Archive for March, 2015

But Connecticut Did Likewise

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015


A slew of liberal government leaders have rushed to be in with the all the cool kids on social media who are beating up on Indiana for reinforcing a law that Bill Clinton created in 1993 (see what happens when you put it that way?) Never mind the fact that the law has been grossly mischaracterized pretty much everywhere it’s being discussed. Never mind that 19 other states have laws just like or similar to Indiana’s new law and nobody’s saying a word about any of them. Not even the government leaders of those states, as it turns out.

Jumping on the #BoycottIndiana bandwagon, Connecticut’s Governor Dannell Malloy tweeted this out –

But when you get past the rush to judgement in 140 characters or less, you find out that – SURPRISE! – Connecticut signed a law similar to Indiana’s in 1993. And, according to The Daily Caller, the Connecticut law has even more strict language than Indiana’s does.

IntolerantWhile Indiana’s law includes language prohibiting the state from creating a “substantial” burden against an individuals’ exercise of their religion, Connecticut’s does not use the “substantial” qualifier. It reads that “The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

Regarding the law allowing discrimination, or enabling discrimination, or making it possible, whatever…it’s the same lapse in logic I see on the part of the Ricardians who insist Henry Tudor must have been responsible for murdering the Princes in the Tower. Pressed to make their case, well, they don’t require any pressing at all, they have the monologues all ready to go. The monologues put together a brilliant case, I might even go so far as to say an undeniable case, that it is possible. And they go no further.

Ricardians fail to keep the difference straight, between a plausible scenario and “Yeah I just proved it really happened that way.” RFRA protesters, to my way of thinking, are committing exactly the same logical sin. They’re in a high state of dudgeon over the entirely innocent tailored-suit customers, auto-body customers, bakery-shop customers and parking ticket payers being thrown out of Indiana retail establishments on their ears. It doesn’t seem to be within the perimeter of their way of thought, to realize this is something they’re entirely fabricated.

In fact, they’re worse than Ricardians. More like the puppy dog chasing its own tail.

Liberals, and Their Need to Lie

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

They get caught at it an awful lot, and if you pay attention to any one subject of their repeated lying throughout its presence in the news cycle, you discover they have a need to do this lying; truth wouldn’t benefit them. Once they’re caught at it and confronted with it, they don’t seem to think there’s much of any ramification or consequence to it. Like they never stopped to think what it would be like to back something that would still look good, with the truth being known. John Hawkins notices this pattern:

If Liberals Are The Good Guys, Why Do They Lie So Much?
Remember when the Trayvon Martin shooting hit the news? Most people thought a 12 year old kid was attacked by adult who had uttered racial slurs about him and then shot him to death for no good reason…
You could ask the same question about the Mike Brown shooting. At first we heard that Mike Brown was just an innocent kid who was attacked by officer and then shot to death while he had his hands up and was pleading with the officer not to shoot…
Then there’s Obamacare.

No piece of legislation in modern history has been sold with so many willful lies about what it would do. Obama told people they could keep their doctors, keep their health care plans and that Obamacare would save the average family $2500 a year.

None of that turned out to be true.

If liberals are the good guys, why did they have to lie to the American people about Obamacare? If liberals are good people, why aren’t they apologizing for the lies they told?

The frustrating thing about confronting any of this is that it quickly becomes apparent that some liberals are good people. Or at least, fully intend to be. If liberalism, as a political movement, relied on the nefarious schemes of people who really did intend to capitalize on such lies, or so casually shrugged off the devastating effects of such lies with full consciousness of the suffering they were choosing to ignore, it wouldn’t get anywhere.

So the first thing you always have to do when arguing with liberals, the most frustrating part, is to try to figure out if you’re looking into the face of pure evil. Or, if it’s just ignorance. Is this one of the deceivers, or one of the deceived? One of those who wouldn’t care if he could be made to understand that the policies are bad, and already knows anyway; or, one who would care, and a lot, but just doesn’t understand?

There are two obstacles: Ego and mob-rule. Ego is enough to confound the question, because if you simply tell a supporter of raising the minimum wage “This doesn’t actually raise the wage of any jobs, it just outlaws jobs that pay less” — you’re almost never going to get back a “Oh yeah that’s right, I hadn’t thought of that.” Even though, if we’re arguing with logic, reason, common sense, and concern about what happens to the poor, that’s about the only rebuttal that can be offered. No, the direction is not going to be changed so easily. There’s inertia here, lots of it.

On the plane of reality, what you can expect to have happen is civility will be lost at that point, and it will be all your fault. Good manners have evolved — devolved? — to mean, you should offer the liberal some chance to continue being a liberal.

The other obstacle is the intoxicating effect of climbing on a bandwagon. “I want to do this thing” carries with it some instinctive feeling of responsibility, some obligation to make amends if the “thing” turns out not to be right. “I want to be a part of this thing,” on the other hand…

This is part of the reason why, to me anyway, one of the most impressive lines in Judgment at Nuremberg is when Judge Dan Haywood says, “As far as I can make out, no one in this country knew.” The entire movie comes down to just that one line. That’s how liberalism works, right there: Lots of mob-enthusiasm, lots of excitement over a “chance to be a part of this thing,” and it seems always with a charismatic demigod at the front of it. Everyone’s got some excuse for doing their lying, but there certainly isn’t much truth going around; and after the parade rounds the corner and disappears from sight, and there’s nothing left in the streets but lots of debris, lots of damage, lots of suffering…nobody knew.

“That’s Not Racist, You Idiot!”

