the heady pleasures of power.

As if that were not enough, the left promotes the idea that there is something wiser and nobler about having decisions made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong. That is called “public service” and it will undoubtedly be hyped in college commencement speeches this year — as it is every year — despite scandalous revelations in Washington or decades of economic failure and monumental human tragedies in left-wing governments around the world.

There is that famous quote often linked, erroneously it would seem, to Robert F. Kennedy: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Liberals tend to seize on that specific quote, or at least the sentiment behind it, in their attempts to prop up their own ideology as some sort of wellspring that is responsible for gushing forth all human progress. I myself see it as a scathing indictment. Those of us who are capable of admitting we’ve been wrong about something, understand it is the asking of “why?” that is the real wellspring.

The ceiling fan over my head wobbles a bit. I thought there was a problem with the blades, mostly because this would be the cheapest thing to fix. Well, after removing the blades I discovered I was wrong and now I’m going to have to shell out a bit more money. If I were a liberal, I’d have no problem with the shelling-out-money part, of course; but, it would be blades blades blades, all the time, because they ask why-not instead of why. I was wrong earlier this week when I had to get up early, and set up my cell phone with an alarm clock, anticipating this would wake me & not my wife. Well, I got up a little after three without the benefit of the cell phone, and it’s a good thing I did. There was nothing wrong with how I set the alarm. I tested the sound for volume, made a prediction about whether I’d be able to hear it…and I was wrong. A lot of “why?” led me to that realization, which I’ll be using later. I’m just glad we both slept through it.

The point is, when conservatives and liberals have arguments, often they’re really arguing about the very concept of being wrong. Liberals, having stopped maturing at age five in a lot of ways, fasten their identities to just-being-right, nevermind what the subject of the disagreement is. The goal is to reach the coffin, without ever having admitted to being wrong about anything. Oh sure, you can make a policy that turns out to be wrong, and Those Other People will suffer for it, that’s quite alright…just don’t ever admit it.

This final paragraph in Sowell’s essay is particularly interesting to me, the one that begins “…the left promotes the idea that there is something wiser and nobler about having decision made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong.” I’m reminded of the several-months-long tempest in a teapot that occurred on these pages, about “George Washington never said ‘government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.'” It turns out, maybe he didn’t, but the leftward-leaners bringing it to our attention wanted to raise the solidity of the debunking to the “We shall rightfully mock you if you dare disagree” status…and, try as they might, they weren’t able to substantiate it to that level. It landed over the imprimatur of “the experts.” What experts are those? You know…experts. The experts of the Mt. Vernon society. Who are they? It mattered because much of the debunking rested on an assertion that this didn’t seem to be “something Washington would have said,” something one of these experts wrote down without any explanation of what was meant by that. This conjecture, the subsequent back and forth revealed, was reproduced across the Internet to all sorts of places where the Washington quote was debunked…interestingly, today, I can’t find a single instance of it. There never was an explanation of what the expert meant by this: Writing style? Opinion about government? Neither? Both? Anyway…

Two things here. First, on Planet Liberal, the lack of identity actually enhances the credibility of the experts. Look around awhile, you’ll find many examples that reveal this is a love-of-big-government thing. “President Smith said” or “Senator Jones said” such-and-such a thing…lovers of big government will go, who? What? Even if Smith & Jones are their guys, still it’s just the word of a mere mortal. But — “The blue-ribbon commission issued a finding,” that’s wisdom from heaven. Who are you to disagree with the experts?? There is a psychology involved in this, one so well-established that our politicians started long ago to pander to it. And so you’ll notice everything’s a board, or a committee, or a panel, or a commission. It’s that “pay no price for being wrong” thing. Anonymity is a way to enhance the immunity, and as an additional benefit, in a perverse upside-down way of dealing with opinions, we the unwashed masses have shown we’re more likely to accept an opinion without a name attached.

Second thing: A conservative is going to wonder if the quote is genuine, and more importantly than that, what would Washington have thought of this warning. And more importantly than those two, what should the rest of us think about it. Whereas a liberal is going to scratch & claw for an opportunity to call someone else a big dopey doo-doo head who don’t know nuthin’…like a five-year-old. This doesn’t actually solve problems or make life better for anyone, whereas the realization that government can’t fix everything and isn’t motivated or positioned to fix anything, if given proper respect, just might do that. It’s said that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged, well, it might be more accurate to say a conservative is a liberal who put in his time waiting in line at the DMV. A lot of conservatives who are opposed to state-run health care used to have faith in government providing services and solving problems, before experience forced them to change their minds. You’ll notice liberals who insist they’re liberals because of their prior experiences, if you listen to those experiences, you’ll find they’re make-believe. It’s usually “If it were not for that government program, we would have starved to death.” They don’t actually know that. Here is the tragedy: They think they’ve been learning new things from their prior experiences, but they didn’t, they just kept on believing what they wanted to believe in the first place.

My Twelve Rules of Technology

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Been making a point of fleshing this out & polishing it, while I’m actually working on stuff, for clarity’s sake. These are things I’ve had to learn the hard way, that they don’t (so far as I know) teach you in class…in fact, some of them are diametrically opposed to what they teach you in class. Well hey, those who can, do, those who can’t, teach…

It’s not just professors. Management has a tendency to “teach” the wrong stuff; they’re supposed to be all about producing positive results, doing more with less, but unfortunately they tend to gravitate toward making the job of managing easier. Which is not the same thing at all. I’ve noticed that the other job, my job, the designing & coding, is a young-man’s game. There aren’t too many people who’ve stuck with it as long as I have, unless they’ve made it a point to avoid principal-engineer & design positions, and just do what they’re told. As long as it works for them, I won’t judge. Some of the young guys who had tech-lead positions over me & a lot of others, back in the day, I see went on to go sell Amway or real estate just a few years later. So the institutional memory is lacking; it’s missing the advantage that masonry had, with journeymen & apprentices, while the cathedrals were being built hundreds of years ago. It isn’t common for someone in the coding business to actually jot down what they learned, unless they’re going into the book-writing business, in which case…yeah, they still quit what they were doing, and start writing books.

Well. This is what’s helped me, in the past, today, and probably will without much change in the foreseeable future. Take it for what it’s worth…the better job I do keeping them in mind, the better the results I see at the end…

1. Any proposed statement not specifically defined and validated to be true, must be presumed false. The only exceptions to this rule involve things that, by being false, would make your efforts easier. These must be presumed true. In short, presume Murphy. Presume everything is aligned against you until your tests prove it isn’t so…then, presume your tests are wrong.

2. Programmers create programs and the purpose of a program is to define behavior. The job, therefore, is to define behavior. Bearing Rule #1 in mind, the mission becomes one of identifying and managing uncertainties. Any aspect of this left undone is failure, even if the shortage is not recognized immediately.

3. Keep the machinery doing what machinery does, keep the people doing what people do. When people have to act like automated processes in order to use your product, you built it wrong. If the automated process makes decisions factoring in arcane, obscure and unpredictable experience & state data, like people do, you built it wrong. Either one of these sins will bring consequences in the form of diminished confidence felt by those who use it. The test is, is there a feeling of dread when the user produces a stimulus, which is a product of the uncertainty about what the response will be. This should not be happening.

4. People listen to speeches and machines run programs. Programs, therefore, are not speeches. It is said that a speech is like a skirt, it should be short enough to hold people’s attention but long enough to cover the subject. The program just has the job of making sure the subject is covered; all other objectives are secondary. Contrary to popular belief, there is no correlation between brevity in a computer program and the ease involved in its maintenance. This presumes sloppiness on the part of those who write long programs and neatness on the part of those who write short programs. This axiom doesn’t hold, at least not with any logical certainty; it is a myth propounded by those who consider themselves above the occasionally onerous task of grappling with details.

5. The product of my experience investigating situations where systems aren’t behaving correctly, is a learned bias that the machines are doing exactly what they should be doing, and the people are the problem. That’s because mistakes have a tendency to originate with lack of definition (see rules 1 and 2). Machines and automated processes work according to complete definitions; people have the ability to work without complete definitions. That is a bug, and not a feature, with the people. The dysfunction in a system tends to start with the people, and with something they left undefined, or defined only inside their own heads and failed to communicate with other involved people.

6. Error messages are unappreciated. A lot of people who might have been solid contributors in the field, decide they’re not right for it and go do something else because they find themselves confused a lot, and they’re confused because they’ve been reading bad error messages. The best-designed processes will treat their session mission as one of correctly reporting on whatever went wrong, so that a successful execution is the exception and not the rule. When fixing a bug that involves a malformed error message in the aftermath of something else that went wrong, always fix the error message FIRST, THEN proceed to the other condition that caused it. The rationale is that the test with the malformed data but repaired error message, is a valuable test, but the test with the repaired data and broken error message is worthless, because it effectively conceals an execution path known to be broken.

7. A design can’t be good unless it solidly prioritizes its own objectives and then sticks to its knitting. These design objectives compete with each other. Example: A fragment of code can make use of a design pattern so it’s more maintainable across time, even with the introduction of new requirements, by engineers who are nominally familiar with the pattern. But it will be grossly unrecognizable and confusing to a coder who is not familiar with the pattern, even if he is experienced in the programming language. A decision not to use the pattern would result in code more readable to a new programmer, but more difficult to maintain. So there is mutual exclusivity here. Be aware. Choose your battles.

8. A great design takes testing into account, essentially beginning with the end in mind. Simple requirements translated into a complex suite of regression tests, manifest a mediocre design. A simple suite of tests, covering a complex patchwork of requirements, is a sign of a great design — assuming, of course, that the tests do indeed provide this coverage.

9. A good design delegates responsibility to as many layers as there are subjects to be addressed in the definition of behavior, with each layer having a substantial reason for being, but no layer taking on more than one subject within the definition. Each layer should be conceptualized and built with strict adherence to Design by Contract (DbC), Separation of Concerns (SoC), and fulfillment of the dicutum that interfaces should be easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly. The design of these layers must apply definition of behavior in response to both success and failure of operations at run-time. The test of good application of SoC is, how much of the implementation has to be changed when a new requirement is introduced, or an existing requirement changes. If this causes a ripple effect throughout the application even though it’s a relatively innocuous change, this may reflect inadequate or ineffective separation. If the necessary change is contained, with the layer boundaries acting as a sort of “breakwater” and as a result the overwhelming majority of prior work escapes unmolested, this is a sign of strong, effective separation.

10. If the most charismatic people are making all the decisions that matter, the project may already be in trouble. Making definitions that have to be made in order for the project to succeed, often is achieved at the expense of being interesting & fun; being interesting & fun often comes at the expense of making these vital definitions. Not always. But often. The litmus test is, at the point these definitions are needed for work to continue, is it a common occurrence that guidance is already available because someone successfully anticipated the need. If this is not the case, refer back to Rule 5 — people are the problem, they tend to spin new definitions out of whole cloth and proceed as if no one else could’ve arrived at a different definition. This is the point of team-dysfunction, where the team starts to produce work inferior to what any one of the members could have produced working in solitude, or fails to address problems that would have easily been solved by any one of them working in solitude. In such a situation, the advantages of charismatic leadership are mostly neutralized.

11. “Technical debt” is a great term. If your project takes on a life of its own and becomes self-sustaining, manage T.D. just like real, corporate debt. Pay what you can against it, when you can, allow it to languish a bit only when you have no other choice, get back to reducing it again just as soon as you can, down to zero if possible. And if you can’t get to it, you’d better get busy finding out why.

12. Programmers are not system administrators. Sys admins are not programmers. The only time it makes sense to have the same people doing both these things, is when the operation is too small to practically divide the roles up into separate personnel, in which case it’s best to think of it as administrator-less. There are many rationales for this. The first is that system admins and programmers labor toward different goals, the former toward continuity, the latter toward progress against time, which translates to invasive, and frequent, change. The second is operational security, which can be compromised if these roles are not separated.

Crazy Man Theory

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

This made me think a bit more about a thought I’ve had fermenting away in the brewery of my head. It’s an exploration into why people on dating sites receive more messages when their pictures are better-looking.

Given the popular wisdom that Hollywood, the Internet, and Photoshop have created unrealistic expectations of how a woman should look, I found the fairness and, well, realism, of this gray arc kind of heartening.

Now let’s superimpose the distribution of actual messages guys have sent:

When it comes down to actually choosing targets, men choose the modelesque. Someone like roomtodance above gets nearly 5 times as many messages as a typical woman and 28 times as many messages as a woman at the low end of our curve. Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women. So basically, guys are fighting each other 2-for-1 for the absolute best-rated females, while plenty of potentially charming, even cute, girls go unwritten.

The medical term for this is male pattern madness.

Ha! It sounds like male pattern baldness, that makes it fun-ny…

My observation is that a reasonable person, sitting in quiet contemplation of the question “Is this really madness?” without any cajoling from anyone, wouldn’t likely answer in the affirmative. We’re talking about messaging attractive people as opposed to not-attractive people. I’m assuming things haven’t changed since the last time I was on the market, and messaging is the first step; these people don’t know each other, whether they’re pretty or homely. Preferring a good-looking mate just makes sense, so why are we condemning it as madness? It’s alright for women to do that, isn’t it?

The honest answer is: Because it’s men who are doing it, and men are easy targets.

My theory is that, while we have all been sleeping, this has slowly but surely become the accepted way to deal with men: Everything we/they do is silly, or nuts, or crazy, or psycho, or what has become the most-favored of all: insecure. But if you take the time to evaluate what’s being done rationally, you find it’s actually quite sane, or at least, understandable & to be expected of rational people. Who may or may not have lost control of their emotions in some particularly jarring circumstance, which rational people do. It’s become so commonplace, and so normalized, we now have generations of males & females who don’t know anything different.

Men make up a unique demographic group. Our group is caught up in a raging, passionate cultural conflict between oppressors & oppressed, and as the purported oppressors, our bodies are actual weapons. And so the tactic that has emerged is to put a man in a situation in which a rational person is more likely to lose it. Not being able to see his own kids, as if he’s committed some sort of crime, is good…there are others. Designating his workspace as a cubicle next door to some neurotic insecure cat-lady who’s just itching to call H.R. at the slightest little discomfort, thereby putting his livelihood in jeopardy if he doesn’t dance to the right tune. And then leaving it up to an actual crazy-person to decide what that tune is.

Other things are like, asking for his latest tale from the front as the divorce grinds onward, and then at the end of it looking down your nose at him, and letting loose with a dismissive bout of victim-blaming…”Well you know, you basically said this was alright when you married her,” or the time-honored, brain-dead “Not All Women Are Like That.”

Morgan Rule One is, “If I’m going to be accused, I wanna be guilty.” It has the potential to save a man’s sanity; but, most men don’t live according to my Rule One, because most men haven’t been called crazy over & over from childhood until they just give up trying. And so, paradoxically, they keep dancing to the changing tune their whole lives, trying to avoid being called crazy, so they don’t lose their marriages, houses, kids, jobs etc….if they learn to go sunup to sundown without glancing at any pretty girls, and talk in a pitch roughly an octave above what’s natural for them, sometimes the noose stops tightening and they feel like they accomplished something. See? I did it, all the other guys can do it too!

But by that time, they really have gone crazy.

You saw it with that Brooke Baldwin thing, where the insensitive male lout asked the gamma male who was helping to excoriate him something like (2:39) “Don’t you like boobs too?” and the gamma had to homina-homina-homina…visibly wondering what he should & could say in response to that…ultimately refusing to say anything.

Kinda like Principal Skinner. “Just tell me what to say!

