LITERALLY a Metaphor

Kids these days can’t process figurative speech.  Literally can’t process it, which is why they say “literally” all the time.  If you’re under 30, it’s like… like…

I’m sure there are cog-sci studies on this, if anyone cares to plow through PubMed one rainy afternoon.  I’m going off my observations interacting with, and attempting to instruct, college kids.  So, yeah, it’s all anecdotal, but the sample size is decent.  I see the following types of communication:

Undigested Metaphors.  E.g “Donald Trump is literally Hitler.”  George Orwell nailed this back in 1946, and as this post is really just an attempt to update “Politics and the English Language,” you should probably skip this and go read that.  Should you choose to soldier on, this is the essay with the famous quote “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. ”  The rest of the paragraph is equally instructive:

The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

We don’t use Bolshevik jargon like “reactionary” or “bourgeois” much anymore, but the others are very much with us.  In Orwell’s day they at least still had vestigial meanings — even the commie trying to justify Stalin’s gulags would make a nod to Plato when asked “what is justice?”(1)  These days, we’re in the odd position of throwing around words and phrases that have never meant anything.  Whites being racist towards other whites in favor of blacks, as compensation for the supposed racism of other whites towards other blacks — all of whom have been dead for 100+ years in most cases — and calling anyone who notices the blatant self-contradiction “racist”… that’s the kind of thing I mean.  Kids who call Donald Trump “literally Hitler” don’t know any of Trump’s policies and couldn’t recognize a Nazi if he anschlussed their ass with his jackboot.  It’s just a metaphor that passes through their speech undigested, kinda like corn in… well, that’s another metaphor, so I won’t confuse any Millennial readers with it.  The point of Undigested Metaphors is to express disapproval, with an implied threat of legal action.

Voice-to-Text.  This is an expression of disapproval without the implied threat of legal action, as most VtT phrases could themselves be actionable.  E.g. “ur a fag,” the standard putdown of “noobs” (or whatever it is now) on the internet / video games / whatever.  It might as well be an emoji, and had voice-to-text technology progressed slower, it probably would’ve been, e.g. 8=>.  It doesn’t occur to users that words like “fag” actually mean something — it can’t, as the people who throw around homosexual slurs the most are Social Justice Warriors, who at every opportunity proclaim themselves the BFFs of every sexual orientation except straight.

Tweets. A cant(2) phrase intended to be retweeted / upvoted, i.e. virtue-signaling.  As any actual information content would almost always destroy the intended effect, Tweets are effectively anti-communication. E.g. “love trumps hate!,” followed immediately by “DIAF Republicans!”  In the dark ages before social media, this was called bumperstickerese — see, for example, any Subaru Outback in any college town in America, where “Coexist” bumper stickers nestle quite comfortably next to calls for the eradication of entire classes of people.

Tinfoil Hat Prose.  According to feminists, everything that’s wrong with a feminist’s life is the fault of The Patriarchy, even though nobody knows any patriarchs.  Same goes for White Skin Privilege, Heterosexuality, and all the other “social constructions” — if they were true, we’d never know about it, because all the chicks, gays, blacks, etc. would still be on the plantation(3).  Phrases like “social construction” give the veneer of academic respectability to what are essentially hare-brained conspiracy theories.  It’s easy enough to detect one — just ask, “who is society (a patriarch, etc.), comrade?  Point to a specific member of the set.”  As the whole point of Tinfoil Hat Prose is to keep everything in the passive voice — “women are oppressed by the patriarchal reification of capitalism” instead of “women are oppressed by Steve” — the same technique refudiates it.

KISSes.  New writers are commanded to “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” and this is the only type of prose modern kids can handle.  In my experience, you can’t make instructions simple enough.  Your sentences can’t be too short, too clear, too declarative.  If you leave any room for interpretation at all, you will be misinterpreted, in hilarious ways you couldn’t have forseen in a million years.  This is literally — literally!!! — the only way to communicate with Millennials.

More as the mood strikes me.


(1) n.b. to any Millennials reading this: “What is justice?” was the central question of Plato’s Republic, which used to be required reading in any college humanities class… often in the original Greek.  Here’s a summary.

(2) n.b. to Millennials, not a typo (though how would you know?).  “Clear your mind of cant” isn’t an uplifting slogan about being all you can be; it’s about thinking for yourself.  “Cant” is dogma, things “everyone knows,” the rote bullshit you had to memorize for every test you’ve ever taken in your entire lives.  Rosa Parks is the patron saint of cant.

