Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

https://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2017/08/12/james-damore-was-right-the-inconvenient-truth-behind-the-google-memo-n2367631

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

HELLO? REPUBLICANS? ANY OF YOU GUYS WANT TO REBUT THAT? IT’S PRETTY EASY TO DO!

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.
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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.)
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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.
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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.

ThatIsAll.

Liberals and Their Ideas

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

John C. Goodman:

What do these events have in common?
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[Easily-gathered list of liberal individuals and advocacy-groups being unhinged]
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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.

Bulls-eye.

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…

Hmmmm…

Ontario and Gender Confusion

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

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.Me

The latest example, we find by way of William Teach at Pirate’s Cove:

Isn’t it awesome that a government has decided to side with a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people who are, for the most part, mentally ill?

America's Hat(Daily Caller) Ontario passed a law Thursday that gives the government the right to take away children from families that don’t accept their kid’s chosen “gender identity.”

Parents who oppose or criticize the LGBT agenda will be considered potential “child abusers” and may have their children taken away by the state, according to the new bill. If the parents are ruled to be abusers by failing to wholeheartedly support their child’s gender choice, that child “can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”

Bill 89, also known as “The Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act of 2017,” received Royal Assent and was passed in Ontario by a vote of 63 to 23.

The old law allowed parents to “direct the child’s education and religious upbringing” but now says a parent must influence a child’s education and upbringing “in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity.”

Why are they doing this? They’re nuts. The law could even stop people from fostering and/or adopting kids if they disagree with the LGBTQ agenda

Of course, let’s never forget that these unhinged radical leftists will gladly throw the same LGBTQ folks, along with women, under the bus in order to patronize and protect Islamic extremists.

American Lens goes on to note (using an article from Gender Trender) that Canada is looking to legalize gender confusion nationally with Bill C-16, which “would establish a government recognized class of people based on their personal feeling that sex stereotypes form an integral and desired component of their legal identity.” This would be a part of the criminal code, so, it should turn out great, right?

Like any bad idea, it falls apart when you take it seriously.

We have these kids who have somehow attained sufficient maturity to opine about their gender-identities while they’re still very young, and also, somehow, about how they’re confused about it. So that’s the first problem: The people who know, must defer to the opinions of the people who do not.

Second problem — and this could be just me, maybe some important piece of information has yet to find its way to me, although given how much chatter there is about gender lately I doubt it — it doesn’t seem like those who are culturally and ideologically invested in this gender confusion business, are putting a lot of effort into curing confusion. It seems to me they view the confusion less as a problem, and more like a tool by which they can achieve cultural triumph. And this Ontario law is a pretty good example of what I’ve been noticing. Take the children away from the parents…to…what? To go live with someone else who believes the right things, of course, but what else? Gender reassignment? Hormone therapy? Fixing the problem doesn’t seem to be one of the goals. Rather, it looks like the goal is to make sure parenting is done solely by people who don’t believe in or don’t understand the concept of male & female. Whoever understands it, shall be barred from the practice of parenting.

The blind leading the not-blind…

What could possibly go wrong?

Our Selective Bully Culture

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

So three big things happened this week. The Wonder Woman movie came out, and it’s more than above-average, it’s fantastic. Seriously, go see it. This is a model for how all superhero movies should be, and everyone who worked on it deserves congratulations, especially given the challenges. Wonder Woman, lest anyone forget, has gone three quarters of a century without a big-screen movie for a reason, and no sorry feminists but the reason is not just because she’s female.

That actually was not a handicap at all. There’s no national or world-wide conspiracy to keep movie productions male-saturated, or cast only with women who are weak-willed, incompetent, in need of constant “mansplaining” — or if there is such a conspiracy then it isn’t very effective. No, the feminists themselves long ago became Wonder Woman’s big problem, perhaps her biggest problem, although there are others. She’s probably the most poorly-defined superhero ever; certainly, among the classic-era, high-profile superheroes in the DC and Marvel universes. Worse yet, the definitions she does “have” she doesn’t really have. They’re ambiguous.

What happens if she tries to deflect a bullet with her bracelets, and misses, is she bulletproof? And can she fly like Superman, or just leap around? (Non-spoiler spoiler: Even with the movie out now, one might say those questions remain unanswered.) Does she really have an invisible jet. And if so, why. Does twirling around have anything to do with costume changes? Oh and what happens if someone catches her…is it a big secret that Diana Prince is her secret identity?

Wonder WomanEvery time there’s an incarnation of Wonder Woman, there has to be full or at least partial resolution to these. And, the feminists get ticked off and start rocking the boat. This doesn’t happen to Batman, Superman, Spider Man, X-Men, Daredevil, Green Lantern…you get to just make the movie, go see the movie, enjoy the movie. With the Champion of Themyscira you have to answer questions, including the ones that arouse the feminist ire. Is she gorgeous and appealing to men? Well of course she is dumbass…but, the tolerant progressive feminists can’t tolerate this. Does she shave her armpits? Yeah. Deal. Well, they won’t. What’s her cup size? Well, it’s generous enough you can tell she’s a woman…that freaks them out again. Is her uniform a uniform, as in, the same all the time? And does it cover up her legs? Yes, and no. All the worst possible answers.

And so, feminists do what they do. They bully.

Contrary to popular belief, the feminist movement hasn’t done anything for Wonder Woman at all, not for a very long time. And surveying the wreckage of the timeline during which the two have co-existed, on balance, they’ve been more a hindrance to her than a help.

Nevertheless, the Alamo Drafthouse has ignited a firestorm of controversy…on purpose, in my opinion, for promotional purposes…with their “women-only” Wonder Woman screenings. I think that’s a dumb move, but I don’t hold out any sort of hope that it will be recalled that way. They’re going to get a net win out of this, probably, and if they do then it’s hard to call it “dumb” from a business perspective. But whoever thought it up probably hasn’t read a lot of Wonder Woman material. Has this character ever stood for female safe-spaces? The one thing on which all her origin-stories agree, is that she willingly left one, against the wishes, advice, or maybe even direct orders of her Mother. And this is something that goes back to the very first publication: Wonder Woman is built around a vision that men and women can coexist, after all.

Feminism, as we know it, is here to guarantee that all thinking persons who believe in this, maintain at least some serious doubt.

Well the bullying continues, I see, because a Google search for “women only screening” at this moment harvests at least a full page or two of results that, if you click and read each one, you quickly find are supportive of this dumb move, and harshly critical of anyone who finds fault with it. Nevermind that it’s expressly illegal to discriminate in this way, in many of the jurisdictions in which it’s being done. I guess it’s not within the intellectual capability of a progressive to say “Oops, if we ratify this rule about ‘discrimination,’ it turns out we have to abide by it too, so we’d better re-think this”…if they had what it took to realize such a thing, they wouldn’t be progressives.

Conservatives, on the other hand, as I’ve pointed out before are invested in conserving civilization. Their argument is one of “civilization cannot indefinitely survive this.” And so the idea has been advanced — probably to make the point, more than anything else — that some of the screenings for Star Wars, should be men-only. Another Google Search reveals how hot and trendy it is to offer the last word to the opponents of such an idea, with the status of complete saturation taken by a female “Lucasfilm Executive” who offered this witty retort:

We ladies who work at Lucasfilm will still see it before you.

Huzzah!! Fist pump! You go girlfriend!

No sauce for the goose vs. gander? Are there not men who worked on Wonder Woman? Ah well…there I go, applying critical thinking again…

Silly me. These days, what you’re supposed to do is know the answer up-front and ahead-of-time, after finding out what the Kool Kids have to say about it…just like back in middle school or something. Those would be, I’m guessing, the authors of the snarky thought-pieces showing up in Page One of those Google searches. It’s very fashionable to set up the “gay law professor” filing his grievances as some sort of kook-burger, so I guess one needs to develop a natural resistance against intellectual whiplash too. But then, one is suppose to find rationalizations, however thin they may be, for making discrimination going in the “right” way, compatible with written law. Given the nature of written law, that can be challenging at times, that’s why we have these brilliant legal-beagles ready to talk to the Washington Post…

After reviewing Austin’s municipal code, Stacy Hawkins — an associate professor of law at Rutgers University who specializes in employment law, civil rights and diversity — told The Post that the theater’s management finds itself in an increasingly common position. As public and private sector organizations look for opportunities to celebrate diversity and embrace historically disadvantaged groups, they run the risk of violating laws that were designed to respond to overtly racist, exclusionary practices. Hawkins said anti-discrimination law is increasingly being used to attack diversity efforts through allegations of “reverse discrimination.”

Women-only movie screenings, Hawkins said, are not the same as “old boys” clubs that excluded minorities and women. Intent matters, Hawkins said, but the law is not nuanced enough to distinguish between malicious and benign intent.

“This new focus on diversity and inclusion is not really accounted for by the laws of civil rights and discrimination,” Hawkins said. “Law is not calibrated for our new political paradigm of diversity and inclusion.

“As far as public accommodations are concerned, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the reason this case was filed under the Austin city code is that it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.”

But Hawkins said she remains unconvinced that the women-only screenings violate male employees’ rights. In order for a cause of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a male employee would have to show a “material action,” such as losing a job or suffering the loss of pay. As long as male employees are assigned to other screenings in the theater, they aren’t losing their jobs, hours or pay, Hawkins said.

“I don’t think that would constitute an adverse employment action,” she said.

Hawkins said the entire controversy could have been avoided with a simple tweak in the theater’s advertising.

“Just eliminate ‘no men welcome’ language,” she said. “You try to make sure you demonstrate this is an event for and about women and, most likely, men aren’t going to show up.”

This is complicated thinking. I’m probably too lazy to keep up with it, because to a sluggard like me, up is up and down is down. I can’t play these twisty-turn mind games that pretend “diversity” has something to do with women-only audiences. But it looks to me like she’s deliberately conflating Austin city code with the CRA of 1964, to leave a false impression that as long as no dudes lose any hours off their shifts, everything is A-Okay. That’s shifty and deceptive, as is this gibberish about “historically disadvantaged groups,” language meant to legitimize discrimination in one direction even as it excoriates the exact same discrimination running in the opposite direction.

She’s just another passionate advocate, setting herself up as a neutral, adjudicating authority. It’s a problem we encounter so frequently nowadays, we’ve become numb to it. And now, if you read this summary again, you’ll notice she’s subtly changing her focus from what the law says, to what she wishes it would say. We’ve become rather acclimated to that too.

The other thing that happened was that Kathy Griffin’s career probably ended, terminated by her own stupidity. As you certainly know by now if you haven’t been living under a rock, she did an ISIS-sympathetic video in which she held up a bloody Donald-Trump head…

She bizarrely did some damage-un-control with some Gloria Allred wannabe lawyer, where the two of them broke all the rules. And not in a good way. They started off fracturing the rule about how, if you have to explain the punchline, the joke is a fail and it would’ve been much better left untold…sheesh ladies, even I get that one…

Toward the thirty-minute mark, she breaks down in tears and weeps away about how President Trump “broke” her. This is after, earlier in the clip, she goes off with some tough talk about nobody can tell her what to do, yadda yadda yadda…I’m not going to sit and type in some words suggesting I’ve watched every minute. It wouldn’t be honest.

But again, the whiplash. I’m a swaggering, edgy comedienne and I’m going to show PDJT what’s what…to ++whimper++ he broke me and he’s picking on me. How many minutes to go from one extreme to the other? Does it even matter.

While we’re taking it all in, a side-point: Ms. Griffin, according to her earlier comments, only meant to nudge up against the line, and by mistake, some kind of “oopsie” she went WAY over it and is now incredibly sorry and stuff…And of course before being elected President, Trump himself crossed the line, repeatedly, and this was going to be the end of his campaign FOR SURE this time! …a whole bunch of times…

There is an opportunity here for our evolving society to rouse itself from a drunken stupor. Can we get rid of this concept of a line now? Are we that mature now? Or do we have to keep lying to ourselves…

Shock-jocks like Griffin “earn” their way in the world, and establish their whole identities, by making other people as uncomfortable as possible without bringing consequences down upon themselves, and Griffin is “sorry” because she found out in this case there are consequences. Can we stop pretending? If there weren’t consequences, she wouldn’t be sorry and she’d do it again.

This is the trouble with mob rule. It is inherently dishonest and it inspires more dishonesty. You have to swagger around with this nonsense of “I do what I like and no one can tell me what to do”…once in awhile it turns out there are consequences. Then you have to do this whiplash move, suddenly be all contrite and obedient, genuflecting before the false god of consensus. With a bunch of bullshit about how you didn’t mean it and will never do it again…

How do people tolerate this?

Kathy Griffin upset people for one reason and one reason only: It is what she intended to do.

Speaking of which: This week, PDJT crossed yet another line, doing something un-presidential, by — get a load of this — doing something with which some of the people over whom he presides, disagree. It’s outrageous! He pulled out of the Paris accords, which were going to…uh…not sure what. Make rules? No, not even that, not legally-binding ones anyway. Set the stage for some bullying, I guess is the most accurate summation. Overseas bullying. America better do this, America better do that…a bunch of functionally anonymous busybodies four-to-eight time zones away, have decided it. Away goes the money, and to never-never-land go the jobs. Must do this, can’t do that. Someone’s decided we need more of this stuff…

Trump had the nerve to disagree. Well again, if your aim is to “download an opinion,” and get told by some guy on the Internet what you’re supposed to be thinking, thanks to search engines you can get that done pretty darn quickly. But to get some informative run-downs about it along with some quality thinking, that’s a bit tougher. Therefore, it’s worth the time to bookmark this, since it’s the best I’ve seen about it…

Reuters reports that President Donald Trump is set to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. And writers are apoplectic.

Todd Stern at The Atlantic says such a move would be “indefensible.” At Slate, David McKean and David Wade said pulling out would be a huge mistake “because our planet is currently on a collision course with Mother Nature.” At the Washington Post, Greg Sargent complains that Trump’s rationale is “based on lies.”

You can read for yourself the claims of these authors, but here are a few facts you are unlikely to find.

1. The Senate never signed the agreement

This is kind of a big deal in a democratic republic. At least America’s Founders thought so.

The U.S. Constitution states that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur” (Article II, section 2).

When the deal was completed in 2015, President Obama never sent it to the Senate to be ratified.

2. Emission reduction targets are not binding

Then Secretary of State John Kerry made this fact quite plain. Reporting is mandatory, but actual reductions in fossil fuel emissions are not. Why? Because most nations are not interested in actually reducing their carbon footprints.

“[If] there had been a penalty, we wouldn’t have been able to get an agreement,” Kerry bluntly said. “So we did the best we could…”

This is precisely why climate activists, such as former NASA scientist James Hansen, called the agreement “a fraud”: “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’”

3. It Costs Roughly $100 billion (Annually)

You’ll not find this fact in many of the stories you read. But as the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, “developed countries have to help provide at least $100 billion annually from a variety of sources after 2020 to help developing countries cut their emissions.” (As a point of reference, Trump’s wall was projected to cost about $33 billion less than this.)

Anyone have a guess who will be picking up the bulk of the check on this one?

4. The (non-binding) targets are totally arbitrary

The emission targets are not just non-binding; they are self-made. As John Cassidy of the New Yorker gloomily pointed out at the time, nations can select their own emission targets.

“Not only is the accord voluntary but countries got to set their own targets for carbon emissions. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the Paris talks were a bit like a potluck dinner, where guests bring what they can.”

5. The agreement relies on self-reporting

The teeth of the agreement comes in mandatory reporting. But what if you can’t trust it?

It was only a few years ago, after all, that China was caught fudging underreporting its coal burning by a whopping 14 percent.

While there is talk of one day creating an independent body to monitor and verify pollution levels, no such body is in place, and the New York Times reports that it just might be staying that way, since “several countries, including China and India, are expected to push for a more lenient system that is reliant on self-reporting.”

6. The U.S. will almost certainly not meet its target—and that could have an adverse impact

Everyone knows the U.S. will not meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets laid out by the Obama administration. As the Washington Post reports, “it’s clear that the Trump administration will fail to meet the climate goals that the Obama administration established under the agreement — namely, a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025.”

This could be problematic, assuming some nations actually do take the targets seriously.

“A great power that willfully misses its target could provide political cover for other laggards and weaken the soft power of process,” said Luke Kemp, a climate and environmental policy expert at Australian National University

And it’s not just the U.S. The New York Times reported that “Russia put forth a plan that is essentially business as usual, requiring no new domestic policies.”

7. The jury on carbon dioxide is still out

Like most of the people reading this article, I don’t have a degree in climate science. But there are people unafraid to point out an obvious fact: Our climate models over the last decade were way off.

The question is: Why?

Believe it or not, there is a community of scientists who contend that the dangers of CO2 emissions have been grossly exaggerated. In fact, some research suggests that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually helps the environment more that it hurts it.

Among these scholars is Indur Goklany, a U.S. delegate to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and an IPCC reviewer, who in 2015 published a paper titled “Carbon Dioxide: The Good News”.

In his paper, Goklany concludes that many climate impact assessments suffer from three primary flaws.

“Firstly, they rely on climate models that have failed the reality test. Secondly, they do not fully account for the benefits of carbon dioxide. Thirdly, they implicitly assume that the world of 2100 will not be much different from that of the present – except that we will be emitting more greenhouse gases and the climate will be much warmer.”

None of this says the move away from an international climate agreement must be permanent. Proactive action may be required as we glean new evidence.

But the Paris deal was poorly devised and passed without proper constitutional consent. It’s better left behind. In the meantime, perhaps we’ll learn more about the alleged dangers of climate change.

Well the thing is, I don’t think we’re even ready to start discussing that. You can’t put together a plan if you haven’t defined the goal.

There’s a lot of dishonesty here about the goal. That much isn’t something we have to wonder about; it’s proven. In response to the Trump Administration’s public statements calling for a “renegotiation” of the non-treaty treaty, Europe cries “Non!”

The European Union has rejected Donald Trump’s offer to renegotiate the Paris Treaty, proving it was always about bleeding the U.S. dry and appointing globalists as our governing bodies.

The Paris climate agreement is written so as to be an endless drain on the U.S. economy. If they cared about the climate, they’d work with us…

So the narrative that international cooperation is required to keep the planet livable, therefore we’re all going to work together because we have no alternative — simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because it isn’t happening, and it’s the alwarmist camp that’s not doing it.

This is about control.

And that’s true of all three of these very significant things that happened last week. This demand for special privilege, this over-arching theme of “my message is SO important that it cannot, nor will it have to, survive the everyday challenge of my opposition being allowed the same level of privilege I demand for myself.”

Well…no, not “message is so important.” More like, “message is so fragile.”

It’s good that we’ve got Trump in there and it’s good that we’re pulling out of this treaty-that-is-not-a-treaty. But this has got to be the next thing on the to-do list. This whole idea we’ve allowed to seep in, that “this person must really believe in what he or she is saying, because we’re seeing them demand special accommodations and special allowances, and also that their opposition should be muzzled, this suggests that their platform is particularly worthy of our attention.”