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Item: Jay Leno tells a story of how he was accused of saying something racist, because he didn’t feel like Mexican food for lunch that particular day…

“College kids now are so politically correct. I mean, to the point where — I’ll give you an example, we had interns at the show, college interns,” Leno said. “Like, the last year of the show, one of the interns comes and says, ‘Mr. Leno, I’m getting lunch. what do you want?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, where are you going?’ He said, ‘we’re getting Mexican.’ I said, ‘I don’t really like Mexican.’ He goes, ‘whoa, that’s kind of racist.’ That’s not racist.

“No, being anti-guacamole is not racist, okay?” Leno said. “You have no idea what racism is. That’s not racist, you idiot, you moron.”

Call: Leno is right. Millennial-college-kid is wrong. And a moron.

Item: The White House — and, not just that, many other people who are vocal about their opinions and not connected with the White House — says Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill legalizing discrimination, when the bill actually reinforces religious freedom.

Magical PlaceAt the White House daily press briefing today, Press Secretary Josh Earnest criticized a religious freedom bill signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday.

When asked about the president’s reaction to the bill, Josh Earnest noted that many businesses in the state are already expressing “legitimate concerns” with the legislation.

“The signing of this bill doesn’t seem like it’s a step of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans,” Earnest said, calling his comments the “view of the administration.”

National sporting organizations, including the NCAA, have also expressed concerns with the bill.

“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” the organization said in a statement. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.”

Pence signed the bill in private yesterday, asserting that it was a just law.

“This bill is not about discrimination,” Pence said, “And if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”

Observation: As noted already, the administration is not a lone voice in the wilderness on this. Their opinion may in fact be the majority one. If that is the case, it is perplexing to note that it rests on a grossly flawed premise: That we measure the health and fortification of our liberties in this country, based entirely on whether it is “legal” or “illegal” for other people to discriminate against us, and we assess that, in turn, based on how easy it is to sue them. Not sure when that started, it seems to have been a gradual process of manipulation of the public.

Call: Pence is right. Earnest is a moron. And I guess if I ever choose not to have Mexican for lunch, it would be good if nobody at the White House finds out about that…

Item: Twitter catches fire after former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore, in an interview, fails to get on board with the idea of Idris Elba being next-up for the role:

Roger Moore has come under fire for some comments he allegedly made to Paris Match magazine in which he scoffed at the idea of Idris Elba playing James Bond.

When asked for his opinion on rumors that a black actor would portray Bond, the 87-year-old actor reportedly said, “A few years ago, I said that Cuba Gooding Jr. would make an excellent Bond, but it was a joke!”

“Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be ‘English-English’,” he continued. “Nevertheless, it’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”

Observation: I’m a lot less worried about black people, and James Bond, than I am about the very concept of creativity. “Hey let’s have James Bond be black” is not creative. As an idea, it may deserve props for being ground-breaking, but not if everyone in favor of the idea is going to recoil in theatrical anguish like wounded harp seals every time they catch wind of someone who isn’t in favor.

Call: Sir Roger is right about not being a bigot. Furthermore, I agree with him about Idris Elba not being right for the role. It isn’t that seeing a black James Bond would shock me, because let’s be honest, the cat is already out of the bag and there’s nothing shocking about it. And let’s be further honest about it: The story would probably suck. Bond movies are great because the people who made the movie put in some extra effort, and tried hard. The “we got a black Bond” people would have no reason to try hard.

In fact, let’s be even yet more honest: It would end up being the Barack Obama of Bond movies, every time anybody came up with some legitimate criticism, the defenders of the movie would simply shout those critics down as racists.

Let’s be more honest still: They’ve started already.

What do all these things have in common? Racists calling non-racists racists. Which, in turn, is brought on by a raging shitstorm of Goodperson Fever.


Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Item: In Rhonda Robinson’s house, ADD is considered a personality type and not a mental disorder. I read between the lines that this means she has boys in it, and isn’t in any hurry to try to get rid of them or transmogrify them into girls, a situation that is sadly becoming uncommon in both homes and classrooms. Thus begins a fascinating column…

Leadership SkillsBoys are no longer judged by their developmental standards. We have lost sight of a very basic tenet of humanity, one that our ancestors understood since the beginning of time: girls are very different from boys. Boys with uniquely masculine strengths, once prized, are no longer valued. In fact, these traits of boyhood are considered dangerous, even pathological.
.M. Stolzer explains that back in 1990, Carol Gilligan, a “difference feminist” and author of In a Different Voice, published a series of case studies that became widely accepted as fact. According to Stolzer, Gilligan hypothesized that it was the masculine bias deeply rooted in the American school system that was causing girls to suffer severely both psychologically and academically.

Gilligan garnered unprecedented exposure and acclaim from policymakers and academia — all accepting her theory without question. The cultural Marxists did what Marxists do best — they created an underclass of victims. What more compelling victim to raise money and change policy for than sweet little girls?

Women’s groups rallied and lobbied, and government agencies responded with funding, policy changes and programs. The “girl crisis” became a commonly held belief: girls are at a significant disadvantage in the American school system because a masculine bias tilts it.

All this happened with under an ounce of peer-reviewed scientific evidence…
The “female way of learning” has become the standard for both sexes in the classroom, and the gold standard for behavior in general.

Just as we will never fully comprehend the emptiness in the world that an aborted child might have filled, so, too, the world suffers the loss of modern-day knights, and leaders subdued in boyhood.

As long as male traits are considered defective, boys will be left to sharpen their skills in the fantasy world of a video game. While the real world, in desperate need of heroes and bravery, is content to have him sitting quietly on the couch.