So that’s my theory. We keep wondering “WTF happened to men??” and the answer is, we happened. The Big We. We put men in situations in which a non-insane person would lose his cool, and if it happens we see to it the subject is defrocked of his status, occupation, property, family situation, or what-not…so that the point gets across, “you better not do that.” Which it does. As a result, men really are going insane. After all, they’ve tried sanity and it didn’t work for them.

Update: Oh yeah I forgot all about it…great example of what I’m talking about. It’s called by many an “inappropriate” reaction, and it seems he did go on about it to excess, but Ms. Gilligan did look very appealing in her bathing suit. And I’m getting the impression the real mastermind of the off-topic drama was the jealous brunette, with her “inappropriately” behaving male co-anchor playing goof-ball to help her play straight-man…or, straight-scold as the case may be…

So these examples are going to fall primarily into two categories: Appreciating the sight of a beautiful woman, or in some other way behaving like a normal male; and, acting like a threat or wounding has taken place, after being threatened or wounded.

By lowering the boom of “Don’t act like that,” our evolving notions of decency have imposed an expectation on men to stop being what they are. So, a refresher scorecard of sorts:

Visual beauty: The correct response is to look at it and appreciate it. Yes, tastefulness is a factor. No, “She thinks you’re up to par and you’re the guy she wants to attract” is not the metric that decides what’s tasteful vs. what’s a lewd leer. That’s silly.

Sexual harassment rules designed by lawyers to make men into targets: The correct response is to act like you’ve been targeted. And, to resent it.

Your wife wakes up unhappy one morning and initiates a divorce process that’s going to make you poor: The correct response is pretty much the same response a normal woman would show when her husband does the same thing. Lots of stress, apprehension about the future, hurt feelings, and some anger, yes men are supposed to have these reactions too. I know right? Crazy stuff!

Being told “Well you knew she was daffy when you married her so that makes it okay”: A knuckle sandwich.

An authority figure concluding that in their “tender years,” your kids are better off with your ex-wife and you get to see them every other weekend: More resentment, more anger, and some wonderment about how the “justice” system could be so wrong and unjust…because ya know what? It is. And, a thought or two spared for other men and their kids, who are being similarly wronged by the same system. Because ya know what? It’s really happening.

A steady stream of commercials in which the smart wife is using the right product and the dopey husband is using brand X: Resignation, a touch of sadness, quick changing of the channel, and a mental note not to buy the product. No, men are not obliged to maintain a “sense of humor about themselves.” If they were, we would have to grapple next with the troublesome question about whether such commercials are really funny…

The lady jogger in the skimpy shorts indignantly asking what the hell you’re looking at: As the punchline to the old joke says, the correct response is “What you’re showing me.”


Yes, Take-A-Knee is a Problem

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Men of the West:

The real reason this is a problem is because it’s an assault from the political left on our culture as Americans. The SJW’s have invaded yet another space and are demanding that everybody virtue signal for the right causes or else…

Conservatives and Christians have been losing the culture since the 1960’s. Every time there’s a new front that opens, we fall back. Churches lose their tax exempt status if they say something that upsets a politician, and it’s just accepted, and we fall back. Abortion is shoved down our throats, and we fall back. The government taxes us to pay for abortion, and we fall back. Prayer gets thrown out of public schools and we fall back. Christmas becomes a hateful word, and we fall back. The government takes over health care, demands we pay for abortion and abortifacients, and we fall back. Marriage – a sacrament of the Church – is taken from us and perverted in ways that the Church can only consider to be heresy, and we fall back. Lets face it, our backs are to the wall…

…I see “Conservatives” taking shots at Donald Trump when he says something right, but just in a way that they don’t approve of, and that’s why we keep losing these fights.

Conservatism will always be more timid than liberalism, though. It’s a structural difference. Liberals are the little kid who wants to have candy before dinner, and conservatives are the concerned parent asking questions the little kid isn’t asking: How much candy? How long before dinner? Are you going to declare yourself “full” with your plate only a third of the way empty and your vegetables untouched, like last time? And the time before that and the time before that? No? Why am I to doubt it?

The problem is we’ve been told a lie all this time, and accepted the lie, about what conservatism is. It isn’t resistance to change. It’s asking sensible questions. If it were just mindless resistance, as forceful and as unquestioning as “lean-forward” progressivism, there would be no influence differential because it would be equally appealing to those who refuse to discuss things.

The thing to fix is there. People who refuse to discus things. Conservatism will always wither and die, in a setting where it’s cool to think like a kid and act on impulse all of the time. It is an ideology for adults, who eat their vegetables before dessert, and want to know about long term consequences and what things cost.

On Protesting

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

All protesting is not necessarily free speech.

And, all free speech is not necessarily protesting.

Protesting does have a point to it. If I were to say “protesting is not free speech, stop protecting it, get rid of it” you would no doubt be inclined to say “You’re wrong, Freeberg!” And you’d be right; I’d be wrong. The function protesting provides our society is important, and irreplaceable. It protects us against the charismatic demagogue, as a bulwark against mob rule. It empowers us so we can’t be enslaved to the “Everyone who’s anyone agrees with me!” thing. Sometimes we need to see someone stand up and say “Not everyone. I don’t agree.”

In the last several decades, a trolley has come off the tracks because the protest, itself, has become the platform of “Everyone who’s anyone agrees with me.” Also, for the protest to fulfill the vital function discussed in the paragraph above, it has to be associated with a narrative that is provable, or at least one whose truth can be plausibly suggested and sustained — and is coherent.

The term “peaceful protest” is way overused lately. If you’re blocking me on my way to work or some other errand, your protest is not peaceful because you’re interfering in the activities of other people who have nothing to do with the subject of your protest, people who’ve done nothing to you. There is a myth floating around that this is a necessary ingredient, that the protester’s job is to see to it people are forced to pay attention, deprived of the option to ignore. That’s false. Force is force. Initiating force is not peaceful.

Football players “taking a knee” are not guilty of this. They are interfering with exactly nothing; but, they are taking advantage of a captive audience, spoiling what should be a fun time for people who are not involved in the subject of the protest one way or another. They have the right. And, others have the right not to like it. And to talk about how they don’t like it, effectively creating a protest-against-the-protest. Which seems, to me, more successful than the original knee-taking protest.

What the football players are really guilty of doing, though, is leaving out the coherent narrative. They want what? Do you know? Tell me, because I don’t know. But you can’t because you don’t know either. That’s because the protest has become a mere act, without a unifying message, apart from “look at me I’m part of the protest.”

Not saying it should be banned, but if it is, I’ll not be crying over it. For an infringement upon free speech to occur, there has to be some actual speech being infringed upon. There’s none here.

The coherent message has to be somewhat complete. When I was a young lad there were some local shops, some of which were franchises of large chains, placed on the receiving end of labor strikes because the latest union negotiations were thought, by some, to be unfair. So the “workers” demonstrated. Side note: They were under intense pressure to see to it everyone around them could get past them, and go where they were intending to go, free from any interference whatsoever. Even the “scabs” who were replacing them, and the customers crossing the line. That was a don’t-even-think-about-violating-it rule. And it got dicey, because people got close together.

We were all surrounded by the message that the protesters were in the right, though. The latest negotiations were unfair. But the details were nobody’s business. No one ever explained to me how I was morally obliged to conjure up some well-intentioned passion, and sympathize with these protesters for the unfair terms of work that were being imposed upon them, but at the same time it wasn’t any of my business to know how these terms were unfair.

It’s forty-some years later and I still haven’t been provided with a good answer to that question.

“Restoring Due Process on Campus”

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Fox Nation:

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

The Education Department announced Friday it is formally rescinding its guidance on how colleges and universities should adjudicate sexual assault under Title IX, ending a policy that denied basic due process to accused students and was often used to silence dissenting voices on campus.

Eschewing the rule-making procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, the Obama Administration imposed this far-reaching policy through a 2011 “Dear Colleague” guidance letter, providing additional clarification in 2014.

In contrast, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew the guidance only after she had spent months carefully considering the perspectives of all parties affected by the Title IX regime. Her listening campaign will continue as she solicits public comment on a new draft rule.

On Friday the Education Department also provided schools with a Q&A outlining how they should handle allegations of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment in the interim. It addresses the most minimal fairness issues, which speaks volumes about the Obama-era directives. The agency’s Office for Civil Rights felt the need to explicitly require these provisions for clarification.

For instance, the department now says, Title IX investigators should be free from bias and conflict of interest, and they should consider both incriminating and exculpatory evidence. Imagine that. Accusers shouldn’t be given preferential treatment over the accused during the adjudication process, and training materials and investigative techniques shouldn’t include gender-based stereotypes or generalizations.

I haven’t commented on this much, save for the occasional reference to an on-campus rape hoax. I’ve been trying to educate myself on what “guidance from the Education Department” has to do with due process, or what the institution that is the college has to say about what’s supposed to be a function of the police, and the justice system. I’m still unclear on the basics there.

The motivation behind what’s been happening, however, I think I understand with crystal clarity. Our technologically advanced society, in recent years, has been moving into a posture in which it should not & cannot expect any further significant technological advancement; into the mode of “Everything worth inventing has been invented already,” or to express it with a bit more pinpoint accuracy, “Next thing that gets invented had better be invented by someone female, or else don’t bother us with it.”

This is a diving posture, the posture of a society on a downgrade. “Who exactly is stopping the car from going over the cliff, or trying to get the baby out of the back seat? If it isn’t the right hero, then let her go.”

But this has not been some rash impulse. It’s been planned. We want more chicks to succeed, that means we want fewer dudes. Women have caught up & passed men in college enrollment, in earning degrees, in career advancement, and in a number of other metrics…but there’s no sign of anyone slowing down on, or reconsidering any policies anywhere. Because all this is not some unforeseen side-effect, it is the point. Checking out, sitting down, playing video games their whole lives is exactly what men are supposed to be doing.


Succeeding, building something? That just creates problems. But it’s a whole lot less likely you’ll succeed or build something, if you’re under the microscope all the time for a crime you may or may not even be thinking about doing. If you don’t get to enjoy due process. If you could be convicted, at any time, without having done anything.

The natural and expected response, for anyone put in a situation like that, is to hunker down and lumber onward under a cloud of lifelong mediocrity. The nail that sticks out is the one that gets hammered.

That’s the point. Make the boys sit down, so the girls have a chance to do something amazing…in their own time, on their own terms, on an uncrowded field. And if they don’t, well, it’ll be a generation or two without anything significant being done by anybody, well spent. We’ll just lower the standards on what’s “amazing.”

Barack Obama’s Intelligence

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

I could very well be imagining it, but it seems like lately there is an uptick in interest in the magnitude of our 44th President’s intellectual horsepower. Those asking the question are taking great pains to put up an appearance of being non-partisan…which I find to be snort-worthy.

On the question they’re asking, I cannot bring myself to be quite so opinionated one way or the other. I find I’m lacking in three key pieces of information:

Obama Giving a SpeechOne. Evidence establishing a limit. He certainly did look like a dope when He said “We can’t drill our way to lower gas prices” and we ended up more-or-less doing exactly that. But like any other ensuing events that run against His stated expectations, the question arises about whether Obama really is a fool or whether He was merely speaking to fools. It is quite a conundrum, and I believe you’re going to see it arise to confront in any situation in which PrezBO made a losing call. The one obvious exception that comes to mind is Hillary’s election loss last November; we can believe with some measure of confidence Obama truly wanted her to win, and truly thought she would. But, that fooled just about everyone. Myself included. So my verdict on the known-cap against His intelligence, until more information comes along, is that there isn’t one. Obama could very well be smarter than Einstein was on his best day; godlike. We have nothing that definitively establishes otherwise, no rock-solid proof of some judgment call, or logical problem, that He gave an honest effort to solve before coming up short on it.

Two. Evidence establishing a baseline. Do we have proof that He is at least a certain level of smart? His fans, still struggling to keep up their patina of non-partisanship, point to the fact that He was a college professor and His obviously superior speaking ability. Mmmm…I just don’t know. The “professor” title remains controversial, and as for the speaking ability, it actually makes a negative impression on me and not just because of the differences in our politics. From dealing with sales-n-marketing types as a software developer, I’m leery of this. A strong personal favoritism toward the activity of giving speeches, which let’s face it, that’s what Obama’s “speaking ability” is — doesn’t strongly correlate with an ability to recognize reality. And without that, how does one learn? Also, would these fans extend the hero-worship to a pale-white, male, member of Donald Trump’s inner circle who spoke exactly the same way as Obama? All the mispronunciations, “corpsman,” “Pakistan,” “ISIL,” the fifty-seven-states, all the “uhs.” And if we could indulge me in cutting through yet another layer of fossilized fecal material — the last item on that list, is a gimmick. Isn’t it just obvious? Listen to Barack Obama say “uh,” pay attention to what comes afterwards, and seriously ask yourself if, in His shoes, you really need some extra thought to come up with that. Again we have to wonder if Obama’s a fool, or is merely speaking to fools. It’s sure not a sign of intelligence, in any case. Making an “uh” sound? I can do that if you ask if I’m fully awake in the morning, before I get coffee.

Three. Evidence for relevance. Out of the three, this one perplexes me the most. Really. I struggle to come up with a scenario, any one whatsoever within the realm of the possible from this moment forward, under which we should care about whether Barack Obama is a lightworker genius, a drooling idiot, or anything in between. Why ask in 2017? In 2008 I could see it. But now?

Memo For File CCVI

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

A boy, fourteen or so, young farm-laborer, fell down a well. All of the farmhands gathered around, doing whatever they could to save him. Men brought ropes. They lowered the ropes, lowered baskets on the ropes, even lowered some men on the ropes. Nothing worked.

Day turned into night, night turned into day. The ropes would be lowered, the boy would yell up that he had hold of the rope, the men would pull…and then they’d feel the separation, keep pulling and they’d pull out a tattered end. Over and over they tried. Sometimes things looked hopeful. But, always with the same results.

And then, on the fourth agonizing day…someone took a look at all the failed ropes. And they noticed they were not torn, they were cut…all evidently, and with some more examination provably, with the same blade…

Living in Fear of Their Fussy Wrath

Monday, September 18th, 2017

A funny thing happened when Brooke Baldwin interviewed Clay Travis…

Hmm. Seems we have a cultural conflict of sorts going on there.

This is something that has fascinated me for awhile. But, looking back over the years, it seems to me sometimes like I haven’t been fascinated with it nearly enough. Our whole cultural trajectory, if you want to call it that, has been determined over terms of time both long & short, by the squeamishness of political figures and news commentators who claim to be listening to what’s going on from sea to shining sea; paradoxically, when these figures run into something outside their milieu of comfort it’s “Omigaw” time and they turn into the Wicked Witch of the West after the water treatment. And, they’re essentially advertising the notion that what they’ve seen is well outside of anything they’ve ever encountered before. Reporters like Baldwin don’t seem to understand how this compromises their suitability for the rest of what they’re trying to do.

Really? You’re supposed to be bringing me news? And that pantsuit wonder and that alto gelding over there want to represent my state in Washington…yet your worlds are so tiny?

I’m particularly fond of the gentleman on the left. At 2:37 “I also love women as well…” but “boobs” throws him into a tailspin. I’d like to see where a five-minute conversation about this, not on his terms, would end up going. Oh yes, everything good about women I notice right away, except that! And those! And other things. I only notice the good things about women that are just as good about men! But I loves me some women! In, uh, certain ways. Not those, or anything else that would make women different. In any way at all.

