Please note that in some places the words “he” and “his” are used, without the customary and politically-correct practice of grasping at a more androgynous set of pronouns. This isn’t done to irritate people or to make any kind of point, it’s done to make things a little bit shorter and more readable. Customarily, my practice is to go ahead and make things a little more bloated for the sake of following the rules I was taught in sixth grade, but in the case of this Glossary I found the bloat-factor was very high. One of the purposes of this glossary is to make things easier for people tripping across this blog for the first time, and the incredibly awkward sentences were threatening to defeat that purpose. I hope the ladies will understand.
4A Cheerleader (n.):
A parent or close acquaintance of a child who has been diagnosed, or is in the process of being diagnosed, with autism, asperger’s, ADD/ADHD or allergies. They “cheerlead” this impending diagnosis and are passionately opposed, to the point of being belligerent, to any skepticism about it anywhere. They are activists; their activism is not limited to the child they know, in fact it extends to other children they’ve never met and never will meet. In short, their worldview is that every diagnosis for these 4A disorders that might possibly happen, must happen.
1) An intellectual discipline in which one seeks to discredit, or otherwise remove, any Cognitions that do not comport with a pre-defined set of Axioms. 2) An Irrational impulse to champion a policy, or set of values, beyond any possible point of diminishing returns. We frequently make a deprecating reference to absolutists (2nd definition) with the catchphrase, “if a little of something is good, a lot of it must be a whole lot better.”
An Editorial, with a different name so that editors can justify placing it where the news belongs.
Argumentum ad Populum:
Appeal to popularity, or the Bandwagon Fallacy. A logical fallacy in which an assertion is made, or supposedly strengthened, because a (seemingly) large number of people believe it to be true.
Argumentum ad Snobby-Studentum:
Appeal to logical snobbery. A logical fallacy in which the speaker shows himself to be schooled in logical fallacies, but uses them to discredit all of an argument, rather than just the part of it that is shown to be fallacious.
Article of Faith (n.):
The sixth Pillar of Persuasion. An assertion made without underlying proof or support, with an implied confession that such proof or support cannot be made and usually cannot be forthcoming.
The Second Triad in the nine Pillars of Persuasion. A statement showing why something unproven, is believed to be true. It can be a Cause and Effect Argument, an Observation of Aggregates or an Article of Faith.
An assumption that comes from nowhere, surviving only by its own validity and lack of refutation, but drawing no benefit from evidenciary support.
Opposite of Exploration. A progressive movement over time which endeavors toward an ideal, rather than toward a frontier. This makes fulfillment of the Exponential Growth Instinct absolutely impossible over the long term.
Bathosplorific Crash (n.):
The depressing and frustrating sensation people experience when they have been engaged in Bathosploration and realize they cannot fulfill the Exponential Growth Instinct without re-defining their goals.
1) A tendency to reconcile Facts a certain way, such that some facts are given greater importance than other facts, and this disparity can’t be explained logically in the immediate discourse. Measurable when it violates Occam’s Razor. It is due to Irrationality, prior experience, or some combination of those two. 2) In the narrower definition, errant Cogitation on the part of a thinker or arguer who has a desire for things to be a certain way, or for certain things to be done. It is demonstrable when certain Cognitions are subject to an assault from empirical facts that are hostile to it, and emerge unscathed. One of the most lucid depictions of this second definition is this: Your digital scale says you weigh two pounds more than you thought you did. You weigh yourself five more times…ten more times…finally, it says you weigh one more pound than you thought. Thus the weigh-in is concluded for the morning. The next week, it says you weigh one pound less than you thought you did. Stepping on the scale ten times is entirely unnecessary, one weighing will do just fine. You jump in the shower and start your day. Over, you way yourself ten times; under, you weigh yourself once. That’s bias.
B.U.F., as in “The B.U.F.”:
One of the tell-tale signs that an Assertion is either false, or Bullshit: There is a certain Breathless Urgency Factor in the objective of getting the idea out there. It takes very little Cognitive ability to see that if something is demonstrably true, people of even mediocre intelligence will come to realize it on their own. So when a protagonist is seen placing significant urgency and desperation of getting an idea communicated, it calls the veracity of the idea into significant doubt.
The act of disseminating Cognitions and cogitations, with apathy toward what is true. It is different from lying, which involves a careful observation of what is true and communicating something different. One cannot bullshit unless one absolves onesself of any concern at all about personal costs involved in disregarding truth — costs absorbed by other parties, are quite alright. (n.) The ideas communicated by a bullshitter when he is bullshitting. Bullshit can only be detected in two ways: 1) by proving it to be Invalid, or 2) by demonstrating the purveyor of the bullshit carries apathy about the true state of affairs, which would make all of his product bullshit by definition.
Bullshit Narrative: See Overly-Convenient Narrative (OCN).
Bush-Haters’ Club Card (n.):
A figurative expression referring to the approval one receives from other people who hate President George W. Bush, whenever one announces new and improved ways of hating President George W. Bush. Usually invoked when commenting on the fear people having of having their card revoked if they don’t say the right things about hating President George W. Bush.
Cadence of the Noble Savage:
A dichotomy that continues to occur over and over again in human affairs. We are given a challenge, and we know we cannot meet it without protecting others, disabling others, taming a frontier, eradicating a threat — or some combination of those. We ultimately meet the challenge by relying on our most primitive skillsets, ambitions, aptitudes and values. This obstacle, now met, proves to be the zenith of all that confronts us for the foreseeable future; the trials that come afterward are relatively insignificant. And so, we begin to celebrate a set of values that have very little to do with what we have achieved, and indeed, are antithetical to what we have achieved. We do this even to the point of showing hostility to the “brutes” who were responsible for that past success, or to those who somehow reflect what was done there. This is the most naked and intense of all hostilities: the sincere desire that a person should cease to exist, or at least cease to be what he is. Tragically, as nature continues to remind us again and again of the incompatility between this, and continuing our survival — like lemmings, we seem to be more and more determined to do it again. It’s almost as if factual events are somehow reinforcing the behavior, when in fact, they’re counseling us toward the opposite and we’re ignoring the lesson. This is summarized in Thing I Know #130.
An eight-letter acronym that stands for (We’ve/You’ve) Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet. It is what the leader of a movement tells his constituents, when he has lost all respect for them. I know of no example where anybody has used a derivative of CALWWNTY, and gone on to commit to meaningful milestones by which the success of the project under discussion could be effectively measured, either beforehand or afterward. CALWWNTY is an unmistakable sign that, if the project were subject to the exigencies and demands of the private sector, it would have long ago either been declared a success or failure, and all resources diverted elsewhere. It is, simply, a demand for a blank check. Once the voice of the movement indulges in CALWWNTY, that movement will be intertwined with CALWWNTY for as long as the contributors continue to tolerate it, decade after decade. The average age of a movement that is subject to the blatherings of CALWWNTY is somewhere between 40 and 70 years.
Cause and Effect Argument:
The fourth Pillar of Persuasion; an observation that when certain things happen, there are reasons why certain other things will almost certainly happen as a result. Usually invoked when discussing economics and human behavior, although this isn’t always the case. “When you change the color of the walls in the factory, you have to observe what happens to productivity as a result. It will naturally increase, because when people feel they are being watched, they tend to work harder.”
Can’t Be Told Anything. Applied to an individual who might actually be quite intelligent, but barring some drastic change in mindset, can never know any more than he knows right now. This is a condition brought about when a Dogma has been awarded greater weight than any Facts can ever be, so that the facts are reconciled against the dogma instead of the other way around.
The word “chauvinism” used to refer to the belief in an innate superiority of males over females. In modern times, it’s a buzzword used to make people angry and pay attention to what comes next. It could mean — pretty much — anything, and therefore has come to be an undefined word.
A logical fallacy referring to an argument that proves nothing, because vital parts of it depend on itself. Often comes in the form of two arguments, each of which depend on the other.
Civil Rights (Violation of):
1. An ethereal concept of some kind of a rule, said to be violated because the person speaking simply doesn’t like something. Unlike a constitutional or treaty provision, it cannot be cited. It’s just an expression of frustration and extreme dislike.
2. A phrase you use when you want to complain someone “shredded the Constitution,” but you’re afraid if you use the word “Constitution” someone might ask for a specific citation. So you use “civil rights” or “civil liberties” instead.
An intellectual discipline in which the observer prefers ignorance over acquiring factual information from a “dirty” source. It tends to be manifested when people brag about not reading certain things, or scold others for reading certain things.
Cognitive and Cogitative (adj.):
The process of forming solutions to problems, minus the final act of declaring the thing to be done (see Thing To Do).
Cognitive Dissonance (n.):
Flawed cognitive process which, in the same argument, recognizes two Cognitions, which both can’t be valid because they contradict irreconcilably.