Item: This comic strip purports to explain why there is a dearth of female engineers…

Item: Instapundit brings us two stories, one about Ellen Pao’s case that she lost, or won, or lost & won…it’s complexificated and stuff…

The headline moments came when Pao testified a male coworker with whom she had an affair retaliated against her by cutting her out of emails and meetings — and the firm did nothing to stop it.

“Going back I would not have done it again,” she testified about the affair. “I didn’t think it was inappropriate at the time.”

From the comments:

hey_man 1:57 AM PDT
If junior male members are allowed to pass “over” a female who is performing better than males, isnt this discrimination?

Dogsi 8:59 AM PDT
That was her claim. That doesn’t make it the case. The reality is that she had a disproportionate sense of entitlement.

I have to say I’m somewhat puzzled on the whole concept of a firm being even potentially liable, if it can be shown they “did nothing to stop” one employee treating another employee differently from a bunch of other employees. Some of us have rather lengthy track records of being the “One of these things is not like the other” types, and have battle-scars to show for it. In my case, I thought some of the employees who treated me differently were jerks, still do, I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Because how dare I vote Republican, or prefer DC comic books over Marvel, or whatever else…be that as it may, on what planet is the firm liable for all these shenanigans? Oh, I guess that’s just how we do things now in our litigious society. Can that possibly work? Such a plan should have my sympathies. But I’m doubtful.

And on the office-affair thing and its unfortunate aftermath, isn’t a feeling of dread over such future events unfolding, part of the reason people take a pass on the whole thing once the opportunity arises to date staff?

This kind of touches back on the comic strip about women failing to become engineers because they had dolls, or something. Well…there is a kernel of truth in this. There is a lot of fertilizer in it too, since my future prospects as an engineer weren’t scuttled when nobody bothered to get me a remote control airplane for Christmas. But I’m pleased to see someone acknowledging the truism that, when a tech firm toils away under the pressure to fill a hundred senior software engineering positions with fifty males and fifty females, and discovers it simply isn’t going to happen in this lifetime, there may have been forces at work on the cultural level, having taken their effect years and years before any candidates ever applied for the positions.

The other Instapundit story has to do with yet another phony rape…they’re almost becoming routine…

Nicole Richess, 20, had a drunken threesome with the two servicemen at a friend’s house and then her own home at the end of a night out.

The following day her boyfriend heard rumours she had been unfaithful and confronted her.

Richess ‘panicked’ and made up the false claim that the two innocent men, aged 23 and 24, had forced themselves on her because she was too ashamed to tell him she had cheated on him.

Item: Your man is probably going to look at other women in skimpy bathing suits, and that is OKAY

From the comments:

When we go anywhere…. I’m the one pointing out women to my husband. We look at them together…It totally irks me when chicks get upset over this.

If you’re so insecure in your relationship that you have to fret over your man looking at other women.. then you shouldn’t’ be with him. It’s unhealthy. Move on to someone who doesn’t make you feel so insecure.

Maybe the play-with-dolls has something to do with this, too. Men might wish their wives and girlfriends do some things the wives and girlfriends aren’t doing. Women, on the other hand, get upset that the husbands and boyfriends aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do; or, in this case, do things they’re not supposed to do. I’ve said many times before that this has to do with playing with dolls. What’s a doll do? Everything you want it to do, and nothing you don’t. And so here we have yet another thing that men and women see in different ways. For the husband or boyfriend, a template of behavior has been defined, and an issue is being made out of reality failing to conform. The guys, for the most part, aren’t going to make an actual issue out of the wife-or-girlfriend’s behavior failing to fit a pre-formed, pre-defined template. At least, within reason. I’m sure the guy whose girlfriend had a three-way with the service members and then lied about it, is a valid exception…

Observation: All of these stories have it in common that they have something to do with women. But, uh, we can take it much, much further than that, can’t we? They all have to do with the status of some class, or instance, of women. The frumpy woman on the beach is worried about her husband leaving her. The slut who had the drunken three-way lied to avoid getting caught. Carol Gilligan’s research was all about girls being deprived of having a place. Ellen Pao’s lawsuit was all about a hostile work environment.

Further observation: They all concern situations that have gotten way out of hand because someone got hypersensitive about womens’ status. Either a woman becoming hypersensitive about her own status, or someone in a position of authority taking it upon themselves to provide a bulwark against anything that might threaten a woman’s status. Up to, including, and past the point where lies have to be told.

Conclusion: It seems like we’re living in a period of what might be called “anti-chivalry.” As one endeavors to come up with some specific definitions of the ancient code of chivarly, what continues to bubble to the surface is a three-element package of respect for: Women, honor, and truth. Not necessarily in that order. The more modern variant seems fixated on elevating women above truth. Especially in the case of Ms. Pao, in which we’re all evidently supposed to pretend she won the lawsuit when she didn’t, and the drunken slut who lied about being raped, something Instapundit notes we’re being repeatedly told can’t ever possibly happen. This is just one of many fronts in the daily battle churning away within our society in which, if & when the day comes that our priorities change, things will get better. Life will get better. For everybody.

Including women.

Lesson: If a woman’s virtue can only be defended by way of elevating fiction over truth, her virtue isn’t worth defending. To deny this or to act in opposition to this, does nothing to help the cause of women in general.