Again, we have become acclimated to it. Slowly but surely. We have come to think of elitism as associated with worthy ideas. We’ve come to believe the best plans are hatched in a cloister. That the defining distinction of Wonderful Thinking That Will Turn Out Good And Stuff, is this formulation that everyone must participate, but that privilege of input is limited only to a few. That this is the birthing condition of the ideas that will move us forward, make us better.

And it is the exact opposite of the truth.

The truth is, good ideas don’t have to be argued that way. “Take your opinion out of here but leave your wallet behind” is what we should be looking upon, with scorn. And no small amount of ridicule.

Think of it as kindness. It’s rather vicious and mean of us, is it not, to passively allow a bunch of crazy-cat-ladies to think they’re making some sort of message heard, merely by watching a movie all by themselves and not allowing any big nasty mean old men in there with them? How did this ever become popularized. It’s truly a mystery. “I refuse to have contact with anyone who isn’t exactly like me” is bigotry, and it is not how you communicate anything at all, certainly no ideas that are ground-breaking. Silly twits, isn’t this just obvious? Wonder Woman wouldn’t do that…

“If You Wish to Be Trusted, Be Trustworthy”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Salena Zito, Washington Examiner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they were really, really shocked by his win.

Via Instapundit.

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

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

From here.

“There’s Something Fundamentally Wrong With Liberals”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Derek Hunter, Townhall:

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

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

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

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

Paglia: “Permanently Juvenile Condition”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… IX

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What stops this from happening?

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

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

But, that’s not the killing blow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it never actually was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… VIII

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my concerns about today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therein lies the problem.

Gov. Dean is wrong. Completely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… VII

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

In the previous I made reference to Warren Beatty’s self-inflicted embarrassment, which tellingly came after a bit of unfortunately-timed ideological gloat:

I think it could be said that our goal in politics is the same as our goal in art and that’s to get to the truth. So that’s like in the movies that we honor tonight, that not only entertain us and move us, they show us the increasing diversity in our community and our respect for diversity and freedom all over the world.

And pardon my recklessness, but I’m not bashful about concluding:

And yes I’m going to go for the jugular on this: Beatty screwed up the envelope because that is his skill. That’s why his political leanings are so well-represented, statistically, within his chosen profession. If the job has to do with pretending false things are true, liberals are going to dominate it, because if they were more inclined toward acting as if true things were true then they’d be a much better fit for something else. But then, they’d much more likely be conservatives.

What’s that mean, though? Liberals? Conservatives? If I say “liberals are always wrong and conservatives are always right,” and define as “conservative” anyone who makes a good call, and “liberal” anyone who makes a mistake, it’s a feedback loop and therefore, at best, a useless observation to make. Supposedly, “conservative” means to conserve entrenched power structures and “liberal” means to upset them, but there are lots of times where that doesn’t work. Like right now. Really, any time the entrenched power structures are liberal, and the party just voted in that’s rocking the boat and up-ending the apple cart, is conservative. Which happens roughly half the time.

People keep missing it because there’s this perception that you can’t understand conservatism until you understand liberalism, which is supposed to be a change in course, a Bold New Idea — “Hey, what if we stop doing that and start doing this?” If we can figure out what that is, then we can envision conservatism as resistance against whatever it is, and we’ll understand both. It doesn’t work, because liberals won’t tell us what they really want to do. If they did, we’d never vote for them.

No; it’s conservatism we have to understand first. Then we can envision liberalism as the opposite. I have yet to see a definition that works better than mine:

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.

What do I mean by civilization? It is the answer to anarchy, in which brutality is the coin of the realm. With no rules in place, if you have something and I want it, and I’m stronger than you are, it’s mine already. You just might not know it yet. “The blessings that come from having it” are obvious and not-so-obvious. We have a principle of legal ownership, and a sense that that ought to mean something. We have privacy. This creates a fertile ground for, among many other things, creations by innovative minds, of prototypes of inventions that can make life better for the generations arriving later. Definitions that make it possible: Laws. GOOD laws. Another thing I mentioned previously is

Anyone having successfully graduated from about the fourth grade, should be able to tell you why it isn’t going to work to have a law that says “Don’t drive too fast around here.” You have to say 25, or 40, or 65 or 10.

We have citizenship, which is a definition that makes it possible for our government to provide protection. We have marriage, and other associations-by-covenant, such as business partnerships. We have corporations.

Liberals oppose definitions and it isn’t just because they’d lose our support if they defined too much about themselves, although there most certainly is that. “Undefining” things is actually a way of life. It’s a lot like lying; you do a little bit of it, and pretty soon you’re obliged to do a whole lot more of it. It correlates with a desire for instant gratification, because defining things in a meaningful way often takes time. And it correlates with a desire to destroy rather than to create, because creating things is something that requires definition.

Throughout the decades in modern times, we have seen there is exactly one government activity our friends the big-government liberals don’t like. And that’s the military. Now, the military’s mission, as Rush Limbaugh has said a few times, is to “kill people and break things” (some “credit” this to Mike Huckabee). This is true, but that’s how the military carries out its mission, not the ultimate objective. The military’s goal is defense; it is one of preservation. Which, like creation, also requires definition. Lots and lots of it. Ranks, grades, units, billets, chains-of-command…if the military’s goal was just to inflict destruction but not to do so toward any greater purpose, it would be very different. It would flit along with a lot fewer definitions, and liberals would like it just fine.

Now, this differentiation is primarily American, but it works not only in one election cycle after another over here, but also throughout the post-Bastille age of politics. The conservatives seek to conserve, not entrenched power structures that have flourished up until a given moment, but rather the definitions that make civilization possible. The liberal protest that has aroused the greatest sympathy from others, has been something along the lines of “Fine, but those definitions deny me, my family and my peers a way to make a living.” Before the Age of Aquarius, that meant we had to recognize the right to organize and bargain collectively. Liberals were for the “common man,” the “working man,” and they really did mean people who had jobs and worked, building things the rest of us needed. That hasn’t been true for a very long time now. Whereas before they sought to tip the scales in the power struggle between management and labor, what’s been happening lately is they’re more about the intellectuals.

I don’t mean, by that word, “big brain” types. I mean it the way Thomas Sowell has used it.

An occupational category, people whose occupations deal primarily with ideas — writers, academics, and the like…At the core of the notion of an intellectual is the dealer in ideas, as such — not the personal application of ideas — as engineers apply complex scientific principles to create physical structures or mechanisms.

That’s a lot of words. The litmus test I’ve been using to figure out “Is this what Prof. Sowell is describing?” has to do with validation, and clean hands. My operating theory is that when your occupation begins in the realm of ideas, and concludes there as well, so that your ideas are never put to any sort of validating test that would reveal a deficiency — well, the validation work remains to be done. Just like an unpaid bill or something. Whatever you needed to confront today, and didn’t, will be waiting for you tomorrow. The validation was not done, and the “intellectual” probably doesn’t know much. How could he? His hands are clean, and the best-case scenario would be that he makes fortunate guesses.

In the Age of Aquarius, “clean hands” people have ruled. The “working man” has been trickling a bit, here & there, out of the democrat column and into the Republican one. This is our modern divide, whether we realize it or not. We’ve got people with clean hands who give great speeches and wear nice suits and say things into microphones…lots of times, pure nonsense…and then there are people with dirty hands who know from personal experience it can’t work that way. This dividing barrier between “left” and “right” has been re-assembled, along this newer boundary. And that happened because of this schism with defining things. Which the liberals made much worse by weaponizing semantic misunderstandings. They say “education” when they don’t really mean it the way most people would define it; “comprehensive immigration reform” has become a political buzzword, a tell-tale that essentially says nothing meaningful will be done. You’ll notice they never define what they mean by “succeed,” as in, “we want to make sure there’s a chance for everybody to succeed.” They’d like you to think that means putting food in the kitchen cupboard and money in your kids’ college tuition funds. What they really mean by that, is legally living off others whom you’ll never have to meet.

There’s something going on here way down on the psychological level. These intellectuals, who enjoy the luxury of never having to actually validate their ideas, by rights should be suffering from a dearth of confidence resulting from the knowledge that the requisite tests have not been done. What we see of them, however, suggests they’re going through the exact opposite. Time after time after time, we see their ideas are surrounded by weighty authorities, who are cloaked as neutral arbitrators but functioning as energized advocates. The wagons circle around the untested idea, and it benefits from this protection. All too often, that benefit comes in the form of continuing survival in spite of obvious flaws, where a real-life test would tear it asunder.

Woman With IdeaThat’s the first problem with having clean-hands intellectuals run things. The second problem is a bit more complicated. To remain intellectuals, the intellectuals have to keep coming up with new ideas to not-be-tested. There has to be some distance between these ideas and plain old-fashioned horse-sense — the ideas have to have novelty. So to accentuate their own appearance of worth, the intellectuals have to keep sniffing around the periphery of what could be reasonably considered. Their untested-ideas, therefore, end up being wrong more often than right, because if common sense would smile upon the idea, the intellectuals aren’t going to be interested in promoting it. So we get things that are the opposite of the truth, quite regularly. “Actually” ideas. Like: Actually, if you raise the minimum wage, companies will benefit. Or: Actually, the only way we can defeat ISIS is with love. There are many other examples that could be discussed, but these highlight the real problem: For the intellectual to find value in the idea, it has to stray away from common sense, and for the idea to do that, it will typically become the opposite of what’s really true. There is a phrase in journalism to describe this sort of otherworldly appeal. A “man-bites-dog story.” The rationale is that running a dog-bites-man story would be a waste of everybody’s time, including the reader’s. There is “news” value in running something that is contrary to what the reader, as a sentient being experiencing everyday life, would expect. This consideration, all by itself, can justify “news” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in the same way, it can all by itself justify the ideas that come from the clean-hands intellectuals who’ve been running things for years now, and that IS a bad thing. A very, very bad thing.

This is not only wrong as a methodology for dealing with reality; it is actually a decent post mortem on how we’ve lost our collective ability to cope with that reality. Reality, by & large as a general rule, follows along with common sense. There are more dog-bites-man stories than man-bites-dog stories. If it went the other way, “common sense” wouldn’t have much use for us and nobody would be using it at all, anywhere. This is why the “intellectuals” are going to be wrong a lot more often than right. It’s why Warren Beatty opened the wrong envelope, you might say. You might also say: unfortunate fluke, he got confused, commotion, age, non-intellectuals make just as many mistakes or just as often — all technically correct. Erm, yeah…but no. Reality is all around us, but understanding it requires dedication. Actors are not dedicated to it, they’re dedicated to something else. The same is true of intellectuals, because of the man-bites-dog thing. Overall, they’re going to be wrong more often than right, because there’s no sense of discipline keeping them right. That is not to say they don’t have discipline. It is to say the discipline is channeled toward servicing other things.

This is all a consequence of elevating feeling above thought. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit we have seen a swelling in recent years, of intellectuals plying us with the message of “Hey, I just thought of something no one else has thought of before”…and that this has been way, way oversold. A lot of these “new” ideas, in addition to their failure to turn out to be right in any way, haven’t been new at all. I’m thinking specifically of — again, there are many other examples to be found, we can illustrate the point with just a subset — President Obama saying “we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” This has been a staple throughout Obama’s presidency, this one-note samba of “Good thing you have Me, look what I just figured out.” Eight years is an awfully long time to be saying just one thing. Obviously, it didn’t happen that way because these predictions turned out to be right. (We did, ultimately, drill our way to lower gas prices.) The simplest explanation is that this was a political maneuver. Obama would play the part of the deity descended to the earthly realm to tell us what’s what, disgusting everyone who didn’t need a Savior because they already had one…but He wasn’t going to get their votes anyway, so that’s okay…and delighting His base, who would go on to support other democrats, without bothering to check up on whether his faux deity babbling made any sense. That’s a good explanation, covering everything, including the way politics work. Why change a tactic if the tactic is working? But, it’s also a simple explanation that Obama was simply doing what Obama wanted to do. This business of “Hey, I just thought of something contrary to the way things have been done before!” feels good. As long as it’s validated, it does. But to think like Obama, you have to think like an intellectual, who happens to be a benevolent dictator: “Validation” simply refers to an absence of successive events that would force you to admit you’re wrong about something. That’s a lengthy way of supposing these are people who live in a non-validating world, an echo chamber of pure intellectualism. The ideas never brush up against reality.

If you feel-over-think, in order to solve life’s most pressing problems — you’re going to be “thinking of” man-bites-dog stuff pretty often. Stuff that’s been thought of by no one else, you little genius you…you’ll do it six times before breakfast. Genuine validation isn’t going to happen, because that isn’t part of feeling good. As a general rule, if you think-over-feel you’re usually going to find the idea isn’t worth anything after all, or if it is worth something, someone thought of it already. Not always. To say that’s always the case, is to say there’s no point coming up with any new ideas. We know that’s not right. But, these precious savants who come up with these “Hey, lookit what I invented” little miracles dozens or hundreds of times before even getting out of their pajamas, typically are just showcasing their issues with maturity, rather than coming up with truly useful ideas. It is, at least, overwhelmingly likely. It is all the more likely if they haven’t been working in the field. Since history shows us the new-ideas that are actually worth something are conceived, as we’d expect, by people who’ve been struggling with the problem awhile, first-hand. At least as long as it takes for the problem to become personally annoying and tiresome to them.

That’s not true of the clean-hands people. Their “new ideas” are going to be wrong a lot more often than they’ll ever be right; because dogs bite men more than men bite dogs.

In programming, we see this a lot. It is said that anyone with any experience has been guilty of it, and I hope that’s true because I know I’ve been guilty. I remember years and years ago coming across a blog post I’m wishing like the dickens I bothered to save, written by a programmer who claimed to be very successful, and happened to lean left politically. His point was that his leftward politics had something to do with his success in programming. This made a big impression on me, because it is evidence that there are two worlds out there, and also evidence that political bias possesses a sultry and seductive persuasion that weighs on us all, convinces us that we’re right, and furthermore that there’s no other way to solve a problem than whatever we see in front of us at any given time. Also, that anyone who doesn’t want to do it the same way must be wrong. See, I’ve built some stuff too…I have enjoyed success that comes from my things actually working, occasionally in situations where others tried to get it to work and weren’t able to make it happen. I couldn’t-a done it thinking like a liberal. Now, wherever this essay is, whoever wrote it, the question arises: How can he be so sure that he’s right, while I’m so sure I’m right?

Perhaps the first step toward constructive, creative thought, is to get into one’s “happy place” wherever that happens to be; I’ve got mine, others have theirs. The difference between these two happy-places, would explain everything, but I think it more likely that we simply haven’t defined what “programming” is. We presume everybody doing some of it, is all doing the same thing. I notice whenever people presume that, and make the mistake of continuing to pay attention, there’s some moment of reckoning that comes along later. And, not too much later. I see it even in the little things, like lists of movies for programmers to watch during Easter. Programming, to someone like me, is a subset of engineering. Engineering has to do with reality. No, Inception is not a “programming movie” in my world. But it’s obvious there’s another world out there, and someone living in that world thinks it is one.

The reason clean-hands people run things in the Age of Aquarius, is this elevation of feeling-over-thought. People want to solve problems in ways that make them feel good; this is measurable, in that people are making decisions that elevate this feeling-good-feelings goal above actually solving the problem. In other words, if the only way to solve it is to feel bad, for even just a little while, they’d prefer to leave it unsolved. This is a problem decades in the making. It didn’t happen overnight. It has to do with maturity.

Maturity has multiple definitions. We tend to think of it as the ability to learn. If you’re a fourteen-year-old and you’re displaying all the mannerisms of a seventeen-year-old, you are mature. But that’s not quite it. A newborn fawn stumbling around cutely and comically, lacks maturity because she hasn’t developed familiarity or comfort with her physical form. As time goes on, she may turn out to be a very rapidly-maturing little deer, however one might go about measuring that. But when we say she “lacks maturity” we’re obviously not talking about that. So maturity has a meaning that is concerned with effectiveness and comfort with one’s own self.

You can watch some newer movies, and some older ones, and some yet-older ones, to see we’ve been losing this and at a pretty rapid rate. People aren’t comfortable in their own skins, and part of that is because society has been putting a diminishing value on this quality of being comfortable in your own skin. My favorite example of this — again, there are others, but forming an exhaustive list is out of scope — has been Sean Connery playing James Bond in Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. The actor got the role, I read somewhere, in part because of the way he moved around: “Like a panther walking down the street” or something. He was about 30 to 33, 34 maybe. “Young” actors today are considerably older. And they don’t move that way or conduct themselves that way. You can find your own examples. In a hundred little ways that defy description but are real anyway…they act like little kids. Of course, in 1962 all actors were not Sean Connery. But the point is that the trait was valued, and not just by lusty women who went to see movies. Now it isn’t.

They still make James Bond movies now. Very, very rarely though. And they’re made because they’ve got a built-in audience. That’s a lot different from being the “cash cow” James Bond once was; for cash-cow status, you have to look to comic book superhero movies. That’s another example of maturity slipping out of society’s grip. Another sign: The most famous among these superhero movie franchises is the “X-Men,” but there’s no story to be told there. Not a story that’s good for more than one movie, anyway. “We’re different, we can’t help it, and society won’t accept us.” There’s some tragedy there that is compelling, for a little while. But pity the poor scriptwriter for the eighth, ninth, tenth movie. Watching the final product, you can feel the sense of fatigue setting in and increasing. Perhaps if there was more emphasis on service to something bigger than oneself: “Yes those people about to get squished are part of society and society has caused me pain, by not accepting my mutant eye-beams or wings or whatever; nevertheless, they are strangers, some of them are bound not to be assholes, and so I shall save them.” Maybe some of the X-Men do think such a thing. But I’ve noticed it’s never really part of the story. You’re more likely to find such a final-battle sentiment in an old James Bond movie. X-Men gloss over it, because the “society won’t accept me” message is always in the limelight.

FeminismIt’s a very subtle difference and you have to burn through a few hours of movie-watching to get it. If you’re trying to get something productive done, this could take years. But it’s there. Once you notice it, it’s hard not to see it.

And you see this in a lot of other places too. As our society has lost maturity, it has become much more fond of wallowing in self-pity about “I should be treated differently than the way I’m being treated.” It’s a tragedy in itself because this is a huge waste of time. Strangers are strangers, they’re apt to do just about anything. About a mile from my neighborhood we’ve got a homeless guy, I call him the “Riot Of One” guy, who yells his fool head off at five o’clock most mornings. And stuff like this seems to have become normal. If we’re going to accept that strangers can do just about anything, just so we can cope with the more rugged aspects of us all living together, it is irrational to be losing our composure anytime we see evidence someone is thinking the wrong thing. It is unreasonable to accept the former and reject the latter, since actions are consequences of thought. This is all self-evident, but we seem to have lost sight of it.