A set of individuals who are supposed to be doing some On Your Left Nut Thinking, and are entrusted with some kind of authority that assumes this to be the case. The set can be identified by a specific nose-by-nose designation, for example some kind of acceptance process; or it can exist as a class, distinguished by definition alone. On the way to a collectivist mindset, this set first becomes a Peerage in which members come to realize they share material interests. With the desire to remain in good standing with the peerage, all members begin to think like Yang, surrendering their individual Cognitions to the coercive political currents in the group. At this point the group membership neither aspires to nor achieves the Critical Thinking beyond what is endemic to a hive of ants or bees, and has become a collective.
This is defined in Thing I Know #90. It is a group of four or more people, each of whom are invested in an all-consuming mission to appear more important than the others. Through their dedication, good judgment, and continued persistence in these efforts, they have an excellent chance at making the committee itself utterly useless.
Common Sense (adj.):
It’s kind of an opposite word. It means, rules you want to have in place, that you’d get if you were a dictator, and probably wouldn’t get in a system of government in which compromise is necessary. It basically means: What you want, and hell with everyone else. “Common sense tax code.” “Common sense gun control laws.”
In twenty-first century America, an adjective used to describe people who express the tiniest scintilla of skepticism about even the most extreme, radical left-wing pursuits. Fifty years ago, it described people who thought segregation might be a good idea. Twenty-five years ago, it described people who had reservations about negotiating with the U.S.S.R. about arms reduction treaties. Ten years ago, it described people who might have been reticent about cheering on President Clinton as if he were some kind of a rock star in a shiny-glittery outfit diving into a mosh pit. It is obvious the term is highly dynamic. This blog predicts that within eighteen months, “conservative” will be used to describe people who believe maybe, just maybe, someone might be qualified to share credit with Al Gore about developing the Internet, electricity, TCP/IP, various medicines, alternating current, the internal combustion engine, the printing press, gunpowder, the English language, the wheel, and fire.
Constitution (n.) (anachr.):
Properly called United States Constitution, or U.S. Constitution. A legally binding document signed near the founding of the United States of America, containing seven main articles and twenty-seven amendments. Decisions by the Supreme Court are thought to be valid extensions of the Constitution when one speaks in the context of enforceable law, since “unconstitutional” is an adjective used to describe lesser laws that contradict the rulings of those decisions.
Constitution (n.) (mod.):
A metaphor used, usually with the verb “shred,” to describe something that would be illegal if the speaker had his druthers. For example, one court after another after another may find a search procedure is compatible with legally accepted “reasonable search and seizure” rules, but if the authorities conduct this search procedure and find your hallucinogenic drug apparatus, or murder weapon, you can still use this opposite word and claim they “shredded the Constitution” when they searched your car.
Critical Thinking (n.):
An intellectual pursuit in which one follows the Cognitions in a Thesis, while keeping track of what has not been proven or satisfied, and maintaining awareness of Inferences used to provide greater support for subsequent conclusions than what they logically offer. The term can be applied to effort as well as to achievement. The effort to screen out Bullshit, successful or not, is an exercise in critical thinking.
Deciding by Meme:
A brand of decision-making that takes place in a collective, and in so doing highlights some of the most damaging shortcomings inherent in group-based thinking. Each individual within the collective, upon hearing of an idea, understands his role with regard to that idea not as a contributing author, but as a conductor. Then, understanding his good-standing within that collective to be a primary key to his continuing survival, he anticipates whether that idea is likely to survive and propagate, or not. In so doing, he evaluates the idea not according to logical merit, but based on the popularity of the meme.
Richard Dawkins’s term for an idea considered as a replicator, especially with the connotation that memes parasitise people into propagating them much as viruses do.
Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution. Ideas can evolve in a way analogous to biological evolution. Some ideas survive better than others; ideas can mutate through, for example, misunderstandings; and two ideas can recombine to produce a new idea involving elements of each parent idea.
The concern is over political capital. The cosmetic effort is a contemplation over how much that individual’s political capital will help or hurt the survival of the meme; the substantial effort is exactly the opposite of that, an inspection of how that member’s future will be helped, or hurt, by association with or repudiation of this meme.
As each individual within the collective decides likewise, the group overall becomes a consciousness that evaluates ideas according to whether or not it is preliminarily ready to favor them.
The result is directly contrary to the behavior of a truly Civilized Society, Item #29:
A civilized society sympathizes most passionately with the word that makes the most sense, not the one that travels the fastest.
…and is very much like the busted clock: Correct now & then, twice a day, as the right answer happens to be what it is ready to report.
Dispassionate But Reasonable Space Alien:
Recalling a subgenre of American prime-time television from the 1960’s to early 1980’s, in which a silly but somewhat-intellient alien would visit Earth and take up residence with a somewhat-ordinary American family. He would then require things to be explained to him that we regard as sensible and ordinary, only because we’ve become acclimated to them. It’s used here as a hypothetical to illustrate how incredibly brainwashed we have been, by clever talking-points carefully designed to dovetail with high-profile events in recent history. “Dispassionate” refers to not giving a damn about Democrats or Republicans. “Reasonable” refers to an ability to arrive at a sound conclusion after cogitating on the available Facts. Example: A dispassionate-but-reasonable space alien would look at Saddam Hussein, in the same light as a druggie flushing his weed before the cops broke down the door. A dispassionate-but-reasonable space alien would be amazed that we kept Bill Clinton in a position of trust after he was caught lying to everybody, under the flimsy justification of “what he lied about was nobody’s business but his.”
An opposite word. It has come to be essentially synonymous with deliberate, planned selection, and in this way lost the attribute of randomness that used to be implied in the classic definition. Diversity is a political value, said to be satisfied when favored classes are the first to experience fulfillment, gainful employment, approval or any kind of pleasure, and when unfavored classes are the last to experience these, and the first to experience deprivation of these things. It has come to mean — ironically — consistency in favoritism.
A body of Cognitions and Cogitations formed, not to recognize truth, but as litmus tests to be applied to strangers. Strangers found to adhere to the dogma can be recognized as peers, and by clinging to this peerage the arguer can continue to practice Clean Thinking.
• All fish live in water.
• Dolphins live in the water.
• Therefore, dolphins must be fish.
Doofus Dad (n.):
A paternal character in a movie or television show, which in turn is usually from the “Family Comedy” genre, contributing heavily in comedy relief but in little else. Typically, the Doofus Dad is the father of the story’s main character. If he has some common sense, or skills, or any other positive characteristics, these are manifested with a tone of irony, or else contributed to a storyline that is decidedly secondary. His character’s primary mission is to amuse, create problems, or some combination of those two. A recurring meme with the Doofus Dad character that has resurfaced again and again, to the point of parody, is that his presence has been expected at some kind of ceremony. The Doofus Dad may have created this expectation actively by promising to be there, or in some passive way. But at the critical moment he’s not there. This causes some kind of psychological trauma to his offspring. This ludicrous, predictable and thoroughly exhausted cadence was parodied in Austin Powers: Goldmember, with a whole new musical number called “Daddy Wasn’t There.” A distinctly secondary recurring theme to the Doofus Dad fom is his parental desire to instill in his child or children a competitive spirit, invariably fused to a none-too-subtle undertone that there is something undesirable, or even destructive, about such a thing. Of all the products our movie industry insists on calling “comedy,” the Doofus Dad character, packaged with the associated threadbare themes that orbit around him, constitute the most hostile and vicious. It’s also mostly unsolicited; Hollywood has always been far more desirous that we should consume this product, than any of us have been about so consuming. It has little to do with commercial appeal. The less fathers & children identify with it in Year Zero, the more we see of it in Year One.
My son helped me with this one a few years ago. A Dirty Rotten Creepy Jerk is a character that exists in a movie or video game, more to define a story than a personality, and the story is a parable of bad karma. The DRCJ is a person who has acted (successfully or otherwise) out of impure motives and has some come-uppins in store.
The DRCJ has relevance in politics. A good political speech, if it contains a subtext dealing with DRCJs at all, can exist without it; a bad political speech treats this as a central pillar of support. Someone’s been engaging in shenanigans, we’re a-gonna get even with ’em, and other than that I haven’t got much to say.
1. Human of the female persuasion who hates men. Often doesn’t know it, or if she does know it she resists admitting it outright, although her behavior, once studied carefully, removes all doubt.
2. In the broadest definition, any female who ostensibly places importance on maintaining a long-term relationship with a man, but in fact, places greater importance on other objectives that are mutually exclusive from this.