Twentieth From the Top

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

So this happened

Newsmax’s Top 50 Conservative Blogs of 2015

1. Instapundit
2. Hot Air
3. RedState
4. Power Line
5. Free Republic

And we haven’t gotten around up until now to mentioning it here because, well, WorkAndStuff. Also, like it says, this is The Blog That Nobody Reads, heh…also all my previous efforts sort of dissolved into a fruitless Google Image Search for things like “twentieth,” something that establishes a solid connection and has a nice-looking girl in a skimpy outfit. Nothing ever qualified. By now, we’ve reached the point where further silence from us would be ungracious.

The truth is, though, part of the reason we’ve been brought to this point is honest, old-fashioned humility. I’m looking at the ones in the Top 50 who aren’t in the Top 20, that would mean we managed to “beat” them in some way, and thinking…WTF? We beat that guy? Naming examples would be pointless, there are so many. But in the past few days or weeks, if you haven’t noticed, we haven’t even been doing much of anything at all here. How do you emerge North of truly great artisans, and linkers-and-thinkers, while not actually doing anything?

One of our Facebook friends was sufficiently kind, or flattering, to mention

Actually, now that I’ve had time to look through some of the “blogs” listed ahead of Morgan, I think his actual ranking is much better than 20. A lot of 1-19 are just news feeds with little to no commentary or analysis. Morgan’s is among the first few listed that I would consider to actually be a blog.

Well, I can see some basis for that although I can’t get on board with the idea that we should be ranked even higher. It gets back to the linking-versus-thinking thing, again; yes some of the ones in the top nineteen are “feeds,” mostly, in fact some are that and almost nothing else. But, there’s a lot of value in that. It isn’t hard to establish a difference. For example, we just went six days without saying anything, can you reasonably infer from that “nothing must have happened for the last six days”? Surely not. That is not our goal. So we’d make a lousy news-feed. And we happen to like and admire news feeds, ourself. We have a coffee mug too, we have a hot plate on which it sits, too; sometime in the wee hours of the morning, the two make contact, and there we are, just like you, wondering which page we can hit to get the best impression of what’s going on in the world in the shortest amount of time.

Commentary & analysis does have some value too. In our case, and in the case of many others, that’s best thought-of as a chronicling of the evolution of one brain among many. The creation of some prejudices, the preservation of others, the destruction of still yet others. Learnin’s. The “howcum-whenevers” from which it seems someone is always forbidding you, in polite general conversation. “How come whenever they profile a ‘poor’ person, he’s always wearing nicer and newer clothes than what I wear and has a bigger teevee?” “How come whenever they interview a feminist college professor, she always has a hyphenated name?” “How come whenever they mess around with & throw money at a social problem for decades and decades, it never seems to get any better?” Maybe we’re not supposed to think such things or audibly comment on such things; but if you want to get a lot of people running in a circle endlessly, like a hamster in a little metal wheel, best way to do it is to forbid any sort of thinking like that. To get rid of the “howcome-whenevers” — which is precisely what the powers-that-be managed to do before blogs came along.

So all these types of blogs are valuable. Like it or not, it’s certainly a medium that is here to stay. Some of the stuff that’s coming out about Dads-n-Granddads’ “news” channels lately, ++cough++ DanRatherBrianWilliams ++cough++, has to make one wonder what sort of crap got swept under the rug in decades gone by before the blogs came along. We’re pleased and privileged to be a part of the phenomenon even if it’s a matter of debate how much, or in what way, we’re managing any sort of contribution to it.

Kooks Built Feminism

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Robert Stacy McCain, who is The Other McCain, rips off the veil and tears it to shreds (hat tip to Dyspepsia Generation):

Feminism as it exists today began as the Women’s Liberation Movement in 1968. Sometimes called “Second Wave” feminism (to distinguish it from the “First Wave,” circa 1850-1920), this movement arose from the radical New Left…To put it quite bluntly, at a time when the Cold War was raging, when the tyranny of Soviet imperialism threatened to conquer the world, and when U.S. troops were being killed by Communists in Vietnam, feminists were on the other side.

The Women’s Liberation Movement emerged from the extreme fringe of anti-American, pro-Communist radicalism. From its inception, this movement was hostile to men, marriage, motherhood, religion, capitalism and patriotism. Some people try to claim that there is a “mainstream” feminism that was “hijacked” by radical kooks, but in fact the kooks built the feminist plane, and any perception that feminism is “mainstream” is an illusion created by the movement’s dishonest publicity/media apparatus.

Related: They have to ruin everything?

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

Tables Turned

Friday, March 20th, 2015


The robber then took Jandebeur’s wallet out of his pocket and started to make his way in the direction towards the man’s wife on the other side of the truck. That would prove to be a near-fatal mistake. – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – |

Starbucks Shops in Economically Distressed Cities

Friday, March 20th, 2015

…or…lack thereof.

…Of course, Liberals do not want a conversation, they want a soliloquy…

Like most “all talk, no action” stories, this is actually about two things. First thing is the stupid bonehead idea to do a lot of talking. About which I said, of ideas in general

How can an idea be stupid? It can be prone to fail; it can be engaged without anyone bothering to define what it is supposed to do; it can be unlikely to do whatever that is, and then in some cases it can achieve the opposite.

Or It can be put together to achieve not one thing, but many. It can be loaded up silly with ulterior motives. Anything loaded up with ulterior motives labors under yet another motive, the motive to keep the ulterior motives hidden. It can achieve the opposite of what it is supposed to do, it can achieve the opposites of all the ulterior motives, and then it can fail in the mission of keeping the ulterior motives hidden.

That’s when I received a challenge to my contention that this might be the stupidest idea ever.

