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Why do Americans Feel Oppressed?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

It would make me happy if today, just as a mental exercise, my fellow Americans imagined someone from a poor, undeveloped country addressed them directly and asked this:

What’s up with all these Americans acting like they’re oppressed? Or, “speaking out” on behalf of other Americans they feel like were oppressed. Why is it that so many Americans are under the impression so many OTHER Americans are somehow victims…when you guys have so much food? Could you please help me understand?

You know how to answer this question? I don’t.

I hear so much about how I should keep my opinion to myself, because I’m “privileged.” Trouble is, the people who say that are also Americans…and they’re also privileged. We’re ALL privileged, in this country, every single one of us.

“Thankful,” I believe, is the better word…

Applying the best & most vigorous common sense to this question I know how to apply, I first have to acknowledge the obvious. Feelings of resentment, that would naturally come about if someone really was oppressed, have become political weapons here — as they would not, could not, in some other country where large numbers of people were genuinely worried about their next meal. And politics have become very important here, as again, they would not in some other country where people were starving. If you’re hungry and your kids are hungry, it’s like not being able to breathe, nothing else matters.

But, in spirit of fairness, I shouldn’t end my ruminations there. I should spare at least a moment or two to take the complaints seriously. See what happens. Well, why do people feel oppressed in America? What are the complaints?

Overall, I notice a great many of them, perhaps all of them — again, this is something that would not hold in a land full of bloated, empty bellies, contaminated watering holes, barren fields and empty cupboards — have to do with other people. Not other people who are doing some actual, as in direct, oppression. More like other people simply minding their business. Non-events. Americans don’t seem to know much about how to be oppressed…legitimately oppressed…we seem to have forgotten the concept.

Happy FourthHe, or that corporation over there, made such-and-such much money and didn’t pay any taxes.

Congress is spending money on the wrong things.

He watered his lawn on a Wednesday when his street address is odd and not even.

This customer just presumed my gender!

Your “Moana” Halloween costume is cultural appropriation.

Two-stroke jet-ski engines are horrible for the environment.

Today is the such-and-such anniversary of whatever, or this is something-something month.

Wonder Woman’s costume shows her legs, and the actress who plays her is out-of-this-world gorgeous.

Not enough blacks on Seinfeld and Friends reruns.

Mansplaining and Manspreading.

Microaggressions.

Heteronormative.

Cisgender.

Patriarchy!

I keep getting told, whenever the current situation beckons normal people to show some good old-fashioned patriotism, like today for example — that it’s important not to let our national pride get the better of us. The Onion very recently poked some fun at this with their satire-study that says only one American out of every 20 shows the “correct amount” of this pride, not too much and not too little. Hilarious. Well okay…as I celebrate the country’s 242nd birthday, I should find some flaws with it so I can keep in mind that it’s not all that and a bag o’ chips.

Very well. You know what I find to be flawed with the US of A? The Number One fly in the soup.

We have an unfortunate tendency to direct very high levels of energy into making people happy who are never going to be happy.

All of our troubles that are solvable, I think, come from that. And perhaps I shouldn’t fret about it so…compared to people starving, it’s a big nothing. Right? In fact, the observation could be legitimately made that it’s a natural consequence of our material affluence that brings so much convenience, and so many life-sustaining staples, to so many. The engine makes the car go, the engine makes some heat that has to be bled off somewhere. Cause, effect, like that. We get what we need, then we get what we want, then we lose our sensible priorities, become silly, and waste our time gratifying those who cannot be gratified. Because we have the time.

But on the other hand…can’t we make this better? Engines of yesteryear gave off a whole lot more heat while producing less power. Technology creates some problems, then it comes up with solutions to those problems. Isn’t there a way to keep everyone fed, and working, and fulfilled, AND you know…sensible, mature and grown-up? Can’t we have it all?

In fact, isn’t it a necessity? Could it not be thought, with just as much plausibility, that we need to re-align our bearings in order to keep what we have? That, in order to continue keeping real oppression out of our lives, we have to re-affirm our understanding of what it is and what it isn’t? It stands to reason, does it not? Can’t keep a wolf on the other side of the door too long if you don’t know what a wolf looks like.

I look around and I don’t see a lot of perceived-oppression that would survive a skeptical, miserly application & re-interpretation of the word. I don’t even see a lot of resentment that is rightfully earned. What I do see there, comes from an understanding that political initiatives have been established, dedicated to an individual’s or group’s destruction, or alienation. Like the old saying goes, it isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get you. No your kids are better off with their mother, you don’t need to see them more than a weekend a month. Follow those Trump supporters around and hound them wherever they go. We don’t like your position on preserving marriage, so it makes us happy when you pay higher taxes (we care nothing about where the money goes). You should expect your career to come to an end if you say or do anything to make this brittle unstable crazy-cat-lady uncomfortable, here we’ll just assign her to the cubicle right next to yours.

And, all across the divide, one reform to the next, to the next, to the next…family law, enrollment practices, contracting/hiring practices, legislative endeavors…the attitude persists: Leave now, you despicable person who is a member of a loathed group, we care nothing about what you think! But leave your wallet behind.

Such things inspire natural resentments. Little is done to cure those, since the “begone with your opinion but leave the billfold behind” message is focused on marginalized classes. “These people can’t ever be sympathetic characters,” we are constantly told. And so the problem gets worse. Because you can’t be racist against a white person, and you can’t be sexist against a male. In fact, far from solving these feelings of entirely legitimate resentment — the question arises, “How resentful should a normal person be, under the circumstance of not being able to see his own children and then being charged exorbitantly for their maintenance?” — when manifestations of resentment surface, this just inspires the next stage of alienation against the loathed classes, and the next layer of protection for the privileged, “historically oppressed” classes. Oh I’m so scared, this big strong man is angry. Oh no, gun-crazy white men. Please protect me. Change the rules again, I require more protection.

From bully to victim in half a second.

