Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Coup Dreams Dying

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Kurt Schlichter writes at Townhall:

You liberals and your Fredocon lackeys need to get this through your heads. You are not purging this guy. He’s purging you. Just look at James Comey, who has gone from Tower of Integrity to Looming Doofus. The winding trail from the bottom of that famous escalator to right here and now is littered with the twitching bodies of those who thought they could take on The Donald and win.

And it’s a delight to watch you hacks go nuts about it.
:
It’s got to frustrate liberals and their Never Trump buddies to know that they are never deposing our elected chief executive. Nor are they ever putting any of these innocent people in jail, and that means the Deep Staters can’t effectively intimidate them into giving false testimony, sadly something the feds have shown themselves willing to do again and again to convict people they dislike.

This whole campaign to undo the 2016 election is a scam and a fraud and we all know it, but unlike the principled Decorumcons who refuse to see the truth of the putrid corruption within their beloved Beltway, Donald Trump (and those of us who support him) feel absolutely no obligation to go along with the charade that this isn’t a corrupt, slow-walking coup pushed by a disgruntled establishment. Our “system” is not endangered by us calling out the lies, or by the President using his power to prevent and/or correct manifest injustices. The danger is the corruption.

They’ve hurtled past the point where there is the appearance — at least the appearance — that the “coup” has nothing to do with principles at all, and everything to do with keeping the public from finding out about something. At least, that’s how it looks to me. I don’t know if that’s how it looks to the country-at-large. I’m sure it doesn’t look that way to them, and they’re falling prey to False Consensus Effect.

I’m also sure of something else: They’ve lost the battle of the hearts & minds of the “big middle,” those among us who don’t pay attention to politics, or pay attention only casually. They’ve lost possession of the “default ideological positioning.” The rib-rib nudge-nudge we-all-know sense & sensibility, that The Donald has to go and it’s only just a matter of time. This looks like what it is: There is a swamp that doesn’t want to be drained, defending itself with tooth and claw. If it were not Trump arriving to drain it, the oh-so-righteous attacks would be directed at whoever else it would be. That’s always been true in substance. But it looks that way in appearance as well. This is a bigger loss to them than the actual election.

They’ve got the speech all worked up, drafted, finalized, memorized, rehearsed and re-rehearsed: Sorry the representative of whatever it is you’ve got to say, had to be impeached for being a Playboy, or sleaze bag, or slope-forheaded Cro-Magnon retrograde, or insufficiently stable/enlightened. Go find another one! We eagerly look forward to finding out what your message is, once you find a suitable messenger for it! But there’s no opportunity for delivering it because the removal has yet to take place.

From here on, they go full-throttle, further & further past that point of no return…wondering why public sympathy is moving away from them…

The Hard and Soft Power

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

So this squish does a surprisingly fair job of looking at the whole not-controversy controversy of “men looking at women.” I call him that because he comes out and says “I admit that I find a beauty pageant to be derogatory toward women,” which is something I find to be just silly. I envision a line here; “Women should be treated with respect” doesn’t cross it, “Women are deserving of the same opportunities as men” doesn’t cross it, but usually anything having to do with “Men shouldn’t look at women” does. I take offense against their offense.

Beautiful women? I’m not supposed to look? Or if I can’t get away from the sight, I’m not supposed to like what I see? That’s just dumb. Any and all variations of this are preordained to be daffy, dumb and unworkable. How are you going to enforce? And beauty pageants? They are what they’re called, nothing more or less. They’re celebrations of female beauty. Who’s against that? Point them out to me. I don’t want those people deciding anything that affects me or anyone else.

But then he says some very well-thought-out, rational things.

Male humans tend to be visual in their sexual interests, not unlike female birds. Yes, I get it that this has led to a host of problems for women trying to live up to photo-shopped ideals, but the vibrancy of the pornography industry suggests that this is not about to change any time soon. Instead of looking for pro-social ways for men to gratify their visual interests, however, the Left seems to say that men should not have these interests at all. The Left seems to say that since all rape starts with sexual interest, all sexual interest must lead to rape. The Left seems to say that if a man enjoys a woman’s looks, that must be all he enjoys about her…

Female BeautyNo system of values — psychological, political, or moral — can work by ignoring reality. Human aggression and men’s visual sexual interests are often treated, especially by the Left, as dispensable inconveniences rather than as core elements of the human condition.

You know, the thought occurs to me. This doesn’t have anything to do with sex, or men & women, at all. Not really. It’s about power. Haven’t we been learning that the hard way for years and years now?

“He looked at me/her and made me feel uncomfortable.” The Human Resources and legal wheels grind away, fast or slow, and when it’s over the offending ogler is dutifully punished, and removed. But the insecure-feeling person is still feeling insecure. The work environment is NOT made any more inviting or comfortable for anyone, compared to how it was before. In fact it is considerably less so. Men still appreciate the sight of a good looking woman, and why shouldn’t they? So no human vices were cured. And was it ever a vice?

We’re all here, I’ve said before, because some man did so appreciate.

No, to understand this, we have to understand power. Power is allocated according to two different systems, which we might think of as a “hard” way vs. a “soft” way. The hard way has definitions. Og the Caveman gets most of the meat, because he’s the one who killed the beast. The boss says you gotta go, he owns the company. For every milligram of power or privilege somewhere, there’s a commensurate milligram of responsibility or achievement to go with it.

The “soft” way is the province and invention of the undefiners, those pitiful wretches who live among us who bristle at the formation of new definitions we’ve figured out we need, and busy themselves mostly with efforts to eradicate the definitions we have already. It works on the wavelength of wink-wink nudge-nudge we-all-know. What s/he wants s/he gets, everybody knows!! It’s [insert name here]’s world, the rest of us just live in it. So it’s cult-of-personality power, “magical-person” power. We could call it “Oprah” power?

With this understanding of the schism within the concept of power, we see this is no longer a man-woman issue. Both men and women work with and perceive power according to the “hard” rules explained above, and both men and women work with and perceive power according to the “soft” ones. Our passions are here, not in some battle between the sexes. “Up with men/women, down with women/men” is something for the third-grade playground. Nearly all of us left it behind way back there.

The undefiners, both men & women alike, are laboring to build a world they can never have. “I don’t want you looking at pretty women because I want YOU TO SEE women this way, and I want YOU NOT TO SEE them that way.” This means the object of derision is inextricably intertwined with the goal, and can never be vanquished, can never go away. If the ogling male were ever to go away, there’d be nothing to reform, no righteous struggle to engage. It might feel good to defrock some powerful man of his status, occupation or social position, but it’s only like a cocaine addict and his latest snort. What’s the dog do after catching the car?

So they need us. We don’t need them.

Of course, since they’re constantly making new rules for us to follow and not too much else of anything we could use…we aren’t allowed to discuss this. It’s not really necessary for us to do so. It’s simply true. They have goals that depend on our continued existence…our goals are to get something done, which we could do quite handily without them around.

The single most memorable line in The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, addresses this directly. The villain Ellsworth Toohey confronts the hero Howard Roark, with the confirmation that Toohey has been destroying Roark’s prospects and livelihood. He then demands to know, “What do you think of me?”

Roark replies, “I don’t think of you.”

That’s the situation. Those who seek power this way are never going to have it. Those on the other side, we who rely on power being connected link-for-link and dram-for-dram with associated responsibilities…don’t think of them. We don’t think about the wink-wink nudge-nudge ethos of power-sharing. We can’t afford to, we don’t have time. We have work to do.

Beethoven’s Beatings

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Seems unfair to climb up on a soapbox over one careless paragraph jotted down in an otherwise adequate & informative biography, but I had a thought while reading this

Beethoven had two younger brothers who survived into adulthood, Caspar, born in 1774, and Johann, born in 1776. Beethoven’s mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, was a slender, genteel, and deeply moralistic woman. His father, Johann van Beethoven, was a mediocre court singer better known for his alcoholism than any musical ability. However, Beethoven’s grandfather, godfather and namesake, Kapellmeister Ludwig van Beethoven, was Bonn’s most prosperous and eminent musician, a source of endless pride for young Ludwig.

Sometime between the births of his two younger brothers, Beethoven’s father began teaching him music with an extraordinary rigor and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life. Neighbors provided accounts of the small boy weeping while he played the clavier, standing atop a footstool to reach the keys, his father beating him for each hesitation or mistake.

Heartbreaking, right? Can’t you just see his little chin trembling…

But then,

On a near daily basis, Beethoven was flogged, locked in the cellar and deprived of sleep for extra hours of practice. He studied the violin and clavier with his father as well as taking additional lessons from organists around town. Whether in spite of or because of his father’s draconian methods, Beethoven was a prodigiously talented musician from his earliest days and displayed flashes of the creative imagination that would eventually reach farther than any composer’s before or since. [emphasis mine]

I’m actually less interested in the child abuse suffered by young Ludwig 240 years ago, than I am in our current insanity. Can’t help but think “Why in God’s name would you write something like that?” After all, the entry begins not with the observation that Beethoven was merely “prodigiously talented,” but rather…

Ludwig van Beethoven (December 16, 1770 to March 26, 1827) was a German pianist and composer widely considered the greatest of all time…

Awkward truth is still truth. Beethoven’s dad was a world-class jerk who beat the shit out of him, and after suffering through that abuse, Beethoven grew up to become the greatest composer of all time. Or, Beethoven, the world’s greatest composer, became that in the aftermath of a miserable childhood filled with beatings whenever he hit the wrong note. Ah, many would look with disdain upon any any written summary that actually records it that way; but that’s the truth, that’s what happened. I guess we don’t just come out and say it because we’re worried about social ramifications, all those dumb dads out there who might say “Hey, if I beat the crap out of my little Johnny or Susie maybe I’ll end up being the father of the world’s greatest whatever.” Can’t have that, of course.

So there is a rationale, and I don’t take issue with it. I do find qualms with the all-or-nothing, positive-or-negative lens through which the matter is so casually viewed. We don’t stop at “no beatings,” do we? We can’t! Our “don’t say that” hot button has to expand, like an inflating circus tent, to cover reprimands, remonstrations, mid-course corrections, time-limit expirations — in short, every single message an instructor, or reality itself, might deliver along the lines of “not quite good enough, try again.”

Also, the thing we’re trying to make true isn’t really true. Let me see if I can bottom-line it: “We put our kids on the path toward excellence, not by rebuking them, but by nurturing them.” Some would actually put it that way, some would word it differently but ultimately produce something similar, to very-close.

It’s just not true. Nor is it harmlessly false. It is a detriment against human potential, just one of many counterproductive things we tend to do to make women nod.

I recently finished a laundry hamper cover my wife wanted, and like many of the carpentry projects that end up being a win, this one had some heartbreak in it followed by a walk-of-shame back to the building supply store. I had to fashion a new lid after I bent the blade in my jigsaw. The first lid I built was hopelessly marred as a result, after having absorbed the efforts involved in a perfect bore-drilling and sanding job. It was a real thing of beauty before the mishap. So I’m relieved to have the project done because it spent way more time in the half-built stage than it should’ve, and in that interim we lost a lot of usable volume out of the garage. On the second go everything went perfectly. And I learned nothing. This is how it works. We try, we screw up, if we’re properly humble then we learn from it, and eventually we learn enough to succeed…during which time, we don’t learn anything. We don’t learn when we win. We learn when we fuck up and admit to ourselves the necessity of starting over again.

My point is not that if you want your child to succeed, or become the best ever, you have to beat him. That would be nuts. But — not as nuts as seeing what happened with Beethoven, and saying to yourself “the lesson is clear but I don’t like it, so let’s pretend it was something different.” That really is nuts, and it’s become a commonplace way of thinking, unfortunately. No, my point is to maintain an awareness of the positive versus the negative. “Our kids become champions because we hug them” is not positive. It shames parents and mentors who would offer constructive criticism, and criticism is how we grow. Once the kids grow and aren’t cute anymore, the “hug the baby or I’ll shame you” crowd will disperse, there will be no sign of them anywhere…but it will be too late because the no-longer-cute was-a-baby will be out of his formative years. And what you have then, is a culture in which there will be no Beethovens, guaranteed. Can you imagine anything more negative short of genocide?

Conversely, “We learn when we fuck up, we don’t learn when we win” is not negative at all. It is positive. It is proximately close to a guarantee that your honest efforts will always be going toward something. Either the goal you had in mind, or the learning you needed to do anyway. What could be more positive than every-effort-counts? It’s liberating, when you think about it.

Nine Toxins That Are Currently Killing Civilization As We Know It

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

1. Rules that put unproductive people in charge of how productive people may do their producing.

2. Shallow egotists seeking broad dictatorial powers grounded on narrow fields of interest & understanding.

3. The right to “free speech” held sacrosanct for the benefit of “protesters” who don’t actually have anything to say.

4. The balkanization that naturally results from people relying on many different spoken & written languages.

5. Youth-worship, Weaponized Arrested Development (WAD) and the abnegation of maturity.

6. The targeting of identifiable classes for special obligations, special protections and/or special privileges.

7. The erasing of history from the public’s consciousness.

8. The notion of conscience without piety.

9. The intent to exist within a community without being a part of it.

Ten Things That Have Zero Effect on What the Truth Is

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

1. Whether people find out about it.

2. Whether people agree with it.

3. Whether a majority are willing to vote for it.

4. How people feel about it.

5. How people behave after someone says it out loud.

6. Whether someone with public visibility is compelled to apologize for saying it.

7. Whether advertisers bail in the wake of a boycott after it gets said.

8. Whether or not it’s polite to say it around children.

9. Whether or not it would make a good movie.

10. How it will or will not play out, with “the [insert name here] community.”

Seven “Alternative Facts” That Have Nothing Alternative About Them

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

1. The feminist movement was designed & is intended to hurt men.

2. Gun control advocates do want to take away our guns.

3. Steve Sailer was right, political correctness is a war on noticing.

4. Income inequality is usually okay.

5. The Establishment Clause does not require Christian symbols to be removed from public view.

6. You’re male if you’re born male, and you’re female if you’re born female.

7. Given that criminals will offend, it’s logical for them to do so where there are no guns.

Let’s Call it “Men Are Not the Enemy” Month

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

We have to talk about the women. Appropriate for now, I suppose, since the National Women’s History Project has successfully lobbied Congress to recognize March as Women’s History Month.

One of the biggest dangers to the continuance of civilization as we know it, right now, is the fusion between militant left-wing political activists, and the casual observers. The “moderates,” the “big middle,” decent, good-hearted people who don’t pay close attention to politics but know when they do & do not agree with something. Our salvation lies in driving a wedge between those two sides. Which sounds sinister, but is actually the correct mission statement. Work at it without apology where you can. The political left shouldn’t even come into contact with decent people, let alone be able to energize them or to recruit from them. They don’t deserve them. They’re not worthy.

Issues having to do with female empowerment, and female safety, have a mesmerizing effect upon these decent and good-hearted people. Which I suppose is only to be expected. It’s part of the definition. Civilization, as I wrote somewhere lately, must have begun with motherhood. At least, one-third of it, the part that has to do with “I’m not going to conk you over the head and take your stuff because I don’t want you or somebody else to do that to me.” It must have begun with this implied contract having a measurable effect on the behavior of the strong man who would otherwise be acting like a brute, and this must have begun with “I can go out from my cave and conk other people over the head, but in order to do that I have to leave someone behind, in the cave.” And that must have been the mom. Of course I wasn’t there to see it happen or anything, but process of elimination tells me it must be so, and I see it hard-wired into the behavior of people. The very idea of a woman, left defenseless and at the mercy of a strong male who wishes her harm, galvanizes people. People who just got done snickering at some poor weak husband who must endure physical beatings from his wife and can’t do anything about it. The same situation, with the roles reversed, horrifies them. Suddenly it isn’t funny, and not only that, they’re energized into a something-must-be-done state. And they don’t show this bias just to earn approval from others, it’s something internal.

Of course, the quickest and most effective way to get something done about that, is to get a gun into that woman’s hands and train her to properly maintain and use it. So perhaps it’s merely an oversight on the part of the NWHP that in the roll of 2018 honorees I’m seeing abortion activists, gay-rights activists, illegal-alien sympathizers, et al…but I’m not finding any gun-rights activists. But the frosting on the cake is that they went with that awful theme. “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” What were the proceedings like, as they pondered this, I wonder. Oh to be a fly on the wall. And what about these bombastic buzzwords making reference to physical confrontations? Fight. Win. Refuse. Power. Action. “…and of believing that meaningful and lasting change is possible in our democratic society.” Might I suggest, if you’re having trouble getting that last point circulated, maybe skip a few of these subliminal implications that interested women must engage in fisticuffs in order not to be interrupted by people who aren’t women?

Hold All These FeelzOur evolving society has become quite interested in hearing what women have to say, quite enamored with finding out what women have to say. It is a society that, as Bill Maher once said during his very rare and brief interludes of saying sensible things that are true, is “based on making women nod.” Women are not getting interrupted, en masse, by ritual. If anything, it’s the men who are being subjected to that. “Nevertheless she persisted” has its own Wikipedia entry, which happens to be accurate, so there’s no excuse for anyone to lumber onward in ignorance of the back-story. The phrase is in “honor” of dishonorable Senator Elizabeth Warren, who broke the rules and wouldn’t shut her dumb mouth when a male Senator would have been obliged to do exactly that or else face even more stringent consequences. It has become a rallying cry for malcontents. It has nothing whatsoever to do with making “meaningful and lasting change…in our democratic society.” Nothing at all. It is the opposite of that. It is the elevation of one’s own feelz, above the rules that are obligatory upon and effectively constraining all others.

Was there no one to make mention of this?

