Cognitive Dissonance — NOT BS

Comrade Cognitive Dissonance Czar, I surrender — the field is yours.

What convinced me?  This bookCogs in the Wheel: The Formation of Soviet Man,
by Mikhail Heller.  The author grew up in Russia and, after escaping, became a Sovietologist at the Sorbonne.  He wrote this in 1987.

Heller shows, in excruciating detail, the methods the Kommisars used to forge the New Soviet Man.  I want to highlight two things:

The importance of “dialectic.”  I knew about dialectic, of course, since it’s fundamental to Marx’s thought.  Problem is, “dialectical materialism” is so obviously false that it’s impossible for rational people to take it seriously.  It’s just Hegel’s “thesis-antithesis-synthesis” junk, gussied up with some squid ink about Historical Inevitability.  It’s no more scientific than Global Warming, though Marx, like all leftists, loved to pretend he was science’s BFF.*  History, of course, is not a science, and a guy with Marx’s record on predictions would be laughed off the pages of the National Inquirer.  Reasonable folks know it’s all bunk, stem to stern.

But who’s dumber, them or me?  I assumed that leftists are rational, despite several lifetimes’ worth of evidence to the contrary.  They really do believe there’s no such thing as a contradiction.  The Law of the Excluded Middle means nothing to a Hegelian — apparent contradictions are just the World Spirit working itself out.**  Thus, propositions can be both true and false at the same time, and none of their obviously incoherent and self-contradictory beliefs conflict, because the phrase “self-contradictory” is meaningless.

Deliberate infantilization.  You know who else has no problem with the principle of non-contradiction?  Children.  Kids believe seventeen obviously impossible things every morning before breakfast.  The Soviets knew this.  One of their main cultural goals, then, was to maintain a child’s mentality in the population.  Deliberate, systematic fear was Communist policy from the very start, and Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, et al made no secret of it.  Tie that to the magic word “dialectic,” and soon the people learn, Pavlov-style, to parrot — and, eventually, believe — the Party line, even if today’s Party line is 180 degrees away from yesterday’s.  The Nazis are our mortal enemies.  The Nazis are our allies.  Ooops, now they’re our enemies again.  Failure to shift with the wind means you and your whole family are headed to Siberia, so you shift — dialectically.

Heller illustrates this with a horrifying anecdote from Soviet literature.***  The protagonist of a play called The Suicide declares himself “the only Russian completely free of fear” because he’s going to commit suicide at noon tomorrow.  So, out of all possible alternatives, what does he do with his freedom?  He calls a random number at the Kremlin, and tells whoever picks up the phone that he’s read Marx, and doesn’t like it.

It’s worth reading for that alone.  But it’s fascinating to see just how close our Social Justice Warriors have come to turning themselves into New Soviet Men.

There’s the same disdain for manual labor.  You’d think it odd, what with the whole “proletariat” thing, but the USSR quickly devolved into Faculty Lounge Nation — shoddy work, of the kind that would get a real prole shipped off to Siberia, was tolerated from those who were unquestionably loyal to the Party.  Indeed, ideological purity came first, technical competence a distant second — the Soviets would routinely throw armies of illiterate peasants into “the battle for industrialization,” forcing them to build factories with zero training (Mao had an even more lunatic plan in the Great Leap Forward, forcing every collective farm to build smelters and produce steel on their non-agricultural hours).  Being a “brain worker” was nearly synonymous with political influence in the USSR, and “brain work” jobs were awarded based on loyalty — such that even the factory designers often had no idea what they were doing.

There’s the same paranoia, and the same hate.  Indeed, Soviets were taught that they were constantly under siege, and that hating their besiegers was a mark of virtue — the greater the hate, the purer the soul.  The same hypervigilance for any deviation — Stalin said, more than once, that even the best workers might be secret “wreckers,” because wreckers needed to look like good workers in order to sabotage socialism more effectively.  And, of course, the same antisemitism — the phrase “Zionism is racism,” which is the UN’s official position on the matter, came from the USSR.

And, of course, there’s the same refusal to bow to reality, with the same horrifying results.  A Soviet investigative journalist (I honestly had no idea there was such a thing) took it upon himself to find out why the food in a particular town’s one cafeteria was so relentlessly awful.  It turns out that this cafeteria needed to hit a “waste food” target to meet its numbers in the glorious Five Year Plan.  The Planners were convinced that some losses were inevitable in any cafeteria, and so they set an amount of “waste food” to be collected and redistributed as animal feed.  When the cafeteria served appetizing grub, they weren’t getting enough “waste.”  So, since they’d meet the “plates of food distributed” target no matter what they handed out, they served up the most wretched glop they could — the workers refused to eat it, and hey presto, waste food target fulfilled.

One could go on and on.  Heller’s prose isn’t the sharpest — he’s an academic, and this is in translation — but it’s a riveting read nonetheless.  And it’s a fine piece of writing that can change a guy’s mind on so large a topic as cognitive dissonance.  Check it out — Amazon says you can get a used one for a penny.  Just exercise caution; you don’t want to end up on a government list for knowing something you shouldn’t about their future plans.