I would offer that the kind of maturity that has to do with the ability to learn, is a manifestation of this other kind of maturity that has to do with the feeling of comfort in one’s on skin, the acceptance of self. You have to fully accept that and make your peace with what you are & what you’re doing, before you can accurately assess what bits of it have to be fixed to address future challenges or past failures. First step to self-improvement is the admission: I was wrong, or something is not quite the way it should be. Until you get there, you can identify problems with the best of ’em, but it’s not quite so easy to identify a way to fix them. Overall, you’ll notice people who have not yet acquired maturity, will identify problems in things that are outside of their control.

In fact, that’s what “strikes” are. I was harsh in my description of them last month, and I meant to be:

It’s too late for strikes. We don’t live in an age wherein some demographic or some industry withdraws its services, and at the end of a day or two the rest of us are starving, dehydrated, sick, naked, or up to our armpits in garbage and ready to capitulate. That ship has sailed. There are really only two services people demand on a moment-to-moment basis, and those are electrical power and wireless Internet. All the rest involve some sort of reserve, which won’t be depleted until we’ve managed to find a scapegoat…Strikes are bullshit in the 21st century. You haven’t seen them achieve anything in many decades, and there’s a reason for that. They aren’t effective.

They aren’t effective at — fixing the stated problem, anyway. They’re very effective for building up that feeling of “We’re all in this together.” If we’re going to be honest about it, that’s the real purpose. They are exercises in self-gratification. The Trump administration is going to see lots of them, for as long as there continues to be a Trump administration. That’s because the strikes are there to instill, and preserve, a feeling of dedication that would eventually wane away into nothingness without something to keep it going. THAT is the truth. They’re not there to address anything that’s wrong, because they’re not there to fix anything. People no longer expect strikes to do this.

And the participants won’t admit this, but the reason they don’t really expect anything to change is because they know: No one gives a flying fuck about your conscientious objection, withdrawing this, withholding that, striking, facing the wall, refusing to participate. Our evolving culture has become way too loud and busy for that. Anyone holding their breath until their faces turn blue, will just turn blue. That’s why it’s necessary to block a bridge now & then. It all goes back to loss of maturity.

How we deal with the problems that arise to confront us between crib & crypt, is what separates us, defines us, provides us with a meaningful identity. The problems themselves do not do this. That’s a misconception. This is why the X-Men suck. Life actually has a fairly simple pattern to it, and we all see it whether we’re “mutants” or gay or black or not, whether we’re rich or poor, whether we’re in a lifestyle that’s sustainable or not. We come to realize things cannot remain the way they have been, and a change is necessary. No sorry Obama, this doesn’t happen with the election of You; it happens constantly. We realize we need to make a change, and this is uncomfortable. We reach a cul de sac, and we cannot simply leave it by going back the way we came. We have to do something difficult, like: get our first job; lose weight; give up on a grudge; move an aging parent into an assisted-living facility. Whatever that is, it has to be uncomfortable or else the situation would not exist in the first place. And so life presents us with a necessity of doing something difficult, as a rite of passage from one “normal” life into another.

That’s life in a nutshell. That is what, I maintain, is going on in the dash between your birth year & the year of your demise. It’s all just one big epiphany of “Oh dear, I cannot stand on this ice floe any longer for it is melting, I must leap onto that other one.” Each person going through it is tempted to think he’s the only one, but we’re all doing it. So — we go through the Kübler-Ross model:

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Maturity — the mathematical-ratio kind of maturity, the definition that has to do with speed — is whipping through this without wasting a whole lot of time. It is dangerous for a whole culture of people to lose this. If you’re stuck somewhere in the first four of those five stages, the most intoxicating one is anger. Anger’s fun, and it puts the blame on someone else who isn’t you.

That’s what’s been happening. That’s why there is so much anger. The maturity issue.

This results in a loss of dignity, which is closely related to maturity. Dignity, I think, is also what can fix the problem. Dignity is what makes society go. I’m using the definition of the word that actually works, what people have in mind when they use the word, in a way more precise than what the dictionary says; I’m picking up where that stops:

bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.

That’s what has been missing.

Pink Pussy HatI say: Since we’re all spending every living year in this predicament, of realizing things cannot stay the way they have been — life is a dynamic thing — when we speak of “dignity,” what we’re really talking about is getting in front of those. It works at all stages of life, well before the prime and long after. A toddler who whines like a little baby lacks dignity. An aging starlet who dresses half her age and puts her face under the knife, until the plastic surgery is taking away more than it’s adding, is the very picture of indignity. What’s the ideological breakdown between conservatives and liberals, where dignity is concerned? It’s not hard to see the answer. A single “pink-pussy hat” will tell you all you need to know about that.

So conservatives are for dignity, and liberals are opposed to it; this thing that has conservative support and is rejected by liberals, has to do with acknowledging life’s necessary changes and getting in front of them, rather than getting stuck in the second-stage and being angry all the time. Notice that this is all backed up by what we see every day — and it is the POLAR opposite of what we have been told all these years about conservatives, liberals and “change.” With liberals feeding us the narrative, that is. They fancy themselves as being uniquely prepared for and accepting of change — which is a perfect black-and-white film-negative transformation from what’s really true. What’s really true is that liberals think of themselves as adapting to change by being the authors of that change, and when that doesn’t work out for them, they use the Obama “we can’t drill our way to cheaper gas” technique and craft some more narratives.

And, they get angry. They loves them some second-stage squatting. Trouble is, there is no rationale for it. When they try to put one together, it ends up being stunted, stilted and silly. “How dare Donald Trump run for President and win” or something. This is anger that has no reason to be; it is passion that has no place to go. It is, typically, a mere desire that has no other way to be expressed.

This will not be an easy problem to solve. It won’t happen overnight. The problem didn’t appear in the first place that way; it’s been years and years in the making. I’ve noticed, even when people get all the way through to the fifth stage of acceptance and start looking for ways to implement the necessary change, there is a tendency to lose sight of the goal. They get into these quixotic pursuits that don’t accomplish anything, as if the ultimate objective is merely to stay busy. All too often, this shift in objective has something to do with avoiding life itself, whether they’re fully aware of it or not. I guess that stands to reason, since the objective envisioned with clarity, without the cloudiness of anger, ego, or scope creep, is simply to navigate the chapters of life. I had one Trump-phobe friend of mine, through social media, launch into a monologue that was no doubt strung together beforehand, for other recipients and for other occasions: It’s about principle! Then proceeded to explain principle, as if to someone who had no idea what a principle was…

His favorite example was Sir Thomas More, who refused his consent to King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and was eventually beheaded for his position. I view this as an object lesson in how one should dialogue when one is in a dialogue, and resist the temptation to monologue, for the question that was immediately confronting this individual had to do with intended outcome, and how his “I shall never vote for him” stance would feed into that. Ah, perhaps he didn’t realize it. But Thomas More is not a good example to be used when one is faced with that question. What did More’s sacrifice actually do? Sure, it was principled…but, it turned out to be merely the first in a long series of martyrdoms that would be endured by both Catholics and Protestants, throughout Europe, for the next two centuries.

Our conversation lost its levity when I posed a question that was, perhaps, too insightful. Maybe the right thing to do would’ve been to save it for other occasions, and merely let my friend stew in his juices; there’s a saying about leading a horse to water but not making him drink. My question is: If you’re not doing it to make yourself happy, and you’re not doing it to make things better, then why are you doing it? We are living in undignified times, because a lot of people feel very sure about what they’re doing but they aren’t able to answer that question.

“I’m doing it for principles,” all too often, is merely a cop-out. All too often it is invoked when the speaker is opting not to do something. Hasn’t worked his way through the five stages, stuck on anger or denial, losing his dignity. And that’s what has been happening in the Age of Aquarius. It was started with a war protest; a very self-righteous one, popular, forceful — not even wrong. A lot of people had sympathy with it, and for good reason. But the primer that detonated the charge, was young people coming of age; facing a path of difficulty between them, and the necessary change of becoming an adult. Their pathway was much, much more difficult than most. And there was injustice. So for “principles” — no plan, just don’t-wanna-do-it principles — they kicked off an abnegation of dignity. And until now, that has never really stopped. It has been a nice, long, leisurely fifty-year stretch of abnegating societal dignity. And because of that, we have wrinkled old hippies walking around, quite literally living their teenage years, into their seventies and beyond. They don’t realize that’s what they’re doing, not consciously anyway. It’s sad to see.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… VI

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Every now & then if you take the time to skim over a crackpot right-wing blog, like this one for example which no one ever reads anyway…you’ll see someone make an interesting point about this thing we today call “liberalism.” That point being that there is necessarily a lengthy and complicated history behind it. It did not — never could have — become what it is overnight. And some of this was deliberately planned. You’ll see a lot of these conservative bloggers offer up some action items from the Communist Manifesto, like free public education and a progressive income tax. But the conscientious reader who seeks to reconcile this with life experience will notice a glaring contradiction, when contemplating those times in the recent past in which liberalism suffered from setbacks, electoral & otherwise. For example, in 1980, 1994, 2010 and 2016. Liberalism has rebounded from these setbacks, which is really an amazing achievement when you think about it; and it didn’t do it by tapping into the intellectual wellspring that is a static aged document written by a dead white guy. For strategy, it learned from experience like we all try to do. That would have to mean there was a learner somewhere, and it would suggest this intellectual force was capable of shrugging off negative emotion, overcoming disappointment, adjusting & adapting, picking oneself up off the ground & dusting oneself off before trying again — all these personal virtues, that precede success, liberalism itself is so keen on not encouraging in others.

How’s this work? Is it hypocrisy? An elite cadre of intellectually rugged and disciplined planners who seek to influence much larger numbers of commoners, and in so doing bring out behavior in commoners completely antithetical to what is exercised by those elites as they seek this influence? Partly, yes; I’ve written before of the scheming elites and the ignorant commons. I still maintain that driving a wedge between these two halves is the key to their defeat. But that’s only a small part of it.

Toddler RulesLiberalism is political by nature but its origins are not there. It is a failure of normal personal maturity, a product of stunted growth. When we are born, we all have the faults we notice liberals have, and this is by design. When we want something and don’t have it, we holler and make it someone else’s problem. A little while later when we enter toddler-hood, we become acquainted with the concept of ownership, and at that tender age see it only as a tool we can use for our own benefit, rather than as a building block of civilization that relies on mutual respect. This part of ownership, that constrains our ambitions out of respect for the other person’s equivalent natural rights, comes later as we grow out of this toddler stage. Well, liberals are simply people who have never done this. They grew out of toddler-hood in body only.

Really, liberalism doesn’t even belong in politics, when you think about it. Since politics is concerned with the definition and refinement of public codes and policies that have influence on our lives & fortunes; and liberalism, as we find it today, is the empowerment of people who reject responsibility for this. Reagan made this point articulately during his first inaugural: “…[I]f no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” This raises a question: Why is liberalism political? This contradiction is not a trifling or obscure one. It’s right in our faces, every day. We see it during casual meetings with friends and relatives…like, Thanksgiving. Here’s your smarmy liberal niece or nephew, sitting across the table from you with some Cliff’s Notes about how to deal with that nasty Republican Uncle — you — spouting off with some different ideas. Should be a mind-expanding experience, for one of you or the other, maybe both. Let’s face it, inhabiting a vacuum chamber is a natural and comfortable thing for everybody, and stepping outside of it should be healthy. Problem is, there aren’t any ideas! Just some cherry-picked statistics and zingers that are supposed to convince third-parties watching the confrontation, not you, and “vote for Hillary Clinton!” What little actual idea there is in there, if there is any at all, amounts to: After she wins, everything should work out more-or-less okay, and look how enthused I am about it. That’s it. After the goodies and the free Internet and other various num nums, they don’t really want anything at all. The prize under the eyes — if we’re going to evaluate it and characterize it honestly — is just the feeling of winning.

So we’re dealing with a weed, whose leafy bits intrude into politics while the roots are somewhere else. It snakes along, grows, migrating from personal deficiencies into the public policy for a specific reason. And this gets into a rather fascinating group dynamic, centered around this feeling-of-winning trophy. You see it every now and then, when reason cannot sustain their proposals, even in appearance — when they’re presented with a conservative argument that they logically can’t answer. “If we’re going to address the difficulty involved in raising a family on minimum wage simply by hiking it up to $15, why not go for $30?” That’s just one example, although there are a few others. We know liberalism is about toddler-rules and the feeling of winning, not about coming up with good ideas about public policy, because if the conversation was an exchange of these ideas and the challenges that invigorate them — that would settle the matter right then & there. Of course that isn’t what happens. What happens is a lot of posturing, as in “You still haven’t said what this single-mom with 4 kids earning $9.50 an hour at McDonald’s is supposed to DO.” Or, false accusations of “strawman argument,” as in “No one has suggested thirty, we’re talking about fifteen, please stick to the subject.” Or, some more tear-jerking about the plight of the poor, or some kind of rant. In short, they’ll discuss ideas and logic and common-sense and cause-and-effect, for exactly as long as a toddler respects the concept of ownership — as long as it benefits them. Then they’ll abandon that exercise and go somewhere else, like emotion. It’s not at all unlike you driving down the road and seeing an obstruction in your lane when it’s too late to stop. You escape-left or escape-right. That’s what they’re doing with your logical rhetorical question, escaping, since stopping is out of the question.

What happens with this vine-weed because of this, is the fascinating part. It behaves like a sentient organism unto itself. The individuals who are a part of it seek to do nothing but avoid embarrassment and offer up to bystanders this suggestive illusion that they’ve won an argument, but by acting on this motivation, they contribute to this group-construct a sort of self-preservation instinct. They will do whatever must be done to avoid losing, or looking like they’re losing; so the combined force will do whatever must be done in order to survive. This is what it’s doing in politics in the first place. It has no other business there. It has intruded into politics because it cannot allow itself to be killed, or to wither & die like it should; and it cannot sit still or stay the same size, it has to be growing all the time. If you’re old like me you might remember when liberals said “think globally, act locally.” If they really meant that, there’d be a lot less conflict. Truth is, if you take that saying literally you’ve described the essence of conservatism: Be aware of problems, do whatever you can about them, respect the choices of others even when they don’t agree with you, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about their dumb choices and stupid should hurt. A lot of what is required to make society go, has to do with taking those feelings and emotions and putting them in a box — not every decision has to be made about feelings, and not every feeling has to be put into actions or words.

Now, after these personal deficiencies snake along and these grown-up toddlers intrude into the realm of politics where they don’t belong, they have to keep moving and keep winning. They don’t accept defeat. We still have a Russia conspiracy-theory, right? Because they can’t admit they lost the election last year simply because they nominated the inferior candidate. Because of that intransigence, they’ve been transforming society one day at a time, even when public opinion has been aligned against them. This insistence on victory at the expense of all other things has had a weaponizing effect on our agencies and on our institutions. We just saw the spectacle of the Internal Revenue Service targeting groups associated with the Tea Party to deny them tax-exempt status, which raises the ever-disturbing “How long has this been going on?” question. And we saw the FBI let Hillary off the hook when she was clearly guilty. This is part of an ongoing trend in which, if the normal and dispassionate execution of our laws would impose some sort of damaging effect on the prospects of the democrat party to win this office or that one, we can expect some weighty arbitrating authority to step in and stop it from happening. Last time I recall it being this naked and in-your-face, was when the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that Frank Lautenberg could run in the 2002 elections. And here was me thinking laws meant things. Turns out, if ballots are about to be printed without a democrat name upon them — that all goes out the window, at least in NJ.

Liberals in their quest for everlasting victory, which is really nothing more than a toddler’s peevishness against the horror of ever being told “no,” have weaponized justice, academia, and the arts. They have perverted comedy. Today, it’s de rigueur to see evidence of punchlines, or “jokes,” that aren’t even loosely connected with anything funny and you have to wonder if society will lose track, in a few years, of what comedy is supposed to be. Some of this is honest and accidental. A fat-joke made at Chris Christie’s expense for example; show it to a focus group of liberals, it’ll be clear that this isn’t actual comedy since there’s nothing funny about it, but the increased prospect of winning causes an endorphin rush. With the toddler’s muddled distinction of thought vs. feeling the crowd will find it “hilarious.” Thus it is with all of them. I recall quite clearly the several liberal acquaintances who so strongly recommended I start watching Boston Legal because it does such a great job of giving “a fair hearing to both sides.” We-ell, no not so much. The liberal and the conservative were both quirky and funny. But, the liberal was brilliant in ways the conservative was not. Which would’ve been fine by itself, but this was the entire point of their various interactions and the “comedy” that ensued. The liberal didn’t oppose the conservative — there was no point to it. The conservative made himself look like a complete buffoon all by himself. I’m sure to the entrenched B.L. fan this is a quibbling distinction. But if it worked exactly the same way with the roles reversed, the show would not have aired.

And that’s the best-case example, the “fair hearing to both sides” show. The rest of teevee has gotten so much worse, and we’ve become accustomed to it. “Funny” is whatever makes liberals feel good. It doesn’t have to actually be funny. And after they’re done dealing with reality, ready to burn the many-hours block scrolling through channels on the idiot box before bedtime, imagining liberalism to have the right answers makes liberals feel very, very good, so good they can’t distinguish the rush from an actually funny joke. One has to wonder what’s been going on in reality to make them hunger so.

So while society has been sleeping in the Age of Aquarius, our agencies have been weaponized to the benefit of liberals; ditto for justice, something called “science” that doesn’t work according to scientific principles, our institutions of higher learning, and comedy. To this we can add the arrested development problem that has given liberalism, as we know it today, cause to exist in the first place. This last one has been a natural process since people who grew out of toddler-hood in body only, feel right at home around other people who grew out of toddler-hood in body only. The problem is contagious, although it doesn’t have much effect on people who have matured already. But for those who haven’t done so, proximity to another can arouse a feeling of confidence that was not there before. This is the condition of our liberals who ensconce themselves in a group environment with the like-minded: Seldom correct, but never in doubt. Well…this is a disaster. As I said earlier, we all begin life as liberals. We have to mature out of it. Fact is, lack of confidence is the first step to this maturity. We don’t reconsider our premises and rationalizations, until something has happened to inspire us to do this. And the way that works is by breaking down our confidence in what life-experience is about to counsel us to reject. Immature people hanging around immature people, stops this from happening in a lot of ways.

Sexy JudgeThe most primitive way this happens is through this this cult-like worship of the choice. “It’s so-and-so’s choice, s/he has made this choice and we all have to respect it.” We hear that a lot from a variety of different corners, both in & outside of politics. I notice very seldom do we ever hear anything like “I guarantee this choice won’t have an effect on anybody else.” Nope, not even. To the contrary, much of the policy change proposed by the liberal flank pushes us toward a societal mold, in which everything anybody does has some effect on everybody else. It’s supposed to be how we show we care, or something. Oh okay…so this person is going to make a “choice” that will affect me, and I don’t have a shot at being a decent person unless I step back and keep myself out of it. Am I ranting about abortion, here? Ah, not necessarily. The pattern has grown much bigger than that. It’s an over-arching trend, covering all sorts of issues. Maybe all of ’em. It is their guiding theme. It’s also a perfectly simple explanation of why civilized society can’t function with their kind in charge. Also, it’s proof that they’re not at at all about “equality,” not even close, since while you and I are supposed to defrock ourselves of any tincture of influence on this person’s “choice,” liberal activists (or anybody who’s sympathetic with them) are free to bully and intimidate with their assorted virtue signaling devices, their Oscar ceremony speeches, their “awareness” campaigns, and their “protests.” The fact is, liberals love “choices” as long as the choices are made the way the liberals want them made. They aren’t really fans of choice at all.