Best case scenario: The Project attracting women and womens’-activists from all sorts of different walks of life, someone was there to point out the dichotomy and the problems that it creates, and a reasoned deliberation followed which was short or long, but in either case the saner voices got outvoted and the Project made this daffy decision. Worst case scenario: The Project does not attract interested persons from any diverse range of backgrounds, it’s just a left-wing echo chamber and no one saw anything wrong with it at all. This would mean, the Project does not have what it takes to distinguish an egalitarian society from the destructive forces that would dismantle it from within, and it’s up to the rest of us to make & act on that distinction on their behalf. You seek to effect change in a “democratic society” by working according to that society’s rules? Then follow the rules! And show that someone on the outside doesn’t have to explain such an obvious thing to you.

I take deep umbrage against, and I recommend zero tolerance for, this continuing repeated-chorus that suffragists “fought for” and “won” the right to vote. The implication, believed by many young women of today and without any reservations at all, is that women had zero influence — “women were property” and “had no power,” you’ll hear and see many of them say. And then there was this battle between the invading but oppressed people, the women, against the defending but bullying men, and with this battle “won” the tables were turned. It’s a fairy tale for mental midgets, pieced together for consumption by those who are lacking in comprehension of the concept of time. Sometime on or about this date, somewhere around the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, the battle was decisively ended and women “won the right to vote.” But with that in our rear view mirror by a margin of just coming up on a hundred years, the thing for us to do today is play this endless-circle game of CALWWNTY (Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet). Which means: More fighting.

This is not achieving equality. This is achieving conflict. There’s a difference.

Try this. Listen to all these historical accounts of the decades long “battle” for women to “win” the right to vote, and decide for yourself, rationally, logically, if the metaphor really does belong there. And presume, as a default assumption that holds until it is falsified, that it does not. See how many matches remain. Closest you get is when Susan B. Anthony got herself arrested for trying to vote — when the established rules said she wasn’t eligible to do so, and far from being a tackle followed by a brawl in the streets, was actually weeks afterward with a trial beginning the following January. “Fighting” had very little to do with this, it was a confrontation, of the sort we see across a great many issues, rather constantly, today. You’ll notice the rest of it is also just doing what we do in politics all the time. Organizing. Arguing. Making the pitch. And yeah, some confronting too. But the real problem with this fighting-language is this: You don’t have a pitched battle to get a constitutional amendment passed. Sorry, you just don’t. It’s a fact. Three-quarters of the states have to ratify the amendment, through their respective legislatures, after two-thirds of both houses of Congress approve it. That’s how it’s done. It’s right there in Article V of the Constitution.

This is fact. You don’t get to be a hardy little band of rebels taking on a behemoth, with no one else on your side, and then get your amendment passed. You need senators and you need representatives. You need people in state legislators, seeing things your way, or who can be compelled to see things your way.

That’s a lot of dudes. Agreeing. Saying yes. Not fighting.

Women got the right to vote, after men gave it to them. This is not language that’s quite as romantic as fighting and battling and winning and so forth, but…well, there it is. That’s what happened. Women encountered expectations that they should sit down & shut up, or enjoy representation in government but only through their husbands, and organized, put together an argument, presented it, and after a time the men said “Hmm, yeah that makes sense” and did the right thing. With some disagreements and arguing and dissent and maybe even some withholding-of-sex and some beatings too, but the same is true of everything else we decide.

No matter how you cut it, it isn’t logical to present an argument of “Women had no influence whatsoever, and so they used this influence they did not have to get the influence they did not have yet that no one else wanted them to have.”

Now, you want some really harsh truth? Celebrations of womens’ suffrage, if they’re sincere, should begin with thanks to the men of yesteryear who did the right thing, enfranchising women. It would tick off a lot of people, but it would be honest. And by working so hard to avoid ticking of those people, who I would argue lust after the chance of being perpetually ticked off anyway, the rest of us gain nothing and we come no closer to healing any rifts that remain, we only widen them. And this is wrong.

I Did Not Invent This Word

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

You certainly can learn a lot, looking up words in the dictionary you know already…

Pusillanimous (adj.)

Lacking courage and resolution; marked by contemptible timidity.

But that’s like, five syllables there, much more than the two in “timid.” Should we just go ahead and use that? Doesn’t it cover everything?

It turns out, depending on the context and the intent of the writing, no not quite

You can describe someone who lacks courage as pusillanimous, such as a pusillanimous student who is too afraid to speak out against someone who is bullying others.

Its Latin origin — pusillus and animus — tells us that pusillanimous means “very small spirit.” If you are pusillanimous…you don’t have the spirit — or the confidence or drive — to step up when it matters. The pusillanimous person stays quiet, doesn’t get involved, waits for someone else to take a stand — not out of laziness, but out of fear.

Timidness is merely the behavioral effect. It’s just a symptom.

I find the accompanying intangible noun to be much more applicable to our current situation, however, compared to the adjective:

Pusillanimity (n.)

The quality or state of being pusillanimous; the vice of being timid and cowardly, and thus not living up to one’s full potential. [last emphasis mine]

See the distinction now? You may be muscular and capable of pushing huge boulders around; but, you have this binding on your wrists, a restraint involving a puny spirit, so you don’t get it done. You have the same effect on your environment, as a skinny weakling.

Might I suggest the word is bristling with these half-dozen syllables, because within it is crammed all of the conflict within the times in which we live. It is, literally, the word of the era.

Within the stretch of a week or two, I see this many times with President Trump, who supports many policies that could be legitimately criticized for a number of reasons. But the deliberations about PDJT’s latest antics never seem to get too far, certainly not into the realm of honestly inspecting the implications of what he wants to do. They so often veer off into a bunch of tongue-clucking about some “tweet.” It seems to me like our current culture may be incapable of having a diligent discussion about these things. President Trump is utterly lacking in pusillanimity — as well as, depending on the setting, refinement & manners. But mostly the pusillanimity. Here & there, now & then, he’s shown those other things. But who among us can tell the difference? So many of these arguments about Trump devolve into inspections of mannerisms. It’s irritating to people like me who don’t care one way or another about the mannerisms. Speaking for myself, I’m not holding out Trump to be some kind of role model for adults, or children, or anybody else; it’s not what I’m looking for when I vote for a President, and his name isn’t going to be on a ballot anytime soon anyway. But as people continue to make a big deal about mannerisms, the thought occurs to me that maybe the problem is precedent. We’ve become so accustomed to pusillanimous politicians, that we’re incapable of processing the information when we come across one who isn’t. This guy is far from perfect, anyone who goes looking for flaws can certainly find them. Why obsess on the thing that isn’t one?

Atheism is doing very well these days, and in spite of the protests of atheists, we know it’s doing well not because it makes sense or explains anything, but because it’s being pushed. Not always directly. Spirituality, the nature of the universe, what are we doing inhabiting it and do we have a purpose — so many other things connect to this, answers to the questions can be pushed indirectly by way of all these connections to other things. Ah, so many of them think this is an intellectual issue, having to do with facts and reasoning. That’s cute. You see it’s spiritual just a few moments into a conversation with any one of them. In the blink of an eye, the object of the exercise is no longer any sort of scientific pursuit of the truth, wherever it may lie & whatever it may be. It deteriorates into an exercise. Find the most secular explanation for everything, and deny, deny, deny that which must be denied. They claim there is no God and no need for one, and then lose their way while the rest of us watch, in just a few paces. Of course, no God means no purpose. Another example of “timid” not fitting the situation at hand, not describing it all. These may not be timid people. They may in fact be full of braggadocio. They often are! But their spirit is puny, and they’re pushing on others what they already have — a tell-tale sign that one feels unfulfilled merely maintaining what he already “knows” to be true, and has a hole in himself that can only be filled by seeing it reflected in others. Intellectual? Pfeh. There’s no intellectual reason on the Earth to proselytize a lack of belief.

Feminism has made such a spectator sport of pushing pusillanimity — and not just on men, but on any & all ideological opponents — we’ve gotten used to seeing it, wouldn’t know what to make of it if it ever stopped. We’ve gotten to the point where a man doing work is “oppressive.” Have we not? For it to be flagged as a micro-aggression or whatever, the man does not need to be toiling away with any implication, subtle or otherwise, that the feat is outside the capability of the woman who benefits, or of women in general. We probably have universal agreement, or something close to it, that the average woman is capable of opening a door for herself. And yet feminists get ticked if men go the extra mile, and save the lady the trouble. The explanation of their scolding is that such an act harkens back to a bygone chapter in our history, something thankfully obliterated, irretrievably, with said chapter decisively closed. But waitaminnit…intellectual pursuits, again…why do they get so upset about this, if it recalls an era that is truly gone? Answer: The question is framed with logic and common sense, and works on the intellectual plane. It is inapplicable, because the real hitch in the giddyap is spiritual. These are pusillanimous people pushing their pusillanimity on to others.

The “climate change” scam is about pusillanimity. It has nothing to do with climate, or the weather, or greenhouse gases or anything of the like. It isn’t even about science. It’s about politics and power. Isn’t this just obvious? The “science” is just an excuse. The drive is to relocate money and power, to raise taxes, to increase regulation, to make it harder to do things until the interested enterprises manage to get a “Mother May I?” from — well, that’s the one part that is never quite definitively defined, isn’t it. The globalists know the whole globe is to defer to the decisions in the power-pyramid, they’re just not sure who’s on top of it. They’ve got to squabble among themselves and figure out who that is. But the struggle is real, it isn’t scientific, it’s about deference. We are to defer. Act timid. And labor under a constant fear that more rules are coming, or that we are in danger of transgressing against the rules that have been established already. Like everything else, it’s about pusillanimity.

It makes no sense at all, in the aftermath of a tragic event like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, to call for new rules to be imposed upon the law-abiding gun owners who didn’t do it. Some of the kids who were there, and survived, want that; but that’s deciding based on emotions and not reason. And it has emerged that as people noodle out what they should be doing about this and what initiatives they should be supporting, many among them have imbibed from the intoxicating elixir of recognizing some sort of moral authority senior-ship in these young kids, which is the polar opposite of how morality really works. That is pusillanimity on steroids. We argue about issues like this with such passion, because the issues each have two sides and each side is at least plausible. If we’re looking for someone to whom we should defer, subordinating our own judgment and favoring theirs, which seems to me almost like an abdication of any position of influence in the discussion at all, but let’s grant that for the moment…we should then be deferring to people who “get” both sides. Kids who haven’t been around, but were in the shooting or situated close enough to it they can pass themselves off that way, and are all energized about pushing new gun control laws — are not that.

And I’m seeing all the back-and-forth about “health care is a right” as merely an extension of this. “Don’t need a gun call nine one one” bears a close kinship with single-payer health care, because both of these positions treat the citizen as something less than a full citizen. Like a grape just dangling on the vine waiting to receive its nourishment from the roots, devoid of any purpose by itself, utterly dependent on the central machinery. Centrally administered health care, it has been proven already, and around the world, is a wonderful device for spreading pusillanimity. What could be better? If you’re healthy today, just give it a decade or two and maybe you won’t be. Perhaps in that interim you’ll meet up with a life changing accident, or other catastrophic event, and some stranger you’ll never meet will decide whether or not, and how soon, you can be granted access to something you need. That’s what it is, right? And that’s the whole point. You thought it had to do with making sure you’re healthy? Silly bean. It is, once again, about the Mother-may-I. It’s about pushing pusillanimity.

We argue with such passion, about so many things, because we are divided into those who see pusillanimity as what it is, which is something anathema to our continued existence as responsible and capable citizens; indeed, something that must bring such an existence to an end, since these cannot co-exist. Versus, those who think this is the way things should be. For whatever reason. I’m not sure why exactly. I think the most common explanation would be — if we could study it — they want to push pusillanimity wherever it can be pushed, sell it wherever it can be sold, spread it wherever it can be spread, because pusillanimous people maintain an inward and natural revulsion against people who are not pusillanimous. They’re merely trying to make sense of the world in which they live, and the only way they can do that, short of learning something new, is to spread pusillanimity until it is in everything they see.

And pusillanimity makes it hard to learn anything new.

But that would be the right answer. Learn new things. Watch people who know how to do things you don’t yet know how to do. Figure out, like a growing child, how to do the essential things for yourself tomorrow, that today you’re relying on someone else to do for you.

What They Mean by “We”

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

I’ve been complaining for quite awhile about people who go through the motions of presenting coherent arguments, and then when you think critically about what they’re saying you realize they aren’t saying anything because there’s so much that requires further definition and so little definition being done. Now here in California we’re up to our eyeballs in “little laws” — to which, near as I can figure, very few people actually pay any attention, either in terms of compliance or enforcement — and every now & then a debate will erupt in any one from a variety of different forums, about why we have this dumb law. And it has not escaped my attention that there is a thought process of “Let’s just keep passing dumb laws that have no consequence and eventually life will become perfect,” that overlaps almost perfectly with this other thought process of “I want to win the argument without actually arguing anything or even defining what exactly it is I’m saying.”

I guess it stands to reason. My dumb little law will make life perfect…just accept it, I don’t want to have to explain how it works.

Well, I’ve noticed something else…

One of the fundamental concepts that are being bifurcated by this disagreement, is “we.” I, along with other people who are capable of thinking like responsible adults, do not believe life automatically becomes better when we have more rules. I’m more of a believer in what Tacitus said, “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.” Gun control offends me, partly because it’s right in our Constitution that we aren’t supposed to have gun control of any kind. But it offends me even more when I recognize what it is: Something bad was done by a bad person, and so we come up with some restrictions to be placed on the ones who did not do it.

The great-granddaddy disagreement that appears to inspire all of the other disagreements, is this: I think life gets better when I’m allowed to do more things. For me, immediately, and if I exercise good judgment, for others as well. And I know my judgment is good. If, in some isolated case it isn’t good, I shall strive to improve.

Versus:

I’m not sure what, exactly. Seems to be something like “The cause of all our miseries is that we can do too much,” or “Happiness in the future begins with us being stopped from doing things,” or “We need to be controlled.”

It is the difference between the positive and the negative. The difference between hope & fear.

When I use the word “we” I’m talking about some class of person, and I am included in that class. Those people on the other side don’t seem to be going along with this. They say “We need to be stopped from doing things” or “We need to be told ‘no’ more often” or “We are a pestilence upon the planet”…near as I can figure, they are not including themselves in the “we.”

There can be some difficulty in noticing this within certain issues. On the gun-control thing for example, people who want more rules about guns usually have no intention of ever owning a gun themselves. Many of them are protected by armed bodyguards, and intend to continue enjoying the benefits of this weaponized perimeter after they’ve won their latest victory and gotten the laws to work the way they want them to work. But on social justice issues and/or environmental issues, the man-is-outside-of-nature types don’t include themselves in the “we” when they speak of how toxic “we” are. Guilty-white-liberals droning on about white privilege, do not include themselves in the complaint even though I notice many among them are, and have been for awhile, quite privileged.

What’s truly fascinating about liberalism is not just that it imposes more and more rules just for the sake of having rules, while claiming to have derived its name from “liberty.” Although that by itself is sufficiently intriguing that a lot of people who claim to be following the politics, but only casually, should be inspired to ask a few more questions. No, what really captivates me about it is that so much of it — but not all of it — can be blamed on the benefits of technology. Labor could think about organizing and having more of a voice, after a man’s worth came more from measures of his time and less from the acres he owned & plowed. We don’t have to spend fifteen hours a day doing that plowing anymore. And so people have time for dumb ideas. You’ll notice a common theme within those ideas is that we have to give more influence to people who cannot claim products or services in the marketplace, and this is usually — not always, but usually — because they don’t do much to help anyone else. Being a political effort, The Left requires electoral support and so they need underclasses of clingy, desperate people.

But then there are aspects of liberalism that have nothing to do with technology, that have taken root in mankind’s inherent flaws, in man’s propensity to sin. I imagine if some strain of liberalism could have gone all the way back to the stone age, with cavemen coming together to share a kill, the liberal caveman would’ve said something like “Og killed the animal, Blorg skinned it, Iggy built the fire, and my contribution to the feast is to come up with some rules about who gets how much.” And if he claimed this “job” just in his capacity as a peer, not as the tribal leader, I suppose he would have worked this little scam — easily, maybe — by way of guilt. “We aren’t worthy of this.” Eh…maybe not. Maybe the cavemen had to spend their fifteen hours a day hunting the wild boar, and so such thoughts wouldn’t take root back then like they do today.

But we do know if it didn’t happen then, it came along a little later, well before Karl Marx was born. “We’re not worthy!” — not in a Wayne’s World, genuflecting kind of way, but rather in more of a “false we” kind of way, in a “we means you it does not mean me” kind of way. “We” are a pox upon the planet, and so me & my friends get your stuff!

The false promise they hold for the rest of us, is the peace that is to come at the end of whatever mini-revolution they’re proposing to have at any given time. The Left cannot deliver us to any kind of Nirvana, and the rocking of the boat they want to do is always going to be the initial salvo in an extended and unnecessary era of turmoil, not the climactic engagement at the end of such an era that will unfold into a lasting calm. The logical reason for this has to do with this exclusion of themselves, from the “we.” They have to have some reason to stand on the pedestal. What is it about that caveman that entitles him to say this other caveman can only have so much meat, and some other caveman can have more? When they get elected to things, they can avoid this because they have a fake answer…but they don’t always win elections, and when they don’t, they want to keep imposing rules on the “we” that doesn’t include them.

And that’s when the real answer to the question rears its ugly head: They expect to have the final word on who gets how much, because…they simply haven’t ever bothered to expect anything else.