 

 

*For those who know me as the “it all comes back to Marx” guy over at House of Eratosthenes… are y’all starting to see that it really does all come back to Marx?  He was the first to “fucking love science,” and the left have been beating that horse ever since.

**Yes, Hegel really does believe this.  Read any short summary of his thought.  You’ll have to translate it into plain English — nobody wants to believe that so many Very Smart Philosophers with PhDs have been taken in by such a shitty con — but when you do, you’ll see it plain as day.

***Too bad this stuff isn’t available in translation.  It’d be nice to see what Our Betters, the Liberals, have in store for us.

Fuhrerprinzip

It occurs to me that “”””progressives””” did America’s future fuhrer a solid by abandoning Dialectical Materialism.

Lefties always attribute their desires to some gassy nebulous Other.  Why they do this is above my pay grade, but it’s a psychological tic we’ve all observed. They want it, but they can’t come right out and say “I want this; give it to me.”  They have to pretend that the Constitution, or Social Justice, or whatever, requires it.

They do this even when saying “I want this; give it to me” would not only get them what they want, but would be the path of least resistance.  Nothing would be easier, for instance, than the Hugo TruFans simply renaming the tropy the Social Justice Award for Excellence in SJW Propaganda.  They get everything they want, the Puppies get everything they want, and nobody has to break their brain frantically organizing to stymie a campaign that OMG srlsly u guys doesn’t even matter at all.

Even leftie dictators do it — the Kim Jong-uns of the world routinely subject their slaves to “elections.”

Worse yet, the Other is always at one remove.  Again, the psychology of this is beyond me, but the upshot is that personal responsibility is nowhere to be found.  It’s always “the People” or something.  It’s not as if Kim (just to stick with a theme) couldn’t say “fuck it, I want a seventeenth palace” and the whole country’d hop to it. But no; even he makes up some bullshit about how a seventeenth palace is the truest instantiation of the Juche Idea.

Our Betters, the liberals, are the same way.  Everybody knows Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are America’s ruling quinqumvirate — when’s the last time anyone has wondered how they’ll vote on anything? — but nobody admits it.  The Supreme Gals are the guaranteed Liberal vote on every issue, but you’ll never get any liberal — themselves most definitely included — to admit it.  It’s not “Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg want;” it’s all penumbras and emanations.

Time was, any and all “progressive” policies could be laid at the feet of Dialectical Materialism.  That was the supposedly scientific Other that justified any and all deceit, treachery, and/or cognitive dissonance.  It went from Marx to Dialectial Materialism to the Party to the Vozhd, so even Stalin and Mao weren’t ultimately responsible for the horrible shit they did — it was History, comrade.

But now that’s gone.  And without that, you’re left with, say, Society… which is really “society,” which is really just a collection of individuals, with all their faults and foibles and petty bullshit.  You see this with any “society” of liberals — they all know they can’t trust one another, because none of them has principles.  So the first thing that happens when more than two liberals walk into a room is… they start organizing committees and passing bylaws.  The better to fuck you over with, of course, but don’t blame me, comrade — I’m just following orders.

At some point, someone’s going to come up with a mom-and-baseball-and-apple-pie version of the fuhrerprinzip — it’s so because I say it’s so.  Might make right.  And a million people are going to flock to that guy.  A hundred million more will really, really want to resist that guy… but how can they?  Society, after all, has spoken.

 

Obamify Democrats Pathetic Meme

Obamify DemocratsOf course, it’ll work if nobody counters it.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to counter.

When you take office at the low point of a the kind of recession caused by the housing bubble popping and things rebound naturally, you would expect this. After the stock market fell by 2/3, it WILL rebound back to where it was … usually in 18 months or so. Why did it take 6 years under Obama?

Same thing with unemployment, with the added benefit of so many people just plain giving up and leaving the job market altogether skewing the numbers downward to help you out.

Presidents rarely have jack to do with gas prices – and this is particularly rich from a guy who WANTS energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket”.  Because ManBearPig.

Bush_Obama_Deficit_2014At best, the Obama deficits are now about the same as Bush deficits were before the big TARP bailout — which Obama voted for — which drove the deficit tremendously high just before Obama took office – and also drove the *average* Bush Deficit up as a result. Pretty rich to blame your predecessor for something you voted for, then take the credit for NOT borrowing as much in subsequent years — because you have the benefit of the graft you blamed on your predecessor to fall from. The graph tells the story.

insuranceInsurance … insurance … Obamacare… 57% of those ENROLLED in Obamacare plans were previously uninsured according to this study.  I can see where the mathematically challenged might take that as half of the uninsured are now insured.  But really, it’s only half of the enrollees were previously uninsured.  That’s different.  In reality, it’s only dropped the “uninsured” rate by 2-3%.  Not half.  And at what cost?  We haven’t even begun to see what this is going to cost, especially after the unintended market consequences kick in.

You “got” Bin Laden largely because of efforts you opposed. Word has it you could have gotten him much sooner, but you were hesitant to pull the trigger and others basically pressed the issue until you said “yes”.  Either way, it’s not like it was some sort of bold decision.  Well for YOU maybe.  But I’m pretty sure any normal president at war in this kind of war would have taken out the enemy once found.

