Et Tu, Russkie?

Add Russia’s “famous Pulkovo Observatory”* to the list of global cooling alarmists.

Socialists, cephalopods hardest hit.

Global cooling makes Squirty cry.

Global cooling makes Squirty cry.

*that’s the description: “the famous Pulkovo Observatory.”  I never knew they’d hit the bigtime.  That’s what I get for cancelling my subscription to Observatories Illustrated, I guess.

D3: Liberal Transitivity Axiom

 

For some reason this came up in a Google Image search from "transitivity." Let's just go with it.

For some reason this came up in a Google Image search for “transitivity.” Let’s just go with it.

The Crimson Reach has noticed part of the Liberal Transitivity Axiom.

Why doesn’t the left, instead of getting bogged down over the question of whether George W. Bush is ‘smart’, just say ‘okay, he’s smart. And? He was still a bad President.’ I’d agree with them!

But to say that, they’d have to recognize that there’s a difference between being ‘smart’ and being a good executive, that they are not the same thing, and (by implication) that a Presidential race isn’t and shouldn’t be a competition for who is the ‘smartest’.

Liberals honestly seem to believe that intelligence, competence, good intentions, and moral virute are non just synonymous, but mathematically identical.  And all of them are identical with the public expression of liberal opinions.  So:

Liberal Transitivity Axiom (n) — the immutable law of the universe by which loudly spouting leftist talking points makes one into the avatar of all that is good.

The LTA is the most frustrating part about talking to a leftist, because it guarantees that any discussion quickly becomes a lecture.  It’s basic math — if “spouting liberal talking points” equals “intelligence,” then anyone who does not spout liberal talking points is by definition unintelligent.  And who “discusses” things with morons?  Talking to a liberal about anything is like trying to explain the designated hitter rule to a dog.

You’re the dog.

 

 

QUILTS VI

Over at Rotten Chestnuts, our collaborative blog, one of our co-conspirators has launched a blog-post category called QUILTS — an acronym for “Questions I’d Like To See [Asked].” With the opening of the George W. Bush library, the air is suddenly thick with talk about the legacy of our 43rd president…which was supposed to be a toxic chapter of our country’s history we would never, ever, ever want to recall again. But the time has come to give that another re-think.

The man of the hour predicted this himself, and the day might be here. Gas costs half of what it is now? Businesses looking to expand, doing real work for real people who really want the work done? Triple-A credit rating? Who wouldn’t want to go back?

Our liberals, that’s who. Well, they’ll never admit it, anyway…

We have two problems here. One, there are people who agree with me, that if it’s possible for me to buy a gallon of milk for $3 instead of $4, then I should be able to. If government has a role in that, then its role should be to make sure I can buy milk for the lower price; at the very least, it shouldn’t be trying to make it harder for me to get hold of the milk…or the refrigerator in which I’ll be putting it…or the linoleum for the floor upon which it sits. Or the house with the floor. But — those people would support the liberals in saying, no, let’s keep going “Forward” because they don’t want a guy like Bush in charge. They’re repeating what they’ve been told to think, you see, and what they’ve been told is that George Bush is something of a “douche.” They’re neck-deep in personality politics, and the policies, and their effect, can’t achieve relevance. A little bit of name-calling and these folks suddenly have answers to all the questions. Although, we’re still waiting for things to get better…

Problem Two is simpler: We have people who don’t agree with me. We have people who want high prices. A lot of them aren’t shy about saying this should be government’s job. They’ll never say “make it harder to get hold of” the gas or the milk or the refrigerator or the linoleum or the house or the labor that went into it all…they may never admit to being “in favor of higher prices.” But they’re opposed to the prices being lower.

So. Question I’d Like To See Asked:

Should goods and services be made accessible to the consumers who want to buy them?

Notice I said “accessible,” which might affect the outcome of a poll. It’s not escaped my notice that when people talk about nationalizing health care, they use the focus-group-tested word “access” a lot, which seems to enjoy positive appeal. I’m under the impression we have two Americas right now, an America that seeks to pay for the things it uses up for its own benefit, and another America that doesn’t want to pay for anything. Whoever advocates for a certain policy change, and advocates smartly, will seek to heal that divide but only heal it in service of the goal they’re trying to achieve. “Access to health care” is language carefully crafted for consumption by people who want to get some health care, but not have to pay for it. You’ll notice, in my question, the effect is the opposite: consumers who want to buy them. My meaning is, pay for them.

