More Fun with #GamerGate: The Echo Chamber

Note the “logic” here: Because lefty sites are repeating lefty talking points, the people who don’t mindlessly parrot the left’s talking points are — gasp! — irrelevant.

Look, there’s a reason I don’t read Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Slate, The New Yorker, et al — I already know what they’re going to say.  About anything and everything.  I’ve heard it all already — on Facebook, on tv, in my work email, on the radio, in the lunchroom.  They’re all just iterations of “Air America.”  Unless I’m a little low on my USRDA of smugness and hipster douchebaggery, there’s zero reason for me to click over to any of them.

Which, you know, is all fine and good.  Some people need their ideological methadone clinics.  But — and this is the crucial thing — “gamers” never gave a shit about those sites in the first place.  And “gamers” are the ones that matter, because — get this — they’re the ones actually buying the games.

They’re not irrelevant.  They’re literally the only people who are relevant.  The software company which doesn’t make gamers’ opinions the alpha and the omega of their corporate existence will swiftly become an ex-company.  Money talks, bullshit walks.

I have to say, I never thought I’d give the slightest thought to what Cheeto-stained dudes who are one or two World of Warcraft sessions away from developing rickets had to say about anything.  But this is delicious fun.  It’s the clearest possible proof — if any more were needed — that the left’s sole debate tactic is: Point-and-hoot.  Disqualify, disqualify, disqualify.  Punish the nonbeliever.  Shun the rabbit right out of the warren.

Problem is, that doesn’t work on people who self-identify as “outside the warren.”  Your serious “gamer” takes it as a point of pride that people who don’t read Rolling Stone think he’s weird and antisocial.  Point-and-hoot is actually an affirmation to these guys.

The SJWs don’t — can’t — understand that.  And it’s driving them so wonderfully, hilariously bonkers.

No H8 N< U H8 HU I H8!

A friend asked what is going on with people when I pointed at this.

I thought about it a second … since I’d already given it some thought earlier today* …  and came up with this:

A splintering of people into aggrieved groups looking for badges to wear to garner respect from people they think they should respect and therefore you should too.

You don’t have to be honest and work hard and be reliable and fair and kind. You just have to hate the right people.

* you wanna talk about reducing people to a single aspect of their whole, how about reducing them to their genetalia?  Hmmm???

Beauty Pagents

Sun Tanned Sue - Zoë Mozert

Sun Tanned Sue – Zoë Mozert

Yet another haughty disparaging screed against Miss America/Universe/Vogon ….

American needs to lighten up.  Or — I should say, the self-anointed intellectual elite does.  Most of the rest of us never got all heavy about it.

I find it amusing in a sad way that lots of people stumble all over themselves to show everyone how non-judgmental they are by judging others, say, for making judgement they feel should’t be being made, even when people line up to do it voluntarily. “Hey, do what makes you happy. Follow your dreams. Unless it’s THAT!

We have here a bunch of people voluntarily self-selecting to compete in a contest where they will be judged based basically upon their physical beauty. And physical beauty is a thing — it exists in nature, it exists in flowers, trees, dogs, horses, and human beings. It is only one aspect of these things, but it is an aspect.

We have foot races, but nobody competing in a foot race is being dehumanized by reduced to his or her physical speed. You can extend this to pretty much all of track and field. And in aggregate, any sport.

Is the “best” guitar player in the world dehumanized by focusing on his or her ability to play the guitar? No. It’s only one part of the person. But it IS — undeniably a part.

Beauty pageants say pretty much nothing about how women are viewed in America or anywhere else today other than the fact that they are widely considered by people of both genders to be the fairer sex (which is why it is far more widely watched by both men and women than the Mr. America competition — which exists — but virtually nobody whines about). That’s just an aspect of being human — the appreciation of beauty — and both sexes tend to agree on it. The proof is that it is observable in every significant human population anywhere in the world.