Reminds me of one of my favorite recently-discovered cartoons:

Kurt Schlichter made some insightful observations about it…

What was A-OK yesterday is now forbidden, and what was forbidden yesterday is now mandatory. Their goal is to keep our heads spinning and paralyze us with fear, like nearsighted corporals caught in a minefield and terrified that if we take one wrong step we will detonate a concealed wrongthink booby-trap. They want us living in fear of their fussy wrath, and that is precisely why it is so important for us to keep abreast of pseudo-scandals like this so we can nip these libfascists’ schemes in the bud and deny them the ability to rack up yet another victory in the culture war.
Are women the strong, powerful equals of men, or fragile flowers who wilt at the mere mention of lady parts? It depends on which one is the most useful to the liberal narrative right then and there. Can you talk about lady parts? Apparently the new rule is that you can’t, at least in the normal context of heterosexual men citing the parts that they like. But if you want to wear a gynecological sombrero on your pointy head, apparently that’s muy bueno.

Part of the strategy behind the new rules is to not actually have any firm rules, to make you so uncertain and timid that you’re unwilling to take any action because anything you do, at any time, can be a violation of a rule that didn’t exist 30 seconds before. If you do talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you’re insulting womyn, and if you don’t talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you are invisibling womyn. Basically, if you don’t have any female body parts, you’re just wrong all of the time. Unless you have fake female body parts and betrayed your country; then you are America’s greatest hero and a martyr to Harvard’s infamous legacy of transphobia. Or something.

Schlichter, true to his first paragraph, spends much of the column advocating some sort of push-back, a resistance or counter-attack. Well, he’s a warrior. I think he may be over-complicating it. I could be wrong, but I believe most people look at this the way I look at it…what an adorable level of ignorance, the “news” airhead can’t comprehend that men like boobs.

That’s what forty or so years of “You have a swimsuit calendar visible on your desk, you’re OMG so so fired” gets you.

But what about decency? What about what you’d say in front of your own mother? My mother would’ve seen the humor. “Boobs”? Where I work…ah, depends on who’s in earshot. People do say much worse where I work. We don’t really have to worry about females melting down into the floorboards, wailing away about “But I’m a woman! What if he’s talking about me??” That would be silly, since they wear ugly green camo uniforms and no one can see enough of their boobs to even speculate. They’re also made of much tougher stuff than Brooke Baldwin.

Who lives, along with others like her, in a tiny, tiny world. That’s the point. It’s a case of the tiny “kingdom” banishing people to the outer side of its village gates, and realizing belatedly it’s been banishing itself.

Feminism is what pushed us down the wrong road here. It’s this business of “If you notice good things about women that actually make them different from men, you must not be capable of seeing anything they do that men could also do.” This false mutual exclusivity, the one-or-the-other thing. Somehow, that became legislated, without anyone actually voting on it, as the only way to go here. That was wrong.

On Binary Thinking

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

So we’ve gone from “Russia Russia Russia” to “Nazis Nazis Nazis” to “Statues Statues Statues”…now we’re all going to veer sharply away from our prior silly deliberations about “hate speech” versus free speech, and whether it’s okay to acknowledge more than one side in a dispute is bigoted & hateful and has violent intent, when one of those sides has something to do with Nazis. And with the desperate plight of our fellow country-persons in Texas and the gut-wrenching, life-altering crisis they face, re-focus on what really matters. Melania Trump’s shoes.

Well, if I may; just a parting though or two about the “peaceful” protests. The argument that it’s somehow wrong to call out hatred and bigotry on both sides when it does indeed exist on both sides, has failed. The phrase “peaceful protest” is way past overused; it has failed too. Those protests were not peaceful. They weren’t even protests, they were riots. And the protests themselves have failed. The protesters did not succeed in making their point because they did not have a point to make. “I’m unhappy with the way things are going and I want things to be different” is a gripe, not a point.

But Her ShoesThis is all very black-and-white thinking. These days I hear a lot about how certain people, myself included, are doing a grave disservice to ourselves and to others by engaging in this simplistic, binary thinking, so I’ll consume the balance of my writing-space here to address that directly. It isn’t a lack of comprehension that dissuades me from reacting to these “shades of gray” I seem to be ignoring. It’s experience. I can’t play the shades-of-gray game. I know better.

It first became popularized when a certain presidential candidate got nailed in the arena of public discourse, quite correctly, for being an indecisive “waffler.” Since he was a democrat, the media set about quickly to help rehabilitate his image, and plied us with a bunch of pablum like…get your puke bucket ready…this, for example.

Watching [then-Senator John] Kerry debate an issue can be “a little bit like at a tennis match, watching the ball going back and forth,” says David Leiter, his former chief of staff. “He is curious. … He’s engaged and thoughtful. He always struggles to get it right.”

Adds Blakely Bundy: “He doesn’t think in black and white. He thinks in shades of gray because he is so knowledgeable.”

The nuance that typifies Kerry’s public statements is there as well in his life portrait, which is painted with blended colors and dappled brushstrokes rather than sharp lines.

The whole rest of Kerry’s campaign went like that, which provides some valuable insight into why he lost. Americans, on both sides of the aisle, elect leaders because they’ve picked up some sense of confidence that once the leader is a leader, he’ll vote the way they themselves would’ve voted on…something. For some voters it’s a single-issue, for others it’s many issues, with some sort of value system or priority scheme riveting it all together. The Kerry campaign tried to make it into an asset that their candidate was altogether missing this; reliably hard-left on the coarser decisions, but on the finer ones, reliable as a bouncing football and that was somehow supposed to be desirable. It went over about as well as Walter Mondale’s promise to raise taxes.

But over the rusted and long-derelict ruins of the sale, the pitch lives onward. Me and my homies are sleek, sophisticated, fashionable, and capable of seeing these shades of gray; you’re just a dumb throwback, sitting in your mud hut banging rocks together, comprehending only absolutes. It doesn’t seem to be within the capacity of Mr. Kerry’s fan base to understand, that this paradigm in & of itself is an exercise in binary thinking. If they do realize it, it certainly doesn’t slow them down much. Good decision making, we are still counseled in ways subtle and out-proud in-your-face, involves forsaking the endpoints on a given spectrum for a more enlightened contemplation about the many increments in between. Like President Kerry would’ve done. He would have found some excuse to do-nothing with Iraq. And then we wouldn’t have been there. In 2004, the pitch did have its source of appeal.

This old question takes me back a great many years, to a long-forgotten memory of my report card in my high school sophomore year. What’s “P”?? It looks like an F! I got a “P” in driver’s ed and I don’t know what that means! Is my life ruined? Well, no…that was my first Pass/Fail course. The years that came & went since then, have taught me life is like that. You passed, or you failed. Earning an “A” in something, that actually counts in some meaningful way as something better than a “B”, is such a rare blessing. It’s wrong to expect it in our everyday happenings, and it may be noble to pursue the situation in one’s vocation, but it’s hard to bring it about in that setting too.

So much of life is Yoda-mode, do-or-do-not. Fulfill the previously defined objectives, or kick the can down the road.

Make a decision that makes sense, or make a decision to make yourself feel good about something.

Immediate gratification vs. delayed gratification. This one is a biggie. The nobodies who don’t read my Blog That Nobody Reads, have seen me discuss this a great many times over the years. It isn’t something I made up, it’s a real thing. You can make a plan and follow through, or just make it up as you go along. You can make a budget and get all stressed out about money earlier rather than later; or, you can get stressed out about money so late that you can’t do anything about it anymore. You can elect leaders with the correct values and vision, or settle on these well-dressed sophisticated-types who give good speeches and display the correct mannerisms.

My point here is to distinguish between these fine, precise discussions about direction, vs. stop-points. The former are useful, the latter are not, they’re like quibbling over what shapes are being made by the clouds. Here’s a great example of what I mean: A threat, versus an actual danger. Are those two the same: The answer is, no…but, they’re both meaningful concepts. Once something is identified as a threat, there isn’t a lot of use to be had in deliberating endlessly about “more of a threat than this thing over here, but not as much of one as that other thing over there.” Worthy questions to ask might be: How is it we think we know, what we think we know, about what makes this a threat? How imminent of a threat? And to what? What’s the cost of doing nothing? What’s the proposal? And what are the viable alternatives? This is adult thinking; but it isn’t shades-of-gray thinking.

A lot of adult thinking has to do with teasing out the fine distinctions between these directions, like on the face of a compass — but, not about teasing out stop-points between the extremes. Is creativity the same thing as resourcefulness? (The answer is no.) Is mass the same as weight? (No.) Life-experience has a way of helping you see that, after awhile. It is not at all like making lots of crazy twisty-turns through town, in your car, getting into & backing out of cul de sacs, to get to an airstrip; strapping yourself in, waiting for clearance on a runway, taking off and gaining some altitude. With the experience/altitude, things change, and now it’s all about direction. That’s the metamorphosis. “We need to go East” might mean going East a hundred miles, or five hundred miles…in the moment it doesn’t matter, the heading has to be East. We’ve reached the destination or else we haven’t. If we haven’t, we go East.

As I’m often fond of noting: My house is somewhere East of Arden Fair Mall. But, it’s West of Folsom Dam. This is information you need to have if you’re flying a plane to my house — if your plane (or drone) is somewhere in between the mall and the dam. The observation does not make East and West the same thing. Just as, I am warmer than an ice cube but I am cooler than a campfire. That makes me a stop-point somewhere between hot and cold. It does not make hot & cold the same thing. Thus it is with all these teased-out compass directions. With all these observed increments between the extremes, the extremes remain, relative to each other, exactly what they are without the increments being noticed. Or existing at all. Opposites.

This is a very old issue. It’s one of Aristotle’s fundamental Rules of Thought. You might think it so self-evidently true that it is hardly even worth stating, that for a given proposition, truth is either in alignment with the proposition, in which case it is true, or it isn’t in which case it’s not. But, some of our “clean hands people” have managed to go through quite a stretch of time and “earn” impressive amounts of money, without doing any actual work; and I notice we are continually reminded of the Law Of Either-Or when we’re doing work. Not when we’re espousing a bunch of highbrow ideas about the work. When we’re actually doing it. The simplistic metaphor I have come to favor, is that once the wrench is slipped around the head of the bolt, the two things that may be done right afterward are righty-tighty or lefty-loosy. One or the other, those are your choices. And not both. Now yes, if you want to cloud the issue and waste time pondering a lot of silly stuff, there’s some idle and off-topic maneuvering that can take place. You can reef on it all cockeyed, wear down the corners on the bolt head, break the bolt, ruin the wrench. Give up, go inside and watch cartoons. Pee on it. But practically, the two things you can do are opposite from each other. Most of life is like that…when you’re doing actual work.

So why the disagreement about this? Why the hesitation? I mentioned up above that Kerry’s pitch had some appeal back in the day. War is always like this. We had body bags coming back from Iraq. Those who saw Kerry as the proper antidote against the hated poison that was war, saw fit to advance this “nuanced thinking” as quality decision-making. But that was dishonest. The truth is that Kerry would have done nothing, and then given a bunch of speeches to make it appear palatable to do nothing. More truth: America is already quite experienced at electing so-called “leaders” who make so-called “decisions” this way. Mmmmm yes, that’s a bad thing that guy is doing…mmmm…yes…put it all in a bag, shake it up with my super-sophisticated and super-secret decision-making signature-style, and ABRACADABRA SHAZZA DAZZA DUZZIT!! The answer is, can do nothing at this time, try again later.

More truth: The results of this are consistently disastrous.

But there I go with my black-and-white thinking again. Noticing the wrong things.

People are inclined to dislike binary thinking, even though it is necessary to get actual work done. When you engage in it and say, such-and-such a thing is so — there are three ugly ramifications to it. The first is reproducibility. For example, if I lay out my design with all its computations, and take into account the correct measurements of board thickness, gap size, etc. and conclude “This is where I want to cut the board”; you should be able to undertake the same task, and come to the same conclusion. The only way it’ll come out differently, is if you forget something, or I do. Or if you make an incorrect measurement, or math error, or I do. “I’ve got a super-sophisticated and super-secret decision-making algorithm with eleven secret herbs and spices,” on the other hand, protects against that. Cut here! Who’s to say why? I got elected, I’m super duper smart, that’s what I’ve decided. We know it’ll work! Except, you’ll notice, these types never seem to hang around long enough to survey, and answer for, the final results. If you watch closely you’ll notice there’s no real consequence against making the mark on the wrong spot on the board, or cutting in the wrong place. This is something you learn after watching politicians awhile. The super-sophisticated decision-making algorithm with the secret herbs and spices, is just…guessing. With some interest groups allowed to put a heavy thumb on the scale.

The second ramification is mutual exclusivity. As Aristotle pointed out himself, if p, then this logically excludes the possibility of not-p. If you are turning the bolt clockwise to tighten, then you cannot turn it counter-clockwise to loosen at the same time. It’s one or the other. Well, people don’t like that. And who can blame them? It isn’t fun to say, “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” and then see subsequent events prove, with no room for doubt whatsoever, that this was the wrong decision. But in real life, these are the decisions that drive work, that precede genuine progress, and we rarely enjoy the luxury of knowing they’re all all-the-way correct, all of the time.

The third ramification is all of the other natural consequences, apart from the thing mentioned above about mutual exclusivity. IF we are going to save money by ending our subscription to this service, THEN we are going to have to go without that service. This is the trickiest one. A lot of people who shun binary thinking, opting for this shades-of-gray nonsense, simply don’t want to appear disloyal. They don’t want any narratives to be developed about how they don’t value this-or-that thing. The irony here is, they’re the ones failing to appreciate shades-of-gray when it really matters, since it’s perfectly reasonable and even respectable to say: “Yes, I do place a value on X, but I place a value on something else that’s a bit higher.” Or: “Yes, I do place a value on both of those things, but this one will have to come before that one, because if we try to do it the other way we’ll end up with neither one.”

There are other reasons people try to find these excuses to get away from binary thinking, lacking the courage at critical times to say such-and-such a thing is obviously so. One is the fear of failure. Homer Simpson said it best: “Trying is the first step toward failure.” It’s funny because it’s true. A lot of people have this problem, looking at everything like jumping across the Grand Canyon. Since you might not make it, it’s far better to not try. In that situation, this makes sense. In others? Not so much.

Another reason is the opposite, the fear of success. If you’re a liberal politician pinning your hopes for re-election on calling out some sort of “ism” like racism or sexism, and you’ve got a plan to vanquish these ills everywhere & forever — you would have to hope, for the longer term, this doesn’t work. Right? With no more racism, sexism, income inequality, etc….sooner or later we run out of reasons to vote for liberal politicians. So small wonder that the liberal politicians are the ones pushing for moral relativity, shades-of-gray thinking, and anything else that can muddy up an otherwise clear equation.

Unrealistic Beauty StandardsPassive voice vs. active voice is the ultimate either-or. A sentence that has a verb in it, can be one or the other of these, not both. An active-voice sentence has a subject; it identifies the thing that is doing the thing to the other thing. As lefty social-justice movements have become more sophisticated in recent years, they’ve taken to use “society” as a sort of null-placeholder, using sentences that are grammatically structured to be active-voice, to convey passive-voice ideas. Make it look like they have some actual goals in mind, when they really don’t. My favorite example of this is that “society imposes unrealistic beauty standards on women.” Well…yes. Society has lots of people living in it, and as such it imposes all sorts of beauty standards. In my lifetime, I’ve met exactly two straight, perpetually horny men who don’t like tits. One liked them flat-chested and pencil-thin, able to see her own toes without bending over he said…the other one was fixated on “the dumper.” Other guys have similar tastes, here & there, but the majority is somewhere else. I think. Point is, guys like what they like, no social-justice movement is ever going to change that. And a lot of “beauty standards imposed on women” don’t even come from guys. So when you say “society does this all wrong,” you’re talking about…whom? Do you even know?