President Obama, by and large, has been consistent in making all sorts of things more accessible. But only for the people who don’t want to pay for them. For the rest of us, life’s been getting tougher and leaner.

Gas costs double, and it’s much tougher to get a job.

A lot of that is by design. He said He would fundamentally transform America. Say what you will about the rest of His promises, but there’s one He’s managed to keep. We are “fundamentally transforming” America from a country in which people pay for the things they consume, into a country in which they don’t.

And a lot of people like it.

So: QUILTS. Question I’d Like To See Asked. Should prices be lower? Should it be easier for people to buy things? It’s certainly a fair question; I keep hearing a lot of people say they want “the economy” to get better, stronger, more robust, resilient, whatever. Well, in my world that would mean more selling & buying. My idea of an “economy” thrives on consumer confidence; when I’m a consumer, my “confidence” comes from an understanding that replenishment of supplies is affordable, and so is the acquisition of equipment, risk is manageable, payoff is bigger & better. That the opportunity is out there. They seem to have a different idea of what an “economy” is.

Some folks say the media is in the pocket of the democrat party. Other people say that’s bull-squeeze. It would be much easier for me to doubt it, if I were to ever see my question asked in a major media channel that actually counts for something. As it is, we have to leave it to the wild-eyed silly right-wing blogs, like mine. Which I find interesting.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

Living Inside the Whale, Part II

Words matter.  Ideologies matter.  The trend of both, for the last thirty years at least, has been to push us ever further inside the whale.  Leftists of all stripes are to blame, but they have no more willing footsoldiers than the media and academia.

Colleges, as I’m sure you know, preach almost exclusively the idea that reality itself is “socially constructed.”  It goes by various names — “postmodernism” and “deconstruction” in Literature, “postcolonialism” and “new historicism” in History — but it’s basically the same idea: That reality, like history, is written by the victors, and thus there are no facts, only perspectives.  This notion, while claiming to be neutral, in fact lionizes any group or idea that attacks Western civilization; Western civilization being, of course, the one “perspective” that is decidedly not neutral or shaped by outside forces.  Those who hold this position are impervious to scientific fact, and incidents like the Sokal Hoax, which would be devastating to any intellectually honest scholar, are shrugged off.  Not coincidentally, this perspective is entirely caught up in radical “progressive” politics; even less coincidentally, such “radicalism” provides many lucrative faculty posts for otherwise unemployable “intellectuals.”

The key concept of postmodernism / new historicism / whateverism is “agency.”  Here’s Wiki:

In the social sciences, agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure are those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions. The relative difference in influences from structure and agency is debated – it’s unclear to what extent a person’s actions are constrained by social systems.

Given the political cast of the types of people who “edit” Wiki, it’s unsurprising to encounter an old, familiar weasel-word formation:

it’s unclear to what extent a person’s actions are constrained by social systems.

It’s not at all unclear, of course, to the people who throw around words like “agency” in casual conversation — heterosexual white male Westerners have agency unreservedly; all others have it only insofar as they exercise their will against heterosexual white male Westerners and all their works.

By embracing this worldview, academics have — in addition to providing themselves with endless, highly compensated opportunities to preen in public– dedicated themselves to the suppression of their own culture and society.  It could hardly be otherwise; it’s immoral to continue to benefit from systematized oppression without at least making your freshman seminar students write a few self-criticisms.  More importantly, it’s morally wrong not to strive for the equalization of power, for “social justice.”

Just so we’re clear:  Yes, I am asserting that the entire academic leftist worldview is based on a naive moralism more appropriate to Sunday school than graduate school.

But credit where credit’s due; it’s a consistent moralism.  If we embrace the notion that only heterosexual white male Westerners (hereafter, “The Patriarchy”) have unconstrained agency, then the key to achieving “social justice” must be to get The Patriarchy to constrain itself.  Hence the weird, mangled, euphemistic English of the academic/journalistic left.