Grown-ups don’t actually make these “choices,” anyway. Not very often. Last choice I made was…ah now I remember, I was fixing my wife & myself some ice cream. I found some chocolate and butterscotch chips in the cupboard, and chose, for my bowl, to put in just a tiny amount of both. That’s a choice. A matter of taste. “I like this flavor better than that other flavor.” Grown-ups decide they’re going to go to the gym to burn the calories after they’ve had the ice cream. Or, stay home from the gym because maybe they’re feeling like they worked out too much and need more of a rest. Or, to cut the lawn this afternoon so they’ll have it out of the way tomorrow. Decisions involve some sort of reckoning with eventual consequences. Choices do not. Some people are fortunate enough to live a life full of choices but that don’t involve any actual decisions anywhere. That’s as good a definition as any, of arrested development: A scarcity of “Gosh, if I do this this’ll happen, but if I don’t do it that’ll happen” avoidance-avoidance-conflict predicaments. A dearth of genuine responsibility. Choosing every waking minute of every day, without any actual deciding.

It’s a distinction that may be lost even on those who really are adults, who have to make some actual decisions. It’s impossible for anyone to truly grasp it if they never have to make any. To them, “choices” may look like decisions. All too often, we see the choices do have consequences after all, nevermind whether these were anticipated when the decider got to the decision-point. A lot of choice-makers, even when instructed by life that there were consequences involved and they should have decided, like adults, rather than choosing like children — still won’t grasp it. A lack of intelligence is not the problem. The problem is one of perspective. Just as a man on a flat-bottom ferry leaving the dock, may have to look out the window two, three, more times than that just to achieve conscious understanding that it’s the vessel that’s moving, not the dock. In the same way, it takes some perspective to realize decisions have consequences, that there is a connection between one’s present circumstances and the “choices” one made in the past. Like: present poverty, many kids, little marketable skill. This all too often leads to a “What am I gonna do?” mindset that makes it hard to understand how one charted one’s own course, back when one thought one was merely making a “choice.” Even if such a chooser is surrounded by people mentioning it. But way too many of these choosers are not so surrounded; they’re surrounded by people who say the opposite, that someone else should do something. Enablers.

And this is how liberals “choose” truth.

To them, it’s simply a matter of preference, like chocolate ice cream over vanilla. Is this not obvious now? We’ve been seeing it for months — “NO EVIDENCE Obama spied on Trump” means one thing, “NO EVIDENCE Russia swayed the elections” means an entirely different thing, with the former meaning “nothing to see here” and the latter meaning “we’ve got to keep looking.” The looking gets done; ensuing events suggest very strongly, if not out-and-out prove the former is true whereas the latter is a myth. Liberals keep choosing their favorite truth, like Cherry Coke over Diet.

We pretend this is not the case, for some reason. I don’t know what. Maybe we as a society are inclined to act a lot like the New Jersey Supreme Court, figuring that if the rules say & truth says & cause-and-effect say something must happen, and we anticipate it will inflict heavy damage on the liberal ideology, something or someone must intervene and keep it from happening. It’s odd we should extend such sympathies to something that has done such grave harm to so many people. It’s like our own brand of Stockholm Syndrome. But reality churns away, regardless of who pays attention to it or why they’re ignoring it. Thinking like a liberal has a direct effect on one’s life experiences. It affects one’s vocation. This is not to say all liberals end up impoverished, by any means. Some are quite wealthy. And, there are some conservatives who are very poor. But liberalism certainly does affect what you can do. It has a way of inviting people to choose their own truth one day…and, the next day, requiring them to choose one truth over another. Not at all unlike the spider inviting the fly into his parlor.

We see it as soon as we open our minds to the possibility, as anyone with any life experience eventually must. There are certain jobs in which one cannot go around “choosing reality” like flipping the channel on a teevee. Dam builder, bridge builder, building builder. Railroad track layer. After all, when the pickup truck heads out over the dam or the bridge, or when people start walking around in the building, or the train goes over the tracks — the structure will hold, or it won’t. Wishes, hopes, enthusiasm, aren’t going to have anything to do with it at all. Sewage pipe cleaner, farmer, butcher, baker, candlestick-maker. Here & there, now & then, you might find one or two people holding these jobs who supported Bernie Sanders. That doesn’t change the fact: You can’t get these jobs done thinking that way. You can feel enthused about something, you can dread this or hope for that, but sooner or later you have to invite reality to step in and have its say.

There are other jobs dominated by liberals, because they are friendly to the liberal mindset. Psychology is a good example of this. It parades around presenting itself as some sort of “science,” and in some isolated scenarios it does use the scientific method. But overall, as a general rule, it doesn’t. So much of its experimentation is non-reproducible, isn’t supposed to be reproducible. One important symposium, and all of its premises are up-ended as one faction prevails over another, and the heavy-hitters in attendance disperse afterwards, to push out all sorts of written instruction to their inferiors throughout the field about what to think. The other obvious example is: Acting. We saw this with a spectacle of self-humiliation that was so cutting, so keen, so ruthless, as to elicit sympathetic wincing even from those who were never particularly fond of Warren Beatty. Who, right before his historic screw-up opening the wrong envelope at the Oscars, unfortunately thought it might be fitting to say:

I think it could be said that our goal in politics is the same as our goal in art and that’s to get to the truth. So that’s like in the movies that we honor tonight, that not only entertain us and move us, they show us the increasing diversity in our community and our respect for diversity and freedom all over the world.

This utterance, juxtaposed as it is right before the debacle that still has the world talking, helps to highlight the overall point, which is: No, these things you call “arts” do not exist for getting to the truth. They get to falsity. If you’re an actor, your job is to pretend. The job is to behave around things that are false, as if they are true. And yes I’m going to go for the jugular on this: Beatty screwed up the envelope because that is his skill. That’s why his political leanings are so well-represented, statistically, within his chosen profession. If the job has to do with pretending false things are true, liberals are going to dominate it, because if they were more inclined toward acting as if true things were true then they’d be a much better fit for something else. But then, they’d much more likely be conservatives. But nobody should’ve been waiting for Warren Beatty to say “La La Land!” before mistrusting him. The giveaway was in this thing about “freedom all over the world.” NEVER trust a liberal who talks about freedom.

BeattyWell, never trust ’em at any time. But especially not when they talk about that. These are the people who just got done addressing the “All these people don’t have health insurance” problem, by imposing a fine on whoever can’t afford it. Freedom? They don’t know the meaning of the word and they don’t care to learn anything about it.

And our society has been pandering to them, for decades. During which time, “freedom” is just one of many words that have lost meaning for us. It’s as if liberals, en masse, are approaching the rest of us on a regular basis with a proposal of “Hey, from now on let’s all just pretend this word here means the opposite of what it really means, okay?” And the response of society-at-large to this bit of silliness, which ought to be “Are you out of your gourd?” instead has been more like “Whatever, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of watching ‘Kardashian’ reruns.” So it’s important not to be too hard on liberals. Even with all the time they’ve taken, they couldn’t have accomplished it without a lot of help from everyone else.

Where we really took a wrong turn, though, was when we agreed to their fuzzy-line phony snow-globe-reality precepts with the word “law.” For generations, centuries even, this word has carried with it the implication of objective definition. That has the second-most-important aspect to this word, behind “don’t break it.” Anyone having successfully graduated from about the fourth grade, should be able to tell you why it isn’t going to work to have a law that says “Don’t drive too fast around here.” You have to say 25, or 40, or 65 or 10. Up until recently this was always just assumed. If it’s worth the time & trouble to write down a law, it’s worth it to write down what it is. How do I know if & when I’m breaking it? For those who really do believe the word “freedom” is meaningful, in other words people who aren’t Warren Beatty, this is a prerequisite. Freedom means, “a nation of laws and not men” as the saying goes. If you come close to breaking the law, and the entire community hates you and wants to see you gone, but you didn’t cross the line then you’re safe. Also, if everyone loves you and wants to be your best pal, but the evidence shows you’re clearly guilty…then, Mister Popular, you have to face the consequences. That’s what real freedom is. Lines are drawn, and guilt & innocence are determined based on who did what, and what the evidence says. Not based on who likes who, or who owes who a favor.

Liberals make a good show of not carrying it that far, by according special privileges to groups, not to people. If their position was one of “Everyone has to keep it down to 55 miles around here except Frank, because we like Frank” — then the game would be over before it started. That would be indefensible, even in liberal-land. (“Let’s let Hillary get away with it” comes close…but they also relied on a twisty-turn social-media-driven propaganda campaign of “Hillary did nothing wrong,” so they weren’t relying completely on the fact that their fortunes were all tied up in her for the moment and nobody else would’ve gotten away with it; although anyone with a brain who looked at the matter for even a minute or more, understood that was the situation.) The arguments liberals make are not held to this level of accountability, mostly because the arguments liberals make, by & large, aren’t concerned with individual rights or privileges. Liberals don’t believe in them. They believe in group rights & privileges. Now when you think on it with some discipline, you eventually realize “People in this group should have a special entitlement to break the law” is no more reasonable than “Frank should have a special entitlement to break the law.” Both statements are equally absurd and unworkable, for the same reason. But, again: We have not been thinking with diligence about this. We have spent the last several decades, inadvertently, through carelessness not maliciousness, helping the liberals destroy our society by passively buying into their nonsense. They couldn’t have made it as far as they have, without our help.

The first concession wasn’t to liberals at all, but to potheads. Smoking pot is illegal! Yeah, but no. It’s one of those laws that aren’t really laws, you know? Everybody does it. That’s what really got us going down this slippery slope. And the problem wasn’t with people who wanted to go activist, and repeal the laws against smoking pot. That’s the honest way to go about it. If there’s a law on the books and you don’t like it, you work to get the law changed. The problem we should have recognized was with the popular notion that these laws were stupid…not real laws…the people passing them, enforcing them, calling their local police department to get them enforced, are a bunch of squares. “It’s my body and I have the right to decide what to do with it” — that’s a perfectly valid argument. The way it works is, we chew that one over, get into that rational exchange of ideas, with points & counterpoints, what everybody says they want to do. At the end of it, we decide collectively what the law is going to be and then we live by it. That’s not what these fuzzy-line activists did. They got all stompy-foot and “my rights, darn it!” with the law on the books, and insisted those particular laws shouldn’t count for anything. And, got a lot of other people to agree with them. Only enough to make lots of noise, though. Not to actually get the law changed.

Now we have to put up with that nonsense with illegal immigration. It’s really quite astonishing, or would be to anyone who was frozen back in the day & thawed out only just now, how incredibly brazen our liberals are about it. They want to change the law, so that their chosen oppressed-downtrodden of the moment, “no longer have to live in the shadows,” they say. Well there’s a way to do that. We could repeal any & all immigration restrictions, at all levels, and just have open borders. Well, they’re not going to suggest such a thing. Because it would lose. So instead, they’re following along with what the potheads did, with their latest nonsense about “There’s no way a person can be illegal” and the like. Uh, there sure as hell is. You can be a criminal, as in, someone who has committed a crime. You can be illegal by virtue of what space you’re occupying at any given time…as in, You’re Not Supposed To Be Here, like a schoolboy exploring a new path home and wandering across a property line. Illegal aliens are both of those things. I’m not hating on them, it’s just a fact. That’s the way the law worked before liberals got hold of it. Fifty five miles an hour, you’re either breaking the law or you aren’t.

It goes the other way too. If you go by what we’ve had the big brass balls to put down in writing, you are ALLOWED to do certain things — in fact, guaranteed the right to do them — that the “cool kids” have decided, according to their phantom unwritten laws, should earn you some sort of mid-course correction. References to Judeo-Christian deities outside of church, are prominent in that list, as I was reminded a few weeks ago by way of the c++ Boost mailing list:

> > In Christ,
> > Sxxxxx Wxxxxxxx
> >
>
> IMHO the boost mailing list should be free of political and/or religious
> expressions. Maybe nobody else minds, but I do mind (I’m happy to
> elaborate, if required). Sxxxxx, please refrain from expressing your
> personal beliefs in every mail you send to a mailing list dealing with
> boost and c++ and limit the contents to those 2 subjects.

We’ve had that discussion before, multiple times.. And actually I think I started the first one of those. Just chill 🙂 It’s not that important. And think of it on par with the sig lines some people use. And just be happy it’s not a 50 line totally irrelevant and un-enforceable legal disclaimer. Now those are something to get upset about 😉

It’s nice to see common sense prevail now & then. But it isn’t it interesting, this written inflection of swagger people can put on about it. It’s almost like they think they’re doing something to make life better for others, when all they’re doing is bitching. Which, when you think about the subject of the bitching, really comes down to a complaint about exactly this, nothing more and nothing less: A reminder that there are people around who believe differently. Isn’t that something? I was just talking about words being re-defined to mean their opposites. I guess “tolerance” has come to be one of those words, at least where God and Jesus are involved.

It’s not just the unwritten-crime of capitalizing the ‘H’ in He & His, though. “Not Okay” has taken its place as the modern, millennial-kids’ version of “There ought to be a law” that might’ve been uttered so carelessly by their grandparents. It is sufficiently lacking in testicular vigor, since “ought to be a law” at least suggests a campaign to get something on the books. Or, abandon the pursuit in mid-stride, or characterize it as hyperbole; either way, be definite. The modern variant, on the other hand, seeks to establish a new prohibition that rides the ether. It seeks influence without accountability, and therefore tries for making a new rule without doing any of that bothersome rule-making.

Nivea, thanks to such social-networking ectoplasm-based activism, was recently forced to take down an ad that drew a connection between the color white, and “purity” (via Moonbattery, via Pirate’s Cove). And of course there is the mess that took place this week with Kendall Jenner and the Pepsi ad:

There’s so much wrong with this, and yet at the same time, it isn’t really wrong. If anyone asked me what the problem was with the ad, in MY opinion, my honest answer is “It’s obsequious and stupid.” But that isn’t really the right answer. You can tell when you skim over another upload, where comments are allowed, like over here. What’s unjust about it is that everyone who was involved in producing the ad is surely not having a lot of fun with work right now…they should’ve known better, darn it! But it’s a disproportionate response. They’re being punished because they lay in wait like a starving jaguar stalking its prey, and saw some potential profit in the hip, trendy protest thing right now. They’re supposed to do that. Alright, so it is disgusting and there have to be better ways to make a living…eh, maybe it is fitting after all.

That’s not really the point. The point is that we’re lately deciding what’s “allowed” and what’s not allowed, without any actual authority, just mob rule. And the mob rule isn’t even as rational or just as an actual mob, which is a low baseline; they’re deciding it based on “likes” on social media. This did-it-go-viral Oracle goes thumbs-up or thumbs-down. And where it conflicts with the actual written law, with the viral-Oracle saying okay and the written law saying no-can-do, or vice-versa, we have a new pretender-legal-universe being born.

And then we have a sort of vicious cycle. The law-duality creates conflict, the conflict creates protests…someone makes a “Makes You Feel Alive” tone-deaf, dumb ad about the protests, then we have protests about the dumb ad. So my larger overall point is, society can’t function this way. It can’t function with these “Schroedinger’s Cat Laws” that are entirely ineffectual, and at the same time, fully in force. Things have to be absolutely legal, in every sense (even if they aren’t appreciated) or else they have to be illegal in every sense. To start these virtual-middle-school, social-media “Hey that’s not okay” campaigns about things that are legal, drives toward exactly the same unhappy situation as a social-media “Let that bad guy go” campaign to exonerate people who are actually guilty of a crime: Everything is illegal, therefore nothing is. And that’s a place we really can’t go. We can’t afford it. We might think we can, but we can’t. That’s a true loss of freedom. Once things go that far, we toil away under all the heavy obligations of civilized society, while enjoying none of its benefits, enduring all of the exigencies of anarchy.

We are currently raising a generation of airheads who are ready for such a perfect citadel of misery (H/T American Digest):

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture…ask them some basic questions about the civilization they will be inheriting, and be prepared for averted eyes and somewhat panicked looks. Who fought in the Peloponnesian War? Who taught Plato, and whom did Plato teach?
:
It is not their “fault” for pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature. They have learned exactly what we have asked of them — to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present.

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system — it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

During my lifetime, lamentation over student ignorance has been sounded by the likes of E.D. Hirsch, Allan Bloom, Mark Bauerlein and Jay Leno, among many others. But these lamentations have been leavened with the hope that appeal to our and their better angels might reverse the trend. E.D. Hirsch even worked up a self-help curriculum, a do-it yourself guide on how to become culturally literate, imbued with the can-do American spirit that cultural defenestration could be reversed by a good reading list in the appendix. Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success.

This generation is primed to overlook some very basic rules of thinking, I’ve noticed. The either-or propositions I’ve spelled out above, about laws and so forth — not only elude them, but I’ve noticed a lot of them who fancy themselves as hardy thinkers are immune to these obvious truisms. They deride this as “binary thinking,” and say that like it’s some kind of bad thing. This has been going on awhile. I recall a dozen years ago, John Kerry was running his presidential campaign on “nuance,” talking at length about the evils of “black and white thinking.” Well…the problem is, some thinking really is binary. When you’re talking about directions, East and West really are opposites. Aristotle had a rule about this, called the “law of the excluded middle.”

I have noticed there is a generational tendency to get away from this, by nonchalantly shifting the focus of the conversation away from directions, and toward points. East and West may be opposites, but it is a FACT that my house is East of Arden Fair Mall, and yet at the same time, it is West of Folsom Dam. This has the appearance, at least to the casual observer, of making a logical argument. And it actually does that, too, if the point being refuted is “It’s one or the other, with no third proposition between them.” My house, in this example, is direct evidence that this is not the case. But the snowflake kids lose track of the fact that what’s being discussed are directions, not points. Naming my house as an example might find a point between East and West, but it does not make East and West the same thing.

These soft, unwritten “laws,” both the finer ones that state-without-stating what is allowed vs. what is expressly prohibited — and, the larger, broader ones that say every direction is equal to its opposite because we’ve been able to find points in between, that actors “find truth” Warren Beatty style, and that choosing is equal to deciding because there’s no such thing as a consequence — directly affect how society works, how we all behave. And there’s a certain inertia to them. I touched on this briefly in the previous chapter as I inspected the problem posed by, and then suffered by, the dear “Auntie Mabel” who won’t take responsibility for her own outbursts, thus obliging everyone else in proximity to do it for her:

Those who surround her, fear the conflict more than she does. They may think they have the coveted ‘conflict resolution skills,” but these often amount to little or nothing more than figuring what Auntie Mabel wants, and giving it to her. Once that’s done, the message is relayed to the crazy old Auntie that, for whatever other tools she’s lacking to get what she wants, she can always cause conflict. And that will usually work.