3. A heterosexual woman who caboosifies her man.
4. Any heterosexual female who would respond “E” to the following multiple choice question:
YOU ARE AT HOME WITH THE OBJECT OF YOUR AFFECTION AND HE ASKS YOU TO BRING HIM A BEER. You…
A. Bring it.
B. Bring it, provided he says “please.”
C. Bring it, but expect him to bring you things when you ask him, too.
D. Bring it, but only if it’s your “turn,” after keeping careful track of who owes what to who.
E. Don’t bring it, because your identity has come to be attached to not doing things like that.
E-Girls confuse themselves by means of two objectives, difficult to distinguish for the lazy intellect, but meaningfully different:
1. Do Not Establish An Identity That Has To Do With Helping A Man
2. Establish An Identity That Has To Do With Not Helping A Man.
The negative, like a bowling ball falling into the gutter, ends up in the wrong destination and remains locked there. E-Girls tend to follow a uniform biographical sketch: They fall in love with, are impregnated by, and/or are married to some scum-bucket they meet in their teenage years; divorced in their early twenties, they latch onto some other guy with dim intellect and weak character, but with better reliability, who they then badger into raising their whelps “as his own”; sometime in their early to mid thirties they embark on a sexual escapade with a Lothario who is a) rich b) brainy c) eccentric d) exotic e) possessing a thick foreign accent or f) some combination of those. In short, their love lives are a mess. They fall in “love” with whatever is the opposite of what came before, and inspired their fatigue.
One of the most important objectives in life for an E-Girl, if not the most important one, is to avoid making a man too important — to keep his position in their lives marginalized. That’s why they won’t bring him beer, which means they won’t do anything else nice for him. As a result of that, they always become bored with him, as they would any disposable accessory, and before long start looking forward to the next one. E-Girls are incapable of becoming bored with a man, without resenting him, and they’re incapable of resenting a man without hating him.
In their search for non-male things upon which to place unwarranted emphasis, they tend to congregate with each other and emulate each other, very much like sociable and immature teenagers. The “Golden Age” E-Girl read Erica Jong and Gloria Steinem; in the “Silver Age,” E-Girls hung out in bars, listened to a lot of country/western music, smoked and played darts. The “Modern Age” E-girl is a goth. They, to a man of any age, are what oxygen and moisture are to a loaf of bread, or pure iron nails. He’ll last much longer and remain healthier if he stays away. It has nothing to do with how tough he is or how he’s built, it’s simply things the way they are.
An opinion piece written for a newspaper or other printed media; the subjective opinion of that publication’s editors. Customarily placed in a certain page or section reserved for such things, and thus kept isolated from news and other material where readers can expected to be enlightened on Facts. Often called Analysis so it can be mixed up there without anything appearing to be out-of-place.
Entitlement Mentality (n.):
A mental state in which things to do (see Thing To Do) are pronounced without a prior Cognitive and Cogitative process taking place, so that the line can be erased between Objective and Subjective viewpoints. It is engaged so that disagreements can be settled for the material benefit of a pre-identified individual, group or class of interested persons.
Discussed at After Dagny Crashed; describes a thinking or decision-making process that is no more likely to arrive at the correct/best conclusion, than a process confronting the same range of options but driven purely by random chance. This is distinct from sub-random (the process’ likelihood for arriving at a good conclusion is inferior to a similar process driven purely by random chance). There is no drive or ambition to achieve a result contradicting plain common sense, but there was some critical mistake made at the early stages, such as with identification of the objects or initial premises. All the thinking that takes place afterward is useless, and the only way a good outcome can be achieved is through luck. In simpler terms, you may as well flip a coin or roll the dice.
Everyone is sick of this. Everyone is tired of you. We need to come up with a tax plan that works for everyone. This was the only time and date for this meeting we could find that would work for everyone (sorry you can’t come).
Opposite of Bathosploration. A progressive movement over time which endeavors toward a frontier, rather than toward an ideal. This makes fulfillment of the Exponential Growth Instinct possible, and likely, over the long term.
Exponential Growth Instinct (n.):
The desire endemic to the human condition, to achieve something on par with what’s been achieved before, but on a more massive scale. This compulsion has a symbiotic relationship with the health and vitality of the human spirit; neither one can truly thrive without the other.
The first Pillar of Persuasion. In the narrow sense, it is a Cognition that can be proven. In the broader sense as it relates to an argument between individuals who disagree, it can be an Opinion that is agreed upon by all participating in the argument, thus rendering any residual disagreement about the veracity of that opinion effectively moot.
The effect that takes place when an observer gathers the sense that the people he knows, have a measurably complete agreement with a certain Cognition — and comes to the conclusion that a similar consensus exists among all persons qualifying for a similar membership class. It arises from the unfounded notion that the observer’s everday associations have been sufficiently random to provide a statistically robust cross-section, and that he can therefore measure the consensus of the overall class by sampling the consensus of his everyday associates. The mistake arises when he assumes the necessary randomness to have been achieved, when it was never his primary goal in seeking out those associations.
A type of Circular Reasoning in which one seeks to support an Assertion by observing “all” authorities regard it to be true — and then handily dispensing with any dissenting authorities with some argument that they really shouldn’t count. It’s a marriage between the Circular Reasoning fallacy and the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
An undefined word. No, seriously, it’s undefined. Nobody has the slightest idea what this word means anymore; at least if they do, it’s a definition they’ve pulled out of their ass and you can rest assured they have done very little to ensure there is widespread agreement about this definition, so the word could be used for actual communication. It’s an exclamatory epithet and nothing more. It’s what a liberal calls you when you’re arguing with him about something and you have him backed into a corner.
An undefined word, albeit not always a pejorative one. Indeed, lots of people, men and women, call themselves feminists. But since the word is undefined in all the ways that matter, there are lots of different ideas about what it means. Some say feminism supports womens’ suffrage, some say it supports equal pay for equal worth, and some say (or act as if) it means promoting complimentary thoughts about females and derogatory thoughts about males.
The notion that women should shoulder greater burdens of responsibility commensurate with their greater share of rights and privileges in a progressively evolving society, is a question hotly debated, although always behind closed doors so that the cracks in the feminist veneer can be kept concealed from those hostile to feminism. Regretfully, after some forty years or so, the debate has been inconclusive and we’re left with equal portions of “feminists” who battle for greater rights with greater responsibilities, and others who advance those rights without the commensurate responsibilities — each of these camps of feminists, typically denies the existence of the other. Added to this sloppy hodgepodge is the post-modern feminist, who seems to view feminism as a cultural ideal in which girls are encouraged to have careless, unprotected sex with randomly selected, substandard, utilitarian-grade men. Others view feminism as an effort to re-define “art” into visual displays, lacking in aesthetic or communications value, but rich in shock value — such as plastic sheets covered with blood from abortions.
In the final analysis, feminism is whatever you want it to be, so long as it is hostile to some selection of the following:
• Discretion in choosing sexual partners;
• Modesty of dress;
• Some combination of those three.
And it should also advance a demeanor that is belligerent, or at the very least, unpleasant.
Feminists will accept good manners in other feminists, so long as politeness cannot in any way be interpreted as a willingness to be subordinated. Bad manners win out over submission. That is the point.
First Instinct Fallacy:
A flaw in the act of Cognition, in which an observer’s set of Prejudices have a filtering effect on the Facts and Inferences gathered: Those that comport with the prejudices are used in the resulting Cogitation, and the ones that would be more hostile to them, are effectively discarded.
Gawd is Bad, Mmmkay:
An Irrational Dogma embraced by some that the Judeo-Christian God is not only non-existent, but further, that belief in Him has been responsible for much, or all, of misery in human history. The term pays homage to the hilarious parody of school counselors on the popular South Park cartoon, in which the caricature Mr. Mackey warns the students to stay away from drugs by telling them, “Marijoowana is bad, mmmkay.”
Properly called “global climate change,” it is an Instruction To Believe that not only is the earth becoming warmer, and not only is man-made technology the cause of this warming, but that drastic policy changes must be made on an international scale — or else a calamity of some kind is sure to unfold (see Harbinger of Doom). It is an issue of great importance, as it highlights what has happened to contaminate science in modern times (see Science, both definitions). As radio commentator Neal Boortz has said, “The scientists know that as soon as they acknowledge the role of increase solar activity in global warming their research funds will dry up.”
An undefined word. If it does have a meaning at all, the closest one we’ve been able to extrapolate from the pattern of the word’s actual usage, is: Someone who manifests a desire to keep his property when someone else comes along wanting to take it away. A wealthy person who wants to stay that way (but you’d better click on the word “wealthy” to find out what it really means).
Harbinger of Doom:
The ninth Pillar of Persuasion, it is the assertion that a certain Thing To Do is so important that failure to implement it will surely lead to something catastrophic. Alternatively, it could be a doctrine that the course of action is a bad one, and even if conventionally-accepted intellectual pursuits result in the sense that it’s the right thing to do, it must not even be considered because of this dangerous possible outcome. Usually, Cognitive and Cogitative processes, which would be better accepted in a different scenario, will be eschewed because the time involved in pursuing them might cause this apocalyptic event to take place. It is usually a logical fallacy, but in some everyday situations there can be merit to it, which makes it harder to detect. (For example, driving down a backwoods road you might think to yourself several times a minute, “if I don’t turn the wheel right, I’ll end up in the ditch on my left.”) Harbinger of Doom often is identical in substance to the Fourth Pillar of Persuasion but with entirely different ramifications to the discussion at hand.
