Category Archives: Uncategorized

Monday Quick Takes

What are the odds of the “MAGABomber” and the Synagogue Shooter living to face trial, do you think?  In the case of the former, one of three things seems likely:

  1. He’s just a garden-variety lunatic, inspired — but not incited — by the Media.
  2. He’s a lunatic who was incited by the Media, and is happy to talk about it.
  3. He’s a full-on Deep State patsy.

Frankly, I don’t see the Powers That Be risking a trial for this guy, since even (1), the most benign scenario, means letting this weirdo take the stand to talk about how much CNN sucks.  If — IF — they were absolutely sure (1) was the case, the smart move would be to let the guy talk, because then they could tar everyone to their Right as a Sayoc-style fake-Indian male stripper crazy doofus… but they won’t, because they’re not smart, and because they’re egomaniacs.  CNN et al won’t be able to stand getting trashed by this guy on live TV.

I don’t discount (3), but even I find it hard to believe the PTB are that fucking stupid, even now.  My money’s on (2), because crazy people, while crazy, aren’t unpredictable.  They have a “delusion architecture,” as the term d’art is, and though the “break” part of “psychotic break” is sudden, there’s a long buildup that’s obvious in retrospect.  Hell, read any story about the guy, even in the Media — it’s clear he’s been deeply weird for a long, long time.

Given all that, I hope for Sayoc’s sake that he’s truly a lunatic, a barking-at-the-moon schizo whose madness is plain from a mile away.  If it is, he might live, since the Media can write him off as a madman and just not cover his trial.  Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he’ll be “shot while trying to escape,” or commit suicide by shooting himself four or five times in the head, or any of the other charming fates that these days are called “Arkancide.”

As for the Synagogue Shooter, I doubt he’ll live through the week.  We’ve come a long way from the days when the Media could just memory hole Nidal Hasan — remember him? — and anyway he only shot up an Army base.  That’s the problem with lunatics, you know?  They can be goaded into doing something spectacular, but you never know what they’ll do afterwards.  Initial reports say this guy hates Trump almost as much as he hates Jews.  They’re sure as hell not going to let him say that on the stand, and since they couldn’t ignore his trial should there be one, I’m betting Bowers comes down with a 9mm migraine here in the next few days.  No autopsy at the family’s request.

Teaching and Indoctrination.  A decent piece by the Federalist, only going of the rails at the end.  The author is a teacher, so of course his solution is “better teaching.”  While I have some sympathy for this point of view, even Dead Poets’ Society couldn’t do much with today’s curriculum.

Good teachers (which include parents, mentors, and other knowledgeable adults) train students in methods of thought while supplying the stuff of thought. They teach a person to evaluate an argument properly, find actual solutions to problems, and determine what is true and what is false.

Yes yes, but what if nothing’s true and everything’s false?  What if “the stuff of thought” you’re required to supply is just ass-pulled self-esteem special-snowflake PoMo bullshit, as it has been for going on three decades now?  When the Facts contradict the Narrative — as they must — ditch the Facts and keep the Narrative.  “Thought-terminating cliches,” these are called, and while the man’s right — replacing Maya Angelou with Tacitus wouldn’t do any good — he’s right for the wrong reason.  It doesn’t matter what Tacitus has to say, because Tacitus is a Dead While Male, and that’s all ye know in this world, and all ye need to know.  Any student who says otherwise will get sent to the principal’s office, while any teacher who says so will be sent to the unemployment office.

Sting in a Thong.  In steering y’all to John C. Wright’s excellent essay on the Unified Field Theory of Madness, I suggested that while Mr. Wright has me beat on name recognition, sales figures, award nominations, etc. (to say nothing of quality of thought or prose), he doesn’t have sexy sexy pictures for section breaks like I do.  To which he replied that he does too have sexy sexy pictures, of Catwoman.  As I am a Southerner by both upbringing and temperament, nothing gets my blood up faster than being the underdog in a pointless, self-destructive blood feud, so I promised massive retaliation.  Here ya go;

General Pickett would be proud.

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NPC Guide, Part III: Self-Diagnosis

“How can it not know what it is?”

And thus were launched a million books, undergraduate courses, and web pages (“Blade runner and philosophy” gets over 4.3 million hits as of this writing).  “To know X” seems to mean something like “the ability to bring X into your consciousness.”  Which seems to imply at least three further things:

  1. That X remains stable over time;
  2. that the “bringing to consciousness” process is consistent and reliable;* and
  3. that you — that is, the knower — remain stable over time.

All three are “problematic,” as the kids say these days, and not because of “epistemic privilege” or whatnot, but for real, obvious reasons.  For instance, you can’t say that someone trained in the old school still knows astronomy after Copernicus, since (1) is no longer true.  Problems with (2) are, of course, the foundation of The Worst Argument in the World, but there are lots of other problems with it that don’t rely on Froggy incomprehensibility.  What if you have a brain tumor, for instance?

(3) is the Blade Runner problem, or, if you prefer, the John Locke problem — Locke’s version of “representationalism” seems to imply that we’re different people whether we’re asleep or awake, since “self” means “continuity of memory” and that’s highly state-dependent.  However you phrase it, though, it’s clear that while Rachel has always physically been a replicant, she’s never been conscious of it, which means that while everything about her remains exactly the same, she’s a completely different person once Deckard tells her the truth.  She still has “continuity of memory,” all right, but all those memories are lies.

