What’s the Point?

It’s fun — by which I mean very, very sad — watching Lefties struggle with the fact that there’s a point to life.

Yes, there is, and everyone knows there is.  At least, everyone behaves as if there is, which is functionally the same thing.  Albert Camus, the famous existentialist novelist, once said that the only real problem in philosophy is the problem of suicide — as in, since life is so obviously pointless, why don’t we just kill ourselves?  The fact that Camus had no plans to off himself should tell you how seriously to take this kind of remark.  We may actually be random conjunctions of atoms in an endless void, but nobody acts like we are.

As we all know, the problem with Lefties is: they can’t see the obvious consequences of their own positions.  It’s their defining trait — once you start thinking things through, checking assumptions against data, you’re no longer a Liberal.  So when, back around the time of the French Revolution, Lefties decided to go all-in on being Smarter Than You, they didn’t realize that a) this, for them, was now the point of life, and b) that’s just stupid.

It’s stupid because Smart, as they see it, means looking past what “everyone knows” to see what’s really going on.  In practice, this means rejecting the accumulated wisdom of mankind — if they did it that way in the past, it must be wrong, because they did it that way in the past.  So God’s gotta go, and with Him, any notion of the afterlife.  So, materialism uber alles.  But: What’s the point?  With what shall we while away the meaningless hours, and why should we bother?

First they tried political religions like Marxism.  But again with the zero follow through — it’s more pleasant, I suppose, to have than to have not, but what happens when everyone has?  That wasn’t a problem in the 19th century, or for the first half of the 20th (and really, on that score, Marxists should be thanking the lucky stars they don’t believe in for the Wehrmacht).  But once the Cold War came around and we arranged an entire society where everyone has everything he could ever possibly need — to the point that our “poor” people are so fat they’re dying of heart disease — it became clear that this wouldn’t work.

“Free love” was briefly the answer in the Sixties and Seventies, but eventually microbiology clued in even the most ideology-addled anticapitalists to the bedrock truth of economics: A thing is worth what you’ll pay for it.  Ditto drugs and everything else — hedonism is no more a viable life strategy than nihilism or quietism (the other obvious responses to Camus’s question).

So now, in the Current Year, we’ve arrived at conspicuous consumption.  A major reason I’m not a Liberal is: I can’t afford it.  Every car on campus with a Bernie bumper sticker is much nicer than mine, and the quickest way to derail a demonstration is to release some new geegaw for the latest iCrap.  You know the kind of thing I mean:imageedit_6459_5008652973

And so on down the line, with all their virtue-signaling.  Living space, for example, is an economic good like any other; Liberals love “gentrifying” neighborhoods because it lets them show off — they’ve got enough money to jack real estate prices high enough to drive out the blacks, after which they can lament the lack of diversity in neighborhood schools.

So, too, with micro-calibrating “gender identities” — who else has the time? Those of us without trust funds are too busy getting by to spend hours and hours worrying over which pronouns to use this week.  Time is the most expensive luxury good of all.  All the money in the world won’t buy you a single second more; squandering your allotted span on spergy nonsense like this makes one hell of a statement about your relative station in life.

Alas for the Left, this is falling apart, too.  In the end, whether you believe in Transcendence or not, life is how you live it.  All their endless rabbiting to and fro can’t save them, because they’re all just increasingly desperate attempts to avoid looking inward.  Worrying about the mote in your neighbor’s eye is a great way of not doing anything about the beam in your own, as some dead white guy said.  Learn that, and you’ll have taken your first step towards being actually happy with life and your place in it….

…But — and this is the hard part — you’ll no longer be a Liberal.

Thanksgiving Chestnuts

As everybody knows, on this date back in 1620, evil white genocidal gun-toting religious fanatics tricked the noble Native Americans into teaching them how to grow corn, which in their language was called “maize.” Soon all the noble Native Americans died from smallpox-infected blankets. And patriarchy. Also global warming.