Examples are legion.  As I’ve noted elsewhere, “gay marriage” has nothing to do with the solemnization of homosexual unions.  We could grant gays the same “civil rights” as straights in five minutes, by getting the state out of the marriage business altogether.  But the left would never take that deal, because “civil rights” were never the goal; the goal is to empty the word “marriage” of its sacramental context.  People get together; people drift apart; we’re all just plankton in the vast ocean of Society, knocking together aimlessly as we float along through life.

So, too, with “science,” which in left-speak means something like “the exact opposite of science as traditionally understood.”  Here’s the data; here’s the model.  The data don’t fit the model?  Change the data.  This is standard procedure for everything from IQ scores to Global Warming.  Trust the “experts,” because science.

The list goes on:  “Free markets” (systematic exploitation).  “Rights” (the aesthetic preferences of the loudest and most intransigent).  “Religion” (fundamentalist Christianity as it existed in the worst excesses of the Inquisition).  As Morgan points out, the net effect of this is to produce a class of people who are proud of their imperviousness to facts and reason.

Their operating credo seems to be one of, “You might as well come around to my way of thinking, for I shall never, ever, ever come around to yours.”

They’re inside the whale, and they’ve designed an entire alternative communication system to guarantee they stay there.  For the first time in modern history, it’s now possible for non-aristocrats to move from adolescence to adulthood to senescence with one’s opinions entirely unchanged.  The difference between the dreadlocked, tattooed, nose-ringed fortysomething in line at the farmer’s market and her dreadlocked, nose-ringed, tattooed daughter is literally the date on their birth certificates.

Living Inside the Whale

George Orwell wrote an essay called “Inside the Whale.”  It’s mostly a discussion of the works of Henry Miller, then very trendy and banned for sale in the United States because of obscenity.  Towards the end he comments on Miller’s use of whales as metaphors, and pens this startling passage:

For the fact is that being inside a whale is a very comfortable, cosy, homelike thought. The historical Jonah, if he can be so called, was glad enough to escape, but in imagination, in day-dream, countless people have envied him. It is, of course, quite obvious why. The whale’s belly is simply a womb big enough for an adult. There you are, in the dark, cushioned space that exactly fits you, with yards of blubber between yourself and reality, able to keep up an attitude of the completest indifference, no matter what happens. A storm that would sink all the battleships in the world would hardly reach you as an echo. Even the whale’s own movements would probably be imperceptible to you. He might be wallowing among the surface waves or shooting down into the blackness of the middle seas (a mile deep, according to Herman Melville), but you would never notice the difference. Short of being dead, it is the final, unsurpassable stage of irresponsibility.

And follows it shortly with this:

Almost certainly we are moving into an age of totalitarian dictatorships—an age in which freedom of thought will be at first a deadly sin and later on a meaningless abstraction. The autonomous individual is going to be stamped out of existence. But this means that literature, in the form in which we know it, must suffer at least a temporary death. The literature of liberalism is coming to an end and the literature of totalitarianism has not yet appeared and is barely imaginable…. But from now onwards the all-important fact for the creative writers going to be that this is not a writer’s world. That does not mean that he cannot help to bring the new society into being, but he can take no part in the process as a writer. For as a writer he is a liberal, and what is happening is the destruction of liberalism. It seems likely, therefore, that in the remaining years of free speech any novel worth reading will follow more or less along the lines that Miller has followed—I do not mean in technique or subject matter, but in implied outlook. The passive attitude will come back, and it will be more consciously passive than before. Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles. Seemingly there is nothing left but quietism—robbing reality of its terrors by simply submitting to it. Get inside the whale—or rather, admit you are inside the whale (for you are, of course). Give yourself over to the world-process, stop fighting against it or pretending that you control it; simply accept it, endure it, record it.

That was written in 1940, but a more apt description of the state of affairs in 2013 is hard to imagine.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Orwell’s essay lately.  My significant other, for instance, takes Time magazine.  Our edition had this cover:

g9510.90.50_malalaB.inddThat’s Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl Time proclaims “one of the 100 most influential people in the world.”  And her story is inspiring, except….  well, here’s Wiki:

On 15 October 2012, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, launched a petition in Yousafzai’s name and “in support of what Malala fought for”…

The petition contains three demands:

  • We call on Pakistan to agree to a plan to deliver education for every child.
  • We call on all countries to outlaw discrimination against girls.
  • We call on international organizations to ensure the world’s 61 million out-of-school children are in education by the end of 2015.