Women and men are sums of the many aspects that make each of us up, and physical appearance is one of those aspects. My wife and most other women I know will comment on how beautiful particular women are. To ignore this, in fact, is DE-humanizing.

Women are, everywhere in the human race, valued partially for their beauty by both genders — moreso than men.  Because it is a quality that they, as a group, have more of. Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and they are, like men, valued for many other things as well, and we choose our partners and friends accordingly.

It is one thing to sit and publicly pass judgment on random people, though all of us do it privately all the time. But these contests — they aren’t random people. They are there specifically to be judged on their beauty. It’s not like a big shock at the end, “hey, just kidding, we really wanted to know how well you could answer a question where the pat answer is ‘World Peace’”.

They do throw these things in to make sure you’re “not just a pretty face” (or body) but it IS about physical appearance and everybody knows it and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

The Rectification of Names [UPDATED]

UPDATE 9/20/2014: Moshe Ben-David at The ComPost Files has some further thoughts, and some name suggestions.

__________

Confucius say that all political problems boil down to using words incorrectly.

No, really, he said that. And he’s right.  For instance, Morgan linked to a piece which linked to a study that said both liberals and conservatives are equally authoritarian, provided the authority who’s speaking is on the listener’s team.

That made internet liberals mad, since they’re all a bunch of freethinking iconoclastic rebels (whose deeply profound and individualistic mindthoughts just happen to line up word for word with every other freethinking iconoclastic rebel’s).

Then someone named News Junkie at Maggie’s Farm, riffing off this, summarized the political developments of the last century thusly:

Since the Progressive Era, what is termed “Liberal” has been increasingly illiberal.

Today, Conservatives are the Freedom people and Liberals are the statist-control people.

Which made internet liberals furious, because of course they’re the freedom people!  Liberals only want Good Things, and Freedom is by definition a Good Thing, so QED, h8rz.

Buckle your seatbelts, y’all — It’s about to get Confucian up in here.

untitledThe good news is, I came up with a simple, straight-line, two-category system that explains all modern political behavior.  The bad news is, it requires a tiny thought experiment, which means no “liberal” — or, you know, whatever — will ever understand it.  But for the rest of you:

I’d like you to ask yourself a question.  How did Goverment come to be?

Not this or that particular government, like America or Mexico or the Babylonian Empire.  I mean the whole shebang, capital-G Government.  Great thinkers and college freshmen alike have pondered this over bong hits since humanity first came down from the trees, and their answers have always fallen into one of two groups:

Group A argues that it’s basically a contract.  A group of individuals, each as sovereign as his physical power can make him, agree to cede some of their rights to a collective, in order to better secure their remaining rights.  The key player here is the individual.

Group B argues that government comes from somewhere Out There.  Maybe it’s God, maybe it’s Historical Necessity, maybe it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but whatever it is, it imposed government on us.  The key player here is Something Out There, whatever it may turn out to be.

With me so far?  Now, apply them to basic history.

Here’s where it gets tricky.  Because our modern freethinking iconoclastic individualist rebel “liberals” want to put themselves in column A, and conservatives in column B.  And they’ll point to their favoritest historical event of all time, the French fucking Revolution, and they’ll say “yes!  That’s where the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ came from!  The supporters of God-ordained absolute monarchy sat on the right of the king in the Estates General, and everyone who was against that sat on his left.”

Which is true enough.  Problem is, nobody, least of all our modern iconoclastic freethinking rebels, pays any attention to what the guys on the left believed.  After all, they were Against Monarchy, which made them the Good Guys, which made them the liberals.  Right?

Bzzzt!

The Jacobins’ ideal goverment came from Something Out There, too — just like King Louis’s.  In the Jacobins’ case, it was called the General Will, and it was just as arbitrary, capricious, and despotic as any individual’s will.  Specifically, it was as arbitrary, capricious, and despotic as Maximilien Robespierre’s will.  Robespierre thought Rousseau was really on to something with that whole “force men to be free” bit — especially the “force” part.  But he’s not just guillotining anybody who looks at him cross-eyed; since we’re all subject to the General Will, you’re actually guillotining yourself.