They are the inept caveman-hunter, who was never guided by reality to understand he needed to get better at hunting. This makes them think they are entitled to enjoy privileges. In a rougher, less forgiving environment, it is the opposite that is true. They are continually proposing and advocating for strange, new unproductive rules — so that they can avoid learning new things. That’s the point and that is how the rest of us should be treating these proposals. They are cries for help, from people who haven’t often had to significantly change their worldview, and they want to enjoy the luxury of humming along through the daily routine, receiving benefits and protection and privilege, again still without changing that worldview.

Which is exactly the caricature they draw for us of their opposition. The over-privileged aristocracy and middle-class who don’t want to change their worldview even when reality requires it.

Blame Duck

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Seeing some progressively-inclined people coming up with some proposed moments of torch-passing, before which President Trump should be properly redirecting credit for any positive economic signs to his predecessor, and after which he truly owns the economy. It’s interesting that this is precisely what I saw these noble thinkers avoid doing during President Obama’s two terms in office — the hour grew quite late, and they were still blaming anything that went wrong on George W. Bush. But apart from being inconsistent, I find this to be rather insincere.

Whenever I burn off a few minutes on social media, where the feedback & criticism is instant in both directions, I find I seem to be coming up with a new catchphrase of sorts: “As always, if we’re going to argue about it, then let’s do it honestly.” And let’s. There is no set time period after which some torch is passed. It’s a year, it’s all eight years, or it’s a day, whatever it takes to make liberals look good — and it takes a lot. A good thing that happens in the final moments before two-term Trump is obliged to watch the swearing in of his successor, on January 20, 2025, should be credited to Barack Obama. That weird thing the Dow did last month, is to be blamed on Trump. And the various plunges it did throughout 2016 in Obama’s last year in office, are to be blamed on George W. Bush. Who saw the economy crash during his final year in office, of 2008…but if anything cheerful ever happened during that time, the credit for it would rightfully go to — Bill Clinton.

My point is, if we came up with some reasonable time interval to make the liberals happy, they’d just change it like a too-modern National Anthem singer changing pitch during one of the long notes, to make their side look good. Oh, it’s eight years. Oh no, it’s eight minutes. Because that makes our side look good…and we say so. Since we say so, you know we’ll never let it go, so give us what we want. Why even bother with the exercise?

I see Neo Neocon has put up something lately that addresses this directly, so I’m guessing she’s run into this experience as well.

Simply put, it is the assertion that economic effects are delayed in a very special fashion with Obama. Everything bad that happened to the economy during the 8 years of Obama’s presidency was Bush’s fault and was blamed on Bush, including the slowness of whatever recovery there was.. And everything good that might happen to the economy during Trump’s presidency is to Obama’s credit, not Trump’s.
:
Obama was the first president in my memory to blame his predecessor—pretty much incessantly—for what went wrong during his own tenure. It was actually one of the first things I ever noticed about Obama, back when he was campaigning in 2008, and it seemed unusual to me at the time, although now (unfortunately) we’ve gotten very used to it. In fact, I even coined a phrase for Obama back then: “the blame duck.”

Of course, anyone looking in from the outside, or grappling with this mindset for any length of time, can see what’s going on here even if the liberal can’t: The liberal doesn’t want to have to re-think anything, doesn’t want to admit he got something wrong. This is a useful metric for assessing maturity, figuring out when it’s missing: The recalcitrance against admitting mistakes, or that a re-think is necessary.

I should add, it’s useful although there are some problems with it. Some people, along the way to acquiring this maturity, use this as a litmus test. “You never admit you’re wrong because I’ve never seen you do it.” Some errant individuals go so far as to make mistakes on purpose…I think…at the very least, apply far less intellectual discipline to one challenge than they would apply to other challenges that have aroused a more sincere concern. So that they can make a big show of admitting they were wrong at a later time, thereby fulfilling the litmus test. Suffice to say that this is not how I think the metric should be applied. Those who apply robust, responsible thinking to whatever comes their way, if they do it right, should be called upon less and less often to admit they’ve made mistakes. People often forget, this is what we should expect to see. In fact, if the challenges aren’t meaningfully changing across time, you’d have to be some kind of idiot to not show some statistical improvement as you continue to deal with the same ones over & over again, right?

But, all that having been said. If you find yourself talking to someone who’s willing to stretch and twist and distort reality, move goalposts around, come up with “constant” time intervals that aren’t really constant in order to methodically sort out credit & blame just to avoid admitting he got it wrong about something or somebody — that’s when you know you’re talking to someone who should not make meaningful decisions that actually affect other people.

It is the Dullard’s Credo:

1. If I don’t see it, I don’t believe in it.
2. If I don’t believe in it, I don’t want to know about it.
3. If I’ve already made up my mind I don’t believe in it and I have to see it, that is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad!
4. If it’s funny but it makes me or my political compatriots look bad, it isn’t funny.
5. If it isn’t legitimately funny but it makes my political opponents look bad, you’d better laugh and laugh HARD or else you and I can’t be friends anymore.

It’s a failing I see more and more often in these times, and it’s not all on the liberal side of the fence I’m afraid. It does appear to have something to do with age. People, unacquainted with a particular issue and not previously exposed to the position statements available on either side of it, initially learn about it through one such position statement. Stating it more concisely: They learn about it for the very first time, through propaganda. If the propaganda stirs up emotions, and if it’s good propaganda it will…there is a bonding, and from that moment forward they won’t even make the slightest motion toward reconsidering. There’s no further indoctrination needed, they’re already in the Confirmation Bias feedback loop.

If I am accurate in my perception that something has changed here, and this emotional-attachment gutter-balling is much quicker and more efficient than it used to be as people willingly abnegate their critical-thinking faculties…this would have to mean propaganda, as a market commodity, is currently skyrocketing in value. Yesteryear it worked a fifth of the time, now it works three quarters of the time, that’s a meaningful increase in value.

I really don’t know where things go from here. But it can’t be good.

Perhaps it would be better for everyone if people went back to occasionally admitting their prior decisions were made without benefit of all the meaningful facts, and now that said meaningful facts have emerged, honestly re-evaluating. You know, learning. That stuff. That’s how people get smart and form opinions that are respectable. After the learning.

How We Divide Politically

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

So I was given cause to think…between the imbroglio about the no-right-turn traffic light, and the gun-grabbers stirred up into high dudgeon by the Florida school shooting…about my favorite Robert Heinlein quote. The story about the bikini baristas suing the city of Everett, Washington, my old stomping grounds, over the new dress code got me thinking about it again.

In all three cases it seems we’re dealing with a mentality that has become influential. And, should never have become influential. A mindset that, by becoming influential, reflects poorly on all of us. The mindset seems to be one of: When in doubt, impose more rules and take more things away. This will eventually lead to perfection and it is not at all necessary to ruminate on how that’s supposed to work. It just will. Ban more things, take more things away, we will have Nirvana.

Heinlein said,

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

This could use some improvement, I’ve always thought.

But first, let me be fair about it. I am noticing the improvement it needs because I am noticing the quote in the first place, and I am noticing the quote in the first place because it is already quite good. Look how well it fits into the three significant recent events, listed above. All three. And if you take the time to go noticing some more things happening around you, you see it continues to fit. It’s one of those things you can’t stop noticing, once you become aware of it.

Bikini BaristaThe tiny meaningless correction is: Humanity is a species, not a race.

The bigger one is: We have not yet located the root cause. Why do some among us want people to be controlled? Obviously it’s because they see people as liabilities. The others, who “have no such desire,” see people as assets (or at least, as not-liabilities). It is the difference between the negative and the positive.

I have long noticed that there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who are trying to achieve work upon external things, measurably altering states in one or more definable ways, upon one or more definable objects; and those who are acting as stewards of their own emotional state. In very crude terms, you might think of this as the difference between those who want to work and those who want to play. The former seeks to accomplish something and the latter wants to feel good all the time. It’s a maturity thing, since acting as a steward of your own emotional state is exactly what newborn babies do. It is the default condition. Later on, we get concerned about getting work done — for a variety of different reasons. But if you want to be effective at that you have to let go of the “be happy all the time” thing. Some people don’t, ever.

They come to think of the whole point to life, the whole reason for our existence, as to be happy. Obviously, once we start thinking about our reason for being here, we’re getting into some heady stuff, some things that can directly and dramatically impact many other things. Value systems come from these. Priorities come from these. Self-tasking, the determination of necessary prerequisites, logistics, tactics come from these.

From this comes a split in how to deal with time. If your objective is to get work done, time is a resource and you never have as much of it as you might want to have. So you have to learn to prioritize. If your objective is to act as a steward of your own emotional state, you have to make sure you’re never bored. Time becomes a liability instead of an asset. As a consequence, you don’t prioritize, at least you don’t prioritize the same way as people who are trying to get a certain amount of work done in a limited amount of time.

And so from that — somehow — another split emerges about people. People become assets or liabilities and this seems to be connected to whether time is an asset or a liability. We find…and we should expect to find…the far greater bulk of sloppy ramshackle thinking, and of hypocrisy, is on the negative side, since people who embrace this idiom of other people being liabilities, always have these circles of friends who are exempt from the curse. People are trashing the planet, people shouldn’t have guns, people should be forced to ride bikes to work, people need to slow down, take turns, get a mother-may-I for every little thing…but MY PALS are all okay and can do whatever they want.

Another division emerges between those who see the moral imperative of coupling extraordinary authority with commensurate responsibilities, and those who eschew any such coupling, insisting that certain privileged classes and members should enjoy great power without ever having to answer for how it is used.

I think Homo Sapiens divides politically into those who are ready to live among others, in a society devoid of special privileges reserved for any individual or class, and those who are not ready to do this. The latter don’t see the need, and they don’t see the point. Their problem solving acumen, translated on a case by case basis into flow charts, each and every time would be manifested by a huge box in the middle labeled “AND THEN A FUCKING MIRACLE HAPPENS,” with “take things away and ban more things” on the left and “life gets all perfect and wonderful” on the right. One might go so far as to say…and one would be justified in basing it on empirical observation in saying this…that these nattering nabobs have allowed their understanding of cause-and-effect to atrophy. For their extreme cases, there IS no cause, there IS no effect, there are only things that happen and there are other things we want to have happen.

Men behave improperly, and that has something to do with not enough scolding, too many guns, too much meat, free right turns on red, and nice looking girls in bathing suits. Take all that stuff away and things get better…somehow.

They don’t think logically because they are not comfortable discussing things logically. They aren’t comfortable discussing things logically because their ideas don’t hold up to inhospitable inspection. Every now & then they’ll go through the motions, but when they do you’ll notice they’re overly hung up on “facts.” And their facts aren’t really facts, they’re just things they’ve decided should capture everyone’s attention, that might be true, but may not be. How these things all connect together…things happening as consequences of other things…they don’t really believe in it. Closest they get to it is “no one is going to shoot anybody else if there aren’t any guns.” But even there, it is their opposition that says “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” which wins, because it’s catchier, gels more evenly with observed history, and falls in line with the truth of how humans behave. And in this example, as in so many others, you see them making their common mistake: Let us presume people doing X is a thing of the past, for behold our new rule. We just banned X. No more people doing X. They can’t distinguish between a thing being forbidden, vs. a thing no longer happening.

The unpleasant truth is, these two sides do not find overlap, nor should we expect them to ever find overlap, because they aren’t building the same world. Those who have faith in people to ultimately do the right thing, acknowledge that this comes after mistakes because people are fundamentally flawed. Those who lack this faith, contrary to their rhetoric, are not trying to stop bad things from happening, but instead are trying to escape the consequences of occupying a common habitat with their inferiors. They want to be protected so they can feel happy all the time. When they prattle away with their sloganeering about “taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society,” they aren’t talking about themselves. Again, logic: If they want to pay more taxes, nothing’s stopping them.

We divide politically into people who see bad behavior as consequences of poor character or perverse incentives, either one of which can be fixed, or at least prevented…and, those who see it as an indicator that the rules are not yet perfect, require more tweaking, more grabbing of their fellow citizens by the scruff of the neck, so they can be dragged over to where they’re supposed to be. Those who believe in human intelligence, as in the ability to learn from prior mistakes, and those who do not.

Just for the record, I think legally the bikini baristas are wrong. I do agree that imposing a “dress code” at the city-ordinance level, is risible. But it’s not an idea to be taken any more seriously than that, that dress codes infringe on the First Amendment. That comes under the heading of “that law conflicts with my personal preferences therefore it must be oppressing me.” That having been said, however, if the plaintiffs end up owning City Hall, I’ll not be shedding many tears about it. Having lived in Everett for a stretch, and in the general vicinity for a bit longer than that, I know what I’m talking about when I note a regional epidemic of the flawed thinking I’ve described above. This flawed thinking of, things aren’t the way they want them to be yet, ban more things, a fucking miracle will happen and life will be wonderful. Yes, the Pacific Northwest suffers from this.

The Addled, Idled Monster

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Well, here we are again. A socially maladjusted male youth shot up a school. So now we’re again debating gun control, which I’m told is a winning topic for pro-gun-control liberals and a losing topic for anti-gun-control conservatives. At first blush, it seems like that’s really true. “Can’t we get rid of all these guns lying around” seems like a natural reaction to have, and an effervescent one. And if I try to deny it, someone is sure to posit the hypothetical that I’m minding my own business and someone points a loaded gun at me…won’t I then experience a natural impulse to wish the gun away?

Sure, I imagine that’s so. In fact, having not been through the experience, who’s to say — I might even pee my pants a little. But let’s think on this longer than the thirty seconds or so it takes for the scene to unfold. Not only do I disagree with gun control, I find it hard to pay the requisite minimal respect to it. Gun control means we’re going to put together some rules that say you can’t have certain types of guns, right? Murder is against certain rules we have in place already. So we’re talking about people who are ready, willing and able to break rules. And what we’re talking about is more rules. We’re having a debate about whether this would be effective? Why are we even having the debate? We know it won’t be.

You can play with certain hypothetical situations, putting me in a position where my emotions will persuade me toward the wrong conclusion? So what? That’s why we don’t listen to our emotions when we’re adults. What else ya got?

In fact, if someone is wholly unacquainted with these fundamental concepts of “conservative” and “liberal,” I would refer them to the school-shooting-gun-control topic first & foremost as an ideal orientation scenario. Oh I can hear the conservatives now: Freeberg, whaddya doing?? You’re manufacturing a new liberal!! Well…dunno.

What’s the conservative solution to school shootings? Get rid of these “gun free zones.” Arm the teachers. Post armed guards. Have faith that legal gun owners value human life and make the right decisions…which they overwhelmingly do. What’s the liberal solution? Ban this magazine-capacity, ban this feature, ban this model, ban open-carry, ban concealed-carry, ban from here ban from there…

Conservative: Empower empower empower.

Liberal: Ban ban ban.

In short, I would expose the politically inarticulate and uninitiated to the gun-control topic as a primer-introduction to the conservative-versus-liberal power struggle, because it’s clear, concise and it’s honest. We have walking around us certain malcontents who think the solution to every problem that comes along is to ban more things; these people make things worse, overall. And they are represented by the political faction we today call “liberalism.”

Now I should disclose that, for me, this tragedy carries an odd chronological juxtaposition, since as the days & hours wound down to the moment Nikolas Cruz started puling fire alarms and ventilating people, my NextDoor post had been “enjoying” a renewed flare-up, much like an ulcer or a hemorrhoid. To this day I don’t know why exactly. But I’d started a thread a month or two ago, because I honestly wanted to know of an answer to my question: How come there’s no right turn on red allowed at this intersection?

This connects back to the school shooting in a certain way. There is a certain consistency between the two situations in how people evaluate what must be done, and how they interact with each other. Gimme a little space on this, because underneath the layers we excavate, as we think about it and inspect, I believe there’s a productive answer.

I will apply the precision here at The Blog That Nobody Reads, that I applied there…it was a futile endeavor there. People couldn’t follow. But I don’t think my position is that complicated. You see, my wife and I like the new traffic light. We’re in favor of it. We bitched about it long & hard before the light was there, because when the intersection was uncontrolled it was a death trap. The thing is, now that the light is there; if you intend to take a right turn, and the light is red, you are not permitted your free-right turn that is legal by default in this state. It turns out the denizens of the neighborhood are about evenly split between seeing things my way, versus seeing things the other way. But people who see things the other way seem to be retarded or something. They can’t puzzle out details, or they don’t want to do this. I received a number of lectures about the virtues of a controlled intersection, from airheads and malcontents who didn’t bother to read the background that we’re actually in favor of the light.

Some of them did make out that the “no right turn” was the crux of the issue, and let me roughly paraphrase their comment on that: I hate cars. Sucks to be you. We hate you. Choke on it. Now this is rather sad, to people like me, since we have the capability of thinking like adults…and we notice the airheads retards and malcontents are bellyaching away about crazy drivers…and we know that this is what makes drivers crazy. That’s not an apologia offered for the benefit of the crazy drivers, you could read it as an indictment against the practice of formulating medications that make more of the sickness for which they are prescribed. It is “progress” in 180 degrees the wrong direction. The airheads-retards-malcontents do not like crazy drivers. So they’re making more of ’em.

As the thread went on back & forth, I noticed, but did not comment upon, a curious sex-dynamic. There was one cool lady who was in my corner. All the other females were solidly on-board with the “If it saves one life then it’s worth it”…never bothering to specify exactly what lives would be saved, or under what circumstances. One charmer helpfully volunteered the information that people in wheelchairs might get killed — but was ONLY giving me information! Hear that? She didn’t want to get into a debate. Clear?