Anybody notice anything missing there?  How about here:

As of 7 November 2012, Mullah Fazlullah, the cleric who ordered the attack on Yousafzai, is based in eastern Afghanistan where he was confirmed to be in hiding according to ISAF sources in Afghanistan. An ISAF spokesman stated Fazlullah was not being tracked by US forces since he was viewed as an “other-side-of-the-border problem” and was not involved in operations against American or Afghan interests

Or here:

The Taliban have been clear in their response to the assassination attempt in that they will continue to target her, despite her survival, with a spokesman saying, “The attack was a warning to all youngsters in the area that they would be targeted if they followed her example.”

In other words:  Absolutely nothing has changed.  The UN’s “I am Malala” petition has had, as of this writing, exactly the same impact as every other UN petition regarding that part of the world, i.e. none.  The Mullah who ordered up her assassination is still at large and making statements.  The Taliban are still determined to kill her.  Pakistani girls are still stoned for trying to go to school.  If you take away all the troposphere warming from Gordon Brown’s hot air and the millions of kilojoules expended by liberals worldwide patting themselves on the back for signing (or, at least, thinking about signing) the petition, the net effect of all this on the world has been… zero.

And she’s one of the most influential people in the world.

Or consider this story, again from Time, profiled at Ace of Spades (Ace link).  As Ace explains it, Time strongly implies that because Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxer, and could therefore have been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, his similarly radical brother could’ve been also.  The magazine’s “Healthland” article concludes

While none of this likely would have deterred Tsarnaev, it might be used to diagnose other people at risk of explosive CTE-related violence and stop them before they act out. By treating a single person’s wounded brain, doctors could one day save uncounted other lives.

leaving it to our imaginations to supply the mechanisms by which Tamerlan’s CTE-inspired violence rubbed off on his brother Dzhohkar.

Meanwhile, the New York Times (h/t Ace) muses on “the complexities of online identity — of the ways in which people strike poses and don masks on the Web (which can sometimes turn into self-fulfilling prophecies), and the ways in which the Web can magnify or accelerate users’ interests and preoccupations.”

Given the layers of irony, sarcasm and joking often employed on Twitter, it can be difficult to parse the messages of a stranger. Yet some of them can seem menacing or portentous, given what we now suspect: “a decade in america already, I want out,” “Never underestimate the rebel with a cause” or “No one is really violent until they’re with the homies.” But others suggest a more Holden Caulfield-like adolescent alienation: “some people are just misunderstood by the world thus the increase of suicide rates.”

Ah yes.  Just your normal alienated adolescent, with a prod from “the complexities of online identity” — except, of course, that this version of Holden Caulfield went on to murder people.

Time Magazine and The New York Times are hugely influential publications, with readership in the millions worldwide.  They are using this influence to push us all further inside the whale.  By pretending that Malala Yousafzai is influential, that Dzhohkar Tsarnaev was a typical alienated adolescent, that Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned violent from a knock on the head, they urge us to lay back and accept the inevitability of Islamic radicalism, of international terrorism, of random violence perpetrated by people we invited into our country and nurtured with our welfare dollars.  

The stark fact remains:  This particular act of violencethe Boston Bombing — could have been prevented.  Not by better cops, or more security cameras, or, God help us, with stricter gun control laws, but by a better immigration policy, e.g. literally any other policy than the one we have now.  The Russians repeatedly warned us about these guys.  The FBI investigated them back in 2011.  And yet, not only did we give them money in the form of welfare, we granted one of them American citizenship.  While he was on welfare.  After being investigated by the FBI.  And after repeated warnings from the Russians.

In any rational society, any one of those facts would have protestors out in the streets.  In America, though, we have our leading organs of influence urging us to calm down, lay back, and enjoy the blubber.

You Don’t Need to See His Papers

Just when I thought my jaw couldn’t hit the floor any harder, I ran across these headlines yesterday:

This is insane.