Hate (n.) (modern):
1. A word used as an intangible noun by a liberal, for purposes of distraction, when you have him cornered in an argument.
2. A word used to bludgeon people into following a fashion craze when they have initially declined, or failed, to follow it. What you are full of when I happen to like something, it’s my perception that a whole lot of other people like it as much as I do, and you don’t.
Hate Speech (n.):
Intangible noun descriptive of accidental harm done to other people by means of words. Ironically, it is also a battle cry used just before someone practices deliberate harm to other people by means of words.
Haut Monde Hoi Polloi:
A Cognitive Dissonance a person has about the Thing He Wants To Do, or things he wants to do. In twenty-first century America, it tends to take place most frequently with electronic devices, and is produced when the following Cognitions and desires are in effect:
• A lot of people have X (the device);
• Among the people who do not yet have X, most of the people I know want to have one;
• The X does one or more things that would be useful to me;
• If I had X, the thing that it does, would be at my disposal;
• Furthermore, if I had X, people would notice that I have it.
The confusion that takes place is that the social standing one would achieve by acquiring X, is intermingled with a perceived magnification of the everyday functionality the device would remit, to justify the other material objectives that would be sacrificed to acquire it. It is such an intoxicating effect, that a singular demonstrated function is thought of during the purchasing decision as a plurality.
It is tested easily in a number of ways: If there was a hypothetical alternative, a Z, that does everything X does but lacks the name recognition — would the prospective buyer want a Z? If the dissonance is having an effect but concealed by a subconscious denial, which is usually the case, the decline in desire will be quite surprising. Also, suppose the market is saturated and everyone already has X, save for the prospective buyer. In other words, the social standing to be achieved by acquiring X, has dwindled to virtually nothing. Is it too late to justify buying X? And this is where the effect qualifies for the funny name: The answer is invariably yes.
So the justification has a great deal to do with social ingratiation, and very little to do with the functionality of the device. Within the social aspects, the dissonance has to do with how one is to ingratiate onesself by acquiring the product. “Haut Monde” refers to becoming part of an elite layer. This is demonstrated by the lack of excitement involved in finally acquiring something everybody else already has. Instead of doing this, there is a desire to be better than most other people, by having something other people would like to have, but can’t have. “Hoi Polloi” is a reference to being just like everyone else. This is demonstrated in the other hypothetical, where the subject is offered something else that fulfills all the functionality desired, but lacks the name recognition. People tend not to want things, that other people don’t understand or don’t want.
Because it’s a cognitive dissonance about what to do, rather than the more conventional dissonance about what is so — unhappiness is guaranteed. It’s simply impossible to be better than everybody else, and at the same time to be just like everybody else. They are mutually exclusive, and even a partial fulfillment of both of them is logically impossible.
Human Spirit (n.):
What gives life hope and meaning for humans. It is a “package deal” that feeds off the Perpetual Development Cycle and consists of a number of primitive impulses to: 1) learn new Facts; 2) derive Opinions from those facts; 3) figure out Things To Do from those opinions in order to a) raise one’s own standard of living and b) position onesself to more easily learn other facts. This is one of the characteristics that sets humans apart from animals. A healthy and vibrant human spirit leads to a happy and robust human, and a desolate and despondant human leads to a dying human spirit. This is all unavoidable.
I Have Been Instructed To Believe…
A simple acknowledgment that nowadays, people don’t hand hard information off to each other, quite as often as they dispense instructions to each other about what to think. That is in spite of what we may pretend to be doing. The distinction is a very simple one to maintain. Someone gives you an opinion, you take the time to verify it before passing it on, you have informed somebody. If you pass it along without verifying it first, you are instructing them on what to think. It’s not only an easy difference to keep in mind, it’s a very important one. A lot of other commentators will gloss over it, but that doesn’t mean we have to do that here. So when people tell us what to think, we’ll go ahead and repeat it, but we call it what it is. It’s instruction about what to believe, nothing more, nothing less.
Slang word we use around here. Jocular reference to one of many “Bushisms,” heard when President Bush responded to a question regarding rumors of a military draft in the Presidential debates of 2004. The meaning is obvious. The point to be a made in using it, while subtle almost to the point of being an inside-joke, is still self-explanatory.
A delusional system of discharging judicial duty. Faced with the challenge of deciding how a law applies to a specific case, and vested with the authority speak to the question with finality, the jurist practicing judicial activism subordinates the sensible questions of precedence and meaning — and promotes over these the unrelated question of which of his possible verdicts can be predicted to have the most beneficial effect on society, as he sees it.
1) A Subjective viewpoint of what should happen to people who put themselves in certain situations. 2) The delivery of that thing when it happens to them. Both definitions of the word may be applied to the delivery of good things, although it’s usually applied to the delivery of bad (but just) things. 3) The opposite of Mercy.
Kiss of Death:
A rhetorical device in which the speaker uses the text of his words to say something nice about somebody, but has the intent to harm their interests. Usually conveyed in situations where the audience has residual sympathy for the person or faction that is to be harmed. The Kiss of Death may be used when an out-and-out scolding may articulate all the intellectual elements the speaker wishes to convey, but fail to achieve the desired effect.
A societal mechanism used to make Justice into an Objective device instead of a Subjective one, by defining violations and prescribing penalties, or assigning duties to individuals and agencies. Formed by dictatorships, houses of representation, oligarchies and committees.
1) Personal aptitudes that assist an individual in overcoming “hard” intellectual challenges, e.g., math, reasoning, spatial cognition, puzzles, etc. 2) As an adjective, affixed to individuals who show these aptitudes, or activities that demand them.
In the United States, a cranky and delusional individual who:
• frequently arrives at things to do (see Thing To Do) without first pursuing Cognitive and Cogitative processes to arrive at them;
• out of consideration for historic wrongs done toward minority classes, eschews any deliberation about the fourth (Cause and Effect Argument), fifth (Observation of Aggregates) or eighth (Rhetorical Questions) Pillars of Persuasion, without explaining or understanding why;
• maintains and brags about an Irrational fear of losing his Bush-Haters’ Club Card;
• clings to Clean Thinking by seeking out other individuals equally committed to liberal Dogma, and ostracizing everyone else from political discourse;
• while nurturing a deep distrust toward the military, maintains virtually unlimited faith in everything else the Government does;
• shows unwavering fidelity to the Mushbucket o’Liberal Goodness;
• rejects On Your Left Nut Thinking during the Cognitive and Cogitative processes, and displays vituperative attitude toward anyone who doesn’t do the same;
• practices Omerta for the benefit of other liberals;
• when handing out compliments and congratulations to others, consistently avoids 1) mentioning anything that might give someone a feeling of achievement as an individual; 2) including white males, unless they are handicapped, have accomplished something of benefit to the Democratic Party, or have suffered some terrible malady that can be blamed on President George W. Bush;
• likes to argue, and when doing so, demands accolades as some sort of “open-minded thinker” who appreciates “nuance” — but consistently avoids anything resembling a bi-directional exchange of ideas, and does nothing to open his “proofs” to any sort of challenge;
• consistently promotes Mercy over Justice, but only for the individuals and groups meeting his approval, thereby engaging in selective Anarchy.
Liberals are explained in much greater detail here.
Memo For File:
Posts that Morgan Freeberg writes for his own benefit, usually for the sake of marking some resource of interest on the Innernets. It is made visible to others only for to draw benefit from collaboration with others who may contribute something further.
Mushbucket o’Liberal Goodness:
A figurative term meant to be applied to the panoply of liberal agendas. The subtle implication of sloppiness is a reference to the haphazard nature of all the things liberals want done, and the absence of any rhyme-or-reason one would expect of a platform produced by principled thinking. For example, the denial of a voucher program to poor inner-city kids who are otherwise trapped in failing public school districts, doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with slandering our fighting men and women as “baby-killers” and “rapists,”, nor does slandering our fighting forces have an awful lot to do with performing abortions on underage teenage girls without their parents’ knowledge or consent. None of those three agenda items, in turn, have a great deal to do with outlawing hundreds of thousands of jobs that happen to pay less than seven dollars an hour. And none of those, in turn, have anything whatsoever to do with taxing all the post-tax dollars in some dead guy’s estate, all over again, as if those dollars haven’t been taxed already, when they have indeed, just because he died. Those items are all philosophically and intellectually unrelated…not only a little bit, but completely. Yet our liberals are in favor of them all. Without reservation. “Mushbucket” is a metaphor used to highlight, metaphorically, how incredibly disorganized this belief system is.