This is the NPCs’ problem, and it’s not an abstract philosophical thing you can hash out over a few righteous bong rips.  I want you to seriously consider what it’s like to learn that you have been deceived — systematically — every single day for your entire life.  Not everything is a lie, of course — 1-3 all play their part — but nothing you thought you knew holds up, which means you don’t hold up.

What is it like, in other words, to actually be Rachel, or Neo, the moment the truth hits?

That’s why we can’t simply say something like “go talk to people, dorkus!” and expect this to deprogram an NPC.  They’ve been talking to people, in “real life” even, but all those “people” are in the same boat they are.  Instead, I’d urge anyone who suspects he might be an NPC to go out and observe others’ behavior.  Go to a coffee shop, for instance.  Even the “real” people having “real” conversations with their “real” friends spend most of their time looking at a glowing screen.  Even seemingly best friends drop each other the instant the phone dings.  Students sit glued to laptops, headphones blaring, and even then they still stop every five minutes to look at their phones.

From there, go home and check your social media accounts.  See who your “friends” are, by which I mean “the people you ‘interact’ with the most.”  Now, turn off the computer and try to write a description of your top 5 friends.  What makes Dakota different from Britney from Justin from Dustin from Kylie?  Anything?  Can you describe any of them, such that I could pick xzhm out of a crowd?

If not, you may be an NPC.

 

*Leaving aside awesome but way-above-my-pay-grade theories like those of Julian Jaynes.

 

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How to Be Real, Part II: Becoming an NPC

Via David Thompson, behold the “man” who inspired these posts:

More pointedly, I am sexist. There are times when I fear for the loss of my own entitlement as a male. Toxic masculinity takes many forms. All forms continue to hurt and to violate women.

The deep thoughts quoted above appear in the New York Times.  George Yancy, their author, teaches philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta.  Yancy is Black.  Any guess as to what his faculty page looks like?

Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America.  On Race: 34 Conversations in a Time of Crisis.  Look, A White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness.  Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip-Hop.  This is that Baudrillard “simulacrum” stuff from the previous post.  References without referrents.  Nothing about this guy is real — he’s got a dual degree in “Africana Studies” and his “research” areas are “Critical Philosophy of Race,” “Critical Whiteness Studies,” and “African-American Philosophy and Philosophy of the Black Experience,” all of which sum up to “Blackity black black black, now hire me for the Diversity points.”  Yancy couldn’t be more of a caricature if he took his picture with his hat backwards, holding a pit bull and a 40, with a huge dollar sign in gold around his neck…

…. and he’s teaching at Emory, a highly regarded private school, tuition upwards of $60K per year.

I’m not (just) making fun of this guy.  Yancy did everything a middle class Black kid is supposed to do, and he did it quite well.  He went to the most prestigious schools — those dual MAs are from the Ivy League.  I’d be willing to bet he never got less than an A in his life, and he was probably homecoming king and class president, too.  My point is this: Did Yancy earn any of that?  How could he possibly know?

The reason this type of guy produces nothing but Blackity Black: The Black of My Blackness, the reason he writes op-ed in the New York Times, the reason he teaches nothing but “Critical Race Theory,” is this: It proves he’s real.

Think about it.  He could write papers about astrophysics, or the Designated Hitter, or the price of rice in China, or Shakespeare.  None of it would matter, because he checked the right box on the census form and he’s capable of not pissing in the punch bowl at faculty mixers.  Emory needed a “Black philosopher” to meet the Diversity quota, so they got one.  If they’d needed a “Black astrophysicist,” they would’ve slotted him in there instead.  I assure you, he knows this.  How could he not?

Pumping out book after book of blackity black black black, then, is him proving to himself that he’s a real scholar, hired to do real stuff, and that everyone still respects him in the morning.  He knows he doesn’t know squat about astrophysics, but he damn well knows he’s Black, so he’s going to keep writing on it for as long as his fingers can type.

That’s how you become an NPC.  Your only validation is external, and nothing’s real there, either — everyone gets trophies, nobody fails, everything has trigger warnings, nobody’s different from anybody and everyone’s the best at everything.  I taught college for a lot of years, and I’m as serious as cancer when I tell you that kids these days get far, far into their 20s still thinking the world works this way.  There are, in fact, a large and growing number of fields — academia, human resources, etc. — where the world does work this way.  Is it any wonder they’re all on antidepressants?

Is it any wonder that they wonder if they’re really real?

 

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How to Be Real: A Guide for NPCs

Back in the 1990s, Froggy Incomprehensible Jean Baudrillard declared that we all live in “hyperreality,” a “simulacrum.”  Here’s the Wiki version:

[T]he nature of social relations is determined by the forms of communication that a society employs…Simulation, Baudrillard claims, is the current stage of the simulacrum: all is composed of references with no referents, a hyperreality.

The details of that are above my pay grade, but I’ve seen both Blade Runner and The Matrix, and since those are supposedly very Baudrillardian flicks, I think I get the gist of it.  In Blade Runner, for instance, android-hunter Deckard tests his skills on Rachel, the newest model.  Rachel thinks she’s a real woman, but all her life experiences — the stuff that makes you a person — are implants.  “How can it not know what it is?”, Deckard asks… a poignant question, as he himself is later revealed to be an android (a “replicant,” in the movie’s lingo, a very Baudrillardian word).