Don’t you feel better?

In other words: The Jacobins and the Royalists were both in column B.  Nobody was in column A.

At this point, any liberals with unexploded heads are probably yelling “but what about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison?  They were in column A, and they called themselves liberals.  Suck on that, h8rz!”

And that’s why we need Columns A and B.  Washington, Hamilton, and the rest of the Founding Fathers most certainly were in column A.  And yes, they gloried in the name of “liberal.”  Problem is, those guys — you know, white male patriarchal slaveowning gun nuts — have nothing to do with modern “liberalism.”

Washington et al were very firm believers in the social contract theory.  You can tell from that whole “we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union” thing they all put their names to, and shed their blood creating.

Your modern “liberals,” by contrast, clearly are not.  Again, ask them the one simple question posed at the top of this piece:  Where does Government come from?  Or — since they won’t answer — ask it of yourself.  What would they say?

Indeed, where could it possibly come from, other than Somewhere Out There?  To modern “liberals,” the only true and immutable things — besides their own superior moral sentiments, of course — are Race, Class, and Gender.  It’s their holy trinity, and compared to modern liberals, Torquemada is merely lukewarm about Catholicism.  But here’s the catch:  Those three categories are incompatible.  For example: roughly every rapper ever has assured us, and Jesse Jackson agrees, that “it’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand.”

How, then, is a social contract with them even possible?

images46FMGURV

Yeah.  Apply as often as needed, to any and all groups in the glorious Rainbow Coalition.

Modern “liberals” are Column B people to the core.  Their Something Out There used to be called “synthesis” back when Hegel was preaching it.  Karl Marx and his fluffers called it “dialectical materialism,” while run of the mill groupies called it “the Laws of History.”  No matter the name, the idea was the same: Something Out There was in charge.  Humans had no agency outside of their social class, because in a very real sense they were their social class.  “It is not consciousness of men that determines their being,” Marx declared, ”but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

Chew on that for a sec.  You literally cannot think otherwise than what your “social being” tells you to.

At this point, all logical people are rolling on the floor laughing, because that means change is impossible, and all Marx’s vaunted “dialectic” is just polysyllabic horse hockey.  How can we possibly change — or even recognize — our ”social being,” if it’s thinking all our thoughts for us?  Marx didn’t actually have an answer (though you’re welcome to pore through the 50-odd volumes of his collected works looking for one), but it doesn’t matter, because Lenin did. It was: “Shut up, that’s why,” and when delivered at gunpoint while your entire family is being shipped off to Siberia, it’s remarkably persuasive.

It’s not quite so effective without the guns and the labor camps, but damned if our modern Column B types aren’t giving it their very best shot anyway.  Ask Brendan Eich how that’s going.  And it logically follows, doesn’t it?  If government comes from Out There, then individuals by definition have no rights the government is bound to respect.  If it’s really just a matter of which race/class/gender pulls the levers of power, then by God make sure it’s your group doing the pulling.

So: Column A, Column B.  It’s that easy.  And if you think about it, this resolves a lot of apparent contradictions.  Your Jerry Falwell types, for instance, are routinely called “conservatives,” and since he’s very obviously not a Marx-n-Mao-n-Marcuse lefty, we’re tempted to assign them to Column A.  But:  Falwell is part of the “religious right.”  His ideal government comes from Out There, and guys like him have no problem squashing secular liberties to speed the Second Coming along.  He’s “conservative,” “red state,” blah blah blah, but he’s a Column B guy to the core.  Similarly, Ronald Reagan used to be a hardcore Democrat, a union organizer, etc.  When he said “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me,” he was expressing his true allegiance to Column A.

The names change, but the game’s the same.