(3) no, really, homosexuals used to be confined to lavender plantations, which were located in closets.  That was the point of the Stonewall Riots.  Pick up a history book, why dontcha?

D3 Challenge: That Weird Amnesia Thing

As y’all know, the Dim Devil’s Dictionary (D3) exists to put catchy tags on the characteristically dumb shit lefties do.  I’m nowhere near the wordsmith Morgan is, so I’m asking for your help.  We need a word for the following scenario:

You know how, when you’re tired or stressed, you sometimes think you’ve actually done something you only intended to do?  I’m pretty sleep-deprived these days, and I find this happening all the time.  I walk by the dishwasher, say, and remind myself to flip it on.  Then I get distracted, so the next time I’m in the kitchen I think “oh, don’t forget to start the dishwasher”… but I never actually do, but I think I did, and when I come into the kitchen the next morning, I’m halfway to pouring a glass of OJ before I realize that I’m about to chug down some horrid glop that’s been sitting with the used plates for three days.  Hey, what the heck is wrong with the dishwasher?

I can’t be the only one that happens to….?

Anyway, assuming that’s fairly typical and not just another one of my many endearing quirks, that process — that sort of amnesia-by-intention — could be useful in understanding some  upcoming leftist behavior, and explain some past behavior.

For example, Global Cooling was the hip enviro-scare of the 1970s.  Then it was Global Warming, and now it seems we’re back to Global Cooling again.  The same “science,” with the exact same proposed solution — global socialism, natch — but diametrically opposite conclusions.

Now, no climate “””””scientist””””” worth his grant money is ever going to acknowledge the obvious about the temperatures — that these are natural sun cycles — because that would mean he’s no longer on the government tit.  Similarly, no liberal is going to acknowledge the obvious about the solution — that any excuse for socialism will do — because that would mean they’re just plain ol’ partisans, not deepthinking intellectuals filled with profound mindthoughts.  So what’s a good activist to do?  In order to criticize everyone for being against “science” today, you have to completely forget what “science” said just yesterday!  The stress would cause a lesser brain to explode, and it’s things like this that long led me to conclude that cognitive dissonance is bullshit.

But now I think maybe that intention-amnesia thing is to blame.  Just like I’m sure I turned the dishwasher on, maybe Our Betters, the Liberals, are convinced that they’ve thought it through.  And just as my first thought isn’t “I forgot to turn the dishwasher on,” but instead “gosh, the dishwasher must be broke,” so perhaps the fact that it’s a “”””scientist”””” saying so lets them slide over the contradictions….?

I’m just spitballin’ here, but we all know that they do this.  And we know they’re not lying.  Not really — when confronted with an obvious contradiction in their story, liars get shifty and evasive.  They start talking very, very fast.  Liberals don’t — they double down.  They know we’ve always been at war with Eastasia, damn it.  Perhaps this is the mechanism.

We’re going to see another dramatic example of this here very shortly.  Conservatives, as we know, make sure their principles conform to reality.  This is why you see guys like Ronald Reagan switching parties — “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,” he famously remarked, “the party left me.”  You never see “progressives” doing this, because they try to make reality conform to their “principles.”  They’re so caught up in their identities as “progressives” that it doesn’t matter a whit what “progressive” means today.  When the zeitgeist changes, they change with it… and as soon as they figure out which way the wind is blowing, they sprint out in front of it, so that they can be the “progressives” again.

Thanks to fine folks like Syed Farook, Tashfeen Malik, and the rampaging rapists currently flooding into Northern Europe, the zeitgeist is about to shift very far, very fast.  I honestly would not be surprised if actual pitchfork-toting mobs started storming faculty lounges.  It won’t be too long before saying “So-and-So likes ‘diversity'” will be the equivalent of calling him a racist today.  And, of course, our “progressives” will have to sprint out in front of that, so that they can be “progressives” again.  Today’s blue-haired bicurious vegan slam poet is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer.

We’re going to need a word for that, the mental process that must happen in the few seconds between peeling off the “Coexist” bumper sticker and pasting on the Confederate flag.

Any suggestions?

The Top Three Signs You Might be a Secret Leftist

Over at House of Eratosthenes, we’re having a discussion about the nature and history of Our Betters, the Liberals.  While I think Morgan and I have reached broad agreement, there are a few things that still need clarification.  And since I’ve always wanted to write one of those Gawker-style clickbait lists, I hereby present

The Top Three Signs You Might be a Secret Leftist:

  1. You think the world is perfectible.

At some point in that discussion thread, we got to talking about Mighty Pharaoh.  Was he a leftist?  Certainly a guy like Ramses exercized total power, but was he a totalitarian?  I say no, because the totalitarian credo — “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” — claims that “the State” can be completely self-sufficient.