And the second thing is to not actually do anything about the problem. If Starbucks locations meticulously avoid, through either cause or by way of effect, locations that are economically and racially divided, then there is a geographic handicap against this plan ever having any chance of achieving what it’s supposed to achieve. It’s like starting a dialogue about mountain climbing on the bottom of the ocean.

And this is liberalism in a nutshell: This fondness of “conversations,” which are actually soliloquies, way-off-somewhere — “Those People” conversations. Conversations about the “root causes” of blight, illiteracy and crime, in elitist, overly-privileged, communities nestled deep inside protected enclaves, behind gates and guardhouses, in which there is not much chance for anyone to be bothered with any blight, illiteracy or crime. What guns shall we ban, what health care laws shall we pass, to get things right with Those People? What levers shall we pull, what knobs shall we twiddle.

One of the most dishonest things you’ll ever see is a liberal “starting up a conversation” about how to make people more alike. It’s always a monologue and not a dialogue, for one thing, and the other thing is, they don’t want everyone alike. People who make this sort of noise want special privileges and set-asides. They want social stratification. They want differences. They want one set of people doing things that have an effect on a different set of people; for everyone to be in the same boat, is the furthest thing away from what they really want. кто кого?

The Big Question

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Everyone’s asked it, at one point or another…and finally, someone has put together an answer that isn’t complete cock-and-bull (via Linkiest).

For the benefit of the females who are at the age of figuring out their couplings, and their parents, it does seem to me something should be said about immediate gratification as opposed to the delayed. The article, leading up to its key point, mentions that

You can be strong; you can have things going on in your life; you can learn to know when it’s time to keep your distance; you can be direct…And still be a great guy.

Trouble is, the dating-market could be completely saturated with “great guys” like that, and some girls would still be drawn to the dickheads. That’s because of yet another bullet point that didn’t make the list…


Some people get things done that are useful, help other people. Other people are fun to watch all of the time. Is there any overlap between those two camps? Not much has been observed, what has been observed is highly debatable, and whatever overlap could be proven to actually exist isn’t very important. In life, generally, if you want to get something done that’s of any use to anybody there is going to be some boredom involved. Some people just aren’t up for that.

Woot Woot?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

A graphic that deftly illustrates the tenor of the times in which we live, captured by Kate at Small Dead Animals. Every so-called “plan” that manages to capture any attention at all, it seems, is an Underpants Gnome plan. When Step Three doesn’t happen, everyone’s shocked for a little while…then it’s time to come up with the next plan. With all the confidence and enthusiasm that was there before, at the same point on the last lap.

Life will get better for us when we break out of this orbit.

Conflict for Conflict’s Sake

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Item: We have in our extended family a very promising young man, currently under the stewardship of someone who craves conflict. Recently we have noticed his future has started to darken, as his skills have softened. With a few more visits, the picture to us has become sadly clear: He’s learning the wrong lessons about how to deal with challenges, how to side-step them. Minute One, he will have a tasking, a thing he is expected to do. Minute Two, he’ll languish a bit while other kids his age would’ve been diving in, getting the job halfway done already, and he’ll stir up some issues. Minute Three, everyone around him will be fighting about something and he won’t be doing the whatever-it-is. It’s sad to watch. We know exactly where he gets this.

The irony is, we also know exactly what fixes it: Competition. Competition is an exercise in conflict. When kids don’t get competition, they start to use conflict to avoid work. They lose sight of the timeless and plain truism that we all have names, identities that are attached to the work we manage to actually get done. Or, not get done. You can put a name by a handicap too, even if the handicap is a pure fabrication.

Item: The Z Blog has an excellent manifesto about the intoxicating elixir of “anti-racism” (hat tip to Gerard, once again)…

In many respects, anti-racism is the perfect topic for the Cultural Marxist. The pale penis people will always be with us so there is no “winning” or end game like we had with homosexual marriage. Since blacks will also always be with us, the disparities are a social constant.

The key to these modern movements is that the promised land must be just over the next hill. That way, the believers can feel their are getting closer so they get worked up in a frenzy at anything that is seen as an obstacle. As the Greeks learned in the Peloponnesian War, fanaticism comes easy when the enemy is evil.
Just scan through those comments. They are clawing each others eyes out to get to the top of the piety pole. They are rats hooked on coke banging at the little button to get their next fix. That does not go away without something filling the void.

Shades of GoodPerson Fever; I noticed it way back when. But, I was too asleep-at-the-switch to think of the “rats banging on the button” metaphor. That’s golden.

Item: This insightful comment about hockey…specifically, the refereeing of it…

With only one exception, all the guys who are always up in arms about the calls are the sneakiest, dirtiest such-and-sos out there. The guys playing hard who may pick up a call here and there generally just head to the box; if they were fouled and don’t get a call, they’ll ask but they won’t really get up in arms unless it’s a horrible miss.

Why are the complainers also the biggest rulebook jockeys?…They don’t want to take the trouble to learn what will and won’t get them whistled. They can’t change the rulebook itself, but they can try to influence how it’s called, so that now the other team isn’t just involved in a skill contest, but in a “skill AND lobby the refs and see if we can swing just one future call in a big spot” contest. And if they’re not bending your ear over the most arcane paragraphs in the book, they’re busy seeing if they can get over on a few of their tricks by doing everything in that grey area, daring you to call it all so they can [whine] more about how “it’s hockey and you gotta let us play” or else “call it both ways” and such.

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, play a different game, the “This argument isn’t over until it’s over the way I like” game. And that’s the same thing going on, I think, with the rats-and-button with the little anti-racism game. Slam that juice into the main vein, and half an hour later you’ll want to do it again.