“Black people are seen as scofflaws,” “Mexicans are seen as lazy,” “When a man is assertive he’s seen as a strong leader, when a woman is the same way she’s seen as a bitch.” These are passive voice…and, as such, don’t say anything. Even though they’re all undoubtedly true. Name a silly idea, a dumb perception for someone to have…without breaking a sweat, I can find someone who subscribes to it. “A is seen as B” is always true…and, never actually proves anything.

What we’re doing with all this squishy, shades-of-gray thinking is not advancing, not becoming more sophisticated. It’s the opposite. We’re regressing to childhood with this stuff. This is the way kids think, when they haven’t reached the point of discovering critical thought, when the biggest factor in all their important decision-making is peer pressure, or things closely connected with it. It’s all about the social stature. You can tell it’s happening when the “thinking” is done by way of association. Confederate statues…are to be associated with…NAZIS. Like that.

We’ve been dragged through it, these past several weeks, because in politics it is a potent force. People in high positions of power have to start asking themselves, “If I say such-and-such a thing…I will be associated with…THEM.” What we just saw, was this middle-school-level thinking being made into a weapon. “Speak out about what happened in Charlottesville, and speak out about it the way we want you to speak out about it, or we’ll call you a Nazi.”

I’m reminded of the “ten reasons I’m no longer a leftist” essay one woman wrote, particularly the passage about the whole world being divided up into these not-very-nuanced roles:

…I felt that I was confronting the signature essence of my social life among leftists. We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed. We lived our lives in a constant state of outraged indignation…

There’s some irony for you. It starts with being super-suave and sophisticated like John F. Kerry, being able to tease out these subtle demarcations between the extreme points, seeing blends, shades of gray…and it ends with this pigeonholing exercise, sorting everybody with an identity into one of these three silos.

From having watched them awhile, I would say it’s four: Oppressors, victims, activists who do this championing-of-the-oppressed thing…and then Hillary’s deplorables. Those who don’t do any actual victimizing or oppressing, but get in the way of the reform. Don’t vote the correct way, don’t use the right pronouns…you know, the Archie Bunkers.

Another of Aristotle’s fundamental rules, by the way, is the rule of non-contradiction. I have noticed that violating the one about either-or, tends to inexorably lead to violating the one about non-contradiction. One example that comes to mind is that the oppressors have all of the power…but, at the same time, they have none. The activists are going to win, and the victims are going to have all the power. It’s a done deal already. But, if it’s a done deal already, then what’s left of the old order? How is it that the oppressors still have power? You see this contradiction played out most egregiously with the women-versus-men thing. Men have all the power. But thanks to these reforms, women are making inroads…this woman or that woman is a powerful voice, not to be trifled with, the way she says it’s gonna be is the way it’s gonna be. And women are enrolling in higher education at a faster clip than men. Graduating in greater numbers. Been that way for awhile! So…? Which is it?

Some progressives explain this away by way of their tenuous grasp on the concept of time. A revolutionary moment is coming, they say…the entrenched power classes have the power right now, but after the tipping point has been reached it will be all different. But this brings on another contradiction: It’s inevitable. In fact, unstoppable. WE MUST SACRIFICE EVERYTHING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN…

How do we get so easily duped?

The answer is, in my opinion — work. There aren’t enough people doing it. Sure they have jobs. Our unemployment rate is very low now. But a lot of jobs don’t involve actual work. I’m not talking about getting your hands dirty, although I am talking about something closely connected with that. I’m talking about the making of decisions. When you make a decision in the course of doing a job, it’s a healthy thing because the possibility exists that the decision you make will be the wrong one. But if it’s necessary to get work done, it is exceedingly likely you’ll find out, and in a great big hurry, that your decision was wrong. This is how we learn. Well…that’s been on a down-slide for awhile. Simple fact is, “shades of gray” sloppy-thinking flies, most of the time, because no one is starving to death from having lost their jobs after making wrong decisions.

This infatuation with higher education is not helping. As Severian wrote lately,

The university is a Liberal’s natural habitat. Give them complete administrative control, an unlimited budget, and the ability to impose admission requirements, and you get a place where you can’t find a non-foodie restaurant and none of the milk comes from cows. There are twelve coffee shops per bookstore, and the bookstores outnumber the auto mechanics by about 15:1. And, of course, everything of consequence is run by white people, but the nice Diverse ladies who are such fun at cocktail parties make $300K per year chairing make-work departments that do nothing but issue unread Diversity memos. Everyone’s gay, or wishes he was, and the days are spent squawking about outrages that happen far, far over the horizon.

It’s static — by design. If you want a real challenge, head to the nearest college town and try finding something to do that doesn’t involve sitting and staring at a glowing screen. All the ballyhooed urban boho “nightlife and culture” is really just the Brownian movement of shallow people drifting from bar to coffee shop to bookstore to fusion restaurant to experimental theater performance, all the while twittering and facebooking about how wonderful and uplifting and educational it all is. The only emotion they experience is the dopamine hit that comes from being outraged about stuff, which confirms their smug superiority to the unwashed masses out in Flyover Country.

You could accomplish the same thing propped up in a hospital bed with one of those IV pez dispensers full of morphine, and again, that’s by design.

That’s why I call them Medicators. They really are medicating, in a way. Making decisions more to go through the motions of making decisions, than to make a good one; acting, first & foremost, as stewards of their own emotional state. Getting a lot of what they call “work” done, but it isn’t work the way real-people define it. There’s no object changing states, everything involved is very much the same at the end of the work, as it was before the work started.

And here we come back to my original point. If your decision-making method is so sophisticated and so pre-destined to come to the right decision, but your “work” doesn’t involve a change of state to anything, leaves everything pretty much undisturbed from the way it was before…how do you know your decisions are any good? How can you do any learning? The answer is, you can’t. There’s no lead-in for that oh so enlightening, “Golly gee, I was just so sure the pea would be under this shell” moment. Such failures are how we learn.

The Crunchy Frog Measuring System

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Just for the record, when in the course of human events you have the luxury of developing a measurement system before you’ve gathered real-world things for it to measure — or depending on your point of view, if ever you’re laboring under the curse of delivering on that responsibility unable to escape from that state of ignorance — I think carving up that vast space of mass, temperature, linear, area and volume measurement in powers of ten makes a lot of sense. We are naturally inclined to do it anyway, whenever we speak of extraordinarily large or small units of time or space, even when we base such observations on the Imperial system. “Millionths of an inch,” “billions of years ago,” “thousands of pounds,” etc.

However — and the following is really just my opinion, I can’t prove it, but I’m very sure I’m right about this. The imperial system isn’t going anywhere, at least not anytime soon. I have a lot of reasons for maintaining this opinion. Perhaps the biggest factor in the conclusions I’ve reached, I’ve gleaned from simply observing the behavior of Metric System advocates. They recite things to themselves they’ve already recited before, much like Hillary supporters were repeating over and over how she’s squash Donald Trump like a cockroach. Except some of what the meter-head people say, is technically true, like “All the countries in the world except U.S. and a couple others have already officially adopted/switched.” Yes, officially. Officially. The question this should inspire is: How come there are so many countries that officially use the metric system, while at the same time unofficially using something else? The United Kingdom. Canada. Poland. And many more countries, when you start talking about measurements that are life-and-death…like, what’s the altitude of my plane. It’s only the U.S. and Myanmar that use feet? Eh…not correct.

Consider the voluntary self-torture taking place in the countries that have “officially switched,” but not really. Anyone who has experience using both systems at the same time, knows that’s where the pain is. Reasonable hold-outs, like me, would choose the metric system in an instant over the both-at-the-same-time nonsense. That’s where passenger jets take off without enough fuel, because someone measured out pounds of the stuff instead of kilograms. And I’m sure all the most reasonable surrender-monkeys from all up & down the Champs-Élysées would agree with me, such a hybrid bastardization should be discarded in favor of pure King’s-English measurement, if they were forced to choose one out of only those two options. So no one gets killed, and we don’t have to stop in the middle of a cocktail-napkin dimensioning exercise to say to ourselves “uh…er…divided by 2.54…em…”

So whichever measurement system makes it to Mars first, should ban the other one forever, planet-wide. But which one is better?

High CubeIt’s a myth that the metric system is, as I hear so often, “vastly superior.” Do we even need to take the claim seriously? It hasn’t sent the other one packing yet. And no, you can’t blame stubborn troglodytes like me for being inflexible about it. Fact is, when people speak of landing the “Finish Him!!” killing blow against the imperial measurement system as if this was some episode out of Mortal Kombat, they don’t know what they’re saying. They fail to comprehend the sheer magnitude of destruction their fantasies would entail, should they ever meet up with reality. Trucks. Rail cars. Freight ships. The engines that make them all go. The bolts that hold the engines together. The buildings. The land. The townships. The sections. The U.S. is the only hold-out? Well…how much stuff we got. That’s a question someone needs to answer before we start throwing yardsticks in the wood chipper.

This isn’t just idle inertia that can be depleted through attrition. It’s been gaining momentum, a great deal of this taking place well after the metric system had its first shot at success.

Fact is, you can’t put together the case that either system is “superior/inferior in every way.” They aren’t trying to do the same thing. With the Imperial measurement system, you have the inch, followed by a factor of twelve. Then the foot. And a factor of three, followed by the yard…followed by a HUGE gap, a factor of 1,760. Then comes the mile. How come? Well, with your horse racing you had rods and furlongs, which have fallen into obscurity, so it cannot be said this enormous gap of factor-1760 has always sat there, undivided and unmolested. But that’s the point here. It’s all based on practical need. The same holds true for cooking. You have teaspoons and tablespoons and ounces and pints, because that’s what we need to measure. After the pints quarts & gallons, there’s not much…a few antiquated units like the hogshead. But as far as measurement units that are unambiguous and can actually be used to measure, and communicate, that’s it. If you want to talk about the volume of water behind a dam, we settle for decimalization, as in hundreds of millions of cubic feet…

Settle for. See? Just like with the millionths of an inch. We use that numerology not as a preference, but as a better-than-nothing.

The imperial system came from need. “Let’s come up with a unit to measure this thing.” The metric system, as I pointed out in the first paragraph up there, comes from dividing up the measurement space first…then going out to get the data afterward.

Decimalization is something we avoid when we can, because the number ten is not good as a base for these purposes. It can only be divided by itself, one, five and two. People think the imperial measurement is nonsensical because it’s got these big intimidating numbers in it, like 5,280 for linear feet in a mile, or 43,560 for square feet in an acre. They’re not thinking about it right. They need to be thinking about it in terms of factor trees, just like the guy who invented the measurement unit. Number of feet in a mile, is divisible by 2 five times, by 3, by 5 and by eleven. It’s a wonderful number. An acre could be 264 feet on one side and 165 feet on another side. There are 640 of them in a square mile. The numbers aren’t easy to carry around in your head, they’re not built for that. They’re built to make it so that even moderately complex surveying and allocation jobs, end up with whole numbers. Eleventh of a mile, that’s 480 feet. Eighth of a square mile, that’s 80 acres.

Contrasted with…wife wants me to make a spice rack with three columns, out of 1 meter boards. How to do?

So over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, in a number of places some friends were kicking the dog shit out of me about the metric system being so vastly superior or something. I appreciated it a lot because I was just finishing a 750ml of wine…which, if it were sold in quarts the way the Good Lord intended, I’d still have had another glass left. (There is some irony there, but also there’s a whole sub-topic of manufacturers and whole industries taking advantage of the turmoil to put a thumb on the scale, to the detriment of the customer.) One of them raised an interesting snotty question: Okay smart guy, what’s a third of a (16-oz.) pound? Eh…who cares. The answer is five ounces, or six ounces, somewhere around there. Nobody’s going to storm out of the house angry because you made your Chicken Almondine with a fraction of an ounce too many slivered almonds. But, what about if the measurement has to be precise? Like, troy ounces of gold or something. Dunno. “Don’t go trying to buy a seventh of a troy ounce just so you can bitch about something, like an asshole” would be my default answer. Obviously this scheme of choosing composite numbers to avoid fractional output, isn’t and cannot be intended to address every scenario. It’s just supposed to address most. Which has worked pretty well. The entire civilized world has been built on it.

Womanly MeasurementsNo really, it has. All those more sophisticated countries that have “officially adopted the metric system”? What’s the bust-waist-hip measurement of a sexy girl in those countries, 36″ 24″ 36″? Nope. They haven’t bothered to compute it, have they? How about time-of-day? I know there are people who will not and perhaps cannot buy into the “easy to divide if not to multiply” argument, I’ve spoken with them about this at length. So how come they’re not measuring time-of-day in centidays, which would be 14 minutes 24 seconds each, or in millidays? One says, because it’s not a standard…when it’s a standard, I’ll do it. Okay. So we’re not talking about technology here, if anything we’re talking about the opposite of technology. That’s what “I’ll do it when everyone else is already doing it” is, the opposite of technology. But the real reason we don’t tell time that way is, it’s too hard. Dividing the day up into 24 and then 60 parts makes sense, because 24 and 60 are nice composite numbers.

My verdict is: Whatever makes sense. If I’m replacing the head gasket on a Suzuki engine, metric system is my first choice. Well of course it is. Using a 1/2″ socket on a 12mm bolt head is just going to cause excessive wear & tear on the parts, and be frustrating…who needs it. I really don’t have much by way of grievances against the M.S. Only one: I don’t like the attitude. The “Lookit me, I’m being scientific and stuff because I’m using metric.” It reeks of nerd. Like someone’s been watching way too many episodes of Star Trek. It stinks of confusing the gonna-dooz with the have-dunz…as in, see, we’re GONNA build this thing with meters and centimeters, and then we’re GONNA have some kind of warp drive and do these amazing things. If you talk about it awhile, you’ll notice a lot of the metric “accomplishments” are like that. We’re GONNA explore the solar system. Right after the metric system is GONNA kick the old imperial system’s butt…

But as far as the things already done, the big accomplishments are mostly owned by the older system M.S. was supposed to replace. This newer system, far from gaining steam as we go along, is losing it. “No math, just move the decimal point around to the left or the right” is no longer an argument that can land a solid punch. Not with everyone & his dog walking around with a supercomputer at their fingertips. Come to think of it, factoring in everything we know now, it’s the metric system that is better suited to the surveyors of George Washington’s time, painstakingly drawing their lines in the swampland in their muddy boots.

Furthermore, we’re not talking about actual content. What people are forgetting is that these are MEASURING SYSTEMS. Measurements of things, are not the things they measure. They’re just measurements of them. Finding a different way to measure a thing, doesn’t have any effect on what the thing is.

Thing I Know #455. Expressing an idea in a different way, or with a different language, doesn’t make the idea any more or less brilliant.

This is where the crunchy-frogs are off track. Your starship isn’t any more or less likely to reach Pluto or beyond, based on whether you decided to make it 100 meters or 330 feet. If you really do think that has a bearing on things, then we’d have to settle that by looking at history…and history doesn’t make the metric system look good.

But what do I know? I’ve only had the propaganda forced on me since the mid-1970’s. Maybe it’s an age thing. These days, you can be well into what’s accepted as “middle age,” but still not yet have become fully aware of your surroundings by the time we had that Ford-n-Carter boondoggle with all the taxpayer-funded infomercials and cutesy commercial jingles. By the time you reach my range of decrepitude, you’ve spent more than forty years hearing about how it’s the wave of the future…unavoidable…any day now. Well, said boondoggle was the absolute apex of the metric-system momentum, or has been up until now.