So have a good one, fellow Deplorables. Oppress a LGBTQ family member, grab a pussy, be sure not to use any parts of the buffalo, and make America great again. Heil Hitler.*

*this post brought to you straight from the brain of every obnoxious freshperson just home from their $50K/year “safe space,” formerly known as a “college.” It does not reflect the opinions of the writer, the management, WordPress, the Republican Party, the designated hitter, or any of their heirs, assigns, or pets.**

**No, really — have a great one, y’all. I’m off to watch football and test the human stomach’s maximum elasticity.

Time Doesn’t Exist – and other Sophist nonsense

So I sawtime this on Facebook.

It’s very deep, of course.

The argument goes like this:  Time doesn’t exist because the units we use to measure it can’t be found in nature. (They can, actually, we may get to that later).

But of course, this is absurd.  The same logic could be used to argue that distance doesn’t exist because centimeters are a social construct, or that mass doesn’t exist because grams are a social construct.

The fact that 3:02 PM on a Tuesday is just a social construct doesn’t mean that time doesn’t exist.  This is an important distinction.  Failing to make the distinction leads to all sorts of logical folly.

In a conversation with Severian a while back, we noted that sophists started this whole deal (or more accurately, perhaps, popularized and formalized it) where we confuse the words we use for things for the things themselves.

I commented on the photo, basically saying what I just wrote above, adding “trust me, time exists.”

To which my friend replied, “we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.”

Now I know he’s intelligent enough to understand what I’m saying and just wasn’t following at the time and was not interested in trying, so I just dropped it.  But it was clear he was stuck on the language of the photo posted and saw what the truth in it is — and went with the conclusion.  I wasn’t arguing the facts stated in the post.  I was arguing with the two conclusions, that 1) Time doesn’t exist, and 2) that time as a social construct makes us slaves to it.  Time, that is.  The thing that doesn’t exist.

My immediate thought was “we’ll have to agree to disagree”.  By “we’ll” I assume he means “we will”, which means starting at some point in time and going forward.  In time.  Which doesn’t exist.

If time doesn’t exist, then not only is there no future, there is no now.  And if there is no “now”, there is no “is”.  So I, who apparently do not exist in the first place, just “proved” that nothing exists.  Which is a tall order if you parse that sentence at all.

I recall a story from Zen Buddhism that basically went like so:

The master asks the student some koan (I forget what it was), and days later the student comes back and proudly answers that nothing exists.  The master then slaps him across the face and asks, “then what was that?”

Confusing language for reality gets us in a lot of trouble, quickly, especially when we start substituting reality for language — which is the direct opposite of what language does.  Reality is reality, language is the abstract.  It doesn’t mean reality is abstract.

It gets us into lots of trouble in all sorts of subject areas.  And politicians, the main consumers of sophistry, use this to great advantage, every day.

As far as the “slave” thing goes … the social construct of 3:02 PM on a Tuesday was created so we, who are by nature social beasts, can better cooperate with each other. If anything, we are slaves to our nature.  But that should come as no surprise.  Everything is.

More specifically, we are really slaves to agreements – but agreements are necessary for social behavior whether it’s “you must do this by such and such time or I will have you flogged” or “if you do this by such and such time I will pay you … something.”  The nature of the first “agreement”, of course, is coercive and immoral.

But if time doesn’t exist, then morality certainly doesn’t exist.  We can find no physical evidence of it in nature, right?  So who cares?  I digress.

The same thing is being done with gender right now.  In nature, humans are male or female (there are a few biological aberrations, but everyone by and large is one or the other).  Now, there are certain personality traits we associate more with one gender or another, and we have taken to some standardized ways of expressing ourselves accordingly.

But what have our modern sophists done?  They have taken these expressions, this “language”, and substituted them back into the reality of gender, claiming that gender is just a social construct.  But no, it is the expressions that are social constructs.  Gender remains what it always has been.  But the sophists insist that it is not.

What this boils down to is a war on society.  The assumption is that social constructs are arbitrary and therefore worthless.

But “worth” is also a social construct.