Similarly, in The Matrix, Christ figure Neo* thinks he’s actually Thomas Anderson, a boring software company employee who has a secret life as a notorious hacker.  In reality, though, neither of those are true — both Anderson and Neo, 1999 versions, are just computer simulations; the actual organic brain having the “experiences” of both men is being stimulated by a computer program in the far future (in your face, Descartes!!).**

Hyperreality, see?  Baudrillard’s point, as I understand it, is that we hu-mans are wired in such a way that we think our concepts of things (references) give us a true picture of things as they actually are (referents).  If you’ve already spotted this as just a cheese-reeking, Gauloises-smoking, surrender-monkey PoMo version of The Worst Argument in the World, congrats, you’ve passed the midterm.  But Baudrillard had a point for all that.  Even if we bitterly cling to the tautology that what we see is what we see, the modern media environment casts doubt on the whole idea of “seeing.”

For example, I don’t doubt that kangaroos exist, even though I’ve never seen one in the flesh, because I’ve seen them on TV.  And yet, as we all know, these days if it’s on TV, it’s at best a distortion, and frequently an outright lie.  Can I really be sure kangaroos exist?  I can conclude that yeah, they probably exist, because why would anyone go to all the trouble of faking all those pictures of kangaroos?

But notice what I’ve just done.  No matter which way I answer the question as to why anyone would bother faking all those pictures of kangaroos, I’ve acknowledged the possibility that I’m being lied to, that my senses aren’t an accurate picture of the world.  I’ve gone from

  • kangaroos are real, because I’ve got detailed reports about them; to
  • kangaroos aren’t real, because I’ve got detailed reports about them.

Maybe it’s teh Jooooos! who are faking all those kangaroos, because glargle bargle reasons.  But whatever, the reasons don’t matter — like Stove says of Berkeley, if you go down that road even a little ways, even once, he’s got you.

Hence NPCs.  Betcha didn’t see that coming!!!

Section break!

All modern Leftism can be reduced to an axiom: Reality is always wrong.  Whatever the Normals believe is false, because the Normals believe it.  Normals believe in things like cause and effect; therefore, everything that happens is pure chance.  Normals believe in the law of non-contradiction; therefore, a woman can be a man, or both at the same time, or a wingless golden-skinned dragonkin, as xzhe chooses.  Normals believe their own lying eyes; therefore — all together now — we can’t know things as they are in themselves.***

Given this, armchair diagnosis of NPCs is pretty easy: They’re terrified that they don’t really exist.

They know better than anyone that they’re at odds with observable Reality, because this is the only dogma of their faith.  They spend endless hours on the Internet, where — as they know better than anyone — nobody knows you’re a dog.  Fanatic fealty to the SJW catechism is the only thing that gives them a sense of self, but as everyone knows, the catechism changes daily. They live in Baudrillard’s hyperreality by choice, where by definition nothing’s really real.

Psychologically, then, they’re in the same position Rachel was when Deckard told her she’s a replicant, or Neo was when he was dumped into the desert of the real:  Everything you know — everything that makes you, you — isn’t real, never was real, never could be real.

Everything they do is displacement activity.  The blue hair, the nose rings, the dreadlocks, it’s all designed to get a reaction from us, the Normals, because that’s the only way they know they exist.  Their social media accounts are nothing but political rants, because those get responses — we Normals think of likes and retweets as attaboys, but to them, it’s confirmation that they’re real.  That’s why they can’t go five minutes without bringing up politics, no matter what the occasion.  It’s why they can’t stop doing what they do to their bodies, even when it’s clearly counterproductive…

…and that’s why the NPC meme kills them, perhaps literally.  NPCs aren’t real.  The worst thing you can possibly do to someone who doubts his existence — and I do honestly, sincerely, no-foolin’ think SJWs do doubt it, down to the bottoms of their souls — is to act like xzhe’s right.  I won’t be surprised in the least to learn that some poor junior high SJW has actually killed herself after being called an NPC.

So how do we fix them? Can they be fixed?  Human decency requires that we try…..

Part II soon.

 

 

*Yes, they actually called their new messiah Neo.  Despite all the bong-fueled speculation about all the, like, totally mind-blowing deep shit in it, The Matrix is one of the least subtle films ever made.
**Descartes said “I think, therefore I am.”  He was trying to “solve” the “problem” of The Worst Argument in the World, namely: Is it not possible that our senses are systematically deceiving us?  How do we know things-in-themselves?  The only thing we can know for certain, Descartes said, is that we are right now thinking, and because of that, we, at least, indisputably exist, no matter what the world of things-in-themselves actually looks like.  Descartes was therefore the originator of the “what if we’re really just a brain in a jar?” thought experiment that has fascinated stoned sophomores for 400 years.
***John C. Wright has identified 8 of these paradoxes, on his way to a Unified Field Theory of Madness.  You should probably just go read that. He doesn’t have Slave Leia pictures, though, so stick around for those.
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VORP! WHiP! BABIP!

For those who don’t follow the nerdier forms of sportsball, those aren’t the sounds Batman made punching out villains in the 60s.  They’re “sabermetrics,” the latest and greatest statistical analyses of professional baseball players.  I love talking about how people talk about baseball; it’s a great illustration of a dangerous thought pattern.

Obviously, one can predict a lot about human behavior, in the aggregate and even individually — advertising’s a gazillion dollar industry for a reason.  The more specific the scenario, the greater the predictive power, which is what makes “sabermetrics” such fun.  Baseball has a coherent set of rules.  It’s played in parks with known dimensions.  There are only so many trajectories a pitched ball can take such that a hitter can hit it fair, and there are only so many trajectories the ball can take once hit.  Even with complicating factors like the pitch’s rotation, you’re not too far past high school physics when it comes to determining the possible outcomes of any given instance of ball-bat interaction.