Find a person who believes that govermnet is created by, and exists to serve, individuals, and you’re in Column A, regardless of what that person calls himself — or whatever label media butt boys and their internet troll ass lickers try to hang on him.  Find a person who thinks government just kinda happened, and can’t talk about anything but vague categories of people, and he’s in Column B, no matter what he calls hiimself.  Yes, even if he calls himself a “libertarian.”

Column A, Column B.  We need catchier names than that — I look forward to your suggestions — but it’s really that easy.

Ahhhh, “Experts”

They don’t know what they think they know.  Nor are they interested in learning.

You see, “we covered it and know everything about it and how it works and all” only works as an argument when you can actually demonstrate that you do actually know what you’re talking about. When you write a breathless column, as Ezra Klein did in 2009, urging people to not read legislation because reading legislation is hard, don’t be surprised when people don’t take your interpretation of that bill you didn’t read as gospel

All together now: There was a consensus that the bill said X.  All the experts agreed it said X. And they peer-reviewed each others’ comments about X.

But it doesn’t actually say X, and the “experts” know it doesn’t say X, because we’ve got a couple of those self-same “experts” on the record expressly denying it.

Thanks to “experts” like these, I’m really truly coming to believe that everything an “expert” says is a lie.  Galileo must be spinning in his grave.

Critical Theory Headlines

critical theory in actionI saw this New York Times headline this morning, and I thought it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.  But it’s not true, I’ve seen several things just like it over the years exactly as dumb.  And it’s no accident.

A few years ago, Severian here brought to my attention to  Frankfurt Critical Theory. It explains a lot. You can actually buy a Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory … there’s one on Amazon. Not a bad thing to have in your library for translating things the Left comes up with.

D’Souza’s book/film “America” brought something into focus I had been unable to put my finger on … and what it is is the core, basic building block of Alinsky’s tactics. They use shame.

Not the shame of “you know you’ve done something wrong”, but the shame of “other people will think you’ve done something wrong”.

This is why all the charges Klavan mentions in “Shut Up” and the ones D’Souza outlines in the book/film actually work.

They use shame because it targets the thing that is most valuable to an honest, decent, thinking person, and that is his reputation.

Since most people don’t know any particular individual, when they pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and demonize it… it works so well. All most people know about a person (or an organization) is what they hear from the people bashing them in the media.

So every day, these people scour the headlines and think, “how can I rationalize an angle on this story and twist it to make the people I want to discredit (in this case, The West) look bad?”

And they don’t care if it unravels upon inspection, because they know most people will never inspect it, and tomorrow they’ll level the charge again in a different context, or a new charge with the same kind of reason-defying rationalizations in a constant Critical drumbeat of propaganda, until enough people have heard so much of it they can’t believe it’s not true.

Intellectual Dishonesty Display

Alinsky #4 is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Hence a group like “LOLGOP”.

Well, I’m going to ridicule the ridicule.  Ran across this meme today …

dishonestyThe obvious question being begged here is … exactly who is saying that these kids aren’t people?  I’m pretty sure exactly nobody.  It’s a giant strawman.

And believing that a fertilized egg is a human being isn’t necessarily religious, though when arguing the “separation” angle our leftist friends insist that it is that and only that and therefore must it be excluded from public  debate.   But there are even atheists who believe it philosophically.  A compelling argument can (and often is) easily made that it is a human being without bringing God or Gaia into it.  So again … that’s a stupid “argument” for LOLGOP to make.  The other insult here is that they are suggesting that people only “pretend” to believe it — insinuating that they really have ulterior motives (likely along the lines of “oppressing” Sandra Fluke).

If you would post this meme, you’re going to have to stop pretending you have a shred of intellectual honesty.

—————
Update: another very similar dishonest gem:

embryosandrefugees

Narcissism Will Kill Us

Jammie Wearing Fool, quoting a story at TheHill about the VA scandal:

On the “Daily Show,” Stewart joked that Shinseki’s “mad as hell face” looked “a lot like your, ‘Oh, we’re out of orange juice’ face.”