So I guess I can officially opt out of this conversation.

*note: 3:02 PM on a Tuesday does, in fact, exist.  It just had no name.  The name is an abstract.  The point in time is a reality.

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.

Church, State, Socialism, Society, and Laws

“Hey, I’m Good With Socialism”

This came from a Democrat co-worker who was unaware that anyone other than Hillary Clinton is running for the Democratic Party nomination.  When I told him that there was the Socialist pretending she’s not really a socialist, and the Socialist who at least admits he’s a socialist – he asked who the second one was, and I told him Bernie Sanders.  This is the same person who years ago asked me point blank, “Well, what’s wrong with Socialism?” (which I’ve feebly addressed before here and here.)

I gave him a one line answer which I’m sure he did not understand, and it was this: “It is incompatible with human nature.”

I am alarmed at the number of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers I see around this town.

But I was listening to Bill Whittle on one of his Stratosphere Lounge episodes this morning, and Bill did what we should be doing more of… he gave us an example everyone can understand.  And then my mind, as it tends to do, took that stick and ran with it

“The first lie of Communism is that if it’s a cold night out and we’re in the plains of North Dakota, and it’s thirty-five degrees below zero, and we hear bleating out in the barn, and it turns out that one of our cows is sick — [] that one of us will go out there at four o’clock in the morning in thirty degree below zero to take care of a cow that doesn’t belong to us. That we would, in fact, all pitch in and work for the collective as hard as we would work for ourselves. And it just ain’t so.” – Bill Whittle

Socialism is basically Communism Lite.

The idea of socialism is that if one of us does go out in the thirty degree below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow for a fee that the State gets to say how much of that fee that man gets to keep because somebody else didn’t get as big a fee for something he did for someone else, or because somebody else gets no fees for anything because he essentially does nothing — because it’s somehow not fair that they have less.

Capitalism is the idea that the man who goes out in the thirty below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow at 4:00 am will be paid a price he feels is worth his time and trouble — the caveat being that if the farmer is not willing to pay his price, the man does not get paid at all (nor does he have to go through the trouble). This encourages a negotiation — often unseen — where the farmer has incentive to pay what the vet would consider a fair price while the vet has an incentive to charge a price closer to what most farmers would consider fair.

In other words … it’s what people do naturally.

People also steal and maim and kill naturally. And these things are, of course, wrong. People are also naturally lazy and would like it of other people would just do the things they want done. Forcing people to do that is also wrong. And people love and empathize and help each other, and these things are, of course, right. And right and wrong are the concern of morality.

So what is morality, in general? C.S. Lewis broke it down like this:

“Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.”

The first one is is that which we are concerned with enough that we institute Governments to enforce in a free society. The others are the realm of psychology and religious philosophy and practice — not that the first is not a concern of religion, it’s just the one that falls to the realm of the state.

But we need all three to make a society work, and the other two will necessarily inform some decisions in the realm of the first.

Harmonizing the things inside ones’ self is highly subjective, and the idea of what man was made for is also relatively subjective.  What the man taking care of the cow in thirty below weather does to make things right in himself — he may choose to do it for free if he feels that helping this man out is the right thing to do …. maybe to tidy and harmonize things within himself because he believes it is what he was made for. So who gets to decide these things? The simple answer is that it will either be the individual (or voluntary clusters of individuals) … or the state.  Leaving it to the individual is what we call “religious freedom”.

It is not the realm of the state to guide the soul. And while it is necessary for souls to guide the state in a free society, the soul, must in turn, be guided by something else. This is why, in the Preamble to our Constitution we have the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” .  By their creator.  Not by themselves.  Not by any human being.  And not by the state.  And it lays out the three basic rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness [a paraphrase of Adam Smith’s “Property”]

And it is why John Adams wrote to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The state needs guided souls.

But isn’t Socialism or Communism doing what Jesus said to do?