This blog used to call it the “toothpaste tube chock full of soldier-slanderin’, baby-killin’, tyrant-appeasing liberal goodness” until it was pointed out to us that a toothpaste tube is a device used to dispense sludge that has some liquidity and viscosity and quality to it. Furthermore, once stuff comes out of a toothpaste tube, it is a chore of excessive difficulty to squeeze the stuff back in. Contrasted with that, our liberals retract and redact their stuff all the time…it’s just expected of them nowadays. All they have to do, is meet up with someone who might not appreciate the comments they made the day before — and they’ll pretend they didn’t say it. You can’t nail ’em on it, our willing liberal-accomplice press won’t let you. Liberals define what they’re all about, minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. That’s just the way it works. So the “toothpaste tube” analogy doesn’t quite fit — “mushbucket” fits much better. Mushbuckets are bits of farming equipment, used to feed pigs. Pigs are gluttonous animals. If a pig is hungry, and his ass is on fire, and there’s food to be eaten, the pig will eat the food and let his ass fry away while the smell of scorched bacon fills the air. A pig thinks about his empty belly all the time…anywhere…in all conditions and seasons, dry, wet, cold, hot. If a pig’s belly is ninety-nine percent full, the pig’s brain is one-hundred-percent consumed with that missing one percent. That’s a gluttonous animal. Feeding gluttonous animals, is what our liberals have put themselves into the business of doing. So you see, “mushbucket” fits all kinds of ways, metaphorically and otherwise.
In addition to describing the condition in which liberals pair up sub-agendas that have little or nothing to do with each other, and even contradict each other, it also describes the condition in which liberals labor tirelessly to elect other liberals — with no consideration for any sub-agenda at all. Essentially, the term is used to describe excessive partisanship: Single-issue advocates throw their support behind candidates who haven’t declared any support for their single-issues, at least any support above lagging support, because the candidate has the desired “D” after his or her name. The advocates may even reject Republican candidates known to make a deeper commitment on the right side of the single-issue, in practice, jettisoning the stated important issue in favor of getting the guy with the “D” elected. It is the elevation of the desired party above any logically-defined issue. Anything for that big ol’ package-deal mushbucket.
Yum! Om nom nom nom.
A bumptious individual, usually from Europe but not exclusively so, who talks at length about things other people should do (see Thing To Do) but is curiously silent about the Opinions upon which such arguments rest. Must-Tards are also quiet about what strategy is to be engaged if the things are to be done, or the consequences involved in those things not going to be done. One remarkable characteristic of the Must-Tard is he seems to be constantly frustrated that people aren’t doing things the way he’d like them done, but at the same time, it’s highly unusual for him to articulate why it would be a good idea. Reasonable observers invariably start to wonder if he himself knows. Another thing that is often left unstated among all these things he thinks other people should be doing, is exactly what stake he personally holds in all these things being done a certain way — what “skin off his nose” is involved. This, too, tends to be left unstated.
A Pseudo-Scientific methodology of recognizing divisions in the personality types of different classes of people, achieved by facilitating a series of either-or tests across four (formerly three) axes. These axes are 1) Introvert/Extravert; 2) Sensor/iNtuiter; 3) Thinker/Feeler; 4) Perceiver/Judge. A descendent of the Jungian personality test, which made all these determinations except the last one.
National/Cultural Discourse (n.):
1) An intellectual arena that spans all parts of the United States, in which people located there have the ability to mass-communicate with Americans in other parts of the country. Causes people to think differently, in subtle ways, than they would think if they weren’t part of it. 2) At any given point in time, a set of issues that are “hot” in the discourse, such as social programs, war, family configuration, and regulation.
The notion that in the long term, nothing really matters. Often used to justify Anarchy. People who believe in nihilism, are nihilists; their behavior is somewhat manic-depressive. They alternate between a sullen, morose behavior when alone or in the presence of other nihilists, a betrayal of the dead Human Spirit within them that they’ve made a conscious effort to kill off; and, a wild-eyed, passionate, Spittle-Flinging shrieky demeanor when in proximity to someone who is not a nihilist.
A condition that exists when two properties are not related to each other, even though they may at first appear to be. Non-correlation is proven when four possible scenarios are defined, by means of the presence and absence of each of the two properties, and all four of these scenarios are demonstrated to be likely. Example: Some men like football; some men hate football; some women like football; some women hate football. Liking football, therefore, is non-correlative with gender. Note that non-correlation does not necessitate equal distribution (as football is far more popular among men than women).
Not Articulated Outright (NAO):
A phrase often used around here on Axioms that 1) are defined by statements used elsewhere, usually running high in passion, quantity, and frequency encountered — which cannot be persuasive to any skeptical individual unless such an axiom is uncritically accepted; and 2) are not actually articulated on a word-for-word basis anywhere, usually because they do not make sufficient sense to be so articulated by anyone with a reputation worth defending. The best examples can be found in the Picard vs. Tazmanian Devil situation, in which a protagonist facing an antagonist, capable of using both force and diplomacy, is implored to deploy the latter. For such an idea to make sense, there have to be reasons to believe diplomacy will be effective, and the primary ingredient in that is going to be a Cognition that the antagonist will follow the superior and more civilized example. The flaw in this thinking is revealed when no one bothers to step forward to say such a thing, although to someone open to all ideas and invested in a safe and healthy outcome for the protagonist, everything that could be meritorious about the diplomacy angle depends, completely, on such a thing. Other examples are found in arguments dealing with minimum wage, the death penalty, affirmative action policies, Judiical Activism and the legalization of drugs.
Observation of Aggregates:
The fifth Pillar of Persuasion. An Assertion depending on the personal experience of the speaker with instances of a defined class. Example: “I notice when a woman’s head doesn’t come up very high above her steering wheel, she’s almost always a terrible driver.” This kind of thinking can obviously be used to enforce and reinforce racial stereotypes, so our Liberals won’t let us use it.
An intellectual doctrine that shuns extravagant, complicated and fragile explanations of phenomena, in favor of simpler explanations that account for the same things. Example: Last night I saw a light in the sky that behaved like an aircraft, but was like no aircraft I had ever seen before. This can be explained by 1) aliens who came here from another planet, 2) experimental military aircraft, that I wasn’t supposed to have seen, 3) an aircraft with which I’m unfamiliar. Occam’s Razor says that if I’m placed in a situation where I must pick one of those, 3) is the least extravagant and so I shall favor that one. If my knowledge of aircraft is so current and so encyclopedic that 3) becomes difficult to consider, eventually 2) becomes the least extravagant. Both of these are favored over 1) which remains the most extravagant.
Overly-Convenient Narrative (OCN), or Bullshit Narrative, Socially Expedient Narrative, Howdy Narrative:
A construct of words, sentences, expressions and focus-group-tested phrases to describe a sequence of events with only a casual relation to the truth. Recall that Bullshit has an interesting non-correlational relationship with truth: “One cannot bullshit unless one absolves onesself of any concern at all about personal costs involved in disregarding truth — costs absorbed by other parties, are quite alright.” Liars are not bullshitters because liars have to concern themselves with what’s true, and assert something that differs from it.
A bullshit narrative tends to be more believable than regular bullshit, because whereas regular bullshit meanders randomly toward and away-from what’s true, the OCN narrative is formed around a kernel of truth. It is overly-convenient because it is assembled according to what is likely to be proliferated the most rapidly among diverse audiences, and to survive the longest. People use it to introduce themselves to each other, and ingratiate themselves with others who have bought into the same bullshit narrative, thus striking up a chord of instant (if not somewhat phony) friendship.
Overly-convenient narratives possess a mild, albeit deceptive, relationship with truth. They are tested against truth, in the sense that if there is absolutely nothing verifiable about the narrative, it will not resonate and therefore will not become overly convenient. Therefore, there has to be a glimmer of truth to the OCN in order for it to survive, propagate, and endure. Unfortunately, the relationship to truth ends abruptly there. The OCN does not have to be close to 100% true; it doesn’t even have to be 50% true. Five percent, or even less, will do fine.
In fact, in complicated matters (Saddam Hussein and his WMD, the public dept, McCarthyism, whether the Rosenbergs were guilty or not), the OCN is a virtual promise that large numbers of people will remain ignorant of the truth, because the truth is too complicated to be accurately encapsulated within anything convenient.
Generally, without doing any research at all, you can tell a narrative is probably a bullshit narrative when it is overly convenient. As Tom Clancy said, “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” It also has to possess some measure of consistency about it, whereas reality can place itself into a position of compromise with itself, and very often does.