These are the remnants of real resentment-inspiration that I see. And yet, even these are not “victims.” They/we are not “oppressed.” In a country where famine has been all-but eliminated, we should be remembering that, first, every single day. And no, that’s not unfair, we don’t need to feel guilty about it. Our thoughts should be directed toward making more of what we have already, that’s good. If we’ve made mistakes along the way, we should be thinking about how to help other countries end poverty as decisively as we have, while they hopefully avoid those mistakes.

And we might start with a realignment of sorts; a recalibration, a reckoning. A checking of our perspective when we bitch about things, or see others doing the bitching. A more thorough, and not so palliative, inspection of these “peaceful protests.” Are they so peaceful? What is it they seek to overturn. Is it really called-for, is it really necessary? How deprived are the people who claim to be deprived? And of what?

The Declaration of Independence pauses in mid-thought to point out,

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations… [emphasis mine]

A throwaway line? Balderdash. This document was scrubbed clean of such things; when writing and ratifying it, its author & signers couldn’t afford them. The contemporary circumstances would not permit.

As the document makes clear, and goes into some detail to explore, the colonists were at the receiving end of real abuse. But they weren’t victims either. Those who were elected to positions wherein they could do something about it, rejected the notion of victim-hood. In so doing, they were conservative revolutionaries. This is nothing more or less than what dignified grown-ups must do, while living adult life. Everything is not oppression; everything is not a call for righteous revolution; everything is not abuse that must be answered in kind. You can’t die on every hill. Choose your battles.

And don’t throw these “revolutions” to have things brought to you. Revolt over freedom, when necessary. With that secured, the going-out-and-getting-it part is up to you.

Happy Independence Day.

“It Is Terrible To Be A Liberal In 2018 – Which Is Awesome”

Friday, June 29th, 2018

It is Schlichter so it’s all good top to bottom…but I eventually found a way to excerpt it, with considerable difficulty.

Never have so many been so angry about so little bad news. With nothing real to complain about, they have to hype every silly little thing to the point where they are screeching “Nazi!” at you while you are trying to gnaw on a Quarter Pounder.
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Oh, there’s plenty of big talk among Dems and their media Schumer-sniffers about the onrushing blue wave, but where is this wave? Where is it hiding? Where is there any indication that the people who elected Trump are going to say “Yeah, I like the tax cuts and the booming economy and beating ISIS and my kid not having to fight street-to-street in Seoul and the crackdown on illegals and the conservative judges and Trump generally not taking of guff from liberals and their media pets, but I’ve suddenly just realized that Trump can be mean sometimes so I’ll vote for Democrat guy who wants to help Pelosi take my guns, import MS-13 into my neighborhood, and then pester me at the Arby’s.”

Where is someone saying that? Where?

Just look how unhappy the libs are. It’s all outrage, all the time. You can’t be happy if you are constantly agitated. It’s unhealthy. It makes you look like a wacko. Yet they go nuts on social media, they go nuts at awards shows, and they go nuts when conservatives are trying to scarf down some tacos. If you are always going nuts, maybe that’s an indicator that you are nuts.

He’s talking about, well, so much; where to begin. Waters. Matthews. Lemon. Moore. Well…I have to stop short of sadism. Can’t find happiness in other people being unhappy. But it pleases me greatly when unhealthy things look unhealthy, and the level of difficulty involved in pretending they’re healthy, zips upward through the skies like a hobby rocket. I mean yeah, sure, some people will rise to the challenge…but that brings us back to things looking like what they are. I find that refreshing.

I grew up in the era of “We don’t even see color, but we celebrate it anyway,” and “we need more equality and that means discriminating against the right people” and “men and women are the same, although terrible men must step back and let the wonderful women run things for a change.” The timeframe of my mortal existence has bathed me, like everyone else, in this dirty bathwater of “Pretend this all makes sense or else.” And so I get a kick out of it when deranged people actually look deranged. It’s a new thing. We haven’t really been here before, not like this.

The outrage over Justice Kennedy retiring (ad auto plays) and PDJT being “allowed” to nominate his replacement, is particularly fascinating to me. As usual, I can understand the feeling. But someone has made the calculation that it’s time to disseminate this feeling of outrage before any word has gotten out about who this nominated successor is supposed to be. Now, the last I checked, the conservative observation that conservative justices acknowledge 2+2=4, and that up is up and down is down, whereas liberal justices are compelled to find byzantine little detours around such obvious things…the above remark from me about “equality means discriminating,” people who are familiar with the Supreme Court’s decision history will find this example adequate…went unchallenged. It seems right-wing and left-wing court watchers have achieved consensus here about what the disagreement is, with regard with what justices and judges should be doing. Conservative judges acknowledge water is wet, liberal judges come up with surreal hypothetical situations too delude themselves and others into thinking it isn’t so.

And here they are, getting all flustered about the prospect of water being acknowledged, by persons in authority, as wet. One more judicial officer, failing to put in the requisite effort required to be a liberal, to maintain the necessary cognitive dissonance. There’s no specific individual we’re discussing yet, let alone a case. Just the rustic mindset of “If it’s true, for crying out loud just admit it.” The mere suggestive prospect of such a thing, makes their heads go all explodey.

And as Schlichter so artfully points out, it isn’t like they’re elevating their level of esteem in the eyes of the voting public by being this way. It’s just their nature.

Related: Had to snag this one before it drifted out of sight into the here-be-dragons turf…

Now remember. These people don’t know who the replacement Justice is going to be, let alone what cases would be voted upon by that person as opposed to Kennedy. They don’t know he or she would decide anything any differently, ever, or if so, how often.

In short, there is nothing to cheese them off here, at all, other than the ethereal concept of losing at something rather than winning it (or having a 50/50 shot at winning it). It’s pure tribalism on display.

When they get their emotions all revved up and jammed into overdrive like this, it’s easy to think they’re all hung up on the plight of whatever unfortunates are involved in the case. Which looks, to the casual lazy observer, like compassion.