Well, no.  He would say to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’ s; and to God, the things that are God’ s. And Paul would say that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us.For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

But when the state takes control of this guidance, it imposes its will on the individual conscience – and rights and duties are thus defined by the state. This is totalitarianism.

When the individual (or groups of voluntary individuals — which is still up to each individual in the end) does it, we have the closest thing to a free society we can have. The freest society we could have, where everyone just does whatever they want, however, is anarchy – where might and deception ultimately trump all else. This is why we institute the state – to help ensure that people play nice.

This kind of society, a free society, can only work, however — when there is a sufficient measure of homogeneity of moral opinion among the population. And the best proven practices to foster a homogeneity in moral opinion would be religious institutions. And a society can have multiple religious institutions and remain a cohesive society depending on the degree to which those religious institutions are similar – including the degree to which those who do not necessarily formally subscribe to any of those institutions have similar moral outlooks. And this is because you necessarily need a large concensus on the things which the state is tasked to enforce in order for them to be viewed as just and moral among the general population.

When these moral ideas are hashed out by individuals with relatively homogeneous moral guides, you can have a relatively free society. If any those institutions are given authority over the laws of the state, you have a religious theocracy. It is no different if the state becomes the arbitor of morality. In effect, the state will have become The Church, and your separation is out the window.

Laws (in a free society) are expressions of a society’s shared morals. They express things that will and won’t be allowed and what we will do with people who people who do things that are expressly not allowed – what is considered bad behavior.

Now the more laws a society has, the less free it is. This does not mean we should have no laws. But it does mean, if we value liberty, that we should be judicious about creating new ones.

Good religious institutions will in general foster a more well behaved population insofar as the population makes use of them. But it is of course no guarantee that any individual, church-goer or not, will live up to that institution’s standards, much less that of the society in which it exists. There will always be bad actors.

This idea that outlawing bad behavior gets rid of it — this is the root of the constant clamoring for new laws.

Laws give us a legal framework for confronting bad actors. It doesn’t, in general, stop bad actors from acting. Knowing there are consequences — the confrontation — that’s a deterrent. And deterrents are good. But even they don’t stop it. What stops it is a person who is willing and able to stop it — and it helps a lot if he has the law behind him to support his actions.

Multiculturalism is a lie.

Diversity is not a virtue in and of itself. A certain amount of diversity is a symptom of a free and just society. But it is not the cause. People want to come live in a place where there is a free and just society. Where there is tyranny, people must be forced to stay. “Which way are the boats headed?” is a good indicator. But when a free and just society begins to adjust its rules more to accommodate anyone who comes than the people coming adjust their worldview to that of the society they have come to, that society is not long for this world. It will be taken advantage of by bad actors from both within and outside of that society, and both its freeness and justness will erode either toward anarchy, which leads to totalitarianism by the brutish, or to totalitarianism by the demagogues who will be brutish in their pride.

The various flavors of Marxism are the prideful theories of people who believe they know what’s is best for everyone. Not everyone agrees on what’s best for everyone, which is why it must always be applied at the point of a gun. In addition, their are very often used by demagogues to gain power for whatever reason they choose. They are seductive ideas on the surface. But as Bill’s example of the farmer’s cow on a cold North Dakota night, it is wholly incompatible with the reality of human nature.

nature /ˈnāCHər/ 2. the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.

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.

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.

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.

Democracy and Oligarchy

I found this e-poster posted by one of my friends on Facebook today …


Well … Bernie Sanders (I) should read Bernie Sanders (S) … he’s a self-avowed socialist.

Still, he’s sort of right here – but he’s using a little sleight of hand, and leaving out something very important.

We don’t really have a Democracy. Democracy would be bad, and our founders knew it. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. A Republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the result.

Still, we do have a Democratic Republic in that we do use Democracy as a tool for input into the system as long as what is decided doesn’t violate the inalienable rights of others (life, liberty, property being the big three).

And there is no question that for it to work a full discussion of the issues that affect us is necessary.