The discussion is about Architects and Medicators — the latter of whom I named because, well, I guess I just didn’t realize it at the time, but they’re constantly medicating. What I had in mind was that their highest priority is to regulate their own emotional state, and they put this above the state or status of anything else. But this isn’t the first time it’s been called to my attention: “medicate” fits in so many more ways. They act just like junkies. They crave something, they get it, a little while later they crave exactly the same thing all over again. You can almost see the belt or rubber tubing on their arms.

But then there is a subtly different kind of Medicator: The Cheesecake Nazi. You guys, stop talking about all that stuff! There’s cheesecake! Ah, but there was cheesecake thirty minutes ago, and it will keep for awhile. The “Stop arguing, there’s cheesecake” types have it in common with the “This argument’s not over until it’s over the way I like” people that they favor this agenda item: They don’t want it to go there. There are certain things both camps want left unsaid. Certain dark alleyways neither one wants illuminated.

If it’s a family thing — and it usually is — the dark alleyway tends to be some sort of co-dependent relationship. Seems every extended family has to have a “Bubba” somewhere, a “Nothing is ever his fault” guy. Or an Aunt Mabel, constantly at the center of a tempest that’s never her fault: Darn you, for saying that thing that made her fly off the handle like that!

The lesson ultimately seems to be that on the bell-curve of conflict, the Medicator lives on both of the extreme ends, with some of ’em generating the conflict to avoid having to live up to some standard, and others sidestepping the conflict entirely: Don’t know what you’re arguing about there, don’t wanna know, just leave me to my tunes. The Architect is in the middle, not avoiding the conflict but not worshiping it either, instead trying to use it to accomplish some other aim that the Medicator can’t, or won’t, understand. To the Medicator, I’m sure it looks like the Architect must thrive on conflict. They very often say exactly that. It’s easiest to understand the conundrum when one thinks about real Architects: Here & there, now & then, they get into a “block” when confronted by two proofs that the next line should be drawn in two different places, and have to stop everything while they resolve which one is errant. Sure, the Architect will bring a passion to this struggle while those perceiving the exercise from the outside will fail to understand how or why there is any problem at all. But that doesn’t show that the Architect actually thrives on the conflict. He’s certainly not going to be the happier for having spent the entire day on it. He’d prefer it be over & done in the space of five minutes, two or one would be better. But if after ten or twenty or thirty the problem is still unsolved, then that will remain the priority until it’s solved.

But to the Medicator, it’s all about how it makes you feel. Everything keeps coming back to that. Where’s my next fix?

The Lie

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

I agree with it all except for the last sentence about “Everyone needs to be more responsible.”

That is not how you achieve behavioral change. Those who have misbehaved should be singled-out, targeted, shamed. There’s no excuse.

Socrates Discovers Architects and Medicators

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Maybe, just maybe, he was the first thinking man ever to stumble across the great divide. At least, we’re pretty sure he bothered to say something about it…

Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.

The two halves of humanity don’t belong together. “Deserve” has nothing to do with it. They’re like poles of a battery, when they make contact everything that follows is destruction, chaos, and good things that might’ve happened that can never happen.

The miscreant appears in front of a magistrate, because he got drunk in public when he should have been working to pay child support on his four whelps he has by three different sluts. What we have there is not a conflict between “follow the law,” represented by the magistrate, and “don’t follow it” represented by the lout — that’s the wrong way to think of it. That confrontation is actually the contact point between two sets of laws, established and maintained by two entirely different societies. In one society, you work to pay for what you consume and you make sure the former is equal to or greater than the latter, or at least, will be at some point in the future; in the other one, you just sort of, like, whatever man. That’s how it really is, that’s the accurate snapshot.

Similarly, has there ever been a thief who really thought of himself as a thief? Get the thief’s side of the story sometime. You’ll invariably find it isn’t “I wanted to steal something” or “I want to break the law”; far more often than not, you’ll discover some rationalization that makes the object of theft his. You may find the rationalization very silly, and maybe you’re right, but it will usually be there and the person toiling away under it will take it as seriously as you take your next heart attack.

The drive to think by way of reason, as opposed to emotion, is the only means by which we can consciously tell order apart from chaos. And a good-sized chunk of us, perhaps a lot more than half, would prefer to think by way of emotion because they’ve never had reason to think the other way. They live to eat and drink, and why should they think themselves “worthless” if they outnumber those other suckers who eat and drink only to live? In their world, that’s the real crime. In their world, it is the magistrate who has broken the “law,” by wasting the time of the other guy who could be spending the afternoon enjoying life, doing his whatever.

Another way to think of this: Instant gratification versus delayed gratification. However, that paradigm places undue weight on the concept of time. It’s not a time thing. It isn’t a pleasure or “gratification” thing, either. Am I really having a better time, slaving away all week long for my mortgage, putting off the partying until Friday night when I get to watch a live play followed by maybe thirty minutes of teevee with Mrs. Freeberg before we slink off to bed? Compared to the riff raff partying away at alcohol-fueled poolside events until the wee hours of the morning, the entire time?

We can get into which relationships are more fulfilling, but that misses the point: The riff raff are having their fun. And they’re living according to their own set of “laws.” The difference between the two sides is the same as the difference between humans and animals: The ability to recognize, and anticipate, states within objects. My mortgage is an object. It has a state of being either current, or not-current. This affects everything, it translates into every single disagreement that is on anybody’s radar, anywhere. For example, Architects want a President of the United States who will defend the nation, Medicators want a President who will entertain it.