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said Shinseki is an ineffective front man for the administration’s clean-up efforts — much like Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius during the ObamaCare rollout.

“His affect is impassive and unemotional — a pure technocrat,” Jillson said. “So it looks like when a serious problem is uncovered that has an emotional dimension to it, that they didn’t get it, didn’t care, weren’t moving as forcefully as they should have been.”

JWF sees this as progress, and maybe it is, but notice what all these comments are about: pwecious widdle feewings.  Jon Stewart and this Cal Jillson fellow are suggesting that it’d be all good in the ‘hood if Shinseki just looked madder.

Jonah Goldberg has written about a billion words on this, so I’m paraphrasing him here:  When it comes to brain surgery, I’d much rather have a dispassionate doctor than a passionate plumber holding the scalpel.  Because, you know, feelings aren’t results.

Our culture’s narcissism is terminal. I mean that literally — it’s gonna kill us.  Because what’s the next logical move here?  Obama’s not going to “fix” the VA.  He can’t — the VA is what government-run medicine is.  So he’ll do the only thing he can do, which is to make sure that all his appointees look “madder than hell.”  Endless histrionics, combined with a few splashy firings of mostly low-level, completely redundant underlings.  So not only will the waiting lists and the rationings and the coverups continue — cf. the definition of government medicine — but now even more time will be wasted on showy emotional pabulum.  The docs at the VA will all get a week’s worth of mandatory sensitivity training, in which they too will learn to sham being “mad as hell.”

And meanwhile patients will still die from lack of care, but hey, we’ll all look appropriately upset about it.

Let Me Be the First to Welcome Nick Wade…. (UPDATE 5/11/2014)

….to the Loyal Order of Unrepentant Racists and Koch-Bought Right-Wing Tools.

Since you know that’s what’s going to happen here in about five seconds.  From the Wall Street Journal (via Vox Day):

[Scientific] orthodoxy’s equivalent of the Nicene Creed has two scientific  tenets. The first, promulgated by geneticist Richard Lewontin in “The  Apportionment of Human Diversity” (1972), is that the races are so close to genetically identical that “racial classification is now seen to be  of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance.” The second,  popularized by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, is that human evolution in everything but cosmetic differences  stopped before humans left Africa, meaning that “human equality is a  contingent fact of history,” as he put it in an essay of that title in  1984….

At the heart of [Wade's] book, stated quietly but with  command of the technical literature, is a bombshell. It is now known  with a high level of scientific confidence that both tenets of the  orthodoxy are wrong.

Oooh, that’s gotta smart.

Too bad for Wade that he’s merely a science writer for the New York Times.  Given his employers, I’m sure he’s impeccably Correct in all his personal opinions.  That won’t save him from the Committee of Public Safety, though; mere genetics can’t possibly compete with Science!(tm), and Everybody Knows that race is literally skin deep, because Science!(tm).

So welcome to the club, Nick.  I think you’ll find that, though the checks from the Koch Brothers aren’t quite as generous as you’ve been led to believe, we make up for it by having kickass barbecue.  Don’t worry about the nuances of the secret handshake; that’s really just for the tourists.  We’ll get you set up with a loaner gun and an infield pass to Talladega here in just a sec.  Welcome to the dark side.

 

UPDATE 5-11-14: Yup, he’s gone.  Because Science(tm).

UPDATE #2:  Or maybe not.

“I retired from the Times about two years ago. There’s a stupid story you may have seen in the blogosphere. It is completely untrue. The writer just made that up. The fact that he saw the words ‘former Science editor’ in the piece I did in Time. He assumed that I had been fired by the Times. There is nothing to the story at all.”

Ah well.  If it ain’t true now, it will be soon enough.  But for now, Nick, you’ll have to go through the hazing like the rest of us.

Syllogisms and Identity Politics

Philmon and I had an exchange below that needs further expansion.  Phil wrote:

I’ve long been suspicious that the modern liberal is typically nothing more than someone who is proud of the “ability” to string multiple syllogisms into what they ultimately consider a de facto valid “argument”.