But that’s not what we get. The Daily Show and a news media that is 80% self-described progressive-liberal is what passes for “discussion” today. If we actually had real discussion no billionaire could “buy” an election by donations (they’d have to cheat the old-fashioned Tammany Hall way – actually, they kind of do, they’ve just made the ballot boxes easier to stuff).

voting patterns

Voter suppression used to be a problem back in the day when southern Democrats passed laws literally intended to keep black people from voting. Those days are over.

However, there is a reason one party fights just about every attempt to thwart voter fraud — and that tells me pretty much everything I need to know right there. They fight such laws because it makes it harder for them to cheat. And that is how voter suppression is done today. It’s not strict voting laws that suppress votes — it’s lax ones. Every fraudulent vote in effect negates the vote of a valid voter.

It also turns out that the people who “determine what we see, read, and hear” from the media to college campuses are largely sympathetic to Bernie’s worldview – and it ain’t capitalist fat cats trying to get rich — it’s generally socialist do-gooders trying to “make a difference”.  An Oligarchy isn’t necessarily wealthy people (though Oligarchs often do become wealthy because they have the power to take people’s stuff and rig the rules) … an Oligarchy is rule by a relatively small group of people.  They could be royalty, wealthy, family, educated-elite, corporate, religious, military … but since Bernie’s a Marxist, he wants The People to fixate on the rich and be jealous and outraged.  Because that’s the road to power when it comes to Marxism.

So while Bernie is partially right here, he’s leaving out a few things and he wants you to believe that the people who are keeping you down are his opponents.

By and large, they’re not. They’re his friends.

Maybe Lakoff is Right

Y’all are familiar with George Rhymes-With-Jackoff, the guy behind “frames.”  You know, if we call it “economic patriotism” rather than “socialism,” people won’t realize that it’s socialism, even though it completely and totally is, down to the last detail.

Those of us who read conservative political blogs think this is stupid, but as National Review‘s Jim Geraghty points out (via Ace’s overnight thread), this stuff does seem to resonate with the Low-Info Voters:

We political junkies love political philosophies, and keep subdividing ourselves into smaller and more precise groupings. (Crunchy Cons! Neoconservatives! Libertarian Populism! Reform Conservatives! Eisenhower Anarchist!) We love these labels and terms, because we feel that they help explain a coherent way of looking at the world, government, the Constitution, human rights, society, etc. But to a lot of people, they might as well be Dungeons & Dragons character classes. They don’t know which political philosophy best matches how they see the world because they flat-out don’t understand the terms and, perhaps most maddeningly, are not convinced that they need to know them — nor much about anything else.

The D&D metaphor is a good one.  Now, this is not a knock on D&D, or “gamers,” or whatever.  Please keep your nerd rage bottled up over the next few paragraphs.  But: Everybody knows D&D has no real world consequences.  Lots of people don’t want to learn the arcana of the game because, hey, if I wanted to put in hours and hours of study, I’d take a night class and actually learn something I can use to pad my paycheck.  Right?  There’s just no cash value there.

This is a rational economic decision.  Yeah, ok, the non-gamer doesn’t know D&D; he only knows the stereotypes, and yes, of course, all those stereotypes are wrong.  But there’s one thing he does know that’s indisputably true for him: He’s got better things to do with the 6-20 hours it would take to become minimally proficient at D&D.  Economists call this rational ignorance, and it’s an important concept.  P.J. O’Rourke explained how it works in politics in The CEO of the Sofa:

The danger with political issues, for liberals, is that you might try to understand them.  This would bum you out.  Big government, that you’re so fond of, is as complicated as airline fares.  You’d go nuts if you really tried to fathom all of Washington’s programs, regulations, restrictions, discounts for seniors, and frequent campaign-donor upgrades.  So you do with the U.S. what you do with US Airways: you hand over the money and let yourselves be sent to hell by way of Pittsburgh with nothing but peanuts on the trip.  Economists call this “rational ignorance,” meaning that you could go to hell for $20 less (and get two bags of peanuts), but the time and effort wouldn’t be worth it.