IRAQ-SYRIA-UNRESTYou also managed to lose everything that was gained in at least one of those wars, leaving a power vaccuum into which ISIS has stepped. In addition you’ve agreed to drop sanctions against Iran if they’ll promise (*snicker*) that they’ll stop working on their nukes for a while – while retaining their capacity to do it. And not allow anyone to check to see if they’re even holding up their own tiny end of the bargain.  I think we’ve seen this movie before.

The housing market crash was a market correction, so of course it stablized. It crashed to back to a relatively stable position. And there are signs of a new housing bubble building. This is what happens when you fail to address the underlying issues that led to the previous one.

As for the redefinition of marriage — of course you wanted it and your allies campaigned hard for it, calling it “marriage equality”. What it really is is the re-definition of a social institution, and it was done in response to a majority of people in several staLyingtes voting to keep their social institution defined the way they wanted it rather than to have courts impose a different one on them. So it went to the Supreme Court where the intense activist political pressure caused 5 judges to invent a new “right” out of thin air — which will ultimately lead to the de-definition of family. But that’s what Big Brother wants ultimately, anyway. Surprise!

FAIL. All around. But this is the kind of naked spin community organizers do every day.

On Tolerance, Disapproval, Respect, Acceptance, and Living Your Own Damned Life

So I got into a bit of a kerfuffle over this post on HKB.

Not exactly a kerfuffle, since the guy involved is an old friend, a really good guy — who cares about his gay friends and his straight ones as well.  He wasn’t being combative, really.  I think he just really missed my point. Which is not surprising given the way the argument’s been framed for a decade.

Here it is:

“It is not enough for the Left to live and let live. You must change your mind. You must not hold disfavored views. You must be the right sort of person. If you’re not, you will be muzzled.”

This is what has me worried.  Not dudes lying with dudes and chicks lying with chicks.

read more here.

To which I added this:

If you say anything that can possibly be construed as being “meh” on the practicality of gay marriage (which was, in practical terms, already “legal”*) and just not agreeing with the route taken by the activists, people will assume you hate gays and want to keep them from being happy.

So you can’t even have a proper discussion about it. The discussion was bypassed because, Shut Up, and the bullying worked on 5 justices.

*I’ve asked several people in the past several years just what is it, in real terms, that gays are not being allowed to do? Can they have sex with each other and not be thrown in jail? Can they have a ceremony that is to everyone there a real wedding ceremony? Can they call themselves “married”? Can their friends and anyone who is sympathetic with them call them married? Are they not being served in restaurants? Can they not spend the night in motels and hotels? Are they being turned away from hospitals? Just what, exactly, is “illegal” about it? That they can’t get a “license” to do these things? Why the hell do they need a license? (Why the hell do *I* need a license for that matter?)

Hell, they could apparently even force people to bake them cakes and take pictures of them if those bakers and photographers had moral objections to participating in the event.

No, it has *ALWAYS* been, for the activists at least, about *forced* acceptance — NOT tolerance. Tolerance is, “meh, I don’t care.” Acceptance is, “yes, this is good and right.” What they’ve wanted all along is to force everyone to say “yes, this is good and right” by force of law.

This is what is wrong with it. Has nothing to do with the Bible, or what kinds of “marriage” arrangements have existed in various cultures throughout history. It’s about government coercion.

This was the wrong way to do it. They already effectively had what they SAID they wanted, which is tolerance, and even acceptance by a good chunk of the population.

Just to make sure we’re clear on what I’m saying and what I’m not saying… read my actual post again. Is my problem with gay people, or with leftists? I think I’m pretty clear on that.

But because of how the entire argument has been successfully framed by the leftists, people cannot separate criticism of the court decision, or apprehension on what is to come without assuming they hate gay people, or at the very least don’t care about them.  If you express sympathy for the majority of Americans and frankly, people in the world that Marriage is between people of opposite sexes and with very few exceptions in history — always has been… when it’s been demanded that they toss their worldview out the window to accommodate this one … you’re just a hater.

It bugged me more this time because it was a friend and you want your friends to at least understand your position.  It was pretty clear we were talking about two different things.

In the discussion he asked if I knew any gay people.  I do.  I think the assumption is that I had some sort of misconception that they were all combative and out to destroy society.  Again, because of the assumptions injected by the Lakoffian language strategy of the left.

So as I lay there thinking (I do that a lot.  It’s not good for your sleep habits) trying to come up with a way to break out of the assumptions that come with the language constraints that have been successfully imposed on the subject, I suddenly (thankfully) came up with a perfect example that was right under my nose, literally. I hadn’t thought of it because I don’t dwell on it. I don’t feel victimized by it.

Here’s the deal.

In our eyes, my wife and I have been married for 23 years. In my parents’ eyes, due to their religious beliefs, we’re not married at all. You see, she is a divorcee, and there was no annulment. They wouldn’t come to our wedding. I knew they wouldn’t before I even invited them, but I invited them anyway, telling them I completely understood if they did not want to come.

Now, they still have us out to the house. We visit. We talk. We have a good time. They don’t hate me. They don’t hate her. Matter of fact they love her. Dad made it a point to pull me aside several months ago and tell me so.