That’s not true, and even Ramses, who was raised to believe he was literally a god, knew it.  His main job as Pharaoh was to perform the rituals that kept the Nile flooding regularly.  It didn’t always work, and when the Nile failed to flood, Ramses didn’t send out the propaganda corps to proclaim that the Nile did flood, damn it.  Nor did he send out the secret police to arrest anyone who contradicted the propaganda.  God or not, he accepted some basic limitations on his power.

Leftists don’t do that.  They think there’s nothing their dogma can’t fix.  Take Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.  Widely regarded as an allegory of the French Revolution, Frankenstein captures the boundless hubris of the Enlightenment — our understanding of Nature is so vast that soon we shall conquer death itself.  Rousseau, Robespierre, and especially their ape, Karl Marx — born just 3 years after Waterloo — promised utopia through political action.

Our modern Leftists are even more extravagant.  Marx only promised paradise to humans.  Just seven years ago, Leftists told us that the Earth itself would heal if only we voted for a half-term junior senator from flyover country.  And as for natures’s remaining imperfections, well, they can simply be legislated out of existence.  George W. Bush isn’t widely regarded as a Leftist, but he overturned one of the fundamental truths of mathematics by decreeing that, with No Child Left Behind, all students shall now be above average.  In much the same way, Our Betters have abolished biology — women have dicks now, and only skin color is heritable…. sorta.donezal

2. You never trust your own lying eyes.

Because if you do, you risk breaking one of the newly minted laws of nature.  Imagine you’re a woman in the restroom with the “Ladies” sign on it.  In walks a 6’2″, well-built former Olympic track star, who whips out his cock in front of the nearest toilet.  Are you going to shriek, then call the cops?  You’d better not, if you’re a Leftist!  Gender is just a social construction, my friend, and dicks and/or balls can be constructed female, too.

So, too, with math.  If George W. Bush could mandate that all children are better than average, it’s child’s play for Barack Obama to add a gazillion-dollar socialized medicine program that will lower taxes and reduce costs.

And above all, you must never, ever follow up on anything, ever.  If you looked at the initiatives of LBJ’s “Great Society,” for example — the War on Poverty and whatnot — it’d sure look like they not only didn’t solve the problems they were supposed to, but they actually made them much, much, much worse.  If you actually interacted with some immigrants, it would appear that Magic Dirt Theory is false, and that a change of latitude doesn’t automatically transform a 70-IQ socialism-worshiping Mestizo subsistence farmer into a Jeffersonian yeoman computer programmer.  You’d notice that, contrary to all your end of the world models, the globe hasn’t warmed at all, the polar ice caps are thicker, and polar bears are thriving.  Not that those things are true, of course — only the words of humanities professors and Democrat politicians are true — but they sure look true, and that causes feelbad.  Never, ever trust your lying eyes.

3. You claim unlimited dictatorial powers for yourself, because you’re the victim of everything.

This last is the hardest for normals to grasp, and getting it is the surest sign you’re a secret Leftist.  Leftists believe that oppression confers moral authority, and moral authority, political authority.  By the transitive property of equality, then, the guy who suffers most at the hands of others wields the most political power.  This is why that Melissa Click idiot at at the University of Missouri can whine about how oppressed she is even as she’s demanding — and receiving! — the services of “muscle” to remove onerous persons from her royal presence.  It’s why feminists who — according to their own theory — should be barefoot, pregnant, and silent in a kitchen somewhere have arrogated to themselves the unlimited right to tell you what to say, hear, do, and think.  It’s why the lily-white Rachel Dolezals of the world are so anxious to pass themselves off as black, even as they scream about how oppressively, unrelentingly awful it is to be black in AmeriKKKa.  It’s why Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to ride her doddering nincompoop act into the White House in 2016.  Not a day goes by without some awful meanie saying something hurtful about her; that means she deserves the nuclear launch codes.

If any of these three apply to you, please seek help immediately.

D3: Colonel Jessup Moment

Methinks the SJWs are about to have a Colonel Jessup Moment.

You want me on Twitter.  You need me on Twitter.

You want me on Twitter. You need me on Twitter.

Vox Day notes that the rabbits have come up with a “block list” for Twitter users they find offensive, with, it seems, a matching block-bot.  This is something I thought they would’ve come up with years ago, but now that I think about it, it makes sense.  You see, they need Vox, and Adam Baldwin, and above all #GamerGate.  It’s the only way they know they’re special.