May I Suggest, Going Back to Discussing Things?

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Charlottesville is the story of two yucky factions mixing it up and getting violent. In the aftermath, there is a lot of truth and fiction being pumped into it, by people who are desperate to prove, above all things, that they’re not with this yucky side or that yucky side. Now it’s true that as a secondary priority there is a lot of other stuff they want to say. Keep those statues! Down with capitalism! Violence is wrong! But if we’re going to be honest about it, those are distant-seconds. The most important thing anyone wants to express, far-and-away, is “I am not a Nazi” and “I am not Antifa.”

That is good, in the sense that people are behaving like they’ve got reputations worth protecting.

But it is not good, in the sense that it must be the most primitive thought expressed in a social gathering. “Hi. My name is [name], I am not a [blank].” Thousands of years of evolution, technical innovation and social advancement; we can’t manage the next rung up the ladder? How about: “I believe in [thing].” Too much?

Ah, well. Here we embark upon more painful truth: We were there already. Past it, in fact. We’ve been sliding. In generations past, we discussed things; for thousands of years, in fact, people would say “thing.” And then the rebuttal would come back: “!thing.” Then the counter-rebuttal: “If not-thing, then why (other thing)? We should expect to see (yet another thing) instead.”

Toppling StatuesSomewhere along the line, all this has fallen out of favor. And it’s recent. Somehow, something got discarded, rather like a paddle thrown out of a canoe, and now our chosen form of discourse is a bunch of fluff-n-stuff that doesn’t have much to do with actual exchange of ideas. Seems like lately it’s all demonstrations, all “protests,” all of the time, with everything. Oh sure we have our Sunday morning talk shows, but have you actually taken the time to watch one of those lately?

We do have talk radio, which encourages this. But polite society does not encourage talk radio…you’re looked upon as something of a kook-burger if you listen to it with any regularity. And I’m gathering that the free exchange of ideas is the reason why. To the people who never do it, when they look at someone else participating in it or just listening to it, it seems odd. People would do well to stop and ask themselves why. I know of one family member roughly my age, who regularly disparages another, older family member, for listening to “hate radio.” That is not an isolated sentiment by any means.

And yet…what was Charlottesville, if not hate?

And that was the ultimate end-point of the opposite of talking about ideas, no? Two sides, both with a “my way or the highway” attitude.

And I don’t see anyone noticing this part — each side had an idea that was, at least, sturdy enough to survive an introduction into a real dialogue. Lose the statues! Keep the statues! Speaking just for myself, I would look forward eagerly to an exchange of ideas about this. Not a shouting match, but a considerate, rational, focused inspection of what happens when a nation tears itself in pieces over questions of freedom, federalism, The Rights Of Man, etc….glues itself back together, and then a century and a half later takes steps to obliterate that bloody history. What happens then? Can an advanced civilization such as ours, remain ready for whatever the future brings while it rends asunder its own past? Can it maintain moral anchoring without any anchors? Can it survive the exigencies of both war AND peace, while living out each day in snapshot-mode, deliberately unaware of all that came before?

This would be a good discussion to have.

And this is something I’ve not seen people notice much, even as they busy themselves with noticing many other things. Ah well…now we have fatalities, so I suppose losing perspective on the essentials is to be expected. But what caused those, I might ask? Is there really any good reason for us to be so hyped up on street-protests, all year long and every year? I can think of no good reason. Maybe just a couple of really bad ones…like, someone is funding them because they think they have something to gain politically…and, those who participate in them know of no other way to make their point, and haven’t got anything else to do anyway. Is that it? Because those aren’t good reasons. The property damage is expensive and the deaths & injuries are tragic.

It’s a funny thing. Waterboard one terrorist and you hear all this stuff about “We are better people than that.” Nobody stops to ask, “Better than what, exactly?” Better than…taking active steps, when malevolent people threaten innocent people? The alternative is to not do anything and then say “wasn’t my fault” after the deed’s done, right? Is there any other way to interpret that tired cliché?

But then we go day after day, year after year, watching these “peaceful protests” that are anything but peaceful…the local police are consumed in whatever the event is, wherever it is, must be a great day to go stealing cars or breaking into houses in the middle of the day or whatever other malfeasance you had planned…streets blocked, shops busted and looted, homeowners threatened, all because we don’t know how to discuss anything anymore. And that’s when I don’t hear anybody at all say “We [should be] better than that.” That’s exactly when the full meaning of the statement would be much easier to define, and that’s exactly when it really should be true.

That Google Memo

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Here is the actual document. There is so much misinformation being spread around about it. Might be a good idea to hit the download button.

The background is that a senior engineer at Google contributed this 10-page “manifesto” to an inside-company group discussion of diversity efforts. Those of us who have worked in tech for a few years, who happen to be six-foot-tall straight white males with nothing interesting about their personal attributes, understand these efforts to artificially embiggen the proportional representation of said interesting personal attributes within the ranks of engineering talent. Need more chicks! It has nothing at all to do with getting the job done, but management keeps getting hung up on it. Well…any engineer who’s worth a damn is going to take note of which solutions DON’T work, in addition to the ones that do, and these “diversity” efforts don’t bring any positive results. It’s just year after year of “still inadequate female representation on our teams, we have to up the diversity” or something. Translation: There is institutionalized sexism somewhere, the stats speak for themselves, we have to work harder at getting rid of it.

So those who actually want to justify their plush engineering paychecks are put in an awkward position: They have to show good engineering discipline day-to-day, and bad discipline when management tells them, “We’re all going to work a lot harder at this drive that hasn’t offered any positive results.” And, pile on with a rash assumption that the stats must manifest prejudice. Somewhere.

Well, the engineer WENT THERE. No, he did not say the chicks are naturally unqualified or under-qualified to do engineering work. You might have heard that. You can see from looking at the document yourself that it’s a deliberate lie. There are many others being told. Anyway, what he did say is what people who’ve looked into it awhile, by which I mean more than a few minutes, know already. The chicks just don’t wanna do it. Figuring this out is not hard, since the alternative would have to be, there’s a huge glut of chicks wanting engineering jobs and their applications are being ritually blocked or turned away at some point in the pipeline. Well, where’s the glut? And where’s the blockage? Can you imagine the job of hiding such a restrictive device, in this climate…or being the device, the manager who says “no chicks on my team”?

When, all this guy did was talk about it. Oh yeah. Continuing with the background — he is fired. Oh, so fired. But if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that already.

About the most offensive thing the guy actually did say was where he said women are, on average, more emotional. It’s true, but I try to avoid saying things like that because we live in an age wherein men are acting more like women. Nevertheless, even this was given some strong backing by real-life events when it emerged that female employees at Google were skipping work because they were so traumatized by his memo. Those who defend the firing, point to this “trauma” done to the fairer sex within Google’s workforce, as evidence that the company made the right decision. Had they taken no action, so the argument goes, the female employees could have sued due to the hostile work environment.

The other piece I linked up above, the one that substantiates the points that chicks don’t want to do engineering, falls back on this point as well: The REASON they don’t want to do it, is men make the workplace so uncomfortable. With all our awful presumptions that women don’t know tech, and stuff…

This whole thing has really made me think hard about my own career. I’ve been at this thirty years. Nearly forty, man & boy, if you count the “work” I did before I was getting paid to do it…well, let’s just count the actual work. What I’ve realized is that, as a six-foot straight white male, I’m really not completely comfortable in my job. I wasn’t comfortable in my last one. Or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that…anyplace I picked up a paycheck, I never was absolutely comfortable. Nor did I expect to be. After all, I was being paid to be there.

From whence arises this expectation that a workplace should be comfortable? And if it isn’t, you can sue? Oh yeah right. Lawyers.

Well, it’s wrong.

It’s just as wrong as the other flawed premise, the one Mr. Damore was targeting in his memo, that if female representation is not up to par then it must mean something is wrong with the environment. It could very well mean your environment’s just fine. You could be looking at — you probably ARE looking at — the end result of people being able to choose what they want to do in life, based on how much personal fulfillment they get from doing it, and yes, how reliably they can deliver what’s needed.

Mr. Damore’s memo is called “Google’s ideological echo chamber”…and, he was fired for writing it. His own sacking proves the truth of what he wrote, because he got fired for saying the wrong things. Nevermind whether I like it or not, or you like it or not…it’s simply unworkable.

“We have to do whatever it takes to up the female representation in our engineering teams, so SPEAK FREELY! All ideas welcome!’

“Women and men are the same, and don’t you say anything different or we’ll fire you.”

“Women are the true source of creativity and we need their participation…don’t say anything different or we’ll fire you.”

…pick ANY TWO.

If you insist on maintaining all three, as Google did and continues to do, and many other tech companies continue to do, then what you have is…drum roll please. A hostile work environment. An environment in which people of all demographic make-ups can continue to survive ONLY by avoiding the subject entirely. Or, by lying.

Or, by avoiding it just selectively…which is really the same thing as lying.

The Simpsons really nailed it. “Just tell me what to say!”

I hope people who consider themselves to be “centrists” are watching this very carefully. So many of them are hardcore liberals, and don’t even realize it. I’ve said before a few times that when the difference between conservatives & liberals is most starkly defined, it’s when each side is opining about the cause of human behavior…conservatives say it’s incentives, liberals say it’s enviornment. There should be overlap between the two, since the environment drives incentive. But THERE. IS. NO. OVERLAP. None here.

Liberals want to think it’s all got to do with the environment, because it gives them an excuse to twiddle with it. Oh, make this rule here, oh, eliminate that option over there, force people to do this thing, stop them from doing that thing…

Once you go down that road, you’re all-in whether you realize it or not. You have to ignore the incentives. Pretend they don’t exist.

Fire, or exclude or ostracize in some way, anyone who even thinks of mentioning it. “Chicks don’t wanna do it” is BadThink and not to be tolerated…even when the evidence supporting the contraband thought is, literally, everywhere.

Update 8/12/17: It’s become a full-time job just figuring out which article has something new to contribute…nevermind excerpting. A link round-up is the only way to go.

Playing Into Every Female Stereotype, Women At Google Stay Home After Memo For Emotional Reasons

Google Can’t Seem to Tolerate Diversity

How Google Has Just Harmed Its Women Employees

Purge: Amid Leftist Fury, Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Criticizing Politically-Correct Groupthink

Jordan Peterson’s interview right after Mr. Damore put “his hand in a blender”:

It’s 1984 at Google: David Limbaugh. Handy, well-written summary of events, and this: “While constitutional issues may not be involved in the Google case because no state action is involved, moral shaming has become a chilling cudgel in the hands of leftist-dominated institutions.”

Diversity flaps are often manufactured: Jonah Goldberg. “It’s absolutely true that women were once blocked from many careers. But since those barriers were lifted, women have flooded into, or even have come to dominate, all manner of fields. Is it really plausible that sexism is the primary, never mind sole, explanation for female under-representation in computer science and engineering? …The issue here isn’t diversity, but conformity.”

By Firing the Google Memo Author, the Company Confirms His Thesis: “Of course, Google can take any political positions it likes. But its overwhelming power and reach into the everyday lives of so many Americans makes it a perfectly legitimate target for criticism.”

WSJ Best of the Web: Google’s Silent Majority: “There is no guarantee that the finalists and semifinalists of coding competitions will always want to work at Google. Perhaps the company should be focused on attracting and developing all kinds of employees, including non-leftists.”

Ben and Cenk

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Full debate. Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks, the liberal, debates Ben Shapiro from The Daily Wire, the conservative.

I suppose any publicity is good publicity, but it’s belaboring the obvious to note Mr. Uygur was under-prepared for this. Evidently someone told him “just circulate a narrative that anybody who doesn’t agree with you doesn’t know anything, and they’ll fall in line”…that probably works great when the number of people who don’t agree with you is zero, one, two or not much more than that.

So he’s left stammering away about how 40% to 60% of the packed audience, doesn’t know how to use Google or something. Ends up looking like he’s just wasting everyone’s time. That’s probably accurate.

I’ve noticed a lot of liberals doing this since Obama got elected…and weirdly, picking up pace with the tactic since Trump got elected. Ah, maybe it’s me giving them the impression I don’t know anything…they like a rule, I don’t like the rule, so like a spark leaping from an electrode they figure out I must not understand the concept of having rules. And they do that with everybody else too, so I know it’s not just me. Looks weird.

Like they’re just not used to being outnumbered. And never did have a good argument to offer about anything.

“On BOTH Sides…”

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Listening to the Sunday morning talkie-shows, which I guess maybe is something I shouldn’t be doing, I’m noticing these three words are being strung together in sequence an awful lot. They’re also being intoned as a knee-jerk mono-thought, as if we should be inventing one single word to impart the meaning of the three…OnBothSides. I’m not at the point where hearing the sequence makes me want to vomit into a bucket, but I do perceive that I’m heading in that direction. Nevertheless, let’s put feelings aside and think about it logically.

There is clearly some importance attached to including this sequence. This importance may have something to do with a) what’s being observed, b) the social consequences of observing it, or c) a combination of a & b. Logically, I have to conclude we’re looking entirely at b), since I’ve eliminated the first and the third. This has nothing to do with what’s being observed, anywhere. “On both sides” means, presumably, Republicans and democrats — there is nothing else to be presumed, and I don’t see anyone stopping to clarify their meaning if they mean something else. And yet, that split is dated. News-talkie-shows try to be many things, but “dated” is not one of those things…they’re supposed to be about what’s going on currently. We currently do not have a “both sides” split between R&D, since it’s obvious when you say “I am a Republican” your audience cannot safely infer you mean “I support President Donald Trump.” Nor can they safely infer, if you say “I support Trump” that you must be a Republican.

Trump is in the White House, currently serving as our President. So there are three sides, no fewer, that have achieved some level of current importance. In fact, I’ll take it even further: At this current snapshot in time, if you really force the number two into the context of power, the “two sides” that have power right now are the pro-Trump and anti-Trump Republicans. The democrats lost the election, remember? And everywhere. But — I’m taking it as a given that “pro-Trump and anti-Trump Republicans” is not what the OnBothSides people have in mind, when they stop in mid-thought and stress OnBothSides.

Fix ItThis is, therefore, all about social stature. You call out one party as having a problem, you’re supposed to add in “OnBothSides” to make it clear you’re not singling out a single party where the other party might be equally at fault. This is supposed to shore up your credibility as a neutral, sensible-centrist observer, or something…

So, is the intent to remind us the democrats are equally at fault, when Republicans are called out as having some kind of a problem? This may be possible in certain isolated situations…but, I kind of doubt it because if any one thing has been made clear to me over the years of watching news on the idiot-box, it’s that there is no social-stature price to be paid from knocking Republicans while staying mum on the democrats’ equivalent sins. Why freakin’ bother.

I don’t see anything advantageous or admirable about being a centrist, at this point, I really don’t. In my experience, the honest centrists are new to the whole thing. They haven’t been paying attention to politics, but now realize they must, and they’re willing to learn the most effective way we learn about things: by earnestly admitting what we do not yet know. When they chase after this awhile, read, discuss, absorb, and maintain this “centrist” label, after a time I stop trusting them. You can’t be honest with anyone else if you’re not going to be honest with yourself, and by the time someone has taken the time to learn about what Republicans and democrats have been doing, if he’s preserving some fragile narrative about the sins existing OnBothSides then what we’re looking at is a democrat. Can we dispense with the bull-squeeze and just admit that much by now? ObamaCare is the big problem right now, and it wasn’t passed OnBothSides.