Baseball “strategy” is a further complication, but here again, there are only so many variations, and thousands of instances, going back over a hundred years, from which to extrapolate.  There are only a few options that make sense in any scenario, and all of them have been done, thousands of times before.  And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we’ve got “tape” on every player going back (probably) to Little League.  If we know that a baserunner like X tends to steal 75% of the time in situations like this, we can be confident predicting that X will at least think about going this time… and since we’ve got lots of instances of X himself in similar scenarios, we can further refine our predictions.

Get enough data, it seems, and we can live out the sabermetric ideal — playing the whole game on paper, free of silly distractions like weather and human interaction.  And since sabermetrics works so well in this case — Moneyball!!! — it’s beyond tempting to try and apply it in other situations.  Hence “cliometrics,” “cliodynamics,” and all the other attempts, going back to Karl Marx himself, to make History into a hard science.  Get the “social instability index” or whatever juuuuust right, and you can watch History unfold the way Bill James watches baseball…

Or not, because the game isn’t played on paper.  It’s played in real ballparks, by living humans, and humans — curse their silly irrational souls — have free will.  Whatever the numbers say should happen, no matter how high the probability or how tight the math, the guy at the plate still has to decide to swing the bat.

Sabermetrics is, in fact, an excellent illustration of the inherent flaws of sabermetrics.  Start from the top.  Sabermetrics was popularized by Michael Lewis’s bestseller Moneyball…. and Moneyball is the most bafflingly misunderstood book this side of the Bible.  All that “left handed hitters tend to swing at curveballs on 2-1 counts when the moon is in Aquarius and a boy band has a song in the Hot 100”-type stuff, though integral to the Moneyball approach, is just a subroutine.

That particular subroutine — call it “swing batta batta swing!” — sure looks dramatic

The infamous “Adam Dunn shift.”

but it only feeds into a larger one.  Call the larger subroutine “out maximization.” There are 27 outs in a standard baseball game.  If the other team reaches theirs before you reach yours, you win.  “Swing batta batta swing!” is an attempt to maximize the chances of one particular player on the other team making one of those 27 outs, once.

Simple, right?  Run “swing batta batta swing!” for each of your 9 opponents’ players, 3 times each, and if everything goes according to the numbers, you win, because you’ve maximized their outs.

But: While it’s certainly possible to play an entire baseball game that way, that’s not Moneyball.  Moneyball — and this is the point, the incandescently obvious point, the “it makes my brain hurt that professional baseball people can’t seem to grasp it” point — aims to maximize outs while minimizing costs.  Take any given player’s salary, divide it by his likelihood of making one of those 27 outs, and that’s what he’s really costing you.  Adam Dunn, the guy they put those insane shifts on for, would drive in 100 runs per year, and score another 70 (by getting on base so that others could drive him in).  He’d also strike out almost 200 times a year, meaning that he not only took away any chance of driving in a run himself, but also took away any chance of being driven in by another player.  Was he worth it?  Specifically, was he worth the cumulative $112.6 million teams paid him?

I forgot my calculator this morning, but hell no.  You can have Dunn do all that for $50 million a year, or you can have 3 guys cumulatively do the same thing for $2 million a year each.  That’s Moneyball.  The Yankees can afford to pay a guy like Adam Dunn $50 million a year… and they do, and they make the playoffs.  The A’s can’t, so they don’t… but they still make the playoffs, because they’ve juggled their roster in such a way that they get Adam Dunn’s offense for a fraction of the cost.*

Section break!

Now, here’s the fun part.  I can think of a couple big objections to the Moneyball approach right off the top of my head, not because I’m a baseball guru. but because I’m at best a casual fan.  To wit: Maximizing your team’s revenue is about a lot more than just making the playoffs with a cost-effective roster.  You’ll notice, for instance, that the Yankees sell out every game even when they’re terrible.  Hell, the Chicago Cubs built an entire religion around being lovable losers.  The Cleveland Indians did the same thing, and got a movie franchise out of it back in the 1980s.  Causal fans who show up for playoff games are great for top-end revenue, but bottom lines are built on lifelong fans… and those are built on personalities.

Adam Dunn is a big, doofy-looking guy, which is part of the reason he’s a fan favorite everywhere he goes.  He’s got a personality.  He’s a known quantity, and everyone loves a big, dumb, hard-partying slugger.  Adam Dunn sells jerseys; these guys don’t.  If you scan that link, you’ll also notice that the main reason none of those guys sell jerseys is that none of them, with the arguable exceptions of Nick Swisher and  Joe Blanton — that is, the two guys that weren’t Moneyball-style draft picks — had much of a career.  Most of them never got close to the show, because the vast majority of all draft picks don’t.  Not even die-hard fans who are all-in on Moneyball are going to put up with year after year of draft classes failing to pan out, when established free agent superstars who can help you win now are, you know, right there.

Seems obvious, right?  BUT: nobody raking Michael Lewis over the coals actually made those points.  Most of the “debunkings” of Moneyball were so off base, it’s hard to believe the critics actually read the damn thing.  For instance, this piece (in the Guardian!) by professional baseball writer Allen Barra:

That [the disparity between the Yankee’s $140M payroll and the A’s $40M one] is the foundation of Moneyball. But in fact, in 2000, just two years before Lewis and Beane’s Moneyball season, there had never been, in the history of the major leagues, greater competitive balance. For the first time, not a single team finished with a win-loss percentage above .600 or below .400. Stated another way, for the first time, the difference between the best teams in baseball and the worst teams was narrower than it had ever been.