Well, here there is no case. So it isn’t that. It’s just tribalism. Weepy, soap-opera-drama tribalism. No need to argue about it or wonder about it. We know.

Masculine Men Are Harder to Control

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Salvatore DeGennaro writes in American Thinker:

An ongoing mantra of the left is that everyone is a victim, with a singular carve-out for white men. A large group of the female population has embraced this chant.

While there may be a number of grievances put forth by this movement, there also comes a theme that is particularly dangerous: the feminist attack on masculinity. This is derived not only from feminists; it comes from the left in general.

There has emerged a war on masculinity. Why? Because masculine men are harder to control under tyrannical socialism. The modern beta male, on the other hand, craves socialism. This is why the left has branded masculinity as toxic: it stands as a roadblock to their endgame.

Leftists blame, of all things, masculinity for the recent spate of sexual harassment scandals. For eons, masculinity has been considered a natural and even required trait of being male, but it is now apparently the reason for deviancy. Who knew?

The glaring problem with this argument is that the men who are typically being accused of such transgressions are anything but masculine. Sexual harassment is bipartisan; both liberal and conservative men in positions of power seem to harass women with aplomb. But where is this referenced masculinity? Harvey Weinstein? Al Franken? Louis CK? I posit that a consistent theme among most accused harassers is a complete lack of masculinity. I would go so far as to suggest that the lack of masculinity is a contributing factor to this problem.

Yes…I remember this as an early part of my wakening. As a young man, I knew some people, some were friends of mine, who were married and demonstrated, let us say, a diversity of levels of commitment to their marriages. I remember this flash of insight I had, that the philanderers were touchy-feely. “I don’t love [blank] (wife) the way I love [blank] (side-bitch).” Okay, I’ve been divorced myself since then, I get it that people get married too young and then grow apart. What I was learning back in those early days was that my upbringing, back in the pop-psych “Everyone needs to get in touch with their feelings” era, was skewed. And as I see more, the correlation becomes clearer.

Going Shakespearean with the lovey-dovey all-of-life-is-a-wedding-party bullshit, is not respectful to women. “A real man isn’t afraid to show his feelings and cry” is nonsense. Oh, there’s a tiny bit of truth in it, sure. Everyone is human and humans cry, I get that, but this tired litany has caused a lot of damage because of its excess simplicity. This little dig about not-afraid-to is just a way to invert reality, make manly things look unmanly and vice versa. You can’t flip reality like a pancake that way. And you know what, when you’re involved in something deeply personal that affects a lot of people — a death within a large family, for example — situations arise in which showing your tears really doesn’t help anyone. Aggrieved people need someone strong. They need it often, a lot more often than they need someone to help them cry. Crying’s like picking your nose. If you need to do it, you’ll find a way to get it done, you don’t need help.

But yeah. Guys who fuck around on their wives, are much more likely to be “in touch with their feelings,” I’ve noticed. The guys who are boring because they’re just thinking all the time, trying to get stuff done, tend not to fuck around because they just don’t have time. And their wives, far from being bored & pushed into living out some perverse shades-of-grey fantasy, have a tendency to stay put too. These aren’t absolutes, and my evidence is anecdotal. But it’s a matter of record that I was inclined to think some things, and circumstances forced me to re-think those…I’m likely not the only one.

Condensed version: People take their marriages about as seriously as they take life. It shouldn’t surprise us.

Masculinity leads a man to seek to better himself in many regards, while collectivism thrives on mediocrity. Collectivism in this country is sought by the lazy who don’t want to work but feel entitled to free handouts of all kinds. Unfortunately, collectivism is also touted by many who are successful, such as middle-class suburbanites who feel guilty for what they have achieved through hard work while others have not been so fortunate. Yet, when suggesting that the redistribution effort begins with their own 401(k)s, seldom will you find volunteers. Collectivism is also cheered on by certain billionaire hypocrites who made their wealth through capitalism yet now tout the wonders of socialist systems. The irony.
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The left’s war on masculinity should come as no surprise. The cultures in history that have resisted oppressive regimes in the past have celebrated masculinity rather than demeaned it.

There is an often quoted poem that sums up a society’s life cycle: “hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times.” The abundance of weak men in our society is ushering in those hard times, and it is celebrated by the left every step of the way.

I just love that poem, which I could find an original attribution. It’s so…true. There is a tendency in our young people not to get it, especially if they identify with these weak men who give us the hard times. They get offended. But it’s surprising how quickly you can rack up the years-on-earth necessary to see this turntable complete a rotation or two, and by then you can’t in good conscience deny it or even question it. It’s just things the way they are. Seems to be about 15 to 20 years per lap, give or take.

Memo For File CCIX

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Practical thinking, broadly, is divided into two phases. You figure out what’s going on based on the evidence you manage to collect or that finds its way to you; then, you figure out what to do (or avoid doing) about it.

Maturity means you noodle these things out based on the expected outcome. Soon after we’re born, we have what it takes to recognize we need to get those questions answered, and a little while after that we develop the methods for answering them. The obstacle to maturity is that, in childhood, “outcome” is indistinguishable from “gratification of self.”

It is only in the later years that a conflict arises: Should I win more privileges for myself, or my peer group, or elevate the social stature of myself & my peer group; or, should I pursue an agenda (and evaluate the success and failures of previous efforts) based on concern about the eventual outcome? See, a baby bawling for a tit in his mouth doesn’t have to worry about that conflict. In his world it’s all the same.

From my Hello Kitty of Blogging page.

The Next Thing to Destory: Toy Guns

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

UK Independent:

Prince George was pictured playing alongside Princess Charlotte and The Duchess of Cambridge yesterday, but not everyone was happy about the four-year-old’s choice of toy – a pretend gun.

The Duke of Cambridge was playing in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at Beaufort Polo Club in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on Sunday afternoon.

And, while Prince William took part, Kate and their children – minus Prince Louis – had fun in the sun.

Images from the event captured Prince George playing with a toy gun, knife and handcuffs…
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…the images have subsequently sparked a debate on Twitter with many calling the decision to let Prince George play with a toy gun “disappointing.”