The point of “frames,” I’m coming to realize, is to play up the rational ignorance, to use it in a bait-and-switch.  We readers-of-conservative-political-blogs tend to use “low-info voter” as a synonym for “dumbass.”  But they’re not.  They’re rationally ignorant.

It’s an important distinction.  LIVs don’t want to have to think about that wonky stuff.  “Socialism” is wonky — ask someone who knows what he’s talking about to define “socialism,” and within five minutes you’re deep into “modes of production” and the whole 19th century schmear.  But “social justice,” now… and “progress”… we all have an instinctive idea what those words mean.  That our vague, fuzzy ideas are quite different from — in fact, usually diametrically opposed to — their specific, precisely defined policy goals is the whole point of the exercise.

The buzzwords, the “frames,” are designed to communicate one single, simple idea:  We got this.  You don’t need to put in the hard work of thinking about how “social justice” is to be achieved.  Oh, sure, you could –and, of course, if you did, you’d find yourself agreeing with us 100% — but why bother?  Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

One could, in fact, expand this maximization-of-rational-ignorance thesis to a lot of leftist attitudes.  Their cult-like faith in “experts,” for instance.  Data?  You don’t need to see the data.  Our guys have seen the data, and they’ve spent decades in college, racking up fancy degrees and reading articles in The Peer-Reviewed Journal of Peer-Reviewed Journals.  They know what big words like “heteronormative” and “cisgendered” mean.  These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.  And besides, American Idol is on.  Did you hear Jennifer Lopez is back this year?

indexIt’s important for us not to get frustrated with these people.  We want to say — because it’s true– that rational ignorance of the small picture is dangerous, irrational, wildly irresponsible ignorance of the big picture.  We don’t fall for baloney like “frames” because we’re accustomed to thinking in big picture political terms.  When we hear political buzzwords, our first instinct is to ask for clarification:  “Ah yes, comrade.  ‘Social justice.’  And what policies do you plan to implement to achieve this?  Oh, I see.  So ‘economic patriotism’ is, in fact, just the same ol’ marxoblather that has been impoverishing millions since the 1840s.  Got it.”

LIVs don’t do that.  They don’t hear this guy

358599871_rachel_maddow_031009_300x296_answer_1_xlargeblathering on and hear propositions to be dissected and debated.  Instead, they hear “this person is an expert.  Look at those glasses!  Listen to those big words!  He must know what he’s talking about, because Rhodes Scholar.”

Because they themselves aren’t very good at it, garden variety liberals know how tough thinking is.  How time-consuming.  How boring.  To someone like George Lakoff, who is good at thinking, this difficulty is a feature, not a bug.  He teaches the notso-hotso reasoners among his disciples a technique for playing that up.  And it works.

Geraghty suggests a possible line of counterattack, a possible reframing of liberal frames:

A little while back, I talked about celebrities who are not closely identified with the Republican party or conservative movement, who can articulate a conservative approach to an issue, and enjoy widespread applause: Adam Carolla, HGTV host Nicole Curtis, CNN host/chef Anthony Bourdain, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs,” Gene Simmons of KISS . . . They say what they think, directly, but they rarely if ever frame their arguments in terms of political philosophies.

Which argument is likely to be most effective?

A) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the conservative principles that the government that is closest to the people is most likely to make the best decisions, is most accountable for those decisions, and is easiest to correct those decisions.

B) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the libertarian principles that the power of the state should be limited and the power of the individual should be maximized.

C) School choice is a good idea because it puts decisions in the hands of parents, who know what is best for their children.

This is the way to do it.  Stealing another page from the liberal playbook, I’d highlight the speaker over the message.  Ok, maybe Gene Simmons isn’t the best spokesmodel, but Mike Rowe can certainly deliver simple, effective, timeless messages about independence and free choice.  He’s clearly a masculine guy, articulating, both consciously and subconsciously, the message that real men look after their families.  They don’t turn them over to the nanny state.

The first step is admitting that Lakoff was right.  The next step is to steal his idea and make it better.