But that’s NOT the foundation of Moneyball.  The real foundation of Moneyball is even quoted by Barra himself, right before this paragraph:

The growing disparity meant that only the rich teams could afford the best players. A poor team could afford only the maimed and the inept, and was almost certain to fail. Or so argued the people who ran baseball.

The bold bits are the key, as Victorian era PUAs must’ve said.  Michael Lewis didn’t say this, professional baseball guys did.  Lewis’s point — and again, it hurts my brain to think of ways people could possibly miss it — is that, given the greater competitive balance, it’s obvious that spending more money DOESN’T result in better win-loss records.  The Yankees spend $140M a year, the A’s spend $40, and they end up playing each other in the postseason every year.  DESPITE THIS, professional baseball guys, all of whom get paid millions of dollars to be professional baseball guys, all seem to operate as if “throwing more money at superstars” = “more wins and fewer losses.”  Professional baseball guys are the ones who say that the low-end teams don’t win because they can’t afford the Adam Dunns of the world, not Lewis.  Lewis says the exact opposite, in every way the English language will bear, over the course of several hundred pages.

Barra’s piece was actually one of the more reasoned responses.  Others, from guys like Hall of Famer Joe Morgan (who always calls himself “Hall of Famer Joe Morgan”), brag about not reading it … and then opine on it anyway, at great length.  According to the Morgan thesis, Moneyball is about some top-secret method of finding the next Joe Morgan that only the A’s seem to know… and, oh yeah, Billy Beane is the greatest GM in baseball history and Michael Lewis, who has never taken a pro at bat but is actually some kind of finance geek, knows more about baseball than Hall of Famers like Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

Section break!

The point of all this — if you’ve stuck with me so far — is that we tend to look at events as if they’re part of a closed system, with known (or, at least, intuitive) rules, and we get lost and frustrated when events don’t behave accordingly.  Stat-heads forget that the batter is a human being — the numbers all say Adam Dunn will hit into that shift, all else equal, but Dunn is a human being.  He’s got his own motivation, his own experience, and his own knowledge of the closed system.  He knows what the stat-head knows, and because he knows it, he’s able to change his approach — Dunn himself didn’t get “the Adam Dunn shift” for very long, because a player who’s good enough to require his own defensive strategy is good enough to beat that strategy once he figures it out.

This is where most of the traditional Political “Science” people are now.  Even the cucks are, I think, less concerned about collecting a paycheck than they are shoring up their own self-concept.  Yeah, the money’s nice, but the reason they’re so mouth-frothingly mad at Trump is that he confuses them.  The stuff Trump does shouldn’t work.  They have a lifetime’s worth of very expensive training, plus vast experience, all telling them that it shouldn’t work.  They’re like Adam Dunn looking at that shift the first few times:  “What the fuck is this?!?”  They can’t not swing at the pitch, even though they know it’ll go directly into someone’s glove.

We on the Alt-Right, or whatever the hell we’re calling it this week, often find ourselves in Allen Barra’s position.  We think we’ve got a handle on a higher level.  We see how wrong the “traditional” analyses are, but we go off the rails ourselves when we start critiquing the new ones.  We think we know what must be done, but we stop short at some of the obvious implications.  That “migrant” caravan heading towards our borders, for instance.  It must be stopped.  The Border Patrol can’t do it, so the Army must.  Right?  Ok, but then, what happens if the Army opens fire?

If they’re not even allowed to open fire, then it’s just a show.  Letting the “migrants” waltz right past our tanks would be worse — far, far worse — than not having the tanks there in the first place.  But if they are allowed to open fire, what then?  Unless you’re willing to bet Western Civ’s future on the chance that none of them, not ONE, will even attempt to cross the border in front of those tanks — will stay back at least 100 yards, just to make absolutely fucking sure — then you have to figure it’s extremely likely someone’s going to get killed.

What then?  Amritsar?  No matter what else happens, the US Army has just opened up on foreign nationals who are currently on foreign soil.  That’s a declaration of war against somebody, right?  I know we drone guys in the sands of Yemen all the time, but the only way we get away with it is that there are no tv cameras on hand.  Do you figure maybe CNN is going to be there on the border?  Pan left, a US soldier locked and loaded.  Pan right, a “refugee.”  Pan left, and he opens fire; pan right, a dead Guatemalan on Mexican soil.

How, exactly, does this end?  Whichever way it goes, it’s going to be broadcast live to the entire Earth.

The Left hasn’t thought it through either, of course.  They’re Joe Morgan in our scenario, relishing their ignorance.  It’s an insult to cognition, actually, to say they haven’t thought it through, because nothing so puny as thought could ever pierce their adamantine self-regard.  The migrant caravan is a thumb in America’s eye; that’s all they know, and all they need to know.  They’ll be singing the migrants’ praises even as they’re being beheaded by MS-13, because that’s the only thing they can do.  It’s just a stunt, and when people end up getting killed on live TV, well, isn’t that just so cool?  It’s like Rachel Maddow’s narrating a war movie!

It’s going to be very, very bad y’all… and nobody can say we didn’t do everything we could not to see it, until it was far too late.

 

 

 

*For people who actually follow baseball, I’m using Adam Dunn in my examples because, in addition to getting those wild shifts put on for him, he was a total nonentity defensively, and on the base paths.  The Moneyball A’s specifically ignored both baserunning and defense, and in the book, that’s a significant source of tension between GM Billy Beane and manager Art Howe — Howe wants to keep doing traditional baseball manager things like hit-and-runs, sac bunts, defensive substitutions, etc., because that pretty much IS managing.  Beane doesn’t come right out and say so, but it’s obvious that he considers Howe completely superfluous, and that the game should run itself based on the algorithms in his laptop.