We-ell…no. To my observation,

I notice communities tend to thrive when it seems the streets are designed by people who actually drive through them. In communities where the streets seem designed to punish the drivers, there is decay. Just a thought…

She replied with,

I actually have observed that communities thrive when those who inhabit them design them. [The] blvd is one of those roads where the majority of those driving it are passing through. We need to look out for our own…

…which may be right or it may be wrong; but either way it seems, to me, kind of like debating. But she wasn’t done with that. She reported me for “soapboxing” to the system’s authorities. Well yes, there is a no-soapboxing rule. But the sys admins must have decided the rule didn’t apply, here, or if it did, the other party was violating it just as egregiously. Ah, but she violated something else, too. The “tattle or retaliate” rule. Go tit-for-tat, avenge the perceived slight, OR go squealing to the yard-duty teacher. One or the other. Don’t go doing both, it’s bad form.

Why I Need FeminismNow, gender dynamics are hazardous in this day and age. They invite accusations, which are not wholly without merit, that the speaker is engaging in intellectually unhealthy stereotyping, and as such, become undesirable distractions from the main point. I would add further that time is not on their side; to whatever extent they are accurate today, they are doomed to become less-so in the days and years unfolding into the future. We live in an age in which females are acting more and more like men, and males are acting more and more like women. Whenever I forget this, I take a look at the Pajama Boy meme to remind myself. Everyone else should do this too.

So we’re not really talking about “women” here. But there IS something. Let us describe it more fairly and more precisely. By engaging in exactly that transgression for which she was tattling on me to the authorities, thereby simultaneously upholding it as both forbidden and acceptable depending on who’s doing it — my antagonist was essentially playing a game of “Whatever it takes to get what I want.” And I’ve noticed this is commonplace among the “I don’t want to debate” types. Don’t-want-to-debate carries an implication of “I’m cool with not winning since I don’t wanna play” — which is often not forthcoming. What they really mean to say is “I don’t want to do any debating, I want to skip forward to the fun part where I win the debate I don’t want to have.”

There is swaggering. There is posing. The rhetorical tactic is invested mostly in — I would say, entirely in — the instillation of a feeling of futility. The question of “your idea is right, or my idea is right, one or the other, can’t be both” is entirely sidelined. In the end, I’m going to win and you’re going to lose. You are ineffectual. I am the princ[ess] of the universe. Give up. Go away.

I say it is counter-productive and futile to ascribe this to actual sexes; and, indeed, there are biological males who have bought into this. There are quite a few bio-females who have not. But it has become a thing, in no small part because it appeals to the evolutionarily-sharpened emotional impulses of the female. In all civilizations, even primitive ones, females get to be gatekeepers and there is a certain power involved in this. Theirs is the role that sits in judgment over who will be allowed to breed and who will not be allowed to breed. It is from that vantage point that the strutting matrons feel entitled to to hand out “go” and “stop” signals — to condescend to undesirable masculine figures that their DNA is to bleach away and thus depart the human condition forevermore.

It is the ultimate put-down — the male side of the species has no counterpart to it — but it carries a severe handicap: All the other fertile females have to agree, every single one. Or else the condemnation amounts to nothing. So there is a certain fragility to this.

Now, how is any of this relevant to the tragedy that took place in Florida Wednesday. It isn’t. Not in any way, not in the slightest, save for one thing: The shooters can be profiled too. As these awful tragedies continue to unfold, the pattern persists that the shooters are mostly, in fact almost exclusively, male. They have male energy but they lack male discipline. Absence of role models is a situation we see coming up often in these. And we’re talking about them because they’re a relatively recent thing. This is a post-Columbine thing, and as we contemplate that, we realize there must be a solution to the problem just barely within, or barely outside of, our reach. Lives are at stake. Innocent, juvenile lives that haven’t even been lived yet. So what’s the answer?

What’s the problem? Really?

In addition to being overwhelmingly male, undisciplined, unguided, the profiled perpetrator is gutterballed. Whether or not he can wreak havoc is a question that has been made meaningful by the establishment that he cannot, in any way whatsoever, productively contribute. He cannot be a creator or a preserver, therefore he must be a destroyer, or else he must be a nothing. And there is what he has in common with the rest of us, the non-monsters: None of us want to be a nothing. And so he chooses to destroy. That is the lead-up to all of these incidents, they all have that in common. There is a perpetrator who made the choice to be a destroyer, to escape being a nothing.

All straight men with a dating history who are willing to be honest about it, will confess to having encountered this female vindictiveness at some point. The non-rebuttal rebuttal of “Whatever.” We’ve all met here & there, now & then, the female-peacock who has unfortunately reached the age of maturity without finding any other way to relate to a man, save the one: “Right or wrong, I shall prevail, I am everything and you are nothing.” You have displeased the goddess, you are to be shunned, whoever does not shun you shall be shunned, whoever does not shun he who did not shun you, likewise shall be shunned…you are dirt. A non-factor. You are the salmon that shall not spawn. We are looking for the thing that causes all these school-shootings? The answer is right in front of us. These are the social failures, the social rejects; unless I’ve missed something, it’s each & every single one of them.

And no, don’t blame the women. It’s society at large who has been giving them this message. Society itself has found itself missing any other tools that could be used to relate to men, to communicate with men — just that one. “You don’t conform; you don’t comply; you are not what we expect to find. Therefore you are to become a non-factor.” Unless, that is, you can somehow prove us wrong…

The attitude is everywhere. It’s in our movies.

Your name is on the memorial wall of the very building you attacked. I would have it struck off. Soon, your past will be as non-existent as your future. I’ll never see you again.

I will think on you dead, until my husband makes you so. And then I will think on you no more.

Death comes to us all. But before it comes to you, know this: your blood dies with you. A child who is not of your line grows in my belly. Your son will not sit long on the throne. I swear it.

Wanna really hit a bad man where he lives? Make him a non-factor.

It’s a goalpost we have to keep moving, and moving again, and again, and again. Because it’s the only tool available, for many; carrots are not to be used, only sticks, and this is the only stick. Even the males who agree to abide by the rules of the post-gender world, making sure not to do anything we wouldn’t expect to see women do, always speaking in a voice at least an octave above middle-C, never growing any facial hair, not learning how to torque a wrench, how to tie a knot, how to change oil or a flat tire, not mansplaining, not manspreading — at the end of it all, they’re left wondering about the same questions. What’s the difference between the world in which I live, and the world as it would have materialized without me here? What makes me a factor? What makes me a figure of influence? Does anything? Anything at all? Modern “civilization” demands the man prove his harmlessness, nature requires him to prove his consequentiality. Doing both starts out looking easy, then with a few years of real experience, the ramifications of the contradiction start to rear their ugly head.

Some men engage in a trade that answers the question. They/we get to keep their/our sanity (I’m one of the lucky ones, I get to program computers and thus wrestle with real consequences, while my hands remain baby-soft and clean). And so we profit from the advantage of perspective. We see, as we refuse to play the game, we are not being ostracized from humanity, or civilization, but…something else. A perverse sort of game. Some of us have a big purpose, some of us only a tiny one; but a tiny purpose is better than none. We can see what sort of thinking leads to productivity, and what does not. And we recognize that those who go through the motions of ostracizing us, are merely ostracizing themselves.

So when we ask “Why can I not do a right turn on red?” and we don’t get an answer back that specifically addresses this…we notice.

People cheese us off sometimes. But we don’t pull out high-powered weaponry and start shooting people. Now…why is that? This is obviously a very important problem and men & women of good character want to find an answer, so let’s start with that. We get handed this steaming plate of swaggering-matronly “You are not a properly behaving male and so you shall be made ineffectual” just as often as the actual school shooters…we own guns…and yet we’re not joining them. What makes it so?

It seems a silly question to some, I suppose. But it isn’t. The question we really want to have answered, “Why are there [so many] school shootings?” is buried inside the question, “Why aren’t there more?” It’s the rule about defaults. Maybe, if the answer eludes you, you’re getting confused about what the default is. It’s an unsavory thought, but it’s a credible one: Maybe being this kind of monster, is the default condition. Let’s look into it.

The first thing that stops us, obviously, has to be the value system. Human life is precious. Only God can make it happen, and once a life is gone it’s gone forever. And so men who have guns & rifles, and get angry at people, do not just start killing them. But wait…that’s a lie, isn’t it? Just something we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel good. There are people running around who do not value their own lives. There are people who waste those lives. And those among us who are most sensitive to the wrong being done there, in fact, are the ones who are most militant about preserving the sanctity of human life. Even when we see there is no sanctity. Where there should be some. In fact, it’s our friends the liberals, who are in such a hurry to be non-judgmental about others and show off how non-judgmental they are, who fail to observe the sanctity of human life.

So there has to be more to it than that.

There is civilization itself. Some may conflate this with the first factor, but it’s actually two separate things. If I watch you and see you are not properly respecting the miracle that is your own human life — my valuation of human life will not dissuade me from picking up a rifle and using it to make you porous. But my respect for civilization will dissuade me from doing that. This is what makes me think…hey…I do not like the way he is living his life, but maybe he doesn’t like the way I’m living mine. I do not want him to shoot me, or my family, because of cultural differences, therefore I should not shoot him because of these cultural differences. In fact, this is the definition of civilization itself, is it not? You weren’t there at the beginning, I wasn’t either…but if “civilization” means anything, it is an antidote against brutality, and brutality is being a brute. It is a bulwark against “brute force,” which means, I want it, I’m stronger and bigger than the person who has it, so it’s mine.

Civilization must have started with motherhood. I mean, think about it. I’m bigger and stronger than everybody else, so I want things and I shall go forth and start taking them…but wait a minute…when I leave my cave, there is my mother remaining back in the cave, and my sisters and my daughters…I cannot be there to protect them. So let us start to form a system of covenants, and compacts, and implied contracts…when I leave my cave, you won’t approach my mother and start taking things away from her just because you can, and when you leave your cave, I’ll leave your mother alone too. Civilization is born.

After the value system, and the implied contracts of civilization, there is the sense of community. This is measurably different from the first two things. Community is the thing that is wounded and scarred in the aftermath of such a senseless slaughter. You think it’s horrifying, I think it’s horrifying…that’s because we are invested in it. Community has people in it who have helped us, and it also has people in it we have helped. Now, imagine yourself as being in need of help. Maybe you have a flat tire. Someone helps you. You don’t want to see that person mowed down in gunfire, do you? Or their family? No of course you don’t. But here’s something interesting; imagine yourself as in a position ready to render aid, and it’s the other person who needs it. You give them canned food, or you watch their children when they have to go somewhere. It is an act of pure kindness, they cannot repay you in any way…again, you don’t want to see them made into bullet-fodder. Others help you. You help others. Both situations strengthen this sense of community. Make you a player. Someone with skin in the game. A part of the community. Giver, taker, both work the same way.

Now, those are the big three, the Three Big Reasons you & I don’t want to go shooting people, even on the rough days, when people are aggravating us. After that, there is a bunch of silly stuff…the Mandalay Bay maneuver is so time-consuming, all those elevator trips. It’s a suicide-run and I’m not ready yet. Blood is icky. Cartridges are expensive.

REFER BACK TO THE PROFILE OF THE SHOOTER, is my counsel on this. Think about the timeline. And think about your own experiences, especially if you are a straight male, with a dating history, preferably one that is a bit like mine, checkered…but, more recent. Respect for the sanctity of human life is not on a downswing, at least, it isn’t on a downswing that would explain this. There has been no significant change since before Columbine. Some people respect human life and some people do not. That situation has remained largely unchanged since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. And it isn’t civilization. People want to recoup all the advantages of these implied contracts, while remitting no more than necessary to keep them going — that is human nature. Nothing significant has changed about the formulation in all this time. And yet school shootings are now “normal,” whereas twenty years ago, they were not. It isn’t the silly stuff like cartridges being expensive or blood being icky.

That leaves just one thing. Factor Number Three, the sense of community. You men who have checkered dating histories, you’ve no doubt met these unfortunate waif-girls, the ones who have no way of communicating with any being who is masculine, save one: The instillation of futility. The “Whatever.” You’ve seen how this reflects the growing attitude of society-at-large. “Your DNA is to pass into the ash-bin of evolutionary history un-nurtured, bleaching on the rocks” — could it be, the modern-day innovation of mass school shootings is simply a natural consequence of this? Well, something must be motivating these damaged boy-men. Something recent. And this is recent.

The swaggering matronly types seek to disengage the wayward males, still further from where they’ve been disengaged already. They are the authors of the misfortune, the constructors of this new modern-age monster; the cog whose teeth do not quite mesh with the rest of the machinery. The idled monster, who has been addled in addition to being idled. He spins away, fruitlessly, and eventually picks up a firearm.

Contrast this unfortunate phenomenon with the words of Lord Baden-Powell in his parting words to the Boy Scouts whose organization he founded — specifically, for the purpose of giving energetic growing boys an outlet, so they would not grow up into men who harm others:

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.

Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.

But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.

“Be Prepared” in this way, to live happy and to die happy – stick to your Scout promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.

This is a voice not of our current time…and, it shows. That right there, all by itself, is an important clue. Words of real encouragement, to boys. Not any one particular boy, but to any of the strong capable boys living then, or who would come along later. The tone is different from what you see sent in their direction, typically, nowadays is it not? Of course it is. We do not talk to boys this way. Actually, society frowns somewhat on people who talk to boys this way. God? Be a force for good? Leave things a little better than you found them? Verboten! More like, take two big steps back lads; we need to do something to make girls feel important. Not your turn.

Whatever came of the Boy Scouts? The liberals made hay out of the “gay scoutmaster,” and have used their public accommodations rule to destroy more things. And now the Boy Scouts are just a hollow shell of what they were before. This story doesn’t line up perfectly I’ll admit. The BSA actually won their Supreme Court case, which was heard just a bit after Columbine. But the pressure was brought to bear, ostensibly to make the organization gay-friendly, but in effect as well as intent, it was about something else. The “reform,” exerted from within, but pressured from the outside, ultimately made the organization a mess, and a thing of the past. And that is the chapter in which we’re living now. We have generations of males flaying away, floundering around, looking for a sense of purpose that eludes them. This is exactly what Lord BP sought to avoid. Liberalism, we see once again, destroys everything it touches. It starts out being “No one can have it unless everyone can have it,” and when the liberal-locusts are done nibbling the crop, it’s…no one can have it. A generation ago, boys had ways to be happy, help others, take the first few steps on the road to being & feeling like a part of the community. Now they don’t.

And, EVERY disagreeable interaction with the fairer sex, or a pajama-boy bureaucrat who’s trying to act like he should be part of the fairer sex, results in a strong suggestion that he’s on the outs, destined for nothingness. Every. Single. One.

I’m thinking the problem we’re trying to locate, is right about in there somewhere.

So Now Let’s Tell Liberals to Cork it Whenever They…

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

I agree with James Comey. In the aftermath of the release of the much-touted Nunes memo, he says “That’s it?” Maybe, by that, we mean different things. As in, he wants to play down the importance, whereas to me, having argued with liberals on the Internet since 1986 off-n-on, I’m sitting here thinking “Okay…learned nothing new.”

Liberals made up a bunch of bullshit and wrote it down into a “dossier,” then they used the made-up dossier-bullshit to get a FISA warrant. Going forward, it’s going to be a bit tough to prove actual intent with regard to liberal lies, because what happened here is the liberals began to earnestly believe their own bullshit. I’ve been watching that for thirty years. That’s why when Oprah Winfrey babbled away with some foolish nonsense about “your truth” I didn’t need anyone to clue me in on what’s wrong with that. See, you & I live in a world in which water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and it doesn’t matter how people feel about that. If you get in an argument with someone who says it freezes at 50, and they manage to pull off some rhetorical flourish that makes you look like a raging idiot and the surrounding crowd roars its approval…well guess what. The freezing temperature doesn’t change. Liberals don’t live in that world. That’s why they’re forever looking for the “gotcha.” To them, that is truth.

And only the extremely-casual consumers of news, the ones who only just barely have a passing acquaintance with what’s going on, need to have it explained what that means. But, that’s lots-of-people, so maybe I should fill in the blanks. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re lying when your fastening to truth is so twisted, so ramshackle. An intent to tell the truth, versus an intent to deceive, is only the second step, with the first being: Do you even sustain a belief in truth? Do you even know what it is? Do you buy into the idea that there’s a freezing temperature and it doesn’t matter what people think about it. Because if not, any comment you have on the matter will merely be a report on your expectations of what most people think. You could be 100% sincere about this and, still, not to be trusted.

Isolated hermit-authors of crackpot right-wing blogs, like this one, like me, understand this. We’ve gotten it for awhile. What happened yesterday was the whole country saw it. Or, at least, lost its excuse not to be aware.

So going forward, let’s ALL be sure to tell liberals to stick a cork in it whenever they…

1. Accuse someone of saying or doing something
2. Insist someone is innocent of something, or debunk a myth
3. Tell us history; tell us how anything went down anywhere
4. Tell us what’s going on with the climate, or for that matter, anything that has anything to do with science
5. “Libsplain” to us how many genders there are
6. Tell us about any “research” or “experiment” or “paper,” unless they can assure us no liberals were involved in doing it, and even then someone who isn’t a liberal should have to prove it
7. Protest something
8. Proxy-complain about something on behalf of some race, nation or creed that’s supposed to be offended
9. Bore us yet even more about their “triggerings” or “microaggressions”
10. Define ANYTHING
11. Tell us what we need to do to prove we’re properly respectful to women
12. Explain to us what is going on in the heads of anyone who doesn’t agree with them

That last one is particularly important. In my experience, if there is any one weakness liberals are going to candidly admit to having, it’s that they don’t really understand the motives of their opposition. And yet you’ll find, overall, that’s their go-to. “People disagree with me because they’re sexist.” “They hate Obama because his skin is black.”