Related: Twenty-one years since Steven Goddard shot his teevee set. Perhaps I read too much into it, it’s very possible, but I’m thinking that means there is no Mrs. Goddard. Chicks like their teevee.

Not that I can get on my “high horse” about it, either, since during my bachelorhood spells…let me see, there was 2004-2006, before that there was 1995-1997, and before that there was 1988-1989…I didn’t have teevee. Male bachelors have no reason to have teevee, there’s no upside for them, teevee is a chick thing. In fact, it’s evolved to become a chick thing. Why would a bachelor have teevee? I recall learning of the invasion of Panama on the teevee when I was a bachelor, that must have been before I figured out this lack-of-upside-for-males thing. Or, after I figured it out, but I was in my on-again-off-again thing with the first Mrs. Freeberg, I might have had a subscription because she wanted it. My subsequent bachelorhood-spells were teevee-free. Let’s face it, it costs like a sonofabitch no matter how you get it nowadays, but even if I paid for it the nothing my parents paid for it, I still wouldn’t want it.

I think the producers of some of the shows would be crushed if they saw how the current Mrs. Freeberg uses teevee. How could they not be? She does chores, and uses the programs as background noise. And if it’s a six-hour chore, the live teevee feed doesn’t even figure into it, she just puts on the Star Wars trilogy — you know, the good one not the new one.

Some people envy Hollywood, you know. Not me. It’s a purely Medicator-driven existence. From what I can see, you have to seriously start looking at plastic surgery if you ever want to work again after age 32, and regardless, the entire thing is utterly devoid of any sense of useful purpose, and should be. It must be an awful existence. I pity those poor wretches.

Schools Are Failing Our Boys

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Jennifer Fink writes at the Washington Post:

Kids haven’t changed much over the past 150 years; our society has. So while my son still needs movement, still craves real-world learning, physical labor and ways to contribute to his family and his world, he’s expected to spend most of his time in a desk, in a classroom, with 20-some other kids his age. He’s not allowed to go outside at school when it’s too cold or wet; he’s expected to sit quietly in the library or auditorium during recess time. He’s allowed few opportunities for “real” work; today, when you hand an 8-year-old a saw or allow him to start a fire, people look at you askance.

One hundred and fifty years ago, my son would have been considered a model boy. Today, more often than not, he’s considered a troublemaker due to his failure (or inability?) to conform to the expectations of the modern educational system.

I understand that society today is much different than society in the 1800s. Most of that change is good; I applaud antibiotics and equality. I’m a big fan of the internet and indoor plumbing. But at the same time, I think our current approach to education fails to honor the needs of children, especially the needs of our boys.

There is another distinction here that too often goes unnoticed, the one that takes place in the mind, not the body. “Think this thing because I told you to think it” — versus — “Think this thing, because last time you passed this way you thought that other thing, and your foot went through the damn floor.”

Software engineering isn’t at all like forging a tool at a blacksmith’s shop, or mending a fence. But it does have it in common that that particular distinction becomes relevant in the vocation, whether people notice the relevance or not. It starts in the early stages; the correct answer to “Why can’t I get my code to compile?” is, you need to spend some more time with that code, and the language, before you understand how to write code the compiler can process (after which the real fun begins, of course, with run-time scenarios and testing methodologies). But the answer that comes back, all to often, is “You can’t have that there, move your cursor to that character and press the delete key five times.”

Build a software development team put together entirely from people who have been taught this way, and you may discover that team ritualistically failing deadlines even if some of the members are highly accomplished. Even with our “antibiotics and equality,” sooner or later you need to engage in cause-and-effect thinking, think-on-your-feet thinking.

How to grab the fire extinguisher, as opposed to dialing 911.

Memo For File CXCIV

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Me, in the e-mails:

Consensus is an evolutionary process. If a consensus is proposed and it is somewhat reasonable, only 20 out of a hundred [experts] have to be converted or ostracized to complete the consensus-manufacturing, the next thing that will happen is a new consensus. Then 16 out of the remaining 80 will have to be converted or ostracized, at the end of which you have a consensus that is only sufficiently reasonable that 64% of the original group found it agreeable. By the third stage, with similar ostracizing events and measuring the [reasonableness-versus-] risibility of the consensus-content this way, you’d be down to 51.2%, then at the next stage it goes to 41%. Keep in mind, all this time the ostracized members will be replaced by newcomers, but the newcomers won’t have a vote in the prior stages of this evolving consensus. And of course, when an opinion becomes obligatory, but it’s only sufficiently reasonable that barely 40% of reasonable free-thinkers would align themselves with it, it can be a very silly opinion — even if it IS obligatory.

This is how older bureaucracies make worse decisions, and bigger mistakes, and make them faster and with greater confidence.

Since writing that, it has dawned on me that this doesn’t quite capture how a bureaucracy works. They tend to optimize their efficiency over time in this business of manufacturing “complete” consensus by way of ostracizing whoever doesn’t get on board, to lunge across greater distances in fewer steps toward more risible conclusions.

So if we “measure the reasonableness-versus-risibility” of consensus content by way of this quotient of reasonable free-thinkers who would agree without undue pressure, it’s more like: The first conclusion is 80% reasonable, with twenty out of a hundred either converted or shown the door. With that phony-consensus thus achieved, the second evolutionary stage may achieve 70% consent, thereby being only 56% agreeable to the original membership, if the assembly was still dealing with that original membership, which of course it is not. This way, you’re down in the low-forties, or even thirties, by the time you get to the third stage.