So she uses this — there are no other tools available. And she gets what she wants — everyone else fears conflict, she doesn’t. Why should she?

And she gets what she wants.

Other people see her getting what she wants. She evolves into a sort of weird authority figure. And then…a role model. Now you’ve got a real problem.

You can’t solve problems like this by taking each person aside and telling them “Don’t cave in to Mabel’s outbursts like that.” Or, “do this, don’t do that.” The hitch in the giddy-up is not with people disobeying you; your lack of authority is not what keeps your solution from being effective. We know this from Genesis 6:

6:5The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6:6The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 6:7So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them.” 6:8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
:
6:11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 6:12God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 6:13So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 6:14So make yourself an ark of cypress wood…

It is clear, from this, that human behavior was the problem. But also that the animals were planned, collateral damage. Most importantly, though, that human behavior can be assessed, and adjudicated, in the aggregate (“wickedness of the human race…”). The point is that there’s a group-think, that society overall has a behavioral pattern that is greater than the sum of its parts. Now, people who read the Bible literally cry foul at this, protesting that God is omniscient and omnipotent, therefore there should have been no problem. If He doesn’t want humans to behave a certain way, just make them stop! What’s the problem?

But any software developer who’s worked on a large-scale problem will get it right away. The issue is technical debt:

Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution.

Technical debt is commonly associated with extreme programming, especially in the context of refactoring. That is, it implies that restructuring existing code (refactoring) is required as part of the development process. Under this line of thinking refactoring is not only a result of poorly written code, but is also done based on an evolving understanding of a problem and the best way to solve that problem.

Technical debt, like real debt, can spiral out of control. Worst-case scenario, the system owners have to make the decision to stop throwing good money after bad, and start from scratch. There can be a lot of back-and-forth over this, with some good points made on both sides, before such a decision is made. And when the decision is made to cut the losses, it’s gut-wrenching (6:6, “…his heart was deeply troubled.”).

It’s an interesting question to ponder, whether the “reboot” would have been equally effective with some other guy chosen in Noah’s place. Genesis 6:9 introduces him as “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, [who] walked faithfully with God.” We traditionally assume he was unique in this way within the antediluvian world, since he and his family were the only ones saved. Seems a logical conclusion to make. but then again it’s obvious the problem to be solved was with cultural group-behavior, not with individual behavior. It was surely manifested by way of evil individual deeds (“…and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time…”) but that cannot have been the originating point. This was a deluge that would obliterate every living thing outside the wooden vessel, including the blameless animals. Any mortal men who had tired of the declining group dynamic in tandem with the Lord’s fatigue with it, and resolved to live in solitude as mountain men, therefore innocent of this indictment — like the animals, they would have fallen into the “sucks to be you” category. So there was something very large being addressed here, bigger than the transgressions of any one man.

People being assholes, was just just a symptom of the underlying problem. They were being that way because they’d built a culture that required this behavior, made it obligatory. They’d become a whole race of Auntie Mabels. The situation was as unsustainable as it was unacceptable. God power-cycled the box because there simply wasn’t any alternative. It wasn’t like DC rebooting Superman or Marvel rebooting Spider Man…”don’t be surprised when we come back in five years and hit the button again.”

And it wasn’t a matter of pure blood-line. After the flood, with all of us descended from Noah, there’s still something wrong with us. We Christians believe Christ solved the whole thing by giving us everlasting life; but, that was a gift. It was mercy. We didn’t deserve it, and He didn’t make us deserving of it. And here I return to the software development paradigm. If you’re a Christian, you believe there was a monumental screw-up at the very beginning with that apple, a behavior so contrary to the original intent of the design that it required a re-drafting of the requirements document. And then the entire system had to be rebooted when the technical debt exceeded all sustainable levels. And then someone had to make a great sacrifice to wipe the slate clean of any “sin,” and provide safeguards against any future incorrect behavior; then, sometime in the future, we have “Judgment” at which time the whole thing will be retired, with some components, hopefully, being salvaged after the prior experience has validated they’re giving the correct outputs.

That’s the story of the Judeo-Christian religion, and it is also the story of every sufficiently complex automated computer system.

None of this is complicated. Who among us has never had a best friend, someone who would make their moms say “the two of you by yourselves are just fine, but when you get together…” Haven’t we all heard that? People make other people act like jackasses. It’s been true from the very beginning.

First thing people do when they “think” in groups, is stop thinking. It happens first with this conflict between decisions vs. choices; consequences are disregarded, the very concept of responsibility is ignored, a proclamation of one’s momentary preferences is thought to be sufficient by the person making those preferences known. It’s all completely casual, back in the mode of “Grandpa’s taking me to an ice cream shop and I’m going to pick a flavor!” The next thing that happens right after that, is feeling is made equivalent to thinking. At this stage, rational thought dies because there’s no longer any reason for it. People stop being Architects and start being Medicators, stop thinking about cause-and-effect, opting to re-direct this energy toward safeguarding their own emotional state. They start to act like a real drug-addicted medicator, chasing the next high. It becomes all about how one feels in the moment. This gets back to that most famous of the great quotes by Prof. Thomas Sowell:

The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.

Bingo. Can you imagine an entire world of people who can’t think because they don’t know what thinking is, they confuse it with feeling? Would you wipe out that world with a flood, if you were God? Well…His actions certainly become more understandable, right? I mean, with no one among them to guide them, teach them the beginnings of how to think, what hope would such a species ever have? The difference between such people, and an infestation of termites in your house, is…? And how could they ever become better than what you see in the moment. It gets back to technical debt. At some point you have to admit the experiment has jumped the shark.

LaddersNo, this doesn’t make God Hitler. And, it doesn’t make Hitler God. Hitler played at being God; that’s what made him an evil man. People who nurse their grudges against the Judeo-Christian religion, often point back to the story of the flood as a testimonial of God, should He exist at all, being some kind of genocidal maniac. They seem to miss the point that God created humanity in the first place. With that act, there is not only an allowance for wholesale destruction if the circumstances require it, but also something of an obligation. The point that is being missed is just how evil humans can be, once they make the decision to invest all their “thinking” in the group dynamic. Again: This isn’t that complicated. Anybody who’s been a parent, or a teacher, and seen first-hand how “thinking” can work in an immature mind, should get jiggy with it. Frying up ants with a magnifying glass on a sunny day, is just barely scratching the surface. Kids are humans, and humans, once they’ve chosen to abandon rational thought for some term of time, can be just awful.

Almost like a draftsman’s mechanical pencil gliding along the straight edge of a T-square, people will stick to a predictable course once they’ve chosen to elevate the emotions of the group dynamic above their individual lock on reason and logic. They will choose destruction over creation and preservation, every time. They will flock to a paradigm of “We get it done together, or else we don’t get it done at all.” This is required. Obligatory. After all: How does it make you feel if something has to get done, the other fellow manages to do it, and you don’t? Pretty bad, right? Now…how does it make you feel if everyone’s counting on it getting done, and nobody gets it done? Not as bad…if we’re going to be honest about it. Oh yes there is suffering that wouldn’t occur in the other scenario. But, you don’t feel as bad. So elevating thinking over feeling will lead to this, and every time: Don’t do it, even if people are counting on it. Because maybe there will be starvation and maybe there will even be death, but I won’t feel bad.

That’s the credo. The REAL one. I’m sure someone might not like it, but that’s an honest evaluation, backed up by history, of how feeling-over-thinking works. Venezuela proves that, right?

But, you don’t need Venezuela to prove anything. You can tell this is the wrong path by way of its own test for success: feelings. Much like the over-indulged man-child who manages to bully his single-mom into bringing him sandwiches, cookies and soda to his room while he spends the day trolling conservative blogs. Twenty-four-seven, all of this energy is sunk into making him feel good and, at the end of it, how does he feel? Ah…the story has become a monotone, and then an orchestra of monotones. Generalization, usually hazardous, becomes uncommonly safe here. He thinks “LOL” is an adequate rebuttal, only because he’s forced to think so, he can’t formulate anything better. He has a bellyfull of Oreos or gummy worms or something and may never shit right again. The average teenage single-mom who has to drop out of high school in the ninth grade, has a more impressive resume than he does if she’s got anything vaguely resembling a work ethic, so his job prospects stink on ice and he knows he has only himself to blame for this. He’s got a face full of acne, is as pale as copier paper, would look grossly out-of-place on a hiking trail, which isn’t a problem because he hasn’t got the lung capacity to ever see one, wouldn’t recognize the sun in the sky. And he’s so full of resentments he can’t even think straight, most pointedly toward the woman who’s been bringing him drinks in his little cave, and the husband to whom she’s married who is not his dad but has been resentfully paying all the bills and making even this miserable existence possible. In short, he feels lower than whale dirt. And why shouldn’t he? He isn’t doing anything to help anyone.

That’s a modern, and widespread, social problem we have — males being raised in a society that frowns upon male-ness. There’s no place for that energy to go. As a consequence, there is much suffering — and not all of it done by males. But I believe we covered that already.

What is worthy of comment here, is the ultimate consequence of this elevation of feeling over thought. Feelings are of paramount importance; and, paradoxically, they are the first casualty. This a good acid-test of when you’re executing a bad plan, when it declares something to be the primary goal, and right out of the gate it makes collateral damage out of that very thing.

GollumPeople who value feeling over thought commonly engage in, or suffer from, depending on your point of view — oikophobia. N-O-T-E this is not “fear of pigs,” there is nothing porcine about this word, there is no “N” between the “I” and the “K.” Oikophobia is, or could be thought-of as, the polar opposite of xenophobia which is an irrational fear of what’s alien. Oikophobia is the irrational fear of “the house,” or what’s familiar; if it has reached critical levels, it is fear of one’s own self. The term comes to us from Victorian times in jolly old England, back when it started to get hip & fashionable to go off and explore the Dark Continent of Africa. In those days it was thought to be synonymous with “Wanderlust.” We could think of it as an impulse, along the lines of “I’ve got to get out of this place.” How it relates to the metaphor of the copier-paper-skin Gollum-teenager living in his mom’s basement, is just obvious.

Hollywood — Mr. Beatty’s “La La Land” — has been playing to this psychological malady, by playing up the Humans Are Bastards trope. If you’ve been paying attention to movies lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s been appearing a lot more often than it used to appear. That’s self-loathing on display, and it is reflective of our evolving culture in the moment. It is the ladders in the cartoon, above, sawed in half. It is the spirit of “We do it together, or we don’t do it at all.” The plague that is visited, in this month and year, upon poor Venezuela.

The next thing that happens is the glorification of instant gratification over delayed gratification. People can’t wait anymore; they have limited attention spans. Why would they not? Feeling is elevated above thought, and having to wait for things doesn’t make you feel very good. So people want to be gratified instantly — which makes them into agents of destruction. Because destruction is quicker, and more fun to watch too. It’s instant and there’s no planning involved. Like Spock said in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan: “As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.”

After that comes the valuation of security over opportunity. And this is why society cannot last long with the feeling-over-thought priority system in place. It comes back to decisions versus choices: Decisions fulfill thoughts, choices gratify feelings. Opportunity does very little to gratify feelings, although these are what make society go. They are what allow us to function. Security certainly does seem valuable to you when you don’t have any of it; but the people who thrive on it, always wanting more of it, usually are up to something and it isn’t good. If you’re doing something in your everyday life to help other people, you probably aren’t going to require too much security anyway, you’ll be making your own.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… V

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

A gentleman at work, from Pakistan, was bewildered by the events reported from “Day Without a Woman.” Taking a broader view of the protests leading up to it, and likely sputtering along afterward, he asked in a jocular sort of way if the United States is heading toward a new reality in which every single day is a “day of” something, with constant protesting by someone or another. Now I have to wonder, what am I supposed to say to that? Joking or not, he isn’t wrong…

Shrug it off, I guess. “Yep, it does seem like we’re headed in that direction.” And, it does. This leads off into a rather titillating train of thought. What makes it so?

My answer: It has to do with the much-talked-about, but oh so little-practiced, conflict resolution skills. In my time on earth I’ve read and heard much advice about this, most of it unsolicited. What I’ve learned in all that time boils down to just three basic things:

1. Pissing people off on purpose doesn’t resolve conflict. Neither does ridiculing them, mocking them, marginalizing them, condescending to them…
2. Putting people on notice that it is exceptionally quick & easy to get you pissed off & bent out of shape, also doesn’t resolve conflict. Neither does that time-honored tactic I have taken to call, “I surely must be the best-informed among the two of us in this exchange, for behold, see how incredibly hard it is to tell me anything.”
3. The above two items, against my reasonable expectations, are somehow privileged knowledge. We have a metric fuck-ton of people walking around among us, who can dress themselves, drive cars, hold jobs, etc….but demonstrate zero knowledge about them.

Ah, but this is dishonest, isn’t it. The true source of the problem is not ignorance, but apathy. The original ballad of the Age of Aquarius sang of:

Hippie ChickHarmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions…
:
peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…

What a steaming load! This age that is coming to an end now, I hope, has been marked by — protests. Front to back, stem to stern, lock stock & barrel. Protest after protest after protest, and that’s a euphemism. Show me something your local teevee news is calling a “protest,” a five-spot says I can show you a riot. A ten-spot, if they call it a “peaceful protest.”

What better example to offer than the Day Without A Woman referenced above?

On March 8, 2017, women in the United States will be presented with an opportunity. A worldwide strike has been called…They will not cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They will not clean, watch children, buy groceries, drive carpool, fold clothes, wash dishes, or have sex…They will not work the assembly line or the phones, take your order or ring you up. They will skip shifts at hospitals, universities, and labs. They will not send emails or schedule appointments, braid hair, paint fingernails, or wax groins. They will wear red, march in the streets, block bridges and roads
:
Strikes are by nature about value. To withdraw your participation in work, even for a day, is to ask others to consider the value of that work. How long can they go without it? When they lose a day of your labor, what do they lose? [emphasis mine]

It’s embarrassing just to read it. I’m guessing it was thought important to have someone on-hand to check spelling and grammar, but no one thought about sanity. Women are to withdraw their services and the rest of us are to think about how miserable we are without them and how badly we want them back again — while we sit in traffic, with a bunch of women on the bridge just ahead of us, blocking it. Should I even burn off the time & space explaining the contradiction? It seems obvious. You don’t get to make your salient point with a grand exit, charging out of the room and slamming the door behind you, leaving your abandoned audience to sit in quiet contemplation of the misery that awaits them without you — and then barge back in to throw plates & glassware against the wall. Everyone gets only one grand exit.

Still unclear? Imagine yourself sitting on the edge of a bed threading a needle, or making a sandwich, or soldering an old-fashioned circuit board, or building a Jenga tower. As you repeatedly fail with this maneuver or that one, do you start to yearn wistfully for the complementary services of the four-year-old sugared-up little shit who’s jumping up and down on the bed? Or are you more likely restraining yourself from defenestrating the little bastard? “Day without a hyperactive idiot jumping on the bed knocking over my Jenga tower” comes off looking like an appealing invitation, not a threat.

But, why should I worry about how women look blocking a bridge in front of me, stupidly expecting me to sit in quiet contemplation of my lonely life without their sexual favors. The protest is in the past. What’s not in the past is: Somewhere, they’ve got them some event-planners who are stupid, insane, or both. Most likely, these ogres are alarmingly tin-eared and self-centered. They couldn’t see the problem coming. And they’re still running things, at least, within their own sorry movements.

That’s the next thing I want to see die. We’ve survived the worst of this sorry, misbegotten Age of Aquarius, but it’s not over yet. There are still some ambient rays at twilight. There is much to fix.

These riots we see at the twilight, aren’t too different from what we saw at the dawning. These are people who want things, should be able to present a rational argument about how the common benefit of all is inextricably linked to the fulfillment of these wishes. But since they’re blocking bridges, the link either isn’t there, or they lack the intellectual capacity to present such an argument. (The cognitive dissonance required to perceive a benefit to interfering with traffic, on a day where you’re supposed to show how utterly and completely society relies on your continuing presence to continue functioning, would tend to suggest the latter of those two but it could be both.) So now…as they did back in the 1960’s when it started…they “protest” as a substitute for the presentation of this rational argument. They express their wishes, and if that doesn’t yield instant satisfaction, they lather rinse & repeat. Express the same wishes more emphatically. They are a repairman failing to achieve the desired effect of the repair, and having only one tool available to proceed with any further repairs.

Summarizing: They blocked traffic because withdrawing wasn’t enough. We can get along without cranky, nagging, unpleasant and unskilled liberal women just fine. And they knew it.

What they were trying to do, was not to do at all, but to be. It’s too late for strikes. We don’t live in an age wherein some demographic or some industry withdraws its services, and at the end of a day or two the rest of us are starving, dehydrated, sick, naked, or up to our armpits in garbage and ready to capitulate. That ship has sailed. There are really only two services people demand on a moment-to-moment basis, and those are electrical power and wireless Internet. All the rest involve some sort of reserve, which won’t be depleted until we’ve managed to find a scapegoat. “No bread or toilet paper at my local grocery store! Must be Republicans!” For all practical purposes, that means the reserves last forever, because the strike isn’t going to work if we find a believable scapegoat…and we, as a society, excel at doing that. Right or wrong, this perception is going to take all the horsepower out of the strike. Strikes are bullshit in the 21st century. You haven’t seen them achieve anything in many decades, and there’s a reason for that. They aren’t effective.

They hold an allure for the people who organize them and participate in them. All of their value is tied up in this; they are a medium of self-gratification.

The organizers, as I said, aren’t doing anything and aren’t trying to do anything. They’re trying to be. What they’re trying to be, is your Crazy Auntie Mabel…an idiom we have used occasionally around these parts

“Crazy Auntie Mabel” is an alcoholic who’s prone to temper tantrums, cannot take responsibility for her own impulse control, so everybody else has to do it for her…walk on eggshells, don’t say the wrong thing. And above all, make sure and call each other out for saying something to tick off Mabel! “Whaddya think you’re doing??”

Such a silly narrative!! And yet…it seems everyone with some working gray matter and a little bit of experience on this globe, can relate. Everyone who has an extended family, has one of these. Here & there, now & then, someone who’s said something relatively — no pun intended — innocuous, has to explain themselves. A.M. just busted my Gibson guitar and gutted my cat, WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HER?? She has outbursts, and those end up being everybody else’s problem. And responsibility.

I spoke earlier of conflict resolution, and how sometimes those who have the loudest opinions about it know the least of it. Or, are the least motivated to demonstrate that they do know anything. Where there’s an Auntie Mabel, there is a dysfunctional grouping enabling her. If she were not enabled, she wouldn’t last. So Mabel creates the dysfunctional family, or the dysfunctional family creates Mabel. It really doesn’t matter which one it is. But she starts out as a mere irritant…doesn’t remain one for very long. Those who surround her, fear the conflict more than she does. They may think they have the coveted ‘conflict resolution skills,” but these often amount to little or nothing more than figuring what Auntie Mabel wants, and giving it to her. Once that’s done, the message is relayed to the crazy old Auntie that, for whatever other tools she’s lacking to get what she wants, she can always cause conflict. And that will usually work.