There’s an analogue in the art world.  As David Thompson points out so frequently (and hilariously!), there is no “art” these days but state-subsidized art.  This is because our modern “artists” have embraced “transgression” — épater les bourgeois, if you want to be snooty about it — as their only value.  Which only works if les bourgeois give a shit.  Which they don’t, having been continually epatered (feel free to correct my French, humorless internet pedants) by the entire cultural establishment since about 1912.  When nothing’s shocking, then shocks don’t sell, and “art” is reduced to petitioning the government for a handout.

What the art establishment needs, in other words, is a truly influential Jerry Falwell type.  Someone who knows, and very publicly appreciates, the old forms, and is willing to pay to see them restored.  If the Koch Brothers went looking for a modern Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of their Führerbunker — that kind of thing.  If that happened, oh, the appreciation of “art” we’d see!  There’d be lines stretching halfway to Brooklyn outside MoMA’s doors.  You wouldn’t hardly be able to see Piss Christ for all the ironic facial hair clogging the galleries.  It’d be the best thing to happen to art since HUAC.

I’m calling the recognition of this reality a “Colonel Jessup Moment.”  You know Nicholson’s famous speech from A Few Good Men:  “You want me on that wall!  You need me on that wall!”  Without les bourgeois to épater, there is no art.  With no #GamerGate to tweet bile at, you don’t get to be special.  No #GamerGate, and the whole social justice crusade turns into Work 227.

“If I can make something without adding any objects I feel more comfortable. It’s like, if I can’t decide whether to have the lights on or off then I have them both on and off and I feel better about it.”

Is that not the entire rabbitschauung in two sentences?  Semper fi, baby.

D3: Spliteral

Spliteral – a technique of refudiation, in which a metaphor or other rhetorical trope is split from its context and taken literally in order to “disprove” a speaker’s broader point and / or “prove” a different assertion.

An example:

When they signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers were committing themselves to the principle of representative democracy.  Now, with agitation over voter registration laws, Progressives are threatening the integrity of the process…

To which the spliteralist would reply

Ha ha wingnutz!  As everybody but stupid RethugliKKKAns knows, the Declaration wasn’t signed until August 2.

Often followed by the implication, or outright assertion, that the case for stricter voter registration laws (or whatever) is therefore conclusively disproven.

See also crimestop:

The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short….protective stupidity.

D3: Doin’ the Humpty Hump

Can you define that for me?

Can you define that for me?

Confucius insisted on the rectification of names.  To truly define something is to understand its proper relationship to everything else, and so proper definitions are essential for the maintenance of social order.

The Humpty Hump is the exact opposite of that.  It’s the deliberate confusion of definitions, and so much of liberalism doesn’t work without it.  President Obama, for instance, famously argues with dictionaries.  No doubt Mirriam-Webster’s audit notice is already in the mail.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

They’re Doin’ the Humpty Hump, y’all.

How about a meta-example?  You can talk about the Humpty Hump in a variety of ways.  There’s  Michel Foucault‘s way — “the esotericism of knowledge.”  One way a priestly or scholarly class maintains its power, Foucault says, is by dressing up its findings in mythical mumbo-jumbo.  That you literally can’t understand what a professor is talking about proves it’s too deep for blue-collar brains.

There’s the political way, of which Obama’s dispute with the dictionary is just a particularly blatant example.  “Political correctness” is, at bottom, a pidgin we use to pretend that similar things are different, or different things the same.  As George Orwell noted, PC euphemisms

will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

There are Braille signs in titty bars because blind people are “differently abled.”

Or there’s the troll way, where you simply straight-up instruct people that words don’t mean what they mean.  Click the link, and behold a writer being informed that when he writes “externalize,” he really means “rationalize.”

2: to attribute to causes outside the self :rationalize <externalized his lack of ability to succeed>
Rationalize (from the link)
1b: broadly: to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for <rationalize the problem>
Which, as we can see, are not quiiiiiite the same.  (But I probably just don’t know the proper definition of synonymous, either).

Doin’ the Humpty Hump, then, is the process by which liberals try to force their weird, idiosyncratic, just plain wrong usages onto commonplace words.  And even these redefinitions vary with the requirements of the moment:  Obamacare’s not a tax, until it is.  The question is which is to be master — that’s all.

As it turns out, the one that is to be master is always the one that makes liberals right.

And you’re stupid if you disagree.