This is something I’ve been noticing for quite awhile now. There are many people walking around us who truly think of themselves as “centrists,” but consciously or unconsciously, from within or from the outside, they have been programmed to filter out any bit of evidence that would suggest anything morally lacking about the political party that is truly morally lacking. Franklin Roosevelt violates the Constitution and puts American citizens in prison camps, of course we all have to look back and pronounce that this was a disgraceful thing — the narrative is that this is a disgraceful thing we did. Not that FDR did. The country. We. But the fact is, if FDR had been a Republican doing that, that’s not how we’d be remembering it. We’d remember it appropriately and correctly, as something that moral-reprobate dictator bastard FDR did.

The OnBothSides obligatory disclaimer, is such an unthinking knee-jerk disclaimer; it has nothing to do with reality at all. How far are we supposed to take this? Teddy Kennedy gets drunk, drives over a bridge, drowns a young woman in his car, we’re supposed to fantasize that at the exact same time, somewhere, a Republican must have been doing the same thing?

Why would we do this?

Turns out, “paying attention to politics” is easy. A lot of people pay attention to politics: They take in the information that is available, figure out what they don’t like, entirely ignore that part, shunt it aside, chalk it up to “some crazy guy running a right-wing blog,” and then obsess over what’s left. They’re like the little kid claiming to have “ate all my dinner” while pretending the vegetables aren’t there, or moving them onto his little brother’s plate, hiding them in his glass of milk, or his pockets.

A lot of people who have no fondness for democrats, do this just because it seems to make politics so much simpler and easier to understand. But if you ask them questions about what they’ve learned, you — and they — quickly find out that they haven’t simplified anything at all. Like much in life, politics actually becomes much easier to understand when you listen to it all, read about it all, and evaluate it all. Certainly we can have legitimate disagreements with each other about what is & is not relevant. But when you’re trying to figure out what something is, you know you’re going about it the wrong way when the answer you get back is very complicated, while reality-based tests consistently show the thing you’ve studied is much simpler than your interpretation of it.

There isn’t much call to talk about OnBothSides when one of the political parties is so steadfastly entrenched in the practice of robbing Peter to pay Paul. When the divide is so enduring and so consistent, that a monstrosity like ObamaCare was passed without a single Republican fingerprint upon it. Character defects in the one party, unmatched by any meaningful counterpart in the other, are exactly what we should expect to find. What kind of politician would find it expedient to rob Peter to pay Paul? A politician who wants to hide things, of course…a politician who will find it convenient, when large swaths of the population lose interest in that part of politics that is disconnected from their next brick of free cheese. And, a politician who knows nothing of, or cares nothing for, the labor that went into the assets being seized from those who worked for them and given to those who did not. Such a politician, we should expect, probably hasn’t worked an honest day in his life, and probably represents not a few constituents who haven’t worked an honest day in their lives. And when we study the democrats, this is exactly what we find.

Without meaningful counterparts, in any large number, on the Republican side. Not OnBothSides.

The Three Greatest Programming Links Ever

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

I don’t call them that because someone else agreed, or because I anticipate someone else will agree. I call them that because when I first got started, long before any of them were in existence, these would’ve been the ones I really needed to see.

Still Drinking: Programming Sucks

All programming teams are constructed by and of crazy people

Imagine joining an engineering team. You’re excited and full of ideas, probably just out of school and a world of clean, beautiful designs, awe-inspiring in their aesthetic unity of purpose, economy, and strength. You start by meeting Mary, project leader for a bridge in a major metropolitan area. Mary introduces you to Fred, after you get through the fifteen security checks installed by Dave because Dave had his sweater stolen off his desk once and Never Again. Fred only works with wood, so you ask why he’s involved because this bridge is supposed to allow rush-hour traffic full of cars full of mortal humans to cross a 200-foot drop over rapids. Don’t worry, says Mary, Fred’s going to handle the walkways. What walkways? Well Fred made a good case for walkways and they’re going to add to the bridge’s appeal. Of course, they’ll have to be built without railings, because there’s a strict no railings rule enforced by Phil, who’s not an engineer. Nobody’s sure what Phil does, but it’s definitely full of synergy and has to do with upper management, whom none of the engineers want to deal with so they just let Phil do what he wants. Sara, meanwhile, has found several hemorrhaging-edge paving techniques, and worked them all into the bridge design, so you’ll have to build around each one as the bridge progresses, since each one means different underlying support and safety concerns. Tom and Harry have been working together for years, but have an ongoing feud over whether to use metric or imperial measurements, and it’s become a case of “whoever got to that part of the design first.” This has been such a headache for the people actually screwing things together, they’ve given up and just forced, hammered, or welded their way through the day with whatever parts were handy. Also, the bridge was designed as a suspension bridge, but nobody actually knew how to build a suspension bridge, so they got halfway through it and then just added extra support columns to keep the thing standing, but they left the suspension cables because they’re still sort of holding up parts of the bridge. Nobody knows which parts, but everybody’s pretty sure they’re important parts. After the introductions are made, you are invited to come up with some new ideas, but you don’t have any because you’re a propulsion engineer and don’t know anything about bridges.

Would you drive across this bridge? No. If it somehow got built, everybody involved would be executed. Yet some version of this dynamic wrote every single program you have ever used, banking software, websites, and a ubiquitously used program that was supposed to protect information on the [Internet] but didn’t.

All code is bad

Every programmer occasionally, when nobody’s home, turns off the lights, pours a glass of scotch, puts on some light German electronica, and opens up a file on their computer. It’s a different file for every programmer. Sometimes they wrote it, sometimes they found it and knew they had to save it. They read over the lines, and weep at their beauty, then the tears turn bitter as they remember the rest of the files and the inevitable collapse of all that is good and true in the world.

This file is Good Code. It has sensible and consistent names for functions and variables. It’s concise. It doesn’t do anything obviously stupid. It has never had to live in the wild, or answer to a sales team. It does exactly one, mundane, specific thing, and it does it well. It was written by a single person, and never touched by another. It reads like poetry written by someone over thirty.

Every programmer starts out writing some perfect little snowflake like this. Then they’re told on Friday they need to have six hundred snowflakes written by Tuesday, so they cheat a bit here and there and maybe copy a few snowflakes and try to stick them together or they have to ask a coworker to work on one who melts it and then all the programmers’ snowflakes get dumped together in some inscrutable shape and somebody leans a Picasso on it because nobody wants to see the cat urine soaking into all your broken snowflakes melting in the light of day. Next week, everybody shovels more snow on it to keep the Picasso from falling over.

There’s a theory that you can cure this by following standards, except there are more “standards” than there are things computers can actually do, and these standards are all variously improved and maligned by the personal preferences of the people coding them, so no collection of code has ever made it into the real world without doing a few dozen identical things a few dozen not even remotely similar ways. The first few weeks of any job are just figuring out how a program works even if you’re familiar with every single language, framework, and standard that’s involved, because standards are unicorns.

Naming Cats is Easy, Naming Blogs is Hard: Programming Metaphors You Need, Part 1 of Birds

Some years ago, my mother was sick in bed, and the family cat, apparently feeling she needed perking up, went out and got the best present it could think of. It hunted vigorously for hours, and exercising all the smarts and power it could muster, it found the perfect thing, and brought it back to my ailing mother.
My mother, awoken from fever dreams to find a half-dead bird in her bed, was not appreciative. Actually, she was more horror-struck. There was shrieking. Cat and bird were both banished summarily.

My mother and the cat both sulked for days, furious at each other for the cruel way they were treated when each had behaved as well as one could possibly hope for.

I myself have had an eerily similar interaction with a programmer who proudly showed me a feature which he thought was incredibly useful, and which had also been very tricky to implement. He was outraged to discover that I did not adore it. In fact, my first response was to ask how to turn it off, out of fear that I would trip it accidentally.

He felt that I was unappreciative, resistant to change, and failed to appreciate how life-changingly useful this feature would be. (Our disagreement was not improved by the fact that it was possible but not practical to disable.)

He did have at least one thing right; unlike the half-dead bird, it proved unobtrusive. In 10+ subsequent years of using software of the appropriate type, I have never once wanted this feature, and have often been in situations where it would have been dangerous, but I did successfully use his version for several years without accident. I’m sure he continued to enjoy it, and his [virtuosity], to no end. I just wish he hadn’t given it to me.

Software is often full of dead bird features. It’s not valuable because it was difficult to implement, or because it makes developers happy; it’s only valuable if it makes the users happy. Save the dead birds for those who appreciate their excellence.

Edited to add:

It’s not just programmers that come up with dead bird features, of course. For instance, the ultimate dead bird feature is almost certainly Clippy, the animated paper clip that used to offer to help you with your Microsoft Word documents. It was a masterpiece of technology, lovingly crafted, and beloved by its audience. But lots and lots of people found it not merely unattractive but actually repellent. There you were, working away, when AARGH! your eye was drawn to an animated paper clip, actively trying to distract you from your work in order to offer to help you do something you had no interest in.

And, finally, there is the wisdom of Scotty: Never tell the boss how long it’ll really take! I am sure the kids at work, who think of “bald Captain” Star Trek as the “oldest” one, are beyond weary of hearing me quote this one & exposing myself as the only one in the room who sees the humor…yup…all those episodes, “I canna change the laws of physics!!,” Scotty was just fudging…

I have only two things to add myself.

The job is to define behavior. That is the job. This means, as some wizened sages have observed, there is a necessity for those new to it to “change the way you think.” That’s true, because the job involves defining something, and until the necessity arises a lot of us don’t have to define much of anything at all. You see this in babies. If they get what they want by just making illegible noises, that’s what they are going to learn how to do. If they’re forced to articulate exactly what it is they want, and until then they don’t get it, they become more skilled in their vocal expression. That is learning to define. This stuff we call “code” is merely the medium through which definition is done. Most debates about programming languages are counterproductive, and most programming languages hurt the industry as a whole, because by adding themselves to the growing collection of languages they do injury against the progress of defining. Just like with the spoken word, changing the language in which an idea is expressed doesn’t do anything to improve the idea. Do you really need to switch? The code you’ve written already is an asset; it is the only product in existence, after your investment of time. “How many lines is your code” is a metric that might offer a clue about this, although not a decisive one. “Is it easy to read?” is a consideration, in the sense that a programmer familiar with it shouldn’t be given a reliable first impression that is the direct opposite of what it really does. As the language evolves, it should maintain backward compatibility as it does so, so that the code written already is treated like an asset. Which is what it is. So, there should be assurances to this effect. Guarantees are better than assurances. I suppose a parchment document signed in blood would be better than a guarantee. Regardless, the best definition of a “wrong language” being used is, oopsie, this compiler or interpreter is now on rev X which doesn’t support programming construct Y anymore, so you need to go demolish/reassemble. Yeah. While you’re doing that, switch languages because that was the wrong one. Then nuke it from orbit.

With regard to Captain Scott’s parting quip, I guess by choosing that as the punchline the scriptwriters are trying to fulfill a social obligation they’ve perceived after reading about these generations of engineers who got into the industry in the first place because of “Scotty.” And so they seek to mold and shape the next generations to come. Well…let me say my piece to them. Again, the job is to define behavior. That means, it is not for “people to think of you as a miracle worker.” So-called “engineers” who make it their goal to do that, don’t build a lot. They spend more time in the e-mail client than in any development-environment tool, and their energy goes into molding and shaping public perception. Which is not without value. But…read the thing about the dysfunctional team of crazy people building the bridge. When people start calling me a miracle-worker, I get nervous. The way a husband gets nervous when his wife starts getting all excited about how he’s going to get her the perfect birthday or anniversary present, and he hasn’t got the slightest clue what that is. It is the gathering storm of high expectations. Remember, even Scotty doesn’t believe in those. He’s adamantly opposed to telling the Captain how long it’ll really take, remember?

Words Really Mean What They’re Supposed to Mean

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Ann Coulter raises a great point here. I know this for sure, because it’s a point I’ve raised a number of times myself.

If the argument is sound, and the argument is made up of a bunch of words that are well-defined…but, the words are not being used to represent what they’re supposed to mean. Then, the argument isn’t sound at all.

There is no truth in any discussion of Obamacare. Currently, the most persistent lie is the claim that — according to scoring by the CBO! — 22 million Americans would “lose” their health insurance under the Senate health care bill. Turn on the TV right now and you’ll hear someone saying this.

“A new (CBO) budget score said 22 million more Americans would lose health coverage under this plan …”

— Poppy Harlow, CNN, June 27, 2017

“A score from the Congressional Budget Office … said the Republican bill to kill Obamacare would kick 22 million Americans off their health insurance.”

— Rachel Maddow, June 27, 2017

“The clock is ticking on the Senate health care bill as the CBO estimates 22 million people will lose their insurance.”

— Chris Hayes, June 26, 2017


The actual CBO report says nothing of the sort. People citing the “22 million” figure didn’t read past the CBO’s headline-grabbing paragraph at the top of the “Summary” page.

In fact, the CBO merely estimates that — in the year 2026 — 22 million Americans who otherwise would have been forced by the Obamacare penalty to buy health insurance will choose not to buy insurance once the penalty is gone. By “people thrown off their health insurance,” liberals mean: “people who voluntarily decide not to have health insurance.” (More accurately, “people who choose not to prove to the government that they have health insurance.”)

To use the word “lose” here is absurd. It would be like saying that Nixon ending the draft meant that 50,000 American men would “lose” their military service. The poor lads would be forced to volunteer.
Redefining words like “insurance” and “lose” to mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean makes human conversation impossible. We can still grunt, howl and shiver when it’s cold, but we will no longer have the ability to communicate slightly more complex thoughts to one another.

The only solution is for the rest of us to impose a broken windows policy on the truth, demanding it in every walk of life. If liars continually get away with it, their lies will only become more preposterous and more enraging.

Illegal aliens are not “undocumented immigrants.” They’re not “immigrants” at all. Immigrants wait in line and jump through hoops to be here. They are invited, by us, to come. Illegals cut to the head of the line whenever the mood strikes them, without waiting for an invitation.

When you have a “reserved seat” on Delta, it means you expect to be given that seat and not have your ticket snatched from your hand, then moved to a worse seat — only to get abused on social media by an imperious corporation for talking about it on Twitter.

It’s a matter of priority, the way I see it. We may, en masse, opt to delegate interpretation of the very simple concept “he or she chose this” to just a few wise pundits among us…because, reasons. Or something. But it’s bat-shit crazy to delegate it to people who care nothing about that concept, who seemingly cannot even comprehend it, a bunch of over-opinionated loudmouths to whom it is meaningless. Why would we do that?

But of course, such a rhetorical question assumes pristine motives on the part of those whose mental cogs are stripped, when it comes to interpreting and applying this simple concept. That isn’t the real problem. The real problem is they’ve been willingly deceiving, commonly called lying. Bad on them.

Getting away with it, too. Often. Bad on the rest of us.

Memo For File CCV

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

It feels like lying. Whenever someone who is unacquainted with & non-invested in the ideological battles going on, wants to know the difference between conservative & liberal. You have to stay away from the egregious character issues caused by liberal ideological leanings, because you can take it to the bank that your uninformed-but-learning centrist person, when he asks liberals about conservatives, is being told exactly the same thing about you. And if they’re being honest about this uninformed-but-willing-to-learn status, and getting the same story from both sides, you know what that looks like…

So you must avoid the issue. But — if the question is “What is your Number One, hill-I-wanna-die-on reason for not being a liberal?” that’s the honest answer. Liberalism turns people into raging butt-holes. You become a liberal, some other liberal says something clearly wrong-headed and/or deceptive, you’re obliged to defend it. We saw it all of the time. We saw it with Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky matter. We see it with ObamaCare.