And that does seem to mirror the way it actually works.

When Science Wobbles

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

David Warren’s Essays in Idleness: Cutting Down (via American Digest):

For decades, as most readers should now know, public health authorities condemned delicious, fatty foods on that plausible argument (all magic must be made “plausible” to convince) about clogging the arteries. Now they have quietly taken it back, without owning to the misery spread by their lies through several generations. They mounted collateral attacks on beer, wine, and liquors, which likewise proved false; and their continuing campaigns against tobacco depend on the same methodology.

What they have done is far more evil than this, however: for they have been exploiting the human propensity to guilt, which serves an irreplaceable purpose in the moral order. Compunction about sin and wrongdoing is distracted to meaningless dietary issues. The success of the nannying public health authorities has helped the principalities and powers to accomplish a complete moral inversion — in which abstinence and fasting to a spiritual end is now dismissed as silly, yet dieting for health is done with insufferably morbid gravity. We have, as a consequence, a society of obsessive dieters, deluded fitness fanatics, and low-calorie muffin eaters, who are utterly shameless in committing crimes contra naturam: that Culture of Death which Saint John-Paul identified with such harrowing accuracy.

It should also be noted, for the benefit of credulous materialists, that the time and money invested in gathering and analyzing inconsequential health statistics subtracts from serious medical research into suspected causes of disease — including the hard and focused epidemiology that can usefully assist. Resources for such work are always finite, yet almost everything I see flagged in the media is an example of resources bled away.

A deeper note needs to be sounded, however, against the consistent tendency of all this “pop,” or more precisely, “crap science.” The target will ever be some innocent human pleasure; genuinely sinful ones with direct and potentially grave health consequences (sexual promiscuity, for instance, or sodomy), are shied away from, for fear of the politically correct. Class is evident in each choice of target: typically some consolation, some little delight that makes life more endurable for the poor. (Smoking is a primary example.)

What is happening? What is changing? It is clear now that in the past several decades it is science that has been changing, with this vacillating “Let’s see if we can get away with saying it” two-steps-forward three-steps-back dance routine, partnered up cheek-to-cheek with a fawning and complicit media.

But that is effect, and not cause. What’s the cause? Could it be that, in these days of waning influence from the consumer on the nature of the transactions, when we uncover the motives of the suppliers we’ve found the root cause? Is the consumer that estranged? Somehow, I doubt it. I think the “crap science” holds an appeal it didn’t have before.

Being a child of the seventies, I’m not in any position to know that for sure. The seventies were pockmarked silly with trendy, coffee-table-paperback crap-science. If the decade of my childhood was anything relative to this, it was a high watermark. So this predates me, but from my reading of history I still have the impression this is a modern trend, and people do want it. Not the real science. Just the crap.

I see something over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging that caught my eye a couple hours ago:

Eye CandyThe 5 Stupidest Ways People Try to Look Smart


I like #5 a lot. But #1 is the best of the best:

#1. Refuse to Argue

The world has no shortage of foolish loudmouths vomiting forth their opinions in desperate attempts to seem wise, but I don’t need to tell you that. And I won’t. Instead, I’d like to focus on a different bunch of game-playing imbeciles who are just as omnipresent, but somehow escape condemnation: people who refuse to argue. Sure, some people aren’t worth arguing with, and some things aren’t open to debate, but employing silence or a simple world-weary dismissive phrase to shut down conversations is also a trick used by the intellectually feeble who are attempting to look smart.

Most opinions that can’t be debated aren’t worth having. If beliefs don’t stand up to cross-examination, all the raised eyebrows and silent eye rolling won’t suddenly make them legitimate. Eighty percent of the people who will not engage in an argument or go toe-to-toe with dissenting voices are not wiser, more mature or more sophisticated. Most are just incapable of explaining their own beliefs. Outclassed in the marketplace of ideas, they hope that silent indifference will be mistaken for quiet reflection.

And when they say, “Well, I’ll debate with the people whose opinions matter,” nine times out of ten all that means is “I’ll debate with my closest friends, who likely already agree with me.” Previously, I’d described a refusal to argue as a sign of arrogance, and it can surely be that, but just as often it’s a mask worn by someone incapable of defending their views who would rather be mistaken for arrogant than exposed as simplistic.

Theory: What is lately in ascension, and reaching a cresting point, is a fondness for winning arguments, paired up with a loathing for dealing with tiresome but necessary details. In short, looking at life as a chess match, people want to move ahead to the check-mate without dealing with all that junk about which-piece-moves-which-way.

Which fits in well with the “crap science” that has just come along, the solution in search of a problem.

Quoting myself, ONCE again

Our “civilization”…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.

It’s just that simple. I think. It’s the simplest explanation, so far, anyway.

Related (3/8/15): This has been in my stack for a few days, it occurs to me that the best place to stick it in is right here…

When a researcher gets proved wrong, that means the scientific method is working. Scientists make progress by re-doing each other’s experiments—replicating them to see if they can get the same result. More often than not, they can’t. “Failure to reproduce is a good thing,” says Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch. “It happens a lot more than we know about.”

The problem is not that science reverses course now & then. The problem is the media-hype that occurs beforehand.

Seems to be a funding issue, as much as anything else. “More research is needed,” say the researchers, and the best way to ensure that happens is to make the public aware of what sort of new truths the researchers might have uncovered. It is outside of our collective ways of knowing about things that maybe the statement should be taken absolutely literally, and it’s way too soon to say why the initial tests came out the way they did.