But … if we were to spend the night there, we would be asked to sleep in separate beds. Because in their eyes, we are not married. I understand and respect their beliefs. I do not demand, much less ask that they accommodate us. Similarly, they wouldn’t come visit us in our home because of our living arrangement. They disapprove. They don’t condone it. I respect their beliefs. I do not feel ill treated. I do not feel humiliated. I do not feel “lesser”. That is what tolerance and respect looks like.

You see, disapproval is not the same thing as hate. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. In this story there is love, tolerance, disapproval, and respect. They are not mutually exclusive. The leftists have purposely, in a very Orwellian 1984-ish New Speak way (in the real world it would be more like Lakoffian way) — mainly through the media have shaped the way we even talks about this by choosing the language with which we talk about these things – and people have gotten very confused.  It’s no accident.

Keep in mind I myself am not sitting here saying gays should or shouldn’t be married, or that they’re not married. What I’m saying is that this will not be enough for the leftists. They are out to destroy, and this was just one issue they have usurped to help get that done.

There are gay leftists. And there are straight leftists who will wear the mantle to help destroy people they don’t like — namely the good people who love everyone but do believe that certain behavior is wrong, or that marriage is only between men and women. After all, it’s not exactly a radical view.

Tolerance is a two-way street. My prediction is that it will only go one way. Or else.

On Staying in One’s Place

This started as a reply to Gary and Robert Mitchell Jr., below, but I think it has above-the-fold applicability.

Robert Mitchell Jr. writes

A war? A change to “re-roll” the die? Yes, they want that, they have wanted it since the 70s (Thus all the Democrat Terrorist groups) and they think they can win it.

“Re-roll the die” is an important phrase.  It implies an outcome, and it shows — as if any more proof were needed — that the Left has no real idea what that outcome should be.  That’s one of my favorite ironies of Weimar America: They call themselves “progressives,” our Marxists manque, but they don’t realize that “to progress” is a transitive verb.  Towards what are we progressing, comrades?

Marx at least had an answer.  A retarded answer, of the kind only an aspergery intellectual who had never worked a day in his life could come up with, but an answer nonetheless:

Their dream – the Communist Society – was a free association of completely free men, where no separation between ‘private and common interest’ existed: a society where ‘everyone could give himself a complete education in whatever domain he fancied’…In their Communist Society… a man would be given ‘the possibility to do this today and that tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to go fishing in the afternoon, to do cattle breeding in the evening, to criticise after dinner’, as he chose (‘The German Ideology’, MEGA, 1/5).

“Criticize,” in case you don’t speak Hegel, refers to stuff like opera and poetry.  After a nice leisurely day of hunting, fishing, and cattle breeding, you’re going to sit down and watch you some opera, because real people are really like that.

Our “””progressives””” lack even this.  They’re so eager to shove everyone into his/her/xis/whatever little box that they never spend word one describing what we’ll all do once we get there.  One gets the sense, based on their most recent freakouts, that we’ll all play DepressionQuest and read “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” but it’s not clear — since blacks, whites, trannies, etc., are mutually incomprehensible — if each identity group will have its own version of those, or what.

One does get the sense, however, that Our Betters really, truly believe that everyone will stay in his/her/xer/whatever assigned box, forever.  The problem is getting them there.  And the major problem with that, it seems, is identification. They’ve got “woman,” “black,” and “gay” pretty well figured out — though the Sarah Palins and Clarence Thomases of the world keep screwing it up — but it’s really tough sorting out the good cishetwhites from the bad cishetwhites.

The solution?  As Gary writes

The good people of Charleston, by failing to turn to hatred and violence, thwarted the MSM’s favored narrative, forcing them to settle for a shoddy Plan B, this stupid nonsense about the Confederate flag. This was the best they could do, but somehow the story had to be about racist whites oppressing blacks. If you didn’t know any better, you might actually think those fine folks in the MSM would like to see a race war.

Indeed they would!  Nothing like violence to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially when the badthinkers all conveniently label themselves by donning Confederate flags.

And when that glorious day comes, comrades — when everyone is in his box; when each person can be exactly ONE thing and nothing else, forever — then we shall have utopia.  And we shall all forget, at the wave of the +20 Wand of Social Justice, that Our Betters have spent the last 100 years telling each one of these boxes that every other box hates them and lives only to oppress them.  And nobody shall ever have any desire to leave his/her/xis/whatever box, because why would he/she/xe/whatever? It’s utopia in there.  If some boxes are more equal than others, well, is that not Social Justice?

They really do seem to think like this.  Slap a label on it, and you’ve altered reality.  And people will just accept their labels, and keep right on doing what they’ve been doing, because… because.

That’s the endpoint of “progress,” comrades — complete and total stasis.

How fucking noble.  And if we have to start a race war to do it, says the media, well… omelettes, eggs, you know the rest.  At least it’s clickbait.

… and vanished in a puff of logic

donezalSo the Progressive deconstruction of America continues. The president of the Spokane, WA NAACP – Rachel Dolezai … has resigned. She’s genetically white as her two white parents (whom she has disowned) pointed out in the picture on the right. But I guess she’s “identified” as black.