“Sad to see George playing with a gun when the whole country has a gun/knife crime situation,” one person wrote.
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Another added: “This isn’t okay anymore… My American side here, biased maybe b/c of everyday #gunviolence in USA but my British side agrees.

“No child in this day and age should look at any gun as a fun toy. This looks far too real.”

Via The Daily Gator, via Pirate’s Cove.

Like many who are going to be reading this, I think this is just fine; in fact, I take some level of personal offense against the whole thing, since playing with toy guns was a normal part of childhood back when I was in it. So since I’m on the normal side of this disagreement, let me take a closer look at the abnormal. We have: People who are genuinely concerned about the gun violence problem, and think this objection of theirs might have something to do with stopping it, or slowing it. And then there are cultural-reformers who wish to manhandle the borders of the Overton Window, dictating to the rest of us what we are to perceive as mainstream and what we are to regard as fringe-kooky. They’d like to bulldoze anything gun-related into the gutter…and it isn’t about stopping or slowing violence.

For them, the world’s children are just yards on a battlefield, in the midst of a protracted culture war. The generations-long, cold civil war.

This isn’t even about guns. For a child that age, guns have nothing to do with danger, or violence — much of the fascination has to do with remote control. I can stand over here, and change the state of that object, clear over there. This might be a curious thing for someone to bring up about it, but we should be discussing that aspect of it more often because far from being merely harmless, that’s an important part of a child’s development. Children have a need to become accustomed to achieving direct effect on the world around them; getting comfortable with the idea of engaging action, as a leader, on an individual level, and seeing that action translated into a consequence. Later on they can become acquainted with the concept of irreversible investments, and point-of-commitment. What you do today, you cannot undo tomorrow. From that, comes the understanding of responsibility.

Now some of these gun-grabbing helicopter-moms mean well, but starving kids from having these experiences is not the right way to go. It is a sort of neglect taking place. And it’s being encouraged from several different levels in our evolving, global society, in such a way that it seems to me some of the proponents must be aware. I don’t like to think in terms of “conspiracies,” but there are many conspiracy-ingredients here. There is motivation. Political agendas that, for any aspiration of success, require a ballooning of that sorry segment of the populace suffering from this atrophy. The sad sacks who know how to identify problems, but can’t comprehend how they, as individuals, could make anything better through their direct action, and so must take to the streets to do something called “protest.” About everything.

No, I’m not saying use guns to solve problems currently addressed through peaceful-protests. Did I say that? No. My point is, at this age the brain is all tied up in a frenzy, developing itself. We talk so much about empowering kids, elevating their “sense of self esteem” and so forth. This is where kids learn about thinking-globally-acting-locally, as the saying goes. How to do stuff for themselves. How not to become complaining bitter bitches about every little thing, waiting for some magical Deus ex Machina to come along and make it all better. You know…how not to be that guy that, when you’re planning a hiking or camping trip, you want to leave this squealing little whiner behind, or lie to him about which trailhead or what date. It is the first step to becoming a productive citizen, ready to live a full, rich life.

We place such a premium value these days on outrage. Well, I’m personally “outraged,” to a very limited extent, by the question. Perhaps “bored” is a more accurate term. But I see some danger in it too.

Show Me on This Doll Where My Privilege Hurt You

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Yes it’s fun watching liberal heads explode in the Trump era, as it seems they’re losing ground on every front, but things always move in cycles and I see one battleground where things are going the wrong way: This talk about “privilege.” It used to be fringe-kooky racist stuff, as in, “white people need to learn their place and check their privilege.” And then it was radical-feminist sexist stuff. “Men have to check their privilege.” It’s quickly becoming mainstream. I’m hearing it from all directions lately. Such is the power of guilt…and, the allure of not-shutting-up. “Oh, I find these arguments completely convincing that I’m white and suburban and don’t know anything about anything and need to shut up…I shall have to prattle away about that endlessly to show how enlightened I am.”

DollWhat we should do about it is…acknowledge the truth. This stuff is powerful not just because it works on guilt, and not-shutting-up, but also because there is truth in it. Some people have good upbringings. Some people’s parents know, or knew, the right people to get them started. Those who are privileged should form an appreciation for all this. And it might be healthy to get the inventory started of all these benefits, you might find there are a lot more of them than you realized. Especially if someone else gave up something so you could have them. The falsehood is in the “you” or the “we” or the “their” or the “our.” If you are a SJW sucking in YouTube clips and tweeting up a twitstorm about “[blank] needs to check their privilege”…then you are among the privileged!

Think about people in other countries, or in our country, living in centuries past. Famine, scurvy, shingles, typhoid, black plague, to say nothing of the hours and hours that had to be burned off sowing and reaping crops not from prime land, but whatever land could be had, or found…or taken by force. To say nothing of the rampant illiteracy. Whole families that couldn’t educate their young, had to use the children as free labor in order to survive. Slavery. Not “I’m a corporate slave” or “I’m emotionally wounded by your ‘Trump’ sticker or your ‘It’s okay to be white’ sign,” but real slavery. Chains resting upon persons of ALL colors. Diseases of all sorts, family members sailing off to new continents to escape persecution never to be heard from again, wondering as the air turns crisp each autumn how many friends and relatives won’t make it through the winter. Poor hunting seasons, meager harvests, spoiled water. No toilet paper and no deodorant.

Who has these “You’re privileged and I’m not” bragging rights? Fact is — among those who can read these words, no one has ’em! If you were born, or were able to migrate to, the United States anytime in the last hundred years, you are privileged. Oh, I do not mean to say you don’t have stories. There are wonderful, horrible stories to be told…

As always, if we’re going to argue then let’s do it honestly. We’ve got persons of all sexes, sex preferences, races, colors, creeds, ancestries are foraging around like mad, like meth-addicted pigs rooting for truffles, looking for those non-existent “I’m not as privileged as you” bragging rights. If you’ve got a problem, and I had the same problem once and managed to fix it, we are peers — or, at the very least, there is a groundwork from which we can form a peerage. The accusation of “You’re privileged” is a way to fracture that groundwork, keep such a kinship from being formed. It is a way to preserve division. We have so many loud people in our nation who make money from keeping people divided and keeping resentments raw.