D3: Beachhead Facts

ddayMorgan has a good post about liberal “arguments.”  The catalyst is some bullshit about Global Weather, but it applies across the board — these people talk and talk and talk (and talk and talk and talk), but nowhere in their blather is there anything approaching an actual argument.

With, you know, facts and reason and stuff.

One of the reasons we started this blog was our collective frustration with liberals who claim to be science’s BFFs, but conduct their lives with the adamantine imperviousness of grand inquisitors.  They claim to want debate, yet summarily reject anything that isn’t one hundred percent compliant with their opinions.

Even facts.  Especially facts.

They will claim, of course, that the facts have a liberal bias.  Oxymoron aside, though, they can do this without their heads exploding from cognitive dissonance because they’re in possession of what I’ve come to call “beachhead facts.”  An amphibious attack has to establish a beachhead, a secure perimeter where reinforcements and supplies can be landed, before the rest of the invasion can continue.  So liberals glom on to one or two facts — they hoard ’em up with the grim compulsiveness of squirrels before a particularly hard winter — and from there proceed to launch the rest of their attack.

Problem is, like a poorly planned amphibious landing, the beachhead facts just aren’t big enough to handle the rest of the argument.  Imagine Eisenhower compressing the whole of D-Day down to a single landing zone the size of a putting green.  The best troops in the world can’t win under those conditions.  Even if the Nazis don’t get ’em, they’ll simply be crushed to death by all that materiel stacking up in the surf behind them.

Global Weather is a great example.  Here’s how Morgan puts it:

Oh, you might delight in repeating over and over that the “science” is on your side because CO2 acts as an insulator and the greenhouse gas effect exists. It’s an established fact! Look it up! But when we get to that more crucial, thorny matter…of WEMUSTACTNOWORITMAYBETOOLATE!!. That’s where the problem is.

The starting points of the Global Weather argument are both indisputably true.  There is such a thing as the greenhouse effect, and carbon dioxide is an insulator.  The conclusion, though….

There’s just no scientific way to get from “carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas” to “we need a Global Climate Gestapo.”  The assumptions behind just one of the standard Warmist talking points could fill a phone book.  Like Ike trying to cram all of Operation Overlord into Utah Beach, the facts get smooshed by the weight of all that apocalyptic rhetoric.

I’ll give most liberals the benefit of the doubt (if that’s quite the right phrase) — I don’t think they’re doing this consciously.  They’ve got their good intentions, and they’ve got their two precious little beachhead facts, and they’re nobly setting off to save the world, but they’re not quiiiiite able to see how the one doesn’t naturally lead to the other.  It’s less ideological malice and more the “protective stupidity” of crimestop:

The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short….protective stupidity.

How can you acknowledge that the greenhouse effect exists, but not worry about global warming?  Don’t you care about The Earth?

Some of them do know what they’re doing, of course.  They’ll thunder like an Old Testament prophet about the obvious, indisputable truth of their beachhead facts… only to get caught on the logical errors, misperceived analogies, and all-around sloppy thinking that leaps from one or two small truths to globe-spanning conclusions.  These are the folks who gave us moonwalking, the Maudochromatic flourish, and all the other gruesome dodges the Dim Devil’s Dictionary exists to document.  These are the folks who will never, ever concede an opponent’s point — even if it would advance their own argument.  They retail the rottenest chestnuts of them all.

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.



D3: Goodperson Bingo

Surprising absolutely nobody, liberal twit New York Times reporter (BIRM 3x) Nick Kristof isn’t too happy about the new Pope’s lack of progressive credentials:

Pope Francis seems liberal on social justice but sadly traditional on sexuality and contraception

(via Ace).

Still Catholic; same funny hat

Still Catholic; same tall hat

Equally unsurprisingly, a great many people are ragging Kristof about this.

So far, so predictable.  But here’s the thing:  Despite being a liberal, a reporter, and a New York Times employee, Nick Kristoff isn’t stupid.  He knows a pro-gay, pro-abortion “Catholic” has roughly the same chance of being elected Pope as I do of being elected chair of the Berkeley Wymyn’s Studies program.

So why does he post crap like this?

I know the answer, of course, same as you.  He’s playing Goodperson Bingo.

Good*per*son Bing*o (n).  A competitive public display of Goodperson status.  Players assert an item of leftist cant in response to a news item.  Points are awarded based on the number of contrary responses.  The more people who disagree with you, the more popular you are; the most popular is by definition the most virtuous.