Which raises some questions. If a white woman colors her face to look black, is she guilty of the dreaded “crime” of appearing in “black face” … or not — just because she “identifies” as black? If it’s ok to liberals to “identify” as any number of gender pronouns, why not “trans-racial”?

After all, they’re the ones who came up with the term “`white` Hispanic” when they needed to “white-ify” a guy who they so desperately wanted to be white after he had killed a black man — when he turned out to be half Hispanic. And liberal hero Elizabeth Warren listed herself as a minority (a Native American one) in professional directories that are commonly used by recruiters …

caitlynscatIf gender is a social construct, why can’t race be a social construct?  As a matter of fact, it largely is thanks to our progressive betters.  If you don’t behave or believe, socially, the way your particular race is “supposed” to according to the social construct progressives demand, then you’re not REALLY that race.  You’re an Uncle Tom.  An Oreo.  A “White Hispanic”.

If black conservatives such as Thomas Sowell or Herman Cain or Larry Elder or any of a host of others can be considered “not really black”, why can’t a white woman be considered “not really white”?

If you can pick your race or gender, even from 50+ invented genders that only you yourself may understand but still demand to be referred to as … why stop there?

If you can be trans-racial, can you be trans-national? Are illegal aliens coming here really “Americans” who just happened to be born in the wrong country? Can I sue you for discrimination if you won’t hire me and I just happen to identify as “black” or “Hispanic” or “Native American”?

contradictionsCan you keep me out of the women’s restroom?  Can you kick a woman out of a gym for complaining that a man is in the womens’ locker room?

My question is, have we finally reached a point where the progressive deconstruction of language and logic must finally collapse on itself?  Or will we continue to allow ourselves to be bullied into submission to the bizarre?

What are the rules?  Are there any rules?  If so, who gets to make them?  Courts? Bureaucracies?

We the People?  Naahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! 

mansplainingBefore you go accusing me of “whiteman-splaining“, I should let you know.  I’m really a genderless alien.  From a species that used to inhabit this planet before humans arrived and pushed us out.  I’ve always felt that way.

And I’m royalty.

More on the Left and Autism

As y’all know, I’m a big fan of Anonymous Conservative’s version of r/K selection theory.  Briefly, the amount of free resources in an ecosystem determines the psychology of organisms inside it.  Rabbits — the “r” part — are adapted to unlimited resource availability.  Wolves – the K’s — are designed for highly competitive environments where resources are scarce.

Anonymous Conservative develops this into a theory of liberal behavior based on the amygdala, which seems to work extremely well (I lack the biology background to evaluate the science, but his book lays it all out in detail if you’re interested).  I wonder if this can’t be expanded to cover autism as well.

Yesterday’s post was just a placeholder, so I didn’t bother to spell out my terms.  When I hypothesize that liberals are autistic, I’m obviously not talking about a DSM-V compliant condition than any randomly chosen group of psychiatrists would agree upon.  Autism is a spectrum disorder — there are greater and lesser degrees of impairment — and given the vast differences in people (differential development rates, etc.), you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who conclusively did or didn’t have “autism.”   There’s also the issue of “Heisenberg indeterminacy” (for the pretentious) or “test bias” or what have you — the tests themselves are so odd, and the experience of getting poked and prodded by white lab coats so disorienting, that the testing process itself might cause false positives.

That said, consider this list.  Sound familiar?

Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.  Liberals are famously averse to competitionThey’re completely binary about awards — either all the children must receive prizes, or none.  Their favorite sport is soccer, where it’s nearly impossible to tell who’s good, and games frequently end in 0-0 ties.  Their other favorite athletic activity is distance running, where just finishing the race is the prize.  Their interests, of course, must be vigorously policed, lest the wrong kind of fans come around, having the wrong kind of fun.  Just cruise down to the Edits if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing (though you should; Correia has one of the all-time great vituperative styles).

Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person’s feelings, such as pain or sorrow.  Self-explanatory.  If you don’t understand the other person’s perspective, you can’t share his feelings.  Liberals demand “trigger warnings” on everything from blog posts to breakfast cereal, but don’t hesitate to sling the vilest, most hateful insults at people they disagree with.  Ask a liberal about Clarence Thomas or Condi Rice, for instance; you’ll get stuff that would make Bull Connor blush.

Difficulty understanding their listener’s perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.  Liberal “communication,” even between liberals, is highly ritualized.  For instance, I’ve noticed the heretofore-baffling tendency of folks in my college town to launch into political diatribes as conversation-starters.  It’s not like they’re trying to convert me; they have no way of knowing I’m an apostate.  The point seems to be a Two Minutes’ Hate, a bonding ritual.  At least, I thought it was a bonding ritual…. but now I think it isn’t.  It’s much more likely that they simply don’t communicate very well.  Normal folks can use standard-issue small talk — hows about that weather? — as a springboard for further communication, because they can read their interlocutor and tailor the conversation accordingly.  To the autistic, a bit of small talk about the weather is… a conversation about weather.  Ranting about politics gives them the semblance of an emotional connection — we both hate George W. Bush! — without actually having to interpret the other person’s behavior.

Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).  We’ve all seen this one over at Morgan’s, but it’s also very common among the Old Left, and in academia.  Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” is great on this.

modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for the words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry — when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech — it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.

Orwell thinks this is deliberate — “elimination of unreliable elements” is clean and sanitized; by using the phrase, you don’t have to think of people being “imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps,” which is what actually happens.  It might have been deliberate back then — and still is, for Alinsky and the like — but I don’t think it is for the majority of liberals now.  For them, it’s like a computer program — they can’t see the other guy’s perspective, so they really don’t know what this whole “religious freedom” thing could possibly mean.  But they must respond, so they have a canned, focus-grouped phrase ready to parrot back.  Cf. Vox Day’s “Gamma Identifier” — they have to use

“You seem to be saying” or its variants “It appears you are saying” or “So you’re claiming/telling me”

because those are the program’s triggers. They can’t grok what you’re actually saying, so they don’t know which canned response to use.  They’ve got to shoehorn your words into one of their memorized templates (and you can almost hear them beating their heads against their desks in frustration when you don’t say your lines on cue).

Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.  Goes without saying, but this does explain liberals’ well-known aversion to followup questions.  They’re obsessed to the point of madness with the cause du jour, but once the Hivemind determines the new cause, the old cause will never be mentioned again.  Intimately connected to

A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.  As we all know, “diversity” really means “superficially different skin colors and sexual orientations, but exactly the same behaviors.”  Connected to

Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.  Or ironic facial hair, PBR, and the Daily Show.

Now, consider all this from the r/K perspective.  For the rabbit, there is zero cost, and great potential benefit, to a “false positive” threat assessment.  There’s no downside to running away from a false threat — since resources are unlimited — but failing to run from a real threat is death (rabbits, like most r-selectors, are a prey species).  Why, then, should the human rabbit bother learning how to pick up social cues, or play nicely with others?  Either “others” are a threat or they’re not, and either way the response is the same — run!  The rabbit’s one social responsibility (if you can call it that) is to shriek, alerting the rest of the warren to a perceived possible threat.

Wolves, needless to say, work differently.  They’re geared toward low-resource, high-risk environments.  A wolf who runs from a false positive threat assessment doesn’t eat that day, so reading others’ behavior is crucial.  Wolves can’t stray too far from reality, and they can’t abandon their pack (there is no such thing as a “lone wolf” in nature).

Psychologically, this is very similar to Morgan’s “architects vs. medicators” distinction.  Anonymous Conservative’s r/K theory, on the other hand, makes these behaviors biological, not mental.  The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to see it in biomechanical terms.  Why the huge spike in autism diagnoses these last 50 years?  Part of it is better awareness, the proliferation of psychiatry, etc…. but is it not at least possible that the seemingly unlimited resources available to Americans since the end of World War II has rewired this variant of the species in an r-direction?  The Old Left — that is, the Marx-n-Mao brigades of the 1930s and 40s — had wacky ideas, but they retained at least a basic sense of reality.  Walter Duranty knew he was lying.  Do Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know they’re lying?  Do their supporters?

I honestly don’t know.  It seems incredible that Hillary Clinton is still the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016 — she should be in JAIL.  It’s impossible that the vast majority of Americans — including lots of folks who can’t wait to pull the lever for her — don’t know about this.  That’s messed up.  Or is it?  R-selectors don’t care, because hey, resources are plentiful and always will be.  Hillary’s just getting hers; we’d do the same, think the rabbits, if we were in her position.  Stuffing themselves to bursting is what all prey species do in nature, every chance they get.

If r-selection among Americans really has produced a higher number of autistics, lots of otherwise baffling liberal behaviors start to make sense.

I Have a Right!

Education is a human right. Share if you agree.

So this came across my desktop yesterday.

I think my head is going to explode.

Oh yeah. It’s free. *If* you’re accepted. And that’s a big IF.

Even in Europe, you have to be put in an academic track school by about age 12 to hope to make it in to one of these colleges.

Since this “Free in Finland” word has gotten out, Finland has had to clarify that while tuition is free, you have to pay your own way for room and board. And hey, if education is a right, aren’t food and shelter yet more basic rights?

Why does Finland HATE students????! “Finland Starves Students – Leaves Them in the Cold!” That would be the community organizing headline from the Chicago school of politics.

All colleges in Germany have had “free” tuition since way way back in … October. Jury’s probably still out on how sustainable it is, or the effect it will have on the quality of education you can get. As it stands, America pretty much has a headlock on top universities in the world so maybe there’s something to this not-so-public approach.


I think the main difference between America and elsewhere has been that your education was something you were expected to get — so much so that state charters mandated that a certain size plot of land in every township be set aside for a school which would be funded by the community. But the attitude was that an education isn’t something that is given to you or provided to you — since we as a people have required that you get one from the beginning, we’ve considered it a duty of society to provide the opportunity – up to a point.

I’d argue that we don’t have to provide you an opportunity for a degree in “Gender Studies”.

occupy girl2

It’s not “your” car anyway, because you didn’t build that.