We’ve let them take over our academic world. We’ve let them monopolize history. Liberals shouldn’t write about history. They don’t care about it.

They shouldn’t define things. They’ve made it their mission to prevent new definitions from being established and agreed-upon where they’re needed, and to eradicate the definitions that are already there.

They lie, they lie some more, they sell the lies to other liberals, and the other liberals believe the lies. And then the liberals who sold the lies start believing the lies because, hey, they successfully got them sold so they must be okay-lies.

And then they use these okay-lies to get warrants to spy on people.

You just saw it.

Teacher & Councilman Rants Against Military

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

The guys on the radio made a comment in passing about this, and then one of the folks at work said something about it. But I had to do some looking to find the source. I’m told there are two million hits but I don’t see much of anyone actually talking about it.

So he’s been suspended & stripped of committee assignments and what-not. I guess this is some kind of lone rat then? Not manifesting any kind of culture involving other people that would’ve made him feel comfortable saying such things…well, I suppose time may tell.

I Made a New Word LXXIV

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Non•flict (n.)

A bunch of nonsense you say to generate conflict.

This has the potential, in fact the very high potential, of turning an open, rational, free exchange of well-thought-out ideas into an incoherent shouting match, which may be desirable if you figure out you’re about to lose in the former but not in the latter. No one really wins a shouting match, which means no one really loses at one either.

“You’re a towel!”

You know the old saying: If the facts are on your side pound the facts, if the law is on your side pound the law; if both are against you, pound the table. These days, concepts that used to be simplistic, rugged and indisputable, like “facts” and “law,” have been yanked back into the realm of things that must be debated endlessly.

I think the update we need is something like this: Call out the evidence when the evidence is on your side, and place great weight upon the popular consensus when it agrees with you. If neither is on your side, then yank the trolley off the tracks. Go for chaos, hurl some insults, say a bunch of silly stuff, move the conversation down into the gutter.

I was noticing this while discussing something with a #NeverTrump guy, again, on the Hello Kitty of Blogging. I suppose the reason I’m noticing this is because it’s inconveniencing me, and it’s inconveniencing me because I’m actually interested in what they have to say. I know President Trump doesn’t have a perfect score when he predicts what’s about to happen, or plies the citizenry with his interpretations of what did happen, so I’d like to hear the details when someone calls him a liar. And I’m not automatically dismissing it by any means. But, I notice, automatic dismissal is what I run into when I merely ask the question…which seems odd, to say the least.

And this has become a pattern with the #NeverTrump crowd. You ask them to explain themselves, you get static. An innocuous question like “What’s the most egregious lie Donald Trump has ever told?” nets you all this useless conflict, when it seems like you should be able to get back a reasonable answer from which a rational back-and-forth discussion may ensue. Seems they’ve calculated such a thing would not work to their advantage.

So based on all I’ve seen, I conclude the following. The new three-point has taken the place of the older one, since we’re living in a post-metaphysical culture now and “facts” are no longer “facts.” But, furthermore, the three-point has become a two-point, since in a post-metaphysical culture, “evidence” doesn’t mean anything either. Two and two make nine, and you’re a towel!

It’s bigger than Trump, or #NeverTrump. It’s swollen to consume everything. Wade on in, ignore any “evidence” and just state your opinion. If you pick up that the popular consensus goes along with that, crow in victory, that’s all the “right” or “correct” you need. You win. If not, then shove the conversation in the dirt. Hurl some insults, which are bound to be recapitulated…and you win again. Or at least, you get a stalemate.

Our infatuation with the scam that is higher education, has brought us here. The kids who are currently experiencing, or anticipating, their ivy-league years think of these thoughts they’ll be properly credentialed & permitted to have, as complex compared to the thoughts they’d have if they wore steel-toed work boots. And they’re probably right. But complexity is just one meaningful attribute. An even more meaningful consideration is whether the idea is falsifiable, and so many of these college kids seem to be beginning one year after they end another one, again and again, without pondering anything that’s falsifiable. Nothing testable. And so there’s no “must,” as in — one of my favorite examples — “This bolt head must be 12mm, because it’s too big for my 7/16″ and too small for my 1/2″.”

Even when they’re ready to ridicule whoever doesn’t go along — in fact, I would say, especially when they are so ready, and willing — there’s no test, no way to know for sure. And it seems, no one has ever explained to them that if there’s no way to know for sure, there’s no call to denigrate the intelligence or reasoning capacity of someone who disagrees. Or, for that matter, someone who merely asks to know more. Or hesitates to go along. They slept through that lecture. But still want to be taken seriously.

And then they layer more nonsense upon the nonsense that was there before, whatever it takes, to avoid losing the argument. Arriving at the right answer has nothing to do with it after awhile. It’s all about winning. And scolding.

Related: The Dumbing Down:

What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history – of any kind! No sense of history. No world geography. No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history. So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out. They have no sense whatever of the destruction, of the great civilizations that rose and fell, and so on – and how arrogant people get when they’re in a comfortable civilization. They now have been taught to look around them to see defects in America – which is the freest country in the history of the world – and to feel that somehow America is the source of all evil in the universe, and it’s because they’ve never been exposed to the actual evil of the history of humanity…

Just Because It’s Your Job to Make People Watch You, Doesn’t Mean You Have Something to Say

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Jonah Goldberg, writing in Townhall:

It may be hard for some people to get the joke these days, but for most of human history, actors were considered low-class. They were akin to carnies, grifters, hookers and other riffraff.

In ancient Rome, actors were often slaves. In feudal Japan, Kabuki actors were sometimes available to the theatergoers as prostitutes — a practice not uncommon among theater troupes in the American Wild West. In 17th century England, France and America, theaters were widely considered dens of iniquity, turpitude and crapulence. Under Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan dictatorship, the theaters were forced to close to improve moral hygiene. The Puritans of New England did likewise. A ban on theaters in Connecticut imposed in 1800 stayed on the books until 1952.

Partly out of a desire develop a wartime economy, partly out of disdain for the grubbiness of the stage, the first Continental Congress in 1774 proclaimed, “We will, in our several stations … discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shews [sic], plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments …”

Needless to say, times have changed. And I suppose I have to say they’ve changed for the better. But that’s a pretty low bar. I don’t think acting is a dishonorable profession, and I’m steadfastly opposed to banning plays, musicals, movies and TV shows.

But in our collective effort to correct the social stigmas of the past, can anyone deny that we’ve overshot the mark?
:
The most recent Golden Globes ceremony has already been excoriated for being a veritable geyser of hypocritical effluvia, as the same crowd that not long ago bowed and scraped to serial harasser and accused rapist Harvey Weinstein, admitted child rapist Roman Polanski and that modern Caligula, Bill Clinton, congratulated itself for its own moral superiority.

The interesting question is: Why have movie stars and other celebrities become an aristocracy of secular demigods? It seems to me an objective fact that virtually any other group of professionals plucked at random from the Statistical Abstract of the United States — nuclear engineers, plumbers, grocers, etc. — are more likely to model decent moral behavior in their everyday lives. Indeed, it is a bizarre inconsistency in the cartoonishly liberal ideology of Hollywood that the only super-rich people in America reflexively assumed to be morally superior are people who pretend to be other people for a living.

Exactly. We’d be better off throwing a pair of dice to figure out what’s right vs. what’s wrong, than we are turning to the acting profession for moral guidance. This is a profession — never forget this — that relies on pretending false things are true.

I see Gerard posted a video of the one thing that, in my mind, persuasively puts other countries ahead of the good ol’ US of A; we have this bizarre cultural wrinkle, that compels us to dress up our weather girls as high-ranking executives in some stodgy old bank or law firm or something. I’ve complained about this before, and for good reason. It’s dumb. Mexico has Yanet Garcia and the Mighty Mayte Carranco, and we have stuffy also-rans in pantsuits scolding us about the five-day forecast like we’re the stupidest male student on the third-grade playground and they’re the frumpy yard duty teacher. My home country is getting its ass whipped on this front, for no good reason.

Had to reply to one commenter:

I’m truly glad you enjoyed the video so robustly. However, there is a concept in play of appropriate professional dress. Weather forecaster is a professional job, no? Sometimes it is a stodgy man in a suit who does the job, more rarely a stodgy woman, sometimes a hot babe in a cocktail dress. I do understand sex sells. But please to never again bring up the issue of skankiness with regard to today’s women, as the men of the manosphere so often do; no, the hypocrisy is too flaming to bear. For although the weathergirl may not be a ho, she is wearing a ho’s uniform. Your appreciation for one and not the other makes no logical sense to my simple and straightforward mind…

To which I said…

“Weather forecaster is a professional job, no?”

Wherever there is a disagreement, it’s a rare and good opportunity that arises, to mark the exact point of dispute. And here it is.

No.

Entertainers are entertainers. They’re not leaders or moral compasses or role models or oracles. And throwing all these things into the same big stewpot is dangerous.

It’s an important point, because it highlights exactly where we’re getting all twisty, where things are falling apart. Entertainers have the job of making people want to watch them. And so the rest of us — quite rightly, I would say — anticipate that kids will watch them, and try to figure out what the consequences will be. And so there is aroused this pressure, from outside & from within the entertainment industry, to figure out what would put kids on the wrong path, and do the opposite. All good so far.

The problem is, as Goldberg points out above, we’ve overshot the mark. We’ve passed the point where we see entertainers as a lodestar for where our society is going, for where it ought to go. And it’s not lost on me that we’ve pivoted, in many cases, from figuring out what’s right & true, to figuring out what’s inevitable…as in, right or wrong, this is where it’s going, better get on board or get left behind…

Some of the biggest problems we have aren’t getting fixed, until this one gets fixed first. Court jesters are not kings. They need to mind their place, and the rest of us need to fulfill our basic duties as good citizens, by putting them (back) there.

There’s another problem here too though, one that has to do with inappropriately binary, all-or-nothing thinking. The casual female deserves more respect. There is dressing like the female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and there is a “ho’s uniform”; any woman who’s shopped for her own wardrobe knows there are a lot of increments between those two extremes. This is a case of achieving the opposite of what’s intended, for if you take a look at the schoolgirls we’re supposed to be educating to respect themselves better, by pressuring the weather girls to dress up like bank executives — well, the schoolgirls aren’t dressing like bank executives, let’s just say that. The problem here is that the adults have taken something ultra-seriously, thinking the kids will take it equally seriously, and the kids look at it and go…meh.

But we didn’t really want the schoolgirls to dress like bank executives, did we. The errant ultra-strict dress code is pressed upon the weather girls, to make the weather girls look appealing, but to female viewers. As in, look pretty, but don’t make other women jealous. Everyone knows this is true. We’re just not allowed to talk about it.

Now excuse me, I have to go find out about the weekend forecast in Tijuana, because…reasons.

Badlands

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

So the family and I went to see that new movie that starts off where the previous one left things, with this plucky girl handing a flashlight thing to this grumpy old guy on a remote island. Rumors swirl about whether it’s a liberal crap-fest, and I’m not going to mislead anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, it kinda is. But it’s still a fun movie to watch.

And I’m on-board, still. Looking forward to Episode IX. You can see the worst of the old is only slightly better than the best of the new, so the franchise is on the cusp of recapturing its former glory.

This one lands somewhere in the ball park of the stupid third one with the forest moon and way too many muppets. We’re seeing more pieces emerge and fit into the puzzle of what Star Wars is, why we are/were drawn to it, what spoils things. Whacky talkative sidekicks, while they have their appeal, are so hazardous that filmmakers would be well-advised to leave them unused altogether, they bring nothing that isn’t brought by adorable alien animals. And the adorable alien animals can be built into lucrative Christmas toy offerings, just fine, if they’re kept on the sidelines where they belong. Lucas and Kasdan made a mistake building the Ewoks up into jungle foot-soldiers who were ultimately responsible for achievement of the final victory over the Galactic Empire. The Last Jedi doesn’t make that mistake. But, its story is not crisp, clear, well-structured or strong. It’s messy.

All that really matters, to us, in figuring out whether we’ll buy it or not is: Will the disc make it into the player for repeat-viewings. Yeah, I can see it. The prequels do not pass this test. Not that we took a pass on those, they’re still on the shelf downstairs…sitting…

But, I digress. The new one has positives and negatives. It’s missing the toxic elements, aside from the whacky talkative sidekicks, that ruined the prequels. You know what else there was? The sanitized environment.

The Last JediI’ve complained to excess, within & outside of the Star Wars universe, of “conference room scenes” which, I maintain, have what it takes to singlehandedly wreck an otherwise great movie. People who have to attend meetings at work, get this, and people who don’t, don’t. If you’re like me, you’re not down with going to work, being called in to some stuffy conference room to sit at a big table with a bunch of other people who are wondering why they’re there, watching a bunch of mundane progress reports proceed about efforts that have nothing whatsoever to do with you, clocking out, picking up the family and spending a huge chunk out of that paycheck for candy, popcorn, sodas, and the privilege of watching more people & creatures sitting at tables in conference rooms.

But, over the years, I’ve found I’m walking that road mostly alone, even among people who work for a living and do have to go to meetings. It doesn’t ruin the experience of everyone else, and so I’ve kept my silence for the most part. Although, some people do at least get it. Who wants to go to a movie to be reminded of work, right? And, I’ve had to modify this as a rule for great or terrible movies. Many a movie has been made better by a conference room scene. The original Star Wars movie, for example. Thunderball. I’ve always been fond of Al Capone’s speech about teamwork in The Untouchables. From this, we see the rule emerge with crystal clarity: Someone has to die. Or, at least, get seriously threatened. If you have that, the conference room scene adds. If you don’t…

For several dozens to sit down at a big table, and listen to one or two people go back & forth for a bit, then adjourn when someone says “good, then it’s settled” — this is no bueno. Thirty people sit, and only two have speaking lines, so you can work it into your story that a decision got made? That’s cheating the audience. There are lots of ways to show a decision got made. This has to be the worst of all of them, the very worst. Anyway. I’ve learned over the years that I am hyper-sensitive to this, and everybody else isn’t necessarily.

So I’ve been given cause to think about this, as the reviews come in on The Last Jedi. It hasn’t got any conference room scenes, it’s full of liberal twaddle but is still fun to watch. The reviews come in, people either love it or hate it. It’s becoming one of those things where nobody has a “meh” in-between opinion. I’m thinking of what my old Uncle Wally used to say to me. “Morgan, the world is made up of two kinds of people: The ones who go around dividing everyone into two groups, and everyone else.” Yeah, the old man was mocking me I’m quite sure. But, this is correct, and this movie proves it. It’s really rubbing some people the wrong way, whereas others, like me, see redeeming features. I can even see things in the original trilogy that went missing for awhile, and have been restored.

Let’s explore for a bit what that is, exactly. In the beginning, what people really paid money to see was the story of Luke Skywalker, who grew up humbly but aspired toward greater things. He embarked on the Hero’s Journey. I was about to turn eleven, at the time, and saw very little overlap between my situation & any future ambitions that interested me. There was no one talking to me seriously about having such feelings, and if they did, & brought it to my attention “You know, there are a lot of others who are in the same boat,” I likely wouldn’t have cared much. Point was, my future was unclear. An unclear future at my age now, causes some measured panic, but when you’re young you tend to be anesthetized to it. Watching Luke stare at the twin suns, as they set, sort of sums up the whole point right there. Luke’s just had an altercation, learned he’s going to be staring at the suns for another year before he can ever hope to move on to better things. When you’re growing up humbly, and you’re ten, this has an impact.

Star Wars, I think, is changing because people are changing. You haven’t seen a lot of movies do this lately, explore the feelings of a youngster teetering on the brink of adulthood, wondering “When am I going to make something of my life?” It doesn’t resonate with young people today. They’re more interested, from what I can make out about them, in strolling through campuses and hallways built by others, than in laying a foundation, making it possible to get the campus or hallway built. And so we have franchises like Harry Potter, and on teevee we’ve got The Librarians and The Magicians.

BadlandsThe thought occurs to me: We are seeing two distinctly separate sub-genres of adventure-drama, being put together for the benefit of two distinctly separate classes of audience. The world, after all, is divided into two groups of people: The ones who do, and do not, lust for adventure in The Badlands.

That’s a term I am coining — I can think of none other — to describe the situation in which you immerse yourself when you travel through the actual badlands. Out there, in the badlands of the United States, if you get yourself hurt, it’s bad. If you find yourself at the mercy of the wildlife around you, for whatever reason; if you run out of water; if you bust a radiator hose, run out of gas, or discover it’s been too long since you changed the oil, it’s bad. Hence the name. In fiction, such a situation brings a flavor of drama that is altogether missing from Coruscant, and Hogwarts.

I mean, just think about it. If the snake bites you, not only are there no medical services available, but there’s no one to hear you holler. No one would ever know. Not for awhile, when the sun is bleaching your bones. In the inner city, maybe you’d be surrounded by hostiles and this would bring a whole different sense of danger. But, that sense of danger would be different. The badlands bring a story that is unique unto itself. Obi-Wan summed it up succinctly: “The Jundland wastes are not to be traveled lightly.” The Old Trilogy, like this new Disney project, writhed away in The Badlands. The Prequels merely poked around a bit with such settings, concentrating for the most part on murky political intrigue in the capitol. This, more than Jar Jar Binks, brought about their ruin. It wasn’t because of what was there; it was because of what was missing.