 

 

 

 

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All Else Equal…

Big historical events seem inevitable in hindsight.  The Civil War, for instance.  You can make a strong case that the United States was doomed from the start, incorporating as it did two wildly disparate cultures that had very little in common other than a shared struggle with the British.  Or you could say that the writing was on the wall by 1800, with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions.  Maybe the annus horribilis was 1801, when Jefferson appointed John Marshall Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Maybe it was the Hartford Convention of 1814-5, when the Yankee states threatened secession, or the Tariff of Abominations and Mr. Calhoun’s Exposition and Protest of 1828 that did us in….

And yet, all of those were contingent.  Even very late in the game, the crisis could’ve been averted, or at least seriously mitigated.  The Democrats could’ve all pulled together behind Stephen A. Douglas, who had a real shot of winning, in 1860.  The 1861 Peace Conference could’ve succeeded.  Major Anderson could’ve followed orders and remained in Fort Moultrie.  The Confederates could’ve waltzed into Washington DC after 1st Manassas.  Nothing that happened was inevitable.  And yet…

Would it have mattered?   Which big decision in the run-up to the war would’ve stopped the war, had it been decided the other way?  Maybe Major Anderson stayed put in Moultrie, or surrendered Sumter before Beauregard opened fire.  Maybe John C. Calhoun was never born, or the Black Hawks scalped Abe Lincoln. Would it have mattered?

Hegelian “Forces of History” are Idealist metaphysical bullshit, but the aggregate of a million little decisions, inconsequential in themselves, do seem to add up to an unstoppable tide.  If you want to say that due to tobacco agriculture, the Atlantic Slave trade, Puritanism, and the Industrial Revolution, something like the US Civil War was inevitable from at least the end of the French and Indian War, no matter if “we” won the Revolution or not, you won’t get too much of an argument from me.  Zhou Enlai’s quip about the French Revolution (“too early to say“) has been deliberately distorted into the profound wisdom of the Inscrutable Orient — he was talking about the street riots of 1968 — but he was at least half right for all that.  The roots of any great human calamity run centuries deep.

The problem with making these kinds of analyses lies with a simple phrase: “All else equal.”  You can make the facts fit any thesis you want, depending on when and how you deploy that crucial qualifier.

It might help to consider a less life-threatening situation: Baseball.  Half the fun of barroom baseball arguments is comparing players from widely disparate eras.  Mike Trout, for instance, is often compared to Mickey Mantle.  Well, what if Mantle were playing today?  If, instead of growing up a dirt-poor dust-bowl Okie with a drinking problem, the Mick grew up middle class in a nice New Jersey suburb, like Trout did?  Give Mantle 21st century diet, nutrition, and training, and who knows?  Maybe he hits 100 homers a year, steals 95 bases, hits .450 lifetime….

Or maybe not, because the Mick did what he did against 1950s competition.  Put Mike Trout on the field back then, when black players were a rarity, relief pitchers were scarce (and not very good), and all but the superstars still had to work regular-guy jobs in the offseason, and maybe it’s Trout who hits 100 homers, steals 95 bases, goes .450 lifetime….

Or maybe not, because of course, Trout wouldn’t have all those 21st century benefits — nutrition, training, coaching, travel teams that play against top-tier competition all year long….

See what I mean?  “All else equal” is fun for friendly arguments over a few beers, but pointless in real life.  Even if you go all sabermetric on it, and somehow decide that the average pitcher in 1958 is 0.7924 times as good as the average pitcher from 2018, then multiply Mantle’s stats by the phases of the moon, divide by the cosine, carry the one… it still doesn’t matter, because all of that is ass-pulled.  1958 isn’t 2018, 2018 isn’t 1958, and in this case at least, the similar things aren’t as similar as the different things are different.  Or maybe they are…..

Eventually you just have to go with your gut.  Since folks in Our Thing are historically literate, we tend to love these “all else equal”-type arguments.  The problem is, they’re seductive — you can get lost in them, such that while you’re arguing about what might’ve happened all those years ago, you miss what actually is happening now.  What does your gut say?  Whatever else might have happened in 1860, doesn’t it feel rather 1860-ish right now?  ‘

History’s nice, but don’t let “all else equal” act like a lullaby.  Follow your gut.  My gut tells me things are about to get really bad, really fast….

 

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Adventures in Advertising

I love watching ads.  No, really — TV these days is straight-up poz, but the ads, though also straight-up poz, tell us a lot about where our culture is going.  TV’s passive; it does all its work through osmosis.  Ads, though, are active.  They have to engage you, give you something to aspire to…

You even see it in spam.  Since I write a lot about college, declining standards, the Asian invasion, and the possible relationships between these, all my posts get bombarded with comment spam for paper writing services.  That tells us a lot, doesn’t it?

One thing I keep banging on about is: How fast big historical changes happen.  Most of us, when we hear “history,” think of change taking place over epochs, somewhere deep in the distant past.  It somehow never occurs to us that History never stops, and that we, too, are a part of it — assuming we don’t nuke ourselves back to the Stone Age before then, the historians of 2140 are going to have a field day with us.  All the evidence of looming disaster was right there; how could those fools not see it?