So she uses this — there are no other tools available. And she gets what she wants — everyone else fears conflict, she doesn’t. Why should she?

And she gets what she wants.

Other people see her getting what she wants. She evolves into a sort of weird authority figure. And then…a role model. Now you’ve got a real problem.

This is where we are with the protests in Anno Domini Twenty Seventeen. Trump won the election. Nothing else has worked for the malcontents. They are protesting, rioting, call it whatever you want to call it, because nothing else has worked for them. So if they throw a few plates against the wall, maybe some among us will cave in and give them what they want.

If it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, there’s one thing left to do, and that’s to break more plates. And so we find ourselves arguing about more things. Your “real” Auntie Mabel will bring up that time you did, or said, such-and-such a thing…and you’ll be like “Huhwha?? I haven’t thought about that in seventeen years, WTF?” On the national stage, similarly, we find ourselves arguing about…well, you name it. Russians. Grabbing pussies. Wiretapping. Global warming. Big Bird. Hiring hookers to pee on the bed. Small hands. Big hair.

This didn’t happen overnight. It’s something that’s been developing throughout the decades…and, not that many decades. Go back a few generations, and this was not a thing. Reasoned debate was reasoned debate. It might have had a few silly things sprinkled in now & then, but you didn’t have huffiness for its own sake. If people behaved like spoiled brats, they at least had the decency to expect to be treated that way. Today, unfortunately, we have become slowly accustomed to a departure from that.

In the late 1990s I was reading Anatomy of the Spirit, a then recent bestseller by Caroline Myss.

Myss described having lunch with a woman named Mary. A man approached Mary and asked her if she were free to do a favor for him on June 8th. No, Mary replied, I absolutely cannot do anything on June 8th because June 8th is my incest survivors’ meeting and we never let each other down! They have suffered so much already! I would never betray incest survivors!

Myss was flabbergasted. Mary could have simply said “Yes” or “No.”

What might help us to bring about the final extinction of this Age of Aquarius, is to figure out what makes Crazy Old Auntie Mabel tick. She’s really just a geriatric child, who’s reached the edge of her grave site without having acquired the minimal maturity needed to resolve conflicts in any mutually satisfactory way, either by leading in a reconciliation effort or by merely participating in one. She’s like the little kid who never learned to play a board game. Hasn’t got the patience. “Wait your turn” is a complete non-starter, let alone, “Yes he gets to advance to Go and collect $200, even though he was clear back on Reading R.R.” Such things are constantly up for appeal, because paroxysms of outrage are her stock in trade, her communication device.

TriggeredThis leads, over time, to the creation of a world-view the rest of us would do well to inspect. It is a fascinating construct a more stable mind could never create deliberately, at least, not so nimbly. It’s a snow-globe, a fish-tank of sorts, with nothing outside it. So busy is Auntie Mabel with reacting to whatever is inside the perimeter, she knows of nothing on the outside. Hasn’t got the time. And this effect is enhanced by her inventory of tools at her command that she can use to express her disfavor, which is ever-expanding in assortment even though each tool in the set adheres to a common theme. But the most frequently deployed is the Expunge Tool, the Begone-With-You tool, the “stop paying attention at you” tool. She’s responsible for hermetically sealing her own environment. What exists over the horizon, out of sight, might as well not exist at all. It’s not all a politically-left thing. Auntie-Mabels who become politically active out of a concern that we’re losing our “sense of community,” are particularly vulnerable to this.

This is what the protesters are doing with their “day without” stuff. Screw you guys, we’re going home…of course, then they have to disrupt traffic, so that isn’t where they were going…

This is both an effect, and a (sustaining) cause, of the “not responsible for my behavior” thing. Mabel imagines that she, like all the rest of us, maintains a reputation formed by the perception of others of her actions, good & bad. But like the sculptor making a horse by chiseling away all parts of a block that don’t look like one, she hones this reputation by getting rid of anybody who doesn’t form the correct opinion. They go out to the cornfield. Thus, she is, and simultaneously is not, responsible for what she does.

Auntie Mabel’s understanding of money is particularly bizarre. There’s a tendency for her to take on parasitic traits, since it’s hard to be productive when you’ve never really learned how to deal with other people with their different opinions and different priorities. If you do know an Auntie Mabel, and you probably do, better-than-even odds she’s being materially supported in some way by someone else. Money, to her, is like gas in the tank, with someone else responsible for filling: You’re just about out of it, which is a pain in the ass; you might be running out of it soon, in which case maybe it’s time to show a little bit of foresight and start worrying about it early — maybe. Or, you’re not going to run out of it anytime soon. One of those three things, all the time. But there are never more than thirteen gallons or so. The cash card is never going to reach zero, the credit card has no limit, so from where does the money come? Who knows, who cares. The needle approaching “E” is just another crisis that can be used to stoke some emotion and create some conflict, there’s no cause, no effect, no planning necessary. She may find out, now & then, about other people who have more. It’s nothing more than an occasion to create more conflict. There is no means on earth by which those other people might have acquired the money honestly, of course, so they must be crooks.

The utterly irreconcilable contradiction that is at the core of her being, the defining trait that makes her what she is, is that she lives to “win” arguments — nothing else really motivates her — but she cannot stoop so low as to do any actual arguing. Just wants to skip forward to the fun part, where she says what other people have to do, and those other people go do it. You often see her peddling such non-argument arguments as “Who are you to say,” and “I refuse to discuss.” And yet she thrives on conflict for conflict’s sake. If you really want to set her off toot-sweet, just start inspecting any one of a number of things people inspect when they argue honestly, when they don’t think the details of what makes life go, are somehow beneath them. A little bit of “Yes but if it worked that way, we might expect to see X…” Or maybe some of “Yes but by that logic, whenever A we would have to conclude B.” Or: What’s the epistemology? How come it is you think you know, what you think you know?

Kaboom! Triggered!

We have that word now, because we’re all Auntie Mabel. The current generation has discovered, en masse, that in some settings there are a lot of advantages involved in being Auntie Mabel, and not too many readily noticeable downsides. Our institutions of higher learning might not like to admit it, in fact expend boundless reserves of energy to assert the opposite, but they do much to encourage life in a hermetically sealed snow-globe. And, “winning” arguments without doing any actual arguing? What’s not to like? Well…familiarity breeds contempt, and even in chic, happening places like Urban Dictionary one quickly discovers the love of sarcasm exceeds the fondness for generic lefty hipster nonsense. You see this with the top voted definition calling it “The mating call of a landwhale as it submerges from the patriarchy.” The sarcasm continues to ooze for a bit…until you get to Page 2; the first post of which puts together the siren song of Crazy Auntie Mabel far better than I ever could.

Okay, kiddos. Enough of this ‘landwhale’ bullshit. I’m about to tell you what REAL triggering is.

To be ‘triggered’ is NOT to be offended by something. It’s actually quite different from that. To be triggered is to have a certain stimulus, be it a word, a place, a person etc, set off (or trigger) a memory linking back to a traumatic point in your life (i.e. rape, a local terrorist attack, or any sort of horrible event), resulting in negative effects like anxiety attacks (and that’s just one of the many things that can come from being triggered. Trust me, it can get so much worse). It is NOT something to be treated lightly.

I’ll conclude this with a rundown of tips for if you ever come across someone who can be triggered.

1: Do not make fun of them. Triggering is a serious issue which should be treated with care and respect.
2: Do not start calling them things like ‘SJW’ or ‘Landwhale’ or whatever other bullshit you might associate with triggering. It has nothing to do with that.
3: Do not, I repeat, do NOT (I repeat again, FUCKING DO NOT) attempt to trigger them. You should already know this, but I’m saying it anyway. DON’T TRY TO TRIGGER PEOPLE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE. Don’t even consider it. You can do some serious damage to a person’s mental state if you do. You keep that in fucking mind.

Now, I’d appreciate some upvotes so we can get this ACTUAL definition of triggering to be the top definition, so no one has to see that disgustingly mean ‘landwhale’ definition again.

Do not, I repeat, do not FUCKING DO NOT attempt to trigger them you fucking asshole. The mask is ripped away. I rest my case; it’s a device for people who want to win the argument without doing any actual arguing. “I want it done like this, so don’t do it that other way or else consider me triggered. And don’t do that you fucking asshole.” Might as well be the anthem of our times.

Well…that’s not the end of the story though, is it. Since Auntie Mabel is typically unproductive, it very often emerges we have to do things she doesn’t like in order to produce things; we have to do something “that other way” in order to get anything done. It really isn’t hard at all to come up with an example or two. Burning fossil fuels to send a freight or passenger vehicle along a road, will suffice. Sometimes, to attend to our practical purpose for existing on this plane, we have to wait for Auntie Mabel to make her grand exit, slamming the door behind her, and then attend to business with her out of the way. We have to take advantage of her limited world-view, of the glass in her snow-globe. We have to wait for the toddler to cry himself to sleep so we can go back to threading the needle. Hey, it works so well! If Auntie Mabel doesn’t have something directly in her line-of-sight, it won’t exist to her. The whole thing becomes a non-issue. Enforced day-to-day by a rigid code of silence. “What did you do to piss off Mabel” quickly morphs into “What are you going to do to make sure Mabel never finds out about it.”

The net effect of this is: Auntie Mabel ends up being the one ostracizing herself, when she thinks she’s ostracizing everyone else. It’s a really sad thing. People talk about the “Uncle in the attic” that no one ever acknowledges in any way, whose presence you dread at Christmas parties and so forth. Well, she’s him. Crazy Auntie Mabel, up in the attic, all alone…where she belongs.

Day Without a Woman? Every day is a day without these kinds of women…if you want to get anything done.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… IV

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

It would be most tragic if a casual reader caught sight of my post immediately previous, in which I lament what has been happening over the last several decades to womanhood, and concluded from this that I think manhood during this same stretch of time has been doing wonderfully. The truth is I don’t think that. Or, reviewed the arc of similarly-titled posts overall and concluded I’m entirely confident about where things go from here on, under President Trump, who’s going to make everything fine & dandy, no need for anyone to worry about anything. I don’t think that either. I know there are people out there who rush to conclude this about their fellow countrymen, that these fellows have been fully assuaged, believing with Trump in charge everything is on auto-pilot. The target that is in their sites, is anybody with an opinion to share who doesn’t buy wholesale into every kooky Trump-conspiracy theory they & their compatriots have thought about peddling. Some of those theories are kookier than others, so it logically follows that their target is any & all rationally-thinking Americans. That’s an error.

They’ve been eager to point to the historical enshrinement of manly personalities into the position of the next iron-fisted dictator, most famously pointed-out in F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (for those who are too rushed to read the whole thing, you can catch the video summary here, reproduced from a cartoon series that appeared in Look magazine, 1945). This is an entirely valid concern. The problem is not one of validity, but of relevance. I have yet to meet the Trump supporter who pushes the idea that, with The Donald in charge, we can all stop worrying. If I am to be listed among them, my own viewpoint is: Heck ya, we should be worried about The Road To Serfdom under this new guy; we should have been worried about it under that other guy; we should have been worried about it under the guy who came before him, and the guy who came before him — we should maintain, and act on, a concern about this all of the time.

And I’ll go much further: It is Trump’s critics, not his fans, who are guilty of condensing complex public policy issues down into overly simplified perceptions and prejudices about gender roles. It is only normal for them to do so, because they have become acclimated to it.

No one with a name or reputation worth defending, is going to put that name or reputation under a written statement to the effect of “get rid of all masculine traits, and all society’s problems will be solved.” But, that is the sentiment being acted-upon when we see institutions of higher learning prattle on with their foolish nonsense about “toxic masculinity.” In the world that has become unnaturally familiar to us in the recent past, we can’t deliberate the distinction between these two things, because the acid test would be whether the designers of toxic-masculinity curricula would be willing to trash something that is exclusively masculine, and at the same time, undeniably good. And in merely composing such a question, you see, I’ve already lost ’em. Their culture will not acknowledge any such thing, for it’s written into the leading pages of their catechism that females can do anything males can do — at least, all of the good stuff. It’s a “soap bubble” catechism, retaining whatever structural integrity it has by way of tolerating no breaches in the perimeter. They’ll refuse to entertain any discussion of good thing men can do that women can’t do. Their stated rationale for this refusal is in identifying some woman, somewhere, who’s shown herself capable of doing whatever the good thing is, that anyone cares to name…and yes, somewhere there always will be one. But the real reason for refusing to discuss it in an honest dialogue, is they can’t afford to do so. Once you acknowledge males are innately superior at doing something, no matter what it is, even the silly stuff like playing video games, you leave the door open to the dangerously natural: Gender roles. You tacitly acknowledge that they’re a real thing, and perhaps our perfect Utopian destiny is not waiting for us beyond the point in the pathway ahead where we discard them. Maybe they’re not just garbage to be cast over the shoulder as we march confidently and progressively onward. Maybe they’re something we should keep. Maybe gender roles are even something we should, dare I say it — cherish.

So with two or three generations ticking by, society guided by a “get rid of masculinity and everything will be fine” credo that no one’s willing to say out loud, even as anyone with some authority to wield makes weighty decisions based on it, over time we have accepted the War On Boys as normal. It starts with public K-12 education, in which “boys are treated like defective girls” (0:29).

We’ve become accustomed to masculinity itself being undefined. It’s treated as a mental illness in the school-age boys, something in need of medication. Later on, we routinely see it undefined further, by way of defining opposites. We haven’t long to wait at all before someone says, with a residue of irony that diminishes asymptotically across time, “a REAL man…” and then what comes next is something a real man wouldn’t actually do. The one that appears most often is “isn’t afraid to get in touch with his feelings,” which means something stupid, like crying during a movie. Nope. Common sense provides the correct answer here, as it usually does, real men don’t actually do that. Or: cheerfully holds his wife’s purse while she hits the can at the shopping mall. Nope again. A man may love his wife, but standing there like an idiot holding a purse, with no idea of when the ordeal is over, is not living the American dream. Hate to break it to those who needed to see it, I’m sure it comes as a shock. The science is settled.

This stuff we today call “liberalism” achieved victory after victory during this time, by selling itself to the non-liberals first. To salt-of-the-earth types who respect God, and the people who share their communities with them, the types who most strongly resemble the grandparents, aunts and uncles who have earned your respect. People with actual brains, and consciences, who are way too good for what the liberals were selling them. How did liberalism manage to make inroads on this slice of Americana? Well, the obvious answer is “by lying about what it really is,” but it’s more complicated than that, and the war on boys is an apt example of this. If liberalism had been subject to truth-in-advertising restrictions, it would have had to recruit new “soldiers” into this war by saying: We want to create a climate of fear. We want men and boys to be afraid, very afraid. We want males to be teetering on the brink, forever, of losing whatever positions they have in academe, in their professions outside of it, and in society in general — or, to have lost those positions already. That is how we want to re-define what it means to be a man: There are men who have already lost it all, and there are men who haven’t but are afraid it’ll happen any minute. We want men to see what it’s like.

Had they sold it that way, it would’ve been truthful. But they wouldn’t have sold much.

The recruiters were far craftier than that. They attacked the decency angle. How do you get a decent, wholesome mother of sons, to support something that will put her sons’ future in jeopardy, all day every day, forever? When she has three, four, five or more sons she loves more than anything? How do you do that. The answer is, you make it about behavior. Enter: The so-called “objectification” of women.

Esquire UK editor Alex Bilmes got in some hot water this week when, on a panel about feminism’s conflicts with advertising, he admitted that his magazine objectifies women. As The Guardian writes,

“The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental,” he said, speaking at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Tuesday. “I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified.”

Objectifying WomenHe went on to compare pictures of women to pictures of “cool cars,” which is to say that the models are presented to men as trophies and objects for use, instead of people. The comment has churned up outrage, but really, we should be happy that Bilmes was being, to use his own words, “more honest.” Nearly everyone is or has been complicit with sexism on some level, but almost no one admits it. Seeing someone admit outright that his magazine deliberately objectifies female models is refreshing. Bilmes even used the word objectified correctly, to mean “reducing to an object,” rather than simply looking at with lust.

That’s Amanda Marcotte being charitable. But, if you follow her link back to her own article, you find she shouldn’t have done this, for she makes a point about the stop-female-objectification movement that is more against it than for it:

Objectification is reducing someone to an object, but unfortunately it’s all too often used to mean “crossing some invisible line from being attractive to being too sexy,” whatever that means.

Her point is at least definable, even though she doesn’t want to define it: Men are to bear all of the responsibility for everything. Can this be rationally denied? A man who looks at a woman can certainly do it impolitely, but it is undeniable that he lacks the power to “reduc[e her] to an object.” This is a metaphor for something else. As we go looking for that something else, we find a kaleidoscope mish-mash of lists of tell-tale signs as this social-justice warrior and that one scramble over one another, each to lend their own contribution to these newer layers of revised definition; but the one common facet to it all is making the object of objectification feel like she’s this “object,” and nothing more.

That’s why it’s all bullshit. If men are to be made responsible for the feelings of women they’ve never met, to whom they have no connection whatsoever other than that woman existing within the physical frustum of their gaze — well, they would have to be responsible for everything else too. And the woman would have to be responsible for nothing. Reminds me of the old joke about the redneck kid in the park, enjoying a nice, long, rude gaze at the temptress walking by, who chooses to confront him and demand “What do you think you’re looking at??” “What yer showin’ me,” came the unabashed reply, without skipping a beat…

Ah, that’s not polite at all. But it’s quite correct.

What’s incorrect, is that males who stare at Beyoncé exactly the same way other guys stare at someone else, are somehow innocent of a transgression of which the others are guilty, because of Beyoncé’s intentions. But that’s part of what has been lost. What a masterful move. The kindly old salt-of-the-earth mother-of-sons will fall for it every time, too, since it can be so naturally presented as instructions to your boys not to stare. What concerned mother can ever pass up a chance to refine her male progeny into behaving more like little gentlemen?

The big lie here is that it ever had anything to do with that. This was about the women who were not receiving these stares. It was “If you won’t steal a glance at me, you aren’t allowed to steal one at anybody else either.” It was Rush Limbaugh’s Undeniable Truth of Life #24.

But, good luck telling that to anyone at the time. It would have been construed as paranoid, by just about everyone, for anyone to portray this as an attack on maleness. Nevertheless, with the gift of hindsight, if we’re honest, we can acknowledge that’s exactly what it was. There’s guilt, with no crime, after all. And no one within the targeted demographic is innocent! Not even America’s First Holy President, believe it or not.

President Obama has apologized to California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris after praising her looks during remarks at a fundraiser this week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday.

“They are old friends and good friends, and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities,” Carney said during his daily briefing. “He fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance.”

Obama made the call to Harris, a potential gubernatorial candidate, Thursday night after returning to Washington from a fundraising visit to California.