We see this in the movie that really put Steven Spielberg‘s name in lights: Jaws. Jaws is Beowulf. The hero ventures out into the space, ocean, wilderness — Badlands — to do battle with the creature that has been harassing the citizenry. There is a special flavoring of the drama because if the shark wins, there aren’t even any spectators around to watch, to say “Wow, sucks to be you, dude.” The heroes would simply disappear. The same is true of Spielberg’s earlier debut vehicle, Duel. The hero struggles to defend, not only his life, but his existence in the minds of others. It’s the same situation as with the rattlesnake. If he loses this thing, no one will ever know, he’ll just be a pile of bleached bones in a wrecked car. The tension is not the same as Harry Potter struggling for victory in some competition with all his classmates watching him, and wizened elders calculating scores according to a point system. It’s completely separate from that.

I could add to this list all day. In the genre of psychological thrillers, there are many offerings that are rather low-budget and humdrum, especially from the 1970’s…but they have that ONE thing that makes them memorable. The protagonist, and the agent of menace whatever it is, play cat-and-mouse in some setting of isolation. An island, a building, a canyon, a jungle, the stratosphere, outer space…someplace where defeat would be not only final, but unnoticed.

So it seems we’re dealing with THREE types of people. There are those who see no appeal in the Badlands at all, either in real life or in fiction. There are those who are drawn to the drama of the Badlands in fiction, but have no desire at all to go exploring it in real life. And then I guess there are the ones like me, who are up for a real-life adventure out where no one can ever hear us scream, and it goes without saying we like seeing this situation in our “Hero’s Journey” movies too.

I imagine I have something of a soft spot for this latest movie, because I identify somewhat with Luke. In software development and in IT, I have often halfway “joked” about chucking technology altogether and becoming a goat farmer. The punchline to my joke-that-is-not-a-joke, is that I have no misgivings about technology itself, but I’m disgusted by the way people behave around it, and I’m repulsed by the changes I see being made to my chosen profession, and the efforts to change it further by people who don’t even seem to understand what changes they’re trying to make. When Rey actually does hand Luke his old lightsaber, he takes it, (spoiler, highlight to read) looks it over for a moment or two, and then chucks it over his shoulder, over the cliff; he’s done with this whole “Jedi” business, really, really done. Goats don’t bitch at their farmers about renewing their latest certifications, they don’t crash if two goats have been assigned the same IP address, they’re naturally Y2K compliant…oh yes, I’ve been there, I’ve been there for awhile. Impulse after impulse after impulse washes over me, year after year, to do what Luke did. And for similar reasons.

How important is this observation of mine? Very, I think. We see it in politics pretty much all the time, with President Trump finishing out his first year. The tax cut…that’s Badlands, is it not? It works if, and only if, the citizenry figure out where they put their spirit of independence, and get it back again. Big-government liberals are working hard to proliferate the narrative that a tax cut has something to do with spiraling deficits and financial instability. They’re right, if the people who live in this country are what the liberals think, and hope, they are: enfeebled, ignorant, weak, not having the slightest idea what to do with a bit of extra money, effeminate, dependent…like barnyard animals. The possibility doesn’t enter their consciousness that they just might be wrong, that we might be free-thinking, rugged, capable human beings ready for a foray into The Badlands, ready to create some economic activity of our own, doing something productive with that extra money besides squirreling it away under a mattress. We only have to be more productive than the government, to make this work. It isn’t a high bar. But people who are not ready for such a Badlands adventure, do not understand people who are.

We see it with the Net Neutrality, too. This is the ultimate in pasteurized, over-civilized thinking, since the dispute is over a danger that has not yet emerged. NN, therefore, is sterilization just for sterilization’s sake. It’s pure cowardice, the kind that’s brought us absolutely nothing. “Ooh, let’s stay in bed, there might be snakes out there.” In evaluating our movies and other works of fiction, I’ll not begrudge my Badlands-averse brethren for their preferences that are different from mine.

I only ask they find it in themselves to make room for the rest of us, when we deliberate about public policies out here, in real life? These civilized, sterile and fully serviced settings they crave so intransigently, after all, are here because of us. Someone has to be rugged, at some time. Hogwarts requires a foundation. Before the city can be built, there is a swamp that has to be drained. Someone has to venture out into the untamed territory first. All of human existence cannot work its way through history, inside the polished walls of a cloister. Sooner or later, here or there, now & then, someone’s hands have to get dirty. The cloistered, clean-hands people need the Badlands-venturing, dirty-hands people. Not the other way around.

They Walk Among Us, Dead Inside

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Unanswerable question of the day: If Roy Moore was to be opposed because it’s important to keep child molesters and creepers out of Congress, and this effort ultimately succeeded, then how come all the celebrating is on the side of the democrats who merely wanted to pick up a Senate seat? Oh sure I’m seeing a little bit of gloating from the Republicans who were anti-Moore, some “In Your Face!” But the narrative that things are made better with a Moore defeat, and would somehow deteriorate with a Moore victory, seems to have been tossed out the window. All this “in your face” stuff, every jot & tittle of it, is dedicated to a proposition of “you dummies picked the wrong candidate and now disaster has ensued.” This just adds to my conviction that there never was any logical coherence to it. Roy Moore, defeated, doesn’t open a hole in the ground, leap into it, reach up & pull the hole in after himself — that’s not how it works. He serves no jail time for having seduced or mistreated anyone. No one is protected by this ultimately successful, but very poorly thought-out, effort to protect children & women. Logical coherence would be…although this comes off as a bit daffy, because it is…Roy Moore was, and remains, a danger to these women-children, so he should win this Senate seat so we can watch him and he won’t have the time to be dangerous. Now he’s a free, private citizen, not convicted of anything, facing no trial, with spare time he would not otherwise have.

Allow me to suggest an answer for my own question. Republicans — Americans — labor under a strange relationship with this idea of voters being able to influence things. We’re excited by it, and at the same time we fear the responsibility that goes with it, with such an intensity that some among us are polarized by it, even repulsed and sickened by it. For them, this fear wins out, day after day. Like the drivers-ed student who wants to sit in the back seat while the other kids take their turn driving on the freeway, all the time, until the teacher finally has to call her out on it.

Spend it for me!We’re hearing much the same thing about the tax bill President Trump is trying to pass. It’s funny, to those of us who’ve been watching it awhile, how much more popular tax cuts are well before they’re about to actually happen, than they are when we’re right on top of the delivery, and there’s only 1 or 2 signatures or procedural moves remaining before they become law. It’s not at all unlike watching a cat try to figure out if it really wants to go outside. The democrats amp up their propaganda, yank the volume dial on it up to eleven, and we hear “trickle down is bullshit” from all directions. Suddenly, tax cuts are an “expense” the government can’t afford. I guess everyone else has to grapple with the situation of now & then having less, but the government is entitled to be protected from this, spending whatever it wants, while everyone outside of government has to scrimp, and squeak, and cope.

It isn’t based on reason. A large truck chips a curb a couple hundred feet away, repairing the curb depends on funds that ultimately come from Washington, so we have to send lots of money to Washington to get the curb fixed? That’s nuts. Even nuttier is the proposition that the curb will remain unfixed, because budget cuts, and we have budget cuts because of tax cuts. Oh, so we have to keep the government in the black so we can get our curbs fixed? The government’s not in the black. Not even close. Nor does the government have any qualms about spending money when it’s in the red. People who rail against tax cuts based on this loony line of reasoning, know all this full well. They’re not keeping a jaundiced beady eye on the bottom line of the government’s income statement, they’re only pretending to do this. What they’re doing is more like clutching a security blanket. They’re the student driver who doesn’t want to take the wheel.

I remember thirty years ago people used to deny “trickle down,” the favorite pejorative used by those who like to change what truth is, through their judicious selection of the words used to describe it. I’m sure they’d accuse me of using a “straw man fallacy” if I were to suggest that what they’re really denying, is free trade. But, that’s what they’re denying. Trickle down doesn’t exist, because you and I have “R” for Rich and “P” for Poor tattooed onto our foreheads and we carry these letters around, womb to tomb — what, that’s not what they’re saying? If not, then what does it mean to deny the opportunity exists for us to work hard and better ourselves? The opportunity is there or else it isn’t. Binary choice. I think it’s there, and I can present evidence. What’s the evidence that it’s impossible? And if it’s possible for a poor child to grow up and become not-poor…and been done…which it has. What else would you call that?

And yet, decade after decade, this tedious narrative rises up that trickle-down is a lot of baloney, and it’s our lot in life to soldier on, through the dash between the two numbers that will ultimately be carved on our headstones, with our prospects unchanged the whole time. In America! In the twenty-first century, yet. The departure from reality nauseates me. It’s disgusting, infuriating. When I think of people living in different countries, today, or who squirmed away in anguish in different times, that we have people here, now, indulging in this nonsensical un-fantasy that their ability to provide for themselves is so unmoving & unmovable, so static, so limited. Many among them have real talent. The loss of human potential — it’s just mind-blowing. What a bunch of spoilsports. They’re being fed this stuff. And they’re swallowing. Demanding seconds. It’s a national disgrace and a national tragedy.

But, as tempting as it is to get all wrapped around the axle of whether or not trickle-down is bullshit. Let us examine instead what truly matters in politics: The conditions under which the undecided will be won over to one side, or the other. What does it take for more people to accept the premise that trickle down is bullshit, that the free market doesn’t work, that liquid assets are static, immobilized, that we all carry on in futility until the final date with the Grim Reaper. And what does it take for people to reject this?

We know this is a cry of the forlorn & helpless. People say this when they’re having a tough time looking for work, or perhaps when they already do have a job and it pays well, but they’re singing in a gilded cage — they doubt their abilities to find another should they ever find themselves dismissed. It is despair, almost a cry for help, and I think in many cases it is exactly that. It is a cry of “I think I’m working very hard, why don’t I feel more secure?”

I do believe, if it were easy for companies to hire people, and therefore easy for people to find prospective employers who are serious, people in great numbers would reject this notion of the unmovable standard of living, and embrace the idea that their hands are indeed on the steering wheel and they can act as true captains of their own destinies — even if the unemployment numbers were very high, even if the income inequality was very high, even if differentials in personal wealth were very high. For people to utter this note of despair, you have to have a perception of stasis, a perception that moving money around is very hard to do, that no one’s buying and no one’s selling.

Rich Get Richer, Poor Get PoorerObviously, if people go around saying “trickle down is bullshit” in great numbers, you’re looking at a place where democrats are more likely to win elections. And we know from experience all too well, this does NOT mean you’re looking at any likelihood the problem will be solved. Places where democrats run things, and have run things for decades and decades, where democrats are exceptionally likely to win the next election, where you’re more likely to see a re-animated dinosaur than a Republican elected to anything…people stumble around, like zombies, in perpetual despair, saying dumb things like “trickle down doesn’t work,” or “the rich get richer, the poor get poorer,” not expecting to hire anyone, not expecting to get hired, not seeing any way they can ever escape their current conditions. And generation after generation, this doesn’t get fixed. The democrats who run the place have no plan to make it any better. Perhaps if they ever needed to have such a plan, they’d make one, but they don’t. People are depressed so they’ll keep voting democrat.

I’m talking about what? Could be any one of a number of places. Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Atlanta, NOLA, LA, Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia…

The same people who benefit politically from this feeling of stasis, that it’s very hard to get the money moving, are the ones crusading non-stop for higher taxes. They’re also the builders of all our wonderful little-laws that say “You cannot work, and you cannot hire, unless…” People don’t notice the pattern. Which makes me think they must want to avoid seeing it. It’s pretty hard to miss, once you open yourself up to noticing it.

And so I have to wonder. Do we really have to have a knock-down drag-out about whether higher taxes make it harder to move the money around? That one seems, to me, to be like “people breathe air” or something — outside the realm of the disputed. But maybe I’m wrong.

But in my experience quibbling over this stuff, with people who are emotionally invested in the other side; their position is not “money is harder to move around when taxes are high,” it’s more like “money will NEVER move around no matter where the tax rate is, so it doesn’t matter.” Which is silly, to me, I guess because I’ve always seen people buying & selling things so I know that cannot be true. I know when I make money, I have to spend quite a lot of it. So people are making money off me. What, then, is going on with these zombies, these deniers of money-mobility; are they not paying for anything? Or do they think as soon as the money leaves their fingertips, it ceases to exist? That only the government can spend money in such a way that jobs will result?

People, in order to accept that there’s no such thing as trickle-down, that it must be up to the government to move the money around in such a way that everyone has a shot at getting some, must embrace strong doubts about the goodness of themselves & others. They must think we don’t need each other, that there’s nothing anyone can do to provide a valuable service to someone else, for lack of some educational credential or networking connection that’s always just out of reach. This would be the minimum of what is required to sustain the sad, sad narrative if “no such thing as ‘trickle-down’.” You don’t have to be “woke” into doubting it; you have to be depressed into doubting it.

And once enough people doubt it, there are some people who, rest assured, are getting & staying very, very powerful in their miserable little communities, and getting & staying very, very rich.

What all this diseased zombie-thinking has in common, is an alarming lack of regard for the end-game. None of it survives the innocuous question, “What’s your vision?” What is the sequence of events one hopes to get started, how does one thing lead to another, in fulfillment of something desired. Roy Moore is defeated; what’s better? Ah, who knows…Who Is John Galt. Stop arguing politics! Kardashians is on…

These are the baby-steps society takes, as it lurches toward a new world no one actually wanted. This is how & why we emerge into a new day, wherein we find only government can spend money in any meaningful way, which it does until government is broke, and then it spends some more, so that we’re all encumbered with the effects of runaway inflation eating away at our limited savings, which we cannot replenish. This is how we find ourselves living in a silly world where throwaway lines like “How do you do” and “You’re looking nice today,” among office-co-workers, have to be micro-managed by lawyers. This is the fulfillment of the darkest fears that led us to make the wrong decisions in the prelude; a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s the scary thing about being a grown-up, of moving into the front seat and taking the wheel. You have to reckon with the idea that decisions have consequences, both good & bad, that your happiness and success are your responsibility and no one else’s.

That’s reality. We don’t get to choose whether or not to accept it. But, some people never stop trying. They’re dead inside, and you can tell they’re dead inside because they can’t explain how or why their choices might lead to success. The truth is, there is no connection for you to find, or for them to find. It isn’t there, because they’ve given up on maintaining one. They’ve been frightened & depressed out of it. They’ve taken a pass on adult living, and are just biding their time until that date with the Grim Reaper.

Things I’ve Learned People Don’t Do Very Well at All

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

1. Think like an Architect, and like a Medicator, both at the same time

That would mean, you’re treating time as a resource while simultaneously doing your best to avoid being bored. This comes up a lot when you’re doing work you happen to enjoy, but at some point you’ve got to stop because whatever comes after it is time-sensitive and just as important. It doesn’t come naturally to us. It calls for thinking like a responsible adult and an impulsive little kid at the same time. Every time you look at the clock and it’s either earlier or later than you thought it would be, it’s both good & bad news.

This is not natural for people. Sooner or later, you have to commit to the one, or to the other. We often don’t notice because before that fork-in-the-road has to be taken, we manage to actually get the job of the day done, and the drama is over. But if we had to live in the crisis for an indefinite period of time, I think it would become obvious.

2. Mind their own damn business

Oh, this is easy if you’re not trying to help anybody. One thing I’ve learned about software development over the years, is this is the best way to suck at the job — start dictating to the user what he’s trying to do, why he’s trying to do it, what steps he should follow. If you really do the job well, the fruits of your labor are going to answer only a few of these questions. That’s when it becomes a truly useful tool, when the person using it gets to decide the how.

I met one guy who started using an Apple Mac first time he ever saw one, put the mouse backwards so that he pulled it toward himself when he wanted the pointer to go up, away for down, left & right reversed. Then he proceed to wire his brain that way, subsequently learned everyone else was doing it the opposite way, didn’t care. That’s actually how most people use computers, and most software developers don’t get this. “But I’m the manufacturer, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations!” No Skippy, that’s not how it works at all. They think you made a tool, they want to use the tool. However they want. It’s your job to make it work.

3. Live in reality

Not much I need to write here at all.

Maslow PyramidSome people think they’re exceptionally gifted at living in reality. I’m one of those. What we are actually good at doing, is choosing a narrative that closely resembles reality, even down in the details, and then living in that. This is actually how everyone works, we live in narratives. We don’t actually come in contact with reality, except when we find out the narrative is busted in some way and in need of fixing. And then some of us might respond to that and do the fixing, but only if we have the focus, and the time.

4. Maintain the strengths you needed to get something, after you got it

It’s that Maslow Pyramid. You need food, clothing and shelter, and protection from the bad guys who want to beat you up and steal your stuff. After you get that, you worry about having a job so you can replenish these things independently…then you want some toys, like an iPhone. Then you’ll want games to put on the iPhone. Now while you’re trying to get the game, you’re not going to be thinking about food, clothing and shelter. The brain just isn’t wired like that.

Since it’s a weakness we all have, it would be alright…ordinarily…except, there are still people working their butts off to make sure when we pay for our food, clothing and shelter, that we actually get it. This is “real” work. If it didn’t get done, we’d know.

And yet, the temptation is always there to take it for granted. Pretend it doesn’t really have to be done. Or that these aren’t “real” people laboring away to make sure it gets done. Or that these are “low skill” jobs.

What really happens, inside the mind, is the Maslow Pyramid becomes complete, all levels fulfilled. And then the “capstone” on top turns into a sort of balloon, swelling and swelling until it consumes all the rest; gotta get that video game. And it becomes a balloon-capstone of trivialities. The real trouble starts when it messes with our priorities, because it doesn’t just mess with the spectrum of what’s important vs. what’s not. It flips it directly upside-down, compelling us to fixate exactly on all the things that don’t really matter.