This provision of opportunity is there with the expectation that you will be obligated, if physically and mentally able, to go out and pull your own weight when it is said and done – and perhaps if you do well enough create something that will help others pull theirs. But to the people at “US Uncut”, it’s about “rights”, not “obligations”. “Rights” mean somebody OWEs *me*. “Obligations” are for chumps. Now feed me or I’ll cr*p on your car. It’s not really “your” car, anyway, because you didn’t build that. Oppressor!

We do have an over-emphasis on a college degree as a credential in our society. College is fine — you can get a great education if you want one, and you can get lots of financial help getting one if you need it and show an aptitude for it. And I think there is something to a Financial/Education complex where they rub each others’ backs. Universities cost 5x more than they did in 1985, but inflation has “only” cut they buying power of a dollar in half. I think Universities charge more because they can get it, and banks make the loans because they can make money off the interest. Kind of like what health insurance did to health care costs.

The whole “10x what ‘they’ charge banks” thing is just emotionally charged rhetoric that takes advantage of, as someone once put it, “the stupidity of the American voter”. Any amount banks get charged for loans to them is ultimately passed on to the consumer, and student loan rates aren’t out of line with most other loan rates.

I think Mike Rowe & his Mike Rowe Works is on to something. Degrees are overrated, and inflated – in grades, cost, and subject matter. There is lots of honorable, even decent-paying work out there that does not require a college degree, and it’s work that needs doing.

“Exploiting” the Third World

This is actually very close to a conversation that flipped a friend of mine.

Saw this posted on the innerwebs:

skilled workersNo.  Jobs are being sent overseas because skilled workers in other countries demand less for their labor, and they can because WE subsidize American unemployment too generously.

Let’s follow the “logic” of the poster.  It would, apparently, be better for the poor “exploited” non-unionized, third-world worker who now has an income he can feed his family on and maybe fix his roof … if we didn’t export that job and instead paid the flat panel TV, iPhone totin’, lavish retirement plan givin’, unemployment guaranteein’  wage to the guy here in America instead. It would also make his iPhone more expensive.

No, that third world guy would be MUCH better off doing seasonal work in a rice paddy somewhere exposed to malaria-ridden mosquitoes and foot fungus trying to scratch out a basic living for his family and maybe afford a used 1970’s transistor radio.  Because YOU deserve a higher wage.

Provide more value to the world than you are paid, and the work will come to you.  That is how wealth is generated, making the pie bigger for everyone.

Thatisall.

Explaining Academia: Egghead Economics

Another part of the answer to “why do profs believe their own bullshit?” has to do with how compensation works in the ivory tower.  Let’s talk $$$.

In my experience — so, yeah, this is anecdotal, but I have a lot of anecdotes — most professor types have no real world work experience.  Zero, zilch, zip, nada.  For the ones who didn’t go straight from high school to college to grad school to academia, the only brief stop on the tour was a resume-padding year or two at a nonprofit, or the Peace Corps, or Teach for America, or some such nonsense.

In other words: For these people, money has only ever come from one of two places

  1. Daddy; or
  2. The Government.

Is it any wonder why they have a hard time distinguishing between the two?  Having no experience with capitalism, it’s no surprise they don’t know the first thing about it.

monopoly guyNor can they get any experience with it in their “jobs,” even if they wanted to, because academic “work” by its nature lacks metrics.  Everyone who has ever sat through a corporate quality-control spiel (or followed a pro sports draft) hates the word “measurables,” but it’s a damn handy concept.  They’re an objective standard that’s used to determine compensation.  Academics don’t have those.

How could they?  Most jobs have actual outputs — mechanics have “cars fixed;” doctors have “patients cured;” even phone jockeys have “customers serviced.”  If it helps, think of professors like middle managers in a call center.  The phone monkeys* have to answer X number of calls a day, or per hour, or whatever, and that’s how you can tell how well they’re doing.  But how do you measure the managers?

Profs, of course, do have one “measurable” — papers published — and tenure committees rely on it almost exclusively.  But how much work goes into one of those things, and what’s the ratio between work hours and cash money?  For real-world jobs, the calculation is pretty easy — each phone call taken in X time is worth $5; each fan belt changed in X time is worth $15; a cured cold is worth $50; etc.  Obviously I’m oversimplifying the compensation process quite a bit, but we all understand that there’s at least some math in play, and that the ratios are at least kinda reasonable — even the best customer service guy in the history of the world isn’t going to get paid $500,000 a year to do it, and even the world’s worst (competent) doc isn’t going to work for $7.50 an hour.**

In other words, working joes understand that a direct, at-least-theoretically measurable relationship exists between “time spent using one’s job skills” and “the size of one’s paycheck.”  Academics don’t.

sQzKNnLet’s look at it from the back end. (I know, I know, I really should stop that).  Instead of trying to figure out how much work goes into getting a paper published, let’s start at the beginning, and measure, if we can, all the work that goes into getting into position to publish in the first place.  Let’s look at the becoming-a-professor process, and see if we can’t put a dollar figure on that.