At an event to benefit the Democratic National Committee earlier in the day, Obama said Harris is “brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough,” adding that “she also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

Did Barack Obama ever apologize for His prior behavior, since stepping out into the public view a decade-or-so ago, about anything else? Just one other thing? Can’t recall.

Okay so we have: Noticing something visually appealing about a woman — sorry salt-of-the-earth Mom, you were fooled, it’s not about rude staring because President Obama didn’t do that — is tantamount to a denial that the woman has anything positive going for her outside of looks. And that, in turn, is somehow the same as making her feel this way, which leads to objectification. Two equivalences. Both bullshit.

The truth is, there was nothing broken here, nothing in need of fixing. A nice, long, vulgar leer is unbecoming, but there’s nothing by way of social reform needed to fix that. People do things that are unbecoming all the time. Producing a DVD that forces me to watch all the previews is unbecoming. Calling me on the phone on a weeknight for donations, or surveys, is unbecoming. Especially when I’m in the middle of throwing a temper tantrum about a DVD produced the wrong way.

Staring may not be something that would earn your silver-haired saintly momma’s approval, but it’s also not rape. Sorry, it’s just not:

This website has seen many students, faculty members, and administrators – especially in “higher education” – say some pretty dumb and hateful things about men and boys, often with the general support or acquiescence of the academic community. It has happened so much that it is increasingly hard to top the moral contortions and blind hatred they have pushed out over the years, like an unregulated megacorporation spilling toxic waste into the public drinking water.

But this case is pushing it. Straight from the Goshen College website, on a page titled “What men can do to stop rape”:

“Don’t allow psychological rape or commit it yourself. Psychological rape consists of verbal harassment, whistles, kissing noises, heavy breathing, sly comments or stares. These are all assaults on any woman’s sense of well-being.”

That’s it, men. It’s time to come to terms with our Patriarchal Privilege™. We actually are all rapists. We just never knew it until Goshen College told us.

Of course, under this definition most (if not all) women would be rapists as well. But as Feminists & Friends have told us in the past, since rape is all about The Patriarchy™ men cannot be raped anyway.

The link no longer points to a page that actually says that. That’s the thing about this “stare rape” fantasy, it’s like a mess of cockroaches. Light hits them, they scatter. That’s another tip-off, for those who need it, that there’s something wrong with this.

Fact is, it’s natural. Men are interested in women, and women are interested in men. When you hear someone complain about that, you’re almost certainly hearing someone who wouldn’t exist if it were not true.

To the extent that the complaint is about insufficiently refined behavior, look to modern liberalism and modern feminism as the original causes. Society has provided ways to deal with these “problems,” and those preventative measures were among the first things targeted by the progressives once they found their way into unprecedented levels of power. We used to call it “role modeling,” and then the newly empowered proggies, again acting on contrived new rules they would never put together word-for-word, with an actual name or reputation underneath, came up with this new load: Who needs role models?

And is it really the case that children learn about gender primarily by observing and copying behaviour in others, as shallow ‘social learning’ theories imply? In practice, academic approaches to gender development have moved on, placing much greater emphasis on the ways in which children’s understandings of masculinity and femininity are actively shaped by diverse and changing social contexts.

The evidence that boys growing up without fathers are necessarily harmed is also unconvincing. Reviews of research on fatherhood over years suggest there is very little about the gender of the parent that appears distinctly important. Indeed, they reveal instead common factors in positive father and mother involvement or care.

Of course boys, and girls, benefit from the presence in their lives of positive, involved fathers. But it is difficult to single out fathers as making a unique contribution. Conversely, focussing on the need for a ‘male role model’ downplays the important contribution of women. Far from ‘feminising’ boys, there is evidence that mothers, grandmothers, and female siblings and friends have a significant positive impact on their development.

It is important too to ask what kind of male involvement is healthy for boys. Some boys and young men suffer not from an absence of male role models, but from an excess of limiting and destructive models. We shouldn’t therefore assume that any male role model is better than none. [emphasis mine]

This is the kind of thin rationalization that has become commonplace and accepted, in our society, in the recent past. “I can’t find anything fathers bring to the table here…certainly, nothing I could learn to appreciate.” Again we are gifted with the wisdom of hindsight. We should have been viewing such highbrow screeds as what they really are. Not essays of enlightenment from someone who can see something eluding everyone else, but rather, confessions of ignorance from someone who can’t see something everyone else can; specifically, anything good about males. When it’s taken into the tall grass of defending no-role-models as “at least not as bad as something else”…that’s pretty far gone. Lots of things aren’t as bad as something else, after all. Enslaving women is not as bad as something else.

But, we do need role modeling for boys. Without it, we are lost. No need to argue about it, we have experienced it, as a society, first-hand. How lost did we get? Well, someone has to ask the question…Captain Capitalism asked it, and did a pretty fair job of asking it.

Are There ANY Masculine Millennial Male Role Models???

I noticed something a bit odd.

Tom Cruise and Mark Wahlberg are the two main guys heading up the two main action movies in play right now. Cruise is over 50 and Wahlberg is over 40.

Where the heck are the Millennial male action heroes???

So when I tweeted this out, an Agent in the Field returned this. The top 40 or so actors under 35. And bar Captain American and Thor (both actors are Chris I believe), the rest of them a[re] pussies for god’s sake! Seriously, look at those limp-wristed, pansified girly men. Christ, the original Hans and Franz in SNL were more manly than this lot!!!!

Oh well. Millennial girls worship at the altar of feminism. I guess they got their dream come true with the men of this generation.

There’s something I’ve been noticing as well, which could explain what The Captain had been noticing. We’ve been getting punch-drunk on the spectacle of women yelling at men and the men not being able to talk back. Kinda gets back to the subject of previous post. I recall this surreal joint-press-conference being done by then-current President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, in which Obama seemed to abdicate. They both made a big deal about wrapping things up and meeting the schedule expectations of their respective shrewish wives…very telling. Seems there’s a constituency out there demanding this. Can’t get enough of the sight, or at least the idea, of a PWSHNSSMWWTF talking down to her man.

It is, perhaps, not an exaggeration to say that somewhere along the line, that’s become what masculinity is. Standing there & taking it while your wife, girlfriend, female at work, playground duty teacher, or some other female is talking down to you. And I find it rather telling: It starts with a desire to teach boys not to behave too lasciviously toward the fairer sex, to act more like gentlemen. What a laudable goal. And it ends with the ultimate extrovert holding court where he has no business doing any such thing; the modern-male ideal among those who seek to dismantle masculinity, without admitting that’s what they want to do. Bill Freakin’ Clinton. Who certainly does have his fan base; but would any among them want their sons to turn out like this? To treat women the way Bill Clinton treats women?

Honey RiderThe real tragedy is that there was no culture-conflict necessary here. If you look at it from a high level, thinking only about the essentials, most people are not involved in any disagreement about what we want. There should be a balance. Before all this shit came down, really, we had it already. James Bond, in Dr. No, supposedly the prime example of male symbolism that required reforming, first serious interaction he ever has with a female: He acknowledges Honey Rider’s presence, does not treat her as merely an object (although, arguably, the producers of the movie do), makes a promise to her that he will not steal her shells, and when her boat is filled with bullet holes promises to buy her another. And then he spends the next forty-five minutes solid dishing out to her one instruction after another after another…supposedly highlighting the need for the oncoming feminist movement. Which arrived. But did not achieve the necessary balance, of men knowing what to do, and at the same time respecting a woman’s presence, dignity, wishes, etc.

No, it didn’t provide a balance that was missing, it took one away that was there already. It replaced this delicate balance with an absolute. We can’t find male action movie role models, because male characters can’t figure out for themselves what to do & just do it anymore. That would be a remnant of patriarchy!!

The Captain has noticed a deficit, because you can’t make an “action movie” this way. Action movies, in the classic James Bond era, worked because they were at least somewhat connected to what might happen in real life. The protagonist was physically local to his challenges, and he decided what to do about them. Nowadays, a lot of these decisions have to be checked: Does the female approve? One trick that has become popular in recent years it to use the “bluetooth headset,” connecting the protagonist to a “roomful of computer nerds” who let him know what secret panel is behind what wall. And, tell him what to do next. When to duck. It looks snazzy, but it also serves the purpose of fulfilling the “action movie” fantasy of lazy, couch-entwined females: The female, safely insulated from the physical danger, tells the male what to do, and then he does it. All the vital elements of the story are told. Except for one thing: A man actually making decisions.

This is dysfunctional, because in addition to failing the test of realism in telling an action story in video form, it fails the test of fantasy as well. What level of desire do women have, for a man who is constantly asking what to do next, until all the decisions made are entirely reflective of his female overseer’s priorities, and not at all of his own? Any man with any experience dating women at all, knows the answer. Chicks hate that. Feminists won’t permit us to talk about it openly, but women have a primal revulsion against that. There are few things that get a woman aggravated faster, than when she asks something like “Where should we go eat?” or “What color should we use to wallpaper this bedroom” and gets back an answer from her stud, some variation of “Oh, I dunno…whatever you wanna do.” This actually annoys the average women more keenly than any so-called “objectification” ever can, and a hell of a lot faster. It denies her the man’s sense of identity. And evolution has built her to seek this out in a man. She doesn’t want a certain color of wallpaper, she wants his color of wallpaper, some sign that she’s making this house a home with that guy, and not some other guy. It’s why all the cultures around the world, the advanced and the not-so-much, that never had any contact with each other, use both Christian names and surnames. And, in almost all cases, inherit those surnames from the father. The actions of the individual reflect, well or poorly, on the name he’s given as an individual, and also on the family crest. Each name is an unfinished book, and these deeds are written into those books. That’s how it works. Humans, at a biological level, expect it to work this way.

Now when you have The Flash and Green Arrow sidestepping the meaningful masculine act of making decisions as the action-hero physically confronting the danger, leaving it to their distant, protected, bluetooth-connected strong-willed female computer nerds to tell them what to do next, what this does is remove the need for a male role model. How is a man to conduct himself? Well the question answers itself, now; there are no decisions to be made, just listen to the female voice on your ear bud and do what she tells you to do. But what about ethics and moral reasoning? Leave it to majority rule; decide however it seems society wants you to decide. Listen to the Loud Crowd. And, the job is done. No need to think for yourself.

There’s no use resisting it, anyway. You Will Be Made To Care.

In recent years, we’ve seen how the real crime isn’t conservative intellectual or ideological dissent but conservative emotional dissent. Mozilla’s Brendan Eich being pelted from his job, the perfidious treason of the wedding-cake bakers, the assaults on Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A, the bonfires of asininity lit every day on college campuses: These have so much less to do with an ideological argument and more to do with the new unwritten and unspoken fatwah: “You will be made to care.”

Making “emotional dissent” a crime, is necessary. A compass can only be used as a compass if it has one needle. And since liberals cannot defend the direction toward which their compass needle points with facts, logic and common sense, they have to be particularly touchy when it comes to contrary needles pointing in different directions. To make it seem reasonable that the human male is entirely lacking in purpose, they have to make it look to the casual observer like it’s always been that way.

I was reminded of this a few years back when Severian and I were targeted for retaliation by, of all people, award-winning Science Fiction author John Scalzi and his Internet-admiring pals…

Morgan quotes me, John Scalzi quotes Morgan, hilarity ensues.

Skimming through that thread is a clinic in point-missing. Or a classic illustration of Larry Correia’s first rule of internet arguing: Skim until offended. Since Morgan mentioned “pulling his man card” in the third sentence….

For the record, the following are NOT the point of that post, or my original post, or the Vox Popoli post which inspired it all.

– Ha ha, Scalzi is a weak weakling that’s weak.
– Masculinity comes in card form.
– Manhood is defined by one’s bench press.

All of that is just projection. The point is larger and simpler: It takes a tremendous amount of effort to maintain a worldview like Scalzi’s.

He claims his daughter out-lifts him. Which means one of two things must be true:

1. He’s actually been in the gym recently, such that he can make an accurate head-to-head comparison with his daughter; or
2. He hasn’t, in which case he’s just making that comparison up.

If it’s the former, he could hardly fail to notice that the average man is stronger than the average woman, and it’s not even particularly close. Even assuming Miss Scalzi is in the top 1%, female strength-wise, and trains like a demon; and that Mr. Scalzi is in the bottom 1% of male physique (or has a degenerative musculoskeletal condition or something) and has never lifted a weight in his life, he can’t have failed to notice that most of the girls are over by the little plastic jazzercise weights while the guys are throwing plates around. Maybe his girl out-lifts him, but the average girl is nowhere near the average guy, and five minutes in the gym is all it takes to see it.

In case you’re wondering about that “masculinity comes in card form” thing, I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to Scalzi’s tweet about me, which is buried behind one of those several links:

“Somehow, ‘revoking the Man Card’ doesn’t seem adequate for this.” — Dude who apparently keeps his manhood in a card.

I didn’t comment further on this at the time…but, there is a question that arises sort of naturally out of this. Where else does one keep one’s manhood? I’ve got my own answer, and a card is not it. What’s Scalzi’s? It’s necessary to know, in order to get his little jibe.

And his answer, I’m left to conclude, likely is not the same as mine…

Spot the debased beta. This won’t be a difficult test. Regular beta males aren’t always immediately discernible, but debased betas stick out like a White person in Germany.

Our case study today is John Scalzi, a quisling male emblematic of so much that has gone haywire with White American men (and their beards).

Debased BetaExhibit A: This is Scalzi’s Christmas card. He signed off on it. He approved of it. This is how he wants the world to see him.

Is this the Self-Shiv of the Week? I see two brutish women and one screeching little girl. Merry sexual inversion, everyone!

Nature abhors a T vacuum, and Scalzi, having surrendered his T to the devil for the nice life in a 98% White town, guarantees that his defensive back megawife and daughter take up the T slack. And so here they are, wife and daughter doing a man’s job and smirking like a cocky self-assured chad respectively, while the nominal male (scalzied) clasps his hands together and shrieks with delight off to the sidelines as the real men get to work.
:
The debased beta is a creature of the modern dystopian West. His kind was vanishingly rare before THEE CURRENT EPOCH, because any males in such craven, open revolt against their masculinity were bullied into social seclusion and ignored by women with anything on the ball. (Or they successfully transmogrified their effeminacy into a strength by becoming the charming dandy lover to loveless housewives.) But now they effloresce all across America’s fruitcup plains, glorified by the media, championed by disingenuous feminists, and medicated into an epicene stupor by Femme Pharma, corn, and porn.
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The handicap principle I mentioned above is a factor, but only applies to betas who don’t routinely and excessively neuter themselves, thus retaining some of the tactical value of the counter-signal. Scalzi is not one of these betas; his self-abasement is thorough, habitual, and nauseatingly ostentatious.

Another facet of the DB personality is the love for wallowing in powerlessness, reveling in weakness. This self-abnegating stance harkens the sacrifices of hermit monks or early Christian proselytizers, but the real impetus for it is the classic fear of success psychology. A lot of emasculated betaboys in Scalzi’s position don’t want to act more manly because they secretly fear improved manhood will lead them to abandon their fat wives. Affecting an air of servitude and prostration and doofusness reinforces the comfort bubble that debased betas prefer to ensconce themselves within, precluding any possibility of betterment and temptation to vice.
:
Reading Scalzi is like bathing in a vat of menstrual blood and having pure estrogen injected straight into the scrotum. One must exit Scalzi’s world through a decontamination chamber of red meat and range shooting. His sickness can’t be allowed to spread to vulnerable men. His dildology worldview is a disfigured anti-reality that will yield like buttery goodness to the shiv every time, because nothing substantial underlies it. And the Chateau will flay him, over and over, until his ugliness of mind and spirit perishes from the earth.

Somewhere, Severian was marveling at the profile difference at work here. He and I are, relatively, nobodies; I’m actually going on thirteen years now saying over and over again, “nobody reads this blog” and it’s become a catchphrase of sorts. Scalzi is famous and successful. He has no reason to deign to talk to us. And yet, he went right into this “must have the last word in everything” mode, time and time again. Which made for more posts about his strange debased-beta relationship, and still more. Maybe that’s all part of the plan. Maybe he’ll chime in, in response to this, as well. Who knows? Virtue-signalers never go half-way. They’re like the Energizer Bunnies of Internet packets.

But that just makes it all the more remarkable that the original question remains unanswered: What purpose, in their world, do men have? Biology itself is waiting on an answer. Lots of things have been eliminated; men aren’t supposed to decide things, aren’t supposed to lend their identities to anything, definitely can’t tell a woman what to do. They can squeal like little girls when their wives push calendar years off the edge of cliffs, but you know, real-little-girls can do that. So who needs men? And for what?

Bottom line is, yes something is changing here. The new Trump administration is making people feel very uncomfortable in a lot of ways, and discomfort can feel unnatural sometimes. But as Trump’s predecessor often pointed out, people can be very frightened of change, this doesn’t necessarily mean the change is a bad thing.

Maybe what’s been going on, is people have become accustomed to decisions not being made, save for the decisions that are mostly expected. There’s been a slippage of standards here. The extraordinary decisions that are hailed as revolutionary and courageous, if you look at them closely you see…there’s really no courage here. It’s not “revolutionary,” quite so much as upside-down and inside-out. Direction-less and lost, getting things backwards. The “guidance” on allowing transsexuals into the girls’ restroom (warning, video behind like auto-plays), that’s a perfect example.

A back-to-basics is overdue. Were things so bad before? Back then, a woman could show pride in being a woman, and at the same time, have some respect for men. Men could do the same; if they were proud of being men, they could still respect women. And they could make decisions. Go so far as to say what must be done — if they knew the answer. And this was not pilloried as some kind of assault on women. There was no “How Dare He??” after Indiana Jones said “I’ll make it up as I go along.” To be sure, there must have been some troubles…someone must have said something that caused offense…something to put us in the soup in the first place. But the big take-away from all this is, it’s better to do something and screw it up, even to the point of offending people, than to just scuttle along, not doing anything except squealing like a little girl with your hands squished together, for sake of not offending anybody. And then offending someone anyway. And then having to tweet about them on the Internet so you can have the last word…and pretend up is down and down is up, men are women and women are men, etc. Too much complication. There’s a lot more time and energy left over to be used for productive things, if we just see things as they really are and act accordingly. And, ya know, do stuff instead of coming up with excuses not to do stuff.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… III

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

This is easily the most fascinating story of the week. The Hill, by way of Hot Air:

Crazy Old AuntieSenate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is dismissing the GOP’s efforts to make Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) the face of the Democratic Party.

“It’s not going to work,” Schumer said of the strategy, according to Politico.
:
…Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said that the notion that Warren is the face of the Democratic Party is “ridiculous, especially when you look at voting records and where we’ve been.”

“They need a boogeyman, and they’re trying to turn Elizabeth into a boogeyman,” she said. “And I think maybe what they should worry about more is actually doing America’s work.”
Other Democrats also dismissed the strategy.

But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former chairman of the NRSC, said he thinks Warren could be a liability.

“In the states that Trump won that Democrats are running in, I can’t imagine that she helps them. I think she hurts them,” he said.