As have I.  As I wrote in that post, liberals’ confusion about whether or not astrology is scientific comes, not from misunderstanding either of the terms, but from skipping over meaning entirely.

I’m going to ignore the “astrology” part, mostly because I really don’t know what pops into people’s minds when they hear that word.  But “science,” now…. that I get.  It means

knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Or, at least, that’s what it should mean, used as a standalone word.  The problem is, as Phil noted, Our Betters tend not to use it as a standalone word.  Rather, “science” is part of the definition of another word: Liberal.  A liberal is someone who likes science.

From there, liberals tend to “argue” in bastard syllogisms, like so:

  • I am a liberal.
  • Liberals like science.
  • Therefore, things I like are scientific
  • Therefore, things I dislike are unscientific
  • Therefore, people who disagree with me hate science.

I think this was once known as the fat cattle fallacy — the notion that a cause must be like its effects.  We don’t need to look at the evidence for, say, global warming — it’s “settled science,” and therefore we believe it, and it’s settled science because we believe it.

It’s nothing new that liberals like to poach on the authority of science; it goes back at least as far as Marx himself (his socialism, unlike the gassy love-the-world-ism of guys like J.H. Noyes, was “scientific”).  But Marx was also a philosopher, and he could browbeat folks into submission with verbiage about “dialectical materialism.”  Our modern leftists lack this, and because they do, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re using themselves as the starting point for all their arguments.

Which makes sense, given the left’s identity politics uber alles attitude.  But this makes communication with them very, very difficult, as they’re automatically going to assume that their preferences are both metaphysically true and universally applicable.  And in any conflict with the real world, the real world is likely to lose.

A good example of this comes from the supposedly conservative side of the aisle. I didn’t really follow politics much back then, but I recall that Andrew Sullivan used to call himself a conservative, and graciously allowed himself to be used as the face for the new, open, tolerant right….

His feud with National Review Online was semi-amusing, back when I cared about what any of those hacks thought, but I think they missed a trick when it came to the origins of Sullivan’s “conservatism is whatever I feel it is today” schtick.  It wasn’t George W. Bush’s objections to gay marriage that sent him over the edge; it was the Pope’s.

Now maybe Jonah Goldberg and the crew saw this clearly, and I’m misremembering.  Again: didn’t care, don’t care.  The point is that Andrew Sullivan subscribed to two different identities simultaneously — Catholic and Gay Crusader — and, when they inevitably came into conflict, spent years insisting that he was right and 2,000+ years of Church history was wrong.

That the Catholic Church needs to embrace leftism is one of the rottenest of all chestnuts, of course, but when the hipster dimbulbs at places like Salon.com say it, you know it’s just a nervous tic.  They’d be much happier if the Catholic Church didn’t exist at all.  But from what I could tell, Sullivan really meant it.  He continued to insist he was a good Catholic — indeed, perhaps, the only good Catholic — while rejecting one of the oldest and strongest of Church dogmas.  His endless contortions to square that circle only make sense if he’s “arguing” fat-cattle style — I’m Catholic, I’m gay, therefore the Catholic Church is ok with every item on this minute’s gay agenda, no matter what the supreme and infallible successor to St. Peter says about it.

How to break this thought-complex up beats my pair of jacks.  I can’t enter into that mental world very easily, or stay there for very long.  Like many conservatives, for instance, I’ve abandoned the Republican Party — they just don’t fit with my values anymore.  And while I do understand the urge to change it from within, to get it back closer to what I think its values should be, that’s not what I’m talking about (noble though that pursuit may be).  The fat-cattle version would be, I guess, to insist that the Republican Party is the party of Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, and that there’s no conflict at all between my limited-government preferences and the big-government activism of the GOP establishment, because I’m a small government guy and a GOP voter and therefore Republican plans to “fix” Obamacare are actually shrinking both the scope of government and the debt…..

Any thoughts?