The collapse, when it comes, will take just about everyone by surprise.  I’d be keeping an eye on Harvard if I were you.  You may not know this, but they’ve got a big lawsuit on their hands, and it’s about to go to trial, and it’s not going to go well for them.  Of course Harvard discriminates against Asians.  Everyone knows this, just like everyone at Harvard knows Elizabeth Warren ain’t no kinda Indian.  So long as they’re not stupid enough to put it in the public record, everyone’s fine.  But the discovery process, like DNA tests, can be killer….

It’s like this, y’all.  Colleges have three objectives:

  1. Collect Diversity Pokemon;
  2. Maintain administrators’ and professors’ fat sinecures;
  3. Maintain academic standards.

As funny as 3 sounds now coming from me, it’s true… so long as you understand what “standards” mean, and, most importantly, why they define them that way.

“Standards” means things like “average SAT score,” “graduation rate,” and any other number that can be put on the marketing materials sent to the parents of kids who don’t qualify for scholarships, especially out-of-state.  One could actually escape college debt free without scholarships, even now, if one stayed in-state and commuted…. which is why colleges don’t bother with education anymore, and instead focus on “The [college name] Experience.”  You’re missing out if you don’t stay in the dorms all five years, at an aggregate cost far greater than even out-of-state tuition!

I’m only exaggerating a little, if at all, when I say that the entire university ecosystem depends on this — dumb parents paying full out-of-state tuition, room, and board.

Yes, Harvard too, which is why they’re so eager to get Asians… but only actual from-Asia Asians, the kind that go back home and take up their rightful places as second-deputy-undersecretary of indoctrination at People’s Heavy Tractor Manufactory #202 somewhere in Xinjiang Province.  It doesn’t matter that Asians-from-Asia don’t speak English, refuse to do the work, and turn the dorms into a Workers’ Paradise — their bought-straight-from the-Internet SAT scores still count for marketing purposes, and grade inflation takes care of the rest.**  So long as they pay the freight, they get counted as “Diversity” — win / win / win.

What they absolutely don’t want, on the other hand, are Asian-Americans, which both real Asians and college administrators* call “bananas” — yellow on the outside, white on the inside.  Those kids stick around, and become legacies, and marry the daughters and sons of legacies, and, in short, royally screw things up for the dumb-but-clubbable Slade Jackington van Pelts and their dumber-but-still-clubbable kids.***

I trust y’all see where this is going.  So long as everyone knows — BUT NOBODY SAYS — that Asians-from-Asia count for Diversity purposes but Asian-Americans don’t, it’s all good.  And nobody’s going to say anything, so long as you don’t constantly shove victimology down undergraduates’ throats….

As schadenfreudily delicious as it is to watch the SJW monsters they themselves created tearing the Ivy League apart, consider that Harvard is “elite” only in name.  Seriously: Every other big school in America does the exact same thing, and most of the little ones do too.  Remember the “college paper writing service” spams that started this post?  They don’t advertise those at Harvard, because they don’t need to — Harvard gets the best cheaters the cheating-est political system of the most dishonest culture on Earth ever produced.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the profs wrote these kids’ papers themselves at places like Harvard.

At Big State, though, it’s still necessary to pretend that the Asians-from-Asia can, and actually do, do the work.  If Harvard is forced to play it straight with their admissions, so to will every other university in America…. and unlike Harvard, they don’t have a zillion-dollar endowment, so have to at least pretend that their degrees’ value are in the learning, not in the brand.  Without constant subsidies from the PRC, they’ll be forced to fall back on their own resources…

… and pop goes the higher ed bubble.  Before you start cheering, recall that Americans now have more student loan debt than credit card debt.  What do you think happens if people learn just how much of that trillion or so dollars — yes, with a T — is a big fraud?

Wars have started over much, much less.  It’s not going to end well.

 

 

*Yes, waaaay off the record, of course, and with some chemical help, but I’ve heard it.
** It is almost literally impossible — literally, Millennials, literally! — to fail out of college these days, and it gets harder the higher up the academic food chain you go.  The little commuter-college branch of Big State out in Podunk can fail kids, as their business model is “churn-and-burn,” but you’d have to plagiarize your term paper while making like Bill Clinton at dollar beer night at the nudie bar, and vote Republican, to fail out of the Ivy League.  The customer’s always right, remember?
***Big State U has the same problem, of course, with the added headache that Asian kids of either variety are no good at football.
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In Soviet America, Surveys Take YOU!

The now-defunct discipline of “Sovietology” was one of the few areas of the ivory tower in which one was allowed to be an open conservative, so it produced more than its share of colorful incidents.*  One of my favorites was Robert Conquest’s re-titling of his seminal work on Stalin’s purges, The Great Terror.

Originally written in 1968. Conquest was forced to rely on the only information available to historians in those days — official Soviet reports, declassified CIA intercepts, testimony from dissidents and escapees, etc.  He was of course pilloried for decades because of this, since the logical inferences he made, though perfectly consistent with the available sources, went against Socialism, then as now academia’s official ideology.  He stoically endured until the Soviet Union’s collapse and the opening of their archives, which proved him right in just about every respect.  But finally he couldn’t take it any more: When asked by a BBC interviewer what he’d change about his book now, he replied “only the title.  I’d call it I Told You So, You Fucking Fools!”

Alas, it’s not true; the new title was a real suggestion all right, but made on Conquest’s behalf by his friend, the novelist Sir Kingsley Amis.  The point is, this kind of thing has been going on for at least three generations now.  As we all know, “a Liberal ___” is a Liberal first and a ___ only a very distant second, and if there’s ever a conflict between the two — as is inevitable, Reality being what it is — Liberal always wins.  As blogfather Morgan says, the only logical thing to do is paste those “parental advisory” stickers rap albums have onto any and all “research” involving Liberals, because it’s all but guaranteed there’s some fudging going on somewhere.