First you have to go to graduate school, in which you have three interrelated objectives

  1. Finish your coursework
  2. Pass your comprehensive exams
  3. Write your thesis

Coursework, at least, has a number attached to it.  Most Humanities PhDs end up taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-100 credit hours’ worth of courses, split up between core courses in a specific field, ancillary requirements like foreign languages, and “thesis hours” for writing (these count as credit hours even though you don’t actually attend class in most cases).  An “hour” is exactly that – one credit hour equals one hour of your butt in a classroom chair.

In other words, getting your PhD requires about as much classroom time as a tough work week out in the real world, but spread out over five or six years.  Are you starting to see the problem?

It’s not all butt-in-seat, of course.  But that’s where things start getting really fuzzy.  A typical humanities course is a 3-hour seminar which meets once a week.  The typical workload — “homework,” if you will — is reading a book each week, plus writing a 2-3 page response paper on that book (in theory, you spend the three seminar hours talking about issues raised by the book, and all the books tie together in a comprehensive overview of the subject).  There’s also the “seminar paper,” anywhere from 15-50 pages of original work on the class’s topic.

Go ahead and monetize that for me.  How fast do you read?  How well do you write?

Comprehensive exams and theses/dissertations have no hours attached.  They can’t.  A comp exam, in theory, tests the depth and breadth of your knowledge of a subject area, and that’s what those “response papers” are for (if you do it right, they’re all the study notes you need).  Similarly, “seminar papers” should feed into your thesis, which does require a lot of additional research and writing in most cases.

All in all, it is — or, at least, can be — a lot of work.  Problem is, it isn’t compensated work.  All that is preliminary to getting hired, at which point you now have two completely contradictory objectives:

  1. Teach class; and
  2. Perform — and publish!– original research.

Your paycheck bears no relationship to either of these.  Good teachers — as measured by student evals and the occasional classroom visit — don’t get salary bumps.  You won’t get tenure if you don’t publish, but you don’t get comped for your research and writing time in any routinely-measurable way.***  How could you?  Most research, lab sciences most definitely included, is a dead end.  You could luck into the exact thing you need your first day, or spend months wading through stuff and never find it at all (this is why R&D budgets are such massive sunk costs, and why so many tech companies have effectively outsourced all their R&D to the universities).  The only thing that matters is that you publish.

Everybody with me?  Input bears no quantifiable relationship to output.  Indeed, the only professorial activity that might kinda sorta have a mathematically identifiable relationship with your bank account is grading papers, and — here’s the kicker — you did the exact same thing to pay the bills back in grad school, for about 10x less pay.

Such cute little proletarians

What a deal, right?

The point, again, is that you have no idea what your labor is actually worth.  Neither quantity nor quality of man-hours worked has any easily identifiable relationship with your paycheck.  Nor does the quality of the product determine compensation, because how could it?  Free markets are great, but how much are Friedrich Hayek’s ideas worth?  What’s a fair market rate for three hours of, say, Tom Sowell’s cogitations?  Even published papers, the sine qua non of academia, don’t operate according to market principles — you don’t get paid to publish articles, and nobody gets rich writing academic books.  There’s no market, in other words, and so nobody ever has to say “no, no, my thoughts are far too valuable to sell to your journal at that price; double your offer or I’m going to the next publisher.”

And yet.. professors do get paid.  Handsomely.  And they’re lavishly compensated in other ways, too, as our friends at Harvard have so thoughtfully illustrated for us.  And that’s why Sowell’s definition of an “intellectual” (which is a pretty good tl;dr summary of this post, incidentally) is “one whose ‘work’ begins and ends with ideas.”

So let’s bring it all together.  You’re actually paid pretty well, but you have no idea that you’re actually paid pretty well, because “pay” isn’t really a thing in your world.  Money has always kinda just, you know, appeared, in the form of Daddy’s allowance, or student loans, or research grants, or your university paycheck, which you get for…. doing… .stuff.  Sort of.  You’ve never had the experience of asking for a raise, or negotiating a contract, or selling a product in an open market (indeed, there’s such a glut of PhDs relative to jobs available that turning down a job offer is almost unheard of; you take what the college offers and thank your lucky stars you got it).

Come at it from that perspective, and so many ivory tower attitudes start to make sense.  Why shouldn’t the minimum wage be $25 per hour?  Why shouldn’t there be a “maximum wage,” and why shouldn’t we just confiscate the “excess” money from “the rich”?  Why shouldn’t “health care” be “free”?  And why do our taxes keep going up, the more we vote on lavish government spending?

 

 

*No offense to phone monkeys.  I’ve been one.

**Obviously my comments apply to the liberal arts only.  Lab science professors tend to be leftists, too, but I have no idea why.  They work in very different conditions, and their work is testable, replicable, and often results in patents, some of which are quite lucrative indeed.  I have no idea how they get infected with the Social Justice Virus.

***Typically, you have to apply for “research grants,” usually from the Feds (further reinforcing the Government = Daddy equation).  The problems outlined in the rest of that paragraph still apply — you might get a grant for $5000, find exactly what you need on the first day, and bank the rest.  Or you might blow the whole wad and find nothing.  Grant size has no relationship, in other words, to even the amount of work you do, much less its quality.