It’s also an excuse for failure. “Your advice is not helpful to me, I know this before I even lift a finger to try it, because our situations are different.” It’s loser-talk, nothing more than that, if some effort to implement is not made. Also, nobody should have to point it out, but one person’s privilege is not another person’s injury. At least it better not be, in a country of 330 million in which everyone’s privileged, because that would be a lot of injury.

Can’t Be Liberals

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Severian:

I’m not a Liberal, first and foremost, because I’m lazy. This is the meta-reason, that encompasses all the other reasons. It just takes too much damn effort to be a Liberal.

Not noticing stuff is hard. I said somewhere that Third Wave feminism is so easy to disprove, a wymynist should be crippled by cognitive dissonance every time she goes to buy kitty litter. With all that rage against the Patriarchy, and knowing (as she does!) that physical strength is just a social construction, she should easily be able to heft that giant econo-size bag off the bottom shelf. but alas, she’s got to call the stockboy over to do it for her. Pretty much all Liberalism is like that…

On top of that, you have to forget everything you already know…I like a drink as much as the next guy, but there’s not enough booze in the world to make me forget that the USSR used to be there, but now it’s not.

And then there’s the skull-cracking cognitive dissonance…I imagine the Liberal “thought” process runs like that old “Frogger” arcade game — you’ve got to hop from dogma to dogma, dodging the cars of fact and reason that come rushing at you at ever-increasing speed. That shit’s exhausting; much easier to not believe in the first place.

Finally, there’s the smirk. I hate working out, because I’m lazy, and do you know how much effort it takes to smug your face up Jon Stewart-style? I can hold that pose for maybe ten seconds at a stretch. Your more advanced Liberals, like Rachel Maddow, have their faces frozen that way…

I must be lazy too. We didn’t coordinate on this, but over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging I had my own thoughts about respecting the opinions of liberals. And why even that, in spite of my good upbringing — sorry Mom — is above my ideal level-of-effort:

The hitch in the giddyap is this, how do they say it, this “ever increasing level of liberty and equality” that has been going on since the Storming of the Bastille, and has given us cures for diseases, the weekend, federal holidays, and in the future will end starvation, illiteracy, disease, blight, famine, war…I may be exaggerating it slightly because I’m describing it from the outside. Can’t get jiggy with it. But I”m sure I have the structural attachment points correct, I’ve had know-it-all liberals feed it to me many a time.

…It continues to impress me how much the recruitment of political-unawares and centrists to the liberal side, has to do with DEPRESSION and FAILURE. You can’t get a job, or if you can get one you can’t earn enough to raise your own family. The whole deck of cards is stacked against you so you need liberal politicians and their liberal policies! Why, without them, you’ll starve, and your grandparents have to choose between their medicine and pet food…maybe eat the pet food…or the pet…

This is pure cognitive dissonance and it does not, and cannot, inspire respect. It looks like what it is: a constituency of drama-addicts who can’t think the situation through all the way, keep falling back on their feelings, steadfastly electing policymakers who manufacture misery and then use that misery to justify their continued re-election. A true realization of that Star Trek upward-ramp of Hakuna Matada Means No Worries, would derail the gravy train to those liberal politicians and frankly, I would expect a fifth-grader ready for graduation to the sixth grade, to be able to see it.

ADD TO THAT: Ever-increasing liberty, ever-increasing equality. Which is it? You can’t have both. Some people want to get along in life without spending or receiving any money, or very little of it, and that’s their right.

I would expect a seventh-grader ready for graduation to the eighth grade, to be able to see this too.

And I have opened on the equality thing before.

…[E]verywhere in nature where you’ve got something working, and all parts of that thing require a resource so it’s necessary to distribute something — there will be a tiny part of the thing, that functions as the source. That source will have most of whatever is being distributed. Go ahead, find ten exceptions. Heck, find three. Find one.

We’ve been sold a huge, damaging lie: That leaning over and peaking into your sister’s cereal bowl is acceptable behavior, and also that if you find something in there that you don’t have, this is the difference between everything being hunky-dory, versus an imminent and righteous revolution.

What we’ve been sold, is death. Life doesn’t work that way.

How much energy is wasted on the trajectory, I wonder? One of these new-recruits who’s in the process of building up these heartstring-tugging fantasies about the glorious revolution that will make everything all equal and right and proper, hasn’t got far to go before the very sensible words written above can no longer reach them. People get emotionally attached. Which I find to be surprising. “Some people are willing to do whatever is necessary to build up a good retirement, others don’t want a lot of money, how you going to make them equal?” The premises are not only solid. To anyone who has even a cursory amount of experience getting to know other people, especially people from a range of different backgrounds and walks-of-life, they’re undeniable. And the logic is not extravagant or esoteric, certainly not fragile. You can’t make people equal unless you encroach on their liberty. One thing has to give.

The typical conservative, I’ve noticed, is someone who’s come to realize this. A lot of them are former liberals.

To those who have not converted yet, and may end up taking their dirt nap before they ever see the light, I guess the answer is the “frogger dogma” game mentioned above. They simply hippity-hop. And I suppose this is where that frivolous attachment to reality figures into it, the denial of the metaphysical reality. This stretchy-gumby vibe they give off, that statements are not measurements of things, they’re just statements, some good some bad, but there’s no absolute truth about anything. A late-night comedian says “facts have a liberal bias” and it just sounds good, wins the argument, fer sure! And that’s what a “fact” is, to them. It’s true if it wins an argument.

But none of it actually measures anything, because we each have our “own truth.” Well…entertainment endeavors aside, you can’t do any real work that way.

“Straw Man Fallacy”

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

According to the most easily-reached reference material, it is this

Straw ManA straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man.”