Which brings to mind another Soviet-era joke.  This one’s not apocryphal; it’s a pun in Russian.  Isvestia means “news;” Pravda means “truth.”  As these were the titles of the two main Soviet newspapers, Ivan Sixpack quipped “there’s no news in the truth, and there’s no truth in the news.”  This has been true in America, too, at least as far back as the Sixties.  As all histories of the period were written by Liberals, based on “news” “reported” by Liberals, it’s all but guaranteed that everything we “know” about the period is wrong.  I’m starting to wonder if there even was a “Vietnam War.”  After all, if they can fake a moon landing, it’s child’s play to fake a war….

The difference between then and now isn’t the Internet, as most people who haven’t thought about it say.  (Seriously, read any political site on the Net, Left or Right.  You’ve got a better chance of spotting Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee ancestor than you do catching a glimpse of objectivity).  Rather, it’s that the Left, having gotten away with so much for so long, has finally forgotten why they bothered to fake it in the first place.  The kind of gross incompetence on ever-increasing display since 2016 goes beyond hubris; it’s only possible thanks to a historical amnesia so vast, not even the Russians have a word for it.

Liberals used to be great at playing the double game.  They came off as the voice of sweet reason in public, while embracing their “direct action” lunatic fringe in private, because they knew they’d never get called on it.  Should any Leftist politician get caught on camera saying something stupid, the Media would simply burn the tape before the nightly news, just as they were guaranteed not to show all the anarcho-commie banners that made up — indeed, still make up — the majority of “peaceful” Leftwing “protests.”  Meanwhile, the Media could be counted on to distort anything the Right said or did, from making giant pro-life rallies look tiny to only showing photos of infiltrators at Tea Party events.  So long as they didn’t start acting like lunatics on live TV and social media, Liberals were golden.

We all know how that turned out.

That’s why the November elections offer a ray of hope.  Now, I don’t think for a second we can vote our way out of this — sorry to rain on your parade — but the results should be a pretty good bellwether of how screwed we really are right now.  Only the truest of true believers still trust the “Blue Wave” polls… and even they’re backing down (the polls, I mean, not the true believers.  They’ll never stop).  If the official report is “Dems up 5,” then the reality must be closer to “Republicans up 10.”

If the Dems win, or if it’s even a toss-up, we might avoid serious violence for another election cycle, as their tried-and-true tricks worked this one last time.  But if they lose….  since there’s no way to claim “Russian hacking!” about every single race nationwide, violence will be all they have left.  And if the Normals are awake enough to consciously know the entire Media apparatus is lying to them — and what other conclusion could we draw from a “Red Tsunami“? — then when the Left starts shooting, as they must, chances are good the Right will start shooting back.

Or maybe not.  Remember, very few Sovietologists saw the end of the USSR coming.  When these things happen, they happen with blinding speed.  But if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Red… then start fortifying my compound.

 

 

*Funny how that works — Right-Answer disciplines need conservatives to make them work, as we’re discovering as we try to replicate the glories of Soviet science, circa 1950.  They set themselves back decades in biology, for instance, by going all-in on Lysenkoism, because — and ONLY because — Lysenko had the “correct” socio-political background.  If you ever wondered what going to the doctor was like in the USSR circa 1972, wait ten more years, for all the diversity hires to fully take over the med school faculties.
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Own Goals

I admit it, I was wrong.  I thought 50% of the reason the Left wins is because they’re impossible to take seriously.  But then Elizabeth “Dances with Socialism” Warren took a DNA test, and now I’m certain it’s more like 75%

When Lieawatha first came to my attention, I thought “surely no one who looks like that would be stupid enough to….”  But of course I was wrong, because that’s why she came to my attention in the first place.

“But given that,” I thought, “surely nobody would be so dumb as to double down on it.”  I was wrong there too, because nevertheless, she persisted.

“Even so,” I said to myself, “surely someone who knows enough about the rules of evidence to get a law degree wouldn’t be so foolish as to take a DNA test, especially when she’s on record saying her grandparents faced discrimination because of their Indian-ness.”  But, there it is.

Will any of this matter to the moonbats when Warren throws her hat in the ring for 2020?  Of course not.  And as for us Normals, we have this weird mental block where we assume that someone who has been so thoroughly humiliated would never dare show herself in public again.  When even Orrin Hatch is bagging on you, for pete’s sake, there’s no hole deep enough to crawl into… or so we Normals think, anyway.

And yet, there’s a better-than-decent chance that this woman ends up the Democratic nominee in 2020, which means, what with the constant immigration and the voter fraud and all, there’s a better-than-decent chance this fucking clown ends up the next President of the United States.

It’s pretty simple, y’all — if facts and reason motivated any significant part of human behavior, there would be no Liberals.  As impossible as these bozos are to take seriously, we can’t afford not to, not even for a second.  Fauxcahontas just scored a huge own goal; we need to put that fucker up on the scoreboard, and keep it there.

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Open Thread

I’m sick.  I’m tired.  I’ve got nothin’.  So what the hell, everyone else seems to do these.  How about an open thread?  What is it that you want to discuss?  Anyone have any post suggestions, comments, concerns?

I can’t speak for Morgan, Phil, etc., but I’m up for whatever.  I enjoy and appreciate all twelve of y’all, not least because we’re all contrarian enough not to let things devolve into a circle jerk.  So….

Open thread.

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