Some notable overly-convenient, bullshit narratives:
1. Sarah Palin is a dumbass.
2. So is George W. Bush.
3. So is J. Danforth Quayle.
4. We’ve poisoned the environment, causing global warming, and now we’re all gonna die.
5. The rich don’t pay taxes because they can hire accountants who know all the tricks of the trade.
6. Joe McCarthy ruined the lives of hundreds of people over made up, trumped-up charges.
7. Religious people are bigoted and intolerant.
8. (DEBUNKED) America is such a racist country it will never elect a black President.
9. No one is truly free unless… (fill in the blank)
10. Saddam Hussein was not dangerous because he had no weapons.
11. Clinton kept us safe. The 9/11 attacks occurred on George Bush’s watch.
12. Whenever a Republican is President, the public debt explodes.
13. You can’t raise a family on minimum wage the way it is now.
14. Nobody has any business owning assault weapons.
15. Barack Obama… (fill in the blank)
16. Republicans are opposed to civil rights.
17. We shouldn’t care what the Founding Fathers thought of things, because those guys owned slaves.
18. America is all about separation of church and state.
19. Our strength lies in our diversity.
20. Republicans and democrats have the same goals in mind, just different ideas about how to get them done.
These things are all mobile because they’re believable, and they’re all believable because glimmerings of evidence have popped up that are friendly to them.
They all have some truth to them…just some.
No more than about five percent. In any case.
A tacit agreement among a classification of individuals devoted to problematic Dogma, to refrain from discussing certain details that contribute to weaknesses in said dogma. This is usually fulfilled by a changing-of-the-subject at a judicious time, mostly by means of a Snarky Snippet. Omerta is a far cry from proof or strong evidence that a particular set of ideas is wrong, but it’s definitely a red flag that something is fishy.
On Your Left Nut Thinking:
The kind of thinking a man will do when he is forced to draw one or several Inferences, which he personally lacks the ability to prove or refute, the verity of which will determine the continuing attachment and function of his left testicle. According to the stated hypothetical, drawing the wrong inference will involve the destruction or amputation of this appendage, presumably without anesthetics, and ideally with a crushing blow from a hefty percussive device. The corporal punishment is not the point, nor is the uncertainty-factor involved in the inference, since all inferences carry some uncertainty. The point is the quality and style of thinking. The necessity that arises to change the way one thinks, when something personal is at stake, is a sign that lower-quality thinking has been accommodated. One shouldn’t have to change the way one thinks just because the stakes become higher or more personal.
An opposite word. If you want to be thought of as open-minded, you had better make up your mind to accept the axioms and taboos that have been offered by others, and never question them. If you do start to question them, you will be called closed-minded, more likely sooner than later.
Bullshit that is made more salable, by means of pairing it up within a common argument with other varieties of bullshit. If it is presented with other items that are verifiably true, it has a built-in defense mechanism, because any attacks upon it will be treated as attacks upon the overall argument, and within that, upon strongest and most easily validated items. These more meritorious articles, which are sub-bullshit, thus act as lightning rods in case the bullshit argument comes under legitimate attack. Opti-bullshit can also be passed off by means of pairing it with supra-bullshit, which causes listeners to feel like they’re taking a skeptical, moderate approach by rejecting the supra-bullshit — which was never intended to be taken seriously in the first place — and accepting the opti-bullshit, which perhaps could never have been sold to anyone standing on its own.
Paralysis by Analysis:
1) A problem that currently seizes all levels of the electorate in the United States, who collectively understand there is something seriously broken in the way meaningful public issues are debated, but are more and more handicapped in arriving at a solution to the breakage, the more they think about it. 2) What stops Morgan Freeberg from actually posting about 90%, give-or-take, of the material that is considered for this blog.
Peeking Into Wells:
What we do here. It is named in honor of Eratosthenes himself, specifically, his experiment to establish the size of the Earth by measuring the angular difference of a midday sunbeam into two water wells several miles apart. The activity refers to many things, notably:
- Remaining fully receptive to all nine Pillars of Persuasion, while abusing none of them.
- Maintaining awareness of the difference between Objective and Subjective viewpoints.
- Rejecting no more of an argument than is discredited by a logical fallacy, once a fallacy is found to apply to part of it.
- Applying Occam’s Razor where appropriate.
- Calling out Bullshit.
- Rejecting Invalid Opinions, and Inferences that depend on them.
- Relying on onesself to learn Facts first and foremost; where this is not possible, or is economically ludicrous, applying Critical Thinking in gathering information from others;
- In arriving at conclusions, observing the Doctrine of Brittle Extremes.
- Validating Biases by ensuring they are produced by personal experience and not by Irrationality.
A group, or class, of individuals who must be concerned with a common threat or set of threats, and/or share one or several common interests.
1) A member of such a group. 2) One who shares common concerns or interests with another.
Perpetual Development Cycle:
A cycle people exercise by means of specialized aptitudes they have in abundance (or lack). Confronted with an everyday problem, they will select a strategy for solving it according to the strengths that would become meaningful in that strategy, and how these required strengths overlap with what they know they have on hand to supply; put another way, when you have a shiny expensive hammer, everything looks like a nail. In implementing the chosen solution, they strengthen the aptitudes that have been identified, and further atrophy the other aptitudes that are not relevant to the chosen strategy. So the aptitudes choose the strategies, and the strategies reinforce the aptitudes. Because of this, it’s part of the human condition to more and more indelibly define the profile of aptitudes as we become older and more experienced.
A type of Opinion dealing with personal tastes. To argue over it is completely pointless. Example: “My favorite flavor of ice cream is strawberry.”
Picard vs. Tazmanian Devil:
A paradigm that Liberals seem to want to talk about, but that they never actually do: What would happen if the most “civilised” fictional character ever devised in modern literature, Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, were to engage in “negociations” with the most brutal and primitive character, the Tazmanian Devil? According to liberal Dogma, Picard would set a superior example for the cartoon animal, who would then forcefully repudiate his habits and his natural instincts, and reward reason and fair-play with more of the same. According to reality, on the other hand, the result would be a giant Tazmanian-Devil turd with four rank pips sticking out of it. The scenario just goes to show: our liberals are on one side of a given equation, and reality is on the other. They believe in brute-force being defeated by superior examples of civility and decorum. Real life just doesn’t work that way.
Update 1/30/10: The Picard vs. Tazmanian Devil paradigm is aptly captured in Thing I Know #337:
A force of intellect, on a collision course with an unintelligent force of nature, must, by definition, yield.
Pillars of Persuasion:
Nine distinctly different strategies for arguing any given point, to any given audience, although of course “victory” can never be guaranteed. The theory is that if you take a full transcript from any debate about any given topic, distill all the comments made into a list, and filter out any Snarky Snippets, what remains can be easily categorized item-by-item into the nine pillars. The nine pillars are arranged into three Triads: Vitals, Assertions and Refutations.
A deranged Absolutist who engages in Clean Thinking and lives life according to a system of beliefs that can best be summarized as: “I want everyone to be exactly like me, and if they aren’t, I want them to go away.” Surprisingly, a lot of pinheads talk a lot about Diversity much of the time, seemingly without appreciating the delicious irony, since diversity has come to be an opposite word. Pinheadedness, in love and in politics, is a tragic human flaw in which an observer assumes that all of his Peers must agree with him in all matters worth deliberating, in pragmatism, altruism, and in the most ethereal philosophical concepts. Real life tends to be rather merciless in snapping people out of this mindset, and sometimes, in spite of the harsh lesson, even the most intelligent and experienced among us have been known to wander right back into this maelstrom of ignorance.
Any body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that claims to be scientific but does not follow the scientific method. The popular belief is that this means to use Inferences and other Opinions to prove things before the scientific method would favor such a conclusion, but what most people don’t realize is that it’s antithetical to “science” to regard anything as “proven” no matter what. Peeking Into Wells has to do with proving things to a certain personal satisfaction, which is not necessarily Objective, and is therefore irreconcilable with true science. Any other intellectual pursuit that also comes to “hard” conclusions, likewise, could be characterized fairly as pseudo-science.
Any setting in which decisions can or must be made, which tend to be isolated from impacting anyone else, or from impacting too many other people. Example: Listening to a certain station on your car radio.
Any setting in which decisions can or must be made, that will unavoidably impact large numbers of other people. It is therefore inevitable that people will start arguing about such decisions, when they wouldn’t argue so heatedly if the decisions were made in a Private Arena. Examples: Speed limits, minimum wage.
Red Herring of Rhetoric:
A logical fallacy used by Liberals and other adherents to ideas that have been exposed as problematic. It is a tactic of last resort, used when the adherent is cornered. It usually comes in the form of a complaint about the length of whatever Thesis or other vehicle carried the point, to which the adherent does not desire to form a counterpoint. A desperate adherent will change the topic to a seemingly benign suggestion that his antagonist shorten his documents of delivery. The motive is ostensibly to help the antagonist communicate better with other audiences, but the real motive is to ensure the original subject will be pursued no further. This is, essentially, a Kiss of Death.