The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition.

In practice, however — the situations as they exist when the term is actually used — we see the meaning is distributed among three:

1. Your opponent is “attacking a straw man” by stating your position inaccurately so he can make an entirely illegitimate & irrelevant rebuttal, on his part, look like a proper one.

2. Your opponent is calling out a cause-and-effect relationship you cannot, or will not, acknowledge or see. “Straw man! I never said cause a huge explosion, I merely suggested using this cigarette lighter to see if the gas tank is empty.” “Straw man! I didn’t say kill the puppy, I just suggested throwing it off this cliff.”

3. Your opponent has accurately and concisely articulated why your idea is flawed, and you, embarrassed, seek to go back and re-litigate that part of the discussion where you already had your chance to define your idea.

Only the first one of these three coincides with the meaning given in the reference material. And that’s the only legitimate use.

If Any Liberals Were Involved in Your “Research,” I Want That Disclosed

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

And — ya know what? It isn’t because of some revulsion impulse, as in “Ooh ick, they’re different from me, cooties!” I want to know if liberals were involved in this push-poll, or academic research, or survey, or such-and-such a “fact checking” web site, or “study.” I’m asking the question so I can figure out whether or not to take the findings with a large grain of salt. This is what we all should be doing.

I’m not the only one with the concern, after all. I think if we’re going to be honest about it, we all have doubts in the back of the mind when we hear “a study found.” We’ve just been conditioned over time to nurture some heady fear against asking the obvious question: Did the researchers know what they were going to “find” before they started doing any research?

We’ve also been conditioned not to notice the obvious, that liberals are the people who do exactly that. They “learn” what they want to “know.” You ever try telling them something they don’t? Give that a try, then come back here. I’ll wait.

1. They STILL can’t get over the results of the 2016 election. Still. And by “get over” I don’t mean learning to like, I’m talking about recognizing at all levels of consciousness that their candidate really did lose. This is merely the most splendid and in-your-face example of them thinking their preferences have something to do with figuring out what is & is not real. They can’t separate the one from the other. The necessity to do so simply hasn’t arisen for them within their individual experience, at least not often enough that they’ve had to make a habit out of it like real adults do.

2. They think when quotas and set-asides are maintained in promotions, contracting, enrollment and hiring on the basis of race, national background, sex and sex preference, this means “greater equality.” This is the best tip-off that we’re dealing with something busted at a primitive level. It is a violation against a fundamental rule of thought: A thing is perceived to be the same as the opposite of itself. What can we rely on them to get right, if they get that one wrong?

Global Warming Not All Bad3. They “diagnose” under-achieving boys in school with “learning disabilities” just for under-achieving in an environment designed for girls, and acting too much like boys.

4. They think Bill and Hillary Clinton have the ideal marriage.

5. C.A.L.W.W.N.T.Y. (Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet) is their status report on every struggle for “equality.” Every single one. In perpetuity. Their talking points are built to work on those who don’t get the concept of time.

6. They don’t really care about “what happened,” anywhere, ever. They look at all of life as some kind of snapshot, and don’t respect history at all. Background means nothing to them. They tear down statues.

7. These are the people who get “triggered” when a gentleman opens a door for a lady.

8. They think humans have the ability to control “climate change,” but not survive it. They claim this is what the science says. They’ve got it completely backwards.

9. They think Ted Kennedy was the Conscience of the Senate. Sometimes, in context, they think that honorific title should go to former Klansman Robert Byrd.

10. They think social stigma is a good thing. They’re not willing to hear anything different, because this started with social stigma against “black people are no good” and things like that; therefore, if you suggest social stigma might not be the way to go, in their minds you’re in favor of discriminating against black people. But this has led to a desire to socially stigmatize against any other opinion, social, political, or anything else, they can agree among themselves is undesirable. And over the years it’s become a sort of way of life for them, a one-tool-in-the-bag, a default methodology for presenting their case to the public: “Agree with us or face the (social) consequences.” So when they congregate in their groups, even if every individual in attendance has earned the proper credentials in the relevant field of study; how can we rely on them to come to the correct conclusion, knowing this about them? How can we expect their group dynamic to work as a supplement to their ability to get it right, rather than as a detriment?

11. They believe the raid on Benghazi was caused by “a YouTube video,” then they believe Obama when He says nobody in His administration ever said any such thing.

12. They’re intractably convinced that if there are 19 men and only 1 woman on a software development team, it must be institutionalized sexism.

13. They claim to take it seriously when women are intimidated or bullied by powerful men, but want to make it harder for those women to acquire guns to defend themselves.

14. Another example of a thing being treated as the opposite of itself: “Greater liberty” has something to do with the government imposing a fine on you for not subscribing to what was previously a voluntarily-acquired service.

15. They think we should receive our worldly sage advice from children. This idea envisions children to be the exact opposite of what children are.

16. They can’t seem to envision government ever coming under the control of their opposition, or for that matter anyone who fails to agree with them about everything, lockstep-style.

17. They have some “studies” that “prove” raising the minimum wage gets MORE people hired. Yep, an increase in price is connected to increase in demand (if valid & verifiable, this would effectively end the study of economics).

18. They claim to be in favor of female empowerment, but want trans-genders to be able to compete in demanding athletic sports as women. Their kind made Caitlyn Jenner “Woman of the Year” and got Wonder Woman fired from her “job” as U.N. Ambassador.

19. They’re heap-big concerned about “interference in our elections” but oppose voter I.D. laws.

20. Yet another thing being the opposite of itself: “Sanctions” are supposed to stop bad countries from doing bad things. They thought so when George W. Bush was considering invading Iraq. But in the case of Iran, dismantling Obama’s deal means a return to these “sanctions” against nuclear arms, which this time around means the bad guys are going to get them.

21. They think James Comey is a leader in ethics.

22. The social-justice types insist gender is nothing but a social construct. They want men to be able to piddle in womens’ bathrooms.