Nevertheless…if it is so predictably true, we can afford to leave it unmentioned I think. If the audience is receptive, honest, truly willing to learn, able to do so, then they should see it.

My favorite alternative has come to be something like this: Liberals think human behavior is determined by one’s environment. Conservatives think it is driven by incentives. There should be ample room for overlap, since environment determines incentives — but, clearly, there isn’t. The question you need to be asking yourself as you do your learning, is why that is.

And if I’m feeling charitable, I might throw in a clue or two. It’s got to do with how close to perfection, human behavior can ever become, even under ideal circumstances. It’s got to do with those naked people in the garden eating an apple. And, with why conservatives don’t stay tuned in very long when you discuss how to add this tweak or that tweak to environmental things.

There is the matter of abundance and scarcity. Liberals retain their interest in what these do to human behavior, and include them in their tweaking. But they get it completely backwards. By way of example, I recently went on Facebook and let loose with a list of warning decals I wanted to see on movies. I included in this list — although it had nothing to do with my tantrum (it was actually stoked by a French production with English subtitles) — the gay genre. I’m not gay; I’ve got me a good woman who’s never going to drag me off to some gay movie, at least not unless it’s got something else unrelated, super-appealing, that’s going for it. I’ve got tons of gay co-workers, but no relatives or friends who are so close that this would do anything for me. In short, I’m out of the intended audience. And I think the whole thing is stupid anyway. We don’t have a “people who are left-handed” genre. Right?

Well, this ignited a Moral Crusade Of One, who proceeded to opine that I’m against science and reading, because these pursuits are all faggoty. I guess that might’ve worked if this was a public post, but among friends, anyone who knows me even slightly, this looks like what it is. A smear job. It fizzled. Dug its own grave, tumbled in and took the dirt nap. I proceeded to piss on the remains with,

I pray I’m never as weak and sensitized as liberals seem to want gays to be…as they seem to think they are…

I would have to perceive my entire demographic as being “oppressed” if there’s anybody anywhere who, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to watch movies about my lifestyle. That’s quite weak. I’m not sure reality even supports that magnitude of weakness. Anywhere.

Of course, liberals don’t really think homosexuals will commit suicide, en masse, if there isn’t this massive but insincere outpouring of weeping support for the “gay genre,” or if every other comic book character & cartoon character isn’t transformed overnight into a gay version of its former self. They’re just virtue signaling…which, with me, is the core issue. I think V.S. is evil. I think that because I’ve been paying attention to what happens when people do it. Particularly, the outcome. It’s never good.

I think people are trying to get rid of their Original Sin when they do this. Trying to un-eat the apple.

But then they want to affect the behavior of their fellows, for the better. The abundance and scarcity thing, again. You’re not going to turn gay-haters into gay-lovers by surrounding them with gay stuff. The same is true of eco-cups, solar panels, windmills, smart cars…

This is an essential ingredient of liberalism, I’ve noticed. Being out of touch with human nature, and the way it actually works. Ramming something down someone’s throat, sorry if the metaphor inspires vulgar imagery, doesn’t motivate people to start liking things. It has the opposite effect.

Seattle’s Minimum Wage Study

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Aw gee, well would you look at this

Last month, a group of scholars commissioned by the city of Seattle to study the effects of hiking the minimum wage struck a blow at the national “fight for 15” movement.

Their findings, which were widely covered in the media, showed that Seattle’s $13 minimum wage — part of a gradual increase to $15 — had all the negative effects that opponents of the policy feared. Low-wage employees had their hours cut by 3.5 million in a single quarter, costing more than $120 million in lost wages. The average worker lost $1,500 of income per year, hardly something those struggling to support themselves or their families could afford.

When faced with this data, even left-leaning publications such as Slate questioned whether the “fight for 15” had gone too far and was hurting those it was intended to help. So what did the Seattle City Council do? They killed the messengers and stuck their head in the sand.

It turns out that Seattle stopped funding the University of Washington research team led by Jacob Vigdor last fall, after the council had seen preliminary results. (The contract was supposed to run for five years, but it relied on annual appropriations for funding.)
While human bias and cognitive dissonance are nothing new, the council’s blatant disregard for any viewpoint or data that contradict their preconceived worldview is astounding. But should it be? Studies have shown time and time again that a lack of ideological diversity leads to groupthink. And groupthink is prominently on display in Seattle.

City-council member and avowed socialist Kshama Sawant, for example, once assured attendees at a council meeting that she had no Republican friends — to rapturous applause from the liberal crowd. She also defended the council’s moves regarding the minimum-wage study, saying, “The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall.

Now if you follow the link about the funding being stopped…

The single line item in the budget is now coming under scrutiny due to a flap between the researchers and city leaders over a report released on Monday that suggested Seattle’s groundbreaking minimum wage law is hurting workers. Fox News first reported the declined funding on Thursday; that story quoted Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who has long quarreled with the UW researchers, as saying the decision was due to dissatisfaction with the way the research was being conducted, and not the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” Sawant told Fox News. Sawant was referring to Jacob Vigdor, the lead researcher on the study team.

Sawant? She’s the “avowed socialist” mentioned in the National Review article. Hmmmm…

When the city passed its wage law, which is incrementally increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, it also put out a request for proposals for a research team to study the law as it is implemented. The UW team won that contract, though it did not come with a set amount of funding and instead depended on annual appropriations from council. For example, for 2016, the UW team requested, and was given, $135,700 to interview workers and business owners about their experiences with the law. This budget cycle, similar requests were made—$140,000 for 2017 and $105,000 for 2018—but were not fulfilled.
Sawant, who holds a Ph.D. in economics and taught economics at at Seattle Central, and others have taken issue with the ongoing UW study for a variety of reasons. Among them is the team’s use of a “synthetic Seattle” where there was no minimum wage increase—against which the researchers compared real-life Seattle. In the most recent study, the synthetic Seattle led researchers to suggest the higher minimum wage has cost the city 5,000 jobs. Other researchers have said the team’s methodology was deeply flawed and could not be trusted, though the research has also been lauded as “very credible.” Sawant has also bristled at some of Vigdor’s public statements about the minimum wage law. For example, last July he told KIRO Radio: “We think the minimum wage is actually putting a little bit of a drag on the Seattle economy, and holding back growth and jobs and hours. When it comes to incomes, at the end of the day we are finding effects that are pretty small, and we are not sure if they are negative or positive.”

“To be clear, I am not challenging the substance of your core findings, but rather the manner in which they have been presented in the report and misrepresented in the press,” Sawant wrote Vigdor in a letter last September.

Well…unfortunately, to anyone familiar with the “group think” mentioned way up above, that’s not going to be very clear at all. We know too much.

In fact, that may be one of the most unkind things we do to the kids just graduating and entering the world of adulthood…leading them on, like what you see above is an exception rather than the rule. Government funding science is a lot like the airplane pilot telling the traffic control tower all about which runway looks like a good fit for him…

Kiddie Table News

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

I can be fairly criticized here for being slow on the uptake, I’m sure. But it occurs to me, as I look over the events of this last week, that the entire first half of the year has been not too much different and the second half will not likely be much different either. I’m talking here, specifically, about the overall configuration of the news and not about the content of any one particular story. That’s an important distinction. The latter is about what’s happening to us, and the former is how we choose to process what we learn about these events, which ultimately says something about us. There’s that fired doctor who shot up the hospital in the Bronx, the plane that crashed into the 405, the further embarrassment of the mass media and of those who enabled them and assisted them in their downfall & disgrace; there is that terminally ill baby boy who can’t come to the United States for potentially life-saving treatment, because of the ruling of a Death Panel, and the Vatican’s utterly disheartening statement on the matter. There is the weekly accumulation of slander against anyone who seriously thinks about, or fails to properly oppose, any minute alteration of ObamaCare. The House of Representatives passed Kate’s Law and the Sanctuary City Law, although neither of those is expected to survive the Senate, but there was a whole stack of Supreme Court decisions. Perhaps the most notable among many was the unanimous vote to reinstate PDJT’s travel ban. Facebook getting in the censorship business. Trump turned out to be right about non-citizens voting in our elections.

(Videos auto-play obnoxiously behind some of those links, I’m too lazy to annotate for you which ones. Happy hunting.)

And then there are all the nerd-slap-fights surrounding Trump’s tweets. There’s a Pareto Principle on steroids here, since 20% of the news is commanding 80% of the attention. You know the people lavishing the attention on the silly stuff agree there is something terribly wrong about all this, they’re blaming you-know-who. Gosh, I had no idea that when I write stuff, it’s all up to me to decide how much attention people would pay to it. Here was me thinking my role was limited to putting stuff together & putting it out there, or not. Ah, maybe I have to get elected President, then stay up late at night putting out these “tweets.” When people decide adult-living is too much trouble and they’d rather root for one side or another in my tweet-battles, it’ll be all my fault, too. But first I have to get 270 electoral votes…

Trump's TweetsI said the entire first half-year has been like this, and I’m talking about configuration of news, not content. See the concern now? We have…news that has the potential to seriously impact the lives of fellow humans and countrymen, or has already. And then we have Trump’s tweets. Kiddie table news, I’ve taken to calling it…because it has that feel about it. You remember the kiddie table, don’t you? Your parents, and their parents and/or brothers and sisters and in-laws, or the adult neighbors from up & down the street, would dine at a “real” table that had ribs and chicken and mashed potatoes and beer and wine, and you & the rest of the juniors would sit there at the kiddie table feasting on hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. Big news, back when I was of that age, might have been about Watergate or maybe Vietnam. Little kids weren’t expected to be into that stuff, just like you wouldn’t expect a six-year-old today to have a lot of opinions about a Supreme Court decision. Possibly the travel ban, maybe. Campaign finance reform? Probably not.

If you can’t remember back that far, you can probably remember the early days of parenthood; the begging and pleading and bribing and blackmailing and threatening over three or four lousy stinking forkfuls of corn. “Special occasions” such as a family dinner or neighborhood repast might have represented, to parent & child alike, a reprieve from the burdensome ritual. FINE, let the little ingrates pig out on their grilled cheese sandwiches…

So it is with our news. And I guess for the time being, it has assumed a position with some relative permanence to it. Rather like a spinning coin on a table top, losing its inertia, flattening its pattern of motion accompanied by a sound that increases in volume, until the whole thing flattens and motion ceases. Yes, exactly like that. U.S. news has found its “resting place.” An adult table and a kiddie table, the latter is where you go to obsess over “Trump’s tweets.”

Except the analogy breaks down with the passage of time. Real kids dining at a real kiddie table, 24 hours later, will be compelled to eat their peas with a boot in the back of their necks, if necessary. The premise was that the little darlings could skip ONE night without roughage or Vitamin C, without ill effects, right? One night, not two. So tomorrow it’ll be steamed broccoli, and the clean-your-plate rule will dominate, come what may. Not so with our consumers of kiddie-table-news and their obsession over “Twitter is beneath the dignity of the office he holds.” Oh, how awkward the social-media conversations become, when the obvious question surfaces: “What are we to do about this?”

They seem to honestly think every POTUS in our nation’s history was some angelic figure. It’s adorable.

Woodrow Wilson was a segregationist. Wonder what he’d tweet. WWWWT?

There is a tragedy here. Or, at the very least, a lost opportunity. If the kids could back away from the mac-n-cheese for just a minute or two, maybe visit the grown-up news table for some more mature fare…let’s take baby steps, maybe a tiny thin slice of meatloaf drowned in ketchup? Then we could all benefit from an adult discussion about what the presidency really is. The mental-juveniles seem to fancy it as an elevated pedestal, into which we hoist the one saintly pristine individual who is the very best of all 330 million of us. Where do they get this? Maybe we can blame the public school system.

Nope. All 44 men had flaws. They were all blights against the rest of us. Furthermore, that’s part of the job. If we have a bad one, in theory that means we deserve to have a bad one. Probably in practice, too.

See, the Obama fans can’t take it that far; can’t inspect it this much. If Trump is a nutburger, that means he’s our nutburger. Just as Obama was our nutburger. We’re not Gotham, so we get the hero we deserve, not the one we need. That’s how it’s supposed to work. The President reflects the rest of us, wart and all. The wart, with Obama, was virtue-signaling; we got this stuck-up, snooty adjunct professor guy who never had a real job in His life, because He had dark skin and a bunch of our fellow citizens wanted to prove they’re not racists. With Trump, it’s impatience. The boat had to be rocked. And you know what, seeing what has to be done and doing it, is not a vice. Whereas, virtue-signaling is. It’s led to all sorts of destruction and evil.

So you have some idea of how the conversation might proceed. Perhaps that’s why the kids are staying at their table, NOT having any discussion about what’s really supposed to be bothering them…just obsessing over it repeatedly. Uselessly. Grousing like little kids.

It seems they have not sufficiently matured to the level required to really think about this, and recall: The last guy who was supposed to put a stop to the Obama agenda, was exceptionally well-mannered. Exceptionally! In all respects. And this all speaks well for him personally…but, it didn’t work. So the next candidate was rude and crude. This worked, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is this ever-present impudence which sustains a “punch back ten times as hard” policy.

Those who pulled the lever for him, are supposed to feel shame? We don’t. Or at least, this one doesn’t. But I know I can speak for others, I’m not the only one. It’s not like we gravitated toward the boorish manners. We gave the refined behavior a good, solid shot. We did. It’s a matter of record.

It’s not approval of the rudeness or crudeness, it’s approval of the solution to a problem that actually works. You know…welcome to the adult table.

Definitions of Wonderful, Mega-Awesome People

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

For many years now I’ve been going on like a broken record about definitions. I simplify the schism between left and right, depicting the left as opposed to definitions and the right being invested in them; the left seeks to destroy the definitions we have already and prevent new definitions from being recognized, whereas the right relies on definitions in order to do the work they do, within & outside of politics.

Yes it simplifies, some would say grossly.

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.

But it doesn’t misrepresent. Not even a tiny bit. Watch left & right argue for awhile, you’ll notice it very often comes back to that. We saw it with gay marriage. Saw it with their perverse defense of Bill Clinton. We see it with illegal immigration. Over and over again we see it…

But never does the left controvert common sense — this is REALLY saying something — more than when they put together their hagiographies of their own still-living people. Elizabeth Warren! Joe Biden! Ooh, so great!! Okay…let us say for sake of argument that this is so. How come that is, liberals? What’s great about Biden? Specifically. Respected everywhere? No. He’s not. Not even close. Warren? She gives a great speech? Not even. She doesn’t have the right voice for it and the things she says are stupid. She’s a clown.

And the Clintons have a great marriage…

Ted Kennedy was the Conscience of the Senate…

Barack Obama has a wide range of interests and is thoughtful…

Such sentiments are measurably empty, because they can all be effectively refuted with a dismissive snort and nothing else. In the liberal echo chamber, they’re really “true” because inside that cloister you’ll find your own social status on the wane if you dare to contradict them, indeed if you merely fail to agree with them, or just hesitate too long to do so.

Outside of it though, they’re a joke.

We live in a universe that has definitions. So, opposing them is going to get you in trouble. It’s the kind of thing where you start telling lies, and you find you have to keep telling more lies to keep the other lies from being discovered. The same thing holds for opposing, seeking to obfuscate, to dismantle, definitions. You’ve got to keep doing it.