Red Herring of Source:
A logical fallacy used by Liberals and other adherents to ideas that have been exposed as problematic. It shares substantial overlap with the Argumentum ad Hominem fallacy. It works by calling attention to the source of some Cognition that has been introduced into the argument, with a not-too-subtle implication that the cognition is tainted. The point, of course, is that both parties should agree to reject it. Ironically, the very use of this fallacy is almost a tacit agreement that the cognition is a Fact, or may as well be one: A conscious decision has been made by a hostile mindset desiring to persuade, that attacking the merit of the cognition is not nearly as fruitful a plan as attacking the resource from which it came. Reasonable parties may disagree about whether this qualifies the action as a logical fallacy, but not when the evidence introduced can be economically validated. In that situation, it becomes not only fallacious, but downright silly.
The Third Triad in the nine Pillars of Persuasion. A statement attacking an Opinion, a Thing To Do or an Assertion. It can be a Transplantation of Logic, a Rhetorical Question or a Harbinger of Doom.
A type of Opinion that is left open to dispute because of the Subjective nature of observing it. It has to do with observing an attribute in an object, without engaging in a measurable comparative or superlative and therefore opening the door to questions that are variants of: “By whose standards?” Examples include “that car is going fast,” “that house is huge,” “Bob is a wealthy man” and “Matt is a weakling.”
The eighth Pillar of Persuasion. It seeks to attack a prior Assertion by asking a question that is not supposed to be answered — the point being made, has to do with the difficulty involved in answering it. Example: “Why stop at raising the minimum wage to seven bucks an hour; why not fifteen?”
The word “racism” used to refer to the belief in an innate superiority of one race over another. In modern times, it’s a buzzword used to make people angry and pay attention to what comes next. It could mean — pretty much — anything, and therefore has come to be an undefined word.
1) Personal aptitudes that assist an individual in creative pursuits, e.g., music, poetry, dance, etc. 2) As an adjective, affixed to individuals who show these aptitudes, or activities that demand them.
Using measurement and reasoning to acquire knowledge about nature, using formalized scientific methods. These methods are somewhat complicated, but to summarize at a high level they have to do with 1) forming a theory that satisfactorily explains all empirically-observed facts, and 2) opening up that theory to robust, and even hostile, inspection and challenge.
1) A credentialed collective of academic elites who use democratic, political and coercive techniques to decide amongst themselves what is so. 2) The Dogma embraced by individuals who remain in good standing within this collective. 3) An agenda of Absolutism, toward recruiting more individuals into said dogma. Either way, it is the acquisition of new “psuedo-knowledge” about nature, by means of engaging in a False Unanimity fallacy: X must be so because “all scientists” believe in X, and “all scientists” believe in X because any scientist who doesn’t believe in it does not count. We know he isn’t a real scientist, because he doesn’t believe in X.
Amusing thing that a nerd does when he’s asked a question, and knows the answer to it, but is afraid that if he answers the question too quickly he might be called out as a nerd. It usually involves an arrival at the correct answer but with some false stammering along the way; the name is an amalgamation between “nerd” and “shrug.” For example: “Yeah, his co-pilot was one of those whatchamacallzems…a Workie? Winkie? Woofie? Wookie! Yeah, Wookie! That’s it!”
An opposite word. Someone who thinks what he’s told to think, and doesn’t question it. Now, someone who comes up with pesky questions about it, on the other hand, is failing to show good rugged skepticism. Skeptics need to show they have open minds, by refusing to tolerate any questions about what they’ve been told to think.
A distracting statement made, usually under the guise of seeking to make a valid point, but in reality to change the subject. Usually humorous, and invariably arriving with a subtle undertone of viciousness. It is not necessary to allow another party to speak first before throwing out a snarky snippet; some television shows are built entirely around the practice of throwing out one, after another, after another.
What people do when they discuss viewpoints about which they are extremely passionate. People tend to do this when they suffer from The B.U.F. In some cases, the flinging of spittle is purely metaphorical. An example is the dispensation of the Snarky Snippet.
A reference to Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach’s famous quote, “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day,” it captures the principle of non-correlation. It’s an understandable tendency to equate telling the correct time, with the timepiece actually working — but the principle of non-correlation applies, as the four scenarios are possible (albeit not equally likely): A stopped clock can be right, a stopped clock can be wrong, a running clock can be right, a running clock can be wrong. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate the wrong-headedness of the ad hominem logical fallacy.
Statements that are true and verifiable, packaged together within a common argument with other statements that are bullshit. In such arrangement the meritorious statements provide cover for the opti-bullshit statements that are fallacious; any attack against the overall argument, is diverted to the sub-bullshit statements (even if that is not the sentiment of the attack) so that available proof of the sub-bullshit statements can be provided, thus thwarting the attack. Meanwhile, the opti-bullshit statements remain untested, but because of weaknesses in human nature, they are believed.
Discussed at After Dagny Crashed; describes a thinking or decision-making process enjoying less potential for arriving at the correct/best conclusion, than a process confronting the same range of options but driven purely by random chance. This is distinct from equi-random (the process’ likelihood for arriving at a good conclusion is on par with a similar process driven purely by random chance) in that there is a revulsion against producing the answer that is obviously correct. As John Hawkins said, “How can [intellectuals] be unique, special, and smarter than everyone else when they believe the same things as ‘average Alvin’ and ‘dumb Dave’? If they’re so much smarter, shouldn’t they know better?” And so a common mistake is made in filtering out the conclusion reached, according to its differentiation from a conclusion an “average” person might reach. Two and two cannot make four, because “four” would be the answer offered by any ol’ Tom Dick or Harry, and we’re better than that.
Statements that are so outlandish and absurd, that the person making them does not expect them to be believed. Instead, the plan is to package such falsehoods together with others, which are opti-bullshit, and by comparison seem plausible. The effect is that people are lulled into thinking they’re taking a moderate position with regard to the argument when they say, “I don’t believe this thing you said over there, but I do believe this thing you said over here.” Supra-bullshit is part of a negotiating tactic. Just as a vendor selling something might ask a higher price than he can ever expect to collect, or a buyer might offer something lower than he can ever expect to pay — as part of a negotiation maneuver — the bullshitter officers supra-bullshit as a piece of bullshit he can never hope to pass off, toward the goal of passing off something else.
Thing To Do:
The third Pillar of Persuasion. It is a type of Opinion that someone should do something. In some situations it can be an opinion that someone should stop doing something, or avoid doing something. It is a sign of intellectual sincerity that the thing-to-do should rest on substantiated Cognitions, but there are many reasons to conceal this: 1) laziness, 2) the party offering the thing-to-do may not wish to explain their true interests/motives, fearing this would arouse unwanted suspicion, 3) the party offering the thing-to-do may desire to conceal the cognitions upon which it rests, due to confidentiality issues, intent to deceive, or both. See Must-Tard.
1) Things I Know, which is a library of Psuedo-Scientific musings by Morgan Freeberg about things he can’t actually prove, but is personally all finished with questioning whether or not they are so, because he’s convinced that they are. 2) One item from this library, always designated by a number. The number of items in the library changes with the passage of time. Thus far, it has always grown. Freeberg should always be ready to strike items from the library if new doubts emerge about any of them, but so far this has not happened because his Cognitive and Cogitative processes are extremely sound and, as a result, he’s fairly slow to add new things to it.
The ultimate opposite word.
…the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution condemning the “act of provocation” by what it termed an “anti-gay,” “anti-choice” organization that aimed to “negatively influence the politics of America’s most tolerant and progressive city.”
So “tolerance” means you pass resolutions condemning things so that people will note you aren’t tolerating them; similarly, if you do tolerate something odious to the local culture, you will be branded as “intolerant.”
The question has been raised, many times, about whether torture can include entirely non-physical forms of hostile questioning. Oddly, among those who are most enthused about using the word “torture,” nobody really seems to care to answer this. Instead, their preference tends to be to sidestep the whole discussion and go ahead and use “torture” to describe mind games. There is a tradition that torture has to involve sustained exposure to whatever the hardship is, so that a cessation is beyond the control whoever is subject to it; lately this seems to have been jettisoned as well.
In the end, the most broadly-inclusive definition is the one that fits the everyday usage: If my preference would be that this activity stop, should it be done to me, then it’s torture. Of course by that definition a red traffic light could be torture, and so could a crying child in the airplane seat behind yours. The perimeter surrounding what falls under this word, has exploded in diameter to the point that the word is now useless, and that makes it essentially undefined.
Transplantation of Logic:
The seventh Pillar of Persuasion. It seeks to attack a prior Assertion by using the logic implemented in that assertion, and (ostensibly) re-applying it to a different scenario. Usually, this new scenario will exist as a hypothetical, and be designed to strip some of the emotions out while leaving all the logical permutations intact. Example: “Outlawing guns might keep people from being shot; outlawing cars will keep people from being run over. So going by your logic, since more people are killed by cars than by guns, we should get rid of them too.”