This is, sadly, one of the keys to understanding the liberal mentality.  Since anyone who disagrees with a leftist is stupid (just ask ’em!), everyone who disagrees with a leftist in public is one more confirmed kill in the war against idiocy.  So-and-So thinks the Pope shouldn’t be all about gay marriage?  Well, that proves it– So-and-So is a moron.

It’s very important for liberals to have these public affirmations of being smarter than someone else.  Otherwise how would they know?

Remember the functional definition of liberalism:  The lifelong attempt to make high school turn out right.  Being “smart” — or virtuous, or educated, or attractive, or whatever — is, to the liberal, exactly the same as being “cool” is to a high school kid.  Nothing can make you cool.  You either are or you aren’t, and the only thing mere effort can do is to put on the right clothes and get the right haircut and post the right Facebook statuses and maintain ever-watchful vigilance against the thousand and one microscopic social missteps that will hurl you — forever — into the ranks of the losers.

Goodperson Bingo is just a high-tech way of laughing at the fat kid with braces in the cafeteria.


*I was going to call this entry “virtue bingo,” but apparently there really is a site called Virtue Bingo out there.  Wouldn’t want to be guilty of the ol’ copyright infringement, ay wot?  Sadly, though, Virtue Bingo appears to be a site where people really play bingo, for money and stuff.  Which I had no idea was even a thing.



CartmanAuthoritahOver at Morgan’s we’re having another endless thread about “science.”  This time it’s about the proper use of “authority,” and the fallacy of Appeal to same.

An Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy of the form “X is true because person Y says so.”  It’s a fallacy both formally and informally.  It’s formally wrong because the truth of a proposition doesn’t depend on the speaker — two plus two is four even if Hitler says so; it’s not five even if Gandhi insists it is.

It’s infomally wrong because it’s nebulous, and here’s where it gets interesting.  Most people trust authorities up to a point.  It’s part of the social contract.  If I’ve got a cold, I go to the doctor instead of cracking a textbook on cell biology and firing up the bunsen burner.  The doctor in turn trusts his mechanic when it comes to engine repair, the mechanic trusts his accountant on taxes, etc.  Society as a whole benefits from such specialization, and so we’ve agreed to outsource a part of our thinking to field specialists.

Part, but not all.  If you go to the doctor with a headache and the first thing he wants to do is order up a colonoscopy, a reasonable person asks for an explanation.  This is true no matter how many degrees the doctor has or from where, his publication record, or anything else.  It’s just common sense.

Liberals, as a general rule, don’t seem to believe this.  Which is funny, because they write endless polemics showing that liberals are more comfortable with nuance, or that conservatives are more authoritarian.  Yet when it comes to a lists of Things Which Shall Not Be Questioned, the liberal list dwarfs the conservative.  Things like:

  • the proper capacity of a rifle’s magazine
  • the point at which life begins
  • the future temperature of the atmosphere
  • how much money is “too much”
  • that IQ exists
  • that men and women have inherent differences
  • that powers not delegated to the federal government, or to the states, are reserved for the people
  • that our common citizenship is trumped by ethnic ancestry
  • that the life of a fetus is only the mother’s concern, but the life of a tree affects us all


It’s one of the main reasons I’m not a liberal — it’s too confusing.  Anne Hathaway makes a million dollars for two months’ work, which means she’s Made Enough Money (TM), but she’s also a feminist, so she gets a pass.

The only way out of this dilemma is to outsource all your thinking.  Anne Hathaway is a kulak, but Lena Dunham says she’s ok, so we’ll go after that Ann Coulter bitch instead.

This is the mentality that makes the liberal world go.  It’s frankly Stalinist, but since Alinsky-lite liberals and neo-Gramscians have taken over the organs of our culture, it’s the attitude that makes modern society go.  It’s ok to hate, provided an authority figure tells you how… and whom.

It’s the only way to overcome the Molotov-Ribbentrop dissonance that would cause more honest heads to explode.  Eventually the Party leadership will decree something that is so perpendicular to common sense that your whole worldview will be thrown into disarray.  At that point, the intellectually honest will leave the Party… while all the various toadies, lickspittles, and other asskissers who cherish their group identity above their balls will elevate Appeal to Authority from a logical fallacy to the infallible lodestone of life.

This is one of the nastiest implications of 1984.  Winston Smith spends his days doctoring history in the Ministry of Information, but it’s unnecessary.  The Party members– the only ones who have the power to challenge Big Brother — are so invested in their Party membership they’d believe no matter what their lying eyes said.  We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Welcome to 2013.