23. The secular types believe in something coming from nothing, “First there was nothing, which exploded…”; and then mock those who’ve concluded the something must have come from a something. This is another violation against a fundamental rule of thought. They can’t tell a nothing apart from a something.

24. Whenever there’s a school shooting, their hot ideas have to do with imposing new rules on the gun owners who did not do it.

25. Being definitions-averse, they think Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama would make great presidents but can’t even begin to explain why.

26. Their answer to the Paris bombings was to fly in James Taylor and have him sing “You’ve Got a Friend.”

27. They care nothing about measurable achievement. They confer the descriptor “working families” on people who aren’t part of any kind of family, and don’t work. They gave Barack Obama a Peace Prize for not doing anything.

28. They object whenever our nation’s border is treated like an actual border. Compromises on this issue don’t satisfy them. Nothing works for them short of opening the border, because it’s just another estabilshed definition they want to eliminate.

29. Whenever they’re involved in, or invited to opine on, a desperate economic situation that involves shortages; reliable as rain, they’ll go after the “profiteering.” As a consequence of this, their “solutions” will reliably, in fact systematically, make things worse because interference with profits will result in an obstruction against supply. And they don’t get this. They’re too blinded by this hatred against profit.

30. They have all these opinions about guns, like how people will react to them, how easy it is to buy one, which ones should be banned because they’re too dangerous; and yet so often it turns out the most opinionated among them have never owned or operated a gun.

31. If you make and are allowed to keep too much money, they see that as some sort of a problem.

32. In violation of yet another fresh-out-of-the-gate fundamental rule of thought, they fail to distinguish, or insist on intermingling, facts and opinions. They take it as a “fact” when Bernie Sanders says something “should be free!” It’s exactly like the word “fact” is to be used for opinions they happen to like, and if you come up with a fact they don’t like, they’re inclined to brush that off as “your opinion.”

So when you show me a “study” that you think should be the final blow of the battering ram against the gate and send me to the floor genuflecting before your superior “facts,” and it doesn’t happen, it’s not necessarily because I don’t like what the study says. And it doesn’t mean I’m not willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Quite to the contrary. I’m waiting for you to provide me with some reassurance of something.

The Twilight of the Age of Aquarius… X

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

NihilismBecause of personal things going on, my wife and I have been having to grapple with the definition of nihilism. It occurs to me that society-at-large, whether it realizes it or not, has been having to do the same. All this rancorous debate, the bad kind not the good kind, the discourse that generates lots of heat and very little light — it always seems to involve one side that cares passionately about not caring.

Well, we can test it literally. Get a load of that word-usage graph!

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy sez…

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.

Huh. I see a problem on the horizon. All values are baseless, OR we want to destroy things. How is it both? Is it through that word “impulse”? As in, an impulse free of values? Dunno. If I have my hand on a hot stove, I have an impulse to remove it; there is value associated with that, specifically, the value of the skin on my hand. I’m just saying the rejection of all values should involve a rejection of all action and that should include the act of destruction. Unless there’s some kind of ricochet somewhere, some deviation or constraint.

Let’s look further. Wikipedia

Nihilism is the philosophical viewpoint that suggests the denial or lack of belief towards the reputedly meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.[1] Moral nihilists assert that there is no inherent morality, and that accepted moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism may also take epistemological, ontological, or metaphysical forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or reality does not actually exist.

Okay so there are three things going on here: It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t (or may not) exist, and I want to wreck it. From talking to them, I see there is this impulse to check each decision-making exercise with another: “Is it worthwhile for me to even bother making a decision?” That one has to be concluded first, and the conclusion is consistently to the negative. In the long run, the “grand scheme of things,” it doesn’t matter. This is merely an extension, an impractical, outlandish one, of what we all do I’m thinking. When I take the effort to do things, like pay my bills, I have in the back of my mind an approximate “payoff date.” For bill-paying that’s somewhere around thirty days forward, at which time I do not want to be looking at a bunch of “Second Notice Please Remit” and “You’ve been hit with a late charge!” and so forth. For tax records, it’s between January 31 and April 15 of the next year. I’m putting this receipt in the special-pouch, because in that date range, my actions today will have the desired effect. These nihilists, it seems, are engaged in an exercise of sliding that all the way to the end…ALL the way…to the end of time itself, that moment when the entire universe, known & unknown, is consumed in final entropy. And this decides their political positions. Abortion? Yeah sure okay, it’s a life, it’s a baby, whatever…in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. North Korea? Iran’s nukes? (Take a long drag, exhale) …whatever, man…

“It doesn’t exist” is existentialism. It seems there is a fastening between that, and this word. “When you were a two month old baby you fell asleep in your crib and started dreaming…you’re still asleep, dreaming all of this, none of it is real..” Who’s to say authoritatively otherwise?

“I want to wreck it” is an animal instinct enjoined to this word on the political level. This is anarchy.

Let us concentrate on the first one. I’m picking up the vibe that the “move the payoff date way down the road, to Ragnarok” is less a mental exercise and more of a brush-off. It is more like: “I want to reject the consideration of consequences but do not want to be blamed for doing so, so I’ll go through the motions of considering consequences way, WAY down here…” That would suggest the encyclopedia-definition requires tweaking. The “condemn[ation of] existence” is a “value,” and this consistent rejection of committed decision-making is a “loyalty.” Because of this contradiction, this word has always given me a lot of trouble. I’ve never had much confidence I have it down cold, and could make informed decisions about whether it’s being applied correctly without checking reference material. And I suppose it’s not really possible for anyone to comprehend it that well, maybe no one does. The definition remains murky because this contradiction is an intrinsic part of the word.

For examples of what I’m talking about, we could take some matters on which I myself am a scope-constrained nihilist. Like this one, I’ve had handed back to me more than a few times over the years, on & off the Internet: “How DARE you presume that only religious people can be moral!” With lots and lots of nose-puffing and foot-stamping and righteous indignation. See, if this rejection of religious and moral principles were a sincere and consistent thing, such an inquiry would answer itself: I just do. It’s all good. Spiders torture flies before they eat them, sadistic little boys fry ants with magnifying glasses, and I presume only religious people are moral. Doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Such “nihilists” don’t see it that way.