Three related Pillars of Persuasion; all nine pillars, are arranged into three of these triads.
Trudging Into Infinity:
That part of Exploration that endeavors toward a frontier rather than toward an ideal. It is a journey from a “zero-point” into something unknown. Activities of this type can be scary because they are lacking in scope, have no pre-defined target, and if there are hazards to be involved then they are unpredictable in magnitude. However, trudging into infinity is gratifying to the Human Spirit because it is compatible with the Exponential Growth Instinct, and is never subject to the Bathosplorific Crash.
Trudging Toward Zero:
That part of Bathosploration that endeavors toward an ideal rather than toward a frontier. It is a sanitizing process, that starts from some measured level of contamination and endeavors toward eradicating as much contaminant as possible. Activities of this type can be gratifying to some personality types, because they are definite in scope, and achievement against pre-established goals is always measurable. If there are hazards to be involved then they are absolutely predictable in magnitude. However, trudging toward zero can be boring for other personality types, and regardless of who is involved it is ultimately susceptible to the Bathosplorific Crash.
A positive sentiment an observer has toward someone who he knows to have good character. A Bias toward predicting that this individual will do what he says, and make ethically sensible decisions about the welfare of people who depend on him.
A Cognition that an observer has toward an acquaintance of his, that the man shares his interests, both in economics and in Personal Preferences. By re-defining trust in this way, we have trivialized character issues both positive and negative. Also note that with this new definition, a mutual acquaintance is far less necessary for some form of “trust” to take place. Thing I Know #156 comments on this gradual transformation.
A business term that is an acronym, standing for That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It. It sounds like a Morgan-Freeberg acronym, but it was really invented somewhere else. The seven words have been observed tumbling off the tongues of Pinheads, with an incredible consistency, whenever they’re asked why they do things a certain way or want others to do things a certain way. It is a sign that Bathosploration is taking place, which may or may not be appropriate for the task at hand.
A word that is loaded with meaning, supposedly, but in fact is lacking in practical definition. The litmus test is not whether you can find it in the dictionary; it’s, if you can reach a plurality of people who use the word frequently, and query them in isolation about what the word means. Will you get back a number of definitions smaller than the number of people you queried? If not, then the word can’t really be used to communicate anything. With an undefined word, you’ll find there is very little cultural agreement, or none at all, on the actual meaning.
Undefined words tend to be used often, to the point of becoming cliches. So most undefined words were useful once, and then abused into uselessness. Unfortunately, after they reach that point, the tendency is to abuse them a whole lot more.
The first Triad in the nine Pillars of Persuasion, including the first three pillars. These are Facts, Opinions and Things To Do. No reasonable argument can exist without these three, and to avoid Arguing in a Vacuum, two or more parties must agree on the facts while disagreeing on the thing or things to be done.
An undefined word. It doesn’t refer to a high net worth, because it’s frequently used to refer to people who lack this; it doesn’t refer to a high personal or household income, because it’s often used to refer to people who lack that.
Extrapolating a meaning from the common usage of the word — if I call you “wealthy,” it usually means you have some material property that I want to take away from you. Liberal politicians often use this word to describe private citizens who own small businesses, and are supported by incomes substantially less than what supports the liberal politicians, owning portfolios of private wealth that are insignificant compared to the vast fortunes controlled by those liberal politicians. And so the word “wealthy” is deprived of all meaningful definitions possible, save one: A designated target of legalized theft. A snake-oil salesman uses the word “mark”; a liberal politician uses the term “wealthy person.”
What Shall I Hate Today…:
An expression we use to describe a common modern psychological difficulty, afflicting the socially inept. The full expression is “What shall I hate today, to give my life meaning,” and it refers to socially maladjusted individuals who seem to greet every day with a determination to express hatred at a chosen one out of a short-list of selected targets. These targets include
• Star Wars, especially the “prequel” trilogy that was released in 1999-2005;
• Boy Scouts;
• Stay-at-home Moms;
• President George W. Bush and/or prominent conservative pundits;
• God, Jesus, and devotees of same.
It’s fascinating that this is a completely negative pastime; but at the same time, those who are most emotionally-invested in it, are the most forceful in arguing that everyone else should think happy thoughts and only say positive things.
Wombat-Rabies Bollywonkers Crazy:
A Thesis, idea, value, Dogma or credo that makes no — and I mean, none, absolutely none at all — sense. To call it stupid would be to neglect the craziness of it, and to call it crazy would be to neglect the stupidity of it. Just as far from On Your Left Nut Thinking as you can possibly, possibly get.
Yet another opposite word. Used to describe a person or people who a) don’t work, and b) have no intention of ever working.
In a broader application, it may be used to describe people who work, but only at repetitive tasks and are therefore alienated from the process of making informed, reasoned decisions that directly impact their personal welfare. They don’t do this, they don’t know anybody who does this, and they expect an external force (the government) to swoop in and solve all of their problems.
A derivative of “Christian.” It is a derogatory label affixed not just to Christians, but to people who believe in God, by the Gawd Is Bad, Mmmkay crowd.
A personality type subject to the Perpetual Development Cycle, such that it becomes more definite with life-experience. We use the term to refer to singular and plural interchangeably. The Yang tend to have a strong personal bias toward Bathosploration with their intellectual pursuits but to be Extraverted in dealing with people. The Yang personality seems to be the product of accelerated social skill development, forming in small children at about two years of age and to be fully defined by the age of four. One of the trademark characteristics of the Yang is that they are often seen placing equal importance, or greater importance, on other people seeing them do things, than on actually getting those things done. They place a higher importance on the prevailing viewpoint of their Peers than on their own Cognitions. They easily are easily assimilated into Collectives before they have consciously realized it to have taken place, and tend to be offended at suggestions that something to this effect has taken place. However, because of their refined social and communicative skills, many of them have a surreal sixth-sense for determining the prevailing viewpoint in a group setting, before it has even been articulated.
A meeting of Peers that has metastasized into something counterproductive because everyone present is either a Yang, or is behaving like one, contributing little or nothing beyond what is championed by that personality. A Yangdevous is usually a symptom of a much larger problem. A series of them, is a sign that the designated stakeholders have become a Collective, or may now be considered to be a part of one.
A personality type subject to the Perpetual Development Cycle, such that it becomes more definite with life-experience. We use the term to refer to singular and plural interchangeably. The Yin tend to have a strong personal bias toward Exploration with their intellectual pursuits but to be Introverted in dealing with people. The Yin personality seems to be the product of retarded social skill development, in children who seek a substitute through the development of improved reasoning skills. It forms at a later age than Yang, gradually forming in small children at about five years of age, and fully developed by age eight. One of the trademark characteristics of the Yin is that they are often engaged in projects that are hard to describe to other people, and are often drawn to endeavors where solitude is bound to become not just a natural consequence, but a functional prerequisite. They place a higher importance on Cognitions they form independently, than on the prevailing viewpoint of their Peers. They accel at On Your Left Nut Thinking but tend to confuse productive pursuits with purely reclusive ones.
Yin and Yang Theory:
A nascent, Psuedo-Scientific theory on which Freeberg has been working, pointing out that strong Yin and Yang people seem to suffer the greatest day-to-day stress when they are compelled to deal with each other, and that both sides ultimately believe in, and desire, a world peopled only by people of their own kind — even if they aren’t exactly Pinheads by nature.
A situation of nirvana in which an association of interdependent individuals offer appreciation and support to the Yin and Yang alike who contribute to various endeavors in which they have an associative stake. This happy situation gives rise to an optimal balance between Explorative and Bathosplorative enterprises alike, with neither class of effort paying a substantial price to Irrational feelings of vindictiveness in the community. This would require the abolition of Pinheadedness as far as the eye can see. It is unknown whether such a thing is possible in practice.
Confusion that takes place when one fails to distinguish between efforts involving Trudging Toward Infinity and other efforts that involve Trudging Toward Zero; or appreciating the distinction, but laboring under the delusion that these involve somewhat compatible skills, aptitudes and energies. When the dissonance infects the executive layer of an organization, the natural result is for the entire organization to be plunged into an irreversible descent of Bathosploration for many reasons, including, but not limited to, these:
• It’s always easier to destroy than to create.
• Committees tend to excel at sanitizing things but show dillatory tendencies in building things.
• It’s expensive to form a vision, and visions are pre-defined with bathosploration, while Exploration tends to elude definition of vision.
• Bathosploration carries limited risk by nature; exploration carries unlimited risk by nature. Committees tend to be far quicker to burden individuals in their midst with individual blame, than to award individuals in their midst with individual credit.
• Bathosploration is inextricably intertwined with Absolutism, and absolutism is low-hanging fruit for those with the authority to make rules.