It’s kinda funny because these politicians, and other outspoken types, are trying to give the impression they’ve got the final word. Since it’s the voters who get to decide that, these amount to nothing more than predictions, and we know from last year’s events how much value to place on those…

Actually it’s funny for another reason. The democrats are scrambling to get the word out to people what opinions they should have, that this is never gonna work, that Warren “has her own brand. And I think I have my own brand…” according to one democrat quoted in the Politico story. She’s not the face of the democrat party.

Whereas, ThinkProgress was, just weeks ago, selling tee shirts and buttons to cash in on Sen. Warren’s…? Something. Not courage. “Outspokenness” might fit, if Warren had something constructive to say. “Not stopping talking” wouldn’t fit either, because she eventually did stop, once she was forced to do so and had no other choice. Her…immaturity and childishness?

Overbearing femaleThis treatment of uncivilized behavior as if it’s something desirable, just because it happens to be coming from females, is another part of this decades-long shift in our cultural milieu that I’m happy to see reversed; happy to see it die. So Elizabeth Warren has stopped being an emblem of where the democrats want to go, and that’s according to democrats. Good. That would have to mean she’s stopped being a lodestar of female behavior. That’s a change that should’ve happened long ago, back before we ever heard about her. Real women don’t act like this.

I’ve never understood this fascination with the specter of the sinister, authoritarian, unpleasant scolding female. Oh, I think I do get the basics of it: People, boys especially, have long been conditioned to defer to the petulant female if she displays the correct mannerisms. Perhaps it’s a product of evolution, and it’s certainly something inspired on the elementary school playground. We see it later on right before some really bad decisions get made. A female who finds herself supporting the wrong argument, and lacks the wisdom to self-correct, breaks out what you might call the nuclear-option of “I’m an aggravated female, and I’m about to get even more aggravated so you better do what I say.” Hey, if something has worked before, you keep using it until experience teaches you it’s time to stop using it, and the scolding seacow has yet to have that experience. I suppose we’d all do the same thing in her situation…ugly a thought as that is.

Funny, innit? We’ve been told all this time men run everything…but there was no revolution that led to this custom of females “pulling rank.” We haven’t been upsetting any tradition acting out that ritual. We’ve been following it; we do it because that’s the way it’s always been.

Well, you’ll notice from the tee shirt site that TP claims to be sold out of the product, and I don’t doubt it. This is, or at least has been, a national crisis — large numbers of people laboring under the mistaken belief that this is how things are supposed to be. That a woman’s place is to scold, and to keep talking even when she has nothing of substance to say, if only just to be unpleasant and give people headaches with her audible nonsense. Who likes this? Someone does. Or has.

It’s a terrible thing we’ve been doing to young girls. This, too, gets a jump-start way back, in elementary school. The female who is perhaps concealing her own confidence crisis, maybe struggling with body issues, discovers she’s thought by her teachers to be a “strong leader” when she simply snaps at people. And so a long arc of behavioral self-modification begins. This is awful. It borders on an actual crime. Public school often has the same effect on a “bossy” girl, that Tequila has on the over-served, except the person imbibing to excess is guilty of making an informed choice. Both practitioners then misspend long portions of their limited time upon the planet, hours in the case of the Tequila drinker, years in the case of the bossy girl — thinking everyone wants to hear everything they’ve got to say, that all their commentary is brilliant, that all their jokes are funny. No one is helped by this.

So we have a generation of teachers, who think they’ve managed to accomplish their virtue signaling, by feeding some atta-girls to the bossy-girls with manufactured self-confidence and double chins. This has given us a younger generation of females who, as they went through their formative years essentially discovering who they’re supposed to be, settled on the idea that their purpose in life is to give other people headaches. Over the decades, we have come to accept this as normal. You know, there’s really no excuse for this. The pathway to maturity could have been corrected at any time. A teacher might have taken aside one of these BITs, or Bitches In Training, and shared with them the observation that their obnoxious mannerism and overbearing voice failed to convince the opposition this time, so let’s look into the structure of an argument, learn some new things about how to persuade. This would have capitalized on what went wrong, and course-corrected toward the vision of wise, informed, clear-thinking female leadership. Well, if it was done, it wasn’t done often enough was it? Because today we have Elizabeth Warren.

TermagantWho has, certainly, been the symbol of democrats and what they want to do. Schumer, Heitkamp, et al know this. They’re making deceptive arguments, arguments crafted for consumption by an audience that knows some but remembers nothing. People who look at it through a straw.

And it’s not just Senator Warren. Patty Murray, Kamala Harris, Sheila Jackson Lee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maxine Waters…

Celebrities: Oprah Winfrey, “Queen Bey,” most of the women on The View, all sorts of female “comediennes” making vulgar “jokes” that aren’t funny about their own intimate body parts. This is one of those things where you see how society’s going off in the wrong direction, how many people are being hurt by the errant decisions being made, only after a cultural fad has worn thin. Some of us have been in the “right” place, or more accurately the opportune place, for this to have worn thin on us from the very beginning. Now, I guess, is the time where others are just starting to get it: Being an obnoxious, overbearing jerk is not a desirable quality in a man, so the same thing in a woman…right. Now you get it. It’s no more helpful than that, and NEVER should have been any more appealing. To anybody.

See, our first instincts are to ignore people who are unpleasant by choice. This is correct. Overall, you’re going to find they’re being that way because they don’t have your interests at heart, and in fact, aren’t the least bit shy about showing it. And, they’re putting a lot of weight on how they say something, because they themselves know they haven’t got much of substance to say. They are wounded, incomplete people and the right way to treat them is to help them grow out of it, try to repair the wound, fill in what’s missing, if that’s possible. And if it isn’t possible, then the next best thing is to ignore them.

Don’t marry them. Good Lord no. And don’t elect them. What, are you on crack or something? But it’s been so popular up until now. Glad to see the change.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… II

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

It’s a good time to put some diligent, scrutinizing thought into a subject we’ve revisited often in these pages, namely what the heck is/was this stuff described in today’s day & age with the word “liberalism.” It’s not a simple question. And no, we can’t rely on the textbooks. In this era of the Trump administration honeymoon, liberals are more-or-less identical to the textbook definition of conservative. They respond to incentives, material & otherwise, to cling to the last vestiges of a power structure that has outlived both its usefulness to us, and, God willing, its own naturally sustained life span. This is a subtly different question from what exactly was the Obama era, a challenge I imposed on myself soon after the elections.

I lately came across a graphic I think captures it rather nicely…

Pictured is the California State Senate President Pro Tem, who had some interesting things to say a few days ago about illegal immigration and why we’re obliged to put up with it and pretend it isn’t happening. He seemed to be confessing to a great number of his relatives being in the country illegally, with his full knowledge and maybe even with his full support. We can debate the propriety of that elsewhere, but the fixation of the instant is the other aspect of the image: While all this is going on, our friends the liberals are passing all sorts of very questionable gun control laws and those are to be taken heart-attack seriously, by everyone, everywhere. And all of the time. Law-of-the-land, and all that.

This inconsistency supports some of the primary ingredients I’ve gleaned from the modern-liberal stew over the years: Maturity problems; a failure or unwillingness to define things; the elevation of emotion above reason in critical decision-making. The first of those three refers to — let’s just go ahead and admit it — poor parenting. Liberals, and centrists who are seriously considering becoming liberals, simply weren’t parented the right way and they didn’t learn the virtue of delayed gratification. We see them “protesting,” which more often than not means rioting, because they want something. Just like with a wild animal, that’s all there is. What they want, what they have already, and the difference between those two. That’s on their minds. Nothing else. They want illegal immigration to be legal, or at least, unrestricted; they want guns to be illegal, or more to the point, gone. Having control over only a part of the question of what becomes a law and what does not, they’re left deciding autocratically from one moment to the next what laws should count, and what ones should not. Just like your spoiled rotten and borderline-retarded cousin deciding moment to moment when it’s okay for players’ tokens to collect $200 for passing Go. Wait, that’s no exaggeration, is it? Failure to accept the results of a presidential election are a THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY…until, whoops, it turns out Trump won and Hillary’s fans are the ones who have to accept defeat. Time to riot. Say hello to your spoiled retarded cousin…

It’s said that any derogatory observation made against liberals can be fairly made against at least one conservative, somewhere, and I’m sure that applies here. At least, at first blush. Mr. De Léon’s counterpart on the conservative side would be someone who thinks the new gun laws are stupid, and these would not be hard to find, but that’s not good enough. We’d need to go further and find someone who’s willing to break these laws…and, I suppose, be proud of doing so. This would thin the field somewhat, but I’m sure we can fill the bill. Even after that, though, differences remain. These differences help to illustrate what exactly a liberal is, and why it’s so important to the country that we make sure their best days are in the rear view mirror.

This conservative who regards the duly ratified gun control law as a waste of his time and stupid, and decides to play pick-and-choose about which laws he’s going to bother to follow — it isn’t quite the same attitude as the Sanctuary City liberal. Is it? The disrespect for the rule of law is not quite so pure. In fact, if we look into it we’re likely to find there’s no disrespect for the rule of law at all. We’re far more apt to find a considered sequencing in effect. Something rather like a motorist stuck behind a red light in the backwoods at 2:30 in the morning, that remains bright cherry red minute after minute, with no other traffic around, eventually deciding to run it to make a red-eye flight. Here in the Golden State, a lot of these “common sense regulations” directly contradict the effective use of a sidearm for home defense. So what you should expect to find, is someone who fancied themselves to be put in the position of choosing between the safety of his family, and the law. And came to a conscious decision that the whole point of the law is to protect the innocent, therefore a law that puts the innocent in jeopardy is an unjust law.

This is not the same as your no-borders liberal who simply selects against the law he doesn’t like, as a child would select against vanilla ice cream because he prefers chocolate. Conservatism is occasionally clarified as the “law and order” ideology, but this is an oversimplification. It’s more like this: We have laws to preserve civilization. Conservatism itself, also, is there to preserve civilization, as I said before:

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.

These people we today call “liberals” have not had a new idea in, depending on your specific topical focus, between a half- and a full-century or more. And it is they who are clinging with bloody fingertips to a receding entrenched legacy power structure. But they remain revolutionaries, and the one thing that unites all sorts of revolutionary movements is this idea of creating a whole new kind of civilization by way of destroying the civilization they find today. They are destroyers. Somewhere, in the middle of that short, straight, slippery pathway between reasonable open-minded moderate and ideologically crystallized liberal, there is some moment of embrace of the impulse of destruction. Perhaps it’s that inability to come to terms with delayed gratification. One nice thing about destruction is that it’s quick and easy.

But there’s more to it than that. I remember a year ago I paid a gardener to dig up the hump in my front yard and level the whole spread, so I could repeat the year-plus of backbreaking labor from the year before on the plain dirt that remained, work which was now nullified. We do this in software development a lot, certainly more often than we’d like. We put a stop to good money being thrown in after bad. “Everything on top of & therefore after this level down here, has been a waste, we are only just now admitting it. Let us dismantle down to this level, and repeat all the blood sweat & tears invested above & after that moment, so we can get it done right.” So I guess twenty layers of evolved civilization must be like twenty digits of an irrational number computed after the decimal point; mess up the third-or-fourth position, everything you did afterward is garbage. The choice that confronts you at Position 20, today, is anguish or more anguish. Admit to this unpalatable thought sooner, you waste less energy. In its own way, it makes a lot of sense.

But the liberal does not seek to conserve expenses or labor by admitting to historical mistakes more quickly. Oh no. Not even close.

The liberal who chooses to break our immigration laws, is distinguished from the conservative who chooses to break our gun control laws, by the lack of any sense of trade-off. The conservative believes in civilization, which means among other things protecting the innocent from those who would do them harm, by way of negligence or malicious intent. Civilization has, unfortunately, embraced a bad law. So just like me paying good money to have a huge ugly hump, along with the fruits of my year of wasted labor, carted off in a truck…and just like the mathematician who has to swallow his pride and re-compute the sixteen digits after the fourth one all over again…he sacrifices.

The liberal doesn’t sacrifice. Whether his identification of these surface garbage-layers constitutes sound reasoning, or is an empty rationalization, or anything in between — he tolerates no sacrifice in arguing for their destruction. This flensing serves his ultimate goal, even though it’s only a fractional approach. It diminishes that which the liberal seeks diminish, which is civilization as we have defined it up to this point.

They really aren’t liberals at all. They aren’t “progressives,” either. They’re destroyers, plain and simple. They were destroyers back in the early days after JFK’s assassination when they found new acceptance and power on our national stage…they are destroyers in this very moment, as I type this sentence. Every single minute in between, they have been destroyers. Whether they’ve realized it or not.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius…

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Andrew Klavan is wondering something

Mainstream news journalists — by which I mean that collection of Democrats employed by large corporations to push the sort of big government that prevents small corporations from competing with them — have been breathlessly speculating that the recent “Women’s Marches” around the country may be the beginning of a movement. The marches, funded in part by anti-American globalist billionaire George Soros, called forth such headlines as “Cathartic Moment or Enduring Movement” and “Women’s March Activists… Seek To Build a Movement.”

No one knows the future, of course, but I can’t help wondering if the marches, large as they were, were not rather the end of a movement, a fond farewell to an amalgam of obsolete leftist causes that either never had a reason to exist in the first place or have lost whatever reason they might once have had.

The Left, has we have come to know it, has been not quite so much a movement as a tired retread narrative. Should be easy to capture it by now, let me give it a shot. Let’s see…Young, idealistic and energetic revolutionaries are rebelling against the reality that an entrenched aristocracy consisting of rich old people and clergy are hoarding all of the wealth and the power for themselves. The egalitarian future boldly confronts the stagnated & halcyon past, and prevails. Along the way, we’re all called upon to embrace certain irreconcilable contradictions, like: We’re all going to be a lot better off when limited resources are redirected to enrich people who don’t even value material things. And, these young idealistic crusaders are ably represented by increasingly geriatric has-been hippies who haven’t had a single new idea amongst the whole lot of ’em in the better part of a century. And, the economy runs much moar-better when there are higher taxes. We’ve got to become a more color-blind society, and the best way to do that is to pay close attention to color when we think about hiring, promoting, contracting with & educating people.

It’s all a bunch of gelatinous nonsense, held together by the bitter tendrils of resentment. At its core, are the notions that unproductive people should be able to pull rank on the people who actually produce things, and tell them how to do their producing. And, the premiere asset of any sovereign nation is its tax code, which should be based on resentment and hate. If you happen to be rich, you must have stolen it. Unless you happen to be one of the rich people who lean left. And then you’re wonderful.

Another trademark of a dying movement is moral hyperbole geared toward keeping obsolete grudges and complaints alive. There is no one in prison in America for being black. People go to prison for committing violent crimes. The fact that blacks commit a disproportionate number of those crimes may be explained in any number of ways, but it’s pure fantasy to claim (as Barack Obama so often did) that systemic, institutional racism continues to exist.

Yes…nobody is actually succeeding or failing anywhere, the differences in standard of living must all have something to do with discrimination. Unless those differences happen to be pointed the right way.

Ask not why the left is dying. Ask instead why it’s taken so long. This reflects poorly on us all…those who sustained it, those who merely tolerated it…we are all stained.

I’m glad you’re dead, you vicious bastard…

Really Going to Miss This Old House

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

So I guess we get to vote on CalExit in 2019. I plan to vote “Not only Yes, but Hell Yes,” even though it would mean we have to move. Yes, I hope California secedes and furthermore I hope it builds its own wall.

We’ll just have to order up the U-Haul and beat feat to Texas, or South Carolina, or whoever will have us. And our guns. And has some coastline. Before that giant door slams shut.

I expect I’ll be able to take Mrs. Freeberg with me, so I’m going to miss this house most of all. I like the half-bath adjoined to the garage, what I’ve taken to calling the “gurgling intestines bathroom” or the “OMG OMG I don’t think I’m gonna make it” bathroom. Nice feature. And I really appreciate how I can peel the socks off my feet on the living room couch, wad them up in a ball, wind up like a pitcher and chuck them up to the 2nd-floor balcony. This is cool too, but I’m sure we can find houses with the same thing out in Texas.

CalExitThis is the wall, greater & grander and maybe even more-badly-needed than President Trump’s wall at the Mexican border. This is the wall that divides conservatives from liberals. We just happen to be on the wrong physical side of it, for now. This is the wall that might very well prevent another civil war. Do I exaggerate? Then tell me, what is the alternative.

As someone else very astutely noted somewhere, liberals have no interest in elections in this day & age — just look at their reaction to the one we just had.

They have to run “everything”…but, they’re incurious dimbulbs, by & large, way too preoccupied with their virtue-signaling to take the time to define “everything.” You know anyone like this in your extended family? Every family seems to have one character like this. Sticking their nose into something that’s none of their concern, starting fights, but as long as they don’t find out about it it’s all good…so everyone else starts to keep secrets from them, because over time it’s been learned by all that that’s the solution. Just put Crazy Auntie Mabel in a snow-globe, of sorts, let her think the world is tinier than it really is. That, too, is an apt description of today’s liberals. If they find out little kids are being taken to church on Sunday mornings somewhere, they’ll start fights and they’ll get into that pit-bull mode of “This argument’s not over until it’s over the way I like it to be over.” But first, they have to find out about it. So we put them in little jars, shrink their little worlds, keep them from finding out about too much, and it’s all good.

They can have their smaller version of “everything.” With a big high wall built around it. I’ve been calling for this for years and years.

And the rest of the union can have presidential elections every four years after that…with 55 fewer electoral votes going to the “Fuck you I want my num nums” party.

If California is its own country, President Trump would be trespassing upon it with that particular section of the wall. California would be within its rights to tear down that part of it, to declare itself a sort of “sanctuary nation.” They can see how well that works out for them, and really show the rest of us how it’s done. With their vast abundance of cheap underclass “legal but illegal but not really” labor…square mile after square mile of fertile farmland…NO FUCKING WATER oh oops, did I type that out loud?

Update: So…if it’s true what I’m hearing, that our friends the granola-eating Moccasin-wearing CalExit-backing liberals have no interest in a good-sized chunk of the state, and just want their cherished parts that don’t interest us real Americans anyway…then maybe we can work it like this and not have to leave our home…

Clicky to embiggen.

I learned from dealing with one of my exes, that whoever takes the trouble to come up with definitions first can usually sway the deal, and without even starting an argument over it. Play your cards right, you can fool the other side into thinking it’s their idea. So — we should, no question, see to it Angel Island is on our side. Ditto for Hooters in Dublin, since I like the way the place is managed. The libs can have Berkeley, and Stockton too. For the rest of the line-drawing, up to the state of Nevada, we can just follow Highway 4.

We get the wine, they get the whine. Everybody’s happy. Except for the thing with San Diego. I noticed San Diego is loaded up with crazy-hot, but not-crazy, female persons…if you can believe that. They do exist. That’s just the thing, though, I’m married to one of the hot-but-not-crazy ones, so I’ve got no use for gorgeous San Diego girls.

And this way we get to keep the house. The Missus has a lot of time & trouble invested in our wind chimes.