Memo For File CCVIII

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

So for quite some time now, weeks or so, I’ve had this article open in my browser session, waiting for me to record a few notes about it. Some might think I’m leaving it open because of the visually appealing nature of the picture, but that’s a falsehood. I’m not that much into cows. It’s a “linky-not-thinky” type piece, worthy of being saved because of its connection to other things. So that presents some difficulty. And the subject matter is, How and why Americans are currently turning into infantile dumbasses. We’ve already addressed that here quite a few times, so that presents difficulty too. What I’ve been trying to do is overturn a few rocks, explore some ideas hitherto unexplored, without going back over old ground.

IdiotesWhich is do-able; there is fresh insight to be found here. At least, if old thoughts are being expressed, the verbiage is new. “…[T]he average person in the developed world today lives at least as well as the royalty of centuries ago.” We have technology to thank for this. It is, as even a cursory reading of the piece will reveal, a curse just as much as a blessing. This high standard of living involves a perception, and perhaps a reality, of margin-of-error in our daily decisions. Something that was not there before. Admittedly, this does not do much to give any sort of mighty shove upon the vessel of our experiences, away from the dock of reality. But it does cast away the lines. The necessity is gone.

I have written before, over the years, perhaps to excess, of Architects and Medicators. I’ve lately been relatively quiet about this, silently seeking out the one primary great-granddaddy distinction, from which all other evident and meaningful distinctions are born. The concept, at a very high level, is this: People who fail to get along with other people, are failing to bridge a divide across two halves of humanity that may not be bridgeable. We don’t need to wait long to see this happen. Roommates, business partners, spouses, lovers, work-colleagues, tearing their couplings asunder. Often in genuine surprise, on both sides, that things could have deteriorated to that point. If one follows the stories for quite awhile, one will often see there is a catalyst. Silly Sally doesn’t get along with this boyfriend, that boyfriend, that other one, with her ex-husband, with her new husband, her parents…gee, who’s the common denominator? But a lot of times, it’s not like that. She picks up a new stud, gets along with him like bacon ‘n eggs. The cast-off gets a new girl…they get along…Sally’s new boyfriend gets along with this guy over here, not with that guy over there. Here and there, now and then, someone will enter the picture and bring a new lofty standard of diplomacy. But even that natural-ambassador doesn’t get along with everybody, in fact, no more often than anyone else involved. His natural “people-skills,” when all’s said & done, improve nothing but the cosmetics of these relationships.

As my Uncle used to say, “Morgan, one of my editors told me the world is divided into two groups of people. The ones that go around dividing everyone into groups, and everybody else.” That, I’ve noticed, seems to explain what’s going on here. Two camps. If you keep careful track of who’s managed to function alongside who else, it all fits. The two camps are thought and feeling. But how does it get to be that way?

Order and chaos have something to do with it. When the constable hauls in some village-drunk who’s behind in his child support, in front of the magistrate, there is a conflict taking place between two cultures, much like two gears that have been brought together when they’re spinning in opposite directions. In the miscreant’s world, public drunkenness is how it’s done. It’s fun. It’s living for today. Living up to responsibilities, is actually a crime there. These observations work at a high level; they don’t work with all the details. There are always exceptions. Sometimes the magistrate likes to get plastered too. And maybe the constable has had an unpleasant encounter, in his past, with the child support enforcement division.

Nevertheless, if you could somehow drop a huge wall between these halves, much of the trouble would dissipate. This raises the issue that on the one side, where no one works for a living, things are not maintainable. Well, who’s to say. Maybe, with the wall there, some people would learn some things they need to learn. Without the wall, they don’t. Chaotic people get to skim off the hard work of orderly people, which prevents this learning. With such a wall removed, the necessity of knowing is removed. With the wall re-imposed, the necessity of knowing is re-established, and maybe, just maybe, the requisite learning takes place. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. There’s a lot of truth in that.

Each individual, within each one of these two halves, further ensconces himself. This is why, in the orderly world where we treat crimes as if they’re actually crimes, we put some importance on addressing the smaller crimes so that the perpetrators don’t engage in more serious crimes later. One of the defining distinctions I proposed was, when a complex piece of machinery no longer functions but is fixable if the faulty parts are correctly identified and replaced. Architects will go chasing off after these details, whereas Medicators will be drawn to the idea of just trashing & replacing the entire thing — nevermind the material cost. The real issue isn’t labor or parts investment, it’s world-view & outlook. It’s a binary choice about whether or not to deal with details, and you’re going to find the people who go out of their way to avoid details in one situation, will work that way in dealing with pretty much all of them. Cars, clocks…spouses…

What drives each individual into his chosen half? It isn’t intelligence. Some details-obsessed people are a bit dim, at a few things. I suppose I could volunteer myself as an example. Some of the people who shun details as a lifelong habit, are actually quite bright. It isn’t maturity either. It’s not even a work ethic.

Sexy ChemistOne thing I’ve noticed holds up consistently and well, is the individual’s perception of property rights. A lot of people who fancy themselves to be constant champions of law and order, are anything-but, because as soon as the Druggist’s Dilemma emerges in some form they’re full of “advice” about how someone who has the means, should do the right thing. More often than not, once they’re presented with the complication that this supposed benefactor doesn’t want to go for it, he should be forced to do so — in the final analysis, they are mere fair-weather friends to the concept of property. They’re pro-theft. Sure they’ll insist this is an isolated case because the thief has an identifiable need. But, talk to a few thieves sometime. The case is not as isolated as they think it is, not even close. Because you’ll find every single thief you’ve caught has a rationale.

This is the difference between drama and reality. In drama, the protagonist is an isolated central character whose desires, dreams, hopes and fears, matter. This sets him apart from the secondary characters, who are only there so that he can interact with them. In real life, everyone thinks their concerns matter. And they’re right.

The spending of money also sets these two sides apart. How often do we see a marriage undone because one spouse wants to create a budget and stick to it; the other one is content to simply spend the loot until it’s gone. Seems there are few stories as sad as the tale of the lottery winner who doesn’t know how to handle his new life’s-circumstances. Some people are programmed to only have a certain amount of money. There are times when I think I may be one of those people, and this fills me with dread. I’m likely not alone, even among just the people I know. Although, having grown up in relatively threadbare conditions, I might be an exceptional case.

One of my very favorite Simpson’s episodes captures this nicely. Homer somehow acquires an allocation of $15,000, to go buy a car, and he starts the negotiations the way dumbasses do (about 13:22): “Is this car fifteen thousand dollars?” The salesman nonchalantly wipes off the old price with his sleeve and answers, “It is now.” It’s funny because…yeah. It’s like that. Just like that.

From early on, I had noticed you can tell these two halves apart, and predict the power-struggles and other dust-ups that would take place between them, by observing a couple’s behavior when a bit of security has to be sacrificed for sake of some opportunity. Or, vice-versa. A lot of people who talk about a “fallback plan” wouldn’t know a fallback plan if it hit ’em square between the eyes; they’re actually talking about protection from consequences of their own regrettable decisions. In a way, we’re really talking about the difference between the domesticated animals and the wild animals. Irony with humans, though, is it’s the domesticated animals who want to make a big show of flouting the rules. It’s the wild “animals,” who have formed the discipline of paying attention to the consequences of their own decisions, and therefore learned which decisions are good and which ones not so good — who want, quite naturally, to enjoy the rewards of having refined their decision-making acumen. They’re really having a tempest-in-a-teapot about whether decisions should matter.

I’ve concluded, after a great many years of observing these pathetic chapters in the lives of others, and myself, that the great-granddaddy split that eventually results in all the others, is how one looks at a block of unclaimed time. The one thing the Medicator wants to “achieve” more than anything else, is to act as an effective steward of his own emotional state. Both sides will say “I want to get this done today,” but one side is talking about “With that done, I can do these other things” or “With that done, I don’t have to think about it anymore and I can concentrate on something else.” The other side is saying “I will have fun doing it.” And they aren’t mixing it up, with one guy motivated by this thing at this time and that thing at that time, and the other guy vice-versa. No. They’re ensconcing. Each individual ensconcing himself more thoroughly into his chosen half, with each out-of-the-ordinary decision made, about anything, womb-to-tomb. The chaotic, feelings-over-thought people want not to be bored. They want to make it to the coffin without experiencing boredom.

A block of time, unclaimed for any previously defined purpose, unstructured, un-allocated, is, therefore — in the world of Architects — an asset. To the Medicator it is a liability, a problem that has to be solved. The solution to the problem is to burn this time away.

Also, money. I’ve experienced first-hand people who are doomed never to have any money. And they don’t realize it. They’ll never have money, because if they do have money, and something is being left undone that makes them unhappy, by leaving the money unspent they’re making a statement that they’re not bothered by whatever the thing is. So they have to spend the money to make the thing go away, and if this works — which it almost never does — there surely will be another thing popping up to take its place. Meet a few people who have managed to hang on to money, build it up into something, you’ll see what I’m talking about: They have the ability to say “That makes me unhappy, but money is not the answer.” The people who are doomed to never have money, can’t do this. Can’t prioritize. The plug will always be missing from their bathtub.

So the other night, the Mrs. and I were participating in an office dinner party. I was given cause to think about all of the above, in the aftermath of what follows: We sat with another couple, and I didn’t have any way to subtly signal to my spouse that 1) this is one of our cool-people, an experienced, sharp, savvy guy who I happen to like, and 2) this is in spite of the fact that he’s a democrat. Thankfully, the discussion meandered around to alcoholic beverages, whereupon we realized that Mrs. Freeberg is home-brewing Kahlua and Amaretto, whilst the other couple is making mead. Many satisfying minutes of exuberant, non-political conversation unfurled after that…followed by…

It was the other guy. I SWEAR. Really. Honey, back me up on this.

Yeah. He wanted to talk politics. And I guess he & his wife, or at the very least just his wife, labored under complete ignorance of my own leanings because there was a distinct overtone of “Well of COURSE all four of us are good liberals, since we all have common sense.”

My wife began to administer a backrub that wasn’t really a backrub.

Well, I found his monologue to be reasonable enough even though I didn’t agree with it. He had experienced a turn-about, like many other Americans, in the wake of the war in Iraq. Now, anyone who’s been reading The Blog That Nobody Reads, for any length of time, knows my reaction to “Saddam didn’t have any munitions except for some stuff that was really really old” is a big, fat “So the fuck what??” But, we were letting the other couple have their say…although it was clear they thought they were speaking to friendlies about all this. At least the lady-half of the couple thought that. She seems like a nice enough lady. Well, we were all very civil and very appropriately restrained. There was no upset.

Or very little.

The lady had her opportunity to present her outlook, and she made a regrettable choice to end her intro with a question-mark. Since all four of us are roughly the same age, she observed something like “I think as we get older and our perspectives change, it’s a natural thing that we start to lean a little bit further left, do we not?”

Ummmm…followed by a single, staccato, stinging syllable. “No.”

I felt Mrs. Freeberg’s fingernails dig into my flesh. I also noticed, once the word escaped my maw, that out of the four of us I was the senior, and my single-syllable perhaps carried some extra punch because of this. More than I intended, maybe. It was not the response she was expecting. But in my defense, what was I to do, lie? The lady asked a direct question. And then, like sent from Heaven on high, a waiter appeared to inform us that dinner was served and it was time to relocate into the dining hall. It’s Christmastime! Time for miracles!

The near-miss, however, gives occasion for some good quality thinking. It’s a reminder, which I’m guessing most of us could use from time to time, that all of the people we like and respect don’t necessarily have the same political opinions we do, and even more importantly, that all the people who embrace different opinions, by doing so aren’t making themselves guilty of anything, or into targets of any righteous rage out of us. They’re just opinions. Which are the products of, among other things, life-experiences, and who can legitimately blame another man for having a different set of experiences? It’s something we’re supposed to do.

That having been said. It is interesting to me anyone could think such a thing, let alone say it. Getting older, entering into this bracket (we’re about fifty), inclines one to be a liberal. Really? I have occasionally had this issue with software developers, or at least people who think they’re software developers, saying strange things like this. “I’m a liberal because software development has taught me to be one.” What the heck? Because I think I’m one, too. And I can’t do my job thinking like liberals. I recall that one bug I fixed, some 2 or 3 engineers already looked at it and took a pass on it. The group-think axiom that had emerged, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, was that the test utility had been persuaded to enter into a logical loop without a run-time termination, the dreaded “infinite loop.” Thinking like a lib, I wouldn’t have fixed this. I’d just chant the same incantation everyone else was chanting. Never would have discovered the code was instantiating six million objects of a common class, per cycle, never releasing any of them. So when these guys say software development has bludgeoned them into becoming liberals, how do they figure? And on what planet does reaching middle age inspire you to become that way? It’s a life I’m not currently living. I can promise you that.

If I were permitted a proper response — it’s a fascinating thought exercise. How do I make my views of conservatism and liberalism, appealing to someone I admire and respect, who happens to be emotionally invested in the other side. I suppose I would start with an anecdote. I recall from the previous century, being plied with the same notion, that an accumulation of years having been spent on the planet, persuades a young conservative to become a more mature liberal. A certain contracting firm hired me to work at a corporation, and someone at the corporation didn’t like me so they took a pass. So my boss and I stopped off at a law firm to litigate the corporation into providing a different answer. I told the lawyer, when my boss was out of the room, that I wasn’t down with this. My thinking was that employment of any kind should be based on desire, and a sensible business case — or else it isn’t really there. I was 28, childless, single, and the lawyer assured me that my outlook was due to this. When I got older I would place a higher value on security and guaranteed employment, and not be so fixated to excess on silly things like “Do the people providing the money or me to be there really want me there.” We-ell…I must be very sluggish intellectually, because I’m now many years older than the lawyer was back then. I’m ashamed of having followed my boss down to that daffy law firm, just because she was my boss and she told me to do it. But I’m proud of myself for having picked up the phone a little while later, and terminating the whole arrangement. Wish I’d done that sooner.

MapIn fact…I’d go on to say…as I get older, it’s become harder and harder for me to ever consider being a liberal because things, far from getting more & more complicated, look simpler and simpler. Which is an interesting paradox, since my responsibilities have become higher, weightier, and a great deal more visible than before. Things have a way of getting like that, when you can see more. If you look down on a map, you’re are availed the luxury of seeing the entire vicinity without obstructions, and can define things in terms of simple, crude compass points. That, I’ve learned, is how politics works. Politics is about human efforts, it’s about stopping them or getting them started. And human efforts are about just three things: Creation, preservation and destruction. That’s not how I saw them at twenty or thirty. But it is how I’ve been seeing them at forty and fifty. Because I know more, and I have less time to waste.

I should add that it’s a bit more complicated than that, because people trying to do things, is never simple. To explain what I’m talking about here, my favorite example is the military. It is said that their mission is to destroy. That is not entirely true. Their tactic is to destroy, and their mission is to be ready to destroy. Their reason for being, is to preserve. The mission of a terrorist, is to destroy. The take-away here is that vocations that do one of these three things — which is, I think, all vocations worth mentioning — are to be defined according to their end-goals, not according to their tactics. The military preserves. Public-defender lawyers who defend their guilty clients whom they know are guilty, are destroyers, as are liberal politicians.

And, the people who vote for them.

Okay, no! I wouldn’t say that. We’re all supposed to be remaining friends here. But, in answering the question, I would have to reveal something about how & why I can’t be a liberal. There is definitely a problem with my lack of mental agility. I can’t say “Donald Trump is a great guy” in Year N, and then, in Year N + 1 immediately start prattling away with “Donald Trump is an awful human being who grabs womens’ pussies and is a Nazi sympathizer” just because Hillary Clinton wants me to say that.

I can’t be a liberal, because I’m a real human being, and real human beings are very different from the way liberals portray us. Here’s the ugly, wonderful truth. That calculus up above, about choosing between opportunity and security. It’s strictly either-or, and this is scenario-independent. None of us are fair-weather friends to it. We’re not going to say “I am confident of my ability to get a job, if and only if the unemployment rate is below, let’s say, six percent.” Like I said earlier: We ensconce. We choose a side and we stick to it, barring some cataclysmic life-changing experience, from crib to crypt. We believe in ourselves, or else we don’t believe in ourselves.

Liberals in government are a toxin, a solvent upon the citizenry. They cannot win elective office if the voters have too much confidence in themselves, and they know it. So they decimate.

I’m choosing that last word very deliberately. It doesn’t mean what you probably think it means. It doesn’t mean “devastate” and it doesn’t mean “obliterate.” It means “to destroy one tenth of,” or “to destroy a large portion of.” Whole people are very unlikely to vote for democrats, and these days it’s very hard to get democrats elected to anything. The politicians who are democrats, therefore, have a keen incentive to make whole people less than whole, to decimate them. They’ve been far more successful at doing this than they have been at getting elected to anything, and as a consequence we have a large number of wounded, incomplete people walking around among us. This is done mostly through the power of suggestion. Most people don’t like to admit how persuasive this is, because deep down I think we all know none of us are above it, not a single one of us is truly immune.

Kids are particularly vulnerable to the decimation liberal use to try to get their favorite politicians elected. They have to go to school, and liberals have maintained a lock on academia for many decades now. The curricula, particularly in public schools, tends to persuade toward a lifelong view emphasizing security over opportunity. Kids are taught not to think for themselves. And, lately, it has become faddish and fashionable to “diagnose” them with all sorts of bullshit “learning disabilities” if they show themselves not to be properly manageable. They graduate, by design, pre-disposed to seek out “leaders” who will give them stuff. It never seems to occur to them: Why does it “have to be free” in order for you to be able to afford it? That’s only true if your earning capacity is zero, right? What makes your earning capacity zero? Aren’t you supposed to be getting educated, so you have a capacity that is not zero?