It really illustrates that the truth in this spoof video is really pretty much on the money.


Of course, we’re not saying that having an Arab name makes you a terrorist. But there is a pattern, and it’s a pattern that people are apparently more than just a little eager to refuse to see. Political correctness has rendered our news media impotently incurious when it comes to certain subjects.

I have a Muslim co-worker who told me, not terribly long after 9/11, that her teenage daughter had come to her and said, “Mom, I know not all Muslims are terrorists, but it does seem like most of terrorists are Muslim”. So it’s not just me.

There is a difference between religions. Even staunch Atheists Bill Maher and Penn Jillette acknowledge that.  Sure there are crazy people of all faiths and non-faiths who have murdered and who were even inspired by their beliefs in many cases — but there is only one major world religion that has an extremely well-established pattern based not only on the relgious writings upon which their religion is based, but is rife with religious leaders who preach violent jihad and has myriad organizations world-wide to do violence, in the name of their God and their religion and who regularly carry it out.  Can we just say that?   Really?  We can’t?

It now appears that our well-mannered Chechens who blew the legs off of Boston Marathon spectators and acually killed three … were likely recruited as disaffected teens with Muslim sympathies by a Saudi Islamic Radicalizing agent Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi.  This is exactly what terrorist organizations do in the middle east.  Now they’re finding ways of getting it done here (helps get around immigration inquiries if your disaffected youth are already here before they are radicalized).

But you’re not hearing about Al-Harbi in the media, because … the Media is deeply invested in this idea that Islam is just like any other religion when it comes to violence, and it is also in thrall with this administration and will apparently do anything to protect it.

We are in big trouble, folks.

UPDATE: Here’s another one from today. I’m sure there are more.

bostonsandyhook

crossposted at The Clue Batting Cage

Thoughts From the Campus About Gun Control

Who’s squirming harder: The gentleman appearing from 2:24 through 3:03 pronouncing “if guns are outlawed then only outlaws have guns” to be a “weak argument,” but unable to explain his rationale…or me, watching him. Him, I suppose, if I could film my first reaction in the web cam and measure it…I’m probably just slightly wincing. But it seems like I’m doing more. Lots of proxy embarrassment.

They’re not teaching ’em what to think, they’re teaching ’em how to think. That’s what we’re told…well…I have issues with both the what and the how.

This business of rephrasing the question that is sufficiently simple and crystal-clear, at least in my universe, that if the answer isn’t a slam-dunk, the question itself ought to be easily understood. What is that?? I see it at 0:28, and then I see it again at 1:44. I heard it in the recording of that original American Castrati guy (since removed) who “didn’t support the troops.”

Here’s what I think: Too much development of communication skills is taking place in the classroom environment. Now if I’m right about that, it raises another issue that these students are a bit old to still be developing their basic communication skills…but let’s let that go, because I speculate that the problem began before they graduated from high school. I conclude all this from the pattern I’m noticing, in which as the verbiage plays out and the speaker approaches a crucial point, the enunciation becomes more and more muddled and unclear, and riddled with phonetic and rhetorical ambiguities; a reasonable observer would expect the opposite to take place. Questioned about why you think the things you think, as you approach the point that substantiates it all, you should want your phrasing to become precise & concise. Crisper. Clearer.

These muffin-heads are doing the exact opposite. And with a remarkable consistency.

It is as if they are counting on being interrupted before they get to the part where they hang themselves.

I have a bit of a beef with the next generation being taught, en masse, how to talk this way. Especially when it influences how they think about things — which, it certainly does appear to.

Maybe they need to spend a few minutes listening to this guy.

Ya know??

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Right Wing News.

Two Possible Responses to the Latest Info on the Boston Bombers

The rational:  Why the almighty gilded hell are these people in our country in the first place?  Now can we talk about effective border security?  Bonus:  Chechnya is in the Caucasus Mountains.  You don’t get much more Caucasian than that.  So it’s not racist.  Seal. The. Fucking. Borders.

The liberal:  This just goes to show we need more gun control.  Also abortions.  Why do they hate us?  It’s all our fault.

Guess which one is gonna win?