Now the liberals have to struggle with this, as they try to recall what’s good about Nancy Pelosi. They’re up to a solid decade plus acting under orders to think she’s wonderful and awesome, in some kinda general sorta way, without ever having established a reason why.

“Dad” is One of Those Nouns That Should Be a Verb

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Today there’s supposed to be some huge contrast between all the things I have to get done any other day of the year, or any other Sunday, and today. It’s supposed to noticeably drop off to a zero as I get spoiled. Well, that’s not going to happen because I get spoiled all the time, especially on Sundays. And I’ve got stuff to do today that nobody else can do, so work-n-play-wise it’s going to be a Sunday like any other Sunday. Conventional wisdom is that I’m supposed to stretch out in a hammock with a milkshake, or something stronger, and luxuriate in the fact that Father’s Day has FINALLY arrived, and I can stop working at stuff until tomorrow.

From whence did this expectation arise?

The plain truth of the matter is, it has come from the understanding other people form about what it is Dads do; understandings that are not entirely accurate, because they are formed by people who are not Dads. We are to take break from all that strange, unknowable, whatever-it-is-we-do…which we do ALL of the time. And I see an implication that this is hamster-in-a-wheel stuff, activity without discernible progress; if “work” is to be defined in some way that has to do with an object changing state, this falls short. Dad gets a break from idly puttering around.

Well, being a small-dee dad doesn’t involve a lot. Being a capital-dee Dad is the ultimate “work that involves object state change”: The child is not ready to go out into the world, then the child is. That’s the goal.

I put it up on social media awhile ago. The day is young, but I have to say I’m not entirely encouraged with the popularity, or lack thereof, of the observation: Two likes no shares. I guess Father’s Day is only for positive thoughts, and I’m guilty of crapping all over it? Dunno. You decide:

I have high hopes for this Father’s Day. It’s nice to see all the pictures-of-dads, and all the wishes for a happy day, admonitions to “put your feet up” etc. Me? Well, I’ve already had my feet up, already relaxed. You know what would really make MY Father’s Day, on social networking anyhow, is people talking about what they LEARNED. What do they know how to do, that they wouldn’t know how to do if they didn’t have a capital-dee Dad?

How do we matter?

I’ll start. My Dad taught me how to turn a wrench. Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Probably the most useful thing I learned, next to the computer stuff. I’d put teaching me how to drive a stick shift ahead of that, but Mom helped with that part a little. Third place would be cutting wood with various devices, chainsaws, axes, hatchets, wedges…not something I need often down here in the 38th parallel, but it’s good to have the basics down if I need them.

Hopefully my son has a list of his own, for when he calls me today. Which he’d better do.

Fatherhood, lest we forget, is in TROUBLE. It has been put under attack for the last five decades by feminism, which has been holding back nothing in its attempts to transform the Human Equation into the Bovine Equation…just momma cow & baby calf against the world, after the papa bull does what it takes to become a papa, and moves on to someplace else. Well, there are humans that do that, but those are small-dee dads, not capital-dee Dads. And we’re not there yet! Dads still matter…I think. Could be wrong.

But in my world, we have much more important work to do than lie in a hammock and enjoy a damn nap. We can do that any time out of the year. Being a Dad means you have an EFFECT on someone. That is what I would like to see.

In a way, the job has been defined: Being a Dad means, your wants, desires, satisfactions, feelings come last. All fine & good, but the trouble with that is this defines any “job” out of existence. One of those desires is to see to it the job is done, right?

Dad says: I wanted this other thing, but heck with it, being [blank]’s Dad is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB I HAVE on Earth! And everyone cheers. Then we test to see if the object has changed state; did Dad get the job done? And everyone scatters like cockroaches when you turn on the light. Because, again, everyone else’s feelings come first. To admit the kid learned something from Dad, and could not have learned it from anywhere else, would make the single-moms feel bad. And, the stepdads. And, the kids who were raised by single-moms. They would all feel bad, and their feelings are more important.

So, we pretend Dad is just a hamster in a wheel, doing a bunch of whatever. Activity without purpose. Happy Father’s Day Dad, why don’t you take a breather?

Well…I can’t speak for everyone, but for those who are coping with similar situations and similar concerns, a break is not what we want. If we’re doing work, the work is for someone we care about or else it’s for ourselves; in either case, our primary want is going to be for the job to be successfully done.

That’s exactly same things the Moms want. Get the job done, the job that never ends…

What we want is to have adult children who are prosperous, independent, principled, kind, self-fulfilled, and have that extra something going for them that they learned from us. That is our most important job. Not chopping away at a lawn or kickin’ back with a nice tall glass of lemonade.


Liberals and Their Ideas

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

John C. Goodman:

What do these events have in common?
[Easily-gathered list of liberal individuals and advocacy-groups being unhinged]
Since Donald Trump’s name figures prominently in each of these events, is the president to blame? Remember, Trump is not a traditional Republican or even a traditional conservative. In the past he gave money to Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and other Democrats. So why are Trump’s critics going through the emotional equivalent of the St. Vitus dance?

To answer that, look at the critics, not at Trump.

This has been on my mind a great deal lately. According to conventional wisdom, and the narrative liberals like to push — also, not completely unfounded by the anecdotal evidence we see if we pay attention across time — liberalism pushes us along in one direction, sometimes at warp-speed and sometimes at a glacial pace. But, being “progress” that is inevitable, it doesn’t retreat. It relies on the ratchet effect. From Hell's Heart, I Stab at TheeAnd, to the envy of everyone else who’s struggling to get something done, liberalism as a movement always seems to know what to do next, even when it’s being dealt its most bitter defeats. It’s like the metaphorical fiddler, with the “pay me now or pay me later” attitude. It appeals to a constituency of intellectual lightweights, of drama queens, hysterical types, who have no long-term plan, seem to exist in a constant state of agitation and despair, looking at life through a straw. And yet as a political movement it’s always playing for the long-game.

Why, then, in the wake of this latest defeat, is it so evidently not the case? They’re like the villain from a science fiction movie, or corny old comic book, reaching up to grab the hero off a high scaffold with an evil snarl and spiky speaking bubble that says “I don’t care if I live so long as you die!” A first-term President Trump having to contend with a Senate and House dominated by the opposition party after 2018, seems like a near-certainty if the democrats can manage things right. Is that the vision? Gum up the works, let the whole country SEE THEM DOING IT, and then hoping the voters forget who’s been making it this way when the time comes to vote?

How do the foolish video “beheadings,” and real-life active-shooter events, figure into it I wonder?

Why are they so much off the deep end? Shouldn’t they be busying themselves with circulating propaganda, like they did after Reagan beat Carter and then Mondale? I mean, granted that took awhile, but it at least went off in the direction they wanted…worked eventually. A new generation of idiot voters reached the age to cast a vote, the women got all lovesick and swooning over this cutey-pie Arkansas Governor, and he got elect President. That would not have worked if the electorate was being reminded all week long every week, how democrats can’t carry a thought any better than a the party drunk can carry a tune. Like they’re being reminded right now.

Goodman continues with his reasons. He doesn’t seem to think there’s a plan behind this, that the liberal movement is a victim of its own innate insanity. I’m undecided about this, but I find his summaries to be persuasive:

Liberalism without Ideas. During the last election, Donald Trump raised a number of issues – some of which were unusual in presidential politics…Some of Trump’s solutions were standard Republican fare…But here is the important question: Can you say with any confidence what Hillary Clinton proposed to do about any of these problems? I bet you can’t.

As for Bernie Sanders and the left wing of the Democratic party, there seem to be some concrete proposals. But I can’t think of one that is different from what the left was saying back in the 1930s.
A Party Without Ideas.…Today, identity politics is all there is. In the last election, Hillary Clinton asked women to vote for her because they are women. Blacks because they are black…This is the new racial politics and it’s been going full throttle for some time.
Campuses Without Ideas. Historically, colleges and universities in this country represented fountainheads of free inquiry. They were places where the free exchange of ideas was permitted and encouraged…But no more…Instead of debating whether vouchers would help liberate poor minority kids who are attending bad schools, for example, some campus protestors are claiming that even hearing the case for vouchers “marginalizes” black students. Ditto for welfare reform, or just about any other reform proposed by someone who is right-of-center.

Further, we are increasingly told that speech itself is a form of violence. So, physical violence is justified to silence speech that is “offensive.”

Anti-intellectualism is so consuming campus life that even a slight deviation from political correctness on questions of identity can provoke scathing condemnation.
A Culture Without Ideas. What is happening on college campuses is a barometer of what is happening in elite culture as a whole. Writing in the New York Times, Kenan Malik reports that:

Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write, the magazine of the Canadian Writers’ Union, penned an editorial defending the right of white authors to create characters from minority or indigenous backgrounds. Within days, a social media backlash forced him to resign.

You can see I’m struggling here to excerpt fairly, retaining the structure of his critique without copying verbatim. You should really go RTWT, the parts I dropped out are not throwaway by any means.

As Goodman closes in for the kill shot, I find myself entirely unable to whittle it down in a way that would work. Every single word is meaningful, and important.

Bottom line: having lost all interest in ideas (because basically they have nothing to say) the political left has turned to identity culture — asserting that people have rights and obligations based on their genes or their ethnicity or their gender. If you disagree with them, they will not debate the merits of the case. They will instead attack you as an enemy of the groups for whom politically correctness requires sympathy. And they will encourage members of those groups to lash out against you — violently in some cases — because in the world of the mindless, brute force is the only thing left.

“The Distraction of Priorities”

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Allen B. West, writing in Townhall, puts together easily the most blog-able thing I’ve seen this week:

It is always interesting to hear what the American people outside of the DC beltway and media centers such as New York City deem a priority, as opposed to those inside these bubbles. The everyday American citizen is witnessing a reality TV show, a sick sort of soap opera that undermines their confidence in those elected officials to govern our Constitutional Republic, according to our rule of law. The public firing of Comey and the ensuing hearings are not unlike The Apprentice where the punchline is “You’re fired.” This insidious “Kabuki dance” that Washington DC has become provides a grave cause for concern but will it continue, or ever subside? Will there be a return to the priorities affecting the lives of our citizens?

I’m of the opinion that while most people recognize this is a bad thing, there is still widespread ignorance of just how bad. You read history of the middle ages and at some point you have to come to grips with the fact that while the American system of electing a President is an improvement over “He gets to be the King because he’s the first-born son,” there’s a harsh limit to how much. A lot is still missing. Kinda like Microsoft Windows 3.0 over 2.11.

The most important features of the new, were present in the old. In choosing a leader, the advantage of the Electoral College is removal of ambiguity. We-ell…that was present in the old. The old King’s marriage was a matter of public record, the fact that he was King tended to be a settled matter — first living thing that pops out of there that’s male, that’s the successor. Simple? Simple. Well not so much — there is the additional wrinkle that if the heir to the throne is a real poopie-head and you get get a lot of important noblemen to agree about that, maybe things can be changed. That was a flaw. Our system has this flaw, and that’s what we’re seeing in Washington lately.

Revolts against President Trump, not because there’s a good solid case against him, legal or logical. Just because of the overwhelming consensus, inside the bubbles, that he doesn’t belong where he is.

Inside the bubbles.

That’s the problem. These people, the modern Bolingbrokes, don’t seem to understand how much damage they’re doing, or care. Love Trump or hate Trump, you have to come to terms with the rhetorical question that if it all comes down to a high-school popularity contest, inside some “bubble,” then why are we bothering to have elections at all?

The American people are beyond tired of the distraction of priorities. They want their Nation secured in this day of Islamic jihadism. They want a secured border. They want a refocus on what should be the main priority of the federal government: providing for the common defense.

I just have to ask, why do we not see the media sensationalism when the top military leaders testify before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the deplorable state of our military capability and capacity? I suppose if it does not make the ratings blossom it is not deemed important.

However, the real culprit to this is ourselves, we have succumbed to the distraction of priorities because we, as an American society, lack a focused attention span. Just as Roman Emperor Commodus resurrected the gladiator games to distract the citizens of Rome, so it is happening today. We cannot survive as a society with a soundbite mentality seeking only to be entertained, not intellectually engaged.


This is our fault. At least, the fault of those outside the bubble who sense an opportunity to overturn the election.

It takes far fewer of these people to create a “wave” of sorts, and give the boat-rockers inside the bubble the sense that they’re representing some meaningful constituency, than it does to actually become any sort of meaningful constituency. Not that I disagree with the idea there are a lot of people who personally dislike PDJT. Many among his voters are in that crowd: They personally don’t like him, but voted for him anyway. It wasn’t just because Hillary was an execrable candidate, although there is that.

If I may presume to speak for others, I speculate they/we were and are hungry for change. “This is a boat that has to get rocked,” I said last year as I settled on my vote, and I meant it. I’m doubting like the dickens I was alone in saying so…

…and, that brings us right back to what Col. West is talking about up above.

The American people aren’t Donald Trump’s best buddy, but they want change and they want him to get it done. The beltway crowd, which includes a number of unproductive people looking at the real possibility of their gravy train coming to a stop, have found a way to keep it from happening. It’s up to the public to make the determination of whether that succeeds or not.

And if it succeeds, because they have empowered it to succeed or have passively allowed it to succeed, then all fine & good I suppose.

But it shouldn’t be that way just because too many people couldn’t be bothered to pay attention, or only paid attention when & where they were told to pay attention.

“They Out-Believe Us”

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Bill Murchison, Townhall:

The terrorists out-believe the rest of us. That is likely the heart of the thing, far more so than, say, the nonsense propounded this week by Oxford University’s professor of Islamic studies as cures for terrorism: Seek international “justice”; quit oppressing; do something about Israel. It was a dreary list of misdeeds and misunderstandings imputed to the West by its self-described “victims.”

Victimhood or oppressor status — such things are not intellectual points to be digested. The terrorists believe this bilge. We, the rest of us, sort of do, too. At any rate, we don’t disbelieve it with enough firmness and precision to permit moral opposition of a truly effective sort. To repeat myself, they — the terror fraternity — out-believe us. They believe so passionately that nothing matters to them more than destroying as many perpetrators, or bystanders to all the perpetrations, as they deem feasible. To die for these perverted ideals is an honor — a tribute to belief.

Belief, of one kind and another, is the glue, the Stickum, of society. It informs action. Belief, in every circumstance, save the most accidental, precedes action. What you believe, you do — or don’t do. It gets no simpler than that.

I see another layer of rot. The problem, in my opinion, is not that people fail to understand belief is the forerunner to action. I think everyone gets that just fine.

The problem is that people can see it coming, and too many among us have opted to change our beliefs in order to customize the action-required, into nothingness. “If I believe A then I’m going to have to get up off the couch, and get started doing B…therefore, !A.” It’s one of those things you can’t see at first, until you learn how to notice it. And then it’s everywhere. “If we believe immigration rules are important, then we’re going to have to do something, therefore they are not important.” “If I believe in God then I should go to church, therefore there must not be a God.” “If the rules of mathematics bind me, then I will have to spend less money than I take in or else face the consequences, therefore math itself is a nullity.”

Believing in sloth, is a belief. Nobody’s going to want to admit that this is their premium-value, their “Hill I Wanna Die On” value. But suppose someone did establish that for themselves, but also had the balls to at least admit it to themselves. After awhile, a few years of life serving up consequences, they’d have to stop. They’d eventually have to embrace some other value, something that involves getting up off the couch and doing something…or, making decisions that “most” people pronounce to be disliked and unpopular.

But if they didn’t have the balls to admit it, even to themselves, they could go on forever. Making decisions that counsel toward non-actions…sitting…rationalizing…mooching…endlessly…