The English language entirely fails me when I seek to express the depths of my apathy, on the matter of prosperous “large corporations” making billions of dollars in a year and then not paying taxes. I can’t find a way to put into words how much I don’t care about this. The supposed nihilists, I notice, care a whole lot. Now how’s that work? If they’re committed nihilists, and I’m not, how is it they care so much about something and I don’t give a fig? Wells Fargo paying zero dollars certainly doesn’t pass the Final Universe Entropy test, AmIRight?

Here are some more things that might stick a rake handle in the bicycle spokes of your favorite nihilist…

1. Let me buy and own a gun with a capacity of 17. Just do it. By the time the sun goes nova, who cares?

2. Let that Christian organization donate a statue of Moses to be erected right in front of City Hall, or the local courthouse. Or Jesus! With a flaming sword. Riding a Triceratops. Suck it up.

3. Let that baker refuse to make a gay-wedding cake.

4. Your supposed “income inequality” ain’t no thang.

5. Get over the 2016 election already!

6. “Raising awareness” about this or that or some other thing: How about don’t. It’s doesn’t matter over the long term anyway.

7. Hostile work environment: Aw just grow a pair, learn to deal. In a thousand years no one will remember anyway.

8. NFL cheerleaders and beauty pageants: Yes, men are slobbering over them. It’s like the wind or the tides, let it be.

9. ANYTHING that “triggers” some snowflake for any reason. Who cares, trigger their guts out, it isn’t important.

10. How about we give up on that whole “end war once & for all” thing. It’s been tried, doesn’t work, in the long run isn’t relevant.

Prairie DogIf you know one of these kids, and you probably do…you’ll find a few items on this list that don’t work for them. Maybe all of them don’t work. By which I mean, they’ll be rejected, forcefully — meaning exactly one thing. Proving, not merely suggesting, that the nihilist has values. And he cares about them rather passionately.

I’m sure there are other little “land mines” like this that I’ve missed. But I think the point is made. Nihilism — as we see it commonly, not as the way it’s described in the encyclopedia — is not the rejection of all values. It’s more like an avoidance of responsibility. “I don’t want to go on record having that opinion.” But, it is stencil-selective. They do want to go on record having other opinions.

Can hardly wait to do it! Just like anyone else.

Perhaps we should call them “Prairie Dog Nihilists.” Mulling it over for a day or so, I figured out that descriptive phrase, couldn’t come up with a better one. The more I think about it the more I like it. Prairie dogs, you see, spend most of their time underground, in the tunnel, especially when humans pass by who could observe them. And then, timidly, not wanting to get caught, they’ll emerge to see what’s going on…when they see the humans aren’t gone yet, they’ll duck underground again, with their trademark “eep!” sound. They disappear so quickly that it is extremely difficult to get a glimpse of them, or even to figure out with confidence from whence direction the sound came.

In that way, they are exquisitely annoying.

But at least they’re not known for voting for liberal democrats or supporting their execrable policies, like the human variation.

I have a cause for this problem in mind, and a fix. I think the K-12 education system has failed us. It had deteriorated a lot by the time I entered Kindergarten, and I’ve noticed it’s changed even further since the days I spent in it, not for the better. I think these kids have spent twelve years or more, being punished for taking any kind of position on anything — and rewarded for not doing so. The effect is strong because it has had a direct impact on the A and the F students alike. These are groups that typically don’t intermingle or share any kind of common bond. But they share it here. They’ve all gotten the message, reverberated it within their ranks. So there is the power of the echo chamber in there, and it’s on steroids.

The fix, I think, is simple. I could be wrong. We’ll have to give it a go and see what happens. I propose we merely ask for consistency. Apply this “who cares on the day the sun goes dark?” test across the board. To everything. To the ten items listed above, and anything else. What these kids are missing out on, is everyday learning, and it’s the kind of learning you do in adulthood. This is what makes adults act like adults.

I don’t care about the sun going nova, I won’t be there. I care about my financial situation next month and so I’m going to pay bills. Like that.

The problem is as simple as — I think — they just haven’t been exposed to this. They haven’t learned how to adult.

On Equality

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

What this country really needs is a good, honest, open, thoughtful dialogue about equality. Not socialism. Socialism’s easy. We’ve got a few over-educated nutcases who think socialism is a good thing, but people generally get that it isn’t. Equality, on the other hand, has people snookered.

If the lamp works, the “vast majority” of the light in the room will be behind the shade. The greatest part of heat in a car that actually runs, will be in the engine. The densest part of a green union is down in the dirt, in the bulb. Ditto for the leek, the artichoke, the rhubarb, the celery stalk, the bok choy. This is how things that live, live, and it is how things that work, work. Always, there is some tiny portion of the overall thing, that has the job of distributing something, and it has the greatest part of & freest access to whatever it is. The greatest concentration of oxygen-rich blood in your body is in the arteries, nearest to your heart. This doesn’t mean your tiny remote appendages aren’t getting any blood. If you do have that problem, “equality” is not the answer.

If the battery is working, the poles are different. That’s what “voltage” is, it’s a difference. This is a relative measurement. Make them the same, you get a spark show, maybe a fire, then entropy takes effect. After that, the battery is dead.

In fact, everywhere in nature where you’ve got something working, and all parts of that thing require a resource so it’s necessary to distribute something — there will be a tiny part of the thing, that functions as the source. That source will have most of whatever is being distributed. Go ahead, find ten exceptions. Heck, find three. Find one.

We’ve been sold a huge, damaging lie: That leaning over and peaking into your sister’s cereal bowl is acceptable behavior, and also that if you find something in there that you don’t have, this is the difference between everything being hunky-dory, versus an imminent and righteous revolution.

What we’ve been sold, is death. Life doesn’t work that way.

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.
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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.