This is a wounding. It is a making-incomplete. It is a decimation. And, it is destructive; so very destructive. When God gives us 100% of a person, and we decimate that person into 90% of a person, that is a destructive process.

One of the ways we have been decimating children, making them into just a fraction of what they were when God gave them to us, is through this misbegotten notion that children should never be bored. I really don’t know what started this. It’s worse than mistaken. It’s monstrous. It damages children in two ways, first of which is it destroys their creativity. I’ve written about this before, drawing on the salient observations made by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. In sum: There is a link between boredom and creativity. If you’ve ever been creative, you probably understand this already. If you’ve got a gadget that prevents you from ever being bored, and these days who doesn’t…if you stop and think, and if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll admit you haven’t had a truly inspired idea while you were being spared this boredom. In fact, there’s an idea kicking around out there that the brain may require boredom, in order to self-repair, much like it requires sleep. I dunno. I’m not a neurologist. I’m open to the idea, FWIW. Anyway: We are now habitually denying children this down-time…there never was any discussion about this, it’s just something we do. I don’t think that’s good. I think it’s a bad thing. I’m pretty sure of it.

The second way it damages kids, is this. It doesn’t leave it up to them to figure out for themselves, naturally, whether they want to spend their entire lives as Medicators or not. It gives them a mighty shove in that direction, giving them a taste of this badly flawed idea that they’re somehow entitled to a minute-to-minute relief from boredom. This naturally inspires a nascent outlook on life, that the whole point to existing in the first place, is to be constantly entertained. This damages the kids, and it also damages society, because it ends up flooding us with new generations of destroyers. Medicators are naturally predisposed to be destroyers. They have to be. Because Medicators can’t stand being bored, and creation & preservation are pretty darn boring. Destruction is exciting. It’s quick. And it doesn’t demand details. The guy who swings the wrecking ball doesn’t need to know the dimensions of the building, whether that window pane fits in that wall, whether the measurements are in crunchy-frog system or in God’s measurement-system…

Anyway. That’s how I see it. How would I try to convert someone I admire and respect, toward my point of view when they’re not initially inclined…this is a fascinating question. I think, given this time of year, we would all do well to ponder this.

Given a bit of time to do this monologuing before dinner, I would ask my (captive?) audience to examine with me more carefully the terms we’re using.

The college kids tell me the way I use these terms is wrong, but I have spotted several tell-tale signs that what they mean by “wrong” is “contrary to what my professor told me.” Liberals should never be given authority to define what “conservative” means…or, for that matter, what “liberal” means. They’re all humming from the same hymn, but that doesn’t mean they’re right, or even that what they’re saying makes any sense. Let me see if I get it right here: Liberal means, rugged fearless in the face of proposed paradigm shift, right? Open to new thoughts, new ideas? More innovative, creative? And conservative means, closed-off to these things, entrenched in the status quo. New idea comes up and the conservative yells “No no no, I can’t hear you la la la!” stomps his foot and clasps his hands over his ears. Well, 2017 is a good year to upset that apple cart isn’t it. The “liberals” have gone the entire calendar year not proposing one single new idea about anything, anywhere. The conservatives are the reformers. The liberals are the ones hanging on with bloody fingernails to the legacy power structures. Yelling no-no-no.

So, the textbook definitions don’t work. That means they never did, really. It’s been this way half the time. Liberals were exactly what they say conservatives are, during the Reagan revolution, the Newt Gingrich revolution…during every “conservative” revolution. To say they want to go forward and the conservatives want things to stay the same, is like saying “North is whichever way the bow of this boat is pointing” and throwing away the compass. It works some of the time. But it’s flat-out wrong.

PatrioticThe definition I use works better than any other. I point to it often. Although it’s been criticized for falling short of an actual “definition”…a criticism I find to be valid. What I have in mind when I use these terms, is:

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.

Like anything else we argue about that actually has influence over anything, to make the arguing worthwhile: It comes down to the definitions. Conservatives are conservative about definitions. Liberals are liberal with definitions. My detractors speak of textbooks…well folks, the dictionary’s on my side on this thing.

Conservative: “cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.” As in, a conservative interpretation of “All men are created equal…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Liberal: “not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.” As in, a liberal interpretation of the above would say…these aren’t “men,” they’re our property, and as such (we’ve conjured up the argument that) they’re not entitled to Life, Liberty or any of that other stuff.

Quite a different tack to take, innit? And it isn’t at all flattering to liberals. But…it’s accurate, with regard to history, and with regard to definitions. The college kids point out this must be mistake, for it puts the abolitionists in the antebellum era on the same side as conservatives. Well, they’re right about fifty percent of that…it’s not a mistake.

Conservatism is not about keeping everything static. It isn’t about saying “no no no” to any new idea that comes along. That’s a myth, a mistake, the kind of mistake we make when we allow definitions to be made by liberals, who don’t even like definitions. Conservatism is about being careful, cautious, and asking the sort of sensible questions grown-ups ask. You can certainly evaluate a new idea conservatively and, eventually, give it your unreserved consent. It actually happens pretty often.

Liberals get angry when they don’t get an immediate go-ahead, just like an impertinent little kid who doesn’t have the maturity to form an informed opinion on the matter on which he’s been asked to opine. This happens pretty often too. I call it the Car Color Metaphor.

This all leads up to the one thing I would most like to impress on anyone, of any age, who’s toying with the idea of throwing their weight behind liberalism. This is one seldom-discussed, but often-practiced, way that modern liberalism leads to the idiotes of which Saint Augustine spoke in the piece I linked way up top. Liberalism, unlike conservatism, creates an unhealthy feedback loop. You’ll see what I mean if you examine the issues that have drawn liberal support in recent times. So many of these positions have it in common with each other, that they empower the government — which is supposed to be periodically formed and reformed, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…to mold & shape that mass of “governed.” A single example would highlight the danger, but I have several in mind. There is, using our education system in the manner mentioned above, to “push” newer generations of voters into the Medicator mindset. And then there are all these initiatives to nickel-n-dime us, introducing all sorts of hidden costs into the most innocuous of transactions. Must use these plastic bags, must buy this kind of health insurance, must pay the fine if there is no insurance, must license your dog-groomer, must do this must do that…the job has to pay X much an hour or else the job must cease to exist. This creates artificial economic distress, makes the electorate desperate. Well, like I said above: Whole people aren’t likely to vote for democrats, and electing democrats is hard these days. The damage they’ve done is still fresh in people’s minds.

Transmogrifying illegal aliens into democrat voters, is another way of affecting the electorate. I guess we need the “undocumented migrants” to “do the job Americans will not do,” which is vote for democrats.

The danger involved in this is difficult to overstate. The electorate is supposed to have an effect on what the government is, not the other way around. This is roughly akin to one of those old movies where the evil scientist has a remote-control killer robot, and the killer robot somehow gains physical control of the remote — it’s just like that. If you were to revive the Founding Fathers somehow, I’m sure they’d express their abject horror just like an electrician discovering you mounted a light switch yourself, leaving all the wires stripped bare, buried deep in the wall. Because this is a short circuit; that’s exactly what it is.

It’s the liberals who believe in doing it this way. So when we think about politicians making the citizens into whatever the politicians want the citizens to be, we have to think about liberal politicians doing it. And that means we have to think about the above-mentioned decimation of these citizens, the transformation of complete people into wounded-incomplete people. Subjects instead of citizens. Medicators. Destroyers. Depressed, uncreative…and helpless, so very, very helpless.

So, no, I’m sorry but “Donald Trump talked about grabbing pussies one time” isn’t good enough for me. That’s not enough to get me to hop off the Trump train. I know too much about how the boat needed to be rocked, and I understand all too well the damage that was being done.

But other than the foregoing, I really have no opinion. Oh look! It’s time to go eat…

The Ten Worst Arguments Anyone Ever Provided to Support Any Position

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

The democrats run pretty-much nothing and have nothing to sell. So we have sex scandals of course…

Their strategists figured out a long time ago that a purported and whispered-about moral failing somewhere, anywhere, will split up the Republicans like a big steel spike through a dry old log. Sure as one heartbeat follows another, the “I cannot in good conscience support” Republicans will separate, and the infighting will begin. And I have noticed this is an occasion for observing the very worst supporting arguments, about anything.

So, I decided to make a little list.

1. You’re stupid! [That is, if you don’t go along]. Clearly this has to take the top spot. The favorite of medium-intellect six-year-olds everywhere.

2. We have to do it for the [children] [working families] [ethnic minorities] [women] [homosexuals & sexually ambiguous] [other]. It’s been used & abused to the point of mockery, but I see it still hasn’t gone out of style. You can’t oppose my idea unless you hate kids, and you don’t hate kids…do you? Well, do you??

3. I’m really aggravated and I’m getting even more aggravated so you better back down right now. Used predominantly by females, who have given up on supporting their unsupportable opinions by way of feminine appeal, because they haven’t got any.

4. I don’t care / refuse to discuss. Yeah. Totally. Because of course reality is shaped by your own willingness, or lack thereof, to notice it.

5. If you don’t agree, me and my friends are going to make fun of you. Ah…now we’re stealing ideas from middle-schoolers.

6. All the cool people are doing it! This is also known as “bandwagon fallacy.” Of course watching grown-ups use it is embarrassing…but, it happens. Europe’s doing it, the other countries are doing it, it’s time we got with the program.

7. All the experts agree and who the hell are you to argue with them?

8. It’s vastly superior because it’s based on tens! Yes…I’m picking on the metric system. Which is a bad supporting argument, and a bad conclusion, all rolled up into one.

9. A board, or a panel, or a “blue ribbon commission,” or council full of no-names voted on it and said yes. I’ve written before about the psychological phenomenon that takes place here, there is a “draw” of sorts that exists because there aren’t any names. No one says it out loud, they just act as if it’s true: If we got a roster, and we knew some of the names upon it, it would be easier to remember the decision-makers are fallible. If we don’t know who they are, somehow they become infallible. But then, I’ve also written about how groups of people can make wrong decisions, and often do, just like individuals make wrong decisions. The “panel,” just by being a panel, doesn’t contribute anything positive whatsoever. Good decisions are still good, bad decisions are still bad. People tend to forget that.

10. Passive-voice buzz: Is considered to be, is regarded to be, is seen as, blah blah blah…a single rhetorical question entirely neutralizes it. “By whom?”

Of course, conclusions supported by bad-supporting-arguments can still be correct. A busted clock can be occasionally right. That doesn’t mean it works, and that doesn’t mean the supporting argument was any good.

What these all have in common, you’ll find, is that the people reaching the conclusions reached those conclusions first. Without actually doing any thinking. If they did it the right way, the epistemology they used would, naturally, form a supporting argument that had some heft to it, some quality. They’d be simply showing their work.

People get into these jams, back themselves into corners, by using their emotions rather than their reasoning capabilities. And then, by calling them out on it or by merely asking “What makes it so?” or “How do you know?”, the other fellow puts himself in the position of being blamed for the heated discussion that ensues. But this is a cosmetic falsehood. The contentiousness and the rancor are to be blamed on the person who wants to win an argument without doing any actual arguing, the person who reached a conclusion without reasoning.

And deep down, he knows it, which makes him resentful. It comes out in the form of these bad arguments.

Check Your Defaults

Monday, November 27th, 2017

The quote that is so often mis-attributed to Robert Francis Kennedy is something like: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

It is quite the scathing indictment against modern-day liberalism, nevermind who did or did not intend for it to be. Our friends the libs get in quite a bit of trouble, and rather regularly, dreaming of things that never were & asking why not. A few of these things could someday be. A lot of them cannot, and in their zeal to make decisions on behalf of the rest of us that are supposed to do good things for us, our progressive friends very often lose sight of obvious contradictions and other things that make these practical impossibilities. But among the ones that really could happen, it would take something remarkable to make them happen. Liberals lose track of this even more often than they lose track of the impossible. They forget the default state, acting as if merely asking “Why Not?” should be enough to flip the polarity. I guess the universe hasn’t been listening.

Hillary winning the presidency is a great example of this, because it certainly was possible. But in order for that to happen, people would have to vote for her in numbers large enough to net her 270 electoral votes or more. Obviously, America needed more reasons and these were not forthcoming. “Because she’s a woman,” “because it’s her turn”…the list pretty much ends there. Her famous book “What Happened,” therefore, misses the point. And entirely, not just a little bit. What happened? More like what didn’t happen. Liberals lose sight of the default state, which is that a politician running for office, loses. Even when politicians run against each other, this is the natural situation for both of them. They both labor under the onerous task of flipping the situation to their favor, which is, as they first confront it & until they present something to get it flipped, “You’re going to lose.” That’s the default. What happened is simply this: Hillary never did anything to change the situation from the default. Her opponent did.

Trump HappenedLiberals are wrong, and this way, with pretty much every issue that captures their passions, stem to stern. They have a lot of “solutions to poverty,” but they don’t understand poverty. Poverty is the default state. We’re all born without any money, and also without any investment capital or skills we could use to get some money. Thus, we don’t have any need for an exceptional circumstance to stay impoverished. We require an exceptional circumstance before we can make money. If that should come to pass, there is another default state within the non-default, which is: Inequality. Inequality of income, and inequality of wealth. These are more things liberals don’t understand, because they think of them as exceptional evils. This is wrong. If you and I are languishing in the default state of poverty, and you say to yourself “I am tired of this, I wish to do something exceptional so I can live in a non-impoverished state,” good for you. Maybe I’ll emulate your superior example, and instantly…but the default is, I’m going to keep doing what you and I both have been doing, therefore, staying impoverished myself. Bam. Inequality.

Climate change is the default. This is science. Liberals are silly about climate change because they think on it with an underlying premise that there’s something exceptional about it, that the default is for the climate to remain static with the passage of time, and something nefarious & artificial must have happened in order to make it change. If that were the case, there would be no climate for anyone to study. But there has always been climate, and the climate has always changed. If it didn’t change, that would be exceptional.

Here’s another quote, this one genuine: Ronald Reagan said “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

If you are charged with a crime, you are guaranteed certain rights, not the least of which is the benefit of the doubt. The prosecution has to prove its case, and in the absence of either side being able to prove anything, you are presumed innocent. This is not because the Founding Fathers wanted to make the country a cushy comfortable place for people to commit crimes and get away with them. It’s because this simply makes sense. Innocence is the default state.

Liberals forget that when we give new powers to a government agency, and start worrying about the authorities abusing these powers, what we’re worrying about is the default, not an exception. For new powers to be invested in the elected & appointed, who then proceed to use them without abusing them, would be exceptional. In fact, it really hasn’t happened very often in our history. People are corruptible. Abuse is the default premise. In fact, if after some amount of time it doesn’t happen, the default premise that arises to replace the earlier one, is that the abuse will happen a little bit later.

Beer WenchWhen we make it more expensive to do something, the default condition is going to be that fewer people will do it. If we make it less expensive, or less onerous, or speedier, or make the product taste better, the default condition will be that more people will partake. If we qualify people for something and we lower the standards, the default scenario is going to be that more people will meet this new, lower standard. And, they will be a lower caliber than before because they won’t have had to prove as much, or try as hard. For standards to be maintained in outcome while relaxed in code, would be truly exceptional. That’s not to say it is impossible. It is to say responsible people — not liberals — should expect the default, not that.

When people are given things and don’t have to work for them anymore, it would be truly exceptional for them to value the things as highly as they did back when they still had to work for them. Liberals think that isn’t exceptional, it is the default, and they should be able to count on it. They’re wrong about that. The scenario that unfolds by default, when people are given things that don’t require work, is that they don’t cherish those things and if the things have to be maintained by their owners, it isn’t going to happen and the things will degrade after just a little bit of time.

Perhaps the biggest misconception liberals have about defaults, has to do with the aftermath of the imposition of new rules. People, by default, don’t like rules. They may like to see the rules imposed on others, but when new rules are imposed on them, they balk at it. The default situation to be expected when new rules are imposed on a geographic locality, is that people will flee. And if yet another rule is imposed to keep people from fleeing, the default scenario one can expect to see unfold, is that people will try to escape.

The people we today call “liberals” have a tough time with this. They envision all sorts of bizarre things that they accept as default-scenarios, that aren’t, in fact are wildly exceptional, even risible. Something having to do with “paying higher taxes out of a sense of patriotism” or some such.

This failure to grasp the true meaning of the default, and the true implications of the default, is the shortest path between modern liberalism and pure & predictable wrongness. Which is saying something, since there are many such paths, and they’re all short. But this one problem they have, above all others, does the most to ensure they do not, and cannot, live in reality. Sane sensible people don’t want liberals running anything that impacts anybody else. And when they hear “research says,” they don’t put stock in it until they confirm no liberals were involved in the research. They don’t have confidence in “experts say” until they confirm none of the experts were liberals.

Because liberals don’t really ask “Why Not?” Their minds are not open to hearing the answer; and most of the time, there is one, a solid, inescapable answer why things are not that way, and cannot be that way. You can’t count on the liberals to stick around and find out what that is.

Facts, Factoids, Feelings and Naught

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Someone came along with a rebuttal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Lecturing Instructions for Liberals

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Reviewing…from 2015, 2016

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

…and closes it out with:

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

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

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

Car Color Metaphor

Monday, November 13th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or.

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

My parents are evil!

And stupid! So, so very stupid!

They’re out to get me!

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

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

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

My Blog’s Thirteenth Birthday

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Yay…

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

Veterans Day 2017

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Our Young People Don’t Understand

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great white shark!!

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

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

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

Which brings me to…

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

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

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

Happy 242nd Birthday Marines

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Liberals Gather to Scream at the Sky

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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